Keeping Kobe’s family in our prayers. Listen. I am sick. It’s been almost a week and it still has not set in that Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter Gigi are gone. I can’t even imagine how his wife, their surviving children, his teammates and fellow NBA brethren must feel right now. All I know is, I wasn’t even a Kobe fan – that’s not to say that I didn’t respect his legendary game – and I’m shook. I feel he grew up with all of us. We watched him go to the prom with Brandy – which means he was basically our second cousin. Yep, all of us. I thought I would have better words as far as expressing the sense of instant loss by now. But all I can do is offer prayers to the Bryant family and the families of the other seven people who were tragically lost in the accident. I asked nicely in the past week or so for the universe not to make this next decade a continuation of the tragedy-upon-tragedy that was 2019. Now I’m pleading, let’s make this the last of it please.
Your friendly Young Leaders reminder. Despite my sadness, the Partyline show must go on. So, let me tell y’all that you have three weeks to get your corporate executive realness swag on official, because its almost time for the 10 year milestone of our always inspiring Salute to Young Leaders Networking and Awards Reception to empower and encourage. Get snatched power suit style and come see what’s possible as we present a crop of individuals from corporations to community organizations that are doing big things in our city. We will be gathering at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 in our usual meeting place of the swank Four Seasons. All the folks who have been before, which at this point is several thousand, will co-sign that it is impossible to attend without your life being changed and/or getting motivated to make a difference for the better. Again, it’s going down at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Four Seasons. Get your tickets today, so you won’t accidently get turned away due to a sell-out, which it typically does. Visit www.stlamerican.com or call (314) 533-8000 for more information.
An epic 90s birthday vibe. I stopped by the House of Soul Saturday for Jami Ballentine Dolby’s totally 90s birthday bash. I’m thrilled to admit it was everything she and everybody else hyped it up to be. Why was I singing the theme to “Living Single” in my head half the night? I promise you I was all “In a 90s kind of world, I’m glad I got my girls” the whole time. My only note for the night is that I had hoped the band had played some 90s music. Maybe they did after I dipped off to Jeezy for a spell. But they should have kicked their set of with “This Is How We Do It” or “Return of the Mack.” I can’t stand neither one of those songs, but the minute they came on, the party was instantly off the hook (obligatory 90s slang). Oh well, Boogie D made up for it with his mix of 90s hits. I got my whole entire life from Jami being a mood and a half with her mid-party wardrobe change that perfectly expressed the opposite ends of the 90s fashion spectrum. Let’s face it ladies, in the 90s you only had three look options – you dressed like a slut, a stud or a church front desk receptionist. I can’t tell y’all how many times in my junior year me and my mama got into it about her stinking up my favorite double breasted rayon skort sets with Benson and Hedges Menthol Lights because she called herself sneaking and wearing them to her little part time secretarial gig. But enough about my 90s teen family dysfunction, let’s get back to the party. I was telling folks how she subtly nailed it. Jami nailed the tomboy with her Timbs with the baggy jeans and pager. But then she had the nerve to disappear halfway through and come out with a neon yellow wig, matching glasses and full-length fur coat, rapping along to “Crush On You.” Lil Kim would have been pleased. Everybody went all out for the party. Where did y’all find all that Tommy Hillfiger? Jami’s Lil Kim homage was my favorite of the night, but Ebonee Shaw’s airbrushed dress and the trio of Vincent Flewellen, Tammie Holland and Cory Clines had the group thing on lock. They were a cross between City High and Salt-N-Pepa. I’m sorry that I walked right past you Tammie, but I honestly did not recognize you with that Regine Hunter wig on. By the time I focused in on your face, you were on the other side of the room.
Another concert jackpot for Jeezy. There more than a few artists that are a sure thing among the rap and trap community. And Saturday night, Jeezy reminded folks that he’s pretty much at the top of the list – along with Yo Gotti, Boosie and Plies – among the small segment of artists who will draw a crowd worthy of bragging rights when they touch down in the STL, no matter the date or the venue. I’ve seen Jeezy pack a spot out on a Tuesday afternoon. So I was hardly shocked when he had folks lined up to see what he was serving at the Pageant. Because I hit a couple of other spots before I made my way over to the show, T Dubb O was the only opening act I managed to catch. I was so thrilled that the folks were rocking with his black power street rap. He had me at that Aspen meets Walnut Park winter gear. But the fact that he had the folks’ attention with his music – which beat-wise sounds like the run of the mill regular rap, but on the lyrical side he’s on a whole different wave length. And I’m not mad. I was also thrilled that Rockhouse Ent. and Black Luxury promotional tag team took a moment to celebrate the life and legacy of Tony J. as part of the festivities. As per usual, Jeezy did not hold back, giving us snippets from his whole 15 plus years in the game that almost stretched into a full length show. I was even more excited that he got so into the energy of the audience that he didn’t want to leave the stage. And what was even better than that, was that his headlining set started and ended at a decent hour. So, we weren’t waiting around, or praying that it would be over soon. He gave just enough for the fully reciprocated love affair between him and St. Louis to continue.
Jeezy afterparty on lean. Y’all weren’t done kicking it, were you Jeezy fans? Because y’all about as many people up in the Marquee for the official after party as you did at the Pageant! Now, I didn’t stick around long enough to see if Jeezy slid through the Marquee after the show. But if he did, he would have been over the moon once again by how St. Louis rocks with him enough to fill two venues in one night to celebrate his presence in the STL.