Friday, August 31, 2007

This Friday's Fabulous Flick

Hat's off to Angela Gibbs (pictured here with her mother actress Marla Gibbs and actor Paul Benedict who played Mr. Bentley on The Jeffersons)!

She debuted her film Ties That Bind at the 5th Annual Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival earlier this month. The film won the HBO Film Competition's 'Best Short Film' award and the film stars her mom!

More than 1,000 attendees traveled to the island to view 54 films that were selected out of pool of 250 applicants. The producers of the film festival is Run & Shoot Filmworks, Inc.

This film festival takes place annually in August each year on Martha's Vineyard.

Photo credit:Bernard Fairclough

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cracking The Black Socialite Code

I had the most interesting conversation with a male acquaintance recently regarding The Black Social Elite.

He is a major quester - seeking to join the ranks of the Boule and the Guardsmen. And, according to him, he has all of the right stuff in order to become a member.

He belongs to a fraternity, holds two graduate degrees, is cultured, talented, and I'm sure you know the rest. His wife (and partner on the quest) also holds multiple degrees, is in a sorority, blah, blah, blah.

Both he and his wife are Jack and Jill legacies. They live a McMansion in the suburbs, own three foreign cars, have great corporate jobs, 2.5 kids, and a mixed breed designer dog.

By all accounts, they live a fabulous life. But, they are extremely frustrated.

You spite of these 'sparking' credentials, they can't seem to crack The Black Socialite Code. He can't get into the organizations he desires. His wife struggles with 'fitting in' with the uber Black Socialites of their hometown.

And, naturally, they contacted yours truly for some guidance and help.

I shared with this couple that most Black Socialites of any quality stock could care less about your shiny accoutrements (i.e. your car, house size, number of degrees, etc.).

It's nice but it won't necessarily get you 'in.'

What is more important is whether or not you are preceived as a 'good fit' with them and their crowd. Being a 'good fit' is highly subjective and is often based on who is the King or QueenPen of the group you are trying to join.

You have a choice, either play the game or re-create the rules by becoming a Socialite machine on your own. Either way, you will need a strategy and you must be patient.

If it sounds way too much like how high school cliques function, I have news for you.

Lean close to the screen so that I can whisper in your ear - I don't want everybody to hear.

Life is like one big high school. Most of us will spend our lives trying to 'fit in.' And we never really 'graduate' until we get comfortable in our own skin and walk with confidence.

We'll talk more about 'Cracking The Socialite Code' in the upcoming months.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ms. Jaci Puts Her Thang Down In The Hamptons

Our gal Jaci will go down in history as The Black Socialite who ruled The Hamptons. Her and her husband Morris hosted a series of events this month including a fundraiser for Senator Hillary Clinton at their home. The Clinton event was closed to the media so unfortunately, I don’t have any flicks to share with you.

I’m sure Ms. Jaci will leave The Hamptons with a bang before the summer is over. She is a media machine and is landing in all of the right places.

So keep in touch – I'm sure there will be more to report on soon.

Visiting Martha's Vineyard

I had a wonderful time on Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs (although it was cold and windy for most of the week). Chronicling this adventure will take several postings so stay tuned ladies and gentleman.

I decided not to drive – opting for Amtrak and the Vineyard Fast Ferry from Quonset Point, Rhode Island instead. I really enjoyed this way much better. The commute can be ‘tear your hair’ out traffic towards Connecticut from New York as you race into Woods Hole, MA praying that you can catch the ferry over to the Island on time.

By taking Amtrak & the ferry, I could sleep and read while relaxing since I took this trip solo.

Once on the island, I skipped up and down the familiar streets of Circuit & Kennebec Avenues, walked around Ocean Park, and enjoyed the harbor.

Then, I started bumping into several people I knew from my hometown, tons of my sorors, Sister Links, Deltas, Alphas, Ques, Boule members, and other fab Black socialites. And of course, the invitations to “house hop” soon followed.

I literally could have dine at a different home three times a day everyday if I elected to do so - as one of the great Black traditions of the Vineyard are the parties held at all times of the day and evening. Part of this tradition stems from a history of discrimination where Blacks were often not welcome at certain Island eatery and inns.

Now don’t misunderstand me - it was really nice to receive all of the invites and I appreciated every last one of them. I did attend a few gatherings. But honestly, I really went to decompress a little bit before the fall ramps up.

