Time with THE Trell Thomas


Trell Thomas is a media expert and activist whose work spans from career beginnings at National Broadcasting Company (NBC), an American English-language commercial broadcast television and radio network.

He was actively involved in the historic Obama Presidential Campaign in 2008 to overseeing talent relations and communication within some of the biggest brands at Viacom to perfectly aligning social good causes, corporations and celebrities with Waco Theatre Centre and campaigns.

Additionally, Trell has a great appreciation for sharing narratives of diverse communities, and bringing stories of excellence to the forefront through various events that he curates and hosts. Over the years, he has sat down with many respected personalities to share their journey.

Trell’s mission is to empower people of colour and spread positivity through black excellence. He is the founder of Black Excellence Brunch, Friend Friday and Share Black Stories Live, which are positive spaces to uplift the black community, celebrating their individual and collective excellence! He is constantly using his platforms to connect young people from different backgrounds, professions and all walks of life.

After the Global Citizen concert in Accra, we caught up on Monday 26th September, 2022 at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel Accra for a quick conversation over breakfast.

  1.       How will you describe yourself, your upbringing and education?
  • I would describe myself as authentic, ever-evolving and purpose-driven. I grew up in the South, so I am southern in every sense of the word, with a modest upbringing. The core pillar in my family was centred around love and a sense of community. My upbringing really allowed me to really tap into my own personal power by having the support and advocacy of loved ones to be able to learn on my own, and through my own experiences, and encouraging me to ask the hard questions and learn life lessons while reminding me of my greatness.

  1.       How has it been for you getting to this point, do you mind sharing your journey with us?
  • Along the journey, I have been in several roles, from marketing, personal assistant, and working for many of the well-known corporations today, which has allowed me to gather my own tools in return. Equally, I have learned how to become an asset in the spaces that I am in rather than what I am able to take away. My journey has been one of trusting myself and learning to do just that more often. As I lean into how I feel rather than into my expectations of how I think it should be, I am guided directly into the steps that are intentional for the next part of the journey. Observing this constantly motivates me to continue to trust myself from within.
  •       What does networking mean to you?
  • I am so intentional with how I choose to use this word because I think it is very important. I believe sometimes the word networking comes across as transactional, and a means to arrive at a different point or place, so I use it lightly. I like to define it in a way that more so defines the relationships that are being built, not the opportunity. I also think it is important to note that these relationships are built in a way that allows one to see a person for who they are as opposed to what they can offer, or the benefit that could come from the relationship.

  1.       How important is social capital in a professional’s journey/career?
  • The Black Excellence Brunch as well as my own journey is an attest to the phrase “Your network is your net worth”. Many of the opportunities I have been afforded today are heavily based on many of the relationships that I have been able to build throughout my journey, so I believe that social capital is very important. The Brunch itself is not a publicised event, yet we are able to partner with some of the biggest brands based on what someone has seen in me and the mission of The Black Excellence Brunch. I think that speaks to the importance of the impact of social capital.
  1.       Black Excellence, can you break it down from your perspective?
  • In its essence, I believe that Black Excellence is the wholeness of what we collaboratively bring into the spaces that we are in, the content that we create, and the stories that we contribute to as a black person. It is the fullness of life that only we, as people of colour, can bring; and that starts by first being true to authentic self. That is the origin of our Excellence. As African Americans, we experience a deep conditioning of seeing a lack of excellence in who we are, but it’s places like the motherland, Ghana, that revitalises this wholeness and reminds us that it’s me, that it is you, it’s us. We are Black Excellence.

  1.       The Black Excellence Brunch has gone global, tell us the motivation for this initiative and what you seek to achieve with it?
  • At its core, The Black Excellence Brunch gives Black Excellence a seat at the table. From a global standpoint, it is important to me to further express that we are not a monolith. We come from various backgrounds, continents, thought patterns and in all different shapes, sizes, tones. I want Black Excellence Brunch to be a place where people are recharged and ignited to exist uniquely. Whether it be virtual, in person, I want to continue to create space for us to feel uplifted and recognised for who we are completely.
  1.       What has been the good, bad and ugly sides of it?
  • One of the things that I am proud of when it comes to establishing the brunches is to truly see the beauty that manifests from a space that I’ve had the honour of creating. From major deals made, lifetime friendships, and partners, I have witnessed some really beautiful stories that all have the common source of having connected at one of the brunches. This speaks to the organic mechanism of the community that is being built, and that is encouraging to me. Because of the organic traction of the brunches, there are often times where others are attracted to the success and have ideas of what they want it to be or try to change the core values; that’s where the challenge comes in, having to turn down opportunities, ‘lucrative’ financial deals, or not allowing it to be packaged into something other than what it is at its core. Sometimes the weight of that can be heavy.
  1.       How difficult has it been holding the Black Excellence Bruch outside of the United States?
  • There’s not one part of the brunch that I don’t oversee. From the staff, the day to day, decor, I’m typically very hands-on because I’m very passionate about the full process of it. That being said, one of the challenging things with the brunch travelling outside of the States is that I do not know all of the people involved in the moving parts, such as the vendors, etc., and ensure that even to the smallest detail that everyone is aware of what is supposed to be conveyed. Also, hoping that the message translates, especially globally. Another challenge is the guest list. When entering a new arena, I’m not always familiar with the people on the ground, so sometimes it’s overwhelming trying to figure out where to start!
  1.       What do you anticipate to be the next level for the Black Excellence Brunch?
  • When I look out 5 to 10 years from now, I see The Black Excellence Brunch has grown in its capacity, and has touched and impacted places like Ghana, the UK, Australia, and all over the world. I see myself being able to bring more people in this space of Excellence that is curated through the brunch. I see many branches of it, from podcasts, documentaries and award shows. Most importantly, I see us feeling safer as people of colour because spaces like these exist.
  1.   Your final words?

Everything that I do has my family’s imprint on it and my why. There’s always someone watching what you’re doing, and there’s always an impact to be made in everything that you do. When I think of my mother, all she did was set the table with food and invite people to nourish their bodies; but the impact of what she did at our kitchen table is still literally being felt and experienced through The Black Excellence Brunch experience around the world. I want to encourage people to be the light, and with the things they do, do them with love.

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