The new Miss Black Kentucky USA is crowned this evening in Louisville

The new Miss Black Kentucky USA is crowned this evening in Louisville

This afternoon, family friends and supporters gathered at the Women’s Club of Louisville to see Sophia Crowder of Louisville be crowned Miss Black Kentucky USA.  In the Talented Teen division Helena Gordon of Louisville competed and won and Ciara Johnson of Louisville won in the Ms. Division.  All three winners will represent Kentucky in the Miss Black USA in 2024.

The Queen Mother Foundation will oversee their various appearances and opportunities over the next year so the community will get to know Miss Crowder, Ms. Ciara Johnson, and Talented Teen Helena Gordon. 

Also, this evening we currents queens got an opportunity to thank everyone for the opportunities they received over the past year. 

This afternoon we had a lot to celebrate.  Last year’s winner in the Miss division, Miss Ariel Thompson went on to win Miss Black USA in Washington, DC and will reign for the next 12 months.

Dr. Ashley Anderson, Executive Director of Miss Black Kentucky USA says “Contestants had a great opportunity to showcase their talents and be their authentic selves.  I found twenty wonderful ladies who worked hard to get to this point. When they walked across the stage I, along with family and friends felt a sense of pride.  It’s more than winning a crown and a title but it begins a service of volunteerism, scholarship, and pride of who you are.  This was a special evening for us all and I can’t wait to see what the royal court will do today and beyond.”

To set up an interview to meet the new Miss, Ms., and Talented Teen Miss Black Kentucky USA and/or Dr. Anderson to see how you can be a part of Miss Black Kentucky USA 2024, please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com.

Here’s this year’s participants:

Talented Teens

  1. Sanaia Rae’Patterson
  2. Bria Byrd
  3. Aliyah Parker
  4. Kelyse Greer
  5. Helena Gordon-WINNER

Miss

  • Sophia Crowder-WINNER
  • Seryn Bentley
  • JayLa Hudson
  • Jade Spaulding
  • Aya Tennyson
  • Jada Turley

Ms.

  1. Princess K Cureton
  2. Shikira Tunstill
  3. Ciara Johnson-WINNER
  4. Kenisha Watkins
  5. Chanson Calhoun
  6. LaShandra Logan
  7. Sherae Thompson
  8. Deara Porter
  9. Crissa Candler

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Louisville native Miss Ariel Thompson crowned Miss Black USA

August 6, 2023

MEDIA ALERT

(Washington, DC) Tonight, in Washington the Miss Black USA crowned a winner.  Louisville, Kentucky native Ariel Thompson will represent the scholarship pageant. Her reign begins this evening and Thompson will hold the title for one year. 

Thompson will return to Louisville later this week.  To set up an interview contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502.341.7306. 

For the first time in more than ten years, Kentucky was represented in the pageant.  Miss Ariel Thompson, Ms. Dominique Joy Thompson and Nia Franklin all travelled to Washington to compete. 

We would like to congratulate Miss Talented Teen Nia Franklin.  This evening, she placed first runner-up.  Ms. Dominique Joy Thompson won the fitness competition in the Ms. Division. 

Dr. Ashley Anderson says “I’m so excited about Ariel’s win.  She earned this great honor, and we are celebrating this huge accomplishment.  I’m excited for all three of our delegates.  Nia and Joy represented their divisions and gave us momentum heading into this year’s Miss Black Kentucky.  It’s a great feeling.  This was a great evening.  To hear the audience cheering for the young ladies brought tears to my eyes. These ladies have worked hard and represented this pageant in a grand way.”

The birth of the Miss Black Kentucky USA franchise is one that will have an impact on young women of Kentucky for generations to come. Beyond the scholarships that will be awarded in Miss, Ms., and Teen divisions, the life skills programming will be sure to elevate the minds and lives of all participants. It will groom leaders, shed light on issues of concern in the community, and meaningfully fund the educational pursuits of Black women in Kentucky. It is my intent that this program becomes the largest scholarship funding source for young women of color across Kentucky.

Again, to set up an interview with any of our Kentucky delegates, please contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com. 

