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july 2018

magazine

BRONZE

bronzemagonline.com

Drew Sidora & Ralph Pittman Jr.

Reveal new music collection that helps put children to sleep

Life Coach Dr. Keita Joy on Living Life to the Fullest

Bronze Girl Friendly SPFs "See, no white residue!" Bronze Beauty in the Spotlight:

Dr. Shanessa Fenner

BET's In Contempt Star

Mouna TraorĂŠ

sheds light on being a woman of color on television & her role on the hit series


AMINA TOURAY PHOTOGRAPHY www.aminatouray.com

FASHION • PORTRAITS • HEADSHOTS • LIFESTYLE


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BRONZE MAGAZINE

JUNE 2018 Editor’s Note

Cover Credits: Model: Mouna Traoré Photographer/Creative Director: Amina Touray, @aminatphoto Stylist: Gabriel Langenbrunner @gabriellangenbrunner

CO-OWNER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Shawn Stuldivant CO-OWNER Barry Stuldivant COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Amina Touray GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Alexandra Zabludoff Nyree Wright WRITERS Jennifer Akotoh Shadea L. Blyther Dr. Sheron Brown Serghie Faustin Dr. Shanessa Fenner Tiarsha Harrison Shawn Stuldivant

Hello Bronze Beauties! I hope you are having an amazing summer so far. We have an awesome issue in store for you this month, featuring our beautiful cover star, Actress and Filmmaker Mouna Traoré, who stars in BET's legal drama In Contempt. While Mouna gives us some insight to her character on the show, she also sheds light on the show's relevance to today's political climate. She also shares reflective thoughts on how she makes a statement in every role she plays and what she feels is the positive impact of being a woman of color on television. Also in this issue: a Q&A with actress Drew Sidora and her husband Ralph Pittman Jr., on their new music collection that helps children sleep; A two part interview with celebrity Dermatologist and Dove partner Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton; an inspiring chat with coach, speaker and trainer, Dr. Keita Joy; and tips by certified events professional, Carline Beaubrun, on how to plan a small summer party. Articles include our Bronze Beauty in the Spotlight, Dr. Shanessa Fenner, the story of how Dr. Sheron Brown reversed her pre-diabetes diagnosis without medication and a list of sunscreens that are Bronze girl friendly. This issue is packed with inspiration! Just the way it should be. Enjoy the month and I'll see you again soon!

xoxo, Shawn ant v i d l u St


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CONTENT 6. Interview with celebrity Dermatologist & Dove partner Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton (Part 1) 10. Dove Facial Experience with Dermatologist & Dove Partner Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton (Part 2) 12. Bronze Beauty Spotlight: Dr. Shanessa Fenner 14. Interview with Certified Events Professional Carline Beaubrun 18. How I Reversed Pre-Diabetes without Medication by Dr. Sheron Brown 26. My Mind Music for Kids Q&A with Drew Sidora and husband Ralph Pittman Jr. 30. Bronze Girl Friendly SPFs 32. Interview with Coach, Speaker and Trainer Dr. Keita Joy

Photographer/Creative Director: Amina Touray, @aminatphoto Stylist: Gabriel Langenbrunner @gabriellangenbrunner


Meet Newest Dove Partner and Celebrity Skincare Extraordinaire

Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton

By Jennifer Akotoh Photography/Editing by Mandira Bahl Article Designed by Nyree Wright

C

elebrity renowned dermatologist Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton has been serving her community for almost 20 years. Her practice launched in SOHO in 1996 and moved to the Silk building in 2001 expanding to now a 2,000 square foot space equipped with 7 exam rooms, a full-time esthetician, and a team of other dermatologists doing everything from facials, and product prescriptions to hair removals and injectables. Dr. Ingleton has been heavily influenced by her background in Psychobiology and her medical training, and as a result, has developed a unique and reputable approach to dermatology in which she creates a relaxing spa-like atmosphere in order to put patients at ease during treatments. This encourages more open communication between herself and her patients because she understands the integral role that transparency and comfort play in her ability to successfully identify and treat ailments of the skin, hair, and nails. Due to her success, Dr. Ingleton has been featured on shows like Good Morning America, and in publications like Vogue, and more recently has been named a partner with Dove skincare! I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ingleton for an exclusive one on one interview to discuss some the season’s hottest skin-care topics right in time for summer. 6

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What is the hottest trend in skincare right now? I noticed that they are putting charcoal in everything. Years ago, I worked on the launch for Bioré cleansing pore strips and I’ve noticed recently when sending patients to the store to purchase them, they would inform me that only the charcoal ones were available, so I was asked why did I have them get those. I informed them that the charcoal brand just pulls out more impurities. But that’s a trend. Everything charcoal. They even put it in masks. Masks in general are also a trend and we incorporate them in treatments in the office as well.

go for your lightweight lotion and using sun protection. This is going to be a no-brainer. When the winter months come around and the temperatures are dropping, you need something that’s not going to also cause your skin to dry out because the weather is going to make it dry out. So it starts with the bath wash. I’m big on Dove. It’s one-quarter moisturizer, so you’re not going to get much better than that. As the season becomes colder, you should change the products you use to things that are labeled as having extra moisturizers added, or oil included, or are meant for extra hydration.

Do you feel like you know what the next trend in beauty and skincare will be? I have a sense that there is going to be a lot more of a focus on the issues that affect people of color because we’ve been asking for these kinds of things for quite a while, and I think finally, we are going to get some answers. They're hearing the plea, especially for complexion products like foundations; we need more colors and a broader spectrum of hues. We also need sun protection products that don’t make us look gray.

What are the most essential parts of a solid skincare routine? My non-negotiable is that you must wash your face in the evenings when you return home. When I walk into my house, I say good evening to the family, I hug and I kiss them and then I go upstairs to shower and get all of the dirt of the day off my skin. I try to tell my patients this is a nice way to get it done because that way you’re not waiting for bedtime where you might fall asleep on the sofa watching the news. I do it right away so I can enjoy the rest of my night.

What are the most brown-girl friendly SPF protection products? Usually, all the ones that do not have zinc or titanium go on fairly clear. But as a doctor, there are times when I have patients who have conditions that require the sun to be blocked, not just screened. And so for those, we need zinc or titanium based products but those are the ones that go on to make you look gray, unless you buy more expensive ones that micronize the zinc, so that when you put it on it doesn’t look like you have this film of gray on your skin. So, you might end up spending more for that. But most of the brands that don’t have zinc are okay. How should your summer skin care routine differ from your winter skin care routine? In the summer, we experience a lot of humidity in the air, so the focus is more on lightweight products like gel cleansers and the fresh things that leave you feeling less moisturized, or else you’re going to be sweating in two seconds. Lotions should be lightweight. You’re not going to go for your cream moisturizer, you’re going to

How important is it to know your skin type and how can you figure out what it is? If there’s a particular appearance to your skin, then you can treat your skin according to that appearance. If you feel like you spend most of the day greasy, or shining, or constantly blotting, then you’re oily skinned. But where does that matter? It matters in the choices of products that you buy. So, you’re not going to buy anything that has added oil; instead you’ll stick to oil-free, water-based, non-comedogenic products that will not clog up your pores, and I think that’s where knowing your skin type is really important - for things like your cleanser, foundation and moisturizer choices. If you are struggling with eczema or excessively dry skin most of the day, then you have dry skin. If you spend most of the day dry, then you choose products that are creamier, more hydrating where the packaging indicates it's for hydration, and if you are super greasy, you choose things that are a little bit more astringent. JULY 2018

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How often should you be getting luxury skincare treatments like facials? And if you don’t have the time or the means to get regular treatments, what are some ways we can treat and pamper our skin at home? The way I approach it in the practice is when we’re working on fixing a problem, I think that you should do monthly treatments, usually like a series of four, and then when your skin is in some kind of new groove that you can maintain, you can get facials done once every three months, or if you have the luxury to afford to do them monthly, that’s fine too. You don’t have to do it that often if your skin care regimen at home is one that includes a lot of cleansing. You can do masks at home, and get a lot of that purging done on a weekly basis at home. And that’s also more affordable. How do we deal with acne scars, razor bumps and black heads? Those are considered to be medical problems and that’s when you should see the Dermatologist. We’re going to give you the instructions on how to take care of things like razor bumps. For instance, we’ll teach you how to shave properly, and if necessary, we’ll give you topical medications to calm the bumps and recommend laser hair removal to shrink the hair size. The endpoint is cosmetically better, but it requires a multitargeted medical approach. For blackheads, most people will buy over the counter acne cleansers. That is the best place to start. Some people will try Proactive because it is easier and it comes to their house; that’s not bad, but it doesn’t treat everyone’s acne. So if you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve tried even those two things and you’re not making any headway, you may need to consult a professional. Instead of buying fifteen different things, see a Dermatologist because you probably just need prescription grade medicines, and you’ll be on a better route. With warmer weather comes the shedding of clothing and the opportunity to bare more skin. As a person who suffers from back acne I would love to know how others and I could treat the condition. In addition to being caused by P. acne bacteria, which is the same thing that causes facial acne,

back acne arises wherever you have a lot of extra oil production and the pores get blocked up. You can find back acne occurring with exercise, so unfortunately, a lot of people who workout heavily will tend to have more of that issue on their back or chest but fortunately, the treatment is very much like what we do for the face. We have prescription products; we do chemical peels on the back, microdermabrasion and more. The products may be a bit stronger than what we use on the face and they yield great results. The first step towards treatment is that we just need to stop the breakouts. Patients come in and on day one they want the marks gone but the marks and scarring are coming from somewhere. I teach them that we must first get rid of the breakouts and then we can focus on getting rid of the marks. You can’t get rid of the marks when you’re still breaking out constantly.


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The Red

Carpet

Ready Celeb

By Jennifer Akotoh Photography/Editing by Mandira Bahl article designed by nyree wright Following my visit and interview with Dermatologist and new Dove partner Dr. Rosmarie Ingleton at her practice in NYC, where we discussed some of the season’s hottest skin-care topics and tips on how to care for skin during the summer season (see pages 6-9), I enjoyed a complimentary facial, courtesy of Dove. I thought the experience was so great I just had to share it with Bronze readers. My facial was applied by Victoria Russo, a dual-licensed medical and cosmetic aesthetician. Victoria began our session by asking about my skincare regimen, which I’ve narrowed down to using Differin acne cleanser and moisturizing with Neutrogena Water Gel. Thereafter, Victoria informed me she would begin by washing my face with Dove Beauty Bar. I grew up in the days where bar soaps like Irish Spring left my face feeling oppressively tight and dried out, so I was a bit skeptical at first. But I learned from Victoria that contrary to popular belief, or perhaps just my own, Dove Beauty Bar is great for use on the face as well as the body. Being that Dove Beauty Bar is composed of one-quarter moisturizer, it’s no wonder why my skin was left feeling supple and refreshed after Victoria used it to cleanse my face. Next, I learned that I’d be receiving an oxygen facial in which a pen-like device, which is hooked up to a large machine, would spray atomic sized moisturizers onto my skin using a steady stream of pressurized oxygen. Victoria explained that the the oxygen is converted into 94% oxygen, which is delivered into the skin, so it actually helps to drive product deeper down to receive the full benefit. Celebrities use this as their go-to treatment the day before red carpet events to get


