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Love Stories

Derek Fordjour &
Lachanze Sapp
  • The Puck Building
  • July 30, 2005
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DereklachanzeThe Meeting

I’m a fine artist and was fulfilling commissions for a benefactor in New York who happened to also be LaChanze’s attorney. LaChanze had just finished a big case with their firm, which they handled pro bono, and she wanted to give them a gift of gratitude. Her attorney, who was in cahoots with me, recommended that she commission something because he’s a big fan of my art. In my interview process, we just kind of got carried away. It was a very wonderful affair.

The Reception

Oh, man, it was the best party I have ever attended in my life! I had more fun than should be allowed for a groom to have at his own wedding. It was absolutely wonderful. And everybody who was there says the same thing. You know, LaChanze was a 9/11 widow when we met and we don’t want to dramatize it more than necessary, but the reality is that a lot of her friends had gone through her recovery with her. She was a working mom with two children, and I’m a single dad, so my side knew of my challenges, too. Everybody there knew our story, and they just brought so much well-wishing and good intention; the celebration was so vibrant and full of love and fun and free-spirited affection, that it was just amazing. Beyond that fact, we’re both artists, so we bring a very colorful crowd together, and we really partied hard. I couldn’t even find LaChanze at some point. It was like eat, dance, eat, dance, dance, eat for a minute, dance a little again, and “Is that grandma on the dance floor?” It was just beautiful: It wasn’t sedate; it was a party.

The Highlights

I guess I could point to three major things that happened: My family, who are from Ghana, West Africa, did sort of a traditional dance, where they took center stage, and were waving napkins and dancing to Ghanaian music, and then everyone else joined in, and it was really like a My Big Fat Greek Wedding kind of moment, which was great. Then there was another moment where my fraternity brothers serenaded LaChanze and me, and we forgot that we were grown with children and totally regressed to our college years and had this big stepping exhibition, which was fun. And then there was a point where all of the men in the family completely encircled LaChanze, so all of her brothers and cousins and my brothers sort of made a ring around her and took turns working her out on the dance floor—that was definitely a high point.

The Important Things

We wanted people to have a good time, that was number one. We did not want it to be monotonous and tiresome. We wanted people to really go away with something. Number two was that we wanted to do things kind of differently. We wanted to kind of push the envelope, so we didn’t do a dais; we had a female clergy to marry us, and the vows were personalized. The third thing that was important to us was the food. Because LaChanze is from Florida and I’m from Tennessee and I had relatives and she had relatives coming out, we just could not be embarrassed by giving them a lot of chichi New York food, so we had Yo Mama’s Catering (they’re amazing) put together southern food, minus the grease, plus a little New York chic. They got really creative and were able to give that down-home feel, but to dress it up.