DALLAS — Christopher Wade and Kimberly King first crossed paths nearly three decades ago at John P. Freeman Jr. High, during which they were members of the school’s choir.
Today, their bond is as close as it’s ever been.
Having formed a courtship a little more than two years ago, Wade and King have collectively put their musical talents on display, courtesy of a newly-produced song entitled, “Love Is A Gift.”
LOVE AND MUSIC
A native of Memphis, King has been an accomplished songwriter for quite some time, she told Making Headline News Friday morning.
Wade, also a native Memphian, has been writing and singing for the past 19 years.
Together, the couple deemed it essential to write and produce a song they sense will reignite a positive outlook in a world they sense has become much more unattached and self-absorbed in recent years.
“I just started my journey as a songwriter,” King, much to her delight, told MHN.
Interestingly, it is a journey she and Wade hope eventually catches the R & B music world by storm — much sooner than later.
“This song was written because the world is in such a bad place morally and spiritually,” said King, explaining the direct message she and Wade are aiming to send through an R&B hit that was recently thrust in rotation on Memphis’ 103.5 WRBO. “We are trying to bring true love with a real R&B feel back in 2019.”
Though “Love Is A Gift” made its radio debut during the holiday season and is centered in large part on Christmas, King said the song is accompanied by what she describes as a “universal message,” meaning listeners can play it “all year round,” she acknowledged.
“The audience will be blessed by the feeling of love…to turn their minds off the world for a minute and feel good,” King said.
A song the couple needed somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 hours to compose — they wrote it December 13 and recorded it the very next day — “Love Is A Gift” surfaced in the wake of several conversations between Wade and King.
The rest, as they say, was history.
“It was easy to assemble the song,” said King, adding that other collaborative music projects are forthcoming.
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In the coming days, Kiereka Vernecia Banks is about the find herself on the right side of history.
There’s at least one awe-inspiring reason why.
“I feel excited and blessed to be here. I am someone who’s the granddaughter of a man who came to Memphis with only a third grade education and worked as a sanitation worker during the Civil Rights Movement,” Banks told Making Headline News during its annual Salute To Graduates Tributes.
For Banks, that her grandfather, the late Edward, Johnson, Sr., wasn’t merely afforded the educational opportunities she has enjoyed throughout the years undoubtedly has served a colossal motivational force for this college honor student, who will reach arguably the grandest milestone of her life when she earns her degree from Memphis’ Christian Brothers University on May 12.
A native Memphian and 2014 graduate of Memphis Central High School, Banks, 22, will be awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, a feat that will come nearly a decade since the death of her grandfather.
Johnson, Sr. died on June 18, 2008 after a brief battle with prostate cancer. He was 88.
“To be receiving my degree from Christian Brothers University…it’s unbelievable,” Banks said. “My family paved the way for this, and to see it happening, I am overjoyed.”
That Banks is about to inherit a college degree shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone, especially considering she enrolled at CBU on an academic scholarship, an achievement that had ultimately given way to her manufacturing a cumulative grade point average of 3.46 in the process.
Interestingly, Banks doesn’t shy away from the notion that her sustained academic success wouldn’t not have come to fruition if not for a solid supporting cast that was spearheaded by her mother, Kimberly Banks whom, according to Kiereka Banks in a recent Facebook post, stepped in to rescue her daughter during her college tenure at a time she needed it the most.
“When I decided to move back home after my second year, I lost a scholarship and refused to take out any loans,” Banks recalled. “And she was there, paying the money with no questions asked. She and I went through this process together, taking (into account) that I will be first out of my siblings to graduate college. But we learned the ropes together, which is why I continually tell her this degree is for us.”
Surely, there’s a good chance that tears will be shed this Mother’s Day weekend when Banks’ name is called to shake hands with CBU’s president on stage, where she will receive her diploma.
Tears that, in all likelihood, will flow from the eyes of both Banks and her mother, a 1990 graduate of Memphis Northside High.
“My relationship with my mom is everything to me,” Banks said. “She’s literally my best friend. Without her, I don’t know where I would be. She’s here for me when I need to vent, pray, or laugh. She’s there any time of day or night. We are almost one in the same, especially (considering) that our birthdays are just four days apart.”
As Banks explained, she knew full well that long before she bolted Central High with honors, it was her responsibility to do the necessary things to earn a scholarship, considering college education cost seemingly skyrockets at the blink of an eye.
“Ever since I was in high school, I knew I had to make a way,” Banks said. “I knew my mom couldn’t afford to send me to college, so I had to strive to get the high GPA and ACT scores. Once I was in college and saw the sacrifices she was making for me, I knew I couldn’t fail her. This wasn’t just about me anymore it was about us. She has always given her all to my siblings and me. I just want to put myself in the position to try and repay her for all that she’s done.”
While she’s likely racking up on Kleenex for what figures to be an emotional weekend when she shows up for her daughter’s college graduation, Kimberly Banks…well…on second thought, perhaps she can appropriately assess what has surely been a challenging, yet sometimes rocky journey, one that’s accompanied by a feel good story.
“No words could ever describe how proud I am of my daughter,” Kimberly Banks, a mother of three, said. “With all of her achievements, she has always looked to me to give her hope in what she believed.”
All things considered, Banks’ mother would be the first to admit that the motivation she passed along to her daughter was indeed reciprocated.
“I think she pushed me to go hard, not giving up when she wanted to,” Kimberly Banks said.
Which, after all, practically explains why tears are almost certain to spill out of the eyes of both Banks and her mother hours before Mother’s Day 2018 arrives.
Next up for Banks: It’s off to graduate school this fall at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, where she will pursue dual degrees in JD/MBA.
“My grandmother, Vernice Johnson, also played a major role in my success,” Banks said. “From buying me a television for my dorm room, to feeding me when I couldn’t take school food any longer but, most of all, for uplifting me in prayer and speaking my success into existence. Honestly my entire family…aunts, uncles, and cousins have been a part of my journey and I am so thankful. I love you all.”
Especially good ole grandpa, a Civil Rights pioneer in his own right whom, in all likelihood, will be peeping through the clouds from heaven this weekend — all the while putting to good use a few Kleenex just like his daughter.
EDITOR’S NOTE:Whether your child has already graduated or not, if you would like to pay homage to his/her accomplishments with a unique Salute To Graduates Tribute that will feature a story like the one above with multiple photos, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.