DAC Fashion Show

The day after Christmas is usually reserved for lounging around the house and/or spending extra time with family and friends, let alone a FASHION SHOW?! Yet, for the past two years, throngs of glittery fashionistas have ditched grandma's second helping of yams in order to satiate a more couture appetite...

STYLE 101: correspondent, Taryn Hankerson serves up the dish!

In my preparing to attend the uniquely titled 'Day After Christmas Fashion Show,' getting dressed became a production within itself. Besides the fact that the weather produced a ton of rain outside, my night would've been more stressful if I wasn't told to "think Nylon," not as in stockings, but one of my favorite magazines; which saved me a lot of time putting on clothes. I worked my jean jacket with a pale pink, over sized scoop-neck shirt, slid on a pair of 'liquid leggings,' and wore my floral oxfords. But to my chagrin, when I arrived at the venue I stuck out like a sore thumb (lol), due to the high-vibrancy of my colorful attire. Outside of the immediate shock value, I got plenty of compliments on my outfit, especially my hat!

The mood inside the event was mellow, encompassing an older crowd, so no immaturity was allowed... that is, until the bubbly was poured =]
(Event guests)

Unlike most fashion shows, the after-party seemed to take place before the models strutted the runway, leaving most of the guests satisfied with a slight buzz; attendees also got to enjoy tasty treats that were served during the waiting period (the crab cakes were to die for). At around 10:00pm the show was ready to start, the first model came out and strutted her stuff, while some of the others did the same throughout.

The first set of looks were very girly... mini, short dresses- you know, the kind that show off our killer legs =]

Next up, the theme slightly changed into a more rocker feel but it was still sexy- think vampires at a disco, and right-on-cue, Lady Gaga's music played; in my opinion, the dresses were very 80's inspired.

Afterwards, a tropical vibe snuck up on us, which wasn't expected. I'm not sure if it flowed well with the rest of the show, but there it was.

Presented lastly was a vintage inspired wedding collection, which -in my opinion- stole the show, hands down!

Overall, the fashion show had its good and bad parts, some audience concerns were that a few of the models didn't 'sashay' as well as the others, and there were long pauses in-between runway changes; other than that, it was an ok show.

Here's some feedback from backstage (interview with model, Joelee):

...and here's some feedback from the audience (interview with VIP guest, Ms. Shakeen Walters):

Thanks to Anta, Ndeye Niang and the rest of the DACFS staff, there's lots more to look forward to during the holidays rather than just gifts under a tree... we are ready for next year's day after Christmas!

www.fashionablenewyorker.com, www.dacfs.com, www.twitter.com/trockksonn

Chrianna +rans4md

After their highly-publicized domestic dispute, court trials, and eventual breakup... Chris Brown and Rihanna are -again- in the public eye... but are people still buying their story?!

In early February, the New York Daily News reported that Rihanna and Brown got into a heated argument and physical fight after she read a text message (read: booty call), sent to Brown and got upset. The situation involved the couple's car ride to Rihanna's home after a pre-Grammy party, in which there was an alleged exchange of words, punches and a 911 call to authorities claiming that Brown assaulted Rihanna; tmz.com leaked a horrific photo to the Internet, showing the songstress with visible injuries.

Tabloids continued to report on the story for the remainder of 2009, stating that Rihanna was cooperative with the investigation, while not being in contact with Brown.

In June, the Los Angeles Times reported that Brown (after pleading guilty to an assault charge), entered into a plea bargain with the courts in Los Angeles and avoided jail time by agreeing to spend 180 days performing community labor in his hometown of Virginia, he also agreed to domestic violence counseling; his community service started in September.

Additionally, Brown has to complete five years of supervised probation for the felony assault charge and is banned from contacting Rihanna; he must stay 50 yards away from her for the next five years, but if the pair are present at the same event, the distance will be reduced to 10 yards.

Earlier this month, both pop stars released eagerly awaited albums for their legions of loyal fans, Rihanna with Rated R, and Brown with Graffiti.

Using their music as a metaphor, both artists have seemingly addressed the issues of their domestic dispute. On his latest single "Crawl," Brown swoons, "Everybody says we're through... I hope you haven't said it too," while on her latest single "Hard" Rihanna triumphantly sings, "They can say whatever... No pain is forever," and that she's "Tougher than a lion." Yet in stark contrast to her being hard, Rihanna appears more emotional in her video for "Russian Roulette," a controversial pseudo-suicide taunt that shows her and a young man taking turns pointing a loaded gun to their head. Cecil Adams of straightdope.com, says that Russian roulette is a "particularly grim game of chicken in which you load a revolver with a single bullet, spin the cylinder, put the gun to your head, and pull the trigger," of which the final instruction is repeatedly echoed in Rihanna's eponymous song. The game of roulette (popularized by the 1978 film The Deer Hunter), presumably dates back to 1840, and in 'creative defense' of Rihanna's depiction of the game, "Russian Roulette" video director Anthony Mandler told MTV News that "the video is the perfect embodiment of the haunting ballad." He says, "I think that with this song and the meaning of this song and how loaded it all is, no pun intended, how much imagery and perhaps symbolism that is loaded in this song, the only way to do it was to do something that was visually challenging." Some of Rihanna's fans would beg to differ.

In the forthcoming issue of GQ magazine, Rihanna is interviewed and asked if she’d ever be friends with Brown again, she answers, “Mmm. Maybe in like ten years, you know? But it’s not something that I’m depending on. I’m not depending on his friendship.” And regarding any future relationships she says, “I can trust. I mean, I don’t like to stereotype; I believe everybody’s an individual. You can’t judge someone based on someone else’s actions. There are people in the world who will love you and people in the world who will hurt you, and there are people in the world who will do both.”

Not to be outdone, Brown (appearing on the cover of Vibe's forthcoming relaunch issue for 2010), is interviewed and quoted as saying, "I feel like from this day on anything I do will be criticized or blown out of proportion. I can yell across the street, 'Ayo, get me that McDonald’s,' and that comes out like Chris is angry. But I’m still going to live my life. I’m still going to smile. That’s just my personality." But when discussing what he hopes fans will take away most from the whole ordeal, Brown says, "At the end of the day, it’s all about love, loving one another and respecting everybody. It’s also about learning from differences."

Court's adjourned, you be the judge.

www.google.com, www.mtv.com, www.nydailynews.com

you win some and you Newsome!

Imagine all the bling in the world, laced with Gucci girls and Louis Vuitton dons... then sprinkle on some Ace of Spades champagne, throw in some bangin beats... et voila, you have yourself a melange of glaring ghetto imagery, courtesy of a permeated hip-hop culture.

With his first solo exhibition Standards, visual artist Rashaad Newsome has tackled those conflicting ideals associated with Black culture, via rap/hip-hop imagery and its videos, and has turned those negative stereotypes on its head.

Located in the heart of Manhattan's Chelsea district, the Ramis Barquet gallery coolly invites patrons to enter Newsome's lyrical lounge and offers the opportunity to decipher each one of his works, one wall at a time. Through collages (made of pieces of cut paper taken from discarded music magazines and auction catalogues), sculptures, and video installations, Newsome mixes the urban connotations altogether, producing a showcase that challenges "established ideas of cultural ownership, and illustrates an acutely contemporary understanding of the way socially specific signifiers convey meaning," states the gallery -so eloquently- in its press release.

When traveling through the gallery, a silver-plated gate (replete with 'dipped-in-ice' chains hanging from top to bottom and 22-inch rimmed doorhandles), welcomes visitors into Newsome's world.

Towards the back of the space, there are two rooms that are sectioned off, the first room contains a wall-mounted TV screen with attached speakers that blasts orchestral sounds from a looped music video montage of Newsome's work (the video is two-parts and interprets the expressive hand gestures/booty bumpin/and big pimpin of several famous hip-hop music videos)...

...And the second room contains an interpretive coat-of-arms, a supple piece of black fabric embellished with 'ice,' a gem-encrusted lion's head, and a descriptive 'hustler' name plate; it hangs on the wall as if it were proudly hanging in the corridor of an 18th-century castle... after all, weren't kings and queens just hustlers anyway?!

The symbolism in Newsome's entire collection becomes a fresh antidote to the exploitative (and self-exploiting), conundrum that Blacks have come to accept and purport to the world.

Newsome, a 2009/2010 Artist in Residence at The Studio Museum In Harlem, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and holds a Bachelors of Art degree in Art History. In addition to his solo exhibition, Newsome has previously exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including New York's Project Gallery, Paris' Fondation Cartier, and Berlin's K.U.E.L. We here at STYLE 101: feel that a new-millennium Renaissance is in order (where Black imagery is concerned), and Newsome would do well as one of its torch bearers!

The Ramis Barquet Gallery is located at 532 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm. For more information, call 1.212.675.3421 or mail@ramisbarquet.com.

Kanye Best...

It seems as though for the past two years things have been going against the grain for Kanye West, both personally and professionally. Albeit he's still been able to sell records and rock a mic, maybe 2010 will prove that a rest is best for Mr. West?!

During the summer of 2007, anyone could have easily argued that the stars were all aligned for West, his single "Stronger" was #1 with a bullet and he was single-handedly taking rap music to the next level with his album Graduation (released on September 11th of that year). The album's release was surrounded by a much-hyped competition between he and 50 Cent, on who would sell the most records, as both of their albums would be released the same day; unfortunately for 50, West came out on top, selling more than 400,000 units in the first week.

But just two months after the glitz and glam of West's newfound fame and success, tragedy struck too close to home. On November 10, 2007, msnbc.com reported that West's mother, Dr. Donda West (former chairwoman of Chicago State University's English department), had died at the age of 58, at the Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Marina del Rey. After having to bury his mother, West did not take a break from his music career -as most would have expected and allowed time for- he instead continued recording and touring his album; emotions caught up with him as fans witnessed a teary-eyed West at a Paris concert that year. Seemingly, West did have a shoulder to cry on, as he was waist-deep into an ongoing relationship with then fiancée, Alexis Phifer. Phifer was apparently in West's corner during the loss, but constant rumors alluded to the fact that the two were headed for a breakup.

As West graced the cover of GQ in December of '07, he was questioned on a number of topics and in regards to Phifer, he was quoted as saying, "I’m just going to go and get married. I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. It’s not to prove anything to anyone — it’s for me, for stability in my life, and I’m so happy that I found someone that I really love, that challenges me, that keeps my life interesting, that’s just as crazy as I am.”

But the engagement was called off as the two parted ways in April 2008. Phifer told People Magazine, "It's always sad when things like this end, and we remain friends. I wish him the best in his future and all of his endeavors. He's one of the most talented people I've ever met," she said.

With the release of his fourth studio album, 808s & Heartbreak (released on November 24, 2008), West presumably devoted the song "Heartless" to Phifer, aiming the lyrics at her secretly deceptive ways, asking, "How could you be so Dr. Evil?"

But in parallel to West's broken relationship, the album's content had no outright mention of his mother or of him speaking further on her death, instead a beautiful portrait (photographed by Danny Clinch), was included in the album's booklet, depicting West kissing his mother on the cheek. *LOVELY*

As 2008 closed out, West was apparently in the clear with another hit album, no social disruptions (aka Kanyeisms), and no public outbursts, but in February of 2009, reports circulated that West had started dating a female adult performer-cum-model that went by the name of Amber Rose; the two were subsequently spotted globe trotting during the seasonal fashion weeks of New York and Paris.

The Fall of 2009 seemingly saw the worst for West. On September 13th, at the MTV Video Music Awards, it appeared as though the icing was put on the cake, when West acted out -probably- one of the most random and revelatory stunts in music history.

Unexpectedly appearing onstage during Taylor Swift's acceptance of the VMA for Best Female Video, West first acknowledged Swift's win, but he then took the microphone from her and proceeded to tell the audience that Beyoncé Knowles deserved the award instead, exclaiming that Knowles had "one of the best videos of all time!" The incident was jaw-dropping to say the least, and the act topped several of 2009's lists of most interesting music moments. However, West did apologize for his behavior -via his blog, that same evening- and Swift (along with her mother), accepted his apology.

Moreover, there's much to be said about the steady decline of public adoration towards West, as he is undoubtedly one of the few, remaining harbingers of innovative music and cultural relevance. He became sort of a pseudo-hero in 2005, for blasting George W. Bush's lack of response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, on national TV.

And as he so eloquently rhymed on one of the year's best club bangers, West is still -to many fans- "the ish." His impression upon popular culture is very apparent (note Swift's sudden upswing in popularity since her brush with West), and according to wikipedia.org, he has even influenced Rock band U2. They've asserted that West's Graduation tour had an impact on their own music, and apparently West's lyricism inspired the band's front man (Bono), to utilize more 'percussive consonants' for his songwriting and vocal performance. Even the maestro of hip-hop, Sean P. Diddy Combs -himself- crafted a video blog praising West's prodigious talent.

Interesting enough, although a vast majority of media outlets have begun to bash and dis West's relevance, he still manages to come out on top. For the 2010 Grammy Awards, West is nominated a record six times, not off the strength of his own album (as "Amazing" was the only song from the album to receive a nomination), but mostly for him being a collaborator. It's no surprise that 808s may have been snubbed due to the abovementioned controversy, but West proves himself unmatched with his 5 other nominations:
Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group (2)
Amazing- Kanye West & Young Jeezy
Make Her Say- Kid Cudi, Kanye West & Common
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration(3)
Ego- Beyoncé & Kanye West
Knock You Down- Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo
Run This Town- Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West
Best Rap Song (1)
Run This Town- Shawn Carter, R. Fenty, M. Riddick, Kanye West & E. Wilson

Not skipping a beat, it appears as though West has moved forward with business as usual, and according to a twitter.com account registered under @kanye_info, West is reported to be the new spokesmodel for A Bathing Ape and its 2010 Spring/Summer collection.

During the holiday season, West and Rose were spotted helping out at the Los Angeles Mission the day after Christmas, and the New York Daily News quotes West as saying, “It’s just important to [give back] when you’re blessed. It’s nice to spread your blessings and take time out.”

Passionate words from a passionate young man and maybe 2010 will see West doing just what he says, taking a -much deserved- time out.

Either way, STYLE 101: will be here to support him :)

www.kanyeuniversecity.com/blog, www.google.com, www.gq.com, www.twitter.com/kanye_info, www.youtube.com, www.youtube.com/ladyextazy, www.wikipedia.org, www.msnbc.com

Presidential Piece

On December 10, 2009, President Barack Hussein Obama II., was presented the Nobel Peace Prize.

Albeit he's only been in office for little less than a year, it's no doubt that Obama has indeed affected positive change in our world.

When the announcement was made earlier this year, in October, The Norwegian Nobel Committee stood firmly by its decision to honor Obama. In a press release the committee stated that "the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."

The committee further added, "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

A fitting honor for a man whose political rise to fame started from humble beginnings. His father was from Kenya and his mother was from Kansas, both of different ethnic backgrounds but both of the same human race, and that's one of the reasons why people have fallen in love with his story.

Gone are the days when a man was solely measured by the size of his pistol and how far he could shoot it, nowadays, instead, people want to see real results and be able to relate to their leaders on more levels than one, and Obama has been able to encompass that; all of which has helped to make him the fourth U.S. President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee stated that Jimmy Carter (as ex-president), won the prize in 2002 for "his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts...," Woodrow Wilson won in 1919 for his Fourteen Points peace program, and Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 for ending the war between Japan and Russia, resulting in the Treaty of Portsmouth.

He may still be a bit green to the White House experience, but Obama's future looks very golden.

Ba-rock on sir, Ba-rock on!!!

www.nobelprize.org, www.reuters.com, www.youtube.com