2019 Honorees

Trailblazer Award

MC Lyte

MC Lyte is one of the most prolific and well-respected female hip-hop artists of all time. In addition to her musical endeavors, she is also a published author, actress, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

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The Trailblazer Award recognizes pioneers who inspire others to follow their path to greatness with innovative ideas that challenge the status quo.
Living Legend Award

Robert Townsend

Writer, director, producer, actor and comedian Robert Townsend has over 30 years of experience working in film and television both in front of and behind the camera with credits including Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats, In the Hive and countless others.

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The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes those who have achieved amazing professional accomplishments throughout an extensive career and are role models for others to reach similar success.
Rising Star Award

JD McCrary

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JD McCrary is an 11-year-old American singer, dancer and actor. He currently stars in Tyler Perry's The Paynes and will be the voice of Young Simba in the live-action remake of The Lion King alongside Beyoncé and Donald Glover.

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The Rising Star Award recognizes individuals who are quickly establishing themselves and making an impact in their particular field or industry. These are future trailblazers, the ones to watch.
Education Excellence Award

Tim King

Tim King is founder, President and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit organization operating a network of public college-prep boys schools in Chicago and related programs aimed at promoting college success.

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The Education Excellence Award recognizes individuals who show outstanding commitment to the academic development and improvement of a system or community in an effort to enhance the lives of future generations.
Music Excellence Award

Rodney Jerkins

Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins is a Grammy Award-winning musician, producer and songwriter who has worked with the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Michael Jackson and many more.

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The Music Excellence Award recognizes individuals for their exceptional achievements in music, having made a tremendous impact with their creative works that have helped shaped the industry.
Xernona Clayton Award

Tip “T.I.” Harris

Tip “T.I.” Harris is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning music mogul, actor and activist best known as being one of the leaders of the Southern hip-hop/trap music genre. T.I.’s extensive philanthropic work includes efforts to support Hurricane Katrina relief, a scholarship partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs and his work with troubled youth in the Atlanta area.

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The Xernona Clayton Award recognizes individuals who, having succeeded against immense odds, herald change and prosperity to enhance and enrich the world. Tip T.I. Harris is ever-evolving, overcoming internal and external obstacles, to show that, through hard work and humility, personal and societal change is possible.
Vanguard Award

Dapper Dan

Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan, is an African American fashion designer and haberdasher from Harlem, New York. He is most associated with introducing high fashion to the hip-hop world, with clients including Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J and Jay-Z.

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The Vanguard Award recognizes individuals who creatively challenge the norm by introducing mainstream culture to avant-garde ideas and making a social impact in their respective industry.


2018 Honorees

2018 Performances