The Commercial Appeal
Memphis nonprofit Black Men Crowned to appear on the Kelly Clarkson Show
Justin Hart, founder of the Memphis nonprofit group Black Men Crowned, said it felt surreal to get a call from the Kelly Clarkson Show.
“We’ve only been established as a nonprofit for almost a year now,” Hart said. “They reached out to us, one of the producers reached out to us, in January, the first week. And she said she came across a few articles about Black Men Crowned and some of the work we’ve been doing in the community and asked if we would be interested in being a part of the show.
Hart, along with 2022 Black Men Crowned Awards winners Shelby County Clerk Eddie Jones Jr. and East High School graduating Senior Kaleb Sy, flew to Los Angeles this week to film the show. The episode will premier at 2 p.m. CT Thursday, Feb. 23, and will feature a surprise gift towards the end of the episode.
Hart, who is from Whitehaven and is an award-winning television producer, said he started the Black Men Crowned awards two years ago in Memphis as a
way to honor and celebrate Black men and counter the negative stereotypes often seen in media.
“I think that this is a push in the right direction to see an organization that focuses on uplifting the Black community
and Black men specifically, changing that narrative and really showing Memphis on a national level that we’re more than what the media has seen,” Hart said about the group’s appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show. “Right now people are still impacted globally by what took place with Tyre Nichols and what I did was emphasize the importance of showing that we’re more than what you all have seen, as far as what happened with Tyre Nichols. Yes, we emphasize and we care for the well being of his family and who he was as a person, but there’s so much more to Memphis and there’s so much beauty and essence in this city that needs to be highlighted.”
Black Men Crowned has a goal to expand to the national level, Hart said. The next big planned event is a Memphis townhall on March 18 with rapper NLE Choppa.
“To me, every time that somebody is introduced to Black Men Crowned, or they hear about it, it’s mind-blowing to me because I’m so wrapped up in the work that I don’t realize how much this is impacting people,” Hart said. “So to see the reaction from the audience during the Kelly Clarkson Show, to see the reaction from Kelly herself, to me shows that this organization is so important, not only to Memphis but to the nation.”
Gina Butkovich covers Desoto County, storytelling and general news. She can be reached at 901-232-6714.