By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEW YORK CITY – Many celebrities showed up to support the Circle of Sisters Expo, the biggest expo for females of color in New York City. It was held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Saturday, September 29th.
“It feels so amazing to be here. I came here last year and it was crazy because it was like right in the mix of the end of ‘Power’ and Raina had just gotten killed off… People were like, ‘They shouldn’t have done that. I wrote letters. I petitioned.’ It was just so much love. And just to see so much love coming from women and women of color just supporting me… It was just so nice… Circle of Sisters means so much to me. It means supporting and uplifting other women… We really need it now more than ever,” said Donshea Hopkins who plays Raina St. Patrick in the hit TV series “Power” and also recently starred in the Bobby Brown Story as Bobbi Kristina. Hopkins has new music coming out this fall.
Lyrica and A1 from “Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood” were lovey-dovey at Circle of Sisters despite the drama unfolding on the reality series.
“We’re working through it,” said Lyrica who exhibited a pregnancy glow. This was her first time attending the Circle of Sisters. “I love it. I’ve had a great time. So, I definitely will be back.”
Circle of Sisters hosted numerous panel discussions and seminars led by authors, experts, activists, political figures, and celebrities. WBLS Radio Personality Lenny Green hosted a panel discussion about relationships titled “Dating, Marriage, Love & The Internet: How to Make it All Work.”
“My goal was to find resolution for people because people want answers when it comes to love and relationships. They are a little confused and don’t know how to find love. They don’t know how to keep love. They don’t know how to nurture love,” said Green who hosts “The Quiet Storm.” The panel also included Tamela and David Mann aka “The Browns” who have been married for thirty years, New York Times best-selling author Devon Franklin who has been married to actress Meagan Good for six years, and newlywed “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore.
Other panels included “State of Black America: How to Make Our Voices Heard in this Political Climate” with Rapper/Activist Remy Ma and Rev. Al Sharpton, “Ask Wendy” hosted by New York Times best-selling author/talk show host Wendy Williams, and “Living the Gospel” which discussed what a 21st century Christian looks like with moderator Devon Franklin and panelists/recording artists Maranda Curtis, Brian-Courtney Wilson, and Pastor Charles Jenkins who later performed at the Gospel Explosion.
“All of us at points… can be Clark Kent and Superman… We’ve got that super on our natural. The Holy Spirit is working… I think accountability, having relationships that can speak into us… I think being honest about tough days, being honest about when we’re wrong, correcting that… I think all of that is living the gospel,” said Pastor Charles Jenkins who is no stranger to Circle of Sisters. He has a new album called “Keep the Faith” dropping at the top of the year featuring Teddy Riley, Stephanie Mills, Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, and Dottie Peoples. He gave a sneak peek with a few songs during his performance at the Gospel Explosion.
Other artists who performed at The Gospel Explosion included Koryn Hawthorne who recently guest starred on OWN’s Greenleaf and Byron Cage. The concert was co-hosted by recording artist Donnie McClurkin, WLIB/WBLS’ Liz Black, and WLIB’s Niecy Tribbett. There was also a performance stage in the expo where En Vogue, Vivian Green, and others performed.
Hip-hop icon Lana “MC Lyte” Moorer took photos with expo goers at the AARP booth.
“Thirty years in the business has given me generations to inspire… Circle of Sisters is like a mainstay in our community as black folks and it’s always good whenever I can get here… and just lend my support and be close to the people,” said Brooklyn native MC Lyte, still glowing after her nuptials last year.
Hundreds of vendors retailed unique items and offered services. Organizations also shared information about programs available in the community.