The Black Women’s Expo kicked off its 22nd Anniversary this past weekend at the McCormick Place Chicago Convention Center. With a powerful theme and message that resonated within this beautiful city…. “She Matters in Chicago”!
This year’s theme for the three city national tour is “She Matters” which was named in honor of Sandra Bland, the Naperville, IL resident, who Texas authorities says, hanged herself in a Waller County, Texas jail cell. Last Thursday, April 7, 2016, The Black Women’s Expo held, the highly anticipated Phenomenal Woman’s Awards Reception, recognizing ten outstanding Chicago area women for their excellence and community service.
The newly She Matters Award was introduced and presented posthumously to Sandra Bland. Her mother, Geneva Reed-Veal accepted the award on her behalf. The purpose of the She Matters Award is to recognize women who have impacted the country’s way of thinking about the value of African-American life.
Executive Producer, Merry Green stated that this year’s theme of #sheMatters is recognition of the times in which we find ourselves, a reinforcement of the vision we had at the beginning, and a re-commitment to our mission of empowering Black Women.
She Matters through Beauty
Beauty and Lifestyle Expert Lady Emmy shared passionately in the afternoon seminar: Truth! What you really need to know about Beauty and Fitness. She dispelled the dangerous beauty myth: That black Women don’t get skin cancer. Lady Emmy stated, that skin is the largest organ, and that black women should not view, taking care of one’s skin as vanity. Ms Emmy advised the expo women to beware of changing colors of moles or lesion on the skin and that early detection is vital, because women of color may be harder to detect. She recommends regular visit to the dermatologist, and to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Lady Emmy is the CEO of Lady Emmy Enterprises, a multi-dimensional business entity. She recently launched Pretty Beautique, a global beauty website company, which consists of Skin Care Expert- Celeste Hilling, CEO for Skin Authority, Atifa Hamir-Makeup contributor and Kenny Duncan, nationally known Barber, Stylist, Educator and Salon Owner.
Natural hair expert, Tamika Fletcher, also shared the panel with Lady Emmy and Celebrity Personal Trainer, April Sutton. Ms. Fletcher made her hair transition from relaxed hair to natural hair about fifteen years ago, after suffering chemical burns, permanent hair loss, and emotional distress. Tamika Fletcher is the co-owner of Earth’s Nectar Hair Products and Natural Resources Salon, in Houston, Texas. The salon specializes in natural hair care, organic products and treatment of hair loss for professional women. Ms. Fletcher suggests that women of color be ok with what you see in the mirror, read labels of the products you use, and understand that transitioning is first mental, and after making the decision to go natural, you must take into consideration, that the first new growth is not what you will end up with six months later and that there are two textures growing at the same time; it’s your job to figure out how to blend them together. Furthermore, Ms. Fletcher advises, by all means avoid excessive heat during transition, temperatures of 350-450 is considered high heat, for this reason excessive heat can lead to permanently straightening new growth. In addition to, extensions should not be worn more than two to three months on fragile or over-processed hair. Consequently, styles that put tension on the hairline may cause permanent damage, such as alopecia.
April Sutton, Celebrity Fitness Expert, stated that beauty and fitness is all about finding balance, and not comparing yourself with others. Ms. Sutton suggests that women eat throughout the day, the right types of foods such as fruits, vegetables, and 25 grams of protein, which could consist of a protein bar, shake or almonds. Ms. Sutton advises, avoiding wheat bread, read labels, checking for fillers, which do not digest well in the body. She also, suggested brown rice, instead of white rice, eating more oatmeal, which helps you to feel full, and eat less during the day, and try incorporating Ezekiel 4:9, organic sprouted bread, into your diet which contains no added sugars. Just recently April and her brother Gabriel Stefan have launched Sutton Strong, a customized personal training company, built towards helping individuals meet their specific fitness and nutritional goals.
Lamik Beauty-“Love and Make-up in Kindness” is the brainchild of Houston, Texas native Kim Roxie. Lamik Beauty, an eco-chic makeup brand, which includes cosmetics, facial care, eyelashes enhancement and eyebrow sculpting. Lamik Beauty uses healthy ingredients such as aloe vera, green tea, vitamin C, and E, avocado oil, cucumber and minerals. Ms. Roxie says that her products are non-comedogenic and hypo-allergenic and does not contain lead, parabens, talc or fragrance.
She Matters through Engaging Conversations
Free Spirit, Entrepreneur, RHOA Television Personality, Porsha Williams, shared her story of success in the seminar: How to be a female boss and live the life you want! With standing room only, attendees eagerly listened to the Atlanta native, as she shared her heart and soul on what it like being Ms. Porsha Williams. Ms.Williams held nothing back; she talked about her life before, RHOA, her family, her business ventures and how she suffered with low self esteem after her failed marriage. It was during those dark times, that Ms. Williams, learned to love and encourage herself with visualization techniques and positive affirmations. Through her journey of self-love, Ms. Williams found inspiration and created Go Naked Hair Collection and the Naked Lingerie line. Ms.Williams credits her mother, for teaching her how to speak things into existence, and by focusing on what you want to be, and knowing it not about where you are now. She inspired the audience to speak more into their lives out loud and just not in their heads. This seminar ended with a bang as the attendees hanged onto the parting words of Ms. Porsha, pray, know your worth, have a dream and a vision, and be women who are Un-bossed and Un-boxed!
Certified Health Coach Practitioner Kenya Catlin, affectionately known as “Coach Kenya”, shared her message, that we cannot face the problems in our communities, if we are not well in our mind, body and spirit. Her focus is to get people to see the connection between nutrition and community. It is important to realize that how well you care for yourself, and look at each other with value, will often express itself within the community. Coach Kenya is the author of What’s food got to do with it? : A Love Letter to Americans about Self Love and Nutrition.
The Black Women’s Expo is the longest running exposition of its kind, with over 30,000 people in attendance. Later this fall, the Black Women’s Expo team will be sharing this empowering and enlightening experience with the Washington, DC area and Atlanta, GA.
The Black Women’s Expo gives women venues for discussions, opportunities to explore solutions, and emphatically communicates the message that She Matters!