The 2021 Urban One Honors will Premiere in May, Jazmine Sullivan, Da Brat, and More Set to Perform


The Urban One Honors is an annual award/celebration show filled with Black excellence, music, and achievement. This year’s theme is honoring ‘Women Leading the Change’ and will highlight the extraordinary contributions of women in business, media, health, politics, and community outreach, who are leading impactful change within the Black community. Grammy-Award-winning gospel artist Erica Campbell and award-winning journalist, author, and syndicated columnist Roland Martin will host the event.

The honors celebration this year will pay special homage to the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the critically acclaimed, all-female jazz band of the 1930s. The band included Helen Jones Woods, a founding member and mother of Urban One Founder and Chairwoman, Cathy Hughes. The Sweethearts band, comprised of 17 ethnically diverse members who achieved international accolades despite discrimination, sexism and Jim Crow – to become symbols of success against adversity. 

“I am thrilled to pay homage to the sheroes whose lives depict black excellence, leadership, and service,” said Cathy Hughes, Chairwoman, Urban One Inc. It is also quite humbling to recognize my mother, Helen Jones Woods, and the young musicians who were a part of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, among this year’s honorees. Urban One Honors was created as an extension of our 40-year mission of service. We remain committed to creating programming that fulfills that mission and presents the best of who we are.” 

The annual awards program will feature three performances dedicated to ‘The Sweethearts.’ Each musical selection will commemorate electrifying performances of the jazz and soul ensemble’s hit singles with a modern twist. The ceremony will also feature with talented, contemporary, female performers including Jazmine Sullivan, Da Brat, Le’Andria Johnson, Avery Sunshine, and the all-female house band Kim Burse and the KB Players. 

International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all-female jazz band of the 1930s.
Courtesy of Urban One

The Urban One Honors was created to acknowledge and pay homage to individuals and organizations whose work significantly impacts culture and society- at large. This year’s Urban One Honors will commemorate the myriad achievements of women leaders who are blazing trails and creating new pathways for others in their respective areas of expertise. Categories of recognition reflect the tireless effort and triumphant accomplishments achieved by the honorees and include:  

  • Voting Rights Champion dedicated to a fearless leader whose efforts help to build political infrastructure by turning out voters and protecting their votes. 
  • Business Alchemist presented to a leader tapped for successfully breaking the glass ceiling to blaze new trails in corporate America. 
  • Investigative Journalism Crusader bestowed upon a media maven who is reframing the national conversation by covering the impediments and contributions made by Black Americans. 
  • Health Equality Advocate awarded to a champion of health who answered the call to eliminate institutional barriers preventing healthcare to those in her community. 
  • Reparations Ambassador who is working to break down systemic racism and barriers that have held African Americans back. 
  • Family Needs Ambassador presented to a resilient provider of direct service and resources to individuals in crisis within the community she serves. 

The inspiring night of excellence will also feature exciting musical performances, unprecedented collaborations, and surprise appearances to be announced in the coming months. The Urban One Honors is going into its third year, and will air on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET/8C on TV One. It will be simulcast for the first time on TV One’s sister network, CLEO TV.

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