Yesterday afternoon the Ebony Fashion Fair came to Harlem. It's usually held at the Hilton Hotel on 53rd St but for whatever reason, this year's show was at The World Famous Apollo Theater on 125th St. My baby sister Karen met me at my apartment and after a brief delay...lol...completely MY fault...we called a taxi and headed over to The Apollo.
We arrived at like 3:15pm and the show was already underway (showtime was promptly at 3pm). We had orchestra seats and quickly made our way to our seats. The show was good but markedly different since the last time I had seen one. Of course the last time I saw the show...it had to be in the late 80's...it was at the Hilton and Shayla Simpson was the commentator...lol...THAT'S how long it's been! This year's production was in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Ebony Fashion Fair and was entitled..."Glam Odyssey", a fashion journey into bliss and beyond. Commentator Jada Collins kept the show moving fluidly. The show was less of a straight runway show and more like a big choreographed Vegas show. I was happy to see a plus sized model on the runway...but as a matter of personal taste...I didn't really care for most of the clothes they put her in. I saw a lot of greys, blues and muted shades but nothing that just absolutely made me sit up in my seat and take notice. She blended in perfectly with the rest of the models...which as you know...is NEVER right for me..lol. Hmmm...I wondered why they didn't give her any showstopping pieces...ya know? But when that happens (and plus sized models beware...it WILL happen to YOU at some point!) You gotta find a way to stand out without making a total fool of yourself AND WITHOUT pissing off the producers (I guess what I am trying to say, is that it's all about YOUR ENERGY). I myself would have LOVED to see more than ONE plus sized model...considering that at least HALF of that audience consisted of plus sized women as well as at least having a PICTURE in the fashion spread of the program that they gave to the attendees. That's my own personal taste of course...lol...and since we ARE talking about MY personal tastes....I would have LOVED to see a DARK CHOCOLATE man strutting down the runway with the cute lil caramel complected men as well...after all variety IS the spice of life right???
Right before the intermission though...my knee was burning so much from sitting in those very tight seats that I had no choice but to get up and try and stretch. I headed to the lobby where I ran into designer Franklin Rowe and makeup artist for Fashion Fair, B'Nard Giles...both of whom I hadn't seen in some time. I also ran into Hilda Thompson (who took me down to Belize to do a fashion show back in the 90's), Harriette Cole and Miss Clarissa who used to hold court at the front tables at BB King's when I was still singing down there! We chatted for a moment and I headed outside of the theater to catch the last of the sunshine for the day.
After intermission, my sis and I decided to partake of the aisle seats on the outer fringes of the theater where there were less people and more leg room...lol. When the show ended we walked around the corner to the Alhambra Ballroom for the reception. As we walked across 125th st I ran into comedian Frantz Casseus...who it seems like I have known since forever, who was outside talking to a former Encore Male Model named Conrad. I also ran into Flo Anthony and the ever fabulous Audrey Smaltz the CEO of "The Ground Crew". Audrey was the commentator for EFF from 1970 to 1977 and she's a sister who most definitely understands the importance of having that certain something or "Je ne sais quois"...you know....something that makes you stand apart from the crowd!
We made it to the Alhambra Ballroom and after a brief wait outside the venue...we made it upstairs to the main ballroom (after my last encounter with the Alhambra...you KNOW I was holding my breath! lol). As we got off the elevator and checked in I was reunited with a former classmate....from er...JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL???? Her name was Sandra Jennings and she quickly reminded me that if I didn't remember her, she STILL had our old yearbook (GASP!). I told her she didn't need to do that because although we never really "hung out"...I knew exactly who she was! Years ago I judged a competition in which her daughter was a contestant and I was pleased to see her daughter there as well...looking beautiful as always. She gave us our table assignments and I promised that I would come back out and take a photo once we got situated. There was a live band playing and after a little chaos regarding the seating arrangements, my sister and I got settled at our table. I headed to the bar to get a glass of Moet and my sister opted for a glass of Cabernet to start....yes! I said TO START! lol. By the time I got back to the table, they had begun serving the appetizers....crab cakes and chicken wings. We wound up sitting next to the owner of The Bayou restaurant in Harlem on 125th st....she was a pisser ya'll!!! She was waiting for her daughter to arrive but she REALLY wanted to get her dance on...Baby...when they put on the "Electric Slide"...lol...you couldn't keep her OFF the floor....and by the way...exactly WHAT IS IT WITH THE ELECTRIC SLIDE??? Women cannot resist this whole dancing in formation thing...but I did notice...that only a few men were willing to join the fray....no matter...the women did their thing anyway...and then PROMPTLY went back to their seats when the song went off...except for Bayou Mama...she partied for the rest of the night! While I was watching the slide, I noticed a photographer taking photographs on the other side of the room. I found out that the photos were complimentary for ALL the guest and decided to take one for posterity. I quickly found my sister and we went to the photo booth and took pictures together...then we got to pick out a personalized frame...kinda cool.
Shortly after the photos...the dinner service began...lol...once again it was "Chicken or Fish" decision and I immediately decided that chicken was the way to go! The Alhambra had decidedly more waitstaff on duty THIS time..lol. My dinner was baked chicken, string beans and stuffing with gravy...not really bad...though once again seasoning was definitely lacking...and get this:
WE GOT A BASKET OF WARM ROLLS!!
I was surprised that the rolls were warm but I quickly told my sister.."They just put these in the microwave....you'd better eat them in the next 60 seconds or you'll break a tooth!". She laughed but sure enough about a minute or two later....Rocks!. (Note to ANYONE who considers themselves a good cook...DO NOT PUT BREAD IN THE MICROWAVE!!!! it NEVER works out!!! LMAO!)
Anyway after dinner (well to be honest...it was BEFORE dinner) I treated myself to a scoop of passion fruit and a scoop of pineapple sorbet. Right near the sorbet display we found our photos (they made TWO copies for the TWO folks in the photos...THAT'S how you do ya'll!) in the beautiful frames my sister selected waiting for us. We were gonna leave during the coffee hour but on the way out....some little white lady told my sister she couldn't leave without dancing with her! After she got her dance in and we walked the few blocks back to my apartment.
My sis said she had a great time and I know I had a wonderful time hanging out with her (we don't get to do that as often as we should) and I can't wait to do it again.
Thanks Ebony for your hospitality...it is much appreciated!
"The possessor of the truth has freedom."