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MAGAZINE

BRONZE CYNTHIA BAILEY The RHOA Diva Talks Success, Staying grounded, and being 50 and Fabulous!

Actress Folake Olowofoyeku Her Journey to Success

7For Unleashing TIPS Your “Bronze Girl” Magic March 2017

Love and Hip Hop’s Amina Buddafly on Her New Book, New Music, and Moving on

www.bronzemagonline.com

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AMINA TOURAY photography

www.aminatouray.com 3


Hello Bronze Beauties, happy Women’s History Month!

BRONZE

MAGAZINE

March 2017 Issue Editor’s Note

Cover Credits: Photographer: Amina Touray Cover Star: Cynthia Bailey Stylist: Janel Styles Makeup Artist: Niehla O Hair Stylist: Brittany Love Gold dress designer: WOW COUTURE

Although all our issues celebrate women

provided @fashionforwards_la

of color and their contributions to history,

B racelet: NMD, @now_showroom

culture and society, we dedicate this

Gold ring: Kat Ong, @katongers

special edition in honor of the annual, national observance of the extraordinary

Look for the BronzeMag App

achievements of all women. And to help us kick things off in style is none other than model, entrepreneur, and reality television star and actress from The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA), Cynthia Bailey! We are delighted that Cynthia is gracing our cover this month. Cynthia, who recently celebrated her milestone 50th birthday and her 8th season on RHOA, possesses all the qualities of what we call, “Bronze Girl Magic,” strength, beauty, success, and the ability to inspire or empower others. Other awesome women in this special issue include Love and Hip Hop’s Amina Buddafly, Nigerian actress Folake Olowofoyeku, bestselling author and national

Co-Owner/Editor In Chief Shawn Stuldivant Co-Owner Barry Stuldivant Cover/Features Photographer Amina Touray Issue Design/Layout F U world

speaker Gina Humber, Miss Black Universe Chief Executive Officer, Krisangela Washington and the newly reigning MBU Michaela Jones, and singer/songwriter Chery Woods. I guarantee that you will be inspired by each of these bronze and beautiful women. Until the next issue, happy reading! xoxo

Shawn Stuldivant

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Writers(This Issue) Sheron Brown Amelia “Ameliaismore” Moore Tanthony Raeshawn Jamelia Thompson Amina Touray Faith Turner Farren Washington


Folake Olowofoyeku's

Contents 6 - 15 Cynthia Bailey

16 - 19 Miss black Universe

20 - 29 Amina Buddafly

30 - 33 Gina Humber

34 - 35 The skin of color society

36 - 39 Cheryl Woods

40 - 49 Folake Olowofoyekus

50 - 53 Sheron Brown

54 - 55 FU design

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Interview by Amelia “Ameliaismore” Moore Photographs by Amina Touray Styled by Janel Styles Makeup Niehla OHair Stylist Brittany Love

Believe in

I have to believe in myself. It starts with me. If I don’t believe in myself no one else is going to believe in me. I would say the second thing is faith. It’s having faith that if I believe in myself, GOD will meet me half way.

you. 6


Cynthia Bailey. 7


AM:

It takes a lot to be successful. What do you feel are the ingredients to a successful life? Those things that are necessary to have in order to succeed?

CB:

Well, I think first and foremost, to be successful you must have belief. I must believe in myself. It starts with me. If I don’t believe in myself, no one else is going to believe in me. I would say the second thing is faith. It’s having faith that, if I believe in myself, GOD will meet me half way. The third thing is work ethic. Regardless of what you want to do in life, to be a successful business woman you must be prepared to do the work. I would also say perseverance. It’s about not giving up, because a lot of times success doesn’t come right away. You must keep working toward it. There is a lot of failure that comes with success. So not giving up is huge. I think those are the main four things. Just remember, once you become successful, that’s when you have to work hard to stay successful. That is when the real work begins, because now you’ve got to stay there. I don’t really know what the word is for that, but I find I’m at a point in my life where I am very successful and very happy with all of my accomplishments. Now my work is maintaining that level of success, or going higher, if anything.

AM:

That is a remarkable statement, because when most people are successful, they become complacent. They do what is needed to maintain their success, however, not many want more than what they have. Yet in my research, while prepping for this interview, I found out that some of the most successful people’s biggest challenge is themselves. Do you find that you have moments of reflection where you say, what do I need to do better, or what can I do to be better?

CB:

Oh yes, every day. I always feel like, as successful as I am, I can be doing more. I could have more success. I never feel that I’m doing enough. If I have a successful eyewear line and if I have it in three of the top retail outlets, I feel like it can be in the top 6 stores. The bar is always evolving as you evolve. It’s always going higher as you get higher.

AM:

Let’s review that evolution, because you started out as a model, and I wanted to briefly touch on that

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process of evolution. You started modeling here in the States and then went overseas. When you returned, you were even more successful than when you left. Do you feel for other young girls who are African American, that going overseas is that component they need within their resume, and that by going overseas they can come back to the United States bigger than what they were?

CB:

I think what was so game changing for me when I went to Paris, was that I was able to establish my career as an editorial model, which means, the magazine jobs are where you get more of the exposure. This is before social media and all those things that you can get exposure for in that way. Literally, you were at the mercy of being seen in the magazines for people to find out who you were. Now you can just post pictures of yourself doing great shots. Before then it was a little different. Long story short, getting back to your question, first, the travel experience of living in another country was great. These are things you can’t learn in college or in a classroom. Those experiences are invaluable in shaping who I’ve become- a welltraveled person, very cultured. I look back and I think, one of the great things I have been afforded as a model is being able to travel the world. I don’t know of many other careers that would have been right for me where I would be able to travel the world at such an early age. I was 18. It really changed my whole vision of what I wanted for the rest of my life.

“ I was 18. It really changed my whole vision of what I wanted for the rest of my life.”


This month’s cover star is

Cynthia Bailey. Interview by Amelia “Ameliaismore” Moore Having recently celebrated her milestone 50th birthday, and her 8th Season on The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA), Cynthia Bailey is focusing on her journey. A consummate professional, Cynthia believes, “It’s not only professionalism, but also work ethic that breeds success.” Our bronze and beautiful cover star also believes that having “The confidence that you can and you will, regardless of others’ opinion and challenges, enables a preparedness for success.” The last time I met Cynthia was several years ago, on the West side of Manhattan at Frasier’s promoting her then new book, CarryOn Baggage. As busy as she is, Cynthia took some time out to inspire us with her Bronze Girl Magic. Catch a glimpse of her light…. Long black cocktail dress: Sha'Vi Lewis @shavi_lewis, Provided @PRB_PUBLIC_RELATIONS 9


Bracelet: NMD, @now_showroom Gold ring: Kat Ong @katongers

Long black c-dress: Sha'Vi Lewis @shavi_lewis, Provided @PRB_PUBLIC_RELATIONS

Gold dress designer: WOW COUTURE provided @fashionforwards_la

Bracelet: Glamarella,@glamarella_jewelry Ring: Kat Ong, @katongers. Provided @now_showroom 10


AM:

What’s amazing about your story is that throughout all your success you have managed to remain grounded. Many people who achieve the amount of success as yours usually become self-centered. They become misguided as it relates to the world outside of them. How do you remain grounded, and how important is your social circle to your success?

CB:

At this point, a lot of my business as a model, as a reality star and as a business woman is very social. I do a lot of dinner, breakfast, and lunch meetings. I do a lot of events, including networking events. All of that is socializing, but it’s a little more structured and a little more strategic. I’m not interested in being in the room if there is nothing to learn. Or if there is no one I can connect with that is doing as well as I am or better than I am. I always want to focus my energy on putting myself in a position to partner and work with other people who are successful, as well as or even more successful than I am.

