Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dunn named Model of the year and Rihanna publicist drama

Hurray! One of our favourite 'nuh tek back nuh chat' islandistas - British model Jourdan Dunn, won the Model of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards two nights ago.

[caption id="attachment_418" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="Jourdan Dunn ("]Jourdan Dunn ([/caption]

Just 18, Dunn was spotted two years ago in Primark (our kind of girl!) and has swiftly risen to the top - an all the more remarkable feat when you consider (as we have discussed ad nauseum on this blog) the still glaring lack of black models on the fashion scene.

Pretty amazing too when you consider that Dunn doesn't hold her tongue and make folks feel it's alright. After all, this is the girl who said:

"London's not a white city... so why should our catwalks be so white? I go to castings and see several black and Asian girls, then I get to the show and look around there's just me and maybe one other coloured face."

Congrats from Islandista!

In other islandista news, some publicist named Jonathan Hay has claimed ... nay boasted that he is the one behind the ugly Rihanna/Jay-Z affair rumours that swirled around the Barbadian pop star at the start of her career and still track her.

According to Hay, he did it on behalf of a producer friend Vada Nobles who was the man behind Rihanna's first hit 'Pon De Replay' so as to build buzz and interest around Rihanna and the song.

According to Hay:
At first nobody seemed to really feel the song so I started a publicity campaign single-handedly. The whole idea behind the campaign was to get Vada Nobles out there as a producer so that ultimately people would forget about his past lawsuit and conflict with Lauryn Hill on her album the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

 Anyway, I sent the song to Jennifer Vineyard, my contact at MTV. She did me a favor and broke the story on Rihanna, “Pon De Replay” and Vada Nobles. Along with one of my partners, I then began to fabricate stories of Rihanna and Jay-Z, leaking false rumors to tabloids, working internet message boards, etc. We started to get an insane amount of media coverage very fast. There are so many things we did that people don’t even know about, not even Rihanna herself. She was completely unknown and I was paid by Vada Nobles to generate publicity. The mega Island Def Jam deal rumor, we fluffed and fabricated. Rihanna and Vada had no idea what I was doing behind the scenes, but my whole agenda was to get media for the song.

He goes on to say that "Rihanna had nothing to do with any of that nor did she know what we were doing. I was just trying to break the single and stay employed" and says he feels "awful" and looking back is "ashamed" because "there was zero integrity in that maneuver".

But he freely admits that "I was only thinking about the end result... gossip sells and even goes on to boast that "it worked" because "every artist needs a launching pad and there is nothing better than a good scandal to get the public's attention."

Hm. We all know how insidious the publicity game can be in showbiz and that things like this are not below publicists. But to start such a vicious rumour about a 16 year old girl without her even knowing? That is wrong.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Islandistas at the AMAs

The American Music Awards were last night and there were a few islandistas speckled here and there amidst this mostly 'pop' awards show. 


 Rihanna aka the real hottest chick in the game was on the red carpet and on the stage, performing her new song 'Rehab' (Amy Winehouse anyone? hm.)

[caption id="attachment_405" align="alignnone" width="399" caption="Mazur/Granitz"]Mazur/Granitz[/caption]


 Truthfully, not too sure about this dress. Love the concept and material but something about the way it is cut around the waist is making Rihanna look short-bodied and at 5"9, she is far from.


[caption id="attachment_411" align="aligncenter" width="402" caption="Mazur"]amas-rihanna-performance1[/caption]


Avast there me hearties! What is up with the bejewelled eye-patch Ri-ri? Even you can't stop that from looking slightly ridiculous.

Ms. Alicia Keys also hit the red carpet and performed 'Superwoman along with Queen Latifah and opera great Kathleen Battle.


[caption id="attachment_407" align="aligncenter" width="377" caption="Mazur/Granitz"]Mazur/Granitz[/caption]


We ... LOVE... Alicia's shoes ... hotness cyan dun!

