Thursday, September 4, 2008

I’ve found Mr. Richer! Only I’m not sure he’s aware just yet. Now a good writer would build the suspense and tell you the name at the conclusion, but I am far to impatient and more than likely if you’re reading this you are well aware of my somewhat minor obsession with John Legend.

So when I got wind of his performance to support ThisDay, the Nigerian newspaper (and subsequent freedom movement behind it’s inception) I jumped at the opportunity to go.

Completely blinded by his legendary hotness and the ties to my journalist obsession – Africa – I failed to notice the other headliners that would also be performing.

Of course running late, I missed my opportunity to interview National St. Hottie (2007), which was to both our benefit (way bad hair day and caffeine overdose.) I did get to interview Chris Ayres, the famed Nigerian jewelry designer, known in the biz as the king of bling. As one of the invited designers he would feature among his pieces a dress worth $200,000. Each piece in his runway show had its own security guard.

When describing the market for his pieces he noted, “Jewelry doesn’t have to be an accessory; celebrities are getting jewelry then asking to build their clothing around the pieces.”

When asked about the prevalence of blood diamonds, a particularly hot button issue out of the continent, he said he was trying to change the industry. As a strong advocate for social responsibility, he visited Africa no less than 12 times last year. He said Americans forget that people depend on diamonds for their livelihood. Not all African diamonds are blood diamonds, so rather than boycott, ask good questions when purchasing.”

Among the other designers in house Deola Sagoe and Momo both originated from Nigeria but have been causing a real storm on the fashion scene in the last couple of years. I can see why. From Momo’s kaleidoscope of jewel tones and fabrics from the local villages she has converted them into haute-esqe designs. Deula pushes the envelope with the use of cartoons on her a-line dresses mixed in with Marie Antoinette sleeves and Spanish lace. Who would have thought of such an elegant–punk combination?
But the real treats of the evening were the performances by Jay-Z and Mr. Richer, errr I mean John Legend. We were so close, when John Legend jumped into the crowd to dance, he was right in front of me. Jay-Z rocked out a whole 3 feet away. The Kennedy Center has never rocked out as hard as we did that night!

BTW - In case you were wondering:

"Africa Rising" was first launched in 2006 under the direction of THISDAY's Editor-in-Chief, Nduka Obaigbena. Its mission is not only to reflect the culture and positive attributes of Africa's social, political, and economic progress, but also to reach out to the continent's diverse population as well as the Diaspora and international communities.

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