Monday, July 28, 2008

US Postal Service Unveils Black Vintage Cinema Stamps

I absolutely LOVE Vintage Black Cinema (It's something so elegant about the imagery in those flicks) so I'm excited to report to you that the United States Postal Service has issues five stamps depicting Black Cinema posters from 1920-1950!
Run, don't walk to pick up yours! I'm planning to purchase First-Day Covers and send Mom a set with the First Date of Issue postmark.
Since this is the year of the so-called 'Stay-cation,' it may be a good idea to stroll down to your Central Headquarters of the US Postal Service for an interesting history lesson (especially if you have kids).
Who knows? Stamp collecting may become a family hobby.
Maybe it's the mush-ball in me, but I think we tend to take the Postal Service for granted in the US - particularly when it comes to the Black historical stamps series.
Special shout out Super Sister Delores Killette, Vice President and Consumer Advocate of the USPS and her entire team for a job well done.
Now maybe we can put those stupid Internet rumors to rest about the elimination of the Black historical series of stamps!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Oldest Black Private Swim Club Celebrates Anniversary

In between staying cool, organizing masses of paperwork, and working on my lil' version of an AKA Centennial media mash-up for posting on the blog, I came across this neat story.

The Nile Swim Club was founded in Yeadon, PA (outside of Philadelphia) fifty years ago and is celebrating their anniversary. The club apparently has lots of plans in the works including a multi-million expansion project. It is the nation's oldest Black private swim club. It is awesome to images of The Supremes and Harry Belafonte who performed for at the club in its early years.

Philadelphia is also home to famous swim coach Jim Ellis who was the inspiration for the movie Pride starring Terrance Howard and Bernie Mac.

Recent media stories have focused on 24 year old Cullen Jones, a young Black man on the 2008 US Olympic Swim Team. In a strange contrast however, Black children account for the majority of drowning deaths of children in the US. Lack of access to safe, clean pools in urban centers is one of the culprits behind this horrific trend.

So my hat is off to The Nile Swim Club and Jim Ellis for providing opportunities for those who were otherwise shut out of swimming.

I'm headed out to see Special Friend play baseball.

Enjoy today!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flick

I crawled from underneath my bed in enough time to post this week's flick (yes, I'm really scared of lighting!). Kathy Sussman and Sunny Hostin are looking super chic at the recent Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic’s annual Art For Life East Hampton 2008 gala. The event was held a private home this year.

Many thanks to my Super Soror Wendi to sharing this photo!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...we had a record number of lighting strikes in my hometown recently - wrecking havoc on power lines and trees. So, I've been away from you a bit longer than I would like.
Also, I know, I know, I know...
Several of you having been sending me email that I haven't responded to as of yet.
Do not despair . My current email is overloaded in spammies and legitimate emails are ending up being flagged as spam (go figure).
I will more than likely switch to another email address soon to help remedy this issue.
However, just so that we are all ok - I do not post events on this blog currently. Who knows what the future may bring but event postings are not currently in the plans.
Good people - have a super weekend!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Celebrates A Century of Sisterhood

The did a very nice tribute to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated on their website. I get such a kick out of archival material and photos (gotta love those Afros and old school sweaters!) I never grow weary of looking at elegant images from our past.

The article written by Soror Autumn Saxton-Ross causes quite the stir on the Internet and among attendees at the recent Centennial Celebration. Soror Raven Hill jumps to the defense of the AKA Barbie Doll.

I'll let you be the judge of the content here, but I give a round of applause to The for attempting to provide balanced coverage of this historical milestone in our history.

Enjoy today everyone!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flicks

This week's flicks are from yesterday's Unity March in celebration of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated's Centennial Celebration.

There's a good story in today's Washington Post about this historic event.

More than 30,000 people participated in the march yesterday that included members for all of the Black Greek Lettered Organizations (BGLOs). The purpose of the march was to draw attention to need for better health care, education, and employment within the Black community.

From left to right on the steps of the Capital, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Alpha Kappa Alpha International President Barbara McKinzie, Alpha Phi Alpha President Darryl R. Matthews, Sr., Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Diane Watson, and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Event participants heading down Pennsylvania Avenue
I believe the 100th year celebration of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is a cause for celebration for all of us given our difficult history in this country - especially as Black women.
Yes, we tout community service, scholarship, and service to all mankind.
But, my sorority and its legacy reminds me (if nothing else), that it's ok to be pretty, feminine, and Black in America where the three terms are usually not synonymous.
And to me, that is as signifigant and relevant political statement for the 21st Century as it was 100 years ago.

Good people have a great weekend!
I'll have more to share soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lots of stuff in my head

Hello Everyone!

I have LOTS of material in my head that I'm working on to share with you including the latest scoop from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Centennial Celebration in Washington, DC. I have article links, video streams, and other news to share with you.

I am also preparing for my annual junket to The Harlem Book Fair in Harlem World, NYC this weekend.

So, I promise that we'll chat soon!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dolls That Are Worth A 100 Year Wait

Both of these adorable dolls will make the Centennial Celebration of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. even more special this year!

Mattel will debut the limited edition 'AKA Barbie' - created in honor of the Centennial Celebration of the sorority next week. The doll will be reportedly available for sale on the Barbie Collector's site and Walmart stores nationally towards the middle of July. She's a cutie and will probably sell out quickly!

Currently available is 'Ivy Rose' - an elegant doll dressed in pink and green gown with a sweeping up-do (top picture). This beautiful doll was presented as a gift to Grammy Award attendees this year according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

'Ivy Rose' can be purchased from the Sisterhood Boutique.

Several years ago I purchased the first Byron Lars Barbie designer doll from my sister as a birthday present. I also have a few friends who are serious collectors of Black dolls.

If you are looking for a fun hobby (personally or to share with young girls in your family), collecting dolls may be for you!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blogger X and Other Misadventures in the Blogosphere

The most bizarre thing happened to me recently.

I was misquoted by a Sister Blogger who did not identify herself when contacting me.

Blogger X (as she will be affectionately referred to in this posting) sent me an email last month querying me as to why I have not done a post on a particular political candidate’s wife. I replied to her and kept it moving.

About a week later I learned that Blogger X is well…Blogger X. I find this out because my email became loaded with notes about Black Elitism in America. Apparently Blogger X’s posting entitled “The John Does Are Not Elite and That’s Fine With Me” (along with my alleged reply) was crossed linked to several other Black political and socio-cultural blogs.

All I could say is wow…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – Blogger X has yet to tell me that she reinterpreted my email for her blogging pleasure.

So good people, here’s the verbatim email exchange between me and Blogger X so you can get in on the fun:

Blogger X writes:

Mrs. John Doe doesn't warrant a post?

Just wondering

My reply on June 19th reply via email:

This blog features people who are considered Black Socialites.

I tend to not cover politicians or their family members as they are represented in other media outlets.

Have a good day!

The Black Socialite”

Blogger X’s translation of my reply on her blog:

“One of my guilty pleasures is the blog The Black Socialite. Searching through (The Black Socialite blog’s) archives, I discovered that no post had ever been done on Mrs. John Doe. I thought it was quite odd…so, I emailed the site owner. In a very polite email, she informed me that hers was a blog about people who had been involved in Society, and Mrs. John Doe didn't qualify.”

Blogger X also decided to not be ‘snarky' with me (in her words) since I elected to cover Harold Ford’s marriage to a young White Socialite on this blog (although Blogger X used what I would coin as epithets to describe Ford and his wife).

Now, for the record good people – my reply would not have changed if she had told me she wanted to use it for a blog.

What I don’t like is being misquoted.

Here’s something I find interesting folks. Someone who appears to be anti-elitism (or at least enough to blog about it) is a self admitted fan of The Black Socialite.

Hence ladies and gentleman, you have before you an example of the class quagmire in Black America. So many of us love, hate, and love to hate the elite of our people. There also seems to be some common thinking that inclusion into the elite should be afforded to all individuals who can check off the boxes of “Black and successful” underneath their names.

It has never worked that way and I doubt that it ever will.

We are extremely fortunate in Black America to have scores of Black folks in politics now – many of whom could be written about on this blog.

But, here’s the catch…I write about topics, people, and places that interests me. I can count on one hand the number of times I have featured politicos and their families on this blog.

It’s for a reason ladies and gentleman.

Because - and I quote “this blog features people who are considered Black Socialites. I tend to not cover politicians or their family members as they are represented in other media outlets.”

Hopefully, I won’t have to repeat myself again dang-nab-it!

Happy blogging to Blogger X. And a special 'shout out' to all other closet fans (and meanies too) who enjoy this blog on the DL (grins!)

More Info on Rehoboth Beach

OK - I received enough emails questioning me about the history of Black folks in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware that I decided to share a few tidbits with you.

Black people have lived in Sussex County, Delaware for more than 200 years as 'free Blacks'

Many Black vacationers to the resort town are usually from the driveable distance of Delaware, Maryland, DC, and Philadelphia.

Rentals can be hard to come by as many of folks who visit Rehoboth Beach are homeowners who use their properties multiple times throughout the year

Author Alexs D. Pate wrote a work of fiction entitled West of Rehoboth in 2001. The novel is a coming of age story about a 12 year Black boy whose family spends two months in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware annually. Click onto this link to hear Pate's interview about the book on NPR.

One last note good people...

