Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit The Anthony Anderson Foundation from GBK Productions

Over $500,000 was raised at Anthony Anderson’s 3rd Annual Celebrity Golf Classic benefiting The Anthony Anderson Family Foundation. The Black-ish star hosted his first annual Anthony Anderson Celebrity Golf Classic May 21-22 in Palm Desert, Calif and it was a success. 

Host Anthony Anderson

The Anderson Family Charitable Foundation (AFCF) was formed in 2009 by John and Tamara Anderson with the purpose of providing assistance to underserved elementary school-aged children in the public school system and their families.

It is our belief that quality public school education can be the catalyst to a bright and prosperous future for ALL children. The AFCF strives to provide assistance where needed to ensure that all children are comfortable at school and have the tools to thrive in that environment. ​

Celebs and Sports Stars such as George Lopez, David Justice, Smokey Robinson, Chris Paul and more came out to support the 3rd Annual Anthony Anderson Celebrity Golf Classic Presented By Lexus.

On Monday, May 20th, Gavin Keilly, CEO of Hollywood’s premiere Celebrity Luxury Gifting Lounge company, GBK Productions, hosted an exclusive “Thank You” Celebrity Gift Lounge in honor of the 3rd Annual Anthony Anderson Celebrity Golf Classic in Palm Desert, CA. This exclusive invite-only event was held at the Big Horn Resort in Palm Desert where over $500,000 was raised in support of The Anthony Anderson Family Foundation which benefits Children’s Hospital LA, Boys & Girls Club of America, The Black Academy of Arts & Letters, Los Angeles Mission, Compton Jr Posse Youth Equestrians, Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, Children Striving Together, Compton Initiative, and Compassion for Teen Life.

The Celebrities that came out to support this amazing event included Anthony Anderson, George Lopez, MLB players Dave Winfield, David Justice, Greg Vaughn, Jerry Royster, Ozzie Smith, and Scott Erickson, NFL Players Jim Plunkett, Pete Shaw and Willie Buchanon, Pro Golfers Lee Elder, Seems Sadekar, Tisha Abrea, Isabelle Shee, Sara Winter, Chelsea Pezzola and Maiya Tanaka, NBA players Chris Paul, James Worthy and Norm Nixon, actors Roland Martin and Peter Mckenzie, musicians Smokey Robinson and Bryan Gallo, influencer Carter Thicke and more.

Attendees of the exclusive lounge received pours from Blue Nun Wines — Blue Nun is a German wine brand launched by the company H. Sichel Söhne (Mainz) in 1923 with the 1921 vintage, and which between the 1950s and 1980s was a very popular international (https://www.bluenun.wine/) which included 24K Sparkling Gold, a sparkling wine with real 24K gold flakes, Kahuna Chair (https://www.kahunachair.com) gifted their new Kahuna LED Anti-Aging mask, B Opulent gifted bracelets, necklaces and rings with all natural power beads imported from around the world made an appearance! Beauty Kitchen by Heather Mariana gifted organic spa products, Fit Farm gave guests a complimentary week stay at their fitness retreat located in Nashville, and Puma, the third largest sportswear manufacturer, gifted athletic apparel, footwear, and accessories. Finally, guests were excited to receive a 3-night stay at S Hotel Montego Bay Jamaica overlooking famed Doctor’s Cave Beach by Swanky Resorts.

Opulent B Beaded Agate Bracelet
Beauty Kitchen from Heather Marianna

GBK Productions, is a luxury lifestyle gifting and special events company, specializing in entertainment marketing integration. Formed in 2000 by Gavin Keilly, the company’s Founder and CEO, GBK consists of five divisions: GBK Celebrity Gifting, GBK Special Events, GBK Weddings, GBK Charitable Consulting, and GBK Marketing & Public Relations. Widely known in the entertainment industry for its lavish soirees and adding that extra something into the Luxury Lounge environment, GBK offers its clients a full range of marketing services. For more information on Gavin B. Keilly (CEO) or GBK please go to www.gbkproductions.com

The Complexity of Artists

Fashion and Film are a constant creative force in motion. They never stop, which is inspirational. It’s intriguing, exciting, and at times, intoxicating. These creative venues are beautiful and provide a healing form of self-expression as well as a sense of fantasy. As a writer, it can be a very fulfilling experience to enter the “world” of the artist, learn everything one can about their creative process, and genuinely observe the dedication it takes. Ultimately though, it’s about representing the artist correctly — whether it’s a fashion designer, visual artist, filmmaker or actor. There is a sense of integrity. Telling the story correctly is just as important as the story.

