The Cosmopolitan Review: March 9 - March 15

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 3/9/2017, midnight
The March winds have already blown in a beautiful clear night, allowing for a full range of stars to become ...

Greetings! The March winds have already blown in a beautiful clear night, allowing for a full range of stars to become visible to the naked eye. Remember to take a peak before turning in at night. You never know what you might see shining brightly down on you.

Also shining brightly was Susan L. Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement at the organization’s annual gala.  Held, most appropriately, at Cipriani 42nd Street, the event was hosted by smart and beautiful Tamron Hall of “MSNBC Live.” Joining Hall was Michael Eric Dyson, the distinguished Georgetown University professor of sociology. Dyson is also the best-selling author of “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.” 

Many of those whom we know and love filled the room to capacity to salute this year’s honorees. Receiving the National CARES North Star Award were Charles D. King, Russell Simmons and Lonnie G. Bunch III. King is executive producer of the critically acclaimed film “Fences” and founder and CEO of the firm MACRO. King was introduced by filmmaker and gala co-chair Crystal McCrary. Living legend Cicely Tyson, also in attendance and looking fabulous, couldn’t praise King enough for his dedication to supporting and presenting content that “explores the complexity and beauty of African-American, Latino and multicultural lives.”

Russell Simmons, who has long been a household name, could not have been more excited as he graciously accepted his award from the very talented Renée Elise Goldsberry, the Tony Award-winning actress from the Broadway hit show “Hamilton.”

Because of illness, Lonnie G. Bunch III, the driving force and founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, was unable to attend the gala to accept his award in person. However, he did give words of thanks and encouragement via video address to a raptured audience, who responded with an unrestrained round of applause.

Proceeds from the gala will be used to support the organization’s host of transformational mentoring programs, which provide a holistic, large-scale, trauma-informed mentoring support, proved to be successful in helping to transform lives. Each program is designed specifically for Black families living in poverty, who are struggling to achieve their education despite extreme social and economic disruption. Programs include The Rising: Elevating Education, Expectations and Self-Esteem; University for Parents; and HBCU Rising, which mentors middle-school children in STEM and literacy and prepares college students for career success.

Since its inception in 2006, National CARES has recruited, trained and connected more than 200,000 caring mentors to local youth, serving programs in cities across the United States, from Seattle and San Diego, to Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and New York.

Special guests at the National CARES gala event included the Rev. Jesse Jackson the Rev. Al Sharpton, Danny Glover, Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa DeLuca, Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Bethann Hardison, Hill Harper, Debra Lee and Stephen Hill of BET, Omari Hardwick, Maxwell, Bevy Smith, Kehinde Wiley, Terry McMillan, Suzanne Malveaux, Attallah Shabazz, eldest daughter of Malcolm X, Marc Moriale, Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater and many more.

Entertainment for the evening included a performance by 15-year-old jazz singer Mae Ya Carter-Ryan, who performed a rousing rendition of Nina Simone’s “Everything Must Change.” and Jon Batiste, pianist and musical director for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Batiste brought the evening to a close as he rocked the rafters with a “love riot” conducted in honor of Susan L. Taylor’s birthday.