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Laz Alonso and Marvin Sapp at Verizon’s Celebrate Your Story Brunch in New Orleans

Laz Alonso and Pastor Marvin Sapp at the Celebrating Your Story Brunch hosted by Verizon.

On a radiant New Orleans afternoon, actor Laz Alonso and Pastor Marvin Sapp broke bread at the storied Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward with a group of journalists. The two men, joined by Verizon representatives, met up to help raise awareness for Verizon’s Celebrating Your Story, Empowering Your Network initiative.

CNN's Roland Martin, Laz Alonso, Krista Bourne, the president of Verizon Houston Gulf Port Region; Dooky Chase and Victoria Boston, the sales director Washington DC of Verizon.

“Celebrating Your Story, Empowering Your Network is designed to pay tribute to African American leaders in our community that are empowered to giving back to the communities they serve and are a member of,” said Krista Bourne,  who is the president of the Houston/Gulf Coast Region for Verizon Wireless. “We celebrate leaders in the African American community that enrich themselves by giving back with their skills, their gifts and their talents. Influencers include Pastor Marvin Sapp, Dr. Steve Perry, actor Laz Alonso, DJ Beverly Bond, The Three Doctors and sports figures Tia Norfleet and Malcolm Jenkins.”

Sapp and Alonso shared their personal life journeys over a Dooky Chase’s signature spread that included baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, quiche, fresh fruit and homemade biscuits. The men openly encouraged others to engage in such an open dialogue. Pastor Marvin Sapp spoke of life without his wife and about being a single father.

“My life has been traumatic, and [this partnership with Verizon] gives me the opportunity to live publicly a therapeutic life to tell my story of the passing of my wife,” Sapp said. “I’m a single dad and I have to go down aisles in the grocery store that I’ve never had to go down before. It’s been a very valuable lesson over the last two years.”

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