International participation grew over the years. Businesses came from many countries including Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Cote Ivoire, Nambia, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, United Kingdom, Barbados, Jamacia, Bermuda, Canada and Brazil. The IBBMEC mailing list grew to more than 5000 businesses.
Rev. Tonyia Rawis left as co-producer in 2001 to serve as pastor of Unity lotte, NC. Although her dynamic presence was missed, she supported IBBMEC from afar.
In an effort to further organize, strengthen and broaden the base of businesses in the IBBMEC family, the Alliance of Afrikan Cultural Enterprises (AACE pronounced ah-shay) was launchd at IBBMEC 2002. Brother Verrnard Gray accepted responsibility as the first executive director. This outgrowth of IBBMEC dealt with issues and corners including increased exposure of the business, standards, protocol, surveys and statistics.
IBBMEC celebrated its 10th anniversary (September 16-10, 2005)
by partnering with Nex Generation Magazine to produce
SPICE: A Special Presentation of International Cultural
Enterprises. The SPICE trade show and conference was held in
centeral London, UK. There was also a presentation of US/UK
artists held at the Brixton Art Gallery and a wonderful kick
off reception at Fahrenheit Restaurant in North London.
IBBMEC went on to publish another issue of SPICE magazine in cooperation with NexGeneration Magazine. It then transitioned into an E newsletter format and remained available to assist businesses to connect for the greater good.
IBBMEC closed the last of its operations, the website, in June 2009.
We thank ALL the people who contributed to IBBMEC by exhibiting, advertising, presenting at conferences, buying, attending, sharing, organizing, spreading the word, strategizing, providing services, and in other ways we may not know.
The world is changing rapidly, but it remains essential that Black people move forward in solidarity. Never underestimate the power and magic that manifests when individuals come together with common vision and strength of purpose. IBBMEC is a testament to that. It was fueled by the positive energy, love and determination of all who participated. We pray that you maintain the courage to follow your heart’s desires and stay open to receive God’s richest blessings.
Asante Sana – Thank you very much.
Sala Damali & Nana Owusu Agyemang (Alex Medley, Jr.)
Download IBBMEC History PDF
For three years, starting in 2000, IBBMEC presented awards of excellence in several categories.
The Nguzo Saba Award was presented to an individual that had been a guiding light for our industry by practicing the principles and providing philosophical direction.
The Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles):
Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith).
The Nguzo Saba award has been presented to:
Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of the Kwanzaa holiday, scholar, and esteemed elder who actually introduced the Nguzo Saba to us.
Iyanla Vanzant: author, teacher. Iyanla’s work has provided people with tools, information, products and services that facilitate healing of the mind, body and spirit.
Dr. Kwaku Ofori-Ansa: has published charts on adinkra symbols, goldweights, and kente cloth. He has helped to spread the philosophy of ancient African thought through symbolism.
Love and respect for books seem to be a part of our genetic memory. The libraries of ancient Kemet informed the world. Their plunder caused a dark age that has not been fully overcome. There was a time in the Unites States when it was against the law for Black people to read. Despite this they learned, they read, and they passed it on. The booksellers award was a tribute to those among us who have carried forth the legacy of making available books by and about people of African descent.
Tabia & Nati, Kamau Nataki - owners of Afrikan World Books: Opened in 1988, Afrikan World Books came as a response to the lack of Afrikan owned book wholesaling companies. Their endeavor came out of their personal commitment to the spiritual, social, political, and economic liberation of Afrikan people worldwide.
W. Paul Coates – Black Classic Press: His experience with the purchase, sale, collection and publishing of books by and about Blacks is a love affair that has continued for more than three decades.
Haki Madhubuti – Third World Press: poet, teacher, essayist, and publisher of Third World Press (1967),one of the oldest independent publishers of Black thought and literature in the US.