Plus, think of all of the ‘costume changes’ multiple parties would have required. I would have to take LOADS of luggage and frankly, I wasn’t in the mood for lugging if you know what I mean.

So instead, I caught up on some sleep, did a bit of shopping, talked to my real Mom a few times on my mobile phone, and caught up with a few of my adopted Socialite Diva Mamas.

I had an opportunity to enjoy a fabulous lobster roll (which is fresh lobster meat mixed with celery and mayonnaise served on a toasted hot dog bun) at the Island House Restaurant. My meal was dished up perfectly by a very handsome, charming, blue eyed muscular waiter.

Later, I popped into cute apothecary (RougeLuxe) that recently opened up on Kennebec Avenue. You can now lather yourself in Bliss, Mario Badescu, Mistral, Kiehl’s products until heart’s content versus having to bring scores of products with you from home. The shop owner Kathryn Magistrini (a perky redhead with a bubbly personality) turned me onto my latest obsession – mini scented candles from Red Flower.

The big chatter on the Island was Senator Hillary Clinton’s arrival later in the week. She was doing a series of fundraisers ranging from $50 to tens of thousands at various homes and venues. I saw Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton near Circuit Avenue and we gave each other a quick wave as we headed in opposite directions.

I kicked myself for procrastinating on RSVP-ing for great reading and book signing by Dr. Kenneth Edelin, sponsored by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). He is the author of Broken Justice: A True Story of Race, Sex, and Revenge in a Boston Courtroom that chronicles his experiences as Black OB/GYN who was taken to court in the early 70s for performing abortions. A vocal advocate of women’s rights, Dr. Edelin was the speaker at several events on the island last week.

OK, now for the color commentary.

I am so disappointed in the low number of Black owned businesses on the Island. There may be four in total including the only Black owned restaurant in Chilmark - which is a good 30-40 minute drive from Oak Bluffs. It’s kinda heartbreaking because Black folks have been vacationing on the Vineyard for years.

It was delightful that Cousen Rose’s Gallery is still hanging in there after almost thirty years in business. She sells ‘sisters and brothers on the bluffs’ t-shirts along with art, music, and books. She also hosts fabulous showings and author events.

Also, the famous ‘Inkwell’ beach (immortalized in books and films) is a hot mess! Rocky, dirty, and full of shells – it is a far cry from some of the other well maintained beaches on the Islands. There is a petition circulating to ask the township to help restore the beach but truthfully, some of this is personal responsibility as well. Folks need to stop being tacky and pick up their trash when they leave.

It’s funny to me that no matter how sophisticated we try to appear, we seem to lack pride in taking care of our history.

If we don’t operate like we care, who will?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Defining The Black Socialite

I absolutely LOVE all of the emails, hate-o-grams, and comments I have received since launching this blog. Thank you, thank you, and keep em’ coming.

All of the correspondence and comments move me to tears of glee. What you have demonstrated in our short time together on this journey is that the need is soooooooooooo tremendous for this type of coverage and discourse.

I will press on as long as I can. It is great to know so many of you out there are truly interested in the REAL DEAL of the Black Socialite lifestyle and not that cotton candy “fluffery” of celebrities masquerading as socialites.

I must say that it is also very interesting to me how the phrase ‘black socialite’ has become extremely commercialized recently. Search on the Internet and you’ll see what I’m talking about. There are LOTS of random sites with authors’ self descriptions as “black socialite.”

These sites are swirling around at such a vicious rate that it is making my poor little head spin with angst. It reminds of the over usage of certain terms like ‘diva’ – given to people who have not earned the right to have such a title bestowed upon them.

I guess people have the right to call themselves whatever they want to in America but don’t you think it’s time for us to return to standards of excellence in our society?

Therefore, I think it is only fitting to provide my best operational definition of a true Black Socialite since we are still in our infancy (and several of you have asked me for this).

A Black Socialite is someone of African/ Black descent who possesses the ability to leverage their social capital and networks to participate in a series of social activities, events, and/or causes. These events may or may not support a philanthropic effort. Black Socialites often belong to predominately Black selective member organizations although membership into these organizations is not a requirement for socialite status.

Black Socialites are usually members of the middle or professional classes, working full time while balancing their active social lives. The history of Black Socialites is documented back to the mid to late 1800s when free Black women held activities for fellowship, personal enjoyment, and to support abolitionist causes. Some of these events included literacy functions, card parties, and musical events.

OK folks, hopefully this will help and keep us all on the same page.

