Press Release

The Gordon Parks Foundation Raised Over $1.3M at Event Honoring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chelsea Clinton, Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr., Raf Simons, and Kehinde Wiley

New York, NY
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Foundation Commemorated 20th Anniversary of A Great Day in Hip-Hop at Annual Awards Dinner & Auction on June 4 ; Special Guests Included Danny Glover, Gayle King, Andrew Rannells, and Amy Sherald

Last evening, The Gordon Parks Foundation celebrated Gordon Parks’ legacy and honored those who continue his vision for social change through their work in the arts and humanitarianism. The event honored Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chelsea Clinton, Raf Simons, and Kehinde Wiley, and The Patron of the Arts Award was bestowed to civic leaders and philanthropists Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr. Bringing together approximately 600 guests from across the arts, music, fashion, philanthropy, journalism, and business, the event raised over $1.3M to support the Foundation’s year-round grant-making and educational initiatives. Hosted by comedienne and actress Sarah Jones, the evening also featured a performance by The Roots.

Guest presenters for the evening included Harvard University professors Sarah Lewis and Alexander Soros (who presented to Chelsea Clinton); artist Anne Collier (who presented to Raf Simons); hip-hop artist and activist Kaseem Dean (who presented to Kehinde Wiley); and real estate developer Douglas Durst (who presented to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In addition, Questlove and Black Thought gave remarks about the pivotal Parks’s photograph, A Great Day in Hip-Hop (1998), of which they were a part.

Ahead of a live auction of 10 photographs by Gordon Parks, The Gordon Parks Foundation Executive  Director Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. announced the establishment of The Gordon Parks Arts and Social Justice Fund, dedicated to supporting the Foundation’s vital grant-making and educational initiatives that champion artists and current and future generations of creatives. The program also recognized 24 of the Foundation’s 2018-2019 recipients of these vital fellowships, scholarships, and prizes. All proceeds from the event and live auction will support these programs through the new Fund.

To close the evening’s program, figures from A Great Day in Hip-Hop – including Fab 5 Freddy, Questlove, Slick Rick and others – came together to take a new photograph in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the iconic image. The original photo, taken for XXL in 1998, was modeled after an Art Kane photograph from 1958 of major jazz musicians of the era. Parks’ version came about as a modern reinterpretation of popular music—recontextualizing the genre as more than a rebellious pop culture and inaugurating the subjects as the vanguards of a new type of music. The 2019 version of the photo was taken by 2018 Gordon Parks Foundation Honoree Jamel Shabazz.


Kenneth and Kathryn Chenault

Valerie Jarrett

Alicia Keys and Kasseem Dean

Judy and Leonard Lauder

Ronald O. Perelman

Alexander Soros



Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Chelsea Clinton

Raf Simons

Kehinde Wiley


Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr.


Tony Award Winner Sarah Jones


The Roots


  • Rah Diggah, Rapper, Music Producer, Actor
  • Douglas Durst, Real Estate Developer
  • Fab 5 Freddy, Visual Artist
  • Nina Freedman, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Ced Gee, Hip Hop Artist and Producer
  • Danny Glover, Actor
  • Hakim Green, Hip Hop Artist
  • Catherine Gund, Philanthropist, filmmaker
  • Lewis J. Hart III, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Rujeko Hockley, Curator
  • Kerby Jean-Raymond, Fashion Designer
  • Kool Keith, Hip Hop Artist
  • Gayle King, Journalist, Author
  • Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation
  • Peter W. Kunhardt, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Philip B. Kunhardt III, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Sarah Lewis, Author, Curator, Professor
  • Mark Lubell, Executive Director, International Center of Photography
  • Ari Melber, Attorney and Journalist
  • Tyler Mitchell, Photographer



  • Easy AD, Hip Hop Artist
  • Derrick Adams, Artist
  • Lord Jamar Allah, Hip Hop Artist
  • Devin Allen, Photographer, 2017 Fellowship Recipient
  • Sarah Arison, Philanthropist
  • Radcliffe Bailey, Artist
  • Dawoud Bey, Photographer
  • Jane Blaze, Hip Hop Artist
  • Benny Boom, Film and Music Video Director
  • Sandra Brant, Philanthropist
  • Sherry Bronfman, Actress
  • Philip Brookman, Curator at National Gallery of Art
  • Laura Brown, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Zoe Buckman, Artist
  • Grandmaster Caz, Hip Hop Artist
  • Debra Martin Chase, Film and TV Producer
  • Anne Collier, Artist
  • Tuff Morgan, Hip Hop Artist
  • Maxwell Osborne, Fashion Designer
  • Questlove, Hip Hop Artist
  • Andrew Rannells, Actor
  • Diana Revson, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Slick Rick, Hip Hop Artist
  • Pete Rock, Hip Hop Artist and Producer
  • Desirée Rogers, Businesswoman, Politician
  • Guadalupe Rosales, Artist
  • DJ Scratch, Hip Hop DJ
  • Jamel Shabazz, Documentary photographer
  • Amy Sherald, Artist
  • Alexander Soros, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Mario Sprouse, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Oscar Tang, Gordon Parks Foundation Board 
  • Hank Willis Thomas, Artist
  • Black Thought, Hip Hop Artist
  • Vikki Tobak, Journalist and author
  • Carrie Mae Weems, Artist
  • Deborah Willis, Photographer, Gordon Parks Foundation Board
  • Genevieve Young, Gordon Parks Foundation Board


WHEN: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

WHERE: Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY


The Gordon Parks Foundation supports and produces artistic and educational initiatives that advance the legacy and vision of Gordon Parks—recognized as the most significant African American photographer of the 20th century, as well as a writer, musician, and filmmaker, who used the arts to further “the common search for a better life and a better world.”

Through exhibitions, publications, and public programs organized in collaboration with national and international institutions at its exhibition space in Pleasantville, New York, the Foundation provides access to, and supports understanding of, the work and contributions of Gordon Parks for artists, scholars, students, and the public. Through its year-round educational programming and annual grant-making initiatives, the Foundation champions current and future generations of artists and humanitarians whose work carries on Parks’ legacy.


Gordon Parks was a seminal figure of 20th-century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era—from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes.


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Co-Chair Kaseem Dean, Photographer: Mike Vitelli/

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