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Contents Table of

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Letter From The Editor

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Russel Blake: The Bassist, Concert Soloist, Educator & Music Producer

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Charles Mattocks: Shining a Light on Health Topics

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Guthrie L. Bonnétt: Focused

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Gracefully Walking Into Her Dreams

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A Man With A Vision From God

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Dreamer in Motion

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Suliman Onque & 3 The Art Way

Self Care Comes First

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Keeping The Romance Dating During the Pandemic

How I Turned My Trials Into Triumph

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Dr. Mathew Knowles “Racism from the Eyes of a Child”

Doris Garrett Continues Her Husband’s Legacy

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Civil Rights Baby, Author & Activist Sharon Parker

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Becoming Iconic

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The Passion of Freedom

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Indie Artist Natalie Jean: Songwriter Who Speaks Truth To Power

A Small Town and A Big Heart


Parents, Follow Your Heart

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Annabel Quintero: Step, Step, Jump

An African Dream Come True

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No Doesn’t Mean Forever

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Aging Gracefully

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Tina Brown-Roberts

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DJ Bizi Brown: International Party Rocker

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Teen Model Joi Williams

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Teen Model Taylor Danielle Thomas

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A Soulful Look into the Life of Lewis T. Powell

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Rodrick T. Miller, CEO With a Vision

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Seana’s Caribbean Soul Food

Celebrity Fashion Designer Michael Lombard: On the Cutting Edge

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Awakening from a Dream Deferred

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Lucinda Cross is The Answer

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Contents Table of

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Positivity is a Choice

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16 With Cancer

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Cultural Dining in Paris

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Promoted by Betrayal

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The Unbreakable Strength of a Leader

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Author Spotlight ‘Bethel’ Sarafia Mitchell

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An Afro Hair Community in the UAE


Letter From the Editor We pause, in silence and without motion, for all lives lost to racism and political injustice. communiqué Magazine is an international publication that represents men, women, and children from several different countries. In this issue the intention is to give you, the readers, articles about people that are conscious about their history, culture, diversity and their graceful approach to living healthy and iconic! There is a visual experience accompanying each article throughout this issue from beginning to end. We are honored to feature Dr. Mathew Knowles as the cover story. Dr. Knowles gives readers a closer look into his childhood growing up in Gaston, Alabama. Detailed in his book, ‘Racism From the Eyes of a Child’, we revisit the parallel between his childhood and today’s racism problem. Dr. Knowles is an Author, Music Label and Business Executive, and so much more, including a Male Chest Cancer Survivor. He is married to the beautiful Gena C. Avery and he is the father to four children, including Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Solange. Our feature stories are ones of true perseverance and success on a highly notable level. Michael Lombard is an International Celebrity Fashion Designer dubbed as ‘The King of Leather’ by the Huffington Post with designs renowned around the world from Paris Fashion Week to Milan and a vast number of runways, stores and venues in between. Douglas Eze came to America with the African dream to learn how to make money and how to let that money work for him. Douglas started out waiting tables for a few dollars an hour to successfully owning a globally recognized wealth management firm and financial services company. In my career I worked in lower Manhattan, New York in the World Trade Center, a job that I will say was filled with tension and stress for me. Each day entering the building and heading up to a top floor of the new construction, I was fearful of the memories that echoed in the building space that once stood several feet from where I worked. I pause, this month of September as we approach the 11th day of the month, for those that lost their lives in the horrific terrorist act that took the lives of so many people, 19 years ago. I pause again for the survivors of that day. This issue specifically recognizes the work of a September 11th Survivor, Annabel Quintero, Founder of ‘Step, Step, Jump’, a training and development company. Annabel shares her emotional story of survival. On September 11, 2001 Annabel fought everything from tears to fears as she descended from the 46th floor of WTC Tower One. Step, Step, Jump: Mentally she repeated those words while doing just that, taking a step, then another, and then a jump, all while breathing in death all around her, in an effort to get out of a building that had just been intentionally slammed by a passenger airplane. She is a survivor. We honor you Annabel, and appreciate you for sharing your ‘today’ story and message with our readers. Thank you for taking time to read communiqué Magazine. Everyone has a story. communiqué Magazine takes the message out of the story to deliver quality, relatable articles that inspire, teach, and encourage all readers. This issue is dedicated to my granddaughter MiKayla who turns 15 this month, and to my grandson Anthony who turns 10 this month. Put your dreams into motion. Now. With appreciation, C.

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Annabel Quintero:

STEP, STEP, JUMP By Paula Bernette Brooks

If you’re like me, you remember exactly where you were on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On that day, now simply referred to as 9/11, most Americans were glued to their television sets in horror. All work stopped on my job, as everyone in our office crowded around a small TV and tried to digest what had happened. We watched in amazement as thick plumes of black smoke issued from the twin towers of the 110 story, New York World Trade Center. Less than two hours later, we experienced shock and dismay as the towers collapsed in a cloud of deadly grey ash and debris. We listened incredulously to the news that the “greatest country in the world” was under attack by al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group. We learned that 19 hijackers had taken over 4 commercial jet planes, intent on carrying out suicide missions and killing as many people as possible. As the story unfolded we learned that the Pentagon had also been hit, and another plane headed for the nation’s capital, had crashed into a Pennsylvania field. The story continued to unfold, as firefighters and first responders searched for survivors, or human remains in what the media dubbed “Ground Zero.” Sadly, 2, 977 people lost their lives that day as a result of the attacks and 6,000 others were injured. The site would not be completely cleared of rubble and debris until May 2002. However, the deadly ash that covered workers daily during the cleanup was a carcinogen that has taken the lives of at least 221 people in the years that followed. Annabel Quintero will certainly never forget that day! The beautiful young woman, whose parents are from Ecuador, was impacted in a life changing way on 9/11. So much so that it took her 15 years to open up about her experience. She had confided in her family, but it wasn’t until her 40th birthday celebration, that she opened up to friends and let them know she was a survivor of the World Trade Center 5

attacks. Then age 25, she was thrilled to be working on Wall Street during the day, and also pursuing a career in modeling. She recalls running a little late that day, and hurriedly preparing everything for her boss as usual before the stock market opened. After turning on computers and printers, Annabel sat down and began to read The Wall Street Journal in preparation for her day. She was pondering the possibility of countries righting financial inequities, by enacting a global minimum wage, when life as she knew it, changed forever! A deafening crash sent her running to the window to see if another building had fallen on her building. A glance outside reminded her that the World Trade Center buildings were the tallest in the area, which meant that probability was impossible. Annabel described the horrific aftermath of what she later found was the impact of a jet plane crashing into her workplace. “There was no fire alarm or announcement, and then the rumbling started. I looked back from the window and everything was grey. I was mortified with fear and remembered that in an earthquake I was supposed to get under a desk. Instinctively, as I looked back at the once sunny office, now a deathly grey, I asked God ‘Hay Dios Mio, Que Hago? Dear God what should I do?’ I knew this wasn’t an earthquake and I told myself, Annabel, you have to try to get out of the building even if you have to die trying! I had to face the idea of death, just to mobilize myself, because I couldn’t bring myself to take another step!” Annabel’s gestures and emotional tone showed that she was truly re-living the event. She continued excitedly, “I finally started running, but I felt like a doll in a Pandora’s Box! My feet couldn’t find the floor, because everything was still shaking. I knew I had to go, but when I got to the stairwell door, I touched the knob but couldn’t tell if it was


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hot or cold. I was frantic, and this is how meditation saved my life! I told myself to calm down and breathed in and breathed out. I had to be at peace in order to realize that the doorknob was cold! I had no concept of hot or cold at that moment. I opened the door and was confronted with this visceral, invisible stench that just choked me! I had been in fires before, and I knew that what I smelled wasn’t wood or plastic burning. Then with all of my being and all of my focus, I just stepped with my left foot, and then I stepped with my right and I leaped to the landing! I just stepped, stepped and jumped all the down from the 46th floor to about the 33rd floor.”

career and I was a B-girl! I would get down at cyphers; loved Hip Hop and still do. But suddenly all the ways in which I defined myself fell away! They didn’t have meaning anymore! I really learned that all the ways that we respect ourselves and define ourselves are just paradigms, and that really we are all one! We are just Spirit!”

Annabel closed her eyes for a minute before she went on, “That’s where I was met by other people. Some were hysterical, some were burned, and I even had to witness some of our beloved firefighters ascending their own stairway to heaven! In that moment, I didn’t understand why everyone was so aloof and acting like they had plenty of time. We were all going down on the right hand side and the firefighters were coming up on the left. When one went past me I would go over to the left to get out faster. One lady told me I had to wait in line to get out. I let her know in no uncertain terms that I was not going to wait! When I finally got out of the building, it took me all day to get home to the Bronx, because everything was shut down. Luckily, I met a man who shared a cab with me and we shared so much of our humanity!

Annabel founded STEP, STEP, JUMP a consultancy and holistic mindset coaching practice that emphasizes the mind-body connection and provides fertile soil for individuals to create their own dynamic life. The work is both cleansing and transformative.

The terror of the day finally hit Annabel after she made it home. She described feeling traumatized beyond anything she had ever felt before. Originally, a native of Seattle, Washington, she packed her bags and left New York as soon as possible. She returned home to heal amidst the beauty of nature. Relieved to be at home with her trees and mountains, Annabel turned to ancient healing techniques to soothe her spirit. She took part in a 10 day silent meditation and then participated in a Native American sweat lodge. Annabel described the sensation of being connected to and healed by Mother Nature. “I felt so connected to her in a way I had never felt before. What awakened with me was the depth of my trauma. I had survivor’s guilt, and anytime I heard a plane overhead I felt nervous. I thought deeply about my life. I was working on Wall Street, pursuing a modeling 7

Annabel had an epiphany and realized that she didn’t make it out alive because she was lucky! She knew that all her past seemingly unrelated experiences had led her to survive that catastrophic event. Her survival set her on a trajectory of hope and healing for herself and others!

Annabel partners with business leaders to self-assess, build capacity, and draw out their best. She provides corporate workshops and remote training for companies who must align and engage their teams, an area of critical importance in today’s COVID-19 climate. She also collaborates with entrepreneurs who want to eliminate the toxicity in their lives and push forward with new perspective and an enhanced feeling of self-worth. According to Annabel, good coaching drives growth on all levels, specifically of MIND, BODY, and EMOTIONAL AGILITY. She has adopted the three pillars of human behavior from Vipassana meditation, which are at the core of her work. Annabel embraces a holistic, healing-focused approach that promotes sound nutrition for mental and bodily strength, enables mindfulness, and guides people to new and important discoveries. She excels at creating the safe, judgment-free space in which open communication and the free exchange of ideas can occur. Her resiliency training is geared toward business leaders, veterans, refugees, and people who are tired of hiding and downplaying themselves. You can join her Facebook community at Step Step Jump, or visit her website at www.stepstepjump.com.


Charles Mattocks

Shining a Light on Health Topics

written by Corretta L. Doctor

Charles Mattocks is a Health Advocate that made a career of educating and inspiring people to live healthier lives, physically and mentally. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island, NY, Charles has made southern Florida his home. Growing up he spent summers in Jamaica with relatives that afforded him a culture-rich childhood and an international travel experience that undoubtedly enriched his spirit for greater things to come. Charles’ mother, Constance Marley, is a retired Executive Assistant from a career at Merrill Lynch and his father, Donald Mattocks, was a Union Welder. Sadly, he succumbed to lung cancer. Aside from the notable fact that Charles’ Mother, Constance, is the sister of the late Bob Marley and Charles is Marley’s nephew, he has made an incredible career for himself. Charles started off in music, but the media, television, and film entertainment industry was his calling. Charles is an award-winning Actor, Director, Producer, Television Host and Health Advocate. His work has been showcased with appearances on CNN, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, Fox News, Good Morning America, The Talk, The Martha Stewart Show, and numerous media outlets worldwide. An accomplished Actor, Charles Mattocks notably starred with a pivotal role in ‘The Summer of Ben Tyler’ alongside legends James Woods and Elizabeth McGovern. Like the late Bob Marley, who was known for his advocacy work in what he believed to be the right thing, Charles is leading a fight of his own. Diagnosed with type II Diabetes in 2010, Charles has made advancements to teach and assist diabetics how to remain health conscious, while enjoying good tasting food on any budget. Written by Charles and published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the book ‘ The Budget Friendly Fresh & Local Diabetes

Cookbook’ was released in 2014. Take note, the Curried Leek and Lentil Soup is Charles’ favorite soup recipe in the book. We will all have to give it a try! Charles is an excellent chef and is no stranger to the kitchen. He started cooking early, before he was a teenager and had a long line of great women to teach him the skills and flavors widely known to be familiar in island homes. His Grandmother made him -Fried Dumplings, Ackee, SaltFish as a routine meal, and to date is one of Charles’ go-to meals. Many people are diabetics and many people fail to control their diabetes, in part, due to improper diet and food intake. Charles, like Marley did, is standing for many people without a voice. There are people that simply need a guide to healthy eating that allows them, even on fixed incomes, to be able to prepare food that will sustain their life and not interfere with the medications or restrictions that come with being medically insulin dependent. In addition to the cookbook, Charles armed himself with education and determination and began to reverse his condition while teaching others. He documented his process in a provocative documentary, “The Diabetic You”, that can be viewed on Vimeo at the following link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/ thediabeticyou/430220372?autoplay=1 Diabetes is tied to mental health. We all suffer from some form of depression at times and Charles admits that he has bouts with anxiety and depression. “Failure is constant in this line of work, the entertainment and film industry. You hear ‘NO’ quite often and it is quite defeating” says Charles.

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Charles is a passionate and people person. He tells us, “This world is suffering. So many people have come and talked to me about their mental health.” He has talked to people and saved their lives. He talks to his mother about her pain from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and his encouraging discussions motivate her to stay positive and have a healthy mental balance. Chris shared another personal point of motivation for himself, “my son deals with depression. One thing I share with him is to try and understand, like the quote I often share, being alive is the most important thing we can focus on. That alone is a gift, try not to let the anxieties of life add extra burden to us. Keeping things quite simple and knowing we have a purpose can add real meaning in our life. And for young black boys and girls, don't feel ashamed to ask for help with whatever mental health issues you may be dealing with”. Charles produced a DocuReality series named ‘EIGHT DAYS’. Eight Days is the first ever docu- series that features five people living with cancer and shares their journeys. Filmed in Mexico and directed by the award-winning film maker and television executive Charles Mattocks. He is the both the director and creator. Search for your local channel on the WGN Network, the show airs weekly on Sunday

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mornings. Charles tells us that NBA superstar Metta World Peace, formally known as Ron Artest, has teamed up with him as co-executive producer. Take some time to view the trailer: ‘Eight Days’ trailer: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=OdzhsP5gxsA&feature=emb_logo As a Father of four children, two girls and two boys, Charles has a responsibility. He needs to leave a legacy that speaks to his character as a responsible leader. He teaches, inspires, and educates everyone that he comes in contact with. Through his literary efforts in television and film work, and his day to day work, Charles is armed, educated, and experienced with everything needed to leave a mark in this world that is meaningful to his generations to come behind him. Charles would like to connect with people around the globe. Please visit his website at www.CharlesMattocks.com. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” -Alan Watts (one of Charles Mattocks’ favorite scholars)


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GRACEFULLY

wa l k i n g i n t o h e r d r e a m s written by Corretta L. Doctor

Mahogany Green is living her dreams and pushing towards her goals while maneuvering life in the big apple! From a small town in South Carolina, this 23 year old is marching towards her dream-life of being a full time fashion model. Since Mahogany was a child, she always wondered what it would be like to live the city life; the life that many young aspiring models dream about would soon be Mahogany’s reality. At 23 years old, she is a New York City resident and is taking in all that life has to offer in the way of fashion and modeling. “I knew modeling was something I wanted to do from my first fashion show. I think of myself as a little shy but not when I am walking on a runway...it just flows and comes naturally.” Mahogany speaks boldly about what once seemed like a far reached endeavor. Shyness is swept away when she steps on the runway. She releases her quiet, inward spirit and flawlessly represents her brand, style and persona while gracing the platform. She is authentically in her element when modeling. Mahogany is focusing her career goals in modeling toward high fashion runway modeling. She describes her biggest moment in modeling is walking in NYC fashion week. New York Fashion Week, held in February and September of each year, is a semi-annual series of events when international fashion collections are shown to buyers, the press, and the general public. It is one of four major fashion weeks in the world, collectively known as the "Big 4", along with those in Paris, London, and Milan. “My dream modeling job is modeling for Vogue. I await the day I’m on the cover of their magazine.” Mahogany knows the benefits of believing in your dreams. She also shares how her fears are fueling her, “My biggest fear about modeling is that I will not accomplish what I set out to accomplish... ironically, that same fear drives me”. We asked Mahogany to share her plans for the future, “My next step in my modeling career is to be published and signed by a great agency like Elite Model Management, Ford Models, Wilhelmina Models, and the like. My 1- year plan is to be here in NYC, signed and taking the modeling world by storm. By year 5, I plan to be traveling the

world, walking in multiple shows and featured in multiple magazines. Because my mom always encourages me to give back, I am looking forward to giving back by sharing my story with other young girls that desire to model, especially young black women and girls that feel like they can’t become models, because they can”. Mahogany speaks with strength, clarity, and focus. She has undoubtedly been successful in working out her future plans and taking strides towards creating the life she truly wants. She credits her role model, and her biggest cheerleader: her mother LaToya Robinson, “My mom inspires me in everything I do”. Mahogany doesn’t proclaim that her journey was a walk in the park, she faced some painful moments. “My hardest moment in my career choice has to be leaving my family. My family is not huge, we are all so close and I love that. The first year I moved from South Carolina to New York was extremely hard for me because I was used to being with my family every single day, or near them”. Mahogany is brilliant, smart, and aggressive in her approach to success. It takes a vibrant spirit to leap from a nest of comfort, surrounded by familiar people and things, to replant and bloom herself in a major city such as New York. “If my life were a color it would be red. Red is such a strong color that means a variety of things like love, anger, passion, action, strength, strong will, and more. Red expresses the emotions of life... my life.” Mahogany is going to express herself boldly and we are proud of a young woman that isn’t afraid to live loudly and give encouragement to her followers. Visit her website at https://www.mahoganyrenee.com Mahogany would love to connect with you in the digital spaces too: Instagram is @Mahogany_renae Facebook is Mahogany Renee

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Dreamer IN MOTION written by Corretta L. Doctor

Colleen Mac Donald is a winner. She chose her ‘win’, and here is why and how she did it!

kind world he created for her came to a complete end along with her dreams- or so she thought.

In her adult years Colleen developed the desire to be a wellknown trusted advisor and resource to help people. She wanted to help men, women, and youth that are walking in the dark spaces that she once lived in. A choice is an option. You choose based on the information that you have. Whether it is the right choice or the wrong choice, it is made on the information you have in front of you and the outcome you desire. Colleen proves that her choice to become a Certified Wellness and Life Coach was the right one.

Without a plan of rehabilitation and therapy, physical wounds and injuries either heal slowly or some can fail permanently. Mental illness is the same way. You must get help. As Hollywood Actress and Wellness Coach Tina Lifford explains in her book, ‘The Little Book of Big Lies’, we must pay attention to our inner fitness just like we do our physical fitness. For the next two decades of her life, Colleen would suppress her mental anguish, she would hide her feelings of pain and loneliness, and she would pretend she didn’t have the ideation of death at her own hands….until suddenly she could no longer hide behind the ‘half smile’. At age 26 Collen attempted suicide. Attempted is the key word here. She survived. Survival is the most important word now. The world around her was happy that she survived, her family and friends praised Colleen for pulling through the lowest point of her life, but Colleen’s ‘half frown’ was still there. Soon after she realized her success in surviving, her life became more complicated and her sadness, depression, and low self-esteem turned to anger. She was angry that she survived.

Colleen struggled all of her life, as early as age five, with sadness. She did not let her beginning dictate her destiny. Although she had a bleak outlook, the future through glazed and tearful eyes can seem like a dead end. Your view on the road ahead is blocked. But with the right help, you can begin to see how your trials and troubles will help to heal someone else. Can you imagine being a preschooler that is sad all of the time? Can you imagine feeling isolated and pulled away from the people and things you are supposed to love? A pretty little girl with half of a smile and half of a frown can give everyone around a confused perception. Little Colleen was stuck between quiet tears of joy and secret tears of sadness. Looking back from a clinical standpoint, we know that it was more than just a feeling, Colleen was depressed. At age 6 Colleen suffered the devastating loss of her grandfather Willis. He made Colleen feel good about life, he protected her against anything, and he gave her a safe feeling. He was like a superhero to this emotionally shaken young girl and the day he died Colleen started to show her feelings more and more. People took note, but weren’t equipped to fully understand or help her. The death of her grandfather, who was her best friend, engraved a destructive pattern in her emotions and through life she never forgot the day that the

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In and out of hospitals, in and out of therapy and up and down with her emotions, Colleen was not getting better. She had to get better, but the in and out and unresolved issues just were not working for her – absolutely nothing was working. During her weakest point, Colleen got stronger. She realized what she needed and figured out that if she could become her own best cheerleader, she could certainly encourage others. In the pits of her hell arose an eagle of wit, assurance, and a refined goal to position herself to be ‘somebody’s somebody’ in their times of peril. In December 2014 Colleen was on a path towards healthy and balanced mental fitness and her physical fitness was greatly improving too. She was feeling


better and focusing on a career that she loves, her family and for once, she was giving herself the extra “love” and “care” that she deserved. Then she received a cancer diagnosis. Yes, cancer. The suicidal ideation reared its head. At a time when things were just a glimpse better and Colleen’s thought process was aligning with her goals, with this cancer diagnosis she had a new demon to battle. She felt a spiral of emotions fall down heavy on her and she needed someone to talk to. When she reached out to her mental health agency, she found out that her case was closed because for one reason or the other, in her busy life, she missed two consecutive appointments and the rules were clear: two missed appointments meant her case was closed. She needed help and fast. Through a referral Colleen was able to get a new therapist. Colleen took her basket of problems that was laced with pain, emotional stress, depression, and now cancer, to her new therapist. She dumped her mixing bowl of troubles onto the table of the therapist and although it felt impossible, Colleen found hope and her therapist Bonnie would become the person to change the course of her life forever. Colleen knew that her strength was in helping others. Her beautiful daughter Janet also struggled with depression and the family was being torn apart. Colleen shares, “I knew I had to advocate for my daughter so she could get help long before I did”. In-home counseling was provided through a state agency. Colleen’s mom also lived in the home and they shared a very tense and unpleasant relationship. Through 12 hours of in-home therapy each week the family learned new communication and coping skills. Colleen and her mom now share a close relationship that may never have happened without the therapy sessions. The case manager of the agency asked Colleen to be the keynote speaker for their annual fundraising event. It was a great success with several guests approaching Colleen after the event to testify how moving her story was. She knew she could teach and coach people from the lessons she had learned. Her dream to help others was coming forward in her thoughts. But she slowly started asking herself, “how could I

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dare to have such a dream, who am I to offer someone else help when my spirit is so broken and distraught?” Colleen questioned her ability but did not give up on her dream. Fear no longer dictated her life. The most important lesson Colleen learned is that ‘forever is a lie”- another favorite quote from Tina Lifford. Colleen learned that she didn’t have to say ‘NO’ to her dreams of being a coach. She learned that her value is unique. She lived and experienced so many things that couple help other people avoid some of the bad things that had happened to her. She became stronger day by day and her words turned into action when she decided to go forward and take certification courses and get her training to be a coach. Colleen was encouraged to be who she wanted to be, regardless of what she had been through. Colleen says, “I felt a strong responsibility to give back.” Once she saw that having the right therapist, giving her the right treatment, through counseling and sometimes medication, she could heal. Her therapist did not minimize her feelings and that allowed her to reveal her whole self. She took her old ‘self ’ and created a new ‘self ’ by laying it all out on the line with no fear of judgement or retaliation. She spoke with the ability to speak her own future into existence. She was able to release her shame and part ways from the stigma. She was ever present in her thinking and she soared with her ideas of happy living and joyous creativity! Colleen was ready to pull up others that needed the same help that she did. She stepped out on faith and is now the founder of Connections Wellness and Life Coaching, an organization formed

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by Colleen on the principles and beliefs that saved her life and created a beautiful ending to what was once a sad story. Colleen offers this suggestion, “Practice self-care. Some things you can do are: include a five minute meditation each day, start writing in a gratitude journal, and follow through on your goals”. Do not give up, keep pressing forward. Colleen is a dreamer in motion, and she is living a life of peace and gratitude. Colleen resides in New Jersey along with her mother, daughter, and her dog Chocolate. She is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the International Coach Federation. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, meditating, and writing poetry. Colleen can be contacted by email at colleen@cwalc.com or on her Facebook page, Connections Wellness and Life Coaching, LLC.


