BY JATIKA HUDSON, GUEST WRITER TO THE TIMES
ORLANDO – Justin Williams definitely didn’t expect to return to his home state of Georgia and although his physical address has changed, the location of his heart remains the same. The legacy of the Boujee Ball will continue on the eve of July 22 at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts (445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, FL). MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. and some of Orlando’s most prominent leaders will be saluted for their commitment to transforming lives in the metropolis known as “the City Beautiful.”
Williams, the founder of The JW Podcast & JW Lifestyle Company has been a dedicated board member of MAN UP. But after residing in Orlando for six years, he recently accepted a new position in Decatur, GA and packed up and stepped into his new role as managing director of Atlanta Evergreen Resort. The move comes after working at the Grand Bohemian Hotel and providing luxurious experiences for guests and youth alike.
However, Williams assures that wherever he goes, he will always be a supporter of MAN UP and the proceeds from the Boujee Ball will continue to benefit the community-based nonprofit and bolster their efforts to mentor Orlando’s most vulnerable youth. He is also contemplating creating an Atlanta Boujee Ball for the youth of his hometown.
“I want it to be a platform to celebrate and honor unsung heroes who are doing the work to elevate Black Culture,” he says. “We are also honoring rising stars and people who are making significant impact.” When choosing the honorees, Williams noted age wasn’t a factor, but that elevating others was. He also shared that not all honorees will be African American (AA) but are considered allies with AA Communities.
This Saturday will be an evening of Excellence, Elevation, and Elegance. There will be 20 honorees, including Jason Siegel, president and CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission (GO Sports!). He will be honored for his intentionality in diversifying their board of directors. Dr. Trisha Bailey, of Bailey’s Pharmacy and Medical Supplies, and many others who are trailblazers in the Orlando community. Williams says their recognition comes partially through the fact that “they realize that diversity isn’t diversity until it includes all of us.”
“This year’s event is more than Black excellence; Black elevation will be on full display,” he shares. “It’s going to be a night where we raise the bar, celebrate the richness of our culture, all while looking our best and collaborating with true intentionality.”
Last year, MAN UP mentees took center stage, serving as hosts, ushers and award presenters. They even met many of the city’s dignitaries and leaders, while also learning the importance of first impressions as well as how to present themselves in a formal setting. “The event introduced some of Orlando’s youth to untapped potential they didn’t know they possessed,” shared Williams.
It is for this reason that Williams purposefully included people from different social and economic backgrounds to encourage networking and relationship building. The 2023 Boujee Ball will shed light on the city’s brightest stars: the youth of MAN UP.
Yet, he recognizes the work of investing in young people must continue and goes far beyond an evening of glitz and glamour.
For more details about the 2023 Boujee Ball, visit MYLE | Boujee Ball
About The JW Podcast & JW Lifestyle Company – Birthed during the pandemic, The JW Podcast also known as the Black & Boujee Experience curated by Justin Williams is a platform that was created to spotlight views that are upwardly mobile and progressive, while being unapologetically you. Redefining Boujee.