The Black Men XCEL Summit has officially kicked off! This
inaugural multiday celebration of enlightenment,
empowerment, and excellence is being held at the
PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens,
Florida, Aug. 30–Sept. 3, 2017, and is sponsored by FedEx.
for a daily recap of all the incredible video, images, and
details of this exciting event celebrating black men.
Golf, Panels, and Parties
Day 2 of the Black Men XCEL Summit was packed with engaging
panel sessions, a powerful fireside chat with award-winning
filmmaker Robert Townsend, and, of course, great networking
opportunities. Gentlemen were also treated to complimentary
haircuts sponsored by Walmart.
The day began with an early golf tournament, sponsored by
Hungry golfers and attendees then congregated in the PGA
Ballroom for the BMX Luncheon & Awards Fireside Chat, where
Erwin Raphael, the general manager at Genesis Motor America,
opened the ceremony with an inspirational speech. Shawn
Dove, the CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement
(CBMA), was presented with the inaugural BE Modern Man of
the Year Award.
(Image: Robert Townsend
and Alfred Edmond Jr.)
BE Editor-at-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. then moderated an
exclusive chat with legendary actor, director, and comedian
Robert Townsend, whose achievements and contributions have
shattered barriers and changed the world. Townsend also shared
his secrets of success in the business of entertainment.
During the How to be a Mogul: Build Your
Empire session, media mogul, author, and
philanthropist Louis Carr discussed what it takes to build an
empire from scratch. He spoke in depth about what it takes not
only to establish a world-class operation, but to keep it
(Image: Ed Gordon,
Kimatni D. Rawlins, Shawn Dove, and Caron Butler)
Ed Gordon also led an empowering panel discussion about black
fatherhood, titled The Fatherhood Factor: The Master
Key to Black Survival and Success. During the
session, Caron Butler, former NBA Player; Shawn Dove;
and Kimatni D. Rawlins, the founder of Fit Fathers; opened
up about their tactics for good parenting. They emphasized the
need for dads to be openly vulnerable, especially with their
daughters, and to be a consistent father fixture in the lives
of their children.
The night ended with the BMX Good Life Social followed by
a late night Brandies and Cigars networking session.
Rep. John Lewis, Robert Townsend, John Rogers Jr. and More
Honored at BE’s Black Men XCEL Summit
(Image: Robert Townsend,
Rep. John Lewis, Lonnie G. Bunch, and John W. Rogers)
Black Enterprise kicked off the
inaugural Black Men XCEL
Summit on Wednesday with an evening of inspiration
that recognized the extraordinary achievements of four
trailblazers who have made an immense impact in their
respective fields of work and the world: Hon. Congressman John
Lewis, award-winning filmmaker Robert Townsend, historian
Lonnie Bunch, and business leader John W. Rogers.
The night began with a warm welcome reception held at the PGA
National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Attendees mixed and mingled while showing off their finest
(Image: Attendees at the
Black Men XCEL summit)
They were then escorted into the PGA ballroom for the first
inaugural Black Men XCEL Summit Awards, sponsored by AT&T.
During his opening remarks, Black
Enterprise CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. emphasized the
importance of uplifting black men while elevating the legacy of
Black Enterprise, which has been a premier
business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African
Americans since 1970.
Each honoree was recognized for their achievements, influence,
impact, and leadership, which has helped open doors of
opportunity and present an inspiring example of success for
others, especially men of color.
John W. Rogers Jr.
During his acceptance speech, John W. Rogers Jr., chairman and
CEO of Ariel Investments, talked about the role Black
Enterprise played in inspiring his journey in
“I can remember in those early years, as I was getting started
and leaving college, getting going as a stock broker, I
couldn’t wait for Black Enterprise magazine to
come out every month. It was really that kind of publication
that made it seem like everything was possible as a young
African American in business,” said Rogers. “It was all about
Lonnie G. Bunch III
Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of
African American History and Culture and the author of more
than a dozen books on history, race, and museum scholarship,
said he accepted the award on behalf of the black men who
came before him, and the “men who were called boys, but they
were called boys so that we could be called congressmen, CEO,
Townsend, an award-winning actor, director, and comedian, said
the negative portrayal of African Americans in Hollywood
inspired him to become a filmmaker. He also announced plans to
bring his classic movie “The Five Heartbeats” to Broadway. He
ended his speech by pressing black men to continue to fight for
“With everything going on in the world, we as men of color need
to fight harder than ever,” he said. “We must band together
like never before, and fight harder and fight together, and
understand that the work is not done.”
Rep. John Lewis
While sharing the stage with Earl G. Graves Sr., Lewis humbly
thanked him for “seeing fit to honor a poor boy from rural
Alabama.” He ended his acceptance speech telling people of
color not to become complacent by the progress that has been
made and to instead continue to fight for equality.
“When we see something that is not right, not fair, not
justice, we have a moral obligation to speak up and to speak
out. Earl, and the family of Black Enterprise, thank you for
speaking up. Thank you for leading the way.”
The celebration of black men will continue until Sunday with
golf tournaments, luxurious spa experiences, a Mars vs. Venus
trivia competition, a celebrity chef cook-off, and live music
and comedy. You can follow along on Twitter and Instagram with
the hashtag #BMXCEL.