Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween Family!

I am off to sunny Florida for the weekend! Will holla at ya'll on Monday when I return. Enjoy the warm weather, the parades, the parties and all the yummy candy!!!

And try to steer clear of eggs tonight!



"I'll bet living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

El DeBarge Busted Again

Dang family....Remember El "Love Me In A Special Way" DeBarge???

This one comes from TMZ

Posted Oct 27th 2008 9:05AM by TMZ Staff

'80's pop star El DeBarge was popped again -- this time allegedly for possession of a controlled substance.TMZ has learned the singer was arrested in L.A. earlier this month, and locked up after cops discovered two warrants for his arrest.El DeBarge -- real name Patrick Eldra DeBarge -- was nailed on several charges last year, ranging from vandalism to drugs and domestic violence. Patrick is being held without bail and is due back in court tomorrow.
The pop star was just sentenced to two years in state prison -- starting right this second. Authorities are currently taking him to California State Prison in Lancaster where he will immediately begin his sentence.The judge decided his conduct during the drug bust earlier this month -- in which DeBarge was allegedly found with crack cocaine on his person -- was enough to violate the probation he was on from a drug case in 2007.

"I have come to the conclusion that until I find and heal the fears in me that I do not know about, and those that I do know about, I will not be able to contribute much that will not be part of the many challenges we face – such as brutality, poverty, drug abuse, child abuse, abuse of the environment, and abuse of women, to name a few."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dreamgirls Audition Date Pushed Back To Nov 22nd

From today's NY Daily News:

Producers of the 2009 national tour of the musical about a Supremes-like trio will hold a casting call for the three female leads at The Apollo Theater in Harlem on Saturday, November 22, 2008. Sign-in is from 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Producers announced they were pushing back the audition from Nov. 1 to its currently scheduled date out of respect for Hudson, who lost several members of her family earlier this week.

"Due to the horrific personal tragedy Jennifer Hudson is undergoing, we feel this is not the time for a talent search for a role that is so closely connected with her," said producer John Breglio. Our prayers and thoughts are with Ms. Hudson and her family at this tragic time.

"Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow. Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done."

Thurgood Marshall College Fund 21st Anniversary Awards Dinner

Last night I completed the trifecta of events for The Thurgood Marshall College Fund Weekend. I attended the VIP Post Dinner Reception in honor of the TMCF Staff and the 21st Anniversary Awards Dinner & Leadership Institute Management Team. (Was that a mouthful or what?)

The event was held at The Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in the Lenox Ballroom. I had a plus one so I scooped up my girl Deb and we hopped on the D train for the short ride downtown.

I was sporting a purple full length dress by Veronica Lipscomb that hugged the few curves that I DO And yeah....I was feeling quite fabulous! We got down to the Sheraton at about 7:15pm (we were 15 minutes late) and after checking in and getting bumped up from table 100 to table 66 we were quickly escorted to our table just in time to catch CBS2 This Morning anchor Maurice DuBois present The Community Leadership Award to Noel Hankin (Sr VP Moet-Hennessy).

We quietly took our seats, poured a few glasses of wine and proceeded to dig into the beautiful Shrimp appetizer that sat before us. The whole event was a very classy, elegant affair. Actress Nia Long was the next presenter up and while she was presenting my eyes scanned the room and I caught a glimpse of photographer Keith Major and actor Malik Yoba (NY Undercover), I made a mental note to try and get a photo later.

After Nia's presentation vocalist Jon B. came on and played a few selections. He started off with one of my favorite tunes "Don't Talk" but I felt really bad for him....I don't know what the deal was but people began to talk over him and get up and go to the bathroom. You could hear plates clanging and everything. I guess they just weren't feeling him. Dang!

There was a brief pause in the program as the dinner was being served and I used that opportunity to make a quick run to the ladies room. On my way back, I looked up in enough time to see Malik Yoba do a double take (lol....I love it when that happens!) but unfortunately I didn't have my camera at that moment. A few of the students recognized me and I stopped to chat and pose for a few pictures.

By the time I returned to the ballroom the Jackson State University Jazz Ensemble had taken the stage and yeah....folks were STILL Rhonda Ross-Kendrick stopped by our table to greet me and to tell me she enjoyed my work on the runway at the Fashion Show Friday. As I was about to sit back down, another young man caught my eye and as is typical of me...I stopped him and asked him his name. I don't know what it was but I just saw something in him that made me want to find out what he was about. He reminded me so very much of my best childhood bud the late Thomas Brock Jr. I found out that his name is Jordan and he is a senior at John Jay HS in Hopewell Junction. He introduced to his father (they were both seated at the table next to ours) and we chatted for a while, took a photo and we exchanged contact info. He's quite the little cutie and I loved his energy! He hopes to attend a university in Texas in the fall and I get the feeling that he's gonna do really well.

By the time I sat back down there was a plate of grilled salmon covered with some sort of sauce accompanied by something that looked like a block of quiche (which you KNOW I wasn't touching...yuck!) and a veggie mix. Although it was um....cold (so was Deb's) I had several bites and I found it to be rather tasty.

The awards continued and there was another musical performance by Tony Rich, who got a much better reception than poor Jon B. did. As we (Deb & I) scanned the program our heats began to race at the sight of the name of the final honoree for the evening....Janet Jackson!!!! When I heard the announcement coming from actors Michael Jai White & Malik Yoba baby I grabbed my camera and sprinted to the front to get some really good shots of the Diva!! So you KNOW my heart sank when I saw her mug UP ON THE VIDEO SCREEN accepting her award. I was totally bummed.

Anyway as the awards & the dinner ended we began to make our way into the foyer to find out where the private VIP reception was being held. On the way out I ran into Walter Greene, Photographer Donn Thompson and designer Donna Dove (lol...been seeing those two all weekend!) and on the way up I saw Devon Christopher (Bleu Magazine) on his way down. We checked out the ballroom on the 3rd floor where the general after party was being held. Someone whispered the number of the suite where the VIP's were and we were off!

The first thing I did when we arrived at the suite (besides pose for a photo op) was snag a couple of glasses of bubbly! In the VIP area I met Mekhi Phifer (who is every bit as foine in person as he appears on TV!) and Michael Jai White.

Deb, Nekeisha and I chatted for a bit in the hallway and we decided to head back uptown home.

It was an amazing weekend for me family!

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.”

2008 Thurgood Marshall Prestige Awards Reception at Saks Fifth Avenue

So after the Thurgood Marshall Front Row Fashion event at Roseland last night, I got a last minute request from designer Douglas Says to fill in and represent him at the 2008 Thurgood Marshall Prestige Awards Reception at Saks Fifth Avenue the following evening. I agreed and I decided to wear his signature color block wrap dress (a dress I had been coveting for YEARS now!)...

The Thurgood Marshall Prestige Award is the highest award presented annually by the organization to individuals who are young, on the cutting edge and embody the leadership, committment and legacy of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The reception was being held on the 8th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue and I had to walk through the Shoe Salon to get to the event. I was absolutely salivating at the sight of all of those beautiful shoes!! As I reached the reception desk I saw the beautiful smiling face of Nakeisha Jennings who works for the fund. I picked up a program out front and was headed to the coat check area to drop off my bag but I got sidetracked at the bar where they were giving out free makeovers and massages. First familiar face (besides the photographer, who got a great shot of me as soon as I arrived) was that of my girl Yvette Heyward & Manhattan Deputy Borough President Rosamund Pierre-Louis.

I was wearing a color blocked wrapped dress by designer Douglas Says and I must looked stunning in it. I got briefly distracted by the makeup artists who were lining the bar at the entrance giving out free makeovers and massages. I paused for a moment to let the ladies play in my face for a while and then I made my through the room.

