Monthly Archives: February 2010

Desiree Rogers Stepping Down as White House Social Secretary


Image Courtesy of the Huffington Post

Desiree Rogers just announced that she will be stepping down as White House Social Secretary next month. This is not quite surprising given the criticism she received after the White House Crashers incident in November. From the Associated Press:

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer Darlene Superville, Associated Press Writer – 

WASHINGTON – White House social secretary Desiree Rogers is stepping down three months after taking heavy criticism for allowing gate crashers into the administration’s first state dinner. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama issued a statement Friday thanking their longtime friend from Chicago for doing a “terrific job ” organizing hundreds of events during her little more than a year on the job.

They didn’t indicate a reason for Rogers’ departure, effective sometime next month.

Rogers’ handling of the Nov. 24 state dinner came under fire after a celebrity-seeking northern Virginia couple got into the exclusive South Lawn affair without a formal invitation, despite heavy White House security. Rogers was in charge of the event.

She later acknowledged not having staff from her office at security checkpoints to help identify guests. Lawmakers had demanded that she testify about her handling of the event, and one wanted to subpoena her. The White House would not allow her to testify, citing the constitutional separation of powers.

The tall and glamorous Rogers also was criticized for her high profile and appearing in glossy magazine photo spreads.

Rogers, 50, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that she was leaving because she had achieved a major goal of the Obamas: turning the White House into the “people’s house” by opening it up to many of those who normally do not get to visit.

“My work was really to create this framework. I think I completed that work,” she told her hometown paper. “Our office has been able to lay the foundation for what will be known as the ‘people’s house’ and it has already taken shape.”

Rogers said she planned to explore opportunities in the corporate world, where she worked before joining the administration. She arrived in Chicago after getting an MBA and has worked at AT&T and a gas and utilities company.

“When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the people’s house and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers,” the president and Mrs. Obama said

So what do you think? Are you surprised that she resigned?

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Filed under Politics, President Obama

Quick Hits: Blacks in the 2010 Winter Olympics


Photo Courtesy of http://www.ctvolympics.ca

Though we apparently are not watching the Winter Olympics, we wanted to inform you of some little known Black Olympic athletes that may make you start watching if you have not already.

1) Did you know that the first Black figure skating pair ever competed in this year’s 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? We didn’t either! Check out this story about Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur.

2) Check out TheRoot.com’s slideshow called “Vancouver 2010: Soul on Ice” to see winter Olympians past and present.

3) Have you heard of Cheltzie Lee? This Australian figure skater who is half Chinese, half Black American (her mom is from Louisiana!) competed at the last minute after another figure skater was withdrawn from the competition. Check out this story on 16 year old Cheltzie Lee.

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Spotlight On: Roslyn Brock


Photo Courtesy of the NAACP

“I believe [it] is my calling and passion to bring upon health, healing and wholeness to individuals, families and communities, and I have and will continue to bring this to the table in my service to the NAACP.” Roslyn Brock

On February 20, 2010 the NAACP unanimously elected their new Board Chair to succeed Julian Bond. That chairwoman is Roslyn Brock. As the fourth woman and youngest to serve on their national Board of Directors, her position marks the first time that neither the president (37 year old Ben Jealous) nor chairman experienced segregation.

The oldest of three children, Roslyn was born in Fort Pierce, Florida. Her father owned an appliance store in Florida but, in 1973, he and her mother moved their family to Maryland’s Prince George’s County for better employment opportunities. Roslyn set her goals early in life. A junior high school aptitude test revealed that she would be best suited as a doctor, attorney or health care administrator. Thinking that there were enough lawyers and doctors out there, she set her eyes on health care administration and began learning what she needed to do in order to be successful in that career. And she did just that. She attended and graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Union University as her first step. Even her college classmate, Ruth Coles Harris, mentioned seeing her goal listed in the yearbook as “To become a successful health care administrator.” From there she went to earn a masters in health care administration from George Washington University. It was about that time when she met her husband, Randall Eugene Brock at an NAACP board meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. They were married in 1992. Tragically, three years later, Randall died suddenly from a blood clot to his lungs following a surgery to repair a jet skiing injury.  This devastating event prompted her to go back to school for her MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. For two years she traveled two and a half hours from Michigan every other weekend for their executive MBA program in Evanston, Illinois. While in Battle Creek, Michigan, she focused on health-related issues at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for 10 years. Roslyn’s current “day job” is working for Bon Secours Health Systems, located in Maryland, as vice president for advocacy and government relations. And, just last year, she received a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Theology at Virginia Union University.

At only 44 years old, she has spent an amazing 25 years serving the NAACP with her most recent role being vice chairman of the Board (he was also the youngest vice chairman to be elected). She first joined the organization during her first year at college at Virginia Union University. According to outgoing chair, Julian Bond, her selection comes from a “deliberate, but…also fortuitous,” move from the NAACP to elect a new generation of leaders. As the new chairman she is focusing on what she calls “PGA” which stands for “Policy, Government and Accountability,” as she revealed in an ESSENCE Magazine interview.  Though the NAACP has faced trying times to maintain relevancy in this “post-racist” America, there is no question that Roslyn has the resilience and fortitude to lift up the organization. We anxiously look forward to more great things to come from Ms. Brock.

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Fashion Week Fall 2010 Highlights



Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week Fall 2010 just wrapped up – the last NY Fashion Week in Bryant Park (they’re moving to Lincoln Center). As always, it did not disappoint. Here are some of our favorite trends that we can all look forward to for the fall.
Prints
1. Issa
2. Issa
3. Oscar de la Renta

New Take on the One Shoulder

4. Victoria Beckham
5. Badgley Mischka
6. Victoria Beckham

Funnel Collars
7. Issa
8. Issa
9.  Vivienne Tam

Embellishments
10. Naeem Khan
11.Vera Wang
12. Naeem Khan

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The Man In Your Life: “Big” vs. “Aidan”


Photo Courtesy of blacksnob.com

Brunch with the ladies never ceases to disappoint. Amid the backdrop of Manhattan city life on a Saturday afternoon, Kailei (of The Vyne) played hostess with the “most-est” to several of us who gathered at her place for food, fun, conversation and fantastic homemade sangria. At some point, after catching up on our careers, random daily happenings and current pop culture hot topics (a la the Tiger Woods apology) the conversation turned to men. Specifically, as we popped bacon wrapped dates in our mouths (so yum), we began talking about who were the “Big(s)” and “Aidan(s)” in our lives. If you’re a fan of Sex and the City then you know exactly where this is going. What’s funny is that we all had at least one story to share about the “Big” in our life. You know, the man you have effortless chemistry with who swept you off your feet, drove you nuts, loved you, left you or wouldn’t leave you alone? Likewise, it was equally easy for us to recall the “Aidan” in our lives. That man who was average to handsome looking, super nice, cared for you, and treated you like the apple of his eye but the chemistry was nothing to write home about. Probably the most ironic observation was the fact that everyone spoke of their “Big” in the past tense. Which had me thinking, does anyone other than Carrie end up with their “Big”? Clearly the “Big” in our lives served some sort of purpose. But perhaps, as we get more comfortable with who we are as women and what we want and need in a relationship, the allure of a “Big” pales in comparison to the stability and reliability of an “Aidan”, or does it?

Tell us what you think Vyne readers!

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The Vyne Product Review: Caress Body Wash


Caress was nice enough to send their new Evenly Gorgeous body wash for us to try out. Note: though it was a freebie, they didn’t pay us for our review. So, as always, we promise our honest opinion.

The Product: Caress Evenly Gorgeous Body Wash (part of the Caress Skin Wear Collection)

Look and Feel: Contoured and transparent bottle making it easy to handle in the shower and easy to see when you’re running low; Super thick and fragrant

Why We’re Lathering It: We recently conducted a product test, as we sometimes do, and are happy to report we’re loving lathering up with this new body wash. First of all, the fragrance is fantastic. It’s made with burnt brown sugar and karite butter so it smells like a decadent sweet vanilla bouquet. It’s a perfect relaxation fragrance before calling it a night. It lathers up quickly, with or without a puff, and is even thick enough to double as a “make shift” shave gel if you’ve run out. Although we can’t say for certain if our skin tone is any more even than when we started (per the product claims), what we can say is that this body wash has gentle exfoliating properties and leaves your skin feeling moist.

Cons: If you use a puff or bathing gloves, you won’t get the full benefits of the exfoliation, but the thick lather may still be worth it.

Price Point: $uper cheap at a retail price of approximately $7

Recommendation: If you’re brand loyal to other body washes but are looking to try a new one to add into the rotation, give this one a try!

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Spotlight On: Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Ph.D.


Melissa Harris-Lacewell

Political scientist, professor, feminist, writer and mother. Melissa Harris-Lacewell is an academic force to be reckoned with. She can often be seen on television sharing insightful and well researched opinions about the intersection between race, politics and gender. If you are a fan of the Rachel Maddow show or Keith Olberman on MSNBC then you’ve undoubtedly seen Melissa holding her own while engaging in intellectually entertaining dialog.  Her knowledge on the topics she addresses far exceeds her years on this earth (she’s only 34) and it is perhaps her fresh perspective that makes her one to watch.

Melissa’s success and chosen fields of study are examples of the apple not falling far from the tree and the environment in which she was raised. She was born in Seattle but raised in Virginia, both in the cities of Charlottesville and Chester. Her father, an African American, graduated from Howard University and was roommates with Stokely Carmichael. Her father later became the dean of African American affairs for the University of Virginia. Her mother, Caucasian, graduated from Brigham Young University and later became a professor at a local community college in Virginia. She also spent significant time working for non-profit organizations focused on helping poor communities. Melissa had an early awareness of race growing up in a blended family. Her father previously had three children with an African American woman and her mother had a daughter with a Caucasian man from a previous marriage. Melissa is the only child between her parents. Regarding growing up in this household Melissa says, “It was a very unique, kind of interracial, interesting family… in my household, there were different racial identities; people thinking and understanding themselves within different identities, but of course all being brother and sisters”.

With parents who clearly fostered and demonstrated the importance of education, it is no surprise that Melissa graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She continued her studies and later received a Ph.D. in political science from Duke University as well as an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School. Currently she is a student at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Over the course of Melissa’s career she has been published in several scholarly journals. Her book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, (Princeton 2004) is an award winning examination of public discourse and political ideology formation in the black community. She is currently hard at work on her next book titled, Sister Citizen: A Text For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn’t Enough (Forthcoming Yale University Press).

In addition to writing, Melissa is an Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University where her students call her MHL. She is known for her dynamic teaching style and for courageously tackling timely and relevant discussions on race, politics, culture and gender in the classroom. As an example, she held a course entitled Disaster, Race and American Politics which explored the multiple political meanings of Hurricane Katrina.

Somewhere in the midst of all her writing, researching, teaching and television appearances, Melissa finds the time to be a devoted mother to her beloved daughter Parker, who is sure to be yet another apple not far from the tree.

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Filed under Phenomenal Women, Uncategorized