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McDonald’s(R) Honors the Landmark Voices of the African American Community at Its 2008 365Black(R) Awards

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PR Newswire

McDonald’s recently announced its 2008 365Black Awards recipients, a prestigious group of African American community and business leaders. Actors Hill Harper (CSI:NY) and Pooch Hall (CW’s The Game) were among dignitaries present during the program hosted by Tom Joyner, nationally syndicated radio personality and inaugural 365Black Award recipient. The McDonald’s 365Black Awards recognize the landmark contributions of African American leaders toward bettering the lives of African Americans across the nation.

This year McDonald’s recognized women’s education advocate Johnnetta B. Cole; world renowned journalist Roland S. Martin; marketing guru and retired McDonald’s Chief Marketing Officer Bill Lamar; and National Black McDonald’s Operators Association leader, Ernie Adair. These individuals join the ranks of previous 365Black honorees, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, advertising mogul Tom Burrell, Coca-Cola senior vice president Ingrid Saunders-Jones, Essence Magazine founder Susan Taylor and President Michelle Ebanks, along with Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

“This year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards recipients are individuals who are changing the face of the African American community by impacting education, the media environment and the business world every single day of the year,” said Don Thompson, President, McDonald’s USA. “They inspire all of us with their leadership and scholarship in areas that touch our lives.”

The 365Black Awards were launched in 2002 and are an extension of McDonald’s 365Black initiative, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African Americans yearlong. McDonald’s outreach under the 365Black platform includes the web site, as well as alliances and supporting events with organizations that provide opportunities for African Americans to succeed.

“McDonald’s continues to nurture the growth of the African American community through collaborating with those that empower and inspire consumers to take advantage of education, economic and career opportunities,” said Carol Sagers, Director of U.S. Marketing, McDonald’s USA. “Our commitment is to celebrate people who truly demonstrate the essence of 365Black, which is all about being deeply rooted in the community everyday.”

The 2008 365Black Awards recipients include:

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole currently serves as chair of the Global Inclusion and Diversity Institute, founded under her name at historically black college Bennett College for Women, at which she previously served as President. She made history in 1987 when she was named the first African American woman to serve as president of Spelman College, and is the only individual to have served as president of the only two historically black colleges for women in the nation.

Roland S. Martin has used his multimedia platform to be a voice for the African American community. He hosts a daily talk show on Chicago’s WVON radio station, and also serves as a contributor to national news outlets, including CNN and TVOne, and Essence Magazine, including an election blog at

Bill Lamar, recently retired McDonald’s Chief Marketing Officer, was the first African American to hold this role. During his tenure, Lamar not only launched McDonald’s current marketing slogan, “i’m lovin it,” but also the cornerstone of McDonald’s commitment to the African American community, the McDonald’s 365Black initiative and Awards.

Ernie Adair, Chairman and CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association, oversees the nation’s largest and most successful organization for African American franchisees. Adair, an operator of nine restaurants in Arizona, is a tireless leader, dedicated to advancing and celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of the African American community, through ensuring the businesses success of the African American operators who own restaurants throughout the nation.


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