I paused for a moment to say hello to award honoree Memsor Kamarake, Fashion Director and Stylist of Vibe Magazine; who I bonded with immediately when we traveled to Guyana last year for Fashion Week. I also got a moment to talk to Stylist Carlton Spence (who I had just hung out with on Saturday night) and cake designer Margo Lewis (who I sat with as they passed out the awards. Wendy Williams was also on hand to accept her award and I almost managed to snag a photo but her husband gave me a very gruff "No Pictures" and sent me on my way.....with Wendy telling me how much she hates taking photos...she doesn't think she takes a decent photo. I did however meet her son, who was most gracious (we had to work briefly on that limp handshake he gave me).

Also receiving an award on this evening was my favorite restauranteur Melba Wilson of Melba's Restaurant in Harlem. I spoke briefly to Vibe's Editor-In-Chief, Danyel Smith and as soon as they gave out the last award I was on a mission to find Memsor and drill him again about using plus sized models in their fashion layouts! And to my surprise - he told me he was already scheduled to begin doing that shortly! (More on that as I find out the details!). I briefly chatted with Melba before heading out. The other award honorees were Saundtra Parks (The Daily Blossom), Susan Davenport Austin (Sheridan Gospel Network), DeJuan Wilson (Bad Boy Worldwide) & Spencer Means (The Corcoran Group). Congratulations to all of the honorees!

I stopped to say my goodbyes and pick up my goody bag from Nakeisha who was cool enough to invite me to the final award festivities at The Sheraton Hotel the following evening. I held my breath as I had to walk through that shoe salon again to get to the elevators...I got hung up when I reached the Louboutin pumps (and the salesperson thought it cool to tell me they carried MY size - a size I have $300-$400 bucks to spend on some shoes!!!). I managed to get out of that shoe salon with my dignity (and my pocketbook) still intact and headed out into the warm night home.

Two events down and one more to go........

“Education is not received. It is achieved."

Happy Birthday Chrys Green!

Today is my girl Chrys Green's birthday!!

Chrys and I go back at least 6-7 years now (and it's probably more than that!) and she is affectionately known as "Ubu" at my house (never you mind how she got that nickname nosey people!!!).

Anyway, I love her to death and she is one of my longest, strongest supporters and is also one of the kindest people I know. PLUS she's the only one of my friends who will stand up and do the "Dreamgirls" choreography with me when I put the CD on!!! I wanted to make sure I gave her a very special shout out on her birthday!

Happy Birthday Mama!!!! Don't forget to have that piece of cake and a glass of champagne to celebrate your special day!

Love you much!

"Every man has his own special dream, and your dreams' just about to come true. Life's not as bad as it may seem if you open your eyes to what's in front of you."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shiloh Church of Christ Fashion Extravaganza

I got a call a few weeks ago from a sister that I have known since I was about 12 years old. Her name is Linda (Cleveland ) Josephs and we became fast friends when we were both kids residing at "Tuxedo Court" lol...which was located at 30 East 128th Street (where the Legal Aid building now sits). We both wound up attending the same church growing up (Shiloh Church of Christ Disciples of Christ) located up the street from our home...right across 5th Avenue.

Now I haven't talked to Linda in a minute and I knew something was up when I saw her name pop up on my screen. Lol...after exchanging a few pleasantries, she got right to the heart of her call. Apparently, her group (the nurses unit) was having a fashion show and she wanted me to attend as a "special invited guest". After letting her gas me up a bit about being a "celebrity" at Shiloh (lol) and giving her a few of my "base rules" (don't ask me to sing and don't ask me to talk and PLEASE don't ask me to walk) I agreed to attend.

I knew I had to attend an event at Saks immediately following the fashion show, so I packed a bag with two outfits (I had to wear a Douglas Says dress for the event at Saks) and I decided to wear a red dress by NJ designer Veronica Lipscomb and some red patent leather knee high boots (yeah...I know...that sounds a little risque for church...but you also know I gotta be ME!). I tried to keep the cleavage to a minimum and called a taxi for the short ride to the church.

The show was scheduled to begin at 3pm but I know my people well, so I wasn't worried about the time and I decided to drop off my bags at my surrogate dad's place, where I was gonna change into my second outfit.

As the cab waited at 5th avenue for the light the back of a church van caught my eye and I couldn't resist taking a photo of the message painted on the back:

"Directions to Heaven: Turn Right and Keep Straight".

Definitely words to live by! I quickly dropped off my bags and tipped in those patent leather boots to the church. Linda was upstairs getting ready so I stuck my head in the door of the choir room and let her know I was there. Then I headed back downstairs to the sanctuary to wait for the show to begin. While I was waiting I saw several people I hadn't seen in many years and just sitting there began to bring up so many old memories for me.

As I sat and looked around the sanctuary, memories of me singing as a teenager on the Youth For Christ Choir and as I got older I graduated to singing with the Voices of Shiloh filled my head....I remembered distinctly one choir anniversary in particular where we (me, Linda, Muzette Charles & quite a few others) had these sea foam green dresses made from a Simplicity pattern for all the girls in the choir and we performed "The Beatitudes" and "Have A Good Time" from the Broadway musical "Your Arms Too Short To Box With God". We had the church lights turned off and hung these pen lights around our necks and entered the sanctuary singing in those lol...awful green dresses (yeah...I can say that now). The congregation went absolutely NUTS because no one had ever done a presentation like that before!!! I still smile to this day at the very thought of that performance.

I chatted for a moment with Leonard Gillams, who shared some deeply inspirational words with me (they meant more to me than he could ever know). A few other folks came by to say hello and a little while later the show began.

The show was called "A Fashion Extravaganza" and the program was put together by Lujuan Williams, President of the Nurses Unit. After a brief invocation by Deacon Julius Green; the MC for the evening, Sis. Delores Sessoms took the stage and the program began with a solo delivered by Sister Shirley Henderson.

The fashion show was divided into 4 scenes and it moved quickly. The audience was small in number but real big on enthusiasm! The models consisted of a wide range of ages & sizes. I will be honest here....I was a little surprised that I was having such a good time. There was a selection by The Male Chorus of Shiloh before the final scene that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The benediction was delivered by Pastor Sheila Gillams and mercifully, she just announced my name and allowed me to

I saw a lot of potential in what they were trying to do and offered my services to them if ever they decided to try and put together a fund raiser in the future.

It felt good to be home....if only for a little while.

Excellent job on the program Lujuan, thanks for the invite Linda, I had a great time!

“The church is the great lost and found department.”

Latest update on the Jennifer Hudson Tragedy

Morning Family!

I just heard Whoopi Goldberg on The View this morning and she gave us an update on the J. Hud tragedy. She says that police have located the missing white SUV that belonged to Hudson's brother Jason, with a body inside. No confirmation as to whether or not the body the found is that of Jennifer Hudson's nephew Julian King.

Taken from The Times Online:

Police searching for actress Jennifer Hudson’s missing seven-year-old nephew say they have found the body of a young black boy in a sports utility vehicle.

The missing child, Julian King, has not been seen since Friday, when Hudson’s mother and brother were found shot to death.

The bodies of Julian’s grandmother, 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, and his uncle Jason Hudson, 29, were discovered lying in the home they shared on the city’s South Side. Police issued an Amber Alert search notice for Julian and were looking for a 1994 white Chevrolet Suburban.

Hudson offered a $100,000 reward for her nephew’s safe return.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office and Chicago Police Department sent officials to the scene of a white SUV on the city’s West Side early today. There was no confirmation of the identity of the body, and police have so far refused to comment.

Television footage showed police vehicles escorting a flatbed tow truck as it took the SUV away from the scene. Police later said that the number on the license plate on the vehicle matched the number listed in their earlier alert.

Julian is the son of Jennifer Hudson’s sister, Julia Hudson. The police initially identified William Balfour, the estranged husband of Julia Hudson and stepfather of Julian King, as a suspect in the case. The 27-year-old baker has convictions for attempted murder, carjacking and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

He was released from prison in May 2006 and is still on probation. He was not living with his estranged wife at the time of the shooting. The couple had recently fought because Mr Balfour had sold Ms Hudson’s car without her permission, according to local media reports.

