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Getting to know the

o t i d E

f e i h C n i r

When I began planning this issue, it hit me. As mothers we are oftentimes looked at as just being homemakers that take care of the kids. Oftentimes than not, we are overlooked as being strong entrepreneurs and the fabulous divas that we are. When I started this magazine I intended on it being the magazine “Empowering the Essence of Every Woman”. Many of us are full time students with full time jobs and still hold our families together. Speaking for myself, I work, have two beautiful kids, I'm married to a wonderful man, and of course… I have Diamond Diva Magazine all on the same plate. I have been in the editorial industry for two years and I have to say it was one of the greatest decisions I made as far as enhancing my career. My inspiration behind my magazine is my daughter. Don't get me wrong, BOTH of my children inspire me, but woman to woman, I wanted to show her that she could accomplish her dreams with or without a man in her corner. That it is okay to be an independent woman. Every mother always desires to have the best for her children; and it is my prayer that she knows she can do anything she sets her mind to. In a sense, that is how I feel about Diamond Diva Magazine. I nurture it as if it is one of my own children. Diamond Diva came out of the hope of giving every woman a voice and desire to be herself. I believe that every woman has it within her to be UNBREAKABLE just like a diamond and sparkle like the Diva she is. It is my desire that this magazine will become a household name and encourage every woman that it comes in contact with, an outlet for all that are trying to get their dreams, passions and business out, in the marketplace. I appreciate you all for coming on this journey with me, and I promise to always keep you in the KNOW of what is going on in OUR community! In this issue I will be introducing you to the wonderful Baba Sisters. These blessed and highly anointed girls will make any mother proud as you read their inspiring story on making it in the film industry. I met them while visiting the NC Black Film Festival in Wilmington, NC this past March. As you read, “Baba Sisters Debut”, I am sure you too will be just as proud of these little Diamond Divas as I was during the interview carried out by our own, Vanessa Burgess. Also, the lovely Ms. Ashley Mar Shell sat down with our Managing Editor, Christina Mial this month to introduce our readers to her as well as her music. I am sure by the end of “Getting To Know Ashley Mar Shell” you will want to go and purchase her CD and support this beautiful young mother that is coming up in the R&B scene. There are many more stories featuring mothers and tributes to mothers and we hope you enjoy them all! Please feel free to write in, ask questions, or just submit a sound off of what you thought of this month's issue!



May 2011

Diamond Diva

The Baba Sisters Debut NC Backyard Treasures business. “Our mother also teaches us to be independent and do what we love to pursue our By: Vanessa Burgess

dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. She said that if we do what we love then we will be able to go were ever our dreams and aspirations can take us and never have to work a day in our lives as long as we are doing what we love.” (Saba)

We've always heard that the best things in life are hidden in our own backyards. This myth holds an abundance of truth when we take a look at such events as the North Carolina Black Film Festival. This year marks their tenth anniversary as they showcase the short and full feature films of talented new filmmakers. This festival awards talented artists in the independent film industry for their creative works. Such artists as the 2011 Distinguished Filmmaker Honoree, Ava Duverna and the Emerging Artists Honorees, the Baba sisters were artists that were presented awards at the festival this year. They, along with other inspiring artists, captivated their audiences with original and unique projects.

Tajiya decided as early as five years old that she wanted to design her own animation projects. By the age of ten she had developed a hobby that has since helped them to transform into their own business. Keita says that she was her older sisters' secretary. “She was my idol and I wanted to do whatever Tajaya was doing”. As time passed, she began to have a strong love for animation too and pursued more of her creative abilities. Saba says that as the youngest offspring she was just born into the business developing and enhancing her creativity with the artwork along the way. She is now dedicated to the business; recognizing that it is a lot of work, yet fun because she is doing something that she really loves. Over the years, their business has created four films; The Organic Four (Episodes 1 & 2), Kwanzaa at My House, and Mission Possible (modeled by Stephan Askew of the Q Foundation). The ideas and storylines of all the films are created by the girls, their mother adds. To complete the story their mother coaches them on how to compose the scripts. Some of the inspiration comes from their life experience such as the organic movement and natural eating which are a part of their lifestyles.

The Staff of Diamond Diva Magazine had the pleasure of witnessing the Red Carpet entry of their Emerging Artist honorees; Tajiya (21), Keita (17), and Saba (13) Baba. Founder and President of NC Black Film Festival, Rhonda Bellemy, presented the award to the sisters as they gracefully received the token for their deserved accomplishments. From Charlotte, North Carolina these three precious diamonds are very unique and talented young ladies that bring their own twist to animated film. These young entrepreneurs have taken a hobby and turned it into an entertaining and lucrative business developing an array of projects through their company; Entrepreneurs of Youth and Integrity (EYI) Publications that was created in 2009. They expressed that their mother's teachings has instilled in them to have integrity, good character & morals and to be independent. Living by these high standards is how they model the image of their

The middle sister, Keita, is a survivor of the fatal disease - Amelia Blastoma. Through natural healing she is in

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Diamond Diva

May 2011


The Baba Sisters Debut

By: Renee’ Smith


remission and this has encouraged the sisters to continue their business quest at full thrive. By the end of 2011, their mission is to have at least ten new films produced. With each of the sisters having their own ideas for stories their projects will be as follows: Tajiya (an unconventional fantasy project), Keita (movie directed towards peace), and Saba (fairytale within a magical world) all of which are great and invigorating storylines. Within EYI they create and complete their own projects from character development, music, animation, post production, DVD cover design and packaging to all other aspects of the finished project.

