GM Hosted 16th Annual Black History Month Virtual Celebration

(Photo: Entrepreneurial Spirit Award: Melissa Butler, CEO/Founder The Lip Bar)

General Motors celebrated black excellence in the automotive industry and beyond on Friday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The all-virtual event hosted by Detroit-based entrepreneur and strategist, Hajj Flemings of Rebrand Cities featured rapper and community activist, Michael “Killer Mike” Render as the keynote speaker.


This year’s virtual event, presented by Cadillac and General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN), highlighted sensational talent and inspirational conversations. GMAAN is an employee resource group whose mission is to attract, develop and retain employees of African ancestry while engaging our communities to drive GM business priorities and performance. The annual GMAAN Awards ceremony allows the company and colleagues to celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding employees and provide an inside look into GM’s auto plans.

Cadillac’s theme “Be Bold. Be Fearless. Be Iconic.,” reflects the brand’s drive and new era – fearless, innovative and one where “we never stop pushing boundaries”.


DJ Ray and the beloved Detroit Youth Choir provided entertainment for the event with two fiery selections. Guests enjoyed a fireside chat featuring GMAAN emcee Hajj Flemings and rapper and community activist Killer Mike. The stirring 1:1 conversation covered his 20-year music career, social justice efforts, entrepreneurship and his relationship with General Motors and Cadillac.


“We look forward to once again celebrating the accomplishments and triumphs of Black culture,” says Tammy Golden, President of GMAAN and Executive Director of Workforce Strategy. “We are hopeful through our program that GM Employees, sponsors and supporters will be encouraged to use their voices and amplify opportunities, positivity and greatness.”


This year’s celebration honored individuals who have made an impact and strides in business, community, and their prospective industries. The 2022 honorees included:

Entrepreneurial Spirit Award: Melissa Butler, CEO/Founder The Lip Bar
Community Enrichment Award: Hajj Flemings, CEO/Founder Rebrand Cities
Excellence in S.T.E.A.M. Award: Dr. Tyrone Taborn, CEO Career Communications Group
Lifetime Achievement Award: Leon Richardson, President & CEO The Chemico Group
Marketing Excellence Award: Melissa Grady Dias, Cadillac Global CMO
Trailblazer Award: Michael “Killer Mike” Render, Cultural Icon & Community Champion

Melissa Butler and Juanita Slappy

Juanita Slappy, Head of Multicultural Marketing/Cadillac, awarded Detroit native Melissa Butler of the Lip Bar with the Entrepreneur Excellence awards recognizing entrepreneurial excellence. Slappy credited Bulter as a critical pillar in the community for black women-owned businesses.


Additionally, highlighted was Gerald Johnson (Executive Vice President, Global Manufacturing), Matthus Joshua Executive Director, Infotainment & Connectivity), Maurice Williams (General Manager, Sales Support, US Operations), Darrel Rounds (Lead, North American EV Infrastructure Strategy) as a part of the 2021 Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence.



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