Have fun this weekend!

And don't hurt yourselves!

This Friday's Fabulous Flick!

This week's photo features Maurice & Andrea Dubois at the Furman Jazz Fling to benefit Jazz at Lincoln Center in the Hamptons recently. The event showcased a performance by Mr. Jazz at Lincoln Center himself, Wynton Marsalis.

This couple is often photographed at various charity events and galas in New York. Maurice is a CBS-TV morning anchor in New York.

What's nice about the Dubois' is their approach to the socialite lifestyle appears to be a team effort. Their attire is always tasteful and refined. The couple was last spotted attending the premiere of The Hunting Party starring Terrance Howard also in New York.

Isn't it great to see a Black couple making power moves together?!

You look great and we'll keep our eyes open for more fabulous shots!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Star Jones' New Journey

Those 'in the know' were well aware that Star Jones was a true socialite long before she rose to celebrity status. As an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (she was once held the office of National Second Vice President), Star traveled the country serving the organization.

She was also known to zoom around New York to various social functions with fur coats, flowing hair, and designer clothes while working as a DA. And, Star was also one of the first ‘big girls’ to give us glamour on national television (and is rarely given credit).

Her persona generated some haters along the way but oh well - that can happen when you are extremely confident about your talent.

We all witnessed the rise, topple, and rebirth of Star over the past few years. It is sooo nice to observe what I consider a profound spiritual transformation in her.

She’s embarking on a new journey today with the debut of her new show on Court TV.

Tune in or TIVO it to support her.

I wish her well and she is missed desperately on The View.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Preparing To Kiss Summer 2007 Goodbye

Today is an icky, rainy day in my neck of the woods. Hopefully, you are fairing better in your corner of the universe with the weather.

I lament that summer flies by much too quickly every year and this year is no exception. June is still one big blurry flash.

Many Black Socialites are trying to squeeze out the last few weeks of summer either in the Hamptons, on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland, the Caribbean, Europe, or Martha’s Vineyard.

In fact, I’m headed up to Oak Bluffs for a quick junket and gathering of fellow Socialites this week. We’ll chat, chew, and sip champagne while kissing summer 2007 goodbye forever.

The Vineyard is very pretty and tranquil. It provides a refreshing feeling of being fully relaxed in an environment where the people are cultured, interesting, and friendly. I suspect some of this might change if MTV moves forward with plans to cast a reality show featuring Black youths who vacation on the Vineyard, but we'll see.

On the flip side, the Vineyard is bloody hard to get to and I am not looking forward to the trek. I’m prepping my Ipod, clothes, makeup, accessories, and a book for my journey in between blogging.

This year, I had to show my face without question after declining invites for the past several years. In fact, some of my adopted Socialite Diva Mamas threaten to bludgeon me with their Jimmy Choos if I didn't make it up this year!

Could you imagine the sight of blood all over those fabulous shoes?

So, good people, I'm headed out. It’s just such a looooooong trip – but one that all Black Socialites (and aspirants) should place at the top of their social calendars to visit during the summer months.

Friday, August 17, 2007

This Friday's Fabulous Flick

Marcia Darden (wife of attorney Christopher Darden - who is a life member of Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc. by the way) is this week's selection because she looks absolutely fabulous with effortless style!

She was spotted attending a party at the Chanel Boutique in Beverly Hills on August 14th and took time to pose for the cameras. I'm not familiar with the lady standing next to her in the photo.

Anyway...doesn't Marcia look statuesque and stunning with the Chanel bag and pointy toed pumps?

Keep it up Girl...We're watching!

For all you other socialites (and aspirants), enjoy the weekend!

And, make sure you do it with style - you never know who's watching...

Photo credit:Patrick McMullan

Spotlight on Sherry B. Bronfman

This diva was once married to the very handsome heir of the Seagram’s fortune, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. They share three children, one of whom (Ben Brewer) is a rock musician. The couple met through Dionne Warwick in the late 70s when Sherry (nee Brewer) was an actress and Edgar, Jr. was an aspiring songwriter (Dionne recorded his tune Whisper in the Dark).
In 1979 the couple eloped in New Orleans against the wishes of the elder Bronfman who reportedly told the couple that their children would not be accepted by Black or White society. Edgar, Jr. stopped speaking to his father and did not reconcile with him until 1982. A few years later, Edgar, Jr. joined his father in running the Seagram’s empire.

