communiqué Magazine Special New Year's Eve Edition

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IS SU E 06

JAN UAR Y 2021



Grammy Award Winning Artist

Fueling Quality Music w w w. c o m m u n i q u e m a g a z i n e . c o m 1

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Table of

Contents 6 10 14 20

Sowing Positive Seeds

Write the Book Now!

The Spiritual Journey of Writing


A Couple’s Guide to Prepare for Plastic Surgery


Sathya Callender: Survival Prevails

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An Undying Love for Family & Her Dream


Wendy Nelson

2021 The Year Ahead

Prince Original: From Foster Care to Rocking the Mic communiqué Magazine

Katrina L. Shaw

COVER STORY: Jody Watley


Miss Florida for America

A Skinny Girl Stuck in a Fat Girl’s Body

Vernee’ Pryor: Weight Wasn’t the Only Thing I Lost

Tina Lifford: Forever is a Lie

38 Dr. Mathew Knowles: Racism from the Eyes of a Child

Nkechi Designs

Forged in the Fire: This is What I Was Made For

Colleen MacDonald: Dreamer in Motion

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38 40 42 44 48 54 58 62 66 70

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From the Editor Happy New Year 2021

communiqué Magazine is an international publication that represents men, women, and children from several different countries. Each issue represents the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement. 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. We are extremely proud to feature the absolutely beautiful Jody Watley, an amazing and accomplished woman on the cover of our January Issue. Jody Watley was born in Chicago, Illinois and made her first stage appearance at eight years old with family friend and godfather, Jackie Wilson. She got her start on the TV dance show Soul Train at 14 years old. Jody Watley is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and artist whose music crosses genres including pop, R&B, jazz, dance, and electronic soul. During the late 1970s and early 1980s Jody Watley was a member of the R&B/ funk band Shalamar, who scored many hits, notably so in the UK. In 1987, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist (as a solo artist) and has been nominated for three Grammy awards. In 2008, she was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard magazine, and was also prominently featured in the historic black issue of Vogue Italia in 2008. In December 2016 Billboard ranked her as the 21st most successful dance artist of all-time. and in 2017 Black Music Honors TV special recognized Watley as Crossover Music Icon Honoree for her groundbreaking achievements and influence. In August 2018 Billboard ranked Jody Watley as one of the top female artists of all-time, at number 53. We know you will enjoy the magazine from cover to cover and enjoy all of our great stories about wonderful people from around the world. Thank you for taking time to read communiqué Magazine. This issue is dedicated to Jody Watley fans across the globe! Let the music live in your soul! With appreciation, 4


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Paraben Free Sulfate Free Dye Free Alcohol Free No Animal Testion Made in USA MDGLAM.COM 5

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Charlotte Hazzard

An Undying Love for Family & Her Dream By: C. NaTasha Richburg

Charlotte Hazzard is a native of Fort Myers, Florida. She was raised in a loving supportive family with dreams and aspirations destined to be realized. By the age of 12, Charlotte began to pursue a modeling career that expanded more than 10 years. A graduate of North Fort Myers High School (class of ‘89’), she blossomed to discover a love for the arts and entertainment. Charlotte always knew that there was more in the world to see and achieve so she moved to Atlanta in 1991. Once in Atlanta, Charlotte expanded her family to become the wife of Davey Hazzard. She was blessed to travel the world with an adoring husband for 15 years prior to giving birth to her first child. Thus, in year 15 of their marriage Charlotte joyfully became the mother to 12-yearold Kearstin and later 7-year-old David. Charlotte is still deeply in love with her husband. Along with celebrating 27 years of marriage, she looks forward to celebrating her 5oth birthday January 2021. The smile in her voice rings out when speaking Davey’s name. Her smile is the perfect expression of a happy wife’s feeling of romantic bliss. Charlotte’s aspirations for a full-time acting career propelled an exceptional level of support from her husband. Charlotte’s life is a love story that embraces the ebbs and flows of dreams envisioned by an actress who continuously prays 6

for divine wisdom in her quest for God’s blessing. Charlotte crossed the path of this communiqué Magazine interviewer several years ago on the Amtrak train station platform at BWI (Baltimore/ Washington International Airport) on a hot summer evening as we both waited for a train going north to New York City. Navigating the train schedule is challenging and somewhat confusing for those who live in Atlanta, where the MARTA train terminal is in the airport. Not true for BWI. Once off the airplane, passengers must take a bus to the train station. I noticed a very confused-looking and approachable lady standing on the platform with a very worried expression on her face. “Where are you going?” I asked. “Delaware, to pick up my kids from their grandmother’s house,” she answered. Fortunately, we were taking the same train. While on the train, we were able to converse and get to know more about each other and our life pursuits. From that moment, we knew a new friendship had been gained. Once our train reached Delaware, we both ensured Charlotte successfully departed the train. A quick goodbye and lasting memory remained with me as I continued on the train for an hour and one half to my New York City destination. The warm encounter with such a delightful individual communiqué Magazine

Atlanta? Yes eventually. However, I started out working as an “Extra” just to get my feet wet. I continued to work with Bronner Brother modeling troupe and walked in fashion shows to help make ends meet. I continued to get work as an Extra and never gave up hope. At times, the acting roles were not plentiful. However, my husband continued to support my dream. Eventually, I began to travel to Los Angeles (LA) during pilot season. While in LA, I took acting classes at major acting studios. Finding a place to stay during periods of time in LA required a lot of budgeting and God’s grace to make it work. Did you ever want stop pursuing your dream of becoming an actress? Once, I had gone an entire year without one booking. I called my agent to prepare them for my resignation. My agents

radiated a peaceful presence to reinforce the fact that good people can make a positive impact on anyone’s day. The endearing story of Charlotte’s life is one of undying love for family and the strength gained from the everlasting pursuit to realize one’s dream. When did you move to Atlanta? I was 21 years old when I moved to Atlanta after getting a BA degree in Communication with a concentration in PR at Mercer University. I moved to Atlanta to continue my modeling career and to pursue my dream to become an actress. I wanted to be in a city where the film industry was taking off. Strangely, I was in Atlanta for 7 days when I met my husband Davey. I pulled up to the gas station. This guy came up to me and asked, “I see you looking through the newspaper, do you want a job?” That man was Davey. I said, “No thank you.” I worked at Sears. However, he was persistent and asked me out to dinner. Did the pursuit of acting require you to leave 7

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went on to encourage me to hang in there...better days

many more movies and performances I've enjoyed; these are standouts for me.

are coming. Some years I ask God, “What do you want me to do? Don’t let the pursuit of becoming a fulltime actress add any sorrow.” Immediately after making a desperate prayer to God, I get a small gig. My hope is regenerated and I continue. Little by little, the doors have started to open.

Charlotte once was a young girl who struggled with personal acceptance...but no more. She knows who she is and is now resting in the unconditional love of Christ. When asked the question: What would you tell your 21-year-old self? Don’t stress. You will have hills and valleys of disappointment. Simply After years of studying and performing as an trust the process and enjoy the journey. Know that Extra, Charlotte eventually broke onto the acting with every closed door, God has another one that scene and began making memorable appearances He will open. God’s timing is always best. in television shows like “Drop Dead Diva,” Charlotte is an active member in her church “Constantine” and “The Originals”. With film roles (Community Outreach COGIC) and oversees its in “Crazy Sexy Cool,” “Game Night” and “Behind Outreach and Food Ministry Program. She loves the Movement,” Charlotte can also be found in inspiring and encouraging others. Charlotte reoccurring roles on the new Web/TV series “Thick believes what you do for others who may be less Skin” as Gentry and JJ Abrams’ new HBO drama fortunate carries a greater sense of accomplishment “Love Craft Country” as Martha. that holds its own reward. Her good fortune to What is a major lesson you learned? I realize grace the cinema screen is inspirational to us all. now that the Lord would not allow me to do some Charlotte is an example of how a purpose-driven roles because they would not have served me well life is plausible when hard work coupled with God’s at this stage of my life. I believe that’s why some grace reveals the dream’s truth. doors were closed to me. I am most proud of my role in the “Rosa Park Story.” According to www., “The Rosa Park Story” is a TV ONE biopic that tells the story of civil rights activist Rosa Parks [played by Meta Golding] when Rosa Parks was arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat for a white passenger. Rosa Parks inspired the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. What individuals in the business inspire you as an actress? The work ethic of Chadwick Boseman, who played iconic roles like baseball player Jackie Robinson in the biographical film “42,” James Brown in “Get on Up,” “Marshall” as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and superhero Black Panther, has inspired me to work even harder. Just knowing now that he was dealing with cancer, he never stopped working hard. This serves as a cautionary tale for all of us. His was truly dedicated to his craft. I find Forrest Whitaker as very inspirational. His role in the film “The Last King of Scotland” was amazing. I love the movie, “The Help” about Aibileen Clark played by Viola Davis as an African-American maid. Of course, there are 9

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Jeff & Aisha Butler

Sowing Positive Seeds By: C. NaTasha Richburg

Baltimore, Maryland, also referred to as “Charm City” according to, is nicknamed as such to capture the city’s friendly vibrancy and sense of pride. In the photography community of Charm City, Jeff and Aisha Butler reside as the proprietors of the legendary highly celebrated Jazzy Studios Photography. Jazzy Studios has continuously developed talent who have appeared in numerous places such as Playboy cologne advertisement, Vogue Magazine, Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Nike, Beauty Outlet, Rolling Stone Magazine, K-Swiss Shoes, Travis Winkey, Mark Jacobs, Church ministry publications, radio advertisement campaigns and more. The couple are in love with each other and in love with the photography profession as well. Though they don’t formally advertise their business, wordof-mouth has spread the news about who they are in Charm City, the surrounding county and aboard. The warm comforting environment of Jazzy Studios exudes an emotionally fulfilling vibe that makes 10

a two-hour session feel like 15 minutes. Due to the warmth of their smiles and good humor, time moves quickly in the company of Jeff and Aisha. Oh yeah, life lessons and meaningful words of advice also cascade out of their sessions, freely given to the attentive listener. The story of the couple’s meeting is captured in this interview for the reader to understand how the craft of photography shines best when there is “love” peering through the eye of the camera. How Jeff and Aisha met… October 2001, Aisha worked as a teller at a Baltimore City credit union. One uneventful work day, she took a break outside of the building. When she returned to her teller window, Aisha asked her colleagues about a handsome brown-skinned man she noticed driving by in the parking lot. Aisha and the handsome men glanced at each other; that glance lingered in Aisha’s memory. No one else noticed the gorgeous man and thus couldn’t solve the mystery of her experience. At the time, communiqué Magazine

