Over 200 vendors came out on Saturday, May 17th at the Colonial Center to help promote their businesses and celebrate the 11th Annual Columbia Black Expo. People began to roll in early Saturday morning. As soon as you walked into the Colonial Center, volunteers were there to greet you and hand out big bags to fill up with valuable information and goodies along with an itinerary of the dayâ€™s festivities. Some made a full day out of it and then there were those who came for specific sessions. The Expo was complete with everything from seminars on "How to Avoid Foreclosure" to one on Health Care and even a Youth Summit on Hip Hop. There was plenty to choose from and there was something for everyone.
There were quite a few young people taking advantage of the free information that vendors were giving out. A few younger vendors were there promoting their new ventures. Among them was a young man by the name of Johnathan Andrews who is 12 years old and goes by the name of "The Rubberband Man". He decided a few months ago to link rubber bands together for fun. Little did he know that he was becoming a young entrepreneur as he then began creating unique jewelry made out of the rubber bands.
Now the Expo was not only filled with just vendors. There were booths set up offering free health screening for diabetes. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in South Carolina. Approximately 650,000 South Carolinians have diabetes and half are unaware that they have it. The 100 Black Men booth offered Prostate Cancer Screening as well as Blood Pressure/Sugar testing. Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer among American males. African-American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer.
As you walked around the Colonial Center, on both the upper and lower level, there were people not only from Columbia, South Carolina. Rodney Mallory, a young black author, decided to come to Columbiaâ€™s Expoâ€™ because of its outstanding reputation. He is an assistant principal in the Georgia school system, but acknowledges that writing is his passion. He has written two books and is working on turning one of them into a movie. There was another vendor by the name of Julian Madyun, who since the early 70â€™s, devoted himself to educating people about the wonderful contributions of African-American people. He said he enjoyed coming to the Black Expo to display his rare prints and he was very excited about this year because he had several prints of Barack Obama. Mr. Madyun said, "I never thought I would live to see the day that a black man has come this far in running for President of the United States."
The Expo was also filled with local talent such as the incredible violinist Daniel Davis, a performance by the W.A Perry Cadets Squadron 803, as well as a reggae group, some poetry and even a performance by Bibleway, just to name a few. The CW47 along with Kiss 103.1 presented the Shining Star Competition. Actor Tyler James from the sitcom "Everyone Hates Chris" was signing autographs. Actor Larenz Tate also dropped by for pictures and signed autographs as well. To end the Expo, Gospel sensation Smokie Norful tore the house down with songs that shook the Colonial Center.
If you missed it this year, then be sure that you join us next year! Each year grows bigger and better!