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Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Richard Roundtree & More to Be Honored at 2024 Gordon Parks Foundation Awards

today10/25/2023

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Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, the late Richard Roundtree and more are set to be honored at the 2024 Gordon Parks Foundation Awards. The annual awards dinner and auction celebrating Parks’ legacy and continuing his commitment to advancing social justice will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at Cipriani 42nd St. in New York City.

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Keys and Kasseem Dean (aka Swizz Beatz) are set to receive the patrons of the arts award. The couple married in 2010 and have two children. Both are Grammy winners. Moreover, both have won for collaborations with Jay-Z. “Empire State of Mind,” Keys’ Billboard Hot 100-topping collab with Hova, won two Grammys in 2011. Jay-Z’s “On to the Next One,” on which Swizz Beatz was featured, won best rap duo/group performance that same year.

“We have co-chaired the Gordon Parks Foundation Awards Gala for a decade now — and we are deeply honored to be receiving the Gordon Parks Patrons of the Arts Award in 2024,” Keys and Dean said in a joint statement. “We truly appreciate the foundation’s work providing scholarships and fellowships to the next generation of students and artists whose creative work reflects and extends Gordon’s important legacy.”

The evening will also posthumously honor Roundtree, who starred in Parks’ groundbreaking 1971 film Shaft; mixed-media artist Mickalene Thomas; and civil rights activist and former chairwoman of the NAACP, Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Along with the honorees and the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellows (to be announced in early 2024), the evening will pay tribute to Roundtree, who died on Tuesday (Oct. 24) at age 81, and highlight the enduring cultural impact of Shaft on both film and music. This event had been in the planning stages for months when Roundtree died.

“We learned the sad news that Richard Roundtree passed away this week just as we were set to announce him as one of our 2024 Gordon Parks Foundation honorees,” Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., executive director of The Gordon Parks Foundation, said in a statement. “Richard was a real cultural force and a supporter of the important work that the foundation does year-round. We look forward to celebrating his legacy and his iconic portrayal of Shaft in Parks’ 1971 film, along with our other esteemed honorees, at our awards dinner next year.”

“Earlier this year when Richard learned that he would be honored at the Gordon Parks Foundation Awards event he was thrilled,” said Patrick McMinn, Roundtree’s longtime manager. “Working with Gordon was a highpoint in his long career. He often spoke about the lasting influence Gordon had on him not only as an actor in Shaft but as a man. His family and I will be working closely with the foundation to plan a memorable tribute to him that evening.”

Shaft is best remembered for two things — Roundtree’s strong, confident, assertive portrayal of a Black man, which was groundbreaking at the time, and Isaac Hayes’ brilliant scoring work. Hayes’ funky yet classy “Theme From Shaft” spent two weeks atop the Hot 100 and received a Grammy nod for record of the year. It also won an Oscar for best original song, making Hayes the first Black songwriter to win in that category, and also the first African-American to win a non-acting award.

Hayes’ score for Shaft was also Oscar-nominated for best original score. The Shaft soundtrack reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and wound up with a Grammy nod for album of the year.

Hayes died in 2008 at age 65. Parks died in 2006 at age 93.

The gala will include a live auction of Parks’ photographs. Co-chairs for the 2024 Gordon Parks Foundation Awards Dinner & Auction are Kathryn and Kenneth Chenault; Agnes Gund; Judy and Leonard Lauder; Tonya and Spike Lee; Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr.; Crystal McCrary and Raymond McGuire; and Clara Wu Tsai and Joseph Tsai.

All proceeds from the evening will support year-round educational programming as well as the fellowships, prizes and scholarships provided by The Gordon Parks Foundation to the next generation of artists, writers and students whose work follows in Parks’ footsteps.

Tickets are available starting at $2,000. They can be purchased on the Gordon Parks Foundation website, or by contacting Buckley Hall Events at gpfgala@buckleyhallevents.com or 914-579-1000.

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