Memphis, TN, Sept. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Six-time Grammy Award-winning gospel and R&B artist BEBE WINANS headlines the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award on October 20 as the Museum honors TAYLOR BRANCH, ISABEL WILKERSON, and FREDERICK W. SMITH.
Each year, the Museum’s Freedom Award pays tribute to individuals who have contributed significantly to civil and human rights. The honorees have carved unique paths for the betterment of society, and the evening’s entertainment provides a meaningful complement in tribute to the work toward justice and equity.
“We’re excited to have legendary gospel great, BeBe Winans, as the headliner for Freedom Award,” said Faith Morris, Freedom Award Managing Director/Producer & NCRM Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer. “BeBe’s message in his music resonates with what’s going on in our communities, the nation, and the world. His performance will further amplify the importance and need for love to bring change.”
Benjamin, “BeBe” Winans, is the seventh child and youngest male of the Detroit-based first family of gospel music. He is best known as an inspirational, R&B, and popular vocalist and songwriter who, along with his musical partner and sister CeCe Winans, are the first true Christian crossover artists to hit the mainstream. In 2019, he released his first solo album in nearly over 10 years, “Need You,” which reached #1 on the Billboard Gospel airplay charts for the first time in his solo career.
Winan’s portfolio has expanded beyond music across the entertainment industry. He is the former Executive Music Producer for OWN Network’s Greenleaf and hosts his own radio show on the Heart & Soul Channel on Sirius/XM Radio Networks on Sunday Mornings. Winans has also authored two books: The Whitney I Knew, based on his personal relationship with the late singer Whitney Houston, and his autobiography, Born for This: My Story in Music.
The Freedom Award will bring another star for the inspirational evening. Starring in BET+’s “The Black Hamptons” and OWN Network’s “Queen Sugar,” LAMMAN RUCKER is returning as host of the Freedom Award. Rucker’s work includes many beloved projects, including Own Network’s “Greenleaf,” Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” film sequel, and “Meet the Browns” hit sitcom. Rucker is known for his work on screen and is committed to meaningful work off-screen. The actor is a spokesperson for several charitable efforts and is the co-founder of The Black Gents, a non-profit designed to invoke positive change through thought-provoking, high-quality entertainment, youth empowerment initiatives, and community service.
ED MABREY will render an eloquently poetic tribute to the honorees and the occasion. He is currently the only four-time World Poetry Slam Champion and an Emmy winner. Mabrey has performed on international stages and on several seasons of TV One’s “Verses and Flow.” Mabrey has appeared on HBO’s All Def Digital. He is a two-time finalist in The World Series of Comedy and has been the voice in several company commercial spots.
The Freedom Award House Band led by award-winning composer/musician GARRY GOIN is consistently a ceremony highlight. As the Freedom Award music director, Goin is an accomplished guitarist, songwriter, producer, national recording artist, and entertainer. He has 40 years of experience in the music business.
The Freedom Award presenting sponsors are International Paper, FedEx, Nike, Ford Motor Company, Valero Energy Foundation, and Hyde Family Foundation.
Since 1991, the National Civil Rights Museum has presented The Freedom Award to some of the most lauded civil and human rights leaders and history makers in the world, including Coretta Scott King, President Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Bono, Secretary of State Colin Powell, President Oscar Arias, President Mary Robinson, Paul Rusesabagina, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Tom Brokaw, Frank Robinson, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Bernard Lafayette, Marlo Thomas, Usher Raymond, Bill Frist, Dolores Huerta, Rev. James Lawson, Cicely Tyson, Rev. Bernice A. King, Hugh Masekela, President Joe Biden, Rev. Jesse Jackson, John Legend, Hafsat Abiola, Gloria Steinem, the Poor People’s Campaign, and Michelle Obama.
Tickets and sponsorships are available at freedomaward.org.
About the National Civil Rights Museum
The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to honor and preserve the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. It chronicles the American civil rights movement and tells the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights, serving as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change. A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries. It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today‘s Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC’s Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.
About Smithsonian Affiliations
Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums and educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among the Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at www.affiliations.si.edu.
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