It's that time. The questions are once again being asked. Who has the best hot wings in Memphis? What about soul food? What is the best barbershop in Memphis? Who's the best hip-hop artist? Best choir? Youth entrepreneur? How about beauty salon? What nail salon tops all others?
The second annual Best In Black Awards hosted by The New Tri-State Defender will shine a light upon some of the best African-American businesses, community organizations and entrepreneurs in the Mid-South.
TSD Publisher and President Bernal E. Smith II said the BIB Awards celebrate African-American owned and supported businesses in the Mid-South, serving as a marketing and recognition platform for those same companies while ultimately encouraging the community's next generation of business leaders.
The BIB Awards will also give the community a true voice in identifying and elevating those businesses most deserving of the community's support.
"It's a creative way to poll the community about the individuals businesses and organizations that they most support while identifying those with the best brands and reputations," said Smith.
The www.bestinblackawards.com website extends the BIB Awards concept to the community. The public is invited to nominate businesses in over 50 BEST categories. Nominations will close on Aug. 30, with the kickoff for voting on Sept. 1. All businesses nominated in each category will appear on online ballots. Voting ends at midnight on Sept. 16.
The top three vote getters in each of the 25 top categories (total number of votes cast) will be invited to the Best in Black Awards Reception and Ceremony at the FedEx Forum on Sept. 28. The black-carpet, black-tie event will announce and recognize the 2013 Best in Black winners (based solely on the vote of the people).
Starting at 7 p.m., the TSD will present an awards show, with live performances and presentations. Memphis-area musical talent will be showcased between the presentations of the most popular Best in Black Award categories. On Sept. 27th, TSD will host a VIP Pre-Show party for nominees, sponsors and special guests. (Location to be announced).
Event sponsors include Service Master, Trust One Bank, Cigna, Allstate Insurance and Comcast. Additional sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available.
"In a city like Memphis, which has an over 70 percent African-American population, a robust business, non-profit and entrepreneurial community, and a deep well of culture and history, creating this sort of platform was something that was truly long overdue," said Smith.
"I've observed similar platforms done by other publications in the area and they all seem to mostly exclude the majority of African-American owned companies, which are mostly service and retail-related businesses. It is our intention to build a dynamic annual 'contest' and event in which the Greater Memphis community can both anticipate and participate each year."