Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trinidad and Tobago's Wendy Fitzwilliam

Wendy with son Ailan.

Who's Wendy Fitzwilliam? Fitzwilliam is the second black woman to win the Miss. Universe pageant in 1998. The pretty West Indian isn't just another beauty queen though. Wendy's an intelligent, educated philanthropist.

She was honored by the United Natiions an UNAIDS and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador due to her work in HIV/AIDS education and awareness. She's also the person to be appointed to the high ranking position of Red Cross Ambassador of Youth for the Caribbean. Wendy's also a part of the Trinidad Guardian's Guardian in Education: Making a Difference project, a series of motivational school tours.

The former Miss Universe also holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree from the Univerity of West Indies.
She's currently the Vice President of Business Development at the trinidadian state-owned, Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development Company Ltd.

In 2006, she gave birth to her son Ailan. Last fall, there were murmurs she might get in the political arena and run as a candidate for the PNM party in Trinidad & Tobago. That didn't happen, but who knows what the future holds for her. Wendy Fitzwilliam does have a lot of potential.

African Film Festival in Boston

From February 1-29th the Museum of Fine Arts Boston will be hosting its 8th annual Boston African Film Festival. The festival will showcase 13 new releases from African Cinema and highlights from the the New York African Film Festival. Many genres of film will be displayed, including documentaries, dramas and short films. The thirteen films premiering in Boston are from several African nations like Zimbabwe and Cameroon.

Kicking off the film festival tomorrow is the screening of Franco Sacchi's "This is Nollywood." The film lets viewers in on Nigeria's booming film industry and how it'll effect the African culture and economy. Sacchi's film is gaining international momentum and has already picked up a few accolades. Most Nollywood films are done on a shoestring budget of $10,000 and shot in under 10 days. Here's the trailer from "This is Nollywood."

Barack Obama Inspired Lenny Kravitz's "Love Revolution"

During Kravitz's recent interview with Rolling Stones, he spoke on how Obama's message of hope, change, communication and cleaning up the American image, inspired his new album. Rockstar, Lenny Kravitz releases his latest album "It's Time for a Love Revolution" on February 5th.

Many music critics, including Rolling Stones magazine have given his "Love Revolution" outstanding reviews. Critics describe it as Kravitz's best album yet and having a vintage 1960's/ classic rock/ soul vibe with a postive message.
Lenny is one of my favorites and I listened to his new album and I concur, it's sounds really good. I'm digging his hippy vibe, America's current political climate is definitely on his mind.

To hear more about what Kravitz thinks about Barack Obama, America's state of mind and love, click here to listen to Kravitz's interview with Rolling Stones. Watch his live performance below.

I can't help but wonder if Lenny's declaration of celibacy served as an inspiration as well. He's a rock legend living part-time in Miami Beach where celibacy isn't that easy. Just a thought.

Lenny performing album title "It's Time for a Love Revolution" at Cow Palace.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is Tyra Banks the Next Oprah?

Tyra Banks and her Bankable Productions had a phenomenal year in 2007, but this year will be even better.

Banks has 2 hit tv shows under her belt, but remember that multiyear contract she signed with Warner Bros., well, it's in motion.

Tyra has a fashion-magazine reality series set to air on The CW. The show will be a competition among aspiring assistants who want to become assistant fashion editors. The series is still untitled, but begins production in April for a late spring/summer launch. The vibe of the show is described as "The Devil Wears Prada" meets "The Assistant."

The Brazilian Workout Plan

Good Morning!

Instead of going to the gym, maybe everyone should be getting their workout at samba school. Check out these youtube clips of a samba queen and samba school Beija Flor breaking it down and you'll see what I mean. I'm exhausted and lost weight just watching these chicks!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tavis Smiley Wants Your Love Stories

Television and radio personality, Tavis Smiley is looking for inspiring stories about unconditional love. His publishing company Smiley Books, has launched a national campaign in the US to generate submissions for his upcoming book Love Wins: True Stories of Transformation and Triumph. "Love Wins..." will be edited by Smiley and released this fall.

Authors who are selected will have their bios published alongside their true stories and will receive a complimentary autographed first edition copy of "Love Wins..." SmileyBooks will also feature these authors and additional selections on

"I believe, just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, that love is the most powerful and transformative force in the world; the only thing capable of turning an enemy into a friend,
" Tavis said.

When the book is released this fall Tavis Smiley will go on a Love Wins "unconditional love" tour. He will invite regional contributors to join him at events across the US.

Well, Ladies and Gents get out your pens or laptops and start pouring your hearts out!

Selections will range from 500-1,200 words in length. To get details on the submission guidelines click here.

