R.I.P. Rev. Demetrius Stewart. My heart aches that I have start off on such a sad note, but it wouldn’t be well with my soul if I didn’t send prayers and condolences to the family, friends, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers, church members and all the lives touched by Rev. Demetrius Stewart. You never want to see any life lost, but the senseless tragedy of losing someone so truly and completely innocent pierced me to my core. It’s hard to see such a wonderful family man snatched from his wife and children and a man of faith taken from his church community. I’m praying for Shantana and their family and all of Demetrius’ circle – including Westside Missionary Baptist Church. He was an upstanding man who touched the lives of everyone he encountered. And through his service-driven life, he made this region a better place. He will be missed – and never forgotten.
And the 2019 Young Leaders are…can we get a drumroll please, because I am about to announce our latest cohort of the 20 young movers and shakers that have made a name for themselves in our region. I know the suspense has been killing you, so I will go ahead and get to the big reveal of the class for the St. Louis American Foundation’s 9th Annual Salute to Young Leaders Awards and Networking Reception. Chiquita ‘Coach Chi’ Anderson, Crystal M. Carter, Cynthia Chapple, April T. Cole, Jami Ballentine Dolby, Evan W. Fowler, Jeremiah Giles, Shakia Gullette, Jennifer A. Haynes, Andrew Hubbard, Darryl T. Jones, Dan Lester, Diana Hill Mitchell, Cletra Peters, Ash Rohra Jr. Dominique Scott, Shar Smith, Ana Stringfellow, Felicia R. Williams and Nytilia Young. In my first draft of this item, I really tried to list everybody’s titles and positions – and quickly came to the realization that I would need a whole other Partyline to make that happen. They’ve done some amazing things to have not yet reached age 40. I’m sure plenty of y’all see a name you know, so show your support by toasting it up in their honor. Be sure to grace them with your presence on Thursday., Feb. 21 at The Four Seasons. The party gets started at 5:30 p.m. You’ve got two weeks to get your tickets, but I would suggest you make haste because it sells out every year. For more information, visit www.stlamerican.com or call (314) 533-8000.
Cheers to Tasha Fox and her Chick-fil-A. For those of you wondering why it was stop and go on Lindbergh last week, it was because my girl Tasha Fox – the first African American Chick-fil-A franchisee in the region – opened the doors of her Florissant store. Yes, the lines were long. But that wasn’t due to bad service. Come on now, you know the Chick-fil-A model must have been created by a team of Navy Seals. You will have placed your order, paid and received your food so quickly that it feels like blur. Her store was so packed because the folks came out in droves to show their support – and rightfully so. I’m so happy for her – though I’m not surprised that she’s making major moves.The sky is the limit for somebody who has the fortitude to win on “Survivor.”
No Sheryl Underwood for me. For the first time that I can remember since the comedy club has opened, I was not treated with the utmost hospitality when I hit up Helium to check out comedy veteran and talk show co-host Sheryl Underwood. Good thing my girl Jill Lovings was working that night and worked to get me some answers as to why I wasn’t allowed in – when as recent as Earthquake touching down during Snowmagedden a few weeks back, I was treated like family. In all fairness, I didn’t call ahead. But in all fairness to myself, I never do. I finally found out that Sheryl didn’t want any media at her show, but if Jill hadn’t assisted me, I would still be standing at the box office area watching a couple of associates be unbothered by my presence. Because Helium has been so kind to me for the past few years, I’ll charge this one to the game as an exception to the rule. As for Sheryl, I feel like she didn’t want her “too much for TV” routine considering her gig on “The Talk.” I don’t know why – everybody and their mama saw her on “Def Comedy Jam.”
FemFest 5 was fire. Can I just tell y’all about the black girl magic that went down this weekend at Fubar for FemFest 5? Women rappers, singers and musicians graced not one, but two stages to showcase the talent that we are blessed to have in this city. I must tell you that I got my life – and mostly by ladies I had never heard of before FemFest. We have some amazing talent flying under the radar. Big ups to FemFest for giving them some time to shine.
A blue light blast with Phi Beta Sigma. Snowmagedden meant that the men of Phi Beta Sigma had to hold off on their Shades of Blue Founder’s Day party – but it proved to be worth the wait. The Sigmas and their Zeta sisters had a grown folks get down Friday night at Polish Heritage Center that felt like a blue light basement party. DJ Len was hitting the folks with all the jams! Y’all know by now how much I love hitting up a spot and seeing the folks break out into a slow dance. Well imagine that and add all the folks in the place singing along at the top of their lungs. By the time “Very Special” came on, it sounded like a Sigma/Zeta community choir.
The Kappas kickin’ it wins continue. So, are the Kappas going to make throwing sold-out parties a monthly thing? I had yet to get their New Year’s Eve party with MC Lyte out of my head before they had the Machinist Hall on lean with crimson and cream Saturday night for their tailgate party. Now, I’ve been to the Machinist Hall when it was packed – but when I tell you that there was no more room up in there, understand how much I mean it. Mocha Latte, the evening’s hostess with the most(ess), had the energy on 10 – and it looked like she repurposed Damion “Super Ego” Mitchell’s bedazzled tuxedo jacket and made the cutest blouse. The turnup was so real, I’m eager to see what the Nupes have up their sleeves next. Actually, not even just the Nupes (see previous item for receipts). These Greeks of all ages are out here partying like it’s 1999 in these streets.
Time to wind down with Will Downing. That’s right, it is almost here. On Sunday you and your boo (that’s elderly slang for bae) can kick off your Valentine’s Day week with some smooth R&B. Will Downing will be headlining – and Lamont Hadley will be the featured special guest. I anticipate getting my life from them both. It’s happening at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10. Be sure to get your tickets…Metrotix at (314) 534-1111 or metrotix.com.