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Wouldn’t it be nice if health care were more affordable? We’re making it happen. At Independence Blue Cross, we’re leading the way to improve care and lower costs at the same time. In fact, we have individual plans as low as $68 per month. For more information or to get a free quote visit ibx4you.com.

2 urban suburban Blue magazine.com Philadelphia Independence Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


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Candace Smith is a native Philadelphian and graduate of Syracuse University (BA) and City University of London (MA). After spending a few years living in London, Candace returned to Philadelphia and continues to forge a career as a freelance journalist, writer, blogger, actress, and host. Besides interviewing intriguing personalities for Urban/ Suburban Magazine, she is also currently contributing her knowledge and skills to various artistic movements, publications, websites, and podcasts such as REP Radio, AFFRM, Tinsel and Tine, and Hipolitics.

April Perry McKellar of The After 5 Lifestyle was established by myself, April. I call Philadelphia home and have a passion food and sharing it with others. I am not a chef, nor do I claim to be. I’m just a regular gal working a Nine to Five that loves to eat and enjoy food with friends and family.

Margarita McKissick has 15+ years of professional experience as a writer and public relations professional. She is currently working on her Ph.D in Philosophy (focusing on today’s youth), she earned her Master’s degree with high distinction in Public Communications at American University, and her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a focus on radio and television broadcast from Cheyney University.

Jennifer S. Matthews is a noted author, motivational speaker, and is trained as a financial coach. She is the author of the award-winning book 12 Ways to Put Money in Your Pocket Every Month Without A Part Time Job.

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Dr. Irene Okech holds a PhD in Public Health and an MBA in Healthcare Management Policy. Her research interests are in Pediatric health outcomes, & Maternal and child health policies. A young and upcoming leader, she is also a spokesperson for the disparities faced by women and children in rural Africa. Dr. Okech is the co-founder of Imbako Public Health, an organization that seeks to allay disparities in healthcare and education faced by women and children in rural Kenya.

Kyle Leishear has been a Tech & Gadget  enthusiast his whole life.   Even as a child when he would break something he would try to fix it.  That led him to a life of always trying to stay on top of the latest and greatest technologies and seeing how they work.

Matt Schmidt works as the Graphic Design Team Lead for Urban Suburban Magazine. Since he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010, he has been designing various material, from logos to brochures, for clients within the Philadelphia area.

Denise James is a seasoned journalist whose passion is telling stories that reflect people’s truths in empowering ways. Denise began her career at WGPR TV & Radio in Detroit. WGPR was America’s first black owned television station. There she hosted a live morning talk show, reported for the evening news and produced special segments focused on people and issues shaping the times. morning talk show, reported for the evening news and produced special segments focused on people and issues shaping the times. She has worked at network affiliate TV stations in Greensboro and Durham, North Carolina as well as 6abc Action News in Philadelphia. She has covered everything from education and celebrities to crime, politics and the Ku Klux Klan.


ecently, my English 102 students and I were engaged in a lively debate about education. Specifically, we were discussing who is responsible for the failing education experiences that many of the students in the Philadelphia school district are having, particularly students who are from and attend school in the inner city. Naturally, the students were divided in their opinions. Many felt that it was the parents’ responsibility while others argued vehemently that it was the teachers’ responsibility. For my part, I sat quietly while they both debated and argued their views. I did not want to interject with any personal opinions or comments because I knew both my opinions and or comments would, more than likely, be viewed as possessing some element of academic authority and or intellectual superiority, so I contented myself with the task of simply listening. However, during my “listening” one question continued to emerge in my mind, and that question was “What happened to the village?” What happened to the fabled “village” that it took to raise a child? What happened to the “village” of old where any parent and or teacher not only had the exclusive right, but the obligation, to

parent, corporal punishment included, any child?” What happened to the village/ community that seemed to work so well before; after all, I grew up with the understanding “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In short, what happened to the village? What happened to the community? In order to examine questions regarding the village or community, which, in present times, are synonymous, one has to consider what those two words mean. Both a village and community can be defined simply as a group of people living in a defined space, and although the definitions of the two words are usually predicated on the group living with each

each other, I believe that given the vastness of the words that a broader understanding and thus definition is appropriate. In other words, I believe that both a village and, in turn, a community should be defined, generally, as a group of people sharing a space. With that understanding, it can be concluded that regardless of one’s level of participation, we are all a part of a community, and it still takes a village/ community to raise a child especially when it comes to education. My students continued to debate while I started writing out my thoughts on community and community responsibility. I was deep into my own theories and musings when I paused to listen to one of my students recall an instance when she, a former office administrator in a North Philadelphia school, saw some students “hanging out” on a corner while she was returning from her lunch break. Naturally, all of my students were appalled, disgusted even, and some went on to make the argument that the teacher should have somehow “kept’ them in the classroom. Immediately, I thought that the notion that the teacher could somehow “keep” them in class was

assuming a lot, specifically it assumed that they had been, at some point, in the classroom to begin with, to say the very least. I had many thoughts around what seemed to be the prevailing opinion, but the one thought that I could not ignore and subsequently could not contain, which I asked almost in spite of myself was “what did you do?” She was caught off guard by the question, but replied without even a moment’s hesitation, “I waved.” As an educator, as a person, and as a community member, her reply urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 5


penetrated me deeply and left me with a profound sense of sadness, and I was not the only one affected. In the class, there was a pause that was more than pregnant. It was loaded, and the silence was palpable as the simple question “what did you do” and her honest response seemed to subconsciously question as well as call into question the collective contributions of the class and of the community in terms of each of our response to the many young people that are just “hanging out” literally and or metaphorically. Her admission to having “waved,” is a metaphor that unfortunately represents the attitudes of many regarding OUR youth. Too many of us are content to wave and that includes waving them by and waving them away. After the silence was broken, it became obvious, immediately, that there had been a shift in not only the initial debate but in the underlining paradigm in the class, which included the understanding that we each have to become involved and in some instances more involved. Because the reality, which became grossly clear was that despite are willingness to detach from the problems impacting the education system as a whole the Philadelphia school district in particular we are all members of the community, and consequently, we are the village that is needed to raise, educate, and support our youth. Joseph K. Hart explained it best when he wrote, “No child can escape his community [village] . . . The life of the community flows about him, foul or pure he swims in it; goes to sleep in it, and wakes to a new day to find it still about him. He belongs to it; it nourishes him, or starves him, or poisons him; it gives him the substance of his life.” The village still exists, and we are it whether we are owning up to 6 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

our obligations and responsibilities or not. We are all still members, and it is time we stop waving to our young people. Perhaps, it is time we start listening, understanding, talking with (not at), hugging, and loving our young people to say the absolute least. ____________________________________________________ L.P. Kitchens is a freelance writer and educator. She has been in education for more than fifteen years, and currently she is an adjunct professor at two local higher learning Institutions. She instructs students in Education, Reading, and various levels of English. When she is not writing or teaching, L.P. enjoys reading.


Publisher’s Opinion

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Publisher/CEO/Creative Director - George Clifford Blackmon Masthead Creation – Nouveau Concepts Graphic Designer Team Lead - Matt Schmidt Content Manager Stacey Martinez

New Business Development 215-878-3227

Advertising & Sales 215-878-3227

Events

gblackmon@urbansuburbanmagazine.com 215-878-3227

Contributing Writers

Candace Smith Glynis Tart Irene Okech Jennifer Matthews Magarita McKissick C Double R Kyle Leishar April Perry-McKellar George Clifford Blackmon Lisa Smith Morton Faith Fox

Contributing Photography Greg Tavares Lois Mauro Matt Schmidt

Editing

Lisa Smith Bridget Johnson–Stewart

Web Design Concept

MoMac Media Services

Webmaster

Rhonda Alexander

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At 548 ft, including the statue of city founder William Penn atop it, Philadelphia’s City Hall is is the world’s tallest masonry building.

Education

15 Contribuition Toward Hygiene Promotion and Reproductive Health in Rural Kenya

Legal

26 What You Need to Know for Your Initial Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer

Relationships

45 How to Get a Guy to Like You

Get Up and Move

24 Kids, Karate, and Self Defense

Gadgets

47 Is Philly Technogeek Heaven

COUNCILWOMAN BLONDELL REYNOLDS BROWN In this conversation, the 4-term Philadelphia City Council member talks about her love of politics, Philadelphia school closings, Property tax assessments and her support of charter schools.

VALARIE CAREY

NESSIE BLAZE IS SMOKING HOT Not only possessing beauty, Nessie also has brains. ALL ABOUT SKIN As we transition out of the cold and into the warmth of summer, skin should be reflective of the properties of the sun.

