American television mainstay Tichina Arnold, famed as much for her rousing singing voice and peppy presence as her sitcom credits and dicey hairstyles, hosted the 2016 Triumph Awards in Atlanta. The annual ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of change agents in civil rights, the arts, entertainment and business. Presented by Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, the Triumph Awards is set to air this Sunday (10/2) on TV One. Speaking from the steps of the historic Tabernacle concert hall in mid-town Atlanta, Sharpton shared this in summation of his organization and its spirited agenda: “Our commitment now is to protect the legacy of Barack Obama and fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King,” explained Sharpton. “Some of our honorees’ works and activism have been displayed on the center stage for all the world to experience firsthand, while other’s efforts have lacked the oh-so worthy public exposure,” the iconic activist continued, his conviction heard in every word. “We will be spotlighting these special individuals and their many contributions to the advancement of African Americans everywhere.”
Written by Tone Swep
Images by Robin Lori & Marcus Ingram
The evening’s honorees included legendary filmmaker Spike Lee, music and business moguls Sean “Puffy” Combs and Jermaine Dupri, FedEx Senior Vice President Gina Adams, and Attorney Benjamin Crump, who was presented the Chairman’s Award for Historic and Transformative Service. The award acknowledges Crump for his fearless and focussed efforts in defending the rights of citizens, including Trayvon Martin and Tobbie Tolan, who failed to see their dreams, aspirations, and lives born and raised to maturity due to the all too common miscarriages of justice currently plaguing American society, community, and justice system. “It’s not enough just to try to stop the killing of our children,” Crump stated firmly in his gratifyingly gripping acceptance speech. “We must also fight for the life of our children and give them the promise that is guaranteed by the Constitution.” Shedding a light of realness on this dark reality like a war chanting echo from Crump’s rallying cry for attention to the cause was the honoring of Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner, rest in peace), Lesley McSpadden (mother of Mike Brown, rest in peace) and Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin, rest in peace), collectively known as Mothers of the Movement.
As conscious as creative, it wouldn’t be the Triumph Awards without a bevy of inspiring live performances from the industry’s A-list. Emerging star V Bozeman performed “Race Jones”, Juan and Deborah Joy Winans performed “Lord Lift Us Up”, R&B all-star Joe performed “Mercy Mercy Me”, media magnate Nick Cannon expressed his discontent with the current state of Presidential campaign affairs with an original spoken word piece titled “Too Broke To Vote”, the James Brown Academy of Music students performed “Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”, and Gospel soul megastar Fantasia closed out the show with a riveting, standing ovation compelling performance of her hit single “Lose to Win.” Enjoy over 30 beautiful images from the Triumph Awards and watch behind-the-scenes footage Here. 🍾