These young ladies are very serious about their work and recognize that their talents are indeed a wonderful gift from God as they are grounded in 'Faith'. They emphasize the fact that art is everywhere and anyone can pull something artistic out of their surroundings. Their continual motivation is that they are providing a positive impact on the community and for their families. Staying on task is important to them and not deterring from their mission. Accepting that extra hand from Heaven is important as it is needed when the going gets rough. Tayaja states that it would be a disservice to the world if she does not utilized and give back her God given talents. Their fashion and style of dress is very unique for their ages. They like the classic look. Although they still wear jeans and clothing the youths their ages are wearing. Their mother chose a lot of their wardrobe and her choices and styles work for them. To them it does not matter the style, season or year of the clothing as long as it is unique and classic. If giving advice to younger girls who are starting out with their dream and feel discouraged because of the hard work and efforts that are necessary to achieve their goals: Tiyaja would say, “If you ever give up you will never get there. Keep pushing, maintain your determination. Do not let anything side track you, even if it is you, yourself. Never give up because one day whatever you're trying to obtain as long as it is with integrity you will gain it.” Keita would say, “Stay focused and grounded with who you are within. You were blessed with power and a special gift. Find your gift, believe in yourself and press towards the goals that you set and you will achieve in the end.” Saba would say, “Be encouraged. Be an entrepreneur because when you work for yourself nobody can fire you and nobody can take your place or make you do anything you don't want to do. Do what you love so that you will enjoy the business that you have. Stay on your goal so that it will manifest and reach your goal as you press forward.” The Baba sisters would like to grow and expand EYI. Their aspirations are to become a major animation entity. This business will offer opportunities to individuals whose dreams are to be successful in the business and give back their talents through their works with EYI. Many thanks go out from them to Tim Green of 'Tim Green Films' for guiding them and advising on how to be successful in the 'Home Film Industry'. They expressed a special thanks to Rhonda Bellemy for her presentation at the award ceremony of the NC Black Film Festival and her staff for being such a great group of individuals to work with during the festival. In closing they state that, “Blessings aren't complete until you give back.” I trust that these remarkable young ladies are headed towards a very successful future.

Diamond Diva

May 2011


Dear Coffee

Join Dear Coffee as she spills the tea on relationships, love, lust and the things you want to say but just can’t! Have a question, comment or concern you want her to speak on,

Dear Coffee, My husband has a girl that works with him (single) who has a crush on him. Everyone at his job sees it but him, is he blind, stupid, or just caught up at the fact that she shows interest in him. She even gave him a baby shower for our 2nd child at his job, and really went over and beyond. Do I confront her or just to continue to let it ride? Signed, About to set it off!

Dear About to set it off, Does your husband know you? I mean does he “really” know you? Does he know you are crazy as hell and will tear that workplace up? I have found out that single women are naturally attracted to married men, especially married men who look damn good and are taking care of business at home. Truth is the more he ignores the fact that she may be attracted to him, the more she is going to want him. Just hope that he is not like weak like some married men and get caught up. Don't hound him about it or remind him that she likes him, of course he knows, hell you said EVERYBODY knows. Take him lunch out of the blue and show up in some cute “half naked” outfit and make sure you speak to all his male co-workers. Just like he still has it, make sure you let him know that you still have it too! Baby or no baby, put on that good bra and strut! He'll see how this thing can flip on him in a minute. Make sure you speak to her; that lets her know she never knows when or where you will show up and show out! He's not dumb! And guess what, you aren't either. He's your man, make sure she knows it!

Let me know if you need my bondsman! Ya Girl, COFFEE

Diamond Diva Joining Diamond Diva and being kept in the know is now easier than ever. We've made it easy for you to join our Diamond Diva family.

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Just visit the main site of the magazine and click on one of these icons and join our digital family.


BLESSED IS THE WOMB OF By: LaToya’ Eaddy-Jenkins

father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb. If God was done with us as a people, all that He would need to do is shut up all of the wombs. He is God of all, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Imagine how simple of a task it would be for Him to just stop blessing the womb with future life.

In a time full of war and natural disasters, one may question whether or not God has turned his great grace from us. Many may question “Does God still love us?”, “Does He still care about our lives?', and “Has He completely given up on us?” Yes, we do live in a world accompanied with turmoil and despair. But we cannot focus solely on the hate and destruction that we have become privy to. God has guaranteed us that He will never leave us, nor forsake us in Hebrews 13:5. We must always focus first on the Kingdom of Heaven; there we will find our sufficiency in love. God's love is everlasting and He will fill our cups with grace, mercy and love until they run over. The reason that we do find suffering in our lives is because of that first bite of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge both Good and Evil. God explains to us the consequences in Genesis 2 16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. We now know a life full of joy, pain love and despair. It is not God's intent for us to hurt the way that we do, therefore, we can know for certain that He has not forsaken His children and that He never will. We can look towards one reason to know that God is not done with us yet. Only God can create life. We are promised in Genesis 49:25 Even by the God of thy


God did give us free will, but has anyone ever willed a pregnancy that has resulted into the birth of a child. It is true we can semi control the ability to not become pregnant with contraceptives such as condoms, spermicidal, barriers and prescription birth control. Even birth control is not a guaranteed form of total protection against pregnancy. It really does not matter which form of protection you do use because none of them are 100% guaranteed fail proof. I have heard tales of many a women becoming pregnant while using a birth control method. We also have no control over when we do become pregnant. Yes, we can create atmospheres, eat certain foods. We may even try different medications and procedures to increase our likely hood to conceive, but we still cannot guarantee the creation of life from these acts. There is indeed a great mystery to life. We learn this in Ecclesiastes 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. We question the works of God, trying to understand life and its development in the womb. We want to understand how a tiny egg and tiny sperm that is only visible under a microscope can form into a human being. We mark pregnancies by gestational weeks and are capable of seeing our baby through every stage before it is born. Yet, we still do not understand the how of life formation. This is because God is the controller of all life. He decides when, where and how a baby will be formed. No baby is every a mistake in His Kingdom. Even though it may be untimely in our lives, there is no mistake in conception. David understood this as he praised God in Psalms 139:13-16 You did form my inward parts, You did knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for You are fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are Your works!

