The BG Exhibit: Inside Look with Kadeem Woodson
April 23rd, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of Lemonade. I attended a phenomenal art exhibition in honor of Beyoncé, The Beyoncé Giselle Exhibit. But it was much more than an exhibit. It was truly an experience. Just imagine going to a Beyoncé concert, with a ton of beautiful artwork - very Bey-Lemonade inspired, Popeyes chicken (now we know that’s Bey’s favoriteeee), a photobooth, Beyoncé inspired clothing from Brooklyn's very own, KITE NYC.
The BG Exhibit literally had it all. When you first walk in, you immediately get Lemonade-flowers-spring kinda vibes. The display unit in the front was very well orchestrated and designed. There was a NO Angel sign that lit up! It was so cool! Definitely had to do a boomerang in front of it and I wasn’t the only one.
Also! There was exclusive Bey-inspired apparel, from Brooklyn brand KITE NYC.
Being in a positive space where people can come together and just enjoy Beyonce felt so, so good! We were all stanning! Just singing to the top of our lungs, dancing, dropping it down lowwww, coming back up, grabbing some fried chicken and then getting down low again. There was also a photobooth with the most amazing little props. There was a veil so my best friend and I had to get under it! I felt very pregnant-Bey like.
The snapchat filters were to die for! Super creative.
If Beyoncé were there, she would have been so prouddddd and honored. This was an event that every single city, state, country deserves! A safe, fun space to Bey yourself and Bey inspired. Everybody was dancing, drinking, eating, taking photos. People were dressed so damn fly. Very IVY Park fly too! Beyoncé would have been one of those proud Black Mamas at a recital performance, whistling and clapping. I felt honored to be there.
I was also honored to have my white cruiser bike as part of the Beyoncé Giselle Exhibit.
There were very flavorful drinks with the most creative names. The drinks were called “Jay & B, Dusse, Blow (lol), Lemonade (it’s only right) and ‘Wahdamelon’ (spicy watermelon mojito - that just might have you surfboarding, lol.)
The Louisana's Popeyes Chicken was so delicious! This entire event was creative. It was innovative. It was original. And it came from passion.
Kadeem Woodson curated the entire event, and I couldn’t be more proud. I am beyond inspired and motivated. I admire and love the person he is evolving into every single day. I absolutely love watching the people that I love do the things that they love. I got to witness him in some of his finest moments, just laughing and dancing and performingggg!!!! Yes, a performance! The crowd went crazzzzzzy. Everytime I look back at this video and I literally cannot sit still. I have to stomp. That was the vibe the entire night. I literally felt everyone’s spirit feeling so happy and coming alive! The room was vibrant, it was exciting, and I know that everyone else could feel it too. Beyoncé gives you the vibe to be and feel free, to be and feel phenomenal.
And this event allowed you to soak in a sense of greatness. Good energy, good people, good artwork, good food. I don’t think anybody in there wanted the night to end. And it was on a Sunday! Now you know we got work tomorrow but we stayed until 12 on the dot! We didn’t wanna go. Nobody wanted to go. The BG Exhibit such a memorable event.
Kadeem Woodson is truly a visionary. I had a moment to interview the mastermind behind this extremely well-curated Beyoncé event about the process of orchestrating such a sensational exhibit. His story is beyond motivating, but uplifting - encouraging you to do WHATever it is in the world that you want to do.
Arielle Simone: Who are you and what do you do? And what are your passions?
Kadeem Woodson: My name is Kadeem Woodson and I am the founder of Ruth Enkel Productions. Ruth Enkel started from my Grandmother’s name, Ruth, and Enkel means to be a grandson in German. It reads: Ruth’s Grandson. My grandmother, Ruth, passed away when I was 17. The brand started off as styling and designing clothes. I’ve always been very passionate about fashion. And now I have a new passion. And that is for event planning. Everyday I find something new that I love. And ofcourse, I am passionate about Beyoncé. I’ve loved her since I was 6 years old.
AS: Why Beyoncé? Why an exhibit? What inspired this event? And what did you want to accomplish?
KW: I was 6 years old living on Park Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue. As a child, I LOVED fruit snacks. I knew that they were on top of the fridge so I would sneak and reach for it. One day I reached and saw the “No, No, No” single cover and I just stared at the cover. I knocked on my mother’s door and said, “Ma, look! I love her” pointing at Beyoncé. She has always sparked something inside of me. Beyoncé makes me feel better on my worst day. She’s inspiring. And I wanted to create an event where everybody felt like that. I wanted that same energy in one room because I’ve never felt that. As far as the art, we are in an age of exhibits and I wanted to show a different side to them.
