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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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