2018 Black Woman's Expo: A Safe Space for African American Women (A Recap)

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Black Women's Expo Chicago (BWe Chicago) is the nation’s foremost exposition targeting the African American consumer market where she finds the latest trends, amazing new products and merchandise, gets informed, empowered and enlightened. This 3 days event was organized by MGPG Events and held at McCormick Place Convention Center.   BWe Chicago 2018 showcased a wide range of products and services catering to black women.  Products ranged from apparel and fashion accessories, health and wellness, cuisine and entertainment, medical services, home decor, nutrition, skin care products, beauty and fragrance, dating services, fitness and equipment, fashion and lifestyle, hand crafted arts, personal products, spa, and fitness.  The theme of this year’s expo was #SheMatters.  According to their website, “Strong, Savvy and Significant…The African American woman is all that and more”.   The expo featured seminars, workshops, celebrities, a teen summit, vendor’s marketplace and musical guests.   I was fortunate to attend this expo this weekend.

BWe 2018 Recap

BWe 2018 was inspiring, uplifting and celebratory.  I haven’t attended at BWe in over 5 years and I was really impressed by the many aspects of its evolution.  I found the seminars to be extremely informative, well planned and full of helpful content.  The theme of BWe was #SheMatters.  That theme was expressed in the seminars that focused on women as a whole (the sum of many things…get it?)…mind, body and soul.  I left the seminars on entrepreneurship, wellness, and brand building completely inspired.  It was wonderful to engage with women who were just like me; managing multiple businesses, family, social lives all while trying to keep their cup’s full.

The seminars were only a fraction of the expo.  The marketplace was a cornucopia of black owned and woman owned businesses catering to the African American Woman consumer.  I took my time navigating the crowds to really discover new brands, products and services that I hadn’t heard of previously.    I tried “Beyoncé” Sweet Tea from Ohh Wee Sweet Tea, met some incredible black men doing great things in the community with their organization, I Am a Gentleman,  allowed my daughter to color her hair with temporary silver color at the Dark and Lovely Booth , got tips on managing my natural hair at the Mielle Organics booth, sampled uniquely flavored popcorn at PopaCorn, tried not to spend all my money on fabulous fashions at the Khamryn B booth and picked up some beautiful journals at the Shades of Color Booth. There was so much more at the marketplace as well!  The amazing vendors and entrepreneurs selling financial products, beauty, health and wellness products, toys and books for children and so much more inspired me to spend more of my money at black owned businesses in the future!  I met some amazing authors who inspired me with their stories and their history.  As a writer, I was fascinated by their creative process and how they got started in the literary world.    The marketplace carried the theme of #SheMatters in offering products and services that catered to taking care of ourselves…mind, body and soul.

The expo is known for showcasing new and local talent in addition to having some of the biggest names in entertainment.  This year was no exception.  I checked out a variety of talent this year.  I was able to check out Poet, K-Love, and Black Ink Crew’s Phor, enjoy some house music with Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, and the soulful sounds of Johnny Gill.    My overall experience at BWe 2018 was extremely positive.  This was the first time I participated in every aspect of the expo (seminars, entertainment and marketplace).  I left more informed as a consumer with a list of companies I cannot wait to support.  I was inspired by the many #GirlBosses I met and spoke with and I left feeling uplifted and celebrated as a black woman. 

My blog, The Sum of Many Things, is about taking better care of ourselves both inside and out and keeping our cups filled.  The BWe embodied all of this in one incredible weekend at McCormick Place Convention Center.   We need safe spaces like this to uplift and empower one another especially during these times.  These moments serve as awesome reminders that we do indeed matter! #SheMatters

Until next time,

Take care of yourselves and one another.

D. Sanders