Fostering Sisterhood

  • By:  Corrin Morgan

Meet one woman who celebrates female empowerment in a musically major way.

The color red represents power, strength, energy, and passion. According to singer Myra Smith, “a woman wearing red symbolizes her in her true essence—an empowered, strong, and passionate being.”

In 2015, Myra combined her natural vocal talents with her passion for female empowerment to create an experience like no other, The Ladies in Red Concert and Award Show. For the past five years, the event has been a major success.

“I have always wanted to empower and unite women,” Myra said. “As a professional singer, we [female singers] could be more unified. For women in general, there should be more sisterhood among us.”

The simple idea to unify female singers across Hampton Roads for a concert has since evolved into the full-scale red carpet event held annually at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News.

Featuring medleys of music from a variety of genres, the concert is interspersed with presentations highlighting the accomplishments of the honorees.  Since the event’s inception, Myra has honored over forty “roses” including:

• Virginia Beach resident Andrea Gaines, President and Founder of Habesha Momma, Inc. – a foundation dedicated to improving the livelihood of children in Ethiopia.

• Dr. Charlene Rainey Bell, Founder of Her Padded Truth – a company committed to providing women affected by homelessness and poverty with safe, cost effective, and eco-friendly feminine hygiene products.

• Shant’a Miller, Founder and CEO of Parents Against Bullying – an organization designed to provide mentorship and healing resources to children and families that experience the devastating effects of bullying.

• Deirdre Love, Founder of Teens with a Purpose – a non-profit organization designed to teach poetry to teenagers as a creative outlet and a means to overcome fears and social anxiety.

The Sixth Annual Ladies in Red Concert and Award Show will kick off Women’s History Month 2020 by celebrating the next cohort of ladies making history right here in our hometown.

According to Myra, the list of this year’s recipients is being kept under wraps. “There are some major surprises in store for this year’s event,” she said.

Myra hopes to expand Ladies in Red beyond the Tidewater area. “I want this show to continue to grow outside of our community,” she said. “Every year, I celebrate women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and I want to make every year more diverse, featuring a multicultural ensemble of performers and honorees.”

Myra Smith’s desire to foster sisterhood and unity for all women demonstrates that regardless of the color of her skin, red is her color.

The 6th Annual Ladies in Red Concert & Award Show will be held Sat., March 7, 2020, at 6 p.m. at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News. For more information regarding this event, please visit www.downing-gross.org. For more details on Myra Smith, please visit experiencemyrasmith.com.

Corrin Morgan is the marketing coordinator for Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News.

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