2023 DELUX 314 DAY

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something TODAY
FUTURE
A T T O R N E Y J E R M A I N E W O O T E N C A L L U S F O R Y O U R C O M P L I M E N T A R Y , C O N F I D E N T I A L C O N S U L T A T I O N 3 1 4 . 7 3 6 . 5 7 7 0 L S G S T L . C O M “ T h e c h o i c e o f a l a w y e r i s a n i m p o r t a n t d e c i s i o n a n d s h o u l d n o t b e b a s e d s o l e l y u p o n a d v e r t i s e m e n t s ”
"Do
that your
self will thank you for."
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DELUX MAGAZINE NO. 47 Keith N Griffin II PUBLISHER/FOUNDER @CognacPapi digital & Print managing editor DeWarren Smith DSmith@DeluxMagcom POWER 100 BOARD CHAIR Jami Dolby Executive artist JLR photo design Joe L. Richardson Writers Shadress Denise Billie Becoat Tiffany Byndom Jasmine Osby Elvin Chambers GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Studio 76 G5ive Media Group JLR Photo Design PHOTOGRAPHERS Ag Photography LB Photography ADVERTISING RATES Ads@deluxmag.com 56 52 31 10 18 08 40 DELUX MAGAZINE No. 47 March/April 2021 · Year 12· PUBLISHER Keith Griffin II GRAPHIC DESIGN G5IVE MEDIA GROUP 1409 Washington Ave St. Louis Mo 63103 DISTRIBUTOR Papers Unlimited MO IPAD APP Available in itunes store WEBSITE www.deluxmag.com ADVERTISING Email Ads@deluxmag.com SUBMISSIONS Email submissions@deluxmag.com PRESS RELEASES Email PR@deluxmag.com

WE ARE BACK ST. LOUIS!!! Thank you for all the support and positivity you all have shown over the past 12 years. We’ve obviously have had our ups and downs as any business has but we have contiued to strive to bring you what we consider the “positive” of St Louis.

We hope you enjoy our 5th annual 314 Day Edition Cover. Obviously we cant put the whole St Louis on the cover but we do our best to be as inclusive as possible because ALL of us is what makes St Louis Amazing.

314 Day is about the people and places rooted in culture and creativity that makes our city so special. Throughout the pages of our special edition, we will celebrate the contributions and collaborations that have given us monumental moments as a collective community.

If you didnt make it this year it doesnt mean we dont see you or that you also arent GREAT. Just keep moving that needle. We SEE you! One Love.

Thank you the DELUX team and the whole St Louis -- without you this could never be possible.

The Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce (HSBCC) works tirelessly to serve businesses in our community. As a voice for and capacity builder of Black owned businesses in the St. Louis region, HSBCC has played an essential role in identifying, soliciting and providing the supports these businesses will need to survive and recover post COVID-19 and offer stabilization assistance to area. Black owned businesses that need triage as well as growth and acceleration supports to those poised to take advantage of disruptive economic opportunities.

Benefits of Chamber Membership:

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“Never give up on a dream just becasue of the time it will take to accomplish it.”
PUBLISHER, KEITH N GRIFFIN II
PUBLISHER’S
NOTES
@1CognacPapi on Instagram
-Keith G

Madisin Rian

The Madisin Rian that struts down the incomparable runways of Zimmerman or Miu Miu is who you’re used to seeing and while demanding the red carpet at Rihanna’s 2019 Diamond Ball layered in Iris van Herpen, is how the world knows her, but we know her and love her as a Fort Zumwalt West graduate, and St. Louis native who has emerged as an American supermodel and Instagram prodigy and with that, she exudes all of St. Louis’ three-one-four excellence. She rose to fame by way of her stunning melanated features, endless beauty, captivating spirit, and gorgeous, sizzling, captivating photos and videos, which forged her way, surpassing many of the next top models and securing her crown in the kingdom of fashion.

Further, her success and St. Louis swag have afforded her many amazing opportunities which include her gracefully appearing on national covers of various fashion and fitness magazines including Elle and fashion magazine mega house, Vogue. Madisin notes her success to “The strong legacy of black women in her family -including her vivacious mom, aunts, and grandmother” as she pins their influence on how she possessed the courage and confidence to walk down the valuable Italian runaways standing before the most prominent photographers wearing high-end masterpieces created and crafted by the hands of Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, and Armani which are some of the most prestigious fashion houses in the world.

And with all that Black Girl Magic, Madison Rian is Delux’s Who Got Now!

9 who got now

Tammie Tammie

TAMMIE HOLLAND IN HER OWN WORDS: HER CAREER, HER LIFE, AND HER LOVE FOR HER CITY

As told to Shadress Denise

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. It’s the mid-90s, and a voice, an unforgettable voice that is new to the airwaves captures a city’s attention. It’s not the voice of someone we’ve heard before, yet someone we will come to know as the voice of St. Louis…Tammie Holland. Her infectious laugh and her memorable tone captivated a city that turned the dial daily to hear what she had to say. Her reign began during a time when the internet was a figment ofour imagination, and urban radio was how we as a people connected through music, comedy, and conversation.

Tammie transformed the sound of the radio while inspiring people to be their authentic selves. Candid storytelling is her artistry that she has beautifully painted over the years. I would be remiss in my ability to tell a story, her story if I did not acknowledge her incomparable ability to do the same. She is and has throughout her time become a maven for female broadcast journalists by showing what it means to not just be an outlet for women’s voices, but a voice for our community. She is a phenomenon, a champion for St. Louis who has shown how strong we are capable of being through her optimism, transparency, grace, and honesty.

Fast forward twenty years, and she still gives us a reason to pause and listen to what she has to say. Her resume is one to rival and her reputation is worthy of admiration. On her way, Tammie carved out her lane. She is a steeple. A bona fide piece of St. Louis history. And like her fellow St. Louis idol, Josephine Baker, she deserves to be immortalized. Her name is imprinted in stone along the Delmar Loop because she is not just the voice of St. Louis, but a part of a longstanding history of greats that have emerged from a city known as the gateway to the west.

In an intimate interview with DELUX, she tells us about her love for radio, how she’s kicking cancer’s ass, and why she will always let it be known that she’s from the Lou and she’s proud.

THE MAKINGS OF TAMMIE HOLLAND

I will have to say that you are probably the first person I’ve interviewed whom I have not been able to write down a slew of questions for, and for whatever

reason, I feel like maybe it’s meant to be that way. I want this to be more informal. I don’t feel like people know your story as much as they should. And so, I want to hear your story. Let’s start with who is Tammie Holland through Tammie’s eyes.

Today, I am a mother who is fighting stage four colon cancer. And I am a forever lover of St. Louis. That is who I am. And a child of God and a lover of chocolate [laughing].

Of course, who doesn’t love chocolate [laughing]? Tell me, why you decided out of all the fields you could have gotten into, especially with your very vivacious personality, you chose journalism?

