Hosted by the New Tri-State Defender and MC’d by V101.1’s Stan “the Bellringer” Bell, the event started with a great musical montage by local Memphis band, Sidney Kirk and Friends. What are the components for a great beginning to a tremendous celebration of history?
Two international music celebrities, several big announcements, seven fantastic local restaurants and catering companies and hundreds of Memphians, TSD readers, elected officials, business leaders, and everyday great citizens assembled for one fantastic evening made up the mathematical ingredients for successful kickoff to the New Tri-State Defender’s 60th Anniversary last Thursday (Nov. 10) evening.
| New Tri-State Defender President / Publisher Bernal E. Smith II (right) and Deborah Powell Alexander, vice president of sales and marketing, unveil a painting reflecting the TSD’s 60 years of impact on Greater Memphis. (Photos by Warren Roseborough)|
| Executive Editor Karanja A. Ajanaku and Georgia “Queen Akua” King renew an old acquaintance.|
Following TSD Executive Editor Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku sharing a historical perspective on the TSD and the Black Press, attendees enjoyed an extended collage of hits from Blues Legend Bobby Rush, including several dynamic guitar and harmonica rifts. The iconic Rush was especially energized as he was also celebrating his 76th birthday (Nov. 10). Renowned vocal artist Toni Green, singing a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Rush, treated him and all the attendees to an impromptu performance.
I was excited to share with our audience the final draft of our new-look logo and masthead, as well as a draft from the cover of the new format of the newspaper – all to be launched in first quarter 2012. We also announced the pending launch of our new website www.tsdmemphis.com, which is targeted to go live by Dec. 15, 2011.
Lastly, we had an opportunity to unveil artist “frank d. robinson’s” painting of the TSD’s 60 years of impact on Greater Memphis. The painting was auctioned for $1,200 and will be available in print. Only 500 artist-autographed prints will be available for sale.
Following the incredible food, great performances and exciting announcements, Bell closed out the night like only the “Bellringer” can. Stan allowed me to demonstrate my multi-talented abilities, in this case showing off my skills on the dance floor in leading a group in the “Wobble!” A good time was had by all and, more importantly, we were able to begin the celebration of a true Memphis treasure, the Tri-State Defender.
Thanks to all of the sponsors: AT&T, Lipscomb and Pitts, Comcast, WLOK, Justmy.com, MATA and Real Times Media. I also want to thank Chow Time, Uncle Lou’s Chicken, Felecia Bean Catering, Sanders Catering, Chef Tim Moore, Neely’s BBQ and Cupcake Cuties for showing up and showing out on the food!
And a special salute to all those who came out and supported this momentous occasion with us.
If you missed the event, you certainly missed a real treat, an opportunity for reflection, connection and the signaling of a new direction! Fear not for this is just the beginning and there will be other opportunities to help us celebrate our past while elevating our future. Mark your calendars for the 60th Anniversary Black Tie Gala and Grand Affair, March 24, 2012.
Until then, keep reading!!
|Following the incredible food, great performances and exciting announcements, it was time to “Wobble.”|
| Blues legend Bobby Rush delivered on a collage of hits.|| Sponsors showed up and showed out on food for the gala event.|
| TSD’s 60 years of impact were captured in this painting by “frank d. robinson.”|| State Rep. Reginald Tate and Yvonne Acey, associate director of the Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival.|
| (l-r) Judge Gwen Rooks, Congressman Steve Cohen, Judge Gina Higgins, and Yvonne Jones.|| City Council Harold Collins and radio personality Thaddeus Matthews.|