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Honoring Excellence: 2024 Young, Gifted, and Empowered Awards

2024 Young, Gifted, and Empowered Awards

We are delighted to spotlight the exceptional individuals honored at the 2024 Young, Gifted, and Empowered (YG&E) Awards presented by Patty Peck Honda, an event dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the outstanding achievements of young professionals in Mississippi. Founded in 2015 by Shameka Reed, the YG&E Awards aim to counter negative narratives about African Americans in the media by uplifting stories of resilience, innovation, and community impact.

Since its inception, the YG&E Awards have honored over 30 individuals who have defied the odds and made significant contributions to their communities and beyond. From art and education to innovation and leadership, each honoree exemplifies excellence, professionalism, and integrity.

This year's honorees represent a diverse range of fields and industries, each making a profound impact in their respective areas of expertise. Without further ado, let's meet the exceptional individuals recognized at the 2024 YG&E Awards:

  1. Educator of the Year - Dr. Terence James (Vicksburg Warren School District): Dr. James' unwavering dedication to education has transformed the lives of countless students in the Vicksburg Warren School District. His innovative teaching methods and commitment to student success have earned him the title of Educator of the Year.

  2. Leader of the Year - Ashley Robinson (Jackson State University Athletic Director): As the Athletic Director of Jackson State University, Ashley Robinson has demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision, guiding the university's athletic programs to new heights of success both on and off the field.

  3. Community Organization of the Year - MS MOVE (Mac Epps, Sabir Abdul-Haqq, and George Chuck Patterson): MS MOVE, led by Mac Epps, Sabir Abdul-Haqq, and George Chuck Patterson, is dedicated to empowering communities through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing. Their tireless efforts to effect positive change have earned them the title of Community Organization of the Year.

  4. Innovator of the Year - Dr. Ebony Butler (Psychologist, Creator of My Therapy Cards®, Food Relationship Strategist): Dr. Ebony Butler's innovative approach to mental health and wellness has transformed the field of psychology. Her creation of My Therapy Cards®️ and her work as a Food Relationship Strategist have revolutionized how individuals approach self-care and healing.

  5. Entrepreneur of the Year - Dedrick Thomas (CEO of HIDEOKI Bespoke Fashion Brand): Dedrick Thomas, CEO of HIDEOKI Bespoke Fashion Brand, is a trailblazing entrepreneur whose creativity and passion have set new standards in the fashion industry. His commitment to quality and craftsmanship has earned him the title of Entrepreneur of the Year.

The 2024 YG&E Awards ceremony was a first-class production, featuring multimedia presentations, musical performances, and theatrical showcases. The event also included a Youth Summit in partnership with the Michelle Obama Early College Program, highlighting the importance of education and leadership development for young people.

We invite you to tune in to the broadcast of the 2024 YG&E Awards, airing at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 28th on WLOO My35 (Jackson), WHCQ Channel 8.1 (Cleveland, MS), and WEBU Channel 22.1 (Water Valley-Oxford, Batesville, MS). Additionally, you can stream the event live on YG&E's Roku station, YG&E TV, and their IOS app, YG&E TV.

Join us as we honor excellence, innovation, and community impact at the 2024 Young, Gifted, and Empowered Awards. Together, we can uplift and inspire the next generation of leaders and changemakers in Mississippi and beyond.


For more information about "Young, Gifted, and Empowered (YG&E) Awards" visit

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