The Best Quotes from the Empowerment Experience

Inspiring leaders and entertainers from Al Sharpton to Niecy Nash shared their wisdom during the ESSENCE Festival's Empowerment Experience. Here's a taste of some of their best comments.

Monique Valeris Jul, 24, 2013

1 of 22 Michael Rowe

“It’s never too late to discover your passion. It’s never too late to live your dream. It’s never too late to get a do-over.”

2 of 22 Invision/AP

"We are out of order and we have to get it together quick. Because we are out of order, our children are out of order. And because our children are out of order, our communities are dying."

3 of 22 Picture Group

Rev. Al Sharpton

4 of 22 Invision/AP

"We are all thrown curve balls in our life. At the end of the day, most of us are actually strong enough to see them through and do what we need to do in order to heal and get through it."

5 of 22 Invision/AP

"We come from a legacy of businessowners. We were making fish and selling it out of the back kitchen door. We were cornrowing hair on college campuses. We know how to do this thing called business. Figure out how you can have multiple streams of income. You can absolutely turn your passions into profits."

6 of 22 Johnny Nunez/WireImage

"Sexiness has everything to do with confidence. When you feel good about yourself and you have confidence within yourself, that’s what makes you sexy. That’s what makes men look at you twice."

7 of 22 Invision/AP

"One of the reasons why our boys are not being successful is because not enough of us are making sure that their fathers are in their lives. In a very real way, every single time a father leaves, he takes a very big part of our young people’s self-esteem."

8 of 22 David Willems

On how one is portrayed on a reality show: “People can only use what you give them. If you don’t show yourself acting a complete donkey, they can’t depict you acting a complete donkey."

9 of 22 Johnny Nunez

"When we talk about putting ourselves first, we are really talking about knowing our value. You can't do that without understanding the truth of who you are."

10 of 22 Invision/AP

"For me, being successful is feeling like I am doing something that is bigger than myself. I am fortunate that the work I get to do is stepping outside and putting out there some sort of positivity, some sort of inspiration."

11 of 22 Walik Goshorn

"When I'm in a relationship, my woman becomes my refuge. When you have somebody that loves you unconditionally and is there for you, who is going to listen to your problems, and you can give them advice and they can give you advice, it makes life worth living."

12 of 22 David Willems

On reality TV: "You can ruin relationships—real genuine, off-camera relationships—with a moment, especially one moment shared with millions of people."

13 of 22 Invision/AP

On gun violence in America: "Since 1980 in the U.S., 611,000 American citizens have been killed on the streets of America to gun violence. It's more than all of the American citizens that were killed in all of the wars in the 20th century: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. That means to me that we have an epidemic of violence."

14 of 22 Invision/AP

"Sexy is living your passion. Not everybody is going to think that your idea of taking a leap of faith is a good idea, but you have to have faith. Faith is sexy and doing you is sexy."

15 of 22 David Willems

On being a part of the VH1 show, Hollywood Exes: "It was definitely worth it. It was not about money. It was not about exposure...This was a platform for me to introduce myself to the world. I didn’t meet my ex and become a dancer. That’s how he met me in the first place. My show is not about R. Kelly divorcing me. It's about why he married me in the first place."

16 of 22 Invision/AP

"We need our own radio stations. We need our own TV stations. We need our own newspapers. And when we get them, we need to support them.”

17 of 22 Invision/AP

"What is going to keep somebody faithful is nothing other than time. You have to grow as a human being. You have to be ready to be in a relationship where you are going to be faithful."

18 of 22 Invision/AP

"For me, success is knowing who I am at the beginning of the day and not having that rocked or shaked by anything that occurred that day. It really is just what I call holistic success. I want to love every angle, every corner, every crevice of my life."

19 of 22 Invision/AP

"Balance is important. We like to party, but we also have to organize. We like to eat, but we need to try eat well. We like to go to church, but then we have to work during the week. No one is telling you not to enjoy your life and not to rest and relax, but there are a lot of critical issues that people of color are facing. In order for us to make any strides, we are going to have to sacrifice and put in a little bit of elbow grease and get some work done."

20 of 22 Johnny Nunez

"I love it when a woman can be strong within herself, use her voice, and say what she likes and what she wants to do."

21 of 22 Invision/AP

On his biggest turn-off when it comes to women: "Don't move too fast. Slow down, baby. Make him want you and that means not giving him too much."

22 of 22 Invision/AP

On success and how she makes decisions: "Would deathbed me be happy with the decisions I had made? Would deathbed me be happy with me constantly making excuses for not doing something? With me staying at a job longer than I should? With me having a passion for something and not pursuing it? Think about you on your deathbed and with you being happy about the decisions you made in your life. That’s a big motivator for me."