Memphis Black Arts Alliance Celebrates 40 Years With Inaugural Legacy Ball, Dec. 17

The Memphis Black Arts Alliance, in celebration of 40 years of service to Greater Memphis, is gearing up for the largest event in their history – The Memphis Black Arts Legacy Ball, held on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts. The Arts-A-F!RE Celebration Experience & Ball begins at 6:00 PM in the Grand Lobby; the Legacy Honors and Awards Ceremony begins at 7:00 PM. The Memphis Black Arts Legacy Ball honors African American Artists from Memphis, TN who have made an outstanding impact in local, national and/or global artistry.

Among this year’s honorees are: Memphis’ own, TV & Film Actress, Elise Neal; Winner of “The Four,” Evvie McKinney; Pulitzer Prize Winner, Writer, & Producer, Katori Hall, Grammy Award Winning Producer, Boo Mitchell; and Young Entrepreneur and Designer of Mo’s Bows, Moziah Bridges.

Grammy Award Winning Producer, 

Additional honorees include: Acclaimed Rapper, Al Kapone; World-renowned Musician, Jimmy Kinard; Esteemed Drummer, Charles Streeter; Celebrated Music Professor/Producer, Dr. Ashely Davis, American Idol Finalist and Recording Artist, Lil Rounds, Award Winning Producer and Music Director, Kurt Clayton; USA Today’s Best-Selling Author, Angela K. Austin, Visual Artist MoSal Mozarts, Applauded Dancer/Choreographer Eric Henderson, Hailed MUA to the Stars Faizah Husniyah, Animator and Drama Series Creator Munirah Safiyah Jones, Film Wardrobe Designer/Stylist and Actress Rekeitha Morris, and Broadway Touring Actress, Alexis Tidwell-Bailey.

A “Special Tribute” to Bennie Nelson West, Founder of the Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc., the city’s first black arts incubator and network created in 1982. MBAA began with 19 black arts organizations and over 100 black artists, providing space for them to learn and honed their crafts for performance and exhibition. Nelson West’s career as an Arts Administrator has spanned more than 50 years.

“We are so excited to honor our 40 year history, and legacy of these extraordinary Memphians!” said Lar’Juanette Williams, MBAA Executive Director. “We are proud to celebrate each of them because of their major accomplishments and global artistic influence! Our honorees are artists of color that have set a standard of excellence throughout the world and the time has come for us to salute them for carrying the legacy of greatness. We look forward to heralding their work, sharing their stories, and showing our appreciation for their artistic genius.”


The Memphis Black Arts Legacy Honors will be hosted by the “ever popular” 88.5FM’s Michael Adrian Davis and “Our Favorite Celebrity Chef” and host of Bluff City Life, Gina Neely.

“Our Favorite Celebrity Chef” and host of Bluff City Life, Gina Neely

The Memphis Black Arts Legacy Honors and Ball will have live music, dancing, food, silent auctions, and entertainment from the entrance to the stage.  It will be Historic Tour through MBAA’s legendary Arts-A-F!RE, to today’s Creative Renaissance, and into an Afrofuturistic Artscape.  It is in the spirit of Sankofa, the mystic bird that stands in present, facing the future, but looks back with an egg in his mouth symbolizing the essential benefits of drawing from the past and sharing it with the future generation.  

The Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc. is a 501(c)3 public charity that is dedicated to improving the quality of life and economic wellbeing of Greater Memphis through the preservation, celebration and advancement of African American arts, literature, and culture. Memphis Black Arts Alliance, envisions imaginations ignited through African American arts and culture radiating from Historic Beale Street, moving through Soulsville, Orange Mound and across Memphis, the Mid-South, and beyond, inspiring justice, equity, and sustainable community development. MBAA commits to inspire, educate, and engage artists, arts organizations, and audiences towards the creation of just and equitable communities through creative forward-thinking and shared cultural experiences.

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