Contents Table of
Rich Relationships with Gil & RenĂŠe Beavers
The Power and Tenacity of Friendship
Spice It Up...
Why I Stayed & How It Almost Killed Me
Finding Love after a Devastating Loss
Van Miller International
Revealing the Layers of Truth
You. Have. Cancer.
Rodrick T. Miller, CEO
JABarnes Photography LLC
Richard. That's It. Richard.
Chef Tasha RobertsCreole Cuisine
Chef Angela Chester-Johnson
From Shackled to Free
Pastor Karri Turner: Resilience
The Social Experience
Isaac Solomon Parham
From the Editor Although we would like to forget a lot of things that took place in 2020, we must acknowledge that some good things happened, too. communiqué Magazine is an international publication that celebrates people from around the world. Everyone has a story. communiqué Magazine takes the message out of the story to deliver quality, relatable articles that inspire, teach, and encourage all readers. This is a Special New Year’s Eve Edition. This is the last issue of the year for communiqué Magazine. As I reflect on the last six months, I am grateful for all of the amazing people that we have featured. I have learned so much and celebrated even more! Six months ago, I started this publication with the intent to carry messages of hope, encouragement, and inspiration throughout the world. Everyone perceives information in a unique way. I work with a dynamic team that understands my mission and they consistently support me in my endeavors to produce quality, relatable content. King Bobby Brown is our featured Cover story, and he speaks to our readers from a perspective of personal growth in self, family, and business. Bobby Brown is simply dynamic. Sitting down with Mr. Brown for a candid discussion about business and the state of our world was enlightening and I am so very excited for you to read the article! We took this opportunity to reflect on some of our reader’s favorite articles from all of our previous issues. Although we could not include all of the reader favorites, we have collected some great past articles for this special edition and we know you will enjoy reading them again, along with our new articles. Thank you for taking time to read communiqué Magazine. This edition is dedicated to you! With appreciation, C.
RELATIONSHIPS with Gil & Renée Beavers
Their love story began nearly four decades ago with a pencil. Let me explain. These two teenagers lived on opposite sides of town. Renée was 14 and Gil was 15. They were working at a summer youth program in the city of Detroit, Michigan. Young Renée pushed her pencil off the side of her desk, and since he was sitting directly in front of her, young Gil leaned over to pick it up. She said, “I was going to say hi to you, but I wasn’t sure if you would say hi back”. Gil responded, “I always say hi to lovely ladies.” They dated that summer and fast forward to 2020….Gil and Renée have been married for 32 years and celebrated their anniversary on December 28th. Gil and Renée Beavers have this thing called ‘love’ down to a science. They love each other and they love themselves. Renée says, “As Coaches, Gil and I want to provide people a way to get help without feeling like the world has to know about it. Normally when you are having problems in your marriage, you do not want people to know about it. So, we provide a safe and confidential place to help couples. We counsel, coach and mentor engaged, married couples, and singles. We help people learn who they are, and we provide tools and resources for couples that need to learn how to overcome conflict.” They use books, workshops, one on one couples therapy sessions and they help people virtually and in person. On an average they work with 12 couples a month and the sessions can go anywhere from weekly to 4 week sessions, based on the client’s needs. “When we work with younger couples, they come to us to learn what they don’t know. When we work with seasoned couples that have been married for a while it is more difficult for them to reveal their issues and expose their business and that can be a challenge”. The amount of time someone needs is also dependent upon the amount of issues that need to be addressed. Gil and Renée know that you can seek counsel from many places, but their methods are working and here are some reasons why you should consider them, or refer people to them for counseling. Top three reasons to work with Gil and Renée: 1. Confidentiality – They pride themselves on being confidential. 2. Real Time-Tested Information from a Married Couple – They use their experience along with their education and certifications to coach their clients. 3. Success Rate in Couple Sessions After nearly two decades of working with couples, Gil and Renée are recognized as global leaders in the coaching industry. The first thing that these two coaching gurus work on is helping couples identify their unique individual input into the relationship. Often
couples have issues that are triggered by an individual’s personal problem that needs to be addressed. “It is going to work as much as you want it to work and you have to be willing to do the work,” says Renée. Though the majority of their therapy sessions are initiated by the female, they do have men that seek counseling too. Pain does not discriminate, and everyone wants to have a good relationship. Renée shares, “The more aware you are of yourself, the more you care about how your behavior makes other people feel. IF you don’t care about yourself it is hard to care for others in the same way. That is why we see more divorce, suicide and identity struggles. Both people have to be happy in the relationship. When you are happy and love yourself, you want people around you to feel that same sense of joy”. I asked this dynamic couple, why is this so important, why do they put so much energy into helping people in their relationships. “There is so much fulfillment in helping other people. We did not have examples and we feel that what we have appears so unreal, but it is something that takes work. We want to show people that marriage doesn’t just happen, we want to show people how to work at it, what it looks like, and have a model to look at”. When Gil and Renée sit with couples to counsel them, they take their roles seriously. From time to time, they each take the lead, and it depends on the couple whether Gil or Renée is the more vocal person during the coaching session. It depends on the topic, but guys tend to be more reserved in the beginning. Gil is then the catapult that gets the conversation going and helps them to dig deep and be OK with not knowing what they don’t know. They don’t just use theory. Their method of coaching is not opinion based, it is all about dealing with the couples from where they are and helping them grow, or in some rare cases, learning how to successfully uncouple. The top three reasons couples come to them include, 1) people that are seeking counseling when they have reached a point that they cannot work it out themselves, 2)people that are happy and in love and want to prepare for marriage, or 3)people that are angry and upset and are headed towards divorce. This couple shares two major lessons that they have applied to their own relationship. They give each other the freedom to be human and they do not expect perfection. They recognize and understand that it is going to be work, not a laborious work, but a work that they love to do because they are always working towards love.
KITCHEN, BEDROOM, AND BEYOND. Written by. Dr. KaNisha. L. Hall
When people typically picture cooking, they likely see in their minds the likes of the Pioneer Woman or the panicked faces of those who rush around on the television show, Chopped. What many don’t realize is that there’s a hidden benefit to cooking that can translate into other, more steamy activities. Ones that might (or might not, depending on your style) take place in a different room of the home entirely! How do these salts and spices get you in the mood for cooking in the bedroom? Let's talk about it.
that are rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants support good health and performance endurance that we hope to carry over from the dinner date to the after party. Oysters have high levels of zinc, which actively boosts libido. Avocados are heart healthy, and we need a healthy heart to pump blood to certain areas. Chili peppers can really turn up the heat. These spice agents increase the natural release of endorphins that increase heart rate and lift moods. One might actually feel a warm sensation.
First, you need a plan. What will you eat? How will you prepare the meal? Where do you want to enjoy your food and further enjoy your partner? Picking your menu items is very important. You want to avoid foods that lower libido and/or cause drowsiness. Heavy meals and foods with unappealing aromas can actually turn a person off. Be sure to inquire about scents that your partner finds undesirable. Avoid Asparagus. I won't go into the details, but trust me on this particular item.
Once you have your menu, plan to prepare the meal with your partner. You need to actually get in the kitchen together, make intimacy a priority. Dress comfortably but don't skimp on the spice. The goal is to turn up the heat in the kitchen so that it leads to more heated activities all over the house. Get provocative and keep dialing up the temperature until you get a simmer. Put a sultry playlist together. Light some candles. Eliminate distractions. Indulge your partner with your undivided attention. Be playful. Feed each other. Give them a taste until they are begging for more. Please be sure to save room for dessert.
Now, I want to focus on certain foods that will help heat things up and provide additional health benefits. Foods
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DEVASTATING LOSS Lasheika Boyd is an emerging Author with her first release slated to be on shelves and across virtual bookstore platforms everywhere, both in the United States and abroad, early Spring 2021. Lasheika is a happily married woman who found love after loss. She is a testimony that love always wins and timing is everything. Lasheika and James Boyd are a thriving couple that want to see everyone win when it comes to healthy relationships! Lasheika is a Mt. Holly, North Carolina native. She grew up in a two parent home. Lasheika grew up witnessing the beauty of long-lasting, successful marriages. When Lasheika’s first marriage failed it left her devastated. She did not give up on love though. She owed that to herself (and her children) to be in a happy, healthy relationship. Fast forward past the pain and disappointment of a failed love and marriage and Lasheika is now happily married to her soulmate and wants people to know that settling for less is never ok. She says, “just because you have history with someone does not mean you are obligated to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Leave the toxic relationships behind for good”. Lasheika is writing her book to help men and women understand some of the reasons that men say they cheat, or have cheated. After
surveying a group of diverse men from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic backgrounds, Lasheika compiled the data and created a book to share her findings and analysis with readers on both sides of the scenario: those cheating and those being cheated on. When we experience loss, especially a relationship or friendship loss, we want to understand how that painful loss came about so that we can work on the areas of our lives that may have contributed to the loss. Asking questions, researching, looking at our inner self and reading about feelings and relationships are some of the ways that we can investigate. Lasheika took her painful journey to a different level and decided to seek information from the opposite sex. She wanted to talk to the men, to get their thought process onto paper and into an organized data field of information. Marriage is a healthy lifestyle for Lasheika and James. It helps them remain fit and fabulous while ensuring they stay healthy to enjoy life together doing the things they love. Eating fruit, vegetables and being conscious of their salt and sugar intake are all important factors to ward off chronic illnesses. Along with their physical health, they have made their inner fitness a priority. They commit to having healthy conversations and they respect each other when disagreeing. They use low tones and speak with love in every conversation. They have healthy conversations that promote safe and effective communication. This is a step towards a lifelong priority of making sure they are easily understood and to help avoid conflict and misunderstanding when speaking to each other, especially when they need to agree to disagree. Lasheika and James created a Podcast, ‘Filter Free Chronicles Podcast: Wine Down Wednesdays With a Shot of Hennessy.’ This Podcast is a place for clean and safe conversation that further expands her mission to share information that is geared to build stronger relationships. Guests on the show include singles, married men and women and those that have both been devastated by love and winners in love. Lasheika offers coaching for couples. The saying goes, ‘it’s best to hear from somebody that’s been through some things’ and armed with experience and insight, Lasheika is ready to share thoughts and resources to help couples succeed. Lasheika is going to continue her book series, the next book will focus on the reasons why women do the things they do in relationships. In time, Lasheika anticipates bringing her book series to life for television or film. The top three lessons that women and men can learn from Lasheika on how she went from being in a very bad relationship to now having a great marital relationship are: “Number 1. Never lose yourself. If they truly love you they will
want you to be as successful as you possibly can, and they will help you get there, and see you win. Number 2: Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page at the same time. No one wants to feel like they are moving on alone or being in a relationship alone. Number 3: Don’t force anything or try to convince someone that you are the one for them. If they are truly for you, then you won’t have to do that, and things will flow automatically”. We asked Lasheika why this topic means so much to her. She explained that she has experienced a great deal of emotional loss in her past. She wants to help others avoid the ongoing dwelling and emotional setbacks that a failed love affair can bring about. “Life after a ‘relationship loss’ looks like the need for more selfcare, self-love, and taking time to reevaluate needs I thought I had to have. I needed to be strong for my children and myself after the break-up. The divorce felt like a death. After putting all that I had into the marriage, and then it didn’t work, it definitely felt like a death.” Lasheika acknowledged every emotion she felt during the emotional upset she experienced. That is a part of the healing process. She goes on to tell us, “I do not feel like every relationship that is ending is a loss because something better is out there. You just have to find yourself again… I needed to be alone for a while and get back to “Sheika”. At the beginning it felt like a loss, but it turned out to be a beautiful lesson and blessing in disguise”. When we experience loss, especially a relationship or friendship loss, we want to understand how that painful loss came about so that we can work on the areas of our lives that may have contributed to the loss. Asking questions, researching, looking at our inner self and reading about feelings and relationships are some of the ways that we can investigate. Lasheika took her painful journey to a different level and decided to seek information from the opposite sex. She wanted to talk to the men, to get their thought process onto paper and into an organized data field of information. “To be honest I was not as organized as I am now so I didn’t have a set number of participants that I would ask. If I was out having dinner, out of town, at a friend’s gathering, at my boyfriend’s house (which is my husband now), my dad’s barbershop, a random man that may have just been standing around by himself or with his ‘boys’, I was asking that question: Why have you cheated in the past or why do you cheat now? It was an upfront approach from me. That’s just how I do things. No rules”. Lasheika was able to get organic responses that were not rehearsed or preconstructed in any way. She succeeded in getting a diverse group of participants. They all had different financial statuses, different careers, and had different upbringings. Lasheika assures the future readers of her new book that the greatest outcome they can take away from the story is that women will be more aware of what type of man they are dealing with, and it will also answer some of the questions that women have always
wanted to know about why men cheat. For the men that read the book they can really take a close look at themselves to see what they need to hold themselves accountable for. The top three lessons that women and men can learn from Lasheika on how she went from being in a very bad relationship to now having a great marital relationship are: “Number 1. Never lose yourself. If they truly love you they will want you to be as successful as you possibly can, and they will help you get there, and see you win. Number 2: Make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page at the same time. No one wants to feel like they are moving on alone or being in a relationship alone. Number 3: Don’t force anything or try to convince someone that you are the one for them. If they are truly for you, then you won’t have to do that, and things will flow automatically”.
We asked Lasheika to share some advice for people that are struggling from the fallout of a failed relationship and here is what she offers, “ The strongest message of hope that I can give to women and men in failed relationships is that there is someone out there for you and only you that speaks your love language. You have to give yourself time to heal first. Once you have healed and you’re ready to love and be loved again you could have the best time of your life. Don’t give up on love, but do not settle. I don’t think there is a specific system to a successful marriage. My grandparents were married for 50yrs before my grandma passed away and my parents have been married for 35yrs (together for 42yrs) so I had never seen a failed marriage until my own. I just believe that marriage is what you and your spouse make it. That may sound cliché but it’s the truth”. Lasheika Boyd wants to engage with you! Email her at Lasheika32@ gmail.com Follow her on IG @Sheikawithnofilter, and on Facebook at Lasheika Craig Boyd.
