One of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations announced the honorees for its annual awards ceremony recognizing people for working to promote social, racial and economic justice in their communities. The National Action Network (NAN) on Wednesday revealed the five winners’ names for this installment of the Triumph Awards, a yearly tradition that began more than a decade ago.
Actress Angela Bassett, activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham, DJ D-Nice, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts and actor/producer Tyler Perry were all named as recipients of Triumph Awards at the 11th annual ceremony, which will go virtual for the first time on Monday night.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, NAN’s founder, said the 2020 Triumph Awards being presented held a special meaning as the country experiencing a racial reckoning sparked by police violence and a pandemic that have both disproportionately affected Black people, in particular.
“This year’s honorees exemplify service and activism in the wake of a year that has exposed challenges haunting civil rights and social justice communities for too long,” Sharpton, who is also NAN’s president, said in a statement on Wednesday. “In a year tainted by bigotry, hatred and divisiveness, we at NAN are committed to highlighting people making real change. The Triumph Awards recognize and celebrate these significant figures that are both successful leaders in their fields as well as committed advocates for equality and justice. These are people who can be celebrated, lifted, and ultimately emulated in their work.”
More on the honorees:
- Bassett has used her artistry to bring the narratives of strong Black women to film and television. Some of her most pivotal roles were in films that include “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” “Boyz ‘N the Hood,” “Malcolm X,” “Black Panther” and dozens of other successful projects. She has also used her platform to bring awareness to diabetes, a disease that not only disproportionately affects Black people but also contributed to her mother’s death.
- Packnett Cunningham, who rose to prominence as an activist following the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, was on President Barack Obama‘s 21st Century Policing Task Force and founded Campaign Zero, a nonprofit organization devoted to research-based policy solutions to end police brutality.
- Hip-hop pioneer D-Nice all but became a household name as the pandemic first hit because of his marathon-style DJ sets that united socially distanced music-lovers who came together online in record numbers for his signature “Club Quarantine” series on social media.
- Pastor Jakes Roberts, the daughter of legendary Bishop T.D. Jakes, is a motivational speaker, best-selling author and faith leader who founded the Women Evolve ministry, a group helping women achieve success.
- Perry, whose reputation precedes itself, has especially expanded his multi-dimensional repertoire to focus on activism and philanthropy as the pandemic has progressively worsened. Most recently, he bankrolled an initiative for Black voters in battleground state Florida ahead of the presidential election.
Aside from the honorees, gospel artist Bishop Marvin Sapp and the Abundance Arts Academy, a Black-owned dance company from Brooklyn, are scheduled to perform at the virtual ceremony.
To watch the 11th annual Triumph Awards online, NAN will be live-streaming the event on its website and Facebook page at 7 p.m. ET.