Patti LaBelle to take center stage in celebration of scholarship and philanthropy at Tougaloo College Two Rivers Black-Tie Gala


JACKSON (April 25, 2023) – Tougaloo College will celebrate nearly two decades of scholarship and philanthropy through its annual star-studded event, the Two Rivers Black-Tie Gala. The event, now in its 18th year, benefits the institution’s student scholarship fund and celebrates the philanthropic contributions to the school. The night will also feature dynamic performances by several local performers. Patti LaBelle, affectionately known as the “Godmother of Soul” will headline the gala.


The event will kick off at 7 p.m. CST on Friday, May 5 at Jackson Convention Complex. It is named for the physical location of the college - Tougaloo, a Choctaw word meaning where two streams converge, is built on land where the Pearl and Mississippi Rivers connect.


As part of the annual celebration, Tougaloo College President Carmen J. Walters will induct two more philanthropists into the institution’s Red Jacket Circle. Launched in 2022, the Red Jacket Circle recognizes individuals who have donated or aided in the assistance of securing $1 million or more to the institution during their lifetime. Previous prominent Red Jacket Circle recipients were President Emerita Beverly W. Hogan, the Honorable Edward Blackmon, NAACP National President Derrick Johnson, and U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson - to name a few.


“Those inducted into the Red Jacket Circle believe in the two streams that flow throughout Tougaloo College - academic rigor and social justice,” Walters said. “These people have not only remained committed to Tougaloo, helping us to strengthen our capacity, they have also helped us provide a lifeline to our students.”


Tougaloo College has a strong history of producing outstanding students. Its alumni comprise 40 percent of health professionals, 30 percent of educators, 44 percent of African American lawyers and 34 percent of African American physicians in the state of Mississippi. As part of its culture of philanthropy and service, the college has teamed up with its alumni to host the Two Rivers Black-Tie Gala. The Tougaloo Young Alumni Group, which includes Saleem Baird, George Chuck Patterson, Quinshada Edmond, Keila Brown-Jones, Trey Baker, LeMia Jenkins-Thompson, Waikinya Clanton, Scarlett Fowler, and Cedric Haynes helped produce the event.


The college also partnered with Linder Global Events, a minority- and woman-owned firm, which specializes in supporting purposeful and passion-driven organizations and transforming lives through the power of events. 


"We are thrilled to partner with Tougaloo College to produce the Two Rivers Gala," said Nicole Cozier, who is the director of business development for Linder and serves as the lead planner for the Gala. "Tougaloo College has a rich history of providing quality education and opportunities to students, and we are honored to be a part of this event to support their mission."


More than 1,000 people attended the 2022 gala. The sold-out experience allowed the college to raise more than $2.5 million dollars, of which all the proceeds benefited the General Scholarship Fund for deserving students.


Tickets for the event are available for purchase here. Media are invited to attend the event. 


Mark your calendars for the 18th Two Rivers Black-Tie Gala

Location: Jackson Convention Complex, 105 E. Pascagoula St., Jackson, MS 39201
Date: Friday, May 5, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m.


Recommend organizations to become sponsors          

If you know of organizations that may be interested in becoming sponsors for the 18th Two Rivers Black-Tie Gala share their contact information with the Development and Alumni Relations team. Sponsorship of the 2023 18th Two Rivers Black-Tie Gala supports Tougaloo students with the greatest financial needs. Contact Ms. Twana Rigsby at or (601) 977-7832 for more information.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities can be purchased by clicking below: