By Joel Hall
On a nationwide tour to promote her new fragrance, actress, rapper and singer, Queen Latifah, made an appearance at the Macy's store in Morrow's Southlake Mall on Friday.
During the stop, she interacted with customers coming to buy her fragrance, Queen, and helped fulfill the wish of an Alabama teenager suffering with a rare form of bone cancer.
According to Mike Twomey, president and executive director of the Morrow Business and Tourism Association, Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, came to the Macy's at Southlake Mall because the store has been a top seller of her perfume line, which premiered earlier this fall.
"The reason she came here was because this store has sold more of her fragrance than any other Macy's store in the region ... more than Lenox [Square mall], more than Perimeter [Mall], substantially more," Twomey said. "We sell a lot of things out here at the mall. For her to come here as opposed to any of the other Macy's stores, it is pretty significant."
Queen Latifah is also a spokesperson for the Macy's "Believe" campaign, according to Brent Goodrich, a spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The campaign encourages children to write letters to Santa Claus and deliver them to special depositories inside of Macy's stores.
For every letter deposited, Macy's will donate $1 -- up to $1 million -- to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, according to Goodrich.
By coincidence, Goodrich said, the Make-A-Wish foundation, which fulfills the dreams of young people with life-threatening illnesses, was in Atlanta this week, fulfilling the wishes of Chelsea Stringer, 18, of Mobile, Ala. Stringer suffers from Ewing's sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents.
"Her [Stringer's] wish is to go on a shopping spree and be pampered like a celebrity," Goodrich said. "She was scheduled to come to Atlanta for her wish this weekend. Because of our relationship with Macy's and our current 'Believe' campaign, we were able to have her meet with Queen Latifah. She's helped us grant wishes in the past and graciously allowed us to make Chelsea's wish come true."
Goodrich said the Make-A-Wish Foundation is paying for Stringer's stay in a posh, Buckhead hotel and treating her to a shopping spree at Lenox Square mall this weekend. On Friday, Stringer was taken to Southlake Mall to meet Queen Latifah, Goodrich said.
According to Elizabeth Margo, Southeast region media relations manager for Macy's, Stringer became ill and left prior to Queen Latifah's public appearance at Southlake Mall at 6 p.m., on Friday. However, the meeting between Stringer and Queen Latifah was a welcome surprise, Margo said.
"She [Stringer] didn't know who she was meeting," Margo said. "Her dream was to shop as a celebrity and meeting Queen Latifah only added to that experience. When she walked into the room, she looked pretty sick, but when Queen Latifah walked into the room, she [Stringer] lit right up.
"Queen [Latifah] supports the cause [of the Make-A-Wish Foundation], so it all fell into place," Margo added. "It was serendipity."
Hundreds came to the Macy's store in Southlake Mall on Friday evening for a chance to purchase Queen Latifah's perfume, take pictures, and interact with the celebrity. New Jersey native and Riverdale resident, Michele Green, the first person in line to have her picture taken with Queen Latifah, said she was in Macy's earlier in the day paying a bill and came back to the store to meet Queen Latifah after picking up her son, Donzell.
"I like how she acts ... I like her attitude," Green said. "She's down to earth because she's from New Jersey. I've grown up with her. Even though she is famous, she is still Queen Latifah."
Queen Latifah was not granting media interviews on Friday, according to Margo.