In many ways, 2017 was a challenging year for me. I know I’m far from alone in that fact but now that I can truly look back on the year that was, I realize the levels of trials and tribulations that surrounded me. Too often in 2017, I let tough times to pull me under. I allowed fear to control the narrative. I started to believe some of the negative self-talk in my own mind. I could feel myself withdrawing. I found myself experiencing real moments of doubt in my voice, in my purpose, in myself. I needed a boost. I needed perspective. I needed a reminder of my journey and my purpose. And almost out of nowhere, internationally respected haircare brand ORS asked if they could throw a very special anniversary dinner in my honor. Wanna hear something crazy? I almost turned the opportunity down. That’s the kind of negative self-talk I’m trying to fight off. That, and behind the scenes I’ve been weighed down by worries. It turned out that the #AfrobellaORS dinner was exactly what I needed on a few levels. Come with me inside the experience to see why! All these photos are by Tarji Michelle Photography — she captured the evening to perfection!
The venue was absolutely perfect. The Blanc Gallery is an elegant space that is currently showing Farewell 44, an Artist’s Tribute to Barack Obama. Our event was hosted in this gorgeous room, adorned with portraits of President Barack Obama. It all felt quite auspicious.
The room was adorned with bouquets by Alicia Wright of Avents by August — watching her in action was amazing, she made miracles for our dinner! If you’re in Chicago and seeking event planning or bouquets for an event, definitely check her out!
Chef Cliff Rome of Rome’s Joy Catering created an elegant and delicious menu.
The table was beautiful. The food was delicious. The company was everything I needed. And there was live music by Gifted Keys and a violinist. DJ MJ The Beautiful Beat kept the music bumpin’ before and after that! Seriously, we were body rolling throughout the meal — I’d go to any event DJ MJ The Beautiful Beat was DJing!
Even though it’s been 11 years of Afrobella, I STILL don’t love talking about myself. Neither does CEO of Namaste Laboratories, Shawn Tollerson. So we were perfectly matched! We had a brief discussion about the beauty industry, sisterhood, and the importance of supporting each other. I felt myself becoming more reflective as the conversation went on. The ORS team gave me flowers and I was so grateful for the whole experience, this moment, the people gathered. The significance. Words escape me.
I got in my feelings during part of the discussion. I mentioned earlier that I’ve been dealing with some behind the scenes feelings, and literally even going to this celebratory event was tough. My mom was in the hospital during the duration of this event, and right before arriving I found out about a procedure she needs to have to extend her life and improve her health. During the event I asked for the room of women gathered to join me in prayer for my mom. And then I shed a few tears — I tried not to but I couldn’t help it in that moment. The response truly touched my heart so much and helped to carry me through. My dear friend Tia Dantzler led us in prayer, and the room came together and prayed with us. It was one of the most important moments and I am so grateful. It is what my soul and spirit needed, truly.
SO many friends came out to show love and support. The room was overflowing and I got to see some old friends, meet some new ones and connect with people I love who I haven’t seen in a while. Needed ALL of that!
Like my friend Karli Butler of Burned Beauty, who I hadn’t gotten to see in a while!
Who else came? So so many other people I love, who have helped me grow and step into my purpose over the past decade, who have supported me or just been super genuine and sweet. Friends like Donedo and Erica Watson and Dr. Renee and Arella of Sweetheart Swan. Thank you for coming out.
Thank you ORS for putting all of this together!
At the dinner, ORS revealed a new look at their repackaged products. And everyone got a gift bag!
Thank you to ORS and amazing powerhouse PR Dionne Williams for one of the best nights of my last year!
This event was sponsored by ORS but the opinions here are 100% my own.