An annual staple to ESSENCE Festival weekend, the McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. This year’s event was hosted by actor/television host Terrence ‘J’ Jenkins and actress Tika Sumpter and was held in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival™ presented by Coca-Cola®.
Notable community leaders, celebrities and entertainers were out in full force at this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards, held during ESSENCE Festival weekend at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
They were joined by a full house of spectators who converged to salute this year’s recipients of the distinguished award, including civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton; film producer Will Packer; music executive Kevin Liles; inspirational leader Iyanla Vanzant; former NFL athlete Dhani Jones; and McDonald’s owner/operator Henry Coaxum. Additionally, artist Skyler Grey and entrepreneur Gabrielle Jordan Williams were recognized alongside this lineup with the first-ever McDonald’s 365Black Community Choice Youth Award.
“We commend all of this year’s honorees for their diligent service and dedication to bettering our communities,” said Rob Jackson, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “We are proud to continue this tradition of recognition and are grateful for the contributions of all 365Black Awards honorees, both past and present.”
I caught up with Terrance Jenkins, Will Packer, Kevin Liles and more on the McDonald’s Golden Carpet. Check out our special correspondent and what the honorees had to say about ESSENCE Festival, The McDonald’s 365 Black Awards and more below…
R&B recording artist and New Orleans’ own Ledisi opened the show and got the crowd in the mood for the soulful sounds of Pastor Kim Burrell, Tank, Leela James, Jazmine Sullivan, Kierra Sheard and Mali Music. Singer/actress Michelle Williams, veteran radio personality Tom Joyner, news correspondent Soledad O’Brien, film director Warrington Hudlin, actress Naturi Naughton and news correspondent Nischelle Turner were among celebrities on hand to present the illustrious awards.
Watch the McDonald’s 365 Black Awards broadcast August 10 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m on BET®. The awards ceremony will also air on CENTRIC on August 17 at 11 p.m. EDT/10 p.m. CDT. You can also follow @McDScene on Twitter for commentary on the awards and join the conversation using #365BlackAwards.
photos by Chris Mitchell / CME 3000 / DivasandDorks