You know in high school, my senior year of high school, I got this invitation to go and visit the school counselor. He needed to have a stern conversation with me about my future because he was most concerned and worried about me. I was never really like a fantastic student in school. But it wasn’t that I could not have been, I just chose not to be for some reason. I hate to even say that as I am a mother right now.

But at any rate, I go into his office, he says, “‘Well, Miss Holland, what is it that you want to do with yourself? And I told him, I said, ‘Listen, I want to be a reporter. This is what I want to do. I want to be a reporter. And then he says, ‘Have you ever taken the ACT? You know, your aptitude tests are just horrendous. You know, at best you can get into a state school. But even with graduating from a state school, Miss Holland, the field is far too competitive, and you would never get a job.’”

And so, because he said that, I just looked at him as an authoritative figure and that he knew what he was talking about, you know, and so I just simply said alright. I had some family members who were very successful in the education field, I’m like, alright, I’ll become a teacher. So, I go away to college. I study education for a few years. It just dawned on me that you know what, I’m bored miserably. I love human life, but I’m just not so certain that I just want to be an educator. And I just there’s some things that I got to do.

I dropped out of college, flew around the world for a little bit as a flight attendant, and after having this one cool trip to Italy with some girlfriends—my mom kind of got on my case. I end up calling my girlfriend Marie who is my stylist extraordinaire. I just absolutely love

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having this one cool trip to Italy with some girlfriends—my mom kind of got on my case. I end up calling my girlfriend Marie who is my stylist extraordinaire. I just absolutely love her. We meet up for coffee in Clayton, and we’re walking through Clayton. I was just a hot mess. Then I look up and I see these call letters for this radio station. I see something about some school or something on the outside of the doors.

I asked her what they did. She told me people who want to be on the radio come here and they learn about the broadcast and the radio industry. Afterward, they get jobs in radio. I go home and tell my mom, this is it, I’m gonna be on the radio. People get paid to do this; this is what I’m going to do. She’s like you’re bananas but whatever. I go through the program.

And even before I graduated from school; I started getting job offers and internship opportunities. I had the fortunate opportunity to have a great teacher. His name was Mark Clark.

And at the time Mark Clark worked for Magic 108. He was a part of this morning show called The Breakfast Club with Tony Scott. He told me about an internship they had. I go over and I get the internship with Magic. I start working my way in by doing commercials and making myself available. I eventually graduate from the program.

I didn’t start working there right away. I did community radio for 97.1. I started my career in the mid-90s and I’ve spent these years just working. At one point I was working three jobs at one time. I was like the Mad Jamaican. And seriously, I do have Caribbean roots, so I feel I can say that [laughing]. But I was doing overnight news updates for Channel Five.

This was during a time when Jerry Springer was hot. Jerry Springer would come on. Then I would come on in between the commercial breaks of Jerry Springer. During this period, I would do news updates. This is before CNN which lets you how old I am. It’s so funny. I would do that and afterward, I would go over to the radio station and I would do early morning news. I was just busy. I spent the entire 90s grinding and working my butt off.

Wow, I am beyond impressed. Was Tony Scott your first official radio show?

No, the first show that I was on was a radio station called KDHX. It was a community radio station that I was on with Sylvester the Cat. He had this hip-hop show, and at the time it was underground. It was grimy and everybody was tuning into his show. He came on the weekends at like a crazy time, like midnight to like 4 am, and if you were a real hip-hop head— you were staying up with Sylvester. I convinced Sylvester to give me a job, although I was so corny.

You know I did hip-hop news and I tried to give a little commentary, but that was short-lived. After that, I did some work with the legendary Charlie Tuna. Charlie Tuna was looking for some female perspective on sports-related issues. And I was a cheerleader in high school, but I was never like a sports fanatic.

I was seriously having difficulties understanding the difference between offense and defense. To go on to somebody’s established sports program to offer commentary was probably not the best thing for me. That was very shortlived, but it was an experience. It would be a few years before I would reconnect with Tony Scott. But when we did, it was a fantastic working relationship. I’ll have to say that much. We were quite the team, the two of us.

“I always like to say this to young women coming up in the radio industry, ‘It’s not enough for you to just be an announcer. You must understand every aspect of the business.’”

HER CAREER

I had mentioned that I was interviewing you to a friend who’s also a writer, and she mentioned seeing you on UPN.

[Laughing] See, there you go. There’s another one of those jobs, mad Jamaican, I did it all. During UPN time, it was just all UPN for a second. And then I get the big call saying Tony Scott is looking for a co-host. I was handling community fairs for Mike and Steve Roberts. I would also do some public relations work for their hotel property, the Mayfair hotel here in St. Louis.

That was a lot of fun. Not only did I have an opportunity to be on the air, but I also had an opportunity to stay connected with the community and the public through those otherentities. As I’m working there, I get the call. I think that in the beginning, Tony didn’t

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want me. There was another woman who was working at Channel Four at the time, and he wanted her instead of me. But they pushed for me. They saw something in me and thought we would be good together. It took us a second to kind of warm up and hit our mark. But when we did, it was a good thing.

I really used to enjoy listening to your show. Your dynamic was hilarious—both of you. I would love to know what your outlook on entering a predominantly male-driven industry was. How did you navigate that as a female—especially a female with a strong voice?

Very quickly you learn how to speak a language that the boys speak. For me, it was that I had to develop very tough skin so that when the quips would come my way, I would be able to swing back without deflating my egos. It was always a very thin line to have to tread in the radio business because this was long before the MeToo movement.

I mean, I’ve got a million stories. Sometimes I think about writing a book. But for right now, I hold them and keep them close, until I think it might be beneficial to share. It was an interesting environment, but very early on, you begin to recognize who the players are.

How they move, and how you should move to guarantee success in whatever it is that you’re doing. You know, it’s hard to explain. I learned quickly to know the room.

Aside from knowing the room, what other advice would you give female journalists that are coming behind you?

To be a master of your profession, that’s number one. No one can take it away from you.

That of which you know. If you are a baddie, as they say, you’re the total package. You have everything all together. You are a master of several disciplines within the area in which you work. I always like to say to young women coming up in the radio industry, ‘it’s not enough for you to just be an announcer.’

You must understand every aspect of the business. You need to understand sales, and marketing, how to read ratings, understand your position, and know everything about it. My advice to a young person coming up is simple. Be a master of your profession. Be versed inall things that you are a part of. Know your stuff! I’ve always admired how poise and how grateful you are.

Why was that important to always present yourself in that way?

I think that’s nice, but I was raised differently. I was raised to sit up straight, and to speak well. You know that’s a very difficult question to answer. Who I am is just who I am. It’s who I’ve always been. It’s what I know. “I think oftentimes in this business, women sell themselves short. Perhaps we think that we must, to remain, and to exist…”

We always hear the saying “You have to leave St. Louis to make it,’ or ‘St.Louis doesn’t necessarily show you love until you make it.’” However, that formula doesn’t prove to be true for you.

