Feb. 27, 2014
Olympic Medalist. Inspiration. Philanthropist. Native of East St.Louis, Illinois.
Jackie Joyner Kersee
Kersee has set platforms for young boys and girls to start their path in life. She shows us that persistence, education and determination can get you to the finish line if you want success and happiness! The amazing thing is she isn’t even finished yet! East St. Louis has been named one of the most dangerous cities to live in, in the United States…yet that didn’t stop Kersee. Never forgetting where she started her path in life, Kersee gives back to her hometown consistently.
Sports Illustrated voted her the greatest female athlete of the 20th century. Now let me as you again…Can Anything Good Come Out of St. Louis? Nah…I believe all great things can come from the Midwest!
“In addition to her remarkable accomlishments on the field of competition, Joyner-Kersee has defined her post-athletic career as a philanthropist, a dynamic public speaker, and a tireless advocate for children’s education, health issue, racial equality, social reform and women’s rights. In 1988, Joyner-Kersee established the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation as the vehicle through which she provides youth, adults and families with the resources to improve their quality of life.”
In Honor of Black History Month, STL Style, Thank you Jackie Joyner Kersee for making a believer out of me and other young women and men of not only St. Louis and East St. Louis but also all around the world. You are awesome and an inspiration to all. Your light has always shined and will forever shine in light of your beautiful spirit and legacy!
Feb. 25, 2014
Cedric Antonio Kyles
Kyles was born April 24, 1964, in Jefferson City, Missouri. He grew up with his father, Kitrell, his mother, Rosetta, and his sister, Sharita. Although Kyles was voted “most humorous” and “most popular” in high school, he wasn’t focused on comedy when he was a student. He once told Reel Images Magazine, “I wasn’t the class clown. My mom taught at the school district where I was being educated, so they weren’t going to allow for no class clown! She would have clowned me!”
In 1987, Kyles earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. He took a job at State Farm working on insurance claims; almost immediately after, he let a friend convince him to participate in a comedy competition in St. Louis. Kyles didn’t just do well—he won the whole thing. He held onto his job at State Farm for three years, all the while making comedy a bigger part of his life.
Kyles’ famous moniker, Cedric the Entertainer, was developed by chance. In order to fill up the time slots he was hired for, Kyles would sing songs, recite poetry and do anything else he could think of to supplement his lean but highly popular comedy material.
After telling the host at one venue to introduce him as an entertainer, not a comedian, he was introduced as “Cedric the Entertainer”—and he thought, “There it is, right there. I’ll take that one.”
Cedric the Entertainer. The Biography Channel website. 2014. Available at:http://www.biography.com/people/cedric-the-entertainer-17169484. Accessed Feb 25, 2014.
After watching Cedric The Entertainer’s growth, I believe it is obvious that we have to remember two things:
-In order to get to where you want to be, you have to work hard for it. Cedric worked at State Farm before he got his claim to fame. It is possible to roll out of the bed and say, “I will get my dream job today”, but that isn’t always the wisest route. I am pretty sure the fact that Cedric went through college and worked a ‘regular’ job, adds depth to his jokes, performance and is why we love him so much. He’s real!
-Creating your own lane is quite alrght. Cedric didn’t just settle for being a comedian but he said “I am a entertainer.” And that’s what he’s done ever since I was a child.
Thank you Cedric for paving the way for not only St Louisans to believe we can make it anywhere but also for anybody who has a need to succeed. In honor of Black History Month STL Style, Thank You.
Feb. 18, 2014
As I have been acknowledging greats from St. Louis, I have noticed a lot of the greats I mentioned were legendary before I was born or even thought of. It is great to learn about the people that paved a way for young people like me to continue the legacy. But what about those that are starting fresh?
What about the pioneers of today?
Several great people have crossed my mind from St. Louis that I’d love to acknowledge (and I have 10 more days of this series to do). Some I have already acknowledged (Marley, Blame Wiz, Aundrea, Gabrielle, Willie Moore Jr., Thelonius, Darris, Afton, K. Haze, and the list goes on).
But of course there is a plethora of STL talent and pioneers that I haven’t acknowledged just yet and Aloha Mi’Sho is one of them.
Just from following her on social media and her music on the radio and iTunes, I can see she is def an inspiration. Her ‘Girl Nation’ movement is really what grabs me. She is one female artist that I notice has the look, the sound and the utmost respect. We as females have been degraded for decades and Aloha exudes herself with so much class and beauty. St. Louis is known for being a rough city as far as when it comes to supporting one another. I want to put that stereotype to rest. There is so much talent here and so many great people, there is no reason why STL can’t show up and show out and take over.
