Failure: Lab Detroit set off summer ’16 with an intimate evening of compelling stories and phenomenal entertainment. The innovative TED Talks inspired series has garnered increasing popularity since its launch in 2012. Sponsored by New Holland Brewing Co., Open Systems Technologies Inc., and Build Institute, this installment was held at Detroit’s historic Jam Handy. It was hosted by business partners and devoted Detroiters Jacquise Purifoy and Nina Payne. Tasty cocktails mellowed the crowd as they engaged with six dynamic storytellers who shared their personal and professional setbacks.
Pastor Barry Randolph of the world famous Church of the Messiah spoke about his missed opportunity to collaborate with Oprah Winfrey. His anger with his estranged brother’s sabotage remains, but he has found his purpose by contributing to his community’s revitalization.
Entrepreneurs were well represented, starting with the owner of Goodness Gracious Florals and Gifts, Kelly Anne Jones. She said that she was a “failure at love” due to her traumatic experiences with sexual harassment during her service in the military. Her blunt delivery was both amusing and sobering. Jones’ passion is evident in the simple to extravagant floral decor Goodness Gracious provides for various occasions.
Author, speaker and mentor Shawn Blanchard has proven that excellence prevails despite overwhelming odds. His memoir, How ‘Bout That For A Crack Baby, is a vivid account of how he aspired to persevere, despite his traumatic childhood. He now focuses on educating and mentoring young males nationwide.
Mental illness can be crippling, especially when someone is in denial. “I lost my home, my job and countless hours of sleep, all because I chose to ignore a basic human condition,” admitted owner of Detroit Maid, Danielle Smith. Her choice to maintain a “Facebook facade,” faded as she learned to embrace her diagnosis with Bipolar disorder. Smith started Detroit Maid in 2013 when she couldn’t find a cleaning company that serviced Detroit.
Wine lovers know that once you “wine” a bit, you feel better. Partner of the House of Pure Vin wine shop, Regina Gaines, deserved a few glasses after losing a lucrative gig with mogul, Russell Simmons, and a broken engagement to her child’s father. Located in downtown Detroit, House of Pure Vin offers almost 1,000 varieties of wine along with networking events and wine tastings.
Shaka Senghor prefers that you don’t label him. His purpose stretches far beyond being a New York Times‘ bestselling author, criminal justice reform activist, father and convicted felon. Shaka’s poignant story centered around the guilt he felt when he received a letter from his 10-year-old son while he was in prison. Since his release, he has devoted himself to sharing his transparent truths worldwide, showing that you can indeed right your wrongs.
Detroit artist Sabrina Nelson created a symbolic portrait of recently deceased boxing champ Muhammad Ali, while the eclectic entertainment helped to recharge the vibe, in between storytellers. The line-up included the smooth tenor of Kendrick Hardaway; the angelic, yet bold, Brianna Irons’ cover of Andra Day’s “Rise Up”; soothing melodies from harpist Maurice Draughn accompanied by dancer, Shanice Rollins; sensual vocals from Suai Kee; passionate crooning from Trey Simon; soul trumpeter, Lin Rountree, and the electrifying Steffanie Christi’an.
Failure: Lab’s mission is to “eliminate the fear of failure and encourage intelligent risk taking.”
Photo Credit: Raquelle Harris for Steed Media expect where noted