Filter Free Chronicles Podcast PRESENTS
WINE DOWN WEDNESDAYS
With a Shot of Hennessey JOIN US THE 1ST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH!
g n i l a e v Re the Layers of Truth by Corretta L. Doctor Latisha B. Russell is on a mission to reconcile tragedy, restore hope, and relieve stigma among those who have endured childhood sexual abuse and trauma. Latisha’s goal comes full circle by creating a brave space for candid, educational conversations that expose the true impact of the atrocities of sex offenses that teens and young adults endure. Her experience with childhood sexual trauma is firsthand, she is a victim and she is a survivor. Her beautiful smile comes with a painful story behind it, and a message of transparency that we all need to live by. Latisha currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. She grew up with her two older brothers in a single parent household with their Mother. Growing up, she suffered sexual abuse and trauma at the hands of her stepfather, her mother’s second husband. Latisha witnessed her Mother being abused and no one wants to see their Mom physically 16
beaten. That was a vision of battery and assault on her Mom that etched itself into her mind and left Latisha angry. As Latisha grew up she couldn’t shake those memories, nor the tragedy that left her spirit battered. Those memories were living inside of her and they hardened Latisha’s heart. She became a two-sided woman that needed to show a public face of strength during the day at her corporate Human Resources job, while struggling outside of work in her social and family circles with a private face of imbalanced emotions and aged anger. The double emotional split left Latisha emotionally weak. Latisha created a new persona, she loved who she became, but she still hid a part of her physical and emotional self. More than 11 years ago Latisha was diagnosed with alopecia, that is the term referred to as pattern baldness and is defined as the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body, such as the head and face, where it normally grows . That diagnosis was
devastating to Latisha, already living with Lupus, she now had another emotional setback each time she looked in the mirror. Her hair was noticeably thinning, and she vowed to keep this hair loss a secret. She jumped on the hair ‘fad’ bandwagon and purchased a collection of wigs and began wearing weaves for years to come. Eight years later in 2019, Latisha had enough, she was finally tired of the expense, and point blank, she no longer wanted to live ‘the fraud’. The fraud was her lying to herself and to her family. They did not know what was going on underneath her layers. In an effort to keep her story alive, along with her self-esteem, she told her husband that she was planning for a new beginning with her hair, a totally new style, and she would start by cutting her hair. Coming from under a shell is revealing. It is a tough decision to take off our mask and shed our shame and stigmatic layers. The layers of truth set Latisha free. Latisha’s husband offered her a blanket of support, yet he never knew what was, or wasn’t, underneath her false hairstyle. He had never seen Latisha without a fabulous hairstyle and when he finally did, without hesitation, her husband of whom she had been married to for five years, showed his support. Never seeing Latisha with a bald head made no difference to him. He encouraged Latisha to make the change and flaunt whatever hair style she wanted to. He recognized her inward beauty and the love radiates from there. Carrying a full armor of support from her husband, Latisha made the decision
to go public with her baldness and from there alopecia and all that comes with it became part of her platform. Latisha adds, “In full disclosure and transparency I was terrified of what my husband would think, and I
wondered if he would love me after seeing my bald head!”. Imagine the fear of presenting a new image of you to a man you have been married to for five years. Imagine never being free to shampoo your hair, have him run his fingers across your scalp nor swim without the fear of revealing your hair secret. This is the same pressure that victims carry inside when they cannot release their anger, pain, or trauma filled past. Latisha is blessed to have the strength of diamonds and the courage to breathe freely from both areas of inward dissatisfaction and traumatic childhood distress on her emotions. She learned how to be F-R-E-E. Latisha continues, “ I was afraid of what people would say, think and feel. I didn't know how I would explain this walking into Corporate America or if I even needed to. Being bald for some time now, I am more confident, free, and I fully know that I am NOT defined by my hair. It started with me accepting myself, then the stamp of communiqué Magazine
approval from the love of my life as he kissed, hugged and said, I Love you and I am here”. The truth must come from you before it goes anywhere else. You have to know what truth is to you. Society throws the term ‘truth’ around like air, but that word is heavy and requires a lot to lift it. When you cannot fully live your truth, you will find a million excuses why. Excuses come in the form of shame and discouragement, but truth- your truth- banishes those things and sets you completely free. The most important message Latisha offers is “to own your truth, never allow anyone or anything to take that away from you! Be a catalyst for change in whatever manner that looks like for you and lastly, do it afraid”! Latisha is the author of ‘The Naked Truth: From Pain to Triumph’ a memoir of her life. The book unfolds with a transparent writing of how Latisha dealt with her own childhood sexual abuse, depression, thoughts of suicide, and dealing with alopecia. “I had to finally do it for me and my girls. I talked myself out of it so many times and for most of my life, I've done things for others and not for myself. This would be my legacy, my go forward and my "coming" out. As I began writing, I struggled with remembering things and while certain memories are still foggy, I remember it most, I was ABUSED, my childhood was stolen from me so although writing was difficult, It was time for me to fight back”! Latisha is living a promising happy life and 18
is executing a purposeful mission. She knows the benefits of releasing the façades that we use to cover our pain. Whether it is a wig, a weave or some other add on, we can let it go. The broad horizon that now sits in front of Latisha is lighting the way for you, too. She relies on her strength when standing on stages across the country to give her the words to enlighten audiences. Motivation through messages of experience comes with a great value. People love to hear from people that have been through some things and have come out on the brighter side. Through her own efforts and the support of her family and great network, Latisha is a beaming light that shines brightly everywhere she goes. Visit www.LatishaBRussell.com to learn more and stay connected on social media @LatishaBRussell. This liberated adult is a hero to many and a Blessing to everyone. The naked truth prevails, and Latisha is inspiring the world by sharing her journey.
You. Have. Cancer. by Shannon Routh
The PapSmear does not test for ovarian cancer. In fact, there is NOT an accurate screening test. Wait! What?! That’s right…that’s not a typo. When you go in for your annual visit, you are NOT being screened for ovarian cancer; the PapSmear tests for cervical just like the mammogram tests for breast. Let that sink in while I share how I came to know this bit of information. In July of 2009 I had just returned home from a bucket list trip to France. While there, I had some severe cramping. I thought it was the rich French food. Or it could have been that I was about to start my period. When I came home, the pain continued. It was off and on but when it was on, it was on. I remember one day my husband and I were driving and one of the pains came on and it was so intense, I asked him to pull over and just stop the car. He told me this was not normal, and I needed to really see someone about this. I made an appointment with my gynecologist. When I went to see her, she ordered a transvaginal ultrasound. I had always envisioned an ultra sound being done on my belly, so I was incredibly surprised when asked to put my feet in stirrups and slightly terrified when the tool (that had what looked like a
condom on it) was presented and used for capturing images of my insides. As I lay there, feet in stirrups with a giant dildo-shaped camera taking photos of my insides, the imaging tech said…and I quote: “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! How are you even able to walk?!” I was like what is it? What do you see? She said, “the doctor will have to go over the results with you.” Are you freaking kidding me?! I saw the doctor immediately after. She told me I had a large cyst, the size of a grapefruit on my right ovary. Normally people gasp when I say this. But I was diagnosed a few years prior with a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). So, for me to have a cyst was not that big of a deal. She scheduled me for surgery to remove the cyst. A few days later, the doctor called me. She told me she had run a blood test on me and that my numbers looked a bit high. The blood test was called a CA125. She said she felt more comfortable referring me to a Gynecologic Oncologist. This was the first time I had ever heard of an oncologist. I had no idea. The weekend before my appointment, my sister and I went to a wedding. We drank beer and danced the night away. It was a really fun night until what felt like a severe urinary tract infection (UTI) hit me and I was communiquéMagazine Magazine communiqué
in absolute misery. My sister dropped me off and went home. The pain from the need to go to the bathroom was unbearable. So, my husband called the 800# on the back of our insurance card. The nurse suggested we go to the emergency room. It was after 11 on a Saturday night. I put on the baggiest pants I could find. At the time I was a size 6, but I had some loose-fitting capri’s (you know from the fluctuating weight clothing pile). They were a size 10 and fell loosely around my hips. We went to the hospital, calling my mom along the way. The nurse at the front desk was rude and insensitive to me, and I also felt like she was not the nicest person she could be. She totally dismissed us and basically was like, “take a number”. So, we began our wait. And I do not think I have ever felt like I was as close to death as I did that night. The pain became so unbearable I could barely walk. I would go into cold sweats, hot sweats. My husband and mom pleaded with the Nurse to please just insert a catheter. But she would not. The pain became so bad, I literally laid on the emergency bathroom floor of a very public hospital on a Saturday night. And just before, I think, passing out from the pain, a nicer nurse came to grab me. She helped me to my feet and at this time, I could not even button my size 10 pants. To give you an idea of how much fluid I had in my bladder, the second…the actual second that a catheter was inserted, I released 1.5 liters of fluid. The delay in this important step of catheterization almost cost me my bladder function. I had to wear a portable catheter for two weeks because my bladder was so stretched out this also meant that the doctor had to delay my surgery to 20 20
remove my cyst. I was actually released from the emergency room Monday morning and went directly to my gynecologic oncology appointment. The doctor laid out a few options: 1) remove the cyst and possibly the ovary; 2) remover the cyst, the ovary and may find some cancer meaning both ovaries may need to come out; 3) may find advanced cancer, remove both ovaries and parts of your colon leaving you with a colostomy bag. I was in shock. How do you even prepare for that? I remember waking up from surgery and asking if I had an ovary…because if I had an ovary, that meant I could still have kids and that the likelihood of having cancer was minimal. The nurse said yes. You still have one ovary. I was so happy. I spent five days in recovery. And on the day I was being released, my doctor came into my room and said something I will NEVER forget. “Your pathology report has come back. You have a very aggressive form of ovarian cancer. We need to schedule you for a radical hysterectomy right away! I didn’t want to take both ovaries without being absolutely sure.” The doctor left. I buried my head into my pillows and blankets. I screamed. Then I cried a big nasty ugly cry with huge crocodile tears. Two weeks later, I had a radical hysterectomy. A few weeks later I started chemotherapy. I did six months of chemotherapy.
I have been cancer free since February 2010.
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include: • Fatigue Before I was diagnosed at 32 years old, I had never even • Upset stomach or heartburn heard of ovarian cancer and my immediate thought • Back pain when I did hear about it was, “isn’t that something • Pain during sex old people get?!” The more I learned, the more I was • Constipation or menstrual change freaked out. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian 2. Listen to your body - if symptoms are new and cancer while 14,000 women will die from the disease. persist for more than two weeks, it is recommended that While the 11th most common cancer among women, a woman see her doctor, and a gynecologic oncologist ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer- before surgery if cancer is suspected. related death among women and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers. A woman's risk of getting ovarian 3. Ask questions – ask questions in your family and cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78. Her lifetime with your physicians. You are your best advocate. Do chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108. not be embarrassed. The 5-year survival rate once diagnosed is 46.5%. Some families have genetic history of ovarian or breast and there is genetic testing you can take to determine if When I heard those three little words: you. have. cancer. you are at risk. I was scared, numb, overwhelmed and I felt lonely. I became a robot; doing what I needed to do each day just So why the heck are we not talking about this? Why to get through. During treatment, I felt a fire burning in don’t women know there is not an accurate screening my soul. A calling. An awakening. I wanted more. More test? Why is there not an accurate screening test? I spirituality, more adventure, more love, more of what do not have the answers to these questions however, I this life has to offer. I needed to connect with others. I am now armed with the knowledge of the symptoms. could not find what I needed and so I created it. Shortly And I now know I must be my own advocate. Ovarian after my 3rd chemotherapy treatment, I created Teal cancer is often referred to as a silent killer because the Diva. symptoms mimic what, we as women, face monthly. It is easy for us, and doctors, to dismiss the symptoms or The mission of Teal Diva is to celebrate victories, pass them off as something else. honor memories, empower women, educate the community, and fund research specific to ovarian and When caught in early stages, ovarian cancer (in most other gynecologic cancers. Supporting women and cases) is 90% more treatable. And if you have made it their families during and after a diagnosis is at the core this far reading, I want you to take away three things: of what we do. We currently host two virtual 5k run/ 1. Know the symptoms of ovarian cancer walk events throughout the year to raise awareness. To • Bloating get involved or read more about what we are doing, • Pelvic or abdominal pain visit our website: www.tealdiva.org or follow us on all • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly social media outlets Facebook @tealdiva, Twitter @ • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often tealdivanc, and Instagram @tealdiva_ovca.
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Gracefully communiqué Magazine had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Author and Entrepreneur, Pamela ‘Pam’ Reaves. Pam is the Founder and CEO of NELLA LLC, a Maryland limited liability company. NELLA LLC is the umbrella under which she power coach clients using her signature empowerment tool called TAPS (Transformation, Action, Power, Source). Pam declares, “A commitment to skincare is essential to achieving, as well as maintaining healthy and beautiful skin.” Thus, she founded Essentially Good Skin Care, a line of skin care products made with nature’s own ingredients. At age 63 Pam lives a life of both beauty and health. She presents everything she does with attention to detail, utmost precision to execution, and a universal approach to living life fully! Pam is an astoundingly beautiful cover girl that graces magazines, is the Model and ‘face’ of several businesses, and stands for grace and class in all that she does, says, and is. Pam is one of the world’s most beautiful women. We want to know her beauty and wellness tips! communiqué Magazine: What does it mean to age gracefully? Aging gracefully is the only way to do it. The woman or man who ages gracefully does not fight the maturation process. 22
Instead, she or he makes a conscious decision to welcome and embrace aging in a fluid manner. It is much easier and less stressful to go with the flow of becoming better, wiser, and stronger. Aging gracefully is an attribute that will leave them in awe of you.
how to maintain my health naturally and how to present the best version of my 60+ body. It feels great to be Christcentered. Since He is my power source, I am confident that I will always be fine; that in whatever state I find myself, he will empower me to not only survive, but thrive.
communiqué Magazine: Pam, what does beauty mean to you? I must admit that defining beauty is not an easy feat for me. You see, I can find beauty in just about everything. Since we live in an ever-evolving world, I believe beauty standards are ever-evolving as well, which is why it’s dangerous to chase beauty standards or to compare one’s self with a set of standards that are subject to change at any time. I create and live by my own standard of beauty and implore every woman to do so.
