Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Walmart shine at Arkansas NAACP Image Awards event

Laz Alonso Patti LaBelle Munson Steed
Laz Alonso, Patti LaBelle and Munson Steed

If you haven’t visited Bentonville, Ark., then you’ve missed the new image of Walmart. Stars Laz Alonso, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight shined during the 45th NAACP Image Awards Viewing event hosted by the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and made possible by Walmart, One Solution and Procter & Gamble.

Walmart held one of the best Black History Month programs this year. As a sponsor of the 45th NAACP Image Awards viewing event, they rolled out the blue carpet for our most cherished and beloved superstars. And, GlobalHue CEO Don Coleman and Walmart Corporation executives in attendance were fully engaged in the celebration as well. Walmart’s black advertising agency of record, GlobalHue, is a testament to the retailer’s commitment to furthering diversity and advancement in the black community.

It’s easy to simply sponsor black events that will showcase black celebrities, particularly actors and singers, but Walmart takes it a step further and demonstrates its commitment to diversity by showcasing the queens of both entertainment and business, Knight and LaBelle. Teaming with Walmart, these iconic performers have developed products that have taken their careers to new heights. At almost 70 years old, LaBelle joyfully signed her cookbooks and smiled for the camera. She was greeted with a standing ovation by a thrilled crowd. She didn’t hesitate to take pictures with strangers – both LaBelle and Knight allowed me to kiss their forehead.

Walmart highlighted their commitment to the community in a first-class way. P&G, a co-sponsor, also deserves credit for re-energizing and continuing to support the My Black is Beautiful campaign.

The timeliness of the event could be seen by the additional superstars like DJ Nice, Elle Varner and Laz Alonso all had made the trip to Bentonville to support the new NAACP chapter. It was an honor to walk the blue carpet and be a part of Walmart’s history making undertaking.

As we all think about our own economics while headed to the cash register to purchase goods and services, be sure you are aligning with not just popular brands or retailers, but brands committed to change and leveling the playing field. Peace.

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