Kenyatta and Raquel “Ricki ‘’ Howard Smith with Justin and Camille. Photo provided

A combination of all the guardian angels around them brought them together.

By Tonya Banka

Herald Contributor

Kenyatta and Raquel “Ricki ‘’ Howard Smith are fresh in love and according to their wedding favor mixtape, “The Look of Love” they put each other’s love on top. With Kenyatta’s secret “Love Jones” proposal, we were all in awe at the fairytale happening between the couple on social media. Together for three years, they were recently married and held a private wedding ceremony and reception, September 3, 2017.

Kenyatta is a twenty-year veteran, Cincinnati Firefighter and Radio One DJ and host. Ricki is the litigation and policy director at the Children’s Law Center, who as a Civil Rights attorney, advocates for children.

Kenyatta and Ricki met on social media. When they connected on the telephone Kenyatta said, “She sounded like T-Boz, and I like T-Boz” from the 90’s girl group TLC, so he knew this relationship would work. With a few weeks of telephone conversations behind them, they decided to meet in person. The plan was to have drinks and leave. They stayed at the restaurant for three hours and had conversation that was far beyond the limits of a first date. Ricki said, “It felt comfortable, and I wanted to get to know more about Kenyatta.’’

When asked what the “it” factor is for each other, Kenyatta says, “Being in the public eye you, must maintain a certain image. With Ricki, I don’t have to pretend to be anyone else, she gets to see me when I’m not in the public eye and she still accepts me with open arms.’’ Ricki says, “I am serious on paper and in my profession and Kenyatta makes me laugh, he is my refuge, and a place where I can strip and be happy.” Mr. Smith says, “It was a combination of all the guardian angels around them that brought us together.’’

Adjusting his time due to his busy schedule was a minor challenge for Kenyatta. He was used to working at the firehouse 24 hours at a time, traveling across the country to fight for jobs, hosting parties and trying to find some time for himself.

His mother told him, “If you want something, you make space for it.’’ So, he made space and invited Ricki into his world. Being a single mother of two, Ricki’s challenge was allowing Kenyatta to help her. A strong woman of faith, she handled her business and did not have to include anyone in her decisions. Now that she has let him in, she says it feels good to have the help.

The newlyweds have a blended family that include, Justin, 13, and Camille, 9. But Kenyatta has taken the children as his own and included them every step of the way leading to the wedding. In his wedding vows, he said, “I vow to protect you and our children from harm.’’ Camille and Justin are known as SPK1 and SPK2 (Sour Patch Kids).

I asked the couple if we should expect SPK3 in the future, and they said, “If it is in God’s will, we will accept the blessing.’’

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