Famed actress Nia Long, CNN analyst Roland Martin, and FUBU executive and Crown Holder Jay Alexander Martin shared their interpretations of "The Future of Black America" as part of the first Black Expo held in Savannah, Georgia, April 10, at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.
In addition to serving as the inaugural Black Expo for Savannah, the event also kicked off the 2010 Black Expo Tour, now scheduled to appear later this year in the following locations:
- June 19– Raleigh, North Carolina
- August 21– Virginia Beach, Virginia
- September 24– Atlanta, Georgia
- November 6–Charlotte, North Carolina
- Dates for appearances in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Baltimore, Maryland, have not yet been announced.
The Savannah event was chaired by Georgia State Rep. J. Craig Gordon (D-Savannah). The representative welcomed exhibitors to the Expo Saturday morning before opening the doors to eager attendees and introduced Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) who had been asked to comment on the very current topic of President Barack Obama and economic recovery. Barrow acknowledged the severity of the current recession at the same time that he noted the progress that has been made and the opportunities now available through the Economic Recovery Act. However, he cautioned, "Since this isn’t our daddy’s Great Depression, this [the Economic Recovery Act] isn’t our daddy’s New Deal."
Barrow further applauded the entrepreneurial spirit of the 100-plus exhibitors and vendors at the event and told them, "Y’all are the only ones actually growing jobs as you develop your businesses and move forward."
Evolution of a Modern Concept
The working template for Black Expo began to evolve just over a decade ago out of Black Expo USA, which in the past presented high-powered seminars in cities like New York and Chicago. The McCants Communications Group, based in North Carolina, hosts the current Black Expo and also publishes the popular Black Pages USA directories. Previous Black Expos have featured such powerhouse presenters as the Rev. Al Sharpton, rapper MC Lyte, actor Boris Kodjoe, actor Morris Chestnut, singer Musiq Soulchild, and numerous others.
John McCants, a councilmember for the city of Goose Creek, South Carolina, has been affiliated with the Black Expo in its various manifestations for some 17 years and is the father of the organization’s president, Gerry McCants. Speaking in an interview about the impact of Black Expo over the past almost two decades, John McCants noted, "It’s good to show your merchandise by coming out and enjoying building relationships with people who are part of businesses that try to draw more people into their networks."
He said he also felt it important that individuals involved in business networking remember what he feels is the primary human and spiritual purpose behind it: "We’re all on this earth to serve each other," said McCants. "As we serve each other and move along and help each other, we find our best skills. And we are then able to pass them on and help others better their skills in life."
PLEASE CLICK FOR: City of Savannah Hosts First Black Expo Part 2