On Friday, Chicago police had taken Mr Balfour into custody for questioning over the deaths but the missing boy was not with him.

“We are doing that as a precautionary measure,” Superintendent Jody Weis, of the Chicago police, said in a television interview.

He added that the murders and the child’s disappearance seemed to be part of a domestic dispute. “From what we know right now, it appears to be some type of domestic situation but that is very preliminary. We just have to follow the evidence.”

Yesterday, Mr Balfour was transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections “based on his active parole violation unrelated to this investigation.”

I gotta tell you fam, this latest update breaks my really does. I don't know what kind of beef the killer had with this family - this child is/was an innocent. Did you hear me??? An INNOCENT!!! What EVER was going down here....we already know this baby had nothing to do with it. This is a damn shame. An absolute atrocity.

One more thing....Is it me or is something a little "fishy" with this entire story? From what I was reading it appears that the killer(s)? were after the brother and the mother walked in on it. I can't think of a single reason to kill that child other than him being a witness to the killings. I do hope the police and the FBI can clear all of this up quickly and hopefully give the family the tiniest bit of peace of mind.

More updates to come when I have them.

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thurgood Marshall College Fund Fashion Show 08

Last night I had the pleasure of participating in the 3rd Annual Front Row Fashion Show for The Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The show was held at New York's Roseland Ballroom. The call time for the models was 3pm so I decided to meet up with Gwen DeVoe and ride downtown together.

We met at the 125th St Station on St Nicholas and other than a few moments of witty repartee with a homeless female dope fiend (simply hilarious ya'll) and watching her pose for a picture the ride downtown was pretty much uneventful.

We exited the D train at the Seventh Avenue stop and quickly made our way into Roseland. We stopped briefly in the vestibule to check out a few dress forms, artfully draped in multi colored fabrics and pinned into dress shapes; and then we headed backstage to meet up with designer Douglas Says. One of the first people I ran into was producer Aminah Benjamin, who was holding it down in the back along with the rest of the Ground Crew.

We found Douglas easily and after a quick briefing on what we'd be wearing in the show, we headed over to the refreshment area to get a quick snack before going over to hair (lol..well not me for hair) and makeup. I retrieved a shrimp salad wrap, a small mixed salad and a Fresca and took a seat on a stool to chat with Diva & Douglas. We'd been talking about 10-15 minutes before we heard some squealing behind us....we looked up and saw makeup artist Tara Taylor, who was absolutely overjoyed at the sight of us. We both got excited quickly as well, because we knew at the sight of Tara that our faces were going to be DONE-DONE-DONE!!!!
After finishing up my lunch, I quickly made my way to the makeup area where Tara was waiting for me. The look for the show was a black smoky eye with a red lip. I sat back and got comfortable as Tara began to work her magic. When she finished I barely recognized myself! Diva (Gwen) sat in her chair next and I decided to walk around to see what I could see.....

The WHAT: The Thurgood Marshall College Fund hosts its 3rd Annual "FRONT ROW Fashion Show celebrating the Spirit of Innovation in Fashion and featuring the couture designs of some of today's top African-Americans designers. FRONT ROW also honors the top African American professionals and style icons that have advanced and influenced style around the globe.
The WHO: Featured Designers:

-- Miguel Antoinne
-- Steven Cutting
-- Sean John
-- Johnny Vincent
-- Kevan Hall
-- Xiomara
-- Stephen Burrows
-- Tracy Reese
-- Douglas Says
-- SIXXfoota
-- Edward Wilkerson for Lafayette 148 New York

The Honorees:

-- Audrey Smaltz-Fashion Entrepreneur
-- Beverly Johnson- Supermodel
-- Tyson Beckford- Supermodel/Actor
-- Ross Burton-International Make-Up Artist
-- Oscar James- Famed Hairstylist
-- Keith Major-Famed Photographer
-- Ashley Stewart Stores -Full Figured Specialty Retailer

As I walked around the backstage area, it was a little bit of a reunion for me, as I was seeing a lot of folks that I hadn't seen since my early days as a plus model working "the underground". My plus sized Divas were in full force on this night: Jeannie Ferguson, Miss Sarah from IPM, Wendy McKenzie, Adrienne Washington, Angellika Morton, Kemi Lyles. Tonight's show also showcased Gwen "Diva" DeVoe's (CEO DeVoe Signature Events) return to the runway!!

