On June 18, Estelle For Humanity (EFH) celebrated fathers, husbands and mentors with the 16th Annual Honor Thy Father Awards (HTFA) dinner at The Proud Bird Food Bazaar & Event Center. The organization recognized and honored three fathers along with their families, friends and community. Guests were treated to an afternoon of refreshments, dinner, entertainment and a raffle.
Youth advocate and pastor, Charles Opong served as master of ceremonies and author, activist, journalist and producer, Pearl Jr., served at mistress of ceremonies. Founder of EFH and HTFA, Denise Estelle welcomed the honorees: Charles Lewis, Professor Karimu Shaw, Victor Springer, friends and family. A special acknowledgement was addressed to the late Corse Whitehurst, Jr. by his
daughter, Pastor Alma Whitehurst.
“My father was not around and I came from a single-parent household,” said Estelle about the inspiration behind HTFA. “My sister’s father would pick her up every other weekend and at some point, he decided to pick me up too.”
Estelle continued, “My sister’s father became my father and so that gave me the opportunity to see the relationship between a father and a child.” HFTA would later be born in Estelle’s living room and grow with each year into the event it is today.
Presentations were made by various guests which included a moving testimony by Terrence McCrea and a poetry reading by evangelist Georgia Horton. Guests were also serenaded by the sounds of Pam & Hollywood, AKA “The Dynamic Duo”, Mitchell Rhodes and Calrence “Chazz” Ross. The honorees were surprised by video presentations from their families as well as heartfelt words from loved ones on the impact they have made in their lives.
The honorees spoke about being honored and on the duties of being a father.
“I’m honored to be honored,” said Lewis. “I think [HTFA] is very important and I love it and I’m going to engage in helping honor other men.
Lewis continued, “I thank God for the opportunity that was given to me, I don’t take it lightly, I take it very seriously and I’m really pleased in being honored.”
“It’s a great event,” said Springer. “It’s the first time I’ve heard of it and the energy that’s around this is amazing.”
Springer added, “Denise really hit on a great point about how we don’t do enough just to honor in our community period, let alone talking about how Black men are contributing positively.”
“There’s an old African proverb that it takes a village,” said Shaw. “As men, whether we have biological children or not, we have to step up to the plate and know that all fatherless children are our children.”
“We have to embrace them just as if they were ours because it does take a village.”
“A lot of our media likes to tells us how they’re not contributing, so it’s nice that we’re trying to inject something out there that is a counter-narrative to what we’ve been seeing,” said Springer.
“This was a true testament of ‘walking by faith’,” said Estelle.
She also noted that this event was a collaboration of community efforts by the Los Angeles Sentinel, the South Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Copy City, James Burks and the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the Rhythmics Institute, PM Productions, Elbow Grease Productions, People Uplifting Lives with Love (PULL), Family Love Outreach (FLO), Mitchell Rhodes, Norman Lewis Limousine; and supported by the BBA, CORE-CA, Hershal Davis Hunt, Margo Lovett, Designs by Ardena, Cynthia Ruffin, Mr. Ron Smothers and Denny’s on Crenshaw, Superior Carpet, Simply wholesome, Broadway Federal, and US Bank.
Estelle would also like to extend a special thanks to Bobby of Ant On Hill Consulting, Veronica Spigner, Ruston Thomas, an intern for this year’s stage manager, Odell Mack and Cecil Holmes, the videographers. Also, a special thanks goes to student volunteers: Corie Coleman and Jessica Odega. No one got paid—it was all in honor of community.
For more information, and to register honorees for next year’s event, contact Estelle for Humanity @ 310.927.8339, website: www.honorthyfatherawards.com, and visit us on Facebook.