Award-winning actress, S. Epatha Merkerson, returns to television on a new exciting hospital drama. — Maarten de Boer/Getty Images

Award-winning actress, S. Epatha Merkerson, returns to television on a new exciting hospital drama. — Maarten de Boer/Getty Images

Black Women’s Expo to host Chicago Med’s   S. Epatha Merkerson and ABC’s Sunny Hostin                                             

The Black Women’s Expo (BWE), one of Chicago’s most anticipated annual experiential events, kicked off Friday  morning at 10:00 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:00 a.m.

Under the theme “She Matters, the Black Women’s Expo offers African American women an opportunity to get informed, empowered and enlightened, while discovering the latest trends and amazing new products and services specifically created for them. Among those on hand for the Ribbon Cutting will be State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins, State Rep. Monique Davis, City Treasurer Kurt Summers, Jr., Alderman Leslie Hairston, Democratic Candidate for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, former Ambassador Carol Mosely Braun, former Cook County Board Chair Bobbie Steele, Jacqueline Jackson, Rev. Jeanette Wilson, Operation PUSH, Illinois Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton Del Marie Cobb and Santita Jackson. BWE is celebrating its 22nd anniversary in Chicago April 8 – 10 at McCormick Place, marking the first stop of a three city tour that will take the BWE to Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Special guest for Friday’s Show is S. Epatha Merkerson of Chicago Med, who is also a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. She will take to the mainstage at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Also, added to the line up is attorney and multi-platform journalist Sunny Hostin, senior legal correspondent & analyst for ABC News. Sunny also regularly co-hosts ABC Daytime’s morning show The View. Hostin will be on the Mainstage on Sunday, February 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Merkerson, who plays hospital administrator Sharon Goodwin on Chicago Med is best known as the smart and shrewd Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on the long-running TV crime drama Law & Order (1990). She wrapped up a 17-year run on Law & Order in 2010, when she said goodbye to beloved Lt. Anita Van Buren — one of the longest-running African American characters on prime-time TV. She  returned to television to play hospital administrator Sharon Goodwin NBC drama Chicago Med.  

And though most of us know her from television she has a long list of Broadway and off-Broadway credits and honors that include Drama Desk Award and Tony Award nominations for Best Actress for her performance in the August Wilson play The Piano Lesson (1995), a 1992 Obie Award for her performance in I’m Not Stupid, and a 1998 Helen Hayes Award for her starring role in the Studio Theater production in Washington, DC, of the John Henry Redwood play “The Old Settler.” Her first appearance on television was a guest-starring role on an episode of The Cosby Show (1984). Her earliest regular role in television, however, was that of Reba the Mail Woman on Pee-wee’s Playhouse (1986).

Merkerson remains a theatrical force on the stage and on the screen and has the distinction of having been nominated for an Image Award in the Outstanding-Lead-Actress-in-a-Drama category for Law & Order (1990) for three consecutive years by the NAACP.

Previously, Hostin was a legal analyst and host for CNN, regularly appearing on morning show “New Day,” “Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin”, “AC360” “AC360 Later”, and “American Morning,” where she became known for her in depth analysis of social justice and legal issues. She created, wrote and co-produced her  popular weekly segment, “Sunny’s Law,” which answered viewer questions on various topics including homeowner’s rights when faced with foreclosure, how to survive a police encounter, and who gets the ring after a broken engagement. As a Department of Justice alum, her deep knowledge of the Justice Department and its inner workings made her an invaluable part of the CNN morning team during and after the historic election of President Barack Obama. Sunny reported on potential cabinet picks including correctly predicting that Eric Holder would be selected as the next Attorney General. Before joining CNN, Hostin was an ABC News anchor and appeared on the Fox News Channel, where she was seen weekly on the “Is It Legal” segment on “The O’Reilly Factor,” sparring with Megan Kelly and Bill O’Reilly on various provocative issues and high-profile cases.

ABC 7’s Windy City LIVE – Val Warner, Ryan Chiaverini and Ji Suk will be on stage with giveaways on Saturday, 11:30 to Noon. No one will be there at 2 PM.

On Sunday, ABC News’ Sunny Hostin will be featured on stage from 2 pm until about 2:30 pm.

For 22 years, the Black Women’s Expo has continued to grow in Chicago, and is now the longest running exposition of its kind. Over 30,000 people, from 14 surrounding states, are expected to attend the expo during its three-day run at the McCormick Place Convention Center. This year that experience will extend to the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. September 16 – 18 and Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center October 7 – 9th. The rich cultural experience, while targeted to women, has elements for men, families and children.

The Black Women’s Expo is brought to you by Walgreen’s, State Farm, United Airlines, ABC 7 Chicago, Luster’s You Be-Natural and Pink, Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA), Mariano’s, the Illinois Lottery, University of Chicago Medicine, BET Centric, PNC Bank, T-Mobil, ComEd, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Inspiration 1390, V-103 and WGCI. Media sponsors include The Chicago Defender and the Chicago Crusader.

Expo hours are Friday, April 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, April 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $6 for children; weekend passes are available for $45. Tickets for The Black Women’s Expo can be purchased online at http://www.theblackwomensexpo.com . Half-priced, advanced adult tickets are currently on sale at participating Walgreens stores. For information or tickets for the Phenomenal Woman Awards Reception, call 312-454-6100. Follow The Black Women’s Expo on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and use the hashtag #SheMatters.

BW Expo to host Chicago Med’s S. Epatha Merkerson and ABC’s Sunny Hostin was originally published on chicagodefender.com

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