Warner Bros. Records artist Andra Day will kick-off the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) 27th Annual Awards Gala Monday, November 16, 2015 at the Washington Hilton. Recently named one of DC’s 2015 Top100 Events, TMCF’s Gala will sell-out the Washington Hilton’s ballroom and bring together more than 1,500 of the nation’s business leaders, philanthropists, Members of Congress, DC socialites, and more than 400 star students from the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately Black Colleges (PBIs). The black-tie event, which raised $4.1 million last year, aims to raise over $5 million this year.
The 30-year-old Day is obsessed with jazz, soul and rock, which she includes various elements into her classically trained vocals to create a modern vintage sound. A native of San Diego, she attended a performing arts high school while working with various producers to develop her “unique” musical style. When a tape of a live performance found its way to Stevie Wonder, he was blown away and introduced her to songwriter-producer Adrian Gurvitz (The Bodyguard). Day and Gurvitz spent a year together working on her debut album with what she calls a “retro-pop-soul” sound with an alluring, powerful alto that has inspired comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Adele.
“I am elated Andra Day will be with us to celebrate and salute the nation’s black colleges and their students,” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “We are looking forward to her setting the mood for an incredible evening as we honor those who have made a difference in education and our community.”
Themed “Developing Minds … Delivering Dreams,” the Gala celebrates the achievements of the country’s foremost visionaries who have used their status to positively impact the lives of students attending HBCUs. Proceeds from the event enable TMCF to continue its programmatic and capacity building work for the nation’s HBCUs and the 300,000 students who attend these great schools.
“Performing at the TMCF Awards Gala is so exciting,” said Day. “Knowing that I will be able to show over 400 students, in the room on that night, they too can realize their dream is very rewarding and I can’t wait!”
This year’s Gala will be hosted by Award-winning journalist and “Good Morning America” (GMA) co-anchor Robin Roberts. Honorees include John O. Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Samuel R. Allen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deere & Company; Dr. David Hall, President of the University of the Virgin Islands; Daymond John, Shark on ABC’s Emmy Award winning series, Shark Tank, and Founder of FUBU; and, Thomas A. Cole, Partner and Former Chair of the Executive Committee of Sidley Austin LLP.