T.I. To Open Upscale Southern Cuisine Restaurant In Atlanta

Chitterlings and champagne was a menu item for a soul food restaurant, in New York City, which was frequented by locals and celebrities alike.  Although I have no idea what foods will be served, I do know that T.I. is introducing his take on this concept to Atlanta.  T.I. announced today that he has acquired a building in historic downtown Atlanta to be converted to an upscale southern cuisine restaurant.  I can hardly wait.


The Barjon Group

The Trumpet Awards Give Jamie Foxx A Nod

Xernona Clayton, creator and executive producer of the Trumpet Awards, announced the names of the 2015 honorees with Academy Award Winning Actor Jamie Foxx topping the list.  Other distinguished awardees include:  Lou Brock, Baseball Legend; Arnold W. Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation & PLC; Tommy Hilfiger, Icon and Principal Designer to the Tommy Hilfiger brand; Guy Vicker, President, PVH Foundation and Senior Vice President, Global Community Relations; The Isley Brothers, Recording Artists and Songwriters; Janelle Monae, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Spokes Model for CoverGirl cosmetics;  Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine; and Franklyn R. Wilson, Chairman, Sunshine Holdings Ltd, Bahamas. The Trumpet Awards, a much-anticipated event, acknowledge those who exemplify or support the  excellence of African Americans in disciplines across the board from entertainment to education. The 2015 Trumpet Awards ceremony, replete with a star studded red carpet,  will be held in Atlanta on January 24, 2015 and aired on TV One February 21, 2015. Laila Ali, four-time Boxing World Champion and award winning TV host and Dolvett Quince from NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” will host.

“Scandal” Collection to Debut at The Limited in September 2014

olivia-pope-2Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress Kerry Washington and Emmy award winning costume designer Lyn Paolo in partnership with Elliot Staples, head of design from The Limited,  will launch  a fashion line inspired by Scandal’s Olivia Pope. The collection, to debut in September,  consists of tailored wide leg trousers, separate jackets with strong lines and signature trims, chic feminine blouses and outerwear with prices beginning at $49. TheLimitedScandalCollection This is the first-ever design collaboration between a national retailer, a top-rated network TV show, its costume designer and leading lady. The “Scandal” collection will be available this fall at The Limited stores and online exclusively. Photos Courtesy of LaForce + Stevens and The Limited Press Inquiries: LaForce + Stevens and The Limited thelimited@lsagency.com

Xernona Clayton is Keynote Speaker at the Motherless Daughters 2nd Annual Banquet

I have just returned from the Motherless Daughters 2nd Annual Banquet on my own, because my GPS is “messed up!” I’ll admit, the maps are outdated but I don’t understand why the  GPS steers me from highways even though that option is disabled.  I checked it twice.  This time around, when the navigation system  directed me to  God knows where, this directionally challenged person disconnected it and headed to I-85. The Motherless Daughters Foundation banquet was a fundraising event to benefit  an organization that supports girls.  Motherless Daughters offers counseling and wellness services and exposes young women to arts and sports.  They even assisted the young ladies with the creation of action boards! Let me put this in perspective. Being photographed while wearing our mother’s dresses or high heels is a commonality among women.  Much like playing with makeup or asking for your first bra. These are occurrences that many of us take for granted.  But what if, for whatever reason, our mothers were unable to provide us this guidance. Motherless Daughters Foundation reaches out to pre-teen and teenage girls, in need, to help fill this void. Xernona-Clayton-Civil-Right Xernona Clayton, civil rights activist, CEO of the Trumpet Awards and keynote speaker at the event advised attendees to have a positive outlook on life.  “Everyone has a talent, you just need to find out what it is .”  Focus on what you can do and not what you don’t have or cannot do.  She then invited the young ladies in the Motherless Daughters Foundation program to the 2015 Trumpet Awards in January.  Xernona Clayton also commended Rassalyn Willis for being the  founder of Motherless Daughters and encouraged others to follow suit by determining what our society needs then doing something about it. 5 2 In addition to the ceremony and keynote address, there were performances by Gospel Artist Melinda Watts, Regina Turner, On Point Dance Factory and Ballethnic.  Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Rewa Collier introduced Xernona Clayton.   The 2nd Annual Motherless Daughters Foundation Banquet was held on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. Motherless-Daughters-Founda Sponsors include T.I. and Tiny Family Hustle, platinum sponsor; KCC Kemi Construction, silver sponsor; Porsche, Inc., silver sponsor; RTYGM, silver sponsor; Violeta Morgan, bronze sponsor; Marriott, bronze sponsor; Meet College Park Georgia, bronze sponsor; C-Hearts, LLC; MTI Limousine and Shuttle; and Ballethnic Dance Company. Rassalyn-Willis-(right)-pos Congratulations are extended to the young women in the Motherless Daughters Foundation program on overcoming obstacles that are far more challenging than working with a malfunctioning GPS.  They are Atlanta’s rising stars.  For additional information on the Motherless Daughters Foundation go to www.motherlessdaughtersfoundation. org.Ballethnic-Performer3

AmericasMart Atlanta has VISION

Tarik Ediz at AmericasMart Atlanta

It’s April market at AmericasMart Atlanta.  What can I say?  There’s a lot going on.  I was invited to attend the VISION fashion show for social occasion at Atlanta Apparel. AmericasMart is one of my favorite places to visit so I was excited to see the show. After a brief tour of the facilities, a few introductions and a couple of hors’dourves I managed to position  myself in time to see a parade of models descend the runway.  Their looks  varied from sassy and sexy to red carpet glamour.  One of my favorite designs was a bronze lace silhouette created by Sherri Hill.  When I showed a photograph of her design to a friend, he remarked “That’s soo Atlanta.”  I found his comment to be  intriguing because I am soo New York.  Perhaps his preference was European.  If that was the case, European inspired creations were featured as well. A dominate trend in the show were designs where the emphasis was placed at the back.  Models walked the runway dressed in gowns with low backs, no backs and lace backs, which made their exits as dramatic as their entrances.  Although basic black was a theme, there was plenty of room for color.  Most popular were creations in gray, green, yellow, navy and purple. It was a fabulous show of 40 looks. Atlanta’s presence in the highly competitive business of wholesale and retail cannot easily be ignored. Atlanta Apparel hosts the #1 prom market in the nation and is poised to take on social occasion with bridal not far behind. I asked an AmericasMart rep if social occasion is Atlanta’s niche in the fashion industry.  She replied ” Not yet, but we are getting there.” The VISION fashion show was held at Atlanta Apparel on April 2, 2014 during the social occasion market.  VISION’s top lines include Allure, Casablanca, Faviana, Jovani, Mignon, Mon Cherie, Nicole Bakti, Nicole Miller, Sherri Hill, Terani and many more. What’s more, designs by Badgley       Mischka were featured in a runway show held on April 4. Sherri Hill dresses Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Tamar Braxton, Gabby Douglas, Paris Hilton and Carmen Electra to name a few. Although based in Austin, Ms. Hill maintains a design studio and showroom in Atlanta.

NBAF and NM Host Cocktail Party for Fine Art + Fashion

NBAF-1The National Black Arts Festival and Neiman Marcus hosted a cocktail party for the 8th Annual Fine Art + Fashion Benefit Runway Show that guests won’t soon forget. Equipped with a layout and direction, from the hosts, a building crew transformed Neiman Marcus’ Level One into an exquisite, artistic setting with a touch of whimsy so guests would not take the affair too seriously. Mannequins were replaced by jazz trios and fine jewelry counters were converted into an elegant glass bar with champagne filled flutes that sparkled like diamonds. With creativity abound, workers swapped retail signage for works of art. And believe it or not, the NBAF’s backdrop was covered with foliage. NBAF-5 Attendees chatted, laughed, networked and posed for photographs as they sipped on beverages and nibbled on gourmet appetizers and hors d’oeuvres. Patricia Janiot, award-winning journalist and senior anchor, CNN en Español and CNN Latino was on hand to greet guests prior to performing the role of host to the Awards Program and Art of Fashion Show. It was good to see people enjoying each others company and having a great time. NBAF-3 At 7:00 p.m. the cocktail party began to wind down as guests made their way to their seats on the upper level where the program would be held. Soon after, I decided to head to my car. As I was walking I noticed a color photograph of a black Barbie doll displayed in a pedestal sign frame. For some reason, the photo looked a little unsettling but I attributed my perception of it to my brisk pace and a lack of sleep. As I exited the store I waved good-bye to the gentlemen at the media check in. He said that he was glad that I was able to attend. So was I. The Fine Art + Fashion cocktail party was held on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm in Neiman Marcus Level One at Lenox Square in Atlanta. Fine Art + Fashion is a runway presentation to benefit the work of the National Black Arts Festival. It is also a platform to honor African Americas who have excelled in the arts. The art work that I saw displayed in the pedestal sign frame at NM was from a collection called Plastic Bodies by Sheila Pree Bright a Fine Art + Fashion 2014 Honoree. The artist superimposes photographs of black female faces on images of Barbie dolls to express America’s preoccupation with beauty. Other honorees include jewelry designer extraordinaire, Victor Velyan (Fashion Icon Honoree) and acclaimed art photographer and one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography, Deborah Willis (Visual Artist Honoree).   Additionally, student designers Danielle Gordon of Clark Atlanta University, Kendra Pickney and Jessica Fulks both of Savannah College of Art + Design, were recognized at the Awards Program as the 2014 NBAF Emerging Talent Awards honorees. Established in 2010, this award recognizes individuals of African descent who have distinguished themselves as cutting edge and innovative fashion design students. Neiman Marcus is title sponsor of Fine Art + Fashion. Beverages were donated by The Coca-Cola Company, Vixen Vodka and Casa Defra.

