Afros, Community and Acceptance at CurlFest 2019

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes

CURLFEST 2019, RANDALL’S ISLAND, NYC

“The only natural beauty festival in the world that was created by five Black women for Black women.” ~Simone Mair, co-founder of the Curly Girl Collective and CurlFest

Glistening, pride, power, natural, love. The only words needed to describe the scene at Randall’s Island in NY this past weekend. The throngs of natural hair beauties, at least 100,000, covered the green grass of Icahn Stadium for the sixth annual CurlFest 2019. The music throbbed non stop, as you heard inspirational words at the Empowerment Stage.

Hair, skincare and drink sponsors offered free braiding, entertainment and products to all the attendees. The early birds left with Creme of Nature gift bags filled to the brim and didn’t mind waiting on the long lines for product.

Mack Wilds, Yandy Smith-Harris, Tiffany M. Battle, Jacque Reid were just a few of the celebrities and influencers to grace the CurlFest Empowerment Stage.

The encore to Saturday’s festivities was the RollerFest, sponsored by Target at the LeFrak Skating Rink at Prospect Park. The venue decorated with every primary color in existence and a ball pit, showcased a throw back skate party with Top DJs on stage and in the rink.

There were smiles and laughter at every turn. A successful event indeed! Visit http://www.curlfest.com for information on their next event in Atlanta this fall.

#curlfest2019 #curlfest #curvygirlcollective

Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes http://www.jovannareyes.com

“If Not Now, When?”, The First Ever Film Directed by Two Black Women Premieres at the 23rd ABFF in Miami Beach

Article/Photos/Video by Jovanna Reyes www.jovannareyes.com

It’s 2019 and we can still say “If Not Now, When?” is the first film ever made with two Black female directors and producers, where it premiered at the American Black Film Festival in Miami Beach. Tamara Bass and Meagan Good, friends first and directors/producers(Krazy Actress Productions) second, took on several titles and multitasked as actors in the film. The movie, written by Tamara Bass, also stars Mekia Cox and Meagan Holder as childhood friends with a strong “sisterhood” bond that keeps them together through life’s challenges.

Watch the video below, captured at the 23rd ABFF Roundtable where Bass and Good describe wanting to bring back an all Black female ensemble cast(popular in the nineties) and how ‘authenticity ‘ and quality were the most important factors during filming.

Meagan Good and Tamara Bass, directors and producers of “If Not Now, When?” Discuss the screening at ABFF 2019 Roundtable at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

Tamara Bass and Meagan Good at the ABFF 2019 Awards Carpet.

Vydurya Lokesh, Celebrity MUA, Body Positive Influencer and Muse

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I met the amazing and wondrous Vydurya Lokesh at the Priscilla Ono Masterclass in NYC  this past summer.  I was the oldest woman there and realized quickly I was way out of my league in the course.  The silver lining, outside of learning that makeup application is an art, is meeting Vy.  Her aura is gentle, kind and she glows.  I mean her skin glows!  She reminded me of Lupita Nyongo, who also has luminescent skin and happens to be the direct descendant of Eve.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Vydurya has DNA from a Goddess of Light.  It’s who she is and I hope I captured it in this collection of photos.

One of the evenings after class, I invited her to have dinner and we ended up at Eataly near the World Trade Center, after visiting MAC, of course.  At dinner, she went on to tell me about her childhood and the tribulations she experienced at such an early age.  I realized that her past made her clueless on her beauty.  She was just happy to be alive and be a positive influence to everyone she meets.  The entire dinner, I kept thinking what a classic beauty she is and how I would love the opportunity to photograph her.  She was shocked and moved when I finally asked her.

Her last night in the states she spent with me in Maryland and we shot until late evening.  I am happy to share these with you and hope you can see the light that reflects from Vydurya that I noticed from the moment we met.

As she likes to say, “I am destiny’s child. “, not the singing group, but a child of faith that walks in light.

Please make sure to follow her on Instagram @VyduryaLokesh and Facebook @Artistry by Vydurya Lokesh.

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Photos and article by Jovanna Reyes:

Follow Instagram@jovannareyesphotography and @curvysta

CURVYSTA Emerging Artist:Tamika Patton from the Stellar Awards

PHOTOS/VIDEO AND ARTICLE BY JOVANNA REYES WWW.JOVANNAREYES.COM

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.tamikapatton1

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Here is a snippet of video of her performance at the Stellar Awards event.

Follow her:

Instagram@TamikaPattonMusic

Twitter@TamikaPatton

Facebook@TamikaMusic

 

 

Walk This Way with Jeannie Ferguson

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

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OWN’s Queen Sugar premiere at Urbanworld Film Festival in NYC

The Urbanworld Film Festival, held at the AMC Empire theater in Times Square, NYC, premiered the midseason of OWN’s Queen Sugar.  The red carpet featured cast members, Rutina Wesley, Kofi Siriboe, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Ava DuVernay and director Julie Dash.  The screening was followed by a Q&A. moderated by author Michaela Angela Davis.

 

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The cast of OWN Network’s “Queen Sugar” with Director Julie Dash and Ava DuVernay.

