Fashion designer, poet and performer Neysa Scott passed away Oct. 16. She was 51. Cause of death was an aneurysm and a stroke.
Scott was an innovator in a number of creative realms, according to her best friend, Yaounde Olu.
"She was a fashion designer, but she was also a musician, a lead singer and a drummer, Ulu said. "She was a dancer as well. One of the reasons we were friends was because she did a lot of different things, like me."
Scott was owner of Neysapeaces Poetry in Fabric, where she innovated in a number of her Afrocentric fashion designs. Chaka Khan was among those who wore her designs.
"She had a lot of skill and practically invented certain types of clothing," Ulu said. "She was an unsung hero because she was the first person to make certain types of clothing that now a lot of people are; back in the day, she was the only one."
Among her creations were what Scott called the "Asymmetrical Covet," "Butterfly" and "Wings."
"She was a fashion genius," Ulu recalled. "Even without clothes that she had created, she always knew how to pull herself together. She was always very beautifully attired."
Scott grew up in a creative family. "Her parents are very well-known art collectors, and there were a number of people interested in fashion in her family. But the bottom line was, she was a creative genius and fashion was just one of the things she excelled at," said Ulu.
A Chicago native, Scott attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, where she was part of the first class that enrolled female students, as well as Howard University, where she majored in broadcast journalism.
Scott and Ulu co-hosted a weekly radio program on WHPK 88.5. In a remembrance of Scott that she wrote, Ulu explained the format: "If you tuned in you were privileged to jazz, poetry, magnetic chemistry amongst friends, and powerful social-commentary that made you think."
"She was also interested in being a minister," said Ulu. "Not necessarily a preacher. Her ministry was her poetry. She was an outstanding poet."
Scott also had been a member of the Drum Divas percussive music collective, which Ulu founded. But Ulu said Scott's real passion was "her" children. She took a number of them under her wing, and became an unofficial aunt or godmother to them.
"Her transition came as such a surprise to everyone who knew her, because she was so filled with life," said Ulu. "She was a vegetarian, moving towards becoming a vegan, and she exercised all the time. She did all the right things."
Scott is survived by parents Nelson and Alice; brother Kenyatta; nephews Kenyatta and Nyles; niece Amber; and uncles, aunts and cousins.