Howard University honored Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One, Inc., the largest Black-owned multi-media company in the country, with the unveiling of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications yesterday. During an exclusive, star-studded extravaganza, the prestigious university commemorated her lifetime commitment to excellence. University and public officials Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President, Howard University; Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD 7th District); Gracie Lawson-Borders, Ph.D., Dean of Cathy Hughes School of Communications; Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD 8th District); and Civil Rights Leader Rev. Al Sharpton recognized Hughes for blazing the path for African Americans in the media and communications industry.
“She took the mute off of Black America,” said Rev. Sharpton. “We were on mute, we couldn’t talk. She made talk radio stations. She preserved our culture; she gave us TV One. We can speak for ourselves, to ourselves, and [that] is an enormous contribution to our people.”
Hughes remarked that she was humbled to be honored by the institution that helped her find her voice as an educator and entrepreneur with a passion for her community.
“My whole goal in life has been to get pertinent information to my community that they can use to uplift and improve the quality of their lives and their lifestyle,” said Hughes. “Becoming the namesake for Howard University’s School of Communications and having my life’s work celebrated – it’s like a dream!”
Hosted by Emmy-nominated actor Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), along with narration from radio host and film director Russ Parr, the three-hour celebration featured keynote speeches and performances from a variety of award-winning and notable entertainers, including writer/director/choreographer Debbie Allen representing Howard’s Board of Trustees; R&B artist Joe; and Gospel artists Donald Lawrence, Richard Smallwood and Vashawn Mitchell who performed a rousing medley of Gospel favorites brought the audience of friends, family and supporters to their feet in praise. YouTube Harpist Tulani and Howard University Gospel Choir also took to the stage, while Hughes’ son Alfred Liggins III, CEO of Radio One, Inc., offered heart-warming remarks of gratitude and appreciation. Other prominent figures in attendance included Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), television and radio personality Bevy Smith and from Hughes’ upcoming TV One original movie “Media,” actresses Chrystee Pharris and Denise Boutte.
Prior to the celebratory program, Howard University held a private, invitation-only unveiling ceremony of the Cathy Hughes School of Communication with a special appearance by Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford. The event was also live streamed via Facebook and on all of Radio One, Inc.’s local and national digital media platforms. To view the unveiling ceremony in its entirety, visit Radio One’s Facebook. Photos of the unveiling ceremony and celebratory lunch are also available online and clips and footage can be pulled from http://tinyurl.com/CHSOC2016. (Courtesy Credit: Radio One, Inc./TV One).
Hughes, who started her career in radio at Howard University, is a dynamic, media pioneer who demonstrates the power of one – one woman, one vision, one company – Radio One. As Founder and Chairperson of Radio One, Inc., the largest African-American owned and operated, broadcast company in the nation, Hughes’ unprecedented career has spawned a multi-media conglomerate that generates original content across the spectrums of radio, television and digital media. Her humble beginnings in Omaha, Nebraska, were not a deterrent to her success but rather part of the catalyst that fueled her ambition to empower African Americans with information and to tell stories from their perspective. Additional biographical and background information is available at www.cathyhughes.com.