2nd Annual Women’s Empowerment Expo at Cobo

Thousands of women from metro Detroit and beyond convened at Cobo Center on Saturday, August 15, to attend Radio One Detroit’s 2nd Annual Women’s Empowerment Expo. As advertised, the all-day event catered to helping women discover ways in which to empower themselves in every aspect of life.

The expo featured morning and afternoon seminars that included: “How to Successfully Promote Your Business”, “It May be in Style, but is it Your Style?”, “Keeping the Relate in Your Relationship”, “Ask The Lawyers”, and “No More Drama”. No topics were taboo, as the bestselling erotic author ZANE facilitated two packed seminars. One seminar was Your Best Sex Ever, which was followed by Bitterness and Baggage.

Expo-goers were also able to browse at the tables of more than 100 vendors. Just about every type of product and service was available that would be instrumental in the empowerment of women.

Wendy Williams, host of her top-ranked syndicated television talk show, “The Wendy Williams Show”, was a special guest at the expo, and she did not disappoint the large number of women – and a few men – gathered to hear her. Williams’ central theme was “Ten Things That Every Woman Should Know and Have.”

As Williams went through each item, loud roars of laughter was common. Her list included why every woman should have her own money, should always have a go-to dress ready for any occasion, and made the point that a woman should never cry at the workplace, or at least don’t let co-workers see her cry.

Williams said that all women in any kind of relationship, such as marriage or just living together, should have a separate bank account from their mate. Williams got the biggest applause when she said, “Men are great and I love them, however men are a luxury, not a necessity.”

The expo featured musical performances by such recording artists as gospel’s Tasha Page-Lockhart, R&B diva Faith Evans, R&B vocalist El Debarge, and hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh.

Perhaps the highlight of the Expo was an electrifying keynote speech by Iyanla Vanzant, acclaimed TV host, producer, speaker, spiritual entrepreneur, attorney, and New York Times bestselling author. Following a rousing introduction by Mildred Gaddis, Radio One host of “The Mildred Gaddis Show,” Vanzant gracefully entered the main speaking area where at least three thousand women were waiting. With the song “It’s My Time” by Kelly Price blasting, Vanzant sashayed slowly to the main stage, much to the delight of the charged-up audience.

Following a prayer for all women to be encouraged and empowered in their respective journeys in life, Vanzant, host of the television show “Fix My Life”, took off for an hour-long talk with the audience. Vanzant said that all women matter, regardless of what they have been through. She then reflected on how she was raised, saying, “I was raised by crazy folks. Now today they would be called dysfunctional, but in my day they were really crazy. My grandmother was mean, and for some reason, I was the object of her meanness, which impacted me in negative ways.”

Vanzant went on to talk about how women must learn how not to let anyone negatively impact them with mean words and deeds. She had specific words of advice for women ranging in age from those in their 20s to those in their 70s. She described their likes and the mental, spiritual, and physical evolution that women experience in those respective age brackets, while learning to live better as time progresses.

The core message resonated with many women when Vanzant urged them to pause in their lives at certain junctions. “We need to learn to pause sometimes in life,” she said. “Because, often we go from thing to thing, age to age, job to job, man to man, without pausing. We must learn to hit the pause button in order to see, know and enjoy who we are as women.”

While many women were appreciative of Vanzant’s honest and helpful words, it was Vanzant who was humble. “I want to thank you for who you’ve been in my life,” said Vanzant. “You’ve been the wind beneath my wings.”

“Iyanla was awesome,” said Mya Campbell, who drove from Chicago with two female friends. “She had a strong message for every woman in every age category. They were messages of truth and empowerment. I loved how she broke it down so simple.”

Mary Jackson-Sturdivant from Detroit, attended the expo with her mother Cassie. “I missed coming to the expo last year, but when I heard that Iyanla Vanzant was going to be a keynote speaker, I had to come,” said Sturdivant. “But besides hearing her, I was able to learn so much by attending the seminars to learn how to better promote my business. I can’t wait until next year!”


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