Thursday, December 29, 2022

Black American Debutante Ball Cotillion Etiquette

Debutante Ania Ray with Proud Parents Carl and Brenda Ray

 Proud God MotherWanda/Proud God Brother Deon
Proud Father Carl Ray



This Debutante Ball or Cotillion is beautifully illustrated under the umbrella of my surrogate sister and late brother-in-love's daughter Ania's Ray's Debutante Cotillion BallDEBUTANTE BALL ETIQUETTE 

AND THE AFRICAN AMERICAN DEBUTANTE COTILLION           "What is a Debutante Ball" some might say "What is a Cotillion"

A cotillion debutante ball, sometimes called a "coming-out" party where she makes her first appearance in fashionable society.  It is a special event and the young ladies are "formally introduced into society"; usually presented by societal organizations and group in the spring or summerThey are normally held during their junior or senior year of high school.

A debutante ball or cotillion, in many traditions, most people believed them to be for the wealthy and socially influential families, but the cotillions or "deb" balls today is a wonderful way for young women to gain some of the very required manners and etiquette she will need to become an elite accomplished professional later in life.  Some society groups present cotillion deb balls for young men as well as well as the young ladies.

Debutantes are usually presented into society lavishly resembling a ballroom dance where elegant finger food or formal dinner is served in a manner that allows them to can mix and mingle with family and friends.


Among Black societal groups, you will find the cotillion debutante balls are presented more often by "Greek Letter Sororities" (sometimes Fraternities), because these groups recognize the positive effect this societal introduction has more meaning than just a coming-out party.   Also, it provides the proud parents a great opportunity for them to "brag".  There may be churches and other organizations presenting as well - you might check around for as well.
Most ball presenters consider the character of the debs such as their academics, activities, community involvement, and other requirements as they specify.  A fee and other expectations are required as the presenting group will lay out.
Some schools incorporate into their high school system an etiquette program, a simple manners program, and some may offer cotillion balls.  I love that idea, since I had my own school working with high-school-age young ladies, worked at a high schools, as well as many groups and organizations focusing on the betterment of young Black women.  When they say the words "deb balls", I get excited as you can probably tell.  


Traditionally, the girl asks the boy to the ball.  Dinner, speeches, and ballroom dancing are almost always features of the evening.  So be selective in the date you pick, because your date represents you.

Cotillion debutante balls may require more before-the-ball instructions surrounding social etiquette and appropriate morals. 

Cotillion deb Balls sort of take on the traits of high school proms since they are associated with students or a  school function.  So students usually go with formal dates or with an informal group of friends. 

It is my recommendation that parents introduce your Deb to another formality, and that is; spend lots of money -- order a limousine for this and many other occasion as appropriate!

At least one limo trip is a requirement to complete my Etiquette and Protocol Training class.  It will be beneficial later for dating and business, professional associations and networking.  I teach my young women the model's way on how to enter and exit limos; traveling in a limo manners; and the proper etiquette to graciously handle refreshments in the limo.   When I work with deb balls, I ask the presenters to make a limo ride be part of the requirements.  I also  ask that one of the activities surrounding the ball would be to incorporate a brief lesson on how to be a good conversationalist, because parents, relatives and friends who come to the ball will, parents will be watching and bragging.

Ballroom dancing is often a part of the ball, traditionally but not considered a mandatory activity, but practice the art


The dress code is strictly a floor-length pure white ball gown accompanied with long white gloves.  Pearls are recommended.  Since there are so many etiquette developmental activities before and surrounding the event; for those additional occasions, be prepared to wear the best casual, upscale casual, and/or what you might wear to church.  One activity I  find beneficial is the Mother-Daughter events, building that relationship.

The night of the event:  Follow the directives of your presenters, but be as formal as you can be!  I could list here what formal gowns I would recommend, but each presenter group has a theme, so listen carefully, follow their instructions and select only a gown that you love and you feel comfortable in.  There are stores that specialize in Prom or Ball gowns.  I advise that you don't select or wear what you don't feel comfortable in at first try-on.  Remember, if you don't really like what you select to wear, you are not going to be comfortable and may let that cloud your ability to have a ball -- "great" experience!

The dress code for the young men escorts is the gentlemen should rent and wear a long-tail black tuxedo, white shirt, white bow tie, white gloves, with white waist-coat.  It has been known that the parents of the deb sometimes pays for the tux rental.

Ladies! your escorts are waiting!  Ania front left
Ania and escort

Ania and escort
Ania & escort Ballroom dance (L)




A curtsy is a "courtesy" gesture to show respect and gratitude; normally to someone of a higher social rank, age or status.  That's why most think balls are for the affluent.  The curtsy gesture is the ultimate mark of respect. There are several styles of elegant curtsies.  The "court curtsy" is what I will demonstrate here.  It is a deep-head-down but elaborate pose.  stand flat-footed with your best posture, then lift your right (or left) foot and place the right (or left) foot (whichever foot you like) behind the heel of the other foot.  Bend your knees - The longer it takes you to go down - and the deeper you go down - and the longer you stay down shows more respect.!

I recently saw a video of Meghan Markle, The Dutchess of Sussex, practicing her curtsy before she met Queen Elizabeth.  The Deb curtsy might differ from that of the formality of meeting the Queen.  Notice Meghan lifted her skirt.  With balls full formal dress - no need to lift - just bow.
I remember Michelle Obama, First Lady, received (loving) criticism when she placed her arm around the Queen.  Michelle said she was not aware of that "royal protocol".
You see what touch of elegant etiquette the balls tend to introduce into the life-style of the societal coming-out young woman, and how much it can play an important roll in her future. 
Your Presenters will teach you the curtsy they like.  Follow their protocol.

Ania is displaying her beautiful "Court" Curtsy"


Here is a "Collective" Curtsy    

Brenda Ray The lady (relaxing at home) who raised my beautiful God Daughter to be the elegant young lady (I'll say she already was) when she entered the cotillion ball and gained more!
Ania has since graduated Tuskegee just as her Dad Carl did before her. I was honored to be at her graduation.  Mom Brenda graduated San Jose State.

 Betty Songy, Wanda Dorn and  Ania chat after the cotillion ball




A collage of various cotillion balls - see the elegance!


    There must always be a "QUEEN " of the ball     

Saturday, December 10, 2022


      ON DECEMBER 2012

   I wrote this in support of SOCIAL SECURITY

  (Facebook - December 2012)

   "I want to hear that all politicians, especially when they retire, and the rich, all give back the social security they have drawn down, and the social security they parents, aunts, uncles, and other friends and relatives. Give it back and tell the government "I don't want social security and neither do my parents or relatives - because it's welfare!

Friday, October 14, 2022

When Columbus arrived - who was here?

When Columbus arrived in the Americas - who was here?

I wrote this information on the above post

My study of history revealed the African "Moors" had already been here, in Spain & worldwide, for centuries. That part of history is left out. It was said that upon arrival, Columbus said "They (Blacks) were already here". We know the Indigenous People were already here.  I am sharing the type of history I studied about the subject.  You might recognized the material I share here from history sources.


The Moors were initially of Berber and Arab descent, though the term was later applied to Africans, Iberian Christian converts to Islam, and people of mixed ancestry. As early as the Middle Ages, “Moors were commonly viewed as being mostly black or very swarthy, and hence the word is often used for negro,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary of African American English.

The Moors were the nomadic inhabitants of the North African continent. They invaded the Iberian peninsula in 711, defeating the Visigoths, and established their rule for almost 800 years. The Moorish empire included most of Spain and Portugal; the Moors attempted to invade France as well.

Who were the Moors and what did they do? Of mixed Arab, Spanish, and Amazigh (Berber) origins, the Moors created the Islamic Andalusian civilization and subsequently settled as refugees in the Maghreb (in the region of North Africa) between the 11th and 17th centuries.


 African Moors were in America (and Spain) for centuries before Columbus Sailed

Monday, September 26, 2022

Black Americans - Crabs In a Barrel Syndrome


     Crabs in a Barrel
A person or persons sabotaging others from moving upward no matter what  hard work they did to ready themselves to crawl out of the barrel



A Black person can hate or be jealous of another Black person over something like a promotion, or a Facebook/Twitter page, or how they successfully interact with the majority group --- in other words: “Black jealousy” inflicts danger for successful Blacks, especially “newcomers” in competition.  The syndrome is:
                                   "If I can't have it - You can't have It”

My expertise in the area of the crab syndrome began as I sat listening at the feet of my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, eight siblings, and a host of extended family.  I heard them discuss "crabs in a barrel syndrome", and how one Black would sabotage and discourage another Black when they see someone straddling the barrel ready to escape, the other crabs will reach up and pull someone back down into the barrel.  This leads to Blacks constantly being in competition with one another more often than competing with the White successful person.

Some Blacks would prefer to pull another down than to help push another out of the barrel, jeopardizing the success potential of that person, and at the same time not understanding  they are endangering their own success, opportunities, social growth, or financial growth – not even to help the success of even a friend --- "if I can't have it - they can't have it”.

Important to know, those who get out of the barrel often won't reach back and try and help someone else get out.  

My expertise in this phenomenon has continued as a Black and a woman throughout my life's very diverse evolution.  For instance, the Producers of the Bill Cosby Show "You Bet Your Life", had me as a guest on the show because they were intrigued by the fact that I had been the "first Black" thirteen times, in either business, jobs, groups or organizations.  I’m writing much of this blog based on the book I wrote for the numerous classes, seminars and trainings I do, entitled "The Only Minority in the Workplace, Group or Organizations", to be re-published for the public, (one of four books) registered with the Writers Guild of America    A'Dorn Studios http://www.ADORNSTUDIOS.ORG/

                               Here's How Crab Mentality Works

While I see this as a more “social mentality” than it is a deep-seeded racial or prejudicial issue that we need the country at large to address, but it is a cultural self-growth internal development issue. It is my belief that the origins of this syndrome continued evolving from the slave days of the Willie Lynch speech making era; pitting one Black against another, or one group or type against their counter-persons.  That, coupled with the “House N…..”, who would sell out the “Field N....." because they felt superior because the owner chose them to work in the house.  As a result of these indoctrinations, Blacks still see each other stereotypically the same as the media portrays us today; as all living in "the hood", inferior, and dumb.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  
Playing the Crab forward to recent eras - the "quotas" and "the first Black" evolutionary actions continued to damage the internal Black cultural relationships of pitting one against the other, establishing what amounts to a new "House N....." in a more modern subtle manner.  The quota was established on the pretext there were "no qualified Blacks", therefore the "firsts" were necessary, and we honor them today, but Blacks now need to identify with the causal effects these era identifications has had - and just know that the crabs still in the barrel - and the crabs that got out are equal!
Most Blacks historically grew up living with limited exposure to other ethnicities, so when they get out of the barrel, they hold on to the belief that they are the "only ones" out of the barrel.  Thusly, they will join the Whites in berating and competing with other Blacks.  Or they will self-servingly nudge the Whites and/or others on in what amounts to harassment and sabotage of the "new one".  If you noticed, when Obama became President, even notable Black figures had more negatively to say in public or behind the scenes when the “mic” was “still” on. There are judges on the bench who will rule against Blacks more harshly than they will others. 
In my book I talk about the "new" Black, or a new person that doesn't look like the members of the group in charge - they stand out.  I delve into the (6) six categories that a new-comer will absolutely be placed in by the originals.  The new-comer cannot just be themselves; they will be designated and placed into one of the six categories.  When they are designated to the category that the majority group can accept.  The Black person wil “join in” with the originals in order to keep their place in the group, not realizing that they too had been placed in one of those categories when they first joined the group and continue to be in that designated category for all the time they are there.  More likely than not, Blacks were placed in one or the other of two categories: "The Uncle Tom", or "The Buffoon". 
There is only one of the six categories that I will accept because they will not allow me to be Wanda Dorn.  We need to study the categories to know who you're going to become.  I WILL NOT ACCEPT being designated in either of the other five. It would take another blog to describe the one I chose and why.

I stress in my book and classes the fact that Blacks, women, zaftig people, and  other minorities, will without exception nor consent, be placed in one of the six categories.  That category is usually directly in correlation with their ethnicity.


I have found in other ethnic groups, cultures, and even in the workplace we often suffer the same syndrome because Blacks and other groups more often do not support each other.


How do you avoid these "crab hands

You crawl out of the barrel alone  
Never let them steal your determination 
Never let others build their ego at your expense
When you see they have "crab behavior"
 "If I can't have it - Neither can you”
You get as far away from them as possible  

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Wanda Dorn Interviews KWANZZAA Creator Dr. Maulana Karenga. 

Wanda Dorn interviews KWANZZAA creator Dr. Maulana Karenga. 

 Learn the seven principles of how to celebrate the BlackAfrican American holiday.