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Check out my story published in the Baltimore Sun 4/15/2010 …

A night to remember

Written by Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun

Kiki Brown, disc jockey with 92Q: Prom was huge in the rough neighborhood near downtown Pittsburgh where Kiki Brown grew up and attended John Brashear High School. It was the pinnacle of the teenage years.

There’s a tradition aptly known as “the lineup” where, at a designated scenic spot, couples pose and strut before their camera-wielding friends and family — the whole community, really. “It was a big deal,” she remembers. “That was the thing you looked forward to and you had to have the best dress and the best car, or else — well, you were like mud.”

Mud was the last thing Brown wanted to be, but growing up in public housing and being raised by a single mother made it quite clear to her that the best wasn’t what she could afford.

Her heart sank when her mom told her she’d have to rent a dress.

In a clutch of teenage angst, she found a rental shop on the other side of town to reduce any chance that someone from school would spot the drum major rifling through used gowns. She could only pray that the store had something that wasn’t utterly horrifying, something that would fit a girl who might brush the 6-foot mark on a big- hair day.

But at the store, it didn’t take her long to find something that eased her mind — and then some. It was perfect, this strapless, stretchy, mermaid-style dress in fire engine-red sequins. In this, she would turn heads. She’d be queen of the lineup.

“I said, ‘Oh yes.’ And then, ‘Mommy, please?’ ”

Because dyed-to-match pumps would be too expensive, she and her date, Oji Murray, a running back on the football team, decided red and white would be their colors. She bought satin shoes, gloves and a purse in white. He coordinated with a scarlet cummerbund and bow tie and, because it was 1991 and he wanted to stop traffic, a cane, a box haircut and big sunglasses like all the rap stars preferred.

Brown had never done it before, but for the big night, she tried some makeup. When Murray saw her, he smiled — revealing his braces.

Click here to read the full story.