Sunday, December 16, 2018

IN PHOTOS: The exclusive, invite-only, golden delicious - and absolutely beautiful - 'A Night with Taraji P. Henson' dinner event of Fox Networks Group Africa.

On Friday evening, Fox Networks Group Africa held an extremely exclusive, invite-only, and absolutely beautiful media event for the Empire actress Taraji P. Henson.

The dazzling 3-course dinner for the star of Empire on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) was a brilliant bookend to her whirlwind second 5-day press tour visit to South Africa.

On the uber-exclusive guest list of 143 people - comprising mostly women - who snagged an invite to the top secret location, were FNG Africa executives and other top TV execs, top press and media celebrities, as well as bright rising South African female media stars.

Due to the high-profile nature of the event, access control was extremely tight - it was invite-only with names extremely carefully curated for the guest list for what was 2018's last South African TV party of the year.

Fox Africa's amazing Taraji P. Henson event dubbed "A Night with Taraji" was held at The Shed at Steyn City in Fourways, Johannesburg; inside what looks to be a massive, new aircraft hangar, beautifully decorated and customised for the intimate stage-and-screen and plated dinner evening.

So new is the ultra-exclus location that it doesn't appear on and is impossible to find on even Google Maps - the perfect place for a party with Taraji P. Henson.

After red carpet arrivals where guests mingled with appetisers and cocktail drinks, there followed opening remarks by FNG Africa boss Evert van der Veer and FNG Africa marketing boss Khosi Khanyile.

Then Anele Mdoda did an on-stage interview with Taraji P. Henson, followed by dinner and dessert.

A gleaming black dance floor beckoned where guests danced the night away with the event that was basked in hues of gold, white, black, and a dash of pink.

"A Night with Taraji"was not just mind-blowingly special, it was remarkable how "American Hollywood level" it was - something rarely seen and rarely successfully recreated by South African TV channels.

The whole event was extremely professional and brilliantly executed from beginning to end; very glamorous and very beautiful.

Most of all "A Night with Taraji" got that most elusive of ethereal qualities absolutely spot-on - being and feeling massive in scale, yet simultaneously feeling small, exclusive and intimate.

You saw it in the numerous small, very big, details: The enormous screen functioning as a stage backdrop; the waiter-to-guest ratio (constantly hovering waiters, constantly circulating with appetisers, taking drink orders, and plating food with basically no waiting time or having to look for someone to help); the flowers; the beautiful "American upfront"-like stage design and look; the smooth sound and audio-visual execution especially in a venue like this; and even Taraji P. Henson wearing a half-black, half-white dress mirrored by the table settings that had black chairs on the one side and transparent chairs on the other.

As 2018's South African television parties went, Fox Africa's "A Night with Taraji" in terms of quality, conceptualisation and creativity, execution, look, razzle-dazzle and ambience ranks at absolutely number one as a 3-way tie alongside M-Net's (DStv 101) The Wedding Bashers Give-back season "wedding reception dinner" and the bushveld under-the-trees Survivor SA: Philippines media launch.

Nothing else any other channels, broadcasters or shows did in 2018 came anywhere close to these three events and it was amazing and astounding how Fox Africa pulled off "A Night with Taraji" as a pitch-perfect year-ender media event for the who's who.