Nashville’s Black 40 Under 40 Celebrated at Award Reception

Black 40 Under 40 Founder Shawntaz Crawford (right) enjoying the music of trumpeter Fredrick Weathersby. (Photo by: Deshun Smith)
Black 40 Under 40 Founder Shawntaz Crawford (right) enjoying the music of trumpeter Fredrick Weathersby. (Photo by: Deshun Smith)

This past Sunday was a night of Nashville Black excellence as the movers and shakers of the city gathered at the Bellshire event center to attend this year’s Black 40 Under 40 Award Reception. Birthed by Tennessee State University (TSU) alumnus Shawntaz Crawford and presented by his company StayontheGo, the event has been celebrating African Americans in Nashville, under the age of 40, who continue to make an impact in their careers annually since 2014.

Keosha Thomas at the Black 40 Under 40 Award Reception
Keosha Thomas at the Black 40 Under 40 Award Reception (Photo by: Deshun Smith)

With this years event taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crawford and his team made sure to set up the event with social distancing in mind with masks being required for entrance  These precautions helped to make those who attended have a great and safe time “It was awesome to see that during the pandemic people saw enough value in the event to still support it in the best way they could,” Shawntaz explained.

The event had catering provided by Chef Batts, live music performed by The JBaker Band and an open bar sponsored by Guidance Whiskey. Recipients represented a wide spectrum of careers including startup small businesses, real estate firms, non profits, and healthcare professionals.

Everyone in attendance took advantage of this rare occasion to be dressed to the nine in their best. The men were decked out in blazers and button downs, while the ladies stepped out in full force with their evening after 5 wear, suits, heels or red bottoms, sequins gowns, pant suits, and holiday best. As they entered they were greeted to a performance by The Real Deal Duo, consisting of trumpeter Fredrick Weathersby and saxophonist Stefan Forbus.

The evening was hosted by Brooklyn Tankard, celebrity reality TV star of Thicker Than Water and Crawford. They made for some great Kodak moments, videos and laughs as they worked the crowd.

This year’s 2020 class of winners displayed many of Nashville’s leaders including: Wendall Sturdivant of Empire Realty and Construction, Christopher Jones Owner/CEO of Willie B’s, Ashley Garth of Garth Media, Jonthan Adair CEO of Long Live Life and many others.

View the full winners list below:

The event was also a chance for people to who had not seen each other during 2020 the  opportunity to network with social distancing kept in mind. Award recipients were excited to still be celebrated during the pandemic and recognized for their accomplishments. “It has taken me a lot of hard work to get here,” said Ashley Garth. “The music was awesome! The host was really funny too and the band covered many of our favorite TSU tunes, Outkast songs and other classics.”

One of the major highlights for the evening was author and speaker Patrick Walker-Reese receiving the special Maynard Community Impact Award. Walker-Reese is known for encouraging youth and adults alike to dare to dream, and to strive for greatness everyday. The award was named after the Nashville Voice’s publisher Mr. Jerry L. Maynard, II.

Overall, it was a big success and win for Nashville Black culture, but Shawntaz hopes to see Nashville become more involved in the Black 40 Under 40. “In the future we are hoping to get more support from the city itself. That is the one of the ways to make these type of events bigger and better”, he said.

To learn more about upcoming events please subscribe and visit www.stayonthego.com and follow @sotgapp on Instagram.

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