As numerous colleges kicked off their Homecoming festivities, black excellence was front and center at the inaugural HBCU Power Awards presented by Morehouse College, October 20. Hundreds of guests gathered at Martin Luther King Jr International Chapel in Atlanta to celebrate eight individuals who have made significant achievements in their respective fields: actress Jada Pinkett Smith, Coltrane Curtis (founder, Team Epiphany), Kyle Hagler (president, Next Management), Nzinga Shaw (Chief Diversity Officer, Atlanta Hawks), Keinon Johnson (VP, Urban Promotions, Interscope Records), Phylicia Fant (SVP, Publicity, Warner Bros Records), Beverly Anderson (EVP, Cards & Retail Services, Wells Fargo) and Rob Rumley (Chair, Atlanta Housing Authority).
Produced by Morehouse alums Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins (c/o ’96), Jash’d Kambui Belcher (c/o ’99) and Roderick Hardamon (c/o ’98), the HBCU Power Awards was full of exceptional moments: an opening “Swag Surfin'” performance by the Morehouse Glee Club and Horns section; co-host Deon Cole keeping the audience laughing; the crowd singing along to “Focus” during R&B singer H.E.R’s performance; an impromptu stroll in the aisles from an Omega Psi Phi frat; the music by DJ Trauma; Coltrane Curtis’ emotional tribute to his late father; and Jada Pinkett Smith’s moving words on the dynamics of power and the responsibility we all have to manage it wisely.
Special guests included producer Will Packer, supermodel Jessica White, actor Michael Jai White, style expert Tai Beauchamp, Atlanta Hawks Foundation EVP David Lee, creative consultant and entrepreneur Taiye Samuel, radio/tv personality Gary “With The Tea” Hayes, singer Dondria Nicole, rapper Silento, author Zane and many more.
Many thanks to sponsors Morehouse College, the Atlanta Hawks, Radio One, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Experience Grands Rapids and the Lowman Group/ dba the Athletes Foot.
Photo Credit Marcus Ingram