LA Day 7: Runways & Red Carpets Amp Up the Excitement

February 1, 2013 in Jim's Journal


Shrine Auditorium

Jim Smith, Jr. at Shrine Auditorium

Yesterday was bittersweet. One unfortunate thing about travel is that when you’re away from home, life still goes on. Even though my day was still loaded with a number of incredible NAACP activities, and I’ll elaborate on them in greater detail later on in this blog, I wasn’t home for my son’s birthday. My little guy turned seven. “Daddy will be home on Saturday, Ian…and we’ll celebrate your birthday again then. Love you!”

Ladies Tea & Fashion Show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Ladies Tea & Fashion Show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

I eased into my Thursday slowly. Late nights and early mornings go together like Ike and Tina Turner, Lance Armstrong and his former riding buddies or democrats and republicans discussing the fiscal cliff. I think you know what I mean. They just don’t get along. After breakfast and a casual walk through downtown LA (I did walk by a camera crew shooting the new 90210 TV show), I prepared for the back to back events – Ladies Tea & Fashion Show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Pre-Award’s Show Gala Reception at Vibiana’s.

Ladies Tea & Fashion Show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Jim Smith, Jr. & Omarosa Manigault at the Ladies Tea & Fashion Show

Initially, I wasn’t going to go to the tea and fashion show…didn’t think too many men would be in attendance (lol). However, I was encouraged, by several NAACP representatives, to go because they said that they wanted the nominees to attend as many events as possible and that there would a great opportunity for networking. They were right! I spoke to several of the corporate sponsors and even spent some time talking to Omarosa Manigault (The Apprentice, The Surreal Life and the Ultimate Merger). The tea, after a brief time for networking, featured a panel of female economists and entrepreneurs discussing African American women and finances. The conversation was extremely informative, although I would have loved to have seen (and heard) more audience participation. I wanted to hear the group respond to their “be more financially smart” call to action. The fashion show began immediately following the panel as model after model walked through the ballroom’s tables of attendees with a swag that would make Tyra Banks smile.

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Pre-Award’s Show Gala Reception

On the red carpet at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Pre-Award’s Show Gala Reception

Next it was on to the Shrine Auditorium to pick up the tickets (orchestra level seats – YES!). I didn’t know that the famous auditorium sat right across the street from the University of Southern California’s football field. I was looking for the USC Trojan on the white horse (their mascot) to ride down the street.

My publicist, Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati met Marena and me in the hotel lobby at 7:30 pm and we headed to the evening reception. Guess what? Another red carpet entrance! I could get used to this. What made this red carpet ceremony even more compelling was that everything was set up outside. The combination of the bright lights, the photographer lights and the night light made for an amazing scene. Actress Vanessa Williams walked down before me and you could tell that she’d done this a couple of times. She toyed with the cameras and flashed an intoxicating smile. I loved watching her tease every picture out of every camera. I learned quickly, waited for her superstar dust to settle then followed suit. It was great!

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Pre-Award’s Show Gala Reception

With Curtis Silvers at the Pre-Awards Gala Reception

The cocktail reception atmosphere was fantastic as well. Beautiful people. Bold outfits. Contagious energy and networking, networking, networking. I met corporate sponsors from Fed Ex, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Pepsico. I even met a childhood friend, Curtis Silvers, who is now a senior leader for The United Negro College Fund. The NAACP’s leadership team also attended. They sure do know how to host an event.

44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Pre-Award’s Show Gala Reception

Marena Ariffin & Vanesse Lloyd-Sgambati at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Pre-Awards Show Gala Reception

The evening ended with more networking back at the hotel. I sat in a chair at one point reflecting on this entire week, actually this entire month. Unless I’m mistaken this has been the best month in JIMPACT history (or at least the most fun). We started the month appearing on television (Fox Philadelphia’s Good Day Show) on New Year’s Day, discussing how to sustain your resolutions. We later appeared on WBAL TV in Baltimore. Every workshop/training/book signing/radio show interview and presentation was filled with enthusiasm, intensity and empowerment. I’ve worked with and met some very special people. “Wow,” I thought, “and I have 11 more months to play…this is going to be an incredible year.” I thank God that I have an extremely supportive family, team and some amazing Titans. So many people are cheering for me. I can hear you all the way here in LA.

Friday on NBC at 8:00 pm est (5:00 pm pst) is the awards show. Yes, I’m black-tie ready. If by chance a TV camera focuses on me, you will see a HUGE smile on my face. Why? Because I’ve already won!


  • SEE DAY 1: On My Way to the NAACP Image Awards
  • SEE DAY 2: Red Carpet 101 at the Nominees Luncheon
  • SEE DAY 3: A Day of Reflection
  • SEE DAY 4: When You Do What You Love Magical Things Happen
  • SEE DAY 5: Our Best Is Yet To Come!
  • SEE DAY 6: Dream Week Continues With CAA Screening Party
  • SEE DAY 7: Runways and Red Carpets Amp Up the Excitement
  • SEE DAY 8: My Night At The 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards Show
  • WATCH VIDEO: My personal thank-you note for all of your support and love this week
  • MORE PHOTOS: See the Photo Gallery from my Awards Week in LA