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Spring Edition | Issue 6

April - June 2017

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Magazine

YOUR SOURCE TO LAKE CHARLES, LA.! AUTISM AWARENESS Pg 14

Pg 10

MORGAN SIMON


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Contents BILLBOARDGANG

APRIL - JUNE 2017

WWW.BILLBOARDGANG.COM

08 THE HOTLIST

Find out who is hot or new to the scene and building an empire.

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MORGAN SIMON

Morgan S. cover model tells about living out her biggest dreams and achieving goals that she set as a child.

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AUTISM AWARENESS

Solving the puzzle one piece at a time.

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HEALTHY ANDEXERCISE

Is cycling is the new trend for weight loss and health goals?

26 ART John Whaley Fine Art Pieces

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BUSINESS

Best of Lake Charles

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BILLBOARDGANG MOBILE APP Download today for your chance to win free 1-Year Subscription of Billboardgang Magazine a $40 value Available for all mobile phones

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#SWBY DATING TIPS FOR THE BIG MAYNE nothing trying to eat like it. If you eat hefty steaks and things of that nature. Order it. You know damn well that you not having no fun eating a lettuce salad and drinking water. Be yourself. The lady knows what she has gotten into if she has agreed to go on a date with you in the first place.

hat’s good mayne? As a certified big mayne, I am here to tell other big fellas some do’s and don’ts when dating. Sometimes we get so excited to go on a date, especially if the lady you are dating happens to be extremely attractive(I like being out with women that are overly attractive, it makes other fellas think they have a chance) that we have a tendency to either do too much or not enough. I will just give you a few pointers from my own personal experiences of trial and error.

CONFIDENT, NOT 1 BE COCKY

Young - Fly - Informative - Interactive www.Billboardgang.com 6

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AWAY FROM 2 STAY SELF-INFLICTING

JOKES

If you have a sense of humor, stay away from roasting yourself throughout the date. No lady wants to hear jokes from

DRESS THE PART

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PEOPLE GONE LOOK, HATE, AND JUDGE… WHO CARES

Just because you big that does not mean you have to be sloppy. At all. Matter fact being labeled sloppy is the worst feeling a big mayne can have. At least to me anyway. Go get fitted up. Find clothes that fit ya body type and style. Don’t come out the house with a 5X Shirt on and you can wear a 3X. Even though you are big, I’m pretty sure ladies still peep your appearance and choice of clothing. That can be a deal breaker more than you think.

#SWBY

When you are out fellas it is alright to let the lady you are out with know that you are comfortable with yourself and her as well. Sometimes we can find ourselves making the whole date about us. Spending too much time basking in compliments with responses like “I know” or “Tell me something I don’t know”. Nine times out of ten if she is out with you it is because she already had a feel for your confidence which may have attracted her to you in the first place.

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you about how you can eat everything on the menu. Drawing attention to yourself through jokes about yourself in a negative light might just ruin the date, creep her out, or discourage any future possibilities. Now don’t get me wrong you can be funny about yourself just be careful how you express it. Matter fact just stay away from them.

SUGAR-COAT 3 DON’T WHO YOU ARE Basically, don’t go on a dinner date and you know you not on no diets or

Be prepared. Actually I thrive off it. If I am out with an attractive female, I will manipulate the scene. For one I will take advantage and make all the ladies around us wonder why she chose me. Two, I will make the fellas in the place feel my presence and hers as well. People will always have something to say about what they don’t understand. Don’t sweat it just enjoy the date. Plus if I see people with something to say I am good at letting the whole room have it. Billboardgang // Magazine

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ALBUMS EVERYONE SHOULD EXPERIENCE

WHO’S GOT THE FUNK? By: Shantell Living-Shinnette

C

ory Henry & The Funk Apostles has the funk. I stumbled upon Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles one day while browsing YouTube. I watched them as they played “Why Don’t Cha/Get Up” at Pickathon Woods Stage 2016. At first I was like, “Please be Good”! The music is good. Their name is good. Please be good (as I thought in my mind)! Then the band began to play. Funk, Confidence, and Soul flowed through the speakers. They were exciting and entertaining as I watched them groove. I bobbed my head and stomped my feet as I sat and watched them. Then I heard a James Brown like voice say “Get on Up!” “Get on Up Everybody!” Cory

Henry began to sing and engage with the audience and his stage presence grabbed and kept my attention. His voice was soulful and complimented the band. From that moment I was hooked. I began to search online for more music and videos. Grammy Award winning Cory Henry is from Brooklyn New York. Although he plays several instruments the organ is his forte. He’s been playing the organ since he was 2 years old. He has a passion for making music and it shows when he’s on

stage. He has worked with a pleather of artist such as: Kirk Franklin, Puff Daddy, Lalah Hathway, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Chew & The Crew. He’s also toured with Jazz Legend Kenny Garrett. He’s played on Sunday’s Best and The Jimmy Fallon Show. His band, The Funk Apostles are comprised of Andrew Baile whose been playing the electric guitar for about 20 years. Drummer, Taran Locket from Garland Texas. He’s been playing the drums since he was a child. He got involved with music because he wanted to express himself and that’s exactly what he does on the drums. Keyboard player, Nick Semrad who represents both LA and New Work. He’s toured with the likes of Miss Lauryn Hill and Talib Kweli. Sharay Reed a.k.a “Unk”; He’s the phenomenal bass player whose been playing for 25 years. He credits himself with being the “anchor” of the band. Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles are dynamic musicians who on their own have achieved great success. However, they groove together effortlessly and sound like one cohesive sound. They trust, respect, and have patience with each other, and that’s their killer combo. Toe Tappin’, Head Bangin’, and Soul Vibin’ Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles Got The Funk!

CORY HENRY & THE FUNK APOSTLES TOUR DATES: MAR 31 JAS ASPEN, ASPEN CO APR 1 JAS ASPEN, ASPEN CO APR 7 COLUMBIA COLLEGE, CHICAGO IL APR 7 REGGIES, CHICAGO IL APR 16 FOX THEATRE, BOULDER CO (THE REVIVAL) APR 17 FOX THEATRE, BOULDER CO APR 18 NECTAR LOUNGE, SEATTLE WA APR 19 SOUL’D OUT FEST, PORTLAND OR APR 22 SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM, WASHINGTON DC (THE REVIVAL) APR 23 BERKLEE PERFORMANCE CENTER, BOSTON MA APR 26 SANTIAGO, CHILE APR 27 BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA APR 28 MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY APR 30 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL MAY 1 SAO PAULO, BRAZIL MAY 5 ROYAL CONCERTGEBOUW, AMSTERDAM 8

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MORGAN SIMON

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Morgan Simon M

MORGAN SIMON

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organ Simon, is from Lake Charles, Louisiana, went to LaGrange senior high school, and was involved in track, cheerleading, and softball. Morgan was the 5A State Champion in the high jump her senior year of high school, and the SWLA track & field athlete of the year (U field, T. Thompson track). Morgan went on to receive an academic and athletic scholarship to Grambling State University in 2011. While attending Grambling State University Morgan became a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda honors organization (SAL), the Kinesiology Sports, and Leisure Studies Majors club (KSLS). Morgan remained on the Deanʼs and Presidentʼs list each semester for 3 consecutive years while attending college. She became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority inc., was the department of athletics 2014 ESPYS Junior of the year and Most Valuable player, won the Student Choice Award for best female track and field athlete, and was also announced the 2014 Indoor SWAC Women’s Championship Most Outstanding Field Performer. Morgan Simon graduated college in three years with a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology. From there Morgan moved to Houston, Texas to pursue a dual degree program in occupational (masters) & physical therapy (doctorate). While working at west Houston medical center and completing prerequisites for graduate school Morgan tried out to become a Houston Texans cheerleader and made the 2016-2017 team. She was selected to shoot for the calendar, was a cover girl, and Miss November. Morgan performed multiple halftime performances, including playoff game AFC south division championship, Super Bowl 51 events and appeared on shows like First Take, and The Rich Eisen show. “Becoming a NFL cheerleader was my dream and goal from childhood. I love that I get to live out my dream.” Please help us congratulate Morgan Simon for making the 2017-2018 Houston Texans Cheerleader team.

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April is Autism Awareness Month, but for the Mitchell family, they eat, sleep, and live autism everyday. BillboardGang Magazine followed the family around to see what a typical day looks like for them.

Solving the Puzzle One Piece At a Time

An inside look at parenting a child on the autism spectrum by Danielle Mitchell

Tyler is an 8 year old boy. He was diagnosed at the age of 3 by Dr.Aneta Afzael, a Psychystrist. The signs became apparent around the age of 2. Even though he met all of his milestones on time, the biggest red flag for us was the lack of speech at 24 months. Like any concerned parents, we took our worries to his pediatrician who at the time ensured us that he was just fine, he was a late talker and boys sometimes speak later than girls. She advised me to take the wait and see approach.

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ell, we took that with a grain of salt and began researching on our own. I read scholarly articles, journals, books, the internet, you name it. I left no stone unturned. I needed to become an expert so I can help my son. Sadly, the research pointed to Autism. We immediately experienced a variety of emotions including sadness, shock, and grief for the “perfect child” we thought we would have. We also felt a sense of relief, because the diagnosis gave a name to what was different about our son. It was also the only way he could access needed therapies like speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Through family support, especially that of my husband and our mothers, i picked myself up and I became an advocate for our son.

will be. To say that he has come a long way is an understatement. While we still have a long way to go in his recovery, we know now that we are on the right track. We are committed to therapy, no matter how long it takes. Tyler currently attends regular school at College Oaks 3 days per week, ABA therapy 25 hours per week at Behavior Intervention Resources, Speech and OT at Hope Therapy twice per week, Music Therapy with Healing Rhapsodies, Therapeutic Horseback Riding at West Cal Cam Hospital, and Aquatic Therapy at

Swimsational (All local). He’s super smart with an above average IQ, and an excellent swimmer. He is learning to play the drums, loves to sing, and can build anything by looking at a picture. He loves to give hugs and kisses. Tyler is one of the sweetest, kindest kids you’ll ever meet. We’re so proud to call him our son and can’t wait to see what he will accomplish in his future.

“Men aren’t shaped by their victories but by their personal defeats”.

I fight all of his battles including insurance companies who try and deny needed services, the stares from normal people who don’t understand our journey, and the School System to properly educate my son to teach the way he learns. I don’t back down from anything or anyone. I’ve even taken on the Lousiana Department of Health and Hospitals and won, securing lifelong ABA therapy for all children in Louisiana with a diagnosis of autism. The Lord has used me in ways I would have never imagined!

Tyler keeps us incredibly busy! Therapy has consumed our lives for the past 5 years so we schedule his therapy sessions around our work schedules. It’s extremely difficult but we make it work. In the beginning, we would take turns working. My husband would work while I stay at home and then we would switch so we can devote an equal amount of time to both of our careers. As he got older, more symptoms appeared. He lacked eye contact, became a picky eater that only ate chicken nuggets, fries, and pizza, flapped his hands, and was all over the place all the time. He was sensitive to lights and loud sounds so we couldn’t attend church anymore, or go out to eat, little things people take for granted. Fast forward a couple of years, a lot of prayer, therapy, supportive and loving family, and Tyler is thriving. We can now do those things we once couldn’t do. I credit early intervention to our success. We didn’t wait. We went with our gut because Tyler couldn’t afford for us to be in denial, waiting would have been a disservice to him. The earlier Autism is diagnosed the better your child’s outcome

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JENNIFER S. IG: @PURE.BEAUTY87 16

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JENNIFER S. IG: @PURE.BEAUTY87 Billboardgang // Magazine

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MEEK MONROE A

Fashion Editor

Skinnee Girl Confidence fashion blog

nimal print has grown extremely popular lately in the fashion industry. Interestingly, some fans of the pieces have struggled to pair the animal print without overwhelming the outfit. In anything that we wear, it must be done in moderation and in a way that we create fashion; not a disaster.