Brit-Guyanese singer Leona Lewis was also on the red carpet looking gorgeous as usual and yes, yes we know Guyana is not an island, so how she get an islandista? Because Guyana is part of the Caribbean and this blog is for Caribbean women and we decide we want to include her in our islandista hot list so if we say so, is so.... lol! Plus, Guyana has some islands within it... like in its rivers and ting... ok we're stretching it now!

[caption id="attachment_409" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="Mazur"]Mazur[/caption]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another islandista 'it girl' - Nicole Fiscella

Well this came as a bit of surprise even to us here at islandista, who avidly track the Caribbean heritage of every celeb.

Did you know that Gossip Girl's Nicole Fiscella is an islandista? St. Lucian mother, Guyanese father.


So... what gives with the last name Fiscella right? That's what we thought. It's not a very Lucian or Guyanese name.

Apparently it is the name of her stepfather. Her father doesn't seem to have been a big factor in her life - in fact, her mother Julietta Fiscella who emigrated to the States when she was 19, went through some rough times after she and Nicole's father split when the future Gossip Girl was just 18 months old.

She decided to go to medical school which is not any kind of cheap and actually had to go on welfare, use food stamps, the whole nine yards.

From the alumni site of the State University of New York, University at Buffalo:
Fiscella enrolled at St. John’s University as a biology major, but foundered her freshman year. Her schoolwork suffered as she juggled academics with single parenthood. Lacking a solid foundation in the sciences, her courses overwhelmed her. Unaccustomed to multiple-choice exams – in St. Lucia, students were given only essay tests – she earned all Cs and Ds her first semester.

To motivate herself, Fiscella posted affirmations on her bathroom mirror that reinforced the pact she had made with herself: “I will support myself and my daughter.” “I will help my parents.” “I will be at the top of my profession.”

By her sophomore year, Fiscella’s grades had improved, but her savings had run dry. To make ends meet, she saw no other option than to apply for welfare.

Lean times meant that she had to make meals stretch as far as possible, while putting money to the side so she could take her daughter, Nicole, out for a modest meal once a month. To bolster her morale, Fiscella always performed the same mental exercise: She imagined herself as a doctor.

“The whole picture would play over and over in my mind,” she says. “Every moment of the day was spent focusing on my goal. I visualized myself in a white coat with a stethoscope, helping patients.”

It has been two decades, but Fiscella vividly remembers the plane landing in the midst of a Buffalo blizzard for her medical school interview.

“It was like it was already my home,” she says. “That night I told my mother that, no matter which other school accepted me, I was coming to Buffalo.”

Like many of her peers, Fiscella found medical school grueling. Being away from her daughter throughout the day made the experience more challenging still.

“But, again, I had my focus,” she says. “I had all these people depending on my success, especially my daughter. It was a different experience than many other people have.”

Different, indeed. While other students were studying, Fiscella was standing in line at schools and churches to receive free eggs or cheese. One day Nicole came home from school in tears, upset that kids had teased her because she received meals from the subsidized “food line.” In response, Fiscella started skipping her own lunches so her daughter could have them to take to school.

At the supermarket one afternoon, she found that she didn’t have enough food stamps to pay for her groceries. With her daughter by her side, she watched in mortification as the clerk flicked on the checkout light and began shouting for the manager to come and attend to the problem.

Even worse were her routine visit to the Social Services office. Although she made her own clothes, she purposely dressed down for these appointments so the social worker wouldn’t suspect her of being better off than she was.

“I don’t wish anyone to go through what I went through,” Fiscella says of her years on welfare. “People make judgments about who you are. But at the same time, I knew that if I could put my pride on the shelf, I could get through this time and achieve my goal.”

Inspiring. And funny how life is, isn't it? After coming up pretty hard, Fiscella (the younger) is now making a living portraying this uber-elite, aspirational lifestyle. Interestingly enough, Gossip Girl is her first ever acting role. After graduating from Boston's Tufts University she started working as a model for a few years. During that time, she resisted numerous urgings to try acting but finally gave in and went for the Gossip Girl role - and got it. Go girl - we love to see islandistas doing well,  no matter where in the world they are.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Islandistas' fashion hit and miss

Islandistas Selita Ebanks and Genevieve Jones were a fashion hit and miss respectively last night at the Women’s Coalition for Empowerment and Opportunities Fundraiser to Benefit Shine On Sierra Leone.

