#SHEMatters : Black Women’s Expo 2017
Freedom, responsibility, happiness. That’s what I amongst many whom participated encountered walking into the 2017 Black Women Expo at McCormick Place, Downtown Chicago. The three day weekend event highlighted the power of black women within the community of Chicago expanding to a nationwide tour. From Chicago, To Atlanta, and Washington DC these black queens produce the expo to encourage and support that spread of commerce within the black community. Amongst big name sponsors and partnerships, like Walgreen’s, My Black is Beautiful, and United Airlines, small independently owned business exhibit their products, encouraging networking opportunities between owners and investors. One of the main purposes of the expo was to inspire and teach people about the industries that black women have and are currently dominated in, outside of the typical beauty market that black women are stereotypically assumed to only succeed in. Now in its 23rd year, the Black Women Expo has elevated to new heights including a celebrity line up of panelist and performers whom all expressed their queen within.
“My main priority is generation next, in that we have got to begin to set those positive example s for generations next. If we stick together to support one another in our communities than our communities will flourish.” – Vivica A. Fox
Friday commenced as the first day of the Expo were vendors and sponsor anxiously prepare for the weekend’s festivities. The divisions of the expo include the thought provoking seminar and workshops addressing issues within the African American community, as well as a teen summit to address today’s African American youth. Throughout the expo included Local and national celebrities and notables, like Actress Vivica A. Fox and Real Housewives of Atlanta Star Kandi Burruss, for others to engage with. While the main stage filled up with local artists from Keyanna Spears to international Artist like K. Michelle, the exhibition floor was the jewel of the expo displaying a 3 day showcase of all goods. These goods and services provided by sponsors, like Luster’s Hair, State farm Insurance, and iheart Media enhance and diversified each attendee social experience.
The enriched need for inclusion at the Black women’s expo makes the marketplace very diverse, attracting an audience from the hearts of 5 year olds to the gracing ages of 50+. The expo partly attracts their audience through strategic media campaigns within radio, television, digital, and social media markets. However, within each market traditionally are media partnerships done to enhance awareness of the expo. For example, in 2016 the expo had media partnerships as well as sponsorships with Chicago iHeart Radio stations, V-103, Inspiration 1390 Am, and Hip – Hop and R&B station 107.5 WGCI were each organization can advertise goods while brand promote to the black consumer simultaneously in the radio market. The same thing happened in 2015 with local television news station ABC-7 news Chicago, covered media of the expo throughout the 3-day event displaying on the evening news as well as on their website. This year the station took part of panelist discussion through representative Reporter Evelyn homes taking part of a social justice discussion examining issues within the Chicago community. What’s cool is how many of their participants are members of the City of Chicago Communities, enhancing how this event is usually the hottest new talked about in the city of Chicago. At the Black Women’s expo, all minds can uniquely interact with the different partnered sponsors and vendors, giving space to an open-minded experience for new and former participants.
“The people that are on the air, that people watch every day come out and it just gives the public a chance to see them face to face and not just on a screen. It’s great for our community for them to see the people they watch every day on TV. “– Donna Williams, Expo representative for ABC 7 News Chicago.
Merry Green, Founder of The Black Women’s Expo, emphasizes the importance of spreading education as well as enhancing commerce within the black community through the expo. A pointed emphasized by her as well as the expo is the value of marketing to the black consumer. The tour of the black women’s expo is set to continue mid- summer as they stop at Atlanta, GA on July 28- 30th and continue to the final stop this fall in Washington, DC on September 20th- 23rd.
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