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Columbia Black Expo wraps with exhibitors, performances and Hollywood favorites

Kayland Hagwood: WXLT NEWS

COLUMBIA, S.C. — After a two-year pandemic pause, the Black Expo returned to Columbia this weekend.

The three-day event wrapped up with hundreds of exhibitors promoting black history, entrepreneurship, career readiness, products, and services.

Among those featured were actor and comedian Anthony Anderson and Grammy-nominated Gospel Artist Kierra Sheard.

"That's huge for Columbia," Event Organizer Darrin Thomas said. "It's just really, really good to be back... We've got exhibitors, vendors, we had a huge health symposium."

Sheila Jones set up a booth to discuss school resources. She talked about how supporting the exhibitors can make a difference.

"Richland One Middle College is an amazing high school that affords students to get Dual-Enrollment," Jones said. "When you come out and you make a purchase at one of the booths, you're giving back... and I really want them to look around and see everything and be proud of our culture."

Her message was mirrored by Justin Mitchell, another exhibitor.

"I hope that others really just see all the resources that are here, the black-owned businesses that are here, and really all that Black Columbia has to offer because there's a lot here," Mitchell said.

Wendy Hall, who attended the event, said it was exciting to be among the crowd.

"All types of people. Everyone comes together, so that's the most exciting thing," Hall said.

Thomas hopes participants were able to gain new relationships and opportunities from the day.

"Understanding financial literacy, or how I'm going to get my kids in school, or maybe I found a job. There's so much," Thomas said. "At the end of the day, what we hope people have found is that the Expo moved the needle in their lives."

This was the Expo's 25th year in Columbia.

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