Phenomenal Man Rachel Nsofor
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Relationships Manâ€™s Perspective
CONTENTS OCTOBER 2011
Walking On Water
One on One ;
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Iman Folayan HOUSTON , TEXAS Iman hails from Houston, Texas but considers herself a world citizen. As an active member of the West End Community in Atlanta, GA she uses her writing to promote change but can still be found writing a poem or a song, and if you're lucky she'll perform it for you. She considers herself to be "a renaissance artist" so paintbrush or pen if it's art she's all in. Visit www.thepowermixer.com to stay abreast with her community efforts orvisit www.iamiman.bandcamp.com to hear her new works. new works.
JoVonna Rodriguez ATLANTA, GEORGIA JoVonna Rodriguez is a vessel for words and emotions. She is a native New Yorker who now resides in Atlanta, Georgia since graduating from Emory University. She is AmeriCorps alum whose commitment to service is now bridged with being a life long educator. She makes sure to incorporate creative and innovative ways of learning how to love reading and writing in her classroom. JoVonna is releasing her first book of poetry and prose entitled, Pronouns. For more on JoVonna Rodriguez and Pronouns check her out at:www.joskidiesel.com.
Kizito Katawonga UGANDA I am a blogger and writer of The Apprentice - www.katawonga.com/blog
Angela Waweru UNITED KINGDOM Angela Waweru is a vessel of encouragement and inspiration. Residing in the UK, Angela holds a degree in Media Studies and has previously worked for NTV (Kenya) as a news director and then as a co-producer for Sebuleni. Described by friends and family as ‘a girl of many words’, she runs two blogs where she explores her imaginative side. Angela’s creative streak does not end there, she also makes jewellery. Angela’s mission is to motivate her readers into living fulfilled lives. Read more of her work www.crazycoollush.blogspot.com,
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Carolyne Onyango WASHINGTON, DC Caroline Onyango is a lawyer in Washington DC. She left Kenya after high school to go to Germany, and lived in Nurnberg for two years, as an au-pair. She then moved to the US to attend college, and thereafter law school. She practices real estate law, and decompresses from the law by writing a travel/relationship/fashion blog. She loves to travel and has visited many countries.
Dominique Ernest FRANCE Dominique is a law student from France and she blogs about everything fashion in her blog http://dominique-ernest.blogspot.com/
Nyesha Samuel ATLANTA, GEORGIA Nyesha Samuel â€“ Publisher/Master Loctician for healthylocsblog.com
Sarah Fynn Sarah Fynn is an amateur writer who has been writing for a year and half now. As a young African woman away from home and in a modern society, there is that important need to connect the youth of today (especially the black youth) to their roots whilst at the same time being able to live in this modern world. Sarah aims to bridge this gap through writing . Read more from her blog http://slimtingz18.wordpress.com
Feyruz.Tefazion LOS ANGELES Feyruz is a twenty-something aspiring writer with an affinity for the beauty industry. Her interests include travel that requires her passport, photography, beauty blogging and uninterrupted reading sessions. She currently lives in Los Angeles.
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AFROELLE Celebrating Women of African Descent PUBLISHER Patricia Miswa ASSISTING EDITOR Iman Folayan
ON THE COVER
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jovanna Rodriguez, Angela Waweru, Carolyne Onyango, Nyesha Samuel, Domenique Ernest, Kizito , Sarah Fynn ONLINE www.afroellemagazine.com To subscribe, visit www.afroellemagazine.com For inquiries regarding general information, advertising, contribution or feedback email AfroElle@gmail.com
Model: Akhila West Hair: Mesanique Smith Makeup: Chanelle Walker Manicurist: Veniece Hughes Stylist: Stacyanne Headley
AfroElle Magazine is published monthly. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in parts without written permission is strictly prohibited.
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Publisher’s Note OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
bstacles are part of everyday life and at some point we find ourselves between a rock and hard place with thorns under our feet. But there is a positive side to obstacles; from them we become stronger, we gain courage to face future challenges and wisdom to tell the next person what to do if faced with the same obstacle.
While preparing this issue, I faced some minor challenges, but despites these challenges, I’m honored to bring you our October issue. October is Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year we talked about breast cancer and this year we put focus on domestic violence through our feature stories, interviews and articles. In every issue I endeavor to feature stories of women that will leave you encouraged, empowered and elevated. This issue is no different; you will read stories from extraordinary women who have opened their hearts to share their painful experiences and how they overcame their obstacles. Despite these women going through hard situations they have found the strength to pick up the pieces, glue them back together and tell the story, they are our very own ambassadors of strength, courage, hope and wisdom. They are overcomers. As you read each of their stories you will discover, that no matter the obstacle you are faced with, it is temporary. Muster up your inner strength to keep on fighting, to stand tall. Affirm yourself at every point of the way that you will overcome and one day you will be able to look back and talk about your obstacle from a positive point. Inside this issue we also highlight other amazing women making great moves in their line of work. From page 6067, we interview five fashion designers from different parts of the world, taking about their labels. We also feature Run For Congo Women; an initiative that is empowering the lives of Congo women and other uplifting articles from our wonderful team of writers. I hope that you will enjoy this issue, please get in touch with us if you if you have any suggestions or would like us to feature someone or an initiative you know. Until the next issue, I leave you with the inspirational words of Michael Jordan, “Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Peace. Love and God’s Blessings !
Patricia Miswa EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
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Celebrating Women of African Descent
Georgia ; One Woman Play Georgia, is a one-woman play about a young couple who revel in the complexities of love. The play investigates the windows of good, evil and the sometimes blurry lines in between. Forcing an analysis of opposing views, Georgia opens the door on one of the most taboo interactions between a man and a woman in a relationship, rape. Through four characters, the play puts a microscope on love vs. abuse, while looking at different perspectives on rape in relationships. How did the concept for it come about? I had questions. What happens when you love your enemy? What happens when your enemy loves you? Is there such a thing as both good and evil, or just one and the absence of another? What is truth? Does it exist? If so, how? These are a few of the questions that propelled me to write Georgia.
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What makes this story different from others with similar topics? Georgia is unique in that it explores the varying perspectives of multiple characters through this one body, one voice, of one actor. There is something very telling about the many stories you can get from one story. I think that usually with serious topics such as this there is an impulse to take a side. Georgia stifles that impulse. What do you hope people will get from the play? I hope that Georgia will make people squint a littleâ€”to see themselves, and others, more clearly.
For press info, contact Kevin Benoit, 646.262.6026/www.farisojordan.com Follow Georgia & Fariso Jordan on Twitter and Facebook! twitter.com/farisojordan|facebook.com/ Georgiatheplay
Soulful Expression R&B
artist Candace Coles is as versatile and refreshing a singer as they come, with a particularly fearless demeanor and impressively nimble soprano voice. As comfortable getting lost in fat, swanky beats as she is in introspective, confessional numbers, Coles offers new twists on the genre." –BAMcafe’ Live Step back and take a breath of fresh air with the voice of soulful newcomer, Candace Coles. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, this singer/songwriter began her career singing into a hairbrush at the tender age of 8. She recently released of her debut independent project Fingerprints (produced by Darien Dorsey Music in Brooklyn, NY). After two consecutive years of writing and recording, Coles is offering her EP on Itunes, CDBaby and many other music sites on the web as well as at her live shows! Her debut EP, Fingerprints, takes a glimpse at what the world could be like if we slowly reach into ourselves and share the gifts and love we hold so deep. After a lifetime of preparing her voice and performance, this young singer set out to create a project particularly for young women dealing with low self-esteem issues. Featuring fun summer songs like "Young Beautiful & Fabulous", and " I Own The Night", Candace wrote songs that would challenge her young listeners to have an ‘I Can and I Will’ attitude! Followed by her honest reflective tunes about being "Nervous" and the forever-grateful song "The Greatest" dedicated to her mother. Candace Coles is surely a new artist watch! Fingerprints also features music co-written by Grammy-Award winning songwriter Gordon Chambers. "After listening to "The Greatest" I knew I wanted to be in on her project", says Chambers. Several heart-felt writing sessions lead the two to compose the songs "Nervous", a surreal portrayal of the sincere emotion one may feel while striving to achieve their goals, and a duet entitled "Love You Better", which is also featured on Gordon's upcoming project, Art and Soul. So, stay tuned as this budding young artist takes the world on, with her honest approach to the soulful R&B Genre. To listen to Candace’s Music http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/fingerprints-ep/id412636399?uo=4 Website: www.CandaceColesMusic.com
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Design Essentials® Teaches Natural Styling and pHusion Silkening Techniques at the Fall 2011 World Natural Hair Show On September 10th and 11th, Design Essentials® Salon System's education and styling team led interactive sessions to help professional stylists and consumers manage their natural hair at the 2011 Fall World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, Georgia. Participants were treated to indepth natural hair and pHusion silkening styling techniques that showed them how to style their natural tresses using Design Essentials® Natural and transform their coils and curls into a bone-straight look.
Pictures, From Top : 1&2 Design Essentials®Natural models show off their final looks at the end of the styling session. Tip:Add flair to natural styles with accessories. Be fun and flirty by adding a colorful flower or a trendy feather to highlight your mood. Picture 3: Design Essentials® Master Educator, Alicia Settles taught class participants the art of pHusion Silkening. She emphasized the importance of preparing the hair to be silked with the right combination of products. Picture 4: Mae Tapp (naturalchica.com) hosted Design Essentials® social media give-aways at the Design Essentials® Booth during the World Natural Hair Show. She presented the first winner, Sharon Dukes (left) of Atlanta, Georgia with a Design Essentials® Natural prize bag. To learn more about Design Essential and to get tips on how to maintain natural hair, like them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Design-Essentials/36885113395 ) and follow on Twitter @DesignEssntials.
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RUNWAY254 Runway254 is a platform for emerging designers,both in fashion and jewelry, to showcase their work, meet potential clients and network. We have had two events with the most recent held on August 4th event and it saw 12 designers showcase; some of them have done The First Runway254, The African Fashion Fair, AfroFashion, Citizen's Fashion Show Season one and others will be doing it for the first time; Fashion Achie Otigo, Bendigale, Namour, Enzi, Judah Collection,Pink Rain by Sumi, Iquira Accesories, Zuhura, Ka'an by Tawi, Sheci Denim, Gorge.
