Antoine, You're Grounded
Blondy McColister Williams, age 48, is a familiar figure around Deerfield Beach High School, where she's done everything from work as an on-site security officer to drive a school bus to coach the girls' softball team. A hearty, bluff, good-natured woman, she's most notable nowadays for being the mom of 19-year-old breakout rap artist Antoine McColister. That would be Ace Hood to you. The young rapper's first single, "Cash Flow," featuring T-Pain and Rick Ross, has been hitting South Florida airwaves on 99 Jamz in a big way. Tailpipe cornered her the other day to ask what it was like bringing up a future rap sensation.
"He's been doing it ever since he was in middle school," she said. "I'd get calls saying he was interrupting classes, freestylin'. I'd be, like, 'Turn that music down!' He'd be, like, 'I'm gonna be a millionaire.' I'd say, 'Look, you have to go to college.' He'd say 'Mom, I'm gonna keep pursuing my dream.' I said, 'Antoine, you can be a rapper and get an education.' He just kept going to the clubs, he kept proceeding, until he got to this point... Everybody can't believe right now that he can get out there and perform because he's so shy. I said, 'You don't even talk!'
"He used to write a lot. Poems. He'd make cards for us — and it would be like, 'Wow, this is something out of Hallmark... ' He did a song for me. Oh, it's nice — about how once he made it big, how he was gonna take care of me and put me in a million-dollar home, he was sayin' 'My mother isn't gonna have to work again or cry anymore... ' It's so touching. Last year, I had surgery. It was serious. Nothing this major ever went down. They were like, 'You have to have it right away.' My finances weren't where they were supposed to be. I was like, 'Oh my God, am I gonna lose my home?' And I was, like, scared. He said, 'Mama, don't worry. You gonna be OK.' He went into the room and started praying to God. He said 'I never want to see my mama cry again about finances — never.' So once he made it big and signed on, he said 'From this day on, you're never going to have to worry about a bill again.'
"He works crazy hours now. I get up in the morning at quarter to six, I'm getting ready for work, and he's just coming in. But he's still a mama's boy. He always wonder where mama at. What mama doing. 'Mom, you need to dress me.' So he want me to be there with him. He keeps telling me, 'Mom, you gotta call me Ace.' I say 'I didn't name you Ace, I'm gonna call you Antoine.' He says 'They'll never know who you're talking about.' I said, 'You wanna bet? When I finish they're gonna know that you're Antoine.'
"He says to me, 'We're going to get you a home.' I'm looking out in the Parkland area. He did surprise me on Valentine's Day, he purchased me a Louis Vuitton purse — and it had $5,000 on the inside of it. Hundred-dollar bills. I'm like, 'Oh my God, oh my God!'
"Personally, I don't like that other stuff that rappers use. I was like, 'God, please keep it clean.' Once I heard 'Cash Flow' on the radio I was like, 'OK, good, good.' There wasn't lots of profanity in there. But there's a club version and it has two or three profanities. I just stood up and looked up to heaven... I hope it don't get no worse than that. I'll choke him! I encourage him to never use bad language. You're only 19 years old, you don't want to disrespect the females, you don't want to get into that hard stuff, you know? That single is with Rick Ross and T-Pain. Rick Ross, you know, he's a hard-baller.
"I told Rick Ross, 'First of all, I don't know you that well. But just keep it nice.' He said... 'We got love for Ace, we got love for Ace.' He's got such a deep voice! They've all been extremely good to Antoine, they really have. They love him like a brother. But I told Antoine, 'What they do, that don't mean for you to do.' Because first of all, they older than him. We talking about dealing with a 19-year-old and you're dealing with men that are in their 30s. Normally, they take him under their wings, you know. I really just pray that they doing well with him.
I told Antoine, 'Just because Rick Ross uses the language that he does doesn't mean that it's OK for you to use it, or that I'll accept it.' I mean, Rick Ross is all curse.
"Thank God they play the clean one on the radio station."
Lay Me Down
This is at Out of the Closet Thrift Store, in Wilton Manors. Way past the battered straight chairs and chipped chests of drawers, beyond the dog costumes (go ahead, turn Rover into a bumblebee), there's an imposing contraption. It's made of hollow metal bars like the posts that support a chain link fence. The posts are in a box shape, with chains strung from each corner, supporting a large canvas swatch.
What is it? A medical device? A cage? A dog bed? The sign calls it a "sling." It's yours for a mere $275. To sweeten the deal, the sign suggests that the lucky buyer can take the Out of the Closet employee of his or her choice home for the evening.
"So what is this?" Tailpipe wanted to know.
"Are you kidding?" said the clerk. "It's for sex. One person lies down, the other gets on top, and they do it suspended in the air."
"It looks brand-new."
"Well," he said, "I saw the guy that donated it. Not attractive."
Yeah, there was $17,000 in proceeds from the sale of recorded audio tapes that was supposedly missing from New Mount Olive Baptist Church coffers, and there was a lot of alleged finagling by the pastor in strange business deals. Suspicious trustees of the Fort Lauderdale church said they'd like a closer look at the balance sheet to see what stories it could tell. You can read about the long-festering dispute in Thomas Francis' New Times article "Witch Hunt at New Mount Olive" (December 20, 2007).
But now the trustees, who left office in August 2006 after clashing with the Rev. Mack King Carter, are talking real money. The trustees, who sued Carter in August 2006, contending they were entitled to a more thorough accounting, finally got their hands on some of the documents they were asking for — and they think they may have hit the jackpot.
The trustees' attorney, Willie Jones of Delray Beach, says his clients weren't satisfied with past church audits, alleging that those reports had been "sanitized." The trustees sought access to church bank statements, which would give a complete rundown of activity including deposits and withdrawals.
Jones recently got the church's financial records from 2004, and he says they tell a fascinating tale: over $53 million in church funds that were unknown to church trustees.
That's right, Jones says: $53 million. (The New Mount Olive budget at the time was only about $3 million.)
Jones filed a motion last Thursday calling for a new round of depositions. "I want to know the source of the $53 million and where it went," he says. "And I want to know why the trustees didn't know about it."
Eugene Pettis, the Fort Lauderdale attorney representing Carter and other New Mount Olive staff members, says he has not yet seen Jones' motion, but he told Tailpipe the idea that $53 million came and went without the trustees' knowledge is "asinine." Pettis added: "I hope they're right, that there really is $53 million for the church to spend."
Find Me a Match
Like a lot of women, Lisa Johnson of Sunrise loves shoes. And purchasing shoes has been the catalyst for more than one disagreement with her husband, Jeff. Now, Lisa says, Jeff won't let her buy any more shoes. Not until she does something with the heavy bag she keeps in their bedroom closet.
The bag is overflowing with shoes. Mostly sandals (Lisa's favorite). Mostly single, unpaired sandals — all right-footed.
"I tried to hide the bag," Lisa says, "but it keeps getting more and more full. I've got all these right shoes and I don't know what to do with them."
Lisa, age 38, suffered a stroke when she was 16. After years of treatment, she has mostly recovered but there is still some partial paralysis on her right side. Three years ago, doctors told her to wear a special brace on her right foot. "They told me I have to wear these retarded-looking shoes. I said, 'Just give me one, because I refuse to wear both.'"
So Lisa kept buying shoes and stuffed the right shoes in the bag. Most are Birkenstocks, which can cost around $100 a pair. "I'm afraid to throw them away," she said. "It seems like it'd be such a waste."
She has sandals in pink, yellow, green, white, and several shades of blue. Some have buckles. Some have back straps. Some have two straps. Most have never been worn. They're all size 7 or 8, wide.
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"I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them," she said. She just knows she can't keep them anymore, not if she wants to buy still more shoes and maintain a peaceful relationship.
"There has to be someone on earth who needs only right shoes. It can be a stroke victim, it can be an amputee, it can be anything. I just can't see throwing them out when someone out there could be looking for someone just like me with a bag just like this for them."
Could there be a match made in heaven out there?
"Maybe they'll have a big collection of all left shoes that I can have. Oh, that would be great!"