Earl “Skip” Cooper II, president/CEO of The Black Business Association (BBA) recently hosted the annual “Salute to Black Music Awards Dinner” held recently at the California African American Museum.

The event is held each year in recognition of African American Music Appreciation Month, this time featuring a recognition of Gospel music legends under the theme “The Business Behind the Music.”

This year’s honorees were Vicki Mack Lataillade, co-founder of GospoCentric Records, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Lisa Collins, publisher of L.A. Focus, and recipient of the Outstanding Gospel Publication Award; and Byron J. Smith, president of National Association Negro Musicians, who received the Outstanding Artistic Vision Award.

Veteran radio journalist Lee Bailey was the master of ceremonies, while Country-Gospel music artist Al Mac Will performed. Soul food cuisine was provided by Chef Marilyn “The Queen of Soul Food,” while dessert was provided by Crystal McPherson’s SoCal Catering; The Kobbler King; and Gwen’s Specialty Cakes.

African-American Music Appreciation Month is a commemoration that takes place annually in the United States, throughout the month of June. Originally proclaimed “Black Music Month” by President Jimmy Carter on June 7, 1979, U.S. presidents have issued proclamations for the celebration under that name until President Barack Obama announced the observance under a new title, African-American Music Appreciation Month.

Since 1970, the BBA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, headquartered in Los Angeles, has been instrumental in the growth and development of thousands of African American businesses, providing innovative information and service programs to constituents, advocating for change and adherence to laws and programs; and assisting companies and individuals in moving up the ladder of success. Learn more about the BBA at www.BBALA.org.