AM: That is an empowering attitude

because most people become focused on what they can do and lack the focus on what they can do to help others, and how mentorship is important to the road to success and to sustaining success. So many women that are striving to become better face challenges. How do you help yourself overcome challenges that you face?

CB:

How do I overcome challenges as a black woman? I would say I

think I have two assets as a black woman. My first one is my outward beauty, what I look like, because we still live in a world where that matters. So, because of that I can get in the room. I would say the second asset is that once I’m inside I’m business savvy. I’m not saying I’m the smartest person in the room, but I do have vision and I’m ambitious. I’m smart enough to articulate what I want to do, and smart enough to surround myself with people that can help me get it done. I’m a hard worker, so I think I would have success in any field I choose, however, I’m never not going to recognize that a lot of times I get to the table because of what I look like to people. People are attracted to beauty. They are attracted to people that they feel like, “Okay, I want to see what this woman is talking about.” If GOD blessed me with that, then I’m going to use that to help me open the other doors that I need to open. You can’t get into the room unless you can get into the room. Whatever the reason, it is what it is. The interesting thing is, your beauty might be able to get you into those situations, but it can’t keep you there if you can’t deliver. That’s where I think I have both things working for me. If I get into the room I’m going to deliver.

AM:

Excellent! So delivery is a major asset. Let’s fast forward your career. You went from a model to a business woman with your eyewear and pocketbooks. Why did you choose accessories first?

of being a Housewife of Atlanta. The only job I ever had was being a professional model. That is my world. I love the world of fashion. I love clothes, but I’m more about personal style. It’s about how you put it together. It’s more than a label, it’s about how you put it together. I love vintage clothes. I love clothes from Target. I love clothes from Gucci. I love clothes from Chinatown. I love fashion. What I think is great is how people put it together. That is why I wanted to go into fashion accessories, because again, for me it is about how you put it together. The right or wrong accessory can either make or break an outfit. I think a lot of people can go out and buy clothes, but a lot of people will ask their friends how to put it together. I feel I have a lot to teach in that lane, and that’s why I decided to get into fashion accessories. I have my eyewear. I have my Cargo by Cynthia Bailey luggage line. I’m going to be coming out with hats and watches and anything else I can think of. I want to be like Michael Kors as it relates to quality and price point. The female Michael Kors of fashion.

“ First and foremost I am a fashion and beauty brand ”

CB:

First and foremost, I am a fashion and beauty brand outside

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“I love inspiration and motivation. I try to put it out into the universe for others�

White gold long dress: Odrella, @odrellacouture. Provided by @PRB_PUBLIC_RELATIONS

Bracelet: Kat Ong, @katongers Ring: Jewelry Bar, @jewelrybar.usa. Provided @now_showroom

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AM:

When it comes to conceptualizing, what is next for your lines? Where do you get your inspiration? Does it come from looking at the competition, an experience, what?

CB:

Most of my inspiration comes from what I get or go through. By buying clothes and putting clothes together, I always think, what would I like to buy, what would I like to pay, what type of quality would I expect for that price? What is the most I would pay? What is the least I would pay? One of the things about my brand is that it’s about quality, but it’s also about affordability. I don’t really have any interest in making overpriced, unaffordable products that no one can afford to buy. At the same time, I don’t have any interest in making cheap products either. I try to find that middle ground, that is the reason why I mentioned Michael Kors because I feel like he has a great price point. He has a high end and a low end, making his line have a little something for everyone. That is why I look towards him, because I would like to be the black female version of him and his style. I think he figured it out. His clothes are timeless enough and trendy enough. I think he does a great job at balancing both dynamics when he produces his products. Just getting back to inspiration, I never forget that for every product I put my name on, I must believe in that product. I wear my backpacks. I wear my Cynthia Bailey eyewear. If I don’t like them, if I don’t think they are great, I can’t sell it to anyone. I stand by everything that has my name on it. I’m not interested in selling a bunch of crap that I wouldn’t put on. So, if I’m selling it, you are going to see me wear it.

AM:

That’s wonderful! I think in a world where commodity is more important than integrity, it’s refreshing to hear integrity is important to you. Being a social person, I think many of us love you for a multitude of reasons. However, knowing our readers, I think they would want me to ask, if the social person we know is also the private person? Are they one in the same? If not, how do you keep them separate?

CB: In a lot of ways I am one in the same. I really try

to put out a lot of light and positivity, particularly with my social media. I love inspiration and motivation. I try to put it out into the universe for others. I’m very spiritual and I love to put that out there. In my private life, I’m very much that same person. However, I will say that in my private life I’m probably a little quieter than I would be in a social setting. In a social setting, I’m very social. Many times, people can mistake quietness for snobbiness or for being stand offish. So,

I don’t ever want to send the wrong message. By nature, it’s because I have so much going on, and I travel so much, and my business is so social that I must deal with people all the time. I’m also on a reality show where I must deal with people all the time, and with the cameras in my face all the time. When I can just be quiet and still, like when I’m in my home, I usually don’t even like to have company. I just like to be by myself. Those moments are like my best times. That’s my Cynthia Bailey time. It’s when I can just sit on my couch and be still. I don’t get an opportunity to do that too often. In terms of socially when I’m on, I’m on. Yet when I’m off, I’m really off. I turn it completely off and enjoy me time. It’s important because I use it to reboot. Being social takes up a lot of energy; being around a lot of people and different energy all the time. To be honest, it is draining to some degree. So, you must be able to go back and refuel and reboot. Everybody is not going to give you great energy. You’re lucky if all you get is positive energy, but that’s not realistic.

AM:

So true. I am so glad that you mentioned the importance of taking time out for yourself. So many business women, especially those that are successful, push the envelope so far that they break themselves down to a point where they can’t get up. They don’t allow that time for them to reboot themselves and refuel, and that results with depression, nervous breakdowns, etc. These are all the by-products of not taking time to relax, reflect, relate and then release.

CB:

I am so glad you said that because it’s very important. This is not one of the things you asked me, but I want to speak on it because I just turned 50 and my health is everything. As I get older I appreciate my health. I don’t have any health issues at 50 years old. That is a blessing. The reality is, I can’t be a successful business woman if I cannot get up and go to work. I cannot be a successful business woman if I can’t be present for meetings, or be able to execute situations that will help me to continue to be successful. I do not take my health for granted. I think until you start having health issues, people stop taking it for granted. I am thankful at 50 that I don’t have health issues, and I think it’s because I don’t take it for granted.

AM:

Actually, you turning 50 was my next question. Many times, women hit certain milestones and their whole mentality or perspective on life, who they are, and what they have accomplished changes. Has that happened to you? If so, what changed? If not, why? 13


CB:

It has happened to me. I look at being 50 as not getting older, I just look at it as my next chapter. I feel like I have had an incredible 50 years of my life. I don’t look at getting older as getting older. I look at it as a privilege not granted to everyone to even live 50 years. So, every day that I wake up is precious to me. I feel like at this point in my next chapter, if it’s another 50, GOD willing, this next chapter is for me. This is where I get to give to Cynthia. I made a lot of sacrifices for my family, for my daughter, for my husband, all in the first 50. This is the first time that I feel like it’s ok for me to focus on myself and do the things I want to do. To be selfish and greedy for Cynthia because I’m 50 and I’ve worked hard and I have earned the right to just be into myself a little.

AM:

You know, it is about embracing life that makes you want to continue the journey. Thank you for sharing that honesty with us. So many women who turn 50, between going through menopause and just being older, they don’t realize this is the time to do for you. It’s not about being selfish (even though you are), but it’s more about being self preserving. Saying to yourself, I have done everything I needed to do for everyone else and now it’s time to do for me. I believe the order is GOD, you and everyone else until you have kids and then it’s GOD, your kids, you and everyone else. Far too many times, we as women put ourselves last on our list, and one of the reasons why is, we need to learn to change the order. My last question, first, congrats on another season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. So, what are we to expect with this new season?

CB:

Dress: Patty Farinelli, @patty.farinelli_collection. Dress provided by @PRB_PUBLIC_RELATIONS Bracelet: Kat Ong, @katongers Ring: Jewelry Bar @ jewelrybar.usa. Provided @now_showroom 14

Well you know the next season is going to be season 10 which is a big and exciting number. So, I would expect a lot of surprises. This will be my 8th season on the show. I can’t even believe it’s been 8 years and 10 years for the show. Ten is an important number. I can’t speak for the whole show, but I just love where I’m at on the show. I’m at peace in every way. I’m part of an ensemble cast because it’s not my show, so I have to voice my opinion and be involved in some of the shenanigans that go on because they are my cast mates. I’m really trying to learn how in any situation, even if it’s not a situation of choice, how to continue to do the best that I can with as much integrity and grace as possible to make the most out of it. I’m learning how to take lemons and make lemonade. Focusing on how


to take the high road like what our beautiful Michelle Obama says, “When they go low I go high.” I’m trying to do that in every situation of my life. I always want to be and try to be that balance on the show, that voice of reason. I always continue to be the class on the show; the grace, the light and the love. I’m very transparent. I’m very real on the show. I don’t try to act like I’m better than anyone. I don’t act like I live better than anyone. I’m just being myself. I just want in season 10 to be true to me and even more so to peel off more layers and just really be ok with me. Also, to love people even if they don’t give love back. I want to give love.

AM: Exactly. It’s funny because when I speak on the

journey of peace, I like to say there are four necessary components to peace. First, the compassion to feel love despite the hate, then the mercy to understand and look beyond yourself to find truth, then the forgiveness, whether it’s to forgive someone else, or yourself to enable you to move forward and release yourself from the mistakes of the past, and last, to love. There is a lot of peace in understanding the journey to peace. Yet when you do those four things, peace is almost inevitable. Cynthia again, thank you for your time. Is there anything else you want our readers to know about Cynthia Bailey, and what we can do to continue to support your endeavors?

towards my purpose. When things no longer serve my purpose, I’m going to exit those things. I don’t owe anybody anything, and I will do it with grace and unapologetically. I don’t owe anybody an explanation as to why I am doing anything at this point in my life. One more thing, to all the people that love and support me, I want them to know I don’t have all the answers, I just continue to do the best that I can do. Please continue to pray for me. I think prayer is powerful. There is a lot of hate in the world, yet I know there is a lot of love in the world. I also know that GOD has been with me every step of the way. I didn’t do all of this by myself. So, I appreciate and encourage as much positivity, prayer and love from the people that care about me as possible. “I’m grateful.”

AM:

As we ended the conversation, I expressed to Cynthia that her Bronze Bombshells want her to continue to stand in her light, and know everything else will follow. We wish Cynthia continued success, and if you want to know moore… go to CynthiaBailey. com or keep reading BronzeMagOnline.com for our up to date Instagram posts, blog posts and tweets on all that is new and note worthy.

I don’t do that anymore, I pray for peace.”

Yes, I am on a quest for peace. I use to pray for happiness. I don’t do that anymore, I pray for peace. I think you can have happiness, but not peace. Yet when you have peace you can be happy. So, that is my quest, a lifetime of peace. It’s everything to me, and what keeps me spiritually together. In terms of love and support, I am always humbled and grateful for the love and support I have gotten over the years. I don’t ever want anyone to think I take them for granted, whether it be on the show, throughout the businesses, my friends or my family. I appreciate them and all the love, always and forever. The last thing, on turning 50, because it’s such a new fresh thing for me. I was very close to my grandmother. I remember her and seeing that the older you get the more unapologetic you have to be for what you want with your life (laughter). I can honestly say I am entering a chapter in my life where I’m going to have peace. I am going to make the choices that I chose for me. I am going to walk

“I use to pray for happiness.

CB:

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“WOMEN WE STRIVE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BEHIND THE MAKEUP ”

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The image of black females has often been misconstrued through the media. Rarely do we encounter depictions of the black female as beautiful, smart, charitable, or passionate. However, pageantry, in spite of its negative associations, has provided a space where the positive image of black females can exist. More specifically, the creation of The Miss Black Universe Pageant has helped to redefine the image of black women through its values of womanhood, self-worth, cultural awareness and community service. “We strive to find out more about the women behind the makeup. We try our best to find who brings something to the table. Those women who are involved with the community, not just social media,”

said Krisangela Washington, chief executive officer of MBU. Washington, a former Miss Black Colorado USA 2009 winner, explained that her inspiration for branching out and developing MSU was motivated by her own pageantry experience. “I walked away with good bonds. I met doctors, lawyers, mothers, it was the most beautiful experience. We supported one another even though we were competing. Competing never out shined that bond. I wanted to bring that experience back to Colorado, but on a national level,” explained Washington. She and her team of passionate professionals all worked together to design a unique pageant system that committed to the physical and mental development of their contestants.

MISS BLACK

UNIVERSE

Making Strides to Embrace the Woman Behind the Makeup.

by JAMELIA THOMPSON 17


Miss Black Universe differentiates itself from other competing pageants with its extended eligibility for participants up to 30 years old. It stresses the importance of education, health and fitness, and its dedication to community involvement. Additionally, MBU stands out because black pageants are primarily on the east coast, but, Miss Black Universe is held on the west coast in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Contestants are judged by five separate categories: Evening wear, a private interview, swimsuit wear, onstage question, and talent. Miss Black Universe prides itself on providing an environment where contestants can grow both on and off stage. They aim to develop well rounded, polished and powerful women. MBU for the year 2017 selected Michaela Jones of Denver, CO to receive and represent the honorary title of Miss Black Universe.

For more information about the application process and eligibility please visit http://www.gomissblackuniverse.com/2016-pageant 18

Jones became involved in pageantry around the age of 17 when she stumbled upon a pamphlet that advertised Miss Colorado USA. The images of black women as they appeared in the pamphlet became an inspirational sight for Jones. “I said I want to be like them, I want to be on stage too, and the rest was history,� said Jones. Pageantry for Jones accounts largely for her growth both as an individual and a woman. She has acclaimed many titles including


There is no mold we want to fit at MBU. We just want to show the nation that there are BEAUTIFUL, capable, and passionate women all around us,” - Washington.

The quest for candidates who want to be a part of this pageant’s empowering journey has begun. Miss American Coed, Miss America, Miss Black Colorado pageants, just to name a few, and now carries the title of Miss Black Universe. In addition to her many successes in the world of pageantry, Jones is heavily engaged with her community and the youths. During her reign, Jones will make appearances at national events, parades, festivals, colleges and charitable events, as well as attend all State preliminary pageants.

sisterhood, forming bonds, just a positive environment,” said the Miss Black Universe winner. Currently, Jones, along with the MBU staff are preparing for their inaugural Miss Black Universe Pageant, where Jones will hand down her crown to the winner. The pageant will be held this coming September 1st-3rd at the Artemus

Ham Concert Hall of the University of Nevada. The quest for candidates who want to be a part of this pageant’s empowering journey has begun. “There is no mold we want to fit at MBU. We just want to show the nation that there are beautiful, capable, and passionate women all around us,” said Washington.

“For me, pageantry is a positive arena where I can really explore aspects of myself that I didn’t know about. It embodied everything I embodied as far as seeking womanhood. I think of

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Amina 20

Buddafly


After the rain comes the sun. Interview by Amina Touray

How was your upbringing? I know you traveled a lot between Germany and New York with your sisters?

It’s been almost a year since German born singer/songwriter, and mother of two Amina Buddafly moved to Los Angeles from New York to start fresh and focus on raising her two children and her career in music. It was a rainy and overcast day in usually sunny California that we connected to discuss her newly released book, “The Other Woman,” her music, and moving on.

