The early evening air of Savoy crackled with excitement as some of Pittsburgh’s mover and shakers gathered to celebrate the success of self-made man who regularly “blames God” for his good fortune. Emmai Alaquiva was marking his third Emmy bid, this one for his work on a nominee for Outstanding Children’s Series.
The program “Game Changers,” airs on Saturday morning on CBS. An episode directed by Alaquiva featuring Desean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles (now with the Washington Redskins) was submitted to the Television Academy for consideration.
With more than 1,400 entries this year, the contenders were whittled down to 350 nominees to this year’s Daytime Emmy Awards. The episode Alaquiva produced made the cut.
Working the room to greet guests, the in-demand producer shook hands with representatives of non-profits that benefited from Alaquiva’s talents (he was coming off of a weekend in Philadelphia shooting his third consecutive Roots Picnic).
A brief pause gave event organizers time to introduce Dr. Curtiss Porter of Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, who announced it to be Emmai Alaquiva Day in the city of Pittsburgh and County Councilman Tom Baker likewise declared June 6 Emmai Alaquiva Day in Allegheny County.
After thanking guests for their support and coming out, Alaquiva reminded everyone that they were a part of his success. After introducing his mother and fiance, he also spoke of the need to give back to the community, as he did back in 2008 and introduced members and alumni from Alaquiva’s Hip Hop on Lock, an enrichment program for youth K-12 using arts education to develop life-skills, including team-building, leadership and critical thinking.
He encouraged guests to support and contribute to two nonprofits that carry the athletic themes. Alaquiva called Candi Castleberry Singleton of UPMC’s Center of Inclusion and the Dignity & Respect Campaign to assist him in making a donation of $1000 to each organization, the Josh Gibson Foundation and Best of the Batch respectively accepted by executive directors Sean Gibson and Charlie Batch.
Journalist and production crew members chatted with the business executives and funders including Chris Moore of WQED Multimedia, who worked with Alaquiva on Flyboys: The Tuskegee Airmen of Western Pennsylvania, which netted the first Emmy for Score Composition in 2008 (Alaquiva’s first nomination was 2006).
Other well-wishers included Howard Russell of Kappa Scholarship Endowment Foundation; Rob Wilson of Blazer Capital Management, Melanie Harrington of Vibrant Pittsburgh, K. Chase Patterson of Corporate Diversity Associates, Darieth Chisholm of It Works! Global and Tene Croom of Tene Croom Communications.
Alaquiva is CEO of Ya Momz House, Inc, a full-service multimedia company; director for CBS Sports Network, as well as founder and Executive Director of Hip Hop On L.O.C.K.
Alaquiva’s work can be seen and heard across the country from BET, PBS, Pandora Radio and more. Recent projects include a mini-documentary on Rex L. Crawley, a community champion of education and leadership, who died before he could begin a bone marrow donor drive to increase the number of minority donors. Crawley, 49, was waiting for a donor match. Alaquiva was selected by Be The Match (the National Marrow Donor Project) to produce the spot which is a Public Service Announcement and community relations vehicle and kick-started a recording breaking donor campaign in Pittsburgh. Another project commemorated 60 years of service by the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP; that mini-doc is credited with re-igniting the perception of the organization and a jump in membership.
Alaquiva was back on his “grind” and plans to be until after the awards gala held in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Sunday, June 22.
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