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There was no shortage of absolute girl power at the 4th Annual “New Orleans to New York City Gala,” hosted by Soledad O’Brien and her husband Brad Raymond on July 24.

The event, held in conjunction with the Starfish Foundation’s initiative to “provide promising young women a bridge between obstacles and opportunities” was attended by many college graduates and current students — all of whom were mentored by O’Brien — in a show of how reaching back to pull up communities in need is imperative and beneficial. The annual event helps fund scholarships for the young students.

GlobalGrind was there to witness all the good vibes and talk to O’Brien about the inspiration behind her involvement.

“We decided to focus on girls because that’s where my expertise was,” she said. “I was able to help young women to figure out how to be successful to and through college. A lot of the things I like to teach are a lot of the things I had to learn…to navigate.”

Actress and singer Tatyana Ali, who O’Brien described as “an incredible spokesperson for the self-made woman,” was also in attendance. Ali was chosen to be this year’s keynote speaker at the PowHERful summit the very next day — an event that brings together 150 young women who are actively involved with the Foundation for a full-day of empowerment.

Ali, a Harvard University alum, spoke to the young girls about her challenges attending a university as a minority.

“No one questioned Keira Knightley going to college, but when I enrolled in Harvard it was like ‘why do you need to college, don’t you have money?’ I wanted to get into my craft,” she said. “Why am I standing in the corner afraid to talk to people? And then I realized it’s okay to shine and be independent. It hurts to not shine.”

Check out our girl chat above, which includes some priceless gems of inspiration from singer Ledisi.

Good vibes only!

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