Brooke Simpson comes home to Hollister, NC

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Brooke Simpson sings on season 13 of NBC's "The Voice." Her community in Hollister N.C. recently welcomed her home. Photo Courtesy A. Kay Oxendine
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Jan. 2, 2018, proclaimed Brooke Simpson Day in Halifax, NC

By A. Kay Oxendine

Native Hoop Magazine

On Jan. 2, Brooke Simpson came home to Hollister, N.C. There were more police cars than I think I have ever seen in our community.  There were cars all the way to the Post Office, for God’s sake. And it was cold, peeps.  Like colder than I even come out for, kind of cold.

My son and I planned to get there early and chill.  Well, we went to open the doors and there was a sign that no doors open until 6:30 p.m.  It was 6:11 p.m.  He asked, “What do you want to do?”

I decided to flash my credentials and say I am working on a story – can I come in?  A smile later, I was in. But that didn’t last long. My friend Sharon Harris Berrun walked by and said – everybody get out. Uncle Mike said everybody has to wait until 6:30.

Without hesitation, I walked back out and decided to wait outside the door in 18- degree weather.

And it was worth it. The doors opened at 6:30 and lo and behold, my son and I were the first in line. We waited with patience, along with a few live Facebook videos, until the moment that Brooke walked in, which was a little after 7:15 p.m.

The place erupted in applause. Everyone was so happy to see her and just like her onscreen personality, her real-life persona was just as warm as inviting.  After a few words, it was proclaimed by the county of Halifax that Jan. 2, 2018 will now be known as Brooke Simpson Day. Brooke got a proclamation and everything. It was an awesome thing to witness, an awesome honor to be bestowed upon Brooke.

Then they let the meet and greet begin.

Left to Right: A. Kay Oxendine, Brooke Simpson and Johnathan Oxendine at a meet-and-greet reception for Simpson. Photo Courtesy A. Kay Oxendine

I was the first. I grabbed Brooke’s hands and looked her in her eyes and said, “Honey, I am Kay from Native Hoop.” She grabbed me and hugged me so tight and thanked me so much for my stories. She then met my son and gave him the same warm greeting. Nothing but pure love.

We both were allowed to come stand on either side of her to get a picture.  I was cheesing so big. They hurried us along since the line now was at least an hour long.

It only took a few seconds but the visit was transformative for me. Now I have known this family all my life and known Brooke but didn’t KNOW Brooke. So, I felt myself being a bit star struck and in awe. In awe because her personality immediately shone through so bright. She was gracious, loving, patient, and honestly – just beautiful.  Just like her first single “What is Beautiful,” now on the charts, her beauty shines.

We left shortly after our meeting, and I came home and actually tried to process what had just happened. It was more than just a meet and greet. All of a sudden, I had the energy to finish putting away Christmas, go through the list of things I had been pulling out, putting back in all day.

There was clarity. I wasn’t overwhelmed – I was at peace and very happy and I could not get the song “What is Beautiful” out of my head. After about an hour – I said – that gal is anointed, Lord. She is anointed. She offers her voice to all of us, and it is being used to transform so many of our lives, but her personality and being are being used to heal and bless the world.

Sharon Berrun, her brother Dwayne Harris, her father HP all work together to prepare frybread for Brooke Simpson’s “Meet and Greet”. Sharon’s mom Miss Rita is Mike Mills sister, Brooke Mills is her cousin. Photo Courtesy A. Kay Oxendine.

I wish I could tell you that I am joking and that I that I don’t mean to sound like a love-struck Beatlemania gal from 1960, but that is just how it felt.

As I was leaving her after our meet and greet, I looked at her and said, “I will be covering you for a really long time.”

And I will.

People like Brooke Simpson do not come around every day. They come around once in a lifetime.  I encourage all of you to continue following her as well because your life will be blessed just as mine has been.  I am still beaming. There will be transformation happening within her music that will bring peace and beauty to a sometimes very ugly and competitive world that we live in.  And I think that is just magical, don’t you?

A. Kay Oxendine is a writer for Native Hoop Magazine. Read the Q & A with Brooke Simpson.

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