With your star rising, and the connections that you made, what made you stay?

I truly enjoyed a wonderful level of success that allowed me to have the most beautiful access to the city that I adore. I have lived very, very well in St. Louis. And I knew for a black woman in radio, for someone to offer me a job in another market, that may be a similar size of some sort it didn’t make sense. Why would I leave and go someplace for a few additional thousands of dollars? Or perhaps, I would be leaving behind market connections, and established market value.

I do believe in myself. And there have been times in which an aspect of my personhood or opinion could have been something that would have carried on a national level, but it’s that I never wanted to go someplace else to have to rebuild and start over. It didn’t make sense to me. Maybe had there been an offer for me to have gone to New York to have done something in that respect, maybe I would have done that. But for no other reason. You gotta love Charlotte, North Carolina, or you gotta love Virginia Beach, but I’m not doing that.

What has radio taught you about yourself?

That’s an interesting question. I would have to say that there’s an ultimate separation

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between Tammie Holland—Meadow’s mother, and Tammie Holland, the radio personality. I don’t think that there have been times in my life that I have misconstrued the two, or I never have been one to have had a big head or to have been ego-driven. What has radio taught me? Hmmm…perhaps that I’m tough, I don’t know [laughing]. Because it was a hard road.

It was a tough job sometimes. Some people might say, “well, how in the hell is that tough? You go and you sit in a box for some hours. You listen to some music, and you make some announcements, and you eat free food. How was that tough?” It was mentally taxing a lot.

There’s a lot that goes into all of that. So that’s what I would say. That I’m much stronger than I ever thought I was. I’m a tough girl because of the radio.

I watched the video of you receiving the keys to the city, and officially having a Tammie Holland Day, congratulations on that, by the way. One of the things that stood out was when DJ Kut, got up there. He stated that a radio station at the time that was trying to recruit you, threw you breadcrumbs. And you respectfully declined. Another thing he mentioned was that you knew your worth. What would you say are the components that make up your worth?

I value myself. And I have a very realistic understanding of who I am as a person, what I am or who I am, and how it applies to whatever situation I might be in. I recognize my position and value in those things. I don’t think that that is a bad thing ever to understand and do. I think oftentimes in this business, women sell themselves short. Perhaps we think that we must, remain, and exist. In some respects, and in some instances; sometimes you have to take one for the team to get what you want. But I felt at that moment that I had been there, and I had done that already. And that what I would be giving them was worth far more. The bottom line, I just know myself.

“I am very drawn to beautiful things, and beautiful people…”

REINVENTING HERSELF

It appears you have stumbled back into broadcast journalism. Tell us about This Week with Tammie Holland.

Okay, so this is a funny story. I have to tell you how it all came about. I was still working at the radio station at the time, and I had been having conversations with Brown & Crouppen about putting something together. I ended up picking up the phone one day and calling Andy Crouppen because it was something we had previously been working on. My relationship with Terry Crouppen was cultivated when I was an intern at Magic. He would come into the studio to sit in on shows, and chop it up with Mark and Tony, and I remember him always being very kind. Fast forward a million years later, I lose my job at iHeart in 2017—it was a Friday. Sunday morning, Terry calls me because he heard I lost my job. I thought it was so sweet. He told me he didn’t know what we were going to do, but we were going to put something together, and don’t worry about it. In 2019, we ended up having a few meetings and conversations about this new medium they wanted to launch that would highlight all the wonderful aspects of St. Louis while connecting the firm to the community in an up-close and personal way. I thought it was a great idea. From there we formed this bond and a great idea. They are truly wonderful people and I love Terry Crouppen. He is truly one of my favorite people.

You mentioned in your speech how it was important for you to cultivate authentic community relationships. Where does your importance for the community derive from?

I recognized early in my career what I was doing in radio, and that my success came from being connected to those who listened and chose me daily. I always wanted what I was doing to not just fuel me, but to also fuel others, and to be a positive vehicle for others. And so, because I recognized early on the importance of connections, I also recognized the importance of relationships. That’s why Terry Crouppen picked up the phone to call me that day.

I understood the importance of nurturing relationships. You’ve got to recognize your power, your worth, and how it can’t always be about you. It’s about others too. When you

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make it about others, then that’s when the success and the magic happen.

HER HEALTH AND HEALING

You welcomed us into a different aspect of your life when you shared that you were diagnosed with stage four cancer. Was the journalist in you that felt it was important to share that private moment with the world?

Initially, when I was diagnosed, I was pissed off. I was angry. I said I have shared enough, and I was about to go completely off the radar. I was tired and I was unhappy at that moment. I was like there was no way I could share this with anyone. It was too much. Then the next day I had an epiphany. And I realized that this was a way to truly make a difference in the lives of so many people. I prayed about it, talked to myself, and decided it was what I was going to do. I wanted to share my story to help someone because I realized it was preventable had I done some things prior. I have to say that since July 2021, when I shared my story, I have gotten so many messages from people who’ve seen my story. After seeing my story, so many people have gone to get tested. Even the people that had been putting it off. One lady told me because of seeing my story, she was able to catch hers in the early stages. I never thought this would be my story, but I give thanks to God that I did share it because there are so many people who are okay because of me doing so.

What has this journey with cancer been like for you regarding your faith, your family, and your overall self-care and mental health?

As I stated, in the beginning, I was angry. Then after I went through all the stages of grief, and dealing with my prognosis, I began giving thanks to God for my life, my blessings—and the position I was in. Exercising gratitude has helped keep me bright and optimistic. When I was first diagnosed, cancer had spread to my liver and a lung, I remember the doctor writing down something about just keeping me comfortable. The distinct words that I had read were ‘to prolong life.’

It didn’t look bright, and the expectation was for me to coast the disease. My original tumor marker was 27,000 which is fatally high and inoperable. Today, my number is 76 and I am a candidate for surgery. There is something to be said about remaining optimistic, thinking

positive, and having a phenomenal medical team.

I can admit this journey has been tough at times, more mentally tough. But because I have worked to remain optimistic, I believe in my healing, and I give thanks in my moment— my journey has not been so bad, and I will ring that bell.

You are now in your 50s and have gone through so many changes from your career to motherhood, health challenges, and your overall self-growth. What has each decade taught you about yourself?

Wow, I don’t even think that I got into a groove of understanding until a couple of months ago [laughing]. Seriously, I spent my entire 20s grinding. My 20s set me up for my 30s where I was able to begin seeing the beginnings of what I had been working for. My 40s allowed me to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I worked very hard in my 20s and started paying off in my 30s. In my 40s I’m jamming and then bam—I’m in my 50s. I just turned 50 this past May.

It really wasn’t until this year that I was able to really lay into everything and be like, “ok…I’m cool now. Let’s get it.”

Last question…how do you want to be remembered? What do you feel your purpose in this life is?

I want people to remember me as someone who shared. As someone who truly appreciated and loved St. Louis during its often sham and drudgery—I still see it as the most beautiful place. I would like to be remembered as someone who saw value in this place. I think St. Louis is a wonderful city. This region is beautiful. We have some history that is quite painful, and hurtful, but when I wake up and say, ‘God thank you for letting me be better today than I was yesterday,’ that’s all that we can do.

I just wanted to be remembered as someone who loved, appreciated, and respected the city that we call St. Louis. But also, someone who loves people.

Be sure to follow Tammie Holland on Instagram @tammieholland and log into Facebook to follow her show, This Week with Tammie Holland.

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delux inspired

GIVING BACK THROUGH THE ARTS

VANESSA COOKSEY

VVanessa Cooksey is the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) third leader and first President and CEO appointed to the position in November 2020.

For more than three decades, the publicly-funded organization has allocated more than $100 million to individual artists and arts organizations, and has helped steer the recovery of the arts community in St. Louis during an economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two years after Cookey’s appointment, in November 2022, RAC announced a historical moment within the organization with the approval to direct $10.6 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to artists and arts organizations in St. Louis. The plan for RAC to distribute the funds was supported by more than 100 arts leaders in the region.

“It is a culture of service that exists in St. Louis that makes this city special,” said Cooksey. “I have lived in many cities, from Atlanta, Denver, Austin to New Orleans, and I’m sure they all have a community spirit there, but what I find to be special about St. Louis is the known expectation of serving. There are many nonprofit organizations in our region that are working tirelessly to solve real community issues and people give up their time and energy to truly make a difference”

When asked about highlighting one St. Louis leader who has inspired and supported her leadership journey, Cooksey stated: “For every one person that I could call out, there would be four or five more leaders to add to the list that have been equally important in my leadership journey and my giving back in this community.”

Cooksey is a serious changemaker and has led innovative arts, education, technology and wellness initiatives reaching millions of children and adults over the course of her career. Most

recently, she spoke on a panel at the Medical Humanities Program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis exploring how segregation and discrimination continue to impact the wellbeing of the region’s diverse communities – and how art can help us heal.

“A great leader once told me that “oppression is no match for a fully creative human,” said Cooksey.

“We all must have equal access to creating and experiencing art. When you go to a museum, festival, or wherever you experience creativity, it helps facilitate healing and allows for a healthy escape that is known to reduce stress and anxiety and increase one’s selfawareness.

I want all citizens, all residents of St. Louis, to have access to a full creative life.”

RAC is continuing to push the mission of a full creative life for every St. Louisian by championing policies and practices that promote diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the arts.

“We have not created the environment that supports our young people thriving, and that responsibility should not be placed solely on the traditional nonprofit organizations or the school districts for the development, care and nurturing of our youth. We need all hands on deck. On this topic, we have partnered with 17 artists and arts organizations to create programming specifically for youth in downtown St. Louis. With the latest funding, we are investing a portion of those dollars to go to public art placemaking and other programs that will support young people, and we will continue to share our learnings and best practices across networks to make a sustainable impact.”

Cooksey is proud to be a part of a community of advocates striving to make the region a better place to live, work and play.

“St. Louis is a cultural hub that is admired nationwide,” said Cooksey. “The city has great opportunities to be involved in the arts from sculptures, paintings, music, literature, and film.

Leaning into individual creativity while creating space for that creativity to come to life and allow for a collective experience is required to move the region forward. Our sector has value, and advocacy supports engagement. Adding a human voice to this work will allow us to disrupt old narratives that don’t serve us anymore.”

For more information on RAC, visit www.racstl.org.

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“We all must have equal access to creating and experiencing art. When you go to a museum, festival, or wherever you experience creativity, it helps facilitate healing and allows for a healthy escape that is known to reduce stress and anxiety and increase one’s self-awareness. I want all citizens, all residents of St. Louis, to have access to a full creative life”

BLACK DESIGNER BRANDS

Discover and shop from the very best national black brands including Tailored Gent, Yoro, Brandin Vaughn and Liza B plus many more!

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BRANDIN VAUHN

The Brandin Vaughn Collection is a fashion house in which designs are created and taken from the page to the body by sole designer and owner Brandin Vaughn – a self-taught black male seamster. Its women’s wear line is designed and manufactured in-house and embodies sophisticated elegance with an edge. Recognizing the art and skill of sewing is lost among the black community and youth, the fashion house doubles as an instruction center and employs youth of all backgrounds teaching them how to run a fashion house starting with the foundation of sewing. www.brandinvaughn.com

YORO

As one of the most nationally sought awardwinning Jewelry designers and stylists and Art exhibit curators from St. Louis. Yolanda Newson is the visionary behind YoroCreations & Styles. Her pieces have been worn and featured on Film sets, among celebrities, on runways, and in multiple publications to date. It’s a must to get a one-of-a-kind piece that will be the topic of conversation wherever you go. Connect with this brand at www.yorostyle.com

LIZA B

This delicately hand-crafted art is like no other, Everett E Johnson’s founder and created Liz B Couture has given it another level with his oneof-a-kind pieces. Everett’s view is masterpieces as a documented pictorial of the journey and development of an artisanal and bespoke luxury leather goods brand. LizaB “Building a house stitchXstitch.” To experience LizaB is to own one of his amazing creations. You can be more in tune with LizaB Coutoure by way of Instagram at @lizab.couture

21 DELUX MAGAZINE black brands

TAILORED GENTS

Suiting Your Lifestyle suits & style for every occasion -Tailored Gents Custom Clothiers is hyperfocused on helping men feel their absolute best by utilizing custom, hand-finished suiting (suits, tuxedos, jackets, trousers, shirts, shoes, and accessories) as the foundation to building a sustainable wardrobe. Founded and efficiently run by certified clothier Darryl Tyler and his team they distinguish themselves by first, listening to the client and understanding his wishes. To get the perfect fit head over to www.tailoredgents.com

22 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com

THE ONLY LIFESTYLE

The TOL Star is a symbol of freedom, positive drive, and our ancestors. St. Louis’ very Fashion House has been a beacon for an array of styles and fashionable creations. TOL encourages our people to reach their goals and lives. The Only Lifestyle, the lifestyle of a hustler. This premier boutique holds a collection of highend labels as well as tailored-made exclusive pieces created and curated in St. Louis by founder, creator, and designer Q. You can become a “Gold Bar Member” by connecting with the TOL team via Instagram at @ shopambition

LEGALLY TRAPPIN

Legally Trappin was founded by creator and fashion designer Armon (Wiz) Harris in 2017 and the brand is pushed by MikeyB, Young Wad, Scutch, and BlockBge with one purpose: Whether it’s book smarts or streets smarts, ThinkSmart. This high-end urban chic streetwear depicts the very best in what fashion has evolved into. The brand encompasses a deep message to encourage being intelligent, having family morals, making wise decisions, and giving back to the community, legally. You can get into the latest fashion fixes by visiting them on Instagram @legallytrappin85 @wizkidd85

TERRILL KEITH

Terrill Keith Owner and Founder of Biggs Bows. This thriving modern and classic Bow Tie business is one of the many brands underneath the Keith umbrella. Creating hand-crafted works of art for any occasion, a Terrill Keith creation is a must-have. Bigs Bows is a fashion force for the elite. With a focus on tailor-made pieces. To connect with Biggs Bows connect via Instagram at @biggsbows or @terrillkeith

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black brands

St. Louis Owned Skincare Brands You Must Try

Everyone knows winter months in the Midwest can get cold and, for some, colder weather means dry or irritated skin! This spring, boost your current skincare regiment by checking out six skincare brands created by entrepreneurs from St. Louis.

