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FASHIONAFRICANA FOUNDERS—Darnell McLaurin and Demeatria Boccella

What’s the common denominator between the movies “Sparkle,” “Malcolm X,” “Do the Right Thing,” “The Butler,” “Amistad” and Black Panther?” The answer is costume designer Ruth E. Carter. On Aug. 24, at the Heinz History Center, FashionAFRICANA presented Heroes & Sheroes: The Art and Influence of Ruth E. Carter in Black Cinema. This opening celebration of the costume exhibit was presented by Highmark.

Fabulously dressed guests enjoyed a VIP cocktail hour on the museum’s first floor where the 2018 “Heroes” collection by Cameroon born, Paris-based haute couture designer Imane Ayissi was modeled by live models. KDKA’s Olga George served as master of ceremonies. James Hill from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office said he was glad the mayor could not attend on this evening, as he was honored to make the presentation to Carter, proclaiming Aug. 24, as Ruth E. Carter Day in the City of Pittsburgh.

Charlie and Latasha Batch of the Best of the Batch Foundation received the Heroes & Sheroes Leadership and Community Award. FashionAFRICANA presented a framed photograph of Teenie Harris to Carter, after discovering that Harris is one of Carter’s favorite artists. Guests were excited to see the exhibit of the costumes and Academy and Emmy Award-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter was thrilled to answer questions during the tour. One gentleman drove from Maryland to meet Carter and to show her the outfit he designed.

Carter has been credited with more than 40 films. She’s known for her research and diligence to the craft, holding two Oscar nominations for her outstanding work in the period ensemble film, “Amistad,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Malcolm X,” by director Spike Lee. Carter also earned an Emmy nomination for “Roots.”

FashionAFRICANA was established in 2001 by Demeatria Boccella. FashionAFRICANA celebrates the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora through design, dance, music and curated exhibitions. The Heroes & Sheroes exhibit will be on display at the Heinz History Center through Dec. 2. Pittsburgh is the first stop for this historic tour and as Ruth E. Carter said, “and that’s the truth Ruth.”


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