Oprah Winfrey : Legends Who Paved the Way

December 2014. Santa Barbara, The Bacara Resort and The Promised Land

Empire was recently honored to once again serve Oprah Winfrey and world-class event designer, Colin Cowie, to produce a historical series of events in Santa Barbara entitled “Legends Who Paved the Way”.

Oprah Winfrey first created the “Legends” Ball in May 2005 based on her vision of honoring champions of equality in America and the African American community and to thank them, celebrate their achievements and recognize them during their lifetimes.

In this spirit of gratitude, Oprah convened a gathering of some of the most influential African Americans living today, including Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Sidney Poitier, Dr. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, Andrew Young, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Jones Abernathy, Marian Wright Edelman, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy Jr., and Julian Bond.

The gala included performances and remarks from Oprah Winfrey, a spoken word performance by the entire cast of Selma (which premiered earlier that evening) led by director Ava DuVernay, and a headline performance by The O’Jays. After the O'Jays performance, the Troy Curtis Band returned to Legends to play an amazing dance music set that kept the celebrity guests dancing until the early hours of the morning.

The weekend concluded with a gospel brunch at Oprah’s home, The Promised Land, led by musical director Bebe Winans and featuring Bill Withers, Kim Burrell, Kori Withers, Kathy Taylor, Joshua Nelson, Marvin Winans, Carvin Winans, Ledisi, AJ Calloway, and Angela Basset. Guests of this December gathering included Oprah and Stedman Graham, George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, Cory Booker, Gayle King, Common, Tyler Perry, Angela Bassett, David Oyelowo (who plays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma), Ben Vereen, Netflix’ Ted Sarandos, Dicovery Communications’ David Zaslov, Ivan Reitman, Rashida Jones, Linda Johnson-Rice, Smokey Robinson, Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi.

For this remarkable occasion, Empire was once again responsible for all talent booking, coordination, contracting and logistics, stage management and run of show.

Empire is a leading producer of high-level and historic events commemorating the events that shape our times.

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