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Elegance of Africa Fashion Show

What's The 411TV correspondent Crystal Henderson spoke with African fashion designers at the Elegance of Africa Fashion Show, which was held at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.

First up is Okey Onugha, a Nigerian fashion designer specializing in men's fashions. He is followed by Sanemi, a 19 year-old fashion designer and student at the City College of New York, and Sir Charlezzzz of the House of Charlezzzz.

 WATCH VIDEO: ELEGANCE OF AFRICA FASHION SHOW

Michael Jerome Francis Makes a Fashion Statement: Save The Bees

Nature-friendly fashion designer Michael Jerome Francis wants to make his fashion statement LOUD and clear- "Take the material, make beautiful clothes, and turn it into something of value." Francis, a socially- conscious designer with a heavy emphasis on capturing moments around him, tells his story of imagination and childhood through fashion. He uses what's there and recycles into something new, Couture.

Nearly two weeks after DeZign InterventionTM and Creative Director Barbara Bullard hosted and sponsored an event for Michael's signature line, Save The Bees, he's already working on a new project. In a phone interview with What's The 411 reporter, Crystal Henderson, he spills the beans on this latest work, birthplace of Save The Bees and advice to new designers breaking into the world of fashion.

Check out the interview below.

What are some of the current projects you're working now on?

"Right now I'm working on my 'Daddy Queen' collection. It is basically an exploration of my heritage and my relationship with my father. My approach through fashion is always through storytelling. I researched the history of Jamaica and it includes the natives who were the Indians."

"So in celebrating that, I am doing a lot of weaving pieces that will be made into dresses and even jewelry. I want to make beautiful clothes, but it always has to come from a place of intention."

Where did the concept of Save The Bees originate?

"I envisioned a world where gardens were the new mansions. It's so rare that people travel long distances to be in a garden. So, in this place- nature and attention to materials that are around you are more important because there's very little. I created a lot of pieces that could be mixed and matched. All of these women were coming into a place and they were women who just had collected things. They're in this place where they'reforced to wear something they make."

"The idea of flowers were made out of leather remnants. You know how you go into a leather store, and they have those booklets with just leather samples? They were actually made from those samples because actually what happened to those is that- they get disposed after a season. Giving those flowers new life was just really exciting. That was one of the features of Save the Bees that I am most proud."

How do you keep up with the demand to always appeal to the newest and latest trend?

"I feel like it should come to a place where that all slows down. Fashion is more iconic. I want to produce high art. I want to be able to make those pieces that are manufacturable like with 'Save The Bees.' I want to create those timeless pieces that you say to yourself-I don't want to get rid of this jacket!"

"In couture, you have to have intellect. It has to be formed, functioned, and it has to be told through a story. It is the birthplace of ideas in the ecology of fashion."

What do you say to an aspiring fashion designer who has a corporate job, but wants to follow their passion?

"I feel like there has to be a passion for a person's art. If you feel, you need to do it. It may be difficult, but if you really have that passion, you won't be happy until you actually giveit a shot. I always want to be in the game, no matter how successful I am or not, I just always want to be a part of it."

For personal inquiries, please contact Michael Jerome Francis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

My Girlfriend's Closet Brings Glamour to New York Fashion Week

First-cousins Saffiyah Rodgers and Valerie Morrison grew up lending clothes to their girlfriends. In 2010, they combined their fashion and marketing backgrounds and came up with a closet.

"Our friends admired our style and always wanted to borrow stuff from our closet, so we decided to come up My Girlfriend's Closet."

Rodgers and Morrison spoke with What's The 411 TV's correspondent, Crystal Henderson during New York Fashion Week S/S 2013 at Stitch Lounge, where they celebrated the second anniversary of My Girlfriends Closet Boutique and unveiled their online campaign, My Glamorous Girlfriends.

My Glamorous Girlfriends represents five successful women--daring to be different, while embodying glamour.

The fab women-- Dr. Robi Ludwig (NBC Today Show & Huffington Post), Carissa Rosario (International Model & Model Genius), Angela Yee (Radio Personality on Power 105.1), Tiffany Banks (Plus Size Model & TLC's Big Sexy) and Brianna Colette (Recording Artist).

Dr. Robi Ludwig (so cool and down to earth) also stopped by to speak with us and expressed how thrilled she was to be a part of My Glamorous Girlfriends.

"I was invited to highlight my clothes during a media company (for My Girlfriend's Closet) and we had a great time that day. A bunch of ladies having a lovely time, and it was exactly what it needed to be."

Every girl wants something from her girlfriend's closet; be sure to visit www.gfcboutique.com!

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO!

EMERGE! Rises During New York Fashion Week

Now in its 5th season, EMERGE! A Fashion Runway Show positioned an eclectic ensemble of artists and a gathering of celebrities on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 during New York Fashion Week.

The celebs that stopped by to talk with What's The 411's Barbara Bullard were:

• Honoree Mikki Taylor who attended EMERGE! wearing Burberry. She indicated that she is following First Lady Michelle Obama's lead by wearing simple designs that go a long way.

• Actress Regina Taylor has written a play that will debut in September 2013.

• Actress/Comedienne Phyllis Yvonne Stickney developed a company with her brother. She will be going on tour soon and developing a program for youth.

• Glam Fairy Shari Manon from the Style Network indicated she is there to see new talent.

• Ruby Rubero wearing the designs of Hannefah M began her professional music career as the voice of the Bratz TV Cartoon Anthem titled "Se Siente" (Universal, Hip-O Music), which was also one of the highest selling cartoon albums internationally. Ruby is coming out with a new single, Runway, which is scheduled for release on March 12.

• Kim Roxie is the founder of the cosmetic line, Lamik. She is the youngest African American to have a cosmetic line in Macy's. Kim Roxie is honored to be an ongoing sponsor of EMERGE! A Fashion Runway Show especially during African American History Month.

The featured designers of EMERGE! A Fashion Runway Show's 5th season were:

Bishme Cromartie's collection is edgy sophistication; His well-constructed pieces owned the runway with incredible design elements. His collection was cohesive and yet unafraid to take risks. www.bishmercromartie.com

Parul Aneja's collection adorned the runway vibrant colors inspired by her homeland of New Delhi, the capital of India she specializes in wedding gowns, cocktail dresses, prom and evening wear dresses for women. www.parulaneja.com

Deidre Jefferies, ESPION Atelier - 'ESPION' French for the English word 'spy' Deidre Jefferies defines her design aesthetic as "the future of classic clothing." This strong, yet sexy collection embodied a sleek sophistication combining male and female elements into a luxury line committed to quality. www.espion.us.com

Bernice Morgan, Designersberg is a full line of beautiful African dresses custom made in a variety of materials including cotton prints, damask, lace and linens came down the runway with a fresh take on modern ethnic wear, Africa. www.designersberg.com

Butterfli Tia's swimwear collection 2-A-T came down the runway making a bold statement. Complete with sexy embellishments, highlighting well-crafted pieces and bold color choices.

EMERGE! A Fashion Runway Show has become one of the top emerging designer platforms during New York Fashion week and has been consistent in providing a national outlet for emerging designers to showcase their work. Hundreds of designer submissions are reviewed by an elite designer committee, which selects some of the top designers from around the world.

Barbara Bullard contributed to this article.

Ericka Pittman; NV Mover and Shaker Talks About CIROC and All Things Sean Combs

NV Magazine has established its 15-year history as a "new vision" of business publication for urban professionals around the country. Whether scaling the ladder within corporate America or creating a successful venture from scratch, NV has chosen to not only acknowledge, but honor, many of these ground-breakers with its annual Movers & Shakers Awards.

For the past five years, Founder, Kyle Donovan and Publisher, Christopher Chaney and their team have solicited recommendations for and researched their selections to identify honorees from the well-established, even famous, to the less celebrated but ascending innovators, executives and business "hustlers" within the multicultural community. This isn't for the sake of taking nice pictures and having a cocktail, NV's mission is to empower communities of color through the recognition of these trendsetters and inspire collective collaboration to generate wealth and long term economic stability for the black and Latino market.

One of the superstar awardees of the event was Ericka Pittman, Vice President Brand Strategy of Sean Combs' Blue Flame Agency. As the brand and marketing arm of the wildly popular CIROC Ultra-Premium Vodka, we asked how she felt about the recognition.

Check out the video interview with Ericka Pittman

"When they called and told me I was nominated and I would be on the cover amongst such amazing, esteemed colleagues and peer group, I thought it was amazing, said Ericka Pittman. " I've followed the NV Movers & Shakers covers for years and so for me, it was an honor to be nominated and included in the process."

Being responsible for such an explosion of business, what's been the most exciting and challenging part for Ericka the past two years?

"With a meteoric success like CIROC, I mean five years, two million cases, we're super excited," Ericka replied. "We're the #2 Ultra-Premium vodka in the country and you know obviously it's one thing to come up but it's another thing to stay up, right? Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, so we have a lot of imitation happening in the market place, a lot of our strategy is being mimicked and it's interesting to try and stay fresh and new and stay exciting and connected to our consumers, at the same time stay authentic, so we're constantly challenged and brainstorming trying figure out what's new, what's hot and what's next!"

And when asked what's coming up?

To which Ericka replied, "So Blue Flame is Sean Combs right? So it's everything Sean Combs and obviously he has always got his hands in the mix of amazing, fantastic stuff. He's executive producing Rick Ross' new album, he's going to be working on a new project and there's REVOLT, the new television network, so we have a lot of amazing, awesome stuff happening at Blue Flame and Combs Enterprises and stay tuned for some really exciting stuff from CIROC.

 

Po Johnson More than A Reality Star, A NV Mover and Shaker

Check out the video interview with Po Johnson

NV Magazine has established its 15-year history as a "new vision" of business publication for urban professionals around the country. Whether scaling the ladder within corporate America or creating a successful venture from scratch, NV has chosen to not only acknowledge but honor, many of these ground-breakers with its annual Movers & Shakers Awards.

For the past five years, Founder, Kyle Donovan and Publisher, Christopher Chaney and their team have solicited recommendations for and researched their selections to identify honorees from the well-established, even famous, to the less celebrated but ascending innovators, executives and business "hustlers" within the multicultural community. This isn't for the sake of taking nice pictures and having a cocktail, NV's mission is to empower communities of color through the recognition of these trendsetters and inspire collective collaboration to generate wealth and long-term economic stability for the black and Latino market.

Singer, Po Johnson, of La La Anthony's Full Court Life reality show fame was one of the honorees. We started with Po's thoughts on the evening. Is it exciting, a surprise?

"It's a surprise," said Po with a combination of merriment and wonder. "When they called me to do the shoot with them I didn't realize what it was so once I realize that they thought I was awesome it made me feel really cool and then they were like, yeah we're going to have a little thing and this is way more than I thought it was going to be. Yeah, yeah this is all very surprising but I'm having a good time and very happy to be here."

Being a reality star veteran, is this event a big deal still for Po?

"It absolutely is, it's a blessing," she said. "We're like in our 5th season that's about to air, so that means that people like us and I get to work with my best friends and we still get to respect ourselves, respect our families and you know, set a good example for kids, so I'm proud to be a part of it."

What's coming up in terms of music, in terms of creative content? "

"Aw, thank you for asking me that," Po responded. "Well the show's about to air in March and then I just got a deal that I can't talk about now with a record label, so we're about to push my single project in a couple of months, I'm very excited and then I'm going to do UltraFest and you'll start seeing a lot more of me on not the independent realm but I actually got a name for myself now, so I'm happy yeah."

Po you're blowing up but I have to ask, who are you wearing?

Ooh, um, this is all SKINGRAFT actually, yeah, yeah, yeah, SKINGRAFT, he's huge, I love him...naw he's really dope and I like his stuff yeah."

