Page 1

How to Get that Natural Summer Glow

DEF POETRY JAM CO-CREATOR BRUCE GEORGE ON HIS “GENIUS IS COMMON” CAMPAIGN

FOOD NETWORK'S CHEF JEROME BROWN DISHES ON NEW COOKING SHOW & COOKBOOK

TECH INDUSTRY EXPERT

SIAN MORSON

HAS A BEAUTY APP JUST FOR YOU!

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST

Brittney Reese

IS READY FOR THE RIO 2016 GAMES!

JULY 2016

SUMMER FASHION VISIT BRONZEMAGONLINE.COM


“Celebrate and embrace the

Photographer: Amina Touray Photography Makeup Artist: Crystal Watana Models (from left to right): Krystal Willis, Alicia Erby, Linda Walton, Angela Meryl, and Chelsy Gantt


e beauty of women of color�

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Bronze Magazine wishes 6-time champion and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese all the best at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil Go for the Gold Brittney! BRONZEMAGONLINE.COM

July 2016

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editor’s note

H

ello Bronze beauties! Are you enjoying your summer so far? whether you are traveling, doing a staycation, or nothing at all, I hope that you all are taking some time out to enjoy YOU, because after all, if you don’t take care of self, then you can’t be effective in your daily life or even take care of others. Our July issue will inspire you! Our cover star, Olympic gold medalist and sixtime world champion Brittney Reese shares her personal story about how she discovered her passion for becoming a professional athlete, how she has prepared herself

for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games next month, and her thoughts on the dangers surrounding the Zika virus there. She is an amazing woman and athlete! Other inspirational and empowering features include Def Poetry Jam Co-Creator Bruce George, Kollective Mobile Founder Sian Morson, Chef to the Stars Jerome Brown, and filmmaker Adrain Washington. There’s so much to read and be inspired by in this issue, so make sure you find a quiet spot to kick-back with a nice cool drink and enjoy! I look forward to seeing you all again in September.

Shawn

Shawn Stuldivant

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Search for Bronze Magazine or Bronze Mag Apps

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bronze magazine

Co-Owner/Editor In Chief Shawn Stuldivant Co-Owner

Barry Stuldivant

Issue Design/Layout Melissa Biggs Writers (this issue) Alexis Alfred Aidan Dennis Taisya Montes Amelia Moore Amina Touray Shuntega Meadows Photographer Contributor Amina Touray Copyeditor/Proofreader Victoria Krute


CONTENTS 18

Brittney Reese

The Story of an Olympian

‘16

Features

8 10

Sian Morson

12 16

Chef Jerome Brown

Making Her Mark

Yvonne Pierre

A Purpose More Powerful Than Circumstance Eat Like a Celebrity

Adrain Washington

The Road to Success is Not a Straight One

28 Bruce George

Action Speaks in Words

Fashion Editorial

32

Summertime Fashion

DIY & Beauty

14 15

DIY Healthy Spring Rolls Get that Natural Summer Glow


making her mark Sian Morson Revolutionizes the Tech Industry with new Beauty App By Alexis Alfred

To “just do it” is the motto of Sian Morson, one of the few African American women blazing trails in the technology industry. Through her company, Kollective Mobile, Morson has definitely made her mark on the technology industry within the course of 6 years. Her technology company specializes in many areas such as: brand and identity, and web and app development. She has two mobile development agency offices and splits her time between Atlanta, Georgia and Oakland, California.

Q: Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now? A: I grew up in New York, but I moved to New York from the Virgin Islands when I was about 11 years old. I am a proud product of the New York City Public School System. I went to NYU and studied film and then moved out to the Bay Area. Now I spend my time between Atlanta and Oakland.

Q: How did you become interested in the tech industry? A: I just kind of fell into it. I really was Not only is Morson making a big convinced that I was going to make films splash in the huge sea that is the after film school but I suppose that in order technology industry, she has also used to do that I should have stayed in New York her skills in technology to change the or moved to Los Angeles. I moved to San beauty and cosmetic industry. Her Francisco and the opportunities there for CastBeauty app, available for both film were kind of limited, and everything android and iPhone users, takes hair available was really in technology. I literally and skin care to the next level. The just sorta fell into it. app allows users to create personal Q: What are some challenges you’ve profiles and helps them identity faced in the tech industry? which products to use on their skin Anything weird in regards to sex or racism and hair based on the weather in their I have been fortunate enough not to area specifically. The free app is the experience, or at least not to my face. I first weather beauty forecasting app think that any of the challenges that I’ve ever and was officially released this experienced have been me not moving past March. Aside from being an app fast enough, or things that I can attribute creator and business owner, Morson to myself. I have been fortunate to have has also written 2 technology focused worked with people who were not focused books. She is working on a third book on the fact that I am a woman or the fact that focuses on entrepreneurship. that I’m black.

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Q: Your CastBeauty app is very unique. Tell me a little bit about your reasoning to create it. How does it work? A: CastBeauty is my response to a specific problem I had. In 2013, I moved to Atlanta and the climate here is very very different from the climate in the Bay Area. I found that my skin in particular did not react very well to the change. The products that I was using didn’t seem to be working. As I had conversations with people who had moved her from different parts of the country, they mentioned that they had to make some adjustments as well. I just decided, what if we took a technology base and a data driving base to solving this problem. Q: Can all hair and makeup types use it? A: When you register for the application we ask you what your skin type is and what your hair type is. They are very generalized brackets like oily, curly, straight, dry or combination. We used that criteria as well as specific data points from the weather where you are currently located to recommend products. Q: About how many people use it? A: I would say we have thousands. We’ve had downloads every day since day one. Q: Where over the world is this app being used? A: We’ve gotten quite a few users in the UK. We’ve also had users from Thailand and India as well. We are working to accommodate a global audience. Right now we are just focusing on the US. Q: Since technology is an industry that has too few Africa American women, what type of advice or encouragement would you offer to other black women to take the leap in starting their own business? A: Just do it. Just go for it. I think that there are so many opportunities and avenues. There has not been a better time than right now. Q: What quote do you recite or think of when you feel the pressures of life while chasing your dreams? A: "Invest in the change you want to see in the world." I love that quote. Q: What type of future success do you predict for Kollective mobile? For the CastBeauty app? What type of progress do you plan to make and in what areas or fields? A: Kollective Mobile, we are 6 years in and I feel very good about that. I would love to just continue that trajectory for that. And my goal for Cast is to have every woman download the app. I would love to help every women find better products. That is my goal for Cast.


By Alexis Alfred

Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Pierre is a survivor. As an adult she has had to overcome years of childhood sexual abuse and rape. At a young age her father was murdered. The “hand” that Pierre was dealt early on in life caused her to participate in self-destructive behavior. “I did not know how to cope. By the age 12 I was drinking, smoking, skipping school, fighting. Everything that a parent would be frightened that their kid would do, I was doing it,” Pierre admits. She confesses that by the age of 16 she was an alcoholic; “I took the torch away from those who were torturing me and I started harming myself.”

Yvonne Pierre is an award winning author. Her first book, a Memoir titled “The Day My Soul Cried,” became a Amazon best seller for 4 consecutive weeks in a row. Her newest book, “Zoey,” released this past March, is about a mother’s journey as she attempts to come to terms with the “hand” that she’s been dealt while taking care of her four-year- old daughter that has a disability. “The inspiration for me to become a writer was how empowered I feel through story,” She explains. However, Pierre’s road to success has not always been has not always been smooth.

In the 10th grade she was banned from public school and had to finish her high school education at an alternative school. Throughout her teenage years she had received several wake-up calls. She lost friends to drugs, prison, and violence which caused her to reevaluate her life. One incident in particular set in motion her will to change her life around. “I was sitting on my grandmother’s front porch with my closest male friend and we were high. As we were sitting there under the influence, he began to start talking about how we needed to turn our lives around.

A Purpose More Powerful Than Circumstance

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He kept saying that we have 7 year olds cheating off our papers. He was making a joke but he was really serious about getting his life together for his son.” Soon after the two of them attended an event where a fight broke out and her friend was killed, she recalls:” I could not stop thinking about our conversation about getting our lives on the right track. I want to say that conversation resonated with me.” This incident caused her to pay closer attention to her life and the path that she was on. Her battles did not stop there, however. When she graduated from high school she could barely read. All she knew was that she wanted to go to college. Pierre was so excited about college; she even made it a point to motivate her friends to apply for college. Getting into college would be the next battle that Pierre would have to fight. In order to attend college, applicants had to pass a test. The friends she had motivated to apply for college had passed, but unfortunately, she did not. “I was devastated. I thought about everything I’ve ever brought on myself. I cried! They didn’t want this, but I did.” After not passing the test, she decided to stop everything in order to prepare herself for her next opportunity to take it. “I was just tired of failing. Everything stopped. I stopped hanging out and studied.” All her

hard work paid off when she was accepted into college. Pierre recalls how being raised in the church helped her through the hard times. She said she would remember the encouraging words given to her by her mother, her grandmother, and her uncle. When she was younger, watching Oprah also helped her get through hard times by seeing someone else be so open about her struggles with sexual abuse and rape. “If she can do it and get through it, then there is hope for me.” This is also what drove Pierre to write books to encourage women. Today, Yvonne Pierre is an awardwinning writer that holds several degrees, including her Executive Masters of Business Administration. She is married and is the mother of two sons. From not being able to read, to becoming a writer is just one way Pierre has turned lemons into lemonade. Her story just goes to show that the “hand” we are dealt in life does not matter so much as how you play your cards. When asked the question, “If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?” She replied: “I would tell my younger self to trust GOD.”

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Celebrity Chef Jerome Brown Cooks Up Southern Cuisine with a Gourmet Twist By Aidan Dennis

Jerome Brown, also known as Chef Rome, is a celebrity chef on the Food Network show, “Extreme Chef.” He has been a personal chef for over 25 years, in addition to having the 2014 cookbook of the year, entitled: “Eat Like A Celebrity: Southern Cuisine With A Gourmet Twist.” Not only that, he has a cooking television show with Hollywood actress, Denise Boutte of “Meet the Browns” and “Why Did I Get Married,” which is currently in production. The show, which is called “ Southern Soiree,” explores their live food tour that takes them across the world. He explores what it is like to enter the culinary industry , agreeing that it was difficult to penetrate the field as an African-American and that there

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is a “Good Old Boys” system in place which continues to exist. However, he found success by forming his own niche and encourages others to find their sweet spot in the industry. Find what works best for you, and what you work best at. Though, he does express how nothing is more difficult than missing out on family time and being back at home. He explains how he misses graduations and family reunions due to work obligations but the tradeoff is so worthwhile and effective that he feels that he has to do it and needs to keep going. When asked what some of his most enjoyable projects were, he had a plethora of answers. Being a part of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival every year is an absolute favorite

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of his. That, along with participating in the Fantastic Voyage. He enjoys both because he gets the notoriety of being associated with these events and also gets to make a difference.. Additionally, he loves being told about his experiences on Disney and knowing that people plan their vacation around him being at Epcot. He also enjoyed working the Global Peace Inaugural Ball for the Obama’s second inauguration, which he explained was a lot of fun having the opportunity to be associated with the president and the first lady; and having his menu be used. There are a number of things that make the job all worthwhile, but according to him, the number one thing is knowing the affect he has on the lives of others, and that he has been able to encourage and put a smile on their faces.. He travels all over the world and is given the opportunity to touch the lives of thousands of people every year. Although he loves cooking, he also appreciates being able to serve a purpose and recognize a responsibility. When asked, Chef Rome compared picking a favorite recipe from his cookbook, “Eat Like A Celebrity: Southern Cuisine With A Gourmet Twist,” to asking a mother who her favorite child was, yet he eventually settled on his lobster pancakes, which it seems people cannot get enough. He gets more requests for them than anything. He explained that he was in the shower when he first came up with the idea of lobster pancakes. What makes this recipe special to him is the fact that his very first dish was pancakes, so naturally, his lobster pancakes remind him of his first cooking experience. .


necessary to have, he focused on cutting boards. He says that people don’t understand the value of a great cutting board. He references how in Asian countries, cutting boards are very sacred, especially in Japan. He says that a majority of people have flimsy plastic or random glass cutting boards that aren’t durable or worthwhile. He wants the value of a cutting board to be understood. When asked for advice on nutrition, Chef Rome notes that people often overlook portion control and don’t pay attention to how much they should eat. They also need to eat at a consistent time of day. If you’re trying to eat better, train your metabolism to be a certain way. If you don’t eat more than once or twice a day, your metabolism wears down. Your metabolism is trained to work a certain way and that’s a key thing that people often overlook. He also suggests including fresh herbs in all recipes. He advises people to eat more organically. Not only will doing so help you as an individual, but it also helps support local farmers. Perhaps looking into community supported agriculture (CSA) would be a great alternative. Chef Rome explains the benefits of eating better and how you will feel the difference if you do so.. However, he also acknowledges the downsides, like how organic foods are more expensive.

When expressing details on his future TV show, he discussed how he and actress Denise Boutte have a couple of projects they are currently working on which have gained the attention of several media companies. They are excited about the opportunities the live show allows them.. Chef Rome brings the science and Denise brings the practicality which allows them to come to a happy medium. When Brown’s opinion onfood critics and reviewers and the impact they have had on his career was questioned, he expressed his overall

gratitude for them, whether or not he agrees with their opinion. At the end of the day, it can be a pretty good gauge even though its one person’s opinion. It’s something to note when somebody has something to say about your product. However, Brown knows that what really matters is whether or not you gave 110% of your best effort. He knows he isonly as good as his last meal and as a chef, he understands and expects everybody to be a critic of his work. When giving advice to the readers about kitchen tools which are

When asked if he had any advice for others who are looking to pursue their dreams and talents, as well as advice for those possibly interested in the culinary field, he stressed the importance of networking. It is important to meet people and put yourself into positions that will help you move forward with your goals. He advises people to be professional from top to bottom and remain teachable as well as humble. He tells young chefs to work best for themselves and be well rounded in all subjects so that they are able to do anything it takes to move forward. He ended on a positive and influential note, saying, “Just when you think you know it all, what you learn after that is going to last.”

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Healthy Spring Rolls Fresh spring rolls are one of my favorite dishes. They are basically a little salad wrapped up and ready to eat, and the best part is, they’re dippable! You can dip these delicious little rolls into anything from peanut sauce to sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and so much more! You can also tailor this recipe to your liking by adding any fresh ingredients you prefer. Even better, for some added protein you can throw in shrimp or any cooked or raw fish! Chances are you’ve seen this roll before; they are more commonly known as Vietnamese spring rolls. Pre-made rolls tend to cost just as much as it would cost to make a large batch at home! And who wouldn’t prefer a homemade dish? Like I said before, you can add anything into this recipe to make it yours. It’s always a good idea to add some ingredients like cilantro, basil, or parsley to give it a nice zing; and if you really feel like giving your taste buds a trip, you can add hot peppers too. The key to this recipe is cutting everything into long, thin slices.

To my fresh spring rolls, I added: Avocado, Cabbage, Carrots, Cucumber, and spring mix lettuce. The other ingredients you will need to master this recipe are: spring rolls skin, also known as rice paper, thin rice noodles, and a dipping sauce of your choice. Thin rice noodles take no longer than 3 minutes

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to cook after putting them in boiling water. The trickiest part to this recipe is rolling the spring rolls, which honestly isn’t very difficult. After your first roll you will be a pro. Before putting together your ingredients get a medium sized bowl with lukewarm water and dunk in your rice paper. The back of your spring rolls package should include directions, but again this is very simple. After that, place as much as you would like of your choice ingredients inside, starting with lettuce and piling everything else on top. Finally, fold two sides in and roll the other side to the bottom tightly, just like you would a burrito. And there you have it, a delicious and nutritious fresh spring roll! Enjoy!

by Taisya Montes


Get the Look

Get that Natural Summer Glow

by Shuntega Meadows

Fleeky Eyes Anastasia Beverly Hill Brow Wiz pencil in Ebony (above left), $21, to get those brows on fleek. To make the eyes pop, MAC 31 Lash false lashes (below), $17.

Model: JaLisa Vaughn

A Naturally Radiant Face

Matte Lips

For an overall glow, Jergens Natural Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer in Medium to Tan (above left), $9.99. Add Elf Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in Turks & Caicos (above right), $4.00, for contoured cheeks and a subtle, natural highlight.

Achieve a pinkish-nude matte look with Wet N Wild Megalust Lip Color in Think Pink (left), $1.99. Combine it with NYX Lip Liner in color Natural (left), $3.49, because who doesn't love a good liner?

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The road to success is not a straight one!

Author: Alexis Alfred

A

drain Washington is an actor, producer, filmmaker, and humanitarian who is taking over the film and television industry. He has worked alongside well known directors like Spike Lee and Nelson George, and has stared in a number of plays and short films. Looking at him today you would think that he has always had his career route and passions figured out, but in actuality it took him some time to finally accept his destiny. Born in South Carolina and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Washington says that growing up was difficult. “My biological father and my mom had separated at that point. It was pretty rough. My mom was a single mom for years.” He shares that although times were hard for his family, they were fortunate enough to move out of Newark to a safer neighborhood. Being a middle child of three on his mother’s side, Washington also

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had two sisters on his father’s side. However, when he was young his father and two sisters died in a fire in Syracuse, New York. He says that he handled the loss very differently when he was younger. “It didn’t affect me until I got older and really wanted to know my biological father and wanted to create a relationship with my two sisters that It registered that they weren’t here.” Although he was dealing with this major loss at a young age, Washington excelled in the classroom. He describes his younger self as a creative child and admits that he’s always had a wondrous imagination which helps him currently in the acting field. He graduated high school early and went to school for biology with an ultimate goal to become a doctor. “It’s what my parents really wanted for me but I enjoyed sports and I enjoyed the arts, mainly theater. But Sports went out the window because of

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the environment. When you live in certain neighborhoods the arts really didn’t get that much focus.” He says that growing up, acting was looked at as a “pipe dream.” He was urged to take what some would say a more realistic career path. He remembers being told “Those who are successful in arts, that’s great and fantastic. They’re the lucky ones but that’s not something you should focus on. You should focus on something that is more substantial. And that’s how we were raised.” Although Washington appeared to follow the advice of those before him, in the back of his mind he knew he always wanted to do something in the arts. Washington had many dreams growing from coming close to running in the Olympics to wanting to be in the NFL making his start at Hampton University. He says that the worst time for him was when he was in the Air Force.


"When you're in the military it's mainly a straight way. It’s military. It's nothing creative about it. It's just you do this and that's pretty much it. I served the United States as best I could." Washington says as much as he disliked being in the military he understands why his parents enlisted him. He says ultimately they were trying to teach him responsibility. He gives great credit to the military for making him the man he is today. After leaving the military, Washington then tried his hand out in pharmaceutical sales. During this time he participated in a few plays, one of which was Dracula. This is where his desire to pursue acting as a career was relit. "We got a lot of recognition for the play. I was tapped on my shoulder and told that I had a pretty decent gift and ability to do this. I was told to go to a particular studio and that studio turned out to be the discovery channel." Since then, Washington was able to chase his dream. He quit pharmaceutical sales and decided to pursue acting full time. Now in 2016, Washington says that he is very selective with the roles he chooses to take on. At this point in his career he has learned how to make sure his income is steady while also not having to work a regular job and being able to focus on his craft. "When you are hungry and you do have to make decisions to supply yourself with food and other responsibilities that come along with life, you can begin to become desperate." He says he makes a conscious effort to only select roles not out of desperation but out of his love of acting. He sets a personal goal of completing 12 projects a year of which he has already completed 6 this year. He starred in a cinematic short film entitled "Pride Fighter" that was presented at Cannes Film Festival. He was also entered in the Cinefest Festival starring

in "PressBreak." This month Washington is acting in a feature film called "The Darkest Hour," along with many more cinematic projects coming up. When it comes to working on projects that may or may not be seen by a huge audience Washington says that he never looks back. "Your only concern is that someone passes by your work. It doesn't matter how many people. If you do your job, one person should be enough." When he completes a project he is on to his next goal. "I've done my job and so I keep moving forward." In the film and television industry he is a huge supporter of Shadow and Act Company. He says that this outreach site is a great resource for those interested in film and media arts, especially African Americans. He feels that it is important to share information about resources that unite the African American community. Washington gives all the credit of his success to GOD. He says that for the last three years he has seen positive change in his life when he has kept true to his faith and the laws, statutes, and commandments. He even notices how following the commandments has improved his life not only career wise but physically. He speaks more specifically about the garden he has at his home. "Prior to these years nothing in my garden would grow." Now he has a very healthy garden filled with tomatoes, blueberry, nectarines, and more. "I am very proud to be an Israelite. I want that to be known so as I do this thing called film and television I always want to promote the image of positivity for the brothers behind me , brothers on the side of me, and brothers in the front of me who can take that and say okay it is possible. We don't always have to be this." He plans on continuing to do what he loves while trusting GOD to guide him along the way.

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THE STORY OF AN OLYMPIAN... As a young child Brittney Reese used to dream about being part of the Olympic Games. Now, as an adult with gold medals along her road, she has proven that when you can see it, you can do it. As the world’s greatest long jumper, Reese is preparing once again for the Olympic Games of 2016 in Brazil. In our interview we learn more about Reese and her journey as she shares her words of wisdom.

"Once you learn to accept your failures as a lesson, then you are on your way to winning" Photographer/ writer: Amina Touray, @aminatphoto Wardrobe Stylist: JanelStyles, @janelstyles77 Makeup Artist: Niehla O, @niehlao Brittney Reese: @daljbeast

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Amina Touray: How early did you discover your talent and skills for long jump? Brittney Reese: I discovered my talent and skills for long jump in the 11th grade. It was after the track coach took the basketball team out to find a long jumper. The first time I jumped it was around 16 ft. and it shocked the coach that he told me to do it again. So after that I started being successful in it. AT: Have you always been a gifted athlete? BR: I feel like I have always been a gifted athlete but that never stopped me from working hard. By wanting to be the best athlete in the world I knew I had to put in the work to make that happen. AT: At what point in your life did you decide that you were going to be a professional athlete? BR: My sophomore year in college I decided to be a professional athlete. My coach and mom thought I needed to be challenged more in the long jump so we made the decision together. AT: Did you always know that you were going to be one of the world’s greatest athletes? BR: I have always dreamed about being the world’s greatest athlete but I thought it would have been in basketball. Basketball has always been my first love but I am blessed enough to be where I am at today. AT: Was a gold medal always the goal? BR: Once I became a professional athlete getting a gold medal was always the goal. When I was a kid I use to watch the Olympics and see the athletes receive their medals and I dreamed that would be me one day doing the same thing. AT: I know you must have very strict food and training routines, tell us more about that. BR: My diet isn’t really strict because I don’t gain weight easily. My training routines are based on the days of the week. Some days I will be doing weight training and other days I will be working on my approach or jumping.

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AT: Describe a usual day in your life? BR: A usual day in my life is very busy. I start every morning with homeschooling my son at 8 am. We usually do school work until it is time for me to head to practice at 11 am. If we aren’t done with school then he will finish up while I am at practice. After that we get lunch either at home or on the go depending on what time I get out of practice. Next we head to Mesa Community College where I am the sprints/jumps coach. Then finally we grab dinner and head home to end our day. AT: How do you prepare for such major events like the Olympics? BR: I prepare for the major events by treating each meet that I attend like it is the Olympics or a World Championship. By doing this, when I get to a major event I am already mentally and physically prepared. The next step would be just to win. AT: And talking about the Olympics, It’s going to be in Brazil this year. What are your thoughts about attending the Olympics with the controversy/ dangers surrounding the Zika virus? BR: My thoughts on the dangers surrounding the Zika virus is that I hope they can get it under control before we get there. It is a scary feeling to be competing there with every thing going on. AT: How are you preparing for the Olympics this year ? (Not just physically, but mentally) BR: To prepare myself mentally for the Olympics this year I am currently talking with a psychologist. It is going to be a tough task for me to win the Olympics back to back and I want to make sure that I am focused when that time comes. AT: And what is the next move after the Olympics? BR: My next move after the Olympics is to start working on my Masters degree. When I am finished with my jumping career I would like to coach and I feel that having a Masters degree under my belt will help me tremendously.


AT: How has it been like for you to travel around the world throughout your profession? BR: Traveling around the world throughout my profession has been a real blessing. I think if I wasn’t a professional athlete that I probably would have never been overseas. It also allows my family the opportunity to travel and see the world too. AT: What is the most impactful thing anyone has ever told you regarding pursuing your dreams? BR: The most impactful thing someone has told me while pursuing my dreams was to just be me. My mother calls me every meet just to tell me this. I know what I am capable of doing but having my mom say that to me makes a big difference. AT: And what motivates you? BR: What motivates me is my family. I want to make them proud and to see the smiles on their faces every day. AT: You are a role model to many. What advice can you give to young women and men about winning in life? BR: Advice I can give women and men about winning in life is to don’t be afraid to fail. Once you learn to accept your failures as a lesson, then you are on your way to winning. AT: Spiritually, what do you do to stay motivated after a setback ? BR: The way I stay motivated after a setback is by staying focused. Learning that things happen and that keeping your mind set on your goal will keep you focused. AT: Despite your young age, you have accomplished a lot: World Championships, World Indoor Championships, The Olympic Games. How does one begin to reach the level of success you have reached? BR: I have reached this level of success by hard work and dedication. Each year I set a goal and I will work very hard to achieve them. I don’t like

to lose so losing is never an option. AT: What has been your biggest challenge in life so far? BR: My biggest challenge in life so far has been battling back from an injury. Once I had my surgery in 2014, it was tough to get back to jumping form. I was depressed and was making a decision on whether I should retire or not. That’s when I decided to talk to a psychologist and get myself together mentally. AT: What advice can you give to a 10 year old girl from Inglewood that wants to be where you are right now? Or that wants to pursue her dream(s)? BR: I would tell a 10­year ­old girl from Inglewood that there is plenty of stars in the sky, pick one and go follow your dreams. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. AT: What is your motivation for excellence? BR: My motivation for excellence is always striving to be better. Each year I want to become a better person/athlete on and off the track. AT: Who do you go to for advice? BR: When I need advice I usually go to my mother. AT: Who is your favorite Olympian from the past? BR: My favorite Olympian from the past is Jackie Joyner Kersee. She was a great athlete in her time and I love studying her old jump videos today. AT: When looking back on your journey, what do you know now that you wish you would have known five years ago? BR: What I wish I would have known 5 years ago is that when you are on top, everyone will be after you, so you have to stay ready. At any given meet it can be anyone’s day, so you have to stay ready.

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Clothes from Harpers PR Showroom White long duster with embellishment, NVII by Anne Bowen Black shorts by Faubourg Du Temple, @ Fashion towards LA Gold Triangle bracelet by Alicia Mohr, @ Now PR Gold bracelet & Gold necklace by Dana Michele @danamichelenyc @ Harpers PR Gold Rings by Philosophy Shoes: Nike 22

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Clothes from Harpers PR Showroom Gold jacket: Stella McCartney Black pants drawstring by Craig Signer Necklace: Harpers Collection Shoes: Nike 24

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Clothes from Harpers PR Showroom Gold triangle bracelet by Alicia Mohr, @Now PR Gold stud earrings and rings by Philosophy @Now PR Sequence Duster black with gold NVII by Anne Bowen Shoes: Nike 26

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Bruce George: Action Speaks in Words by Amelia Moore In the journey of life, far too many people spend most of their time seeking their purpose instead of fulfilling it. If you ask the general public, there are numerous reasons why they spend so many years searching. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to converse with someone who knew early on in life that one's life is fulfilled when he or she lives a life led by his or her spirit and the voice of GOD. Someone who understood that action is the only thing that gives you actual knowledge. Reading, studying, and being of service is his action. Understanding that words are powerful because they not only describe and define action but it also provokes them as well. Bruce George, the man with two first names, only knows one name when it comes to being an orator of life. His conviction to answering his call to be a wordsmith helped him understand the power and responsibility of knowledge, and the importance of passing knowledge on to the next, whether that next be the next person, the next generation, or the next wordsmith who will help the masses understand life through poetry. Yes, the co-creator of Def Poetry Jam stopped by Bronze Magazine to talk about himself, his understanding of life, his accomplishments, and the power of words. BM: Thank you, Bruce George, for taking the time to speak with us today. It’s an honor to speak with you. BG: Thank you Amelia, Shawn S, and Bronze

