My BET Experience: A Recap of what I wish BET represented 100% of the time!

This past weekend I attended the BET Experience Fan Fest with one of my dear friends. I didn't want  my experience to be that of a crazed fan spectator gawking over celebrities but more so learning about the mindsets and the people in the space that I myself want to exist in.

I arrived around new downtown in the LA Live, Nokia, Staples area and the scene was just chaotic as downtown usually is. I wondered through some areas that I wasn't supposed to have access to in my typical Katrina's always lost fashion. No one stopped me so I continued to roam.

I checked-in and got my accessibility badges, met up with my friend, and began the day. We made our way to the first seminar of the day and got distracted by lavish candy bar in the lobby area. Willie Wonka didn't have anything on BET lol! After gawking over the snacks we entered a room of few folks honed in on that of Nicole Ari Parker, Boris Kodjoe, Mara Akil and Salim Akil.

The title of the seminar was Couples Uncovered: (photo courtesy of the bet.com)

I found myself hanging on every word and being enlightened by the wisdom flowing off the stage. To be a witness to such positivity was refreshing. The chemistry between both couples was oozing around the room. It was beautiful to see black love in rare form, as Salim said "past the bullshit" they were absolutely 100% themselves, humans, not celebrities, just themselves. Some of my favorite highlights were learning how to communicate, but not in a sense of speaking but also listening, as well as being vocal about how you want to be communicated to. Boris and Salim also touched on being men and being natural protectors and realizing that women don't always want a solution, but just an ear, or just support, and not necessarily a knight in shining armor. The point that I held dearly was Mara Akil's emphasis on bringing individuality into a relationship. In essence she was saying as women we should afford ourselves experiences while we are single like traveling, learning other cultures, and being well versed in ...life or the experiences of life so that when we are in relationship we aren't so consumed by our mate and their identity but instead being present in our relationships by bringing those experiences to the relationship. I think it was dynamic and I admire both couples and respect their experiences in their individual lives and upbringings. I found myself grunting and saying yes as if I was in church. The information was just THAT good.



After being completely blown away by the first seminar I was beyond excited for the rest of the day. The next seminar was called How to Get Rich and How to Keep It. The panelists were Percy Miller (Master P), Janice Howroyd, and Dennis Kimbro.

                                                           (photo courtesy of the bet.com)

I didn't think my mind could be blown any further than it already had been by the first seminar until these three individuals began to speak. Dennis Kimbro was a man of facts, facts that made me look within myself. He spoke about African-Americans being a culture of consumerists. It was a tough pill to swallow but it opened my eyes to my own habits and I found much opportunity in his words. Master P brought the perspective of starting from nothing, making it to something, and learning how to maintain that something. One of the questions of the panel was how do you control or deal with family members that feel like they made it because you made it? The underlying answer was everything must be earned whether someone is family or not. Master P was extremely adamant about building generational wealth and investing in the people coming up behind you and teaching them how to invest their money as well. I was in awe of Janice Howroyd. To see a fairly young African-American woman with a billion dollar grossing entity be so down to earth was just an unreal feeling. She touched on how the rich spend and the wealth invest. She also touched on having an entrepreneurial spirit and not giving up on our ideas. All panelist touched on networking and surrounding yourself with people on your wavelength, of giving back, of having financial literacy, and at minimum being educated. Janice particularly touched on assets giving you access and finally, that we must be physically and mentally healthy to enjoy our wealth. It was such a great experience to hear these people from different walks of life to connect on the idea of financial wealth for us as a culture and for us as individuals.  


We wrapped up the day with Genius Talk hosted by Bevy Smith featuring Pharrell Williams

                                                              (photo courtesy of bet.com)

Can you believe he's 40? ^^^^ sorry I was just mesmerized on how this man has tapped into the fountain of youth and hopes that he shares. LOL! This panel focused on the creativity that is Pharrell. Bevy Smith was such a fun host. She knew how to dig without digging. I think her personality was id amicable  and down to earth that I'm sure anyone she interviews would just want to open up to her. Pharrell gave us insight to his creative process and how he's able to create so many different sounds for different artist without losing who is he is. I admired and was eager to learn that he is a classically trained musician. He also talked about his i am OTHER channel on youtube dedicated to thinkers and visionaries. I found myself hanging on his every word, studying how he moved his hands and tapped his fingers. He breathes in and exerts creativity in every essence of the word.


Overall my BET experience was everything I wanted to be. It gave me perspective in approaching my relationship, it taught me the importance of wealth and not quitting on my dreams and being patient with myself and being financially literate (you would think being an accountant I'd already be applying these principles to my life) and it also spoke to my creative senses and enjoying my creativity and appreciating art and being an artist.

However, having such enlightening experiences made me wonder why these sorts of seminars and panels weren't represented more on the network's channel. I was honestly disappointed in the lack of participation from the BET experience attendees. I felt like each and every room should have been at capacity as they were when T.I. and Snoop Dogg did a Gang Violence panel.  Not to say that T.I. and Snoop didn't have real informative truths to share and iterate, but  I felt as though a great deal of attendees were present for access to the celebrities and not the knowledge they had to share. That was a let down for me to see how people weighed importance but at the end of the day the experience was what we wanted it to be.

I appreciate BET for providing such positive and enlightening interactions with amazing individuals. I feel like a new person in bringing back what was communicated and applying it to my own life. I hope that BET finds this as an opportunity to produce positive images of US in the media, however, they can only give us what we want and if this weekend was representative of what we want, it definitely isn't being engaged in such a positive perspective in ways that are preventative to our adversities as a culture such as building great relationships and being financially literate, nonetheless Thank you BET.

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