LisaRaye, Eric Benet, Comedian Sinbad, Others Pay Tribute to Tom Joyner Cruise

A.J. and LisaRaye
GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman – Just one trip on the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage is apparently not enough for the throngs of celebrities who’ve attended during the past 12 years. Many eager celebs gorge themselves on the vast menu of activities, events, panel discussions, dances, concerts and pretty much out-party the partiers despite their busy performance schedules.
This is what’s most interesting, listening to the celebs marvel over the TJFV. These are the types who are accustomed to being catered to, who travel the world, go to the great awards shows, vacation on islands, sit court-side or on the 50-yard line and have fans genuflect at their feet. Yet these African American celebrities offer resounding testimony that the Tom Joyner-inspired cruise is the one experience they must return to year-after-year. Some have even developed a Chris Rock “Pooky” addiction and must feed that habit every year.

We weren’t’ able to pull aside every celebrity on the boat (There are too many.), but those that we did offered these words about the special, one-of-a-kind excursion.

Comedian Sinbad surrounded by fans on the cruise.
LisaRaye: “I can’t stay up half as much as these older folks. I’m trying to get to George Town [Grand Cayman] so that I can tan. I love that our people can come together and enjoy each other and embrace one another in an experience that you cannot get anywhere else.”

Comedian Sinbad: “Being on this boat … this is it. It put us together, the kinship we have on this boat. Usually, when you go on a cruise, there will be only two or three of you. Now, we’re taking over boats. We’re taking over planes [that go to the cruise]. You see people on the dock looking like (He folds his face up in a mock look of disgust.). It’s a beautiful thing. I just love being here on this boat.”

Eric Benét: “I love the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage because they have activities that are catered to us. And I get to see acts like Eddie LeVert, who blessed my CD with a duet.”

Gospel singer Bobby Jones: “What I like about coming on this cruise so much is this: There are lot of people who don’t like for us to come on this cruise. And what I mean is those who are very vocal about us professing our Christianity. They say ‘Oh, you are going on the devil’s cruise.’ and I say ‘No, we’re not on the devil’s cruise. You might be the one going on the devil’s cruise.’ These people here are just real people, and that’s why I love being on this cruise.”

Jon B: “I’m really enjoying the cruise. To be in the presence of such great musical artists and to be able to shake hands with y’all, that’s the realest thing in life. So, when you see me on the boat, just know that you are seeing a happy guy who’s in the right place at the right time.”

Talk show and crusade host Tom Joyner: “I believe we’re put on this earth to help somebody. I was blessed with an idea for this cruise, and that’s all we do is help students attend black colleges and universities. Since 1998, we’ve raised over $60 million.”

–terry shropshire

Terry Shropshire
Terry Shropshire

A military veteran and Buckeye State native, I've written for the likes of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Detroit Free Press. I'm a lover of words, photography, books, travel, animals and The Ohio State Buckeyes. #GoBucks

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