Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine May/June 2020 Issue 02

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VIRTUAL COMMENCEMENTS Issue 02 | may/june 2020




CONTENTS 41 Community Outreach

49 The 2NCs

Class of 2020 Graduate Carolyn Williamson

64 Performing Arts

14 Inspirational Moments Inspiring Our World 18 Education Is Key The Year of Virtual Graduations 23 Business & Entrepreneurship More Than A Male Nurse 30 Health & Wellness Mind, Body, and Healthy Eating 36 Political Awareness EMERGE 45 Authors Speak Black Male Authors On the Rise 56 All Things Fashion Modern Hair Gangster Fashion & COVID-19 Fashion to Make You Feel Good

68 The Sports Report With Lady K What's Your New Sport?

18 The Class of 2020 Commencement Is Canceled...For Now!

Front Cover Design: This work, "In His Hands" by Karen Clay, is a derivative of "Creative Commons Horseshoe Falls" by Flying Freddie, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 p?curid=7799538 MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 1


May/June 2020 Founders Karen McConnell-Jones & Dr. Sharon H. Porter Editor-In-Chief Dr. Sharon H. Porter

Contributing Writers: Inspirational Moments Education Is Key Business & Entrepreneurship Health & Wellness

Political Awareness Community Outreach Authors Speak Travel & Real Estate All Things Fashion

Performing Arts

Dr. Essie McKoy Dr. Sharon H. Porter Karen McConnell-Jones Donna Harris Jason Greene Candice Camille Kyonna F. Brown Dr. Sharon H. Porter Karen McConnell-Jones Dr. Essie McKoy James AdĂŠll Alicia Morgan Alia Jackson Antonio "Tony" Turner Martina Turner Seth Washington

The Sports Report

Karen McConnell-Jones


Karen McConnell-Jones Dr. Sharon H. Porter

Deputy Editors Karen McConnell-Jones Krystal Glenn Layout & Design Dr. Sharon H. Porter Krystal Glenn Director of Graphics & Design Krystal Glenn Director of Sales Karen McConnell Jones Sales Team Stephanie Poplar Michelle B. Hauser Photographers Dominique Massaquoi Stevie Gaymon V&P Consultant Karen Clay Contact


V&P Service Page Special dedication to Donna Harris and Krystal Glenn The V&P Team is here to be a positive voice for our community through the stories that are shared in our magazine. In addition, we would like to provide services for our community to continue to help build our community one VISION and one PURPOSE at a time! For services and pricing, please contact us at

Karen McConnell-Jones Dr. Sharon H. Porter Krystal Glenn Karen Clay Stevie Gaymon Domminique Massaquoi Angela Bryant Jason Greene Kyonna F. Brown Dr. Essie McKoy James Adéll Antonio Turner Martina Turner Shaina Brown Alicia Morgan Alia Jackson Seth Washington Candice Camille Donna Harris Michelle B. Hauser

Inspirational Speaker and Business Development Consultant (Marketing & Branding Specialist) Educational Consultant, Panel Facilitator & Book Publisher Graphic Designer Website Designer Photographer Photographer Gospel Singer & Real Estate Agent Chef & Catering Service Inspirational Speaker & Social Media Specialist Inspirational Speaker& Educational Consultant Custom Men's Clothing Designer Hair Stylist & Hair Care Products Hair Stylists & Hair Care Products Hair Stylist Women's Clothing Line Specialist Social Media Specialist Vocal Artist & Master of Ceremony Personal Trainer Tax Accountant Virtual Assistant

Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine "Inspiring Our Community"



Dr. Essie McKoy Inspirational Moments Authors Speak Dr. Essie McKoy, CEO of Dr. Essie Speaks, an award-winning educator, a four times Amazon bestselling author, a coach, an inspirational speaker, and a radio host. She received her Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) and an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed. S.) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master’s Degree from Appalachian State University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Winston-Salem State University.

To learn more about Dr. McKoy, please visit her website at

Dr. Sharon H. Porter Education Is Key Political Awareness The 2NCs

Dr. Sharon H. Porter (Dr. Sharon) , educator, best-selling author, publisher, and host, has over 30 years experience as a principal, assistant principal, central office administrator, and classroom teacher. She is a graduate of Howard University, Walden University, Johns Hopkins, University, National-Louis University, and Winston-Salem State University. She is also a part of the Harvard University School of Education Women in Educational Leadership 2019 Cohort. Dr. Sharon is the Executive Director of the Next In Line to Lead Aspiring Principal Leadership Academy (APLA). She is the President of SHP Enterprise, the umbrella entity for Perfect Time SHP LLC, Coaching, Consulting, and Book Publishing Firm, The GRIND Entrepreneur Network, and SHP Media and Broadcasting. She is the host of The I Am Dr. Sharon Show™. She is a contributing writer, Editor-In-Chief, Co-Founder, and Owner of Vision & Purpose (V&P) LifeStyle Magazine and Media. Learn more about Dr. Sharon at


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Business & Entrpreneurship The Sports Report With Lady K Community Outreach The 2NCs

Karen McConnell-Jones is an Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, being the first African-American full-service upscale Salon/Day Spa, located in the prestigious downtown Washington, D.C., two blocks from the White House. Ms. McConnellJones is the CEO & President of Class Act Productions and Class Act Speakers Bureau, lending her expertise in the area of Business Development, Business & Purpose Coach, and Inspirational Speaker. Best known for her work she does in the community, earning over 30 proclamations for her work in the community. She is also Deputy Editor, Director of Sales, Co-Founder and Owner of V&P Magazine & Media. For more information and bookings please visit or call 202904-1000.

Donna Harris Business & Entrepreneurship

A passionate and detail-oriented Tax Accountant, Donna Harris has been meeting the needs of individuals and corporations for more than 20 years. Donna has degrees in Management, Accounting and Business.

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Karen McConnell-Jones



Jason R Greene


Health & Wellness

Chef Jason R Greene is a certified chef who studied at the Art Institute of Washington. He is a very skilled, technically savvy, determined chef who specializes in Cajun Cuisine and innovating new types of menus as time progresses. Chef Jason has provided his talents as a supervisor at Half Note Lounge in Bowie, MD and as Executive Chef at TruOrleans in Washington DC. In Feb 2012, Chef Jason was showcased in Macy’s Black History Month celebration honoring the Romare Bearden Foundation. Chef Jason is constantly expanding his culinary knowledge and has strong aspirations in making Chef J Greene a household name. In January of 2013 Chef J Greene branched out and started TJay’s Catering Company, a company he quoted to provide high quality cuisine to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Candice Camille Health & Wellness

Candice Camille is CEO of Candice Camille Enterprises, Founder of Sexy Fit & Well, and Plank Talk Nation. She is a planking world record contender, an award winning sort after International Speaker and Media Personality. Along with being a High Performance Personal Trainer, Certified Emotional Mastery Coach and Amazon bestselling Author. She has also been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, WUSA 9, and ION TV. As a committed community leader, Candice is Co-Founder of Girls Run, Inc. where she serves as a running and mentoring coach for young girls.

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Health & Wellness

Kyonna is a media guru, successful business owner, and an established author. She wrote Blessed Hands: The Pathway to Forgiveness, and contributed to Breaking Free Forever, The Momentous Journey, and Break Through featuring Les Brown and other authors. She is a field correspondent for His Favor Magazine, which has showcased Tamala Mann and Joyce Myers; and is the host of Forgiveness Friday, a weekly highly demanded evening show dedicated to commanding constant life issues with her forgiveness strategies. Determined to release women from all walks of life, Kyonna recently became a CMAT prison mentor. Pooch Styles, her trendy creative pet grooming and aesthetician business in the Washington, DC area, is where she and her staff offer FURgiveness to 4-legged members of various families. Based on her observing a community of pet owners illequipped to properly recognize and respond to their pet grooming needs, she provides tips and tools via her book How to care for the pet I love.

