t might have been wet and rainy outside on Friday, but inside Pier 60 it was nothing but cozy as the Black Retail Action Group (BRAG) held their 42nd annual Scholarship Awards and Gala. Overlooking the water at Chelsea Piers, the venue was as beautiful as guests, who were decked out in high-end floor length gowns and tuxedos to attend the formal dinner.
Honorees included supermodel and entrepreneur Beverly Johnson, senior vice president at Estee Lauder companies Susan Akkad, mother of New York fashion week Fern Mallis, celebrity stylist and fashion expert June Ambrose and Thomas M. Belk Jr., chairman and CEO of Belk, Inc. Before the night ended with dancing to music curated by DJ Kiss, the honorees’ achievements and contributions to fashion and retail were highlighted, followed by short speeches by the honorees themselves.
June Ambrose was the favorite of the young scholarship recipients. Girls took turns asking her questions and taking photos with her during the cocktail hour. Dressed in a Moschino gown, Ambrose gladly posed for their photos. She received the Business Innovators award later in the evening.
“Young black women don’t have a lot of aspirational figures when you look at it as a whole. I feel a sense of responsibility to kind of carry the torch to be that example as a mother, as a wife—the accolades are great but for me it’s more about being able to make a difference in someone else’s life,” Ambrose said during the ceremony.
Special guests included actress Vivica A. Fox, Editor-in-chief of Essence magazine Constance White, emcee for the night Tamron Hall, and award presenter Angela Simmons.