There were a multitude of events in which any guest could become immersed at Reunion. During the day / early afternoon guests could partake in the EXPO portion of activities which featured celebrity autograph signings, live concert performances, empowerment seminars, and live broadcasts of the Tom Joyner Sky Show / Yolanda Adams Morning Show / and The Al Sharpton Show... by the way, THE EXPO PORTION OF REUNION WAS FREE TO THE PUBLIC!!! Although there was a small charge for the concerts in the evening, who would pass up the opportunity to see Babyface serenading you whilst playing his guitar right in front of you, or the chance to see The Jacksons performing live in concert?
On Thursday (8/28/14), Reunion officially opened its doors at 7pm. Attendees entering the Gaylord Palms exhibit halls could walk through the vendor aisles and speak to representatives from multiple academic institutions on opportunities of advancing their educations. You could speak to personnel from NASA about the newest advancements in aerospace, or you could purchase specialty items from one of the clothing apparel or jewelry sellers. An old-school dance contest kicks off. A few minutes later, the first of the free celebrity autograph signings takes place featuring R&B artist KEM, and comedic heavyweights Huggy Lowdown and Chris Paul. A short while later, hip hop artists Chubb Rock and YoYo are scheduled to meet and greet with excited fans. After you get your autograph / take your photo with the celebrities, you'll want to make your way over to the main expo stage and watch Purple Reign, a Prince-tribute performer who left many guests questioning whether or not they had actually just witnessed Mr. Purple Rain onstage. Further into the night, you can dance to the beats of the DJ who toured with Michael Jackson (DJ Nabs).
Approaching the lunch hour you could gain some insights from Tom Joyner Morning Show co-host Sybil Wilkes as she led her Book Club's 'Old School, Today's School and New School: A Look at the Civil Rights Leaders and Their Stories.' Reunion is able to bring together Reverend Al Sharpton, Ilyasah Shabazz (Malcolm X's daughter), Dr. Eddie Connor, and Ms. Wilkes onstage at once. Myra J would further your enlightenment with her 'Am I Big Boned or Obese -- The Myths We Believe About Gaining Weight' discussion. Afterward, the speakers were available for a meet and greet immediately adjacent to the stage.
At 1pm, 'Desperate Housewives of Atlanta' singer Porsha Williams dropped her new single 'Flatline' to a crowded Expo floor. STAR 94.5's Monica May and Michael Baisden would round out the remainder of the afternoon with their 'The President's Roundtable' and 'Raise Your Hand If You Have Issues' discussions, respectively.
'A Night of R&B and The Legends of Hip Hop' concert would begin at 9pm, essentially shutting down the 2nd floor of the Expo tower. Grammy award-winning R&B soul-singer Syleena Johnson was the first to perform. Her smooth and sultry voice captivated the audience with her cool range. Taking to the stage next was R&B singer, song-writer, and producer Tank, whose good-looks and charming charisma over the ladies in the audience nearly collapse as he melted hearts with his personal compositions and TGT-inspired (3 person trio featuring Tyrese Gibson, Ginuwine, and Tank) love ballads. However, both the ladies and the men had to fine-tune their singing abilities when 10-time Grammy Award winner Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds took the stage. Babyface ran the full gamut of his hits spanning the history of his musical career as he performed a 90-minute set of power hits including songs he released himself (Every Time I Close My Eyes, Whip Appeal, and When Can I See You Again), and more than 10 other songs he wrote for others (Don't Be Cruel, Every Little Step, Rock With Ya, Rock Steady, Roses Are Red, My My My, I'll Make Love To You, and End of the Road).
The Hip Hop After Party continued with old school legends taking the stage -- and everyone else in attendance -- by surprise. With performances by Kid N' Play, Chubb Rock, YoYo, and Kurtis Blow, spectators danced and rapped along to the legends up on the stage.
Meanwhile in Wreckers, J. Anthony Brown and friends were putting on The J Spot Late Night Comedy event for the adults.
Saturday 8/30 featured several events to keep you busy. Tom Joyner's Breakfast went from 8 - 10am. Michael Baisden held an Open Casting Call from 8 - 11am. The Cracker Barrel Step Exhibition went on from 1030 - 1145am. Allstate featured 'A Cooking Demo with Chef G. Garvin' from noon - 1pm. The Mary Jane Girls put on a 30-minute performance at 115pm. CNN Newsroom's Don Lemon gave a presentation on 'Building Your Business: I Have an Idea, Now What Do I Do?' R&B Artist Joe would take the stage in the early afternoon and perform to the adoring crowd. Throughout the day, Chubb Rock's Beats Camp and Yoyo's School of Hip Hop were being held in adjacent ballrooms. In the evening, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store presented its Motown Meets Funk, featuring the very special performances by The Temptations Review (feat. Dennis Edwards), the Bar-Kays, and The Jacksons.
On Family Day Sunday (8/31), the final day of Reunion, attendees could join one another for one last breakfast before heading over to the Gospel Explosion featuring Gospel singers Anita Wilson, Kierra Sheard, Tasha Cobbs, Smokie Norful, Vashawn Mitchell, Willie Moore Jr., and special appearance by Pastor Riva Tims. Afterward, special performances by Yolanda Adams and James Fortune were conducted on the main stage, which were then followed by an Inspirational Words segment from the Reverend Al Sharpton.
As folks headed back home Sunday afternoon / evening, they were able to fondly reflect on the wonderful memories made, and strengthened bonds that were formed, at this Allstate Tom Joyner Family REUNION event. I am hoping to be a part of this wonderful event again next year, and sincerely hope to see you there too!