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The 5th Annual Culture Creators Innovators & Leaders Awards

Written by: Lakisa Renee

The Culture Creators in partnership with YouTube, CÎROC, Procter & Gamble, Coin Cloud, Lexus and Ellis Isle Tea Company returned this year with its 5th Annual “Innovators & Leaders Awards Brunch” held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills (Los Angeles, California) on Saturday, June 26th, 2021. The brunch honored creators making waves throughout the creative community and celebrated distinguished, diverse leaders. The room was packed with star power and featured honorees, presenters and attendees from all areas of the industry including entertainment, music, sports, movies, social justice, philanthropy and more. This exclusive invite-only gala remains one of the most influential events taking place during the BET Awards Weekend. This year’s hosts were Tanika Ray and DeMarco Morgan. The brunch honorees included 2021 Icon Award recipient Swizz Beatz for his groundbreaking accomplishments in music, art, and business. The 2021 Innovator of the Year award went to Derrick “D-Nice” Jones for keeping the world uplifted and united during the pandemic with Club Quarantine. Fashion Honoree Zerina Akers received the fashion innovator award as stylist of Beyoncé & Chloe x Halle, also styling Beyoncé’s Visual Album “Black Is King. Akers founded “Black Owned Everything,” an online commerce marketplace to promote and support black owned businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition, NBA Superstar and Denver Nugget player JaVale McGee and Multi-Grammy/Emmy award-winning producer Rikki Hughes were also honored.

Additional honorees included:

BUSINESS: Baron Davis

FILM/TV: Rikki Hughes & Magic Lemonade, FINANCE: George Wells

HEALTH & WELLNESS: Shanti Das & Silence the Shame

MEDIA: Cari Champion

MUSIC: Jeff Robinson & Jeanine McClean, MBK Entertainment

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Stefani Brown-James Collective PAC

SPORTS: JaVale McGee

TECHNOLOGY: Kudzi Chikumbu, Tik Tok

The ceremony also included exceptional performances by #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Artist’s Jensen McCrae and Yung Baby Tate, who just recently joined the cast of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. Check out the red carpet arrivals below and interview exclusives!

The star-studded presenters included the legendary Jimmy Jam of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jemele Hill, Michael “Blue’ Williams, Tai Beauchamp, Joi Brown, Ingrid Best, Damon Jones, Tuma Basa and Andrielle Beamon. I had the pleasure of interviewing and capturing images of the honorees, presenters and on the red carpet before the ceremony such as Swizz Beat, Ruff Ryders CEO Waah Dean, Mya, H.E.R., Crystal Renee of Tyler’s Perry’s Sistas, G-Herbo and more. During the ceremony, the honorees shared many heartwarming and inspirational stories of their journeys, hardships and successes. There were moments when the crowd laughed and moments when they were almost brought to tears. Following the brunch, CIROC hosted an amazing cocktail party for all in attendance. It was an absolutely beautiful set up with some of the newest CIROC cocktails served by stunning models. The guests had a wonderful time mingling and networking during the party.

Prior Innovators & Leaders Awards recipients include Sylvia Rhone, Jesse Collins, Kenya Barris, Charlamagne tha God, Russell Simmons, Sylvia Rhone, Byron Allen, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Liles, Marsai Martin, and Angela Rye. The Culture Creators continue to set the bar and highlight diversity across entertainment, music, sports, and beyond. The Culture Creators Brunch airs on the Culture Creators Youtube Page on July 1st, 2021 8pm ET/5pm PT. The page will feature a playback video of the brunch awards following the premiere. I look forward to seeing what next year’s brunch brings.

For more information visit:

Photo and video credit: Lakisa Renee Video footage: D-Nice Interview: Robin Ayers — The Jasmine Brand

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