Serenading souls and stealing hearts, Dru Hill leaves their mark at the Ubiquitous Women’s Expo with an unforgettable performance.

By Zsana Hoskins,
Special to the AFRO

The 2023 Ubiquitous Women’s annual expo, elevated the Black beauty industry for a ninth year by inviting Black celebrities and business owners to invest in one another.

The Ubiquitous Women’s Expo was founded by Germaine Bolds-Leftridge, creator of IKnow Skincare, to uplift, empower and inspire women of color. 

“We have to learn how to start shopping with each other, supporting each other on a different kind of level,” said Bolds-Leftridge. 

Through her company, GBL Sales, she has helped take companies to the next level while serving as a broker for numerous beauty brands including Mielle Organics, Oyin Handmade, Curls Dynasty, Kenya Moore Haircare, Makeup Bullet and Taliah Waajid.

Vendors traveled from across the country to share their specialized products with the public. 

“Being a part of this event is beautiful because it’s like Black women at the highest level. The whole point of this is you don’t have to do this alone. We need to connect and stand together because nobody can do this alone,” said Korto Momolu, an African fashion designer featured on the show Project Runway showcased her latest collection as an exhibitor at the expo. “We need to see more images of Black women supporting each other. We do more of that than we do the other stuff that they like to promote. This is just reaffirming and just like we love each other.  We’re not competing against each other. We can all win.”

The expo also featured over 120 exhibitors including Amazon, Camille Rose, Supreme Hair and Omolewa Cosmetics. Many local businesses had booths as well such as The Red Bloom Spa, Mission Slimpossible and Kira Dior Hair. Panels and workshops throughout the weekend focused on topics such as mindfulness, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, beauty, health and wellness.

“I’ve met so many beautiful, successful, young and vibrant Black people. I love seeing Black people doing positive things—working together, supporting each other. It’s wonderful,” said Vanella Jackson-Crawford, the 2021 Miss Senior District of Columbia.

Olivia Lang, lead director of Faith-based Partnerships for CVS Health, shines as she graciously accepts the prestigious 2023 Ubiquitous Visionary Award from the creator of the Ubiquitous Women’s Expo, Germaine Bolds-Leftridge. (Credit: Photo courtesy of the Ubiquitous Women’s Expo)

The event acknowledged the success of Black women in the hair care industry by announcing the 2023 Ubiquitous Woman of the Year, Monique Rodriguez, founder and owner of the hair care brand, Mielle. 

“The mission of Ubiquitous Women’s Expo—it aligns so perfectly with my own core values. The dedication to promoting beauty, health and wellness is of utmost importance to myself, my values, and the entire Mielle team,” Rodriguez said during her video acceptance speech. “It is our responsibility to always empower and to uplift one another. That is what Ubiquitous is about, that is their mission, that is what they represent.”

Rodriguez also acknowledged those who paved the way for her to be successful in her journey.  

“Throughout my journey, I have also strived to make a positive impact—to be that beacon of hope for others. I stand on the shoulders of Madam C.J. Walker, and I hope that I am making her very proud as I carry the torch to pass on to others,” said Rodriguez.

The weekend featured performances from Dru Hill, Maurette Brown Clark, Raheem DeVaughn and more.

“This is such an amazing event! Dru Hill was absolutely amazing, they did their thing. And I’m just appreciative of all the people that came out and all the sponsors,” said reality TV star Dr. Heavenly Kimes, who led a session titled “Heavenly University: Financial Independence,” on July 22.

James and Erana Tyler from the show “Love and Marriage DC” attended the expo for the first time. 

“We kicked off the show with the amazing Dru Hill, all the celebrities are here. If you’re not here, you don’t know what you’re missing, make sure you get your tickets and join us every year,” said James Tyler. “This is the greatest event in D.C.”