Jeffrey Osborne, Angela Bassett, Stephanie Mills, Deniece Williams, California Assemblyman Mike Davis

*On Saturday February 26, 2011 renowned actress Angela Bassett, and recording legends Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, and founding members of the O’Jays, Eddie Levert and Walter Williams Sr., were the honorees and recipients of the 2011 Living Legends Awards held at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.

Hosted by California Assemblyman Mike Davis, the ceremony was well attended by many public figures including the Honorable Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and the Honorable Judge Craig T. Strong of Detroit Michigan.

What a night it was as Waters expressed her deepest appreciation for the contributions the honorees made to our culture, and the stellar tribute performances by Kenny Latimore, Deniece Williams, Side Effect, and many others. The honorees themselves gave outstanding performances to the audience’s delight – including Bassett who gave an awe-inspiring recital.

A statement from Davis’ office said in part: “The theme this year is ‘African Americans and the Civil War’. The African American experience is an example to all Americans of what can be accomplished through hope, faith, determination and hard work.” It went on to say, “African Americans have helped shape and define today’s entertainment culture as a result of strong spirituality and profound rhythm inherited from African ancestry.”

The O’Jays are best known for their blockbuster hit “Love Train”; Mills for her Grammy award winning pop ballad “Never Knew Love Like This”; Bassett for her performance in the Ike & Tina Turner story “What’s Love Got To Do With It”; and Osborne for “On The Wings Of Love”. In his acceptance speech Levert said, “To be a role model…to do something that has a purpose and has an ending that’s positive…this is what we’re about, this is what I do, and this is what I will be doing until the day I’m gone.”

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub.) www.amazon.com. Visit the author at www.editorialbylarry.com.

The O'Jays' Eddie Levert and Judge Craig T. Strong

Cornelius Grant, Ruth Robinson and Larry Buford

Publicist Ron Carter and Cornelius Grant