I was looking quite chic in my gray and white ensemble (or so I thought), as I walked into the newest hot spot in Chicago's South Loop, Three Peas Art Lounge. As my eyes perused the mostly 20-something crowd, I started to feel uncomfortable. Clearly, I had not been given all the information about this event. I felt soooooo out of place. I took a quick glance around the room. No one seemed to have noticed me so I turned for the door. As my hand hit the knob I heard someone call my name, “Dammit!” I mumbled. “I’m stuck and inappropriately dressed. Not Cute!” The woman who had invited me sashayed over and guided me in. Within minutes I was being introduced to this young African-American woman who possessed an abundance of energy. My eyes went from her fabulous blue blouse, straight down to her Red Pumps. “Her too?” I thought. This was a Diva’s worst nightmare and I knew it. Among the sea of red, my gray shoes were out of place. For Real... For Real... “Clam yourself girly,” I kept saying.
Luvvie. I was dying on the inside with embarrassment, but I remain poised as Cathy began talking. “I don’t know much about the younger women doing HIV work these days,” my hostess explained, “but it seems to work. These girls wear Red Pumps to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS and it’s catching on fast.” Her explanation only increased my anxiety. Not only was I inappropriately dressed, but HIV is my business, my passion, my ministry and I had never heard of the Red Pump Project. “Am I that old? Am I that dated in my work?” I asked myself. My head became a bouncing board for the conversation going on inside of me. “This is not good,” I told myself. I shook it off as Luvvie reached out for my hand. Her warmth seemed to provide some comfort and reduced my anxiety. Within minutes other young women from the Red Pump Project surrounded me like I was a celebrity. I didn't know them, but they certainly knew me. They were ecstatic that I had come to their event welcoming beauty blogger Afrobella to Chicago and raising money for the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project, all at the same time. I loosened up and began to mingle explaining along the way that I didn’t even own red pumps. By the end of the event I knew that the Red Rump Project was a gold mine in the work of HIV/AIDS awareness. I could feel it deep in my bones and, honestly, in these last seven months of knowing them they have proven me right.
Many of the women in Red Pump are bloggers and have successfully taken their activism to Twitter, Facebook and their individual blogs. Recently, they put out a call for 500 bloggers to sport the Rock Red Pump logo on their blog, bringing awareness to HIV/AIDS. In just 50 days they have over 200 bloggers on board.
This March marks the first year anniversary of the Red Pump Project and they are celebrating their anniversary with an inaugural fashion show: Rock the Red: Bold, Fashion, Awareness. I am proud that they have chosen to honor me as the Ultimate Red Pump Rocker. The event will be held on March 25, 2010 at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago. I hope that you will join us as we celebrate both my life and the anniversary of the Red Pump Project. I will be there all night Rockin’ my fabulous Red Pumps (I'm prepared this time!)