February may be over but the celebration continues! Here are some Black Owned businesses for you to check out. I will leave an asterisk symbol (*) beside places I can give insight on. Think of it as your little black book, a directory to support your own.
Food and Beverages
The Bistro Memhis
2945 Millbranch Road Memphis, TN 38116
The HM Dessert Lounge*
1586 Madison Ave Memphis, 38104
Mot & Ed’s
1354 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104
412 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
288 S 4th Street Memphis, TN 38126
The Office at Uptown
594 N 2nd Street Memphis, TN 38105
Slice of Soul
1299 Madison Ave. Memphis, TN 38104
3279 Kirby Parkway Memphis, TN 38115
Mike's Hot Wings*
6825 Winchester Road Memphis, TN 38115
97 N. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
Bluff City Crab*
6075 Winchester Road Memphis, TN 38115
D. Arthur’s Catering*
901-300-0026 (Desmond A. Robinson)
106 GE Patterson Ave Memphis, TN 38103
Phillip Ashley Chocolates*
798 Cooper Street Memphis, TN 38104
MaKeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies (2 locations)
2370 Airways Blvd Memphis, TN 38114
Sweets by Chan
Contact Via Facebook and Instagram
ElectroLyfe Juice Bar
4466 Elvis Presley Blvd Suite 164, Memphis, TN 38116
Applesauce Bartending *
PO Box 16465 Memphis, TN
I have included the flyer for Memphis Black Restaurant Week. There are some Black owned restaurants on the flyer that aren't listed on the blog. Also, I will add the link to the website so that you may get all the details for what will be taking place during the week.
Goods and Services
City Tasting Tours*
Xpressive Designs 101
BeLeaf Cigar Lounge
4593 Elvis Presley Blvd Memphis, TN 38116
A. Lever Studio
Kinetics Media Group*
Facebook Unexpected Film
Corinthia Denise Fair Enterprise
(Real Estate & Credit Repair)
One Stop Taxes DL
1138 Germantown Pkwy Ste. 101-284 Cordova, TN 38016
Marie's Goods and More
The Elephant Ear- Green Thumb Services
D&F Hilltop Liquors*
3277 Kirby Parkway Memphis, TN 38115
Taylor Amoco (Taylor Brothers Petroleum)
1393 Mississippi Blvd Memphis, TN 38106
South Memphis Farmers Market
(Black Farmers Come to Sell Their Produce)
1400 Mississippi Blvd Memphis, TN 38106
Tri State Bank (3 Locations)
Main Office 180 South Main Memphis, TN 38103
Hair, Nails, and Skin
425 N Watkins Street Memphis, TN 38104
Gifts from Nature
80 Tillman St. Ste. 108 Memphis, TN 38111
Makeup by Paris Chanel *
Flawlessly Fierce Cosmetic Services by Heather Boddie
Beautifully Blended 901 by Kellee Miller
Glam Me Up Kena by Shekena Robinson
MakeUp By Dr. Nikki*
Instagram @dr_nikkiedwards @dr_nikki_makeup
Maddie's Minks by Andrea Teal
Natural Hair Affair* (Book Caresse)
2869 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN 38111
KleSure Hair Studio
1200 Sycamore View Ste. 102 Memphis, TN 38134
Forever Young Beauty Bar
750 N Germantown Pkwy Suite 110 Memphis, TN 38018
D'Stinguished Hair Extensionz
Polish Girl Nail Café
2852 Poplar Ave Memphis, TN 38111
September Nail Salon*
2101 Merchants Row #1 Memphis, TN 38138
Wonderfully Made Beauty Supply*
8952 Mid S Drive Olive Branch, MS 38654
Starlings of Memphis Volleyball Club
This organization provides young girls from all socioeconomic
backgrounds the opportunity to play volley ball.
The S.O. What! Foundation*
This organization helps youth overcome obstacles and eliminate excuses
by providing hope, love, support, encourage, direction, and training.
Memphis Urban League Young Professionals*
This organization is a service oriented leadership organization promoting
the development of young professionals and serving their affiliates
through social and community actions.
This organization is a development organization for
high school and college students in the Mid-South.
This organization educates, promotes awareness, and provides a positive
outlet for individuals who have become prisoners to issues and roadblocks.
Perfectly Me & Proud LLC.
This organization is committeed to eradicating stigma and low self-steem
in women by embracing, educating, and empowering the total woman.
Facebook and Instagram @Perfectly Me & Proud
901 Natural Cutie
This organizations mission is to promote positive images, people
and activities in the African American community.
Cynthia Daniels & Co.
This organization creates events for urban professionals.
The Connoisseurs of Chic TCOC Shop
Collections by T. Dish
A.J.'s Luxe Wear
With 10 more days left in Black History Month(Including today)we still have time for many more celebrations. Memphis is filled with history so, I wanted to share ways to really embrace and indulge in the culture!
Places to Visit
The museum that showcases 260 artifacts and interactive media covering five centuries of African American history, The National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is Located at the Lorraine Motel
Learn more about slavery when you visit one of the Underground Railroads safe haven stops for slaves on their way to freedom, Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum is housed inside the historic Burkle Estate that was owned by a German immigrant apart of the anti-slavery movement.
Now, at first I wasn't too sure about this one. I have always just walked straight passed this place because I wasn't certain what information it held but according to the website The Cotton museum will tell the complex history of cotton and it's contributions to the city. Let me know how it goes!
Take a trip Downtown and check out the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery located on Bale street. View photos taken by the legendary Dr. Ernest C Withers who was a trained military photographer and one of the first nine African Americans appointed to the Memphis Police Department. His collection features life during the Civil Rights movement, the 20th century, and present day.
