Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans

Rip Daniels and Willie Fairley Receive Honors from Our Mississippi Magazine

Two Gulf Coast men have each been tapped as some of Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans for 2023-24 by Our Mississippi magazine.

Rip Daniels and Willie Fairley were among dozens of individuals nominated in different categories that included, business, education, politics, religion, media, and servant leadership.

Daniels is the owner and a radio host on JZ 94.5 in Long Beach, the co-owner of Almonte Hotel in Gulfport, and a real estate developer. He spends every weekday morning from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on air with his talk show “It’s A New Day” and has been a leading figure on the radio since 1994. Fairly is the director of construction services and ship completion at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.

“Another great group of individuals,” said Our Mississippi Publisher Wesley Wells. “I’d like to thank the committee for doing an outstanding job. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to recognize these leaders for the outstanding work they do in their respective communities. There were so many to choose from. We’re proud of them all and their great work for the state of Mississippi.”

The 14 people chosen for the distinction were from across the Magnolia State and selected by an independent panel of business and community leaders. Other honorees joining Daniels and Fairley include Rosa M. Beckett, chief executive officer of Jackson Municipal Airport Authority; Charles Bouldin, owner of North Mississippi Physical Therapy; Kim Crumbie, director and vice president of Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi; Maggie Wade Dixon, a news anchor at WLBT; Craig Jackson, general manager of C Spire; Carla Kirkland, chief executive officer of the Kirkland Group; Kirk Lewis, chief executive officer of Blue Springs Metals; Bishop Clarence Parks, founder and senior bishop of Temple of Compassion and Deliverance; Rickey Thigpen, president and chief executive officer of Visit Jackson; Victor Taylor, vice president of manufacturing at Nissan Canton; Alexandria White, senior vice president of Reboot Accel; and Antwon Woods, dean of the School of Business at Alcorn State University.

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