Lupita Nyong’o Honored at the Harlem School of the Arts Annual Gala

The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) Masquerade Ball and After Party is one of the most coveted events of the Fall season in New York City at the iconic Plaza Hotel’s Ballroom. This year did not disappoint, For the fifth year in a row, the Mask Ball exceeded expectations again by raising over $1 million dollars. Each ticket sold directly supports the 55-year-old arts organization’s mission to provide world-class training in and exposure to the arts across multiple disciplines. The Harlem School of the Arts offers out of school programming, enabling young people to incorporate arts education into their traditional schooling.

The event was hosted by Anchor, Lori Stokes, who shared the podium with HSA student, Jabari King. This fundraising event helps maintain the level and quality of programs the organization can develop and offer. Specifically, the funds raised go towards essential resources that allow HSA to continue providing high-quality arts education and world-class training in an environment that empowers, stimulates creativity, and builds self-confidence. Since 1964, HSA has transformed the lives of over 10,000 young people.

This years gala, was an evening to honor and celebrate individuals who embody excellence in the arts and education communities. Academy Award Winning Actress Lupita Nyong’o was honored with the Visionary Lineage Award.

Lupita Nyong’o

“I didn’t make it here on my own,” Nyong’o told Bella host, Danita Chantel, on the red carpet. “I have very supportive parents and my mother in particular. She really nurtured my soul. And it’s my chance to say to her and say it to the world, I love my momma. Today is about the advice to parents, and the advice to parents is that your kids come into the world already, who they are and your job is to just nurture them and to allow them to  color in their personality, because the lines are already there.”

This years gala, was an evening to honor and celebrate individuals who embody excellence in the arts and education communities. The night’s honorees included:

  • Visionary Lineage Award: Academy Award Winning Actress Lupita Nyong’o and her mother Dorothy Nyong’o, First Lady of Kisumu County and Managing Trustee of the Africa Cancer Foundation.
  • Dorothy Maynor Award: Michelle Ebanks, CEO, Essence Communications.
  • The Betty Allen Corporate Award: Racquel Oden, Managing Director, Northeast Division, JPMorgan Chase.
Eric Pryor (President of HSA), Michelle Ebanks (Honoree and CEO of Essence Communications), Racquel Oden(Honoree and Managing Director, Northeast Division, JP Morgan Chase) Dorothy Nyong'o (Honoree), Charles J. Hamilton Jr. Esq,( Board of Directors and Chairman)
Eric Pryor (President of HSA), Honorees: Michelle Ebanks (CEO of Essence Communications), Racquel Oden (Managing Director, NE Div., JP Morgan Chase), Lupita & Dorothy Nyong’o, Charles J. Hamilton Jr. Esq,( Board of Directors and Chairman)

“I believe our founder, Dorothy Maynor, would have been proud to pay tribute to our gala honorees: Michelle Ebanks, Lupita Nyong’o & Dorothy Nyong’o, and Racquel Oden. Each recipient was selected based on their leadership and exemplary accomplishments in their field as well as their commitment to service in the community,” explained Eric G. Pryor, President of HSA. “They exemplify what is possible when you aim for excellence. They have all carved new pathways, and shown their mastery through perseverance and determination.”

Lupita Nyong’o, Trevor Noah (Host of The Daily Show), and Dorothy Nyong’o
Danita Chantel, Lupita and Dorothy Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o’s star continues to soar, Oprah Winfrey sat down one-on-one with the award-winning actresses and discussed her fast rise to fame. Nyong’o discussed how leading roles have shaped her personally and professionally. The conversation can be seen on the new primetime special entitled, “OWN Spotlight: Oprah At Home with Lupita Nyong’o”.  OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. 

Winfrey and Nyong’o discuss colorism in Hollywood and if it still exists. Nyong’o’s newest project is her children’s book “Sulwe,” which features a 5-year-old girl who has the darkest skin color in her family. On shelves starting October 15, the picture book inspires children to love their uniqueness and to discover that beauty comes from within. Nyong’o also opens up about thriving in an industry she feels was not made for her, speaks about her critically acclaimed starring role in Jordan Peele’s “Us,” and shares her experience winning “Best Supporting Actress” for her performance in “12 Years a Slave” at the Academy Awards in 2014.

Lupita Nyong’o and Oprah Winfrey


About Harlem School of the Arts

Harlem School of the Arts at the Herb Alpert Center, stands uniquely apart as the sole provider of arts education in four disciplines: music, dance, theatre, art & design. The School’s reputation for artistic rigor and excellence attracts students of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. For over 50-years, HSA has enriched the lives of tens of thousands of young people ages 2-18, through world-class training in the arts. HSA offers its students the freedom to find and develop the artist and citizen within themselves, in an environment that teaches discipline, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives, empowering them to become the creative thinkers and innovative leaders of tomorrow.

About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand and the magnetism of the channel.

Photo Credit: HSA/ Julie Skarratt and OWN/Huy Doan


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