If you go
What: The Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League annual dinner, with keynote speaker Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth.
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: McMenamy’s, 325 Youngstown-Warren Road, Niles
Ticket info: 330-394-4316
325 Youngstown Warren Road, Niles
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Omarosa Manigault- Stallworth — better known simply as Omarosa — will return to her hometown this week to give the keynote address Friday at the Urban League’s annual banquet.
The Youngstown native and Rayen School graduate is best known for her stint on the first season of the reality TV show “The Apprentice.” She parlayed her brassy personality into a series of appearances on reality and talk shows, and is currently co-producing the cable dating show “Ultimate Merger” with Donald Trump.
But Omarosa also has compiled an impressive body of work as a global humanitarian.
She is an advocate for at-risk youths and the homeless in the United States and abroad, serves as the international goodwill ambassador for the Haiti Support Project and promotes education efforts in West Africa.
She’s also politically active. A former White House aide in the Clinton administration, she heads up national Democratic campaigns in Ohio. Omarosa will spearhead President Obama’s re-election effort in the Buckeye State.
Then there is her work in the religious community. Omarosa, who is working toward her doctorate degree from a Dayton seminary, is assistant pastor at Weller Street Missionary Church in Los Angeles’ skid row, ministering to the homeless.
It might surprise some, but not those who knew her when she lived in Youngstown.
“It’s my job to be an entertainer, but the other side of my personality is spirituality,” said Omarosa in a phone interview from her California home. “When I lived in Youngstown, I was a member of New Grace Missionary Baptist Church, and a very active part of the religious community.”
The theme of the Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League’s annual banquet at McMenamy’s in Niles will be “Empowering Communities,” said Thomas Conley, CEO of the organization. The Urban League’s goal is to help minorities achieve economic self- reliance, parity, power and rights.
Omarosa will talk about her life and tie it into empowerment opportunities, he said.
On Thursday morning, she will tour the Urban League’s Life Skills Academy in Warren.
Omarosa said she frequently visits Youngstown and plans to attend her 20-year high school reunion next year. The Urban League banquet “will be a preview of the reunion because my classmates will be there.” The former Miss Youngstown and Miss Black Ohio also said she still works with beauty pageant queens, and “all that started in Youngstown.”
Omarosa said she is excited about delivering the keynote address at the Urban League banquet.
“I grew up in Youngstown in the time of the steel mills, and it’s time for us to rebuild and strengthen and revisualize where we are going,” she said.
She also plans to bring the city’s viewpoints to Washington as the 2012 presidential election nears. “Ohio will be a pivotal state because of policy and economic issues,” she said. She’ll be assigned to Ohio for the Obama campaign and will be stationed in Columbus. “You get a clear view of what happened in the U.S. by what happened in Ohio. I’m referred to as a point of reference for Ohio because I’m from here. We have been impacted so devastatingly, and it’s great to have a hometown that has such an important role, and to take the voice of Ohio to Washington.”
On the entertainment side of her professional life, Omarosa is preparing for season 2 of “Ultimate Merger,” which airs on the TV One network. She starred on the show for its premiere season. “We’ve selected a new bachelorette for season 2 — she’s from Dayton,” said Omarosa. “I’m on the producer side now, and it’s very interesting, very different. With Donald [Trump], hopefully we’ve created a franchise that will keep going.”
Finally, Omarosa cleared up some rumors that began swirling last fall about her being pregnant with the child of her boyfriend, actor Michael Clark Duncan (“The Green Mile”).
Reports ran rampant on Hollywood blog sites, but Omarosa never was pregnant.
“It was so ridiculous,” she said, laughing as she remembered. “It got started by [talk show host] Wendy Williams, who was looking for a baby bump and kept on talking about it. It was really strange. She thought I would respond to it, but I’m not going to respond to something like that.”
For ticket information about Friday’s Urban League banquet, call 330-394-4316.