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Usher and Doug E. Fresh set to headline 18th Annual Ford Freedom Award

Reginald F. Lewis (posthumously) and Dave Bing to be honored at the 18th Annual Ford Freedom Award (Photo Credit: Courtesy Ford Motor Company)

Ford Motor Company is honoring Men of Courage at this year’s Annual Ford Freedom Award on Tuesday, May 17, 6-9 p.m. at Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit (DSO Orchestra Hall). The theme for this year’s celebration is “Advancing the Narrative of African American Men,” and will celebrate the positive contributions of African American men. Grammy-nominated artist Angie Stone, hip hop icon Doug E. Fresh, “The Voice” season 3 contestant, singer-songwriter and dancer Avery Wilson and famed tap-dancers Syncopated Ladies will all perform, making this one of Ford’s most anticipated Ford Freedom Award celebrations ever.

This year’s program will celebrate achievements of the past, present and future, while highlighting select African American men for their diverse, complex and valiant stories. The program recognizes the empowering impact of these men on their families and communities, along with their servant leadership, professional excellence and personal courage.

The late Reginald F. Lewis will be the Ford Freedom Award honoree. This particular honoree is a distinguished African American who dedicated his or her life to improving the African American community and the world at large. Lewis was a Wall Street lawyer and philanthropist who was renowned for his character, generosity and business acumen.

This year’s Ford Freedom Award scholar is Dave Bing, founder and chairman, Bing Youth Institute, an NBA Hall of Famer and the 62nd mayor of Detroit. The scholar serves as a living legacy, carrying forth the ideals of the honoree and furthering those achievements for a new generation.

New for this year, Ford will present the inaugural Ford Courage Awards honoring three courageous individuals in the areas of family, community and sports. The newly added People’s Choice Ford Courage Award will be presented to Shaka Senghor (criminal justice reform advocate, TED Talks presenter and New York Times best-selling author), Kerlin Blaise (former NFL player and successful businessman, president and owner of Blaze Contracting), and Jonathan Butler (University of Missouri graduate student activist and hunger striker).

Usher Raymond IV, Grammy award-winning artist and activist, and Jerome Bettis, Detroit native, NFL Hall of Famer and football analyst, will also attend the event and participate as presenters.