(Source: BlackPR)

Brazil's Rising Star, Lucy Ramos

Lucy as "Adelaide" in Sinhá Moça

(Photos: Marcelo Garcia)

Brazilian tv actress and model, Lucy Ramos graces the cover and is featured in the latest issue of RAÇA BRASIL.
The 25 year-old is from Brazil's northeastern province Pernambuco. Lucy began modeling at age 16, within a couple years she got a big break acting on brazilian telenovela "Comecar de Novo" (Starting New).

Her claim to fame was starring on hit telenovela, Sinhá Moça (Sinhá Girl), as Adelaide. Ramos has been staying busy. In 2006, she was in English speaking fright flick, Turistas. Last year she starred on brazilian reality show Domingão do Faustão (Dancing on Ice) and telenovela, Foot in Jaca.

I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this brazilian cutie!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Flashes: Gabrielle, Hill and Taraji in Los Angeles

Taraji Henson

Gabrielle Union

Hill Harper
(Photos: Patrick McMullan)

Do-good actors Gabrielle Union and Hill Harper were looking savvy at the 10th Annual "I Have a Dream" Foundation-Los Angeles's Gospel Brunch. The brunch was held at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.

Actress, Taraji Henson was looking sexy and chic at Los Angeles Confidential Magazine/Niche Media Party. This look works really for Taraji.

Brazilian Model, Rojane Fradique

Rojane Fradique Santos is a Brazilian model from Salvador, Bahia in north-east Brazil. She stands at 5'11' and is 21 years-old. Rojane is represented by agency Elite Model Management and placed second in the 2003 "Elite Model Look Brasil" contest.

Rojane has strutted the catwalks of Rio, Sao Paulo, Paris and Singapore. She's had a cameo on telenovela, "Belíssima" and has appeared in several magazines including Vogue Brasil, Revista da Folha and Vogue Teen.

The World's Greatest Party

Rio Carnaval

Trini Carnival Queen for Evolution 2008

Samba Queen, Amanda Barbosa

As some of you may know, the Carnaval is approaching on February 2nd this year and the celebration has already begun.

Carnaval is a collage of Christian traditions, the masquerade and African elements highlighted with music and dance. Carnaval is an absolutely beautiful,colorful, and flamboyant celebration of national focus and pride. Favelas and cities prepare throughout the year and reach fever pitch just before Carnaval begins.

I've gone to Brazil's street parades in Copacabana and Ipanema and I've actually performed with samba school Imperatriz at the Samba Dromo. So, I'm partial to Brazil and consider their Carnaval the best party in the world.

So, over the next 1 1/2 wks in honor of Carnaval season I'll be profiling Afro-Brazilians, Samba dromo, West Indians, Trinidad and all things Carnaval.

Vintage Music Mondays: Janet Jackson's Pleasure Principle

Hey Everybody! Here's a lil' something to get your week started. Janet's "Pleasure Principle" is one of my all-time favorite videos. Everyone is still rocking the haircut she's wearing in this video. Remember when Guess Jeans were in style? Pop tarts like Brittany Spears have even tried to duplicate the chair stunt in this video.

Reminisce and Enjoy!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kerry Washington in February's Allure

Actress Kerry Washington is featured in Allure Magazine's Fashion Stakeout for February. Kerry's always on the scene and always looks smokin. In the article it mentions that the natural beauty told her make-up artist, Tyron Machhausen that she doesn't want to look made-up, but I think there's room for improvement on lip-color. None the less, she's got great style. I'm loving the blush Armani Prive dress with the mermaid silhouette.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vogue shows Genevieve Jones Some Love

New York socialite and Zac Posen muse Genevieve Jones, has finally launched her jewelry line and is featured as a 'designer on the rise' in this month's Vogue US. The ultra-petite Louisiana native has been working on her jewelry collection since 2006 and has produced some really nice pieces. I especially like her diamond and gold, safety pin earrings.

Genevieve I'm glad your putting all that networking and popularity to good use. NYC WASP socialites aren't the only ones marketable these days. Get your money Genevieve, get that money honey.

Genevieve are you still working on your handbag collection?

African -American Designs for Hermès

Kermit Oliver's Marquis De Lafayette scarf for Hermès.

Respected artist Kermit Oliver was painting by day and sorting mail at night. Now that he has designed the Marquis De Lafayette scarf for high-end brand Hermès, he may be able to tell the post office buh-bye!
The scarf is bursting with bold colors, images of De Lafayette with historical and symbolic figures. Lafayette is famous for being a French military officer who renounced his title and joined the American Revolution. The beautiful silk scarf has grabbed the attention of Vogue magazine and is even displayed at the New York Historical Society's "French Founding Fathers" exhibit.

