The Image Awards returned after five years to honor Black community members in “A Weekend of Stars.”
The Black Leaders Aspiring for Critical Knowledge registered student organization hosted the event in Williams Auditorium on Saturday night. This was Ferris’ 28th year celebrating the Image Awards.
The awards had their start in 1995 with alumna LaMira King, who wanted a way to acknowledge the minority students of Ferris. Although King died in 2007, Detroit radio show host Cash says BLACK was instrumental in containing the legacy King had established.
“[Black] is beautiful, strong, unique, is not just a culture,” Cash said. “It is a state of man, a way of life and a state of mind. It is intentional with the goal of uniting Black people and showing the world what they are capable of, despite where they may come from and what their history is.”
Highlighting Black culture was a staple at the awards, from the heart-pounding music welcoming attendees, to the shouts of anthems. Students performed poems and songs representing the hardships their community has faced over the years.
At the end of many of the performances, the phrase “they may break one of us, but they can’t break all of us” was shouted out, elevating spirits and creating a more vocal audience.
Dental hygiene senior and president of You Beautiful Black Woman Jamie Maximore says the awards allow students of color to be recognized while they are at Ferris.
“I believe it’s important to have these awards because, going to a primarily white institute, it’s very important to make sure that we are recognized on campus as well,” Maximore said. “I honestly believe that [the awards] has a huge impact because when incoming freshmen come in, it’s very important that they know they have a home away from home.”
Of the 19 awards handed out, six of them went to organizations for exemplifying excellence in their community, making a difference on campus or uplifting their members to strive for greatness. Maximore and YBBW earned the Elijah McCoy Award for being an empowering organization for Black women.
“It honestly means a lot to me,” Maximore said. “It goes to show that what we do here on camps isn’t going unnoticed, it’s getting recognized. It’s definitely a beautiful moment.”
The Image Awards allow organizations to represent themselves and make a statement with all the work they’ve done. Sigma Gamma Rho, Sigma Lambda Gamma and Alpha Phi Alpha were a few of the organizations present at the awards ceremony.
Social work junior and homecoming ambassador Hazelle Williams says the work these organizations are doing on campus is getting recognized.
“[The awards] mean that what we are doing here is not going unnoticed and that people actually care about what we’re doing,” Williams said. “We’re actually making a difference. That it’s not just to pass the time just to find something new on a Thursday night while we’re here.”
Williams won a couple of awards herself, including the Malcom X award and the Mordeca Johnson underclassmen academic award. Williams contributes her wins to her faith, saying the work was not done by herself.
“Honestly, as a Christian, I know that I’m allowed to be a light for Jesus and point people towards him,” Williams said. “If I’m getting awards for such good things, it’s not because of my work — it’s because of the work that he’s doing through me. It’s just undeniable when I’m just getting so much affirmation.”
Williams was not the only one who thanked her faith for their on-campus accomplishments. Many award winners thanked God for their influence, including President Bill Pink. Pink won the Thurgood Marshall award for being a leader that can be looked up to. In his acceptance speech, he thanked God for helping him in his work and for others around him to accomplish his goals.
“Everything comes because of someone else helping me out, and if I can identify who the person was, I know that it was my God,” Pink said. “I want to say to you, make sure that we are always acknowledging each other and helping each other because we cannot do any of this on our own. None of it happens alone.”
Pink encouraged attendees to acknowledge those around them, appreciate them and work together to rise together, as no work is done alone. His words spoke to another meaning of the awards, that it takes a community to make change.
The awards presented more than just accomplishments, it brought light on to the RSOs making a difference. While the awards are over, they remind individuals and organizations on campus to continue to do good work, as it is not going unnoticed.