Mo­rial, DuVer­nay, Sapp to get McDon­ald’s 365 Black Awards

The China Post - - ARTS - BY CHEVEL JOHN­SON

A na­tive son, a film di­rec­tor, a gospel gi­ant and an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist are among the 2015 re­cip­i­ents of the McDon­ald’s 365 Black Awards, which rec­og­nizes African-Amer­i­cans who ex­cel in their fields and give back to their com­mu­ni­ties.

In its 12th year, the awards pro­gram — hosted by ac­tors Ter­rence J and Keke Palmer — airs Sun­day night on the ca­ble chan­nel Black En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion. The awards look to salute out­stand­ing achieve­ments of those who are com­mit­ted to mak­ing pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions that strengthen the African-Amer­i­can di­as­pora.

“Any op­por­tu­nity to shine a pos­i­tive light on the achieve­ments of our peo­ple, I fully sup­port,” Ter­rence J said in a state­ment.

This year’s hon­orees in­clude Marc Mo- rial, Na­tional Ur­ban League pres­i­dent and for­mer mayor of New Or­leans, who will re­ceive the com­pany’s Hu­man­i­tar­ian Award; Ava DuVer­nay, the first-AfricanAmer­i­can fe­male film di­rec­tor to be nom­i­nated for a Golden Globe for the civil rights film “Selma,” who will re­ceive the Arts and En­ter­tain­ment Award; and gospel record­ing artist and phi­lan­thropist Dr. Marvin L. Sapp, who will re­ceive the Liv­ing Leg­end Award. The Trail­blazer Award goes to Jeff John­son, an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist who’s cur­rently a part­ner and chief of strat­egy for the Bal­ti­more-based brand­ing firm Il­lume Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Carolyn Hunter, who owns three McDon­ald’s fran­chises in South Carolina and em­ploys more than 200 peo­ple, also will be rec­og­nized and re­ceive the 2015 Owner/Op­er­a­tor Award.

McDon­ald’s 365 Black Awards is held an­nu­ally in New Or­leans dur­ing the Essence Fes­ti­val, which marked 21 years of cel­e­brat­ing African-Amer­i­can cul­tural, her­itage and mu­sic. The com­pany is one of the fes­ti­val’s ma­jor spon­sors.

Michelle Ebanks, pres­i­dent of Essence Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., noted how far the awards pro­gram had come. “It’s grown from a small lun­cheon into an in­cred­i­ble event that now reaches mil­lions,” she said. “It’s a tes­ta­ment to McDon­ald’s com­mit­ment to the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity.”

Mo­rial said he was proud to be in his “beloved home­town” to ac­cept the award, which was de­liv­ered in the build­ing that bears his fa­ther’s name, the Ernest N. Mo­rial Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

The show also fea­tures per­for­mances by record­ing artists B. o. B., As­sas­sin, Avery* Sun­shine, Shan­ice and An­dra Day.

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