With activities designed to engage all five senses, the Los Angeles Black Business Expo and Trade Show (BBX) is set to launch its 19th season. The three day event, themed “Taking Care of Business At Home and Abroad,” will be held Friday thru Sunday, September 21 - 23 in the Tom Bradley Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“With the help of our sponsors, including OneUnited Bank, Farmers, the City of Los Angeles, Lawry’s, Comerica Bank, Washington Mutual, Union Bank, Wells Fargo and Allstate, we are able to host the largest consumer event targeting African Americans in Los Angeles and the second largest and the longest running Black Expo in the U.S.,” said Harold Hambrick, BBX president and CEO. “And, we are proud of our ongoing relationship with them.”
In addition to showcasing the best of Black Los Angeles through business networking, entertainment, food, fitness, and fashion activities, several new components have been added to the extravaganza.
“In honor of the late Mayor Tom Bradley, who changed the face of City government by increasing the number of minorities hired, and expanded opportunities for business owners within the City, we have renamed our business institute, ‘The Tom Bradley Business Institute,’” said Hambrick. “To commemorate this event, we have scheduled activities to acknowledge the influence of the five-term Mayor on the City and the nation.”
“Additionally, since we reside in the entertainment capital of the world, we wanted to include a “Celebrity Lounge,” to allow our guests to meet, obtain Hollywood insider tips and autographs from personalities with real experience in the entertainment industry,” said Myra Wallace, Expo Executive Director.
“Some of the best Black owned restaurants in L.A. will return to Lawry’s Tastin’ Black Culture Food Court for the 10th year, featuring a “soul food fest” to feed the soul and satisfy the taste buds,” said Hambrick.
All activities are open to the public and include:
Friday, September 21, opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, 10 a.m., with BBX spokespersons and actors Wendy Raquel Robinson and Malik Yoba. The Tom Bradley Business Institute, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., will feature Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs Youth Summit, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., exposing more than 800 invited high school students to various aspects of business development. (Hosted by actor Wesley Jonathan of the movie “Roll Bounce”). The Tom Bradley Forum, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., featuring an exclusive, 20 minute videotaped conversation with the late Mayor Bradley, followed by a panel discussion about Bradley’s role in changing the face of City government.
Saturday, September 22, the Tom Bradley Business Institute, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., including lectures and panel discussions; Miller Urban Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition Workshop and luncheon, hosted by Recycling Black Dollars and featuring “The Apprentice,” Season 4 winner, Dr. Randal Pinkett, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (for info, call (310) 673-7777); Club Hall of Fame Steppers, throughout the day; Black Music Festival, featuring live performances, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (hosted by actress Tracie Spencer); West Coast “Coolture” Fashion Show, featuring the hottest designers and models on the coast, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and “The Afterburn” (the official BBX after party), promoted by Roland Wirt & The Bar Be Que Club, L.A. Athletic Club,
8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. www.afterburnlive.com; Sunday, September 23, hair seminars, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., showcasing the latest in styling techniques and products; West Coast GospeLive concert, hosted by actress and entertainer Telma Hopkins, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and the West Coast “Fantasy” Hair Show, featuring the most creative “dos” on the west coast, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., hosted by Mother Love.
Daily events include the Lawry’s Tastin’ Black Culture Food Court, with seating for 500; Kids World, featuring arts and crafts, face painting, clowns, magicians, and storytelling for kids of all ages; the Fitness, Health and Sports Pavilion featuring health education and fitness demonstrations by professional trainers and athletes; the Celebrity Lounge and Black Writers On Tour, featuring African American writers of every genre.
Founded in 1989 to introduce Black businesses to consumers, share information on entrepreneurism and business development, and build long-term relationships, BBX has, since its inception, exposed more than 4,900 small businesses and corporations to more than 850,000 attendees.
“BBX 2006 offers a special opportunity to reach African Americans, whose spending power in L.A. County is well over four billion dollars,” said Hambrick.
The public is invited to attend all events. Tickets are still only $5. The exhibitor area will be open Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. For information on specific business seminars, visit www.blackbusinessexpo.com or call (323) 290-4743 for booth registration.