I first saw Alyson Cambridge on stage, firing up the lead in Porgy and Bess with a searing force of spirit and voice. The next time I saw her, she was in the Ibu showroom, slipping into some of our runway looks, making of them all another kind of sizzle. It was then I learned that this opera diva was a certifiablecitizen of the world possessing not only a stage presence that would be the envy of any star, but a heart as wide as the oceans she has crossed.
Alyson's father, from Guyana in South America, worked as principle economist for the World Bank all over sub-saharan Africa, his family originally from Ghana. Alyson's mother is from Denmark. The world is very much with Alyson, and that prismatic light informs the breadth of the roles she plays.
In her latest project, Alyson again takes the lead, this time in From the Diary of Sally Hemmings, giving voice to the woman next to Thomas Jefferson who was denied a place in the chronicles of history. I am intrigued with this gift, this ability to light up the darkened lives of women and give voice to the voiceless.
Three years ago, I asked Alyson if she would model for Ibu - and her Yes meant that we had time together, and time revealed a woman not only resplendent on the stage but real on the dirt; not only a top-drawer talent but an empathetic one. By the end of our photoshoot, seeing her deep connection with women worldwide, I asked Alyson if she would consider being an Ambassador for Ibu, lending her voice to women everywhere, her stunning face to represent the faceless, and her considerable star power at the front of the movement.
She said Yes to Ibu. She said Yes because of her grandmothers, both strong pioneers and trailblazers, as well as her brilliant mother, all of whom gave her a world of support and kindness. She said Yes and rearranged her performing schedule to come to Charleston on March 8 and model on our runway and give herself over to the launch of our Foundation.
She said Yes, because, in her own words, my greatest wish is for (women artisans) to know what JOY their beautiful designs, creations and craftsmanship are bringing to other women all over the world, not just in their own communities, but in communities of women thousands of miles away. I want them to know that their voices are being celebrated and their stories ARE being heard and cherished through their designs, hard work and collaboration with Ibu! And, I would say THANK YOU!!!!
In the year ahead, among many appearances, Alyson is playing Bess again at The Kennedy Center, going on tour with an opera/rock-and-roll affair called Rocktopia, holding a back-by-demand Solo Concert at Carnegie Hall, and offering up the role of Coretta Scott King, I Dream, at Opera Carolina. The prism of her life is spilling wide, casting many colors, lighting up the women of the world and their dreams. I want to say to this Powerful Face of Ibu, giving the women of the world a new voice . . . Sing On! Sing On!
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker
"I love gold, white, neutrals and black, and that happens to be the theme of my living room in my NYC apt and those throw pillows I chose would be perfect for it! But also always LOVE a pop of color in my wardrobe, so I also chose the red handbag accessory!" - Alyson Cambridge