Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Khari Bowman (Overton High School)
R&B sensation K. Michelle has taken 2015 by storm with her latest album entitled “Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart” and the countless number of sold out dates on her “My Twisted Mind” tour. Recently, the singer paid a visit to her high school alma mater, Overton High and gave some helpful advice to teens with a passion for the creative and performing arts.
As a performing arts student at Overton, I had the opportunity to meet her, which was as life-changing for me as it was for some of my peers.
Kimberly Michelle Pate grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and graduated in the class of 2000 at Overton, the only high school in the city dedicated to the creative and performing arts. She was a member of the Student Government Association, Show Choir and was crowned “Miss OHS” at the annual Overton beauty pageant. After high school, K. Michelle attended Florida A&M University where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. In 2009, she signed with Jive Records, launching her music career.
K. Michelle became most widely known as a cast member on the hit reality show “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta” before joining the cast of “Love & Hip-Hop: New York.” Since then she has released two successful albums, her own reality show called “K. Michelle: My Life” and established a huge fan base called the “Rebels” named after her debut album “Rebellious Soul.”
During her visits to Overton, K. Michelle mentored the school’s choir, dance and drama department as well as greeted and said encouraging words to some of the members of participating sports. In late September 2014, the drama department was rehearsing for its production of “The Wiz” when the well-known singer walked into rehearsals much to everyone’s surprise. She stressed the importance of how being involved in performing arts can take a person a long way.
Alexis Sledge, a drama student, said, “It was great to see someone who started from the same place as I did be successful. She was so humble and I appreciate how she never forgot where she came from.”
K. Michelle returned to Overton in March and stopped in on rehearsals as the drama department was preparing for its spring musical “Play On.” During her most recent visit to the school, K. Michelle brought camera crews along with her as she visited the different creative and performing arts classes and after school clubs. Students were amazed to find out that they would be featured in her documentary in the newest season of “Being” to be aired on BET Centric in mid-2015.
Senior Kiana Thomas said, “Her presence set a good atmosphere at our school. It made me feel like there was hope for anyone to overcome any obstacles they are going through. When K. Michelle took pictures with some of my soccer teammates and me, we were all so appreciative. She wished us good luck on our soccer game and even listened to our silly renditions of her songs. It was one of the most exciting moments of our lives.”
Despite the rumors and posts about her on gossip sites, students of Overton got the opportunity to interact with the singer and see how kind-hearted she really was.
K. Michelle continues to strive as a performer as well as adding to her brand. With the third released single “Hard to Do” from her latest album, the continuation of the “My Twisted Mind” tour, corporate partnerships, a reality show and a documentary, K. Michelle’s work never stops.
The creative and performing arts program at Overton High School helped to shape one of the leading ladies in music culture today and thankfully, she has never forgotten her hometown roots.