Honoring Vonny Hilton Sweeney

Floor Speech

Date: May 17, 2004
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. WATSON. Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to someone who has made celebrities while she stayed in the background. Her name is Vonny Hilton Sweeney.

She set high goals and obtained one of the most prestigious achievements by becoming the first black majorette while attending Brownsville High School in Pennsylvania. She was married to Howard James Sweeney and had one son. She worked at a community hospital in north Sacramento and received a B.A. in English and journalism from Sacramento State University. She was a contributing editor for the Sacramento Observer.

She moved to Los Angeles in 1966 to pursue her career in the entertainment industry where she was promotion coordinator for Sussex Records, vice president of promotion and publicity for Hugh Hefner's Playboy Records Company, and received her first gold record for the hit single "Falling In Love" recorded by Hamilton Joe-Frank and Reynolds. She was also a publicist for Janet DuBois and one of the first female managers for such acts.

She was the public directions director for over 25 years for James Brown entertainment including current editor of his Truth Magazine. As an icon in the James Brown organization, she was personally responsible for showcase venues worldwide, his biggest fan, as well as the dearest friend over many decades. In 1992, 1993 and 1994 she was listed in the "Who's Who" of entertainment.

As a mentor, one of her attributes was to become involved with other people's lives, and was instrumental in helping individuals achieve and reach their dreams. Her goal in life was to pursue the dreams and goals of others through her dedication and guidance in all aspects of the entertainment industry.

Vonny Hilton Sweeney was preceded in death by her loving parents James and Anna Rea Hilton and her brother James Thompson. She is survived by her son Howard James Sweeney, wife Jennifer, and granddaughter Jade Sweeney and step-grandson Justin McCarthy, brother Walter Thompson, his wife Jerri, sister Rose Alma King, sister Barbara Hilton Brown, her husband John L. plus numerous nieces, nephews and many friends.