Last night, the stars shined brightly in La La Land (yes, pun absolutely intended) as Hollywood’s elite took to red carpets all over town in celebration of the 89th Annual Academy Awards. I was invited to cover the annual Mercedes-Benz + ICON MANN Oscar viewing party, which I was particularly looking forward to as I knew, from the media tip sheet, that a few of my close personal friends would be in attendance. The last few years, the event has been co-hosted by The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), but this year, Mercedes-Benz partnered and co-presented with ICON MANN, a company I was unfamiliar with. I learned that ICON MANN™ is a lifestyle media platform dedicated to positively changing the Diaspora of the Black male narrative through community and content. The missive of ICON MANN is to champion the cross-industry accomplishments of leading influencers of color from entertainment to technology, art to politics, finance to education. With films like Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures up for Best Picture and nominated actors like Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer and Ruth Negga dominating this year’s acting categories due to their truly astounding work, this was undoubtedly the best party in town to attend for those of us whose Vanity Fair invitation somehow got lost in the mail.
My husband and I arrived at The Four Seasons, I sent him ahead to settle in with a cocktail, and I took to my press position on the Red Carpet. The talent began pouring in, and I had the chance to chat with a few key celebs about their fashion.
Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning star of Black-ish Tracee Ellis Ross donning a flirty fringed frock by Yanina Couture.
Sesame Street and La La Land alumna Zoë Hall showing off her dance moves in a fabulous vintage jumpsuit from her Mom’s collection at NY based Lofty Vintage.
Jahi Lake, AKA DJ Jahi Sundance, giving a nod to African fashion with his choice of woven loafers and colorful printed shawl. It was so great to see Jahi as he’s a close family friend I have known since he was 11 years old. How time flies!
The always devastatingly chic Miss J Alexander, another dear friend of mine, never fails to take a fashion risk on the red carpet! Sporting oversized cuffs and his signature bigger than huge bow tie, worn in his waist rather than on his neck, he also accessorized with a custom Andrew Morrison clutch made from a rubber bath mat.
Inside the party, guests sipped Perrier Jouet champagne, or their choice of an Oscar themed signature cocktail, and snacked on Chinese Dim Sum and passed hors d’oeuvres such as smoked salmon and potato latkes, Maine lobster bites smothered in cheddar cheese and fried mac & cheese balls. Party guests were definitely in a festive mood, as they cheered and applauded the winners of each Oscar category.
Spanish beauty, actress Alicia Sanz dressed in a rather stunning Temperley London beaded dress.
Comedian and actor Tommy Chong with his lovely wife Shelby.
Real Housewife of Atlanta NeNe Leakes wearing a lovely marigold colored Oscar De Le Renta Indian inspired two piece.
Another year, another party! Whether it be the Oscars, Golden Globes or Emmys, I tend to run into and spend the evening with these two handsome lads. Left- Miss J Alexander, Center- Moi, and Right- Lee Gonzalez.
And lastly, I’d like to send a big thanks to Michelle Rodriguez of PR Dept. for extending the invitation to me and my husband to attend! Until next year! Cheers!
Tracie May-Wagner is a Los Angeles based fashion and lifestyle publicist and the Fashion Editor of Splash Magazines Worldwide.