The Crusader Newspaper Group

An opportunity of a lifetime for Gary’s Kym Mazelle

U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Jane D. Hartley celebrated July 4th, Independence Day early this year at the ambassador’s residence in London.

Center stage at the celebration, held June 27, and invited to sing the National Anthem was Gary’s own Kym Mazelle, now a long-time U.K. resident.

“I have not attended since the 90’s and it was very different, smaller. To be asked to give a rendition of the National Anthem was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Mazelle said. “I had them introduce me as being from Gary, Indiana.”

A pioneer of House Music, Mazelle landed a major recording deal during one of her tours across the pond and decided to stay. According to Mazelle, “The rest is herstory.”

Mazelle comes back to Gary several times a year. She’s here October through the Christmas holiday season to spend time with her mom, Theresa Grigsby – following her around shopping, exercising, doctor’s appointments – and visits with family, friends, and neighbors.

She caught up with the news about the reopening of the pool at the Gary Y on Facebook. “I attended George’s water aerobics classes with mom.” She was delighted to see her mom in photos from news coverages.

“I try to give back to the community, putting my hand to the plow, so to speak. I’ve had the opportunity to teach part time in the Gary schools. I feel it’s important to try and educate others (especially young people) on how the world works, and what their role is in it. Not the 2-second TikTok hype, but what lasts and how important they are to our future,” Mazelle said.

“I want them to get an education and an understanding of self, and use the opportunities our city offers. There are loads of resources in Gary Indiana. I worked city youth programs. I listened to the elders when they pulled my coattail. Being nosy, I also listened to them when they spoke with each other,” Mazelle said.

The Idella Figgures Street renaming in Gary was the work of Mazelle and family members; recognizing Figgures as the Gary resident who put celebrating Juneteenth in the hearts and minds of Gary residents long before it became a national holiday. Mazelle attended the street renaming ceremony on Friday, May 17, which renamed Van Buren at 11th, 13th, and 15th as Idella “Juneteenth” Grigsby-Figgures Street.

Mazelle’s next performance is July 19th at the Newport Music Festival in Wales, U.K. Following that, she’ll continue on a mini-tour across England and Spain. Then back home to the States in time to vote.

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