The Black Star News Annual Awards Dinner

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[Business News]

The Black Star News honored 17 stellar individuals at its annual Excellence Awards Dinner last Friday, at Harlem’s famous Nubian Heritage ballroom.

“We decided to combine this year’s annual awards dinner into a Barack Obama election celebration,” Milton Allimadi, Black Star News publisher and editor-in-chief, told the audience of 200. “Obama has shown to the world that with a great strategy and dedication, anything is possible.”

Allimadi also publishes Harlem Business News.

Awards were presented to Marcia Sells, SVP, Columbia University; David Lipscomb, VP Sovereign Bank; Kenneth Theobalds, VP Governmental Affairs Entergy Co.;

Desiree Dancy, New York Times; Lesley Pinckney, Essence Magazine; Dr. Edison Jackson, President, Medgar Evers College; Shirley Jenkins, Municipal Credit Union (MCU) Board member; 

Jared McAllister, Columnist, The Daily News; Voza Rivers, Executive Director, Harlem Arts Alliance; Robin Verges, SVP Rubenstein Associates; Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Manhattan Deputy Borough President;

Jocelyn Cooper and the late Andy Cooper, founder of The City Sun; Herb Boyd, columnist, and Nayaba Arinde, Managing Editor, The Amsterdam News; and, Gregory Joseph, Deputy Director, S.H.A.R.E.

Also honored were Newark Mayor, Cory Booker, and New York State Senator, Malcolm Smith; the two were unable to attend and sent representatives.

Jocelyn Cooper, widow of the late Andy Cooper, founder of legendary The City Sun, said she was happy to see that The Black Star News was carrying on the legacy of her husband.

Nayaba Arinde, Amsterdam News Managing Editor, and a cancer survivor spoke about the importance of cherishing every day of life.
Also at the gala, The Black Star News’s Web editor Neanda Salvaterra introduced the newspaper’s revamped website with new features such as dedicated bloggers, and Black Star TV, which lets viewers submit their video news to be considered for posting. "Don't forget to turn off pop up blocker!" Salvaterra noted.

Sovereign Bank’s Lipscomb, SVP of the bank’s diversity and inclusion, said Obama’s success showed once and for all that “we can really achieve anything.”

Entergy’s Theobalds spoke about the importance of a media company such as The Black Star News being able to independently control its news content.

Meanwhile, Rubenstein’s Verges said she was especially gratified with the Black Star’s award because of the paper’s historic name and reference to the great Pan Africanist Marcus Garvey; her remarks were echoed by Pierre-Louis, Manhattan Deputy Borough President.

The Black Star News' annual Excellence awards dinner honors and celebrates individuals who are exemplary in their respective professions and who inspire young people.

"It's important that our young people see achievers that look like them," Allimadi said. "All of our honorees are individuals that our youngsters should be proud of emulating.”

Entertainment was provided by band leader Chino Pons and Grupo Irek, a phenomenal Cuban Jazz group. Guests could not remain seated when Irek started playing; one of the best dancers was Jenkins, whose moves on the floor had guests doubting that she was really 76 years old.

Special guest performer was Francis Jocky, a world music artist who has played with the likes of Bono from U2. Jocky mesmerized the crowd with his voice and a lone guitar.

The soulful ballads were a taste of his upcoming release party at Joe’s Pub in New York on the 21st of December for his new album Sanctified.

The event was catered by the famed Floxy’s Restaurant, which specializes in seafood.  

Led by the fantastic culinary maestro Mrs. Grace Amaso, the restaurant delivered exquisite seafood pasta that had everyone wanting for more.

Past honorees at the Black Star News' annual Excellence awards dinner have included Bill and Camille Cosby; the couple provided seed funding when The Black Star was launched a dozen years ago.

Additional past Black Star News honorees have included: Gil Noble, host of ABC's "Like it is" program; pioneer filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles;

The New York Jet's coach, Herman Edwards; Grammy-nominated singer Amiel Larrieux; New York City Councilmember Charles Barron.
The Black Star News, a weekly investigative newspaper, is also found online at; it’s sister publication, monthly magazine Harlem Business News can also be found on

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