Ronald McDonald, Allen Norman, Honoree Audrey J. Bernard, Don Thomas

*McDonald’s New York Tri-State area restaurants kicked off Black History Month by honoring 17 Black Media Legends who have impacted the Black community through their achievements and positive examples.

EUR’s lifestyles & society editor and fashion & beauty editor Audrey J. Bernard was feted along with 16 other Black Media Legends.  The celebration of the achievements and talent of the honorees took place at the tony Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue on Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A. Curtis Farrow, president & CEO, Irving Street Rep. Inc., welcomed the honorees and special guests to the event and introduced co-hosts Brenda Blackmon, co-anchor, My9 WWOR-TV; Pat Battle, WNBC HD New Jersey correspondent; and Anthony Johnson, ABC 7 reporter.

Additional warm greetings were delivered by Mason Smoot, vice president and general manager, McDonald’s New York Metro Region; Pete Samaha, president, PR Committee and McDonald’s Owner/Operator; and Harry Staley, president, Black McDonald’s Owner/Operators Association.

A. Curtis Farrow, Don Thomas, Honoree Audrey J. Bernard, Tom Watkins, Pete Samaha

In addition to Ms. Bernard, others feted included Sade Baderinwa, WABC-TV; Fred “Bugsy” Buggs, 98.7 Kiss FM;  Imhotep Gary Byrd, WBLS/WLIB; Brian Custer, SNY; Tim Daughtry, FoxTV; Lewis Dodley, NY1; Funkmaster Flex, HOT97; Ed Gordon, BET; Janice Huff, WNBC; Otis Livingston, CBS 2; Scott Pierce, My 9; James Shipley, WNBC; Craig Treadway, WPIX 11; Charles Williams, CBS 2; Malachy Williams, FOX 5/MY 9; and Kelly Wright, FOX News.

The award ceremony followed a delectable lunch.  Each honoree was introduced by a fellow colleague accompanied by a McDonald Owner/Operator and presented with a beautiful award.  Ms. Bernard, who also toils for the New York Beacon and the Harlem News Group newspapers, was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers by Don Thomas, the New York Beacon’s entertainment editor.  Thomas co-presented the beautiful Plexiglas award to his colleague along with McDonald’s Owner/Operator Allen Norman.

Upon accepting her award Ms. Bernard, resplendently dressed in animal print from top to bottom, thanked Irving Street and McDonald’s for the honor.  “I’m happy to say that after all these years, I still have a passion for chronicling the great accomplishes of Beautiful Black People,” enthused Bernard.  “My profound thanks to Irving Street and McDonald’s for this wonderful recognition.”

In addition to Norman, other McDonald’s Owner/Operator participants in the excellent program included Norman’s wife and co-partner Cortesia Norman, Nellie Thomas, Herb Thomas, Harry Staley, Annis Alston, Alisa Harrison, Camille Tyson, Dawn Mussenden, Johnnie Bailey, Ron Bailey, Marty Gillis, Bill Holder and Deborah Holder.

In addition to Thomas, other luminary presenters included Cheryl Wills, Anthony Johnson, Marian Etoile Watson, Charlie Simmons, Thomas H. Watkins, Dari Alexander, Charles Hobson, David Ushery, Mike Gilliam, Gwen Edwards, Jason Carroll, Bob Slade and Bill McCreary.

The inaugural Harold Dow Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to CNN’s Roland Martin by widow, Kathy Dow.  Dow’s career in journalism spanned over 3 decades.  He was best known for his work with 48 Hours.  Dow was honored as one of the 2009 McDonald’s Black Media Legends.  He died from complications of asthma on August 21, 2010.

While supplies last, commemorative posters and tray liners will be given away during Black History Month, with no purchase necessary, at the more than 600 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the Tri-State area.

The posters are enjoyed in homes and classrooms alike with many teachers using them to project positive role models of men and women who are not entertainers or athletes.

McDonald’s salutes the Faces of Black History was created to salute and honor Black history makers throughout the community and country from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to present day heroes and sheroes.  The campaign is celebrating 9 successful years.

(Photos by Ronnie Wright)