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(L-R) Suzanne DePasse, Michaela Pereira, Paula Madison and Blair H. Taylor
Urban League honors Paula Madison
The Los Angeles Urban League honored NBC Executive Paula Madison at the 37th Annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner.
By Brandon I. Brooks Sentinel Entertainment Editor The Los Angeles Urban League held its 37th Annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles this past Thursday, April 29. The Whitney M. Young Jr. Award is presented to individuals who embody the leadership and legacy of the legendary executive director of the National Urban League, whose life was dedicated to the fight for equality.Paula Madison was the 2010 Whitney M. Young, Jr. awards recipient, and she proved to be an absolute perfect fit to receive the distinguished honor. In May of 2007, NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker appointed Madison as the company's chief diversity officer. When the announcement was made, it was the first time in the history of NBC Universal that a senior executive has had diversity as his or her sole responsibility. Madison currently holds the position as the Executive Vice President of Diversity for NBC Universal and Company Officer for General Electric. She continues to be a leader and trailblazer in the entertainment industry representing for people of all colors and genders. Blair H. Taylor, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, was very enthusiastic at this year's awards dinner and thanked the audience for their attendance and continued financial support. The annual Urban League dinner and fundraiser attracts over 1,400 attendees and is the major source of general support revenue for the Urban League. 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Urban League, and 2011 will mark the 90th anniversary of the Los Angeles chapter. This year's awards ceremony featured many distinguished leaders from all walks of life. The fashionable audience was filled with prominent leaders from government, business, media, entertainment, non-profit, education and grass roots organizations. Distinguished attendees and event participants included the likes of John Mack, former President of the Los Angeles Urban League and currently President of the Los Angeles Police Commissioners; Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles; Kevin Farr, Chief Financial Officer for Mattel, Inc.; Thomas Sayles, Vice President for Government and Community Relations, University of Southern California; Michaela Pereira, co-anchor, KTLA Channel 5, morning news; Chris Schauble KNBC Channel 4, Today in L.A., and Suzanne DePasse, CEO of De Passe Entertainment Group, LLC. The significance of the Whitney M. Young, Jr. awards dinner was not only to honor the likes of Paula Madison but also to honor our young scholars and future business leaders of America. Thanks to Mattel, Pepsi Beverages Company and the Essie McGriff family, $5,000 scholarship awards were given to six local students that have excelled in academics - Clifford Brooks (King Drew Magnet High School); Catherine Johnson (Palos Verdes High School); Taylor Mills (Crenshaw Gifted Magnet); Christopher Rodriguez (Inglewood High School); Shannon Penn (Crenshaw High School), and Caleb Farmer (Crenshaw High School). In addition to the deserving student honorees, the 37th Whitney M. Young, Jr. award ceremony also paid homage to those individuals in political and government positions that have made and continue to make vital decisions that affect our community. Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, retired Supervisor Yvonne Burke and Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass each received the "Women of Government Leadership Award." To cap off a splendid engagement, the Urban League also highlighted the fact that Mattel is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Black Barbie Doll. Kitty Perkins was honored for her unique designs of the contemporary doll. The audience didn't go home empty handed as every person received a hefty gift bag. The Urban League even gave away a special limited edition "Urban League Barbie Doll." Mostly everyone in the audience went home with the same question, "How much do you think the limited edition Urban League Barbie would sell for on e-Bay?"