When married stars of Real Housewives of Atlanta Cynthia Bailey Thomas and Peter Thomas set out to write their joint memoir, Carry-On Baggage: Our Nonstop Flight, they didn't expect to discover new things about each other. After all they have known each other for nearly 20 years and shared their ups and downs on national television.
Peter Thomas & Cynthia Bailey Thomas/Credit: Derek Blanks
"I discovered a lot of things about her," says Peter. "There is a lot of stuff she talks about that I never knew exactly how she felt until I read them."
One of those revealing surprises involves Cynthia opening up in detail about the couple's financial struggles, which were well documented during their first year as cast members on Real Housewives of Atlanta.
"I believed in him when he sold me the Peter Thomas dream because I wanted to and loved him. So he was surprised at how much I felt that I sacrificed for this relationship and how upset I was with him for quiet awhile when things started to fall apart," she says.
The book also chronicles their efforts to maintain a blended family, establish and run a family empire and keep the romance alive after age forty, at a time when both are admittedly set in their ways. Still they hope readers learn the value of honesty that Cynthia credits as having saved their marriage. "In your forties relationships are more of a struggle 'cause you're not as open minded. But I am honest with my intentions, my expectations and myself. If you're honest with each other there is nowhere else to go but to a resolution that works for the both of you."
Samuelle Prater, Valerie Watson English & Jay King of Club Nouveau
Credit: Robert Sobrenome
In hindsight, Jay King of the band Club Nouveau wishes he had learned the proper conflict resolution skills early in his career. In the late 1980s, the band was on top of the charts with hits including a Grammy-winning cover of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," "Jealousy" and "Why You Treat Me So Bad." Yet that all began to change after King's temper led him to a major confrontation with former Warner Bros. Records executive, Mo Ostin.
"I was on course to be as big as I wanted to be but I tried to fight Mo Ostin. He whopped my ass without ever throwing a punch. 'Why You Treat Me So Bad' was going up the charts and then it disappeared. I had Chante Moore and other artists on my label about to come out and he stopped me in my tracks. So I don't care who you are or how big you are you'll never be bigger than the music business. You got to respect the game for what it is," he says.
Now King plays the game by his own rules as an independent recording artist and producer. One of his forthcoming projects is a new album by Club Nouveau with its current roster consisting of King, Valerie Watson English and Samuelle Prater the original vocalists. The album, Consciousness is expected in spring 2014 with their new single, "That Ain't Love", out now.
"Consciousness is just a continuation of other records we have done. We have always been a group that spoke about issues. I'm not preaching to the world but it's me talking about myself. I don't think any one of us can change the world but we can change our world," says King.
The world of fashion was forever changed by the work of Jean Paul Gaultier. To celebrate his legacy the Brooklyn Museum presents, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. The first international exhibition of Gaultier's avant-garde designs includes stage costumes worn by Beyoncé and Madonna including the latter's iconic cone bra, which sold last year for $52,000. They are among 140 haute couture and ready-to-wear ensembles, innovative talking mannequins and archival material that compose this retrospective.
Jean Paul Gaultier - From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk Exhibition Still
Photo Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum
Beyond the garments, what is most impressive for former model, exhibit curator and curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Thierry Maxime Loriot is Gaultier's emphasis on breaking down barriers of gender identity, sexuality and beauty. To illustrate this point the exhibition includes Beth Ditto, a Gaultier muse whose physical frame is not typical of the thin supermodel look and male mannequins adorned in gender nonconforming designs such as bras and corsets.
"The main message is the strong social message that everybody is welcome whatever your age, skin color, size, religion or gender. There is no taboo. It is a generous approach to fashion and it is very refreshing," says Loriot.
It's that kind of honesty that works not only in relationships but apparently in fashion too.
The weekly column, On the "A" w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment scene in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company Souleo Enterprises, LLC.