Aurora James is having a moment and with the new release of her memoir Wildflower, the activist, fashion designer, philanthropist, and now, author is revealing how her complex childhood has molded her into the radius of Black elite both in Hollywood and international spaces.
Wildflower explores the life of James, who was born in Canada and raised in Jamaica, a place where she would “learn harsh lessons about control, power, abuse and belonging.” She would eventually move back home to Toronto where her grandmother played a pivotal role in shaping her to become a modern-day success story.
James, a high school dropout, would eventually break barriers with the launch of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, a challenge to retailers to pledge 15 percent of their shelf spaces for Black and Black-owned businesses. The initiative quickly proved the spending power of Black brands and has since become one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in the social justice sector. At the time of this writing, the Fifteen Percent Pledge has caused some of the nation’s most notable brands to redirect $10 billion in annual revenue to Black businesses.
“I think the telling of these stories, especially women’s stories and especially women of color’s stories, is still not happening frequently enough,” James said during a book release party she held Saturday. “So I think being able to celebrate some of that telling is really lovely. I’ve had a nice time.”
The party was one of two soirees captured by Vogue – one in New York, the other in Los Angeles. The former attracted the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and Huma Abedin who helped James co-host a small event at the Rizzoli Bookstore. Carly Cushnie, Prabal Gurung, Brandon Maxwell, and Veronica Webb were some of the guests in attendance. In L.A., she hosted an intimate event at Chateau Marmont, where she was joined by Emma Grede and Emily Bode to help celebrate the book launch. The event took place at the venue’s rooftop, where guests dined over brunch while feasting their eyes on the horizon of Sunset Strip.
“It’s such a rare thing to be able to have insight into one of your dear friend’s childhood and their journey,” Bode told the group in L.A.
In a review of the memoir, Harper’s Bazaar wrote: “Empowering and full of heart, Wildflower is the riveting story of how Aurora James made an indelible mark in the American economic system, and a rallying cry for those eager to make change.”
Read or listen to a preview of Wildflower available on Amazon now.