2019 Trumpet Awards

Sound Off The Trumpet!!!

Malik Pollard

As brass instruments go, the Trumpet has the highest register of all instruments in the brass family. A register is the “height” or range of a note. So there is no wonder why one of the greatest Jazz legends Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong played the trumpet. It is also no wonder why Civil Rights leader, and broadcasting pioneer, Xernona Clayton when creating her foundation and annual awards ceremony named it The Trumpet Awards; an awards ceremony that recognizes individuals and/or groups who augment the richness of the global society by partnering with the cause of justice and equality of all. The awards were created to herald the accomplishments of black humanitarians who have succeeded against immense odds; just as the trumpet is noted for its lift and range, so does The Trumpet Awards give recognition to those that have lifted their community and have exhibited great range in their careers. January 19, 2019, in its 27th year, The Bounce (TV) Trumpet Awards inducted seven new outstanding men and women in its prestigious ring of honor for their achievements in the arts and giving back to their community, and tonight it was time to celebrate Black Excellence at the highest Register.

The Trumpet Awards celebrated excellence in presenting these seven individuals with the following awards: The Trailblazer Award, Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award, Rising Star Award, Education Excellence Award, Music Excellence Award, Vanguard Award, and The Xernona Clayton Award.

“The Trailblazer Award” recognizes pioneers who inspire others to follow their path to greatness with innovative ideas that challenge the status quo.” Receiving the Trailblazer Award was none other than MC Lyte. Who better fitting for such an honor. MC Lyte has been a true pioneer in the Hip Hop Industry, but it doesn’t stop there. She served as the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy (the Grammy organization) from 2011 to 2013. She was the first African American woman to serve in this role. She also is the founder of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which presented two $100,000 scholarships to college students each of the first two years of its inception and three $50,000 scholarships as a part of its #EducateOurMen initiative during its third year.

“”Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award” recognizes those who have achieved amazing professional accomplishments throughout an extensive career and are role models for others to reach similar.” When Robert Townsend danced down the Red Carpet speaking to everyone, I was reminded of all of his movies. Most people reflect on The Five Heartbeats (more about that in a minute), but I remember when it all began: 1987 with “Hollywood Shuffle.” As Mr. Townsend [put some respeck on it] stopped in front of our crew, we all shouted, “LEGEND” and he humbly replied, “Who Me?” with that signature Robert Townsend grin. Yes, Mr. Townsend, you are deserving of such an honor as the Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award for opening the door for so many African American filmmakers. Before Mr. Townsend left us, we did have to ask him if he could confirm the rumor that The Five Heartbeats will be coming to a stage near you, and we are happy to report that he did give a resounding YES.

“The Rising Star Award” was presented to 11 year-old singer and actor JD McCrary. The award recognizes individuals who are quickly establishing themselves and making an impact in their particular field or industry. These are future trailblazers, the ones to watch; and JD is definitely one to watch. He is the voice of Young Simba in the upcoming “Lion King” Movie (2019), and portrays a young Michael Jackson in the TV film “American Soul” coming in February on BET.

No one is more deserving of “The Education Excellence Award” than Tim King. Tim has dedicated his life to increasing the Academia of young men in Chicago. He is founder, President and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit organization operating a network of public college-prep boys schools in Chicago and related programs aimed at promoting college success, and “The Education Excellence Award recognizes individuals who show outstanding commitment to the academic development and improvement of a system or community in an effort to enhance the lives of future generations.”

Rodney “DarkChild” Jerkins was awarded “The Music Excellence Award”. This award recognizes individuals for their exceptional achievements in music, having made a tremendous impact with their creative works that have helped shaped the industry. “DarkChild” was accompanied on the redcarpet with his next superstar act, his beautiful daughter. He wanted her to see first-hand the rewards for hard work, commitment, and faith. We thought to ask Rodney, who are some of the artists he has worked with, but the proper question is, “who hasn’t he worked with?” From Rhianna to Beyonce to Michael Jackson, “DarkChild” has worked with some of music’s greatest. However, when asked, Rodney said his greatest project yet is producing his daughter who we have no doubt will be a star.

