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WLOK’s ‘world impact’ embraced at 27th Annual Stone ‘EBEN’ Awards

The 27th Annual Stone “EBEN” Awards featured a special salute to WLOK radio and its founder, Art Gilliam, during a ceremony at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center Theatre last Saturday (Oct. 8).

Annually in October, the Stone “Eben” Awards are rolled out in 12 categories, including World Impact Award, which this year paid tribute to Gilliam and WLOK’s 45th anniversary. WLOK was the first African-American-owned radio station in Memphis and is the only one today.

WLOK’s Art Gilliam accepts the World Impact Award during the Stone “Eben” Awards gala. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

The awards ceremony – presented by Stanley “Cam Mtenzi” Campbell and the House of Mtenzi Museum (1289 Madison Ave.) – extends the legacy of Ma’&9 Mustard Seeds.

By tradition, 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.”

Dwight Eaton accepts his award. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

The awards again commemorated Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, which was burned down during a massacre in 1921. The program included Dwight Eaton, a Houston and Tulsa philanthropist/humanitarian. He is the son of civil rights icon Bobby “Poppa” Eaton Sr.

Hosted by television and radio personality Tina Tilton and Drew McCraven III, founder of Positive Reaction, the event also included “The Rise of 100 Moral Leaders Inductees Ceremony.

Hosting the 2022 Stone “Eben” Awards. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

Tribute commemoration

  • The Matriarch Mother of Memphis – the late MA’Thelma Brownlee.
  • Former WDIA legendary radio personality Bobby O’Jay.
  • The Late Fred “Hollywood” Moore.
  • Ernest C. Withers
Pastor Michael Lockhart and Penny Lockhart were among the Humanitarian Award winners. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender)

Special awards

  • Book of Author Award – John B. Smith (co-founder of The Invaders), “The 400th … From Slavery to Hip Hop”.
  • The Royal Ruby Stone Blues Hall of Fame Award – Robert “Knighthawk” Tooms, and the Wampus Cats.
  • The Great Humanitarian Award: Felix Griggs; Pastor Michael Lockhart and Penny Lockhart.

Commemorative awards

  • Ma’ Thelma Matriarch of Memphis Mother Awards (M.O.M.M.A)/Hall of Fame Inductees: Dr. Varrie Hamilton, Shukriyyah Muhammad, and Ayodele Koffie.

10th Annual Mtenzi Cammy Awards

  • Myron Mays, PakMail-Best Community Business.
  • “All Over Town” Chris Brown – radio and television personality; Still Creating Decade Mtenzi Award.
  • Tony Tone, comedian/actor – Still Creating Decade Mtenzi Award.
  • Montel Jones, songwriter/video director – Still Creating Decade Mtenzi Award.
  • Kenon Walker, international celebrity curator/actor/Duck Master – Still Creating Decade MTenzi Award.

Mtenzi Hall of Fame Awards

  • Kurt KC Clayton, Celebrity musical producer – Still Creating Decade Hall of Famer.
  • Robert “Bodae” Day, member of The Bar-Kays – 2022 Mtenzi Hall of Fame Honoree.


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