Jayne Kennedy
Jayne Kennedy (Courtesy photoe)

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Established in 2010 by Oscar Hernandez and presented by his company OSCIA Productions, the Celestial Awards of Excellence honors those with outstanding accomplishments that have positively contributed to society.

This year’s awards ceremony was held at the Alex Theatre in Los Angeles, hosted by actor Obba Babatunde. Award categories ranged from entertainment, medical and education to community service and other areas of expertise.

When I asked Emmy-winning actress, model and sports broadcaster Jayne Kennedy (“The NFL Today,” “Greatest Sports Legends”) what excellence meant to her, she said, “When you find something you are passionate about and you do not let anything get in the way. … You never stop.”

Young actor Hunter Payton (CBS’s “Criminal Minds”) said excellence to him means “doing the best you personally can do.”

“For me, it’s how far you can push yourself to do things and how far you are willing to go for a certain thing, because excellence is an arbitrary word that many people have many definitions of,” he said.

The definition did indeed vary from person to person.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a couple awards, but they don’t define your craft,” said actor Art Evans. “But it brings attention to it.”

Actress Hayley Gripp of “CSI: Las Vegas” said there should be no stress in reaching excellence.

“Believe in yourself and do the best you can do,” Gripp said. “In life we want to be perfect … perfection doesn’t exist.”

Those honored included: Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. (“Roots”) with the Lifetime Achievement Award; Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute founder Myrlie Evers-Williams with the Civil Rights Icon Award; actor Art Evans with the Mentor for Success Award; Dr. Williams Charles Akins (Akins High School) with the Education Award; Music & Fine Arts Foundation founder Conrad O. Johnson with the Fine Arts Award; actress Marla Gibbs (“The Jeffersons”) with the Visionary Award; former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young with the Civil Rights Icon Award; Olympic gold Medalist Edwin Moses with the Sportsman Trailblazer Award; World Chamber of Commerce founder Solange Warner with the International Business Award; American Soldier Network founder Annie Nelson with the Helping Hands Award; Olympic gold medalist Bob Beamon with the Pride Award; and Tubman Truth Corporation President Anita DeFrantz with the Angel Award.

Entertainment was provided by Howard Hewitt, Kim Whitley, Eloise Laws, Shanica Knowles and Glynn Turman.

The Celestial Awards of Excellence benefits the Bahati Foundation of seven-time U.S. national champion cyclist Rahsaan Bahati, which was formed to positively impact inner city youth through cycling, education and music.

Sponsors include Alcorn State University, World Chamber of Commerce, ACON Construction, Victoria Choi, Gazi Kahn, OPEN Development, VCR Construction & Designs and Ron Berryman.

Learn how to help fund the Celestial Awards of Excellence or the Bahati Foundation by going to www.CelestialAwardsofExcellence.org.

Eunice Moseley has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates and promotions director for The Baltimore Times.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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