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Annual JEWEL Awards spotlight black-owned businesses in Jackson Madison County

by Paula Anderson


Recognition of black business owners is an annual event for the Jackson Madison County African-American Chamber of Commerce.  For 19 years, it has honored and paid tribute to business owners at the annual Joining Entrepreneurs with Enterprising Leadership (JEWEL) Awards.


Businesses are highlighted in the following categories:   

  • Ruby Award (1-5 years) 

  • Diamond Award (6-10 years) 

  • Emerald Award (11-20 years) 

  • Jewel Award (20+)  

Pictured: Tony Black (Emcee) Courtesy Photo of JMCAACC

Florence Howard, executive director of JMCAACC said, “The growth and development of member businesses is a key part of our mission statement. This includes showcasing outstanding black business owners as part of our annual JEWEL Awards.  The awards are open to member and nonmember African-American business owners in Madison County and its connecting counties."


According to Howard,  “JMCAACC received a total of 21 nominations within the four categories, including nine companies that have been in business for 21 to 48 years.”  


Attendees will enjoy dinner, the award presentations and a concert.


“This year's entertainment will be a 40-minute concert by Miss Evvie McKinney, the Memphis native, who won The Four:The Battle for Stardom two years ago.  McKinney amazed viewers during the inaugural season of the performance-based reality show which aired on FOX Television.


“Her performances from The Four are available on YouTube.  She leaves nothing undone in her performance -- as someone else said, "She leaves EVERYTHING on the floor." It's going to be a great year for us,” said Howard. 


Evvie McKinney is one of seven children and is a graduate of the Stax Music Academy.


Courtesy Photo of Evvie McKinney

Although the concert is a highlight of the evening, the primary purpose is to recognize black business owners in the Jackson Madison County area. Local businesses, colleges and organizations are sponsors of the event and the JEWEL Awards will be presented to the business who has been in existence for over 20 years.   


To learn more about the JMCAACC, email Florence Howard at aachamber731@yahoo.com. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.

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