Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fashion Noire

So fashion week is over and I still, after all these years, don’t get what the big deal is. Okay so canary yellow and sand are the colors next spring and chiffon is oh so hot, but guess what? This fashionista is still going to rock her favorite H&M and Helmet Lang jeans, and cotton, as it has been for the past 20 years, will be my textile of choice. I really wish though that I had gone to the Mal Sirrah show up in Harlem. I hear his “Naomi Slapped Me” T-shirts were a hit, well not with Naomi, and have become a must-have for all diva’s this side of the catwalk.

I did attend a way off Sixth Avenue fashion show produced by Brooklyn-based Harriet's Alter Ego at the Gershwin Hotel. And similar to those way-off Broadway chitlin' circuit productions at the Beacon Theater, this showing had its own distinctive soul. First I love that the models weren’t all waif thin, white and weaved out. There were dark chocolate, big boned, mohawked models throughout the joint.

And as Flypaper notes, there are very few colored grrrls on runways in general:
"Multiracial models on the runway are hot," Amsterdam casting agent Tony Jones tells the JC Report. "Black people, Asian people, blue people, purple people, you get the idea." Sadly, the spring 2006 shows were not so diverse. Even The New York Times took note: "In Milan this season you rarely saw a black or Asian model."

Actually the thing I found most disturbing wasn’t even located on the catwalk, but at the end of it, huddled in a sweaty almost learcherous stance. With every model's sexy catwalk, the photographers grinned and even a few winked. Okay so that's not unheard of. Their bulbs flashed and this is what made me squirm-- that there were a gazillion more bulbs flashing once the models were walking back up the runway-- I'm talking crazy booty shots!!! I admit I haven’t attended many shows but I thought it was weird for there to be just as many, if not more, photos taken as a girl exited the runway as there were when she first began her walk.

Anyway what I loved most was the type of music played here versus the stuff I usually here under the tents at Bryant Park. They rocked the best reggaeton, some MIA and just enough Fela to make it pop. The fashions seemed to be inspired by the stylings of the shorties on Flatbush. For HAE it's clearly going to be JamRock Spring as their models who looked like urban bohemian flamenco dancers strictly rocked red, yellow and green. Dresses and skirts were flouncy and very short. There were some wickedly cut t-shirts that became sexy off the shoulder tanks and halters.

Sitting in the front row I noticed Ionia Dunn Lee and Nana Eyeson from Essence. Ionia is a top-shelf fashionista in all the best ways and a frickin legend not only where she works but in the industry in general. During a break in the show I went to talk to her. I asked what brought her so far, seemingly off-course, from the traditional white tent festivities. And true to her down to earth character she said that she loves going to shows that aren't in Bryant Park especially if they are showcasing Black designers. She added that it’s a good way to get a fresher more authentic perspective on what's going on on a grassroots level too. Now that’s what’s up!

I couldn’t stay for the entire show cause it was crazy long. Most runway shows are like 17 minutes this one was going on 2 hours when I left! But before I broke out I did absolutely fall in love with this designer by the name of Crying Tears. He incorporated biblical sayings and words into his line in a very smart way. Like his denim jeans had burlap and cotton patches that were stamped “Jesus” or shirts and jackets with sayings like “Imitator of God” or my favorite, “Hate The Sin, Not The Sinner” strategically printed on the back or on the sleeves. It was cool, but in the end, I realized music and art just blow my skirt up way higher.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"Underpriviledged Anyway"

Well as you can see I took a major break from blogging. For my last week of summer I went away and got some rest and took in a bit of sun. When I returned, work just seemed to come rolling-in heavy and hard just like the ocean waves I had just frolicked in out east. Looking back, if I had to describe my summer in one word, I think “Blah” hits the mark just perfectly. It wasn’t off the chain by any means. It was actually a rough and tumble three months, but there were some stand-out moments. Back in the day my girl and I used to make a list of our raves for whatever season had just ended. For Summer 2005 they would be:

1. Catching my first (and so far only) fish-- a fluke
2. Feeding the ducks at The Harlem Mear with my 2-year old niece
3. Rihanna’s “Pon De Replay” -- every time I hear it I want to dance and perfect my winding skills, it was definitely the Crazy In Love for this summer
5. The incredible deal I got on my yellow Ralph Lauren dress
6. Discovering Burberry for Men
7. The lemon gelati at Settepani
8. My interview with Wendy Williams at Sony (indescribably fresh!)
9. Seeing my first cover story in print on Faith Evans

On a much less sunnier note, the catastrophe in New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina is weighing heavy on my mind. During my break it was so hard to chill at the beach after seeing the images of so many Black folk and folk in general crying, pleading, insane with despair. There is so much to be done. So much that has been said, been debated. Hip-hop artists are affected, scores of children are separated from their families and Oprah is doing what she does best-- giving, giving, giving!

And then there’s the ignant, repulsive actions and words of people with too much power. There’s the first lady basically saying the folks in The Big Easy would be better off because of Katrina cause they were under privileged anyway. That's so damn insighful Barbara, just let them eat cake, eh? Oh yeah, the media and politicians calling tax-paying, home-owning, American-citizens,refugees. And supposedly there was the American military trying to recruit evacuees that were stuck at the Superdome. I could go on. But instead I’ll leave you with a list of places to drop off goodies and organizations taking contributions:

The Southern Empowerment Project ----

The Southern Empowerment Project's website provides links to support thecommunity-based institutions that have been severely hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Mississippi Workers Center ---- www.msworkerscenter.org

Please send contributions by check or money order to:
Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights
213 Main Street
Greenville, MS 38701

The Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights is a worker advocacy organization that provides organizing support, legal representation and training for low-wage, non-union workers in the state of Mississippi.

The Twenty-First Century Foundation
271 West 125th Street, Suite 303
New York, NY 10027-4424

The Twenty-First Century Foundation is a national public foundation created to promote strategic philanthropy by the African American/Black community. The Hurricane Katrina Recovery Fund of the Twenty-First Century Foundation will partner with organizations in the region to ensure that resources get to the people who need them most, and achieve the justice goals at the heart of this initiative.

BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund
PO Box 803209
Dallas, TX 75380 - 3209
This fund has been set up by nationally syndicated radio personality TOM JOYNER

NAACP Disaster Relief Efforts ----
NAACP Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore, MD 21215

The NAACP is setting up command centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as part of its disaster relief efforts. NAACP units across the nation have begun collecting resources that will be placed on trucks and sent directly into the disaster areas. Also, the NAACP has established a disaster relief fund to accept monetary donations to aid in the relief effort.

**** You can mail or ship non perishable items to these following locations, which we have confirmed are REALLY delivering services to folks in need.****

Center for LIFE Outreach Center
121 Saint Landry Street
Lafayette, LA 70506
attn. Minister Pamela Robinson

Mohammad Mosque 65
2600 Plank Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
attn. Minister Andrew Muhammad

St. Luke Community United Methodist Church
c/o Hurricane Katrina Victims
5710 East R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75223
attn. Pastor Tom Waitschies