communiqué Magazine: Why is nature your go-to ingredient for your product line? Natural elements contain healing properties, maintain or restore hormonal or PH balance, and calm the skin. Many skincare and beauty products contain parabens and other manmade ingredients that while extending shelf life, are known to disrupt hormonal function as well as cause other adverse reactions. For thousands of years African women have been using products extracted from the earth to preserve their skin and hair. Since these natural elements have been tried and true for centuries, I have decided to work with what has been proven for centuries
communiqué Magazine: Tell us about Essentially Good Skin care products. Essentially Good Skincare was birthed out of a change in my life, and I mean that figuratively as well as literally. When I started experiencing the effects of menopause, the hormonal changes were wreaking havoc on my skin. Through research I discovered the benefits and properties of natural ingredients. communiqué Magazine: What is the essential ingredient to inner beauty? It is impossible to possess inner beauty without self-love. There is nothing arrogant, self-indulgent, or narcissistic about self-love. Anything that or anyone whom you love, you will nurture, protect, preserve, and cherish. The first recipient must be you. Whenever I am publicly speaking, I explain to audiences that the external (what you see on the outside) is the manifestation of the internal (who you are at the soul level). communiqué Magazine: At age, 63, what does beauty “feel” like to you? At 63, I am reveling in my beauty, and that is not a selfabsorbing declaration. I have been liberated from the nonsensical things of my youth. I have been through fiery trials and tribulations, and no longer allow things that have little to no value to stress me out. I prematurely became grey but learned how to own it and make it a part of my signature look. Proverbs 16:31 (New King James Version) says that “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory”. I am no longer svelte in body-type but feel great because I know
communiqué Magazine: How does having a healthy inner fitness relate to outer beauty? Looking and feeling good are mutually exclusive. Feeling good physically is achieved by maintaining a healthy diet. I have learned so much over the years about the relationship between what we eat and how eating habits impact our physical health. At 63, I do not take any prescription drugs. Only vitamins and supplements. communiqué Magazine: What is the trend in skin care today and how does your product line meet up with the trend? Now that wellness and healthy living are phenomena, the ingredients I use to create Essentially Good skincare products are being touted by mainstream companies that have not historically been devoted to natural products. Essentially Good Skincare products deliver high-end results at affordable prices. communiqué Magazine: Is the Essentially Good Skin care product line for men and women? Essentially Good skincare products are great for the entire family. I am considering adding another concept that is strictly for men. communiqué Magazine: Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder to the extent that the beauty does not accept the beholder’s opinion solely as her truth. While we love to receive compliments in response to the investment in our outer beauty, a healthy dose of communiqué Magazine
self-love, and confidence in our inner beauty are the perfect neutralizers when faced with criticism. communiqué Magazine: Do you provide one on one coaching and counseling on skin care? My coaching practice is devoted to Power Living and that encompasses image consultation. For the woman or man who wants to develop an incredible unforgettable image, I am ready to work with you. communiqué Magazine: Tell us how you have evolved over the years, maintaining your beauty and glamour appeal? Evolution is growth, and since I have always wanted to give and be my best, it has not been hard for me to embrace change that allows me to become better than I was yesterday. Maintaining beauty and a glamorous appeal is not theater. It is my lifestyle, which at this point is as easy as breathing. The best part of my personal evolution is that I am a woman of substance. I am defining my sixties, and with God’s covering, living it on my terms. My age does not define me. communiqué Magazine: Why you Pam, where is your motivation to teach others about aging gracefully coming from? My mother was a queenly woman. Although in terms of finances she was not a wealthy woman, she possessed a style that was unmatched. Not only did she possess style, her personality was one to which people gravitated. I witnessed the masterful way in which she held court with humility and love. As my point of reference, she taught me how to live and enjoy the highest order of womanhood. It is my heart’s desire that every woman will enjoy this experience. communiqué Magazine: Where can we find your products? Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, my products could be purchased at events where I was exhibiting, as well as online. Essentially Good products can still be purchased online at https://pamreaves.com/shop/ or contact me at pamreg01@ gmail.com for more information. The staff of communiqué Magazine uses Essentially Good Skincare and we feel just as good as we look since using the products! The products look, feel, and are sensually aromatic! The items arrive in very beautiful packaging and gift-giving is easy to do using Essentially Good Skincare ordering system! 24 24
Model: Rosie R.
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Bobby Brown is a singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, actor,
entrepreneur and author of the New York Times Best Seller, ‘Every Little Step: My Life' written with Nick Chiles. Brown, and collaborator Teddy Riley, are widely known as pioneers of new jack swing: a fusion of hip hop and R&B. Bobby started his career in the R&B and pop group New Edition, from its inception in 1981 until he left the group in 1985. Bobby Brown Foods is the next step of this star’s business empire. Read on to learn more about how Bobby Brown Foods is a necessity in the step towards healthy cooking and eating. Visit brobbybrownfoods.com to learn more. Corretta L. Doctor Founder and Editor in Chief communiqué Magazine
BROWN KING OF STAGE n e h c it K e h &T
Written By: Alesha Brown with Corretta L. Doctor The “secret” is out: For many years, while known as King of Stage, most of Bobby Brown’s family and friends knew him as “The King of the Kitchen.” Growing up in Boston, Massachusetts as one of eight children, Bobby spent plenty of time in the kitchen with his mom, learning her recipes, cooking styles, and family stories. During our interview, he shared the magic he and his wife, Alicia, cook up in their kitchen and how families during these pandemic times can use cooking to bring them closer together. Going back to his childhood, Bobby’s favorite dish was lasagna. When he would come home after a tour, his mother would have a “trough of it” waiting for him. (Remember, he is one of eight children.) But his family’s cuisine was diverse since his mother was from Boston and his father from Alabama. That coupled with his extensive travel around the world has created the amazing seasonings and product line known as Bobby Brown Foods. The flavorful, spice-filled sauces and seasonings are all-natural, gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, vegan,
vegetarian, and contain no MSG. The Brown family focuses on creating healthy dishes for their family since Bobby works to lower his high blood pressure and Alicia is a diabetic. He keeps their and society’s common health problems in mind for the products his company creates. His recent 40-pound weight loss is a testament to the power of healthy cooking with the right seasoning and sauce. Cooking healthy with love should not mean tasteless or boring, so the line adds Bobby’s special secret blends to familiar ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, and herbs to create mouth-watering sauces, marinades, and seasonings to spice up your family dishes. Bobby says the true secret to producing delicious meals for your family using his product line is love.
Stay close to God. Prayer always works. Money will be there when it’s time. God won’t put too much on your shoulders that you can’t bear. Just be patient with yourself and others. Wise words from a wise man. Visit bobbybrownfoods.com to place your order now and for the latest promotions and special offers. He also shares a few of his best recipes, videos of him cooking with celebrity friends, and a full list of where you can find his products at a store near you.
With COVID-19 restrictions and public safety concerns, his product line could not have come at a better time. The star pointed out that many families like to eat out, but he prefers to sit around his dinner table with his family. This gives them time to discuss what the children have done throughout the day and enjoy each other’s company. “Families need to come back to the table, eat home-cooked meals, laugh and joke with each other.” And although Bobby Brown might be The King of the Kitchen, he adores when his wife Alicia picks a special meal from a magazine or other source and surprises them with a special dish. What are his plans for Bobby Brown Foods going forward? To grow as fast as they possibly can. He is grateful for the love and support of his wife and kids and credits them for keeping him strong. Bobby says the sky is the limit and he is adding additional seasonings and children’s barbecue sauces. The pandemic has given him more time at home which only adds to his creativity and additional product offerings. With that in mind, I had to know what Bobby thought about what life in the entertainment industry would look like post-COVID. He was optimistic and hoped that people were learning how to be smarter with their money, cope without having to be on the road, and having something to fall back on to generate revenue. Although we do not know when COVID will be over, he notes that the pandemic is forcing us to look at what is important in our lives. For him, it is his family and to be closer to God. So, what about those who were not prepared and are truly struggling with how to bring in revenue? Bobby advises:
"Stay close to God. Prayer always works. Money will be there when it's time." -Bobby Brown communiqué Magazine
“No one deserves a good story more than Mr. Brown. Bobby Brown has dealt with a lot of grief and loss in recent years. For someone who has lost a family member in almost every category of a relative there is, we send our heartfelt condolences to Bobby Brown and his family on the recent passing of his son Bobby Brown, Jr.” Corretta L. Doctor Founder and Editor in Chief communiqué Magazine
Rodrick T. Miller, CEO
With a Vision written by C. NaTasha Richburg
Invest Puerto Rico has Rodrick T. Miller, at its helm as the CEO focused on his mission to promote the Island of Puerto Rico as a competitive investment jurisdiction that attracts new businesses and investment. The Island has many hidden treasures that Mr. Miller’s higher education path includes a Public Policy degree from Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government and a graduate diploma in International Finance from Tec de Monterrey (Mexico) as a Fulbright Fellow has prepared his focus. Under Mr. Miller’s leadership Invest Puerto Rico has catapulted into a position that affords individuals and companies an opportunity to participate in the economic development of Puerto Rico. Most importantly, it is an awesome place for African America’s to consider as a new place to live and feel at home. Communiqué Magazine had a chance to interview Mr. Miller to help the reader get a better insight of the benefits of living on the Island of Puerto Rico. Describe the beauty of Puerto Rico. Much of the beauty of Puerto Rico is packed in its tremendous biodiversity in a relatively small, approximately 3,500-square mile landscape. This includes 8 different microclimates ranging from tropical to mountainous to rainforest to desert. This diversity offers those who live here the opportunity to experience wildlife and nature in many forms within a relatively short drive, no matter where one lives. From exploring Cueva Ventana in Arecibo to soaking in the rivers at Angelito’s Trail in El Yunque, one can always find new ways to engage 40
nature. From a cultural perspective, Puerto Rico is a melting pot in a stronger sense than even the mainland United States. The fusion of Latin, African, and European cultures has resulted in a panoply of food, music, and entertainment that parallels communities much larger in size. Whether checking out an exhibit at the Puerto Rican Museum of Contemporary Art or listening to the elders sing, dance and beat drums to the bomba and plena music in Loiza, Puerto Rico never disappoints on the cultural front. Puerto Rico is not without challenges, as with every community, but openly embraces its history and acknowledges its African roots. As a result, many black Americans who have moved here in recent years say they plan to stay, as they have not faced discrimination in the same way that they do in the mainland United States. What are the economic advantages to living or investing in Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico offers tremendous incentives for people from the mainland who choose to live and invest on the island, including a 4% corporate tax rate and 0% personal income tax rate. Invest Puerto Rico is working to elevate this message to encourage more people to consider relocation, remote working, and launching entrepreneurial ventures on the island. What investment opportunities are available to corporations interested in economic development? There are numerous opportunities for private firms to participate in Puerto Rico’s resurgence. Following the disasters of Hurricanes Maria and Irma and
Rio Grande – El Yunque National Rainforest
recent earthquakes, the US federal government has pledged billions of dollars to reinvest in updating the island’s infrastructure, from new road construction to modernizing the electric grid. Private firms can compete for these governmental opportunities as well as bring their technologies directly to the market. Thousands of entrepreneurs have moved to Puerto Rico in the last few years, drawn by the robust incentives and inexpensive labor, but ultimately captured by the island’s welcoming business and social environment.
of a historic economic transformation. All efforts are focused on achieving this in a sustainable manner, and it is a top priority at Invest Puerto Rico and in the seat of government, so the support is there. Factors potential investors should take into account when considering Puerto Rico include a trained and educated workforce like no other; a business environment that supports myriad endeavors, from startups and small businesses to large multinational operations; familiar and trustworthy infrastructure, government, economy, and laws; a competitive incentive environment; and a strategic location in the Caribbean that facilitates easy access to the US, Europe, and Latin America. All of those things add up to a compelling story for why investors should consider Puerto Rico. For more information: https:// www.investpr.org/
What is the biggest misconception about Puerto Rico? The biggest misconception about Puerto Rico is that it is a place that has low quality of life with limited access to electricity, drinking water, and other amenities people enjoy on the mainland. While there was considerable damage as a byproduct of the natural disasters of recent years, most areas of the island have been rebuilt, and in many areas there remains little evidence of the past damage. Another misconception is that people only speak Spanish, but in fact most Puerto Ricans have a working knowledge of English, and many Americans get by there without learning the language. Given Puerto Rico’s long history with the United States, students study English in school, and business is conducted in both English and Spanish in many companies. Any parting words for readers who may be interested in having conversations with Invest Puerto Rico? Despite the crisis, or maybe because of it, the time is right to invest in Puerto Rico, as we are in the midst 42
Rio Grande – El Yunque National Rainforest
Ceiba – Southern Coast – Former Naval Base Roosevelt Roads
Cabo Rojo – Southern Wetlands
Rio Grande – Protected Coastal Natural Reserve
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THE POWER AND TENACITY OF
Written by Corretta L. Doctor The world is filled with opportunities to be kind. I am being intentional in my actions to show empathy, compassion, and kindness. In business you have to know how to pair your positive momentum with your business acumen. In your personal life you have to know how to manage your mood, behavior, and attitude when you are projecting positivity into the atmosphere. Everything you do is an opportunity to show your good side. When you have experienced so much negativity, bad vibes, raw emotions, insensitivity, and straight-out pain, you know what it is like to need something good come your way. I respect the power of friendship. Friendship is one of the most powerful relationships that people can foster, and friendship is really necessary during these uncertain times. You have to develop a tenacity of being a friend and you have to be friendly. I work alongside two women that are the epitome of the word friend. The first, C. NaTasha Richburg, is an amazing talent- on and off the grid. The second, Anita Davis-DeFoe, is an extraordinary person with an infinite reach into the souls of women around the world. These two ladies are my friends, and my colleagues. Friendship and business relations are often regarded as impossible, or tough to navigate, but I can assure you that between the three of us, C. NaTasha, Anita, and I are forces to reckon with in the boardroom or in the band room.
On a trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates we worked, and we played, and we laughed, and we cried….ok, well it was me that did the crying, and it was them that stood in the gap for me. I witnessed the power of friendship as we shared the journey of being three African American women working together in the middle east. I found myself in the center of a personal storm and my colleagues stood tall and never let me fail. I did not feel embarrassed or ashamed that a part of my personal life was interrupting my business plans. I did feel empowered to step aside and allow my colleagues to keep the work moving while I took a self-care moment to gather myself. Time does not wait. We had an obligation to stand before several rooms of school aged children and with my emotional break, I was not in a position to speak to the school children as planned. But what would the school officials think? We had traveled thousands of miles across the Atlantic ocean and I was not able to step up to the microphone and talk. Dr. Anita and C. NaTasha took over. One spoke while the other managed to capture the work we were doing on video. They did not ridicule me, nor make me feel unworthy. They built me up through their encouragement. I remember going back to our hotel and realizing that these ladies not only cared about themselves, but they really cared about me. They did not focus on my “sad story”, they focused on how my “glad story” is what got us to Dubai and how successful our trip had been, NOT because one of us came and did well, but because the three of us contributed to the overall success of the trip. Each of us understands the importance of being empathetic to the emotional needs of one another. Each of us understands what compassion is and how to leverage that compassion with encouragement. We all express ourselves through random, and intentional acts of
kindness in all that we do for each other. Kindness exists. Without a doubt, no matter what my colleagues experience, good or bad, I am positioned to support them and cheer them on. I have a great appreciation for the power of friendship in business. Life is going to happen. It does not discriminate. Gather a circle of people that you can trust with your personal life while entrusting them with your business life. It is possible to have friendship among colleagues. Gone are the days of separating work from play. Know what your mission is and understand whose on your team. Know the boundaries and respect them. Grow your friendship by respecting the work you have to do together. Grow your business by respecting the personal relationships you build with your team and colleagues. It can work.
C. NaTasha Richburg taught me to turn into the spin. Mrs. Richburg provides 360 degree services for indie artists to include, music production, touring, talent management, video production. film production, artist development and life coaching services. She is an excellent celebrity writer, and she is a friend and colleague to me. We have traveled to Germany, France (twice), Dubai, and England together. Visit her website at www.cnatashaproductions. com Dr. Anita Davis DeFoe teaches me about self-care. Dr. DeFoe is an Author, a Global Educator, a Business Professional, a Social Entrepreneur, and a strong advocate for mentorship in women and children. She is a world traveler, and she is a friend and colleague to me. We have traveled to France and Dubai together. Visit her websites at www.UpshiftGlobal.com and http://www. johncmaxwellgroup.com/anitadavisdefoe.
Every opportunity to be kind belongs to you.
Why I Stayed
Surviving written by Alesha Brown with Onicka Daniel Why did you stay? Domestic violence victims and survivors hear this so often. I can only imagine what abuse victims are feeling now in COVID-19. I can do better than imagine because I lived it. I stayed because I was vested in my relationship. No one gets in a relationship to end it. The same as when you accept an employment offer: you are committed to giving the company your best and you expect that you will be rewarded with desired compensation, job security, acknowledgment of contribution, and growth opportunities where you can continue to grow and excel. After you have given your best, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect to be abruptly fired, not paid for time worked, have your reputation shattered, or to be discredited for all your contributions made. But that is exactly what happened in my marriage. After giving my all, building a life with my ex-husband, producing two beautiful sons, enduring several chokings, verbal assaults, had a gun pointed at me, lies spread about me and even contracting a sexually transmitted disease, it all came to an end. One of my most vivid memories is when he choked and dragged me from one end of our condo to the other by my hair after an argument. I kept believing at different 50 50
and How It Almost Killed Me:
Domestic Violence points in our marriage that it would get better. Every relationship has its ups and downs. You just have to hang in there. I hung in there and it didn’t work. I was broken beyond compare: frightened, feeling as if I was worth nothing and scared for my life. I dreamed of a better life for my children even if I didn’t know how it would be possible. • How would I financially support three children (includes one from a prior relationship) by myself? • Where would we go? • What if he killed me? Did I want to leave our two children under his complete control? • What if I left only for him to find me? • If he found me, what would he do to those who were around me (my family)? Think about it: if I was the one he claimed to love and he hurt me, my ex definitely wouldn’t care about hurting my family or friends if I left him and went to them for help. We see stories all the time of murder-suicides and those are REALITY for abuse victims. Did you know that on average, “a victim attempts to leave SEVEN times before finally leaving for good? The most lethal time in an abusive relationship is after a victim leaves. More than 70% of domestic violence murders happen after the victim has gotten out.” So, with the odds stacked against me, why did I leave and why should you? Because you cannot LIVE and remain in an abusive situation. As much as your life is at risk leaving, it is twice as much at risk staying and the same is true for your children. If your abuser doesn’t kill you, you will either kill yourself to escape or live the rest of your existence waiting to die. That is no way to live but I’ve been there. Your heart will break as you see your children struggle
in multiple ways, as a result of growing up in an abusive home environment. I pray every day that my children have healed and that I did leave in enough time and did enough to repair their well-being. I still see signs of growing up in such an environment in their individual lives, but I know that I am demonstrating the importance of resilience and knowing that you can take control of your life at any time. I pray I have instilled in each one of them the power and beauty that they have by their sheer presence. I pray that my love has healed all wounds and, today, they see what a healthy, loving relationship looks like with my future husband and partner that adores us. My advice to those going through domestic violence and abuse: • You ARE NOT alone. • It IS NOT your fault. • You must create a safety plan. • There is HELP out there and organizations that can provide support including shelter and essential supplies. • If you have children with your abuser, PLEASE don’t stay. An unhealthy, abusive relationship IS NOT BETTER than no relationship at all. Your children deserve to live in a safe, loving, thriving, and productive environment. Onicka currently works and partners with Transitions Family Violence Services, the sole provider of comprehensive family violence services in Hampton, Newport News, and Poquoson, Virginia, and a coprovider of services for York County, Virginia, USA. For more information on help and resources that are available, please visit http://www.transitionsfvs.org/. To connect with Onicka Daniel, please visit TheHolidayBoys.com.
Learn How to Live Your Best Life Through Adversity Author Samantha J. is an Author, Life Coach and Public Speaker. She is known for her 'Raw and Realness.' She focuses on making the best life possible for you in business, relationships and everyday things that are holding you back from living your best life.
authorsamanthaj.com @jynrsam Author Samantha J Mention this ad for your FREE consultation
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THEIR HAPPY SPOT IN LIFE:
"AT HOME"... WITH THE DOCTORS
oes anyone ever dream the American dream anymore? What must that look like now? A look through a cloudy lens gives view to our uncertain future as Americans. We are all living in a country riddled with political injustice, an interrupted education system, a wicked number of unemployed workers, and a health crisis never seen before by today’s middle-aged citizens. Imagine the chaos that children must be internalizing on how life looks from their vantage point. We have to protect them, and their education. Imagine the parents having to rethink what an American home-life looks like now, especially younger parents that are in the prime of their lives. Fathers are learning to create a new peace in the home and sense of protection in a world that leaves everyone to wonder ‘what’s next?’ and mothers are clinging to the hope that their roles as leaders and trusted advisors for their children will steadily improve, even while the world unfolds with so many sudden changes. The dinner table became a school desk and office, the backyard became a schoolyard and truncated walk in the park, the kitchen became the cafeteria and break room, and the 54
bedroom became a place of spa-like refuge, while a walk around the neighborhood became a full adventurous field trip. Was this a bad thing? One Macon, Georgia family shares their success story on maintaining life, at a steady pace, during the world’s rat race amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and political unrest, and social separation among families, friends, and colleagues. Meet the Doctor family. Parents, Jeremy Doctor and Adelia Wilder-Doctor are raising a beautiful family with their two children. They are a two-parent, two-earner household. Their daughter, Joy Doctor is seven years old and their son, Joel Doctor is five years old. Joy is a rising third grade student and Joel is a rising kindergarten student. They attend a local public elementary school in Macon, Georgia. Joy and Joel have attended a public elementary school since the beginning of their formal K-12 educations. The biggest cry for help is coming from parents across the globe that must put on a teachers hat for the first time and
had to establish a system to execute on those plans. By week two, we decided to take on official roles”. Adelia is the Co-Principal, ELA & Social Studies Department Chair, Humanities Instructor, and Lead Nutrition Manager. Jeremy is the Co-Principal, Math & Science Department Chair, Physical Education Coach, and Lead Maintenance Technician. “As cute and funny as these titles are, dividing up the responsibilities helped us to stay organized through the chaos”. Children’s aspirations do not stop because the world pauses. Joy still shows a great interest in the arts. Any outlet that allows her to create or to be creative sparks her interest. She loves to sing, dance, write songs, design clothes for her dolls, draw, and experiment with nail polish, much to the detriment of the household carpet. Joel is a maker. He enjoys any activity that gives him an opportunity to tinker or create something new. He is very innovative and resourceful. He likes to turn the household’s trash into his treasures. communiqué Magazine: If you had to guess, what will each child become as an adult? Have you ever asked each child? Jeremy’s Response: “It’s weird to put these types of predictions on our kids. If I had to guess, I could see Joy being a businesswoman or an entertainer. She has mentioned wanting to be the first Black woman President. For Joel, I think it’s too early to tell. When his teacher asked him what he wanted to be, he said a police officer. However, I think that based on his interests he may become a builder or work in architecture. Who knows?”
try to teach their children at home. This task may appear easier for Jeremy and Adelia because of their professions. Jeremy is an Educational Therapist at a school that services students with disabilities in the Middle Georgia area. Adelia is an Education Program Manager at an educational consulting and grant-writing firm that serves K-12 and nonprofit organizations. Prior to becoming parents, the Doctors discussed educational goals for their unborn children, but it was informal. After their children arrived, they became more strategic about where they wanted to live and where they wanted their children to attend school. There was never a discussion that could prepare Jeremy or Adelia to be unemployed, though temporarily, and teaching their children at home while the world’s educational system shut completely down. The Doctors give us a look into their first week of homeschool. “We were in survival mode. We did not have a formal schedule or set structure, we were trying to figure out what we were doing and how long we were going to have to do it. Fortunately, Joy and Joel’s teachers put together amazing lesson plans with organized assignments, but we
Adelia’s Response: “This is a tough question. I have not thought about what each of our kids will become. I have thought about who I want them to be though. I want them to grow up to be compassionate, caring, and conscious. I also want them to love what they do and celebrate who they are as young, gifted, Black children. Their answers to this question are also evolving. Joy wanted to be a doctor when she was three years old, a teacher when she was five, and now at seven she wants to be the first Black woman president. Joel has discussed wanting to work as a firefighter and a police officer. I will support whichever path they take, as long as they don’t settle. When you take your kids to a doctor for a check-up, developmental milestones are usually discussed. At the base level, we wanted to ensure that our kids were meeting those developmental milestones, but we also wanted more for them. I wouldn’t say that we established any specific educational goals while planning a family, but we knew that we wanted to expose our kids to the world around them. I remember being pregnant and reading to my babies in the wound and playing music for them. I wanted them to know my voice, but I also wanted them to stimulate their communiqué Magazine
minds and spark their imaginations and curiosities.” communiqué Magazine: What is your opinion on homeschooling for your children permanently? Jeremy’s Response: “No. (Laughing out loud) Although I’m professionally an educator, my level of patience is different with my children.” Adelia’s Response: “I’m not interested in homeschooling our kids permanently. Although I’m a certified educator, I like being able to compartmentalize the many aspects of my life. Before the COVID-19 shutdown, it was often difficult to draw a line between work and home. After the shutdown, the lines between work, home, and school completely disappeared. We have done our best to support our kids through this process because we understand how difficult this transition has been for them, however, I think we will all be relieved when they can safely return to school and reconnect with their teachers and friends.” Education is key and it goes without saying that this family is focused and understands how the blend of education and social interaction is vital to a child’s success. Jeremy and Adelia both are equipped with a solid education. Jeremy is a 2010 graduate of Clark Atlanta University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Jeremy holds a Georgia educator certificate in Middle Grades Math and Special Education General Curriculum. Adelia Wilder-Doctor is a 2011 graduate of Spelman College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in History and a 2017 graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education where she received a Masters in Education (Ed.M.) as a member of the C’2017 Education Policy and Management program.
Atlanta Photographer Kim Taylor, ‘Kimazing Photos’, captured the Doctor family photos in an exclusive photo session for communiqué Magazine. “They were incredible” Kim says. We agree that they are super incredible! The philosophy of family and educational characteristics of Jeremy, Adelia, Joy, and Joel give us a true glimpse at what an American dream looks like. The Doctor family looks to God, and their elders for guidance. They understand the importance of self-care and recognize that life can be intimidating and confusing. They leave this time-capsule message for their children: Joy and Joel: “Learn your limits because you do not have superhuman powers. Learn to set boundaries because your time and your needs are valuable. Take time to get to know yourself because your life has purpose and meaning. We are rooting for you!” - Mom and Dad Jeremy and Adelia are beautiful people, inside and out. They are great role models for their children. They identify their ‘happy spot in life’ as their home. The Doctors closed this interview with this, “Our home…. it’s where we laugh, cry, learn, and work through the murky stuff. It is a safe space, free of judgment, and filled with support. It’s where we do life together”.
Jeremy, Joel, Joy, and Adelia
The Doctor Family
We hope that our story will inspire and uplift everyday parents who are just trying to get through life while making it meaningful and interesting for their children. We're not a glamorous family, nor do we try to be. We're just "us". We hope that our story will affirm all of the parents who are still working towards their dreams and goals while providing the space and support for their kids to do the same.
Van Miller International
by JC Gardner
tops and immediately put her whole name on them, thereby foreshadowing owning her own label.
