ATLANTA — The Trumpet Awards Foundation will honor several people at its 20th annual Trumpet Awards ceremony on Saturday at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.
The honorees include Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., who will be honored in the field of medicine, Ambassador Nicole Avant (International), Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J. (Political Leadership), Mary Parker (Business), NFL Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith and Pat Smith (Humanitarian), Earth, Wind, & Fire (Lifetime Achievement); Tyrese Gibson (Pinnacle), the Rev. C.L. Franklin – to be accepted by his daughter, Aretha Franklin (Civil Rights), Ted Turner (Golden Trumpet), black hotel general managers (Power at the Front Door).
First Lady Michelle Obama was slated to receive the President’s Award.
The honorees will join a list of some of the most celebrated personalities in the nation and abroad.
The black-tie ceremony will be emceed by Wayne Brady, star host of CBS’s Let’s Make A Deal and will be the highlight of a series of events and activities being held at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel, including a race relations symposium.
Also, eight new footprints will be placed into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame on Friday in an induction ceremony slated for the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site in Atlanta.
The Trumpet Awards program was created to celebrate and honor African-American achievers and those who support African-American causes.
For the 20th anniversary of the awards, the foundation decided to honor also those who have helped to change the face of the hotel industry at the front door.
“In the past, African Americans did not hold key positions at prominent hotels. The hotel industry has recently seen a significant change in its leadership as more African Americans move into positions of leadership. We want to bring awareness to this compelling fact,” said Xernona Clayton, founder and executive producer of the Trumpet Awards and president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation Inc.
The “Power at the Front Door” award was created to salute Black hotel general managers. They include Olivia Brown, Bryan Conyers, Larry Daniels, Michael hopper, Adrian Hughes, Russell Miller, Erica Qualls, Michael Session, Michael Smith, Gail Smith-Howard, Michael Washington, Linda Westgate, Robert Woolridge, Erika Alexander, Lorenzo Creighton, Valerie Ferguson, and Robert Steele.
Clayton conceived, founded and nurtured the awards program which has grown into a prestigious testimonial.
“We have come so far since we started this project in 1993 and I am extremely obliged to those individuals who saw the vision and who have worked with us for nearly 20 years,” Clayton said in a statement announcing this year’s honorees.
“We are most jubilant to bring this event to the world and to celebrate the achievements of those who had an impact on our community,” she said.
Corporate supporters for the program include The Coca-Cola Company, Wells Fargo, Anheuser-Busch, Delta Air Lines, Nordstrom, Newell Rubbermaid, General Motors, Hyatt Regency Atlanta and The Home Depot.
Photo: Mary Parker