written by Necie Black As a leadership and executive coach, I help individuals and organizational teams boost productivity through self-care; two words that were taboo in the corporate America I grew up in. In those days, you never let them see you sweat and being dedicated meant sacrificing yourself for the greater good. A time when self-care was considered selfish and there was no ‘I’ in team. But times, they are changing and for good reason. The workplace is a melting pot of people who bring their personal lives to work with them. Try as you might, it is impossible to separate what goes on in your personal life from how you show up in your professional life. If you hide your authentic self for the greater good, you are denying others the benefit of an extraordinary value, that is you. While I admit there is no I in the word team, there is an ‘I’ that represents a critical part of the team, and that is your individuality. You bring valuable perspective, ideas, and uniqueness to every space you grace with your presence so take care of you, the individual. So, what is important about self-care especially in the workplace? According to an article by the American Institute of Stress, 83% of United States workers suffer from work-related stress and of that, 76% said the workplace stress affects their personal relationships. It makes sense since a work environment is where you spend most of your

waking hours. While self-care plays a role in your overall physical and mental well-being, it is also important how you see yourself, what you believe about your capabilities, and how you create balance that brings synergy to competing priorities in your personal and professional life. Here is an example of the importance of self-care. A new client, Kim, came to me for coaching to increase confidence, set priorities and prepare herself for opportunities. During our conversation, Kim shared how she was hesitant to apply for a highly coveted position. She gave several reasons why she was not a good fit despite her amazing credentials, experience, and work ethic. She felt the pressure to apply as the expected “next-level” of her career, yet was burning out in her current position. Her heart no longer wanted what she wanted previously, and she felt guilty about it. Several of Kim’s truths came to light during our first session and were the basis of co-creating her self-care plan: • Her life and work priorities changed. • Expectations at work pushed her towards a path she did not want. • What will her ideal career look like. • Quality time with family is more important. So, how do I help connect self-care to the individuality of a client’s personal and professional life? It starts with helping the client understand the difference between who they are and what they do. Clients get to choose what they

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genuinely want, away from the opposing narratives they are bombarded with daily. They gain a fresh perspective of their value and determine what tangible and intangible goals are most important to their future, both personally and professionally. They learn how to nurture and affirm themselves, connect with others from an honest and authentic space, and hold themselves to a higher level of accountability by honoring the goals and action plans they create. When it comes to self-care, I want you to realize that selfcare is a lifestyle that requires behavioral changes and mindset shifts. It is also not a male or female thing; it is a human right. In case it needs to be said, gentlemen, you need self-care too! When you establish an effective selfcare plan, it will positively impact your physical, mental, and spiritual health. A good self-care plan requires an investment of time and effort, which is why a lot of people

opt for quick fixes and gimmicks that are short-lived. Practicing self-care regularly is commitment and discipline. Its sustaining energy promotes clarity, better sleep habits, a positive attitude, and stamina to get you through life’s most unpredictable challenges. I will leave with a word of encouragement about value, especially for the ladies because we tend to attach our selfworth to the result of actions – good and bad. We are hardest on ourselves when what we want does not go according to plan. If you feel incapable, less than, left behind, or not enough, remember the value you possess is different from the value you provide. Put these three value reminders in your heart: You Are Valuable. God created you special. Your life is valuable, your presence is valuable. Do not be so caught up in the giving of value that you forget about you being valuable. Be who you were created with all your glory and purpose, flaws and hiccups, setbacks, and setups because there is and will never be another you. If you struggle with your worth, you are less likely to exercise self-care. Put yourself around people who make you feel loved and supported! Borrow their faith in you until you can build your own. Your Value is Irrevocable. I mentioned earlier that we too often attach our self-worth to the result of an action. If what you do is successful, you feel like a winner. Conversely, if what you do fails, you feel like a failure. It is in those moments that self-esteem suffers. Remember that it is the action that failed – not you. Have grace with yourself and try again or try a different action. No amount of struggle, pain, guilt, shame, poor choice, or mistake will change how valuable you are to God and to this world. Period. God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it. You provide Value. Once you accept that you are valuable, and your value will never change, then you can believe that what you do is valuable. Many times, people think they have nothing to offer. You want to write but feel you have nothing to say. You want to share your wisdom but do not believe anyone will pay to hear you speak. There is someone who need your words of wisdom; there is someone who needs your perspective. So, set a picture in your mind of what that someone looks like and find them. Serve them. Provide value to them. Forget about everyone and focus on that someone. With love and blessings this article is intended to educate, inspire and present a dialogue on this topic. Connect with me for a free download: Website: https://necieblack.com LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/necieblack Inquiries: support@necieblack.com

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How I Turned My Trials Into Triumph written by Latausha M. Washington I am Latausha M. Washington, I was born and raised in the nation’s capital and I am the founder of ‘Halo for Her’, a fashion Boutique. Enjoying the life of an entrepreneur, I am also a stylist and CBD health advocate. I am a believer in Christ, a mom and I participate in philanthropy work every year by creating a back to school drive that provides underprivileged students with supplies to start a successful school year. Giving back is important to me and my social spirit helps me to engage with my community as a respected woman in business. My love and eye for fashion is a gift from above. My creativity that catapults me to create styles that empower women comes from my childhood of poverty and hardships. I learned early on that when you look good, you feel good, and you have to use what you have until you can get something better. My interest in philanthropy also came from living in poverty. I was a little girl that stood in line, or was placed on a list, to receive free school supplies sometimes because that was the only choice my family had. So, for me it’s not just “Let’s do a drive”, those words mean a lot more to me. I do not just do the back to school drive because

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it sounds good. School time is coming, and some children will not go to school if they don’t have their basic supplies. This means they will likely hangout in the streets and that may lead to drug dealing or stealing. The end result could be death, or if they survive, they could still end up in jail. I have lived that life, so I know that it has to be stopped early on. I will continue to do my part as long as I am able to. Though I have lived a very rough childhood and I could write in length about that, it is more important for me to share the successful keys that I used to get out of a less than desirable situation. I want to share the positive things that helped me get where I am now. The keys for me were letting go of the past, understanding the urgency to change my environment, and turning on the power to change my mindset. Holding on to the negative experiences and unfavorable situations in my past would not have allowed me to grow. You will remain stuck on asking yourself, who is to blame?, why did this happen or why not? Trust me, I still have my own questions from my childhood even at 42 years old. I had to come to the realization that I may never get honest answers of why this and why that. When you don’t let go of your past, it becomes a crutch and an excuse for you to not be your best. Just because you don’t have any family traditions or memories does not mean you cannot create them with your own children. Take pride in being the first in your family to go to college or even finish high school, as opposed to taking on the attitude of “my family didn’t, so why should I.” Eventually, I shifted my focus on breaking generational cycles with my five children and I did. Now they will follow the new tracks that I laid because I made a choice not to become a victim of my past. Having the courage to change my environment is particularly important to me. What you hear and see is what you will become. It is not easy walking away from what you are familiar with. The friends, the popularity, the fun, the lack of accountability are all barriers. It took me a while to get to that place, but once it clicked in my head, I left those lackluster conditions and didn’t look back. I realized that my desire to succeed is bigger than me. Since I brought children into the world, it was my responsibility

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to show them better, at least until they became adults. I also owed it to myself. Yes, it was hell on me as a mom because some of my children were born into my old lifestyle and they didn’t understand why we had to continuously move, change schools, go to church, etc. The job of a parent is to lead, and I really didn’t do too much explaining. I knew they would thank me later and they did. Lastly, which is the most important throughout your entire life, is your mindset. Having the mindset to want more and having the courage to pursue it is essential! As a young six year old, I can remember me drawing my own paper dolls because we couldn’t afford what my friends had. I also remember dreaming of having a better life, dreaming of what was in the world and how others lived because I knew this could not be it for me. After wasting so much time hanging out, living the “party girl” lifestyle and doing everything that came with it, finally my mindset changed. I wanted better, I knew God equipped me to do better and I was going to do whatever it took to get it. I knew that it was only by the grace of God that I made it through some of the situations I went through. I needed to invest a lot of my time getting closer to my maker, thinking positive, and embracing positive environments that I wasn’t familiar with. Once again, it was not easy walking away from some of the best friendships, some family, relationships, and old habits but it comes down to you deciding on what’s more important. Remember, in the end you are responsible for your results. Not your mom, dad, boyfriend, or peers. Only you. Overall, I have learned that we are faced with many different challenges in life. Some are a lot worse than others but having faith, moving on from my past, having the courage to change my environment, and my mindset were the culmination of a winning combination for me. What you choose to focus on will determine your success. When you focus and work towards bigger and better, you get bigger and better no matter what circumstance you come from. My complete story is not done nor is my life perfect, but I take pride in knowing that the little girl who once dreamed of better has made it to see better, simply by believing that she could!


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Doris Garrett Continues Her Husband’s Legacy written by Paula B. Brooks swept across inner cities around the country! Not only were tickets affordable, but the plays were written with African-American culture in mind and they were hilarious! They had the audiences cracking up with laughter, and begging for more. Shelly often said, “Comedy is a difficult art. The key is timing and if it’s not there, the entire production simply becomes a waste.” Doris reflected that her husband insisted his actors learned their lines word for word, although she said laughingly, “He often took the liberty of tweaking his lines to get a bigger laugh!”

Doris Garrett, widow of Shelly Garrett, legendary playwright, director, teacher, actor and author, is determined to continue his legacy and keep his memory alive! Shelly Garrett is known as “The Godfather of Urban Theatre” for good reason. He began his 33 year theatrical career in 1984, when he authored and produced his first “Beauty Shop” play in San Bernardino, California. “Beauty Shop” was then presented in Los Angeles for the next two years. The popularity of the play gave Garrett the idea to tour with it, and Detroit became his first stop. He went on to write over 20 plays and ignited the trend of touring with African-American stage productions, and filling venues that held over 4,000 people! Black theater had previously been limited to Broadway shows which were too expensive for the masses of Black people to afford. Garrett priced the tickets at $17 to $25 and people lined up around the block to buy them. A new phenomenon

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Doris revealed that the first ‘Beauty Shop” was born after Shelly visited his favorite hair salon to get a manicure. In waltzed a client in a bathrobe with rollers in her hair. She loudly demanded, which one of you tramps have been sleeping with my husband? The salon got so quiet you could hear a parade of ants walking by. Finally a gay stylist stepped out and said pointedly, I don’t even know your husband! Shelly broke into gales of laughter and the other patrons joined in. Shelly went home laughing to himself and put the scene in “Beauty Shop.” The experience led him to create a hysterically funny cast of characters for all his productions. He hit pay dirt with his stinging one liners, spot-on comedic timing and casting of talented actors and singers, many of whom would become superstars. Shelly’s plays went on to be enjoyed by millions of people and “Beauty Shop” alone earned over 33million dollars. Annie Doris Williams was one of twelve children born to Willie C. and Lucy Mae Williams in the small town of Bainbridge, Georgia. It was there that she first became a contestant in beauty pageants and dreamed of becoming a model. Doris credits her parents for encouraging her and giving her the confidence to pursue her dreams. She attended Albany State University in Albany, Georgia , where she continued to blossom. Doris became Miss Charm of Albany State, Ms. Alpha Love, Captain of the Royal Passionettes, acted in several plays and pledged Delta Sigma Theta and Gamma Sigma Sigma Sororities,


among other activities. . After graduation with a major in Speech and Theatre under her belt, she headed to Atlanta to pursue her modeling and acting career and began working for an engineering company. Doris laughed as she recalled that she had been bitten hard by the acting bug! As fate would have it, Doris heard that a Shelley Garrett’s lay named “I’m Doing The Right Thing With the Wrong Man” was in town. She called a friend who used to be one of Shelly’s bodyguards and said she heard on the radio that the production would be at the Fox Theatre. He knew of her background in theater and persuaded her to attend. They missed the first part of the play, so Shelly invited them back the following night. Soon after, Shelly asked Doris to be an extra in the production; then later one of the dancers. After Shelly decided to recast a part in his play, he asked Doris if she wanted to give it a try. She quickly learned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre did little to prepare her to work in a Shelly Garrett production. However, she was eager to work in her chosen field. Shelly was so impressed with her acting, knowledge and dedication to the art, that he made her a leading lady in one of his “Beauty Shop” productions. Later after proving she had what it took to be part of a major production, Doris became the Producer/ Casting Director and eventually Executive Producer of Shelly Garrett Entertainment. Doris reminisced that Shelly often said, “It’s difficult to run this company without her. In fact, I think she’s running it, not me. It takes so much pressure off of me, since my main concern is writing the scripts and dealing with the talent aspect.” The day they met, Shelly stated that he intended to marry her. They began dating, found they were a match made in heaven and the rest, as they say, is history! It was truly a family affair, since Shelly’s mother, Lera M. Garrett toured with her son for seventeen years, before her death in 2006. Shenea, the oldest daughter was an actress in the play at an early age and went on to work with the play as an assistant director. Their youngest daughter, Danielle, got her feet wet acting in two of his productions. His father, Willie B. Garrett, was a constant source of encouragement to his son, in the lean years before his success. Times were tough and Shelly thought about quitting the business. Thankfully, Shelly persevered, honed his craft, and went on to kick open doors and inspire the likes of Tyler Perry and David Talbert. Although they never met, Shelly was told by an usher that Tyler Perry had attended a production three nights in a row with a clipboard in hand. When asked what he was doing, Tyler replied that he was taking notes, because he also wanted to write and produce plays.

Shelly Garrett received an honorary “Hollywood Walk of Fame Star” in 1992 and he was also presented the “Keys” to 23 cities and numerous awards over the years. However, Doris said she will never forget the tears in his eyes after receiving a call from The Smithsonian Museum of African-American Culture saying that he was being inducted on October 4, 2016. The couple didn’t attend the grand opening of the Museum, but had watched President Obama’s televised keynote speech. They were soon invited to tour the Museum and were given a police escort to the fourth floor where Garrett’s first Beauty Shop poster would be housed. The Museum is now preparing to add another of his posters. After taking time off since her beloved husband passed on May 3, 2018, Doris Garrett is ready to continue some of his many projects. Shelly Garrett’s desire to help upcoming playwrights and actors led him to offer a series of educational workshops. They are designed to provide a roadmap to a successful career in theatre. Not only do they provide detailed information, they are also affordably priced. A documentary entitled “Shelly Garrett- -A Theatrical Legend” also began production in 2016 and should soon be completed. Doris and their daughters are involved with both projects. Doris would also like to pay tribute to Shelly with some ideas of her own. One of her goals is to put together a show similar to the 30th Anniversary of “Beauty Shop.” This show would compile scenes from some of the play’s many editions, into one performance. Doris also revealed that her husband stopped flying in 1980, which is why his plays have not been seen outside of the United States. She has her sights set on London for the first international performance. She also plans to start the Shelly Garrett Foundation to help playwrights and young actors break into the field. Shelly Garrett loved the theatre with a great passion! Even in the hospital near the end of his life, Doris heard him saying softly in his sleep, “Tell them not to open the curtains yet! Did you do the ticket count yet?” She recalled that they began each performance with a prayer, after which, Shelly’s eyes would light up as he said, “Now go out and have fun!” His best advice for anyone entering the field was, “Follow your dreams! Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it, including any unsupportive family members! Why not you?” Why not, indeed! Bravo King Shelly Garett! Bravo! You truly continue to inspire us all!

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indie Artist

Natalie Jean

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Power

SONGWRITER WHO SPEAKS TRUTH TO written by C. NaTasha Richburg The life and times of an indie (independent) musical artist consist of the freedom to map one’s music career using the heart and soul of an internal drive along with the personal resources available to them. Without the oversight and resources of a major record label with deep pockets and generational connections to media outlets (e.g., radio and TV), the indie artist must generate a major fanbase independent of from major outlets. In July 2019, Forbes magazine stated, “Eighty-three percent of independent artists said it's important for them to retain creative control over their music, compared to 74% of label artists.” As a producer of indie music, I appreciate the hustle it takes to reach success. Natalie Jean has an elegant approach to her songwriting along with vocal abilities that have propelled her into the community of award-winning indie artists. Natalie has an excellent work ethic to not only release new music, but also to manage the business of music exceptionally well. If work ethic is the cornerstone of lasting success, Natalie Jean’s foundation is firmly established, as illustrated in this interview. This story is a road map of the songwriting expertise of Natalie Jean whose new musical project Speaks Truth to Power. Tell me about your background. Where were you born and raised? I was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Kensington, MD. My parents were born in Haiti, so I consider myself to be Haitian-American. From pre-school to 5th grade I attended a French school, Lycee Francais, in Bethesda, MD. Growing up, my home was always filled with music. My father, Guy R. Jean, is a famous Haitian singer. For a while, my aunt, uncles, cousins lived with us. My aunt Sandra Jean created the first all-female band in Haiti called "Riske". My cousin Moses Jean is also an incredibly talented music producer. We also listened to a lot of Elvis Presley music, which is strange for most to hear. When I was young, I wanted to be a dancer. I knew that I wanted to do something with music, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would become a singer. I never knew that I could sing. This has been a total shock to me.

You had 10 Jose Music Award nominations. Can you explain the premise of the Jose Music Awards? What is your biggest takeaway from that experience? I have attended the Josie Music Awards since its inception in 2015. The Josie Music is the largest independent music awards. Josie Passantino and Tinamarie Passantino, the creators, really focus on making sure that independent artists are recognized. They have a panel of industry people that review over 30,000 submissions. They really invest everything in making sure that we feel that we are worthy and loved. So, to be nominated is truly an honor. It is also extremely exciting to win. I love my trophies. What I love about the Josie Music Awards is that you feel like you’re part of the family. I always have a great time seeing all my indie friends. Everyone is there for each other. All the indie artists embrace one another. We applaud each other for all our hard work. Describe the thought process that went into the development of your latest project. Last year, I was thinking about rebranding myself as an artist. I did not just want to write love songs; I wanted to be an effective player in life. I wanted to be able to make a difference with my music. I attended several music seminars, and they always mentioned that artists were not writing about the times. The new artists were not like those in the 60s and 70s, when they were singing "Give peace a chance" or Nina Simone's 'Mississippi Goddam". So, I decided that I want to be remembered for what I tried to do, and I wasn't afraid to speak the truth of what is going on around the world. So last year, I decided that I would create a social impact/message-type album. I decided that I needed to have several themes: racism, police brutality, climate change, rape, female empowerment, homelessness, gun violence, immigration, and the effects of all of these on the world. I had twenty topics, which I narrowed down to 15. I wanted the album to have an Americana/folk vibe. I also wanted to address issues that a lot of people don't talk about, including my experience as communiqué Magazine

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a victim of sexual assault. I am not afraid to address that or any issue. I speak my truth. I put pen to paper with Michael Peloso as a co-writer on 'This House" and "The Letting Go"(a duet with Levi Moore). Mike Greenly is co-writer of the song "Love Your Own Power". Darick Dds Spears is a co-writer and rapper of the song "We Kneel,� the most important song on the album. I felt that the world needed to see, feel, and hear the pain of minorities living in America. I thought long and hard about what it would mean to have a song that would demonstrate the struggle. I also thought about what people would say because some felt that kneeling was extremely disrespectful. So I decided to present the story of how the kneeling came about. It seems that people forget that Colin Kaepernick contacted a veteran to make sure that he make his statement in the most respectful way. I also wanted to demonstrate the hypocrisy regarding kneeling. It truly is a symbol of respect. I also wanted to add my friend Darick Dds Spears to the mix because he is a great rapper and would understand how to convey t h e message. Little did I know that the entire album would be relevant to events in 2020—more specifically, the "We Kneel" song (Video: https://youtu.be/3fZa0IYr0Ck). After the murder of George Floyd, many people began to understand and began to kneel. Even some police officers started to do it. So, I think the song itself is very impactful. I created a music video to give more of a visual of our pain and our struggle. This album is my favorite, while my Haitian album "Haiti Mwen Renmenw", would be my second favorite. I want to continue to make music that inspires people to want to make change. I am not trying to change people's minds, but I want them to place themselves in other people's shoes for just a moment, to get a sense of what they are going through. www.natalie-jean.com

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A SMALL TOWN

and a big heart

written by Corretta L. Doctor Every now and then we may sit and wonder, what ever happened to our friends from grammar school, and we might think about our neighbors that moved away to pursue a life elsewhere, or we simply have a great memory of someone that keeps them running through our mind from time to time. Thinking of my classmate John Marvin Murdaugh and his robust personality, my journalistic spirit is awakened. Aside from his beautiful family and his business world, John has an adventurous sportsman's life as an avid bird hunter and offshore fisherman. His deep rooted love and commitment to his wife Elizabeth “Liz” Arnett Murdaugh, and his inspiring and amazing role as father to their three beautiful children, 11 year old Mary Marvin, 9 year old Elizabeth Grace “Liza Grace” and their youngest child, 5 year old Randolph Murdaugh V makes this article a good, heartfelt reading. John, along with his notable Murdaugh family who are entrepreneurial legal pillars in my hometown community, have been connected to me all of my life. His Mother was my schoolteacher, and my grandmother who would have been three years shy of a century old today, was a respected domestic worker for the family from time to time. To this day, John and his family and I are good friends. We are from a small town, but the hearts of those that live there are B-I-G. If standing in a crowded room, you would have no problem picking John out. He is an above average tall man with reddish-gray hair, and he is fairly lean. John’s inner attitude speaks volumes: he tends to be happy and finds all of the positive things that he can in any situation, thus his outward expression is always a smile accompanied with a happy-go-lucky attitude. Over the years, we would see each other and laugh back at our school memories. One year, at a class reunion, John reminded me that as young kids, we tussled a bit on the playground, and I won…or at communiqué Magazine

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least my version of the story says I did! I had somehow practiced my boxing skills against his eye and in the terminology of a schoolyard champion, “I beat him up”. I recall John as being the part time class clown and served full time as everybody’s friend. He was smart and stayed on top of his subjects; I bet having a parent working in the school building all day likely encouraged him to do his best when it came to classwork. Although John made us laugh with his classroom antics of practical jokes and belly roll laughter, he studied and passed those tests! John remembers a funny scene of two young boys, one being him and the other our classmate Ahdonus Cofer, struggling to look macho while carrying a desk across the school yard. The old school building in Varnville, South Carolina was being decommissioned and just as a community back home would do, the kids and students pulled together to transfer the furniture, books, supplies and everything into the new building, just yards away from the old building. John and Ahdonus made the transport without dropping it, but they did it with sweat dripping profusely from their foreheads. Regardless, they still maintained their cool look of being super strong. John, Ahdonus, 170+ others, and I are 1988 graduates of Wade Hampton High School (WHHS) in Hampton County, a small town in the lowcountry of south Carolina. The Lowcountry is a geographic and cultural region along South Carolina's coast. When John graduated from high school he went to the University of South Carolina and graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. Coming from a long line of law professionals, he had every intention of going on to law school and working in the Murdaugh family law firm. John says, “As you know I come from a long line of attorneys and I remember when I decided I did not want to be an attorney I had to tell my dad and my granddad. I remember going to my dad’s office, he said sit down and tell me what's on your mind. I said, dad I don't think I want to be a lawyer. I hope you're not mad at me. He looked me straight in the eye and said son, I want you to be any damn thing you want to be! Just be the best at it!” This set John on a path to live his best

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life without the pressures to conform to generational tradition. His freedom and the choices he made about education, careers, and business ownership gives him the opportunity to serve his community, his family, and himself in his own way. John advises college kids today to study in the field that they like. He adds, “My father always told me that working a job that you love is much better than working in a job for the love of money”. In 1994 John opened a general equipment rental store located in Bluffton, S.C., about a 25 minute ride south of our Hampton hometown. That store grew to include heavy equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes, excavators, and other large machinery. John also sells agricultural tractors and implements that they sell at both locations. Shortly after the Bluffton location was opened, John opened a second store and this time he opened it in Hampton. “It's a strange story as to how I decided on the rental business but the best memory that I have of it is that we were sitting around a fire with several friends and talking and dreaming about what we're gonna do as we progress in our lives, and somewhere in that conversation the equipment rental business came up… and you know being the dreamer that I am, I decided that I would have to try something new rather than just walk in the footsteps of my father, and grandfather, and so forth.” John admits he is a dreamer, but this is a testament that following your dreams contributes to living a good life. As he continues, “The greatest expectations that I could have ever imagined have come to fruition, not necessarily in an easy manner, but through hard work and determination. In the beginning I thought that it might be a novel way to make a living. In reality it has turned into a very successful business. In fact, it has been more successful than I could have ever imagined”. John believes that the heart of his business is the lowcountry community in which he lives and operates in. John sees himself continuing to live and operate a prosperous business that is helpful to the community. To understand the true passion of someone, asks them about their struggles and how they got through them.- C. Doctor


John says, “If I had to choose a color to describe the emotional struggles that I felt [while] establishing my business it would be red. Red represents fire! You have to have a fire, a true burning desire to succeed. We all encounter struggles and adversity but those that have the fire and the passion to push forward are typically the ones that will succeed and prosper”. John and Liz are certainly the parents that give their children the opportunities to experience the great things that the lowcountry lifestyle has to offer. They work hard to give their children skillful, eventful, and memorable lives and they are succeeding. At home, there is a tradition. John makes every birthday cake for the children. In fact, he has made every birthday cake for each child since their fist birthdays. With three children ages 11, 9, and 5 that is a total of 25 cakes to date! Recently a tornado through my little hometown of Hampton County, in the lowcountry of South Carolina. I send a heartfelt prayer and words of comfort to those that lost family members and friends as a result of the storm, and words of strength to those dealing with the loss and damage of their property during those storms. I send a special thank you to everyone involved in the rescue, repair, and support of the community. I no longer live in the region, but I want to acknowledge two of my classmates that readily stood front and center of the support and relief efforts: Tonya McQuire and Tammy Donehue Thaxton. John’s business sent a lot of heavy equipment to the victims in need, at no charge or very discounted rates. The community is a small town of people connected in one way or the other. I have several connections to the area, but my main connection is to the heart and soul of those that are still there and are keeping our hometown safe, protecting our elders, and preserving a future for the generations to come. I am proud of the WHHS Class of 1988.