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Diamond Diva

You know me right well; my frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. So, as we celebrate Mother's day this year, let us take a look at everybody and recognize that from the oldest to the youngest, God gave them life. Every single conception and birth is a miracle from God, letting us know that He wants us to go on with life, even though we live in a world that is full of both good and evil. He has blessed us immensely and His love of us is reflected in Deuteronomy 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

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From a Males Perspective Ok Ladies, we all have tried to figure out, "What was HE Thinking".Well, now here's your chance to find out. Have a burning question, that needs a male’s touch, or you just want to know why men do what they do, then get it from A Males Perspective. Send all questions, comments and even your concerns to, subject “Male’s Perspective” and let's find out what indeed he was really thinking.

The answer has escaped women for centuries. The question is discussed in coffee shops, living rooms, on twitter, and over chat. Genuine curiosity pushes women to ask it again and again. What is he thinking? What was his motivation, his intent, and his purpose? Does he even know? We hear time and time again that men and women act and think so differently. The only real way to find out what is really going on in someone's head is to ask them. The concern is that you wont get an honest and straightforward answer. We won't get into how often that happens. Just know that this is not one of those times. I'm going to answer any question you ask, and I'm going to tell it straight. Writing this column has been an interesting adventure. Seeing the questions women have has let me know that there is some ridiculousness going on out there. One thing is clear…we got to do better. This month's question is about the complicated relationship between baby mamas and baby daddies. Below is the question that came in. I need a Male's Perspective My baby daddy told me that his heart is with me and that he still loves me, but because he is currently with someone else, he did not want to hurt her and that he wanted to “leave her right” before coming back to me How do you leave a relationship right and what makes a man think that a woman will wait on him to make things right… Sincerely, Baby Daddy Drama Now let's look at this from two perspectives. I'll call them the inner dude and the outer dude. The inner dude represents the feelings, emotions, and understandings that a man has. The inner dude is vulnerable and compassionate. It is very different from the outer dude. The outer dude is about survival. The outer dude navigates the world and does what he needs to protect him. These two are constantly at odds. This situation is a case of inner dude vs. outer dude. Ok, let's look at the situation. This woman's baby daddy still loves her but isn't with her. I don't know their history, but I would assume that there is a reason that they didn't stay together. A calculated guess says that he is responsible for them being apart. Obviously he is an active participant in his child's life if the two of them are around each other enough to talk about being together again. Unfortunately, this woman is dealing with the inner dude. She gets to see him as a father and imagine the possibility of a family. He probably talks to her about their future and the future of his child. He probably shares his aspirations and dreams and she encourages him to keep striving towards what he wants out of life. That's the way the inner dude operates. It is the part of a man that perceptions of masculinity haven't corrupted. The outer dude is the one who thinks that “leaving right” is a plausible option. How exactly does someone pull this off? I hope baby daddy and his girlfriend don't live together. Have they been a part of each other's life for a


May 2011

Diamond Diva

while now? Have they been around each other's families, gone to church together, and have talked about a life together? Then yeah, he might want to be careful about how he leaves that relationship. Add to that the fact that he surely had to convince his girlfriend that he wasn't going back to his baby mama. I refuse to believe that he established a relationship with a woman who didn't ask if he still had feelings for his baby mama and if there was a chance they would reconcile. I'm confident that he assured his girlfriend that things were over between him and his baby mama. Let me break this down so that if can forever be broke. This dude is caught in the middle of an epic battle between inner dude and outer dude. Basically, he is straddling the fence. He could utilize the movie approach where he tosses everything aside and fights for the love he truly feels. Alicia Keys would play in the background, he would take his baby mama in his arms, and a wedding would soon follow. Of course, that's the movies and real life just doesn't work like that. He could take the win-win approach. That's when you tell your baby mama what you want her to hear and then tell your girlfriend what you want her to hear. It's an attempt to balance the two situations while ensuring that you have someone there for you regardless. Let's hope that's not what he is doing. That usually fails miserable. Sometimes there is personal property damage and at least one 911 call. Just for a moment let's consider that he really does love his baby mama and his heart is with her. Let's believe that he is a compassionate individual that doesn't want to break the heart of the woman he has built this new relationship with. Let's say he is a Good Samaritan and wants to do the right thing by both of the women in his life. Even if we believe that this is the case, there is no “right” way to leave someone. In my experience, someone who is afraid to make tough decisions and be accountable for his actions makes a statement like that. Would waiting until his girlfriend gets fed up with him and decides that things aren't working out be the “right” way? That would mean that there are already issues or that he is going to start acting different or distant to cause a riff? Would his conscience feel better if she leaves him? Is there a particular day of the week that makes breakups better? Maybe “things fall apart” Thursday? Is there a time of year that works better. Maybe there is a particular season. Leave in the summer because he wants someone else. Or leave in the fall because he's fallen out of love with his girlfriend. Would the “right” way be to leave a note, send an email, change the relationship status on Facebook, or send a tweet? Just how do you leave somebody the “right” way? Sounds like outer dude is selling wolf tickets and inner dude isn't willing to step up and do what needs to be done. Miss Baby Daddy Drama, my advice in this situation is force a play. Acknowledge there isn't a “right” way. Let baby daddy know that if his intention is sincere he has to accept responsibility and talk to his girlfriend. He needs to show her enough respect to let her know his feelings. He also needs to respect you enough to not keep advertising tomorrows he won't ever deliver. Why continue to entertain a situation where he keeps you wishing and waiting while he maintains a relationship with a woman he says doesn't have his heart? He is shortchanging both of you. Let him know that if he is going to be the man that you want and need, then he has to be a man willing to be accountable and transparent. If he can't do that then you won't keep listening to what he's saying. Being good parents to your child will be the only focus. Assure him you won't hold anything against him, but that you also won't put anything on hold for him. Oh, and by all means…please please please don't start playing house while he still has the keys to another woman's heart. Inner dude and outer dude will be high fiving off of that one. His inner dude knows how important you are and he will always have a place in his heart reserved for you. His inner dude also knows that the girlfriend means something to him and that she has been for him. His inner dude doesn't want to screw this up. His outer dude won't let him be left empty handed. His outer dude will continue to drag this out until he either finds the right angle or one of the two women in his life make a decision for him. You have to make him step up wholeheartedly. Trust me, in the long run he'll be better for it. Dasan Ahanu is a public speaker, organizer, workshop facilitator, poet, spoken word performer, songwriter, writer, emcee, and loyal Hip Hop head born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is currently a teacher at Duke University's Young Writer's Camp, creative consultant and resident artist at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC and an artist-in-residence at Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh, NC.