Despite many teething problems in organizing a fashion show, the platform is on its way to achieving its purpose with designers getting orders and visibility, some of those who participated in the first event had their stuff used on last month’s issue of Passion Magazine. We hope to upgrade to a site with online shopping option to give the designers more exposure and ease in getting clients in and out of the country. The models, most of whom are also upcoming and aspiring, gain from the platform as they also get exposure and learn from our head stylist, Professional Model and Stylist, Namnyak Odupoy, about the modeling world and a few dos and don’t when up on the runway. Models and designers are made aware of the next event through open calls on social media and the initiative blog, http://runway254.blogspot.com and those who sign in by the given deadline get to participate. We are currently doing call-outs for the third event are on-going.—Sitawa Wafula
From L to R: Model in Enzi Designs, model in Fashion by Achie Otigo, Organizer Sitawa with designer Assumpta of Pink Rain by Sumi, model wearing Jewelry by Ka’an , designer Julia of Namour Designs. Top : Model wearing EnV by Nkatha
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We profile Rachael Nsofor, wife, mother, entrepreneur, socialite & TV Personality who is leaving an indelible mark of her own in hip urban UK culture.
achael also known as FabDoll was born in Lagos Nigeria, at age two – Rachael moved to the UK with her parents where she was fostered by the Nicol family in Brighton England for 8 years. Later reunited with her biological parents Rev Dr Williams Oladipo and Mrs Funmi Oladipo, she grow up and lived out the rest of her childhood life in Startford, East London with her 4 siblings. Rachael became a young mother early on in life however, adapted and crushed the challenges that were brought on. By the age of 21 Rachael became one of the youngest, highest paid black female executives in The City Of London, working for 2 FTSE 100 companies in the late 90′ s and early 2000′ s, silencing all her critics. Now, a serial entrepreneur, one of her successful businesses has seen one of her companies (Fabulous Hair Europe) sought after by a slew of Nollywood [Nigerian] Actresses.
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Understanding how divas’ can make the most of their attributes comes naturally to her. Setting trends and creating a following of FabDolls, it was inevitable that her STAR will be rising. Being a Fab Doll, where else would Rachael be? Fittingly she is a judge on the much talked about and successful reality TV Show Miss Black Africa UK [as shown on Nollywood Sky Channel 329] and, to add to her portfolio, Rachael has recently been confirmed as a Presenter for the much hyped TV reality show Uber Africa Unmasked .To be shown on Sky TV Channels and terrestrial mainstream UK & US Television. Now also columnist in DivaScribe magazine – brands are hot on her Steiger heels to get a mention. Rachael Nsofor does for brands what Buy One Get One Free offers do for giant retail chains.
For more information about Rachael and her projects www.rachaelnsofor.com, www.uberafricaunmasked.com, www.topmodleofcolour.com
Title: Living in Autumn While Preparing for Spring Subtitle: The Journey Towards Marriage Author: Karen C. Bowlding ISBN: 0-9773805-0-5 Category: Religious / Self-Help Length:1 94 pages Binding: Hardback and E-book format Most marriages fail because people choose the wrong person to marry. They marry the one they believe is right for them, and not necessarily the one that has been chosen for them by God. This shockingly honest portrayal of singleness and marriage is designed to help couples lay the foundation for a strong, biblical marriage. The Journey Towards Marriage will guide you to understanding what to do when the glow of courtship must be replaced by the daily responsibilities of marriage. This book will help you: •
Learn about God’s unique blueprint for your life
Establish a positive, loving relationship with God, yourself and mate
Deal with issues, family histories and expectations
Evaluate your readiness for marriage
The author candidly shares her relationship with her husband, without "overspiritualizing". She offers points of view from both a man and woman on understanding what makes marriage work. The book is a guide for singles on how to prepare themselves for marriage before their mate actually shows up. The book will give the reader information on the areas in their lives that ought to be addressed ahead of time so that the transition from being single to married will be relatively smooth.
When a potential mate shows up, the author will guide the couple through the intricacies of the courting relationship, informing them of what to look for in a mate and potential red flags. The reader will get an understanding of what to do when the glow of courtship must be replaced by the daily responsibilities of marriage. “Most marriages fail because people choose the wrong person to marry,” says Bowlding. “They marry the one they believe is right for them and not necessarily the one that has been chosen for them by God.” The book, a shockingly honest portrayal of singleness and marriage, is designed to help couples lay the foundation for a strong, biblical marriage. Bowlding adds, “This book will help you learn about God’s unique blueprint for your life, establish a positive, loving relationship with God, yourself and your mate, deal with issues, family histories and expectations and evaluate your readiness for marriage.”
For more information about the author, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.karenbowlding.net/ Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Bowlding-EditWrite-Design-Business/127846717281689 Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/KarenBowlding
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DIAMONDS IN THE MAKING To be of diamond quality you must be willing to push through boundaries and avoid falling into the trap of wanting to cruise through life with just minor bumps and scars, writes ANGELA WAWERU
here so many things one can read, so many things one can do and so many things people can say but sometimes when feeling pressured from all ends we tend to seek two options, either run away from your troubles or hide away from them. At that precise moment everything seems to be doom and gloom, for the world seems so hazy with no signs of opportunities. Troubles can therefore be so overwhelming, so consuming that every part of you feels dead. Your thoughts are dominated by your troubles that even being joyful is like trying to find water whilst on a desert. Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like without adversity, would we humans still find a reason to complain? Would we grow and change without them? I believe not, I think without it life wouldn’t be at all challenging or fruitful, for there is beauty within a struggle. Take for example diamonds, they are the most sort after gems that most women would die to own. Diamonds are made from intense heat and extreme pressure. Furthermore they come from deep within the core of the earth and are formed through magma when a volcano erupts.
“Pressure makes diamonds” -General George S. Patton This certainly explains why they are so expensive, but what is eye catching is through extreme adverse situations they are not only striking, unique and rare but they are unbreakable, truly cut above the rest. Which makes you wonder, if something as beautiful as a diamond comes from such intense conditions, imagine for a second how transformed you could be if you endured any form of adversity that comes your way. Now here are a few things I noted that I feel can be applied to life:
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Diamonds come from within the deep core of the earth in translation seek within yourself to release a new and transformed you that shines through beyond your greatest imagination. To achieve this you must constantly remind yourself, especially during times of adversity that they are great and are of a sound mind. That away the beauty from within will transform the outside as well.
Diamonds must endure extreme heat and pressure before they are formed. How encouraging, a great reminder that no matter how many spanners life throws at you, those situations are indeed necessary in transforming you into being a great masterpiece.
Diamonds are unique and rare, and best of all unbreakable. There are people we look up to, the likes of Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa to name a few. They all went through tremendous adversities but what they went through developed them into being one of the most recognised and admirable people in the world today. It goes to show that to be a diamond one must be willing to push through boundaries and avoid falling into the trap of wanting to cruise through life with just minor bumps and scars.
There is no right or wrong way of how to live life but to be of diamond quality then it is imperative to be equipped with great amount of wisdom, understanding, perseverance and patience. Difficult times will define you, but it is never about what you’re going through but rather how you get through it. Don’t wish for a smooth life, instead adapt to change and go through change. For truly what is the worst thing that can happen?
Business leader, public servant and entrepreneur, MARTIN LEMELLE is renowned for his transformative ability to effectively engage individuals at all levels of an organization. We profile him in AfroElle’s new feature; Phenomenal Man, highlighting men making moves in the society.
artin is a native of Grambling, LA and a 2006 Magna Cum Laude Graduate of Grambling State University (GSU) with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting. Throughout his collegiate career at GSU, he left an indelible stamp on student leadership, serving as Freshman Class President, Student Government Association Vice-President, and Student Government Association President. He sponsored such initiatives as Vote It’s Your Right, College Begins in Preschool, and the Are You Ready Campaign. As the host of KGRM’s 91.5 FM Morning Radio Show, he communicated with a tri-state listening audience on issues from politics to pop culture. A firm believer that “service is the price one must pay for the space that he or she occupies”, Martin interned with U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) in Washington D.C. During his internship, he facilitated constituent concerns regarding civil rights, small business, and judiciary issues. With a passion for business and leadership, Martin began his corporate career with the public accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in their audit practice. This foundation in the audit field provided the experience he needed to pursue his next engagement with IBM in the consulting practice. While at IBM, he was instrumental in enhancing the company’s outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Lemelle has solidified himself as a component practitioner of fiscal management and a sound business leader. In July of 2008, he graduated from the financial management program with General Electric (GE) and received his Green Belt Certification in Lean Six Sigma. Martin is currently the Director of Revenue Management for the Northeast Region of Dean Foods, a fortune 200 consumer products organization.
In this capacity he leads the commercial strategy for $1.3 billion in revenue. In 2010, Lemelle was awarded the company’s highest honor- the CEO Award for his development of the company’s product fulfillment strategy. At 27, Martin is the youngest director in the company. Outside of his rigorous career schedule, Lemelle is committed to education and service. He is the Founder and CEO of the Excellence in Leadership Academy, an organization devoted to educating and empowering America’s youth. In May of 2008, the academy held its first leadership conference for high school students in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The academy has since expanded its scope to the collegiate market and partners with the Monster Diversity Leadership Program. Lemelle is a notable motivational speaker who engages his audiences with passion and purpose. Martin is a devoted member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is the past Polemarch of the Gamma Psi Chapter and the 2005 Southwestern Province Undergraduate Brother of the Year. In February 2006, he was featured on the cover of the International Kappa Journal honoring his achievement as the 2006 Byron K. Armstrong Scholar and Leader. Currently, Lemelle is an active charter member of the Dulles-Leesburg, VA Alumni Chapter.
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Run for Congo Women "It’s
one thing to support women rebuilding their lives, and another to see them emerge as leaders." – Lisa Shannon, New York Times The Democratic Republic of Congo has seen a past stained with war. In the last 13 years, more than five million people have died and the figures are rising. Women and children have been most affected by this conflict in the DRC. Apart from women having to deal with loss of male partners/ relatives to the war, they have been victims of war, rape, mutilation, torture and sexual violence. In Eastern Congo, sexual violence is rampant; in 2006-2007 alone, more than 400,000 women were raped by a stranger. According to estimates done by authors in The American Journal of Public Health published in May, 1.8 million Congolese women had been raped, with approximately 433,785 raped in the one-year period, translating to almost a rape a minute. In 2010, UN's Special Representative on Sexual Violence, Margot Wallstrom, named the DRC as the rape capital of the world.
In this issue we would like to feature Run for Congo Women (RFCW) a grassroots series of runs/walks that take place throughout the U.S and Europe. I first came to hear about Run For Congo Women when I was looking for Congolese representation for the magazine. After a brief research through the internet, I learned about the heartbreaking situation women of Congo. This campaign was started by Lisa Shannon, a supporter of Women for Women International in the USA. “Lisa decided she wanted to do something to help the women we work with in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised £19,000 in her first sponsored run alone, with 100% of the funds going directly to Women for Women's programmes,” shares Sarah Haynes, Grassroots Campaign Officer at Women for Women, UK.
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ince then, women and men have been coming together all over the world to run, raise money and support women in the Democratic Republic of Congo to rebuild their lives and their communities. Last year, RFCW reached the $1million benchmark, and since our inaugural UK run in July 2010, RFCW has raised over £85,000 in the UK alone. Women for Women International UK is an international charity that helps women survivors of war and civil conflicts rebuild their lives. Women for Women works in eight different countries around the world including Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, Kosovo, Rwanda, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a strong believer and supporter of women’s empowerment, Women for Women provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to women in communities destroyed by violence. I believe that the empowerment and involvement of women should be at the centre of development and peace negotiation strategies. And so, I would like to invite you all to get involved and raise awareness about the rights of women worldwide. You can read the report on Gender, Conflict and Millennium Development Goals or any of the other publications sponsored by Women for Women.
