ABOVE PHOTO: Patti LaBelle, is congratulated by her LaBelle group members (l) Sarah Dash and Nona Hendrix (holding Patti’s award) on her award; Frankie Darcell is at the back (far left). (Photo by Bill Z. Foster)
By Monica Peters
On April 2, 105.3 WDAS FM honored exemplary ladies from the Philadelphia region at their 2nd Annual Women of Excellence Awards. Notable honorees, touching speeches and musical performances were stellar.
The divas of WDAS-FM and iHeartMedia Loraine Ballard Morrill, Director of News and Community Affairs; and personalities Patty Jackson, Frankie Darcell and Mimi Brown served as mistresses of ceremony. And, to Morrill’s surprise, she was presented with an Excellence award from Power 99 and WDAS Program Director Derrick Corbett.
Frankie Darcell, WDAS host of the station’s weekday afternoon drive and Sunday morning program “Headlines with Frankie,” took the audience “to church,” urging women to stick together.
“If women talked to each other instead of talking about each other, we’d find that we’re not that much different,” she said.
Local Sheroe Award recipient, Healthy Thoughts Founder Davida Godett, shared her story of being a stroke survivor.
“I had one baby before the stroke and two after the stroke,” she said.
She also shared with the audience that her 44-year-old friend passed away a few weeks ago from a stroke. Godett urged the audience to take their health seriously including taking their blood pressure medicine, noting that strokes are a silent killer.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, when accepting her award, stressed excellence and that women have to work harder because they are critiqued more heavily.
“As a woman you gotta walk on water. As a woman you gotta walk on water and fly,” she said, adding the excellence is a habit.
Reynolds-Brown also thanked fellow Sheroe Award Recipient Joan Myers Brown for giving her a chance early on in her career as a dancer.
The musical performances were equally spectacular. Avant, Lalah Hathaway and After 7 performed after the ceremony.
Avant sang his popular songs including “Read Your Mind.” He even took a trip down memory lane singing Luther Vandross “Don’t You Remember” and Michael Jackson’s “Lady of My Life.”
Avant also received an award recognizing his 16 years of excellence in the music business. His latest album is VIII.
Surprisingly, it was the first award that he had ever received in his entire career.
“I ain’t never received no award. They ain’t give me no BET award or nothing,” he said feeling honored by the recognition.
Lalah Hathaway, while performing informed the audience of a huge accomplishment that was overlooked by the media.
“I don’t know if you all know, but I won a Grammy last month for my daddy’s song ‘Little Ghetto Boy.’”
Hathaway was honored to receive her Excellence award.
“This will go on my table along with the picture of my Mom, Dad and Grammy.”
After 7 closed out with great vocals and smooth dance moves reminiscent of popular 60’s R&B groups. Their voices still sounded good as ever, even the high notes.
They sang all their new and old school hits and they ended their set handing out roses to the ladies in the audience.
Honorees for this year’s Women of Excellence were 2016 Trailblazing Woman of Excellence Award Recipient: Patti LaBelle; retired Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross; Joyce Evans, news anchor and reporter, Fox 29; Sonia Sanchez, renowned writer, poet, playwright and activist; Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Philadelphia City Council; and Romona Riscoe Benson, Manager, Corporate Relations, PECO
Local Sheroes nominated by WDAS listeners: Joan Myers Brown, Valerie Crabbe, Davida Godett and Andrea Lawful Sanders.