Today, The Black American Music Association and its Board of Directors, led by Co-Founders Michael Mauldin and Demmette Guidry, announces The ICE Medal of Honor inaugural celebration at Atlanta’s prestigious Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College on Sunday, October 15, 2023. This groundbreaking event will be a historic Black tie evening honoring and paying tribute to the legends, creative visionaries, and trailblazers within Black American music, who have captivated audiences worldwide and left an everlasting impact on the cultural landscape.
Among the distinguished recipients of The ICE Medal of Honor are some of the most remarkable names in the industry, including:
- Alicia Keys – The Ella Fitzgerald “Gold Standard Award”
- Grandmaster Flash – “Transformative Award”
- Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis – “Creative Impact Award”
- Robert F. Smith (Philanthropist) – The Ray Charles/Harry Belafonte “Patron of Arts Award”
- Suzanne de Passe (Motown Productions’ 1st Black female president) – The Suzanne de Passe “Trailblazer Award”
- Jeffrey Harleston (Universal Music Group) – Pace/Harrell “Executive Leadership Award”
- A special salute to the iconic Michael Jackson with the Michael Jackson ICON award
The evening will provide music direction from the incomparable Ray Chew, poetic interpretation of colorful eras by Marcus Amaker, and segment curation by the legendary Wyclef Jean and gospel great Donald Lawrence. Hosted by various A-list celebrity talent, the ICE Medal of Honor seeks to shine a spotlight on the indelible contributions made by artists and executives who have enriched the world with their talents and paved the way for generations to come. The ICE (Imperial Crown of Excellence) will serve as a beacon of recognition & education of the Black American music art form and an ode to the resilience, innovation, and brilliance of its creatives.
Executive Producers of the ICE-Medal of Honor are BAM-Association Co-Founders Michael Mauldin & Demmette Guidry, along with Derrick Williams of DNA Media Group and Co-Executive producer Jermaine Dupri (who as Hall of Fame songwriter, producer & CEO is celebrating 30 years of So So Def). The program is being produced by Mauldin & Williams and Directed by Kevin Swain.
Starting at 7 pm ET, guests will experience a poetic evening of elegance, inspiration, education, and celebration of the last 100 years of Black music excellence. Attendees can expect a captivating blend of live performances, heartfelt speeches, moving tributes and authentic storytelling that reflect the profound influence of these music luminaries.
“We are thrilled to launch the ICE Medal of Honor and to recognize these outstanding individuals who have made an enduring mark on the world through their art and creativity,” said Michael Mauldin, Co-Producer and visionary behind the event. “This celebration is a testament to the power of Black American music in shaping culture and inspiring generations.”
Among those recognized on October 15 are icons of legendary status such as the highly acclaimed GRAMMY-winning producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis; who are celebrating fifty years of success and professional partnership within the business of music. As well as those who have made their impact in today’s musical landscape such as Alicia Keys. Recipient of The Ella Fitzgerald “Gold Standard Award” Alicia Keys first made her mark with chart-topping 2001 debut Songs in A Minor. Since then, the contemporary artist has won 15 GRAMMY Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, 9 Billboard Music Awards and 7 BET Awards to date.
A seminal hip-hop founder, Grandmaster Flash is accepting the “Transformative Award.” He has been recognized as the first DJ to play the turntables as a musical instrument, helping to elevate the status of the DJ to a masterful, artistic position. In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip-hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, The BET Icon Award, and many others already under his belt.
In addition to those who have made musical contributions, the ICE Medal of Honor will also honor those creative visionaries and business trailblazers who have made indelible contributions to Black American Music. Among those are philanthropist and founder of the technology software private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; Robert F. Smith and Suzanne de Passe, Motown Productions’ first Black female president and discoverer of The Jackson 5 and The Commodores. Rounding out the list of Award winners is Executive Leader Jeffrey Harleston General Counsel, EVP of Business & Legal Affairs of Universal Music Group. Harleston is also Co-Founder of the UMG Task Force For Meaningful Change, an organization formed within UMG in the summer of 2020 to identify, coordinate, and implement social change initiatives specifically directed at the Black and Latino communities. Harleston has been named one of Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100” and is annually recognized by Billboard on the magazine’s “Power 100” list of the most powerful executives in the music industry.
With the arts, community, education, mentorship, and internship being a driving factor and focus of the Black American Music Association & Foundation, a special acknowledgment during the ICE Medal of Honor celebration is being given to the Otis Redding Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for the community through education and the empowerment of its youth. Also honored will be Dr. Uzee Brown, who retired earlier this year as professor and chair of the Morehouse College music department after 49 years of service to the institution. The past president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, his works have been performed internationally at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and beyond.