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Common, Usher And Swizz Beatz Have An Evening Of Black Excellence With The Gordon Parks Foundation

Check out how dapper our guys were looking last night!

Tuesday The Gordon Parks Foundation hosted its star-studded Annual Awards Dinner and Auction celebrating Parks’ rich legacy and honoring those that continue to make an impact in the performing and visual arts and humanitarianism. Honorees for the 2017 Awards included: The Honorable Congressman John Lewis, philanthropist Alexander Soros, singer and activist Mavis Staples, musician Jon Batiste, American Express Chairman and CEO, Kenneth Chenault and his wife, philanthropist Kathryn Chenault. The event hosted over 650 guests, and raised more than $1.3 million. All proceeds from the evening will support the Foundation’s ongoing artistic and educational programs and initiatives.

The evening featured a rousing 20 minute performance by Grammy and Academy Award-winning recording artist, Common, who included “Glory,” “The Light,” and “Black America Again,” along with a freestyle in his set.

Guest presenters for the evening included: director, producer and screenwriter Martin Scorsese (who presented to Mavis Staples); Late Night with Stephen Colbert host, Stephen Colbert (Jon Batiste); historian and Harvard University professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (the Chenaults); and singer, Usher Raymond IV (Congressman John Lewis). In addition special guests Valerie Jarrett and mother Barbara Bowman were presented with an original photograph that Parks took of Bowman, her mother and sister (click here to see the photograph).

Last night’s program also recognized over 20 of the Foundation’s young scholarship students, and highlighted the first two recipients of the Inaugural Gordon Parks Fellowship-Baltimore-based photographer Devin Allen and New York-based British journalist, photographer, and filmmaker Harriet Dedman. The fellowship was established to support photographers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians working within the theme of social justice.

We love the work of Gordon Parks and are so happy to see the foundation carrying on his legacy.

Check out more photos from the evening when you continue.

Usher Raymond IV and Usher Raymond V The Gordon Parks Foundation honors Congressman John Lewis, Mavis Staples, Alexander Soros, Jon Batiste, and Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault at the 2017 Awards Dinner and Auction held at E: Cipriani 42nd Street   Derrick Salters/
(Derrick Salters/WENN)

How cute is Usher with his son?

Derrick Salters/WENN

We are sending thoughts and prayers to Swizz Beatz after the death of his close friend Icepick Jay this week.

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Gordon Parks the greatv🙏🏽 @peterkunhardt 🙏🏽

A post shared by Swizz Beatz (@therealswizzz) on

Hopefully the evening’s event helped lift his spirits.

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