WomenStrong: Reflecting on the Gray Classic Women’s Empowerment Brunch

IMG_25406157766007Photo courtesy of Neil Nicholson

Saturday, July 19, 2014. It was a perfect day for the occasion. Rainy, dreary, calm and peaceful…the kind of weather that often brings a much-needed boost in motivation, inspiration, and strength. My first time in attendance, I didn’t know what to expect but I was excited and open; headed to the 2014 Gray Classic Women’s Empowerment Brunch at the Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, NC. So many beautiful women filled the hotel lobby and on into the ballroom. We were escorted to our tables by handsome, young gentlemen, while the cameras were flashing away. Indeed, I was in the right place, at the right time. So much excitement in the air….but what would I gain? What did I bring?

One of the first things I would hear the creator and founder of the Brunch, Felicia Gray, say is that this room, filled with well over 300 women, is our reality; the reality of who we are as beautiful, intelligent women. We were there in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. It was an assurance that our reality is not based on the women we see on many of the reality television shows today or in other arenas that often times demean our truth. But the women right there in that room were an excellent representation of who God would have us to be. As soon as she said that, I felt a sense of relief, unaware that I had been longing for such a reminder of who we really are. The room was filled with business owners, political leaders, published authors, a judicial district court judge, and even an airline pilot; yes, an African-American female pilot. Again, I was definitely in the right place at the right time. So much excitement in the air…..but what would I gain? What did I bring?

As the day unfolded, it turned out that there was much to gain within that timeframe of about 3 hours and we all brought much to the table. While congregating, eating, and observing, there was a sense of togetherness among us all. It seemed that we simply wanted to be happy. There was laughter, a lot of hugs, faces that hadn’t been seen in a while, and new names to be learned. We were there to celebrate womanhood, to celebrate the act of giving, and to renew our minds. Hosted by Chirl Girl of V101.9, important matters were also discussed including financial responsibility, relationships and beauty, to name a few. Women were willing to answer nail-biting questions and share their thoughts candidly on a variety of topics. Throughout the entire occasion, the floor was open with the utmost respect towards anyone willing to speak. What an uplifting time it was.


In all, the Gray Classic Empowerment Brunch was another reminder of the strength and beauty that lie within all women. It was one of those opportunities, the togetherness, that we must strive to experience more of, any chance we get. The power of togetherness, love and support between women is and will always be a force to be reckoned with. Once we really catch on, it is that togetherness which will help us build successfully, our own individual goals and dreams. It is the bond that will help us defeat any and all enemies who desire to see us divided. When we no longer allow ourselves to be deceived by a fear of one another, it is then that we will stop using intimidation against one another as a security blanket and others will no longer be intimidated.

“I’m every woman!” stated Felicia Gray, as she reminded us to believe the same about ourselves. If we live by this belief everyday, working on every single aspect of our own womanhood, there would be no time or room to do wrong against our counterpart. It is when I let my light shine and allow you to do the same, that together we can light the world. When we shine together there is indeed, a lot that we bring and so much to gain. I believe that I can speak for not only myself but for the women in attendance of the Brunch. It is our hope that you, Felicia, will continue to allow God to use you in this way. In a matter of a few hours, I believe a bond was strengthened and hope was renewed. For those reasons, words cannot express the gratitude for such a time as this. Looking forward to the next one!


Tawana R. Powell


Author of Life Fulfilled; the Ultimate Goal (Amazon.com)