- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters' 18th annual Communications Awards Dinner was the place to be Friday night if you were a powerhouse in the broadcast, TV or record industries or merely one of the 1,000 black-tie-clad guests who paid $500 to attend.

The world seemed to stand still at the Marriott Wardman Park when Janet Jackson not only turned up to accept NABOB's Entertainer of the Year Award but became the first recipient in years to appear before the cameras and tape recorders at the pre-dinner reception.

"It is always important for us to honor our own, and we need to see more of it," Miss Jackson said.

After all, the pop diva owes her start to fellow NABOB award recipient Stan Lathan, who gave Miss Jackson her first acting job, as Penny on the popular '70s show "Good Times."

This year, NABOB, a trade organization that boasts its largest membership ever (240), also honored four music legends who broke the color line, glass ceiling and other barriers to black achievement in the music and communications industries.

"Each recipient accomplished a first of some kind for blacks in music and radio, producing a line of succession that we want to honor this year," NABOB Executive Director Jim Winston said.

Legendary soprano Leontyne Price was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for continuing the struggle of her predecessor, Marian Anderson, to overcome remaining obstacles to black opera singers.

Cathy Hughes, founder and chairwoman of Radio One Inc. and creator of the "Quiet Storm," a concept copied around the country since she debuted it on WHUR-FM, also was recognized for her success in creating the largest black-owned broadcasting company in America.

"We just completed last year a $1.3 billion acquisition of Clear Channel, the largest acquisition for a black company in America's history," Mrs. Hughes noted.

Bo Didley, whose influence is unmatched in all of music, took home the Pioneer in Entertainment Award.

Rock, blues, jazz, pop no matter what the popular music genre the Bo Didley stamp is all over it, Mr. Winston said.

Another music pioneer, Patti LaBelle, performed classics from her repertoire, including "Lady Marmalade" and "On My Own," to the delight of the crowd, which included civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, singer Stevie Wonder, Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson and Hal Jackson, the first black man to own a broadcasting company Inner City Broadcasting Corp.

The Isley Brothers received the Pioneer in Music Award but were unable to attend because of a death in the family.

"This is truly a night we will all cherish," said NABOB Chairman Pierre Sutton, "as we strive to get better and stonger every year."

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