07/07/2013 01:31 pm ET Updated Jul 15, 2013

McDonald's 365Black Awards Honor Philanthropy, Culture

McDonald's USA, LLC

Among this year's many festivities taking place in New Orleans during the Essence Music Festival, the 10th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards were held Saturday at the city’s Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

The event was hosted by Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson. It recognized African-American culture and the achievements of selected individuals who have made an impact in their communities over the year.

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.

“I am so proud to host the 10th anniversary of these awards and to meet all the amazing honorees ... heroes and all,” Henson told The Huffington Post prior to the event. “We are honoring American history and the people who shape our world and make us better.”

McDonald's U.S. Marketing Director Rob Jackson said in a statement that the company applauds the year's honorees "for their tireless dedication to serving others."

Henson offered a piece of advice to future 365 recipients: “Follow your heart and use your head. But please get an education."

"When the door of opportunity opens, know you are ready and have the tools to do a great job. I wouldn't trade my time at Howard University for anything. Stay in school," she said.

Stars Jay Ellis, Omari Hardwick, Robinne Lee, LeToya Luckett and R&B singer Brandy were on hand to present awards to each honoree. Performers included Erica Campbell, Estelle, Angie Stone, Jordin Sparks and Yolanda Adams.

The 10th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards will air Aug. 25 at 11 p.m. EST on BET.



Essence Music Festival 2013