Loni Love and Rob McConnell of Toyota North America during her fireside chat (Photo credit: Porsha Monique for Steed Media)
The ninth annual Multicultural Media Luncheon took place during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) press week on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit.
This year’s keynote speaker was Loni Love, an Emmy and NAACP Image Award winner and co-host of the nationally syndicated daytime talk show “The Real.” Love was an electrical engineer in the automotive industry prior to starting her career in entertainment.
Speaking on the topic of “Using Social Media to Amplify Your Brand,” Love was humorous and relatable during her keynote address. She recalled her humble beginnings working in the auto industry, starting out on the assembly line at General Motors after high school.
“When I first graduated high school I didn’t go to college,” she recalled. “I got my first job at a General Motors facility. That was back in the day, and I was working 18 hours, Monday through Saturday, and 10 hours on Sunday. Everybody was buying cars back then. We were making 500 cars a day, but I was making bank! I was 17 years old, making bank. You couldn’t tell me nothing.”
Love, who is also a Detroit native, expressed her gratitude to the General Motors team that was present in the room for awarding her a scholarship to help her pursue her dream of attending Prairie View A&M University in Texas.
The annual Multicultural Media Luncheon — an Academy Award-style program that honors ethnic groups for their achievements in the automotive industry — was created by Cheryl Ajamu of the Ajamu Group LLC in Southfield.
One of the goals of the event is to celebrate diversity and excellence in the auto industry. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s luncheon will go to the Haitian charity Project Medicare and Orchard Children’s Services, a foster care and adoption agency based in Southfield.
This year’s honorees, listed below, included executives from the top automakers including Lincoln and Ford Motor Company, Lexus and also ad agency Walton Isaacson:
- The Digital Media Campaign of the Year: “Build Your Legacy,” Lincoln and Ford Motor Company
- Visionary Award for Design and Engineering: Earl Lucas, chief exterior designer, Lincoln and Ford Motor Company
- Multicultural Marketing Award: Shauna Williams, executive producer, Walton Isaacson, Lexus’ “Long Live the King” campaign
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Aaron Walton, co-founder, Walton Isaacson
This year marks another successful and sold-out event for the Ajamu Group. High-ranking executives from the automotive and advertising industries and also the business community were in attendance.
In addition to Love and Ajamu, other speakers at the event included Bill Perkins, Robin Kinnie, Tiana Dudley, Anu Prakash, Elias Gutierrez and Dr. Anitra Manning. The program was moderated by Khary Turner.