N’digo’s annual gala is always THE black tie affair of well-heeled Chicago, and this year is no exception. The gala celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Soul Music with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and the Impressions at the Arie Crown Theater, June 30, 2012.
Rolling Out spoke to Hermene Hartman founder of N’Digo magapaper and the N’Digo Foundation.
What are some of the big plans that you have in store for this year’s NDIGO Gala?
Well, the show—Legends of Soul—I think we picked quality entertainment—some of the best. Aretha, of course, is called the “Queen”—and she is the Diva of it all. And the Impressions are the originators. But in addition to that, we are showcasing our students. What we did this year, for the very first time, is we are not noting various individuals; what we are doing is we’ve looked back at some of the students who we awarded scholarships and kind of looking retrospectively where they are now—once they received the scholarship to where they are now; what they are doing and what the scholarship meant to them.
How many scholarships have you awarded?
What has been the progress of the scholarship recipients? Are you pleased?
Tremendously so. I wish I could showcase each and every one of them, but obviously, we can not, but we have about 10 we are going to look at. We have some wonderful students. We have some wonderful stories to tell and the reason we are doing this is our kids are under siege. Our kids are under attack every which way—from walking down the street; riding a bike; sitting on a porch; going to school. But there are students who are doing something—trying to make something out of themselves—who are moving forward and I think as a community, all hands on deck, we need to support these kids in some kind of way to showcase and highlight and give them the stage for being the wonderful young people that they are.
Given the advancements in media technology — Facebook, Twitter, etc; how have you kept the pace in developing readership?
By using those innovative technologies; for example, with our scholarship this year all of our outreach was Facebook, online and email—all of it was through the Internet and we got more applications this year then we have ever received. We received nearly 500 applications this year.
To purchase tickets for the concert Gala contact the Arie Crown Box Office or TicketMaster at ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000. Gala tickets can be obtained by calling 312 822 0202.