By Lynn Jones-Turpin – The second annual Ken Knight awards were recently held to honor Black History in local media and was an opportunity to celebrate media trailblazers, current and future leaders. The ceremony brings together journalists as well as representatives from all facets of media including TV, radio, newspapers, and social media influencers and sales and marketing professionals under one roof. The award was named after Duval radio personality Ken Knight because of his lifelong mission to uplift African Americans in the media. “So often our members of the media are the ones telling those stories and are not recognized for their achievements and hard work. Ken Knight was a giant to all Americans and we stand on his shoulders. So this year and every year we present this award to people who use their platform to advance and uplift Black people.” said founder Attorney Nwabufo “Obi” Umunna, Esq.
Mr. Knight initiated training programs to prepare other African Americans for careers in broadcasting. He originated the Ken Knight Show in the 60s, which was the first African American television show in Jacksonville. The purpose of the show, according to Mr. Knight “is not only to show the talents of our people in music and other forms of entertainment but, also, present to the viewing public other fields of achievement by Negroes.”
This year’s ceremony was held at the Grand Rose Ballroom on Arlington Expressway. News anchor Dawn Lopez, a 2020 awardee, hosted the event and spoke praises to her fellow media journalists. The highlight of the event was the award presented to Freddie Rhodes, local radio gospel legend and News 4 Jax Floor Director, where he has worked for 50 years. The event agenda also included a catered dinner, gift bags and an evening of networking. Nomination of awardees are based on the criteria of being an active participants of African-American media.
This year’s honorees and communications pioneer awardees are: Charles Griggs (Eighth & Whitner Group), Tonya Weathersbee, (Journalist at Florida Times Union/Commercial Appeal), Monique Blue (Radio Industry Veteran), Al Letson (National Public Radio Host), Tenikka Hughes (Anchor, Action News Jax), Wayne Peterson (MPN Podcast Network), Freddie Rhodes (radio Host/News 4 Jax Floor Director), Letisha Bereola, (Anchor Action News Jax). Shown l-r are awardees: Freddie Rhodes, Charles L. Griggs, Al Letson, Obi Umunna (founder), Marsha George Washington (niece of Ken Knight), Tenikka Smith Hughes, Monique Blue and Wayne “Al Pete” Peterson.
Photo credit: Khalifa Dieye