by Brianna Smith-Herman —
The inaugural Black Men Crowned Awards Show, highlighting Black men in various industries who are leaving an imprint in Memphis, is scheduled for Dec. 9 at the National Civil Rights Museum.
Black Men Crowned was created by Memphis native Justin Hart, winner of a Grammy and a NAACP Image award as a producer.
“I decided to fully develop the show in the city of Memphis because I feel like there is a disconnect on how our Black men are portrayed in the media,” said Hart.
“There isn’t enough positive news highlighting Black men doing well in this city. I want to help solve that problem and change that narrative.…”
The awards show will honor Black men in the categories of social impact, influencer of the year, entrepreneur of the year and Memphis icon.
In addition, the show will feature the young king award, humanitarian award, coach of the year, entertainer of the year and athlete of the year.
“It’s extremely important for us to detach the stigma towards Black men and change the narrative, which is why this award show is considered one of my passion projects,” said Hart. “It’s my way of giving back to the city that raised me.”
Hart contemplated the idea for an award show for two years before sharing the idea with his long-time friends – executive producers Deondra Guy, Steven S. Sanders and Lauren Keys.
“Oftentimes Black men are given a bad rep in the media and being completely honest, we know we have work to do amongst ourselves,” said Keys. “However, what the media often omits from these stories are the people who are spending time with the youth to help and assist them on the right path.
“Unfortunately, just days ago, our city lost one of those pioneers for change and while our hearts are heavy, we feel that now more than ever the mission has to be continued. We must continue to unite to fight poverty, lack of education and gun violence.”
Radio personality Stan Bell and social influencer Tony Smith will be the emcees.
Expect an upscale, elegant and intimate night of Black excellence.
“It’s important for this award show to also bridge the gap between the older gentlemen and the younger brothers,” said Hart. “The premises for this award show are for the younger men because this is a way for them to connect with a mentor. We have to lead by example and the men who we are honoring are leaders of excellence.”
Hart is no newbie to top-notch productions. Born and raised in Memphis, the Whitehaven area to be exact, he is a product of the Yo Academy! Of Visual and Performing Arts and a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, where he received his degree in broadcast journalism.
He has worked in TV for more than a decade on shows such as “The Real” and “Iyanla Fix My Life.”
His vocals on Kanye West’s “Jesus is King” album netted a Grammy and he is currently the supervising program producer for Fox Soul.
(To purchase tickets to Black Men Crowned and for more information, visit: https://bit.ly/32kRPYV.)