2:02 AM / Wednesday October 4, 2023

31 Jul 2011

Black celebrities attend The Black Expo in Oakland

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July 31, 2011 Category: Oasis Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Participating in the Bay Area Black Expo were (top row from left) Regina Belle, Danny Glover, Lenny Williams; (bottom row from left) Laura Wright, founder of Avid Exposure LLC; Bishop Ernestine Reems and Rose Verdun Lyles, Bay Area Black Expo, LLC, President.


Oakland, CA –With over 5500 attendees and 100 vendors, the Bay Area Black Expo® celebrated its 20th anniversary at the world famous Oakland Coliseum this past weekend. This year’s expo featured several surprise guests including actor Danny Glover who exhibited as a vendor called “Inspire Group”, R&B singer Ray J who came by to eat some gumbo and barbeque, and The R.O.D. Project who performed his great hits along with his label mate Jimmie Reign.


The fun continued as Bay Area native Lenny Williams did an impromptu performance with Prince Damons and then Grammy-Nominated artist Regina Belle fired-up the audience with Gospel songs and praise. In addition, several supporters came out including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Vice Mayor Desley Brooks, and Councilmember Larry Reid.


To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Bay Area Black Expo, Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid presented a Proclamation announcing “Bay Area Black Expo Weekend” and a Certificate of Recognition from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office to the co-producers, Laura Wright and Rose Lyles. Additionally on Sunday, Saundra Andrews, Outreach Coordinator and Senior Field Representative for Congresswoman Lee, presented a resolution from Assemblymember Nancy Skinner representing the 14th Assembly District.


“I’m happy to know that sponsors such as Kaiser Permanente, BART and PG&E are continuing to support the Black Expo in Oakland,” stated Oakland Mayor Jean Quan during an interview on Saturday morning.


PHOTO: Hill Harper offers a donation to this young dad, seen with his daughter, to help pay off some of his credit card debt.


In addition to entertainment and recognition, the Career/College Fair took place and featured historically black schools such as Lincoln University, Howard University, and Tuskegee University. Several students attended a financial college workshop “How to Create A College Financial Plan” facilitated by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Alumni Association. After students learned about college they were excited to participate in the Raider’s Family Day and won prizes from The Oakland Raiders.


“The Black Expo has been a staple in the African-American community for 20 years and it provides resources and information to its attendees. We are thankful to the corporations and organizations that continued to support the expo during this anniversary year,” states Laura Wright, CEO.


The Coliseum-based Black Expo featured a Health Pavilion sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, which had medical screenings, exercise workshop, a blood drive by Blood Centers of the Pacific and several resources in health care and prevention. A ‘Beauty Fair’ sponsored by Upscale Magazine had various stylists from Marinello Beauty School and hair care products during a cosmetics demonstration panel. In addition to beauty enthusiast activities, the black expo crowned Ms. Margaret’s Catering as the 2011 ‘Top Chef of the Bay’.


Additionally, the Bay Area Black Expo’s events included the Entrepreneurship workshops spearheaded by Operation Hope, which helped small businesses on how to acquire funding and alternative financial resources in a down economy. Following the workshop was an important segment, “A Conversation with Hill Harper,” facilitated by co-producer Laura Wright, which was held to discuss teaching our community about financial independence. Attendees also learned about ‘The Wealth Cure,’ which is the new title of Harper’s upcoming book. Not only did Hill Harper inspire our youth to be debit free but he identified a young man from the crowd, asked him what his current credit card debit was and gave him cash to pay off all his debt on the spot.


Several vendors participated in this year’s expo including State Farm, Pepisco, Comerica Bank, Wells Fargo, Sparkpoint, Innercity Services, Oakland Conventions & Visitors Bureau, San Francisco Police Department, BART, Rolling Hills Memorial Park, and several others. The Bay Area Black Expo looks forward to continuing to empower the African-American community in 2012. More Information on the Bay Area Black Expo can be found at

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