Strong In The City: Toy Drives, Marsha Ambrosius, Alice Smith, Gordon Chambers & more!

‘Tis the season for toy drives as many endeavor to galvanize our communities to ensure all children have a Merry Christmas.  WHUR’s toy drive happens this weekend on Sat 12-4 w/ Frank Ski at the Iverson Mall and Triscina Grey at Central Union Mission. Hope to see you there!

Nikki Strong w/ Angel Jackson & Darren Croom at Holiday With A Heart fundraiser toy drive

I also had the pleasure of attending the “Holiday With A Heart” annual toy drive/fundraising event for Children’s National Health Systems at Look Lounge (1909 K St NW) last night. There was good music, prizes and of course gifts for the kids. One of the hilarious moments of the evening for me was when I met one of my next door neighbors.  We had never seen or met before, despite living down the hall from each other…how crazy is that?  There was also a video of the organizer, Richard Glover, and I dancing and improvising a really WACK rap about the event.  I pray it is never posted somewhere LOL.

Did you have a chance to catch Marsha Ambrosius at the Howard Theatre for the Thanksgiving Holiday?  It was standing room only as Marsha sang several songs from her repertoire and latest CD Late Nights & Early Mornings. Daley was her opening act.  (They sing “Alone Together”) When he broke out into his own version of Chaka Khan’s Sweet Thing, I was like “Hold up wait a minute!!!”  but admittedly was not mad at his version.  Just like his music, Daley is a laid back groovy dude. Marsha, as you may know if you have ever seen her live, will bring the rawness.   Don’t let the proper sounding British accent fool you.  Marsha pridefully calls herself a “classy b***ch”.  I almost fell out my seat when she said she was “sophisticatedly ra-shay”. Without regret she thanks her experiences for being the inspiration behind some of her biggest songs – like the big O she said she had that paid off majorly (in royalties) in her hit “It’s getting late…” She is definitely for adults!  And that voice! Whoa it never disappoints. I can’t help but yell “SING MARSHA!” and  “WRITE THOSE SONGS GIRL! WRITE!!!”


Now Alice Smith. Many of you may have never heard of her. To be very honest my first exposure was when she did Cee-Lo’s Fool For You on Black Girls Rock. I was like WHO IS THAT?!! When I heard she was at the Howard Theatre, I HAD to see her.  I was glad I did. She is raw soul funk and rock & roll.  To me she invokes Tina Turner and Bettye LaVette, as well as a range of other influences. If you thought she rocked Fool For You on BET, she kicked it up several notches live in concert, so much so I couldn’t help but tweet:


 You can click here to see her performance at Black Girls Rock. WHEW!


Finally, coming up more great concerts & events, especially in time for Christmas & New Years. There’s A LivSuite Christmas w/several artists, hosted by Triscina Grey at the Carlyle Club, WHUR’s NYE Inner Caucus is going to be good too. In addition, I am trying to catch Gordon Chambers and Wayna at the Howard Theatre.   If you like Brownstone’s If You Love Me, Anita Baker’s I Apologize, Angie Stone’s No More Rain, then you have enjoyed Gordon’s work. Many of us know him from the cut he does with Ledisi “Breathe Again”. Gordon Chambers is a grammy winning singing/songwriting vet who has written for Whitney, Chaka, Beyonce, Gladys and Usher to name a few.Aside from being a great songwriter, I also know Gordon can SING. This will be my first time in over a decade seeing him bring it live.  I am also looking forward to seeing his special guest, soulful Ethiopian songstress Wayna, light up the stage as well. Can’t wait

BTW Remember the TV show Being Bobby Brown? (of course you do!) Well in the video below, Gordon is the guy on the piano at Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown’s Christmas party. (cue into 9:20) lol

and finally Dec 19th & 20th, I will be on-air for Triscina Grey, so if we don’t touch base either on-line or in person, we’ll connect then!  Here’s to good music, good shows, great parties and a generous fun holiday spirit! (There are so many movies to see too!!)

Take care, be safe and be blessed!


-Nikki Strong