Vanessa Henderson, Building a Legacy to Last a Working by hand required meticulous detailing, Lifetime something she mastered. When she did get a hold All the skilled women spun with their hands, and of a sewing machine, they connected like long-lost friends and mastering it became a catalyst for creating brought what they had spun, in blue and purple and scarlet material and in fine linen. sought after designs by the time she was in her early twenties. At that time, she worked with her sister to put Exodus 35:25 on a fashion show with about twenty-five models. She Quilting is a time-honored tradition of individually noted, “We sold out everything. I always knew one day patterned squares of fabric with a unique footprint I would be a fashion designer.” carefully connected by hand to another individual Vanessa always square, building worked with and depending on something that the one before it dealt with fabric. until a landscape She worked with of various colors companies and and hues create a trained sewers for tapestry blessed by them, including ancestral teachings at the community and resounding college. She scripture of the also worked final creation with mainstream being beautifully retailers such as and wonderfully Peace Goods, made. Joann fabrics and White House/ This was Black Market, to how Vanessa name a few. She Henderson of even owned a North Carolina full-service bridal got her start as salon. a designer and a seamstress. Raised All of these by a single mother and the oldest of six children, at the tender age of five accomplishments with no degree or design classes. years old, she helped her mother with quilting, which required working by hand, never using the sewing Having raised three talented and successful children of machine. As time went on, all of her siblings would her own, when she was forty-three, she decided to fulfill assist with the quilting, and they were all gifted with a promise to her mother who had died unexpectedly when she was twenty-one, and that was to go to school being able to sew as they grew into adulthood. and get a degree. She lived in a dorm with three, Vanessa, while under her mother’s wing, became a eighteen-year-old roommates in 2001. “I did life in good student. She eventually graduated to making doll reverse,” she stated. After graduating at the top of her clothes and then as a teenager, she started making halter class in 2003, Vanessa started Van Miller International communiqué Magazine
in Atlanta, GA, and in that same year, she was designer able to hold her own in the fashion industry as a Black of the year. woman, and she loves taking fashion to the streets in the community, like doing shows or photoshoots in the The college degree put a stamp on an already impressive park. career. Vanessa has done hundreds of fashion shows, worked with Project Runway designers, beauty Vanessa’s handprint has touched many, and she pageants, movies and theater. She’s won numerous demonstrates being a servant leader as an ordained awards, judged shows, and her couture has graced an minister. She lives out her faith by mentoring young abundance of magazine covers. She has also been the hopefuls who want to break into the industry or others costume designer for stage and television. Speaking who need some encouragement. She doesn’t see herself of theater, she wrote and produced her first successful in the pulpit; rather she’s a “ hedges and highway kind stage play, Finish the Dream about a church girl of minister.” She likes being in the field. finishing her dream. What’s on the horizon for Vanessa? She’d like to do Vanessa’s accomplishments and accolades extend past something on the political front and write a few books. what the eye can see. She is an Editor at Large for New She’s also co-founder of Queen of Hearts International York Style Fashion Entertainment magazine, an editor which mentors young women in Africa. Travelling to for Mothers & Daughters magazine, and she hosts the Motherland would be a dream come true. the series on Amazon Prime, “Why Did I Become a Model,” which chronicles the personal lives of models She notes, “The grind is every day. You have to stay from all different walks of life around the world. focused. If you are swayed, you won’t attain what you want.” In addition to the very many businesses With all of her designs, her sewing team consists of… and endeavors she is involved with, teaching her one! Vanessa is the only seamstress at Van Miller. granddaughter how to sew brings her immense joy, “When I sit down to sew, I’ve already thought it out and and it is no surprise they are working on a collection what it should look like in my mind. I’m the creative together. director, and I create my own patterns. I would go and get the fabric but wouldn’t cut anything until I know “To see one of my grandchildren come along” and [what it is to become.]” follow in my footsteps, that would prove my time was well served. When asked about what she is most proud about, she recalls turning sixty a few years ago, “It was like I really There’s no stopping this talented, prolific designer found my voice. It made me feel different as a woman. anytime soon. Visit the House of Van Miller www. I’m living out loud.” She revels in the fact that she is vanmillerinternational.com.
Daphna Ziman Founder and President of Cinémoi Network written by Corretta L. Doctor
I had the privilege and great honor to interview Daphna Ziman. Daphna Ziman is the Founder and President of Cinémoi, an acclaimed television network that focuses on classic films, premium content, documentaries, and special fashion and film. As one of the only women in the world to be at the helm of a media company, she is also a dedicated philanthropist, a New York Times Best Selling author, and activist. Daphna Ziman has a personality that pulls you in and settles your soul. She is a woman with the incredible ability to make major moves while maintaining her class and grace in business. She is an icon to emulate and a mentor to learn from. Television is a form of entertainment but the mission of Daphna’s network, Cinémoi, is to elevate as well as entertain. Daphna recognizes that her company is a window into many homes of the world. The premium programming currently gives the world viewers front row seats to an assortment of international titles and festivals, curated vintage to modern movies, as well as green and haute couture content, and an array of glamorous events, including the Cannes Film Festival Red Carpet and Closing Ceremony, and the channel's annual International Fashion Film Awards show. Daphna wants to reflect a theme that shows heroes in a
positive light, and shows each viewer that there is a hero in each of us. Daphna kindly shares with us, “I want you to understand that things that hurt you, also hurt me.” She is one business mogul that does not mind showing her heart, she is personable and is such a welcoming spirit here on earth. My conversation with Daphna revealed just how much of a warrior with wings she is! Daphna is a phenomenal woman with an extraordinary caring soul. She walks the talk in a mighty bold way, and she has a huge passion for many things, including fashion and film, but the heart and soul of Daphna Ziman is children. As the founder of Children Uniting Nations, a 501 (c)3 charity which provides foster children with devoted, non-paid mentors, Daphna was successful in lobbying to get the Family Preservation Act amended. The act ensures safety of children returning home after foster care. Children at risk, specifically girls need direct support. Daphna created a universal strategy to protect youth and women at risk. She focuses on helping women that get systematically caught up in acts of crime where they need, but cannot afford a proper lawyer, and subsequently end up in the system.
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Daphna is an avid writer. When the world becomes dark, she turns to her love of penning her pain onto paper, and writing out her thoughts. She lives vicariously through characters that she creates. She deepens her imagination and writes about how and why her characters can become a part of the solution of any issue. Daphna is the author of 2011 New York Times Best Selling book, ‘The Gray Zone’ and the book is just
as relevant and engaging today as it was when it was written. Many written reviews indicate the book is excellent, and it is no doubt that Daphna’s success with the book was eminent. Daphna writes from a position of passion and intrigue. A synopsis found on Good Reads says, “Kelly Jensen is thrown into foster care after witnessing her mother's murder and her father's wrongful conviction. By 15 she is a runaway, and
has become a master of identity theft. Years later, estranged from a vicious husband and struggling to support her children, Kelly becomes a suspect in the murder of her lover, a congressman”. The book is over 300 pages of an excellent piece of literary work by Daphna. We asked Daphna what’s on the horizon for a new release and she told us, “I will be writing about the Al Capone period in Chicago. Right now, the south side of Chicago is experiencing more violence than
ever. I am interested to show how a U.S. gangster, even in his notorious domain role in organized crime, still had the heart to build soup kitchens to feed the community.” If Al could show compassion, anyone can. A day in the life of this amazing woman is wondrous and filled with peace. As Daphna speaks about her day, it is clear that the saying, “how things start, is how they end” is true. Daphna shares that she arises daily around 6am and starts her day with a probiotic, vitamin C (orange juice) and she always, always, always includes a workout in her morning routine. Daphna loves the outdoors. She loves being able to just go outside and breathe again, to see others, and impart a friendly smile. “The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing has taught us that we are no different.” Daphna assures you that in her presence, we are all standing on fair ground. The world sees us all for exactly who we are. Daphna shares a funny story about her celebrity friend, “Chocolate” and herself, that she self-titles “Vanilla” as a friendly exchange and term of endearment between two very good friends. This story shows you the power and exchange of energy and goodwill. Follow closely. Daphna hosts an event called “The Day of the Child” where she matches 1000 foster children with 1000 university students/mentors. It is a successful event and she meets the children at a hands on day filled with fun and activities. One day, Vanilla (Daphna) and her friend Chocolate met up to celebrate the opening/ dedication of a specially designed school classroom that Chocolate created in a South Central Los Angeles school. The room is designed to safely accommodate autistic children and was created by Chocolate in honor of her autistic nephew. Vanilla drove herself, showing up in her fancy sports convertible, while Chocolate arrived in a limousine with security and bodyguards. Afterall, it is in South Central LA! At the end of the event, where Chocolate was singing and kids were climbing around and everyone had fun, the two ladies departed the school. Chocolate left with her entourage and Vanilla departed on her lonesome, just dependent on her faith to get her home safely. As Vanilla pulled away from the school, she was stopped at a traffic light near a convenience store on the corner. She saw a gang, wearing their colors and
as she rolled slowly toward the traffic light, hoping it would just be a scare and not a situation, one of the boys motioned for her to roll her car windows down. Alone, this was not what Vanilla wanted to be a part of. Not that day and not ever. With caution, she proceeded to listen as she kept her eye on the gang while responding to the boy by putting her window partly down. As she nervously did what she was told, she remained faithful that her goodwill and positive energy towards all children would keep her safe. As Vanilla thought of her work and the importance of why she positions herself into the deep dive of caring for foster children, she looked into the eyes of the boy that was beckoning for her to stop the car and put her window down. A piercing look into his eyes revealed a story. A story that only Vanilla, the relentless and persevering Daphna, could tell. This boy was one of the young boys that she had worked with in her program of 1000 foster children! He recognized her and not only did he let her go without harm, he and his friends got together and escorted her to the freeway so that she could get out of that part of town safely. This is a true story of how Vanilla, Daphna Ziman was saved. And by the way, her friend Chocolate, is the incomparable Chaka Khan. They are very good friends and those are the names they give each other! To this day, they share this story. It has a deep meaning. To celebrate another person is a gift to the person, and to ourselves. The world is clapping loudly for all of the Daphna Ziman’s of the world. Make no mistake that Daphna is a pioneer and an evolving figure in our world. She holds nothing back in the way of leadership and empowerment and she stands firm in the belief that we all hold a special place to serve others, in whatever capacity we can. Her “each one- teach one” mentality is contagious. Her philanthropic spirit opens doors and presents opportunities for people, and especially children, that may never see the hope of a promising future. A healing of the universe is in order. Daphna encourages meditation and here is some advice she gave to me, “Meditate
two times a day. Find and focus on the white light that goes all the way to the apex of the universe. Breathe in and let it go into every cell of the body and then push it out. Exhale fear and abandonment through the third eye. Become one with the light and ultimately you will heal against the fear and abandonment”. I have been practicing meditation since the moment I ended my one on one chat with Daphna. I have a beautiful new understanding of relaxation now. In recognition, Daphna Ziman has received the Jacqueline Kennedy Award by JFK University, Women of Achievement Award by North American Council for Adoptable Children, Uniting Children of the World Award by the Child Welfare League of America, and the Peace & Tolerance Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Advocacy, among others. Daphna leaves this interview on a light note, sharing some of her favorite things with us! Every woman loves shoes and Daphna shares that her fave ‘foot wheels’ are Louboutin’s. Daphna loves the entire idea of elegant shoes and Louboutin is her shoe of choice! One of her favorite unisex designers is Riot Hill: A constant progression of high-end fabrications used to communicate utilitarian and industrial-inspired design. Founded in Los Angeles and constructed in Japan, RIOT HILL™ explores menswear with the intent to cultivate subversive culture. Some of Daphna’s all time favorite artists are AKON, Wyclef Jean, and Etta James. To take it a step further, one of her favorite songs by Etta James is ‘A Lover is Forever’. Daphna’s favorite vacation destination is Lake Como in Italy. Daphna Ziman is beautiful and filled with an undying passion to live a life designed to be of service and empowerment to others. She has two daughters, Michelle and Ashley. The moment Daphna became a Mother, through adoption, that is the moment that she started walking into her destiny, and she has never stopped. Visit https://cinemoi.tv/ and continue to live your life in peace. Create it, claim it and never stop believing in it.
Sriracha Chicken Leg accompanied w/Southern Fried Potatoes and Green Beans
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When you find a place that has AMAZING food, you keep their number close at hand! People find comfort in great meals and Chef Kryste'l from Virginia has the answer to every hungry person’s question when they sit down for a good meal, “What do you have good on the menu to eat?” The answer is simple, “whatever you’d like”. A diverse culinary professional, Chef Kryste’l ”is a Southern Belle who shakes with the best seasonings when preparing delicious entrees. She has selected Cumin as her favorite spice to talk about today. “Cumin has a hearty and meaty taste and a spice that also carries health benefits that increases the antioxidant intake, promotes digestion, provides iron, improves blood sugar control, and reduces food-borne illnesses. During
Smokin’ Curry Chickpeas and Potatoes
Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken
these trying times when people are seeking ways to improve their health and maintain a strong immune system, this spice is sure to help”. Krys' Kuisine was established in 2019 and has quickly become a favorite source of great food. The establishment is a worldwide catering service that provides catering for corporate, private, and events of all sizes. With phenomenal service, that is COVID-19 compliant (and puts safety ahead of everything), Krys’ Kuisine is dedicated to ensuring every meal served is of the greatest taste, quality and presentation that you will ever find.
Scrumptious Seafood Linguini w/Scallops and Shrimp
"NOURISHES AND REPLENISHES THE SOUL"
KRYSTE'L JORDAN TRAVEL CHEF | CATERING | PRIVATE CHEF | MEAL PREP 773-851-5685 @KRYS.KUISINE communiquÃ© Magazine
MODEL: EARL THOMS @IG:iamnookiethomas
Photography: Perris Hull @IG@Thesebastianeffectphotography
MODEL: EARL THOMS @IG:iamnookiethomas
Beautiful Minds The Unexpected Health Benefits of Crafting written by SIGRUN BRAGA Guðrúnardóttir “Craftivists open hearts and minds. It’s about connecting through, by and with craft and creating more compassionate community.” Craftivism Manifesto Our ancestors had skills which were essential for everyday life. With their hands they crafted, and they mended to ensure their survival. Even though people have been working with their hands for a longer period of time than our elders can remember, researchers are just recently beginning to look into the many mental and physical health benefits of creative, rhythmic and repetitive activities. When we experience trauma the body itself along with a part of the brain called the amygdala keeps the score. Not only is our world view altered but, also our brain function and even our DNA is impacted. It’s a peculiar thing about the amygdala, you see, it’s not a very rational part of the brain. Therefore, we often react to mundane happenings in everyday life based on the trauma we´ve gone through because, they trigger and remind the brain of the initial trauma itself. Whether it’s through a strong smell, loud and sudden noises, bright lights or we are simply over stressed because we are late to an appointment, these triggers set off our innate alarm system in the amygdala often called fight, flight, freeze/play dead responses. The result can often be seen in autonomic activity such as anxiety, restlessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure or even increased blood sugar levels. In situations like these, it is very important to find ways to balance the body and the mind. And that’s where crafting and craftivism can come in handy. Something that our foremothers really knew deep down inside because they had been “connecting through, by and with their craft” through sewing and quilting bees, knitting groups and other gatherings where they met and crafted with their hands. Often side by side, without necessarily having to look each
other in the eye. Through my work as group leader in women’s self-help groups at Stígamót, a Reykjavík based Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence, (https://www.stigamot.is/ is/languages/english) I’ve discovered that one of traumas hidden long term affects is the tendency to withdraw oneself from social gatherings. Which often led to other various mental health problems. While the reasons behind withdrawing oneself are both quite personal and based on the trauma itself, one of many consequences of social isolation is often the difficulty to maintain eye contact. But, when breaking out of that self-inflicted isolation by meeting up with other people to work with our hands, to create something, we can reduce loneliness and increase our sense of wellbeing. According to Mental Health America, studies have shown that creative, rhythmic and repetitive activities induce relaxation responses which is the opposite of the fight or flight responses. By focusing on the task at hand, and talking about the hobby, we receive several physical and mental health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, reduced depression and anxiety, distraction from chronic pain and even slowed onset of dementia. https://www.mhanational.org/blog/mental-health-benefitsknitting It would be simple of me to state that crafting can save us from trauma. However, since “craftivism doesn’t expect us to come with skills but with willingness... we can build a better world together by reclaiming the slow process of creating by hand with thought, with purpose, with love. Craftivism is a tool to instantly create a small part of the warmer, friendlier and more colorful world we hope to see in the future” and therefore help us with recovering from and dealing with trauma.