Celebrate musician greats like B.B. King, W. C. Handy, Isaac Hayes, Hank Crawford and research the impact Memphis has had on music by going to the Blues Hall of Fame, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum or W.C. Handy Home and Museum.
blues.org/ staxmuseum.com/ www.sunstudio.com/
Events to Attend
Panel Discussion: From '68 to '18: Perspectives on Memphis
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Stax Museum of American Soul Music 926 E McLemore Ave., Memphis, TN 38106
Cafe Conversations: Black Resistance
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Brooks Museum 1934 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
Memphis Urban League of Young Professional February General Body Meeting
Have We Overcome: What Would King Say?
Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
University of Memphis Center 499 University Street, Memphis, TN 38111
Free admission but you do have to register. Link Provided below.
Black art ish
Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:30 PM - 11:30 PM
430 N Cleveland St., Memphis, TN 38104
Selma: A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Friday, February 23, 2018 - March 18, 2018 @ 7:30 PM
Hattiloo Theatre 37 S. Cooper St. Memphis, TN 38104
Tickets may be purchased through the link provided below.
T.I. VS Big K.R.I.T. Listening Party
Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge 1299 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
RSVP required for admission. Link provided below.
MLK50: I AM A MAN March
Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
City of Memphis 125 N. Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103
Link below has more information.
A Tour of Tasteabilities: Black History + Food Tasting Tour
Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 9:45 PM 1:45 PM
119 N Riverside Dr., Memphis, TN 38103
Tickets may be purchased through the link provided below or Call 901-527-3427 to book.
Dream of a Land: An Evening of Art, Poetry, and Music
Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Art Village Gallery 410 S. Main St., Memphis, TN 38103
Tickets may be purchased through the link provided below.
Champagne Brunch and Hattiloo Play- SELMA
Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
HM Dessert Lounge 1586 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
Tickets may be purchased through the link provided below.
Black History Month Celebration
Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
National Civil Rights Museum 450 Mulberry st., Memphis, TN 38103
Adults: $16, Seniors & Students w/ ID: $14, Children 5-17: $13, Children 4 and under: Free
Members, Active Military: Free
Tickets may be purchased at the Museum.
Music of the Movement: Stax Music Academy Black History Month Show
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 @ 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
The University of Memphis Rose Theater 470 University Place Memphis, TN 38111
$20 Advanced tickets and $25 tickets at the door. Tickets may be purchased through the link provided below or Call 901-946-2535 Ext. 250.
GO SEE BLACK PANTHER!!!
I've seen people ask what the hype was or say that they aren't really interested in seeing it but I say it is a must see. Not only is it an amazing movie but it is a positive depiction of our people. It is motivational and inspiring with so many messages to give. The kids will love it, have multiple positive figures to aspire to be, and you DON'T have to be a Marvel fan to understand the movie! Also, It is an all black cast, black director, and paying homage to the culture! So, the question that should really be asked is why not support?!
Let's try harder to be positive, support, and spread love. We tend to always jump to see the negative or judge and that takes away from the purpose of things!
It 's Black Excellence Month and what better way to celebrate than to highlight some of our very own in the city.
This blog is dedicated to those beautiful magicians we call Makeup Artist! The ones who enhance our gorgeousness to a level of celebrity red carpet glamour when we need it most.
These women are some of the best in Memphis and you should definitely check them out when you're looking for a good beat. Now, my intentions were to have this out a week before Valentine's Day but I failed. I had good intentions though! BUT Maybe you're celebrating this weekend and still need an appointment or you're already thinking about someone to do makeup for prom season. Whatever the case may be these ladies will eliminate the random makeup artist who can't get your shade right.
Personal, passionate, and skillful these MUA's are who you want to see.
Heather Boddie, Flawlessly Fierce!
Heather Boddie or HB as I used to call her, of "Flawlessly Fierce Cosmetic Services" is a 27-year-old Memphis native who started her journey with makeup at the young age of 13! Although her journey began at a young age she didn't decide to turn her passion for makeup into a profession until 2013 when she realized that it was her gift.
"Everyone has a special gift and it is our duty to share it with the world. Mine is the ability to enhance people’s natural beauty and help bring out the most confident version of themselves. So, I founded Flawlessly Fierce with that very purpose - to uplift women’s self-confidence by enhancing their natural beauty." Heather has a true passion for what she does and loves to gain new clients. She believes that makeup is not a necessity but more so a beauty accessory.
Let Heather share her gift with you by booking your makeup needs with her! Book an appointment with Heather by following her makeup page on Instagram @flawlesslyfierce_ and clicking the link in her bio, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 901.843.8757.
LaTisha Edwards, MakeUp By Dr. Nikki!
LaTisha Edwards of "MakeUp By Dr. Nikki''. Now my story for LaTisha is going to be a little different. Last August I did my first photo shoot and I was nervous about everything. I don't really wear makeup so, of course, I don't know how to apply it and knew I needed a makeup artist. I decided last minute to take my chances with Sephora. It was risky I know but it also gave me a chance to shop and that's really why I took the risk. Now, although I don't wear makeup much I know the horrors of getting the wrong makeup artist so after I made my appointment I actually prayed for someone that would make me look like an Egyptian Goddess(Exact Words). I arrived at my appointment and was greeted by a beautiful melaninated face! She was so full of personality and I knew I was in the right hands! LaTisha asked me what looked I was going for and I informed that I wanted to look like an Egyptian Goddess created by Fenty Beauty products (I LOVE RIH). LaTisha replied "Oh, that's my specialty. I got you" and the end results are above. I was so impressed with my makeup and DID NOT want to take it off. It helped me decrease my worry about how I would do at the photo shoot and added to making my experience a memorable one. Born and raised in Memphis, TN LaTisha (Nikki) started doing makeup in 2011 but started at Sephora in 2013. If you're going to go to Sephora I encourage you to go her location in Saddle Creek. be sure to follow her makeup pages @dr_nikkiedwards, @dr_nikki_makeup, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call 901-337-8247.
