Soledad O'Brien To Receive McDonald’s 365Black Awards

CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien is among a list of luminaries, including House Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Black Enterprise publisher Earl Graves, being honored at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans on July 3 as part of the McDonald’s 365Black Awards, which recognize landmark contributions to improve the lives of black Americans nationwide.

O’Brien is being honored for her in-depth reporting during live coverage in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and several significant broadcasts on the news network, including the special series, "CNN Presents: Black in America," which focused on the state of black America 40 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the time the series ran, O’Brien told a reporter she was glad to see the subject of race get mainstream media treatment.

“It’s refreshing to see a mainstream news organization attempt to tell in-depth stories about the black experience. Personally, I wish that we were at a point when we wouldn’t have to look at things in black and white, but that is the unavoidable reality, and many more conversations most certainly need to take place to help American heal from its brutal legacy.”

O’Brien also reported and anchored "Words That Changed a Nation," a CNN documentary about King’s private writings and notes, as well as "Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination," a reexamination of the investigation of King’s assassination. In addition, O’Brien’s "Children of the Storm" and "One Crime at a Time" demonstrated her continued commitment to covering stories out of New Orleans.

In 2008, O'Brien was the first recipient of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Goodermote Humanitarian Award for her efforts while reporting on the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia tsunami.

In July, O’Brien will report and anchor "Black in America 2," which will examine how African-Americans are getting creative to improve the black experience, from urban farming to a journey for a group of 30 Brooklyn teenagers from the struggling Bushwick neighborhood to work with impoverished and orphaned children in South Africa.
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