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Comedy Created the SOUL of
CHRIS HARVEY and No, His Daddy Isn’t Steve! Written by Corretta Doctor It was my first time going out for a public event since the Covid-19 shutdown and it was my first time attending a show at the Toledo Funny Bone, the premier comedy club located in Perrysburg, Ohio just outside of Toledo. I was ready for a great evening of laughter and I needed the exchange and social interaction of being out with a mature crowd. Comedian Chris Harvey was the opening act, but as far as I am concerned he could have carried the night on his own and stayed on stage as the Main Act. He was just that funny. I knew from the tie he stepped on stage that I wanted to know more about him and although it wasn’t a packed room, due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the club was full, and the lines were long leading up to the merchandise tables after the show. I decided to follow Chris on social media and took a chance to reach him through the inevitable “DM”. It worked, he responded and granted me an interview. communiqué Magazine: Where were you born and raised and where do you reside now? Chris Harvey: I was born in Louisville, Kentucky but I was only there for two months. Then we moved to Akron Ohio where I lived the majority of my life. I once lived in Odessa, Texas for two years. communiqué Magazine: Where is the first stage you ever appeared on as a professional comedian? What do you remember most about that gig? Chris Harvey: The Funnystop Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls. It was the club I stepped on stage as an amateur and the owner was the first person to Emcee, Feature and Headline me. I’ve had all my firsts there and it will always be my ‘home club’. communiqué Magazine: What do you think the comedy industry will look like post-Covid19? Chris Harvey: I’m not sure. I think it will look different, I feel it’s a hard bump to get over. It was already hard to stay consistently working without being a big name, and now with half of the venues open its tough. It’ll be like hunger games in my opinion, only the strong will survive. It’s going to take a lot of hustle and unwillingness to give up.
communiqué Magazine: Which comedian, (living or dead), is someone that you emulate in your style? Chris Harvey: I grew up on Gary Owen, Bruce Bruce, Katt Williams, Eddie Griffin, Kevin Hart and Lavell Crawford. Those are all guys I watch and study a lot. I’m not sure if I emulate any of them but I do get compared to a mix of Gary Owen and Lavell Crawford a lot.
communiqué Magazine: Who makes you laugh? Chris Harvey: My friends and mentor. My mentor is like a brother. He has helped me through comedy. His name is Rob Ward and is one of the best out of Ohio, let alone the Cleveland area. He and I are always laughing and cracking jokes. Then my best friend from when I was 10. He is one of the only people that our sense of humor is so similar. Things I wouldn’t be able to bring to stage or make a well-crafted joke out of, I take to him for us to laugh at.
communiqué Magazine: Do you have siblings, and if yes where are you in the birth order? Chris Harvey: I have an older brother named John and he is four years older than me. We are complete opposites. He was a straight A student and I dropped out at 15. He’s a super handy man and mechanic, and I barely like to build a sandwich. He is an introvert and I talk to anybody and everyone I can.
communiqué Magazine: What type of comedy do you deliver? Chris Harvey: I truly can do any style of crowd. I use to be a youth pastor, so I’ve done Christian and clean comedy a lot, I’ve done blue collar crowds mainstream. Young or old. But mostly I’m identified by most as an urban comic.
communiqué Magazine: Tell us about your parents, are they alive? What do/did they think of your Comedy life? Chris Harvey: My mom and dad are both alive. They divorced when I was like three years old… must’ve been my fault (lol). My dad is the strictest one who kind of was realistic and hesitant with comedy. He wanted to make sure I’d be responsible. My mom is the opposite, she’s very enabling and encouraging, she wanted me to be a comedian since I was a kid.
communiqué Magazine: What is the most important part of your career as a comedian? Chris Harvey: To me it’s image. I believe everything you say or do is super important, from my name being announced to what song I come out to. The first thing they see is me and what I’m wearing. All of that is super important to building the person I am in a matter of seconds. I think it can change so much. communiqué Magazine: Are you married, have children? IF yes do you want to list them in the article? Chris Harvey: I am not. I am currently single, but I do wanna be married and I want at least four kids, so hopefully I can make it big in Comedy so I can afford that many! communiqué Magazine: Where is your happy place, and why? Chris Harvey: The road is. I love to drive. I’ve done 17 hours straight and I love it. I can sing, daydream, envision things, think of jokes, catch up on phone calls. It’s the best. communiqué Magazine: What is the best part about being YOU? Chris Harvey: Being able to show people its ok to be weird. I’m quirky and different than others and I think it’s beautiful. I’m seasoned (lol) and have a lot of personality. I come off obnoxious to some, but energetic to others. I have a gift of gab and I am always able to make people feel comfortable and I think that we need that nowadays.
communiqué Magazine:What is the next big thing for you and how can fans and followers reach you? Chris Harvey: Right now, with everything the way it is I’m not quite sure what is next. I’m currently working on videos, podcasts, and other social media projects so that I can keep creating content. Fans can connect and follow me @chrisharveycomedy on all social media, Facebook. IG, Onlyfans…. Cash app, Tik Tok, Tinder… whatever they got (lol)! Chris tells me that comedy created the person that he has become over the years. He is funny, humble and evolving each day. He says, “It’s allowed me to fully live into my potential. I was set as a failure and no one had high hopes for me from the age of 13. I was an ‘at risk’ kid who looked like I had no future. And to come as far as I have has been a blessing and I give all glory to God. Hopefully, you’ll see a lot more of me”.
“I’m quirky and different than others and I think it’s beautiful.” - CHRIS HARVEY
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Written by Corretta L. Doctor Hold onto your tiger stripes! Vicki Barbolak is a sassy and sexy 62 year…no wait, I mean “sexty-two” year old Comedian that is living the dream as an internationally recognized professional comedian. Vicki started her comedy career just under 25 years ago in California and she really took off after an open Mic night at the La Jolla Comedy Store Club. The legendary, late Mitzi Shore hired Vicki in 1998 as a paid regular. This was the start of something major in Vicki’s career. Ranking in the top ten of Season 13 on America’s Got Talent (AGT), NBC’s No. 1 summer show, Vicki instantly became a fan favorite. America’s Got Talent was created by Simon Cowell and is co-produced by Fremantle and Syco Entertainment. Vicki was also featured on the 2019 AGT Champions show and Britain’s Got Talent Champions among a list of other shows and competitions. Vicki reminds us of her most memorable moments on AGT where she placed number six in the top ten, “When Simon said I was the funniest person they’ve ever had on the show, and when Howie said I remind him of Joan Rivers, and when Tyra Banks gave me a big, comforting hug were my three most unforgettable moments of the show.”
Adorned in her favorite pattern….animal print, Vicki always sets the stage ablaze as she gets right to it with her comedy show. She has a ritual that she does before her show. She sends out a blanket of love over the audience! I saw Vicki in Sacramento at the Punch Line Comedy Club a year ago and I am still laughing- she delivers a really good show! I asked Vicki, who makes you laugh? She responded, “Richard Pryor, Phyllis Diller, Chris Rock, and Lily Tomlin all make me laugh! I named my daughter Lily after Lily Tomlin”. Vicki has two daughters, Lily and Emily, and she is a very proud grandmother of six grandchildren. Vicki makes her home in Oceanside, California. I asked Vicki about her future in comedy. “I have always loved standup. I always loved comedy. I will never stop performing, I will be propped up on a leopard covered walker still making people laugh. We can all work as long as we take care of ourselves.” The COVID-19 pandemic hit the comedy industry hard. There are few opportunities for comedians to go back on stage right now. Vicki is hoping to soon be able to get back to her full tour schedule and perform
at corporate events. She has graced the comedy stages of over 100 clubs. She also wants to write a book. She says the title will likely be “Your Husband Hates the Sound of Your Voice”. All jokes aside, Vicki wants readers to know that she is a grateful woman underneath her sexy layers of animal print attire! She walked away from a family business to live her dream of comedy, and regardless of what others thought, she made it and she is very happy! She left behind bad relationships, and a pile of negative things that could have easily brought her down, but she persevered. Vicki has enjoyed her career and she makes time to give back to her community and to national causes. She is devoted to bringing awareness to Autism. Her grandson Timmy is autistic, and he is a bright young boy that holds a special place in this world and surely in Vicki’s heart! Vicki encourages readers to get involved. She is an advocate for Suicide Awareness and Prevention and she strongly supports the fight against privatizing the Veterans hospital. She also asks that we support funding for research on health matters that can impact all of us in one way or the other. Vicki says, “Although I laugh a lot now, and I am really good at making others laugh too, I did not have a happy life. After 20 years of working at my family’s carpet shop and growing up the daughter of a Pro Football player, which came with its own set of drama, I walked away from it all and started living life on my terms”. Vicki is a testimony of the many battles women face today. She made it. She says, “Humor is healing, and it promotes conversation.” Visit www.vickibarbolakcomedy.com and stay connected to our friend Vicki Barbolak! Be sure to tune in every Thursday to Vicki’s podcast, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’. Follow Vicki on social media: Twitter: @VickiBarbolak Facebook: @VickiBarbolakComedy Instagram: @VickiBarbolak America’s Got Talent Audition: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=RkCY_KsbZEA&t=2s America’s Got Talent Finals: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Ybxq8nKrCQA Vicki’s promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=DqBKk0XUqds&feature=youtu.be YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/ UCgm1LGiuMM_7E6c6Qin2pLQ
communiqué Magazine 77 77 communiqué Magazine
Richard. That’s it. Richard. Written by Corretta L. Doctor
Since 2006 Harlem, New York has been the home to Richard Pryor, Jr. New York is energetic and full of heartbeat. The city, and those in it, do not care who your famous parents are or aren’t. If you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere and you will do it on your own accord! Richard sets the tone for the interview, “I am not trying to be my Father, and I do have a Mother that many people fail to ever ask me about”. He would soon come to see that this interview would strike a bond between the two of us that neither of us could have imagined. I get it, I do. Richard Pryor, Jr. is the son of the late Patricia Price and the first born son to the famed Comedian Richard Pryor, who died in 2005. Richard Pryor Jr. is an American director, writer, singer, and actor. Richard is starring in a new television series, ‘The D.O.C.’ scheduled to begin production in 2021. The series will be about Rose Ross, a former combat veteran discovers her sister. She decides to risk it all and become a correctional officer in the same prison, to take them down the culprits responsible. Richard worked production on The Color Purple (1985), Bustin’ Loose (1981) and Figure. Richard has one son, Randise Pryor, that is turning 30 years old this December. Richard is also a grandfather to four little ones: two grandsons and two granddaughters! Richard is a celebrity and a celebrity son, and even with all of the lights that shine on celebrities, Richard never forgot the bond he shared with his dad, even in the later years shortly before his dad’s death. That is important and is a key attribute to the strength of the father-son bond he holds with Randise. Both of them live in New York so it gives them plenty of opportunities to spend quality time together. Richard tells us that his relationship with his son differs greatly than that between him and his own father and he is prayerfully gracious for the life he has with his son. I asked Richard to tell me what his “today” story looks like, to shed light on what his life looks and feels like for him today. “Today is a mixture of a lot of things. On one hand you have what you do professionally and what you like to do, and then you get to a point of what “can” you do at this point because all of the city is shut down? With the COVID-19 situation it impacted my work. Work changed for me and many of my industry friends, so I decided to go to work in a hospital. I saw a need and I had the ability to do the job, so I went to work in a hospital doing housekeeping work. Everybody there was so surprised that it was actually me…Richard Pryor, Jr. …they were surprised that I would be working in a hospital and more surprised that I would be
doing cleaning and janitorial work. The staff were constantly looking me up on the internet and whispering about me being me. Finally, one day one of my colleagues came to me and asked me why am I working in housekeeping, and I quickly answered, why not? One supervisor even told me that he was watching a movie and saw me on the screen! The way I see it, hospitals are extremely short of staff. There is a need, and I was able to fill it. I am working my job at the hospital and waiting on things to open back up. New York was brought to its knees and the hustle and bustle stopped. I wanted to do what I know I needed to do”. Living in New York, the initial deadly epicenter of the Covid-19 virus, has to be one of the most unprecedented places to be during this pandemic. Out of every bad situation, people strive to decipher something good. I asked Richard if he learned any good lessons out of this situation? “I got a closer look at self-love because I am isolated and not seeing anyone. It is like going through therapy. It is like going on vacation by yourself. Then, when you start seeing the city shutdown and the curfews in place and all you have is a phone and a television, it is then that you start feeling the effects of being socially distanced. That is when you have to start to check yourself and learn who you are as a person”. Richard continues, “There was nothing that I didn’t know [about myself] but there were things I did refuse to look at. Like, I know I can be opinionated, but I never looked at myself like that. I did realize that I always wanted to have the last word. There is a part of me that is really nice and kind, but I have a temper. That is also something I learned about myself. I had to learn that not everyone is going to like me. I have a real big problem with that, and I am still working on that one. I am a nice guy. You just have to learn and accept that not everyone is going to get with you and click with you and want to like you and be around you. I think the things that I have gone through in my life are things that were helping me, and I didn’t know they were helping me”. Looking past the media articles out there, the countless interviews, and opinion editorials, I want to understand how Richard is doing today. Too often the media focuses on the celebrity and not the substance of a person. Richard deserves a voice of consolation and we are proud to give it to him. Without a stutter or stammer, he proudly says, “I am extremely happy today. I am very happy. There are things that I want in my life, and things that I think I deserve in my life because of what I am doing and what I want and what
I desire, but I am happy. I used to love to just be by myself, but I am noticing now that the older I get, the more I don’t find that fulfilling anymore. I have to learn to ‘unlearn’ a lot of things that were programmed in my mind and I had to let things go and learn to trust people. I used to sit back in corners and just watch people because I didn’t trust people. I am learning to trust more as time goes on”. When someone goes through as much as Richard has, all you ever want for them is to know that they are happy. Richard’s book, ‘In a Pryor Life’, written by Richard with Ron Brawer, details much of the hard life this man endured. Again, it is heartwarming to know that Richard’s ‘today’ story entails his happiness. ‘In a Pryor Life’ is a seriously good read that holds nothing back; here is the Amazon summary: “When I was born, I weighed two pounds, three ounces. The doctor who examined me told my mother, “Congratulations, Mrs. Pryor, you have a boy! No, wait, it’s a girl! No, it is a boy!” Mom cried, “What did I have? A freak?” Yes and No. My freakish life parallels my father’s in many ways: a Peoria whorehouse, abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, and frequent bad decisions. But I survived. And that’s what my book is about, a real-life story of overcoming obstacles, surviving, and thriving”. -Richard Pryor, Jr. Richard is looking forward to going back into the comedy world. “I think a lot of things that we took for granted in the comedy industry will be different. Auditions and call backs are on zoom now. It is weird. I can’t wait to be able to go back to the stage and sing again and get back to acting in the plays that I had been working on prior to everything closing down”.
