"Come on," says Tina Birchett. Birchett, publisher of the local African-American women's magazine Grace, is issuing an invitation to this weekend's "Sisterhood Showcase" at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. This huge, annual two-day event draws more than 25,000 participants and features fashion shows, cooking demos, live music, health screenings, and more. Among the celebrity guests appearing this year are Chef G. Garvin of TV One's Turn Up the Heat, gospel star Yolanda Adams (pictured), and bestselling author Kimberia Lawson Roby.
Birchett, who works on the event year-round, recently took a break to talk about the showcase.
Flyer: What's the history of the showcase?
Birchett: I started it 13 years ago, because I thought there was a need for women who wanted to empower their lives, especially in financial areas and their health.
Who would you say is your audience? Middle-class working women?
It's just basically people in Memphis. People don't realize that 35 percent of the audience is men. We reach all age groups.
What is the goal of the showcase?
Every year, if there's just one person who takes a diabetes screening, for example, and finds out they're diabetic and gets some help, then that one person made it all worth it. If there's one person who says I'm going to start saving, then it's all worth it. If one person leaves walking a little bit taller, that's my reward.
Beyond helping people, what's your favorite part of the show?
Everybody knows that when the "Men Who Define Fine Fashion Show" is on, do not call me, ring me, buzz me. I take off my walkie-talkie and take a ringside seat at the end of the walkway.
"Sisterhood Showcase," Saturday, June 7th, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, June 8th, noon-6:30 p.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, go to sisterhoodshowcase.com.