And so, if you want to read more about Women for Women International UK you can visit their social media sites. Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/womenforwomen Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/womenforwomen Website: http://www.womenforwomen.org You can donate to the charity, get involved or spread the word. It doesn’t matter how big or small your donation is or how much time you can dedicate to the cause, every little help counts. PICTURES COURTESY OF www.womenforwomen.org
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JOVONNA RODRIGUEZ shares why its important for parents to Speak to your children about violence, bullying, love, and pain.
Loud noises clog my ears. Yelling. Screaming. I can hear pushing and things breaking. Slowly tip-toeing to my room door, I slowly twist the knob, in efforts of not being heard, I pretend I am invisible. Lucky for me our house only creeks on the stairs and in the kitchen. I can hear her yelling, asking where has he been these past few days. I can smell the alcohol in the air. I can taste fear in my mouth, unknown as to what will happen next. The same fear he is sweating out his pores. It's like watching a live movie, from the top of the stairs. I can eavesdrop on everything. I can hear the details behind the chaos in my home, spot the hits, and remember everything. I witness the chaos; soaking in every minute in ways I never imagined it would affect me.
She religiously hits him. Yelling obscenities and accusations. It was always her way of dealing with things. He never hit back. Just simply shakes her, holds her down, or pushes her against the wall in efforts of containing her demons. A frustration that seemed so normal, was soon absorbed into my habits. Dominance, yelling to be heard, and force when necessary to make my point were all small things that go unnoticed.
“Parents do not realize the lasting effects abuse can cause on their children, themselves, and their spouse.” Memories like this flash by ever so often. I can see them replaying in front of me like a roll of film, each with a different scenario and consequence.
Bottles thrown, fist slammed, voices raised, threats slurring off the tips of tongues that once claimed, “I Love You!” These were the same hypocrites that told me fighting is wrong. Parents do not realize the lasting effects abuse can cause on their children, themselves, and their spouse. What's labeled normal to one family can be labeled as abuse to another. Observed actions can become learned behaviors that are intertwined in routine. Children are witnesses to these small injustices everyday. Spouses act out of anger, victims take pain due to fear. We are living in a silent society where cries and pleas go unheard. The slightest lack of affection is often twisted to be abuse. Yet, we often confuse the most direct actions as being love. Be an agent of change in your home. Speak to your children about violence, bullying, love, and pain. Show them the correct way to act when things can go wrong. Model behavior to enhance our beings. Be a haven for the weak, an ear for the unheard, do not walk and overlook struggle.
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MAN MAN--ing UP Our newest male writer, Kizito Katawonga gives his perspective on violence against women.
“Do not punish Men for the mistakes of Boys”.
hese are the words I spoke to a friend a few days after she took her infant son and ran away from the home where she’d been cohabiting with an abusive boyfriend of several years. She finally got the courage to escape from a situation that was destroying her and undoubtedly her son. She was so hurt and angry at all things male and was swearing off men forever. I assured her as I am assuring you now. “Men do not abuse women, boys do.” You see, boys are irresponsible, selfish, brash and unkind by nature, mostly because they don’t know any better. They believe everything revolves around them and what they want. They will abuse and bully and rebel to get what they want. Boys believe they are superior to girls.
“I truly believe violence and subjugation of women is a direct result in the failure of the institution of Manhood.” But one has to grow up from a boy into a man by choice. It doesn’t just happen. Abuse on women has and always been instigated by males who are still boys hiding under the façades of education, position and achievement. They react out of their boyishness and lash out when angry, stressed or challenged; especially by women whose mere presence make them acutely aware of how unmanly they really are.
They abuse because they can get away with it. They abuse because they believe women are somehow inferior, weaker than them. I truly believe violence and subjugation of women is a direct result in the failure of the institution of Manhood. Our society is built on the vision and leadership of men and when men as a whole don’t value women as equals, then abuse and discrimination are rule of law. We now live in a world where the definition of manhood is so vague, distorted and wrong. It doesn’t help that countless men have grown up without fathers who should have been shining examples for them is exasperating the situation even more. Stu Weber says “Fatherlessness is the scourge that is killing this world” What’s more is that today’s woman is a lot stronger, more assured and confident in her worth and contribution to the world. Women can not only cook, clean and raise the kids but they can run multimillion dollar companies and be heads of state—all at the same time!
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When men are men, there is order & discipline, love & compassion, safety & security, happiness & joy. Women are treated with the dignity, appreciation and value that they deserve.
Women know who they are whereas too many men don’t. When such a man, struggling to understand his purpose and place in life finds such a woman, he will resort to the one thing to gain the upper hand; the thing a woman usually doesn’t have—his superior physical strength. The same strength God gave him to go out and face the elements, to provide and protect the women and children in his care. Most of us men don’t understand why we’re given that strength or why we have the urge to fight, conquer and subdue. Today’s women don’t necessarily need us to protect them from village raiders and lions. We don’t have to build houses with our bare hands or forage for food so we have so much unreleased potential. It stews and boils in each one of us, threatening to explode. So where do we focus this God given energy? Sadly, most will focus it in the wrong direction and that is usually something illegal or destructive such as abusing women. Many men today are confused, frustrated and lost; we have always been taught that we are the boss, we are superior to women and women are just objects for our satisfaction. So they end up dominating the women in their lives in order to feel like men.
This is because men crave respect. We need it like we need oxygen. It’s like our crack cocaine. Give a man respect and he will conquer the world. Deny him and he may destroy it. Men will often do anything for respect. They will move mountains, lie, cheat, steal and sometimes even kill for it. The sad truth is that, in today’s world of girl power, gender equality and emancipation, not only are men feeling less relevant and needed but women too have forgotten how to need and respect men. Women need to also understand that without respect, men will force their hand to get it, including abusing her. I don’t condone abuse of any kind. It’s unconscionable. I’ve seen its effects on the women, children and society as a whole. Abuse is an anomaly, like cancer. It’s not supposed to happen and it needs to stop. We can continue to counsel and support the abusive women, giving techniques on how to defend themselves or escape abusive situations. That’s great but that’s just treating the results not the cause. You cannot stop abuse against women by changing women. We must start with the men. Because when men are men then everything works the way God intended.
T.D Jakes says “You can fix 90% of the world’s problems by fixing the worlds Men”. I totally agree with him. Men need to be re-educated on what it means to be a man; that it’s a privilege and a responsibility to be taken very seriously. Men need to be reminded that their great strength is used to protect women not harm them and they need to understand the deeper repercussions that their abuse has not only on their victim, but their children and themselves. It is the collective responsibility of men to stand up and declare that it’s not manly to hit a woman. We’re not cool with it. It’s offensive to us too. It’s not right to see women as objects instead of beautiful and amazing creations of God to be treated with utmost dignity, care and reverence. When men can all stand together and voice their disgust, those boys will grow up and stop abusing others. As a man, husband, father I feel the immense pressure of all the mistakes of men present and past crushing in on me, pushing me to reach out and enlighten all the men around me to find their way back to God’s grand design. And I do small things, like writing this article or hosting a blog. You can do the same. Encourage every man you know to be the kind of person I’ve described. Give them books, videos. Heck, show them men in your favorite soap operas or movies that live these manly values. Give them what they need to grow, so they can be the kind of men you would respect and finally when they are truly living like men of God, women will never ever be abused.
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Emmanuel & Binta Etim
mmanuel and Binta Etim met in dance team during their sophomore year of Undergraduate. Emmanuel says its Binta’s energy that caught his attention when they first met. “We were on a dance team and Binta had a lot of spunk and energy”. Binta on the other hand was says it was Emmanuel’s calmness that caught her attention. Binta is a development practioner born in Gambia and raised in both The Gambia and the US. She works with communities to strengthen their capacity in addressing complex development issues such as food insecurity, gender and disparities and economic sustainability. Emmanuel is a true African American; his father is Nigerian and his mother a Black American. Emmanuel was born LA and raised in California and Michigan. He traveled to the Nigeria a couple times as a child and as an adult, as a result of his upbringing, the company I keep and the profession is internationally focused and artistic. Emmanuel produces short films, documentaries and commercials for TV, Film festivals and the web for domestic and international audiences that help start discussions ranging from spirituality, being African and so much more. Emmanel and Binta who have dated for 3 and half years, got married in the afternoon of June 26th 2011 in Michigan.
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What do you love about your husband? Binta Ceesay: His humility, tolerance, respect, and generosity. He sees the humor in everyday things and that makes life much easier. What do you love about Binta? Emmanuel: Her determination, her drive and ambition to help people in every circumstance. What parts of marriage do you so far love the most and why? Binta: The strong support and love that is unwavering. Cooking together; it gives us a chance to catch up on our day and helps us unwind. Emmanuel: Being able to spend time with Binta and not worry about issues How did you manage to incorporate three cultures into your wedding? Binta: We wanted to include our Gambian, Nigerian and American cultures. Some of the ways were through music, food and clothing. We agreed that it was best for the Nigerian side of the family to do the Okra, Egusi and fufu. The Gambian family did the Yassa and Jollof rice. I know this may be hard for a lot of Nigerians to understand, but NOONE makes Jollof rice like SeneGambian people. An American family friend catered for the American dishes. We had quite a festive buffet. We wore the American/Western for the ceremony, and during the reception, we changed into the beautiful traditional gowns from Gambia and Nigeria. Emmanuel: We honestly tried to listen to everyone who requested things from us and we were able to incorporate the food and some of the clothing.
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Complete this sentence: I knew I had found the love of my life when ___ Binta: When he and I prayed together, and he encouraged me to take a longer fellowship to Senegal, as it would be a better investment in my dreams, career and future. As hard as it was for both of us, he put on his best face and was the best cheerleader anyone could ask for. He would send small allowances, and despite the poor network connections, he called as much as possible even if to hear each other for a few minutes. Emmanuel: I knew I had found the love of my life when she and I prayed together.
Other than your wedding day, what one day of your marriage would you most like to experience again and why? Binta: Our road trip to Saugatuk- where we could slept in, cook breakfast together and prepare for unexpected adventures- a boat ride or watching the sunset at the best beach! Emmanuel: I believe that when we were on our honeymoon sitting at the beach looking at the sun set. How do you resolve conflicts and what helps you love each other when you are mad at your spouse? Binta: Say SORRY! Never to go to bed without being at peace. Knowing each otherâ€™s intentions are never hurtful even when we are in heated discourse or misunderstandings. It shows love and respect. Emmanuel: So far we do our best to not go to bed angry at each other. We try to hash out our issues one day at a time.
