There was not a dance floor, but the African American Church Inaugural Ball was filled with good music in the form of solos, choirs and wonderful musicians.
The leaders of the African-American Church and charitable organization The Balm in Gilead came together to celebrate President Obama’s second term at the Grand Hyatt in downtown D.C. on Sunday night.
The African-American Church has always had political influence and the evening was a time for leadership to acknowledge the significance of the re-electing the first African-American president. “We’re not ashamed to say we have ownership in the election of President Obama,” said the Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson II, who served as chairman for the ball.
They also took time out to present the Keepers of the Flame Award to a variety of talented people who made great achievements in the face of adversity. The 16 honorees were celebrated for their accomplishments in music, film, medicine and leadership in churches.
While some honorees such as boxing legend Muhammed Ali and award-winning actress Ruby Dee weren’t able to attend and receive the honor in person, most honorees were in the house to accept their award presented by actor Morris Chestnut and style authority Mikki Taylor.
One honoree sent a wave of excitement through the room when she took the stage, and that was actress Cicely Tyson. As her warm smile filled the projection screens, whispers of, “wow,” and “beautiful” rippled through the room.
Cicely looked fabulous. She’s preparing to return to Broadway in March for the first time in 30 years in the play The Trip to Bountiful, with co-stars Cuba Gooding Jr and Vanessa Williams.
Throughout the night, the ball’s MC, Roland S. Martin, kept the crowd informed on the score of the AFC title game, in which the Baltimore Ravens clinched a spot at the Super Bowl. His announcement of the Ravens’ win garnered the loudest cheers of the night, second only to the first mention of President Obama’s historic second-term inauguration.
Mikki , who wrote the book on Michelle Obama’s style Commander in Chic, called the ball one of the most amazing events going on in DC that night.
“One of the things that the Bible says is to give honor to whom honor is due and that’s what tonight is about and that is certainly indicative of what the African-American Church is trying to do across the land,” Mikki told S2S.
The election of an African-American president has had a profound affect on the African-American Church and we asked Mikki if President Obama’s leadership has made the Black community more patriotic.
“I think certainly President Obama’s leadership has made those in the African American Church, and those who truly love America far more patriotic,” Mikki said. “With a leader who is asking us to link hands with him it is certainly the time to celebrate America and to really be the change the we want to see. And he’s certainly the inspiration to do so.”
– Sabrina M. Parker
Find out where to go, when to watch, what to wear and more. Check out the 2013 Inauguration Guide.