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DELUX MAGAZINE No. 48 Mar/Apr 2017 · Year 8· PUBLISHER Keith Griffin II GRAPHIC DESIGN G5IVE MEDIA GROUP 2525 January Ave St. Louis Mo 63110 DISTRIBUTOR Papers Unlimited MO IPAD APP Available in itunes store WEBSITE ADVERTISING Email SUBMISSIONS Email PRESS RELEASES Email

[Stuff ]

The Swift Life THE ALL NEW MARTELL BLUE SWIFT In 1783, Martell was the first to ship its barrels of cognac to the United States. Today, Martell celebrates this history with another first : Introducing Martell Blue Swift, the first-ever Martell VSOP matured in French Oak casks and finished in Kentucky Bourbon casks. Martell’s signature process of distilling cognacs free of impurities leave it open to absorbing the rich aromatic tones from the bourbon cask. The result is Martell’s hallmark cognac style, characterized by delicate notes of candied fruit and plum, now complimented by the subtle sweetness of vanilla and toasted oak from bourbon casks. Exceptionally smooth, with a rounded taste and unique character, this redefines the boundaries of cognac. For years, the Swift has been an icon for Martell. A bird with the rare ability to fly for days without stopping, the Swift is bound by nothing – traversing oceans and continent.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.

WHERE BROOKLYN AT!? Men and women alike will love smelling great with Bond No. 9 Brooklyn, a fragrance by Bond No. 9. This scent was released in 2009 and has notes of juniper, cardamom, grapefruit, and more, making it neutral enough for either sex. The moderate scent is best for daytime, and it won’t overwhelm work colleagues or friends. The fragrance lasts for hours, making it ideal for the workday or afternoons with friends. New York’s legendary city within a city, home to a century or more of strivers, dreamers, and Nobel laureates, its reinventing itself, neighborhood by neighborhood, as an edgy metropolis… Notes: Grapefruit, Cardamom, Cypress-wood, Geranium Leaves, Juniper Berrie, Cedarwood, Leather and Guaiacwood 100ml - Complimentary Scent of Peace for Him pocket spray — $260.00 50ml — $190.00 Gold Pocket Spray 7ml — $95.00


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NO PLACE LIKE HOME hether you’re enjoying family game night or entertaining guests during a party, there is no better place to congregate with family and friends than the living room or family room. True to its name, it’s the space where you and your family truly live; you watch movies, read stories, roughhouse and maybe get some homework done. As the focal point of the home, it’s meant to be comfortable, with a cozy fireplace, practical furniture, fully stocked bookshelves and, of course, a nice big-screen TV. Because it’s where we spend most of our time, it is important to truly love and be inspired by your space. While planning a renovation or redesign, it’s key to keep your family’s needs in mind. If you love playing games, ensure there is a large table for game night. If your kids are all about video games, there should be plenty of seating and the TV setup should be fully stocked. And if you want to encourage studious behavior, add a built-in desk, bookshelves and a handy reading nook. To start your process, your first priority is thinking about your focal point. Many living rooms aren’t complete without a fireplace, but if you live in a warmer climate, maybe a large entertainment center is your best bet. Once you figure out your top feature, invest in those built-ins. Bookcases, media consoles, desks and shelves are a great way to add practical storage without taking up too much space. Finally, when the big components are planned out, think about what color scheme and decor will best suit you and your family. Should I include a fireplace in my living room or family room? Depending on your climate, a fireplace might be a great way to add warmth and interest to your living space. Even if your location is warm year-round, you can always add a faux fireplace

or nonfunctioning fireplace as part of your decor. There are many options to choose from, so be sure to check them out. A wood-burning fireplace gives an authentic experience, though a gas one still emits heat without the mess. A double-sided or corner unit strays from the ordinary, or you can go with a wood stove fireplace if you’re looking for a piece of art. If you want a contemporary touch, veer away from the traditional wood or tile mantel by going with stone, concrete or metal instead. What kind of built-ins should I add to my living room? Although it might not seem glamorous, having enough storage is instrumental when it comes to keeping the room organized and practical. Built-in bookcases, shelves and cabinets are a great way to add hidden, functional storage for all the knickknacks you accumulate. Movie and gaming buffs will love a custom entertainment center, with enough cabinets for movies, speakers and electronic accessories; you can even create a media room with a projector and lounge chairs! If you still have room to spare, include a booth for homework or craft projects. How do I decorate my family room? When it comes to decorating, neutrals are always the safe option because they look good and never go out of style. If you do want to try out a bolder color scheme, add color with walls and accessories. That way, if you get sick of a color, you can quickly repaint the walls and find new knickknacks, instead of having to replace your sofas every time trends change. Popular colors include blue, green and gray, but don’t be afraid to try bright colors like red or yellow, even if it’s just on an accent wall. Finally, make sure there is plenty of light. Recessed or track lighting are great ways to hit every corner — better yet, add more natural light by installing additional windows or a skylight.

[Arts + Culture]



As the the internationally recognized Opera Theatre of Saint Louis kicks off its 42nd season on May 20 at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Webster University, we caught up with two rising young professionals on their enjoyment of opera. Kiera Van Niel is a project engineer at Boeing and Ty Rodgers is president of the National Association of Black Accounts (NABA) – St. Louis Chapter. Both believe opera is for everyone. 1. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH OPERA THEATRE OF SAINT LOUIS?

KVN: While presiding over the Urban League Young Professionals of Metropolitan St. Louis, I was invited to the diversity and inclusion team around Fall 2012/Spring 2013. The team was in the beginning stages of event planning for the world premiere of Terrance Blanchard’s “Champion” and wanted support with their community engagement plan. I heard the vision and signed on to help. TR: I got involved by attending an Opera Tasting. I was impressed by the event and asked how I could get more involved. A colleague, Kira Van Niel, then introduced me to Joe Gfaller, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He invited me become a member of the Young Friends of OTSL. I took him up on the offer and have been a member of the Young Friends group for a little over a year.

2. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF OPERA BEFORE YOUR OTSL EXPERIENCE? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF IT NOW? KVN: I guess I was always pretty fond of opera as it was a musical genre my father enjoyed. My father took us (my brother and I) to a few Broadway and off-Broadway productions when we were younger. He is a fan of opera, very specifically, the classic “Madame Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini. Plenty of our Saturday afternoons were filled with Maria Callas’ rendition of “Madame Butterfly” blaring from the stereo. And who DOESN’T love the part in “Shawshank Redemption” where Andy Dufresne locks himself in the Warden’s office and plays “The Marriage of Figaro” over the PA system? Those voices – Magical! Oh! And I’m still fond of opera after my experience with OTSL. TR: I was under the impression that the opera was for the more affluent members of society. Movies helped to shape that opinion. After experiencing Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, I see that it brings together people from all walks of life. It can be rather affordable. It is a great way to grow an appreciation for the art form.


KVN: That’s it’s only performed in Latin based or German languages, it’s reserved for privileged white men and women, or that it’s a formal occasion that requires formal attire. TR: I think people may believe the opera is for the wealthy and older population. That the opera is expensive and you may not have any thing in common with the wealthier and older population.

4. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT OPERA, AND SPECIALLY OPERA THEATRE OF SAINT LOUIS? KVN: I love OTSL’s commitment to hosting diverse audiences such as millennial, LGBTQIA+, and the economically challenged. Additionally, their commitment to bringing performances that are culturally relatable (and in English) demonstrates their goal of connecting the art to the people and not the other way around. TR: I enjoy the music, the costumes, the opportunity to fellowship with others that enjoy and love the opera. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis allows for me to enjoy all of those things in a very comfortable and relaxed environment. The opera members that I have conversed with are very welcoming and willing to share their knowledge and perspectives on the opera for which I am so appreciative. It has helped me to grow a stronger appreciation for the opera and OTSL.


KVN: Everyone! Friends, mentees (we attend the teen matinees) and my significant other. Young Friends nights are the best date nights, affordable and fun! While attending an OTSL event, I run into other young professionals, coworkers, representatives from various community boards and organizations. Lots of great people! TR: I bring friends and family members to the opera with me. It is truly for all to adore.

6. WHAT DO YOU WEAR WHEN YOU GO? KVN: You know, depends on my mood that day. I’ve worn a dress and sandals as well as trousers and heels. Attire is casual but patrons are invited to dress to their comfort. TR: I have worn a suit, suit jacket and slacks with a button down, a shirt and jeans. You may wear whatever you deem fit. If you attend/experience Opera Theatre of Saint Louis this season, you will see for yourself.

7. WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CHECK OUT THE 2017 FESTIVAL? WHAT WILL THEY TAKE AWAY FROM THE EXPERIENCE? KVN: I can’t speak enough about OTSL’s commitment to diverse audiences and patrons. Plus, they are an incredibly friendly team who make you feel like you are a part of the family. Lastly, seeing that “Madame Butterfly” is one of the featured productions, I’m looking forward to sharing this fond memory with people near and dear to me. Don’t miss out! TR: Opera Theatre puts its best foot forward to bring some of the most wonderful operas to the St. Louis area. There is always something fun taking place to help attendees have the best experience possible. Anyone that attends the 2017 Festival will see just how fun the opera can be. Assumptions that one may have will be erased. They shall see that the opera is truly for everyone. SIDEBAR WHO: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis WHAT: 2017 Festival Season — Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, a new performing version of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, the American Premiere of Philip Glass’s The Trial, and Mozart’s Titus (La clemenza di Tito). WHEN: May 20 – June 25, 2017 WHERE: Virginia Jackson Browning Theatre at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University TICKETS: Start at $25. (314) 961-0644.




Avery*Sunshine may not be a household name, but she’s most certainly an attention grabber. Her name, stylized with a noticeable asterisk, stops you in your tracks. “It’s one name,” Avery boldly declares. It’s a reminder, the singer says, for people to always “shine” in times of adversity. “In the midst of all of that darkness is where the light shines brightest,” she says. Avery’s music, which is a cross between adult contemporary R&B and neo-soul, is where she not only spreads a little soulful cheer, but levels the playing field between artist and listener. During her shows you’ll often find the former choir director teaching her songs to her audience so that they’re able to sing along to the hearty tunes. “I don’t care if I’m singing for two or two million, if they’re singing the music, that’s success for me,” she says. Avery is a musician in every sense of the word. Having studied music at Spelman College, the singer is a trained pianist and has starred in the Jasmine Guy-directed musical, “I Dream.” Originally from Philly, which is also home to the likes of Jill Scott and Boyz II Men, Avery*Sunshine occupies a sometimes empty space in music where the artist doesn’t just talk to you in song, but makes you a part of the conversation. Most of the songs and music videos off her 2010 self-titled debut album (heavily inspired by a divorce) are like pages from her personal diary. “No gas is in my tank and I’ve got myself to thank, I had to make ten dollars last for three weeks and a day,” she sings on “I Got Sunshine,” a radiant track that is both relatable and inspirational. Avery’s candid tales have paid off well. In addition to touring with Ledisi and sharing the stage with Eric Benet, one of her most popular tracks, “Ugly Part Of Me,” garnered radio airplay and heavy rotation on VH1 Soul and Centric. And that was no easy feat considering the independent singer/songwriter does not have a major record label in her corner. But defying the odds is what Avery*Sunshine is all about. “I had to grow into being happy with my full hips and my full bosom,” she admits. Now she firmly embraces her womanly curves and unorthodox, yet striking beauty. “Clearly I want to look the best for me and I want [my body] to be healthy, but I’m not going to [slim down] so that I can sell records,” she says. “I hope that my sisters and brothers are empowered when they see me talking about wearing Spanx.” Regardless, it’s her voice—sweet and thick like honey—and animated lyricism that propels her to a stratosphere all on her own. Though she’s still in the introductory phase of her career, Avery*Sunshine is hoping her upcoming sophomore album will change her status. And with Musiq Soulchild and DJ Jazzy Jeff as collaborators, listeners are sure to take notice. “I want to be a part of that soundtrack to people’s lives,” she says. “I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard Donny Hathaway’s tunes for the first time, and I want my music to do that for others.”


