By Chavon Panton
Circle of Sisters (COS) is indeed moving, changing and growing. This was very evident last Saturday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York. Over a hundred vendors including COS featured vendors Kandielicious, Walk Tall Girl Productions, Fidelis Care, Disney World Resorts, United States Coast Guards, AARP – New York City, South Africa Tourism, Born Natural No 7, Healthfirst Wellness, me’ ME Natural You, SugabeeCosmetics, “You’re Beautiful, Black Girl”, Bare Essentials, ItzMade4Me, All Natural Supplements, LLC, Corshale BeurreBody Butters, Keisha’s Gemz, I Am Rehab: A Novel, MIMY – Mommy I miss You and many more came out to showcase and sell their products and more than thirty thousand attendees came out in support. What is the Circle of Sisters? COS is the premier and longest-running expo for women of color in New York City - and Is produced by WBLS-FM/WLIB–AM and Emmis Communications.
This year’s highlights included a star-studded Powerful panel featuring cast members Naturi Naughton, Rotimi, Joseph Sikora, and Larenz Tate discussing the groundbreaking show POWER and their careers in entertainment; and one-on-one with the author, living style legend and icon Dapper Dan on life from Harlem to now. He was also presented with the Style Icon Award.
Other features of the expo included conversations between WBLS’ Lenny Green and Hollywood starlet Megan Good who shared insights on health, love, life and the pursuit of personal happiness. Then there was one between WBLS’s Shaila and Grammy Award-winning singer Maxwell, who was also presented with the Renaissance Man Award. Four of the Exonerated 5: Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise were also 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, celebrities and music sensations hit the main stage and the performance stage delivering inspiring messages and electrifying performances. The lineup included 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. Then there was the cast of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, award-winning R&B soul singer and writer Brian Mcknight and songstress Deborah Cox among others. As Charlie Morgan, Senior Vice President/Market Manager WBLS/WBLIB puts it:
“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.”
The Circle of Sisters 2019 Gospel Explosion Hard to Beat!
WBLS’ Neicy Tribbett, Liz Black, and Donnie McClurkin
Can I get an Amen! The Circle of Sisters 2019 Gospel Explosion was equally spectacular and spiritual. The Gospel Explosion concert, hosted by WBLS’ Neicy Tribbett, Liz Black, and Donnie McClurkin was too hard to beat and probably is one of the greatest gospel events to happen yearly in New York City. The sold-out crowd was treated to some of gospels greats including Hezekiah Walker, Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Jonathan Nelson and Yolanda Adams.
Jonathan Nelson started the flow, belting out favorites such as “My Name is Victory” and “I Believe.” Anthony Brown & group therapy came after and gave an energetic performance mixed with strong vocals. The Stellar Award-winning singer’s setlist included “Worth”, “Trust in You”, “I Got That” and “Blessings on Blessings”. Next up was Yolanda Adams, one of the greatest voices of all time. This gospel royalty delivered serenity and an angelic sound with her presence and vocals. She sang songs like “The Battle is Not Yours and “Victory”.
Anthony Brown & group therAPy
Closing things out was Hezekiah Walker and the gifted Love Fellowship Choir. To be honest with you, this is probably one of the best Hezekiah Walker’s performances I have ever witnessed. He gave us soul, energy, hits after hits, and the anointing. He had the audience clapping their hands, crying, singing and dancing throughout his set. He rendered hits like “Every Praise”, “Sold Out”, “Grateful”, “Better” and more.
Another year, another hit! The 2019 Circle of Sisters Gospel Explosion was a success. Thanks to WBLS-FM/WLIB-AM, Emmis Communications and all the sponsors and supporters for contributing to this. See you next year