Popular experiential expo slated for three-city tour in 2016
The Black Women’s Expo (BWE), one of Chicago’s most anticipated annual experiential events, celebrates its 22nd anniversary in Chicago April 8 – 10 at McCormick Place, marking the first stop of a three city tour that will take the BWE to Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Under the theme “She Matters,” the Black Women’s Expo offers African American women an opportunity to get informed, empowered and enlightened, while discovering the latest trends and amazing new products and services specifically created for them.
For 22 years, the Black Women’s Expo has continued to grow in Chicago, and is now the longest running exposition of its kind. Over 30,000 people, from 14 surrounding states, are expected to attend the expo during its three-day run at the McCormick Place Convention Center. This year that experience will extend to the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. September 16 – 18 and Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center October 7 – 9th. The rich cultural experience, while targeted to women, has elements for men, families and children.
“At the Black Women’s Expo we’ve always championed the fact that Black women matter and we’ve sought to celebrate all the roles they fill in their family, career and community, said Merry Green, founder of the Expo. This year’s theme of “She Matters” is a recognition of the times in which we find ourselves, and we plan to carry that message of support for Black women across the country in 2016.”
The BWE offers informative seminars and panel discussions presented by notable local and national speakers and lecturers, educational exhibits and corporate displays, and rousing entertainment. Historically, the standing-room only seminars have addressed such issues as health & wellness, racial equality, hair & beauty, travel, career advancement, business/entrepreneurship, the welfare of our children and much more.
BWE’s seminars and workshops will be far-ranging and engaging, featuring topics that impact women’s daily lives. Additionally, there will be a Town Hall Meeting examining the issues around police involved shootings and protecting our civil rights and a Teen Summit addressing issues pertinent to African American youth.
BWE also offers African American consumers themed pavilions including the Literary Café, which showcases African American authors and booksellers; the Natural Hair Pavilion, featuring products specifically for natural hair; the Health & Wellness pavilion, where local medical institutions provide much-needed health information and screenings; B-Groomed Men’s Den, a space where male guests can experience pampering and grooming, as well as see the best in men’s fashion; the Kidz Korner, sponsored by Mariano’s is an exciting space for young people with interactive games, exercise and fun activities. New this year is an Art Pavilion curated by artist Jonathon Romain featuring 10 outstanding artists.
The BWE official opening night event will be the BWE’s Phenomenal Woman Awards Reception, paying tribute to seven outstanding Chicago area women whose excellence in a variety of fields commands recognition. The 2016 honorees are Corporate – Corliss Garner, BMO Harris; Community Service – Torrey Richardson, Dear Father Letter Writing Movement; Education – Carol “Safisha” Lee, PhD The Betty Shabazz International Charter Schools; Health – JoAnne Glenn, W.O.T. Foundation, Inc.; Faith-Based – Rev. Janette Wilson, Rainbow Push; Entrepreneur – Fallon Johnson, Annie Bell Fragrances; Political – Kim Foxx, Cook County Government; Philanthropy – Nicole Robinson, Mondelez; Launa T. Thompson Spirit Award – Angela Ingram, iHeart Media Markets Group, Chicago Region; Inaugural She Matters Award – Sandra Bland (Posthumous). The Gala will be presented on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Continental Ballroom.
The Black Women’s Expo is brought to you by Walgreen’s, State Farm, United Airlines, ABC 7 Chicago, Luster’s You Be-Natural and Pink, Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA), Mariano’s, the Illinois Lottery, University of Chicago Medicine, BET Centric, PNC Bank, T-Mobil, ComEd, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Inspiration 1390, V-103 and WGCI. Media sponsors include The Chicago Defender and the Chicago Crusader. Expo hours are Friday, April 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, April 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $6 for children; weekend passes are available for $45. Tickets for The Black Women’s Expo can be purchased online at www.theblackwomensexpo.com. Half-priced, advanced adult tickets are currently on sale at participating Walgreens stores. For information or tickets for the Phenomenal Woman Awards Reception, call 312-454-6100. Follow The Black Women’s Expo on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and use the hashtag #SheMatters.