Secret That Everyone Needs to Try

their skin plump and hydrated to achieve a really glowy, dewy and beautiful look. The facial felt like there was a small and gentle concentrated breeze traveling over my skin, leaving it feeling cool and revitalized. The whole process took about 15 minutes and once Victoria was finished, she moisturized my skin with what she calls her “liquid gold,” a Vitamin C & E serum composed of Ferulic and Ascorbic acid, which helps to brighten and even out skin tone. She mentioned that the Ferulic and Ascorbic acid in the serum would prevent my skin from peeling and accelerate my skin’s natural exfoliation rate so that I would not get any dead skin buildup. Once the serum absorbed, Victoria finished my face off with some moisturizer SPF. When she handed me the mirror and I looked at my face, I was met with a radiant and youthful glow. The facial had brought my skin back to life. I couldn’t help but marvel at myself. I initially stepped into the office with my face lined with all the woes of sleep deprivation and a long workday but thanks to Victoria and the oxygen facial, I left with plush and rejuvenated red-carpet-ready skin.

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Bronze Beauty in the Spotlight:

Dr. Shanessa Fenner

“‘We were placed here on Earth to do great things and that is what I am going to do.’”


Dr. Fenner obtained her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University, two master’s degrees from Fayetteville State University in the areas of Elementary Education and School Administration, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University. She was awarded the North Carolina Principal Fellows Scholarship.

Dr.  Shanessa Fenner is currently an elementary principal and writer for many publications that include Up & Coming Weekly, Sheen Magazine, Array Magazine, Consciousness Magazine, The Fayetteville Press Newspaper, and several more publications. She has written pieces for Jet.com, Ebony.com, Essence. com, Bronze Magazine, BlackAmericaWeb, Black Enterprise, Heart & Soul Magazine, and Huffington Post. She had a blog with The Fayetteville Observer called “Shanessa’s Hot Topics.” Dr. Fenner is also a print model, motivational speaker, actress, and has her own TV show called “Let’s Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner.” She is also host of the TV show “The Bronco Exchange” that she has recently started production for channel 7. She is a former radio personality on KISS 107.7 FM and had her own radio show entitled “Real Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner.” She is currently co-host of a radio show called “iTeach.”

Shanessa was featured in Ebony Magazine as one of the nation’s most eligible bachelorettes and in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine in the “Someone You Should Know” section. She was voted one of the most influential women in Fayetteville and won Best Local Columnist and Best Local TV show. She was a recipient of The Fayetteville Observer’s “Forty Under Forty Award.” She was featured in Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine in the “Role Model Beyond Beauty” column.

“She was voted one of the most influential women in Fayetteville and won Best Local Columnist and Best Local TV show.”

Dr. Fenner has appeared on the cover of an author’s book, has been featured  on the cover of a magazine, featured in poetry books, written two book forewords, and featured in various advertisements and commercials. She is also a songwriter and has written several songs that have been recorded for two artists’ albums. The songs are “I Trusted You” on Southern Soul artist Michelle Miller’s album and “You Never Know Who You’re Going To Love” on Southern Soul artist Carl Marshall’s album. Her voice has also been featured on the song “Leave That Man’s Wife Alone” by Carl Marshall. She was an actress on the soap opera “Cool Carolina Nights” and is currently an actress on “Love Always Charleston,” where she plays a judge named Kasey McInnis. She continues to be the multifaceted woman that does not leave a stone unturned and her motto is “We were placed here on Earth to do great things and that is what I am going to do.”


Carline Beaubrun Creates Beautiful, Memorable Events for all Occasions Interview by Shawn Stuldivant, Editor in Chief Article Design by Nyree Wright

Executing the perfect event takes experience, skill, vision and creativity. Just ask Certified Special Events Professional, Carline Beaubrun, Founder/Creative Director of Events by Carline, a New York-based event design studio with over 15 years of experience creating memorable one-of-a-kind events. Carline, a New York native, and her amazing team are well-known for their creative ideas, unexpected dĂŠcor accents and exquisite attention to every detail, resulting in events that are stylish, personalized and unforgettable. We caught up with the busy and talented Event Designer, Event Planner and Educator to find out what sparked her desire for event planning, what types of skills are needed to break into the business and some simple tips for preparing a small outdoor summer event.

What sparked your desire for event planning?

My love and passion for event planning and designing started at a very young age. I use to decorate and cook for my Mom and Dad’s birthdays, anniversaries and whatever I could think of to surprise them. As I got older, I was very involved in my church organization and would lead the planning and design aspects for all of our church concerts, fundraisers and anniversary celebrations. My elaborate sense of design and planning skills drew the attention of many church members who then asked me to help them with their weddings and private events. My first major event was my wedding. I used every skill I mastered at the time to throw a wedding that ended up outlasting my marriage. People still talk about my wedding till this day. It was amazing! I was Cinderella for a day. My wedding brewed a new set of interests for future event planning opportunities with family and friends. My wedding portfolio grew. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of what I was doing in a professional sense, I was just doing what I loved, and for me it was worth it. When I started a family, my children's birthday parties took my creativity to a whole new level. Every year the plans and designs grew more and more elaborate. My guest list grew as my family and friends began to bring additional guest to show off my work. This opened a whole new door of doing children's events. I was having the time of my life!

What was it like when you started your business? What challenges did you overcome? When I started my business, it was one of the most exciting yet challenging times of my life. When I was starting out I had an overflow of clients that recognized my passion and talent from all of the events I had done, but it took some time for me to learn the business side of event management. Some of the challenges I faced was putting together a team that I could trust that would share my passion and provide the best customer service. Some challenges I overcame was building the right relationships within my industry that proved to be invaluable. I also had to overcome the challenges of hiring and learning to delegate tasks to my team. I now have an amazing team. Each and every one of our employees represent the spirit of our company: driven, committed, and share in my vision to bring people together by creating unforgettable one-of-a- kind experiences through innovative event productions that surpass all expectations.

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are my inspiration and empower my creativity, allowing the thoughtful details to come together to truly capture the reason behind the event.

What are some of the most important skills needed to get into the event planning business?

Hard work and perseverance will win in the end- when getting into the event industry. This industry calls for long hours several nights a week. Some important skills you need to get into the event planning business are: •Excellent time management and communication skills •Ability to manage multiple projects and tasks •The ability to say calm under pressure •Organization •Problem-Solving Skills •Willingness to Learn

What one piece of advice would you give someone who is trying to break into event planning? What type of event planning do you specialize in?

I specialize in weddings, social events and corporate galas. As an Event Designer I thrive on the styling and design of all of the event's elements down to the smallest detail. I adore this profession simply because it’s highly creative. As an Event Designer I have the very unique ability to completely transform a space beyond one's wildest expectations. I have an extensive background in Event Planning, and when I work with clients I specialize in building relationships with them which allows me to use innovative ideas to capture their vision with special touches that always leaves their guests raving.

•Start from the bottom and work your way to the position you desire by learning all aspects of the operations. You’ll be better prepared to plan events and have a stronger advantage over your peers that haven’t. This will help you gain confidence and have success. •Network! Network! Network! You never know who you will meet or who they will become. Making those connections and cultivating those relationships will help you transition into a professional career. •Always be willing to accept constructive criticism. Criticism can be difficult to accept, but feedback is an important part of addressing strengths and weaknesses towards future success. Take each feedback as an opportunity to improve! Improving yourself professionally can go a long way!

What do your clients like most about your •Always be willing to learn! Learning never stops for anyone working in the event industry. The event industry is events? I believe my clients love and appreciate the creativity and the personal touches I add to their events. I put an extensive amount of careful thought into all aspects of the design of each event, therefore, no two events I create are ever the same.

constantly evolving, so do your part to stay educated and knowledgeable on trends and what is attractive to potential clients. Stay on the front line of the industry by reading blogs, watching podcasts, and attending webinars.

My inspiration comes from my clients. I have had the pleasure of working with and developing a personal bond with some of the most wonderful and remarkable clients. Everyone has a story to tell and I work to bring it to life so that their guests can experience it. Every detail of my designs speak into a piece of the story, and when I bring all of the pieces together, from beginning to end, I am able to create the most memorable event, which also adds so much more meaning to the celebration. My client’s stories

filled with food, drinks and conversation doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips that can help with planning: •The weather! Heat, rain, and wind, three things you need to consider when planning an outdoor event. Periodically check the weather for heat advisories and rain. Then create a plan B - either a tent or umbrellas which can actually add to your decor. You can also make the wind less of an issue by using fabric linens instead of plastic and weighted

What simple tips can you provide for preparing What do you draw on for inspiration when a small outdoor summer event? planning a client’s event? Throwing a summer outdoor event that's fun, festive, and

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dishes glassware and silverware instead of disposables. To keep bugs away, circle your party area with citronella candles or incense sticks. This will also help to provide light when night falls and set a very warm, pleasant and soothing ambiance. •Get creative! Don’t stress about matching china or glassware. An eclectic feel gives a more relaxed and fun vibe. So go into your cabinets and see what you can use before going out to buy anything. Borrow from your garden, use colorful bowls or pails and fill them with flowers from your garden to add some greenery to your scenery. •Keep food simple! If you’re going to BBQ then don’t cook 11 dishes to serve. If you do choose to cook instead of BBQing, then keep it simple. Choose a few favorite dishes to have laid out that guests can just help themselves to whenever they are ready. Salads, fresh fruit, and cold drinks are always a plus! These items can also add an array of color to your decor. And remember to keep cold foods cold. Fill a large bowl with ice, and sprinkle it with kosher salt and place the food bowl on top. •Music! Lastly, your music. Your music selection will tell your guests how to feel and what to do, whether you want them to sit and relax or whether you want them to get up and dance. So take your time to select the appropriate music to play throughout the event. Pick your favorite songs, create a playlist, plug in your speakers, and set the mood to have a great time!


How I Reversed Prediabetes Without Medication Dr. Sheron Brown Article Design by Alexandra Zabludoff

“You’re prediabetic.” I looked at my doctor in disbelief when she said those words. Was I eating that badly? How did I get here? What does this mean? Will I have to take drugs? I don’t want to take drugs! These were the thoughts that ran through my mind after her two words. I don’t even know what she said after that because in addition to self-talk, I was distracted by a childhood memory. My father was diabetic. He had type 1. I remember seeing him give himself shots in the leg. I also remembered him dying from complications. Yes, I was facing type 2 and medicine had advanced, but I did not care. I knew people who had type 2 diabetes and had to live on medication. Some even developed very poor vision or experienced amputation. I did not want to live the rest of my life dependent on drugs and I was not about to exchange limbs for poor lifestyle habits. I needed to do something. My life had to change.

How I Created It Prediabetes is just what it sounds like. You’re not there yet, but if you keep living as you’ve been living, you’ll get there soon enough. Essentially, it is when your blood sugar (glucose) level is higher than normal. At this level, your body is having difficulty making enough insulin after eating or your body may not be responding to insulin appropriately.

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I lived a busy life at the time. I was a single mother, with a high-stakes job, meaning that lack of results could mean not having a job. As a result, I worked ridiculous hours to make sure that I showed results. Because I was so busy, I used that as an excuse to say I didn’t have time to exercise or prepare healthy meals. So instead, I ate out often. I was intentional about eating out though, or so I thought. I didn’t eat fast food, except for the fried wings and fries I’d eat on the weekends. Instead, I’d buy restaurant food—a lot of it. On average my breakfast was a 600 to 800- calorie cup of

macchiato-frappe something withwhipped cream and a side of  baked goods. My lunch included white rice or pasta, and like I said, my dinner was restaurant food that was high in sugar and fat. I also indulged in ice cream. It was premium though, but who cares when ice cream is still loaded with refined sugar. Even though I tried to do better by not choosing fast food, my problem was that I was eating a great deal of processed foods and refined sugars. That along with the cortisol that my body was producing from the stress did me in. I was mistreating my one precious body I’d been given to live my purpose and experience life.


that. Eating out was the regular thing and cooking was for special occasions. Well not anymore. I went back to doing the better that I knew. I also had a gym membership that I barely used. Honestly, the gym gets boring to me, but I started going with a friend. That helped a great deal. I entered a few challenges and that really helped. When I didn’t feel like going, I walked or practiced yoga. I knew movement was important, and so I decided to make it happen.

How I Reversed It

The After Effect

In my opinion, you can manage this health condition or you can eliminate it. What you choose to eat along with exercise can go a long way, but sometimes medication can be prescribed. In my case it was. I didn’t argue with her. I took the prescription slip but decided on my own that I was not going to fill it. Outside of the office, I sat in my car saying, “Sheron, if you need medication to help your body function, and this disease is something that doesn’t have to be, then you are choosing to perpetuate this situation. You can change this.”

I never went back to that doctor. This may be silly, but I did not appreciate that the first thing she advised me to do was medicate. I wondered why she didn’t advise me to modify my lifestyle? Did she not believe I could do it? Was her intention to help me manage myself right into full-blown type 2 diabetes and be on drugs for the rest of my life? I’ll never know what it was, but what I do know is that my new doctor indicated there was no trace of diabetes in me.

Since that time, I’ve remained diligent and even converted to eating like a vegan, mostly raw-vegan. I go through a juice fast at least once a year, and exercise is a very regular part of life. I don’t exercise to look like I want to be in anyone’s competition. I do enough to remain flexible and fit. Recently, I was asked to share my story at a health center with a group of people who have been managing type 2 diabetes for years. A few weeks later, one of the participants reached out to me to ask for help with modifying her lifestyle. After hearing her story and how mine influenced her, I had a thought: maybe there are other people who my story could help, so I decided to share. If type 2 diabetes is knocking on your door, or has been living with you for some time, you can do something about it. You can change. Always remember that your lifestyle is your choice, and you have the power to change it. Just decide.

Now, I don’t advise people to do what I did. I make crazy choices sometimes, like taking five classes at once while working full time and raising a small child so I could finish my doctorate early. That’s something else I wouldn’t advise anyone to do, but I decided for myself that it would work for me. While you shouldn’t ignore your doctor as I did, I would say that if you find yourself facing diabetes, do these other things. I went home and immediately cleared my cabinets of the chips, candy, white rice, bread and all of the other foods with refined sugar. I also went to the supermarket and loaded up on fruits, vegetables and fish. Additionally, I decided that no job was worth my health and so I committed to cooking. When I was a child, my mother, who worked full time, cooked every day and going out was a treat for birthdays and other special occasions. As an adult I reversed

Sheron Brown, Ph.D. is the owner of Sweet Eden by Sheron, a wellness education company. She is also the author of The Wellness-Purpose Connection™: The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Life Experience. As a certified integrative nutrition health coach and yoga instructor, Sheron teaches mindful practices that helps you heal your physical, mental, and emotional well-being so you can fully live your purpose with joy and vitality. Connect with her online on Facebook and Twitter @sheronbrownphd or Instagram @iamagirlfrombrooklyn. You can also email Sheron for help with your organization’s or individual wellness goals at info@sweetedenbysheron.com. JULY 2018

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MounaTraoré Giving it All She’s Got Interview By Serghie Faustin Article Design by Nyree Wright

Photographer/Creative Director: Amina Touray, @aminatphoto Stylist: Gabriel Langenbrunner @gabriellangenbrunner

Actress and filmmaker, Mouna Traoré is making her mark in the entertainment industry. The Toronto native’s talents have spilled over into writing, producing, modeling, and acting. Known for her roles in Rookie Blue and Murdock Mysteries, she credits the latter as being her big break following several auditions and finally landing a recurring role on the show. Behind the scenes, Traoré is the co-founder of a production company, The Mini Films, through which she has written and produced two short films. She is also currently appearing on BET’s new show In Contempt as a first-year law firm associate named Vanessa Hastings. In an intimate interview with our talented July cover star, we learn about her thoughts on the positive impacts of being a woman of color on television, her ability to make a statement in the roles that she plays and her view on the relevance and impact In Contempt has in light of today’s judicial and political climate. As a woman of color on television, what have you come to realize are the positive impacts that come with that? The most positive aspect of being a woman of colour on television is being able to increase the visibility of black women, who so often have had their stories silenced or co-opted. We’re finally in a time where there is more representation of women of colour and minorities on television and it’s such a privilege to be able to tell stories that are not only authentic but offer new role models and sources of inspiration. In previous interviews, you've stated how you were able to make a statement in the roles you play. What were a few of those strong statements? I feel as though I’ve been able to make a statement in multiple roles I’ve played. In ‘Suits,’ I played Jasmine Zane, a woman who stood up to her boss who was sexually harassing her in a time well before the #metoo movement. As Rebecca James in ‘Murdoch Mysteries,’ I played a woman who defied social expectations of the times (the early 1900’s) and followed her dreams despite the challenges her gender and race presented her. And most recently, in my role as Vanessa Hastings on ‘In Contempt,’ I had the opportunity to play a character who fights for justice and genuinely cares about the people the JULY 2018

