Veronica Solomon Stepper's Report]
Dru Smith - Not an Epilogue
By Veronica Solomon (#floridasteppersreport)
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email@example.com From the Red and Black Affair to Home Going -- When Andrew
"Dru" White Smith died we were not speaking. We hadn't spoken in about
two years. The cause of our fallout is unimportant. It had nothing to do
with the normal trappings of folks who fall out on the steppin' scene.
Honestly, it was over some local bullshit. But one
night while hanging out at the VFW which is our steppin' spot on
Thursday's, Dru approached me with a broad smile and a warm glow. He
came upon me humble and true. He handed me a flyer for the 2014 Red
and Black Affair. I didn't smile back but I did take the flyer. As
he moved on to the next table I rested the flyer on a small pool of
sweat that had formed from my glass of iced diet coke. The flyer
became limp and lifeless as it absorbed the liquid. It was our last
I attended the Red and Black Affair as I did every year. The thought
of mourning the loss of Dru, our Dru had never crossed my mind. As
the news of his passing began to take shape, social media was on
fire. I woke up to profile pictures taking on the likeness of Dru's
smile. Shorty Smooth posted how his tears were taking over his face
as he sat next to a stranger on a flight to Fort Lauderdale to DJ
our annual event, the Red and Black Affair. The notion that Dru
would be no longer with us didn't strike me at first. He had
succumbed to his illness during the early morning hours of the Red
and Black Affair weekend. More Below
The Meet and Greet was to kick-off that same night.
How crazy was that, but we would pull through it. It was clear to me
as the weekend progressed whether in life or in spirit Dru was going
to make sure we had a good time. The event was filled with
testimonies and reflections. We was in the vain of fulfilling the
dream of honoring the man whose organization The Stylistic Steppers
and who was partnered with Maria Cephas, took over the Red and Black
Affair and made it pop.
The weekend was chock-full of entertainment. We had Res, Christopher
Williams, and Carmichael. Christopher Williams paid homage to a man
he only spoke to on the phone once. He said that Dru's good spirit
resonated with him. The music was on point. DJ Shorty Smooth and
Rodney Mack kept the dance floor packed and our emcee for the
weekend Pete Frazier had the event flowing downstream.
For me and on a personal note, it looked odd not having Dru by
Pete's side. It was like a missing twin. The local steppin'
community showed up. It was an interesting mix of old and new
steppers. There were steppers at the Red and Black Affair that I
hadn't seen in years. What a reunion. How about that? We laughed
about the man who was so particular about the 123, 456,78. Dru made
sure you got that. The Red and Black Affair was somber. The steppers
made attempts and I mean major efforts to get through what was a
most difficult time. And for us locals, we still had a funeral to
Homegoing services are always tough. The following weekend shifted
the entire flow of the Red and Black Affair and now we was pushing
up stream. Dru was being laid to rest and there wasn't a thing
anybody could do about it. April Smith, his wife, life partner and
friend had the daunting task of burying her husband. I'm not sure as
to how long they had been married but I know for a fact it wasn't
very long. She stood proud and strong throughout the Red and Black
Affair weekend and now she had to have her back straight through
Dru was sharp, stepper sharp. He was relaxing in red and black wing
tips that were shining like polished silver. But the reality of it
all was that he was her husband of no more. Our steppin' instructor
who at one time lead me through dances with so much ease left me
with the pain of knowing that we would dance no more. It is hard to
describe the pain I felt when I saw him lying there, lifeless and
breathless but I knew he was a man of great stature and goodness.
Despite our falling out, I knew who he was and what he represented.
So, in my personal head space, as I looked down upon him I became
aware in that moment that all was well. His funeral service was a
God filled show. It was a show of support for his wife and family.
The respects being paid to the man that breathed steppin' into South
Florida was notable.
Andrew "Dru" White Smith, the man I knew as a teacher of steppin'
was in a place of no more suffering. In contemporary terms, what was
trending over Dru's Homegoing was his beautiful light, his love for
the dance, and his love of God. I asked Ms. Mary from TWSGA who
attended his services from Atlanta to describe Dru in a word, and
that word was Life, "he lived his life to the fullest" she said. I
and we in the South Florida steppin' community have experienced a
great loss. His presence is going to be missed in body but most
important he will be remembered. Steppin in the Fort Lauderdale and
Miami area will never be the same. The mark he left us with isn't an
unsightly scar but a beautiful tattoo marked and inked forever. Share The
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