Happy New Year from Renee Sudderth here at Splash Magazine
As I welcome in 2013, I want to thank Founder Lawrence Davis for his 10 year on-line Magazine (www.lasplash.com) and Editor Mrs. Barbara Keer who discovered me and brought me aboard as a journalist. It’s been quiet a journey thus far and I am grateful for it.
As the New Year approached, I could not help but think back to the many events that took place in my life and in the world during 2012 that I want to share with you in my first article of 2013.
I am so blessed to be alive and moving forward in this fast paced life. I brought in the new year watching Atlanta’s own Ryan Seacrest’s (DICK CLARK) show “Ringin’ In New Year’s Eve” by counting down to 2013. I have watched Dick Clark many years providing I wasn’t sitting in church. In April 2012, I saw Dick Clark count his way out of here. Mr. Clark left a marked in the music industry (American Bandstand) and with so many other accomplishments.
In other music industry news, Don Cornelius (Feb 1) who was the founder of the Soul Train dance show left us in a dramatic suicidal way. We were not through mourning him when it was time to mourn the great beautiful legendary Whitney Houston 10 days later. That really hurt me. One thing it shows is that death doesn’t discriminate. We all have to go that route one day.
The year 2012 saw many military troops return to their families. This was a time of gratitude and it was very emotional.
It was a triumphant feeling when the Navy Seals under the command of our President Barack Obama gave the final call for the removal of Bin Laden from this earth. This provided closure for many residents of the United States but mainly offered closure for those who lost love ones from “9/11”.
We, as a country will never forget the second Presidential Debate when Obama and Romney were acting like they were street hoods getting ready to throw down. “Saturday Night Live” really spoofed them. Great comedy and funny!!
After the debates, I helped work at the campaign office, which paid off. On voting night, I met several friends for the Victory party at the Georgia Freight Depot and celebrated.
As a journalist for Splash Magazine, I plan to write about the 45th Presidential Inauguration when my friends and I return from this “Back-to-Back” Inauguration. And yes we have our Inauguration tickets. Four years ago when I attended the historical event, so many exciting moments happened and I am sure there will be more new happenings, so stay tuned. At the first Inauguration, I found out later, I was sitting quite close to Denzel Washington. Wow!
The major highlight of 2012 was when I was reunited with my childhood singing/dancing group, The Jackson 5 minus Michael. After years of being married, raising families, having a TV reality show, and saying goodbye to their baby brother/lead singer, they finally hit the road for a summer tour, which was a success. Later, they added a winter tour overseas. I thought this was the only year they would be performing so I made sure I went to their concerts when I could.
The first concert I attended was at the historical Apollo in New York (June 28), which was truly a historical moment in more ways than one. It resulted in my first article for Splash Magazines (See Splash links at the end). Then, on July 8, they came to Atlanta to Chastain Park Amphitheatre. On Oct 20, I drove the scenic drive from Atlanta , GA to Biloxi , MS to see the Jacksons perform for the third time this summer at the exclusive Beau Ridge Resort & Casino/Hotel on the beach. Later friends were joking and said, “Renee you were on tour with the Jacksons this summer and you didn’t know it”. That was funny. Each concert I was screaming as though I had never seen them before and that’s why I actual lost my voice this summer.
About 40 minutes before this great concert ended, I saw all the girls rushing to the stage. I hurried to get my belongings together and took off running to the stage to scream with the rest of the girls. We were in heaven and I know the Jacksons and band members felt our energy. I was really in heaven when Jermaine in his tight black jeans came over to where I was and I was able to reach up and rubbed his arm twice. Ooh he was so smooth and has muscles. After he left, the girls and I looked at each other, hollered and laughed. Oh that was so funny. This guy I was dating during this time period told me “Renee, you cheated on me with Jermaine”. I thought that was too funny and cute.
After the breath-taking concert, the casino club was filled with many people including the Jackson ’s band members sitting in the RSVP section. Before the night was over, I had spent time at their table talking and laughing with them. They were so nice to me. They hugged me before they left and shared several stories with me. I talked with Tommy Organ, the awesome guitar player who is also known for his big nice muscles. (smile) I knew he was Michael’s guitar player and he can be seen in THIS IS IT documentary. The Jackson’s drummer, Atlanta ’s own, Chad Wright and I talked a lot too. By this time I had informed them about the two SPLASH Magazine articles I wrote about their legendary bosses, the Jacksons at the Apollo and the interview article I had done on Tito’s beautiful daughter Tanay Jackson who is the newest Jacksonstar. What amazed me was that Chad showed me my articles on his I-Phone. He said he was definitely going to read it.