Unveiling of the William J. Simmons Portrait at the Heritage Center

Unveiling of the William J. Simmons Portrait at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage

The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (Heritage Center), in partnership with Simmons College of Kentucky, invites the press and public to the unveiling of the William J. Simmons portrait on Monday, June 26, 2023, at 10 a.m. at 1701 West Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville, Kentucky. Simmons’ portrait will be a permanent installation joining other life-sized portraits in the Heritage Center’s Brown-Forman Great Hall Gallery, depicting African American leaders in the arts, civil rights, education, innovation, media, military, and sports. 

Dr. Rev. William J. Simmons (June 29, 1849 – October 30, 1890) went from enslavement to becoming Simmons College of Kentucky’s second president from 1880–1890, for whom the school was eventually named. Simmons College was the first school for higher education established for African Americans in Kentucky. The college was the vision of 12 formerly enslaved Africans who were members of the General Association of Baptists within the state. Their tenacity was fueled by their understanding of the importance of education for the sons and daughters who were formerly enslaved. 

Simmons developed multiple programs, including the teacher education program and one of the few Black medical schools at a Black college. Additionally, Simmons produced Kentucky’s first black medical doctor, Artishia Gilbert. In addition, he was a writer, journalist, and educator. In 1886 he became President of the American National Baptist Convention, one of the organizations that would merge to form the National Baptist Convention, USA. He was elected President of the Colored Press Association for his work as editor of the American Baptist, a newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky.

Simmons is best known for his 1887 work, Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive, and Rising. The book compiled brief biographies of one hundred seventy-seven prominent African American men across the United States. Men of Mark was a best seller and the most extensive collection of African American biographies.

Aukram Burton, Executive Director at the Heritage Center, says:

“The time is overdue for Dr. Rev. William J. Simmons’ portrait to be a permanent installation at the Heritage Center to ensure that visitors will learn about Simmons’ accomplishments as a transformational leader who built a rigorous and inclusive learning environment that promoted academic excellence during an era that denied African Americans the liberties they should have enjoyed as U.S. citizens.

For media inquiries contact VIPP Communications at info at vippcommunications dot com or by calling KCAAH at 502-583-4100. 

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Roots 101 African American Museum gets rave reviews for music legend Static Major exhibit

(Louisville, KY) Roots 101 welcomed during Kentucky Derby weekend the long-awaited tribute to the ‘King of Kentucky” the late Stephen “Static Major” Garrett.  The exhibit will take you through the legendary music career of the musical genius.  The Louisville, Kentucky native was a singer, songwriter, and record producer.  Born on November 11, 1974, and died on February 23, 2008.  He was a member of the R&B trio Playa that went on to have hits like “Cheers 2 U” and  “Don’t Stop the Music”.  This is their 25th anniversary of the group’s formation. 

Static Major has produced with some of the biggest artists in R&B and Hip-Hop from Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Nicole Wray, Pretty Ricky to Lil Wayne.  Proceeding Garrett’s death, in 2018, hip-hop superstar Drake featured Garrett in his hit song “After Dark”.  Then in 2020, Louisville native Jack Harlow hit. “Luv Is Dro”, which was a song of Garrett reworked by Harlow. 

You can see the temporary exhibit through July 8th

Avonti Garrett, the widow and mother of his two children remembers not only the artist but the family man.  “Stephen Ellis Garrett aka Static Major was a special one-of-a-kind person.  He not only was a talented singer, songwriter, and producer, he was a good husband, father, son, and friend.  He was a family man who was generous to all.  Static had a way of leaving a memorable impression with everyone he encountered.  The love that he generously displayed made all of us feel special to him.  His timeless music still has a great influence over the music industry.  Static Major is and will forever be a true legend.  The Goat!!! By age 33.  His family, friends, and I appreciate the love and we are truly grateful for the honoring of his legacy.  He is greatly missed by all. “

Lamont Collins, Founder of Roots 101 shares his excitement about having the exhibit at his museum.  He says, “It’s so important to document and preserve our history.  Stephen “Static Major” Garrett played and still plays a vital role in the entertainment industry.  This was a long time in the making, this should have happened a long time ago. We are happy that Roots 101 in Garrett’s hometown was able to make it happen.  We invite you to come see the temporary exhibit.  We hope it will have a permanent home someday, but it is an honor to be the first to display his life and superstar career.  Legacies matter and Roots 101 continues to chronicle history of African Americans in our community and the outstanding contributions made not only to Kentucky but the world.” 

