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    Rev. Al Sharpton, Will Packer, Iyanla Vanzant, Among Those Honored at 11th Annual McDonald’s #365BlackAwards in New Orleans

    Beauty, brains and amazing talent lined the golden carpet as McDonald’s celebrated its 11th annual 365Black Awards on July 5 in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival in the Big Easy. The start studded event brought out some of Gospel’s brightest stars to celebrate the 2014 recipients.


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    They were joined by a full house of spectators who converged to salute this year’s recipients of the distinguished award, including civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton; film producer Will Packer; music executive Kevin Liles; inspirational leader Iyanla Vanzant; former NFL athlete Dhani Jones; and McDonald’s owner/operator Henry Coaxum. Additionally, artist Skyler Grey and entrepreneur Gabrielle Jordan Williams were recognized alongside this lineup with the first-ever McDonald’s 365Black Community Choice Youth Award.

    McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. The program launched in 2003 as an extension of the company’s 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African Americans year-round. This year’s event was hosted by actor/television host Terrence ‘J’ Jenkins and actress Tika Sumpter and was held in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca-Cola®.

    Prior to the ceremony, national television journalist Janell Snowden covered the celebrity action from the “golden” carpet wearing a dress designed exclusively by TraVonne Walker, winner of the McCafe – Harlem’s Fashion Row® University Student Design Competition and guided by fashion design reality television alum Kimberly Goldson.

    R&B recording artist and New Orleans’ own Ledisi opened the show and got the crowd in the mood for the soulful sounds of Pastor Kim BurrellTankLeela JamesJazmine SullivanKierra Sheard and Mali Music. Singer/actress Michelle Williams, veteran radio personality Tom Joyner, news correspondent Soledad O’Brien, film director Warrington Hudlin, actress Naturi Naughton and news correspondent Nischelle Turner were among celebrities on hand to present the illustrious awards. Celebrities in attendance included news correspondentRoland Martin; recording artist Raheem DeVaughn; the cast of Preachers of L.A., including Minister Deitrick Haddon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Pastor Jay Haizlip and Bishop Ron Gibson; actress/singer Demetria McKinney; Grammy-nominated gospel recording artist Anita Wilson; and singer/songwriter Jesse Boykins III.

    “We commend all of this year’s honorees for their diligent service and dedication to bettering our communities,” said Rob Jackson, McDonald’s U.S. marketing director. “We are proud to continue this tradition of recognition and are grateful for the contributions of all 365Black Awards honorees, both past and present.”

    Those who missed the live awards ceremony can share in the experience by watching the broadcast on BET® Networks on August 10 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. CDT. The awards ceremony will also air on CENTRIC on August 17 at 11 p.m. EDT/10 p.m. CDT. Additionally, consumers can follow @McDScene on Twitter for commentary on the awards and join the conversation using #365BlackAwards

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