Yesterday evening, Tuesday, March 29, 2016 Harlem Business Alliance (HBA), a New York City nonprofit that services Harlem-based prospective and current business owners, hosted their 35th Anniversary Awards Dinner in MIST Harlem.
The event honored the inimitable Black business owners and community leaders Red Rooster & Streetbird NYC restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson (Business Person Award), NYC Comptroller’s Chief Diversity Officer Carra Wallace (Government Service Award), journalist at NY1 & CNN Errol Louis (Percy E. Sutton Award), Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price (Entrepreneur of the Year Award), Red Rabbit founder Rhys Powell (Chairman’s Award) and Harlem Haberdashery co-owner Louis Johnson Jr. (Community Service Award).
Each of the evening’s honorees embodies this year’s Awards Dinner theme: Black Business Matters. They understand the necessity and importance of Harlem Business Alliance in the community and urged attendees to assist and give back to the community in their own ways; either through philanthropy and support of their community or starting businesses of their own. Many of the honorees accredited each other as motivation to continue pushing forward an agenda based on supporting Harlem and the African-American community as a whole. Notable attendees included Congressman Charles Rangel, Councilwoman Inez Dickens, Melba’s Restaurant Owner Melba Wilson, UPTOWN Magazine Editor-in-Chief Isoul Harris, NY1, Experience Harlem, Tre’ness Woods from Sylvia’s Restaurant and more.
The signature cocktail of the evening was entitled “Upper Manhattan”, an ode to the cocktail hour sponsored by Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ). Other beverages included HBA client Ginjan, an organic juice company, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Harlem Brewing Company. Guests were seated and served a family-style dinner paired with Barefoot Wine & Bubbly while a curated introductory video played that highlighted the history and achievements of Black businesses over the centuries. Mistress of Ceremonies and Harlem Business Alliance board member Adrianne C. Smith opened the program and led an engaging evening with inspiring acceptance speeches from each honoree. The surprise of the evening came at the end of the program when Congressman Charles Rangel took the stage to award HBA Executive Director, Regina Smith with the Legends Award. As a parting courtesy from Congressman Rangel, HBA received an official Proclamation declaring March 29th as “Black Business Matters Day”.
At the close of the evening guests were treated to HBA client Mere Viola’s Sweet Delights dessert buffet of macaroons, red velvet mini cakes, blueberry bread pudding and more including a giftbag sponsored by Serengeti Tea. Additional supporters of the event included Trailblazer SponsorAirBnB, Innovator Sponsors UPS and NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) and in-kind sponsor City Winery.
The hashtag for the evening was #HBAGala
For more information about Harlem Business Alliance please visit www.hbany.org
Photo credit: Taylor Yarbrough.