The influence of Black culture in the GCC was on show on June 4 when 16 trailblazers, strategists and visionaries were recognised at the inaugural Black Excellence Awards (Middle East) held at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa in the United Arab Emirates.
Organised by Out and About Magazine founder Marsha Fry, the glitzy affair saw eight men and eight women receive awards for their creativity, innovation and outstanding leadership across 18 fields—including fashion, education and entrepreneurship—in the Black community in the GCC.
Two of the big winners of the evening were photographer and author Delroy Constantine-Simms and make-up artist and model Kimberly Carey, who both walked away with two awards each.
With the gala’s mission being to recognise “our brothers and sisters for their achievements and contributions to their trades and industries”, the organiser is working to change the narrative. And the winners of the first Black Excellence Awards are grateful for the platform.
Alan J Roberts, who took the award in the category of media professional, thanked the organiser for the needed conversation in the Middle Eastern region.
“We finally have a platform to grow strong with one another,” he posted to his Instagram page after the gala.
One of the attendees, Leanne Brackett, who also presented the Out and About Special Recognition Award to Joe Osawaye at the event, shared the following on Instagram after the gala: “We show up and shine! The first-ever Black Excellence Awards took place on [June 4]…and it was a blessing to see so many beautiful people arrive in glorious outfits, smiling, mingling and praising each other. If you missed it, you missed the love in the room amongst different cultures and people across different backgrounds and industries.”
Beyond the Black excellence in leadership as displayed by the winners, the attendees, including nominees, also showed that they oozed class and style with their outfits. Timeless, glamorous, chic, sharp, and striking are just a few words to describe how they looked in their gowns and three-piece suits as they arrived at the luxurious resort to enjoy the evening of camaraderie and conversations of successes, insights and new connections.
The evening also featured performances by musician MKO, who was one of the winners of the night and poet Samantha Rodgers, and words of encouragement from guest speaker Omar Tom, co-founder and managing director at Dukkan Media.
With a date already set for the next staging of the event—November 5, 2022— plans are already afoot for another memorable gala, which will focus on pushing beyond boundaries. You do not want to miss out.
Black Excellence Awards 2021 winners
Kande S Summers (Youth-under 18)
Fumi Sofidiya (Fashion Designer)
Alan J Roberts (Media Professional)
Rayon Nembhard (Chef)
Kingsley Okpor aka MKO (Musician)
Kimberly Carey (Make-up artist and Model)
Photographer Delroy Constantine-Simms (Photographer and Author)
Tia Mills (Social Media Personality)
Donovan Patterson (Coach - Lifestyle)
Lennox Christie, aka Sir Lennox (DJ)
Marlon Weir (Inventor)
Marcie Fleming (Aviation Professional)
Rukiya Deetjen-Ruiz (Educator)
Grace Marabe (Entrepreneur)
Michelle Dawson Francois (Community Founder)
Joe Osawaye (Special Recognition Award)