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Memorable Evening Shared at the 2nd Annual Brown Celebration

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By Anna Wenger
Photos by Sam James

The second annual Hardy Brown Birthday Celebration was held at Riverside Convention Center last Thursday with over 300 friends, community supporters and family members, entering the red carpet. This year's Black-tie gala honored and celebrated the philanthropic work of Riverside's own renowned artist, Charles Bibbs. 
Hardy and Cheryl Brown

Charles Bibbs was joined by his wife Elaine and his son Charles, Jr. Charles Bibbs is an internationally recognized artist who founded Art 2000, a nonprofit visual arts association that aims to provide young artists with education to help them thrive.
Elaine and Charles Bibbs listen Kelly Jackson

Sheila Frazier

Some of the stars that were received on the red carpet were Actress Sheila Frazier of "Superfly," and Janet  DuBois, who played Wilona in Good Times. Other artists joining Charles in the celebration were Synthia St. James and Larry Poncho Brown. Ms. Frazier said, "The "Arts" need that type of attention and support." Art pieces from Charles Bibbs, Larry "Poncho" Brown, Synthia St. James and others lined the back wall. Landrus Clark was the auctioneer for the evening. There was also a silent auction of art and gift items.

The unveiling of an original painting, a collaborative effort of over 25 renowned artists, became one of the highlights of the evening.  Larry "Poncho" Brown gave a moving testimonial of the positive influence Charles Bibbs had on his life. There was also a surprise guest appearance by Charles' high school art teacher, Mr. Ted Henry. 
Artist Larry “Poncho” Brown travelled from Baltimore to honor Charles Bibbs

"We The People" Cultural Drum & Dance Troupe led the procession as they danced in native costume to the beat of African drums. The piano player for the pre-celebration was Hector Jimenez who set the stage for an elegant evening. Then there was the thrill of an impromptu performance by Phil Perry, accompanied by guitarist, Ray Fuller and the Ray Fuller Band.

San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris
Elected officials showing their support included San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, Fontana Councilwoman Acquanetta Warren, Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter. Carter said, "The Bibbs' and the Brown's have been catalysts for positive change in the community. They are integral parts of our community." Among those representing the church community were Reverend and Mrs. Munford of New Joy Baptist, Reverend and Mrs. Larry Campbell of St. Paul, L.E. Campbell of Park Avenue Baptist Church, and New Hope Baptist Church from San Bernardino was also present.
Pastors LE Campbell and Larry Campbell served on the program.

Charles Bibbs said, "It was truly an honor to receive the awards and recognitions, especially in my own hometown. I have always admired Cheryl and Hardy Brown for their support in the community and it really gave me a great feeling to hear that I was selected to be the honoree this year's Hardy Brown's Birthday Celebration. This was a classy event and I was immensely impressed to see the many people who came out to support it." 

Paula E. George, an associate of Charles Bibbs said, "The celebration for Charles was truly an exciting event!  My heart was filled with joy and pride as I watched the multitude of people fill the room to honor a man I have worked with for over 14 years. This celebration was right on time for someone who truly deserved the recognition. Wanda Scruggs said "December 7, 2006" will remain a day to be remembered by all who attended the dazzling gala event."

Emcees Kathy Ervin and Rickerby Hinds
Hardy Brown, namesake of the event and co-publisher of The Black Voice News is known for dedication to his family, his community, The Black Voice Foundation and his interest in promoting art and culture in the Inland Empire. By his side, actively participating in the event were his wife Cheryl; his daughters Regina Brown-Wilson, Paulette Brown-Hinds, and Lynn Lee; his son-in-laws, Rickerby Hinds and Kurt Wilson; and grandchildren Kennedy, Justin, and Alex.

Press Enterprise Publisher Ron Redfern and his wife wish Brown a Happy Birthday

Brown said "This celebration is an example to people of how to live after you get bad news and hopefully celebrating people like Charles will be an inspiration to others to follow their dream and passion inspite of adversity that they sometimes face."

ImageAlthough both Brown and Bibbs battled with life-threatening illnesses, they both continue to inspire others and give back to their community. According to Katherine Doss, a member of the steering committee organizing the event, "The BVN, and Event Committee did an excellent job creating such a memorable evening." Proceeds from the event go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association for ALS research, Art 2000, and the Black Voice Foundation Internship Program.

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