My AMAZING Day at The White House's "South X South Lawn" / by Shanelle Gabriel

SO BLESSED!
Out of nowhere, I was selected to attend the first festival to ever be held in the White House called South By South Lawn this past Monday, October 3rd. South by South Lawn, an event inspired by Austin, Texas' South by Southwest, gathered a dynamic group of creators, innovators, and organizers who are working in their own unique ways to better their communities and the world. Other attendees, speakers, and performers included Common, The Lumineers, Baratunde Thurston, Ryan Leslie, and more with a closing conversation between Leonardo DiCaprio and, the man who's backyard we gathered in, our President Barack Obama. It was so surreal walking through the White House only to arrive at the beautiful Lawn filled with so many interesting people and new friends!

I was able to get a few quick photos with Nick Cannon and Brooklyn's own Senator Kevin Parker but it was dope having a conversation with producer/entrepreneur Ryan Leslie and shaking Common's hand. I was so geeked to explore the exhibitions presented including two virtual reality simulations, one that took viewers on a trip through Yellowstone Park (narrated by President Obama) and the Guardian's disturbing 6x9 which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation. All of this plus great food, perfect weather, and some laughs while "Swag Surfing" in front of the White House made this day epic.
Being able to be a part of this event was life changing and humbling. Being numbered among the vast sea of people connecting, building, and doing amazing things in the community, I felt a sense of duty to figure out the impact God wants me to have on this world. It was an honor to have been selected to attend, and it is still unbelievable that I was present to see history being made. I don't know who will be President next year (Not TRUMP!) but I doubt there will ever be another opportunity for me to Swag Surf in front of the White House building. Blessed...