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Photo by: Photographs by Jackie


Fashion Ave

STREET MODE 22 My name is Andre Thornton and I am the founder/CEO and president of Street M.O.D.E 22 clothing. I came across you're blog and wanted to reach out to you in hopes of getting some feedback on my line as to your thoughts and maybe even some advice. If I may please allow me to explain to you the concept behind Street M.O.D.E 22 and how it applies to women in fashion. Street Mode - Twenty2 are two separate, yet distinct, lines that will revolutionize 'urban' and 'high end' fashion. These lines will concentrate their efforts on the men and women who have been waiting for clothing designed specifically for the hard to fit. Most clothing companies design clothes that fit the 'standard' sizes (32 waist for men, size 2 for women). However, we all know that not everyone is the same size or shape. The first two lines are Street Mode. The meaning behind it is simple: Street equates to the Struggle Mode stands for Maintain or Die Easily So once looked at together: Struggle to Maintain or Die Easily PERIOD The Street Mode line will cater to urban wear and will consist of, but will not be limited to, shirts, jeans, sweaters, fleece and velour suits, denim suits, leather and suede products, footwear, hats, etc. specifically offered to the BIG and Tall man and for the Full Figured

Curvy Woman. The second line of clothing is Twenty2, the concept behind it being: "Any two things that are the same, is in a sense, a reflection of each other" (i.e. twins). So Twenty2 is a reflection of Street Mode in the lines of clothing. This line will cater towards the casual and high end clothing and will consist of slacks, button down shirts, golf shirts, suits, dresses, purses, colognes, perfumes, sunglasses, watches and others. I have taken the liberty to include a few images from my collection so that you can see what a few things look like. Andre Thornton CEO/President Street M.O.D.E 22 www.StreetMODE22.com

Diamond Diva

July 2011





July 2011

Diamond Diva

Savvy Chic Clothing

Diamond Diva

July 2011


Savvy Chic Clothing, Co. was established from humble beginnings. In 1994 the founder, who was just a young girl, was determined to create a style and image that separated her from others. She would spend hours hard at work just for the sake of perfecting her craft. After much time spent laboring, Savvy Chic Clothing was born. It would be many years later, July 2006, that Savvy Chic Clothing would be established as a company founded by designer Sanaa Sharrieff. Sanaa was born and raised in Brooklyn NY and later relocated to Durham NC where Savvy Chic Clothing is currently operating. Being raised in the fashion capital (New York) had a huge impact on Sanaa's desire to emulate creative styles and beautiful garments that compliment fashionistas and everyday women alike. Sanaa began using her daughters as the perfect muses for

the children's line. Eventually Savvy Chic Clothing began to offer custom designs to women who have difficulty finding a garment that is 'just right'. This was done by combining classic styles with details unique to each customer. After working with a variety of sizes and body types Sanaa decided to begin working on collections for women that offered versatility, femininity, and class. In 2009, Savvy Chic Clothing launched its first women's runway collection and featured 'Concrete Blossom' in Strut '09/Raleigh Fashion Week. The 'Sanaa Signature' and 'Candy Chic' Spring/Summer 2010 collections were later featured. SCC has recently launched 'Savvy Winter Candy', and has since expanded to offer a ready-to-wear line. Savvy Chic Clothing continues to offer a variety of looks. Savvy Chic currently offers products online and by personal request.


July 2011

Diamond Diva

Diamond Diva

July 2011



July 2011

Diamond Diva

Diamond Diva

July 2011


The Boss CC: I'm here with Artist, CEO, Producer, and more Blackstorm. How is everything? Everything is good I can't complain CC: Let's get right to it, for those who don't know you, introduce the Carolina Connect readers to Blackstorm. Well I`m an Artist, producer, engineer and CEO. I am from New York city, but resides here in North Carolina. I think of myself as a one of a kind artist, and I will be the 1st to admit I go against the grain at all times, so pretty much to sum it all up, I`m a artist you def would love to work with. st CC: How did you get started in Hip Hop? I 1 began to Dj, then after a run in with

the law which set me back 3 yrs, I found my new love which was RAP/HIP-HOP and ever since then I haven't looked back CC: What's been the hardest part about being an Artist in NY and now in NC? Well I would have to say the transition was the hardest part for me, I mean when I was living in NY I had hella love just like I do here in NC, but when I 1st got to NC it def was different, I mean I`m a real aggressive rapper, so all my music was super hype and hard, which I think at the time was something real different for NC, but after 1 or 2 shows I must say the people of NC embraced me like one of their own. CC: Since I've known you, you have represented NC like it's your birth state, why so much love for NC? Well this is something most people don't know about BLACKSTORM Carolina Connect yall getting an exclusive. This is the birth place of my father side of the family, (THAT'S RIGHT) and my grandmother which is my only grandparent living still lives here. That's why I rep both where I was born and raised and where I live now and have roots so hard. You can call me that “NEW CAROLINIAN COUNTRY CITY BOY� CC: Do you feel the love given in return? Yes I do, but I can`t lie I also see the hate

and fake love also, but hey I love it all whether they hate me or love me (GUESS WHAT) I am the topic of conversation at that particular moment they mentioning or thinking about me (haha) CC: Who are some of the people you have worked with, that you feel are important to NC music? (WOW) 1st off if I forgot to mention anyone, please don't kill me. Well I worked with “NIKKI NIKOLE (K97.5) SHELLY B, IKE & SHYST, DERTY DEN, MARC LAW, SMALLWORLD (DTP), BROLIC (DTP), J KHRIST, RICKY RUCKUS & AOG, BRANDON D, MICA SWAIN, LAVA IZZO, ASHLEY MAR SHELL, TROOP 41, GULLY MACK, ATM QUOTE And so many more artist I can`t even list, but these are just to name a few heavy hitters of the Carolinas I've worked with. CC: Do you feel negativity fuels NC music? Not just negativity, I would say the lack of knowledge of the Music business fuels a lot of it, I promise you if more artist understood the business I bet things would be different here in the Carolinas CC: What has changed to get Carolina music where it should be? pretty much what I said in the last question, artist understanding this business. That's it CC: Who are some of the artist, you think are going that route? The artist I mentioned before, and a few others that's on the come up. CC: Ok now, I want to hear about “Build Your Brand Dj's.” Who are they and how did they come about? Ok “BUILD YOUR BRAND DJ'S” are a few DJ'S me and my partner JAY DAVID team up with 2yrs ago. Me and him actually came up with the idea just sitting in my house one day and from there we spoke to DJ DELLMATIC.A Dj from Johnston county and spoke to him about what our visions were and from then we never looked back. We started recruited more DJ'S around the Carolinas and other states as well, We also have a DJ out the country in GERMANY… CC: What's your goal with them? To break unsigned and upcoming artist such as myself into this Big music industry…. CC: What do you have coming up? Working on my Trilogy street album “IM DA BOSS PT 3”also a few video's and a short film called “CIRCLE OF LOVE” and believe it or not, looking into the whole ACTING thing right now as well also working on my team “ASAP GANG/FAMM CLIQUE” compilation album and our artist “C-FRANCE” street album as well as features here and there.. CC: Ok I have to ask, where do you see yourself five years from now? Honestly I see myself being one of the top artist in this here music industry if not, at least one of the big players in this game. And def takin care of my family and Kids CC: Awesome! Any last words to the people reading this article that want to

know more about Blackstorm?What you see is what you get, I`m not no make believe RAPPER, I`m human just like anyone else, I am here to change the game and that will be something I will accomplish MARK MY WORDS Gzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz‌. (o yea) thanks for all the love and support.. I appreciate you all CC: Thank you so much for this and we look forward to seeing more from you in the future. Now let the people know where you can be reached..www.facebook.com/BLACKSTORMFAMM www.twitter.com/BLACKSTORMFAMM MANAGEMENT www.twitter.com/leitawesley

David Actkinson aka DJ XL is one of the most sought after DJ's on the east coast with over 20 yrs of experience. From nightclubs to corporate events and everything in between he continually amazes his audience with his ability to keep the dance floor packed. DJ XL started XL Live Entertainment in 2001 providing dj's, bands, sound and lighting in addition to event promotions and consultation for wedding, reunions, nightclubs, corporations, birthday parties, grade school and college events. DJ XL can now be heard on Vyzions internet radio‌.I hope the world is ready! Clients include CIAA, MEAC, NCSU, UNC, NCCU, ST. AUG, Shaw. U, wake, durham and Johnston county school systems, WQOK K97.5, WFXZ foxy107.1, the light 103.1, Promoters ( Dynasty 5, Seven, A-list, Velvet, Bluegoose, A2Z) Nightclubs ( Bodi, Dolce, Solace, Hi5, Zydeco, TJ's nightlife, 30+, Blue martini, Gwendolyns, Time Out, Capital VIP etc. Simply put DJ XL is one of the best entertainers in the business. The name says it all‌.The Incredible DJ XL.

he soon started djing at local bars and clubs. This led him to be the resident Dj in Raleigh, NC at Oliver Twist, Crowley's and The Cafe. While at The Café on Wednesdays, Crowley's on Thursdays, and Oliver Twist on Fridays his crowd and following mostly consisted of top 40, dance and hip-hop. In 2006 Dj Cen City and fellow business partners started “Crowns of Riches Entertainment” (a party promotion company) which catered to consumers wanting an organized approach to event planning. After much success Dj Cen City added weddings and private parties, artist showcases and poetry slams to his resume as he started doing Born in Goldsboro, NC where he fell in love with

weddings, holiday parties and events.


music listening to his mother's collection of

(Kangaroo Petroleum, Growing Child

oldies like Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Marvin

Pediatrics, University of North Carolina).

Gaye, The Gap Band and Blaxploitation 70's

As his passion for music and djing progressed in


2009-2010 he began working with Rap Lord

Dj Cen City came from a musically

inclined family, his Mother, Aunt and

Entertainment as the resident dj catering to

Grandmother were singers, and his

unsigned local and national artist, traveling to

Grandfather was a gospel pianist.

such states as Virginia, DC, New York, Georgia,

Ironically Dj Cen City started off as a hip-hop

Maryland, South Carolina and North Carolina

artist, and record producer in the late 90's all

to fulfill his obligation as a versatile dj.

while residing in the birthplace of GOGO

Late in 2010 he began working on “I'm So Tri-

music The District of Columbia.

Coastal” A mix tape by Black storm hosted by:

In the early

2000's is where he began listening to other

Dj Cen City, Shep- 1 and k97.5 radio dj Nikki

pioneering old school Dj's such as Arika

Nicole which was released on Valentine's Day

Bambaataa, Dj Red Alert, and Grandmaster


Flash. While living with his uncle in Alabama Dj

In this same year Dj Cen City and fellow djs

Cen City's uncle (Dj Fast Eddie) who also was a

established a dj coalition called the

radio personality and disk jockey while in

“Builyabranddjs” which caters to artist

Japan, taught him the techniques,

development, Underground and mainstream.

fundamentals and business ethics enabled to

In 2010-2011 he began to get booked at

be a successful Dj. When he moved back to

popular local clubs such as Ess, Dolce,

North Carolina in 2005 he began to work and

LeNiche's, Passion's, Black Flower, The

pay for his own equipment to start djing and

Pourhouse, The Metro and other various

has since never stopped going.



relentless private parties and word of mouth

IC Beauty

Donnie Whitsett is the owner and visionary of IC Beauty, which specializes in makeup, hairstyling, and wardrobe services. With years of experience in the art of cosmetics, she has utilized her skills in numerous areas including editorial photo shoots, weddings, high fashion prints, and have worked with many established photographers. Donnie uses cutting edge techniques in make-up artistry and hair design, to create total concepts and bring your event looks into reality. She enjoys guiding clients towards what is most flattering for them and showing them a process that can be simplified with the right products. Observers have noted she possesses extremely well rounded skill sets and incredible work ethic as well as an eye for detail. In addition to experience, she still has the youth and vibrancy to stay attuned to the latest trends in fashion and beauty while staying abreast of new developments in her field of work. Her clients and those she has worked with can all attest that she has a special talent in making them look and feel beautiful.

Perfections by

Tameka Nichole

I told myself I would never stop achieving the unachievable, I took a chance and Perfected it into a craft not so much of a gamble because I'm a black woman able to do anything, not PERFECT but PERFECTING my imPERFECTIONS, and I'm HERE NOW!!!” Perfections by Tameka Nichole, LLC is the newest gift to the Triangle bringing High Fashion in Beauty and Elegance to any and everyone. Tameka Nichole also known as Miss. Perfections & Ms. IDOFACES is a self made business women. Her business is beauty. Specializing in the area of eyebrows, eyelashes, and makeup, Tameka Nichole brings a fresh new approach to getting your FACE done. Her style is not only to create outer beauty but to build the inner confidence to wear makeup and feel good about yourself. The goal is to be the “Perfect” you. Perfections by Tameka Nichole was established through a series of fortunate events. After graduation from North Carolina Central University started work for her publication, Volupt Mag (www.voluptmag.com) Tameka then relocated from North Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia. There she was invited by Total Media Group to volunteer one year at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show and stumbled into make up there by assisting a staff make up artist. Though feeling undeserving due to her limited professional experience Tameka showcased her natural talent for applying and coordinating color schemes that “popped” complimenting a model, and appeasing the hair stylist and make up artist vision. She was then contacted to do makeup for a Hair Salon in Conyers, GA for a Hype Hair photo shoot. There her talents were acclaimed. This was the catalyst that Tameka needed to recognize her true passion. Armed with a portfolio of her creations thus far Tameka was offered a position to work with Color Me Beautiful by Joi (Atlanta, GA) where she enhanced her natural talents and built her clientele. Realizing this was to be more than an occupation but her calling, Tameka decided to move back to North Carolina. The services of a Personal Brow, Lash and Make Up Specialist were lacking in the Triangle area and Tameka positioned herself to fill this gap. Obtaining her credentials through Miller-Motte College Tameka became a Licensed Esthetician. In every word of a triangle socialite, Owner and Founder Tameka Nichole is a Licensed Esthetician who specializes in Individual & Strip Eyelashes, Brow Arch & Design, Make Up Services provided for anywhere from Night out on the Town to High Fashion Event Make Up, for women and men of all ages to the everyday stay at home mom to the high powered business women, from the high school student to the college student and everyone in between. Tameka services

anywhere from the Tameka does Event Make Up several times a year from Radio One's Women's Empowerment, Radio One's Bridal Expo, to the Kooka Booth Amphitheater's Soul Picnic and she has been the Key Make Up Artist for Total Media Group's


Way/Shake N Go

Hair Battle Main

Stage for the past 3

years. Tameka

also spreads her

craft thorough

teaching lessons

through hands

on training for her

clientele as well

as by serving on the

Advisory Board

for Wake Tech


College Esthetics Department. Tameka Nichole's services are not just located in Raleigh, NC but up and down the East Coast. You can find the services of Perfections by Tameka Nichole in Raleigh, NC at Studio 714 West, Charlotte, NC at Glam Bar Charlotte, Atlanta, GA at Gocha Salon, Washington, DC at EuroSpa, and in Norfolk, VA. Tameka Nichole got her start in North Carolina in Durham at Hollywood Stylz and continues to do special events with the salon. You are sure to see Perfections by Tameka Nichole in Many more places over the Globe!!! For updates and information contact Tameka Nichole at www.perfectionsMUA.com or www.facebook.com/perfectionsmua follow her on twitter @PerfectionsMUA. To unveil your “PERFECTION� make your appointment today!

Diva’s Rock

y a d s e n d e W

sing wherever she can and works with some of the best people in the business a l w a y s showing that her gift from God h a s

n o

boundaries or limits. She is looking forward to working on her own music in the future and continue to learn as she goes.

