ABOVE PHOTO: Sen. Vincent Hughes (bottom photo) and wife actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph (above photo) with Jasmine Daniels (2015 Miss Teen Pennsylvania) and Nancy Rolling (Former Miss Pennsylvania Princess). (Photo by Leona Dixon)
By Kharisma McIlwaine
Radio One’s Be Beautiful Expo took over the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a day dedicated to beauty. The event featured live music on two sound stages, and local vendors who offered advice, demonstrations, and a variety of products. One of the vendors that caught my attention was Iaso Tea, a natural detoxifying and weight loss tea that offered delicious free samples. Rugged Cross Vintage Tees also stood out, with quirky catch phrases with biblical references. The big kid in me noticed the Pavillion area, which included a “Kid’s Zone” filled with inflatable slides and fun for the whole family.
In addition to the vendors, live music, and activities, there were a number of celebrity guests including; Rap royalty MC Lyte and Big Daddy Kane, Actor Laz Alonzo, Sen. Vincent Hughes and his wife, the original Diva Sheryl Lee Ralph just to name a few. I was honored to speak with Sen. Hughes about his contribution to the Be Beautiful Expo. “They asked my wife and I to speak on a panel discussion called “Marriage Beyond the Vows”… It was a really good conversation. Of course when you get a chance to speak to about 8,000 people, coming through, seeing what’s going on, giving out information that’s all good stuff.” Sen. Hughes also shared his newest initiative. “In honor of Selma and the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, we’re getting ready to introduce legislation calling for universal automatic voter registration. People can get registered on the spot… So we break down all the barriers for people voting. Once we get them registered, then they just have to know there’s no excuse not to vote… No excuses!”
I also caught up with “Living Single” panelist, and Philadelphia native Shawn Bullard. Bullard stars in WETv’s “Match Made in Heaven”, which airs Thursday at 11pm/et. Bullard made history becoming America’s first and only African American bachelor on television. Bullard shared his reason for attending the Be Beautiful Expo and what we can look forward to with his upcoming and current projects. “I love women, I’m all about women being beautiful so it’s a pleasure to be here… This is home.” Bullard added “I have a book about to come out called “Intimacy is More Important than Love.” It talks about helping a woman from a man’s perspective find love and the right man. The book comes out in the fall of this year, but we’re starting to promote it now and get the brand out.” Bullard ended our chat sharing his enthusiasm for his show “Match Made in Heaven”. “The show is going amazing, the ratings are through the roof! I’m America’s first black bachelor ever… it’s an epic show.”
I enjoyed my time at the Be Beautiful Expo. Beauty can be enhanced with fashion, a solid skin regimen, healthy eating and regular exercise…but more importantly, beauty comes from cultivating healthy relationships, finding things that make you happy, and nourishing the soul with positive vibes. This was the first Be Beautiful Expo, but by the looks of the turnout, I don’t think it will be the last.