Wanda Farlow-Cooke and Thomas Cooke were married in a beautiful afternoon ceremony on July 20by the Rev. Dr. Willie Richardson, founder and senior pastor of Christian Stronghold Church in West Philadelphia. Wanda was stunning in her ivory, satin-fit and flare gown. Her uncles, Charles Farlow and Fred Farlow, escorted her down the aisle — first one and then the other — until she reached her groom.
Wanda, 48, is a Philadelphian who grew up in the city’s Mt. Airy neighborhood. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Temple University. Wanda works as a freelance interpreter and a burgeoning playwright with other interests such as mentoring young women and jewelry design. She is the daughter of the late Ruth Louise Farlow. Wanda also lovingly remembered her grandmother, Daisy Burnette.
Thomas, 48, is also a native Philadelphian from the West Philadelphia neighborhood He attended Temple University for two years, majoring in communications and theater arts. He enjoys working as a master specialist and trainer for Brooks Brothers, the first ready-to-wear fashion emporium in America. His parents are the late Penton Cooke and Marian Thompson-Cooke.
How They Met, The Proposal
Thomas and Wanda first met nearly three decades ago. They just happened to become reacquainted via Facebook three years ago, and the rest is a true love story. Thomas succeeded in completely surprising Wanda when he proposed close to the date of her December birthday. He arranged a birthday party for her at the home of Braheem and Wanda Lynette-Farlow, the bride’s niece and nephew. Wanda was ecstatic about family and friends celebrating with her. After enjoying the festivities everyone entered the movie screening room for what Wanda thought was a short film by their friend, Ed Nelson. Much to her surprise it was a six-minute video he had produced for her. The clever video began with the couple’s first date at The Ritz Theater and ended with Thomas proposing to Wanda on video.
The Bridal Party
Wanda’s attendants were Alice Mention, maid of honor, and Sharon Odongo,her matron of honor. Alvin Phillips was Thomas’ best man, Braheem Farlow was the groomsman, Malik Bell was the carrier of the three-ring knot and Jannyah Murrill was the carrier of the ceremonial broom.
“Our wedding day far exceeded our expectations. It was a truly surreal experience of joy. Having family and friends share in our loving moment was the epitome of joining the Cookes and Farlows together as one blessed and highly favored family,” the couple shared.
Wanda and Thomas thought their wedding coordinator, Cheryl Gurley, did a fabulous job, as did their photographer, Bob Thomas. Other memories they cherish are the African dancers and drummers by New Covenant Ministry preceding the bride’s entrance and soloist Edward Smith’s soulful rendition of “You Were Meant for Me” by Donny Hathaway.
“We couldn’t be more in love, especially as the duet of Christian Stronghold members Kanita Benson and Andrew Carrington performed ‘Spend my Life With You’ by Eric Benet and Tamia . The Lord gave us everything, including our double ring ceremony,” said Wanda.
“One of my most memorable moments was watching my bride glide down the center aisle like my angel,” said Thomas. “Tears welled just realizing that Wanda would now be the queen of my heart and the soulmate I deserved. My bride says the tribute to our parents was special to her. She honored her mother with her photograph as well as and my parents’ photo. They were displayed on the podium in front of the church.”
Wanda and Thomas hosted a lovely dessert reception for church members ,and all wedding guests enjoyed scrumptious wedding cake designed and baked by Willie Mae Haynes.
The couple’s private reception was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Penn’s Landing on Philadelphia’s scenic waterfront. As guests enjoyed dining and dancing, Wanda discreetly disappeared briefly. She returned dressed like a Moroccan princess, surprising Thomas with a belly dance just for him. Her dance was described as the hit of the evening. Wanda and Thomas danced their first dance as husband and wife to Marvin Gaye’s “Your Precious Love.”
The couple felt, “Blessed to have two honeymoons.” Following a romantic stay in the penthouse of The Hyatt Regency, Wanda and Thomas enjoyed a wonderful trip to the Jersey Shore. In August, they boarded a plane to Miami, the origin of a cruise to Nassau in the Bahamas. Six family members and friends joined the happy newlyweds for a fantastic five-day cruise. It was like the continuation of their joyous reception on the open sea.
Congratulations and very best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cooke!
