Essence Atkins Hosts 15th Annual 365 Black Awards
Sheryl Lee Ralph said she was honored that the McDonald’s 365Black Awards recognized her for work as an HIV/AIDS activist.
Ralph joined an all-female roster of honorees over the weekend at McDonald’s awards at the Essence Festival in New Orleans.
Ralph was honored for her work with “Divas Simply Singing,” the longest consecutive running AIDS awareness benefit concert in the country.
“I simply believed that if we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will?” Ralph told us. “If I don’t fight for me, who will? So, it’s been hard, it’s been difficult, but it had to be done.”
Also honored was Florida A&M junior Tishauna Wilson, who revived the school’s computer science department and is researching self-driving drones, how to detect different types of fraud and a basketball referee system.
“It means a lot to me, “ the brainy 20-year-old said. “It was a verification that I was doing the right thing, and just to keep going.”
Wilson’s work drew praise from other celeb attendees.
“You probably can’t even order a drink yet,” actress Essence Atkins, who hosted the awards, told Wilson. “So basically from crawling to coding – we are very impressed!”
Rounding out the list of honorees are Symone Sanders, a CNN commentator and Bernie Sanders’ former press secretary, “Black Girls Code” founder Kimberly Bryant, and McDonald’s franchise owner Monique Vann Brown.
Hit the flip for more pics from the awards: