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EBONY, the iconic brand serving as the leading voice of the Black American experience, hosted an incredible evening celebrating the best in Black culture for its 2021 EBONY Power 100 presented by Verizon on October 23rd. Held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the star-studded awards ceremony included a stellar line-up of live performances, appearances, and awards presentations recognizing 100 honorees and Special Awards recipients across a variety of fields and industries from business, sports, media, activism, entertainment and more. The event also marked the culmination of EBONY’s 75th anniversary year.

With Emmy Award-winning and GRAMMY-nominated actor, singer, comedian, and television personality Wayne Brady helming the evening as Master of Ceremonies, the 2021 EBONY Power 100 featured several buzzworthy moments, surprises, and highlights. Eden Bridgeman- Sklenar (Owner, EBONY) and Michele Ghee (EBONY, CEO) made the major announcement of the night in unveiling EBONY’s next big step will be headed into the Cryptocurrency space with ebony.com/Crypto/. With the idea of creating a model specifically for the Black community in the same spirit of Bitcoin and other alt-coins such as Ethereum, Doge, and Theta that have begun to revolutionize the structures of community, media, and generational wealth, this new initiative will officially roll out in early 2022. As part of the program, EBONY will partner with forward-thinking Black artists to create one-of-a-kind products under the symbol EBONY X, leveraging the rich suppository of black history in EBONY’s archives to create NFT products.

“Our goal is very simple. We are going to invade spaces and places that we are not always invited to but that are cutting-edge to ensure that our creators are getting the recognition and compensation they deserve. And to create generational wealth for all of those that trust our vision into this digitized financial space,” said Ghee.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS/SPECIAL MOMENTS
Grammy-nominated R&B singer Major presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary music producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The presentation included a special video message from one of Pop music’s biggest stars Janet Jackson who credited the duo with helping her shape her classic sound and giving her career-defining hits.

Activist and athlete and EBONY’s November cover star Colin Kaepernick was honored with The Chairman’s Award presented by EBONY owners Junior Bridgeman and Eden Bridgeman-Sklenar. Kaepernick accepted his award via video in a powerful and inspiring speech in which he underscored how important receiving the award was to him by acknowledging the deep history of the EBONY Power 100 list dating back to 1971 and thanking all of the past and current honorees for their work in their respective areas. He ended his remarks noting that “we are stronger through community and that together there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish.”

Wayne Brady was visibly moved by legendary entertainer Ben Vereen’s speech as he presented the Vanguard Award to Brady, naming Vereen as a great influence on his own career.

Ingrid Best, EVP and Head of Global Marketing, Spirits for Combs Enterprises, presented the Entertainment Powerhouse category, toasting to honorees Andra Day, Anthony Mackie, MJ Rodriguez, John David Washington, Regé -Jean Page, Liesel Tommy & Tessa Thompson.

In the Community Builder’s category rapper and community activist Trae the Truth gave a compelling speech on behalf of his category and what it means to build your community and dedicated the award to all of his fellow honorees and those who do the work in their communities everyday but aren’t always recognized.

SPECIAL AWARDS RECIPIENTS & PRESENTERS

Lifetime Achievement Award: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; Presenter: Grammy nominated R&B singer Major

Vanguard Award: Wayne Brady; Presenter: Entertainment icon Ben Vereen

Rising Star Award – Actress Storm Reid; Presenter: Host Wayne Brady

Innovator of the Year – Lead scientist of the Vaccine Research Center’s coronavirus team at the National Institutes of Health Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett; Presenter: Vice President Communications and Product Strategies, American Medical Association Stephanie Johnson

Trailblazer Award – Hip hop icon and entrepreneur MC Lyte; Presenter: Salt of legendary hip-hop group Salt-N- Pepa

Entertainer of the Year Award – Red Table Talk creators and hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris (accepted by Adrienne Banfield-Norris) Presenter: Media personality Tai Beauchamp

Corporate Citizen Award – P&G Executives Marc Pritchard, Damon Jones and Stephanie Headley; Presenter: Actress, host, activist and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete

Chairman’s Award – Activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick; Presenter: Owners, EBONY Junior Bridgeman and Eden Bridgeman-Sklenar

EBONY POWER 100 CATEGORIES AND HONOREES

Spanning 10 categories, this year’s categories and recipients are:

