[Photos] A Day Of Empowerment With Cafe Mocha & The Honorees At This Year’s “Salute Her” Event
The guests, mostly African-American women, began filing in just after 10am. It was a sunny morning in Newark. Above, a bartender served mimosas. On the event floor, R&B tunes played and finishing touches were added to goodie bag. It was a bright day, and you could see all of the well-dressed attendees making their way into the the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
This was just the beginning of the Salute Her event on Saturday, a day to celebrate the empowering messages and various accomplishments of the nine selected honorees who have made a name across entertainment, media, activism and advocacy. In its third year, the event is hosted by Cafe Mocha Radio and WBLS. MadameNoire was the event’s media partner.
“They honor the people others don’t. The up-and-comers,” said Gwen Franklin, and attendee and friend of Cafe Mocha Radio creator and executive producer Sheila Eldridge.
The event is also an opportunity to talk about empowerment in the black community.
“You always hear about the negative stuff. The reality shows and how terribly they portray our women,” added Michelle Taylor, another attendee and friend of Eldridge’s. “I choose to celebrate the positive… Even though I’m not being honored, I feel empowered.”
Before arriving, we all knew who the honorees would be: model and RHOA star Cynthia Bailey; “I Will Survive” singer Gloria Gaynor; writer, relationship expert and Blood Sweat & Heels star Demetria Lucas; journalist Lola Ogunnaike; children’s advocate Evelyn Mejil; entertainment publicist Simone Smalls; Sister2Sister publisher Jamie Foster-Brown; HBCU broadcast pioneer D. Cherie Lofton; and Ilyasah Shabazz, author and daughter of Malcolm X.
But it was the words of the honorees that the audience found moving. Ilyasah Shabazz remembering her mother who persevered after having her home firebombed while she was pregnant. Evelyn Mejil who spoke with great emotion about accepting her honor on behalf of all of the abused children she works with. And Lola Ogunnaike who advised everyone to “step out on faith” to follow your dreams.
Check out a few of the photos from the day in the following pages. Credit for all photos, including the one above, goes to Kyron-DVSphotography.