Wednesday Robinson started like most singers, singing in church. She sung in youth choir and quickly joined the older choir after her voice stood out so much, she had her first solo at 8 years old. It was known then that singing was her God giving talent, as she got older she kept singing in church and also in her school chorus becoming lead and director in both. She later joined a live band mixed with family members and began her career in music doing shows of all kinds all over she was the lead vocalist singing everything from R&B to country she showed her voice has no limits. She also began doing shows outside her band and even became a co founder of a live band event and its lead vocalist. She now continues to

a i k a N Nakia Latrelle is on her way to becoming the newest singer/songwriter to hit the music scene. This sultry R&B alto is an up and coming independent artist with Fly Sound Entertainment. Hailing from the little town of Broadway in North Carolina she began her journey as a singer in her local church choir at the age of 7. Exploring her talents further Nakia picked up and pen and pad writing her first song at the age of 13. Growing up she shared her gifts and talents with local functions in her community in and out of state. Attributing her style and sound to several genres from jazz to pop she has a style all her own. Currently Nakia is working on releasing her hot single titled "Boom Boom", a fun flirty song for all ears to hear. Having a great deal of ambition in relation to her craft Nakia wants her hard work and passion to show through her music to be heard round the world.

e i r a M n n A

Diva’s Rock

AnnMarie has a presence online, including YouTube, where you'll hear and see her performing. She has garnered thousands of views. She's been popular as a headliner for regional fashion shows and opened for artists Case, Lil Mo, and Ruben Studdard, amongst many others. AnnMarie had the opportunity to showcase some of her dance skills on the premier episode of VH1s Dance Cam Slam and sing the Star Spangled Banner for the WNBA's Atlanta Dreams. AnnMarie quotes, "I create 'Feel Good Music' accompanied by upbeat shows with live vocals and dancing. I enjoy hearing audience members tell me that they're amazed at the fact that I can actually sing and dance." A rounded entertainer, AnnMarie's goal is to bring back Fun Entertainment with real vocals and exciting dance moves.

l l e h S r a M y e l h s A

North Carolina born and bred, R&B diva Ashley Mar Shell bombarded NC's independent entertainment industry one eventful year ago with the release of her debut EP entitled “Not That Girl”. With a serious knack for selfpromotion, an undeniable grind, and a genuine support for other independent entertainers, Ashley created a remarkable buzz and the streets watched as she gracefully charmed her market with a refreshing appearance on the NC entertainment scene. With hits like “Call me Up”(Which debuted on NC K97.5's 919 Radio in July 2011), a catchy tune that invades your membrane, and “Not That Girl” a tribute to women in abusive relationships, A. Mar Shell has the ability to appeal to the masses through crafty relatable lyrics and soothing vocals as well as a beautiful, captivating live show. Singer/Songwriter/Actress/ & Activist, among many other titles, Ashley Mar Shell approaches entertainment from every angle possible. Although most commonly known for her music and abusive relationship platform, fans were introduced to Ashley Mar Shell the actress on Christmas Eve 2011, when film director King Ace released the mini-movie/urban-musical, “Circle of Love” available on YouTube, where Ashley stars alongside fellow indie artist James Barnes (Blackstorm). This short film sheds light on the harsh reality of social media and its effect on relationships. In the film Ashley Ultimately delivers an emotional, drunken reenactment of her Marvin's Room freestyle, originally done by Drake, and gives a stellar performance of raw, broken-hearted grief. She is also set to appear in the independent movie “Gospel Good, Gospel Bad, Gospel Ugly” a James A. House film, written by Michael Buie, and executively produced by J. Anthony Brown, hitting the big screen in April of 2012. “I love listening to her music, but her presence is what's most mesmerizing,” states one fan, “I've met her a few times and she just has this energy about her, she's real.” Dipped in natural beauty, business wits, and a demanding presence, Ashley Mar Shell is an irrefutable force to be reckoned with. In just one year she has already been nominated for an NCUMA award for best female R&B artist of the year, a well deserving nomination. With her community service and abusive relationship campaign, promotional expertise and event hosting, and most recently successfully tackling the big screen, Ashley Mar Shell is a true NC Prima Donna with brains to match, running full speed on the road to success. Stay tuned.

Twitter- @AshleyMarShell For booking, collaborations, etc. contact Ashleymarshell@gmail.com

i M u L

A NEW BREED OF FEMALE EMCEE LuMi'Naughty AKA LuMi', was born in Bronx, New York in the summer of 1984. Jazmin Despaigne by birth was raised in Washington Heights located in upper Manhattan. She is a multifaceted artist with experience in modeling, dancing and rapping in multiple genres. She has an uncanny ability to combine various genres in her music, no doubt partially influenced by her Puertorican and Cuban heritage. These include Hip Hop, Rap, Reggaeton, Pop, Latin, Dance Hall and more. At the age of 15 LuMi'Naughty joined Produccion Criminal/Criminal Type Production. Her innate ability to combine different genres lead to LuMi'Naughty's emergence as the First Lady of the group, CTP, Controllando the People known as J-Anonymiss AKA J'Dez. When asked what she plans to achieve, she responded: “I am a Cross Genre Female Emcee… I'm coming for it all and my overall goal is to make a positive impact resulting in positive changes whether in music or the world!” Like many, LuMi'Naughty had grown up in a volatile neighborhood. She was exposed to an environment where it was not safe to walk down the street because of drive by shootings, random violence and the drug game. Poetry was a vice used to as an “escape from reality.” With the ability to overcome the odds of being a product of her environment, Lu'Mi'Naughty has much to offer. Her versatility and unique way of being defines who she is. LuMi'Naughty was an Honor Roll student throughout her scholastic career and attended Hunter College in 2002. After a year of college, LuMi'Naughty then decided to serve our country and dedicated four years of her life to the United States Marine Corps. Upon the end of her honorable service she enrolled and graduated, with Special Honors, from Anthem Institute and received certification for Medical Assisting. A proud parent of a five year old daughter, Shamya, who is the inspirational source that drives LuMi'Naughty to persevere and reach any goal/goals she sets. When asked what message she would like to convey to her audience, LuMi'Naughty had this to say: “I want to prove to the single mothers out there that we are strong and that our dreams aren't just our dreams, they can be touched. Oh and for those who tend to forget important things: I'm never going to forget where I came from. I am going to give back, whenever I have the chance.” In the beginning, LuMi'Naughty found that poetry served to be therapeutic when coping with the trials of her youth and an ointment for the pain that comes with the struggles and obstacles of life. Once her poetry and love for music merged,

LuMi'Naughty had found her niche. She's always been proactive and ambitious. At age 18 she tried out for Diddy's MTV Making the Band Prt 1. She went on to the next round and didn't make it, but received some very inspiring words from Diddy: “I see a lot of talent and potential, I know you are capable of more, bring all that to the plate then you'll be ready.” After years of focus and determination, LuMi'Naughty knows she is now ready. On her modeling side, she tried out for America's Next Top Model's Cycle 13, which was as she states: “An amazing experience, even though I didn't get through to finals it was great trying, from the 17 hr wait in the cold to interacting with other models.”- LuMi'Naughty. Also in 2010, LuMi'Naughty was signed under Seur Jams Ent / Dunk Ryders- Ricky Smiley Associates. Now she is free and independent looking for that major break! When asked who are her major influences she simply replied “Music.” To her it's more music as a whole than an individual artist. “The passion behind my music is immeasurable; music is my television, my escape, my language and way of communicating. I love watching my own video in my head play while an instrumental is playing. It's just a passion that calms me and never leaves my side, I just love it.” Just to answer your curiosity, when asked “what was the significance of her name?” she replied: “There are two main sides that make me up. They say I illuminate the room with my presence, personality, and talent and that's where LuMi' comes into play. On the other hand I have a little wilder “don't play me attitude” with an elite lyrical flow, with which is where Naughty comes into action. LuMi'Naughty defines me along with all my sides triggered by the different emotions I feel.” Prepared to fill the void of a 3-D (3 dimensional artist) and cross genre female emcee, LuMi'Naughty is taking the scene. Teaming up with DOX Kingdom Productions, LuMi'Naughty will create a huge impact on music, modeling and entertainment industry as a whole.

www.luminaughtyhiphop.com (official site)

a r a m a T Carolina songstress Tamara has given a new and refreshing meaning to Rhythm and Blues. Born Tamara Pickett, this South Carolina native has been singing since the early age of 3. Coming from a gospel background, Tamara expresses such a soultry and timeless sound that is so far beyond her years. Often compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill, this soulful singer has a style that combines the sweet melodies of R&B with the deep expressions of neo-soul. With a twist of hip-hop, this Singer/Songwriter has a sound that is hard to forget. Tamara now resides in Raleigh, NC were she performs at different showcases with some of the best musicians Carolina has to offer. Along her journey this talented artist has been honored with Best Female R&B nominations for The Carolina Music Awards, Queen City Awards, and The North Carolina Underground Music awards. This Carolina songbird is ready to take the music industry by storm and 2012 is her year to show and prove.

