Written by | Ray Cornelius
The stars aligned on Saturday night for the “Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards & 85th Birthday Tribute.” The Civil Rights pioneer and former Mayor of Atlanta presented the invitation only event at Philips Arena which featured an all-star lineup of today’s biggest and brightest entertainers and performers. The evening was also hosted by “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson.
Ambassador Andrew Young
Andrew Young is best known as one of Dr. Martin Luther King‘s “generals” during the turbulent 1960s. From Selma to St. Augustine to Memphis, Young was there during the Movement’s most pivotal moments. He would later serve as a United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 1977 and was chosen personally by former President Jimmy Carter. Young was also very instrumental in Atlanta becoming the city of choice for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and now runs the Andrew J. Young Jr. Leadership Foundation. The non-profit organization recognizes exceptional individuals whose activism, philanthropy and leadership have transformed lives throughout our global community.
Honorees Bob Bland and Tamika Mallory
This year’s recipients of the Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards included the National Co-Chairs of the Women’s March – Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland; world renowned educator and founder of the Ron Clark Academy Ron Clark; media commentator, activist, thought leader and Dream Corps founder Van Jones; Award winning rapper, producer and philanthropist Akon; “Silver Rights Activist” John Hope Bryant and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Angela Robinson and husband
The evening began with a dazzling red carpet of stars that included “The Haves and The Have Nots” actresses Angela Robinson and Crystal Fox; “The Quad” actor Larry Rhem; legendary Motown performer Hamilton Bohannon; “Saints & Sinners” actress Jasmine Burke; “If Loving You is Wrong” actor Joel Rush; media personality Frank Ski, Civil Rights icons Reverend C.T. Vivian and Xernona Clatyon, veteran actors and philanthropists Afemo and Elisabeth Omilami. Other Atlanta notables included actress and producer Chrystale Wilson, actress and producer Terri J. Vaughn, singer and former reality star Meelah, child actor Lil Dee Dee, accomplished actor and singer T.C. Carson, former Destiny’s Child singer LaTavia Roberson, “Braxton Family Values” stars Evelyn and Trina Braxton and film star and comedian Chris Tucker.
Brandon J. Dirden as Andrew Young in Broadway’s “MLK”
The award show also featured amazing performances from Estelle, Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy, Cristina Quinones, Angie Stone and a scene from the forthcoming Broadway play, “MLK” featuring Brandon J. Dirden as Andrew Young. There were also breathtaking tributes by “Greenleaf” star Keith David, harpist Tulani, jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet, African rapper Davido and Grammy winning singer and actress Jill Scott. Unfortunately I was not able to stay for Wyclef Jean and Usher‘s performances.
The show was sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, Chevron, OPRAH, Cox Enterprises, EBONY and Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority.
See all of the photos below:
Larry Rhem and guest
Afemo and Elisabeth Omilami
Chrystale Wilson and guest
Lil Dee Dee
Ambassador Andrew Young talking to media
Frank Ski and guest
Wyclef Jean + Cristina Quinones
Mrs. Carolyn Young
Honoree Ron Clark
Terri J. Vaughn
Evelyn and Trina Braxton
Reverend C.T. Vivian
Mayor Kasim Reed
Mrs. Carolyn Young
Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy
Angie Stone performing “Brotha”
Cristina Quinones performing Andra Day‘s “Rise Up”
Akon’s Family accepting his award
Honoree Van Jones
Honoree John Hope Bryant
MISS JILL SCOTT
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com