For more than three decades, the Diva Foundation’s Divas Simply Singing! Raising Health Awareness has blended a star-studded musical holiday television special with fundraising for programmes that promote the prevention of HIV–Aids and other life-threatening health conditions. The longest-running consecutive televised HIV–Aids and Health Awareness benefit concert in the United States is filmed annually in Los Angeles, Calif., aired on ABC-TV affiliates, and produced and hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Even if it is not an awards’ show, the roster of celebrity performers appearing give the special the glamorous sheen of one. They include EGOT-winning artists Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actresses Sharon Stone and Alfre Woodard; Emmy Award-winning Loretta Devine, and numerous Grammy Award winners covering several generations and genres: Patti LaBelle, Brandy, Faith Evans, Michelle Williams, Lalah Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Jody Watley, Jennifer Holliday, Yolanda Adams, Stephanie Mills, Roberta Flack, Deniece Williams, Natalie Cole, and Mary Wilson. Other noteworthy artists like Deborah Cox, Oleta Adams, Raven-Symoné, Angie Stone, Netta, Bresha Webb, Keke Wyatt, Lil’ Mo, and Syleena Johnson have lended their talents to the cause.
With that, Distinctive Assets and impresario Lash Fary welcomed a cavalcade of talented, women-owned business owners, designers, and creators to his always colourful On the Red Carpet pre-show party. The room was adorned with pillows from NYC, and Vancouver BC-based Cate Brown’s sustainable luxury toss pillows crafted from vintage heritage fashion and dead-stock remnants.
Like the show it preceded, the event was a showcase of creativity, inclusiveness and inspiration. Milwaukee’s mother–daughter-owned CocoVaa Chocolatier was on hand to inspire guests with a sweet story of their own: Syovata Edari took a huge leap of faith and, as a single mother, left a 15-year career as a trial lawyer to follow her heart into a new career as a chocolatier. Within a few years, she accumulated 30 awards from the London-based Academy of Chocolate. Deafinitly Divine Glow Kits were carefully curated by the Fabulous Deafies in Drag in partnership with the deaf-owned luxury bath and body brand Hotsy Totsy Haus.
Míage introduced a new category of transformative skin care, combining waterless micro-molecule formulas, isotonic nutrient delivery and human stem cell science via an incredible five-piece ultra-luxury gift set with La Milpa Lip Treatment, Awakened the Isotonic Eye Elixir, Manifest the Day Lotion, Clarity the Purifying Wash and Invoke the Night Cream. The jewellery vendor, Millianna, was all about accessible, everyday glamour. It showed its latest collection of 24 ct gold-plated geometric earrings, inspired by the beading of the Maasai women from Tanzania, and handmade to order in the United States by resettled refugees.
As many will be watching the concert from home, there were seasonal lounging items stylish and discreet enough to be worn out on an errand or the patio. Jambys provide the perfect hybrid of favourite athleisure, boxers, briefs and basketball shorts (with pockets! And made from sustainable materials) in fun prints and colours. They were handed out as were on-trend, made-in-California flip-flops from Malibu Jane and Atlanta-based Be-Tees. HGC Apparel’s founder, meanwhile, made a fashion statement, fusing Vivienne Westwood’s edgy-classic style with American street style.
LA local, fitness model, and wellness coach Diego Sebastian not only spread the word about his Raw Fitness programme, but also products we will want to keep an eye on when we start composing our fitness goals for 2024. He loves the Living Prana pancake mixes made with superfoods, mushrooms and adaptogens that support natural energy, focus, memory, stress reduction and immunity. Also on hand, one could test out NaturGeeks’ vegan chocolate fondue protein bars and its mango and elderberry drink mix powders. Thor Kitchen offered added incentive to get the gear (kitchen appliances) to get cooking on better meal time habits.
The gift bag celebrities went home with a lovely mix of new products and tried-and-true favourites: Wen by Chaz Dean, Auro Wellness, Dax Hair Care, Frontera Wines from Chile, Nina’s Bawdy Balm Lavender, Shinery’s Radiance Wash Luxury Jewelry Cleaner and Brush Duo, sensitive skin-loving Soapy Faith bath care and Soapyfaith.com, Footcloud’s revolutionary new discreet silicone adhesive gel cushions (thefootcloud.com, a necessity during stiletto season), Tudaloo Newport Beach Leopard Beanies, and a seven-night stay at the famous Golden Door spa–resort (100 per cent of Golden Door’s net profits go to help end child abuse and transform young lives).
One gift we sensed would be a hit among parents is Baketivity, whose culinary kits not only scent up the home in a nostalgic way, but get kids to put their devices away to embrace an old-school holiday experience.