I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the new movie Girls Trip. Jada Pinkett-Smith – who stars in the movie alongside Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish – introduced the evening to a packed room which included screenwriter/actress Michaela Coel, Mobo award winning music artist Nadia Rose and many cool beauty, fashion, music and entertainment influencers.

The film was awesome. Seriously, if you mixed Bridesmaids with Set It Off, Love and Basketball and Sex and the City then you get a little dose of what this movie has in store. Plus a whole lot of eye-candy with Larenz Tate and Queen Sugars Kofi Siriboe thrown in for good measure.

Annika Allen and Jada Pinkett-Smith - Girls TripDuring the film sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered and one of the things that I was reminded of was how important your girlfriends are. We all need the right friends around us where we are able to be honest and vulnerable and even when we can’t open up they know your truth and are there for us.

The Power of Friendship
Is your circle strong? Having great friends is largely a matter of being a great friend. The reason why I think my circle of friends is strong is because I invest time in my friends. I value the memories and experiences that I have with them. The girls that surround me are no longer just my friends, they are my sisters and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Have you ever noticed that the women in their 50s, 60s, 70s that are living long and loving life are the ones that have their girls by their side? That’s why it’s important to build and nurture friendships.

In the film the four lead characters call their crew The Flossie Posse. Here are the lessons I was reminded of whilst watching them in action.

THEY TELL US THE TRUTH
If you’re in the wrong or being dramatic, your girlfriends will call you on it. Girlfriends keep us grounded. Even when it hurts, there’s nothing better than your bonafide telling you to ‘dump that wasteman’, ‘get your shit together’, to provide common sense or a different perspective and to stop you if you’re heading out looking a mess if that dress or hairstyle isn’t looking quite right. Whatever the issue, you know they have your back.

THEY MAKE YOU LAUGH
It can’t just be me that thinks all her friends are natural born comedians. My girls seriously give me jokes and we can say the most funny, rude or bitchiest things to or about each other or other people without judgement. Those inside jokes where you can read each other’s mind, or have shared memories that make you burst out in laughter are just the best.

IT’S OUR SONG
What’s your squad’s anthem? Depending on the girlfriends that I’m with Cameo’s ‘Candy’ (hold tight my formation crew), Beyonce’s ‘Drunk in love’, Mr Vegas ‘Bruk it Down’ and Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’ are just some of the tunes that have us shouting ‘It’s our song’! Immediately, waists are whining, arms are in the air, we’re vibing off each other with synchronized dance moves. It could be the best or the worst song in the world, we don’t care, we’re dancing and requesting that replay and we don’t want anyone to get in our way.

SHARING
Its fantastic when you have girlfriends that wear the same size clothes as you. When you need to go to that important event and hate everything in your wardrobe. Or you’re looking like a geek and your friends are looking sexy and chic, your girls will upgrade your look via their wardrobe.

GIRLS’ TIME
As we get older, life gets busier and sometimes it can be hard to find the time to spend with your girls. Or you may be avoiding them because you don’t want to be honest about the things you’re not happy about in your life. Even if some of your crew are being a bit flakey be intentional with days or weekends together by paying for activities up front and putting it in your diary so you to ensure that you stick to it and can plan around work or family in advance.

YOU CAN TALK ABOUT GUYS
There’s nothing better then to get together with your girls and share stories about what romantic things your man has done for you or to cuss the fool that broke your heart. If things are good they’re excited for you, if he’s done you wrong they’re ready to kick down doors, scratch his car or cut his dick off for hurting you.Conversations about dicks and checking out Tinder pics can be quite funny too.

GIRLFRIENDS x WINE
Nothing more needs to be said on this. It’s self explanatory. They know your tipple and your glass is always ready.

THEY MOTIVATE YOU
Outside of the drinks, dancing, spas and afternoon teas together I’ve personally organised vision board sessions, brought memory jars and had prayer circles with my friends to encourage and motivate them and feed them mentally and spiritually. We are committed to helping each other be our best selves and can have a good time together doing anything.We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders and will provide encouraging words, feedback or a help hand. Whatever is needed for them to succeed.

THEY LISTEN
People pay good money for a therapist to listen too and advise them on their problems. A good girlfriend can save you a ton of money, provide a shoulder to cry on and make you laugh at the same time. They know you intimately so as long as you’re willing to listen often times they are probably saying the same things that a professional would have said.

THEY UNDERSTAND YOU
Heartbreak? Crisis? Love? Fashion emergency? Death? Not every man is equipped to deal with these situations. Through thick and thin your girls will be there and can understand the issues from a woman’s point of view and can deal with it in a way you can relate too.

When you need to have a rant or send random food pictures because you’re on a diet or are broke but don’t want to say. Your girls are paying that bill, cooking the food you need or ranting with you. Plus no one understand female problems like another woman. Particularly when it comes to hormones. In tight-knit girl groups, women’s cycles often sync up so at least we can all be miserable and have cramps together?

THEY’RE THERE FOR YOU AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE
When you are sick and need to go to hospital or having the worst day ever your girls will make time for you. Equally, if you didn’t want to do anything for your birthday they will come up with that last minute plan to surprise you.

Watching this movie made me proud to be a woman, most importantly a black woman. For us, in a world where our beauty is not often celebrated, our mental health often neglected, where we’re not always valued or respected seeing black female friendships on screen – as they’re not usually shown – with the same interests, attitudes, fears, success and sense of humour as me and sitting in a room full of talented black creatives was a beautiful and powerful thing.

But you don’t have to be black to enjoy this film. Whatever your race, gender or background I dare you to go and watch this movie because you’re guaranteed to laugh til your belly hurts and fall in love with the characters and their experiences