BE Empowerment Zone: Food, Modern Man, and Leading Ladies

BE Empowerment Zone: Food, Modern Man, and Leading Ladies

Day two in the Black Enterprise Empowerment Zone at the African American Festival commenced with a live performance culinary treat by award-winning celebrity chef, Chef Huda.  Huda created a quick, delicious, and healthy Summer Pasta dish for the Real Men Cook with Chef Huda session. Huda began the pasta dish by adding noodles, olive oil, a tiny bit of balsamic (adds a nice flavor), corn, yellow tomatoe, and roasted tomatoes.

[Related: African American Festival Day 2: The Party Continues]

In celebration of Father’s Day Chef Huda put an unsuspecting dad on the spot by inviting him up to join her cooking. She immediately put him to work on the chopping of green spinach, peppers, and spring onion to be added to the dish. “The more colorful, the better,” gushes Huda.

It wasn’t before long that Huda was done with the quick, saltless dish. Huda shared the dish with session attendees who all agreed that it was indeed flavorful and tasted of Summer. Before leaving, Huda shared a noodle tip: if you want your sauce to stay with the noodle choose a curvier pasta to better hold the sauce. For the full recipe for this pasta dish visit

The BE Empowerment Zone continued with the inspiring BE Modern Man Panel: Extraordinary Is Our Normal session with Porter Braswell, CEO/Strategic Partnerships, Jopwell, Nehemiah Davis, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Dondre Whitfield, award-winning actor and activist and moderator, Kelly Pierre-Louis, Director, Audience Development & Consumer Engagement, Black Enterprise. This session is the embodiment of the BE Modern Man campaign launched digitally by Black Enterprise in May 2015.

This session featured innovative and empowering black men all with the simultaneous goal of reclaiming and reframing the narrative of what it means to be an extraordinary black man in today’s society. “Being a Modern Man is about thinking outside the box and challenging assumptions,” says Porter Braswell, who raised over a million dollars after launching a diversity recruiting company, Jopwell. Braswell works diligently to break down existing barriers and prove that qualifying standards with black professionals not only exists, but are prominent.

Dondre Whitfield spoke passionately about the role and responsibilities of black men in the community adding, “being a man is a title that you earn….a boy is a man who looks to serve himself, a man looks to serve other people. We really have to stand up as a community to be the type of men we’re supposed to be.”  Dondre Whitfield encourages everyone to text Manhood to 333444 to stay in touch with Whitfield and learn when his initiative will be in a city near you.

Nehemiah Davis stressed the importance of mentoring and helping one another on the road to empowerment and success. Davis makes weekly visits to schools showing kids how possible it is to strive and make an impact. “My goal is for students all over the world to believe that they can do it,” states Davis.

For more information on BE Modern Man and making extraordinary the new normal visit For social media interaction follow #BEModernMan.

After a profound dialect with the men, it was only right for the BE Empowerment Zone to salute the women with the Prudential sponsored Ladies that Lead session featuring founder, chairwoman, and CEO of BJE, LLC, Beverly Johnson, NAACP Image Award Winning producer, Sidra Smith, multi-millionairess and networking marketing extraordinaire, Jewel Tankard, founder of BluePrint group, LLC, Tai Beauchamp, moderated by Cameka Smith, founder of The Boss Network. The ladies wasted no time sharing their strategies and journey to success and being their own bosses.

Continue reading on the next page…