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Russel Blake

The Bassist, Concert Soloist, Educator, and Music Producer 29


written by Alesha Brown After touring 75 countries in his 46 years as a bassist, concert soloist, educator, and music producer, Russel Blake shares the secrets to his success as well as how he went from student to working professional in less than five months! Q&A: Q: Everyone has a story. What is one main message from your story that should be shared with our global audience? A: My experiences have taught me to allow no limitations to be your limitation. To always strive towards excellence in your work while faithfully abiding in the law of synchronicity. Inwardly knowing that when preparation meets opportunity, your success will be achieved. Lastly, to always fight valiantly for the unity of the family, the protection of all women, and the education of the next generation. Q: What does a day in the life of Russel Blake look like? A: I arise to worship God through early morning prayer and meditation in order to spiritually fortify and season the day with gratitude. As I believe the body to be the temple of the soul, keeping the temple strong is a priority for me. I AM striving for longevity therefore keeping the body nutritionally fortified and physically active is key to my life, health, and strength. As a certified personal trainer, it is also a necessity for my business in the fitness industry. I continue to study my instrument daily. It is never the performance on stage that defines the greatness of a musician. It is the countless hours of practice, study, and exploration of his or her instrument that determines the level of skill and quality of the musician. Musicians are really creative and artistic archaeologists digging the depths of the soul to discover that which is heaven-sent. I also study composition. Composing music is simply another tool for archaeological exploration. I produce and arrange my own music and in so doing, I am cautious not to fall into the trap of thinking that I know enough. So to create and to learn is a vital part of my day. Q: Tell us about your instrument of choice. Do you have any endorsement deals? A: Although I've performed on seven different instruments,

my primary instrument is the four-string electric bass. I've developed a specialized skill on the instrument which I call, "The Melodious-Chordal Technique..." The philosophy of the technique states, "The four-string electric bass is a lead instrument not unlike the piano or six string guitar in terms of melody, harmony, and rhythmic accompaniment performed simultaneously..." I currently have 439 pieces in my repertoire encompassing Classical, Spanish Classical, Traditional Jazz, Brazilian, Ragtime, Caribbean, Latin, Opera, Blues, Broadway, and Pop music idioms. Mozart, Beethoven, Ellington, Monk, Rodgers & Hart, Gershwin, Stevie Wonder, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Scott Joplin are just a few of the composers whose pieces I reproduce and replicate on the instrument. Were I to play my own originals using this technique, it would not be as impactful as it is when I perform Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or Joplin's The Entertainer or Stevie Wonder's music. This then adds credibility to my technique as I'm performing pieces everyone is familiar with, but never imagined ever hearing and seeing them performed on a four-string electric bass. I also play the upright bass primarily when I am blessed to play bass in the pit of a Broadway show. I also play the five-string electric bass, but that's primarily for whenever I do a church gig or if I need that low sound on any recordings. By performing my technique on the four-string, it negates the theory that my technique is only successful because of having 5, 6, 7, or a ten-string bass, which many bassists are performing on now. For me in being old school, four strings are more than enough. Although I've enjoyed bass guitar endorsement deals in the past from both Ibanez and Yamaha, my bass of choice has been with me since 1994. It was made for me by one of the world's greatest luthiers named Mr. Abe Rivera. His transition occurred less than a month ago and I remain in mourning for his passing. He was one of the greatest masters of his craft. Among the bassists and guitarists still playing his instruments are jazz legends Pat Martino, former Tonight Show Music Director Kevin Eubanks, Jimmy Haslip (bassist with contemporary jazz group The Yellow Jackets) among many others. My last endorsement is communiquĂŠ Magazine

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with a Canadian based company called Yorkville. I also just signed a deal with MJC Ironworks, a Pennsylvania based company that manufacturers superior bass strings that I'm very happy with and very grateful for the partnership.

afterward for doing something within them that they have not been able to do for a very long time. Brighten their eyes, hear them laugh with joy and smile. There is nothing greater than that. To GOD be the glory!

Q: What was your biggest moment in music? A: Tough question because there have been so many over the years, including being designated a U.S. State Department Goodwill Ambassador to eight West and Central African nations. Or the incredible diversity of experiences of that venture up to and including escaping at the last minute a terrorist attack after a bomb was found by a police dog underneath the stage in Yaounde, Cameroon 30 minutes before we were to take the stage. [The terrorists were intending to kill the King and Queen of that country who were to sit in the front row and they apparently had no qualms about killing the American Jazz musicians on the stage to do it. I was performing as Bassist with The Pharaoh Sanders Jazz Quartet. It was a big moment because I narrowly escaped death.]

Q: If your life were a color, what would it be and why? A: I would choose the all-encompassing power of the color "Black..." Space is enveloped in a primordial blackness that binds the universe together. Galaxies, nebulas, stars, suns, planets, and moons all swim and exist within its prehistoric soup. Even a black hole earns its name for being so powerful, not even light can penetrate its spatial vacuum.

Another highlight was performing as a Soloist and Educator contracted by The State of California to perform and teach my music history and cultural program to 5,000 inmates at Ironwood Prison in Blythe, California for five days at 1,000 inmates per day. [This is a maximum-security prison where the cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego send their most hardened criminals. Men sentenced on average to life plus 400 years. Men from every ilk, religion, race, and gang affiliation you can think of.] Aryan nation, Mexican gangs, Asian gangs, Black Muslims & Native Americans all sitting apart, yet becoming one under the sound of my solo bass. Each day after my concert brought individual men to me crying and thanking me for coming to perform for them because no one else would they said. However, performing on tour with Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte or Sonny Rollins could not compare to performing as a Concert Soloist in Children's Hospitals in both Atlanta and Los Angeles for terminally ill children. To witness an audience of children half their normal size either in wheelchairs or slowly walking and trying to pull the IV poles to their seat. The biggest moments in my 47-year career is whenever I perform and bring a smile to the faces of terminally ill children and listen to their parents thank me 31

Blackness is entrenched in and embraces the depths of the deepest oceans, and out of it rises the oddity of life forms nurtured from the volcanic sulfur spewing itself from the earth’s core. Although the law of spectrometry defines black as the absence of color, black is required for all other colors of the rainbow to have depth and variation of their unique hue. Blackness is associated with the seven virtues of power, mystery, strength, judicious wisdom, faith, authority, and rebellion. Black is the first color defined in the Bible: "And the earth was without form, and void. and darkness (blackness) was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said let there be light - Genesis 1: 2 - 3..." Lastly, blackness defines not just my ethnicity, but also the diversity, depths, and strength of who we are as a people in all facets of human activity.   Other Interesting Facts about Russel Blake: How it all started: Born in Brooklyn, New York Given formal instruction in May 1973 by trombonist Alex Blake I began working as a professional bassist in NYC in September 1973. Supplemental instruction by bassist Alex Blake II. First tour 1978 with South African jazz artist Hugh Masakela Work as Concert Soloist & Sideman Bassist: Concert Soloist at the 16th Annual 2019 Panama Jazz Festival, which featured


artists Brenda Russell, Wynton Marsalis, Angie Stone, Mary, Harry Belafonte, and more. Special Guest Soloist for Richard Davis at the Ninth Annual Bass Conference Kellogg Foundation Artist in Residence Educator/Creator of The Universal Language Music History & Cultural Program: Kellogg Foundation Artist in Residence: using the fourstring electric bass, teaching Universal Language & Music History & Cultural Program to all grade levels of Battle Creek & Kalamazoo school districts. Also performed as a Concert Soloist for 200 Air Force Officers at Equal Opportunity Office, Federal Center Battle Creek, Michigan. U.S. State Department Goodwill Ambassador to eight West and Central African Nations as Bassist with “The Pharaoh Sanders Jazz Quartet…” In addition to performing concerts, taught as an educator for inter-cultural exchange jazz workshops in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal and Sao Tome.

Contracted by the United States’ Department of Defense/ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a Speaker/Educator/Solo Performer at DARPA’s Third International Conference on Modeling & Simulation of Microsystems in San Diego, California. My division and the topic assigned was “The Relationship Between Music & Science.” Domestic Violence Awareness Advocate Affiliations: National Domestic Violence Registry – Former Deputy Director Linda’s Voice – Advisory Board Global Women’s Empowerment Network – Male Media Spokesperson Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence – Artist Fundraiser CONTACT INFORMATION: 917.776.3023 russel.blake@yahoo.com www.russelblake.info

Russel Blake

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An African Dream Come True written by Trenace’ K. Carter Douglas Eze left Africa at the age of 18. His first stop was Canada. He arrived in the United States at the age of 23. Douglas came to America with the African dream for a better opportunity. He got into finances because of a chance meeting while working as a waiter at a popular American breakfast restaurant, IHOP. Douglas was presented an opportunity in the form of a business card. He called the lady that gave him the card and went in for an interview. In that interview Douglas was introduced to the world of finance. His thought was, “what do I have to lose?” From that thought he moved forward by getting all of the licenses that were needed for him to start in financial services. Douglas is licensed in life insurance, security and investments. Douglas knew that going to school and studying for professional endeavors were not a part of his makeup. He says that he believes in education, but he knew formal education was not for him. His interest was more in business and business ownership was his goal. Douglas breaks down knowledge into book knowledge and common sense. There are those that are smart outside of book knowledge. Those people apply common sense. He applies ‘know how’ and common sense in everything that he does. Because he thinks outside of the box, his results are different than those that only use book knowledge. Even in his industry there are people that do things based on book knowledge but when book knowledge has been exhausted then what will that person do? Douglas’ dream was to be successful as an entrepreneur. Finance became the vehicle of his success. “I knew that I was going to be successful because I put it out there in the universe. I just didn’t know what route it was going to be or how it was going to happen.” 33

When Douglas went into the opportunity that was presented to him via business card, he had an open mind for the opportunity. With an open mindset, he was able to decide that it made good sense. This opportunity allowed him to meet other very successful people that were working in the same field. In that moment he said, “Yeah, this makes sense. I can educate people about saving money, minimizing taxes, reducing debt, planning for their future and planning for their children's college education”. Right now, we are living in uncertain times. There are so many people that are unprepared for a crisis, less more a pandemic. There are people wondering what can be done now for the future. They are probably thinking it is too late or that there is a lot of money to prepare for the proverbial “rainy day”. Douglas agrees that times are tough for many families right now, but wealth building depends on who is in your circle. Anyone can start building wealth, right where you are with the right tools. It doesn’t require you to have a lot, just start. Douglas has a plethora of knowledge when it comes to wealth building. Douglas released his first book in 2014, ‘Creating Generational Wealth: What the Super Wealthy Know that You Need to Know’. His passion and generosity for helping others develop generational wealth is apparent in the words of this book. Douglas shares as much as he can as often as he can when it comes to educating others about finances. When I asked him where does he think his generosity comes from, Douglas says, “people that have information, don’t like to share the information because If they share then other people will know about it”. He chooses to share his knowledge with the world because it comes


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back to him. He has an abundance mindset that allows him to be a giver. I asked where does he think his abundance mindset comes from. He said he watched his father be a giver and in return of his dad giving there was abundance. He believes the more you give the more you receive. It doesn’t matter if Douglas gets a thank you from those that he helps. He just wants others to win. We spoke about legacy. Douglas wants his descendants to know that he worked hard and he shared his knowledge to whomever would receive it. He doesn’t want his great grand-children to take any thoughts or feel guilty about the wealth that he established for his future generations. He wants his future generations to keep the same abundance mindset and share with others. Directly, his legacy is preparing for his family and the future generations of his family. Indirectly, well, that is how people remember him and what they will say about him when his is no longer on this Earth. What is next for Douglas Eze? He just wants to live his best life, learn, build and grow. If a biography is written about him, he wants it to inspire others. In 2000,

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Douglas established Largo Financial Services with a vision to provide individuals and small businesses the education and guidance to achieve financial freedom. Because of his dedication and hard work, he has received widespread recognition and awards. He is an author, speaker, Financial Advisor and Wealth Strategist, yet the most important thing to him is how he can help others build generational wealth and win. Douglas is the consummate professional and works just as hard to maintain professional business relationships as he does in managing wealth and teaching financial literacy. Find a moment to speak with Douglas Eze or a staff member at Largo Financial Services, located in Maryland. Visit the websites listed below and subscribe to his YouTube Channel. Douglas has a social media presence on Instagram and Twitter. https://largofinancialservices.com https://www.buildwealthwithdouglas.com YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/largofinancial1 Instagram: @Largofinancial101 Twitter: @largofinancial


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Guthrie

L. BonnĂŠtt 37


FOCUSED FOCUSED

written by Portia O. Perry, Sr. Writer

Mr. Guthrie Lamont Bonnétt has such an interesting life. He was born in Chicago, Illinois where he attended Morgan Park High School. Upon graduation he joined the 82nd Airborne, United States Army. He received an honorable discharge and was awarded a 100 percent disability for his commitment. This meant he had to focus on what lifetime goals to pursue next. Mr. Bonnétt decided to pursue education. In 2013, while he attended college he opened a store called “A Taste Of Chicago” and this earned him the nick name (ATOC). He sold Chicago Memorabilia in his store i.e., Art Work, Sports Merchandise, candy etc., while he earned two Bachelor Degrees, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology and a BS in Social Work. ATOC still wanted more and decided to attend the Art Institute of Indianapolis where he earned a third degree. He completed the art school with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Photography. He is not only talented but also educated and his educational goal became a reality.

While in school ATOC ran into an old friend named “David Stevens” who requested ATOC attend his first runway event. Next ATOC said he participated in his first fashion event with Michael Anthony and the late Sara Soto. During that event he met Sandra Smith-Doghmi and he began shooting for Red Silk Carpet at the Oscars, New York Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week Midwest Fashion, Latino Fashion Week and Amsterdam Fashion Week. ATOC’s photography and modeling careers took flight. ATOC’s photography business has been a big asset in his life. However, there was another life event for ATOC. He became ill and a health scare caused a dramatic change for him.

Mr. Bonnétt continued his focus behind the camera doing his thing and the weight was melting away. ATOC always enjoyed fashion but he lacked the confidence to want to model. He enjoyed what he saw through the lens. He had confidence and focus in the military, his store and photography. Now, a health scare could cost him to lose everything, possibly his life.

ATOC was advised by his doctor that he was very close to going into a diabetic coma. This was a huge wakeup call for him. It was enough to make him change his life dramatically. He definitely became closer to his doctor and nutritionist. Once he learned what actions were needed to take charge of his life, he became focused and put everything into action. Mr. Bonnétt became a serious grocery shopper and began to eat more healthy foods i.e., fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and baked foods. He had 2 cheat days a week from eating clean and healthy for 5 days. ATOC said, “I still eat potato chips with hot sauce and a little candy during the cheat days. He also added a physical routine to his life and he stays on top of it. He stated, “I worked out at home doing basic exercises until I was healthy enough to go to the gym’. ‘I was in the gym with my new personal trainer Michael Anthony when I spoke to you”. ATOC stayed in the gym and his confidence grew to the extent he began attending casting calls from designers he worked with as a published photographer and now he could fit some of their clothing. He gained the confidence needed to walk from behind the camera to in front of camera. He auditioned and built his runway modeling career walking in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Louisiana and Wisconsin. Mr. Bonnétt became the “Red Silk Carpet Award Finalist 2019 -2020 (Smith-Doghmi, 2019) for modeling. He had booked 20 modeling shows and like for all of us COVID-19 raised its ugly head and shows are now on hold. In the interim, Mr. Bonnétt spoke about his personal life and mentioned he had been previously

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married and divorced. After 6 years of dating, while building his photography career he met his current wife Crystal Bonnétt. ATOC and Crystal met working together on the same media team for the 2013 Soul Train Awards. She has been his photography assistant since. He shared how he has been working to build his credit. His goal is to build a new home for the family around September. They will keep their Chicago home but are looking to build their dream home in Seattle. ATOC spoke warmly about growing a garden like his mother. There will be plants, flowers and herbs. When ATOC spoke about his future he said, “I just want to help people”. He thinks it is one thing he will always do. Although he has become successful he is still humble. In addition he says “my bucket list includes travelling the world”. He says, “I would love to take my family to Egypt to see the Pyramids”. We discussed a fun fact about him. On a live stream, he was holding a pair of ‘blue suede’ casual shoes. He was telling a friend about those shoes while standing in the window of his home. They live on the 18th floor of his building which overlooks beautiful views of Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. Mr. Bonnétt said, “I know this may sound strange for a guy but I love shoes and fashion”. He continued by saying, “I have about 300+ pairs of shoes”. When asked where he kept that many shoes, he responded he switches them out when the seasons change. He then stated he owns the largest collection of G-Star Raw shoes and clothing. Also, he has custom designer frames by Lysandra Perez-Brown who he wanted to give a mention. During the close out ATOC was asked if there was anything else he wanted to say. Again, he said, “I just want to help others and if I can I will”. 39

#TheLargestGstarRawCollectionEver #LargestGstarRawCollectionEver # TEAMATOCPHOTOGRAPHY #DreamsAreMeantToBeLived #FamilyIsEverything # PhotosByATOC #KhandieWooBrand #KhandieWooLlc #ATOC #LensLessInChicago #LenslessInAtlanta


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A MAN WITH A

VISION FROM GOD James C. Birdsong, Jr. written by Portia O. Perry, Sr. Writer On May 16, 1980, James C. Birdsong, Jr. was born in Richmond, California where he lived with his mom and dad. His father was a preacher and gospel music was always playing in the house, whether it was dad’s albums, or 45’s blaring from the record player, or mom listening to the radio. James was an old soul and loved listening to Reverend James Cleveland and others like Sam Cooke. At the age of three he began to sing all over the house and his mom noticed his love of music. She would record songs from the radio for their enjoyment. James is a young cousin of the musically gifted R&B Legend “Cindy Birdsong” formerly of “Patti Labelle and the Blue Belles” and subsequently “Diana Ross and the Supremes”. There were other talented artists in the family who were blessed with musical talents and gifts which have run through the Birdsong family way before he was born. The young Birdsong was teased and bullied at the age of 10 regarding how he spoke and carried himself because some children were jealous because the girls liked him. It is true that children can be cruel. James learned to ignore the criticism and faced life on his own terms. At the age of 10 he gave speeches in public school and he sang and made up songs which probably assisted him in his preaching and public speaking. He read gospel magazines about music, the artists, and the industry. In high school his English teacher asked everyone to write a paper and James decided to write about gospel music and he received an “A” on his paper. This is when it hit him; he wanted to expand his knowledge of music but with a 41


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different angle. At an early age he realized that learning the business was a much needed aspect of any type of entertainment career. This is when he knew gospel music was where his interest lies. He continued to spend his pastime listening, reading and learning about the music world. He learned about the business and began to search the newness of the Internet to engage his interest. James was always seeking knowledge about how everything in the music world worked. Afterwards, James said he received a message from God to move to Atlanta, Georgia because he would be able to expand his horizons. Four years later, in 2005, his mother agreed and they moved. James wanted to follow his spiritual aspirations and attended Beulah Heights University where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Education. He is also currently attending the University of Phoenix where he will receive an online Master’s Certificate in marketing this October. James’ education will help him in speaking to youth about their potential and promise and support his future endeavors. James said, “The Birdsong family has been blessed and it is time to give back”. When asked what he was currently doing with his life, Mr. Birdsong responded, “I am glad you asked that question because God gave me a vision to help young African Americans in pursuing their dreams in higher education.” He is incorporated as, “Birdsong Association of Broadcasting and Arts, Inc. (BABA).” It is a new non-profit organization and its mission is to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), churches and public schools who have programs of media, broadcasting, journalism and music. These partners will nominate young people to participate in his program. His organization will provide scholarships to qualified students who must attend HBCUs to enhance their educational opportunities. The students must also maintain at least a 3.5 GPA to remain in the program. The program will begin in Atlanta, then Los Angeles and subsequently New York City to help them pursue their dreams in performing arts and broadcasting. Once he gets these states off the ground he hopes to continue moving around the country. His organization will hold fundraisers and workshops to support the vision to fulfill its mission. The children will go through a 43

nomination process to be considered. Mr. Birdsong plans to invite the entertainment community, celebrities, politicians, and the Birdsong family, etc., to donate funds for this effort. Next year, beginning in 2021, by faith he is going to deliver a concert “Sing Out Loud! An Evening of Gospel Music” which he desires to be an annual event. This will be a two night event in which awards and acknowledgments will be presented to supporters and students. Many of their plans were hindered by COVID-19, but James believes it will not stop them. He has a strong board and administration that have helped build this organization. He will be scheduling meetings with Clark Atlanta University, Spelman and Morehouse Colleges shortly to get their buy-in. James feels the organization is ready for lift off. Mr. Birdsong spoke about his next steps which include writing another book. His first book “The Best is yet to Come: A Testimony of One Young Man’s Redemption” has been well received and is used to let the youth know they can do anything if they believe in God. He will continue writing and is working on his second book. He is starting a gospel record label to be able to support these students should they want to pursue careers in music. Additionally, he will continue to encourage and lift up the youth. James also hopes to get married and become a father one day. Interested readers may contact the organization on Facebook. You may also connect with James on his personal Facebook. God continues to bless him and he is thankful for the many accolades he has received from around the globe thus far in his life. His message to readers is, “Even though we are dealing with Covid-19 do not give up on God because this is temporary.” His other message is, “Parents, encourage your children and do not tear them down, because you may need them in the future.” We will be hearing more about Mr. Birdsong in the near future. James appears to be such a busy man which is something he says he hears all the time.


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Suliman Onque

written by Paula Bernette Brooks Like the superheroes in the graphic novels he delights in creating, Suliman Onque leads a double life. By day, he’s a stoic Security Guard for Newark City Public Schools. But when the work day ends, he passionately picks up his paint brushes and unleashes his powerful spoken word lyrics. He morphs into his alter ego, Slim Suli Art, a lifetime member of “3 The Art Way.” Technically, the family business consists of his mother, Mama Yvonne Onque and brother, Samad Onque. However, their unique art cooperative also enlists the talents of other family, friends and community members. For instance, there’s his sister Akiba Ismail who is tech savvy, but who also curated their last three exhibits. Suliman said laughingly that she has been known to get paint on her hands as well. Then there’s brother Yusef Ismail, the family’s competent grant and proposal writer. With such diverse talents, it’s no wonder the Onque family is at the forefront of Newark’s artistic renaissance! The family recently participated in the Newark Arts Festival, which features artist exhibits in venues all over the city. Four generations of the Onque family were represented in the exhibit, which they named “Mature-Lineal.” It could easily be seen that artistic talent is encoded in their DNA! Suliman proudly exclaimed, “At that exhibit was artwork from many people in our family; from youth to elders to Ancestors. My grandmother’s painting was the centerpiece! When you walked in, your eyes were drawn to it and then around it were pieces by my brother, mother, nieces, nephews and other artists close to our family. It was a powerful presentation!” Suliman continued with enthusiasm, “My mother, brother and I became 3 The Art Way, and we do everything from paintings, portraits, murals, paint & sips and exhibits, to logos.

