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In recognition of Black History Month, the Ford-Employees African Ancestry Network presented its 36th Annual Black History Month Celebration on Friday at the Henry Hotel in Dearborn. Some 800 guests shelled out $60 for general admission or $150 VIP to enjoy the evening featuring Radio One founder Cathy Hughes as keynote speaker.

During the program, in a question-and-answer type format, the master of ceremonies, WDIV’s Evrod Cassimy asked Hughes’ advice on how to sustain an edge, keeping with the evening’s theme, “Sustaining Our Edge and Preparing for the Road Ahead.” She responded, “Be careful who you share your dreams with because well-meaning people who love you will give you bad advice because they don’t have their eyes on your prize, and can only see things from their perspective.” She went on to say that she had been denied 32 times when she made requests for a $1 million bank loan before she finally got the money to buy her first radio station.

The evening also included a soul food buffet with chicken, white fish, gumbo and all the fixings. Among the awards given were three Heritage Awards that went to Ford retiree (39 years) Steve Lewis, North American Manufacturing Business Office; Third District Circuit Court Judge Craig S. Strong; and Emmy-Award winning WDIV-TV news anchor Carmen Harlan.

The afterglow featured contemporary violinist Damien Escobar. The vision of the Ford-employees African Ancestry Network is to create a worldwide environment where people of African descent and other diversity constituents can maximize their contribution to Ford Motor Co., enjoy personal and professional growth, and provide the company a sustainable, competitive advantage.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of TheSocialMetro.com and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.

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