By Carjamin Scott for The Tennessee Tribune

Memphis, TN – Wife of Michael Hooks Jr. and great-niece of the late Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Chief City Prosecutor Kenya Hooks has announced her decision to run for City Court Judge Division 1 in Memphis, TN.

Dr. Benjamin Hooks was the first African American criminal court judge in a court of record in Memphis, TN. He raised Michael Hooks Jr, his great-nephew, as his grandson. Through marriage, Kenya Hooks became his great-niece and continued the Hooks legacy of public service.

“While pursuing my legal studies at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis, I was extremely fortunate to work as a legal assistant for Dr. Benjamin Hooks. His mentorship encouraged me to become a public servant.”
Kenya Hooks was appointed Chief City Prosecutor at the City of Memphis by Mayor Jim Strickland in 2019.

She earned the appointment after a decade of legal experience and in most Shelby County Courts, including, Environmental, Chancery, Circuit, General Sessions Criminal, Federal, and Bankruptcy. Before joining the legal field, Kenya Hooks worked in retail banking for seven years.

“I transitioned to law because of my passion for assisting people with their problems, and what better way to do that than in the legal field.”

In addition to being inspired by her mentor, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Kenya Hooks attributes a village of attorneys who helped guide her legal career. Her first associate attorney position was with attorney Kevin Bruce of Bruce Turner, PLLC. “He taught me the value of hard work and consistently producing an excellent work product.” Kenya continued. “There are so many people to name that I won’t name them as I do not want to leave anyone out.” Judges Carolyn Blackett, Loyce Ryan, Gina Higgins, and Mischelle Best, along with many other female judges helped her navigate the legal field as a wife, mother, and woman.

Additionally, Kenya Hooks is inspired by the younger generations coming behind her. “I want to help new attorneys navigate the legal profession as others helped me. While I am grateful for my time as Chief City Prosecutor, I must move to create space and opportunities for the next generation.”

Kenya Hooks is running for City Court Judge because “this court is one that nearly every citizen will interact with, and it requires experience and leadership to manage the courtroom and set the rules and regulations under the law.” Kenya continued. “No one else who can run for this position has more experience than I do.”

In addition to her legal experience, Kenya Hooks has actively mentored youth and served on the board level in Junior Achievement, Peer Power, Memphis City Schools, Benjamin Hooks Institute for Social Change, Department of Children’s Services, and Dress for Success. She is a current member of Jack and Jill of America, Memphis Chapter, and New Direction Christian Church. Kenya Hooks is a huge sports fan, particularly basketball. She enjoys cheering on the Memphis Grizzles and attending high school basketball games. One of her favorite family pastimes is visiting Shelby Farms to fish, visit the park, and
bike ride along the river.

Alongside her husband, Michael Hooks, Jr, they have two daughters, Morgan (16) and Miranda (9). In a recent Instagram post, nine-year-old Miranda Hooks was asked, “Can you give three reasons why we should vote for your mom?” In response she said, “Three reasons why you should vote for Kenya Hooks is because she is a good person, she is smart, and she is the person to help the people.”

You can support the Hooks campaign for City Court Division 1. First, “LOOK for HOOKS,” on election day. Then, follow ‘kenyahooksforjudge’ on Facebook and Instagram. Third, donate by texting ‘hooks2022’ to (888) 444-8774. Lastly, email for a yard sign or to volunteer. Early voting starts July 15 th and ends August 4 th .