Nikki Nikole



A Moment with NIKKI NIKOLE by: Christina L. Mial Let's Just Call Her Nikki For Short……. The world is quickly learning what North Carolina already knows. Nikki Nikole is THAT “woman”. There is a quote by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me.”, and when she makes that stand I do believe this young lady will be able to say just that. From production manager to imaging director to doing voice overs to on-air personality at Radio One, those are just a limited few of the ways she uses the talents that God has given her. Even when she is not technically on the clock, she still gives of herself wholeheartedly by sharing her time with many charities in the area. While she tries to spread herself around as much as possible, her heart lies with breast cancer. It is through this passion that she does 'Strike for Cancer' every year. She does attend walks that benefit many other causes as well as opening her purse to those that tug at the strings many these days pretend aren't attached to their hearts. When asked why she contributes to so many causes, she simply replied,

“Because you

never know when

something will

affect your family.” Speaking of family,

you would have

never thought this


reckoned with is an

only child. Her



take charge and

take no prisoners

work ethics remind

me of the fights my

four sisters and I

had while all trying

to be the favorite




parents. She has that drive that makes her stand out while there was no need to stand out because God gave her the platform to do just that. Surrounding herself with family and close friends, Nikki is inspired by the positive people in her life; however, her biggest inspiration in life is none other than herself. Deeply rooted in her faith, Nikki also knows that all of these things that have been added unto her life are nothing short of a God given blessing. She is truly walking her life out in the living word as one of her favorite scriptures states, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:78). Not only does Nikki seek God for herself, but she inspires others to develop a relationship with Him as well, whether it is on her website, www.nikki2hot4radio.com with her Inspiration link, or by tweeting of the goodness of Jesus to her many followers, and by sharing on her Facebook page her revelations in life and answered prayers, we know we can expect to see her around for a long time with Him going before her in all that she does. When I inquired about where she goes to get her soul fed on Sundays she didn't hesitate to let me know she is a member of Elijah Grove Baptist

Church where Dr. Alfred M. Faulkner is the Pastor, but if she can't make it there she knows that Pastor Andy is guaranteed to shut it down at WOCC! Sometimes You Just Know It was seven years ago at her first internship that Nikki first picked up a mic. To say that a star was born would be an understatement, but the labor pains to give birth to the radio personality we know today as Nikki Nikole surely were kicked into high gear. Although she had graduated from Winston-Salem University with a major in Communications and she had also worked in every department available, productions is where her heart truly thumped. Her labor and delivery led her to discover things about herself that she didn't even know were hidden on the inside. Nikki also learned that she has a huge impact on young girls. In a day and time where young ladies are making pregnancy pacts and inspiring to be video girls, it is refreshing to see a role model like her show up at our schools and community centers and give motivational speeches to inspire our young ladies to do better. The Down Side As with anything in life, there are moments that are bitter sweet that you have to deal with, like last year when Nikki discovered a party promoter was using her image and name to push a party. While on one hand it is flattering to know that she is so in demand people know her name alone can get a crowd, it still was a disgusting reminder of how people will use who and what they can to get what they want. Nikki however will not be one of the used people. She didn't hesitate to contact the promoters and let them know they had 60 seconds to rectify the situation. {Ok, I exaggerated about the timeframe but you get what I am saying}. But using every platform at her fingertips, she did get the message across, “you will NOT make money off of me!” In addition to that some of the life altering stories that made headlines also played a detrimental part in her life. Most recently with the Trayvon Martin story Nikki is quoted saying, “What happened to Trayvon Martin should have never happened. I'm glad that Zimmerman is finally being charged BUT it never should have taken almost 3 months!! I also feel that we should put this same effort for the Trayvon case in every case. Blacks are killing each other every day and no one seems to care. We have to do better!!!” Fun, Creative, Passionate, and Most Importantly: HUSTLER Everything isn't always so serious in the world of Nikki Nikole. In her own words she told us about 919 Radio, a huge contribution to the NC Industry for the local independent artists. “The show has been wonderful in the NC market; we have been able to sustain an independent show for almost a year, that's a HUGE accomplishment!!! The show is really up to the artist. I feel we have provided a platform for NC to finally be heard, but it will be up to the artist to continue to put out HOT music, it's up to the artist to get out there and grind. A lot of artists just want to make music because someone said they should, a lot of artists don't fully understand what it takes. Being an artist is a 24/7 job.

No breaks in this game, and as long as they keep showing us that they are working we will continue this show.” I couldn't help but inquire about the photo shoots that she has been popping up in lately. What girl wouldn't want to get dolled up and play around in front of a camera for hours on end? Here is what Nikki had to say about that. “An average photo shoot for me has become easy. When I first started I was alone, so it was me finding clothes, finding a makeup artist, getting my hair done, scheduling the date with the photographer…. uuuugh it was a headache! But, now I have a GREAT team of people that hold me down, so all I have to do is show up and pose. {Insert that gorgeous Nikki Nikole smile here}. BIG shout-outs to Lavender Sky (Stylist) and Brittani Hines (MUA) who help me with every photo shoot. They give their time unselfishly and I'm truly thankful.” After numerous interviews this year, we want to know the juicy stuff Nikki. You know the stuff you didn't tell the other magazines. Like what is your guilty pleasure? *Disclaimer: ok readers, lean in close for this one, the answer is going to BLOW your minds* “Guilty pleasures - lol anything dough.....I can eat a roll of cookie dough straight!! I love cookie dough and cake batter lol I will bake the cake and probably throw it away, but the batter uuuuuummm ummmmmm good!!” Bet you all didn't know that! LOL. Tell us more girl, tell us MORE. {This is good stuff yall} “Well, I do have other hidden talents… lol, before there was radio, there was dance. Back in the day when Aaliyah first came out, I used to record all of her videos and learn the dances step by step. I wanted to be her dance choreographer or just a back up dancer at least. I took tap, ballet, jazz, gymnastics, and pointe for 14 years. A lot of people would be surprised to know that.” Ok, then…. Go 'head on stuff. Well Nikki, before I go, I have to try one more time, what IS your government name? “Its Nikk Nikole lol you know how many people REALLLLLY think that's my real name.....I will tell you this....my middle name is Nikole.” Well yall I tried. As I said at the beginning of this article, just call her Nikki. Nikki Nikole that is. Thanks for your time Doll and we look forward to seeing more of you for years to come! Find out more about Nikki by visiting her website www.nikki2hot4radio.com Follow her on Twitter @nikki2hot4radio F r i e n d

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F a c e b o o k


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About the Author: Introduced to the literary world when she was Managing Editor at Diamond Diva Magazine, Christina L. Mial is continuously shocking audiences via freelance writing for select magazines and editorials. Currently working on the release of her first book for the fall of 2012, Christina is also making her stamp on North Carolina's history by proving you truly can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you. Mother of four, business owner {she owns Occasionally Yours, a gift basket company specializing in unique personalized gifts}, and writer, Christina aspires young girls to continue with the dreams that have been placed inside. We may get thrown off course, but we can always get back on again with motivation and dedication.


