This post is sponsored by #365BlackAwards and The Network Niche.

You may remember that back in 2013 I had the pleasure of attending Essence Fest and the 365Black Awards in New Orleans. It was a great time! On Thursday, Sept 1 BET aired the 2016  365Black Awards. I was not in attendance this time, but I did watch it and tweet about it. The theme of this year’s show is “Greater Together”. That is extremely appropriate for what is going on in our world right now.

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If you missed it, you can watch the replay airing several times over the next few days on BET. Looks like it is airing again on Sunday, Sept 4, Sunday, Sept 11 and Monday, September 12. Check your local listings to be sure of exact date and time. Then set your DVR!

While watching, check out all of the tweets and join in on Twitter. Yes, people are still watching and tweeting about it!

2016 Award Recipients

Wendy Raquel Robinson

Founder of the Amazing Grace Conservatory, Wendy Raquel Robinson, received the award for Excellence in Art and Entertainment. The Amazing Grace Conservatory is a performing arts school. It provides a space for boys and girls to get introduced to the arts while learning valuable lessons in self esteem. Robinson’s speech was very inspiring telling kids everywhere “If you have a dream, you go for it!”

Lauren Seroyer

16-year old Lauren Seroyer is an inspiration to teens everywhere. She received a Community Choice Youth Award. Seroyer developed the Community Assistance & Resource Effort (CARE) Closet. This is a great organization that provides students with access to school-based food pantries. She has opened many CARE Closets in high schools in the state of Georgia.

Charles Tillman

Retired All-Pro NFL Cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman was awarded the Excellence in Sports Award. He is from Chicago (woot! woot!) and he played for the Chicago Bears from 2003 – 2015, he then played for the Carolina Panthers before retiring earlier this year. He helped the Bears reach Super Bowl XLI. He has been selected to two Pro Bowls and was the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013.

Lonnie Bunch III

Lonnie Bunch III received the Excellence in Education Award. He is founder of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. His speech hit home a bit. After dedicating his award to the enslaved women for making sure “the fields didn’t strip them of their humor and humanity”, he mentioned the families who left Mississippi for the South Side of Chicago in search of a better day. That is exactly why I’m here. Both of my parents were born in Mississippi. Their families came here (Chicago) looking for a better way. He also mentioned the grandmothers who cleaned homes reminding us that “the story of America is the story of Black America”.

Toni Braxton

Before the awesome Toni Braxton getting an award we were treated to a great musical tribute! This included performances by The Braxton Sisters, Eric Benet, V. Bozeman, Kenny Lattimore, and Kelly Price. Toni then received the Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been a very active member of Autism Speaks because of her son, and serves as a LA Lupus Board Member because of her own battle with Lupus.

Donovan Smith

At only 13 years old, Donovan Smith received the second Community Youth Choice Award. He received the award for his bravery overcoming homelessness, and paying it forward by raising money to help the organization that helped him. He is also a sponsor of St. Martin’s Shower room where he creates and dispenses soap.

Larry Tripplett

Tripplett is an owner/operator of McDonalds. He was awarded the 2016 365Black McDonald’s Award. He’s a true inspiration having worked at McDonald’s to put himself through school. He then became a McDonald’s owner/operator in his own community to give back.

All of the recipients definitely deserved to be honored. Great job everyone!