Washington, DC – It was a moment to behold when sultry host Vivica A. Fox did a surprise serenade of “Happy Birthday” for former “That’s So Raven” star Jonathan McDaniel upon his receipt of the Black Youth Vote Civic Leadership Award during The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s (The National Coalition) 15th annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala in Washington, DC last week. Tyler Perry’s House of Payne’s” Demetria McKinney brought additional flavor to the affair performing her newest song “Take Away” and then captivating the audience with her special rendition of Whitney Houston’s, “You Give Good Love.”
Actress and producer, Vivica A. Fox, surprises rapper, actor and technology advocate, Jonathan “Lil J” McDaniel, with a serenade of “Happy Birthday,” during the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s 15th annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala where McDaniel received the Black Youth Vote Leadership Award. NCBCP chair, Richard Womack, Sr. looks on.
Accepting his award McDaniel spoke about overcoming major challenges including homelessness to achieve his dream. “The only thing I wanted to do was become a positive role model for my generation. I wanted to do Gods work.” The actor, rapper and technology advocate continued, “Being here tonight in front of everyone here lets me know my dreams have come true. I am becoming the role model I want to be.” McDaniel co-stars as Fox’s son in the upcoming Robert Townsend produced film, “In the Hive.”
The event brought together nearly 300 civic, labor, political and spiritual leaders to “Celebrate Our Brothers,” as six phenomenal men doing constructive work to empower the African American community were honored. There was also a special Servant Leadership and Community Service Award established in memory of the former manager of the annual Spirit Awards, Ruby Campbell Pulliam.
“It was important to take a moment to lift up and celebrate what the brothers are doing in our communities across the country,” said president and CEO of The National Coalition, Melanie L. Campbell. “The men who dedicate their lives to mentoring, social justice, training and creating opportunities for our youth – especially those running black male initiatives – are truly the fabric of our community.”
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