BOSS Being a celebrity is no easy task. They embody different personas, all the while maintaining who they are at the root of them all. Their triumphs, successes, failures, and personal struggles are placed on a public stage for the world to see. Their unsolicited sacrifice of privacy among other things come with the lifestyle and fame. Whether we download their music, watch them on television, or follow them on social media; they become a part of our daily lives. Sometimes, no matter how much of themselves they share with us, we occasionally forget they are human and the deserve the same privacy and break from the world as we do. They deserve the chance to deal with the good and bad occurrences in their lives without public opinion and to share what they choose to share. Though, what happens when they give us a deeper look inside their lives? When they open their front door and allow us to sit on their couch and kick up our feet? This excites us and makes us feel like we are the distant family or girlfriends we want them to be. I had the opportunity to speak one on one with Rasheeda, star of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta as she gave me the scoop on life as a reality star, what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and mother, and gives us a peek into her newest endeavor; becoming an author.

ON HER MUSIC & THE MUSIC BUSINESS…. Well of course another Rasheeda album is on the table. You know, music is that first boyfriend; it’s something that’s in your heart. One thing about me is I don’t forget what has gotten me where I am and me being Rasheeda the artist and doing my music. I’m so passionate and music has helped me grow into the woman I am and has also opened doors for me to do the things I’m doing now. I’m just a music lover period and it’s not going anywhere, sometimes you just spread your wings and move forward. In addition to my own music, I would like to help other females with their careers. I just went to the shooting of my stepdaughter Kelsy’s new music video and we have been helping her. She is signed to the label and she is young and 21 and is really trying to get her career off the ground and I love helping with that. Now as far as today’s music, girl today’s hip-hop versus 10 years ago is very different. Back in the day it used to be about real talent and really about the culture and the artistry. Nowadays it’s more so about here today gone tomorrow, when back in the day it wasn’t like that. Hip Hop is extremely young now, it’s all about the young kids and what’s hot right now. The thing that I miss more, that I liked back then was the substance.

ON FASHION & HER FASHION BUSINESS…. When it comes to fashion, you know I’ve just been kind of weird all my life to be honest. I just always loved different things. I originally started selling accessories online because I believe accessories makes the outfit. I love clothes when you put on a good outfit honey, and you want to be cute it just changes your whole swag. I don’t follow rules and do me, so fashion was a part of art for me. My own personal style is more the tomboy chic type. I love comfortable style. Comfortable, tomboy chic glam. When it came to Pressed, after having an online store for six years, my goal was to make women feel good, to help boost confidence level of women. To get in the clothes and make them come out of their comfort zone. You learn so much being in a store on how women think of themselves. I often tell people, “Sometimes hangers don’t do clothes justice” and when a customer comes in and you tell them girl this is so cute, you really need to try this on and they put it on and they look good, people will light up and that’s like gratification. For me, beauty & fashion all go hand in hand. Once Pressed was fully launched, Poiz was created. Who wants to be in a cute outfit and then look crazy in the face? I am a product junkie like most women, I will go into Walgreens to get medicine and come out with lip-gloss, lipstick, eyeliner…. I always like to do things that I like because you have passion for it. Starting the cosmetic line was totally me. I love all our Matte glosses. They are some of the best on the market, and not just me saying it. I get so many customers saying this is the best matte gloss I’ve ever had. It stays on it doesn’t dry your lips out; you don’t hardly ever have to reapply whenever you wear it. If you fall asleep and wake up your lips are still popping!

ON BEING AN ENTREPRENUER & RUNNING THE SHOW…. I’ve always been a hustler and before clothing stores, Kirk (my husband) and I owned studios in Atlanta and I used to do investment property. When we started the website, it was something I always wanted to do and finally did. I had the online store 5-6 years prior to opening a physical store. When we made the move to open a physical store, my first fear was thinking we are in the mall and the mall is opened every day except Christmas and Easter, that’s a whole lot of responsibility. From 10 am to 9pm 6 days a week and 12-6 on Sundays. I was scared on that one, but honestly everything fell into place, but I was thinking are people going to be shopping every day??? Because you will have to make money every day. It sounds stupid but those were my thoughts. Like most things, when it comes to entrepreneurship, it’s no easy task. All the responsibilities of every aspect of the business. People think oh she just has a store, but they don’t understand a lot comes with that. You know managing employees, and making sure everything is handled and done. It can be difficult because you are also in the customer service business. You must have the right people around, perform the right services for people, you have to deal with customers and you have to hire the right person that is able to deal with people so that you can satisfy people. You know from that end to making sure you are on top of everything from the fashion trends to purchasing clothes, the quantities, managing the stock.

