Charles Matthews, Omega Psi Phi; L-Mani Viney, Kappa Alpha Psi; Rodney Davis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America; Dale Long; Alpha Phi Alpha and Lex Kelly, CEO of Stand Up Men, accept $20,000 from Michael Baisden to support Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Mentoring Brothers in Action African American mentoring program. (Photo Credit: Regina Fleming)

Popular nationally syndicated radio host Michael Baisden’s 9th Anniversary Celebration at the Apollo Theater drew a host of celebrities. From R&B crooner Johnny Gill to soul songstress Angie Stone, the event was filled will live music, a Battle of the DJs showdown and an opportunity to hang out with comedians George Willborn and Tyler Craig. Special guests included Rev. Al Sharpton and the parents of the late rapper Heavy D.

As part of the celebration, Baisden presented $20,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters to support the national mentoring organization’s Mentoring Brothers in Action program, a national partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters and the nation’s three largest African American fraternities — Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi and Omega Psi Phi. It also includes Stand Up Men, which rallies individuals to work together to address racial disparities, promote education and advocate for health and community development.

Dale Long, Alpha Phi Alpha; L-Mani Viney, Kappa Alpha Psi; and Charles Matthews; Omega Psi Phi; and Big Brothers Big Sisters Advisory Council member Rodney Davis joined Baisden on stage at the Apollo to accept the $20,000 donation and Davis presented Baisden with the first ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Inspiration Award. for his Michael Baisden Foundation contribution of more than $130,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters and its affiliates. Baisden has partnered with the organization’s Mentoring Brothers in Action African American mentoring program to engage more Black men to get involved in one-to-one mentoring to change the odds for African American boys. In addition, he supports the effort with hundreds of thousands of dollars in air time, special appearances, and through his social media platforms, which have nearly 550,000 followers.

Youth served by Big Brothers Big Sisters are predominately children of color from single-parent and low-income families or households where a parent is incarcerated, and many are children of military personnel. While African American boys are disproportionately represented among children waiting for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors, Black men make up only 15 percent of the nationwide mentoring network’s male mentors.

The Michael Baisden 9th Anniversary event also featured artists like Eric Roberson, Conya Doss, Vivian Green, Will Downing, LD and Karma II Band and Ty and Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Youth Choir and more. –yvette caslin

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.