Notable community leaders, celebrities and entertainers came out in mass numbers to the 12th annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards, held today at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. They were joined by fans who converged to salute this year’s recipients of the distinguished awards, including Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma); multi-award winning gospel artist Pastor Marvin Sapp; civic leader Marc Morial; journalist and communications specialist Jeff Johnson; and McDonald’s owner/operator Carolyn Hunter. Additionally, teen entrepreneur Tori Turner and young filmmaker Aaron Johnson were recognized alongside this lineup with the second McDonald’s 365Black Community Choice Youth Award, facilitated by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. The program launched in 2003 as an extension of the company’s 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round. This year’s event was hosted by actor/television host Terrence Jenkins and actress/singer Keke Palmer.
Recording artist B.o.B. opened the show and got the crowd in the mood for the soulful sounds of Smokie Norful, Avery*Sunshine, Jonathan McReynolds, Amber Riley, Shanice Wilson, Sevyn Streeter, Assassin and newcomer Andra Day. Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, actor/photographer Lance Gross, gospel music veteran Yolanda Adams, Academy-award winning rapper and actor Common, actress Salli Richardson Whitfield, Dondre Whitfield, actress Yara Shahidi and actor Marcus Scribner were among celebrities on hand to present the illustrious awards. Other celebrities in attendance included R&B recording artists Avant and Raheem DeVaughn, national television personalities Ed Gordon and Roland Martin, television co-host Bevy Smith, comedian Ron G., celebrity hairstylist and reality show star Gocha Hawkins, producer Kwame and recording artist Vivian Green, actress/comedian Luenell and more.
“We congratulate all of this year’s honorees for their diligent service and dedication to enriching our communities for the future,” said William Rhodes, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “We are extremely proud to continue this tradition of recognition and scholarship and are grateful for the contributions of all 365Black Awards honorees, both past and present.”