Diamond Diva

May 2011




By: Turjah Skeet Bush

SHE WEARS The crown she wears upon her head slanted curls, weave, or dreds Fashioned for the one so true

The mold was broken when God formed you Super powers given, and to you bestowed abilities to nurture and help direct your child's soul Many faces you could be for many you head the family tree Regal in your royal stance God winks at you with every glance never throwing caution to the wind when the chips are down, you really dig in

Not afraid to do what it takes Cooking, cleaning, taking time to bake CEO, Lawyer, Doctor, always showing Love,and a smile that isn't fake Proverbs sing the song of your worth, and praise Loving your family, is what it boils down to at the end of the day

Guided by God to raise your family right down on your knees praying for them every night Waking early in the a.m. to punch the clock Listening to all our problems, you are the familiys rock


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Diamond Diva

Super sassy, sophisticated, and strong standing head and shoulders above all the rest, an individual, with true individuality No one can compare you to any other You are truly the most appreciated mother.

I could not become the mother i am today If not through birth God had not sent me your way to learn your methods and past down traditions to understand my role, my motherly position to show my family real love seeking Gods face, for the light from above to lead me through this fight trusting in his protection to cover my children as they sleep through the night

God designed a master plan, and executed it well to reproduce seed, to learn from the stories that you tell You are the blessing that covers your family's lives the amazing way it all fits together, comes to fruition the moment you have a child M * O * T * H * E * R is who you are, and to your family the brightest shining star Queen to your husband, Queen mother to your kids Continuing the heritage of love and acceptance your touch will never end

All Rights Reserved Love * Peace * Poetry* The DIVA (c)

Diamond Diva

May 2011


Getting to know By: Christina L. Mial

ASHLEY MAR SHELL DD: So Ashley how are you? AMS: Couldn't be better, how are you? DD: I am doing well Ma Ma. Thanks for asking. So let me start by saying thank you so much for allowing Diamond Diva Magazine the opportunity to interview you. We figured we needed to get you before Essence and Ebony came knocking at your door. AMS: LOL, smart move! DD: So you know this issue is dedicated to mothers. Tell us about your pride and joy. Details hunny, give us details….lol

AMS: Tyson Premier Chasten Williams (yes he has a few extra names), but I was extra excited about his arrival and couldn't narrow it down anymore. The day I found out I was having a little man I began calling him Brody (after the cute white guy from “The Hills”), it stuck, so he actually has a 5th name lol. I chose “Tyson” as his first name because I like the simplicity yet it sounds strong. The “Premier” was my creative side kicking in, and as for “Chasten”… well I just really liked that name … He's almost 3 years old and entertains us like no other. The guy is already quite the ladies man, and he's recently discovered that when mommy says “No, I'm not giving you money for the gumball machine” he can just go to the nearest woman and say “I nee munee”, and they will give it to him. Hummph. Smh. He gets random hugs and kisses, and even proposals of marriage, when he implements this trick. That's my lil homie. Love, Love, by Brody! DD: Girl that is too too funny. I have to give you a me too example. When my oldest daughter was little and I would go to the gas station with just enough to buy gas, I would tell her to not ask me for anything when we got in the store. Girl we would go in the store to pay and she would get the most pitiful look on her face and there was always “some guy” who would ask what was wrong and she would give them puppy dog eyes and say, “my mama won't buy me nushins”. Girl, they come out with game!!!!! DD: So, back to you and Brody. Is he into music just as much as his Mommy? AMS: IS HE??!! Wow this kid knows every song on the radio, even ones I don't listen to! And you might think I'm playing but he can saaaaang! Lol. But basketball is his true obsession and he is amazing for a two year old. I mean he can dribble, has perfect form, doesn't miss a shot, AND he can dunk! For real for real! (I'm such a mother right, lol, my kid can do anything)… The other day we (his father and I) made him come in from playing basketball and he cried as he usually does… but this time as the ball rolled away, he sat down so pitifully and said “But basketball, I love youuuu”… I almost shed a tear. I had to give my baby his ball back. Lol DD: Awwwwww. Ashley don't take that baby ball no more…..

