EBONY’s 2021 Power 100 Gala Recap

From left: Karrueche Tran and Tia Mowry attend the EBONY Power 100 Awards Gala at The Beverly Hilton on October 23, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. Image: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA.

On Saturday, October 23, EBONY held its Power 100 gala—sponsored by Procter & Gamble, Coke Zero Sugar, Verizon, Dove, Cadillac and Baccarat—at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., for the brand’s 75th anniversary. The star-studded awards ceremony, hosted by Wayne Brady, honored the remarkable achievements of African Americans across a gaggle of industries. Luminaries, such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, model Veronica Webb, TV talk show host Tamron Hall, actors Laz Alonso and Chris De’Sean Lee, among others, were in attendance to celebrate the accomplishments of their fellow Black brethren.

As Brady warmed up the crowd, guests sipped Ciroc libations and dined on a delicious feast of caprese salad, Chilean sea bass, crispy vegan polenta, and the hotel’s famous ice cream sandwich. Gospel empress Erica Campbell, R&B songstress Justine Skye, motivational singer Major and singer-songwriter Lucky Daye entertained the attendees with their lively performances throughout the evening.

Spanning 10 categories, this year’s awardees went to outstanding leaders across a variety of fields and disciplines from business, sports, media, activism and music to entertainment and more. Actress Holly Robinson Peete, former RHOA star Cynthia Bailey, rap icon Salt of Salt-N-Pepa, singer Estelle, and veteran journalist Tai Beauchamp took to the stage to announce the award honorees. The Rising Star Award was given to the accomplished young actress Storm Reid. The Corporate Citizen Award went to Stephanie Headley, vice president of Olay Skin Care at Procter & Gamble; Damon Jones, the Chief Communications Officer at Procter & Gamble; and Marc Pritchard, the Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble for their efforts in widening the screen so that it’s more diverse and inclusive. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who led a team of scientists on a journey of healing the world with the Moderna vaccine, received the Innovator of the Year Award. The Entertainers of the Year Award went to Red Table Talk hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris. Former NFL football star and Jackson State University’s new head football coach Deion Sanders was given the Game Changer of the Year Award for his driving desire to put HBCU football back on the map. Hip-hop legend MC Lyte, who has continued to stay relevant over the past 20 years, was given the Trailblazer Award. And, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the legendary music producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, whose discography consists of 100 gold, platinum, multiplatinum, and diamond albums.

A sampling of additional award recipients include Melanie Boulden, Chief Marketing Officer, North America at the Coca-Cola Company (Ceiling Breakers category); Formula 1 Champion and Founder of Mission44 Lewis Hamilton (Game Changers category); music producer, rapper and businessman Swizz Beatz (Music Impact category); director Liesl Tommy (Entertainment Powerhouse category); CNN Correspondent and Weekend Anchor Abby Philip (Excellence in Journalism category); Investigative Journalist and Creator of the 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones (Social Justice Champions category); Evangelist and Founder of the Mississippi Prayer Call Missionary Ellen K. Clark (Community Builders category); Founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row and ICON360 Brandice Daniel (Breakthrough Creators category); Poet and Activist Amanda Gorman (Next Gen category); and Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League Joy Buolamwini (Innovation Leaders category)

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After all of the Power 100 recipients received their awards, the winners of the Olay x EBONY HBCU STEM Queens competition took to the stage and received a standing ovation from the audience. These ten bright young women were chosen from a multitude of talented candidates to rep their respective schools in a commemorative print issue, which will hit newsstands in February 2022.

The evening’s affair ended with inspiring closing remarks from EBONY Chairwoman Eden Bridgeman and CEO Michele Ghee, who both gave the crowd a rousing speech imploring the crowd to move Black forward.

From left: Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman Founder & President Manna Inc., EBONY Power 100 Honoree Melanie Boulden, Chief Marketing Officer, North America at the Coca-Cola Company and Q. Rhoneda Hyatt. Image: courtesy of EBONY Media.
Singer Justine Skye. Image: Getty Images
EBONY Power 100 host and Vanguard awardee Wayne Brady. Image: Getty Images
Former RHOA Cynthia Bailey. Image: Getty Images
Actress Holly Robinson Peete. Image: Getty Images
Ben Vereen onstage at the EBONY Power 100 Awards Gala. Image: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA
Big Freedia accepting her Music Impact award. Image: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA.
Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam accepting their Lifetime Achievement Award. Image: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for EBONY MEDIA.
Team Coca-Cola, from left: Monica Howard Douglas, Eric Kacker, Daphne Dickerson, Melanie Boulden, Q. Rhoneda Hyatt, Joanna Price, Pamela Stewart, Valerie Love, Statia Hendrix, and Henry Hendrix. Image: courtesy of EBONY Media.
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