Hyundai Motor America (North America) held its annual “February is Black History Month” celebration at their corporate facility in Costa Mesa, CA. The annual event was created in association with the national Black History Month theme, always planned throughout the month of February. Kory Barksdale’s mural, a series of scenes about Black life in Atlanta, was featured along with a mini-concert from famed rapper Doug E. Fresh, and, of course, eat soul food.
“During the month of February, we celebrate Black History Month. It is a time to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to American society,” said Morris, who shared Hyundai’s principles of diversity and the company’s enthusiasm in celebrating the “Black experience.”
William Lee, president, CEO Hyundai Motor America shared his thoughts with the attendees. “Diversity is one of my key priorities. I believe we are a better company when we have a more diverse environment. Each of our employees and suppliers brings with him or her, skills and talents that contribute to our collective benefit,” he said.
Lee expounded, “diversity is not only the right thing to do but it is a good thing to do for our business.” “We are stronger together.” Lee spoke of his experiences in African countries and cultures and summed up his speech with this his favorite African proverb. “If you want to go fast, go alone, if u wanna go far, go together.”
Danny Bakewell, chairman, Bakewell Media and founder of Taste of Soul, expressed his appreciation for the high level of involvement that Hyundai plays in the overall world community and also lauded Hyundai for their commitment and involvement with South Los Angeles. Taste of Soul and Hyundai have partnered for the last two years to produce a Hyundai concert series and free car giveaway each year at the festival.
“What I like … what I see is Hyundai doing. I see the investment that they are making in the African American community; it moves me to say to my community, ‘we should support Hyundai because Hyundai supports us.’”
He continued, “No matter community, you live in, we [Blacks] should support companies that support us. “Africans are proud people. 99.9 percent are God– fearing people. Sometimes we get a blemish from irresponsible news coverage but we all have to work to make a better community, we all have to take responsibility, he said.
LA Sentinel Managing Editor, Brandon Brooks interviewed rapper Doug E. Fresh. Fresh is known as the Human Beat Box because of his ability to mimic funky beats by only his voice. The 80’s icon gave a hip-hop history lesson by naming the five elements of hip-hop: the deejay, emcee, graffiti, breakdancer, and the beatbox.
Brooks asked Doug E. Fresh the importance of hip-hop on Black American History. “Its easy for me to be a Black man because I am a Black man. And I like being a Black man. And I enjoy it, and I enjoy embracing any other man that appreciates their culture as long as everything is respectful and honest,” he said.
He continued, “We have to work collectively to make this world a better place. No one group can make this world better alone. The key is to have love for each individual thing.” Fresh even used soul food as an example of “collective diversity.” Later, he shocked the crowd by performing his best raps and human beats. He even made sure to sneak in a Journey song for diversity sake. “All y’all are hip-hop you know!”