Saturday, January 17, 2009

Embracing The Change - A Pre-Inaugural Fashion Show-Washington DC

What's poppin' family!

This weekend I had the pleasure of traveling down to Washington DC last weekend, to make an appearance in a Harvey "Star" Washington fashion production aptly titled, "Embracing The Change", a pre-inaugural themed fashion event. I was already a little worried during my train ride because I had injured my knee back on Dec 26th and I hadn't had on a heel since AND I was using a cane to get around. I had already warned Harvey ahead of time but he didn't seem to worried about it.

The streets of NYC were covered in ice at 6:00am and my monster & I had to walk in the middle of the street to get to the subway. My train was scheduled to leave at 7am and my train ride went smoothly, I got situated in the "Quiet Car" (No loud talking, no cell phones, no crying babies!!! Just quiet! Which I LOVE!!!), popped my headphones in and read the paper during the ride.

I reached Union Station in DC at around 10:45am or so and upon disembarking from the train I got totally confused. I have been back and forth to DC more times than I can care to remember but they have made some MAJOR changes to Union Station and I didn't recognize ANYTHING (lol) fortunately, one of Harvey's models, the very sweet Carrita met me at the gate and after much back & forth about me allowing her to carry my bags (I refused) we immediately set out on a mission to get breakfast in Union Station....which wasn't easy at (Shame on you Johnny Rocket's!!)

We arrived at Howard University, where the show was being held and memories of 1995 hit me in the face as soon as I set foot on the campus. This was the very same building in which I had my initial meeting with Harvey. I had come down to DC with 2other plus sized models to attend a special audition for the annual Congressional Caucus Show. Harvey was the producer of this particular show and when we arrived he had a "mini" runway all set up for us. He quickly gave us instructions for what he wanted us to do (Entrance pose, walk the runway, pose at the foot of the runway and then walk back closing with an exit pose.") Simple enough eh? Well, the first model went and for whatever she got to the foot of the runway, she decided to walk off to the right and have a seat in one of the chairs....Well, we had no idea of what was going on until we heard Harvey hollering:


"Do I need to give you a demonstration of what I want????" (at this point we peeked from behind the curtains in just enough time to watch Harvey show us (and I think he was wearing PUMPS!!!) exactly the sort of walk that he wanted. It was a killer walk too! Needless to say, we were (or at least I was) terrified after that. To make a long story short, he selected me for that show, it wound up being one of the most phenomenal shows that I had ever done and we have been cool ever since.I chuckled at that particular memory and made my way inside to find Harvey and quickly found him in the main room, which was being prepped for the show (his mink hooded jacket had fallen off his shoulders and now sat behind him). I knew immediately upon seeing him, that he hadn't slept much but I knew he'd be invigorated by show time. As he went off to take care of a few things, the ladies on his production staff hurriedly got me fitted with a few dresses.

He scooped me up later and took me to the makeup area to introduce me to the models, many of whom I'd had the pleasure of meeting a few months ago at a show at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ.

The models' were most wonderful and gracious to me and I had an absolute ball sitting and talking with them as I waited to get my makeup done. One model in particular stood out to me big time....I think her name was Lorraine (?) and she did an absolutely spot on imitation of Harvey in action. She was so very funny and I simply could not stop laughing at her...she just nailed it!

Harvey departed soon after to get the featured vocalist for the evening...Miss Ann Nesby (Sounds of Blackness) prepared to come to the campus.

The time passed quickly and a short while later, the catered lunch arrived. It was deliciously light meal of grilled chicken, a mixed salad with raspberry vinagrette dressing (yummy!), rice and peas and sauteed cabbage topped with a spicy relish called 'Chow-Chow". Harvey re-appeared and had switched minks and was now wearing a hot pink colored mink with a hood (can you SAY envious here???). As the clocked ticked down, the ladies and I began moving our things to the backstage area where we'd be sequestered until show time. After a brief commotion before we moved (which I will NOT devote too much space to because it was just RIDICULOUS) backstage....the show proceeded with no more interruptions.

By showtime the air in the back was filled with excitement. Harvey wisely decided to include straight sizes (provided by Glynn Jackson) and children on the runway. As we waited for showtime, I got the chance to sit and talk to quite a few of the young people in the back and I was able (or at least I THINK I was) to pass on a few gems of wisdom to them about this business.

Harvey had the stage set up with two giant video screens and we were able to get the rare treat of actually seeing the show while it was happening. There was an opening tribute to Barack Obama that I swear nearly moved me to tears, as well as a recap of his speech the night he won the Presidency.

Finally lights went down and the show began and chaos reigned backstage ( it normally does behind the scenes of any fashion show) and models began hurriedly changing clothes for each scene. The opening scene was a "Stars & Stripes" montage of evening dresses with this theme. As I observed from my seat - the little ones nearly stole the show from the adults.

Glynn Jackson, creator of The Golden Scissors Awards ( brought along some of his straight sized girls in beautiful itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny (lol) dresses with trains and the ladies did their thing. But the show was mainly to showcase my plus sized divas and my ladies didn't disappoint at all! There were curvy chicks of all sizes, shapes, nationalities and business backgrounds (Miss Carrita is a mortician and Miss Christina is a biologist) they hit that runway feeling good about themselves as well as looking good....and that's always a wonderful thing for me!

Harvey designed all of the clothing worn by the plus sized models as well as showcasing his designs from "Mo'Nique's FAT Chance". The clothing was a beautiful mix of vibrant colors, bold prints and elegant lines.

Diva Ann Nesby took the stage after intermission dressed to the nines in a sparkly red creation, also by Harvey Star Washington. I got a chance to speak with Ann briefly before she took the stage and she surprised me when she told me she loved me and was a long time fan! (Who Knew?).

I have been a fan of Ann Nesby's since I bought my first Sounds of Blackness CD back in the day. The Lady can BLOW, plain and simple and I gotta tell you family....she wore that DC crowd out with those vocals of hers! Simply amazing voice. I also got to meet her husband, and we exchanged info and promised to keep in touch.

As the show began to wind down, of course Harvey himself took the mike, surrounded by his models & staff and greeted the crowd, took to the runway and began introducing the industry folks who were in the house, showing their support (lol) and making them walk the runway like:

Celeb makeup artist Derrick Rutledge (, my MFC homie Eric;

Designer ( & former Chic vocalist Sylver Logan-Sharp (who just released a new album and who I had to remind that we had met WAY back in the day when we both did the background vox for Tony Terry's single Everlasting Love) & Kathy Rollins (MUA & former plus model).

Everyone was staying in town for the inauguration festivities...I must have been the only one in that room, who couldn't WAIT to get back

As Carrita (thank you mama!) drove me back to Union Station to catch the 10:00pm train, I thought of all of the memories things that took place only hours earlier and it made me smile.

Thanks DC! Apologies to my cousins & other relatives (my mom is from DC) that I didn't get a chance to reach out to. And a special thank you to Harvey "Star" Washington, who has a STRICT "No photos & No Recording" policy regarding his shows; for being gracious enough allow the accompany photographs and slide show for this blog. Thanks Harvey, I had a ball!

Are YOU Embracing The Change Yet?

"Clinging to the past is the problem. Embracing change is the answer. "

-Gloria Steinem

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