Jeff worked at a chemical company, though his dapper appearance reflected a fashion forward sensibility. February 2002, Aisha saw Jeff again when he came to her teller window. They both wore red sweaters. Aisha was so excited to see this man appeared before her. Aisha kept her nerves patiently anchored in the base of her stomach, only to burst into a smile when Jeff finally left the building. In other words, Aisha played it cool while she handled the transactions of her future husband. According to Aisha, Jeff flirted. According to Jeff, Aisha flirted. What matters is they both recognized the spark. Two weeks later, Jeff entered the credit union wearing a long tan cashmere coat. He headed to another teller’s window. Aisha was taking a lunchtime break and ventured to the parking lot. She purposely started a conversation with the mailman as she secretly waited for Jeff to come outside. When Jeff came outside, they had their first informal lighthearted conversation. Aisha experienced Jeff ‘s warm easygoing presence; a good fit for her personality. They were about to embark on their first date, when Jeff received an unexpected call from his mom. Though slightly sidetracked, they later went to Wendy’s for a frosty. That’s when Aisha learned her future husband loved Sade’s music. Immediately, Aisha learned to play Sade’s “Color of Love” on the keyboard. One day as Aisha waited at the counter of Popeye’s restaurant preparing to purchase her family’s Friday night chicken dinner, Jeff tapped the back of her shoulder. Aisha turned, then locked into a eye gaze with Jeff’ and knew it was official. “My spirit jumped inside me. We officially became a couple since the tap on my shoulder represented a spiritual connection for me,” Aisha said. In 2005, Aisha picked up a camera for the first time. “It took three years of Jeff urging me before I touched a camera,” Aisha said. As a couple, they taught hundreds of newcomers about the modeling profession throughout the years. Jeff hosts “play dates” for students where a team of aspiring makeup artists, hair stylists, 11

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fashion stylists and sponsoring boutiques act as a glam squad to prepare models for Jazzy Studios haute couture photo shoots. The synergy of the collaborative effort at Jazzy Studios creates a place of community, camaraderie, friendship and love. All who experience Jazzy Studios are guided by the joyous motivation of the couple for generating experiences that immortalize clients through photography. The photos they take exude the essence of the love Jeff and Aisha have for each other and their craft.

friends first.” – Aisha “We sowed many positive seeds as part of our photography business.” – Jeff & Aisha The photography of Jeff and Aisha continues to withstand the test of time. The couple is a Charm City treasure that embodies love and endurance. Jeff and Aisha’s impact on high fashion, print ads, heirloom-worthy family portraits, and eye-catching professional headshots fulfill the premise, invented by advertising executive Fred R. Barnard, that “a picture is worth 1,000 words.”

Like the other landmarks and cultural institutions of Baltimore, Jazzy Studios is a place that feels safe, Located in: Motor House trustworthy and honest. Jeff and Aisha obviously Address: 120 W North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201 love and care about people inside and out. The Phone: (443) 552-5757 community of clients and friends love them as well. Hundreds of well-wishers came through to support the couples’ Gofundme campaign to cover expenses during Jeff’s cancer treatments. The results of the campaign far exceeded expectations. Residents of Charm City and beyond came to support the loving couple with gifts of gratitude that enabled Jeff and Aisha to keep the studio lights on. Their triumph over life trials allowed Jeff and Aisha to continue to serve the community despite COVID-19 and personal challenges. Nineteen years after Jeff and Aisha met, they continue in business together. They successfully managed the ebbs and flow of life to keep their eyes on the prize with a good work-life balance. With that in mind, Jeff and Aisha offer the following piece of advice for couples trying to successfully work together and stay happy in their marriage too. “Stay humble.” – Jeff “Regarding how we can work together; we are


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Write the Book Now! Dr. Sharon H. Porter

Write the Book Now! Have you said, “I could write a book”? Many who aspire to become published authors or simply those who have a story to tell have said this phrase repeatedly before finally deciding to actually write the book. Many published authors would say writing their first book may have been one of the most challenging tasks they have had to complete, but one of the most rewarding. Perfect Time SHP Publishing is a one-stop-shop for non-fiction authors. As a Hybrid publisher (combination between self-publishing and traditional publishing), our team guides authors through the process of completing the manuscript, finalizing the book cover, and distributing the book. While Perfect Time SHP publishes all genres, we specialize in nonfiction book publishing. I will address three phases of writing a nonfiction book: Planning and Preparation, Writing, Publishing. PHASE 1: Planning and Preparation You first want to identify what you will be writing about. There are several types of nonfiction genres. Some of the more common types are Memoirs/Biographies/Autobiographies, Prescriptive Nonfiction commonly known as Self-help books, 14

Guides/Manuals/Handbooks, commonly referred to as “How to” books. You will need to establish your purpose for writing to determine which subgenre you will be writing. Do you want to a). provide information b.) express personal feelings, c.) entertain, or d.) influence. You must be clear on what you would like to achieve with your book. Not only is establishing your purpose important, but it also vital to identify who your reader is. This is similar to identifying your target audience in business. The more specific you can be the better you will be able to streamline and focus your content. communiqué Magazine

I often use my in-studio interview show, The I Am Dr. Sharon Show as a prime example of the power of being specific. When I first launched The I Am Dr. Sharon Show I marketed it to educators, authors, and entrepreneurs. Each week my guests would include a variety of educators, authors and entrepreneurs. I was not getting the sponsorship I anticipated and it was becoming daunting to ensure I had guests each week. After completing a reflective analysis, I determined that it was necessary to narrow my focus. Instead of marketing The I Am Dr. Sharon Show to educators, authors, and entrepreneurs I decided to identify segments that would specifically target each of those groups. Education FIRST, It’s All Business, and The Book Talk Show was birthed from the reflective analysis. Now, my sponsorships have increased and I have a waiting list for guests to be a part of each show. In the planning and preparation phase of writing your book, you want to decide the structure of your book. This will be determined by the type of non-fiction book you are writing. Your book could be written in chronological order, topic by topic, or a traditional storyline structure. Creating the structure leads to your outline, which is the foundation for an effective and organized writing process. PHASE 2: Writing

If writing an entire book presents a problem because of time constraints, there are several alternatives. You can become a visionary author and solicit others to contribute to your book. Ideally, every author would contribute a chapter. You also can write chapter by chapter and publish each chapter as an ebook. Once all the chapters are complete, you can publish it as a completed book. Repurposing your content is also another way to save time. If you make posts on social media, blog about the topic you are writing about, or journal you can certainly use that content to add to your manuscript. Phase 3: Publishing There are different types of book publishers. Traditional publishers offer the author a contract and an advancement for the rights to print, publish, and sell your book. The publisher will pay the author royalties (a percentage of your total sales) on the book sales. Traditional publishing houses do not charge for publishing, but earn their profits from distributing and marketing your book. There, of course, is also self-publishing. There are many self-publishing services available. You are in total control when you self-publish. You will still need to have your manuscript edited and book cover designed and both formatted. You are able to use Print On Demand 9POD) As mentioned in the beginning of this article, Perfect Time SHP Publishing is a Hybrid publishing company. We charge a fee to edit and publish your book, but you receive 100 percent of your book royalties and 100 percent of any profit from selling your book directly to your readers.

This phase is what usually prevents most aspiring authors from becoming published authors. You simply must start writing! Set writing goals for yourself. You may choose to write 500 words per day or your goal may be to write for two hours uninterrupted each day. Whatever goal you choose, follow through with it. Choose a designated writ- I end with how I started. Write the Book Now! Plan, ing location and schedule your writing time on a Prepare, Write, and Publish. Everyone has a story calendar. Setting weekly deadlines will help with to tell. Are you ready to tell your story? holding you accountable to the process. Do not edit your writing while writing. JUST WRITE! Editing comes later. 15

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Charlise Smith


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The Spiritual

Journey of Writing

Written by Corretta L. Doctor with C. NaTasha Richburg

The purpose of Mike Maden’s writing is to bless other people. Mike’s spirituality leads him to a place of gratitude. Mike gives so much more of himself than meets the eye. His work is a personal responsibility and here is why: Mike Maden identifies his writing as his ‘calling’. “This is my act of obedience,” says Maden. Mike Maden is a professional writer but it took him a long time to figure that out. “When we do the thing that we are supposed to do, to me it is a spiritual journey. If I have been given a gift, I have to ask myself, what is the purpose of my gift? The purpose of art is to tell the truth. Even though I am a fiction writer there is no better place to tell the truth than within fiction. And once I know what my calling is, it’s my responsibility to obey it to the best of my ability.” From his East Tennessee residence with a view of the Smoky Mountains, Maden diligently writes the Jack Ryan Jr. series by Tom Clancy, including Point of Contact (2017), Line of Sight (2018), Enemy Contact (2019), and Firing Point (2020). The 2020 Firing Point novel summarized on www. says that “Jack Ryan, Jr. is out to avenge the murder of an old friend, but the vein of evil he's tapped into may run 20

too deep for him to handle.” The story brings the reader into Jack Ryan Jr.’s Barcelona location to experience the world of the Spanish Intelligence Service. There is an “unrelenting search to find out the reason behind the death…” of his friend Reneé. Mike shares that he always writes with all of the craft, skill, and energy he can bring… + soul. Soul is embedded in his work. He lives within himself in a place of solitude in a room alone with the characters of his book. The characters express the story to him. He explores the whole universe of both reality and fantasy in his mind. With such a passion for his work, one must wonder if this gift of writing is a natural endeavor that started from childhood for Mike. The answer is distinctly no. Mike still pinches himself and wonders if this is real. As a child he thought he would never write. He loved to read books and spent many hours on the floor of the public library, but Mike never thought he could write on the level of the great authors he admired, such as Hemingway and Steinbeck. Mike went on through grade school and upon graduation from high school he went to college, and he says, “I picked up a couple of degrees along the way.” A trained researcher, Maden holds communiqué Magazine

both a Master’s and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California-Davis, specializing in international relations and comparative politics. (He later earned a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary.) As a political consultant, Maden has lectured and consulted on the topics of war and the Middle East, among others. Much of his writing at the time was academic writing that he felt he could control. Over the years his two college friends wrote over 30 novels between the two of them. They wrote them but never sold them. As Mike witnessed the persistence of his college buddies, and their eventual success to break through as successful, published authors through Kindle E-books, he became more and more encouraged to pursue writing as a profession. “I never had the belief or possibility that I could do this. I wrote my first screenplay at age forty,” says Mike. Seven years ago, Mike published his very first novel. Today Mike is 61 years old and is a very -Mike Maden successful writer. He says, “I started this late. When it’s time, it’s time. When you know, you know, and you step up”.

script. Writers hold a lot of weight and gravity. I remember once, an actor working on a project for the screenplay I wrote told me to keep writing because he was able to pay his mortgage because of this job. Without a screenplay, the actor doesn’t act, the director doesn’t direct, and a domino effect happens. If you withhold your talent, you are not just diminishing yourself, you could be taking food out of people’s mouths. Every book I have ever written is the hardest book I have ever written because I am always trying to push myself and get better. It is my responsibility”. Although many of us are cringing at the thought of having to be quarantined for months at a time, Mike honestly did not see a major shift in his professional life. Mike jokes that his profession requires him to sit in a room by himself and talk to imaginary people. He doesn’t have to quarantine because those people live in his head. The biggest challenge is the inability to travel internationally where many of his novels are set. He and his wife do a lot of onthe-ground research before he begins his writing process. He also misses meeting readers at his favorite bookstores on book tour. But compared to many others who are really struggling right now, he knows he is extremely blessed. He and his wife try to support the local businesses in his town. All in all, when I asked him about the changes that the shelter-in-place has caused for him, this was his reply: “It is a great opportunity for me to be still and to listen”.

I love writing. I t is the hardest thing I have ever done without getting blisters and I love it.

