McDonald's recognises 12 African-Americans
NEW ORLEANS (AP):
A native son, a film director, a gospel giant, and an award-winning journalist are among the 2015 recipients of the McDonald's 365 Black Awards, which recognises African-Americans who excel in their fields and give back to their communities.
In its 12th year, the awards programme, hosted by actors Terrence J and Keke Palmer, aired Sunday night on the cable channel Black Entertainment Television (BET). The awards look to salute outstanding achievements of those who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American diaspora.
"Any opportunity to shine a positive light on the achievements of our people, I fully support," Terrence J said in a statement.
This year's honorees include Marc Morial, National Urban League president and former mayor of New Orleans, who will receive the company's Humanitarian Award. Ava DuVernay, the first-African-American female film director to be nominated for a Golden Globe for the civil rights film Selma, will receive the Arts and Entertainment Award.
Gospel recording artiste and philanthropist Dr Marvin L. Sapp will receive the Living Legend Award. The Trailblazer Award goes to Jeff Johnson, an award-winning journalist who is currently a partner and chief of strategy for the Baltimore-based branding firm Illume Communications.
Carolyn Hunter, who owns three McDonald's franchises in South Carolina and employs more than 200 people, will also be recognised and receive the 2015 Owner/Operator Award.
McDonald's 365 Black Awards is held annually in New Orleans during the Essence Festival, which marked 21 years of celebrating African-American cultural, heritage, and music. The company is one of the festival's major sponsors.
Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc, noted how far the awards programme had come. "It's grown from a small luncheon into an incredible event that now reaches millions," she said. "It's a testament to McDonald's commitment to the African-American community."
Morial said he was proud to be in his "beloved hometown" to accept the award, which was delivered in the building that bears his father's name, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
The show also features performances by recording artistes B.o.B., Shanice, and Andra Day.