Tracy Reese Creates Machine Washable Looks for Fall 2014


Tracy Reese is a designer who does not seek the limelight. And yet, she always manages to shake things up. She takes us out of our comfort zone by breaking all of the rules of fashion. White shoes for fall/winter 2014? Why not? Tracy Reese is also known for combining colors that we would not think to pair, mixing patterns without trepidation, and interpreting “art is fashion” by creating landscape prints for her designs. It all works — beautifully. And now, Tracy Reese has become one of the first designers to create machine washable looks. Who would have thought? I’ve heard of hand washable silk, but imagine having the confidence to throw a designer piece into the washing machine, with Tide Pods of course, knowing the garment will come out fine.

The idea of creating machine washable designer pieces stems from a growing demand for easy care high-end fashions. No doubt, this initiative will also make available a wider variety of attainable signature items (designer accessories and now designer sweaters and blouses) for aspiring consumers who would not have to incur the additional cost of dry cleaning throughout the life of a garment. In partnership with P&G, the Council of Fashion Designers of America launched a campaign to educate designers on the use of washable fabrics in their creations. After being convinced that Tide Pods could sustain the quality of her pieces, Tracy Reese, a member of CFDA, created two washable looks that went undetected on her fall 2014 runway. The two washable designs along with Tracy Reese fall 2014 collection will be available, later this year, at upscale stores and online.

At this time, the only designer fashion that I deem machine washable is the pink sweater, shown at the top, created by Tracy Reese. According to reports, a sample of Tide Pods is a gift with purchase of the sweater.

Trumpet Award Creator Xernona Clayton and 2014 Trumpet Award Hosts Laz Alonso and Melissa De Sousa on Stage at Awards Ceremony

At the closing ceremony, Trumpet Awards creator Xernona Clayton and 2014 Trumpet Award hosts Laz Alonso and Melissa De Sousa exchange tokens of appreciation for jobs well done.

Xernona Clayton is Chair, President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation and Creator and Executive Producer of the Trumpet Awards. I know, that’s a long title but one well deserved. As reported on the Trumpet Awards Foundation’s site, in 1965 Xernona Clayton accepted a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked closely with the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She is also the first southern African American to have her own television show on WAGA-TV, CBS affiliate in Atlanta. This is a synopsis of her civil rights activism and esteemed career in television. She worked for Turner Broadcasting for almost 30 years. Ms. Clayton has also received several acknowledgements in her own right. One that is dear to my heart is the one in which a street is named in her honor. Being directionally challenged, I am reassured when I see the sign that reads Xernona Clayton Way, because I know where I am in Atlanta or where I want to be.

Laz Alonso and Melissa De Sousa as previously stated co-hosted the 22nd Annual Trumpet Awards. Laz Alonso, a NAACP Image Award Winning Actor, starred in Stomp the Yard, Avator, Fast and Furious and Jumping the Broom. His television credits are Bones, CSI-Miami, the Practice and more. Melissa De Sousa, a NAACP Image Award Nominated Actress, played major roles in The Ron Howard Story, Best Man and Best Man Holiday.

The Trumpet Awards honor African Americans who excel in their chosen field.