DD: What about your own mother? What is she like? AMS: My mommy, Lisa Marshell Ratliff, is absolutely positively amazing! She supports me in every single thing that I do. For every campaign, every photo shoot, every event, for whatever I am conjuring up, she's there listening to what I've Continued on page 21

Diamond Diva

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Getting to know continued


envisioned, then she adds her finishing touches to complete the vision; sometimes she revises the whole darn thing! Lol, she's always in rare form. I don't feel fully confident in any decision that I make until I have talked to her. I don't know what or where I would be without her. And on top of all 'at, she's gorgeous, she gets that from me though. (we are both laughing at this point.) DD: So is that where the gift of music came from? AMS: My mommy can actually sing, but she's more into the story the music is telling. She's a writer at heart; I definitely got that from her. She loves songs with substance and emotion, and creative lyrical content. You know how when you're listening to a new song and you hear something that hits you hard, really moves you… might make you say “wheeeew!” The part you anticipate when the song comes on, you rewind it and you sing that part reeeeal loud lol… it stays with you. She taught me to appreciate the power in the story the writer is telling, when I was very young. DD: How is it balancing motherhood, your music, and I assume you also work a full time job, correct? AMS: I do, and it's a challenge but it's very fulfilling. I wouldn't give up any aspect of my life… of course I would be cool with substituting the 9-5, well in my case 4-12:30am, for more mommy and music time, but I'm convinced, that with God, it'll happen in due time. I really don't have much free time, but I always say that “my business is my pleasure” and as long as I have a love for what I'm doing then I'm pleased no matter how busy I am. I thrive off the hustle, it keeps me going. DD: Where did the name Mar Shell come from? God given or stage name? AMS: God Given and tweaked lol. It is my “government” middle name as well as my mother's, but on official documentation it is not written with the space. The space was an addition because before it, people would always mispronounce it “Marshal” as in Fire Marshal. Smh, I hated that lol. The space helps, but occasionally a “Marshal” still slips through the cracks. DD: Girl I hate that too. Imagine growing up with the middle name Laz'a!..... Yea!!! DD: When did you first know that music was something you want to do? AMS: Well, as a child I was always into music and writing. I started a girl group with my cousins when I was like 10 or so, and I'd write songs for us to perform for the family, we were something serious! lol. But like many singers, I made my debut in church; big ups to Holly Springs First Baptist, yall created a monster the day yall let me lead that song in the children's choir! {Lol} It's been on from then. DD: So, I have been listening to your CD, “Not That Girl”… and girlfriend let me tell you… I cannot get enough. For those that don't know, the title track, Not That Girl…. Tell us what inspired the song. AMS: Not That Girl is my baby, hence the title track. The song is about that girl who is in a relationship, a not so healthy relationship, whether emotional, physical, or mental. It dwells on that moment of clarity when she realizes that she's "Not That Girl" anymore and she's done with the b.s. Inspiration came from not only my own experiences, but also those of my close friends and so many other women across the globe. Abusive relationships are very common, so much that some women don't even know that they are victims. This song is about the coming out, and vowing to do what's best for self. It was a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy for me. When I wrote the song, I was not convinced but I knew what I wanted to convince myself. So today I can say that "I haven't seen her, she's gone, and I'm not that girl anymore!" Also be on the lookout for my video PSA covering abusive relationships coming soon, shout out to SoundVision Productions love you guys!


May 2011

Diamond Diva

DD: So this CD is available on ITunes. How else can our readers purchase your music? AMS: Yes, the CD is on iTunes, but you can also get them the old fashion way, straight from my hand, or out of my trunk if you will lol... I have them at a better deal than iTunes plus I throw in a few extras, photos and such. Also big thank you to Conscious and K. Rich of Cnk productions for producing the whole album. They are amazing. Also Chaka Harley at Playground Studios in Durham, NC, he's awesome, he worked on the album as well. Couldn't have done it without you guys, really appreciate you! DD: Are you working on another CD as of date? When do you expect that to drop? AMS: Unfortunately I'm not working on a new project just yet. I'm still pushing "Not that Girl"; I really want to drill this into yalls heads. Right now I am collaborating with other independent artists, I love networking with other like minded individuals. That being said, get at me for features! DD: Where do you see yourself music wise in 5 years? 10? AMS: All up in and through the industry! lol... No but seriously, of course every artist wants to make it big and bombard the industry, but sometimes you have to compromise your individuality or your message in order to do so. That compromise is not something that I am too interested in. I can say that I will be doing music in some shape or form for life though. DD: How is your support system? Does your family listen to your music? Do you get critiques from them before you put it out there or do you treat them like you do us and we all have to hear it at the same time? AMS: My mommy is my biggest supporter, but she is also my biggest bootlegger! lol I usually give her a sneak peak and next thing you know the whole family knows the new tracks before they drop, Thanks a lot Lisa ;/ DD: So tell us, do you have any performances coming up you want us to know about? AMS: I'm always doing something; make sure to become a fan of Ashley Mar Shell Music on Facebook in order to stay updated. DD: Well Doll, I am going to wrap this up, but before I do‌. There is a track on your CD called Motivation. Tell us, what motivates you? And with that being said, what would you say to the girl in your shoes to motivate her? AMS: I absolutely live for that moment when someone says to me "Ashley I love that song, I think you wrote it for me" or "that song gets me through"... feedback like that is how I measure my success and that is what sincerely motivates me. Knowing that my music is touching people. And to the girl who is in my shoes, I know it sounds clichÊ, but don't give up. As "Motivation" states, nothing worth it is ever easy. Don't sit around waiting for people to give you things; you have to put yourself out there. Don't be afraid of rejection, not everyone is going to like what you're doing, not everyone is going to support you. Especially as a female people will try to take advantage of you or belittle your capabilities. You must decide to never take no as the final answer, if you get knocked down trying pick yourself up and come up fighting. NOW GO TAKE WHAT YOU WANT. DD: Well alright then folks. You heard it here from the lady herself! Any other story is a LIE!!! But seriously Ashley thank you again for doing this and we look forward to BIG things from you! AMS: Thank Yall for having me! Contact Ashley by: Facebook Ashley Mar Shell and also Ashley Mar Shell Music or by email at