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What kinds of questions and inquiries are essential to ask your partner before you get married? Binta: How important is God, family and finances? What are your dreams, interests, strengths, weaknesses goals? What you are willing to compromise and what can you not change? How does he react when you face hardships? Do they bring the worst or best out of you? Emmanuel: What are you dreams? Who do you have as a role model? What is your purpose as a woman, wife, and mother? With all the negativity, fears, challenges, how do you plan on making your marriage work? Binta: Praying together, listening to each otherâ€™s needs, never being too proud to apologize or forgive the other person, to continue to date each other and most importantly take it ONE DAY AT A TIME! Emmanuel: We plan to pray every day and we have spoken on our weaknesses and our issues when they come up.
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What is the best advice you received before you got married to prepare you for any rough periods in marriage? Binta: Protect and nurture your marriage, and continue being best friends. African proverb from my grandmother: Be a wife that is like a needle, not a wife that is a knife: meaning, a knife cuts and separates, where as a needle mends and repairs. Be a wife that will build the bridges among family; as well as repair and mend relationships. Emmanuel: To listen to your wife and be patient. I canâ€™t change her, I can only listen. What advice would you give youâ€™d like to give any newlywed or a single woman hoping to get married some day? Binta: To the newly wed: Be patient, and speak kind words. To the single woman: Love yourself first, stick to your principles, but allow room for flexibility. Life is full of surprises and to both partners; Take it ONE DAY AT A TIME! Emmanuel: Get to know yourself and enjoy your spouse one day at a time.
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WALKING ON WATER Bella Grace
is a mentor,
motivational speaker, evangelist, author and an advocate against domestic violence. A survivor of domestic violence, Grace, shares her inspiring story of how she narrowly escaped death and what she is doing to help others.
rowing up, I was a happy child; I loved to read, play and dreamt of going to New York. At the age of 5 I already knew I wanted to be a teacher. A Liberian by nationality, my father died when I was around the age of 2. He went home to Liberia to visit and never came back. My mother was left alone to take care of my brother and I. Because I never had a mental image of my father, it never quite bothered me being brought up in a single parent home.
remember that I didn’t want to talk to him; something about him rubbed me the wrong way, and I didn’t know what it was.
After graduating from High school I joined Pace University and upon graduation I was introduced to the word freedom and all that came along with it. In March of 1998, I met the father of my two young boys. I was coming home from a doctor’s appointment in Newark. As I walked in one direction, my ex-boyfriend, Ken and his brother were coming from the opposite direction. I vividly
Something inside of me needed those words, because the moment my exboyfriend mentioned those words to me, I took it at face value. We spent a lot of time together, Ken’s family adored me; to his sisters I became a sister and to his mother; a daughter. I definitely thought we were moving too quickly but I flowed with things. It was when he started mingling with new friends that all of a sudden he shifted from going to work
I had never introduced any of my male friends to my mother because I felt none of them were up to her standards, but I told her about Ken. The first few months of our relationship was good. He bought me anything I wanted; he gave me money without me asking for it. He was also the first person, and I absolutely mean, the first person to ever tell me the words ‘I love you.’ Nobody had ever said those words to me before; not my mother, uncle, brother, no other guy and not even my friends.
and coming home to going to work and wanting to hang out. He would call me repeatedly; texting wasn’t huge back then, so he would leave me countless voicemails if I was unable to respond. The first time Ken showed, what the world calls ‘attention’, and what I have learned is the first step to abuse, was when we went to a party that was for some former high school friends of mine. Every time I made a move without him, it was an issue. He felt like some other guy was going to take me from him. I later on saw other red flags; Ken was very playful; like a child. He was a momma’s boy as they call it. Whenever he didn’t get his way, he would get upset. He wanted all attention on him or he would either divert himself away from everyone, get upset, or both. Most times it was both. When we were together and on good terms, I would help to calm him down. I just knew that he would never flip on me, especially because he loved me.
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n February 1999, I had my first child. At the time, Ken and I were on and off, he had become more jealous and during the next few years the jealousy continued. You might be wondering why I stayed with him, well, I was used to seeing people around me stay in the same type of relationship, so I wrote it off as normal and what comes along with being in a relationship. He would constantly tell me he loves me and therefore to me, I took it as its ok, no big deal.
In 2001, I gave birth to my second son. During this time we had officially broken up as per his request. He had moved on with a younger girl. At first this was a hard for me because I had spent a long time with my ex and dealt with a lot of torment from him and his family. Later on that year, I eventually moved on and began dating someone else. This is when everything became a living nightmare for me. I was literally on the run and in hiding. One thing about domestic violence is everyone assumes that it is so easy to walk away and live your life, but the reality is, it’s not, depending on the perpetrator. Over the next months, I experienced threatening phone calls, stalking, being choked, sadness and bitterness. The guy was so slick; one night he called my mom and told her that he didn’t know why I wouldn’t answer my phone yet he had been trying to reach me to give me some money for the baby. My mother assumed he was telling the truth, little did she know that he had just forced me into his car and took me on to the Garden State Parkway at 100 miles an hour preparing to run the car into a wall while saying, “I will kill you now; I’m a kill both of us right now if you don’t come back to me.” There were other countless incidents; there was the time he kidnapped me and dragged me to the car with a machete to my neck, and raped me in his parent’s basement. But it was the fatal incident that occurred on September 14, 2002 which I nearly lost my life. I woke up that morning and received a call from my ex that he knew I was out the previous night and with a new guy. I politely told him he needed to come over and pick up some items he had left at my mother’s apartment because the only reason he had them there was to watch and monitor me. That Saturday morning, my children were in the kitchen. I later on got on the phone to talk to one of my friends to plan on going to Chuck E. Cheese’s with our children, but it never happened. It’s that time that Ken pulled up his truck outside in a diagonal position in the middle of the road. I hung up the phone, went downstairs and opened the door. Ken came, brushed passed me going up the stairs while looking around the apartment. I handed him his stuff and I remembers him putting them at the door. He then went into the bedroom and came out. From here things got cloudy. I remember him choking me and telling me that no one will ever want me. At that point my children were crying and screaming. He punched me in the face while I screamed. I remember looking at the clock in the kitchen, going down to the ground and hearing my children screaming. That was it. I was unconscious for about two hours. I recall having a conversation and thinking I was dreaming. In the conversation I met with God and he told me I had to go back, but I said no, I wanted to finish sleeping. He said you have to go back. And then He said to me three times “Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.” I woke up and tried to move but couldn’t.
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When I gained consciousness, the first thing I saw was blood on the floor and I kept trying to figure out who’s it was. I didn’t know what happened as soon as I did I slithered across my mother’s kitchen floor and pulled on a 25ft phone cord to call my brother, my then current boyfriend, and 911. I wasn’t successful on the call to 911 because I passed out. But somehow they showed up. I awoke again and was able to utter “I think my children’s father did this.” When they asked where the children were, I told them that I thought Ken had taken them. They asked me if could I sit up but when they tried to get me to sit up, a gush of blood shot across my mom’s kitchen floor and I passed out again. The emergency team was able to help me into the ambulance where I blacked out again. I woke up to find I was connected to tubes and in a lot of pain. The final diagnosis; I had suffered a collapsed lung, nerve damage, and half a dozen stabs had miraculously missed my heart.
From left page to right. Pic 1. A young Grace as a ballerina. Pic 2. Grace with two of her three children. Top:
Pic 1 & 2 Newspaper cuttings of Grace’s story featured in the newspaper. Pic 3 Grace admitted in the hospital after the domestic violence incident Pic 4 The crime scene Pic 5: Grace’s stab wounds
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did but I didn’t beat myself up about it. I knew my ex-boyfriend needed help and at the time I felt I could help him and that could change him but I later on learned that I couldn’t. I decided to turn everything to God. When I finally broke the silence about my situation and what had happened to me, I began to see my purpose. I began teaching and giving people information about domestic violence that could save other lives.
fter the incident, I was first hospitalized at UMDNJ in Newark, NJ, and then later Saint Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ. I received rehab treatment both occupational & physical therapy at the former Kessler Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, NJ. After cleaning the blood off the floor, my mother came to the hospital. My mother had tears in her eyes you could see hurt all over her face. My uncle told the social worker “she isn’t going to any shelter” and that was that. My brother ran up in my ex-boyfriend’s house, well his parent’s house, to look for him but he had fled. On the day the verdict was to be read, my brother was the only one to take off of work and showed up at the courtroom. I love him for that. My mother has become one of my greatest supporters as well as my uncle since I became more outspoken about what happened. My uncle just recently came and supported one of my domestic violence events and saw a photo of me and said, “Who is that, I never saw that picture? I found that
funny, because this is 9 years later and if he had taken the time to talk to me he would have seen it. Because the crime happened at my mother’s house, I believe that is why my mother hasn’t said anything about the incident. My family got so used to saying nothing that they seem to cringe when I talk about it. Guess that’s their way of expressing love.
I will never know what made my ex snap to injure me the way he did. I wanted that answer so bad that later on I went to the jail to ask him, yet he couldn’t even look me in my face. All he wanted was for me to drop the charges. I eventually received closure from the abuse when I went to God’s house and learned about forgiveness. I forgave him. That’s it, I didn’t need his apology. I couldn’t stick around and wait for it. So I went to God, and forgave him wholeheartedly asking the Lord to be with him even more during that time. Once I did that, I literally felt and became free.
Did I blame myself? There were times I
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This incident happened to me nine years ago. I have moved on with my life and found healing from that painful experience. I was up against the strongest wave and managed to walk right over it and with a new lease on life, I started ministry called; Walking on Water (WOW) in 2006. One of my plans for WOW is to open a domestic violence transitional safe house for victims as well as open my own school.
“My job is to be a blessing, nothing more, nothing less. I’m honored to share my story with someone else, with the hope that it might inspire them and encourage them that they are not alone in their situation.”
Right now I have my first children’s book out; it’s a nine part series entitled The Adventures of Susie and JJ. I have been touring schools, churches, and different organizations sharing my story and hosting workshops; teaching about love and understanding our value as people.
Who am I today? I am the person God created me to be. I am a leader. I am an overcomer. I am a hard worker. I am a child of God, and I walk, talk, and live for him daily.
God is my all and I love Him because He gave me another chance to live. The lesson in all of this for me is, before you get in a relationship with a person, have a relationship with God. Before you walk you have to crawl. I forgave my ex for what he did to me, not to please him, but to set me free to move on with my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wouldn’t have done so. NOTE: Real name of Grace’s ex-boyfriend has been withheld to respect both families .
Grace’s Advice To Every Woman 1. 2.
