From restaurateurs to nail salon owners, the Hoodie Awards honor the unsung community leaders and visionaries who demonstrate excellence in their respective fields. At the 2010 awards, hosted by comedian/actor Steve Harvey, several District-area business owners, an educator and church earned top honors at the competition, which featured 12 categories.

With the first-ever live webcast of this year’s sold-out eighth show, fans who couldn’t make it to Vegas visited to watch the show unfold, with more than 100,000 viewers from 24 countries tuned in.

For the second year, Carey’s Cuisine in Temple Hills, Md., won the best fried chicken category; Salon Couture in District Heights, Md., was named best nail salon and First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, Md., earned best church honors.

Carey’s Cuisine – a cozy eatery nestled in southern Prince George’s County – won the best soul food restaurant at last year’s Hoodie Awards, making it a standout among the area’s food culture.

“I was shocked,” Carey said of her nomination in a 2009 interview with the AFRO. “My grandfather is a chef and I always enjoyed cooking and baking. Even in high school I sold candy…I’ve always had a love for food.”

Other categories at this year’s Hoodie Awards included best barbecue, best car/wash detail shop, best beauty salon, best barber shop, best community leader, best church choir, best high school teacher and best high school. According to Harvey, who created the first show in 2001, the Hoodie Awards were created to recognize the efforts of neighborhood “stars” who would otherwise remain unsung heroes.

“I believe that we’re all created equal and it’s not fame or fortune that makes an ordinary person extraordinary, but it’s the things they do to help others and to uplift their communities that makes them special,” Harvey said in a statement. “And I am grateful that we’re able to bring all of these famous people together to give these very special individuals the recognition that they deserve.”

In addition to the awards, several celebrities made appearances at the show, including “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd, FOX radio host Stephen A. Smith, actresses Tamela Man,Victoria Rowell, LisaRaye, Tasha Smith and Holly Robinson Peete.

The stage rocked from the opening medley performed by Rock-and-Rock Hall of Famers, The O’Jays, R&B songstress Angie Stone and closed with a soulful performance by “American Idol” winner Fantasia.