Dream awards

A packed Cipriani at National Action Network’s Keeper of the Dream Gala, 2012

Dream Awards highlights: I think this was my 10th time attending a Rev. Al Sharpton National Action Network (NAN) ‘Keepers of the Dream Awards’ event. This year it was held on April 18, at Cipriani’s on Wall Street. Each year Sharpton’s black tie gala gets more amazing than the previous year. Those of us who have supported NAN from the early days feel so proud of Rev. Al with his show on MSNBC and his organization’s transformation. We love what a power player he has become. The packed room was filled with lots of corporate sponsors, community folks plus a who’s who in entertainment, politics, and community leadership including: Greetings from President Obama, John Legend, Bill Cosby, L.A. Reid, Sylvia Rhone, Doug Morris (Sony Records), Tanya Lee (Spike’s wife), Tatyana Ali (actor), Dominic Carter (newscaster), Christine Quinn (NYC House Speaker), Eric Schneiderman (NY Attorney Gen.), Hazel Dukes, Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson and more.

“Tonight, as we do every year, we take a moment to reflect upon Dr. King and his dream for a better world, and to honor those whose actions further the work of Dr. King. When I wake each morning I am grateful to get up to fight another day so folks can say, ’Man, Sharpton’s at it again…’” said Sharpton in his greetings.

Keynoter Bill Cosby continued his ‘truth to power’ talk on parenting urging everyone to ‘go rogue’ and take back our kids the ‘old-school way.’  “Remember the neighbors we had growing up? Our neighbors were our parents and could correct us and tell us off!  Don’t be afraid to give a child safe passage to school because many of our kids want to learn. Eavesdrop on their phone calls, check their emails, go through their things and pat them down for weapons. We should not be afraid to let our kids get mad at us. Did our parents mind if we got mad at them?” said Cosby.

MSNBC’s Tamron Hall opened the evening with welcoming remarks. Tamika D. Mallory, NAN Executive Director, always a gracious host, gave an overview of NAN’s recent activity including being at the forefront of the Trayvon Martin case, a 25-city tour about jobs, and a 54-mile Alabama walk about voting rights. Mallory also presented videos featuring the honorees. The honorees were: Karla Ballard, Chief Strategic Development, Media & National Partnerships One Economy; Richard D. Parsons, Citigroup Chairman of the Board; Doug Morris, Sony Music, CEO; and Denzel & Pauletta Washington. John Legend gave a magnificent performance.

John Legend was the featured artist at National Action Network’s recent NYC gala.


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