The spirit of The Root’s Young, Fabulous and Female evening Tuesday in Atlanta was summed up quite nicely in a piece of advice shared by Meet the Browns actress Terri J. Vaughn:
“When we are all propelling each other, we all rise to the top.”
Vaughn made the remark during a wide-ranging panel discussion on matters of beauty, career advancement and sisterhood, moderated by veteran journalist and on-air personality Jacque Reid. They were joined by SWV singer Tamara “Taj” George, Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond and Jones magazine’s editor-in-chief, Tracey Ferguson.
More than 230 of the young, fabulous and female from Atlanta and surrounding areas came out to the W Atlanta-Buckhead Hotel for the Target-sponsored event. Themed “The Beauty of Success,” the evening also included a networking cocktail reception where live music was pumping and candy-red Targetinis were flowing. The Root’s “Tweeps” joined in via the hashtag #youngfabfemale.
But the women in the audience didn’t show up just to network. They wanted answers on how to get their careers going and how to connect with one another in a positive way. Time and time again, the conversation kept coming back to how to give and gain support from other black women. Ferguson admitted that early on, she hadn’t received a lot of guidance from the black women around her and had to rely on herself; Bond said that her experience in the male-dominated field of deejaying was that most of the naysayers were men, and she thrived on proving them wrong every night at the turntables. Bond (Black Girls Rock!), Vaughn (Take Wings Foundation) and George (Visions With Infinite Possibilities) all have groups focused on helping young women thrive.
In answer to an audience member’s question about whether you always need to lead in order to effect change, Reid counseled, “You don’t need to be in charge to make a difference. When you see somebody doing something that you like, support it. You may find out your purpose.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was an appearance by the other members of SWV, Cheryl “Coko” Clemons and Leanne “Lelee” Lyons, who joined George in discussing the challenges black women face supporting one another and working together. The R&B trio (Weak, Right Here) confirmed that, despite all the challenges they’ve faced since their string of hits in the ‘90s, they are back in the studio working on an album together. (Check back on The Root next week to see our video interview with them.)
George’s advice to young women who are trying to find themselves and follow their dreams: “Before you can love anyone else or anything else, you have to love yourself.”
Check back on The Root for video from the evening, a photo gallery and more.
To read more now about “Young, Fabulous and Female: The Beauty of Success in Atlanta,” see coverage from the following outlets: