The 61st annual Emmy Awards delivered all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood from screen gems cloaked in dazzling gowns to marquee hunks donning tuxes.
However, actress and “New York Times” best-selling author Victoria Rowell marched to the beat of her own hem, so to speak, when she arrived on the red carpet in the boldest of fashion statements–a strapless dress emblazoned with President Barack Obama’s face.
Rowell admits that her favorite designers off stage include b. michael, Jane Wilson Marquis and Carolina Herrera and onstage Colleen Atwood and Ann Roth. But last night’s ceremony wasn’t about high-end labels she might have been sporting. When media inquiries on the CBS Primetime Emmy red carpet begged the question of her designer of choice, she proudly replied, “a statement.”
What better time than the present to deliver such a bold statement on Hollywood’s crimson way during one of its most popular award shows, and when President Obama has been under a hailstorm of criticism for his health care reform plan.
“Yesterday, the opportunity presented itself. Lights, camera, and no health care action?’ Setting the ruffles and caviar dreams aside is but a meager gesture to echo the herculean efforts of a health care reform package long overdue and one which President Obama is introducing for all Americans,” Rowell told ESSENCE.com. “I spent 18 years in foster care, enduring inadequate health and dental care and unforgivably turned away more than once at a doctor’s office. Nationally, 25,000 foster youth annually emancipate from foster care without health coverage,” says Rowell. “I emerged from Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services as a proud American citizen–an advocate not a victim.”
Rowell, who has always been politically active in her personal life and career, also addressed Fox News’ Glenn Beck’s claims that President Obama’s health care plan has conspiratorial ulterior motives. “Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, is transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama’s thinking on one idea: reparations…,” Glenn said. “[Obama’s ] goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice.”
“This has nothing to do with reparations, Mr. Beck, and everything to do with all things American,” Rowell continued. “Health care shouldn’t be divided or thought of as the young and some of us. I have witnessed Black and White foster mothers struggle to raise children, choosing food over medical needs. That does something to a child. At least it affected me most profoundly. And if a frock (on the Emmys red carpet) donned with the President’s face sparks dialogue about health care, a life-and-death issue, so be it. I was taught, ‘If you don’t stand for something you’ll lie down for anything.’ “
Rowell, who recently married visual artist Radcliff Bailey in June, serves as a National Angel in Adoption and a National Spokesperson for Casey Family Services/Annie E. Casey Foundation. Her upcoming novel, “Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva,” will hit shelves soon and her autobiography, “The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir,” has received critical acclaim.
To learn more bout the Annie E. Casey Foundation, visit AECF.org or caseyfamilyservices.org.