“The Vanguard Award” recognizes individuals who creatively challenge the norm by introducing mainstream culture to avant-garde ideas and making a social impact in their respective industry.” Dapper Dan ascended from Hip Hop’s fashion Designer to an internationally acclaimed Fashion Icon and a global Haberdasher. Jokingly, he took a Salt-N-Pepa Bubble “8 ball-esque” Jacket and made it Gucci [in my Gucci Mane voice]. Dapper Dan is definitely a vanguard, an innovator, and has infused music with fashion all in the name of Hip Hop.

“The Xernona Clayton Award” recognizes individuals who, having succeeded against immense odds, herald change and prosperity to enhance and enrich the world.” This year’s recipient of this prestigious honor was Tip T.I. Harris. We all watched T.I. grow from humble and rough beginnings to his impact in music to now the ever changing and evolving man he has become. He has overcame internal and external obstacles, and has shown through his hard work that all is possible with determination and fortitude. He has created a multi-million dollar business that includes television, music, and other endeavors. In addition to his business empire, T.I. continues to inspire and motivate others through his philanthropy and even more importantly, his voice in politics and in his community speaking out against injustices in his community and the country.

As the Red Carpet began, and notable guests and celebrities started to arrive, you just felt the range of prestige and excellence in the room. Sort of that feeling of Denzel Washington playing the trumpet in “Mo Better Blues.” Do y’all remember Mo Better Blues, and how Smooth Denzel was in that movie? That was how tonight felt on the redcarpet. Everyone was smooth and regal. This was a night of celebration for some of the most influential people in Education, Music, Fashion, and Film. The hosts for the evening: Wendy Raquel Robinson and Tank came down to a barrage of flash bulbs from the photographers. She looked classic in her white gown, while Tank had on a tan colored suit. Tank is never afraid to push the fashion envelope, and though the color brown is not one that you see a lot (except on Butter colored Timberlands), it worked and he knows how to win over the crowd. Tank “fit” did its thing, that was until supreme Dapper Dan hit the redcarpet. You know how when certain people come into a room you start looking at your outfit and thinking, “Damn, I need to go back to the drawing board.” Well all of us men started rethinking our ensemble when Dapper Dan hit the redcarpet with a Gold Jacket, ascot, and Gucci Belt and Shoes. Many a fella was thinking how can I get on his level for sure. Probably my two favs or the redcarpet were Lil Mama and Ashanti. Lil Mama wore pale pink gown that was giving us Cinderella at the ball. It gave simple elegance with a hint of innocence. You heard me, I said innocence and Lil Mama in the same sentence. However, when it was time for her to throw down in her tribute to MC Lyte, Lil Mama switched it up in a B-boy minute with a Dapper Dan throwback original.  Now let’s be clear though: Ashanti just kills it at a trumpet’s fevers pitch. The Wine colored dress with the split up the leg leading to heaven was everything. Then there was the plunging v-neck and I know it had a sheer nude covering, but in the words of Teddy Riley, “It Don’t Matter.” She was regal and sensual that Denzel and Wesley (Snipes) would be competing to give her a solo right there on the redcarpet. Yet, her laugh is the best part of it all because you know “That’s Ashanti.” However, the highlight for me during the night had to have been Mr. Lou Gossett Jr. His presence just commands such gratitude and respect. He summed up the energy of the night in the most eloquent way, when asked “What does a night like this mean and how important is events like this?” His reply reminded us how far we have come, and how much we have achieved, but that we must continue to shine light on those who are working tirelessly for the betterment of African Americans. It is important to recognize the achievements of people so that it inspires and motivates others.

“Thus, it is that sounding off of Trumpet that turns hope into action, and these examples of Black Excellence reinforces the sweet sound of progress.”

Images by Mike Ware of M&M Photography

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