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AVA DUVERNAY HOPES NEW FILM WILL SHED HARSH LIGHT ON MASS INCARCERATION Ava DuVernay wants her new documentary on mass incarceration create change in America’s broken justice system. In a special Complex interview with rapper Pusha T, Ava DuVernay discussed the importance of her Netflix film, “13th.” According to DuVernay, the film’s title is derived from the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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“Everybody knows the 13th Amendment of the Constitution says there shall be no slavery in the United States,” she said. “Most people don’t know that that is a lie. Right after it says there shall be no slavery, there’s a little clause, a little loophole, that says ‘except.’ The exception is, except if we think you’re a criminal.” Later in the conversation, DuVernay went on to provide her thoughts on the missing link behind the adage, “if you do the crime, you do the time” ― which she says is racially biased. “If we’re gonna apply that adage equally across all citizens, then that would be fine, but the problem is we don’t,” she said. “You and I do the crime, and there is one penalty. Some of our friends in the room taping the interview do the crime, it’s going to be something different.” DuVernay also attributed mass incarceration to the helping prisons “stay afloat” financially. To help reverse the trend, the Comptonnative hopes “13th” will inspire change. “If there’s anything that is my hope with ‘13th,’ [it’s that it] provides knowledge that can open up doors for compassion, that can open up to change,” she added. [ Huffington Post]


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WHO IS BILLIONAIRE ROBERT SMITH I spy a Robert Smith. Could it be Robert Smith former NFL athlete, or Robert Smith 80’s musician-songwriter? How about neither. This Robert Smith is a low-key, under the radar, BILLIONAIRE! According to the latest news sources, his latest million dollar drop was towards the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Coming in second behind the one-and-only Oprah Winfrey, Smith donated $20 million to the museum. According to Forbes, Smith is reportedly worth $2.5 billion. Always staying pretty private with his philanthropy and even with his business Vista Equity Partners, his company’s website doesn’t even have a picture of him on it. He felt it was better the executives and investors know him first by his successes and accomplishments rather his skin color. Reportedly, Smith has been attracted to technology since his high school years, he always wanted to learn how to figure out a solution to complex problems. Studying Chemical Engineering at Cornell and later earning his MBA from Columbia University gave him plenty of academic challenges. Smith’s advice for overcoming struggles is “set a new goal each day”. An avid reader, fly fisherman, it seems philanthropy is at the top of his list. Smith is the founding president of Fund II Foundation organization, he has always supported nonprofits that engage young African-Americans through human rights, music education and environment. Sources state he has partnered with organizations like NPower Inc. and baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. It has been reported that Smith buys and sells off software companies. His outstanding portfolio includes 35 companies and $26 billion in assets under his management. This Robert Smith is #Lit!

Luke Cage is a brother that is wrongfully accused, goes to prison, is beaten and generally treated badly. Well that sounds like a lot of brothers who face time in our prison system but Luke Cage undergoes an experimental treatment that leaves him with skin like steel, invulnerability, super strength and a general bad ass demeanor. Cage, who’s real name is Carl Lucas, tries to reinvent himself when he escapes from prison, but because of a series of events, he becomes a reluctant hero for the people of Harlem. What is amazing to me is that folks are up in arms about a fictitious character, and his being too ethnic, but have no problem with almost any mainstream show that offers little or no representation of diversity. Shows like Friends, Seinfeld and even movies that warp storylines with substitutions of race, like Gods of Egypt, where a country that is in African shows Egyptian gods as nonblack actors. But folks upset about Luke Cage. God forbid you have a show where the main character is black and he is surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women of color as supporting characters and love interests. The story takes place in the black community where we get to see other black leaders, black antagonists and even a significant presence from the Latin and Asian communities represented. What you don’t see is a story based on mainstream narratives, and maybe that is what is freaking folks out. It must be hard when you are not the center of attention.

show Luke Cage explores that folks do not want to address, or that are freaking them out. Maybe they do not like the fact that the story addresses real threats, like the gentrification of historically black communities, mass incarceration of brown bodies, judicial systems that fail marginalized communities and racial profiling. Maybe what really scares folks is that the folks in the series, including Luke Cage, have peeped the game and are fighting back. Luck Cage becomes a hero for the disenfranchised. He is not your typical, cape-wearing superhero like Superman or Batman, but looks like any brother walking down the street minding his own business in a hoodie, which becomes a symbol for those in Harlem that began to sport hoodies with bullet holes as a sign of solidarity to Luke Cage. In a day and age where it has become open season to not only profile, but kill brown folks in broad daylight and have it live streamed on mainstream media outlets, so frequently that folks have become silent and desensitized to the brutality, Luke Cage becomes an urban hero. Maybe it is not the fact that the show is too black that scares folks, but maybe for the first time we see a black man being profiled and shot by authority figures but instead of dying, bullets bounce off of his impenetrable skin and he fights back; igniting a brush fire of supporters who want to do likewise in their own way. Maybe that is what has folks really upset about Luke Cage: You can’t kill this black man.

There are most likely other issues the DELUX MAGAZINE


r y a n s m i t h , e s q • k i r a v a n n i e l • Maya warren


Words by: Caprice Foster // Photo by: MCARTHUR25 Ryan M. Smith, Esquire is more than just a lawyer. He is a man with vision, a competitive spirit, and passion for success, who exhibits pride and devotion to his family. Smith is also someone who not only aims to be the best in the art of practicing law, but also teaches others to achieve the same victories and expertise that he has. “I’m the hardest working man in the legal business,” Smith said with a laugh. “I’m dedicated and enjoy [practicing law]. It’s a passion.” With over 10 years of private practice experience, Smith is the Managing Partner for the law firm, Smith Brown, LLC. Smith and his business partner, Daniel R. Brown established the firm in 2011, and it currently employs three attorneys, of counsel attorneys, paralegals, and support staff. Smith Brown is a full service law firm that has been awarded several multi-million dollar settlements for their clients. The office is located at 9100 Overland Plaza in Overland, Missouri. While the firm offers legal services and representation in all areas of law, Smith specializes in criminal law, personal injury, and traffic law. “I have represented all criminal cases from minor possession cases to first degree murder,” he said. Smith believes that the traits that make a good attorney include passion, dedication, a competitive nature, the ability to multi-task, and a little bit of ADHD. “I don’t sleep and I don’t have a problem with that. I answer the phone all night, and spend most nights plotting and strategizing for the next day.” Aside from his primary work responsibilities, Smith has also served as an adjunct professor at St. Louis Community College at the Meramec Campus for over three years. Presently, he teaches Criminal Law and Torts. “I was teaching before, and while in law school. I’ve always had a passion for kids,” he shared. Previously, Smith taught at Shenandoah Elementary School and at Pruitt Military Academy, both in St. Louis, Missouri.

Smith’s journey hasn’t always been the smoothest, but it has led him to the success that he enjoys today. Originally an Engineering major at the University of Missouri in Columbia, he was kicked out of school after two years “due to a disagreement with Calc. II”, says Smith. Subsequently, Smith became interested in becoming an attorney after being heavily involved in the Student Government and taking part in debates associated with it, as well as dealing with personal legal trouble of his own while in high school. He graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and received his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2006. In addition to his personal experiences leading him to practice law, there were other influential people in Smith’s life who have mentored and inspired him along the way. Among those include his uncles Melvin Smith and Tim Smith, who are both attorneys, and his father Ronald Smith, who is an engineer. “My father is an awesome example of what a father and a man should be like. He taught me the importance of integrity, being and entrepreneur and ownership.” Smith also considers Thurgood Marshall and Johnnie Cochran as professional influences. “I like the activism that Marshall took part in before becoming a Supreme Court Justice, and I like Johnnie Cochran’s swag. His command of the courtroom was incredibly smooth and he seemed incredibly smart,” Smith said. Although these prominent giants in his life and career field had a major impact on who Smith is and what he does for a living, without question Smith attributes his biggest inspiration to his wife, Dr. Rachelle Smith, and their three children, Ryan II, Michael, and Raven. “Everything I do, is for them or because of them,” Smith stated proudly.

with their academics and after-school activities, athletics, jazz/tap dancing, etc. … I make it a point to try to do something different with them every week to try to expand their horizons.” Even though Smith has accomplished a lot in his life up to this point, he assures that he’s just getting started. “I want to continue to grow our business and our brand, and become prominent not only in the Midwest, but across the entire nation. I want to grow something that I can establish a legacy behind for my children to have.” Retirement isn’t something Smith is planning any time soon. “I plan to be in the courtroom until I’m 80 or 90 years old, not because I have to, but because I enjoy it,” he said confidently. “I want to be known as one of the best trial attorneys to have ever done it. I want to make sure they put some respeck on my name”, Smith said jokingly. The attorney also has words of encouragement for young people, or those who are interested in pursuing careers in the law field. “Don’t let anything hold you back. There’s going to be bumps and road blocks along the way, but you have to keep moving forward. Success isn’t determined by whether or not you face obstacles, but how you react to those obstacles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s good to get support or mentorship from someone. If anyone ever wanted to know something from me, all they have to do is ask. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” Smith truly loves what he does and strives to be the best at it. “I’m having fun doing it. There’s no other way to summarize it.”

To contact The Law Office of Smith Brown LLC, please call their 24-hour hotline at 314-467-0529.

Despite having such a busy work schedule, Smith devotes his free time to his family. “They keep me busy and keep me motivated. I try to be involved DELUX MAGAZINE





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By: Breanna Hall

One of the most amazing things about being in a position of success is the way in which you choose to give back. Whether you teach, or volunteer at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, it’s vital that we use our skillset to further the cause. Our cause. Kira Van Niel works passionately to do just that. The bubbly powerhouse is using her influence to foster change and opportunities in the St. Louis community. As a project engineer for Boeing, one of the world’s largest aerospace companies, Kira exercises her passions for communication, engineering, and travel in ways that help others. When asked about how it feels to be a Black woman in her position, Kira admitted that it has been “interesting to represent both demographics.” Undoubtedly, African Americans are of poor representation in the STEM fields, and the numbers of African American women present are even lower. On acclimating into her current position, Kira acknowledged that the “rhetoric around diversity is present, yet the true application of inclusion may be a little bit more challenging.” Kira has participated as a member of the Black Boeing Employee Association and the Emerging Leaders Program, which allows for professionals to network with peers and associates who are higher up on the corporate ladder and extend their network. Although she is one of few minorities, Van Niel’s millennial perspective has never allowed for her to feel inferior in her work environment. She stated that she is always an advocate for inclusion, as well as diversity. “It’s knowing that I’m good enough. I’m smart. I’m talented. I’m ambitious. I know my worth internally and externally. And I’m not afraid to have those conversations with people who are perceivably ‘out of my lane’.” Kira also stated the importance of young professionals not being afraid to take on new challenges, even if their ambition seems aggressive, which is a stereotype about millennials in the work environment. “I’ve always been an advocate… when [businesses] want to be inclusive, yet they speak on the behalf of minorities or young people, instead of having [them] represent themselves. The question becomes how do we include these groups into the conversation to further the company’s agenda, growth, and revenue potential?” When asked about her aspirations, Kira stated that going further in leadership and “empowering African Americans from an economic standpoint” were of importance to her. As a result, the 31 year old engineer is channeling her brainpower and energy into the community. Kira expressed that she is very much invested in STEM and providing access to technical opportunities, “so that everyone has an opportunity to be inventive and innovative.” Kira has served on the board of several organizations including: the National Urban League Young Professionals Executive Board, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Board of Directors, and The Sophia Project Board of Directors, to name a few. She is the co-founder of The Corporate Activist, a curriculum based advocacy platform to help employees of corporations identify their “advocacy credo” and align to their employer’s social impact statement. Kira states, “This is a beautiful unison of all of the work that I’ve done, post-college graduation, until this point. Through ‘The Corporate Activist”, we plan to help young professionals, who are interested in being more outstanding in their community impact work, align with their company’s social impact statement. We understand that this is a hard line to walk, jeopardizing their upward mobility or their professional aspirations by being too outspoken in community and social justice environments. However, I think everyone has some ownership in driving change. The ultimate goal is to make sure that we are impacting the community in a more holistic way.” Kira is also an advocate for The Sophia Project, which is a mentoring

program for young girls in middle school and high school. “This intervention program focuses on character growth by showcasing the multitude of ways in which a young women can grow to be a beautiful woman. Life is about choices and they get to see the product of choice firsthand from the women who participate.” Van Niel has always had a certain zest for life, and shared that after graduating, spent six weeks touring Europe, then moved to New York. The DC native attributes North Carolina for her education and St. Louis for her growth as a woman. “My departure from college and transition into the ‘real world’ kicked off my journey through adulthood. My defining moment occurred around my 30th birthday when I realized the consequences of my successes and struggles play equally pivotal parts to my growth.” Van Niel credits another St. Louis powerhouse, Rebeccah Bennett and her concept of “How to Live an Extraordinary Life,” as a source of inspiration for her lifestyle. [Bennett states], “Part of living an extraordinary life is really predicated on your choices. When you make those choices, you’re making sure that they’re aligned with who you are in a particular space.” Kira states, “My interpretation: reduce probability of regret by owning the decisions that you make, which I think is the most powerful thing you can do. Regardless of the consequences of your choices, it was something that you wanted, therefore you own your decisions, and your journey.” Kira credits her love of yoga with helping her channel her energy in the best possible way. Over the years, she has learned to maintain her personal health and growth, while continuing to give. “I got more specific on how I could use my skills to help, and I learned how to say ‘no’. As a result, I learned the value of investing in myself more.” Of her work, Kira says, “My time here in St. Louis has really helped me to define what ‘hill’ I stand on, also known as my advocacy credo. I know that I am a solution broker committed to empowering the black community by helping pave pathways to economical self-reliance and women and girls through innovative learning initiatives. My work will always fall into these buckets.” Interested in keeping up with Kira? She’s available on all social media at @ itskmv. If you know of any young girl who would benefit from The Sophia Project, please visit DELUX MAGAZINE


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By:Sylvia Woods // Photo by: McArthur25

THE AMAZING RACE is a multi-Emmy Award-winning reality series hosted by Emmy Award-nominated host Phil Keoghan. The series began its milestone 25th trip around the world on Saturday, May 31, 2014, when the Emmy Awardwinning series kicked off from Times Square in New York City. The 25th season spanned 26,000 miles through eight countries, including first time visits to the United States Virgin Islands, Malta, and the Shetland Islands of Scotland. 11 teams of 2 competed in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical. Teams who were the farthest behind were gradually eliminated as the contest progressed, with the first to arrive at the final destination winning THE AMAZING RACE and the $1 million prize. Maya Warren and teammate Amy DeJong, Food Scientists from Madison, Wisconsin, affectionately called “sweet scientists,” whom at the time were doctoral students’, was the team of two none of us saw coming! From the start of the series, the energy coming from these two was simply amazing! Warren, a St. Louisan, attended Rosati Kain and then later enrolled in the University of Wisconsin as a food science major. Upon arrival in Times Square in May 2014, she and her partner wreaked of confidence, determination and perseverance. We finally caught up with Maya who was traveling on business from St. Louis to Texas, to see what’s next for the “sweet scientist!” Dr. Maya Warren received her PhD in Food Science in September 2015, one year after taking home the $1 million prize on THE AMAZING RACE. Her research background is in frozen aerated desserts. Dr. Warren breaks it down in layman terms (for us non-scientists.) In essence, she researches the microstructure, behavioral, and sensorial properties of frozen aerated desserts and how partial coalescence (the agglomeration of fat globules) effects the melt behavior of frozen aerated desserts. “I look at ice cream as a science; just like we dissected frogs in high school, I dissect ice cream. Air cells, fat globules, partially coalesced fat globules and ice crystals make my eyes light up! I love what I do and do what I love and ice cream fits right into the category of love for me!” says Warren. Dr. Warren propelled full steam ahead after the show’s airing. She has embarked

on her entrepreneur journey as a consultant and as a public speaker in the frozen dessert industry. She speaks in engagements across the country on the science term “Looking Beyond the Goggles and Outside the Beaker” and on “Being a Woman Scientist and Beyond.” Dr. Warren shares experiences about being on THE AMAZING RACE. She inspires young kids to do those things they’ve always wanted to do. She wants young people of color to know that there is opportunity right outside of their doorstep and nothing is impossible! But wait, it gets even sweeter! In January 2016, portfolio brands Cold Stone Creamery and Pinkberry, announced Dr. Warren as lead food scientist ‘Tastemaster’ and Director of Research and Development for the companies. Warren creates new flavors and innovative products unique to each concept. She promotes frozen treats and continues the tradition of putting out amazing product lines and profiles that appeal to guests worldwide. In her leisure, Dr. Warren enjoys working out, running in marathons, traveling, watching the Food Network and hanging with family and friends. When we asked Dr. Warren, “How did you do it? How did you know you would win?” Warren said, “I just knew it from the very beginning. I told my partner, “We’re going to win this thing.” This is without a shadow of a doubt proof that there is power in the tongue and in thought. Dr. Warren spoke life into her dreams and they became amazingly true. She and her partner, DeJong, watched and analyzed all 24 seasons of the popular reality show to study secrets of winning teams and figure out strategies that would work best for them. We were not surprised when we asked Dr. Warren, “What is something most people don’t know about you? She answered, “I like to people watch.” People watching, completing brutally hard insanity workouts every morning for months, enjoying the moments, embracing the experiences and keeping their formidable brainpower under the radar was the cherry on top of the sweetest deal yet - - St. Louis’ 1st African-American female food scientist to win THE AMAZING RACE, Dr. Maya Warren.




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LaTanya Reeves Community Development Relationship Manager 314-512-7202

We are proud to salute LaTanya Reeves for being selected as one of DELUX Magazine’s POWER100. She has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in the St. Louis community. At Enterprise, we strive to promote and increase diversity and inclusion in our leadership, workforce, vendors, and community involvement. We are proud to have LaTanya as a part of our team. Please join us in congratulating her!

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eptember 5th 2015, the doors of Discount Queen Beauty Supply opened. Over the past year, the black owned and opperated store has welcomed thousands of consumers in search of their favorite beauty supply products; from St. Louis and it’s surrounding cities.


he idea to open a beauty supply store was spearheaded by sheer purpose and passion. When the family recognized the lack of African America ownership in a industry that has a 98% African American consumer base; plus add in the bad customer service experiences elsewhere, it was definitely time for change.



system is designed to keep African Americans as the consumer. Those who get the oppotunity, often end up as a non competitive mom and pop store due to limited access to the mainstream product lines”.


iscount Queen Beauty Supply refuse to let this happen. They obtained the proper accounts. They carry the same A and B line products as the other stores. They have a Price Match Gaurentee, and promise to match or beat the price of any other beauty supply store. And last but not least, they do it with respect. Shop at St. Louis newest Black Owned beauty supply store.

DISCOUNT QUEEN BEAUTY SUPPLY AND RADIO ONE (OLD SCHOOL 95.5 AND HOT 104.1) Has collaborated over the past year to help spread the word about the Black Owned movement thats taking place in St. Louis. (Radio Host @StaciStactic)

NOT YOUR AVERAGE BEAUTY SUPPLY STORE: 8,000 sq ft. that include 3 Excutive Salon Suites, major hair care product lines, a wide variety of Wigs, Crochet, Braiding and Extension Hair plus a High Fashion Clothing Boutique.


ooking into the structure of the industry, black owned beauty supply stores come few and far between. As they began their venture, they quickly found the reson why. ”The


uestions about the Product Lines, Sales or Special Orders. Want advice about how to get started in the beauty supply industy or if you’re looking for employment. Do not hesitate to stop in or call. Shop With the Queen, Not the King!

