This past weekend, Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi pulled no punches at “When Harlem Came to Paris.” She involved the best and brightest of DC’s creative class. From the food (the lobster maccaroni and cheese was a standout) to the jazz stylings of the W.E.S. Group led by Dr. William E. Smith who portrayed W.C. Handy, each guest was transported to 1926 Paris, France. Everyone danced as if it was the latest music. It only emphasized that “good music” is truly timeless.
Guests were introduced to a myriad of Harlemites throughout the evening. Ms. Mamie Mason, Chester Hime’s fictional character in the book Pinktoes and the Hostesss With The Mostest, was the mistress of ceremony for the evening.
Ms. Mason introduced us to: Lillian Hardin-Armstrong, who passionately played classical and jazz tunes on the piano; Dorothy West, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman and Zora Neale Hurston who recited excerpts of their literary works; and The Mother of Blues Ma Rainey sang a lively rendition of “Black Bottom”. I found this instructional video for those wanting to learn the Black Bottom Dance. (I don’t know how true-to-form it is, but it give us an idea. 🙂 )
However, one of the the best parts of the evening were the fashions. The gentleman were dapper and the ladies were sophisticated. The outfits really set the tone for the event.
As I continue to say, Risikat “Kat” Okedeyi is a social and cultural architect in the District. I am so glad that I attended this event. It was so much more than a party. I left the event enlightened, enriched and more knowledgeable of the Harlem Renaissance. Let’s continue to support people who offer fun, creative and original events within our community. I can’t wait until next year!
And what better way than to celebrate an accomplishment than to attend the Winter Music Conference! I wish I was going. 😦 I will be there next year though. Ya’ll have a good time. Tell Nathan I said hello! 🙂