Kenneth Babyface Edmonds is no stranger to the spotlight. With 12 Grammy awards and a host of accolades the legendary singer, songwriter, producer, and philanthropist has given birth to numerous hits including 26 #1 hits and over 200 Top 10 R&B hits. With a name that is synonymous with groundbreaking R&B music and his impact on the music industry is indelible. 

When lovebirds flock to their nests for intimacy, there’s one name and an astonishing catalog of songs that they can turn to. His soft, tender vocals place them right in the mood and at the center of intimacy, vulnerability as he guides his fans through their experience of love – lyric after lyric, melody after melody, song after song. 

Somebody told me/ There’d be trouble at home/ ‘Cause we never talk a lot/ When we spend time alone/ So how are we supposed to know/ Know that something is wrong/ Well, we’ve got a way to communicate/ It keeps a happy home,” he sings in the first verse of his biggest hit Whip Appeal. Released in 1989 as the third single from his second solo album Tender Love, the song continues to resonate as an anthem of love, romance, and intimacy. 

But even with all of the accolades any Icon will tell you that the vision is bigger than their talent and passion. Being an Icon is about purpose and purpose is found in serving and giving – the place of true impact. So when Hollywood Unlocked founder Jason Lee hand-picked Babyface it was because he was a great performer and a great philanthropist. 

This year’s theme for the 3rd Annual Hollywood Unlocked Impact Awards was Bet On Black and the Legendary singer has been Betting on Black for decades with philanthropic collaborations as remarkable as his musical achievements. As a philanthropist and humanitarian, Babyface fought against poverty and inequality in educational systems throughout the United Negro Fund and VH1’s Save The Music – lending his voice, money, time, and energy. 

The awards show was created to honor Black and to bring Black entertainers and creatives in the culture to spaces that aren’t dominated by Blacks. For Babyface, breaking all barriers and shattering glass ceilings continues to be a part of his story. Earlier this year, the singer held a pink guitar that featured the American flag across its soundboard in his hands and close to his heart as he performed a stunning rendition of America The Beautiful at the 2023 Super Bowl as he captivated millions of viewers around the globe. 

…I didn’t step in this to be a star, I just wanted to work with stars. I wanted to write for stars and God blessed me to be able to do that. And so, to be standing here with you. … It’s just amazing to watch aloof our people become what they become. They become the stars – not just the stars but the stars actually to chase after and it’s been an amazing journey and I’m blessed to be able to stand here before you guys and humbly accept this award. I thank you so much, that’s all I have to stay,” he told the audience as he accepted the Icon Award. 

In a recent social media post, The Icon Award winner took to social media to thank Jason Lee, Tyrese, and The Hollywood Unlocked Impact Awards. “Thank You @theonlyjasonlee and Hollywood Unlocked for honoring me with the Icon Award. Thank You @Tyrese for an incredible introduction. I feel honored and blessed. Thank You!!,” he wrote. 

For more information on Babyface, Follow him on IG and Twitter @Babyface. 

Photo Credits: Ernest Dukes: The Nottingham Group