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Philadelphia’s

“I was on my way to work after a huge snowstorm and I saw a family coming out of a green tent

near the Vine Street expressway off-ramp. It was a mother, father and a little girl. This image stayed with me all day and for days to come. I used to be that guy who walked by the homeless, ignoring them when I saw them on the streets never giving it a second thought. But this, this time, it resonated with my soul and I couldn’t get that image of that family living in the cold in a tent out of my head. Working in downtown Philadelphia, more and more I began observing the homeless, who were there all along, but I had not noticed them until now. God left something on my heart and I could no longer ignore it.” A tearful testimony from Craig Stroman, CEO and Founder of We Feed the Homeless Philly and Civil Rights Investigator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. And now, the recipient of the BMe 2013 Leadership Award which included a $15,000.00 grant. Stroman explained it was that image of the family living in the tent that gave birth to We feed the Homeless Philly. A compassionate 44-year-old, self-motivator, husband and father residing in the state of Delaware sought to take action. In March of 2010 Stroman began preparing sandwiches from his home and handing them out to the homeless in Center City Philadelphia. “It felt good but then it felt bad because I ran out of sandwiches,” Stroman pointed out. It was then he decided to utilize his Facebook page to reach out to others to get involved with 10 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

his mission. He knew he had to provide more sandwiches and water the next time he showed up in Love Park, and the response was overwhelming. As the months progressed Stroman invited Temple dental school to attend one of the feeding events to discuss healthy dental. During their visits they provided toothbrushes with toothpaste for all and Stroman said the look on their faces were pleased that someone was giving them something. We Feed the Homeless Philly; have since flourished standing up to the true Philadelphia’s name – The City of Brotherly Love. Who are the homeless? “The word homelessness is personal to me because my family didn’t have much growing up. My Mom raised four children on welfare and we struggled. We didn’t know where our next meal was coming from. My family was able to get out of the struggle, but so many weren’t. It was real evident to me when I saw a few of the people I grew up with standing in the line waiting patiently to get a meal from us,” said Stroman. In this dwindling economy it’s safe to say we are all just a paycheck away from becoming homeless. Are the homeless just numbers to us who seem to be rising as rapid as the epidemic of unemployment? Recent studies have revealed


the mostly cited reasons for homelessness are mental illness, substance abuse, lack of affordable housing, and unemployment. And to make matters worse, a large percentage of the homeless are Veterans. “I’ve been told by many homeless people that they feel as if they are a number and are often treated sub human by the shelter workers, homeless people have feelings too. We not only feed the homeless but we also lift their spirits up, we talk to them like we would anyone else. Many are lost spiritually and don’t think that anyone care about them or even love them,” Stroman explained. During a town hall meeting last year a few of the homeless people testified about their discomfort staying and eating in shelters to city officials when Mayor Nutter’s tried to enforce his band on outdoor feeding. It seems unfair that Mayor Nutter would want to stop any organization from feeding the homeless. “I agree, the more people we feed regularly the less the Mayor had to be concerned with panhandlers. When tourists visited downtown Philadelphia or anyone for that matter they were bothered less by the homeless because we feed them” said Stroman. In being fair to the Mayor, his reasoning for the band was directed to all organizations offering free food, he wanted them to be established in a building as opposed to feeding on the street. “Yes, my fight with Mayor Nutter’s band was passionate because I am a mobile feeding organization, we don’t have a building. We also don’t have a grant writer, or the funding for one which I believe once we do, we’ll be able to secure funding for a building. When you stop outside feeding, it directly hits us and the homeless we serve. We don’t expect the homeless to come to us, we go to them and treat them with respect this is how we were able to get and retain their trust,” said Stroman. Across the country communities are making strides to end homelessness, such as Chicago, IL, Columbus, OH, Denver, CO, New York, NY and San Francisco Bay Area, CA just to name a few. What can the city of Philadelphia do to change government to assist in

ending this epidemic? “Funding for mental institutions has been cut drastically over the years forcing many of them to shut their doors. For starters, the city could get rid of many of these abandon properties by turning them into group homes for the homeless. If you’re not receiving proper nourishment or not in your right mind, how are you ever going to be able to think rational to become self-sufficient,” Stroman insisted. We Feed the Homeless Philly operates on a tight schedule and is very well controlled. Stroman and his crew are very busy working all year around no matter what the weather conditions are. The organization feeds 100 to 200 people a week and sometimes many of the participants are able to re-enter the line for seconds or a bag to take home. During the holidays the number of participants triples. We Feed the Homeless Philly provided 500 turkeys to churches as well as many turkeys with all the fixings for disadvantaged families who could not afford a Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinner for their family. There is a setup crew, feeding crew, a crew controlling the lines, a drop off crew, an organizing food crew, and a cleanup crew that all work together sometimes simultaneously for a smooth running transition. “Some of the homeless people wanted to show their gratitude by helping the cleanup crew in making sure the area occupied was left in the same condition as entered,” said Stroman. There are approximately 30 to 40 volunteers who are rotated every week. And Lescine, Stroman’s wife handles all of the organizations administrative work ensuring all of the planning and scheduling of events. All food and beverages distribution takes place at 18th & Vine Street on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. Stroman, has been operating his homelessness program for the past 3 years and it has grown rapidly. He has also increased his members and volunteers to keep up with the demands of the program and accommodate the many that they serve. However, he does not want to stop there. Stroman’s dream is to secure a building so he can offer life skills and job readiness skills for those who need them but have no way of obtaining them. It’s really difficult to obtain many of the services provided without sufficient housing or proper identification. We Feed the Homeless Philly is a 5013c company that obtain most of their donations from private donors and self-ran fundraisers. Every year in the Fall We Feed the Homeless Philly hosts a Black Tie event housing 600 to 1000 patrons in the Crystal Tea Ball Room located in the former Wanamaker building located in Penn Square. Tickets go on sale for this event in the summer. In early spring every year a Zumbathon fundraiser is held. And in late spring We Feed the Homeless Philly partner up with Stroehmann Bread’s Hunger Run/Walk fundraiser. All events are family friendly and encourage many to engage the entire family. Stroman has three children, Craig Jr., Jordyn, and Chinara he has been married for to Lescine for the past 13 years. For more information on any of the events, donating or volunteering, you can visit the website. Donations are accepted through the United Way program, Credit Cards and PayPal. If you are a government worker you can have deductions taken out of your payroll through the Combined Federal Campaign. If you have further questions contact 215-764-5688 or visit the website at www.wefeedthehomeless.org urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 11


to present (2013). Most of the news items have a photo gallery that allows viewers to view past Imbako activities. Founded in 2009, Imbako has operations in Kenya and USA. Thank you to all volunteers, friends affiliates and sponsors, who gave ideas and reviews as the site was rebuilt and much gratitude, also to Ekko designs for making it happen!

The Launch of the all new Imbako public health website In April 2013, Imbako public health re-launched its new website www.imbakopublichealth.org. The new website which serves as a portal of information, communication and interaction for viewers, also features a Market (Soko), where fans and friends can purchase products bearing Imbako logos. The site features content on IMBAKO initiatives and current projects, and enables the viewer to see the various ways they can be a part of the organization’s mission. The About us page goes behind the scenes to speak about the heartbeat of the organization, and shares with the public the history of Imbako, and its core values, and its vision. Maneuvering through the site, viewers can also easily like Imbako on facebook, follow them on twitter or subscribe to Imbako monthly emails. For the professionals, Imbako has a LinkedIn page open for followers. For the avid readers, Imbako website has a recommended reads section that features selected publications in public health, medicine, community, and global health. For those interested in Imbako news and events, the website has a news page that posts IMBAKO news archives all the way from 2009 12 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

The new website pages sport Imbako signature colors of purple and green. Enjoy! And share imbakopublichealth Imbako: Reaching women; Teaching Children; Healing Community. About Imani Star Development, Inc. (lSDI) Akhenaton S. Mikell founded Imani Star Development, Inc. (ISDI) in 2002, while attempting to pursue his Ph.D. at Temple University. Mr. Mikell was deeply impacted by the issues affecting members of his community. Many of these issues pertained to those suffering from substance abuse addiction, homelessness, mental health illness, unemployment, and the increasing number of high school dropout rate of those in his West Philadelphia neighborhood. As a result of these issues not being dealt with appropriately, many community members were contributing to the high rates of incarceration. As a result of his observation surrounding these issues, he believed that he could begin to combat some ofthese problems working with the community on these issues “one person at a time” through a community approach. After graduating from Temple University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport Management, he begin his journey in the “helping” profession working as a SCOH (Services to Children in their Own Homes) case manager. This was a program supervised and monitored bv Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services for at-risk children and families needing assistance in resources. After working in this capacity for several years, he went back to school to pursue his Master of Science Degree in Human Service Administration. Some of Mr. Mikell’s experience entails him working in the capacities of a Resource Coordinator,


Mobile Therapist, Behavioral Specialist, Family Focused Therapist, and as a Program Director for a Community Residential Rehabilitation Program for adult diagnosed as having co-occur ant disorders. Collectively, Mr. Mikell has over 20 years of experience working in the human/social service arena in various capacities. Imani Star Development is a committed leader in providing quality services toward improving community development. Since 2002, we have empowered community members to advance by taking social responsibility and improving their economic opportunities through education and providing direction in areas of need. Our organization promotes, evaluates and disseminates a holistic approach to a culturally diverse population, who are often underserved. Our aim is to enhance social and intellectual development by nurturing our client’s capacity to think skillfully and introspectively about improving themselves, and their community as a whole. Imani Star Development, Inc. (ISDI) offers services in the areas of but not limited to education, training, mentoring, counseling, recovery support services and transitional housing. Education and Training • GED Preparation • Tutoring Center for Children and Adults • Computer Literacy • HIV/ AIDS educational • Health and Wellness • Personal Budgeting Employment Skills Training • Interviewing Techniques (“Skills to Pay The Bills”) • Resume Writing • Appropriate Attire Sessions for Job Interviews (“Dress Your Best”) • Mock interviewing sessions Mentoring • “Shadow” a Professional Day (youth get the opportunity to shadow professionals) • Discussions with our youth regarding day-to-day issues • Career Guidance

Motivational Apparel Motivational Apparel is a company based out of University Park, PA. Owned and Operated by a college student. Mission: MoAp was founded on the idea of the power of words. We use words every day to communicate, to express our feelings and thoughts, but we often forget how powerful they can be. Our mission is to change the world with words by using them in a way to inspire, encourage, and empower individuals to overcome challenges.   Company Description: Inspiration can come from anyone. Your parents, your favorite athlete, your biggest rival; even strangers you meet by chance. Abu Fofanah, the founder of Motivational Apparel, wanted to create a company that would bring motivation to individuals of all backgrounds. He wanted to do this by providing apparel that embodies determination and drive. We at Motivational Apparel are inspired every day by the people around us, and we believe that you are too. When you wear our products, we ask you to remember your motivation. Believe in success. Light the fire within you. The vision of Motivational Apparel was and will always be to help and empower individuals everywhere. www.getmoap.com

