Friday, May 29, 2009

Vintage Photo of the Week

Photo: Carl Van Vechten
Sept. 25, 1962

The incomparable actress and Civil Rights activist, Ruby Dee.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Vintage Photo of the Week

The Boss -- Miss Diana Ross!

No explanation necessary.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michelle Obama on the Cover of Time Magazine

Our fabulous First Lady appears on the cover of TIME magazine!

Read the full article, "The Meaning of Michelle" here, and check out Behind The Scenes with Michelle Obama by TIME photographer Callie Shell. Very cool pics!

I personally prefer this photo....

...but then again, I have a bias towards black & white photos. However, both portraits say to me that the meaning of Michelle is POWER.

What is The Meaning of Michelle to you?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Michelle Obama Promotes The Arts in NYC

First Lady Michelle Obama being introduced by Caroline Kennedy
Photo: Getty Images

Last night was the 69th Annual American Ballet Theatre Opening Night Spring Gala held at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. First Lady Michelle Obama, who served as honorary co-chair, attended wearing a black metallic Azzedine Alaïa dress and jacket designed by Thakoon, the Associated Press reports.

The evening event capped off Mrs. Obama's visit to New York to promote the arts. Earlier in the day, Mrs. Obama visited The Metropolitcan Musuem of Art where she cut the ribbon for the re-opening of the Met's Charles Engelhard Court and the American Period Rooms.

(l. to r.) Caroline Kennedy, ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, ABT Exec. Director Rachel Moore, Michelle Obama, Sharon Patrick, Edward Fox and Dr. Jill Biden
Photo: Mary Hilliard/New York Social Diary

Deborah Roberts and Al Roker
Photo: Getty Images

Cari Modine
Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Grace Hightower, socialite and wife of actor Robert DeNiro
Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Veronica Webb
Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Socialite Susan Fales-Hill (2nd from l.) and Iman (2nd from r.) with friends
Photo: NYSD

Monday, May 18, 2009

Et Tu, Iman?

First Lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama, Iman, and Opera Singer, Leontyne Price

Say it ain't so, Iman!

Hat tip: lamh32, poster at JJP:
Michelle Obama no 'beauty' but 'bright': Iman

NEW YORK (AFP) — US First Lady Michelle Obama is not a "great beauty," but will "just get better with age," Iman, one of the first black supermodels, says in a magazine interview.

"Mrs Obama is not a great beauty," the Somali-born model and wife of rocker David Bowie tells Parade magazine's Sunday issue, reflecting on the first black US first lady, who is a lawyer by training and a former executive.

"But she is so interesting looking and so bright. That will always take you farther. When you're a great beauty, it's always downhill for you. If you're someone like Mrs Obama, you just get better with age," she said.

Iman, 53, also told Parade that her rise to catwalk superstardom did not free her from racism.

"You suddenly represent a whole race, and that race goes, Well, that person does not represent our ideals of beauty. For lack of a better term, it becomes what it was like during slavery," she said.

"One had the field n...(expletive) and the house n...(expletive). There was this notion that I was chosen by white fashion editors to be better than the rest, which I am not. I did not like being thought of as the house n...(expletive)."

When I first read this article, I thought that maybe she was taken out of context and that it would best to read the actual Parade magazine article which is here. The only difference between the two is that Parade left out the "house/field n" reference.

I can't lie. This really disappoints me. This is really out of character for Iman. I remember reading an interview where she said that she knew that they were trying to pit her against fellow Black supermodel, Beverly Johnson, and would have none of it and went out of her way to befriend her.

For years, she has spoken out about the discrimination Black models have faced within the fashion industry, and how they are shut out from doing runway shows or acquiring cosmetic contracts (the fashion model's equivalent to the Oscar). And why were they shut out? Because they didn't fit the industry's Eurocentric standard of beauty. Hell, once upon a time, Iman wasn't considered "a great beauty", and yet here she is using that same narrow beauty standard to critique Michelle Obama.

Here's an excerpt from an interview Iman did for CosmoGirl! in 2004:
"Beauty is being comfortable and confident in your own skin. I have no intention of ever writing beauty tips on how to make an African-American nose look slimmer or Asian eyes look bigger. That's degrading. Asian eyes are what's beautiful about you and what makes you different. I want my legacy to be that I've opened the gates to what's considered beautiful now — and you are beautiful."
Doesn't this describe Mrs. Obama? She's comfortable in her own skin, refusing to succumb to the bullying from those who try to dictate how she should dress or act. And like Iman, she has "opened the gates" and expanded the definition of beauty, so why is Iman trying to close those gates?

"I did not like being thought of as the house n...(expletive)."

Well, Iman, when you make comments like this -- which is no doubt based on Eurocentric beauty standards -- it doesn't help your cause.....sista.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Vintage Photo of the Week

Photo: Galos Publishing/

For this week's Vintage Photo of the Week, I thought I'd venture outside of the U.S. to Puerto Rico and share this picture of Ruth Fernández, the first successful Black female Puerto Rican singer. Here she is performing at the 1968 Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.