Know who you are before pursuing a relationship. What are your goals? What do you like? What do you dislike? What is your type? Focus on you. Be grateful, and use your “singleness” to do all what you can so that when you get into a relationship you will be able to give them your undivided attention (which includes sharing “your time”. Date, party, study, go to college (or in some cases finish middle and high school), bring your inner identity out and allow it to become your outward appearance and self also known as your character. The first time he talks down to you (this includes cursing), or puts his hands on you, LEAVE FOR GOOD. This is a clear sign that he needs help and sorry to let you know, but you are not licensed nor ordained to deliver him from such a behavior. And no, you cannot be there for him and support him as a friend. Pray for him, yes; love him, yes; but all from afar. You acquired feelings for this person, and it will take a minute for those feelings to dissipate out of your system. You as well will need to heal from what took place. Don’t put yourself aside to tend to him, when you don’t have the first notion on what to do. Pay attention to his family and friends. What do they accept as “normal”? How do they behave with each other? How does he treat his mother? The first time I heard that, I was like “well, I see why he does what he does,” when truth is at no point in time should this guy be rude to his mom, or talking down to her. If he is doing it to her, he will do it to you…eventually. Never remove a restraining order. I know it may feel like you are being mean and he has changed because it was a “mistake” but girlfriend, it was no mistake and it wasn’t by coincidence. I made the decision to remove my restraining order once and I ended up stabbed to death and lying in my own pool of blood. DON’T DO IT, KEEP THE RESTRAINING ORDER! Find someone that you can talk to. This includes God, or whomever it is that you believe in. When it seems like no one is around, this is the perfect time that God wants to be with you. He is there waiting to listen. Love yourself first. Don’t get into a relationship, because you want someone to love you and/or you want to love someone. A relationship is supposed to be of love. Of meaning from, therefore, your relationship should be from love, derived from love. Or I like birthed out of love. If you are or have been abused, you are not a victim. Please understand and know that just because you have been abused, or are in an abusive situation right now that doesn’t mean that you are a punk, or any less of a woman. Many people told me “girl, if I was you I would have done blah, blah, blah.” But the truth is those people truly do not know what they would do in such a situation. So I say that to say this, DON’T WORRY WHAT OTHERS SAY. You are not your situation, but your situation is definitely a part of who you are becoming…A Strong WOMAN. Stay encouraged. Be inspired. Be who he created you to be.
To find out about Grace’s workshops and speaking events. You can connect with Grace through; www.walkingonwaterwithgrace.org. email@example.com. Or call (919) 344-2135. Follow her on Twitter @susieandjj @31sisters4life @wowminsitry06. On Facebook “The Adventures of Susie and JJ,” “31sisters4life,” and “WOWministry06”.
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INTERVIEW JoVonna Rodriguez: Who is Tiffany McCloud? Tiffany McCloud: Tiffany McCloud is a young woman first, sister, daughter, dancer, educator, lastly a writer. Behind all the titles and responsibilities that are placed on me, I am a humble person that really appreciates life and find happiness in the littlest things like writing. JR: Describe your philosophy on life or purpose in life in a few sentences. TM: My purpose in life is to help as many young women as I can to reach their potential from inside, FIRST! It’s so easy especially in our society today to be easily intimated and view ourselves negatively. I am a firm believer and witness that what you go through does not have to define you, and if I can get young women to realize that then my purpose is fulfilled. JR: When did you first fall in love with poetry (writing, words, spoken word)?
Tiffany McCloud is a woman in transition and that is so powerful. She is ever growing and learning from life and hopes to touch others to do the same. AfroElle writer JoVonna Rodriquez had the honor of speaking to Tiffany about life, poetry and her rising from hard situations.
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TM: I first fell in love with poetry at the age of 9, when I was in the 3rd grade. My teacher, Ms. Watts told us to write about spring. As soon as my pencil hit the paper, words just flowed out of my fingers and I felt so free. I have been writing ever since. Poetry gives me an escape from everything and everybody whenever I need it. The way I’m able to speak the words before an audience and paint a picture is amazing! JR: Do you have any writing routines? What is your ideal writing environment? TM: The only writing routine I have is to look in the mirror and say, “I Love You.” My ideal writing environment is to my room or in the cemetery listening to Adele or JDS, and just let whatever I’m feeling flow out of me until I have no more. JR: How has your style evolved over the years? What message do you aim to convey to your readers/ listeners?
TM: My style of writing has evolved over the years. It’s gone from just being a topical writer, meaning I only wrote just from the top, not really delving deeper into my being and mental. Whereas now, I write from all angles and pour so much of myself into what I’m writing. The message I aim to convey to my readers is that no matter what we go through we can make it. JR: As with your writing, you have been molding and growing over the years, what have you learned about the treasures of life? What s your testimony? TM: I have grown so much in the last four years and I love it. Life is so precious and sometimes we take it for granted because it becomes so mundane and routine, until something snaps us out of that trance. And that’s what happened to me, being sexually molested as a child by a family member and growing up with that in the back of my mind I didn’t see the beauty in life. I barely saw beauty in me. I went through depression and tried to commit suicide twice at both times failed (nothing but God). Lost a daughter, physical abuse and emotional abuse. My mother spoke two words to me in the ending of the 2008 year, “YOU’RE BETTER” that’s when I woke up and started changing things and erasing people from my life. I had to fall in love with Tiffany all over again. I spoke to myself daily, telling myself that I'm better than what I've been through. Now life is beautiful to me. Even on the bad days I thank God I’m not where I was and I am where I am now physically, emotionally and internally I’m better! JR: Rumor is that you plan to start a program for teens, what is your vision and the motivating factor behind this? TM: Yes, I am currently working on starting a program for teens. It is geared towards teens that suffer with learning disabilities, low self-esteem, teen parents or those that have been sexually molested. The motivation comes from my own ordeals as a child and also from working with teens from my church. Too often teens are neglected as adults we tend to put up a “Deaf Ear” to issues that our children are going through on a daily basis. So I want to be able to help them first of all vocalize their emotions without being afraid of looking “Sensitive” and work on loving themselves. This program will also focus on career building and the importance of education.
“ I have grown so much in the last four years and I love it. Life is so precious and sometimes we take it for granted because it becomes so mundane and routine, until something snaps us out of that trance. And that’s what happened to me” JR: What advice would you give to young girls who are sometimes stuck in tough situations, peer pressured into negativity, or simply unsure of themselves? TM: You’re Better. Whatever the situation is, there is nothing that can make you feel like you’re worthless or you’re a nobody. Remember your future always looks better because you are better. Love yourself and never accept any type of negativity that someone will try to bring into your life. JR: Who will Tiffany McCloud be 10 years from now? TM: Tiffany McCloud will be an established author, an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and recording artist. JR: Word Association: type the first word that comes to mind. Beautiful - LIFE Love - AMAZING Struggle - GROWTH
You can reach her on Twitter: @MzTiffyNicole or her blog: www.tnicole-time.blogspot.com
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MIRAGE'S to MIRACLES Describe to us the relationship you were in and what kind of abuse you went through? Where did it begin for you, the abuse? Abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal and even emotional. The relationship was with a "boyfriend". This was in 2007 about 8 months into the relationship. I was saved, but not living for Christ. There was extreme verbal abuse in my relationship verbally, via voice-mails my "boyfriend" would leave me if I did not answer his calls. He would send 100's of text messages a day that me if I did not respond to the voice-mails. I later showed everything to the police. They spoke with him on the phone several times and came to my home several times because of me calling them. In the end I did not want him to go to jail, because I wanted him to live for Christ, but I was ready to do so if I needed to. I began to ask the Lord to do EVERYTHING that is necessary to get me healed even if it meant I needed to leave everything behind and move, and I did. I lost my job, house, car, etc when this began to happen. The financial abuse started and he was still text messaging me. I lost my job, so to get back at me; he would send me money in the mail. This caused me to pick up the phone when he called. I also needed money for the abortion and he sent me half of the amount, I used my last paycheck for the other half. Later on verbal abuse about me being a slut, murderer, abuser and someone whom slept around because the child wasn't his continued. A lot of bad things happened to me in this relationship, too much to tell in one interview. What were some red flags you saw on the part of abusers character? Signs of abuse began early in the relationship, via arguments. Later on the abuse really began with EXCESSIVE profanity and wanting to know where I was at every moment. Did your friends ever notice any signs of danger in your relationship? Did you ever confide in anyone about what was happening?
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Yes, they knew, I told two friends; female and male. I told my male best friend everything. He was there through it all. In addition, signs were noticed when my "boyfriend" showed up to a night out on the town I was having with friends one night in another city, 3 hours from where I lived. He also came to our motel and created a scene over the next 24-48 hours and would not leave. My friends left before I did this weekend and basically left me behind. Eventually my "boyfriend" left to go get something/or drive around and I came running out of the motel with my bags trying to throw them into the car and head home. I stopped by the motel main desk office to turn in my keys and it was taking the attendant awhile. While getting back into my car, my "boyfriend" pulled up, jumped out of the car and ran over to my truck. I got in and was closing the driver's door and he grabbed the door. I drove off with him still trying to hold on to the door and while he was being dragged on the ground. On one occasion â€œmy boyfriendâ€? drove over to my house so we could talk about our relationship, I lived alone, on his way, he texted me but I did not respond. He knew I was in the house and he kept banging at the door. I texted my male best friend, it was about 2/3am in the morning and he advised me to call the police, which I did.
Ky;a standing in the far left
Did your family and friends ever find out about the abuse? My family still doesn't know about the abuse. I have kept it hidden from them including me getting pregnant at the end of our relationship. One day ‘my boyfriend’ came over to discuss what was happening in our relationship and we slept together. I was terribly sick and went to the doctor only to find out that I was pregnant. This was in March 2008; I had an abortion on May 19th 2008. I plan to produce documentaries and films regarding my situation and in general to help women become free. My entire family and friends will find out EVERYTHING that I have been through when books are released, beginning next year and when films are produced. I am EXCITED about how the Lord is using me! How do you think your family will react to your revelation? They probably won't know what to say and I do believe they will be shocked. They will see why God is blessing me and all that I have been through and they will want to know more about why I serve the God I serve. They will also know that. My entire life will be revealed.
At what point did you have the courage to break the silence and let people know what had been going on in your life and relationship with him? I decided to break the silence when a woman from "March of Dimes" Community Voice Organization attend our church one day and all of the women in the church were asked if they wanted to participate in their Speaker's Bureau and become speakers for their organization for women that have been abused, in teen pregnancy as well as for infant mortality. Since Memphis is the highest in the entire country, I felt I was in the right city for the right purpose. I’m also part of many church ministries for women and organizations in the community now. As a child I was never abused, in general, but I have a heart for teen moms and abused women since age 11/12. At first I wondered how I would help others out of something if I’d never been through anything. But here I am, now, I have been through a lot and I’m able to give back. Did you ever see yourself as an abused woman? Yes. When I started to learn about what abuse was in the "March of Dimes" classes. I was in every category of abuse, the warning signs of abuse and more, which I learned about.
