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FOF STRIKEFEST THROUGH THE YEARS…

Looking forward to another incredible event at our 10th Annual STRIKEFEST on November 8, 2017!!!

In 2015, FRIENDS OF FULLER enjoyed the 8th year of celebrating good people at STRIKEFEST VIII, which was an incredible, sold out evening, attracting a record number of attendees. FOF Strikefest VIII, welcomed some really talented bowling competitors, great food, big fun and disco diva – Ms. Evelyn Champagne King, who lit up the Strikefest Stage! Evelyn had the whole house rockin’ and rollin’, ‘shakin and bakin’ (and the next day, some folks may have been achin’!) Other artists who rocked the Strikefest stage — the dynamic percussionist, Victor Orlando and a too cute quintet of teenage Temptations Tribute Artists, “Soulful Tributes.”.  As usual, the evening brought together old and new friends from film, TV and music celebrities, to business and medical professionals, to educators and politicians. The Honorable Maxine Waters took some time away from party business at the U. S. ‘State House’ to enjoy our Strikefest ‘House’ party. She was happy that one of her favorite charities, Challengers Boys & Girls Club and its President and CEO, Corey Dantzler, was being honored. Other guests included, Congresswoman Diane Watson, Freda Payne, Scherrie Payne, Dr. and Mrs. Daryl Houston, Dr. Donald Henderson, Producer/Director Oz Scott, Billy Davis, Sonny Porter, Jim Pickens, Jr., Obba Babatunde, Judy Pace, Eloise Laws, Roz Ryan, Vanessa Paul, Denise Gordy, who was also celebrating her Veteran’s Day Birthday, Rodney Gordy and of course, Berry Gordy with Eskedar Gobeze, other Gordy family members, and a host of others.

In 2014, STRIKEFEST VII brought many new Strikefest ‘friends’ and featuring, for the first time, four stage performances. First up, giving a very moving tribute to those we’ve lost from our Strikefest family, was the talented male, female singing duo of BIRDS THE BAND who sang, the moving, “One Last Dance.” Back by special request, thanks to his manager Ron, was the incredible guitarist, Eitaro SAKO performing a rockin’, solo rendition of STEVIE WONDER’S “Superstition,” after his bandmate, HAYMAN, experienced a pre-show emergency.
Grammy nominee and loyal STRIKEFEST attendee, STEPHANIE SPRUILL, performed her exciting club act! Then, the evening was taken over by our dear friend and vocalist extraordinaire, HOWARD HEWITT. As usual, he did not disappoint, singing songs from his days with SHALAMAR and beyond. Howard concluded by moving the crowd to their feet with his signature song, “SAY AMEN.” Among those seen enjoying the festivities were, the evening’s honoree, EmpowHer Institute’s Betty LaMarr, The Honorable Diane Watson, Robert Gordy, Rodney Gordy, Denise Gordy with James Perry, HAL Awards founder, Janie Bradford, Nancy Leiviska, Candace Mayerson, Dr. Daryl Houston, Cynthia Oredugba with husband, Dr. Olu Oredugba, Dr. Gail Jackson, actor Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Spaulding Settles, actress Dawn Lewis, author Kathleen Bradley who signed copies of her book, Anita Scott, James Pickens, Jr., Jai Jackson, Menformation’s Marcus Farrow and Sonny Porter with wife, Brenda, (Great job editing one of our videos Sonny!), former Motown and current GVR artist, Gene Van Buren, James Levine and partner, Larry Kimpel. One of the evening’s highlights came with the post-show remarks. Attendees were treated when Berry Gordy was called to the stage. In his delightfully witty, humorous style, Gordy spoke of his total enjoyment of Strikefest and the wonderful mix of old and new friends he’s come to expect to be gathered there. He took a few moments to single out a few, particularly Claudette Robinson, who he fondly teased, eliciting a big laugh from the audience. He then spoke very moving words about his late brother, the man for whom FRIENDS OF FULLER STRIKEFEST was created. He expressed great pride in his two nieces, who organize the much anticipated event each year and that he thinks their dad and granddad FULLER, would be very proud as well.

2013’s FOF STRIKEFEST VI, ended with delighted attendees once again, expressing how they were eagerly looking forward to next year! Headlining the show was the incomparible, THELMA HOUSTON, who worked the crowd into an absolute frenzy! Firing up the stage before Ms. Houston, was the incredible Hayman & Sako, a must see, rocking duo. Among the guests was, the gifted actor/producer/director and DADA founder, Debbie Allen, Congresswoman Diane Watson, who spoke glowingly from the FOF STRIKEFEST stage, as she kicked off the evenings events; talented actress, Judy Pace-Flood; Motown founder and producer of Broadway’s smash hit, Motown: The Musical, Berry Gordy, whose hit play’s touring company was currently criss-crossing the nation. Also, in attendance, Strikefest regulars, former Jobete V.P., Robert L. Gordy, Sr. and his beautiful wife, Theresa. Our beloved Theresa passed away the following summer and hearts still brake. Other guests last year and at past evenings were — STRIKEFEST III Honoree, Reverend Bill Minson and friends from Las Vegas; Diane and Larry Peacock, founders of T.J.’s Dream Team for Cancer Research, the foundation which honors their late son; STRIKEFEST IV Champion and publishing exec, Rodney Gordy whose son Christian, reigns as the undisputed champion of the evening’s Wii games; film animation entrepreneur, “MAKE MUSIC LA’s,” Kevin Bannerman, talented writer and three time STRIKEFEST champion, Larry Buford, MENFORMATION’S president, Marcus Farrow, Sonny Elzroy Porter and wife, Brenda; the dynamic Billy Davis; an array of iconic songbirds including, Billy’s beautiful wife and singing partner, Marilyn McCoo Davis, Freda Payne, Scherrie Payne, Eloise Laws, Motown’s “First Lady” and MIRACLES member, Claudette Robinson; country singer, Dariole; singer/author, Stephanie Spruill Brewster, of Spruillhous Music, who auctioned off an hour of her much sought after, vocal lessons along with her book! Nancy ‘Mom Foo’ Leiviska, mother of Redfoo, owner of the wildly fun, “LaFreak” wear. Of course, there are always to be found among the crowd, Gordy family members in abundance, including Denise, Berry IV, Terry, Desiree, Kiarra, Morgan and many more, with laughs, kisses and hugs galore, all having a fabulous time!

