By Stephanie Woods
Circle of Sisters Expo 2019 produced and hosted by WBLS-FM and WLIB-AM radio and Emmis Communications, did it again! Another successful annual event which includes all the elements for lifting spirits, uplifting communities, and adding in self-care. The Circle of Sisters Expo was held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Saturday, September 7th, 2019, and it did not disappoint.
The annual event is a day in which not only the sisters come together to shop, learn firsthand from admired celebrities’ ways in which to become successful or to continue their path of success, but families are jointly excited to call this event their annual family gets together. While the entertainment is always a delight, the day of the Circle of Sisters is so much more.
This year’s celebrities and guest speakers included performances, award ceremonies for the Exonerated 5, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise and what’s next after their exoneration and to discuss the award-winning movie by Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series “When They See Us, The Central Park 5”, sister girl discussion which included how to speak with your millennial child, Daughters of The Movement panel discussion, which featured the daughters of our civil right leaders and iconic superstars: Gina Belafonte, daughter of Julie and Harry Belafonte; Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz; Dominique and Ashley Sharpton, daughter of Reverend Al Sharpton. IIyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz; Keisha Sutton-James granddaughter of Harlemite Percy Sutton, Suzanne Kay daughter of iconic superstar Diahann Carroll; Stacy Lynch daughter of Bill Lynch Democratic Strategist and campaign genius and Hasna Muhammad, daughter to Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
The expo opened its doors at 10 am, and guests were greeted with WBLS Mastermixers- the music kept the party going in between guest speakers and panel discussions. While the day was filled with nonstop excitement, education, upliftment, and the golden opportunity to meet the Exonerated 5, Harlem’s Dapper Dan was also on deck to discuss his new book and to give tips on learning your craft and reading as much as possible to perfect your skills. High school principal Akbar Cook, gives insight on education, understanding and talking with youth while combatting bullying. And The State of Black America: From #Hashtag to Action panel moderated by MSNBC host Joy Reid and political representation lead by civil rights activist and political commentator Harlem-based Reverend Al. Sharpton and featuring famed attorney Benjamin Crump, educator Akbar Cook, as well as political commentator, politician Bakari Seller.
Discussion included several star-studded cast members from Power-Joseph Sikora “Tommy Egan”, Rotimi-Dre, Naturi Naughton Tasha-St. Patrick and Larenz Tate-Councilman Tate.
WBSL Ann Trip, Lisa Evers, Fred “Bugsy” Buggs, Shaila hosted crowd-favorite Ignite Your Hustle: The Boss Chronicles panel returned with a candid discussion of success, failure and lessons learned on their way to the top with power bosses Lisa Price and BET executive Connie Orlando moderated by WBLS’ Déjà Vu.
Circle of Sisters also featured the 2019 Gospel Explosion hosted by WBLS’ Neicy Tribbett, Liz Black and Donnie McClurkin with featured performances by today’s leading gospel artists Hezekiah Walker, Anthony Brown, Jonathan Nelson, and Yolanda Adams and more.
This year’s lineup included Grammy award-winning singer Maxwell for a personal one-on-one conversation, R&B singer Brian McKnight and powerhouse songstress Deborah Cox (see below), who hit the performance stage for an unforgettable music showcase, Alison Hinds, Jeff Redd, Legendary DJ Red Alert, Maxi Priest, and DJ Chuck Chillout to name a few.
The day also included a ‘Good’ conversation with starlet Meagan Good and WBLS’ Lenny Green discussing life, love, health, and happiness; while the “Market Place” included over 300 vendors and healthcare services.
The Circle of Sisters Expo is truly a circle of “wellness, fun, education, entertainment, supportive service advice, spiritual upliftment and 360 degrees of well-being assistance and guidance.”
WBLS is the world’s Best Looking Sound since 1972, WBLS has been America’s most recognizable black radio station, laying the foundation for feel-good crossover tunes and a sincere dedication for community outreach. WBLS’ unique attention to the community has made it a heritage staple resting at 107.5FM. For decades, it has been and continues to be the #1 source for R&B music and lifestyle reaching the tri-state area with a clear, crisp signal sharing music and information.
107.5 WBLS-FM is a New York Urban Adult Contemporary station with 2.3 million listeners. 60% of WBLS-FM’s listeners are between the ages of 25-54. Broadcasting from it’s signal are award winning and internationally known personalities like Steve Harvey, Lenny Green, Donnie McClurkin, Dahved Levy, DJ Marley Marl, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and more. https://www.wbls.com/
Photo credit: 1) Dapper Dan. 2) Tamika Mallory. 3) The State of Black America MSNBC Joy Reid, Benjamin Crump and Akbar Cook. 4) Meagan Good. 5) Power Cast. 6) Rev. Al Sharpton. 7) Larenz Tate. 8) Daughters of The movement. 9) Power Fan Charlotte Manus. By Stephanie Woods.