Lizzo is set to receive the Quincy Jones Humanitarian Award at this year’s Black Music Action Coalition gala, with the honor coming as the singer faces a lawsuit from her former dancers accusing her of a toxic work environment.
Epic Records CEO Sylvia Rhone is also set to be honored at the event with the BMAC Clarence Avant Trailblazer Award, joining the previously announced Jermaine Dupri in receiving the honor. Rhone — who became the first Black woman to be named CEO of a major record label owned by a Fortune 500 company when she took on her role in 2019 — will receive the award named after the late music executive who served on the BMAC advisory board.
“The Black Music Action Coalition is proud to honor Lizzo and Sylvia Rhone at this year’s gala, as they join a group of trailblazers who have made immense impact within the music industry and beyond,” said BMAC co-founder Willie “Prophet” Stiggers in a statement. “We applaud their dedication to pushing boundaries, amplifying Black voices and crashing through those glass ceilings creating space for Black women.”
The announcement of Lizzo’s honor comes just a month after the entertainer was sued — alongside her production company Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. and dance team captain Shirlene Quigley — by a trio of former dancers, who allege that they were subjected to religious and racial harassment, disability discrimination, assault and false imprisonment. Two days after the complaint was filed, Lizzo posted a lengthy statement on Instagram denying the allegations. “I am not here to be looked at as a victim, but I also know that I am not the villain that people and the media have portrayed me to be these last few days,” wrote the Grammy-winning singer. “There is nothing I take more seriously than the respect we deserve as women in the world.”
This year’s BMAC gala, recognizing individuals and organizations who have affected positive change and helped improve equity within the community, is set to take place on Sept. 21 at the Beverly Hilton and will be hosted by entertainment and lifestyle specialist Kenny Burns. In addition to Lizzo, Rhone and Dupri, previously announced honorees include Keke Palmer, producer Jesse Collins and Universal Music Group senior vp and Task Force for Meaningful Change executive director Dr. Menna Demessie, who will share the Social Impact Award; Lava Meda co-founder CEO Jason Flom and rapper-activist Trae tha Truth, who will receive the Change Agent Award; and Rolling Loud co-founders Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler, who will receive the 365 Award.