The 26th Annual Stone “EBEN” Awards gala — held at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center (Oct. 9) — was a rise-up affair.
Hosted by Stanley “Cam Mtenzi” Campbell and the House of Mtenzi Museum (1289 Madison Ave.), the red-carpet affair annually honors “the leaders, pioneers, trailblazers, heroes, sheros, inventors, government officials, businesses and organizations pro-actively paving the way throughout the community and building, stone × stone/leader by stone, a greater and stronger Mid-South and a stronger America.”
The awards are anchored in the Ma’&9 Mustard Seeds legacy, with an emphasis this year on commemorating Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, which was burned down during a massacre in 1921.
Program performer Arthur Robinson linked the Memphis Massacre of 1866 to Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, with a reference to Memphians relocating in Tulsa after the Memphis tragedy and helping nurture Tulsa’s historic/iconic community. Throughout the evening, awardees made individual pledges to help build a foundation for such a community in Memphis.
Special tribute was paid to “The Matriarch Mother of Memphis” – the late MA’ Thelma Brownlee; the late and legendary former WDIA radio personality Fred “Hollywood” Moore and the late George Hunt, the world-renowned artist many recognize for his Memphis in May festival posters.