Since its inception in 2005 the MoAD (Museum of African Diaspora) has become an important cultural institution in San Francisco, showcasing the art, culture and history of a segment of our city’s population that had been underserved until then. The museum has found a most respected place amongst its neighbors, the SFMoMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Zeum, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
For the past six years the MoAD has been bringing together people of all ages and ethnicities through exceptional exhibitions and cultural programs, celebrating the talents of people of African descent within the United States and around the world. Exhibitions, among others, have included a retrospective of the work of painter Richard Mayhew and a show of graphic works by iconic Harlem Renaissance artist and writer Romare Bearden.
I had the pleasure of attending their 6thannual black-tie Gala hosted by actor and director Delroy Lindo and Co-chairs Lloyd H. Dean and Deborah Santana. Held at the historic Palace Hotel the event started with a cocktail reception in the elegant Garden Court, which was sponsored by the House of Hennessy and represented by Maurice-Richard Hennessy, who has done development work in Africa before becoming the famed cognac’s global ambassador.
In a live auction guests had the opportunity to bid on lunch with former mayor Willie L. Brown Jr., CPUC Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, former San Francisco Forty-Niner Jaime Williams, and Lloyd H. Dean, as well as a stunning landscape by Richard Mayhew, which went to Kaiser’s COO and 2011 honoree Bernard J. Tyson and his wife Denise Bradley Tyson, Vice President of the San Francisco Film Commission.
Guests included Willie L. Brown Jr. and Sonja Molodetskaya, CBS anchor Dana King, Supervisor Malia Cohen, Deborah Santana, founder of Band of Wives Christine Bronstein and media mogul husband Phil Bronstein, community leader Brenda Wright, philanthropist Deirdre Luddington, CEO of Sempra Energy Jesse Knight Jr. and wife Joye Blunt, and CHRO at Catholic Healtchare Ernest Urquhart and wife Michelle Urquhart, President of Williams Capital Dail St. Claire, former commissioner David Ellington, music industry veteran Kitsaun King, novelist Julianne Balmain, serial entrepeneur Altura Ewers, and the lovely Allison Bankhead who will be competing for Miss California in 2012.
During the Gala dinner the MoAD honored Target with the Corporate Leadership Award, Joyce Jackson Dixon with the Patron of Culture Award, Toni Rembe with the Legacy of Philanthropy Award and Bernard J. Tyson with the Visionary Leadership Award. The elegant evening concluded with a special performance by the five-time Grammy nominee The John Santos Quintet, after which guests could shake their tail feathers to the music of The World Famous Rick and Russ Show.