Last Saturday I went to one of the most powerful empowerment sessions I’ve attended in a long time. But, I gotta admit, I was a little intimidated. When I first walked through the doors of the CAU recreation center (that’s short for Clark Atlanta University) I could feel the tension in the air as more than 100 women from all over the Atlanta sat in upward poses as if they were being auditioned for a top model shoot. There were Prada bags, weaves and Mac cosmetic adorned faces that were so flawless I knew I couldn't’t compete. And why would I want to since this isn’t what that day represented. At least not for me and probably not for any of the other women who attended the first annual I AM WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network) Tour held in Atlanta. It wasn’t about “appearances” or profiling, it wasn’t about name dropping either, it was simply a day, for students and women of all backgrounds to come together and gain insight from some of the hottest trailblazers in the entertainment industry.
From the moment I heard Lauren Lake speak I knew the day was going to be special. Not only is she an attorney but also a motivational speaker, a television personality, author of the book “Girl! Let Me Tell You,” and former host of the HGTV show “Spice Up My Kitchen.” She along with 6 others panelists including: Nina Brown ( V-103’s morning show producer), Phaedra Parks (Entertainment Attorney, The Parks Group/Executive Consulting Producer of BET's “Tiny & Toya” show), Terrence J. (BET's 106 & Park co-host), Shanti Das(Executive Vice President of Universal Motown), Chaka Zulu (Disturbing the Peace Records, Ludacris’ label), Stacey Lee ( Former Miss Michigan ), Kaira Akita Whitehead (Actor, Tyler Perry Films) graced us with an afternoon of pure, unadulterated honesty and wisdom. At times I often felt like I was sitting in my living room talking to a few of my best friends because the conversations flowed that easily. I listened carefully as Nina Brown detailed the steps she took to become the producer of one of Atlanta's hottest morning radio shows. And even at 23yrs of age she wasn’t going to let that number or some veteran radio talent stop her from pursuing that dream. So with a little determination, tenacity and a strong willingness to learn she made it happen. Next up was Phaedra Parks, an well known entertainment attorney who credited her entrance into the business after having a conversation with a well known radio personality and mentor. But when Terrence J.from BET payed homage to his mother for being the catalyst and driving force for his career I couldn't help but feel his pride. He spoke of a young woman who became pregnant at 17 years of age who never had the chance to pursue her own dreams therefore, she became the fuel that ignited his hope of entering the entertainment industry. And with that, came the promise, to return every, single hope and dream his mom had loss. But the moment that stood out for me the most was when a woman in the audience asked how she could rekindle a tie she had established with Oprah's best friend, Gail King. It was a chance meeting she had with her many, many years ago that still had her feeling as if she had missed her shot at fame and fortune. After all was said, a very direct Ms. Lake looked her straight in the eye and replied…”Stop waiting for Gail King or anyone else to give you what you already have, create what “you” want for yourself.”
As I meditated on her words I remembered all my mentors, friends, and the people in my life that I had waited on to "take me" where I wanted to go. I wanted the gain without the pain and that's just not how the universe works. Simply talking about the place that I wanted to be wasn’t going to be enough. I had to have a vision and position myself for God’s blessings to flow through me and around me. I had to learn that I could no longer be a “pity party mess” and just dew what I needed to dew for myself. Then and only then did the visions of my life, not anyone elses become clear. One seed at a time I planted and used the gifts and talents God gave me and with his grace and hard work I'll continue to dew my thing.