The tension continued for years allegedly within the family over the interracial union. Sources also say that the couple amicably divorced in 1991 with Ms. Sherry walking away with a very healthy alimony payment.

I don’t believe that Ms. Sherry has remarried and she is setting the social world on fire in New York City! Some of her charitable activities include support for The Rush Foundation, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Publishing Certificate Program at the City College of New York.

Insiders share that Ms. Sherry is usually quiet, reserved, and a bit camera shy (which is why you don’t see a lot of images of her swirling around the Internet). She is also very careful in terms of selecting causes that are important to her.
And Ms. Sherry is usually dressed to the "nines" in designer wear that many of us (sigh) dream of owning one day.

We’ll continue to keep “tabs” on the fabulous Ms. Sherry for your reading enjoyment.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Rise (and possible fall) of an 'It Girl"

Many of you have tracked with great interest, the rise of Ms. Genevieve Jones of New York. For those who don't know, our gal somehow managed to pole vault over several other aspiring socialites. She landed a front page story in the Wall Street Journal last year. And, she scores great FREE clothes and hot events while appearing carefree and fun.

What is interesting is that many socialites, wannabees, mountaineers, questers, bloggers, and cluckers (read: chickenheads) seem to absolutely LOVE to hate Ms. Jones.

I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. After all, who is she hurting?

If you think that I am exaggerating, I dare you to conduct a Google search on Ms. Jones. Prepare to be shocked. The hate is crazy.

Some New York loons have speculated with jaw dropping accusations that she is really a prostitute since she refuses to disclose the source of her finances.

C’mon people! Who knew that being a prominent Black 'It Girl' would cause such a stir?

I have not met Ms. Jones but if I did, I would invite her to my favorite soul food restaurant for a good ole sista chat (she weights about 100 pounds and is reportedly 5’5). We would talk about the danger of swirling around primarily white circles which can have a lethal impact on your socialite status if you’re not careful.

Why you might ask?

Well, when you are a cute Black girl handling your socialite business like the White girls or better, the fangs come out dripping with racist innuendos straight from the plantation. These girls are so ruthless that you as a Sista will quickly be branded a whore and any other nasty reputation damaging descriptor these chicks can ooze out of their mouths so they can grab the spotlight back.

I think our girl has learned this lesson the hard way.

Now we all know some of those New York White socialite dolls will drop it like it’s hot for the right dollars. I guess that doesn’t matter when you have the complexion for the protection.

It also doesn’t matter how or why Genevieve Jones has reached such a high level of socialite-dom in a short period of time. Her accomplishments of landing on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and getting free designer clothing is enough for me to acknowledge her brilliance as a marketer.

There are whispers that the ride for her is over. If it is, it was a great one.

The lesson here is that there is real marketability in becoming a socialite. Plan accordingly.

Hark - Social Mountaineers On The Move!

Some of you are soooooo funny! My little pet project is all of one week old and I have breaking news….

I have spotted large herd of social mountaineers on the move as I peer down from my comfy-cozy socialite perch.

Socialites, prepare to fortify the bunker!

For your reading pleasure, a sample of some of the notes I have received (with dramatic inflection of course…)

Boo-hoo-hoo Ms. Black Socialite, how can I/we get coverage on your blog?

Boo-hoo-hoo Ms. Black Socialite, will you help get into (insert the name of any elite organization/club here)?

Well, since you asked darlings, I'll provide some enlightenment.

I am the ‘DECIDER’ of this blog. You can send photos and public relations plug to my email address. I’ll decide if it is interesting enough for me and others to read.

But, let’s be REAL clear about something. This is a not a party promoting/happy hour shout-out/dry chicken luncheon/me and my people are hangin’ out blog.

I could care less about 90% of the activities targeted to Black people.

I am truly only interested in the talented 10%.

The reason – most of our events are big yawners. They lack creativity. Rarely are men and women dressed appropriately at our functions. People walk around like they are waiting for a video director to yell ‘action!’

And, truthfully…the people gaining the most from these shing-dings are parking lot and club owners, various clothing stores, and Asian owned nail salons and weave stores.

Can you honestly say that you have been enriched culturally, spiritually, or emotionally from attending these tired events?

I’ll give you a few minutes to think about it before you answer…

Now…onto to the next question about will I help you achieve your personal social goals.

The answer is no.

Don’t be tacky by sending me interest letters. I don’t read them.

If you were good boy/girl scouts, you would have read my introductory posting very carefully. I promised to share ‘tips of the trade’ that will help you be successful in terms of achieving your goals.

I will not personally coach strangers aspiring to the ranks of socialite-dom.

My advice - keep reading and maybe you'll get in one day!


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Get 'Em Girl's Guide - Grab A Copy!

We all know that an essential part of being a good socialite, is the ability to entertain in your home while providing a memorable meal. Some elect to use professional caterers and florists while others like me like to get their B. Smith & Martha Stewart on!

I really enjoy cooking when I can and my friends love my tasty delights. So, I am always on the hunt for a good, simple, unique cookbook. The Official Get Em' Girl's Guide to Unlocking The Power of Cuisine fit my qualifications perfectly. This book is so adorable! It is also very readable and well organized. It is now housed next to my Williams-Sonoma series on my kitchen bookshelf.

I met the sweet faced authors (Shakara Bridgers, Joan Davis, & Jeniece Isley) at the Harlem Book Fair last month and was immediately struck by the image of a girly pink tent in the sea of boring white tents everywhere. I rushed over and was greeted with iced tea, monkeybread samples, and smiles.

The Guide appears to target 20-somethings and I am...ahem...a bit older. But, I think any socialite (or aspiring socialite) can gain a great deal from scoring a copy of this little gem. The book contains food and etiquette tips along with an outstanding wine basics section, detail on necessary equipment to cook proper meals, table 101, and an assortment of great recipes including: steamed red snapper, shrimp egg rolls, sauteed garlic asparagus, and sweet and spicy ribs. There are Splenda recipes for the health conscious as well.

It is so worth the purchase. You won't be disappointed!

Check them out at

Studying The Playbook of Jaci Reid

I, like many socialite watchers, have taken notice over the past few years of Jaci Reid and her husband Morris pictured here. They are really interesting. And those desiring socialite status should study the playbook.

The couple (who grew up as the children of single moms with working class roots) have carefully orchestrated a spectacular climb up the social ladders of New York by hosting a series of high profile fundraisers in the Hamptons for The Creative Coalition, VH1's Save The Music Foundation, and the NBA Wives Foundation.

Ms. Jaci doesn't miss a photo op, which is smart - media placement is so important to solidify your social status in certain markets. She also hires a publicist periodically to make sure the magic happens for her in terms of prime media coverage.

The dishy Jewish social press of NYC used what one could describe as microinequities when featuring the couple some months ago. Comments about Jaci's previous employment as a cocktail waitress and; how her and Morris were taking New York by "dizzle...drop by drop" were enough to make me clutch my heirloom pearls from Grandmother!

The writer continued with some evilness about how they are "renters" in the Hamptons. HELLO...WHO ISN'T A RENTER IN THE HAMPTONS?!

I don't get why that was necessary to include in a feature story about them.

Even the world's wealthest socialite rents in the Hamptons on occasion. Real estate prices there are crazy and who really wants to spend that kind of loot for a three month property?

Anyway...I digress...

I think there are a lot of haters in the atmosphere when it comes to Ms. Jaci and hubby Morris -but get over it. You too can make it to the highest level of socialite-dom with a well executed plan.
Here's a link to an interview Jaci conducted with Note how the white girl interviewer uses the dreaded "A" word to describe Jaci - a description reserved only for Black people according to diversity management research.
Oh well, you win some and lose others...

Hat's off to Ms. Jaci! You are doin' the thing BIG with a very hard crowd!
We're watching, girl.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reginald Van Lee - Man on the Move

OK...I am scared of Reginald Van Lee!

He's been on the come-up quietly for some time now and seems to be stepping more into the spotlight as a premiere fundraiser.

For those who don't know, Reginald is a Senior VP at Booz Allen Hamilton. He hosted a spectacular fundraiser for Evidence Dance Company at his penthouse in New York City earlier this month. He is Board Chair for Evidence, holds two degrees from MIT, and was listed as one of the 25 consultants in the world by Consulting Magazine in 2000. Reginald was recognized as one of "New York's Finest Philanthropists" in 2002 and has been scoring major honors every year since then including the Black Engineer of the Year Pioneer Award in 2006. Reginald also headed up the Harlem Small Business Initiative with the Bill Clinton Foundation.

Guests at his recent soiree sipped champagne and nibbed on butter cream cupcakes (what a great idea!) while engaged in good times I'm sure. According to sources, the place was loaded with fab Sista Socialites like Sherry Bronfman, Audrey Bernard, and Alicia Bythewood. You gotta love those New York dolls because no one does it like them in terms of style and elegance.

The main fundraiser for this dance company will take place on August 25th in the Hamptons. I'm sure it will be an outstanding affair. Don't even think about trying to weasel in for less than $500 per person.

Cheers to Reginald and all those who made this event a success!

In Honor of Mrs. Astor

The Queen Mother of New York Society for decades died yesterday at the age of 105. She lived an extremely charmed life as the Chair of the Vincent Astor Foundation and heir to the super-mega bucks Astor fortune. Mrs. Astor gave out more than $200 million to various organizations including The Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Unfortunately, she was at the epicenter of a dreadful elder abuse case towards the end of her life. We can all expect a very nasty court battle over her estate pitting son against father.

Yes, I know she's not Black...but like many wealthy White socialites, she contributed time and dollars to many causes that directly impacted the lives of Black people.

Her life should be is a lesson for all of those who aspire to the highest levels of socialite-dom. It is so important to give as much as you can to help improve the lives of others.

She is the last of an age gone by - a true original whose legacy will live on.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Becoming A Black Socialite

What makes America great is that you can be whoever you want if you work hard. You don't have to be a ravishing beauty, super intelligent, married to a wealthy man, or mega-rich - although all of those things sure can help.

You must be is charming, loyal, and graceful. While this sounds easy, it isn't.

Most Americans are crude and tacky. We tend to ask for more than what we give. We talk way too much and produce very little of substance in terms of conversation or work.

So it is like a breathe of fresh air to encounter someone who possesses grace, loyality, and charm. How do you think con artists continue to flim-flam the rich? It's because they have become masters of deception in terms of these principals.

Your ability to be a successful Black socialite rests on these three principals - charm, loyality, and grace. I can't repeat this enough. Any invitation you desire will come if you work on developing these three principals.

Most questers don't have a clue about these principals. So, they get shut down at every turn because they are grasping and climbing without consideration for others. They tend to be users and see people as a means of getting their goals achieved. They often have to buy their way into the social set rather than being asked to table based on their own merits.

And, even if the questers "get in" by way of various organizations, they will still be marginalized and will never be true insiders.

Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to be born into socialite status with the Black Elite. Therefore, your ascension can happen pretty quickly if you plot your course properly.

Be prepared to kick out some money to appear at various events and activities. However, this is manageable if you factor these costs into your overall budget.

When you get invited to events, show up. And, you may have to get comfortable going out by alone. Susan Fales Hill of New York (pictured above) goes out alone often as her husband is a homebody reportedly. Many socialites attend events alone because men tend to not care about social activities as much as we do. So, if you are one of these women who have to clutch onto the arm of a man whenever you go out, true socialite status may not be for you.

Look to give more than you receive and your network will explode. Offer to chair fundraisers for both Black and White organizations if you have this talent. This will raise your social profile if you do a good job.

Don't spend too much time hanging out at happy hours/alumni reunions/business card exchange parties targeted towards for "Black professionals." Most of these events are quick cash generations for the event planners and the people who attend them tend to be big yawns. Their connections are minimal and these events will rarely help you to achieve your goals.

You can go to some of the more interesting ones periodically, but don't become a fixture at these events. Spend more time of your time attending parties for political campaigns so that you can make REAL connections.

Socialite barflies go to top rated hotel bars like The Ritz Carlton and The Four Seasons. The clientele is more upscale and you'll meet some interesting people. But again, don't make these places your version of 'Cheers' where everybody knows your name.

Go periodically and always dress to the nines!

If your strategy works, your social status will rise to the level where you will begin to get invites for hot events that are free (or at least free to you). I get invited to restaurant openings, parties at Cartier and Tiffany's, nightclub openings, and other chic events.

When your profile rises, you will also get invited to join non profit boards and advisory committees. Be selective in terms of which invites you accept as many non profits are cash and staff strapped - so you can end up working like a slave! Make sure it's a cause that you are really interested in and that the organization has a good mix of board members.

Once this happens, know that your 'brand' has become a marketable asset. Your presence is a signal to your hometown that this (event, organization, activity) is worthwhile. People who want to emulate you will break their necks to buy tickets and donate money to anything that has your name attached to it.

Now, if you are questing for WASPy social elite status, you will have to spend a ton of money unless you can score tickets to premium event through your employer or other connections.