Magazine for giving me the opportunity to speak with you. It’s an honor to be here and I would like to thank the good Lord for me being here and having an opportunity to connect with your readers. BM: Amen! That is actually where I want to start. While doing all my research on you, there was something you consistently said that I loved. You said; “What you are doing is mandated by God and that you are a man on a mission reaching out, giving back, and making a difference. Your ultimate goal is to be of service.” When and how did you realize that mandate? BG: That is a great question. Like many, I have had a so called checkered past. I was young, wild, and impressionable. I was born in Harlem, raised in the Bronx, and now live in Brooklyn. I’m an ol’ hip hop head. I was part of hip hop when it first started. When I was young, I was wild and into gangs and a whole host of other things that I won’t incriminate myself. (Laughter) What I will say is that God has blessed me to be able to run into some amazing people. I went to a high school in the South Bronx and I got kicked out for inciting a riot. That was the best thing that happened to me. From there I went into job core. While I was there I met some young brothers that were part of the 5 % Nation of the Gods and Earth’s. That is where I got some serious discipline. Then from there I morphed into becoming a Muslim. As time when on I winded up becoming a Christian and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It was a very natural progression. Having that God consciousness and awareness that there is a higher power that I call God enabled me to be conscious of myself and how I treat others and how I move.


I eventually came to the realization that my work is my ministry. BM: Another one of my favorite things that you said a few times which made me believe that it’s your passion was In your speech at Cornell where you said: “Art is an indispensable revolutionary tool of struggle.” You went on further in your bio to expound on the code of silence. Yet, you are not someone who is silent. How did you take the influence of the code of silence while being vocal? BG: That was from my antisnitching documentary called Death before Dishonor. There is a code that we have in the streets that is a part of our culture that isn’t about snitching per se, as much as a code that we have that was endemic for us to survive. Historically, there were certain things that was handed down to us historically that we had to keep to ourselves. An example of that is the “Topsy Turvey” dolls. When the children were by themselves they would play with the doll with the black face, yet when the white people or overseer were around they would use the white face. So there is a certain sense of clandestine behavior that is rooted in our survival. That “sercretness” and anti what have you was about the documentary to get to the root of our issues. In general, I’m all about just really empowering our brothers and sisters to do the right thing. I mentor people who come out of the gang culture or that is in gang culture. My latest anthology that

came out in 2008 is called ”The Bandana Republic.” It’s a literary anthology by gang members and its affiliates. Jim Brown wrote the forward, Malik Yoba, Ruby Dee, and Dead Prez are in it and too many more to mention. The book is poetry prose along with various quotes and interviews from gang members and their affiliates. Generally, I don’t’ like the “low hanging fruit” type projects. I like to get involved with projects that most people wouldn’t touch. Marcus Garvey said it best, “Men of earnest don’t concern themselves with consequences.” When we do things we must do it from the heart and spirit. As long as we are doing the right things for the right reasons and God is included in that, we’re good. BM: Let’s go back to the whole concept of communication. I feel communication is key to a thriving community. That is the whole reason why I got into journalism. The whole purpose of journalism is to provoke thought and incite communication. You said one of the most important things about community life is the ability to have that communication whether it's conversing something positive or negative. However, one of the biggest challenges within the inner city community is conflict resolution. How do you indoctrinate an ideology of communication when conflict resolution is mostly enacted by violence and not words?

underestimate the power of love. When you show someone love they can’t help but to respect that and bow down to that. Let’s take a gang infested neighborhood. If you have a disposition that they are vultures or whatever you call it, you reflect that thought. It’s simple. If you have that mentality towards them that is how you treat them. In other words, how you see it is how you treat it and how you treat it is how it becomes. It’s this self fulfilling prophecy that we set up; that we become very reproachable towards people within our own neighborhood. So when you become reproachable they become very reproachable towards you. The way to cut through all of that is to first of all do a paradigm switch to the way you look at them. They are human beings, they are our people. They are someone’s son,

BG: That can be explained in one word: love. A lot of people

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uncle, brother or father; our people. When you genuinely show love and change the way you think about them they will hold doors for you, they will protect you, and do everything they can because they feel that love. Yet when you have a negative attitude towards them and others, then you get that negative back. Love cuts through everything. BM: I love that “No Bullshit” logo. You say activism is a necessity and part of your survival. In hearing your speech, knowing how you understand the power of love and the power of words as an activist, what do you feel are the necessary tools to breed more activism within the world and not just your community? BG: Absolutely, It’s imperative. Ozzie Davis at best said:“Being an African American however, implies that something at the core of your existence is in crisis mode or will be at some point in life.” He also said: “All struggle is between the powers to resist and the powers to oppress.” So there is always going to be something that is going to try to oppress you. We will always be in a position to always resist that oppression. We have to prepare ourselves. It’s so biblical that it’s a war of the spirit and not the flesh and that war exists within all principalities. The bible says: “We must put on a full armor of the Lord in order to withstand the fiery darts of the wicked.” There is the war between the rich and poor, the haves and have nots, the believers and non-believers. It’s imperative

