This past week, I turned 50 years old. Which means now I’m currently in my golden year, half a century in on this thing called life, a time to reevaluate what life means. Well, that felt good to type but it’s not actually true. It’s a time to celebrate making it this far on this ridiculous planet, and a time to do things I’ve been putting off, things I’ve been building up to, and things that make me smile. As part of my 50th birthday celebration, I got to do one of those things. I threw myself a dinner party in a city I absolutely love and surrounded myself with a few dope folks (it’s still a pandemic, and I’m not crazy).
The dinner, highlighted with the hashtag “WD50,” was held in a loft inside the New Orleans business district, just a second line away from Canal Street, and because I love it so, it featured all of my favorite cuisines. There was veal shank ravioli, beef short rib served over polenta, bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with crabmeat, a kale caesar salad with one of the most addictive dressings ever made, and a redfish with a cornbread dressing served with lemon asparagus. For dessert, a bourbon bread pudding.
All catered by one of my brothers and one the city’s most sought-after caterers, Chef Vernon Martin III of Exquisite Kreations Catering, Inc. That’s a baaaaad man. Just ask any of the guests in attendance. We ate, laughed, told stories, hyped each other up, and laughed some more. Seriously, the food, the conversation, the venue… all of it was life-affirming.
Oh, and it was definitely branded. Last year I authored a book with a cartoon version of me on the cover, and since then the image has become a multi-purpose and recognizable brand (You seeeeee itttt!). And for a record 13th year, the brand #AugustWillSon is still strong in these hashtag streets. Like me, it’s aged like a fine wine.
In another post I’ll write about how much it means to still be alive and doing great things at 50, not because it’s old but because I’m Black, male, underserved, and somewhat ignored. That takes a toll, to be sure. But it also makes me even more appreciative and grateful that I’m still standing. Still strong. Take a look at a few more photos below (including the amazing cake presented by my love!!!) and just know that I’m entering my fifth decade with a battery in my back. Time to create. Love. Live.
This is 50.