- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2004

Those honored at the Greater Washington Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Memorial Gala spoke often of the group’s social consciousness and non-partisan stance, but a political aroma definitely permeated the air during the 32nd annual gathering Wednesday at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Large colorful symbols of both parties — a royal blue donkey and an elephant in fiery red — greeted the hundreds of guests as they entered the ballroom (to the sizzling salsa sounds of Edwin Ortzy su Orquesta la Romana, while passionate appeals to “get out the vote” were repeated throughout the night.

At least one honoree transcended politics … if only for the occasion.

“To be honored by a group I so admire is especially thrilling. It’s a group that’s always been bipartisan. It’s about service to people,” said D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, who looked radiant in a red two-piece tea-length ensemble from Dupont Circle’s Toast and Strawberries boutique. (Mrs. Schwartz was recognized by the Urban League for contributions to the community along with Mark Plotkin, political commentator and analyst for WTOP Radio; Democratic political strategist and Georgetown University professor Donna L. Brazile; and local radio and TV personality Kojo Nnamdi.

As guests feasted on broiled filet mignon and Maryland crab cakes, the three emcees, actor-director Robert Townsend, actor Malik Yoba (of Fox TV’s “New York Undercover” fame) and actress Vivica A. Fox, endeavored to keep things lively throughout the lengthy program of speeches and awards. (The stunning Miss Fox worked her form-fitting black satin sheath and Prada accessories to the max while touting her two upcoming films, “Kill Bill: Volume 2” and “Ella Enchanted.”)

The combined star power worked. The audience reveled in the trio’s banter throughout the night.

As Mr. Nnamdi noted, “Even poverty warriors need to have fun sometimes.”

Robyn-Denise Yourse

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