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The Paley Center for Media to Present A Tribute to African-American Achievements in Television on May 13 in New York City

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New York, NY – April 15, 2015 – The Paley Center for Media in New York City has announced its plan to pay tribute to African-American achievements in television, saluting seven decades of groundbreaking accomplishments across a diverse group of genres including drama, comedy, news, talk, sports, music, and variety. Special guests and presenters include Mara Brock Akil, Anthony Anderson, Diahann Carroll, Lee Daniels, Julius Erving, Gwen Ifill, Wynton Marsalis, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Strahan, Cicely Tyson, Larry Wilmore, and Oprah Winfrey among others. Event co-chairs of the black tie celebration, which is set for Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at Cipriani Wall Street, include Oprah Winfrey, CEO OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network; 21st Century Fox/Fox Audience Strategy; AOL, Inc.; CBS Corporation; Hearst Corporation; Mel and Terry Karmazin; The Loreen Arbus Foundation; Dick Parsons; The Walt Disney Company; and Viacom/BET Networks.
The tribute will feature influential industry pioneers sharing pivotal television moments that have made a lasting impact on American culture. With milestones in 2015 such as the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, where media played a profound role in galvanizing public support for its passage, and the 35th anniversary of Black Entertainment Television (BET), the Paley Center event will also showcase how the small screen has both engendered and reflected the strides made towards social change. Accomplished scholar, author, and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will join the Paley Center production team, led by Maureen J. Reidy and Diane Lewis, as special advisor of the tribute, along with producer Jayson Jackson, head writer Trey Ellis, and writer Ajani Jackson.
“Television, more than any other medium, has paved the way for social change, and this momentous African-American tribute is a great expression of the Paley Center’s mission to highlight the critical role of media within our society,” said Maureen J. Reidy, President and CEO of The Paley Center for Media. “The renowned Paley Archive will come to life during our salute with an expanded African-American media collection of iconic trailblazers and critically acclaimed programs of historical importance spanning seven decades.”
“I am honored to participate in The Paley Center for Media’s remarkable tribute to African-American achievements in television to showcase the rich diversity of expression and creativity over seventy years,” said Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., special advisor of the Paley Center tribute. “The evening will be historic in spotlighting television’s important cultural impact.” 
Supporters of this program also include Joan Ganz Cooney; Delta Air Lines; ESPN, Inc.; Interpublic Group; ION Media Networks; Kara Young Hair Rules; Macy’s, Inc.; NBCUniversal; Netflix; Nielsen; PRISA; true[X]; Univision Communications Inc.; Verizon; and WPP.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Paley Center’s programs and its ongoing efforts to expand and preserve African-American programming in Paley’s collection, the nation’s largest publicly accessible archive of television, radio, and new media programming from over seventy countries, spanning almost one hundred years. These programs continue to increase the public’s understanding of media and its significance in today’s society through public, industry, international, and education programs for students, teachers, and the general public.
To donate or purchase tickets, and for additional event information, please visit

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About The Paley Center for Media
The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry. For more information, please visit