The atmosphere at the Kansas City People’s Choice Awards is electrifying. When the lights in the Scottish Rite Temple theater turn on, you can see hundreds of people dressed in their best and ready to celebrate the city’s most successful people.

“In Kansas City, we show up like it’s a fashion show,” said Terrell Ray, founder and host of the KC People’s Choice Awards. The desire to show up at their best is a reflection of the overall quality of this three-year-old event as well as a nod of respect to the event’s recognition of greatness. 

Ray started the awards after he grew frustrated with the small amount of Black Kansas Citians honored at other award shows in the city.

“At those award shows, we will have some nominations but if you look at the winners, we may make up 1% of those winners and maybe 5% of the finalists,” he said. “Having the KC People’s Choice Awards, it means we’re not going to be left out of being recognized for the great things that we’re doing in Kansas City as well.”

The People’s Choice Awards ceremony, which honors and recognizes entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations in Kansas City’s urban core will be held on Sun. Aug. 8 at the Scottish Rite Temple, 1330 Linwood Blvd. The day begins with a red carpet and vending event at 2 p.m.  The awards ceremony begins at 4 p.m. and an after party immediately follows the awards ceremony.

This year’s awards will recognize winners from 66 different categories including Best Spoken Word Artist, Best Massage Therapist, Best Promoter, Best Pedicure, Best Educator, Best Food Truck and Best Barber. After tallying the more than 40,000 votes, there were more than 300 total finalists.  

“The KC People’s Choice Awards, it’s not a competition. It is a recognition of excellence in Kansas City,” Ray said.

At the awards show, 43 of the winners will come up to the stage to accept their awards and give an acceptance speech. The other winners will be featured on the screen during the ceremony. There will be nine performances including Nick B, City Worship, Ayron Alexander and DJ Yella Boy.

There will also be a tribute video honoring individuals who died in Kansas City during the past year.

More Than Awards

According to Ray, the KC People’s Choice Awards is about more than giving out awards. He wants to drive the importance of building success in the urban core.

The Awards Program includes a weekend of activities.  The weekend kicks off with a free networking event for local entrepreneurs or those interested in becoming an entrepreneur on Fri., Aug. 6 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Aloft Hotel in North Kansas City.

“We’re hoping to bring everyone, customers and entrepreneurs together to collaborate, and say ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing in Kansas City. Our money matters,’” Ray said. “You don’t have to go to Overland Park or Lee’s Summit. We have everything you’re looking for in the urban core of Kansas City.”

Ray said he’s most excited about the networking event and suggests people go even if they are not planning on going to the awards show.

“You never know who you may shake hands with at a networking event,” he said.

The KC People’s Choice Awards will hold a day party on Sat., Aug. 7, 4 p.m. at Soiree Steak and Oyster House.

“I just want to see us come together,” Ray said. “I want everyone to see what Kansas City has to offer.”

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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