Update (Oct. 20): Comedian Wayne Brady is set to host the 2021 Ebony Power event this Sunday (Oct. 23) in Los Angeles. Brady will receive the vanguard award for his “his outstanding achievements to American culture” as an “all-around entertainer and performer,” according to a statement. In addition, the lifetime achievement award will go to Grammy-winning songwriters/producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis for their collaborations with legendary artists including Prince, Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men, and Mary J. Blige. The awards ceremony will feature performances by Deon Jones, Justin Skye, Erica Campbell and Lucky Daye.
Ebony – the American title championing Black voices and culture since its inception in 1945 – is recognizing “the outstanding leaders across a variety of fields and disciplines from business, sports, media, activism, music to entertainment and more,” according to a press statement.
Honorees were categorized by discipline, in such categories as music impact, entertainment powerhouse, NextGen, ceiling breaker and breakthrough creators. In addition, a few individuals have received special awards for their contributions to the community.
Under music impact, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Anderson .Paak, Big Freedia, and Verzuz creators Swizz Beats and Timbaland are among the artists honored, while hip-hop pioneer MC Lyte received the trailblazer award.
Sister duo Chloe and Halle Bailey and poet Amanda Gorman, who spoke at President Biden’s inauguration, were named as stars on the rise in the NextGen bracket. The entertainer of the year award went to Willow Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris for Red Table Talk.
Outside of the music industry, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett was awarded innovator of the year for her work on the COVID-19 vaccine.
“From grassroots organizers to the arts and entertainment to the corporate boardrooms, we are very excited to shine a light on these amazing people because no one can celebrate Black excellence quite like Ebony,” said Michele Ghee, CEO of Ebony, in a statement.
Here’s the complete list of honorees. The individual awards are listed first.
Corporate citizen award: Marc Pritchard, Damon Jones and Stephanie Headley of P&G
Entertainer of the year award: Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Red Table Talk
Game changer of the year: Deion Sanders
Innovator of the year: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett
Rising star award: Storm Reid
Trailblazer award: MC Lyte
Breakthrough creators: Nae Nae Twins, Coodie & Chike, Brandice Daniel, Chad Easterling, Imani Ellis, Brandon Pankey, Demetria Lucas, Patrick “Fresh” Henry, Law Roach and Misha Green
Ceiling breaker: Thasunda Brown Duckett, Rosetta Bryson, Rashida Jones, Harvey Mason Jr., Fawn Weaver, Miriam Vales, Karine Jean-Pierre, Letitia “Tish” James and Melanie Boulden
Community builder: Regina Jackson, Trae the Truth, Missionary Ellen K. Clark, Eunique Jones Gibson, Emil Wilbekin, Alice Marie Johnson, Dr. Kendell Jasper and Kainon Jasper, Brandon McEachern, Darryl Perkins and Marcus Allen and Deon T. Jones
Entertainment powerhouse: Andra Day, Regé-Jean Page, Anthony Mackie, MJ Rodriguez, Liesl Tommy, Tessa Thompson and John David Washington
Excellence in journalism: Don Lemon, Abby Phillip, Charles Blow, Tamron Hall, W. Kamau Bell, Tomi Adeyemi, Ebro Darden and Nischelle Turner
Game changer: Shaquille O’ Neal, Francis Ngannou, Lewis Hamilton, Sydney Michelle McLaughlin, Stephen A. Smith, Brehanna Daniels and Maya Moore
Innovation leader: Beatrice Dixon, Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant, Isaac Hayes III, Joy Buolamwini, MC Hammer, Dr. Patrice A. Harris, Dr. Angela D. Reddix, Tanya Van Court and Arlan Hamilton
Music impact: Big Freedia, Erica Campbell, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Derrick “D- Nice” Jones, Lil Baby, Questlove, Joi Brown, Jeanine McLean-Williams, Rapsody, Anderson .Paak and Travis Scott
NextGen: Nicolas Johnson, Noah Harris, Nia DaCosta, Cheick Camara, Chloe & Halle Bailey Jon Moody, Ermias Tadesse, Zaila Avant-garde and Amanda Gorman
Social justice champion: Rep. Cori Bush, the CROWN Coalition (Kelli Richardson Lawson, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, Adjoah B. Asamoah and Senator Holly J. Mitchell), Erica Ford, Darnella Frazier, Nikole Hannah- Jones, Shaun King, Keith Meadows, Brittany Packnett and Senator Raphael Warnock