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
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
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