*McDonald’s honored some of the nation’s most dedicated celebrities and youth at the 365Black Awards held Friday at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in NOLA as part of the Essence Festival activities.

The event of course kicked off with a sweltering red carpet event. No, literally, the New Orleans heat and blazing sun made it a rushed line of celebrities, who quickly rushed through the cameras and interviews begging for a little AC. Most needed a towel and cold water to look somewhat decent for the actual show.

Anyway, hosted by the charming and handsome Laz Alonso, 356Black honored Tamia and Grant Hill, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Chaka Khan, and Tina and Harold Lewis, McDonald’s owners/operators.

The celebrity power couple, Tamia and Grant, who charmed the press with bright smiles and good looks, was recognized for their work in the community and service for youth and families through the Tamia and Grant Hill foundation.

While accepting their award, Tamia blessed the audience with some new music. But the real stars of the show were two teenagers dedicated to making a real difference in the world.

Tony Hansberry, II has impacted the medical world at such a young. While still in high school at the age of 14, Hansberry, in two days, invented a surgical technique that reduces the risk of infection after a hysterectomy and its now used by surgeons nationwide.  Tony attends a medical magnet school.

Mary Pat Hector, a firecracker in her own right, is a powerful young voice against injustice and violence. Working to irradiate poverty, crime and gang violence among youth and in her community, Hector serves as the national youth director for the National Action Network Youth Move.

Mary Pat Hector

She challenged the Rev. Al Sharpton to take on the issues of violence among young people. After knocking the activist off his feet with her drive and dedication to the cause, he brought her on board and presented her with a platform to spread the message of non-violence.

Fred Hammond

Other appearances included Marsha Ambrosius, Tank, Fred Hammond and Doug E. Fresh who both performed.