Stars of Sports and Entertainment Inducted into Black Hall of Fame

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Legends include Walter Payton, Ray Charles, Pele, Danny Glover …

Nearly a thousand guests and honorees will fill Aaron Davis Hall's Marian Anderson Theater for the Fourth Annual National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame (NBS&EHF) induction ceremony gala on Wednesday, August 25th, between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The festivities will occur at 134th Street and Convent Avenue in Harlem.

Capping off the last round of NBS&EHF inductions for the year, living and posthumous treasures of the sports and entertainment world will be inducted during the star-studded gala.

"As New York City is one of the greatest sports and entertainment meccas in the world, the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame and Museum is honored to give tribute to individuals that exemplify the spirit of excellence and brotherhood," said Lloyd Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the NBS&EHF.

Those to be inducted on the 25th are: soul singer Teddy Pendergrass; Olympic gold medalist in track, Diane L. Dixon; NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson; photojournalist and film director Gordon Parks; soccer legend Pelé; actor and activist Danny Glover; Major League Baseball great Curt Flood; director, writer, actor and producer Melvin Van Peebles; tennis pro and winner of multiple Wimbledon championships, Billie Jean King; pro-golfer Lee Elder; vocalist and songwriter Oscar Brown, Jr.; and record breaking vocal group Boyz II Men. Actor, director, producer, comedian and writer Robert Townsend will be on hand to honor those that have helped pave the way for him and many others in the entertainment industry.

Posthumous inductees are: musical genius Ray Charles; baseball player Harold Henry "Pee Wee" Reese; jazz drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa; jazz great Carmen McRae; the famous Big Band leader Cabell "Cab" Calloway; rushing great and NFL Hall of Famer Walter "Sweetness" Payton; NBA all-star Gus Johnson; Olympic gold medalist and NFL wide receiver Bob Hayes; Baseball Hall of Famer Roy Campanella; and percussionist and bandleader Mongo Santamaria.

One of the evening's highlights will include a special presentation honoring inductee Ray Charles, whose charisma and gift of music serve as shining examples of what makes America "beautiful." In celebration of his contributions, Cheryl Farrell of Jeopardy!'s Clue Crew, will perform a soulful rendition of "America the Beautiful." Actress Kerry Washington (She Hate Me), starring as Ray Charles' wife in the upcoming film Ray, will also participate in the special presentation.

The Paul Robeson Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Richard Parsons, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner and to Lerone Bennett Jr., Executive Director of EBONY Magazine. Receiving special international awards for fine arts and the performing arts, respectively, will be Lois Mailou Jones (posthumous) and Arthur Mitchell. The Honorable Charles B. Rangel will receive the Outstanding Public Service Award.

Williams added, "Through such world famous venues as The Apollo Theatre and Rucker Park, the village of Harlem has earned its place in history as a breeding ground for some of the greatest sports and entertainment figures in the world. We take great pride and pleasure in being able to give recognition to such an esteemed group of individuals, right here in Harlem. We're grateful to our Chamber members for making this historic evening possible."

The gala reception will be enhanced by the presence of sculpted, life-size, three-dimensional wax figures of present and past NBS&EHF inductees including Pelé and Billie Jean King, provided by Madame Tussaud's New York, giving guests unique opportunities to create personal memories with some of the world's biggest icons.

Co-hosted by WNBC-TV's Janice Huff and WBLS-FM Morning Show hosts Rick Party and Sonia Colon, the induction ceremony will feature entertainment by Jazz hot shot André Ward; R&B crooner Freddie Jackson; Apollo Theatre's famous house-band, Ray Chew and the Crew; and courtesy of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Arts for Transit's Music Under New York (MUNY) program, jazz band New York Express.

WNJU-TV/Telemundo sports anchor Veronica Contreras will be involved in the award presentations for inductees Pelé and Mongo Santamaria. Access Hollywood correspondent Shaun Robinson will be on hand to conduct celebrity interviews and report on key moments throughout the evening. Highlights from the evening will be broadcast in the New York City and Atlantic City viewing areas on September 4, at 7:00 p.m. on WNBC-TV and WMGM-TV, respectively.

The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with HARLEM WEEK and the Harlem Jazz & Music Festival, initially unveiled the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame (NBS&EHF) during a private luncheon in June 2001 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The concept behind the NBS&EHF is to create a permanent memorial honoring the legacies of extraordinary persons of African descent as well as other persons who have championed the causes of excellence, diversity and fair play.

The NBS&EHF Induction Gala is a part of the legendary HARLEM WEEK celebrations. This year, HARLEM WEEK commemorated its 30th year with more than a month of celebration. Come discover the treasures of a proud community - Discover Harlem.

For further information about the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame and the excitement and culture that is HARLEM WEEK, visit www.HarlemDiscover.com or call (212) 862-8477.

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