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BET’s Soul Train Weekend : Top Black Executives Honored at ‘Leading with Soul’ Luncheon

The event recognized executives known for their meaningful work and leadership in the promotion of Black business.

To kick off the first-ever Soul Train Awards weekend — a three-day event celebrating the best in culture, commerce, music and entertainment—five executives were honored for their “meaningful work and leadership” at the Leading with Soul luncheon on Nov. 19th.

“We are excited to honor powerhouse leaders advancing their businesses and communities by following their purpose and soul at our inaugural Leading with Soul Luncheon,” Kimberly Paige, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer at BET, said in a press release.

Media personality Tai Beauchamp hosted the luncheon where BET veteran Louis Carr, and CEO and President of the Apollo Theatre, Jonelle Procope, were recognized.

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET)

(L-R) Kimberly Evans Paige, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Tai Beauchamp, and Cheryl McKissack-Daniel attend BET's Soul Train Weekend: Leading With Soul Luncheon.

“BET continues to use its many platforms and reach to spotlight Black excellence. It is fitting to kick off our "Soul Train Awards" weekend in celebration of executives at the forefront, doing the work that ignites positive change in our community,” Paige said.

Here are the list of this year's incredible honorees:

Black Business Icon Honorees | Cheryl McKissack Daniel and Deryl McKissack

Deryl McKissack (L) and Cheryl McKissack-Daniel

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET)

Deryl McKissack (L) and Cheryl McKissack-Daniel attend BET's Soul Train Weekend: Leading With Soul Luncheon at Harlem Parish on November 19, 2021 in New York City.

Cheryl McKissack Daniel and twin sister Deryl McKissack have spent three decades elevating Black and brown people in our community while building and sustaining McKissack & McKissack, a women and minority-owned professional and design construction firm. McKissack Daniel says she is honored that the entertainment industry recognizes her family’s legacy and work in construction and wants to “expose young people to other avenues that can build wealth.” McKissack says the award illustrates that the "yes" is always out there.

Legacy Award Honoree | Louis Carr

Louis Carr

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET)

Legacy Award Winner Louis Carr attends BET's Soul Train Weekend: Leading With Soul Luncheon at Harlem Parish on November 19, 2021 in New York City.

As the President of Media Sales at BET, Louis Carr has spent the last 35 years bringing in more advertising dollars targeting African Americans than any other professional or company in history, a whopping $8 billion. But Carr tells BET.com it’s not about a number, budget or revenue for him. “Those things are easily measured. For me, it’s about the impact I’ve had on people’s lives both inside and outside of the company.”

Corporate Champion Award honoree | Esi Eggleston Bracey

 Esi Eggleston Bracey

(Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET)

Corporate Community Champion Award winner Esi Eggleston Bracey attends BET's Soul Train Weekend: Leading With Soul Luncheon

A transformative corporate leader with over 28 years under her belt, Esi Eggleston Bracey leads the multi-billion-dollar Beauty & Personal Care portfolio for Unilever North America, consisting of brands like DOVE, TRESemmé, Shea Moisture and more. She also pioneered the CROWN Coalition (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Coalition resulting in The CROWN Act. “It’s my calling and duty to give voice to those who don’t have a voice,” Eggleston Bracey says.

Community Hero Honoree | Jonelle Procope

Jonelle Procope
President & CEO The Apollo Jonelle Procope attends The “2021 Soul Train Awards” Presented By BET at The Apollo Theater on November 20, 2021 in New York City.

Driven by her passion for advocacy and the arts, over the past 18 years, Jonelle Procope has introduced Black and brown people to the world of arts and culture, and as President & CEO of the Apollo Theater, she says she will continue to introduce them to the “many careers behind the camera and off the stage.”  

“I feel privileged to do this work of keeping the Apollo’s legacy going for the next generation,” Procope says.


Watch the 2021 Soul Train Awards on Sunday, November 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and BET Her.

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