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If it’s new, innovative, rockin’ and poppin’ – someone of African descent had something to do with its creation or is right up on it with a scalpel and probe. Don’t let anyone tell you different! When it comes to digital technology there are some cool geeks that have tapped in and come on like gangbusters. What is most outstanding about them is that they have recognized their genius as a tool for the greater good. IBBMEC has recognized them for that.
Eric Williams, Information Brokers, Inc.: Eric Williams is a recognized leader in implementing open solutions and internetwork security. His projects and technological initiative have been featured in government and private industry forums internationally. Whether it is local, national or international, Eric is committed to insuring that people of color get tied to technology.
Bill G. Neely, Singleshop.com Posthumously: 1971 –2001. Singleshop.com was a multi million dollar e-commerce shining star. The website featured new technology that was a “universal shopping cart”, a way for on line consumers to buy items from several e-tailers, then exit through one checkout.
Derek Allen, Silhouette Media: a creative communications firm specializing in print design, web design, and film and video production. Silhouette Media services a variety of clients including non-profit organizations, corporations, trade organizations, and government agencies.
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.
Retailers. They are the front line. They are the final stop between the product and the consumer. Products find success or failure on their artful displays. Retailers stake their territory, set up shop, advertise, and lure in the passersby. They smile, talk, and listen. Black bookstores, boutiques and variety shops offer merchandise not available in general market stores. For the artists, distributors, and manufacturers, the retailers offer a pathway to the hearts and minds of our people. They are information hubs, community centers, and healing spaces.
Nzinga Kimbrough, Jackie Ryan, and Alden Kimbrough, Zambezi Bazaar – African Crafts and Gifts, Los Angeles, California: Opened in 1992 by siblings Nzinga, Jackie and Alden, Zambezi specializes in rare and out-of-print African and African American books, magazines and pamphlets. Also included are vintage jazz, blues and spoken word albums. Their gifts are beautiful, unique and reflective of African culture. They host cultural events in the store and are active in the cultural life of the community.
Sandra Evans, Panaché Ethnic Collectibles & Fine Art, Burlington, New Jersey:
Established in 1988, Sandra travels the world in search of new and unique home furnishings, fine art, collectibles, and gifts. She is not afraid of change or innovation as she regularly reinvents her business so that it better serves the community and allows her a healthy family life.
Nisey Baylor, Nisey’s Boutique, Mt Rainnier, Maryland: Nisey has owned four stores: Second Stop of a Second Kind, City Kids I & II, Vintage Alive (all in Washington, DC), and Nisey’s Boutique. She keeps everyone on their toes by demanding excellence from herself as well as others. She wears many hats including wife, mother and community activist.