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This year, Smithsonian Magazine‘s list of American Ingenuity Award nominees had a sprinkle of #BlackExcellence. According to TIME, film director Ava DuVernay, musician John Legend, and 12-year-old activist Marley Dias were among the recipients of the prestigious award.

The award recognizes individuals who are thought leaders and visionaries in their respective fields. The award recipients have made strides in tech, the performing arts, history and other areas.

DuVernay was awarded the prize in the visual arts category for her impactful films and television series. Dias—who launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign to bring attention to the lack of diversity in children’s books—won the Youth category. Legend earned his award in the performing arts category for using his craft to bring awareness to social justice issues, the news outlet reported.

Among the other winners were Apple’s Jony Ive, the Sesame Workshop (the non-profit behind the show “Sesame Street”), and Natalie Batalha who served as a mission scientist for NASA’s Kepler Mission.

The recipients are slated to receive their awards on November 29 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Legendary music producer Quincy Jones and jazz musician Branford Marsalis will present the awards, the news outlet said.

This has been a major year for both DuVernay and Legend. Earlier this year it was revealed that she’s working on writing and directing a Netflix mini-series about the Central Park 5 and in August it was announced that she would adapt award-winning novelist Octavia Butler‘s “Dawn” for a television series. In June, John Legend won a Tony Award for co-producing the Broadway play Jitney.


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