MARIAN ANDERSON AWARD honoring Bill Cosby, behind the velvet rope

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby was honored with the Marian Anderson Award for his work in encouraging academic achievement and calling for parents to raise responsible children. Cosby received the award and an unrestricted $50,000 prize at a ceremony Tuesday at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Pa Marian Anderson Foundation An African-American, Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid twentieth century. In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. Their race-driven refusal placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level usually only found by high profile celebrities and politicians. With the aid of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, in 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.
Reporter Kristie Gonzales from ABC6.
Maria Papadakis and her mom look stunningRich Przywara and Meredith Sossman
The cocktail reception was held in the grand hall lobby of the Kimmel center. It’s the pre-event like this, and the dinner that usually makes up the bulk of the money for the prize money.
Councilwomen Blondell Reynolds-Brown’s assistant Jason Lewis puts down reading material at her table for her guests. The dining area was designed for this event by Evantine Design
Blondell had two tables full of guests, which helps offset the costs of the event.
Girl rocking some color, with lots of blues in the audience too. Many of the cocktail guests were politicians, business owners, executives, representing local colleges and spouses.
Council women Jannie Blackwell
The Tinari Clan: Nino, Carol, Mia and Nina with Dave Fisher who will officially be part of the family when he and Mia marry next month. Carol and Nina are both on the Board of the Marian Anderson Foundation.
Guest, Tricia Wellenbach, Karen Lewis, Executive Dir. Of Avenue of the Arts, Melanie Johnson, CExec. Dir City Representative Office and Judge Majorie Rendell

CBS3’s Natasha Brown was on hand to do the reporting
The press lines up in preparation for their shots of Bill Cosby. The other guest performing in the show do not walk the “red carpet”, which is disappointing. The press was impressive, representing Snapglow,, Daily News, Metro, Black Pro Network, Dateline Philly, Suburban Paper, Tribune, Getty, Splash, Philly Style, Philly Magazine, CBS3, ABC6 and NBC10 (& me Philly Chit Chat, Photo Agency WENN, Philly Inq Michael Klein’s column, and my new column in Philly Magazine “The Philly Post – On the Town with Hughe Dillon”.)
Councilwomen Blondell Reynolds-Brown and her guests
I met this sweet women who was so excited to be at the Kimmel Center for the first time ever. She had seen the write up and was so excited to see Bill Cosby in person again. The last time she had seen him was when he spoke at Central High High School, a school they both graduated from a year apart. Lois Kukcinovich. She has a facebook page too, it’s a wonderful means to keep up with all her grandchildren’s activities. so sweet and stylish too.
Cosby gave special thanks to Gavin White, longtime Temple University track and football coach whom he credits with giving him an athletic scholarship to Temple. Here he is on the left as Bill Cosby, who’s sporting at Temple Univ tshirt
Bill Cosby addresses the crowd before dinner. It was an odd placement for the podium, but makes a great picture. Pamela Browner White in a fabulous dress by Melani von Alexandria, who we met last year at the Philadelphia Fashion Show.
The Cos meets the press. For Philly it was like shooting Madonna and the press turn out represents this, unfortunately outside of Philly these photos did not get picked up. (As promised soon I will discuss the business of photos and which ones sell, get placed or die on the vine.)
Mr Huxtible is done his remarks and heads back to his dressing room for his big night. As I reported in my first column for Philly Mag, which appears Mondays & Thursdays, Bill Cosby skipped the fancy dinner and had a primo hoagie and Avian water for dinner.
Former Mayor John Street
Dinner is done and Nicole Cashman thanks her associates for a job well done running the dinner event and bringing in the press to cover the first half of the big night. Pictured Left to Right. Susan Norcross, Nicole Cashman, Ellie Kosarek, Ashley Schaeffer and Casey Cashman
James DePriest after conducting The Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr DePriest is the nephew of Marian Anderson.
Denyce Graves. So amazing and gracious. She travels with a humidifier and whenever she’s in her dressing room it is on. Before the show she chowed down on fruit and Avian water.
Lizz Wright performs for Bill Cosby. The first time he heard her was at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 2003, reports Michael Klein.
Thomas Wilkins is Music Director of the Omaha Symphony, a position he has held since 2005. Additionally he is Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Friends with Bill Cosby he was honored to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra at this special event. (Please support the Philadelphia Orchestra. This weeks program is the Rite of Spring, and seats are as low as $40. Treat yourself.)
David Brenner’s famous profile
Boyz II Men, so hot, so good
“I want to pay tribute to the guys who have stayed at home as opposed to guys who went on the road.” In quick order, Moran impressively landed tenor sax man Bootsie Barnes (an elementary school classmate of Cosby’s), alto sax man Tony Williams (also a buddy), drummer Mickey Roker, bassist Lee Smith, pianist Don Wilson, and tenor sax man Tommy Grice. (via Michael Klein) Drummer Mickey Roker still plays every weekend at Ortliebs in Northern Liberties.
Mayor Nutter awards Bill Cosby with the Marian Anderson Award. Having the telepromters on the podium convinced me to take the photo not from the front of the stage but from the side where many of the photographers were standing for the past 3 hrs. The white puff of hair is Bill Cosby’s daughters Erin.
The crowd at the Kimmel center
Bill Cosby during his long winded 45 minute thank you speech covering his childhood, living in the projects, aspiring to do something with his life. (The speech was neither inspirational or very funny. I felt sorry for Pamela Browner-White and Chita Rivera who stood throughout the speech.)
But I was glad I stayed cause in the end I got some of my favorite pictures of the entire night including this one.