Multicultural leaders were in the spotlight Wednesday night when the House of Rémy Martin introduced its Circle of Centaurs program honoring three Houston mentors for their community contributions and their roles in guiding the next generation of multicultural leaders.
Harrison Guy, founder and director of Urban Souls Dance Co.; fashion designer Chloe Dao; and Tony Diaz, author, radio talk show host and leader of the Librotraficante Movement, were inducted as members of the inaugural Circle of Centaurs class. The nationwide program, which launched in New York in November, is set to recognize 15 committed mentors across the country.
Each mentor will receive a $2,500 grant from Rémy Martin to be donated to the charitable organization of their choice. Their mentees will receive a $1,500 grant, also for charitable donation. Dao is mentoring young designer Julio Sanchez. Diaz is working with Yudith Nieto, a Chicana activist, artist and environmental justice advocate. Guy is mentoring hip hop dance talent Christopher Thomas, who performs as YungChris INTERNATIONAL.
First to join the esteemed class in New York were Hot Bread Kitchen CEO Jessamyn Rodriguez, photographer Steven Duarte and designer Jeffery Ng, who is known as jeffstaple. A successful entrepreneur, jeffstaple serves as Circle of Centaurs ambassador and was in Houston for the induction festivities.
"I've learned a lot of lessons in the 20 years that I've been doing this business and I've learned a lot of them the hard way," he said. "If I can expedite some of the young people's learnings and say 'If you can do this in five years your way, but you can do it in six months this way,' imagine what that could do for the next generation."
"In my field, I'm in fashion and creative. I feel like it's just going to up the ante for the next generation and that's why this Circle of Centaurs program was really interesting to me."
Most notable among the invitation-only crowd of 75 was Houston rapper Bun B.
Adding a festive note to the evening were the three handcrafted cocktail offerings made with Rémy Martin products — The Centaur Manhattan, Royal Sidecar and Rémy Martin & Ginger.