Oliver who's been an artist for over 40 years, is from Texas and the child of working cowboy parents. Inspired by his rural Texas upbringing and mythology, religion and history studies, his art reflects a blend of nature, mythology, classical and contemporary. He has had numerous successful art exhibitions in Texas, many of his exhibits at Hooks-Epstein Galleries . Oliver studied art at Texas Southern University and graduated with a BFA and teaching degrees.
Kermit Oliver's Tobias

I must admit, ever since Oprah had her discrimination debacle with Hermès I haven't bought a thing from them. But now that they have commissioned an African -American who also happens to be the first American to design their scarves, which is a big step for them... I guess I can call a truce!

Society Stars: Alonzo Mourning Charities Kingpin Classic in Miami

Alonzo and Tracy Mourning

Bryant Mckinnie with Edgerrin James and Dorell Wright

Samantha Jacobs and Kookie

Dwyane Wade with Alonzo and Tracy

(Photos: JLash)

Last night, celebs,athletes and locals joined Alonzo and his wife Tracy to support a great cause. Alonzo Mourning Charities held its 3rd Annual Kingpin Classic in Miami Beach at Lucky Strike Lanes. The event was held to raise funds for the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, a program founded in 2002 by Alonzo's wife, Tracy Wilson Mourning. Honey Shine's mission is to develop and nurture the mind, body and soul of young women by providing experiences that enlighten and create balance in their lives.

Strike Team member tickets sold for $500 each allowing bowlers to be paired with a sports/entertainment celebrity and receive memorabilia and other perks. Meanwhile spectators enjoyed cocktails, catering and played billiards.

Alonzo's Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Dorell Wright were in the house. Miami natives, NFL players Bryant McKinnie of the Minnesota Vikings and Edgerrin 'EJ' James of Arizona Cardinals also came out. That's just naming a few athletes. Honey Shine mentor and celebrity stylist, Kookie shared laughs with writer and Fashionable Palate owner, Samantha Jacobs. Celebrity photographer, J Lash was on hand to catch all the action.

The event was a success with over 300 guests, raffles and a live auction where luxury items and sports memorabilia, including Alonzo's autographed sneakers sold for thousands of dollars!

It's great to see successful people giving back to their community.

Flashes:San Francisco Ballet's 75th Anniversary

Sofiane Sylve and Anthony Spaulding

Bevan Dufty with Ken McNeely, Patti Jo Rutledge, Lindsey Humphrey and John Rutledge

Pamela Joyner


(Photos:San Francisco Chronicle/Gate)

Gala season is in full effect and last night, patrons of the San Francisco Ballet were dressed to the nines as they celebrated the dance company's 75th anniversary. The gala is the the ballet's primary fundraiser and drew over 1,300 guests to a formal dinner at City Hall.

Guests enjoyed selections from the upcoming season, as well as a special performance by celebrity choreographer Wade Robson.

Some notable patrons on the scene were San Francisco District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Socialite, Pamela Joyner upped the glamour quo wearing a bejeweled ballet pink satin Dior gown.

Casa Ricordi Gala in Miami

Diva, Indra Thomas

Eduardo Villa with Indra Thomas

Mark Rucker

Sheldon Anderson and family.

Mark Rucker with Eglise Guitierrez
(Photos:Social Miami)

This past Saturday, patrons and performers gathered for a pre-concert benefit reception for Orchestra Miami and the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

After the reception everyone enjoyed the 2008 Premiere Concert of Orchestra Miami at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. The evening honored the 200th anniversary of highly regarded music publishers Casa Ricordi and featured a spectacular opera review of popular Ricordi catalogue selections. The audience was entertained and gave several standing ovations to guests performers Elise Gutierrez, Indra Thomas, Mark Rucker and Gregory Schmidt. The Civic Chorale of Greater Miami also performed. Soprano, Indra Thomas dazzled like a true diva in her beautiful, beaded red gown. UM/Sylvester Cancer board member and president of Northern Trust Bank of Florida for Miami-Dade, Sheldon T. Anderson and his wife Florence attended the concert with their two sons.

After the concert, patrons were invited to a cast party at the Ricordi home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kerry Washington and Usher Rally for Obama

Actress, Kerry Washington and pop star Usher were in South Carolina rallying for Democratic presidential hopeful, Barack Obama at South Carolina State University. Both celebs took time to speak with guests, raising awareness about voting rights.

