Best In Black Awards Shines Much Needed Light On African American Businesses

The Best In Black Awards provides free exposure for African American-owned businesses. Vote for your favorite business in Memphis at Voting ends August 4th.



MEMPHIS, Tenn.July 26, 2017PRLog — The Best In Black Awards are much more than a popularity contest. It is a vehicle for hundreds of individuals and businesses to advertise their products, services and talents before thousands at no cost.  This is the sixth year for these prestigious local awards and many don’t recognize that an underlying purpose for them is to help increase the success of the nominees. The 2017 theme is “24K Magic Celebrating the Magic in Our Community!” Nominations have been conducted and voting is going on now through August 4th. Each person can vote once per day at The Best In Black Awards winners will be announced August 26, 2017 during the black carpet, black-tie Best In Black Awards Gala at the Paradise Entertainment Complex located at 645 E Georgia Ave, Memphis, TN 38126. The Gala begins at 6 p.m.

The mission of the Best In Black Awards is four-fold:

1) To celebrate African-American owned and operated businesses and professionals in the Mid-South

2) To identify those businesses most supported by the African American community

3) To serve as a marketing and recognition platform and

4) Encourage aspiring business leaders.

There are currently over 100 voting areas within 20 categories that include the arts, beauty, fitness, food, health care, church, clubs and media, education and many, many more. Each category has five or more nominees. This gives lessor known businesses the opportunity to be seen by thousands of individuals as they vote. Many who may have never heard of several of the nominees listed. This exposure can often lead to future business and collaboration.  Bernal Smith II, publisher of The New Tri-State Defender and creator of The Best In Black Awards, also hopes this will also lead to more successful African-American owned businesses.

“Here in Memphis, African Americans comprise 65 – 70% percent of the population yet African American owned businesses account for only .08% of the business receipts according to the U.S. Economic Census of 2012. It is estimated that there are over 40,000 African American businesses here. Most of them are small businesses. They often can’t afford radio and television commercials and marketing firms to help them advertise. So, it’s important that they utilize word of mouth, referrals and submit bids for contracts to survive. The Best In Black Awards add another component to that,” said Smith.  “We here at TSD are trying to heighten the profile of more African American businesses. Each year, $10 billion dollars is being spent by African Americans in this city. We have got to increase spending of those dollars among ourselves to help these businesses survive and ultimately thrive,” he adds.

Thursday, August 24th the Best In Black Awards will host a discussion around this topic. “The Community Conversation: Co-Operative Economics Harvesting the $10 Billion Local African American Buying Power” will feature a panel discussion with local and national economics and conscious consumerism experts that include Maggie Anderson. In 2009, Anderson and her family spent a full year patronizing, as much as possible, only African American owned businesses. She wrote a book about the experience, reporting that in some fields it was difficult to find African-American owned businesses, and that African American people patronized businesses within their own ethnic group less than other ethnic groups. During the discussion, at least three action items will be formulated for implementation to help further the reach and impact of the African American dollar.

This may be a hard discussion but according to Smith, he’s up for the challenge and initiatives such as this aren’t foreign to the publication. “The Tri-State Defender has been in business since 1951 and it has always been the voice of the African American community. We wrote about what was going on in the community and impacting the community when no one else would. However, as we move forward I want to make it a catalyst for building black wealth. We have been paying attention to major businesses and projects in this community, especially those with government contracts. We count the number of contracts being awarded to ethnically diverse business owners and for those contracts awarded to non-minority companies we count the number of minority vendors they are using. It is often a requirement that they do.  I am reluctant to use the word minority as it is without question that African Americans make up a majority in the Greater Memphis community. We want to make sure those decision makers in both the public and private sector, realize and act on the basis that there are African American-owned companies that can do the job, too. The more businesses we help to grow through positive publicity across our platforms, the more companies we’ll have better positioned to compete for contracts and bids,” said Smith.

Being nominated is an honor but those companies and individuals who win during the Best In Black Awards will receive an award and recognition in the New Tri-State Defender’s newspaper and online publications. Nominations were conducted for almost a month and in order be placed on the ballot businesses, organizations or individuals must have been in the top 10 in terms of total nominations. Voting will continue from now until August 4tht. Last year, over 36,000 people voted and those who were selected as finalists received an average of 4,000 votes, depending upon the category.

To see the complete list of nominees, view past winners, vote and/or gain more information about the awards ceremony, panel discussion and Pre-Show V.I.P. Reception & Memphis Music Showcase, visit Information can also be found on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.