Monday was a big day for Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, and it ended in style with the People's Inaugural Reception at the Jackson Convention Center Complex.
Nearly 2,500 people came out to celebrate with the new mayor and and the Jackson City Council. Entertainment included two-time Grammy award-winning jazz singer and songwriter Cassandra Wilson, singers Rhonda Richmond and Tawanna Shaunte, and the Musicians Jazz Ensemble. Masters of ceremonies were Evelyn Reed and City Council President Tony Yarber.
"We've had such great turnout at every single event, from the kickoff celebration last Friday to tonight's event," Lumumba said. "The people of Jackson have responded in a wonderful way, turned out and helped us celebrate Jackson."
The newly inaugurated mayor made his entrance nearly 30 minutes into the event to the beat of the African drums of Jerry Jenkins, a local drummer, and led by traditional African-style dancer Chiquila Pearson.
After the third invocation of the day from his pastor, Jeffery Stallworth of Word and Worship Church, Lumumba introduced his seven brothers and sisters, who came down from Detroit for the weekend.
The subject turned quickly to the work ahead.
"This is great that we can do this tonight," Lumumba said. "But the work starts now. It starts with building the security of Jackson. That means we all have to take responsibility. We all have to help out in terms of providing for our children and setting a good example. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, we are that village, and we have to raise our children."
That work starts today, when the city council meets to elect a new president and confirm Lumumba's interim police and fire chiefs. I will be Lumumba's first council meeting as mayor.
But all that could wait Monday night. The newly sworn-in mayor spoke for five minutes before turning the event over to his son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and his daughter, Rukia Lumumba, who toasted their father and the city of Jackson.
"Here's to the man who, when my mother was flying all over the country (as a flight attendant), would try to brush my hair," Rukia Lumumba said. "To the man who would try, in a terrible voice, to sing Stevie Wonder to me before bed time. Congratulations. I love you Dad."