I suppose hosting is just in my blood.
For years, my mother has desperately tried to gather every member of the family to one house for the holidays. It doesn’t matter who’s fallen out with which cousin, sister or brother; she’s always determined to put family over feuds. Meanwhile, I’ve always struggled in the background to understand her determination.
“Why bother?” I’d think. Why are you racing around the icy streets of Cleveland looking for deals on hams, sweet potatoes and corn all by yourself?
But then, I hosted a brunch and all the errands and last-minute trips to the grocery store made sense.
The Newsy, Boozy Brunch was supposed to be an opportunity for ME (keyword: ME) to meet all of my fellow black news anchors and reporters in Orlando. Boy, do we have some gems! One woman was the second black female anchor in the market. Another has a whole day dedicated in her honor. #AnchorGoals
I just wanted a chance to hear all of them speak and learn something I didn’t know…and in the depths of my mind was this idea that over mimosas, waffles and avocado toast we’d start to build our own little community. The possibility of a support system was a fleeting thought, though. I was too busy coming up with icebreakers for the table.
I wrote the same 5 sentences, 15 times on index cards AND color-coded each one. My hand was numb by the time I remembered I was running behind schedule and still needed to pick up a bag of M&Ms. (If you’re up to the challenge The M&M Game is a great way to start conversation and treat your sweet tooth. Details on my Pinterest page!)
We laughed at our responses, aha’d at some answers and the investigative switch we like to think we can turn off, flipped on during stories of our childhood. Each person asked a new question, spurring the conversation further and further.
There were no tears, but there was plenty of joy. “Hello, my Nubian sisters,” said one. “Oh my gawd, I haven’t seen you in years,” said another. All the smiles and hugs warmed me in a way I’d never felt. We closed the gap that station call letters can often create and welcomed each other with open arms.
AKAs. Deltas. Moms. Daughters. Midwest girls. Southern belles. Beauties from the Caribbean. It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from…and the splendor of our meeting was undeniable.
Passersby gawked and pointed as the 12 black women seated by the front window increasingly went further out of view. Some, inside The Osprey Tavern, walked over asking if they’d ‘missed the memo’, complimented our poise and praised our ‘black girl magic’.
You really never know what you’re creating when God puts something on your heart.