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The Legacy: How and Why...

When I look at pictures of my family, particularly my grandmother and grandfather, I feel a wide range of emotions. I feel inspired. I feel empowered. Most of all, I feel determined. For me, the Legacy Theatre is not just about business, it's about family. My grandfather, affectionately known as Shug, was a business-man and a very successful one. He had a barber-shop, he owned rental property, he had his own trucking company, and he owned a couple of corner stores. My uncle Ricky wanted to be in show business. When he and my mom were teens, he put her in a singing group, along with a few of their cousins and friends. His dreams of taking them further were cut short when he was senselessly murdered at the age of 20. I was two years old when my uncle died and five when my grand-father died, so I have very little recollection of both of them. But based on the stories I've heard from family, I've always admired and looked up to them. My grandmother Frances was like an icon to me. I always admired her beauty and fashion sense. She was so strong and would spend hours on her knees praying for her family. That image has always stuck with me. When she passed away in 2005, I made a promise to myself that I would do everything in my power to honor her and my uncle and grandfather. So why did I choose to call my theatre The Legacy? For me it's about more than fulfilling a lifelong dream. It's about paying homage to Shug and Frances and continuing what they started. Realizing the dreams they had for their children and their children's children. For my uncle, it's about continuing what he wasn't allowed to finish. They are long gone, but what they accomplished remains. I want to leave a Legacy for my children and future generations so they too can have something to look forward to and be proud of. For me, the theatre is like my family. It's where I feel most at home. The stories that I tell will be deeply rooted in family, love, heritage, everyday struggles, and the ups and downs of life. I want to do work that makes people think and go wow, but I also want to make my heavenly angels and my family proud.

Kenya Nicole Phifer-Jones