James Adéll Travel & Real Estate

James Adéll, originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, currently resides in Cary, North Carolina. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he specialized in Communications and received an Honorable Discharge at the rank of Sergeant. James attended Saint Augustine's University, where he studied Organizational Management, as well as completing the 37th Session of the Administrative Officers Management Program (AOMP) at North Carolina State University.


Kyonna F. Brown

He is the owner of James Adéll Custom Clothiers, LLC which was established in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2017 as a byproduct of James' enthusiasm for travel.

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Alia Jackson All Things Fashion

Alia Jackson is a student at Bowie State University where she is currently studying Digital Media Production.

Alicia Morgan All Things Fashion

Alicia Lynette Morgan is a fashion designer, boutique owner, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Upper Marlboro, MD, she was involved in almost every sport and artistic activities. Her peak of interest in fashion came about in middle school with sketches of designs, styling friends, and discovering her own fashion sense. When Alicia attended Dr. Henry A Wise Jr. High School she started to learn to sew and created hand clutches and sold them to the students at school for a very cheap price. Alicia attends Bowie State University and studies business administration. On September 23, 2018 Alicia launched her woman’s clothing brand Balem Lux and had her first fashion show two weeks later at Bowie State. Alicia is currently working toward becoming a well known fashion designer in MD and has grown tremendously. Through the bumpy roads and confusion, Alicia is staying strong and perusing her passion.

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All Things Fashion

Tony Turner is co-owner of Tony Turner Hair Products & Salon located in Richmond VA. He is a licensed cosmetologist/ salon owner with over 30 years experience. He has worked for many hair care brands before creating his own line of hair care products. Tony is an award-winning hair stylist and was named Hair Styling Icon by Beauty & Barber Magazine. He has owned multiple hair salons. Beginning with his first salon The Untouchables at the age of 19. He is looking forward to sharing his insight with V&P readers. His focus is not just on external beauty but more so on the beauty of the mind’s ability to make good decisions that makes us beautiful inside and out

Martina Turner All Things Fashion

Martina Turner is working on building the Tony Turner Unleashed Brand with her Husband/Business Partner, Antonio Turner, located in Richmond, Virgina. Martina has 26 years of experience in the Cosmetology field. She's had the opportunity to do Platform work at the International Beauty Show in New York City, work with Wahl Clipper Company at the Bronner's International Beauty Show in Atlanta Georgia, and experience Celebrity hairstyling. Martina is working on photography, filming, designing, creating new looks for advertisement, commercials and Trade shows for Tony Turner Unleashed Hair Care Products. She's worked on an Advertisement Ad featured in Essence Magazine, also Martina has been featured in two books. A Divine Detour by Taleshia L. Chandler, PH. D. and Black from Scratch by Chalet A. Jean-Baptiste. Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine |


Antonio "Tony" Turner



Seth Washington Performing Arts

Seth Washington writes about performing arts for V&P Magazine and brings a firsthand appreciation of the art spectrum. As a very active spoken word artist and master of ceremonies, his performance work routinely partners him with the kinds of musicians, singers dancers and other creative souls that he writes about. During a previous period along his aesthetic path, Washington also captured 35mm film portraits and performance photos of jazz, rock and hip hop entities including national ,as well as, local Washington, DC area artists.

Stevie Gaymon Lead Photographer

Stevie Gaymon is Lead Photographer for Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine. He is the owner of Gaymon Studios.


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Dominique Massaquoi was born and raised in Washington DC. She is an up-and-coming photographer. She has a marketing degree from The Pennsylvania State University and is the owner of HawaDigital, a photography business. She enjoys capturing special moments with her lens. She feels like photography is an art and it allows her to tell a story that can be captured in a second. She specializes in street photography, especially graffiti murals.

Krystal Glenn Graphic Design

Krystal Glenn is the Lead Cinematographer at OG Media Productions. She graduated from Hampton University in 2002 with a degree in Business Administration and started a career in Accounting with a non-profit organization. She went on to attend Full Sail University and earned a Bachelors of Science in Digital Cinematography. She is a cinematographer, writer, speaker and producer. As a cinematographer, she has worked on a variety of genres of projects including commercials, PSA, music videos and mini-documentaries, video streaming, short films, commercials and more.

