DENNIS ARCHER JR. (from left), Fire Ball chair, is pictured with fellow chair Hiram Jackson and Judge Greg Mathis, honorary chair. -Andre Smith photo
Those who attended the Fire Ball gala, held Aug. 12 at the museum, were greeted to a red carpet and enjoyed cuisine from some of Metro Detroit’s trendiest restaurants while mixing, mingling and dancing with area tastemakers.
Famed rap artist D-Nice was a special guest DJ for the gala, spinning a mix of currents hits and hip-hop classics. Models with gold body paint strolled the museum grounds, adding to the vibe.
Dikedi Enyia, who was attendeding the Fire Ball gala for the first time, said the event was impressive.
“It was a very lavish event and complemented the African American Museum considering that it’s such a treasure,” Enyia said “It was a high-end event. When you stepped into the place you felt that you were at an event of a different magnitude from the decor to the fashion. The DJ was amazing.”
Monique Brentley, another attendee, said the event was a great party for the cause.
“Fire Ball was a great opportunity to give back to the museum and enjoy yourself at the same time,” she said.
Fire Ball is organized by Contemporary Friends, a group of young professionals devoted to increasing the interest, awareness and involvement in the promotion and preservation of the African American culture, artifacts and arts among adults age 45 and under.
The group designs and implements a variety of events and programs to attract members and financial contributors. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the primary beneficiary of the group’s activities.
Organizers had not tallied the funds raised for MAAH at Fire Ball 2006 at press time. But in 2005 the event raised $150,000, and organizers believe that this year’s event will come close to matching that figure.
Hiram E. Jackson, founder of Contemporary Friends, said Fire Ball and Contemporary Friends are dedicated to making sure the museum continues to be a cultural pillar in Detroit and preserving the legacy of Dr. Charles H. Wright, the museum’s founder.
“The Contemporary Friends was established to create a new generation of givers in the African American community,” Jackson said. “We want more young people to take a leadership position as it pertains to the cultural community. The Fire Ball has been an enormous hit because it has created a unique opportunity for young African Americans to give to the Charles H. Wright museum.”
Tickets for the exclusive affair sold for $200 for individuals, $1,000 for a VIP Patron weekend all access pass, and $3,500/$5,000 for premium Cabana packages.
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and First Gentleman Daniel Mulhern, Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and First Lady Carlita Kilpatrick, Roderick D. Gillum and Dr. Linda Gillum, WDIV Channel 4 news anchor Rhonda Walker, and Judge Greg Mathis served as honorary chairpersons for the second annual Fire Ball Weekend.
The 2006 Fire Ball chairs included Dennis and Roberta Archer Jr., Vikki Hardy Brown, Chris and Lisa Jackson, Hiram and Kim Jackson, Kelly Major, Chad Rhodes, and Roger and Tonya Yopp.
Archer said the success of Fire Ball 2006 showed that Detroiters will support a worthwhile event.
“It’s always positive to see Black people taking care of their own assets,” said Archer. “It’s even more impressive to see young people acting as the catalyst. It just goes to show that when you produce a high-end event, people will support it.”
Sponsors included General Motors, Greektown Casino, Real Times Media, Courvoisier, Pepsi, and Comerica Bank.
For more photos from Fire Ball 2006, log on to www.michronicle.com.
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