If you decide to visit, you must be very open-minded. Rehoboth Beach is extremely tolerant of all groups and boast a sizable gay population that is fully intergrated into the resort community.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Partnership, Inc. New Day Gala

Valerie Linson, Magaly Gerena, and Madeline King

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Brothers Hank Seemore, Lawrence Rock, Manny Owens, and Brian Owens
Partnership Past Chairman of the Board Dave Thomas and Partnership New Chairman of the Board Edward Baker-Greene

More than 700 guests recently attended The Partnership, Inc. New Day Gala in Boston last month. The Partnership, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Boston that focuses on workplace diversity while ensuring greater inclusion of people of color in leadership positions (both professionally and philanthropically).

Super Socialite Benaree P. Wiley served as the organization's president from 1991-2005. She is credited for assisting more than 1,300 Black professionals in the Boston area successfully intergrate into various corporations and non profit board positions.

She is a member of The Links and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her sister, Sharon Pratt Kelly, is the former Mayor of Washington, DC and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Links.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Flicks

Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy & daugther Yvonne Yancy

This week's flicks features the fabulous Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy during a weekend celebration honoring her retirement as the first female president of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU). Dr. Yancy’s accomplishments and career achievements are absolutely amazing!

Dr. Yancy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from JCSU in 1964 as a young woman from a farm in Alabama. She continued her education and earned both a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Ph.D from Atlanta University in Georgia.

Her life is a story of ‘firsts.’ In addition to being JCSU's first female president, she was the first African American to be promoted and tenured as a full professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Dr. Yancy is the first African American to be appointed Special Master for the Florida Public Employee Relations Commission. And, in 2001 Dr. Yancy also became the first woman to be elected president of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).

During her tenure at JCSU, Dr. Yancy helped increase the university’s endowment to $53 million and raised an astonishing $145 million in total during her presidency. In 2000, JCSU became the first HBCU “Laptop” university by issuing IBM Thinkpads to all of its students.

Applications to JCSU increased by more than 300% during her presidency and the alumni participation rate with the university moved to 26%. U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked JCSU as a Top Tier Institution among Comprehensive Colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees for the past six years. The latest ranking from U.S. News & World Report places JCSU at 30th out of 106 colleges in the south. The placement rate of students into graduation school or job immediately after graduation rose to 85%.

Dr. Yancy has published more than 40 articles and wrote the history of The Links, Incorporated for the encyclopedia, Black Women in America (1993). On top of all of these sparking accomplishments, Dr. Yancy is also a wonderfully nice person and mentor to several Black professionals. Dr. Yancy is past president of the Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Links, Incorporated.

Dr. Yancy’s daughter Yvonne Yancy (pictured in the yellow strapless evening gown) is a human relations executive in Atlanta, GA. Yvonne Yancy is a past officer of The Links, Incorporated – serving as Immediate Past Eastern Area Links Foundation Representative and is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Thanks Yvonne for sharing this great news about your Mom and the all of the wonderful photos!
You can learn more about Dr. Dorothy Cowser Yancy by clicking onto to these links from News 14 in Charlotte, NC and The Charlotte Observer. Her official last day at JCSU was June 30th.
Bravo to you Dr. Yancy for serving as a wonderful role model to many of us to emulate!
Good people - have a super Fourth of July Weekend!!

Photo credit: Calvin Ferguson

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Commissioners 75th Annual Summer Formal

The Commissioners receive applause from the audience for their event
A history of the organization was provided to guests
Commissioner Emmett Peabody and his wife Catherine Broach
Linton Ward and Alexia Hudson
From left to right - Linton Ward, Commissioner Emmett Peabody, and Les Alston
Monica & Les Alston pose for this great flick. And yes, his suit stayed pristine the entire evening!

Pamela Jordan-Farr and Tariq Farr
Guests chatted, chewed, and danced the night away!

More than 200 attendees celebrated at The Commissioners 75th Annual Summer Formal in Atlantic City, New Jersey last month. The invitation only black tie event was held at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. The Commissioners host this event for the enjoyment of their family, friends, and loved ones – so each Commissioner picks up the tab 100% for a table of ten. This event is one of several that The Commissioners hold during their annual celebratory weekend.
Special Friend and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as dined on delicious antipasto that included marinated mushrooms, grilled summer vegetables, and a delightful cheese assortment. The cocktail hour included lamb skewers and mini crab cakes.

Wine, champagne, and cocktails flowed during dinner which included a summer mixed green and spinach salad, a breaded chicken cutlet with a red pepper cream sauce, followed by filet mignon, roasted vegetables, and a slice of light strawberry shortcake.

A pause during the evening’s activities included a history of The Commissioners and the introduction of the chapter’s members. The organization has done a pretty job of recruiting younger members into its ranks.