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Did you ever blame yourself for staying in that relationship? A few times, but overall no, because it's a part of my purpose (my testimony) and it’s something I went through, I didn't have to go through it but I had made the decision to date him. But now I’m STRONGER than ever before. Later on, did you confront the abuser for closure and did you ever reach a point of forgiveness? I had to forgive him and myself in order for God to begin the process of healing me. God started to work out things for my good (Romans 8:28). I minister to women in several ministries as well as in women's groups. I did not confront my abuser because it was too much and very risky. I was only concerned about the Lord healing me then using me while also completely removing him from my life. It’s been said that some Christians stay in abusive marriages fearing that they will incur God's wrath for breaking the marriage covenant, what do you think about this and what do you think the church can do to protect the battered woman? I think the church doesn't even talk about women being battered. And this question is something new for me. At my church we have a "School of Family Values & Restoration" as well as groups, classes, seminars, etc for women whom have been abused. However, I don't really think we have/nor anyone that I have seen, OPENLY discusses Christian women being abused or explaining to singles and married couples what abuse is. The word says that you can even wrong and defraud a fellow believer by how you treat them -1 Corin. 6:8. To protect the women, the must first be EDUCATED about abuse and about marriage/relationships. And the ones that are currently in abusive situations probably don't know it. Knowledge is power and prayer changes things. We need to educate the church, openly. A sermon on it, to start with, would be wonderful or even mentioning the classes, workshop and schools offered, in the pulpit. If you find out a friend is in an abusive relationship, how can you reach out to them or approach them about it? Seek the Lord for guidance on how to approach it. You can always calmly talk to people, run errands for them to catch up with them and slip it in the conversation, but I believe seeking the Lord is the best way because everyone is different and the Lord will guide you into how to "exactly" approach the situation. When you're being abused you're in a different mindset from someone whom is not being abused. So you have to approach things very carefully, because any small error can anger the person, hurt them more or cause them to not trust you. Abuse is personal and people like to keep it hidden.
“Remember to carry yourself with high self-esteem about yourself, this will cause you to Love God, yourself and others.” Tell us about your agency Lady Mirage? My agency was birthed in 2005, so God had given me the VISION already and now that I have been through some things, I now know the MISSION. On July 20, 2008 I dedicated my life back to the Lord, for good, 110% and began running my agency for women, full blown. Women are MIRAGE'S in life; overlooked, rejected, misused & have been abused, either at home, in the entertainment industry through sexual exploitation or in life/relationships. I want to TRANSFORM these women for CHRIST from MIRAGE'S to MIRACLES. Lady Mirage is a talent booking agency in the entertainment industry, utilizing the entertainment industry and it’s sub industries of fashion, music, film, television, etc to change lives of women in media, and portray women in a positive light. We are here to book talent for moral work and to shine light in the industry and show others by leading the way, how entertainment and can be moral. This also includes helping women of color soar in their purposes in the entertainment industry and without having to compromise their beliefs, hearts desires, family values, nor be overlooked any longer because of their skin color, abusive family situations they have suffered through and more. Occasionally we work on Domestic Violence films, commercials and even documentaries, to create awareness and educate people on what Domestic Violence entails. There is NO excuse for abuse, no matter what kind of mistakes you make in life; no one should treat someone else badly. I I have not been in another relationship since that relationship in 2007, I’m working my ministry, waiting for a true husband, and moving forward with my life. LOVE and Women is what I am here for. through the vehicle of Entertainment & Fashion I carry out my purpose of helping women get better & be seen in a positive light, to make sure we are no longer destroyed & we can live successful and happy lives with high self-esteem.
Find out more about Lady Mirage Agency through their website www.LadyMirageAgency.com
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Founder of clothing label Christie Brown, AISHA OBUOBI says her goal is to not create great clothing but to make a statement through her creations that celebrate femininity of the African Woman , she shares with AfroElle more about her designs and the future of her label.
wouldn’t describe myself as just the designer or the owner of a brand. I like to think that I can predict how womanhood should be experienced. If I were to describe myself as one thing, it would be an artist. One who paints a fabricated picture of beauty that is fused into clothing and worn by the people who I ultimately create for. My goal is not to create clothing, but to make a statement through my creations and celebrate femininity of the African woman. For that reason, the simple things in life inspire my work. I do take note of the top designers out there and their work. However, what inspires me goes beyond their collections, I am inspired by their work ethic and the artistic vision behind their creations. A painting, a sculpture, the way lines move, the textures and the colors are the source of inspiration. You will be surprised how much life “as is” inspires me. Making mere observations of people in their everyday lives, their interaction with each other, their interpretation of personal style leaves .
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Over the past few years I have been blessed with the success of the Christie Brown brand. However, it was inevitable that the brand needed to take a new direction and grow beyond its current boundaries. The best thing about growth is its tendency to create the opportunity to compete with myself. This leaves me to always ask myself where I can be and how far I can push the brand but still stay true to my craft. This re-branding campaign is not a complete makeover but more so a celebration of brand maturity. As a designer, my creative process continues to evolve and my brand identity has to live up to newer standards. The new collection is taking a very different direction. Fashion is always known as a â€œlook at meâ€? experience. I believe in celebrating women and their inner beauty. The clothes for the new collection go beyond the colors and what they look like. Fashion will transcend from an outer to a more inner emotion. My interpretation of fashion will give the women more of an experience that will then grow their inner confidence. The future of Christie Brown will be laced with continuous innovation and reinvention! I am very excited for the future of the brand. It is very hard to determine where exactly the brand will be years from now. However, given our goals and standards for this brand, you can be certain to see Christie Brown for a long time to come, on various platforms, supporting various causes. As the world and the market is changing, the Christie Brown brand will keep challenging itself to go beyond every achievement.
For more information on Christie Brown label check out http://www.christiebrownonline.com/ Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @christiebrowncl.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLEN COLEMAN
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is an accessory line that brings two emerging self-taught Kenyan designers, Naomi Kiarie and Winnie Wesaala to the community. Based in Sydney, Bangili Jangili are working on an exciting and colorful line of contemporary African accessories, bringing together rich elegance, fun patterns, super bright colors and an ingenious use of African fabric and other exciting materials such as leather, canvas and denim to encapsulate the pure spirit of Africa in trendy way.
Being an accessories junkie, I figured out I was getting tired of buying accessories from my usual favorite high street fashion stores only to discover that every woman I met was wearing exactly the same pieces. So! I met Winnie in Australia whom I realised we shared the same principals and ideas when it came to fashion.We discussed the possibility of designing a unique line of accessories that combined elegance with African inspired styles, history and culture and Bangili Jangili was born!" How did you get started, how did it all begin for you and Naomi? Naomi Kiarie: "It may have well started with inspiration from my fashionably inclined darling mother, a business woman based in Kenya selling pre-loved and brand new luxury fashion and designer brands of clothing and accessories from all over Europe, America and Australia. Back home in Kenya, it was nearly impossible to find stylish yet affordable fashion, I enjoyed searching through mum’s collections looking for items that I could mix and match to ensure I had a comfortable but stylish wardrobe and I guess you could say that’s how my obsession with fashion design.
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Winnie Wesaala Nturibi "My love of fashion began as a young girl growing up in Kenya. After high school, I considered designing but I guess could not convince my parents to allow me to pursue this sort of career especially in Africa where fashion designers were not recognized at the time. My passion for fashion never stopped though. I worked with what I had; my own wardrobe. I endeavored to make ordinary and inexpensive clothes look beautiful. I played a lot with color, mixed and matched outfits, originated more than one way of wearing my outfits; basically anything worked. But what I realized I did best was accessorize hence the name Bangili Jangili, both Swahili names for bangle and symbolically translated as “accessories junkie”. I wore my accessories like make-up and found that this spiced up the look of any outfit.
INTERVIEW Upon migrating to Australia in 2005, a few times I contemplated making my childhood dream a reality but was just not sure where to start. I started a few projects only to drop them shortly after. Naomi and I crossed path a few times, shared ideas and we finally discussed the possibility of starting our own label. To preserve our heritage and still be able to express our love and appreciation for the western style, we both longed to design a line of contemporary accessories with an African edge and Bangili Jangili it was!"
What is it like to be Kenyan designers in Sydney? It feels great to be one of the first and few African designers that are raising the profile of African fashion here in Sydney and in Australia as a whole. It is such an awesome feeling to be able to step into the spotlight and overturn Africaâ€™s somewhat blur reputation. When and how did you get your first break in accessory designing? Naomi and I met back in 2005 here in Sydney through our partners who were in University together. After several years on knowing each other and hanging out together we realised we had a common interest, accessory designing. We officially got together in spring 2010 and started Bangili Jangili and from there on our brand continues to flourish and become ever popular. What is the inspiration behind your designs? Who is your target market?
e get inspired by the sheer beauty of our continent, Africa. The beaches, the deserts, the forests, the indigenous tribes, their traditional dress and their way of life are a constant inspiration. We also do get inspiration from other African fashion lines such as Chichia London and Imani Fashion House whose brave use of African prints appeal to both the African and Western Markets. Our target market at the moment is quite youthful but our designs have been known to appeal to the older generation as well. We target those who want to feel fabulous but most importantly those who want to feel relaxed and unrestricted. What do you love most about your job? To see our toil come to life! From an idea, to a sketch, to a sample, to the real thing. Oh what a feeling! What piece from your 2011 collection is a must have? With the 2011 collection it is hard to pin down the most popular design. It may as well be the Safari in the City Duffle Bag, the Diary of the Turbanista, Bahasha (Envelope) portfolio clutch bag, Malindi Fishermanâ€™s Pants and the soon to be launched, Color-Bash. These are all matchless and hugely popular designs. What next for BJ? At the moment we have too many ideas! Letting you in on a few, we hope to soon expand and launch a home accessories range dubbed BJ Living, as well as introduce shoes,Yes shoes to our designs.
Check out Bangili Jangili on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BangiliJangili
Website : http://bangilijangiliaccessoriesjunkie.blogspot.com/
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hen and how did you get your first break in designing?
Well, I have always being gifted with the pencil. I started drawing when I was little. But I really started designing clothes when I was in the university. I designed outfits for my friends during class dinners and events. How can you describe your designs in terms of style, and how is it different from other designs? I would describe my designs/style as simple, trendy and African. Naledi’s Clothing is all about making trendy, elegant clothes from African fabrics; unveiling the beauty of these fabrics through our contemporary apparels that are simple yet elegant What motivates you to keep persevering in this cut throat industry? Passion for what I do and determination to succeed at it are the things that motivate me. The fashion industry is now a highly competitive one. I have come to realize that it's not about the number of players in the game. It's about how well you can play the game. Who is your target market?
Naledi’s Clothing is on a mission to unveil the beauty of African fabrics through contemporary apparels. AYO AGUNBIADE AGUNBIADE, 23, creative director of Naledi’s Clothing in Lagos Nigeria talks about it all.
My potential client/ target market would be every individual, African or foreign, who is proud of our African fabrics and desires to wear them in the trendiest ways! What do you hope to have achieved in the industry, 5 years from now? In the next five years, I hope NC would be a known brand in fashion cities across the world and on the runways of major fashion shows.