LIFE ON REALITY TV…. The first year of reality TV was very weird, it was different. I was stepping into uncharted territory. I was green to the business totally, my main thing was before doing anything like that knowing I would be on television I set goals, and told myself be true to yourself, and said Lord you put this in my path you have this for me, I know whatever this is or going to be because we didn’t know what the hell Love and Hip Hop Atlanta was going to do. We didn’t know what it was going to be about, we didn’t know it was going to become the phenomenon that it has. I said Lord take me on the journey and protect me and guide me. Although, it

is a lot work, it’s not glamorous. Like its’ a lot put into it, it’s a lot of hard work. Sometimes you leave scenes and you feel like you have worked a real deal 9-5 job. You know it can be extremely stressful sometimes especially when you are going through some things, but it is what it is and it’s really a job. Once it airs and I get to see what everyone else see I sometimes be like, uuuuuggggh, and you think, ok, so this how they ended up cutting that long ass two hours we were sitting there into three minutes? And, you think “really they just did that like that”? So, you know I am watching just like everybody else, like ok how is this going to be perceived, how is this going to be put together? Most people think the biggest misconception of reality television is there is NEVER a script and that’s not true. Now rather people put on extra when the cameras turn on that’s another thing.

ON JUGGLING A TODDLER & TEENAGER…. At first I was like what the hell was I thinking? I couldn’t ask for a better life. My kids are absolutely amazing and yes it was tough trying to do everything. I went through ups and downs having Karter, but it was the best thing that could ever done in my life. Sometimes it’s hard to give 100% to all of them but you must figure out your balance and figure out your way to put in the time that’s needed to make everything work. Of course, you are a wife and a mom and running businesses and you are responsible for other people’s lives as well, and not just your family but people who work for you, and of course being on television and traveling it can be a lot, but what you must do is figure out how to make thing work and be strategic about your timing and putting things to the forefront and some other things may have to fall back on certain days. You have to figure out your schedule and how to work it out, but being a mom is my number one priority. Everything else falls behind family.

ON BEING RASHEEDA IN THE PUBLIC EYE…. Ummmmm, life for me has changed a lot since season 1, drastically. I mean of course the popularity level is at an all-time high, so you can’t move around like you used to back in the day. It doesn’t matter where you go, you know it’s been a lot of growth business wise and being able to expand yourself and do great things which is a positive. At the end of the day I think that when you go into something and you have a plan on what you are trying to accomplish and what you are trying to do, it makes it even better to be able to see that growth. But for the most part it’s a lot and can be really challenging. I don’t have any regrets. I am the type of person who feels like with being on a show as successful as Love and Hip Hop not knowing what I was really getting myself into, I don’t have feelings where I am saying, “I wish I would have never did this show”. I mean it might be a couple of relationships as far as females that I am not going to specifically say that I wish I would’ve never even entertained, but for the most part I look at it like it’s a give and a take. When you’re out and about and they are like “Rasheeda, Oh My God I’ve been through this and that…” and people emailing you and leaving comments and all this type stuff you be like wow like sometimes you feel like I’m the only person going through this. I get a lot of women who say I help them and inspire them, and help them get through their situations. Rasheeda’s thoughts on social media negativity: It’s called the BLOCK button, for real become friends with the block button (laughs). For real though, some people don’t have anything else better to do with their time. They are sitting there writing a paragraph on a life that they see a few minutes of and swear they know you and your life and can read and tell you what you need to be doing. I just look at it like this is what happens when you open your life to the world that’s a part of it. Sometimes I get a little annoyed, but for the most part honestly, I ignore it.

FINALLY, ON BECOMING AN AUTHOR…. Taking on the role of an author is a busy one, and trying to stay focused and giving the time to everything that needs to be given time to, to stay going hard making sure everything gets done and nothing falls off, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The purpose behind my book will be to teach, and allow people to learn about situations in life and things that happen and you will be able to take a glimpse into my relationship and see it’s a lot more complex than what television has shown you. But for the most part you will leave with seeds to plant. I want people to honestly to understand that life is full of struggles and sometimes you make mistakes and with those mistakes, it’s not a bad thing you can learn from those things and turn around and build into something great. Also, what I want people to understand is just being true to yourself and its nothing wrong with sh*t being wrong. Nobody is perfect, your life is your life. Your cards are dealt how they are dealt. How you fly above it is the main thing. For more Rasheeda, tune in to Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta on VH-1, Monday nights at 8pm cst. or follow her on her many social media outlets.


IF OLDER MEANS WISER, THEN the standouts on these pages are not neccessarily acting their age. They show it doesnt always take years of experience to achieve excellence. DELUX asked St. Louis to nominate the artists, photographers, entrprenuers, corporate game changers, and other locals who are shaking up the St. Louis status quo.



















1. Antoine White, 27 (T-Dubb-O) Director, Hands Up United 2. Ashley Henderson, 21 Track and Field 3. Cedric Redmon, 30 Youth Ambassador of St.Louis City 4. Chesley Waddell, 27 Radio One St.Louis 5. Chris Presley, 26 Washington University Advisor/ Instructor 6. Christian Johnson, 27 Non-Profit 7. Clayton Alex Pasley Jr., 24 CEO CJ Pasley, LLC 8. Dacia Polk, 29 Producer at WordUp! Spokenword & Open Mic Designer at Creations of Copper 9. Debra Njai, 29 Co-Director of Operations BNCN Inc. NSN STL 10. Henry Chaney, 29 Program Supervisor at Fine Line Studios & Photographer of Destiny Art Photography 11. Jacquelyn Craig, 29 CEO/Creative Director of Blaq Seance Productions 12. Jasmine Jones, 28 Marketing Manager Beyond Housing, Professor at Lindenwood University, Owner/Operator: Jasmine D. Evans, Public Relations, LLC 13. John Scott, St. Louis America Photography, Co-CEO Intergrated Artz 14. John Meehan, 29 Attorney/ Sports Agent; Meehan Law LLC/ Platinum Football 15. John C. Muhammad age: Assistant Student Minister; Nation of Islam - Muhammad Mosque No. 28 Current Candidate for Alderman, 21st Ward - City of St. Louis

