Mike is obedient to his gift. “The goal is never to make money or get famous. At one point I woke up to this thing that says, if God put it in me, I am going to write. The harder I work, the luckier I get. Nothing works without hard work. The river doesn’t part until you put your foot in it first.” Mike explains the process of positive impact through his work of writing. Using an analogy of a screenplay that made it to film, he explains that if he does not show up to do the work then a lot of adverse things can occur. “There isn’t anyone shooting anything in Hollywood until someone writes the 21

The soul of a man is not easily read, but in his writings you can see it all. Mike Maden is an inspiration. Visit to stay connected to the success and endeavors of one of the world’s greatest writers.

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3D Emoji Stickers and Novelty Items made with Sistas in mind.


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A Couple’s Guide To Prepare For Plastic Surgery

Chop It Up Before You Go Under The Knife By Dr. KaNisha L. Hall, M.D. Just thinking about having any invasive procedure can be overwhelming, and having your partner's support is essential. Ideally two people who care about each other want what is best for the other, but it can be difficult for two people to get on the same page when it comes to plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is not uniformly vain or selfish. It is a medical procedure that will require a recovery and adjustment period. Communication is key. Making time to talk to your partner about any concerns either party might have about the procedure, recovery and life after surgery need to be a priority. The patient having surgery and the partner offering support, both need to get to a mutual point of comfortable vulnerability. Where should you start? Communicate your insecurities and unconditional acceptance. No one should have plastic surgery on a whim. As a physician, I believe it is important for a patient to be able to express why they desire to modify their physical appearance. Also this person should be clear about the positive change surgery will bring to many aspects of their life and the risk involved with any invasive procedures. I am not saying that everyone who desires plastic surgery has insecurities. I am saying everyone (period) has insecurities. You can not be afraid to rip the proverbial bandaid off and bare your naked truth to the person you deem worthy of your adoration. Two people building the foundation of a relationship should find security in revealing their insecurities and 24

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expressing a need for unconditional acceptance. help you address the challenges of the postTell your partner why you love him/her. Also, tell operative period. what you love about them despite their flaws and Connect in a new way. shortcomings. Cooperation buttresses a smooth recovery. I have heard countless times the old adage, “Everybody wants to be needed.” However, people find it downright difficult to ask others for help. You need to give yourself permission to need your partner. Depending on the cosmetic procedure, recovery time could be days, weeks, or months. No matter the length of time, after you have had anesthesia and surgery you will need varying levels of assistance. I do not advise waiting until the day of surgery to get clarity on the length and intensity of what your recovery period will look like. As a supportive partner it may be overwhelming to embrace a role of caregiver. The patient may be stressed with discomfort and physical disability after surgery. I suggest both the patient and the partner prepare any questions and concerns prior to a scheduled pre-operative visit with the surgery staff. Arming yourselves with as much information as humanly possible will 25

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking your surgeon, “When can I resume sexual activity?” Matter of fact, you need to ask and prepare accordingly. Also, adjustments will need to be made with the expected physical limitations that come with recovering from surgery. Intimacy during this time is still necessary, but it may look very different. Be patient and be present. Kind words and tender touches are strongly advised for both the patient and partner, because human touch is healing. Come together and stay together. Sick time is still time off. Recovering from surgery is by no means equivalent to a romantic getaway, but in challenging times is when true perseverance prevails. Meaning, though not ideal, there is still opportunity to come out of this surgery and recovery with more than just a better looking body, but a stronger relationship. If you are looking for a mate that can withstand the “for better and for worse,” it helps to know what their love looks like in those difficult times. A partner willing to support and comfort you in such a vulnerable space sounds like a keeper to me.

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Sathya Callender:

Survival Prevails Written by: Portia O. Perry


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What does a woman do after living with domestic abuse for nine years? What happens to her when she is controlled, beaten, and scarred? What does she do to protect her children when she realizes the abuse is not only affecting her life but theirs as well? What is the name of the person who has to determine how to survive this trauma? She is Sathya, pronounced (Sat-Ti-ya), Callender. She spoke about her relationship with her youngest child’s father. She met him in 1994 and they went their separate ways in 1995. They then rekindled the relationship in 2002 and it lasted for nine years. Even though he was controlling and physically abusive to her she stayed. She said, “He timed me coming and going.” She spoke about him beating her to where she had black, blue, and purple eyes. He knocked her unconscious, dragged her by the hair, he busted her lips and nose. There was a time he wrapped his hands around her neck and strangled her until she could not scream or breathe, took her phone, money, and sexually abused her. Sathya said, “He hit me so hard once he knocked me into a wall and left a hole in it.” But Sathya added, “I knew how to go to work and smile like everything was okay, even though I was hurting inside”. When asked what the breaking point was for her, Sathya responded, “The breaking point was when I learned that my children were keeping knives under their pillows. I asked my kids, what they were going to do with those knives and they replied they were planning to hurt him if he beat me again.” She realized that someone was going to get hurt or go to jail and she did not want it to be her children. She had been blessed with five children. The oldest son was age 19; her daughter 14, and three other sons ages 12, 11, and 7. She realized it was time to leave because she was not the only one being hurt, it was also the children. She walked out in 2012. Years later, in 2016, God gave her a vision to do something more in a new life. The vision was to become the publisher of her own magazine. The vision became reality in 2020. When asked if this was something she always wanted to do, she giggled and said, “No, not at all.” She just knew she wanted to be an author or writer. So in being obedient she developed a business plan to move into her new future. God wanted her to build a platform to give her and others the ability to share their stories of how they overcame domestic abuse. In contrast, her life has changed for the better. She is a beautiful, strong, 43 year-old black woman who is the Founder and Editor in Chief of her own magazine titled, ’Scars of Survival Magazine.’ “I had to go through those things to understand my strength and understand how strong and capable I was as a black woman.” From the beginning of this venture, Sathya’s hopes for success were that the magazine would have a global impact. Today she reports, “The 27

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magazine is reaching people in Africa, Barbados, Panama, Canada, France, Russia, Australia, Ireland and Pakistan, as well as the United States.” She thinks it is amazing and hopes in 2021 to impact additional countries because abuse happens everywhere. Another positive is that one of the writers’ featured in the September issue of the magazine is meeting with a screenwriter and her story will soon become a movie. Sathya says, “You never know what is going to happen and how the stories will affect others.” She believes the magazine is doing just what God ordained it to do and it is an amazing feeling. Equally important, Sathya has been busy with podcasts, summits, Facebook Live, and Zoom interviews. Her most recent interview was with VoyageATL magazine a few weeks ago. She shares how writing about her abuse and overcoming the trauma has been a process of healing for her. Sathya feels writing or talking about your abuse can be a way of healing. Her magazine is open to men, women, and children and she advises them of the same. Some writers have never written before and feel they cannot do it. She informs them that they can and will. The subsequent joy and smiles on their faces is wonderful. When asked if the writers are paid for 28

their contributions to the magazine, Sathya said, “No one is paid.” “Writers can sign up for my affiliate programs and receive a certain percentage back.” Another benefit is the writers get exposure. Not only are they helping themselves they are helping others. She has even landed an agreement with Books-AMillion and Barnes and Noble to sell the magazine in their stores - which gives the writers more exposure to share how they survived and overcame domestic abuse. Furthermore, she’s been blessed with six months at Solwin - a Christian streaming network that empowers survivors of domestic abuse and highlights the tribulations they have overcome. Moreover, in 2021 she will be partnering with a distributor of computer tablets working with women, men, and juvenile prisons that will allow inmates to gain access to her magazine. Prisoners will be able to read stories about self love and healing. Sathya just wants people to read the magazine and share her website. She gives people the opportunity to write in her magazine about their own ordeals. If they know someone who needs to heal, “share, share, share,” she says. She adds, “You have to learn to forgive because if you don’t you only hurt yourself.” She prayed with her mother, who with wisdom advised, “How can God forgive us if we cannot forgive others”? Lastly, to anyone who is reading this and is going through any type of domestic violence, whether it is emotional, physical, or verbal, reach out to a domestic violence center to get help. Sathya says, “Self love is the best love.” Also, she says, “In order to get love and give love we have to first love ourselves. I may be contacted on social media platforms as follows: Facebook: @ScarsofSurvivalMagazine, Scars of Survival, or Author Sathya Callender. Instagram: ScarsofSurvivalMagazine, ScarsofSurvival, or SathyaCallender Website or www. “

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Our mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.





Get the latest on how drugs affect the brain and body. Featuring videos, games, blog posts and more.

Lessons, activities and drug facts to educate teens about the effects and consequences of drug use.

Get information to help you talk with your teens about drugs and their effects and learn where to go to. 29

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Wendy Nelson

is not afraid of cancer.

By: C. NaTasha Richburg Scientists such as those from geology. com have known for decades “the formation of natural diamonds requires very high temperatures and pressures.” With that being said, individuals in our lives oftentimes face mounds and mounds of pressure to form, what appears, from the outside looking in, like a level of pain that is difficult to imagine. However, from the inside of Life’s pressure, a precious diamond is often formed. The diamond glistens in the light to bring a smile on the face of people who admire the shine. Wendy Nelson is that shining light who illuminates hope with endless possibilities. Her inspirationally heartwarming story holds true to the belief that God’s grace can evolve one’s life to recite the formative processes steeped in the making of a precious diamond. Wendy probably never imaged when her 5-year-old-self moved from Prince Georges County, Maryland to Baltimore City, that she would carry a level of importance to make a difference in the lives of many. Now gracefully approaching 50 years of age, Wendy agreed to have an up-close and personal interview with communiqué Magazine about her purpose driven life. In 2012, Wendy was cleaning the house, instantly something came over her and she noticed a lump in her breast. Panic rested in her spirit then she immediately started to sweat. “I just didn't know what to do so I sat on the floor for a long time.” Once she calmed down, she made an appointment with the doctor 30

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who said ‘not to worry,’ he didn’t expect anything serious. When the doctor actually examined Wendy his eyes got big. Panic substantially covered his now flustered face fully encompassing the color red. He was pretty scared. At that point in time, Wendy’s eyes cried. Her tears had tears. “I saved my ugly cry for my private time when I left the doctor’s office.” Concerned that the lump was very large, Wendy’s doctor immediately ordered a mammogram and biopsy to take place that same day. Wendy sat down with her family in their living room; they had no idea what was going on. As she spoke to them, while working through her own personal turmoil, the words hit them as they sat processing their disbelief. They sat with one another in complete silence knowing “a new normal” forever loomed in their personal life. What was your diagnosis? I found out through a phone call the biopsy confirmed stage 2B breast cancer. According to, “Stage 2 means the breast cancer is growing, but it is still contained in the breast or growth has only extended to the nearby lymph nodes. Stage 2A and Stage 2B. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and whether the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.” I was HER2-positive and estrogen-receptorpositive as well. My doctor recommends I see an Oncologist right away. According to, “HER2-positive breast cancers have abnormally high levels of HER2 proteins. This can cause the cells to multiply more quickly. Excessive reproduction can result in a fast-growing breast cancer that’s more likely to spread. Approximately 25 percent of breast cancer cases are HER2-positive.” According to, “a cancer is called estrogenreceptor-positive (or ER+) if it has receptors for estrogen. This suggests that the cancer cells, like normal breast cells, may receive signals from estrogen that could promote their growth.”

They ran to my rescue to cover and pray over me. Although they were quite nervous, my friends were positive and supportive.

How did your feelings about cancer evolve?

I changed the course of my treatment and told my doctor. I wanted a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, no chemo and no radiation. He loved the plan and said my plan would reduce the risk of cancer returning in my body by 80%. I remember thinking, ‘well why didn’t you come up with this plan?’ I just thank God He led me to research what would be the best health plan for myself.

Originally, the news was sobering. Although I was fearful of the unknown, I knew this wouldn’t kill me. My emotions fluctuated from fear, to nervousness then to strength in a matter of seconds. I felt like my body betrayed me. ‘Where did this come from?’ Anger, fear, anxiety filled my head, and then God’s peace enveloped me. I’d only told close friends who evolved to become an amazing support system. 31

How did you decide on the best treatment strategy? The doctor suggested a lumpectomy to remove the large tumor, chemo and radiation. However, I wasn’t at peace with that treatment plan. After doing my own research, including searching the Internet, I decided on my plan of action. I actually watched the lumpectomy surgery on YouTube for the exact same type of cancer I had. I wanted to know everything I could to understand the treatment possibilities. I understand that knowledge is power. That was eight years ago. Based on what I learned from an Internet search, I was able to help my doctors with diagnose my approach to treatment. What did you do with the information gained from the Internet?

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What advice would help others through a similar journey? Do your research and don't panic because cancer is not necessarily a death sentence. Take in all the information and knowledge you can gather, spread it on a table, and look at all of your options in one setting. Remember, Doctor's practice medicine and don't necessarily have all the answers. This approach to treatment can and will change your life for better. No question is dumb or embarrassing. Research, Research, Research! Find out all the information you can about the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with and get all the facts. Once you have all the facts, you can make an educated decision about your treatment plan. You only have 1 life, protect and preserve it as much as possible. Love yourself enough to give yourself the best options you can find. My life’s journey, like many, has had unexpected high’s and low’s, heartbreak, disappointments, failures as well as triumphs. It’s okay to make mistakes because mistakes provide you wisdom and character if not repeated. Be at peace with things you cannot change and learn to let things go. In 2019, Wendy founded and became Executive Director of “Sisters4theCity” a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that educates and advocates partnerships that promote wholeness for women’s empowerment within the community. Wendy has a long list of honors and accomplishments. Most of all she enjoys traveling, hiking, interior design, home staging and writing. She is the proud mother of two talented children, James D. Nelson, III and Jade Milan Nelson. Wendy reminds us that sometimes we hold on to people and things too long, which may become toxic to our mind, body and spirit. We should not be afraid of cancer and know that unhealthy relationships or connections to toxic people can act as a form of cancer. Cancer, as well as any other toxicity of any kind attacks to destroy healthiness, we all must continue to give ourselves permission to live a healthy lifestyle. 32

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The Year Ahead When Stars & Diamonds Unite Spiritual Promise Versus Material Results

Written by Joey Lorraine

It’s 2021. Now what? Life is vastly different for everyone across the globe, and most importantly, for you. How do you pålan to navigate the many changes that lie ahead? Do you have a plan at all? If not, take heart. Miracles often come when we are about to give up and have no plan for the future, while at other times we think we have it all figured out and boom- an unforeseen event comes out of nowhere and totally upends our life. Nature is beautiful but brutal. The human species knows this more than any other living organism. While it’s true there are many things that out of your control, there are also many things that are. As your astrologer, I encourage you to be gentle yet tough on yourself, as this year the planets will make rare alignments that will stir up unprecedented alchemy. The materials? The heights of potential and the depths of reality. How can you strike a balance between infinite possibility and the limits of the material world? Make this your main aim for 2021, and no matter what trials and tribulations await you, with a spirit of dedication and faith, you will find your way. The Rare Winter Solstice Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 0 degrees of Aquarius 2021 will be extraordinary in an astrological sense because of a rare alignment that happens every two hundred years, which sets a new tone for society at large. This planetary alignment is called “The Great Conjunction”. This conjunction is exceptionally potent as it coincides with the winter solstice of 2020, setting the tone for 2021 and the next 200 years. A conjunction is when two planets, in this case the planets that govern society, namely Jupiter, and Saturn, meet at the exact same zodiac degree. This conjunction is “Great” in it’s rarity, as 34

it marks a transition from the element of earth to air, emphasizing a transition into an abundance of ideas, social evolution,, and technology. In this case, the conjunction takes place in this case, 0 degrees (the most potent degree) of Aquarius, the sign of collective vision, equal rights, and individuality. Aquarian virtues will be easily expressed through Saturn (the ancient ruler of Aquarius) and Jupiter. As the planet of expansion, religion, broadcasting, global outreach, morality, and the justice system, Jupiter is like the dancer who leaps so high you think she may disappear into the clouds. In the words of iconic choreographer Martha Graham: “ There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. Keep the channel open.” Jupiter’s buoyancy and optimism will help you with this. Saturn, on the other hand, is like Jupiter’s nemesis. Saturn goes by the book, and is the diehard conservative. Saturn loves to see you sweat, but if you work hard enough, you will be forever rewarded. Saturn is the voice of Debbie Allen’s character Lydia Grant in the iconic 80’s “Fame” television series: “You’ve got big dreams, you want fame. Well fame costs, and right here is where you start paying; in sweat.” So, what happens when these vastly different expression of Jupiter, ie. expansion, and Saturn, ie. restriction, come together? It’s very likely a year from now you will have your own answer that will be more accurate than any astrologer, economic expert, political commentator, or historian could come up with. How you can make the most of 2021 A simple yet foolproof strategy to approach the new year? Fly high, as long as you have the confidence to land on your feet! There is a great book on communiqué Magazine

confidence to help with this, as it debunks the myth of self-esteem and brilliantly lays out where genuine confidence comes from: “The Confidence Gap, from Fear to Freedom” by Russ Harris, and acclaimed ACT therapist and proponent of mindfulness. Mr. Harris’s book definitely speaks to the dichotomy between the symbolism of Saturn and Jupiter, and how to gently find your way through the darkness into vitality, and real results.

would treat your best friend, and you will learn many important things about what truly nurtures you.

Where is the meeting between the Stars in the Sky and the Diamonds in the rough?

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

What will your destination look like and where will you land in 2021? ARIES (March 21- April 19)

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) It’s time to get serious about play. A hobby you're passionate about can turn into a lucrative business, but you may have to face some limiting beliefs head on before can break through. Stick with it Libra, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Laying down roots will reveal the most beautiful cornerstone of your life, Scorpio. Making a deeper commitment to your family and loved ones will show what you're made of, and raise your emotional intelligence.

Think long term and look for new relationships with SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) those who think drastically different. Technology, social media, and collective vision will keep you on Sagittarius is the sign of knowledge. In 2021, you will be challenged to not only teach at the highest level, the fast track to success. but to learn, and grow. Exploit every opportunity to TAURUS (April 20 -May 20) expand your consciousness, and the power of your Aim for the pinnacle of greatness, especially in thoughts will yield impressive results. terms of your public image and or legacy. Your CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) professionalism will make you a standout in your What you most value will come into clear focus in chosen field. Now can build a lasting legacy. 2021. How can you honor and stand up for what’s so GEMINI (May 21-June 21) important to you? Take your time to prioritize, but Stretch your mind Gemini, and share your message boldly take action. Knowing exactly what you want far and beyond. A podcast or other media endeavor will speed up your success. will likely have legs that will guide you to an exciting AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) new life chapter. Watch out Aquarius. The Superhero in you is about CANCER (June 22-July 22) to come out! Your heroism will be on full display Go deeper Cancer, and you’ll directly access in 2021. Think for a moment about what you most untapped personal power. If you're experiencing a want to change in the world if you had the chance, great loss, consider counseling. Remember there is and the angels of synchronicity will follow your lead. great strength in vulnerability. Recommended read: PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”. Facing your deepest fears doesn’t always have LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) to be misery, Pisces. Infact, it can be a beautiful, Partnership will reveal your biggest blind spots. The enlightening life changing experience. Listen to more you risk, the more you will gain. the quiet voice within and let it lead you into the Have courage to face your inner fears as this will free darkness, stay quiet, and you will find the light. you to open your heart and do what Leo is known best for, expressing joy. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Make selfless service your priority, and your life will expand in magical ways. Treat yourself as you 35

Written by Joey Lorraine. Ms. Lorraine is a certified astrologer and dance artist who is the founder of Dancestrology. For Personal Readings or to follow her work go to, or communiqué Magazine

Prince Original: From Foster Care to Rocking the Mic Written by Saadia White

Prince Original, which is his legal name, is an Indie artist steadily making a name for himself in “the underground world of rap.” Native New Yorker Prince Original was born in the late 70s in the middle of a musical culture that has taken the world by storm−Hip Hop. Prince, a product of the foster care system throughout most of his childhood, allowed music 36

to be his turning point. He grew up in the 80s where hip hop became a major significance in his life and quickly became the cornerstone of inner city black young males. From street cyphers to rap groups and going on tours with legends such as “Ghost Face Killa” and others from the “Wu-Tang Clan”, Prince Original’s lyrical presence could not be overlooked. communiqué Magazine

SW: Prince, tell us how you first got into rap. What is your backstory? PO: Ok, that’s pretty simple. I grew up in the 80s so hip hop was always like a part of my life because I was always around it. Coming out in the streets with all the brothers that rhymed, I was around it, so you know I used to hear it a lot. Once I hit like the teenage years, me and my boys started going out in the streets, you know just rhyming. Going into the 90s, we actually just started street cyphers and then I was taking it more serious. I started promotions and I would say around late 90s. I started actually working with a professional Dee Jay named DJ J-Love, from Queens he was actually deejaying for Ghost Face Killa from the Wu- Tang Clan. Then I had the opportunity to be around Ghost Face Killa, going on tour with him and DJ J-Love. I had a chance to socialize more with hip hop itself, you know it was super inspirational when I met these super stars. SW: Before you got started, did you already have your name Prince Original? PO: My name is Prince Original, that’s my government name. My last name is “Washington” so it’s really Prisoner of War (he laughs a little). No, it's Prince Original Washington, but I have a song/album coming out called “P.O.W”, so Prince Original Washington is my actual government name. SW: What was the concept behind your first single/album release, and let me just be clear that was “One Life to Live?” PO: Yes, that was ma’am. My first single was “Sacrifice" and that song meant everything to me cause that song represents in life you have to choose what you want, what you love to do, and you really have to go for it. It’s going to be a sacrifice; it’s going to be some things you will have to let go, if you really want to do this. SW: So out of the songs that you produced thus far, which one is the most meaningful to you? PO: So, for me honestly, my new song “Stress Free,” happened at a time when we just learned of the coronavirus. It was a video I shot and there was just a lot of pressure going on you know with the mask at that time. And even though we are still under this pandemic, this was during the early 37

stages of it. So many people were stressed out… So we were able to really kind of express that in that song. SW: I sensed pain in some of your lyrics. Where did the pain come from? PO: My father at the time, he is gone now, he was you know involved in outside influences, which basically distorted his judgement and that caused a lot of problems with him and my mom which led to the scenario where the children had to be removed from the house. I was the oldest out of nine and we were placed in the foster care system. SW: Wow, you are the oldest. How old were you when they removed you from your home? PO: Probably my first time was when I was about eight years old, and then I went away for about two years and came back. Then I went back out at ten. I stayed from about ten to sixteen then I came back. So, you know, going through all of that gives you the space to create because you know you have to live life to get the experiences to write about. I really don’t even think the best of me has been delivered yet. I know it’s so much more I have in me, especially now that I am more mature as an artist that I can actually deliver the message better. SW: What does the next level look like for you? PO: The next level for me would look like, honestly, me just being freer to deliver my music. Like I said, that’s why I studied artists like Bob Marley, because he shows his songs are for a purpose. I’m not doing it for the financial gain or these corporations who will try to exploit me. I’m not in it for that; I can generate money on my own. That is how I’ve done it from the beginning and pretty much that’s how I intend to stay. Follow Prince Original on the following social media handles: Instagram: @princewashington17 @princeorigina @princeoriginalweaponry Facebook: @PrinceWashington