My initial upbringing was in Germany, from birth to my teens. We spent our lives in Germany. My sister and I grew up there and it was great; I mean, we didn’t know anything else. We just kind of noticed once we got older and became teenagers and got into music that there was so much more out there, like when we started listening to American music and soul music. We’d always watch

MTV Soul, and realized that kind of music wasn’t made in Germany, and since we were so much into it, we started looking at America more and more. Once we had our first trip to New York, we knew that was it… That was in your teen years ? Yes, our later teens. I was like 1819…we knew we wanted to go to New York and see how the music scene was in America, and once we made that first trip, everything just kept pointing in that direction - that this is where we needed to be. 21


Photographer, writer:​ Amina Touray @aminatphoto Designs: ​Tale for Esther, @taleforesther Stylist:​Kenya J @tokiofever & @ecclipse_ Makeup Artist: ​Niehla O, @niehlao

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You were in a girl group with your sisters called Black Buddafly. Was it in the whole traveling time frame of going to New York that you and your sisters started the group? Well, the group existed way before that. We had a record deal in Germany, but our group had a different name (Choyce). So, we came to America as Choyce, but the name Black Buddafly was given to us later once we connected with the production company that gave us our first deal. Did the group name change have anything to do with changing styles or anything in those terms? Honestly, I don’t even remember why, but I think the name Choyce was never official, it was just what we called ourselves. We were just sisters who were a group. That was the name that we had from Germany, but we weren’t really attached to it, so we were open to getting a new name, especially since it was a new beginning. And now you all are older and you’re doing your separate solo careers? Right, we’re all doing our individual styles. My older sister and my twin are in Germany and they’re doing their thing, just the same way as I’m doing it, but I’m still in America with a much bigger platform with being on TV and all, and I have a much larger

“we all have such different styles and we all stay true to who we are.” 23


following than they do. But they’re both amazing and it’s so awesome for me to see because we all have such different styles and we all stay true to who we are.

we haven’t really recorded as a group. But when we get together, you know, for the family holidays or whatever, we always sing music and have jam sessions with friends.

Whenever you get together, do you still sing together ?

Do you think you will ever in the future do an album or something together as

We’ve always loved singing together and it’s something that will never change. We just haven’t really put anything out together in a long time. For instance, Jazz and I did a little EP a couple of years ago, but other than that

a group? Maybe. People always ask that question, but it bothers me that they do because they don’t even have our latest project which I just mentioned, the EP with Jazz that came out two years ago. It wasn’t that long ago, and we put so much into it. So, I feel like it just happened. But you know, in the future, probably, yes definitely. I would never say no to that. And you’ve been living in LA for a year now ? Yes almost a year... How has that transition been like; moving from New York to Los Angeles ?

Ring:​ Ox by Olivia @oxbyolivia

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Honestly, I am just now really starting to love it. I always loved L.A., but when I moved here it was out of a situation that wasn’t nice, so I had a hard time in the first six months, especially being pregnant and going through almost a depression after a heartbreak and everything. So, it was very difficult. I decided to go to therapy once a week just to help me become happy again, and now I’m just starting to really be that, because time heals. It’s been a year, and I feel better about me and where I’m going, and what I’m doing.


In Love and Hip Hop NY this season, Hand ring: ​ Ox By Olivia @oxbyolivia

we’ve only seen you in a few episodes, and not as many as before. Was that your own choice? Well, yes and no. It started off as me and all of us - Peter, Tara, our whole storyline...it started with me especially not wanting to do the show at all; that’s why I moved away. I just wanted to be left alone because of that whole situation and the TV show, and it wasn’t my intention to do it. Also, they really didn’t reach out to us, so it was kind of both parties who decided - “Ok, we’re not on this season.” And then halfway through filming, they contacted us again. I didn’t know how to feel. At first I was like - “No, we didn’t start the show, so I don’t really want to get back into it,” but then I felt like I had a little break. I wasn’t so down emotionally anymore, so I was like - “Okay, as long as they film me and my life here in L.A. and what I’m doing now, then maybe, why not?” And I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, but I ended up having only three scenes… Do you think you would ever be in Love and Hip Hop Hollywood?

it’s been a year and I feel better about me, and where I’m going and what I’m doing alone”

That’s like the biggest question I get (laughs). As of now, not yet, but I would never say never. I’m friends with a few girls of the show. But nobody has contacted me, and I’m not desperate to be on that show, so I’m not going to try to get on it and create some story just so they take me on. But if the opportunity was there, I probably wouldn’t say no if they approached me. As long as it’s real and represents me.

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I’m so curious, because just a few

write as my own therapy.

months ago you released your first

So, writing helped you in dealing with

book - “The Other Woman.” Please tell

the situation that was going on?

us briefly, what it’s about, and how was the experience of writing your first book? It’s really like a memoir about me; who I am as a person, what I’ve been through, my struggles. And I wanted to write my story because I feel like so many women can relate and everyone goes through stuff, even if it’s not exactly the same situation. But so many women write me every day with, “I need advice,” or “How did you move past this,” or I get emails all the time and I just wanted to write the book for them and share it with them, and honestly, I didn’t have the idea to write a book. I just wanted to write because I was going through this depression and heartbreak, and I just wanted to 26

Definitely yes! It was my own therapy... So writing a book wasn’t even planned ? No, I really started writing this book while going through a phase of being too depressed to make music. I was like - “This can’t be happening, I can’t even play my music, and I can’t be creative.” I was trying day by day to write a song, and it wouldn’t come out, and then I ended up just writing my thoughts down without music. And that was much easier at the time to do, and then it became just my story. Once I connected with my publisher, 13th and Joan, they encouraged me to start all the


way back from the very beginning, which is my life in Germany, and what happened before TV. Just to make more sense of the person I am and why I made the choices I made on TV, and just to see where I was coming from. You sometimes don’t understand people when you don’t know them.

“I really

started writing this book when I had gone through a phase when I was too depressed to make music ”

And I think it’s important to know that you wrote the book yourself because you wanted it to really feel true and be real... Yes, so many people have other people writing their story or their book, especially people from reality shows. They use ghost writers. I wanted to make sure I write every word in the book, and I did. Obviously, it was edited, because sometimes my phrasing isn’t the best (laughs), I have to admit. But everything I wanted to 27


say I wrote on paper, so I’m really proud of it. As you should be! And how did you feel when you first released the book? Were you nervous, anxious, excited, being it was your first book? Yes, I was nervous! Because there is a bunch of stuff in the book that just exposes everything, I felt that certain people were not going to like me putting things out there, especially the people that are close to me whom I mostly talk about in this book, such as my husband, Peter. I was very nervous and almost scared of his reaction. Surprisingly, he started out a little upset, but I don’t think he ever read the whole thing. But a couple of days after the book was released, he texted me that he was so proud of me and that he’s not mad. Even though I did “snitch” (laughs) about what he did behind people’s backs and on what he lied about. And I put out a lot of stuff that I know he didn’t want out there. He sent me the nicest message that he loves me and he’s so proud of me and he wishes me all the best. And that made me feel very good. Because his reaction is what I was most nervous about. And he supported it even though there is a lot of bad stuff about him in this book. On your social media you often post photos of your beautiful children. You’re living out here alone with them. How have you been able to balance two kids and a career? It’s hard. I always come second. My career is not as important. I 28

mean - it’s very important to me, but my kids are just so much more important. So, whatever I must do for me and my career has to wait. On a regular day, I take care of them, and then after they are taken care of, that’s when I do something for me. I was asked this question recently and I just said that even if it’s just an hour a day, I try to do a little bit for me every day; even if it’s just writing a few songs or practicing music, because I don’t have a full-time nanny or anything, and I don’t have family to help. I just try not to stop. And this is the thing, there is a quote. I don’t remember it exactly, but it goes something like, “As long as you don’t stop, it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’re making progress.” And talking about your music. It seems like it reflects a lot of your own experiences and what some women are going through. And I guess this comes hand in hand with the new book, but I have to ask still. How does your music help you in your daily life. Like what does it do for you? It’s my purpose. I always feel like I’m supposed to do this, and it gives me a feeling of happiness; my music, my songs that I write, my creations. That’s another thing that I talked to my therapist about. When I was so sad about losing my husband, she literally challenged me to find something that made me feel happy and made me feel as good as he did. And at the time I was like, “There is nothing and I’m just so sad,” and then I would think about


always led back to the music and my creations. And when I found that again, I realized that that is what makes me happy. And I have to ask you this, since you mentioned your marriage and everything. It seems as you’re at

but I feel strong so it doesn’t bother me anymore.”

“I feel very strong about moving away. People called me weak all this time,

it, because before I was in this relationship I was happy too. I was having happy moments through other things and I started thinking about what they were, and it

a good point right now, in your relationship, you get a long despite everything that has happened ? We get along really good, even better than when we were together, because there is no more arguing about the things that we’d argue about. There is no more worrying for me. I had to get used to it. I had to get over the sadness phase where it was just sad that I can’t have him. I have accepted that now in the last year. I have accepted that I can’t have this man. It’s still hard but… But it seems like you’re doing better living out here, and doing your own thing ? Absolutely, it’s better for me to be away. And people are like, “Oh, but if you’re not all the way over it, if you’re still letting him stay with you when he comes to LA you’re not moving on.” I feel like I’m moving on way more than anybody. Moving away is the biggest step to moving on because there is moving on emotionally

and moving on physically. Even if I have not mastered both, I definitely feel like I detached myself emotionally from him, and that is the biggest step you can make. And not to talk about his ex, but we were all together in the storyline and they keep saying, “They’re not being intimate anymore.” Okay, but what about the emotional part? they are still very much attached in that area, and that is harder to let go of sometimes. I feel very strong about moving away. People called me weak all this time, but I feel strong, so it doesn’t bother me anymore. When I was still with him I did feel weak, so when people said that to me it would make me feel even more weak. But now when people say I’m weak, it does not bother me one bit, because I don’t feel weak.

Where are you now in life, and what can we expect ? What are you working on and how does 2017 look like for you ? Well, just promoting what I recently released. I’m promoting the book and the EP and I’m always trying to create more. Even though I just released the music, I’m already thinking about the next. Raising my kids. Now that I’m in L.A., other opportunities might come up and I’m really excited about getting into the scene here and possibly do some acting. I’ll take some classes first because it’s not really my area (laughs). And I’m already thinking about my next possible album. So being creative, raising my kids, and building my brand. 29


ITS ALL GOOD

with Gina Humber by Faith Turner

Mother, educator, author and speaker, Gina Humber brings awareness of diversity in her community. She earned her master’s degree from City College of New York, where she studied Special Education and minored in African American History. She published a children’s book It’s All Good, that helps build children’s self-acceptance, esteem and opens discussions of diversity while celebrating their own differences. Humber has also been a radio guest on the Maggie Linton Show, Sirius XM, and Manny Faces in New York City. Humber takes pride in her expertise on race and education, and created Diversity Is A Verb LLC. The company works to empower through networking with schools by providing the educational necessities and speakers to improve academics, social behavior and acceptance.

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Faith Turner: What/who was your inspiration to become an educator and author? Gina Humber: I grew up in an era where African Americans were mostly entrepreneurs, educators, lawyers. With the help of my family, I saw education as my stepping stone. In my home, discussions of Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali were cornerstones in our conversations. Educators were highly esteemed in their efforts regarding the civil rights movement, and those of us that stepped into the shoes of education was expected to fill them as equally or better. My inspiration as an author grew naturally. Typically, if you enjoy writing, you enjoy reading; they are synonymous. Authors bending words, creating the scenes of spectacular feats done with imagery, letters meaning and feeling. It was a dance that I wanted to master.


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“ Find someone you

admire, watch them, listen to them, chart their progression and then create your blueprint”

FT: What were some of the challenges you faced in becoming an inspiration to others? How did you overcome them? GH: I don’t know if that question can be past tense, since I am still challenged inspiring others. Not by my words or actions, but by people’s cynicism. Somewhere within this 24-hour news cycle society we checked out, became numb...only opened our eyes when it hit us personally, we forgo our brothers and sisters’ plights. My job as a speaker, author and educator is to make us feel again, make us look at the pain, sit with it, and find solutions…. our peace is our solutions to the things we ignore. FT: What were your aspirations and dreams in your childhood or adolescent years? GH: (Laughing) My dreams were to be famous, wealthy, live in downtown NYC with a fast car, never get married, or have kids and travel the world. Instead, I do… well, you can Google me. I live in a house in CT with a white picket fence, I have two cars (ones fast, one ...not so much) I have 5 kids, married...but I do travel, so as my grandmother would say...6 and half a dozen of 32

the other. It’s all relative. FT: How did you come about developing your book “It’s All Good?” GH: Several reasons prompted the development of such a book... both personal. Ten years ago, my daughter Bryana, #4 of my 5 children, struggled with her looks, and ultimately her identity in this world. And if you can’t find your identity, you become lost, and she at six years old felt lost. She couldn’t see herself in me or in sisters who were lighter in complexion than her, and I as her mother couldn’t find children’s books that addressed melanin and what that conversation looks like between a parent and their child. My second reason...my students...How many books can you count on one hand that has

images of children with a disability? Or children with a disability as the main character throughout the book? I can’t...and as a special education teacher I understand the importance of being visible in the world in which we live in, and what the voice of someone who is seen sounds like. I know what not being visible in a world sound like too....and I no longer could stand the quietness of voices, images and stories that should be heard and seen but weren’t. Children who grow up not being validated, become adults who stay quiet to the wrongs of this world. We are in an age where children’s images and stories cannot stay


quiet. Diversity and Inclusion gives a voice to our differences and expands the horizon for change in our society. FT: How easy or difficult is it to start the conversation on diversity and ethnicity with young children? GH: It’s not easy. People, or rather adults, tend to view children as innocent and with pure thoughts. Instead, children are shaped by their parents’ thoughts. If you’ve never had a discussion about melanin, fat shaming, disability, ethnic characteristics, and racism, then children understand these concepts through the world in which they are shaped in. For example, if you’ve not discussed racism and they hear stories of Michael Brown and see pictures of his body in the streets, what impression remains in them in regards to how they see themselves and others? Children, like some adults, don’t know the importance or beauty of their diversity, and how individuals selfidentify or how self- esteem is tied to their understanding of who they are, and who their people are. So, the conversation of diversity and ethnicity isn’t always easy, but it is attainable.

young and mature adults. This passion cultivated from the need to get the message out regarding selfacceptance and diversity. Diversity is a Verb serves as a source of empowerment to all involved; improving environmental and social conditions. The name is inspired by, diversity must be aligned and equipped with action…Therefore, Diversity Is AVerb. To date we have sold over 3,000.00 of our children’s book It’s All Good- A Book About Self Acceptance & Diversity on our site Ginahumber.com since debuting at the Museum of Natural History in NYC. We are also excited about currently establishing our Diversity Is a Verb Youth Nation (a free Facebook group) that is geared for youth and teens. This FB group will have live FB video chats from leaders and experts in their field giving advice and help to teens to persevere through their struggles and give way to their victories! It launches 7/7/2017 at 7pm, but we are urging youth & youth groups to join the group by 6/30/2017. Our kick off will include several countries, national groups joining in to hear some heavy hitters come launch day! Mark your calendars and join your teens now! FT: What are some of the main challenges that you have observed in

FT: Tell us about your Diversity is a

children in regards to self-acceptance

Verb organization. How did it come

and/or self-esteem? How easy or

about? What inspired its name? Who

difficult has it been in helping them

does it serve? Any success stories you

to open up about and overcome such

can share?

challenges?

