When I first met Jill Henry I was working in radio and she was working for a magazine. She was a small, petite woman with a quiet demeanor. Boy was I fooled! Jill is far from quiet and her vision and creative flair will be unveiled in one minute of conversation. I think the better word to describe her would have been poised with a strong disposition. Her creative edge was not revealed fully to me until she broke off from the magazine and formed her own multimedia design firm called Savant Marketing, which specializes in publishing, advertising, design and imaging. Presently Jill continuously spawns out new ideas and visions of work for my clients. It is out-the-box thinking and an innovative spin on the invitations, presentation packaging, sponsorship decks, business cards, etc. Her work fits right inline with what I see and what my clients foresee.
Jill is definitely not the loudest one when you first meet her, but I think her punch is in her imagination; even a visit to her home for a house party re-confirmed my notion. Her home was decadent with all types of creative ideas and quirks that gave a homely but eclectic vibe. I marveled at all of her artistry and clever designs that she created. Then the party began and loads of people trickled through that front door as Jill cooked up tons of food. She’s a great cook too. The music started and the house party was something right out of a movie; tasty food, good music, great conversations with fabulous people. That petite woman turned into the matriarch of the crowd. For me the experience was warm, inviting, and loving.
Jill and I have worked with each other through the years and I have always been pleasantly surprised with her concepts. Her team are diligent, imaging gurus. She has supported me on imaging Sonje’ Productions and I thank her for it. She is someone I trust to deliver, time in and time out, and her work speaks for herself. I recommend her to anyone who needs guidance in developing their business image portfolio.
This Sunday October, 17th, will be my first fashion show/friendraiser for Dress For Success in Baltimore at the Tremont Grand, located at 225 North Charles Street. The door opens at 2:00 pm allowing guests to be able to enjoy our Fashion Market and silent auction. In our Fashion Market, designers like Doll House Boutique, Descai Collection, Aidah Collections, White House Black Market, will showcase their fall collections giving our attendees an opportunity to stock their closets with designer goods before the show begins. Then our hair and make-up gurus, Vixxen Salon, Mane Obsessionz, and Salon Lamour will give hair exhibitions transforming Dress For Success clients into works of art.
I’ve produced several fashions shows but what makes this special is the cause behind it. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am all about empowering women and that is what Dress for Success is about. I have seen women actually transform, in a matter of weeks, from being uncertain about their place in the show to being a confident, striding model down the runway. They walked in with their heads down and have walked out with their heads up. Dress for Success is primarily known for supplying suits for underserved women to get them back into the workforce, but the organization is also a vehicle of self-empowerment for these women. It gives them the support system to understand that someone believes in them and their dreams; whatever life has dealt them, there is an opportunity to have a second chance. To me, they are the hidden charms of Baltimore because they are resilient about beating the odds.
For the second year in a row, author/philanthropist Al Reynolds will be the host of the event. Sullivans Steakhouse is catering the event and several other sponsors like PNC Bank, Hair Cuttery, Associated Black Charities, and Maryland Transit Authority are all on board to support the DFS mission. It is an exciting time and it will be great to see women who were not confident to be strong, beautiful, and brazen emerge as “charms of the city”.
Also special thanks to our host committee members: Comptroller Joan Pratt, Diane Bell-McCoy, Carla Nelson, Whitney Ransom, and Stephanie Freeman.
Tickets available at the door and http://www.dressforsuccess.org/baltimore
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been struggling with this Bishop Eddie Long story. I kind of ignored it at first but as the media blitz continued I began to read more and more. The more I read, the more dishearthened I got about what is actually going on in these churches. I gawked at the pictures that were posted of him posing in workout gear and my heart saddened as I looked at videos of his accusers crying out for his attention and apology. Patiently I waited to hear what his response would be because the evidence in the media was becoming overwhelming. As the circus continued, in my opinion, Bishop Long failed to rise to the occasion that Sunday morning and give any clear answers to the allegations. His answer was vague and ambiguous without any outright denial of being guilty. Looking at him and his pompous answer made me look at my own spiritual following and question whether we are allowing these ministers to get away with heinous acts and not be held accountable. We get up and shout in their defense without looking at the possible people they may have hurt, or get the facts to make a just decision for ourselves.
I, too, am guilty of defending my minister tooth or nail without really investigating the accusations. I’ve called his accusers “liars” and went to bat for him claiming he was a modern-day “David”; a man with flaws but still a man of God. I didn’t have the concrete facts, but I wanted to believe he was in the right. Doing so, however, allows these people to skate through the accountability for any wrong doing; and not, publicly or privately, get the proper help they need to address any “sickness” they have, whether it be women, men, or children. For years I’ve struggled with this denial and prayed about it because I wanted to believe in the good and not accept the reality. I’m not saying that anyone should be guilty before tried but I am saying that where there is smoke, there may be fire. Don’t count out any possibilities before making your own judgement based on the facts at hand. No one is perfect but when you have a congregation of people who look to a minister for guidance there can not be blatant hypocrisy that is masked to protect anyone. Because when the truth is revealed, then that hypocrisy damages more people than that minister’s reputation. As long as the minister apologizes for his illicit behavior and seeks the counsel needed to stop his actions; only then the church and people will begin to heal. Otherwise, the gloom of pietism will loom over that church and its leadership.
I’ve always thought that God wanted us to use or own discernment with scripture, with interpretation, and with motive. Being sheep without questioning what we are thought doesn’t give you understanding of who God is and what Jesus’ mission was. For Christians, Jesus was always questioning the powers to be to seek answers or for them to be culpable for any blasphemous actions performed under the cloak of God. We will not be condemned for doing the same. I, personally, do not condemn any other religion, belief, or creed. I just honor the belief of good. Jesus was a man who lived a moral code of conduct. Whether you believe in him or not, his lifestyle was an exemplary of good. Many people call themselves Christian and do not do Christian like things. Believing in a faith, but not trying to implement the philosophy of goodwill which is thought by that faith defeats the purpose of your belief. We all stumble and we all fall but we can’t consistently use the notion of repentance to clear our conscience of our behavior. Doing things because you know in Christianity you will be forgiven is not the right way to live and many people abuse that sacrament. My last thought to all is to try and be a great person; love others, be kind and helpful, and never shy away from making someone happy by your deeds. Making that your mantra without all the other bells and whistles is as simple as apple pie.