gathered on the stage of the 17th Annual Trumpet Awards to receive a once-in-life time salute for their dedication, hard work, and remarkable achievements. The star-studded event, often referred to as the "Oscars" for Black America, took place at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta (GA) on Sunday, January 25th and was hosted by Sherri Shepherd, co-host of "The View" and Anthony Anderson, star of "Law and Order."
Honorees for the 2009 Trumpet Awards included: Dr. Alvin Crawford, Medicine; Raven-Symonè, the Pinnacle Award; Earvin "Magic" Johnson, the Living Legend Award; Pastor Paula White, the Humanitarian Award; Chief Richard Pennington, Law; Michael Roberts, Business; Johnathan Rodgers, Corporate; Chris Tucker, Entertainment; and Tuskegee Airmen, Heroes.
"This is a great time to be an American and a proud African American," said one of the Tuskegee Airmen after receiving his Trumpet Award. This sentiment was repeated throughout the crowd of more than 2,000 people who gathered to see the parade of celebrities as they moved down the red carpet into the awards ceremony. The Trumpet Awards Creator and Executive Producer Xernona Clayton presented an array of impressive entertainment and paid tribute to African-American achievers in varied fields impressive of endeavor including law, business, medicine, politics, entertainment and public service. Ms. Clayton is the President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. and the innovative spirit who conceived the first Trumpet Awards held in 1993.
TV One will broadcast the show on Sunday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. PST.
Presenters for the Trumpet Awards were Gloria Allred, Louis Gossett, Jr., Lisa Leslie, Holly Robinson Peete, Ambassador Andrew Young, Judge Karen Bass, Teresa Hairston, Roland Martin, Dr. Ian Smith, Tom Joyner, and Fredricka Whitfield. Performers at the Trumpet Awards show included En Vogue, Keisha Cole, Bobby Valentino, Raheem Devaughn, Dietrick Haddon, Regina Belle and Teena Marie.
Other celebrity guests honored at the Trumpet Awards in a "Promenade of Distinction" were The Honorable Karen Bass, first African-American female Speaker of California State Assembly; Derick Halliman, President/ Founder, Lucid Enterprises LLC; Simmie Knox, Celebrity Portrait Artist; Senator Leroy Johnson, first African-American elected to Senate in the South; Dr. Thomas Mensah, Inventor/Chemical Engineer, Fiber Optics; Captain William D. Pinkney, Captain of the AMISTAD; Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, first African-American female Dean of a U.S. medical school; Alexis Scott, Publisher, Atlanta Daily World; and The Honorable Craig Watkins, first African-American Criminal District Attorney in Texas.
The Trumpet Awards weekend provided several events that continue in the tradition of the Trumpets, to salute the achievement of many distinguished citizens. The Friday, January 23rd, Prayer Breakfast honorees include Dr. Dwight D. Andrews, The Bronner family, Ernestine Dillard, Dr. Frederick Haynes III, Dr. Walter L. Kimbrough, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Jr. and Dr. Robert H. Schuller.
The High Tea with High Heels affair, which is open to the public, was also held on Friday and is the fundraiser to the Trumpet Awards Foundation's scholarship initiative. The International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, which is free and open to the public, was held on Saturday, January 24 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, followed by the unveiling of the footprints at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Honorees whose footprints were placed into the granite walk of fame included The Reverend Dr. Cameron M. Alexander; Danny J. Bakewell, Sr; Dr. Erieka Bennett; Roberto Goizueta; Cathy Hughes; Earvin "Magic" Johnson; The Links, Incorporated, represented by Dr. Gwen Lee; The Honorable Sam Massell; The Honorable Ernest N. Morial; Father Michael L. Pfleger, The Reverend Al Sharpton; Congressman William L. Clay, Sr; and The Reverend C. T. Vivian.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a major producer of entertainment products around the world, is the presenting sponsor of the 2009 Trumpet Awards. Other major sponsors include: Aetna, Bahamas Tourism Authority and Aviation, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Everlasting Pure Water, FedEx Corporation, George's Motor Coach, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Newell Rubbermaid, Nordstrom, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, TV One and UPS, among others.