Counseling/Consultations • Mental Health • Peer • Substance Abuse (Prevention and Intervention) • Credit Counseling Housing • Temporary Housing (primarily for individuals facing homelessness) • Transitional Housing (primarily for ex-offenders reintegrating back into mainstream society) • Supervised Living Arrangements Community Reintegration • Assistance with transitioning of ex-offenders back into mainstream society

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Savannah Britt

South Street is the home to Philadelphia’s premier shops and dining belt. In comes its newest edition, Modish Hair Salon, a full-service multicultural hair salon offering services ranging from extensions, cuts and color all the way to natural hair care. Modish, a derivative of “mod,” means fashionable, stylish, and trendy, and the salon meets all of the above in criteria. The swanky 2000-square foot storefront is nestled on 640 South Street, the location of the old Showcase Comics, which neighbors Impact Boutique and Dash of Pizazz Boutique. With the archetype location, the salon owners, Sheri McKinzie and Kera Anderson, have every intention of leaving their stamp on Philly’s historical shopping arena. Co-owner Sheri McKinzie has been a salon professional since 2005 and prior to that recalls workings in a salon setting since age twelve. And when McKinzie is not mastering business plans or round-brushing Brazilian blowouts, she is designing clothes for Hollywood’s favorite stars, owning a ready-to-wear clothing line, McKinzie Chic. Business partner Kera Anderson also has a business background, having been self-employed for nine years as the owner a home care company. Her most recent venture involves launching a couture clothing line. The business partnership between the two was inevitable. “The marriage between a stylist and a business person was ideal,” says Anderson. The two found the South Street location quickly, and the following week the lease was signed. McKinzie and Anderson wanted to fill the void that other salons have been plagued by. The goal was to open a salon that offered professionalism, continuing education for its stylists, and cohesion without overlooking customer satisfaction. Most importantly, they sought out to create a salon that offers the same quality services that Beyonce Knowles and Jessica Alba desire at everyday prices, yes they offer upscale services at a moderate price. The ambiance of the salon is that of its name, “modish.” The color scheme and framework resembles that of a snapshot straight from Home & Garden. Clients are treated to coffee and tea, validated parking, and some of the finest hair products on the market such as Aveda, Joico, Purologie, and Naked. The Modish experience is unique as the hair stylists use robes rather than capes on clients, giving actual meaning to the customer catchphrase: “being treated like kings and queens.” Securing an appointment is a no-brainer, as the salon allows clients to book appointments online. In the future, the salon anticipates using the chic space for different industry mixers and events. Modish’s vision is off to a great start, officially opening its doors to the public on June 21nd with a grand opening soiree, and will make services available starting June 22nd. The kickoff events aim to draw 14 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

in new faces as well as mark the salon’s official South Street debut. Mark your calendar for June 21st and come see what South Street’s newest venue has to offer.


Education

The period of adolescence exposes the individual to unique biological, physical and social challenges. Focusing on the female adolescent, we learn that the onset of menstruation is a landmark event in the life of a young woman. However, in resource poor settings, the complications and factors that accompany menstruation in young women have been understudied. The conclusion of several studies on reproductive health in resource poor settings is that further research on menstrual management options that are practical, sustainable and culturally acceptable must be conducted to inform future programs and policies that aim to empower young girls as they transition into womanhood. Studies also propose that stakeholders must consider systematic mechanisms to explain to young girls what menstruation is and how to manage it. Providing sanitary supplies or guiding girls on how to create supplies serve as critical components for future interventions. Imbako Public Health, by undertaking this project in reproductive health, will contribute towards this issue of menstruation management and reproductive health of the adolescent in rural Kenya. In February, 2013, Imbako Public Health commenced a reproductive health research project on menstruation management of adolescents resident in rural Kenya. The goals of the project were to: (1) analyze the current awareness of biological development and reproductive health, (2) evaluate the issue of hygiene, sanitation and adequacy of menstruation product accessibility and affordability, (3) introduce and investigate the use of re-usable cloth sanitary pads. To commence the project, Imbako organized a three day workshop in Kitale, Kenya titled “A hygiene promotion & reproductive health workshop�. The workshop participants were taught about reproductive health in an age appropriate environment, and trained on how to create

re-usable cloth sanitary pads to be used towards their monthly periods. Surveys and data collection were built into the program conducted during these workshops. The workshop which ran from Wednesday February 6th to Friday February 8th enabled the delivery of a series of sessions to various cadres of community members. Over 250 students, community health workers, midwives and community members were educated through the workshop. The goal is to develop this project in collaboration with students, and the local community of Kitale, to design a re-usable hygienic and eco-friendly cloth sanitary pad that would be eventually sold in resource poor settings. Established in 2008, Imbako public health is an organization that works to allay disparities in healthcare, education and community faced by vulnerable communities in rural Kenya. Imbako has a team of able professionals, who are competent to deliver the healthcare, technical, logistical and financial aspects of the various organizations’ projects. To learn more about Imbako Public Health and how you can be a part of the organizations project, please visit www.imbakopublichealth.org . Imbako is also on twitter as @imbakoph and on facebook as Imbako public health.

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Do you remember the first time that you got your period?

Ms. Carey has recognized her life’s purpose in making sure that women live a happier, pain free period. She adds, “This is a way of life. It’s important. Why shouldn’t we have this conversation and educate each other?” Valarie believes that young women and their parents will have Well, if you were born as a male and reading this, the answer is better relationships if they decide to talk candidly about this significant probably no. But, if you are a female, I’m positive that not only do you time in a girl’s life. As her TOTM! book/calendar planner has grown remember the time of your first period, but also how embarrassed or into its 3rd edition, Carey continues to reassure young women to listen nervous you might have felt to talk about it with your parents. to their bodies and to feel secure in accepting the change and growth happening within. As she has previously witnessed, not everyone Valarie Carey, creator of the brand Time of the Month! (TOTM!), will accept the idea of talking about one’s period. But the struggle for knows how difficult it can be to talk about one’s menstrual cycle. As females to claim/reclaim their bodies is real. “There are a lot of young a woman and mother, Time of the Month! started off as a book of ladies who are not educated about their periods,” Carey affirms. thoughts and tips that was written for her daughter, Shelby. With an accompanying planner, Valarie wanted to find a way to talk to her There are a lot of exciting developments for the TOTM! family. Valarie daughter about her cycle and for Shelby to also feel comfortable in is working on joining forces with the Girl Scouts, a big park event in expressing her feelings about this special moment in a young woman’s Brooklyn slated for next year, and a TOTM! app for girls and women life. to track their menstrual cycles. What makes this app different from others such as My Days and Period Trackers is that female users will be Now, the Time of the Month! brand has become a widespread moveable to both track their cycles and collect advice. So if you’re a parent ment of health and wellness, motivating other young girls and their living with a young child, an adolescent on the cusp of adulthood, or a parents across the country. Alongside the book/planner written for mature female all seeking answers about menstruation, look to any or women to better comprehend and track their menstrual cycles, there all of Valarie Carey’s Time of the Month! to help you get through all of are TOTM! workshops for teens, tweens, mothers, and single dads. the feelings that goes along with that time of the month. Valarie also hosts a BlogTalk Radio Show called TOTM! Tea Talk. The To get more information on TOTM! Time of the Month! and its CEO call-in internet show, which has only been in existence for two years, Valarie Carey, please visit the following links: boasts 40,000+ listeners and 30,000 downloads and has featured guest Website: www.totmtimeofthemonth.com appearances from female health coaches, nutritionists, acupuncturists, Facebook: www.facebook.com/mytotm former WNBA players, and doctors that airs every Wednesday at 7 pm Twitter: www.twitter.com/mytotm and Sundays at 5 pm (Eastern Standard Time). Clearly people would LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/valsword like to know more about their or their loved ones’ periods! Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/valcarey/ 16 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia


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hen she was in elementary school Nessie Blaze started drawing “little things”. In the later part of her Bucks County Technical high school career, her best friend, a Photography major at the time, used her as the focus of a photo project. Beyond the shoot, Nessie met many people, networking along the way, eventually adding “model” on her resume. “I was embarrassingly skinny when I was younger and people told me that I should model”, Blaze states in our interview. But what she might have seen as a beauty flaw was in fact exquisite to other photographers, wardrobe designers, and artists. In a short span of time, Nessie Blaze has starred in music videos for local rap artists such as Young Ryda, Norman Ray, and Tre Prada, and has worked with Tyga. She has also modeled for countless photo shoots, collaborating with photographers such as Jeff Cohn, Ryan Powell, and Flashwerks Photography, and wardrobe designers Pretty Pretty Rebel, Trisha Wills, and Happy Couture, amongst others. Not only possessing beauty, Nessie also has brains. She went to Penn State University, declaring a Criminal Justice major. But as she steered her life course towards advocating change in our laws and retribution, her destiny was directed back towards the “little things” that she used to draw in her childhood. When one of her uncles asked her to tattoo a design for him, her focus centered on the natural skills that she always gravitated to from the time she could write. From that point forward, Nessie Blaze learned how to tattoo in 2012 and searched for apprenticeships. Even though she’s had many doors shut in her face, she managed to secure, proving that if you remain optimistic and persistent, while you continue to train and work hard, your dreams can be realized. Blaze’s code of work in creating her tattoos is simple, yet effective: clients tell her what they want, or they may have an idea and she produces it for them. If you look at her website, the talent is undeniable. Tattoo art is specific and some of the bravest, talented souls proclaim it as their profession. “It’s a hard industry and not too welcoming”, Nessie says. But even as people looked down on her and laughed at her, Nessie never gave up. Blazing her own path as a tattoo artist, music video star, and model, Nessie Blaze is determined to continue seeing her goals come to life and encourages others to do the same. “Never give up and don’t let people tell you how good or bad you are”, Nessie tells me as parting words for our interview. A humble statement with a powerful punch, these are words to always remember, just like Ms. Nessie Blaze and her artistic flair.

