Ain’t no party like a Tom Joyner party! I knew I was in for a party when I punched it on down to the Chaifetz Arena Saturday for the Tom Joyner One More Time Experience presented by 95.5 FM The Lou, but when I tell you that the fun exceeded my expectations – trust and believe. First off, DJ Kut was absolutely killing it with the throwback jams. Second of all, I was on the fence about whether or not Tom Joyner would make an appearance. Yet, having him perched onstage and busting a move whenever the feeling hit him, was not what I had in mind – and I got my whole entire life from it. He said, “I’m partying my way out the door to start picking up my Social Security check.” And I’m not the least bit mad about it. Even though that had to be the least amount of audience participation regarding the request to wear all white that I’ve ever seen, y’all packed the Chaifetz out – and along with the performers, the city gave Tom Joyner the going away party he deserved. As per usual, Kem absolutely killed it. Boldly wearing a “Hello Kitty” colored pink suit with a black shirt that had a bowed collar, he tore that stage all the way down. And his background singers did not waste their moment in the spotlight either. JJ Evans (not to be confused with television character) hit high notes that stretched up to heaven when he paid tribute to Howard Hewett’s falsetto during a snippet of Shalamar’s “For The Lover In You.” And I knew when she was singing Chrisette Michele’s part on “If It’s Love” that L. Renee was not to be trifled with on the mic. She proved me right when she took on Chaka’s “Sweet Thing.” Baby, it was such life that Tom Joyner and Kem coordinated a little two-step during her performance. During the break between acts, Guy Torry and Isis Jones facilitated a lip-sync battle that had me hollering. Next time turn the mics off, though. Guy had me giggling all night when he lifted his shirt up and poked his stomach to mock the woman he referred to as “Ghetto Angel.” With her two-piece white ensemble, she decided you can wear a midriff top regardless of how round that non-pregnant belly is. And though she came onstage looking like she walked out of her cubicle and headed straight to the Chaifetz, I was happy that the woman who paid homage to Chingy won. Maze featuring Frankie Beverly closed things out. At this point, I truly don’t understand how y’all act like his voice not being the same as it was is some kind of breaking news. He has sung his heart out for us for three generations. Yes, he sounded weathered – but the energy he served up, especially for a 70-something year-old man, deserves a round of applause. Do I wish he had taken better care of his vocal cords? Yes. But he is a legend, which gives him a grace I will not give other folks tattered voice and all. And that’s that. We still had a blast from the time things kicked off until Frankie led us to electric slide on out the door.
Funny and black…and that’s about it. So I must give my girl Amanda Seales a cute little curtsey for thinking enough of our city to bring her “Smart, Funny and Black” tour back – despite the disastrous contestant that worked her nerves and nearly ruined the second show by only possessing the “black” prerequisite and lowkey making us look bad because he had no smart or funny to speak of. For second go ‘round, Amanda decided she was going to bring her own folks to compete to keep that from happening again. Comediennes Shan J and B. Simone were definitely black and somewhat funny (depending on who you asked), but I still don’t think they were the ideal fit for the concept of the show – which I absolutely love. So, the show pins two “Blacksperts” against each other to test their knowledge and rep for the culture through a series of questions, categories and debates. However, I know for a fact from all of my lurking on social media that there are plenty of funny woke folks. I feel like if she got our own Willie Lynch Jr. up on that stage to vie for the crown along with another funny Hotep, the show would do everything she intended for it to do. Seales herself is great and the show was still fun to watch – even though she put her band, The Clapbacks, all the way through it for not knowing Nelly’s “Hot In Herre.” She actually drove them most of the night – it reminded me of how Ms. Lauryn Hill treated her band when she came to the Pageant that one time that she made us wait all night. I was lowkey ashamed of the audience participants who didn’t know their STL history like they should. They got it together at the end, but still… “Who is Kathy Dunaham?” and Felicia, who was as cute as she could be, was doing so much that my seat neighbors kept yelling “Bye Felicia” the whole time she was on that stage. Amanda Seales has a brilliant concept, but she is going to need folks as witty and woke as she is for it to be in its full glory.
Onnie Bella has the sauce. On Friday, I made my way to toast to my girl Onnie Bella over at Blue Dine and Lounge for her all white birthday bash of Sauce. It was so cute. I saw some of my favorite folks and couples from the Gen Y scene (late 20s-early 30s). I wouldn’t have thought that I would enjoy LaRon’s gold metal tie that set off his white suit, but I totally did. You know a party is poppin’ when it’s packed before 11 p.m.
‘Black Panther’ on Art Hill. Friday evening, I decided to see what was up with the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Art Hill Film Series. I figured it was the least I could do if they were willing to take us to Wakanda with “Black Panther.” Since I didn’t read the promo all the way through, I thought it started a 6 p.m. and almost had the whole Art Hill to myself when I arrived. I was like, “So, it’s just gonna be me, M’Baku and T’Challa. Oh well, at least I can stretch out. Wait, how am I gonna be able to see the movie with the sun glaring in my face?” Turns out the film didn’t actually start until 9. That made sense, considering there was no sun to speak of on that screen. I left and came back to the cutest opportunity to catch “Black Panther” on the big screen again. They play Friday nights through August 2. It makes for a perfect date night. However, bring you some Off.
I might go back to catch “The Goonies.”