Selita was fabulous in a blue and black number with a fanciful origami-fold skirt... love that trend!

[caption id="attachment_394" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Photo by Shawn Ehlers/WireImage for GQ"]Photo by Shawn Ehlers/WireImage for GQ[/caption]


Genevieve on the other hand... um... she was draped in fake flowers. We really don't know how else to describe this ... outfit.

[caption id="attachment_396" align="aligncenter" width="401" caption="Photo by Shawn Ehlers/WireImage for GQ"]Photo by Shawn Ehlers/WireImage for GQ[/caption]

We don't get it either.

In other fashion notes, Rihanna rocked a sexy cowgirl look at her rehearsal for the upcoming American Music Awards  that would look absurd or cheesy on most people and managed to make it look fierce. I guess it's like a college sistren of mine used to say 'it's not what you wear, it's how you rock it'.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Island son Eric Holder to be next US AG

[caption id="attachment_386" align="aligncenter" width="316" caption="Susan Walsh/AP"]eric-holder[/caption]

We can hardly keep up with the stream of island folk doing big things in music, fashion, sports and politics and we are so excited!

It is now being widely reported that US President-elect Barack Obama has offered Barbadian-descended Eric Holder the position of US Attorney General. Holder, who would be the first black US Attorney General was born to Barbadian parents in Queens, New York City in a very Caribbean enclave - so much so that he said it was only when he got older that he realised that most black Americans were not of Caribbean descent, as he and everyone else in his neighbourhood was. He traces his roots to the country parishes of St. Joseph and St. Philip, came up in a thoroughly Caribbean household, eating "rice and peas every Sunday" by his own recounting.

"I feel that I grew up partly in Barbados and partly in New York," Holder has said.

Like many Bajan Yankees do, his parents made sure he visited 'back home' often and he still visits Barbados from time to time.

We should be dignified and analytical about this but yuh know what...? Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeee! To di worl'! We here at islandista are sooo fusssssy dennn!

As a Bajan Yankee friend of mine texted me last night "Girl, my president's black and my AG's Bajan!' 

We're loving it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shontelligence album debut

Islandista Shontelle's album Shontelligence debuted yesterday and she celebrated with a Mad Tee party at Room Service in New York City, which was hosted by Vibe. Check out some of the pics from the party below...


(photo credit:

Doing big things girl... keep on keeping on!

But... while it may seem a bit unseemly to bring this up right when she's getting her shine on... it has to be said that real islandistas are worried and a bit puzzled by some of Shontelle's actions recently.

Like... that interview with kiwibox which we swear must have been forwarded to us no less than a dozen times by various people.

Really Shontelle? Third world? You know you know better... or rather, you don't because you are very much a 'terrace and heights' kind of girl. Bajans have been losing their minds about this. People veeeexxxxxx bad!

And the faux-Yankee accent is... painful.

We here at Islandista are willing to give you a bligh so we just beg yuh... do... don't let the Yankees make you hide who you are. Do you, hon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Selita Ebanks rocks the wings



Islandista Selita Ebanks rocked the angel's wings at the Victoria's Secret fashion show last night in Miami. Cayman Islands-born Selita is of course one of the Victoria's Secret Angels (ie, one of the THE hottest modelling contracts to have) and worked the runway for the annual VS show which is one of the most hotly anticipated shows in fashion, especially leading up to the holiday season. Check out another hot shot of Selita below.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Beverly Hills and Hills corncurls


(photo credit:WENN/Splash news/

Islandista... LAVS... this picture! It's pretty old but if you ever lived in Barbados, you will find it funny as hell.

Why Rihanna's BFF felt she needed to bring Hills corn curls all the way up to Beverly Hills we don't know... but we think it's hilarious!

Now that's repping Bim!

 And noticed Rihanna's expression like 'cheeeeeseon, ya can't tek these people nowhere!'

Just a lil levity for your Friday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wuhloss...who tell Kanye say that?

Wuhlosss... peppasauce! Kanye (purposely I'm sure) stirred things up yesterday at an album listening session for his new album 808 and Heartbreak yesterday.

Asked about the inspiration for his album which is a major departure from his 'College' trilogy in that he sings.the.whole.damn.THING! , Kanye said that artistes need to switch it up every now and then.

Which of course we at islandista totally agree with - did a post on that just at the end of Crop-Over pointing out that some of our soca artistes need to do just that.

Then he decided to mix things up according to Hip Hop Chronicle UK:

This is a wakeup call … people in music get comfortable … Rappers get comfortable’.

Kanye said this was the case with Beyonce.

‘Rihanna was the best thing to happen to Beyonce’

Oooohhhh! I cannot wait to see what is going to be the reaction from the psycho Beyonce fans out there... cos you know Rihanna is like their public enemy number one as it is, just because of speculation and stupid gossip.

Of course, what Kanye said is absolutely right. Rihanna's success has obviously compelled Beyonce to step her game up, since people will clearly compare Rihanna to her until both their stars fade. Rihanna made a bold move with Good Girl Gone Bad to step out of the niche that was being created for her - to stop being the same proto-type light-skinned, long wavy weaved, RnB-lite pop princess as every other chick in the game (Christian Milian, Mya and Ashanti pop to mind) and be different. And it has worked for her. She still is not the greatest singer out there but she is getting songs these chicks would love to have and you can't keep our girl from the top of the charts these days at all!

All because she switched it up and kept it interesting. That's how you maintain a career.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

D'Angel and Beenie play happy families

Boy, you just can't keep up with this drama couple. Two years back it was all love and tears and a rush to the altar, last year it was pure war and accusations and furniture pelting out and now last weekend they moving like the dancehall Cosbys or something - all happy families and ting.

Dancehall's leading soap opera couple Beenie Man and D'Angel looked happy as papi last weekend as they jointly hosted a celeb-studded party for their son Marco Dean's 2nd birthday at the Jamaica Pegasus. One876entertainment reported on it and said:
The Gardens at the Pegasus was the venue for Marco Dean's Super Sweet second birthday party and several of the artiste's closest friends showed up to celebrate with them. The party kicked off at about 3:30 p.m. when D'Angel arrived with Marco Dean. Beenie greeted his wife and youngest son, and together, three of them walked into the party. Beenie looked quite dapper in a blue suit with a white vest while D'Angel was quite beautiful and looked motherly and almost humble in a charming, flowing dress.

Awww ... ain't that cute? Beenie bought lil MD a toy Escalade and older cousin Bobbie chauffeured him into the party area in grand style (cos you know, 2 year olds' hand-eye co-ordination still isn't that great - don't want MD driving into a wall). Check the photo gallery here.

So does this mean the on-again, off-again, on-again, off-A-DAMN-GAIN couple are on again? Is it one of those cases of can't live with them, can't live without them? Or are they just getting to the 'let's be civil for the sake of the children' stage?

We'll see.

In other islandista couple news, Rihanna and Chris Brown have been seen out and about Down Under and she looks well recovered from her stage almost-collapse last week in Sydney. They were looking cute as buttons and extra-cuddly partying in Sydney the other night and arriving in Perth in matching outfits yesterday.


(photo credit:


(photo credit: Jelenek/

Real talk now ... who ever thought these kids would last this long? It's been nearly a year, if not more, because I remember Rihanna winning her Grammy in early February and bringing Chris home for the big celebration in Bridgetown and by that time, they were already tight. Good for them.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bits & Pieces: Riri stage sickness, Estelle's EMA dress

We're only just (barely!) coming down off of our Obama high and turning our attention to other pressing issues... like some good, old fashioned suss!

