Culture Creator hosted their fifth annual Innovators and Leaders Awards celebrating Black culture on Saturday, June 26 and presented Swizz Beatz with the Icon Award for his and Timbaland’s music series Verzuz. Swizz explained how the series came about and how he always had faith in their vision.
“I always knew that when creatives celebrated each other it would work, when two creatives get together instead of being in competition and pitted against each other — although it is called Verzuz, it’s still a celebration,” Swizz Beatz said during his speech at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angles.
During his acceptance speech, Swizz also discussed selling Verzuz to Triller Network and some of the backlash they received as people perceived them as selling out.
“We turned down hundreds of millions of dollars of money – that wasn’t in our favor. We went with the company that allowed us to bring our friends, allowed us to bring our family, and still run the company and have ownership in that company. When people heard that me and Timb sold Verzuz, they didn’t really understand the concept of why we did that. You can own 100 percent of nothing and I don’t like that when it comes to our culture we can’t sell anything,” explained the Ruff Ryder producer.
Speaking on the business move, he also revealed that the company is going public on the stock market in a few weeks.
“They can sell everything but we can’t sell anything or we sold out. Nah, we sold in, all 43 artists are going public with us. It’s going to be the biggest creative IPO in history,” Swizz commented further.
Derrick “D-Nice” Jones also received an award for keeping the masses moving with his Club Quarantine on Instagram Live during the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Boogie Down Productions MC was recognized with the Innovator of the Year Award for his online mixes.
Other honorees at the show included former NBA player Baron Davis, TikTok exec Kudzi Chikumbu and Beyoncé’s personal stylist and wardrobe curator Zerina Akers.