16. Jordan Johnson 17. Justin Andrews KMOV-TV Channel 4 Reporter 18. Kayla Thompson, 25 CEO Boys and Girls Club/The Finesse Center 19. Kim Burke-Thomas, 29 Educator, Trainer, Speaker, and Goal Achievement Coach CEO of Let’s Grow Institute 20. Loretta McDonald, 30 Director of Admissions at Harris Stowe State University HBCU 21. Nikki Smith, 27 Innovation Consultant Wells Fargo Advisors 22. Ralph Ruffin, 26 CEO,The Brotherhood Club, LLC Normandy Police Officer 23. Randal Herndon, Co-Owner of ULSTN Radio Owner / Creative Director / Web and Graphic Designer of Lifted Media CO 24. Dr. Rebakkah Johnson, 24 Pharmacist CVS Pharmacy 25. Reubin Rifin, 25 Special Projects Coordinator - Florida Memorial University 26. Terrence Kirkland, 29 Entertainment Host/Personality 27. Toi Hall, 28 Fashion Designer Toi Box Couture 28. Tre’Von Griffith, 23 Singer/ Actor/ Producer 29. Tyra Suggs, 25 CEO G.E.M.S (Girls Empowered & Motivated Spiritually) Through Christ, Inc./ Gateway Region YMCA 30. Victoria McGraw age: 29 blogger/photographer/web correspondent Victoria Said It /Radio One Saint Louis

delux profiled





JLR: I pursed graphic design and photography due to the aspects of being creative. Growing up looking at magazine and comic book layouts that’s created a story line. I always thought Vibe Magazine expressed the greatest pictures towards the hip hop culture and style.

JLR: I started graphic design at the age of 12. lol. I worked as an illustrator for this small printing company in Jennings called Promise Printing.


JLR: Soul and Hip Hop Music bumping in my ears, Green Tea Honey Sweetened, Cherry Licorice, and my iPad.

JLR: Being able to capture true values of emotion. Making the colors dance on the layouts. It’s something about telling a story versus just putting something on a piece of paper. Intriguing the consumers mind and emotion.


9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? JLR: Life and everything in it. Good music and the feeling of accomplishment.

3. BOTH FIELDS TELL A STORY IN THEIR OWN WAY. HOW DO YOU TELL YOUR STORY WHEN YOU ARE TAKING PICTURES, AND DESIGNING? JLR: I go off the person’s character traits and what makes them want to be in front of a camera. The real emotions of what they want to capture whether it’s crazy, fun, or serious. Whatever your imagination has for you to show I want to embrace. 4. WHAT IS YOUR MAIN OBJECTIVE WHEN YOU ARE TAKING PICTURES? JLR: The trueness and dopeness of a person. I want the raw realness of you to come out. Don’t just show a you. 5. WHO WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION WHEN IT COMES TO PHOTOGRAPHY? JLR: God, Gordon Parks, Howard Bingham who was Muhammad Ali’s personal photographer, and Tim Tadder. 6. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PICTURE YOU’VE TAKEN THUS FAR? JLR: I was having a photoshoot with this gospel rap artist by the name of Life 27. We were down by the St. Louis flood walls by the train tracks. There was an old chair and a God poster I had in my truck at the time. So, I placed the God sign on the chair, Life 27 body was shadowed completely by the sun and the train tracks was under his feet. The picture was an accident but was selected by a lot of art galleries. As I was looking the picture I had to Title the piece. I named the piece “Choose your Direction”. The reason I named the piece that was because of the simplicity of the mistake. The picture literally said to me ...” Either choose man or choose God”.

10. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR CAREER OVERALL? JLR: To consistently reach to the mass and to appeal those who want to be inspired to keep pushing in this field. To inspire people to do better. Maybe even teach to those who are interested in the fields. SOUNDS LIKE I WANT TO BE A PROFESSOR. LOL 11. TELL ME YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN PHOTOGRAPHY? GRAPHIC DESIGN? JLR: In 1st major shoot. It was scary and filled with anxiety but I knew I can do all things. The person I shot was amazed by how comfortable I made them and they were the superstar. I wish I could say the name but, you know how that goes. (Drake voice) lol. Graphic 1st layout with a record label. I was only 21 years of age and didn’t have my degree yet but the skills I brought to the table shadowed my soon to be degree. They were completely convinced that I was better than the designer they already had in house. But it kept me humble as a designer that I didn’t allow them to make me big headed about myself. 12. DO YOU FEEL BOTH CAREER OPTIONS BLEND WELL? HOW? JLR: Yes...the eye should have a yin and yang, a black to white, a hip to hop. Meaning everything should have a balance. Photography and graphic design goes hand and hand. One has to have the other like the pen to the pad. Put together and you can create some Dope-Ish! 13. HOW CAN OUR READERS FOLLOW, FIND, AND GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU? Instagram: @jlrphotodesign & jlrmusicstl Website:


At Maryville University, it’s all about you. We’re a diverse and welcoming campus community—one that provides countless opportunities to explore your own interests, as well as gain deeper understanding about the world around you. From our vibrant campus life to our life coaches to our 90+ academic programs, Maryville values your higher education. To find out more, visit MARYVILLE.EDU.





About Face. photography by: McArthur25

How to Achieve the Perfect TWIST OUT Without the Shrinkage I never thought I would go natural, but there came a time when I grew tired of the “creamy crack” and I wanted to have healthy hair again. So I stopped getting my hair relaxed and I was about that healthy hair life. While transitioning, I experienced horrible breakage and I had matted, puppydog hair. Ugh! In July 2012, I grabbed my scissors, cut off my poor excuse for relaxed hair and was no longer held down by scraggly ends. Can we say F-R-E-E-D-O-M?! That was the best move I ever made for my hair and now I can’t get enough of flirting with my natural tresses! During my natural hair journey, I found a successful way of achieving the best wash and go without compromising my length. Curls are a Naturalista’s best friend, but not when they involve major shrinkage! My approach for maintaining and styling natural hair is to keep it simple. And I always get great results. Follow my lead and you too can have the perfect, shrinkage free wash and go. What you’ll need: Hair clips Spray bottle Styling gel These are the steps to getting that “Oh So Fab” Wash and Go 1. 2. 3. 4.