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criminal justice system sees as worthless. Vanessa is a hard worker, she stands for what’s right, and is a beautiful example of a character who has clear rules and values that she lives by. In Murdoch Mysteries, your character is a supporter of women's rights. How do you feel about the direction of women's rights today? I think that the conversation on women’s rights is progressing in both powerful and problematic ways. Because of social media, a lot of issues are being pushed forward but sometimes critical discussion is glossed over in favor of hashtags and sound bites. All in all, I believe it’s going in a positive direction, but I still think that we must step back and reframe, stop making sweeping generalizations and incorporate more intersectionality into our approaches as we move ahead. Due to the current judicial and political climate, how important have you realized a show like "In Contempt" is? I think a television show like ‘In Contempt’ is incredibly important at a time like this. It focuses on many of the hot button issues in the news and media and empowers audiences, specifically POC and low-income people with critical information about the legal system and their rights. It is also a great jumping off point for conversations about these divisive issues, which is the first step to making change. In what ways is acting on “In Contempt” different than any of the previous shows you’ve been on? Acting on ‘In Contempt’ was different than any other show I’ve been on just because of the actual content of what I was saying. It is a procedural law show, and my character Vanessa Hastings is a public defender, so there was a lot of heavy dialogue with legal terms. Often, I couldn’t take any liberties with the words, because changing a single word could confuse the context or the legal implications of the scene. What advice do you have to give young girls and women of color thinking about going into acting? I would say study. Devote yourself to honing your craft. Don’t be afraid to take your time trying a variety of meth-

ods and settle down when you find what works for you. I always say, the more tools for your tool belt the better!

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In your opinion, what has been the most substantial moment or episode that has aired on “In Contempt?” For me, the most significant moment of ‘In Contempt’ for my character is the moment in episode 8 when Gwen explains to Vanessa that they defend their clients with the same rigor regardless of whether they know they are innocent or guilty. The realization that they must fight just as hard for an innocent client as a guilty one and leave their judgments aside. For me that was a moment where I fully understood Erica Ash’s character Gwen, and mine. What major responsibilities do you think you have as an actress on a show that some may call controversial? I feel that it is my responsibility to tell these stories authentically and use the platform I’ve been given to at least increase awareness about the issues the show presents. I don’t want to just be a visitor, I want to be an active participant in the conversation. If it was planned, why did you decide to become an actor? If it was not planned, what led you to this career path? I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was 3 years old. It’s one of my earliest memories. I Remember wondering why I wasn’t on TV doing it. Growing up, I just oriented everything in my life so that I could be performing as much as possible. It wasn’t so much a decision to become an actor, it was more like a constant refusal to do anything else because I already knew that it was what I was meant to do. What has been the most important takeaway from being in your career as long as you have? The most important takeaway from acting over the past 10 years is that things don’t happen on my time but in divine time. And that acting is a privilege. I hold it as sacred and I’m very aware that my ability to do this thing can be taken away at any moment, so I better give it all I got every time I go on set!


Have you ever had trouble putting children to sleep? Whether you were babysitting or even trying to get your own kids to fall asleep and it almost feels like nothing will work! You hand a child their favorite stuffed animal to cuddle with. And you already read through four of their books to them as you yawn while they blink their eyes wide awake out of excitement to read more. You might have even bribed them with a piece of candy if they promised to go to bed afterwards, but now they’re jumping on it out of joy, and you’re jumping out of anger at 1:35 A.M. Well, to all parents, guardians, babysitters and nannies- take a deep breath because sleepy time is approaching! Well-known actress and artist Drew Sidora and her husband, businessman Ralph Pittman Jr. designed and produced their music collection titled, “My Mind Music for Kids,” to create healthy sleeping habits that can make a child’s bedtime fun and easier for the parents. Drew Sidora is an actress known for her roles in hit movies like “White Chicks” and “Step Up” and also has time to be a wonderful mother to three children. Ralph Pittman Jr. is a public speaker, business strategist, and now the founder and CEO of “My Mind Music for Kids.” Pittman Jr. has created an American Music Enrichment and wellness company that curates therapeutic music to promote and improve the quality of one’s life. Drew and Ralph have three beautiful children; Josiah 7, Machai 2, and their youngest and only daughter Aniya who is 4 months old. “My Mind Music for Kids” releases a sleep system to improve the quality of sleep. When you listen to the music, the collection starts off as an entertaining introduction to children on simple steps to assure they can gain a full night’s rest. The speaker gives instructions on how to captivate kids through music that almost puts them into a trance to relax their muscles to then easily fall asleep within minutes. I got the chance to talk with this power couple on how they got their music collection, “My Mind Music for Kids” to work successfully on their children and even on themselves.