Dawn Angelique Roberts and Wayne E. Roberts celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary on Oct. 25.
The energetic and very busy couple took a slice of time together in Atlantic City. They stayed at Harrah’s because it’s a fun getaway that’s not too far from the native Philadelphia couple’s home and their son, Wayne E. Roberts Jr. Four-year-old Wayne Jr. is affectionately known as “ WayJ.” They also decided on Atlantic City because Dawn loves the indoor pool and other amenities at Harrah’s Resort Hotel.
Dawn and Wayne were married on Oct. 25, 2008 on a gorgeous, private beach at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. They were joined by more than 80 friends and family for the joyous wedding cruise to the Bahamas.
The couple met in 1984 while students at William Penn High School. Dawn was in the 9th grade and Wayne was an 11th-grader. Dawn shared, “We didn’t date in high school. He was the older guy that I had a crush on. Of course, I didn’t tell him. I think he had an idea. Our friends dated at the time. I was shy and busy running track in high school. He ran track as well and was dating girls his age.” Obviously any age difference and shyness became moot points.
Years later, Wayne researched Dawn’s website in preparation for a business discussion. She thinks it was a good excuse to ask her out. Before their reconnection, Wayne kept up with Dawn through a mutual friend, Najah Teagle. Najah and Dawn ran track in high school and college and her friend was also Dawn’s matron of honor.
Dawn is a public relations consultant and managing partner with KD Communications Group, a public relations firm with offices in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. In addition to owning her own PR firm, Dawn serves as the associate representative for the National Association of Black Journalists . Wayne is a marketing consultant and also works with KD Communications and other independent projects.
I asked Dawn what she considered ingredients for a good marriage. She responded, “ The ingredients for a good marriage include communication and more communication. And it’s important to be friends first. Also, I think it’s important to keep up with the friends that you had prior to getting married, and it’s good to have hobbies and activities.”
Both have busy schedules, but manage to keep in touch with high school and college friends. Dawn also stays in touch with members of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Hobbies and activities include reading, volunteering for nonprofit organizations and running.
“I ran in high school and college and I’ve been running for the last four years to keep in shape,” Dawn said.
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Mr. and Mrs. Wayne E. Roberts!
The d’Zert Club & African Genesis Institute celebrated 20 joyous years of enriching the lives of our children on Oct. 12 at the First District Plaza in West Philadelphia. Ali and Helen Salahuddin, the dedicated couple who founded this entity, enjoyed a terrific showing of support with approximately 500 people attending the milestone event. The Salahuddin co-founders have worked tirelessly to enrich the lives of African American and Latino youth through the, “development, understanding and awareness of the African experience in America today.”
The couple made their first trip to Africa in 1996 and have traveled to the country of their heritage extensively since that time. They are determined that “the ancestral energy” they feel as a result of their travel translates into every child of African descent having the same experience. The African Genesis Institute is a two-year program offering an extraordinary educational and cultural experience and much more.
The positive energy generated by the luncheon program honoring state Rep. Cherelle L. Parker, representing the 200th Legislative District; founder/chairman of PRWT Services Inc., Willie F. Johnson; and president and CEO of Universal Companies Inc., Rahim Islam, was fantastic. Harold Epps, president of PRWT Services Inc., graciously accepted the crystal Dr. Edward Robinson Medallion Award on behalf of Willie F. Johnson. Parker and Islam made heartfelt remarks and expressed gratitude for this recognition.
There were also three past students who were recognized for their outstanding scholastic achievement. Congratulations to eighth-grade honor student, Jahbari Joseph Akua; Bowie University graduate, Atlantis Tye Browder and artistically accomplished seventh-grader, Kenya De’Zhane’ Chase-Mercer.
Ali Salahuddin noted that the honorees were awarded the Dr. Edward Robinson Medallion because they exemplified one or more of the late Robinson’s principles for our children to thrive: raising race esteem by teaching ancient African history, increasing literacy, stressing healthy lifestyles and encouraging entrepreneurship. Robinson was a distinguished, highly respected scholar who mentored and inspired the founders of the d’Zert Club & African Genesis Institute. Harriette Robinson, Robinson’s widow, attended the momentous celebration.
