Norwood & Flo Anthony


*Each year for the past 4 years, I’ve attended New York socialite and columnist Flo Anthony’s pre-Oscar bash. Flo always picks from the finest of Beverly Hills hotels to host her lavish affair.  

This year, Flo had some assistance from an LA gent; I call the great “Gatsby” referring to millionaire music mogul Norwood Young.  Talk about taking the party up a notch, like to stratospheric sophistication.

Together Flo and Norwood “Put on the Ritz” the theme of this year’s pre-Oscar affair, which was held at the posh Luxe Hotel on Rodeo Drive.  The stars poured in to the elegant establishment in spite of rain, dripping in costly jewels.

Judge Craig Strong and friend Florence LaRue were puttin' on the red, the glove, the glitz, the laughs. They were cuttin' up like two kids in the school yard. "Norwood on the mic" kids (photo: Vinni Ratcliff).

Upon arrival, you could not miss the red carpet, which was out doors but covered by a concrete awning. You could literally slip into it as you exited your car or limo from the back parking lot. There I spotted many celebrities including actor/host Mariano Mendoza (One Man War Entertainment/mixed martial arts champion soon to be seen in the flick Lean Like a Cholo), pretty, sweet and lovable Kim Coles, Juliette Fairley (actress discovered by Spike Lee in 2007), Pop R&B/Hip Hop singer Trueful, forever young Florence LaRue (5th Dimension), pop singer Tionne Williams, fashionisto Judge Craig Strong, Lil J., and Yvette “the funny lady” for starters.

Then I made my way to the elevators to head to the Penthouse level. Two adjacent beautiful rooms were prepared exquisitely to accommodate guests and there were black and silvery colored balloons hanging from the ceiling. There were also two noticeable mannequins dressed in beautiful laced designer gowns by ultra designer du jour Angela Dean of DeanZigns. I immediately spotted a long time friend, April Sutton (award-winning TV broadcast pioneer former entertainment reporter for BET) and started chit chatting about the week’s party haps. As I turned my head, I was delightfully surprised to see Cynthia Butler-Hayden founder of the MIB (Minorities in Business) awards and I posed for a pic with her and April.

For those wanting a little refreshing air, there was a beautiful closed-in all white tented terrace with white tables accented with floral arrangements and appropriate outdoor seats.

April Sutton, Eugenia Wright and Cynthia Butler-Hayden, friends for years put on the Ritz and the jewels. Sparkle, sparkle bling bling (photo: Vinni Ratcliff).

Later in the evening more celebrities arrived including Jazmin Lewis (actress Divine Intervention),  Omarosa Manigault Stallworth, Nina Parker (TMZ Producer), EURweb’s Lee Bailey, Beverly Todd (Crash), Angela Dean (creator of DeanZign wearing a new Cleopatra cut hair style) and Judy Pace among others.

Appetizers were served and I tasted every one. After drinks and butterfly socializing, Norwood took the mic and sang some classics; among them, my favorite “Misty.” Norwood was extremely well-received and everyone clapped and kept clapping until he returned to the mic for an encore performance.

Flo Anthony was a little low keyed this year due to a foot injury and was wearing a cast. However she reigned as the hostess with the mostess from her seat as everyone stopped to give her much deserved respect.  Norwood aptly supported her, as well as Flo’s handsome associate Claude.

It was an elegant, sophisticated, well-mannered, champagne bubbly evening.

Other notable celebs in the house included: actor Vincent M. Ward (HBO’s #1 Show True Blood season 3) and; singer/writer/R&B adult contemporary Lawrence Beaman (America’s Got Talent Finalist Season 4).


Eugenia Wright is a former actress turned syndicated columnist/publicist. You may write to her at [email protected]

Photo Credit: Vinni Ratcliff