The few hours we have with the achievers, thinkers, creators, leaders, and champions of the Black community each year are among our finest. But on Thursday night it was hard to tell which moment would give the most lasting memory.
Perhaps it was when the surviving members of Earth Wind & Fire dedicated their Lifetime Achievement Award to founder Maurice White, who died earlier this year, leaving an unmatched cultural legacy.
Or maybe it was when Nile Rodgers took us through nearly 50 years of soul, disco, funk, and R&B, lighting up the crowd, young and young-at-heart with musical standards that are never lost through the generations.
But it might have been when Cicely Tyson, a “national treasure” as she was called by actor/director Regina King stepped up to the podium and recited from memory “Mother to Son,” the immortal poetry of Langston Hughes: “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”
Either way, we’ve captured these poignant moments to share from what is EBONY’s celebration and gift to the world, affirming the contributions, creativity and value of Black people. We matter and here’s why.
Images by EBONY photo editor Geoffrey Black.