Rapper Lil’Keke accepts award during a ceremony
Feature- Rapper Lil’ Keke receiving his award during the First Class Men Dinner at the Buffalo Soliders National Museum Oct. 23. Credit: Andre Kelly Photography

The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum radiated in elegance as La’Torria Lemon, CEO and founder of Lemon-Lime Light Media, orchestrated an event to pay tribute to the distinguished local men who are making significant contributions to their careers and communities. The inaugural “First Class Men of Houston Dinner” was a resounding success and a heartwarming celebration of the achievements of these notable figures on Oct 23.

As attendees crossed the threshold, they were met with an ambiance of green and gold. Lemon-Lime Light Media Airline’s flight attendants ushered the guests and honorees into a “First Class” experience, signifying a journey of connection, international culinary delights, the essence of brotherhood, and mentorship, particularly with the impact that the honorees have on young Black and brown individuals aspiring to follow in their footsteps.

The highlight of the evening was the recognition of 35 exceptional men whose significant contributions have left an indelible mark on Houston. Among the distinguished awardees were renowned record executive and former Destiny’s Child manager, Matthew Knowles, iconic figures in hip-hop, Lil’ Keke and Z’Ro, former NFL player Lemarcus Newman, and the former Houston Rockets announcer, Teryl “T.Gray” Gray, among others.

The event was made even more poignant when Lemon shared her perspective on the importance of celebrating the remarkable men in our community. She noted the importance for these individuals to receive the acknowledgment they deserve. Each awardee had made a personal impact on Lemon and had been a source of inspiration, motivating her to blaze a trail in the public relations industry.

One of the evening’s most moving moments was when Lemon recounted her own transformative experience at the tender age of 13, which served as the driving force behind this grand celebration. Following a distressing episode of bullying, her father, Anthony Lemon, decided to take her to 97.9 The Box, where she had a chance encounter with her idol, T.Gray.

This unplanned meeting with the legendary T.Gray went beyond securing an autograph; it became a pivotal moment in La’Torria’s life. In addition to offering words of wisdom and guidance, T.Gray uttered a prophecy that would shape her future: “You’re going to be successful.” These empowering words became the guiding light of her life, and ultimately the inspiration behind the “First Class Men of Houston Dinner.”

Reflecting on the evening’s success, La’Torria Lemon remarked, “This event has been on my heart for three years, and it was a privilege to make it a reality. This evening was special for everyone in attendance. I am forever grateful to be surrounded by these amazing men, whom I admire and respect.”

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...