Y’all know by now that I typically cover the “who, girl, what and why” out here in these streets in the name of nightlife. But I feel like I need to take a moment to usher in the holiday season by showing love to two women in particular for paying it forward for Thanksgiving. I’ve mentioned Angela Brown and Nichol Stevenson more than once for the work as part of the Café Soul brand – this month’s edition of “Trap Soul Paint” was as twerktacular as usual Sunday night, by the way. But they showed me the reason for the season with their inaugural Thanksgiving dinner at The House of Soul that served those less fortunate with a hearty meal and some helpful donations on Thanksgiving Day. Hundreds were fed and given items to help them make it through what is already shaping up to be two pair of thermals-type of winter. And on top of that, the folks that I typically see turning up along with the parties, concerts and events held under the umbrella of the Café Soul brand sacrificed time that they could have been with their families by volunteering to make the event a success – and what I’m hearing will be an annual affair. Thanks for thinking of others, ladies – and giving folks who probably had never heard of Café Soul before Thursday afternoon. I would also like to shout out the Larry Hughes Foundation – and the volunteers who made the day possible.
Full Circle Funny with Jessie and Lavell. I will probably be accused of being too much in the holiday spirit to be my typical disgraceful self. But the streets were poppin’ in a way that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. The first event that gave me all kinds of feelings was seeing St. Louis’ own Lavell Crawford take the stage at the Laugh Lounge over Thanksgiving Weekend. I’m telling my age be revealing this, but I remember when Jessie Taylor was a student at Northwest High School with aspirations of making a life for himself in comedy. The Funny Bone gave him his introduction to the game – and one of the regulars at the time was, you guessed it, Lavell Crawford. Crawford went on to become a household name in comedy and Jessie Taylor welcomed him for a Thanksgiving weekend engagement at his very own club, The Laugh Lounge. If they both weren’t so hilariously disgraceful, they probably would have been raw emotional thinking about how special it was for Lavell to be a big time comedy star playing a stage in “The Lou” that is operating because of somebody who watched him come up in the game.
Black Friday with a Foxx. Nothing but death could have kept me from kicking it with my girl Tiffany Foxx for what seems like an annual Black Friday night of dime divas tearing the club up – while keeping it cute, of course. For 2018 she was at The Marquee and brought social media sensations The City Girls (who hail from Miami). Some of the baddest chicks came through to kick it, but Tiffany was the baddest of them all. Tif’s makeup artist Alexis must not be slept on, either. Girl, you do people’s faces and what not, but you are so snatched that you need to be in front of a camera as well as behind the scenes. The crowd wasn’t as thick as usual – mainly because this year might go on record as the most __________(insert new slang for crunk) Thanksgiving weekend on record – but it was still quite respectable. I was thrilled that I got to catch up with some of my favorites who came through to support Ms. Foxx – like the one and only Brooke Holladay, Jus Bleezy, his son Yung Dark and Laudie on Da Track. I had never seen Laudie with his hair grown out before, but I like it. Mainly because he was serving Miquel realness with that Menudo cut- and y’all already know how badly I have it for him. Speaking of bad chicks, I made my way to Mystic to see Trina perform her annual show there. It was cute enough and packed to the gills.
A reunion and a BLK Friday Holiday Party. I went out of my way to Clayton even though two parties were going down right next to each other downtown, but I’ll travel to the ends of the earth for the Koncepts, the Close To Famous Crew, Shadzilla and DJ Reminisce. That being said, I trekked over to Tani for “The Reunion – Celebrating The 2000s” set. My girl Jameelah El-Amin, who I hadn’t seen since the 2000s was there celebrating her birthday. And it looked like she stepped right out of a time machine that came from the 2000s. Girl, what is your secret? After that, I doubled-back downtown for Shift 58 and Create’s BLK Friday party at Pepper Lounge. I stepped in before I hit the highway and it was empty boots. I thought, “are Boone and ‘nem going to take an L for the first time in the longest?” By the time I made my second trip there, it went from almost nobody, to absolutely everybody – so the answer was no.
Glorious throwback Thanksgiving R&B get down. After turning up so tough on Friday night, I had to utterly drag myself to the Stifel Theatre Saturday night for the Thanksgiving Soul Jam. I’m so glad I powered through, because I had the time of my life grooving to the acts that usually only come together that deep on one of those slow jam music box sets they used to sell via infomercials after-hours on BET. Listen, if you have an aunt Beverly, Linda, Cheryl, Shirley, Barbara, Brenda or Maxine or an uncle Tyrone, Rufus, Grady or Jerome, chances are they were there accompanying each other in kitten heels and velvet pantsuits for her, and leather front sweaters with matching pants, brims and Stacy Adams for him. The show starred The Moments/Ray, Goodman and Brown, Enchantment, The Manhattans, The Dramatics and The Whispers. And every single one of them played no games when they hit the stage. And DJ Kut and DJ G Wiz were the ultimate dynamic duo on the tables before and in between acts. I knew from that rendition of “Gloria” that it was going to be glorious – and I was absolutely right. I think my favorite of the night was when LJ Reynolds and The Dramatics gave an R&B male group makeover to Snoop Dogg’s “Doggy Dogg World.” I enjoyed them thoroughly, but I really feel like Scotty and Walter of The Whispers need to come to a uniform consensus about their hair game. I know that it’s Scotty not being willing to let that unit go – but one of my favorite parts of watching them was not being able to tell them apart. This Steve Harvey before- and after- business is giving me the blues.
Packed out Poetic Justice. Yo, when I headed to the Ready Room Sunday night, I thought that I had my dates mixed up with whatever rising R&B starlet they were bringing through. They way folks were wrapped around that building reminded me of Queen Naija’s sold-out show a few weeks back. But all of them came through for the return of my boy Corey Black’s Poetic Justice spoken word/open mic set. I was so proud to see the type of support he received. It was genuinely a good night that showcased the great talent we have right here in the STL – and proved that our city is capable of supporting its own.