By AFRO Staff

Café Mocha Radio, The Real host Loni Love, and female rap legend, YoYo, kicked off Café Mocha Radio’s Ninth Annual Salute Her Awards, at the Mead Center for American Theater in D.C. Guided by this year’s theme “Step Into Your Power,” the first stop of the five-city Salute Her Awards Tour hit the nation’s capital and was sponsored by Toyota, Sisters from AARP, LusterPINK, and American Airlines.

Hosts Yoyo and Loni Love. (Courtesy Photo)

Café Mocha launched its annual Salute Her Awards events in 2011, with a mission to recognize dynamic women making contributions in their communities and breaking down barriers.

This year’s Salute Her D.C. honorees included: The Washington Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes, FOX 5 anchor and WHUR host Allison Seymour, third-generation sister owners Stacie Lee Banks and Kristie Lee of their family’s Lee’s Flower & Card Shop, Madelynn’s Bake Sale CEO Madelynn Martin, tween founder and CEO of Madelynn’s Bake Sale and her mother Tosha Terry, community activist and MSNBC Contributor Karine Jean-Pierre, retired Marines decorated Gunnery Sergeant Tee Marie Hanible, former Congressional Black Caucus Executive Director Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, and The Washington Post’s first Black woman reporter Dorothy Butler Gilliam.

The 9th Annual Café Mocha Radio Salute Her Awards held at the Mead Center for American Theater at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy Photo)

Some of the Salute Her nominees had a chance to share their long journeys before getting to the night’s esteemed honor. 

MSNBC’s Anchor and Activist Karine Jean-Pierre said, “I’m living proof that anyone can be an activist, anyone can step into their power and be powerful and use their platform and use their voice,” during her acceptance speech.

MSNBC anchor and activist Karine Jean-Pierre. (Courtesy Photo)

Allison Seymour, who the AFRO will also be honoring at its high tea on Sept. 28,  weighed in on the fight to be where she is an anchor. “My promise to you is that I’m fighting every day in a field that is dominated by people who do not look like me,” she said. “Every word I say is for you,” D.C.’s Seymour shared in her acceptance speech.

Awardees also announced exciting news.

During their Salute Her Awards acceptance speech, Tosha Terry announced that she was gifting her daughter, Madelynn Martin, founder and CEO of Madelynn’s Bake Sale, with her own Cupcake Condo. 

Fox 5 News anchor Allison Seymour, who the {AFRO} is also honoring at our high tea on Sept. 28. (Courtesy Photo)

The next Salute Her Awards “Step Into Your Power” Tour will honor Broadway titans, including LaTanya Richardson and Leslie Uggams, at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in New York City on Sept. 16. Other stops include the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte  on Oct. 18, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas on Nov. 15, and the finale in Atlanta at the Riverside EpiCenter on Dec. 6.

Since its inception eight years ago, past honorees included celebrities like activist Sybrina Fulton, Tamela Mann, Wendy Williams, and Iyanla Vanzant just to name a few.