Tag Archives: Mark England

Experience; A True Teacher

We have all experienced disappointment, rejection and loss. I myself experienced a tremendous amount this year alone. My mother died, I lost friends and I lost opportunities. All of these experiences forced me to make adjustments, changes and sacrifices. What I thought was going to be one of the best years of my life, turned into one of the most difficult. I was hurt, sad and even felt depressed throughout each experience I weathered. In spite of the negatives, I learned from each situation and as a result I also experienced positive growth.

While I was going through hidden pain, I was still having positive experiences. This year I became a correspondent blogger for Six Brown Chicks and I got to meet a woman I admire greatly as a result; Zondra Hughes. I was in featured in several articles written by talented journalists and bloggers, one of which was published in Italy. I finished my second book and (to my surprise and delight) it reached number 34 in the world on Amazon’s Urban/Regional list of eBooks. In a couple of weeks that same book Breaking Through the Black Ceiling will become available in paperback for purchase.

I had a lot of obstacles come up against me this year, some that were truly unthinkable and others that were completely frightening. Details of one of those obstacles is actually the topic of one of my next books. We won’t even begin to discuss my nonexistent love life. I no longer date. It just doesn’t work out well for me, so I’d rather avoid it than endure it. I still learned from the lack of romance in my life this year as well. I learned that it’s better to be happy and alone, than be miserable trying to force your love on someone who doesn’t want or deserve it. This year I opened up about my past experience with domestic violence for PURE Magazine, I mourned the loss of my friend and mentor, Mark England, and I made some very difficult decisions for my family. I also had to say ‘no, thank you’ quite often for the sake of my own sanity.

This year, I also learned the importance of forgiveness, not for others, but for you. I learned how much I truly value certain friendships, but that I don’t need the ones I lost. I learned that loyalty is often expected, but rarely received. I learned that it is often difficult to be your authentic self, but doing so gives you strength and takes away any negative power that others may have over you. I learned that I have the ability to shape my destiny and purpose, while still living the life that is written for me in the Master’s Plan. I learned that sometimes I won’t be happy, but I will be strong. I learned that my apprehension related to fame is hindering my success, and I decided to change that.

Experience is a true teacher. I truly believe that even the negative things that have occurred to me, not just this year, but throughout my life, served a purpose and were meant for me to learn from. Experience shapes us as individuals. We can’t always control what we go through, and everything we endure in life won’t be pleasant. However, we can make an effort to learn from every experience, good and bad, so that we can become better than we were before. I hope that all of the experiences I had in 2014 will strengthen me to become more resilient, stronger and more purpose driven, so that I can have more wealth, better health and happiness in the days and years to come. I want to continue to make a difference in the world using my voice, my creativity and my words, leaving behind a legacy that will influence others to do the same. I hope the same for you as well.

Next year already holds a great deal of promise and opportunity for my life and career. What I lost in 2014 will be replaced with more abundant and positive experiences in 2015. The obstacles, fear, pain and disappointment from 2014 will no longer exist.

All that will remain is me

Better than I was before.

 

In Dedication to Mark England

On January 18, 2014, the very talented Mark England left this Earth.

Some people call him their stylist. I refer to him as the man who cultivated my style.

Some people call him fashionable. I refer to him as a fashion guru.

Some people call him inspirational. I refer to him as a mentor.

Some people call him Mark. I refer to him as my friend.

It’s been a long time since I lost someone who I cared a great deal about. Mark England was one of the few people in my life who I knew was genuinely concerned about my success. The only thing he expected of me was for me to do my very best. That was very important to me. I’m glad I didn’t wait until the end to tell him that I cared about him and how important he was to my life and career.

Mark will be laid to rest before his family, friends and celebrity clientele on February 1, 2014. I’m extremely sad about the death of my friend, but I know my friend would expect me to continue moving forward with my career plans to the best of my ability in spite of my grief. So that is what I’m trying to do. Mark England had such a positive influence on me that I have decided to dedicate my upcoming book “Breaking Through the Black Ceiling” to his memory with a portion of sales of the book going to Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, pending their approval. I also dedicated the Friday, January 24, 2014 broadcast of The FabLife Radio Show to Mark’s memory. Mark and I had made plans for him to be a guest on the show this year. Since that can’t happen, dedicating a show to him and dedicating my book to his memory are the very least that I can do for someone who did so much for me over the last few years.

The Mark England Collection wasn’t just clothes, it was the embodiment of style, grace, class, and haute couture. Mark England took me from pretty to amazing. Mark made cameras flash at me even though photographers had no idea who I was, and often didn’t bother to ask. Mark England gave me a reason to embrace my feminine curves with every dress he made for me and every ensemble he personally selected for me. Mark made me look ten times more confident than I may have felt inside every time I walked into a room or stood before an audience. Mark England will forever be an influence on me and how I do business and what I wear. I thank God I had the chance to have such a wonderfully inspiring person in my life while I did.

If there is someone in your life that means a great deal to you, please take a moment to tell them so. 

 

Detroit Sparkles

It’s not everyday that I can say that I’m extremely proud of Detroiters. However, I am able to say it more often lately. I attended the Sparkle Red Carpet Premiere Party at Emagine Theaters in Royal Oak on August 16, 2012. Thanks to Detroit’s own Bill H. McKinney and Kern Brantley, their Sparkle Team and many enthusiastic supporters, the event turned out fabulously. I enjoyed the live performances by the band from the movie, the Whitney Houston tribute and the opportunity to be in a room full of diverse and talented individuals. Elijah Connor sang [and I do mean SANG] and I was blessed to have a few moments of his time for an interview.

The energy in the room was all positive. People truly enjoyed themselves. As I sang along to Whitney Houston’s hits and songs from the movie, Sparkle as sung by the Sparkle-ettes, I was truly proud of us. I was proud of Bill McKinney, Kern Brantley, and Paula Clark for a phenomenal premiere event, worthy of my Mark England dress.

I also met the founding members of POI Entertainment (Power of Integrity) at the Dipson West River Theatre  for their Sparkle event, where I had the opportunity to interview them live on The Blaqe Rocket Blast Radio Show and find out more about their amazing business enterprise. Power of Integrity is truly a trailblazer and I commend them for their think outside the box, do something different mindset when it comes to business.

Sparkle is a fabulous film, full of good music (courtesy of R. Kelly), well choreographed stage performances (courtesy of Fatima Robinson) with powerhouses in writing, directing and producing behind it including Mara Brock Akil (“Girlfriends“, “The Game“, “Single Ladies“) her husband and partner, Salim Akil, Debra Martin Chase, T.D. Jakes and Whitney Houston, who made her last, and very grand, appearance on the big screen. There were small variations from the original film, but that’s due to creative liberties and those changes didn’t alter the overall film in a negative way. I won’t write a spoiler, so I encourage you to see the film for yourself. And no, Sparkle is not a chick flick. It’s a good movie that happens to have a female lead character, which the movie is titled after. It’s a movie that everyone can relate to or knows someone who can. Plus if you’re from Detroit, you should go see it simply because it gives us the positive light that we deserve. The film was well cast from the stars, to the Frank Lloyd Wright house, and the old school Cadillacs. Even the costume styling was something to be proud of.

We looked good.

Detroit looked good.

This past few days proves one thing if nothing else. We can do better. We can revive our city.

Detroit sparkles, if we give it the positive energy to do so.

View my videos for both events here: Official Super Woman YouTube Channel

Teachable Moments Woven Into Fashion

Walk 5 Fashion Show was this past Saturday at the beautiful Detroit Opera House. The best description I could come up with to describe the show in one word is ratchet. People I spoke to said they got dressed up and paid $50 to stand in line for over an hour waiting to gain entry. The security staff at the Opera House was rude to models in the show and at one point refused to let them enter the building to dress for the show. I was granted press credentials but never received a press pass. I had to figure out where to sit on my own and was also treated rudely by security after being given incorrect instructions as to where I was to enter the show. The staff working for Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals were running around like chickens with their heads cut off; clueless and unable to locate each other.  This is a classic example of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing. Now, they may have been confused as to what capacity I was serving in when I arrived, because I was looking fabulous of course, but that’s why you should provide your press with press passes. That way you will know who is who, where they should sit, etc.

Did I mention the show took place outside? Thank God it didn’t rain and the temperature dropped from scorching hot to hot enough. Otherwise it would’ve been a sweating, hot mess.

The show was supposed to start at 8:30 pm, but in true CPT fashion, it didn’t start until 8:45 pm when the Walk Dancers appeared and performed a loosely choreographed routine featuring Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj songs to open the show. The stage featured a projector that was projecting upside down for the first few minutes of the show until the engineer who had installed it came back with a ladder to correct his snafu. After a very quick welcome by Dominique Reighard (America’s Next Top Model), who did less work than the DJ did, but likely got paid more money, the show finally started with Brickhouse Designs. Walk 5 staff didn’t pass out programs to the audience until 10:30pm so you had to pay very close attention to the projection on the screen against the back of the runway to know who was up next. I may be wrong, but I do believe that programs should have been passed out either upon entry, check in or to people while they were waiting in line.  

There was a performance after the intermission by TraVon, whose mic didn’t get turned on until the song was about 20 seconds in and his voice was barely heard over his pre-recorded track. There were many other sound issues during his performance, but he kept it moving, just like a professional. It was pretty obvious that TraVon is in need of vocal coaching because he couldn’t keep his tone consistent during a live, outdoor performance. It’s also obvious that they failed to do a sound check with him before the show.  

Gwenation saved our eardrums with her performance before the second part of the show began. But due to limited time and the fact that she was supposed to perform a lot earlier, she only sang one song. Manner later took the stage before the final part of the show. He reminds me of a cross between Musiq (when his hair was long), a black version of Justin Bieber and a male version of Nicki Minaj. He was somewhat talented. He was also smart enough to bring two handfuls of his own fans and family to the show (which he referred to as Mannequins) to cheer for him and sing his songs off-key, like it was his own personal concert. This was good because no one else in the audience seemed to know who he was. Nor did them seem to be heavily into his performance.  

One of the models lost her pantyliner on the runway at the beginning of the show, where it remained for at least two more collections. I’m serious. I have it on video. It just slipped right out of her panties and landed on the runway. There were more than enough visible tags, butt cracks, nipples, areolas, bras & panties throughout the show and of course no spanx for those who needed them. Mostly, I saw similar clothes that I’ve had in my closet for the last 5 years versus any new hotness. I was hoping for more haute couture. Instead I was greeted by a lot of been there before. Fashion shows are supposed to introduce you to things upcoming in fashions and trends; not show you clothes you already own. I saw a lot of women in the audience wearing the same clothes that were on the runway. Very little of what was featured during the first 3 rounds was actually “designed“, with the exception of the exquisite bow ties from the Alexander Collection. Mostly the first 3 rounds of so-called designers were actually boutique owners who had clothes that were all sewn and manufactured by someone else, that were sold in their boutiques. Clothes that are DESIGNED don’t have tags and they typically fit the models a lot better. The audience was more excited by seeing the child models strut their cuteness, than they were about any of the clothes.

One of the best designers was Diane Berry. Although she couldn’t save the show from its ratchetness. She’s a talented designer, but she isn’t Jesus. The fourth round of the fashion show should’ve been the first round. By the time real designers took the stage the audience had started to disperse, so a lot of people missed the best part. Beulah Cooley closed the show with her fabulous take on evening wear and I was actually on the road to impressed. But not as much because I had to wait too long to get there.

As hard as I tried not to be critical of the show as a reviewer, they made it too easy for me not to. Jelly’s World and Iced Crystals could have gone to many schools in Metro Detroit to offer an opportunity to up and coming fashion DESIGNERS, who actually draw designs, select fabrics and sew them into clothes that don’t have tags in them and fit the models appropriately. There are so many up and coming fashion designers in Detroit that would’ve loved to showcase real haute couture and show new trends in fashion. Unfortunately, they were somehow passed over for the chance during Walk 5. 

Walk 5 was better than the worst fashion show I’ve seen, which I blogged about in Fashion… Not Forward. However, Walk 5 was nothing compared to the many excellent fashion shows I’ve seen, including Fashion In Detroit. The stage and runway were very nice. Overall I give the whole event a 4 1/2 out of 10. At the end of the show, I couldn’t help but think that I had missed out on home cooked buffalo wings, (Cass Tech Alum) Big Sean and the MJ tribute at Bleu for this fuckery. The most exciting part of the night was when the fireworks went off at Comerica park and lit up the night sky.

This critique is all about the teachable moments in the show. It’s not meant to make anyone look bad, but instead point out areas of improvement to make the Walk Fashion Show better than it was and has been since its inception. It’s also a teachable moment for anyone aspiring to have a fashion show in the near future. We’re so easily pacified by mediocrity in Detroit that it really saddens me. If we keep supporting the mediocre, that’s all anyone will ever give us. And those of us that work hard to step up the game, never get recognized for it, because everyone wants the same thing they had before. To truly be successful, we have to be willing to get ahead of the curve instead of behind the eight ball. The way we do that is by being more creative and forward thinking, not by imitating what’s already been done. Walk 6 is scheduled for December 2012. Hopefully it will be indoors (huge bugs, the size of birds, swooped down at the audience at one point) and showcase something other than a lot of clothes people are already wearing.

~ When you know better you do better.

*The views of this blog are strictly those of Super Woman and not anyone else’s. You’re entitled to attend whichever events you’d like and formulate your own opinion about them. It is your money. However, at Super Woman Productions and Publishing, one of our goals is to provide higher quality events for those who prefer them. A model search is forthcoming for Sequins and Suits, on August 16, at Crave Lounge. The designer is Mark England*