Diamond Diva

May 2011


A Mothers By: Kimberly K


This issue is about the beautiful women in all of our lives, our mothers! They are courageous, understanding, and dynamic women who brought us into this world. It's wonderful each year to celebrate motherhood and the bond between a mother and her child. I wanted to encourage my reader's to take a moment to enjoy a splendid thought of their own mothers. Mothers endure different trials in parenthood and still find the strength to show everlasting joy to their children. I am blessed to be the product of a wonderful mother who has always been there for me. Her comforting spirit, kind heart, and ambitious effort has always inspired me as a child. I can't tell you how many fun times we have shared growing with each other. From talks about boys, dancing to Foxy 104.3's Quiet Storm music, or shopping no matter what we were doing it was always and still is a joy. Even now I still go visit my dance to as many Michael mother. It's the most hilarious the great thing about having share. All of us have a story to whether good or bad but have a mother. Being a love & say I learned so much from my married to the same man my now in a society of high and class have shown her to be an expert on the art love and relationships.

parents and hop in my pj's to Jackson song's I can with my thing you will ever see but that's those types of moments to share about our mothers either way it is a blessing to relationships writer I can truly mother. She has been happily wonderful father for 33 years divorce rates. Her faith, grace,

This Mother's Day you should definitely celebrate in a special way with the lovely lady in your life. Locally, here in the Triangle there are many options such as La Therapie Day Spa of Cary, The Weston Spa of Cary, or dinner on Glenwood. I would like to give a special greeting to my mother Mrs. Willisteen L. Knight. The woman who showed me the beauty of being a girl to a woman, taught me about love, and most of all gave me guidance to use my faith to go through life. She always encouraged me to keep God First and to dream big. I love you dearly and God could not have given me a more beautiful woman to call my mother. I wish you a Mother's Day filled with blessings, joy, and excitement because you deserve it and much more. Happy Mother's Day to all the Diamond Diva Readers! What do you have planned for Mother's Day? Send your questions or comments to

Love is a funny thing. We close our eyes and visualize our perfect life with all the elements that will make us happy. When you “Open Your Eyes� the reality of it all is that we have to laugh sometimes to keep from crying and everything we need is not right in front of us. Wendy Brooks fell into love and has all the bumps and bruises to show for it. When the backstabbing and betrayal would arise, closing her eyes always elevated her to a different place. It was full of love, lust, sex and people only her imagination would allow her to have; those were her elements of happiness. Behind the expensive suits, cars, clubs and money that comes with a new love interest; does love really not cost a thing? To purchase your copy visit our website

What Does Mother’s Day Mean to Me By: Marvetta Graddy

WHAT DOES MOTHER'S DAY MEAN TO ME? I sat and I pondered this question. It's so direct and to the point, yet, it's very complex to explain. Mother's day has meant many things to me. When I was a young child, it meant showing my mommy just how much she meant to me and I did so with cheerios, tape, glue, beads, ribbon, crayons and anything else my kindergarten teacher would allow me to use. As I approached my teen years, it meant sacrificing a trip to the movies or the skating rink just to be able to surprise my mom with something that (now as I reflect) was hideous; however, she would wear it proudly. In my adult years, it meant showing my mother just how much she is loved, admired and appreciated and also receiving the same kind of love I have showered my mother with over the years from my own children. As I hold my grandchildren who will make those same kindergarten gifts for my daughter, that my daughter (and her siblings made for me) and that I also made for my mom and she for hers...I now know what Mother's Day means to me. It means LOVE.

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Thank you Momma By: Christina Mial

It started January 22, 1978 and it didn't stop until May 21, 1991. My mother gave birth to five girls, no boys {blame it on Daddy}and God couldn't have chosen a better person to gift us to. From the time I can remember my mother has always been independent and strong willed. She takes no mess from anyone… and I do mean anyone!!! I remember hearing the stories my aunts and uncles would tell of their childhood years where my mom wouldn't even cry during whoopins. Story has it they use to beg her to cry so my grandfather would stop. Yea, she's a tough cookie. But just as tough as she is she also has one of the biggest hearts I know. It is so weird to think of how someone could be so “mean” and so sweet at the same time…. But that is my mother. My sisters and I learned how to give our last to others in need by watching my mom go to the store with a few dollars in her pocket to feed us and still stretching it out to help the lil old lady in front of us in line who didn't have enough to cover her own bill. I also remember the time she randomly gave a lady $50.00 one year around the holiday time just because. “Give unto others and it will be given unto you” she would say. Coming up, my mother and I fought tooth and nail. Just as strong willed as she is, so was I. But there was only one QUEEN in my mama's household and it took me a while to realize it, but it is and always will be, my mother. I know it seemed like what she taught me went in one ear and out the other. But I owe a lot to her. She taught me how to stand up for myself even when no one else would. She taught me that regardless of what I was be the best at it that I could be. She taught me how to hold my head up high and walk in my accomplishments as well as my mistakes. “Don't hang your head down for nobody”. If you did it you did it was her thing. Right is right and wrong is wrong. I love that fact that she didn't show us favoritism because we were her kids. If we were wrong she let us know it. That taught me a lot. Although I tried numerous of times… it should me I was not going to be able to get away with everything. My mother is one who even though all her kids are grown; she still treats us like her babies. Don't get me wrong. We have moments where we are like “MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA….. OMG”… But we really love it! I never knew that my mother was my best friend until I got old enough to understand she just wanted the best for me. She wasn't out to “get me” as I would always think when I was a child. She just was doing what a mother is supposed to do. She protected me. Now that I am a mother, I am slowly but surely understanding the importance of the talks. I get why she wanted to know who house I was going over, who was going to be there, what men stayed there…. All that. I am so thankful that she is still here. I have a lot of people in my life who have lost their mothers and it helps me to appreciate mine that much more. We get on each other's nerves and as she says it she can't “stand my attitude”, I still wouldn't trade it with anyone on earth. To my mother, Mary Ann Byrd Mial…. I say I love you. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. And thank you! Happy Mother's Day 2011!!


