OAK BROOK, Ill., June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of the 10 th annual McDonald's 365Black Awards, McDonald's announced today it is expanding the program by inviting more than 2,500 consumers to attend the star-studded, "golden" carpet event. Hosted by award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, the awards show will be held Saturday, July 6 during ESSENCE Festival™ weekend and welcome a number of celebrity appearances and performances to the New Orleans Theater at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130620/CG35875) McDonald's 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. This year's honorees include: legendary recording artist and "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight; supermodel Beverly Johnson; education leader Dr. Steve Perry; executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox Kenny Williams; McDonald's owner/operator Roland Parrish; teen entrepreneur Leanna Archer and youth environmentalist Charles Orgbon. "From the youngest CEO to ever open the NASDAQ to a stellar songstress, McDonald's is proud to recognize this year's recipients for positively shaping our communities each day," said Rob Jackson, McDonald's U.S. marketing director. "We are excited to share this historic ceremony with the consumers whose lives are impacted by the work of our honorees." Prior to the ceremony, actress/comedian Kym Whitley will cover the celebrity action from the "golden" carpet. An all-star lineup of performers, including KEM, Amber Riley and Erica Campbell, will pay tribute to the honorees and keep the crowd grooving to their soulful sounds. McDonald's 365Black Awards launched in 2003 as an extension of the company's 365Black platform, which celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round. The 2013 program is a free, ticketed event. Consumers can visit http://www.eventfarm.com/365BlackAwards to register for tickets. "McDonald's is committed to being deeply rooted in the communities we serve 365 days a year, both inside and outside of our restaurants," Jackson said. "We are committed to engaging with our neighbors and strive to continually create positive programs that bring social awareness to areas that are important to them."