Travel

My Trip To Actress Sela Ward Hometown Of Meridian, MS

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Last week I decided to visit Meridian, Mississippi... the birthplace of actress Sela Ward.

actress Sela Ward

I’ve been fascinated with Ward’s story since reading her memoir “Homesick.” Inside the book she shares how like me she had to move away from her modest hometown. It was too small to hold her dreams and too quiet for the noise she was born to make. I can relate!

actress sela ward

Also like me, half way through life she realized an important lesson… making it in the big city comes with a cost. A cost we have to be willing to pay. The yearning for home, community, Sunday morning worship, the simple things in life…

 I’ve gone back to the place I once wanted to leave behind,” she says. “I understand it now. My journey has been a journey home.

I was pretty excited to dive into this place she called home. I wanted to visit her childhood home and maybe run into an old friend who could tell me how she was as a teenager.

That’s not what I got… I got a Sela who has spent years giving back to the very community that helped raised her.

1st thing I discovered was that the actress founded Hope Village a foster home for kids.

actress sela ward
Hope Village


“Through Hope Village for Children, I hope to do something more: to give vulnerable children a home. Not an institution, not an orphanage, but a home.

After stopping by Hope Village, I headed over to the MSU Riley Center, which use to be the Opera House back in the day. It closed it’s doors back in 1927. Ward helped to raise money to restore the building and now it stays booked and busy. My favorite Gospel artist CeCe Winans will be there this fall and another Mississippian LeAnn Rimes is also headlining an event there.

In third grade I saw a picture of it in its heyday,” she says. “All these amazing people, like Gershwin, signed the dressing-room wall there. Now it’s used as a concert hall.

actress sela ward

A kind lady behind the desk told me I should go have lunch at Weidmann’s. She told me it was the oldest restaurant in Mississippi and that they had great vegetable plates. I was sold!

actress sela ward
Weidmann’s

I ordered a vegetable plate and OMG!!! those butter beans, black eyed peas and fresh tomatoes had me thinking about my grandma’s house in Tchula, Mississippi.

actress sela ward

While there I found out that Sela helped to preserve this hometown favorite that dates back to 1870.

I wanted to save Weidmann’s more than anything,” she told Parade. “It was the heart and soul of that town, the place you’d go for Sunday lunch and see everybody.

After eating I was stuffed and ready to head back home, until it was revealed to me that the actress and her family owns a 500 acre farm in town. Honeysuckle Farms is just outside the Meridian city limits. The first structure they built there is called the Rose Cottage, and Ward’s parents and an uncle are buried on the hill behind it.

I’m trying to teach my children the lessons I learned in Meridian–genuineness, belonging, caring about others,” she says. “Treat people as valuable in themselves, not for what they can do for you.

I jumped in the car and attempted to go check out Honeysuckle Farms, but it sits way off the road and is surrounded by trees, a lake, and a beautiful countryside… it had me thinking about Blake Shelton’s song “God’s Country!”

I did pull up to the gate (not being stalkerish) just hoping to take a pic for you guys to see. Anyway, a pick-up truck pulled up and scared the mess out of me so I pulled off and said,”no worries.. God is going to get me behind those gates one day!”

Have a Mississippian you would like for me to cover email me at bea@honeybeatalk.com

To learn more about Hope Village click HERE

To learn more about Weidmann’s Restaurant click HERE

To learn more about MSU Riley Center click HERE

My Daughter And I Visit To The Women In Stem Exhibit In Dallas

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At the beginning of the year I decided that I would travel with a purpose. That purpose would mean learning about the Black History in whatever city I was visiting or women making a difference.

women in stem

Over the weekend my daughter, my mother and I were in Dallas to support my niece during her track meet; when my daughter mentioned the Women In Stem exhibit at the Northpark Center.

My niece’s track meet wasn’t over until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, so my daughter and I decided to leave early and go check it out.

women in stem

The “If Then She Can” exhibit features over 120 3D printed statues that celebrate accomplished women from across the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

women in stem

According to the site, the installation is rooted in a simple truth: seeing is believing. When a girl sees a woman successfully pursuing a STEM career (and having fun!), she is more likely to imagine a STEM career for herself … and perhaps even change the world.

My daughter had just received her Ph.D. last week so she was thrilled to see young Black women featured in the exhibit.

My Trip To Atlanta To Celebrate My Daughters 27th Birthday

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My daughter turned 27 at the end of August, so to celebrate we took a girls trip with my niece to one of our favorite places ….Atlanta.

Where we Stayed:

We chose to book a 2BR condo through airbnb in the Old Fourth Ward, because it was close to shops and food. The diversity of the neighborhood reminded me of the North Side of Chicago, which I loved!

Atlanta

The booking on airbnb is called “Just Peachy!,” and it was just that. Peachy! The kitchen had this cool display of coffee cups on the wall that the owner had collected over the years. I’m a coffee drinker so I thought this was pretty dope. I found out later that the owner’s son made it. My bedroom opened up to a beautiful balcony that lit up with white lights during the evening hours. During our down time I would sit out there and drink my Starbucks coffee (there is one right down the street).

What We Did:

Our first night in town my daughter visited the Trap Museum. She told me later that the line was long, but you could pay more to move to the front of the line. She also told me that you can tell they took their time putting T.I.s room together. It featured artifacts from different seasons of his career, including the guns that sent him to jail.

I decided to do what I love when I visit different cities, find all the Black History markers. So I visited the Martin Luther King Center which sits directly behind the old Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. served as associate Pastor, and directly down the street from his childhood home. Due to COVID-19, I didn’t feel comfortable going inside of the center. I stayed outside and viewed Dr. and Mrs. King, Eternal Flame, Freedom Walkway and Reflecting Pool.

atlanta

You can’t visit the “A” without hitting up Lennox Mall and Krab Queenz, so that’s how we ended our night. .. with new gear and our stomach’s full.

I enjoy hanging out with my daughter, we’re so much alike it’s almost scary.

My Visit To RHOA Kandi’s Restaurant “Old Lady Gang”

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On Monday, Oct. 7th I was in Atlanta for a private media screening of the Harriet film, and decided to have dinner at RHOA star, Kandi’s restaurant Old Lady Gang.

Because I was staying in the Midtown area, I visited the location on Peters Street.

During my visit to Atlanta, all of Black Hollywood was in town for Tyler Perry’s movie studio grand opening. So, before you ask, no! I didn’t run into Oprah and Stedman nor Bey and Jay, but I did run into Kandi’s aunt Nora! As soon as I walked into Old Lady Gang there she was standing at the front. She greeted me with that pretty smile and gave me a hug like she’s known me my entire life. I felt right at home from that moment on. Get this! She said she comes to the restaurant everyday and enjoys talking and taking pictures with her guest!

I arrived around 5:30 p.m. and didn’t have to wait for a seat. My server ( I forgot her name) was excellent, she kept coming back to our table to make sure we were okay, and even brought out a fresh plate of cornbread muffins.

I ordered kandi’s honey glazed blackened salmon with kandi’s yams and it was amazing!!!! Those yams were the bomb! I would’ve ordered some to go, but the way my Weight Watchers points are set up I had to resist.

Anyway, if you’re ever in Atlanta make sure you check out Old Lady Gang, oh and grab you a glass of Arnold Palmer!

Then it was off to Regal Atlantic Station for the private screening of Harriet. I’ll have to share my review of the movie later… I’m under contract with the film studio, but I’ll say this…. Cynthia Erivo was wonderful!