For more information on Naledi’s Clothing ; Website: http://naledisclothing.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/naledisclothing Twitter: @naledisclothing
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ashion designer Adjoa Osei is a 27 year old Londoner with an academic background in Political Sociology. Over the past two years Adjoa has been gaining experience in the fashion industry, working solely behind the scenes. “I’ve done some styling for photoshoots and fashion shows, PR and branding. I have gained practical hands on experience in the fashion industry which I’ve further reinforced with short courses in fashion illustration and pattern cutting, in order to be able to effectively communicate my design ideas to the people that I work with.” She says. Two years on, Adjoe has launched her own clothing line and released her first capsule collection entitled Adapt in late July 2011. Her next collection Modify is due for release in this November alongside the launch of her online store. Adjoa Osei’s capsule collection, Adapt is an effortlessly chic array of hand finished jersey vests, loose fitting tops and bright maxi skirts all emboldened with a signature woven West African print detail. The key focus of the both the collection and the brand is to enhance everyday pieces with African print, creating an ‘experimentally classic’ look for women who appreciate well placed accents of colour and detail without compromising on their simple, clean lined staples. Adjoa Osei is not about seasonality, trend or shock factor but about intertwining signature West African print detail into the fabric of every day silhouettes making it accessible to everyone.
Adjoa Osei’s designs are not about seasonality, trend or shock factor but about intertwining signature West African print detail into the fabric of every day silhouettes making it accessible to everyone.
Adjoa Osei is about timeless, ever wearable pieces so you won’t find any clichéd tributes to ‘tribal’ inspired clothing here. As the seasons change and garment trends evolve so will Adjoa Osei, creating limited handcrafted( in London), purposefully small collections, all carrying their signature print.
To view the capsule collection Adapt visit http://www.adjoaosei.com/#/collection/1/ or follow Adjoa on Twitter @AdjoaOsei For enquiries email@example.com +44 (0)7961 086 050 Picture: Model posing in one of Adjoe’s designs
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With the beauty of African fabrics incorporated with the elegance of European fashion comes CJAJ09, a new fashion line, adding a new mix to the fashion world. Considered a style icon to her friends,
AJ Taylor, fashion blogger and the proud owner of CJAJ09 fashion line allowed me to be her protégée for a week and shadow the fashion’s world future mogul. By Sarah Fynn 66|OCTOBER ISSUE |www.afroellemagazine.com
TREND SETTER OR FOLLOWER? ‘Setter definitely'. In the near future she hopes to take her line of clothing to the fore front of fashion: New York Fashion week after which London, Paris and Tokyo would follow.
orn in her homeland of Ghana, West Africa, Sophie Taylor better known as Taylor started CJAJ09 nearly two years ago. With what she described as her last amount of 'dough', she purchased a sewing machine and started the revolution. She describes her personal sense of style as ‘ethical and colourful with a little bit of class and quirkiness’, and as a woman of colour who loves colour she infuses it in her clothing line, transcending boundaries. Her simple motto is ‘if it’s something I won’t wear, it’s something I won’t make!’ Since its early beginnings in 2009, CJAJ09 has grown from the first dress she made, which she still owns, to elaborate pieces oozing with colour, and countless fashion shows and photo shoots. The journey of CJAJ09 has also been a personal learning experience for the lady herself. In her own words she describes it as ‘a big learning curb’, with lessons she had to learn a n d l e a r n f a s t .
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF CJAJ09? Taylor is looking to expand the collection to include bags and shoes. In the near future she hopes to also include menswear and childrenswear; heritage for everyone in the family is one of her ultimate goals. When asked who she would like to collaborate with, she answers with a seriousness that strikes me, 'any designer who shares her vision and any designer who is up for it and can take on the task'.
As a woman, she has learnt that fashion is about more than just designing a beautiful dress or a photo shoot, no matter how glamorous they are. This 'learning curb' as she calls it, has also taught her a lot about herself. Reminiscing on the days when she didn't know a thing about retail to now, when she runs her own online store www.cjaj09.webs.com AJ Taylor is grateful for this experience. CLOSING REMARKS
“I can define my sense of style as ‘ethical and colourful with a little bit of class and quirkiness’, and as a woman of colour who loves colour I infuse it in my clothing line, transcending boundaries. My simple motto is ‘if it’s something I won’t wear, it’s something I won’t make!”
As I look back at this week, I find that it has also been a learning experience for me as well. The chance to sit down with an interesting woman beaming with a promising future taught me not only about heritage and fashion, but how these two can be incorporated into our modern lives and lifestyle. AJ Taylor is remarkable as both a woman and designer and after reading this I hope your hunger to restore a rich heritage is stimulated. Contact details Twitter- @myafricancloset Websitewww.cjaj09.webs.com Blog myafricancloset.wordpress.com
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FINANCES Since we last talked you expanded your business, can you tell us more about that?
TAKING CARE OF YOUR BOOKS Aradia Knight, founder of Behind The Books, LLC started her own business to be able to maximize her abilities and create a sense of fulfillment. This business savvy woman is building a legacy while helping businesses realize their potential by providing professional bookkeeping services for small to medium-sized businesses whose current bookkeeping needs are not being adequately met. Some small businesses neglect accounting/bookkeeping, how important is bookkeeping for small businesses or any business for that matter? This is a conversation I have with my clients and prospects all the time. There is a lot that goes into running your own business. While concentrating on your core business, financial record keeping can easily become overwhelming. Maintaining your finances in good order is critical to the success of your small business for several reasons. Your books need to be accurate so you can file proper tax returns. Regular financial reports may be required by your banker, insurance agent or investors. More importantly, good bookkeeping gives you an accurate financial picture of your company and allows you to make better business decisions, which will increase your profitability.
Yes I can touch on it a little. I have to tell you first that overcoming many obstacles and determined not to allow anything to stop me, I have survived disloyal staff and personal crises to build a name that is trusted among Lawyers, Medical professionals, and others for their accounting and bookkeeping needs. My newest startup, ADAIRA INC., is a direct response to the demand of my clients having expressed for Financial, Marketing, Legal, Healthcare, and other personalized consulting services to keep their practices efficient and competitive. Not showing any signs of slowing down in business, yet I still lead a well balanced life where my family and community outreach plays a major role.
ARADIA’S LIST OF COMMON MISTAKES SMALL BUSINESSES MAKE WHEN IT COMES TO BOOKKEEPING Not seeking help where needed – Good bookkeeping is a skill, not just a task to get through. Many times it pays to hire an experienced bookkeeper to handle your books properly and efficiently; other cases may require the input of a qualified Accountant. Being lax about recording information – Bookkeeping is best done on a regular basis. Once a month is the minimum suggested period you should take to update your financial records. Anything more and you run the risk of having a demoralizing pile of papers to go through and of misplacing important receipts and documents. Not establishing a set bookkeeping system – Bookkeeping becomes a lot harder if you fail to create and communicate a standard policy for how receipts, petty cash, credit cards, and other financial translations are both handled and recorded. Again, it is recommended that you seek advice when setting up your accounting system. Not saving receipts – Receipts under $75 aren’t required by the IRS, but this doesn’t mean you should throw them away. Those smaller transactions can quickly add up and throwing away your paper trail can prove to be a costly mistake should you find discrepancies or gaps in your financial records. Not communicating with the bookkeeper – If a small business owner hires someone to take care of the books, then it is vital that there be an open and up-todate flow of communication from the business owner and management regarding any changes to the company accounts or to any financial transactions.
Website: www.behindthebooksllc.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/btbllc.bookeeping Twitter: http://twitter.com/BottomLineQueen
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Although she has been planning and hosting events for the past five years, In October 2010,
Newsome formally established Dinner Party with Airest, an exclusive dinner party planning service that hosts invitation- only promotional events for luxury brand and celebrities. She mentions she never had the intention for her events to be exclusively for celebrities but fortunately the quality of her work piqued the interest of the affluent. Growing up, was becoming a celebrity event planner part of what you wanted to do? Not all! Growing up I wanted to be many of things! I had an interestingly over active imagination and day dreamed of becoming a scientist, an astronaut, a psychologist, a lawyer, and everything in between. It wasn’t until post undergrad that I realized my interest in formal dining, etiquette, and event design. Event planning was a natural career path. Who are some of big names/clients you have hosted events for? I have had the pleasure of working with many influential clients’ both known and unknown. Most recently I have worked with Actress Tia Mowry to host a private baby shower in anticipation for the arrival of her first child. Does it get challenging dealing with celebrity clients, in terms of demands or is it something you get used to in the field? Rule number 1 in event planning is to never get comfortable or used to anything. Each event brings its own pleasures and its own challenges. I always expect the best, but am prepare for the worst. Open communication and never over promising on your talents helps to minimize any potential conflicts with clients. For, people who are on a smaller budget compared to celebrities, what 3 tips can you give them to make their events shine? 1. Quality over quantity- keep your décor simple and inviting. Focus more on elaborate place settings than venue décor. 2. Keep your guest list small. The more guests you have the heftier the price tag will be. Smaller more intimate gatherings are charming and easy on the pockets. 3. If your dinner party is small enough, try your hand in the kitchen versus catering. This will alleviate an expense while simultaneously adding your own signature touch to the gathering.
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Sherrell studied International Trade and Marketing for the Fashion industries at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. After completing her degree she attended the Aveda Institute where she studied Estiology to learn more about skin care and how products work. Through online and live events, giveaways and resources on her blog, Sherrell tries to give women of color tools to green their beauty, health and living routines. She also does a little bit of consulting with natural beauty brands looking to reach consumers of color. Were you always passionate about beauty and green living? Growing up in Seattle instilled in me the value of taking care of our planet. Seattle is a very “green city” so we had to learn recycling in kindergarten. I camped a lot so I spent a lot of time learning about different plants, taking in the views of the mountains, fishing and hiking. I hated it back then because I didn’t like to be dirty but now I appreciate being connected to the earth. I’ve always loved beauty and used to work in my aunt’s hair salon during high school for extra spending money. I loved feeling beautiful and making other women feel beautiful about themselves. In college I started to learn more about how to take care of my skin and hair, and was able to bridge my love of the environment and beauty together. What is eco-beauty all about?
Sherrell Dorsey is the beauty behind Organic Beauty Vixen media; a guide to help brown girls live beautiful in an eco-glam way. Sherrell is currently a freelance beauty writer for Tyra Banks’ TypeF.com and MySalon Scoop while working on her own blog and events at Organic Beauty Vixen Media. She shares with AfroElle about everything eco-glam.
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Eco-beauty is more than just makeup and shampoo. It’s a lifestyle that show’s beauty to the world. By sharing tips and tools for making ourselves feel beautiful, creating relationships by showing others to be beautiful and making sure that our lifestyle continues to be beautiful by having a positive impact on the earth, we dig deeper into a truer meaning of life. We’re appreciating this life, this body, this spirit, this hair, skin, face etc that God has given us. At what point did your eco-beauty journey start and what was the inspiration behind it? My eco-beauty journey really started when I was 14 years old and I decided to grow out my relaxer completely.
