beverly johnson at mc donald's 365black awards

365Black Awards Honoree Beverly Johnson (Photo: Chris Mitch)

*McDonald’s 365Black Awards was launched in 2003 as an extension of the company’s 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African Americans year-round.  The awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African American community.  The award ceremony has become the centerpiece of the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, LA.

On Saturday, July 6, 2013 at the Theater in the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, luminaries walked the long and winding gold carpet to attend McDonald’s 10th annual 365Black Awards hosted by award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson.  Actress/comedian Kym Whitley covered the celebrity action from the “golden” carpet.

The star-studded audience blended with 365Black guests and VIPs as they celebrated the heritage and achievements of African Americans who remain Deeply Rooted in the Community® all year long, recognizing those whose contributions and accomplishments were truly exemplary.  Watch what happened by tuning in to BET® (Black Entertainment Television) on August 25, 2013 at 11pm EST/10pm CST.

This year’s stellar honorees included Grammy Award-winning singer-philanthropist Gladys Knight, supermodel Beverly Johnson, education leader Steve Perry, Chicago White Sox Executive Vice President Kenny Williams, McDonald’s owner Roland Parrish, teen entrepreneur Leanna Archer, and youth environmentalist Charles Orgbon, III.  “These honorees have inspired others by employing their talents and resources to improve their communities, while also laying the groundwork for future growth and development,” stated McDonald’s U.S. Marketing Director Rob Jackson.

The event also recognized the achievements of exceptional McDonald’s Black owners/ operators.  This year 365Black proudly recognized the achievements of Deborah Allen, Henry L. Coaxum Jr., Mary Redmond, Carolyn Hunter, Leon Goodrum and Geta & Janice Asfaw.  Their ability to proudly and respectfully represent the McDonald’s brand day after day is one of the reasons the company has achieved its unprecedented level of success.

“We applaud this year’s honorees for their tireless dedication to serving others.  Truly the contributions of these individuals are integral to strengthening communities on the whole,” added Jackson.  “From McDonald’s owner/operators to global superstars, past and present 365Black Awards recipients prove that benevolent work yields positive results.”

“It is an honor to be recognized alongside these remarkable individuals,” said the Empress of Soul Gladys Knight.  “By lending a hand to others, we can all help create environments of strength and compassion that enrich our neighborhoods, regardless of who we are or where we live.”

Celebrated presenters included R&B singers Brandy and LeToya Luckett, Ray Ellis, Omari Hardwick and Robinne Lee.  Comedian Jonathan Slocumb proved to be more than an audience warmer.  He was so spot on funny that he was offered an “opening gig” from Knight herself!  When not cracking up the crowd, Slocumb introduced special performances by recording artists Yolanda Adams, Erica Campbell, Deborah Cox, Estelle, Jordin Sparks and Angie Stone.
About McDonald’s
McDonald’s USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider in the United States offering a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to more than 26 million customers every day.  Nearly 90 percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local businessmen and women.  Customers can now log online for free at any of the 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald’s U.S. restaurants.  For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter (@McDonalds) and Facebook ( for updates on our business, promotions and menu items.  The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald’s Corporation and its affiliates: 365Black and McDonald’s. ©2013 McDonald’s

About BET Networks:
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions:, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks – BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET operates in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

#365BlackAwards, #EFJ13

my black is beautiful

From left to right, Director Shola Lynch, Executive Producer Beverly Bond, Documentary Lead Janet Goldsboro, Actress Tatyana Ali and Director and Producer Lisa Cortes help P&G’s My Black is Beautiful kick off ESSENCE Festival Weekend with a Screening of the Imagine a Future Documentary on July 4, 2013 at Mannings Restaurant. (Photo: Business Wire)

*Proctor & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful (MBIB) hosted one of the most lavish events during the 2013 Essence Festival in New Orleans on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at a private screening followed by a lovely NOLA’s style dinner of the critically acclaimed Imagine a Future documentary in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival co-directed by Shola Lynch and Lisa Cortes.

Guests joined the cast and creators of the thought-provoking film at NOLA’s trendy hotspot Manning’s Restaurant where after seeing the 30-minute documentary — which provided lots of food for thought — dined on mixed green salad, baked mac & cheese, local vegetable, herb roasted chicken breast, natural jus slow stewed beef tips with mushrooms and creamy pasta primavera followed by delicious bread pudding.

P&G’s MBIB celebrated its sixth year as one of the title sponsors of the Essence Festival.  The film aims to empower African American women and addresses such complex issues as beauty, self-esteem, and skin tone.

“I didn’t look like what I saw in a magazine,” says teenager Janet Goldsboro, who is in the documentary.  “I look different from all my cousins.  I had dark features, dark hair, dark eyes, big nose and big lips, and I used to get made fun of because of how I looked.”  She adds: “Boys say, ‘I like the light-skinned girls,’ or, ‘I like white girls because I want my baby to come out pretty.’  And that hurts you because it makes you feel like you’re ugly looking.”

The film also follows Goldsboro’s visit to South Africa and includes interviews with such dynamic women as writer/cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry.

One year after unveiling the Imagine a Future initiative — in conjunction with educational leader UNCF and community partner Black Girls Rock! — MBIB presented its namesake documentary to the local community in New Orleans through a partnership with Girl Up NOLA.

