What I'm Wearing... The Derby Affair with Curls, Curves, & Conversation

It's spring, and you know what that means?! Warmer weather, longer days, and spring fashion!  We have spent the last few months in sweaters, boots, and dark colors, while mulling during the long winter nights.  Spring is the breath of fresh air we have all been waiting for. During the spring, it’s time to shed those sweaters and boots, trade them in for floral dresses and sandals.

Sitting at the intersection of spring and fashion, is The Kentucky Derby. For over 100 years, The Kentucky Derby was where spring fashion was debuted. Women from all over would flock to the Derby in their floral dresses, A-line skirts, oh… and we cannot forget about the hats! If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, don’t fret. Our friends at the Talented Tenth have got you covered.

When I heard the news that The Derby Affair save the date went out, I started planning looks in my head from what was already in my closet. One thing I like to do before any day or event, is plan the look I am going for before blindly shopping. I always shop my closet first.  Here are some of my favorite looks and concepts that are Kentucky Derby approved. Let me know what you think, and I hope you gain some inspiration! Can’t wait to see all of you beautiful people at the Derby!

Look One: The Traditional Look
The first combination was the easiest to come by. I found a simple teal Swing Dress and paired it with a chartreuse sandal. Pairing two bold, complimentary colors like teal and chartreuse will be easy to come by in any closet. It is also shown with a canvas cream/chartreuse clutch with a wooden handle.

Teal Look

Look Two: Dark Floral and Stripes
The Kentucky Derby is known for its vibrant spring colors, but it is also knows for its deep florals. Think, Roses. To add an element of spring into the dark floral skirt, I topped it with an oversized black and white striped top.

Floral + Stripes

Look Three: All "White"
Summer owns the all-white look, hands down. So in the celebration of spring, and this lingering winter, I paired an all-white, tulle midi skirt, with a winter white top. I kept the shoes neutral, but I broke out the bling to add an element of sweetness to this outfit. To add that look of spring I paired it with a Hot Pink clutch, my pop of color.

All "White"

Look Four: Pantsuit Nation
My last look is officially a look for The Kentucky Derby. Pantsuits are increasingly becoming a staple in every woman’s wardrobe, and have been worn more to The Derby and Derby events for the last 10 years. My last look is a bright coral pantsuit. The structures wide leg pants with the back cut out, make this a bold and edgy look for any event. I finished it with a royal blue fascinator, to incorporate a pop of color.

Pant Suit Look

Now, I have to figure out what I’m wearing to The Derby Affair.  Can’t wait to see you there!

What are YOU wearing? 



So what's this all about?

In a moment of reflection most recently after the Derby I found myself in a space of peace, admiration, and gratitude of the continued support from my friends. I really took the time to explore the question what are you about? What are the principles and ideals you hope to spread and share with the world. I was surprised by how quickly I was able to garner a clear and decisive answer. My life is all about Knowledge, Respect, and Love. Things I equally enjoy sharing, receiving, and reciprocating. The Tenth will ALWAYS exemplify those ideals simply because of who WE are.

If I had to say what my most prized and valuable asset is, it is undoubtedly my network. My family, friends, colleagues, and classmates are a representation of my positive relationships. I wear these relationships and partnerships with pride and hold them in high reverence.  In these photographs you have some of the most respected young professionals in our city. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, authors, etc. I, too, was raised here in Jacksonville and educated on the highest of seven hills in Tallahassee, Florida at Florida A&M University. I've always come from a community that does not rely solely on outside help. We instead educate, employ, and serve our community. This is more than just a party its a commitment to each other's improvement. It's bigger than 'lift as you climb' because that implies it's not equally rewarding to invest in someone else's progression. We, instead, grow with each other to build more partnerships and mutually tackle tough issues. It's now OUR time. There are no more great leaders. We need each other!

This years donation was made toward The Capstone Institute. Last years donation was made to Building Powerful Minds BPM (youth mentorship). There's always something that can be done, whether it's active or passive. Passive, for example, is getting dressed up and dropping $20 to attend an event that will grant someone access to post secondary education. Active, on the other hand, is directly supporting these community initiatives through volunteering. The Talented Tenth Enterprises looks to do both. Each event is sponsored by and cultivated for young professional minorities. We thereby funnel business to one another while galvanizing our target demographic to join in on community efforts, all while having a great time. More importantly, the majority of this accomplished pool, just like me, are Jacksonville natives. This image is not something really thought of when you think about the stereotypes associated with the Jacksonville social scene.

Events thus far have highlighted various community initiatives with all proceeds going directly to support our local causes. But as the demand for quality events for young professionals seems to grow, The Talented Tenth Enterprises would like to help fill that gap. We will be hosting more events solely for the purpose of bringing together like minded individuals in a positive environment to share dope vibes. We will continue to make new partnerships and build relationships with local business. This is not senseless memes and pseudo woke hashtags, this is actual time, effort, and love. Each one of the organizations that we support are continual partnerships in our community. Not some link to an unknown national non-profit. They are things you can pull up on at any time and donate your time and see our efforts at work. The Tenth will continue to support Attorney Vernon Jackson and the Building Powerful Minds youth empowerment organization. We will continue to be mentors, tutors, photographers, etc. Whatever is needed in serving a worthy cause. We will continue to support my classmate Dr. Albert Chester as he grows and needs continuous support. Whether it's continuos support of The Capstone Institute Scholarship Foundation through fundraisers and drives, or even stepping in to teach a class he can't make. It doesn't matter, we do what we can. This is a group community effort. That's the difference between us and them.

- Doc


The Classic Man

In trend with the rising popularity of the eclectic single from new artist Jidenna, the image of the "classic man" seems to be having a much needed resurgence. It seems that there is a growing sub-culture within the hip-hop community gaining traction. As millennials approach and settle on in to their thirties, there is now a market for a well educated, progressive, cultured, community centered movement. In the video for the refreshing new single " classic man," Jidenna depicts an established leader in his community, that exudes pride, power, and elegance. Giving an homage to the black man of the Jim Crow era. It's about more than fashion, the well cut suits, bow ties, lapel pins and pocket squares. All dope things that I love by the way. But its more about presence. Being taken seriously, exuding confidence. Confidence in your history, your lineage, education, and social standing. It's deeper than rap, It's deeper than fashion. It speaks to the subconscious of the black man in America. In a time of demonization, demoralization, humiliation, and feminization of the black man's image in America. I know for me ever since I've heard this song it has played in the backdrop of my process. When I'm inserting my cufflinks, adjusting my bowtie, lacing up my Italian wing tip shoes. Call it cosmetic, call it narcissism, but don't forget to call me fresh. I walk just a little bit taller, my hand shake is just a tad bit more firm, my smile towards that woman watching me walk in is brighter and uncomfortably long lasting. Its a positive affirmation. One that is consistent with the "black experience" in America. Especially for the traditionally educated. Wearing the Mask as Paul Lawrence Dunbar explained in his poem "We wear the mask" (Please read that if reference is missed). It speaks on the need to exist in two worlds. To be socially acceptable in western society and to also stay unapologetically "black." It’s a balancing act, one that we've learned is necessary from as early as grade school.

But our time is now, we're what’s up, we're what’s cool. The yolo-ites have swag surfed hip-hop culture off a cliff. Into a shallow wading pool of mediocrity. It's time to gather and assemble. Because we're out here in ways that matter and can have a positive impact on culture as a whole, and for the conscious of our people. Not just improving how "they see us" but how "we see us." Songs like "classic man" stimulate that nerve.  But it starts with us being that "classic man" That visible pillar in the community, operating righteously, visible for all to take notice. It all starts with creating and nurturing that collective. That is the goal of the Talented Tenth Enterprises and at the center of every event. To put those people together in the same room and stimulate discourse between ourselves and improving our network. So just like the backdrop to the music video a new age Harlem Renaissance period needs to take place. One centered around our community business and culture. I'm ready for empowerment, are you? Let’s have that conversation. Come kick it with like-minded individuals on July 25th at the Catalina Wine Mixer, to hear about our exiting plans and initiatives to contribute to our community and cultivate "our platform."