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A woman on the move who empowers and inspires others to make a change for living a healthy lifestyle. KATRINA L. SHAW Katrina has a passion for helping others. Her purpose in life is to use her gifted talent to be a blessing to others by letting God use her. Katrina’s passion for living a healthy lifestyle emerged seven years ago when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Her husband is also a Cancer survivor that was diagnosed a year before her. Both Katrina and her husband are now cancer-free. Katrina is a leader in her community, along with her husband, in the development of the Organic Community Garden where she has volunteers to plant and grow organic food. Katrina has used her pain for God’s purpose by starting her own business because she is passionate for helping others live a better life. She is CEO and Founder of MANE - Mammograms Are Not Enough, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization for breast cancer awareness. This organization provides and assists women who don’t have insurance or enough coverage to pay for extra diagnostic screening and other expenses associated with the disease. MANE offers educational resources to enlighten women of the importance of diagnostic screenings for early detection. During the pandemic, Katrina’s organization held various workshop series titled “ Living

Healthy and Wise”. As a breast cancer survivor Katrina was featured in Johns Hopkins Magazine, social media and website sharing her story titled “A Moment’s Notice” and she was featured in Speakers Magazine, the article is titled “You Are Braver Than You Believe”. She has also been interviewed on various podcast and online Christian TV shows sharing her story. Katrina serves as a Top Lead Legislative Ambassador in her Congressional District for The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) which is the nations largest Advocacy Cancer Organization. Katrina has an impact on showing others to live a healthy life through premium nutrition. She is a brand promoter for Thrive, an all-natural health and wellness product made by the company Le-vel. She is also a licensed Zin Zumba Instructor, showing women the importance of staying physically fit through having a balanced body. Katrina is a speaker and co-author of three books: Women Who Soar, Courageous Women Find Strength During the Storm II, and Unstoppable Warrior Woman. Katrina’s Chapters in the aforementioned books are listed below: Unshakable Faith From Pain to God’s Purpose From Breast Cancer Survivor to Breast Cancer Advocate Katrina is an HBCU graduate of Morgan State University and proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Contact: Katrina IG @maneincorg FB @mammogramsarenotenough 39

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Jody Watley

Entrepreneur | Grammy Award Winning Singer Songwriter | Producer written by C. NaTasha Richburg Jody Watley is a Grammy Award-winning artist and Billboard Music Awards lifetime Achievement Award winner who has also been nominated for American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and Soul Train Music Awards. First and foremost, however, she is an entrepreneur. Ms. Watley has a radiant positive presence with an attitude that inspires a smile among all who meet her. Her nourishing conversational tone washes away the day’s worries, because in her presence, there is peace. When asked, What season are you in? Ms. Watley said, “Spring, because I am always in bloom, along with Summer, because of the sunshine that reflects my positivity to encourage others to grow.” Her positive quotes; deemed by Ms. Watley as “Wattages” (, offer inspirational thoughts for her audience to ponder. For example: “Don’t wait until everything is perfect. The moment is always in the now. There will always be obstacles and challenges – so what? Get started. Life is always moving forward.” – Wattage! Ms. Watley’s love for reading, writing, and poetry draws from her urgency to “leave things that are not working for you.” She learned this lesson personally with the unexpected passing of her father, which occurred a year prior to the end of her association with the musical group Shalamar after 7 years.


Ms. Watley’s mom continues to lovingly remind her that, beginning at age 4, Ms. Watley proclaimed for all to hear that someday she would own a business. That notion was cultivated in her high school business class and later fostered in a business law course at college. Ms. Watley sought to stay on top of business dealings and never to lose sight of her personal goals. She became the founder and CEO of Avitone Records, and she said, “Starting my label in 1995 is consistent with my personality.” The independence associated with label ownership is hard work, though it gives her the freedom to release authentic music. Avitone’s mantra, “Fueling Quality Music,” is consistent with her stance on the importance of peace and positive living. Even with a positive outlook on life, she still faced common problems that business owners have to overcome. Yet Ms. Watley said, “never did I fixate on obstacles, I just focused on what needs to be done.” The global reach of Avitone includes licensing music to Universal Japan, Giant Step, Hed Kandi, Chillfunk, Ministry of Sound, Defected, Universal Japan, Sony Special Products, Logo TV, Nintendo, Revlon, Shanachie, Spectra Music and more ( Ms. Watley has a loving relationship with her mom in addition to raising two wonderful children, eating healthy food, and exercising; she is the picture of good emotional and physical health. Furthermore, Ms. Watley continually reads to feed her

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mind, since she knows the quest for knowledge is important. Ms. Watley is in tune with a healthy lifestyle and shared a tip with this interviewer to use “oregano oil mixed with a little water can help ease anxiety.” Proclaiming, “health is wealth,” Ms. Watley asserts that her entrepreneurial instinct motivates her to take charge of her destiny by focusing on the business of her music. Ms. Watley expressed, “there is a false misconception that if you don’t see an artist, they are not working, and often in this era the mainstream media may shy away if it's not tragedy or negative. ” Truth be told, she is continuously maintaining a very busy schedule. Ms. Watley has continued to expand her brand by culling through a set of photographs only to find a treasure of images associated with her 1987 solo debut album, “Jody Watley.” Ms. Watley’s business prowess and entrepreneurial foresight saw fit for her to own all photos and artwork associated with her album. Through her business savvy, these images were included in the content of an upcoming coffee table book scheduled to be released through the soon-tobe-established Jody Watley Publishing Company. Her note for new artists: own your imagery, music and as much as you can. In addition, Ms. Watley has a sanctuary candle and interior fragrance coming to market soon. When asked to give advice for the young entrepreneurs, Ms. Watley offered the following: Professionalism and work ethic are very important. Tenacity and endurance are a must. Be patient and keep going. Know what you want, and be open. Ms. Watley spoke at the 2020 Black Girls Rock! Online broadcast, to which one thousand girls tuned in, ranging in age from 13-18. “I was given an opportunity to encourage them, she said. That is an activity I would like to do more of.” Follow Ms. Watley on all social media platforms, or visit her website:

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Her smile is the light that many young ladies will look towards for years to come as Miss Florida for America, Carolyn Munson, is building a legacy that will carry on forever. Carolyn is a beautiful soul, and she stands firmly in her role. With two great causes, Carolyn stands at the forefront of helping others deal with bullying and grief. Carolyn placed 2nd runner up in her first pageant at 15 years old and that is the mark that officially began her pageant journey! The young teen was glorified with the embarkation of a journey filled with sisterhood, inspiration, and elite appointments that allow her to showcase her personality and beauty. Just a few short years prior to her achievement, Carolyn was struggling to “fit in” after being bullied terribly at the end of fifth grade. This led to her homeschooling for two years before heading back to the traditional classroom setting for eighth grade. Being raised to always believe in herself and her ability to achieve her goals, Carolyn flourished in high school and did not let her earlier experience in life hold her back. As a local titleholder and placing in the Top 15 twice at Miss Florida Teen USA, Carolyn worked hard to share her message of “Inner Majesty” and showing young ladies how to set goals, find their passion and develop a strong sense of self. Sharing her favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” leaves a lasting impression on her audience.

Carolyn Munson

Becoming Miss Florida for America was a twoyear journey for Carolyn. As Miss Martin County for America, she was honored to place first runner up in May 2019. At the time, Carolyn’s focus was on continuing her work with young ladies in her community, supporting Tim

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for America

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Tebow’s Night to Shine event (Carolyn has donated over 500 evening gowns to this cause) and remaining active with Macey’s Believers, which supports families with Type 1 diabetes. Little did she know that her world would be shattered less than a month after the pageant.

Dental Assistant, credits her 16 years of dance instruction, intensive pageant interview training and working with adolescents with giving her invaluable lifelong skills. She is looking forward to representing Florida in Las Vegas March 19-27 at the Miss for America finals!

On June 5, 2019 Carolyn unexpectedly lost her grandmother, her best friend, and number one fan. Carolyn was lost. After years of taking her grandmother grocery shopping, to hair and doctor appointments, lunch, sharing every detail about her days, and loving her endlessly, Grandma was gone. The days and weeks following were filled with necessary activities, planning the funeral, taking care of grandpa who had Parkinson’s, life, etc. What Carolyn did not realize was that grief had taken over her world and she was plunging deep into it. She suddenly felt like sleeping all day, was angry, eating nonstop, and crying herself to sleep. It was when a friend told her about the stages of grief that she realized what was happening to her. Carolyn knew at that moment her focus had shifted to assisting adolescents with the stages of grief. It became her mission. As Miss Treasure Coast for America, she was honored to attend the first Victoria’s Voice gala held in Las Vegas. Victoria’s Voice Foundation, founded by David and Jackie Seagal, honors their daughter Victoria, who they lost to a drug overdose. It was here that Carolyn also realized grief comes in so many forms, whether it is losing someone, something, a marriage, a job, etc. Then it happened, again. Grief returned on May 1, 2020 when Carolyn lost her grandfather, just 11 months after her grandmother. This time though, she was prepared with the tools needed to work through her grief process and was able to avoid plunging into the deep darkness that once encompassed her. She was able to return to the Miss Florida for America stage and win her dream title! As Miss Florida for America, Carolyn has partnered with the Mark Wandall Foundation which provides support for adolescents and their families who have been affected by grief. She is a Comfort Zone Camp Buddy with the Foundation and is looking forward to serving as a buddy the weekend of April 30th. In addition, she continues her work with local children and families. Carolyn, a Pediatric


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Kiheenia Pelius


Skinny Girl Stuck in a Fat Girl’s Body


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Written by Saadia White

How far would you go to stop your parents from violently arguing and fighting? Would you overeat and then make yourself vomit? This was an all too normal action for six-year-old Brooklyn born Kiheenia Pelius. Once her parents started fighting, Kiheenia would eat until she felt sick enough to vomit and gain her parents’ attention.

wore the latest jewelry, and even wore gold teeth to fit in with the popular crowd. She succeeded but continued to “eat away” her emotions. Deep down inside, she still struggled with her childhood trauma that was never properly addressed. She told herself that she was a beautiful person with a loving heart and her weight didn’t matter. However, her positive self-talk had no real impact on how she really felt about herself in personal relationships, especially while she was out with her skinny girlfriends.

I can recall several incidents of physical altercations that would result in me overeating and then throwing up to make the fighting I always knew I had a huge heart, a loving stop. heart, but my outside … Many nights I would stare into the mirror and cry as I pulled at the Kiheenia Pelius knew early on that she didn’t look fat on my body. I was a skinny girl stuck in a like other children her age. As the youngest child fat girl’s body and I just wanted to fit in and and only girl out of six children, she struggled be normal like everyone else. with her weight from age six into adulthood. Never realizing that she had an emotional eating Society portrays beauty as if you are not paper disorder originating from her childhood, Kiheenia thin, you are not worth anything, and that is was constantly ridiculed about her weight by how I felt growing up. Even as an adult, I felt her peers and siblings. She had a severe body like I was not worth anything and it caused complex, which caused her to eat even more, to me to connect myself with certain men that I soothe her feelings of sadness and depression. should have never allowed myself to be with Food became her best friend. … I didn’t love myself enough to know that I Having no interest in what her peers or siblings were doing activity-wise, Kiheenia felt as though her parents did not understand the magnitude of what she experienced as a child struggling with her weight. “I felt invisible. As big as I was, I still felt like no one saw me.” At the age of sixteen, she realized how overweight she was but did not know what to do about it. Her family never spoke about her weight as being an issue, even though it was clear she desperately needed to lose weight.

was worth more at that time. Now married and trying to conceive, doctors continuously told Kiheenia and her husband that because of her weight childbearing would be impossible. When doctors suggested that she consider having a hysterectomy, she was devastated. She and her husband experienced several miscarriages along the way and she began to believe the fate the doctors had spoken over her life.

But in 2003, Kiheenia Pelius started to lose During her high school years, Kiheenia made weight,75 pounds as a matter of fact and friends with everyone, dressed in trendy clothing, managed to keep the weight off for a little over 45

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a year. But in 2004, when she unexpectedly became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl K’Mya, a botched Caesarean led her weight to become more of an issue. Kiheenia had to undergo multiple surgeries and was placed on bed rest for several months. Suffering from postpartum depression and the shame of gaining all her weight back, Kiheenia would reach her highest weight of 375lbs on her 5’5 frame. During that time, she was left to care for her baby alone due to her and her husband’s separation. Not only was I depressed, but I also suffered with PTSD and post-partum depression ... They botched my C-section and when I came out of the hospital, I was unable to become the mother I always dreamed of being. Kiheenia had over 50 surgeries, which led to her becoming legally disabled at age 34. Being deemed physically and legally disabled caused a downward spiral and deeper depression.

was critical to her long-term success. Surgery helps you to change a lot of aspects of your life, but the counseling the support groups help you learn ways to transition into these changes. Weight loss surgery became the beginning of a healthier lifestyle, transformed mindset, and overall new life for Kiheenia Pelius. January 6, 2021 will make seven years since Kiheenia had her gastric sleeve surgery. She has loss over 175lbs but it remains to be a constant struggle not only physically but more so mentally. Kiheenia shared that doctors don’t inform patients of the mental challenges post weight loss surgery. She has several Facebook inspirational support groups for women who are going through the weight loss process. She has recently fulfilled her dream of becoming a chef and opening a catering business, A Little Bit of Everything Cuisine, LLC, preparing healthy meals of all kinds.

I love what I do. There is a passion for it and I That title killed my spirit−legally disabled. I know that food is love and that’s what makes was a go-getter and, after hearing the words the food come out great. ‘legally disabled,’ it made me feel as though there was nothing left of me in life. I would My inspiration behind everything in my life never have the chance to achieve any of at this point has been my daughter K’Mya... my goals or follow my dreams because I am I wanted her to know I was in this fight for the long haul, so anything she wants to do, damaged. become, or believe in, she can do, become, After speaking to several medical professionals, and be. Kiheenia Pelius decided to see if she fit the medical criteria for weight loss surgery. Her weight and health issues qualified her for the surgery, which became a long physical and mental process. Her Follow Kiheenia Pelius’ journey on Instagram at: surgeon required her to lose weight and see their therapist during the process. Losing 80 pounds @alilbitofeverythingcuisinellc before her surgery, Kiheenia shared that having @mzkikigetsfit a support system during her weight loss journey 46

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Vernee Pryor Weight Wasn’t the Only Thing I Lost Written by Saadia White As she begins to reveal her innermost dark secrets, Vernee Pryor starts to cry. Adopted by a loving family member, Vernee shares how she overcame two major hurdles in her life−addiction to crack cocaine and food. Born in Newark, New Jersey on November 8, 1966, Vernee Pryor was one out of six children. She was adopted by a family member early on and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She lived a sheltered life in a two-parent household with elderly parents. She was raised in the church and not allowed to mingle with the neighborhood kids. Her childhood consisted of home, school, and church. Vernee never understood why she was the only child out of all her other siblings to be put up for adoption. She grew up with feelings of rejection, which followed her into adulthood and left her seeking attention. She craved to be accepted and made friends with whomever she thought was the “in-crowd.” She would become the life of the party by supplying their drugs and eventually becoming 48

hooked on them herself. Her addiction to crack cocaine would disrupt 25 years of her life and lead to a life of homelessness and losing her children to the system. Vernee admitted that she chose to be homeless to be around the people who were like her−drug addicts. She spent a large part of her life trying to fight her addiction, entering rehab over and over again. She shared this touching memory of the last rehab facility she was in: I was in a rehab facility and I would read a lot... One night, I read the (NA book) and the next day, during the class, I became upset because I realized the instructor was only speaking to us from the book’s perspective. She did not have a personal journey to share with us. She asked us what we were going to do when we left the building. How were we going to find a job? I raised my hand and said to her, “I don’t feel that this is a fair question to ask us...Have you ever been on drugs before?” I held up the (NA book) and said, “I can tell you everything out of this book communiqué Magazine

you want to hear to make you think that when I leave here I will not use any more drugs...Why? Because I’m giving you the book answer that you already know...” “Let's put the book down and get into the reality about this thing called ‘crack’ ... Do you know how it feels to be a fiend, anxious about getting high? Not having anything to steal to sell, we sell our bodies ... Do you know about that? We take chances when we get into a car, not knowing if we are going to make it back just to score $20-$30 and do it all over again... Do you know about that? I can tell you what I need to do to stay clean, but unless I am removed from the environment that led me to the drugs … I may deny the dope man once and even twice, but on that third time, I’m going to holla at him.” Needless to say, the instructor was highly offended and took me to the administrators' office and told them I was disrespectful and out of line. They knew me and knew me well enough that I was being me (the real Vernee) ... These rehab facilities will not work until you, the addict, decides to transform your thinking. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 85 percent of individuals relapse within a year of treatment. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, two-thirds of individuals return to drug use within weeks of beginning addiction treatment. The most common reasons for relapse are the temptations and lack of a positive environment (Ashley Addiction Treatment). Mrs. Pryor’s turning point came on New Year's Eve 2009 when the Lord spoke to her as she went to get high. She went straight from the crack house to her boyfriend (now her husband) and told him to please take her to church with him. On that New Year’s Eve night, she remembered the Pastor’s sermon, “Don’t let your past determine your destiny.” She knew that sermon was meant for her ears and it was there that she rededicated her life to Christ. She went into 2010 with a desire to be better and do better and she did. Vernee pursued a career as a caregiver and has remained clean for eleven years. 49

However, drugs would not be the only addiction in her life. As she was healing from her life of drug addiction, the pain on the inside was too much to bear. Vernee dulled and soothed her pain through food, a second addiction that she would have to overcome. At only 5’6 and weighing in at 268lbs, she described herself as having “small stilt-like legs with an enormous abdomen overlapping her knees.” She was depressed and still holding onto the fear of rejection, knowing that it was not in her best interest to associate with her old friends. She felt alone and, once again, felt like she didn’t fit in. Food became her comfort and crutch, almost destroying her career. Vernee Pryor gained so much weight that there wasn’t much cartilage left in her knees and it became difficult for her to walk and care for others as a caregiver. She sought medical advice and elected to undergo surgery with one of South Carolina’s top surgeons. Her surgery was a success, but Mrs. Pryor knew that she would also have to transform her thinking as it pertained to food. She attributes overcoming her addictions to the strong relationship she has with Christ and her husband who stood by her when she was at her worst. Mr. Pryor looked past her demons and loved the light he knew she had on the inside. She leaves the following words to encourage readers and anyone struggling with addiction: Because of God, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Keep the faith and your will power and know that, no matter what your situation is, no matter where you are in life, you can always do better and be better with Christ in your life. communiqué Magazine


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Model: Brian David Photography: Perris Hull IG@Thesebastianeffectphotography


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Model: Brian David Photography: Perris Hull IG@Thesebastianeffectphotography

The next few pages are some of our staff picks from 2020. Enjoy! Corretta L. Doctor, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

The next few pages are some of our staff picks from 2020.


Corretta L. Doctor, Founder and Editor-in-Chief


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T ina Lifford 53

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‘Forever is a Lie’

Written by Corretta L. Doctor July | August 2020 Issue

communique’ Magazine is excited to give you a closer look at one of the most dynamic women in our world, Tina Lifford. The Hollywood veteran and award-winning actress is CEO of The Inner Fitness Project, an initiative committed to making the practices and benefits of ‘inner fitness’ as familiar, well understood, and actionable as those of ‘physical fitness’. Tina’s journey is big, colorful, and her festive smile is contagious. You need to know Tina Lifford. When Tina Lifford is not fulfilling the role of Violet Bordelon, on OWN’s ‘Queen Sugar’, an original drama series by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, she is fulfilling the lives of men and women across the globe through The Inner Fitness Project. Viewers love everything about ‘Aunt Vi’. We love everything about Tina and her ability to change lives. There is a parallel between the strong character of Aunt Vi and the distinct presence of Tina Lifford and her commitment to inner fitness; we highly respect both. My experiences have taken me through a series of places in life where I have needed help to balance my life and here is what I have found to be true. A coach guides and awakens what is already inside of you, using constructive emotion. A teacher brings education, understanding, and new skillsets using constructive criticism. A friend listens and responds with compassion and makes you feel safe while you share private words and thoughts. These three elements culminate into a well-balanced life coach that is committed on improving your personal growth, your healing process, and above all a life coach genuinely wants to see you win.

is not just for people that are hurting. The need for information and understanding is impactful in your life. It is real and relevant wherever you are on the spectrum of wellness. If you are a human being, you need to have the information about inner fitness.” Tina acknowledges that we all have nervous systems that have evolved from a very intricate and efficient survival system. Tina has been blessed with a way of seeing that helps her decode experience, and she knows that she is not unique in her emotional makeup. Tina creates opportunities through The Inner Fitness Project to disseminate information that has been helpful to her. She always helps from a gentle heart that recognizes that no-one is broken, and we are all here to lift one another up. Forever is a lie. Tina’s book, ‘The Little Book of Big Lies’ fully explains, and teaches, the meaning of that statement and why you need to investigate it further. “Not all lies are equal” says Tina. The chapter, ‘The Truth About Lies’, will help you understand why forever is a lie and will give you a clear understanding how to discover underlying lies that impact your circumstances. Tina’s book teaches readers that if we look closely at the things that scare us or make us feel overwhelmed to the point of giving up, we will find a lie that is holding us down. The book tells us that we can improve our SELF if we know what to look for.