Website: http://www.nessieblaze.com/ Model Mayhem Page: http://www.modelmayhem.com/1372559 Twitter: https://twitter.com/nessieblaze

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BY DENISE JAMES

and her support of charter schools. In the Blondell Reynolds Brown is serving her 4th term as a member of Philadelphia City following post, this daughter of a teacher and construction worker also reflects Council. She is council’s majority whip. Reynolds Brown is the only woman to win on her recent dark times with campaign a Philadelphia At-Large Council seat since fund management. We start with Reyn2000. She has been committee person, a olds Browns affinity for the power of what legislative director for Congressman Chaka politics can do for people. Love essentially Fattah and a community affairs director for drew her to politics. State Senator Vincent Hughes and a delegate “I love public policy. I love the intellectual for the Democratic National Convention several times. In this conversation, the gymnastics, I like the motion of trying to 4-term Philadelphia City Council member build consensus and sit down with those talks about her love of politics, Philadelphia who may be at a different place but then work with them to bring them to where school closings, Property tax assessments you need them to be.” 20 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia


Q: Should the Philadelphia School District be closing more than 2-dozen schools? Reynolds Brown: The answer at the end of the day is yes and here’s why. The school district is looking at, let’s back up this way, the school district is asking just the city of Philadelphia for 60 million dollars, without those school closures. I applaud [superintendent] Dr. Hite, who has been extremely, deeply, painfully transparent and honest with members of the legislature, and parents and faculty and staff of the school district in saying, we have to make some tough choices. We have to make some tough choices and the school district closings was the first test for all of us to see how we were going to respond to those tough choices. A number of those schools had circumstances where there we less than 100 kids. For a school population that’s for four or 500 and so if you’re a homeowner and there’s eight people in your household and four, five or six of them leave to go off to college and you become empty nesters, most often what a couple does is downsize. Much like what is happening in our schools. It needed to happen. There are 70,000 fewer kids.

Reynolds Brown: Philadelphia in the last 50 years has never assessed properties in the way that has just happened in the last year, 18 months. We were long overdue. A.V.I. has become a three letter word because of what I would say is poor and unpopular execution of the assessment process. And you have citizens who are concerned, angry, fed up, and you have seniors who are scared. And my interest and focus has been about for and about seniors, hard to reach populations, those who don’t speak English and vulnerable populations and what is government, what are we as council members, what is the office of property assessment going to do to ensure that those populations in particular do not become either marginalized or vulnerable to the point of homelessness. So if I had to give the city a letter grade, they would get a C minus in the way in which they have rolled out this A.V.I. because it is unprecedented, it is confusing and in many cases it does raise taxes and some cases it raises taxes legitimately on those who haven’t been paying fairly but it also puts a heavy burden on seniors who have been paying and now are confronted with these bills which can put them into poverty. So we have a lot of work to do still in that area and here’s what the Q: How do you address safety concerns brought up by students and director of the office of property assessment said, he said it may be parents? three years before we finally get this right, so if it’s going to take your department three years and he’s a professional who’s done this in Reynolds Brown: other parts of the country and so in hearing that than we need to be You’ve got some young people who are really where we need them to conservative in how we hold seniors and vulnerable populations and be in terms of helping us so called informed adults. So let’s invite them hard to reach populations responsible. to be a part of the dialogue and let them help guide us on to how best we can reckon with those safety issues. Dr. Hite and his public safety officer… really have their arms around COMING OUT OF TOUGH TIMES the magnitude of scale of the safety issue. Coupled with district coun- - PROBLEMS WITH CAMPAIGN FUNDS cil members that he’s working with to figure out the safe corridors for those kids to travel. And that’s still a work in progress. Those conver- What happened? sations and meetings are still going on. So I would ask parents to be a part of the conversation because they too have some valuable ideas. Circumstances in my personal life, [referring to a crumbling a Q: Property tax assessments, your thoughts about reassessments and the amounts of increases?

personal relationship] In many ways knocked me off my center… in terms of my logical thinking, in terms of the way I approach things. Because usually I’m so detailed driven that I really get on people’s

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nerves. Because I was knocked off of my center in terms of my personal life, there was a domino effect. And that domino effect has led me to me having to pay $35,000 in fines are going forward… of which I will honor. 2010 is when the personal crisis started and then in 2011 was my campaign and those two years were not even. You know what I mean? They were not even. They were not even keeled at all. Not at all. Q:Did your campaign manager or you handle the campaign money? Reynolds Brown: Both. Yes… in a way that was not done with ethical campaign finance laws. And the prevailing duty is that of disclosure. Disclosure is A to Z. Everything. A lack of disclosure is a violation. It’s a pure violation. A pure violation. Q: What do you take from the experience? Reynolds Brown: I am reminded of the fact that I’m human, and I’m flawed and that’s what sort of gets me through. And at the end of the day I too am not a perfect servant, I’m a public servant. And I would say to you also that my spirituality has been deepened and strengthened in a way it would not be if not for this experience. I’m hopeful that folks will look at my 12 years of ethical conduct, productive legislative work and let that stand taller, stack taller than this last year and 18 months, of what has been for a me a very con22 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

troversial and dark moment of my career, dark event. Q: What do you want your [teenage] daughter to get from your experience? Reynolds Brown: For my daughter to understand that adversity hopefully builds character and adversity is expected to, with the benefit of hindsight advise you on how and what to do going forward. I have to honor up and work as hard if not harder to restore faith in people that I was elected to do a job and I need to do a good job and I’ve taken the corrective action in a number of fronts. I’ve got new campaign personnel, new bank account, new P.O. Box, new, so that going forward procedures and policies and procedures and policies of procedures and policies are in place with new personnel starting with a CPA to ensure that dark moment never happens again. It’s important that folks who’ve supported me know that I don’t ever plan to be at that place again. To sum up this conversation, Blondell, Reynolds-Brown says she is working to regain the confidence of people she’s committed to fighting for. She knows it will take time. She hopes her legislative track record and her renewed focus will help rebuild trust before she runs for a fifth City Council term in 2015. The politically passionate Majority Whip contends voices like hers are needed at the political table of life.


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Parents instinctively know that the safety of their children is under constant threat. More kids than ever

before are abducted and victimized by predators each day. Plus, playground bullies, older children, and others prey upon the young, thinking them defenseless. By enrolling your child into martial arts classes, you can equip them with the skills to ward off an attack or evade it altogether. In this article, I’ll describe how learning karate, judo, kung-fu, and other styles can help your child feel more confident, approach potentially threatening situations thoughtfully, and ultimately preserve his or her safety. While most parents would prefer not to think about their children needing to defend themselves against others, it is a very real possibility.

A Persistent Threat Long ago, children were seldom victimized or ab24 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

ducted; and it was practically unimaginable in small towns. Times have changed. In 2002, over 58,000 children were kidnapped by non-family members. What’s more, the number of cases reported in communities with sparse populations has escalated. In effect, every child, regardless of location, is susceptible to the threat of predators. Young kids are also vulnerable to older children. They can easily and without reasonable justification and become victims of bullying or physical abuse. Sometimes, the circumstances can swing wildly out of control, leading to injury or worse. Parents are understandably concerned and are becoming increasingly aware that they need to take preventative measures.

Kids’ Self-Defense Through Martial Arts Kids martial arts classes are not designed to train children to fight. Instead, they focus on developing a number of mental and physical skills that provide lifelong value. Kids learn to concentrate more effectively and think more clearly. They also learn the value of respect and emotional restraint. The


training will also include self-defense strategies that your child can use to ward off threats. One of the most important elements in kids martial arts classes (in the context of self-defense) is the ability to disengage from situations that might lead to violent confrontation. In many cases, a child can find himself embroiled in circumstances that could have otherwise been avoided. Learning the martial arts can help a child identify and avoid those circumstances.

Martial Arts for Kids Parents have a number of martial arts styles from which they can choose. Some styles, like karate, are more aggressive than others. For example, aikido focuses on techniques that help students disable an attacker without actually fighting them. It emphasizes throwing moves rather than striking. On the other hand, karate and kung-fu involve a number of striking tactics; both approach self-defense from a far more aggressive perspective. Judo, like aikido, stresses the development of physical and mental control; the style involves very few striking moves.

Finding A Dojo Parents who are interested in exploring martial arts classes for their child should visit a few training facilities in their area. They should speak with the instructors and ask about each dojo’s respective philosophy. They should also observe a few classes to become familiar with each instructor’s training style. For example, one instructor might emphasize aggression while another stresses mental and emotional refinement. The style you and your child choose should be consistent with your values and goals.

