D'Andra: Brandi is an Outsider to Dallas Society

D'Andra Simmons responds to Brandi Redmond's criticism of the Dallas charity world.

This week’s blog wouldn’t be complete without beginning this post by expressing my sincerest sympathies to our fellow Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey last week. I have many loved ones in the Houston area, and seeing all of the devastation in my home state of Texas has been absolutely heartbreaking. I encourage everyone who is able to donate to the relief efforts if possible. Every amount counts, and is desperately needed and appreciated. Personally, I made a donation to The Salvation Army since I was their Fashion Show and Luncheon Chair for 2017. In addition, our companies, www.hardnightgoodmorning.com and www.ultimateliving.com will be donating 10% of all of our September proceeds beginning tomorrow, September 5, 2017, to UNICEF. They will be using THIS donation specifically for the children that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. I have been involved with UNICEF for many years now, and their credo is CHILDREN FIRST. Children are the most vulnerable population during a natural disaster. If you have not decided where to donate your funds, I would urge you to consider donating to organizations that help children as well as other members of the affected population.

It is hard to talk about silly things like drama between friends when people are suffering so badly, but I hope our show can provide an hour of comic relief to what has been a very hard week thus far. The sit-down that you see take place between LeeAnne and me this week is something that happens pretty regularly! Not only because we are friends, but also because she often comes to me for my opinion, and she respects my perspective.

I can honestly say that I am one of the few people that can dish it to LeeAnne in the same manner that she often dishes it out to others! She takes it from me, because she knows that I come from a place of love in my criticism of her. I truly want to see her do well and achieve all of her goals, and I genuinely would like the other ladies to be able to get to know the true LeeAnne, the one that is my best friend. By now you have seen that even if I have to scream a little and bang on a table, I WILL get my point across to LeeAnne! I CARE ABOUT HER THAT MUCH. She may not always take my advice (at least not right away), but she HEARS me (I mean who wouldn’t at that decibel?). I know my words impact her, and stick with her. LeeAnne leaves our discussions THINKING about what I have said, and that is exactly what I want her to do.

As someone who has literally raised millions for those in need, and someone who has chaired probably over 25 events since 2004 (I have lost count), I am offended by Brandi’s constant belittling of the efforts made by women who live and socialize in the “inner sanctum” of Dallas philanthropy. I was raised to have a benevolent spirit and I always do whatever I can to raise awareness and funds to support those less fortunate than myself.

I am weary of hearing Brandi’s criticism of the “charity world” (not really sure what that is exactly). Brandi is an outsider to Dallas Society, socially and geographically, so this doesn’t surprise me. Since she doesn’t actually live in Dallas, I am sure she naturally feels disconnected to the Dallas social scene. She has made an effort to chair events and become involved, and I applaud her for that. However, just like LeeAnne and the Halloween party, Brandi tries to take strides forward in a positive manner to better herself by becoming involved in the Dallas philanthropic world, but then she turns around and “trash talks” it without having extensive knowledge and experience in the area. The women that are heavily invested in making our city a better place take their efforts very seriously. Brandi’s commentary just doesn’t sit well with me. I feel it is a measure of immaturity on her part.

As for Stephanie, if she wants to be more involved in Dallas society, she MUST move to Dallas proper. The Dallas social echelon is commandeered, so to speak, by women that are elected into volunteer organizations with a specific purpose. It is like trying to get into a sorority. You are voted in and then become part of an elite group of women in Dallas working together for a common good. It is snarky, it is brutal, but it is the truth, and these women raise a HELL OF A LOT of money for our city! As a side note and fun friend fact, Kameron and I met in one of these organizations!

Rule number one in the socialite handbook is that to even be considered and “put up” for an organization like this, you must have a zip code in the Dallas city limits…and that is just a fact! Moving to Dallas is a great start, but it will take much more than having the right socialite friends to achieve the level of notoriety that I think Stephanie aspires to attain.

Why does everyone always throw around the term “social climber” like it is a dirty word? Obviously, if one is simply just using people in order to gain a higher status, then that isn’t genuine and will get you nowhere in Dallas, or in any other city. However, if you are using the resources given to you to make a name for yourself in your city to do MORE good, then MORE power to you! The social ladder is a moving obstacle, and if you are lucky enough to take hold and get on from outside (meaning not from nepotism or marriage into a family that reigns supreme) then you better hold on for dear life! GO STEPHANIE!

In the conversation that takes place with Momma Dee (at our old, straight out of 1990s office!), you see a softer side of her. She expresses that a lot of her concern about letting go is that as my mother, she always wants to protect me as her daughter. I am all she has in this world, and we depend on each other in a lot of ways. I completely understand where she is coming from. Growing up, my mother and my father always did whatever they had to do and made every sacrifice to make sure I was taken care of and had the best opportunities available to me. However, I’m not a little girl anymore, and at some point, my mom will need to realize that SHE HAS put everything into place that I need to be successful. My mom’s protection has turned into helicopter parenting, and that is no way to run a business. It is very confusing to our employees, who need to know who is in charge…bottom line. Unfortunately, this conversation solved nothing, once again.

Watching the end of this episode when Brandi gives Cary and Stephanie gifts and invitations for “the best girl’s trip ever,” while Kameron stands awkwardly to the side, I cringed with the rest of America! I love when Kameron says that her six-year-old knows that this is rude behavior, because I was thinking, “Wait, isn’t this lesson number one in Kindergarten? You can’t invite select kids to your birthday party in front of the class. You invite the whole class!” Apparently, Brandi was ill that day in school, and this was another lesson missed for her.
I felt so bad for Kameron in that moment, and I thought she handled the situation with grace, while standing up for herself at the same time. I might not have been so charming when dishing out protocol! I am glad she spoke out about the offense. And sorry Brandi, it wasn’t because the gift bags were pink — also extremely rude when you know this is Kam’s favorite color!

This may have been a party for Cary’s daughter and her friends, but these ladies ended up being the ones acting like children! Let’s see if anyone learns from this experience. I’m not holding my breath!

Get a sneak peek at next week's episode now!

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