When I settled into my seat to catch the one and only Gladys Knight get it in with crooner Peabo Bryson as the appetizer, I knew my heart would be glad. I was right for more reasons than one. First off, was I the only one who didn’t know that Peabo played instruments? I mean, his voice is so silky smooth that it almost seems unfair that he can do other things too, but he can. Peabo brought that heat – and not only with “Feel The Fire.” From start to finish I got every bit of my whole entire life. I was looking sideways when he said he was going to do some new music – and the that side-eye evolved into a double roll with a twist when he said the title of the song was “All I Want to do is You.” But when he started playing it, I must admit it was a jam. When Gladys Knight took the stage in her red hot fire outfit and full-sized heels, I knew I was in for a show. Her voice wasn’t as pristine as it was the last time she came to town, but she still put on a show. Anybody that can work the stage like that in their 70s has earned my praise. I really enjoyed how she worked in newer music – like Sam Smith and Bruno Mars into her mix. She must love her some Bruno, because there was more than one nod to his musical catalog. I could tell the crowd wished that she had done a little less talking – mainly because they kept hollering every time she stopped singing. But I say, let a legend do her thing. And any excess chatter was forgiven by the time she got to “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The folks lost it. And that’s folks of all ages – from aunties on down.
Kickin’ it with Kehinde. When tell you that the folks at the Saint Louis Fashion Fund pulled off one of the most saucerific (yes, I made that word up) party experiences I’ve been to in a minute, trust me. They showed famed artist Kehinde Wiley some love following the opening of his exhibition “Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis” at the Saint Louis Art Museum with a haute after set. The who’s of the who’s who was in the place on this good evening – starting with Kehinde himself and his wonderful twin brother Taiwo. If I get to naming names, I know I will be in trouble. But let me tip my bun to Naretha Hopson for doing a mid-party wardrobe change. Girl, so we just changing entire looks at parties now ... that’s what we’re doing? Well, you win! I was shook with delight. Visual artists Damon Davis and Kevin McCoy and performing artists Duane Foster and TreG were on site as well. And I finally got a chance to congratulate Vincent Flewellen on his new gig over at Webster University. Don’t worry Vincent, Dr. Stroble loves us and won’t be mad that I shouted you out as one of the tastemakers who made Kehinde feel at home.
A classic boogie for Kut’s Big 5-0. Y’all know it was only right that I help the one and only DJ Kut ring in his big 5-0 at Boogie Nights on Saturday and I’m so glad I stopped through. He won’t be mad at me for telling his age – especially since he saw all the folks in the building who drove all the to Hollywood Casino to kick it with him. That’s the most packed its been in a minute. Plenty of his Radio One St. Louis team was in the place, including one of my faves Deevine Soundz!!!!
Big up to the book writers! It was by sheer happenstance that I ended up over at Exodus Gallery for the Bawse Collective presentation of The Bailey West Experience Saturday evening, but I’m so glad I ran into a friend who told me I needed to be there – just about anything my girl Melva Paden Moore endorses, I will try to support. I knew I was going to have a good time when I hit the door and saw the Love Jones Band doing their thing. I promise you I’ll never tire of hearing of them. I wish I could say the same about a few other bands who shall remain nameless. Wait, this is a positive post, so I dare not get petty. Let me shout out the wonderful folks I saw giving love to our local authors. Sharon, you always have my back when I’m at the Ambassador and I feel like telling you this right now. Okay, back to Bawse….Bailey West was getting showered by love and support by her family, friends and fans – and the event gave shine to rising local author Marlee Rae. I also saw fellow author Jo Lena Johnson and my girl Jody Squires on the scene.
Happy Nappiversery. The kinks, coils, twists, locs, curls and fros were front and center Saturday night as James Biko celebrated the 6th Anniversary of Supernatural at Urb Arts. Natural Uhuru was in the place – as was Erica B. of Healthy Hair Solutions. Listen, she slangs that Whisper Whip, let me tell you. And be sure to get you some if you come across her. Anyway, I also was pleasantly surprised by running into the Knuckles as I kicked it. Aloha is about the only woman in the world who can do the most as much as she does and have me love her all the more for it. Girl, you were rocking that Wonder Woman cape so tough that for a second (just a second) I considered working it into my Salute 2019 wardrobe.