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Byrd Heard It!
By Louis Byrd III
6/20/05


Respect Yourself


What a week it's been for the Grammy Award winning group the Staples Singers! First, during a ceremony in south suburban Dolton Illinois,
148th street was renamed in honor of Roebuck "Pops" Staples, patriarch and founder of the group. Nearly 200 family friends, clergy and politicians turned out
Yvonne, Mavis, and Pervis Staples
to celebrate with Pops children Mavis, Yvonne and Pervis.

Mavis Staples (center) joins the group Sonia Dada singing "Father, Father" during the Tribute to the Staples Singers concert
Then two days later a benefit concert in tribute to the Staples Singers and hosted by the "Iceman" Jerry Butler was given before a
packed house at FitzGerald's in west suburban Berwyn. Among the notables that came out were the "Duke of Earl" Gene Chandler, gospel singer Jesse Dixon, former Chicago Bear Richard Dent, Dave Hoekstra of the Chicago Sun-Times and Theresa Fambro Hooks, society editor for the Chicago Defender. Before the concert started, guests were treated to a preview of the short documentary done on the Staples Singers by WTTW Channel 11 as part of their series Chicago Stories. Then several different groups and individuals each came on stage to share how the Staples' music influenced them and perform their favorite Staples songs. The documentary aired on Monday, February 25th at 7:30 and 11 p.m. on Channel 11. The accolades are well deserved because for more than 40 years, the Staples Singers have continually uplifted us with their positive message and fantastically memorable music!


The WVON Good Guys Ride Again or "When Old School was Cool"


The WVON Good Guys: Dr. Cecil Hale, Lucky Cordell, Herb Kent, Richard Pegue and Pervis Spann
Do you know who these people are?

Lucky Cordell, "The Baron of Bounce;" Herb Kent, "The Kool Gent;"
Pervis Spann, "The Blues Man;" Cecil Hale, Richard Pegue, E. Rodney Jones, Joe Cobb, Ed Cook,Wesley South, Bernadine C. Washington.
Anyone who grew up in Chicago during the 60's and 70's listening to the radio would know that I'm talking about the WVON Good Guys! For 20 years, these personalities ruled the airwaves in black Chicago.
Cliff Kelley, WVON-AM
Thanks to The HistoryMakers, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Museum of Broadcast Communications there was a reunion of the "good guys" at the Chicago Cultural Center recently. The auditorium was so full they had an overflow area set up with a big screen in the room next door! Hosted by Cliff Kelley, current morning host on WVON-AM, the program started off with a short video clip of a documentary done on the station produced by The HistoryMakers. Utilizing still photos,

Dr. Cecil Hale and Lucky Cordell
classic WVON jingles and music interspersed with interviews of the radio personalities, the video transported everyone in the
auditorium back to a time when black was beautiful, the "natural" was a new hair style and dashikis were a part of every wardrobe. Then as Cliff called their names they each came on stage: Pervis Spann, Cecil Hale, Lucky Cordell, Herb Kent and Richard Pegue. The next 90 minutes was nothing but good times as each of them shared their memories of working at the station: why Pervis Spann "didn't talk to no men on the air", how Herb Kent came up with the Wahoo Man and the Electric Crazy People, Richard Pegue spinning records for parties at Mendel High School and Lucky Cordell singing a love song on a "45" single. Members of the audience were also allowed to come and share their memories and ask questions of the panelists. At the end, each of the "Good Guys" gave their original sign off. The only thing missing was the song "Open Our Eyes." The entire session was taped by The HistoryMakers to include as part of their archive on WVON-AM 1450.

History in the Making

Founded in 1999 by Executive Director Julieanna Richardson, The HistoryMakers is committed to raising awareness of African Americans who have made important contributions to our nation's history. The organization has an ambitious goal of compiling a video archive of 5,000 stories of both unsung and well-known African Americans nationwide in a number of areas over the next 5 years. Some of those areas include art, music, sports, entertainment, religion, education, business, media and law. Most recently The HistoryMakers hosted its second annual gala: An Evening with Dionne Warwick at which actress Dihann Carroll conducted an intimate one on one interview of the Grammy winning songstress. For more information about the project, log on to their website, www.thehistorymakers.com

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Aaron Holden
I am saddened greatly upon hearing of the passing of  “The Prop Master,” Aaron Holden, husband of United Airlines’ Willa Holden.  Aaron had been fighting a lingering battle with cancer and was staying at Mercy Hospital’s Hospice Care when he passed last week.
He was President/CEO of A.A. Props International and was well known in movie and television production circles here in Chicago.  Always ready with a smile, the dashing gentleman with the ponytail and salt & pepper beard could be found attentively next to his wife Willa at any number of social events about town.  Willa has planned a memorial service for Saturday, April 6th, beginning at 3 p.m. at the DuSable Museum.  Condolences can be sent to Willa at P.O. Box 49513, Chicago, IL 60649.  My prayers are with you Willa!
   
Get Well Soon
Get well wishes go out to Warner Saunders, anchor for the 6 and 10 p.m. news broadcast on WMAQ-TV, Channel 5 who is recovering from recent cancer surgery; to Warner’s mom, 94 year-old Georgia Saunders who is home now resting after a brief stay at Michael Reese Hospital and to Kim Martin, wife of UPS Community Relations Manager LaRue Martin.
 

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