By Kia Croom
Jerrold Hatchett, known and loved throughout the Richmond community as “the Godfather,” celebrated his 60th birthday with a benefit for the Juneteenth Family Day, Parade & Festival that will take place this summer.
The birthday celebration, attended by more than more 600 of Hatchett’s co-workers, relatives and friends, was held Feb. 24 at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond. Many came dressed in Harlem Renaissance attire, in keeping with the event’s theme, “A Fresh Taste of Old Harlem.”
The evening featured a procession led by the Godfather along with family to the James Brown classic “Super Bad.” Rev. George Brown, Vice President and Chaplain of the National Brotherhood Alliance, gave the invocation. Dalesia Ross, a youth from the Richmond community performed a praise dance.
Senator Loni Hancock and her husband Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates were present to honor Hatchett. The Godfather was moved to tears as Hancock described their longstanding friendship and recognized him for his civic involvement and philanthropy.
Lynette Sweet, BART District 7 Board Member, presented Hatchett with a BART proclamation, and Congressman George Miller gave Hatchett a plaque that named him Godfather of the 7th District.
During the Roast & Toast, Joe Lorenz of Chevron Richmond Refinery, Joe Fisher of Fisher Realtors and Hatchett’s daughter Cherrylle Hatchett affectionately and humorously honored his personality, reputation and generosity.
The event was sponsored by the National Brotherhood Alliance, Craneway Pavilion and the Richmond Berkeley Courtyard Marriott. Supporters included Richmond Sanitary/Republic Services, Mechanics Bank, the Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC), Greater Richmond Interfaith Program, Black Men and Women (BMW), Richmond Visitors & Convention Bureau and Richmond artist Fred Franklin.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.