Friday, June 6, 2008

Coca-Cola Celebrates The 2008 Essence Music Festival at The Apollo

Last night I attended an event at The Apollo Theater, it was a Salute to The Essence Music Festival and the Kick off of Black Music Month....Sponsored by Coca-Cola. I got the last minute call from Mary (my publicist) earlier in the day, informing about the invite. So I hurriedly changed my plans and decided to head back home and try to find something to wear for tonight. My next step was to call Jacqueline to see if she could change her schedule to make the event as well. (She did). We decided to meet at 6:45pm, since The Apollo is within walking distance of where I live.

I finally decided to wear a white dress with a chiffon like matching maxi coat (a Richard Metzger Original!) that I haven't worn in a very long time. All was well until I got a call from Jacqueline asking me at 6:15 if I was ready and that she was already in a taxicab and on her way. (of course I was still in my underwear when I got this She called me a few minutes later and told me she was downstairs and the meter was running. I managed to get dressed and began rushing to get down to the lobby (of course forgetting most of what I needed to bring)....and as I was heading out of the door (which is lined with a few "icons" covered in this rust colored palm oil...because my monster is Yoruba), as I zipped down the first flight of stairs...coat flowing behind me...I happened to look down and wouldn't you know it:


After screaming and unleashing a spew of profanities in my hallway, I ran back upstairs and tearfully showed my monster what happened. I then called Jacque back and told her to ditch the taxi because there was a problem that was gonna take a minute or so to fix. He quickly took my coat and got to scrubbing that oil out of my coat, then we ironed and used a hair dryer to rush the drying process (I love my Boo!)...we finally got it all cleaned and dried and that should have been it right??? I shoulda been on my way right???? But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... I thought I was carefully passing through my hallway again...ever mindful of the icons on my right...and I see my monster looking at me and shouting for me to be careful....but as luck would have it....

When I hit my staircase again and looked down....


Now, I am REALLY upset and ready to just take off my clothes and stay in for the night....for whatever reason...SOMEBODY in the universe does not want me to wear this damn coat!!!!!

So when I come back inside my monster is now looking at me like I am crazy when I show him the coat again. He doesn't say too much because now I am close to tears...he just takes it off and begins the cleaning/drying process again....with a he's drying it for me he says...

"I'M carrying the coat out into the hallway and you can put it on out there..."

Now why didn't I think of that? lol....

So finally I get past my first flight of stairs and I meet Jacqueline outside...of course when I hit the lobby...I've got the "Gasface" on because I am annoyed at what took place a few minutes ago...It takes me a few moments adjust but all is well by the time we hit 125th St. Btw...did I say that Jacqueline looked beautiful in Black & White? Yeah...she did.

I was a little apprehensive when we approached the check in line (because the door people at the last couple of events I've attended have been VERY shady) but this time my check in was very easy...(Thanks to publicist Tamara Young...thank you mama!)

We grab our tickets and wristbands for the pre-cocktail event we get on the elevator we are joined by actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (The Cosby Show, Jeremiah) who I found out was the opening act along with his band Miles Long (Who knew he even HAD a band, let alone played the Bass??...You GO Boy!!). So you KNOW I had to stop and get a photo op right? lol.

As we exited the elevator the first person I ran into was my girl, Jamie Foster-Brown (Editor-In-Chief) of Sister 2 Sister magazine and her right hand man...Terrance Pratt, Terrance is a long, tall drink of water and he was looking really good (the last time I saw him...he had a boot on his foot from tearing his Achilles...I believe). We stopped and posed for several photo ops, I hollered at Jamie for a moment then we made our way into the main room for the cocktail event. The room was beautifully decorated and had the latest copies of the July issue of Essence (Gabrielle Union's on the cover looking beautiful in blue!) strategically placed throughout the room. After scooping up two glasses of wine...we began to scan the room to check out who was joining us for cocktails.

It was at this point that the brother who recognized me came over to chat...I found out that his name was James "I Cannot Tell A Lie" (lol...his words) Washington and he is the personal manager for several acts including hip-hop violinists "Nuttin But Stringz"...I didn't know who he was talking about last night...but when I googled them...I realized that I HAVE seen them before..on those new NY1 commercials ("You're watching NY One!!!!) and I thought they were really good!!!! I told him I was a singer and we exchanged numbers and I do hope we can work together (because I am SO calling him this weekend!)

