The BlackCelebrityGiving.com’s 2nd Annual “Giving is Good” Awards, which bestowed honor upon celebrities and dignitaries for their philanthropic endeavors, was undoubtedly one of the most emotionally and spiritually uplifting awards galas of the year.
It was also the most emotionally riveting and heart-wrenching.
Dry eyes were in very short supply inside the Suite Lounge on Luckie Street when Tameka Raymond bravely walked up to accept the award for the charitable foundation, Kile’s World Foundation, she created as homage to her late son, Kile Glover, who passed away nearly two years ago in a tragic holiday accident at a lake in suburban Atlanta.
“He was special beyond words,” Raymond said between sobs as the emotionally climatic moment enveloped the room. “For me, Kile’s World is an extension of what I think he would want me to do. The Foundation is based on all of his favorite things. He loved art. He loved to sing and dance and theater and he loved to paint. He was so blessed.”
The Giving is Good Awards, founded by Jasmine Crowe and hosted by radio jock and actress Ramona DeBreaux, also honored actress Keshia Knight Pulliam (“Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Madea Goes to Jail,” “Cosby Show”). Pulliam told the debonair crowd that she started her own Kamp Kizzy foundation after becoming irate when the clothes she donated to a charity was being ransacked and taken by the so-called charity workers — while she watched.
“I saw the people, who were supposed to be helping others, going through my bag to take my clothes … they weren’t even sorting them … going like ‘oh yah, girl, she got some good stuff! We’re going to take these shoes!” Pulliam recalls with a trace of disgust in her voice. “Literally, I walked back into the store, grabbed my stuff and left,” she added to a rousing applause.
The experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Pulliam whose Kamp Kizzy works to uplift the self esteem of girls ages 11-16 and teaching them to pursue their dreams. She is now working to create a similar such foundation for boys.
The creator of 40 Girls and Some Shoes foundation received the loudest ovation of the evening as a large contingent of supporters were on hand to cheer the founder, Sylvia Sherrod, received an award for providing new and gently-worn shoes for homeless and downtrodden men, women and children.
The comforting spirit of warmth and positivity continued with radio personality Egypt Sherrod, founder of the Egypt Cares Family Foundation that started in New York City five years ago. She cited a scripture from Hebrews to implore people to give because “it is pleasing to the Lord,” she said. “We are all called to contribute, be it large, be it small, or whatever you have to give. We are all called to do so.”
BlackCelebrityGiving.com and the “Giving is Good” Award founder and visionary Jasmine Crowe got the site and awards started after being filled with pangs of revulsion and loathing for a so-called story about singer Monica’s charitable work in a popular Atlanta blog. The “story” did not contain a single syllable about what Monica gave nor to whom she contributed to, but went on endlessly and mindlessly about Monica’s expensive shoes and outfit.
“The story was sad. Later on, I found out Monica was attending a Feed the Children event. What a teaching moment if (the blogger) could have included one sentence about what Monica was attending,” Crowe said. “Because I know that more people could afford to feed a child for the night than could afford those shoes. I felt that the whole focus of the shoes just perpetuated this materialism.”
After Crowe was finished being repulsed, BlackCelebrityGiving.com was born.
“I wanted to highlight what our celebrities were doing that was positive,” she added. “And to honor the people here tonight who are dedicating their lives to ensure that we live in a better tomorrow. There are tons of negative images out there. And the only way to truly counteract that is to provide positive images.”
Rashan Ali is helping to produce positive images of females and sports via her Sporty Girls organization. The radio and TV star reminded the audience that many of the women executives of major corporations that she is friends and acquaintances with all have played sports at one time in their lives.
And you would have to be a robot, or have a hole where your heart is supposed to be, if you did not tear up when Terence Lester walked up to the stage in the only outfit that he owns today. Lester, the founder of Love Beyond Walls foundation, blew the audience away when he said he gave away his entire closet of clothes to honor a homeless female student who gets emotionally tortured because she wears the same clothes to school everyday.
“They had been telling her that she wasn’t anything because she was wearing the same clothes four days straight,” Lester said as his wife stood by his side. “So I decided to walk in the shoes of many Title I students who have to wear the same clothes each and everyday.
So I gave up my closet because my organization is building four closets for the Title I students that we’re adopting,” he said to rousing applause.
After the audience picked itself up off the floor — again — DeBeaux and Crowe honored other major givers, including Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, Angel Brutus for Saving Our Daughters and Reginald Crossley, the Fulton County Youth Commissioner for the indelible marks they are leaving in thousands of lives.
It was impossible to leave the Suite Lounge on this night without taking a piece of the atmosphere with you. It was a mood-altering, life-enhancing experiences the people in attendance won’t soon forget.
To find out more information about Black Celebrity Giving and/or to contribute to the cause, long onto the website BlackCelebrityGiving.com.