From That Day Forward... 59 Years Ago
On February 5, 1958, when Gertrude Gipson Penland and eleven other professional and community minded ladies combined their efforts and ideas, the Regalettes Incorporated was born. From that day forward, they set in motion a series of fundraising events and established standards of civic responsibility and community participation that has helped to significantly change the course of the African American community in the City of Los Angeles.
Gertrude Gipson Penland or “G.G.”, as she was fondly called by her legion of friends and colleagues, served as Entertainment Editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel for more than 20 years, following earlier stints as the Entertainment Editor of the now-defunct California Eagle, West Coast Editor of the Pittsburgh Courier, West Coast Editor of Sepia Magazine, and she was also nationally syndicated columnist in numerous other African American publications.
Gertrude used her position as an award winning entertainment editor to chronicle the progress of African Americans in the entertainment industry and to lobby for more and better roles for African American thespians and technicians of color. She also used her legendary column in the Los Angeles Sentinel and her celebrated radio show Hollywood Update, which aired daily on KJLH, to release news, statements, comments and opinions about Hollywood and the community. In addition, she gave much needed publicity to unknown entertainers and boosted the fledgling careers of many artists.
When Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr, appointed her to the California Motion Picture Development Council, she became the first African American women to hold the position. Supervisor Kenneth Hahn appointed Gertrude to the Los Angeles Film Advisory Committee- established after months of evaluating the need for a one-stop filming center by various county departments, in full cooperation with the film industry.
For her untiring efforts in the community, Gertrude Gipson Penland was honored by Rosey Grier’s Giant Step, Inc., The Tiffany Guild, Brotherhood Crusade, Women for Good Government, National Association of Business and Professional Women and was selected as Woman of the Year by the Nation Association of Media Women. She also received a NAACP Image Award for Community Service and the Shalimar Award for outstanding coverage in the field of entertainment. These are just a few of the accolades bestowed upon G.G. by her peers.
In 1958 when Gertrude, founder, organizer and the first president of the Regalettes, Inc. started the organization, she recruited women who were “Regal” in nature, had a strong sense of civic responsibility and were committed to helping underprivileged children. Through hard work, perseverance and a strong will, she was able to accomplish her goals. She built such a strong foundation that when the torch she lit was passed to the members of the Regalettes, Inc., they were able to carry on and keep her dream and legacy alive.
Gertrude Gipson was born in Ocean City, New Jersey, and raised and educated in Los Angeles. She is also the mother of two daughters, Reve` Gipson-Parks, a publicist and Shonte` Penland Abraham, an attorney.