GH: Diversity is a Verb LLC was established in 2016 with a focus on creating platforms for discussions surrounding topics of: global diversity, self-acceptance, special needs, and body imaging for both

GH: Some of the main challenges they face is breaking cultural conditioning, societal and cultural views that have shaped how they move and think in this world, that

has them marginalizing themselves mentally. Well, it is passed on, so if we can include the parents in the mental well being of their child, then we can improve what their children believe about themselves and their potential. It can’t be a child thing, it must be a community thing. Which is why our FB youth group Diversity is a Verb Youth Nation, will also have live video chats that will equip parents with better skills to help their child and themselves reach goals. FT: What impact do you strive to have on upcoming generations? GH: We strive to have the impact where we as a community are thriving: mentally, physically, financially, and socially. And any lack is due to being non-participatory in helping your brother/sister out. Our goal is to change our mind set to feed and lead one another into victory, as a whole, as a group, as a nation. FT: What advice would you leave for this generation on reaching their goals and striving for excellence? GH: Find someone you admire, watch them, listen to them, chart their progression and then create your blueprint after them but with your style, your flavor. Keeping in mind that the formula to be great is not a difficult one, its bringing others with you to be greater than you, is the real reward.

Website: http://www.ginahumber.com/ Instagram: ginahumber Twitter: ghumber720 Facebook: Diversity Is A Verb LLC 33


SOCS

THE SKIN OF COLOR SOCIETY MEDIA LUNCHEON

by Tanthony Raeshawn Last December the Skin of Color Society (SOCS) put together a media day luncheon to discuss skin and scalp issues that people of color experience and how they are tackling these issues while bringing about breakthroughs and real results. As the Beauty and Fashion editor for Bronze, I had the pleasure of speaking with mostly every expert there, and each conversation was enlightening, valuable and most importantly, informative. When I spoke with Dr. Amy McMichael, MD, she was very informative and thorough as she educated me on skin

From left: Crystal Harrell (Proctor & Gamble), Dr. Susan C. Taylor, MD & Tanthony Raeshawn 34

Dr. Susan C. Taylor, MD & Tanthony Raeshawn

and hair care. One of many things we discussed that I felt was very important was how women are shaving hair from under their chin and face, as well as plucking hair out with tweezers, which, according to Dr. McMichael is an absolute “No, No.” “Doing so causes hyper pigmentation and dark marks in the skin,” says Dr. McMichael. She explains, “The best thing to do if you are having unwanted hair grow in is to see a dermatologist.” She also mentioned that laser hair removal treatment or waxing are sources that could be used. We also spoke about women of color and what contributed to damaged, thinning hair and women with male pattern baldness. Dr. Amy explained that she knows so many women that are ashamed of their hair and scalp conditions that they keep it covered by hairstyles that keep hair even more deprived, such as sew in weaves, which could cause traction alopecia, tight hair braiding practices that causes hair thinning, and over processed hair with chemicals, such as a relaxer and color. Next I spoke to Dr. Andrew F. Alexis MD, MPH. In our conversation, I asked the question, “What age is sufficient for males to start shaving?” He informed me, “It is not necessarily the age that is the issue as it is the technique in which men and young men alike are shaving.” He goes on to say that one should never shave going against the grain, or dig into their skin to get ingrown hair out. With these concerns, one should see a dermatologist that specializes in their


Tanthony Raeshawn & Dr. Marta l Rendon, MD

concern. Dr. Maritza Perez, MD gave insightful information regarding Botox and how you can use retine to help encourage a youthful look. Lastly, I finally got to steal a few moments with Susan C. Taylor, MD, renown physician and dermatologist, and creator of the popular skincare brand, RX for Brown Skin. We spoke briefly regarding how social media is a great tool for SOCS to release important information to youth as it pertains to dermatologic issues, trends, and breakthroughs for skin of color. Lastly, I spoke with Dr. Marta l Rendon, MD briefly and she was very informative as well in regards to pigment disorders and how laser treatment has evolved for people of color. Dr. Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD was very informative in his specialty as well.

amazing insight on the care and treatment of skin of color, and I would like to thank Dr. Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSD, FAAD, and Dr. Babar K. Rao, MD for sharing their knowledge. I would also like to give Tyler Steele from La Roche-Posay and Crystal Harrell, Phd from P&G special thanks for providing me with product knowledge for skin and scalp care. If you would like to learn more about SOCS, Bronze Magazine encourages everyone to go visit www. Skinofcolorsociety.org Photography by Yalcin Sisman

Each of the experts provided such From Left to Right: Dr. Andrew F. Alexis, Dr. Susan C. Taylor, Dr. Amy McMichael, Dr. Maritza Perez, Dr. Marta l Rendon, and Dr. Seemal R. Desai

Dr. Amy McMichael, MD, & Dr. Andrew F. Alexis MD, MPH

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Cheryl Woods is…

COURAGEOUS Exquisite singer-songwriter Cheryl Woods has been compared to artists like Faith Evans, Jill Scott and Aaliyah. But this Cleveland-born songstress has a style that is uniquely her own. Cheryl released her second album “Courageous” last August, which has been receiving radio airplay in several countries. She wrote every song on the album, and served as executive producer. A natural-born artist, Cheryl was a star in her school’s choir, winning medals for participating in various vocal competitions.

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She also formed a dance group with her sister and childhood friend, was active in drama club and assembled a three-girl group in college. After moving to New York City, Cheryl’s drive and impressive vocal range led to writing and producing offers for singers such as Michael Fredo and Bob Ivory. She also contributed her talents to the hip-hop film “Black and White.” In this interview, we talk to Cheryl about everything from her musical background and creative process, to the inspiration for the title track on her latest album. “Courageous” is now available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, & Google Play. Farren Washington: What was the inspiration for the opening track (of your latest album) “Courageous?” Cheryl Woods: “Courageous” was written based on my own life experiences. For this particular album, I had to make myself vulnerable and share some of my most intimate feelings. I’m a firm believer that life lessons are there to help us grow, and “Courageous” was my way of saying that I will not be afraid to make choices that are in my best interest. The song is about how I took back control of my own happiness and life. The album cover reflects that same message. FW: Can you remember the first time you wrote a song? Did it come easy

to you? Describe it to me. CW: I was twelve years old when I wrote my first song. It was called “Our Love Will Grow in Time.” It’s funny because I really didn’t have a clue what love was at that age! Maybe I just based it on songs I heard on the radio at the time. I mailed my lyrics to a publishing company that I found in the back of a magazine. When a package with contracts arrived in the mail, my parents and I had a conversation about the music business and copyrights. FW: Which instruments do you play? What instrument do you like to use when you write (piano, guitar, etc.)? CW: I am proficient on the piano, flute and violin. I’ve only been playing the piano for about five years now. I usually write songs to musical tracks submitted to me by various producers. My keyboard often comes in handy for spur of the moment ideas. FW: Which famous musicians do you admire? Why? CW: I am a lifelong Michael Jackson fan. He was always so committed to his craft and continuously perfecting it. He was the true definition of an icon. I also love Stevie Wonder. He has been one of my biggest inspirations as a songwriter. He pens universal lyrics which speak to the human spirit. FW: Is your family musical? Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.

“I believe that we all have life lessons to help us grow and Courageous was my way of saying that I will not be afraid” by Farren Washington

CW: Yes! Where do I begin? My father sang and was in a group in the 1950s. They recorded multiple albums, but were not affiliated with a major label. My brother, Wayne Jr. is a singer-songwriter. Nevertheless, my mother’s side of the family is where I got most of my performing and singing exposure from. Before I was even born, my great-grandmother

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formed a choir consisting of my nine great-aunts and great-uncles. My great-grandfather (who was also an incredible singer), was a pastor who accepted a position at a church with only a handful of members. Since my great-grandmother played the piano her entire life, she became the music director. I sang with this choir for a period consisting of five generations of family (fifty members to be exact). When I was 18, I recorded an album with the choir and sang my first solo, “Give it To Me.” It was my first time hearing myself on the radio. We opened for acts such as Shirley Caesar, Al Green and Dorothy Norwood.

FW: What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town? CW: Some of my fondest memories revolve around performing in a citywide talent show bi-annually with my sister and best friend. We were able to meet other kids throughout Cleveland, and everyone knew us wherever we went. I’ve also had some memorable musical experiences while living in New York City. That is where I truly honed my craft and became a better songwriter. I collaborated with other artists and started to work with different rappers and producers. FW: Do you teach music? Or, would you consider teaching in the future? CW: I have given individual vocal lessons before and would enjoy doing that again in the future. I also have experience in directing a children’s choir. Teaching comes naturally to me, and I love giving my students the guidance they need to pursue their own dreams. FW: How do you balance your music career with other obligations spouse, children, etc.? CW: My family has always been my priority, which is why I haven’t been able to travel as extensively in recent years. However, my son is fourteen years old now, so I am planning to amp up my commitment to my music career. I’m currently teaching full-time and the benefit of that is that I have three months off during the summer.

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This transition allows me to seek engagements that are long-term. FW: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows? CW: In the past couple of years, I have performed at several venues in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Cleveland. I really like the Arts Garage in Philadelphia and Peabody’s in Cleveland. My favorite type of setting is small-medium, such as a supper club. I am more partial to intimate settings, versus a huge stadium. I always give 110% to every performance, whether it’s an audience of a hundred or a thousand. I am going to be performing at numerous festivals this summer; further details will be revealed on my website in the upcoming months. I recently had to pass up a month-long gig in Poland. Hopefully, another opportunity to travel overseas will present itself in the future. FW: How has your music evolved since you first got into the business? CW: I feel like I have improved greatly as a writer, because experience has helped me gain confidence. In the beginning, I would craft songs that lacked depth. Now that I have had more meaningful life experiences, I can write with honesty, sincerity and soul.


FW: What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

CW: I sing about love, life and the pursuit of happiness and I probably always will. I often reflect on my personal relationships and the relationships of those around me. FW: Could you briefly describe your creative (music-making) process? CW: I usually let the music motivate me. If the track is great, I can write and record it on the spot! It’s easier to do when you have your own studio. Sometimes, I have ideas for lyrics before composing the music and vice-versa. I can create music anytime, anywhere. I could be on a power-walk, driving in my car, or washing dishes. I carry a notebook with me all the time, because you never know when inspiration will strike! I also come up with song ideas in my dreams and write them down when I wake up. FW: What are you up to next (upcoming projects, tours, etc.)? What does the future hold for you in the next 5-10 years?

“Usually, the music motivates me. If I like the track, I can write and record it on the spot!”

CW: I am going to begin recording my third album this summer, film a few music videos and perform as much as I can before school starts again. My son graduates from high school in 2020 and at that point, the sky is the limit! Lord willing, I am going to record a new album every year and work on touring.

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GIRL POWER

FOLAKE OLOWOFOYEKU'S Folake Olowofoyeku, who is the youngest of 19 children, had the opportunity of growing up in both Nigeria and London. With an indulged passion for the arts, Olowofoyeku earned her B.A in Theatre from The City College of New York as well as received a diploma in Audio Engineering from the Institute of Audio Research. Today, the Award-Winning actress and afro-rock musician is dominating the entertainment business with her talented presence. Already she has made appearances in over ten films and television shows, and has successfully lead roles in four movies, one of which she won best actress, When They Could Fly. In an interview with Olowofoyeku, she takes us on the journey of her success, and reveals some exciting projects that are currently in the progress.

Written By Jamelia Thompson Photograph by Amina Touray Styled by Janel Styles Makeup Niehla O

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On Her Childhood... Tell us what type of childhood you had. How was it growing up between London and Nigeria? How similar or different was life for you living between the two places? I had a very interesting and well-rounded childhood. Most of my childhood was spent in the city and my hometown in Nigeria, with frequent trips to London where I schooled for a little bit. Life was very different for obvious reasons, like the weather, demographics, etc. It was similar because I had family in both countries and traveled with my parents, so I was never missing the essential parts of home.

As the youngest of 19 children, was life easier or harder for you (please explain)? Did you have close relationships with all of your siblings? What type of relationship did you have with your parents?

Green jacket design: ​Masaki Matsuka @masakimatsuka. Provided @fashionforwards_la Jeans: ​Folake’s own Shoes: F ​ olake’s own

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It was both easy and hard. Most my siblings were much older and had families of their own before I was born, so it felt like I had many of the expectations of being the last born, but few of the benefits. I was closer in age to some of my nieces and nephews so my relationships with a few of them are more like that of siblings.


Orange detail earrings: ​NMD @now_showroom

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On Following Her Passion… You didn’t want to follow the You didn’t want to follow the traditional family profession of law and politics that your parents wanted for you. How did they react when you followed your passion for the arts? Now that you are older, how do they feel about your career today? For a long time, my parents were

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extremely opposed to a career in the arts, and they worked really hard to discourage me. The tactics used weren’t the best but, as an adult now, I do understand their apprehension. With the opportunity to explore my creativity in New York, and show proof of my talents, they eventually gave their blessings and accepted my choice. They have both passed on, but I am grateful to have been able to share some of my earlier achievements with them.

Which came first, music or acting? Which do you enjoy the most and why?

Music came first. I enjoy both very much; however, music is dearer to me because I work on mostly my creations, so it’s like my child. It’s also scarier for that same reason.

What was it like for you leaving your family and moving to NYC to pursue your passion? Having been in boarding school since I was 10 years old, the transition was very easy. I was already used to being away from family, so I welcomed the move as an adventure and a chance to finally explore my creativity.


“I welcomed the move as an adventure and a chance to finally explore my creativity. �

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“It was an amazing experience from start to finish. All the actors and the crew involved were such beautiful begins.”

Ring:​Lillianna Jewelry @lilliannajewelry. Provided by @now_showroom

Tell us about your love for basketball. When did it start? It started with two of my immediate brothers who played recreationally in Nigeria. I learned the rules of the game by watching them play their NBA video games, then I’d watch Olumide play in clubs where he would let me be the referee for their games. My other brother, Bolaji, taught me how to dribble and would practice dunking on me. Ha! The thought of playing myself never occurred to me until I saw some flyers posted on a bulletin board at my college in New York. I attended the tryouts and was accepted on the spot.

On Her Career… Tell us about the character you play, named Minerva Jefferson in the 2017 film Death Race 2050. How did you prepare for your role? Have you ever watched its prequel, the 1975 version called Death Race 2000? If so, what did you think of it? Our “Death Race 2050” remake stays true to the style of the original 1975 cult classic “Death Race 2000.” My character, Minerva Jefferson, is a famous, out-spoken, unapologetic, drug addicted, rock-star/diva who has successfully created a persona that’s far removed from who she truly is, and she’s thriving in that duplicity. One of the things I did to prepare for this role was to watch a ton of reality and


celebrity tantrum footage. A lot!

You are appearing in the 2017 film titled “If” by Mario Van Peebles. Tell us about your character and what it was like working with the legendary actor/filmmaker Mr. Van Peebles. I play an African barber named Frida in this film. It’s a comic relief/cameo role. It was an amazing experience to work with Mr. Van Peebles. He is talented, intelligent and forthcoming, with a wealth of information. It was inspiring to watch him work - directing and starring in this film - his transitions were effortless.

