Cecily Tyson & Other Honorees Were Recognized For Their Work To Uplift Us All
Living legend Cicely Tyson was among an esteemed list of honorees at AT&T’s Humanity of Connection Awards, held March 15 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
The nonagenarian – who looked half her age in a chic dress with a fringed overcoat – received a standing ovation as she took the stage to collect her honor for her life’s work as a “history maker and game-changer” at the black tie affair.
“No one has held the dignity and pride of our community longer and stronger than Cicely Tyson,” the Rev. Al Sharpton told guests.
Also honored was activist and Impact Strategies CEO Angela Rye, Wes Moore, the CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation and Essence Communications president Michelle Ebanks.
Hosted by Hill Harper, the awards celebrate change makers who work to in connecting humanity and uplifting people. The awards ceremony was also the stage for the debut of a short film, “The Humanity of Connection,” which explored the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. almost 50 years to the day of his assassination.
The Humanity of Connection was conceived by Tanya Lombard, head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances for AT&T.
Tyson, the first African-American woman to win an Emmy, who through her work on and off camera has advocated for civil rights, dignity and respect for all, said she felt compelled to use her life in the public eye for a good cause.
“I made up my mind that I couldn’t afford the luxury of just being an actress,” Tyson told the audience. “I had to use my platform.”
The event brought out a who’s who of New York City: BOSSIP spotted Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, actor Jeffrey Wright, musician Wynton Marsalis, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Hazel Dukes, chair of the New York State NAACP, Marc Morial, head of the National Urban League, socialite Sidra Smith and new Essence Magazine owner Rich Dennis.
Hit the flip for more pics from the night celebrating black excellence: