OVER-THE-RHINE (WKRC) – Kimberly Nicole Johnson stands in the barber shop and salon that she and her husband opened in 2008. She is surrounded by pictures and reminders of her late husband as she reads from her newly published book called, “Walking Without My Cane.”
Tears fill her eyes as she reads, “Devan was created specifically for me. We were created for each other.”
When you're married for nearly 20 years, two become one. Devan and Kimberly had that kind of bond.
They met in school and later reconnected in trade school.
“He proposed to me in ‘96 when I graduated hair school. We got married in ‘98 and then he went to barber school,” Kimberly said.
The couple had sons. Devan became a stylist for celebrities like Bill Bellamy and the couple opened Incredible Creations Barber Shop and Salon.
It opened when OTR was going through its revitalization.
“It was surreal because everything we did we did together and to know that we were going to be the first black-owned and operated business in OTR was huge.”
In 2016, things changed for Kimberly. Devan was killed in a motorcycle accident. It came on the heels of her battle with breast cancer.
To help cope, Kimberly started writing her book and the book is meant to inspire.
“It's called Walking Without My Cane because Devan was essentially my cane,” Kimberly said. “So imagine what a cane does. Most people, when they have a cane, they normally use it longer than what they need it and when you drop your cane you realize you can do it.”
These days Kimberly isn't at the salon much.
She keeps the salon going to give young stylists a place to work while she focuses on writing and book-signings.
The once quiet wife, mother, and grandmother is now motivating others and facing her husband's passing has helped her redefine herself.
“It took this to bring it to light and I know he's proud of me.”
Kimberly has another book-signing at the Conscious Kitchen restaurant in Coryville on August 5th from 4pm-7pm.
She also has motivational speaking engagements coming up in Baltimore and other cities.