Livingstone College Inspired I Am Free with Bravo TV Star
By DA'TARVIA A. PARRISH
Livingstone College filled its spring Holistic Day with an inspirational Christian-based event, the I Am Free Concert and Convo Tour hosted by Queen Brooklyn Tankard of the Bravo television show, Thicker than Water.
Faculty, staff, students and alumni of Livingstone College joined Tankard and celebrity friends at 9am. in Bishop James Varick Auditorium with Brooklyn challenging all present to be the M.V.P. of their lives. As she shared personal testimony of violence and poor choices triumphed with God’s grace and mercy, Tankard’s message dared all present to meditate, visualize and plan.
The Livingstone College Gospel Choir echoed Tankard’s message with two selections that brought the audience to their feet, while all proclaimed, “1, 2, 3 - I am free!”
Joining Queen Brooklyn‘s tour were her mother millionaire entrepreneur Jewel Tankard, and father, award winning gospel jazz musician, Ben Tankard. Jewel Tankard facilitated a visual presentation on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and economic prosperity – entitled New Rules of Money. She encouraged audience members to engage in investment opportunities and connect with mentors who are purposeful in money management and global perspectives. Most of all she stimulated participants to believe, “I deserve to live my dreams.”
Senior Business major Daisha Gilliam said, “Jewel Tankard’s message really spoke to me. I know I want to engage in entrepreneurship, but I never really thought of the scale or the degree to which I want to take my business. I know now I need to not only think globally, but I also need to think practically about the everyday needs and conveniences of everyday people; and of course, I must consider digital assets. Their testimonies and their advice have been a blessing to me.”
A Meet and Greet session was held from 2-2pm. in the Event and Hospitality Center of Livingstone College where attendees were greeted on a red carpet with a personal interview conducted by Brooklyn Tankard.
The afternoon continued with refreshments provided by the School of Hospitality and Management of Livingstone. Networking and fellowshipping followed, as well as one-on-one conversations with Brooklyn, Jewel, and Ben Tankard.
Junior Criminal Justice major Damia Marshall was interviewed by Brooklyn Tankard and expressed, “Initially I felt a little nervous during our interview but as she began to ask me what inspired me and what did I like about the show – I was able to express to her the connection I felt with her words, you are not what you have been through. It seems at that moment in the interview, the two of us connected and I was able to share more whereas in the end, we both were quite pleased with our acquaintance.”
Director of Student Activities Anthony Brown served as co-host to Queen Brooklyn at the culmination of events, a 5-9pm program concert in Varick Auditorium followed. Queen Brooklyn opened the show with a song performance followed by a panel discussion where facilitator Brown asked the Tankards a series of questions from audience members.
Ultimately, Ben Tankard encouraged attendees to, “Don’t be against yourself. Too often people replay what others have done to them. Shape your destiny and speak to your own life.” Brooklyn Tankard asked participants to “Find a positive mentor. Change your mindset and change your habits;” while Jewel Tankard stated, “Recognize your gift and lead with God’s mission.”
A vocal performance from fourteen year old Mia Mason, an eighth grade student at Salisbury’s Knox Middle School sang “I Will Do a New Thing in You” followed the panel discussion.
Ben Tankard then challenged partakers to strive and accomplish goals through repetition as he rendered an instrumental piece while asking the audience to write five goals to accomplish. Queen Brooklyn finished the night with four live and interactive performances; “When I’m Gone,” “Controller,” “Royalty,” and “Touch the Ground.” While Royalty featured Livingstone College’s 2019 Royal Court contestants, the other three performances energized and motivated students to celebrate and reiterate, “1, 2, 3, - I am free!”
Freshman class chaplain Justine E. Wade provided the benediction.
The I Am Free Concert and Convo Tour is scheduled to travel to over 20 HBCUs in 2019 to empower students, alumni, faculty and the community with knowledge to eliminate physical, sexual and psychological violence. Livingstone College was the Tour’s first stop.