Ebony magazine staff writer Lola Ogunnaike mentioned us in the August 2011 Ebony magazine featuring playwright/director Tyler Perry on the cover!
TUCKED AWAY IN A DIMLY LIT corner inside Manhattan’s fabulously hip restaurant, Hotel Griffou, is where you’ll find New York socialite and philanthropist Shelly B. Bronfman (née Brewer). Her three children–Hannah, Benjamin and Vanessa–surround her for a family portrait. As the cameraman dips and dodges about the space, insisting that they “smile” and give him “more energy,” Ben lobs a knock-knock joke that bombs. “I’d laugh, but I can’t breath,” says Vanessa, who has wrapped herself in a chiffon skirt and lovely cream corset.
They look like any other close-knit clan–and in most ways they are. But in one very major way they are not: Sherry’s ex-husband and father of her brood is none other than Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, Seagram’s heir and one of the wealthiest men in America. He also happens to be white and Jewish, facts that still manages to shock–at least in the blogosphere.
In a post titled “Who Knew Edgar Bronfman’s Kids Were Mixed?” the highly trafficked blogger Sandra Rose seemed utterly surprised to have unearthed “Black Bronfmans.” Until now, not much has been written about the former Mrs. Bronfman, who is African American, or her biracial children. Long ago, she made the decision to shelter them from the limelight, and they’ve also shied away from publicity. “I wanted them to have a childhood,” says Bronfman. “One of the greatest gifts you can give a kid is a childhood.”
Now that the kids are finding success as budding entrepreneurs, the glare of the spotlight has proven to be both unavoidable and inevitable. Rather than run from exposure, they’ve chosen to embrace it these days. Naturally it’s good for business but it also offers them an opportunity to dispel the notion that all children are born into wealth and ambitionless trust fund brats who shop all day and party all night.
“I really hate the current perception of rich kids,” says Ben, 28, a musician and eco-friendly entrepreneur. “People think Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie. But we’re not into being famous for fame’s sake. We want to be known for our accomplishments, the things that we’ve achieved. I’ve avoided that other stuff like the plague.”
READ MORE in the current issue of Ebony magazine on newsstands now!
Bronfman family portrait by ANTHONY BARBOZA / KENBARBOZA.COM