I'm glad these younger black celebs are stepping up to the plate and speaking up.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Flashes: Rev. Run & Justine, Dr. Jacqui Watson @ LOUIS VUITTON Party in Virgin Islands

Senator Shawn-Michael Malone, Reverend Run (Joseph Simmons), Justine Simmons and Chef Larry L. Nibbs

Tybie Dotson and Dr. Jacqui Watson

Merlyn Lewis and Lauritz Mills
(Photos:Patrick McMullan)

Black society from the US and Caribbean were in beautiful Caneel Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands at the LOUIS VUITTON Island Party to Celebrate 20 YEARS in the Caribbean co-hosted by ELITE TRAVELER Magazine.

Rev. Run and his wife, Justine look so relaxed. The democratic senator of St. Thomas/St. John, Senator Shawn-Michael Malone joined in the fun, while Chef Larry L Nibbs kept everyone's palate satisfied. Founder, President and CEO of HCI, Dr. Jacqui Watson looked gorgeous. New York philanthropist and event planner Tybie Dotson had such a good time she danced table-top. Director of Economic Research Bureau of Virgin Islands, Lauritz Mills and Merlyn Lewis were all smiles as they sipped on champagne.

Everyone looks so content and island chic, but that's the effect island life has.

Vintage Music Tuesday: Chic- Le Freak

I usually give you vintage music on Mondays, but as you know yesterday was MLK Jrs. birthday/holiday and I took the day off.
Here's a fun classic from 1978, Chic's monster disco hit Le Freak. No matter your age and where you are on this planet, I'm sure you've heard this song. So, for those of you feeling that beginning of the work week anxiety, ENJOY!

Check out the glass guitar in this clip, nice!

Naomi Graces Cover of French Vogue

Glamazon supermodel, Naomi Campbell and her super-model friend Kate Moss worked the camera for Vogue Magazine Paris' February 2008 cover. As usual, Naomi looks flawless and much younger than her 38 years. It's great to see Naomi still getting plenty of work in Europe.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Black Royalty: Mary Countess von Habsburg of Austria

Countess Mary is married to Ferdinand Leopold Joseph Count von Habsburg of Austria. The royal family of von Habsburg are descendants of William the Conquerer.

Mary was born in Wau, Sudan under the name Mary Nyanut Ring Machar. Countess Mary and Count Ferdinand are 38 years old and both are born under the astrology sign, Cancer.

Countess Mary married Count Ferdinand on August 28, 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya. The couple have 3 children together: Countess Luisa Aluel (born August 3, 2000), Count László Rum (born May 25,2002) and Countess Gisela Aluk (born October 22, 2004).
All three of the couple's children were birthed in Nairobi. As of yet, I haven't located pictures of the children.

Yes, Countess Mary is considered an equal in her marriage, even though she's a commoner and African. A couple members of the Royal Family had a problem with that, but Head of the Habsburg Royal Family, Dr. Otto von Habsburg has declared all Habsburg marriages are "equal."

Thank goodness Countess Mary has married into a family that is lead by an open-minded individual.
The Habsburg's are known for their interracial/intercultural marriages and I'll tell you about the other sistas in this family shortly.

Once again, as I stated in my post about Princess Angela of Liechtenstein, there should be more coverage of these imperial black women. I can understand why Anglo magazines don't show love, but what are the black publications excuse?

Flashes: Liya Kebede & Susan Fales-Hill @ Chanel's Night of Diamonds

Liya Kebede wearing Chanel
Susan Fales-Hill
(Photos:Patrick McMullan)

Black socialites upped the fabulosity factor. Supermodel/philanthropist Liya Kebede and author/tv writer and producer, Susan Fales-Hills were absolute stunners at the fabulous black-and-white-themed banquet, Chanel's Night of Diamonds at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Liya wore a sparkly short cocktail dress by Chanel. Susan was the epitome of elegance in a sleek and sexy full-length gown. The fabulous affair was the U.S. debut of 20 one-of-a-kind diamond pieces from the Chanel archives.
Strike a pose!

Flashes: Veronica Webb & Donna Karan's Urban Zen Party

Veronica Webb, Erica Reid, Malaak Compton-Rock

Veronica and Beverly Bond

Kamela Forbes

Veronica and Terry Agins

(Photos:Patrick McMullan)

The sista-social butterflies were in full effect last night at supermodel/philanthropist Veronica Webb and designer, Donna Karan's cocktail party at Urban Zen in NYC. Connoisseur of clothing, Terry Agins is a highly respected fashion journalist. Erica Reid is the wife of Island Def Jam Chairman, Antonio (L.A.) Reid. The petite Malaak Compton-Rock is comedian, Chris Rock's wife. Pretty Jamela Forbes is a Bahamian model. Rocking the gorgeous, big hair is DJ Beverly Bonds.