Men in Music What if? Usually these are the first two words spoken in reference to a dream, goal, or change. What if there was a way to get the voice of the streets to manifest in what is truly the definition of sexy. There are so many possibilities with the phrase “what if?” What if, John Mayer grew up on the “other side of the railroad tracks?” How would his music sound and feel? What if he combined lyrics containing that frank but truthful urban perspective with the soulful sound of his guitar? Quite frankly, you would know if you heard Cardye's Smooth Urban Sexy Music!

This self-taught lead guitarist from Raleigh, North Carolina will take your mind and emotions on a journey through the urban streets of America while you hold a chilled glass of wine. His passion for music stems from the influences of artist like DeAngelo, Anthony Hamilton, John Mayer and more. Cardye ties the soulful sounds of blues, jazz and rock with his unique voice to deliver his message. “Being sexy is a state of mind, regardless of location or situation.” Cardye describes his music with two simple words...“Urban: Sexy.” Cardye is no stranger to the recording process or stage performance. He has written, produced, and engineered his own two albums entitled Urban: Sexy and Urban: Sexy2. Cardye's third album is soon to be released in the summer of 2012 entitled “Hello World.” Nominated for Best Male R&B in the Carolina Music Awards in 2011, and was a finalist in Charlotte, NC for the Andre Harrell Superstar Soul Search. On Stage, Cardye loves to get lost in his music. The emotions he feels on stage radiates out through his guitar playing and soothing voice to reach the entire room. He was honored to open up for artist such as Tank (Atlantic Records), Kem Kemistry (Universal Motown Records), Ledisi (Verve Music Group), Calvin Richardson (NuMo Records), and Rudy Currence (DTP). Cardye also performed at Women's Empowerment 2012. The Source Magazine claims Cardye to be “One of the hottest unsigned artists in North Carolina!” (2010). Focused, driven, and determined to make his mark in the music industry, Cardye continues to record and perform, spreading the new smooth sound of Urban Sexy Music. “The possibilities are endless.” Cardye. What if Cardye is the next rising star out of North Carolina? What if your search for a unique soulful artist is over? There are many possibilities, so, what if you took the time to find for yourself? www.cardyenc.com

Marc Law

Men in Music

Marc Law is a native of Duplin County, NC. Marc was always a fan of hip hop music and started his career with quick witted verses tossed around with friends and underground tracks recorded in various studios. While living in Greensboro, NC Marc began taking his music much more seriously. He found himself surrounded with people who had not only the drive to create great music but displayed a focus on business as well. This deeply inspired Marc on how to handle his business as he elevated from not just a local rapper to that of an entertainment entrepreneur when he launched Eleven Entertainment Group in 2006. Eleven Entertainment has now expanded into film, clothing, and promotions as well. Eleven Entertainment was deep roots in Magnolia, NC Highway 11 running through it.

founded from Marc's which boasts

Marc Law is known for his word play as well as his ability to honestly portray street life in his music without glorifying crime and violence. Marc has always envisioned himself as a leader and he certainly portrays an image worthy of a leader. While pursuing his own career and expanding his lyrical capabilities and styles with every project, Marc Law is often known for lending his guidance and experience to young artists just entering the foray of the music arena. Marc Law has lived in several areas of North Carolina and in each place Marc Law has expanded his fan base thoughout the Carolinas and beyond. With frequent club performances, opening spots for artists such as Waka Flocka, T.I. Young Buck, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Marc is as comfortable on stage in front of thousands of fans as he is in a quiet studio laying down that Southern Fire. Marc Law received recognition for his persistant grind when he was nominated for the prestigious NCUMA Lyricist of the Year Award in 2009, and NCUMA Video of the year in 2010. He was named 2011Carolina Music Awards Hip Hop artist of the year. With a take charge attitude and independent nature Marc Law is more determined than ever to succeed as an artist in his own right as well as becoming a major influence in the Carolina Underground Movement. Current projects include his street album "LAW & ORDER�, numerous features on mixtapes across the country and several videos are currently in production. Law is also the Leader of the "TSUNAMI GANG" a group comprised of artist on the 11 entertainment label. Marc Law and Tsunami gang host a monthly event in Raleigh NC called "New Ishh Fridayz where they showcase Carolina's independent artist. Be on the look out for Marc Law and the 11 empire.


Men in Music

Ever heard the saying, "Destined for greatness", well that saying fits true for an artist known as T-Smuv (TSmooth). Born Tragarius Robinson on February 13th in Warner Robins, Georgia, raised in Albany, Georgia, bred in a surrounding of singers and musicians Tragarius was gifted. TSmuv began writing lyrics and playing instruments at the age of 9. In his early years, he was taught himself to read as well as compose music. At the the young age of 14 his professional music career broke ground. In the Spring of 2010, T-Smuv established entertainment/record company, F.R.A.T House Records (acronym of For Real About This). TSmuv offers an eclectic new sound mixed with a spin of Hip-Hop of his own. To date, Smuv has released four independent mixtapes which are available online to include: DayDreaming in Fall 2011, Artist Development in Spring 2011, The Demo in Fall 2009, and Thru My Eyes in Fall 2008. T-Smuv is currently awaiting the release of his first independent album entitled,"Dream Music", which is set to release this Fall. T-Smuv joined the United States Army in 2007. While being stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he quickly became a household name and onlookers began to take notice. With singles such as, "The Singer", "Outta My Head", and "Dream Girl", there were no small steps taken by this artist. He has been quickly proclaimed as a musical mastermind, featuring his talent through songs wiith artists such as, Gruff of G.G.C (California), Youngan of Block

Hustle Ent(Alabama), Ray Hu$tle (Detroit), and many more. T-Smuv has recently released a collaboration mixtape titled, Dark Shades & Advil with Demar of High Society in February 2012. Dark Shades & Advil features remakes of headlining songs such as: Linkin Park's 'Hangover', and Drake's 'HYFR'. You can catch T-Smuv in the recording studio, performing in independent showcases, and spreading real music to others because there is no stopping this unsigned artist on the grind!


Isaiah “UNEEK” Smith is an extremely talented hip hop artist/poet from Raleigh, NC. After getting into music at a very young age, UNEEK began to write his own songs and by age 13, he was being known as a young veteran throughout the streets of Raleigh. His momentum started gaining strength after winning countless rap battles in his neighborhood and schoolyard. After being heard by many fans, DJs, various artists and gaining the support of the city, the young and persistent UNEEK began receiving invites to record with numerous producers as well as costarring with some of Raleigh's local legends forming alliances throughout the triangle region. “As hip hop continues to evolve and exceed the 35 year mark, it is safe to assume that a different genre of the culture will come forth catering to certain regions celebrating the art with a different sound. Neek” (as he is simply known by most of his enthusiasts) is one of a select few of artists on the local

and national scene with a unique lyrical style (the very style that played an integral role in developing his name and persona) who can adapt to any style of hip hop, transforming any hip hop beat into a groundbreaking hit. UNEEK has proven to be as versatile as any of his peers in his ability to not only adapt but conquer different styles of hip hop music from southern flavor to original east coast hip hop. Equipped with his uncanny knack for wordplay and captivating charisma, UNEEK possesses the tools necessary to turn a random song into hall of fame type material. UNEEK, now in his early 20's is quite ambitious about his future. He has now put his music career into high gear despite some life changing hiccups that could have easily pushed him farther away from pursuing entertainment professionally. Even though he has been in the game since his early teen years, he is a firm believer in the adage that “Everything doesn't always go as expected”. Nevertheless, it took a few run ins with the law for Neek to decide that to achieve his goals required focus, persistence, and a determination to beat the odds to accomplish greatness. He has an outstanding track record throughout the local area. UNEEK's performance appearances s include, Raleigh Convention Center, Dolces', Hush Lounge, Thaiphoon Bistro, Durham Performing Arts Center, Goldsboro Auditorium, The Speak Easy Show and many more. He is an active member of the BNC Squad along with Rap Artist, Dot.Marv and R&B artist, Cardye. UNEEK is driven to be productive and one of the best. Lyrically, he has already placed himself in elite company and this is just the beginning.

