Award honorees & their families. (Kavi Pictures)

The Gathering Spot (TGS) Los Angeles hosted a night of opulence during their second annual Black Excellence Awards Ceremony sponsored by Crown Royal on Monday, Feb. 20, in West Adams. Produced and coordinated by Amber Melvisha, the event was warm and inviting with all the makings of Black excellence.

Seven highly notable individuals were recognized throughout the evening while guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, live musical performances, and the opportunity to learn about members of the community who share parallel values that contribute to the city of L.A.

Ceremony host Miss Justice provided comedic relief during their opening monologue, then proudly introduced the first honoree of the evening, Tulani Watkins with the One to Watch Award. Compton native and USC graduate Tulani Watkins is a technology entrepreneur and founder of A Peaceful Enterprise (APE), a business management and investment company. Watkins’ achievements include deploying over $600,000 to BIPOC founders, scaling businesses of over $5M, and assisting in logistics for startups. Her award suites her perfectly as she is definitely the one to watch.

Related Links:

Co-Founder of The Gathering Spot, Ryan Wilson Talks the Arrival of a New Space Curated for the Black Community in Los Angeles – Los Angeles Sentinel (

Hillman Grad Productions Celebrates BIPOC Creatives at The Gathering Spot – Los Angeles Sentinel (

Former educator, writer, television producer, actor, and first comedian to participate in the Tribeca Film Festival, Dave Helem accepted his very first honor with the Heart of Creativity Award. Living through several professional lives, Helem is a multifaceted culture creator from Chicago and TGS member. He has written on popular shows like HBO’s “Rap Sh!t,” Fox’s “REL,” Comedy Central’s “Hood Adjacent,” and has worked as a consulting producer for TruTV’s Mobb’s “Laff Tracks.”

Well-respected fashion stylist and costume designer Joe Exclusive, graciously accepted the Rich Auntie Award as the third honoree of the evening. For over 20 years the branding guru and lifestyle influencer has been considered the “Style Godmother” by celebrities and peers alike. Exclusive is the owner and founder of Destination 1610 Style House, a product placement, branding, marketing, and consulting firm that specializes in advancing brands, accessories, luxury goods, liquor, and music artists.

As appetizer salads and main courses flowed in and out of the space, a special musical performance from D.C. artist Shah Infinite, kept the vibes light and fun. In the spirit of diversity, the fourth honoree of the evening received the Community Inclusivity Award. Bruce Nahin is a Business Affairs Consultant and Executive Producer as well as the co-founder and CEO of Chippendales. He has over 300 IMDB credits and was a music lawyer throughout the 80s and 90s for recording artists and record labels. Bruce is an active TGS supporter and a member of the Producers Guild of American and Academy of Television Arts and Science.

Award winners. (Kavi Pictures)

Business mogul and co-founder of Luna Magic Beauty Mabel Frias was awarded the SHE.E.O Powerhouse Award for her outstanding track record in retail, merchandising, and as a lifestyle enthusiast. Luna Magic Beauty is distributed nationwide at Target, Walmart, and CVS. Frias has been featured in Forbes and on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, Good Morning America, Allure, Popsugar, Telemundo, and Cosmopolitan Magazine. The accomplished entrepreneur’s quick rise to the top has solidified her as one of the best.

Etienne Maurice has been a household name since BET’s Baldwin Hills. His influence has spanned over a decade on and off the screen through partnerships, nonprofit ventures, and social impact. Maurice founded WalkGoodLA as a direct response to the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, and George Floyd. The nonprofit is dedicated to uniting individuals from diverse backgrounds to advocate for racial equity and foster solidarity through the mediums of art, health, and wellness. WalkGoodLA has received recognition from the Los Angeles Times and EBONY Magazine for the positive imprint it has in the city. Maurice accepted the Leaders of L.A. Award during the ceremony.

Last but certainly not least, the Science and Technology Award was the final presentation of the evening. Technology entrepreneur and founder of Fascinate Media, Justin Shaffer a Forbes 30 Under 30, received the Science and Technology Award. Also known as Mr. Fascinate, Shaffer is a personal brand expert, creates meaningful education content, and has developed youth-based incubation programs to close the gap on the digital divide. His notable partnerships with LinkedIn and Chevy, along with Fascinate House, allows him to expand his reach in tech and create opportunities for the next generation.

Each of these honorees have made a strong impact in Los Angeles. These individuals are using their talents to live out their purpose to serve others through beauty, wellness, technology, laughter, and fashion. As the ceremony came to an end, guests were invited to network, mingle, and bask in Black excellence. The Gathering Spot L.A. is expected to celebrate eight years in the community in March of 2024.