We were so consumed that we actually missed a few things in the last few days - like Rihanna's nearly collapsing at a show in Sydney, Australia and MTV's European Music Awards where islandista by descent Estelle wore a 'love it or hate it' but definitely bold dress for her performance with Kanye West.

Rihanna fell ill at a show in Sydney while performing Umbrella with her boyfriend Chris Brown as the finale of the show.

Apparently, the heat at the venue, a too-tight corset that left her breathless and whizzing around in the air in a harness before she landed to perform, left her in a state. She can be seen leaning over and holding her stomach before scurrying off stage. Chris finished performing the song without her (like a professional) and then ran off to check up on her.

The youtube video is below.

Thankfully, all's well that ends well. Spokesperson Amanda Silverman told media:

"It was very hot at the venue, so after Rihanna's set was over, she went off stage and needed to sit down, catch her breath and have some water. She is perfectly healthy and will be at her show tomorrow."

Next thing... the MTV's European Music Awards. Grenadian-descended islandista Estelle wore a dress that you may well either love or hate.

[caption id="attachment_351" align="aligncenter" width="414" caption="Estelle performing at MTV"]Estelle performing at MTV's European Music Awards with Kanye West[/caption]


(photo credit:

At first glance I HATED it, thought it looked ridiculous but on second glance, it is kind of futuristic chic. Still... triangular hips?! Look how Kanye had to struggle to get his arms around this ... structure.


So what do you think islandistas? Hot or flop? Here's one more shot of it to help you make up your minds.


And speaking of dresses that have people torn, not everyone has had my enthusiastic response to Michelle Obama's victory night dress. Again, it seems to be a love it or hate it. A lot of islandistas I've talked to haa-aa-aa-ted it, a feeling that has been repeated ad nauseum in the blogosphere. Folks have been hollering about it all week.

 I wasn't wild about it but I rather liked it, particularly the ombre design, which is already making its mark as the print (?) for next season. I also kind of liked the wrap around section on the waist, though I thought it could have been cut a little closer to emphasise Michelle's great shape, cos de woman got real form, no lie.

Perhaps I like it because I've seen the original on which it is based and it's hot. I see what Michelle was trying to do...

Fashion Obamas Outfits

(photo credit: Associated Press via the New York Times)

See? Doesn't that make you kind of go 'ohhhh... I see where she was going?' Thing is, she had some adjustments made to the dress that kind of detracted from the hotness in an effort to be more demure. She took up the neckline for one and got the sheer hemline made opaque and then added the cardigan, which then threw off the criss-cross under the ribs. I think she could have risked at leaving the neckline as a v-neck - Michelle isn't terribly busty anyway so it would not have looked indecent. And instead of a cardigan, maybe she could have had it made with sheer sleeves instead that would have been part of the dress, instead of fighting against the dress.

Still, the fact that we are talking about this at all is an encouraging sign for fashion in the White House. I know no-one can remember a damn thing Laura Bush has worn, whereas Michelle has already inspired  women to run out to to buy the black and white Donna Ricco dress she wore on The View.

And at the end of the day, shoot, Pres. elect Obama looked pretty damn enamoured of her in the dress.

obama-love1... And ladies, we know that is the second-most important opinion that counts doesn't it? The first being our own.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The next First Lady...


We here at Islandista are overjoyed.

There is simply no other way to put it. Of course we were invested in this US election and Barack Obama's candidacy. Even for islandistas who do not live in the US, we all understood the importance of this election and this candidacy, the need to lift the malaise that has hung over the US and hence by extension, the world for the last few years. We needed hope and crazy, dizzy optimism.

And we got it. Barack Obama is the President-elect of the United States.

Let us be honest. This election was followed by Caribbean people like none other. And it has a lot to do with the fact that Barack Obama is black - just like the majority of the people living in the Caribbean islands. We have always shared in the hopes, struggles and pain of our black brethren and sistren all over the world, from the United States to South Africa. We were all in this too and this victory felt like ours. I know many of us shed tears last night.

