The co-screenwriter of Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ will headline event honoring WSU’s Colvin, Power 93.5’s Hitman Williams and Gordon Parks.
The Kansas African American Museum (TKAAM) will hold its 2019 Trailblazers Gala event at 6 p.m. Sat., Oct. 5, at the Hyatt Regency, sponsored by Cox Business.
Each year TKAAM honors three community leaders at the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony recognizing their perseverance and achievements. To reserve tables for the celebration, contact TKAAM at 316-262-7651 or purchase single seats online at TKAAMuseum.org.
The gala theme is “Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Present & Embracing Our Future,” and will honor Deltha Colvin, associate vice president for special programs, Wichita State University’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement; Greg “Hitman” Williams, program director and on-air personality, Power 93.5 Entercom Radio; and the late multi-platform artist Gordon Parks. Keynote speaker will be Kevin Willmott, University of Kansas professor, film director and Oscar-winning screenwriter.
Colvin, as longtime director of Upward Bound, has assisted thousands of students to graduate high school and obtain college degrees. Colvin also monitors the TRIO programs and writes grants to get services for students who may need the help. Her programs serve limited income, first-generation students, students with disabilities, and students in foster care. She says WSU has more TRIO (10) and GEAR UP (6) programs than any postsecondary institution in the country.
Williams is one of the most well-known voices in Wichita, growing up and spending most of his 40-plus professional years on radio airwaves here. Under his leadership, starting in 2000, Power 93.5 has been one of the city’s longest-running and one of the country’s top-rated contemporary music radio stations. He’s won national awards for his work. Williams has also regularly used his platform to help charitable causes and people in need.
Parks (1912-2006), a native of Fort Scott, Kan., and the son of a farmer, gained fame as a photographer with the popular magazine Life. Later he became Hollywood’s first major African-American director, making “The Learning Tree,” based on his own book, and the first version of “Shaft,” which sparked the Blaxpoitation genre. He was a Civil Rights activist, co-founded Essence magazine, composed music, painted, and was a best-selling author. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his film “The Learning Tree.”
Keynote speaker Willmott is a longtime independent filmmaker and film professor at the University of Kansas. He’s gained international acclaim as a screenwriter for Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” and “BlacKkKlansman,” for which he won an Academy Award.