linda-johnson.jpgMiami’s Morningside District was jumping on July 3 as friends of the arts gathered to celebrate Rosie Gordon-Wallace’s birthday and support her effort to send artists to Carifesta in Suriname. Guests of the Art Loves Philanthropy Birthday Bash donated funds to the Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI) in lieu of gifting the birthday girl.

Proceeds will be used to help support artists Kurt Nahar and Rosa Naday Gamenda’s installation project at the South American country’s annual arts festival. They will join artists from more than 30 countries at the popular Caribbean celebration of culture.

Friends and family were graciously greeted by Mary Luft, executive director of Tigertail Productions, and given white Mardi Gras beads. Those beads were exchanged for pink ones when donations were received. By the party’s end — in the early morning hours of July 4th — all guests were donning the pink beads. 

The partygoers were treated to a smorgasbord of art and Caribbean cuisine and libations prepared by DVCAI board members.  Seen on the scene enjoying the camaraderie and dancing to the sounds of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s provided by DJ Kim were: Sandra Grant-Griffiths, consul general of Jamaica at Miami, Robbie Bell, Regina Berman, Kim Diehl, Patricia Hall, Marlon Hill, Yvonne Hill, Carol King, Becky Kline, Debra Owens, Anita McGruder, Andrea Orane, Pola Reydburd, and M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

The vivacious Gordon-Wallace, executive director of DVCAI, has established herself as one of Miami’s arts mavens and is a dedicated mentor to emerging artists from the Caribbean and Latin diasporas. Art lovers will want to check for upcoming events at


The Fourth of July weekend was topped off with a fabulous engagement party hosted by Ralph and Faye McCloud in honor of their eldest daughter, Lt. Alexandria McCloud, and her fiancé, Lt. Dontavious Logan, son of Dardanious Logan and Judy Williams. The McClouds’ beautiful home at Three Lakes in South Dade was the setting for the celebration, where they welcomed guests with their usual warm hospitality. More than 150 well wishers, including a caravan from the groom-to-be’s home state of Georgia, dined, danced and fellowshipped under balmy skies.

Nikki and Rafael McCloud,  brother and sister of the bride-to-be, assisted their parents with the festivities, and other relatives, Alice Stephens (Atlanta, Ga.),  Jocelyn Stephens (Tampa), and Charmain Baldwin served as hostesses ensuring that all guests were comfortable.

Zandi and Dontae, as the honorees are affectionately called, are second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. Zandi, who graduated from Coral Reef Senior High School in 2007, received her baccalaureate degree from Florida A&M University in Pre-Med Biology and is presently stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, as an officer in the Ordnance Corps. Dontae earned his undergraduate degree in Pre-Med Kinesiology at Morehouse College and is serving in the Georgia National Guard in the Medical Service.

The couple met on Facebook and recently became engaged in Hawaii. They are planning a summer wedding in Miami next year. Among those who came from near and far to congratulate the couple were George and Hosie Baldwin and Bessie Hurston (the couple’s grandparents), Jason Baldwin (uncle), Evelyn Alexander, Victoria Baldwin, Alexis Brown, James and Theresa Brown, Pete and Aundria (Hayes) Castleberry (Venice, Fla.), Wanda Collier, Malcolm Gibson, Jakobi Hill, Juanita C. Johnson, Lloyd D. Johnson, Pierjea Lyon (Vicenzia, Italy), Alex Miller, Charles Stephens (Bradenton), Kelli Stephens (Tampa), Lula Thompson, sorors  of Zeta Phi Beta and many other friends from Tampa and Tallahassee.


Bells will also be ringing soon for former Miami-Dade County prosecutor Karlyn R. Hylton, Esq. and Capt. Scotty F. Boler. Karlyn, daughter of Rosetta Rolle Hylton and the late Karl Leonard Hylton, currently practices law in Orlando as a partner in the firm of Hylton Adamson Watson. She is a graduate of Miami Carol City Senior High School, Florida State University and the Florida State University College of Law. Scotty, a former United States Army recruiter, is currently stationed at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Ga.

The son of Errol and Carol Boler, Scotty is a native of Columbia, S.C., and holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Webster University.  Scotty made a romantic proposal on one knee with a bouquet of red roses and one yellow rose in the middle, signifying love and friendship.

The couple met in Hallandale at a Young Professionals Networking (YPN) event, and Karlyn gives a little plug for the YPN happy hour on the first Wednesdays for their HBCU/Greek socials. Sounds like a hint to single South Floridians. The couple is planning to be married in Miami Gardens in January 2014. 

Linda J. Johnson, a Miami native, is a veteran educator with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and a certified etiquette consultant who also serves on nonprofit boards in the community. She can be reached at

•Photo: Linda Johnson