I was born on the Chitlin Circuit at Adams Private Hospital at 1520 9th St NW in the District of Columbia. Singer Geneva Anderson left the stage at Evans Grill nightclub in Forestville, MD to meet with Dr. Harry N. Jones so that he could deliver me. Mr. Evans had arranged this. Evans Grill was the passion of Clarence Evans and was one of the clubs on the Chitlin Circuit which included the Apollo Theatre in New York, The Howard Theatre in DC, The Royal Theatre in Baltimore, and the Regal Theatre in Philadelphia.
My home was in the room at the back of the stage for several years. My crib was backed up against the wall that was shared with the stage on the other side. And I rocked with the music. Many nights I could hear James Brown, Otis Redding, Ike and Tina Turner, The Orioles, Gene Chandler, Ray Charles, Little Richard, and Fats Domino. They became my friends. They would come into my room, which also had a desk with lots of papers on it, a couple of chairs, and Evans Grill posters on the walls and do their negotiating business while I listened. As a toddler I would tear through the club, dashing around the tables and chairs, flip across the dance floor, swing on the bars at the steam tables, and beg for half-smoke sausages prepared by Miss Lou. That was my playground. All I knew was how to do business. As a teenager, I went back to have a grand party and I had my very own Evans Grill posters printed and plastered all over the city of Washington DC and its suburbs. Clarence Evans stood beside me and encouraged me as we welcomed my own guests to the club.
Clarence Evans told the Washington Post, “It was all black and all I saw was black and they couldn’t stay in the place, just go in and buy what they wanted to and come back out in the yard and sit on logs and trees,” says Evans. “That’s what made me go build Evans Grill — to get them from outdoors in the hot sun or the cold and rain.”
To me, Clarence Evans was one of the greatest men that ever lived. I just loved this man!