Happy New Year! If you are anything like me, the new year couldn’t come soon enough. Just to show how tough 2016 was, instead of getting the heck out of Dodge, the year hung around an extra moment. According to the science gurus, “If you’re ready to put this year behind you, you’re going to have to wait just a ‘little’ bit longer. Global timekeepers will add one second Dec. 31 to sync the world’s atomic clocks with the Earth’s rotational time, which periodically slows due to ocean waves.”

As we sit in quiet contemplation as to what our new year’s resolutions will be, and I know you are, a good place to start would be to ask yourself, “What do I want and what do I want to fix?” I could go on and on regarding both, but enough about me. Let’s talk about the Fellas—the Fellas Social Club, that is.

Known for their philanthropic generosity, they also give a fabulous party. The annual winter event is held at the Doral Arrowhead hotel located in Rye Brook, N.Y., where the ambiance is all you need for a relaxing night of partying. Guests have the option of booking a room for an overnight stay, making it a real getaway. Arriving in their sweats, guests pamper themselves with a hot tub, steam and sauna before donning tuxedos and ball gowns, and then the real party begins. The setting is elegant, the hor’s d ouvres, which you can make a meal of, are delicious, the speeches are short, sit down dinners with waiters to meet your every dining need are intoxicating and, the best part of all, you can stay on the dance floor all night long.

The perfect evening, however, doesn’t stop there, as the after-party is a special sweet treat. While woman disappear to their rooms to change from their heels to flats, and men loosen up their tuxes and ties, the band breaks down into a trio and moves to a smaller room, appetizers are laid out and the bar opens. But wait, there’s more. The event is topped off with a breakfast buffet. And a good time is had by all.

Keeping up the annuals was the Hillbillies, and nobody can do it like a Hillbilly can. Members were present and accounted for and looking lovely while welcoming their guests to an afternoon of warm and cozy fun. Perhaps this party is the only party where the television is kept on “the game” at the bar as the band rocks the house. President Kyndell Reid introduced members Lynelle Granady, Nola Whiteman, Cloe Stentson, Edith Matthews, Dolores Poindexter, Lisa Hunter, Joy Cook, Dotty Lewis, Karen Selsey and Dr. Marcella Maxwell to the floor to wish guests the merriest of merriest New Year. Guests were too festive to mention, but everyone you know and love was there.

What would the old year be and the new one welcomed without the Comus, the annual year-end ball where literally hundreds get out to do the electric slide? The last time I heard, the Comus was celebrating its 80th anniversary, and that had to be at least three years ago. We should check the archives of photographer to the stars, Margot Jordon, who is at all the key events to memorialize every move. Our hosts Drs. Jim and Ruby Malone, along with their beautiful family, continue to dazzle and be an inspiration to reach for the stars and fly over the moon. In town from Washington, D.C., for the event were Richardo and Robyn Assaf. Taking off for a cruise throughout the Caribbean was Karen Selsey. Getting ready to head down to Naples to visit former Jersey-ites Pam and Tony James are Kendell and LaVerne Flowers. Oh, for a little hot sunshine, sand and sea.

The year wouldn’t have been complete without the annual Harlem School of the Arts gala benefit, held this year in the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza. More than $1 million was raised to support the school’s year-round visual and performing arts programming and initiatives. The theme for this year’s event was a masquerade ball, and the guests most definitely complied. Greeting the guests, which included HSA Chairman of the Board Charles J. Hamilton Jr. Esq. and his wife Pamela Carlton, was HSA President Eric G. Pryor and his wife Monique.  

The 2016 celebrated artists and community leader honorees were recognized for playing a pivotal role in arts advocacy, philanthropy and community leadership. The honorees included Michael Feinstein, who received the Dorothy Maynor Award; actress Sanaa Lathan and her father, director/producer Stan Lathan, who were both presented with the Visionary Artist Award; and Sandra L. Richards, author and executive director at Morgan Stanley, who received the Betty Allen Lifetime Achievement Award. The highlight of the evening featured live performances by HSA students and alumni and a live auction hosted by auctioneer CK Swett. Also enjoying the ball were David Ushery, anchor for NBC4 New York, who served as master of ceremonies, Leon Robinson, Tamara Tunie and Cecily Tyson. The honorary committee included honorary chairs Alicia Keys and Terria Joseph; chairs Janice Savin Williams and Christopher J. Williams, Alexander Smalls, Rona Sebastian and the Herb Alpert Foundation; and Vice Chair Rodney Williams.

Aww, I can’t believe it, Chante Moore and Kenny Lattimore are getting a divorce or maybe they have already. Can’t we all just get along? They were married for nine years and they are two of my favs, plus they are such a good-looking couple. Sigh! Also divorced are George and Ann Lopez, and after 17 years of marriage, and to think she gave him a kidney. Maybe she doesn’t think his jokes are funny anymore. Having said that, here’s a new year’s resolution for you. Focus on bonds not breakdowns. It is so easy to fight but much more fun to love, so the next time you get that urge to lash out with either tongue or fist, stop, count to 10 and think a pleasant thought.

Until next week … kisses.