One of the best holiday gifts could be a weekend getaway at one of the best bed-and-breakfasts in the city, which is owned by an African-American family. This particular group of modern innkeepers made such an impression that the OWN Network decided to make a show about their lives, exploring their world and the guests who visit.
The show is called “Checked Inn,” and the New York location is the Akwabaa Mansion, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, N.Y. I know all of this because the New York Amsterdam News was invited, last month, to a private media luncheon to explore, eat and meet the co-stars and owners of The Akwabaa Inns, Monique Greenwood, husband Glenn and daughter Glynn.
Mrs. Greenwood’s dream began in 1995. She followed her heart and opened her very first B&B in Brooklyn while she was still working as a magazine editor. Then she blinked, five years passed and she landed her dream job, at Essence Magazine, and quickly rose to become editor-in-chief—all while running the growing B&B. This superwoman who poured her passion into two distinctively different professions decided, to everyone’s shock, to walk away from her high-profile job at Essence. After juggling two professions for years, she wanted to focus on building the B&B business with her husband, Glenn, with the goal of creating a legacy they could pass on to their daughter, Glynn.
Legacy is an important goal for the Greenwood family and has become a shared goal.
To become a part of the Oprah brand is a very big deal. It’s long been a marker for excellence and remains so.
“Checked Inn” will also follow the lives of the couples who visit the Greenwoods’ family-run, upscale bed-and-breakfast.
Here is a brief excerpt from a candid chat with Monique Greenwood.
AmNews: How did you begin this journey?
Greenwood: My husband and I made a plan early. We wanted to be retired at the age of 50. That was always our goal. So we pressed and we pressed. Our parents worked until they couldn’t work anymore, and they could not enjoy the fruits of their labor. So we said, ‘That’s not going to be us!’ Glenn left his job. He was a broadcast engineer. He put in his resignation and he was like ‘OK, I am ready,’ but I was still working.
AmNews: You were still working at Essence, running the B&B and you are a mother. That’s a lot of loving but hard work.
Greenwood: Yes, it is. I didn’t have a hospitality experience, but I enjoyed going to B&Bs myself. I chose the Akwabaa, which means welcome, and I loved the sound of the word. I’ve not been to Africa yet, but it’s on the list.
AmNews: A trip to Africa sounds like an episode for your show “Checked Inn.”
Greenwood: Our family trip to Africa is something that would mark a milestone occasion. We first planned it when our daughter turned 16, and then 18. Then when we were married for 20 years, then 25 years. And it just hasn’t happened.
AmNews: How about marking the fact that “Checked Inn” is on OWN?
MG: That is a milestone.