*Pam Grier one of Hollywood’s sultry screen sirens was honored at Cicada Restaurant downtown LA amidst pomp and circumstance. In the seventies, Pam Grier was undoubtedly every man’s fantasy much like Angelina Jolie is today. As the characters she portrayed such as Coffy and Foxy Brown, Pam was a pioneer as the baddest femme fatale to hit the screen. In her films you did not want to mess with Grier. She could shoot, kick, fight, punch and walk away looking sexy with her hair all messed, to tell the tale. She did not put up with abuse of any kind nor nonsense from any man nor woman for that matter.
As the years progressed Pam Grier has never lost her physical beauty, but it wasn’t until her recent tribute by the Wellness Community at the recent Champion of Challenge Awards did I realize what a beautiful spirit she truly is, inside; and learned that privately Pam Grier was battling for her life
Unknown to the masses Pam Grier was faced with gripping health issues discovering she had cancer, not once but twice. What started as a celebrated and exciting evening with a royal red carpet and enticing VIP reception in the penthouse suite with wine, assorted cheese and appetizers in a charming old world atmosphere at Cicada, segued into a stage, setting for a piercing tale and that was Pam Grier’s expose’ about her devastating bout with a killer illness.
A heroin on screen could she be a survivor in life? Is it kill or be killed. The answer is… survivor. As Pam Grier faced her audience and looked at many directly in the eye that included celebrities such as comedienne Luenell, actress/model Kathleen Bradley, actress Judy Pace, comedienne Annie McKnight, singer Tionne Williams, film star Xango Henry, Councilman Bernard Parks, R&B crooner Howard Hewett, singers Porscha and Betty Coleman, radio personality Lee Bailey, radio maverick Jeffrey Henderson, pretty model/actress Melissa Grimmond, event promoter Roland Wirt and others, Pam delivered a powerful personal account in a gentle but firm speaking voice about how she endured and survived with the help of alternative medicine and the help of The Wellness Community. Her testimonial evoked emotion and caused “Barker’s Beauty” Kathleen Bradley to weep openly. My own eyes were watery. All the noise of the party, jolly red carpet greetings and festivities became a quiet hush in the massive grand dining area, as Pam Grier spoke. Every now and again, Luenell, a devoted fan would burst out with a “power to Pam” cheer or two and break the silence.
The evening also highlighted PR maven and cancer victim, the late Pat Tobin. Her daughter Lauren and Tobin’s grandson were there to receive honors on behalf of Hollywood’s much loved publicist. I do remember how Pat adored her young grandson and brought him to the set of You Got Served because he was a B2K fan.
Pam Grier delivered a powerful message and that is to get examined early and fight the fear of knowing. She also has a prescription for healthy living. After her story, the evening resumed with merriment, music, food, drinks and fun, fun, fun.
On the upper balcony of the restaurant, Pam Grier took time to sign autographs of her new book “Foxy: My Life in Three Acts.” A silent auction was also presented.
Once a heroine, always a heroine, Pam is a fighter with a true pioneering spirit on and off-camera. She continues to be involved in projects that are of a revolutionary nature such as her controversial cable series “The L Word.”
“The Champion of Challenge Awards” was a monumental display honoring those well-deserved champions of life. It was a great night of recognition for a great lady of the screen.
Actor and voice over expert Keith David hosted the event.
Eugenia Wright is a former actress turned synciated columnist/publicist. You may write to her at [email protected]
All Photos: Vinni Ratcliff