What's happening Family!
So yesterday afternoon I attended an event called "The Female Success Factor" at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in Downtown Brooklyn. The event was sponsored by Rolling Out (http://www.rollingout.com/ an Atlanta based publication that's similar to a few of the free entertainment publications found around NYC and boast that they are the largest chain of free African American weeklies) and The Cover Girl Queen Collection. This particular invitation came by way of Joy Doss of East West PR, who I think was doing PR for the event, Jacqueline had called to ask me if I wanted to attend and since my morning/afternoon was free....I figured what the heck!
It was a BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL Saturday morning and my arrival time was set at 11am and I have taken the D train to Pacific Street a million times and it generally takes about 30 minutes from 125th St....So I hopped on the train at 10:30am convinced that I would get there right at 11am if not, no later than 11:05....really......
So why did I look at my watch when I got off the train and the time was 11:30????? lol.....So needless to say I was running up the block because I thought I was late....
I entered the main entrance to BAM and to my surprise...lol....the event hadn't begun yet. Shortly after I inquired about Joy's whereabouts, she appeared by my side....pregnant and absolutely glowing (Joy is a beautiful dark chocolate doll)....she apologized profusely told me that they (the organizers were waiting for Chilli (Rozonda Watkins of TLC fame) to arrive before they could start (Chilli was a speaker on the panel). I told her it was no problem and I would be outside enjoying the weather until it was time for photo ops and seminar to begin.
There was also another event going on at BAM on the main floor....it was some sort of parenting function and after about an hour (yeah...I was outside running my mouth for a minute) the steps of BAM began to be flooded with children with painted faces and their parents.....and let me just digress here for a moment family......
I have noticed a new trend in parenting where white couples are adopting black children - "Harmony Children" I am told they are called.....and don't get me wrong...I am NOT against it - EVERY child deserves a loving home but I swear if I see ANOTHER LITTLE BLACK CHILD LOOKING LIKE A PICKANINNY because her newly adoptive parents don't know what to do with their hair....I SWEAR to you, I'mma SCREAM!!!!! ROFLMAO - If YOU know you can't do little Sheneneh's hair - PAY FOR SOMEONE TO DO IT FOR YOU!!!!! Don't just let the child's hair matte and lock up like that - it ain't cute.
Now back to the Female Success Factor........
I waited outside on the steps of BAM enjoying a cup of coffee and sharing dreams and aspirations with Denitra Lewis and her friend Shavonne Nash who is the Supervisor for SMG Multicultural. I sat outside until Joy came out to let me know that Chilli was 5 minutes away and it was time for the photo ops to begin. Chilli arrived looking dewy & youthful, carrying a beautiful purse that had a picture of her son on the front of the bag. I took photos with Chilli, Munson Steed (Publisher of Rolling Out) and panel speakers Actress Caryn Ward (CW's The Game), Urban Blog Priestess Necole Bitchie (http://www.necolebitchie.com/) & Cover Girl Queen Collection finalist Laureen Delance.
With the photo ops out of the way, we all began to make our way upstairs to the main room where the seminar would be taking place. On my way upstairs I decided to my girl Yvette Hayward (Founder of the African American Literary Awards), who I had chatted with briefly while I was waiting outside for Chilli to arrive. We took seats down front and the room quickly began to fill, I decided to run to the ladies room before the seminar started and when I returned to my seat I was pleasantly surprised to see knitwear designer Michi had taken the seats next to mine. Michi was dressed in a purple hand knitted number that was her own design with some matching purple strappy heels. I talked with Michi until RO Publisher Munson Steed took the stage and signaled that the seminar was about to begin.
The event was billed as "An entrepreneurship seminar" designed for women. Mr. Steed opened up the seminar by speaking about Success, Money & How to get it. He said a lot of things that moved me but the thing that stuck out the most was the statement:
In short: If you hang people who are making money inevitably you will make money as well....and if you hang around broke people you will continue to be broke yourself.
Makes perfect sense to me.
He also made another statement that made me applaud and practically scream out loud....
"DON'T call your children DUMMIES".....this statement really hits close to home because I see it all the time and it absolutely makes me cringe because parents usually are not aware of the damage they cause when they do this to their children consistently!
As he continued to speak and try to amp up the crowd....It seemed that he would look directly in my face during certain points of his speech....he definitely had my attention. He then began to introduce the speakers for the seminar......
