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Date Posted:2/24/05

HarlemLive's First Annual Freestyle Fashion Show
by: Kevin Benoit

HarlemLIVE had it’s First Annual “Freestyle Fashion Show” at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College on Saturday, February 12th 2005. You weren’t there? Well you should have been, it was history in the making. The show was presented by Parlé and 4T’s Productions and it featured the hottest in fashion, a freestyle battle and too many performances to count.
The show started promptly at 5 o’clock and throughout the night everything went perfect. Although that would be nice that is far from the truth. The show started over an hour after the scheduled 5 o’clock start time. DJ V12, the DJ for the night made the best of it though spinning records for the crowd before the show began. Once the show started, it was back to back entertainment for 3 hours. Kevin Benoit, HarlemLIVE and Parle’s Editor-In-Chief was the unscheduled host/emcee for the night.

The show got off to an exciting start with a performance from Organized Chaos, a group of steppers from Brooklyn Technical High School. Following them was a performance by 19 year-old phenomenon, Jase (http://www.harlemlive.org/arts-culture/music/Jase/JASE.html), one of the hottest upcoming acts representing Queens.
Next was the lone freestyle battle of the night between a “white female mc” from New Jersey named Lanz and Queens rapper and 106 and Park challenger Lord Ness. The two battled for three rounds going harder than Jae Millz and Ness on Making the Band. Eventually Lord Ness took the title and walked off the stage as the champ.

After all of that it was time for the fashion to get started as HarlemLIVE’s models hit the runway strutting the hottest street wear and casual wear for the spring season. SouthPole, Lot 29 and ErvinGeoffrey all participated in the segment of fashion. First, the models took it to the streets with jean suits, halter tops and mini skirts. Then it got a little more casual with button-ups and velours. All the outfits were sexy and incredible fashionable. Don’t be surprised if a lot of these outfits are on the streets this spring. There was another performance by an upcoming talent-Trevlar, the self proclaimed “conscious rapper.” He did his thing with a little help from Lord Ness. Following that, there was a performance by Freze another upcoming talent- a group hailing from the Bronx. They did a couple of freestyles that were able to move the crowd.

There was a brief intermission where the audience munched on dishes from Mannas Restaurant on Fredrick Douglas, Slice of Harlem II, Bayou, House of Seafood, Dinosaurs Barbeque Restaurant, and Londel’s on Strivers Row. They donated their time, hard work and their fabulous dishes to the event.

After intermission the show took a mellow turn. Part two, began with a performance by Mahasin and Moe two R & B solo acts. They helped set the mood for the first segment of evening wear. The first scene was straight out of a wedding reception with wedding dresses by Karin Yngvestdotter Couture and an assortment of tuxedos by Jack and Company Formal Wear. The models strut like pros across the stage; you would’ve sworn they were getting ready to jump the broom.

Then came what might have been the shows high point, an exciting performance by Rain, another upcoming R & B artist who took the trip to Harlem from her hometown in Norwalk, Connecticut. She had the crowd in a frenzy with 3 original tracks including her first single ‘THUGGZ LUVHER’.
Although she was a tough act to follow, the models came back out with part 2 of the evening wear, a ladies only segment spotlighting more wedding gowns by Yngvestdotter Couture along with some dressy formal wear from Harlem’s own The Brownstone.
The entertainment went on with a performance from Hersh, a crooner from Flatbush, Brooklyn. He even brought out Queen Pen who came through and ripped her verse on Hersh’s single ‘These Streets.’ D/R Period who is most famous for producing tracks for Cam’ron and M.O.P. made it clear that he is a threat not only on the producing boards but he’s also a problem on the mic. He too had the crowd moving to his first single “What’s Your Problem?”
The show ended with one last scene of fashion, the males dressed fashionable in tuxedo’s from Dante Zeller Tuxedos and the ladies elegantly dressed in designs from Tamara Pogosian (www.showroomaccess.com).

Also at the show was Black Child of The Inc. and the entire Hood$tock Exchange and Naam Brigade promoting their new album. Although they did not perform they came out to support the event. Jeffrey Covington of Commerce Banks Harlem Branch also came through. Although he wasn’t giving away money he was bearing gifts, pens and lollipops Commerce Bank Style. Manifest Entertainment Group ((B-Cat), 4Front Magazine and The Ave Magazine were all in the building.

The ladies hair was done by Ethnic Elegance located at 4 E125th Street and their make-up was handled by Kem Jackson for Butta Sweet Ink. Music and sound was handled by Carl and Tomas West along with DJ V12 who was on the turntables all night long.

Here’s what people had to say about this event. “I enjoyed my self. It was funny, some of the entertainment was real good, and of course the actual fashion portion was hot,” said Joshua Bryan.
It was a big event and a big night. For the first event of its kind it is definitely a sign of great things to come. Look out for the next Parlé/HarlemLIVE/4T’s Productions Event coming this spring.

After the show was the After Party. Special thanks goes to DJ Mighty Mel who came out and got the party going.


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