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How Getting Your Kids to go to Sleep Just Became Easier! “My Mind Music for Kids” Music Collection

Q&A with Drew Sidora and Ralph Pittman Jr. By Shadea L. Blyther Article Design by Alexandra Zabludoff First and foremost, it is an honor to have the opportunity to speak with you. I’ve been a fan since you played roles in hit shows like “The Game,” to when you played Lavae in the drama film “Sister Code.” One of my favorite dance movies are where you played the character Lucy in “Step Up!” How has your life expanded since then as a well-known actress, singer, and performer overall? Drew: So much in my life has changed and it is literally expanding between getting married and having children; it is all taking a shift. I’m passionate about what I do and having children changes who you become and makes you grow up. It truly gives you a reason to get up and go out everyday and to do something more for yourself and your family. You know, my parents have been married for 54 years! Sometimes you forget about balance and your personal life and I always wanted to have it all. Then to meet the man of my dreams and build a family and to do something for and with my family has been an honor. Those that know me know that I played the piano since age 3 and throughout my entire life music has been a part of me. But our journey to where we are now, living such busy lives, weren’t always easy. My Husband Ralph is an entrepreneur who is a speaker, and business strategist, while I work alot myself. However, that never made us forget that family comes first. How we even came up with this creative idea started off just by my husband and I singing songs to our children. The more we did that, we noticed that they became tired. Ralph ended up recording it all.

Both of you as a married couple have created and produced the new music collection called “My Mind Music For Kids.” Can you explain your mission statement on how children and even parents can benefit from using such a mindful strategy on how kids can gain sleep? Ralph: Basically I did alot of studying and research. A slower tempo will calm your body down through different melodies and sounds that can start to soothe your mind and body. Think about the rain and thunder and the impact it feeds off on people. It controls your neurotransmitters and releases dopamine. It excites you and actually makes you feel great and relaxed. It creates the same effect as medication. For me, being able to study while I went to Rutgers University helped me understand what affects your heart and tempo. I continued to study the role of child development from one’s connection between music and their brain. Once I was able to implement those elements, my whole family became the case study on what works here. I curated the music. Every song is distinctively made from beginning to end. Our kids were all over the place in our home and we had to come up with a way to get their attention. The deep breathing exercises and how the children can follow the steps causes the music to take over. Think about a regular lullaby and how it is repetitive. Then switch it to a white noise and observe how it continues to pull you in. Everyone is knocked out within minutes! My goal is, if I can get you to sleep and get full sleep from a behavioral perspective, then it satisfies all of us and gives each family a happier lifestyle.

“This music project has helped us communicate more as a family. Helping them understand the art of music and their muscial ability.” JULY 2018

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What inspired you to create My Mind Music For Kids collection? How was your experience with your first child back then to how it has changed now after three children? Drew: Moving in a home and raising three kids is crazy. Being a musician, I play the piano in the house all the time and it has always been my escape. I know the benefits for myself and to have the kids that listen to me play and sing is a way to reel them in. This music project has helped us communicate more as a family. Helping them understand the art of music and their musical ability. There was a study that said most people that are creative have an articulate ability and escape through music. We used it with our kids to make sure that they have it around them at all times. When I go play the track, it’s like my alarm clock so that I don’t have to chase anymore kids in the house. We are going to make the act of sleeping fun and can give attention to our youngest baby Aniya. I played it for her while Drew had her placed on his lap and she started smiling. Then all of a sudden she would just drift off. That was a magical moment and I could see how it calms her down. She could be crying and then I play music and then she instantly stops and smiles. Do you ever use the music for yourselves or other friends and/or family on your spare time? Drew: I was doing a film in Atlanta and I was coming in the house at 1am and it doesn’t take much for my kids to wake up, hear me and come see me. And I’m like dang, they have school in the morning. So I use it as a way to see and communicate with them. Every parent knows that when your kid gets sleep, you get sleep! We did it with our friends at a restaurant and the baby wouldn’t stop crying. Ralph and I pulled the track up on his phone, and I promise you it was like magic watching the child stop crying. It was something that started 28

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off as a family to help each other, then to help friends and family. It truly is a system that works. Ralph: My mind races sometimes and I have a million things that I need to do. Instead of taking a sleeping pill, I use My Mind Music for Kids so that I don’t have to put anything into my body. One time I used it for my kids and my wife had to wake me up to go to our room because I fell asleep within 10 minutes! Changing seasons are like changing the mind. Everyone knows how to listen to music, but what other ways can it get you to a place to cheer you up and benefit you in life? Sleep is one of them. Before this music, Machai is jumping on the bed, or Josiah is having bad dreams while Aniya is practically a newborn baby. With the rise of your success within your black owned business, what advice would you give to people on ideas at how they may want to start a brand or business? Drew: It has always been about passion for me. If you want to do something for money, it’s not going to work out as a long term goal. If you want to do something for free, It is because it is your love and passion for it. I know if I have to do this role, and I know that it’s not a big budget, but that I really want to be a part of it, then needless to say, I am still going to go after it. And to date I’ve been in one of the biggest films. The music came from what we were passionate about. It is truly something that turned into, “Well we want to help other people and start figuring out what they are passionate about. Yes, it has been long nights and dedication. We are very business oriented and always have a plan and strategy. A combination of passion and business sense. Ralph: I created a formula: Believe, commit, and sacrifice. Understand why your doing it and then move forward. Put in the effort in order to be able to move forward. There are going to be times when things

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“Every parent knows that when your kid gets sleep, you get sleep!” aren't going to go well for you or you’re going to get a NO. Go back to that place of belief. Keep on going with a process. Drew: I have been in acting and I’ve had such an incredible team. Anybody out there, if you go into this business, make sure that you trust in your team. What's been amazing for me is going into this business with my husband. Being able to separate business and personal life. We had to learn what each other is good at. Strengths and weaknesses. We had to accept what each other are stronger and better at. As adults, we agree to acknowledge our individual success. To come together, be authentic and transparent. Put arguments to the side and trust your instincts. My Mind Music for Kids is now released everywhere from Apple music, to i-Tunes and even on Amazon for an easier way to receive a good night’s sleep for both your children and even yourself.


