Black Is Glamorous

African Americans shine at elegant East Side affair.

A cup of style, a teaspoon of elegance, and dashes of glitz and glamour make up Chynna Martin's recipe for her annual Black & Gold Affair in Bedford tonight. And are you ready for your close-up? A paparazzo will also be on hand as you pig out on roast beef, pork tenderloin, and chicken Marsala. "People are always talking about where they can't go and get their Rico Suave or Diana Ross on," says Martin. "And everybody loves to get their mug shots taken here, there, and everywhere."Martin and her late dad created the bash seven years ago in Virginia to unite African American communities throughout the country. Since then, the revelry has rotated through several cities, from Atlanta to Detroit to L.A. For the Northeast Ohio-born Martin, tonight's soiree is a Cleveland-area first. "It's about bringing people together, whether it's for a benefit or a celebration or a reunion or a meeting of the minds or for networking," she says. "It's old school, new school. It's a blend of all walks of life."Besides a menu that also includes garlic mashed potatoes, green beans amandine, and a 61-item salad bar, a portable stage will be home to DJ Scuchie, the Skip Gibson Jazz Trio, and Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell & Footprints. In a side room, Cleveland-born comic Cool TLC will emcee a comedy show similar to his occasional appearances on BET's Comic View. And a master and mistress of ceremonies will announce your name as you sashay into the ballroom. "We're going to do it like the Oscars or Grammys," says Martin, who runs travel agencies in Brooklyn and Garfield Heights. "We'll have the red carpet rolled out, so everyone can have a good time."And don't come in ripped T-shirts and jeans. The dress code for the night is strictly formal wear. "Glitz and glamour is all about bling-bling and pizzazz," says Martin. "Our style is elegance and sophistication. And trust me, you'll see a lot of vogue." The blowout starts at 5 tonight at the Mediterranean Party Center, 25021 Rockside Road in Bedford. Tickets are $55 in advance and $60 at the door. Call 216-256-2335 or visit
Sat., April 5, 2008