Star-Studded Lineup Planned for First Black Press Virtual Convention

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancelation and rescheduling of many events. For the first time in the 80-year history of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the 193 years of the Black Press of America, the pandemic has resulted in the first virtual conference.

“This year, we are excited to celebrate 80 years of this powerhouse of an organization, the National Newspaper Publishers Association,” NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards declared in a statement.

“We must continue to build upon our strong foundation by educating, equipping, and empowering our publishers while making them stronger as we march towards celebrating 100 years as an organization and more,” Richards encouraged.

“The world is getting to know the Black Press of America through digital capabilities. As part of this Virtual Convention, we will discuss different ways we, as Publishers, and as an organization, can solidify a brighter future for the Black Press.”

NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., added that the Black Press of America appreciates all of the support it received during these trying times.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on African Americans and other people of color throughout the United States. Yet, coupled with that viral pandemic is the continuing epidemic of racism in America that is unabated with the fatal realities of racially motivated police killings of African Americans,” Chavis pronounced.

He noted that the convention’s theme is appropriately titled, “The Black Press – The vital Voice of Black America: TRUST, HOPE & RESILIENCE …. Overcoming COVID-19.”

“Our long struggle for freedom, justice, equality, and empowerment continues. Each generation has to rise to the occasion with ever-increasing determination to keep pressing forward even in the face of formidable challenges,” Chavis uttered.

He said the Black Press is thrilled with the line-up of the presentations and awardees at this year’s national convention, which occurs on Wednesday, July 8, and Thursday, July 9.

“This will be another historic step for the Black Press,” Chavis announced.

The schedule for this unprecedented Black Press convention includes a presentation by Wells Fargo about navigating finances during Covid-19; webinars titled, “Technology and Innovation: The Challenges and opportunities,” and “Black Millennial Voices and Visions for Transformation.”

The conference will include a specially recorded performance from legendary Supremes singer Mary Wilson and iconic Reggae artist Ziggy Marley.

It will also include live interviews with singers Stephanie Mills, Anthony Hamilton, Deniece Williams, Salt-N-Pepa, and the legendary Carlos Santana. Actor and entertainer Leon, and the Atlantic’s Jemele Hill also will sit for live interviews.

During the conference, Marley will receive the NNPA 2020 Global Icon Award, while Wilson will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congressional Black Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.) will receive the NNPA 2020 Outstanding Congressional Leadership Award, while Attorney Benjamin Crump will receive the Freedom Fighting Legal Achievement Award.

MC Lyte will receive the Lifetime Achievement Leadership Award, and entertainer Ice Cube gets the Artist of the Century Award.

NNPA partners and sponsors include General Motors, Pfizer Rare Disease, Wells Fargo, RAI Services Company, the National Football League, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook Journalism Project, AARP, Hyundai, Molson Coors, Volkswagen, The U.S. Census, Comcast and NBC Universal, Compassion & Choices, API, Ascension, UAW, and Nissan.

Registration is free, and those interested can sign up at

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