But now islandistas, let us turn to the issue that fascinates and delights us - a black woman is going to be the next First Lady of the United States. She will move into that fabled position held by such icons as Jacqueline Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Hilary Clinton. A black woman - who is just like us. Someone who we can totally relate to, with her lower-middle class background, her assertiveness and earthiness, her black woman's hips and black woman's strength. We look at Michelle Obama and we see ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, friends, aunts and colleagues. Strong, incredible black women.

And most beautifully, we can see how loved she is by her husband. And we LOVE, love, love it, don't we?

Because, again let's face it. Many prominent and successful black men 'trade in' when they move on up. The black wife may be good for the starter wife but not for the trophy wife. But Michelle Obama is not just Barack's rock, she is his trophy and he holds her up proudly. I will never forget hearing a snippet of an interview he did on BET with Jeff Johnson and when asked about his wife, noted:

"Well first off, I don't know if you noticed but ... my wife is fine."

I loved that - that rumble of whole-hearted appreciation for his woman. I love that the affection and attraction and appreciation the Obamas have for each other is so palpable. With so many political couples, they seem so stiff and staged - the Clintons readily pop to mind. With the Obamas, you see all these little signs of their love and affection - when Michelle hugs him tightly from behind or Barack taps her on her hip or the fist bump heard round the world. The picture above just sums up the love and affection they seem to have for each other that you don't usually see with couples in public life.

And islandistas, isn't it a joy to see this? We know the state of male-female relations in the black community, especially on this side of the Atlantic where our families and relationships have been riven by historical social injustices. Black women are less likely to be married than women of any other race. Even when our men don't trade us in, we are often not loved and honoured as we should be. Which is another reason why we love the Obamas.

Kim McClarin put it well on The Root months ago, explaining why President-elect Obama's wife makes us as black women love him more:
"What I am saying is that in America it is not often we see the wife of a successful black man who looks like Michelle, and that seeing her beside him is, for some of us, almost as transforming a moment as seeing him where he is. ... More importantly, Michelle Obama seems to take his open adoration of her in stride, as if it were simply nothing more than she deserved. Concept!


And of course, it doesn't hurt that she's fierce. Like the banded red and black Narciso Rodriguez ombre dress she wore last night for Barack's acceptance speech. Not quite as hot as the purple Mario Pinto she wore when Barack passed the magic number of delegates to win the primaries, but hot nonetheless. That is why she has been all up in folks' best dressed lists for the last two years. And we hear she is going to bring it for the Inauguration and is already in discussion with black designer Cassandra Bromefield to design her dress. Hotness and promoting black design talent? We loves it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lewis Hamilton takes Formula One championship

Well, guess who's the Formula One champion in just his second season? Not to mention the youngest Formula One champion ever? Oh, and the first black Formula One champion?

Our own super-speedy, uber-sexy islandisto, Grenadian-descended Lewis Hamilton!

[caption id="attachment_345" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Formula One Champion, Lewis Hamilton"]Formula One Champion, Lewis Hamilton[/caption]

He clinched the title yesterday in a most dramatic fashion at the Brazilian Grand Prix.  Needing to place at least 5th to claim the title, he was behind for much of the race, in 6th position and on a wet track.

But Toyota's Timo Glock who was in fourth place, started to fall back as his team failed to call him in to change to wet tyres. Hamilton eased past him in the penultimate corner and managed to hold on to fifth place - and the title.

"I’m very emotional, I’ve cried,” Hamilton said. “My heart’s feeling so much strain right now. I think first and foremost of my family and then I thank God because he was with me all year as he always is.”

That family of course, includes his father Anthony Hamilton, born to Grenadian parents who moved to the UK in the 1950s. Lewis lived with his father since he was 12 years old and his dad has put everything into Lewis' career, even taking on as many as three jobs at a time to support Lewis when he was a young go-karter.

Despite the fact that he is actually a third-generation Grenadian, Lewis stays close to his island roots, visiting the island regularly to see his grandparents who moved back home, investing in land in the island and even dating Miss Grenada Universe.

From us here at Islandista, we say congrats Lewis! Keep making the region proud.