As the governor-elect's unofficial booking agent, Daphne Reid is working toward a dazzling inaugural weekend. 

Talent Scout

The parties that come once every four years will hit Richmond the second weekend in January to celebrate the inauguration of Virginia's new governor, Mark R. Warner. Behind the scenes, Daphne Reid and her husband, Tim, founders of Petersburg-based New Millennium Studios (also co-founded by Warner), are helping find the star power for the events.

Recently, the Reids met with their committee, including the other team of inaugural co-chairs, Jim and Barbara Ukrop, to start planning. Afterward, Style caught up with Daphne, a star herself, well known as Aunt Viv on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and from a long list of television credits. She wouldn't give up any names, but she did talk about the planning.

Style: You just got out of your first meeting on the inaugural festivities. How did it go?

Reid: It went very well. It's a nice, intimate group, and plans are proceeding quite rapidly because we only have a month and a half.

What's your job in all of this?

Co-chair of the inaugural committee. I've been assigned to find all of the talent to be involved in all of the balls and events — all the musical talent.

The time between the election and the inaugural is so short, it's typically a frenzy of planning. Where do you start?

I start with my friends. And ask who knows whom, who can contact whom, get their phone numbers and start begging.

Have you gotten anywhere so far?

I've gotten people's attention. And the word is out to a bunch of folks and I am waiting to hear back as to their availability. It should be quite exciting.

How much is it going to matter to the success of the event, or to drawing people there, who you get as the entertainment?

The better the entertainment draw we have, the better will be ticket sales, the better will be the fund-raising aspect of this, which is the whole purpose of it.

What's one of the other important goals for a party like this?

To show to the world the scope of the diversity of Virginia, and to include people from all over the state in a celebration of the election of a wonderful governor-to-be.

People tend to see their own hometown as small-time, that gosh, we can't draw any big talent here. What would you say to that?

They've got AOL. Pretty big talent in Virginia [laughs]. Tim and I live here. We're no small potatoes [laughs]. There's plenty of talent in Virginia. They come from here and they certainly love coming home.

Any themes yet?

We're still deciding on a name. I think maybe Tuesday we'll have a theme. Everybody got shouted down last time — no, nope, don't like that, don't like that. [laughs]

What has the governor-elect mentioned to you about his taste in music — who he might like to see at the event?

He wants it youthful; he wants it diverse. He wants a Latino group, he wants bluegrass, country, he wants R&B. He's thrown lots of names at me.

A lot of people would assume that he can afford whatever group he wants to come here.

This is not Mark Warner's party. This is the state of Virginia's party. He's not going to be buying them. He wants to enjoy them along with the rest of Virginia, so we've got to raise the funds to bring them here.

While you're on the phone, any Will Smith news?

I hear "Ali" is coming out. That's all I know.


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