By Jess Washington, COO of Dallas Weekly
The Best of Black Dallas 2022 was one for the books! Although it was the 3rd annual campaign, this particular year was our first year in person event. Like most businesses across the globe, the last 2 years we were enduring and recovering from the COVID pandemic, so this year’s event felt more like a homecoming for Black Dallas.
Truth be told, the Best of Black Dallas was conceived in 2020 out of frustration. Frustration with police brutality, social unrest, corruption and mainly seeing people trying to monetize the social climate in the name of “allyship.” I was sick and tired of it and despite mainstream media’s take on it, I knew that Black people had plenty to celebrate… each other. With no money and absolutely no experience running a campaign of this magnitude, I decided to host our first Best of Black Dallas awards virtually. I wanted Black people in DFW to understand the power of using their voice and supporting their own community and culture. To emphasize that power, we purposefully hosted the campaign during the Early Voting period of the general election. Needless to say, the campaign was a success. It garnered over 12,000 votes nationwide and won a 1st place award with Local Media Association for best campaign of the year from a local publication.
Fast forward to 2022 and through our partnership with Chase Bank, we hosted the first in-person event at the Black owned Urban Art’s Center in Oak Cliff. The formal awards ceremony not only celebrated 20 of the 40 winners from the 2022 campaign but was also supplied by all Black owned vendors. Huge thank you to We Like To Party for the decor and planning, Kendra’s Cocktails for the catering & bartending, Byron Thalton for the live art show, Clover the Violinist, DJ Lex in the Box and last but not least, Nina The Emcee for hosting! Even bigger thank you to the DW team for helping to execute the mission. A lot of people stepped up to help when they didn’t have to, especially our amazing Editor, LaToya Henry. I would have to jokingly say that “super-hero” and “therapist” should be added to her resume.
Overall, I’m very proud of what Best of Black Dallas has become and what it will be. Even during the event, I was overwhelmed with emotion from the amount of love we received from the people who supported the campaign. I didn’t realize that for a lot of people in the crowd, it was their first-time receiving recognition and, in some cases, their first time seeing other Black businesses in their industry. I just want people to know that they are not alone. In Dallas Weekly’s 67 years of service, our job is to support our community not only with news but be the liaison to the ecosystem of Black culture.
I am 100% unapologetic when I say, “We all we got!” And WE are all that we need.
To view a recap of Best of Black Dallas, click below: