Thank all of you who participated in the nominating and voting process. We had over 3,000 people either nominate or cast votes for the winners below. We have years of catching up to do in recognizing all of the greatness happening in the community. But this is a first start and we thank you for bearing with us as we work out the kinks. Thank you for your willingness to help us celebrate all of the positive contributions these poeple and businesses are making to the collective community.
Disclaimer: We are doing this to celebrate the greatness and excellence displayed in the Black business and arts community and to help to grow an engaged customer base. This is all positive and any form of negativity around this effort, we ask you to join us in dismissing. Let’s celebrate each other and lift one another up. (Winners from this year will NOT be eligible for nomination next year. They must wait at least a year before being nominated again.)
Best Actress In a Live Play
Shelby Marie Edwards is an actor, slam poet, solo performer and teaching artist who recently returned to her home of Charlottesville after working in the Chicago theatre industry. Shelby was last seen on stage during her solo show production of Holly’s Ivy at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center and she believes that “the best kinds of theatre make us think critically, empathize universally and heal internally”. By day, Shelby can be found at Live Arts working in engagement or at the Cherry Avenue Boys & Girl’s Club teaching theatre. Shelby received her Masters in Arts from the University of Chicago, her Bachelors from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a proud Charlottesville High School Black Knight. Many thanks to her mentors and ancestors that have helped her along the way. Love always to Kendrick Edwards and Dr. Holly Marie Edwards. Proverbs 3:5-6. Instagram – @hollysivy. Photo Credit: Joshua Maclin @j.maclin
Best Theater Director & Best Actor In a Live Play
Ike Anderson is a Charlottesville native. He found his love for the arts early as a child, and has spent most his time at the Music Resource Center, where he is currently the Membership Coordinator. You can catch Ike in the upcoming production of “Sweat” at Live Arts, directed by the incomparable Adrienne Oliver.
Best Book & Author
Dr. Wes Bellamy | “Monumental: It Was Never About A Statue,” is a memoir from Dr. Bellamy, former Vice-Mayor and current City Councilor, City of Charlottesville, Virginia about the essence of the White Supremacists attacks in his city, and how a movement to awaken a nation was born. Step into his shoes and read what it felt like to be in the midst of a war for the soul of a community. Travel with Dr. Bellamy, the only African American city councilor at the time of the attack, on this journey through his personal lens that describes the untold story of a city grappling with the fight for equity while simultaneously fighting to right the wrongs of the past.
Best Music Video Producer
Christopher “Doughman” Johnson is a super producer from Charlottesville, VA, where creations of beats and recordings for upcoming artist takes place. Being a child into different things growing up I always knew I would love music. Just listening to a variety of sounds and music like “Lost Boyz” and other hip hop artist in the late 90’s gave me inspiration to learn how to make beats. So as an adult for the past 13 years I’ve made this more than a passion by working with artist like Money Man, Sada Baby, Shy Glizzy, Beanie Sigel, Rich Homie Quan, and Young M.A. This has also turned into a career still making the goal to be ultimately creative and expand my sound and vision around the world.
Best DJ of the Year
DJ Double U & DJ Flatline Lay, also known as the Dynamic Duo are both based in Charlottesville, VA. They are both part of Hurt City DJs and 101.3 Jamz MixSquad DJS. Both started DJing individually at venues like The Annex/Ante Room, Rapture, The Ix Art Park & many more. More recently, they have been teaming up and DJing parties at The Jefferson Theatre, Skybar, UVA Parties, etc all around Central VA. The Dynamic Duo vows to continue to bring the feel good dance vibes back to the party scene. Be sure to be on the lookout for promo for their next events, you don’t want to miss out on a good time!
Best Media Personality
Chris Newman | When you talk about hip-hop culture in Central Virginia, you are always going to find Chris Newman or VA DOE at the center. Whether it’s hosting a party or collaborating with the many people participating in the culture, you will find him raising the bar. You will find Chris trying to push everyone to be better. Chris was inducted into the 9 Pillars Hip-Hop Festival, Hip-Hop Hall of Fame this year. People may not have accepted him before, but they must accept him now and recognize his legacy and contribution to the arts and culture scene in Charlottesville—forever.
Best Event/Party Host
Rico “Sweet Lick” Hearns | Growing up in Charlottesville, I’ve been throwing parties for over 15 years. I really appreciate all my hard work being noticed by my peers. I really want to give a huge shoutout to my close friend Clyde Skeete because he has been with me most of this long ride. I want to thank all the people who voted for me. I greatly appreciate it. Over the years, all the support I have received will never go unnoticed. I will continue to try and give people the best events I am able to while I am still here!
Best Music Producer
Trauma Tone | Trauma Tone is an up and coming producer based out of Charlottesville, Virginia. He has produced songs for artists such as Rich Homie Quan, Yo Gotti, Peewee Longway, Young Thug, Waka Flocka, Migos, etc..stay tuned as his hits build up and his story unfolds. (From official Facebook page).
Best Female Vocalist (Neo Soul/R&B) & Best Natural Hairstylist
Yolonda Coles Jones is a Charlottesville native whose professional creative work branches off in many directions. Two are those are in the ways of music performance and cultivating nurturing, therapeutic spaces like the natural hair and beauty salon that she owns and operates.
Yolonda’s music roots run deep into the gospel-saturated soil of her childhood. She now writes and performs what she calls “alternative soul,” drawing influence from jazz, rock, singer-songwriter, neo-soul, r&b and world genres/sounds.
Adorn Natural Hair and Beauty is an off-shoot of His Image Barber Shop & Natural Hair Studio (the space she co-owns) and offers care, celebration and education to exclusively naturally textured hair wearers without chemical straightening or synthetic add-ins.
Best Female Artist (Hip Hop)
I go by Shamika White aka Shamika Sharde aka Ms Moving different aka Eye am SHE. Charlottesville native that has called a few different cities home. My heart is in the kitchen but my soul rests at the mic. A word to describe me…. passionate….. about my friends, family, my career, my health and wellness, my love, and my craft. “Running this beat like andele is the mission! I practice what I preach you could never catch me slipping.”
Best Male Artist (Neo Soul/R&B & Hip-Hop)
Quin Bookz | Bookz. Or Cruddy is what people call me. I’m a 26 year old music artist from Charlottesville VA. I make music for everybody who’s ever been through something. Those who feel like there isn’t a way out of the situation they’re no longer content with. I challenge myself every time I record so every record is like my first song. Even if you hate me, you’ve heard of me and know atleast 10 of my records or seen atleast 15 of my visuals. I’ve worked with 80% of the talent here, so it’s time to expand my collaborations outside of Virginia more frequently. (Won most votes in both categories)
Best Live Band
100 Proof Band | Inspired by many music genre’s. 100 Proof Band and Show brings an array of local musicians that collectively blend a broad range of music, to produce one sound. Funk, R&B, Jazz, Neo Soul. Combined as one merged with the soulful groove of DC Go-Go adds flavor with the latin congas speaking to the audience, it’s sure to capture your music pleasure. 100 Proof Band and Show took the stage 3 years ago and have since been climbing the ladder of bands in Virginia showcasing it’s talents across the state and as far as West Virginia. With a high octane pace and nonstop music sets, 100 Proof Band satisfies the musical and dancing desires of it’s fans.
Best In Health & Wellness
Beyond Fitness with Sabrina | Sabrina Feggans is the founder and driving force behind Beyond Fitness with Sabrina, a holistically healthy group program that, unsurprisingly, goes far beyond fitness. Her mission is to “motivate, inspire and empower others to make healthier choices one day at a time.” The Sabrina was inspired to start Beyond Fitness with Sabrina by her ability to step out of her comfort zone of an unhealthy eating and inactive lifestyle and lose over 50 lbs. Sabrina’s combination for the love of people and a healthier lifestyle has generated her much success in transforming over several dozen of individuals’ mind & bodies throughout the surrounding counties. Sabrina’s commitment to all is rivaled only by her raw energy, enthusiasm and personal success that she shares with the community. Beyond Fitness with Sabrina and its uniqueness drives emphasis on connectedness – building a network of people who want to be healthier and want to do it together through support and encouragement of like -minded people.
Best Comfort Food
Mels Cafe | This is a family business that has been around for more than 15 years. Mel’s makes some of the best homemade soul food in town. They do catering for any kind of event such as weddings, cookouts, privite parties, and meetings.
Best Healthy Choice Food
Pearl Island is a Caribbean inspired food company based in the historic Jefferson School City Center in Charlottesville, VA. Pearl Island is the vision of Sober Pierre, owner and operator of Pearl Island Foods and Chef Javier Figueroa-Ray. Since 2014, our mission has been to make Caribbean cuisine accessible. This endeavor initially started through our catering and has expanded to include our café services. We bring our Caribbean vibes to any event from office lunches to wedding receptions. However, visiting our café offers an immersive cultural experience that enhances our delicious food with beautiful art and music. Vegans and Meat Eaters Rejoice!!! You can feast together in our space. We are intentional about accommodating common dietary restrictions that can sometimes limit a dining experience. Our journey to make Caribbean cuisine more accessible continues as we continue our research and development into packaged foods that can become a staple product in your home.
Best In Barbering
Fernando Garay | I am the owner of House of Cuts barber studio. I am 21 years old. I am an Owner, a Licensed Master Barber and licensed Barber Instructor. Without my team at House of Cuts, we wouldn’t be able to service our community. Lead, influence, teach, and grow!