Like everything we wear, we want to make a statement. A statement not needing words because the outfit was that darn cute. There is zebra, snakeskin, leopard, cheetah, and tiger prints; amongst the few, that are truly being embraced in everyday looks. In pulling any of those together, it matters how they are paired with the rest of your look. Yes, you can wear piece-on-piece and look

great; you can even mix and match the patterns and it’ll still be a go, but there are rules. Rules that you should truly follow when creating fashion with any/ all of your outfits.

Rule 1: Focus your attention on the main piece of clothing you want to highlight in your outfit

Rule 2: Pair all other pieces around that focal piece (i.e. an animal print piece) Rule 3: Lay out the pieces and see if any of those added pieces will overwhelm your main piece. Assuring this piece does not get overwhelmed by the other

animal print pieces you’ve chosen to pair this with; is your number one priority.

Rule 4: Get dressed and rip the runway

In my look, I went with a leopard print top as my focal piece. This top needed a strong look to assure my leopard print was recognized; but not an overwhelmed look. I chose to use a solid belt, since I was already going with leopard print blouse and booties. I chose light black denim jeans not to wash out the navy blue spots in the shirt, as it is my focal piece. This look works because my prints catches the eye from top to bottom. You could have worn this top and booties with many other choices of bottom to create a very fashionable look without overwhelming the leopard print. Be sure to check out skinneegirlconfidence.com for more style tips, wardrobe advice, and even a post on how to further pair your print pieces with style and elegance.

Makeup by: Lili Bax (IG: @Lili Bax) Photos by: Anna Angenend Photography (annaangenend.com) IG: @ annaangenendphotography

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MAKEUP TIPS W

ith a stroke of a brush and an eye for true beauty, Tonja has proven to be an amazing makeup artist. Tonja's Education in make-up artistry started right out of high school, attending Demmons School Of Beauty in Lake Charles, La. Her artistry skills are in beauty make up, high-fashion make up specialeffects make up, fantasy make up, and glamour make up.

Greatness is not where we stand but in what direction we are moving – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Once relocating to Washington, DC Tonja attended Dudley's Beauty College Advance Make-up Artistry Training, where she was one of the top 3 students. Tonja further advanced her list of skills while attending Bennett Career Institute Makeup Symposium where she was trained by a dream team of celebrity instructors such as Sam Fine, Reggie Wells, and Derrick Rutledge.

Tonja has worked for such company's as; Mac cosmetics, Sephora, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Prescriptive's PX& more. Tonja has been involved in events such as: The Cherry Blossom Pageant, Prom Expo USA Fashion Show, New York Fashion Week, DC Fashion Week, Essence Total You Tour Fashion Show, and a host of photoshoots and fashion shows in the metro area. She's worked with celebrities such as Jennifer Hudson, Alfred Woodard, and NFL Player Brad Smith.

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Tonja has also been featured on essence.com and Let's Talk Live News Channel 8. She will also be a part of the cast for The Real MUAs (Make-Up Artists) of D.C. reality show premiering the summer of 2017. She has been published in Skin Magazine, Asset Magazine, BossMan Magazine and Blocz Magazine, and now Billboardgang Magazine.

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I

started taking Indoor Cycling classes when I moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2011. I never felt so much pain before in my life! I was so intrigued, I went back to the class the next day. I found a great instructor, he had great energy, a nice playlist, and kept me wanting more. I never expected to enjoy riding a stationary bike as much as I did. I have been hooked since!

After moving back to Houston in 2013, I couldn’t find any classes or instructors that kept me interested in staying passed 5 minutes of 1980s disco music. I didn’t get back on the bike until 2015, just happening to stumble on a class with a kick-ass instructor. After taking a few classes and talking one-on-one with him, he encouraged me to get certified. I drove 2 hours each way to College Station, Texas for a Schwinn Certification that was 8 hours long. This was the best decision I had made. I got hired at 24 Hour Fitness and began substituting for instructors who would cancel or need assistance. This was tough! I was teaching in a different format from the instructors and I would have people walk out. Not to mention, I played all hip-hop. Not very many were to happy about that! I kept going, staying true to myself. I started out with 10 people in a 40 person capacity room, to people asking where have I been

ASHLEY LEGER A1 SADDLE MASTER.

