Thanks to Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, D-2nd District, the 2300 block of West Ellsworth Street will be “renamed” Patty Jackson Way on Friday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. This ceremonial (as opposed to official) street renaming will be in honor of the South Philly living legend whose mellifluous voice has graced the region’s radio airwaves for 38 years.
That honor, as set forth in City Council Resolution No. 180832 (which was adopted in 2018), is designed, as explained to me by resolution sponsor Johnson, to celebrate and salute
“... this broadcasting pioneer... (who) was born and raised in South Philadelphia, near the intersection of 23rd and Ellsworth Streets. She has enjoyed a successful career in broadcasting... that has lasted for decades. Ms. Jackson has expressed her love and dedication to the City... through her commitment to community service over the years and she is a role model for many South Philadelphia children. ... This ceremonial street renaming is long overdue and I am looking forward to honoring this legendary broadcaster, diehard Philadelphia sports fan, and outstanding citizen on October 8.”
And the resolution itself glowingly declares, in pertinent part, that
“Her talent for broadcasting emerged while she was a student at Southwark Motivation High School... where she was the announcer on her school PA every morning. After graduating..., she attended the American Academy for Broadcasting. She began her career in radio shortly thereafter.... (Her stellar) career... includes working for Power 99FM and Q102... (as well as WSSJ-AM in Camden and) 105.3 WDAS-FM.”
WDAS is where she became a household name and radio superstar.
“Patty,” as her thousands of adoring fans refer to her, is truly a living legend. And in connection with the upcoming Oct. 8 event for this living legend, I’ve put together a list called “20 Things You Should Know About Patty, Including Some Stuff You Probably Didn’t Know.” Here’s the list:
1. Her melodious voice has been used in recordings at the Philadelphia International Airport to greet travelers from all over the world.
2. She writes an entertainment column for The Philadelphia Tribune.
3. She is the recipient of awards from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, the National Black MBA Association, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes, and several other prominent civic-minded organizations.
4. She hosts fundraisers for the United Negro College Fund.
5. She hosted a country music radio show on Philly’s WXTU 92.5FM.
6. She hosts a weekly youth-oriented podcast called “Patty and the Millennials.”
7. She is a ‘foodie” who hosts My New Philly’s dessert series called Phillycious.
8. She was her high school basketball games announcer and church service announcer.
9. As she told Chanel Hill of The Philadelphia Tribune in 2018, her “big break came when a DJ didn’t show up for work at a radio station... (she) was interning at in Camden. (The station manager) let... (her) go on the air and do the news.” The rest, as they say, is history.
10. She has interviewed A-listers including, but not limited to, iconic musician Stevie Wonder, Philly’s own Patti LaBelle, music producer Quincy Jones, musician Barry Manilow, actor/producer Denzel Washington, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
11. Her birth name is Patricia Nolan, but radio executives decided it didn’t sound “urban” enough (which meant not Black enough).
12. As she told Victor Fiorillo of “Philadelphia” magazine in 2016, “The most important African American in Philadelphia history is Cecil B. Moore.”
13. She is a real sistah who justifiably brags about working at WDAS-FM, which she describes as a “station that is all about the community and (that) is unapologetically Black.” That is sooooooo cool!
14. She is a part of the Philly radio show “Musical Holy Trinity” along with Lady B and Mimi Brown. These sistahs appreciate, respect, and genuinely love each other.
15. She raised her son, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a fraternity-sponsored event for high-schoolers a few years ago, to be so cool and so thorough that he might one day attend an HBCU and seek to become a member of the world’s greatest fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi.
16. Her Dell Music Center concerts are R&B awesomeness.
17. Philly would’ve died from COVID depression if she hadn’t pushed for the Dell’s masked reopening this year. She was— correction is— our R&B therapist/psychologist/social worker.
18. She has documented dirt on some of your favorite celebrities and knows where all the bodies are buried but refuses to publicly disclose any of it (at least only for the time being, I hope).
19. Word on the street is that she’s kinda/sorta married to El DeBarge. But let’s keep that on the DL.
20. She beat her 2015 paralyzing stroke- and did so as a single mom raising a teenage boy and serving as the sole caretaker for her disabled mother. In other words, she’s Superwoman in real life and on the radio.
Celebrate the greatness and the realness and the genuineness of Sistah Patty. In other words, don’t meet me at 23rd and Ellsworth on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. Beat me to 23rd and Ellsworth on Oct. 8 before 4 p.m. It’s gonna be a party, y’all!