Marriott International & Former BET CEO Debra Lee Host “Living The Nelson Mandela Legacy” Luncheon In Washington, D.C.
Actress Uzo Aduba joined singers Chloe X Halle and Victory Boyd at a special luncheon celebrating Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy.
Mandela’s widow, H.E. Graça Machel was the guest of honor Friday at “Living The Nelson Mandela Legacy” luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., where she called on the VIP crowd to renew her husband’s call for social justice.
“What is the message that his hundred years (since Mandela’s birth) are reminding us, that we can do the right thing, and we can do better,” Machel, who was still wearing her wedding ring, said. “We have to begin to say for ourselves, (what) the next 100 years will look like. This generation was saying, freedom in our lifetime. This has to happen in our lifetime. We cannot sit aside without giving the best of ourselves to make sure we have achieved certain goals for social justice.”
Clad in a pink ball gown, Roc Nation singer Victory opened the luncheon with a soulful showcase, with her brothers and sisters serving as her backup singers.
Former BET CEO Debra Lee – now a member of Marriott’s International Board of Directors – said the hotel brand wanted to honor Mandela’s life’ work around equality, peace and human rights, values that the company strives to emulate.
“We welcome you all here today in honor of a fearless global leader – Nelson Mandela – and we are humbled to be working side by side in the quest to make the world a more peaceful and inclusive place,” Lee said. “At Marriott, we believe in the power of inclusion and equality across all facets of our business.”
Aduba, who emceed the event, then recited the speech Mandela delivered at his inauguration on May 10, 1994. Before the event, Aduba said that her work in advocacy for the LGBT community and the African continent was partly inspired by Mandela’s example.
“We don’t have a lot of people still today who would give so much of their lives for someone else’s betterment,” she told BOSSIP. “I think that has vibrated inside of me in a way that I probably am not even fully in touch with.”
And of ahead Chloe X Halle’s pitch-perfect performance that closed the luncheon, the sisters told BOSSIP that they were honored to be part of the Mandela celebration.
“He is definitely the epitome of perseverance to me,” Halle said. “Seeing his patience, and his willingness to overcome all of the things that were thrown at him was really amazing.”
She added: “We’re very proud to be black women standing here today.”