Bronze Girl Friendly SPFs By Jennifer Akotoh Article Design by Alexandra Zabludoff

Hey Bronze Babes! We (should) all know by now that sunscreen is a non-negotiable when it comes to protecting the largest organ we have. Yes, your skin, as it lives and breathes is an organ. And now that the season of sunshine is finally upon us, it’s high time to upgrade your skincare routine by adding some SPF to the mix. I know, I know, you want to protect yourself but you also don’t want to run the risk of looking like Casper the friendly ghost in these streets. Good news! Gone are the days where we skip out on sun protection because of the dreaded white/purple residue. Whether you’re flaunting a makeup-free mug or a full glam beat, here are some bronze-girl-friendly products that will moisturize and help you protect your skin all year round!

Black Girl Sunscreen BGS was created by Shontay Lundy to fill the void of sun protection products that cater to and flatter darker skin. The ultra-sheer lotion is made with natural ingredients like almond oil and shea butter to moisturize and protect your face and body from head to toe.

Bolden Brightening Moisturizer SPF 30 Bolden’s SPF 30 is another product made with brown girls in mind. This paraben and sulfate free moisturizer combines essential antioxidants, hydrating moisturizers, and Vitamin C to rejuvenate the skin and provide a protective shield against sun damage.

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Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 This virtually weightless, oil-free product is great for all skin types and goes on clear to protect against UVA, UB, infrared and blue light. It also has a pore-minimizing and smoothing effect, which makes it a great primer to be worn underneath makeup.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Neutrogena’s Dry Touch sunscreen is a fast-absorbing, non-comedogenic formula so it won’t clog your pores or leave you with a greasy feeling. It can be applied all over the face and body in order to provide maximum protection.

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30 Murad’s Perfecting Shield is a multipurpose SPF that not only protects against the sun’s harsh rays but also works to treat fine lines and wrinkles while blurring blemishes in order to make your skin look picture-perfect. Coola Classic Face SPF 30 (greasy/shiny for dry skin) Coola’s Classic Face SPF provides dual protection from harmful UV rays and dryness. The nourishing properties of the sunscreen make it the perfect everyday moisturizer to hydrate dry skin and treat wrinkles. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. Korres Yoghurt Fluid Veil Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Korres’ formula is residue free, super lightweight and nourishing. The yogurt contains skin-repairing proteins and a mixture of other natural ingredients that deliver moisture and relieve the skin during sun exposure.

Benefit Dream Screen Benefit’s Dream Screen is a lightweight formula that goes on clear and absorbs instantly to create a smooth, matte finish. It’s the perfect SPF for anyone with oily and combination skin.

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Coach, Speaker and Trainer Dr. Keita Joy Inspires Others to Live Life to the Fullest By Tiarsha Harrison Article Design by Alexandra Zabludoff

“I feel confident in who I am and believe there is power in knowing how you feel and why.”

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Growing up in Miami Florida wasn’t always the easiest experience for Keita. Having faced hard tribulations at an early age, including the death of her father when she was just eleven years old, Keita grew up as an only child. “Even though my mother and father were divorced at the time, my father and I had a close relationship, so his death hit me hard,” she shared. Her father died suddenly in his sleep, with no one having had any prior knowledge of him having any critical health issues. “It was as if God said time to go now.” Although she and her mom are very close, there were a lot of times during her childhood when Keita felt abandoned and alone due to her mom’s battle with drugs and alcohol. After overcoming the rough patches in her life, including an ongoing existing battle with high anxiety and trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), Keita has embraced her vulnerabilities.“I feel confident in who I am and believe there is power in knowing how you feel and why,” she shares. She goes on to stress how important self awareness is. “Self awareness is a critical component of my peace and sanity. I recognize that I have high anxiety but I do not let it control me. It’s like a wave at the beach. You see it coming, it looks massive and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. I just rode the wave of anxiety until it passed. While it’s passing, I pray, refocus my thoughts and energy and take deep breathes.”

“You are not alone. Open up and talk to those who love you even if you think they do not understand you.” Instead of allowing the downf al l s in her  life det er  her, she let them motivate her. “My mess is the message of hope.” Keita soon went on to write a novel called Fabulous and Faithful, which, according to her was, “Steps of my personal freedom that I wanted to share with other women to experience their best life.” In the book there are three devotional key points and areas that Keita says will accelerate growth if you love God, look good inside out and take over the world.

business fraternity and she just returned from Atlanta after speaking about mental health at a women’s conference. She hopes to continue to impact others to live life to the fullest. For those suffering with suicide ideation, just know this, “You are not alone. Open up and talk to those who love you even if you think they do not understand you.”

Keita continues to push on despite any obstacles she may face. Her biggest inspiration is her mom, “She is sixty-six years old and while most older people become stuck in their ways, not my mom. She has battled addiction, pursued her Masters, raised a child and found Jesus Christ at an older age. She is my hero.”Keita continues to be a part of Forbes Coaches Council and Delta Sigma Pi

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July 2018 Issue  

This month's issue features our beautiful cover star, Actress and Filmmaker Mouna Traoré, who stars in BET's legal drama In Contempt. While...

July 2018 Issue  

This month's issue features our beautiful cover star, Actress and Filmmaker Mouna Traoré, who stars in BET's legal drama In Contempt. While...

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