Prior to the premiere of National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, Grammy® Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning actress, singer, and producer Cynthia Erivo accepted the Salute Her: Creating the Legacy Award at the Salute Her Awards presented by Toyota Motor North America and AARP on March 21, 2021 hosted by Emmy Award Winner Loni Love.
The heartfelt Salute Her Awards kicked off capturing the essence of the evening, celebrating strong black women who are committed to creating rich legacies. The legendary Cicely Tyson was memorialized for being a true example of resilience, innovation and a woman who built a legacy for generations to come.
During her opening greeting, Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, president of the Obama Foundation and New York Times Bestselling Author, commended the awardees for their ability to lead in spite of global pandemic challenges.
Throughout the evening, virtual attendees experienced inspiring words of wisdom from honorees Cynthia Erivo, Grammy® Emmy® and Tony® Award-winner, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett Coronavirus Vaccine Scientific Lead, Holly Robinson Peete, actress and philanthropist Melanie Campbell of Black Women’s Roundtable, Denene Millner, New York Times Bestselling Author, Pinky Cole entrepreneur and LaTosha Brown Black Voters Matters; who all expressed how they have chosen to “Create a Legacy” for those individuals coming behind them.
Terry Ellis, founding member of Grammy-nominated girl group En Vogue, made a special presentation to her best friend Holly Robinson Peete for supporting individuals living with Parkinson’s disease and families of children with autism through the HollyRod Foundation.
Appearances from 4x Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Eric Benet, 2x Grammy Award-winning singer and 2014 Salute Her Award recipient Gloria Gaynor, poet and musician Morgan Harper Nichols, and 2020 Salute THEM Award recipient, multiple Grammy and Stellar Award-winning “Rose of Gospel Music” Dr. Dorinda Clark Cole; was the perfect blend of performances for the virtual audience’s entertainment.
Presented by Toyota Motor North America and AARP, the Salute Her Awards was the first in Café Mocha Radio’s “Saluting Our Culture” award series with upcoming ceremonies in June and September honoring the phenomenal impact and contributions of African Americans globally.
Proceeds from the awards series benefit the Mocha Cares Foundation to support housing and services to combat homelessness and domestic violence through mentorship programs.