You won Best Actress for your lead role in “When They Could Fly” at the ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto. How was that experience? It was an amazing experience from start to finish. All the actors and the crew involved were such beautiful beings. Also, shooting on an actual cotton plantation — walking bare-foot and having to actually pick cotton on this over 100-year-old plantation in South Carolina — was so surreal, symbolic and emotional. I was still in college when we filmed. The director, Piotr Kajstura, discovered me in the hallways of the Theater Department. I had to take a long absence from class that semester to go film in South Carolina. Some of my professors were understanding but some others weren’t - I got an F in dance class… it was well worth it. Ha!

Mustard dress design: M ​ asaki Matsuka @​masakimatsuka. Provided by ​ @fashionforwards_la Feather earrings design: ​Jewelry bar usa - @jewelrybar.usa 47


I remember I was working the receptionist desk at a sports club when I got the call that I won. I celebrated by calling my mom. It felt like an acknowledgement that I was walking the right path.

How did you prepare for the physical nature of your role in Female Fight Club? Did your training in Krav Maga influence your preparation in any way? I was already working with my personal trainer and training in Krav Maga before I accepted the role in ‘Female Fight Club.’ This, as well as being experienced with stage combat and fight choreography, definitely helped prepare me for what was physically needed from me on this project.

On Her Future… So what’s next for Folake? 48


My goal is a sci-fi/action/adventure franchise. Currently, I’m working on a huge video game, voicing one of the lead characters. Also, my newly launched production company, Fo Foyeh Films, recently released its first season of a comedic series called “Inappropriate Sh!t”. It’s available to watch online now: http://www.folake.info/productioncompany

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BRONZE GIRL MAGIC

TIPS FOR UNLEASHING YOUR

7


A

What is Bronze Girl Magic? s a compliment to Black Girl Magic, Bronze Girl Magic (BronzeGM) is the expression of your universal awesomeness as a woman who has been kissed or “bronzed” by the light of your Creator. Your universal awesomeness is everything that makes you strong, resilient, intelligent, courageous, energetic, loving and inspiring. In short, it’s everything that allows your light to shine brightly every day. Unfortunately, there are imbalances that can block your BronzeGM.

contribute to your blocks. When your spiritual health suffers, you become emotionally drained; when your relational health suffers, guilt and shame emerges; and when you don’t address your physical health, illness creeps in. And they are all interrelated! I’ve experienced these connections, always being busy with work. This hurt my love life, my son’s life, my devotion time and my physical health. I couldn’t figure out how to break the pattern. It resulted in mild depression, anxiety, pre-diabetes and regular visits in the principal’s office. I learned three things: (1) many women experience a similar pattern; (2) the pattern is a vicious cycle; and (3) it can only be broken with a choice to create a new pattern.

Ultimately, the imbalances harm your whole health, reduce your vitality, and dull your magical shine. Thankfully though, the power to remove the blocks is in your hands.

What Blocks Your Bronze Girl Magic? Coaching women for over a decade has revealed challenges that create imbalances and blocks our shine. The imbalances show up differently, but tend to fall in four categories: vocational, spiritual, relational and physical health. For example, I’ve spoken to countless women with unfulfilling careers. They want to pursue their passion, but are afraid for different reasons. “Will my passion pay the bills,” “What will others think if I show my true self,” and “Is what I have to offer good enough,” are some of the shine-dimming thoughts in the area of vocational health. Likewise, not making the time to regularly connect with your Source (spiritual health); allowing busyness to take away from loving connections (relational health); and letting your physical health routine disappear all

Sheron Brown PhD

S

heron Brown is the owner of Sweet Eden by Sheron, a wellness education company. She helps people reduce stress and related conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, obesity and cardiovascular disease through individual and group coaching, courses and seminars. As a yoga instructor and certified integrative nutrition health coach with a doctorate in helping people maximize their learning, she also teaches mindful practices that help people improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being so they can live and work with increased joy and purpose. Contact Sheron for help with your group’s or your wellness goals at info@sweetedenbysheron.com.

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BRONZE GIRL MAGIC?

HOW DO YOU UNLEASH YOUR


3. Just Start Now!

“External demands can derail your health and the little voice in your head may say change is impossible, but it’s not. You can empower yourself and unleash your BronzeGM. Here’s how.”

1. Reclaim Your Time! If you work excessively, it’s time to re claim your time. I’ve coached women who over worked to pay off debt, or because their boss was intimidating. First of all, fire your bully-boss. There are better bosses. Find them. Choose an employer that respects you, and your on- and off-the-clock hours. Second, if it’s about money, figure out exactly what you need monthly to reduce your debt and only allow that much overtime. After that, take your time back.  

2. Connect to Your True Lifeline! Our only Source is our Creator, yet we allow lesser things to rob us of sacred time with our true lifeline. Let’s change this. Carve out 10 to 30 minutes at the start or end of your day to pray, meditate and/or read your sacred text. Quieting your mind and connecting with your Source daily—even if it’s just 10 minutes to start—will relieve stress and enhance your mental and spiritual health.

If your job is life draining, but you can’t walk away immediately, begin to create joy by working your passion as a hobby. Love to make jewelry, refurbish furniture, write or perform? Then do it! Use your reclaimed time to pursue your passion at least one hour a week, then increase the time as life allows. No excuses magical woman: just start now.

4. Make Yourself #1! Prioritizing your well-being is not selfish; not prioritizing yourself is. I’ve worked with women who denied taking care of themselves to put others first because of guilt only to end up drained and frustrated. ‘Me’ time is a must and can include journaling, enjoying nature, or reading a good book. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to nourish your being. It will alleviate stress and allow for clearer thinking. You deserve to be #1.

5. Nurture Your Relationships! There’s no way around it: if you don’t make time for those you love, your relationships will deteriorate. Use your reclaimed time to hang out with your kids and/or partner. Play a board game, cook dinner together, or bask in a mani-pedi. Whatever you choose, commit to deliberately sharing time at least one hour per week. This alone will lift your spirits and enhance your personal power.

6. Get Moving! It can’t be said enough: being physically active is necessary, especially as we grace this planet with more years—aka get older. All of your organs and bones need you to do it. The gym may or may not be your answer.

If it is not, find what you enjoy. It could be walking, kickboxing, tennis, hiking, etc. My personal favorite is yoga because of its many health benefits including reducing stress. Regardless of the activity, choose to get moving.

7. Make it Last! You may be thinking, “Yeah, this is good, but I know me. I’ll start and it’ll fizzle out,” or “I would start, but I don’t know how.” If that’s the case sign up with a coach to be your guide, and cheerleader. Research shows that life transformation lasts more when a coach supports the process. So if this is you, make the choice to make it last. Reclaiming your time makes room for everything else, so start there. Also, attempting all of these at once is overwhelming. Instead, start with the top one that best matches your life, then as the behavior becomes habitual, introduce another one. After a while you will show up all of the time in all of your universal awesomeness.

NOW, GO FORTH, UNLEASH

YOUR BRONZE GIRL MAGIC AND

SHINE ON!

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Creativity is contagious, pass it on.

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“Everything is designed,but few things are designed well” We are a newly re-branded creative movement dedicated to showcasing modern and urban design. FU is not just design, its a movement. A movement for the creative’s, the lovers of life, the inspiring and the inspired. At Freedom unlimited our aim is to provide you with an insight into the world of visual communication, through the eyes of every day people. Creativity is our passion and we hope to take you on our journey as we discover the creativity of tomorrow, uncover different cultures, explore new styles, and search for the best.

Instagram: @f_uworld f_uworld@hotmail.co.uk

W W W. F U W O R L D . C O . U K 55


MAGAZINE

BRONZE

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March 2017 Women's History Month Issue  

This month's special issue features model, entrepreneur, and reality television star and actress from The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA),...

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