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We also have comic books and my mother designs her own coloring books that pay homage to women. I wondered how far back Mama Yvonne could trace the artistic talent in her family. She responded with pride, “As far back as I can remember; both of my parents were talented! My father was an artist, and he was extremely creative. He was like a jack of all trades. He loved to build model airplanes and put motors in them. Then he would take the kids out and fly them. I believe he was also a sculptor, but I’ve never seen any of his fine art. My mother went to the same art school that I did, as well as Samad and Suliman. We have three generations who graduated from Arts High in Newark! Our school specialized in performing, creative and fine arts. If you remember the movie or series ‘Fame,’ that’s what our school was like. It was nothing to see people dancing or singing through the halls! We all enjoyed that type of environment!” When asked how she influenced her children to become artists, Mama Yvonne responded after thinking long and hard, “The most influential thing I could do for my children was to expose them to their culture. When I came up, my mom was very much into the Black power movement. She was among the first to cut her hair and wear a big afro! And so instilling cultural pride was important to us. When you walked into our home, we always had pictures of our heroes hanging up. People like Marcus Garvey, Malcom X and Queen Mother Moore. I also took my kids to hear lectures by Black scholars like Dr. Ben, John Henry Clark and Asa Hilliard. I took them to events sponsored by 1st World Alliance in New York and African (?) in Newark. The family grew up Newark’s Baxter Terrace Projects and Suliman fondly remembers his maternal grandmother’s apartment being right across the hall from his family’s apartment. “My siblings and I were full of confidence because the whole floor was ours. We ran back and forth between the two homes and art activities were often part of the fun.” Suliman’s face lit up as he reminisced about meeting, and falling in love with his future wife, Karima in those same projects. Incredibly, he still has a picture of himself at age 5 preparing to race the 4 year old little girl who would become his wife and best friend. It’s clear that six children (five girls and one boy) and three grands later; they’re still madly in love with each other! The couple recently celebrated their which they sold at 22nd wedding anniversary and 26 years together. Suliman says he can trace his love of art back to early childhood. “Art was a daily part of my environment. I remember watching my mom constantly creating art out of everything she touched! I attended Burnet Street Elementary

School, and I have to thank one of my teachers, Professor Bernard for seeing talent in me and nurturing started a business called ‘On-Q Canvas Wear.’ We were creating wearable art and vending at festivals in the tri-state area. We were intrigued when we saw our mom embellish a couple of plain shirts. We liked the first two, but we were totally blown away by the next shirt she did! Enough so that we decided we’d better step up our game! Next came our women’s clothing line called ‘Buttaflyyy.’ Our slogan was become a masterpiece!” My mother said we inspired her to start her God-S Wearable Art line a couple of years later. Her designs were like a tractor beam drawing people to us wherever we set up. I think we were vending at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Arts Festival, when a lady came to our booth almost in tears! She was about to have a nervous breakdown because she had lost one of my mom’s signature God-S earrings!” Suliman and Samad formed On-que Comics and they each created, produced and published two comic books with Black superheroes. They each worked on every area of the production, something usually accomplished by a whole team of writers, artists, and layout people. Suliman’s “Super Sketch Painter” is geared to a young audience. He says the hero is an artist who wears boxing gloves to protect his hands, which is where his superpower lies. Samad’s “Why So Ratchet,”An Urban Street Fable, is a modern day Jekyll and Hyde story for mature readers. . Ratchetman believes strongly that karma has the final say. He even tackles subjects like coping with mental illness and attending therapy. Traditionally, this subject is taboo, in the Black community, but Samad has chosen to shine a much needed light on this subject. Not only does “3 The Art Way” work on projects together, each member also forms creative partnerships and works with other artists. Suliman said thoughtfully, “We’ve been getting more in the public eye. Once we started doing murals together as a family, we got more requests. We’ve now done about 13 murals throughout the city.” Thanks to the support of Newark Councilwoman, LaMonica McIver, “3 The Art Way” has been given the opportunity to create murals in public spaces and women’s shelters. They recently were part of the “Hope Box Project,” painting inspirational words and family centered art, on old utility boxes in the heart of the city. “We just finished one on Springfield Ave. It was hard work, but so rewarding,” Suli explained passionately. “The project was completed in the sweltering July heat. The box had to be thoroughly cleaned before we could even start painting. It had four sides and on each one we painted a family member; mother, father, sister and brother. Each side also proclaimed “Breathe,” “Respect,” “Create” and “Love Heals.” After hosting a Paint ‘N Sip for a group of students, Slim communiqué Magazine

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Suli Art pondered about how to keep the kids engaged, when he had an “aha” moment. He wrote down the word “game” and showed it them. Next he embellished the word, and to the young people’s delight, quickly transformed it into a lady wearing a head wrap. Voila! Suliman had created a new art form, which Mama Yvonne aptly christened “Word to Art.” His newest artistic passion evolved from marker on paper, to the medium of acrylic on canvas. Suliman began by painting the word “Renee,” which is the name of one of his daughters. He explained how his “Word to Art” process blossomed into a crowd pleasing art activity popular with all age groups. “Me and my daughter Renee, did a father/daughter event. We went live and I was doing my art and she was doing her poetry. I wrote her name down and started drawing variations of her, cartoon style. People liked it and began to put in requests when I posted on Instagram.” Suliman has developed an alter ego and brand known as Slim Suli Art. Another of Suliman’s favorite collaborations is a YouTube show called “Control the Cool TV,” that he co-hosts with two other artists, Joe Woods and Amir Kinsler. Not only do they interview guests including artists and grassroots businesses, “Sul’s Book of Cool” has become a popular segment. Viewers secretly give Suliman a word, and after transforming it through his “Word to Art” process, his co-hosts try to figure out the word. The fact that Suliman dramatically spits freestyle lyrics while audiences watch him paint, adds excitement and takes his artistic performance to another level. “I used to write poetry and rap music, but I found I enjoy freestyle more. I don’t write anything down, I just let it flow. Spoken word and art are a tremendous release for me!” Suliman was also part of a project where community members painted ‘Abolish White Supremacy’ in huge yellow letters down the middle of a street in downtown Newark. He said excitedly, “The words were painted on Martin Luther King Boulevard, in between the court buildings. It wasn’t commissioned, it was more community service based. Organizations worked together, like Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark Arts, Fayemi Shakur, Malcom Roland, Yendor Productions.and Rutgers University. There were also a lot of people who might not have ever done art before. Kids and adults of all different ages participated. It was a powerful thing! And it rained really hard the day we actually did it the first time! It made the process more difficult because we had to stop for a while and wait for it to dry. But it got a lot of attention! My oldest daughter posted about it on Twitter and it got almost 50,000 likes! Some people didn’t like it or agree with it, but that’s to be expected!’ If you’d like to contact Suliman or any member of “3 The Art Way” to book a fun Paint ‘N Sip via Zoom, commission 47

artwork or view any of their products, give them a call or click on the links below. Not only will you be supporting a black owned family business, you’ll be investing in art that will give you pleasure for years to come! Yvonne Onque-973-289-5553 God-S Wearable Art(@god_ swearableart) Instagram photos and videos Instagram. com, God-S Wearable Art gswearableart.ecwid.com; Samad Onque-1-202-657-8243(@artcat_on_q) Instagram photos and videos Instagram.com; Suliman-973-280-2893 Slimsuliart.com (@slimsuliart_world) Instagram photos and videos instagram.com; 3TheArtWay (@3theartway2) Instagram photos and videos Instagram.com


CELEBRITY FASHION DESIGNER

MICHAEL LOMBARD: On the Cutting Edge written by JC Gardner Michael Lombard, dubbed “The Leather King,” arrived on the fashion scene making a huge statement with his signature leather collection and unique fashion sense, but he wasn’t always considered a designer. “I started in the music business, and then I got my own record label deal with Atlantic Records, where I was the executive producer. I was always a great sketcher and had a vision for how to dress. I often dressed artists under my management for music videos.” After being in the music business for nearly thirty years, it was time to pivot. In 2017, Michael decided to turn his passion into transformative fashion. Leather was his fabric of choice, but not cowhide, which is what many designers use. Cow leather tends to be rougher in texture and has an affordable price point. Michael’s preference is sheepskin and calf skin leather, which is more buttery and soft in nature, along with a higher price tag. Michael decided to make his own leather jackets, not finding anything on the market that matched his style or met his expectations. “I sketched about three jackets. Took me communiqué Magazine

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about six months to get them manufactured, then I posted them online and literally the next night, I got an email from New York Fashion Week (NYFW).” It can take seasoned designers years to be invited to NYFW, and Michael received an invite within twentyfour hours. He told them he was not a designer, but they insisted he do a showing. He had two months to create a whole collection. The requirement was to have fifteen outfits runway ready, but he came with twenty-eight. Upon arrival and after setting up, the producers took note of his garments and became immediately enamored so much so, they had him show all of them. At his first show ever, he received the title, The King of Leather by the Huffington Post. The Michael Lombard brand had arrived. His design process starts with a concept and is rooted in modern luxury. Buildings and architecture provide inspiration, especially from his international travels to places such as Amsterdam, Milan, London, Cape town and Paris. Sometimes his creative energies wake him in the middle of the night and drive him to do illustrations. “The process is a lot easier once I can visualize the collection’s direction.” His aesthetic takes you on an unexpected journey of fresh and innovative creations. The last three collections he likened unto a trilogy -- from apocalyptic to goth to cyberpunk. His use of an eclectic palette of textures and colors, from sleek to futuristic, have not gone unnoticed. “Once I partnered with HarpersPR, my A-list celebrity clientele blossomed to what it is today.” Celebrities like Paula Abdul, LELE Pons, Ovy on the Drums, Prince Royce, LianeV, and Corey Taylor (Slipknot Band) have been photographed wearing his label. Michael was also able to secure a photoshoot with Dominique Jackson, activist of the LGBTQ community and actress on Pose (FX). Being a new designer, thrust into the industry practically overnight, was challenging to navigate, not 49


to mention the existing racial disparities. Oftentimes in fashion shows, Michael is the only person of color, but he’s changing that spectrum by taking decisive action. He has bought over forty-five lesser-known designers to the runway across the globe, representing a diverse spectrum. He also has fashion mentees. Michael, who is self-taught and has never been to fashion or design school, offers sound advice for those wanting to break into the industry, which is oversaturated. “If you don’t have the capital, you could be wasting your time. Not trying to detract from anyone’s dreams, but the downfall is not having enough money. Getting into big fashion shows can cost $3 - $5k a show.” It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Staying relevant and memorable are other characteristics he has managed to do well. He was the first designer ever to host BBC World live at London Fashion Week House of iKons Show and has been in over ninety magazines and news outlets (and counting,) including being featured in Vogue and Forbes, along with his designs gracing the covers and pages of ELLE, Style, Cosmopolitan, and GQ, among others. What’s ahead for this overnight success? “I’m going to start doing ML Cape town Fashion Week in 2021, where I can bring who I want,” and really change the fashion landscape. His vision is to have his name synonymous with Gucci, Tom Ford and Yves St. Laurent. In five years, he wants to have his own stores. As of today, his leather merchandise can be found in The Cherry Moon Boutique in London, where his debut and grand opening had over 400 guests in attendance and sponsorships. Clothing and accessories can also be custom ordered from his website, michaellombard. com. There seemed to be no room at the proverbial inn, but Michael Lombard’s ship has landed, and he’s here to stay! communiqué Magazine

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KEEPING THE

ROMANCE Dating During the Pandemic written by Samantha J. The landscape of the dating scene has been dramatically altered by the COVID 19 pandemic with the need to maintain physical distance from others. This can be hard on a lot of relationships, especially the ones that were just starting out in the ‘get to know’ you phase. While there is no way to fully ensure your safety from getting the COVID-19 virus, people will still have the desire to get together, therefore it is important to understand the potential risks and how to adapt different types of prevention measures while dating. Here are some safety suggestions to still date during the COVID-19 pandemic and start to build a friendship with someone new or someone that you want to start dating. - Start off with getting to know people on the phone. Prepare for your date by gathering some key information about the prospective person. If you are not interested in giving your personal number out there are many applications that you can use to have another number for your conversations such as Google Plus, a program that allows you to use a Ghost number from your same mobile device. - To see each other during the social distance quarantine, a Video Chat is a good way to visualize facial expressions and personality in a potential partner. You can develop great conversations while speaking through video chats. There

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are many applications such as Google Duo and Zoom

home, children being home-schooled and little-to-no

meetings.

private time for you and your mate, you can still make it work. I find that this is when you have to schedule time

- To take the video experience further, and once you

with your partner and have at least two nights of week

get to know the other person well enough to share your

with no interruption.

home address, setup a video date and send the person a dinner through a delivery service. It makes a nice

If you have people around then use your bedroom as a

evening for you two to share a meal virtually and have

dating space, go for walks for one on one time or even

great conversation.

take a drive and carry a picnic basket with you. We have to become creative during these times to keep the spark

A few safety and security notes for you to consider when

in our relationships.

video chatting: - Be mindful of private information, to include pieces of

Do not allow the pandemic to take you away from love

mail that have your address, family pictures, and views

or romance, anything is possible. Happy dating and

of your community showing within your camera/video

happy renewal of the existing love that’s out there!

frame that will reveal your location. - Get dressed up as if you are going out to make a great

Samantha J. is an Author and Life Coach. She shares

impression.

more on how you can learn to Live your “Best Life” In

- Be sure you have great audio good lighting and a few

her recent publication, “Raw and Real Living Your Best

good topics to discuss.

Life”.

- Ensure you are in a quiet space and you limit all distractions that may interfere

Samantha would love to connect with the readers, please visit and bookmark the website below and connect on

Once you get to know the person well and possibly

social media.

meet at a park or for coffee staying your distance as

Website. www.authorsamanthaj.com

well as protecting yourself with a mask, when you are

Twitter- www.twitter.com/jynrsam

comfortable meeting out. Dating during the pandemic

Instagram: www.intagram.comjynrsam

restrictions can be safe and you are able to find that

Facebook. Author Samantha J.

special person to spend time with.

Email: authorsamanthaj@gmail.com

Taking a look at those in existing relationships, you have an extra challenge now with everyone working from

communiqué Magazine

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ew Math Knowles

dr.

"Racism from the Eyes of a Child" written by Paula Bernette Brooks Mathew Knowles is known around the world as the man who helped catapult Destiny’s Child (which included his daughter Beyoncé) to the stratosphere. However, like a brilliant diamond, the hardest natural material known to man, Dr. Knowles is tough and multi-faceted. Among his many achievements is the title of CEO of his record label, Music World Entertainment and Artist Management. “Most people don’t realize that Earth, Wind & Fire’s last album was on my label, as well as Kool & the Gang, Chaka Khan and the London Symphony. I’ve also had a joint venture with B.E.T. and their show, ‘Sunday Best’ for four years. I represent some of the best gospel artists in America, like Le’Andria Johnson and TrinI-Tee 5:7. I do way, way more than just Beyoncé and Solange and, quite frankly, I do very, very little of that today.”

teaching at Prairie View A & M University’s School of Business for the past two years. His published titles include Destiny’s Child: The Untold Story; Public Relations and Media PR Strategies for the Digital Age; The DNA of Achievers; The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music and Racism from the Eyes of a Child (published in 2018). At the time the book was written, no one could have foreseen the tumultuous civil rights protests that would erupt globally two years later. Racism from the Eyes of a Child chronicles the overt racism Knowles witnessed as a child growing up in Gadsden, Alabama, in the Deep South. His childhood home was only 200 miles away from Troy, Alabama, the home of recently deceased Congressman John Lewis. Born just twelve years after Lewis, the two stalwart freedom fighters had similar experiences with deeply ingrained racism.

Dr. Mathew Knowles is also a Ph.D., historian, professor, lecturer, prolific author, and a recent cancer survivor; all facets of this multidimensional giant not generally known to the public. He has been a college professor for twelve years,

Dr. Knowles was born in 1952 and lived in his home town until 1970. When asked to describe one of his most poignant memories, he easily recalled one of the protests in which he participated.

“1968 was one of the big storms of civil rights. I was 16 and I was there. I remember one night all of the demonstrators or protestors left this particular church around 9 PM. We were going to protest all night long because there were women in jail from a previous demonstration and there were elderly men also still jailed. The men were forced to walk down a hot street in the middle of a summer day with no shoes on. The ladies had no sanitary products or anything. So we were demonstrating and brought food and supplies for the women. We went to the Etowah County Courthouse and there were about 1,500 of us. There were no bathroom facilities and men would dig a hole in the grass and lay face down. Women would encircle a woman and hold up their skirts so she could have a movement. There were some really unique conditions.” “This night was a hot night and we were singing. We were always singing our freedom songs like We Shall Overcome.” Dr. Knowles paused at the vividness of the memory, then continued. “Boy, this is really taking me back! I remember from out of nowhere, from both corners of the communiqué Magazine

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building, the first thing I saw were the boys to get off the road and lay these shiny silver helmets. Then, all in the grass. She then lay down on of a sudden, these men were upon top of them to shield their bodies. us. They were beating us and electric She whispered to his brother that prodding us. Electric prodding if anyone approached, he was to was a big thing in Alabama. It was take Mathew, slide under the wire like a Billy club, but it had fence, and run across the batteries and had an field! Mathew found electric circuit at out later that the the end. Guess men approaching you could were Ku Klux call it a firstKlan members The most important on their way g e n e r at i on taser. The a rally! thing we can do now to dogs came as Just think, to validate our well because if they had they always been caught, struggle is to get came with the who knows State Troopers. what would out and vote! Billy clubs, have happened. electric prodders, One thing is certain, and dogs; that’s how women and children they treated us, like animals! were also among the “Strange And we ran! We ran back to Mount Fruit” found hanging from the trees Pilgrim Baptist Church, which in Alabama! wasn’t far from the courthouse, maybe about twenty minutes away. Dr. Knowles stated insightfully, We got back to the church around “When I talk about racism from the 11 PM and then the State Troopers eyes of a child, I’ve looked racism surrounded the church for three or in the eye! A lot of you are too four hours. We were frightened to young, or have never had the real get out! Some people never made it experience of the South back in the into the church and they were beaten ’50s and ’60s! You don’t know what and arrested. But that’s just one time that type of racism looks like. Still, of many that I remember.” we’ve absolutely made advances! I remember “Colored” bathrooms Dr. Knowles also described a night and water fountains. I remember when he was about six years old. His going to the back of restaurants with mother had taken him and his older my parents. We would drive our car brother to visit their grandmother. around the back. We would get out An argument ensued between his of the car and they had a window at mother and grandmother and his the back of the restaurant. We would mother angrily left the house with go up to the window and ring the the two boys in tow. There were no bell. Finally, when they had finished street lights and the only light came with the White people, they would from the stars in the inky black sky. come to the window and ask what Mathew’s mother stiffened as she we wanted to order. Then we would saw lights approaching down the order and get back in the car and pitch-black road. She quickly told wait until it was ready. By the way, 55

that’s how the drive-through that we know today was conceived. It was conceived through racism!” Knowles went on to describe how he helped integrate schools from elementary level, through college. He continued earnestly, “I never went to a Black school! My mother went to high school with Coretta King and Andrew Young’s wife in a little town in Marion, Alabama. When she came to Gadsden, which at the time was the fourth largest city in Alabama, she brought this energy, this awareness, this conviction of desegregation. She always wanted the best for her three children. My brother is nine years older than me, and my sister is nine years younger. So I went to a Catholic, White elementary school. Then I went to Litchfield Junior High School. There were about 1,000 White kids and there were 6 of us Blacks. Gadsden High had about 2,500 White students and about 17 Blacks. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had about 20,000 students and about 45 of us were Black. Then I finally went to Fisk University, a Historically Black College or University. So my whole awareness is different because of the road that I traveled.” After thanking Dr. Knowles for his role desegregating schools, he sighed deeply and responded, “It came at a huge personal price to me! Back in the mid-2000’s I literally spent ten years in therapy for racial trauma. I think it’s now become clear how a Black man can have racial trauma. I remember my first day at Litchfield Junior High. I walked into my English class and had a really nice teacher. I read something out loud and made a mistake. I was the only Black kid in the class of about 40


kids. They all started laughing and throwing spitballs and airplanes. It was demoralizing! It takes your confidence. It makes you feel unworthy! That’s what we had to endure every day; being fearful for our lives daily, being made to feel ‘less than’ daily, and having to prove ourselves daily!” His admission that he sought help was heartfelt and surprising given the stigma against therapy that still exists in the Black community. However, Dr. Mathew Knowles is known to speak his mind in no uncertain terms. Hopefully, his approval of the therapeutic

process will encourage others who have experienced trauma and who are hurting, to seek professional help. Dr. Knowles also spoke openly about being a survivor of male breast cancer for almost a year. This is a subject that is not spoken about widely by men due to the belief that this form of cancer only affects women. “I have a platform and I’m grateful to be able to speak with many people and share my experiences. My passion is to educate and motivate in the music business, entrepreneurship, and health and wellness. Also just in Blackness; giving a historical perspective of where we come from. In one of my books, The Emancipation of Slaves communiqué Magazine

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Through Music, I describe the slaves’ journey coming from Africa and spending two years in the hull of the ship. Black people got confused and thought because they were Africans, they could communicate. But no, Africa has 54 countries, multiple tribes, and multiple religions. They could not communicate and it was only through crying, humming, and beating of the chains on the floor that they were able to do so. Once they got to America, it was through music that the slaves got to laugh in the face of the slave masters without them knowing it. They got to have secret messaging in those songs that talked about how to escape. And just think, they got beaten all day and they worked from sun up to sun down! Music was what got a lot of them through!” “So I want to share those perspectives. I want to share the experiences I’ve had in corporate America for 20 years. Interestingly, my corporate life mirrored my childhood experiences.” Knowles revealed he was one of only a couple of Blacks working in the field of medical equipment sales for 10 years. He first sold breast imaging equipment for 10 years and became the number one sales representative worldwide 3 out of 4 years. Knowles then became one of the first Blacks to sell CT and MRI Scanners in the United States. He also became a neurosurgical specialist and for several years was President of an organization of Black employees. He advocated for them and interfaced with senior management at Xerox regarding the needs and concerns of their Black employees. Knowles stated unequivocally, “I think the next phase of Black Lives 57

Matter will happen in corporate America. I predict that Black folks will start wanting to unify and sit down at the table. Right now we only have four Black CEOs out of all the Fortune 500 companies. That alone should tell you something! We have to get corporate America straight and make sure that we’re sitting at the right tables. We also need to address structural racism. Some people call it systemic racism, but I call it structural because it’s like the foundation when you’re building a house. It can’t all be about the police; change has to take place around every aspect of society. We must also address structural change in areas like housing, education, employment, and the prison system!” Dr. Knowles was asked what advice he would give to his daughters about being agents of change. He responded emphatically, “I would say first agents of change means leadership. I have been accepted into Harvard University in September, and I will be taking an online course in Leadership. Leadership requires that you have a vision and that you’re clear and confident in your vision as a leader. Being a visionary and being a leader can be a lonely road and you’ve got to be psychologically prepared for that. Beyoncé and Solange have different approaches. Solange is more radical in her approach to the Black Lives Matter movement. Beyoncé is not quite as radical, but more holistic. They both have different approaches, but what I would say to both of them is, ‘Job well done! I write in my first book, ‘The DNA of Achievers’ about the 10 traits of highly successful professionals. One of those traits is

the ‘talk to do ratio.’ I’m so proud that Beyoncé and Solange have a high level of ‘talk to do ratio!’ We all know people who talk a lot of smack, but their response time, follow up time, and talk to do ratio is very limited.” When asked what his advice would be to the Black community today, Knowles stated we have to remember that the Black leaders in the ’60s were young men. Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Black Panther leaders were all in their 20’s and right out of college when they protested, marched, or advocated for civil rights. Dr. Knowles feels elders should turn over the baton to the young people leading today’s movement and serve as advisors. He expressed great pride in the racial diversity of today’s protestors, but would also like to see them wearing face masks and social distancing. Living in Texas, a state hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic has made him keenly aware of the need to protest responsibly. “My wife and I go into an urban neighborhood every Sunday and we see young Brothers and Sisters not wearing masks. You can’t say on one hand that I’m going to fight racism, but on the other hand, act irresponsibly, take the virus home and possibly kill your parents and grandparents because you’re asymptomatic. You’ve got to be allin with social courage and do the right thing, or all-out is how I look at it! At this point, we have to make the risks taken during the protest count! The most important thing we can do now to validate our struggle is to get out and vote!”


ew Math Knowles

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Sowele

Photographer

COMMUNIQUÉ MAGAZINE

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Civil Rights’ Baby, Author & Activist

Sharon Parker, tells us How to

Reclaim America written by Alesha Brown Sharon Parker was born during one of the worst times in American’s history, post-slavery. As she shares her wisdom on how she tapped into her gifts and broke down barriers during the Civil Rights era, she also discusses what America must do now to survive these tumultuous times. Q: You call yourself a Civil Rights’ baby. Can you share with our readers what it was like to be born during those times and some of the memorable moments in history that you experienced? I was born in 1963 in rural Calvert County, Maryland in a town 45 minutes from Washington, DC called “Prince Frederick.” As a child born during those times, I was too young to understand all the fear, tears, and turmoil in the United States of America due to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other racial and social injustices. Blacks went to the Vietnam War in the 1960s to get away from racism in Calvert County, just to face racism in the military branches. Many Blacks pursued higher education while in segregated Blacks schools and worked their way out of poverty. Many Blacks got jobs at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant and worked their way out of poverty (construction date was June 1, 1968). 61


Blacks were paid $1.75 per hour mandatory minimum wages which did not take effect until 1970. Another brother of mines shared that he worked on a farm all day and only got paid 5 cents (he was only 10 years old in 1965). The Calvert County library and other public buildings were off-limit to Blacks. Also, if you were Black and had to go to the Court House, you had to go to the basement. Similar to situations of today, there was not a lot of effort put into solving crimes against Blacks, and even when the perpetrator was caught, the punishment was light. I am the third to the youngest of twelve siblings and you can imagine how difficult it must have been to put food on the table for those many mouths in the 1960s. My parents and grandparents were tobacco farmers, fishermen, domestic homemakers, and construction workers, but made very little money compared to Whites. Back in 1968, I remember my family being homeless because my parents could not afford to repair a fire that occurred in our family home owned by my great grandmother. As a Civil Rights’ baby life was very rough for me, my parents, and my siblings. We were all separated for a short period of time and lived with different family members and neighbors until my parents found a place for us to live. I remember staying with a family who rented from a White tobacco farmer, but did not have running water or bathroom. This was the case for many Black families who owned their home in Prince Frederick. Many Black families served as tobacco tenant farmers (sharecroppers). They rented a home from the White farmer and had to work seven days a week. Blacks who owned land, farmed for themselves and only worked on tobacco farms when they wanted to. My family, known as the “Parker Family”, purchased 44 acres in 1907 and my grandparent built a large house. My grandmother was the first-born and the last of four children living in the Parker’s Estate. I was only two years old when the schools in Calvert

County was desegregated in 1965 - 1967, but later I heard of amazing women like, Mary Winston Jackson, a Mathematician from the movie “Hidden Figures” who taught math in Calvert County and Harriet Elizabeth Brown a Civil Rights Pioneer who along with Thurgood Marshall fought a Civil Rights case for equal pay for Black teachers in Calvert County. There is a Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center directly across from the Calvert High School where I graduated from in 1982 and walking distance from the once Segregated Brooks School. Q: Having the rich life experiences you just described, how do you feel about the state of the world today (from the police brutality, protests to civil unrest)? I am very concerned about the state of the world today for so many reasons that it would be almost impossible to put into words without writing another book. Police brutality, protests, and civil unrest have been a part of America’s history for centuries and it is clear to most, what drives it…greed, hate, power, and miseducation. Blacks like Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Congressman Elijah Cummings, Rev. C. T. Vivian, Mary McLeod Bethune, Sojourner Truth, and many others did everything in their power to encourage the next generation to not fall into the numerous social and economic traps that were designed to lead them down the wrong path to be victimized. There is a quote by Marcus Garvey in my book, True Synergy Works/Leading Within, that says: “If you have no confidence in self you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started”. The goal of those who aim to harm or control an individual is to first diminish our value or destroy our confidence. I strongly believe, once you know who you are, no one will be able to break your confidence. When I look back at my life experience and wisdom communiqué Magazine

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acquired through the Civil Rights icons, I think so many have lost focus on the importance of remembering history and all the iconic leaders and unsung heroes who inspired each of us to build up our confidence to love self and lead the next generation. I encourage young people to revisit the history of these eras: The Civil Rights Movement; Jim Crow Law; WWII and Civil Rights; Rosa Parks; the Little Rock Nine; Civil Rights Act of 1957; Woolworth’s Lunch Counter; Freedom Riders; the March on Washington; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Bloody Sunday; Voting Rights Act of 1965; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassination; and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Educate yourself and others about how so many fought for the betterment of all, especially the disadvantaged and underserved. Q: Are we repeating history or is this something completely different? I believe we are repeating history and, in some cases, things are worse. Whenever racism raises its ugly head in a massive way, and the words Civil Rights is heard loud on national and international platforms in all industries, history has repeated itself. When we see education, social, racial and economic disparities in America as it was in the 1960s, history has repeated itself. Q: What is your message to the youth of today regarding how they carry the torch as the leaders of your time did? My message is for youth is to remember Congressman John Lewis’ story and legacy. He was a young boy at the age of 23 (in 1963) when he first spoke in front of thousands at the “March on Washington.” I encourage the youth to find their Civil Rights’ voice and lead a good fight for the disadvantaged and unserved. It is their time and the world is watching, listening, and waiting for the next John Lewis unsung hero.

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This may sound cliché but youth must work harder than their counterparts to get a higher education. Youth must obtain the needed skills to compete in all industries: communications; team building/ collaboration; project management/leadership; social networking; time management; goal setting; financial management; organization; political awareness and technical skills. On page 144 of my book, I share the following Michelle Obama’ quote: “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.” On page 158 of my book, I share the following Henry Ford quote: “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”. Youth must cultivate their behavioral skills and character-building skills because your image is everything and Blacks in the Civil Rights era understood this. Q: You have over 30 years of work experience with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During the Civil Rights era, the Fair Housing Act was passed, but Black homeownership rates have been stubbornly low for decades while Hispanic home ownership is on the rise. What advice do you have to address this problem? Discrimination like what Blacks faced during the Civil Rights era is back in all forms and could not have happened at the worst time. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so many are at risk of losing their home or being put out of their rental property. Numerous economic and social factors have kept Black homeownership rates low over the decades due to housing disparities, which I believe should be addressed by a professional economist. My advice as a Civil Rights Baby is for all to educate themselves


about Title VIII of the Fair Housing Act and, most importantly, vote in the November 2020 election. (https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_ equal_opp/aboutfheo/history). I encourage young people to: 1) Go back and study the Civil Rights Movement and began to focus on social change dealing with housing and economic disparities. 2) Keep good credit. 3) Save, save, and save. 4) Know housing laws. 5) Continue to educate themselves about the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and fight a good fight for what you deserve. Q: What other pearls of wisdom would you like to share with our community?

Birth Greatness was intentional for me. I had to follow these principles which you will find on page 11 in my book. 1. Know who is leading you! 2. Be lead-able! 3. Know where you come from! 4. Position yourself for greatness! 5. Study your past to change the future! 6. Assure success for the next generation! 7. Map a pathway of success to yield personal, professional, spiritual, educational, and economic success in all your endeavors. What mattered during Slavery, Post-Slavery, Civil Rights, and in our time still matters and that’s human rights. Every person on the planet has the responsibility to respect human life. Everyone has the power to be intentional, so go forward and lead.

Although racism was very prevalent in Calvert County during the Civil Rights era, some of my memorable moments were observing how hard proud Blacks worked to build strong religious ties to their community and how they held on to their rich family culture. Many Blacks purchased land and built homes throughout Calvert County and some owned beachfront homes on the Chesapeake Bay and near the Patuxent River. Knowing the past helps us understand the significance of today. Vice President Nominee Senator Kamala Harris speaks of Civil Rights today. The late Congressman John Lewis and Congressman Elijah Cummings spoke of Civil Rights. Now it is your time to speak up about Civil Rights and lead in your home, community, and world. The pearls of wisdom I would also like to share is for young people to understand the power of “Leading Within.” When you Lead from Within, you must make your journey intentional! The Seven (7) Defining Principles of Knowing Self to communiqué Magazine

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Becoming

ICONIC written by Stacey Henry-Carr How many times have you been told about the importance of your brand? Are you causing a positive viral ripple effect with your brand? Social media has made it easy for us to make ourselves visible and it is safe to say that it is going to continue to be an integral part of how we present ourselves to the world. It has become a major communication tool for our personal lives and our businesses. However, the events of 2020 have caused a paradigm shift with networking and social interactions and to stand out you must be “ICONIC”

professional, founder of a successful publishing company that published a women’s magazine, and two book projects that created more than 50 published women authors in less than two years. This is why it was no surprise that she passionately responded to what success looks like, “if I can help women become financially, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically empowered and they go on to make that change to others that is my vision”.

Cheryl Pullins is an Iconic Personal Brand Strategist, who uses her voice and expertise as an award-winning international speaker, TEDx speaker, author, and Certified Professional Coach. She is the CEO + Founder of Iconic Persona™ a boutique premium branding agency specializing in helping multi-passionate women to establish, elevate, and expand their brand.

This South Philly native currently lives in the sunshine state of Florida, but she still has a palette for a mouthwatering original hoagie. When I asked Cheryl to review her core identity she said, “I am a girl from the steps of South Philly who bet on herself and decided that she wanted to live a life based on her true desires.” Cheryl is passionate about the support that her husband a 20-year military veteran has provided to her. “My husband plays a huge role behind the scene that allows me to walk fully in my mission. He is my protector, investor, and sometimes even my coach”.

Cheryl has a diverse list of accomplishments including a twenty-plus year corporate career as a Human Resources

Cheryl Pullins’ motivation emitted through the personal story about losing her best friend. It embodied her “why”, it

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was a defining moment for her, and she carries the thought with her that her friend never got the chance to realize and live out her true potential before she passed away. She said that imprint makes her “show up every day, authentic and personal with a pure innate desire to see other women win”. “I hear women better and I also hear what they are not saying.” This is Cheryl’s reason for her charge to the world and makes her a powerful force in her field. Cheryl is inspired by travel, fashion, Italian food, and old black and white movies that were made with authenticity. She is inspired by the love of the iconic women of Hollywood because of their distinctive, classic, and unique qualities which are the same ones she desires her clients to capture. Cheryl uses a unique and masterful approach that helps her clients transform their thinking about who they are and what they desire. “What you see in the world is filtered by what you see in yourself ”. The proper mindset is needed to implement the strategies that Cheryl outlines for her clients. She said once they can understand the value in brand strategies the rest falls into place. Cheryl operates by using a 3-prong hybrid method of branding which includes coaching, consulting, and strategizing. Whether you are a start-up business or rebranding there is plenty of expertise to help you stand out. Cheryl Pullins offers the following services to assist you in becoming iconic: • A 2 -day virtual one on one session - The Iconic Edge Brand Intensive • A one-on-one virtual- The Iconic Edge 90-Day Brand Mentorship • Group program offerings and courses through Icon Academy

brand apart in the industry • Designing tiered offerings for consistent and upleveled income generation • Leveraging social media for expanded reach and elevated visibility Cheryl recognizes that there has been a marriage of social media and this social change, and with iconic personal branding her clients can cause a viral ripple effect. They will leverage social media globally and reach more people than ever before. Cheryl knows there is still room to live out her vision as a business owner. She encourages her clients to brand themselves to be looked at favorably by the global networking market and leverage it into opportunities. Cheryl talked about icons such as Steve Jobs who knew how to leave a legacy of connection through his brand. She is passionate about the transformation that this level of personal branding can create for her clients. When I asked Cheryl to define personal branding she said, “personal branding is about building your reputation and how people are interacting with you. Personal branding is self-discovery that is true and authentic. It must come from an authentic place! Personal branding is more than just a logo. It’s your legacy.” Her definition was reminiscent of the purity in the black and white films that inspires her and made me pause for a personal brand self-check. Learn more about working with Cheryl Pullins by going to http://www.iconicpersona.com/

Cheryl thoughtfully, methodically, and strategically dialogued with me and branded herself as the Iconic Personal Brand Strategist. We talked about the shift in our society and she eloquently said “regardless of the social climate we are in there are tremendous opportunities to contribute to change, create a sphere of influence and guide others to do the same”. She highlighted the advantage that the social shift has moved local networking events to world networking, and she wants her clients to have a distinctive personal brand that allows them to stand out. Some of the ways she sets her clients up for success are: • Positioning themselves for the right clients and/or the best opportunities for their brand • Cultivating a brand that is authentic and aligned to who they are • Creating powerful iconic messaging that sets their communiqué Magazine

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The Passion

of Freedom written by Corretta L. Doctor

Marvin Wilson understands the financial

needs of today’s American family. He has taken the time to study the ebbs and flows of money and its impact on the everyday earner and their ability to live a life of abundance without struggling to meet their basic needs. Marvin took a deep dive into gaining the insight and understanding of what it takes to put out the biggest fires in our economy – and that is getting people funding to grow their businesses. When we asked Marvin why his business is so important to him here is what he said, “Schools don’t teach what I teach. People would have more confidence if they knew what runs this economy. If they understand the monetary value of their skillset there would be more 67

employers than employees. Most people that love what they do, they don’t mind teaching it, but that is a business. I teach freedom”. With an office in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina, Marvin is the Founder of Universal Command Global, a one stop shop that manages a variety of funding and credit services in house. The top three services provided by Universal Command Group are as follows. 1. Credit Restoration and Repair 2. Trade Line Enhancement Programs 3. Capital Funding for Small Businesses Marvin stands firm in his commitment to combine his skillset with individuals and small business owners


that need work done in the areas listed above. The company provides clients with a new idea of how funding can be a creative way to build legacy. Today’s industry is filled with information and opportunities. Marvin and his staff ensure that you are guided and armed with the correct information that matches your unique financial needs. They provide a personalized credit expert to work directly with you so that you are not being transferred from person to person through a system of impersonal channels. Each client of Universal Command Global is given a login portal that eases communication between the expert and the client. The company uses a proprietary underwriting software that is aligned with each client’s current credit snapshot and matches that client to the right lenders to help get the credit score where it needs to be. Marvin has many successes and his business has changed many lives, but we asked him to share just one example of client impact, a success story that we could relate to. Marvin and his company welcomed four clients that drove across country to take advantage of the services. It helps to have the client come into the offices of Marvin and his staff because he can then go with the client and touch all of the important places such as banks and credit bureaus in one business daythat in itself is a critical step in the process. His office will hand walk clients to the banks to show them what to say, what to present, and how to structure their requests in order to get the responses and funding they need. Understanding soft pulls, product models, interest rates, relationship banking, and timing. The success story is that all four clients that took the cross country trek to meet with Marvin and his staff were funded with six figure dollar amounts. Marvin is working from a place of passion and purpose. Financial freedom is his passion. He had some painful real life experiences in business that surely qualifies him to be an educated and well trained subject matter

expert in this field. Instead of staying stagnant, Marvin knew that he had to gain specific training, so he invested into formal classes. He also walked his own talk, he used his own services by using his insured trade lines and credit repair services to self-fund his business over $300k in the last four years by using the same processes that he knows, teaches, and executes with his clients. Marvin and his family are originally from Salisbury, North Carolina. His father led him to be a trendsetter. Marvin watched his father work and retire, then witnessed his parents take their ninth grade education and their hard earned retirement money and start a three-bus charter bus company business. Marvin watched the diverse culture of patrons that his parents served through their business. They made sure young Marvin gained the people skills necessary to do business with upper echelon professionals. This taught him what the real meaning of business acumen means. He learned at an early age how to nurture the relationship of a business, how to operate in integrity, and how to build successful businesses. Marvin hosts a Podcast every Thursday at 7pm Eastern Time. The show is titled ‘Funding Credit’ and has morphed into a dialogue among likeminded people that have gone into the communities and made a difference. Marvin also partners with colleagues to host a radio show titled, ‘Money Talk’ on Sundays where they talk about real estate, credit, loans, and mortgages. Marvin welcomes you to visit his YouTube Channel, ‘Funding Credit’ and you can reach his office by email at info@funding-credit.com or by calling (980) 8921823. Be sure to visit and bookmark www.Fundingcredit.com

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PARENTS, FOLLOW YOUR HEART

You Must Make the Right Decision About Your Child’s Education There are uncertainties and unanswered questions about the start of the new school year. Debates are raging about how students should continue their education. School leaders who are making plans for students to return to their traditional brick and mortar schools full time with safety guidelines in place. Other decision makers are considering a hybrid or blended option so that students receive part of their education in school and the rest online at home. Conversely, some policy makers question whether student should continue cyber learning until it is safe to resume school as we once knew it. Opinions are being openly shared about the best option for students. Social and traditional media outlets have been filled with perspectives about the upcoming school year. Political leaders have openly discussed what they believe is the right solution for education and families within their regions. Some medical experts have concluded that it is best for the social and academic development of students to receive in-person learning. Teachers throughout the country have been expressing concerns about all the health risks for all students and all school personnel associated with returning to school. Parents have shared mixed thoughts, too. Some have stated that their lives must resume, including returning to work outside of the home. For parents who require help with childcare, placing their children back in their physical school will help resolve this critical necessity for them. Other parents remain cautious. They believe that the safety of their children and their entire family will be jeopardized if their children return to school. Regardless of the opinions and the final decisions that will be made, parents have the right to choose what is in the best interest of their children and their family. The quote that follows creates a sense of personal reality and truth for any parents willing to embrace these words: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what

you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs For parents who are confused about the decision they need to make about their child’s education, their answer lies within. All they need to do is to eliminate the external noise and listen to what their heart says. Information About Dr. Deborah M. Vereen Dr. Deborah M. Vereen is a Family Engagement Influencer and CEO of Families With Us LLC. She invites readers to visit her website at: www.DrDeborahmvereen.com to access her blog, YouTube Channel called “Ignite Family Engagement”, e-learning course for educators, services, and to subscribe to her e-mail list to receive period newsletters. Her book called “Repair the Broken Pieces” may also be purchased on her website.

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No Doesn’t Mean

FOREVER written by Darshaun McAway

As a parent, I often struggle with telling Anaiah “no.” I find that explaining to my 5-year-old daughter why the answer is no has been more beneficial than just saying no and walking away. When I was a young adult, I took the word "NO" extremely personal. It affected me tremendously throughout my 20's, but when I had a child that all changed. If I am not mistaken, I recall experiencing excitement and joy every time I heard the word YES, but the instant I heard the word "No" I paused. I associate the word “NO” with forever. I feel like NO is directly tied to never. Never means not ever, or in other terms, I felt that No meant I could not have it forever. When you are young “forever” is a long time. When your child is old enough to understand what "no" means, it is then time to explain why and how "no" does not

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mean forever. It's only "no" for the current moment, or ‘not right now’. One day I sat and explained to my family that my response of “no” is not to discourage them, but it helps them understand that there is not always an immediate “yes”. Often it can be perceived that you are taking advantage of someone's kindness when you expect an automatic “yes” but instead you receive the dreaded “no”. when given an unexpected response of “no” to an assumed “yes” a person’s true colors shine through. I noticed it one day with Anaiah. I told her "no" she couldn't have a toy that she wanted, and she had a public melt down. Anaiah was screaming and hollering, and it made me embarrassed. I never thought my child would make a scene so obscured that it made me instantly pick her up and walk out of the store. The outburst was a direct reaction to the word “no” because she expected a “yes”.


At first, I thought I did something wrong. I knew a portion of my parenting was off, but not to the point as to where my child would show out in public. When we got home, I had a discussion with Anaiah to help her understand what had occurred and why it was wrong behavior. I explained and told her that when I say "no" it doesn't mean forever. It means you cannot have it right now. Of course, she asked, "why not Daddy?" I said because right now you do not need it, you just want it, and I can't keep giving you things just because you want it. It doesn't mean that you're never going to get it but the difference between a want and need is important to understand. I desperately needed her to understand this logic. It's been proven throughout life that most of us feel entitled to things or positions that we believe we are supposed to have. Hearing an unfavorable response should be viewed as a process. How many times have we been told to trust the process and let things happen as they should? In the adult

life, many of us fight back for a yes, when given a no. Many of us should take the opportunity to assess the situation, determine the need and or the want, the necessity, timing and take an inner look at our outward situation. You may find that you are not ready for the yes. We do not realize that when we ask someone for something. They have the position to say “no”, but deep down on the inside we desire to hear yes, and that is when we let ourselves down. In my household, everyone gets a chance to say "No" just because but in good faith. It's just an exercise to feel familiar with hearing "No". It is a clever way to develop not taking things personally. Especially if you are asking for permission or if you are asking someone for a favor. In our home, and throughout my family’s experiences, no, doesn't mean forever, it just means no for the moment.

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Sowele

Photographer

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AGING

Gracefully communiqué Magazine had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Author and Entrepreneur, Pamela ‘Pam’ Reaves. Pam is the Founder and CEO of NELLA LLC, a Maryland limited liability company. NELLA LLC is the umbrella under which she power coach clients using her signature empowerment tool called TAPS (Transformation, Action, Power, Source). Pam declares, “A commitment to skincare is essential to achieving, as well as maintaining healthy and beautiful skin.” Thus, she founded Essentially Good Skin Care, a line of skin care products made with nature’s own ingredients. At age 63 Pam lives a life of both beauty and health. She presents everything she does with attention to detail, utmost precision to execution, and a universal approach to living life fully! Pam is an astoundingly beautiful cover girl that graces magazines, is the Model and ‘face’ of several businesses, and stands for grace and class in all that she does, says, and is. Pam is one of the world’s most beautiful women. We want to know her beauty and wellness tips! communiqué Magazine: What does it mean to age gracefully? Aging gracefully is the only way to do it. The woman or man who ages gracefully does not fight the maturation process. 75


Instead, she or he makes a conscious decision to welcome and embrace aging in a fluid manner. It is much easier and less stressful to go with the flow of becoming better, wiser, and stronger. Aging gracefully is an attribute that will leave them in awe of you.

how to maintain my health naturally and how to present the best version of my 60+ body. It feels great to be Christcentered. Since He is my power source, I am confident that I will always be fine; that in whatever state I find myself, he will empower me to not only survive, but thrive.

communiqué Magazine: Pam, what does beauty mean to you? I must admit that defining beauty is not an easy feat for me. You see, I can find beauty in just about everything. Since we live in an ever-evolving world, I believe beauty standards are ever-evolving as well, which is why it’s dangerous to chase beauty standards or to compare one’s self with a set of standards that are subject to change at any time. I create and live by my own standard of beauty and implore every woman to do so.

communiqué Magazine: Why is nature your go-to ingredient for your product line? Natural elements contain healing properties, maintain or restore hormonal or PH balance, and calm the skin. Many skincare and beauty products contain parabens and other manmade ingredients that while extending shelf life, are known to disrupt hormonal function as well as cause other adverse reactions. For thousands of years African women have been using products extracted from the earth to preserve their skin and hair. Since these natural elements have been tried and true for centuries, I have decided to work with what has been proven for centuries

communiqué Magazine: Tell us about Essentially Good Skin care products. Essentially Good Skincare was birthed out of a change in my life, and I mean that figuratively as well as literally. When I started experiencing the effects of menopause, the hormonal changes were wreaking havoc on my skin. Through research I discovered the benefits and properties of natural ingredients. communiqué Magazine: What is the essential ingredient to inner beauty? It is impossible to possess inner beauty without self-love. There is nothing arrogant, self-indulgent, or narcissistic about self-love. Anything that or anyone whom you love, you will nurture, protect, preserve, and cherish. The first recipient must be you. Whenever I am publicly speaking, I explain to audiences that the external (what you see on the outside) is the manifestation of the internal (who you are at the soul level). communiqué Magazine: At age, 63, what does beauty “feel” like to you? At 63, I am reveling in my beauty, and that is not a selfabsorbing declaration. I have been liberated from the nonsensical things of my youth. I have been through fiery trials and tribulations, and no longer allow things that have little to no value to stress me out. I prematurely became grey but learned how to own it and make it a part of my signature look. Proverbs 16:31 (New King James Version) says that “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory”. I am no longer svelte in body-type but feel great because I know

communiqué Magazine: How does having a healthy inner fitness relate to outer beauty? Looking and feeling good are mutually exclusive. Feeling good physically is achieved by maintaining a healthy diet. I have learned so much over the years about the relationship between what we eat and how eating habits impact our physical health. At 63, I do not take any prescription drugs. Only vitamins and supplements. communiqué Magazine: What is the trend in skin care today and how does your product line meet up with the trend? Now that wellness and healthy living are phenomena, the ingredients I use to create Essentially Good skincare products are being touted by mainstream companies that have not historically been devoted to natural products. Essentially Good Skincare products deliver high-end results at affordable prices. communiqué Magazine: Is the Essentially Good Skin care product line for men and women? Essentially Good skincare products are great for the entire family. I am considering adding another concept that is strictly for men. communiqué Magazine: Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder to the extent that the beauty does not accept the beholder’s opinion solely as her truth. While we love to receive compliments in response to the investment in our outer beauty, a healthy dose of communiqué Magazine

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self-love, and confidence in our inner beauty are the perfect neutralizers when faced with criticism. communiqué Magazine: Do you provide one on one coaching and counseling on skin care? My coaching practice is devoted to Power Living and that encompasses image consultation. For the woman or man who wants to develop an incredible unforgettable image, I am ready to work with you. communiqué Magazine: Tell us how you have evolved over the years, maintaining your beauty and glamour appeal? Evolution is growth, and since I have always wanted to give and be my best, it has not been hard for me to embrace change that allows me to become better than I was yesterday. Maintaining beauty and a glamorous appeal is not theater. It is my lifestyle, which at this point is as easy as breathing. The best part of my personal evolution is that I am a woman of substance. I am defining my sixties, and with God’s covering, living it on my terms. My age does not define me. communiqué Magazine: Why you Pam, where is your motivation to teach others about aging gracefully coming from? My mother was a queenly woman. Although in terms of finances she was not a wealthy woman, she possessed a style that was unmatched. Not only did she possess style, her personality was one to which people gravitated. I witnessed the masterful way in which she held court with humility and love. As my point of reference, she taught me how to live and enjoy the highest order of womanhood. It is my heart’s desire that every woman will enjoy this experience. communiqué Magazine: Where can we find your products? Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, my products could be purchased at events where I was exhibiting, as well as online. Essentially Good products can still be purchased online at https://pamreaves.com/shop/ or contact me at pamreg01@ gmail.com for more information. The staff of communiqué Magazine uses Essentially Good Skincare and we feel just as good as we look since using the products! The products look, feel, and are sensually aromatic! The items arrive in very beautiful packaging and gift-giving is easy to do using Essentially Good Skincare ordering system!

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TINA

BROWN-ROBERTS What does the word “FAMILY” mean to you? FAMILY, to me, are the individuals who will be with me and beside me no matter what happens. They are the ones that reciprocate unconditional love. We love hard for better and for worse. We laugh, we cry, we fuss, but at the end of the day we have each other's back. They are the people who help mold me into who I am. I also have really close friends that I consider family as well. My entire family is my love, support, and pillars of strength that I have an unbreakable bond with.

Tina Brown Roberts is a South Carolina native, a young woman from Hampton County that has traveled the road to success without forgetting the bridge that brought her over. Her beautiful life is one of tenacity and dedication, while embracing some challenges of her own. Her vivid personality never allows her to show fear or cast doubt into the atmosphere of her world, instead she raises up and stands tall against the winds. She is breezing through life and embracing every curve in the road. She is a winner and one to know. Let’s get started. We asked Mrs. Roberts:

As a young girl, Tina was recognized as a leader and a natural giver; she stood in the gap as a caretaker for her Aunt that lived in Georgia. Born to, Eddie and Mary Brown. Tina has 6 sisters and two brothers (Brown Divine* 9). She is the 7th child in the birth order. Her father always referred to her as his lucky #7. Born into a large family, Tina was Blessed with the early lessons of what “family” really means. Tina is the epitome of a Wife to her husband, Shedrick and mother to her children, Michael, Shedrick II, and Shelton. As a young girl, Tina was known most for her excellent reading ability. Some of her favorite things to do as a teenager were reading, cooking, singing, dancing and spending time with her siblings and cousins. Every weekend she adored large family gatherings at her grandparents’ home, (Ossie and Augustine White) from childhood to adulthood. FAMILY is EVERYTHING to Tina, she loves them dearly and holds them in the highest regard. Upon graduating high school and college in Atlanta, Ga. Tina set her goals on creating a meaningful life of stability, purpose, and divine knowledge. Tina's life journey filled with joys, heartaches, lessons, challenges, and special moments has led her to her destination and purpose in life. communiqué Magazine

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Tell us about your military life- where are some places you lived, worked, traveled? Living as a military family unit has afforded us to live and see beautiful places all over the world. WE have lived in Greenland, England, Iceland, Korea, California, Texas, and Florida. Too many to name! Did you ever wake up in one of your military locations and say, “how did I get here, in such a beautiful place?�, if yes, where were you and how did you answer that question? Yes, we lived in Keflavik, Iceland for almost 4 years. The land of "fire and ice". Home to one of the 25 wonders of the world, The Blue Lagoon. Iceland is exquisite and expensive all rolled into one, but it is so worth it. It is brutally cold pretty much all year round. It has 6 months of daylight and 6 months of dusk/ darkness. The country is absolutely amazing with tons of fascinating sites ,including the volcanoes. What does LOVE mean to you? Love to me is when one half is broken, the other half is there to assist in mending the pieces. It's support, commitment, respectful, being in sync, it's having the same thoughts, it's completing each other's sentences. Love is almost indescribable. ..I Love being in Love with my husband. Tell us when and how you met your husband? Where were you married? Shedrick was active duty in the U.S. Navy. We met at Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Va and here we are 25 silver years later, stronger than ever. Shedrick is undeniably my #1 supporter. He truly is the love of my life. My husband will always be the leader and backbone of my family. Tell us about your family, children. I have 3 handsome sons. Michael, Shedrick II, and Shelton. They all look like their dad but definitely have their own personality. They are very strong, studios, and respectful young men. I love them with every fiber in my being. I can't imagine life without them or my husband. It's a mother's love that is so deep that it can't be explained. They don't like for me to gush all over them and respect that. How is your relationship with your siblings? My siblings are my world, my best friends. We communicate every day on group chats. We laugh 79

uncontrollably daily. We support each other and each other's children in all endeavors. I absolutely love coming from a big family of 9 children because when we all get together we have a Blast! The love and support I receive from my family is Ah-mazing. Is there an annual event you and your family do together? Yes, holidays, birthday milestones , baby showers, family reunions. What does life look like for you today Tina, how do you view your soul characteristics? Life for me today is something I refer to as the 3 Cs * Complete, Consistency ,and Competent. My soulful characteristics are peaceful with a magnetic personality. I have an old soul that marches to the beat of my own drum. I independently seek wisdom and knowledge while ensuring illuminating paths for others to follow. What is your life’s highlight? My family, my career, my accomplishments along with the footprints and legacy I will leave behind. What does love and life, together, look like for you? Life and Love to me is whole heartedly my family. It is a peace of mind with balance. It's evolving spiritually in God's word. Love and Life keep me in alignment while remaining disciplined in everything I do. Love and life together has established a righteous focus for me and my family. What does your soul cry out for, with everything going on in the world, what do you want to see changed? Right now, with all that is happening before our eyes, my soul is crying out for our black men and women. I have 3 black sons, with a host of nieces and nephews that I pray for every day. The one fear that I have is getting a phone call telling me something has happened to one of my sons because someone didn't like the color of their skin, because someone didn't like what he was driving or what he was wearing. That's a call no parent wants to receive and that's a cry in the pit of my stomach that I pray will never happen . I'm praying for a change in equality and humanity. I'm praying for the acknowledgement of social injustices for the hurt and harm that's caused and goes without admitting wrong doings. I'm praying for us to Breathe and for them to get their knees off our necks. I'm praying for a change in the angered souls who are seeking division and not unity. My soul is crying out about many changes


during this unprecedented time. What quote pulls you through? No One Can Define Me but Me, Favor Isn't Fair but It's Mine! What is your strongest message of hope and encouragement to other strong women that have no choice but to be strong? My message to all women is for them to create their own palate of Happiness. Make it a priority to exude self-love. Every woman needs to know that only you can make yourself happy not family and friends, it's all up to you. I want to encourage them to be the beacon of light when walking into a room. Set the tone before interacting with anyone. Be authentic, live in their truth and be the best version of themselves at all times while remaining strong. What does the best day of your life look like? The best day of my life is occurring every day. I am able to watch my sons grow and become men right before my eyes. Some mothers unfortunately do not get this opportunity, so I do not take it for granted. A Devastating Moment in Life “I was working in a stressful position for the U.S. Government in Corporate America. It was Thursday, May 12th, 2005. I went to work as usual, but all day I had this nagging headache. I shrugged it off. All day it felt like my left eye kept watering, so I kept wiping it and again I shrugged it off. I figured I was tired and decided to lie down once I got home. It was around 6:30 pm and I remember my husband coming in and asking me how my day was. In a moment, after he stared into my eyes, we were on our way to the Emergency Room. Upon arriving at the hospital, the doctors in the ER ran every test they could think of. At first glance I heard them say the words ‘facial stroke’ but it wasn’t until wee hours of the next morning that I had a diagnosis of a severe facial paralysis called Bells Palsy. Without warning, I looked into a mirror and couldn’t believe what I saw! The entire left side of my face was completely folded inward. My left eye was almost closed, my left nostril was so flat to the point where I felt like I couldn’t breathe and worst of all my LIPS WAS COMPLETELY ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF MY FACE! I was one of the more severe cases they had ever seen. communiqué Magazine

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I did every type of treatment the doctors offered and still nothing worked. Until one day my doctor that I had for many years said something to me. She said, ”You know I watch you come in here week after week for therapy and in all my years of being a physician, I have never seen a husband care for and stand by his wife side the way your husband does for you. From carrying your purse to making sure you have your shades to shield you from the world, or what we call the public eye, but because you are so caught up in what has happened to your outer appearance you can’t even see what you’re doing to your inner self. Appearance is not everything, you must first love yourself and know who you are and stop turning the ones who love you the most away.” As I began to accept who I was with my altered appearance, my face slowly began to transform back to its normal state. May 29, 2015 Memorial Day Weekend 10 Years later, (ME) Tina E. Roberts woke up with her lips on the opposite side of her face again!! And it was at that time, I began to preach self-love to myself, in my head, my heart and my mirror. My FAITH in God was much stronger and I WAS NOT going to let this illness DEFEAT OR DEFINE ME! I began to empower myself because I had no idea if I would be left in this state for the rest of my life. The facial paralysis made me reevaluate my life. I was in a happier place and I was able to exude self-love regardless of my outer appearance. Within 1 week the illness was gone. I know my purpose in life is to empower the next woman for whatever she is going through. No illness can define her just like “The Look” of the illness did not define me. I honestly believe because of the pain and shame I went through I am strong enough to be a leader of two women empowerment businesses today, but GOD HAD TO SHOW ME THROUGH PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION, MY PAIN TO PURPOSE!

and transform women from all walks of life. I want to always be a positive role model to all of my beautiful nieces because they really look up to me. How do you clarify what success is in your life to others that may be seeing you through rosy glasses? My heritage that was instilled in me by my mother and grandmother played a major role in the success I have achieved. I have remained grounded regardless of titles, education, and accolades. Throughout my 21 year Department of Defense Civilian Career, I have faced racism, nuances of colorism, and inequality because of my dark skin. I had to create new opportunities for myself by becoming a value, a high demand, and a solution. My powerful knowledge was the answer to a need, therefore new opportunities were presented to me. My thoughts were completely outside of the box and I excelled with what worked for me as a black dark skinned woman working in a predominantly white job field of Information Technology in Corporate America. So, for those who may be peering through rosy glasses, do not be fooled by the appearance but be True to who you are when you obtain the Respect of the Success. What does the glass look like to you when milk is poured to the middle line: half full or half empty? Why? Half full, because it's how I move forward in life. I'm an optimistic person that can achieve and make the best out of any situation. To me, seeing it half empty displays a negative connotation and mindset. I will always see it as half full because the power of positive thinking is conducive to your well-being.

What is your passion? I'm passionate about inspiring others. I am intentional about what I say and do. I have a huge heart and love to give advice when warranted. When I go into my office I hardly get any work done because my colleagues are lined up seeking advice, which always results in positive healthy dialogue.

What does sisterhood mean to you? Sisterhood to me is having a circle of extended family of women that I love, support and empower unconditionally. Sisterhood is being able to share without judgment, being able to uplift one another, being each other's keeper while holding each other accountable for their actions. It's being able to laugh, cry, and be transparent with each other. It's being able to fix each other's crown without telling the world it was crooked. Sisterhood offers power to another sister who may have low self-esteem. Sisterhood should also include reciprocity. One conversation or compliment to or from your sister can have a deeper impact than you know.

What is your purpose? My divine purpose is to provide a service to our communities. I will continue to serve, empower, lead,

What has COVID-19 done to or for you and your family? COVID-19 has shown us obedience. It has thrown

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a shift in our norm, while making the entire world uncomfortable. The distraction of COVID-19 has given us the time to reset and reevaluate our lives and priorities. I spoke on racism throughout my interview, but when I think of COVID 19 this is one time around the globe every human being is at the mercy of this virus. No race is exempt. We are fighting a war with an opponent we can't even see. God has shaken our foundation of complacency and it's up to us to be obedient. Most of all it showed us that we love being locked in the house together and eating wonderful home cooked meals every day. Again, obedience brings calmness. In your ‘TODAY’, what is your message to women that need encouragement about their personal journey towards love, family, and the culmination of life. My message to them is to first introduce themselves to themselves. Then get to know themselves on a level where no one can tear them down. Elevate their personal development with consistency because it will enhance their quality of life. It will help them to understand what to tolerate and to know their selfworth. Surround themselves around a tribe of women that emboss positivity, integrity, inner strength and resilience. Also, for them to garner a great work ethic to be able to leave an impactful legacy beyond their existence. My message for them today is to leave generational knowledge and wealth that can be transferred throughout their lineage. What is your favorite song/artist? I'm old school, Anita Baker is one of my favs along with several others. What is your favorite book/author? Kimberla Lawson Roby, along with several others... If your life were a crayon, what color would you be and why? Yellow. Beside the fact it looks great with my mocha almond complexion, it represents self-confidence, intellect, and wisdom. It's a ray of hope, happiness, positivity, clarity and loyalty. I love the opulence and expressing my individuality with the color, Yellow. Tina Brown Roberts is the Co-Founder of No Ordinary Woman Empowerment Group based out of Suffolk, VA and she is the President and sits on the Board of Directors of No Ordinary Woman 2.0 Foundation 501c Nonprofit Organization. Although they are separate

entities, (for profit and not for profit) the primary focus of both organizations is to assist disadvantaged women suffering from various hardships from abroad and within the state of Virginia. N.O.W created the #IAMNOW Movement that resulted in a firestorm of women posting pictures utilizing the hashtag #IAMNOW all across the globe. “I like to consider myself a trailblazer in my own right, knowing I can walk away with a great women’s empowerment movement in history. I am extremely proud to have established two excellent organizations to help women transform their lives”. – Tina Brown Roberts The next big thing for Tina is introducing the Exclusive: #IAMNOW ORGANIZATION LLC , which will be a Chartered Member Organization with a Greek Vibe. Stay tuned as legal details are still in process. Tina is extremely excited about her new business entity. Many ladies requested it and she is eagerly aware and ready to answer the call of duty. Tina is a purposeful icon in the war on becoming great. She has insight and testimony that life can be good. Really good. The Blessings she has received along her journey are evident in her vibrant approach to enjoying life. She is a motivator, a businesswoman, a leader and a family pillar. She is available to share teachable moments and life lessons at conferences and events being held across platforms around the globe. The biggest lesson is knowing when to share it and why. The “who” will come, just give the message. You don’t have to look for an audience when your message is valid, sincere, relevant and timely. Tina is a bold woman with a bold message, her place in this world is marked by her actions to invigorate others and create a space where no woman feels ordinary. Tina Brown Roberts is an IT Software Asset Manager – DoD, No Ordinary Woman Empowerment Group CoOwner, No Ordinary Woman 2.0 Foundation President - 501c3 Nonprofit, and Service That's Reliable LLCTransportation Service, Co-Owner Business websites are as follows: www.vanoordinarywoman.com and www.servicethatsreliable.com

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DJ BIZI BROWN I N T E R NAT I O NA L

What is your stage name? Do you want to list your birth name? Where were you born? What is your nationality? My name is (DJ) Bizi Brown. As a German citizen I was born into a multi racial family in a city called Münster. Due to the nature of the job of my parents as diplomats, I had the privilege of traveling around the world and experiencing different countries and cultures. Growing up what did you want to be? My interest in discovering the world has always been a unique part of me. Although I wanted to be a pilot, my passion for music and seeing people happy helped me discover my talent. What was your first job? What is your happiest memory about that job? Well, on the side while in high-school I remember working for a security company which left behind good memories as I had the opportunity to interact with people and solve their problems pacifically and have them walk away at the end happily and peacefully. What is your title? Is it DJ, Disc Jockey? Well, “DJ” is the title used by many to define my profession, and the term “Disc Jockey” is simply “DJ” written out in full. However, at the end of the day I see myself as far more than just a DJ. I am also a full fledged entertainer, a Host/MC and into producing. In addition, I am what many people would call a “Radio Personality”. I host my own weekly Radio Show; “Good Vibes On Air”.

PA RT Y

R O C K E R

Tell us about your humble beginnings. Where did you gain your interest in being a Professional DJ? Where was your first DJ gig? My Dad was a hobby DJ and drummer in a local band. This inspired me while growing up and listening to the tunes of legendary artists like Bob Marley & The Wailers, Abba Abba, James Brown, Jackson 5, The Beatles, Prince and many more. The turntables to which I had access at home where very fragile and delicate so I was not allowed to experiment around with them or scratch the records. I there for found a way to record the music to cassettes and started off by playing at cookouts, BBQs and family & friends gatherings using the cassettes with a pencil, a walkman and a ghetto-blaster. What I enjoyed most about this role was putting a priceless smile on peoples faces and having them dance, enjoy the moment and forget about their differences and problems. That great feeling got me to push my passion to this international level. Is this your main profession? As mentioned above; I do more than just DJing in this industry but YES, you can say I make my living though my profession being an entertainer. What equipment do you use, what is your setup comprised of? I am very versed with the Pioneer CDJ Players, the classic turntables, the current Pioneer DJ controllers, the Rane or Pioneer Mixers. As for softwares I use the Serato Rane and occasionally the Pioneer Record Box. What is it like being on stage with crowds roaring and

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dancing and enjoying the music? What does that feel like? This is a priceless feeling. When the music is good and the vibe is right, there is no better feeling than seeing the party crowd dance and sweat it off! And above all when they engage into singing, roaring and screaming out of excitement. There is no amount of money in the world which can replace this profound emotion which I experience on stage. What was the largest event you have done to date? Tell us about that event. To be humble enough I have had the opportunity to perform in front of several large audiences. To mention but a few, in 2015 I got to perform in collaboration with a German-based artist Prince Amaho (with the song “Freedom”) in front of 70,000 people at the Veltins Arena also known as the Schalke Soccer Stadium in the Germany, to honour a legendary soccer player “Gerald Asamoah” who was celebrating his final game. Do you believe that music is a form of communication? If yes, explain. Oh yes! Music is a very expressive form of communication. Great artists have proven it in the past as they used music to influence people to stand for their rights, educate themselves, spread love and peace, protect the weak and have called for awareness to different topics which society hardly paid attention to. Within these artists where great ones like, Bob Marley, Prince Amaho, Michael Jackson, Ice Cube (N.W.A), Luck Dube and many more. Besides using lyrics to influence or communicate content to people, music in itself transmits a vibe which can instigate a behaviour, an attitude, peace, violence, love communiqué Magazine

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etc. By saying this I mean you don’t even need to understand the language sung in a song to feel the vibe the composers intended to transmit to whoever gets to listen to the record. Do you travel the world, where are some notable places you have DJ’d? I’ve performed in iconic party cities like Miami, Ibiza, L.A., Berlin etc.. although I was really impressed by the vibes I got from performing in outstanding locations like Phuket & Bangkok(Thailand), Moscow & St.Petersburg(Russia), Pristina(Kosovo), Johannesburg(South Africa), Hurghada (Egypt) and more. The experiences I made performing in these cities are priceless and I believe I have many more amazing shows to come. So far, I have been fortunate enough to travel and perform in nearly all continents besides Australia & Antartica. Australia is on my bucket list and I am confident I will soon rock some stages out there as I have already started establishing some promising relationships in the area. As for Antartica, I believe I will not make it in this life time. That cold is extraordinary.

What is your message to other young and emerging DJ’s? What is your best advice for being successful? Is it important to have a Manager/Publicist? Well, “success” is an overrated statement. I think being happy in what ever you decide to do is the key! My advice for the young emerging DJs is to be focused, dedicated, stay loyal to your passion and set your inner goals and try to follow them step by step. Sometimes it is important to discover people who are experienced and can bring input into your situation. This could be in a form of a manager or publicist. Such a corporation will definitely demand trust and loyalty from both sides. What is the hardest part about being a DJ? What is the downside to being a successful DJ? The hardest part of this profession is having to keep yourself up to date following the vast growth as the music industry evolves daily and the audience stay very demanding.

What does the art of music mean to you? To me, music is the most organic form of healing. Often a form of communication and a means to create awareness of certain issues that we face as humans.

As mentioned earlier the down side from my point of view is finding the balance between your loved ones and the profession. Success to me, is when both parties are in balance and you find your inner joy and self satisfaction, which gives you the strength to face the difficulties that will always occur.

What has your work as a DJ done for your family? Not just financially, but does it provide a benefit to you with raising a family?

What is your website and social media handles?

In general, the greatest challenge faced by entertainers is to find a healthy balance between work and family. Being always on the road and having less time for your loved ones makes it sometimes difficult but I have found a way to work this pattern. As we know, the families are not just interested in your money but the vital time you spend with them could be more precious, so I do my best in making both parties happy.

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Website: www.djbizibrown.com Email: info@djbizibrown.com Calls/Business inquiries: +49 211 96041085 Whatsapp: +1 323 334 7441 Instagram: @djbizibrown (www.instagram.com/djbizibrown) Facebook: @djbizibrown (www.facebook.com/djbizibrown) Snapchat: @bizibrown


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Joi Williams Age 16 From a young age, Joi knew she wanted to spread her love for reading to others, and she has done just that. Joi started ‘Literacy 4 Life’, a company that collects and distributes books to lower -income schools in the Mobile, AL area. Her giving back to the community doesn’t stop there. Joi is also a U.S. Ambassador for the Wisdom Foundation, an organization that connects children around the world through writing letters; Joi travels the world distributing these letters to each child. When not traveling the globe delivering letters, Joi models. She has modeled in fashion weeks in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and London. Joi hopes to graduate in December 2022. After continuing her work for the Wisdom Foundation in London, she plans to come back to the States to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York

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Taylor

Danielle

Thomas

Age 16

At an early age Taylor exhibited a raw talent for dancing and modeling. She loved dancing and posing in the mirror and taking pictures. She loved to be the center of attention (and still does). In 2012, at the tender age of 6, Taylor began modeling.

The natural talent that she

displayed during her first model call, gave her the opportunity to model in her first celebrity charity fashion show. She auditioned for and was casted by Supermodel, Cynthia Bailey to model in "Runway Red’s Celebrity Kids Fashion Show." Taylor has had the opportunity to not only model locally in Atlanta; she has had the honor to grace the runway during Philly, New York, and L.A. Fashion Weeks. She has modeled for celebrity designers: Van Miller International, Howard Gillespie, Lisa Nicole, Burning Guitars, and Rico Chapple.

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Her gracefulness extends beyond the runway. She is no stranger to the stage. Taylor loves to dance. Her first dance company's performance was in 2013 with Ballethnic Dance Company, Inc. located in East Point, Georgia. She danced in their original ballet, “The Leopard Tale.” She performed with them again in 2019 in “The Urban Nutcracker." Before the pandemic hit, she was training to be a pointe dancer. Under the direction of Lydia Abarca Mitchell, the first Prima Ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Not only does she model and dance; she is also a Squad Leader, Petty Officer 2nd Class in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corp., in the Warrior Division. She has been enrolled in this organization for four years. She is currently the highest-ranking female League Cadet in her division. She does community service and volunteers at several charity events throughout the year with this organization and others. She is a rising 9th grader that will be attending one of the most notable Performing Arts High Schools in the Atlanta area in their Magnet Program. She was recently selected to participate in a Volunteer Program at Zoo Atlanta where she is being trained on how to educate the public on the various type of animals at the zoo and how to tend to the animal's health and nutritional needs. Her future plans are to pursue a career in Veterinarian Science. Her hobbies are swimming, gymnastics, drawing, doing hair, make-up, & nails, and spending time with her family and friends. You can follow her journey on Instagram

AUBREY ANN COLLECTION Photographer: Jerry A Barnes Designer: Vanmiller International Models: Joi Williams (Yellow) Taylor Thomas (Blue) MUA: Olympia Kent Stylist: Vanessa Henderson Jacki Barnes

@OfficiallyTaylorThomas and on FaceBook at Taylor Thomas.

