This year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans was fun in more ways than one. Normally when I visit the Big Easy, I’m so inundated with work that I don’t get to enjoy the magic happening around me. But this time I took a more intentional approach and really made the most of my experience. I was able to take part in some very inspiring events and get some one-on-one time with some iconic trail blazers.
You know things are going right in your day when you get the opportunity to chat with award-winning actress Sanaa Lathan and CurlBox founder Myleik Teele. I was honored to help them prep for a “Beauty in the Media” Panel for P&G’s My Black is Beautiful. As a fellow entrepreneur, it was so incredible to hear these savvy ladies share their thoughts on their respective industries and how we can counter the negative portrayals of women displayed in the media.
I also ran into the fabulous Jamie Foster Brown. As the founder of Sister 2 Sister Magazine, Ms. Jamie (as I have taken to calling her) knows a thing or two about countering stereotypes. Her magazine recently celebrated its 26th year anniversary and has grown to include local and national female empowerment events. Not too bad for a woman who once said, “I never thought of myself as a writer.”
It was also fun to spend some time with celebrity Gain Girls: Trina Braxton and Towanda Braxton. The songstresses stopped by the Gain flings! Music To Your Nose booth to kick it with DJ Kiss and talk about why the smell of Gain’s new single-unit laundry pacs give you as much joy as listening to your favorite song. Those two must have a wardrobe chest the size of Fort Knox, so I’d think they would know a thing or two about keeping their clothes smelling fantastic.
Celebrity DJ Kiss was the epitome of professionalism when she showed up early to spin for the Gain flings! Music To Your Nose cocktail reception held at the Little Gem Saloon in the Red Light District. Traffic was so bad around New Orleans she didn’t have time to go back to her hotel to change. She was such a sweetie and I was able to make some PR fashion magic happen. I produced this Mint Market number for her to wear on the carpet and she look fabulous. Kiss has been instrumental in creating a path for other female DJs to jump into the male dominated industry, so it felt so great to be able to help her out in this small way.
The highlight of my weekend was spent listening to empowerment empress, Lisa Nichols share her words of wisdom at the My Black is Beautiful ‘Beauty In Action’ Dinner. Nichols’ story of taking back her life and believing in herself (before anyone else would) was so inspiring it left the entire room feeling like we were out of excuses. The event was part of My Black is Beautiful’s Imagine A Future initiative mission to reach and teach 1 million girls and women that their Black is beautiful. I welcome any program that helps build the self-confidence of women and girls, and this one is no exception.
My spirit was so rejuvenated after spending time with these ladies July 4th weekend, I (almost) felt like it wasn’t work at all. Here’s to setting the intention to live in the moment and absorbing all the good lessons that surrounded me. I can’t wait for my next big event.
Are you taking the time to enjoy your work or are you too focused on just getting things done?