Rev. Shirley Caesar and Michael McMillan

Grammy Award winning gospel legend Rev. Shirley Caesar pretended to faint while fawning over Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis President and CEO Michael P. McMillan at the 2018 Salute to Women in Leadership Awards, Friday night at The Marriott St. Louis Grand.

Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis CEO Michael McMillan just might have to start searching for a larger venue to hold the Salute to Women In Leadership Awards Gala based on the record 1300-plus crowd that came to the Marriott St. Louis Grand to support the event Friday night. The event was about five chairs away from standing room only as they honored women from the St. Louis region and around the country for their respective roles in various capacities. Among the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Awardees were gospel legend Rev. Shirley Caesar, Motown great Martha Reeves, Media mogul Cathy Hughes, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated International President Dorothy B. Wilson, Delta Sigma Theta National President and CEO Beverly E. Smith and Zeta Phi Beta International President Mary B. Wright. Local awardees included longtime KTVI-Fox 2 anchor Shirley Washington, Radio One St. Louis personality Mary Tillman, Laraine Davis of Wells Fargo, art philanthropist Sarah Burke, East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson Hicks and KMOV-TV’s Courtney Bryant, to name a few. Each of the honorees received personalized gift packages that were displayed in the lobby for guests to behold. As she accepted her award, Caesar said that aside from receiving her first Grammy Award, the experience of being showered with gifts and praised by the Urban League and the guests was the most incredible experience of her nearly 60-year career. Rev. Caesar quietly stole the show with her continual fawning over McMillan – which culminated with her pretending to faint upon learning he was single. Caesar, Reeves and R&B legend Eddie LeVert gave performances as the capacity audience fellowshipped and congratulated the honorees on a job well done.

Kenya's 314

TCG convenes in STL. St. Louis played host for Theatre Communications Group’s  28th annual TCG National Conference from June 14 – June 16. The nation’s not-for-profit theatre trade organization brought hundreds of performing artists, directors, technical and production professionals and administrative staff from around the country. St. Louis natives and transplants made up a huge representation of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color 2018 Class – five of the 10 honorees. Among them were Rosalind Early, Bryce Goodloe, Carl Overly Jr., Jacqueline Thompson and Anna Skidis Vargas. Also at this year’s conference, Ron Himes, founder and producing director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company, was presented with the Theatre Practitioner Award along with Steven Woolf, artistic director for the Repertory Theater of St. Louis.

Last chance to check out Romeo and Juliet. If you miss the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis production of “Romeo and Juliet,” you will regret not seeing Reynaldo Piniella’s game-changing performance as a swagged-out Romeo. The production and cast is great overall, but Piniella’s portrayal of Romeo is a sight to behold. He gives the millennials a hero to root for as he adds the sauce of today’s youth to the 400-year-old tragic love story. Anyone who knows a young black boy who has expressed interest or talent in the arts should be taken to see this production to show how they have a place on stage – even in the classical arena. The show  continues nightly at 8 p.m. through June 24 at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. Don’t miss it. Visit https://www.sfstl.com/ for more details.

A nod to the Delux Emerging 30. Delux Magazine did some honoring of its own over the weekend with its 3rd Annual Emerging 30 Saturday afternoon at The House of Soul. Future leaders and current movers and shakers under the age of 30 were recognized by the local urban lifestyle magazine – which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Among those recognized were 100.3 FM The Beat’s midday personality Jessica “Jess Live” Anderson, Evan Fowler, Ono Ikanone, Ashley Harris and Jasmine Osby.

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