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Tis the Season


Style Editor Missy Mickens Please welcome fellow Pratt Alum Missy Mickens as or brand new Style Editor she is also the Managing Web Editor for Harlem's Fashion Row as well ad the Contributing Writer for Gen Art and Global Grind. She is Arts Administrator, Tech/Performance Art Panelist for BAC. We are excited to have her onboard and look forward to her sharing her fabulous findings of emerging designers.



200 Lexington Avenue


,Suite 1216, NYC


Bonjour Les Amis! As we approach the end of another glorious year, one must sit back and take account of all of the wonderful achievements that we as minority designers have made individually. However, it is crucial that we do not allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of complacency when there are many strides that must be taken to advance within our fields collectively. For example, interior design education has failed to address the issues surrounding cultural diversity among its practitioners who serve a very multifarious population. Long dominated by Eurocentric ideas, it has continued to reinforce generalizations that devalue the role of nonWestern social, cultural, aesthetics, and other creative traditions that shape the built environments we inhabit. As a designer and educator, it is my wish to draw attention to an understudied area of cultural diversity in design pedagogy as a whole.

we promote. Our agenda is simple- promote and celebrate the minority design professional as a means to drive diversity in the industry’s workforce. We believe that the design industry will never truly flourish until its community embraces diversity as a whole. The proof of our argument weighs heavily on the consequences of there being no meaningfully diversity among most of the top A&E firms and fashion houses. As a result, society not only suffers the loss of social and cultural capital but also economic opportunities globally. Therefore our focus is to provide inspirational stories to aid in the development to the minority design professional as a means to help them reach their full potential. Until next year‌shalom y’all.

Tameka Pierre-Louis, Allied Member ASID Editor-In-Chief of Le Rapport Minoritaire

real talk Over the last four years, 53 % of black wealth has just disappeared.

How will that effect the minority design-build professional?

The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from 2009. These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009. The Pew Research analysis found that, in percentage terms, the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among black households, compared with just 16% among white households.

As a result of these declines, the typical black household had just $5,677 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2009; the typical Hispanic household had $6,325 in wealth; and the typical white household had $113,149. This recession has diminished minority wealth which has underscored the threat of the minority design professional’s ability to survive or even effectively compete. The CAP report provides some evidence that African Americans may be experiencing the phenomenon known as “first fired, last hired� that has been seen in other recessions.

Professors of Management at UNC’s KenanFlagler Business School, revealed that money leaves the African-American community from their respective metropolitan areas and counties when certain goods and services cannot be found there, thus leaving black consumer needs unmet. This is called “economic leakage” which ultimately results in blacks being simply overlooked in terms of marketing consumer goods. The Jewish dollar circulates almost 10 times within the Jewish community before it reaches the outside. The Asian dollar circulates almost 6 times within the Asian community before it reaches the outside. The Italian dollar circulates within its community for 24 days while the African-American dollar only circulates within its community for 6 hours. It does not even circulate one full day within its own community. That is sad.

According to the November jobs report from the Labor Department, records indicated that the economy is continuing to grow but at a slow pace. The unemployment rate for Blacks was 15.5 percent, slightly higher than October’s rate of 15.1 percent. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, its lowest in more than two years. However, Georgia Tech economist ,Thomas Boston, has predicted that there will continue to be little or no change. Though unemployment is not just a “black problem” it has clearly effected minorities disproportionately. No matter how swiftly or slowly the economy grows, Boston laments, it will be a very long time before there is any significant decline in the African-American unemployment rate. Perhaps the only way that this can be remedied is if the Kwanza principle of Ujamaa is possibly explored, a concept explored during the pre-civil rights era. Before you “grab your pearls” consider this, in a recent study developed by John D. Kasarda and James H. Johnson, Jr., both Kenan Distinguished

At the beginning of the twentieth century, even after the devastating political and economic losses that followed the Reconstruction Era, the black community of Tulsa – Greenwood – had extremely limited contact with the white community of Tulsa, but the black community was still able to build considerable wealth. Any dollars that came into the black community would circulate there for a period of up to 3 years before being shared with the white community.”. As more people attempt to come back into the labor market, there will be more competition and Blacks may continue to be the last to be hired. We have to stop the leak.

rooms that inspire

As the holiday continues to unfold many of us will look to creating great family memories through our holiday dĂŠcor. Whether you choose to create your own or buy pieces from the market, you can never go wrong with usual the traditional color themes or red and green, blue and white or even monochromatic palettes in silver and gold. The key is to go with pieces you look and that represent what you believe in, in a metaphorical sense, and that simply bring you joy. One of the easiest ways this can be achieved is through your use of ornaments. Take note of the photo on the right. This fabulous look can be achieved by purchasing some generic wooden starts from your local arts and crafts store and spraying the forms with a gold glitter. Follow that by applying faux jewels and tassels with a hot glue gun.

Things to Cop

Founded in 2010, daf.nei , this hip line of unique hand-made accessories are all the new rave. The line is indicative of the owner’s travels to her native country, Haiti, where she works with a group of independent Haitian artisans to bring the craftsmanship and stunning creativity of this amazing culture to the fashionable streets of New York and the world beyond. The line offers up a fantastic selection of only one of a kind pieces for your wardrobe and home. Their fabulous handbags (shown above) are assembled, sewn, and beaded by hand, with visible stitches marking the uniqueness and charm of each piece. Their exquisite hand-painted decorative bottles are covered with sequins and beads for your delight. They are perfect for your home and office, and also great gifts. These pieces represent Haiti's vibrant, distinct culture and will beautify any space. The artisans use repurposed bottles for these unique art pieces.

All of the artisans work from their homes or from a collective atelier ran by fellow artisans. None of the artisans work in sweatshop settings and all are paid at a fair-trade price. Speaking of price points, their handbags range from $105 to as much as $235 Not bad, huh? But please don’t take my word for it, visit their website and see for yourself.

Morado Bolivian rosewood bowls, Kente holiday cards From Unicef and leopard Christmas ornament from Etsy.

in the stash Many of you may not know this but our fabulous Diva Supreme of the month, Ms. Patti LaBelle is not only an amazing vocalist but a bonafide cook, chile. In fact, she is known for whipping up a meal or two for her band on her tour bus from time to time. Well, honey-chile, let it also be known that she has her own line of hot sauce and if you love a spice or two like me, it aims to please. Check out her website and by a bottle or two today. It’s finger lickin’ good!

lrm gear

bringing sexy back

RICK ROSS The meteoric rise of Rick Ross “Tha Boss” over the past three years has been nothing short of ah-mazing! All we can say is that if you don’t know, you better ask somebody or simply download is last two albums or listen to his features on the hottest hip-hop tracks in rotation and you’ll quickly realize -he’s dope.


editor’s pick

Grammy-award winning author, Patti Labelle , shares her scrumptious recipes in her New York Time’s bestselling , LaBelle Cuisine.

If you haven’t sat down and looked at the renowned, The Color Purple, then you are surely doing yourself a real disservice. The film spawned the careers of some of the most prominent black entertainers to date, such as Whoopi Goldberg and the unconquerable Oprah Winfrey. Based upon the novel written by Pulitzer-prize winning, Alice Walker, it is set in a southern oasis of drama sure to rev up some tears from the toughest critic. It has since been adapted into a Tony award winning play starring, American Idol winner, Fantasia. All of my picks are available at today.

Cooking extrodianire, B. Smith offers up great dishes in her uberpopular book, B. Smith Cooks Southern Style.


notable charities

Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jen and more attended Hope Help & Relief Haiti – A Night Of Humanity at Urban Zen in New York. The celebs were there to raise funds to sent tents and supplies for Haiti earthquake relief.

Out of Africa

If you’ve ever opened up any other shelter magazine you would easily have come across an editorial or two featuring the look of the safari lifestyle. This aesthetic has also been used time and time again by heavyweights like Ralph Lauren for numerous fashion campaigns. With that being said, it is obviously a chic look and is not for the faint at heart. It is rich in color and texture; and exudes a well-traveled feel. So we, at Le Rapport Minoritaire, are going to show you how to achieve this daring look in your home, if you have the heart to try it. Remember, be bold and “go hard or go home”- you get the point.

Celebrating Minorities In Design- Unapologetically


Chandelier and Wingback Chairs Available at Ethan Allen

Chris Madden curtains Available at JC Penny

Zebra Rug Available at Ballard Designs

Watch the Throne Saint-Denis native, Michel Haillard is known for creating astonishing mastery in his furniture. His passion for objects and sculpture comes from his years of studying the decorative arts before exploring a brief stint as a model maker in advertising. Since then the fruits of his exploration and research, for which he calls his own “Tribal Pursuit”, have laid way for his passion for the exotic. His use of a combination of the naturalness of raw materials, horns or teeth of various origins, leopard, crocodile and zebra skins has already delighted several generations of hunters, with an unfettered imagination and an obvious nostalgia for pomp and irony. His unrelenting “Tribal Pursuit” is both coherent creation, deliberately sustained, of the unexpected and the strange, whilst being tribal through its haughtily aristocratic character and at the same time keeping an unavowed and underlying conscious sense of excess. Haillard is without doubt a great and amazing artist. His knack for transmuting the natural objects that he employs into new functions is uncanny. Let’s take a peek into this creative guru’s mind.

people to watch

african genius

Tanzanian born British architect , David Adjaye, recently was elected as the 2011 Designer of the Year by Design Miami at their annual design fair. He made his name by creating spare, geometric houses for art-world clients, showing a keen understanding of how architecture can serve as a community's social glue through an African sensibility. His best designs are reveal tactile qualities and the use of various textures of materials that allow the play of light - that engage the viewer physically and mentally and bring architecture to life. Adjaye, who graduated from the Royal College of Art, worked in the office of David Chipperfield, the London architect whose reputation rests on designing reassuringly clean minimalist structures for riskaverse clients before opening his own practice in 1994. He started out by renovating bars, cafes and private residences then expanded his clientele beyond London to include Berlin and New York.

Mr. Adjaye is also known for his colorful and eclectic designs for the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, as well as for the homes and studios he has designed for artists and celebrity clients like Alexander McQueen and Ewan McGregor. When asked about the strong social influences in his work he says that he relates architecture as being “excavated of its social and political potential” yet still empty. “Architecture in itself is not an act of politics, but it can form …the ideas that we have for society and politics. Our ideas about a civilized world are manifested through the architecture we make. So when I’m designing a market building, I’m thinking about how people relate to each other and what that means in the society that we live in. That informs how the building is made. And ideas about access and personal freedoms are embedded in the building.

“Art visualizes very important things that are happening in the culture. The visual arts are usually the first to manifest them in some kind of form or gesture. I find that really stimulating. We help each other: when things shift in architecture, it influences art; and when things shift in art, it informs architecture in a very immediate way. Technology also has an impact, but art gives us the language that we move forward with.� -David Adjaye

According to a recent New York Times article, Adjaye described his structure as “a glorified gazebo.” But it’s more than just a gazebo. It is a miniature piece of architecture. “It’s an object that acts from the exterior like a sculpture, but when you come close, you realize that it displays the traits of architecture an opening, which is a doorway; seating; a window; a skylight .” But looking at it closely , one would not easily be able to recognize them as those things. The structure looks like a grid of timbers that has had a form digitally routed out of it. He says that, “It’s really all about how a computer can allow you to sculpt material and space in new ways. I call it a piece of archi-furniture, because it’s neither a piece of furniture nor a piece of architecture.” The piece looks like something out of a science-fiction novel. It really is “living sculpture”. It is indicative of the ongoing wave of the use of sustainable materials design.

Adjaye has been working on several library and education programs at the Idea Store Whitechapel was that at the library, the numbers were dwindling. We built a new building in the right context for the community. We moved it from an institutional place to a place that was very close to commerce. We worked with the library team to allow it to have an incredible platform of programs where single mothers could leave their kids, and developed a way in which the building could have adult education classes, etc. We found that we had a huge spectrum of the community, from young kids through to older people, just hanging out, spending their afternoons in the library and catching up with people. The library’s numbers are four times what they expected. Something happens when you make buildings more open, more accessible, less hierarchical and less formal.

He has been working on a project for Smithsonian Institute at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (in Washington, ,D.C..) for the past three years. He affectionately dubs it as a “dream commission”. The contribution of the African-American community as it relates to the definition of their role in America is finally being recognized on the National Mall. The building will take cues from the incredible evolution of their presence in this country. But . he says, “It’s also a space for discovery. It is a building that allows the American people to discover their history in a very direct way. Seeing American history through the lens of the African-American community is really going to surprise people.” The building will be reminiscent of an 19th and early 20th century Yoruba sculpture. It will be open in 2015. See? A sheer genius!


South Carolina native, Rashon Carraway, began blogging under the alias Mr. Goodwill Hunting in 2009 as a way of sharing his love of thrifting with the world. As a renter in New York, he felt the need to personalize his space without spending a lot of money. As his blog audience grew, he began to open up more about his decorating process, sharing his fantastic finds along the way. He owns a lifestyle firm, Rashon Carraway Designs, that specializes in helping clients live their best life through thrifting. He is also a wardrobe consultant and event planner. Rashon originally made a guest appearance on the Nate Berkus in January 2011. After a warm reception he was invited back several times during the season before eventually he became a regular guest during season two. In the summer of 2011 Rashon created I Love Thrifting Day bringing people together from all over the country to shop and the spread the word about thrifting.

Being the consummate professional that he is, Rashon has several new projects in the woodworks. What’s next on his agenda you ask? Well, July 7, 2012 is “I <3 Thrifting Day” worldwide! We will be sure to remind you all so everyone can participate.

Rashonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion for thrifting could not come at a better time given the state of the economy. People still crave good design on a budget. Perhaps that is the key to his ever-growing popularity. He describes his style as classic preppy with a modern edge which is evident in the spaces he creates. Check out his latest thrifted finds s on his blog , Mr. Goodwill Hunting. You won't believe the amazing steals he finds.

Rashon recently shared how he decorated his home for the holidays on his popular blog. The chic application of the tartan plaid laid delicately over his masculine wing chairs â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;offer the perfect symmetry in a room splashed with little essences of red. The bold black lamp shades top of the elegant brass lamps that he picked up during one of his shopping expedition. When asked on what the most practical investments to update a space he says that fabric and lighting are the best bets. Note the handsome signature bow tie available on his online shop.

the legendary

mavens of all time". And she is. She is our “Martha (Stewart)”. Her brand has continuously been at the forefront of a trans cultural movement. Her unique ability to merge cultures through a shared appreciation for style. is unparalleled. Smith regularly offers advice to television and radio audiences and avid cooks who enjoy reading her recipes books. She is a renowned restaurateur and home décor authority. B. Smith is a force of nature!

Washington, D.C. B. (Barbara) Smith was born in Pennsylvania on August 24, 1949. Her mother was a maid and her father was a steelworker. She began her career using her initial in the 1970's when she phoned in for appointments at the prestigious Wilhelmina agency, she was the second African-American to grace the cover of Mademoiselle magazine, in 1976 and from there went on to grace the covers of 15 magazines before investing in a Manhattan restaurant in the mid-1980's. She later became a partner in that restaurant, and now owns two more outright -- one at Union Station, in Washington, and the other on the wharf in Sag Harbor. Her book ''B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends,'' published in 1995, was among the first on entertaining by a black author. B. Smith is a pioneer . Her success in the lifestyle category is indicative of how her talents and expertise span a wide range of specialties. The New York Daily News, once hailed her as “one of the most important African American style

''Her restaurants are the black '21' clubs, the places to see and be seen,'' says Lawrence Otis Graham, author of ''Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class.'' ''People know that if they go there, they're going to run into the right people, the black folks you know from the

New York

Smith Sag Harbor restaurant reflect the sophistication of the nautical style associated with the golden coast of Long Island.

Links and the Boule and Jack and Jill,'' the exclusive black clubs. Smith certainly does not fit into the traditional image of black caterers and restaurateurs like Sylvia Woods of Sylvia's, in Harlem, or Leah Chase of Dooky Chase, in New Orleans. Her face can be seen on Betty Crocker and Pillsbury products and, in addition to a recent TV commercial for MercedesBenz, she currently serves as spokesperson for Colgate Palmolive Oxy products and in the past, McCormick's Lawry seasonings. A respected expert in affordable-yet-elegant living, B. Smith brings style to everything she does. For nearly a decade, she hosted the nationally syndicated/cable lifestyle television show "B. Smith with Style," that aired on NBC stations in more than 90% of the U.S. and in 40 countries. Her effervescent personality and creative ideas has been shared with audiences via her numerous appearances on programs such as "Good Morning America," "The Today Show" and "The View." Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s featured on the radio twice a week in vignettes called â&#x20AC;&#x153;B. Smart

Tips for a Better Life" which is aired in New York on the popular WBLS-FM.

Smith extends her lifestyle expertise as the owner of three successful B. Smith restaurants. Recognized by Elle DĂŠcor as one of America's ten most outstanding non-professional chefs, she opened her first restaurant in 1986; her longtime establishments currently include those on Restaurant Row in New York; in the historic Beaux-Arts Union Station in Washington, D.C. and the scenic Long Island Hampton village of Sag Harbor. Smith's flair for dĂŠcor can be seen in the ambiance of her restaurants. This notion led to the development of her first home collection, which debuted at Bed Bath & Beyond in Spring 2001. The B. Smith with Style Home Collection is the first line from an African-American woman to be sold at a nationwide retailer. The line includes affordable duvet and comforter sets, coordinated sheets, decorative pillows, window treatments as well as includes bedding (duvet and comforter sets, coverlets, quilts, coordinated sheets, decorative pillows, window treatments) as well as tabletop, bath ensembles and area rugs, doormats, wall art, candles, bathroom furniture, and paper products. She expanded he line into specialty serveware, in 2004 brining her collection a total of over 300 sku's. From

duvets to doormats, B's line continues to grow with a variety of pieces for entertaining and home design. At the 2009 October High Point Market Show B. Smith introduced the B.Smith Home Collection featuring case goods and occasional furniture collections from Hammary Furniture, a division of Lay-ZBoy and upholstered furniture with Miles Talbot. The B. Smith Collection also features area rugs from Surya and wall art from Picture Source.

Having long been saddled with the inevitable, moniker ''the black Martha Stewart,'' the flip side to her success is the unfortunate reality of her inability to capitalize on her core constituency (the Black elite) while broadening it. When Smith's TV show, entered its third year it was in 207 markets nationwide and relished an audience that is 75 percent white and 25 percent black. That statistic made a compelling argument for Smith and Gasby to explore a potential partner for a new magazine. However, convincing others to but into the venture wasn't so easy. ''There is the assumption,'' Gasby says, ''that because Barbara is black, she will only appeal to blacks. People follow what she does; she's beautiful; she's got charisma. And then you sit and talk to executives and you get the sense they're thinking: 'But she's black. I don't know if she's going to appeal to a wider group.' And you say, 'She's done it in the restaurant business, on the TV show.' You have to say the same thing 50 times differently -- this is not a black magazine.'â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; But there may inlay the problem. She is also a coveted speaker who over the past few years took part in the prestigious Harvard Business Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dynamic Women in Business Conference and has been honored with several other awards for her contributions to the field . Smith and her husband/ business partner Dan Gasby have proudly produced four specials for TV One, the lifestyle/entertainment cable network for African-Americans. Her beloved TV Show, The Very Best of B Smith with Style will launched on PBS nationwide in 2010.


le prodigy

Kevin A. Williams, commonly known as WAK (his initials in reverse) is a self-taught artist who, as a child, became fascinated with painting. Over the years he has developed a very refined figurative painting style that utilizes acrylic and sometimes airbrush techniques. He has developed a large and loyal following in the 12 years since he entered the art market with the release of his first reproduction in 1995 of the print entitled “Taking her Back”. In addition to being arguably the top-selling artist in the Black print market, his inspirational and romantic themed prints have been featured in numerous films and television shows including “Law and Order” and “Soul Food”. He has also been included in publications such as Essence and Upscale magazines. He’s taken a ‘pass’ on formal galleries or exhibits – but it’s a path he is comfortable with. In fact, his collection of 50 lithograph prints – created under the “WAK Artistry” signature – is the most widely circulated urban fine arts series in the nation. Diverse in their themes, the art is painted by Williams in mixed mediums, and then produced as lithographs in various limited – and

broad – edition quantities. Williams also creates a number of commissioned works annually. “I could do the wine-and-cheese events, but is that my calling?” I believe that my calling is more to the masses, to introduce them to art in a quality, creative, positive way. If they evolve into people who love art, and then start to collect art, I want it to be because something pure in my work caught their attention. If that has happened – if they’ve fallen for the pure message in my work – then my mission is accomplished. He has enjoyed significant commissions including Motions, the hair-care company , Oprah Winfrey and the late actor/ comedian Bernie Mac. Kevin Williams lives and operates his fine arts publishing company WAKART LLC in the Atlanta area. It’s surprising to hear this 21st century businessman reveal his old-school philosophy that is the inspiration behind his art. “The velvet painting you saw in basements in the 70s…,” he oozes, as if he’s carefully revealing a secret. “I can remember my parents and their basement parties, and the LPs, and the Afro-centric sculptures and all the blackness…“The 70s seemed like a time of such sensuality and independence for black people to me,” he said. “My early art definitely leans toward that sensuality touched with Greek mythology – a sort of ‘soul gothic’ inspired by black power and Michelangelo.” Williams says that the independence of Black people in the 70s that he so admired is right in line with the independence contemporary artists seek. “Today, we have the freedom to create more expressive art that isn’t censored or restricted at all.”

les arts

It’s impressive to watch the Ailey dancers in this first season under Robert Battle. According to a recent review in The New York Times, the company “is dancing with a new kind of beauty. “ This technical powerhouse now casts a soft glow that suggests a fresh layer of composure. The season continues through Jan. 1 at City Center, 131 West 55th Street, Manhattan; (212) 5811212, Support the arts today.


Style maven, Andre Leon Talley grew up during the pre-civil rights era of the South. Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, at a time when the lives of blacks were severely challenging due to the horrific Jim Crow laws. Such constraints were met with silence but also a measure of pride and dignity. Talley once sat down for lengthy interview with his friend, Italian designer Miuccia Prada, for the November issue of Interview back in 2003, where he recalled how for a long time his grandmother would not allow white people to come into their house. “That was her rule. The only white man who ever came into the house was the coroner." He attended all-black schools in Durham and regards his junior high school French teacher as another profound influence on his life and later in his career. However, he gravitated toward fashion early in his teens when he discovered first copy of Vogue in the local library. "Vogue was my hobby, and no one in my family ever had a copy

of the magazine in the house until I did." His passion for fashion grew as he rush to finish chores every Sundays after church. “I'd wash the dishes, walk to the white part of town … to the newsstand that was open on Sundays. That was my big joy." When Talley is asked where he seemed to have gotten his unerring sense of style, he always credits Vogue , his grandmother and her world surrounding Sunday ‘s at church. "You couldn't open your mouth unless you were told to speak, so you just sat there and you just had to observe," he once told the Houston Chronicle'. "You saw beautiful images of women, beautiful church hats and gloves. These were not people of great means and wealth, but they had the most wonderful style- especially on Sundays.“

Whether you recognize his name or not, you can always easily find his face on the pages of Vogue and other fashion-centric publications. Talley has been a front-row regular at fashion shows in New York, Paris, London and Milan for more than 25 years. Talley's 6 ‘7” imposing frame has often been photographed in colorful, wellmade clothes, some of them custom items. He claims to have dressed somewhat eccentrically even in high school, though he did try to fit in. "When you're a teenager from a small town and you are different, you are victimized by people's criticism and the way they look at you," he told Prada in the Interview article. "That was a problem in high school, so I tried to conform a bit; but mostly I just stayed to myself." That changed when he left home for the first time and moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to attend Brown University. He had won a scholarship to the Ivy League school, and planned on a career as French teacher, just like his junior high role model. He also befriended a raft of creative types from the nearby Rhode Island School of Design, one of the most prestigious art schools.

writes of extensively in A.L.T., hired him to serve as her assistant in her role as director of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for which she staged lavish, trendsetting exhibitions. Talley went on to work for Interview, the New York Times, and other publications before finally landing at Vogue himself as its fashion news director in 1983. Five years later, he was named its creative director, and wielded tremendous power in the fashion world with that title. He managed to use his position to champion the work of up-and-coming AfricanAmerican designers, including Stephen Burrows and Patrick Robinson, and also reminded designers that they could stand to add more black models in their runway shows and advertising campaigns. As he told Prada in the Interview piece, "sometimes when I sit and watch a fashion show I get totally wrapped up in what is in front of me, in the fantasy of it and what it might mean to the person who will be wearing the clothes. Then the show's over, and I realize there has not been one person of color on the runway!“

After earning his master's degree in French studies, Talley moved to New York City and began moving in a heady, fashionable, and avant-garde arty scene, whose denizens included Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger. At the time, there were few African Americans in that crowd, and even fewer in fashion journalism, where he began as a reporter for Women's Wear Daily at the age of 28. Only at that first job, he conceded, did he encounter racism, "from the female staffers at WWD, who were very insecure about who I was," he told Constance C.R. White in an Essence interview years later. "I just kept going. I once overheard someone say, 'Why is [Chanel designer] Karl Lagerfeld writing to him? What common interest could they have?' I met Karl Lagerfeld through Andy Warhol in 1975. We became friends and still are.“

His most famous pairings of late have been with designers Tracy Reese, Rachel Roy, and singer/actress Jennifer Hudson. He is known as a very close friend of pop diva Mariah Carey, fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons, and tennis star Venus Williams. In 2007, he was ranked 45th in Out magazine's "50 Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America". Talley has an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Savannah College of Art and Design, where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Talley eventually became a protégé of Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue from 1962 to 1971. Vreeland, a famous tastemaker and style icon whom Talley also

Mr. Talley, a longtime contributing editor of Vogue and a board member at the college, has recruited major designers like Miuccia Prada, Tom Ford and Manolo Blahnik to appear there over the years, and now he is helping to build a costume collection that will include many of his own archives and donations from friends. The first exhibition will focus on iconic designs by past recipients of the ALT Lifetime Achievement awards, which the college presents at a fashion show for its graduating class each year.

innovateurs Tracey Reese

holidays. “In my home, it is Africa. Being African is a state of’s not where you're at. I could live in Alaska and I would find Africa there. It's who I am. Her family likes to spend time together in Canada during the holiday season. These days Korto is all about, “getting ready for New York Fashion Week Fall 2012 in February and enjoying the holidays with Momolu appears to have the ability to keep her point of view, consistent with her brand of “exotic, chic revolution.” This gift has led her to venture out into some very interesting opportunities including Accessories, Jewelry and Stationery. Korto’s new accessories line is currently available at Dillard’s department stores and features wooden jewelry and leather and hornhandled handbags in vibrant colors along with fine jewelry pieces bursting with diamonds and natural gemstones.

In 2011, she collaborated with the Arkansas-based stationery company, SanLori Design on an exclusive holiday collection. The line of gift and paper products, By Missy Mickens named after herself, Korto Momolu (pronounced Cut • Toe — Mo • mo • lu), the Liberian was launched last born, fan favorite of Bravo TV’s Project Runway, has an amazing personal November and featured colorful story that could only be bested by her extraordinary creativity, skill and prints and talent. With the threat of Liberia’s political turmoil making its way to textured motifs. When their front door, Korto’s family literally fled the country with only the asked about the emergence clothes on their backs and settled in Ottowa Canada, where she and her of tribal prints as one of the brother were once enrolled in boarding school. After attending a top hottest carryover trends in design school in Canada, Korto eventually established roots in Little Rock, mainstream design, Korto had a Arkansas—an unlikely base for a soon-to-be rising star in fashion. Living positive outlook, “Tribal prints worlds away from her birthplace in Liberia, Korto continued to find ways have always been a hot thing. I to maintain her African roots and traditions particularly, during the

just feel everyone else is just catching up. Being African, that’s what we do, all day everyday.” She also believes, “There is a constant usage of tribal motif, horns and cow hides…use of African print and weaving methods. It’s everywhere! I think its great that we are the focus on everything fashion, color and home. It continues to grow every year, there is no sign of the trend disappearing.” With all of this opportunity, she still remains true to her first love, designing womenswear for her Spring/ Summer 2012 collection, inspired by “The many moods of women …Japanese inspirations flowed throughout.” Korto chose to work with raw jersey and luxuriously feminine silks, such as dupioni and charmuese that was sourced from Los Angeles and New York. The latest collection has already shown in Honduras, USA, Cayman Islands and soon making it’s way across the globe in Jamaica and Ethiopia. She may even show at this year’s African Fashion Week in New York City, “I know the founder so most likely. I will show whenever they need me to be there!” Ultimately, Korto’s vision is all about “releasing women from the captivity of style imprisonment.” As she continues to make a name for herself, it would be interesting to see if she intends to make her mark into world of home décor. Only time will tell what the next chapter will look like for Ms. Momolu.

model citizen Majora Carter grew up in the South Bronx at a time when America's cities were emptying into the suburbs. Many of the buildings in her neighborhood were abandoned by the time she was ten years old. Landlords were burning their buildings to collect the insurance; light manufacturing industries were moving out of the Bronx; and waste facilities were moving in to take their place. As pollution rose, asthma rates, poor health and unemployment soared. To outsiders, those who were left were branded with the stamp of the ghetto: as Carter says, "If you lived here you were no doubt a pimp, a pusher, or a prostitute.â&#x20AC;&#x153; As a child, Carter spent much of her time planning her escape. "Education was my way out," she reveals. She studied cinema studies and

film production at Wesley University then signed up for graduate school at New York University. To save money, she moved home to her parents. Of that time, she says, "It felt like a defeat but it was also the best thing in the world to happen to me because I got reacquainted with my community.â&#x20AC;&#x153; She saw how her neighborhood as largely under-served, virtually disregarded and dumped on . She realized that that someone needed to champion a positive campaign to assert itself as a vibrant community.

"People wanted things like clean air, they wanted safe places for their kids to play where they wouldn't get hit by a truck," she tells CNN. "They wanted living wage jobs that didn't degrade the environment or kill them.â&#x20AC;&#x153; She fought a voluble campaign against a planned in a better one.

she says. In 2001, after the defeat of the scheme, Carter founded the nonprofit environmental justice solutions corporation, Sustainable South Bronx. Its central tenet is that people shouldn't have to move out of their neighborhoods to live healthy lives.

By 2003, she coined the term: "Green The Ghetto" as she pioneered one of the nation's first urban green-collar job training and placement systems. Her organization spearheaded policy and legislation that fueled demand for those jobs, and improved the lives of all New Yorkers. She is probably the only person to have received an award from John Podesta's Center For American Progress; and a waste facility that would have seen 40 percent of New York's municipal waste coming to the South Bronx. "We were already handling 40 percent of the city's commercial waste here,"

Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first openwaterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development. Liberty Medal from Rupert Murdoch's: New York Post. She has since launched a consulting company to export this knowledge base across America. Her work now includes projects across the US in the areas of Climate Adaptation, Urban MicroAgriBusiness, and Leadership Development. Most recently, she was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company Magazine, and of them, one of the 10 Best Small Businesses in the US and tapped to host of Eco-Heroes on Sundance Channel and her own special series, The Promised Land. She has earned a long list of awards and honorary degrees, including a MacArthur "genius" Fellowship to name a few. An impressive rĂŠsumĂŠ, huh?

le fil

Jeanine Hays, founder of the fabulous blog, AphroChic is truly an inspiration for anyone who needs proof how following your dreams can change your life. She launched her blog in 2007 highlighting interior designers and design products from around the world, fresh out of law school. In fact her blog became so popular that two years later, she launched AphroChic pillows and apparel. Recently, we learned about her second collection , Brooklyn Renaissance, which includes wallpaper, shower curtains, tabletop and other home décor items depicting imagery of Brooklyn life. Her work has been featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, Lucky magazine and HGTV. She was asked to be a guest judge for HGTV’s Design Start via a Twitter party that engaged her AphroChic followers. She says, “It was fun, and wonderful to be recognized as a top design blogger in the field.” Jeanine’s husband, and business partner, Bryan Mason, is the Operations Manager for AphroChic. He manages all of the logistics for the company and he also edits and writes all of the content for the website.

The AphroChic team is busy at work on our first book which will be released by Clarkson Potter in Fall 2013. They are a true inspiration to anyone who wills to follow their dreams.

documentaries of note

Kevin Clash, Baltimore native and master puppeteer, is the unexpected force behind Elmo. An affable guy, with a near tangible love for love and joy, the film chronicles his early years of learning the craft of puppeteering. He experimented with the right type of fabric (fleece) to withstand hand sewing and agonized over the perfect voice for one of his prototype fantastical creatures. The viewer is treated to an inside, generally unknown, masterful look into the world of puppets IN “Being Elmo”. The movie from merely a black man growing up in a place and a time where his life’s passion to “play with dolls” was, at best, considered unusual. His is not a story of hardship, as he was surrounded by his family and mentors which

brings an added dimension to the story but certainly does not come across as dull. Clash never once loses the unmistakable twinkle in his eye when talking about his life’s work. He took a complete leap of faith in firmly deciding on this path and now we see him traveling he world. Elmo is easily recognized as one of the world’s most beloved children’s characters in the world where even if you aren’t particularly connected to Sesame Street, Elmo or children, you’re sure to get et emotional. It’s a guaranteed tear-jerker. The heartbreaking stories of dying children asking for an afternoon with Elmo as their one last wish through the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ are moving. But it doesn’t feel contrived.

Directors Constance Marks and Philip Shane could easily have created a bloated, sentimental journey through Muppets history, given that a new Muppets movie release is slated for Thanksgiving. We get to see his often-shy personality, one that would lend well to working behind the scenes, crouched under four legged, googly-eyed critters. But with every stitch and TV show set he perfected, we see Kevin Clash’s talent as the person who truly pioneered a cultural icon. On a downside, some of the recreated, almost dewy still shot scenes between legendary Muppets creator Jim Henson and Muppet designer Kermit Love come off as inauthentic therefore unconvincing. But the original photos and videos of Clash from his teenage sewing days to working on his first movie set in London, Henson's ‘Labyrinth,’ balance out the archival footage. We get to walk Clash’s path and watch him grow as a person. From his mentoring the cast of ‘5, Rue Sesame’ in France or inviting a precocious, amateur puppeteer into his studio to teach another generation a lesson in puppeteering. Clash just wanted to do the thing that juiced him. And that's something that anyone, red and furry or not, can admire and carry with them in even in the quietest of moments. At its core, ‘Being Elmo’ is a story about doing what you love and owning up to the 'doing' part and letting that happiness shine through. It’s a great family film.

Kevin Clash and the film’s director, Constance Marks

out and about


From Ralph Lauren pillows on your sofa to the calf-skin Louboutinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on your feet-leopard print rules! Take a look how are latest starlets are rocking The staple must-have to any wardrobe. Mother-to-be Beyonce making a daily run in New York(front), (clockwise) Ciara out and about in L.A. Jennifer Hudson looking fabulous at a recent gala and Our own Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige still killing them. With every little step she takes


Heidi Klum and her husband Seal at their annual Halloween Bash.

(Clockwise) Russell Simmons and Heidi’s favorite DJ, QuestLove from the Roots, Sean “P. Diddy, King of the City” Combs, Amber Rose as Slash, from Guns n’ Roses and Tyson Beckford As a Desert Storm trooper with a gal pal dressed as a sexy sailer.


pure luxury Le Rapport Minoritaire is proud to salute Vlisco as has been designing and producing colorful fashion fabrics that form an essential part of the lively West and Central African culture. It has served affluent African women for many generations, has succeeded in surprising and inspiring her passionate clientele with unique designs. As the sole authentic designer and manufacturer of such fabrics as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Wax Hollandaisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Vlisco is unparalleled when it comes to quality, professional skill and innovation. Take a look at what they are offering up for chic women to wear for the holidays.

my two cent$ Dr. King didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t dream of anything like this!


ary Lee Ward, 82, was desperate for extra money back in 1995 to

pay for a lawyer to help keep her great-granddaughter from being adopted. Ward found a flyer in her mailbox from Delta Funding, a subprime mortgage lender, promising her a cash advance of $10,000 if she borrowed against her one-family frame house on Tompkins Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Ward signed. She said she has seen only $1,000 of the cash she was promised. Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s American dream (of homeownership) turned into a nightmare where she has been in and out of courtrooms battling banks for more than a decade. Now her story gives a face to how the elderly population has been hit so hard by the housing crisis.

Mary Lee Ward, in hat, on Friday morning with her lawyer Karen Gargamelli, right; and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, in red;

She thought her home was safe after Delta Funding sent her a letter in 2001 saying they would cancel the loan. The company was sued by the feds in 1999 for civil rights violations for targeting minority-group members – especially black women – in Queens and Brooklyn. The company went bankrupt in 2007, along with many other subprime lenders. But Ward’s house remained in limbo. Ward watched her $82,000 loan morph into $200,000. Unable to pay the growing debt, Ms. Ward was issued a judgment of foreclosure in 2008 and the property was put up for auction that July. The winning bidder, the real estate investment company 768 Dean Inc., has been trying to evict Ms. Ward ever since. It arranged, through a court order, for a city marshal to remove her from her home, a move that galvanized neighborhood support for Ms. Ward. Demonstrators gathered outside her doorstep, brandishing banners that read “We stand with Ms. Ward” and “Defend the block.” forcing the city marshal not to proceed with the eviction.

Common Law has since asked the state attorney general to investigate why Ms. Ward’s purportedly canceled mortgage has continued to haunt her and are asking that the eviction be stopped and that the landlord give the deed back either directly to Ms. Ward or to the Bed-Stuy community in a land trust for affordable housing.

Ms. Ward is not the first to have received this brand of foreclosure defense. Similar movements like Take Back The Land, have blockaded houses in Rochester, N.Y. in recent months to delay or prevent evictions. Many of the protesters outside Ms. Ward’s house came in response to a call put out by a coalition of housing advocacy groups, Organizing for Occupation. Ironically, Ms. Ward still displays a faded portrait of her great-granddaughter as a baby, even though she was unable to prevent the adoption and has long since lost contact with her. A tearful Ms. Ward spoke briefly to those who had gathered on her behalf. “You have to stick with it when you know you’re right,” she said. “We’re not slaves anymore. My grandfather was a slave, but I’m not.”

fat girl chronicles

Red Velvet Sponge Cake 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar 2 beaten eggs 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon red food coloring 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Frosting: 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter 8 ounces cream cheese 1 pound powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup chopped pecans

give responsibly

the best soul food spots

Sylviaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant 328 Malcolm X Blvd New York, NY 10027 Neighborhood: Harlem (212) 996-0660

in the nyc

The Pink Tea Cup 88 7th Ave S (between Barrow St & S 7 Ave) New York, NY 10014 Neighborhood: West Village (212) 255-2124 www.

in the lou

Sweetie Pies at Mangrove 4270 Manchester Ave St Louis, MO 63110 Neighborhood: Forest Park Southeast (314) 371-0304 Check out your local listings to catch Sweetieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s self-named reality show on Oprah Winfreyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s network.

around the way

Rockaway Fish house (RCL Caterers) 14122 Rockaway Blvd Jamaica, NY 11436 Neighborhood: Rochdale (718) 529-3576

in the atl

Busy Bee CafĂŠ 810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Atlanta, GA 30314 (404) 525-9212

in the atl

Paschalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Concourse A, 6000 N Terminal Pkwy Atlanta, GA 30320 (404) 209-1757

in the chi-town

Cathyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ultimate Soul Food 5638 W Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60651 (773) 287-9510

in the chi-town

MacArthurâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant 5412 W Madison St (between Long Ave & Lotus Ave) Chicago, IL 60644 Neighborhood: Austin (773) 261-2316

Happy Holidays! From our family, to yoursâ&#x20AC;Ś

Courtesy of House

A Subsidiary of Mme. Pierre-Louis Design Group 2011 TM

Le Rapport Minoritaire Magazine