With the help of Walmart, MBIB gave over 200 local New Orleans’ girls an exclusive opportunity to be one of the first to view the documentary before the national BET premiere.  Screening attendees learned about Goldsboro’s story of self-acceptance and self-discovery as she traveled from Delaware to South Africa.  Goldsboro was a hit with young audience members who, after the viewing, engaged in conversation with her and the film’s creative team with an in-depth Q&A panel discussion hosted by MBIB spokesperson and well-known actress, Tatyana Ali.

“This year, we are also happy to bring our first-ever documentary, Imagine a Future, directly to our extended family in New Orleans — where Imagine a Future all started,” stated P&G representative Grace James before the start of the much anticipated filmMore notably, James acknowledged the movers and shakers of the celebrated documentary as follows:

Beverly Bond has blazed trails in the music, entertainment and social entrepreneurship industries.  Her body of work, across sectors, has made her one of the most celebrated DJ’s, and social innovators of our time.  A true music connoisseur, Bond’s passion for music and her uncanny ability to read the crowd has solidified her as one of the premier DJ’s in the world.  In 2006 Bond founded Black Girls Rock! a youth empowerment mentoring organization while simultaneously creating the annual Black Girls Rock! Awards to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and stand as inspirational and positive role models in the community.  In 2010, Bond partnered with BET to share her Black Girls Rock! vision with the rest of the world.  As the creator and executive producer of the televised show, Bond crafted a program that was groundbreaking in its approach to exhibiting the breadth and depth of talent celebrated by women in the African Diaspora. The premiere of Black Girls Rock! Awards on BET, was magnanimous in regards to its motivational impact as well, drawing an impressive 2.7 million viewers and commanding the No. 1 spot on the chart for Black households.

Lisa Cortés is a versatile producer with deep roots in both the film and music industries.  Executive producer of the Academy Award® winning film Precious, the Yale graduate has worked with actors such as Helen Mirren, Halle Berry, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mo’Nique, Kevin Bacon, Joseph Gordon- Levitt, Paula Patton and Gabourey Sidibe and is known for producing films with difficult and provocative themes.  She a special talent for giving light to expressive voices not often heard and stories not often told.  As senior vice president of production at Lee Daniels Entertainment, she produced and developed numerous award-winning films including The WoodsmanShadowboxer and Tennessee.  Prior to her film career, Cortés worked with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin to launch the iconic Def Jam brand.  She was vice president of artist and repertoire at Mercury Records, where she worked with many multi-platinum and Grammy Award winning artists.  Cortés became the first African American woman to have her own label deal at a major record company when she founded and served as president of Loose Cannon Records, a subsidiary of Polygram Records.  Cortés launched her own production company, Cortés Films, in 2010 and has several projects now in production.  She is also series producer on the new crime investigation television series, Celebrity Crime Files.

Shola Lynch is an award-winning American filmmaker who burst on the scene in 2004.  Her eagerly anticipated second feature documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners is a first- hand account of the events that thrust Angela Davis into the national spotlight from a young college professor to a fugitive on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.  The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically in the U.S. by Code Black and Lionsgate exclusively in AMC theatres.  Lynch’s first independent feature documentary, Chisholm ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed, about Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s historic run for president in 1972, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, aired on PBS’s POV series, and garnered two Independent Spirit Award nominations and a prestigious Peabody for excellence.  Lynch honed her filmmaking skills as a visual researcher and associate producer for Ken Burns and Florentine Films.  Her work on the two-part Frank Lloyd Wright documentary and the ten-part Jazz series inspired her to pursue the craft of storytelling. Since then she has produced and scripted stories that have aired on BET, CNN, ESPN, HBO Sports, and PBS.  Lynch also holds a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University and is working on a book based on her new film.

Janet Deanna Goldsboro, a 17 year old student at Caesar Rodney High School in Dover, Delaware, is the daughter of Nathan and Tamatha Goldsboro.  Her family also includes her older brother Nathaniel, and twins Angelia and Emmanuel.  As a young African American teenage girl, she struggled with low self-esteem beginning in her childhood. She always felt God made a mistake when he created her with dark features, long jet-black hair, full lips and a wide nose.  In her mind, this was not the standard of beauty and felt that society agreed.   She felt she had to change all she was in order to be loved.  Her perception changed one night while watching the “Black Girls Rock!” Award Show where she saw Black women encouraging and empowering other Black women.  In that moment her perception on beauty transformed.  Later that night she prayed and asked God to help her learn how to love herself.  The first step she took was being positive and uplifting her own spirit.  The next was to put all that newfound positive energy into her dream of starting a magazine that she would name Nubian Beauty in which she would celebrate both the inner and outer beauty of all girls of color.  Leveraging the tools she learned from Black Girls Rock! and My Black Is Beautiful, Goldsboro will be the voice of unity for her generation.

During the four-day festival, once again, the MBIB booth at the Convention Center was one of the festivalgoer’s favorite meeting places where they received personal care and beauty experiences and personal care products and beauty brands; as well as mini-makeovers and consultations in the MBIB Studio.   Additionally, booth attendees enjoyed meeting scores of celebrities who stopped by for their own personal touchups.

About Procter and Gamble
P&G serves approximately 4.6 billion people around the world with its brands.  The Company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Tide®, Ariel®, Always®, Whisper®, Pantene®, Mach3®, Bounty®, Dawn®, Fairy®, Gain®, Charmin®, Downy®, Lenor®, Iams®, Crest®, Oral-B®, Duracell®, Olay®, Head & Shoulders®, Wella®, Gillette®, Braun®, Fusion®, Ace®, Febreze®, Ambi Pur®, SK-II®, and Vicks®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 75 countries worldwide.  Please visit for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

#MBIB, #ImagineaFuture, #13EFJ

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard