Restaurateur Melba Wilson sheds a light on Black excellence, shares an exclusive

The following is a transcript for the video shown below.

Marc Lamont Hill meets Melba Wilson on the red carpet of the 2023 “A Seat At the Table” D.C. gala.

Hill [00:00:07] Everybody, we are here with one of Harlem’s legends and one of those favorite people, the legendary Melba Wilson. So good to see you!

WIlson [00:00:14] Oh, my God. I’m so happy to be here, especially with theGrio.

Hill [00:00:18] What brought you out here tonight?

Wilson [00:00:19] Oh, what brought me out here was Black Excellence. That’s what brought me out here. TheGrio giving us an opportunity to have a voice. You know, we need to tell our stories. We need to document our history and our herstory. And nobody better to do it than you guys. People that look like us.

Hill [00:00:36] I love the way you are talking. You know, you better than anybody understands what it takes to build something like this. You know, I think sometimes people don’t understand how much work and energy and effort and support it takes to build a Black brand.

Melba Wilson shares her business journey (credit: theGrio)

Wilson [00:00:49] Oh, definitely. You know, started from the bottom. Born bred and buttered in Harlem. You know, I was the little red engine that everyone said couldn’t, wouldn’t, and shouldn’t. I’m a Black girl from Harlem in a white male dominated industry.

Hill [00:01:06] Yeah.

Wilson [00:01:06] But I’m the little girl who did. And it’s so important that we share our stories so that we are able to inspire and encourage the next generations to do the same.

Hill [00:01:16] And that’s what I’ve always loved about you. You don’t just open the door. You bust the door open. You kept it open and it helped other people through!

Wilson [00:01:23] Totally! Totally. It’s been 18 years. And you know, there’s a Melba’s in Central Park right now that’s been there for two years.

Hill [00:01:31] I did not know that.

Wilson [00:01:32] And I’m going to give you an exclusive.

Melba Wilson (right) shares her exclusive with Marc Lamont Hill (credit: theGrio)

Hill [00:01:34] Oh, please.

Wilson [00:01:35] I’m also opening in Grand Central.

Hill [00:01:38] Are you serious?!

Wilson [00:01:38] I would be the first–unfortunately, the first person of color to have a to have a space in Grand Central.

Hill [00:01:45] So that tells you how successful she is. Now we’re just coming out of a pandemic where businesses are closing and you opening things up, expanding and still having new firsts. Now again, I wish you didn’t have to be the first, but I’m glad it’s you, because I know you will keep the door open for so many other people.

Wilson [00:02:00] Without a doubt. It’s never about me, you know. It’s always about we and blazing the trail for future generations. That’s truly what it’s about.

Hill [00:02:10] Well keep on blazing. Imma let you get in there and have some fun.

Wilson [00:02:13] All right.

Hill [00:02:14] But it’s so good to see you, as always.

Wilson [00:02:15] Always good to see you as well.

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