The roads of faith, fame and wellness came together at one point in Atlanta on November 21. The Walgreen Company (Walgreens) is the largest drug retailing chain in the United States, merged with some giants in the entertainment field and the Dream Center Church for a day of arts empowerment, faith, entertainment and networking.
This rare symposium was staged to bring awareness and empower, is actually a tour that started in Los Angeles in 2014. Spearheaded by Dr. Holly Carter, Robi Reed and Traci Blackwell, the Atlanta leg of the tour brought out notable entertainers, producers, recording artists, producers, casting agents, and radio personalities. To validate the spiritual side of the event were men and women of the cloth, including participants who were affiliated with faith-based organizations. Starting the day with praise and worship, this unique event allowed an intimate access to the participants, making the day a “mini boot camp.”
Considering this timely event was not advertised as much as it needed to be, word of mouth was in full effect. There was a great turnout and those in attendance were engaged in actor workshops, a brand marketing panel, screenwriters pitch meeting, vision board workshop, a “having it” actor’s panel, a producers panel, and at the end of the night there was a faith-based concert. By invite, there were also a pastors and leadership reception and forum. All this is not to say that there wasn’t also an emphasis on wellness, which is something that Walgreen’s featured, giving health and wellness information and free flu shots for those who wanted it.
There’s a reason artists, entertainers, religious leaders and influencers are looked up to. After attending this event, you can’t help but be affected by their words of advice and guidance. Robi Reed (VP Talent & Casting, BET Network) spoke about the symposium. As one of the main contributors for the event, she has a passion not only for the industry but on the subject of wellness in the community. Some panelists such as Rob Hardy (Producer/Rainforest Films), DeVon Franklin (Producer/CEO Franklin Entertainment), and Ms. Reed conveyed a true level of passion, belief and commitment which captured the audience. There was also a sense of urgency by Hardy, Franklin and Charles Michael David (Actor) when the subject of contributing further solidified their involvement. As with the others, it was personal for Franklin.
As a show of faith, there were other notables in attendance such as Harry Lennix (Actor/Producer), Ronreaco Lee (Actor), Jasmin Guy (Actor/Humanitarian), Tika Sumpter (Actor), Lisa Raye McCoy Actress/Humanitarian), Meagan Good (Actor), Roger Bobb (Producer/CEO Bobbcat Films, Pastor Canton Jones (Recording Artist), Bishop William Murphy (Sr. Pastor, The dReam Center Atlanta), Mikki Taylor (Author/Editor at Large, Essence Magazine), Dr. Holly Carter (President/CEO Releve Entertainment), Kim Kimble (Celebrity Hairstylist/Television Personality), Egypt Sherrod Television & Media Personality), Christine Swanson (Director/Screenwriter/Professor), Pastor Mark Baker (Sr. Pastor, Greater Works Than These Ministries), Valerie Waltz Meraz VP program Acquisitions, Turner Entertainment Networks), Lemuel Plummer Executive Producer/CEO L. Plummer Media), Jason Hughes (Director of Sales Reach Media/Radio One), Angie Stone (Recording Artist), and a host of others too lengthy to list.
The separate Actor Casting Call and Screenwriter Pitch meetings gave access and opportunity to those lucky enough to be chosen to get in front of industry movers-and-shakers to pitch their talent, be it in writing or acting. Information was shared on the other panels such as the “Producers Panel” and “TV Producers: That’s A Great Idea.” The evening concert performers included Canton Jones, KJ Scriven, Thomas Clay & Evolution, Charmaine, Judith Swilley, and #MERGESTAR2015 winner: Resound.
With stops in Baltimore and Chicago this year, surely Atlanta will be on the stop for the 2016 tour considering the crowd and the need. Make sure you are in attendance because it will lift your soul and spirit, and with Walgreen’s contribution it will elevate your health.