Protecting Their Safety In the end, your child needs to develop the necessary physical and mental discipline to help ensure their safety. That includes learning techniques of self-defense. It also involves learning how to approach potentially hostile circumstances thoughtfully with the goal of either diffusing or avoiding them. Kids martial arts classes are designed to train young people to develop these skills. If their safety is threatened, they should have the training and discipline to respond in the best possible manner. urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 25


LEGAL

Some questions you need to ask are:

If you’re facing a divorce, your world is probably a little upside down right now. It’s a very jarring experience to go through a divorce. You have to start thinking about life after divorce, figure out your finances, deal with all of the emotions swirling through you, and hire a lawyer to handle your case. With so much to deal with, the one thing that shouldn’t be overwhelming or stressful is meeting with a Florida divorce attorney. After all, it’s the attorney’s job to make your divorce easier on you, to reduce your stress. Of course, before you hire a divorce lawyer, you need to meet with the lawyer to ensure they’re the right choice for you. This involves an initial consultation. Knowing what to expect during your consultation with a potential divorce attorney will prepare you to get the most from the consultation so you can make an informed decision that’s truly in your best interest. The first thing you need to do is show up to your first consultation with the right documents. Some of the things you should bring include: the last few years of tax filings, your most recent W-2, any evidence you might have of marital misconduct, retirement statements, financial statements (bank statements, credit card bills, etc.), list of property, legal documents, and anything else your divorce lawyer requests. Why are these documents so important? Because they help the attorney understands your average income and assets so that he or she can work to ensure fair division of property and support arrangements for your divorce. You also need to be prepared to ask your lawyer a number of questions to determine if this truly is the best divorce attorney for your case. 26 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

1.How long have you been handling divorce cases in Florida? You need a lawyer that has been practicing family law in Florida for several years. Florida divorce laws are different from those in other states, so make sure your lawyer has the right experience to handle your case without any mistakes being made. 2. Have you handled a case like mine? Every divorce case is different. Your case may be centered around some specific element (e.g. marital misconduct, child abuse) that requires a unique approach. You want to be certain the lawyer you choose has worked on cases that are similar to yours. 3.What approach will you take with this case? Every lawyer has his or her own style. Some lawyers are really aggressive; others are laid back. And other lawyers bring a balance, allowing them to be as aggressive as necessary to protect your rights and secure a positive outcome to your case. 4. How much do you charge? Rates are very important. You need to know if you can afford to hire the attorney, and you need to understand how the attorney will bill you so there are no surprises later. With this information, you’ll get much more from your initial consultation with a divorce lawyer


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Summer, is here, and that means that there are lots of ideas, for grilling this summer!! Are you tired of the same ole BBQ when you go to a neighbor’s home?? Same old burgers, which are frozen. Well at Eatible Delights Catering, we have some ideas that will spruce up your food. Some of our favorites are as follows. Try some caramelized onions, and Montreal Steak Seasoning, when making your burgers! How about one of our special sides. Heirloom Tomato Salad- This is one of my favorites, as we use, jersey tomatoes, roma tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, beefsteak, and

the nice colorful ones, you can buy them at Whole Foods, or even produce Junction. For Vegetables, have you tried grilled eggplant, red, yellow or green peppers? We season those baby’s, with vegetable, or olive oil, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and a hint of balsamic glaze. Tossed with fresh corn, asparagus, tips, spring mix, and last but not least, a tad bit of some sort of soft cheese- blue, goat, or feta!, whatever tickles your fancy. Don’t like soft cheese, serve it on the side! Our recipe for this month is grilled salmon with orange, and pineapple demy glaze.

Ingredients Sauce (makes 10 servings) Orange juice- two cups, one cup of orange marmalade, and 1/8 of a pineapple Alaskan Salmon- 3lbs KC Steak Seasoning Cooking Oil Dry Parsley

Let salmon marinate for 24 hours in refrigerator, with KC Steak seasoning, oil, and dry parsley. Do not over season with KC steak seasoning, because, its slightly spicy. Take out of refrigerator, and sit on counter at room temperature for 1 hour before putting on grill. While salmon is getting to room temperature, light your charcoal grill, and make sure your coals are hot!, Do not put salmon on grill, until coals, start to turn white. First bring your juice, orange marmalade and pineapple to a boil on top of stove in a non stick small sauce pan. After boiling, let it simmer for about one hour, until it cooks down to a heavier pasty kind of sauce. ‘ After your orange and pineapple demy glaze cools, spoon a good amount over salmon, before putting it on grill. Let salmon cook on grill approximately 10 minutes, When cooking leave skin on, and bake on a piece of foil. Let salmon cool, and spoon another teaspoon over salmon. You will have a meal, that your will just love!!! Don’t feel like cooking contact Eatible Delights Catering, at 215-236-3900, or you can visit them on the web at www.eatibledelights.com. urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 33


Did you know that regular visits to your dentist for preventive care can reduce your overall dental and medical spending?

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ADV-0063 0313 • Dental plans are administered by United Concordia Companies, Inc., and underwritten by United Concordia Life and Health Insurance Company. Administrative and claims offices located at 4401 Deer Path Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110 (866-568-6099). Specific plans, policies or their provisions may vary or be unavailable in some states. Policies have exclusions and limitations which may affect any benefits payable. See the actual policy or your account representative for specific provisions and details of availability. Visit the “Disclaimers” link at www.UnitedConcordia.com for additional information and a complete listing of the products available in your area.


Real Estate

Here are 5 things you can do to successfully reduce your home energy consumption and save money in the process courtesy of Washington Energy Services in Seattle, Washington: Seal the leaks around windows and exterior doors. This is easy to do, and will help your home keep the heat in. Caulk, spray foam or use weather stripping and it will have an impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills. Don’t want to fuss with this, and then contact a handyman, or a reputable window, insulation or painting company. Many of them provide this service. Fix your insulation situation. Insulation is typically the #1 way to save energy in your home. According to the Department of Energy (www.ornl.gov) heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. And according to Energy Star, you could save up to 10% of your total annual energy bill just by sealing and insulating. Clean and seal heating ducts. Almost 20% of the air that moves through your duct system is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections. Over time, ducts can sag or collapse. Vermin and other animals can chew holes in crawl space ductwork. Ducts can also come apart at the seams. When this happens, any air that should be going to the rooms in your home is instead being wasted by ending up in your attic, your walls, or under your house. If duct tape was used on your ductwork originally, it’s best to have it replaced with aluminum or foil tape. Traditional duct tape deteriorates quickly. Metal seams should be cleaned and then sealed with duct mastic, which doesn’t crack. It creates a permanent seal. Let your equipment breathe. Your heating and cooling systems depend on a flow of air to maximize their efficiency. Homeowners can take easy steps to help change the furnace filter, and check for leaves/debris around an outside heat pump

or air conditioner. A clogged air intake outside or dirty indoor furnace filter limits air flow to the equipment and causes it to function inefficiently. It can eventually lead to costly breakdowns and repairs. This is similar to changing the air filter in your car. Electronic filters typically need cleaning at least twice per year and paper filters need replacing. Check your product warranty for your manufacturer’s specific instructions. Open those registers. Many people close floor registers to push heat into certain parts of their house. Since about the late 60’s the products installed in homes have been forced air furnaces. These are designed for a specific amount of air to flow thru the furnace while operating. The ductwork is designed for this amount of air also. When air registers are closed it reduces the airflow and allows heat to buildup in the system. That heat has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is up the flue and out of your house. Closing 1 or 2 registers is fine in rooms that get too hot. Keep as many registers open as possible so your furnace can operate at maximum efficiency. This is the same for heat pumps and central air conditioning. Airflow is key to efficient heating and saving money. Not sure where to start to make your home energy efficient? Consider a home energy audit. A certified audit uses the latest technology to analyze your house, measuring heat loss, combustion and air leakage. An audit will show you how your home uses and wastes energy. This will help you prioritize what you can do to get the most energy savings. Learn more about audits at washingtonenergy.com. Sources: Department of Energy - http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ ins_01.html Energy Star - http://www.energystar.gov/ Washington Energy Services - www.washingtonenergy.com urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 35


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WE LOVE TO READ

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WE LOVE TO READ

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You have heard of the WNBA, with stars such as Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx. But have you heard of the Bikini Basketball Association and the Philadelphia Diamonds?

The Bikini Basketball Association (BBA) selects women athletes based on their “athleticism, personality, and beauty� and teams comprise of 14-21 players on the courts. Professional BBA teams such as the Miami Spice, Illinois Heart, Houston Inferno, Las Vegas Fantasy, and last, but not least, Philadelphia Diamonds have developed, and more teams being cultivated in various cities. These teams are no gimmick however, especially the Philadelphia Diamonds who are just as serious-minded and hard-working as any WNBA player. Founded in 2012, the Diamonds have conducted tryouts since February of this year. When asked what the coaches and owners of the Philadelphia Diamonds look for urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 39


in prospective players, President and CEO Alfred Trotter states that they look for “skill first”. “We look at if they can actually play basketball, competitiveness, personality, how they look, and their body composition.” The Philadelphia Diamonds are the brainchildren of Mr. Trotter, an entrepreneur who has always worked in sales and customer service. Trotter was looking for different business opportunities not too long ago, such as opening a restaurant in Richmond, VA. Then he came across the Bikini Basketball Association through research about another opportunity and the seed was planted. Yet, Trotter faced difficulties ahead along his path to found a Philadelphia-based bikini basketball team. “The first difficulty was trying to find a place to play”, Trotter establishes. Wells Fargo was out of his budget range and then he reached out to local universities. His goal was to have 5000 people watching a Diamonds game. Luckily, now the Diamonds can call the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory home, although the Sun Bank National Center in Trenton, NJ may become their official home in the near future. Another hardship lay ahead for Trotter and his big idea, which were detractors who would like to know why. Why should there be a Bikini Basketball League, when we have the WNBA? Why do the women have to play in bikinis? “We’re not trying to make it a sexist game”, Trotter explains. “The focus isn’t just having a model type woman, but a mixture… you’re going to get beautiful women playing basketball, which is more appealing for male viewers, but we are also focusing on skills.” As the phrase “bikini basketball” might raise questions and eyebrows, goes on to point out that women playing for the Philadelphia Diamonds and in the BBA as a whole are outfitted in sports

have games broadcast on MTV and MTV2, working on a TV deal with the networks. Al Trotter and The Philadelphia Diamonds are very excited to be a part of sports history and would love for you to be a part of it too.