As much as I love taking photos, I respected them enough not to ask to take photos because they were chilling after working so hard with the Jacksons. I understand the Jacksonswill continue to tour in 2013 because the demand is there. Two of the band members said they really love working for the Jacksonsbecause they have fun when they rehearse and work and they are good people to work for. You could feel the closeness the band members shared. Despite the drama that may exist in the Jackson’s personal lives as well as our own lives, I still respect them as professionals who still looks good and can still perform at the top of their game even though their ages range from 55 – 61 years. They made me very very happy in 2012 and I encourage you to go see them in 2013. For the older crowd, you will feel like a teenager once again.
I have been writing for many years, but it was at the Detroit Airport, waiting to be picked up for a family reunion I was attending that I met Barbara who suggested I share my writing skills with Splash Magazine readers. While in Detroit , I had the special privilege to visit Motown, the musical birth-place the founder Berry Gordy groomed the Jackson 5, Diana Ross, the Temptations and etc to live in our hearts forever. I loved it there.
During the year, I was more involved in the R Johnson Community Services Inc., www.rjcsinc.org whose founder is former NBA Philadelphia Championship-Player Reggie Johnson. Our organization empowers the youth to reach their potential and we mentor to them, take them on trips, allow them to display their many talents, give techniques on Anti-Bullying, etc. Another member and friend of the organization, Ms Pat Oalden and I participated in so many events this year. We flew to Miami, Fl to assist Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade’s father, Dwyane Wade Sr in hosting his first “Father and Son Celebration” on Father’s Day weekend. Mr. Wade Sr’s organization is Pro Pops Foundation, Inc www.propopsusa.com where fatherhood, education and guided development are central in improving the life of kids.
It was a very rewarding and exciting weekend. I left Miami, one day before the NBA Champions returned but Pat stayed. This year both organizations will join forces here in Atlanta for a similar event, which will be very exciting. Stay tuned for future feature stories on these two organizations and other organizations that will be joining us.
Other Atlanta major events in 2012 were seeing the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and Atlanta Falcons (NFL) having winning records. We are still hoping the Falcons will go on and win the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3, 2013 especially after the nail-biting playoff win against Seattle Seahawks that I just recently witnessed in person. We saw Atlanta ’s own, Tyler Perry continue to be successful in his movies and plays. It was great to see my former church member/drummer Tony Hightower begin his career with the Tyler family and other former church member/guitar, Derek Scott. Denzel Washington released his movie “Flight” which was filmed entirely in the Atlanta area. I wanted to be an “extra” but I found out about that too late. I will hold onto the memories of Denzel filming his 2000 year movie “Remember The Titans” when I was an “extra” here in Atlanta. It was so much fun and I was able to take photos with Denzel.
Also, Atlanta had its first Miss Black Collegiate USA Scholarship Pageant created by Ms Darlene Aiken who was featured in two of my Splash Magazine articles.
Another major event in Atlanta was listening to the African American Philharmonic Orchestra in several concerts which was so beautiful and enjoyable. Its founder and Executive Director is my 85-year-old cousin, Mr. John T. Peek who is training my other cousin, Averil Taylor, to be ready whenever John wants to retire. We will hear more about them later in the year.
In 2012, it saw me spending more time ministering in nursing homes, hospitals, prison, befriending homeless people, etc. I saw many outcomes. Several passed on, some got healed, some set FREE, others were fed and sheltered. Whenever you do something and you want to know if it is right, ask yourself WHAT WOULD JESUS DO. Therefore, I challenge you to participate more in helping others starting in 2013.
During the Christmas Holiday, I visited Memphis, and while there, I finally saw Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion at Christmas time. I had always heard how pretty it looked during this season. Blue Christmas lights lined up the driveway. I guess Elvis’s blue suede shoes climbed that driveway many times. The Nativity scene was the most unique, beautiful large piece of art work I had ever seen.
January 1, 2013 was not only the 1st day of 2013 but it was an historical moment. On that day 150 years ago, the 16th President of the United States , Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which declared slaves were forever FREE. On December 31, 1862 the slaves waited and prayed, waited and prayed until they were free. That is why today in black churches; millions gather on New Year’s Eve to remember what took place 150 years ago and to always thank GOD for stepping out of the old year’s bondage and stepping into the New Year freely.
As the new year of 2013 begins, please leave all bad memories and activities behind you and press forward with positive new ideas, new activities and a new attitude. We are older now and life is more precious than ever and even shorter. ENJOY LIFE, DON’T LIVE WITH REGRETS, BE THANKFUL EVERY MORNING YOU ARE ABOVE GROUND, TELL FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS YOU LOVE THEM AND MOSTLY THANK GOD FOR YOURSELF AND EACH OTHER