By Kyle McIver
Writer & Editor
The box office smash about four African-American women on vacation, ‘Girls Trip’, was not only a success in Hollywood; it created a successful opportunity for two up and coming social media mavens & entrepreneurs Makeda Nurse and Shon Graham. These two young ladies were able to create a successful event around the movie “girls trip’ bringing more than 500 women collectively to private screenings of the hilarious hit film. ‘Girls Trip,’ starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett, Regina Hall, and break out star Tiffany Haddish is about four childhood friends traveling to the Essence Festival in New Orleans for a much needed girl’s weekend. The movie has become a massive box office success earning $30.4 million in ticket sales the first week and the honor of being the highest grossing R-rated film since 2015.
For these two budding entrepreneurs ‘girls trip’ has proven to be not just a movie – BUT A MOVEMENT for women everywhere!
Going to the movies is a fun outing in the summer. Checking out a film featuring actors you love, playing characters with whom you can relate on some level makes it all the better. Going with a group of close friends can be just what heals the stresses of the day! You can sink into another reality free from family demands, work duties, and the daily hustle. We all need the catharsis of camaraderie — to settle in with our people and let out a collective laugh that can erase the angst we tend to bottle up. And what if you can turn all of that into a business opportunity? Two women, Makeda Nurse of Philadelphia, PA and Shon Graham of Richmond, VA – complete strangers, did just that. And we’d like to share their stories with you.
Makeda Nurse, a nurse manager from Philadelphia (Yes, Nurse Nurse!) and owner of the blog makedaisinherfeelings.com and Shon Graham, an accounts payable rep in Richmond, VA and creator of #Massivegirlsnightout, had very similar and potentially lucrative ideas grow out of a simple desire to bring women together and support a movie about sisterhood. And for each, what started out as a desire to simply squad up and hit a chick flick became much more.
With her newly minted status as a rising star on social media, Makeda Nurse of Philadelphia, PA, saw an opportunity to host an event for the chick flick, “Rough Night,” staring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoë Kravitz. She called the The Movie Tavern in Flourtown, PA to plan a private event and found out they also hosted pre-screenings as well. After the moderate success of her “Rough Night” event with 30 participants, she looked to create a larger event on July 27th to support Malcolm Lee’s “Girls Trip”. Makeda was able to negotiate a girls night out special around the movie that included dinner, a drink, the movie, and popcorn. Overall, Makeda’s ‘Girls Trip’ event outperformed her expectations and quickly SOLD OUT!
After seeing the trailer ‘Girls Trip’, Shon Graham posted her idea of a girls night out to view ‘Girls Trip’ on her Facebook page, anticipating at the most 20 participants. She called a local movie theater to inquire about private screenings and movie parties. When the theater told her the smallest theater sat 79 people at minimum, she wondered how she would be able to find that many people. However, through the magic of Facebook, the response to her idea was bigger than Shon could’ve imagined…WAY bigger. Shon dubbed the event “Massive Girls Night Out.” And thanks to social media, a simple girls night out to see “Girls Trip,” became the trending topic #Massivegirlsnightout and Shon was able to SELL OUT the largest theater in the complex. However, it didn’t end there.
The social media buzz and chatter about the event caught the eye of some local businesses and entrepreneurs looking to promote their products to the audience. They reached out to Shon with offers to support her event. With most donors donating at least 5 products each, she amassed 125 prizes for gift basket raffles of prizes ranging from commemorative Massive Girls Night Out glassware, to a two free hour rental of a bouncy house for a party among many other gifts. As an added bonus, she also had t-shirts created for the event and set up an after party with a local female-run business. Shon was even contacted by Channel 8 news, a local news station in Richmond, VA.
For these two budding entrepreneurs ‘GIRLS TRIP’ is much more than a movie; IT’S A MOVEMENT for women everywhere! There is a magic that happens when women come together to not only have fun, but to empower and support one another. The girls night out events created by both of these rising Entrepreneurs is the beginning of an ongoing grass root movement that will bring women together everywhere, making Malcolm Lee’s ‘Girl Trip’ an enormous success, on and off the screen.