The Night of Power Awards were held on October 13, 2023, and were hosted by Personal Power University (PPU), which was founded by Rhona Bennett-Simon of the award-winning music group, EnVogue. From left, Randy Sharp, Shantiel Simon, Jeanetta Collaso-Whidbee, Rasheeka Fogg, Tre Tureaud, Sandra Bennett and Annette Alexander. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam was also an award recipient and delivered a pre-recorded thank you message to PPU. Photo: Personal Power University

CHICAGO—Personal Power University (PPU) bestowed the Living Legend Award upon the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan during the Night Of Power Awards.

Rhona Bennett-Simon, a member of the award-winning music group En Vogue and founder of PPU, expressed the significance of the Living Legend Award, which was designed to honor those who represent the essence of the PPU community, embodying love, transformation, and empowerment, she explained.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivers a thank you message to Personal Power University, which presented him with the Living Legend Award. Screenshot: Instagram @officialmissrnb

“How does the Minister not fit within that amazing space?” Mrs. Bennett-Simon said during an exclusive interview, acknowledging Minister Farrakhan’s selflessness in delivering a message of love and empowerment. Mrs. Bennett-Simon, known as “Coach Rho,” highlighted his role as a beacon of light, guiding individuals toward a deeper understanding of their true selves.

“Thank you, brothers and sisters of the Personal Power University. Thank you for honoring me with such a legendary award for those whom you believe are worthy of such,” said Minister Farrakhan during his pre-recorded thank you message.


“They have chosen a theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Success From The Inside Out.’ … That’s the way God loves it. Why be something on the outside that you are not striving to be on the inside? Because that’s where the real struggle always is.”

“The Minister was able to drop such a beautiful message about the cornerstone of greatness which is humility,” said Shantiel Simon, Mrs. Bennett-Simon’s husband.

“As long as I’m alive, I’m still writing my testament … because every day that I live, and do something constructive, do something positive, do something that helps others … I am writing my testament. I thank Allah (God) for my teacher, who made me to think in a way that I’m not bowled over by nice awards and people saying great things about me,” Minister Farrakhan said.

“Of course, I appreciate it … but my teacher warned me: ‘Brother, you’re not heavy enough to step through the earth, neither are you tall enough to equal yourself up to the mountains, so take your place with the creatures of God, as you are one of them,’” he continued, referencing his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

“And I’ll say to those who attend Personal Power University, don’t get too carried away with yourselves,” added the Minister. “Sure, you’re talented. … Sure, you’re gifted. And certainly, God gave me a lot of wonderful gifts and I am so grateful, and it’s so easy to think more of yourself than you should. And then you start crumbling from the inside out, rather than growing from the inside out,” he said.

Rhona Bennett-Simon is founder of Personal Power University and is a member of En Vogue. Screenshot: X @missRnB

“I close with these words … Jesus said it like this: ‘If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.’ Think about that. He didn’t say, if I lift myself up. He said, if I be lifted up. That means another actor is involved in the lifting process, and that always is God. Give Him His due, and watch Him continue to lift you.”

The Night of Power Awards, an annual ceremony held during PPU’s private retreat, gathers individuals committed to self-improvement, empowerment, and transformative growth. The most recent awards ceremony was held on October 13, 2023. The Night of Power Awards serves as a culmination of PPU’s commitment to celebrating progress and growth in various aspects of life.

“Success is so much more than that. It’s about your mental health. It’s about your emotional resilience,” Mrs. Bennett-Simon said. “It’s about your ability to heal and stretch in perspective so that life can mean more to you.”

She also shed light on the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry and the opportunities and challenges emerging artists may face, during an exclusive Final Call interview. Drawing on her extensive experience in the industry and her role as a member of the Recording Academy, she emphasized the growing empowerment of artists to take control of their careers.

With the rise of the internet and social media, artists have unprecedented access to global audiences and the ability to build their brands independently, she explained.

Mrs. Bennett-Simon highlighted the concept of the “1,000 fans,” suggesting that artists with a strong and supportive fan base could sustain a successful career without necessarily aiming for mainstream stardom.

As the conversation delved into the impact of the pandemic on the creative industry, Mrs. Bennett-Simon expressed optimism about the opportunities it brought for artists to innovate and connect virtually. She noted the increased usage of video streaming platforms, enabling artists to build and scale their businesses virtually.

“We had to learn how to touch the world from the confines of our homes,” she said.

Reflecting on her own journey, Mrs. Bennett-Simon shared a personal anecdote about hitting a career wall in her 30s and the subsequent transformation it sparked. “I wanted to point my sight in a direction that still brought me joy and brought value to the world. And that’s how coaching came into my space,” she said.

She emphasized the importance of self-reflection during challenging times and the role of discipline, habits, and fundamental principles in achieving lasting success.

The interview concluded with a discussion on the ever-evolving landscape of the entertainment industry and the potential shift away from traditional models of artist representation. Mrs. Bennett-Simon suggested that artists now have more control over their careers, thanks to the accessibility and democratization of the music industry through the internet.