The Inaugural Multicultural Media Correspondent’s Dinner
The first annual “Multicultural Media Correspondents Dinner” by Vote It Loud was held Thursday, May 26, 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The purpose of the dinner was to recognize media professionals of diverse backgrounds, a group that is often overlooked. The event was held weeks after the White House Correspondent Dinner, which is known to have a highly selective attendee list. The night was hosted by actor/comedian Chris Spencer. He explained that “men and women of color must set the bar by celebrating and honoring ourselves,” giving reference to the BET Awards. There is so much talent in the media and journalism community that should be applauded for.
Honorees of the night included Richard Lui, Journalist and Anchor from MSNBC and NBC; Blanquita Cullum, host of The Hard Question; Todd Brown, CEO of The Grio; Cenk Uygur, Host & Co-Founder of The Young Turks; Patricia Guadalupe, Journalist; Victor Shiblie, Publisher of The Washington Diplomat; Kim Keenan, CEO of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council – MMTC; and Armstrong Williams, Founder & CEO of Howard Stirk Holdings. Lifetime achievement award was given to Hon. Charles B. Rangel, U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY, 13th District). Special recognition was given to Hon. Yvette Clarke, U.S. House of Representatives (D-NY, 9th District). Special guest Jamie Foxx, actor and recording artist, was an event highlight demonstrating his love and understanding of politics and self-advocacy.
“Multicultural Media should be honored,” says Vote It Loud Chair, Praz Michel. He continued, “This community doesn’t get the thanks that we should. Diverse voices have a space in the community.” Quoting Langston Hughes he reminded the audience, “We too are America.” Indeed great change is happening in media and it’s more diverse now more than ever. The National Press Club president reminded everyone that the first Black president of the organization was elected in 2004. The achievements continued as Yvette Clark announced that she will be heading the first Congressional Multicultural Media Caucus this year.
It wouldn’t be a correspondent’s dinner without a roast of jokes and good laughs. Comedians Adia Rodriguez and Alonzo Bodden kept the room filled with tears and belly busting laughter. No topic was off limits from Donald Trump to the Kardashians and Jenners. The intense laughter was balanced with prolific speakers and honorees as they shared pearls of wisdom throughout the night. Blanquita Cullum shares that it is “Better to die on your feet than on your needs, be great!”
Cenk Uyger echoed, “Together we can be stronger… Let us be great.” Armstrong Williams showed us how by stating that, “Our struggle is to be humble and keep our feet on the ground. Hire people and make a difference.” Armstrong announced that he will sponsor the dinner next year, understanding events of such magnitude and importance takes resources and capital.
The event was an overall success and many are already talking about next year. Despite the lack of air-conditioning and wise cracks about the cash bar, attendees left the event feeling inspired, motivated and proud to continue the works of the prestigious club of Multicultural Media.
Awards of the night included:
Charles B. Rangel- Lifetime Achievement Award
Jamie Foxx- Media Icon Award
Armstrong Williams- Media Owner of the Year
Kim Keenan- Media Executive of the Year
Yvette Clarke- Special Recognition
Todd F. Brown- Champion in Media- Fifth Estate (Online Media)
Victor Shiblie- Champion in Media- International
Richard Lui- Champion in Media- Broadcast Journalism (Politics)
Patricia Guadalupe- Champion in Media- Print
Cenk Uyger- Champion in Media- Fifth Estate (TV)
Blanquita Cullum- Champion in Media (Radio)