This weekend I had the opportunity to head to LA to cover the SAG Awards. The awards were set to take place on Sunday, January 22nd, 2018 at the Shrine Auditorium. I arrived in LA on Thursday evening because I had been invited to a few other events, and since this was my first time in LA I wanted
to have time to check out the scenery without rushing. For some reason I was under the impression that LA is a lot like New York City in the sense that it’s easy to get everywhere, and that there are people everywhere you look. I guess I assumed that because of all of the reality shows they film in LA. Plus when you watch TMZ it makes it seem like there are people everywhere. This wasn’t the case. Friday was my first full day there and I started it off bright and early by heading to Beverly Hills to meet up with friends and check out a few beauty events. Nearly everything I attended this weekend was “Women Focused”, and all of the events were centered on recognizing the accomplishments of women. One of my first stops was a Brand Experience event at a beautiful hair boutique called Hair Are Us. It was hosted by Impact Magazine, and it was the pre-celebration to Impact Magazine’s Power Dinner which was set to take place the next day. The dinner was an honorary event to show appreciation to women in the LA area who are making strides in their respective creative fields. Some of the honorees included: Oloris Swank, Miss Diddy, Aisha Hinds, and Vanessa Simmons. The boutique had a very lavish feel to it. They had an open bar, sweet treats, and stations for complimentary massages and manicures. The owners, Ashley Williams & Khat Rabbani, mingled with everyone, and made me feel right at home. They have locations in Miami, ATL, and LA. I’d definitely visit again if I’m in one of those areas. Next I hopped in an uber (which was extremely cheap by the way), and went down to the Shrine Auditorium for a walk thru. So much goes into the preparation of an awards ceremony. Everything has to be laid out just right so that things can go according to schedule. The walk thru is very important because you want to make sure you know exactly where you’ll be at certain times so you can keep the show moving along. Since the SAG Awards were set to air live on TBS and TNT, it was important to establish an event schedule and a television schedule, and to know the difference. The walk thru unexpectedly lasted nearly 3 hours 😳. For some reason I assumed we would be in and out, but as I said, a lot goes into an awards ceremony, and we had to triple check everything. By the time we left it was about 9pm PST and I was exhausted. My body was still operating on NYC time, which was 12am by then, and that’s way past my bedtime lol. I was more than ready to call it a night and head to my hotel, which I happily did. Saturday was another early start for me because I was scheduled to be at the Women’s March Downtown LA by 8:15am. I thought that was early, but by the time I arrived there were already thousands of women lined up and shouting “Times Up!” I was so proud to be in attendance at this event. There were women of all races marching, chanting, helping, and hoping. It was a beautiful sight to see in person, and I encourage anyone who has never attended one to try and attend one soon. Speakers of the march included Viola Davis and Scarlett Johansson, with several other celebrities marching along with the crowd. The message was clear, women are fed up and it’s time for change!
After the march I headed over to a cafe called Don Francisco’s Coffee Casa Cubana to meet up with the LA chapter of Black Bloggers United. I’m apart of the NYC chapter, and when I heard that the LA chapter was launching this weekend I just HAD to be there. We discussed goals for our blogs, and how we could connect in the future. We discussed the accomplishments and challenges we face as bloggers, and they gave me a list of cool events and places to check out during my trip. I had a great time, and it was such a pleasure meeting all of them.
After we left the cafe I realized I had lost my DSLR camera. I was devastated! Thankfully I ran back to the cafe to find that two women had just given it to the cafe employees in case I returned for it. Aren’t women amazing?! I was sooooo thankful. I literally hugged them both like we were family. I told them I was from NYC, and they said: “Well you know you’re definitely not in New York anymore since it was returned.” They were so right! LOL! After leaving the cafe we headed to Hollywood to sight see. On the way there (In another Uber), I was shocked to see the numerous amounts of tents set up on Skid Row. I had never seen anything like this. I had heard about it, but the stories are nothing compared to seeing it first hand. There are tons of homeless people in NYC, but I’ve never seen anyone with an actual tent set up. I’m not sure if it’s legal in NYC or we just have more shelters. It was sad and intriguing at the same time. My uber driver told me that there were actually full families living in some of the tents. She said they work and go to school but just can’t afford the housing of LA. I don’t know how true that is, but it made me so sad. I don’t understand why nothing is being done about it. I’ll admit that I haven’t had a chance to really research this, but I will, and I’m going to update this with a way that we can help if possible.
Once we got to our destination I quickly realized that Hollywood is where you want to be if you want to feel like you’re in NYC. Hollywood is the tourist area and it gives off 42nd St/Times Square vibes. There were hundreds of people on each block. There were vendors fighting for our attention while trying to sell us everything under the sun. We had a good time walking around the Walk of Fame and taking pictures. I was inspired to see Diddy’s Star because his backstory is very similar to mine, and it motivates me when I see people I can relate to.
We stayed in Hollywood for a few more hours before heading back to the hotel for the night. The next day was Show Time, and it was time for me to do what I came to do: Work at the SAG Awards! I woke up very excited and eager to start my day. My call time was at 1:30pm PST, and I made sure to give myself enough time to get ready before my car arrived. I’m not always the best at time management and I was determined not to be the one holding up this major awards show with my shenanigans. The auditorium was set up even more beautifully than it was at the walk thru. The celebrities started to arrive a little earlier than expected, but it was ok because we were ready. SAG’s theme this year was also all about women, and they had a full line up of female presenters with Kristen Bell hosting the show. It was amazing to see and converse with everyone as they arrived on the red carpet. Everyone was super humble and friendly, and it felt like such an intimate event. It’s nothing like what we see on tv. It’s way more intimate with all of the celebrities cracking jokes and making conversation along the way. They all seemed genuinely happy to be in each others presence. It was nice to see some of their small insecurities about how their make up looked, or how their dresses were falling. Everyone ensured each other that they looked great. It was such a great experience! I received tons of compliments on my dress and super bright nails.
I also showed my support for women with my tiny #metoo pin.
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The night ended with the SAG Awards After Party in another section of the auditorium. We had great food, drinks, and music. We partied the night away until it was time to close up shop. My whole weekend was centered on women, and I’m so happy to have been apart of it. We as women work extremely hard, and it’s nice to be recognized for the things we do. I went to LA expecting to attend events centered on women, but I was shocked to see how empowering each event was. When you think of women-focused events you assume that it’s beauty based and full of pampering. While some of the events included those things, that was not the focus. The focus was on how strong we are as women. Each woman I encountered this weekend exuded strength and confidence, and the theme was unification. This weekend proved that we’re ready to show the world that we want respect, and we are ready and willing to take it by any means necessary!