Mayor Eric Garcetti, the LA City Council, Board of Public Works Commissioner Mike Davis, and Our Authors Study Club will honor music icon and three-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Mathis as the city’s 2017 AAHM Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The affair, a kick-off ceremony for African American Heritage Month—this year nationally themed: The Crisis in Black Education, takes place on Wednesday, February 1, at 10 a.m. at Los Angeles City Hall Council Chambers.
“Black history is all of our history. From the cradle of civilization to the building of these United States, people of African descent are inseparable from the advancement of humankind,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“During African American History Month, we remember and honor people who have shaped our world through achievements in philosophy, the arts, activism, and every other facet of our lives. I am proud to stand with our City Council leaders in a celebration that carries so much meaning for all Angelenos.”
Mathis, a premier performer widely known for his chart-topping romantic ballads earning him unparalleled acclaim for close to 60 years, started singing at eight-years-old when his father brought home a piano he had purchased for $25.
While living in San Francisco, before his music career, Mathis was a star athlete of track and field during his high school and college years. His keen athleticism gained attention in the athletic world. In 1954,Mathis had set a high jump record while attending college at what is now California State University San Francisco and received an invitation to the Olympic Trials.
At the same time, Mathis was asked to attend his first recording session in New York with Columbia Records. Mathis followed his heart and chose the latter, and his career has glistened like gold ever since.
Mathis has earned five Grammy nominations and has sold over 350 million records across the globe. According to Guinness Book of World Records writer and charts music historian Paul Gambaccini, Johnny Mathis is the third biggest selling artist of the 20th century. He is one of the longest-running artists on the Columbia Records label. He is a three-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee for his hits “Chances Are,” “Misty,” and “It’s Not for Me to Say.”
The morning program will also include induction of two Hall of Fame recipients who serve in critical roles in L.A. public agencies. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King, the first African American woman to hold the post will be acknowledged in the Education category and Los Angeles Police Commission President Matthew Johnson will be honored as a Government awardee.
Following the program in Council Chambers, guests are invited to City Hall’s South Lawn for the official opening ceremony starting at 11 a.m. The event will include a musical tribute to Johnny Mathis, as well as a presentation of the United States Postal Service Black Heritage stamp featuring Mary McLeod Bethune.
Other AAHM activities include “A Roundtable Discussion: The Crisis in Black Education” on February 2, at 6 p.m., in the Board of Public Works Hearing Room in City Hall followed by a reception. The panelists will be Dr. Walter Allen, UCLA; Dr. John Davis, CSUDH; Dr. David Horne, CSUN; Dr. Maulana Karenga, CSULB; Dr. Francile Wilson, USC and Moderator and Dr. George McKenna, LAUSD Board Member.
On February 23, at 6 p.m., “An Evening with African American Authors” will be held in the Board of Public Works Hearing Room
All events are co-sponsored by Our Authors Study Club and are free to the public. For information, call (213) 978-0333.