Getting into that crowd requires that someone "anoint" you into socialite-dom. This goal can be achieved as well. It may take a bit longer that climbing the ranks of the Black social elite and you will more than like need to hire a publicist so that you can land in all of the right publications.

Be on the lookout for more tips on becoming a Black socialite!

My trip to Victoria, British Columbia

A few weekends ago, I attended a FABULOUS garden wedding in Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is on the far western side of Canada between Seattle, WA and Alaska.

It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in the world.

My good friend (who is the Managing Director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia) and his partner are both from Victoria so it only made sense to have the East Coast US attendees travel to their hometown. Plus, American politicians are so into policing adults so, gay marriage is not legal in our lovely state.

I stayed at the Marriott Inner Harbor and EVERYONE there knew about the wedding - including the cab drivers! The hotel is really nice and walking distance from the downtown area.

The wedding was beautiful and very emotional. The weather was perfect. Both families were fully represented and lots of people traveled from the East Coast of the US to attend including patrons from the Philly Opera Company.

After the ceremony, we partied the night away with champagne, tasty hors d'oeuvres, and dinner - which was a series of food stations paired with wines. I always prefer food stations receptions rather than sit down dinner because it easier to mix and mingle with attendees.

I gobbled down the Asian noodles, curry lamb, and grilled salmon. We ended the night under a dessert tent where we were seated on dark brown leather ottomans as we enjoyed brulee, cheese, tea, and hot dogs.

The garden was so lush, I almost drove myself crazy taking photos. It was held in a private home that is listed on the garden tour for Victoria (due to its climate, Victoria is known for gardens).

In spite of the horrible travel experience the East Coast attendees had with US Scare...oops I mean US Air, it was well worth the trip.

I spent the night in Seattle - a city that I absolutely love, then took a ferry called the Victoria Clipper over to Victoria. I think it's always best to fly into Seattle and go directly to bed so that your body can get adjusted to the time zone change.

I was surprised at how chilly it was in Victoria when I arrived (64 degrees) and many people had on light jackets. The weather tends to not get much above 75 degrees in the summer.

After I adjusted to the climate change, it was really enjoyable. Afterall, it was 100 degrees on the East Coast so anything under 85 would have felt cold.

Canadian people are so wonderfully friendly and I felt very safe traveling alone. I enjoyed great oysters and Barry Bonds discussion with several Canadian men at the Executive House Hotel's Oyster Bar before racing off to change for the wedding.

The next day, I sipped tea at various tea salons and enjoyed chocolate chips cookies made with maple syrup. The seafood was also outstanding!!!

I also headed to Ric's for lunch one day and the food was just OK. It's in the tourist area of downtown Victoria so it's really no different than eating at an upscale Friday's or Chilli's in the US. The staff was friendly however and very accomodating.

I also met a ton of hot hetrosexual Canadian men! Because Victoria is a hub for gay couples, it's tough for hetrosexual people to meet each other. Alas, they are too far away but they were great eye candy. I now understand why they say that there are "men in trees" on that side of Canada and Alaska.

Canadians are so civilized that they can not understand why America does not offer universal health care and our crazy crime rate. I was asked several times if my family was concerned about me living alone in the city.

On top of all of the wedding action, it was also British Columbia weekend (their version of Independence Day). The Victoria Symphony Orchestra performed on a barge in the Inner Harbor and sounds incredible. More than 40,000 people were in attendance.

Here's the kicker...people placed their lawn chairs out two and three days in advance to "stake out" their area for the concert and left them!

I was shocked!!!!!!!!!!!

The Canadians were shocked that I was shocked!

They asked me why would anyone move the chairs since it is someone else's property. I told them in the US, not only would someone steal your chair but they would also argue with you as to whether or not it was your property to begin with!!

As I left Canada, I chatted with a Sister who is a Canadian Customs Agent about my visit (yes, there are Black people in Victoria). I told her that I would definitely return!

Barring no travel drama, it will take you between 9-10 hours to get to Victoria from the East Coast.

If you have the chance, you should definitely visit.

Pooped Yet Planning

I am so tired today it is unbelieveable. I also have a slight headache.

My sister suggested that I slow down but that's tough for me. I have invitations up to my eyeballs and it's hard for me to turn EVERYONE down.

So, I'm scratching through the list of events on my calendar today where my presence has been requested.

Maybe that's why my head hurts...anyhoo, enough of my woes...

