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HIGH Event: Healthcare Foundation Awards $157,000 To The Center For Black Women’s Wellness

Ann Booth-Barbarin, Treasurer at the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; Jemea Dorsey, CEO of the Center for Black Women's Wellness; Tanya Hairston-Whitner, Chair of the Center for Black Women's Wellness Board at the AstraZeneca check presentation. Photo:

FEBRUARY 23, 2012 (Atlanta, GA) – The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation program, Connections for Cardiovascular Health, held a press conference on Tuesday morning to award a grant of more than $157,698 to the Center for Black Women’s Wellness (CBWW) in Atlanta to create the Healthy Women 4 Healthy Families program.

Healthy Women 4 Healthy Families strives to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and its associated risks among underserved, low-income African-American women who have borderline high levels of cholesterol, have a family history of early heart disease, or who are overweight or obese. The program increases their access to innovative and culturally effective interventions related to nutrition, weight and stress management, thereby improving health outcomes.

Among the Atlanta city officials to attend the press conference to congratulate Jemea Dorsey, CEO of CBWW, were Kathy Ashe, State Representative District #56; Margaret Kaiser, State Representative District #59; Pat Gardner, State Representative District #57 and Councilmember Cleta Winslow.

CBWW serves uninsured women throughout metro Atlanta, with keen interest in nine neighborhoods immediately south of downtown Atlanta, which have poor health outcomes. The proposed program will include culturally appropriate interventions including nutrition, fitness and stress management to address these issues.

HIGH Event: Fashion Uncorked 2012 A Sexy, Sassy Success!

Cotrice Addison (Project Accessory), Donna Davidson (President of Easter Seals North GA), Sidratu Maju (Fashion Uncorked 2012 Winner), Monica Pearson (WSB-TV), Norma Center (Development Coordinator for Easter Seals North Georgia). Photo: Aldridge Murrell Photography

On Saturday, February 11th 2012, Easter Seals held its second annual design competition, Fashion Uncorked, at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center located 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. Fashion Uncorked is a design competition very similar to Project Runway, in which the designers were to come up with designs inspired by T. Howard Jewelry Collection. It was a stylish affair to remember! This beautiful and chic event benefits Easter Seals, an organization that assists individuals with special needs and disabilities to navigate through life and become more independent. According to the Easter Seals website, services and support are provided through a network of more than 550 sites in the U.S. and through Ability First Australia.

Fashion Uncorked 2012 designer Lakedra “Raquel” Reed and her models. Photo: Kun-Chan Chang Photography

Fashion Uncorked kicked off at 7 pm. Attendees were directed to a parking lot about two minutes away from the facility where shuttles were waiting to take event goers to the event while dropping them off right in front of the entrance. This was quite a plus for another reason other than not having to walk far – the temperature was a frosty 28 degrees!

Holly Firfer (right) wearing ADHC Designs by Fashion Uncorked 2011 winner Angelica Cuervo (left). Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

Upon walking inside, excited guests checked in at the front desk. From there, guests spotted several displays advertising the different sponsors such as Mary Kay, Chocolate Ink, James L. Young Photography, Nairobi Professional, and Girligirl. There was also a crepe maker on hand preparing tasty crepes for a small fee. Barefoot Wines was on hand for the wine tasting, featuring a variety of wines, including the crowd favorite, a pink sparkly citrus Moscato. While guests were mingling, they were also noshing on sushi, bite size cakes, and a delicious concoction of dressing topped with asparagus.

Theresa Howard’s (creator of T. Howard Jewelry) handmade jewelry was used as inspiration for each of the designers pieces. Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

Monica Pearson, Atlanta’s favorite news anchor from WSB-TV, hosted the fashion show and Jenine Cotrice Addison was the co-hostess. The fashion show was scheduled to begin at 8:15 PM but before it started, Monica Pearson announced the untimely passing of the incomparable Whitney Houston followed by a short prayer. After that, it was time for the show!

Photo: Baby Shopaholic

The finalists for Fashion Uncorked had to create four looks for the event. The first look featured child models, which the designers not only had to create outfits for the children, but for their stuffed animals as well! The kids were so cute! This very well may have even been the crowd favorite based on the various reactions I saw! After that, the designers had to create daywear and eveningwear looks. It appeared that even though everyone may have had their favorite picks, everyone seemed to fall in love with the white pin striped jumpsuit.

Fashion Uncorked 2012 desinger Annie Flynn and her models. Photo: Kun-Chan Chang Photography

After all of the looks were shown, the judges had the designers and models leave the stage while they deliberated, a move that has been seen on countless shows such as Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model. It should be noted that among those on the judging panel, Holly Firfer, a former CNN anchor, was a judge as well as Rafael Cox, a contestant on the current cast of Project Runway. Jessica Black, Miss United States 2010 was also a judge, as well as Courtney A. Hammonds, JaVaun Gorman (an instructor at the Art Institute of Atlanta), Marcus Jackson (CEO and owner of CALIBER Entertainment) and Dr. Melissa Manuel (the head of the department of Fashion and Retail Management at AIA). After the deliberation period, the judges brought the designers and models back to critique their collections as well as the individual looks.

Fashion Uncorked 2012 Judges: Marcus Jackson (Caliber Enterprises), Renee Knorr (19th Hole Magazine), Rafael Cox (Project Runway), Holly Firfer (CNN/Star 94), Jessica Black (Miss United States 2010), Dr. Melissa Manuel (Art Institute), Cotrice Addison (Project Accessory), JaVaun Gorman (Art Institute), Courtney Hammonds (Art Institute) Holly Firfer (Not Pictured) Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

After much deliberation and excited anticipation from the onlookers, Sidratu Maju was announced winner of the competition. The prize package included a spread in Sheen Magazine and a trip to LA fashion week! Sidratu hails from Sierra Leone and her collection featured beautiful and colorful African inspired looks.

Sidratu Maju was announced the Fashion Uncorked 2012 winner and presented with gifts. Photo: Carla Pierre Photography

Fashion Uncorked 2012 had an amazing turnout as it just so happened to be SOLD OUT! Everyone there appeared to have a fabulous time. The event was structured, well planned, and ran smoothly. Easter Seals and Fashion Uncorked are destined to continue to grow. And next year, the event will be even more monumental. Until then, stay fashionable!

Karissa J. Parker for The HIGH UP. Follow @CurlyRissa for the latest in fashion, style and beauty updates!

HIGH Event: A Valentine’s Day Serenade At Tribal Cafe In L.A.

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays people claim to not care much about, and although I’d like to agree with them, I can’t help but wonder why. The way I see it, Valentine’s Day is just another excuse to celebrate. Whether you are dining with your loved one, or drinking with your best friend, everyone has plans to be someone’s Valentine. I spent my Valentine’s Day enjoying a frothy cup of chai, and the musical talent of Billy Kay. Tribal Café, located in down town Los Angeles, hosted a night of love songs for all the lovers and coffee addicts in the area.

The vibe in the café was mellow, while couples smooched on the couch and the locals ordered “the usual.” Billy’s all acoustic set serenaded us with classics like “I’ll never fall in love again” by Elvis Costello and paid tribute to Whitney Houston with “I Will Always Love You.” Although Billy was the headliner, the mic was open to other musicians and poets who felt the need to share the love.

Smiles were brought to the guest’s faces when free roses complimented their coffee and filled the room with a lovely scent. As Billy handed out roses, Josh, the owner of the cafe, made my chai with a little “extra love”. Josh opened the café 6 years ago and has made an impressive menu full of coffee, sweets, and healthy shakes. Although coffee, sweets and shakes are quite appealing, my obsession with tea filled my belly with warmth on this particular visit to the cafe. Billy finished the night with a few tunes from The Beatles, and some love from the audience. As people sang along, I thought of what John Lennon always said, “All You Need is Love.”

Britt Hutchinson for The HIGH UP. Follow @L0cksy for the best entertainment and event coverage straight from Los Angeles!

HIGH Event: Fashion Uncorked Kicks Off At Barami In Phipps Plaza

Photo by James L. Young Photography

On Friday night, BARAMI inside of Phipps Plaza hosted the kickoff party/pre-event for Fashion Uncorked, a jewelry-inspired design competition. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by Norma Center, Development Coordinator for Easter Seals Disability Services. She was very kind and gracious and answered any questions I had about the event and the organization. I was also greeted by two lovely ladies offering wine, bottled water, and hors d’oeuvres. There was also a table at the front with a representative from the Easter Seals organization who was selling tickets and offering information about Easter Seals.

Photo by James L. Young Photography

A live DJ spun great music while attendants browsed the store and shopped while mingling with the other guests. It was a great turnout of fashionable individuals from all walks of life.

I was pleased to see that while BARAMI is located in Phipps, which is known for catering to high-end clientele, the store offers chic business casual attire and beautiful accessories that are actually affordable. I spoke with the store manager, Marguerite Bobkin, who informed me that BARAMI is approaching its 3 year anniversary of being inside Phipps Plaza yet the store is based out of New York and has been around since the late 70s! Wow!

While I was there, the trendy store also offered a giveaway for everyone who submitted a business card. I won’t name any names but some lucky person won that lovely handbag I had my eye on!  My personal highlight of the evening: being able to not only meet the competing designers but also talk with the judges and Mrs. Theresa Howard, the creator of the bold jewelry pieces that will be featured in the competition.

Anastasia Southwick, The High Up's Karissa Parker (Center) and Theresa Howard Photo by James L. Young Photography

All in all, it was a great event and a great way to kick off Fashion Uncorked, which will be held this Saturday, February 11th at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center located 40 minutes outside of Atlanta. The proceeds from Fashion Uncorked go to the Easter Seals Disability Services so its great to see an event like this benefit such an amazing cause. I definitely encourage people to purchase a ticket and lend your support.

See more highlights from the Fashion Uncorked pre-event and fashion show in the new issue of The IMPRINT by Aspire Online Media on February 20th! Subscribe here.

Karissa J. Parker for The HIGH UP. Follow @CurlyRissa on Twitter for the latest in style, fashion and beauty updates!

Urban Active’s Get Active Challenge “10 Cities Tour” Successfully Motivates People Around The Country!

Image by Jay Young

Urban Active Fitness wrapped up a successful “Get Active Challenge” 10 cities tour on January 19th in Atlanta, drawing nearly a thousand participants across the country. The challenge, inspired by the report on “America’s Most Sedentary Cities” by Men’s Health Magazine, aimed at inspiring communities by providing a free boot camp, an educational session and tips for staying motivated all year long. The “Get Active Challenge” was lead by Urban Active’s fitness guru and Quality Control Director, Josh “JB” Bowen and visited the cities of Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Omaha, Louisville, Lexington, Nashville and Atlanta.

A slew of friends joined Urban Active to motivate people to embrace a healthy lifestyle, including Q Parker of 112, the Georgia Force Cheerleaders, former Ohio Buckeye football players Braden Joe, Joshua Harris and Jimmie Bell and Olympic hockey medalist Joe Gimaldi.

“Discipline is what separates those who set and achieve goals,” explains Josh Bowen. “Get out of the mindset of simply setting goals – marry your goals, own them and crush them! More often than not, you get in the way of you results and this year Urban Active seeks to break that cycle.”

One of participants, Rosemary Walton in Columbus, OH, shared her special story of how working out at Urban Active has helped her lose 100 pounds and how her life has been saved.

“This boot camp was off the hook full of energy,” exclaimed Walton on her personal fitness blog post on the challenge’s special blog site “My friend Rachel came to the gym to participate and it was wonderful to have her meet the best family in the world…my gym family. She had a great time too, and for me it was a blessing to see her doing the things she was because of her past year with breast cancer, surgeries and chemo. I was excited for her to see where life began for me at Urban Active Grandview.”

Josh Bowen was touched by her story and related how there wasn’t a dry eye in the house thanks to Walton’s personal story. “The challenge is not only for fitness but encouraging others along their journey of wellness. We want to show the world that together, we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in the communities that our fitness clubs call home.”

Though the 10 cities tour is over, the Urban Active “Get Active Challenge” continues all year long to encourage and support communities to participate in exercise and a healthy lifestyle. For more information about Urban Active and the challenge, please visit or

Read Josh Bowen’s exclusive interview in the upcoming issue of The IMPRINT by Aspire Online Media scheduled to be released on February 20th! Subscribe here!

Photos by Andrew Snook

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Atlanta Hip Hop Day October 22nd & 23rd

(ATL) Hip-Hop Day, the FREE two-day family festival designed to pay tribute to Hip-Hop’s original “Four Elements:” The MC, The DJ, Graffiti Art, & Breakdancing; and also to uplift the community and TO honor Atlanta’s contribution to the Hip-Hop culture on Sat. Oct. 22 & Sun.Oct. 23 at Robert W. Woodruff Park; is the recipient of a Proclamation from Atlanta City Council in recognization of the events wide-ranging capabilities for social change. “Hip-Hop has been a tool vehicle for breaking down racial barriers on a world-wide level. It is also a means for overcoming challenges and a means for encouraging awareness, inspiration and wisdom…” a portion of the Proclamation read. Occupy Atlanta, a local segment of the national Occupy movement which began on Wall St.; which expressed public support of the festival for its community focus and awareness initiatives, released the following statement today: “We are fighting for economic justice, jobs, foreclosure assistance and the homelessness; and Hip-Hop has a strong history of projecting a real voice from the streets, which is what we are all about…lifting the voice of the people.” (Tim Franzen, Occupy Atlanta Spokesman). Occupy Atlanta, which currently resides within Woodruff Park, the location for Hip-Hop Day, has volunteered to remove tents Sat. and Sun. so that events, which include music, food and dynamic speakers, may take place unobstructed. Prominent contributors to Atlanta’s Hip-Hop music scene will by recognized by the Godfather of Hip-Hop, Afrika Bambaataa: Grammy Award winning artist Mike Bigga, SoSo Def Records Founder Jermaine Dupri (representative), Killer Mike, Multi-platinum artist, actor& community supporter, Chris“Ludacris” Bridges, artist and Atlanta legend Kilo Ali; and the popular DJ Jelly. Atlanta’s hottest Hip-Hop Acts & DJ’s includung: Cyhi The Prince, Dolla Boy of Playaz Circle, Rich Kids, Charlie Boy Gang,Slim Dunkin, BFPL, Dru Smith, Da Kid, Money Jay, DJ T-Roc & The RocharderDJs, DJ Knight & Fleet DJs, Hood Rich DJs, along with Slip N Slide Records and Konvict Music.

Visit for more info.