Throughout the month of May, EBONY.com celebrated Black women with our first annual editorial series, "Women Up! Black Women Rising," with exclusive interviews, celebrity photos, first-person real-life accounts, custom video content, and hair and style inspiration. To wrap up our online series and to honor the sisters that Women Up! and our newly launched beauty and self-esteem column,  “Beautifully Brown,” target each and every day, EBONY.com hosted a celebratory brunch at Beauty & Essex in Manhattan to celebrate EBONY.com's successful first year and toast 40 amazing Black women who are proven influencers in the world of media, business, community action, beauty and style. Our gracious sponsors MegaGrowth and Fashion Fair Cosmetics made it all possible!

Our resident team of women editors, including Editorial Director, Kierna Mayo spearheaded the event that included testimonials about the empowering space EBONY.com has been over the past year and a half and even featured a congratulatory letter from First Lady Michelle Obama, acknowledging EBONY.com's impact and celebrating its honorees. Johnson Publishing Co. COO Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, Fashion Fair president Clarisa Wilson were present to help us honor our distinguished guests, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker's director Sharon Macklin and his press secretary Dreena Whitfield, "The Gossip Game" stars, JasFly and Sharon Carpenter, activists and writers, Feminista JonesTanya Fields,  Thembisa Mshaka, and more. Attendees received swag bags full of Fashion Fair  & Mega Growth goodies and an iconic Ebony Magazine photo from the Ebony Collection.

The Women Up! brunch created a space for EBONY.com to wrap its arms around the sisters in our community who are consistently giving back and lifting us up. While enjoying a delicious and eclectic menu of red velvet waffles, lemon blackberry pancakes, creamy mascarpone grits and lobster tacos together, we laughed, cried and walked away feeling encouraged and ready to get back to being who we've always been: the backbone of our community. 

--Brooke Obie