Festivities kicked off at The Regent DTLA as the red carpet was rolled out for celebrity and influencer guests along with teens and young women from The Teen Project and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles walked the red carpet.
Attendees creatively expressed themselves as they wrote and drew what being UNSTOPPABLE meant to them on banners that adorned the hall offering a moment of thought-provoking conversation.
Sandis was presented the award with heartfelt words by Goody Awards Founder, Liz Kelly, and pop-rock artist, GabrieLa. In her acceptance speech, Sandis emphasized: “I am honored and humbled on behalf of the sheroes and the heroes that we hold hands with every year to uplift and empower young people, who sometimes are struggling with their sexuality or are being bullied.”
Five diverse vocal powerhouses, thought-provoking spoken word poetry, beautiful dance interpretative and a powerful short film wove a beautiful story taking the audience on a journey of self-discovery. From self-doubt to self-love, artists shared their hearts and stories from coming out to rising up to be free to love who they choose. The diverse styles and talent brought to the stage uplifted and engaged the audience with powerful numbers.
Spoken word artist, LoveSea shared her heart with impactful and relatable poetry: I’m ready for the bullets that are gonna be shot at us, plus much more … And if we can’t get it right for this generation, we can lead by example for the next.”
NBC’s The Voice, Stephanie Rice, shared her story and journey of coming out and dedicated her beautiful and moving song ‘Cold Water’ to anyone going through a rough time who may feel they need to be rescued.
Pop-rock artist, GabrieLa had the audience on their feet singing and dancing along to the Free2Luv anthem with lyrics inviting everyone to ‘break the chains of hate’ and allow love to save the day.
Actress Bianca Kajlich brought the audience on a visual journey as she invited the audience to close their eyes and envision a world where we are all one. She shared a profound, personal poem titled ‘All of Me’ “What would it feel like to bare it all and stand in the center of my most cringe-worthy truths but instead of apologizing, I loved them more than I loved anything remotely resembling approval.”
This short featured 50 diverse women from many walks of life reciting empowering verses sharing what makes them strong, unique, and unstoppable. Here’s an excerpt: “We don’t need to look far to find a “they” / they are the voices of doubt that hit us like a rolling fog / the voices that have drowned out our own, making us feel / less than / nonexistent / The you’ll never be this or that your too skinny, too fat / The you’ll never fit in’s / The voice that reminds you, you’re dreaming too big / for a girl living in a world / that was long ago rigged / against you. /
UNSTOPPABLE was hosted by Stephanie Gonzalez (Reporter and “Houston Life TV” Producer) and included powerful performances by actress Laya DeLeon Hayes (voice of Disney’s Doc McStuffins), Britten Healey (“Teens Wanna Know”), Actress/Singer/Songwriter Serena Laurel (pictured below), and dancers from Dance Creations (pictured above).
Kelly reported, “Everyone left UNSTOPPABLE dedicated to spreading more love and kindness in the world. Free2Luv believes that if every girl felt supported, embraced, and empowered to rock her authentic self, we can change the world, together.”
One attendee shared her experience: “With great pleasure, I have to share… I had the best time ever, at the Free2luv “Unstoppable Event!” The experience was very moving. I left feeling extremely moved, loved, and inspired. You couldn’t walk out of there and keep all of that to yourself. I want to continue to be a part of making a difference in the world, showing others that love is and should always be more contagious than hate. I want children as well as other adults to know that they should feel great about being free to be who they are, without judgment or apology. We are all a masterpiece in our own unique way and should continue to rise up together spreading the light of life and love to everyone surrounding us! Tonya Sandis, thanks for sharing your dream through this production, with all of us. Hopefully, you will get the opportunity to make it a traveling production to share with the rest of the world. It should not stop here.”
The UNSTOPPABLE event was produced as a benefit to support Free2Luv’s art and music outreach and programming they provide year-round free of charge to underserved youth nationally.
Photos by Celeste Holmes Photography and Paper Trail Photos