Celebrities and social justice activists came out in full force over the weekend to support this year’s Triumph Awards. Honorees, performers, and presenters included the likes of Dionne Warwick, Spike Lee, Nick Cannon, Kandi Burruss, and many more.
Now in its second year, the awards honor groups and individuals involved in civil rights, the arts, entertainment, education, business, and sports. The event, which is presented by TV One and National Action Network, is prerecorded for broadcast on October 2.
Held at this Sunday at the Tabernacle Concert Hall in downtown Atlanta, celebs and activists alike were generous with their time on the pre-event red carpet. Honorees such as Gina Adams, Senior Vice President for government affairs at FedEx, to name just a few.
Adams was awarded the “Triumphant Woman of the Year” Award for her ongoing commitment to empowering and helping young African-American women make the most of their careers. Speaking with UrbanGeekz on the red carpet, Adams shared some advice for young professionals: “Keep yourself open for opportunities as they come,” Adams said. “What’s going to be important is your preparation.”
Other honorees include Spike Lee, who was recognized for “Activism in the Arts,” and Jermaine Dupri who was the recipient of the “Triumphant Man of the Year” Award. Attorney Benjamin Crump was handed the “Chairman’s Award for Historic and Transformative Service” by Clifton Powell of Saints and Sinners.
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs was presented with the “President’s Award for Service and Humanitarian Efforts” by Derek ‘ ‘Fonzworth Bentley’ Watkins. Combs is currently on The Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour so was unable to attend.
Host Tichina Arnold joined forces with JB Smoove, Carl Payne, Erica Ash, and Teyonah Parris to perform a “Spike Lee Joint Medley,” a hilarious musical tribute to Lee’s iconic filmography. Other live performances included 19-year-old Jekalyn Carr, V. Bozeman, Joe, Eric Benet, BJ the Chicago Kid, Fantasia, as well as rapper-turned-actor Nick Cannon.
Before the show kicked off, Cannon spoke with UrbanGeekz and talked about what it takes to make a change. He chose to emphasize one word: perseverance. “Keep pushing,” he said, “Understand who you are, your character, and keep going from that point on.”
Although the red carpet was filled with smiles and laughter, there was underlying seriousness because of the state of race relations in America and tensions between the police and minority communities. Before his hosting duties began alongside actress Tichina Arnold, Reverend Al Sharpton shared his thoughts on the issue, saying, “We must always pause and say yes it’s been unfair … there’s even been a state of oppression, but some people were able to rise up anyway.”
His message was echoed by a group of women who have been deemed the ‘Mothers of the Movement’. Sybrina Fulton, Gwen Carr, Leslie McSpadden, and Esaw Snipes Garner have all lost loved ones to police violence. During the show, they were joined onstage by Georgia State House Representative Erica Thomas, encouraging everyone to stay strong and, most importantly, go vote in November’s Presidential elections.
The 2016 Triumph Awards will air Sunday, October 2 at 7PM and 9PM ET on TV One
Main Image: (photo credit: Kunbi Tinuoye)