The National Council of Negro Women will honor Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds on Friday at its 14th annual “Uncommon Height Gala” in D.C. for his philanthropical efforts throughout his decades-long career.
The black-tie event, which begins 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Hilton Hotel, will celebrate 80 years of visionary work in fostering the growth and development of women, children and families throughout the world. The famed musician will receive the “Crystal Stair Award,” which recognizes leaders from various industries who demonstrate a commitment to community service and excellence as exemplified in the spirit and tradition of the late Dr. Dorothy Height, the former chair of the council.
“[Height] was one of Edmonds’ greatest champions,” said Dr. Thelma Daley, gala co-chair. “She was proud of the work he contributed to the United Negro College Fund and Border Babies. She also helped him raise funds for the Washington, D.C.-based transitional home, The Little Blue House.”
Alexis Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and co-chair of this year’s gala, called Edmonds “a trailblazer, advocate and role model for the African-American community and beyond.”
Past recipients of the Crystal Stair award include Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones.
“In the vein of our past honorees, Babyface has used his opportunities and blessings to uplift many others,” said Ingrid Saunders Jones, NCNW chair. “His life’s work outside the music industry exemplifies his heart for helping humankind, which is what the Crystal Stair Award is all about.”
The event will be hosted by renowned radio personality Donnie Simpson and feature entertainment by comedian Jonathan Slocumb and Valerie Simpson of the legendary duo, Ashford & Simpson.
Toyota and Coca-Cola are corporate sponsors of this year’s gala.