Experts from various aspects of the industry came together to honor the multi-talented individuals who have dedicated their careers to not only authentically telling the African Diaspora’s stories, but also creating economic opportunities to build its wealth and strengthen its core.
WMBM’s Debra Toomer served as the Mistress of Ceremony and Dr. Lance McCarthy – a nationally recognized Faith-Based Economist and Investment Advisor with a specialty in Urban Development – delivered the keynote.
After giving some staggering statistics, McCarthy challenged the audience to implement the 3Cs of consciousness, currency and communications to enrich the Black community.
“We’ve had the DNA of black business owners since the beginning of time. We know black history, but not black business history. …We don’t need any more programs, we need projects. How do we put information out there continuously on black wealth? How do we create a platform to be able to move our agenda forward,” McCarthy asked.
“The sin is not being blind, the sin is not being deaf, the sin is not doing what God called you to do,” McCarthy continued, saying Drake got it right when he said “YOLO (You Only Live Once),” “God’s Plan” and “Started from the Bottom Now We’re Here.”
Honorees included: Teri Williams, President of OneUnited Bank as BOMA Champion of the Year; Bernadette Morris, Founder and Chairman of Sonshine Communications as BOMA Icon of the Year; Publix as BOMA Advocate of the Year; Sandy Walker, Publisher of The Gospel Truth, as BOMA Vanguard of the Year; Peter Webley, Publisher of Caribbean Today, as BOMA Visionary of the Year; and John Yearwood, Yearwood Media Group, as BOMA Luminary of the Year.
Award winners included: Hip Rock Star, Marketing Firm of the Year; S.A. Nelson & Associates, PR Firm of the Year; WOW Factor, Advertising Agency of the Year; The Mosaic Group, Black Advertising Agency of the Year; Calibe Thompson, Blondie Ras Productions, Inc., Best TV Communicator of the Year; Lynda Harris, Independent Financial Advisor, Best Radio Communicator of the Year; Russell Motley, MIA Media Group, Best Print Communicator of the Year; Tracy Timberlake, Timberlake Ventures, Best Digital Communicator of the Year; LaShannon Petit, PRPL Miami, Best Social Media Communicator of the Year; David Muir, Photo/Video Journalist of the Year; and Arriale Henry, The Westside Gazette, BOMA Rising Star Award.
In addition to serving as the MC, Toomer received the President's Award for her commitment to excellent service and BOMA President Dexter Bridgeman received the first Spirit of Dexter Bridgeman Award, an annual award created in his honor as the organizing founder of BOMA.
The Spirit of Dexter Bridgeman Award will be give to BOMA members who go above the call of duty to their organization as well as their community. Winners of all of the awards expressed their gratefulness to BOMA for spotlighting their work.
“Walking into my purpose is radically transforming my life. I appreciate BOMA for recognizing that light that God has given me. I’m looking forward to working with the collective to continue helping improve the plight of our people,” Henry said.
“There aren’t a lot of us doing what I do with my TV projects and it’s extraordinarily challenging, so it’s particularly special when you’re acknowledged by peers who have succeeded through some of the struggles you’re facing as a young, black-owned business. I’m so grateful to BOMA for making me feel appreciated,” Thompson added.
Bridgeman said the organization was created in 2015 to address the disparity that exists in South Florida for black-owned media outlets when it comes to receiving viable economic and financial opportunities.
“When you open up a publication or watch a television show, the ads that you see in other outlets, you don’t see in ours so something needed to be done about it. There’s strength in numbers and with strength in numbers comes results,” Bridgeman said.
“We don’t take the attitude that the companies that have not done business with us are bad people, irresponsible, prejudice or just don’t like black people, they’re just not in the know. They don’t understand. Because we’re such a small percentage of the population in South Florida, people don’t always think of us, they think of mainly Hispanics and the general market, but our spending power is over $4 billion dollars a year in South Florida and we represent over two million readers, listeners and watchers so we have an impact on this community. Advertisers who say they’re doing well might be doing well, but if they started marketing their products and services to the Black community through BOMA, they’d being doing much better,” Bridgeman concluded.