Among others “Out & About” were distinguished community leaders Kenneth and Faatimah Gamble and elected officials included state Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown, Jordan A. Harris, Stephen Kinsey and state Sen. Anthony H. Williams. The late Dr. Walter P. Lomax, whose recent passing has deeply saddened our community, was acknowledged with respect and admiration.
Highlights of the program included a proud procession of drums and welcome by student Jahbari Akua. Libations were offered beautifully by Chike Akua with guests responding in unison, “Ashe” (Amen or I Agree). Sonni King, daughter of the founders, led us in singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and presented citations from Governor Thomas Corbett, the Pa. Black Legislative Caucus, Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia City Council and the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Universal Dance and Drum Ensemble and Little Jazz Giants were absolutely amazing and entertained us royally with African dance, music and jazz.
The luncheon meal was blessed by Chike Akua and Nana Kwa David Whitaker, longtime friend of the founding couple, provided us with the wonderful history of d’Zert Club & African Genesis Institute.
Graduates were recognized by African Genesis Institute facilitators, Jabari and Anika Osaze, prior to the introduction of inspiring keynote speaker, Dr. Molefi Asante.
Congratulations and best wishes are extended to Ali and Helen McCrary Salahuddin, honorees, students and supporters of this outstanding organization.
For more information about the d’Zert Club and African Genesis Institute or travel with them to Africa, visit them on line at www.africangenesis2.org or call (215) 247-5121.
I respectfully dedicate this column to the legacies of Dr. Walter P. Lomax and former City Councilwoman-at-Large Augusta “Gussie” Clark who passed away on Oct. 13.
The Coordinating Council of Frontiers International Inc., Philadelphia Club held its 50th annual fashion show and scholarship luncheon recently at the Philadelphia Hilton Hotel. The event theme was “Celebrating Over 50 Years of Giving Back to Our Community,” and hundreds of supporters were “Out & About” for a fun-filled day for a great cause.
“For over 50 years, the ladies of the Coordinating Council have raised funds for the main purpose of giving back to our community. We not only support high school seniors by giving scholarships, we also donate clothes to women transitioning back into the workforce, baby clothes and housewares to single mothers, teddy bears to sick children and food to families in need,”said Judith D. Powell, the club’s president.
Officers serving with Powell are: Tracy Gray, Miriam Prioleau, Vivian Buchanon, Dorothy Sapp, Angelyn Crumbley and Harriette Robinson. This year’s event co-chairpersons, Pauline Brown and Vivian Ray, are commended for their hard work on this year’s event, along with luncheon committee members: Harriette Robinson, Vivian Robinson, Elizabeth Johnson, Judith Powell, Beatrice Smith, Vivian Ray, Catherine Curtis, Patricia Clark and Angelyn Crumbley.
Other current Coordinating Council members not previously mentioned are Marilyn Alston, Gertrude Baker, Naomi Collins, Barbara Collins, Barbara Cooper, Catherine Curtis, Gloria Jordan, Cynthia Lewis, Shirley Lumm, Yvonne Proud Ford, Ann Sellers, Ann Roberson-Smith, Louise Watkins and Thelma Young.
This year, the Coordinating Council awarded scholarships to Michaella Dantzler, North Carolina A&T University; Kamilla Lewis, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Autumn Moseley, Millersville University; Adam Sellers, Delaware State University; and Cierra Williams, Temple University. Congratulations are extended to all 2013 recipients.
It is interesting to note that the Coordinating Council of Frontiers International Inc. Philadelphia Club was established in 1936 as a service organization; the membership consists of the dedicated wives and significant others of members of Frontiers International. Members of Frontiers International enjoying the event were James Reed, Artis Ray, Maurice Houston, Warren English, Darryl Boozer, Dr. Norman Clark and William H. Johnson. These gentlemen are also well known for their tremendous community service. Their president is Joseph I. Wells and other officers are Warren English, Maurice Houston, Ronald Bond, Reginald Cooper, Dr. Greg Stephens, Andre Wilson, Robert MacBeth, William H. Johnson and Steven Lewis. The late Dr. Edward Robinson, The Rev. Canon Thomas W. S. Logan and Floyd Alston are among the many distinguished members and leaders of the Philadelphia community whose legacies are monumental.
