Photo Flash: Friends Honors Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade with Lifetime Achievement Awards
Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum (Friends) honored legendary entertainers Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade with Lifetime Achievement Awards in Dance, Choreography and Acting during the California African American Museum's (CAAM) annual gala, An Artful Evening at CAAM. Hosted by actress CCH Pounder, other honorees included visual artist Phoebe Beasley, honored with the Visual Arts Award; and businessman Leon T. Garr with the Tom Bradley Unsung Hero Award for Real Estate, Business and Philanthropy. Scroll down for photos!
The elegant, black-tie affair was CAAM's largest fundraiser of the year and benefits CAAM's Mentoring Generations program, an umbrella program that provides innovative cross-cultural programming servicing K-12 students and families with children. Major components of the Mentoring Generations program are: Young Docent and Young Docent After-Hours, an employment training program for high school students; Buses and Docents; and Young Voices at CAAM.
Husband and wife Geoffrey Holder and Carmen de Lavallade are two very successful dancers and actors. Holder, a Trinidad native is also a painter and has had his art showcased in several major international exhibitions. Holder won two Tony Awards for his direction and costume design for the hit Broadway musical The Wiz. In addition, he has designed and choreographed ballets for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Pennsylvania Ballet. Holder was featured in numerous films including the James Bond film Live and Let Die and as the 7UP commercial's "UnCola Man." Holder is also known for his radio voiceovers, bearing his deep baritone voice.
A graduate of Los Angeles' Jefferson High School, Carmen de Lavallade is a dancer, choreographer, stage and film actress. Carmen de Lavallade studied other art forms including painting, set design, music and more. De Lavallade received her inspiration from her cousin, dancer Janet Collins, who first Black ballerina to dance with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It was with Holder that de Lavallade choreographed her signature solo, Come Sunday. A documentary entitled Carmen & Geoffrey chronicles their careers, life and marriage. She appeared as a key dance in Carmen Jones and was the creative muse.
About the California African American Museum: The California African American Museum (CAAM) researches, collects, preserves and interprets for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans. Chartered by the California State Legislature in 1977, CAAM is a state supported institution and a partner with the 501(c)(3) non- profit organization Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum. In addition to its Permanent Collection of over 3,000 objects of art, artifacts and historical documents, CAAM also presents 13 exhibitions and 85 programs annually and houses a research library containing more than 20,000 volumes, employs and trains high school students through its Young Docent program, and hosts in-house curated exhibitions and traveling exhibitions on a regular basis. The museum also tours CAAM exhibitions throughout California and the nation.
Photo Credit: Earl Gibson
Obba Babtunde and Carmen de Lavallade