With the spirit of unity, empowerment, and inspiration lingering through the air, the Michigan Chronicle celebrated its 16th annual Men of Excellence awards on Friday June 30, 2023. An unforgettable evening, drawing together an influential collective of community leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, philanthropists, and public figures, all convening to acknowledge the significant contributions and achievements of Black men within the Michigan community.
It is often said that, if one wishes to go fast, go alone, but if one wishes to go far – go together. The energy in the room reverberated with this sentiment, as individuals were celebrated who have not only achieved remarkable success in their fields, but also significantly contributed to society.
Consistent with tradition, the event recognized fifty outstanding individuals, each a symbol of excellence in a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, law, finance, technology, and non-profit organizations. This year’s theme, “The Power of Unity,” underscored the immense potential and necessity of collaboration and shared responsibility in confronting the pressing issues of our communities.
These men influence those around them to go beyond the norm and strive for greatness. They are champions of our economic empowerment and diversity, the backbone of our business, religious and educational organizations, and driving forces in politics and service. The Men of Excellence Awards and Induction Ceremony is an elegant evening that commemorates the successes of our most influential African American men, attracting nearly 1,000 accomplished tastemakers, influencers, executives, heroes, and decision-makers from Southeast Michigan.
Prominent among the distinguished honorees was House Speaker Joe Tate, an acclaimed Detroit advocate and Michigan’s first Black Speaker of the House, serving his third term in office representing the 10th House District. Tate’s contributions to the nation as he served in the United States Marine Corps, his continued public services to the state and city of Detroit showcases his commitment to bridging disparities within the African American community. His work embodies Oprah Winfrey’s words, “What you do alone means nothing if it does not benefit someone else.”
We also celebrated the accomplishments of Koffi Bonner, chief executive officer of Bedrock, leading efforts to build thriving urban centers through transformational development, community partnerships, and a commitment to support local small businesses. Bonner, along with the rest of the honorees, is defining a future where stories of success are no longer exceptions but the rule.
Yet, the 16th annual Men of Excellence event was not merely an awards ceremony. It was a resounding call to action for every individual in the audience and those reading this recap. A call to embrace unity, celebrate and uplift black men, and acknowledge the transformative power that each of us wields as a change-maker, creating an impact far beyond our immediate circles.
The keynote speaker, actor, author, and motivational speaker, Hill Harper, galvanized the audience with his stirring words, “We are part of a broader narrative, a larger story, where every single chapter counts.” His message aligned with the essence of this event – celebrating individual excellence while also emphasizing the collective strength we must create lasting, meaningful change.
The Michigan Chronicle’s 16th Annual Men of Excellence event was more than just a night of recognition. It was a powerful testament to unity, resilience, and the boundless potential that thrives within our communities. To every honoree, we salute you! You’ve raised the bar of excellence and charted a path for others to emulate.
As we reflect on this event, let it serve as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s profound words, “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” Let’s continue to uplift each other, strive for excellence in our communities, and work tirelessly towards a world where every voice is heard, every contribution is acknowledged, and excellence becomes the rule, not the exception.