Cover Stories, Events

Black & White Ball retains 7-star rating

ON Sunday, August 10, 2014, at the Gem of New Lagos, the Black & White Ball, incorporating the Elegance, Style and Substance Awards and showcasing jaw-dropping drapes and duds settled well and safely on the League of One.  It swayed and swaggered confidently as it treated some of Nigeria’s most colourful characters to a lavish shindig unknown in this part of the world.

DJ Jimmy Jatt, Dame Abimbola Fashola and Kunle Bakare

DJ Jimmy Jatt, Dame Abimbola Fashola and Kunle Bakare

And the day was bright and beautiful with no sign of rain or showers.  The elements stood by us as the sun rose and shone all through the day.

The joyous ceremony suffused with all the elements of glamour and glitz, sophistication and soigné and more was awesome an account of the monsoon of support from legions of organizations led by Intercontinental Distillers Ltd., Access Bank, Ruby Gardens, Elizabeth R and Zmirage…

High society and the glam and chic set, as well as platoons of entertainers and dream makers set Ruby Gardens, Lekki, Lagos venue of the fifth edition of the 7-star ceremony aglow.

Long before the 4 p.m call time and well past 10 when the show was plotted to end, the atmosphere was as enthralling as it was enchanting with merry makers clad in melodious monochrome in formal mode having the time of their lives.

The chortle-fest, with leading comedians chaperoned by their King, Ali Baba had the house laughing heartily.  And music from Julius Agwu’s Reel Laif Band and DJ Jimmy Jatt amplified the fun…

WHIFF OF FESTIVITY FILLS LAGOS WITH SWEET FRAGRANCE

Lagos, the city of chic, jollification and wisdom with the game-changing governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) leading the good people to rewarding dividends of democracy, was awash with festivity weeks before the high-octane ball.  From boutiques, ateliers to offices, the din of the fifth edition of the event we here at ENCOMIUM, the magazine and events company, are honoured and proud to host was discernible.

Audible, without being overbearing in many spots, it was on the lips of the gifted and up-to-the-minute in all things bright and beautiful.

Measured search for apparels were obvious, so was the quest to get the elegant and simple invitation cards.

And as the day drew nearer Sunday, August 10, 2014, the frenzy was more noticeable and pronounced.

That Sunday, the whiff of the ball filled Lagos with sweet fragrance of festivity.  And by early afternoon, Lekki-Epe Expressway, especially near Kilometre 11 where Ruby Gardens stands erect and tall and imposing, wore colourful garbs.

At the arena, the magical marquee and environs had been beautified and stamped with the wondrous hands of Elizabeth R’s Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo, and primed ready by Z-mirage with a superlative stage parading two screens, band and DJ platforms, sound and light.

The vehicles soon began to show up with guests gingerly stepping out…

PROMENADING ONTO BLISS

The formality of black and white in heavenly drapes magnified the Gem of New Lagos –and drew attention to that axis as some of our most colourful compatriots swayed to the gate of Ruby Gardens.

Arriving solo, as duos, trios, quartet and sometimes quintets, guests eagerly thrust their invites into the waiting hands of K-Square security men who loomed large and unshakeable.

Once the card was checked against the guest list, and dress and colour codes passed, they stepped into the large and expansive compound parading two marquees.

But another immigration point, a barricaded entrance wrapped with black fabrics, beckoned, with more K-Square men at attention, checking guests once more.

Data Okorodudu and Elizabeth Jibunoh

Data Okorodudu and Elizabeth Jibunoh

With L-shaped canopies, from the entrance of the main marquee to the smaller one, planted by The Tent Event, the welcome arena was well mapped out.  And under the shade of this high and long canopies, you are welcomed with cocktails by Intercontinental Distillers Ltd.

As you catch your breath, you are already on crisp, lush black carpet.  And on your left, you are taken straight away to the quieter part of a high-street.  Here, mannequins decked in rich and luxurious garbs hollered statements in sartorial elegance.

The clothier, Message (Ifeanyi Okonkwo), designers Mudiaga Enajemo (Mudi Africa) and Frank Osodi (House of Bunor) exhibited jaw dropping drapes and duds.

Before you knew it, a mobile bar manned by identical twins in shimmering silver and black numbers, appeared.  And Chapeau Rose (from Intercontinental Distillers) in flutes was gingerly offered.

Old and new friends, acquaintances, associates and partners exchanged pleasantries, blew kisses in the air and hugged.

TV cameras and reporters, photographers and journalists invited the stars and star makers, celebrities and socialites for sessions in front of the long backdrops parading pictures and logos.

