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The-Thwaites-web-2Going to the Webbys meant packing a whole lot of amazing into 24 hours. I got to reconnect with some of my old C.A.F.E. family, the steel pan aficionado Sherwin Thwaites and his now wife and big time agency art director Erica Thwaites. They both travel the world doing what they love. Sherwin travels throughout the Muslim world with the Hip Hop group Native Deen, and also teaches music classes in Brooklyn and the Bronx using the steel drum. Erica makes Publicis look good with her eye for graphic design, fashion, and video. It’s so great to see people you grew up with living out their passions.

Webby-stage-post-2The Webbys were full of creative, accomplished people. George Takei won for his YouTube show on the latest in technology. Taylor Shilling won a special achievement for best actress for her role in the Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, and De La Soul was awarded artist of the year for posting their entire catalogue online for free for one day.

At my own table I talked with Daphne Avalon, Jimmy Kimmel’s stuntwoman in the viral video “Worst Twerk Fail Ever: Girl Catches Fire,” and her guest Lexi Aiassa, an up and coming startup maven, as well as some of the advertising team from Mullen, the people responsible for listing Walter White’s house online with Century 21.

5-Word-Speech-poster-postAll the winners had to give a speech in 5 words. In classic R&E fashion, I decided to have some fun highlighting the religious angle common in awards speeches. I said “I’d like to first thank…” and held up a poster of a bunch of religious and cultural icons like I was trying to decide who to pick. The funniest thing to me was the video they showed of me geeking right before my speech! When it was my turn to be recorded, they handed me the award and I looked over at my coworker and made that face. Pure geekery.

Questlove-at-the-after-party-postAnd then there was the after party. Highline Ballroom, Questlove on the 1s and 2s, meeting more Webby winners… Questlove on the 1s and 2s! Incredible night!

Overall, it was a really fun, inspiring experience, and it definitely motivated me to figure out how to make sure I get to go again. If you haven’t already, check out the Webbys site for all of this year’s winners, including the website I manage for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. There are some amazing things happening on the web!