bras and boy shorts. “We are showing that beautiful women can play basketball and look good at the same time.” The dress may look a bit tighter than what we are used to seeing within the WNBA, but spectators can still revel in quality basketball and a good game and, as Trotter voices, “You don’t have to be a tomboy and play basketball”. So what is next for the Philadelphia Diamonds? Well, by the time you read this article, their first season will have begun on June 1st. The team plans on being involved in many vital community outreach programs, initiatives, and charities which breast cancer, domestic violence, homelessness, and childhood obesity. Trotter currently seeks to 40 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

If you are any women that you know may be interested in trying out for the Philadelphia Diamonds or if you are interested in being a viewer of their upcoming 20132014 season: there are many ways to contact Al and his team: Website: http://bikinibasketball. com/philadelphiadiamonds/ Twitter: @philly_diamonds Facebook- https://www.facebook. com/PhiladelphiaDiamonds Email Address: info@thephiladelphiadiamonds.com To Purchase Game Tickets: http://phillydiamonds.ticketleap.com/t/twitter/


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Relationships

There are 2 ways to understand how to get a guy to like you on your first date. The first way is to Ask Your Girlfriends, consult with your mother or aunt, or maybe read Cosmopolitan every week. The common thing about these sources - They all come from Women. We women spend an amazing amount of time dissecting and analyzing every little aspect of relationships, men and life

in general. That, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that we understand men better (than men). The second way to know how to get a guy to want you is to Finally, listen to what Men Are Saying... This may not be easy. We will hear things that we don’t want to hear and we will have to accept things that may sound sexist and annoying. None the less - They will still be true! urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 45


If you ask your girlfriends or go through women’s magazines, you will find that this is how to act on a first date: 1. Don’t order pricy drinks or food. 2. Act like someone who will get along with his buddies 3. Don’t wear anything too exposing and revealing and never use any curse words - so he knows he can introduce you to his mother. 4. Don’t talk much and if possible don’t talk at all - just listen. I am sure you have heard this advice before, right? While these tips can be good for some type of men, they are hardly the things that will affect his first impression of you (which of course is the most important one) What’s the Problem With Women-Tips for First Dates? Most of the time, we women do not understand the purpose of a first date. We tend to focus on compatibility, attraction and how many relationship he had in his past. These are all important things, but not on a first date. After a long research about how to get a guy to like you (and a lot on interrogation of the opposite sex), I have found these 3 simple rules to follow on your first date. They are all related to one thing: Concentrate on conveying your femininity.

Rule #1 - Wear a Dress

Men like women in dresses because dresses make you look soft, tender and it makes him want to cuddle you and protect you from the harms of the world.

Rule # 2 - Let Him Speak First

If you allow him to be the first one to speak on your first date will make him feel respected. Men like to feel respected even more than being loved. It’s a fact of life and it is an ancient fact of life. It may be annoying, but it’s still true.

Rule #3 - Smile Often

Smiling at him often will simply make him feel attractive. It’s so easy yet so true. Men want to feel attractive and this is an easy way to achieve that. Follow these 3 simple rules and he will beg for a second date. Wait 2 more dates and then you can start to express yourself much more and let him know who you really are. By than he will be much more motivated to get to know you as a person. 46 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

Relationships


Philadelphia really is a technogeek heaven.

If you didn’t already know it Philadelphia is etching out its own unique mark in the technology, geek, and video game universe. Since you might not know a lot of places around Philadelphia that contribute to this idea allow me to guide you to a few cool places that are in the Philadelphia area that you can either go to and check out, or I can show you something a lot of you use on a weekly basis that you never knew had headquarters in the Philadelphia area, or tell you about some companies that have some very cool and unique products to check out. First let’s start with a company that has headquarters in Michigan, and in Chicago, IL but they also have headquarters in Bristol, PA. This company brings entertainment to so many people. They help supply the music while you eat. This company is called AMI Entertainment and if you take a look at their website at www.amientertainment.com you can check out just how many jukeboxes they have and just a slew of other touch based entertainment they have. When bars and restaurants need entertainment, they turn to AMI. Our Rowe and Rock-Ola brands set the standard for digital jukeboxes, while a diverse portfolio of products and services keeps us on the cutting-edge of location entertainment. Whether you’re just hanging with friends or gearing up for an epic night out, AMI is there to make your night memorable. Who knew that when you go to a local restaurant or bar and you start playing Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue you were supporting a Philadelphia based company. Now I won’t be so mad to hear that song 40 times a night. Next up in the Tech/Geek Tour is a company that makes video games for all to enjoy. Play Eternal is based in Philadelphia and their website gives a bit more clues as to whom Play Eternal is. That website is www.playeternal.com. You can see they have been quite busy Play Eternal, a development studio specializing in original game development and third-party video game creation, digitally distributed across consoles, mobile devices, and the PC. Our mission is to create gripping action/adventure games that deliver highend gameplay in an easily purchased, easily engaged digital distribution package. Through our partnership with Trinigy and their award winning Vision Engine (www.trinigy.net), we are able to create a breathtaking, robust game, and deploy it to multiple platforms, including Xbox, PS3, PC Windows, the web, iOS devices, and Android devices. With a team that has collectively worked on over 40 titles, including Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox360/PS3), Guitar Hero 5 (Wii), Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (Xbox360/PS3), Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (PS3),  and Spiderman 3 (DS), Play Eternal brings deep knowledge of the craft and business of making high-quality, profitable video games. Feel free to learn more about the games we are working on, and the services we provide!

So if you are an up and coming video game designer you can contact them and they can help you out with developing your video game and getting them distributed to the platform of your choice. That is just an amazing thing to know and have local. This next place I am going to talk about is a place where a geek can be a geek and be welcomed. No one is shunned and all ideas are up for debate. This place is called Hive 76. Hive76 is a community of makers and crafters organized around a shared workspace. We enable our members to invent, build, collaborate, and share skills. We promote science education and the do-it-yourself spirit in our greater community to enable people to make things awesome and make awesome things. With a mission statement like that you can feel the creative juices flowing. Their website is www.Hive76.org and they have open house events where you can go in a check out what they got going on and what new hack they are working on. These groups of individuals are a truly inspirational coalition. The space is open 24/7 to core and basic members and they are here to help out anyone that needs helping. So if you feel like you really need to get your DIY on just remember you can’t just join up….no no no you have to come to a few open houses and talk with some of the other members and see how everything goes. Then you apply and it is those same members that shall decide whether or not you get to join the crew. With great privilege comes great responsibility, and these guys do a lot for the DIY community and if you want to check them out for yourself they have an Open House every Wednesday for three hours around 7pm. Finally this last company is more of a geek science type of vibe but it is such a great company it can’t be overlooked. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty (www.puttyworld. com) is a company that creates some amazing putty. Now growing up your parents probably played with Silly Putty. Silly Putty was great and all but this is a new millennium and with a new millennium comes some great new putty. Aaron started his company after convincing his workmates to get 100 lbs of putty. Then next thing you know he was able to change the color of the putty and boom “Crazy” Aaron’s Thinking Putty was born. This putty is so amazing to play with and just have fun. I did a video review of it on my podcast for my website www.TheTechnoFiles.com and my son was playing with it the entire time. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is not just simple putty, he has putty that is magnetic, changes color with heat, putty that has color that changes depending on the angle you look at it, and even putty that glows in the dark. To me the biggest factor of why I am such a champion of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is because he employees those with special needs to help and make the putty in a Philadelphia suburb. They truly are the triple threat of awesomeness. They are local, they make a great product proudly in the USA and they hire those with special needs so they can help make a great product.

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HOT or not

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This Spring/Summer trend features skin. As we transition out of the cold and into the warmth of summer, skin should be reflective of the properties of the sun.

Think about soft, seductive, bronze, luminous skin. Use a sheer water based foundation, tinted moisturizer or beauty balm to give the skin an even tone coupled with a light airy feeling. Remember, good skin preparation makes for a good makeup application. Follow these steps daily to prepare the skin: cleanse, tone and moisturize. This should be done even when no makeup is worn. Contrary to popular belief, even oily skin needs moisture. The body will over produce sebum (oil) when the skin lacks moisture in order to make up for what is missing. Primer is an awesome product to incorporate into the skin prep regimen. It gives your foundation something to hold on to and strengthens its lasting power which reduces the need to constantly touch up. Apply foundation to the five motor points of the face: 1) forehead 2) nose 3) chin 4) cheek 5) cheek and blend. Be careful not to swipe. Gently pat or use a circular motion with a fluffy brush to buff it in to have more of the appearance of healthy skin versus the look of grossly applied makeup. Many like to use fingers and sponges however, fingers and sponges are porous and absorb product. Brushes allow you to get the maximum benefit out of the product resulting in a smooth and even application. To add a healthy glow to the skin, apply a shimmer shadow to the inner corner of the eye. It also gives the appearance that the eye is open wider. Highlight powders applied to the high planes of the cheek add a reflective property that captures well in the light and promotes a satin or dewy finish. Dust bronzer on the skin to add warmth. Bronzer is applied where the sun naturally kisses the face. Lastly, line the lip. Apply a soft lipstick with a gloss tapped in the center of the lip to create a lustrous pout. Now the look is complete. Enjoy this trend and make it your own. Remember that makeup is an enhancement. It’s where the inner beauty matches the outer appearance.

