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October 16, 2009 - Colorado Black Chamber Mile High Legends Awards

What: Annual Gala

Where: INVESCO Field at Mile High

When: Friday, October 16, 2009

Time: 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Beneficiary: Programs and Services of the Colorado Black Chamber

Host(s): Dr. Eric Lee

Honoree(s): Pam Grier, Wilma Webb, Diane Reeves, Philip Bailey, Big John Platt, Ron Lyle, Michael Ray Richardson and Chauncey Billups

EMCEE: Shedrick Garrett (ShedG)

Presenting Sponsor(s): Title Sponsor, Xcel Energy

President(s): Dr. Eric Lee

Staff: Floyd Jones, Peggy J. Wortham.

Introductions: Dr. Eric Lee

Libations: Epicurean Catering

Catering: Epicurean Catering

Music: Meaux Musiq & Band

Sponsors: Xcel Energy, Allstate, Western Union, Wells Fargo, MillerCoors, Qwest, 1st Bank, Kaiser Permanente, First Data.

Gala Production: Brand House, Chris Christmas

Menu: Southern Fare

Attendance: 700

Attire: Blacktie

Special Thanks: To all sponsors and attendees

Decor/Rental Company: Design Works

Executive Producer(s): Dr. Eric Lee and Chris Christmas

Board of Directors: Wellington Webb, Board Chair; Odell Barry, Immediate Past Chair; Eric Lee, President; Fannie Stokes, 1st Vice Chair; Angela Williams, 2nd Vice Chair; Scott Mitchell, 3rd Chair; Les Townsend, Treasurer; Danielle Vaughan, Secretary; Jared Casey, Pat Cortez, Les Franklin, Kenneth R. Gilkey, Kayleen Hollines, Willie Kellum, Vanecia Kerr, Rich Lewis, Kathy Nesbitt, Fred Niehaus, Darrell Nulan, Richard Rhodes, James Smith, Roland Thornton, Letitia Tucker.

Blacktie Photos by: Jan McNutt

 Stephanie O'Malley, left, for Wilma Webb; Sharon Hill, for Diane Reeves; Pam Grier, proud recipients of the Legends Award.
Stephanie O'Malley, left, for Wilma Webb; Sharon Hill, for Diane Reeves; Pam Grier, proud recipients of the Legends Award.

 Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce Honors Legends

Successes, history and legends of the city of Denver were on stage Friday night at the annual Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce event.  Held in the United Club Level ballroom at INVESCO Field at Mile High, spirits were soaring, as CBCC President, Dr. Eric Lee, Mayor Hickenlooper and former Mayor Wellington Webb led the program into a near perfect evening.

Talk about support, the CBCC sold 700 tickets to this gala event, which was an evening designed around eight of Denver’s legendary African-Americans.

From Chauncey Billups to Pam Grier, aka, Foxy Brown, the atmosphere was steaming with sports celebrities, actors, musicians, public figures, politicians, CEOs, as well as just about every mover and shaker in the Denver business community.

With class and pizzaz, the CBCC accomplished an incredibly successful event which might hold the record for ticket selling. Figure the membership stands at 800 and 700 tickets were sold. Wow, that is called support with a capital S for the CBCC.

The program was the brainchild of Dr. Eric Lee and Chris Christmas. The set-up worked beautifully for the guests who roamed throughout three large rooms and were free to chose their timing for food, bar and dance.  The main event room was decorated and arranged with comfortable seating areas using leather couches and chairs. Guests enjoyed intimate seating areas for a relaxed social setting among family and friends.

Emcee Shedrick Garrett romped and bantered around the stage, keeping the program on schedule. He was clearly beaming with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to touch a little bit of greatness on the stage he was commandeering.  The award recipients were indeed legends in their own time: Pam Grier, Wilma Webb, Diane Reeves, Philip Bailey, Big John Platt, Ron Lyle, Michael Ray Richardson and Chauncey Billups.

The program and stage were brilliantly designed as a talk show format. As each group settled on stage, a round robin repertoire progressed as the microphone was passed from celebrity to celebrity. Each one shared memories of their childhood in city neighborhoods. From each legend the audience learned that each had a dream and a talent.  Despite the passing of years or the present heyday, it was evident these Denver stars continue to make a difference in the world. They have  soared in and out of the Denver stratosphere and remain loyal and proud of their heritage in the Mile High City.

Webb wore his signature tennis shoes while sporting an immaculate tux. Dr. Faye Rison laughed and said, “He is the only one who could get away with that.” No fooling, those tennis shoes have served him well as he remains one of Denver’s most recognized and respected leaders.

Denver’s Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire could not attend, but his manager, Damien Smith was there to accept the award in Bailey’s absence.  It was interesting because Smith is a celebrity in his own right. Among his many accomplishments he’s manager of the group Earth, Wind & Fire, Philip Bailey and Jennifer Hudson, not too shabby. A home-grown Denverite who’s reached star status in the music industry.
Chauncey Billups, star Denver Nugget player, is truly the pride of Denver. His gratitude was potent as he thanked those who helped him along in his journey, especially Thierry Marc Smith for recognizing his athletic abilities when he was in the 7th grade. He recognized his coaches and his parents and grandparents for their guidance. Billups’ tenacity and talent came from his roots right here in the Mile HIgh city when he explained, “People ask me why I work so hard. I tell them I know what it means to wear Denver on my chest.”

Yes, spirits soared and toes ached in the patent and sparkly shoes of the evening, but at evening’s finale, there wasn’t a person in the massive space that didn’t enjoy a grand evening and leave with more pride for Denver and its legends than when they entered.




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