Anthony Henderson-Strong, 45, formerly of Philadelphia, a popular and successful fashion stylist to the stars, longtime wardrobe consultant for the Daily News’ Sexy Singles showcase, entrepreneur, and gay dad who was featured in the 2015 “Love has no labels” ad campaign, died Wednesday, May 11, from lymphoma at Grady Hospital in Atlanta.
Mr. Henderson-Strong grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from Martin Luther King High School in 1995, and blended his fashion instincts and dynamic work ethic into a persona to which fashion experts and celebrities were drawn.
He chose clothing for actors, athletes, singers, newscasters, dancers, and daters. He created wardrobes for movies and toured with hip-hop star Eve. Following the example of how his mother, Jacquelyn Tolbert-Cooper, dressed him as a child — think five-piece suits — he focused less on labels and more on a fabric’s quality, fit, and suitability for the occasion.
Magazine writers profiled him as “smooth” and “swift” for his ability to outfit models quickly backstage. After making national contacts through his regional work with models, he dressed, among others, singer Kelly Price for the 2012 Grammy Awards, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph of Abbott Elementary, and Temple University professor and TV personality Marc Lamont Hill.
“His identity was Access Hollywood, the red carpet,” said his husband, Jason Henderson-Strong. ”Every part of him was fashion.”
Mr. Henderson-Strong, his husband, and their son, Marcelino, appeared in a 2015 ad campaign for social tolerance by the Ad Council that featured a moving video that drew 56 million views and follow-up stories in Newsweek, Ebony, and other publications. The men met in 2005, got married in 2015, and adopted sons Marcelino and Jae’Den and daughter Jaylah.
The partners were good listeners and had enjoyable conversations about religion, spirituality, traveling, and relationships. The family moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 2007, and to Atlanta in 2015.
“He was a loving husband who adored his kids,” Jason Henderson-Strong said. “He was humble and always made sure he was helping others.”
Over more than a decade, Mr. Henderson-Strong, grateful for his success, was a mentor to others and created showcases for Philadelphia stylists and designers, and events to benefit the Philadelphia community. He consulted with participants in the Daily News’ popular Sexy Singles matchmaking events for years and was a welcome guest at Oscars parties and social gatherings.
He received a citation from the State of Pennsylvania in 2019 for his community work, and his annual Social Cocktail Spring Fashion Show and Barbers Who Care back-to-school free haircutting events drew wide praise. The “17 Days of … Fashion” he and the Philadelphia Fashion Consortium organized — nearly two dozen fashion and charitable events over 17 days in Philadelphia — cemented his place in the city’s consciousness.
“Anthony will truly be missed for his talent and dedication to giving back to his community,” a friend said in an online tribute.
Born Feb. 3, 1977, Mr. Henderson-Strong was diagnosed with cancer in April. He was a man of faith who doted on his family. He followed the Eagles, read thrillers, and liked to watch Oprah and the Housewives shows on TV.
He was thrilled when the Fashion District popped up on Market Street in Center City a few years ago and often flew in from wherever he was to attend events in town.
“He was a thoughtful man,” said his younger sister, Lisa Wilks. “He was always thinking, always planning something.”
His husband said: “For him, charity began at home. He loved his family, and he loved Philadelphia.”
In addition to his husband, sons, daughter, mother, and sister, Mr. Henderson-Strong is survived by other relatives. His father, Harold Henderson, died on Jan. 12.
Services are pending.
Donations in his name may be made to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, 1118 N. McCadden Place, Los Angeles, Calif. 90038.