HANGING WITH RVA BEAUTY AT THE “POSING BEAUTY” WALK THROUGH

IMG_5475-4Words & Photos by Cheats

This week I was honored to join some old friends and meet some new ones during a walk through of Posing Beauty in African American Culture, the new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA). The walk through was designated for fashion and style influencers in RVA. That’s right family – I’m pretty much the Andre Leon Talley of RVA. Well, not really me but there were definitely some RVA style legends in the building.

The walk through was led by curator Sarah Eckhardt. And once Sarah invited the group to comment on the art, style, and fashion in Posing Beauty, it was on. I highly recommend that you view the exhibition with a friend or a group of friends because discussing the art, fashion, culture, spirit, and context of Posing Beauty could be overwhelming for just one person.  It’s a group activity because the imagines bring out emotion and discussion.

According to the exhibition summary:  “Posing Beauty explores contemporary understandings of beauty by framing the notion of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and political contexts. Drawn from both public and private collections, Posing Beauty features approximately 90 works by artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Eve Arnold, Sheila Pree Bright, Leonard Freed, Renee Cox, Anthony Barboza, Bruce Davidson, Mickalene Thomas, and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe.”

While the exhibition is amazing, – I repeat the exhibition is amazing –  I was equally fascinated with the style and swag of the people invited to attend the walk through. I was a bit relieved that I was held down with the burden of wearing “work clothes.” Yes, that’s exactly why my personal fashion was not up to standard I felt needed for this event.

Meeting Pam Reynolds…

I’d never seen Pam Reynolds in-person before but of course, her style reputation preceded her. As I  walked in the Best Cafe –  a little late – she politely pull the chair beside her, gave me nice smile and said hello. In my opinion, Pam is RVA’s Anna Wintour. And she kind of rocks that signature Anna haircut or is Anna rocking a Pam? Ether way, her fashion is amazing…just look at the photo above. I really didn’t know what to expect meeting her but she was just a pleasure to be around.

Marshe’s Jewels of Wisdom…

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Throughout the entire morning I tried to stand somewhere near Marshe Wyche. The Rumors co-owner was dropping jewels all morning. Marshe is truly a strong renaissance woman and her fashion speaks for itself. But do you know how Marshe gets down behind the camera? If you’re not familiar with her photography skills, check out the latest edition of RVA Magazine. She has a wonderful photography pictorial in the back. Marshe also told me she has a number of photos that haven’t even seen the light of day. Best believe I’m going to try to  get a hold of some of those photos for The Cheats Movement.

 Meet the Black Superheroes…

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You didn’t know ACe Callwood (center) of Coffitivity and Brian McDaniel of Ledbury were superheroes….now you know.

Vintage Brian…

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It’s hard to be fly all the time and I would argue even Brian McDaniel is not fly all the time but every time I see the brother…he’s pretty fly. Representing he’s Ledbury team, Brian has taken to shooting his signature photos with film over the last year or so. Just another aspect of his swag that makes him the 2014 Mad Man…you may be listening to A$AP but Brian is still rocking with the Diplomats like the ROC never broke up. He’s light years ahead of us all.

Molly…The Queen Bee of Fashion

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At first glance you might not think Molly, Social Media Manager at Need Supply Co., would be into 90’s NYC hip hop but looks can be deceiving. I asked Molly to take a picture with the original Queen Bee Lil Kim and she was all for it. One element  about Posing Beauty that I love is that the photos run the gambit highlighting just about every era. I really love the range in the exhibition.

I know I didn’t write very much about the actual art featured in Posing Beauty. I was really impressed with the work of Jamel Shabazz. The Brooklyn born artist has a few photos in the exhibition. He’s work is classic. In closing, I hope you see these photos of my trip to the VMFA and create your own wonderful Posing Beauty experience. It’s well worth the price and will leave a lasting impression of urban culture.

Posing Beauty will show at the VMFA through July 27, 2014.

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