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upon activists to make all aware of that so we can empower them to press on, press upward, and press forward. If not, then they fall victim to the wilds of the devil. The tool is awareness and also you leading by example. When people see that you are doing what you say you are about they are more inclined to follow with faith. I’m living proof of what I say. Activism is a big part of my life. It’s said the service is the rent you pay for being on earth. It’s not about consumption. It’s not about "I," it’s about "we." It’s not about the individual, it’s about the collective. BM: Very true. That leads me to something you speak about as it relates to society today. You stated the difference between socialism and cocooning. You said that even though we live in a social world, our socialism is being limited because of individualism. Stipulating that the manner in which all of us are seeking our own individual knowledge using technology, is creating a cocooning mechanism for obtaining our own individual knowledge, which is prohibiting the socialism of knowledge we as a society utilized in the past. BG: That’s an interesting take on it. There is that dichotomy. It is paradoxical. Popcorn talks about people being in a state of cocooning. That, at present, is in part of the world due to technology. People are becoming less and less personal which makes them more impersonal. In a sense, they are in a cocoon. However, it’s imperative for us

to be able as best we can to break out of that cocoon. Which is the pinnacle difference between being a human or a robot. At Cornell I mentioned cocooning as it relates to entrepreneurialism. Here you are in one cubicle and you are texting/emailing the person in the cubicle right next to you instead of speaking. As a result of that, we’ve become machinelike, almost zombies. Look at how people walk down the street. How many do you see with their heads down in their cell phones? BM: Yes, they are in their own world even though they are moving in the world. You said: “A writer is the most dangerous person on the planet.” When did you realize that notion? BG: I realized that through reading and studying. We have never been given the luxury of art for the sake of art. “Art has always been an indispensable tool of revolutionary struggle.” That is a quote from the Black Panther Party. For us, art has always been a form of being on the defense. So whether it is poetry, jazz, hip hop, etc., it’s our expression of our truth as people of struggle. It’s been used for us to survive. The poet has always been the truth bearer. A writer is the most dangerous person on earth. Or should I say, an artist is the most dangerous person on earth. They reveal the truth. BM: As co-creator of Def Poetry Jam, did you ever think it would be as successful as it was during the time it was born in the industry?


BG: I knew from the beginning that Def Poetry Jam was going to be successful. It had everything to do with riding on the shoulders of the poetry slam world. It was six seasons on HBO and a Tony award for it being on Broadway. Yes it was successful! So successful that for the Tony’s they made up a category because Def Poetry Jam was unique upon itself as a Broadway performance.

a “quoteologist.” I started with the quote: “Notwithstanding Einstein Genius is common.” Then from there it became, “Genius is common.” It’s about tearing down the wall of genius. Genius is an elitist’s word. It separates people. The campaign is in 23 states and 23 countries to unite knowledge and redefine it. Go to geniusiscommon.com.

BM: Anytime you redefine something that’s a sign of success! Where is the poetry world right now?

There was so much more I wanted to ask Bruce (and did off record) but we ran out of time and space for this article. Succinctly, Knowledge is power. Whenever you have the opportunity to hear him speak or read his books, take the time. His activism is for us all. It’s up to us to embrace it and grow.

BG: That is a great question. Everyone says that but it’s good because it recognizes that poetry is its own world. The answer is to remember the poet is the most dangerous person in the world. Anything that challenges the state gets two thumbs down. The gate keepers, many times, block the success of that voice. Which is why we have the starving artist syndrome. As long as they are starving, they don’t have a voice. When they are successful, people listen.

"Genius is common," so embrace it and find your genius. Then put it in action and become an activist of your own genius. In the end it’s about perspective. If you expand your perspective, you expand your thought process. That expansion leads to invention and a new way of life. That is the thing to instill because status quo can no longer exist. He ended our conversation (because our exchange was far beyond an interview) by stating that the key is to remain prayerful. Answer that call and live the life. Thank you, Mr. Bruce George! Knowledge is power, and to help him with his activism leave a video stating your genius. Let’s take back that word and own it because genius is common and we all have it. PEACE!

BM: You have a new campaign that states: “Genius is common.” When did you come up with that idea and why? BG: It was created out of activism. The “Genius is Common” movement is a blessing. As I mentioned I am

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July 2016 issue  

Our July issue will inspire you! Our cover star, Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion Brittney Reese shares her personal story...

July 2016 issue  

Our July issue will inspire you! Our cover star, Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion Brittney Reese shares her personal story...

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