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The evening’s festivities were hosted by actors Larenz Tate and Erica Ash as celebrities, notable and esteemed guests from far and wide gathered to honor the outstanding accomplishments of African Americans and those who have succeeded against great odds and inspired success in others.
- A rousing musical tribute to So So Def Recordings Founder and honoree Jermaine Dupri which included performances by Anthony Hamilton, Bow Wow, Xscape and a surprise appearance by Ludacris that brought the house down. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined for the presentation.
- A crowd-pleasing tribute to honoree group Cameo featuring Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, Carl Thomas, Stokley Williams, Bilal and Mr. Talkboxx performing a medley of Cameo hits including “Single Life,” “Sparkle,” “She’s Strange,” “Rigor Mortis,” “Word Up!” and “Candy.” CeeLo Green presented the group their Lifetime Achievement Award and then joined in for the closing number.
- Thrilling performances by Arrested Development, Michel’le and Major., Estelle, V. Bozeman and We’ McDonald with a powerful rendition of “Conqueror” to open the show.
Sir the Baptist performing “Heaven” joined by Keke Wyatt, Donald Lawrence and the Kevin Lemon & Higher Calling choir.
- Honoree Rhyon Brown lighting up the stage with an energetic performance of her hit single “After Party,” and a moving acceptance speech.
- Angie Stone, Lamman Rucker, Omar Gooding and Angell Conwell appearing as presenters, and more.
Here are more photographs from the carpet:
The 2018 Honorees were: Jermaine Dupri, the GRAMMY® Award-winning record producer, songwriter, and hip-hop artist who received The Music Innovation Award; Founder of Sundial Brands and new owner of Essence Communications Richelieu Dennis recognized with The Entrepreneur Award; Activist and National Co-Chair of the Women’s March Tamika Mallory who received The Impact Award; 13-year old social activist and author behind the #1000BlackGirlBooks Marley Dias who was presented with The Trailblazer Award; Nuclear Engineer and Inventor Dr. Lonnie Johnson receiving The Innovator Award; Actress, singer and dancer Rhyon Brown who was given The Rising Star Award presented by McDonald’s and legendary American soul-influenced funk group Cameo being honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Photos 1) Erica Ash and Larenz Tate. 2) Dondria. 3) Dawn Halfkenny. 4) Demetria McKinney 5) Egypt Sherrod. 5) Jermaine Dupri. 6) Ed Gordon. 7) Bow Wow. 8) Juhahn Jones. 9) Keith Robinson and Clifton Powell. 10) Jasmine Burke. 11) Rodney Perry. 12) Sir the Baptist. 13) TC Carson. 14) Tiny Harris. 15) Vanessa Bell Calloway. 16) Xscape. 17) Arrested Development. 18) Cast of Saints & Sinners on Bounce.