Celebrating Black Music Month: Radio Legends of Georgia Awards Honors Trailblazers

Celebrating Black Music Month: Radio Legends of Georgia Awards Honors Trailblazers

By Leslie Hudgins

To mark the significance of black music month, broadcasters, radio personnel, and DJs from the tri-city community gathered on  Wednesday for, the Radio Legends of Georgia Awards. Hosted by State Senator Ed Harbison from Georgia's 15th senatorial district, the event at the Columbus Public Library was a testament to the local radio personnel's dedication and service to the community. 

Our very own local legend Wane Halies received an African American Radio Broadcasting Legend award for his 37 years in the radio industry alongside Kenya White Aka DJ OOkee who has been in the radio business for 22 years. Davis Broadcasting's superstar of sales Angela Verdejo DBI’s General Sales Manager was the only one in her category honored this year for the Broadcasting Management Award. When asked about this accomplishment Ms. Verdjo began to get emotional while expressing her gratitude for the award after working 32 years in the industry. 

“This is a testament to the hard work, dedication and passion I put in my work every day. You know, that's what drives me,” shared Ms. Verdejo.

This initiative was started by Senator Harbison, a media trailblazer who broke barriers as the first Black news anchor at NBC 38 in Columbus and gained acclaim as a prominent radio personality. He puts on the awards as a "Labor of Love" to celebrate the achievements of local African American broadcasters and radio personnel. 

"It is gratifying for me to do this as a small token of appreciation for those people who get up every morning or night and are doing their things on the radio. radio personalities are broadcasting people who play that beautiful black or beautiful music for you." He continues, "I think we should reach out and say thank you for what you do, and it's not done enough, and they're not paid a lot of money, but what it is they're dedicated and committed people, professionals who do this for a living not because of the money all the time, but primarily because they love music, and they love broadcasting." 

The first celebration occurred at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, honoring broadcasters with over 50 years of service, including Edgar "Champagne" Deacon, Michael Sapp, and Queen Rashida. This is the second year the event has been held in Columbus. This year's event was particularly special as it marked a significant evolution. The symbolic passing of the handcrafted torch to the founder of  MUSEC, Arreasha Lawrence, signified the continuation of a rich legacy and the promise of an exciting future.

 Looking ahead, the award will expand to include both radio and TV personalities, further enhancing the diversity and inclusivity of the event.  Lawrence believes that collaboration and community integration will be key components for upcoming initiatives, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. "I'm all about collaboration and intertwining," shared Lawrence. "There are a lot of things that we're already doing. If everyone's in town, let's come together and make this thing huge."

If you would like to get involved or nominate someone for the next Radio Legends of Georgia

 Visit Music Entertainment Council (MEC) at (http://mecolumbus.com). A recap reel is also available on our Instagram @courier_ecolatino 

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