Media impresario and humanitarian Quincy Jones has been selected as the 99th recipient of the Spingarn Medal. Jones will receive the distinguished medal on July 23rd at 105th NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Instituted in 1914 by then-NAACP Chairman Joel E. Spingarn, The Spingarn Medal is the NAACP’s highest honor. The medal is awarded for outstanding and noble achievement by an American of African descent. To date, 98 Spingarn Medals have been awarded, recognizing achievements in a range of fields. Winners of the coveted medal include George Washington Carver, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson Lena Horne, Bill Cosby, and most recently, Harry Belafonte and Jessye Norman.
Commented Quincy Jones, “I am enormously honored and humbled to receive the NAACP’s highest recognition, The Spingarn Medal, and to join the distinguished list of its past recipients.”
Discussing those who inspired him, Jones continued, “I graciously share this award with all of those who put me on their shoulders to help me achieve my dreams, men and women such as Clark Terry, Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others. I hope that whatever successes I have achieved in life will serve as inspiration for future generations to reach for their dreams, as those greats inspired me when I was coming up.”
Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.
Mr. Jones is also a respected humanitarian. In 1985, he pioneered the model of using celebrity to raise money and awareness for a cause with “We Are the World.” The song remains the best-selling single of all-time, and raised more than $63 Million for Ethiopian famine relief. More importantly, it shined a spotlight on the Ethiopian drought, compelling the U.S. Government to respond with over $800 million in aid. In 2007, Jones and the Harvard School of Public Health joined forces to advance the health and well-being of children worldwide through Project Q. Project Q challenges leaders and citizens of the world to provide essential resources to enable young people to achieve their full potential.
“Quincy Jones is an icon of the entertainment industry who has shaped the lives of millions through music, film, and more,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “But what makes Mr. Jones so deserving of this award is how he uses his celebrity and influence to advance critical humanitarian issues across the globe. We are honored to count him among our prestigious Spingarn medalists.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.