Women's Empowerment 2019 inspires many at PNC Arena

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RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Women's Empowerment 2019, held at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Saturday, attracted one of its largest crowds ever, according to Melissa Wade of Radio One, which organizes the annual event.

ABC11 was the proud sponsor of the event.

Gospel star Kirk Franklin's appearance on Saturday galvanized the crowd, with women of all ages clapping along to the live performance of his recorded hits.

"It feels like family," exclaimed Daisy Miranda as soon as she entered the building. She drove over from Wake Forest ready for the music. "Oh my gosh! Kirk Franklin! Patti Labelle! Especially Patti. Love her! "

Keynote speaker Jenifer Lewis, co-star of ABC's "Black-ish", spoke candidly with a group of admirers backstage before her appearance before the larger crowd.

"I'm very grateful for this role, because it's a cherry on top of my career. The subject matters that Kenya Barris and the writers address, I mean, bringing the comedy and drama together is amazing," Lewis said. "I'm telling you, every time I get a Black-ish script, I laugh out loud. And I don't laugh at nobody but myself!"

She posed with fans who received copies of her autobiography, "The Mother of Black Hollywood." She chose the name after playing a parent of stars like Whitney Houston, Taraji P. Henson and Tupac Shakur before her current role on "Black-ish".

"I am honored to be on Black-ish! Dealing with police brutality, depression, the N-word, the dysfunction in the African-American homes, the love, the love!" she said. "The progress, and the kids growing up. Rainbow, being a doctor and Ruby, having her past. What a past! And of course, Laurence Fishburne. It's an amazing cast. But I'd say that the writers are the stars of the show."

Entertainment's not the only reason women gather every year for this event. They also take advantage of free health screenings, networking opportunities, and moments when they could discuss the importance of getting out the vote.

"We are now holding high offices and I think that, with us holding such power, it was a great thing to do," said Odessa Williams after driving from Elizabeth City for the day. Her friend Candy Griffin said they didn't mind the time spent on the road.

"Well worth it," said Griffin, one of many women who proudly wore the colors and logos of their sororities.
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