Recently, totally impromptu, I had the fortune of attending a Gordon Parks exhibit at Hermes on Madison Avenue with illustrious friends Kellyn, Charlotte and Michael via the invitation of Sir Havelock Nelson. While there, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet the great Geoffrey Holder.

Geoffrey Holder 1

Geoffrey Holder 2While there, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet the great Geoffrey Holder. Mr. Holder is a world renowned dancer, choreographer and actor – an ambassador for the Ilse of Trinidad, his native land. The following swiped from Holder’s first professional dancing gig was in his brother Roscoe’s traveling troupe. He toured the West Indies and Puerto Rico before making his New York stage debut in the 1954 Broadway musical House of Flowers.The Wiz His subsequent stage work has earned him numerous awards, including two Tonys–one for direction, the other for costume design–for 1974’s The Wiz. His film roles leaned towards the exotic, e.g. Baron Samedi in the 1973 Bond thriller Live and Let Die (1973) (My cousin Pam’s favorite movie 😉 and Punjab in Annie (1981).


He is best known to TV fans for his series of mid-1970 Seven Up commercials, in which he elegantly and laughingly extoled the virtues of “Un-Cola Nuts.”

7-Up – 1971

Geoffrey Holder And WifeOutside of his theatrical and film accomplishments, Holder is an accomplished painter, his works having been showcased in several major international exhibitions. He is also the author of many books, including a 1974 volume on Caribbean cooking. Geoffrey Holder is married to dancer Carmen de Lavallade.



Nelson from “Boomerang”

Geoffrey’s most recent film role of note is as “Nelson” in the movie “Boomerang” opposite Eddie Murphy and Grace Jones.  In efforts to not take advantage of being able to speak with him, I initially spoke to quickly, causing him to ask again what I had said. He then told me (in so many words) to announce my name to people more distinctly, as it was chosen for me by my mother. I thanked him twice, for his inspiration up to that moment and for the guidance I received.

The photo below is a little blurry, as it was taken via my cell phone, but the essence – HA HA HA HA HA!!!

And there lies the FUNK of Geoffrey Holder, cause FUNK is all that’s good.

The Gordon Parks exhibit will appear at Hermes through June.


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