Evin Grant


CC: What made you want to get into photography? EVIN:I started paying attention to the quality of my pictures around my senior year in college. At that time I did a lot of traveling over the holiday breaks and would take a camera with me. I had a little 8MP point and shoot camera/video camera that would often give me horrible images. I wasn't satisfied with the quality of the images if were to be a representation of my trip. From there I started to look more into cameras and how to take better pictures, particularly landscape and nature photography. Learning about aperture, shutter speed, how to you light, all before ever deciding to become a photographer. So my start was in landscape and nature photography to fulfill a desire to accurately and vividly represent the memories of my travels. CC: How hard was it getting started and what drove you not to quit? EVIN:Since it started as a hobby that developed into a passion, the transition wasn't that difficult. I didn't approach photography as a way to make money, so migrating into having “clients” was very simple since I had no clue what I was doing. I started out essentially giving away sessions on Model Mayhem, Facebook, and even Craigslist at one point. The hardest part was learning the concept of being a “business” and figure out what you want your business to be about. Understanding laws, contracts, the value of your work, and researching the types of products (sessions, prints, albums, etc) sold well in the market and how to make those products competitive. It's fairly simple to start photography. After the initial expense of the equipment, from there it's getting people interested in letting you take their pictures. Transformation an art into a business is fairly difficult. Mastering the art, understanding the concepts, and knowing how to provide satisfactory, consistent results are the hardest parts.What kept me from quitting was the unwavering support of so many people. I think back to when I first started, Samantha Jones from Sammy Jo Makeup Artistry, Dominique of Dominique's Boutiques, my Mom, Actress Jina Law, church family, coworkers, Marcia Sutton of Graciaous Images, a number of friends; there were so many people that enjoyed my work and believed that I possessed a great gift. In my mind I was just taking pictures, but the joy that my work brought to my supporters is what motivated me. They're belief that I could really make a name for myself with my work. Whether I sold images or not, I truly developed a love for photography. Not just looking at pictures, but knowing how to produce those pictures myself. Studying how the slightest changes in distance from the subject or researching ISO and bracketing; the nerdy stuff behind photography intrigued me enough to keep me interested. CC: This year has been a good one for you. What was the pushing point of you career? EVIN: I was unemployed for nearly 8 months this year (2011) March to November. All I had was my photography as a source of income, so I pushed it harder to really grasp how to take

my business to the next level. I had been a Magistrate Judge for two years, but when it was time for re-elections back in November 2010, I received the fewest votes. I drove home on my last day of work in March asking God what was I to do now. In a matter a moments, it felt like everything I knew was taken away. But as I talked to friends and family members, it was evident God was about to do something wonderful with my photographer. Within a few weeks, my business number was blowing up constantly, had to increase my voice minutes at one point. Shortly thereafter, Dominique had her anniversary fashion show and was a part of numerous other events that allowed me to meet so many great people; Beauty for Ashes, LP, Rick Crank, Martone, numbers of designers, Andre, Savvy Chic, makeup arists, hairstylists, models, agents, a multitude of hard working, amazing people. Nikki Nikole from RadioOne (K97.5) got word of my work and that gave me a larger visible market as more people would see my work on flyers and ads. She was even a spotlight host in The Source Magazine and opted to use an image I had taken of her. Through her I met numerous artist, worked closely with Bodi Nightclub and spoken with other radio personalities, such as Shena J and Wade Banner. What was big for me this past year was weddings, something I had knowledge of how to do, but not much experience. Within the year Savoir Faire Event Planning set me up with 3-4 weddings. This past year the doors literally opened up. Not having a job caused me to work harder, strive more. So many things were happening in my life, I understood that I needed to give an equal effort to show my appreciation for the unexpected success. I'm she'll never believe I listened, but my mom has always taught me: “To whom much is given; much is required�. My photography has been too blessed to ever get up on it. I push everyday as a response of my appreciation for all that has happened for me. CC: What makes your work stand out from the others? EVIN: I feel this is too limiting of a question. It's not merely the work that stands out, but what people gain from your work that they take with them. If I was only into artistic photography, landscapes, still life, mediums where I don't have client interaction, my work would probably look different, being that it's all I have. Since I have direct contact with people, I provide a quality experience along with a quality product. Often as a photographer, we get used to defining our art according to our own standards. So in theory, ugly work can stand out also, but to be pleasing to eye also means you have to be pleasing to the mind. A client often hires us because they want to portray a certain idea that they are unable to produce. I feel my work stands out because I provide the client with what they are looking for rather than what I think looks best. I will provide insight and knowledge to enhance their experience, but if

someone doesn't see what they like, no matter how good you feel your work is, it will not have any value to the client. So rather than my work standing, I prefer that my business stands out; providing a quality result through satisfactory customer service practices. CC: How much support if any, have you received from photographers who have been in the game longer? EVIN: The support I've received is immeasurable. When I first started I reached out to Larry Dixon who gave me some good pointers and things to look out for, particularly pertaining to model photography, since that was all I did at the time.. I still have the messages and will refer back to them

when I need a

refresher. I was even

given the opportunity

to shadow one of his

modeling sessions.

Along with Larry, I

don't think I have

enough words to

express appreciation

for Rick Crank. In the

past years he's been

more than willing to

answer questions, give

me insight, and allow

me to accompany

him to events. In

addition, He's trusted

me to work alongside

him and also as a

representative for him

on various

assignments. Through

that he has instructed

me on how to do

things better, as well

as corrected me

when I've made

mistakes. The support

I've received from Rick

has been amazing.

Not enough words of

expression. I've also

had the pleasure

getting advice from

photographers like

Mel Brown, Brett

Chambers, James

Rich, Glen Parsons,

Tori McKoy, the list

goes on (in case I missed anyone). I have learned to humble myself enough to know that I don't know everything about photography. I have to study and learn from people that, not only have been doing it a while, but doing it successfully. CC: Who are some that have reached out? EVIN: Through Facebook, I've heard from a lot of them at some point or another. Either just to say they've been checking out my growth, or if I'm interested in collaborating. Many of the aforementioned and some others. Some with longer experience than I, others with somewhat the same amount of experience. CC: Do you feel that as a photographer, learning new styles and techniques are a must? EVIN: Not just as a photographers, but any artists should stay abreast on the latest. Technology changes, trends change, and the desires of the people change. It's easy to get lost in the plethora of information that is available, but once you find your niche, you must continue to keep your work fresh based on the changes. Photography hasn't changed much over the years, but the technology has. Learning how to use, and properly use your

equipment is the most important thing. Whether models, weddings, architecture, events, pets, kids, cars, no matter what it is, as things advance, your work must do the same. I'm not saying abandon what makes your work individual to follow the newest style, but you don't want your work to become repetitive or irrelevant either. The words “style” and “techniques” are truly interchangeable with the words “trend” and “fad”. People like the way a concept looks, and they attempt to copy it. Think about the whole “alter ego” phase when it was popular. Every model wanted it, every photographer tried it, even me. Some more or less successful than other. Those things are good to know about, learn, and even try out, but maintaining individuality is key. I feel it's more important to learn about the things that don't change, like how to properly use a camera, than to follow the trends. What good is following a trend if, as a photographer, if you lack the education and experience to understand what you're doing? CC: What's the best part of being a photographer, besides the beautiful women? EVIN: There are perks to every job, but since I work with some many different clients for various things, physical beauty is an afterthought. I think I've become numb to the socially formulated idea of physical beauty and I now equate beauty with character and personality. So, although a pretty face is nice to look at from time to time, the best part about being a photographer is the reaction a satisfied client has when they see the final product. That initial glow that overwhelms them when they look in the camera or receive their prints. An in return, that feeling of appreciation. A lot goes into photography other than just taking pictures. So to received that acknowledgement and respect is the best part. CC: Where can we go to see your work? EVIN: For marketing purpose, I need positive analytic statistics, so I'm going to always first say go to my website www.bygrantphotography.com. There you can see most of my current work, as well as news as it relates to my business and photography in general. Also, Facebook and twitter. For that socially interactive market, www.facebook.com/grantphotography and @GrantPhotos on twitter; you'll find a lot of behind the scenes shots and fun stuff I randomly post. I'm also in the process of working on video marketing, but I'll do that when it is appropriate for me. You can probably YouTube or UStream a few sessions I've done, but I've not put to many resources there just yet. CC: As a photographer, what do you want to be remembered for? EVIN: My passion for client satisfaction. What a person remembers varies from client to clients, it's hard to condense “remembrance” into a single “aspect” unless you're doing communion. Every client desires a different experience and result. The ability to consistently