For about two hours, with music wafting in from the bigger marquee from Julius Agwu’s Reel Laif Band and DJ Jimmy Jatt, a joyous din mingled with the melodies.

LAGOS’ DEPUTY GOVERNOR, SPEAKER AND FIRST LADY SET THE TONE FOR THE EVENING

Big wigs in the corridors of power in the Centre of Excellence set the tone for an evening of fun as they arrived in good time, mingled freely with celebs and stars and guests, sometimes allowing ‘selfies’, at the rollicking ball unmatched yet.

Leading politicos was the Deputy Governor of the good people of Lagos, Princess (Hon.) Victoria Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire whose black and white number oozed understated elegance.  With her friends, she soaked in the joy of the occasion.

Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Speaker of Lagos House of Assembly, was a picture of simplicity and gaiety as he let his hair down to have undiluted fun, relishing what was on offer.

Modesty in flesh, the adorable first lady of Lagos, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola was on point, and took time to monitor the 12-course meal.  Exchanging banters and acknowledging cheers, she won many fans with her demeanour.

AKWA IBOM’S GOVERNOR SENDS GOOD TIDINGS

Toyin Aimhaku-Johnson, representative of Gov. Godswill Akapbio and Rukky Sanda

Toyin Aimhaku-Johnson, representative of Gov. Godswill Akapbio and Rukky Sanda

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State who leads as the dispenser of dividends of democracy sent good tidings.  Represented by the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Don Etim who was gracious to arrive early and stayed almost till the end of the ball (accompanied by Mr. Edidiong), Akwa Ibom garnered more votes.

SENATOR FLORENCE ITA-GIWA LEADS THE LEAGUE OF GLAMOUR DAMES

Vivacious Mma Bakassi, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, style leader and icon and many times winner of Elesho totem in the Elegance, Style and Substance Awards shimmered and glittered in her heart thumping monochrome number.

Leading glamorous dames, the politico who just completed her National Conference assignment in Abuja and getting ready for her daughter, Koko’s wedding in September, made Mrs. Elizabeth Jibunoh feel at home.

On her table was Mrs. Ndidi Obioha and husband, Enny, looking dapper in his tuxedo.

Mrs. Data Okorodudu, gifted designer, glowed in her breath-taking piece (and with more colour returning to her visage after the sorrow of losing her husband a few years ago abates…).

IBIDUNNI ITUAH-IGHODALO’S ELIZABETH R RAISES SPLENDOUR TO THE PEAK

The wondrous hands and far seeing eyes of Mrs. Ibidunni Ituah-Ighodalo were so apparent at the ball without a match.  The atmosphere took on a visage of pleasure raised to the peak by Elizabeth R.

Right from the gate, guests got a glimpse of paradise –and as they strolled in, a picture-perfect ambience greeted them.  And by the time the doors of the Gem of New Lagos were opened, hearts fluttered and skipped beats.

From the doors right across the marquee, black carpet dotted with white motifs welcomed them.  And walk way pieces adorned with flowers accentuated the runner.

A mixture of zebra and white chair covers greeted the eyes profusely. And tall vases in white and black and red and white flowers symmetrically assembled whispered elegance.

Above heads, crystals glittered and shimmered.

Gazing around the magical marquee, guests nodded, and later broke into smiles of approval and appreciation.

Lavish without being overbearing, beautiful without being overpowering, the décor won ovations.

GAILY GARBED USHERS STEAL THE SHOW

DSC_0050

The Ushers

Dressed to the nines in gleaming evening pieces with white gloves completing the elegant ensemble, Elizabeth R ushers competed brilliantly with gaily garbed guests.

What’s more, their courtesy and decorum, and understanding of the role of ushers, set them apart.

Beginning their duties with prayers of benediction, they took charge and attended to all without a whimper.

Throughout the 6-hour extravaganza that has improved over the years, the ushers were on their feet making our guests’ pleasure their primary objective.

12 SUMPTUOUS COURSES DELIGHT CONNOISSEURS

Those familiar with multi-course meals, the well-travelled, exposed and enlightened, were in ecstasy as they learnt about our plot (you can ask the humble first lady of Lagos who took time to assess the dinner!).

The 12-course delicacies from our caterers (Osho’s Celebrations, Mark’z Catering Services, Hot Pot, Bissy Cat, 12 Baskets, Phoebe’s and RL Desserts), which took months to plan, turned out beautifully.

From Pepper soup (goat meat/assorted meat), Mini hot dogs, spring rolls (served with sweet and sour sauce),  Fish in batter or fish balls (served with sweet and sour sauce), Doughnut with vanilla sauce(s), Chicken BBQ, gizzard and meat on stick, Moin-moin and dodo, Fantail prawn and fish fingers, Basmati rice and mixed vegetables, served with shredded beef, chicken and fish, Cakes (Black Forest, White forest, Cream caramel, Waffle and ice cream, Red velvet, Chocolate mousse, Chocolate divine), Muffins, Yoghurt/Ice cream (Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate, Pistachio, Latte, Caramel, Kiwi), Fruit salad, it was a three-hour adventure we will be glad to replicate.

As the meals made their way, eyes shone with appreciation.  Small and manageable portions, one after the other, accomplished the desired result.

CHORTLE-FEST BY COMEDY KINGS WINS IN FLYING COLOURS

Ali Baba and De Don

Ali Baba and De Don

The performances by Kings of Comedy, one of the ball’s highlights, saw the house applauding and roaring with laughter.

The chortle-fest, led by King of Comedy, Ali Baba, paraded Okey Bakassi, Tee A and Julius Agwu who were joined by two princes –De Don and Funny Bone –elevated the entertainment content to dramatic and exciting twists and turns.

Julius D’ Genius Agwu, comedian, actor, musician, husband, father and dandy (two-time winner of Elegance, Style and Substance Awards in 2010 as Most Stylish Man in his 30s and Most Stylish Entertainer in 2013) began the rib cracking session.

De Don, brand new father and naturally funny, took over to settle the guests in as they caught their breath from the opening monologue and the festivity in the air.

Actor and comedian and a gentleman that will go far, Funny Bone navigated with light-hearted banters, especially as he sent the marquee reeling in laughter with his self-introduction.

Fresh faced and handsome, likeable and friendly, Tee A, who has elevated comedy to a magical act romanticized by pillars of high society earned his pips.

With shows which redefined stand-up acts and comedy events, showcasing all over the world with remarkable presence on television, Tee A’s act stood tall.

Gifted and talented craftsman, Okey Bakassi who encouraged a platoon of creative Nigerians did a skit that was dramatic and shockingly hilarious with a female guest.

The gentle soul with soft voice but commanding presence held us in his grips.

The King mounted the stage and won hearts.

Blessed with uncommon milk of kindness, Ali Baba’s generosity overwhelms in a beautiful way.

The mentor, what many call the mentor’s mentor, the authentic king and leader made comedy lucrative and glorious.

DJ JIMMY JATT’S TOP-10 – A LESSON IN INSPIRATION AND PASSION

Pillar and supporter of entertainers, one of the kindest men we know, Africa’s king of disc jockeying, DJ Jimmy Jatt mesmerized with his top 10 songs of all time.

Guests listened with rapt attention as he announced the songs that have touched him the most since he began in 1989.

The gentleman who has made disc jockeying inspiring and the business side interesting won a standing ovation.

5JULIUS AGWU’S REEL LAIF BAND TITILLATES AND ENRAPTURES

Julius Agwu’s tight band, Reel Laif, in top form and remarkable shape, titillated guests as they treated all to danceable and awe-inspiring numbers.

From the beginning of the ball when their grooves filtered onto the black carpet and throughout the evening, they were sure-footed and confident and adept at their game of entertaining guests.

Capable of replicating hits of various artistes to perfection, Reel Laif will go far…

STARS AND STAR MAKERS DOMINATE FUN-FEST

From music to movies, comedy to television, fashion to enterprises, big businesses and politics, we had colourful gentlemen and ladies in the house.

Music had moguls leading them –the duo of Keke Ogungbe and Dayo ‘D1’ Adeneye.

We saw Sheyman, Capital FEMI, KSB, Essence, Oyelohun Twins, Joe El, Queen Ayo Balogun, Fragrance, MTN Project Fame 2013 winner, Olawale…

Movies had stars of Yoruba and English language movies.

From Femi Bright, Paul Adams, Kunle Coker, Muka Ray, Ngozi Nwosu, Aisha Abimbola, Toyin Aimakhu-Johnson, Liz Anjorin, Moyo Lawal, Rukky Sanda, Ebube Nwagbo, Belinda Effa, Grace Amah, Lilian Amah-Aluko, Francis Onwochei, Kunle Coker, Victor Olaotan, Arinze Okonkwo, John and Aquilla Njamah, Ruth Kadiri, Amaka Okere, Alex Ekubo, IK Ogbonna, Amaka Ononibaku, Princess Chineke, Alex Okoroji, Tamara Eteimo, Lizzy …

Comedy had the king, Ali Baba who was joined by Julius Agwu, Okey Bakassi, Tee A, Funny Bone, De Don, Koffi, Elenu, AY, Danny B, MC Ice Water, Yaw…

Television stars had Prince Bisi Olatilo, Madam Kofo…

We counted former newscaster in the Golden era of television and Tell’s Executive Director Ademola Oyinlola, Mayor Akinpelu (Global Excellence publisher), Steve Nwosu (The Sun), Bolaji Tunji (Telegraph), Steve Ayorinde (former MD of The Mirror), Biodun Kupoluyi (E-24/7), Azuh Arinze (Yes!), Ayeni Adekunle (NETNG/BHM), Tunde Moshood (Enquirer), Kunle Rasheed (Global Excellence), Azuka Ogujiuba (This Day), Ademola Olonilua (Punch), Funsho Arogundade (Daily Independent), Faith Irabor, Desmond Ike, Sunday and Akudo Adebayo, Teddy Momoh, Layole Oyatogun, Chuks Nwanne (The Guardian),

Iyalode Adunni Bankole sat pretty.  So did Toyin Kolade, Kemi Otegbade, Chioma Alonge, Alero Edu, Yinka Adewunmi, Tony Okoroji, Bisoye Fagade, Uju Murphy, Susan Chanel, Madam Modesty…

CLOTHIER AND DESIGNERS STEP AHEAD OF THE FASHION FORWARD

Fashion had Sofisticat’s Lanre Ogunlesi as first among pioneers and icons.  Mudiaga Enajemo (Mudi Africa), Ifeanyi Okonkwo (Message), Frank Osodi (House of Bunor), were joined by younger elements –Oge’s Language, Ouch’s Uche Nnaji, Ebere Ononibaku, Yomi Casual…

A CARNIVAL OF DRINKS ASTOUND CONNOISSEURS

DSC_0130When we say we paraded all the drinks under the sun, we did.  With Intercontinental Distillers Ltd., as co-sponsors, we had an assemblage of the world class company’s products.  From Veleta Sparkling Fruit Drink, Finlays Tonic Wine, Squadron Blended Dark Rum, Chelsea London Dry Gin to Chapeau wine, it was an extravaganza with unlimited offers.

NB Plc also came on board with Gulder, Star, Heineken, Maltina, Amstel Malta, Fayrouz, Legend Extra Stout –and sent the house on an odyssey of praises.

With Bonix dispensing champagne, spirits, beverages and more, only the uncharitable will invent complaints…

A MILLION THANKS TO OUR PILLARS

Without them, the high-octane ball enjoyed by the glitterati and glamozons on Sunday, August 10, 2014, at Ruby Gardens, Lekki, Lagos, would be a fantasy conjured by sufferers of delusions of grandeur.

The fabulous evening which settled well and safely in the League of One was made possible by our pillars, those who allowed us to perch on their shoulders.

With them, the fifth edition of The Black & White Ball emerged at the best yet with dramatic twists and turns that left a sweet after taste on our palates.

IMG_2820From the bottom of our hearts, we here at ENCOMIUM, the magazine and events company, scream a million thanks to Intercontinental Distillers Ltd., Access Bank Plc, Ruby Gardens, Elizabeth R, The Tent Event Ltd., Zmirage, Shoes for You, GTBank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Twice as Nice, Lagos State Government, First Lady of Lagos State, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Akwa Ibom State Government, Ogun State Government, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Senator Ganiyu Olanrewaju Solomon, Speaker Lagos House of Assembly, NB Plc, Tousomi Investment Limited, Spectacular Outdoors Limited, Andromia Nigeria Ltd., Nigeria Police Force, LASTMA, Engr. Deji Doherty, K-Square Security Services, , Fair Prince, Susan Chanel, Fisolak Global Resources Ltd., Mountain of Liberation & Miracle Ministries, Kennis Music, Primetime Africa, Bisi Olatilo Show, 88.9 Brila FM, Metro 97.7 FM, Classic 97.3 FM, Raypower FM, City 105.1 FM, Beat 99.9 FM, Suyu Waters, Replica Studios, Julius Agwu and Reel Laif Band, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Hip TV, Osho’s Celebrations, 12 Baskets Foods Ltd., Mark’z Catering Services, Hot Pot, Bissy Cat Caterers, La Bash, RL Desserts, Bonix Party Drinks and Phoebe’s.

GOOD NIGHT, GOOD BYE AND GOD BLESS

The rollickingly joyous ball, graced by the young, restless and beautiful and the gracefully ageing and charming was so fabulous that we all didn’t want it to end.

Well past 10 p.m, hundreds were ready to go on for much longer –but Monday beckoned.

And one after the other, satiated guests departed.  By 11.15 only service providers were left, packing and cleaning up.

It was difficult to say good night. But we had to –Goodbye and God bless.  See you next year…

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