Sister Makeda Shearson-Ahad Has Joined the Ancestor/Angels
By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
I am so sad this day. My dear friend and “running buddy,” Sister Makeda Shearson has died in Atlanta, GA. I received an email message from Brother Radio Rahim, but it really didn’t register with me that he was talking about the vibrant, energetic, creative, fun-loving, people-loving sister I had known for so many years.
Makeda was the consummate businesswoman and a true free spirit. She started her own real estate brokerage firm when she couldn’t get a fair deal from local realtors and lenders.
She started her own Afro centric furniture and interior design center when she couldn’t find the kind of furniture that reflected her culture and her taste. Mud cloth covered lamp shades and chairs; chaise lounges covered in Kente Cloth, African carvings and symbols made into lamps, clocks, tables, drapes, bedspreads, and other household items, all because of Makeda’s fine eye and sense of beauty and symmetry. She created her own version of African “feng shui.”
She started a bed and breakfast facility on Bedford Ave. near Green in Brooklyn, because people needed to have someplace reasonable and decent to come to when they visited New York. She took a three unit building and transformed it into a state of the art, sumptuous bed and breakfast facility. The décor, layout, furnishings, and service all testimony to this woman’s taste and elegance. Tourists from Italy, Germany, and other parts of Europe booked reservations with her online.
She wrote books; held forums; had open houses and hospitalities. Makeda had parties just because. She always had a booth with her creations for sale both at Dance Africa and the African Street Festival - displaying her latest in furniture designs, jewelry, clothing.
Makeda was always “zipping” around Brooklyn in that vintage 1986 Mercedes Benz, which stayed broken down half the time because she didn’t know anything about cars except how to drive them. It was a standing joke between us. We probably spent more time waiting for someone to come and jumpstart the car than we did actually riding in it. But she loved that car because it was a Mercedes and stood for quality.
For some strange reason last year, Makeda decided it was time to move; to leave New York. She chose Atlanta, GA. I remember clearly her telling me that she needed to move out of New York because there was too much pressure; but she would be commuting back and forth because of her Bedford Ave. Bed and Breakfast. In fact, she had planned to open one in Atlanta.
I tried to talk her out of moving, but she had already purchased property there. Still, it took her months to actually re-locate. She was so tied into the New York scene that whenever something major was going on, she would be up here like a homing pigeon.
Having not heard from her since October, when she came up to settle an issue with Sprint, about her phone. I teased her about not being able to stay away from New York. She remarked she had some loose ends to tie up, but did not plan to be back until the beginning of the year. I assumed things were going all right.
Makeda's death so caught me off guard, I was literally struck dumb. I could not speak or write for the whole day. All I had was a great big sad, hurt feeling in the middle of my heart. I tried to go to God with it to get rid of the pain. But it’s still here. While this is not a formal obituary, it is a farewell from me to a great friend.
I understand that she has a son. I’ve never met him, but have heard a great deal about him -- mostly through the motherly vetching we’re all guilty of. But within the complaints you could always hear and feel the love. My condolences go out to him as well.
Makeda was a people magnet. She drew such people as Black Rose to her inner circle. I met the talented James Brown Jr. through her when he performed at the grand opening of her Bed and Breakfast facility. People would come from all over for one of Makeda’s parties, no matter how late they were. And she always accommodated. Or she would take the party with her, as she so often did at the Essence Lounge, or Bed-Stuy Restoration.
I recently passed her Bed and Breakfast a week ago, and pointed it out to a friend, remarking that Makeda would probably be running up for a Black History event or something. However, since she passed so suddenly on Valentine’s day, perhaps it was just her spirit touching me for a last farewell that I felt instead.
There are so many of us who knew and loved Makeda. If any of you hear anything about services or a memorial in her honor, please let me know. This not having my friend around is really going to take some getting used to. I have no idea of her chorological age, but her spirit was so young and energetic, until it really does not matter.
As Brother Radio Rahim so aptly stated, May She Rest In Peace.”
Stay blessed &