What started as a need and a twinkle in a 20-something’s eye in Washington, D.C. for networking, community, and council in the communications industry has blossomed into an impactful fellowship of Black women and women of color for the past ten years. This year, ColorComm honors its decade-long anniversary with its first in-person luncheon event since the beginning of the pandemic featuring a keynote from The View‘s Whoopi Goldberg herself.
As stated by Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, “It gets lonely as you climb to the top. To be in the room of people who only wish you the best is precious.” ColorComm’s 10th-anniversary luncheon embodied just that and more as the energy circled around the room of beautiful women of color who longed for support and to support one another.
During her opening welcome, founder and CEO Lauren Wesley Wilson shared a few thoughts about the growth of ColorComm since its inception in 2011. MSNBC President Rashida Jones shared with ESSENCE exclusively her thoughts on the evolution of the communications and media industry regarding opportunities for Black women and women of color. “We are seeing more and more Black women step into C-suite positions in Fortune 500 companies, and it’s absolutely crucial this representation continues for years to come,” Jones said.
“An inclusive community in media means comprehensive representation both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. At MSNBC, diversity, equity and inclusion are a top priority for me both on and off-air. We are lifting up Black stories, prioritizing diverse perspectives from all backgrounds, and ensuring inclusion is a part of every decision we make.”
Spelman College alumna and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Rosalind Brewer gave her praises to her Spelman sister Wilson through video greetings. “I wish I was there with you to connect with my friends and colleagues,” Brewer shared. As she spoke about the lasting influence of ColorComm’s ten-year reign, Brewer encouraged luncheon attendees to connect with one another and form valuable connections. “You never know who you’re going to influence, impact, who’s behind you, who’s in front of you, and where your impact is most visible,” she continued.
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While she may be the first Black woman to become: CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, “I won’t be the last and I’ll do everything I can to mentor and sponsor young women who look like me so they can do the same.”
When asked about the significance of this 10-year milestone for ColorComm, founder of Tai Life Media, LLC Tai Beauchamp gave one word in response: community. “It’s been an amazing journey to watch my Spelman sister Lauren Wesley Wilson grow this community for the last decade. ColorComm is proof positive that if you have a need, others likely do, too. To have the support of other women in communications and media as we navigate these spaces is priceless,” Beauchamp praised of Wilson and ColorComm’s impact throughout the decade.
Crystal Carson, forever First Lady Michelle Obama’s communications director and former managing Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote Initiative, stepped to the podium and shared words of wisdom from Obama herself to ColorComm anniversary luncheon attendees. “I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t found my own mentors. You are pushing us closer to a world where diversity and inclusion isn’t a box we check,” Carson read of Obama’s statement as she praised ColorComm.
While introducing Goldberg to the podium, Wilson noted that she “couldn’t think of a better person to help us with this milestone and this journey.” While thanking Wilson and ColorComm for their contribution to the work of diversity and inclusion in communications, Goldberg noted the importance of connectivity and sisterhood throughout her career in the entertainment industry.
The Sister Act star turned to journalist and television personality Star Jones and expressed her gratitude for being a friend to her. “The first person who said ‘I see you’ is Star Jones,” Goldberg said while smiling at Jones and a round of applause flooded the room. She told the ColorComm audience how Jones would always check in on her mental health and wellbeing during the earlier years in her career. “I didn’t realize that I really needed that.”
Goldberg continued, “Without each other, it’s hard to support each other because we’re little tiny islands.” She encouraged women to keep the humor in their speech even amidst adversity and dark, turbulent times because “without the humor, it’s just nasty repetition.” As she closed out last Friday’s brunch with her words of Wisdom, The Color Purple actress empowered attendees to bask in their current emotions while sitting at the tables across from the women they’ve come in with and the new connections they made. “Remember tomorrow how you feel today. Tomorrow, where are we today?”