Actress Regina Hall praises Columbus women who raised her at annual luncheon

Actress Regina Hall speaks at news conference while in Columbus for Women's Empowerment Luncheon

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Regina Hall, a comedic actress featured in such films as “The Best Man Holiday” and “When the Bough Breaks,” paid tribute on Friday to multiple women who poured into her life over the years.

Hall, who grew up in Washington, recounted the experiences as keynote speaker for the 15th annual Women’s Empowerment Luncheon at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. She reflected on summers she spent in Phenix City as a little girl visiting her grandmother, now deceased. Hall also recognized her mother, Ruby Hall; her cousin, Vicky Allen; and a neighbor and aunts, all of whom currently live in Columbus.

“I ain’t got no husband to go home to, and ain’t got no kids, but I have an amazing group of women who make me smile and remind me of how wonderful and blessed it is to be a woman every single day,” she said, referring to her relatives and other women in her life. “... You’ve been more inspiring than anyone I could ever see on television, and I love you.”

Davis Broadcasting Inc. holds the luncheon annually at the trade center to empower women and celebrate their accomplishments. On Friday, the event drew about 1,300 women who used it as an opportunity to network and enjoy live entertainment.

Past speakers have included actresses Vivica Fox, Lynn Whitfield, Kym Whitley, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kim Fields and Jasmine Guy.

This year, the event also featured Erica Campbell, a Grammy award-winning gospel recording artist and nationally syndicated radio personality. Campbell, formerly of the contemporary gospel duo Mary Mary, also co-hosted a live broadcast of “GET UP! Mornings with Erica Campbell” from the trade center. The morning show, syndicated in 41 markets across the country, is broadcast locally on WEAM-FM Praise 100.7, a station owned by Davis Broadcasting.

Both Hall and Campbell received keys to the city from Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. The audience also watched a photo slide of famous women such as Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Anne Frank, Susan Taylor, Rosa Parks and Oprah Winfrey. The room erupted into loud applause when a photo of Michelle Obama appeared on the screen.

Davis Broadcasting gave a charitable donation to the Chattahoochee MS Support Group at the event. The gift was presented by the company’s traffic manager, Heidi Williams, who has a daughter with multiple sclerosis.

Geniece Granville, who was named senior vice president and general manager of Davis Broadcasting on Friday, said there are many causes that affect employees at the company. She said Williams’ daughter is seven years past her MS diagnosis and expecting her first baby.

“A very courageous woman of God,” she said.

Hall began her acting career in the late 1990s while earning a master’s degree from New York University, according to her bio. She recently wrapped up production in “Naked,” the remake of the 2000 Swedish film “Naken,” along side Marlon Wayans for Netflix.

Hall also has appeared in “Scary Movie” 1, 2, 3 and 4, “The Best Man,” “Think Like a Man” and “When the Bough Breaks.” On television, she was most recently featured in guest roles on FOX’s “Grandfathered” and ABC’s “Black-ish.” She will appear in the upcoming feature film “Girl Trip” opposite Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddis. Directed by Malcom D. Lee, the film is due out by Universal Studios this summer.

In her speech, Hall chose to focus on women as spiritual creatures rather than her career. “That sustains and surpasses the ups and downs of life, the changes of a career, the ebb and flow of people’s opinions,” she said. “That’s what gives us the strength to survive and persevere. And that connection to God is the only thing in life that is truly the real giver of joy.

“... So when we come together and we get to celebrate, we should know that we are empowered,” she said. “We are the essence of empowerment. We empower worlds, we empower civilization, we create beings, we make babies, we give life, we speak life, we live life, we are life.”

Speaking to young women, she encouraged them to focus on beautifying the inside as well as the outside.

“It’s easy right now for us to get caught in a wave of what is popular, what is fast, what is immediate,” she said. “But the truth is that the building of character is slow. It is stable, and it will last you forever.

“And if you take the time to build and cultivate that, and get to know all the beautiful women around you, all the older women that have walked before you,” she said, “you will find that more interesting than you will ever find on your phone.”

Alva James-Johnson: 706-571-8521, @amjreporter