A randomly-picked Viktor & Rolf FW07 show with no Black Models

I found this to be an interesting read...

Black and beautiful: African-American women haven't had an easy time in the fashion world
By LaMont Jones
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The May issue of Vogue has a double front cover that features 10 women as "The world's next top models ...." The lone black, Chanel Iman, sports long, straight hair in the photo and a complexion only slightly darker than the other nine women.

Adrianne Andrews, an anthropologist and Afro-American studies lecturer at the all-women's Smith College in Massachusetts, said African-American women tend to be perceived in modern-day incarnations of three historical stereotypes: the large dark-skinned, headrag-wearing "Mammy," the domineering and overly assertive "Sapphire," and the overly seductive "Jezebel."

Read the entire article here.


Click image to enlarge and print

Be sure to visit FIT this weekend for The Style Market, a shopping experience featuring up and coming designers. Print out the flyer and receive 10% off your purchases!

What: The Style Market
Where: FIT • John E. Reeves Great Hall
28th St & 7th Ave. 1 to 28th St.
When: Friday April 27, 2007 6pm-9pm
Saturday April 28, 2007 11am-6pm


Some food for thought...


Instead of dancing ( more like shucking and jiving) around the core of the problem in Hip Hop like Russell Simmons, RZA takes an unapologetically hard look at the problems that he and other Wu-Tang members helped to create:
"Hip-hop is just unbalanced. Right now, rappers are glorifying their hell. How you gonna tell me it's cool to live in the ghetto? Who wants to live where you got rats, roaches, pissy elevators, shootings, killings, rapings, drug addicts, alcoholics, all in a four block radius? "Now, out of nine Wu-Tang members, seven are felons... We were the problem of our communities, but we never bragged about it. We kept moving on about life. "But right now, these hip-hoppers are stuck on one thing. They stuck on sex and violence and drugs and partying. Life is way more than that. Especially the day after the party ends. When you get the f**k up the next day, what you gonna do?"
Read Contact Music's Article


I've been enamored of Lily Allen, ever since I heard the summery single "Smile". Now Lily is cashing in with a newline for New Look UK called Lily Loves New York. The styles are vintage-y with a sweet worn-in look. Perfect for lounge-hopping in Brooklyn, or partying at an underground affair.

Here are the pics from Nitrolicious:

The last dress in yellow is fabulous!


.. and hopefully this is not just all a bunch of wishful thinking and blabber talk. Russell Simmons' Hip Hop Action Summit came to a conclusion and agreed to a recommendation to discontinue the use of bitch, ho and nigger in the media. They have called on the recording industry to voluntarily bleep out these words.
From the press release:
HSAN reaffirms, therefore, that there should not be any government regulation or public policy that should ever violate the First Amendment. With freedom of expression, however, comes responsibility. With that said, HSAN is concerned about the growing public outrage concerning the use of the words "bitch," "ho," and "nigger." We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words "bitch" and "ho" and the racially offensive word "nigger."
Read the entire Hip Hop Action Summit press release here.

The next step? Encouraging rappers, comedians, and the general public to stop using these words, so that they won't need to be censored out in the first place. Let's stop putting the responsibility of censorship in the hands of others, and start checking ourselves.

Forgive me, but I'm in a music mode right now. I just discovered the new talent of Sterling Simms over at Jesus (Hearts) Music, and I was definitely feeling the vintage Michael-like falsetto voice thing he's got going on. The video is uninspired, but you'll like the song.


Photo: Fulton St., Fort Greene by BrooklynRecord.com

I can honestly say I had a perfect weekend. With so many events to attend, I had little time for boredom, and even managed to catch up on some much-needed sleep! A cross-section of my weekend would be something crazy like this: Friday night-Magazine Issue launch at Tribeca Grand followed by random club-hopping in Williamsburg, ending sweetly with a fresh pizza slice at Anna Maria's. Saturday- an African dance class in Harlem, followed by lunch in Union Square, followed by gallery-hopping in Chelsea, followed by lounge-hopping in Fort Greene, followed by a dance benefit in Harlem, followed by a fashion line release/live hip hop party at Studio B followed by sweaty Afro-Brazilian revelry at Bembé in Williamsburg. Sunday-Park Slope stroll, followed by a jazz brunch, followed by a drum circle, followed by coffee at a sidewalk café. It couldn't be better. Inspired, I created a Podcast mix of some of the music that keeps me going on these event-filled days. Be forewarned- a typical day in the life of Tatiana Smith means being in several parts of the city, meeting a wild mix of people, and having unusual experiences. The Lavish Brooklyn Summer mix reflects just that. Enjoy 2 hours of uninterrupted rhythm.

Download Lavish Magazine's "Brooklyn Summer"
1. Roy Ayers- Searching
2. Bobbi Humphrey- Harlem River Drive
3. Mos Def- Universal Magnetic
4. Lilly Allen- Smile
5. Fela Kuti- Lady
6. Ladies Love Cool Jay- Around The Way Girl
7. Talib Kweli- The Blast
8. Babel Gilberto- Céu Distante (DJ Spinna Mix)
9. Zhané- Hey Mr. DJ
10. Faith Evans- Lucky Day
11. Fela Kuti- Shakara
12. Bonga- Sa Ka Mache
13. Source Band ft. Abdoulaye Diabaté- Magali
14. Senegalese Mbalax
15. Senegalese Mbalax
16. Les Nubians- Sourire
17. Gregory Isaacs- Rude Boy Dub
18. Collie Budz- Come Around
19. Dead Prez- Hip Hop
20. DJ Cam- Mad Blunted Jazz
21. The Roots- Proceed
22. HiTek w/ Mos Def ft. Vida- Det ta Steppin'
23. Tribe Called Quest- Find A Way
24. John Legend- Heaven


Anika Noni Rose (the other (Tony Award-winning and extremely talented) Dreamgirl) has been slated to be the voice of Disney's first Black princess.

To bad the writers couldn't come up with a better name for her. Maddy?? Why not just go all out and give her a real down-home name, like Hattie-Mae?

From USA Tday:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. has started production on an animated musical fairy tale called The Frog Princess, which will be set in New Orleans and feature the Walt Disney Studio's first black princess.

The company unveiled the plans Thursday at its annual shareholders' meeting in New Orleans.

John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Disney and the Disney-owned unit Pixar Animation Studios, said the movie would return to the classic hand-drawn animation process, instead of using computer animation that has become the industry standard. He called the film "an American fairy tale."
Read More

I don't care too much for the song, but Gwen is hot in her new video, 4 in the morning.
Her hair is perfectly platinum! As noted by her hairstylist Danilo Dixon in the May issue of Harper's Bazaar: "I'm the only one who touches that hair!" He maintains Gwen's luster with a specially-formulated conditioning concoction "two or three times a week".

Girlshop.com, a pioneering online fashion store based in the West Village, New York City has stopped accepting orders, and has closed. I am truly saddened by this bit of fashion news because Girlshop was one of my first jobs in the fashion business. While working there, I saw bright young, and emerging talent bring their samples in to try to get them on the website. Designers like Alexis Bittar, Nanette Lepore, and Shoshanna, all had humble beginnings with Girlshop.com. But alas WWD reports:

After almost 10 years in business, Internet pioneer Girlshop is shutting down, a victim of the popular formula it helped create.

Founder Laura Eisman said her two-year-old brick-and-mortar store in the Meatpacking District could have stayed open, but challenges to the online business dragged it under.

Read More Here
And Here


Believe it or not, folks, I'd never read this book. While I'd often seen it cited on countless literary lists as one of the best autobiographies of the 20th century, I'd always pass it by whenever I saw it at my local library or bookstore. I figured that I knew everything there was to know about El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. I finally decided, mostly out of frustration at the inability to find a decent book to read, to pick it up at my local library recently. If anything, I'd finally be able to reference his actual words from text in future conversation.

Though much has been deservedly debated and discussed about Malcolm X as the legendary black leader, reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X introduced him to me as a man. Whether it was the boy who was quickly thrust into adulthood by family tragedy or the imprisoned young man whose eyes had opened to the pride and consciousness as a black man in America, Alex Haley's gift for conveying his nuances and thoughts immediately endeared him to me as a man who truly cared about his people. Moreover, his tireless work to uplift the black community was derived from pure determination and compassion to eradicate oppression and racism through Islam.

While I knew how Malcolm's last chapter would close, it was nevertheless heartbreaking to read. Not only was it a poignant read on how this man wouldn't get a chance to grow old with his wife while raising their daughters together, it was very painful to see a progressive journey cut abruptly short. As a result, I haven't reconciled on whether he was indeed ahead of his time or if we were (and still are, to a degree) stagnant about our existence in America.

However, I am certain that The Autobiography of Malcolm X is definitely a must-read and a must-own for those who have and haven't had the pleasure of reading it. Whether you agree with his convictions or not, it is, nevertheless, a wonderful and authentic study of the mind of the man who revolutionized the way we thought, lived, and existed.


I'd like to send out my condolences to the families of the 32 slain victims and others injured during the senseless shootings at Virginia Polytechnic University yesterday.

Read the New York Times Report

Rodarte Spring 2007

Rodarte Spring 2007

We all knew from the Spring 07 shows that the little white dress would be taking over our closets this season. But with so many options, how could we choose? On my way to work this morning, I did a double-take as I passed the Gap windows, steps away from work. Forget that I was late-I had to stop and swoon over the adorable LWDs designed by fashion it-line, Rodarte. As reported by FashionWeekDaily:

(NEW YORK) Gap Inc. is the latest mass retailer to jump on the emerging designer collaboration bandwagon. The San Francisco-based retail giant, who’s currently actively searching for a new CEO, has enlisted 2006 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners Doo-Ri Chung of Doo.Ri, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, and Thakoon’s Thakoon Panichgul to design a limited-edition collection of specially designed pieces called Gap Design Editions that will be sold at 100 of its larger stores. While details remain mum, according to sources, each designer was given a white button down shirt with which to create three unique designs, to be manufactured and marketed in tandem with Gap's upcoming white shirt campaign.

Once again, we can all indulge our high fashion whims at affordable prices. Forget "the boyfriend" khakis. Invest in a Rodarte.

The dress that stopped me in my tracks.
Rodarte for Gap dress, $88

Not a LWD, but cute nonetheless.
Rodarte for Gap bow top, $78


Another conundrum that has been bugging me as of late is Amy Winehouse. Prior to this year, my only reference to the English jazz and soul singer was the constant reports of her boozing on and offstage behavior on Perez Hilton. Adding her proclivity for big, messy hair and even louder makeup to the mix:

and I was ready to write her off as an overhyped hot mess... until I heard a rehashing of her hit, You Know I'm No Good, featuring one of my favorite rappers of all time, Ghostface Killah, on the radio a few months back. Not only was I feeling the hip-hop beat and Motown flow, I was also intrigued by the strong and distinctive voice. After typing in a search for her on YouTube, I came across some of the best music I've come across in a minute- including a nice little gem of hers called Rehab:

After rushing to pick up her recent album (her US debut), Back To Black, and her debut (released here as an import) record, Frank, I listened and finally understood the buzz behind the 2007 Brit Award winner. Going beyond the 'vanilla soul child' formula, Amy Winehouse succeeds in bridging the gap between the classic (and sorely missed) grooves of 60s soul and 70s jazz with contemporary hip-hop sensibilities. Though the sounds of her first and second album are drastically different, the similarity is in her ability to interpret a genre or mood.

The enigma, it seems, is trying to understand someone who is shaping out to be today's musical Jekyll-and-Hyde, complete with grand music and legendary tantrums. It's startling to the point where she's become a conundrum of sorts. Despite this, I highly recommend that you check her out:

Back To Black


Folks, I've been wrestling with the pros and cons of the high-waist ever since I was informed of its resurgence last summer in a publication. On one hand, I was excited that the low-rise regime was on its way out the door- for I am beyond tired of being subjected to barely-concealed buttcracks from (mostly) ill-fitting bottoms on the streets of New York. Moreover, the high-waisted pant emerged as the next cutting-edge trend in Kelis' vainglorious video, Bossy:

compelling me to rush to the nearest vintage spot to snag a pair of Calvins, circa Brooke Shields, until I was reminded, mid-route, of just how an unconventional thumbing to everything low-cut can spiral into a horrifying camel-toe faux pas. The offender in question rocked a pair of corset-waisted jeans that emphasized a none-too-subtle tummy pooch- transforming them into a pair of designer "mom" jeans, thus sparking an internal debate that has yet to be resolved. Though I'm no closer on deciding on whether the high-waist bottom is truly a pro or con, I gathered a few finds to introduce a debate that may turn out to be even more polarizing than the upcoming Democratic presidential debate:

White Catherine Malandrino high waist skirt, $345 at Shopbop

Grey Ant braided high-waisted wide leg jeans, $330 at Eva New York

dark khaki Chloe high-waisted pants, $1000 at Bergdorf Goodman

I look foward to hearing your two cents on this, folks.


Jacqueline Lorette is a driven and high-spirited New York-based artist who produces hand-made and silk-screened painted shirts printed on silk. A true artist, Lorette first paints her images, and then uses them as inspiration for line.

The painting the shirt above is based on.

Tracy and I met her after a crazy day at the tents, and it was so refreshing to meet an un-fazed, down-to-earth designer. Her shirt are inspired by tattoo-wear, and the afterlife. The price range is $50-80. Check out more of her designs at JacquesLorette.com

This book won't come out until November this year, but I'm already salivating over it.

Jenny Levin, Bazaar's Senior Fashion News editor writes:
With 2.9 million sophisticated readers, Harper’s Bazaar has an audience with an eye for style. That’s why this elegant and lively guide—filled with fabulous fashion and celebrity photography demonstrating the best looks—will quickly capture their attention and become the must-have accessory. Written by the magazine’s Senior Fashion News Editor, it reveals the secrets of the world’s most fashionable women, and how to identify the look that’s just right for you. And this is not about here-today, gone-tomorrow fads, but practical know-how about timeless style. From building a perfect wardrobe to the ten commandments of dressing, from flattering your figure to choosing sexy extras, Great Style covers it all, with advice on dressing for work, play, and going glam. Each chapter includes insider advice and styling tips, along with quotes from top designers and the stars of fashion and an abundance of information no woman will want to be without.

Glamazons, mark your calendars!

I didn't wanted to jump on the "I hate Don Imus" bandwagon before carefully considering all the sides of this story. I, like most other people, was appalled when I first heard him refer to the Rutger's University Women's Basketball Team as a bunch of "nappy headed hoes".

The video that everyone's seen.

And I am happy that this has drawn so much concern amongst the people, and that it is generating a healthy civic response. What I am afraid of is the public's outcry for his removal from the airwaves. Why I absolutely do not condone his choice of words, banishing this man because the general public does not like his form of expression is a dangerous precedent for us all. What would happen to all the Black comics who say racially offensive about White people? Or what about if a journalist offends a political group with some off-color statements. Pretty soon, everyone will be making a case for something offensive someone else said, and they will be able to use the Imus case as an example. I recall in 1999 when Rudy Guiliani tried to shut down the Brooklyn Museum because he found a few pieces of artwork offensive to his religion. "America's Mayor" and his right-wingers never got their way, but what does it say about the people when a particular group allows their emotions to stifle freedom of speech?


This word is never to be used lightly, as it has been in recent decades by the Black, Latino, and increasingly, non-minority youths. This is to all of the intellectuals who try to make a point for the "new" use of the word.


I know, I know... Two book recommendations in one day? But I couldn't pass on this nugget of a book. Victoria Rowell is a woman who was left an orphan in a hospital after birth by her mother who battled with paranoid schizophrenia. Her memoir tells the story of how she grew up, being raised by various women from different backgrounds. She has since become a successful business woman, and she is an inspiring testament that you can really be who you want to be regardless of your upbringing.

