Who has the best hot wings in Memphis? What about soul food? What is the best barbershop in Memphis? How about beauty salon? What nail salon tops all others?
These are questions that come up in conversations throughout Memphis. Now – thanks to the creativity of TSD Publisher and President Bernal E. Smith II – there is a platform for the public to weigh-in on these questions and make their choices known.
The inaugural 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. The BIB Awards mission is to 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 businesses and organizations that they most support while identifying those companies with the best brands and reputations," said Smith.
A dynamic new website – www.bestinblackawards.com – has been designed to extend the BIB Awards concept to the community. The public is invited to visit the website and nominate businesses in 45 BEST categories. Nominations will close on July 31, 2012, with the kickoff for voting on Aug. 1. All businesses nominated in each category will be posted such that the public can vote for their favorites. Voting ends at midnight on Aug. 15.
The top three vote getters in each category will be invited to the Best in Black Awards Reception and Presentation at the Cannon Center on Aug. 30. This black-carpet, black-tie event will announce and recognize the 2012 Best in Black winners based on the vote of the people! Starting at 6:15 p.m., the TSD will host a VIP reception for nominees, sponsors and special guest, then promptly at 7:30 the awards show will begin. It will be an energetic evening showcasing local Memphis musical talent between the presentations of the most popular Best in Black Award categories.
Event sponsors include Allstate Insurance, Comcast, and Real Times Media, Inc. Additional sponsorship and advertising opportunities are still available. Details are available at www.bestinblackawards.com or by calling 901-523-1818.
"In a city such as 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, who is excited about this year's event and its potential going forward.
"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," said Smith.
Nominations have already begun to roll in on the website. There is also a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ BestinBlackAwards, along with information at www.tsdmemphis.com and at www.facebook.com/ tristatedefender.
The public is invited to jump on in at www.bestinblackawards.com, enter nominations and then return to vote beginning Aug. 1.
"This will be an incredible platform for acknowledging individuals and businesses that the community says are the best," said a jubilant Smith.
"The event on Aug. 30th will spotlight the best and brightest and provide opportunities for networking while also giving local groups and performing artists opportunities to showcase their talents. This will truly be one of Memphis' premier events!"
(A wholly owned subsidiary of Real Times Media, Inc, The New Tri-State Defender is one of the longest continuously published African-American newspapers in the South. Under the leadership of its new President and Publisher, Bernal E. Smith II, the company is undergoing a transformation into a progressive multi-media business. Through a combination of its print newspaper, website, events, digital publications and social media pages, The New Tri-State Defender reaches over 35,000 readers each week. The TSD mission is to use its dynamic print publications, events and online digital portals to inform, inspire and elevate the quality of life of its growing audience while serving as the primary vehicle for reaching African Americans in the Greater Memphis market.)