Chicago-born Marcellas Reynolds has recently released his second book, SUPREME ACTRESSES: Black Women Who Revolutionized Hollywood. In celebration of that book and to welcome him back after a year of touring, Chicago’s Brindille is hosting a Stylish Holiday Tea event. It’s a delightful day of fun, tasty treats, and tea; all in honor of the SUPREME ACTRESSES book that celebrates Black women who have changed the fashion industry. CELEB sat down to talk with Reynolds about the book, the tea event, and his plans for the future.
Brindille Hosts Stylish Tea
Brindille is welcoming Reynolds and his book for a two-day event of fun and tea. On December 10 and 11, fans can join Reynolds from 2p-5p to for tea, conversation, and book signings. The team-up between Brindille and Reynolds has been years in the making, because there’s history between Reynolds and owners Michael and Carrie Nahabedien. Reynolds explains, “I used to model with Jennifer Wisniewski together in the ’90’s. I worked in a restaurant that Michael Nahabedien was the general manager of, and Carrie Nahabedien was the cook at. I’ve known them since the ’90’s. Literally forever. Michael was the assistant manager at a restaurant called Vivo that I worked at, and he was the person that taught me how to open a bottle of wine when I got hired there to be a waiter. What does this little Black boy from the Southside of Chicago know about opening wine? I’ll never forget that, he was like, ‘here’s what I want you to do. I want you to have style when you open a bottle of wine. Really get in there, give it your theater. Attack the bottle.’ And I was like, ‘Okay! I think I can do it!’ So we’ve got a very long history. We all kinda grew up together in Chicago.”
To Reynolds, the idea of holding a salon or French tea is a chance for like-minded people come together and share ideas. “For me, the French tea is an extension of that. We can sit in a beautiful surrounding, have beautiful food, have beautiful drinks, and talk about beautiful things. Both of my books are very beautiful. I think this tea – this moment we’re having – is going to be a really beautiful moment, and conducive to sharing thoughts and ideas and creating something beautiful.”
Reynolds just started traveling again after taking the pandemic very seriously and returning to Chicago with a Brindille welcome is the perfect homecoming.
SUPREME ACTRESSES is Reynolds’ second book, and both will be available for sale at the event. The idea behind the new book is doing honor to the Black women icons who have change the fashion industry, battling the odds to carve their places out in history and the future. “I made the conscious decision to keep our book as inexpensive as we could. So that a little girl could go to the bookstore and buy a book with a woman on the cover who looks like her.”
While doing interviews for the book, several stood out to Reynolds; “The book is full of so many talented women, from the 1890’s to now. My top three favorite interviews were with Tiffany Haddish, Lynn Whitfield, and Vivica Fox. With Tiffany, she’s a comedian so I thought we’d be laughing, but we cried like babies during her whole interview. There’s a whole section during her interview where we were both crying. If you listen to the tape, you can’t even understand what the two of us were saying. She talked about how her father abandoned her when she was 4, so she has memories of him as a child, and then she didn’t see him again until right before he died. So she talked about living her life trying to do things so that her father would see her, and this idea that if he thought her be successful maybe he would come back to her. And I never met my father, so we had that in common. And we shared a moment, and it brought us to tears.”
Reynolds adds, “It was beautiful that she gave me that moment. I also loved Lynn – she’s legendary. She talks about portraying Josephine Baker. And how she was in LA, not working, and she had her phone cut off. She gets a role and her agent has to come to her house and knock on her window, because her phone is disconnected, to tell her she got a movie role. I love that story.”
Reynolds laugh, then continues, “I also loved Vivica. She’s so real.”
The book is full of moments Reynolds wants people to experience, and he gushed about Dorothy Dandridge and Lupita Nyong’O. “It was so hard to make it work with Lupita because she was busy filming, I think Black Panther, but she made it happen and she was so sweet. Her whole team was so sweet.”
The book is an ode to powerful Black women whose stories everyone should know.
Marcellas’ Plans for the Future
Before the ink was even dry on SUPREME MODELS: Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion, Reynolds was already making plans for the next SUPREME book: SUPREME ACTRESSES. And in the future, there’s a lot to look forward to. “I partnered with Iman – legendary supermodel – and we sold Supreme Models as a documentary. After a bidding war, we sold it to YouTube. It comes out Fall 2022, Supreme Models: The Documentary. We start doing interviews with some of the biggest, brightest stars in the world in January. We’re talking to models, fashion designers, editors; we’re really doing it the right way.”
And Reynolds isn’t done with books yet either, with big plans for the future of SUPREME, “I want to do a third book, but I’m holding off on it for now. I have plans for a SUPREME book devoted exclusively to Black women, I want to do a SUPREME book devoted to Latinas, and then I want to do a book that isn’t SUPREME devoted to men. And I want to try my hand on a work of fiction, based on the life of a Black gay boy.”
While Reynolds dreams big and brings those dreams to life, YouTube is already eyeing a documentary for the second book. It’s a rousing success for the Chicago native who’s just basking in the joy of what he calls, “the best day ever.”
Reynolds’ work brings perspective and insight to a world often not brought to light, and it’s worth the read. If you’re in Chicago December 10 and 11, you might want to plan for the Stylish Holiday Tea event. For tickets, visit the Brindille website.