Yvette Nicole Brown, Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager, Anita Castille Among Honorees at L.A. Focus 26th Annual First Ladies High Tea


L.A. Focus Newspaper is pleased to announce the commencement of its 26th Annual First Ladies High Tea, scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 11 a.m. at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This distinguished event will feature an esteemed array of presenters, performers, and honorees, including Wendy Raquel Robinson, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Christina Elmore from the acting fraternity, Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass, Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Major, and gospel sensation Lena Byrd Miles.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown will be awarded the Spirit Award for her contributions. Anita Castille, Vice President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, will receive the Focus Award in recognition of her exemplary corporate outreach efforts. Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove will be honored with the “Gamechanger” Award, celebrating her impactful and transformative contributions.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized with the “Gamechanger Award” at the 26th Annual First Ladies High Tea, an event I look forward to each year,” said Kamlager-Dove. “Beyond the festivities and ladies turning out in all of their hats, this tea serves as a powerful reminder of the remarkable contributions women of faith make to our community. It also brings to light some of the urgent challenges faced by the district I represent, all the while providing scholarships to empower the next generation of gamechangers.”

The 2024 First Ladies Church honorees are Hanelory Molina of Restore LA Church, Shonta Hilton of Brister Memorial Baptist Church, Patricia Weaverof Atherton Baptist Church, and Karen Costonof Grant AME Church, for their service to the community and the work they do in their respective churches.

      “The First Ladies High Tea is absolutely one of my favorite events to host. It’s a deeply moving and immensely powerful experience and I am astounded by the remarkable women gathered in that room,” said actress Robinson, who will share hosting duties with KCAL reporter Jasmine Simpkins, who is also a regular on the KTLA lifestyle show, “L.A. Unscripted.”

      The 26th Annual First Ladies High Tea will be graced by performances from gospel sensation Lena Byrd Miles and Grammy-nominated soul singer Major. A significant highlight of the event will be the announcement of the winners of the L.A. Focus Annual Essay Contest. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship, while eleven runners-up will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to support their educational pursuits.

      The Afternoon Tea event is expected to host over 700 attendees and will offer a traditional Afternoon Tea menu. It is proudly sponsored by several esteemed organizations including the County of Los Angeles, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, CVS, Walmart, Compassion International, the United Faith Collaborative, Planned Parenthood, L.A. Councilmembers Heather Hutt and Curren Price, and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

      “The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is proud to be a sponsor of the 26th Annual First Ladies High Tea, which honors women of faith who have impacted the community in ways most don’t know,” said Latonya Bogin, Director of Partnership Development and Strategic Engagement. “Our commitment to the tea is part of a larger effort to partner with the faith community which we view as vital in our efforts to advance equity and inclusion as we work to build a stronger and greener Los Angeles.”

      Founded in 1998, this afternoon tea is a red-carpet affair for the Who’s Who of women in the church and the Black community, featuring celebrity guests, community leaders, and honorees that has become an annual tradition.  In the twenty-plus years since its inception, the tea has served to inspire women, both young and old, to join forces and create a movement of service towards each other, the communities in which they live, and God while also providing scholarships to at-risk youth and galvanizing the faith community around critical issues that are impacting it. 

      Past honorees include U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, KCAL Anchor Pat Harvey, award-winning actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, CeCe Winans, former California First Lady Maria Shriver, the late Cicely Tyson, Yolanda Adams, TV One founder Cathy Hughes, actor/activist Hill Harper and, to name a few.

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