Awareness is Always in Style!

"Rock the Red" Recap – Amazing Night

The Red Pump Project turned one on March 10, 2010. What started as a small idea between friends with similar interests has turned into a movement. Karyn and I’s passion for social justice and love of shoes brought forth the idea of The Red Pump Project a year ago. To commemorate this occasion as well as National Women & Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we decided to have our inaugural “Rock the Red” fashion show. We also decided to honor Rae Lewis-Thornton with the first Red Pump Living Legacy Award!

The night was an overwhelming success! We had over 200 people come join us, most of them were Rocked the RED. The ladies were in red pumps and the gentlemen donned red ties!

So on Thursday, March 25, 2010, The Red Pump Project invited people to the Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake) in Chicago, IL to come celebrate with us. Team Red Pump prepped for months leading up to this event, and it was amazing to see our hard work pay off. The event started when doors opened at 5:45pm. People were already lined up to enter. At that point, the incredible DJ Bonsu already had the music spinning. We were getting ready backstage and JAMMING!!! By 6:15, Bottom Lounge (our venue) was already filling up. Our VIPs were in their designated lounge sipping on drinks provided by Dragon Bleu Vodka.

As the show began an hour later, our host, Danielle Noel Riley (Miss Black Illinois 2010) came out to greet the audience and kick it off. She introduced the “Bold Fashion” Scene, featuring the designs of Melanie Lyke of Rockett Mansion, Kortnee Quiza of Verse Boutique, Amber Johnson, Kahindo Mateene and New’d Chicago.

Pic credit: Bryan Thompson (Graffiti Photography)

After seeing some fabulous designs from these five, we took a 20-minute intermission to allow people to bid on Eidia Lush‘ custom red pump that launched at our show. The FIERCE shoes were handmade, with buckles that were made with Swarovski Crystals.

Next was the presentation of The Red Pump Project’s Year in Impact. It was played to Kanye West’s “I Wonder.”

One of the highlights of the night had to be:
After the presentation ended, Karyn and I came up to speak about the past year. The Red Pump Project has definitely grown beyond our wildest expectations. We also announced that earlier in the week, we were invited to come to Washington DC for a “Red Pump Day on Capitol Hill.” (WOO HOO!!!) Right after that, Thyatiria Towns, from Congressman Bobby Rush’s office came up to the mic with a surprise for us. She was holding two plaques in her hands and proceeded to say they were Congressional Records, recognizing The Red Pump Project’s work in the fight against HIV/AIDS.


                                                                                                  Pic credit: Bryan Thompson (Graffiti Photography)

Ms. Towns read the plaque to the audience and Karyn and I may have DEFINITELY started to cry. It was a HUGE shock to us! We’re so thankful to for this honor and feel so privileged.

We had our moment to shine. Now we had to step aside for night’s honoree: Rae Lewis-Thornton. We decided to honor Rae with the first Red Pump Living Legacy Award for so many reasons. She’s been infected with HIV since before it was truly understood. Since the mid-80s, when people thought it was an automatic death sentence. However, she has never allowed HIV/AIDS to break her or her spirit. She’s lived with the disease with such undeniable class and courage. We gave the award to Rae Lewis-Thornton because there is no one more deserving of the honor. To our now-adopted Auntie Rae… we love you dearly, and your life continues to affirm our work.

Pic credit: Bryan Thompson (Graffiti Photography)

Rae’s first words when she got to the mic was “I just told Luvvie a couple of days ago that y’all better not get me no ugly ass plaque!” The room erupted in laughter. Well Rae, you know that isn’t our style. We had to give you a DIVA award for a TRUE Diva. Rae’s speech and candor on her life and her struggles with HIV/AIDS touched so many people in the room. Thank God for waterproof makeup!

The FINAL scene of the show was our “Fashion Awareness.” Designs were provided by Crystal B Designs, Spirit Africa and Black Market Caviar.

Pic credit: Bryan Thompson (Graffiti Photography)

Then, we debuted the Red Pump Awareness Tshirt Line.

Tees will be on sale by us soon. All rights reserved by The Red Pump Project with all phrases. Pic credit: T. Will Photography

The night was amazing. The place was packed. We had a ton of fun, and hope those who came agree! (Especially after we served folks Red Velvet cupcakes). 

There are more pictures at the Rock the Red Photo Album on our Facebook page.
There are so many people for us to thank for the success of this show. First and foremost, our models. Thank you for bringing the FIERCE to the runway! You’re all fabulous! Then we must thank the DREAM TEAM that worked to put it together:

Show Styled by: DeeDee Esubi (The Sassy Peach)

Designs: Kahindo Mateete, New’d Chicago, Spirit Africa, Black Market Caviar, Melanie Lyke of Rockett Mansion, Kortnee Quiza of Verse Boutique, Amber Johnson, Crystal B Designs

Hair: Dee Desalu
Music: DJ Bonsu ([email protected])
Makeup: Rashida B (The B spot), Erin Yarborough, Arie Jones
Photography: Graffiti Photography, T. Will Photography

Accessories: Found Objects, Pretty Afrika, Ashley S. Drapes
Coordinator: Shanna S.

Our sponsors:

Sunkissed Mommy

Vocalo 89.5
To launch the stream CLICK HERE!
Eidia Lush
August Bloom

Ampro Gel
The FreshXpressm1 international

Michael Stars

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported this event by coming or donating. We appreciate every ounce of love! To keep supporting us, you can: join our mailing list to get our email newsletter (bi-monthly. AND NO spam. We promise). 

Awareness is ALWAYS in style!
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