Known as “El alma de Puerto Rico hecha canción" which means "The soul of Puerto Rico made song", this diva was the first woman to lead an orchestra and sing at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC. Sra. Fernández also served as a Senator in the Puerto Rican legistature.

For more info on Sra. Fernández, check out Music of Puerto Rico.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jennifer Hudson on the Cover of Essence - June 2009


Singer and actress, Jennifer Hudson graces the cover of the June 2009 issue of Essence magazine.

In the issue, the Oscar and Grammy winner opens up about her relationship with her mother, the late Darnell Donerson, saying "I was always a mama's baby. I'd go and sleep in her bed until I was 15 years old." reports.

I think Ms. Hudson looks amazing, and it's great to see her back on the scene.

Stay strong, sista.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Halt! Who Goes There!"

Hattip: Jack & Politics

Someone's in BIG trouble!

Politico posted this video of Desiree Rogers and Valerie Jarrett having problems gaining entrance to the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night. That's right folks. The White House Social Secretary and the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama were made to dig in their purses for ID as if they were two random guests to the dinner.

Unbelieveable and unacceptable! And I'm sure the security guards received a nice little "You Know You Done Effed Up, Right?" memo to go along with their pink slip on Monday morning.

But as you can see, Ms. Rogers and Ms. Jarrett handled the situation with class.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Glamour Comes To Washington

First Lady Michelle Obama
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Glitz and Glamour was the theme at last night's White House Correspondent's Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., as Hollywood rubbed elbows with the D.C. Beltway. Comedian Wanda Sykes headlined the event, and brought the house down with her trademark brand of tell it like it t-i-z humor that ruffled the feathers of right wingnuts. Oh, well. Truth hurts.

Wanda Sykes

First Lady Michelle Obama looked elegant in a Michael Kors fuschia sheath gown, accented with one of her signature necklaces and silver strappy sandals.

Mrs. Obama's partners-in-fashion, Desirée Rogers and Valerie Jarrett looked devastating as usual, with Ms. Rogers in a Grecian inspired hot pink gown and Ms. Jarrett in a shimmery champagne ensemble. Mums was the word as to who designed their gowns, as the ladies were reluctant to give up the 411. That's right ladies! Keep 'em guessin'!

Desirée Rogers and Valerie Jarrett
Photo: Kyle Samperton

Black Hollywood and Society made its presence known at event. Among the attendees were comedian/actor Chris Tucker, Tyra Banks, Ludacris, Melody Hobson, Al Roker and wife Deborah Roberts, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty and wife Michelle Fenty, Colin Powell, Donna Brazille, Suzanne Malveaux, Alicia Keys, Dule Hill, Kerry Washington and a host of others.

A Change has definitely come to Washington.

Kerry Washington looking fab in J. Mendel
Photo: Kyle Samperton

Alicia Keys

Forest Whitaker and wife, Keisha

Melody Hobson
Photo: Carol Joynt

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vintage Photo of the Week

In celebration of Mother's Day weekend, I thought it would be fitting to post this beautiful photo of the late vocalist, Dr. Nina Simone and her daughter, Lisa Celeste (now known as Simone) taken in 1971.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Desirée Rogers Featured in WSJ. Magazine

The über-fabulous and tres chic Desirée Rogers is featured in the May issue of WSJ. Magazine. Here she is looking stunning on the cover in a Viktor & Rolf trench coat and Cartier diamond stud earrings.

The actual article, however, was disappointing. From the first sentence, you know what The Wall Street Journal's agenda is:
"Desirée Glapion Rogers is the descendant of a Creole voodoo priestess named Marie Laveau Glapion..."
Oh, I can hear the right wing nuts now: "See??? I told you those Obamas were dangerous! They're into voodoo! That's why Obama won! He had Desirée put a spell on the country!"

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The racist tone is glaring, but that's par for the cause for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the company whose New York Post tabloid newspaper thought this cartoon was funny.

While the article had it's moments of insight into Ms. Rogers' life (She's a breast cancer survivor) and how she's using her business background to reshape the traditional role of the White House Social Secretary, it was also dripping with partisan propaganda, insinuations (claiming that the reason Michelle Obama started a garden at the White House was to deflect the negative press the administration was receiving over the AIG bonuses) and straight up elitism which sought to take away from Ms. Rogers' achievements, but only exposed the author's and her employer's insecurities and envy.

You can read the article for yourselves here: Desirée Rogers’ Brand Obama. But I must warn you: The hate in the comment section is THICK, so make sure you have a cup of chamomile tea at the ready.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vintage Photo of the Week

Photo: Peter Lindbergh/Vogue

When she's not knockin' folks upside the head with cell phones, Miss Naomi Campbell can work the cameras like nobody's bizness! Here she is in a 1990 Geoffrey Beene photo shoot for Vogue magazine.