It was a night of honor, acknowledgement, love, and accomplishment, that was celebrated. I had never imaged that I would be commemorated in this glorious fashion.
My sisterhood, which is comprised of twelves friends who practice a similar lifestyle, belief system, and live our lives as each others keeper. We have known one another for several decades, and we are called Andsister. Love, respect, support, fun, and accountability rules our interactions. I had heard through the grapevine that pulling off this event was no small feat and that there were times when emotions ran high, and wills were tested. It is this kind of endeavor that can strain fragile friendships, but when you have a foundation that is built upon peace, love, and respect, that is what prevails along with success and beauty. My Andsisters did me proud and created a phenomenal night of celebration.
Insisting on the best to celebrate me, so it was a night of elegance, beauty, and joy! I was deeply moved by the outpouring of affection and attention. It began with the drummers, bringing down the energy of our ancestry, legacy, and culture.
Gathered were the elders, friends, family, former Khamit Kinks team members who flew in from Miami, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Georgia. There were students from my natural hair care classes and a host of professionals from all walks of life. My former Khamit Kinks business partner Ruth Dunn formerly, Ruth Sinclaire wouldn’t have missed it for the world. She flew up from Miami and charmed everyone as per usual. Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose flew in from my hometown, Norfolk, VA.
The Place ~ The stately Assembly Hall at Riverside Church is a place of grandeur in and of itself. The hall was enhanced by the design elements of the event planner, Ellie Parris of Simply Divine Events. Not only was the venue gorgeous, the buffet-style hors d’oeuvre was not only eye-catching; it was also delicious and varied with vegan and non-vegetarian options that tantalized the palate.
Our Mistress of Ceremonies was the accomplished, Harriette Cole of Dream Leapers, a consulting company. I met Harriette in the early 90s when she was the cover editor for Essence Magazine and was responsible for Khamit Kinks being featured on the cover of Essence several times. Harriette is the author of ‘How To Be’ a book on protocol, manners, and integrity. Harriette naturally puts everyone at ease as she exudes class and style, along with her authentic warmth and keen insight.
The program included a solo dance performance by my former intern Maati Angaza, a dance major a Temple University, a serenade by the silky voice of Ankh Ra Amenhetep. There was personalized spoken-word poetry performed by the very talented Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin. The electrifying dancers of the Balance Dance Theater made me feel as if I could fly, just soaring to the heights. Wow, what a night! When I tell you I am still feeling celebrated, acknowledge, and appreciated for my life work, I am not exaggerating. I will be riding this high for some time to come.
A video was created by Hemamset Angaza, of some of those who could not attend, which include my mom, dear friend Shay Wafer, journalist Melba Tolliver whom I’ve admired since I was a teen. I was blown away to one day see her at Khamit Kinks waiting to have her hair styled. It was because of Melba Tolliver that I went to Howard University and majored in communications.
There was a keynote address by a long-time friend, Lisa Price founder of Carol’s Daughter. When Lisa mentioned that I first did her hair when she was 19 years old (I was 23) sent me whirling back through time to the early days of braiding hair in my Harlem apartment and the fun times we shared. I inspired her then with my love of oils, and she inspires and acknowledges me today. It’s been a symbiotic dance of mutual love and respect.
If all of that wasn’t enough, I was then given two citations from the Brooklyn Borough President’s office for outstanding commitment to community well-being, by providing outstanding services, “Whereas, heretofore and all of that!” Yes, Darling!!!
Did I mention, I received countless compliments on my appearance? I swear, I’m not bragging, I’m just saying… My beautiful ensemble was a silk and chiffon patchwork creation designed and made by long-time friend and collaborator of bridal photo shoots, Cassandra Bromfield. My hair was enhanced by looping in extensions at the top of my head. My hair was styled by former Khamit Kinks stylist Jahmillah Collier who now works for Kinky Kollective. My make up was done at MAC Cosmetics by the talented and sweet Kenyana. Baroque pearl earrings and matching pendant with rhodochrosite beads were made by yours truly, an Anu Essentials creation.
Friends and supporters who were unable to attend took out ads in the souvenir journal, donated generously, and left tear-jerking messages on the Honoring Anu and Khamit Kinks website of which I was forbidden access to until after the celebration. I have yet to read them all, though I will be reading each one and responding in kind. I’ve received congratulatory greetings via email, greeting cards, text messages, and phone calls. Each one touched me deeply.
Anu Essentials was set up for guests to see, smell and touch, and before I arrived home, orders were coming in. They got it! I’m onto my next journey, and I appreciate all those who have supported me in this new venture. Thank you, one and all for your love and support.
Stay tuned, because there will be more to come from that glorious night in the form of video and yet to be seen photos. All photos posted here are by Edward C. Jones, a long-time friend who I met while attending Howard University. Edward introduced me to Shay Wafer who taught me how to put in my first extensions.
I was escorted to this momentous occasion by my dear friend and former husband, Sasen Lawrence, who was there in the beginning. Whether in the background or foreground Sasen has been a true friend supporting me through the transition of the closing of Khamit Kinks. He has been a true friend. Thank you, Sasen.
I am truly blessed. I know my father, who is now on the other side of eternity was there in spirit. My mom is now not well enough to travel but sent a video presentation that left everyone in stitches. I give Thanks to the Creator and the ancestors for using me as a vehicle to bring forth a new consciousness. Thank you to all those who have worked at Khamit Kinks and all those who were clients. I am because you are.