It’s Friday night and as I navigate through rush hour traffic heading towards Buckhead rather than home, I’m excited to see what Macy’s Lennox has in store for it’s Black History Program. As I continue to grow and learn more about my culture… my heritage… I am intrigued to attend events as such. To hear and engage in conversations with people that are paving the way and clearing a path for those that join the ranks in the near and distant future.
The conversation highlighted actress and activist Jurnee Smollett-Bell as well as her co-panelist Taye Diggs, Shane Evans, Chef G. Garvin. Also in attendance was The Black Doll Affair (a self-esteem and philanthropic social club) who donated Barbies to the first 50 children in attendance.
When the program commenced and the panelist graced the platform to the front of us, their presence commanded attention and every patron tuned in to welcome them.
Conversations with: Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Shane Evans, Taye Diggs and Chef G.Garvin
During the program the host guided the conversation with a Q&A format allowing for each of the panelist to reflect and provide their perspective. Here are two questions where I truly admired the candid response:
Chef G. Garvin – “My mother and the belt inspired me to do what was right. I grew up in a single parent home with my sibling (5 boys and 3 girls) and I, I was amazed at how my mother did it all. Also the Jeffersons (T.V. Show).”
Taye Diggs – “Different people at different times in my life. Growing up it was my mother who was raising 5 of us and went back to school to get her degree to start teaching. As an adult in the acting industry it was Denzel Washington after seeing A Soldier’s Story… I could relate to him because we shared the same skin color, here was someone with the same skin tone as me making moves in the entertainment industry. Then the model Tyson Beckford again someone sharing the same skin tone as me and dominating in an industry in which he wasn’t expected to.”
Shane Evans – “Sometimes I had to look in the mirror and inspire myself. But also reaching through my community there was a pastor Alice. My day to day inspiration comes from the people that I meet, my family and the stories about my family.”
Jurnee Smollet-Bell – “My mother was my first point of inspiration and love as she raised 6 kids as a single mother. She also taught me the power of saying NO.”
Shane Evans – ” Matthew 6:11 give our day our daily bread… Live in the experience daily and continue to grow.”
Taye Diggs– “Drop… Drop… Drop it like its hot. But no seriously, an inch by an inch makes sense.”
Chef G. Garvin – “Thinking about obstacles… My intentions are to always be a good person; to live with integrity and honesty.”
Jurnee Smollet-Bell – “Quincy Jones once told me – You can’t believe them when they tell you that you’re great because you’ll believe them when they tell you that you’re not. You have to stay centered and know within yourself who you are and whom God made you to be.”
These two questions alone prompted me to continue searching deep within because what you produce in life is inspired by or will inspire someone. And I pledged many moons ago to do what’s within my power to deposit positive inspiration and energy back into the universe daily.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell in a new series titled Underground slated to cover the Underground Railroad which premieres on March 9th on WGN America.
Shane Evans & Taye Diggs with their most recent released of a children’s book titled Chocolate Me. We also had the opportunity to be graced with a serenade by Evans and an exert reading by Diggs.
Chef G. Garvin is working on producing a few new cooking shows and one featuring Keisha Knight-Pulliam.
Taye & Shane shared that their collaboration dates back to when they were just two 20 year old students at Syracuse. A friendship rich invite history and talent setting the stage for for a much needed dialogue on blackness and what it means.
I applaud Macy’s for providing the platform for relevant and much needed conversations . I’ll definitely be placing this event on my to do list annually.
We’d love to hear from you, have you attended any Black History Programs this month? If so, do share your experience.