and not like my father they’d say I wasn’t good enough to be like my father so I could never really be myself. It was a no-win situation. I will do improv and I also do cabaret’s. They are like a one man show. I sing and I do storytelling. I take the audience on the journey of my life. I will then break out into song. My cabaret, ‘Life, Love, and a Little Laughter’ is a MAC Award nominee for outstanding performance in a Musical Comedy. My latest project is going to be great, I am currently working on a one man show based off my book where I portray ALL of the characters”. Richard rounds out our discussion with a strong sentiment of peace. “My life is always a journey. I didn’t always look at it that way. The first relationship I ever had was with a Man. Prior to that I was forcibly abused by a male. I had a nervous breakdown in high school because I was fearful of who I was and dealing with rejection. Then, trying to conform to what society expected, I got married to a woman. Prior to me being married, I lived my life as a gay man and I even did female impersonating because I loved to lip sync and all of that. I went through a lot of abuse and although I didn’t know it then, I see how much I have been taken advantage of throughout my life. My ex-wife is a good friend of mine and I attend her church here in New York”. Because of his teaching and learnings, he started feeling convictions about living the gay lifestyle. When he told his last male partner about his true thoughts and feelings, although his partner understood, the relationship ended. They are still friends today, but the relationship ended. Never say never. You don’t know what roads and twists and turns your life is going to take. “I’m just living my life the way I am living it today. I can’t say what tomorrow is going to bring, I just live for today and that is the way it is. I don’t want to use labels but today, I no longer identify, or live my life as an openly gay man”.
Comedy is not just a healing tool for the audience, comedy helps the comedian, too. “Comedy can be really healing but the unfortunate thing with comedy is that you have to be so politically correct now. If you look back at old TV shows such as All in the Family and The Jefferson’s a lot of those shows couldn’t be on today. A lot of things Redd Foxx, and my Dad, said on stage just couldn’t be said today. Laughter is so healing and therapeutic. Back in the day the worse thing you had to think about in a comedy club is if the comedian was going to pick on what you were wearing, but you knew when you got up and walked out of the club, that is where it stayed. Today the fear in a comedy club is whether someone is going to record you and pick apart everything you say in the opposite of the context of which it was intended. That is just wrong because all the comedian is doing is trying to get you to smile and laugh”.
If life were a color for Richard, it would be red. “Red represents so many things and it can be viewed as positive and negative. I see it as a circus color, big red clown shoes, the big red flower on the clown’s lapel that squirts water, and everyone is laughing. Red… in that scene… is making everyone happy with the laughing”!
If you are wondering why you don’t see Richard on the comedy tours doing stand-up, stop wondering. He explains, “I don’t do stand-up anymore, but I did it years ago and I will never do it again. With my name being Richard Pryor, Jr. it was too brutal. It wasn’t the crowd, it was the other comics. The other comics were brutal. They thought if I told stories of my life, they would say I was trying to be my father. My father’s life and mine were very similar so the stories were automatically parallel. If I told jokes a different way
Richard tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and is still battling with the symptoms although he is no longer contagious. It has been a tough road, but Richard sends warm thoughts for a happy holiday season to everyone!
It is refreshing to see people living a life that they want to live without shame, discontent, or regret. Richard Pryor, Jr. is striving to show people that no matter where you are in life, and certainly no matter where life has taken you, the best thing you can do is live life today on your own terms and free of any fear. Forgive, forget and be free. Use laughter and let laughter use you! BE yourself. Richard is just Richard. That’s it. Richard. He has his own life, and he loves it. What you see is what you get.
Visit Richard’s website at https://inapryorlife.com/ and stay connected.
Tiara communiquĂŠ Magazine
Chef Tasha: The Essence of Food
Chef Tasha Roberts grew up with Louisiana Creole roots and was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She explains that her childhood was a rough one. She survived the antagonizing and horrible stressors of being bullied as a child. Being bullied interfered with her teenage years and eventually became an impediment to the things that she really liked to do, including her first love of drawing. “I grew up in the tough streets of Philadelphia, however I was put in an environment around a mecca of different foods, cultures, and ethnic differences. My grandmothers were my refuge as they had me involved in their version of a culinary master class that I didn't even know I was attending. While other kids played outside I spent my weekends helping my grandmother cut green beans and wash collard greens. At that young age I was introduced to many ethnic spices. My Saturdays as a child were spent at the farmers markets, spice shops, and sidewalk sales.” As we reflect back, many of us can see the lessons of our ancestors play out clearly in our day to day life now. “I also went through some hardships in my teen years as I was seeking direction in my life. Those hardships led me down a path of almost self-destruction. Making it through my teens, and entering into adulthood, I found out that I had a debilitating eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, a chronic hereditary eye disease characterized by black pigmentation and gradual degeneration of the retina. My options in life became limited. I began to put my time and energy into cooking for my friends and family and connecting back to my roots. It did not take long for me to realize that food was my love language, and although I felt insecure about my eyes, I still decided to enroll in culinary school. Not only did I finish with honors, but I also became an Honorary Alumni, all while suffering with an eye disease.” Many people would have used an excuse, but not Tasha. She persevered and pushed through! Tasha doesn’t deny that it was a hard road. “I have had many struggles trying to make my way in the industry. My disability was in my eyes and I needed my eyesight to execute. I quickly learned that the essence of food was not in my eyes but in my taste, smell, and feel of the dish. I wanted to master my craft of cooking. It always takes me back to my childhood when my grandmother would have me taste different types of foods. They were very diverse dishes that many kids would turn their noses at. I overcame my insecurities and adversity and used my most powerful senses to create and innovate. Food saved my life. I order different spices and herbs from around the world when I'm creating. We are artists and because of my passion and determination I have accomplished so much as a Chef than I ever could have imagined. I would go about the creative process the same way that I always did, which was writing ideas down first, based on ingredients that were coming into season. I found inspiration in my disability. It’s going to make me a better chef every time and that’s what it's all about”. Chef Tasha is an amazing person and a wonderful Chef! We enjoyed talking with her. Contact her by email email@example.com.
JABarnes Photography LLC
Veggie Gumbo Chef Angela Chester-Johnson Seafood Gumbo is a mouthwatering holiday feast. Many New Years Day guests have high anticipation of chowing down on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Low Countryâ&#x20AC;? delicacy. For the past three years, we have blessed our vegetarian friends and family members with a pretty darn good veggie version of Louisiana Gumbo. You can make and serve this delicious southern stew to the delight of your guests. Expect accolades! Chef Angela Chester-Johnson Tasteplumgood.com 86
Recipe Ingredients: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 medium tomato, chopped 1½ cups chopped onion 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons spicy mustard 1½ teaspoons liquid smoke 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar ½ teaspoon hot sauce 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon Plum Good Applewood smoked salt Plum Good Fabulous Fish & Seafood Seasoning 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon smoked paprika ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 quart vegetable stock or broth + 3 veggie bouillon cubes 4 cups sliced okra 1 (16-ounce) can red beans, drained and rinsed 8 cremini mushrooms, quartered 2 lbs vegetarian meatballs or sausage 1½ cups diced zucchini (1 medium) 1½ cups diced green pepper (1 large) 1½ cups diced red bell pepper (1 large) 1 cup thinly sliced celery 4 cups cooked jasmine rice ½ cups sliced green onion Dash or two of pure lemon juice West African Fire Hot Sauce (to taste)
Instructions: 1. Place vegetable oil and flour in a Dutch Oven with a heavy bottom. I like to use cast iron Turn the heat on medium and whisk continuously about 5 minutes, until mixture becomes fragrant. 2. Turn heat to medium-low, whisking continuously here and there, but not for any until roux becomes a dark caramel color. (About 15 minutes) 3. Remove Dutch oven from heat. 4. In a food processor, process tomato, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, smoked sea salt, paprika, nutmeg, and oregano until mixture is smooth. 5. Place Dutch oven with roux over medium-high heat and add tomato/onion puree. Stir to mix together. Continue to cook until most of liquid is reduced. 6. Stir in vegetable stock and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. 7. Add beans, okra, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red pepper, and celery. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze or pour in a dash (about a teaspoon} lemon juice 8.Serve with rice and green onions. * Add hot sauce to taste for Major flavor pop!
In addition to the standard sugar cookie stands another delectable holiday favorite. I love making this easy melt in your mouth dessert.” Chef Angela Chester-Johnson owner Plum Good LLC Tasteplumgood.com
Russian Tea Cakes An American Christmas Classic Dessert
(Also known as Wedding Cookies and Snowball Cookies)
Chef Angela Chester-Johnson Prep Time25 minutes Cook: Time10 minutes Total: Time35 minutes Servings: approximately 4 dozen - 48 cookies
• 1 cup unsalted butter softened • 1/2 cup powdered sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts pecans, walnuts, or almonds • Powdered sugar for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. 3. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the nuts. If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands. 4. Scoop 1 tablespoon balls of dough and place on prepared cookie sheet. 5. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated. 6. Place on a rack to cool. (Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more 7. You can freeze these cookies 3 or 4 days and then bake ahead of serving. Two (2) cookies = 1 serving = 130 Calories
d e l k c a h S to FREE by LaSonya Bryson-Murdaugh
Shackled by a heavy burden, drowning in a world of despair, filled with nameless emotions, unable to communicate needs or grasp the concept that someone cares...closing off and shutting down...normal is a place that can’t be found The situation is ever present, forceful, and too burdensome to share. Escape? How? When? Where? Why is it so easy to have this blank stare? Every day of every year, it’s the same. Someone somewhere suffers with grief and pain. It matters not if you are rich or poor. Grief and pain knock on every door. It’s an equalizer in this human race. As sure as you live, you will see their face. Suddenly and sometimes long and drawn out , they are sure to seek you out. They work closely together causing sadness and fear for they won’t stop until you shed a tear. They will leave you raw and cold, make you wonder why you still have a soul. Questions without answers and recurring feelings of disbelief, yeah those are the things that come with grief. Why-the unanswered question hounds day and night causing many to lose sleep, rational thoughts, and the will to journey on. They have caused some to end it all without considering the slippery slope that will unravel as their loved ones trade places with what they were going through. Others suffer in silence wishing the day would end and despising the fact that they have opened their eyes again. Lost in a world of despair is where pain and grief take you, and they threaten to leave you there. They don’t want you to see that drug down that rabbit hole is not where you are supposed to be. Come into the light and you will see. There’s a world of happiness awaiting you. It’s possible to live through the hollow feelings that grip you and cause you to feel blue. Slowly, one day at a time, you can climb out of that downward spiral. You don’t have to be a tragedy that goes viral. Let the world hear your voice. Don’t lie there and take it; you have a choice.
â&#x20AC;&#x153; hen you look at your deficiencies, you start discovering your qualifications.â&#x20AC;? -Pastor Karri Turner
Pastor Karri Turner:
The story about a young girl that transitions into a woman that is based in resilience is the heartwarming testimony of Pastor Karrianna ‘Karri’ Turner, M. Div.
2 Corinthians 9:8, KJV: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” Born into this world, to an 18 year old young girl that worked in a hotel laundry room, Pastor Karri says, “I came from nothing and was two generations away from being a maid and housekeeper.” Her beloved Mother worked to give a good life to a beautiful baby girl, and she introduced Karri to Jesus. Karri’s life speaks to God’s promises, and she admits “Life was tough, there was so much heartache. My pain started at age three.” Derived in poverty, young Karri endured sexual and physical abuse. She didn’t find solace in the neighborhood kids, she even told her Mom about her lack of friends. Her Mother quickly proclaimed, “You do have friends! Jesus is your friend, now go play with Jesus!” Karri would often look for an outlet, and soon enough she learned how to avoid some of the aches and pains of abuse by being absent. She would wait for the green van with the unforgettable green panels on the side to pick her up to take her to church services. Church became her safe haven. “Church saved my life. I began to learn what my own voice is by going to church,” says Karri. “When you look at your deficiencies, you start discovering your qualifications.”- Pastor Karri Turner The post high school plans for Karri had nothing to do with ministry. Her plan was to be a politician. She tells us that she did not look like, sound like nor come from a family of pastors. “When you look at your deficiencies, you start discovering your qualifications.” Everything she didn’t think she could become, she effectively became the very best at! Karri is grateful. Often she still finds herself asking the age old question, “Am I adequate?” It does not matter how many degrees a person has or how many titles they hold, you may still find room for questions. Just like me, Karri doesn’t automatically agree with old adages. For example, I share Karri’s sentiments that ‘The teacher does not always show up, even when the student is ready’. “Many people are ready, but have not come into the right people to help them get started.” Karri believes that God will not allow people to put too many hands on us. Her program, ‘The Nudge’ is designed to help women build strategy behind their vision. It is a three month program to help women move forward and understand the strategy needed to support the
expected outcome and productivity of their vision.
