CultureCon NYC: Lena Waithe, Taraji P. Henson and others attend event for Black creatives

CultureCon's third and final stop was in New York City over the weekend, after successful events in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Over the weekend, CultureCon hit New York City and theGrio had a chance to watch stars like Taraji P. Henson, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross and others hit the red carpet, give valuable advice to Black creatives and more in what has become the “fastest-growing conference for multicultural creatives.”

Founded by Imani Ellis, CultureCon is a three-city tour that has become known for bringing some of the biggest and brightest talent in Hollywood and connecting them with emerging stars, creatives and entrepreneurs. After stopping in Los Angeles and Atlanta, CultureCon had its grand finale summit over the weekend in The Big Apple.

Lena Waithe spoke about her journey as a screenwriter, her passion and how she focused on perfecting her craft versus chasing fame during CultureCon on Oct. 8 in New York City.
(Stephen Han / CultureCon)

Imani Ellis

Speaking to theGrio on the red carpet, Ellis addressed what makes the New York stop of CultureCon so unique and the benefits of it as a touring conference. “Each city had a different theme,” she explained. “In Atlanta, we really focused on the hustle, so focusing on entrepreneurship and how to get creatives who had side gigs to the next level. In L.A., we focused on community. We were really intentional about doing a ton of different events in a ton of different neighborhoods and bringing them together.”

“New York is our Super Bowl,” she added. “New York is culture, community, fashion … it’s the ultimate homecoming.”

Lena Waithe takes the Culture Stage

Some of the most exciting moments happened on the Culture Stage, which was set up for conversations with “larger-than-life creative forces.” It featured fun pairings like Elaine Welteroth interviewing Lena Waithe and Phoebe Robinson interviewing Tracee Ellis Ross. The crowd heard some powerful gems from some of the biggest forces in Hollywood.

Waithe spoke of her journey as a screenwriter, her passion and how she focused on perfecting her craft versus chasing fame. “I just wanted to be a really good television writer,” she explained. “I was just running; that’s it. It wasn’t like this plan, but [when I won the Emmy], people were like, ‘What are you gonna do now?’ and I’m like, ‘I wanna make ‘Queen & Slim,’ I wanna keep doing things that I haven’t done.'”

One of her greatest stories of perseverance was the trajectory of her BET series, “Twenties,” which she worked on for over five years before it finally made it to TV. “People in L.A., when I wrote that pilot, they really loved that script, but people were like, ‘This is insane, this is not going to be on TV.'”

She added, “If you’re a person that is easy to say no to, you must be the most persistent, patient person in the room.”

Taraji P. Henson breaks down career success

Another highlight of CultureCon was the Taraji P. Henson talk. The actress broke down her success in business as well as acting, and even life lessons that she has learned along the way. When asked about a big life lesson she wished she’d learned earlier, she responded, “that I can’t fix nobody!”

She added, “I can’t fix a man; I can’t fix my friend; I can’t fix my parents. The only person I can fix is me.”

Henson also answered rapid-fire fan questions, including which of her roles is her favorite to date: Cookie from “Empire” or the titular role in “Proud Mary.” Her response? “It’d have to be Cookie Lyon!”

Other stars, including Tabitha Brown, Kendrick Sampson and Meagan Good, also attended the conference. Catch them on the red carpet on official CultureCon Instagram page.

For more information about CultureCon, The Creative Collective NYC, head to the official site here.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!