The event recognized innovators and leaders whose influence has set the pace in everything from entertainment and finance, to activism and art.
Allen, CEO of Entertainment Studios, received the Icon Award in recognition of his more than 20 years in the entertainment industry and his expansion into media acquisitions that include the Weather Channel, and multiple regional sports networks across the country. The 58-year-old mogul shared a story about being turned down for a job in front of his mother, who was his manager at the time, and how the experience inspired him to become an entrepreneur. He went on to launch Entertainment Partners from his living room.
Byron also spoke about his journey to becoming a media mogul and the importance of ownership in the black community in order to build generational wealth. “Hold everybody accountable for real economic inclusion,” he told the audience.
Martin, Hollywood’s youngest executive producer , was presented with the Innovator of the Year award. In April, the 14-year-old Black-Ish star released Little, the first film under her Genius Productions imprint. The film has since grossed close to $50 million worldwide.
Additional winners at the Culture Creators event included Quality Control CEO Pierre “Pee” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee, who were honored with the music award, and Gucci’s Vice President of Brand and Culture Engagement, Antoine Phillips, who won the fashion award. Iddris Sandu and Blavity founder Morgan DeBaun, were recognized for their work in technology, while Nipsey Hussle earned a posthumous honor with the Social Action Game Changer Award. Real estate developer, David Gross, and Def Jam executive, Steve “O” Careless, accepted the award on his behalf.
Check below for full speeches from the awards ceremony.
Byron Allen – Icon Award