Black Business Association Brings Legends of Motown to the Millennium Biltmore

Originally proclaimed “Black Music Month” by President Jimmy Carter on June 7, 1979, and later renamed by President Barack Obama, the African-American Music Appreciation Month is a commemoration that takes place annually in the US, throughout the month of June. U.S.

In recognition of African-American Music Appreciation Month, the Black Business Association headed by President & CEO, Earl “Skip” Cooper, celebrated with a star-studded Salute to Black Music Awards Dinner, honoring Clarence Avant and Lee Baily, Tuesday, June 20th at the Historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel with salutations from County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Marqueece Harris- Dawson, Councilmembers Herb J Wesson and Curren Price,  Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Congresswomen Karen Bass and Maxine Walters.

In celebration of the life and achievements of Clarence Avant

Known as the Godfather of Black Music, Avant and wife of 50 years Jacqueline, were both present to receive an armful of awards and waves of standing ovations for Avants legendary deal-making and business savvy techniques that have spanned a career of over six decades, including the first joint venture between an Independent African America label, Venture Records and a major label, MGM Records, back in 1967. Countless hits, including “Lean on me”, and “Ain’t No Sunshine”, may not have ever touched our souls if not for Avant. A testament to his business savvy; with Michael Jackson’s Bad album, Avant negotiated the highest-grossing tour of all time. Working closely with long-time friend and Motown founder, Berry Gordy, Avant solidified Motown and is still protecting its legacy to this day.

Subtitled, “THE BUSINESS BEHIND THE MUSIC”, the event hosted over 100 attendees with special guest appearances from friends and colleges thanking Avant for his business dealings, mentorship, and dedication to the civil rights movement. This included Gala Chair, Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records, Congresswoman Maxine Walters and comedic commentary from Lionel Richie that had the house in stitches. Avant also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Viacom/BET Networks.

In celebration of the life and achievements of Lee Bailey

Lee Bailey is a legendary broadcaster founder of Electronic Urban Report otherwise known as which is one of today’s premier urban entertainment and headline news hubs on the web with more than 2 million visitors a week. A  long way from his first underground radio station, built out of his home garage in 1979, Bailey admits he had always been fascinated by voices on the radio as a young boy. Admiration turned to ambition as Bailey grew to become one of the world’s most recognized, and most respected radio personalities in the urban entertainment business with a unique tone, that if the taste had a sound, could easily be compared to the soothing sweet sounds of smooth, hot melted chocolate. As a broadcast journalist, with a sense of humor, as was on fire, Bailey has hosted, interviewed, roasted, or sensationalized almost every African American entertainer worthy of praise, including Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy, Don Cornelius, Will Smith, and countless others.

Letting it all out! 

The night’s entertainment was announced elegantly by Mistress of Ceremonies Actress/Writer, LaCora Stephens, with special performances by 8th-grade vocal phenomena Zipporah Robinson, only to be topped by yet another flawlessness execution of vocal mastery by Grammy Award Winning Vocalist, Songwriter, and Producer Bebe Winans.

“Black music is a vital facet of American life and commerce, it touches all communities, and it demonstrates the enduring impact African Americans have worldwide”, yet this event sponsored by Moss Foundation, AEG, Eisner Jaffe, Viacom/BET, Motown, KJLH and Ruthless records brought little fanfare in the pages of other local newspapers. DTLA Weekly was there to fill the void.

The gala coordinated by Splendid Affairs, with table arrangements by Dazzle & Design and offered catered meals by Chef Marilyn’s and Crystals Socal Catering with a full bar, and dessert buffet brought to the event by Black Business Association members which turned out to be a sweet retreat. This dessert extravaganza covered a table over 30 feet long with sweet temptations by Gwen’s Specialty Cakes, Harriett Cheesecake, Sweet Beginnings, and the Kobbler King.

Event photography was provided by FOXX Media Group, LLC and as members of the press lined the red carpet for winning shots, absent from the Red Carpet was Honorary Chair, Quincy Jones, father of Motown and legendary producer, known worldwide for his work with the Berry Gordy, the Supremes, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, the list is so long, we’ll just call it “the music of most of our lifetimes”, a perfect blend of soul and sound waves that crossed borders, genres, timelines, and is still leaving an impact on humankind worldwide. Surely, if the walls of the Biltmore could have talked most likely they would be singing the tunes of Motown during those moments instead.

We caught up with Jones who sat quietly during the ceremonies yet managed to speak with DTLA Weekly to answer a few questions.

“Can you come home with us, we asked?”

Quincy chuckled.

“No, really can you come with us?”

Quincy kinda just stared.

For more information, contact ESP Public Relations




Yup, you guessed it. It's me Keri Freeman, publisher and concept designer for Downtown Weekly. Living, working and playing in Downtown coming from an entertainment background...I discovered something about myself. I discovered I really liked sharing my knowledge of DTLA and its awesome hospitality movement. Also in doing so I have the great pleasure of working with incredible sponsors (who believe in the vision), extraordinary literary artists, photographers, event coordinators and many talented artists and musicians who inspire me every day to keep the DTLA Weekly going. Also, it would seem I'm the only woman of color to publish a newspaper here in over 100 years, so hopefully that inspires some future generations as well....Just remember if its can't be work....Thank you, people of Gaia, for your continued support and thank you for reading!