By Je’Don Holloway-Talley
Special to the Birmingham Times
“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Erica Wright firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.
K’LA AND KALEP INMAN
Married: August 5, 2008
Met: In Trussville at a fast food chain in September, 2007. K’la, then 17 and a senior at Clay Chalkville High School, met Kalep while working an after school job. What they didn’t know at the time was that Kalep was 15 years her senior. He was intrigued by the bright-eyed hostess.
“We made eye contact when I was walking up…something about her eyes felt so familiar to me, and it was like time stood still, I felt like I knew her,” Kalep recalled.
“I thought he was a little cute when I saw him walking through the door…he was the coolest thing I’d ever seen,” she said, “then I decided to go fix myself up a bit… and I came back out and acted like I was just checking on him.”
The two made a kindred connection and exchanged numbers and after discovered K’la was much younger. It did not pose an obstacle.
First date: Because of the age difference, K’la and Kalep began as friends, meeting briefly for short hangouts and quick lunches. K’la remembered a stroll in the park together as her 18th birthday was approaching, and a conversation about the potential of their relationship. “We went to a park around the corner from my job [Bradford Park], and talked on the bench, and I was laying on him and it ended up being our first kiss,” K’la said.
The proposal: “We don’t have a traditional proposal story,” Kalep said, “it was just something that we’d always knew would happen and we talked about [but], being put in that situation just made it happen sooner.”
The “situation” was that the pair needed a place to live. K’la was “put out” of her home after her mother discovered she and Kalep were dating; they needed a place of their own.
“It was more so like me and him against the world…,” K’la said. “We found an apartment about three days later. We actually slept in his car that first night,
“We didn’t have anywhere to go and we didn’t find anyone [apartment housing] that would take us until three days later,” Kalep said.
After getting settled into their new apartment, K’la jokingly said- ‘when are you going to marry me, boy?’ to which he replied, ‘‘let’s go do it.’
“And that’s when we did it,” Kalep said.
The wedding: Downtown Birmingham Courthouse.
“We filled out the paperwork, and had a chaplain marry us,” K’la said. “We did our vows and the rest is history…I think he had to go to work that day.”
“Yeah, I did,” Kalep said. “And she painted ‘Just Married’ on the car in bright yellow letters, that’s how everyone found out…,” he said.
“His father actually worked with him at the time, so that’s how his dad found out as well,” K’la said.
Words of wisdom: Staying true to themselves is what works for the Inmans.
“People on the outside looking in are judgmental, but 10 years later we’re still here, with a whole brood of children, four to be exact,” K’la said. “We’re a very tight knit family, if you see one of us, you see both of us and our family. We travel together, we both work non-traditional jobs so we can stay home with our children, we homeschool our kids.”
Kalep said, not only do you have to do what works best for your family, but you also have to maintain open, honest communication with one another at all times.
“Communication is key. Just being able to tell your wife or your husband the truth… My wife has told me some things that have rubbed me the wrong way . . . so I have to be man enough and say, ‘ok I can change that up for you and do what you like.”
One of the joys of marriage for the Inmans, they say, is having your best friend live life with you every day.
“Not just having a friend or partner but, that somebody that really has your back,” Kalep said. “Even if you’re wrong, having someone that [can] take a look at you and says ‘that’s wrong’ and puts you back to where you need to be is important.”
Happily ever after: K’la, 28, a Buffalo, New York native and Kalep, 43, a Canton, Ohio native have settled into family life with their four children in Homewood. The Inman children: daughters, Sybella, 9 and Lion, 4; and sons, Elisha, 7 and Judah, 11-months are all working models and actors. In fact, it’s the family business, as K’la and Kalep are model/actor’s too. Their oldest, Sybella was casted as “an orphan” in the blockbuster hit, Black Panther, and each of the Inman’s have been casted in national ad campaigns for big name consumer products.
The couple created a business “Getting Started 205” last April geared towards teaching parents and adults how to get started in the entertainment industry, and book industry level, paying jobs. For more information visit www.gettingstarted205.com or they can be found on Facebook.