Wyclef Jean was the headliner at the Andrew J. Young International Leadership Awards and 85th birthday tribute this past weekend held at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta. The event gathered civil rights leaders, pastors, and the real Atlanta movers and shakers all under one roof. These were the folks that helped make Atlanta great again after all the marches that took place prior to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. Young is the one person who can truly state that Dr. King was one of his best friends and a fellow civil rights activist fighting for equality.
It was great to see Young, his wife, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and their invited guests and honorees get together to pay homage to the leaders of today that are still paying it forward and dedicating their lives and careers to making a difference. The award categories and winners were as follows: The Community Engagement Award (Ron Clark), The Civil Rights and Civic Participation Award (Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour), The International Humanitarian Initiatives Award (AKON), The Public Service and Advocacy Award (Van Jones), The Social Impact Award (John Hope Bryant), and The Chairman’s Award (The Honorable Joseph L. Biden).
Ron Clark and John Hope Bryant gave the most impactful speeches. Actor, comedian, star of ABC’s “Black-ish” and NAACP Image Award winner for “Blackish” Anthony Anderson was the host of the evening.
Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Cristina Quinones, Estelle, Tulani, Keith David, Yancyy and Davido were among some of the most amazing performers of the evening. Usher, who apparently skipped an appearance in Manchester at the benefit concert, performed as well.
The event was organized by Bart Phillips and Sunseeker Media. It was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, Chic-fil-A, Chevron, Delta, The Coca-Cola Company, Ebony Publications, Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, COX Enterprises, Inc, Phillips Arena, Home Depot, BET Networks, FedEx and a host of other supporters.