KOZ -A world created by entrepreneur Kendress Hughes welcomes you to the wonderful world of KOZ where vibrant, beautiful, and creative KOZmetics and artistry collide. Located in the three-one-four Kendress has mastered the craft of creating healthy products for all skin types and tones. Make your way over to www. kozbykendress.com

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Bloom - is created by Neuroscientist Dr. Natalie King -it is a beauty-tech/social mission company that aims to build confidence in people of color (POC) by creating technology-driven, customizable, all-natural fresh beauty products. A portion of all proceeds goes to organizations that help POC BLOOM.

Check out the 1st Black-owned beauty supply in the Delmar Loop and West End area. Come get everything you need online or in the store! St. Louis’ newest premier beauty supply store in the Delmar Loop.

BUTTER LOVE - La’Crassia Wilderness established Butter Love in 2014. Her passion was to find natural ways to heal her own damaged skin. she realized that mother Gaia Provided her with everything she needed to heal and flourish. her respect for nature grew and she created a truly organic Product.

HEALTHY HAIR SOLUTIONS was established with a vision to bring to the customers the blend of the safest, most effective, research-based ingredients at an affordable price. We offer a wide array of products to meet salon and retail customers’ needs. You can support our mission at www.healthyhair.solutions

PURE PERFECTION candles as being curated by our team to bring the best-smelling aroma to fill the home. Who says home fragrance can’t be safe too? Pure Perfection Candles are hand poured with our custom blend of natural waxes and fine fragrances. We offer a product that’s non-toxic, slow-burning, and will bring comfort to any home.

25 DELUX MAGAZINE shop local
March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com

Now that we are finally on the other side of COVID-19 , the battle against the injustices that our Black communities are facing many are seeking out opportunities to enrich and support Black. In St. Louis, there are Black-owned restaurants and food businesses who have a broad range of cuisines, soul food, and vegan options that are true delectables.

Delux in St. Louis

BEST SOUL FOOD GOURMET SOUL

1620 DELMAR AVE ST LOUIS MO 63103

Nothing beats great soul food and Gourmet Soul takes the cake or in this case, the Peach Cobbler! Gourmet Soul offers what it describes as Urban Soul Fusion Cuisine. Located in downtown St. Louis in a beautifully stored building, diners may have their fill of Gourmet Soul’s tasty offerings from Chef Lavinia McCoy’s kitchen. Reward yourself with their to live for Lamb Chops or Shrimp and Grits.

BEST SHOE STORE HUSTL3 C1T4

3700 Forest Park Ave St. Louis MO 63103

A St. Louis streetwear boutique exclusive to St. Louis brands. Grounded in community and teamwork, Trimayne has created a brand centered on bringing St. Louis together. With a powerhouse team that includes A-GAME, Reggie Son, EmBleu, McTres, Tristen, and G this carefully crafted platform is delivering all your shoe needs, and much more.

BEST seafood BAIT

4239 Lindell st louis mo 63108

Bait is a new fine-casual seafood restaurant located in the Central West End. Our main concept is centered around creating a curated seafood experience with a multicultural twist in an intimate, upscale setting.

28 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com

Best Brunch

THE MARQUEE RESTAURANT + LOUNGE

1911 locust st. louis mo 63103

The Marquee Restaurant + Lounge is a crowd favorite when it comes to having a blast with friends. Boasting a great menu with Lobster Rockefeller, Melanie’s Deluxe Cajun Pasta (our favorite), and other standard fare like wings in an assortment of flavors and you cannot go wrong. Add delicious cocktails and a turnt up house DJ then it is time to let the festivities begin! All of those elements would be reason enough to pop out to the Marquee on the weekend, but a wonderful atmosphere and professional and friendly staff is what makes it DELUX List 2023 material. For a great time that you know will last all night visit the Marquee!

best stl fried rice

LEFTY’S FRIED RICE

3000 S JEFFERSON AVE ST. LOUIS MO 63118

Lefty’s Fried Rice has a menu that reflects its particular brand of Americanized Chinese food, blended with a couple of classic American items like burgers and fries. Customers can go for the assortment of fried rices – plain, pork, ham, chicken, beef, shrimp, duck, special (chicken, beef, pork, shrimp) and seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster) – or one of the spot’s variations on lo mein or the St. Louis classic St. Paul sandwich. Love crab rangoons? Make sure to try Lefty’s take on a spicy crab rangoon, or the fancier lobster rangoon.

SOUL VEGANLICIOUS

4993 Loughborough Ave, St. Louis, MO 63109

SoulVeganlicious! Has become a staple in the vegan and vegetarian community. A plant-based food eatery, 100% free of all animal products. Located at 4993 Loughborough Ave Saint Louis, MO. We put the Soul in Vegan and it’s Delicious! If you want to go vegan, I suggest you come here first, because I’m going to make all of your food taste the way you are used to tasting. Go vegan and connect at ccsveganspot.com

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BEST VEGAN
UNDISPUTED • 3 YEARS IN A ROW • 2021 2022 2023

BEST signature drinks whiskey on washington

1321 Washington Ave, St. Louis MO 63103

Good people. Good whisky. Whisky on Washington is an intimate, elevated neighborhood whisky joint with a jukebox. We serve a selection of premium whisky, bourbon, and scotch in an unpretentious environment. The perfect third place for laid-back people with good taste. Located on 1321 Washington Avenue it serves as the perfect happy hour!

BESTinternational CUISINE LEVELS

1403 Washington Ave. St. Louis MO 63103

Levels is said to be the most sought-after Nigerian restaurant located in the heart of downtown St. Louis. Founder and owner Ono Ikanone are looking to launch in May. With a rich traditional Nigerian menu paired with an ambiance that will give lasting memories.

www.levelsstl.com

BEST barber experience KELOCC

1660 Pattern Dr. St. Louis, MO 63138

Master Barber Kelocc has been in the industry for over 20+ years and he has curated a sleek modern space to deliver the top cuts in St. Louis. FDU Cutz and styles were founded in 2016 and have catered to men and women who are looking for an elevated barbershop experience. FDU Cutz is dedicated to giving exceptional haircuts, shaves, spa services, and more from the hands of Master Barbers. Our mission is to help men Relax, Luxuriate, Look Great, and Feel Confident.

BEST LOCAL BOUTIQUE DNA

1311 Washington Ave, St. Louis, Mo 63103

Nathaniel Brown pushes his family-owned business that opened June 8th, 2012 in the heart of Downtown St. Louis on the infamous Washington Ave. Our mission is simple: to dictate, and curate a store and culture with the best, new up-and-coming brands, as well as the established brands in the upscale streetwear market. In doing so, we introduce our audience to the city of St. Louis. We believe in every brand we sell and feel that our designers are the most progressive, innovative, and influential minds in men’s fashion.

30 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com

BEST COWORKING SPACE SPARK!

6 CARDINAL WAYSUITE 900 ST LOUIS 63102

St. Louis’ newest and most collaborative coworking space, features private offices and shared workspace for entrepreneurs, creators and innovators. Spark supports the growing St. Louis entrepreneurial ecosystem, placing community members within close proximity to hundreds of successful businesses, dining & entertainment options and cultural experiences within Ballpark Village and downtown St. Louis.

BEST podcast

BEAUTIFULLY COMPLICATED

A Podcast that speaks to the complexities of entrepreneurial women who are socially and civically engaged. This podcast has social commentary, selfcare tips, and business tips that speak to the wholly actualized woman. This unique platform is the brainchild of Sheena. BC has discussed and touched on many burning conversations within our community and abroad. Get involved with the Beautifully Complicated family today by way of the Beautifully Complicated app, join the Facebook family or www. sheenahunt.com/podcast/

BEST coffee spot

Northwest Coffee Roast

4251 Laclede Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108

An artisan coffee roaster serving the Saint Louis community. We embody the legacy of coffee by unifying communities, stimulating dialogue, and providing handroasted and brewed fullcity coffee. Owner and founder Jason Wilson pride Northwest Coffee on the quality of the bean and the community it brings together under one artsy, cozy, and loving roof. Get all those good vibes! Connect with NWC atnorthwestcoffee. com today!

best black beauty supply Black beauty supply

5892 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112

Check out the 1st Blackowned beauty supply in the Delmar Loop and West End area. Come get everything you need online or in the store! St. Louis’ newest premier beauty supply store in the Delmar Loop. Get all your hair care products and fixes by visiting the store or connecting online at blkbeautysupply.com

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32 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com

314 Day is about the people and places rooted in culture and creativity that makes our city so special. Throughout the pages of our special edition, we will celebrate the contributions and collaborations that have given us monumental moments as a collective community.

delux 314 day

Authentic Jo

One cannot expect to be inspired without effort. Even well-known artists, writers, researchers, and performers agree that having the proper drive and stimulation is essential when creating something extraordinary. Thanks to the advancements in technology, it is now simpler than ever to discover sources of creativity and artistic motivation. And with the addition of The Authentic Jo Show which is featured on YouTube, is an excellent example of a platform that is teeming with a plethora, of motivating interviews that will definitely have the capacity to bring you out of your funk and assist you in finding the motivation to be the authentic you, again.

Authentic Jo Show has taken us on incredible journeys in audio and visuals that remind us that human stories about the need to be appreciated and loved are everyone’s story. In learning more about people and in particular, about men, we’re really learning about ourselves.

With calming energy, context-setting questions, and amazing guest this show depicts defining moments that deal with the authenticity of all men and people as a whole. At its best, the show centers around the resilience of men and their triumphs. Today, in the era of Instagram Live and YouTube, the tendency is to go long, share secrets, and let one’s guard down—things that experts such as Jo Lena dives into with her guest. With those key elements, The Authentic Jo Show never misses a beat.

WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION FOR CREATING YOUR SHOW?

“I wanted to put more good in the universe. We have so many programs that are in place but just for entertainment purposes, I felt like there are men and people who have something to say”

“We have everyday people that are making a difference, I wanted to highlight those people, and the “Defining Moments,” highlight men, I want the Authentic Jo Show to touch people in a different way and help them live a better life, and also make them feel resilient.”

Many of the interviews that are produced by the Authentic Jo Show have content provided that is incredibly motivating and provides valuable tips that can be utilized to enhance one’s self and self-worth. Hitting on the very nuance of what Jo Lena depicts her show to be.

The use of technology has become increasingly pervasive in our lives. It has become a major element in our day-to-day activities, from communication and work to leisure and entertainment. And with an informational YouTube show like “Authentic Jo Show, technology becomes more and more embedded in our lives, and its influence and implications continue to grow. So, the need for emphasis on everyday people and a central focal point on men gives Jo Lena a unique untapped space.

The ubiquity of technology has grown to the point where it has become a dominant factor in our daily lives. From communication and work to leisure activities and even entertainment, technology has become an essential component. With its everincreasing presence, the effects and implications of its use are growing more and more profound. And Jo Lena has built a foundation for so many to absorb the necessary key components of life, through their very own experience with Authentic Jo Show, produced and created by Jo Lena Johnson.

If you’re seeking a jovial interview to provide you with enthusiasm and encouragement, you are bound to appreciate the Authentic Jo Show!

delux people
INTRODUCING:

DR. LATONIA COLLINS SMITH

Makes History As Harris-Stowe’s First Female President, Plans to Build Within the Community

“I saw black and brown students with backgrounds similar to mine who wanted to excel and they wanted more in life,” Smith said. “And this was a space in which I can show up every day as my authentic self and walk away knowing that I helped somebody.”

In her new role, Smith plans to continue furthering the mission of the university and remain an advocate for youth who may feel attending college is unattainable for them.

“We’ll stay committed to our mission to provide an affordable, accessible, and diverse education for the under-resourced and underserved,” she said.

“We’re unapologetic about that and we want to make sure that those who think going to college is impossible because of how they ended their high school career or because of finances, we want them to understand that college is affordable and that you can achieve that dream of going to college.”

Although the school took a hit due to the pandemic, Smith and her team are hitting the ground to increase enrollment and are partnering with an array of organizations to spread their footprint in the community. Under Smith’s leadership, they will continue to contribute to the statewide STEM initiative by sewing into the STEM community and encouraging minorities to enter into the field. They will also break ground on multiple construction renovation projects throughout the city in addition to reopening the Vashon Center and incorporating the Black Radio Hall of Fame into their campus. Fundraising and alumni engagement will also be at the forefront of HarrisStowe as the HBCU aims to further the resources and opportunities it can provide to the St. Louis region.

With a solid plan and a team of dedicated professionals working alongside her, Smith is determined to propel Harris-Stowe in a progressive, innovative direction. Driven by her passion for her community, Smith’s fully invested in the work it will take to accomplish its goals.

“It’s heart work, not hard work, it’s heart work and when your heart is in you can move mountains and you can achieve a lot in a short period of time,” she said.

“If you look at some of the things in the last eight months, it’s only up from here.”

A St. Louis native, Smith is dedicated to bringing more diversity and inclusion, not only to Harris-Stowe but to the under-resourced and underserved communities across the city. By identifying closely with the student population, Smith believes that their success is a direct result of the enrichment and care provided by university staff.

“Our students that come here, they’re not just a number, they have a name,” she said.

“And they’re able to connect with someone on this campus to help them to become successful. So their success is our success.”

As a pivotal piece of St. Louis history, Smith hopes Harris-Stowe will continue to be embraced by the community as they strive to connect more with the residents who live there. A unique fabric stitched into the fabric of the city, Smith plans to build the school even more as a resource for everyone to benefit from.

“Harris-Stowe is a critical jewel in St. Louis’ crown,” she said. “It has so much richhistory and I am a product of St. Louis public schools and so I am so happy to work in this space.”

With her journey as President just beginning, Smith is taking her new role very seriously and describes the appointment as surreal. While it is an honor to serve as the first black, female President in the history of HarrisStowe State history, we also pay homage to Ruth Harris being the first Black woman who led Stowe Teachers College in 1940, but Smith looks forward to a day where being the first black woman to accomplish a feat isn’t so shocking. She imagines aday when everyone will fill spaces minorities have long been excluded from.

“I look forward to us having an equal seat at the table and that there will be more of us who are leading the helm,” she said.

Although equipped with a strategic plan to advance the school’s vision, Smith is calling on the community for support as the school rolls out new initiatives and hits the pavement to connect with and impact the lives of St. Louis residents. With more community support and involvementshe believes the opportunities for empowerment are endless.

“There’s room for everybody and there’s room for this institution to grow and to continue to be a beacon of light,” she said.

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BRANDON WILLIAMS

ON A JOURNEY WITH THE ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS “KAW KAW”

The XFL announced that they have appointed St. Louis native and former NFL wide receiver, Brandon Williams, as the Vice President of Business and Event Operations for the St. Louis Battlehawks, making it a win for the City of St. Louis.

Williams, 38, is now one of the youngest sports executives in the region. Brandon’s role will cover activations, business development, and performance management and bring awareness to the organization and pull in community engagement from all walks of life. One of Williams’ major roles will be executing gameday experiences by implementing the League’s strategy. He has had an illustrious career with Anheuser-Busch

InBev Association, Innovation Machine Beyond Beer. His leadership within this team helped to steer development with their products in the Beyond Beer category. His a with these products helped to garner millions of dollars in revenue, according to sources.

“I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity, said Williams.

“The XFL is a league in its third iteration after it had been shut down by COVID-19, back in 2020”

“The structure is different because we do not have the players actually located in St. Louis, like the Blues, Cardinals, and STL City Soccer, we do have to fly the team and coaches in to execute activation”

“My job is to tell the story of the love of football in the city of St.Louis, that crazy love affair that we had with the Cardinals football team and the Rams. We just love football in St. Louis”

A two-time Second Team All-State selection in football for Hazelwood East, continuing his education at the University of Wisconsin. His honors included a freshman record with 52 receptions and a school mark of 32 kick-off returns and 670 yards. Capping off his career with the most catches (202) and second in all-purpose yards (5852) in Badger history.

Williams was drafted by San Francisco in the third round (#84 overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft, he gave two seasons to the 49ers before coming home and joining the St. Louis Rams. He rounded out his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009. With his knowledge and experience with football, he was the right choice to head up the most loved XFL team in the league, The St. Louis Battlehawks.

His choice to attend NFL Broadcast Boot Camp elevated his knowledge of the game and gave him crucial tools for seeing the game from a different perspective and playing field. Williams sat in many broadcasting chairs including Big 10 Network and ESPN, and he sat behind multiple media desks in the St. Louis area for nine

38 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com

seasons adding to the value and culture of sports in the St. Louis region. All while Williams was speaking life into football he began to pen his first book that focused on another lane in the financial industry. He then births his first book “Millionaire Mindset: Seven Principles Athletes Need for Financial Freedom” With this journey Willimas wanted to unlock tools for athletes to win financially both in the present and in the future in their athletic careers. With these tools, Williams applies these principles to the XFL and the St. Louis Battlehawks.

“The purpose of the XFL is all about innovation, fan engagement, and creating another opportunity for coaches players, and executives to be a part of the business in the sport of football.”

With his experience as the Former president of the NFL Players Chapter, he knew what the Battlehawks and XFL needed to thrive even more in the region and the world. Williams speaks on supporting the Battlehawks, getting tickets, and connecting with their tailgating experience. “With these opportunities, it connects the fans together and creates a family environment with both the organization and the community.

The importance of sports accessibility and having “St. Louis Pride” in our city first drives revenue to a city, Williams says. He mentions how all aspects are included from parking, hotels, restaurants, and the small businesses that make up the greater community. This elevates revenue and taxes in a positive way. Also, job opportunities are created for many. So, having access to a national sports program is equitable for the city and the community.

Williams speaks on how sports in general teach structure to an individual, and also it drives a sense of family, an understanding of business, and a sense of belonging when you have introduced sports and athletes into an area. And, you have the opportunity for those who participate in it, to learn how to work with people, understand the rules involved, and it makes people better for the greater good of the community and teaches young people how to build character and do what is best for the

community. “Sports definitely translate into building better people,” Williams said. His vision he has for the Battlehawks is “for the team to continue to be a pillar in the community and sustain being a true professional football team that can be seen, touched, and being a part of and being proud of a team that is building a legacy while showing the sustainability of the league, and in 3 years I see the Battlehawks becoming a team that is discussed around the kitchen table with pride.”

“ The overwhelming support that St. Louis shows for the Battlehawks was pretty evident that you have to bring back the St. Louis team. We have the most fans on social media, the most engagement, and the highest ticket sales, and just the experience of a Battlehawk game day are just off the charts. The experience of the up and down love affair with football and St.Louis being a sports city it only made sense to cement the Battlehawks back in the Lou.”

Williams’ unique story is that he is a homegrown St.Louis native who played high school football, college ball, and professional football. He played state games in the Dome at America’s Center, both in high school for the state finals, college, and professional football with the St. Louis Rams. It’s a full circle moment for Williams and having the opportunity of being the Vice President of the Battlehawks in the same dome that was in his athletic journey through his life, “ It is a surreal opportunity for me and I am a through and through St. Louis guy and having such a unique story is something very important to inspire youth, and people in their career. Not being complacent and setting goals ties in my story with the Battlhawks, and I do not take it lightly it is really important to me.”

