St. Croix: Birthplace of Emancipation in the United States of America
The United States Virgin Islands—the cluster of central-Caribbean islands consisting principally of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas—is the cradle of Emancipation in the United States of America: Slavery was abolished in the Virgin Islands (then, the Danish West Indies) on July 3, 1848, seventeen (17) years before the 1865 Emancipation on mainland USA and the 1873 abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico. And the 1848 Emancipation in the Virgin Islands was precipitated by rebellion rather than proclamation. As such, the Virgin Islands has served as a Beacon of Freedom across three centuries—from the middle of the 19th century, throughout the 20th century, to present-day.
Former Senator Wayne James Finds Thousands of Rare Cuba Photographs
Since 1973, from the tender age of 11, Wayne James has been on a mission: to find a complete set of the Henry Clay and Bock & Co., Ltd., cigar company’s 1925 “Cuba Series” photographs. The half-a-century search is finally over: James has unearthed—and acquired—not one, but four, sets of the exceedingly rare photos, all on the Iberian Peninsula. The find is the collectors’ equivalent of discovering a trove of beautifully preserved, 100-year-old baseball cards. The photos are captioned and depict the farms, factories, bridges, statuary, political leaders, schools, churches, mansions, casinos, country clubs, parks, etc., of Cuba’s six provinces.
From First Fashion Shoot to a Fragrance: The 40-Year Journey of Fashion Designer Wayne James
The Wayne James fashion label will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2027. And to mark that milestone, much is abuzz at Wayne James, Ltd: A researcher has been retained to cull the designer’s major press reports, beginning with the March 1, 1987 Washington Post article announcing his first collection showing in New York’s SoHo while in his last semester of law school at Georgetown; James’ Carnival Seasonings line has been expanded and rebranded as Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men; a fashion historian is preparing a feature on the designer’s remarkable contributions to African American fashion history; and on July 3, 2023, James will launch CELEBRATION, his new French-made fragrance. Two more fragrances will be launched by 2027.
Fashion Designer Wayne James Directs SPECTACULAR Television Ad
Wayne James Directs Spectacular TV Ad to Promote His New Fragrance, CELEBRATION
St. Croix-born fashion designer Wayne James has directed a spectacular 60-second television ad to promote the unveiling of his new fragrance, CELEBRATION.
The CELEBRATION ad is produced in the emerging “quiltography” genre by critically acclaimed Brazilian filmmaker/photographer Daniel Lobo, who has collaborated with James on many projects for more than a decade—including photographing the covers of volumes one and two of the designer’s Manly Manners treatise on modern men’s comportment.
Fashion Designer Wayne James to Launch Fragrance, “CELEBRATION”
Fashion Designer Wayne James to Launch “Celebration” Fragrance in July
St. Croix-born fashion designer Wayne James, whose career in the glamor industry now spans four decades, will unveil his fragrance, CELLEBRATION, in July of 2023.
“A peacock must have a fanciful tail. A bull must have a formidable horn. And a fashion designer must have a fabulous fragrance,” James responded when asked about his decision to launch CELEBRATION on the heels of his autumn 2021 expansion and rebranding of his seasonings line as Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men.
Formulated in Grasse, France, perfume capital of the world, and presented in exquisite bottles crafted in Milan, Italy, CELEBRATION is an eau de toilette made to stand the test of time.
Wayne James Acquires Rare Watercolor by “The Great Gatsby” Cover Artist
Wayne James Acquires Rare Watercolor by Francisco Coradel-Cugat (1893-1981), Painter of the Iconic Cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Art collector and filmmaker Wayne James recently acquired a rare watercolor of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas’ Hotel 1829 by celebrated Spanish artist, Francisco Coradel-Cugat, perhaps best known for his famous painting that became the cover-image of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel, The Great Gatsby (1925). Born in Barcelona, Cugat was 12 years old when his father moved the family of six to the Caribbean, residing primarily in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Young Cugat attended an art academy in Havana, where he learned to draw and paint.
Wayne James’ “Going…Going…Gone: The Grandeur of Golden-Age Cuba” Set for World Premiere in Union City, New Jersey and Miami, Florida
Wayne James, the St. Croix-born fashion designer, critically acclaimed author of Manly Manners, and former senator, will unveil Going…Going…Gone: The Grandeur of Golden-Age Cuba at the William V. Musto Cultural Center (Musto) in Union City, New Jersey, on Sunday, March 27, 2022. Directed by James and produced by Kiwaun Cumberbatch, the film, already being touted a prototype of the emerging “quiltography” genre, is a masterful “piecing together” of photos, music, and archival film footage for the purpose of revealing a new truth or telling an untold story—the way a quiltmaker uses scraps of old fabric to create a new work of textile art.
“To experience Going…Going…Gone is to attend a photo exhibition at the National Art Gallery, with a live concert in the Rotunda by Washington, DC’s Pan-American Symphony Orchestra (PASO), while receiving a guided tour by an archivist from the Newseum,” James said. “The film is at once a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the mind.”
Fashion Designer Wayne James Directing Film on Golden-Age Cuba
Georgetown University law graduate and former United States Virgin Islands senator Wayne James seems to do it all—from fashion to furniture to food to federal prison. And now the über-talented, ever-resilient author of the critically acclaimed Manly Manners can add yet another “F-word” to his credentials: filmmaker. Going…Going…Gone: The Grandeur of Golden-Age Cuba is a 90-minte docufilm featuring more than 450 photographs of Cuba during its heyday between 1890 and 1925. The film will premiere in Miami in December. But in many ways, Going…Going…Gone has been coming along for almost a century. In 1918, at age 29, James’ maternal great-uncle Alexander Messer, born on St. Croix in 1888, migrated to Cuba to work as a sugarcane laborer and musician. And while living in Santiago de Cuba, the island-nation’s second-largest city after Havana, Messer would occasionally enclose with his letters to his parents and siblings tobacco cards issued by Henry Clay and Bock Co., Ltd., manufacturers of fine cigars. The cards featured beautiful images of Cuba: churches and cathedrals, municipal building, private mansions, parks, bridges, monuments, casinos, theaters, bays and beaches, plantations, factories, etc. “This was before the proliferation of the instamatic camera,” James said. “For Uncle Alex, sending picture-cards of Cuba was the best way he knew how to share his adopted homeland with his beloved family.” Messer’s cards, totaling about 100, remained in the Prince-Messer family’s ancestral home in the town of Frederiksted, St. Croix, until 1973 when Alexander’s younger brother, Alphonso Messer, died, the seminal collection passing to James.