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S. MONIQUE SMITH-PERSON PRESENTS

The Social Experience is an opportunity to create a private [virtual] group of people that will come together to learn how S. Monique’s journey of being abducted at age one evolved into a life long mission of advocacy for missing persons. The book, film, and discussions change hearts, minds, and society as a whole. Pull together a group of friends or colleagues and join her for The Social Experience where you will watch and discuss the film, “The Longest Living Jane Doe”, discuss the book, “I Am The Ancestor”, and learn how you can be the voice for missing persons. This story of hope has been very influential in raising awareness and bringing about positive change in the areas of Child Abductions, Human Trafficking, and Human rights. Each person in your group will: - Receive a copy of the book, “I Am The Ancestor” - Attend the Virtual Screening of “The Longest Living Jane Doe” - Meet and Greet with Author and Film Director, S. Monique Smith-Person - Group Q&A Session with S. Monique Smith-Person

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A Soulful Look into the Life of

Lewis T. Powell

written by Corretta L. Doctor

When we are children, we dream. We reach for the stars and create pictures and visions of what we will become in our “grown up” endeavors. Although he has a great appeal for the arts, and he performed in church and school plays, Actor Lewis T. Powell never had a notion to be in television or film. Fast forward, and not only is he in television and film, he is writing, directing and producing them too! As a young boy growing up in Washington, D.C., Lewis kept the family entertained at parties, weddings, and other events by showing off his dancing skills. He would dash on and off the dance floor, spinning around the adults, showing off his moves that included a windmill or two in the center of the dance floor. A direct association to dancing is music and without a doubt, music was Lew’s first love! From videos to albums, his hands touched the music world! He was not only blessed with dancing feet, he is also extremely skillful with his hands. From an early age he had a budding desire to be an engineer. He had a knack for taking things apart,

reverse engineering them, and putting them back together again. He had a curiosity for knowing how things were put together, what they were made of, and how they operated. People are like that, and “Big Lew”, as he is widely known, is intrigued with seeing the authentic makeup of people and understanding their inner character that shows up in their outer personality. Through the years Lew was fully engaged in the arts and in engineering and soon came to realize that there is a fine, though infinite line, between the two. Coming from a family that has nearly twenty extended family barbers, including his father, Lew’s first goal after graduating from Howard University was to establish a series of barbershops. His family legacy includes a half century reach into the field of Master Barbering and entrepreneurship, and this Master Barber was working odd jobs in the barbershop before he was ten years old. At age eight, Lew was sweeping and saving….he learned the value of a dollar early on and understood what it meant to hustle and save. His elders instilled several lessons about communiqué Magazine

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the business of Barbering: the importance of precision and professionalism, in layman terms this meant doing it right and doing it well, not matter what “it” is. When Lew turned 17, his barbering mindset shifted. He had earned his Business Management degree from a prestigious historically black college/university (HBCU) and understood that economics and goals go hand in hand. Lew implemented a plan. He was thinking about how to work the available hours in a day and funnel enough money into his dreams to see them blossom. With interest and talent in music, barbering, and acting, Lew also became the master of hustling hard. He took a blank sheet of paper and drew a pipeline diagram. He created the main pipe down the middle and drew smaller pipes that branched off each side of the main pipe. The main pipe culminated Lew’s lifelong goals. The side pipes were his jobs that he took on to be able to feed main pipeline. At one time Lew was waking up at 4am and driving hours a day from Washington, DC to Ocean City, Maryland and back to work a demolition job that gave him an income that he needed. He would barber on the weekends and fill in available remaining hours from his day in the music studio. Aside from this, he took on other side jobs as they came available. He knew how to save and how to work. The results of his efforts are evident in the success he holds today. I asked Lew, could he see the fruits from his labor while he was running so hard, his response was clear and holds true for many of us, “when younger, it [success] was there but I did not see it. You do not feel like you made it when there are so many peaks and valleys in the business world. A ‘win’ can be having a record on the billboard charts, or a ‘win’ can be shooting a feature film for $3k, and you are enjoying the chase so much that you don’t see it. The real win is the P-R-O-C-E-S-S of doing everything”. The process is a teacher and every time we show up, there is a lesson. Lew is always evolving. As an avid writer, he fills the pages of his journals and uses the journal entries to take reflections of his life. He looks within to better shape his life. “Every lesson learned shapes my next move.” - Lewis T. Powell Lew has been writing in journals for many years. He tells us that journaling opens the next level of vulnerability. He says, “When you understand what it does you will understand the importance. Journaling allows a person to go back and be in 93

a space of self-interpretation. Let things go, let it out. We suppress everything. Journaling is a free space”. Lew says his journals from his younger days are filled with plans: putting together plans, game plans and overall plans. He says his current day journals are more personal and all about growth, sometimes they are just ‘thoughts on paper’. Lew understands the ebb and flow of sharing great energy. He has become a ‘people connector’, using his celebrity status and his ability to discern a growth moment to make connections for others. He leads with his heart. Lew says, “It takes nothing for someone to give information that may help someone else. The Barbershop is an information superhighway for people to connect. People have stories. They come to the shop to hear stories and share stories.” Lew says, he has heard some of the best stories while standing behind his chair. We at communiqué Magazine believe that every story has a message. What we have learned is that the story of Lewis T. Powell is a powerful one with a very distinct message: Be the reason. Lew is the epitome of a man with a plan and is using his life as a vessel to help others see their abilities to succeed. He shares, teaches, and networks fairly and with love for the craft of increasing the world’s population of successful people that started with a dream. Often we look at the “today” story of successful people and we overlook the journey. It is important to show respect to a person’s walk through pain, hustle, letdowns, and turndowns. Lew made it, and he doesn’t shy away from telling us about his journey. Now let’s look at some of his success. As the undeniable Master of the blade, Lew has stood behind the chair while cutting the hair of people from all walks of life, including Stevie J, Chris Paul, Wale, Soldier Boy, 50 Cent and Andre 3000. Perusing through Black Enterprise, GQ Magazine and Bloomberg Business week, just to highlight a few publications, you can see Lew’s barbering work showcased on the talents being featured. Lew’s professional career in the entertainment world started with music. He started an Indie record company , ‘Col’Beast Entertainment’, that afforded him the opportunity work with other great musicians such as Scarface, Too Short, and E-40 to name a few. He reached Billboard charts with


the single release “How We Do” and it charted for 18 weeks, hitting #2 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. If you have tuned in to shows such as ‘Puffy’s Making the Band’ or ‘America’s Next Top Model’ then you may have heard Lew’s music! While attending Howard University on a writing scholarship Lew studied at Howard’s Theater Department to gain teachings and techniques that would anchor his career in the television industry. Furthering his training, he studied with Ivan Markota/ Van Marr Academy, Judith Weston, Actors Comedy Studio, AIDA-Australian Actors Institute and the Beverly Hills Playhouse. For all of you CSI Las Vegas fans, you will remember Lew’s Guest Star role as Officer Norman. His television credit includes Dexter, Bones, MOM, ER and he also has several national and international commercials under his belt that include Modelo beer, Subaru and Nike to highlight a few. A short film based on fact and fiction by Lew that started as a novel, Padlock Men, is now available to watch on Amazon Prime. Walter "Posey" Foddrell, played by Lew himself, shares one of his memoirs of the historically secret band of vigilante civil rights soldiers known as the Padlock Men. The movement will never be the same. Undoubtedly and without question, Lewis T. Powell is moving in the direction of his childhood attributes. Early on he used his hands and his mind to explore his interests and accomplish a lot and that holds true today. One thing that stands out to me about this entire interview is that journaling is a part of Lew’s process. That is a lesson for all of us, we can all use a written record of the highlights along our journey to reflect upon and grow from. As Lew says, “the journey is the experience and the experience is the journey”. communiqué Magazine

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Rodrick T. Miller, CEO

With a Vision written by C. NaTasha Richburg

Invest Puerto Rico has Rodrick T. Miller, at its helm as the CEO focused on his mission to promote the Island of Puerto Rico as a competitive investment jurisdiction that attracts new businesses and investment. The Island has many hidden treasures that Mr. Miller’s higher education path includes a Public Policy degree from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government and a graduate diploma in International Finance from Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) as a Fulbright Fellow has prepared his focus. Under Mr. Miller’s leadership Invest Puerto Rico has catapulted into a position that affords individuals and companies an opportunity to participate in the economic development of Puerto Rico. Most importantly, it is an awesome place for African America’s to consider as a new place to live and feel at home. Communiqué Magazine had a chance to interview Mr. Miller to help the reader get a better insight of the benefits of living on the Island of Puerto Rico. Describe the beauty of Puerto Rico. Much of the beauty of Puerto Rico is packed in its tremendous biodiversity in a relatively small, approximately 3,500-square mile landscape. This includes 8 different microclimates ranging from tropical to mountainous to rainforest to desert. This diversity offers those who live here the opportunity to experience wildlife and nature in many forms within a relatively short drive, no matter where one lives. From exploring Cueva Ventana in Arecibo to soaking in the rivers at Angelito’s Trail in El Yunque, one can always find new ways to engage

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nature. From a cultural perspective, Puerto Rico is a melting pot in a stronger sense than even the mainland United States. The fusion of Latin, African, and European cultures has resulted in a panoply of food, music, and entertainment that parallels communities much larger in size. Whether checking out an exhibit at the Puerto Rican Museum of Contemporary Art or listening to the elders sing, dance and beat drums to the bomba and plena music in Loiza, Puerto Rico never disappoints on the cultural front. Puerto Rico is not without challenges, as with every community, but openly embraces its history and acknowledges its African roots. As a result, many black Americans who have moved here in recent years say they plan to stay, as they have not faced discrimination in the same way that they do in the mainland United States. What are the economic advantages to living or investing in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico offers tremendous incentives for people from the mainland who choose to live and invest on the island, including a 4% corporate tax rate and 0% personal income tax rate. Invest Puerto Rico is working to elevate this message to encourage more people to consider relocation, remote working, and launching entrepreneurial ventures on the island. What investment opportunities are available to corporations interested in economic development? There are numerous opportunities for private firms to participate in Puerto Rico’s resurgence. Following the disasters of Hurricanes Maria and Irma and


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Rio Grande – El Yunque National Rainforest recent earthquakes, the US federal government has pledged billions of dollars to reinvest in updating the island’s infrastructure, from new road construction to modernizing the electric grid. Private firms can compete for these governmental opportunities as well as bring their technologies directly to the market. Thousands of entrepreneurs have moved to Puerto Rico in the last few years, drawn by the robust incentives and inexpensive labor, but ultimately captured by the island’s welcoming business and social environment.

right to invest in Puerto Rico, as we are in the midst of a historic economic transformation. All efforts are focused on achieving this in a sustainable manner, and it is a top priority at Invest Puerto Rico and in the seat of government, so the support is there. Factors potential investors should take into account when considering Puerto Rico include a trained and educated workforce like no other; a business environment that supports myriad endeavors, from startups and small businesses to large multinational operations; familiar and trustworthy infrastructure, government, economy, and laws; a competitive incentive environment; and a strategic location in the Caribbean that facilitates easy access to the US, Europe, and Latin America. All of those things add up to a compelling story for why investors should consider Puerto Rico. For more information: https://www.investpr.org/

What is the biggest misconception about Puerto Rico? The biggest misconception about Puerto Rico is that it is a place that has low quality of life with limited access to electricity, drinking water, and other amenities people enjoy on the mainland. While there was considerable damage as a byproduct of the natural disasters of recent years, most areas of the island have been rebuilt, and in many areas there remains little evidence of the past damage. Another misconception is that people only speak Spanish, but in fact most Puerto Ricans have a working knowledge of English, and many Americans get by there without learning the language. Given Puerto Rico’s long history with the United States, students study English in school, and business is conducted in both English and Spanish in many companies. Any parting words for readers who may be interested in having conversations with Invest Puerto Rico? Despite the crisis, or maybe because of it, the time is

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Rio Grande – El Yunque National Rainforest


Ceiba – Southern Coast – Former Naval Base Roosevelt Roads

Cabo Rojo – Southern Wetlands

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Seana's Caribbean Soul Food written by Corretta L. Doctor

Here is a story of perseverance with a message about “keeping the faith”. Joshua Johnson, Owner of ‘Seana’s Caribbean Soul Food’ restaurant went from feeding his community to feeding the NBA in just a matter of months of opening its doors- all in the midst of a global pandemic that halted businesses worldwide and shocked the American economic system. January 10, 2020 was an exciting date in the history of Seana’s Caribbean Soul Food restaurant. Founder Joshua Johnson, along with his mother Pamela Johnson who is the manager, and his brother Corey Johnson who is the Director of Operations, ventured out to open one of Orlando’s newest eateries. Bright lights, great music, the aromatic smells of the islands, and the soulful

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smell of popular American dishes masked the air while the establishment opened its doors and welcomed hundreds of patrons. The crowds lined up to taste meals that promised to exceed the expectations of everyone! Seana’s was designed to be a place where people come to sit, communal style, and get to know each other in a safe networking environment. The colorful décor of palm trees, canary yellow and turquoise, and large gathering tables that seat up to ten people were designed to encourage conversation and human interaction. The photo included with this article shows the mission of the dining room written in yellow paint on the wall: ‘Bringing Everyone Together’. Opening day proved to be a mighty

success story! The grand opening was exactly what the owner expected plus a little more. Joshua tells us that they actually ran out of food! Oh, and it was not because they were understocked, it was because the demand truly superseded the supply in a good way! But then came a global shift in the universe and it hit Seana’s hard. Covid-19 was showing up and shutting businesses down around town and around the world. Seana’s had no choice


but to comply with the social distancing requirements which meant it could not promote the close proximity seating as it originally set out to do.

service, care in packing, and great portions combined with unique flavors and home-style cooking makes Seana’s a success story when many businesses have seen their doors closed forever as Just under two months of opening, due a result of the global pandemic and the to the dangers of the global pandemic, associated economic fallout. Seana’s had to stop serving customers in its dining room. Joshua says, “my Joshua never wavered, he continued first thought is that I would lose my to believe in his dream of opening restaurant because the communal style a business that would serve the seating concept was meant to bring community in good times and bad. people together at the dining table. Joshua pressed forward and believed My second thought is that we had to that there would be a silver lining and keep up our social media presence and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. instill an alternative service. We started offering curbside pickup because we had Before the community had a chance everything it took to survive the shift to get fully accustomed to the new in business. We have great customer restaurant, Seana’s stepped forward service and all of the food actually and became a pillar that supports tastes good.” With menu items such and serves the community in which as ‘Liquid Gold’, a macaroni and it is established. Seana’s restaurant cheese dish with a secret recipe, partnered with several other businesses and fresh ‘Whiting Fish’ fried to during a time when the community perfection, you can be certain to needed them most. Not only did Joshua peak the interests of “foodies” and the other owners donate food to and families alike that are seeking feed the downtown Orlando homeless a great meal! population, they delivered it too. The restaurant is able to sustain its business because of the undisputed great meals they offer. The word quickly spread about Seana’s and soon they were filling a slew of “to-go” curbside, pickup orders. The popularity of great food choices combined with the customer

Along with the citizens of Orlando, there are many people taking note of Seana’s great reputation and superb food choices. In July, the Orlando Sentinel ran an article titled “NBA working to add local, minority-owned restaurant food to Disney bubble”, that talked about the NBA’s plans to

select restaurants to provide food to the teams. In this August article found on OrlandoClick.com, Seana’s is listed as one of the selected restaurants, https://www.clickorlando.com/news/ local/2020/08/05/these-minorityowned-restaurants-are-feeding-thenba-bubble/. What an accomplishment and honor! From opening its doors during one of the most devastating times in our nation’s history, to serving meals to the NBA, Seana’s Caribbean Soul Food is an example of being faithful and never losing sight to a dream and the goals you set for yourself in business. The restaurant offers 13 different entrees that comes with two sides. Take a look at the Red Snapper, sweet plantains and white rice! I am sure the Apple Glazed Chicken, Greens, and Liquid Gold Macaroni & Cheese are making your mouth water. While we all know what Alfredo is, take a glaring look at the Alfredo Shrimp Pasta with Garlic Bread. A fan favorite is the Oxtails over Yellow Rice with Plantains. This visual experience could never replace the inperson experience. Visit Seana’s at 719 Good Homes Road in Orlando, Florida located near West Oaks Mall. The website is www. SeanasOrlando.com and the Phone number is (321)800-6846. communiqué Magazine 100


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A Portrait of

William Feldon

Awakening from a Dream Deferred written by Joey Lorraine Seconds seem like hours as a young man of twenty two stands faint and off balance yet tall, waiting for an opportunity that could change his life. It is The International Association of Black Dance’s first audition for male ballet dancers or color. A historical moment- and long way from cleaning toilets, pores infused with the smell of bleach while tirelessly training at Bre Dance Studio near Moreno Valley Southern California, where the taste of Hollywood is inescapable. Seven years earlier felt like last week. A tidal wave of tears swallowing him whole, dragging him to the depths of what at the time seemed like a bottomless ocean. He had come face to face with the eye of his own storm. ‘Maybe this just isn’t for me’. ‘Maybe it’s just not meant to be’. But these words, like distant leaves gently blowing out of sight, became weightless, and soon would be crushed.

The next day he came back to the studio. ‘My mother said she can’t afford it. Do you give scholarships? I really want to do this’. He knew he wanted to dance from his first class, at six. But life would turn upside down just two weeks after his tenth birthday, when he lost his father. William’s mother had to let go of the family house as she could no longer afford the mortgage, let alone dance lessons. From ten to his early teens, precious years of training would vanish, just as his father did. Life had cast the shadow of death on William early, but late enough for him to cherish the everlasting value of family and unconditional love. Early wisdom instilled a quiet yet fierce confidence that led to a professional contract as an apprentice for a top tier dance company near the D.C. area. After a year of performing a variety of roles and riding an emotional roller coaster of self-doubt, exhilaration, and brutal communiqué Magazine 102


introspection, he reassessed. As a blossoming performer in a new environment he describes as ‘cut throat’ yet also ‘like a family’, a turning point was bound to arrive. The inner voice he learned to trust as a child gently rose to the surface. He decided to take a risk and face the mystery of what life had yet to offer. In February, less than a year into his contract, he auditioned for Alvin Ailey’s Professional Division of Independent Study in New York City, the dance capital of America. The day after the fireworks of the 4th of July, William was set to begin a new life chapter. However uncertain his future, he knew he would soon be calling New York City his home. ‘I had friends of mine who auditioned and didn’t make it. I was so fortunate, but I also felt I was ready’. The next day, July 6, he received notice that due to covid-19, Ailey’s Independent Study Program would be cancelled for

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the entire season. The previous day he had signed his new lease and was flying in. A determined dancer now adrift...a dream deferred. Two weeks later I met him in Central Park, yoga mat in tow, looking for a spot to stretch. His quiet yet resolute presence gleamed like a towering sunflower. Within seconds it was made known, he would embrace the city and he would dance. You can see William dancing in Central Park, and hear his story from his own words via podcast at www. dancestrology.com. About Joey Lorraine Joey Lorraine is a Content Creator and Dance Moviemaker in New York City. Follow her work at www.joeylorraine. com.


LUCINDA CROSS IS

The Answer. Lucinda Cross is the President of Activate World and Activate Your Life™ THE PREMIER PLACE FOR LEADERSHIP, BUSINESS AND EMPOWERMENT.

Lucinda has built a recognizable global brand and flourishing business by pulling up those that need motivation and guidance in getting their dreams activated. Lucinda speaks to the procrastinator and offers them a permission slip to get started. So often we look at successful people in business and wonder, “how did they do it?”, well that’s just it: they DID it. They acted and got started! As Lucinda says, “push the button”! Lucinda focuses on getting an immediate reaction to her client’s goals. In her process, she starts with identifying the greatest frustration and challenge that the client is faced with. She uses the ‘clarity session’ to gain an understanding of what is working and what is not. Lucinda gives every client her methodical, 90-minute analysis to be clear on what path she will take to accomplish success with her clients that mainly want to create a business based on the lifestyle they want. The average clients are under Lucinda’s instruction and consultation for 180 days.

Lucinda has a Membership Academy that focuses on three main areas:

• CREDIBILITY: Alignment with the right influencers • VISIBILITY: Marketing • PROFITABILITY: Multiple Streams of income Lucinda manages the Activate Your Life Re-Entry program for formerly incarcerated women, at risk young people, and women that are stuck in transition. She focuses on the “WeNation” approach to helping women faced with re-entry back into society to feel included and not be cast out or labeled by society. She provides empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and tools and resources to help them obtain career advancement. They give women some of the basic things we may not even consider because it is routine for those not in the re-entry situation to take it for granted, such as feminine hygiene products and things that they are normally ashamed to

ask for. You can understand how life gets you down, Lucinda is the answer to help these women, she is a servant leader and focuses on the best days and never looks back at those hard days these women have overcome. Lucinda reaches women around the world, focusing on bringing personal and professional development to everyone. She is a best-selling author, internationally known speaker, TV personality, and energetic teacher. Lucinda creates and delivers products and services such as seminars, workshops, and training that’s designed for entrepreneurial women and millennials, as well as the women faced with re-entry. One of the most favored books in my library is ‘The Art of Activation: 24 Laws To Win, To Thrive, To Prosper, To Rise. This book is a timeless guide to getting started and leading a fulfilled and balanced life. Visit www.LucindaCross. com to learn more about her work, service, publications, membership and conferences. As a global influencer, Lucinda Cross is a few keystrokes away from getting you to your moment of increase, wealth expansion and deeper industry reach. Donations help the organization to support women in need. Donations can be made at http://paypal.me/ activateworldwideinc. communiqué Magazine 104


Posi t i v i t y IS A

CHOICE

Mississippi has produced one of the most notable figures in the media, literary, and arts world and he is coming to the pages of communiqué Magazine to share his story in an effort to encourage everyone to choose positivity in every aspect of life. Cyrus Webb organically built the ‘Conversations’ brand. Today Conversations includes a radio show, a magazine, and a nationally-recognized book club. With no professional voice over training, no college classes, and armed with just the gift that God gave him, Cyrus Webb does not take his success for granted. As a little boy Cyrus never dreamed to be in media of any type. He loved to do two things and he does them very well: write and draw. You may be surprised to learn that this giant voice in the industry was a quiet boy that stayed to himself and quickly defines himself as being an introvert as a child. He loved being inside with his paper, pens, and drawing material. Mom quickly picked up on young Cyrus’ love for the indoors and would send him outside for punishment. On the few occasions that he needed to be isolated for doing something wrong, it did no good to send him to his room

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because he would find great solace in “inside punishment”. Cyrus, like many young children, grew up with a speech impediment. With a smooth and very articulate delivery of words today, you would never imagine the struggle he once faced with stuttering. One elementary school teacher took note of Cyrus’ perseverance to improve and she would stay with him afterschool to help him learn how to overcome stuttering. This gesture of care taught Cyrus what hard work and determination looks like. He never forgot that kind act and he never forgot that teacher. Cyrus loves his family and chooses to remain in his home state of Mississippi where he has lived all of his life. He says, “I can do anything from Mississippi. I have had offers to leave, but I chose to stay. My business is thriving, and I see no reason to leave”. Cyrus has published several children’s books. He also authored other publications, and one in particular, ‘Words I Choose to Live By’ was written several years ago. Cyrus is currently in the works to re-release it. The book summary talks about decisions we make based on our thoughts, and words that lead us to approach life in a certain way. It is


designed to help the reader decide and understand if they need to change course in order to head in the direction they desire for themselves and it asks, are we ready to put in the work necessary to make the change? It is thought provoking and necessary to have a book with this guidance, especially during a time when the world is facing a pivotal time in careers, education, politics, and social well-being as a whole. Cyrus is also working on a new original book project, ‘How I Know You Can Win’, and it will detail parts of his personal story along with tips to success in areas of radio, publishing, and social media. Cyrus breaks it down and gives ‘nuggets’ that we can pocket for our own success, he says, “Failure is not failing. Learning what does and doesn’t work is how I made it.” This is a message of ‘staying the course’.

global impactful media, branding, and public figure, Cyrus Webb is making his beloved Grandmother proud, and he leaves a huge positive impression on everyone that comes in contact with him, directly or indirectly, and we are all very proud to be a part of his empire! Cyrus Webb is the President of Conversations Media Group, home of Conversations LIVE radio show, Conversations Magazine, and Conversations Book Club. He is a Media Personality and Author. His website is http://www. cyruswebb.com and the Conversations Magazine webpage is http://www.conversationsmag.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cyruswebb Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cyruswebb Follow, connect, and grow with Cyrus Webb.

Cyrus has interviewed some of the most elite of the Entertainment and Literary Industries and he has reviewed a myriad of publications, ranking him in the highest segments of Amazon as a Reviewer. Recently (8/22/2020) Cyrus posted this guide on his Facebook Page: “What>s the big deal about reviews? Here are 5 reasons you should start posting reviews today!” The list included: 1) Share your experiences with others. 2) Bringing awareness to brands 3) Present yourself as an authority 4) Content for other projects: blogs, magazines 5) Paid partnerships and Brand collaborations Cyrus shows professionalism and perfection in all areas of his work. He has a recognizable brand and he is a very engaging talk show host. He interviews with intensity and brings out the best of the guests! He is an ever growing entity that accomplishes many things that most never imagine. He has proven himself to be among the industry’s top brand ambassadors and great mentors by leading by example. When we asked Cyrus to tell us who he would like to interview on his show, he quickly replied, “Martha Stewart. Her book, ‘The Martha Rules’ changed my life. It inspired me to leave my job and not look back. The book is old, but the principles are real. I still have the book and I still refer to it monthly. It is taped up and everything, but I still use it faithfully.” Cyrus shared that in 2006 he was a callin guest on Martha Stewart’s radio show, ‘Ask Martha’. It was a personal career highlight for him, one that left him motivated and inspired and still, to date, Martha’s teachings are a part of Cyrus’ journey. Hats off to Cyrus Webb and his belief in words. It is the power of words that leads this media and brand giant to write, talk, lecture, interview, and review works of art time and time again- all while empowering followers to live lives of positivity and to make choices that reflect the authentic and real person within. From a quiet, shy, introvert to a communiqué Magazine 106


16 With

CANCER By Camille Morgan

It was like any other Tuesday for 16-year-old me… After my last class, I was walking in the hallway with my best friend getting ready for cheerleading and gymnastics practice. Suddenly, everything was different. I felt a foreign excruciating pain in my stomach, I felt dizzy, and the next thing I knew, I came to in the bathroom and threw up. This pain was unlike anything I had ever felt. I had painful periods since my very first one at the end of the fourth grade, but this pain had a mind of its own. My best friend called my mom who rushed over to me and drove me to my primary care physician. During the drive, I could not stop moving. Pain interrupted any opportunity that I had to sit still, fasten a seat belt, or take a breath without it being accompanied by a moan for help. Upon arriving at the doctor, and explaining my symptoms, my doctor pressed his boulders-for-hands on my stomach and quickly gave the diagnosis of a bladder infection. As my mom and I drove home, she tried to assure me in between every moan that I would be okay once the medicine that the doctor prescribed kicked in... little did she know, that she and that doctor were very wrong. I’m honestly not sure how long I waited for the medicine to work before I said to my mom, “Mommy I’ve never had a bladder infection before, but it can’t possibly be this bad. Take me to the hospital.” I will never forget how cold that hospital was. I will never forget how loud those monitor beeps were. I will also never forget just how arrogantly my pain laughed at the Dilaudid, Morphine, and Toradol that I was given that night. The pain that night changed my life. I received my first pelvic exam that night, and it was during that exam, I finally felt some relief. I then experienced my first ultrasound. To everyone’s surprise, tumors were found on my ovaries. The one on my right ovary was the size of a golf ball, and the one on my left ovary was the size of a grapefruit. A few days later my first surgery ever was scheduled to remove the tumors. When I woke from surgery, I learned that the left tumor had completely taken over my ovary, leaving me without a left ovary or left Fallopian tube. The tumor was kind enough to leave me a partial ovary; not too nice though. After my biopsy came back, I heard the word “cancer” for the first time in my life.