To setup an interview contact VIPP Communications at  booking@vippcommunications.com

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Reckoning, Inc. to participate in Frazier History Museum event, Help Me Find My People

(Louisville, KY) On Wednesday, February 8th, Louisville-based non-profit organization Reckoning Inc. will participate in an event at the Frazier History Museum entitled Help Me Find My People: How Archival Documents Can Connect African Americans to Enslaved Ancestors.  The event will be held from 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m at the Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main Street.

For African Americans researching their ancestry, it is a huge challenge to find information about ancestors who lived prior to 1870, the first year that formerly-enslaved Black people appeared by name in the U.S. Census. At the Frazier Museum event, Reckoning, Inc. will discuss a huge breakthrough that is unlocking information and helping Black families to find their enslaved ancestors, thanks to a new collaboration between Nelson County historian Charles Lemons and Reckoning, Inc.  Lemons is the former curator of the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox.

For the past 12 years, Lemons has traveled across the state visiting county courthouses and other archives seeking the names and family relationships of Black people who were enslaved in Kentucky. In 2022, Reckoning, Inc. learned of Lemons’ activities and approached him about publishing his work online and collaborating on future research, built upon Reckoning’s previous research into Kentucky’s Black Civil War soldiers. Thanks to a grant from the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, Reckoning, Inc. has begun the process of publishing his research on its website, reckoninginc.org, and using it to further its mission to explore the lives of Kentucky’s enslaved people and their descendants.

At this event, Charles Lemons, along with staff and volunteers of Reckoning Inc., will discuss the research they have done so far and how it will help African Americans to break through the “brick wall” of 1870 and learn the identities of their enslaved ancestors. 

Dan Gediman, Executive Director of Reckoning Inc. says “We have worked for the last several years working to connect the dots.  We are now ready to introduce to the public what we have been able to find.  It gives African Americans, particularly those here in Kentucky, a way to connect back to their loved ones. We invite you to come out, learn, and ask questions in hopes of your family being able to connect the dots.”

Rachel Platt, Director of Community Engagement says “We are thrilled to partner with Reckoning, Inc. on this program, and highlight this ongoing research.  It’s information that can be life-changing for thousands of families by opening doors about their ancestry.  It dovetails perfectly into our programming entitled, Bridging the Divide.”

The panel of guests include:

Dan Gediman, Executive Director, Reckoning, Inc.

Abby Posey, Research Director, Reckoning, Inc.

Jackie Burrell, Volunteer Genealogical Researcher, Reckoning, Inc.

Charles Lemons, Military Historian

To register for the program, go to https://www.fraziermuseum.org/calendar/help-me-find-my-people

To learn more about Reckoning Inc go to www.reckoninginc.org

If you would like to setup an interview and/or cover the event contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications,.com or call 502-341-7306. 

Reckoning, Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to examine the legacy of slavery in America, and to create ways for communities to engage with this information through research projects, media productions, educational curricula, online content, and other means.

Reckoning, Inc. receives funding from the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, Gheens Foundation, Community Foundation of Louisville, LG&E and KU Foundation, David A. Jones, Jr., and Mary Gwen Wheeler, Hardscuffle Inc., Metro United Way, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Historical Association, and the Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation.

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Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 will hold a news conference to announce a new exhibit on Kentucky’s African American Civil War Soldiers

Media Advisory

(Louisville, KY) Reckoning Inc. and Roots 101 African American Museum will hold a news conference to announce a photographic exhibit entitled We Fought for Our Freedom: Kentucky’s African American Civil War Soldiers.

WHAT: We will officially open the photographic exhibit, which will remain at the museum through December 31, 2022. We will also explain that the soldiers featured in the exhibit were all enslaved men from Kentucky who joined the Union Army’s 108th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, which was founded in Louisville. The regiment was assigned to a military prison in Rock Island, IL, guarding Confederate prisoners.