I read ‘The Little Book of Big Lies’ and then I listened to the audio book that is read by Tina. I encourage you to do both. Reading the book gave me an understanding of Tina’s teachings. Hearing the book, made me put her teachings into action. I asked Tina if her target audience is made up of I am a listener and a student of things that can people that are hurting. Tina replied, “Inner fitness improve my wholeness. Tina’s voice carries a tone 54

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of calmness and truth. I believed the words that I heard and immediately changed my thinking. This book became the voice I needed to hear while learning my way through some hard lessons. Tina’s book has eased the pain I was bringing on myself. This book taught me to discover what was already in existence, it helped me discover the best of me. ‘The Little Book of Big Lies’ is a book that everyone needs to own. Self-Discovery communique’ Magazine: In self-discovery do you recommend that we look at both the good and not so good in ourselves? Tina: Yes. Self-awareness leads to change. You cannot change what you cannot see. Creating the ‘muscle’, the skillset of being able to better see ‘self’ puts you in a position of literally seeing ‘self.’ Seeing what you do, how you think, seeing your default reaction, seeing your beliefs and when you take your seeing and you match it up with your desires for your life, you then have a clear picture of where your attention needs to be placed. Tina does not use the terms good/bad or positive/ 55

negative. She explains, “We are in the habit of judging ourselves and we default to that so quickly that I don’t recommend judgement, and comparison is a great way to judge.” When learning about our true SELF, we cannot use terms such as good or bad or looking at the positive side versus the negative side because those are judgements. “To encourage judgement, good or bad, is really to keep that ‘something’s wrong’ and ‘against me’ mindset going in some way”, Tina adds. There is no reason to identify a ‘great good’ or a ‘bad negative’ in anything, or especially not in anyone. When working on our SELF and preparing to learn more about who we are and why life is the way it is, we should not look at ourselves as I have ‘this much good’ or ‘that much bad’. We have to look at the WHOLE situation without judging its characteristics. Tina tells us, “I start with the premise that we all are innately creative, resilient, and empowered to see how we create and respond whole and worthy; that is how we came here. We have become disconnected from that truth of who we are, and that disconnection has distorted our ability to see our selves clearly. communiqué Magazine

a series of ‘inner fitness workouts’ in her virtual fitness studio. I attended Wellness Wednesday a few times and it was a very enlightening experience for me. I appreciated being in a virtual room that begins with Tina welcoming everyone and acknowledging the attendees. Then there is a relaxation technique for deep breathing and a stretch exercise for our neck and shoulders. I experienced so much peace from the virtual room where people from around the country check in and connect. The live interaction with Tina is always calming and feels like a soothing relief for any troubles in my spirit. The wrap-up at the end of the session kickstarted my next-level thinking. Between March and July, Tina is in New Orleans filming ‘Queen Sugar’. This year’s schedule is different because of the quarantine and work on the set is shutdown as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Tina has more time to do things she enjoys around her home. She likes to hike and allows the time spent on the canyon hills and slopes to become the backdrop for her creative flow. She thinks and prepares for her next sessions while on the hills that she loves hiking on. When I Asked Tina how she winds down, her response made me chuckle. “I am never really wound up.” Tina also says that her day is filled The work is to begin to see the ways in which we with peace. She ‘binge watches’ on comedy series do not honor or live from our true identity”. when she does look at television, but usually her Commitment and Clarity home is quiet without sound, including her car Tina’s days start early. She always awakens by six rides. She does not play music while driving. She in the morning with a clear sense of gratitude and commands peace and gets it. excitement. Gratitude is her way of being. “There Tina has actively been working on her inner fitness is always some thought of ‘inner fitness’ on my for 40 years. Her commitment to inner fitness mind when I wake up”, Tina says. She relies on her guides her entire life. She is committed. It is your sleeping hours to support this uncommon mystical turn. Choose inner fitness and balance your life. journey to where inner fitness is concerned Be committed to uncovering your true SELF and because there is no road map and she is totally loving every part of it. following the compulsion that lives inside of her. Visit and join The Inner She is committed every hour of her day. Fitness Project today. A typical day for Tina includes Zoom meetings, team For Media Inquiries, contact Squire Media & meetings, ideation sessions, and vision planning Management, Inc. for The Inner Fitness Project and studio. Tina hosts 56

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Dr.Mathew Knowles :

“Racism from the Eyes of a Child” 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 multifaceted. 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 Trin-I-Tee 5:7. I do way, 58

way more than just Beyoncé and Solange and, quite frankly, I do very, very little of that today.” Dr. Mathew Knowles is also a Ph.D., historian, professor, lecturer, prolific author, and a recent cancer survivor; all facets of this multi-dimensional giant not generally known to the public. He has been a college professor for twelve years, 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, communiqué Magazine

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.

clubs, electric prodders, and dogs; that’s how they treated us, like animals! And we ran! We ran back to Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, which wasn’t far from the courthouse, maybe about twenty minutes away. We got back to the church around 11 PM and then the State Troopers surrounded the church for three or four hours. We were frightened to get out! Some people never made it into the church and they were beaten and arrested. But that’s just one time of many that I remember.”

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.

Dr. Knowles also described a night when he was about six years old. His mother had taken him and his older brother to visit their grandmother. An argument ensued between his mother and grandmother and his mother angrily left the house with the two boys in tow. There were no street lights and the only light came from the stars in the inky black sky. Mathew’s mother stiffened as she saw lights approaching down the pitch-black road. She quickly told the boys to get off the road and lay in the grass. She then lay down on top of them to shield their bodies. She whispered to his brother that if anyone approached, he was to take Mathew, slide under the wire fence, and run across the field! Mathew found out later that the men approaching were Ku Klux Klan members on their way to a rally! Just think, if they had been caught, who knows what would have happened. One thing is certain, women and children were also among the “Strange Fruit” found hanging from the trees in Alabama!

“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.” Dr. Knowles stated insightfully, “When I talk about “This night was a hot night and we were singing. racism from the eyes of a child, I’ve looked racism We were always singing our freedom songs like in the eye! A lot of you are too young, or have We Shall Overcome.” Dr. Knowles paused at the never had the real experience of the South back in vividness of the memory, then continued. “Boy, this the ’50s and ’60s! You don’t know what that type is really taking me back! I remember from out of of racism looks like. Still, we’ve absolutely made nowhere, from both corners of the building, the first advances! I remember “Colored” bathrooms and thing I saw were these shiny silver helmets. Then, water fountains. I remember going to the back of all of a sudden, these men were upon us. They restaurants with my parents. We would drive our car were beating us and electric prodding us. Electric around the back. We would get out of the car and prodding was a big thing in Alabama. It was like a they had a window at the back of the restaurant. Billy club, but it had batteries and had an electric We would go up to the window and ring the bell. circuit at the end. Guess you could call it a first- Finally, when they had finished with the White generation taser. The dogs came as well because people, they would come to the window and ask they always came with the State Troopers. Billy what we wanted to order. Then we would order and 59

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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.”

get back in the car and wait until it was ready. By the way, that’s how the drive-through that we know today was conceived. It was conceived through racism!”

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 mid2000’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 Knowles went on to describe how he helped integrate survivor of male breast cancer for almost a year. This schools from elementary level, through college. He is a subject that is not spoken about widely by men due to the belief that this form of cancer only affects continued earnestly, women. “I never went to a Black school! My mother went to high school with Coretta King and Andrew Young’s “I have a platform and I’m grateful to be able to wife in a little town in Marion, Alabama. When she speak with many people and share my experiences. came to Gadsden, which at the time was the fourth My passion is to educate and motivate in the music largest city in Alabama, she brought this energy, this business, entrepreneurship, and health and wellness. awareness, this conviction of desegregation. She Also just in Blackness; giving a historical perspective always wanted the best for her three children. My of where we come from. In one of my books, The brother is nine years older than me, and my sister Emancipation of Slaves Through Music, I describe is nine years younger. So I went to a Catholic, White the slaves’ journey coming from Africa and spending elementary school. Then I went to Litchfield Junior two years in the hull of the ship. Black people got High School. There were about 1,000 White kids and confused and thought because they were Africans, there were 6 of us Blacks. Gadsden High had about they could communicate. But no, Africa has 54 2,500 White students and about 17 Blacks. The countries, multiple tribes, and multiple religions. 60

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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 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 61

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 all-in 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!” communiqué Magazine

Nkechi Designs:

Fashion that Provides Financial Independence At a Time When it is Needed the Most By Alesha Brown


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We all love retail therapy, but when you can shop, be fashion-forward, and help to provide economic independence for the hands that craft your purchase, it is a win-win! Look no further than Nkechi Designs. Nkechi Designs, true to its advertising, is fashion for the culture. The company specializes in Afrocentric clothing and accessories made in Africa or the African Diaspora. All fabrics that the company uses are hand-selected from many regions throughout Africa. Nkechi Designs has a partnership with a group of talented artisans and designers that handcraft the beautiful items it offers.

percent either self-employed or working in a family business versus 60 for men) limits their capacity to cope, especially in situations of limited public services. Even if women in eastern, central, and western Africa are mostly employed in the agricultural sector, the vulnerabilities associated with their employment mean that they are in fact the working poor. For those women in the formal sector, typically in northern and southern Africa, support requires special attention to protection of jobs

The exquisite designs and merchandise play a major role in the financial wellbeing of indigenous artisans, who through this partnership, are finding their way to economic independence. With the increased popularity of its beautiful crafts, Nkechi Designs will be able to quicken the path to economic independence for its artisans. Owner Leticia Clark-Nweze’s business launch could not have come at a better time. According to Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Regional Bureau for Africa (Eziakonwa 1): 80 percent of incomes in Africa’s informal sector were lost in just the first month of COVID 19—and not everyone could return to work. UNDP research confirms that we are witnessing the first global reversal of human development since 1990. And as Africa’s economies continue to contract, jobs and livelihoods dry up, causing poverty, hunger, and hardship to spike. The self-employed nature of most female-dominated businesses (80 63

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in manufacturing, tourism, accommodation, and hospitality.

her son and left school after completing two years.

Owner Leticia Clark-Nweze knows the importance of economic independence from her own life:

• She contracted COVID and wondered if she would survive.

• At age 17, she became a teen mom.

• She launched Nkechi Designs this year during the pandemic.

• She went to college but decided to focus on 64

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Leticia and her husband traveled to Nigeria in December 2018 and January of 2020. After witnessing all the beautiful artistry and bright colored fabrics, her vision of a clothing line was formed. With her husband’s knowledge and connections in Nigeria and her eye for art, her business came to fruition. Nkechi Designs officially launched during the pandemic in March of 2020 and has become an online clothing store that is sourced out of Ghana and Nigeria. At only 39 years old, Leticia Clark-Nweze is an artistic and fashion-forward entrepreneur that is making her mark by creating a diversified, vivid image for new generations of women to come. To purchase your handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, fashion-forward pieces including customized orders, visit Finally, retail therapy that not only ensures you look and feel good but creates economic independence for those who make what you purchase. Make sure you follow the brand on:

• •

Instagram: @Nkechi_designs Facebook: @Nkechi Designs

Leticia spent almost twenty years as a correctional officer to provide a better life for her and her son and escape poverty from working minimum wage positions. Even after the launch of her international fashion company, Leticia works as a substitute teacher to supplement her income and brand. But Leticia knows how the support from the matriarch of her family, education, and career opportunities all helped her get to where she is now. Many of the artisans that the company partners with to produce its exquisite handcrafted pieces are not afforded such opportunities. The solution to bridging the gap? Nkechi Designs. 65

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Forged in the Fire This is What I Was Made For Written by Blaise Hunter Have you ever felt beaten up by the storms of life? Have you ever pleaded with God to make it stop? This is my journey of transforming from a firefighter to a mighty weapon.

mother of purpose and breaker of chains. For most of my life, I believed the lie I was unworthy and had no purpose. I allowed the fires of life to destroy me rather than strengthen me. I resented the flames and questioned why I was facing such devasting blows.

My name is Blaise Hunter. I am an author, international speaker, award winning advocate, fertility ex- Then everything shifted when I came across a quote pert, 2020 Women of Inspiration award nominee, by Sherrilyn Kenyon. “Strength through adversity. 66

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were the catalyst to me walking through the fire and becoming my own hero. Self-hatred is gradual and eats away at your soul. There wasn’t one major event that made me feel unworthy, it was many moments built up over time. The traumas and tragedies scorched my voice and hammered away my power. I lost myself and misplaced my purpose. It all began when my house burned down when I was 17 years old. This was my first taste of the molten heat. An inferno stole the structure of my life and left me feeling unsafe. For years I would choke on the emotional smoke. I didn’t know how to deal with this traumatic event, and it started to chip away at my spirit. I was lost and needed comfort. So, I sought refuge in men who in turned abused me emotionally, mentally, and physically. Each relationship chained me more to the idea I am not loveable.

The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell. It is pounded and struck repeatedly before it's plunged back into the molten fire. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength. Those two Then at 22, my dad couldn’t see his worth and dethings make the metal pliable and able to withstand cided to run from his pain. He faked his own death. He made us believe he drowned in the frigid waevery battle it's called upon to fight.” ters. Hundreds of people scoured the shore searchLike a sword, this is what I had to endure to harness ing for him. We dragged the river for three days my power. We all have a unique destiny. When we before accepting he was gone. The flames grew. face the fire, breakthrough begins. The flames burn The most important man in my life abandoned me. away the things that no longer serve us. I needed This devasting event destroyed me and left me with to learn the flames weren’t there to obliterate me third degree burns and ugly scars. In a twist of fate, but rather shape me. Self-hatred was a fire I fought he couldn’t go through with it. My father returned tirelessly. I was stuck in a pattern of emotional cut- home. Only now can I see how incredibly brave he ting. Low self-esteem followed me like a lost pup- was for coming back. However back then, we were py throughout my childhood and clung to me as filled with humiliation. a woman. I allowed it to chase me because deep down I believed I wasn’t good enough. I was at war On the outside we were one happy family but, on the inside, we were broken. The fire of depreswith myself. sion branded us to be social lepers. We were left The ember of low self-worth grew into a fire of to feel ashamed of a man battling his demons and illness. I developed a disease called Churg-Strauss. faced the stigma of mental health issues. I masked For years I tried to put out the flames, but nothing up my pain and internalized it. I punished myself. I could stop the wildfire inside my body. “You have loathed the heat and resented the blows. I withdrew an auto-immune disease, where your body physical- further from the fire. However, when we don’t deal ly attacks itself.” “Do you think there’s a link with with our emotions and learn to accept the flames, your disease and the fact that you hate yourself so they will eventually deal with you. Two years later I much?” Those profound words made by a friend developed this life-threatening disease. The burns 67

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consumed me, and I couldn’t see through the smouldering maze. I felt if I could project perfection and mask up my agony, then I could survive it. The problem with that mentality is, you will never thrive. Enduring the beatings, the heat, and the flames shattered me even more. In 2013 I received a ray of hope when my baby girl was born. She was the light that pierced the darkness and showed me what unconditional love means. God knew I needed her love to bring me to the other side of hell. I fight through the flames for her. Three years later, I experienced my first miscarriage. Lies flooded my mind again and I thought agony was my life sentence. I spiralled into a deep depression and thought my baby girl would be better off without me. I was an unworthy woman and now an unworthy mother. Each devasting punch caused me to retreat. I still couldn’t see these blows were there to help me. Then a defining moment changed the trajectory of my life. I went to a church meeting where a woman healing minister was going to be, and I felt drawn to go. I said a prayer to God, “If there’s any hope for my life, please God, give me a sign.” In the middle of the service, the woman stopped and said someone was drawing on her so much she couldn’t continue. She walked over to me and told me, “God hears your cry. He sees your pain. 68

The tears will end. Joy will come and you will write a book about it.” That was my sign! Hope reminded me my life wasn’t over, and I still had purpose. The fire was there to build resilience and power within. What I didn’t know is that I needed that sign of hope to carry me through more traumas and torment. I ended up having a collapsed lung while pregnant. communiqué Magazine

I needed an emergency chest tube and a three-hour ambulance ride. I battled for my life and fought to keep my baby alive. My body couldn’t hang on though – another miscarriage. The flames of grief burned deep. This time was different though. Instead of resisting the firestorm, I stepped further into the blaze. This led me to write through my pain. I took those encouraging words from that minister and I birthed my book. Another blow was about to test my commitment to resiliency yet again. While writing my book, I experienced a third miscarriage. This was my transformation. I knew I could push past the suffering and rise through the ashes. This is what I was made for. I had set out what I wanted to do. Even though I had struggled to birth another baby, I was not barren. I began to birth my purpose and a Heroine was born. I realized if I hadn’t gone through all those fires, I wouldn’t have ever authored my book and rewritten my narrative. Heroine: Embrace Your Flaws & Own Your Awesome is the ultimate love story that embodies women empowerment. My story inspires people to draw their swords and breathe fire on this world. It shines a light on the issues women face and shares how to find freedom in the flaws. Through this remarkable message of self-love, imperfectly perfect motherhood, and fertility struggles, I demonstrate how to lean into the pain and let it become your gift to the world. Resiliency is the greatest legacy to leave behind.

and we smashed the glass ceiling on taboo topics. I began speaking on stages around the world and in schools. Vulnerability is what connects the shred of collective experience that strengthens the line. I started out to find my purpose and it ended up becoming a movement. From my pain I birthed The Footprints Infertility & Pregnancy Loss Support Initiative. I give a voice to parents and make our angel babies count. For the first time in my life I let people see me. I let them see through me, and what they saw wasn’t perfect, but it was heroine. I have risen from the ashes and I breathe fire for me and for my daughter. I went through the fires of hell to go get the keys and free myself from the prison I was dying in. I recovered the keys to unlock the shackles holding women back. Now I break silence barriers on forbidden issues and cause positive change. I brought myself back from the dead. I am still walking out my healing and believing for my baby, but I stand tall upon the ashes. My identity and my purpose were fashioned by the flames. I no longer question the blows, instead I welcome them. Because this is what I was made for. I am strength. I am swift. I am flexible. I am mighty. I choose life not death. I am Blaise Hunter. “She laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; She does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against her side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement she eats up the ground; she cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.” Job 39:22

After I released the book, it became evident this To learn more about Blaise Hunter and her Heroine was my path. Women joined my Heroine Movement Movement, visit 69

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


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In her adult years Colleen developed the desire to be a well-known 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.

came to a complete end along with her dreamsor so she thought.

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 Colleen struggled all of her life, as early as age five, with sadness. She did not let her beginning she didn’t have the ideation of death at her own hands….until suddenly she could no dictate her destiny. Although she had a bleak longer hide behind the ‘half smile’. At age 26 outlook, the future through glazed and tearful Collen attempted suicide. Attempted is the key eyes can seem like a dead end. Your view on word here. She survived. Survival is the most the road ahead is blocked. But with the right important word now. The world around her was help, you can begin to see how your trials and happy that she survived, her family and friends troubles will help to heal someone else. praised Colleen for pulling through the lowest Can you imagine being a preschooler that is sad point of her life, but Colleen’s ‘half frown’ was all of the time? Can you imagine feeling isolated still there. Soon after she realized her success and pulled away from the people and things you in surviving, her life became more complicated are supposed to love? A pretty little girl with half and her sadness, depression, and low selfof a smile and half of a frown can give everyone esteem turned to anger. She was angry that she around a confused perception. Little Colleen survived. was stuck between quiet tears of joy and secret In and out of hospitals, in and out of therapy tears of sadness. Looking back from a clinical and up and down with her emotions, Colleen standpoint, we know that it was more than was not getting better. She had to get better, just a feeling, Colleen was depressed. At age but the in and out and unresolved issues just 6 Colleen suffered the devastating loss of her were not working for her – absolutely nothing grandfather Willis. He made Colleen feel good was working. about life, he protected her against anything, and he gave her a safe feeling. He was like a During her weakest point, Colleen got stronger. superhero to this emotionally shaken young girl She realized what she needed and figured and the day he died Colleen started to show her out that if she could become her own best feelings more and more. People took note, but cheerleader, she could certainly encourage weren’t equipped to fully understand or help others. In the pits of her hell arose an eagle of her. The death of her grandfather, who was her wit, assurance, and a refined goal to position best friend, engraved a destructive pattern in herself to be ‘somebody’s somebody’ in their her emotions and through life she never forgot times of peril. In December 2014 Colleen was the day that the kind world he created for her 71

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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 72

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, communiqué Magazine

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 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 73

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 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 selfcare. 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 or on her Facebook page, Connections Wellness and Life Coaching, LLC. communiqué Magazine

Credits Table of Contents – Pages 1, 6-9, and Credits Page Images Charlotte Hazard Photographer: Nathan Pearcy @npearcypics MUA: @elledaniels Hair: Tamarrian Myrick @the_hairloss_strategist Pages Page 10, 11-bottom Models: Jeff & Aisha Butler Jazzy Studios Page 11-top Photo Credit: Jeff Butler Page 12 Photo Credit: Aisha Butler Page 13 Bottom Left- Aisha Butler Bottom Right – Jeff Butler Pages 30-32 Peculiar Images by RJ Page 44, 47 Kiheenia Pelius Photographer: Marlo Jones, PictureMePicture Perfect, LLC. Page 53, 57 Tina Lifford Photographer: Kauwuane Burton


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Page 55 Photography: OWN Communications ‘Queen Sugar’ Pages 70, 72 Colleen MacDonald Photographer: Kristen Elaina Kristen Elaina Photography Back Cover: Model: Sarah Jirgal Photographer: Jerry A. Barnes MUA: Ty Yanna Hill Stylist: JABarnes Photography LLC Acworth, GA IG @jaybarnesphotography 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. Front Cover Design Brandon Jolly Layout Design: Flatworld Solutions


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Model: Sarah Jirgal Photography: JABarnes Photography LLC