‘Mother’s Day Fashion Show Extravaganza’ embedded as a yearly event in Pittsburgh

STEPHANIE RENEE MOYE OF S. MOYE FASHIONS 

For Cecilia Coleman, music, entertainment, events; those were a big part of her upbringing as the daughter of Dr. James and Pamela Johnson. They are the founders of the Afro American Music Institute, in Homewood, a mainstay in the neighborhood for 40 years.

But even Coleman didn’t know that when she created the “Mother’s Day Fashion Show Extravaganza” in 2016 at the Hosanna House in Wilkinsburg, that it would turn into a community “mainstay” of her own.

“I didn’t plan for it to be like this,” Coleman told the New Pittsburgh Courier.

CECILIA COLEMAN founded the Mother’s Day Fashion Show Extravaganza in 2016. She’s pictured with her husband, Henry Finney.

But those who attended the Mother’s Day dinner and fashion show back then enjoyed it so much that they told Coleman, “Can’t wait until next year.”

So, Coleman did it again in 2017, this time at the Sherwood Event Center, in Wilkinsburg.

People wanted it to happen again.

And in 2018, it was held at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The year 2019 came, and the big Mother’s Day event was held back at the Sherwood.

KIMBERLY HART (PHOTO BY WILLIAM PITTMAN)

Coleman’s signature event was canceled the last two years due to COVID, but this year, on May 8, more than 100 people showed up for the return of the “Mother’s Day Fashion Show Extravaganza,” held at the Sherwood.

Besides the full dinner and fashion show that attendees experience, Coleman now realizes the importance of her event to the people who attend with their mothers, as well as those whose mothers are deceased.

OLIVIA WEBER, BONNIE NASH

“Some people don’t have their mother physically, but they still have their mother in their heart, so they still want to celebrate Mother’s Day,” Coleman told the Courier. “Some people get depressed around this time. It helps them get through the Mother’s Day burdens. I have a lot of friends who don’t have mothers.”

Coleman’s mother, Pamela Johnson, is alive and well. Coleman said she had a front row seat watching her parents start and build the Afro American Music Institute into what it is today. The family came to Pittsburgh from Shreveport, Louisiana. AAMI began in 1982, with its first classes held at St. James AME Church’s Sumpter Hall, on Lincoln Avenue. AAMI then moved to the Alma Illery Annex, 7227 Tioga St., and then into its current home at 7131 Hamilton Ave., in 2003.

BRADDOCK MAYOR DELIA LENNON WINSTEAD (PHOTO BY WILLIAM PITTMAN)

“Since I’ve been 12 years old, I’ve had parents (who were entrepreneurs),” Coleman said. She watched how her parents treated people with respect, how they greeted people, how they planned events and sold tickets.

“It’s the Southern hospitality in us. When you’re nice and you treat people with respect, people support you,” Coleman said.

TANISHA THOMAS (PHOTO BY WILLIAM PITTMAN)

TAMIRA WILSON, center, with her daughter, left, and mother, right. They attended the Mother’s Day Fashion Show Extravaganza.

Come May 2023, Coleman and many of her supporters will know what time it is; time for another Mother’s Day Fashion Show Extravaganza. Time for mothers like Tamira Wilson to bring her mother and her daughter to the event. Time for Stephanie Moye of S.  Moye Fashions to roll out her latest fashion designer clothes. Time for Pittsburgh’s own DJ Tuffy Tuff to rock the crowd with the old school jams. Time for mothers all across Pittsburgh to get their time in the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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