In addition to visiting the site at at the high school, the group visited the former Levert home. Upon returning to the "Big House" where where Marc lived with Gerald and Sean. Marc commented, "Coming back here is a real throw back for me, I miss my brothers, but coming here today took me back to some real fun times. This is where I wrote ‘Pop Pop’ and ‘My Forever Love,’” he recalls, “memories, memories are here.”
By STACY STEWART
The city of Cleveland, combined with the ladies of ‘G Phi G’ and the ‘G Spot Fan Club,’ have shown tremendous dedication in keeping the memories and legacy of Gerald Levert alive. Just who are the ladies of ‘G Phi G’ you might ask? They are the long time fans of Gerald Levert, who, in the year 2000, formed an online sorority in his honor. ‘G Spot,’ which is the name of Gerald’s fan club, collectively with the women of ‘G Phi G,’ participate in keeping the memories alive of the singer. Each year ladies from across the country come to Cleveland, Ohio during the month of July to celebrate the life of Gerald, and to bask in the place that he called home—and with Gerald’s day of birth being July 13th, what better time for this sisterhood to reunite.
This year, the city of Cleveland and the sorority/fan club members participated in a fun-filled weekend starting with a general meet-n-greet to kick the weekend off. As everyone checked into their chosen downtown hotels, old friends got reacquainted and new relationships began, as the women shared in their excitement of the events to come and their mutual admiration of the man they affectionately call, ‘the Teddy Bear.’
Quickly following the meet-n-greet, visitors and fans made an immediate visit to Gerald Levert Lane located adjacent to the urban radio station of WZAK, that also took part in recognizing one of Cleveland’s own. WZAK played our favorite Gerald Levert songs on the air waves and took requests from their loyal listeners inside of the station, while just outside their door stood more of his followers continuing the tradition of decorating a corner light pole dedicated to his memory. Twice yearly, Orban’s Florist provides a beautiful floral arrangement, which attracts attention to the area and reminds passers by of the late R&B singer, including Mary Cummings of Cleveland, Ohio. “I know it’s been a while,” said Cummings, “but I try to come down here every year to see this. Even when I’m driving home from work, I still take a peek at this pole to remember him, it makes me proud.”
With an inviting start to the weekend, the ladies were ready to reminisce in a different way as they headed over to the Harvard Wine & Grill Friday night for the ‘G Party,’ where live musical performances gave them a chance to unwind and to prepare for the next day. “This is all so nice,” stated Twyla Hood of Mansfiled, Ohio, “seeing Mrs. Martha (Gerald’s mother) and all of the ladies is a real treat each year. So far, my favorite part of the night has been the concert footage of Gerald on the big screen that we hadn’t seen before. Now that was a thrill!”
As the women continued to enjoy their night out on the town, they were also anticipating the Saturday afternoon Good Time III luncheon cruise. “I had a ball,” admits Carol Perkins of Medina, Ohio who is a first-timer attending the weekend events, “one of my girlfriends has been trying to get me to come to Cleveland for a few years now, and between that casino and hanging out, I have really enjoyed myself.”
With a busy schedule filling the ladies’ days and evenings, this year offered yet more memorable moments. In recognition of both Gerald (class of 1984) and Sean (class of 1986), their alma mater of Shaker Heights High School paid special tribute to their hard work and career accomplishments. With special permission granted by the school district, Assistant Superintendent Christina Auginus welcomed visitors to one of the schools auditoriums for a private awards ceremony on a Saturday afternoon, allowing an even more personal moment to be experienced by fans, and for awards to be distributed to those that have helped in keeping the Levert name alive. “Tearful and touching, happy and sad, all at once,” is how Twyla Hood described the feeling as she walked through the same hallways that Gerald and Sean once graced.
As guests continued to listen to the many accomplishments of the two brothers, Anita Cheery, a member of ‘G Phi G’ and part of the event organizing committee, continued to give special recognition to the supporters. The tribute moved to the open-air center of the school, which was once known to many as the ‘court yard.’ In the renamed ‘Memorial Garden’ – a place holding special homage—there now stands a beautiful black marble plaque, in honor of Gerald and Sean Levert, and other Shaker alumni.
“I’m thankful to everyone that took the time to come out to share this with us,” says Angie Levert widow of Sean Levert, “and I really thank Christina Auginus and all of the people that have driven and flown into Cleveland this weekend. Just to know that both of them are still on people’s minds and in their hearts, is overwhelming and we thank you all so much.”
At the end of the ceremony, as a closing to the weekend, visitors had yet one final surprise stop to make. A visit to what was once known as the ‘Big House,” where it all began. The new owners of this sixteen-room home, welcomed a fleet of guests into their South Park Blvd. house in Shaker Heights, allowing for Mrs. Martha, Kandis (Gerald’s little sister) and group member Marc Gordon to tell the visitors stories of each room as they remembered it. As they reminisced, many stood quietly listening. Others walked the grounds, imagining just how much fun this all must have been.
“Coming back here is a real throw back for me,” says Marc Gordon of the Levert trio, “I miss my brothers, but coming here today took me back to some real fun times. This is where I wrote ‘Pop Pop’ and ‘My Forever Love,’” he recalls, “memories, memories are here.”
Reaching their final destination and ending the weekend at Lancers Steak House, the woman began to say their good-byes and made one request to the city of Cleveland: “We still love Gerald all over the country, so keep his legacy alive…and next year, we want to see more Cleveland people, so come hang out with us – we’ll be back.”
Now that’s dedication.