Organizers have described as a major success a recent children’s fashion/talent show in Brooklyn aimed at raising funds for the pediatric ward of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was affected by the freak Christmas storm last year.
The show, dubbed “Runway Rippers with a Difference,” organized by the newly-formed, Brooklyn-based BMZ Entertainment, attracted a large, appreciative crowd at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
“I feel like a proud mother,” said Zulema George, who, with Bernadett Saunders and Monique Neverson, organized the event, naming the group after the first initial of their first names, in a Caribbean Life interview.
“The children, better known as supermodels and super talents, did an amazing job,” added George, the owner and designer of AK Couture Boutique & Beauty Bar in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn. “I wondered if these were the same kids who attended rehearsal.”
During rehearsal, George said some of the kids, whose ages range from 5 - 13 years, “were shy and didn’t want to walk the runway by themselves.
But she said “that shyness quickly disappeared once they hit the runway and heard the music.
“They shined!” George said. “And I know they made their families and their country proud.”
She said the turnout and support were “breathtaking,” adding that the theme of “‘TEAM’ resonated throughout the evening.”
George said the children who participated in the production were not only of Vincentian heritage but also of Trinidadian, Jamaican and Grenadian backgrounds.
The co-MC, Pacika Guerra ,13, a resident of Long Island and an eighth grade honor student at Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School, for example, is the daughter of a Vincentian mother and a Trinidadian father. The other MC, Hailes Castello, is a popular Vincentian entertainer and radio personality in Brooklyn.
George said the concept for the production was the brainchild of Saunders, who first “thought about putting together a children’s fashion show along the lines of BET’s ‘Rip the Runway’”.
“She approached Monique and me one evening while we were at FOCH (Friends of Crown Heights) packing barrels to send to SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) for the families affected by the storm,” she said.
“We immediately jumped on the idea and thought it would be great to have this show to raise funds for the pediatric ward at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital,” added George, stating that before this concept “all of the other ideas or events were geared towards helping families, communities, but we wanted to do something different – helping children.
“What could be better than that?” she asked rhetorically.
“BMZ Entertainment was born, and the rest is history,” intoned Neverson, whose real name is Ingrid, a former member of the Brooklyn-based Hairoun Sports Club and current member of the board of directors of VincyCares, Inc., an Internet-based non-profit group.
Saunders, who described herself as the Vincentian-born “daughter of a proud Vincentian mother and Grenadian father,” said her interest in fashion grew from childhood, when she saw her mom “dressing for work and tried copying her and my aunt, who was a seamstress at the time, making clothes for others.”
George, the only child of Vincentian-born, Brooklyn residents, economist-accountant Auton “Frankie” George and registered nurse Edna George, said, given the resounding success of the maiden event, the group may be forced to stage a follow-up one soonest.
“By the turnout we had and the fact that additional seats had to be added, I can only imagine the attendance of the next event,” she said.