What Extraordinary Looks Like

1 Feb

Tonight the BET Honors Airs on BET at 9pm est. The award show celebrates those who have been contributors to the Black community at large in some capacity. They are celebrated with video packages that highlight their achievements and musical tributes by some of the music industry’s best. I had the opportunity to attend the awards which were filmed here in DC at the Warner Theatre last month. One of my friends form college, Brent is an Associate Producer at BET and he hooked up the tickets. As long as I’ve known Brent, he was a producer. In college while I was hanging out with friends and going to classes, Brent was also going to classes but he skipped the hanging out part for an internship at BET Networks in DC.  By the time he graduated, he had production credits on some of the networks major programs. Now he is in New York promoted from a lowly Production Assistant to an Associate Producer of a new show.

When I heard the show was going to be right here in town, I asked if I could go and he procured tickets like magic. When Brent, who knew this year my goal was to make all my own clothes, called me to let me know he had secured the tickets asked me “You know this thing is black-tie; what are you going to wear”. I thought about it but I said “A gown; and I am going to make it myself”. Brent laughed and said ok and hung up. With the dial tone still ringing in my ears I thought to myself… can I really make a gown?

The theme of this year’s BET Honors is “What Extraordinary Looks Like”. I knew the toast of the town would be at the theatre in their finery competing with the Hollywood celebrities in the audience. So I headed to the fabric store and bought 3 yards of aubergine silk charmeuse, matching thread and lining. I cancelled all my social engagements and locked myself in my apartment with my sewing machine and shears. I had three days to produce a red carpet worthy gown. By 5 am the morning of the show I had completed my gown and was satisfied. Like when the Lord created the oceans the Bible says “…and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”. I looked at that sea of silk fashioned into a gown and I saw that it was good.

I took a nap and grabbed a bite to eat and waited for my date Brent to escort me to the awards. Brent arrived in his black 2009 BMW coupe in a black evening suit with black shirt and black tie looking good. He looked red carpet ready. I looked down at my gown and it wasn’t so good anymore. I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t so good anymore. Where I had once saw perfection I now saw a puckered neckline and less than smooth seam finishes and I didn’t want to wear my dress anymore. So I made him wait a little bit while I chucked my creation into a corner, walked into my closet and pulled out a sequined evening dress, threw it on and headed out the door.

I was pretty silent for most of the car ride. In my mind I didn’t know if I had made the right decision. Seated in the fifth row right behind NAACP Award winning actress Tichina Arnold and right in front of GRAMMY Award winning vocalist Mya I was the picture of what extraordinary did not look like. In my store-bought dress I just didn’t feel authentic. I began to feel so enraged. I was so upset with myself for not wearing my creation. Sitting next to my friend who was young and on the fast track in his career I was so upset that I had doubted myself. While my footing is still a little shaky; I too am on track for my career.

As the show began and they  paid tribute to the honorees I felt rejuvenated. The honorees were Sean “Diddy” Combs, Queen Latifah, neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black, president of Brown University Ruth J. Simmons, and Whitney Houston.

For weeks friends have asked to see the dress and I’ve made excuse after excuse until today. I finally pulled out my gown from its discarded corner and it looked good. A bit wrinkled; but good. I let my insecurity about this new found career path undermine my creativity and my craftmanship. I am really proud of this gown and even though I didn’t wear it I am proud to showcase it. I plan to redo the bodice and make the skirt more form-fitting. I want to take it from a black-tie award show gown to an avant-garde evening gown and add it to the collection I am working on.

Check out my first evening gown because this is what extraordinary looks like. Make sure you watch the BET Honors tonight and allow yourself to be rejuvenated in your dreams too.

BET Honors Gown


5 Responses to “What Extraordinary Looks Like”

  1. Frantzie February 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    I’ve learned that insecurity is a HUGE waste of time. It’s all inYOUR mind. You don’t know what anyone else is thinking.

    I look forward to hearing you wore that dress sometime, even if it was to the grocery store because that dress is BAD. As in super funky, fresh, glamourous, dope, go-ahead-with-your-bad-self-kind of dress. Purple. Like royalty. I’m drooling. You made that! A) I’m impressed and B) OM Geez it’s just frickin’ cute!!!

  2. Beautiful Nightmare February 2, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    See what happens when you shit on yourself…

    The dress is great but I won’t discuss how much you should’ve worn it to the BET Honors…you should frame it!

  3. Kish February 2, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    Love it! This is very classic, you’ll be able to pull it out the closet and wear it again! Great color for you and nice touch with simple accessories. Fantastic job!

  4. FRONT February 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Front! I love reading your blog! Since I know your mannerisms, the inflections when you talk and your facial expressions to a “T” I hear your voice in my head as I read along. I am so proud of you. I know yours dreams are bigger than the present can hold and standards are higher than most. You think big and unordinary. All the specials things about you that I admire so much.

    Reading this post was both inspiring and heart-warming. I love the dress! I think that you should’ve worn it because just like always, YOU wear all your threads. The articles never wear you.

    I wish you all the blessings on your journey and I know you will see it through. Stop fakin’ and just DO IT! That’s all we know how to do…

    Faithful Sister, Faithful Reader,
    Your Back


  1. Been gone for a minute now I’m back with the JUMPSUIT « Sew This Is It - March 17, 2010

    […] she’s really hard on herself, didn’t she hate that gown she made in her post ‘What Extraordinary Looks Like‘ too? She hates everything“. Well you’re right I am hard on myself. But the main […]

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