By Kayla Rodgers
BEVERLY HILLS — Legendary music producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Erica Campbell and Golden Globe-winning actress Andra Day were among the honorees Oct. 23 at Ebony magazine’s star-studded Power 100 gala at the Beverly Hilton.
This signature event, hosted by actor-comedian Wayne Brady, saluted leaders and game-changers in Black America who consistently challenged the status quo in their respective fields in the past year.
The event also represented one of Ebony’s first high-profile events since its relaunch earlier this year.
One of the Power 100 honorees, actress Lisa Raye, said she remembers growing up reading Ebony and being excited to see positive, inspiring images of people who looked like her.
“I grew up a Chicago girl, south side of Chicago, Chicago girl where Ebony started (and) I remember seeing the Beauty of the Week, waiting for that Jet to come,” Raye said. “Ebony has always been a staple in my home – and when I grew up, my first ad I ever did in modeling was with Ebony Magazine.
“So to see them moving Black forward and still staying Black is important to me,” Raye added. “To be able to push that narrative is important because it is our narrative.”
Ebony, the iconic media brand that chronicled Black history and culture for five generations, celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. The brand was purchased out of bankruptcy for $14 million last year by former NBA player Junior Bridgeman, who said then that he hoped to return the brand to its exalted perch in Black America.
New CEO Michele Ghee said she believes running a publication like Ebony is more of a mission than a job. “It’s an honor everyday that I wake up to be a part of this movement,” she said.
The magazine launched a digital version in March, and plans to launch quarterly print versions early next year, Ghee said.
Ghee believes the magazine’s future is bright.
“We are the biggest archival repository of black history, so we want to continue that movement to make sure we’re creating new history.”
Other Power 100 honorees included former NFL superstar Deion Sanders, former L.A. Laker Shaquille O’Neal, actresses Jada Pinkett Smith and Tessa Thompson, rapper MC Lyte, county Supervisor Holly Mitchell and poet-activist Amanda Gorman.