Kellee Miller, Beautifully Blended 901!
Kellee Miller of "Beautifully Blended 901" is a 25-year-old Memphis native who also started her journey with makeup at the young age of 13. It all started when Kellee was required to wear blush and lipstick as a dancer, she was infatuated with creating looks as a teenager and it later prompted her to start her own business. Officially starting her business five years ago Kellee now does makeup for clients with photo shoots, weddings, birthdays, or any other occasion that requires a little more glamour. She enjoys the creative aspect of doing makeup and the confidence her clients gain after their appointment. "It's amazing to me to see the boost in their ego once I finish. I also enjoy the creativity that comes with doing makeup. It might seem easy but the details take years to master and understand." I would have to definitely agree! Makeup is an art and these ladies are true artist! Everybody isn't blessed with the ability to blend, shade and match. Go get beautifully blended by going to see Kellee for your next makeup need. You may book your appointments with Kellee by following her on Instagram @justxdope_. Direct Message(DM) her for questions and appointments.
Shekena Robinson, Glam Me Up Kena!
Shekena Robinson of "Glam Me Up Kena" is a 27-year-old Germany born army brat who grew up in Memphis, TN. She has always done her own makeup but it quickly turned into a hobby when others started to ask her to do their makeup and then that hobby turned into a career choice. Two years ago Kena decided to start doing makeup professionally so, she started Glam Me Up Kena. Shekena loves creating new looks for the different functions her clients have going on and she knows just how much of a difference the stroke of her makeup brush can make. The smiling faces of her clients after adding that "extra sparkle" that makeup gives is always a confirmation of a job well done. "What makes me passionate about makeup is being able to see other's smiles after being made over. And No a person doesn't need makeup to look better but it does add an extra sparkle to a person's life in those moments."
Check out Kena's website by clicking on the link provided.
You may also book appointments on her website and by following her on Instagram @kenalovesglam_416. Allow Glam Me Up Kena to add a little more sparkle to your life.
BONUS: Andrea Teal, Maddie's Minks!
If you are ever in need of a Lash Expert please check out Andrea Teal of "Maddie's Minks"! Follow her on Instagram @maddies_minks or contact her at 901-585.3073.
All of these beauties are very passionate about what they do and all mentioned how they believe makeup to be an art, a tool used to enhance the beauty that their clients already possess. Support them by following their pages, liking their post, telling a friend about them, or making an appointment!
Back in the summer of 2017 I came across a redevelopment project called Memphis 3.0. This redevelopment project was created to operate around connectivity, livability, sustainability, and opportunity within the 14 districts that Memphis is divided into. The project is a two year plan that started it’s initial 5 phase process on November 30, 2017. The plan consist of each district going through the 4 different phases and phase 5 being put into action in January of 2019.
Phase I begins with the Planning Process. During these sessions there will be research of existing conditions and public meetings used to ask residents what they value about Memphis and what should be improved. There will be technical committees formed to prioritize research in specific fields and planning areas. Phase II focuses on developing future goals that have been set. Phase III will consist of four public meetings used to determine a path that continues to drive forward the city's population and development. This phase asks questions such as "What are the trade-offs for different population, employment, and housing increases, and what are the trade-offs associated with different growth strategies?” according to the project's website. Phase IV will last approximately 9 months and will involve members of the 3.0 team to spend 10 weeks in each of the 14 districts. During these 10 weeks a series of workshops, neighborhood tours and presentations will occur at various community spaces. By the end of the District Planning phase, there will be 14 Community Character plans that will form the Comprehensive Plan, with designated areas for projects and initiatives assigned. The hope is that by 2019 our city will have a plan for the neighborhoods, opportunity for all, special quality of life, walkable/bikable communities connected by effective transportation options, smart use of our land, strong connections between places and people, and more.
For more information or ways to get involved please visit the Memphis 3.0 website.
I know there is a lot of talk of gentrification and some dislike for Mayor Strickland however, all of the moves that I have seen made have been public knowledge. We have been given the opportunity to be involved in the decisions being made within the city. I encourage you all to sign up for the Mayor's weekly e-mail list, follow City officials on social media, follow these city and state pages, send messages to them, write letters, attend these public meetings, ask questions, and hold these people accountable. If there is a change to be made we have to demand that they make it, even if that means electing new officials. If you're not sure how to find these events or meetings please let me know. Facebook has an event section that will allow you to express interest in all types of events going on within the city and it keeps a calendar with all of your interest posted. Also, there is a School Board Business Meeting today at 160 S. Hollywood St. Memphis, TN 38112 @ 5:30 pm! Let's make Memphis the city we need and want it to be!
Hey Loves!! I hope all is well!
I know It's usually a top 5 but I've seen a lot of things happening that I felt I needed to share so, here they are!
Rock Climbing Gym
A Chattanooga based company is planning to build a 9 million, 32,000 square foot rock climbing facility behind Christian Brothers High School. There will be a 52 foot indoor wall, 40 feet tall outdoor wall, and a kids climbing area. The facility will include a cardio room, weight room, yoga, and a spin class.
The Cook Convention Center
The City of Memphis has officially filed a construction permit for redevelopment of the Cook Convention Center that is set to start Quarter 1 of 2018 and wrap up Quarter 4 2019. Mayor Strickland announced the plans for this project but the final say comes from the approval of Memphis City Council. The 175 million dollar expansion and renovation is said not include any City of Memphis general funds or capital improvement program funds.
The southwest corner of Union and McLean is getting a new tenant. 1835-1837 Union Avenue will soon become home to "The Citizen" and some new retail shopping. The four level design will have 175 apartments, about 26,500 square feet of retail space, and 363 parking spaces. The ground breaking ceremony for the structure happened on Thursday January 4, 2018.
Memphis International Airport
Let the renovations begin! Concourse B is scheduled for complete shut down by March for a three year renovation project, leaving Delta and southwest operating out Concourse A, and Allegiant, American, & United operating out of concourse C. The 214 million dollar modernization of the 55 year old concourse is said to produce higher ceilings, more natural lighting, wider corridors, new concessions, additional moving walkways, new baggage carousels, and other amenities. The modernization of concourse B will move all airline operations to gate B, have gates A and C closed, but retained for future growth. Check out Flymemphis.com for the complete break down of the reconstruction and it's timeline.
Slice of Soul
New Restaurant Alert! Slice of Soul is the Medical District's latest addition featuring pizza, wings, and sandwiches. The restaurant is located at 1299 Madison Ave in the Madison Heights neighborhood. The lounge style restaurant will have live music four evenings each week with karaoke on Wednesday nights. Owners Anthony Latiker and Howard Bell grew up in Memphis' Westwood neighborhood and were graduates of TSU. They have come back home with great expectations for the growth in the City and to invest in the Memphis community. The grand opening for the restaurant was Thursday, January 11, 2018. I have already seen some themed events at Slice of Soul that I will be attending!
The Madison Hotel
Owners are planning a new restaurant, barbershop, and speakeasy for the building and a three story building adjacent to the hotel. Recently, The Madison Hotel announced it would be closing down it's restaurant, Eighty3, for renovations. Eighty3 is Connected directly to the hotel and was an intimate fine dining restaurant with modern art and great food. A 100,000 grant was filed with Downtown officials as a part of the 250,745 rehabilitation for the building. The application is scheduled to be put into action on January 17, 2018. Total reconstruction is said to start next month and be finished in May of 2018. The Madison is located at 79 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38103.
Guess who is a part of The United Soccer League!! Memphis is now one of three teams to join the USL for the 2019 season. The announcement was made on Monday, January 8, 2018. Memphis is now the second city in Tennessee to become home of the USL club in the past three years, continuing the leagues growth in the Southeast.
Raleigh Springs Mall (Update)
Demolition started in March of last year and the completed project has a projected completion date of September of 2018. As stated in a previous blog the 31 million project "The Raleigh Town Center" will include a community center, police precinct, library, and potential retail. According to an article by Shay Arthur of News Chanel 3, members of the Raleigh area seem to be hopeful that the project will bring great new energy to the area.
There is a four acre piece of vacant property on Germantown Parkway that may be receiving 5 new restaurants. According to the Memphis Business Journal, Southern Properties' Bob Turner is developing the property into a 23,000 square foot of all things edible. Located just south of Walnut Grove at 200 South Germantown Parkway, across the street from the Agriculture International Center may soon be five new eateries for you to add to your list..
National Black Theater Museum
The executive producer of Hattiloo Theatre, Ekundayo Bandele, wants to invest 50 to 100 million into creating a National Black Theater Museum. The preferred home of the potential National Black Museum is in Overton Park where the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is located.. The Brooks Museum is likely to relocate to the Downtown area so, there will definitely be a need to fill that space. The museum would be interactive, utilize touchscreen technology, and take visitors from the 1400s where in Africa music, costumes, and dance were used to tell stories to today. In efforts to make things fair there was a 90 day proposal submission started so, that other entities could possible acquire the space. The Museum has gained support from local and non local parties and will continuing its pursuit.
Oak Court and Wolfchase Mall
It has been reported that H&M will be opening up two more stores in Memphis, giving us a total of 4 Mid-South Location (Current locations are Collierville and Tanger). One of the locations will be Oak Mall (set to open this summer) and the other being Wolfchase Mall (TBA). Last year when it was announced that Oak Court had new owners it was also announced that a significant new business would be coming to Oak Court. The new business was never mentioned. so, I am wondering if this was the mentioned addition. Maybe there is hope for our struggling Malls. I still have hopes for a Mall of Memphis remake!
Well, Overton Square is saying Goodbye to Bar Louie BUT saying (soon) hello to a Hopdoddy Burger Bar (to open within 90 days), Chipotle (to open within 90 days), an expanded LaFayette Music Room, and possibly a 100 room boutique hotel (construction set to start this fall). Apparently the owner's of the property at 2125 Madison Ave bought Bar Louie out of their 10 year lease. The owner's of the property (Loeb Properties) are hoping to fill the spot that once held Bar Louie with a fine dining restaurant. According to the owners the spot is in high demand and they are excited about what will possibly occupy the space.
Finally, Finally, FINALLYYYYYYY(In my Jess Hilarious voice) there are signs of Trader Joe's coming to Memphis. For more than two years Memphians have been waiting for the arrival of Trader Joe's. I personally had begun to think it would never make it's debut BUT to my surprise a building permit was submitted this week to start the construction of the anticipated American grocery store. 2130 Exeter will be a $750,000 project and if everything goes well the store will open in 2018. They haven't gotten a confirmed yes but we're hoping that since Germantown's alderman approved a development contract that referenced Trader Joe's we'll be seeing it soon..
1545 Overton Park Avenue will be getting an island themed bar with tropical drinks and food to match. Located less than a mile from Crosstown this bar will contribute to the areas redevelopment and give crosstown residents a bar that is in walking distance. The grand opening for the Tiki Bar is set for tomorrow, Friday January 26th. I'm interested to see the layout of the bar and explore the creativity of owners Brian McCabe and Jeff Johnson so, I may attend the opening. It would be nice to have a peace of paradise in the land of the Muddy Mississippi.
Dwell at Shelby Farms
According to the Memphis Business Journal Memphis City Council approved a plan for "mixed-use" neighborhood at Raleigh LaGrange Road. The neighborhood would be developed in phases. Built during phase one would be 250 apartment units within four buildings. After the completion of phase one more three to four story apartments should follow. Also, named in the plan are town houses, single family homes and a senior living facility with assisted living and memory care units. By the time the project comes to an end the neighborhood should consist of a 100 units for a senior living space, 530 apartment units (250 of 530 in phase 1), 140 town homes, 160 Single family-homes. Phase 1 is scheduled to start in 2019 if things continue to go as planned.
It's a New Year, New Blessings, New Opportunities!!
So, I wanted my first blog of the year to highlight some of the incredible people that I know personally and to remind people just how deep those music roots run in Memphis. Below you'll find 4 familiar or new faces that you must add to your playlist, 4 artist that are creating their own sound within two of my favorite genres of music, R&B, and Hip-Hop. The two genres that are responsible for starting movements and making babies, or at least that's what I heard! My mommy may be reading!
Song Bird, Keri Lee
First up, meet 27-year-old Memphis native Keri Lee! At the young age of nine, Keri discovered her musical gift and so did her family.
"As soon as my family discovered I could sing, I was singing all the time at church. It wasn't always fun singing at every church function, but it definitely made me comfortable with performing. I figured I was pretty good at it since they never wanted me to stop."
My first opportunity to hang out with Keri and get to know her was by invading her NYC apartment back in 2015. We have a close mutual friend and I was visiting from Baltimore for the weekend. I can tell you first hand that the beautiful voice has a beautiful spirit to match. Oh, and if you're looking for your best match for karaoke, Keri Lee is your girl!
Keri, who as of last year started singing background for the extraordinary John Legend and has recently started a showcase called Solo Sessions with her fellow (also extremely talented) background sisters. Solo sessions were created to give other background singers a platform to step into the spotlight and showcase their talents, giving the public the opportunity to know them individually. Dope, right?? If you're in New York or the surrounding area please check out the next Solo Sessions performances on January 27, 2018, located at Rockwood Music Hall 196 Allen Street New York, NY at 10:00 pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $ 15 at the door! Check Keri's Instagram page for any updates or changes.
In between traveling all over the world sharing her gift Keri also started a Vlog to share her tour experience. I have watched them, and I must say they are inspirational and entertaining. You have to make sure you subscribe to her channel. Here is the link to the latest Vlog youtu.be/ui96JMii-5o so, go ahead and click it! As far as new music, Keri informed me that there is no new music as of right now but be sure to follow her on all social media outlets so, that when the music is released you will know.
When I asked Keri what advice she would give to someone pursuing their dream(s) she told me this.
"Go for it! You have to believe in yourself and trust God. Trust the gifts inside you."
Follow Keri on Instagram at Kerilee, Facebook at Keri Lee Music, and YouTube at Keri Lee.
Soulful Songstress, Zy Year
Next, allow me to introduce you to my old middle school homie, Miss Zaire love! It's no surprise that Zaire has taken the artist route. When we attended Hickory Ridge Middle together she was the charismatic friend with a huge personality and always entertaining. Zaire recently decided to accept that music and creating were her gifts to the world in 2017.
"Something clicked in 2017. I got this confidence. I was like...my voice, my vibe and my vision are pretty dope. Let the world know about these thangs!"
Identifying herself as a Southern Soul artist, Zaire is currently working on videos for her first project, "Beta Test", that was released in August of 2017.
"Nobody knew that I sang or wrote so, I called it Beta Test to see if folks would like it. I've gotten nothing but love on it and that makes my heart smile ya know."
If you're looking to see Zaire live she informed me that some Atlanta(Her current residence) shows are on the docket right now. Since she's just starting out she is focusing on getting on bigger platforms. She wants to be in the lineup for Memphis' Lyfe is Dope showcase this year so, we are going to aid her in speaking that into existence.
Be sure to download and listen to her first project "Beta Test", I have included the link below.
www.zyyear.com/BetaTest Also, show love on Facebook by liking Zaire's page, ZY YEAR, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @zy_year.
Zy's advice to the people:
"Do it, mane! You deserve to at least try. There's no room for regret when It comes to something you're hella passionate about."
Poetic Lyricist, Franceschi
Then, we have my annoying brother from another mother, Christopher Franceschi! The first time I heard Chris rap in front of a crowd was during a listening party that a close friend and I planned for Chris. I joked with him afterward and told him he was J.Cole's older brother, Jerry Cole, the Memphis in me can never just give loving compliments, but it was definitely a compliment. Listening to him rap reminded me of one of the most influential rappers of our time. Through his music Chris has decided to tell stories about the many realities of the black community, he has decided to tell his truth and the truth of others.
"I realized that I had the ability to capture thoughts, emotions, feelings, and transpose them into timeless music that people could vibe to."
He is currently working on an EP entitled Chixionary. This is a project that will take a deeper dive into relationships, identifying what women want vs what men think they want. He stated that the release of the EP will be slightly different than most as he will release a series of songs and visuals every other month starting February 14, 2018. February 14th will also be the debut of his first single from the EP. No other music out right now for Chris but be sure to check back in February for the EP and keep up with him on social media to see the dates for upcoming shows. Be sure to follow Chris on Instagram Twitter, and Facebook by searching Imfranceschi.
When I asked Chris what he would tell an aspiring dreamer.
"My advice would be to simply do it! Don't second guess yourself or don't be afraid.. Just Do it! Do it unapologetically!"
Lyrical Mastermind, Heavy Hustla
Last but certainly not least, Justin Pierre Reynoso! Justin and I go all the way back to da green Box (Green electrical boxes found in your local neighborhoods), firecracker wars, and e-mails before text messages were unlimited. Justin, who goes by the rap name of Heavy Hustla, is not only my friend but family and we argued as such as teenagers. I can remember being in his mother's home while beats were made, or sitting in the car with our other friends listening to CDs with burned tracks on them. Fast Forward to now and Justin is more involved in his music than ever before.
Justin just released a new project called, "Hieroglyphs". It was released on Monday, January 15, 2018 on all streaming platforms.
"I realized younger in my life around 11 or 12 years old that music was a passion of mine, but I truly realized this was my gift to the world during my first and only year in college. I released a song called, "Stay Fresh" which gathered the attention of a lot of people and shined a little light on me. To have people outside of my immediate circle recognize and relate to my music, it was instant motivation to continue to provide that experience and gift."
Although Justin no longer lives in Memphis he is still very aware of the issues the city faces and brings attention to them within his music. His second most recent release from his label, Black Roses Music Group, "Color of the Night" is a politically charged single that takes a stance on the war against the black race and the war the black race has against each other. Videos have been filmed for that single and another entitled "Too Involved" which are available on his Youtube Channel @HustlazPOV (https://www.youtube.com/user/HustlazPOV). Too Involved is also available on all streaming outlets for purchase. No upcoming shows, but after the release of his latest project on 1/15/18 he will be performing at every open mic available between Memphis and Atlanta. Follow Justin on Instagram, Facebook, & Snap Chat @HeavyHustla901. YouTube @HustlazPOV and Contact him at: MyBlackRosesMG@gmail.com
Justin's words of wisdom:
"Fearlessly chase your dream now! Wasted time shortens your clock for success"
Keri Lee, Zaire Love, Christopher Franceschi, and Justin Reynoso are four of the dopest and most hardworking artist to come out of Memphis, TN. I believe that soon their names will be mentioned all throughout the Hip Hop and R&B industry adding them to list of legends to be birthed here. These beautiful, black, socially conscious kings and queens are the definitions of using your platform effectively. They aren't just making music but are involved in their communities, understand the power of music, and the importance of following your dreams. Thank you for being a positive and inspirational representation of Memphis!
And thank you all for reading.Many Blessings, love, peace, and prosperity to you and yours!
Tired of that Holiday Food yet?! Then the information below may be just what you need in your life!
We all know that Memphis is known for it's delectable culinary creations and that Downtown Memphis has some of the best restaurants in the City so, imagine my gratitude for coming Downtown every day with ALL the food options. I was in food heaven and then I thought why not share my list of food spots.
List of Finds:
97 N Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
There are a million wing places in Memphis. You honestly could find a friend who makes good wings in their kitchen free of charge but a wig spot was missing from Downtown. 901 Wings has stepped in to fill the void and they haven't disappointed. They have great customer services and great food. No matter if it's wings, bites, a burger & fries, or their Philly cheese-steak, it's all tasty!
Food Truck Thursday
Court Square Center 62 N. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
These days Food Trucks are everywhere and in high demand so, when I found out that every Thursday Food Trucks were in Court Square there was no question on where I would be. Not only do the food trucks supply you with a new variety of lunch options from some of your favorite places but the atmosphere gives you food truck festival vibes. It's a quick getaway from the work scene, being stuck in a building, and extremely convenient if you work close. A few of my Favorite trucks are Royal Flavors, STIX, Fuel City, and Soinumber9. They are usually there from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
12 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
For awhile I would walk straight passed this place. It was a cute little cafe style restaurant that I prejudged. I had convinced myself that they had nothing but Coffee and things that would accompany your beverage. I was completely wrong. On the day I decided to give them a try I was craving soup and Cafe Keough had steak and potato soup! I ordered a cup in case I didn't like it and ended up eating every drop! I was impressed by the atmosphere and the food! I went again for a grilled chicken salad and it was amazing. They basically put a full breast on your salad. Cafe Keough was a reminder that you never know until you try.
22 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
Courthouse Deli was a recommendation that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Voodoo wings are my favorite!! This is a place were locals frequent. I often see the owners having conversations with their faithful patrons. Your food is made fresh to order and it is worth the wait. When I get tired of seasoned wings from 901 Wings I head down to Courthouse Deli for their Blackened Flamed Grilled Wings tossed in Voodoo Sauce.
Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
39 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
Some people feel that flight is overrated but I feel that the food selection matches the fine dining experience. You may either select a flight entree (an entree with three small plates) or a regular single plate main entree. If you're a wine lover you may have a flight of wine as well! This is a restaurant I feel everyone should go to at least once. Flight can get expensive but that depends on what you order. Oh, and Brunch here is a must!
51 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
Now this place has some of the BEST friend chicken I've ever had and I'm always eating chicken. I love the energy and the New Orleans music they always have planning in the restaurant! Please try their catfish and crawfish etoufee I promise you will not be sorry. They definitely bring some of New Orleans to Memphis!
66 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
When I want a healthier alternative City Market is where I stop. Their creative twist on your everyday sandwiches matched with their homemade chips is always a delight. My favorite is the Californian made on wheat berry bread with turkey, ranch, avocado, bacon, provolone cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. City Market is one of Downtown's Mini Markets where you can buy veggies, meat for dinner, and grab your favorite snacks.
Aldo's Pizza Pies
100 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
The employees are always friendly, attentive, they make sure they learn your name, and they have some of the best Pizza in the city! Also, the murals near Aldo's Pizza Pies are incredible! That particular area of Main Street has so much art and high energy. It is always a favorite to visit and reasonably priced per slice.
Margie's 901 Homemade Ice Cream and Cakes
125 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
The old Maggiemoos has been turned into an ice cream lovers dream. Margie's has plenty of flavors to choose from with candy and fruit toppings. Stop by for a Memphis named snack or to create your own creamy treat! Margie's would be an awesome pit stop on one of your downtown trips.
314 Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
I've only had the pleasure of eating here once but it was definitely a treat. I learned about Cafe Pontotoc back in May. I had their shrimp and grits but those alone are a reason for them to be added to the list. Their brunch is a must try!
492 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103
Not only do I love their food but I love the design of the restaurant. The place gives you the feel of a small art gallery! I've had their blackened catfish multiple times and it always brings me the same joy. Their brunch is a must try as well.
Now, These two spots below aren't exactly on Main but they are just a street over or in walking distance from some of the other restaurants mentioned. My Main Street restaurant journey wouldn't be complete without them so, I had to mention them!
109 S. Ct Ave Memphis, TN 38103
We've all heard of Build-A-Bear, well this is the cupcake version. At Cupcake Cutie you may select your cupcake flavor, icing, and a variety of your favorite sweet treats as toppings. The staff/owners are extremely friendly, the cupcakes are huge, and they are inexpensive. Of course I had their Rum Cupcake on my visit and I could smell/taste the rum. The cupcakes are extremely moist and flavorful! If you love cupcakes you HAVE to try them!
Lisa's Lunch Box
116 S. Front Street Memphis, TN 38103
I found out about Lisa's Lunch Box from a fellow foodie and old coworker(Thanks Adam). This place believes in putting the entire pack of bacon on your BLT. I've had a few of their salads, sandwiches, and soups, and while everything is delicious their BLT is hands down my favorite. They are another extremely friendly establishment that believes in getting to know their customers.
And there you have it! A list of all of my main street favorites!
One restaurant that didn't make it was Felicia Suzanne's. I have yet to go there but I've heard great things about it and love their patio so, if you go or have been let me know what I should try!
Also, Let me know if you all visit any the places listed or what your favorite menu items is if you have already been.
It's the most wonderful time of the year!! And I hope you're having the happiest of holidays!
I know I'm always posting about the things that I find but I've never asked what you all were interesting in reading! So, for this entry I want you all to fill out the box below with your interest or ideas. What information are you looking for or what do you enjoy reading?
I can't promise I'll blog about them all but I will be sure to write about things you want to read about.
Merry Christmas and I can't wait for all of the exciting events in the New Year!
Hey Loves so, I decided since I'm doing a two part Blog about events I should do a two part Recap, starting with November 10th-12th.
Last weekend was so Memphis! It was filled with love, support, food, great events and amazing people. We had different forms of artistry being displayed throughout the city and the beautiful minds behind them being acknowledged. I had the pleasure of attending some of the events I blogged about and I watched snaps of my friends living their best lives at other events I didn’t have a chance to visit. There was so much positivity and fun being had; it was a testament to there being more to Memphis than just violence and negativity. It showed that we have events to attend, opportunities, and extremely talented people here in our city. However, if you’re not willing to find things to do or you don’t want to be here then nothing would ever be enough for you.
Two of the events that I was able to attend were My City 4 Ways, which highlighted four Memphians in their areas of artistry and Cameron Bethany’s Album release party for his album You Make Me Nervous. It was a blessing to hear people talk about their dreams, why they started, and display their talents.
My City 4 Ways was a free event brought to you by Essence. At the event they had celebrity appearances such as Loni Love from the talk show The Real, Creative Director/Stylist June Ambrose, the beautiful singer/songwriter Chef Kelis, and R&B Recording Star RO James. I watched people dance, laugh, have free adult beverages, sample great food and support their family and friends. It was a good time and the meaning behind it made the experience even better. It was an event that brought Memphis out to celebrate and support Memphians. I unfortunately had to leave the event early to head to my part time job but once I was free I headed Downtown to my next outing for the night. Cameron’s show, which by the way had one of the best setup I’ve ever seen for an album release, was at Loflin Yard. We had music under the stars, bonfires, and s’mores. I watched Cameron give the best of himself and continue to push through even when technology had a different plan. The audio kept giving out, leaving Cameron with no other option but to end his last song with only his gift being heard, giving us the raw passion behind his music. Can you imagine being outside while it wasn’t the warmest, during your event, with the lights and audio continuously going out, but still singing for the crowd that was watching?? It was an incredible and emotional sight!
Events like these or just being in the mix of things is inspirational. Writing about events of this nature and trying to change the negative mentality of the city are my main reasons for blogging. Being that positive outlet of support and showing people the Memphis that is often publicized is not the Memphis we know and love.
Memphis has this enormous negative cloud hovering over it and negativity from the residence is a huge contribution as well as a lack of support. As someone who doesn’t mind living and being settled here it often confuses me to see or hear people being so negative about somewhere they lay their heads every night. I’m not saying we don’t have a long way to go but there is more to Memphis than what is often discussed. I feel like it’s my responsibility to show the city that I see, know, and love. I hope that as I write I change views and make a difference to how the city is labeled. I also hope that you continue to follow me on my journey to show the world who Memphis really is and assist in creating the change that I believe we all want to see. There is nothing like the Grit and Grind, Support, and Love of a Memphian. I pray that we continue to work over time to show that love, support, and pride!
Happy Friday Eve! The week is almost over and I can feel the vibes of the weekend near!
Last weekend had some amazing events, energy, and people all over the city, let's see if this weekend can top it!
Thursday, November 16th
Drunk Spelling Bee 7:00pm-9:00pm
Location: Rec Room 3000 Broad Ave, Memphis, TN 38112
Now, Thursday isn't technically the weekend but I had to share my findings of this event!
Join Rec Room as they host their first ever Drunk Spelling Bee with word inspired cocktails and craft beers. I've already asked some of my friends to attend because I can't miss the sight of them intoxicated and struggling to figure out how to spell words. One of my friends has already informed me of her being a spelling bee champ but we shall see just how far she gets after a few adult beverages!
Entry is free!
Friday, November 17th
Carnival at Crosstown 4:00pm-7:00pm
Location: 1350 Concourse Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
Take the kids to Crosstown for a fun filled day of music, clowns, and other carnival adventures or go just to enjoy all Crosstown has to offer. Crosstown is an experience so, regardless of what events are there it is still worth the visit.
Saturday, November 18th
Yoga Breathing and Meditation 10:45am-11:45am
Location: Shelby Farms Park 6903 Great View Drive North, Memphis, TN 38134
Come to Shelby Farms for a day of relaxation and peace as Yoga instructors assist you in exploring the nature of mind, the impact of stress and learning different techniques to manage your stress. This is something I need to get into myself. I had a friend tell me that after only like 15 minutes of Yoga she felt relaxed and peaceful.
This event is free however, I'm not sure if Yoga mats will be provided for you.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2D 1:00pm-2:00pm
Location: Pink Palace Family of Museums 3050 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38111
I love the story of How The Grinch Stole Christmas and can't wait to catch the movie with Jim Carey for the 25 days of Christmas special. Until then, catch the grumpy green hermit in 2D at the Pink Palace Museum. The viewings for the movie will be November 18th-24th and Dec. 20th-22nd.
Regular CTI ticket prices apply and can be purchased at the museum.
Ladies' Day Out: From Pain to Purpose 4:00pm-6:00pm
Location: Painting With a Twist Germantown 3116 Village Shops Dr., Ste22, Germantown, TN 38138
This is a private paint night presented to you by Perfectly Me and Proud LLC. Bring your girls for a night of food, music, drinks, and fellowship amongst other inspirational women. Hear stories of overcoming adversity, be inspired, make connections, and maybe even begin the healing process for yourself. Start your journey on how to turn pain into purpose.
Tickets are $35 and may be purchased at www.piantingwithatwist.com
Downtown Memphis- Annual Holiday Tree Lighting 5:00pm-7:00pm
Location: Corner of Peabody and Main Street
If you're in the Christmas spirit as much as I am then you can't wait for this event. This will be my first year actually being able to catch the Tree lighting and I'm excited to be in an environment full of Christmas spirit! There will be holiday carolers, holiday arts & crafts, Letters to Santa Station and Mailing, Hot Cocoa, S'mores, ornaments, and magic light wands for sale. Take the family downtown for some holiday cheer or grab your friends for something simple yet fun, and free before your regular turn-up.
Trap Jazz 7:00pm-12:00am
Location: The Den 656 Marshall Ave, Memphis, TN 38103
Are you a fan of Jazz?? What about Trap Music?? Well, Trap Jazz is definitely something you should check out!
Join Marque Boyd and friends from October 21st-December 17th for their fusion of classic Jazz and your favorite trap music. You may even hear a blend of Cardi B with Miles Davis!
Tickets may be purchased at trapjazzlive.eventbrite.com
Sunday, November 19th
BRUNCH SO HARD SERIES: Memphis AF Edition 11:00am-2:00pm
Location: The Vault 124 GE Patterson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
I'm not sure if you all have read my previous blog on the City Tasting Tours but this event will be presented to you by the same individual. Mrs. Cristina McCarter, the creator of The City Tasting Tours, has created a brunch to bring you lituations, conversations about the current state of Memphis, networking, discussion on jobs, and more! Tickets may be purchased through Eventbrite by searching Brunch So Hard.
The New Black Wallstreet: Ujamaa Pop-Up Shop and Brunch 2:00pm-6:00pm
Location: 6135 Mt. Moriah Road Extended, Memphis, TN
I love the way that both of these brunches have a purpose behind them, the times do not conflict, and the setup of them make it easy for you to attend both! For the Ujamaa Pop-Up Shop the purpose is to build support and wealth amongst local owned black businesses. Entrance into the event is free but brunch entrees are available for sale. Those interested in being a vendor during the event should pay the $35 vendor fee and submit their application to http://thenewblackwallstreet.splashthat.com/. Vendors should arrive no later than 1:15pm.
OH and Don't forget November 13th-19th is downtown dining week!
Enjoy your weekend!