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al sharpton, denzel washington, KEEPERS OF THE DREAM AWARDSMusical sensation John Legend, comedic legend Bill Cosby, and corporate icon Richard Parsons headlined last night’s National Action Network‘s (NAN) “14th Annual Keepers Of The Dream Awards” banquet hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

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After Cosby delivered a crowd-pleasing keynote address, encouraging (and admonishing) the Black community to help Black youth focus on education and self-empowerment, Rev. Sharpton followed up by announcing NAN’s 2012 “Keepers Of The Dream Award” recipients.

Each year, NAN selects high-profile and not-so-well-known individuals who actively exemplify Dr. Martin L. King Jr.’s vision through their tireless efforts to improve the communities in which they live, the corporate boards on which they serve, and other acts of professional and social selflessness.

This years awardees are Parsons, Chairman of Citigroup; actor Denzel Washington and his wife, Pauletta; Karla Ballard, Chief of Strategic Development, Media and National Partnerships of One Economy; and Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.

Before handing out the awards, Rev. Sharpton mentioned how valuable it is to give to others as opposed to living a life of luxury that only serves oneself:

“If you success is based only on what you own and what you have achieved and what status you have, then your success if temporary at best,” Sharpton said.

He then shared a tough aspect of his ecclesiastical duties that involves preaching about a deceased person who lead less than ordinary life.

“It is a very difficult task to preach the funeral of an irrelevant person, Sharpton said. “It’s a really hard job.”

Other notable attendees at the banquet were Georgetown professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, popular TV Judge Greg Mathis, and President and CEO of Radio One Alfred C. Higgins III.

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