*Tuesday, October 16, 2012 marked two very special events.
It was the third and final presidential debate and the 3rd annual National Action Network (NAN) Triumph Awards honoring three individuals who have not only made strides in their respective professions, but have had a positive impact in their communities as well.
And like President Barack Obama’s slam dunk victory over the debate, the Triumph Awards program and presentation — underwritten by Viacom Media and BET Networks – were also purely victorious.
This year’s trio of triumphant honorees included Sean “Diddy” Combs, chairman, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group (presented by the Reverend Al Sharpton); Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president, Global Community Connections, The Coca-Cola Company and chair, The Coca-Cola Foundation (presented by event co-chair Marva Smalls); and George Lucas, founder, chairman & chief executive, LucasFilm (presented by actor Samuel L. Jackson).
The event was held at the Rose Theatre at Jazz At Lincoln Center offering breathtaking views of Columbus Circle and Central Park and kicked off with a rousing gospel performance by the cast of Mama I Want To Sing featuring Knoelle Higginsen and the Gospel For Teens Choir — who brought the house down — followed by welcoming remarks from NAN’s president and founder, Rev. Sharpton who praised the honorees for their contributions.
“Tonight we honor some of those modern-day icons who have led the way in their respective fields of work: Sean “Diddy” Combs for his unparalleled success in business, entertainment and the arts; Ingrid Saunders Jones for providing leadership in diversity at The Coca-Cola Company and at The Coca-Cola Foundation; and George Lucas for being a pioneer in film and portraying our stories on the Big Screen through LucasFilm.”
Other participants in the program championing NAN’s inspiring causes included: Marva Smalls, executive vice president, public affairs & chief of staff, Nickelodeon Group executive vice president, Global Inclusion Strategy, Viacom; Tamika D. Mallory, NAN’s National executive director; Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, NAN’s chairman of the board; and Judge Greg Mathis, 2011 Triumph Award recipient. Lovely actress/singer Tamara Tunie — who currently stars as medical examiner Dr. Melinda Warner on the hit drama series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
National Action Network (NAN) is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation that works extensively to promote a modern civil rights agenda, which emphasizes a standard of decency for all people regardless of race or sex, social justice for all communities, and improvements in race relations. Through the years, NAN has served as a megaphone for the voiceless and an advocate for those in need.
There was a mad exodus at the conclusion of the stellar program as guests headed in all directions to get to a television to view the debate. But before exiting, guests received fabulous swag bags containing expensive gifts including Star Wars memorabilia compliments of its creator and NAN’s honoree George Lucas. (Photos by Paul Persaud)
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.