Actress, philanthropist, producer, entrepreneur and travel expert Malinda Williams has been in the entertainment industry since she was 10 years old, but she’s been a sister from the moment she was born. That’s something that has stuck with her throughout her whole life, and part of the reason why she launched her “Rise and Shine: Ladies Who Brunch” event.
Wiliams describes the event as something she’s always wanted to do, like wanting to invite people to your house.
“I did this event because I needed this event. I needed to commune with other women,” Williams said. “I like sisterhood, I need sisterhood, and I need this. Not just a sense of collaboration or talking about empowerment, but actually acting on it and putting it in motion.”
Williams threw the event with public relations expert Kita Williams and award-winning filmmaker and executive producer Cheryl P. Williamson, both of which Malinda Williams praises. She calls Kita “one of the most authentic people” she knows, adding that Cheryl is “also about uplifting other sisters.”
Williams said when she came to Hollywood, she “truly and deeply” missed sisterhood, and was able to achieve one of many sisterhood moments.
“I feel like coming back to the ‘Rise and Shine’ events is kind of like going back to my roots… that sense of family. That sense of community,” Williams said. “I think the ‘Rise and Shine’ events are just an extension of who I am and who I’ve tried to be.”
“Rise and Shine: Ladies Who Brunch” was a hybrid of an in-person and virtual event, allowing women who weren’t in Hollywood to come together in a way they may not have before. Celebrities, businesswomen, stay-at-home moms and more.
“We’re all the same as far as I’m concerned,” Williams said. “We are the same. We are connected. Part of what I want to do with my events going forward is making sure you feel connected.”
Williams cited how the music of Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and more helped celebrate the women being brought to the stage to be honored, but also, celebrate themselves.
“I had a lot of women reach out to me about the feeling that they got and that was important for me,” Williams said. “That’s something that I prayed about. I just wanted this feeling of ‘you matter.’”
Williams said “everything was very intentional in the planning, from every word to “every detail about the room.”
“For someone who was not able to attend; if you heard about it or you were able to see it,” Williams said. “You were still able to get the feeling of women coming together… All of them get to be celebrated. All of them get to be seen.”
Williams was able to reach the level of success she wanted with the event by reaching out and inviting in other women for help and empowerment.
“They were all sisters who all understood the vision,” Williams said. “That’s what you felt. The collaboration of seven sisters who got together, and each played their part.”
The event helped Williams learn things about herself.
“One of the things I did learn was that I haven’t always been empowering others because I would always take over,” Williams said. “Taking something that you know you can do yourself; I think it’s more than delegating. It’s actually choosing to say, ‘Hey sis, I see you. I know that you can do this thing, can you help me?’ That’s what I’ve learned that I haven’t necessarily been doing in a way that truly feels empowering.”
With everything Williams is doing, she’s also launched another business, ShesGotAHabit.com, a “wellness-focused, multi-vendor marketplace that provides a platform for entrepreneurship and community building for women.”
Williams said she built the platform “to empower women economically but to live better lives, mind, body and soul. Our own ecosystem if you will.”
When it comes to being an entrepreneur, Williams offers advice of making sure people reach out and ask for help when needed, another lesson she learned.
“At what point do you realize you need help? Somethings got to give. If I’m going to grow, somethings got to give,” Williams said.