Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Homage To Mrs. Eunice Johnson – The Black Woman Who Changed The Fashion Industry

"Black society was never able to participate, and Mrs. Johnson made her own society," says model Pat Cleveland, who got her start modeling for the Ebony Fashion Fair in 1965 at age 14. "She was able to express what it was like to be able to be a luxurious woman."

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) never ceases to amazing me with some of their life and style coverage – which is why the publication is one of my daily reads. Recently, Christina Binkley, WSJ Style Reporter, wrote an outstanding piece on Mrs. Eunice Johnson, cultural icon and creator of the Ebony Fashion Fair. 

Some outstanding pieces that were a part of Mrs. Johnson’s wardrobe (she died in 2010) will be on display next Spring at the Chicago History Museum. The article also details her close relationship with designer Yves Saint Laurent and contains interviews with fashion luminaries Audrey Smaltz and Pat Cleveland.

Why I Stay Committed To “The Black Socialite” Blog

I started this blog nearly five years ago as an “open conversation” between me and my girlfriends on what mattered to us (i.e. random thoughts about our social circle, various social events we attended, the outfit of a woman we admired and desired to emulate, and our adventures in travel).  Blogging is an unbelievably challenging grind so I initially thought I would only write occasionally to entertain my family and friends – really more as an update on what’s happening in my world. 

Never beyond my wildest dreams did I ever think that so many people desired to be a part of this so-called open conversation” about America’s so-called Black Elite.

 I’ve enjoyed many press interviews, invitations to incredible events, and an international base of supporters who encourage me with kind words (and hold me accountable if I don’t post at least once a week!)
Most of you celebrate and herald the accomplishments of people I refer to as “super socialites.”  A few people like to launch cowardly, fake name attacks toward me and those I feature on the blog from the comfort (and security) of their computers periodically. The majority of you just enjoy looking at well-dressed Black people being philanthropic. 

Regardless of the motivation for visiting this blog, it’s all good. 

Within recent years, the image of Black people (and specifically Black women) has been filtered through reality television’s stereotypical lens. It has been painful and quite shocking to digest the violence and viciousness thrust upon us thanks to [fill in the name of any of these shows here] on VH1 and Bravo primarily. It’s awful that middle aged women are willing to conduct themselves like complete idiots for fleeing fame.   

What’s even more heart rending is that I know for a fact that young girls are being (in my opinion) negatively impacted by these reality television “starlets.” Girl-on-girl violence is being documented actively on YouTube and other video sharing sites. Fist-to-cuffs has replaced conversations and verbal disagreements.  Bitch has replaced “girl” or “dear” as a salutation among friends. Vibe Magazine placed a bunch on them on their recent cover as the “new role models.” 

Well, I’m here to tell you that the reality show nonsense has officially worn me out and I’m extremely tired of it. 

I have had more than four major reality television production companies approach me about doing a show “inspired” by this blog. And as tempting as money could and would be, I can’t stop hearing my Grandmother’s voice in the back of my head saying “Just remember child…all money ain’t good money.”  

I simply cannot sow into anything that would ultimately embarrass me, my loved ones, or Black people. 

That’s too high of a price to pay. 

I have vacillated over the years about ending this blog because it really is time consuming and I’m not exactly thrilled about the lack of personal privacy I’m experiencing now either. Plus, my life is too doggone full right now. 

I’m getting married (I was single when I started blogging), I’ve lost a great deal of family members and friends over the past five years (and still mourning), I had major surgery in 2008 (no I didn’t share that on the blog back then), my home was damaged in Hurricane Irene last year (we’re still repairing it), and my professional life was la vida loca (but earlier this month I got promoted!)

So, I’m kinda a psychological mess now trying to balance it all. I started becoming weary of having one more thing (this blog) on my proverbial plate. 

But, then I reflected on the email I received from a mother in South Africa who told me that three generations of her family gather around the computer to view images of beautiful Black women on my blog. I think about how other Black bloggers have been inspired by The Black Socialite. I recall that prior to launching this blog 2007, the term “Black Socialite” didn’t exist in mainstream media. 

I also think back to the time when we (as Black people) didn’t have many options of how we were represented in the media, in advertising, and in popular culture. So, historically those of us with resources worked diligently to show images of Black refinement and aid the next generation toward professional and social excellence.  

It’s good that our major vanity press outlets (Ebony and Jet) are on the upswing again because God knows - we are bombarded with details of Black disenfranchisement, under-achievement, or just plain ole ignorant attention whores have attempted to commandeer the term “socialite” for profiteering purposes. 

So, I have this widely read platform to celebrate positive Black people doing awesome things for their communities – and I will press on.

I know that what I offer on The Black Socialite (in terms of the portrayal of Black women and Black people) is a whole heck-of-a-lot better than the garbage that’s on television currently.  

I remain committed and will get back into the “lab” for a re-launch before the end of 2012 (fingers crossed!). 

I'll start posting more too!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Have A Great Memorial Day!

Let's honor our fallen military men and women who died while serving our country.

                                              Have a good Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Flick

This week's flick features health and fitness reporter Kafi Drexel looking sharp while attending The 11th Annual Women Who Care Luncheon at Cipriani in New York City recently. 

The sold out event’s proceeds will benefit United Cerebral Palsy of New York City

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Flick

This week’s flick features Bill Lunderman (VP of Global Strategic Brand Design, Colgate-Palmolive)  and his wife Irma Lunderman along with Pamela Galloway-Pabb (VP of General services for the Newseum) and her husband Roy Pabb attending the 71st Annual Bal des Berceaux recently in New York City. 

Seven young women in made their official society d├ębuts (none of this year’s debutantes were young women of color). Over $500,000 was raised to aid children in France, the United States and various other countries. French-American Aid for Children hosted the event.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Flicks

This week's flick features the always super fabulous Pamela Joyner with Fe Fendi at the New York City Ballet's Spring Gala. Scores of celebrities showed up to the event and I understand they can still counting the moolah raised. If I get a report on how much money was raised, I'll definitely report about it in another posting.

Ms. Joyner continues to feed us high drama that is also elegant and beautifully designed.

Have a super weekend good people!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Flicks

This week’s flicks features attendees at the New York City Parsons School of Design Annual Benefit. This year designer Donna Karan and businesswoman-philanthropist Sheila Johnson (co-founder of BET Entertainment) were honored.

Bonnie Morrison (featured in the center) was photographed with Peter Som and Luis Fernandez