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Dominique Massaquoi



Michelle B. Hauser


Sales Team

Michelle B. Hauser is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She has worked in the medical field for over 17 years. She is currently a Compliance Educator with a HealthCare Organization in North Carolina. Michelle earned a Master‘s degree in Medical Health Administration from Strayer University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication from Salem College.

Stephanie Poplar Sales Team

Stephanie Poplar resides in Prince George's County, Maryland, she is best known as one of the top Real Estate Agents in the Washington Metropolitan area. With the love for sales being her best match. Ms. Poplar also share a love for writing and helping her clients gain their non-profit status. Just having a BIG heart for serving and in her fun loving spirit she is now attending Prince George's County Community College Culinary Arts for her love of baking.

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Front Cover Design

Karen Clay has a passion for being of service to the community. She has a skill for engaging with people, entrepreneurs and organizations to partner with them toward the accomplishment of their mission, whether it is personal or organizational. She goes the extra mile to inform, provide advice to, and execute on a shared vision to assist in bringing it to fruition. Karen is the owner of Clay Consulting, a technology consulting agency dedicated to providing the full range of technology services and support to small/medium non-profit organizations and entrepreneurs.

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Karen Clay


INSPIRING OUR WORLD BY DR. ESSIE MCKOY While our world is dealing with a pandemic and looking for answers, trying to discover ways to reduce and eliminate the death rates, seeking a cure, and dealing with a myriad of issues related to the global impact of the coronavirus, I invite you to find a way to see a glimmer of hope in all this and to seek a positive outlook from every situation, no matter how grim it may appear. Yes, it is tragic to lose so many brothers and sisters across this nation and in other countries and still have hope and be optimistic during this dire time, but this is when we must look within and turn to a higher source. When we are all impacted by something of this magnitude, we often do not think about the economic status of another person, we do not think about the race of individuals, or any external characteristics.


We just work in unison to find ways to overcome this uninvited plight together! Our leaders in all parties and in all branches must come together and find solutions that will address the devastation we face with COVID 19. We must, at the core of who we are, find ways to put our differences aside, our party lines must remain invisible, and our humanity must be at the center of our outpouring love and commitment to one another all across this world. We must operate as united Americans to help each other and extend ourselves to assist other countries as we fight to overcome such vast issues related to this accelerating pandemic.



While we continue to grapple with the effects of this virus and search for solutions, I am reminded of all the positive things going on that we do not hear a lot about due to the airways being flooded with matters related to this global pandemic. Yet there are so many positive and heartfelt acts to highlight and reflect on, in the joining of Americans who are making sacrifices. It is inspiring when companies, businesses, and organizations come together and try to find a cure. Amazingly, small businesses and others are making supplies such as masks, gowns, gloves, and equipment trying to provide for the astronomical demands. Generous individuals are providing for the needy and assisting with those that are less fortunate. While we are not where we need to be with our government taking drastic actions, we are having more and more private citizens and corporations to step-up and find ways to make a profound difference. Scientists and medical organizations are taking chances and a leap of faith about medications that are not approved, but they are using them to try and slow down the loss of lives. So many medical professionals are jeopardizing their own lives and putting themselves in harm’s way. Yes, it is their job, but the level of commitment and sacrifice is overwhelmingly remarkable. For that, we thank you for the sacrifices you are making to help take care of those suffering from this pandemic. Thank you to the firefighters, police officers, EMS workers, postal workers, and others who have no choice, but to put their health at risk. To be honest, we are all suffering, but the acknowledgement of those testing positive and losing their lives are extremely devastating. We, thank every individual, organization, and business that have put self and the profit mindset aside and are working vigorously or fiercely to offer their service and time. We must realize that no one is immune to this virus and we must lend a helping hand, pray, and have the faith that a better day is ahead! Other people have inquired how can they help during this time with so many restrictions placed upon them and with our inability to do the normal things we are accustomed to doing. Well, consider doing small deeds such as giving much needed blood to the American Red Cross, raise funds to give to the needy, donate to food banks all across the nation and world, extend a kind gesture to health care professionals, support and promote the advice from the medical community about what we should be doing during this time, access your resources and share with those in need, donate funds to those impacted by losing their jobs, deliver needed food and supplies, continue to support restaurants that are closed or had to reduce their workforce by patronizing the business with takeout orders, check in on the elderly, do not hoard items and be generous to other Americans by leaving enough for all, provide basis supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap, and hand wipes, assist with taking meals to those who do not have food, do a kind gesture for the truck drivers transporting essential items, pay someone’s mortgage or utility bill while they are displaced, go to the post office for those afraid to go out of their houses, activate the pay-it-forward concept, be creative and display a random act of kindness during this challenging time, spread love, hope, joy, and positive messages, and remember to operate with a healthy dose of humanity, just to name a few!