WHEN: Thursday, November 10th at 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Roots 101 African American Museum, located at 124 N. 1st Street, Louisville, KY 40202

WHO:

  • Dan Gediman, Executive Director, Reckoning, Inc.
  • Denyce Peyton, Kentucky U.S. Colored Troops Project Director, Reckoning, Inc.
  • Lamont Collins, Founder/CEO, Roots 101 African American Museum
  • Descendants of Harrison Mudd, a member of the 123trd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, also founded in Louisville.

VISUALS: We will have a power point during the program, and you will have an opportunity to tour the exhibit

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit our website reckoninginc.org

Reckoning, Inc. is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to examine the legacy of slavery in America, and to create ways for communities to engage with this information through research projects, media productions, educational curricula, online content, and other means.

The Kentucky U.S. Colored Troops Project is made possible by grants from the Gheens Foundation, J. Graham Brown Foundation, Humana Foundation, Community Foundation of Louisville, Brown-Forman, LG&E and KU Foundation, David A. Jones, Jr. and Mary Gwen Wheeler, Hardscuffle, Inc., Sociable Weaver Foundation, Snowy Owl Foundation, Kentucky Humanities, Kentucky Arts Council, Brooke Brown Barzun and Matthew Barzun, American Historical Association, and the Owsley Brown III Philanthropic Foundation.

Kentucky native Ericka Nicole Malone is racking up awards at film festivals across the country

(Los Angeles, California) Louisville, native and former Western Kentucky University, (WKU) student Ericka Nicole Malone of Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment, LLC, is available for interviews. The Youth Performing Arts School, (YPAS), graduate of Manual High, a JCPS school is a successful writer, director, and executive producer. He latest award-winning project is “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story” starring Ledisi, Columbus Short, Janet Hubert, Keith David, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Keith Robinson.

Malone says “I am so excited about this latest project; we took this film to various film festivals receiving so much attention. I am so excited to announce that this project you can now see the film on Hulu. This is a major deal for film and my production company. I am so proud of my Kentucky roots and every opportunity I get I acknowledge my home state.”

ERICKA NICOLE MALONE ENTERTAINMENT is a production company focused on the development, production/co-production and distribution of film, television, and animated projects nationwide. 

To setup an interview via phone and/or zoom, contact Sherlene Shanklin at VIPP Communications at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502.341-7306.

To read learn more on the Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment go to www.erickanicolemalone.com.

To see the official trailer https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=remember+me+the+mahalia+jackson+story&docid=608026812518581063&mid=FE5AFC0CF9B3F0B12F5EFE5AFC0CF9B3F0B12F5E&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

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One of the world’s top African American sculptors is honored by his hometown

Ed Hamilton named Louisvillian of the Year

(Louisville, KY) You’ve seen his works from The Amistad, Muhammad Ali’s steel boxing gloves both in Louisville, The African American Civil War Memorial, ‘Spirit of Freedom’ in Washington to the Unfinished March of the late Dr. Martin Luther King in Newport News.  Now, the American Advertising Federation of Louisville announces that Ed Hamilton will receive the “Louisvillian of the Year” award. 

Hamilton is receiving the award for his outstanding achievement and generous personal contributions in the areas of civic, educational and business.  The sculptor only needed to possess only one of the three, but this talented humanitarian is a true community ambassador who works tirelessly who in turn is an inspiration to so many within Louisville and communities around the U.S. The national acclaimed sculptor gives his time and talents.

Ed Hamilton says “As a citizen of Louisville, KY, I’m proud and honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the 2020 Louisvillian of the Year award.  I know I owe my success to many who saw my talent during the early years of my artistic journey.

It is in the spirit of family, parents that adopted me and are now deceased, Edward Norton and Amy Jane Camp Hamilton.   They raised me to have respect for all people, the value of hard work and development of moral values.  This enabled me to extend myself into the Louisville community. 

To the love of my life and soul mate of 54 years of marriage, Bernadette, I seriously believe if not for her love and support, I would not be the man, the father, or the artist that I am today.  How lucky I am to be alive today.

I extend blessings to all past recipients and indeed I’m in good company.”

Other works Hamilton has designed is the 16th President of the United States and Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln with the Lincoln Memorial which is located along the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. He’s known for but not limited to is The Booker T. Washington Memorial in Hampton, VA, Joe Louis Memorial in Detroit, MI, and the Amistad Memorial in New Haven, CT just to name a few of the many works you can visit around the U.S. 