The STRIKEFEST V stage featured former Motown darling, Brenda Holloway, who wowed with her hits, especially “Every Little Bit Hurts.” Also that evening, industry veteran, Maxayn Lewis worked the crowd with a uniquely original version of THE SUPREMES standard, “STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE” and providing refreshing comic relief was the seasoned ventriloquist, Willie Tyler and his adorable pal Lester. Kicking off the show was crowd-pleaser, the phenomenal young saxophonist, Kiesha Potter.

Each year the STRIKEFEST event has been uniquely different from the others  and STRIKEFEST IV was profoundly memorable. Oprah Winfrey’s fantastic talent discovery, ABRAHAM McDONALD, was outstanding. The beautiful, tremendously talented PAYNE sisters, FREDA and SCHERRIE, were a huge hit, each doing their own thing, as only they can. In addition, TV’s young, a cappella singing sensations, THE BACKBEATS, proved to be incredible crowd pleasers. The group was over the top with excitement, after being introduced to BERRY GORDY, who seemed to enjoy their performance, as well as, that of the other artists.

At STRIKEFEST III our featured performer was the soulful, VESTA WILLIAMS, who smiled throughout the night, remarking what a great time she was having. She rocked the stage that night. We’ll always remember VESTA and the joy she constantly shared. That evening we were also treated to the intriguing TRACE DEVIE and his MICHAEL JACKSON, “MOONWALKER” REVUE.

The success of that first STRIKEFEST resulted in attendees urging that it be repeated within the next few months or certainly become an annual event. One year later, we introduced STRIKEFEST II, the sensational HOWARD HEWITT enchanted with every note he oozed. Later, he playfully pouted about not winning one of the interesting raffle prizes he’d been eyeing!

The very first STRIKEFEST, was held on October 9, 2008 a date falling between September 9th – Fuller Gordy’s birthday – and November 9th, the date he passed away. It was a magical evening, featuring awesome performances by three incredible Motown artists, TATA VEGA, the late TEENA MARIE and the late ALI OLLIE WOODSON. The dynamic TATA VEGA kicked off the evening, with a rousing performance that seemed to send those watching, into a joyous delirium. TEENA and ALI then each captivated the crowd with inspired performances and soundly mesmerized the crowd with a sizzling rendition of TEENA and RICK JAMES’ classic hit, “Fire and Desire.”

  • CHALLENGERS BOYS & GIRLS CLUB, President and CEO, Corey Dantzler was our 2015 FOF honoree. Challengers has positively impacted the lives of more than 40,000 youth, nearly all of whom live below the federal poverty level and come from single parent households. The organization was founded by Corey’s father, Lou Dantzler in 1968. We’re pleased to have them join the list of our deserving Strikefest honorees.

  • Ms. BETTY LaMARR, President and CEO of EMPOWHER INSTITUTE, was honored on November 5, 2014. The organization has inspired and improved the lives of young girls and women since 2003. Through a series of uniquely designed programs, the organization encourages, educates and builds self esteem. We are proud to welcome Ms. LaMarr into the family of FOF STRIKEFEST honorees.

  • THE MENFORMATION PROJECT, INC., president, Mr. MARCUS FARROW. The organization mentors and helps direct the lives of boys, ages 8 to 17 years of age, by teaching the 21 principles of manhood. They have made outstanding achievements in the South Los Angeles community.

  • THE LEAGUE OF ALLIED ARTS, a 70 year old African-American women’s organization, financially assisting talented students of the Arts. FRIENDS OF FULLER is proud to have assisted The League, in jointly awarding a continuing scholarship to gifted Juilliard music prodigy, MR. KRISTOPHER BOWERS.

  • TUDAY MINISTRIES, continues its mission of encouraging disadvantaged youth to strive for scholastic excellence. Founder, REVEREND WILLIAM MINSON, a Los Angeles resident, in the wake of the 911 attacks, traveled to New York City, to aid with the emotional healing of grieving 911 families and New York’s first responders. It remains an ongoing endeavor.

  • GBC-GIVING BACK CORPORATION founder, KEN SAGOES. The organization seeks to promote educational goals among youth and strives to raise the standard of excellence, by encouraging youth to foster a more positive attitude, approach to life and interaction with the community.

  • THE RHYTHM AND BLUES FOUNDATION. Established in 1988, the foundation is the premiere organization, financially assisting ill and aging Rhythm and Blues artists, many of whom presently are facing daunting challenges in today’s economy. Over the years, the RBF has lived up to its motto — “Preserving America’s Soul.”

FRIENDS OF FULLER (FOF) upholds the bowling and giving legacy of FULLER B. GORDY, business executive, mentor and caring humanitarian. It honors his legacy by recognizing individuals and organizations, who like Fuller, have established a track record of helping others and positively affecting our world.

Your continued support of FRIENDS OF FULLER B. GORDY is greatly appreciated. With your ongoing partnership, moving forward, we will continue to assist deserving humanitarians, while honoring the life and legacy of FULLER BERRY GORDY.

Karla Gordy Bristol

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