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With the recent barrage of negative media surrounding the shootings in Pittsburgh’s urban communities, a bright and shining moment for the steel city illuminated the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Downtown Aug. 27.

For the fifth year in a row, the Darkins Group, LLC, headed by, Orlana Darkins Drewery and husband, Darnell Drewery, produced a show worthy of national coverage. The Fifth Annual Shyne Awards, “It’s Not Just An Event, It’s A Movement,” created with the belief that the media does not portray a balanced representation of young Black adults in Pittsburgh.

PARTICIPANTS—From left: Laura Varner Norman, general manager WAMO; Orlana Darkins Drewery, Hosea Chanchez and Darnell Drewery. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart)

The Shyne Awards were created because young adults between the ages of 13-19 are statistically the most likely to be engaged or impacted by criminal activity. The theory is, if given the proper tools, resources and modeled guidance, all youth can be successful in any and all areas of their interest or purpose, in spite of their background or current environment.

That philosophy would certainly hold true on this evening, as The Fifth Annual Shyne Awards opened in “Tinsel Town” style, with a red carpet intro into the fabulous AWC lobby by host, Hosea Chanchez, who stars as Malik Wright on the hit BET comedy television show “The Game.” The cutting-edge show about professional football players and the women entangled in their lives, debuted for its fourth season on BET after three seasons on The CW network.

Chanchez, shares the sentiments of The Darkins Group, in that he has developed a non-profit organization, “Watch Me Win” that is dedicated to enriching the lives of urban youth through mentorship, leadership development, encouragement and empowerment. When asked why it was important for him to be in Pittsburgh for this event, he said, “It’s about accountability, being accountable for yourself. Watching the energy you allow into your life is a daily job, because the way you see the world, is the way the world see’s you back.”

He spoke of the importance of giving, “Giving is the most important thing you can do, because it shapes the person you are, it’s not what you do that makes you who you are but what you do with what you do that makes you who you are.”

The Shyne Awards were given to very well deserving recipients in various different categories. In Academics, High Schooler Danielle Paez won for the highest GPA of 4.60. The Community Service Award went to Caitlynn Weston. Service in Ministry Award went to Ciera Cook. Chuck Sanders of Chuck Sanders Charities, won the Movement Award. Raven Reed, after a devastating accident, which almost cost her the ability to walk, won The Overcoming Obstacles Award. Youth group HipHop on L.O.C.K received the Youth Project Award. Angelea Taylor, won the Arts Award. Brea-LaRae Saunders, received the Bernard H. Jones Award. Terrance Mims Jr. won The African American Leadership Association Illumination Award and The Gwendolyn J. Elliott Lifetime Achievement Award went to Alma Speed Fox. It was presented to her by the Elliott’s daughter, Kathi Elliott.

Performances by Jazmine Bailey, Loren Knight and Jeanean White and the opening ballet performed by The August Wilson Dance Ensemble, made the evening a joy to behold.

(Follow the Darkins Group, LLC on facebook.com/shyneawards or twitter.com/TheShyne and also by texting SHYNE to 76274.)

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