To learn more about Ed Hamilton and his works contact, Sherlene Shanklin with VIPP Communications for appearance and speaking engagement availability at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

One of the world’s top African American sculptors is honored by his hometown

Ed Hamilton named Louisvillian of the Year

(Louisville, KY) You’ve seen his works from The Amistad, Muhammad Ali’s steel boxing gloves both in Louisville, The African American Civil War Memorial, ‘Spirit of Freedom’ in Washington to the Unfinished March of the late Dr. Martin Luther King in Newport News.  Now, the American Advertising Federation of Louisville announces that Ed Hamilton will receive the “Louisvillian of the Year” award. 

Hamilton is receiving the award for his outstanding achievement and generous personal contributions in the areas of civic, educational and business.  The sculptor only needed to possess only one of the three, but this talented humanitarian is a true community ambassador who works tirelessly who in turn is an inspiration to so many within Louisville and communities around the U.S. The national acclaimed sculptor gives his time and talents.

Ed Hamilton says “As a citizen of Louisville, KY, I’m proud and honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the 2020 Louisvillian of the Year award.  I know I owe my success to many who saw my talent during the early years of my artistic journey.

It is in the spirit of family, parents that adopted me and are now deceased, Edward Norton and Amy Jane Camp Hamilton.   They raised me to have respect for all people, the value of hard work and development of moral values.  This enabled me to extend myself into the Louisville community. 

To the love of my life and soul mate of 54 years of marriage, Bernadette, I seriously believe if not for her love and support, I would not be the man, the father, or the artist that I am today.  How lucky I am to be alive today.

I extend blessings to all past recipients and indeed I’m in good company.”

Other works Hamilton has designed is the 16th President of the United States and Kentucky native Abraham Lincoln with the Lincoln Memorial which is located along the Ohio River in downtown Louisville. He’s known for but not limited to is The Booker T. Washington Memorial in Hampton, VA, Joe Louis Memorial in Detroit, MI, and the Amistad Memorial in New Haven, CT just to name a few of the many works you can visit around the U.S. 

To learn more about Ed Hamilton and his works contact, Sherlene Shanklin with VIPP Communications for appearance and speaking engagement availability at 502-295-0435 or by email at sshanklin@vippcommunications.com.

African American Bloodstock Agent Seeks Winner’s Circle at Kentucky Derby

For Immediate Release

Contact: Sherlene M. Shanklin, sshanklin@vippcommunications.com, 502-341-7306   

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, Aug. 24, 2020 – The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will be like none other.  There will be no fans in the stands at Churchill Downs, and for the first time in 13 years, African Americans will have ownership in a derby qualifying racehorse.

Ray Daniels, a Lexington businessman and Greg Harbut, a Lexington Bloodstock Agent are two of three owners of the Kentucky thoroughbred, Necker Island.  The two are among a tiny group of Black men to ever own a Derby qualifying racehorse.  “My family and I are excited and truly blessed to be part of such a momentous event,” Daniels said. 

Especially noteworthy of this historic accomplishment is Harbut’s lineage.  He is the grandson of Tom Harbut, a groom and subsequently the general manager for Harry F. Guggenheim’s breeding stallion operations in the 1960s.  Tom Harbut owned a racehorse, Touch Bar that ran in the 1962 Kentucky Derby.  He did not attend to watch his horse because Black’s were not allowed to sit in the grandstands.  Greg is the great-grandson of Will Harbut, the legendary groom for Man o’ War from 1930-1946.  Many industry experts consider Man o’ War to be the greatest racehorse of all time.  “My family has been on this journey for nearly 100 years.  Horseracing is in our blood and I am humbled and honored to continue the legacy of my grandfather and great-grandfather,” Harbut said.   

Many organizations are calling for a boycott of the Derby as a pathway to justice for the unarmed killing of Breonna Taylor at the hands of the Louisville Police Department.  “There is a powerful social movement sweeping the country that cannot be ignored,” said Daniels.  “Black lives matter, and I wholeheartedly stand in solidarity with the family of Breonna Taylor in the call for justice.” 

Necker Island is a colt by Hard Spun who finished second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and amassed nearly $3 million in career earnings.  Necker Island will be ridden by Miguel Mena on Sept. 5th.

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