Let us not forget, the millions of students who are not in school due to this virus. There are several ways you can assist during this time while schools are closed and educators are working on plans to provide on-line platforms for students to do work, take home packets of schoolwork, and create other avenues of keeping the learning flowing. If you desire to help, contact local schools or school districts to see how you may be able to assist. Other productive ways may include assisting a student who is having difficulties with their on-line assignments, share resources in your areas of expertise, making the learning relevant for students, share virtually about field trips, college preparation tips, and if there are helplines set-up, volunteer to participate. We all can give back and make a difference to impact the education of a child. While we are confined to our homes, I invite you to think about the blessings that we are gaining from spending quality time with love ones, getting to know each other better, slowing down from the “rat race” of life, taking time for ourselves, teleworking in a more relaxing environment, cooking, organizing, playing games, cleaning our homes, working out virtually with friends and love ones, listening to audiobooks and webinars, sharing on podcasts, reconnecting via social media with family and friends, spending time discovering more about our passions, writing books, writing-up business plans, composing that next song, spring cleaning, working in our gardens, exercising, discovering more hobbies, and tapping into our hidden potential! MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 15

Just a few of the things that we do not get a chance to do when we are busy working and taking care of our families. Now, we have quality time to explore and do some of those projects we have put aside and work to achieve goals we put on the back-burner due to other priorities and obligations! While this pandemic may have rocked our world for a short period, it cannot rock the fiber of who we are as people, our humanity, or our belief in a higher source that there is calm after the storm. No matter if we are bombarded with news and updates, 24-7, we can still be a beacon of hope, a ray of sunshine, and a blessing to those who need us the most during this perilous time. Our lives will be forever changed, but our unity is stronger, our love is greater than any virus, and our nation and our world will be better because of this excruciating experience. Keep believing for a better tomorrow, hoping for a resolve, praying for a drastic turnaround, and acting out of the kindness of your heart to make an impact! Yes, no doubt, this has and will continue to change our lives forever, but we will all learn and grow, and perhaps be a better person, a better citizen, and a better people. We will live with more love and compassion for one another, serve with gratitude based on the gifts given to us, and leave a legacy of impact! Remember, to be the inspiration you look for in others! Our greatest challenges present our greatest blessings! May God bless each of you and may He bless our brothers and sisters all over this world!



Isaiah Jones


By Dr. Sharon H. Porter Grade schools, colleges, and universities, closed their physical doors and began distance or remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic in Mid-March. A pivot that educators, students, and parents had to adjust to immediately.

Frederick Haywood

The closing of school buildings made a tremendous impact on students across the globe, but more than anyone...The Class of 2020. Approximately 3.7 million high school seniors will not have the opportunity to experience this highly regarded milestone. The pomp and circumstance, the gathering of family and friends to celebrate will all have to take place least for now. There are milestones in life we all certainly look and wait for. Graduation is right up there in the top three! Class of 2020, this is your time to shine, your time to be recognized and celebrated.

