Written by | Ray Cornelius 

Black Enterprise’s 100 Anniversary Celebration & Awards Dinner was recently held in Atlanta during the magazine’s 2015 Entrepreneurs Summit. The highly anticipated gala is the pinnacle of the three-day conference and recognizes some of the nation’s top performing corporations and the high-profile CEOs that run them.

Second Honoree

 The Martin Automotive Group receiving their award

This year’s program honored a variety of organizations including David Grain (Grain Management), Ulysses Bridgeman Jr. (Manna, Inc.), Michael Martin (The Martin Automotive Group), Michael Lee-Chin (Portland Holdings Inc.) and music icons, Quincy Jones and Clarence Avant. The event also paid tribute to past BE 100 honorees, William “Bill” Mays and Atlanta business icon, H.J. Russell, who passed away over the last year.

Andie Young and Avant

 Ambassador Andrew Young speaking about Clarence Avant’s influence

The dinner  was hosted by CNN British news anchor, Zane Asher with greetings from Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr. and the city of Atlanta Mayor, Kasim Reed. Ambassador Andrew Young also gave a moving impromptu tribute to Clarence Avant, who is affectionately known as the “Godfather of Black Music.” Avant , who has been a staple in the music industry for well over 60 years, graciously accepted his award and the award of Quincy Jones, who was unable to attend.

Michael Graves Dr. Beverly Tatum

 Michael Graves with Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Tatum

Other highlights from the Summit were the Small Business Awards Luncheon. This event puts a big spotlight on the best small business leaders and emerging companies. This year’s honorees included Satori Interactive, as well Benjamin Young, CEO  & Founder of Nexercise. He picked up the AT&T sponsored, “Techpreneur of the Year” Award.

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Paul C. Brunson talking to Jermaine Dupri

The luncheon also featured a one-on-one conversation between media superstar Paul C. Brunson and music mogul Jermaine Dupri. During the discussion, Dupri talked about getting his start in the music industry as a child prodigy. He went on to talk about organizing his record label, So So Def and how working with such iconic music acts as Kriss Kross and TLC expanded his reach and influence.

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 Dupri encouraged business owners to continue doing what they loved and not worry about others

He also talked about how an unlikely encounter with Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds influenced his career and fueled his drive to become who he is today.  While he wasn’t so open about his infamous relationship with Ms. Janet Jackson, he did mention that his biggest regret in his career so far was being “hard headed.” He went on to admonish the careers of Janelle Monae and Chris Brown, calling both of them the “hottest artists” in the industry today.

Check out photos from both the BE 100 and the Small Business Luncheon below:

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 AT&T’s Elroy Cartwright bringing greetings during Small Business Luncheon

Hank Aaron

 Tiffni Gatlin of Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine with Baseball Legend Hank Aaron

Maja Sly

 “Cutting It In the ATL’s” Maja Sly posing with her friend

Andrew Young 2

 Ambassador Young talking about Clarence Avant

final honoree

 Michael Lee-Chin accepting his award

Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com