A week away from Young Leaders. Y’all already know what it is, the urban professional networking session that highlights the achievements of individuals who have made major moves before the big 4-0 is just a few days away. Well, seven days to be exact. The St. Louis American Foundation’s 9th Annual Salute to Yong Leaders Awards and Networking reception will be going down at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21 at The Four Seasons. I’m not trying to curate the appetizer menu, but those chicken meatballs were life more abundantly. Actually, it’s best if they are not on the menu, since I’m trying to go backless for the next Salute To Education Gala. But back to the Young Leaders. I always say this, but it is never untrue: I always leave inspired to get busy with making a difference in my community because of the great work for that our honorees exemplify. Age is nothing but a number for these 20 men and women who are shaping the future of the region with their work right now. I also always say that y’all need to get your tickets now, before it sells out – because it always does. This year will be no different. So be sure to hit us up on stlamerican.com or call (314) 533-8000 right now – so you won’t be all suited up with no place to go, because you didn’t heed my advice to get your tickets in advance.
Blue Energy. Now y’all already know by now that Teddy BFree will always have my support. Y’all also already know that I’m not showing favoritism when I say that it was all the way live – but merely stating facts. BFree Events have been win- after-win for more than a decade in these streets – the slang to describe them has changed, but his results remain the same. I guess we can call what went down Saturday night at Blue Dine and Lounge a litty-kicking-it experience. As soon as I came through the door, I saw my girl Lauron Thompson and her TLT Productions partner Tre’von Griffin getting it in for Lauron’s b-day. There were so many birthdays going on that somebody hopped in the DJ booth and crooned “Happy Birthday” like a baby Luther. Then the DJ cued up 2 Chainz’ “Birthday Song.” It was classic.
Tuned out on Tommy Davidson. I guess my punishment for tapping the folks at Helium a bit last week was that I be sat directly in front of a pillar. It’s what it is. I didn’t see much of Tommy Davidson, but I heard him. And I can’t say that I got my life. It pains me to admit this, because he was so kind, humble and personable ahead of the show. Oh well. I cackled a bit here and there – when he talked about a guest’s allegedly German Shepherd vest. However, I can’t say that I hollered like I did the last time he came to town as part of a comedy revue lineup that I have since forgotten. I expected him to be high strung and all over the place – and was prepared for him to randomly break out into songs. But I guess I was expecting a stream of coherent jokes to go with it. I will say this, though. He looks phenomenal. If it weren’t for that little patch of gray in the front of his fade, you couldn’t tell me that he hadn’t walked right out of an “In Living Color” rerun. Now his opener, Willie Lynch Jr., had me on a kee-kee spree! I knew he came to play no games when he came out in that “I’m not quite a ‘King of Comedy,’ but I’m on my way” blazer and brim. His “prince of comedy” attire was a sign for what was come. I knew when he said that he was from an “upscale suburb” of the region – he’s from East St. Louis – that I was going to be cackling all night. I was right. I also knew that he was going to suggest some “juices and berries” prescription or two for their ying and yang (if you get my drift) and share some tips from his Dr. Sebi lifestyle. I was also right.
HeyLuv was lit. On Saturday I hit up Hey Luv at what I believe to be their winter location – Barnett’s on Washington. Makes sense since they had the Bronson House patio on lock all summer long. The first Hey Luv of 2019 had to deal with that hawk. Though more folks than expected braved the bitter cold – the crowd wasn’t as robust as a typical HeyLuv crew. Oh, but what a difference 30 degrees Fahrenheit can make! Saturday night, HeyLuv was hittin’ like a scene from “Breakin’2: Electric Boogaloo!” I’m sad that I have to wait until the end of March for their next set, but I have a feeling deep down to my soul that it will be worth the wait.
Iced out of Will Downing. I was expecting to let y’all know about how I got every bit of my life from an extended live version of “Wishing on a Star,” Sunday night thanks to Will Downing’s show at Harris-Stowe. but Mother Nature has chosen the winter of 2019 to prove herself to be the most cruel of mistresses. First with Snowmagedden, then with the deep freeze and Sunday with the surprise slip-and-slide ice down. Cars were skating around like a toddler skating unattended around Steinberg Ice rink because of how we were caught off guard. Now I know folks felt a type of way that the show was cancelled, because by the time the show started the roads weren’t terrible. But I’m glad that the promoters put our safety ahead of their profits, because as we saw with Snowmagedden Jr. the last weekend in January, the roads could have easily become worse before they got better. The new date is March 23, so you don’t have to wait too long!
True’s soul. While I was sad that I’d have to wait for Will Downing, I was over the moon that the cancellation meant that I could check out a true vocal powerhouse. Get it? Probably not. Truenessia Combs sang the Signature Room stage down to the point where I could have sworn the mirrors on the wall behind her were shouting, “You better sing True!” It could have been the sparkly, bedazzled shapes of hosts Jazzy Ladies Rae and Monica, but whatever. Serving the late Queen of Soul realness with a strapless chiffon ball gown, Miss Aretha wouldn’t have been the least mad at True’s vocals either as she served up Chaka Khan, Jill Scott and more. You know you have the range if you have the one and only grand diva Denise Thimes groovin’ in her seat!