*This year, music artist Norwood Young who is a big thinker (because every event he throws is always huge and Disneyesque) scaled down his yearly winter white Christmas party. But, for many, it would still have been considered a mega affair.
Held at his mansion in Hancock Park, the event from beginning to end had all the Christmas lights and trimmings. His beautiful home displayed his Michelangelo David statues about a dozen or so dressed as Santa all lined up at attention.
Last time I remember seeing them was at his MJ tribute and they were dressed in Thriller wear and each had on the famous white glove (LOL). For Christmas “the” Davids had on matching Santa hats and red suits on their chiseled to perfection hard rock marble physiques.
These are stylish Davids whose wardrobe change party to party like mannequins. What would Michelangelo say, I wonder? Not even the Diddy can top this, no not ever! Not anyone, not never! I don’t think so! This is a Norwood Young’s original architectural wonder. His Davids draw a lot of attention and on this night even more so. How many people do you know with Davids on their front lawn?
Pop/R&B/Hip Hop singer Trueful is greeted by “the Gatsby” Norwood Young (photo by Vinni Ratcliff)
There was real snow on the ground as you entered the gates and for a minute, I was transported to an East Coast town where I was raised. I used to love to slip and slide on the melted snow in my red plastic snow boots with a button on the side (anyone remember that?). I think I would purposely slip causing my two braids to fly in opposite directions all the while laughing wildly with my friends. There was nothing like a big handful of snow to eat. It tasted so good. Yes, I was having a Rose Bud moment.
On this night in Hancock Park carolers were dressed in olde world period coats and top hats as celebrities made their way to the red carpet and then were led into Norwood’s home where one had a choice of spirits or hot lobster bisque served in tall shot glasses which I thought was really very clever. Everything inside was white, from the simulated snowflakes on the floor, to the hanging lights and tree.
In years past the guest list overflowed into his backyard, but thank goodness this year due to chilly weather, the party was confined to indoors. Norwood decided to keep the guest list intimate limited to celebrities and or industry execs, except for the paps, there were lots of them flashing their bulbs everywhere. And later, I was told, TMZ managed to infiltrate the party capturing part of it on tape.
Tionne, Kym Whitley, Luenell, Jackee and Jackee’s friend all aglow and feeling merry (photo: Vinni Ratcliff)
Celebs in attendance included: Natalie Cole, Michael Strahan, Nicole Brown-Murphy, Luenell, Kym Whitley, Annie McKnight, Michael Colyar, Angela Dean, Tionne, Trueful, Sam Bell (celeb fitness trainer), Beverly Todd, Judy Pace and Robi Reed among others.
The highlight of the evening came when Natalie Cole was invited to sing to the guests from the winding staircase. She mesmerized as she sang her famous father’s signature tune “The Christmas Song.” Natalie also touched upon her recent health issues, grateful for her many blessings. I remember seeing her on ET’s “The Insider” as she went public about dialysis and her kidney transplant. To see and hear her on this night at Norwood’s, looking gorgeous and fit as the fittest was a Christmas miracle. I noticed Pop/R&B Singer Tionne Williams gazing upon her in awe, as did Kym Whitley standing next to him.
Pop/R&B Singer Tionne was held-spellbound upon hearing Natalie Cole sing “The Christmas Song.” (Photo: Vinni Ratcliff)
Another moving moment preceding Natalie’s came as Norwood revealed having image issues early on in his career and overcoming these obstacles. One never knows what artists have to go through, the emotional roller coasters, the hurdles, the pain, the hurtful and awful innuendos and still be able to perform in front of a crowd with a “Brite” smile. I appreciated the confessions. I think more people need to know that stars go through trauma like the rest of us lay folk.
But, if I thought I might shed a salty tear, I would just turn to the room where Luenell was seated with fitness trainer Sam Bell. There was nary a sad tale here. She was keeping the whole room in stitches. Lu was definitely born with a funny bone. And Sam, I did not see him touch a plate. Perhaps he was keeping his very much alive flesh and body (unlike the icy Davids) in gym-sculpted to perfection shape. I’m sure he approved of the menu, as both he and Norwood are health conscious buffs.
Everyone feasted on shrimp and collards and macaroni and lobster bisque. I took my plate out back by the pool where it was quiet although chilly. Just my plate and me. So, if anyone wondered where I went to for about 20 minutes, that’s where I was. Oh, Lord, maybe I am a closet eater? Ahhhh, everyone has issues of one kind or t’other.
It was a warm and toasty affair. Norwood, you did it again. I wish you’d throw a party each and every holiday. I’d love to see what you would do with the kids (Davids) on Valentine’s Day.
Happy holidays and Kwanzaa blessings to all. Have a great New Year! Kleo – Out!
Eugenia Wright is a former actress turned syndicated columnist/publicist. You may write to her at [email protected]