Remembering when one of East St. Louis’ most prolific-entrepreneur Yvette Hicks met rapper Common

She saw dreams that only a person with her degrees, and articulation could pull off.


Yvette Hicks, was a dear friend of mine. Her untimely death in 2018, bought my heart down to the lowest level.

I met Yvette in 2010, we both were acquainted with another nightlife icon Reggie Smith. And he had invited us to his summer skate 70’s party downtown St. Louis.

Then from that moment on me and Miss Hicks formed a solid marketing friendship. When ever she needed me to help promote her projects, I was there.

In addition, when I needed sponsorship for an award ceremony or talent event, she was there. But that is not why our friendship spanned over 8 short years.

Because we were more like family, ones that had each others back. We could share secrets that only are broken by God.

Yvette’s was an East St. Louis unofficial spokeswoman, as I rally around my city of St. Louis as well. She saw dreams that only a person with her degrees, and articulation could pull off.

Sure we have Jackie Joyner-Kersee doing her thing with her foundation. Yet Yvette, was there through all the storms, after losing her grand daughter to a short illness. She founded Ya Ya, a non-profit store, that were filled with new, slightly worn clothing and accessories, for those in need.

She even volunteered around the “City of Champions” hosting fundraisers for politicians and cancer survivors. She also was working on two building in East St Louis, she wanted me to help on the technology side. She was going to make them recreational centers for youth and teens.

Her vision as a high school social worker was remarkable. She wanted to get the troubled teens off the streets and into technology.

But on August 21, 2018 her life was cut short due to a sudden illness.

Here is a story with photos, that I had submitted to Argus Newspaper at the time in 2014, reminding metro St. Louis of the progressiveness of East St. Louis and the people who loved it.

The weather was perfect in the St. Louis metro east corridor, and on the grounds of East St. Louis at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. Eastway/Gateway Peace Festival with Robert Eastern, East St. Louis City Councilman & Michael Floore, Chief of Police, and featuring many great local talents including St. Lunatics Murphy Lee, and national talents as well with Arrested Development and Common.

With the St. Louis Gateway Arch standing tall in the background, the afternoon could not have been anymore ravishing. The family of the slain teen Michael Brown, shot down by a Ferguson police officer, were in the building-minus his mother, got an opportunity to speak on the injustice and appreciation of the crowd in attendance.

There were thousand of people in attendance to be exact, from St. Louis to California, a crowd almost as large as the city of East St. Louis. Poet Lightning got the crowd started with her soul stirring poetry style, then several other acts hit the stage including local gospel queen Amber Bullock, ReMix Awards 2014 winner Rapper T-baby of East St. Louis, ReMix Awards 2014 winner Rapper Rip James, and national recording rapper local Murphy Lee, rapper Common and neo soul/hip hop group legend Arrested Development.

The flash bulbs were truly popping as everybody became their own paparazzi. Fox 2 News was also out getting in on a news story, I think St. Louis American may have been in the area as well.

Volunteer coordinator/Socialite Yvette Hicks (ReMix Awards 2014 winner) was on hand to take photos and share with me and others. I am hoping that bigger and better things are to come out of East St. Louis, as it continues to make a booming comeback.

Rest in Peace, Yvette Hicks from St. Louis, MO, raised in East St. Louis, and lived in Fairview Height, IL.

Photo credits: Yvette Hicks

1. Yvette and producer, recording artist Murphy Lee

2. Yvette, Common and artist Rylo 3. Common on stage 4. Host Jesse Taylor with Yvette


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