LOS ANGELES – Nancy Wilson, song stylist and humanitarian, is set to receive the prestigious Pioneer of African American Achievement Award given by the Brotherhood Crusade at its annual dinner on November 5th, 2010 in Beverly Hills.
Ms. Wilson has a rich history of supporting causes that uplift and empower the disenfranchised to seek justice. During the Civil Rights Movement, Ms. Wilson marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with other illustrious entertainers such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee. Her association with the Brotherhood Crusade dates back to the early 70’s, when she served as fund-raising and special events chair. Says Danny Bakewell, Chairman of the Board and president of the organization from 1971-2005, “Nancy’s contributions really helped to propel the Brotherhood Crusade to new heights. She really understood the concept of self help. This isn’t someone who just lent her name to a project, she showed up. She was very concerned about the plight of Black people in the world and she offered inspiration and hope to many.” Bakewell said that because of her philanthropy, many of the programs she helped support in the areas of health, education and financial literacy are now institutionalized within the funding guidelines of the Brotherhood Crusade. Additionally, organizations who received funding from the Brotherhood Crusade such as the Jenesee Center Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club and Bridgeback Sober Living, all have solid national reputations based on Ms. Wilson’s assistance. And, not only did Ms. Wilson lend a hand, but she brought several of her successful friends with her, including Cannonball Adderley, Peter Long, and her long time manager, John Levy. Concludes Bakewell, “She wasn’t a celebrity, she was a partner. She had a profound commitment. She is a heroine. I am proud to call her my friend, and am so honored to recognize her at this year’s event.”
When asked of her longtime manager, John Levy, why he associated Ms. Wilson with the Brotherhood Crusade, he responded, “Artists lending their visibility and support to causes in which they believe is a win-win situation for everyone, but there are a million good causes and you can’t support them all. When Danny Bakewell told me of his plans for a Black organization to help people help themselves and their communities, something I personally have always felt to be important, I did not hesitate, nor did any of my clients. We all knew how lucky we were to be successful and were happy to give back in any way that we could.”
Ms. Wilson’s demonstration of trust and faith in the Brotherhood Crusade is but one of the many relationships that she maintains based on shared values and goals. In fact, she and her manager, John Levy, have sustained a successful business partnership since the inception of her career in 1959 with no written contract--just a handshake. Says Levy, “My job was to understand my clients’ goals and help them to achieve their potential. In Nancy’s case that meant understanding the importance of family and community in her life, and working with her values in mind. Of course it’s always easier when you share those values.”
Ms. Wilson has been a proponent and advocate for change on a variety of issues facing our community. In addition to her civil rights work, she reached out to women on the importance of health issues and prenatal care in the 1960s. She served on the Minority Business Advisory Council during the Nixon administration and was appointed to the Education Advisory Board under President Johnson. Today, she is very involved in the AIDS crisis. Devra Hall Levy, who began as her publicist in 1980, explains, “Ms. Wilson is not one to make her private life public. Her voice has been heard not just on the stage, but also behind a lot of closed doors.”
“We are so honored to recognize Nancy Wilson for her legendary musical and humanitarian contributions,” says Charisse Bremond Weaver, President and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade. “She is so deeply committed to enhancing the human experience and she personifies the spirit of my father, organization founder Walter Bremond, in her unwavering crusade for economic, social, political and moral justice.”
The Pioneer of African Achievement Award dinner will be held on Friday, November 5, 2010 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Boulevard, in Beverly Hills at 7:00 pm. Musical guest for the evening is legendary singer/songwriter Patti Austin. Chris Schauble of KNBC-TV (NBC4) will serve as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
Supporters of the event include: Verizon, Wells Fargo, Fuserna Foundation, Bank of America, Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt , Los Angeles Sentinel, Northern Trust, Northrop Grumman, Southern California Edison, Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Bruce Karatz Family Foundation, CFSA, DirecTV, J.P Morgan Chase, Kaiser Permanente, Honda, Mattel, NBC Universal, Nestle, Nielsen Media Company, SEIU Local 99, SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, State Farm Insurance, The Gas Company, US Bank, Union Bank, AFSCME, African American Unity Center, Blaylock Robert Van, LLC, Boeing , Enterprise, Fox, NBC4, Raytheon, SMS Transportation , Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, AFL-CIO, Bremond Family, California Teachers Association, James & Jacqueline Castillo, Center Empowerment for Families, Green Dot, Herbalife, Interior Music, Lockheed Martin, Hill & Morgan , J.U.G.S , Metropolitan Water District , The Wiley Center for Speech and Language Development, Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation and Comerica Bank.