Laurel Dewitt Custom Made Crown

The details of the designs and can appear as a mystery at first. Usually, it’s quite personal. Additionally, The persistence factor: Did this immensely talented person naturally “fall into it” or was it a conscious choice that originated from a burning desire to create, and in turn, unable to live without their art. The same concept applies to filmmakers and actors. They are working in an intensely competitive industry. However, as hard as it can be; many are not able to let go. They are telling a story… It sustains them and takes on an inner journey.

Bjorn Van Den Berg Jewelry


Personally, I enjoy all artistic differences — the diversity, the interpretation, and the risk factor.  Whether it’s a couture designer for musical artists, visual artists making a difference in the world to promote compassion, a jewelry designer on the rise whose work tells a story, or an incredibly talented actor/actress, it provokes thought.  Some artists are fearless, and for others, there is a restlessness that comes with it. It’s tricky; sometimes the tension can drive the creativity and passion into action. However, most successful artists have a common trait: consistency with an element of surprise and a touch of edginess.

James Bressack (Indie Filmmaker) Photo: John Collazos


Cleo Anthony “She’s Gotta Have It”

In many instances, there are personal and/or professional setbacks but a strong mindset (it is essential) pushes through. On a recent photo shoot, I was interviewing a famous actress. I was diligent and stayed on script, yet it started to feel highly impersonal. We began to talk further, and I noticed that she happened to be incredibly shy (which shocked me) and unbelievably down to earth. During a break, she expressed how hard she has worked, how many times she has fallen, and the motivation to get back up. I had to ask her, “How did you stay motivated?” “I could not live a peaceful life without acting,” she said. Of course, there were side jobs in the beginning, but she knew she would make it because there was no other choice. Her art was not just an expression of herself, it defined and sustained her.

Kelly Marie Beeman (Fashion Illustrator)

So yes, there is talent and passion but, intense determination and persistence go a long way. True art evokes emotion and starts a conversation. If you genuinely love what you are doing and setting your intention, the rest will come together. It takes a lot of strength to put oneself out there creatively.

Brandan Odums – (New Orleans Artist)

I also observe many young kids (my children’s age) embracing their artistic passion at such a young age. I think that is amazing if it is something they genuinely want. One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is to never give up on their dreams. When I talk to my kids about musical artists or films that inspire them, I love getting their take on it. Sometimes adults even envy the younger generation since they do not question their decisions as much as we do. In the end, it comes down to the artists that genuinely produce good work that ends up making a difference. It is always much easier to criticize when we are not engaged in life and not taking risks, but if you are giving your work every ounce of you, then that is what counts. You are taking chances and most importantly, embracing the journey. As I have found personally, as a writer, there is an enormous amount of richness in the journey.

Jonathan Augustino (Photographer and Indie Filmmaker)


Cheryl Koo Fashion Designer an Choreographer


To Be Noted: All Artists Above, I have featured previously but separately for various websites.

Laurel Dewitt, Bjorn Van Den Berg, James Bressack, Brandan Odums, Cleo Anthony, and Cheryl Koo



Teens Taking on Film: Ethan Paisley and Chadd Alciati Discuss Wilted

Ethan Paisley and Chadd Alciati are having a moment. Both teenagers are about to graduate High School but have been working in the film industry for many years. Not bad for seventeen-years-old teens. Not to mention, Ethan Paisley is nominated for Best Young Director for The Young Entertainer Awards. Chadd’s Alciati’s directorial debut of the short film, Wilted, (which Paisley produced), will screen at the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Métrage 2018, where it will have its world premiere. Molly Ratterman is the lead actress in the film and is exceptional. I was honored to speak to all three about bringing “Wilted” to life and their separate film industry experiences.

Ethan Paisley has immense passion and talent. He loves to bring underrepresented stories to life through filmmaking and is very successful at it. Paisley became a theatre veteran by age 12 with over 25 plays and musicals on his resume. His early on-camera work inspired a YouTube channel titled “ethanpaisley” that experienced viral success in 2013. The channel grossed over half-a-million views in less than a year, allowing Paisley to recognize his passion for filmmaking according to IMBD (www.imbd.com).

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In 2016, Ethan started Take18 Entertainment (http://take18entertainment.wixsite.com/site), a production company with the mission of using commercial work to yield funds for narrative content for teens by teens. Most recently, Paisley directed and produced “Playing the Game” (2016) and “Indelible” (2017) which stars Jackie Dallas from “Stranger Things.” “Indelible” played at the Mill Valley Film Festival and won Paisley the title ‘Best Young Filmmaker’ at the prestigious LA Film Awards.

As of January 2018, the growing company locked the edit on Wilted, a short film about the painful aftermath of a miscarriage. Paisley is the producer and director status goes to the 17-year-old filmmaker, Chadd Alciati. Chadd wrote and directed Wilted, which marks Alciati ’s first film as a director, but it is not the first screenplay he has successfully produced. He has also made quarterfinalists for the BlueCat Screenplay Competition for his short script “A Eulogy.”

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Personally, I loved the short film. It takes you to a different place within yourself. Though Wilted has a socially relevant message, much like most of Alciati’s scripts; it is exceptionally unique in its use of color, symbolism, and above all, quietness. For a young filmmaker, Alciati delivers quality overtone that sinks you into the experience of his protagonist, played brilliantly by Molly Ratermann (as the young, expectant mom Sarah). Chris Ginesi plays her husband. The audience experiences her emotional reactions and will only be granted the sight of what she can see, almost placing the viewer in her shoes.” Alciati certainly lives up to his artistic promise, as he capitalizes on Ratermann’s bold performance through a calmed and almost dreamlike aesthetic. It makes the audience feel as if they are in the room with Sarah. Creative standouts include Evan Weidenkeller who shot the film on a RED Epic Dragon, and production designer Gigi D’Elia who crafted an unforgettable atmosphere. Chadd’s vision for the film was the absence of forced drama, yet everything is implied, and it works.

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Wilted is important, because it takes viewers on a personal journey through a woman’s life, not just as an expecting mother, but as a wife and a daughter. Sarah is young, happy and recently married  She is thrilled to be expecting a child. Then a horrible turn takes place. The film shows the reality of this tragic event and just how unexpected and abrupt it can be. We see Sarah’s life before as a happy and hopeful expectant mom. Then we witness Sarah’s life after with the heartbreak and misery that the loss of a child invokes (especially at seven months into the pregnancy). The aftermath is raw and Sarah tries to move forward — with something always left behind.

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Chadd’s symbolism using the slowly deteriorating rose represents what the lead character and her child are going through. Watching Sarah go through so many emotions and shock makes the audience think. In the majority of most situations, family and friends do not realize the real loss that a miscarriage is. Wilted portrays that story and opens up an opportunity for real discussion in a realistic manner. All of these cinematic elements produce a powerful and realistic message: Miscarrying is devastating. From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, there are feelings of pride, hope and an intense sense of protection for the baby. If the experience takes a tragic turn, it can be quite common for many women to feel like a failure as well as dealing with such an intimate loss.

Since I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ethan Paisley, Chadd Alciati, and Molly Ratermann about “Wilted” and their experience filming the short from a Producer/Director/Actress point of view,  I was looking forward to their insight. They are all very talented and passionate.

                                                   Ethan Paisley: Producer


You are only 17?!! Did you know that you always wanted to be in the arts? You have accomplished so much for someone your age. I am sure you get this question a lot. I also read that your parents are not affiliated with the industry and you are the “classic millennial”. Is this correct?  

Correct, my parents do not work in the film industry but they’re still amazing artists! My dad is a musician and my mom is a block print designer. My grandma is a published author. I naturally fell in love with filmmaking because, yes, I was born into a world where making movies are easier than making your bed. My first love was storytelling for the stage, but I found filmmaking to be a more accessible method of living my passion. I got started filming myself in yarn wigs on my mom’s old Blackberry phone and posting those videos to YouTube. Now I’m here.

What drew you to the subject matter of  Wilted? It’s mature material and being a mom myself, I applaud you and Chadd for taking this on.

Wilted was one of many short film projects I was reviewing for production in 2017. It hit me hard because it depicted an extremely common female conflict from a very mature perspective. Chadd really built up the pressures of new motherhood in his script to make the event of miscarriage even more devastating for the audience to understand. He did this with a very strong level of nuance, minimalism, and symbolism. Because of this, the script felt like a fully human story rather than a brief and forgettable drama. It’s really a film that evokes thought. Once you get thinking, you’re able to empathize. So many movies spoon feed the drama, to the point where you barely care about what the characters are going through. But Wilted connected with me on a profound level.

You and Chadd are currently finishing up High School together. This is also his directorial debut. Did he approach you with the idea?

He originally reached out to me for casting advice, but once I read his script I asked if I could take on the role of a producer. It was about five months of development on the story until we began pre-production in October 2017.Chadd was a very easy director to work with. He knew exactly what I was looking for. I remember asking if he wanted to do director outreach, but he was very firm in his vision and intentions as a creative force behind the film. I trusted him and really let him take the wheel during production. I pretty much just handled all of the paperwork – but that’s sorta my favorite part of producing. And of course, every production has its share of challenges. Together, we struggled a bit in post-production since the meat of the film is so grounded in its visual aesthetic. We conversed a lot about what looked right and wrong, and this elongated the process. You have to connect the art Chadd sets up with the raw and nuanced moments of life we see the protagonist endure. This makes for a universally appealing story that evenly combines an arthouse style with cinema verité. I’m in love with how it came out.

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I thought Molly Ratermann was great as Sarah. Did you and Chadd both cast her? She has an incredible range and versatility of emotions. Can you expand?

I first saw Molly in her short film “Suicide” and thought she was incredible. After reviewing her work, Chadd couldn’t see anyone else for the role. It was cool because Molly and I had met at a film festival after party in like 2015 and always had plans to work together. This was our first time working together and it was great! I think she brings something really special because she’s so young and experienced in all aspects of entertainment – she’s worked as a model, director, producer, writer… she’s a great mentor and I’m grateful for our friendship off-set.

“I’m just trying to do the next right thing every day. However, I am very passionate about bringing underrepresented stories to life through film. Again, films are instantly available worldwide and therefore extremely influential tools for social change. As a filmmaker, it’s my duty to tell the stories that others can’t. This requires lots of patience, hard work, and above all, compassion. I will continue endlessly spreading my passion and pushing the boundaries of media with today’s most important stories.” (Ethan Paisley)

Congrats on “Wilted” be nominated for Best Short Corner for Cannes! Will you be attending?

Unfortunately, I can’t go! I’ll be in NYC for other work that week. I went last year for the premiere of my feature film “Point 453,” and it blew my mind!!! I plan to be in Cannes during June for the Lions festival. I’m hoping to book a talk there!

What filmmakers inspire you?

I’m inspired by filmmakers with rough edges that stop at nothing to be able to create. To put it simply, I’m motivated by resilience. Usually, resilient creatives aren’t innately talented visionaries, but they’re hard workers with lots of integrity about what they do. That’s what most important to being successful in this game – your emotional endurance and self-honesty.

What would your advice be to someone your age who wants to make a film but feels hesitant?

I think as artists we’re all afraid of undermining our creativity. To anyone scared of creating, you’ll always be dissatisfied with what you make in the end. That’s why you have to just make some something. You also have to crave community and love what you do endlessly. You can’t make a movie without amazing collaborators and loads of passion. So put yourself out there, talk to anyone and everyone, and really embrace who you are.

                                                         Chadd Alciati: Director


Hi Chadd! Thanks for joining our interview at Gemma Magazine.  Did you know that you always wanted to be in the arts?

Ever since seventh grade, I’ve had an interest in filmmaking. My main focus throughout high school and for my future is screenwriting, but I wanted to be able to have a stronger influence as a director for the short film Wilted. As it was my first time directing, I had to work through some of the difficulties quickly in order to stay on track, which became a major learning process.

Why were you drawn to Wilted I think it’s wonderful to bring awareness to this issue. 

I decided to write “Wilted,” because my family has had personal experiences with the topic. I was very interested in this current issue and wanted to find a unique way to express this story in a very intimate and emotional narrative. I wanted it to be able to shed light on miscarriages, as they are underrepresented in our media and often a taboo subject.

Did you and Ethan ever work together during school hours? It’s an immense amount of work and yet, your both still in school.

Ethan and I attend The Marin School of the Arts. We had the chance to work and collaborate during class, since we saw each other daily, making it easier to organize and plan our shooting schedule. Ethan is very experienced with producing, and he definitely helped me with problems that were troubling me.

“The cinematic style of close-ups and P.O.V.s only will further the intimacy of our relationship with this woman. The audience will experience her emotional reactions and will only be granted the sight of what she can see, almost placing the viewer in her shoes. I hope that Wilted will stimulate conversation and feelings that will no longer be forbidden and hushed.” (Chadd Alciati)

What would you like the audience to take from the short? Or you rather it is a subjective stance from each person individually?

I want the audience to leave with a new understanding of miscarriages, but the entire message of this film is definitely up to interpretation. We’ve shown it to many of our peers and other filmmakers, and it is up to the audience to leave with their individual opinion. The film is unconventional, solely focusing on our main actress, as we wanted to make the story as personal as possible, so the audience felt all the pain that she felt.

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“You don’t know what it’s like … to have something growing inside you, for seven months…to have it all go away like that…”

What was it like working with Molly Ratermann? She was great in the film.

Molly was amazing to work with, as she has such remarkable talent. She knew exactly what I wanted for each scene and was very cooperative. While filming the hospital scene, her ability to convey the anguish and heartbreak of her character made even the crew have to turn away because they were so uncomfortable.

Congratulating on the film being selected to debut at Cannes 2018. How does that make you feel?

I am very excited to have our film show at Cannes, as it will definitely be a platform for opening up more doors for myself and our crew. It is relieving knowing that our hard work paid off and that we will be recognized for our piece at a very prestigious event.

                                                 Molly Ratermann: Lead Actress


Thank you for joining Gemma Magazine!  You have worked in the entertainment industry most of your life. What was your first audition like?

You are welcome! I auditioned for a play by accident in 4th grade. I was hanging out in the multipurpose room where they were holding auditions for the school play while waiting for my mom to pick me up. A friend’s parent suggested I give auditioning a shot, and I loved being in front of a crowd, so I figured why not. They ended up offering me one of the lead parts which was neat. From then on I wanted to be an actor, it just clicked.

I saw your reel, which is very good. I know you have your own production company. Therefore, you are involved in directing and producing as well? Or mainly acting?

Thanks for the kind words. I started writing, producing and directing my work for my acting career. I was frustrated with the roles I was getting and the lack of control I had over my career, so I started doing my own projects to fulfill it. Now I love every aspect of filmmaking from script to onset to post-production.

Did Chadd reach out to you personally for Wilted? What was the experience like working with him?

I knew the producer, Ethan Paisley and we had tried working together on other projects but schedules never aligned. He reached out to me on this one, and it finally worked out. Chadd was such a pleasure to work with.

The material is intense but so necessary to address:  How did you prepare for this mentally?

Even without experiencing this personally, I think you can imagine the weight of going through something like that. I was given excellent backstory and prep by Chadd as well, and I think just taking a walk in the character’s shoes is the best you can do.


Was Ethan on set a lot and what was it like to work with him?

Ethan was on set the entire time, yes. He’s always great. Ethan keeps the energy up and wants to make sure production stays on schedule, but also that everyone is comfortable and things are running smoothly. He’s a very involved producer, and I loved working with him.

 What do you hope the audience takes from Wilted.

Thank you very much! I just hope the audience can go on the journey with my character. That in the end, they can feel empathy for the experiences of women all over who go through miscarrying and trying to cope with starting over again, physically and emotionally.

I congratulate the entire cast and crew of Wilted for producing a beautiful short film.  Many more projects are upcoming for Paisley, Alciati, and Ratermann and I cannot wait!


To follow and keep up


IG: @ethanbpaisley

Chadd Alciati: @chadd_alciati

Molly Ratermann: @mollykinsale37


An Artistic Expression of Fashion and Style

Fashion posts can be fabulous and magical; yet if you look closer, there is usually a story behind them. Sometimes certain profiles have a special and intimate effect and must be shared. Such is the case with James Daugherty and his stunning designs. Do you happen to know who James Daugherty is? Well, I am about to enlighten you.


My mission in fashion and writing has always had always stemmed from original trailblazers. I like to cover designers and artists (fashion, jewelry, contemporary artists) that make an innate, original and emotional impact upon people. Hopefully, designers that inspire others the way they inspire me through their endless creativity, dedication, and passion for creative expression.

James Daugherty set the tone for style, fashion, and individualism during a time when this was not considered “the norm” for an African-American man. He and his designs were the definitions of elegance and grace but unfortunately, Daugherty has not embraced the way he should have been. This post is not a “trend of the month” (and I love trends) but rather a profile of passion, humility, and talent. I am honored to tell the story of James Daugherty.


James Daugherty was an African-American man who had a burning desire to express himself through his designs (that to this day many people have not even seen). You will see a handful of them now. His natural talent in his sketches is breathtaking. When I saw the sketches myself, I was shocked at his sense of artistry. It was almost as if each sketch represents a character that comes to life with Daugherty’s sense of composition, embroidered details, and never-ending creativity. If you notice, each individual sketch features a model with flawless makeup, a unique hairstyle, and jewelry that all blends seamlessly with her apparel. I love that each always a signature — the red lipstick. Actually, the seamless thread is a trait of a true artist. His designs (even though created in the 70’s) are so chic and timeless that I could see the modern and style-savvy woman wearing his designs today!


So who is James Daugherty? He was the classic underdog. Not in his innate talent to design, but in his background, skin color and unfortunately, the era he peaked in (the mid-70’s). Daugherty was born in Los Angeles, the son of James Sr. and Pollyanna Daugherty, who were, respectively, a maintenance man and a maid. They did not have much money, but the rich women Daughtery’s mother worked for handed down all of the designer clothes that they no longer wanted. With the assistance of her son, James Jr., Polly would take the garments and redesign them to suit her needs. According to Daugherty, “By the time she would finish with these she would look like she stepped out of a fashion magazine.” James noted, “Momma would get all dressed up and I would sketch her.” Even from an early age, Daugherty was fascinated by his mother’s off-duty style, and he sketched her wearing the pieces — crepe dresses, veiled hats, and fox-fur chubbies that she had been given. When she left for work, James was off sketching an entire wardrobe for her. His mother had incredible style but his father had the technical artistic ability which James felt he inherited. The combination of these two characteristics attributed to James’ interest in women’s fashion. His mother’s unconditional support planted the seed and his talent just blossomed. She constantly told him that he belonged in New York.


Over the course of this project, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Denise Orso, Daugherty’s daughter. She is lovely and stylish, but even more importantly, she loved her dad. Orso said. “My grandmother altered the clothes she was given and was always very stylish,” Denise emphasized that between her grandmother’s interest in fashion and her grandfather’s inherent artistic talent is where James probably got his inspiration to work in fashion design. She is proud of his work and takes great pride in it, but Denise also loves her dad for being a wonderful father to her. I think that was the most striking characteristic about Daugherty after speaking with her. Even though James and Jaqueline divorced, he was still an exceptional dad. Denise explained that he never missed one holiday, one Birthday or a special occasion. Denise also described her father as “a kind, soft-spoken man who loved people and enjoyed life.”


James later attended the Chouinard Art Institute, which much later became Cal Arts. He completed his three-year course but at the time, the only job available was that of a maintenance man at Paramount and MGM. Apparently, the employees of where he worked even noticed a special touch. This eventually led to him leaving sketches of his work in the offices of the costume designers he cleaned for. The famed Edith Head of Paramount Pictures gave him his first job as a sketch artist on the films The Ten Commandments, The King and I and Funny Girl. He also worked on many of the costumes for “I Love Lucy”. “We had to design things that framed the face,” he said, Daugherty added, “That is why I loved sketching faces. The face comes first.”


Being the ambitious man that he was, he then headed east. His goal was to do costume designing on Broadway but ended up finding work in manufacturing on Seventh Avenue. Instead of sketching for great costume designers, he worked in the fashion houses of Maurie Rentner, Pat Sandler of Highlight Fashions, Bill Blass, Anne Klein and Richard Cole. When he left Highlight Fashions, he was still determined not to let his skin color be an issue. He stayed with Jerry Silverman for seven years , but frustration grew since he still had to obtain final approval on his designs. Jerry Silverman hired Daugherty with ground rules: There would be no identity in the showroom and certainly no credit on the labels. James then started to really worry about his future.



After taking a position to make ends meet in Women’s Contemporary clothing, again, he was grateful to be working in the fashion industry; yet, his name was not allowed on the label because of his skin color. This might be hard to believe but it is a reality. When I saw the pictures of the Contemporary Women’s Line, they were wonderful and featured wrap dress, silk skirts, and classy pantsuits. After watching an early interview with him on his contemporary line I got a hint into his thinking, his method. He wanted women to look like women. James believed in women tapping into their femininity and wanted them to be proud of their figures. His day wear and evening dresses were usually synched at the waist, he liked pockets and there was always a comfortable flow and natural fit to the garment. James also liked silk a lot. He loved the color and didn’t want women to be afraid of it. If he designed pants (and if women had to resort to them), they were lightweight as well. I loved how he stated, “It is just as important how a woman enters a room as when she leaves the room.” Other words, one must know how to make a statement with her choice of style.


One element that I find fascinating is that his designs are incredibly elegant with a modern edge. Look at the structured fit, the colors, and composition. These are gowns that I envision many of today’s stylish actresses, musical artists, and models wearing. I can easily see Lupita Nyong wearing the first, Angelina Jolie gracing the second, Charlize Theron in the third, Marion Cotillard would be wonderful for the fourth, Nia Long in the fifth and Uma Thurman stopping traffic in the sixth and Cate Blanchett in the last. It would be stunning. I love how the clothes he designed fit the models. They hug the body proportionately. James understood that women do not want a complicated fit. They want to feel feminine but not in an arduous way. There is a very modern and beautiful aesthetic to the Daugherty look.

Orso told me how he enjoyed working for women’s contemporary lines but his real dream (obviously) was to have his own label versus having other designers stick their names on his. Yet, within this dynamic, Daugherty was known to be very gentle and mild-mannered and never seemed to “push back.” With his amazing talent I do not understand how he could not have fought back. Yet I am from the south, and I know the limitations (even today). Was this part of the reason why I was attracted to this story? Maybe. When I watched his television interview, I saw the gentle soul behind the designer. Times were different then and he was grateful to be working in the fashion industry, even though society was missing out on a fashion icon. After studying his sketches and the emotions that they evoke, I feel that was his heart and passion were within the evening gowns featured here. They are personal. Not to mention, there are tons of them. I can almost envision James in his New York apartment sketching away at night and dreaming of his name being on the label.


Finally, after working for years to reach this point, Daugherty was able to open his own store on 7th Avenue in NYC. Ben Shaw, an entrepreneur who backs designers, gave him a call and it was a go! James opened up his fashion house at 550 Seventh Avenue in September of 1974. He knew times would most likely change in terms of being well received by the public as a black fashion designer; yet, James considered himself the “Jackie Robinson of Seventh Avenue.” His first collection was well received by the buyers and press…and that is what counts in the fashion business. It was still hard though and his business eventually did not survive. In 1976, James Daugherty was named Designer of the Year by the Fashion Sales Guild. From 2003 until his death, James Daugherty was an adjunct professor in the Fashion Design-Art Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he genuinely enjoyed teaching Beginning Fashion Design to teens. I am sure it was a fantastic class and would have loved to have taken it.  This is one story I am sad to leave. I sort of fell in love with this beautiful man and his journey. At least I got to tell part of it. I will probably never look at fashion the same way again, and for that James Daugherty, I thank you. I thank you for giving us beautiful designs, grace, elegance and paving the way for other African American fashion designers.


Lastly, it is hard to believe the sketches featured here are only a small portion of his fantastic creations. Apparently, there are 740 in total. Whoever gets first shot at an exhibition of his stunning sketches will be very lucky and in for a magical surprise.

James Daugherty
James Daugherty


The Artistic Role

The role of the artist is to evoke emotion and possibly tell a story through their work. Just like a writer likes to create a black and white picture through their words, an artist likes to create compelling work that has deep meaning. Therefore, inspiration is put into place. Not everyone will understand it or accept it; but if you are in the present moment of true artistry, nothing else matters.

Brandan Odums Visual Art

Fashion designers, contemporary artists, filmmakers, and actors all complement each other because they express their truth when they present their work in an authentic and raw spirit. I’m referring to artists who work hours on end and let the work speak for themselves and follow a daily routine. Greatness just does not pop for artists instantaneously. They are talented but they also never stop working. They usually do not crave attention on facebook due to their discipline but there is definitely an “unsettling” of sorts within. I refer to that ‘uneasiness’ as the burning desire to create something magical while fighting with the desire to stay inside their shell. Whether it is self doubt, fear of judgement, or an introversion — I view this as an asset in many instances. This dichotomy has produced some gorgeous creations.

Cheryl Koo Fashion and Choreography

Whether it is a fine/contemporary/pop artist that makes you stop and just feel, a designer working on a collection that tells a story through each garment or an actor that invites you to disappear into their character, they all give us the opportunity to leave our chaotic world for a minute and enter a magical one. Personally, I feel most artists tell a poignant story and it can be beneficial to listen. Just like authentic friendships, listening and acceptance makes for better relationships and understanding.

Brandon Sean Pearson (Actor)

Lillian Shallom Jewelry

We all judge ourselves in general. It’s simply human nature. Although there are those rare few who don’t (and I envy them). Yet I do feel that artists and designers can be especially hard on themselves when they push so hard to achieve greatness versus “being in the zone” of one’s craft. There is so much rejection that your mental game needs to be strong and willing to face adversity. Ultimately I see the majority of artistic expression as their release, a hint of who they are, a way to bring joy to others, but most importantly; they are learning to embrace and love themselves.  This is how one grows (as a person and an artist) plus the addition of hard work on a daily basis. After interviewing many fashion and jewelry designers, contemporary artists, filmmakers and actors, they seem to share a common thread: they cannot live without their art. It is their work and it sustains them — regardless of type. That is the artistic role, even with the expected frustration. I also find the diversity of artists to be beautiful and something that should be acknowledged and celebrated. What a lovely way to come together.

Deborah Thomsen Walker Art


Bonnie Strauss Clothing

I know someone who inspires me all the time with his photography. It’s not a big deal to him because it’s his work. To me, his craft has captured 18 years of partnership, three children, and some amazing moments and memories. Not all have been memorable, but somehow looking back I am incredibly grateful that he photographed them. Do his photos make me feel? Absolutely! Each one and the risks he was willing to take.

Finally, evolved artists trust the process, the rejection, and the growth. Yes, that is much easier said than done but staying focused is an art within itself. More than anything else, trust the diversity within art. It’s an education and one you will not receive in school but a great life lesson. It’s a human connection, an overall love and just maybe, a hopeful path to unity.

John Collazos Photography


John Augustavo – Film and Video Director