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2019 TORCH AWARDS - SAVE THE DATE: APRIL 27, 2019

Andre Farr

Trailblazer Award

André is an entrepreneurial executive of 30 years in the business of sports and entertainment. Andre first gained acclaim as the President and CEO of House of Blues Sports; and again as the Chairman and CEO of the Black Sports Agents Association (BSAA).    After being invited by Rev. Jesse Jackson to attend a meeting of top black professionals in sport, André was elected Chairman of the Board for the Black Sports Agents Association. As an agent, Mr. Farr has guided the careers of several athletes including D’Marco Farr, a Super Bowl Champion with the St. Louis Rams as well as Alvin and Calvin Harrison, the Olympic Gold Medal twins. From the inception of the BSAA, Mr. Farr has sought to establish a higher standard of integrity for athletes and sports professionals; promote increased African-American and female representation among athletes; and create broader ventures with the professional leagues and franchises.  Andre’s impact on the sports and entertainment community has also awarded him the winner of the Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year by the Los Angeles Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

Mattie McFadden-Lawson

President’s Public Service Award

Mattie is a scholar, philanthropist and patron of the Arts whose primary goal is to make a difference in the world.  Her extensive work in the arts, women’s leadership, politics and political fundraising has established her as a philanthropic force to be reckoned with.  She currently serves as the President of the MML Group, which specializes in strategic partnerships for her clients and philanthropic advisory services. Recently, Mattie was appointed to the Smithsonian Institution/National Museum of African American History and Culture Steering Committee.  She was also appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts. Mattie’s philanthropic efforts know no borders, as she also serves on the Advisory Board of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute.  Mattie graduated magna cum laude with a Master of Arts degree from Howard University and she holds a M.P.A. degree with honors from Harvard University’s prestigious John Fitzgerald Kennedy School of Government.

Michael Anderson Lawson

President’s Public Service Award

Michael currently serves as the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL), one of the oldest and most respected civil rights organizations in the United States dedicated to providing economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for underserved communities in the Los Angeles area. Prior to his appointment as President & CEO of LAUL, Michael was nominated by former President Barack Obama to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Michael received his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and has held positions of significant responsibility on numerous charitable, educational and administrative boards.

Mr. Quintin Primo

Living Legend Award

The incomparable Quintin Primo, III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago-based, Capri Investment Group, will be the recipient of the Living Legend Award.  Mr Primo is the owner of one of the largest minority owned invest firms in the United States.  Under his leadership, the mission of the Capri Investment Group is to improve overlooked communities.  In 2006, Capri Investment Group purchased Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza, a Los Angeles regional mall.  As a result, the Capri Investment Group is at the heart of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza investment project. In addition to the upgrades already made to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, the projects on the horizon include building a 400-room hotel, a 10-story office building, a new grocery store and much more. Mr. Primo and his team are leading this project which will change the quality of our community and the quality of lives for many that live in the Baldwin Hills and Crenshaw area.  Despite Mr. Primo's national and international projects, he is also active 

in civic and charitable organizations. Most notably, he serves as Chairman of The Primo Center for Women and Children, a transitional shelter serving the homeless. 

Wendy Racquel Robinson

Co-Founder - Amazing Grace Conservatory

Wendy Raquel Robinson, NAACP Image Award recipient for “Best Actress in a Comedy Series”. is known for portraying groundbreaking roles as ambitious, leading women on television. This multitalented woman is also the successful business owner of Amazing Grace Conservatory (AGC) providing a theatrical training institute reaching youth and young adult artists in the community; offering various entertainment and theatrical opportunities for youth and young adults interested in the performing arts here in Los Angeles, California. A cum laude graduate of Howard University, Robinson’s artistic background in acting, directing, writing, and choreographing displays her passion for performing arts. She continues to strive for excellence in her career as an artist, scholar, and mentor. Ms. Robinson is known as one of Hollywood’s busiest actors in the entertainment industry and lets no grass grow under her feet. With her incandescent personality and upbeat spirit, she has been the recipient of various awards for her acting 

and has received several accolades for her outstanding entrepreneurship and for her work with youth in the community from various organizations and city/county dignitaries. Her passion for educating youth interested in the performing arts allowed her and the late Tracy Coley to create a platform for youth. Established in 1997 as All God’s Children, and now known as Amazing Grace Conservatory is a nonprofit, 501(c)3. AGC has grown from 75 students to initially serving over 300 students annually and thousands since its inception. Coley unfortunately passed away in 2004, but Robinson happily continues the dream today. The NAACP award-winning program teaches acting, voice, dance, spoken word, and media arts to help youth realize their potential. AGC engages students in socially relevant material, which helps them find their voice. Robinsons says that AGC is mostly about healing through the arts. She is quick to proclaim, “We change lives; we really do, and I feel like it’s a ministry.” Her mission for Amazing Grace Conservatory is “to train and develop emerging artists and at-risk youth in the performing arts. To this end, offering well-rounded, culturally enriching educational programs in an environment that nurtures artistic and professional growth.” Ms. Robinson has transformed the lives of thousands of youth in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. Hearts are healed, lives are changed at AGC. To learn more, watch https://youtu.be/9QyJTcxeufA Many AGC alumni have gone on to achieve success in tinsel town in film and television including Issa Rae (“Insecure”, “Awkward Black Girl”), Aldis Hodge (“Underground”, “Leverage”) and Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight,” “The Equalizer,” “Native Son”), Elle Varner (Grammy-winner singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist) just to name a few. AGC alumni have also gone on to be producers, lawyers and in politics.

Ms. Robinson continues to reveal the myriad of talents she possesses, through hosting appearances and as a distinguished keynote speaker to various audiences that range from women empowerment symposiums to inspiring young people from all walks of life to seek brighter futures for themselves and their families. Robinson’s hosting career includes, but is not limited to the 2012 BET Awards Post-Show, 2015 Soul Train Post-Show, 40th Anniversary of the Freedom Awards (Memphis); two-time Co-Host of the Los Angeles “Gospel Goes to Hollywood”; Co-Host for “The Steve Harvey Morning Radio Show” and “The Tom Joyner Morning Show; celebrity guest co-host of “The Real”; celebrity co-host of the 2018 NAACP Theatre Awards; celebrity host of the “All State Gospel Superfest” in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Chicago, Dayton, OH and back by popular demand this June for the “African Pride Gospel Superfest”. Recently, she co-hosted the “2019 Trumpet Awards” and the “2019 International Women of Power”, just to name a few. Ms. Robinson is a practitioner of her craft and is ready to take on any challenge. The sky is the limit and the boundaries are infinite for Wendy Raquel Robinson. This summer, her artistic talent will bring to life, “Mrs. P” in a new role on ABC’s new bold, provocative drama, “Grand Hotel” set as the only family-owned hotel left in Miami Beach. The series revolves around the colorful lives of the hotel staff and its wealthy, beautiful guests who bask in luxury, but not without scandals, financial debt and explosive secrets that hide beneath the flawless exterior. “Grand Hotel” is executive produced by Eva Longoria and written by Brian Tanen. The show premieres Monday, June 17, 2019.