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2022 Essence Festival Of Culture - Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - Day 1

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In 2022, McDonald’s launched “Future 22,” an initiative highlighting 22 young leaders who are making impacts within the Black community. From Film Makers to Social Advocacy leaders, these movers and shakers have made it their mission to leave a legacy for those who are coming behind them and at this year’s Essence Festival, they were honored for their passion for helping others at the inaugural “Future 22” brunch which was held at the prestigious Ritz Carlton in the heart of downtown New Orleans, LA.

Selected as the national leading voice for this initiative is actress and singer, Keke Palmer, who, for nearly 20 years, has served as a positive role model for this generation. “I’m so excited to lend my voice to such an initiative,” she said of the project. “These young Black people are killing it in every industry possible and it’s so important that we as a community rally around them and show our support. The fact that McDonald’s is shining a light on each one of these brilliant minds speaks volumes about this amazing company.”

In her orange Dolce and Gabbana two-piece suit and gold Tom Ford sandals, Palmer served as a panelist at the brunch and dropped a few gems about the keys to success. She encouraged the well-dressed 22 leaders to always keep God and family first, telling everyone to “never forget who you are and where you came from.” She continued by telling them to “keep people around you who always support you and love you” because for her, “that has always been God and my family. They keep me grounded in everything that I do.”

As a special surprise, McDonald’s also honored each honoree with a generous gift of $10,000 which was presented by Heather Woodard, Mcdonald’s Multicultural PR representative. “We here at Mcdonald’s strive to ensure that we are always present within the black community,” Woodard explained. “We want to make sure that young people have the resources that they need. This $10,000 gift is awarded to each leader to say thank you and that we as a global company stand with you and support you.”

For more information on “Future 22,” head on over to


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Keke Palmer: ‘Never Forget Who You Are Or Where You Came From’  was originally published on