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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Laz Alonso, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Anthony Anderson and Michael Jai White Share Valuable Knowledge With Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge 2011 Participants

Story: Neeta Wooten
Images: Kiesha H. (for Ideal PR Media)


On Saturday September 3, 2011 American Express partnered with Black Enterprise to present a luncheon and discussion with actors Laz Alonso (Avatar, Jumping The Broom), Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game, Steve Harvey Show), Anthony Anderson (Law & Order, The Departed) and Michael Jai White (Why Did I Get Married, The Dark Knight). Hosted by one of the American Express Executives, This sit down conversation was a wonderful way to entertain Black Enterprise Golf and Tennis Challenge 2011 participants as they enjoyed their lunch after being on the courts and green all morning.

Speaking of the lunch...the food was delicious. Participants were treated to a buffet of endless options including baby-back ribs, spare ribs, key-lime grouper (this was my personal favorite), fried plantains, jasmine rice, salad and more. 


Anthony Anderson, the first to come out and entertain the crowd. When asked about his original name "Tasty Tony, the one and only, everyone else is a phony," he had this to say, "That was the first time I touched the mic in an attempt to do comedy, had I given up, I wouldn't be sitting before you right now."

Next to come onto the stage was actor Michael Jai White. Anthony and Michael provided the audience with a comical exchange around Anthony's desire to be included in the sequel to Black Dynamite the movie. Anthony told Michael, "I really did enjoy Black Dynamite and was upset that I was not in that urban film...and as long as you know because I have made you confess in front of the people that I am going to be in sequel to Black Dynamite." Michael replied saying, "If I can have an Anthony Anderson in Black Dynamite 2, believe me I am going to."

When Michael Jai White was put on the spot about a more serious topic, regarding project production and his feelings surrounding the criticism Tyler Perry receives about the content of the projects he produces, Michael had this to say, "If people are looking for something to criticize, they are going to find it no matter what.  The thing is, weather you like Tyler Perry or don't like Tyler Perry you cannot over look the positive nature in what he has done. There are some of the strongest Black images we have ever seen come out of the Tyler Perry camp in each and every one of his movies, but folks want to look at the lowest common denominator that you have to look at...but there are people that they represent, and people who if they didn't have that character, they wouldn't be catching the messages that are set down for them." Michael will be starring in the new Tyler Perry TV show, "For Better Or For Worse" coming to Television sometime in the fall. He directed the audience to visit www.tylerperry.com to see the trailer and learn more about the show also starring Tasha Smith.



Next to join the stage was a a strong female presence, Ms. Wendy Raquel Robinson. Wendy spoke about a project that has been near and dear to her heart for over a decade called "Amazing Grace Conservatory."  This organization which she founded 16 years ago services the youth in  South Central Los Angeles in all areas of the performing arts. Wendy proudly said, "Lives are being changed, hearts are being healed with communication...it's happening at Amazing Grace Conservatory."



The last treat for this event was actor Laz Alonso. The women especially cheered very loudly as he mad his way onto the stage, even fluttering the presence of the host. Laz spoke about his Howard University pride, but also extended his comments to say that he feels all HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) provide a training ground for people to be the best you that you could be...and it was not about what group, sport or organization you were in, but just being a great academic mind in your class rooms gave you clout. He also spoke about how his choices in deciding on an agent which believed in him and his potential made all of the difference in his career. He noted that actors in the business must be aware of their potential and worth and be very choosy when deciding whose hands to place their careers in.

All of the participants appeared to have a wonderful time eating the food, listening to the interviews and winning prizes including shirts and American Express gift cards simply by showing up and putting their business cards inside of a bowl.
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