President Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 40th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., last weekend. Celebs rubbed elbows with lawmakers at the VIP reception before the dinner. Check out images from the event here.
(l to r) U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, actor and Phoenix Award recipient Harry Belafonte and his wife, Pamela Belafonte, pose for a photo at the reception.
Harry Belafonte and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond talk to a fellow guest at the VIP reception.
Essence relationships editor Demetria Lucas is preparing for the release of her first book, A Belle in Brooklyn (Atria, June 2011). She returned to D.C., her hometown, with a suitcase full of cute dresses for the CBC festivities.
Actress Niecy Nash and her fiancé Jay Tucker plan to marry in May 2011. Niecy looked fabulous in her billowy gown, although she and Jay were on nip-slip patrol all night.
After the Phoenix Awards dinner, Niecy Nash and Jay were spotted leaving a party hosted by Chicago and New York representatives at D.C.’s Andrew Mellon Auditorium.
As thousands of guests filled the ballroom at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a few hundred VIPs mingled at a reception.
(l to r) Essence magazine editor emerita Susan Taylor, Phoenix award recipient and celebrated choreographer Judith Jamison, Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and his wife Vera Davis at the VIP reception.
Actor and humanitarian Chris Tucker is often spotted hosting and attending D.C. events. He posed with one of the many acquaintances he’s made from Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA).
The CBCF expected more than 4,000 guests to attend this year’s dinner, and there weren’t many empty tables in the huge ballroom.
Tracee Ellis Ross, Lamman Rucker and Victoria Rowell presented at the dinner. They were brought back onstage to entertain the crowd while they waited for President Obama to take the stage.
Victoria asked guests to write CBS and ask them to save her character Drucilla. Tracee followed up by telling guests that she’d love to do a "Girlfriends" movie since they never had a season finale.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet the CBC members who introduced them.
Several guests stood up to cheer when President Obama declared that Democrats cannot give the keys back to Republicans because the GOP drove the country into a ditch. He said that if you want to move forward in a vehicle you put your gear to ‘D’ and if you want to go in reverse, you shift to ‘R.’ Hmm.. that line sounded way cooler when he said it.
President Obama addresses 4,000 guests at the annual Phoenix Awards dinner. In 2008, the CBCF honored then-Senator Obama with a Phoenix award.
President Obama told lawmakers that they need to recapture the spirit and dedication of the civil rights movement.
"What made it possible for me to be here today are Americans throughout our history making our union more equal, making our union more just, making our union more perfect," Obama said. "That’s what we need again."
- Sabrina M. Parker / Photos by S2S