May 2011

Diamond Diva


I know you're probably wondering what in the world am I referring to. Monsters and follicles?? Yes I said a hungry monster in your follicle. The number one pet peeve for ANY "professional" hairstylist is SPLIT ENDS!!! Picture a l o v e l y w o m a n who walks in front of you with a head f u l l o f "chewed up hair. Looks like that monster came out in the middle of the night snacking on her ends~~~lol. All these slang terminology got you discombobulated? Well split ends have the same affect on me. Nothing is worse than the "so-called" diva holding on to that one long strand. You've seen her in church, at the grocery store, at your job or God- forbid it's YOU!!!! Ha-ha! I have a cure, it's called a trim. See what most don't understand is the hair has a mind of its own. The hair craves for healthy body, luster, elasticity and length. And just like a bad relationship, what you won't do, someone else will (that monster!!!)Lol. Your hair will cut itself off to be in better condition. When it appears as though damaged, it's in reconstruction. But why torture what a good God gave you, take care of it. One trim a month does wonders! It keeps the hair in its best healthy state. It's more cooperative and will thank you by adorning your head like the "diva� you should be. Please please don't be that woman that walks around with 3 good strands of hair in a doobie wrap. THE NERVE!!Love your hair and take of it like you do the rest of you. Have it trimmed at least once a month for an optimum result. It will honestly save you money and time. Now that's priceless!!! Happy cutting, trimming, and layering!! Your hair will love you for it!! No one can deny a healthy head of hair always looks good. It said when you know better, you do better. Have a happy healthy hair day!!!!

BUMP IT UP By: Crystal McCullers That's right, you read it right, “BUMP IT UP”! In this day and age nearly anything is going in fashion. We have styles to “relate” to all the way from Beyonce to Rhianna. Now Keri Wilson's insistence that leotards are fully dressed outfits and AList Celebs adopting “lil black babies” as if they are the hottest accessories since the afro pik with the integrated jheri curl dispensers (remember those!)- it's hard to imagine how anyone could feel lost as in how to pull a look together! However, one group does come to mind, one VERY important circle that without them, none of us would even be here. I call them my fellow Bump Sisters! You know, the ladies walking around fully multitasking 24/7 for 9 months! The new, experienced, surprised, or planned out to the ovulating second, Mommies To Be! And since my loves, this is the Month of Mother's Day…This Fashion Segment is just for YOU! And to you ladies I say BUMP IT UP! So ladies seriously thank God we ARE in these days. Long gone are the days where we're forced to walk around looking like Florida Evans from Good Times! You know forever sporting the same color (orange in her case) or those GOD awful moo-moo dresses with the flowers all over them! If you still need another visual, you know the dress your grandmother USE to wear around the house with the half ankle calf socks and slippers as she stood in front of the Diamond Diva

stove frying chicken? Whew I had to go there. No, no, no, we are so past that! We have designers and people who REALLY care, designing and making clothes that accommodate our bumps and make you look and feel fashionable and sexy! YES sexy! So here we go, let's explore a few tips that can keep us encouraged and confident as we give way to the bundle of joy whom we will carry from our stomach that unfortunately sometimes, shows our hips, thighs, and stretch marks!....Bump It! Tip 1: Streeeeetch It! Ok, ladies one thing that you will NOT be able to get away from are the maternity pants. Your stomach is going to continue to grow until you give birth and unzipping your pants and folding the waist down is not going to work but for so st long. So the 1 piece you will need to invest in are some nice maternity jeans. Jeggings and Leggings are killing the scene and I don't see them going anywhere any time soon. They are cute, comfortable, and fashionable. For the 1st nd and 2 trimester you can get away with leggings in larger sizes but that last trimester go ahead invest in maternity pants. Note that most styles that are out now are also made maternity! That's right even those skinny jeans are made maternity style so you don't have to give the look up. In corporate? No need to fret, there is no need to give up those oh so chic slacks. They come maternity as well. Just pair any of these bottoms with a hot top or blouse and BAM you got it! So speaking of tops and blouses? …..Bump It! Tip 2: My Lovely Lady Bump Ok so try to stay with me on this one here as this tip will truly separate those willing to move forward in fashion, and those who juuuusssst aren't that ready to take the step…..I say, “If You've Got It, FLAUNT IT”! Please STOP hiding your bump ladies STOP IT! No one is fooled and you wearing tents for clothing makes you look just like that, a tent! Did you know that more people find the female body its sexiest when

May 2011

Continued on page 34




the female is pregnant? Now, Im not saying walk around with you stomach hanging out or flower/butterfly painted (Miss. Me Me SMH) but I am saying definitely flaunt it! There is nothing wrong (but perfectly right) with wearing tops that are form fitting and actually show your silhouette. Enough with the maternity wear here. If you can, just buy shirts in larger sizes not necessarily maternity. Remember you are already rocking the hot maternity skinny jeans now here is your chance to pair it with that beautiful bright shirt that complements your glow! For some you can actually get away without buying maternity at all in this category! Picture this, a cute off the shoulder casual top with some crop leggings cute, chic, and COMFORTABLE! Corporate? A nice form fitting or Flowing empire waist blouse with straight leg maternity slacks!..... Bump It! Tip 3: MAXImize that Bump… There is no greater love right now than between me and the Maxi dress. And to all my bump sisters might I suggest the same to you! The maxi dress has been or should be if it's not your BEST friend, especially with the spring and upcoming summer. This dress can cover it all! When you don't want to coordinate the separates in your wardrobe yet you want to look fashionable, fresh, and fly turn to the maxi. As you grow you will appreciate the pieces that will grow with you and these dresses will do just that. Stretching and expanding in all the places we need from the back to the front and even some (tube like) in the bust area. And for those that are smacking and twisting their lips saying, “I need my arms covered”, BUMP IT, throw on a bolero or cardigan and keep it moving. Even if you need the extra support in the bust wear your bra just cover it up with a bolero and you are on your way!.....BUMP IT!

