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An icon was recently given her flowers in symbolic and physical form during an all-white event that was teeming with opulence and wise words from the lady of the hour.

On Sunday, The Black Excellence Brunch held an installment of their iconic celebration in partnership with Hallmark Mahogany and Crown Royal during the ESSENCE Festival weekend and celebrated Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Black Excellence Brunch In New Orleans

Source: Kai Byrd

Held at New Orleans’ beautiful and scenic Riverview Room’s rooftop in the French Quarter, BOSSIP was in attendance for the “Sunday dinner” style brunch and witnessed the award-winning actress receive a trophy and a beautiful glass portrait painted by Andrea Mckenzie.

As guests arrived at the Black Excellence Brunch, they were greeted with a branded handkerchief to enjoy the second-line band along with a Crown Royal signature cocktail. Guests also enjoyed an inspirational moment and a brief acapella rap performance from Hip Hop legend YoYo, who was also honored during the event.

Black Excellence Brunch In New Orleans

Source: Kai Byrd

As one of the most anticipated and exclusive brunches during the Festival weekend, The Black Excellence Brunch brought together an inspiring room of entertainers, celebrities, executives, influencers, creatives, and impactful professionals from all walks of life.

Included in that group were KJ Smith and Skyh Black, who posed with Black Excellence Brunch founder Trell Thomas

Black Excellence Brunch In New Orleans

Source: Kai Byrd

Black Excellence Brunch In New Orleans

Source: Kai Byrd

Lexi Underwood…

Black Excellence Brunch In New Orleans

Source: Kai Byrd


Richard Lawson, Tobias Truvillion, and Anne-Sophie Petit-Frere of Netflix’s The Perfect Match.

Black Excellence Brunch In New Orleans

Source: Kai Byrd

Sheryl Lee Ralph Inspires Guests At The Black Excellence Brunch

Amid enjoying the Hollywood flair of the decor, second-line band, majorettes, Crown Royal mimosas bar, and delicious Southern brunch, BOSSIP took in an electrifying fireside chat led by Trell Thomas with Sheryl Lee Ralph.

During the conversation, the luminary spoke candidly about the importance of amplifying Black voices in the industry at all times and dished on her pivotal career moments, including ones that were shrouded by doubt.

While recounting her times when uncertainty crept in, she affirmed the Black Excellence Brunch attendees of their own individual importance.

“There were many moments in my life where I thought about, maybe I should stop,” said Ralph during the Black Excellence Brunch. “There were many moments where I thought, maybe I’ve run the course of my race.

“There were many moments where I thought wow have I just made poor choices for myself,” she added. “But those were just moments because the truth of the matter was I had to know that I was doing the right thing.”

“Let’s take my work around HIV and AIDs,” said Ralph.”A lot of you in here know that your health and your well being has been at the top of my list for 30-some odd years, trying to let you know how valuable you are, how perfect you are, just the way you are. And the need for you to make proper healthy choices so that you can stay strong on the journey that you are going to have to make in life. You all are at a very important time right now in the world and you are needed.”

The always confident original dream girl also stressed the importance of self-love to the Black Excellence Brunch attendees…

“The better I am to myself is the better I can be to everybody else and that’s a fact,” said the Emmy winner during the Black Excellence brunch. “I’ve learned in my journey there is one thing that unhappy people are really good about—and that’s making sure that everybody else is unhappy, everybody else does not feel good about themselves.

And I’ve learned, I block those things out by choosing to love me first.”

and elsewhere in the conversation gave her unfiltered thoughts on the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse affirmative action.

“In case you did not know, this was a tragic week for America,” said Ralph. “For Black people, for human people, for gay people—it was a tragic week. When affirmative action is no longer needed, you must know they’re coming for you.

“For anybody to believe that there are not people in this world who look at your hairstyle [and say]; not that one, who look at the shade of your skin; not that one, who look at the sound of your name; not that one…if you don’t know that they’re looking to X you out, you better wake up!” said the star.

Guests were in awe of the actress’ honesty and candor, and Black Excellence Brunch founder Trell Thomas gushed about her speech.

“Sheryl Lee Ralph is a national treasure and she deserves every flower,” said Thomas. “I’m so glad we got to honor her during the ESSENCE Festival, a place that puts emphasis on celebrating Black Women. She is a legendary Black woman and we couldn’t be in a place like ESSENCE and not make space to celebrate her and all of her excellence.”

Congrats to THEE Sheryl Lee Ralph!




About Black Excellence Brunch

In August of 2018, communications professional Trell Thomas decided to create a community that celebrated the excellence of young black professionals. Trell, a seasoned entertainment/media expert, saw an opportunity to introduce entrepreneurs, clothing designers, stylists, actors, etc. to one another via a family style brunch modeled after “Sunday Dinner”. The brunch features soul food, a discussion and the opportunity for millennials to gain insight from seasoned professionals while fellow-shipping with other successful black and brown colleagues. @BlackExcellenceBrunch


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