Entertainment Powerhouse
Presenter: EVP, Global Head of Marketing Spirits, Combs Enterprises Ingrid Best
Andra Day, Regé-Jean Page, Anthony Mackie, MJ Rodriguez, Liesl Tommy, Tessa Thompson and John David Washington (Presenter of Award)

Music Impact
Presenter: Grammy award-winning singer Estelle
Big Freedia, Erica Campbell, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Derrick “D- Nice” Jones, Lil Baby, Questlove, Joi Brown, Jeanine McLean-Williams, Rapsody, Anderson .Paak and Travis Scott

Social Justice Champion
Presenter: American Olympic Fencer and the first Muslim American female medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, Rep. Cori Bush, the CROWN Coalition (Kelli Richardson Lawson, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, Adjoah B. Asamoah and Senator Holly J. Mitchell), Erica Ford, Darnella Frazier, Nikole Hannah- Jones, Shaun King, Keith Meadows, Brittany Packnett and Senator Raphael Warnock

Excellence In Journalism
Presenter: Host Wayne Brady
Don Lemon, Abby Phillip, Charles Blow, Tamron Hall, W. Kamau Bell, Tomi Adeyemi, Ebro Darden and Nischelle Turner

Ceiling Breaker
Presenter: Media Personality, Author and Beauty Influencer Mikki Taylor
Thasunda Brown Duckett, Rosetta Bryson, Rashida Jones, Harvey Mason Jr., Fawn Weaver, Miriam Vales, Karine Jean-Pierre, Letitia “Tish” James and Melanie Boulden

Innovation Leader
Beatrice Dixon, Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant, Isaac Hayes III, Joy Buolamwini, MC Hammer, Dr. Patrice A. Harris, Dr. Angela D. Reddix, Tanya Van Court and Arlan Hamilton

Community Builder
Presenter: British comedian London Hughes
Regina Jackson, Trae the Truth, Missionary Ellen K. Clark, Eunique Jones Gibson, Emil Wilbekin, Alice Marie Johnson, Dr. Kendell Jasper and Kainon Jasper, Brandon McEachern, Darryl Perkins and Marcus Allen and Deon T. Jones

Breakthrough Creators
Presenter: Hollywood Unlocked CEO and Media Personality Jason Lee
Nae Nae Twins, Coodie & Chike, Brandice Daniel,
Chad Easterling, Imani Ellis, Brandon Pankey, Demetria Lucas, Patrick “Fresh” Henry, Law Roach and Misha Green

NextGen
Presenter:Actress and entrepreneur Tia Mowry
Nicolas Johnson, Noah Harris, Nia DaCosta, Cheick Camara, Chloe & Halle Bailey Jon Moody, Ermias Tadesse, Zaila Avant-garde and Amanda Gorman

“Through this year’s EBONY Power 100, we created an unforgettable experience that reinforces and showcases EBONY’s commitment to ensuring that the Black experience is represented, uplifted and celebrated and that Black voices are heard and elevated. Following a year that tested our resolve as a community, our honorees stand as a testament of Black America’s resilience and all embody the spirit of creativity, service, innovation, and have blazed trails in their respective areas. ” said Michele Ghee, CEO, EBONY. “As we close out our 75th Anniversary year with Power 100, I am so thrilled that we were able to reimagine it and bring this program back in such a spectacular way. It is indeed reflects another milestone for the new EBONY as the brand continues to evolve and grow. We are already looking forward to next year’s event!”

The red-carpet event began with an elegant sit down dinner followed by the awards presentations and performances from Justine Skye, Erica Campbell, Lucky Daye and Deon Cole with GRAMMY Award-winning musician, producer and writer Adam Blackstone serving as Music Director for the evening. Following the show, DJ Active had attendees on the dance floor all night at the Power 100 Official Afterparty.

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed custom CÎROC Ultra-Premium Vodka and DeLeón Tequila cocktails aptly named Black Brilliance, CÎROC Pomegranate Power 100, Black Love, and Ebony Empowerment.

Additional attendees included Ben Vereen, Tia Mowry, Karrueche Tran, Holly Robinson Peete, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Cynthia Bailey, Salt of Salt n’ Pepa and LisaRaye McCoy.

EBONY Power 100 was produced and designed by Captivate Marketing Group.