Intimacy in NOLA

I was afforded the opportunity to attend a conference for beauty professionals this weekend in New Orleans.

I stayed at the beautiful Renaissance Pere Marquette Marriott in the historic French Quarters. Being that it was my first time in the city, I was so curious to explore. Not to mention, it's Mardi Gras.

So much culture: live music and food at every glance. Beads upon beads and the smell liquor pervading the streets filled with naked people and glitter galore.

But I was here for a purpose. Serious Business 2016 at the Saenger Theatre.  Thousands of beauty professionals in all black, Starbucks in hand, ready to go to the next level.

Outside of the life changing information being imparted into us presentation after next, the mildness and humility of the speakers was almost unbelievable.

And after 3 days of constant downloading of information, this one particular moment surpassed them all. At the tail of a networking mixer, my 2 bosses and I sat at a table just amazed at what was surrounding us. Hundreds of men and women, all salon owners, stylists, directors and coordinators, in a ballroom, most of which were slightly tipsy off the expensive wine being served at every corner, building relationships.

A man by the name of Brian Perdue came up the table, pulled a seat next to me, and for the next 75 minutes began to pour out his heart and share his story. He jokingly called himself a "Georgia Redneck" but painted a picture in our mind telling us how he and his wife went from living in a trailer park with no money, to owning 7 salons, 2 schools, and grossing over $10million in2015.

We were all in.

He asked us questions, gave us advice, encouraged us,  and in the end gave us his personal contact info and an invite to visit him in Atlanta. And when he walked away, the 3 of us stood there on the verge of tears. That someone who had done so much in the industry; Someone who is truly living out their purpose, Would take the time to pour out his heart and take us under his wing because he believed in us.

I'm crying now just reminiscing.

And I cry becauseI've been to conferences where the host speaker would act as if they were untouchable. And the guests speakers that were brought in were seemingly the same because the host wanted them to do follow a set plan or agenda. Status was important so you saw how they gleamed and glistened. So of course would pay $197 for regurgitated material because naturally we're enticed by things that we don't have that would seemingly make us look and live better.

And I'd hate to pull the race card but it's only will African Americans.

"We always tryna one-up a nigga."


And I don't understand whyyyyyy!!!!!


The theme of the conference was "Intimacy: Into-me-see" and I kid you not, each speaker dug deep into uncomfortable area of our minds and made us question who we are, how serious we are about our gifts, and what our true intentions and motives are. Do we use our gifts to serve people and bless them by creating experiences and relationships? Or do we prostitute our own gifts to make quick money?

James Morrison himself reiterated that our gifts aren't for us. And if you don't use them to touch the lives of people, but for selfish gain, you'll end up like him: having sold your company for $412 million, but feeling trapped because though you could purchase anything you wanted, what you couldn't buy was peace of mind, sobriety and a healthy relationship with your wife.

The conference was honestly life changing. I have so many gifts, some of which sit idle and honestly it's selfish. Prideful even. I need to share my gifts with the world to make it a better touch the lives of others.  I want the heart of a servant. I want to do something legendary. I want to be iconic.


KierraLanice WrayComment