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While I remember my family deliberating with the doctors at this long beautiful wooden table about my plan of care, I don’t remember much of anything besides sitting at the head of the table fighting with every ounce in me to not cry in front of them. We were told that I had two kinds of tumors, a germ cell and a teratoma. It was decided that chemotherapy was the best next step. During this course of action, I would be in the hospital for one week, getting treatment daily, and out for two weeks while I could continue going to school. Stage 1 ovarian cancer. That was my routine for three months, chemo while hospitalized for a week, the side effects of chemo and teenage angst for two weeks. In the course of a week I went from “Cammie the varsity cheerleader” to “Cammie the girl with the plague called cancer”. It felt like there wasn’t a person in my life that understood what I was going through. While in the hospital my doctors felt cold. Very rarely did they have a genuine conversation with me. They knew nothing about me. They didn’t know that my favorite color was teal (how ironic), or even that the most important thing in my life was cheerleading. They didn’t know that I wished so badly for my brother to be there in the hospital with me but that he was at college in another state. To sixteen-year-old me, they didn’t care. This felt so strange to me especially because I was on a pediatric oncology unit. When you see kids with cancer in movies the doctors always seemed so personable. I expected to have a version of Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Arizona Robbins, instead I had a persona of the actress Dr. Christina Yang (season 1). I had visitors almost every day between my family and a few friends. The only time I was truly alone was at night where I was comforted by the hospital monitors and my barf bucket. In 2015 I had the honor of meeting my first ovarian cancer survivor friend. You know those moments that happen in life where suddenly things just make sense. It felt like that when I met the Teal Diva. She told me about this community of survivors and advocates that would help me, love me, and more importantly understand me. She assured me that around these women, I could take my cancer survivor cape off and just be my real self. The self that hated cancer and what it did to my body; the self that needed to take breaks from activity due to being in so much pain; the self that needed my pain that needed to feel validated in a way that most didn’t because “at least it’s not cancer”. I went on an ovarian cancer survivor retreat that quite literally saved my life. I began my journey to the retreat broken and resentful of my medical history, I left the retreat empowered and ready to face what I now know was PTSD. Finally, I felt seen. I was around people that understood my anxiety and survivors’ guilt all too well. These strangers became my sisters and THAT is what Teal Diva is all about. I’ve been cancer free since March 13, 2006 and while I’m grateful for that, my journey over the last 14 years has been nothing short of uncomfortable. Remember that right partial ovary that I mentioned? I’ve had countless painful tumors and fibroids repeatedly form on it over the years, along with a lot of scar tissue. I’ve been on every form of birth control to try to treat the pain, including Lupron, where I was not only put in a medically induced menopausal state, but I was always in bed for days with migraines. Finally, in 2018 my gynecologist informed me that having a hysterectomy is the best course of action to have a

pain-free life. To be honest, I hadn’t given much thought to my fertility, instead I just quietly smiled through years when people gave me their “assurance” stating, “at least you can still have kids” when they heard my story. At 28 I was asked if I wanted children for the first time, and it was so comforting to prompted to think about it. I went to my Teal Diva sisters to ask them for advice and comfort, and like the angels they are, they provided it without question. I quickly realized that I didn’t want children, that I never wanted them, and that that surgery was the best option for me to have a good quality of life. My gynecologist was amazing! She included my spouse on all of her correspondents, she made it a point to know who my spouse was and more than just her name. She walked me through the process of what would happen surgically and how my body would change after. I was terrified going into the surgery and my gynecologist (who was also my surgeon) stayed with me longer than she probably should have to make sure that I was okay. And guess who was there after the surgery? Teal Diva. I’m 31 now, living on Oahu with my spouse, and working in my dream career as a Behavior Analyst. I love lending my support to individuals impacted by ovarian cancer and advocating for more ovarian cancer awareness. I am finally living my best life. I am still cancer free. I am still pain free. I am still living a life of quality; the only difference is now, I’m just a little more sweaty. Ovarian cancer is often referred to as a silent killer because the symptoms mimic what, we as women, face monthly. It is easy for us, and doctors, to dismiss the symptoms or pass them off as something else. When caught in early stages, ovarian cancer (in most cases) is 90% more treatable. It is important to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, feeling the need to urinate urgently or often. Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include fatigue, upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, pain during sex, constipation, or menstrual change. Listen to your body! If symptoms are new and persist for more than two weeks, it is recommended that a woman see her doctor, and a gynecologic oncologist before surgery if cancer is suspected. Ask questions! Ask questions in your family and with your physicians. You are your best advocate. Do not be embarrassed. September is the month dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness and teal is the color designated to the cause just like we wear pink in October for breast cancer awareness. You can help spread awareness by wearing the color teal and when someone compliments your teal toes or nails, jewelry, or amazing teal blouse, let them know why you are wearing the color. If you have a friend who has been diagnosed or is in treatment for ovarian cancer, please let them know about Teal Diva.

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Paris

CULTURAL DINING IN Written by Corretta L. Doctor

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Paris, France is known for it’s romantic atmosphere, beautiful scenery, iconic architecture, bon-bons, and great food that is rich and cultural! Waly-Fay Restaurant stands out as one of the cities grand eateries where everyone is welcome, and the food is absolutely delicious. Serving up West African, Cajun, and Creole dishes are the restaurants specialty. The restaurant offers vegetarian dishes too. Wal-Fay restaurant prides itself on hosting a menu of diverse options. Olivier Thimothée is the owner of Waly-Fay Restaurant. He explains that Waly-Fay is the name of the griot, a storyteller in African traditions. The ‘griot’ traveling storytellers maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa. 50 year-old businessman Olivier was born in Paris and raised there among the French culture mixed with the unique cultures of his parents. His father is from Martinique, West Indies and his mother was born in Algeria. In 1997, just under 30 years old, Olivier had an idea. He wanted to create a place where people could congregate over good, healthy, and cultural meals. He followed his dream and successfully opened the restaurant to reflect his own multi-cultural experience in Paris. Waly-Fay is his only Parisian establishment, but Olivier is currently working on a new project in Martinique, W.I. The restaurant features the national dish of Senegal, ‘Tiep Bou Dien’. This is the most popular dish on the menu. The dish is originally from Senegal and the traditional recipe includes fish, rice, tomato and onions. However, tiep is commonly consumed in several countries in West Africa. Depending on the country, the recipe and the ingredients will change. Olivier says, “It is a kind of stew with smoked and dried fish. It is served on large trays with the rice on the bottom and the fish (usually a white grouper), and many whole vegetables placed in the center.” It looks, smells and tastes really good!

Olivier Thimothée Owner of Waly-Fay Restaurant

We hear stories of success and we often look at the beauty of where a person has come from, but we must respect the hard work put into the business. Olivier is successful because he prides himself on honoring his cultures, representing his family values in all he does, and provides customers with an amazingly wonderful dining experience- not just a meal. Waly-Fay can welcome 120 guests, including some outdoor seating. The restaurant has a wonderful staff ready to serve you, including two lead chefs, Dalla Sankare from Senegal and Jeannie Tientcheu from Cameroon. A review on TripAdvisor from Vancouver, Canada native, ‘Modus Operandie’ echoes popular sentiments: “We had a really, really good lunch here, a total spur of the moment decision. Incredible flavours and varieties, and not expensive. Everything we ordered from the formule menu was excellent. Treat the hot sauce on the table with care, but try some. Try this place!” -Modus Operandie Be sure to visit the restaurant located at 6 Rue Godefroy, Cavaignac, Paris, 75011. The phone number is 01 40 24 17 79 and the website is www.walyfay.fr communiqué Magazine

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“Incredible flavours

and varieties, and not expensive...� -Modus Operandie, vancouver, canada

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Promoted by

Betrayal a new release by Prophet Carey Gidron, Sr.

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Prophet Carey Gidron, Sr. has been preaching since he was a teenager and his work in ministry continues to help people heal and grow. His newly released book, ‘Promoted by Betrayal: The Tenacity To Be Exceptional’ is a heart wrenching story that discusses the trials and tribulations believers face on the road to spiritual elevation. More than a memoir, this book explores the results of putting personal gain ahead of the will of God. It instructs readers how to align with God>s word even through difficult times. The author shares various stages of stagnation and growth and ultimately reveals that sometimes spiritual prosperity may be birth from personal betrayal! Prophet Carey is clear on his teachings and his desire is that readers will spend time understanding the value of forgiveness and come to really know how forgiveness works. He tells us, “God can use you no matter how wounded you may be. If you are willing to deal with the wound, you can access the victory.” Molested by a family member, the author chose not to reveal the person. IT was in his pre-teen days when he was repeatedly abused. He carried that pain and shame and confusion in his heart and mind for decades until finally he was moved to talk about the abuse. At age 28, Prophet Carey chose to address the pain of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his family member. He repeatedly questioned himself, asking what did he do to deserve such a horrific offense being taken against him? The abuser actually opened the door for Prophet Carey to approach him, and more importantly to forgive him. Through prayer, communication, and understanding it was revealed to Prophet Carey that his abuser had also been molested by someone else in the same family. By addressing his own painful past of being a victim of childhood sexual trauma, Prophet Carey uncovered a 113

generational problem within the family. Prophet Carey has four brothers and one sister, his Mother Brenda worked in the medical field and his father, John Gidron, Sr. was a preacher. He is married to First Lady D. Michelle Gidron and they are raising a beautiful family of leaders. To say the least, F-A-M-I-L-Y means everything to Prophet Carey, and he is breaking chains and barriers with his testimony. He stands firm on the Word and allows nothing, not even the spirit of fear, to enter his atmosphere. Prophet Carey does not identify as a victim of child sexual trauma. He uses his pain as a means of expression in the fight against child sexual trauma and abuse – physically and mentally. For relaxation, Prophet Carey loves to spend time fishing. Lady D enjoys art. They are a beautiful couple inside and out, and they live their life according to the principles on which they preach. Their life is filled with the love and abundance of family closeness along with their growing ministry in Chicago, Illinois at Amazing Life Church located on Halsted on the south side of Chicago. Licensed at age 16 and Ordained at age 18 by Bishop Lee Evans, Prophet Carey has over three decades in ministry. HE is a beacon to many and offers his counsel, leadership and mentorship to all. Visit www.gidronglobal.com and be sure to order a copy of Promoted by Betrayal: The Tenacity To Be Exceptional. Click here to purchase: Purchase the Book Now


The UNBREAKABLE Strength of a Leader

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and empowering with words, deeds, and actions. You must understand the spirit of esprit de corps. As a coach, Erica pulls out the necessary points of success that you need to see in order to win. As a mentor, Erica pours into women by sharing her testimony and her tools for healing. The reward is balanced in each scenario because Erica loves seeing women reverted. Erica asks, “Do you know the season you are in?” Erica teaches that there is a starting (Seeding) season and a planting (Giving) season. You must know the difference and know were you are in your season. “You can experience both but not in the same season,” says Erica. Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a Prophet unto the nations. - King James Version

Girl, I see you, but I need YOU to see you. Erica Michelle Bailey

-

Erica Michelle Bailey is a mentor, speaker and coach. She is the Visionary and Founder of the “Girl I See You Movement”, a spiritual incubator that turned into a movement, that ultimately led to Erica’s Ministry. The Ministry was birthed out of a need and it was born out of obedience. Readers will be led to learn ERICAthe whole person. To understand a message, you must understand the purpose of the messenger. Erica, amidst all of the glory and brightness that surrounds her future these days, also felt the shade of many clouds in her day. On her own since she was 18 years old, she experienced many things that bent her spirit. She went through a painful divorce, lost her home, and eventually at age 40 had to do what many of us would dread in the worse way…Erica returned to her parents’ home and while settling in there, she began to align her plans to start her life over again. This could not have been easy for her, but as you witness the Blessings over Erica’s life today you will come to understand how necessary the move back home was for her. Through tears, sadness, and some anger, Erica never lost faith. She lost sight, but never faith. She cried out, “God do you really see me?”, and she waited for an answer. As she cried out to God she was led to the Bible, and the specific scripture, Genesis 16:13. Erica needed a purpose that was bigger than what she had, bigger than what she knew, and bigger than what she imagined. She wanted a purposeful brand to help women of faith add a heartbeat to their purpose. The number one reason Erica is empowered to do this work is because she knows what it is like to just exist, and not live. Erica says purpose is not “a” thing, it is “the” thing. Erica believes in expansion, not the dictionary definition but the biblical understanding of the word. She focuses on strengthening 115

Erica tells us that her high point came from her low point in life. She lost the things that she thought made her who she is. After she had her ‘ugly cry’ she grew from that moment and since then, nothing has ever broken her that way again. “I knew of Him, but now I know Him.” Erica is clear now, and at age 40 she didn’t just move back in with her parents and become the victim, she stood tall and she went back to school and by age 44 she received her college degree. God did things for Erica so she can go be a beacon for other women. We asked Erica about these three popular words that come to mind when seeking out a mentor and leader, here is what she had to say about each word: Coaching: “Becoming Selfless so that someone else gets the ‘shine’. Giving up the Shine” Purpose: Erica says, “purpose is my means of living. I didn’t begin to live until I identified with my purpose, it is in my lifeline and in my pulse”. Clarity: “When I am into my intimate time with God is when I find clarity; that spoken word that only God gives. You cannot get clarity from reading, or people. ” Erica is a purpose filled coach that helps women find clarity. Erica is one to know, she is an all-around good person. She is married to Jimenez Bailey (A Native of California) and they live in Houston, Texas. He loves basketball and he plays golf. Together they have a total of three children and one grandchild named Kasai. They have a fur baby named Mister, he is a Yorkie. A day in Erica’s life starts in prayer. She enjoys cappuccino and a morning walk. Erica schedules a virtual slumber party where the ladies get together and everyone shows up with no makeup, wearing cute head wraps and they just talk about life! Erica enjoys good old fashioned BOARD games such as Uno and Sorry. Her favorite gospel song is ‘A Heart That Forgives (Live)’ by Kevin LeVar and One Sound. Spend some time getting to know Erica Michelle Bailey. Tune into her Podcast “She Talks Purpose Podcast with Erica Michelle Bailey” and visit her website at www.ericamichellebailey.com


bethel

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

by Sarafia Mitchell

Sarafia Mitchell is the Author of the new release, ‘Bethel’. Released April of 2020, this book is breaking the silence on a variety of family topics . She is originally from Waco, Texas. She and her family now live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas. Sarafia is in healthcare and is currently enrolled in nursing School to obtain her degree in the field of skilled nursing. Her grandmother, Rosetta Stone, was a Nurse and she taught Sarafia how to help people. The caring spirit was instilled in Sarafia because she watched her grandmother work faithfully, caring for the sick and elderly for decades. Mrs. Stone worked until she was 79 years of age, and she is now 100 years old. Sarafia shares the same birthday on the 20th of July as her grandmother.

Since she was a child she always wrote short stories, wrote poems for special events and was inspired by her Uncle to write. She was motivated by her personal feelings to write this book. It took her 20+ years to complete ‘Bethel” and we applaud her for completing this literary journey! The story of ‘Bethel’ is about a little girl named Bethel and her family. The Phillips family is a family of faith; however, their drama filled lives of drugs, abuse closeted secrets, and struggles will be one to remember. This is an interesting twist and turn of events that will lead up to a shocking conclusion. Sarafia says, people are raving about this book and they are saying that one of the lessons and takeaways is, “you cannot put a pastor and a wife in a box because they deal with the same life issues as everyone else does”. The cover of the book is illustrated with a sweet little lady and an innocent looking little girl. The cover gives a sweet, innocent vision and encompasses peace in something as simple as walking, however you will read about some not-so-simple topics such as domestic violence and sexual abuse within the pages.

Be ready for an eye-opening story that many families will readily be able to relate to. The book is available on Amazon in Kindle and print editions. Follow the Author on Instagram @singersarafia_thewriter Contact the Author by Email: sara.erv.williams@gmail.com

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An Afro Hair Community in the UAE written by Helen Debrah-Ampofo

Before I moved to Abu Dhabi, I shaved off all my hair.

my new trim abroad but whenever I did, I assumed it would

According to Coco Chanel, ‘a woman who cuts her hair is

be easier to manage than having full head of 4c Afro hair.

about to change her life.’ These were my sentiments exactly

Surely, having practically no hair would require less skill

as I scrolled through endless pictures of beautiful Black

than the forty steps of a natural washday routine. In my

women on Instagram with pixie cuts, convincing me to do

youthful naivety, I had also failed to consider that the baggy

the Big Chop. Moving overseas would bring about much

clothes I was accustomed to wearing would make me look a

needed change and I was excited about facing it head (or

lot more masculine with a short cut and I was not sure how

should I say scalp) on. A new cut to start a new life in a new

I would be perceived in a Muslim country. Not only was

country. How fitting.

my lifestyle about to drastically change but it seemed my wardrobe needed a complete overhaul as well.

I didn’t think much about how or where I would maintain

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When I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I knew no one. In

As my hair began to grow – slowly but surely –

fact, before moving, I had never even visited that part of

Black women would come up to me in shops and restaurants

the world before. There was no one I could ask about where

to ask me how I was managing to maintain it. I remember

to find barbers, especially ones which catered to Afro hair.

writing down my wash day routines on the back of receipts

My husband became my barber briefly but that came to an

or asking them to follow me on Instagram so I could share

abrupt end when the clipper head came loose mid-trim and

inspirational profiles with them. I found myself repeating

I ended up with a bald patch at the back of my head. He

the same information over an over again. There was clearly

couldn’t bear to walk around with me, especially if it meant

a need. So many of us were accustomed to having our own

admitting that it was him that gave me such an amateur cut.

hairdressers back home who knew exactly what to do to

Luckily, after a few weeks of being in the Middle East, we

‘slay our hair’ but after moving to the Middle East, we had

started to find our feet and people were able to point us in

no clue where to start. There was a gap in the market and I

the right direction regarding barbers.

was to be the one to fill it.

If you thought my troubles ended there then you are

AfroHairUAE was birthed. I put together a natural

indeed mistaken. It turned out that in the UAE, men go to

hair community for women in the UAE with natural/Afro

barbers and women go to salons. Neither is unisex. I was not

hair. There are two functions for the Instagram page: firstly,

allowed to frequent the barbershops during regular working

to serve as a directory for salons, barbers, individuals

hours and was only allowed in on a Friday before they officially opened. If I was found there during opening times, I would get into serious trouble. It was at this point I started to wonder whether I had made a big mistake in going bald and was forced to consider my options. Should I continue to risk it all at the barbershop (and potentially end up in jail over a skin fade) or should I try something else completely? In the end, I decided it would be the right time to begin my natural hair journey. I would stock up on products when I returned to the UK in the summer and throughout the year, I’d attempt to look after my hair myself at home.

Back to square one. With no idea where to go

and no one to recommend hairdressers who specialise in Afro hair, I did what any sensible human being would do and turned to the internet. After all, social media is what gave me the confidence to Big Chop in the first place and social media would get me through my natural hair journey too. I clicked through content, liked and followed so many accounts of naturalistas that it was practically impossible for me to fail. I also managed to find a few Afro salons across the Emirates and a local pop up store which stocked some natural hair products.

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2020 at Market Kitchen, Abu Dhabi. We brunched! We are in the UAE after all. There were over forty women under one roof with their afros out and their locs swaying. It was a beautiful sight to see. From the feedback, although people united because of their tresses, what most people sought was being able to walk into a room and see people who looked exactly like them. People who understood their culture so they didn’t have to explain it. People who were familiar with the smell of Shea Butter and Jamaican Black Castor Oil.

After almost two years of building the AfroHairUAE

community, we have found so many people and places that cater to us. Black people are everywhere and sometimes we just need a centralised method of uniting us all. I’m so pleased and supply stores which cater to the afro hair community across the Emirates and secondly, to inundate followers with positive images of women with natural hair. These two aspects were incredibly helpful for me when I began my own natural hair journey – the women I saw online helped me see the beauty at every stage of growth and reminded me that with a whole lot of patience, I could achieve beautiful, healthy natural hair too. But knowing where to go to find products or assistance was equally as essential. I knew this would be the case for our community also and it was great that the Instagram platform allowed us to do both.

But after a while, it was clear that a community

was needed and so the AfroHairUAE Facebook Group was born. This was, and still is, a place for the community to recommend and review services as well as build relationships with other women across all seven Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain). We currently have approximately four hundred women in the group ready to give tips and advice on maintaining their natural hair in the harsh desert. It is a truly awesome group to be part of. Everyone in our group is an expat and are therefore in the same boat – they are here for work and are away from their family and friends. Being around like-minded people gives us a sense of belonging and a home away from home. The AfroHairUAE community is more than just hair, it’s about womanhood and expat life and Blackness too.

Our first event was held on Friday, 2nd February

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AfroHairUAE has been one of the ways it has happened in the Middle East. After the brutal killing of George Floyd and the reignition of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Black community in the UAE have banded together to support Black businesses throughout the country. Through social media, we have been promoting each other, collaborating and buying from within the community. We have made our presence known even in the desert. Although we are in a country which is not our own, we are out here hustling! If you ever move abroad and are struggling to find us, find a way to serve the community and we’ll find you. Helen Debrah-Ampofo, Expat Lifestyle Blogger and Creator of AfroHairUAE.


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Credits Managing Editor Alesha Brown IG @thejoyguru Lead Designer Brandon Jolly Brandon Graphic Designs www.brangraphicd.com Senior Layout Designer Kimberly Lawton Doctor Front Cover Design Kiva Ferreira Graphics Designer IG @kivaferreira Table of Contents Image, Back Cover Martin Studio Photography Model: Destiny Barrera Makeup artist: Samantha Trionfo Creative Director: Jeff Martin Stylist: Jeff Martin & Samantha Trionfo Location: Sykloft F Rental Studio Baltimore, MD Page 2, 6 Annabel Quintero Photographer: Barbie Hull Photography Page 8 Photographer: Elle Mattocks Pages 14, 15 Photographer: Kristin Elaina Palermo IG @kristenelainaphotography Page 17 Photographer: Rudolph J Tolar of So Focus Photos Pages 23, 25 Photographer: Laurent Leger Adame

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Pages 29, 32 Photographer: Kim Roseberry Page 42 Photographer: Emily Heath Photography, Stone Mountain, GA Page 48 Designer: Michael Lombard Photographer: Frank MacDonald Page 49 Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: CYBERPUNK COLLECTION Photographer: Sydney Korsse Model: Ivy Hawkins ML MUA Team: Lead Makeup: Joanne Armstrong Emma Bright Hair: Alicia Blakeslee Goggles: Michael Lombard Page 50 Top Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: CYBERPUNK COLLECTION Photographer: Frank MacDonald Models: Olivia Chiacchia Sasha L Melissa Pardo Kayla Stern Kenzie Blakeslee


Page 50 Middle Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: CYBERPUNK COLLECTION Photographer: Frank MacDonald Model: Kayla Stern ML MUA Team: Lead Makeup: Joanne Armstrong Emma Bright Hair: Alicia Blakeslee Jewelry: Tigerbite Jewels

Sowele

Photographer

Page 50 Bottom Designer: Michael Lombard Collection: CYBERPUNK COLLECTION Photographer: Frank MacDonald Models: Olivia Chiacchia, Sasha L, Melissa Pardo, Kayla Stern, Kenzie Blakeslee Page 51 Photographer: Ed ‘Snapshot’ Brown Page 56, 58 Photographer: Dokk Savage Photography Pages 60, 73-74 Photographer: Sowele Productions Email: infosowele@gmail.com Page 61 Photographer: Anthony Tilghman Pages 65, 66 Photographer: Liz Everett Pages 75, 77 Photographer: Roy Cox Note: Website listed in article is valid until the new website is launched. New website will be found at the following url: Pam4NELLALLC.com

Page 83 Photographer: GoReise Page 84, 86 Photographer: Burack Pages 96-98 Photographer: Invest PR Pages 102-103 Photographer: Joey Lorraine Pages 112, 113 Photographer: Mr. Rickey Green Images for Life Photography Pages 114, 115 Photographer: Kimazing Photography www.kimazingPhotos.com Page 119 Photographer: Tiece Edwards

communiqué Magazine does not take credit for any Photographs provided by the interviewees. All images are used with the permission granted by the subjects of the articles or by the Photographers listed on the credits page. Any errors or omissions will be corrected on the magazine’s website or in the subsequent issue. Page 21 This article is being republished from the original publication date in the JULY | AUGUST ISSUE to correct errors and omissions.

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communiqué Magazine Issue 2  

communiqué Magazine is an international publication that represents men, women, and children from several different countries. In this issue...

communiqué Magazine Issue 2  

communiqué Magazine is an international publication that represents men, women, and children from several different countries. In this issue...

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