Thomasina Petrus, a voice and much more
Thomasina Petrus was born on this date in 1970. She is an African American actress, singer, dancer, and entrepreneur.
Petrus's parents’ family was from the South, from Charleston, MS. Her grandmother brought up her father and his five siblings. They picked cotton and had little schooling before he came up North to Minneapolis, MN, where Thomasina was born. Her father Hugh joined the military when her mother, Patricia, was pregnant with Petrus’s sister Jean who is a year older (she has another sister Joyi).
The family lived in Germany, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Her immediate family lived a very typical military life, moving every few years and losing touch with any friends. This was very hard on both Petrus and her sister, though every week in those army years she would win the Base dance contest.
After her parents separated, her mother and her daughters moved back to Minnesota. Financially strapped, they spent most of their time with her dad's family. Her Granny "Fat" and Aunt Atlen were the center of their early years and a true touchstone while her mother worked to get on her own two feet.
Petrus and her sister were enrolled in many dance, gymnastics, and sports programs. Petrus first started singing publicly at the age of three in the “Little Miss Black Minnesota” pageant. Her first exposure to sharpen herself as an entertainer came after seeing JeVetta Steele perform the “Aretha Franklin Show” and the age of 12.
Also as an adolescent Petrus found learned her mother had been in a band when she was a teenager as a bass player and singer. In 1985, Thomasina sang with Cornbread Harris (Jimmy Jam Harris’ father). Her first professional performance was in 1987 in the Pneumbra Theatre production of "Black Nativity," an annual play produced every Christmas by this Black theater.
She self studied voice and theater with many musicians and artist in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area as her mentors. Petrus has also performed in an annual “Daughters of Africa” show for more than 15 years. Petrus married in 1996 to her husband Charles and has two sons Charles Jr., Kobe Jean and she continues to “Wow” her audiences with talents.
Today in American History