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40 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com Celebrating Black History, Culture, Success, and Contribution hear directly from these Men as fathers, husbands, business owners, creatives, educators, and much, much more. Youtube.coum/@AuthenticJoShow SUBSCRIBE TODAY JOIN ME ON YOU TUBE! help people deal with difficult situations and conversations, and inspire people in life, through being resilient Join Us On The Defining Moments Black Men Series on @AuthenticJoShow features 34 men, 34 transformative stories of
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Terry
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44 March | April 2023 www.DeluxMag.com dlxdelux
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DOPE DADS

During his time with him, he valued how much of a protector and provider his Dad was, and quickly learned the importance of time and the impact of relationships, especially during adolescence. When he welcomed his daughter Kori to the world, his relationship with his Dad, and the tough role his Stepdad conquered, truly made a difference in how he approached fatherhood. He wants to be as intentional, protecting, providing, and emotionally present as he can.

Johnson also knows the privilege of having role models in your community and realized that it was not too common to see such positive interaction between a child and their father, specifically Black fathers.

One of the biggest myths has resurfaced as racial injustices continue throughout the country, which places blame on the problems facing the Black community on the absent Black father. This myth ignores hundreds of years of institutionalized oppression and systems in place to separate the Black family while also further scapegoating Black men for America’s societal ills.

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Joshua Johnson was 12 years old when his biological father passed away. Joshua Johnson Speaks On The Important Role of Black Fathers Johnson is the Founder of Dope Dad, an organization highlighting and connecting fathers and their children

“We do not deny that there are many families that lack the involvement of a father, and we also do not deny that this is largely due to intentional attacks on the Black community,” said Johnson. “ We also know that the myth is perpetuated through mainstream media. We may not have the capacity to affect and change the content on those channels, but we can help affect other outlets such as social media. Flooding timelines with the true images of fatherhood helps to dispel these myths.”

Johnson founded Dope Dad in 2017 after noticing feedback and praises in response to the relationship he shared with his daughter. What he thought was normal activity between a father and his child, much like the activity he shared with his Dad and Stepdad, was seen as taboo and not too often recognized in his role. Dope Dad was established to share stories, experiences, and resources to help fathers feel equipped for the journey they are endeavoring.

“So many people were taking notice and offering praise for actions and activities that were so normal to us,” said Johnson. “ I knew that there were many fathers like me, and wanted to highlight them. I wanted to work to create a network of fathers who would help to make other fathers comfortable in their roles. The mission of our organization is to highlight, encourage, and inspire the positive relationships and interactions between fathers and their children.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, “Fathers’ Involvement with Their Children”, whether living in the same home or not, Black fathers are the most involved of all primary recorded race and ethnic groups.

Johnson believes that Black fathers make the biggest impact in the community in raising future leaders and helping to ensure that the woes of being Black in America do not overwhelm their children and families.

“I understand that all family structures will not look the same, but I think there are benefits to structures involving a family in some capacity,” said Johnson. “Black fathers have a role in helping to make sure their children and families are mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. Actively working to support, uplift, and protect them, despite what the

world around them may be attempting to do.” Since the founding of the organization, Johnson has seen an increase in interactions between fathers and families ready and willing to show off their relationships with their children or nominate other Dope Dads to be highlighted on his platform. Johnson also partners with other like-minded organizations to further his mission of connecting families.

“We love to see new families attending our events and joining our network of fathers,” said Johnson. “We like to collaborate with various organizations to give our supporters and attendees the opportunity to experience things they may not normally experience. For instance, most recently we took about 25 families out on a hike in collaboration with Black People Who Hike.”

Based on his childhood experiences, as well as his experiences of working in juvenile detention, Johnson learned how incredibly difficult life can be.

“I would like to tell Black fathers that I know that there is much opposition stacked against you, but I am confident that you can overcome these things and be a Dope Dad,” said Johnson.

“There is no blueprint to fatherhood so do not expect to be perfect. Many dads have experienced so many things and they are willing to assist you. And as always Dope Dad is here to assist however we can.”

Joshua hopes to see Dope Dad grow in exposure, especially on social media platforms, to increase and strengthen his network of fathers and resources to connect more families. He encourages those interested in supporting the mission to follow the organization on Instagram (@_dopedad).

He also sells merchandise to help fund their events and will be launching an official website to serve as a hub for highlights, resources, and more.

“Fatherhood is one of the greatest things you can experience. Lots of Dads are trying to figure it out just like you, and lots of dads are willing to help,” said Johnson

“The Mental side of Performance”

Imagine setting your goals for the season, and investing thousands of dollars/time on resources to help prepare for the big game. then the big game gets here, all your family members are watching, friends. Fans and the rest of the world via television... This is the game you have been waiting your entire life for, but for some reason, everything seems to be going wrong; from simple mistakes to failed attempts over and over despite trying hard to get your game on track.

This was the situation at the 2011 NBA finals when Lebron James underperformed in game 2. So what happened?

While it’s starting to get more notice in society the last since last summer’s Olympics due to social media, athletes failing to perform optimally in clutch moments has been an ongoing thing for years. The crazy thing is, this phenomenon seems to happen at a higher rate in sports predominantly occupied by black and brown people, compared to their other counterparts.

After doing performance psychology for over 15 years, it still amazes me that coaches are still not teaching the mental side of performance, despite fully understanding the importance/need for mental skill training. If you ask any coach or athlete, “what percentage of their sport is mental? the answers will be well over 50%, yet oftentimes less than 10 percent of the training is spent mentally preparing for competition.

A lot of athletes and coaches reports not participating in mental skills training for a few different reasons:

• Takes too much time

• It’s for people with psychological issues

• The thing Mental tough is innate

• Only elite athletes can benefit If they need a quick fix

Because of myths such as these, many hard-working athletes underperform on the big stage when it matters most, which is why in January of this year

The MindGame, my performance psychology company, partnered with shoe company PUMA to introduce mental training to junior athletes in Jamaica and their coaches and provide support to senior athletes leading up to Paris2024 Olympic. Yes, PUMA understood the assignment. I am also teaching Psychology of Coaching to prospective coaches at my alma mater Mckendree University in Lebanon, IL. At The MindGame our mission is to help hard-working athletes show up ready to perform at their best.

How are you showing up?

“If you are persistent you will get it. If you are consistent you will keep it.” ~Anonymous

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City By The River

City by the river

The flow is a vibration

Pouring out our soul

Respect the libation

City with the flavor

Bold with the taste

Show-Me what you want

But it’s written on your face

City full of hustlers

We never get enough

They don’t give a damn

But we don’t give a f*ck

It’s as spicy as Riplets.

But sweeter than Vess

There’s something in this city That reminds me I’m blessed.

the outtro
-Corey
314 Day Collectable Print Posters! Collect All 4
58 November | December 2015 www. DeluxMag.com
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