On Saturday, Oct. 30, Atlanta legends Andrew Young and Kevin “Coach K” Lee were recognized at the National Black Arts Festival’s ASCEND fundraiser and Horizon awards.
The NBAF has a particular place in Coach K’s heart because he and his mother used to go to the yearly awards show while he was in high school. “To me, that’s where all the artistic cool people used to gather,” he said at the Atlanta ceremony. “Now, to be able to win an award from something that I looked up to and enjoyed going to, it’s just great,” he said.
Coach K will receive the ASCEND Trailblazer Award in 2021. Quality Control Music is situated in Atlanta, and the 25-year Atlantan is co-founder and chief operating officer. Lil Baby, City Girls, and platinum-selling musician Cardi B are among the artists signed to the record label.
Lee began managing two of hip-biggest hop’s performers in the 2000s: Jeezy, who had two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, and Gucci Mane, who topped Billboard’s rap albums chart at No. 2. Coach K and fellow co-founder Pierre “Pee” Thomas said they take developing music talent seriously in order to differentiate themselves from other music producers.
“It’s an old-school approach, like Motown, Berry Gordy, and Russell Simmons, back when music was all about data and everyone was chasing the numbers instead of cultivating talent.” We stuck to the old school approach and learned how to use data as well, which helped us become superstars,” stated Coach K.
Andrew Young, 89, was also given the ASCEND Luminary Award for his lifetime of service to humanity in 2021. For 60 years, Atlanta has been home to the civil rights activist, former US ambassador to the United Nations, former Georgia congressman, former Atlanta mayor, and social entrepreneur.
Young is thrilled to be acknowledged by the NBAF as a passionate art collector. According to him, Atlanta’s Black art scene has always captured the African-American tale. “Art tells a story,” he remarked during the awards ceremony on Oct. 30. “The art throughout the civil rights struggle all represented what was going on.”
“We organized at every level of society, from bankers to college presidents to regular people on the street.” “Organizing the neighborhoods so people realized they were part of an arts community was the most significant Black art in this town for me in the beginning,” Young continued.
The NBAF is the “oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the US focused completely on the arts and artists of African heritage,” according to the NBAF, which was created in 1987 by the Fulton County Arts Council.