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Charisse Bremond, Nancy Wilson, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.
Nancy Wilson and Berry Gordy Photos by Malcolm Ali A Legend of the past, present and still going strong, Ms Wilson has been entertaining the world for decades with sweet, sensational musicBy, Biko N. Poindexter-Hodge, Sentinel ReporterMs. Nancy Wilson's relationship with the Brotherhood Crusade goes back to its early days when , as a struggling organization, entertainers of her magnitude were scarce. But she believed in the work the Brotherhood was doing and she gave her support unselfishly. Not only did she support the young organization, but her presence encouraged others to follow in her foot steps.Last Friday evening, Nov. 5, the Brotherhood awarded Ms. Wilson its most prestigious award: the Bremond/Bakewell Pioneer of African American Achievement Award, at the annual dinner. The stars, the community, elected officials and all those whom she has touched over the decade came to pay tribute to her in a big way.At a private reception prior to the dinner, the Sentinel spoke with the honoree and she said, "I've been involved in fundraising with the Brotherhood Crusade for so many years, it was wonderful when I got a call saying that I was going to be honored. It is nice to be recognized." The tone of the celebration was to honor Ms. Wilson for the body of music that she has given us over five decades and to show how much we appreciate her for the work she has done on behalf of the community. "I have also seen the work of the Sentinel and you are doing a great job." In reference to what she is doing in her golden years, she smiled and said, "Nothing ... as little as possible. I've just finished working last month and I have nothing on my schedule for the next year." She also touched briefly on her past charitable commitments for Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake reliefs.After Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, president of the AME church Council of Bishops gave the invocation, the master of ceremonies, NBC4 co-anchor, Chris Schauble took center stage and got the show on the road.In addition to the honoreee, the Chairman of the Board, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.; and the President and CEO, Charisse Bremond introduced the board of directors and awarded them the Brotherhood Crusade's medal of honor. Present were George Beaubian, Cliff McClain, R.J. "Dave" Davidson, Dr. George McKenna and Mother Lillian Mobley; mentioned in absentia were Karl Key Hekima, Bishop H.Hartford Brookins and Bertha Bremond (wife of the founder Walter Bremond and father of Charisse). Among the evening's highlights were remarks by retiring Congresswoman Diane Watson who introduced her replacement, Congresswoman-elect Karen Bass; and a brief video showcasing some of the accomplishments of the Brotherhood Crusade. After dinner, Patti Austin entertained the audience with an array of songs reflecting Ms. Wilson's genre and then thanked the guests for coming to the wonderful event. She also thanked the Brotherhood Crusade for putting on such a remarkable extravaganza and for inviting her to perform. At the close of the evening's event, Bakewell and Bremond presented Ms. Wilson with the Bremond/Bakewell Pioneer of African American Achievement Award. The list of those in attendance included Berry Gordy, Arsenio Hall, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, Jr., Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Senator Roderick Wright, L.A. City Councilmembers Jan Perry and Bernard Parks; Judges David Cunningham and Mablean Ephriam, Mayor of Inglewood Danny Tabor, Compton City Councilman Dr. Willie Jones, Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden, and L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel.