5 Reasons You Should Visit @ncartmuseum “Inspiring Beauty” Exhibition #NCMAebony #Fashion

Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com at Media Preview for Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair | North Carolina Museum of Art

A few days ago I attended a media preview for a brand new exhibit at North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh,NC and decided to dedicate a “Five for Friday” post sharing with you my 5 Reasons You Should Visit NCMA “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” exhibition. The exhibit, which starts October 28, 2017 thru January 21, 2018, is the first Fashion exhibit at NCMA and is making its last stop here in Raleigh. You do not want to miss the opportunity to see an extraordinary level of creativity and innovation that this amazing exhibit shows and participate in the upcoming events. Here’s why: 

  1. The HISTORYThe exhibition explores the 50-year history of the Ebony Fashion Fair (1958-2009), an unparelled charity fashion show event that redefined the concepts of beauty, style and empowerment for African Americans. Learn about the dynamic Eunice W. Johnson, who was determined to show fashion is for everyone and revolutionized how Black women are seen in the world of fashion.

    Eunice Johnson at work, 1970, Photo courtesy of Johnson Publishing Company, LLC

  2. The FASHIONSee 40 stunning ensembles by designers such as Pierre Cardin, Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy, Bob Mackie, Patrick Kelly, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and many more! The fashion selections from the exhibiton are innovative, glamourous, colorful,revealing, bold, sassy, dazzling and powerful works of art. To see the attention to detail up close is a beautiful sight to behold! 

    Emmanuel Ungaro, Bridal Gown, Haute couture, fall/winter 1996-97. Photograph by John Alderson, Chicago Historical Society

  3. The JOURNEYInspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair takes you on a journey thru five decades and explores “..the impact on African American identity, style, and success,” explains Jennifer Dasal, NCMA associate curator of contemporary art and co-curator of the exhibition. The traveling Ebony Fashion Fair grew out of the pages of Ebony magazine, which the exhibition includes archival photographs and memorabilia from both the magazine and fashion show.
  4. The MISSION

    Linda Dougherty, exhibition co-curator and NCMA chief curator and curator of contemporary art

    Just like the original fashion show that inspired the exhibition, this exhibition has been traveling around the country for the last 5 years. NCMA is the last and final venue, so this is your last chance to see it! Linda Dougherty, the NCMA’s chief curator and curator of contemporary art and exhibition co-curator says, “we hope that by hosting the exhibition, we continue the mission of positive change and community empowerment and encourage our visitors to rethink their own concepts of beauty.” 

    Bloggers with NCMA’s Public Relation Manager, Kat Harding (3rd from left) enjoy the Media Preview of Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

  5. The FUNTrying on clothes can be fun but especially when it’s haute couture right?! Step into the Virtual Fitting Room, one of the in-gallery experiences, which allows you to have some high fashion fun. I jumped into a ready-to-wear Cocktail Dress designed by Fabrice and was ready to celebrate! Ebony Fashion Fair was a true agent of change and its legacy continues to inspire beauty. That in itself deserves to be appreciated and celebrated by everyone.

 

SobeSavvy Tip:  In November, plan a Friday night group outing to the exhibition and save! Every Friday evening ( 11/3,11/10, 11/17, 11/24) Buy three tickets and get a fourth ticket free!  

I hope you are inspired to go see this fabulous exhibit because I plan to tell everyone I know to go! Be sure to follow @SobeSavvy, @NCartmuseum and share your experience on social media using hashtag #NCMAebony. I am excited to attend Opening Night festivities tomorrow and will share some Fashion Show highlights with you. Stay tuned and remember to support the arts!

North Carolina Museum of Art

East Building

Meymandi Exhibition Gallery

October 28, 2017- January 21, 2018

Opening Night Review|HATS OFF to ‘CROWNS’👒 ! Now playing @RLT1936 thru 9/10 in #Raleigh ~Get Tix NOW!

In 1998, North Carolina photographer Michael Cunningham began taking
pictures of women in their hats. His friend, journalist Craig Marberry, thought they should put together a book of the photos and the stories behind them. Marberry was curious why so many African-American women wear flamboyant
hats to church. Their curiosity led to the publication of the now iconic book (which I received as a Christmas gift in 2003 from my in-laws) entitled “Crowns”. They have the picture of 50 African American Women wearing their hats, or Crowns to church. They has a profile of each women to go with the back story behind their hats.

This book ‘CROWNS’ was made into an off broadway play and has had many adaptations nationwide on stage throughout the years that have followed.

Fast forward to 2017, the Raleigh Little Theatre had their premier opening of the musical “Crowns”, now playing from Aug 25 to Sept. 10 . It’s story is about culture, history, tradition, women and their “hattitudes” ! You’ll laugh, you’ll reflect and you may even sing-along to the gospel music performed in the show. Musical Director, Carolyn Colquitt said “This story is telling why women wore the hats and what they represented.” 

More than a few women {including myself} wore their “Crowns” for the Opening Night at Raleigh Little Theatre

The play, directed by Terra Hodge, created six composite characters. Their stories are
told over the course of a Sunday. The audience sees these various women get ready for church, attend a morning service, a wedding, a funeral and a baptism. 

Photos by Brenna Lila Jane Berry-Stewart                    

  • (Top Left) India Williams as Mabel
  • (Center Left) Chanda Branch as Velma
  • (Bottom Left) Lynnette Barber as Mother Shaw
  • (Right) Lynnette Barber as Mother Shaw, Chelsey Moore (kneeling) as Yolanda, LaToya Smith as Jeanette

Five older women are joined by the grandaughter of one of them — a younger woman, 17 year old Yolanda from Brooklyn. The young woman (played brilliantly by Chelsey Moore) is a pivotal character and is changed by this experience of finding out about these women, through their hats. The audience is reminded that we’re still kings and queens with “crowns” that as James Baldwin said …”were already bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear them.” 

Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com , wears her hat/crown to see “CROWNS”

One of my favorite parts of the show was the music, which had the sold out audience clapping and sometimes stomping their
feet. It was truly a shared experience no matter your age, race, gender or religion. I think everyone felt the uplifting spirit of the play and got the message from the monologues, as well as the lyrics of the songs. BRAVO to all the actors on stage, who were locals who auditioned right here for the chance to show their talent for the entire Triangle to witness!  

Crowns Contest Winners (left to right) Evenlyn Castleberry and Brenda Sanders pose by the winning entries

SobeSavvy Tip:  Arrive early to see the exhibition on display of the CROWNS contest winners. Six women were chosen to be photographed wearing their ‘Crowns’ based on their shared stories of what wearing a hat means to them.

CROWNS Contest Winners Photo Exhibition | Photo Credit: Raleigh Little Theatre, Arts Now

Tickets are available >>>> here. Some shows are already sold out, so don’t wait! On Aug 27 a panel discussion, sponsored by North Carolina State’s African American Cultural Center, will be held after the show to discuss the history behind the hats worn by black women. The talk will be led by Moses T. Alexander.

Raleigh Little Theatre was the perfect intimate atmosphere to experience such a soulful stage presentation

RALEIGH LITTLE THEATRE             301 Pogue St

Raleigh, NC 27607 

Tickets 919.821.3111

Raleighlittletheatre.org

Go see this amazing musical “CROWNS ” by Regina Taylor~ Adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry~Directed by Terra Hodge 

Opening Night “CROWNS” at Raleigh Little Theatre ~As Seen on the Scene, by SobeSavvy.com

Be sure to follow Raleigh Little Theatre on social media to stay informed of the 2017/2018 season: 

Twitter: @RLT1936

Facebook: Raleigh Little Theatre

Instagram: raleigh_little_theatre