In the wake of the NBA All-Star Game and its wild festivities, everyone is proud to hold onto the carefree and fun moments that the league brought to Chicago. What most people don’t know is that ASW 2020 wasn’t only about the NBA players. The ladies were given the spotlight too. TSL was everywhere during ASW, including the two biggest events where powerful women stole the show: The “Unsung Sheroes” Women’s Empowerment Summit and the NBA Crossover. Tia Mowry, Cari Champion and Jasmine Jordan were just a handful of queens who chatted with TSL about what Black Girl Magic is all about.
The National Basketball Wives Association (NBWA) hosted their 3rd Annual Women’s Empowerment Summit at the W Chicago hotel. This year’s theme was “Unsung Sheroes.” Female leaders in the NBA, business and media came through and had plenty of gems for our True Star readers!
TSL: What does being involved in this “Unsung Sheroes” summit mean to you?
Cari Champion: It’s so important for women who are brown to see other representations of themselves. If you see that, you know it’s possible. It can be done. It’s beautiful and accomplished. This is an event to say don’t judge people by what they look like, who they are or who they’re married to. Look at them individually and celebrate them for all the things they’ve done.
TSL: What do female, minority youth in Chicago need to know about being a “sheroe” and how to wear that crown proudly?
Cookie Johnson: Know that you will face negativity no matter where you go or what you do. If you get knocked down, pick yourself back up. Believe in yourself and know that we do have failures; but, use those as learning opportunities to not fail again. Always keep moving forward no matter what anyone says to you.
True Star.Life: In Chicago, there are a lot of female, minority youth who are paving their own way. Can you describe that moment in your life when you began to believe that you were a “sheroe?”
Jasmine Jordan: I love that. It was honestly a journey. The more I got comfortable in knowing that I can’t change who my father is, and I can only build upon myself, is when I started understanding that I can’t do this alone. I have to connect with my family. I have to connect with God. I have to make sure that my spiritual, my mental, my everything is strong so that no matter what, no one can take me down. I’m still building and evolving. I’m only 27 and I have years to go, but it definitely starts within.
TSL: What advice would you offer to female minority youth who are struggling to feel seen or heard? Especially when pursuing their dreams.
Ros Gold-Onwude: Don’t try to do it alone. Create a community of people that you trust. People that are on your level. Your peers. People that you look up to and admire who can pull you in to where you want to be, mentor you or give you advice because they have expertise. When you put yourself on an island is when you really feel isolated.
TSL: Chicago has many female, minority youth who are trying to jumpstart their goals and dreams. They are becoming their own “sheroes.” What helped you become who you are today?
Tia Mowry: I became a hero to other people when I came forward with the vulnerability. I was very honest about what I was going through. I was nervous about sharing my story with endometriosis because it puts a spotlight on you having fertility issues. I decided to use my personal story to inspire and uplift other women. With me being an actress, people can see and be inspired that way and say, “Oh she’s an actress! Maybe I can be one too!” But, I was 25-years-old when I found out that I had endometriosis. That was the pivotal moment for me to really begin helping others.
The event continued by honoring other women like Media Maven Karen Civil, ABC 7 anchor Cheryl Burton, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, NBA Marketing & Business Operations CIO Amy Brooks and Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.
Final Day of the NBA Crossover
Anyone who’s been to an event like the NBA Crossover knows that it mostly caters to the guys: PlayStation setups, car displays, hoop contests. But let me tell you! The last day of the NBA Crossover was all for the females! Singer Normani took the stage and performed her hit, “Motivation,” while hitting choreography with her Lakers girls backup dancers.
Then came Hot Girl Meg. Everyone should see her in concert at least once. It’s so empowering to see her on stage embracing her image and having fun with the crowd. If you weren’t planning on dancing during the show, you changed your mind when Meg grabbed the mic.
“It was a lot of fun for out-of-towners and people from Chicago to experience sports, music and stuff for the culture. It was nice!” said attendee Jasmine.
All-Star Weekend 2020 ended perfectly, and gave everyone in the city something to enjoy.
By Marilyn Koonce, Northern Illinois University Alumna