New Webby Awards Anthem Awards Celebrate Mission-Driven Work

The inaugural Anthem Awards honor two black-owned businesses, including podcast “Sheletta Makes Me Laugh” and publisher Planting People Growing Justice.

ST PAUL, Minn — The producers behind the Webby Awards noticed they were getting a lot of submissions focused on mission-driven work, so they created anthem prices just for that.

From Sesame Street to Naomi Osaka, at least two Minnesota entities are among early winners: website Sheletta Makes Me Laugh, founded by media personality Sheletta Brundidge, and publishing company Planting People Growing Justice, founded by civil rights attorney, Dr. Artika Tyner.

“This is one of those, you know, that drops straight from heaven into your lap, I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butter-type-of-blessings,” Brundidge said. “[Sheletta Makes Me Laugh] is a podcast I founded two years ago. February 2020, in honor of Black History Month, I launched a network of shows all hosted by black matter experts all here in the Twin Cities so that we can give a voice to the people who look alike and who didn’t have an opportunity in the traditional mainstream media.”

Brundidge says all podcast hosts are doing positive things in the community.

“Whether we’re handing out hams in North Minneapolis in the food desert for Easter or handing out Thanksgiving baskets or carbon monoxide detectors or throwing a block party near George Floyd Square to lift the spirits of people who live in this area or handing out gift baskets to exhausted nurses and doctors for Valentine’s Day, we are always looking for ways to better our community and do something good for someone else” , she said.

Meanwhile Plant people to grow justice and support project Leaders are readers won “Silver” in Education, Arts and Culture, Best Local Community Engagement in the Community Engagement categories for nonprofit work.

“We are committed to solving the reading crisis,” Tyner said. “If we’re going to close one of the entry points to this tangled web of mass incarceration, we need to start prioritizing reading and literacy.”

Tyner says PPGJ helps children prioritize reading by publishing various books. They have also donated over 7,000 books to children over time.

“That spark for young people and young people of color in particular to find joy in reading starts with representation; seeing themselves on the cover of the book,” she said.

The winners of the inaugural Anthem Awards will be celebrated at a virtual awards show on Monday.

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Maria D. Ervin