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Urbanworld Film Festival’s Director, Gabrielle Glore and Ava DuVernay

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Director of Queen Sugar Julie Dash and Ava DuVernay

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Queen Sugar’s Ethan Hutchinson

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Michaela Angela Davis, Moderator of Queen Sugar’s midseason Premiere Q&A

More photos of the red carpet for the Urbanworld Film Festival 2017 at the AMC Empire:

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Gabby Sidibe, Director of the short film, “The Tale of Four”.

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The legendary director and producer Melvin Van Peebles in the center with producer Jerry LaMothe and the cast of BLACKOUT.  The indie film by Haitian American filmmaker Jerry LaMothe, celebrated its ten year anniversary.

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R&B singer, Melissa Morgan

 

 

Eloquii announces permanent store in Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, VA

ARTICLE AND PHOTOS BY: JOVANNA REYES  @jovannareyesphotography

Earlier this year, Eloquii, the go to online retailer for sophisticated Curvy shoppers, opened a Pop-Up shop in Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, VA.  Last night at a private event for bloggers and supporters of the brand, Alexandra Amarotico, Social Media Manager for Eloquii, and Dani Axelrod, Director of Store Operations, announced Eloquii is placing permanent roots and moving into a larger space two doors down.  Eloquii chose to open their first brick and mortar location in DC over New York City or Columbus, Ohio due to the strong sales in Washington. Pink champagne and Georgetown cupcakes were served to attendees, along with a gift bag filled with Eloquii goodies.

The permanent location in Pentagon City is opening early August 2017.  The Pop-Up will remain open while construction of the new store is underway.  The group of influencers were escorted to the new location and Ms. Axelrod described what Eloquii customers can expect.  “Our new location will have more space for product, a larger fitting room area with champagne fridges.  It will be really special”.  She had me at “champagne”!

 

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From left to right:  Ati Williams of www.heyhoneycomb.com, blogger, Yolanda Nicole of @yolandanicolea, Dani Sauter of @blondeinthedistrict, Dionna Humphrey of @mademepretty, Tiffany of @policyandfashion, Yaya of @yosoyyayar, Joy of @districtqueens, Catherine of @dreamyrealist_, Yasmine of @darkerberrie

 

Alexandra Amarotico and Dani Axelrod of Eloquii
Alexandra Amarotico, Social Media Manager and Dani Axelrod, Director of Store Operations

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Dionne Humphries of www.mademepretty.com and Dani Sauter of Blondeinthedistrict.com

ABOUT ELOQUII(AS COPIED FROM THE ELOQUII.COM SITE):

ELOQUII IS A PRIVATE COMPANY BASED IN NEW YORK AND COLUMBUS, OHIO THAT DESIGNS AND SELLS FASHION APPAREL IN SIZES 14-28.  THEY SHIP TO THE U.S., CANADA AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS.  EMAIL ELOQUII AT CUSTOMERSERVICE@ELOQUII.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION OR CALL 1.844.693.5678.

 

Bubbles and Bloggers at Via Umbria, Georgetown

Bubbles and Bloggers hosted by the lovely Dani Sauter of www.Blondeinthedistrict.com was created to for top influencers to meet and network in the DC, Virginia and Maryland area.  This month’s event was held at the Italian eatery, Via Umbria on May 18, 2017.   Via Umbria graciously allowed the use of their Art Gallery on the second floor of the their Georgetown location.

Bloggers from all over the district attended, Glass of Glam, The District Darlings, Joy of Curves and so many more fashionistas.  WUSA 9 Newscaster, Ellen Bryan, was also in attendance.  The predominant colors of the evening, were soft pastel peach/pink, seen on Ms. Ferris of The Daring Darling and Betsy Eves of Java Cupcake. Mrs. Sauter, Ms. Bryan and Laura of Mom in Manolos rocked bright jewel tones.

The bloggers were treated to a varied selection of wines, compliments of Via Umbria. The adorable owners of Urban Jungle DC, Cody and Juan Carlos, taught the ladies how to make and sustain a succulent plant.  Portraits by Jovanna Reyes Photography captured the beauty of all the bloggers in attendance.  Make sure to click on their links and visit their sites!

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DANI SAUTER OF WWW.BLONDEINTHEDISTRICT.COM

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THE LOVELY ELLEN BRYAN, NEWSCASTER FOR WUSA 9 IN DC WWW.ELLENBRYAN.COM

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CHELSEA AND NICOLE OF THE DISTRICT DARLINGS

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LAURA OF WWW.MOMINMANOLOS.COM

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ANGELICA TALAN OF ANGELICAINTHECITY.COM

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VERONICA OF WWW.THEVEROST.COM

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BETSY E. OF WWW.JAVACUPCAKE.COM

 

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JOY OF WWW.JOYOFCURVES.COM

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CRISGITA OF WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BETHECHANGEWITHCRISGITA

 

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ANYA R. OF WWW.RANDOMLYYAYA.COM

 

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MOLLY F. OF WWW.SHESPARKSFIRE.COM

 

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MARISA G. OF WWW.DCSTYLEFACTORY.COM