provide satisfactory results is important to me, and I'd like for my clients to remember that and express that when making recommendations. CC: How do you make sure you do that? EVIN: By spending time figuring out the needs of each clients. Rather through phone calls, text messages, emails, or in-person consultation. Take notes, be attentive and show the client you care about their session just as much as they do. If you approach them with a “this is just another photoshoot” attitude, they will feel that and not appreciate your work, no matter how good it may look. In some business marketing courses I've taken, a general theme is “the best client is a returning client”. I make sure each individual experience caters to that specific person, and I do it openly and wholeheartedly. I may call them a client, but they are human just as I. They have needs, wants, and expectations, and I make sure the take that into consideration. CC: Ok, last words for our readers. EVIN: Work Hard, Play Harder. No matter what you are doing in life, enjoy doing it. And if you don't enjoy it, strive to make it better. Your life is not complete until it is over, until then make the most of every moment. Always strive for excellence because even in failure, people will respect that you've given your best. But with that, know your place. I acknowledge that I'm not a videographer, graphic designer, or director. I will never try to be, it is not my place. Instead, formulate positive, mutually gaining relationships with people. Find people who are willing to work toward a common goal. Not people who only do something for you, because they want something from you. You know, parasites. And lastly, stay humble. No matter how good you are at what you do. Countless times people have boasted and bragged about the gifts given to them by God. And just as swiftly, He took those gifts away. It hurts me to see great talent used for only merit or fame, when you die, it all means nothing. God has blessed each of us with something, but that something wasn't mean solely for us, it was meant to be used to bless others. So get a blessing, be a blessing.

So those are my words; i. Work Hard, Play Harder. ii. Know your place. iii. Get a blessing, be a blessing.

Shelly B

CC: How does it feel being the Queen? Haha.. I am just blessed beyond words, to be able to do what I love and have those efforts supported, respected and acknowledged by people. The streets gave me that title in Carolina a long time ago. I'm just humbled and continuously working to hold it down. I don't feel as if I've conquered it quite yet, I'm just getting started. There's so much more to be done. CC: Tell us how Shelly B got started. I've always been a fan of music. I've always been a writer and creative mind. The 3 came together during my years as that wild teenager who was lost in mind and body but found the way when I was introduced to the culture in the hoods where I grew up and hung around. Ultimately after finding my talent, the grind picked up after appearing on a local TV show we all knew as “The Larry Pickett Show” in the area I'm from. There weren't any females doing music locally around that time who were really grinding and gaining exposure. It was fresh, it was new to the people and from then on it was history. The queen of the Carolinas was born following a string of talent show wins, battle victories over male contenders, showcases, the release of my own project which was selfdistributed, radio appearances all at the age of about 16. I was killin. CC: What was your greatest obstacle when getting started? Being taken seriously. Again, the idea of a female in Hip Hop was only familiar to the mainstream industry. I was a joke to people at first…until I opened my mouth of course. Lol. So I would definitely say gaining respect was a challenge and all forms of the word from being respected pass physical and sexual means, to succeeding at business practices beyond the limitations thrown at Women handling their own. It was tough, but it nurtured a thick skin. I don't have any regrets.

CC: Did you ever want to call it quits? Of course, there have been plenty of times I experienced that phase. It goes without saying that this industry is tough and if you're not built for what comes with it all, you will face defeat. But failure isn't an option for me, so I always bounced back. But yes, I have thought about quitting at times. This career path is one that isn't guaranteed, one that you are constantly gambling with your life and sacrificing aspects of it for. And I think any human can easily fall victim of discouragement. It's all a matter of how you pull yourself out of that mentality, reinvent yourself and get back in the game. When I have those thoughts, I always try to remind myself why I went after it in the first place CC: What kept you going?That mere determination within and the fact that I know I am gifted with something valuable to offer the world once its graced with my presence is what ultimately keeps me going. But I also have fans, a team, a family, supporters who believe and depend on me to get to the finish line. The fact that I get approached everyday by people who remind me that my grind has inspired them is motive enough. The love of quality authentic music that makes people feel and changes lives or steers emotions, decisions, point of views and knowing that I have the power to deliver such a thing keeps me pushing. CC: So fast forward to today. You are one of the top artists in the Carolinas. How does it feel knowing that your hard work had paid off? I feel like it's paid off to an extent. And for that I am humbled. But there's so much more work to do, so much more to accomplish and

conquer. There's a bigger picture that I'm faithful will soon be revealed. But I will forever be thankful of the support I've been blessed with from my state. CC: Your work has earned you a few awards as well. What awards have you received and which ones if any stood out the most? My efforts have been recognized from the likes of the Southern Entertainment Awards, to the Queen City Awards, SMES awards, both Carolina based awards, to organizations in TN & NY. I am thankful to have even had the opportunity for each and every one of them. But of course there are a few that I consider milestones in my career. Back in 08 I was nominated for an award in Houston TX at the Ozone Awards, the only other female in the entire ceremony other than Keisha Cole to receive a nomination. That was huge for my state. Last year I brought home female artist of the year from the biggest underground awards organization in the country, The UMA's held annually in NYC. I also got a Tribute at first ever North Carolina Divas Rock Show an all female Tribute show. CC: What award would you like to one day win? I am aiming for the tippy top to become a member of the Grammy Family baby lol. CC: I know you can reach that goal, Now music isn't the only thing you do, tell us about some of your other ventures and goals. Music is definitely my first love, But I do like to keep busy and in my pursuit of an artist career I've had the opportunity to venture off and explore other talents during the process. I did radio for about a year when I had my online radio show which was an outlet I used to spotlight Carolina artist in the form of an hour long mixtape style mix along with top mainstream artist. Shortly after I got into media and became a TV personality for various media outlets covering everything entertainment in the Southeast region on down to Miami from celebrity interviews to independent artist performances, fashion shows to industry retreats & conferences. I've also gotten a little into journalism writing for Play Magazine and a few other publications as well as my blog site on ShellyBThat.com which I also used a platform to spotlight entertainment professionals grinding throughout the Carolinas. I used a good portion of my grind and success to give back to the community that has supported me for so long. I've also had the opportunity to work in the promotion field, organizing and hosting parties & events. These days its back to the music grind, and I'm on it heavy. The team is definitely cooking up a few projects that can be appreciated for its quality in today's industry. CC: Much like today, you always look your best. Do you have a stylist or is it all you? Thank you! It's a little bit of both. I have always said that I want to remain myself when it comes to presentation as much as possible. Although the industry tends to have a strong focus on image I still try to keep it authentic. So I play a huge role in ideas and decision making when it comes to my looks. There are a few professionals who assist and bring my vision to life. One of my main stylist is right here in the triangle, Victoria Galloway of Royal Creations. I do my own wardrobe styling as of right now, however I rely on a few sources online for shopping options as well as Unique Boutique in Raleigh NC when I need something on deck asap. The shoes, outfits and accessories there are always on point. CC: Taking pride in your image makes you stand out from the rest. How important do you think image is to an artist? Image plays a huge role in your persona and brand as an artist.

