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Tuesday, June 2

Goddess Beware

Nailah Franklin and I worked together at a well-known ad agency in Chicago. We worked on the same floor but on different accounts. We would often visit each other’s cubicles in the morning to vent about our jobs or our managers and talk about our hopes and aspirations beyond the ad agency. We were also members of the Metroboard (Chicago Urban League Young Professionals auxiliary), so we would see each other at urban league events and monthly meetings.

We didn’t hang out frequently, but Nailah started a book club and asked me to join. So, I did. But I only lasted about two book discussions because I would never finish the books on time. We interacted on this level for the two years that I lived in Chicago. Nailah was very vibrant, fashionable and on the move. After I left Chicago and moved back South, Nailah and I lost touch, and I hadn’t heard her name until one day in September 2007 when an old friend from Chicago told me she had been reported missing.

I couldn’t believe it, so I didn’t. Until I searched online and found several news articles that corroborated my friend’s story. Nailah had left the ad agency and become a pharmaceutical representative. She and her company car had been reported missing after she failed to show up for meetings with her managers.

I followed the story for several weeks until it ended with the arrest of her ex-boyfriend. She was found in the woods, naked and badly decomposed. Nailah was murdered.

I met Nikki McPhatter in 2006 at Dillard’s where we were seasonal employees for the upcoming holidays. I knew the moment I met her that I would like and get along with Nikki because she was down to earth, funny and full of energy.

Nikki and I became fast friends, and looked forward to working shifts together. Our friendship soon expanded beyond Dillard’s and we began hanging out together at picnics, holiday parties, festivals and such. We did this for the entire time we worked at Dillard’s and kept in contact about 8 months after we left. So, we were in contact until late 2007.

I hadn’t really heard Nikki’s name until about a month ago when I woke up to my radio alarm clock and heard the news director of the station reporting that Nikki McPhatter was missing. Again, I couldn’t believe it. So, I didn’t. I thought I was dreaming. But, when I got out of bed, I pulled out the computer and searched online. Again, I found several articles that supported what I just heard on the radio. Nikki McPhatter was missing.

I followed the story for the past several weeks. I spent Memorial Day weekend in Columbia with my family (this was also the last place that Nikki was seen). So, I helped hand out and post flyers on street corners and grocery stores.

I was holding out hope until last Friday when Nikki’s body and car were found in South Carolina. A few hours after the finding, police arrested Nikki’s ex-boyfriend for murder.

Two vibrant, black goddesses who were best described as go-getters, taken by ex-boyfriends.

I don’t know all the details of either story, but I know enough to know that we must be careful about who we date. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If you suspect a person is being deceptive, he probably is. We can never know how a person is going to react to things or turn out to be, but we must use or instincts and intuition to guide us.

Nailah and Nikki both saw red flags. Nailah had just gotten a restraining order against her killer and Nikki was headed to Columbia to break off the relationship with hers. I’m not sure what went wrong with each encounter, but both of these experiences reveal that we must address red flags early because our lives depend on it.


Erica said...

Nailah and I were friends in grade school and junior high. I attended college with her little sister. Some time before Nailah's death, another young Black female attending our university was killed by a man that many women on campus were afraid of due to his suspicious behavior. Some time after Nailah's death, anothe young woman who attend our university was killed along with her daughter (Nova Henry) It is important that also share information with one another. We should also listen to our gut feelings. At the first sign of a red flag, get away. If we have family members and friends who are in relationships with violent men, it is our duty to stay involved.

Candace Avont said...

Thanks for your comment Erica. You are absolutely right! we have to verbally raise concerns if we sense suspicious or violent behavior in the relationships of those closest to us.

The situations that you mention along with the ones I mention confirm that we have to pay attention to red flags instead of ignoring them or simply hoping things will get better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.