The 2014 Trumpet Award Honorees, who all have compelling personal stories to share, are Alfre Woodard, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Bronner Bros., Devon Franklin, The Honorable Kamala Harris, Cheryl McKissack, Deryl McKissack, Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Steve Pemberton, and the Williams Sisters from the Bahamas.

Presenters included Palmer Williams, Roland Martin, and Robby Montgomery. Amber Riley, Carl Thomas, Jaheim, Raheem DeVaugh, SWV and Kurtis Blow are among those who gave outstanding performances.

The 22nd Annual Trumpet Awards ceremony was taped on January 25, 2014 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.  The program will air on TV One this spring.

Photo Courtesy of First Class Inc.

Please see report on Red Carpet arrivals posted below.

Trumpet Award Honoree Alfre Woodard Graces a Star Studded Red Carpet at the 2014 Awards Ceremony in Atlanta


It was a chilly afternoon in Atlanta, the production crew had difficulty rolling out the red carpet because the tape would not stick.  So there we were, the media, in the lobby of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre waiting to be positioned for the arrivals while hoping  the red carpet event would be moved indoors.

We were there to cover the 2014 Trumpet Awards Red Carpet.  The Trumpet Awards, created by Xernona Clayton, honors African Americans who have excelled in their chosen field.  This is  evidenced by the 2014 honorees  who come from public service, business and entertainment industries.

As luck would have it, the sun peeked through the clouds as the red carpet positions were announced. Our hopes for indoor coverage vanished as we made our way to designated spots. Shortly after, the red carpet event began. While waiting for the first arrival, a group of photographers pondered whether Alfre Woodard would brave the cold and walk the red carpet.  She did not disappoint us.  William Packer, producer of the hit movie Ride Along led the procession of notiables. Actress Meagan Good Franklin dressed in a stunning black designer gown was there to support her husband Trumpet Award Honoree DeVon Franklin senior vice president Columbia Tristar Pictures.

Also on the red carpet were Trumpet Award hosts Laz Alonso a NAACP Image Award Winning Actor who starred in Stomp the Yard, Avator, Fast and Furious, Jumping the Broom and Melissa De Sousa a NAACP Image Award Nominated Actress whose credits include The Ron Howard Story, Best Man and Best Man Holiday.  Melissa De Sousa was a trooper.  Dressed in a beautiful, off-white gown, the actress stopped for photos before making her way inside.  Laz Alonzo, who was called for a brief interview, expressed to the press a desire to direct and produce films.

I was delighted to see actor Chris Tucker who also expressed an interest in producing and actress Demetria McKinney from House of Payne who announced the release of a new single. Ms. McKinney is always on my best dressed list. Also on the red carpet were members of Bronner Bros., a Trumpet Award Honoree. They are a beautiful family, but trying to fit everyone in one frame proved to be a challenge for photographers. When asked how she keeps a large family in tow, Ms. Bronner replied “by setting a good example.” Bronner Bros., an Atlanta-based company, manufactures hair care products, sponsors lavish hair shows and publishes Upscale magazine.

Trumpet Award Honorees Cheryl McKissack and Deryl McKissack also stopped by to greet the press.  The sisters own McKissack and McKissack a construction company that lists the Martin Luther King Memorial in its portfolio.  As one can see, all of the honorees have great testimonials to share.  However, Steve Pemberton’s personal story is most inspiring.  The Trumpet Award Honoree rose from being an abused foster child to Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens. Mr. Pemberton also authored a book to explain to his children why his parents never come to visit.


The Red Carpet Event was a blast in spite of the cool climate. As I made my way to my car, I did so with heart-warming stories, funny tales and great photos to share.

The 2014 Trumpet Awards ceremony was taped on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta.  The program will air on TV One this spring. The Trumpet Awards was created by Xernona Clayton Founder, President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. and Executive Producer of the Foundation’s Trumpet Awards. Sponsors of the 2014 Trumpet Awards include: The Coca-Cola Company, Cadillac, Wells Fargo, Delta Air Lines, Nordstrom, Newell Rubbermain, Marriott Marquis Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, The Home Depot, Southwest Airlines and Georgia Power.


2014 Trumpet Award hosts Laz Alonso and Melissa De Sousa on the red carpet. See video below.


The 2014 Trumpet Awards Honorees are Alfre Woodard, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Bronner Bros., Devon Franklin, The Honorable Kamala Harris, Cheryl McKissack, Deryl McKissack, Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Steve Pemberton, and the Williams Sisters from the Bahamas.