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Phoenix Awards

Phoenix Awards

  • Premiered: 
    October 11, 2020
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: BET
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Award
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Current Events
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Plot Synopsis

Each year at the end of its Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) hosts a dinner and awards ceremony. The ALC is a multi-day conference that convenes "the nation's largest gathering of policy makers, business and community stakeholders, activists, and local, state, regional and national grassroots individuals, to discuss the Black experience in America and to chart a course of action for the coming year." Prior to 2007, the conference's culminating event was simply known as the "Annual Awards Dinner," but was renamed the "Phoenix Awards Dinner" in 2007. Throughout its history, the ceremony and dinner have been hosted by Black celebrities, featured live performances & a keynote speaker, and honored "those who through their efforts and accomplishments have made significant contributions to society, and it symbolizes the immortality of the human spirit and an eternal desire to reach its full potential," according to Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., the Foundation's president and CEO. Past honorees include:

2019: entrepreneur, author and professor Dr. Calvin Mackie (CBCF Board Chair's Award); aeronautics and systems engineer Dr. Wanda Austin (CBC Chair's Award); Congresswoman Barbara Lee (ALC Honorary Co-Chair's Award); The Exonerated Five -- Dr. Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Antron McCray -- survivors of false convictions and social justice advocates (ALC Honorary Co-Chair's Award); and civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton (The Harold Washington Award).

2018: activist and former legislator Stacey Abrams (Adam Clayton Powell Award); lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson (ALC Co-Chair's Award); Lee Porter, executive director of the Fair Housing Council (ALC Co-Chair's Award); John Carlos and Tommie Smith (CBC Chair's Award); Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and Mrs. Jackson (CBCF Chair's Lifetime Achievement Award); and Aretha Franklin (John R. Lewis Award of Courage).

2017: educator and scholar Dr. Thomas Freeman (CBCF Chair's Award); Ruby Bridges Hall (CBC Chair Award); Ambassador Ron Kirk (ALC Co-Chair's Award); civil rights advocate Ms. Tamika Mallory (ALC Co-Chair's Award); and Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (Harold Washington Phoenix Award).

2016: Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton (Trailblazer Award); U.S. Representative Charles B. Rangel (CBC Founder's Award); U.S. Representative Marcia L. Fudge (Barbara Jordan Award); Robert F. Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Vista Equity Partners (CBCF Chair's Award); and Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church (CBC Chair's Award).

2015: civil rights activist Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson (CBC Body Award); Fred Gray, who represented Rosa Parks after her arrest (ALC Co-Chairs Award); Rev. Dr. William Barber II (CBC Chair Award); civil rights activist Juanita Abernathy (George Thomas "Mickey" Leland Award); and Alpha Phi Alpha (CBCF Chair Award).

2014: media mogul Cathy Hughes (CBCF Chair's Award); legendary boxer and activist Muhammad Ali (Ralph Metcalf Award for Health); editor, writer and producer Susan L. Taylor (ALC Co-Chair's Award); civil rights leader Wade Henderson (CBC Chair's Award); and Robert L. Wright Jr., chairman of FE Holdings, Inc. (ALC Co-Chair's Award).

2013: President William Jefferson Clinton; Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland; and Elaine Jones, former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

2012: Congresswoman Corrine Brown of third District of Florida; political activist Harvey B. Gantt; master of film, Mr. George Lucas; and The Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr., Attorney General of the United States.

2011: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson; U.S. Representative and civil rights activist John Lewis; athlete and humanitarian George Edward Foreman Sr.; and civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery.

2010: Simeon Booker, former Washington bureau chief for "Jet" and "Ebony" (George Thomas "Mickey" Leland Award); Judith Jamison, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Shirley Chisholm Award); Hon. Sheila Y. Oliver, speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly (CBCF Chair's Award); and singer, actor & humanitarian Harry Belafonte (George Thomas "Mickey" Leland Award).

2009: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice; President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Calvin Smyre; humanitarians and actors Danny Glover, Cicely Tyson and Sheryl Lee Ralph; and musician and humanitarian Wyclef Jean.

2008: Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama; actress and humanitarian Kerry Washington; CNN political analyst and Democratic superdelegate Donna Brazile; Speaker of the California state assembly Karen Bass; and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

2007: former U.S. Secretary-General Kofi Annan; U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C.; former United Negro College Fund President and CEO William H. Gray III; U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor; and Rutgers University women's basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer and her Scarlet Knights.

2006: Dr. Johnetta Cole, Bennett College (CBC Chair Award); Ronald V. Dellums (ALC Co-Chair Award); Kwame M. Kilpatrick (ALC Co-Chair Award); Dr. Charles Ogletree (CBCF Chair Award); Kim Bondy (Thoms "Mickey" Leland Award); and Roscoe Brown (William L. Dawson Award for Education).

2005: Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honorable P.J. Patterson; head of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke; and BET head, Debra Lee.
Host Taraji P. Henson and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation join performers Common, Kem, India. Arie and more to honor extraordinary individuals at the 2020 PHOENIX AWARDS, debuting on Sunday, October 11, 2020 from 8-10pm ET/PT on BET and BET Her. Viewers can also watch the awards show online. MC Lyte serves as the PHOENIX AWARDS Voice of God. This year's honorees include Secretary Lonnie Bunch III, William Larry Lucas, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Benjamin Crump and Joe Biden.


Other Titles

  • Also known as: Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Phoenix Awards
  • Also known as: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's The Phoenix Awards
  • Also known as: CBCF Phoenix Awards


  • Walter E. Washington Convention Center (2006-2019) - Washington DC USA