Art & Entertainment, Detroit City Guide, Feature Story

An Inspiring, First-Time Visit at TEDxDetroit 2019

A couple of weeks ago, Travis and I were invited to attend TEDxDetroit 2019. It was our first time attending a TED Talk so we were really excited to go! Wrapping up its 11th year, TEDxDetroit is held each November and it features inspiring entrepreneurs, artists, educators, musicians, world travelers, community leaders, and many other inspiring people living in or from Detroit.

TEDxDetroit 2019
Sweetwater Floral created and designed this lovely garden photo backdrop.
TEDxDetroit 2019
It was our first time attending a TED Talk so we were really excited to go!

We enjoyed listening to the wonderful speakers at TEDxDetroit. Each speaker shared stories of hope and inspiration. Like poet Kyd Kane, who shared a spoken-word poem called “Challenge Privilege”.

 “Accessing quality, nutritious meals shouldn’t be a privilege,” Kyd said during her set. “We should all challenge privilege.”

Kyd’s poem resonated with me in so many ways. From my journey as a single mother of two children (almost a decade ago) to most recently when Travis lost his job, I have experienced my share of hardships. Kyd’s poem reminded me to never stop challenging privilege.

TEDxDetroit 2019
Kyd Kane’s poem “Challenge Privilege” resonated with me in so many ways.

Nicole Curtis, Host of The Rehab Addict on HGTV. Nicole talked about how she founded her home renovation business and created The Rehab Addict.

What stood out most, though, was when Nicole shared how she wanted a career where she could have a flexible schedule to be with her children. Relatable! It was encouraging for me to hear another mom say this because having a flexible work schedule to have more time with my kids is very important to me, too. Nicole created a career to not only have flexible scheduling to be with her family but to also pursue her passions!

Nicole Curtis TEDxDetroit
Nicole talked about how she founded her home renovation business and created The Rehab Addict.

Dr. Tracie Baker, Wayne State University Assistant Professor, Biologist, and Environmental Toxicologist. I loved Dr. Baker’s suggestion of encouraging the public to practice Toxin-free Thursdays! I’ll be honest– it wasn’t until I met Travis that I even realized a lot of the products we use contain toxic chemicals.

Blindly, I trusted brands and organizations’ had our best interest at heart. Travis introduced me to a whole new world of growing your own food, apothecary, and toxin-free products. Dr. Baker’s speech encouraged me to keep being mindful of the chemicals that are used in our home.

I loved Dr. Baker’s suggestion of encouraging the public to practice Toxin-free Thursdays!

Hajj Flemings, Founder of Rebrand Cities. Hajj’s discussion at TEDxDetroit was about work with Rebrand Cities and the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses.

Something new I learned about Hajj was he was featured on CNN’s Black in America 4: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley documentary with Soledad O’Brien (Love her!).

TEDxDetroit
Hajj discussed his work with Rebrand Cities and the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses.

Ebony Roberts Shaka Senghor. Founder of QualOne Research, Ebony is the author of The Love Prison Made and Unmade and she’s an ethnographer.

Shaka is the author Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison, a speaker, and a community leader.

Most importantly, though, Ebony and Shaka are the parents of Sekou. Their message about love and parenting reminded me of how parenting is a team effort. Our role is to love our children and guide them to discover who they are and their place in this world.

Shaka Senghor and Ebony Roberts
TEDxDetroit 2019

Jessica Nabongo, photographer, writer, and world traveler. I loved Jessica’s message‘s at TEDxDetroit! She talked about what it means to be a good neighbor. She’s the first Black woman to travel all 195 countries so Jessica has met many amazing people throughout the world!

Connecting her traveling experiences to her message, Jessica encouraged all of us to step out of our comfort zone and be a good neighbor to everyone we meet, not just our inner circle.

Jessica Nabongo TEDxDetroit
Jessica Nabongo is the first Black woman to travel all 195 countries!

Matt Liston & Wendell Brown. Matt Liston is a sports documentary filmmaker. His film Chasing October was featured on HBO’s Wait Til Next Year and ESPN’s Catching Hell. Wendell Brown is a former football player for Ball State University and Canadian Football League.

In 2016, Wendell was arrested in China for a bar fight. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but Wendell’s sentence was reduced to three years. Matt and Wendell shared Wendell’s story and it was inspiring, to say the least.

Wendell Brown TEDxDetroit
Matt Liston and Wendell Brown

My favorite quote from Wendell’s TED Talk was this:

“I could be negative and allow my situation to control my thoughts and my feelings, or I could choose to be positive and conquer anything that’s not worthy of me and my life. Things happen daily in our lives, some of which we have no control over. But there are two things we do have the power to control: the first is how we approach each day and the second is our outlook on life.”

Wendell Brown
Wendell Brown
Matt Liston, Wendell Brown TEDxDetroit

TEDxDetroit Labs

I also spent some time in the TEDxDetroit Labs. The Labs were a marketplace featuring Michigan-based, small business owners. About a month ago, I featured a blog post highlighting TEDxDetroit Labs’ three inspiring women: Lauren Clayborne, Anu Gopalakrishan, and Jennyfer Crawford.

Lauren serves as the Director of the TEDxDetroit Labs. She said the Labs are a wonderful opportunity for small business owners and local startups to demonstrate their products. I loved this concept because the TEDxDetroit Labs introduced me to small business owners who sell many products that I love such as soy candles, handmade clothing, beautiful jewelry, and cosmetic products.

TEDxDetroit Labs
TEDxDetroit Labs

I bought “Relieve Skin Rescue Salve” from Rustic Maka. Elijah (19) has eczema and the natural-based skin product truly helped his skin with dryness and skin irritation.

Another product I purchased at the TEDxDetroit Labs was a travel-size jar of Mellow Body Butter from ILERA Apothecary. It is made with all-natural ingredients sourced in Africa. I use it just about every day and keep it beside my laptop for when my hands are dry.

TEDxDetroit Labs
Rustic Maka

I also enjoyed connecting with Colleen Martin and Saharsh Hajela, co-creators and founders of The Shout App. Colleen and Saharsh created the app to help citizens discover who are their local, state, and federal representatives and connect with them to share their concerns and issues.

The Shout app is free and nonpartisan. It’s also available for iPhone and Android. I downloaded the Shout app on my Samsung Galaxy S10+ and Travis thinks it’s just the coolest thing. I also shared a little push back for my local area to help add a bus stop near the local library.

The Shout App TEDxDetroit
Colleen Martin and Saharsh Hajela, co-creators and founders of The Shout App.
Shout App TEDxDetroit
Colleen and Saharsh created the Shout app to help citizens discover who are their local, state, and federal representatives and connect with them to share their concerns and issues.
Shout App TEDxDetroit
The Shout app is available for iPhone and Android.

A few more small business owners I loved connecting with at TEDxDetroit Labs:

ILERA Apothecary
TEDxDetroit 2019
Ronnie Love Catering
TEDxDetroit Labs

In a previous interview on Good Life Detroit, Jennyfer Crawford, TEDxDetroit Labs Marketplace Curator, said she loves being involved with TEDxDetroit because she gets “to provide a great opportunity for small businesses to be seen.”

“TEDxDetroit Labs gives attendees an opportunity to connect with businesses and individuals – who may or may not be TEDxDetroit speakers – and have a great talent to share,” Jennyfer said.

TEDxDetroit Labs
TEDxDetroit 2019

Special thanks to TEDxDetroit for inviting Good Life Detroit to the conference! I’m looking forward to next year’s event and I hope you’ll have a chance to go, too! Visit TEDxDetroit’s website here for the latest updates on 2020 TEDxDetroit!

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