Capital Connections: Out and About in DC

Nicole Venable is The Root's connection to the social and political scene inside the Beltway, offering commentary and exclusive photos from Washington's key events.

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  • Holiday Cheer for DC Politicos

    Holiday Cheer for DC Politicos

    It’s official. The holiday reception season has started in the nation’s capital. Politicos, local entrepreneurs, Hill staff and socialites will be all around town in the next three weeks participating in social-philanthropic events. Politicos, Capitol Hill staffers, journalists and White House appointees gathered at L2 Lounge in Georgetown to network and toast the holidays. Here, The Root‘s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, poses at L2 with Jeff Ballou, a journalist with Al Jazeera English.

  • Holiday Host

    Holiday Host

    Barry Downs, Kimberly Brown and Commerce Department political appointee and host of the L2 reception, Todd Valentine.

  • White House Buddies

    White House Buddies

    Former White House politico Miti Sathe with current White House politico Karen Richardson.

  • News and Politics

    News and Politics

    Bloomberg News’ Katarro Rountree, Avital Barnea and politico Jesse Price.

  • 12 Days Holiday Reception

    12 Days Holiday Reception

    The D.C. Metro chapter of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Inc., held its annual holiday Party With a Purpose at Opera Ultra Lounge on Dec. 1. This group of 27 prominent Washington women raised more than $22,000 to help provide holiday toys and necessities to 20 area families in need and more than 60 children. In 2011 they raised more than $35,000 and provided services for more than 90 children.

  • GQ for the Holidays

    GQ for the Holidays

    Politico Ed Hubbard with John Burns, Obama political appointee Todd Valentine and A. Dennis Baxter II.

  • A Generous Spirit

    A Generous Spirit

    Ellen Williams and Dr. Sharon Malone, wife of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Malone’s practice, Foxhall OB-GYN, was a primary sponsor of the event.

  • Hostesses With the Most

    Hostesses With the Most

    Three of the Twelve Days hostesses: Dr. Lynne Lightfoote, Candice Bristow and Chinyere Hubbard of Events D.C.

  • Women With Heart

    Women With Heart

    Stephanie Wiggins, president of the D.C. Metro chapter of the Twelve Days of Christmas, with other hostesses Cherie Halyard and Erica Jefferson.

  • A Very Washington Christmas

    A Very Washington Christmas

    The Roots D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, with politicos Jesse Price and Marie Long.

  • Boots and Blue Jeans

    Boots and Blue Jeans

    Insight America, a nonprofit that provides training and other support to conservative minority staffers on Capitol Hill, sponsored the second annual Boots & Blue Jeans BBQ and Bonfire on Nov. 19. The event brought together African-American, Asian and Hispanic staffers who work for Republicans in Congress together with K Street politicos for networking. This year, the event was bipartisan.

  • Good Times

    Good Times

    CNN analyst Roland Martin shares a fun moment with former Republican National Committee Chairman and contributing editor to The Root, Michael Steele.

  • Connected


    Politico Earle Jones of Comcast with former Republican Rep. J. C. Watts.

  • Married to Politics

    Married to Politics

    CBC Hill staffer Eyang Garrison (office of Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.)) with her husband, D.C. politico Shaun Garrison.

  • Politics and Pageantry

    Politics and Pageantry

    Republican Senate staffer Brandon Andrews (office of Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)) with Miss D.C. International 2011, Allison Hill.

  • Congressman Co-Host

    Congressman Co-Host

    Kim Bassett pictured with co-host of the event, former Rep. Ron Dellums. Dellums recently joined former Rep. J.C. Watts as Vice Chairman of Watts Partners in D.C.

  • Footloose


    Guests participated in a contest that measured boot authenticity and presentation.

  • The Links, Incorporated, Celebrates 65 Years

    The Links, Incorporated, Celebrates 65 Years

    The Links, Incorporated, celebrated its 65th anniversary with a night of glamour at the Marriott Wardman Park on Nov. 12. The event raised $2 million that will go toward the completion of the new national headquarters building in D.C. and to community-service programs sponsored by the National Links Foundation. The evening included the awarding of the first Links Medal to Ebony magazine. Pictured here is The Root‘s D.C. insider, Link Nicole Venable, with fellow Links Judith Batty and Sela Collins.

  • Leading Links

    Leading Links

    National President Margot James Copeland (center), pictured here with the Leadership Team for the National Links, Incorporated, organization and the evening’s honoree, Linda Johnson Rice (fourth from right), chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., and Desiree Rogers (third from left), CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.

  • Linking Up

    Linking Up

    Johnson Publishing Co. CEO Desiree Rogers, Link Loretta Polk and the chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., Linda Johnson Rice.

  • Clyburn Cameo

    Clyburn Cameo

    Link Vivian Pickard, president of the GM Foundation, with House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Link Shuanise Washington.

  • Hail to the Chiefs

    Hail to the Chiefs

    Pictured here are the living past and current national presidents of the Links, Incorporated, including National Link President Margot James Copeland (far right).

  • In the Family

    In the Family

    Lynn Johns, Potomac Chapter, daughter-in-law of Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration and former D.C. mayoral candidate.

  • All in the Family

    All in the Family

    Former Sen. Chuck Robb with one of his daughters, Jennifer Robb. Robb is married to Lynda Johnson Robb, one of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters.

  • 'The Black List' Preview

    'The Black List' Preview

    A mix of politicos, executives and prominent Washingtonians were invited out to a private preview on Oct. 27 of “The Black List” at the National Portrait Gallery. This groundbreaking photography exhibit honors 50 prominent African Americans and their many contributions to the American experience. (The exhibition marks the first time that all 50 photos are shown together.) The luminaries, who represent a wide spectrum of the African-American experience, come from the fields of government, entertainment, civil rights, sports and the arts. Forest Whitaker, Hill Harper, Ambassador Susan Rice, BET’s Debra L. Lee and Dr. Michael Lomax are just a few of the honorees who attended the preview.

  • She Got 'Game'

    She Got 'Game'

    A photo portrait of BET CEO Debra L. Lee is included in “The Black List.” The honoree is shown here with CBS News political analyst Jamal Simmons.

  • A Super Representative

    A Super Representative

    With all the burdens of being House Democratic minority leader and a member of the “super committee” tasked with reducing the deficit, James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — seen here with Lauren Price from public-affairs agency Powell Tate — still finds time to share his wisdom and experience with young people.

  • A Power Pairing

    A Power Pairing

    D.C. power couple Art and Sela Collins.

  • On Display

    On Display

    Guests mingling at “The Black List” exhibition.

  • After-Party


    The positive vibe was provided by one of D.C.’s best-known DJs, Adrian Loving.

  • Hill and Heggans

    Hill and Heggans

    “The Black List” honoree Hill Harper with reception guest Derrick Heggans.

  • In the C-Suite

    In the C-Suite

    The Executive Leadership Council celebrated its 25th anniversary at its Annual Recognition Dinner Gala in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 20. Event hosts Al Roker and Deborah Roberts honored industry visionaries Hazel O’Leary — former Clinton administration energy secretary and now president of Fisk University — and Xerox Corp. Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns. The ELC is one of the nation’s premier leadership organizations whose more than 500 members are the most senior African-American executives in Fortune 500 companies.

  • Deep Roots

    Deep Roots

    The Root Publisher Donna Byrd with Sales Director Michael Clark.

  • A Gala Dinner Celebrating 25 Years

    A Gala Dinner Celebrating 25 Years

    Guests were treated to a performance by Diana Ross and an after-party reception featuring Kool and the Gang.

  • Chief Negotiator

    Chief Negotiator

    U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk with GM’s Aquila Powell (left) and The Root’s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable. Ambassador Kirk led the Obama administration’s recent efforts to pass trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama.

  • High Performance

    High Performance

    ELC member Barry Granger, head of the Washington government-affairs office of Kevlar maker DuPont, with Delaware Family Court Commissioner Bernard Pepukayi.

  • Howard vs. Morehouse: The Game

    Howard vs. Morehouse: The Game

    After an almost 15-year hiatus, the Morehouse Tigers and Howard Bison rekindled their historic football rivalry at the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic in Washington, D.C. Off the field, the weekend was filled with social events and panel discussions, teeming with mingling coeds, dueling alumni and even a few celebs flaunting their school spirit. On the field, the Morehouse Tigers lost to Howard’s Bison 30-27.

  • Spelman Sisters

    Spelman Sisters

    President of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College Deidra Fryer stands with D.C. alumna Rhonda Waller at the Pepsi MAX Fan Festival tent.

  • Hollywood Comes to Town

    Hollywood Comes to Town

    Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns actor and D.C. native Lamman Rucker attends the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic pregame festivities.

  • Nobody Beats the Biz

    Nobody Beats the Biz

    DJ Biz Markie poses with hip-hop artists Nice & Smooth and Brand Nubian at the Pepsi MAX Fan Festival stage, kicking off the day’s pregame festivities. 

  • Taking Root

    Taking Root

    Morehouse alum Fonzworth Bentley is flanked by The Roots publisher, Donna Byrd (left), and marketing strategist Maci Peterson.

  • D.C. Fabulous

    D.C. Fabulous

    D.C. “real housewife” and Howard alum Stacie Turner poses with Karen Horton, a Spelman College alum, at the postgame tailgate.

  • 'Spel-House' Couple

    'Spel-House' Couple

    A number of Spelman-Morehouse couples came out to enjoy the weekend’s festivities. Pictured here is political analyst Jamal Simmons with financial analyst Ayanna Dunn.

  • Presidential Address

    Presidential Address

    President of Howard University Sidney A. Ribeau delivers greetings at the weekend’s president’s reception.

  • Crimson and Crème

    Crimson and Crème

    The Roots D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, is flanked by fellow Spelman alum and Delta Sigma Theta sisters.

  • Drum Line

    Drum Line

    The drum majors from Howard and Morehouse joined the marching band from D.C.’s Ballou High School to kick off the festivities at RFK Stadium. 

  • Honoring Global Leaders for Peace

    Honoring Global Leaders for Peace

    Martin Luther King III poses with D.C. politico Evony Blake and Cheron Hines at the International Salute Gala on Aug. 24 at the National Building Museum in Washington. The gala was part of a series of events leading up to a now-postponed dedication for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on the mall. The dedication will be rescheduled for September or October.

  • Dream Builders

    Dream Builders

    Dr. Ed Jackson Jr. is the executive architect of the MLK Memorial Building Project. He’s pictured here with Lei Yixin, the Chinese sculptor who created the memorial statue.

  • Honoring the Dream

    Honoring the Dream

    Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc., with Madeleine Albright and Linda Ross. Johnson presented Albright with an award on behalf of the foundation at the gala.

  • Mr. Media

    Mr. Media

    The Root‘s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, with columnist and political commentator Roland S. Martin.

  • Wonder-ful


    Stevie Wonder greeted guests at the gala and then sang “Visions” in honor of King.

  • Songbird in Tribute

    Songbird in Tribute

    Fitting with the international theme of the gala, India.Arie serenaded guests and was accompanied by Idan Raichel, an Israeli-born singer-songwriter-musician, and D.C.-based jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet.

  • A Capital Celebration

    A Capital Celebration

    Members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity descended on D.C. July 27-31 to celebrate the fraternity’s Centennial Celebration. Omega men could be seen all around the nation’s capital — here is a group from Hampton University.

  • A Familiar Scene

    A Familiar Scene

    Brothers of Omega Psi Phi, also known as Ques, were in full force as they celebrated their fraternity’s centennial celebration in D.C. Crowds filled the Washington Convention Center and hotels throughout the district.

  • Proper Attire Required

    Proper Attire Required

    Many Ques donned a distinctive purple-and-gold tee highlighting their Omega pride. The T-shirts were an unofficial uniform throughout the centennial celebration.

  • Que Salute

    Que Salute

    The Root‘s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, stands with Morehouse College alum, proud Omega and Washington politico Robert Drummer.

  • When Que Meets Delta

    When Que Meets Delta

    Spelman College Deltas Felicia Sadler, Nicole Venable, Kim Graffe Jackson and Shaunte Roberts pose during an Omega event.

  • Omega Pride

    Omega Pride

    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) took a break from their busy Congressional schedules to show their Omega pride.

  • Brotherhood


    Yebbie Watkins, chief of staff to the House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), stands with a fellow Duke University Que at an Omega event.

  • Purple Pride

    Purple Pride

    D.C. politico Joe Askew and some of his chapter brothers host the Purple, Red and Pink reception.

  • Party With a Purpose

    Party With a Purpose

    The Washington Government Relations Group is the nation’s oldest organization for African-American government-relations professionals. The WGRG Tin Cup Awards honor individuals with a proven commitment to the enrichment and promotion of diversity. Proceeds from the awards dinner go to minority college students in the fields of political science and public administration.

  • Stopping Traffic

    Stopping Traffic

    WGRG members David Morgan and Rodney Slater, former transportation secretary, were among the presenters at the awards ceremony, which took place July 13, 2011, at the House of Sweden.

  • Dynamic Duo

    Dynamic Duo

    FedEx’s Gina Adams, with Viacom’s DeDe Lea, was also one of the night’s President’s Award recipients.

  • Honoring Legends

    Honoring Legends

    WGRG member David Morgan presents Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) with the Adam Clayton Powell Award.

  • Linked Together

    Linked Together

    The Root contributor Nicole Venable stands with President’s Award honoree R. Lucia Riddle.

  • Power Players

    Power Players

    President’s Award honoree Gina Adams with Art Collins and his wife, Sela Ward Collins.

  • Movers and Shakers

    Movers and Shakers

    WGRG held a pre-awards reception at the House of Sweden in Georgetown. WGRG’s experience and expertise allows them to provide strategic advice on a host of legislative issues before Congress and the Obama administration.

  • Leadership and Excellence

    Leadership and Excellence

    Howlie Davis and DeDe Lea received the ceremony’s President’s Award.

  • Seasoned Men

    Seasoned Men

    WGRG Dinner Chair Chaka Burgess with Isaac Fordjor and former Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek. 

  • Luminaries


    Atlas Award recipient Anita Estell stands with politico Randy Broz.

  • Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala

    Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala

    The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation hosted its 14th annual “Spirit of Democracy Awards Black & White Gala” on May 18, 2011, at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Washington, D.C., Hotel. The awards are presented to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a consistent commitment to making civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition. Star Jones hosted the event.


    Captions and photographs by Nicole Venable

  • Promote the Vote

    Promote the Vote

    Candyice Mitchell pictured here with D.C. activist Eugene Dewitt Kinlow of DC Vote.

  • The Woman in Charge

    The Woman in Charge

    Melanie L. Campbell, executive director of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

  • Famous Guest

    Famous Guest

    The Rev. Al Sharpton was one of the night’s honorees.

  • The Young and the Guest List

    The Young and the Guest List

    Fab Empire Editor Joi-Marie McKenzie and Mia Fields-Hall pose at Washington Life Magazine’s annual Young and the Guest List party at Longview Gallery on May 20, 2011.

  • D.C. Style

    D.C. Style

    Donnell Kearney, Charles Paret and Monarch Magazine’s newest style editor, Paul Wharton.

  • What's Cookin'?

    What's Cookin'?

    Local Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn with The Root‘s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, and Patrick Wixted at the YGL party.

  • The It Factor

    The It Factor

    The Washington Lobbyist blogger Michael Woestehoff, Donnell Kearney, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center’s Chinyere Hubbard, celebrity event planner Andre Wells and Lynne Lightfoote.

  • And the Beat Goes On

    And the Beat Goes On

    Johnnetta B. Cole, executive director of the NMAfA, enjoys the beat of the African drum.

  • That's a Wrap

    That's a Wrap

    Kadida Thiero shows off her authentic garb. The African Art museum offered traditional African head wrapping at the Africa Underground event.

  • Africa Underground: Part 2

    Africa Underground: Part 2

    On May 20, 2011, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art held its second installment of Africa Underground, highlighting the Diaspora in the Caribbean. The event was an indoor-outdoor Caribbean festival, complete with reggae bands, African dancers and drummers, stilt walkers and street food found throughout the West Indies. Nearly 1,000 Washingtonians partied the night away at this special event.

  • Party People

    Party People

    Traci Slater-Riguad, Marie Nelson, Naomi Walker and Desy Osunsade Carten at Africa Undergound.

  • Glam Squad

    Glam Squad

    D.C.’s fashionistas know to call Hu’s Wear Fashion Stylist Dwayne Brice and Michelle Obama’s hairstylist, Johnnie Wright, when it’s time for a special event. They’re shown here with Christopher G. Johnson.

  • The Capitol File WHCD After-Party

    The Capitol File WHCD After-Party

    The stars were out Saturday night in D.C. after the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Here’s actor Wendell Pierce on the red carpet at the Capitol File-Creative Coalition after-party.

  • Star-Studded Party

    Star-Studded Party

    The Root‘s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, with actor Omar Epps. 

  • Hollywood Meets D.C.

    Hollywood Meets D.C.

    Actor Marlon Wayans with D.C.-area doctor Lynne Lightfoote. 

  • D.C. Power Couple

    D.C. Power Couple

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone. 

  • Fashionable Women

    Fashionable Women

    D.C.’s “Fashion Delegate” Jennifer Fisher (in blue) with Krystal Yoseph of Capitol File, America’s Next Top Model star Bianca Chardei and fashion designer Deidre Jeffries. 

  • The Voto Latino 'Emerging Voices in Media' Reception

    The Voto Latino 'Emerging Voices in Media' Reception

    Media professionals gathered at the Hay-Adams Hotel April 29 for an event hosted by Voto Latino, a civic-engagement organization co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson. 

  • The Evening's Host

    The Evening's Host

    The Root‘s D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, with Voto Latino co-founder actress Rosario Dawson.  

  • Valerie and Lauren Jarrett

    Valerie and Lauren Jarrett

    White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and her daughter Lauren (in black) with a guest. 

  • Important Advisers

    Important Advisers

    White House adviser Mike Strautmanis and wife Demona Strautmanis with Nicole Venable and Yebbie Watkins, chief of staff to U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.). 

  • Leading Links

    Leading Links

    National President Margot James Copeland (center), pictured here with the Leadership Team for the National Links, Incorporated, organization and the evening’s honoree, Linda Johnson Rice (fourth from right), chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., and Desiree Rogers (third from left), CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.

  • Media Professionals

    Media Professionals

    Henry Stewart with NFL player Dhani Jones, who has his own show on the Travel Channel. 

  • Jones and Richardson

    Jones and Richardson

    NBC’s Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones with White House adviser Karen Richardson.


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