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Aretha headlines N’Digo gala


Aretha Franklin

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Updated: June 9, 2012 8:02AM

N ’DIGO GETS MUCH RESPECT: The Legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will be belting out her classic hits at the N’Digo Foundation’s annual gala June 30 at the Arie Crown Theater. The theme this year is “Legends de Soul,” and the impressionable Impressions will be the opening act. The group’s lead singer, Reginald Torian, has a new single out, “Woke From a Dream.” There will also be a “Blue Light-Old School” party afterward. Tickets for the concert and party can be purchased at If you are interested only in the concert, go to

For the first time in the 17-year history of the gala, past student scholarship winners will be featured. “Our children are very challenged these days, and I am very proud of our past N’Digo scholars, and we will reach back to showcase some of them and where they are now,” says N’Digo founder Hermene Hartman.

THE BLUES NEWS: Congrats to Chicago’s legendary radio personality Pervis Spann a k a “The Blues Man,” who will be inducted into the National Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn., at the 33rd Annual Blues Music Awards. Spann, 79, got the name Blues Man after becoming one of the first DJs at WVON radio back in 1963. In fact, he was the first one to dub Franklin “The Queen of Soul” and has kept the genre of blues alive for over 50 years. Some of his closest friendships are with blues legends such as B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland and many others. Spann, who became a co-owner of WVON radio, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, retired from broadcasting in 2010, but still shows up at the station every day. Pervis’ lovely daughter, Melody Spann Cooper, who runs the station, will accept the award on his behalf.

HANDSOME “CSI:NY” actor Hill Harper will appear at the 5th Annual “National Train Day” event May 12 at Chicago Union Station. Hill, also a best-selling author, wrote parts of his latest book, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place, during his trip on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief from L.A. to Chicago in 2010.

CONGRATS TO WLS-Channel 7’s Karen Jordan and husband, WMAQ-Channel 5’s Christian Farr, who are expecting their first baby in August . . .
Channel 7’s Kathy Brock talks about her life on “Windy City Live” Wednesday . . . Congrats to France Langan, director of sales & marketing for the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, on being named chairman of the River North Business Association . . . WFLD-Channel 32’s Robin Robinson emceeing the Perspectives Charter Schools benefit Wednesday.

MILITARY HERO and congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth will be honored at Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event Wednesday at the James R. Thompson Center. WMAQ-Channel 5’s Nesita Kwan and Channel 7’s Eric Horng will emcee . . . The Smithe Brothers’ first annual “Run Home Chicago” will benefit the Primo Center for Women & Children on Wednesday.

STATE REP. LASHAWN Ford will be the recipient of the Westside Branch NAACP’s Outstanding Legislator award at their Freedom Fund Banquet May 12 at the Crowne Plaza, with Allison Payne and Art Porter emceeing. Ford also recently received a major award from the Illinois Department of Human Rights. CHEWCAGO:

Actor John Cusack and former Hawk Chris Chelios lunched separately at Rosebud on Rush . . . Steven Spielberg, Mellody Hobson and George Lucas dined at Gibsons last week . . . The Timberwolves Kevin Love ate at Mastro’s . . . Washington Nationals’ Mark DeRosa relaxed at RPM Italian . . .
Bulls/Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf dined at Ditka’s. RIHANNA:

After being named one of Time mag’s “Most Influential People In the World,” pop star Rihanna headed to a strip club last week where she “made it rain” with some strippers.

QUEEN LATIFAH will headline the annual Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival May 19 . . . Rapper/actress Eve and Denise Vasi are the latest cast members added to the sizzlin’ VH-1 “Single Ladies” drama.

HAVING CAKE: Former Gov. Jim Thompson, Chef Jackie Shen and belated to Holly Agra, Sarah Flenaugh and to golden seniors Hunter David Holmes and Jennie Mallis on turning 100. On Wednesday: Promoter Floyd Floyd.

Well, that’s Stella in the City!

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