The mission of the Texas Black Expo is, “to foster business growth and development, educate and expose youths to the world of entrepreneurship, and provide events designed to inform, economically empower and establish the local community.” The main goal is to brand the organization as more than just a once-per-year trade show organization. Event producers, President Jerome Love, Vice President Shannon Cormier Ph.D. and Etched Communication strived to do just that, but something was missing.
I attended the Texas Black Expo at the George R. Brown. Although I haven’t been in several years, it most certainly is not in the same shape of which I left it.Back in the day, the Black Expo had become the largest African-American marketing trade show in the state of Texas, drawing close to 20,000 attendees, more than 250 vendors, and numerous attractions over the course of the nationally recognized two-day weekend. With rain projections and murmurs of heavy down pours I can see why the attendance was nowhere near its aforementioned levels, so we expected that. What we didn’t expect was a convention center full of an interesting “selection” of lack luster vendors and an uneventful schedule of events. As “media” I covered both days and can easily say there were roughly 50 vendors in attendance and 150 people both days. You can see my full 2 day coverage at the bottom of this post!
The weekend kicked off with The Diva Dialogue session and was slated as THE most highly anticipated event of the weekend, and was by far the most widely attended event of the afternoon. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from national radio host Angela Yee, Queen of celebrity gossip Necole Bitchie, beauty & lifestyle expert Lady Emmy, and Radio and TV personality Devi Dev as the sessions emcee. The ladies discussed the importance of uplifting and empowering one another. Angela said, “Don’t forget to tell someone that they did a great job, or did something right, versus something they did wrong. Positivity goes a long way.”
Necole Bitchie, Angela Yee, Lady Emmy and Devi Dev
That was cool and it seemed that the young ladies really enjoyed hearing what these four had to share. They waited eagerly in line for photos afterwards as did we. Devi Dev is the sweetest!
That being said, we had no choice but to make the best of it and patron those vendors in attendance. Some of them were great and some looked as though they were just killing time, to say the least. Mr. Frickles World Famous Candy Pickles was without a doubt an expo favorite. The sad part is that these “Kool-Aid” pickles were the highlight of the two-day expo, but the best part is they’re local. Owner Robert Sullivan has a smile and spirit that could light up a room.
He was so passionate about his product and offered every guest that stopped by a sample of all 15 flavors, with green apple being the crowd favorite. Not only are they delicious, Mr. Frickles pickles are GREAT for post workout muscle cramps!! Pick up your own jar at their Northwest Houston location: 1062 W. Little York, Houston Texas 77091.
Frickles Owner, Rodney Sullivan
I ran into Zin, Founder/President of Houston’s premier 24/7 streaming radio station – All Real Radio. All Real Radio was created with the sole purpose of informing, educating, and entertaining a worldwide body of socially responsible individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic brackets. They were on site promoting positivity with their live, on-air interviews with select vendors as well as sharing with expo attendees the importance of community activism.
Deniz Lopez, Director of Operations, Zin, Founder/President, Amber Rangel & Saeed Rose
I chatted with them about why attending and supporting an event like the Texas Black Expo was important. Collectively they shared that, “Blacks are the largest group of consumers, and it’s imperative that those monies make it back to the community. It’s all about cooperative economics, unity, and building!” Listen to them live by clicking hereand make sure youdownload their free app!
There were a few other vendors that had great work. Shades of Color, LLC is a California based Black owned business dedicated to bringing positive images of African Americans to homes and offices everywhere!
Who Made the Soap? had such a decadent display of premium handmade organic soaps, that looked so good I was hard pressed not to eat them. Visit their website to see their other specialty products like shea butter, body butters and sugar scrubs.
Debra Hubbard of My Black Don’t Crack
The saying goes that “black don’t crack” typically because black women have the uncanny ability to never age. When I ran into Ms. Debra Hubbard, the founder of My Black Don’t Crack, I had to stop and show her some love. This sista was smart enough to trademark “Black Don’t Crack” something said in our community all the time! Debra is based in LA but brought her work to the expo and was a total hit. I can’t wait to rock some of her gear.
If you were unable to attend this year’s Texas Black Expo they have already confirmed next year’s dates. Mark your calendar for June 9-12, 2016 and search the hashtag #TBE2016 for event updates.