Cameryn Brown


Isaiah Jones is a graduate of LaPlata High School in LaPlata, Maryland of Charles County Public Schools. He has been accepted as an incoming freshman for the 2020-2021 Fall semester at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland where he plans to study Psychology. Isaiah has future aspirations to become a Professional Counselor in the public school system. Isaiah recently published his first book titled Red Yellow Green: Insights on Dating for Teens. His motivation for writing the book was to encourage teens to establish open lines of communication with their parents to better navigate the challenges associated with dating and responsibilities transitioning into adulthood. He also has interests in basketball, writing, and sports journalism with a specific focus on being a basketball analyst and writer. His favorite basketball player is Lebron James.

Frederick Haywood is a graduating senior Marketing major at Jackson State University from Mound Bayou, Mississippi. After College, he plans to start his career as a Marketing Specialist for Amazon in Seattle, WA. Camryn Brown is a graduating senior from Parkland Magnet High School located in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Camryn earned high school credits in middle school. She used those credits and rigorous academic schedules to take advantage of an opportunity to graduate high school in three years. Camryn believes that when the door opens, you should be ready to walk through it! Camryn was a member of the Parkland High School Junior Varsity (JV) cheerleading squad before deciding to concentrate on her academics. She was a member of Crosby Scholars and Black Achievers. Camryn believes giving back is essential and devoted her time volunteering with Crosby Scholars, putting snacks and toiletry bags together for the homeless. She volunteered at NAACP and mentored young kids through Big Brother Big Sister. Camryn plans to start her post-secondary journey at Winston Salem State University and major in Kinesiology. Marcus McKoy, the son of one of our contributing writers, Dr. Essie McKoy, will graduate May 8, 2020 from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Prior to going to St. Thomas University, he attended WinstonSalem State University on a baseball scholarship and then transferred to St. Thomas on another baseball scholarship. He has played baseball his entire undergraduate years and he looks forward to return to St. Thomas University in the fall of 2020, to continue his master’s degree in Business Management.

cKoy M s u Marc

Car olyn Will iam son Marcus’ family is indeed proud of him for persevering during some of the most challenging times of his life. They are grateful for his desire to always give back and make a difference in the lives of others and that he remained hopeful through his college years and baseball experiences! Carolyn Williamson is the daughter of Trib & Kim Williamson. Her mission is to provide excellent support and quality service for healthcare needs. Carolyn’s dream has always been to work in healthcare and she discovered her passion at a very early age by working to provide and give to her community through church and clubs. She was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and she currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carolyn earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Sports Science and Fitness Management with a concentration in Business at North Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University and a Masters of Health Administration at the University of Phoenix. Carolyn enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to music, traveling, and shopping.

Marcus enjoys writing and looks forward to sharing his life story about his journey in the game of baseball. He makes music and will be releasing a few songs soon. His goals include continuing his education, making hit songs, and playing in the MLB! He realizes his journey has been unique, his path not like the rest, his dreams multi-tiered, and his future remains optimistic with a multitude of opportunities!


razier F e i b Ko Kobie Frazier is a graduating senior at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Washington, DC. She is an Honor Roll student currently maintaining a 3.2 cumulative average. Kobie is currently an Urban Alliance Intern and a College Bound member. She was accepted into eight different colleges and universities. After long consideration, she made her decision to become an Eagle at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. Kobie plans to major in Psychology and minor in Art in hopes of one day opening her own practice. She enjoys spending time with her family, painting, expanding her vocabulary, creating natural hairstyles, cooking and hanging with her dog, Noire. Kobie is an ambitious, selfless, mature young lady with such a calm and peaceful demeanor. She lives by three words… passion, determination and most of all optimistic.


Dr. Na jja

Baptis t

Originally from West Baltimore, MD, by way of Durham, NC, Dr. Najja Baptist is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas. He is a recent graduate of Howard University. His research interests include popular culture, political theory, political behavior, black politics, political attitudes, African American politics, political psychology and public opinion. He completed his undergraduate studies at North Carolina Central University (Summa Cum Laude). Additionally, He earned a master’s degree in Political Science from Jackson State University (2010).

chanan u B . D Latoya Latoya D. Buchanan received her Bachelor of Science of Science in Nursing from Winston-Salem State University in 2010. She has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years in pediatrics, public health, home health, healthcare management and healthcare marketing. Although she will be certified to provide primary care throughout the lifespan, she returned to graduate school with a focus to empower women in preventative care so they may avoid costly, long-term health complications. She resides in Johnston County, North Carolina with her three vivacious children. Her motto is, “ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously allow other people permission to do the same.”