HEALTH & WELLNESS That was the end of my “chemical crack” and my freedom from hair breakage and conforming to what the world wanted me to be. Now my hair is natural. I went natural with my products after doing tons of research on carcinogens in cosmetics and working with a cancer survivor who revealed the world of toxic personal care products made with chemicals linked to certain cancers and diseases. What are some misconceptions about ecobeauty? That it’s boring, not catering to brown women or a hippie granola-movement deal. I like to be eco-glam with my beauty. I rock my red lipstick (tarte cosmetics), my bronzer (aveda bronze glow), organic nail polish (julep and no miss), and coat my hair with Argan oil. I can be glam and ecofriendly at the same time. Being pretty shouldn’t make our skin, our health or our environment ugly. Tell us more about Organic Beauty Vixen and what mission do you have with your website? Organic Beauty Vixen started off as an idea I had about changing my life and sharing my discoveries, research and thoughts with the world on my version of what going green as a brown woman is really and truly about. My mission is to inspire, encourage and uplift women like me to change their lifestyle and exchange information with each other that allows us to progress into a new and healthier way of living. I didn’t find any magazines or publications that really touched on healthy living and beauty for women of color and decided to create a space for us.
SHERRELL’S ECO ECO--BEAUTY TIPS 1.
“True beauty is the ability to identify the beauty in others.” Our skin and hair are typically very dry so it’s important to use a natural moisturizer that’s safe for the whole family and doesn’t hurt your pockets. I keep mine in the bathroom since I don’t do a lot of cooking. What is your definition of true beauty? True beauty is the ability to identify the beauty in others. There is nothing more beautiful than being beautiful in your own skin. It took me a while to get there and now I can share my beauty with others by uplifting them and their own unique beauty. Any other information you’d like to share with our readers? You don’t have to be overwhelmed with going green with your beauty routine.
What one eco-beauty tip do you live by?
Change a few things at a time that are comfortable for you and never hesitate to ask questions and find information. There is a wealth of resources out there and a community of naturalista’s wanting to help you get over the hurdles. I’m always available and if you have any questions or want some advice, shoot me an email at
I love all-over beauty solutions. Olive oil is my best friend and I use it to hydrate my hair, face and body.
firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me a message @organicvixen.
Always read labels - Know what you’re putting on your body. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient put it down or look it up at cosmeticsdatabase.com. Stay away from products that contain parabems, formaldehyde, s odium laureth sulfate, PEG and propylene glycol.
2. You are what you eat so eat organic! Our food is full of pesticides so try to choose meats and vegetables that are organic. Farmers markets are great ways to go organic on the cheap. 3. Take shower’s instead of baths to conserve water and keep your skin from drying out. You really don’t need a 30 minute shower so try to keep them short and not too hot to keep your skin naturally hydrated. 4. You don’t have to spend tonnes of money on ecobeauty solutions. Look in your kitchen cupboards for solutions. Create a face mask out of oatmeal and honey, condition your hair with eggs and plain yogurt, make your own body scrub with brown sugar and olive oil and keep your cuticles moisturized with coconut oil.
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BEAUTY & STYLE
HOW TO ROCK LONG BRAIDS By Dominique Ernest Nowadays you can see everyone is getting back in touch with their roots with a happy and nappy return to long braids. Solange Knowles is a present ambassador of longs braids and his quickly becoming a style icon for her eclectic style and presence. Solange Knowles wears her long braids perfectly mixing simple, cute and ethnic styles and light, natural make up synchronized with her clothes. Her culturally infused style is reminiscent of the presentday African style with splashes of eccentricity, for example fashionable turbans. Following her sister Beyâ€™, she is becoming a positively shocking expression of cultural style in with global appeal.
Then, there is Kristina Gisors, a French stylist, and a perfect example of how wearing long braids are the ideal blend of art and fashion and beauty. She is known for having many hairstyles and uses them as a way to not only flaunt her African roots but also enhance her personal style of ethnic clothes and extravagant accessories. Long braids are not particularly seasonal and can be worn yearround. However they can pose a disadvantage if they are too thick making it difficult to wear a chignon or a ponytail. Long braids are a great way to tap into your inner child and provide a wide array of options to explore from hair accessories to a variety of designs. Fi-
Natural Black Hair Care Products By Nyesha Samuel There are various natural shampoos and conditioners you can use to treat African American hair that has become frazzled and dull due to straightening and other procedures. Natural products give your hair health and shine, and help to counteract the effects of all the styling you do today. Coconut Butter Coconut butter is extracted as oil from fully matured coconuts. It is rich in fats, which will help add luster and shine to dry and brittle hair. Coconut butter is an excellent moisturizer for people who have sensitive skin, and it gives you a protective layer that helps your skin maintain moisture. Coconut in its butter form is very light and refreshing, and it should feel as smooth as silk. It works on hair and skin alike, with its soothing and cooling effects.
76| OCTOBER ISSUE | www.afroellemagazine.com
CHEAP CHIC By Feyruz Tesfazion
he coconut used in butter is made from the meat of the coconut, ground into the consistency of butter. Virgin coconut oil and butter is made from the freshest of coconuts, and it usually isn't refined any further. Virgin coconut butter is also rich in vitamin E, which is helpful in fighting dry skin or a dry scalp. Organic Shampoo
Many African American women can benefit from the types of organic shampoo that are free from any artificial coloring, preservatives and synthetic ingredients. When you shop for an all natural shampoo, watch for natural ingredients and fragrances like coconut oil, jasmine oil and lavender. Some of the other organic shampoo ingredients include ginseng and white camellia oil, which is an excellent conditioner and moisturizer. Other ingredients include tea tree oil, green tea extracts and rosemary, which helps rehydrate your scalp. Organic shampoo is a healthy alternative for adults and it is gentle enough for babies, too, even though their skin is more sensitive. The gentle ingredients won't harm your hair or your skin, like synthetic ingredients might. Organics will give your hair a healthy, natural glow that you won't get with shampoos that have synthetic ingredients in them. Organic shampoo is also much less likely to cause any adverse skin reactions, since the ingredients are mild and natural. You can make your own organic shampoo if you don't find a formula that you like for sale. Organic shampoos let your hair relax from the stress you place on it with styling, and they will also make it more manageable and easier to style. Moisturizers Moisturizers will help to make African American skin softer, by re-hydrating it and increasing its water content. This can be accomplished using natural or artificial oils and emollients, or you can make your own moisturizer at home. One of the best times to moisturize is right after you wash. In this way, your pores will let in the maximum amount of water, and then you can seal that healthy moisture in with skin moisturizers. Moisturizing of skin and scalp can include the use of products that include vitamins A through E, along with proteins and nutritive agents. These products will help your skin stay healthy and well-hydrated, and you'll look younger than your actual years - and who doesn’t want that?
ith the recent announcement on the closing of Estee’Lauders powerhouse Prescriptives and Max Factor no longer being produced in the U.S., it just goes to show that beauty is not immune to the economic downfall. Here are a few products that are comparable to their more expensive counterparts that I guarantee you will love. Instead of Diorshow Blackest Black try Cover Girl Lash Blast in Very Black Ahhhh, Diorshow. Who isn’t in love with Christian’s most famous mascara? The sheer blackness and rosecolored scent is out of this world and unfortunately so is the price. Luckily, Cover Girl’s Lash Blast is a carbon copy of Diorshow (right down to the extra fat wand!) with a much prettier price. Lash Blast is hands down the gold standard in drugstore mascaras. Instead of Moroccan Oil try Sally’s Beauty Supply Aragon Oil Stylists worship this cult like serum for many reasons. Not only does it’s light, smoothing formula works miracles on dry, damaged hair but it also has an insanely sexy scent (I don’t know about you but I don’t care how great a product works, if it doesn’t smell great I tend to not love it as much). Instead of Bobbi Brown: Long Wear Gel Eyeliner try L’OREAL HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner Finding the perfect eyeliner is a daunting task to say the least. It has to be rich in color, easy to apply, and stay on all day. After experimenting with several brands I came across good old L’OREAL’s HIP Color Truth Eyeliner at Target. Dark as midnight, super smooth applicability and smudge free, this eyeliner is the truth. It comes with an angled brush that is so easy to apply that a makeup novice can easily get fantastic results. One swipe on your lid and waterline, this cream liner stays on all night without budging or smudging.
77| OCTOBER ISSUE | www.afroellemagazine.com
Keeping Your Cool When Airlines Loose Your Luggage Real estate lawyer CAROLINE ONYANGO shares with us her past experiences with loosing and luggage and tips on how to keep your cool when the same happens to you.
You always hope that you avoid travel complications and I never thought I would be writing about lost luggage, until I became a victim. The ordeal started when we booked a KLM ﬂight out of Nairobi to Rome, via Amsterdam. After a dreamy flight I was rudely awakened at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi with information that all ﬁghts coming out of Nairobi on a KLM ticket to Amsterdam were being operated by Kenya Airways. My past experiences with Kenya Airways were less than pleasing, and I was not surprised that the ﬂight was delayed. I was however annoyed that though I was expecting a KLM ﬂight, instead I was being put on KQ ﬂight because of the code share system. Nonetheless, the ﬂight was delayed and everything was pushed back. We got into Amsterdam late, missed our connecting ﬂight, and rebooked into an Alitalia ﬂight to finally arrive in Rome a couple of hours later. This is when the luggage nightmare began.
We expected the luggage to be delivered the next day, as is usually done. The next morning brought even more surprises when we discovered that the customer service representatives in Rome had no clue where our luggage was. It could have been in Nairobi, Amsterdam, or Rome and no one could give us answers. The Alitalia ofﬁcials in Rome were not helpful at all, and we were unsure whether it was the language barrier since we do not speak Italian, or was it the Italian way of dealing with issues like this. We were supposed to be in Rome for only two nights, and connect thereafter to Kotor, Montenegro. On the morning of our ﬂight to Kotor, we checked in with Alitalia at the airport and they told us a courier was delivering our luggage to our hotel in Rome.
This is information was an extra dose of frustration since we had just checked out and made several phone calls to the KLM We checked into our hotel neglecting to call center in Rome, telling ﬁle a missing luggage report at the them we will no longer be at airport in Rome. the hotel in Rome and to send
78|JULY ISSUE |www.afroellemagazine.com
the luggage to Montenegro instead. Needless to say, we arrived in Montenegro with no luggage and with an important lesson learned. Traveler’s tip: Every traveler should always have travel insurance. You might not think you will need it, but inevitable situations arise, and having insurance is a safety blanket that comes in handy in situations similar to what I experienced. Travel insurance can be acquired from a travel agent, or most often, it as an option when booking a ticket online. Some credit card companies offer insurance with coverage for lost luggage, delayed and/or cancelled ﬂights, damaged luggage etc. Additionally, travelers should put their essentials like a change of clothes and a toothbrush in their carry-on luggage. It may be cumbersome to ﬁle the claim forms, which can be lengthy at times, and submit them within the required time frame, but it can be the difference between smooth sailing and plain (plane) aggravation.
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