Becky Hammon; Danny Jacobs; Division 1 Changes

In this episode of What's The 411Sports, the panel of Bianca Peart; Chris Graham; Glenn Gilliam; and Gregory Alcala are talking about isues and events in sports.

    • San Antonio Spurs head coach, Greg Popavich, selected Becky Hammon to be an Assistant Coach for the team. Hammon now becomes the first woman to be a full time coach for an NBA team.
  • Division 1 shools are revising their policies as it relates to student athletes.
  • Court regulation in a post-Paul George injury era
  • Danny Jacobs beats cancer and boxing opponent
  • Brooke Lopez Cleared to Play
  • Mason Plumlee selected to play on USA Basketball National team for 2014-15 season 

In the Dog House this week are: Golden State Warriors, Marreese Speights and Michigan State's Kenny Kaminski

 WATCH VIDEO HERE:

 

Who Will Replace Columbus Short on Scandal; Red Carpet Fashion, and more

This What's The 411 episode finds the panel of Bianca Peart, Glenn Gilliam, Jacinda Motton, and Kizzy Cox talking about the Michael Strahan and Nicole Murphy breakup; and who could replace Columbus Short on THE ABC-TV hit television series, SCANDAL. Crystal Lynn brings us her interview with Vivica A. Fox who attended Justin Tuck's charity event to raise money for literacy.

Who's being Called on the Carpet this week?  

Police Departments harboring rogue police officers; Donald Trump because of his comments about the Ebola Virus; and Lifetime Television because of its casting mis-steps are all being called on the carpet in this episode.

And, stay tuned for Jacinda Motton, aka Ms. Fashioinista J, as she leads us in a red carpet fashion critique of Who Was Hot and Who Was Not.

Among the celebrities on the red carpet are: Chadwick Boseman, Jill Scott, Nick Cannon (looking like a picnic table), Tamala Jones, Tika Sumpter, Tyra Banks, and Vivica A. Fox.

WATCH WHAT'S THE 411 HERE 

On the Red Carpet: Ben and Jewel Tankard Share Strategies for Blended Families

What's The 411TV reporter Cristina Twitty enjoyed chatting it up with Ben and Jewel Tankard on the red carpet at the BLACK NATIVITY New York Premiere at the Apollo Theater in New York City.

As reality TV stars, how do the Tankards raise all of their children while maintaining all of their morals and values?

It definitely takes a lot of work and depending on God's Grace to do it because each child is so distinctly different.

If you watch THE TANKARDS: THICKER THAN WATER, you'll see some of the things they got right and some of the things that they got wrong and some things will be very funny. They have learned that when you bring a blended family together you have to come up with a new system and they're still figuring it out after 13 years.

Ben Tankard is considered the Godfather of Gospel Jazz and the most successful gospel jazz artist in history with 20 albums, including gold and platinum. The music business is what has helped the Tankards to buy the house, the planes, and cars. They are still recording and doing over 100 concerts per year and people should know that they volunteer their time as pastors.

Jewel Tankard has a very successful network marketing business with 38,000 people in her network which has generated seven figures for her. Jewel also has a financial services company, which she uses to help women to be financially secure.

Also on the red carpet for Black Nativity New York Premiere were: Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Tyrese Gibson, Jacob Latimore, Mary J. Blige, Nasir Jones aka Nas, Jennifer Hudson, Gale Gibson, Luke James, Lynn Whitfield and more.

Sarah Jakes On an Incredible Journey

Sarah Jakes, daughter, Bishop T.D. Jakes, attended the New York premiere of Black Nativity at the world famous Apollo Theater.

Sarah said tongue in cheek that being the daughter of a well-known pastor has been so dramatic, she had to write a book about it.

Sarah added, "You get to be involved in incredible moments like this so you can't really take it for granted; but it's been an incredible journey. I'm so proud of him. I'm so glad to see him stretching the boundaries of what they say ministry can be." Lost and Found by Sarah Jakes is due spring 2014.

WATCH VIDEO: Sarah Jakes

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