Hundreds filled the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Ballroom on Tuesday to witness the Black Business Association (BBA), the oldest ethnic business organization in the State of California, commemorate Black Music Month and recognize two nationally-renowned African American entertainment icons: music executive and film producer Clarence Avant, and radio pioneer Lee Bailey at the Salute to Black Music Awards Gala.
This year’s theme was “The Business Behind the Music;” Ms. Ethiopia Habtemariam, president, Motown Records & Urban Music-UMPG, Inc., served as the awards dinner chairperson, and Quincy Jones was the honorary awards dinner chairman, for his close and longtime friend, Clarence.
The ballroom was filled with Black entrepreneurs and executives in every business sector. Danny Bakewell, Sr., owner of The Bakewell Company and co-founder of the National Black United Fund, gave a riveting speech about how Black businesses must support each other. Also in attendance were Debra Lee, chairman & CEO BET Network, Mark Ridley-Thomas, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor, (Second District), just to name a few. Grammy Award winner/songwriter and producer BeBe Winans and young vocalist Zipporah Robinson both perfomed.
“Clarence Avant and Lee Bailey are two highly influential executives in the music and entertainment industries,” said BBA President and CEO Earl “Skip” Cooper II. “They each are single-handedly responsible for opening doors and making the way for today’s Black music genres. It is the BBA’s honor to acknowledge and highlight their contributions to disseminating African American culture around the world.”