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MARYANDPAT1.jpgThis week wasn't without its places to see and be seen. On the eve of Ant leaving for Denver, he and I got to celebrate with Mary J. Blige at the release party for her new CD, "Growing Pains". (www.mjblige.com/).MARYANDPAT2.jpg MARYANDANT.jpgThe festive set was held in the posh Soho Grand Hotel Penthouse Lofts, where we ran into friends like Quincy Ballon (who I wrote about last week - www.galleryqb.com) and fashionista/model/blogger Najwa Moses (www.styleaholics.com). PATANDNAJWA.jpgBut also, we ran into some new friends: Nickie and Melanie (who -- after alerting us that her aunt changed her name to "Mahogany" -- became our BFF for the night). NICANDPAT.jpgANTMELPATNICKIE.jpgAnd we were - of course - excited to see Nic (with whom we've socialized before) from "America's Next Top Model" (Cycle 5). She's always beautiful and fun!!!NICANDANT.jpg

On the heels of Ant leaving, I still had a commitment with "The Great Debaters" (www.thegreatdebatersmovie.com/). PATANDFOREST1.jpgThe New York City premiere was held at my "Dreamgirls" mecca from last year, The Ziegfeld Theater (www.clearviewcinemas.com/cgi-bin/locations.cgi?id=042&flag=diplay_theatre). PATANDFOREST2.jpg My Theo - publicist with the most - accompanied me and made sure I got my photo ops with Academy-Award-winner Forest Whitaker. PATANDNATE2.jpgAlso, film co-stars to watch posed with me as well: Nate Parker and Miss Jurnee Smollett (formerly of "Eve's Bayou" fame as well as "Full House" and the short-lived spin-off with her siblings "On Our Own"). PATANDJURNEE.jpgTheo and I also sat next to two charming actors Amy Wilder and Patrick Duggan - both of whom have been working in the trenches of the business for twelve years now. Like me, my "Anglo-Saxon" namesake is left-handed and - as we both joked - "Black Irish". As "actors" that they are, they were very impressed with the film.AMYPATPAT2.jpg Though I didn't get my one-on-one moment with Denzel, he was in attendance along with young Denzel Whitaker who portrays James Farmer Jr. (who went on to found CORE - The Congress of Racial Equality). GREATDEBATERS2.jpgAdditionally, Theo introduced me to Beverly Smith, whose 'talking-head banter' I've appreciated for a few years now on BET, VH-1, etc. She's a lifestyle expert for BET and is often asked to be a commentator on shows such as VH-1's "Hip Hop Wives" (www.vh1.com). PATANDBEV1.jpgAlso, not to be confused with the aforementioned: B. (as in Barbara) Smith (www.bsmith.com/) was in the house. This restauranteur, lifestyle expert, designer, author, and spokesperson hipped us to some of her upcoming projects. As soon as the ink dries, I hope to share some of that good news with you here. PATANDBEVSMITH.jpgThis, of course, marks my second time seeing "The Great Debaters". The third time will be the charm as I screen it on Christmas Day with my family. 


Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 at 05:37PM by Registered CommenterTHE LIFE OF RILEY in | CommentsPost a Comment | References7 References

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