On Tuesday, December 4th, Lifetime debuted their new documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly” at the NeueHouse Madison Square in NYC. The documentary will air on January 4 at 9PM ET/PT. The three night, six part documentary series documents the alleged victims of R. Kelly’s pedophilia and abuse. Several celebrities like John Legend, Sparkle, Wendy Williams were interviewed, including those in his innermost circle. Drea Kelly, his ex-wife and mother of his children, was R. Kelly’s former backup dancer and toured with him prior to having a romantic relationship. She became more vocal in sharing her story after seeing one of the victims describe an abusive encounter that was similar to her experience with her ex-husband. She’s described heinous acts by R. Kelly and decided to leave when she had a suicidal thought and thanks God and her children for keeping her from jumping off her bedroom balcony. Ms. Kelly was on site and was scheduled to speak on the panel after the screening.
Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too Movement and Civil Rights Activist, is featured in the docuseries and was also in attendance at the NeueHouse event space when the evacuation occurred. The seven featured survivors, Jerhonda Pace, Kitti Jones, Lisa VanAllen, Asante McGee, Lizzette Martinez and Faith Rodgers also graced the red carpet and were visibly shaken when they were quickly whisked from the location.
Gretchen Carlson, Author and Me Too advocate, attended to give support to the brave women. Angela Yee, The Breakfast Club, was scheduled to moderate the panel.
A Lifetime representative stated they will do their best to reschedule and their main priority was the safety of the survivors and attendees.
Another season of New York Fashion Week has ended and we are all looking forward to the next one already. The kinetic, frantic energy wasn’t effected by the dark clouds and rain that followed us daily for the week. There were so many great shows and an amazing expanse of global representation at IMG NYFW and beyond.
This year I had the privilege of being the official backstage photographer for several production companies , some for IMG and non-IMG shows. It was an honor and something I absolutely adore. Production is in my blood. I can’t run from it. Watching the pre-show prep, the rolling racks with black garment bags to seeing the garment on the model, I am like a kid in the candy store. There are so many aspects to capture. The nervous brow of the designer, the pained look of a model with blistered feet after her fifth show in one day; my favorite moment to capture is of the designer, as they watch their work come to life on the runway. It’s like a mother holding her child for the first time after carrying her around for nine months. There are no words to describe the emotion.
I finally had the opportunity to take a well deserved mini- vacation after attending @ABFF(American Black Film Festival 2018). I lounged around the pool, wandered the streets of Miami South Beach and drank enough flavored mojitos to last a lifetime. I decided to stay in the city of Miami at the JW Marriott Miami Beach, mainly for the rewards and I was not disappointed. The rooms were clean, maintained and well stocked. Every need was met!
The JW Marriott was only 15 minutes away from South Beach due to it being the slower tourist season, although travel time may vary during peak season. The JW Marriott is located in the financial district with several banks surrounding it. The daytime hustle and bustle was minimal. My assumption is they were all on vacation. There were mornings were I was the only one walking on the main streets.
The evening views took my breath away. The reflection of the night sky off the buildings, street lights, ominous cloud formations and deep blue evening sky was cinematic.
The best tasting, fresh sushi was located one block from the hotel. I was looking for a cafe to work in for a couple of hours and found a sign for Panther Coffee. I walked in and realized it was a three in one eatery. The salmon was so fresh and the ingredients were just right. I slowed down to really savor the dish. As I was leaving to meet friends for dinner, a band was playing on the veranda, so not only is it a destination for great food, you may also enjoy live music and chill for a minute with friends.
On the busy South Beach Miami strip you will find, not only the legendary Versace estate and restaurant, there are also a variety of eateries for you to enjoy to fulfill any culinary craving and price point. For breakfast I was constantly enjoying the french toast and coffee at The Front Porch Cafe. I recommend sitting outside to people watch, just don’t feed the birds!
Sarah Charness @sarahpinkviolin jumped off Brooklyn Fashion Week 2018 on a passionate note. It was the perfect introduction to the very sexy, womanly street wear of Hood Goodie. The collection, with a mix of street, dance, professional business woman and beachwear, definitely had more than one voice projected on the runway. The designer’s best moments were those that showcased her talents the best. Her combination of prints and graphics. The one standout piece was the fatigue print long coat with the recurring theme of women’s power on the back “New Girl Order”, also printed on various garments throughout the collection. The best styled outfit goes to the designer herself, wearing her logo sweatshirt layered over an large denim top with lace tied leggings and a Sabrina shoe. Serious gangsta girl on top and sexy vixen on the bottom. Hood Goodie, the perfect conflagration of neon, sweatshirts and fishnets.
Gospel artist and Philly native, Tamika Patton performed at the Stellar Independent Artist and Quartet Showcase and mesmerized the audience. Her rich, full bodied voice moved everyone as she sang her new single “Lord Fill Me Up”. The winner of Radio One’s ‘Best Inspirational Singer in America 2011’ contest, Ms. Patton has traveled the world sharing her God given talent and spreading the word through her ministry. Her talents can be seen on stages as an actress as well, performing as Mahalia Jackson with Loretta Devine and Don B. Welch productions. She’s also shared the stage with gospel greats CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and many more.
Here is a snippet of video of her performance at the Stellar Awards event.
The 33rd annual Stellar Awards, aired on TV One, Friday March 30th at 9Eastern/8Central and will continue to air through May 6th. The esteemed event showcased the top gospel artists and celebrated those that have dedicated their lives and talent to the genre. The red carpet event, held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, included top artists like Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell, JJ Hairston, red carpet host NotKarltonBanks and more. The artists were in regal form with printed vibrant suit jackets and brilliant gowns, exemplifying gospel imagery at its finest! The Stellar Awards red carpet is itself an event not to be missed. Visit http://www.stellarawards.com for more information.
Plus model extraordinaire, Jeannie Ferguson, hosted her respected, Walk This Way workshop in DC this weekend. The always effervescent and lovingly spirited model, is known for her amazing and one of a kind walk. She’s opened the runways of fashion productions nationally. The show cannot start without Ms. Ferguson taking the first step on the catwalk. Her experience as a fit model, print model, her unforgettable walk and her personality are what keep her workshops booked, up and down the Eastern corridor. This weekend her workshop focused on runway walks and how to become a consistently booked model. Her honest feedback will help those that are ready to take the next step to professional modeling. If you are in the North Carolina area, catch Ms. Ferguson at The Power Plus Weekend March 23-25th and at the Stories of Empowerment Brunch in NYC on March 31st. Follow Jeannie Ferguson on Instagram @plusmodjeannief and shop her designs at @shop_bgu
Honoree Tamela Mann is this year’s recipient of the James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the genre of gospel. Mrs. Mann was formerly with Kirk Franklin and the Family before having a successful career in acting. Mrs. Mann can be seen in many Tyler Perry productions and presently stars in “Mann and Wife” with her husband, David Mann.