AS: What would you say was your biggest challenge?
KW: Support. Support is so rare. People only support what they know already. They don’t like to support what they don’t know. People think you already have it all figured out but they don’t realize how far a simple retweet goes or how them telling one person is supportive. It’s a domino effect and people don’t see that. And I’m not the person to ask. I had about 15 people supporting me through social media and word of mouth. I had to step back and not expect that support from anyone. I couldn’t focus on support. I had to focus on the outcome. I had to focus on getting there and what I needed to do. I had believe in myself and I had to believe that I could do it on my own. I had no resources. The person with the resources wasn’t willing to collaborate with me and I had no problem with that. I’m actually glad that I did this on my own. And now I am throwing a second event and the support is much bigger. Sometimes people just need to see proof. They need to see the paperwork before they support something.
AS: You say you had to believe in yourself. That’s really interesting. I’ve watched countless interviews of Beyoncé saying that she believed herself and she knew that she was going to be a phenomenon. But what does that even mean? What about the average person who doesn’t quite yet know how to believe in themselves? What are some practical ways that helped you believe in yourself?
KW: I feel like that what makes Beyoncé Beyoncé. It’s what makes her special. As a kid I was always told I was going to be a star for this or for that because I was always ahead of my time. I never really fed into it because I felt that because it was from family and friends it was probably what they were supposed to say. It was my fear that pushed me. Being positive doesn’t always help me. And it wasn’t about the amount of people that came. It was about getting this idea out of my head and into fruition. It was to get out my love for Beyoncé. It was about moving forward. Putting it out there and seeing it come to life. And sometimes believing in yourself comes after you even realize that you do. I went to an exhibit by John Messinger (NY Based artist and educator) and he said something that really stuck with me. He said, “We dream alone.” I was really dreaming alone. People couldn’t imagine just going to a Beyoncé party. It was so hard trying to find a DJ to execute my vision of playing Beyoncé all night. Most DJs have their own vision. I had so many obstacles that didn’t believe in this. We have to dream alone and make it alone and sometimes everybody won’t see it like you so they won’t feel it like you. Just like they won’t feel like it like you so they won’t see it like you. I was passionate about this and passion makes anything great.
AS: What is it that you now plan to do with your influence? What should we expect from Ruth Enkel?
KW: We now have a second event that I’ve been planning for months now. It’s called ‘Basquiat and Brunch’. While I was putting together the Beyoncé event so many other ideas kept coming to my head. My grandmother is actually an artist and had a piece in my last exhibit. And I’ve always wanted to do a Brunch. I didn’t want to put myself in a Beyoncé box and only have Beyoncé fans at my events. (Some people want me to but I don’t.) We’re going to think about an annual event or recreating the event in multiple states. I’ve been getting numerous requests. Basquiat and Brunch is perfect because my age group loves to Brunch. It’s a great start and/or end to the weekend. This brunch is special because it is based and inspired by Basquiat. It has a luxury feel to it with a spin on art. I want to give people variety. Who doesn’t love to dance, eat, drink with great art and great energy?
KW: It’s just fun. I do not care about having a big following. That would be great but that isn’t my goal. Regardless of the amount of people if the energy isn’t right I don’t want it. I don’t want a bunch of people gathered around just looking. I want people to meet people. To talk. I want people to leave my events with a sense of growth. I want them to take a lesson with them. I want people to feel my event. I want people to feel like “I don’t know when’s the last time I had this much fun”. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and enjoy your life. And it’s so much to give and so many ways to enjoy it and I want to deliver just that.
AS: If there was one piece of advice you’d give to others with a dream, what would it be?
KW: All I can really say is just do it. When you want something done that bad you find a way. You can’t let fear step IN the way. A lot of people feel like they aren’t good at things they’ve never even tried. But I’m not an event planner and look. Passion goes so far. I love my mother so I threw her a grand surprise party at 18 years old. I love my friends so they got surprise parties outta me. When you love something, you’ll pursue it. It sounds easier said than done... and i t does. However, get it done. That time you’re taking to complain about it, you can be finding a way.
This is just the beginning for Mr. Woodson. He has officially started his event planning and production company, Ruth Enkel Productions, which is here to deliver us with not only memorable events but unforgettable experiences. His next event will be ‘Basquiat and Brunch’, an exhibition style Brunch mixed with contemporary art by the prolific Basquiat, delicious cuisines and unlimited mimosas! Basquiat and Brunch is on July 8 from 2P-7P at Sehiii Gallery (1103 Fulton Street). Might I add an important fact that Sehiii is a Black Owned Venue space in Brooklyn. So come out, come support, and come enjoy yourself. I know I will.