The BBA’s ‘Salute to Black Music’ Celebrates Iconic Industry Soulsters

Since 1970, the Black Business Association has aided in the growth and development of African American businesses and it recently honored those who are curators of Black music with its annual “Salute to Black Music” awards dinner.

This year they celebrated gospel music by honoring Vicki Mack Lataillade, founder of GospoCentric Records, with its Lifetime Achievement award, Lisa Collins, publisher of L.A. Focus and founder of First Ladies High Tea, with the Outstanding Gospel Publication award and Byron J. Smith, president of the National Association Negro Musicians, with the Outstanding Artistic Vision award.

Previous honorees included Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, Smokey Robinson and Janet Jackson.

“Tramaine Hawkins, she was actually on my label at one time,” said Lataillade, whose label played a part in launching the careers of some of the most iconic African American gospel artists. “I broke her first record. I was one of the people that broke her first record when I was at Light Records. I knew of Tramaine because I was from the Bay area. Also she was a beautiful dark-skinned woman.”

Gospel music is about acknowledging a relationship with and belief in God. Contemporary gospel began with the crossover into the secular music, thanks to the iconic influence of artists such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Andraé Crouch.

“I listen to a mixture of gospel, jazz and R&B,” Collins said.

When asked about the importance of Black business owners, she said, “I think everybody has a gift. I think everybody should be able to use those gifts to the best of their ability and take advantage of the opportunities that are there for them. I don’t like being beholding to anybody so I like having a little bit more control in my life. So … I can’t be fired because I work for myself.”

The BBA dinner attracted classic artists as well as the emerging artists to help celebrate their achievements, including original Emotions member Jeanette Hawes, who recently released a new album, “No Regrets.”

“My sisters are doing well, [group member] Wanda [Vaughn] is still doing live work,” Hawes said. “I give God the glory. … It helps give you the endurance you need.”

Eunice Moseley has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with her The Pulse of Entertainment column.

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