Fall kicks off the BIG social season in most large cities and it's always a fun time of the year.

In September, my sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha) comes off of summer hiatus - although some of us have been working like slaves orchestrating and planning different activities. We turn 100 next year and the machine is in full gear! All I can tell you right now is 'film at five' on the AKA Centennial Celebration in DC next year! Of course, yours truly will there with my lovely sorors as we paint the town pink and green.

My good buddy, who is the Prez of her huge Delta alumnae chapter, has been working feverishly on their chapter's 80th anniversary celebration this September. Since she is such a doll, a sister in Linkdom, and supports many AKA functions, me and a few of my Soror-Links will adorn our finery to honor their accomplishment.

After all, we are all Sistas in the struggle when our pearls and lace are removed.

In other news, I have a cute 'ladies who lunch' invitation for September for a restoration project of historic signifigance. But I think I'm going to pass.

A $150 per person ticket to chat and chew with a bunch of Suzies who will barely eat and pick over salads is not necessarily my idea of a good time. Plus, I recognized only one prominent Sista on the committee list. This is a tragedy given the number of Sista Socialites who would clamor at the opportunity to serve for this most worthy cause.

Another invite I am trying to see if I can squeeze out of my purse now is the Opening of the Opera Season in my hometown Philly. This Black Tie affair will teeter around $500 per person. Plus, I will have to find a costume (read: gown, shoes, and jewelry). So, we'll see.

And alas... it's always a 'bear' trying to find a gent to escort me to these types of affairs. I'll chat about that in another post.

I have other invites for at least four other Black Tie events during October and November including a Gala for my Links chapter.

Beyond the Black Tie soirees, I have book signings, restaurant openings, more ladies lunches, and other affairs! Oh my!

Quelle horror...when will I be able to catch a break?!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Visiting Barclay Prime - Mark Wahlberg sighting

Last night, I met one of my closest friends at Barclay Prime - a hot restaurant located in downtown Philly. You may have seen the restaurant on The Food Network recently as the home of the very popular $100 Kobe Cheesesteak.

Although the spot has been opened for ages, we never made the time to dine there. So we figured that Tuesday night is as good as any night to grab a meal when the East Coast is in the middle of a heat wave. Shockingly, the spot was packed and loaded with all kinds of men (hint, hint ladies).

My friend just came in from the Jersey Shore by way of Florida with a great tan and comfy sundress. I literally just skirted the night before after attending a uber-fab wedding in Victoria, British Columbia (more to come on that junket soon).

We immediately took to the bar because our table was being held up by actor Mark Wahlberg (aka rapper Marky Mark for you ole heads) who scooted in to eat. Apparently, he's in Philly filming a new pic and frequently dines at Barclay Prime. The waiter sat me in the same seat that Mark was sitting in and giggled the entire time while serving us.

Let me say that the food was outstanding and the staff was great! The Mango Martini was incredible and a great prelude to soft shell crab and the Kobe beef tartare appetizers. Our meal consisted of chopped salad, the 12 oz filet (that we split), broccolini, and mashed potatoes. The steak (among the best I have ever had) was topped by a caramelized shallot sauce created in a beef reduction. I topped the meal off with the Peach Melba sorbet which was simply amazing.

The only bad news about the restaurant is that it is dark as hell and the music was blasting. For some reason The O'Jays 'Backstabbers' was playing so loud that both me and my friend believed that some back of the house politics were taking place.

Perhaps someone was trying to send a "message."

Anyhoo, we hung out until after 11PM with our tummies full and floating on Cloud Nine. I'll be back for more although I'll past on the $100 cheesesteak.

Socialite Terminology

Here is a glossary of some useful terminology for this blog. I'll add more words as we go along...

"Mountaineer" - someone who strives and reaches high to achieve social goals; an aggressive social climber

"Quest" - social climbing plan

"Quester" - aggressive social climber who employs short term and long term strategies to acheive their goals

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Welcome To The Black Socialite Blog!

Greetings out there!

I'm your host for what should be a fun and exciting journey...spanning the globe and shining a light on Black Socialites who live life to the fullest!

Feel free to send me photos and reports of your favorite Black Socialites to be posted.

Now, on to other news...

I know some of you social mountaineers will follow this blog religiously as an official questing guide.

That's cool too.

If I can help you achieve your goals of scaling the version of Black Social Elite Mount Everest back home - wherever home may be - then my work is complete.

Onward and forward...