Tip 4: Relax & “Rotate” Your Feet Yes, I said it…”Mz. Stilettoz” herself! But seriously I can't even imagine the “Pregnant My Feet Hurt” st nd Walk. Now for the 1 and 2 trimester you might still be able to rock your hot “CuteStylz” (and yes, rd that was a plug) but going on into the 3 trimester rotate your most comfortable shoes. Flats will be the choice for most but on the days you can go for a nice solid wedge that still offers the appeal of a heel but the safety and comfort ability in a more suitable shoe. I would have a nice flat and wedge for work, and cute flat sandals and lower heels or wedges for around town or a night out….Bump It! So my bump sisters no need to go into hiding or to loose that fashion flair you have. I know it may be hard with all the changes your body may be going through but remember the better you look the better you feel. So try to push through and embrace your bump and flaunt it in style! Happy Mother's Day Mommies…… Now Go BUMP IT UP! Love & Style, Crystal McCullers

Diamond Diva

May 2011



By: Angela & Dadja Thomas

“Mama was a piece of me”. Where did she go? I really miss her so much. I would never trade her in for nothing in the world. She's my one and only piece of 14k gold. Mama you told me you'd never leave me, but you always implanted my thoughts to never say never. Till this day, I still look at your wonderful pictures. What happened to the love you had? Mama, you sparkled as if you were a cluster of 14k gold, your presence filled the room like a ray of sunshine as if we were trapped in a goldmine. What happen to the easy, delicious dinners you use to cook for me? What am I suppose to do without the love you once had for me? Do you remember when you first started doing drugs? It destroyed our family. You promised me you were going to stop! You said, this is an addiction I'm going through but I will check myself in rehab as soon as possible. You never did Mama. The last time I saw you, you appeared dark and cold, telling me you loved me one last time. I looked for you the next day but you were a no call, no show. Where did you go? Time is getting shorter and the days are getting longer, there's no me without you. I need you Mama. “Mama you are still a piece of me. Where did you go? I really miss you so much. I would never trade you in for nothing in this world. You're my one expensive piece of 14k gold. Mama, Mama, where did you go? Ooh, Mama how can I capture your tender love back? The drugs can't overpower the love that I have for you. I don't want anyone but you in my life because no one else would do. Not my daddy, grandma or foster care, I need my 14k gold medallion to hang around my neck, which is you, so I can cherish it for the rest of my life, shined to perfection! Mama, if you're listening please call or come by to shine your affection and love upon me. I would give anything to have one last hug or kiss from you, “My Precious Mama”. Don't be ashamed to face me because you are strung out on crack. I still love you like never before. People say you are a dope feen but in my eyes, you're my” Black Queen”. The opium of a sweet smelling perfume, a fragrance with the aroma of five thousand roses with baby-breathes attached to them. “I love you Mama”. “Mama was a piece of me. Where did she go? I really miss her so much. I would never trade her in for anything in this entire world. She's my one and only piece of 14k gold and with that I'll cherish her for the rest of my life. I'll be waiting for you Mama at the “Goldmine”. Thank you! Dadja, you are my “Girl” thanks for co- writing this story plot for this exceptional story with your Mother, you're my 14k gold. I Love You!

r o t i d E g n i g a n a M

Getting to know the

So where do I start? Let me say this…. I truly hope you all enjoyed reading this issue of Diamond Diva Magazine. Not only did we want to make sure we focused on the most important women in our lives… but we wanted to make sure you still walked away from this read feeling empowered and ready for more. Did we accomplish that? I would like to think we did. From the personal messages some of our readers sent in to their mothers to the Dear Coffee, I hope you gained something. So, my name is Christina Mial {pronounced like mile} and as the introduction title states, I am the Managing Editor for Diamond Diva Magazine. I joined the Diamond Diva Family in February 2011 and I am so honored that this door was opened for me. Though I have no educational training in the editorial world, I do have years of personal experiences in writing letters, poetry, songs, short stories, and columns for other magazines. I would like to think that I can offer you all the perspective from a “real woman's” point of view. I can't say I will give it to you text book styled, but I will give it to you how you know it. WOMAN TO WOMAN.

are reading this, you know every day is an adventure… especially with toddlers AND teenagers. In addition to the magazine I also am a business owner as well. I have a gift basket company called Occasionally Yours {you may have noticed the ad as you read this and past issues}. There is also another title that I wear. Full-time student. So again, we here understand what it is like to wear many hats…. Which is what makes us the Diamond Divas that we are. I remember once looking up the definition of a diamond and learning that it came from a Greek word meaning “unbreakable”. When you look at all we as women do and carry… does that not perfectly describe our strength? Please continue on this journey with us as we strive to continue to bring you news and stories that are “Empowering the Essence of a Woman”… that one is YOU!! Next month our focus will be on the men in our lives. Our fathers, the fathers of our children, our brothers, cousins, uncles, and friends. We will salute them and embrace their contributions to our lives. Feel free to send in your submissions or just write us in general! We love to show support to those that support us! Until we meet again….. Christina

There are four little gifts that God has blessed me with that range in ages starting from 17 years old down to the age of 2 years old. With that being said, I am sure we all can laugh and cry at the stories that I will share of the going ons in my household. Any mothers that

Diamond Diva

May 2011


Mothers Day Issue  

Happy Mothers Day to all my Diamond Diva's!

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