From left are GLAAACC President Angela Gibson­-Shaw, Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and GLAAACC Chairman Gene Hale. (Diamond Dust Photography)

In 1994, Bill Clinton was president, Al Gore was vice president, the median price of a home was $154,500 and a stamp cost 29 cents.  1994 was also the year that the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce held its first Economic Awards Dinner.

GLAAACC will continue to celebrate Black businesses, community leaders, policymakers and corporate supporters at the 30th Economic Awards Dinner, which will take place on April 19, at JW Marriott LA Live Los Angeles.

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From the start, GLAAACC’s awards gala attracted top executives and elected officials.  The legendary defense attorney Johnnie Cochran was the event’s first master of ceremony with guest speakers Mayor Tom Bradley and NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin.  Rockwell International Chief Operations Officer Sam Iacobellis, the person responsible for development of the B-1 bomber, was the event’s first dinner chairman.

“GLAAACC’s Economic Awards Dinner was an unrivaled event in 1994 and thirty years later, it’s still the top business event,” GLAAACC chairman Gene Hale said. “We pay homage to African American businesses and business leaders, as well as companies that support minority enterprise.  If you want to network and pay homage to top corporations, executives and industry leaders, this is the place to be.”

The catalyst for GLAAACC’s Economic Awards Dinner stemmed from the lack of recognition for Black business owners and the companies and policymakers that contributed to their success. For the past 30 years, the dinner gala has filled that void in one exclusive black-tie networking event.

Since 1994, The GLAAACC Economic Awards Dinner has attracted top executives and elected officials.  From left are Mayor Tom Bradley, Attorney Johnnie Cochran, GLAAACC Chairman Gene Hale, and co-founder Homer Broome.  (Guy Crowder)

The Economic Awards Dinner has forged its reputation by hosting distinguished guests and keynote speakers from a variety of industries including presidential appointees, elected officials, executives from private and public sectors and sports.

The Economic Award Dinner’s keynote speakers are a highlight of the event, providing insight, advice and encouragement.  The 2023 keynote address was delivered by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass.  Among other issues, Mayor Bass spoke about her office’s plans to combat housing affordability and homelessness.

“My top priority as Mayor of Los Angeles is to get Angelenos housed, and to make our city safer and more affordable for all,” Bass said.  Last week, the mayor announced that the City of Los Angeles has secured $9.34 million in congressionally directed spending to continue confronting the homelessness crisis and making affordable housing more available throughout Los Angeles.

Other past keynote speakers include County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, California Governor Gray Davis, former L.A. Laker superstar star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale, and L.A. Clipper’s owner Steve Ballmer.

Mistress and master of ceremonies have also contributed to the stature of the GLAAACC’s Economic Awards Dinner. Actresses Dawn Lewis (“A Different World,”), Vivica A. Fox (“Soul Food,”), Terri J. Vaughn (“Steve Harvey Show,”), actor and comedian Flex Alexander (“Girlfriends”), KABC7 Anchor Mark Brown and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson are a few of the professionals that added star power and prestige to the gala while keeping the audience entertained and the evening running smoothly.

In addition to the keynote address, the main highlight of the evening is honoring individuals and corporations for their contributions and accomplishments.  Awards are presented to business leaders in categories such as African American Business of the Year, Banking and Financial Institution of the Year, Public Service, Purchasing Executive, Construction Company of the Year, Small Business Advocate, Public Works Contractor of the Year and Corporation of the Year.

For ticket information for GLAAACC’s 30th Annual Economic Awards Dinner, visit or call (323) 292-1297.