Later we danced and the night (and hopefully the calories) away to a live band and a deejay. Among the attendees were Sam & Deidre Patterson; Commissioner Vaughn Graves & Leslie Graves; and Harold Epps (President of PRWT Services) and his wife.

At the conclusion of the event, we tried our hand at the slots to with no luck. It didn’t matter because we left the event basking in the glow of the wonderful evening we enjoyed!
Hopefully, I'll get more flicks from this event to share with you soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kicking Off The Summer in Delaware

Special Friend and I had a wonderful time recently visiting his family in Millsboro, Delaware. The family has lived in the area for more than hundred years and several of the town’s roads are named after his ancestors. We stayed at the home of his cousin and feasted for days on her super fabulous cooking. We also visited his great-aunt and great-uncle who are well over the age of ninety and living full lives!

I am a self admitted crab junkie and love bonding with people over the messiness of it all. The family and I chowed down on crabs for two days straight in various varieties including fried, stewed in gravy, and boiled with seasoning (although crab eating is not Special Friend’s idea of fun). Having Southern lineage, I have to say the summer for me is really about seafood so this is one of the many highlights of the trip.

Among the many things that are lovely about Millsboro is its close proximity to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. This wonderful resort town has great beaches, restaurants, and retail. We stretched out on the beach, enjoyed some more fabulous fried fare, and soaked up the sun. The photos above include the cute shops in Rehoboth Beach and one of the world's best places to buy salt water taffy - Dolles.

It was a great way to officially welcome Summer!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Visiting The OC

The Huntington Beach, CA Shopping District

Folks have fun on the beach

I know this picture is dark, but here's Vernon Jordan addressing a large crowd of attendees

Jordan signs books of the attendees. I was upset that I left Vernon Can Read at home!

Well hello there good people!

Lucky for me and my colleagues, the weather was really pleasant in the OC – although our folks were awfully hard to find.

In between business meetings and the usual ‘rubbing of elbows,’ I did have an opportunity to head to Huntington Beach, CA for bit with a few pals. Cruising through the highways of California is a shiny convertible Chrysler Sebring is really my idea of a good time. We walked the beach and dined a bit before heading back to our meeting location.

While I was in Cali, I had a chance to hear the incomparable Vernon Jordan speak. He is an extraordinarily commanding presence in person and his speech was awesome. The audience was spellbound as he told his life story.

Jordan will have a new book coming out soon and I plan to check it out. One of my idols, Diahann Carroll was also in Cali promoting her new memoirs, but alas your girl had to head back home to the East.

Truthfully, I was glad to get back home too.

A week away from home working is tough for me. I don't like leaving behind my feline daughter (yes, my cat!) and Special Friend.

Plus, air travel really stinks.

There was a time in the not so distant past that there was almost an – how shall I say thiselegance to air travel. The aura and attire of the air crew along with the customer service experience made you feel like a valued customer. Everyone who worked for the airlines dressed professionally. Meals and beverages were included in the cost of the ticket, and business travelers were afforded certain amenities including quiet spaces to conduct meetings and conference calls.

Now, air travel feels like mass transit with a little dose of luggage molestation from TSA.

Sometimes I want to yell - having large hair curlers does not make me a terrorism suspect and please keep your gloves on while admiring my Chanel sandals!!

Yes, this is a true story. I guess since I don't look like a rapper or R&B singer, some of the young Sista agents in TSA are fascinated with Black working women who have designer shoes. I politely give the young-uns the name of this blog so that they can see successful Black people (who are not entertainers or athletes) and keep it moving.

People are packed onto flights like sardines (even on the weekdays!) after being confronted by cranky customer service reps with coffee stains on their shirts (isn't it their job to assist customers?)

The uniforms of flight crews look cheap and cheesy. Many crew members appear to be overworked. Travelers are nickeled and dimed at every turn – as there are costs associated to everything including meals on four hour flights and sometimes beverages.

I get it that the price of gas is driving many industries to make hard decisions. But the travel industry needs to have a summit like yesterday before we start to witness the collapse of urban area infrastructures due to lack of revenue generated from tourism. It is really a bit too much.

OK , enough of my vent.

Overall the summer has been fun beside the air travel. I know some of you are eager to see my pics from my Delaware beach vacation and The Commissioners Summer Formal – so hang on. They will be posted this week.

I'm not sure if I will make it up to Martha’s Vineyard again this summer but we shall see. After traveling to Central New Jersey (social), California (work), Delaware (social), Maryland (social and work), and Atlantic City (social) within the past few months, I may decide to keep it local.

Less wear and tear on the body and the pocketbook (grins).

However, my grand diva Sister Link Mamas may threaten to club me again with their Jimmy Choos if I don't make the annual Vineyard appearance (sigh).

What can I say?

In the meanwhile, happy July!