The theme of the 2022 Ebony Power 100 Gala Presented by Coca-Cola Zero SugarTM was Black Excellence.
On Saturday, the star-studded gala hosted by Emmy-nominated comedian and actress Amber Ruffin at Milk Studios in Hollywood drew some of the most respected names and figures from various industries.
The night’s honorees included legendary film director Spike Lee, who received the Icon Award from his longtime friend and collaborator actor Roger Guenveur Smith.
While accepting his award, the Academy Award-winning director shared his history with HBCUs Morehouse and Spelman, as well as subtle nods to some of his cult classic films such as School Daze, Do The Right Thing, and Crooklyn.
When Best Man star Nia Long presented Issa Rae with the People’s Choice Award, the Emmy-nominated actress and producer shared a sister empowerment moment with her. Long recalled meeting Issa for the first time when she was a “Awkward Black Girl” in need of a writer.
LONG SAID OF ISSA, “BUT SHE WAS NOT AWKWARD, SHE WAS A STAR.”
I KNEW IN THAT MOMENT THAT I WAS SEEING THE BORNING OF A STAR.”
Jonathan Majors, star of The Harder They Fall, took the stage to present the For The Culture Award to the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Letitia Wright, Dania Gurira, and Lupita Nyong’o were in attendance to accept the award and promote their upcoming sequel, which will be released on November 11th.
Kendrick Sampson, an insecure actor, rose to prominence during the 2020 social justice movement. His ongoing activism made him the ideal candidate to present the Social Justice Award to Tamika Palmer and Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mothers of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
Jay Ellis, a fellow Insecure and Top Gun: Maverick actor, joined actress and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Garcelle Beauvais on stage to present Target’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Maurice Cooper with the Corporate Citizen Award. Kandi Burruss, Real Housewives of Atlanta star and 2022 EBONY Power 100 honoree, presented the Black Business Award to McKissack & McKissack President and CEO Cheryl McKissack.
Janelle Monáe opened the night by introducing Tony Award-Winning Actor, Myles Frost, who performed a few of the King of Pop’s biggest hits “Heartbreak Hotel,” “P.Y.T.” (Pretty Young Thing), and “Rock with You” from his portrayal of Michael Jackson in Broadway’s MJ the Musical.
Bianca Lawson of Queen Sugar came out to introduce a performance by Nigerian rapper Tobe Nwigwe. The cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will also appear on Ebony’s November digital cover.