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Gospel artists hit the red carpet at 365 Black Awards during Essence festival

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It was a night of celebration during the Essence Festival during the 365 Black Awards. Community leaders, celebrities and entertainers were out in full force at this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards, at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Cente on Sunday, July 6.

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This year’s recipients of the distinguished award, including civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton; film producer Will Packer; music executive Kevin Liles; inspirational leader Iyanla Vanzant; former NFL athlete Dhani Jones; and McDonald’s owner/operator Henry Coaxum. Additionally, artist Skyler Grey and entrepreneur Gabrielle Jordan Williams were recognized alongside this lineup with the first-ever McDonald's 365Black Community Choice Youth Award.

tThere were many tributes including those from gospel artists who also hit the red carpet. Ledisi opened the show and got the crowd in the mood for the soulful sounds of Pastor Kim Burrell, Tank, Leela James, Jazmine Sullivan, Kierra Sheard and Mali Music. Singer/actress Michelle Williams, veteran radio personality Tom Joyner, news correspondent Soledad O’Brien, film director Warrington Hudlin, actress Naturi Naughton and news correspondent Nischelle Turner were among celebrities on hand to present the illustrious awards.

Celebrities in attendance included news correspondent Roland Martin; recording artist Raheem DeVaughn; the cast of Preachers of L.A., including Minister Deitrick Haddon, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Pastor Jay Haizlip and Bishop Ron Gibson; actress/singer Demetria McKinney; Grammy-nominated gospel recording artist Anita Wilson; and singer/songwriter Jesse Boykins III.

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