Over the BET Awards weekend, Naturi Naughton graced the red carpet with an African inspired dress designed by Kyemah McEntyre. At 18 years old, McEntyre had previously broken the internet when she posted a picture of herself wearing a beautiful African-inspired gown she designed for her prom.  McEntyre helped spark conversations and an excitement about the state of African Fashion in the global market place.   This excitement and energy was definitely reflected at the inaugural Style Africa Gala and Runway show held on June 20th 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Style Africa Gala fashion event merged celebrities, filmmakers, artists and activists to celebrate the continent’s fashion, beauty and style.

The event, produced by Africa Boku Talent celebrated African creativity with designs of nine African fashion designers, including “Project Runway’s” season 5 winner, Korto Momolu,  as well as Fulani, Aunt Funky, IMV Couture, Leontine, Oyato, Koko Nanga and Sumahrie.

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From Korto Momolu’s fashion show during the Style Africa Gala.

The event also honored Africans who have made their mark in the creative sectors of film and stage, television, music and fashion.  Honorees included Michelle Williams, actor Isaiah Washington and actress/fashion model (and former Victoria’s Secret model) Selita Ebanks.

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I had the honor of presenting Selita with the Humanitarian Award. Honored for her work with an innovative non-profit organization founded by Tiffany Persons called Shine on Sierra Leone. It focuses on alleviating poverty by providing 7,000 micro loans for women, computer literacy training for over 14,000 individuals and high quality education for over 500 children. In partnership with Wellbody Alliance, Selita has served countless women and children  through her involvement in the Maternal and Child Healthcare program. She wore a white off-the-shoulder Ashi Studio gown with Jason of Beverly Hills rings, a Monica Vinader choker and silver Christian Louboutin pumps.

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Nzinga Blake with Michelle Williams

In edition to wearing a gorgeous yellow dress, Michelle Williams also serenaded the audience with a quick rendition of her Gospel song “When Jesus Say Yes”. That night the multi-talented recording artist-producer-songwriter-actress-entrepreneur graced the stage to receive Style Africa’s Music Icon Award. Her career includes her pioneering days with Destiny’s Child and dear friends Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland as well as her soul-stirring solo work.

It was great to see so many come together to celebrate the accomplishments of talented Africans. I hope to see even more events like this in Los Angeles and beyond.