“That’s why I tell people you don’t base your life on nobody’s. You are you,” said Ms. Katrina Walker, a self-made millionaire who persevered being a teen bride to single mother to real estate mogul.
A southern girl from Memphis, Walker excitedly went off to college to attend Texas Southern University, but soon returned with plans to marry.
“I was still a teenager,” she said. “I think I was turning 18 or 19 when I married.”
Walker stayed married for 20 years to her children’s father.
“My thing was I went right into having children,” she said.
Walker said her focus was on being a good mother and a good wife.
“Just that fairytale thing that you see on TV. I just wanted a couple kids and just be a good wife and be happily ever after,” she remembers. “I didn’t have to be really rich, but just be comfortable and happy. So that was a big deal to me. But it didn’t work out that way. I didn’t know a whole lot. I was about as green as grass.”
Reflecting on life’s challenges she realizes now that her power is in her testimony.
“I feel that in life we don’t know the cards that are dealt to us and when we’re young we’re learning,” she said. “And I think that being the woman that I am now, and all the things that I went through when I was in my 20s and 30s, I know that even the hard struggles and everything that I went through it was a learning lesson for me. And I’ve walked every shoe that you can imagine. So, I can help other young women to not make the same mistakes or go down that road.”
Walker assures that if she had to do it all over again, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I wouldn’t know the things that I know now,” she said. “And the children, you know, having children and raising kids. Just all the things that I learned about struggles and coming up and surviving,” she continues. “Actually surviving and becoming the unbreakable woman that I am today.”
This mother always had big dreams and is extremely excited to see all of them come true.
“I went to school. I studied journalism. I just knew that I would be this woman on the news one day,” she said. “And from there, I just moved up into the world starting my own businesses…I got into the music industry helping other young men, taking them off the street, from there I went into stage, writing books, and now I’m doing my very own sitcom that I’ve created, written, and produced. I’m just really really excited.”
Miss Dee’s Kitchen began as a stage play and featured singer, Cheryl Pepsii Riley.
“When people were telling me ‘hey, you need to have it at this really small place-nothing against that-but I knew what I could do,” she said confidently. “Everybody’s different, but when I gave the first show it was a sell-out. And people really enjoyed it and all I could do is say Hallelujah. Amen. Thank you, Lord!”
One of the things Walker enjoys most is creating her characters.
“I was able to create these characters and some of them were real, I just brought them to life,” she said. “As I was bringing my mailman to life, this was actually a person that actually sold “hot meat.” When I say, “hot meat” most black people know what “hot meat” is. And Miss Dee, she didn’t care if it was 8 days old. She was going to season that bad boy up. She’s that African American woman, that matriarch in the hood that everybody came to. It’s so much fun creating these characters because they’re so relatable in our community.”
Walker believes now more than ever that the black community needs to laugh. Because of that, she wants to bring back family-oriented shows.
“You know that black family (show) where we can sit around and can laugh again,” she said. “And every family really, but I’m saying black family because people will be able to relate to it. As an African American woman growing up, and all the fun and all the happiness that we had, even though we didn’t have a lot of money, but it was so much love. And bringing that back into the home to people. Cause I know right now it’s something that we need. We need to laugh.”
The sitcom co-directed by Steven Littles, who also plays the mailman, will also feature actors Tony Grant and Palmer Williams Jr. from Tyler Perry’s ‘Love Thy Neighbor.’ The show will air in August.
Walker assures that her audience will know when and where to view it.
“Look up high, billboards. It’ll be all over the place. People will know about it.”