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Urban One announced today its annual awards show, URBAN ONE HONORS, will pay special homage to the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The critically acclaimed, all-female jazz band of the 1930s included Helen Jones Woods, a founding member and mother of Urban One Founder and Chairwoman, Cathy Hughes. The Sweethearts band, comprised of 17 ethnically diverse members who achieved international accolades despite discrimination, sexism and Jim Crow – to become symbols of success against adversity. URBAN ONE HONORS will air on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 9 p.m. ET/8C on TV One and will be simulcast for the first time on TV One’s sister network, CLEO TV.

The annual awards program will feature three performances dedicated to ‘The Sweethearts.’ Each musical selection will commemorate electrifying performances of the jazz and soul ensemble’s hit singles with a modern twist. The ceremony will also feature with talented, contemporary, female performers including Jazmine Sullivan, Da Brat, Le’Andria Johnson, Avery Sunshine, and the all-female house band Kim Burse and the KB Players.

“I am thrilled to pay homage to the sheroes whose lives depict black excellence, leadership and service. It is also quite humbling to recognize my mother, Helen Jones Woods, and the young musicians who were a part of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, among this year’s honorees,” said Cathy Hughes, Chairwoman, Urban One Inc. “Urban One Honors was created as an extension of our 40-year mission of service. We remain committed to creating programming that fulfills that mission and presents the best of who we are.”

Grammy-Award-winning gospel artist Erica Campbell and award-winning journalist, author, and syndicated columnist Roland Martin will host the event. This year’s theme is ‘Women Leading the Change’ and will highlight the extraordinary contributions of women in business, media, health, politics, and community outreach, who are leading impactful change within the Black community. Now in its third year, Urban One Honors was created to acknowledge and pay homage to individuals and organizations whose work significantly impacts culture and society- at large.

This year’s URBAN ONE HONORS will commemorate the myriad achievements of women leaders who are blazing trails and creating new pathways for others in their respective areas of expertise. Categories of recognition reflect the tireless effort and triumphant accomplishments achieved by the honorees and include: 

• Voting Rights Champion dedicated to a fearless leader whose efforts help to build political infrastructure by turning out voters and protecting their votes. 

• Business Alchemist presented to a leader tapped for successfully breaking the glass ceiling to blaze new trails in corporate America. 

• Investigative Journalism Crusader bestowed upon a media maven who is reframing the national conversation by covering the impediments and contributions made by Black Americans. 

• Health Equality Advocate awarded to a champion of health who answered the call to eliminate institutional barriers preventing healthcare to those in her community. 

• Reparations Ambassador who is working to break down systemic racism and barriers that have held African Americans back. 

• Family Needs Ambassador presented to a resilient provider of direct service and resources to individuals in crisis within the community she serves. 

The inspiring night of excellence will also feature exciting musical performances, unprecedented collaborations, and surprise appearances to be announced in the coming months.

URBAN ONE HONORS is executive produced for TV One by Eric Tomosunas and Robert Boyd of Swirl Films and produced by Jazz Smollett. Susan Henry serves as Executive Producer for TV One. Kashon Powell, Vice President of Programming for Radio One, and Donyell Kennedy-McCullough is Senior Director of Talent and Casting. Robyn Greene Arrington is Vice President of Original Programming and Production.