Wash your hair the night before and apply the desired amount of twists or braids to your hair. Take each twist or braid, pull it to the other side and apply a hair clip to lock it into place. This will help stretch your hair as it dries overnight. Wrap your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet and get your beauty sleep. When your hair dries, take your spray bottle, fill it with lukewarm water and spray each section. DO NOT SATURATE! The more water you add, the more shrinkage you will have. Apply styling gel to each section while raking through your hair with your fingers. The finger raking technique will help stretch your curls and it works better than using a demi brush. 6Let your hair air-dry or for faster results, sit under a hooded dryer

That’s it! Now it’s time to rock your mane! For more helpful hints on natural hair maintenance, product reviews, styles and monthly giveaways, please visit www.



ow much are you worth? Financially speaking, you can tally up all of your assets, subtract all of your debts, and get a number for your net worth - but does that really describe how much financial muscle you have? Does that give a clear picture of your purchasing power or your financial health? Imagine you need a car, so you go to the dealership, find a great new car and start talking financing. It turns out that your monthly payments could be either $300 or $350 depending on the interest rate you get quoted. That’s $50 more every month! Over the life of a 5 year auto loan that adds up to paying an additional $3,000 - for the same car! Why the difference? It is one of the most underrated aspects of personal finance, and one that you have the most control over. Your credit score. If you want to start gaining some serious financial power you need to make an effort to boost it. Generally, here are the three ways to potentially improve your credit score right now. 1) Review your Credit Report All the credit rating agencies will tell you - they are not perfect and credit reports can have errors in them. Go to each of the credit rating agencies and make sure to get the report, and check it. Getting erroneous accounts taken off can sometimes dramatically increase your score. When I was living near Chicago, I found an unpaid bill from New Jersey on my report! After a phone call and some verification was able to get that removed from my credit history, boosting my score. 2) Have credit, but only use it sparingly. If you do not have a credit card, get one. If you currently run high balances on a credit card, pay them down. According to Experian, one of the three major credit rating agencies, approximately 30% of your credit limit is a good guideline to aim for. So if you have a card with a $5,000 credit line, working to get the outstanding balance below$1,500 (that 30% level) can immediately increase your score. 3) Pay all your bills on time, all the time. Seriously. Your reputation as a good borrower means a lot to the credit rating agencies and missed or late payments will cost you. If you have been a little less than perfect in the past, there is nothing you can do now except to be perfect going forward. Pay your bills early, set reminders, and make sure if you run into any financial trouble that could affect your ability to pay, you get on the phone and try to work something out. Many companies will be willing to work with you (and count you as late) because they would rather get paid instead of sending your payment to a collection agency. The biggest step you can take toward real financial freedom is to educate yourself about your personal situation and your credit score is going to be the biggest component of that. It is also one thing that you have the power to change. Taking positive steps to increase your score, thereby lowering your cost to borrow, will make your money work its hardest for you. Keith J. Akre, CFA, CFP® About the Author Keith has been a portfolio manager for Midland States Bank for the past three years working with families and individuals managing investments, constructing financial plans, and advising on all aspects of wealth management. He also works as an adjunct professor of finance and investment at Rockford University, teaching in the accelerated Bachelors program. Prior to working at Midland States Bank, he worked in a similar role for a trust company in Chicago. He has his master’s degree in Business Administration and holds the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificant. The views and opinions expressed in the article referenced above are those of the author only and are not to be attributed to Midland States Bank.

Providing a pathway to successful home ownership. Midland States Bank’s Believable Banking Home Mortgage and Home Improvement Loan are designed to assist people on the pathway to affordable, successful home ownership while helping revitalize neighborhoods. Available in select communities in the St. Louis region, the unique loans feature flexible underwriting guidelines and are not credit score driven. Believable Banking Home Mortgage

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Celebrating 50 Years of Service to St. Louis Youth! • After School & Summer • Homework Help & Tutoring • Sports • Free Dental & Vision Care • Field Trips • Computer Lab • Teen Center • Mentoring • College & Career Planning • College Tours • And, more!

Volunteer. Mentor. Donate. Join.

A MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis Celebrating 50 years of Service to St. Louis Youth The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL) is celebrating a pivotal and significant milestone this 2017 - - its 50th year of service to countless boys and girls in the St. Louis region! When the Cardinals baseball team moved to its new downtown stadium in 1966, Richard Amberg (then publisher of the Globe-Democrat newspaper) persuaded August A. Busch, Jr. and Anheuser-Busch Brewery to donate the property for use as a Boys Club. After receiving the green light, Mr. Amberg called on several key area business leaders to raise the capital needed to build a facility on the site of Sportsman’s Park. The Herbert Hoover Boys Club was born. The planning committee spared no expense to ensure that boys had all the amenities needed to be safe, have fun and stay out of trouble. The Club offered swimming, boxing, baseball, basketball, football, woodshop, photography, fishing derbies, billiards, field trips and holiday parties. There was even an on-site dental clinic! Vocational, recreational, educational and social development programming was evident in every corner of the building. The Club was named after Herbert Hoover, former U.S. President and Amberg’s friend. It also honored President Hoover for his more than 28 years of serves as Chairman of the board of Boys Clubs of America. Mr. Hoover, who was orphaned at the age of ten, spent most of his post-presidential years helping youth from disadvantaged circumstances. Several local African American pioneers, including St. Louis American Publisher, Donald Suggs and Civil Rights Activist Frankie Muse Freeman were founding Board members of the Herbert Hoover Boys Club at the time it was established. Other noted St. Louisans were involved with the Club’s founding and operations included Dr. Jerome Williams, Judge Theodore McMillian, Nannie Mitchell-Turner, Sgt. Clem Billingsley, Clifton Gates, Professor Jack Kirkland, Sam Miller, Capt. Thomas Brooks, Dr. Ben Davis,

