By Portia A. Scott (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
The 2001 Trumpet Award highlighted many celebrities and icons as it made its 19th debut at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, Saturday evening, Jan. 29, before a full audience of well-dressed mostly African-Americans. The event also marked an array of top entertainers and hosts that led to it being one of the best ever.
Founded through the vision of Xernona Clayton, the evening moved through a live taping that will be aired in April, thanks to the humor and jokes by Atlanta’s own comedian, Jonathan Slocumb. The emcees for the evening were actor Boris Kodjoe, his wife Nicole Ari Parker, and TV entertainment star Niecy Nash.
A top entertainment line-up included Eric Benet, who turned out the evening; Angela Brown, Richard Smallwood, James Ingram; Ledisi; Melvin M. Miller; SILK featuring Angie Stone, Kelly Price and Kandi Burruss; Donnie McClurkin; Charlie Wilson, and the Stax Academy of Music All Stars. The group SILK sounded just like the Ojay’s and performed their numerous hits like “Family Reunion,” “Let Me Make Love To You,” and “Don’t Let Money Change You,” ” Cry, Cry, Cry Together,” and “We Were Made For Each Other.”
Trumpet awardees Al Sharpton and Judge Greg Mathis, were candid about those who paved the way for the young to enjoy the Trumpet Awards occasion. Judge Mathis, who received the Humanitarian Award, said he would stop talking about his incarcerated past, when “the men incarcerated today can change their hearts and minds” and be free. Both honorees acknowledged the celebration today of our achievements and thanked Xernona Clayton for her vision and the Trumpet Awards Foundation Board of Directors, for choosing them.
Other honorees were: Drs. Andrew Keith and Kevin Churchwell, for medicine; Richard Roundtree for the arts; U.S. Atty. General Eric H. Holder Jr., legal; Chief Justice Georgina Wood, Supreme Court of Ghana, W. Africa, international; Paula Madison, for corporate leadership; Alfred C. Liggins III, son of Radio and TV magnet Cathy Hughes, for media; and The Ojay’s, with only three remaining, including originals Eddie Levert and Eric Grant, for lifetime achievement award. Al Sharpton received the Trumpet Award for civil rights.
Jonathan Slocumb, the Christian comic, with the assistance of Delta Air Lines’ Scarlet Pressley-Brown, also emceed the High Tea with High Heels affair, held on Thursday, January 27, at the Hyatt Regency downtown, a fundraiser for the Trumpet Awards Foundation’s scholarship initiative; the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, free and open to the public, Friday morning, January 28 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, followed by the unveiling of the footprints at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Honorees whose footprints were placed into the granite Walk of Fame included Arthur Blank, James Brown, the Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Bahamian Bishop Neil C. Ellis, Leon Hall, Bishop Barbara L. King, Mayor Carl Stokes, Congressman Louis Stokes and Henry “Hank” Thomas.
Trumpet Awards Creator and Executive Producer Xernona Clayton, a national celebrity and “shero” in her own right, attended and participated in all of the weekend events which got started on Wednesday evening, January 26, with the Race Relations Symposium and a welcome reception, and ended on Saturday night with the Trumpet Awards gala event at the Cobb Center.
The Trumpet Awards will air on Sunday, April 24th on TVOne.