There is a lot to be said for consistency. Concepts like reliability, stability and knowing what it was, what it is and what it’s going to be all come to mind. Such is life on the isle of Martha’s Vineyard. You will be so glad to know it is still the same idyllic place it has always been. There is something about the Martha’s Vineyard charm that can’t be duplicated or found anywhere else in the world.
Fresh ocean air, ponds, long green grass, the cliffs of Gay Head, South Beach, clam strips-the staples are all still in place. Maybe part of the allure is that amongst all of that tranquility is a very active social agenda. Ranging from a salute to Alicia Keys in preparation for the premiere of the play, “Stickfigures,” at which the one and only Berry Gordy and Suzanne DePasse were present, to the after-parties hosted at Lola’s, the isle’s main dance club, for the African-American Film Festival, the island rocks.
Cars filled Lola’s parking lot and then some night after night as DJ Kris Washington, up from Washington, D.C., absolutely refused to let the revelers sit down. Whenever I hear the question, “When did you first fall in love with hip-hop?” I stop to ponder. Now, after spending a week in MV, I’ve finally come up with an answer. I fell in love with hip-hop at the BET party hosted at, where else, Lola’s.
Spinning a mix of old-school and hip-hop was D. Nice, and on the mic was Doug E. Fresh, who brought a whole new meaning to tearing the roof off of the sucker. Doug E. performed for two hours straight, glistening in sweat, showing the crowd how to do the Doug E., rapping and just being the ultimate entertainer that he is.
The party, featuring Hennessy passionfruit drinks, apple martinis and more, was a blast. Once again, Gordy appeared and, with his date, graced the dance floor. The very next day, he was honored for being who he is and what he stands for at a gathering that included Charles Ogletree in attendance.
Carole Simpson, the first African-American woman to anchor a major network newscast, was among the crowd of happy people after appearing at Cosen Rose for her book signing. Seen at the literary event, which also featured art work by Faith Ringgold, were Charlene and Warren Goins, who only days earlier had been in the Hamptons, and Gwynne Wilcox, who was there to attend a fundraising event for Brother/Sister Sol, a youth organization here in the city, of which her sister Susan is president.
No way could you be on Martha’s Vineyard and not engage in some form of sport, either as a player or spectator. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Tucker Family Tennis Tournament, which is always held on the second weekend in August. Usually a two-day event, this year it took place over one day only as one of the founding sisters was under the weather.
Tournament players on the doubles set were Lauren Smith and Bill Lewis; Naiema Thomas and Frank McCellan; Kitty Branche and Richard Walker; Sue Kim Beall and Richard Bayne; and Cara McCellan and Sam Waltons. While the sun was hot, the spectators were kept cool as fresh fruit salad, mimosas, Bloody Marys and muffins were served.
Referee and linesman were Kendall Flowers and Alex Seymour. Rallying the players on were spectators that included Sheila Hardy Washington, a federal contractor mogul and her sister, Sharon Hardy Lewis, a professor at the University of Maryland; year-round Vineyarder Paula Rickson Martin, who keeps active taking Zumba classes; Tom McGill Esq., a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia; Phoebe and Frank McCullen, who, when he’s not playing tennis, is a professor at Temple University of Law; and Kitty Branch’s mother, Carmella, who was so happy to see her baby, who will be a senior in high school this fall, in great tennis form. While Kitty was last year’s winner, this year’s winners were Lauren Smith and Bill Lewis. Congrats. Meanwhile, everyone wanted to know: Have you seen Gene Webb?
The Gaines Flowers family were the perfect host. Along with young son Bryce, who taught Julia how to hit a baseball, catch, bowl on the Wii and play tennis and allowed her to play with the rest of the fellers (she didn’t play with her dolls the whole time we were there), and uncle Jay, who threw down at the fish fry (watch out Kojak-the boy can fry some fish), there was never a dull moment.
Good friends Alex and Jennifer Seymour, Michael and Carol Hopson, who is the first female pilot I’ve ever met (maybe she’s the first pilot I’ve ever met period, but who’s counting?), John Britton Esq., former dean of Thurgood Marshall Law School, Brenda and Bill Covette and Julio and Michelle Peterson made sure an extremely good time was had by all.
Everyone is excited now that Leroy Henderson’s son got married, as did Ayon Johnson and Les Bailey. Ayon had her dream destination wedding in Punta Canta, Dominican Republic, in all the splendor one can muster. Over 75 people flew in from all over the country to attend, so you know it was special.
As busy as the first two weeks of August were on the island, the tempo is getting ready to ramp up into high gear. The Obamas have landed along with their entourage, for whom they have rented approximately 70 houses across the island to accommodate everyone. You will be happy to know that the Obamas are welcomed with open arms, and while the president prefers to stay low-key and relax, he has been known to shake everyone’s hand on the golf course.
Coinciding with his visit is the Howard University contingency, which will require numerous fundraisers, parties, get-togethers and just plain old quiet times with friends meeting friends. Beachgoers have moved to the left as the Inkwell has expanded to the Inkwell West, where there is more room to move and groove. But we’ll talk about that next week.
Until next week…kisses.