T a h ja

W a rd i Re ne e

- F r a si e


Tahjai Renee Ward-Frazier was born May 16, 1993 in Washington, DC to LaTasha R. Ward and Henry C. Frazier III. She was raised in Prince George's County. At an early age of five, Tahjai loved to dance and joined the Jericho City of Praise dance ministry. Tahjai attended Jericho Christian Academy until the 7th grade. She entered Prince George's County Public Schools in the 8th grade and attended Benjamin Tasker Middle School. She graduated from Bowie High School in 2011 where she was a part of Future Business Leaders of America and the Student Government Association.

Princess Floy d Ms. Princess Floyd is a senior with a 3.0 GPA at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. Benjamin Banneker is ranked the number one high school in Washington DC. Princess enjoys community service especially with the elderly and youth because service is her passion. Princess also played four years of Girls varsity soccer. Princess graciously received 16 college offers. She has chosen to attend the illustrious WinstonSalem State University where she will major in Nursing. thus furthering her dreams of being a doctor.

After graduating from Bowie, Tahjai went to Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina where her major was International Business. At Bennett, Tahjai was a part of the liturgical dance ministry. After completing her first year in college, Tahjai became extremely ill and had to undergo several surgical procedures to remove a tumor located in her brain. That area of the brain controlled her swallowing, speech, balance, and coordination. Tahjai had to sit out of school for several years for intense rehabilitation and therapy. Tahjai relearned everything that most people would take for granted daily. Tahjai path changed with that life changing experience. Tahjai desired to finish what she started at Bowie State University with a major in Child and Adolescents Study. MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 21

Joshua Wiggins

Class of


Joshua Wiggins is a 2020 high school graduate from Wesleyan Christian Academy (WCA) in High Point NC. Throughout his four years at WCA he has maintained Honor Roll and also had four very successful basketball seasons as a Scholar Athlete while in high school. He was the captain of the varsity basketball team his senior year of 2020. Although Joshua has not made a college decision at this time, he has received several offers and interest from various colleges and universities. Joshua’s basketball awards and achievements include: MVP Award 2018, Most Improved 2019, and 2020 Coach’s Award.

s n o i t a l u t a r g n o Class of C MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 22

Joshua was also the captain of the varsity basketball team his senior year. Josh as known by most, is a very charismatic and loving young man. He is adored by many of his peers, teachers and coaches. He was selected by his classmates in WCA 2020 yearbook superlative as “Most Likely to Be A Billionaire” On a personal note, Joshua is very well rounded as the third of five siblings. He has not only played basketball, but also in the past played football, soccer, and baseball. He sang in the church choir throughout his childhood and teenage years, he played the trombone in the church band, and the saxophone in the school band. Joshua’s aspires to go to college to get a Criminal Justice Degree and has always aspired to be an FBI agent..


MORE THAN A MALE NURSE By Karen McConnell Jones John S. Smith is more than a male Registered Nurse (RN), he is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, but more importantly he has become the EXPERT in Mental Healthcare and In-Home elderly care.

Men in Nursing Historically, the majority of the nursing workforce has always been female. However, the number of men choosing nursing as a career has been increasing in recent years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau: While 3.2 million (91 percent) nurses are female, only 330,000 (9 percent) are male. Men are best represented among nurse anesthetists. In 2011, 41 percent of nurse anesthetists are male. The percentage of men working as registered nurses has increased in the past 40 years. In 1970, only 2.7 percent of registered nurses were men. In 2020, this number increased to 9.6 percent.

