The 2021 Phoenix Awards ceremony airs on BET and BET Her Friday night on September 17 beginning at 8/7C p.m. For the second year, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and BET have partnered for the virtual awards ceremony, which is the signature and culminating event of the 50th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), the leading policy conference which focuses on issues impacting African Americans and the global Black community.
This year’s theme is Black Excellence Unparalleled: Pressing Onward in Power. The awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions to society in the areas of civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, and healthcare with a focus on equality for Black communities and beyond.
Here’s the breakdown on how to watch the show, those who are being honored, powerful performances and more.
Who’s The Host?
Actress and activist Angela Bassett will host the event, along with remarks from President Joseph R. Biden.
On virtual stages, an A-list of musical performers celebrate Black excellence. They include En Vogue, Leela James, Wayne Brady, Ledisi, Mali Music and Jonathan McReynolds, Stokley, Rapsody, and Chaka Khan.
Stacey Abrams: Abrams, a two-time honoree, is a voting rights champion who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She launched Fair Fight to ensure every American has a voice in our election system. Her unparalleled excellence in mobilizing the Black vote is the catalyst for her selection as the 2021 CBC Body Awardee.
Lloyd James Austin III: Austin, a retired four-star Army general, made history as the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history. He has made strides to diversify and bring racial equity to the United States armed forces and is recognized as a 2021 Co-Chair’s awardee for this work. Austin is the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense and serves on the National Security Council.
Dr. Joan Coker: Coker is a board-certified otolaryngologist. She recently helped to open a clinic in a Black neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware that has no medical facilities in the community. Coker saved lives with a focus on those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and other health disparities. This work has earned her recognition as a 2021 Co-Chair’s awardee.
Marcia L. Fudge: Fudge serves as Housing and Urban Development secretary. She is the 2021 Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair’s awardee in recognition of her decades of service to those most at risk and to American families. Fudge served as U.S. Representative for the 11th Congressional District of Ohio from 2008 - 2021. She was a member of several Congressional Caucuses and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Cedric Richmond: Richmond serves as a senior advisor to President Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. He’s the 2021 CBCF Chair’s Award honoree. Richmond is former CBCF and CBC chair and a dedicated public servant who represented Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 2011 - 2021.
The CBCF Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) is the leading public policy forum convening on issues impacting African Americans.
Journalist April Ryan will moderate the National Town Hall, which explores issues that impact the Black community. Joining Ryan for in-depth analysis are Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, who also serves as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and ALC 50 honorary co-chairs, as well as U.S. Representatives Anthony Brown and Lisa Blunt Rochester.
The lineup of panelists includes the president of the Black Information Network, Tony Coles,
Procter & Gamble Chief Communications Officer Damon Jones, CEO of DoSomething.org DeNora Getachew, and activist, educator, organizer, writer and MSNBC analyst, Brittany Packnett Cunningham.
The Black Party
The 50th Annual Legislative Conference will conclude with the virtual Black Party hosted by a celebrity DJ via Facebook Live. The Black Party, sponsored by Facebook, begins at 10 p.m. on Friday, September 17 immediately following the Phoenix Awards ceremony.
How To Watch
What: 2021 Phoenix Awards
Date: September 17, 2021
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
CBCF National Town Hall: 7:00 p.m.
The Black Party: 10:00 p.m. via Facebook Live
Watch on TV: BET, BET Her
(Photo credit: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation)