Cavaliers To Honor Clevelands Own African-American Entertainers for Black Achievement Night

CLEVELAND, OH - February 9, 2010 - As part of their Sixth Annual Black Heritage Celebration (BHC), presented by State Farm, the Cleveland Cavaliers will pay tribute to three of Northeast Ohio’s own entertainers on Thursday, February 11th when the team takes on the Orlando Magic at 8:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. This year’s Black Achievement Night, presented by PNC Bank and Time Warner Cable, will honor the following individuals with a special on-court ceremony for their accomplishments and contributions in the entertainment industry:

  • Vanessa Bell CallowayVanessa Bell Calloway is a Cleveland native and a multi-talented actress who’s worked on stage, screen, and television. Her work has garnered her seven NAACP Image Award nominations and she currently has a recurring role on TNT’s Hawthorne RN starring Jada Pinkett Smith, and will be seen guest starring on Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne. Recently Calloway guest starred on CBS’s Cold Case and will star opposite Charles S. Dutton in an independent feature entitled The Effect due to be released in 2010. She has appeared in such films as Lakeview Terrace, Biker Boyz, What's Love Got To Do With It, Coming to America and Crimson Tide and was the lead female voice in the animated feature Bebe's Kids. Calloway, an accomplished dancer, was cast in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls.
  • Nathaniel AyersNathaniel Ayers is a Cleveland native and American musician. Ayers played the double bass and attended the New York’s Juilliard School on a scholarship as a bassist, while being one of the few African-American students at that time. In his third year, he suffered a mental breakdown and was institutionalized with the condition of schizophrenia. After coming back to Cleveland for treatment, he moved to Los Angeles where he ended up living on the streets of Los Angeles playing half-broken instruments (such as the violin and cello) on street corners. His story became highly popular in numerous newspaper columns, a book, and a 2009 film adaptation, “The Soloist,” which starred Robert Downey Jr. as a journalist, who tries to help Mr. Ayers, played by Jamie Foxx, get back on his feet.

To conclude the Sixth Annual Black Heritage Celebration, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in partnership with “The WORD” Church,” under the spiritual leadership of Founder and Senior Pastor R. A. Vernon, will host Gospel Night as part of the church’s “Saturday Night Live” service and a FREE gospel concert featuring gospel legend CeCe Winans after the service at 8:00 p.m. Last season, Gospel Night at “THE WORD” Church featured a concert with the Grammy-winning duo Mary-Mary. For more information, visit