Aloha Mi’Sho is one to bring young women together from Badd, Real Love Hotel
I just want to acknowledge Aloha for her talent, her realness, and her grind.
In Honor of Black History Month- STL Style,
Thank You Aloha for showing that our generation can be great if not greater than our past. Aloha is an exmaple that it is possible to build the next generation into an empire of achievers.
Feb . 14, 2014
According to blessedmommy.hubpages.com
Freda Josephine McDonald was born June 3, 1906, in St. Louis MO. She was a successful African-American that entertained her audiences as a dancer and singer.
She took the name, Baker, from her second husband, Willie, whom she married at the age of fifteen. The couple adopted twelve multi-racial children from around the world.
In the earlier 1920’s Josephine moved to New York and entertained and performed before traveling to Paris in 1925. France opened up its arms to her and she became increasingly popular among the French. She became a citizen of France in 1937 because she felt far less racial pressure than she had in the States.
She died on April 12, 1975, from complications of a brain hemorrhage.
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Take me in your arms
I want your tender charm
‘Cause I’m lonely
And I’m blue
I need you
And your love too
Come on and rescue me
Come on, baby, and rescue me
Come on, baby, and rescue me
‘Cause I need you by my side
Can’t you see that I’m lonely…”
Recognize those lyrics? You may have heard several artists cover it, or television commercials use it in their jingle to sell product..
These popular lyrics were sung by the famous Fontella Bass.
According to the New York Times,
Ms. Bass was born in St. Louis on July 3, 1940, and learned gospel at the side of her mother, Martha Bass, a member of one of the era’s major traditional gospel groups, the Ward Singers. From a young age she served as her mother’s pianist, but eventually, as an adolescent, got the itch to sing secular music. By the early 1960s she was playing with Little Milton, a blues guitarist and singer with links to the Chess label in Chicago.
After some early recordings with Little Milton’s Bobbin label in St. Louis, she joined Chess and released her first records on its Checker subsidiary in early 1965. The first two, “Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing” and “You’ll Miss Me (When I’m Gone),” duets with Bobby McClure, had modest success on the rhythm-and-blues charts. But her career was made by “Rescue Me,” released later that year.
Driven by a bubbly bass line, it featured Ms. Bass’s high-spirited voice in wholesomely amorous lyrics like “Come on and take my hand/Come on, baby, and be my man,” as well as some call-and-response moans that Ms. Bass later said resulted from a studio accident.
“When we were recording that, I forgot some of the words,” she told The New York Times in 1989. “Back then, you didn’t stop while the tape was running, and I remembered from the church what to do if you forget the words. I sang, ‘Ummm, ummm, ummm,’ and it worked out just fine.”
Ms. Bass made several hits. And even in a sense she showed us no matter what, do your best and shine. No one will know you made a mistake unless you acknowledge it. Until then you are flawless.
Feb. 11, 2014
According to biography.com
Born John Elroy Sanford on December 9, 1922, in St. Louis, Missouri.
African American comedian Redd Foxx achieved stardom with the hit 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son. He grew up in poverty. His father abandoned the family when Foxx was a young child. His mother was left to raise him and his older brother Fred on her own. Around the age of seven, Foxx discovered his knack for telling jokes.
Foxx never had much interest in school. According to the Los Angeles Times, he once said that “School meant nothing to me. Knowing that George Washington crossed the Delaware—how was that going to help me in a brick fight in St. Louis?” Foxx left home at the age of 13 to perform with a band. About four years later, he played with a group called the Bon Bons in Chicago.
Struggling to get by, Foxx worked a number of jobs. He spent some time in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. During this time, he met Malcolm X (then known as Malcolm Little). Malcolm called Foxx “the funniest dishwasher on this earth,” according to Foxx’s official website. The pair became friends and shared a similar ruddy complex. Malcolm was called as “Detroit Red” and Foxx was “Chicago Red” by their coworkers in the restaurant where they worked.
A lot of people who live in St.Louis, are interested in relocation. Obviously Foxx felt the need to. Do people need to leave their hometown to succeed? I don’t think so but I’m sure it adds ambition when you are away from home.
Feb. 10, 2014
Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919)
No the first african American millionaire, Madame CJ Walker, wasn’t born in St. Louis. She was actually born as a slave in 1867 in poverty-stricken rural Louisiana.
She married at age fourteen and her only daughter was born in 1885.
According to inventors.about.com,
“After her husband’s death she traveled to St. Louis to join her four brothers who had established themselves as barbers. Working as a laundrywoman, she managed to save enough money to educate her daughter, and became involved in activities with the National Association of Colored Women.
During the 1890s, Sarah began to suffer from a scalp ailment that caused her to lose some of her hair.
Embarrassed by her appearance, she experimented with a variety of home-made remedies and products made by another black woman entrepreneur, Annie Malone. In 1905, Sarah became a sales agent for Malone and moved to Denver, where she married Charles Joseph Walker.
Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower
Changing her name to Madame CJ Walker, Sarah founded her own business and began selling her own product called Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a scalp conditioning and healing formula. To promote her products, she embarked on an exhausting sales drive throughout the South and Southeast selling her products door to door, giving demonstrations, and working on sales and marketing strategies. In 1908, she opened a college in Pittsburgh to train her “hair culturists.”
Madame CJ Walker took risks, she had drive and did what it took to become legendary and fix her hair problems al at once.
“I got my start by giving myself a start.” – Madame CJ Walker
Feb. 9 , 2014
Johnny Little Jr., has made a big name for himself in the greater St Louis area!
According to the St Louis American Newspaper,
“He has two local firsts in broadcast journalism. He served as the first African-American executive news producer for KMOV, Channel 4, from 2002 in 2005. From 1996 until 2002. Little also served as the first African-American news producer at KTVI-Fox 2!”
E’Little Media Group is full-service advertising, public relations and marketing agency located in the Central West End.
“We make a science out of understanding a client’s unique brand,” said Johnny Little Jr., president.
“By coupling grassroots, in-the-trenches, hard work with today’s latest global marketing tools, E’Little launches ideas, build awareness and creates brand names.”
E’Little Media Group’s staff includes, former KSDK, channel 5 news anchor Jeff Small and former Ladue School District director of communications Kathy Reznikov.
“We work hard to deliver the best plan for your businesses, even if it means becoming a morning person, drinking entirely too much coffee, and eating meals in cars,” Little said.
“We do this because we believe in the work that we do for others. And we know that the greatest reward for our work is a job well done.”
Prior to starting E’Little Media Group, Little served as director of communications for St. Louis Public Schools district.
Little said of his firm, “We specialize in cutting-edge strategic creative solutions for the communication needs of evolving businesses.”
For more information, visit http://www.elittlemedia.com/.”
Feb. 8 , 2014
She plays everyone’s mother, aunt, best friend and more! Jenifer Lewis of St .Louis, MO has def made her mark in Hollywood. According to many sources,
“In 1987, Lewis was hired as the Pre-Show announcer on the Star Tours ride at Disneyland. In 1988, Lewis relocated to Los Angeles. In 1992, she was cast as one of the back-up singers to Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act. Goldberg sponsored several performances ofThe Diva Is Dismissed as a possible HBO series. In 1992 to 1993, she played Dean Davenport in the sixth and final season of A Different World. She also had a recurring role as Will Smith‘s Aunt Helen on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as well as stints on a few episodes of In Living Color, reprising several of her characters from her nightclub act. Also in 1993, she played the mother of Tupac Shakur‘s character in Poetic Justice.
In 1993 she played the role of Tina Turner’s mother in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It (film). In 1994, she followed with other supporting roles, including Mrs. Coleman the Unemployment Office lady in Renaissance Man and as Whoopi Goldberg‘s sister in Corrina, Corrina. In 1995, she was cast in maternal roles to Kadeem Hardison in Panther and toLarenz Tate in Dead Presidents before she accepted the role of a lesbian judge on the short-lived CBS series Courthouse. Lewis returned to the big screen as Theresa Randle‘s telephone sex line boss in Spike Lee‘s Girl 6. She then played Whitney Houston‘s character’s mother in Penny Marshall‘s The Preacher’s Wife.
In 1999, she starred in the made-for-TV film Jackie’s Back, a mockumentary about the struggling comeback of a diva in turmoil. She recently appeared in The Cookout, Nora’s Hair Salon, Shark Tale and Cars. She was in a few episodes of Friends as Monica Gellar‘s co-worker. Beginning in 2000, she played Lana Hawkins on the Lifetime television medical drama Strong Medicine, until the show ended in February 2006. She also had a recurring role as Veretta Childs (Toni’s mother) in the sitcom Girlfriends. In 2006, she had a featured role as the wedding planner in Tyler Perry‘s Madea’s Family Reunion, and also appeared in the film Meet the Browns.
In one episode of That’s So Raven she played the titular character’s maternal grandmother, who has psychic powers. “
Lewis was also a mother in one of my favorite movies, ‘ Baggage Claim’!!!! Love her!
Feb. 7, 2014
As a current college student and having many friends that are pursuing college or have already graduated, Lloyd Gaines caught my attention. We think tuition, scholarships and other funding is hard now in 2014. Think about going up against the Supreme Court!
According to Gateway Heritage Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 2, Fall 1987.
by the Missouri Historical Society:
“In Missouri higher
education for the growing black population was separate but clearly unequal. In 1936
Lloyd Gaines, a graduate of Vashon and Lincoln University, the black state university at
Jefferson City, sued after the state refused him admission to the University of Missouri
Law School. The NAACP took his case to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled
that Missouri had to provide a legal education for Gaines within the state. Rather than
admit Gaines to the existing white-only law school, the state established the segregated
Lincoln University School of Law in the Poro facility. A separate school, underfunded
and far removed from the state university law library would be inherently unequal.
Gaines’ attorneys saw this as a reason to press the case further and were disappointed
when Gaines opted not to pursue his education in Missouri.”
What would you do if you were in Gaines’ shoes? The type of mentality I have, I’d fight for the sake of all African Americans equality, but I think I’d also refuse education in Missouri after that situation. It’s a bit unsettling, especially how tense race issues were back then. I applaud those who faught for us and paved the way for us to have options in life rather than being barracaded into unskilled jobs that won’t give us talent to advance. Instead we have opportunity to advance ourselves, thanks to those before us who took a stand.
“The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which had supported Gaines’ suit, planned to file another suit challenging the adequacy of the new law school. While he waited for classes to begin, Gaines traveled between St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago looking for work, doing odd jobs and giving speeches before local NAACP chapters. One night in Chicago he left the fraternity house where he was staying to buy stamps and never returned.
His disappearance was not noted immediately, since he would frequently travel on his own for long periods of time without informing anyone. Only in the autumn of that year, when the NAACP’s lawyers were unable to locate him to take depositions for a rehearing in state court, did a serious search begin. It failed, and the suit was dismissed. While most of his family believed at the time that he had been murdered in retaliation for his legal victory, there has been some speculation that he had tired of his role in the civil rights movement and simply went elsewhere, either New York or Mexico City, to start a new life. In 2007 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agreed to look into the case, among many other unsolved missing persons cases related to the civil rights era.
Despite his unknown fate, Gaines has been honored by the University of Missouri School of Law and the state. The Black Culture Center at the University of Missouri and a law scholarship at the law school are named for him and another African American student initially denied admission, and in 2006 he was granted an honorary law degree. The state bar association followed with a posthumous law license. A portrait of Gaines hangs in the University of Missouri law school building.”
Bob Gibson, 1st African American Baseball Player to be named World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals!
According to St. Louis Post Dispatch and numerous other sources,
“Robert “Bob” Gibson (born November 9, 1935) is a retired American baseball pitcher who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1975). Nicknamed”Gibby” and “Hoot”, Gibson tallied 251 wins, 3,117 strikeouts, and a 2.91 earned run average (ERA) during his career. A nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, he won two Cy Young Awards and the 1968 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. In 1981, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Cardinals retired his uniform number 45 that same year and inducted him into the team Hall of Fame in 2014.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Gibson overcame childhood illness to excel in youth sports, particularly basketball and baseball. After briefly playing under contract to both the basketball Harlem Globetrotters team and the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Gibson decided to only continue playing baseball professionally. Once becoming a full-time starting pitcher in July 1961, Gibson began experiencing an increasing level of success, earning his first All-Star appearance in 1962. Gibson won two of three games he pitched in the 1964 World Series, then won 20 games in season for the first time in 1965. Gibson also pitched three complete game victories in the 1967 World Series.”
Gibson overcame some illnesses as a child but he didn’t let that stop him from what he wanted to do. He is not actually from St. Louis but he definitely developed that Show Me State mentality that us St. Louisans have! Thank you Mr. Gibson for showing that pursuing your dream can take you beyond expectations!
Feb 5, 2014
Meet Belinda Bond,
St. Louis Native (specifically Kinloch, MO). Having familiarity with Bond’s daughter, the talented and highly recognized makeup artist, Alexandra Butler, I knew that having a chance to speak with Bond would be inspiring. “I am here to inspire young people to take the torch and run with it,” says Bond.
Belinda Bond is the principal partner and founder of The Belinda Bond Connection LLC – a consulting firm specializing in opening doors and gaining traction to C- level executives and gatekeepers within Fortune 500 companies.
It is obvious that Bond is a phenomenal woman, but I actually was drawn to her for another achievement.
Bond holds the title for First African American woman to sell a line of jewelry at JCPenney! Bond introduced the First National African American Jewelry Line, ‘African American Heritage Collection: Legacy of Achievers.’
Bond’s jewelry line featured great legendary women of the African American culture such as Harriet Tubman and Madame C.J. Walker. “My jewelry line was created for young people to see that, hadn’t it been for them we wouldn’t be where we are today. Though, persistance, persistance, persistance is what it took not only for me to get in the door at JCPenney, but also to be featured in the JCPenney Magazine,” Bond says.
Acknowledging her excellence, Bond has been recognized by great people such as Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Pearly Evans, Essence Magazine, Time Magazine, Black Enterprise, St. Louis American, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and more!
Did you know?
-Belinda (Smith) Bond was the first Debutant Ball Queen in Kinloch Missouri 1971.
-BB is a Corporate Executive turned Domestic Goddess Entrepreneur who worked on the ATT MaBell Breakup in New York City 1981.
-BB was catalyst for Dr. Bill Cosby Call Out Forum in St Louis speaking after him on What’s Next? (Met Cosby at 1:45am at St. Louis Ritz Carlton) 🙂
-BB hosted Celebrity Nate Parker’ The Great Debaters film screening in St Louis at the Ritz Carlton speaking to inner City / Disadvantaged children and their parents.
-BB has spoken to more than 100,000 teens around the country on “Character: Choices and Consequences!”
-BB received the Madame CJ Walker Award, St Louis Sentinel “Yes I Can” and the New Millenium Woman and many others.
-BB was featured on cover story Japanese Asahi Shimbun Newspaper called “An Amercan Cinderella Story,” Joseph Pulitzer St Louis Post Dispatch “Black Business Women Make Their Own Success,” St. Louis American Newspaper “Bond Lands Deal with JC Penney” etc
“It was “consistent persistence” doing the next right thing and leaving the results to God!”
For more info and business inquiries visit belindabond.com and tell her
The Wire Hanger by Winnie sent you!
Belinda Bond thank you for pacing the way for aspiring entrepreneurs
and paving the way! You are definitely an inspiration!
born in St. Louis, MO as Robert Peter Williams, with the honor of being apart of 96 sitcoms/films. According to IMBd, “There was some controversy when he replaced the original Phantom (Michael Crawford) in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera”. Some tickets were returned to protest his selection as lead actor even before his first performance. His run was none the less popular with audiences and critics.”
Did you know?
-He is best known by the public for his starring role as the title character in Benson (1979).
–He is the first African-American actor to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Benson. As of 2013, he is the only African-American to win that award.
I have something for you to do in honor of Black History Month and also for Mr. Guillaume, check out his star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame!
And if you have kids, point out that Mr. Guillaume is the voice of Rafiki of Lion King, Dr. Parker on Disney’s The Proud Family, Star Trek and more!
Thank you Robert Guillaume for creating a platform for actors, actresses and even those involved in spoken word! Amazing!
Feb. 3rd, 2014
Maya Angelou, poet, playwright, was born April 4th, 1928 in St.Louis, MO.
Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most influential voices of our time. Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.
Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. According to mayaangelou.com, in Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.
Did you know?
-Maya Angelou was San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor.
-As a single mother, Maya managed to tour Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess in 1954 and 1955.
-In 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady.
-In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.
-In 1960, Dr. Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as 1961- she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.
With the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.
I am in awe of Maya Angelou and everything she has done. Of course the list goes on but she was a woman who took risks and made a difference. She is a successful legendary woman from my hometown, St. Louis MO where there are plenty of naysayers. But obviously, those negative voices didn’t effect Dr. Angelou. There are many many others who made a difference in Black History, as a woman, single mother and native of St. Louis, MO, Maya Angelou is definitely an inspiration for me.
Thank You Maya Angelou for paving the way!
6 thoughts on “In Honor of Maya Angelou | The Greats of St. Louis”
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