What do you call the fellowship of beautiful, dope Black folks in a legendary New England coastal town for an exciting evening soirée? Black excellence at the highest level.
On Monday evening, EBONY channeled the energy of the notorious "Inkwell" in a way only it can. The media company was proud to host an illustrious selection of guests for a delightful evening in Martha's Vineyard in partnership with Cadillac.
Held at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown, Massachusetts, the vibes encapsulated #BlackExcellence. Juniper Florist and event agency MVY Parties adorned the venue in blue and yellow tones in homage to the lush seaside setting and festivities. From R&B music to neo-soul to hip hop, DJ K Kess set the proper tones for the event from start to finish. Accordingly, attendees came prepared for the evening in their finest outfits and their best pair of dancing shoes. In addition, the chic guests enjoyed caviar blinis, fine wine and decadent chocolate while taking in meaningful artwork and gorgeous views. Simply put, EBONY's Summer Soirée was the fête of the season where you could kick back and enjoy the best of the best with your community.
"It's important to us to have spaces for Black people to be able to celebrate themselves and just have moments that are just meant to be celebratory and happy without having to worry about anything else. With that in mind, EBONY wanted to come back to the vineyard and reintroduce ourselves in a place that had such as rich legacy of Black culture and art. This was especially why I found it fitting to host this event alongside Cadillac," said Jenae Holloway, EBONY's Director of Special Events.
Added Eden Bridgeman Sklenar, Chairwoman and CEO of EBONY Media Group, “EBONY's Summer Soiree was the opportunity for us to shine a light on the rich culture and heritage of Martha’s Vineyard. We brought elegance coupled with a dash of family reunion ease to the summer event scene as only we know how to do. Everyone can now mark their calendars for our annual Summer Soiree on the island.”
Indeed, the best of the best tastemakers were in full force at EBONY's soirée. "Club Quarantine" founder and renowned DJ D-Nice; former NBA player Baron Davis; the legendary publicist and brand strategist Marvet Britto; Cosmopolitan's Beauty Editor-at-Large and Executive Director of Beauty United Julee Wilson; and Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler were all in the building enjoying the lit affair.
"I love the Vineyard," shared Butler. "It has always represented Black excellence. Which is so fitting, because the legacy of Cadillac and EBONY—both have always symbolized the pinnacle of Black aspiration and achievement. To have this culmination this evening is beautiful and relevant now more than ever."
Within the Black community, it's an unspoken stamp of approval you've got it going on if you can sport a "Caddy" with style. It simultaenously symbolized peak Black opulence. In celebration of Cadillac's 250 years of innovation and excellence, EBONY was honored to align with the singular automaker by showcasing its iconic 1955 Cadillac Coupe Deville, as a way of emphasizing Cadillac's longstanding lineage of excellence and connection to our culture.
"Thank you to EBONY Media for sharing in Cadillac's enthusiasm to celebrate culture and community. We need all mediums of connection, especially that of publications like EBONY that tell our story, in our voice and through our lens. At Cadillac’s core is the desire to champion each of us to become the most aspirational and bold version of ourselves. Being in the vineyard fosters this connection, community building and introduction to new people and experiences," said Juanita Slappy, Head of Cadillac Multicultural Marketing.
Attendees were also able to take part in a chocolate and wine tasting—curated by Cadillac in support of the event— with one of the world's pre-eminent chefs and designers of luxury chocolate Phillip Ashley. "I love chocolate and Black people are a large reason of why that is," shared the world-famous chocolatier. "70% of all cocoa is derived from West Africa, so it's important for me to celebrate the Black diaspora through chocolate and as a means for celebrating experiences, art and culture."
"In working with Phillip, we knew our brands, both Cadillac and Phillip Ashley, offers a parallel experience – luxury, innovation, and uncompromised design," said Slappy of the tasting experience.
The motto "work hard, party harder" only works if we properly take care of ourselves on all fronts. In this spirit, medical company Novartis lended their support of EBONY's garden party with a stunning mural. Revolving around the phrase, "More Than Just Words," the artwork—painted by muralist Sheena Wong Shue—recognized Novartis' campaign of the same name to advocate for health equity and address racial disparities within breast cancer care. Dr. Monique Gary, Medical Director of the Cancer Program at Grand View Health, Reshema Kemps Polanco, Executive Vice President, US Head of Oncology at Novartis, and Ricki Fairley, CEO of TOUCH represented the efforts of the "More Than Just Words" campaign. They stressed the importance of changing the narrative surrounding Black women and the disease that affects many in our community.
"We are excited to celebrate with EBONY and Cadillac to highlight our "More Than Just Words"campaign because it truly is about helping breast cancer patients, advocates and all women find their voice, utilize their resources and understand that health equity is more than a buzzword, said Dr. Gary. "It is our time to learn what our options are and learn our family history as a means for maximizing our health in the breast cancer space. The statistics are staggering so we need to do something different. We need more than just words so we are thrilled to bring these stories to life at this event."
"The solutions we create to close the inequity gap have to be multifactorial. It needs to be a collaboration across all industries—pharmaceutical, academia, government and media—as the policies and mediums used have to be as equally impactful. The more we know, the better we can advocate for ourselves. Novartis is steadfast in its commitment to help close the gap of health disparities and to create health equity," added Polanco.
Aside from the engaging activations and activities, attendees were able to enjoy a delectable variety of Vineyard staple bites such as lobster rolls, an oyster and shrimp bar, chicken and steak skewers, as well as macarons, cookies and other pastries for dessert. These treats were paired with signature craft cocktails that the crowd fell in love with —Lavender French 75, Jim Beam Rye Old Fashioned and Cadillac Margarita—as well as Cardinale Winery's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon or 2020 Sauvignon Blanc.
As guests left the festivities, they were gifted with EBONY swag bags filled with goodies to perfectly remind them of their enchanting evening on the island.
Witness some of the fun from the soirée below.