Photo credit: Raquelle Harris for Steed Media
Detroit N’ Hollywood held their semi-annual Black Women’s Business Expo last weekend at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Sponsored in part by Fox 2 Detroit, the event featured over 50 women-owned businesses offering various goods and services. Attendees were able to get in some early Christmas shopping as they perused purses, hair care products, clothing, cosmetics, books and more. There were also vendors who offered insurance, estate planning services and motivational support groups. Hosted by media diva Ms. Mo’nae Rawls along with Detroit Hott radio show host Nen Bailey, the free event was an all day extravaganza. The festivities included raffles, safety and self-defense tips and an uplifting song by gospel singer Keisha Thomas. A fashion show courtesy of Dittrich furs stirred up excitement as ladies were allowed to model luxurious fur coats, jackets and vests.
Another highlight was a rousing speech from State Representative Leslie Love (D-Detroit). She encouraged the women to continue their entrepreneurial efforts, expressing that she understands the dynamics of their journey. “Most of the meaningful work happens behind the scenes … without work, none of this can happen. Make the decision, and do it,” she urged. Love, who played the mayor of Metropolis in the superhero film Batman vs. Superman, exuded an energetic and motivational vibe.
Five outstanding business owners were honored with achievement and longevity awards. Rhonda Harvell of Believe in Light Ministry; Emmalene Hunter of The Fashion Place; Tiffany Williams and Musheya Glenn of The Pasta Bowl and Elizabeth Mays of MCS Multimedia, were each noted for their influence and legacy building within the community.
Detroit N’ Hollywood is an acting school operated by founder James Cohen, who has taught aspiring thespians for over 30 years. Beyond his passion for teaching children, Cohen is passionate about connecting entrepreneurs to each other. He started the expo to fill the void of events showcasing Black businesses—women-owned businesses in particular. He said, “I personally know a gazillion women who are in business.”
He acknowledged that what he’s doing is unique, and despite issues with funding and support, he’s determined to persevere because he “loves seeing people be successful.” He said, “If there was no passion there, I would’ve discontinued it two years ago.”