On Feb. 20, at the WQED studios, Trabian Shorters challenged the audience to look at your neighbor and focus on something wrong with them. He noted how uncomfortable that can be for most and we, as African-Americans, need to tell the positive stories about ourselves and not focus on the negative especially about African-American men.
On this evening, the first Pittsburgh BMe Awards were presented to 10 area men who have made a positive impact in our communities. The honorees included: the late Dr. Rex L. Crawley, co-director, Black Male Leadership and Development Institute, (presented posthumously); J.E. Gamble, pastor of Thirst Fellowship; Robert Wilson, vice president, Blazer Capital Management; Darnell Drewery, co-founder, Shyne Awards; Rueben Brock, professor, California University of Pennsylvania; Shon Owens, director, Father Hood of Aliquippa; D’Angelo Mitchell, student, Steel Valley High School; Ricco J. L. Martello, photojournalist, New Pittsburgh Courier and MSNBC Newsvine; Malcolm Minnekhekh Thomas, program director, Reaching Back Male Mentoring and Manhood Development Program (Neighborhood Learning Alliance) and founder, ONE Nation; and Lee Davis, co-CEO, Promotional Push and The Three Horseman.
The BMe Awards are the conclusion to a yearlong initiative by WQED. For the past three years, The Heinz Endowments has provided support to WQED to produce a multi-part series called “Portrayal and Perception: African American Men & Boys,” to explore how the media portrays African-American males and how society views them as a result. With WQED, Emmy Award winning producer and director, Emmai Alaquiva, produced more than 250 stories about Pittsburgh men and boys, which can be viewed at: bmecommunity.org. Guests enjoyed performances from the Afro-American Music Institute, a keynote from Shorters and effervescent host WQED’s own Chris Moore.
Shorters is the founder and CEO of BMe,and began the initiative while serving as vice president of the Knight Foundation. With the full blessing of his board and CEO, and with a generous donation from the foundation, Trabian left Knight Foundation on July 1, 2013 to grow the BMe Community into the largest most effective community-building network of this generation.