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YouTube’s Lyor Cohen to Receive City of Hope 2023 Spirit of Life Award

The honor will be presented at a gala in Los Angeles on Oct. 18.

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen is being honored with the City of Hope’s 2023 Spirit of Life Award, the cancer research and treatment organization announced Wednesday (March 29). The award will be presented at a gala dinner Oct. 18 at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.

“City of Hope is proud to honor the notable contributions of Lyor Cohen and celebrate 50 years of philanthropic partnership with the Music, Film and Entertainment Industry group,” said Robert Stone, City of Hope CEO and Helen & Morgan Chu CEO distinguished chair, in a statment. “This collection of industry leaders has made extraordinary contributions to our mission and continues to enhance our ability to deliver tomorrow’s breakthrough innovations today. We look forward to partnering with Lyor and the larger music community in the years ahead to develop new cures and save patient lives.”


Cohen started his career as a road manager for Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys before moving on to executive leadership roles at companies including Def Jam, Warner Music Group and 300 Entertainment, which he co-founded in 2012. Cohen joined YouTube as global head of music in 2016. He sits on the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Independent Venue Association and is an acting director for the New York-based charity SCAN-Harbor.

“If you have the opportunity to give a gift back to the industry you love, with an organization like City of Hope, whose doctors and scientists’ passion for helping others is so extraordinary, it’s a no-brainer,” said Cohen. “My career has been shaped by a contrarian point of view. Open to making mistakes, making big bets, unpopular decisions and being comfortable with change; that is how culture shifts and how breakthroughs happen. To me, these are many of the same qualities that make City of Hope’s mission to transform the future of cancer care across all communities so impactful. I am honored to join this admirable group of Spirit of Life recipients and look forward to continuing the tradition of leaning on music to bring us together.”

Wednesday’s announcement kicks off a year-long fundraising initiative for City of Hope that includes such events as the Taste of Hope wine dinner and auction on May 17 in New York City, the Music Trivia Bowl on July 20 in Los Angeles and the annual Songs of Hope event.

Evan Lamberg, president of Universal Music Publishing Group North America and president of City of Hope’s Music, Film & Entertainment Industry board, added that the board is “thrilled” to honor Cohen: “In addition to Lyor powering American Hip Hop as a cultural and musical phenomenon, I have known him to have a big heart and passion when it comes to helping others. This is certainly a prime example of that as he now takes an incredible step in helping City of Hope fight cancer, diabetes and HIV.”

Previous recipients of the Spirit of Life Award include Republic Records co-founders Monte and Avery Lipman, Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge, Epic Records chairman/CEO Sylvia Rhone and former Greenberg Traurig attorney Joel Katz.