November 30, journalist, content creator and activist Emil Wilbekin hosted the inaugural Native Son Awards honoring Tony Award-winning director and playwright, George C. Wolfe; journalist and CNN Tonight Host, Don Lemon; and Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson at New York City’s Cadillac House.
The event-the first in a series of intimate quarterly influencer/networking events-was created by Wilbekin to honor and celebrate the achievements of Black men who have broken down barriers, defied stereotypes and made a cultural impact not only on in the black community, but also on the world.
Wilbekin is passionate about showcasing greater and more diverse representations of black men in America. The Native Son Awards is part of a larger, grassroots, multifaceted initiative, which will include national empowerment workshops and talks, networking events, influencer dinners-all with the mission of connecting those within the often under- and/or misrepresented community of Black men. Forthcoming in 2017 will be the Native Son digital platform-an extension of the World of Wilbekin site-which will further connect the community and highlight upcoming events, and initiatives.
In attendance were: Emil Wilbekin (Host, Native Son Creator), George C. Wolfe (honoree / Tony Award-winning director and playwright), Don Lemon (honoree / journalist and CNN Tonight Host), DeRay Mckesson (honoree / Black Lives Matter Activist), Billy Porter (Tony Award-winning actor), Colman Domingo (actor), Chuck Amos (celebrity hairstylist), George Faison(dancer/choreographer), Sara’o Bery (A24films, producer & distributor for acclaimed film,Moonlight), Charles Anthony Bryant (singer, Hymnody), Andre Singleton (The Very Black Project), Antoine Phillips (Giorgio Armani), BrIan Keith Jackson (author of The Queen of Harlem), Dennis Williams (Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at HBO), Memsor Kamarake (stylist, The Wendy Williams Show), Rich Blint (James Baldwin Scholar), Wardell Milan (acclaimed visual artist), Clay Cane (journalist, documentarian, Holler If You Hear Me: Black & Gay in the Church), and many more.
The inaugural Native Son Awards was made possible by the generous support from Cadillac, Belvedere Red and HBO.