By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Empowerment through leadership and service is the theme of this year's annual Central Texas Black Expo Saturday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
The expo, sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Mu Theta Omega chapter and Time Warner Cable, seeks to attract and educate county residents through breakout sessions and entertainment.
TaNeika Driver, Killeen's NAACP president and an Alpha Kappa Alpha member, said funds raised through the expo go toward scholarships for graduating seniors at all of Killeen's high schools, as well as high schools in Copperas Cove, Belton and Temple.
"Last year, we gave out $10,500 in scholarships and that's our goal this year, as well," said Driver.
The expo kicks off with a gospel brunch and speech from the Rev. Nicole Payne, of Killeen's Greater Vision Community Church. Driver said Payne's speech, the first she's given at the expo, will focus on the event's theme.
Retired Master Sgt. Donald Williams will be the keynote speaker for a military tribute. Driver said the tribute also will include a Fort Hood soldier singing the national anthem and a presentation on how connected Killeen is with the Army.
"We'll show a video that showcases, for those new to the area or visiting, what our military is all about," said Driver.
From there, breakout sessions will be held on domestic violence, resume preparation and natural hair. Driver said community interest guides what workshops take place and the natural hair workshop has been a favorite in recent years.
Participants also will be able to sample and judge food from several local eateries, with the winner announced at the end of the expo.
There also will be a fashion show with members of the Mu Theta Omega chapter, a jazz cafe featuring local artists and a high school step-off featuring students from Shoemaker, Killeen, Ellison and Harker Heights high schools.
The post-expo entertainment begins at 7 p.m., when Comedian Eddie Griffin takes the stage, along with two other comedy acts, as well as R&B performances.
"The show is also to raise money for Kathy's Kids Project, which seeks to establish a foster care facility for children in Central Texas," said VeShell Willis, who is coordinating the post-expo entertainment.
"We also have Dave Bell, a Killeen R&B singer, along with Ja'quan, an R&B singer from Austin," she said.
Willis said comedians Flo Hernandez and "Fat Alberta" will open for Griffin.
Contact Sean Wardwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.
If you go
The annual Central Texas Black Expo is Saturday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 S. W.S. Young Drive. Tickets for the expo are $10 at the door, with children age 5 and younger admitted free.
Tickets for comedian Eddie Griffin's performance are $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP seats.
Purchase tickets at Killeen's Gay's House of Beauty, 2006 E. Rancier Ave., or online at www.eddiegriffinkilleen.eventbrite.com.
The schedule of events is:
9 a.m. - Gospel brunch
9:30 a.m. - Guest speaker, Rev. Nicole Payne
10:15 a.m. - Military tribute
11 a.m. - Food tasting
11 to 11:50 a.m. - Breakout sessions
12 to 12:50 p.m. - Breakout sessions
2 p.m. - Mu Theta Omega fashion show
3 to 4 p.m. - Jazz cafe
4-5 p.m. - High school stepoff
5 p.m. - Wrap-up and awards
7 p.m. - Comedian Eddie Griffin performs