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HONOREES AND SUPPORTERS—Jay Chiodo, Rev. Mary Beasley, Kennedy Israel Goodson, Ralph P. Watson, Sheila Beasley and Ja-Neen Jones. (Photos by Debbie Norrell)

“Increasing your network, increases your net worth” is the motto of The Honorable Ralph P. Watson, founder of Classic Events! On Feb. 16, at The Jeron X. Grayson Center, Watson hosted his Eighth Annual Black History Celebration Heritage Dinner. The evening kicked off with a jam session featuring some of Pittsburgh’s best musicians. This segment of the evening dubbed as the “Heritage Lounge” included: Dewayne Chandler, Alexander “Nick” Nichols Jr., Calvin Stemley, members of the Southern Comfort Band and C&R Sound Engineers. Before enjoying a meal of delicious comfort food Sheila Beasley led the sold-out crowd in a verse of the Negro National Anthem.

Each year Classic Events! selects a group of worthy honorees to recognize. This year a tribute was paid to those in arts and culture. The 2019 honorees included: Janis Burley Wilson, President and CEO of the August Wilson Center, Dr. Quintin B. Bullock, President of CCAC, Reverend Denise Walker, founder of Fresh Anointing, Cheryl EL Walker, actress and costume designer, Mark Clayton Southers, founder of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Alexander “Nick” Nichols Jr., Jazz musician and entrepreneur, Ricco J.L. Martello/freelance photojournalist, Rev. Helen M. Jackson and Rev. Andrew V. Jackson Jr., outstanding religious leadership, John F. Hobdy Jr., outstanding community service, Kim El, outstanding stage production, Nick M. Daniels, outstanding dance choreographer, Dewayne Chandler, producer, song writer and singer, Dessie Bey, art and poetry, Ernest Bey, sculptor and artist and Reverend Mary Beasley, community leadership. C&R sound and consulting were honored for outstanding sound and music production while Lee Davis received the 2019 Business Vanguard Award. Davis was recently appointed as the COO of SLG Sports and Entertainment and is the CEO of Lee Davis & Associates Consulting LLC.

Watson is the host of a public affairs talk show on PCTV21, the Classic Events! Network and was the winner of the 2018 SSB Series Excellence Award. Watson is also a Democratic Committeeman fulfilling his third term as vice-chairman. He also serves on the Wilkinsburg Planning Commission.

 

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