In attaining the age of 50, a Vincentian native ensured that she luxuriated in the major milestone by celebrating recently in grand style with relatives, friends, supporters and co-workers at an elegant catering house in Queens.
Hundreds were invited to, and attended, the 50th birthday bash for Christellia Nelica David, a former Emmanuel High School and Mountain View Academy student in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, at Woodhaven Manor, formerly Le Cordon Bleu, on Jamaica Avenue, Queens.
The celebration featured tributes in speech, song, poem, dance and music, among other things, as patrons also basked in the glory.
David — flanked by her mom, Lorna David, a former teacher, nurse and police officer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, daughters Kiana and Kiara, and sisters Kimberly Zoe Joanna David and Kiswana Lajune David-Paul — was serenaded by Tobagonian-born Hilton Samuel, with “Let This Be Your Prayer.”
“It’s because of you why all of these people are here,” said Samuel, a well-sought-after-singer in the Caribbean community in Brooklyn, afterwards.
David’s daughters then performed a “Special Dance,” choreographed by Kiana, for their mom to Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” They also sang one of the hits that Kiswana, a song writer, penned.
“I’m honored to have a mother, who’s not going to judge me,” said Kiana, who sings in her church, Church of God of East Flatbush, in Brooklyn. “I just want you to know I am the person I am because of you. You inspire me.”
In the fall, Kiara said she will begin studies at Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders on Benson Avenue in Brooklyn, and, subsequently, aspires to becoming a lawyer.
Kimberly — an inspector with New York City’s Department of Transportation, who, in her spare time writes poems — wrote and read a poem for her sister at the extravagant celebration, attended by some prominent members of the Vincentian community in New York.
These included Cultural Ambassador Cyril “Scorcher” Thomas, a former St. Vincent and The Grenadines deputy consul general and calypsonian; Laverne McDowald-Thompson, president of the Brooklyn-based umbrella Vincentian Group in the United States, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO); and the Rev. Dr. Glyger Beache, the retired pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Flatbush.
“Nelica, you are perceptive, intelligent and wise/always helping me through good and bad times,” read Kimberly from her hand-written poem. “You are to me the most wonderful sister there could ever be/You have shown me how to navigate my way through some of life’s difficult areas.
“Today is like a second bloom,” she added. “You bring excitement and joy when you enter the room/I thank God for bringing you into my life.”
David, who migrated to New York when she was 17, was born on May 25, 1967 to Lorna David and Arnold “Lenny” Fraser.
After enrolling in the nursing program at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, David said she soon realized that nursing was not her calling. She then took up cosmetology, graduating from the Wilfred Academy Cosmetology School in the City.
While working part time in cosmetology, David said she is currently gainfully employed at the Marriot International Hotel, serving as a Union Delegate for housekeeping employees.
“Nelica has been blessed,” Godfrey Pitt, who flew in from his new residence in Atlanta, Ga for the occasion and served as Master of Ceremonies, told patrons. “Nelica stands by her mom all the time.”
Pitt and Lorna David, 67, were police officers in the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force in the 1970s.
Ms. David, who gave birth to her first child and daughter when she was a 17-year-old school teacher, told Caribbean Life that she was “very blessed to see my daughter have a 50th birthday.
“She made me feel proud and blessed to be around, because a lot of people don’t live to see their child live to see 50 years,” she said. “As a matter of fact, some people don’t live to see 50 years.”
The younger David praised the Almighty for granting her “the opportunity to reach the graceful age of 50.
“As a child growing up, I can remember when I heard that someone was celebrating their 50th birthday, I would say to myself ‘that person is old,’” she told Caribbean Life. “However, I can truly say 50 is the new 30. I am having a ball and intent to continue doing so by the grace of God Almighty.
“My mother Lorna David has done a marvelous job as a single parent, and I have all intentions to follow in her footsteps,” David added. “To all my friends and family, thanks for making it an experience that I will never forget. See you guys soon when I turn 60.”