One of the most coveted events of the fall season in NYC is returning this October to celebrate a few extraordinary Black women who lead by example as advocates for the importance of arts education through their inspiring accomplishments.

On Monday, October 21, the annual Harlem School of the Arts Mask Ball will honor Oscar Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and her mother Dorothy Nyong’o with the Visionary Lineage Award; ESSENCE Communications CEO Michelle Ebanks with the Dorothy Maynor Award; and JPMorgan Chase Managing Director Raquel Oden with the Betty Allen Corporate Award. The coveted ball serves as a benefit event that directly supports the Harlem School of the Arts mission to provide world-class training in, and exposure to, the arts across multiple disciplines.

“I believe our founder, Dorothy Maynor, would have been proud to pay tribute to our gala honorees: Michelle Ebanks, Lupita Nyong’o & Dorothy Nyong’o, and Racquel Oden,” HSA CEO said in a statement. “Each has been selected based on their leadership and exemplary accomplishments in their field as well as their commitment to service in the community. They exemplify what is possible when you aim for excellence. They have all carved new pathways, and shown their mastery through perseverance and determination. Today they stand like beacons, inspiring a new generation to transcend obstacles and limitations.”

Songstress and HSA alum We McDonald takes pride in the role the long-running cultural institute has played in helping her hone her talent and pursue her passion for the arts.

“HSA is a talent incubator for so many rising stars and established artists,” McDonald said. “It’s where I developed my talent as an actor and singer. I began my vocal and piano training in the classics, where I evolved into the artist I am today, covering genres from Jazz to Rock n’ Roll to Blues. The Harlem School of The Arts is a place of empowerment for young artists to cultivate their talents and truly be themselves. I’m proud to be an HSA alum and part of their rich history.” 

The 2019 Harlem School of the Arts Mask Ball will be hosted by Fox 5 morning show anchor Lori Stokes, with an official after party to follow. For more information on purchasing tickets and tables, visit the official website HERE.

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