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20 November | December 2016

Words by: Shadress Burks Photo: McArthur25 Having the courage to walk away from what some may feel is stability to pursue your dreams takes bravery and a will to succeed. Whether he was sure it was sure it would take off was a thought that crossed his mind, though it was just enough motivation to define the odds of what seemed to be the norm and try something a little more out of the box. If there was a microphone and comedy show in play; longtime friends Eric Rhone and Cedric the Entertainment were there in front and center. Regular 9 to 5 employee by day; Eric Rhone started planting his seeds to success while working at Monsanto. Business savvy by nature, Rhone decided to step out on faith and go all in with their entertainment careers. Placing all his eggs in one basket, he shipped his clothes to Los Angeles and took their act on the road. With parents who weren’t too sure of his decision, Rhone confirmed within himself this was going to work and they were going to make it. Often living two different lives in two different time zones; Rhone explains how his Midwest life is vastly different from his LA life. Being at home, Rhone is in full dad mode. School recitals to Basketball games, which Rhone serves as coach and after-school activities are the overall duties of a husband and father are what makes up his day to day life. Running two businesses from different places, Rhone states his Los Angeles life is compiled with more business meetings, contract negotiations and future projects. Working hard and working his plan allows Rhone the opportunities to do for those he loves. “I’m a big giver,” Rhone says and being able to provide for his parents, wife, children and other family are his proudest moments that confirms pursuing this career was the best decision. He jokingly says how he may not have had the chance do these things working in another career, so he is grateful for the blessings he has and can be to others. Although he hasn’t had a complete throw in the towel moment; Rhone does admit there are tough days in the business. He shares often so much work can get put into a project and it falls through which leads to them scrapping a project or worse, laying people off. For him, those would be the moments that aren’t so great. Focusing on the big picture; Rhone pushes pass the typical “in the box” mentality to build a total brand package for his clients. Giving them the room to define who they are is just one of the tools h uses to crate the budding star or entrepreneur. Rhone believes that a good leader/manager inspires people to find their way versus telling them who they are and what to do. “Passion building and character seeking are simply ways to help decipher what a person’s strengths are,” he says. Juggling various brands, Rhone owns massive consulting business with clients both in and out of the entertainment business. Mentoring up and coming people who want to do a multitude of different roles within the business is the core of what he does continues to not be placed within a box. Involving his family is just one of the ways he does this. Whether it’s taking his children with him to set or on stage to accept an award; Rhone shows how you can balance a fast-paced life and being a dad. Watching his children become comfortable and confident in his job proves to him that mentoring and exposing kids to all kinds of environments helps shape them as they get older. Being known as a dad with a cool job doesn’t hurt either. As a home-grown native of St. Louis; Rhone laughs when stating he likes to have fun and he still has his St. Louis swag loves doing normal things and keeping it simple. Carrying his mentorship beyond the borders of his career Rhone serves on several boards ranging from St. Louis Children’s Hospital to the Boy Scouts of America. Opening his doors to charities every Christmas for networking purposes is also something he and his wife does to connect people with one another to create bigger charitable opportunities for the city and other places. Lending a helping hand and serving other are more ways he continues to give back to the city that raised him. As we finished up, I wanted to know with all his success what was his favorite role out of the many hats he wore. Of course, being a dad & husband was at the top of his list. He lit up as he spoke about seeing his children grow and manifest into amazing versions of he and his wife. Keeping it fun and youthful are the secrets to his success as career grows into a bigger creative direction. Making deals inside the boardroom or at home are just some of the highlights of his career and daily life as he seals the deal to a plethora of new projects. When asked, what was next for Eric Rhone, his answer was simple, “Like Biggie say, we like interns. Every day we get up and we get at it. That’s how we work.”



In ans Je e s Tho

Photographer: Kimberly Joy Asst. Photographer: Capra Carter Model/Fashion Designer: Shaunice Walton // Vanity Square Jewelry/Accessory Designer: Yoro Jewels (Yolanda Newson) Makeup: Brittanie Peebles of the Christopher Steven’s Salon Hair: Kevin Hayes of the Christopher Steven’s Salon

24 November | December 2016



26 November | December 2016





ait, does the United States have 1.4 million or more than 2 million people in prison? Are most people in state and federal prisons locked up for drug offenses? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of confinement are so fragmented and controlled by various entities. There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture. This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why convicted and not convicted people are locked up in local jails. While this pie chart provides a comprehensive snapshot of our correctional system, the graphic does not capture the enormous churn in and out of our correctional facilities and the far larger universe of people whose lives are affected by the criminal justice system. Every year, 636,000 people walk out of prison gates, but people go to jail over 11 million times each year. Jail churn is particularly high because most people in jails have not been convicted. Some have just been arrested and will make bail in the next few hours or days, and others are too poor to make bail and must remain behind bars until their trial. Only a small number (195,000) have been convicted, generally serving misdemeanors sentences under a year. With a sense of the big picture, a common follow-up question might be: how many people are locked up for a drug offense? We know that almost half a million people are locked up because of a drug offense. The data confirms that nonviolent drug convictions are a defining characteristic of the federal prison system, but play only a supporting role at the state and local levels. While most people in state and local facilities are not locked up for drug offenses, most states’ continued practice of arresting people for drug possession destabilizes individual

lives and communities. Drug arrests give residents of over-policed communities criminal records, which then reduce employment prospects and increase the likelihood of longer sentences for any future offenses. All of the offense data presented comes with an important set of caveats. A person in prison for multiple offenses is reported only for the most serious offense so, for example, there are people in prison for “violent” offenses who might have also been convicted of a drug offense. Further, almost all convictions are the result of plea bargains, where people plead guilty to a lesser offense, perhaps of a different category or one that they may not have actually committed. And many of these categories group together people convicted of a wide range of offenses. For example, “murder” is generally considered to be an extremely serious offense, but “murder” groups together the rare group of serial killers, with people who committed acts that are unlikely for reasons of circumstance or advanced age to ever happen again, with offenses that the average American may not consider to be murder at all. For example, the felony murder rule says that if someone dies during the commission of a felony, everyone involved is as guilty of murder as the person who pulled the trigger. Driving a getaway car during a bank robbery where someone was accidentally killed is indeed a serious offense, but few people would really consider that to be murder. This “whole pie” methodology also exposes some disturbing facts about the youth entrapped in our juvenile justice system: Too many are there for a “most serious offense” that is not even a crime. For example, there are almost 7,000 youth behind bars for “technical violations” of the requirements of their probation, rather than for a new offense. Further, 600 youth are behind bars for “status” offenses, which are “behaviors that are not law violations for adults, such as running away, truancy, and incorrigibility.” Turning finally to the people who are locked up criminally and civilly for immigration-related issues, we find that 19,000 people are in federal prison for criminal convictions of violating federal immigration laws. A separate 33,000 are civilly detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) separate from any criminal proceedings and are physically confined in special

immigration detention facilities or in local jails under contract with ICE. (Notably, these categories do not include immigrants represented in other pie slices because of non-immigration related criminal convictions.) Now, armed with the big picture of how many people are locked up in the United States, where, and why, we have a better foundation for the long overdue conversation about criminal justice reform. For example, the data makes it clear that ending the War on Drugs will not alone end mass incarceration, but that the federal government and some states have effectively reduced their incarcerated populations by turning to drug policy reform. Looking at the “whole pie” also opens up other conversations about where we should focus our energies: What is the role of the federal government in ending mass incarceration? The federal prison system is just a small slice of the total pie, but the federal government can certainly use its financial and ideological power to incentivize and illuminate better paths forward. At the same time, how can elected sheriffs, district attorneys, and judges slow the flow of people into the criminal justice system? Are state officials and prosecutors willing to rethink both the War on Drugs and the reflexive policies that have served to increase both the odds of incarceration and length of stay for “violent” offenses? Do policymakers and the public have the focus to confront the second largest slice of the pie: the thousands of locally administered jails? And does it even make sense to arrest millions of poor people each year for minor offenses, make them post cash bail, and then lock them up when they can’t afford to pay it? Will our leaders be brave enough to redirect corrections spending to smarter investments like community-based drug treatment and job training? Can we implement reforms that both reduce the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. and the wellknown racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system? And once we have wrapped our minds around the “whole pie” of mass incarceration, we should zoom out and note that being locked up is just one piece of the larger pie of correctional control. There are another 820,000 people on parole (a type of conditional release from prison) and a staggering 3.8 million people

on probation (what is typically an alternative sentence). Particularly given the often onerous conditions of probation, policymakers should be cautious of “alternatives to incarceration” that sometimes widen the net of criminalization to people who are not a threat to public safety. Now that we can see the big picture of how many people are locked up in the United States in the various types of facilities, we can see that something needs to change. Looking at the big picture requires us to ask if it really makes sense to lock up 2.3 million people on any given day, giving this nation the dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world. Both policymakers and the public have the responsibility to carefully consider each individual slice in turn to ask whether legitimate social goals are served by putting each category behind bars, and whether any benefit really outweighs the social and fiscal costs. We’re optimistic that this “whole pie” approach can give Americans, who are ready for a fresh look at the criminal justice system, some of the tools they need to demand meaningful changes to how we do justice.

This 2016 report was made possible by a generous grant from the Public Welfare Foundation and the contributions of individuals across the country who support justice reform. The infographic slideshows and the graph of correctional control were made possible by Gabe Isman of our Young Professionals Network. Bob Machuga and J. Andrew World helped with design issues, and Alison Walsh helped us gather research. Melissa Sickmund at the National Center for Juvenile Justice and Todd Minton at the Bureau of Justice Statistics expanded our knowledge of agencies’ datasets; and Alex Friedmann, Neelum Arya and Drew Kukorowski provided invaluable feedback on earlier drafts of this report. Any errors or omissions, and final responsibility for all of the many value judgements required to produce a data visualization like this, however, are the sole responsibility of the authors.

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30 November | December 2016



DELUX POWER 100 celebrates the St. Louis’ most inspiring and influential African American professionals. DELUX recognizes those who lead, inspire, innovate and demonstrate through their individual talents, the very best in St. Louis.

Presented by Wells Fargo


As a Boys & Girls Club professional, Flint has served on several regional and national conference planning committees, Board of the Professional Association, The Training and Professional Development committee, as a Career Assistance Network coach, the Commission for the Second Century, and the National Commission on Impact. He is a graduate of the Management Program and the Thomas Garth Executive Leadership Program, and in 2008 successfully completed the Advanced Leadership Program. Flint is active with the Society of African American Professionals (S.O.A.A.P.), the Major Metro Advisory Committee, and the Youth Development Advisory Committee.


As senior vice president of communications, June McAllister Fowler leads internal, external and public policy communications and community relations efforts on behalf of BJC HealthCare, one of the largest nonprofit health care organizations in the United States and one of the largest private employers in the state of Missouri. She has responsibility for multiple areas, including media relations, executive communications, community benefit, community affairs, health literacy, corporate marketing, creative services, web development, media services and the award-winning employee newspaper, BJC Today.


Anthony (Tony) Thompson is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Kwame Building Group, Inc. (KWAME), which he founded in 1991. Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, KWAME is a construction management/program management firm that serves as an independent agent to the owner. KWAME provides, along with other services, project management, scheduling, estimating, contract/claims administration, and document controls.


Steven is the Partner-In-Charge of RubinBrown’s Entrepreneurial Services Group and a Partner in RubinBrown’s Assurance Services Group. Steven serves a variety of clients in the not-for-profit, manufacturing, distribution, contractor, home builder, entertainment and public sector industries.

is responsible for developing, transforming and executing a holistic talent strategy that supports and drives a high-performance culture of innovation and inclusion and diversity. As the end-to-end talent leader, Melissa partners with executives and HR leadership at all levels to drive and direct acquisition, development, culture, and performance for nearly 70 countries across 400 worldwide locations. During her 8 years with Monsanto, Melissa has developed a global team responsible for attracting talent, developing leaders, ensuring an inclusive environment, shaping a digital culture, and delivering talent needs that align to strategic business goals and preparedness for the future. The global scope of her role includes Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Analytics/Operations, Inclusion & Diversity, University Relations, Employment Branding, Talent Pipeline/Sourcing, HR Compliance, Contingent Workforce, Shared Services and Organizational Capabilities.

distinguished leaders


Rev. Traci Blackmon is the Acting Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries for The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO. As a featured voice on many regional, national, and international platforms, Rev. Blackmon’s life work focuses on communal resistance to systemic injustice. Her response in Ferguson to the killing of Michael Brown resulted in national and international recognition, gaining her many audiences spanning the breadth of the White House to the Carter Center to the Vatican.


An experienced business executive and corporate attorney, Keith joined Centene Corporation in 2006 and currently serves as General Counsel. Keith is on the board of PPL Corporation, a Fortune 250 utility, and is involved in various civic activities, including the Art Museum, the Urban League, KIPP, and the United Way.


is the Co-President for NAAAHR (National Association of African Americans in Human Resources) – St. Louis Chapter, serves on the Leadership Team for African and African Americans in Monsanto, participates on the United Way Allocations Panel, is a member of the Leadership 100 Cohort of the Regional Business Council Young Professionals Network and is Director on the ALPFA Board. Melanie was recognized in February 2016 by the St. Louis American as one of twenty Young Leaders. Melanie resides in St. Louis with her son.


President of The Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed has spent over 17 years serving the people of St. Louis as an elected official. Active in civic and charitable involvement he serves as the head of the legislative branch of St. Louis city government. In his time in office, Lewis has championed many causes including founding Bike St. Louis and the rebirth of Washington Avenue. He is responsible for passing legislation addressing crime prevention, creating opportunities for at-risk youth, environmental sustainability, as well as neighborhood and economic development.

the first African American registered architect in the state of Missouri, founded Kennedy Associates in his hometown of St. Louis in 1980. Michael continued to grow his firm by successfully adding engineering and construction management services to design services, leading to rebranding Kennedy Associates to KAI Design & Build in 2004. In 2008, Mike’s son, Michael B. Kennedy was named President of KAI and Michael became Chairman and CEO. Among his achievements, Michael was named Most Influential Minority Business Leader by the St. Louis Business Journal in and MBE Contractor of the year by MOKAN in 2008. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 by The St. Louis American, and he has served on multiple boards and committees, including the Board of Directors for Downtown St. Louis Partnership, United Way, American Red Cross and is a member of the Missouri Minority Advocacy Commission. In 2010, KAI was named one of the “Top 100 African American Owned Businesses in America” by .


founder and owner of Divine Events has successfully planned events for great organizations like United Way of Greater St. Louis for the Charmaine Chapman Leadership Society’s 20th Anniversary Gala. Aaren was featured on 2 seasons as the Wedding Planner for the reality show Welcome to Sweetie Pies. Under Aaren’s leadership, Divine Events received The Knot Best of Weddings 2015. Aaren is a proud member of Association of Bridal Consultants and has been chosen to serve as State Manager for 5 surrounding states.


from East St Louis, IL and a single mother of two. Homeless by the time she was 16, Nicol earned her GED and left E St Louis. She went on to earn her BS degree from Illinois State University & achieved her MPH/MSW from St. Louis University. After graduation, Nichol accepted a position at Washington University School of Medicine developing the Dream House. The first housing facility for homeless HIV positive youth in the metropolitan area. Also Nichol joined forces to formulate what is now known as Cafe Soul St. Louis.


Founder and CEO of Conversions Global Marketing, LLC, Kevin has 15+ years of experience in branding, advertising and marketing. He has guided dozens of top companies, celebrities, nonprofits, municipalities, and corporations in their business success. Kevin has been named St. Louis’ Neighborhood Business of the Year by Mayor Francis G. Slay, appointed to serve as President of the Kingsway Merchants Association, and leads many youth initiatives within our city.


Chief Executive Officer of Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center. Previously, she served as the executive director of the St. Louis region for College Summit, chief operating officer and chief of external affairs for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri and chief operating officer for mission delivery for the Girl Scouts of Atlanta.

the superintendent for University City School District. A native of St. Louis, Dr. Hardin-Bartley has a 15-year plus career in St. Louis Public Schools. She served as SLPS Chief Human Resources Officer, Principal on Special Assignment, and was the founding principal of Adams Elementary School. Throughout her career, Dr. Hardin-Bartley has been active within the community and serves on the Boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County.

the visionaries


Sr. Audience Marketing and Events Manager for Microsoft, who oversees the partnership strategy aligning the commercial field organization and retail organization across greater Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, Trina served as the Director of Marketing and Special Events for the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation. She is active in her community servicing on the Executive Board of the Monsanto YMCA and the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Internship Program.


an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and technical prodigy at the young age of 18 years. Beginning at 12 when he started his own Information Technology Consulting business called Bledsoe Technologies, LLC (now The Jaylen D. Bledsoe Global Group), Jaylen started with a dream and $100. Within two years, he had 150 contractors working for him and was providing expertise in brand development consulting, Venture Capital Funding, direct marketing platform development and increasing revenue streams for clients such as Jordin Sparks and Steve Harvey.


Karen Hall’s passion for educational equity and excellence drives her relationships and leadership. She is committed to continuing the success of the district and building upon the strong foundation the community has created together. Karen Hall took the helm as Superintendent at Maplewood Richmond Heights School District in July 2012, following 19 years as an educator and administrator in both Maplewood Richmond Heights School District (Assistant Superintendent) and the Pattonville School District where she was the principal at Willow Brook Elementary School.


An enterprising entrepreneur coowner of Platinum Group Worldwide, Inc., which offers services in event consulting, promotions, public relations and responsible for major events throughout the Region. Jacque is also co-owner of JHL Concessions, LLC., a company specializing in top quality first-rate concessions operating inside the Scottrade Center. As a community leader, Jacque served as executive director and 2 terms as president of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis, Mayor appointment to the St. Louis Public Library Board and Governor appointment to the Missouri Lottery Commission.

a nationally recognized economist and investment advisor, with a specialty in urban development. His public policy research, Fortune 100 experience, entrepreneurial endeavors and non-profit initiatives give him insight into our nation’s most pressing problems. He is the Co-Founder of Black Silicon Valley & Ferguson 1000 Jobs, a former President and CEO of the Orlando Urban League and previously named to the White House Task Force on Economic Defense Conversion appointed by President Bill Clinton.


Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development of Midwest BankCentre.. He has 18 years of experience in commercial banking, most recently served as a Vice President of National City Bank. Mr. Fennoy sits on the St. Clair County Board for the United Way, mentors with Inroads Alumni and serves as finance committee chair for the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.


a retired attorney and founder of The Ethics Project, an awardwinning, social justice organization. Frequently recognized for contributions to the community, Griffin has served as Chair of the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Commission, and on boards including Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and the United Way. A loving mother and grandmother, Griffin is also a columnist and author, including her recent book, Incarcerations in Black and White: The Subjugation of Black America.


Storyteller, poet, author, and award winning advertising creator from St. Louis, Missouri. She recently appeared on VICELAND’s Abandoned, has opened up for scholar Cornell West and hip hop impresario Russell, and is a sought-after speaker, appearing at TEDxGatewayArch and other venues . Cheeraz served as curriculum and creative director of The Marcus Graham Project, is the founder and executive director of Sonic Arts United, and serves as vice chair of Creative Reaction Lab.


Senior Director of Community Affairs at Anheuser-Busch. In his position, Julio sets and leads the company’s multicultural outreach strategy in the United States. He also collaborates with internal stakeholders in support of Anheuser-Busch’s Better World programs, including employee volunteerism and social impact initiatives. Before joining AnheuserBusch in 2014, Julio was Director of Diversity Outreach at Darden Restaurants. Throughout his career, Julio has served in multiple community boards and is currently a board member of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.





of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was selected by Gov. Jay Nixon to coordinate law enforcement agencies amid the uproar over the Ferguson police response to protests in the days following Michael Brown’s death. A lifelong resident of the St. Louis area, Johnson is a 27year veteran of the Highway Patrol and oversees Troop C, which serves 11 counties around St. Louis. He was appointed to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission by Missouri governor Matt Blunt in 2007, as well.

an accomplished Community Relations executive with more than 15 years of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. As Vice President of Community Relations at Wells Fargo Advisors, she provides leadership, strategy and execution of the company’s St. Louis market corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, reputation, and risk management plans. Prior to Wells Fargo Advisors, Coleman oversaw major gifts fundraising and volunteer engagement initiatives at United Way of Greater St. Louis.

currently serves as Vice President of Development for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. Ms. Bowman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Saint Louis University. A committed volunteer, Bowman serves as Vice Chairperson of CHIPS Board of Directors and on the board of Provident Inc. She is a member of the Links, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta and serves on the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Community & Faith Based Advisory Board.

Brother Shahid is also very passionate about helping his people against discrimination, counting employment. He believes that part of our problem as a community stems from the lack of employment opportunities due to discrimination. This belief is why he has gone up against many Fortune 500 Companies, such as Sherwin-Williams, Pepsi-Cola, Southwest Airlines, UPS, Sam’s, Shop N Save, Value City, and the St. Louis Convention Center with a “no compromise” position and has made them hire thousands of black people in management and nonmanagement positions.

the community builders


a freedom fighter, community activist and visual artist whose main goal is to unite and liberate the full range of the black community in St. Louis. Her activism work started in the streets of Ferguson in August of 2014 and she has since continued to support, lead and capture visuals of efforts to bring awareness and justice to the issues regarding the African-American community.

Pastor Cori Bush

a mother of two, RN Supervisor/ Clinic Manager and ordained pastor. She is an activist & organizer with Ferguson Frontline founding member of Mobilize Missouri and co-director of The Truth Telling Project. She is a recipient of the 2015 Woman of Courage Award from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, and most recently ran a groundbreaking campaign for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, mobilizing thousands to engage in the political process. Cori plans to continue to stand alongside the youth and communities in the fight for justice.


the Executive Director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP). She holds a masters degree in social work from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work with an emphasis on social and economic development. Currently, she serves on several boards in the St. Louis community and appointed by Governor Nixon to the Missouri Community Service Commission. Reena is the recipient of various awards, such as the St. Louis Business Journal’s Inclusive Leader Award and the Bank of America’s Local Hero Award.


rapper, musician and activist. Poe co-founded the Hands Up United movement and is consistently advocating for grass-root involvement in improving the lives of African Americans and racial justice around the world. In his art and activism, he insists on the value of local people taking charge of conversations about their own communities rather than relying on national organizations.

currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of MathewsDickey Boys and Girls Club. Dedicating his entire career for the service of youth and families, Covington has spent the last decade serving as a highly accomplished administrator. Covington has worked as a teacher, social worker, guidance counselor and non-profit organization manager. Previously, he was the director of the Gateway to College Program at Florissant Valley Community College.


has enjoyed a successful multimedia sales and management career for the last 16 years in radio, print, digital and event advertising. During this time, she’s been fortunate to contribute her skills in magazine publishing in Cleveland Ohio at Advanstar UMB Americas, and here in St. Louis at the local daily paper The Post-Dispatch, as well as the St. Louis Business Journal and now Radio One on leading Hot 104.1 and Old School 95.5 stations. If you can’t catch April collaborating with clients on advertising campaigns to grow their business and penetrate the market it’s because she’s spending time with her beloved thirteenyear-old daughter Caroline and life partner Daniel James.


Corporate Supplier Diversity Manager for World Wide Technology, Shay is responsible for their global supplier diversity program which includes managing approximately 300 million dollars in procurement activity and advocating and mentoring small and diverse businesses. Shay is vice chair of the St. Louis Minority Business Council’s board of directors. In 2015, she was appointed to the executive board of directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis to help elevate programs and funding for the organization including advocacy for her own son, Diggy, who was born with Down syndrome in 2008.


is the Vice President of Integrated Quality for Boeing Defense, Space & Security at The Boeing Company. Scott is responsible for Quality across the entire BDS organization including supply chain compliance and conformance of purchased products and services. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Masters of Management degree from Fontbonne University in St. Louis Missouri.


From lending her lyrical skills on the BET Awards Cypher set, to joining the cast of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, to captivating a London audience alongside Lil Kim; Tiffany Foxx has became a name known to the masses. Her dedicated fan base, recognizes her as a voice to be reckoned with in the rap game. This St. Louis native, was inspired by the likes of Nelly and in a short amount of time found herself signed to Doggy Style Records. With a major single featuring Snoop Dog, King Foxx left the label and joined the girl group June 5th. Tiffany contiue to break barriers in the Rap communities and beyond.


is the Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Affinia Healthcare. Holmes went to Metro Academic and Classical High School and earned her doctorate in Pharmacy from St. Louis College of Pharmacy, where she serves on its Board of Trustees. Holmes also completed a Community Health Center Executive Fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center.


the Founding Member of The Morris Firm, LLC. A dedicated St. Louis Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney, attended and graduated from Normandy Senior High School in 1996. Being inspired by the careers of Thurgood Marshall and Johnnie Cochran, Mr. Morris chose received his Doctorate in Jurisprudence from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston Texas. Mr. Morris also serves as a municipal judge in the Cities of Velda City and Northwoods in St. Louis County.


a mother first and attempts to be the consummate saleswoman second. Born and raised in the heart of St Louis City, Dorothy attended Vashon High School. After graduation, she began studying at the University of Missouri-St Louis, where she graduated with a bachelors degree in Finance in 2009. Dorothy received her Master’s Degree in Business and Marketing from Webster University in 2011. She is now a top seller for MercedesBenz of St. Louis, selling the best cars in the world to customers from all walks of life.


With leadership experience in higher education and community collaboration Turan has become an established leader that has the ability to execute visions and meet organizational goals. His ability to easily transcend cultural differences and lead diverse groups of people has allowed him to build strong relationships with stakeholders at every level in the community. His current involvement with the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiatives, Diversity Awareness Partnership, Consortium of Higher Education Professionals for Inclusion and Equity and Boys and a Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis has allowed him to engage with different organizations.

the power houses


With a genuine passion for automobiles his dream car is a Bugatti Veyron, but is more passionate about providing his clients with the car of their dreams. Mike is equipped with 19 + years of expertise in the automotive industry. His leadership accompanied with knowledge gained as a Leasing Manager, Sales Manager, Finance Manager, and General Sales Manager prepared the development for Frazier Automotive to be established in 2001. Now partnered with Travers Automotive Mike Frazier and Frazier Automotive only provides his clients with an excellent Full Service Automotive Experience.


started a new company with sports industry partners Abe Givins, Jamal Clark and Jamaal Jackson called Star Power Marketing. Star Power is a marketing and branding agency that creates strategized and tailored solutions with and for a unique clientele balance of sports and entertainment. Some of those clients include former NBA players Larry Hughes and Darius Miles. While most go on and leave their hometowns, Tony has chosen to remain a pillar in his community of St. Louis, MO. He and his wife Gabrielle Davis rs , together are raising beautiful children which Tony boasts about as his biggest accomplishmentl


Michael Hall oversees all business aspects concerning the Community Relations department and Cardinals Care, the charitable arm of the St. Louis Cardinals.





Elson Williams, Major Brands community affairs liaison,

Hall’s journey through the Cardinals organization started during the strike year of 1995 working as a telemarketer, selling season tickets via cold calls during the baseball strike. He continued moving up the corporate ladder with a variety of positions, ranging from customer service to on-field entertainment.


is a St. Louis born and based banking professional. He is a Partner/Vice President of Mortgage Lending at Carrollton Bank, a $1.2 billion privately held bank, employee owned bank that has been led by the same family for five generations. His role includes community development and leading the origination of consumer home loan programs including Conventional, FHA, VA, and Jumbo Loans. Prior to joining Carrollton Bank, Terrence worked at Wells Fargo a Sales Manager and District Manager, and Vice President and Small Business Banker at Regions bank.

a Senior Manager, Project and Program Management, that manages a staff of project managers for Magellan Healthcare Services. She serves on the Health Services Panel for the United Way and on the board of her Home Owners Association. Mitzi earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a MBA from Lindenwood University. She enjoys traveling with her husband Michael, 2 children and grandson.

currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Ballpark Village in St. Louis. His role and responsibilities are spread among several areas that include: operations, community relations, sponsorships and sales. Theron has spent over 20 years as an account manager and director in sales and sponsorships in a variety of industries including dining and entertainment, sports and consumer goods. He understands how the relationship between sports and entertainment ties-in with the relationship to corporate branding and consumer goods.

began his career in sales while in college working for Anheuser Busch in the sales and marketing department. Working for Lincoln Mercury, Rickey was awarded the top Lincoln Mercury salesman honors for the region for 10 years and #1 in leasing for 2 years in the country out of 12 years. After accepting an opportunity, Rickey transitioned to the prominent dealership Plaza Motors. His most profound work is working in his community and engaging established relationships.





best described as a leader, advocate, and friend. He is often called on when you need a project completed with a high level of execution. Currently Eddie serves as the President of the St, Louis Chapter of National Sales Network (NSN). He is a graduate of St. Louis University and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. Eddie currently works as a Portfolio Specialist for Glazer’s Distribution where he handles their key accounts and supplier sponsored programs. Some of his projects include Jack Daniels Honey Art Beats & Lyrics and the Nelly Black & White Ball. Eddie is happily married to his wife of seven years, Aliah. They have one son, Eddie D. Holman V affectionately known as “Quinn”.

Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Mercy, serving 45 hospitals and 40,000 co-workers. As a result of her dynamic leadership, Mercy earned a prestigious $460,000 grant to expand disability and inclusion services. Angela is a proud Dance Mom of a 14-yearold daughter, Madison. To her credit, she is an alumni of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative, has progressive professional experience within Human Resources and a master’s degree in Human Resources from Webster University.

College basketball player who currently attends Duke University. Ranked as the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2016 high school class by ESPN and Rivals, Tatum was named 2016 Gatorade Male Athlete of the Year & Gatorade National Player of the Year. Alongside a host of outstanding accomplishments and awards, Tatum has two siblings and the son of Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

also known as the “Radio Diva” is an On-Air Talent and with Radio One and Community Affairs Assistant at Fox2 News/KPLR11 St. Louis. In this role, Aprylete engages with the community on a personal level; speaking for the urban demographic, gathering human interest news stories and assisting with media sponsorship for organizations. A big believer in community outreach, she works with a wide variety of organizations throughout the metropolitan area. American Red Cross Midwest, Alzheimer’s Association, and Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center.

the rising stars


Community Development Officer at Enterprise Bank & Trust. With 10+ years of progressively increasing relationship and capacity building with banking institutions, nonprofits, entrepreneurs and the political campaign sector; Reeves is a current manager of multiple community outreach programs supporting assets greater than $3.2 billion. She has a passion for developing the urban community and serving on nonprofit boards.


Director of Supplier Diversity at Express Scripts. She received her BS in business administration from Langston University and her MBA from Webster University. Starting her career in public housing, but ended up in supply chain, Austin’s previous positions have consisted of supplier diversity executive, Ameren; procurement agent, AnheuserBusch; financial analyst for contract strategies, BJC Healthcare; acting director, development and technical services, St. Louis Housing Authority.


Executive Director of Urban Sprouts, a diverse Reggio Emilia school focusing on early childhood education. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Qualls is committed to developing and administering programs that enrich the lives of children and their families. Among her proudest achievements at the College is extending Early Childhood Education (ECE) courses to the St. Louis community, in partnership with the Boeing Company.



Assistant Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Career Engagement at Harris-Stowe State University. Smith earned a bachelor’s of social work degree from the University of Central Missouri, a master’s of social work and a master’s of public health degree from Saint Louis University and a doctorate of education in higher education leadership from Maryville University of St. Louis.

Martel Hulsey’s journey to become a marketing specialist began long before Radio One. While growing up in St. Louis, he was involved in music, entertainment, and small business ventures. These elements provided Martel with the foundation to pursue a career that could encompass all three. After graduating from Maryville University, he seized an opportunity as an Integrated Marketing Specialist with Radio One. Now he’s able to put his experiences on display while effectively growing businesses.



graduated from Morehouse College and Texas A&M University. In response to Ferguson, Rasheen founded Young Men Inspired, an after-school group for African American students at City Garden School. The mission of Young Men Inspired is to assist young black men in cultivating their leadership skills, building character, and attaining academic success. Rasheen lives in Soulard with his wife, Desiree, and their two lovely daughters. He works at Maryville University as a Development Director.

a silver Olympic Medalist in the 100 meter dash. Rodgers attended Lindenwood University and Oklahoma Baptist University where he was a 10-time NAIA national champion from 2005-2007. He still holds the NAIA Indoor 60m record with a 6.65. Rodgers personal goals was to be able to beat Justin Gatlin and Usian Bolt at least once in his career, he was able to accomplish that goal.



is the ownerof Tasty Treats Snack shop on Delmar in St. Louis



owner opperator of Discount Queen Beauty Supply. Queen Beauty is a beacon of pride and a symbol of hope in our community. Establishing a stake in this industry has been nearly impossible for African Americans due to the market being dominated other cultures. It has always been fine for our community to purchase from them, but it’s been difficult to establish a business along side them. Now that Discount Queen Beauty Supply is here, they want to serve as an symbol that it can be done.

spirit of the entreprenuer









is not only a talented Chef, but a community leader, successful entrepreneur, mentor and an inspiring motivational speaker. He graduated from Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky with a degree of Science in Culinary Arts Management. After trials and tribulations and heading down the wrong path, Bobby turned a journey in federal prison to a life of purpose. With hard work and proven leadership, Chef Bobby opened his own restaurant, St. Louis Wing Company.

has been into sports and fitness since a young age, a tri-athlete in high school (football, wrestling, track) and a collegiate wrestler. Becoming a personal trainer after college, Q Wilson decided to begin his contest prep for his 1st bodybuilding competition. In 2012, Q Wilson earned his ifpa professional natural bodybuilding pro card and now operates the ROQ Body Academy.

owner of A&A Inspirations, a provider of counseling and consulting services to children and families who suffer from mental and or behavioral health issues. Cox creates client specific treatment and develops plans of management. Cox has a Master of Social Work from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Southeast Missouri State University.

co owner of Fleur De Lilies. Sampson is a St. Louisan whose family has roots in Mobile, Alabama, where both Cajun and Creole culture predominate

At a young age of 13, John Lewis found himself at 315 pounds, but through hard work and dedication he lost the weight and excelled in football and basketball. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from Harris Stowe State University, John later went on to pursue his MBA from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. John’s education in business coupled with his love for health and fitness gave him the ability to start his ventures – Bad AssVegan and VeganSmart.

An accomplished salon and shop owner since 1994, Steven Lacy has a talent for helping people to shine one treatment at a time. He has had clients such as Nelly and Chingy, and has a deep-rooted love for the hair industry. Lacy has attended Vidal Sassoon Advanced Trainings in Los Angeles, California, and the esteemed Vidal Sassoon Cutting School in London, England. Nationally he has trained with Freddie J, Patrick Bradley and Donnal Chung. He currently travels the country as a Specialist Educator with Design Essentials.

fashion lover, full figure woman, stylist and owner of Honey’s Child Boutique. Honey’s Child Boutique was recently featured in USA Today for the Body Empowerment Issue. She has launched several plus size model careers and continue to mentor aspiring stylist and models throughout the St. Louis area. Letitia has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Theory and Rhetoric from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She also hold a Master’s Degree in Management from Fontbonne University and an MBA from Webster University.

former basketball standout at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte began her career as a Makeup Artist just 4 years ago. Tara began working as a freelancer and later opened The Beauty Lounge in 2013.


a native St. Louisan, is the Video Production Manager for STL TV, St. Louis’ local government access channel. Under his leadership, STL TV has celebrated their 25th anniversary, won an Emmy, several Black Journalist awards and national Telly Awards. Andre also serves as a Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club football coaches, produces the Bommarito High School Prep Zone games and continuously serves the community at large.



better known by his stage name Chingy, is an American rapper, singer, and actor. Chingy began rapping in his late teens, toured as an opening act with Nelly and became a protégé of Ludacris. His debut album, Jackpot, sold two million copies and sequentially released chart toping singles.

Most known for his impressive flair for rocking parties and mesmerizing millions of listeners each day, KUT is credited with breathing new life into beats. His mix sets are some of the most celebrated pieces on mainstream radio and he’s garnered the love and admiration from everybody from Jay-Z to Mary J Blige. There are not many DJ’s who can dig deeper in the crates, while still having a mass appeal that registers with everybody---old and new.



grew up in Darst-Webbe housing project in St. Louis, graduated from McKinley High School and the University of Missouri at Columbia where he was standout defensive back. In 1983, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions of the NFL where he started and played for seven seasons. Inspired to enhance the lives of inner city youth, he founded the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation and remains active in the community. Johnson commentates high school football and basketball for Charter Communications, host of Sportswave and host of the Demetrious Johnson Talk Show on HOT 104.1 FM.


serves as Communications Director for the oldest and largest outdoor musical theater in the United States. After joining the Muny staff in 2008, He has worked in the Finance and House Management areas prior to joining the Marketing Team. In this current position he developes and implements DATA driven marketing plan that utilizes both digital and traditional media to execute targeted campaigns in order to meet annual sales goals. He also creates and oversees the marketing budget. Other responsibilities include the support and unification of external communications from both the Development and Sales teams.

has over 16 years of communications and strategic planning experience. Prior to starting eLittle Communications Group, he worked as the executive director of communications for St. Louis Public Schools. Mr. Little majored in television production at Rust College in Holly Spring, Mississippi. He began his career as a news producer at WJTV, CBS in Jackson, MS and later moved to St. Louis, Missouri, as a news producer for KTVI Fox 2. Little became CBS first African American executive news producer at KMOV in 2002.


is constantly involved in covering local college and high school sports. He also enjoys covering St. Louis’ professional teams as well. He anchors the station’s local sports programming including This Week in Cardinals Nation, and specials like The Heart of St. Louis Sports. Rene takes great pride living in St. Louis. He has emceed the St. Louis American’s Salute to Excellence in Healthcare, presented Woodie Awards for the St. Louis Black Repertory Company and kicked off a literacy campaign by reading to children. Rene also writes feature stories about children in the foster care system for NewsChannel 5’s A Place to Call Home.

the communications


is a longtime music critic and entertainment reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is the author of St. Louis’ top music blog, the Blender, and appears weekly on Fox 2 in the Morning for entertainment reports. He has appeared on CNN, KMOV, KMOX, 100.3 the Beat; Written for GQ, TV Guide, Vibe magazines; and a Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for work on a race relations series (at previous newspaper, the Akron BeaconJournal).


Osei “The Dark Secret” Kweku – is perhaps one of the most underrated broadcast talents who, over the years, has managed to merge his love for music and philanthropy into a trans-continental culture exchange by way of digital media. Born in Ontario, Canada, Kweku’s father, a medical doctor, returned to his native Ghana where he and his family would reside for many years. Raised with convictions of obligatory community service, the satin-voiced talent spent most of his youth assisting his father, a U.S. medically trained physician, establish and manage Aninwaah Medical Centre – a free hospital for the people of Ghana where he now serves on the Board of Directors.


known as DJ Tab, a Hip hop DJ , record producer and entrepreneur. With nearly 15 mixtapes throughout his music career, he has worked with D J Khaled, Chris Brown, Bow Wow and J-Kwon . In 2015, he was nominated in the Midwest Regional Club DJ of the Year at the 4th edition of the annual Global Spin Awards. He is presently a DJ on Hot 104.1, with his own radio show called Get-N-Tune radio on Saturday nights. Trumaine also launched his clothing lined Empire Clothing and in the spring of 2016 launched “GETNTUNE” and energy drink that is distributed throughout St.Louis.

+ entertainment of the people


Tyron Lanklet Woodley, from Ferguson, is an mixed martial artist and former amateur wrestler for the University of Missouri. He is currently signed by the UFC and is the current UFC Welterweight Champion.


an inspirational speaker, licensed minister, Grammy recognized recording artist, comedian, actor, and Stellar Award Winning radio personality. The host of the nationally syndicated radio show “The Praise Mix Down”, executive producer of the “Willie Moore Jr. Live Flatout TV Show”, and a servant leader of the national youth organization Young Fly & Saved. Previously he signed a 1.3 million dollar deal with Universal Records and later began his own record label WILFLO MUSIC GROUP.





has nearly 20 years of experience and a notable track record in sports business and innovation, including the National Football League, beverage promotion and event marketing, retail, corporate branding, television, and business and internet development. Currently, Harris is the branch marketing manager for Home Depot’s St. Louis, Metro Illinois and Kansas City markets. In 2002, he started his own integrated marketing solutions company, Koncepts Integrated Marketing Solutions. A lifestyle marketing company that specializes in building brands.

was born in St.louis ...With a passion to succeed he stayed focus on being the best man he could be...helping others as he study all crafts of life... As Co Founfer of Ethno Nightlife he has become one of the top media personalities in the country by recreating the way events are covered...he has been on the Red carpet of many amazing events including..The BET Awards...Grammys and other high profile events...his main focus is to create a media platform unmatched as well as teaching the youth the artist is only as important as the media makes them...


brothers first Lunatics second. Part of the St. Louis super group St. Lunatics. Murphy Lee and Kyjuan have branched out in multiple other entrprenueral opportinties such as D’Bes Wines, Vape Ya Tailfeather, UCME, and continuing to make good music. This brother tandum is “So St. Louis Ask the tattoist”.

Master Pieza was created in 2008 by William Porter, a pizza lover. He believed that he could make a pizza that was better tasting and better for you. They are “Investing in a Healthier Community from Scratch”.

Started in radio Radio One Q95.5 in 2001. In 2004 she was promoted to Promotions/Marketing Director In 2005 she started working for National Recording Artist Chingy and Slot A Lot Records as Assistant Manager. In 2007 she went to work for Nelly and Derry Ent as assistant Manager of Derry Studios Also helped Open and run Nelly’s Music School EI. In 2013 coordinator for iHeart Radio and 2015 became the Promotions Director for The Beat, Hallelujah 1600 and now KLOU.

the social


is a World Wide Choreographer and Dancer, Owner of Voila Studio Salon, and Women Empowerment Speaker. She has choreographed 5 National Tours for R. Kelly and backup danced on 8 world wide tours. Sabrina choreographed the highly talked about “Do What You Want” Lady Gaga and R. Kelly performance that aired on SNL and has been a featured dancer with the industry’s finest talent of today including Rihanna and Beyonce. Today, harnessing her entrepreneurial skills from Hollywood, she has partnered with her sister and established Voila! Studio Salon, St. Louis’ Natural Hair Headquarters where they are “Setting Standards, Not Just Hair”.


Graphic Designer - Creative - Event Coordinator - Influencer


Owner of Liquid Assets Event (9 years) and subsidiary promotional companies Leading Ladies and Yung Assets. Meso Social marketing manager. Former multi club owner. National Concert and event promotor Stvlouis, Kansas City Mo, chicago, Indy, Atl Houston Ect.

+ cultural influencers


Jade Harrell is the charismatic creator and executive producer of RareGem Productions, a positive media production and consultation company. Her voice reverberates globally through multiple platforms of strictly positive programming, charitable efforts and appearance. She produces over 20 programs including iTunes #1 ranked “The Model Health Show” and the award winning “Alive and Well STL”. Next up is the “Let’s Get It! Together” show merging her talent, skill and passion to do more community good!

S.L.I.M. is a celebrity in his own right on the St. Louis entertainment and nightlife scene. He’s been a promoter since 2002 and has made a name for himself beyond the 314 in cities like Miami, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. He has that equal parts charm and arrogance that makes for the stereotypical mogul. In addition to promoting concerts and weekly nights at clubs around the city and beyond, he’s working with rising rappers Lil St. Louis and Vega Sills. He’s passionate about getting into the business of making movies sooner than later – he even co-starred in “Streetballerz” several years back. S.L.I.M. is trying to make the city a serious contender on the nightlife scene. He brings celebs to host events, parties and do shows at clubs. He holds his own parties and has hosted a celebrity basketball tournament at Chaifetz.

the policy leaders


Bruce Franks is a South St. Louis City native and small business owner who is focused on being a community activist and leader. He is the newly elected State Representative of the 78th District, appointment as Police Community Liason by the St. Louis City Police chief, and recognized as a Champion of Change by The White House. Franks also has a profound passion for encouraging and guiding youth and is a regional organizer for Generation Progress.


Maria Chappelle-Nadal is a Democratic member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 14. She was first elected to the chamber in 2010. Beginning in the 2015 session, Chappelle-Nadal serves as Minority Whip. In 2010, Chappelle-Nadal was elected to the University City School Board. She earned her B.A. in political science/Sociology from Georgia State University. Her professional experience includes working as Director of Communications for Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell.


In 2016 Don left A-B and founded Pine Street Strategies, a D.C. public affairs firm that specializes in government relations, communications and political races. Pine Street has grown rapidly to now include three full-time lobbyists and four part-time strategic advisors, and has a growing portfolio of fortune 100 companies, non-profit groups, and national political candidates. Don lives in Washington DC with his two sons Cal and Benjamin, who informed Don last month that he would now be known only as “the Benj”. This was to be expected, considering that Don named the Benj after his favorite rapper.


a community organizer and activist. Born and raised in St. Louis, Aldridge serves as director of an organization called Young Activist United St. Louis and sits as student co-chair on the Missouri Jobs with Justice. He has a passion for justice and is a leader in the Show Me 15 workers’ rights movement advocating living wages for fast food workers. He has been recognized by the Youth Council for Positive Development with the ‘2013 Jamala Rogers Young Visionary Award.





Hazel Erby has been a resident of University City for over 35 years. She was elected to the St. Louis County Council for a second term in 2006, a third term in 2010 and a fourth term in 2014. She became the first African American female to serve on the St. Louis County Council. She served as Chair of the Council in 2009 and 2014. In 2015, Council Member Erby serves on the Committee on Disabilities, The Justice, Health and Welfare Committee and is a Member of the Committee of the Whole.

Susan draws upon experience as a concerned citizen, community activist, student, and product of St. Louis Public Schools. She is the Manager of Supplier Diversity for Emed Medical Company, and pursuing a second Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Webster University. Susan took the initiative to service her community heavily in the 27th ward. Ms. Jones has done it all from offering her leadership with community meetings and mentoring, to helping with clean up days, and getting residents registered to vote.

Kena Gray, is the operations director for Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation and credits her healthcare heroes as her grandmothers. Starting as a process improvement manager, Gray has quickly moved up the ranks to her current role as operations director, where she oversees healthcare centers in the Riverbend area. In addition, Gray serves as a health center manager at Centerville Health Center, having previously managed Fairmont City, Washington Park and Bethalto health centers. Gray takes much pride in helping change health care policies standing today.

In 2009, Joseph became the Chief of the Office of Minority Health, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. As the chief, he is responsible for monitoring the progress of all programs in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for their impact on eliminating health disparities, increasing health equity, and ensuring cultural competency & sensitivity. He is also the key advisor to the Director on various health matters that affect minorities; in addition, he serves as a liaison to the Missouri General Assembly.

the categories


The Distinguished Leader is based on evidence of exemplary leadership that demonstrates an awareness and contribution to effective leadership in the community at large. This leader has transcended boundaries, alongside showed progressive levels of responsibility and commitment, either within a single organization or through collaborative enterprise with others.


The Visionary Honoree is based on being a leading voice within their respective fields of expertise that is innovatively mobilizing communities and/or organizations. Is recognized for their transformational strengths that make leaders among their peers and have a strong commitment to governance, innovation, diversity, and corporate/ civic responsibility.


The Community Builder Honoree is based on having created lasting change and measurable difference in the community through commitment and perseverance. Leading initiatives that create community inclusivity through opportunities for people at disadvantage to build social capital and live full, meaningful lives in their community, as contributing and valued members of their community.


The Power House Honoree is based on being a driving force in bringing respective entities together in quantifiable extraordinary success. Having navigated non- traditional or established markets, this honoree is recognized as a key figure with high regard within their industry.


The Rising Stars Honoree is based on our rising leaders today who are mobilizing change and garnering support across their fields with the support of top leaders in their respective industries.


The Spirit of the Entrepreneurs Honoree is based on the entrepreneurs who have taken the road less traveled with success that has overcome obstacles and identified new opportunities. From the creation of products to services, they are seen as an economic driver for the community. They represent significant achievements in launching new companies, opening new markets and fueling the job growth within the community.


The Communications & Entertainment of the People Honoree is based on personalities from the field of entertainment or communication leaders who have been recognized as influential in guiding the industry toward success. Their work has transcended innovation and craft, and moved people to make a lasting impact.


The Social & Cultural Influencers Honoree is based on expertise in delivering impact through engagement, fashion, art and cultural experiences. These dynamic leaders, have proven success in creating exceptional experiences that gerenate pleasurable outlets for the community.


The Policy Leader Honoree is based on creating successful policy initiatives and championing their respective fields to create progressive change.


Combining what you love to do with what you do for a living is the perfect marriage. The merging of passion, creativity, experience and education is the ideal recipe any person would concoct to create their perfect career. Like most people who only daydream about it; Interior Designer, Asha Perez did just that and now she wakes up every day doing what she loves to do. Although interior design wasn’t her original plan, Perez eventually found herself in the right place, with the right people at the right time and the rest as she tells it is simply history.

“ Growing up, being a compassionate person, I knew I wanted to work in a field where I was able to make a difference in people’s lives…”




Words by: Shadress Burks // Photo: Adrian Walker

50 November | December 2016

Starting out with a clear plan to pursue medicine; Perez navigated her way to FAMU on track for a nursing degree. Realizing that she wasn’t satisfied with the direction of her chosen career; Perez hightailed it back to Miami in search of something that would allow her to join her passion for helping people and her creative side that was bursting at the seams. “Growing up, being a compassionate person, I knew I wanted to work in a field where I was able to make a difference in people’s lives. I also knew I enjoyed expressing myself in creative ways like; drawing, writing, and painting,” said Perez. With both creativity and compassion being the driving forces behind her job search, she knew it was time to embark on a new path. Unaware of any careers at the time that fostered the marriage of the two, she took a job not knowing her passions would soon collide. With luck on her side, Perez landed a job as a Distribution Manager at Niche Media. Over the next seven years, she over-indulged in fashion, furniture and the creative environment she had longed for. It was then, she knew her life as an interior designer had just begun. Taking her newfound passion by the reigns, she dove head first into equipping herself with the necessary tools to succeed in her new world.

Packing her bags, Perez left the multicultural city of Miami and made her way to the gateway city to the west in 2012. Not fully accepted into Maryville’s Interior Design program; Perez pushed forward with her plan to educating herself about her new career. Accrediting her spatial creativity to her mother and her compassion to her father, Perez knew her bold move was destined to be. As she attended Maryville, Perez stated the one essential aspect she felt she was missing was the mentoring end of it all. Realizing how mentorship is a key component in any young person’s life; Perez appreciates those who have poured into her budding career. Individuals like Michael Kennedy (president) and Pamela Todd (Sr. Interior Designer) at KAI Designs have helped hone and develop her strong creative abilities. Seeing how having a mentor shaped her career future; Perez now sits on the board of NOMA and ACE Mentoring. In addition to those outreach opportunities, she also mentors youth through her position at KAI. Understanding the perfectly aligned moments in her life put her on the right track to career fulfillment; Perez revels in the fact her two passions have been beautifully combined. Still wanting to combine her creativity with her compassion; I asked her if there were an alternate career choice what would it be and she replied, “Something behind the scenes in the music field because I love music.” Having an embedded passion for creativity is a much-needed tool in the design world and Perez doesn’t take it for granted. Through her moments of reflection, she takes the time to appreciate how this was the right career choice for her and is grateful it found her when it did. Refusing to let fear and previous lack of guidance get in the way; Perez confidently moves full steam ahead with growing in her field. With the industry, ever-changing and advancing, she can’t say for sure where the interior design field will be. However, just know her creative strokes of color, design aesthetics full of compassion and her love for people will be ingrained and splashed across the walls wherever you may go.


Melissa Harper

Melanie Moore

Vice President of Talent and Inclusion & Diversity Monsanto Company

Director of North America Talent Acquisition Monsanto Company

Monsanto Company would like to congratulate Melissa Harper and Melanie Moore on being named to the 2016 DELUX Power100 list. Thank you for your dedication to our company and your leadership in the St. Louis community. Monsanto is proud to support the DELUX Power100 and celebrate the city’s most inspiring and influential African American Leaders! Discover Monsanto at and

Monsanto is an equal opportunity employer, we value a diverse combination of ideas, perspectives and cultures. EEO Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled. MONSANTO & Vine Design is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC. Š 2016 Monsanto Company



Photographer Lawrence Bryant


54 November | December 2016


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

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

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

Make Up Artist


DIVINE EVENTS 11425 Dorsett Rd #202, Maryland Heights, 314-805-3587

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

MCARTHUR PHOTOGRAPHY, Saint Louis, 843 324 5432

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

UnVeiled Beauty 314-718-4272

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



56 November | December 2016



who got next

MIYA NORFLEET St. Louis’ Hidden gem Words by: Ashley Winters // Photography: Alexy Irving

With all of her accolades Miya is proud of everything she has done for different reasons. There are amazing stories that she had the opportunity to be a part of and just at 27, Miya has achieved major career milestones. Her long list of accomplishments include working as the Associate Producer for three years at the Nine Network of Public Media for the public affairs show, Stay Tuned. Her work also includes a documentary for the History Channel, and most recently Miya had the opportunity to help produce a local documentary on a North County step team, Gentlemen of Vision (GOV), which aired in early September. ” I’m so proud of that…I get to help tell mostly stories that involve young people of color and communities of color. Those stories don’t always get to be told. For the most part they’re not told in a way that uplifts or empowers those communities”, said Miya. Miya’s goal when telling stories that affect us and our communities, is to inspire or used as a learning tool. However, being a producer isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. According to Miya, those on the outside tend to believe producers have all this power, what some people seem to forget that producers have to answer to a supervisor too. They have to work just as hard to convince someone some stories deserve to be told too. Miya defines the rules of black women can and will be in production. Looking up to iconic women like Shonda Rimes, who Miya believes creates her own universe and world in front of and behind the scenes of hit shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. To Miya, Shonda embraces and embodies the fact that she is a black woman. ” For Shonda to take all these different worlds that reflect the real world even though it’s fiction…I adore that, because she’s seeking out those stories…I like that she is able to represent that”, said Miya. From Miya’s point of view for the longest time what she saw on TV was a bunch of white people, and from this past Oscars lack of diversity in nomination, who could blame her. Female producers like Rimes and DuVernay are breaking down barriers, casting strong women and men of color, and next in line behind telling great stories that affect us and our communities is Miya Norfleet. However, Miya didn’t always think she could go into the film production field. Her goals switched from teaching to even maybe pursuing law. It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school at Lafayette where she was nominated to participate in a new course, called the DVD Yearbook. After a successful production of the Lafayette High School DVD Yearbook, Miya fell in love with video production. From sophomore year up until graduation she was a part of the production team of the DVD Yearbook. ” I watched TV and movies, but I never thought I could be a part of that one day”, said Miya. Being a part of the production process gave Miya a new appreciation for the actual work that goes into it. Staying late after school, for hours, putting in all that work really made her feel proud of what she was accomplishing. After winning the Student Publication Award for Lafayette’s DVD Yearbook, that’s when Miya decided her next step towards her dreams. She was going to attend Webster University, and she did just that. Majoring in Video Production with two minors, one Media Communications and the other in Spanish; Miya was well on her to the top. However, she didn’t stop there, she also has her certificate in Film & Documentary Production. 58 November | December 2016

Miya’s career hasn’t stopped with producing, her newest endeavor is being the Digital Communications Manager at Big Brothers Big Sister of Eastern Missouri. She has always felt her role in life was being a part of community service. Her goal was to make her city ( St. Louis) a better place. However, back then she didn’t know how. Her mindset is, whatever skill set she has she wants to perform that in her community first, and the best way she feels she can help her community is working for a non-profit organization. Even after leaving the Nine Network that urge to give back never went away. Miya could have worked for a variety of TV stations or production studios, but she still wanted to help young people of color and her community. Being the Digital Communication Manager, Miya can support all the efforts of the services they provide to the community. ” I don’t think people realize all the stuff we (Big Brother Big Sister) do in the community”, said Miya. And now she will have the opportunity to tell those stories on a bigger platform when she starts doing video production for Big Brother Big Sister. Did I mention she’s a dedicated working woman, she’s also a professor at Webster University teaching students how to produce footage and direct. After a mentor suggested the position, that’s when Miya realized she has accomplished a lot. “And that’s when I realized I did a lot of work…being able to share those experiences, hopefully I inspire someone to work in media. Especially now a lot of people of color don’t trust the media, so they don’t want to be a part of it”, said Miya. With the TV & Film industry lacking diversity especially for women and even more so for women of color. Miya’s advice to get more women involved is to tell us we can be in media. There is a place for you in media. If Miya could go back in time and speak to her younger self, she would tell that know it all, nosey seven year-old “keep up the good work”. And Miya we’re telling you, Keep Up The Good Work!

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60 November | December 2015

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