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Nancy Wilson: Humanitarian, Heroine And Legend
2010 Recipient of the Brotherhood Crusade’s
Pioneer of African American Achievement Award

Nancy Wilson, song stylist and humanitarian, received the prestigious Pioneer of African American Achievement Award given by the Brotherhood Crusade at its annual dinner on November 5th, 2010 in Beverly Hills.

Wilson has a rich history of supporting causes that uplift and empower the disenfranchised to seek justice. During the Civil Rights Movement, Wilson marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with other illustrious entertainers such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee. Her association with the Brotherhood Crusade dates back to the early ‘70s, when she served as fund-raising and special events chair. Says Danny Bakewell, chairman of the Board and president of the organization from 1971-2005, “Nancy’s contributions really helped to propel the Brotherhood Crusade to new heights. She really understood the concept of self-help. This isn’t someone who just lent her name to a project, she showed up. She was very concerned about the plight of Black people in the world and she offered inspiration and hope to many.” Bakewell said that because of her philanthropy, many of the programs she helped support in the areas of health, education and financial literacy are now institutionalized within the funding guidelines of the Brotherhood Crusade. Additionally, organizations that received funding from the Brotherhood Crusade such as the Jenesee Center Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club and Bridgeback Sober Living, all have solid national reputations based on Wilson’s assistance. And, not only did Wilson lend a hand, but she brought several of her successful friends with her, including Cannonball Adderley, Peter Long, and her long time manager, John Levy. Concludes Bakewell, “She wasn’t a celebrity, she was a partner. She had a profound commitment. She is a heroine. I am proud to call her my friend, and am so honored to recognize her at this year’s event.”

When asked of her longtime manager, John Levy, why he associated Wilson with the Brotherhood Crusade, he responded, “Artists lending their visibility and support to causes in which they believe is a win-win situation for everyone, but there are a million good causes and you can’t support them all. When Danny Bakewell told me of his plans for a Black organization to help people help themselves and their communities, something I personally have always felt to be important, I did not hesitate, nor did any of my clients. We all knew how lucky we were to be successful and were happy to give back in any way that we could.”

Wilson’s demonstration of trust and faith in the Brotherhood Crusade is but one of the many relationships that she maintains based on shared values and goals. In fact, she and her manager, John Levy, have sustained a successful business partnership since the inception of her career in 1959 with no written contract – just a handshake. Says Levy, “My job was to understand my clients’ goals and help them to achieve their potential. In Nancy’s case that meant understanding the importance of family and community in her life, and working with her values in mind. Of course it’s always easier when you share those values.”

“We are so honored to recognize Nancy Wilson for her legendary musical and humanitarian contributions,” says Charisse Bremond Weaver, president and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade. “She is so deeply committed to enhancing the human experience and she personifies the spirit of my father, organization founder Walter Bremond, in her unwavering crusade for economic, social, political and moral justice.”
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