WE TV reality star April Daniels partnered with Ebony Magazine to present students with a conversation on uniting women to achieve greater success through education, entrepreneurship and networking during Howard University’s Homecoming week of festivities.
The Rock Out With Me Women’s Empowerment Panel concluded its multi-city tour in the District honoring singer Tamar Braxton at the Blackburn Student Center on Thursday, Oct. 1 in Northwest.
“I’m from the DMV area so it really means a lot to me that you all came out today,” Braxton said accepting The Build Her Award. “I’m just a regular girl with a dream.”
Braxton found national successon WE TV’s flagship program “Braxton Family Values” in 2011.
Since then she has become a three-time Grammy-nominated singer, co-host of the hit daytime talk show “The Real” and an entrepreneur.
Currently she stands in second place as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars and released a new CD, “Calling All Lovers” on Oct. 2.
“Sometimes I feel so undeserving,” Braxton said. “What drives me is amazing women like yourselves, friends, my sisters, my mom and other regular women with dreams.” April Daniels, the founder of the Rock Out With Me Campaign, rose to fame while being a regular on WE TV’s “Tamar and Vince” show with record producer/husband Lashawn Daniels.
She decided to use her newfound notoriety for good by founding an organization that shows how women on reality TV programs can be positive role models.
“To whom much is given, much is expected, and I plan to give of myself in every way possible,” April Daniels said.
“Having the support of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and holding this event at Howard University during their celebrated Homecoming Week is more than an honor,” she said.
“I am excited to give back to the students on campus and to women in the community while honoring a dear friend, Tamar Braxton, who exemplifies never giving up and following your dreams,” Daniels said.
Ebony Magazine’s Entertainment and Lifestyle Director S. Tia Brown served as the moderator on the panel that featured successful businesswomen from several different professions and backgrounds.
“Education is a pathway to freedom,” said Khalilah Harris, deputy director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. “I knew for me as the daughter of immigrants and a first-generation college student that education would propel me to where I wanted to be.”
Diann Valentine, an interior designer, wedding and event coordinator who has appeared on several reality shows showcasing her talent, encouraged students to see their passion as a career.
“I started my company in high school; I never saw it as a hobby,” Valentine said. “It was always clear to me that this was a business.”
Valentine spoke on some of the pitfalls of appearing on reality shows as a businesswoman.
“Reality TV gives you a false sense of success,” she said. “I have put in years of being a creative professional and in synch with my industry but many people think I just blew up overnight.”
Other panelists included: actress and producer Denyce Lawton; Arnita Johnson, CEO of Luxurious Credit; and television producer Trieva Williams.
“Every woman has power and it’s especially important that we use that power for good and to inspire those coming up after us,” Daniels said.