Tag Archives: offensive

Teachable Moments Woven Into Fashion – Part 2

Lights…camera…fashionand teachable moments. Rip The Runway Detroit Style took place last Thursday at The Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan. It was modeled off of the hit fashion show that airs yearly on BET, also called Rip The Runway. The organizer spent two years putting together the event, and she made a commendable effort.  However, she missed some small, yet very key elements to keep her event from being viewed as unprofessional by many of the veterans  in fashion who attended with expectations of something grand. The will call list vanished. This is never good. People who pay money may not want the hassle of keeping up with their tickets and prefer will call because they expect to be able to enter the event without issues. This was not the case. Many seats in front of the stage were empty, yet the back of the theater was full. Whenever you have empty chairs towards the front, it’s customary to invite people sitting towards the back to fill those empty seats. This is particularly important for televised or video recorded events because it gives the illusion of a full house, even if there isn’t one. The NBA does this all the time for basketball games that don’t sell out but are being televised. It’s a free upgrade that is mutually benefiting to the organizer and the patron.

There were too many lags between designers being presented. The Rip The Runway fashion show that is held by BET is edited after the live event to accommodate for commercials. However, the live event is a steady and consistent stream of performers and models. In between, the hosts should fill the time until they are prompted for the next segment to begin. Although veteran DJ Gary Chandler played music during the lag times, it was annoying to people who came to see a fashion show, not a DJ. There were times when you had no idea who the designers or performers were because the monitors weren’t displaying the information and they weren’t properly introduced. This created a lot of “who IS that?” conversation among the audience. Comedian Coolaide and Horace H.B. Sanders hosted the event and were pretty funny, which kept people entertained, however was still annoying to those who came to see a fashion show, not a comedy show.

I heard a lot of complaints about the design of the set. The set was a huge brick wall that resembled a rooftop, with graffiti that wasn’t very artistically done, and two doors for the entertainers to walk out of. There were trash cans on the set, with simulated “garbage” on the floors, which were marked to resemble streets, and street signs posted on poles on both sides of the stage. The street signs didn’t seem to be an issue with anyone because they had the names of the designers and stores on them (clever). However, the trash cans, brick wall and simulated “garbage” came across as offensive because it saidSo, this is what you think Detroit looks like?”  It was one of those concepts that required more due diligence prior to execution. Much like the owners of Biggby Coffee calling themselves Beaners when they first opened, or the JS Roundhouse Mids from Adidas that had chains around the ankles. Everything that we think is new hotness at the time, could be offensive to others if we’re not careful. I also heard a lot of quips about the clothes themselves. The complaint was that most of the clothes were too plain and were clothes that people either already own and were wearing. Sound familiar? People attending the show were more fashionably dressed than the models were. When you produce a fashion show, it’s not always about what you like; you have to consider your audience and what they may like as well.  

Some of the rappers who performed passed out their cds to the crowd before or after their performances. Instead, it would’ve been a better idea to have the performers provide their cds to the event organizer by a specified date so they could be included in the VIP gift bags, since the gifts bags were empty. Yes, I said empty. Large, gold, sparkly gift bags with two fliers inside were passed out to VIP attendees. VIP attendees were also given beverages in fast food cups with lids and straws. Yet, if you bought a drink from the bar, you received a more tasteful cup to drink it from. What’s the point in being a VIP if you have to drink from a fast food cup?

One of the better performances of the night took place by John Brown. Having been blessed to have heard John Brown sing a capella, I can attest to his vocal talent. John seemed in his element on the stage, without over shadowing what was taking place around him. John put on a show. It would’ve been nice if some of the other performers had put on a show during their time on stage as well. It’s what we’ve grown to expect from Rip The Runway.  

This may seem to some as me being critical. Those of you who know me, know that I don’t get paid for my opinion therefore I’m not obligated to lie. This review includes actual feedback that I received from veterans in the fashion industry that were in the room, not just my opinion. It is constructive criticism which is necessary, and should be welcomed, when you are attaching your name to something that is synonymous with style. Although a good attempt was made, it could’ve been better. This wasn’t the worst fashion show I’ve seen. There were two others that come to mind that were worse than Rip The Runway Detroit Style. I will also commend this event for taking place at an indoor theater, with air conditioning, that had kind, professional and considerate staff. The Fillmore is a very nice facility and their staff should be commended for the work they did to assist with the event overall.

Again, you are welcome to formulate your own opinions when it comes to fashion shows in Detroit. I truly believe that in all of our business ventures and creative productions, we need to raise our standards and our personal expectations, and stop being afraid of doing something different. New is not a bad word. We also have to know our strengths and develop our teams based on who possesses the qualities and abilities that we may lack.  Just because you have been a model, it doesn’t mean you can produce a fashion show or design the clothes. Sometimes we have to stop being too proud and ask people who have more experience with the production aspect to become involved. There are a lot of people in the fashion industry in Detroit, who are subject matter experts. They have made or witnessed mistakes so that you don’t have to. Hire them. Ask them to consult on your event. If you’re putting on any kind of show, hold a dress rehearsal and video record it so that you can watch and see what people attending will also see. This will give you the opportunity to make adjustments and improvements to protect your brand. In the end you’re likely to have a better production that you will be proud to have viewed by the entire world.

~ When you know better, you do better.

Click here to watch a clip of John Brown’s performance and the Rip The Runway Detroit Style Show

Here I go fighting with Facebook…again

Over the last few years, I developed a small following of individuals on Facebook and on some other social networking sites.  A lot of it is solely for the purpose of networking for The Brand, some of it is entertaining and some of it is actually social. Of my current 1,800 Facebook friends, I probably know 10% of them personally and another 10% I’ve met casually or are acquainted with outside of Facebook. Over the past several months, Facebook has implemented their own form of “Community Standards” that allow people to anonymously complain about people’s pictures and wall posts that they find “offensive or inappropriate”. It covers things such as harassment and (Facebook) identity theft also. What I’ve found is a) it’s just another tool for haters to hate, and b) it’s not protecting anyone from actual harm. Young adults are still being bullied via Facebook and there are still hate mongers, racists and plenty of inappropriate and offensive things slipping through the cracks because the haters only care about reporting what they think needs to be reported, not what protects society as a whole.

Recently, for the second time, someone reported one of my photos as “sexually explicit” and “inappropriate”. The photo they were referring to is actually the back cover of “The Goodie Bag”. In the photo I’m wearing a bra and panties, with black stilettos while laying across and bed with a gorgeous male model holding one of my legs. My breasts, my behind and my vagina are not visible at all. There’s no kissing, touching or hugging taking place in the photo. My body is barely touching the male model’s. It’s a beautiful picture of me. The photo is sexy without being overtly sexual and it speaks to the tone of “The Goodie Bag”, while it leaves something to the imagination. If someone thinks the photo is more than that, it’s their opinion and they are entitled to it. Just like I’m entitled to look fabulous in the photo. The truth is, the pictures inside of “The Goodie Bag” are a lot sexier and the language is completely sexually explicit. It’s erotic fiction; it’s supposed to be. I know that it was likely a hater who reported the photo because they don’t have anything better to do. I can’t wait to see how they will react when the pictures forThe Goodie Bag II” come out.

***yes, there are haters everywhere…including on Facebook***

Once again I find it completely hilarious, and hypocritical, that someone thinks that one of the best pictures of me on Facebook is “inappropriate” with all the near naked women in thong-kinis all over that very same social network. Some of these other women go so far to gain attention that they actually “tag”  people in their photos forcing innocent people to have someone else’s nakedness displayed all over their wall for all of their friends and relatives to see without prior knowledge or consent. You have to be a “friend” to see my pictures, unless you “like” my fan page. If you “like” my fan page, you know what the purpose of it is and there’s no need to report anything because you’ve made a conscious choice to be included in the content by willingly clicking the button. No one forced you into it. No one “tagged” you into it without your knowledge of consent. You made a choice. If you don’t like it, don’t look. Pun intended.

We have the freedom of choice. Or so I thought. But Mark Zuckerberg and his Facebook developers seem to think that they have more freedom of choice than the users of Facebook. Now that Zuckerberg is a gazillionaire, you can’t add him as a Facebook friend. You can’t send him a message to his inbox, you can’t tag him in a post or picture, you can’t write on his wall or ask him to join a group. He has been stalked into hiding from the rest of us. But he hasn’t done much to protect users like us from being stalked. He has made himself completely untouchable via the social network that he created (or stole, depending on which version of the story you decide to believe). However, he’s constantly making decisions for Facebook users that compromise our right to choose for ourselves. What’s with people being able to add you to a group without you knowing what the group is about? According to Facebook, only your friends can add you to a group. But it’s hell to remove yourself from these groups. The option isn’t even available for mobile Facebook users. It must be done from a computer. That’s not fun.

I’m am constantly and randomly being added to groups by my “friends”. Usually it is the “friends” that I don’t actually know personally or am not acquainted with outside of Facebook or they’d know I don’t want to be a member of a group I know absolutely nothing about. There’s nothing wrong with creating a group to market your product of service, supporting your beliefs or charity, but the beautiful thing about consumerism is that people get to select where they go for their products and services. The beautiful thing about America is that we can all have our own beliefs and support our own charities without being forced to participate in someone else’s.  As a consumer you get to opt out of unwanted emails or be placed on “do not send” lists. Facebook groups are not like that. The creator or any member of a group can “add” any of their Facebook friends to that group without any forewarning.  You find out you’re a member by notification. It’s like walking into a game of Russian Roulette that you didn’t know was taking place, and someone puts the gun to your head, pulls the trigger and *bang!* you’re a member of their group. Every time I get an email notification from Facebook I feel like I got jumped into an online gang. I get bombarded with other people’s opinions, thoughts and ideas through my personal assistant at all times of day and night. Some stuff is interesting, but for the most part it’s an overload of information that I don’t have the time or patience to read or understand. I don’t get to turn it off  immediately. No, that would be too convenient. I have to go to my computer and click “Leave Group”. Then I get threatened again with a message that says if I leave the group I’ll have to be invited in order to return to it. Doesn’t that sound a lot like a gang? Or even the mafia?

I don’t know which is worse, how Facebook allows haters to harass people using their “Community Standards” as a tool of suppression, or how they allow groups to target people at random for mandatory participation. All I know is that if I created a group and forced people to participate, someone, somewhere would complain and I’d be threatened by Facebook – again. Well, while Mark Zuckerberg sits in his Ivory Tower away from us peasants, passing his Facebook laws, I will continue to do whatever I like and post my pictures on my Facebook page, regardless of who does or doesn’t like it. You do not have to be my Facebook friend. It is your choice. I, unlike others, won’t force anyone to participate by adding them to a picture or group that they aren’t actually in or want to be a part of. I respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves, whether I agree with their choices or not. 

I’ve also decided that regardless of how many haters complain, I’ll remove my incredibly beautiful photos from“The Goodie Bag” when Facebook bans all of the haters, pedophiles, porn stars, naked wanna-be-models, racists and bullies from Facebook. So take your time and enjoy the photos. And if you want to know what all the fuss is about, purchase a copy of “The Goodie Bag” here.