My straight sized Diva's were also in the house....Roz, Lu, Stacy McKenzie and Shailah Edwards. At around 6pm all the models were gathered for a brief run through and it was over quicker than you could say boo. The show was scheduled to begin at 8pm and after a brief delay, the host of the evening's festivities, Tamara Tunie (Law & Order SVU) took the stage. I got to talk briefly with honoree Audrey Smaltz, who looked absolutely stunning in a Douglas Says custom designed dress in a midnight blue tie dyed print. Also backstage helping out was swimwear designer Roger Gary & Leonard Davis (sporting a cute new do')

New Jersey based designer Linwood Allen opened the show with his risque swimwear and the crowd went crazy!! Approximately 12 designers showcased their clothing but there was only one segment featuring plus sized women and that was Douglas Says - and let me tell you family....when WE hit that runway the crowd went UP!!!! They showed us an amazing amount of love ya'll. The runway was very long and you could see my sisters strutting like proud peacocks when we got our "walk" on. It was all love on that night....

And speaking of love....I wasn't the only one who noticed the LACK of drama in the backstage area for this particular show. Unlike fashion shows in the past (RTR heh-heh) there wasn't any of the "So who's gonna do the makeup for the plus size girls?" crap this go round. Everyone got the same treatment across the board and NO ONE was stuck in the position of having to do their own hair or makeup (which is often the case for my juicy gals).

After the show, Diva, Tara & I decided to hang around and check out the after party upstairs in the lounge. I decided to change into a simple dress and some red patent leather boots with fishnet hose. Diva was rocking a leopard print dress that I was TOTALLY coveting! We gathered up our bags and headed up to the balcony. We hadn't got anywhere near the lounge before folks began stopping us to tell us how much they enjoyed the show! We managed to find some empty spots by the bar and decided to put our suitcases under the bar so we could work the room unencumbered. It was packed and I grabbed a bartender and immediately secured 3 glasses of champagne (courtesy of Moet & Chandon, the drink sponsor for the event).

I took my camera out of my bag and quickly scanned the room to see if I could get some interesting shots for this blog...Among those upstairs in attendance: Bethann Hardison, stylist Carlton Spence (looking FABU in a turquoise fedora with a purple band!), Devon Christopher (Bleu Magazine), Photographers Keith Major & Donn Thompson, Actors Taimak (The Last Dragon) & Tamara Tunie (Law & Order SVU); Harriet Cole (Ebony Magazine), male model Renauld White, designers Donna Dove, Duane Fish & Linwood Allen, model Janine Green & her husband Phillip and I saw my home girl Muzette's nephew Jason, who also worked backstage for the show.

Oddly enough the bar ran out of champagne ( does the drink sponsor run out of liquor for an event??) about an hour and a half after the party began and only had red and white wine then they ran out of that about an hour after running out of bubbly!.....and we decided to head over to Mickey D's for a quick bite cuz we were starving!

We were a little tipsy and very animated and let's just say that the meal in McDonald's was er...interesting. We ran into a group of young people who were students at the Academy of Dramatic Arts and we chatted them up as we ate. One young sister (Janelle, I think she said her name was) who had come to NYC from Chicago with a friend gave us 16 bars of a song she'd written and we were QUITE impressed....this chick has real talent fam!

By the time we finished a steady rain had begun to fall and we decided to share a taxi uptown together. We dropped Tara off at a church on Amsterdam Ave where she'd parked her car and Diva and I talked all the way to my place....we both agreed that this was the most fun we'd had in a long time!!! Thanks for asking me to participate Douglas, it was awesome. It really was!

"What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul."