Hey Lady. It’s a pleasure to have you on ChiStepper.com. I must say, I watch some of your episodes and you, DJ Sampsonite and Terronce “TJ” Estell have me in tears. Even before the web series though, you were always a bit eccentric. You were sporting masks and wild hair styles. Give us a little background about where you’re from and how you grew up.
Allow me to first elucidate my gratitude and appreciation for being interviewed by Chistepper.com. This is unequivocally, a most memorable experience. [Smiling] Now that we’ve gotten the pleasantries underway let’s delve into it…shall we.
A New Yorker through and through, I have such fond memories of my childhood. Although I grew up in “the hood” I thought we were rich. In essence we were rich, as there was no shortage of love and affection in my home. Growing up in Spanish Harlem I was a very precocious child. My parents made a concerted effort to encourage me academically, my creativity notwithstanding. Tis the reason I pursued a career in Corporate America, subsequently obtaining my MBA and graduating with honors.
It’s funny you say New York, because my philosophy is that you have to have a big personality to stand out among so many people living so closely together. Have you always had such an outgoing flamboyant (for lack of a better word) personality?
In a word, yes! My Dad gave me licensure to be my authentic self as a child. He once told me, “Baby girl, people are always going to talk, so give them something to talk about.” That has been my creed ever since and I remain steadfast in my effort to revel in my truth.
Does your personality attract men to you or chase them away?
Both, is the short answer to the question posed. It conjures me to expound. It’s been my experience men appreciate a lady who is unapologetically genuine brimming with confidence. Moreover, they’re not hesitant to communicate such sentiments. I’m a multifaceted lady, who relishes in creativity and femininity. I’m acutely aware that I am not for everyone. An astute man will recognize Black Swan is not the summation of who I am. A gentleman with chutzpa and a certain je nais se quoi will not be intimidated by my personality. Alas l subscribe to the mantra, “If a man wants you he will come and get you.”
How did you get into Steppin?
Picture it; a NYC movie theatre … Love Jones is playing on the big screen. This was my first introduction to Chicago Steppin. During a R. Kelly concert at The Fox Theater here in Atlanta, I saw him perform “Step In The Name of Love.’ I had a visceral reaction watching people step in the aisles and I vowed to learn the dance. Several years later I found my beloved instructor (My Steppin Mama) Ms. Sarah Teagle. In fact, merely weeks after taking my first class I accompanied her to Chicago for the World’s Largest Stepper’s Contest. My reverence for Chicago Steppin was solidified during that experience. I am indebted to her for fully immersing me within the culture. I’ve had the privilege of receiving instruction from a multitude of great instructors, far too many to name. I’m now receiving instruction from i-57 Steppers: Cheryl “Sugarfoot” Powe, Devan Powe and Ms. Kim Davis along with Kirk Pacley. My ultimate goal is to compete in The World’s Largest Steppers Contest.
What do you love most about the culture?
I’m utterly and completely fascinated with the rich history, culture and community of Chicago Steppin. It has afforded me the opportunity to interface with such amazing people. When I travel to different venues in Chicago and across the country the energy is infectious. The music reverberating from wall to wall and I’m intoxicated by it all. From the legendary spots to the decadent balls it’s filled with pomp and circumstance. Of course the fashion, women and men dressed to impress is all quite alluring. I’ve been welcomed into the community with open arms and have received nothing but love from the onset. I’m eager to continue learning more about the unique tradition and culture of Chicago Steppin.
Let’s talk a little bit about the show. How did you come up with ‘Lady Sings The News?’
Directly following my attendance to a Steppin Event I would write a retrospect on Facebook. This would include my acknowledgments, dance highlights, and overall appreciation. After The Black and White Ball Steppers Ball 2016, contrary to my normal practice I went live on Facebook to discuss my experience. The onslaught of accolades I received afterwards was astounding. I received a multitude of calls and messages imploring me to recap live after every event I attended. Moreover, promoters began contacting me to attend their events and/or discuss future collaborative efforts. I was and still am verklempt. Albeit I’ve stated ad nauseam my respect and admiration for Andre Blackwell, it bears repeating. His support and encouragement is the reason I began Lady Sings The News. His phone call started it all! Since its inception, which was more of an editorial review riddled with humor and satire, the show in part has transitioned into what Terronce TJ Estell has titled a “Step Opera.”
Does it take a lot of work to plan the episodes?
In my Ladynme voice, Bae! Bae! Managing a cast is no easy feat. However, it doesn’t feel like work because the creative process is so enthralling. Lady Sings The News is very much an interactive series. Commentary from the viewers along with the interaction we have with our followers (Swan Nation = Swaness + Swan Knights) directs the storyline. As such, the lion’s share of what our viewers witness is improvisation.
We’ve also been fortunate enough to have guest stars on the show including Tyrone Blackwell, Purman “Sir” Lockman, Drewry “The Phenom” Alexander and Dejuan Jones. We hope to secure more cameo appearances in the future, present company included.
I’m ever so grateful to have DJ Sampsonite and TJ Terronce Estell (CEO of 1 Step Above) as cast members, along with Myron Bain our cinematographer. I appreciate their professionalism, commitment and friendship. I love them each dearly and I’m excited to see what manifests from this project.
You’re definitely a real life character. Did you ever take up acting or performance art?
Why thank you, I appreciate the compliment. During my formative years I landed a few leading roles in school plays. In addition, I was very active in my school choir and relished in Ballet, Modern, African and Hip Hop dance. Outside of school drama classes I haven’t had any formalized acting classes or the like. Admittedly, I was often solicited to pursue a career in acting, fashion and comedy however, I thwarted each attempt.
Tell us something about yourself that we’d be surprised to learn.
Despite being gregarious and sociable, there are times in which I exhibit reclusive behavior. The dichotomy that exists within me can be cumbersome to manage at times.
Anything you want to say before we close?
As aforementioned, allow me to graciously state my appreciativeness for being interviewed by Chistepper.com. Words can’t express how humbled I am for the consideration. It’s an honor, a privilege and I wholeheartedly thank you. I bid you continued success on your future endeavors. Lastly, I’d like to personally thank everyone for their continued support and encouragement of Lady Sings The News. Stay Tuned … shooby dooby dooby doo ahhh.
For show ideas, press passes to your event or if you would like to make a cameo appearance on “Lady Sings The News” email us at Ladysingsthenews@hotmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
Best of luck on the show Black Swan. For those of you who catch this interview early, make sure to catch the noon broadcast of “Lady Sings The News” at 12pm today (3.14.17).