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IBBMEC recognized artists who, through their work, have been interpreting the African existence on this planet for the inspiration of our people. It is critical to our evolution to see greatness, hope, and emotion in tangible objects. Through art we see the past, validate the present and design the future. It is important work.


E.S. Jones/Waxcast: has created a fabulous line of contemporary African jewerly. Earl has also designed and is manufacturing bench top wax injection machines and systems to produce wax patterns for the lost wax cast industry.  


Henry Osaygefo Colby/Timbuktu Art Colony: Timbuktu Art Gallery, in Milkwaukee, WI, designs copper, silver and gold jewerly  for wholesale and retail. Timbuktu Art Gallery Colony trains and supports aspiring Black artists and qualifies them to start and grow business. 


Albert Fennell: posthumously 1950-2002. Among his credits, Albert Fenell's artwork has been featured on "The Martin Show","Living Single",""The Jamie Fox Show", "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper." He did the cover design for the book 'Fatherhood...The Black Male's Guide to Parenting and the logo for the "African Women on Tour" series.




As African people we have a long history of production. These days, when needs arise, we too often think outside of ourselves for remedy.  There are some people who see a need and begin to calculate how they can meet it.  Manufacturing takes more than basic skill with raw materials.  Much has to do with management.  Many elements must be coordinated in order to facilitate production and then get products to market.  IBBMEC has been proud to recognize businesses that have successfully taken on the challenge of manufacturing products that uplift our sensibilities.


Gregory Perkins, owner/president, African American Expressions (formerly African American Greetings): A leader in publishing Afrocentric products, African American Greetings is committed to developing the highest quality items through creative strategic alliances. 



Warren Dobson, Dobson Products: Dobson products started in 1991 with a line of plastic stadium cups printed with kente cloth patterns.  From this evolved a product line that has included more than 100 creative items from fine glassware to sorority mouse pads.


Victor Gellineau, Carole Joy Creations: Starting with only six Christmas designs in 1985, the company has steadily increased its offering to over 600 items. After years of working from their home in Connecticut, the couple now leads a team of 20 dedicated people who contribute to the day-to-day success of the business.





As African people, we are serious about our clothes.  It is uplifting to the spirit to look good.  Weather it is traditional African attire from head to toe, a funky tee shirt with uplifting messages, or sleek silhouettes with whispers of home, we are walking billboards.  When we wear our African culture with dignity and pride we are winning. 


Renford Hines, Underwraps: Established in 1990, his line centers around Afrocentic chic designs done in linen and other natural fibers for women and men. 


Kebe Mouhamadou, Stranger: Stranger wholesale manufacturing is based in Los Angeles, Mali and Senegal.  Most of the fabrics come from Ivory Coast.  This international businessman has developed a line that is cultural and trend setting.


R&B Authentic African Fashions: This husband and wife team, Ronke and Babs, are natives of West Africa. Through R&B Authentic African Fashions, many people in the west have adorned themselves in high African style.





It takes vision, heart and a wide angle lens to cross oceans and cultures to do business.  This work is not for the faint of heart.  When you know you have something of quality and substance to share, determination makes a way.  Our awardees have brandished the machete and cut a path for others to follow.


Fota Ishaq, Washington Liaison, Sankofa Designs, Accra, Ghana: In 1999 six apparel manufacturers from Ghana participated in a program facilitated by AMEX International to help grow their individual businesses.  After a lot of hard work and willingness to press past self to achieve greater good, Sankofa Designs was rewarded with clients in the US and abroad.


Julius Aboagye, African Heritage Collection: Since in 1994 African Heritage Collection has been presenting African culture to America through art and creative African talent.  He has found his niche in the selection and presentation of unique cultural artifacts. 


Jean Francois, Jean Francois Enterprises: Born and raised in Haiti, Jean Francois came to the United States in 1985. For five years he maintained his regular job while working the festival circuit on the weekends marketing Haitian imports.  In 2000 he left his job to expand his business and has not looked back.