The main highlight of the afternoon was, of course, a fabulous fashion show featuring all of the season’s most stylish trends for women and men. Cynthia Lewis was the program’s lively mistress of ceremonies. Guests enjoyed a delicious luncheon. Door prizes and raffles also generated great fun and excitement.
“The Coordinating Council is open to women 18 years of age and older. “If you are interested in joining our group, please see any Coordinating Council member and an application will be mailed to you. Our belief is, “Together we can make a difference,” so if you desire to make a difference, consider becoming a member,” Powell said.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Delta Eta Alumni Association, celebrated 61 years of achievement at its 2013 Homecoming on Sept. 28. The milestone event took place at the Wyndham Philadelphia Hotel in the city’s historic district and was attended by nearly 200 fraternity members and guests.
James E. Andrews, Delta Eta Alumni Association president, takes on every project with energy and enthusiasm. “The Delta Eta chapter holds a unique position within Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. It is one collective chapter including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Villanova University, Ursinus College, Community College of Philadelphia, Temple University, St. Joseph’s University and Arcadia University accounting for this group being known as, ‘The City Chapter.’ Since the chapter’s beginning in 1952, our members have made a difference in all fields of human endeavor. We make the difference by our service, involvement and pursuit of excellence,” Andrews said.
Officers serving with Andrews are: J. Ronald White, vice president; Jerry J. Martin, treasurer; Thomas E. Munlyn, secretary and Luimbe Domingos, webmaster.
Andrews and homecoming committee members are congratulated for making this event such a success. J. Ronald White served as chairman and Tom Munlyn did a terrific job as the evening’s master of ceremonies. Other committee members were Akeem Franklyn, Dereck C. Scott, Eric W. Capers, Jerry J. Martin, Brad Larkin, Herbert L. Scott, Thomas E. Munlyn, James D. Johnson, Calvin C. Christopher, Luimbe Domingos and Anthony P. Carey.
One of the highlights of the cocktail reception and dinner program was a message by keynote speaker, Glenn Ellis. Ellis, a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., received a heartfelt standing ovation. He is well known as an internationally respected health advocacy communications specialist. “It is with great pride that I stand here as part of a network of Kappa men who hold the distinction of being educated in the universities within Philadelphia. Our respective work in a wide range of professional fields of endeavor, allows us to be the voices and representation for the African-American community wherever we are. We are all committed to continuing to uphold the 61-year-old vision of the founder’s of Delta Eta,” he stated.
The primary mission of the Delta Eta Alumni Association is to formulate programs and activities for promoting good fellowship, to support programs of undergraduate members of the Delta Eta Chapter and to be supportive of all goals and objectives of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Outstanding Kappa Alpha Psi members who made inspiring remarks and/or were acknowledged during the evening were: Ernest H. Brown, interim executive director; Bruce Rush, Philadelphia Alumni Chapter polemarh; (President) Mark Canty Jr., Delta Eta ’52 who is distinguished as the first Scroller (Pledgee); Zicky Villette, Delta Eta Chapter Polemarch; Arthur A. Davis Jr., Burlington, Camden Alumni Polemarch; A. Bruce Crawley, Alonzo Kittrels and many undergraduate chapter members. The common thread of remarks reflected pride, unity and history. Bruce Rush drew lively applause with the mention of 1243 Allegheny Ave.
Also spotted “Out & About” having a great time were Barry and Paulette Lessene, Gus E. Lacy, Allen and Kathy Thomas, Dee Andrews, Gloria Kittrels, Rusty Joel, James Caroll, Dr. Walter and Patricia Bantom, Jimmy and Denise Johnson, Patricia Millard, George Glasco, George Gillespie, Rusty Joel, Wynona Royier, J. Eliot Andrews, Tony Carey, Gregory Whetstone and Diane McKinney-Whetstone and Junious and Sonjia Stanton.
The Rev. Jonathan Ford offered the invocation and benediction. Everette Gillison, City of Philadelphia Deputy Mayor, read a proclamation presented to James E. Andrews on behalf of Mayor Michael Nutter. When the program ended, everyone enjoyed dancing and music by D.J. “Sweet Lou,” Louis A. Williams Jr.
Congratulations and very best wishes to this dynamic group of men who are making so many positive contributions to our community.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About,” everyone!