As a public and professional speaker, Karri says that her most rewarding triumph is watching people become. Speaking to audiences of any size and magnitude gives Karri the opportunity to watch people be inspired. Speaking to youth is at the top of her favorite group of listeners. Her level of understanding, compassion, and love for youth is genuine and relevant because of her own childhood experiences. She did not always have everything she needed. Karri says, “Children are competing with more worldly things now than ever before. The method of teaching is different, and you cannot make children conform to what ‘was’. Children need to see consistency in you.” I am sure we can recall the days of being in church service and hearing the adults tell the children to sit down, be quiet, and hush up! The times we live in call for us to allow the children’s voices to be heard. Karri says, “Find a place in ministry where children can be creative”. One topic that is near to Karri’s heart is her talk titled “Life Beyond the Collar”, a look at life for women navigating the pitfalls of ministry + marketplace. Clergy is universal. Karri is a national and international award-winning speaker with a specific focus on women in ministry + marketplace. She also shares her expertise in the following areas: • • • • • • • • •
Leadership in Ministry + Marketplace Vision Cultivation + Execution Spiritual Capacity Building Strategic Planning + Focus Signature Program Design + Development Personal Advocacy + Agency + Accountability Transformational Leadership Self-Branding + Publishing Entrepreneurship
It is no doubt that Pastor Karri Turner is successful in her ministry and her life as a mentor, coach and friend to many. She is an iconic leader that makes no excuses for her greatness and is humble enough to share her story of tough beginnings without shame or regret. To reach a person at their core, it is best to understand their heart and the things that make them personable. We asked Karri about some of her favorite pastimes and hobbies. She shared with us that she is an avid reader and one of her favored books is ‘The
Game of Life and How to Play It’ by Florence Scovel-Shinn, a book where the author established herself as one of the most down-to-earth, practical, and helpful prosperity writers of her era. With a timeless message and the ability to explain success principles and how they work in an entertaining style, her writings are still considered the leaders in prosperity literature today. As for vacationing, Karri does not like planned and blocked trips. She likes to create a travel experience and loves to be free to enjoy the atmosphere while on vacation, and she especially loves to vacation near water. She loves ‘car trips’ and once drove a convertible up the pacific coast from Los Angeles to Malibu, it was refreshing. Watching movies is therapy – Karri loves to grab a blanket, some cozy socks and eat snacks while enjoying some good on screen entertainment. Life does not have to be complicated. Karri reminds us to not highlight our down times, or lonely moments but to focus on things of happiness. She says, “Find out what replenishes you. You always know what drains you, so take time to learn what nourishes and feeds your soul”. Karri Turner is the Pastor of Emerging Generations at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, under the Leadership of Dr. Jamal Bryant in Atlanta, Georgia where she pastors members ages newborn to 40 years of age. Karri holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the legendary Morris Brown College and a Master of Divinity Degree from The Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Karri is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Ministry with a concentration in Leadership + Christian Renewal. Karri is a published author, marketplace leader and ordained clergywoman. Visit www.karriturner.org to connect with Pastor Karri Turner and to purchase her books, “She’s Lit. 40 Daily Prayers of Light” and “The Girl Bible”. As the holiday approaches, consider sending a friend one of Karri’s signature prayer kits as a gift, also found on her website.
352.269.6866 communiquĂŠ Magazine
SOCIAL EXPERIENCE THE
WHO S. Monique Smith-Person
She is undeniably the face of missing children everywhere, S- Monique Smith also known as “Monique” is advocating, speaking and changing lives! After surviving decades of severe childhood abuse, Monique found out that she, DID NOT EXIST! Monique discovered that the woman who had raised her, may have stolen her from her mother in New York. This news sent Monique on a question frenzy — What was her real name? How old was she? Where was she born? Who was her biological mother?
WHAT The Social Experience
It is an opportunity to create a private [virtual] group of people that will come together to learn how S. Monique’s journey of being abducted at birth evolved into a lifelong mission of advocacy for missing persons. The book, film, and discussions change hearts, minds, and society as a whole. S. Monique Smith-Person invites you to pull together a group of friends or colleagues and join her for The Social Experience where you will watch and discuss the film, “The Longest Living Jane Doe”, discuss the book, “I Am The Ancestor”, and learn how you can be the voice for missing persons.
All you need is Internet Access and a group of friends! Choose a date and time and contact the staff to schedule your group for The Social Experience.
The virtual digital space allows for anyone in the world to book The Social Experience.
This story of hope has been very influential in raising awareness and bringing about positive change in the areas of Child Abductions, Human Trafficking, and Human rights. Each person in your group will: • Receive a copy of the book, “I Am The Ancestor”, • Attend the Virtual Screening of “Longest Living Jane Doe” • Meet and Greet with Author and Film Director, S. Monique Smith-Person • Group Q&A Session with S. Monique Smith-Person Visit www.KnownAsMonique.com to learn more.
CULTIVATE YOUR WINNING SEASON! "My Next Season Is Due SeasonThe process and preparation of getting one from one season to the next. You cannot skip seasons." - Dr. Eric L. Homes
MC “CRAVERS” BBQ
- So Much More than a Food Story:
MEET SHERRY MCCARVER Written by Corretta L. Doctor Let’s set the record straight, Sherry McCarver did not come
to play. She is the Queen of Toledo, Ohio when it comes to grill etiquette and the amazing cuisine she offers up at her Food Truck, MC”CRAVERS” BBQ”. That is not a typo, Mrs. McCarver knew that once patrons tasted her kickin’ and sassy barbecue they would develop an undeniable ‘CRAVING’ for her menu items. “When you are hungry, you crave,” says Sherry. Thus, she named her establishment with a play on her last name, McCarver combined with the word craver. “Barbecue or barbeque (informally, BBQ; in Australia barbie, in South Africa braai) is a cooking method, a cooking device, a style of food, and a name for a meal or gathering at which this style of food is cooked and served.” To clarify, when you grill food, you cook it with direct heat on the bottom and the lid is up. When you barbecue, you cook with a slow circumvented unit of hot air with the lid closed. When I grew up in my small hometown in South Carolina,
about 76 miles south of Columbia, I attended many barbecues! A barbecue meant a gathering that would be made memorable by the smell of charcoal and good food. There would usually be leftovers that we would eat for several days to come. It meant smiles, hugs, loud music, dancing, laughter, folding chairs, babies in walkers, and kids running around the backyard while adults congregated in the front or off to the side. It meant neighbors coming up to the door with bags and boxes of food and drinks and it meant the age old issue that occurs at these gatherings: the inevitable debate about “who” in the family makes THE best barbecue, and then the next part is, “who” makes THE best barbecue sauce? Sherry is in her seventh year of business as the proprietor of MC“CRAVERS” BBQ, a food truck establishment locate at 2265 Dorr Street in Toledo, Ohio. The restaurant was formerly positioned at 5901 Dorr Street. Sherry purchased the land where she is now and has started building a strong legacy for her children and grandchildren to carry on
through the years. Before we get to the menu, let us take you back to the core of this story: how Sherry became inspired. Sherry’s grandmother raised her. The late Mrs. Rosie Reid did a fabulous job preparing her beloved Shery for life, and for the world of business, and both are areas that Sherry excelled in. Grandmother Rosie told Sherry to never forget where she came from and never take NO for an answer. Sherry is the third oldest of seven children, and the only of her six siblings to be in the BBQ business. Sherry remembers all of the influential memories her grandmother instilled along their journey together. Sherry’s grandmother passed away when Sherry was age 19, just at the age where she would need to live out the lessons her grandmother taught her. Sherry, is a school bus Driver and the only of a thriving business that has two mobile food trucks now. Sherry is the founder of a sock drive ‘SOCKS’, a great organized donation setup that Sherry started after watching many children step up on her school bus without socks to keep their feet warm. It would be an awesome idea for every reader to mail a pair of socks to support this opportunity for Sherry to serve the children of her community. See the mailing address below.
S herry O nly C ollects K ids S ocks Mail donated SOCKS, sized for children of any age, to SHERRY McCarver, 2265 Dorr Street, Toledo, Ohio 43607 Sherry is married to Keith McCarver and they have two beautiful adult daughters, Keishe and Shameka. Sherry is thankful to her family for their support. Sherry also thanks Denny Schaffer, a local radio personality for his continuous support. MC”CRAVERS” BBQ has a menu to satisfy your palate. Using fresh grown vegetables from ‘Nebbie’s Veggies’ garden, she offers beautiful and tasty plates. Nebbie’s Veggies is a garden that is growing on site of MC”CRAVERS” BBQ that was planted by Sherry and Keith’s five year old granddaughter, Stephanie. The garden produces tomatoes and bell peppers,
among other vegetables. MC”CRAVERS” BBQ offers a choice of meats that includes fish, chicken, and of course the number one and best-selling menu items are the tasty BBQ Ribs…and not just any ribs! MC”CRAVERS” BBQ has pork and beef ribs that are coated with Sherry’s proprietary sauce and cooked to perfection. They also offer their signature Chili Dog that they have named the ‘Denny Dog’ after family friend, Denny Schaffer. Some of the side dish choices are dirty rice, green beans, pasta salad, and of course Sherry’s baked beans that are a great compliment to any dish you choose! MC”CRAVERS” BBQ caters and delivers for events of any size. Be sure to stop in at MC”CRAVERS” BBQ and tell them we sent you their way. Email MC”CRAVERS” BBQ Staff at Mccraversbbq@yahoo.com .
PARHA M is a professional career musician with 35 years of performing in excellence with his Saxophone.
Written By Corretta L. Doctor Born and raised in the Edmondson Village area of Baltimore, Maryland, Isaac began playing the saxophone in seventh grade. Isaac is the youngest of three children born to the late Solomon Isaiah Parham and Vera Mae Parham. Isaac’s Mother, who used to play the clarinet, still lives in Maryland. His father played the guitar. Isaac has one brother, Wendell and one Sister, Melinda. Thinking back to his childhood, Isaac recalls asking his brother, “Man, what’s that solo sound I hear playing in that piece by the Temptations?” Wendell told him, that sound is a saxophone! From that moment Isaac knew he wanted to play the sax. Later in life, Isaac learned that it was actually a synthesizer that he heard in that Temptations song, yet he was already deeply entrenched into the Sax and the story never ended from there. Isaac’s greatest inspiration comes from the work and art of Grover Washington, Jr., an American jazz-funk/soul-jazz saxophonist that died in 1999. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre’s most memorable hits, including 100
“Mister Magic”, “Reed Seed”, “Black Frost”, “Winelight”, “Inner City Blues” and “The Best is Yet to Come”. In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on “Just the Two of Us”, Patti LaBelle on “The Best Is Yet to Come” and Phyllis Hyman on “A Sacred Kind of Love”. He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic “Take Five”, and for his 1996 version of “Soulful Strut”. Isaac studied music at Frederick Douglass High School where he was in the music careers program. Isaac attended the Peabody Preparatory, a program for inner city youth of Baltimore to learn arts and of course Isaac studied and performed music. It was a great program, and as a young kid learning the business and the craft of music, it was fairly cool to also be earning a few bucks while in the program. Isaac says that over the years he has seen good things happen and adds, “Music has been a true success. Technology has been the biggest change in the industry. Massive soundboards have been replaced by small equipment such as iPads.” Isaac humbly tells us that his greatest success is knowing he is leaving a legacy of positive influence in other musicians. “There are things that they
[other musicians] come and thank me for. There are so many saxophone players out there and it can be hard to find your voice among the vast amount of players, but I am grateful to those that recognize my work.” Isaac shares a story about how he attended a jam session once, and there was a young man in his 20’s or so playing the sax. Isaac tells us that he heard things that he never heard before coming from a horn. So, he said he was talking with some of the other musicians and they told Isaac that the young man was in fact very good and that the young man learned to play so well by watching Isaac play his Sax over the years. There is that old adage, you never know who’s watching. Isaac is teaching and the students are automatically showing up.
other great musicians throughout the world, to include Marlon Boone, Eric Davidson, and Kose Kikuchi to name a few, is a beautiful accomplishment for the very talented Isaac Parham. Isaac attributes his success to God. He is a faithful member of Morning Star Baptist Church. He credits his amazing wife, Renee Harvin Parham, for being the power behind the pen that helped Isaac get the Kim’s endorsement deal. Along with many great things Isaac had to say about his lovely bride of two years, he wanted to be clear that it is Renee’s love, encouragement, and uncompromising support that keeps that smile on his face and the ongoing flutter in his heart. Isaac is the father to five adult children, they are the beats to his heart. Devon, Quinn, Courtney, Autumn and Isaiah are Isaac’s amazing generation that will come behind him. He is working to leave them a legacy of pride, hard work, positive influence and unwavering faith in God.
One of Isaac’s career highlights happened years ago when he traveled to Montreal to perform with Dee Dee Bridgewater and David Bunn. One of my career highlights in the Entertainment industry is when I traveled to Baltimore for the African American Authors Expo (AAAE) with Beverly Broadus Green, Author and Celebrity mother of ‘Snoop Dogg’. During that trip, Beverly was a guest on a local Baltimore news segment and Isaac performed during that same segment. I have never loved the sound of an instrument more than the sound I heard coming from Isaac’s saxophone. To this date, he is still my favorite Saxophone player and I have heard many instruments, and many saxophones, in my day.
Isaac continues to be a phenomenal musician in and around Baltimore as well as around the world. Please stay connected by visiting www.isaacparham.com and never let an opportunity pass you up to hear him perform.
Isaac owns many saxophones, but he has two that are his normal tools for success! He has an endorsement deal with Kim’s Korea Saxophones. Joining the Kim’s family with
_______________________ Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_ Washington_Jr. Retrieved 9.27.2020
Isaac couldn’t leave this interview without acknowledging the friendship and support in the industry of his friend, Eric Marner. Eric performed at Isaac and Renee’s wedding! Isaac also thanks Robert Wright, a drummer in the industry, for his friendship and support.
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CREDITS Pages 74-75 Chris Harvey Photographer: Kellie Marie Photography Page 77 Vicki Barbolak Center Image Photographer: Kieko Page 78 Richard Pryor, Jr. Photographer: Mike McGregor www.mikemcgregor.com Page 79 Photographer: Julia Schell Pages 80-81 Model: Tiara IG: I.am.royalti Photographer/Stylist: Jeffrey B. Martin Martin Studio Photography www.martinstudiophotography.com Page 84 Model: Naomi James Photographer: Jerry A. Barnes Wardrobe: JABarnes Photography LLC Styling: Jerry A. Barnes Concept: JABarnes Photography LLC Page 93 S. Monique Smith Photographer: Antonio Hunt, Jr. www.the huntms.com
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