‘Muse’ Tells the Story of Cicely Tyson, and Fashion Designer B Michael Is Committing Some Proceeds to Charity

As B Michael continues along with the book tour for “Muse: Cicely Tyson and Me, a Relationship Forged in Fashion,” the designer and his company’s cofounder and chief executive officer Mark-Anthony Edwards are passing along their good fortune through the book’s sales.

Published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, the tome chronicles his friendship with the groundbreaking Hollywood actress Tyson, who died in 2021. The designer described her as “very committed to the kinds of roles that she chose. It was her mission to portray Black Americans and Black American women in terms of strength, family and values. That was always her focus in terms of her roles and activism,” he told WWD earlier this year.

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In line with the ideology of “Muse,” the designer and Edwards are equally dividing $1 for every book sold to Girls Write Now and the Boys and Girls Club of America. The donations will be made twice annually for as long as the book is sold.

The designer explained, “Mark-Anthony and I are believers in the verse, ‘To whom much is given, much will be required.’ We chose both organizations based on their commitment to life. Together, our community channels the power of our voices and stories to shape culture, impact industries and inspire change.”

Inspiring the lives of young people is an ethos that they both believe in and live by. They too have been inspired by Girls Write Now’s founder Maya Nussbaum, her commitment, and the fact that the organization has been doing inspiring work for 25-plus years. The designer and Edwards said they appreciated that Girls Write Now breaks down barriers of gender, race, age and poverty to mentor and train the next generation of writers and leaders for life.

B Michael
B Michael and Mark-Anthony Edwards

Longevity was part of the appeal of the Boys and Girls Club of America too. It also reflects the long-standing need for such work, they said. The Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington was a former member and is in his 31st year as a spokesperson for the organization; his wife Pauletta penned a blurb for “Muse’s” book jacket and its cover features a commissioned painting by the contemporary artist Chaz Guest. The designer and Edwards said they are inspired by the Washingtons.

Still making the rounds and doing interviews for the “Muse” book tour, B Michael will be at the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Del., on March 22. He said it is “gratifying how many subjects and ways to spin the overall narrative are of interest. It’s a fashion memoir between a designer and muse that happens to be history-making for Black American culture in fashion and Hollywood. It’s a conversational source for the contribution of Black American artists and speaks to fashion versus ageism. There is the journey and relationship with a legendary actress. And, foremost it’s an archive of American fashion.”

Last month, B Michael joined three-time Grammy winner Valerie Simpson for a talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he also had a book signing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The designer said what’s “really lovely is the cultural variety of the audience that is responding to the book,” adding that its consumer and marketing reach is not what one would expect typically for a fashion memoir coffee table book. “I am in awe by the number of students and young people who have purchased the book. People are truly responding to the book for various reasons that resonate with their individual interests,” he said.

The longtime partners said they are having conversations about developing a streaming series or documentary, and have been since the book was released. Thus far, the media interviews and the on-stage conversations about the book with a moderator “just scratch the surface of the many sub-stories within the story,” B Michael said. Eager to share their journey on a broader media platform, the pair would like to show a wider audience how Tyson and the designer have impacted the dynamic between Hollywood and fashion and Black Americans, they said.

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