BootCamp Tuesday’s Noon. Cycle Thursday’s Noon & Saturday’s 9:30a. 24HourFitness Westchase.

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because they have been looking for me to take my class, to now having 60 people show up to a room with only 37 bikes, and traveling across Houston and using their lunch breaks to spend with me.

My inspiration comes from my trials through childhood / adulthood, striving to make sure my deceased parents would still be proud of me. My clients range from 18-78 years old. I don’t think they know just how much they mean to me. To hear someone tell me, “You said something in class 4 months ago and it has stuck with me since, Thank you,”

means the absolute most. On my worst days when I feel like doing nothing but crying, I get to class to a group of colorful, beautiful, and diverse people who are all expecting me to hold them accountable and push them beyond their limits, is the most gratifying and rewarding feeling ever. Billboardgang // Magazine

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she encountered. The lessons she taught me were “self-taught” lessons she experienced firsthand. They are more precious to me than any gem or jewel. Despite everything they’d been through individually and collectively, they were all we needed. Their legacy lives on through every dream actualized in our lives. Upon losing two pieces of me, I was faced with an even greater task ahead. My nine-year-old little sister needed someone to cover, protect, pray, feed, clothe, nurture and provide for her. How could I? Fresh out of college, in 2008, I hadn’t even started my first day of work. I immediately

M

A Sister’s Love

y name is Tashawna “Nikki” Feast. I am a Lake Charles native, and the product of a two-parent home. I was raised with an appreciation for family and fun. I attended school in the Calcasieu Parish Public School System K-12. With the assistance of counselors and educators at Washington Marion Magnet High school, I went on to college. I am now twice degreed; BA in Early Childhood Education, Masters in Educational Leadership +30 and a Doctoral Candidate pursuing an Ed.D. Upon Graduating with my BA and ECE certification from Southeastern Louisiana University, I began a teaching career. I have been teaching for 9 years, being a model educator and presenting professional development trainings. Soon, I anticipate graduating with a Doctorate and leaving the elementary classroom to teach teachers. I have 2

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siblings, an older brother and a younger sister. Growing up we shared core values such as, faith and perseverance. There was never a dull moment or a frown in our home. However, life wasn’t absent of turbulence. We overcame many family obstacles as a unit. My parents were pillars of light to all who met them. I found safety in my father’s arms and compassion in my mother’s eyes. They both enjoyed life and loved each other. Twists and turns led their lives to a rapid end. My father passed due to a car accident in 2003. I lost a piece of me that can never be replaced, but is filled with God’s love and light. I was a daddy’s girl. I still wear his favorite hat around the house, sing and dance. He is very much alive in me. My mother passed of a pulmonary embolism in 2008. Her laugh was infectious. I’d give anything in life to see her smile again. Her pain propelled her to passionately care for all people

contacted the principal that offered me a job and accepted. I knew I needed stability and didn’t have time to wait or weigh options. I went through the court system to cover all bases that allowed my sister to come back to my college town with me. I had no place for us to live, I was living with college roommate’s. One of my aunts gave us money to pay a deposit on our duplex in Hammond. It was time for a new beginning, just the two of us. I was absolutely frightened at the idea of raising a kid all on my own. Nonetheless, I have had a HUGE support system and so much strength coming from my family, college/work friends and church friends. I remember on our first Christmas together, some of my coworkers sat me down at lunch and said they wanted to bless me. They bought Jodi tons of toys and games. All I could do was cry. The tree had many surprises under it that year, all for her! Many years later, with so many stories, joys, fears and tears we are now the best of friends. She is driving our mother’s car, and we have been homeowners the past 7 years. Even though I gained my blessing through tragedy, Jodi has made me a better person. She is remarkable. We add so much value to each other’s lives. She is a graduating Senior at our local high school and going on in the Fall to a four-year university to major in

KYLA COLLINS

Kinesiology. Always remember that God has a Sovereign plan for your life. Just as He knew, before I was placed in my mom’s wound, that I would raise my sister. He knows what you are created for. There’s no such thing as hopeless, face each day with grit and trust in our Higher power. Blessings! Nikki

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Art By John Whaley

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