I also ran into a beautiful tall sister with locks, named Rose, who I have seen on the circuit many times (she also manages acts and I think she works in film as well)...but I found out that she used to manage Miss Jacqueline Kennedy...(the world is really small ya'll). She was there with another statuesque sista that I met a few weeks ago at the Ashley Stewart Butterfly Bra launch (see blog).

Standing a few feet away from them was my longtime pal, Fred Jackson (Formerly Marketing Director at VIBE Mag now at Essence) who, when I inquired about doing some writing for them quickly introduced me to Shelly Jones Jennings, an executive producer at Essence...we also exchanged info and made plans to talk on Monday! Thanks Fred!!

As we were enjoying networking and the cocktails, they made the announcement for us to move to the main hall because the show was starting closed the bar to make SURE we were all gonna leave that room.

While we were waiting in the foyer for the elevator to take us back downstairs...I ran into MTV VeeJay, Sway Calloway, who graciously stopped to greet me and posed for a few photos...(okay, I grabbed him as soon as I saw him and began running my

The elevator arrived and everyone piled in...I had met this sister & her husband during the cocktail hour and I snapped a few pics as we rode the elevator down together...she had on a bad ass Diane Von Furstenburg long dress that I was SERIOUSLY coveting ya'll!

As we exited the elevator into the lobby, people were heading inside to catch the show. The ushers checked our tickets and we found our seats quickly AND they were AISLE seats!!!! YAY!!!! As I looked around the theater I began seeing all sorts of familiar faces....

Rhonda Ross-Kendrick (Diana's daughter and my boy Jazz musician Rodney Kendrick's wife) was checking out the show as well and we chatted for a moment and exchanged info....I also ran into Audrey Smaltz's nephew (dang...his name escapes me...apologies!) who told me that Audrey was busy celebrating her birthday (Happy Birthday Diva!!!).

Shortly afterwards the lights dimmed and the show began with a husband and wife team who had apparently won the opening spot by performing on Steve Harvey's morning show earlier in the day. They performed a decent version of Aretha's "I Never Loved A Man" with hubby accompanying her on the acoustic guitar. They were followed by Faith Evans and there was a brief presentation to honoree of the evening, Miss Lisa Ellis....which was then followed by Malcolm Jamal Warner & his band Miles Long. I was having a great time but I was really anxious to see Anthony Hamilton (who I hadn't seen since we performed together onstage at Rip The Runway 2007) and I gotta tell you....he didn't disappoint me in the least....his set was awesome from start to finish....He sang most of his big hits and he also brought on his wife (and back up singer) Tarsha McMillian who did a number for the crowd. He had the crowd on their feet losing their minds when he broke into "Sista Big Bones"....he jumped down into the audience and began dancing with the ladies and before I could say "Boo" Jacqueline had dashed to the aisles and scooped up Mr. Hamilton for a dance! He then made his way to the other side of the theater and began dancing with the ladies on that side of the house....then he looked up, mike in hand and saw me for the first time....recognized me and shouted me out....told me I looked good with my big fine self...(The bald head makes me pretty darn unforgettable....I'm telling you for real ya'll!!!). That personal shoutout had me floating out of the Apollo Theater family! He was awesome ya'll he really was....I truly enjoyed his performance as well as the entire evening.

My only disappointment....yeah...I told a little fib when I said I wasn't disappointed at

I was chomping at the bit for "Do You Feel Me" from The American Gangster Soundtrack...(That song makes me wanna slow dance for real!!!) and when I realized he wasn't coming back on stage to do it....well you know....

I also saw Kwame Jackson from The Apprentice as we were we walked the length of the lobby of the Apollo to the street we were given ice cold free samples of Coca Cola's brands to take home...I came home with a bag filled with Coke, Diet Coke & Coke Zero.

As Jacque & I headed West on 125th Street, I found that folks were loving that Richard Metzger ensemble and they were shouting me out all along 125th Street....I waited with Jacque until her bus came and then I walked the few short blocks towards my home.

It was a wonderful night, thank you Mary and thanks a bunch Tamara Young!

"Music has that power because music is not like politicians. Music is always there. Politicians come in every four or five years, lie to the people, get what they want at that time, and disappear, but music is there every time. It can change the world."

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