Kanye West, the late Ray Charles, Danny Glover and Tyra Banks will be honored Saturday by the Artist Empowerment Coalition for their humanitarian efforts.
Awards will be given out at the third annual AEC Celebration & pre-Grammy Brunch at the Beverly Hilton. Singer Anthony Hamilton, who performed at the first AEC event in 2003, will also be recognized.
“This year, we are in the first phase of giving awards to artists who are giving back to the community and are active in demanding changes for the business model presented to artists and creators of content,” said AEC founder L. Londell McMillan, a New York attorney.
McMillan cited Banks’ camp for girls, Hamilton’s work in health care advocacy and Glover’s international human rights activity. In the case of rapper West, who is up for 10 Grammys, McMillan said he has created a form of hip-hop that strives to be more than tales of misogyny and violence.
‘Changed the conversation’
“He has changed the conversation of hip-hop,” McMillan told Daily Variety. “It’s one thing to have positive rap. But if that’s not heard by the crowd that is attracted to the traditional product, then it doesn’t have the same effect.
“We need greater diversity in hip-hop. (Lyrically) the music is narrow and not promoting artistic thinking.”
Since it was formed, the AEC has pushed for reform in music publishing, recording contract limits and health benefits, the curbing of piracy, increased union activity and broader artistic development within the recording industry. Org also promotes community activism.
Brunch will also includes performances. Tickets are $550, with all sales going to the AEC Charity.