After months of anticipation, the wait finally came to an end as we revealed the winners of the 2021 Jacksonville Image Awards presented by the Porter Firm.
Our winners of these annual awards, which recognize remarkable achievements in Jacksonville’s African American community, range from a lifelong family services provider to a teacher who’s done more than his part to put books in schools to an up-and-coming musical artist who recently dropped her debut single.
Before diving into the results, we want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s awards, whether they’re one of our finalists or a sponsor that stepped up to the plate. The winners were featured in a prime-time special on CW17 Jacksonville on Saturday, March 13, hosted by Melanie Lawson and Tarik Minor.
Now, without further ado, here are your 2021 Jacksonville Image Awards winners.
Watch the awards program | Scroll down for profiles of the winners
‘Trailblazer’ Award: Tan Mayhew
Tan Mayhew’s family is what has inspired her be a trailblazer in her Jacksonville community. “I am inspired by the legacy of my grandmother Jean Lewis. She was a pillar in the community that never allowed any obstacles to stop her. My goal is to be a change in the community like she was,” the 51-year-old River City native said. Mayhew is a proud Trojan from Jean Ribault Senior High School and proud Rattler from Florida A&M University. After leaving Jacksonville for 13 years, she returned home and eventually became chief of staff of Bethel Church. She’s also the founder of Kicks for the Kids Shoe Drive, the founder of the S.H.E. Parties (Shoes, Handbags & Everything SHE loves) and the founder of Journey 2 Joy events. With 435 votes, Mayhew is the winner of the 2021 Trailblazer Award.
Runners up: Lynn Coleman Sherman (331 votes); Sonya Dunbar (269 votes)
‘Be The Change’ Award: Dr. Tiffanie Williams
Dr. Tiffanie Williams, a Jacksonville native, is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Florida, a certified family trauma professional and a certified trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapist. She has provided mental health services for 10 years and continues to provide those services through her private practice, Master Peace Counseling Services. Due to her exemplary professional achievements and contributions, both locally and abroad, Dr. Williams has received recognition as the 2011 Child Guidance Center, a 2014 Florida Black Pages Top 20 under 40 Honoree, the 2017 Jacksonville Jaycees Community Humanitarian Award Honoree and the Women’s Center of Jacksonville 2018 Unsung She-Ro Award. And with 303 votes, Williams won our 2021 Be The Change Award.
Runners up: Chandra Ford (240 votes); Quiana Malone (171 votes)
‘The One To Watch’ Award: Desiree Corley Jones
Desiree Corley Jones is a Jacksonville native who has made her passion for helping her community her life’s work. The 49-year-old is the chief executive officer of Step-by-Step Behavioral Health Services, LLC and the Founder/President of Step-by-Step 4 Help Foundation, Inc. Step-by-Step Behavioral Health Services strives to strengthen and empower children, families, communities and schools by utilizing integrated quality treatment and services that support social-emotional, wellness and growth. Jones says helping others achieve their fullest potential and making a difference in their lives while bringing awareness to mental health is what inspires her. Collecting 404 votes, Jones won The One To Watch Award.
Runners up: Winston Seabrooks (278 votes); Bernadia Samuels (134 votes)
‘Music Excellence’ Award: Kayla Cummings
Kayla Cummings, also known as “Kay C,” is a homegrown musical talent. This graduate of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts has accomplished many things at the young age of 29. Her achievements include being named the first runner-up for the Grady-Rayum Negro Spiritual Competition, being part of the Ritz Voices Choir and releasing her debut single in November 2020. “Music and people inspire me,” Cummings said. “Music is my outlet to get messages across to people in need. Like Plato said, ‘It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.’” Cummings said local vocal coach Deborah McDuffie is one of her biggest mentors. “She helped develop me into the artist I am today.” With 245 votes, Cummings is the winner of our Music Excellence Award.
Runners up: Ulysses Owens Jr. (125 votes); Carlos Spencer (71 votes)
‘Innovator’ Award: Shawana Brooks
Shawana Brooks’ journey to Jacksonville was long, but she is making an impact. The Vallejo, California native graduated from Terry Parker High School and the University of North Florida before becoming chief executive officer of 6Ft Away, LLC. The 41-year-old is a recipient of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Robert Arleigh White Award for Advocacy in 2018 and the organization’s Helen Lane Founders Award in 2020. Inspired by artistic expression in various forms, ranging from literature to performance, Brooks said she is lucky to find heroism in the community and her female mentors have been a huge factor in her success. Capturing 186 votes, Brooks won our Innovator Award.
Runners up: Dante Buckson (120 votes); Laurence Walden (39 votes)
‘Education Excellence’ Award: Kevin Dunbar
Kevin Dunbar is something of a renaissance man. Dunbar is involved in multiple businesses and groups around Jacksonville, but teaching is what inspires him. This Wolfson Senior High School and Florida A&M University graduate is currently a librarian and media specialist at Northwestern Legends Elementary School. Dunbar’s also a member of READ USA and Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida, among other groups. Through his work with READ USA, he has helped provided over 25,000 new books to every Title I school and he’s raised nearly $15,000 for book fairs at multiple schools. His achievements include being a Teacher of the Year finalist at St. Clair Evans in 2018 and 2019, as well as Brentwood Elementary in 2020. Racking up 492 votes, Dunbar is the winner of the Education Excellence Award.
Runners up: Santrice Grayer (183 votes); Dr. Sonia Maria Balevre (126 votes)
‘Pinnacle’ Award: LaTanya Wynn-Hall
LaTanya Wynn-Hall is the regional executive director for Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) Duval Head Start Program. She oversees the early childhood education program serving over 1,400 children, and she is responsible for nearly 200 staff and a $15 million-dollar budget. Sixteen (16) years of her 28-year career has been spent with Head Start and her entire career has been spent working with the most vulnerable children and families. This University of Virginia graduate, who also holds a master’s from the University of Florida, was an Eve Awards finalists and was selected as the 2018 Florida Head Start Association’s “Administrator of the Year.” She currently sits on the Region IV Head Start Association (RIVHSA) Board of Directors and on the Duval County Early Learning Coalition (ELC) Board of Directors. In June 2020, she was voted in to the NHSA Board of Directors. With 486 votes, Wynn-Hall is our Pinnacle Award winner.
Runners up: Darnell Smith (185 votes); Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen (120 votes)