Bryan And Ronald Williams Of Cash Money And Charlamagne Tha God Are Among The Honorees At The 30th Annual Living Legends Foundation Gala.


“All I want to do is build platforms for people who have something to say.”


Charlamagne agreed. Tha God accepts the Jerry Boulding Radio Executive Award from the Living Legends Foundation. The first of eight honorees honoured at the foundation’s 30th anniversary awards gala, held Friday evening (Oct. 7) at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, was the co-host of WWPR (Power 105) New York’s syndicated show The Breakfast Club, multimedia entrepreneur and best-selling author.

Charlamagne urged the audience to “ask yourself every day who you have helped or empowered to help people be the best versions of themselves,” citing iHeartMedia’s Thea Mitchem and Bob Pittman, Frankie Crocker and Tom Joyner, as well as his wife (“Strong men are secure enough to get out of the way and let strong women lead,” he said, to hearty applause). That sentiment was echoed throughout the three-hour ceremony, which honoured Cash Money Records co-founders/CEOs Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams with the Lifetime Achievement Award.


Sharon Heyward received the A.D. Washington Chairman’s Award for a career that has included stints as Virgin Records’ head of urban promotion and later senior vp/GM of its urban division, president of production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ Perspective Records, and founder of marketing/consulting firm Sharon Heyward Enterprises (SHE).

David C. Linton and Ray Harris, president and chairman emeritus of LLF, respectively, presented the award to Heyward, who currently owns and operates industry mentorship firm The Solutionist LLC. “I’m a hard-nosed, no-chaser girl,” a visibly emotional Heyward said as she accepted the evening’s final award. “One of the most important legacies of my career has been hearing from mentees and others about how much I’ve helped them in their careers.” She also chastised critics for labelling the industry’s older generation as “dusty.”


“That demonstrates a lack of respect for the legacy that has been bestowed upon you,” she added. “We must respect one another; we must reach back and bring forward.” Heyward performed snippets of the Impressions’ hits “Keep on Pushing” and “I’m So Proud” onstage with her daughter Monique, who also works in the music industry, before concluding, “The record business is no joke for women.” I didn’t want my daughter Monique to be a part of this, but I’m so proud of her… and thank you for allowing me to be a mentor to some of you.”

The LLF also recognised five additional honorees:

Curtis Symonds, founding partner/president and CEO of the 24-hour streaming network HBCUGO TV, received the Media Icon Award.

Geo Bivins, industry veteran (Jive Records, Capitol, and RCA), is the president/founder of record label consulting firm Port Perry Entertainment.

Tuma Basa, YouTube’s director of Black music and culture, received the Digital Executive Award.

Mike Bernardo Female Executive Award – Johnnie Walker, Def Jam Recordings’ first female senior vp/promotion; now founder/CEO of the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment Inc. (NABFEME)

Henry “Hank” Caldwell, a veteran industry executive, received the Founders Award (WEA, Cotillion, Atlantic, SOLAR Records, Epic and Death Row Records)

The evening marked the Living Legends Foundation’s first in-person awards ceremony in three years due to the pandemic, hosted by syndicated radio personality DeDe McGuire (DeDe in the Morning) and musical interludes helmed by DJ Battlecat. Epic Records chairwoman/CEO Sylvia Rhone, artists P.J. Morton and Johnny Gill (Caldwell’s presenter), and talk show host/author Tavis Smiley were among the distinguished guests and presenters on hand for what eventually turned into a massive industry family reunion.

“We are stronger when we all work together,” said LLF’s Linton in his opening remarks following Rev. Marilyn Batchelor’s invocation. “Our mission is to keep the culture moving forward.” Tonight is your lucky night!”

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