From North Lawndale to Loop
I grew up in Chicago’s notorious Westside, North Lawndale community in the area better known as K-Town because for 8 consecutives blocks the street names began with the letter “k”.
My parents, Aaron and Mattie Johnson migrated there from Jim Crow South in the 1950’s and got a mortgage despite redlining which is the practice of arbitrarily denying or limiting financial services to specific neighborhoods, generally because its residents are people of color or are poor. My parents believed in hard work and sacrifice and got the mortgage.
Now I didn’t know we were poor or even how bad the neighborhood was and would become because my parents enrolled me in dance classes at Ms. Water’s basement school of dance, sent me to a private Catholic school, had a Hammond organ in our house and took organ lessons, studied ballet at the Russian Allegro school of ballet, went on regular vacations, ate at restaurants on special occasions and always had the unconditional love and attention of both my parents.
So despite the fact that my neighborhood was burned to the ground as a result of two years of race rioting in the late 1960s I was surrounded by a network of teachers, family and friends who led me to believe that life is full of possibility.
My dance lessons allowed me to travel around the world performing eventually becoming an NBA cheerleader, in between I rocked the fitness world from the 80’s to the present day, teaching and managing in the fitness industry. For 4 years, seven months and 9 days,\ I decided I would use the military as a way to search for life’s meaning and explore life beyond dance and fitness.
And yes, that is what it did. While in the service I finished my college degree, traveled Europe and when I returned stateside I was able to blend the creativity of my years as a performer with the discipline of my military training to organize festivals and events for the City of Chicago with the Mayor’s office of special events and now I am a senior manager for the 2nd largest private recreation facility in the US and yes still dancing. I live in Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the US and because of my belief in life’s possibilities after 20 plus years of single life. I met and married Craig Rapp. I will always be grateful to my wonderful parents, Aaron and Mattie Johnson for your unconditional love and support.
I am grateful for everything that life has to offer. My patience with others is a virtue, but I do have a restless spirit. Most of all I love to laugh. I am adventurous and bold, but I don’t like to get dirty. I love to dance, workout and run, yet I can also put in some serious TV time. Sure I like shoes and my closet contains a vast diversity of styles from beach thongs, several sports models and even four inch heels. That said I am ready for whatever escapade arises. I am extremely energetic, young in spirit and very much to the left of conservative. I enjoy spending time at the beach and museums. Because I like being around people, I enjoy going to outdoor festivals, parties or participating in an outdoor sport.