Wednesday night was the big Atlanta premiere event for “Exhale!” I had been missing my co-hosts; it was so good to have the band back together again. We all arrived in town on Tuesday nite and met right away for drinks in the hotel lobby. We had our first round and then ordered a celebratory bottle of champagne, but we didn’t have time to pop it because we were running late for dinner. So Angela just decided we’d bring it with us. Apparently champagne is classy so you don’t need to brown-bag it while walking down the street.
Dinner was with ASPiRE General Manager, Paul Butler and author/playwright Pearl Cleage (#Swoon). Pearl is aMAZing. I’ve been a fan of her work for years and she was to moderate the cast talkback that would take place after the screening of the premiere episode the next night. She really got a chance to see that we are, quite literally, crazy people. I’m sure she was reconsidering her decision to participate. We shut that steakhouse down. Sorry, STK.
The next day began with press interviews and then came the Google Hangout with our director and producer and viewer-submitted questions. It was big fun, and gave viewers an accurate taste of what each of us brings to the show! After that, we had about an hour or so to get into hair and makeup for the big event! The Atlanta rain and humidity forced us to move the black carpet inside and it did a number on my wig. I’m glad we at least got a couple pics in before it fell totally asleep.
There was a VIP reception after “the carpet.” And then the screening began. We were all so nervous, partly I think because we hadn’t seen the show yet and didn’t know what would be used, but mostly because we were just hoping it was received with the intention we had while we were shooting. We want to produce a smart, funny, informative show for brown folks and the folks who love us. We want to show that brown women are not a monolith and that we can disagree and challenge each other respectfully and still love each other big at the end of the day.
And I think we did it.
The response from the audience was tremendous. Even the men really enjoyed our “girl talk.” I happened to be sitting right in front of Pauletta Washington, who had nothing but great things to say about us and the show. We got amazing feedback all night and it was so great to meet all the folks that work so hard to make this show happen — our editors who’ve watched hours of footage of us already, the programming and marketing folks who came up with the concept in the first place. I’m so glad that two of my best friends from middle/high school — Angi and Jenny — and my friend Darrel were able to come to the event too. We had a ball and we shut the after party down. We were literally the last people to leave the hotel bar.
So excited for you all to see the show! We’re really proud of it, and we really hope you love it.