Young Leaders was lit. I tried to tell y’all. Those who came through know that everyone at the Four Seasons last Thursday for the St. Louis American Foundation’s 9th Annual Salute to Young Leaders got their whole entire life. We were inspired to honor our ancestors by my spirit animal Rebeccah Bennett. When she blows up on a global scale, please remember that I have been caping for her since 2007. There are certain people who we often refer to as “life savers” – well, Rebeccah is a “life changer.” But back to Young Leaders. As we honored the 20 under 40 that made up the 2019 class of Young Leaders, I was inspired by the list of contributions – both in their professional lives and through service – that illustrate how they are shaping the region. They are surely on the path to even bigger and better things. I also received fashion inspiration from the head-to-toe snatched folks, both honorees and guests, who were in the building. I would take Jami Ballentine Dolby’s makeup and pair it with Nikki Bolden’s outfit, featuring that glorious pet-able shrug, and Cynthia Chappele’s chunky black platform shoes. Nikki’s ensemble was life top-to-bottom as it was, because she stays slaying on the fashion tip. I also loved Coach Chi’s black dress. I don’t want to go too deep into pointing out all the lewks – because this entry would never end. Let me just say that the entire sixth floor was filled with ladies who know how to dress and accessorize and classic men that would put Jidenna to shame. Too bad for anyone who missed it. You’ll have to wait until next year. Hopefully those shrimp that had the folks lined up for the entire reception portion like they were waiting for TVs at Wal-Mart on Black Friday will make their glorious return in 2020. Oh, and let me just give a shout out to Dr. Diana Mitchell for rocking those Jordan Retro 11 Concords as your maternity shoes with your black dress. I would totally jack your third trimester look if this baby factory weren’t shut down.
Neck and neck for Beyonce vs. Rihanna. When I headed to Trefftpunkt for DJ Hood Bunny’s Versus Party featuring Beyonce going up against Rihanna, I thought I knew King Bey was going to come out the clear winner. In full disclosure, I ride more with the Bey Hive than I do with the Navy because Beyonce and I are secretly the same age. I say that with no shade to Ri-Ri, because she keeps some jams on deck. But after seeing the young creatives kick it like it was 1999 whenever the beat dropped for both divas, I’m not so sure. Can I say before I get good and started that I am so glad that I finally found Trefftpunkt? It’s in the basement of a church sanctuary – so it felt more like I was headed to a stop on the Underground Railroad than a dance party. But once I got down there, it was on and cracking. I wasn’t packed to the gills – which was a good thing, because the folks were using every bit of the space to break it on down. I love to see folks dancing like nobody’s watching. But I love it even more when people dance like “everybody watch me nail this choreography, girl.” These random folks had the kick-ball-changes, the twerks, high kicks and hand claps in order, honey. And here I was thinking I was doing something by knowing how to do the “Josephine Johnny” dance and shoulder shrug from “Single Ladies.” I had a ball watching these folks and was on YouTube in the middle of the night trying to get my dance combo knowledge game together.
A stellar night of soul searching with Chrisette Michele and company. I know she’s been persona non grata for a good little while for deciding to play for Trump – who ultimately ended up playing her. But Chrisette Michelle and the sickening back up band featuring St. Louis musicians made for my favorite Night of Soul Searching concert to date Saturday night at The Ready Room. I’m always nervous when somebody tries to cover Bobby Womack, but that rising southern soul star Bird Williams (straight outta Memphis) would have had Bobby co-signing from glory if he heard his rendition of “A Woman’s Gotta Have It.” That tone and that southern gruff was absolutely everything. Saxmo and Music Unlimited got it as usual. Anytime somebody does Mint Condition, it makes my night. And let me say that while all the musicians were jamming,’ the drummers decided that they were going to snatch the spotlight on this good Saturday. Freddy Spencer for Music Unlimited and Thomas Paden during Chrisette Michele’s set got it all the way in. Chrisette was so shook by Thomas that she stopped singing to give him a solo. Now she has to have heard some of the best drummers in the world over the course of her career. But Thomas left an impression, do you hear me? And, he has the nerve to be barely grown. Now that I’ve said what I said about the musicians, let me get to the woman of the hour. Chrisette looked amazing in her little neutral colored shrug and matching headwrap with some jeans. And she sounded even better. She sang all of my favorite hits – and let my boy Melvin Moore get it in during a bass solo that was life. I’ve seen Chrisette four or five times and she has never looked or sounded as good as she did Saturday. And can we talk about the Ready Room Greater St. Louis Community Choir that got crackin’ when Chrisette asked for audience participation during her cover of Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise.” Y’all be saingin!
Will Downing is on the way. I thought I would take a moment to remind y’all that the Will Downing show that the weather would not allow to be great is on its way back to town. He’ll be back on Saturday, March 23 at Harris-Stowe’s Main Auditorium thanks to Breakaway Productions & Witherspoon Entertainment. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. For those who don’t already have tickets from the last show (which are still good), or for more information, visit www.metrotix.com.