Enjoy our 2020 Finalists

The River That Sings || Mekhiah Smith || Central


Beating drums as cotton spun. Can you hear it? Around a wheel like a record already done. Do you feel it? And so still are these tears in my eyes. Then I hear it: Guitar strings plucked, The humming of my grandma pouring her soul as she begins to cook, Now I stomp my foot and hear my soul. And if I tend to go down into the muddy deep, Don’t worry. I come up clean, Rock and roll coating me. The blues sing from inside of me, a song. I stomp. This home I’ve known for so long Taught me things and birthed from inside of me A love- They say we’re not strong, That there’s no peace in our home. But to them I sing-no Scream...this is the city that raised me! What a beautiful young lady I’ve turned out to be. The foundation of this city, Rock and Roll. The people you see and have always known. That’s a love you can only find rolling on the river. And listen to the hum. So, from the top of the highest peak, I scream Memphis is my home, It’s given me a song. And I’ll sing it for all time, until the day I flow on.




Bread Giver || Yasmeen Hourani || Cordova


Much to offer, Much to gain But not one thing done in vain. The children we treat, The people we greet, Our history grows, With no ends to meet. The culture, society, But you, our priority Named after the capital of an empire, We too, dominate what is ours. With care and caution, we do as we please The music deep beneath the souls of our feet. We educate those who dream dreams They wish to achieve. So, surely the 901 knows how to run, But there is still much to be done, Or so the story goes But only you can know How far our city grows We the bread winners, The bread givers, The all out distributors, We, the Memphians Are truly the Olympians of the south.




A Hill is Not My Home || Autumn Bobo || White Station


I live In a city upon a bluff, A place where the sounds and symphonies Ringing through the streets gleam— But never more brightly than the twinkle Lining her bridge’s peaks, Lights that curl and flow, carrying me and my own. And where should I direct mine? Do I shine my beacon down Beale? Around the hard edges and soft corners of our melody so sweet? Or will the shimmer be in my eyes as my home spins a tale? A story of the city built in turmoil, My ancestors, the same ones who raised my great city Just as easily could have razed it. But instead we grew, Traveled a road bumpy and barren, Floated down the murky Mississippi of our past, Made a house into a home. We took our histories and merged into our own little melting pot, A mixture sweeter than the chocolate of my skin, And at any time if I look around I see a taste unique to me. Now all I know Through sleet and shine, Grit and Grind Is home.




Home Sweet Home || Veronica Holmes || Overton


Memphis is home sweet home It’s in my DNA… in my chromosomes I love Memphis, and I’ll scream it loud So everyone can hear me in the crowd, Stadium’s packed with Grizzlies pride Walking with that Memphian stride Sitting back thinking On Beale Street sipping Foot tapping, hands clapping And the beat starts ringing Here’s my love song to the place that raised me and the place that made me I’m nothing but a Southern girl A Memphis Belle Grew up in Midtown Just a hop and a skip from grand ‘ole downtown Let the music play I have something to say Here’s my love song To the 901 strong A city known for its renowned attractions and soulful satisfactions Immersed in arts, music, soul, and history You can’t tell me Memphis isn’t a great city




That Great Memphis Wind || McKenna Hall || East


It’s been felt forever and will forevermore: That Great Memphis Wind that warms the core. It sways giddy couples to the beat As soul singers bring them to their feet. It whips through the hair of pedestrians walking Along the scenic Big River Crossing. It swirls its way into everyone’s nose The scent of barbeque, savory and exposed. It urges us forward on the great street of Beale, Home to the Flippers, A. Schwab’s, and many a good meal. It brings relief to the sweaty festival-goers That blaze all night and refuse to go slower. It’s been felt forever and will forevermore: That Great Memphis Wind from years of lore. It sang with B.B. King as he got his start On Beale, growing the Blues as an art. It was felt by Elvis when he graced Our sweet town with his Graceland gates. It spread the message of Dr. King As he worked until the end, so freedom would ring. It blew through Handy’s trumpet, steady and sure With a sound so sad, yet so strong and pure. It carried the sound from Johnny Cash’s perch As he first shared his talents at Galloway Church. It’s been felt forever and will forevermore: That Great Memphis Wind that makes the heart soar. It brings about giggles from curious tots As they race for a peak of the Peabody ducks. It flies with kiddos as they climb up high In the Children’s Museum’s maze into the sky. It laughs with teens until they grow hoarse In the newly refurbished Crosstown Concourse. It inspires adults as they critique every restaurant On Madison Avenue, just as they want. It’s been felt forever and will forevermore: That Great Memphis Wind with its great mighty roar.





Thank you to our esteemed Advisory Board

Mike Bruns

Jeremy Park

Preston Butts

Ken Steorts

Raquel Darling-Greer