Ebony Magazine held its annual Power 100 Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in Beverly Hills. Celebrities, politicians, activists and humanitarians from across the country came to celebrate the accomplishments of the influential list of 100 African American women and men.
“It’s a dream come true to be honored by Ebony,” Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles Tourism, Ernest Wooden said. “I grew up ready Ebony and Jet magazine, so to see myself being honored is great for me. I just wish my parents were here to see it.”
The list salutes the achievements of honorees like plus size style blogger Gabi Gregg, actress Amandla Stenberg, actress Zendaya, director Lee Daniels, Attorney General Kamala Harris, rap artist Jidenna, and NBA player Russell Westbrook.
“Power is complete knowledge of your purpose in life. That’s where it comes from. A lot of people try to still it or fake it until they make it. But, in all actuality it comes from truly knowing who you are. That’s when power is really the most impactful,” said honoree Jidenna.
His hit song, “Classic Man” recently landed him a Soul Train award in November and in the top 100 on the Billboard charts. Alongside his popular single, Jidenna has used his “celebrity” to be a voice on social and racial issues in America.
“Celebrities and public figures are human beings. So, if they were shy and didn’t want to speak out when they weren’t famous they most definitely won’t speak out when they are. Not everyone is meant to march the streets, but I do believe everyone should take action. Inaction is the enemy of progress, so it’s best to be bold,” he said.
The topic of power and influence is especially important considering the last two years of social injustice that has occurred in the U.S.
The list didn’t just encompass celebrities, it also enlisted brave activists like Bree Newsome, who scaled a 30-foot flagpole and took the confederate flag down in Charleston, S.C. after the church shooting that killed nine people.
Many of the honorees and celebrities who walked the red carpet took the time out to reflect on what they believed power and influence truly meant.
“My definition of power and influence is the ability to make change,” said Arsenio Hall, host of the gala. “Everybody watching has power and influence. You may not be [President] Barack Obama, but you have the power to make change. All you have to do is get out the house.”
The 70’s themed gala featured performances by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic who set the mood for the night. Jidenna, Bobby Hill, Judith Hill also performed.
The 70th anniversary cover featured Harry Belafonte, Zendaya and Jesse Williams with the title “Stand for Something Do Not Cross” talking about the issues of police brutality, advocacy within the arts, racial and social issues.
The 2015 Power 100 list is featured in the December issue of Ebony. This year’s edition focuses on Black social justice and response. To watch coverage visit www.lasentinel.net for honoree interviews.