Read More about The Women Who Raised Me
Book Signing

• 6pm TODAY at the Hu-Man bookstore in Harlem
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
Between 124th and 125th Streets (right next to the Magic Johnson Theater entrance)

• Friday, April 13, 2007 at Border's Bookstore in the Time Warner Center (Columbus Circle)


Lavish Divas: I'm not one to tell you how to spend your money. But I do know that in order to live a lavish life, you need to learn how to make your money work for you. I've been a fan of Suze Orman's tidbits in her monthly column in Oprah. Now the financial doyenne has put out a New York Times bestseller called Women & Money. Learn from an expert how you can live lavishly by spending wisely. This is a must-have.

Click image to enlarge.
From top left: A neon yellow shift dress from Lanvin is playfully rocker-chic; A soft leather jacket toughens up an otherwise sweet Hermés sundress; Chiffon rosettes add luxe to a girly Abaeté frock; Diane von Furstenberg takes on a graphic angle with a touch of black and white; Chloe creates a lean line using varying shades of yellow ochre; Orange-yellow patent-leather Moschino platforms add a sexy touch.

The deceiving sunshine of New York City has our minds on warmer weather. Sadly, any hopes of stepping out in a sheer carefree number seem to be ages away. With temperatures (still!) barely creeping out of the 50s, we'll just have to rely on fashion's sunny fashion trend to inspire sunny moods.

Hale Bob? Peep Toe Pump $115, Victoria's Secret

Pleated Blouse, $79, Zara


You might be wondering why I've cited Denise Huxtable as a Vintage Lavish Diva, even though Lisa Bonet stands as a boho fashion icon in her own right. Well, while Lisa presented herself as one of the original rock-star wives/mothers so effortlessly, Denise Huxtable has always existed as a contradiction to what a 'young black girl' was supposed to be on television in the 80s. Sensitive, intelligent, and impulsive, she was unbeholden to what society expected of her to do or be.

Whether it was through her fondness of natty vintage clothing and clashing prints:

or challenging her parents' standards of success by foregoing college to eventually travel to Africa on a whim:

Denise Huxtable always moved to the beat of her own drum. And while she eventually settled down into adulthood by becoming a military wife and mother, her perpetual ability to see and live life on her own terms is what has ultimately made her a timeless character and Vintage Lavish Diva:

Photo source: Sitcoms Online

In addition, she also paved the way for a future crop of insightful and enlightened young black women on the small screen:

Winifred "Freddie" Brooks in A Different World

Photo Source: Rugrat Online

Moesha Mitchell in Moesha

Source: Students of the World

Cassie Sutton in Lincoln Heights

Source: Image.com


I've been meaning to post this for the longest time, but never got around to it.
Another Free Class on Mondays at PS 198 on 96th St and 3rd Ave taught by Crystal Harrison for 2 hours. She doesn't PLAY! But it's all good family.

Click Here for a Full List.


I was invited to a screening for this film in February,
but couldn't attend. But I will definitely be checking
out this classic film before it closes.

"Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep takes the immediacy of
Italian neo-Realist cinema and shapes it into a dreamy,
beautiful montage of everyday life in Watts, Los Angeles,
California in the 1970s. The National Society of Film Critics
chose Killer of Sheep as one of the 100 Essential Films
of all time. A National Treasure, Killer of Sheep was
selected for the National Film Registry, but this lost
classic has remained in obscurity for nearly 30 years.
"Charles Burnett's KILLER OF SHEEP"

Where: IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave at W. 3rd St.
A,B,C,D, E,F, V to West 4th ST.
Box Office: 212.924.7771
Read More


Happy Easter!

Click picture to enlarge

The want2Bsquare Art Show: An interactive exhibit of box-inspired art and media
@ Skylight Studios

Featuring original artwork by:

All Ages
cover: FREE | open bar
music: Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, House, Electro

Friday, April 06, 2007
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Skylight Studios
275 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10013

From the website: Each artist was asked to paint on canvases of two square sizes, 48" x 48" and 24" x 24", which were then assembled into cubes that will be suspended from the ceiling at various heights throughout the gallery. Smaller cubes will display the artwork on the outside, while the larger cubes will show artwork on the inside enabling the viewer to gaze up into the artwork from directly beneath the box.

Guests will be able to meet the artists at both shows and have the opportunity to purchase the original art work. All proceeds from the sales will go directly to the artists.


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