Councilwoman Heather Hutt, center, with the debutantes and escorts of the 70th Cotillion. (Kerry James Photography)

As hundreds of invited guests filled the Historic Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom, dawning sparkling gossamer gathered curtains as a black backdrop covered with lights twinkling like diamonds, to celebrate the Los Angeles Chapter of the Links Incorporated’s 70 Anniversary, one could only imagine how the national organization of the Links Incorporated and how the Los Angeles Chapter of the Links Incorporated became one of the most philanthropic organizations Internationally.

The Links Incorporated was founded in 1946 in Philadelphia, PA by Margaret Roselle Hawkins and Sara Strickland Scott. Since then, the Links, Inc. has grown to 17,000 members, 299 Links Chapters and 1 million volunteer service hours. Links impact service has reached over 15 million people and donated $1.4 million dollars to HBCUS and $4.3 million dollars in scholarships during the 2020-2022 programming years.

70th Anniversary Cotillion Chair Deborah Beavers Watford, Western Area Director Lorna Hankins, President of The Los Angeles (CA) Links, Incorporated Kimberly Noble, and LACCT Chair Dr. Anitha Mitchell Logan. (Kerry James Photography).

The Los Angeles Chapter (CA) Chapter was chartered in 1950. Dr. Vada Somerville served as the first president. In 1949, Charter Member Cornelia Leggett Bradford attended Heritage House Cotillion in Philadelphia and was favorably impressed with the beauty of the Gala and the fact that the money generated was used to fund projects designed for inner city school children.

The first Los Angeles Links Cotillion was held on a weeknight at Ciros Night Club in Hollywood in November 1952. At that time hotel ballrooms were not available for African Americans to hold social events. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy was a guest at the Cotillion.

In 2022, the Los Angeles Chapter, funded by the Los Angeles Chapter Charitable Trust, celebrated 70 years of our significant and traditional cultural Cotillion that is so impactful to the future of our young people. We are proud of our 70 years.  We have accomplished this by honoring tradition, paying homage to those who came before us, and through the preservation of the Cotillion Dance Ritual. Those who come to the Los Angeles Chapter with their daughters know what they will get. They can depend on it. It is time honored.  The Los Angeles Chapter has recently expanded the program by organizing the Cotillion Guild, comprised of the network of women who have participated in the Cotillion over the past 70 years.

The Honorable Bobbie Tillman, 2022 Cotillion Keynote Speaker (Kerry James Photography)

The Los Angeles (CA) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Chapter Charitable Trust (LACCT), has hosted the Los Angeles Cotillion since 1952, developing leaders, presenting and empowering over 1,600 young ladies.  The Cotillion Cohort, for our 70th Anniversary Celebration focused on training through the Links 5 Program Facets; Services To Youth, The Arts, National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services , Health and Human Services, with workshops and Webinars designed to enhance their ability to “Believe in Yourself.”  Beginning with traditional College Essay Writing Seminars, Human Trafficking, Legal Savvy, Healthy Lifestyles, Mental Health, College Interviewing Skills, HBCU’s, Pathways to Global Citizenship, a conversation with renowned Artist Kehinde Wiley, a Service Work Day at Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles, and most importantly, a conversation about Race in America which was the foundation for the Community Service Project with Voter Registration among their peers that was distributed through social media and resulted in over 3,500 hits emphasizing, Our Voice, Our Vote, and  Our Power, do matter. This is quite a punch from 13 young women-and their footprint in Los Angeles was felt Nationwide as they were joined by other young people making the difference in this past election. I would definitely say that they are living their theme “Believe in Yourself”, and we , as an organization of Black Women, Believe in them, and look forward to the Leaders they will become, and the impact they will have on the world stage.

(Kerry James Photography)

On November 25, 2022, under glowing flower ladened crystal chandeliers, the Cotillionettes descended the illuminated  glass-like staircase to the dance floor and the white-gloved hands of their  welcoming, proud fathers .  A spectacular platinum setting for the phenomenal 2022, 70th Anniversary Cotillionettes’ Gala with the apropos theme, “Believe in Yourselfin celebration for these exquisite Cotillionettes and their parents:

  1. Saliha Tamu Croma-Severin, daughter of Mrs. Tamala Choma-Severin, Esquire and Mr. McCorney. B. Severin. Escorted by Mr. Roi Clinton, son of Ms. Melissia Clinton and Mr. Ronald Clinton.
  2. Elon Floren Cooper, daughter of Mrs. Danielle Cooper and Captain Dwayne Cooper. Escorted by Mr. Aiden Xavier Sands, son of Ms. Darlan Martinez and Mr. Bruce Sands.
  3. Kendra Tyler Fleming, daughter of Mrs. Andra Williams and Mr. Kenneth Fleming. Escorted by Mr. Jhett Armitage, son of Mrs. Kennah Armitage and Mr. Robert Armitage-Jadynn.
  4. Imani Gilmer, daughter of Mrs. Tomeka Gilmer and Mr. David Gilmer. Escorted by Mr. Micha Breaux, Son of Ms. Carleece Williams-Breaux.
  5. Haeley Anye Niamah Green, daughter of Ms. Schenae Rourke and Mr. Leonard Green. Escorted by Mr. Judah Govine, son of Mrs. Kriss Turner Towner and Mr. Jason Govine.
  6. Zoe A. Griffin, daughter of Ms. Angela Griffin. Escorted by Mr. Makhi Montgomery, son of Ms. Combreisha Montgomery.
  7. Mia Simone Harp-Boateng, daughter of Ms. Ebony Harp and Mr. Charles Boateng. Escorted by Mr. Royce Haddock, son of Mrs. Alana Haddock and Mr. Ronald Haddock. Presented by Mr. Robert Teffe.
  8. Noel Coco Horn, daughter of Ms. Benita Lynn Horn, MBA. Escorted by Mr. Alexander Boone, son of Mrs. Lisa Yvette Boone and Mr. Richard Allen Boone. Presented by grandparent Mr. Ron Manning
  9. Oliva Andrea James, daughter of Dr. Christina Coleman James and Mr. Seyto James. Escorted by Mr. Harrison Philip James, son of Dr. Christina James and Mr. Seyto James.
  10. Kassidy Arielle King, daughter of Mrs. Monica Batts-King and Mr. Gregory King. Escorted by Mr. Amari Abraham Ricartdo Yolas, son of Mrs. Annette Yolas and Mr. Thomas Yolas.
  11. Naomi Nicole Nicholas, daughter of Mrs. Catherine Nicholas and Mr. Paul Nicholas. Escorted by Mr. Joshua Aaron King, son of Ms. Monica Batts King and Mr. Gregory King.
  12. Sanai Cherie Pitts, daughter of Ms. Shekinah Pitts. Escorted by Mr. Rodrick Pleasant, son of Mrs. Mekessa Davis and Mr. Dominic Davis Sr.  Presented by Mr. Ronald Carter.
  13. Carley Agnes Taylor, daughter of Mrs. Stacy Taylor and Mr. Emmanel Taylor. Escorted by Mr. Jaden Burwell, son of Mrs Elett Burwell and Mr. Mandela Burwell.

What a night to remember indeed! Looking forward to following these Cotillionettes to see the places they will go as make their indelible impact on the world and share their experiences with future Cotillionettes as members of the Cotillion Guild.

(Kerry James Photography)

With the vision of Link Josephine Smith, she conceptualized the idea of one day establishing a Cotillion Guild.  With the historical 70th Cotillion, Link Deborah Beavers-Watford, a 1968 debutant and a member of the Los Angeles (CA) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated for nearly 40 years and 70th Leadership Institute and Cotillion Program Chair, brought the Cotillion Guild to fruition.  Last year, the Cotillion Guild launched this new platform that allowed over 200 Cotillionettes to join, reunite with one another, build strong bonds, and develop lasting friendships with women in the Los Angeles Cotillion community network.  Also, support monetary award opportunities offered through the Leadership Institute and the Cotillion program annually.  Furthermore, Cotillionettes are eligible after four years to join and be a part of the Cotillion Guild.

From left are Laurel Lightner, Chomo-Severin, Kassidy King, Deborah Beavers Watford, Jadynn Gilmer, and Sheila Hill. (Kerry James Photography)

On the night of the ball, as a salute to our 70th-anniversary cotillion, we honored 69 years of service by presenting several members of the Los Angeles Cotillion Guild:

Representing the decade of the 1950s cotillion was

Guild Member Jacqueline Kimbrough Ryan cotillionette, 1954.

Representing the decade of the 1960s cotillion were

Guild Member Deborah Beavers Watford cotillionette, 1967.

Guild Member Denise Daugherty Orso cotillionette, 1968.

Guild Member Bobbi Tilmon cotillionette, 1969.

Representing the decade of the 1970s cotillion were

Guild Member Kim Broussard Stewart cotillionette, 1971.

Guild Member Sheila Hill cotillionette, 1973.

Guild Member Laurel Lightner cotillionette, 1974.

Guild Member Kimberly Beavers Noble cotillionette, 1975.

Guild Member Ingrid Hutt cotillionette, 1978.

Representing the decade of the 1980s cotillion were

Guild Member Carrie Henley cotillionette, 1981.

Guild Member Cheryl Anderson Mason cotillionette, 1986.

(Kerry James Photography)

Representing the decade of the 1990s cotillion were

Guild Member Kathleen Watford Allen cotillionette, 1998.

Representing the decade of the 2010s cotillion were

Guild Member Haley Hutt cotillionette, 2013

Guild Member Samara Meilleur cotillionette, 2013.

Guild Member Jessie Mae Noble cotillionette, 2015.

Guild Member Kendyl Henley cotillionette, 2017.

The Cotillion Guild Interest Group includes: 

Cotillionette Skyelar Lesure Banks, 2018

Cotillionette Alicia Burnett, 2018

Cotillionette Madison Burnett, 2019

Cotillionette Morgan Hamilton, 2021

Looking forward to seeing all of our Cotillionettes in the future as they pay it forward by supporting the Cotillion Guild and providing scholarships to support future Cotillionettes’ achievements.

(Kerry James Photography)
(Kerry James Photography)
(Kerry James Photography)
(Kerry James Photography)
(Kerry James Photography)
(Kerry James Photography)