Red carpet photos by Hayden Greene
The signature event, Circle of Sisters, continues to reign as the largest EXPO in New York City celebrating and uniting African American women and families. This year’s highlights included a star-studded PowerFULL panel featuring cast members Naturi Naughton, Rotimi, Joseph Sikora and Larenz Tate discussing the groundbreaking show POWER and their careers in entertainment; a one-on-one with conversation with author, living style legend and icon Dapper Dan discussing his life from Harlem to now, and presenting him with the Style Icon Award. Right On! Digital was on the scene providing event coverage.
The day kicked off with WBLS’s Shaila Taking It to the Max – an intimate conversation of life, culture and music with Brooklyn native and Grammy Award-winning singer Maxwell. The artist was also presented with the Renaissance Man Award. On the not-to-be missed performance stage, award-winning R&B soul singer and writer Brian Mcknight and songstress Deborah Cox gave an unforgettable music showcase that left the audience in a joyful mood.
Four of The Exonerated 5: Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise stood strong and proud as they were each honored with the Freedom Fighter Award recognizing their journey to vindication as portrayed in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series When They See Us, The Central Park 5.
Throughout the day, top celebrities and music sensations hit the stage delivering candid and inspiring messages to the audience. From today’s major boss ladies Lisa Price and BET’s Connie Orlando to political analysts and
MSNBC hosts Joy Reid and Rev. Al Sharpton, to social justice leaders Tamika Mallory, Ilyasah Shabazz and Gina Belafonte,
and 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst – all shared truths and candid discussions to better the community and inner self.
WBLS’ Lenny Green hit the mainstage with a “Good Life” conversation with Hollywood star
Meagan Good sharing insights on health, love, life and the pursuit of personal happiness. We closed the day with a rousing and electrifying performance by the cast of Tony-nominated Broadway musical
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, followed by the sold-out Gospel Explosion concert, 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.
“Each year we commit to produce an amazing Circle of Sisters for our audience and annually, we exceed our expectations to deliver a larger, more impactful and memorable experience to our community. This year was no different, with popular celebrities, an increased number of attendees, a plethora of shopping opportunities and simply, an unforgettable way to spend your Saturday,” says Charlie Morgan, Senior Vice President/Market Manager WBLS/WLIB. “From the up close-and-personal discussions with our famed celebrities to the music performances by our favorite artists to special award recognitions by trailblazers to a sold-out gospel concert and of course, the curated marketplace, Circle of Sisters remains a consistent success.”
Highlights From Panels
“Power represents the culture in an authentic way because of the diversity of the characters in coming from different backgrounds. Power also utilizes music in a cool way. The fact that even the theme song is important to viewers says a lot.” – Naturi Naughton
“Power has changed the entire trajectory of my life and career.”- Joseph Sikora
“Everyone respects each other. It feels like a family as I’ve watched each actor grow and I’m happy to be a part of the Power family.” – Larenz Tate
State of Black America: From #Hashtag to Action
“We need our village to come back and be involved with our children and stop the selfish mentality. Today, our children need, more than ever, the village to reach success.” – Akbar Cook
“It makes a huge difference to serve on the jury. It’s an important vote as a citizen because you will determine the destiny of black people living in America.” – Benjamin Crump
“Mothers have to be present. In school, we have to show up for our children. We need to start inquiring and getting proper resources for our children to stop the school-to-prison pipeline.” – Crystal Williams
Daughters of the Movement
“We need to wrap our minds around the black woman’s voting power. It’s important for us to learn about our history and constantly have conversations about it – as there is great wisdom/jewels to take in.” – Gina Belafonte
“When people tend to comment on how “loud”/“aggressive” my father was, we forget to look at what we are fighting against. We were fighting for justice all around the world. Our identity was at stake. He re-instilled the idea that the indigenous have a history. It is important for our children to receive the benefits of our work.”- Hasna Muhammad
“A society is measured by the progress of its women. We have to subscribe to the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.” – Ilyasah Shabazz
“Don’t be afraid of the power that you hold inside of you. We are the change that we’ve been looking for. Don’t be afraid to ignite the giant that is within you. It’s important to carry out that purpose and drop it into the generation ahead.” – Dominique Sharpton