Legendary performer Dionne Warwick was honored at the “Night of 1000 Crowns” gala, the inaugural benefit honoring “hidden gems” in the BIPOC community. Warwick received the Lifetime Humanitarian award, recognizing her 60-plus years in the arts and philanthropy.
“It’s a pleasure to receive any type of recognition of this nature,” Warwick stated while accepting the sleek glass plaque. “There is a little bit more to me than singing, and I’m thrilled to be able to share that.” Warwick was one of the first artists in the music industry to raise awareness for the AIDs epidemic with her landmark recording of “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1985.
Presented by BlaqApp (a downloadable app that equips BIPOC citizens with an easy and fast way to de-escalate and identify challenging and/or threatening situations) and LayerUp! (the edutainment extension of JRT Multimedia, LLC, a boutique luxury branding and media agency), the evening of “elevated elegance” paid homage to accomplishments that uplift BIPOC multi-layered communities, including the CROWN Act, which ensures protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles, and other cause awareness issues, with a special tribute to the Luisa Diaz Foundation on behalf of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“This is something that’s long overdue,” Warwick shared with EBONY. “It’s so wonderful to see so many that look like us doing what we do and being appreciated for it.” The 81 year old, who is in the process of relaunching her signature fragrance, Dionne, revealed how she does it all. “You’ve got to keep moving, that’s how we do.”
The night’s Hidden Gem Award recipients included philanthropist Reggie Van Lee; designer Edwing D’ Angelo; hair trailblazers Monae Everett, Debra Hare-Bey and Karen Mitchell; health advocate Natalie B. McKenzie; educator Dr. Crystal Bonds; realtor McKenzie Ryan; financier Tonna Obaze and Indigenous People historian Chenae Bullock. Held at Salesforce Tower’s Ohana Salon in New York City, News 12 New Jersey anchor Naomi Yané served as the night’s emcee.
Celebrity guests included actor Alain Van Beaux, model Alva Chin, Dr. Rosemary Ingleton and Queen Mother/UN delegate Dowoti Desir, with special performances by recording artist YahZarah. Food and florals were provided by Chef Diana Tandi, proprietor of Berber Street Food and Merolyn Rodrigues of HTTS Florals, respectively.