Friday, April 1, 2016

Toyosi Phillips pens admiration letter to Stella Damasus

Dear Stella,

I’m going to start by saying: ‘Well Done!’ The fact that your face is still recognizable; your voice still audible, and your opinions still respected… in an industry where many have been akin to a flash in the pan, is a testament to your dedication your craft. It is also evidence of the respect you have for it.

Yours was a face I grew up watching and loving. My very first encounter with you- which I’m certain you don’t remember- further endeared you to me. This time, I saw more than your face, I saw the heart behind the face. Long story short, I saw you at Silverbird Galleria- this must have happened in
2005 or 2006- and I was determined to say hello. I walked up to you, opened my mouth to say hello and suddenly got tongue-tied (I’m cringing just thinking about it again). It’s your smile and the warmth you emitted while waiting for me to say something that finally got me to talk and I ended up saying something along the corny lines of, “I like you and people say I look like you” 😐 You said, “Thank You” repeatedly and it was not the dismissive kind of thank you, it was an I-see-the-effort-you-just-made-and-I-appreciate-it thank you. I walked away with my head in the clouds and my dignity intact. I had a better story to tell my friend who had excitedly walked up to another A-List actress who had said to her, “Don’t you have books to read?”

I’ve said, ‘Well Done, Stella”; now I want to say, “you have tried!” I’d passively kept up with events in your life way before we met in Atlanta (a less awkward meeting for me) and that means that I knew quite a bit about you. I knew about the loss, about how you were blacklisted in Nollywood, about how you gave out almost everything you owned when you realized that your peace of mind and self-worth couldn’t be found in them. I knew about the break-ups and the insults- oh the insults- and the rumors!

Charlotte Dawson, a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model committed suicide after internet trolls refused to allow her to be great! A simple Google search on, “suicides and attempted suicides caused by bullying and cyber-bullying” will leave you alarmed. So again, I want to say that you have tried! I’ve read epistles of insults directed at you and winced. Certain people have taken the time to dissect and type up what they believe is the true story of your life and have laced these stories with lethal words and descriptions. I see these things and wonder how you have dealt and continue to deal with the hatred. You are one strong woman!

I want to apologize for not cheering more loudly. I feel strongly that there are others who like me are in your corner but are too caught up with activities in their lives to respond to the hate that is sent your way every time you speak up. I’m writing this to let you know that we are here. I am here. So, whenever the noise gets too loud- and you know what they say about the source of the loudest noise – remember that there are people who love you, imperfections and all.

Congratulations on The Alternative! I know already that it’s an amazing album and I pray that it accomplishes all that it was produced to accomplish.

The Lord is your light Stella and the world is your stage. You are a star! Keep shining.

Loads of love,

Toyosi Phillips

Proud Member of Team SD

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