’90s TV star inspires at banquet

The Black Heritage Banquet took place on the 5th floor of Cashion. Kevin Freeman | Lariat Photographer
The Black Heritage Banquet took place on the 5th floor of Cashion.
Kevin Freeman | Lariat Photographer

By Paula Ann Solis
Staff Writer

Tamera Mowry-Housley, co-host of the daytime television show “The Real,” took part in an open and honest discussion about her battle with depression and conquering the unknown Tuesday at Baylor’s Black Heritage Banquet.

“I wasn’t given the time that other adults were to gain real world experiences,” Mowry-Housley said about life after her successful television show, “Sister, Sister.”

Her speech, titled “Facing the Unknown,” was shared with the more than 500 people in attendance in the Cashion Academic Center banquet room. The Association of Black Students and the Department of Multicultural Affairs put the event together.

Her journey to happiness and success in a post-Hollywood setting was something Mowry-Housley said college students could learn from because it was the beginning of the “Now what?” phase in her life. That time, when she began to face changes she was not prepared for, was when her depression set in.

Although for a period of time she said she was embarrassed and ashamed to admit she was dealing with this mental illness, her faith helped her through it.

“I fought my fear with faith,” she said. “I had to retrain my mind and I’m here to tell you there’s hope.”

The tone of Mowry-Housley’s speech was lighter at times as she shared memories of her childhood and hair disaster stories with the crowd. Other entertainment for the evening included a performance by Lorena junior and NBC’s “The Voice” star Holly Tucker. Tucker sang “I Won’t Let Go,” by country group Rascal Flatts. This was Tucker’s second time performing at the Black Heritage Banquet.

“I really enjoy being a part of this because the people here are just so friendly and that’s just a mark of being at Baylor,” Tucker said. “They make you feel like a part of the family.”

Tucker said she appreciated the theme on campus during Black History Month, “Not Just Us But Everyone,” because it takes the focus off of individuals and puts it back where it belongs, on love and giving back.

Rowlett junior Alysia Johnson gave a spoken word production with her poem, “Dear Mr. Gilbert,” a tribute to the first African-American man to graduate from Baylor. Her poem highlighted the changes that have taken place since Gilbert’s time on campus and how the African-American community of today need’s to do more to further the success of their community.

“Would MLK deem us worthy of the dreams he marched for?” Johnson said during her performance. “Would Rosa have sat down for you? I fear not.”

Her performance was accompanies by the jazz band, Smooth Jazz Generation, which also played for guests during the entire dinner portion of the event.

Crystal Woods, a 1997 Baylor alumna, said she has attended several Black Heritage Banquets while at Baylor and since graduating. This year’s banquet was the one with the highest attendance and youngest audience that she could recall. She said she was happy to see that this year’s banquet focused on including members outside of the minority population.

“History is for everyone,” Woods said. “We can all learn from our past to understand our present and to better our future.”

The future was a highlighted topic during Mowry-Housley’s speech in which she assured those in attendance that though it may seem uncertain, it has a positive ending.

“My journey was very well worth it an it’s not over,” she said. “Take the time to embrace yours.”