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  • Writer's pictureTHAheadline (Thai Lee)

Black Excellence Brunch Shines a Spotlight on Talent Behind the Scenes


Black Excellence Brunch - "To Be Celebrated"
Niecy Nash-Betts celebrates her wife Jessica Betts - Photo By: Kai Byrd

THAheadline was thrilled to attend the Black Excellence Brunch held on March 3, 2024, in Los Angeles, CA. The intimate brunch was organized ahead of The Oscars and Women's History Month to celebrate black talent that has contributed to the success of Niecy Nash, Tabitha Brown, Kyla Pratt, and SZA. The event was unique in its approach as it celebrated the talent behind the scenes, who are often not recognized for their contributions to the culture and the celebrity talent they contribute to.


Trell Thomas, the founder of the Black Excellence Brunch, wanted to do something special during award season to celebrate not just the people being nominated and awarded but also the people who helped them get to that day. As Trell said, "How many times have you watched an award show and then you hear, 'And I'd like to thank my mom,' and then they pan to their mom, and their moms, like (smiling). So that's one of my favorite parts of award shows. And I wanted to encapsulate that and bring it to life."


With a "To be Celebrated" theme, the Black Excellence Brunch allowed celebrity guests to honor their team's talent that has contributed to their success and significantly impacted their careers. It was a beautiful event that celebrated the contributions of black talent behind the scenes, who are often not recognized for their work. The brunch provided a space for black professionals to come together, celebrate their success, and acknowledge the people who have helped them along the way, just like the panning shots of moms during award shows.



Niecy Nash celebrated her wife, Jessica Betts, with a touching speech that brought the audience to tears. Tabitha Brown echoed that by celebrating her long-time glam team, Brandie King and Shaylin Jones, for being with her from the beginning. Songstress SZA celebrated her movement and creative director/choreographer Cortland James, who is responsible for bringing life to her performances year after year. Kyla Pratt celebrated her mother, Kecia Pratt, for her unwavering support and sacrifice throughout her career. The Black Excellence Brunch was hosted by its founder, Trell Thomas, and Shawn Finnie, and brought out an impressive list of guests. It included NAACP Image Award-nominated husband and wife Angel Moore and Marcus Tanksly, Actress Kellee Stewart, Emmy-nominated choreographers Tia Rivera and Adrian DJ Dubs, Actor/influencer Kendall Kyndall, and Creative director Joey Harris, among others. The beautiful venue, a stunning gated Spanish villa in West Hollywood, provided the perfect backdrop for the occasion.


Black Excellence Brunch - "To Be Celebrated"
Trell Thomas Photo By: Kai Byrd

The Black Excellence Brunch was created by Trell Thomas in 2016 to unite black professionals over a family-style southern cuisine to fellowship and provide a space that celebrates the individual and collective excellence of Black people and the black community. The tradition started with Trell and his family back in his hometown, South Carolina, where they would gather every Sunday for brunch. Trell wanted to recreate that same vibe with the black community, who often are not acknowledged or celebrated for their contributions to society.


Overall, the Black Excellence Brunch was a beautiful event that celebrated the contributions of black talent behind the scenes, who are often not recognized for their work. It provided a space for black professionals to come together, celebrate their success, and acknowledge the people who have helped them along the way.

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