Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses hosting annual GRABB awards

Thomas Walker, CEO of Wing Heaven restaurants, will be honored with the Marcus Garvey Legacy Award. Courtesy GRAAB

An African American-focused economic development organization will honor several Black-owned businesses and community leaders at a virtual awards ceremony Thursday.

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) will present its seventh annual GRABB Awards from 6:30-8 p.m. in a Facebook and YouTube streaming ceremony. A pre-show DJ mix will kick off the event at 6 p.m.

The awards program, sponsored by Mercantile Bank, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Old National Bank, United Bank, Choice One Bank and Community Media Center/Wealthy Theatre was created “to recognize, reward and celebrate Black businesses, community leaders and community organizations” that work to “build up and make a difference” in the greater Grand Rapids community, according to GRABB.

Tickets are free, but those who wish to attend need to register online.

Honorees and finalists for 2020 are as follows:

Marcus Garvey Legacy Award: recognizes an entrepreneurial leader who is the standard-bearer for Black businesses in the community and has been operating a business for over 10 years.

Honoree: Thomas Walker, CEO of Wing Heaven restaurants

Reuben Smartt Young, Black & Gifted Award: recognizes an up-and-coming leader under the age of 30 whose leadership promotes economic and/or social change in the community.

Finalists: Kiara Baskin, community-based doula program manager, Baxter Community Center; Deandre Jones, owner of Jump Ahead L3C; and Shanta Abraham, owner, Balloonafied

Edith Rasberry Emerging Black Business Award: recognizes a Black-owned business that embodies GRABB’s core values of stellar customer service, great products/services and community-oriented and has been in operation for one to five years

Finalists: Darrin Mayweather and Christopher Sampson, co-owners and co-executive chefs Social Arts; Lucinda Waver, owner, Cindy’s Chicken Coop; Kendra McNeil, owner and curator, We Are LIT

The Black Bottom Community Builder Award: recognizes a community leader, group or organization that works tirelessly, passionately and collectively to build up the community

Finalists: Marcel Price, executive director, The Diatribe; Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge, executive director of New Destiny Pathways; and Brandon Kimble, athletic director, Godwin Heights Public Schools, Wyoming

NC Mutual Life Insurance Co-Collaboration Award: recognizes businesses, organizations and initiatives that exemplify collaboration and are focused on innovative relationships and practices over standard, traditional ones, as well as alliances that achieved exceptional results

Finalists: Dreams Take Work, VSJ Fitness and The Black Book Exchange Box

Harlem Renaissance Culture Architect Award: recognizes an individual, group or organization that has worked to build and influence the cultural, social and artistic scene in the community

Finalists: Adrian “AB” Butler, DJ; Ella Weber, artist, Art by E’lla; and Asia Horne, lead creative, Asia Does It

More information on the event is online.

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