Kenetia Lee- Empowering Yourself through the Beauty Within

For Kenetia Lee, her journey to helping others find their beauty within started with her mom’s Mary Kay demonstrations. At a young age she would go and observe how the other women’s moods shifted from dour to sublime when her mom was finished. “You could clearly see that when they sat down they weren’t that happy or fascinated with themselves”, Lee explains to me during our interview. This was her first introduction to makeup and the world of beauty, a world of supposed magic. But to Kenetia, the power of beauty was in fact real. With cosmetics, her mom’s clear talent in being a saleswoman and her gift of gab touched women on the inside as well as the out. Kenetia then decided that she wanted to help other women express themselves and to learn how to deal with all of the feelings raging inside of them head on. Although Kenetia made her mind up about her life’s purpose around the time that she was 10 years old, she started her professional career just 10 years ago. Though she loved the end result of her mom’s work with Mary Kay, she did not want to sell foundations and blushers from the supreme brand. When she moved to work in the perpetual sunshine of California, she got tired of the corporate world after a sizeable period and used this change of heart to market herself as a makeup artist. Kenetia thanks her previous work experience in the corporate world, as the knowledge she gained from it greatly supported her efforts in marketing herself and her brand. But even though Kenetia was on her way to becoming a leader in beauty empowerment, the journey was not without a few obstacles. Ironically enough, the majority of those obstacles were found within herself. Kenetia could not become an authority on outer and inner beauty without, as she puts in, getting over herself and her fear of not being enough. “I struggled with this a lot when I first started my career”, she

says. As she dove deeper into her need to network and become more known in her chosen line of work, she began to notice that there was something that still gnawed at her consciousness, something she had to address. It was not long before she figured out that the feeling of not being enough tied into the blame that she placed on her father. Once she let go of these feelings, she gradually felt free and made physical changes, such as shaving off all of her hair. Then she went after her dreams with full abandon, ticking off goals on her checklist. Once Kenetia noticed that the changes she made internally and externally positively affected her career and outlook on life, she knew that she truly discovered the keys to making other women feel better about themselves. Going through the process of forgiveness is at the heart of Kenetia’s message to women who may feel that they are not good enough. Although she is a highly regarded makeup artist, she is also not ashamed to voice her opinion about the makeup itself and what it means to wear it if your self-worth depends on it. “Many of us need to let go of negative ideas that people have placed in our life about who we are and what we are not. Accept the person that you are. There’s not a lot of need for products we have on the shelf today. These products feed into our insecurities. If we don’t deal with our insides, we will continue to be consumers to make us feel better.” In her book, Fearless Beauty: A Women s Guide to Living Bold, Beautiful & Free, Kenetia talks about the “Delusional Diva”- the voice inside of a woman’s head that holds her back and tells her that she is not enough. But Ms. Lee posits that a woman can quiet her down by tapping into her intuition and challenging her fears about what beauty actually is. She challenges women to look deeper not only into herself, but into the outside world, the messages that are streamed to females every day through media. “Don’t go with the norm. Find your voice”, Kenetia tells me during our interview. It’s a mantra she has told models, singers, and actresses every day while working behind the scenes during the Golden Globe Awards or the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. It’s a hymn that she continues to tell women on a daily basis. Kenetia Lee would like for women and young girls to know that makeup is an addition to your natural beauty, but is not who you are. In fact, while talking with Kenetia, I quickly realized just how much of as crusader she is for natural beauty and using makeup to enhance, not to cover up one’s true essence. Counting her mom, Donna Mee, owner and instructor of the Empire Academy of Makeup, and the unparalleled Pat McGrath as mentors, there’s no stopping Ms. Lee on her continued trail to inspiring other women to love themselves and others. Lee has just signed a contract with the Miss Universal Organization and will hold future empowerment workshops for women and young girls. Kenetia Lee wants females to challenge themselves, challenge the images around them, and to accept the beauty that they are born with. What wonderful ideas to live by. To learn more about Kenetia Lee, her book, Fearless Beauty: A Women s Guide to Living Bold, Beautiful & Free, and to get more information about her empowerment workshops, please visit the following links: Website- kenetia.com Facebook- kenetia.beautyactivist Twitter: @kenetialee Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fearless-Beauty-Womans-Beautiful-ebook/dp/B00B0GSAYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369183829&sr=8-1&keywords=Fearless+Beauty%3A+A+Women+s+Guide+to+Living+Bold%2C+Beautiful+%26+Free urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 49


Fun4kids during the summertime can be a hard pressed issue for mom and dad. When children become bored, idle hands beg parents for quality entertainment. When you are busy juggling work, family life and other obligations, contriving ideas that will entertain the troops can be a difficult aspect to manage. As the days get warmer, they nearly remind us that in just a short amount of time, the school year will have commenced, and your children will have roughly 90 days or so of complete freedom. Before the “we’re bored� song and dance even gets underway, stamp it out with these five super fun4kids summertime ideas that will make you the king of the castle. 50 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia


1. Movie t icket bonanza Look up the local movie theatre chains that are in your area. Many offer discounted summertime fun packs that include dozens of movies at a really great price just for kids. 2. Check for daily summer fun camps There a lot more out there than you might even be aware of. These are day camps that generally charge very reasonable rates to keep the little ones safely and wholesomely entertained while you work. 3. Get into video games With more family friendly video games out there than ever before, the electronic babysitter is a reliable device. Newer motion-sensing games can encourage fitness, and many arcade games are also there to keep your little ones entertained and in fabulous shape. 4. Look into new hobbies for t hem From model cars to rockets, to arts and crafts, chances are good that there are hobby shops near you that offer a world of fun4kids that is just waiting for you to tap into. Get them into a hobby that will preoccupy their time during the summer break from school. 5. Summer camp Never overlook summer camp or things like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Children love to learn and play with other children. A short summer camp expedition can teach them valuable life lessons, while affording you a short break to enjoy some priceless and generally much needed mom and dad time.

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Spring is here and excitement is in the air! High school juniors are excited about starting their senior year; and high school and college seniors are both excited about starting the next chapter in their lives. However, some kids are getting a harsh lesson in reality and economics that may dampen their spirit – but only if they let it! The economy is what it is – better than it was but not where it used to be. The economy is not within our control; therefore, let’s focus on what is in our control. I always tell parents and 52 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

kids that you don’t go to college because you don’t want to or because you don’t have the grades. Money should never be an issue when it comes to getting a 4-year college degree! For most kids, getting good grades requires hard work. Therefore, I encourage hard working kids (and their parents) to start early seeking and finding as much free money for college as they can. Start your efforts with an internet search for: tuition waiver. I have a friend whose children (yes, plural) went to the University of North Dakota absolutely free. They got a great education and eventually even got used to the weather! The trade off for being a little cold for a little while is they are starting adult life with zero student loans! UND is not the only school with tuition waivers.


Also, do a detailed internet search for scholarships. Have your child team up with a buddy and have each child commit to finding and completing a designated number of scholarship applications every week or every month. The kids learn accountability in an area that directly benefits them and their future. Again, the reward is starting adult life not saddled down with the student loan debt that burdens so many young people after graduation. Part two of this article is about making money. The economy still is what it is. However, if you can’t find a good job then go out and create a great job! Entrepreneurship has become as much a key to wealth building for the African American community as homeownership. The absolute key to building a successful business is your mindset, regardless of your age! We’ve heard about Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and others who struck it rich at a young age by starting their own businesses. However, check out Farrah Gray, Ephren Taylor, Jermaine Griggs, Jasmine Lawrence, and Gabrielle J. Williams just to name a few young people who created wealth through entrepreneurship at a very young age (Gabrielle is only 12 years old today!). To help grow your mindset, I strongly recommend getting started with two books: The Wealth Choice by Dr. Dennis Kimbro and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, and get a subscription to Success Magazine. As you are reading these books, you can start planning your next steps both online and at your local library. The business you decide to start should be something you are passionate about, which may not necessarily be the same as your college major/degree or your current profession. Putting some serious elbow grease behind the ideas and information in this article can radically change your future for the better forever! I don’t wish you good luck; instead I wish you good work! About the Author: Jennifer S. Matthews is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and is trained as a financial coach. Her award-winning book 12 Ways to Put Money in Your Pocket Every Month Without A Part Time Job, was nominated for a 2013 NAACP Image Award and selected by the Institute for Financial Literacy as their 2012 Adult’s Book of the Year, General. The book shows readers how to create hundreds of dollars in cash every month from within their existing income. Visit Jennifer online at www.MoneySmartBook. com and sign up for her newsletter. You can also purchase her book, take advantage of free downloads, and much more. © 2013 Creating Financial Literacy, LLC

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by Umesh Choriseya

Ultimately when you die, it means that we leave behind our families, friends and all possessions. In life you may not have acquired any money, property, or assets to leave but you have a “good name”. It’s a blessing to hear the remark at the funeral, “He was such a nice guy that was extremely dependable, I will miss him”. If your last day on earth was tomorrow … what would you do differently today? Who would you want to speak to, how would you want to be remembered and who would you have influenced? Treasure life and don’t take the people in your life for granted. Share your knowledge and wisdom to encourage others to reach their dreams. That is how your story lives-on and a legacy is created. Franchella Slater is a licensed funeral director at Slater Funeral Home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Clark Atlanta University and provides speaking engagements discussing topics for “Getting Your Business In Order”. Kissimmee is a city in Osceola County, Florida, U.S.A., and is home to a 650-person capacity outdoor water park, in addi54 urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia

tion to multiple golf courses. It is full of all the activities and attractions that turn family vacations into non-stop fun and lasting memories. The possibilities for having entertainment are endless here. Kissimmee gives you the opportunity to find out, thrills, spills and animals with skills. Kissimmee is one big non-stop funfest of activities. From indoor to outdoor activities for the whole family, there’s no limit of fun things to do in the Heart of Florida, making it the launching pad for family entertainment and adventure. For young and old, from quiet afternoons to high-octane entertainment, there is an abundant choice of pleasures light up the Kissimmee. A great family stop is Old Town, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex with fun for all, as it offers an endless assortment of entertainment options with 75 specialty stores, 8 restaurants and 18 amusement rides, with an


eclectic collection of tempting shops and boutiques in old town. Old town is down to earth fun and entertainment for all ages and becomes extremely busy in the high seasons. There are so many opportunities to experience here which will put you on the doorstep of an endless array of world famous vacation attractions. There are a plenty of options for shopping which offers trendy and classic clothes, accessories, and home furnishings that fit your sense of style and budget abound.

cal hangouts range from clubs and pubs with live music to sports bars, outdoor cafes and wine and cigar bars offering a variety of great entertainment options. Kissimmee offers the best selection of close-to-everything accommodations, all with a variety of features and services to satisfy every vacation need and budget. The list includes high-end hotel suites, private villas luxurious resorts and motels. Also there are some hotels which provide better solitude and privacy for couples for their romantic getaway. The guests are well taken care Kissimmee is home to every type of restaurant and culinary experience imag- of by the courteous staff and the world inable. You’ll find lots of dining choices in class amenities making your vacations Kissimmee. And when it comes to dinner a relaxing, invigorating, stimulating, shows, Kissimmee serves up a variety of breathtaking one. The undeniable appeal options that keep the whole family enter- of Kissimmee and its surrounding tained and satisfied in so many ways. You area is its art and cultural attractions would experience the music and fascina- for every member of the family. From tion altogether. . From theme park fun museums and theatre to performing arts and dining to live music and dancing, all and musical events, it’s all here. So bring kind of nightlife fun is also available here your smile and your appetite to have a that will definitely compel you to move to never before experience fun and thrill. the beats in high-energy dance clubs. Lourban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 55


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Leaving A Legacy By Franchella Slater

When you die, what is the legacy that you want to

leave behind for people to remember…. It’s extremely sad to live life and have regrets of things you wanted to accomplish or love that you didn’t share. Whether you are 10 years old or 90 years old, it’s never too late to make an immeasurable impact. A little 8-year old girl, Alexander Scott, set-up a lemonade stand in her local community to raise money for cancer research. She succumbed to her disease, however, her legacy lives on through her Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. She had hope and passion not only to help her situation, but also to help other children suffering from cancer. Martin Luther King was a minister but he left a legacy for empowering people. Steve Jobs, followed his dreams and left a legacy of technology and everyone in this world has the same ability to make a difference. Life sometimes becomes a routine and it’s hard to step-out of the cycle. Maybe you don’t know where to start, but know something is missing in your life that provides fulfillment. People may compliment you on your ability of being a good care giver, so take that skill and volunteer at a nursing home. Perhaps you are a singer, but have not been able to showcase your talent, consider singing on a church choir. Sometimes it takes a life-changing experience to determine your destiny. For instance, Candy Lightner, created the non-profit agency Mothers Against Drunk Driving after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. The artist Shepard Fairey will be written in history for creating the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster which he originally sold on the street. The portrait has now become widely recognized. The legacy you leave may have a deeper purpose directly within your family. If there is a pie recipe only known by grand mom, perhaps share the family secret recipe with the next generation. You will become known as the person who could make the pie,

just like grand mom. In my local South Philadelphia community, there is local historian that often tells about the impact of neighbors that made our community legendary. Sometimes leaving a legacy is about having a “good name”. Being kind-hearted, trust worthy, honest and good to others makes a tremendous impact.

CREATE A PURPOSE It’s time to set goals, have dreams and create a purpose for living your fullest potential every day. First, begin by picking at least one or two things you want to achieve or change about your life from the following items: 1. Spiritual Growth 2. Money 3. Fame 4. Family 5. Love 6. Marriage, 7. Justice, 8. Health 9. Beauty 10. Fitness 11. Career 12. Education Now if you selected Career and Health as your items to change begin to set goals and obtainable deadlines to complete the goals for each item. Don’t get frustrated if you hit a stumbling block. It is a lesson about re-inventing yourself and making a difference. urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 57


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TEN QUESTIONSAN INTERVIEW WITH

SKYE DENNIS by J Blair Brown

Philadelphia actor/writer/director Skye Dennis is the brains behind the new series “The Undercover Kings.” We had a chance to speak with Skye some time ago. Following is the result of our interview.  Tell us: How did you come up with the concept for The Underground Kings? A few months ago my good friend Al Thompson (Lennox Avenue web series, Odessa, etc.) was in town for a conference; he was scheduled to discuss his success in creating great quality web series. During his visit he discussed the possibility of Lionel Cook and I developing a web series based out of Philadelphia. He believed that, with our talent, our resources and network – along with the market of the Philadelphia are (one of the largest cities in the nation) – that we could create a quality series and build on our following to support the project. Al agreed to provide any guidance we needed in starting the project. Within 48 hours of that conversation, I was writing “The Underground Kings.”

today, it wasn’t difficult to convince others to jump on board of this movement. Also, having my cousin on board (NBA All-star Richard “Rip” Hamilton of the Chicago Bulls) as co-owner of my production company, people realized that we are serious about our business. 6.The trailer is already building some buzz. Where do you see this project going? Well, initially the goal was to have a web series with a large following. However, after the teaser dropped and then making recent connections, we have been receiving some “preliminary” discussions with broadcast networks. So we’ll see what happens. I think the goal of all writers (particularly in this industry) is to have a success TV series, and with the advancements of the web, Netflix and many other direct streaming mediums, there are so many opportunities to get our work seen and generate money. 7.Who provided the music for the series? There are various Philadelphia artists featured in the series. But the score was done by my little brother from another mother, Walter Anderson. 8.How important was it to film this series in Philly while utilizing (mostly) Philadelphia actors? And why? It was very important because this is my hometown and a lot of actors do not get the opportunities to showcase our talents on a large scale unless to move to L.A. or N.Y. I wanted to show and prove that a “quality” series could be created and shot here using 99 percent of Philadelphia talent.

9. Do you think the format will be compared to the cult classic The Wire? And how would you feel about it, should it be compared with The Wire? I hope so. I would be honored. This series however does have completely different storylines and character arcs. “The Wire” represented Baltimore, while “The 2. How is this series different from all other “urban dramas”? Underground Kings” represents Philadelphia. I would say this series is a cross Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of urban dramas that I know of to between “The Wire” and “New York Undercover.” Music plays an important part compare this series to, on or off the web. A majority of the urban series in creating the vibe for this series. I couldn’t wait to hear which hot songs or featured now are also comedies or romantic dramedies. This is essential- artists would appear or be heard each week on “New York Undercover.” Philadelly the primarily reason why I decided to write this type of series. phia is a Mecca when it comes to music, so I would be a fool not to incorporate it. 3.How long have you had this project in your arsenal? The idea was conceived in November 2012 and completed by December 10.You’re not one to sit around too long before taking on another project. For in2012. stance, you recently experienced huge success with “The Journey of Herman Stone.”

Will you ever ‘have enough’ and want to rest on your laurels, and, if not, what’s the next big thing for Skye Dennis? Not at all. Have to keep it movin’. Like they say, “You’re only as good as your last project.” I definitely plan on shooting the feature to “…Herman Stone” and three other feature films I’ve written…hopefully within the next few years. Two of these films take place in both Africa and the U.S., so it should be an interesting endeavor. Outside of those four films, I’ve already written several other 5.There are an awful lot of known names in this series – Chris Mann, Bri- scripts including TV shows (still in my head), which I hope to put on paper an Wilson, Al Thompson, Tiffany E Green, Nakia Dillard, Michael Giovan- soon (laugh). A Dub-C Ville Productions (a company created by “Rip” Hamilni, YOU, and a host of others. How did you pull off such an ensemble? Was ton) is committed to producing quality projects on a consistent basis and “The it difficult to do? Underground Kings” is the catalyst to this movement. I’m not one for idle time Being an actor for some time in the Philadelphia area, I’ve been fortunate so we’re anticipating shooting our first feature by late summer 2013, and keeping enough to have built a lot of relationships with fellow actors. And many it moving from there. of our concerns are that, unfortunately, there aren’t enough opportunities to show our abilities on mainstream TV or film projects. In many cases, a lot of primary casts are transported from L.A. or N.Y., while the J Blair Brown is a PR and marketing consultant out of Harrisburg, PA. She is the smaller roles are given to ‘us’ locals. This led to a discussion with actors host of the radio talk show “Livin’ the Dream! with JBlair Brown,” which features Christopher Mann, Brian Anthony Wilson and Nakia Dillard, and my seasoned as well as up-and-coming artists, particularly in the independent filmidea to develop a series to change our destinies in the industry. With making industry. She can be reached via email at: thejblairbrown@gmail.com. arguably three of the most talented and respected actors on the scene urban suburban magazine.com Philadelphia 59 4.You’re also a noted actor in your own right. Which comes first for you: writing or acting? Acting will always be my first love because I started in this arena as an actor. However, after writing and producing several works, I’ve realized I’m almost becoming just as fulfilled watching my words come to life.


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July 2013 - Urban Suburban