125th Street Business Improvement District
Quintessential Harlem girl, life-long New Yorker and Gracie Award Winner Bevy Smith is the host of Sirius XM’s “Bevelations” on Radio Andy. Once a wildly successful luxury fashion publishing exec, Bevy shifted her professional goals over a decade ago to pursue a life in front of the camera. A pop culture aficionado and fashion expert, Bevy served as moderator of Bravo TV’s revolutionary “Fashion Queens," and was a former co-host on the nationally syndicated “Page Six TV.” Bevy continues to be part of “The Wendy Williams Show’s Style Squad.” Smith’s debut book “Bevelations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie” which details her transition from a fashion advertising executive into a media personality will be published through Andy Cohen Books, the new eponymous imprint at Henry Holt and Company on January 12, 2021.
For the past five years, Bevy has hosted “Fashion for Action,” an annual fundraiser for Housing Works, a New York-based thrift store chain and advocacy group that helps find appropriate housing for people living with HIV and AIDS. In 2017, Smith was named Community Champion of AIDS Organization Harlem United. Additionally, Bevy is on the board of Cool Culture, a charity devoted to raising awareness among under-privileged children. Bevy is also both a formal and informal mentor to many, she takes great pride in being a part of WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network).
Dr. Joseph L. Tait, a University of Pennsylvania Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc., its subsidiaries, and affiliates from September 2004 until September 2020, when he retired.
Under Dr. Tait's leadership, Harlem Commonwealth Council initiated programs that focused on investing in the human capital of the Harlem community. Among its initiatives, Harlem Commonwealth emphasized fostering the success of students in Harlem through health care-related scholarships to those pursuing careers in medicine, radiology and nursing; orchestrating summer internships for high school juniors and seniors in private-sector business corporations; providing adult basic education for the emerging immigrant population in Harlem; and delivering entrepreneurial training programs as well as providing revolving loans and technical skills to existing and start-up businesses. His vision and goal have always focused on creating opportunities for human development and independence.
As an entrepreneur and CEO of a community-based organization he provided educational opportunities and resources for young people in the community who he feels should be a top priority. His passion for providing youth with guidance through mentorship, and desire to see all underserved youth in the community excel, continues to be a driving force in leading him to establish educational scholarship assistance for bright, talented, committed young people striving for academic excellence with strong connections to the Harlem community. Dr. Tait contends that at the end of the day, it is not about what you have or even what you have accomplished…it is about who you’ve lifted up, who you have made better. It is about what you have given back. He would also like to impart the following quote, “As you grow older, you discover that you have two hands…one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Use both well. The 125th Street Business Improvement District congratulates Dr. Tait on his retirement.
Laiona Michelle, an actor/singer/writer was a 2019 Grand Marshal. Ms. Michelle made her Broadway debut in the 2015 hit musical Amazing Grace and recently broke box-office records at the George Street Playhouse with her performance as Nina Simone, in Little Girl Blue, a musical that she both wrote and headlined. Ms. Michelle is now the book writer on a new musical headed for Broadway in 2020, based on the life of Nelson Mandela.
Leah Abraham is an Ethiopian-American entrepreneur was a 2019 Grand Marshal. Ms. Abraham brings a dynamic multi- cultural foundation to everything she does, and who has elegantly traversed work-life balance to establish a successful business in the community. This amazing woman has found numerous ways to give back to the Harlem community through her passionate commitment to the business she has helped establish, Settepani Restaurant.
Dapper Dan is a Harlem fashion designer and haberdasher known throughout American and the world. He is recognized for introducing high fashion to the hip hop world. His clients have included Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z and many more.