Best Make-Up Artist
Joy Nowell is an outgoing and talented freelance makeup artist who was born and raised in North Carolina and now resides in Virginia for the past 15 years. Nowell’s love for makeup started at the age of 13 years old. Being limited to what she could wear at that age, she was intrigued by the different looks and transformations makeup could do for an individual. Practicing the techniques of makeup on herself as well as friends and family, Joy worked up the courage to expand her talents professionally. Joy enrolled in Vizio Makeup Academy where she gained tons of knowledge and skills concerning skin care, makeup application, makeup tools, and how to grow your business. She received her certification in Professional Makeup Artistry in June of 2016. At the completion of her certification is when her makeup business Doll’d By Joy was born.
Best General Hairstylist
Kathy “Kitty” Matthew | I’m a 49 year old native of Charlottesville, VA. A mother of 2, grandmother of 6 and the wife to Mike Matthew for the past 29 years. The Lord has blessed me to own Natre’al Hair Design for 15 years as of February 1, 2020. I would have never believed that I could manage any business in Charlottesville when I dreamed it. But with family and community support, it keeps me mindful of how team work make dreams work. Yes, there has been some bumps along the way but Frederick Douglas reminds me that ” If there’s No struggle, then there’s No progress” and Marcus Garvey encourages me to keep the faith with ” If I have no confidence in self, I am twice defeated in the race of life”. I’m a firm believer in trusting my heart and doing what my intuition tells me to do, even when I am unsure about it. I thank God everyday for blessing my journey through life.
Best Clothing Designer/Retailer
D.R.E.A.M Clothing was founded in 2016 by Charlottesville native Jamar Pierre-Louis. It is an acronym that stands for dreams reinvented everything around me. The mission is to inspire individuals to use their creativity to acquire their dreams. This is much more than a brand. It is a movement built on community and passion. Go follow us on Instagram @_dreamclothing and visit or website www.dream-apparel.com and be on the lookout for our next community outreach event.
Best In Real Estate
April Ward | Born and raised in Charlottesville, VA, April her Husband Simon have four children Ayana, Maya, Simon Jr, and Simone. April received her B.A. in Psychology from Ashford University and loves to work with people and help others. She is a member of the Chapman Grove Baptist Church and a board member of Banks Collage Association and with over 3 years of Leasing and Marketing experience and 5 Years in Real Estate, she is ready to help Home Buyers and Sellers with their housing needs.
Best In Building Trades
Jones Heating & Air | Established in 2004, Mr. Jamie Jones became known for his great workmanship in repairs, maintenance and installation of hvac equipment. Most importantly, he is known for his trustworthiness, affordable, and quality service. He has consistently grown over the years and now employs well trained, qualified Service Technicians and Installers. Jones Heating & Air takes great pride in our work and strives to repair and maintain your system first, before replacement. Our goal is to obtain customers that we can build lifelong business relationships with. We want our customers to know we care about their well-being and comfort. We give them comfort in knowing their diagnosis is correct and the repair cost is fair. (From their website).
Best Financial Advisor
Corbin Hargraves | was named one of the top 15 under 40 power players in Central Virginia in the 2014 summer edition of the “Cville: The Power Issue”. He is a Virginia native and has called Charlottesville home for over a decade. He attended Virginia Tech, where he graduated with degrees in Business Administration and Marketing. Corbin leverages both his marketing background and mortgage expertise to help his clients realize the best financial strategies for home ownership at Crown Mortgage. In addition to being a licensed mortgage professional, Corbin has distinguished himself from his peers by also having earned Life / Health & Annuities, and Series 6 licenses through his financial firm, Timeless Solutions. Outside of the office, Corbin has made many contributions in his local community. Corbin extends his sincere gratitude to Vinegar Hill Magazine for the nomination and consistently putting out content for our community. Many thanks to all who voted for him including clients, family members, friends, EBC, Calvary Baptist Church and “L.L”. Jeremiah 29:11
Social Innovator of the Year
Khalilah Jones was a chartering member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Area chapter and has served as the 3rd Vice President of Membership since chartered. Khalilah is a freelance image consultant and wardrobe stylist doing business as Chic and Classy Image Consulting. Additionally, she is a blogger, social media influencer and brand ambassador under the moniker Khalilah‘s Kloset. By day, she is a Family Support Worker for Albemarle County Department of Social Services. In this role, Khalilah works collaboratively with students, parents and families to identify resources to ensure they are equipped with the skills needed to thrive. She teaches mechanisms for coping with stress, aids in developing communication strategies, educates families about physical and emotional self-care, and connects families with local resources.