Life has a way of helping us keep things in perspective. If we aren’t cynical and listen to its lessons, hopefully we can learn and grow. For months, a high school friend was preparing for me to come back to St. Louis, not far from my hometown, for a book signing party.
You can imagine how excited I was when she told me the event would be held at one of city’s iconic locations: Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust, the restaurant featured on the OWN reality show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s. My marketing mind kicked into high gear with ideas to promote the event. The last thing I wanted was to arrive with lots of fanfare only to find three people in line!
I was happy and humbled when old friends from high school, new friends from social media, my entire immediate family including my nephews, nieces and cousins, people from my old neighborhood who know more about me than I care to think about, Tom Joyner Morning Show listeners and Sweetie Pie’s proprietor, the legendary Miss Robbie, showed up to support me.
The love I was shown was overwhelming – from people who I knew could have put that $20 to buy my book toward all kinds of other things – to my niece, a recent high school graduate, actually videotaping me signing her copy.
Coming back home can be daunting. I’ve heard stories of people who’ve achieved certain levels of success who are made to feel less than special when they return home to visit the people who “knew them when.”
I owe so much to the village that shaped and prepared me for adulthood and a career first as a teacher, then a morning radio personality on WGCI in Chicago, to the senior producer of the Tom Joyner Morning Show and now, as a best-selling author.
It had been many years since I’d been back in St. Louis and more specifically, the suburb of Rock Hill, Missouri. I took a quick tour through the old neighborhood to take photos of the park named for my dad, former mayor Kennard Whitfield, stopped at my favorite pizza joint and visited our old family house. It brought so many fond memories flooding back. Though everything was smaller than I remembered, the smiles and hugs were bigger than ever.
Now it feels surreal that while I was my getting hair and makeup done for the book signing and looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends, just a few miles away, a young man was gunned down by police.
His death sparked protests, rioting, looting and lots of unanswered questions about the fate of Black teenagers at the hands of law enforcement in this country.
Yep, things are in perspective now.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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