Friday, June 17, 2011

CHAT ROOM: In the News Room with Hermene D. Hartman

Correspondent: MG Media

Ms. Hartman, CEO / Publisher N'DIGO magapaper

Self-made media icon Hermene Hartman and her carefully crafted scholarship fund raiser is proud to present its 16th annual black-tie gala to raise money for deserving college students and recognize leaders who've excelled in their careers. The gala attracts a star-studded who’s who, and is Chicago’s most anticipated yearly extravaganza. This year’s event is a Tribute to Men, Sunday, June 19th (Father’s Day), Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue.

The N’DIGO Foundation is aligned with N’DIGO magapaper, a Chicago weekly featuring prominent political, corporate, religious and civic leaders. N'DIGO is credited with being the first publication to have President Barack Obama on the cover. This year's gala chair is Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The highlight of the evening will be a live concert performance by Grammy Award winning, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. The urban contemporary R&B crooner will be joined on stage along side his brother Kevon Edmonds. For tickets, 312.822.0202 or

MG Media: What was your concept behind starting the N'DIGO Gala almost two decades ago?

Hermene: I was responding to calls we received around August /September requesting help from students to go to school. Requests were being made for books, transportation, lodging, etc. After a couple of years I thought about having a glamour event for the purpose to honor our past, present and future. That's the thought on how the gala developed and grew. I wanted to present the best of us, with a classic entertainment performance.

MG Media: How many young people have attended college since the gala has been founded and how much money has been raised?

Hermene: We've sent about 300 students to school and only lost one to date. I can’t comment on the money raised, at this time.

MG Media: What has been your proudest moment thus far in relations to the gala?

Hermene: All of the galas have presented proud moments. Handing Mr. Sengstack of the Chicago Defender an award at the first gala was memorable. Publisher to publisher. History to future. He kissed me and it was a highpoint. I had his approval. It was one of his last events. When Johnnie Cochran received his award, he said he was too young to receive it, he was wonderful. And the year Muhammad Ali received his first award in Chicago was stunning. That was the same year, President and Michelle Obama chaired the event. It was a magical evening at Millennium Park.

MG Media: What has been the challenges, if any in preparing the gala year in and year out?

Hermene: Fundraising. We are happy to have had great sponsors and once a sponsor, they have stayed with us. WE need more money hands. Corporate sponsors have been fabulous. I would like for people to give scholarships in the name of their loved ones.

MG Media: What is your wish list for the gala, if you haven't accomplished already?

Hermene: The gala should be televised.

MG Media: What's the future of N'DIGO magapaper?

Hermene: Online, and television.

MG Media: What is your view on local journalism and do you think Black media will remain relevant and finally, how has the internet diminished mainstream media?

Hermene: Media is challenged right now, all of it, black and white, big and small. Creativity is now King. Media is in a state of change. All ideas are acceptable.

MG Media: How is the newly published book or poems doing, and have you been excited about the general public's response?

Hermene: Women love the book. It is moving forward. I need to do book signings and parties. Right now it is Gala Time!!

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