By Elizabeth Montgomery
Singer Janelle Monae, actor Jamie Foxx and designer Tommy Hilfiger were among the honorees heralded at the 23rd annual Trumpet Awards.
The event was held Saturday at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and will be aired Feb. 21 on TV One.
“I decided through fashion and music that I would challenge the status quo and redefine what it meant to be a black female artist,” the always snappily dressed Monae said.
After receiving her award Monae posted a photo with an excerpt of her speech on Instagram:
“It’s not that I don’t experience fear but I understand fearlessness is more important. It’s not that I don’t get tired but I realize standing up for those whose voices are often ignored has to come first. It’s not that I don’t get discouraged but I understand that working hard, being a champion for minorities and those marginalized across the world as well as opening up more doors for girls has to come first.”
Honorees also included MLB Hall of Famer Lou Brock, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold W. Donald, PVH Foundation President Guy Vickers, R&B musical legends The Isley Brothers, Morehouse School of Medicine President Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice and Sunshine Holdings Chairman Franklyn R. Wilson.
A steady stream of luminaries, including former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and his wife Carolyn Young,(shown above), boutique owner Monyetta Shaw, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast members Cynthia Bailey and her husband Peter Thomas and singer-actress Jasmine Burke, walked the red carpet ahead of time.
“I’m here at the Trumpet Awards tonight to just continue to be inspired in my career and enjoy the legacy so many great people have laid the foundation for me,” Burke said.
The night was hosted by four-time boxing world champion Laila Ali and “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince. Honoree presenters included Lou Gossett Jr., Roland Martin, Quvenzhane Wallis, Egypt Sherrod, Cathy Hughes, Naturi Naughton and Laz Alonso.
Wallis, 11, the youngest ever best-actress Oscar nominee, for her work in ” Beasts of the Southern Wild,” more recently starred in the remake of “Annie,” which also starred Foxx.
“Always stay confident and keep going for what you want and never give up,” Wallis told the crowd.
The Trumpet Awards featured musical performances by Avery Sunshine, Chante Moore, Leela James, ConFunkShun, The Bar-Kays, former “American Idol” champ Ruben Studdard and Debora Cox, who performed for the Whitney Houston Biopic “Whitney.”
“It was a lot of pressure,” Cox said of approximating Houston’s powerful vocals. “Everyone has their own memory of Whitney and everyone knows what big shoes I had to fill but I knew what needed to be done.”
Founded by Xernona Clayton (shown above) to celebrate and honor African-American achievers and those who support the African-American experience, the annual Trumpet Awards event salutes accomplishments in law, medicine, business, politics, the arts, civil rights, sports, entrepreneurship, entertainment and other fields.
“We’re going to keep inspiring,” she said. ‘We’re going to keep educating. We’ve got to keep fueling the fire with the burning desire to do better.”