John Legend and Tyrese Gibson were honored for their positive impact on the community at the Triumph Awards, which took place Saturday night in Atlanta and will air Oct. 3 on TV One.
Legend received the Presidential Award for service and humanitarian efforts. The Grammy-winning singer was not in attendance, but accepted his award in a pre-taped video sitting alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton. (The network collaborated with Sharpton and his National Action Network.)
Gibson was presented the entertainer of the year award by Martin Luther King III. After the singer was given the award, he took the stage to perform his single “Shame.”
The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery received the Chairman’s Award for historic and transformative service as a civil rights leader, while comedian Wanda Sykes was given the Activism in the Arts honor for years of service to youth homelessness and engagement within the LGBT community.
Intel chief diversity officer Rosalind Hudnell was presented with the Corporate Executive of the Year.
Actress Tichina Arnold of the Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse” hosted the show.
Rapper T.I. delivered a spoken-word piece titled “United We Stand,” urging youth to not lose focus and the meaning behind the Black Lives Matter movement.
Other performers included Tasha Cobbs, Ledisi, Jazmine Sullivan and Estelle. The Youth Ensemble of Atlanta unveiled “Put Your Guns Up,” a tribute recounting the victims of unfortunate deaths as a result of gun violence.
Grammy-winning jazz artist and producer Robert Glasper was the show’s musical director of the house band. Chante Moore and R&B singer Stokley Williams performed in a duet, singing a rendition of Donny Hathaway’s classic song “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”
The King children—Bernice, Dexter and Martin III– will accept the posthumous Congressional Gold Medal for their parents Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the White House honored both the civil rights icon and his often unsung wife–who dedicated her life to keeping his legacy and that of the larger movement alive until her death in 2006–at a special ceremony yesterday, June 24.
Earlier this year, the King children were embroiled in a battle over the potential sale of the Nobel Peace Prize medal Dr. King received in 1964 and his personal traveling Bible that President Obama sworn on for his first historic inauguration ceremony. At a news conference held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father and grandfather preached, Bernice said “I take this strong position for my father because Daddy is not here to say for himself, ‘My Bible and my medals are not to be sold.”
Although some applauded Bernice’s public stance, others pointed out that the children all sold their father’s papers for $32 million in 2006 and pondered why these possessions were deemed different. In 2009, the King children settled another dispute over the King estate, with Bernice and Martin III teamed against Dexter regarding his decision-making for the estate.
While there appears to be no public record of the resolution of the latest legal battle, it is promising that the children are scheduled to accept the honor for their parents together. Let’s hope the good vibes continue and the Kings can finally get the peace for which their parents fought. George Washington received the first medal in 1776.