Thanks to the initial vision of Belva Davis, Willie Brown Jr. and like-minded thinkers, for the past eight years the MoAD (Museum of African Diaspora) has enriched San Francisco’s cultural landscape by showcasing the art of people of African descent.
Exhibitions have included “Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera,” “The Hewitt Collection of African American Art,” “The Art of Richard Mayhew,” and “From Process to Print: Graphic Works by Romare Bearden.” The “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect” exhibit, which was on display this past Spring and is now at its final destination, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture, deeply touched many, including Honorary Chairman Lawrence Bancroft.
Set to the theme of “MoAD: The World’s Canvas,” this year’s black-tie gala took place at the Palace Hotel where Lawrence Bancroft spoke of the museum’s mission. Appealing to his finance colleagues, Bancroft single-handedly exceeded the fundraising goal in support of the museum’s newest exhibition.
Co-hosted by Interim Executive Director Deborah Santana and local fashion icon Wilkes Bashford, the glamorous event was emceed by KRON’s Pam Moore and kicked off the museum’s new exhibition “Cultivating Crosscurrents: Africa & Black Diasporas in Dialogue.”
The new addition, which will run through January 20th, 2014 explores the mutual and cross-cultural influences that shaped the struggles of African peoples, the Civil Rights Era, Black Power Movement, Black Panther Party and the Black Arts Movement.
At $1,000.00 per plate the fundraiser drew a well-dressed (and well-heeled!) crowd who came to honor actor-activist Danny Glover (Patron of Culture), San Francisco Foundation CEO Sandra Hernandez (Legacy of Philanthropy), actor Alfre Woodard (Performing Arts Program Honoree) and long-time Tuskegee Institute supporter, Moet Hennessy USA (Corporate Leadership Award).
Glover charmed the crowd with his typically humble presentation while paying homage to the founders of the museum and his fellow honoree Alfre Woodard.
Woodard, who was honored for creating a Performing Arts program in schools, captivated the audience with a dramatic presentation of a poem by Nikki Giovanni, which described the lessons NASA scientists traveling in space could learn from the experiences of her African ancestors who crossed the Atlantic aboard slave ships during the most horrific of conditions.
She reminded us that Africa is the birthplace of all humans, “You are an old African. I am an old African. And for that I am truly grateful. We are all part of the African Diaspora.”
Among the festive audience were Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson and his wife Denise Bradley Tyson, Vice President of the San Francisco Film Commission, Wells Fargo executive and community leader Brenda Wright who kept the Champagne flowing at her table, Morgan Stanley Vice President Kimberly Brandon, California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon and fiancÃ© Kimberly Brandon, Dr. Ernest E. Bates, Commissioner Toye Moses, Supervisors Malia Cohen and London Breed, Union Bank’s Social Responsibility E.V.P. Julius Robinson, Frankie and Maxwell Gillette, and Marin County Deputy District Attorney Otis Bruce.
Also attending were Giants announcer Renel Brooks-Moon and husband Tommy Moon, Ghana-born architect and Lennar Urban VP Kofi S. Bonner, General Council for Salesforce Lola Oladunjoye, ABC-TV anchor Carolyn Tyler, and technology advisor, angel investor Jill Ford, Farah and Victor Makras, philanthropist Deirdre Luddington, Fireblaze CEO Chuck Baker and wife Celessa, President of Williams Capital Management Dail St. Claire, wealth managers Gail Covington and Barry Zuckerman, Co-Founder of GridSpeak E. David Ellington, Jill and Stephen Davis, Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Clem Jones, and attorney Ayanna Jenkins-Toney in a curve-hugging and fierce red gown.
Kimberly Brandon, Brenda Wright, Deborah Santana, Wilkes Bashford – Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard
Dave Clark and J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark – Monet and Larry Lee
Derrick Muhammad and London Breed – Carolyn Tyler and Gary Love
Gloria and Julius Robinson – Dr. Clem Jones and Yvonne Liu
Donald White and Lillian White – D’wayne Wiggins
Belva Davis – Neshormeh Lindo
Guillermo Montes and Lisa Montes – Valerie Lewis and Otis McGee
Also in attendance were the creative set including Screenwriter Producer and Alfre Woodard’s husband Roderick Spencer, Neshormeh Lindo, Soprano and Opera Noir founder J. Rosalynn Smith-Clark, dapper music producer and composer D’wayne Wiggins, the always stylish Sonya Molodetskaya, fashion icon Joy Venturini Bianci in stunning fuchsia, documentary filmmaker and philanthropist Susan Brown, music industry veteran Kitsaun King, Founder of UNION MADE CREATIVE Keith Cartwright and wife Anju, Amanda Wright, Dr. Brenda Wade, and the Publisher of San Francisco Magazine Steven Dinkelspiel.
Paula Harrell and Christie James – Claudia Juestel, Stacey and Lawrence Bancroft and Beata Piasek
Malia Cohen and Warren Pulley – Leslie Kana and Carl Hackney
Timothy Weldon and Vianna Briscoe – Alvin Huggins and Christy Huggins
Kitsaun King and Gregory Robinson – Roberta Burroughs and Terry Collins
Ingrid Roseborough – Tyra Fennell and Obaid Khan
Rick Nagore and Tracy Curtis – Loretta and Morris Walker
Sherron and Sean Boyea – Anju and Keith Cartwright
After dinner guests enjoyed an extensive concert by eight-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Ledisi and then moved to the romantic Garden Court to join a soulful line dance to the stylings of The World Famous Rick and Russ Show.
One thing is certain — MoAD supporters know how to party, and I was honored to have joined them once again in celebrating the institution’s achievements!