In a weekend where television heavyweights were celebrated throughout Hollywood, one event stood out for its choice of honorees. ICON MANN, the brainchild of CEO and founder Tamara Houston, celebrated black men of influence in Hollywood on Friday night at the Peninsula Hotel during a pre-Emmy dinner.
The evening featured a Coming To America theme and in true Zamunda-styled fashion, the gentlemen were escorted through the marble lobby with three maidens adorned in African garb, tossing rose petals at their feet.
ICON MANN founder and CEO Tamara Houston had this to say:
It's always important to cultivate an experience. Men of this caliber attend events often but to cultivate an experience, well... the difference is something that lives with them and is transformative. That is what we always seek to do with an ICON MANN dinner.
Noting the Coming to America theme, which was cleverly and beautifully pulled off, Houston had this to say:
What I love about the film beyond Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and all of the great actors, are the rich textures, the colors and the sounds that the movie gave you. From the beautiful strings that awoke Eddie's character to the bold tribal drums during the royal engagement. Visually, seeing those golds, velvety wines, rich siennas and mahogany reinforced the fact that these men where and are kings. Coming to America spoke to the greatness that black men and black culture can be --not outside of but in addition to, so it felt imperative that we recreate that for the Emmy dinner. With the help of William Miller of W. P. Miller Special Events, we were able to transform the Peninsula Hotel into the palace from Coming to America.
Notable honorees included co-host Wayne Brady, Don Lemon, Laz Alonso, David Oyelowo, James Pickens Jr. Blair Underwood and Kevin Frasier, whose Hip Hollywood site ran an exclusive here.
The Emmys this year was a wonderfully inclusive affair as it pertains to the presenters for the awards. You had Blair Underwood, LL Cool J, Andre Braugher, Shemar Moore, etc. yet only one actor, Don Cheadle, was honored with a nomination. Specific to the history of black actors and black shows being recognized, in general, we still have a ways to go. Many of the actors and shows we grew up loving have never been nominated. For this reason it was important to have an ICON MANN dinner at this time of the year, to acknowledge those black actors, directors, writers and producers who are wonderful contributors to television -- not just 'black shows' but all shows. Anthony Hemingway is a fantastic director, making a wonderful mark on shows like True Blood and The Newsroom. Can you imagine the conversation that he had with Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station)? Amazing!