Unfortunately in this industry and much of the entertainment business, it's the first selling point and introduction as to who you are as a product. It's definitely important to stand out and create an image that will draw the people into your definition, but it's just as important to stay who you are in your presentation which is why I am so hands on when it comes to my image instead of just having people to make me up. CC: Do you feel like some artist would do better if they cared about how they looked, how they carried themselves and not so much on the glorified part of it all?It's a touchy subject, because again I think artist should be careful in putting so much focus on image. At the end of the day you want people to buy into your talent and your gift over the way you look. But image should be a percentage of your package and yes you should care about the way you carry yourself. This is the way people are going to perceive you. CC: What advice would you give to an artist starting out, who wants to start off right?I would say learn the business first before you step out there. This whole thing is a process and a cycle of levels that you go through before you are ready and in most cases, before you break through. There's no reason to rush anything. You will save yourself a lot of double work if you learn the business aspects, the dynamics of branding and the common procedures of presenting yourself as a product that is polished before you decide to pop out as an artist just because you can sing or rap. Secondly you have to believe in you and stand behind what you are offering before someone else will. Focus on building a fan base of the general public rather than other artist and industry people, but maintain a solid network at the same time. Things work differently for different people, find your formula and go hard with what works for you. The guideline that has always gotten me through the grind is patience, passion, and persistence. CC: Back to your music. What do you have coming up next? Lots of stuff. We just wrapped up a holiday campaign recently during the Christmas season included a video and single which did really well and gained a lot of support. Right now we are in editing stages of my online documentary series which will feature webisodes of “On The Grind With Shelly B” This project is important to me because it takes people behind the scenes of my grind and provides the opportunity of getting to know who Shelly B is. Music wise, you can be on the lookout for some crazy single campaigns coming up as well as some touring in the south. Keep it locked into ShellyBThat.com or follow me on twitter @ShellyBMusic for updates on everything Shelly B. CC: Ok look ahead 5 years, where do you see Shelly B? In my prime. I definitely see myself exploring all of my talents and working professionally in my favorite fields of entertainment from music to movies, to media and maybe even talent development. The sky is definitely the limit. CC: Last words to fans reading this. Thank you for your continued support. Without the fans and my team, I wouldn't exist. They are the machine behind bringing my beliefs to reality. If you haven't yet experienced the Shelly B Movement, get familiar. And to all… Stay Tuned. 2012 we here!


When did you decide you wanted to be a model? I was a Freshman in high school, John Casablanca's Modeling School came to my School for Career Day, & So I signed up. It all started from there. What were your first steps in reaching that goal? I took the classes and Workshops provided at John Casablancas, Such as: Runway, Health, Make Up, Acting, Dancing, Print How hard has it been? Modeling has its Ups & Downs, but like anything its still a challenge. From being overlooked because I'm not Small enough, or Tall enough or just not being what they were looking for at the time. What drives you to stay on course and never stop? This is truly something I have a passion for. It challenges me, to see how far I can get. People think that because im coming from North Carolina that they can down play my talents. The ability to show people in other places what Raleigh has to offer drives me to try harder. What was the turning point that really sparked your career? There hasn't been an exact event to Spark my career, but a set of skills that I have obtained over the years that sets me apart from the rest. I've modeled with a variety of groups, learning different aspects of modeling. It's always important to surround yourself with good people. Who are some of the people who have helped you? There are a lot of people that have helped me and showed their love and support, Such as: My Mother: Gwen Timmons, And another Mother Figure: Dominique Alponse-Sainvil, Roosevelt Conyers, Perry Norman, Mabel Dunn, Andre Thorton, Lamont Pettiway & Linda Strobert. Tell us some of the things you have done. Events: Womens Enpowerment 08'-09' o

Silk Anniversary Fashion Show 08'-10' o

Brooklyn Fashion Week 10' 11'


Simon Duncan Spring Collection 10'


BET Rip the Runway 10' & 12'


Fashion on the Hudson 10'


Charlotte Fashion Week 11'


SwimWear Passion for Fashion 11'


Bikini Under the Bridge 11'


Philly Fashion Week 12'


New York Fashion Week 1

What's you ultimate goal? My ultimate goal is to set an example for all of the aspiring models that live in areas where the Industry doesn't take what they do serious. My goal is to widen the entertainment aspect of Runway Modeling, and that having slight curves isn't such a bad thing. What are things that can slow you from reaching your goals? My laidback attitude towards working out and eating properly are my biggest downfalls. I don't believe in the “ Don't feed the Models� Rule. What advice would you give to aspiring models? Advice I have for aspiring models, is to know the market ( ex. High FashionRunway, Print, Commercial, Eye Candy) that you are most likely to succeed in, Every Market ISNT for Everyone. Never try to be someone or something that you are not. Being yourself is the Best way to achieve your goals. Would you consider yourself a role model to young girls wanting to make the right choices? I would like to believe that I set a good example for young girls, by standing by my Morals, following my DREAMs, and my ability to not allow the industry to conform how I see myself. You do print, runway, and more. What part of modeling is your favorite? Runway Why is that? Runway is my favorite part of modeling because you get this adrenaline rush when you hit the runway. Knowing all eyes are on you while walking down the runway. Having the audience sitting on the edge of their seat in anticipation of how you're going to bring the garment to life. It's truly the BEST feeling in the world. Where can you be reached and booked? Email: ajaminique@gmail.com Cell: (919)604 9953 Facebook: www.facebook.com/misz.minique ModelMayhem: www.modelmayhem.com/808732 Last words to our readers. Strive for Greatness, and Never Settle for Anything Less


CC: Proud to say I'm here with the future Grammy Award winning artist Amanda Pollard. What's going on Ms. Pollard? Hey there! Thanks for having me, I'm doing well just craving a Cheerwine! CC: Then I'll make this brief so you can get some lol, now introduce yourself to the three people reading this that don't know who you are. - I'm an urban pop artist from Charlotte, NC hoping to break into the music industry! CC: How did you start off in music?- I've been singing my whole life-literally! My mom says that I was singing before I could even speak words, so it's just second nature to me. I attended Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC, majoring in vocal music and that's where I really began to find my passion for performance! I competed in international choir competitions and national musical theater competitions and once I graduated I knew that I could not live my life away from the stage. CC: Who inspired you? - I love Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Aaliyah and I was the biggest Brandy fan ever when I was a kid! CC: Great line-up, I Brandy had everyone wanting to be down…What did you pick up from them that guided you in your choice in how you push your career? - The number one thing I take away from them is to always give 150% when performing. If not, people can't feel what you've worked so hard to express. If the performer doesn't believe in what they're doing, neither will the audience. CC: I totally agree, there is nothing like a great performance. What factors make you stand out from the others? - I hope that people can see that my drive is serious and that I'm willing to go the extra mile to ensure that my audience is entertained. CC: I've seen you perform many times and wardrobe is always amazing. Who comes up with the outfits for you and your dancers? - Thank you! My mom actually puts together our stage-wear and a lot of our clothing is custom created by her! She's amazing! CC: She needs her own line, speaking of your dancers, I have two questions. Who choreographs the routines, and how did you find your dancers? - Again, I can take no credit! My mom choreographs my routines, as she was a dancer for many years and has a lot of stage experience. A lot of dancers join us by word of mouth. CC: Go MOM!! What are some of the best parts of performing? - The best part of performing is the feeling that I get when I hit the stage. When I'm on stage It's like I'm doing what I was always meant to do. CC: Now, the bad? - It's really hard for me to think of a downside! The worst part I guess would be achy feet after a long show in my heels! CC: I also see you have won a few awards, what awards have you won? - I'm very grateful to say that I've won Best Female R&B 2010 and 2011 at the Carolina Music Awards and the 2011 Queen City Award for Female R&B.I also

got a tribute in North Carolina Divas Rock Show which was great because I was chosen to get a tribute because of my work. CC: Where can someone find your music, videos, and more? www.reverbnation.com/amandas musiconline is the hub for all things Amanda Pollard! With music, videos, photos, press items, my bio and a complete show schedule it's where you can find me. CC: What's next for Amanda Pollard? - This year I'm focusing on expanding my brand as much as possible with shows across the country. I'm also planning on releasing a new single for urban radio. CC: Do you ever feel like doing something else or do you know this is it? - I never get tired of performing. I know without a doubt this is what I need to be doing and will not stop unless I feel that God has something else for me in my life. CC: Last words for you fans. - Thank you so much for your support, encouragement and kindness! I love all my supporters and can't tell you thank you enough!!! Much love!

Profile for Lamont Pettiway

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Carolina Connect Premier Issue

Carolina Connect Premier Issue  

Carolina Connect Premier Issue


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