Editor of Essence is Dixon's choice to emcee festivities

December 04, 2007|By TANIKA WHITE

Will Sheila Dixon's service in Baltimore's highest office prove different than her male predecessors'?

Some evidence of her femaleness comes tonight at the Inaugural Gala, in the newly sworn-in mayor's choice of the evening's mistress of ceremonies.

No local television anchor or business mogul will announce the night's festivities; instead, Dixon has chosen as her emcee the head of one of the most popular fashion and beauty magazines in the country.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in Tuesday's Today section gave the incorrect title for Susan L. Taylor. She is Essence magazine's editorial director.

Susan L. Taylor, editor-in-chief of Essence, the leading black women's lifestyle magazine, will add a fashionable flair to the ball's introductory duties.

Dixon and Taylor have been acquaintances for several years, introduced by Baltimore businesswoman Sandra Long, who is treasurer of Future PAC, a national organization that Taylor founded to help "progressive black female candidates" get elected, Taylor says.

But their most publicized pairing came in February 2005, when Dixon appeared on the pages of Taylor's magazine in a makeover feature.

At the time, the magazine's beauty director and cover editor said Dixon needed the style-centered tweaking. But Taylor says Dixon needs no help when it comes to matters of civic service, calling the mayor a "shining example of ... progressive leadership."

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