Best In Black Voters selected Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as Best Sorority for 2020. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

Whoops of joy, straight forward expressions of appreciation and tears associated with precious memories meshed with myriad other sights and sounds at the 2020 Best In Black Awards presented at the new Central Station Hotel Thursday Night.

Hosted by The New Tri-State Defender, in conjunction with its parent company, Best Media Properties, LLC,  this year’s Best In Black (BIB) Awards gala was the eighth such presentation.

Started in 2012 by the TSD’s late publisher, Bernal E. Smith II, BIB serves to:

  • Celebrate African-American owned and operated businesses and professionals in the Mid-South;
  • Identify those businesses most supported by the African-American community;
  • Provide a marketing and recognition platform for selected business and professionals;
  • Encourage aspiring business leaders.

Radio personality Stan Bell was the emcee for the evening, which featured the smooth vocal sounds Courtney Little and the spoken-word artistry of Sebastion Carson.

Among the highlights of the evening was the awarding of the Bernal E. Smith II Award, which was presented by his daughter, Brianna Alex Smith (also a TSD contributing columnist), to businesswoman Felicia Bean.

Categories and winners:

  • Best Attorney – Myra Hamilton
  • Best Author – Carlissa Shaw
  • Best Bank – Tri-State Bank
  • Best Beauty Shop – Mary Watson
  • Best Barbershop – Upscale Kutz
  • Best Credit Union – Navy Federal
  • Best Makeup Artist – Nikki Chanel
  • Best Nail Technician – Polish Girl Nail Café
  • Best Event/Party Promoter – Cynthia Daniel
  • Best Niche – Memphis Kids Got Talent
  • Best Mobile/Detail Car Wash – Gifted Hands – Jay Parham
  • Best Fraternity – Alpha Phi Alpha
  • Best Sorority – Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Best High School – Ridgeway
  • Best BBQ – A&R BBQ
  • Best Church Choir – New Direction
  • Best Clothing Boutique – Luxe Boutique
  • Best Community Choir – Billy Rivers & the Angelic Voices
  • Best Doctor – Marcia Bowden
  • Best Dentist – Marrio Smiles
  • Best Male Solo Artist – Courtney Little
  • Best Female Solo Artist – Stefanie Bolton
  • Best Band – PC Band
  • Best Local TV Personality – Mearl Purvis
  • Best Local Radio Personality – Big Sue
  • Best Comedian – Poundcake
  • Best Local Actor – Andre King
  • Local Actress – Katina Smith
  • Best Spoken Word – Sebastian Carson
  • Best Event DJ – DJ Larry Live
  • Best Casino – GoldStrike Casino
  • Best Non – Profit – Beautiful Spirited Women
  • Best Fitness Trainer – Twana Johnson
  • Best Social Media Influencer – Paris Chanel
  • Best Soul Food – Southern Hands
  • Best Wings – Crumpy’s
  • Hustler Award – Curtis Given
  • Best Restaurant – Chef Tam
  • Best Lounge Club – Love
  • Best YouTube Star – Paris Chanel
  • Best Event – All Black Affair – Curtis Given
  • Best in Real Estate – Travis Patterson
  • The Bernal E. Smith, II Award – Felicia Bean


  • Downtown Memphis Commission – Presenting Sponsor
  • Sim’s Financial – Reception Sponsor
  • The Wharton Law Firm
  • Pete Mitchell & Associates
  • Regional One Health
  • AARP
  • Oteka Technologies
  • Spotlight Productions
  • A! Printing
  • Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare