Applause Africa presented the seventh annual African Diaspora Awards ceremony at Florence Gould Hall in New York City. These awards recognize significant achievements in social justice, entrepreneurism, arts and humanities by Africans living in diaspora. The event both celebrates the diversity of this inherently multinational gathering, and also the unity that is possible among Africans, regardless of origin and background. As impressive as the individual honorees were—and they were truly impressive—it was equally powerful to see movers and shakers from Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Senegal, Zimbabwe and beyond celebrating one another in a spirit of unity and camaraderie. Indeed, the theme of the 2017 gathering was “Building Unity,” suggesting that for all the unity this unique process has nurtured, the work continues.
This was a glamorous affair, with a nearly packed house of beautifully turned-out attendees, a red carpet reception before hand, and a fast paced stage ceremony that featured introductory speakers for each award, a DJ, two hosts and four live music performances—not to mention the actual honorees, each of whom spoke briefly and movingly.