BOMA Awards honors individuals and businesses in Black media

Pictures were taken, business cards were exchanged, and well-needed recognition was received at the inaugural Black Owned Media Alliance Awards (BOMA) at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel last week Wednesday.

The event, presented by BOMA, cast a spotlight on those who continue to accurately report the Black narrative in the South Florida community.

One by one, each honoree went up to accept their prize, offering looks of gratitude and disbelief. But whether you walked away with an award or not, there was one mental token that BOMA wanted all of its attendees to leave with — Black media enterprises are necessary. 

“Being in the media you know how difficult it is to emulate Black experiences … [it] hasn’t always been done consistently and it certainly hasn’t been done well,” keynote speaker, Cheryl Grace Pearson-McNeil of Nielsen, said. 

“But media is getting Black culture right these days. And we owe it in large part that we have Black and Brown skin tones represented at the power table.”

Grace Pearson-McNeil, the senior vice president of Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen, helped launch the media research company’s African-American Consumer Report. She gave insight to some of the data found in the report, but not before acknowledging how everyone up for a nomination has played a major role in contributing to a more diverse media.

“Black culture has to be handled with some kind of nuance. You recognize the gravity and importance of that,” Grace Pearson-McNeil said. “And that is very important. This is the difference between now and then.”

Grace Pearson-McNeil said “73 percent of whites and 67 percent of Hispanics say that Blacks are heavy influencers of pop culture.”

These statistics drove home the very premise as to why BOMA was established and the necessity for an annual celebration to honor those in the media industry who are “getting it right,” said Dexter Bridgeman, president and founder of BOMA.  "I would like to thank our sponsors, honorees, nominees, and attendees for supporting our inaugural BOMA Awards. We thank you for standing with us and we look forward to continuing our efforts in chronicling the lives of the Black community,” he said.

The individuals who were celebrated for their achievements in their prospective field are as follows:

BOMA Champion of the Year Award

Andrew Goldberg, vice president of marketing at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

BOMA Champion of the Year Award

Ed O’Dell, director of communications and partnerships at Jackson Health Systems

BOMA Advocate of the Year Award

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

BOMA Icon of the Year Award

Jerry Rushin, retired vice president of Cox Media Group

BOMA Legend of the Year Award

The Reeves family, owner and publisher of The Miami Times 

BOMA Vanguard of the Year Award

The Henry family, founder and publisher of The Westside Gazette

BOMA Visionary of the Year Award

Bishop Victor T. Curry, CEO and president of WMBM

BOMA Marketing Firm of the Year Award

Hip Rock Star Advertising

BOMA PR Firm of the Year Award

Sonshine Communications 

BOMA Advertising Agency of the Year Award

WOW Factor USA

BOMA Black Advertising Agency of the Year Award

Armstrong Creative Consulting Inc. 

BOMA Best Communicator of the Year Television Award

Guylene Berry from Sa’k Pase Media 

BOMA Best Communicator of the Year Radio Award

Bishop Victor T. Curry of WMBM 

BOMA Best Communicator of the Year Independent Radio Award

Marlon Hill of Riddims Marketing Inc. 

BOMA Best Communicator of the Year Print Award

Carolyn Guniss, executive editor of The Miami Times

Best Communicator of The Year Digital Award

Lesesne Media Group 

BOMA Photo/Video Journalist of the Year Award

Gregory Reed

BOMA Event Photojournalist of the Year Award

Tamar “Teekay” McLean

BOMA Rising Star

Shawn Tyrell of In the Black Radio 

BOMA Ad Campaign of the Year Award

“Rise Up Liberty City … Honoring Our Past - Building Our Future,” Jambalaya Media Group 

BOMA Ad Campaign of the Year (Creative)

OneUnited Bank, Circle of One Marketing

Ad Campaign of the Year (Overall body of work)

Florida Power & Light Co.

BOMA President’s Award

Sandy Walker, publisher of The Gospel Truth Magazine

BOMA Distinguished Industry Leader Award

Cheryl Garce Peason-McNeil, senior vice president of Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen

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