Mrs. Jesse Abbington, James Hurt, Jr., Rev Paul Smith, Dr. Alice Smart, Walter Ambrose, and Roscoe McCrary. Although officially a boys Club, girls were always on the scene. They competed as members of the swim team, cheered for football and basketball teams, and took part in fieldtrips. Following the trend of other Clubs across the country, the Herbert Hoover club started admitting girls for membership in 1993, and the name was changed to Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club. In 2012, following the expansion of services and the establishment of club operations in south city and north county, the agency changed its name to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. This decision was made to reflect the organization’s growing footprint, and more strongly align the St. Louis operation with the national brand, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. For the past fifty years, the Club has been at the forefront of youth development, proudly working with young people from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. BGCSTL strives to ensure that our community’s youth have greater access to quality programs and services that will shape their lives and build their futures. Dr. Flint Fowler, President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis said of the anniversary, “We are excited to be celebrating 50 years of providing youth development services throughout the St. Louis region. Our success compels us to address the needs of more kids, more often and in more places during non-school hours. It’s our hope that every kid who comes through our doors, leaves, having graduated from high school with a plan for their future. We are very thankful to community partners, leaders and funders, past and present, who help us continue our proud tradition of service to St. Louis’ youth.” In addition to after school, summer and sports programs, for as little as $25 a year, Club members also receive free dental and vision care. Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis now serves youth across St. Louis City & County at eight locations (Adams Park Club, Ferguson Middle School Club, Grannemann Elementary School Club, Herbert Hoover Club, Lee Hamilton Elementary School Club, O’Fallon Park Club, Hazelwood Southeast Middle School Club and Riverview Gardens Club), a dropout prevention program in two high schools (Normandy High School and Roosevelt High School) and through our Mentor St. Louis Program. We are also a proud member of the United Way.


TO OUR GREAT, BIG NETWORK. Cricket covers 99% of Americans.*

Plus, your phone may be eligible for Cricket Protect. See advocate for details. *Based on overall coverage in the U.S. Bring Your Own Phone: $9.99 Universal SIM Card Kit & unlocked, GSM-compatible smartphone req’d. Activ. fee (up to $25/line), & other fees, charges and restr’s apply. See store for details. © 2016 Cricket Wireless LLC. All rights reserved.

Photographer Lawrence Bryant



Wedding Guide

Wanna add your business to The DELUX Wedding Directory? Contact us today. Place your brand in front of DELUX readers all year!!! email





AR EVENT PLANNING 1113 Wooden Dr., Florissant, 773-457-1852 www.

AG PHOTOGRAPHY 7 North Oaks Plaza, Saint Louis, 314-669-4657

UnVeiled Beauty 314-718-4272

CAKES BY NETTE 1130 N Florissant, Ferguson, 314-562-7193 www.cakebynettecom

DIVINE EVENTS 11425 Dorsett Rd #202, Maryland Heights, s314-805-3587

LB PHOTOGRAPHY Saint Louis, 314-445-9718

TARA LOWERY 1430 Washington Ave 105, St Louis, 314-805-3587

ICED IMPRESSIONS 1111 Arsenal Ave, Saint Louis, (314) 219-9272 /IcedImpressions

STYLE COUTURE EVENTS 5335 Highway N, Cottleville, 314-479-3204


NETTIE KELLY 3840 Washington Ave Studio 218, Saint Louis, 314-498-6299

SweetArt 2203 South 39th Street, St. Louis, 314-771-4278

KAYDIS EVENT PLANNING, Saint Louis, 314-458-6425

LANCE THURMAN 2609 S. Kingshighway, Saint Louis, 314-368-3599


La Patisserie Chouquette 1626 Tower Grove St Louis 314-805-3587

6 DEGREES EVENT PLANNING, Maryland Heights, 314-229-8007

SUTBERRY PHOTOGRAPHY Saint Louis/ Illinois 618-406-0041

The Rebel Florist 1414 Park Ave St. Louis, 314-962-3232

Sugaree Baking Company 1242 Tamm Avenue St. Louis, 314-645-5496

Bella Daydream Events St. Louis, 314-537-1739

iDEX PHOTOGRAPHY, Saint Louis/Illinois 618-407-3288

Artistry Florist & Event Design 2734 LaSalle Street, St. Louis 314-772-1301

La Bonne Bouchee 12344 Olive Blvd Creve Coeur 314-576-6606

Simcha’s Events 55 Chaminade Drive St. Louis, 314-458-5463

JOSEPH CAMPBELL Saint Louis/Kansas City/ Mid-Missouri Area 314-805-3587

Wildflowers 1013 Ohio Avenue St. Louis, 314-772-9900

Sarah’s Cake Shop 10 Clarkson Wilson Centre - Chesterfield, 314-728-1140

Cosmopolitan Events 18132 Big Bend Boulevard St. Louis 314-249-9107

CEDRIC SCOTT PHOTOGRAPHY 3840 Washington Av 218, Saint Louis , 314363-6303

The Special Events Florist Call for Consult. Saint Louis, 314-845-3362

The Sweet Divine 1801 S 9th St St. Louis, 636-942-2900


LA PATISSERIE CHOUQUETTE PAR SIMONE FAURE A Peanut Free, Gluten Free Friendly French Bakery 1626 Tower Grove Avenue, St Louis Mo, 63110 314-932-7935 HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm

There are moments in life which require celebratory madness. When you pop the Veuve Clicquot and wave aside anything which could hinder the sheer ecstasy of the perfect moment. The element of perfection; of luxury; the substance from which dreams are made… that thing. The je ne sais quoi in the tangibility of happiness. Maybe it’s the God particle. Perhaps God particle is a hyperbole. But taking a bite out of a pastry from La Patisserie Choquette will make one question all that is earthly and heavenly, and brings us to a succinct point of realization: YES. There is actually heaven on earth. Go. Everything about La Patisserie is decadence and perfection. From the ambiance created by the warm and friendly staff, to the carefully curated French décor and casual elegance of it all. It is wonderful. It is the essence of a French patisserie right here in the sweet spot of the city of St. Louis. We are incredibly lucky to have Simone Faure’s hands and artistry in our fair city. A chef of her caliber is available to create your perfect 50th birthday cake or simply cure your craving for Earl Gray tea macarons. Take advantage. Go. Might we suggest an afternoon of high tea? Afternoon tea service is offered on Saturdays at 11am, 1 pm, and 3 pm by reservation only. You can enjoy an assortment of sweet and savory selections and choose from a variety of hand selected loose leaf teas from England, France, Israel and India. Check out their website, and give them a call. You will not regret taking time from your busy schedule to stop the world and melt with cake at La Patisserie Chouquette. Isn’t life supposed to be full of phenomenal experiences?


delux profiled

MENTORS IN MOTION alandon pitts, founder Words by: Shadress Burks // Photography: McArthur25

Beginning his work with kids long before he walked into a classroom; Pitts started out as a team leader at St. James Community Center right out college. Observing and studying how the organization had their program set up, Pitts soon grew interest in creating his own outreach program. Learning their structure, listening to the participants needs and anting to do his differently, Pitts diligently awaited the chance to branch out on his own. In 2009, after completing his degree and stacking his resume with experience, his opportunity came. Taking all of the advice he’d heard over the years, Pitts created Mentors in Motion with the idea of bridging the gap between kids interests and learning; while teaching team how to be entrepreneurs and self-sufficient. “Giving students who society has given up on another opportunity is what Mentors in Motion is all about,” Pitts said. Extracting their creative ideas, they have buried deep along with issues they struggle with allows Pitts the chance to expand the program structure. Understanding the power of the entertainment/media industry and realizing his students need “outside of the box” teaching pushes Pitts to remain current so he can stay connected. “It’s time out for kids to just adapt to teachers. Now it’s time for teachers to start adapting to kids. If you don’t have technology or relatable tools in your classroom; you’re losing 90% of your class.” – Pitts Centering a lot his program around technology; Pitts also correlates math, reading, music and art throughout the foundation of each class. Offering free avenues for activities that embody positivity and learning are major factors that have aided in the program’s success thus far. Considering his program, a bridge between trends and education; Pitts builds sustainable learning experiences for students to want to learn and do more. Juggling the many hats, he wears every day, Pitts feels it is important to play man roles in the lives of the students he touches. For many students, just having the will to want more for themselves despite the many letdowns they have encountered is a challenge. Teaching them to push pass these issues and navigate life are basic tools he realizes are a necessary factor before he can even begin building other layers of learning. In addition, to teaching them how to make money; Pitts is a firm believer in instilling in each student the importance of giving back. For him, life is not all about making money and he believes in order for your community to grow, you have to be able to give back to it. Through various community service projects, Pitts shows how communities that take care of themselves are the communities that remain and finish strong.

Having a knack for kids is not an easy quality to possess. Teaching them what they need to know so they can make it in life is no easier. However, Alandon Pitts, Assistant Principal and Founder of Mentors in Motion welcomes he challenge. Starting out as a substitute teacher, Pitts saw early on the desperate gap children in his school wee in dire need of having filled. Low attendance rates, low test scores, and lack of funding were common denominators teachers within the St. Louis Public School District battled with every day. Being a teacher at a charter school, Pitts felt the children in his class and school biggest struggles with learning were that they saw no real life connect to what they were being taught. With most students dealing with home lives and environments that most adults never deal with; Pitts was all hands-on deck to ensure his students would not fall prey to inner city statistics. Today, most school programs are designed to prepare students to join the workforce; however, Pitts could see this was not the way to go with his students. From his perspective, he could see his students needed to cling to something of their own and see it manifest into something great to make it out. He realized instilling entrepreneurial skills into his students was the way to go. Combining his experience with the information, he created a program called Mentors in Motion that aligns their interests with needed skills to excel in life. “The biggest struggle within the SLP schools is the lack of aligning education with life skills. For them to learn, these students need to see how math or reading is beneficial to them in their everyday lives and can be fun.” – Pitts

Another factor he feels is an issue is the environment a lot of his students return to when they leave him for the day. Creating a haven for his students becomes another factor since most students live in high crime areas. With no expectations of tomorrow, motivating and encouraging them beyond today becomes a daily mantra. Managing their personal lives as well as their educational struggles, Pitts believes he and those who apart of educating young people and help with Mentors in Motion are risk takers. Being willing to put it all on the line to make sure each student successfully completes the program or graduates from high school is what they commit to for them all. Approaching the students with the ideas they can succeed while listening to what they need are the planks that hold together the bridge between this generation and the next. Taking it day by day, Pitts is determined to change the way learning is viewed on at-risk student at a time. By showing the world that despite who you are or where you grow up, you can exceed he low expectations placed upon you and excel beyond what you could never image. Mentors in Motion 1927 Cass Avenue

You ‘re Invited to host your next party or event at the

Missouri Athletic Club

When it’s time for a celebration, make a statement by entertaining at the exquisite, historic Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis. Missouri Athletic Club F 405 Washington Avenue F St. Louis, MO 63102 F FDELUX 314-539-4448 MAGAZINE 41

Profile for DELUX Magazine

April 2017  

April 2017