First up was Caryn Ward (http://www.carynward.com/), who is an actress, dancer and motivational speaker. She has a recurring role on a new television show on the CW network called "The Game" but she got her start on the popular tv show FAME ("I'm gonna live forever"). The crowd was like putty in her hands as she spoke about her life and the ups and downs of her career. Let me tell you family - this chick is BAD!!!! I was enthralled watching her, she spoke very eloquently, passionately and brilliantly but also had the ability to make me feel as if she were talking directly to me. I felt her words resonating through me (it was like she was talking about MY current situation) and I was so moved by her speaking that I had to tell her how I felt as soon as the seminar wrapped (she told me that she felt my energy as well). I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her and you all can check her out at www.carynward.com
Next up was law student Laureen Delance, who was one of the four winners of the CoverGirl Queen Collection "Every Woman is a Queen" online model search. Laureen, who is Haitian told us her story as well as her interest in changing the US Immigration policies, which she feels are discriminatory to Haitians.
Laureen was followed by "Urban Blog Priestess" Necole Bitchie, who shared with us an extremely moving story of her rocky journey on the road to success. Necole broke down several times during her story as she relived difficult pieces to the audience. We were so moved by her story that by the time she finished most of the crowd was on their feet.
Munson took the stage once more to open the floor to questions (seminar participants were given question cards to fill out earlier and he had now collected them and began asking some of the questions.....at this point another sister, who is currently on Broadway I think (I will print her name here later) entered the room and took a seat behind Yvette and I. Mr. Steed stopped the Q&A to acknowledge this sister and introduce her to the audience.
It was at this point that I began to get um...."slightly" annoyed with Mr. Munson...lol....after that brief interruption, he then brought on Chilli who also shared her story of success and the struggles that she has encountered in life as well as the lessons she's learned. She also told the crowd about a new business that she has started, selling custom made "photo" purses, just like the one she carried with her son's photo on it.
After the seminar wrapped there were some more photo ops and lots of mingling. Quite a few women in the audience recognized me and stopped me as was heading down to the VIP reception to talk and take photos with me....(if you know me at all....you already know where this is going)....lol. Anyway, I get down to the downstairs lounge where the reception was being held and saw where the bar was because I truly needed a drink AND I was starving! I had a glass of champagne and began to work the room. I met lots of people and the food was heavenly (lobster spring rolls, shrimps, artichoke hearts.....absolutely lovely. I also met a beautiful 13 year old who, when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, told me that she wanted to work with food on the Food Network (one of my favorite networks)....the minute she told me that - I said "okay then...we gotta start working on that palate of yours" and I had that little one trying one of everything on each tray, and then asking her what her thoughts were......Her mother loved it and so did I!
I looked at my watch and realized that time had absolutely flew by and I needed to start heading back to Manhattan. I decided to go to the bathroom (located on the 3rd floor) and was making my way there when I stopped to talk to a handsome brother who had stepped in my path. We were talking about the event and I think he may have asked my thoughts, so I used this opportunity to say why I was a little miffed......at the LACK of acknowledgement that I got from publisher Munson Steed. I mean, I was at your event EARLY and you never made mention to the crowd of who I was and what I do.....but you STOP what you are doing to acknowledge someone that you DO recognize, even though she arrived late (no disrespect to her...just trying to make a point here). My thoughts were this - I knew from the moment that I looked in his eyes and we started taking pictures together that he didn't have a clue as to who I was or what I did - now my problem wasn't that he didn't know who I was - my problem was that he didn't make an attempt to FIND out. I mean YOUR PR Company invites a person to your event and if you, as the publisher of this magazine are taking photos with folks and someone is unfamiliar to you - it would behoove you to ask or have one of your minions find out who the heck the person is, so that you DON'T slight them....ya know? At first the brother that I was talking to tried to give me a few reasons but ya'll know me fam....I wasn't trying to hear much...lol. Anyway, I said my piece and I think the last thing I said to him was "I know that as soon as I walk away from you - you will go and tell that brother what I just said to you.....he gave me his business card and I put it in my purse, said goodbye and headed to the bathroom.
As I was making my way outside, I stopped on the steps of BAM to retrieve my flat shoes out of my bag, when I looked up Mr. Steed was standing right in my face.....So I very calmly looked up at him and said "ah...your friend must have told what I said huh"? To make a long story short - we talked for a moment and he apologized for the slight and I went on my merry way.
I must tell you family, it was a wonderful event and I am SO very glad I attended....there were many things that I really needed to hear and I found the whole event to be quite theraputic for me.
To the beautiful Joy Dodd of EastWest PR, Thank you so very much for thinking of me and a special shout out to Yvette Heyward, thanks for looking out for me mama! Love Ya!
Oh yeah....one more thing family....the brother that I spoke to about feeling slighted....I looked at his business card when I got home....lol...it said:
Randy Fling C.O.O., Rolling Out Magazine.
Can I pick em' or what? lol.
Thanks for all of your help Randy, I really appreciate it!
"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us."