McDonald’s held its annual 365Black Awards honoring outstanding African-Americans who are making positive contributions to the community during the 2013 Essence Festival. McDonald’s 365Black Awards was launched in 2003 as an extension of McDonald’s 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round.
For its 10th anniversary, the 365Black Awards honored singer Gladys Knight; model Beverly Johnson; education leader Dr. Steve Perry; executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox, Kenny Williams; and McDonald’s owner/operator, Roland Parrish.
The 365Black Awards presented by McDonald’s, an Essence Festival sponsor, added a new “Influential Youth” award category. Those honorees were young environmentalist Charles Orgbon and teenage entrepreneur Leanna Archer.
Held at the New Orleans Theater at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Saturday, July 6, 365Black Awards was hosted by Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson. Comedian Jonathan Slocumb kept the audience cracking up in between presentations.
“From the youngest CEO to ever open the NASDAQ to a stellar songstress, McDonald’s is proud to recognize this year’s recipients for positively shaping our communities each day,” said Rob Jackson, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “We are excited to share this historic ceremony with the consumers whose lives are impacted by the work of our honorees.”Prior to the ceremony, actress/comedienne Kym Whitley (“Raising Whitley“) served as host of the 365Black Awards “golden” carpet.
Singers Angie Stone, Yolanda Adams and Deborah Cox performed a medley of songs in tribute to honoree Knight during the ceremony. R&B singer Brandy actually presented the “Empress of Soul” her 365Black Award.
The show also included performances by Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, Estelle and spoken word group Fiveology; and actor Jay Ellis (“The Game”), singer/actress LeToya Luckett (“Single Ladies”), actress Robinne Lee (“Being Mary Jane”), actor Omari Hardwick (“Being Mary Jane”), Hollywood couple Dondre & Salli Richardson Whitfield, and athletes Kenny Williams Jr. and Kyle Williams served as presenters.
Among the other talent spotted at the show included actress Tatyana Ali, “Fashion Queens” host Derek J and BET “Lift Every Voice” host Corey “CoCo Brother” Condrey.McDonalds also made available more than 2,500 free public tickets for their consumers and store employees.
The 10th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards will air Aug. 25 at 11 p.m. EST on BET.