Now, We Give You John S. Smith John S. Smith is a Registered Nurse (RN), with expertise in Mental Healthcare and In-Home elderly care. He is the founder of Prestige Healthcare Resources (PHR) an InHome care, Case management, Mental Health and Staffing Agency Company focusing on enhancing lifestyle of healthcare professionals and advocating for the underserved and fragile population. While working at various healthcare settings, Mr. Smith noticed disparities in the healthcare industry, which fueled his desire to found Prestige Healthcare Resources in 2009 with the objective of advocating for seniors, mental health, and the underserved population. Within a short period of time under Mr. Smith leadership, Prestige Healthcare expanded into three different states and now has become one of the prime case management and mental health providers for the Washington Metropolitan area. One Year Ago Last May One of the things John shared with me in his interview last May for National Mental Health Awareness Month is that he wanted to do more with the mental healthcare industry.

Photo courtesy of John S. Smith

He actually wanted to start a movement by having the largest mental healthcare facility in the undeserved area of Southeast Washington, D.C. and providing free cell phones with unlimited text and data for all their patients.


"Despite countless setbacks, I was determined to be successful in life..."

I then asked John why mental health and what is the true purpose that he see coming from this? He said “I truly believe because of my humble beginnings of what I had experienced. I came to the United States as an immigrant after various setbacks and rejections, starting with being exposed to over ten years of ravage civil war in Liberia to a “near-miss” personal injury while working at a menial job in the United States. Despite countless setbacks, I was determined to be successful in life, to make a difference and to be the best in what I do. I even earned the nickname of “No Excuse Guy”. Not everyone has that natural mental toughness and should not be discriminated against if they do not. This is why I wanted to take my nursing Photo courtesy of John S. Smith

degree and become the expert in Mental Healthcare and In-Home elderly care. So, I truly believe and know by opening up a facility where I can provide an atmosphere of positive thinking, with alternative and innovative treatment, and free cell phones with unlimited text and data will give hope and ultimately can save lives, especially in our undeserved community. So, the real purpose then will be to show the success and move beyond, to have more facilities of this kind throughout the world”.

Photo courtesy of John S. Smith



One Year Later--May 2020 With the month of May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, it brings me great pleasure to be able to sit down once again and have this interview with my dear friend John. Having the opportunity to work with John over the years and on an ongoing basis still has been a wonderful experience and a working relationship that I have grown to treasure. Now John, here we are once again, one year later. I have been looking forward to this interview and with great joy that we are doing this once again yet the subject matter is a very serious one as it is very close and dear to my heart as you well know. So, let’s have a Q & A about Mental Health in today’s society, especially in our new normal that we are living in right now.

KMJ: I must start the first question with where we left off at last year. How is your project coming along on wanting to have a Mental Healthcare facility in Southeast Washington, D.C. and free cell phones for all your patients?

KMJ: May is the month we celebrate Mental Health Awareness, explained to our readers in very simple terms exactly what is mental health?

JS: Well Karen I am pleased to say we have the new facility in Southeast Washington, D.C. and we have been opened now for about five months. We have over 6600 square feet of space, the best staff and counselors, the latest high tech features, positive thinking affirmations throughout the facility, and much, much more great amenities.

Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017) An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults. An estimated 4.4% of U.S. adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.

KMJ: Wow! That is wonderful John! So, tell me, inquiring minds want to know did you get the free cell phones started? JS: Yes! Yes we did. We partnered with AT&T and we are able to supply 100 free cell phones and getting more sponsors to get involved. Overall we are very pleased with where we are in just five months but still have a lot more work to do if we want to start a movement and go global.

Mental Health Statistics National Institute of Mental Health

JS: As the word states, “mental”, has to do with the mind, your feelings, and your way of thinking, your actions and everything. One’s mental health determines how one deals with and handles stress and makes choices. You don’t just wake up one day and become mentally ill. It occurs gradually until one is unable to deal with stress or insults that affect one's thinking.


KMJ: As we know that mental health is still such a taboo topic and so many stereotypes, what can we do to help change this going forward in today’s society? JS: It requires education and awareness. Sometimes when we are uncomfortable about something we can say and do naïve things. Take for instance, the COVID-19 crisis is a huge insult in people's mind and life. If it continues, we will experience a lot of mental illness in the country that could result in another “Mental health Pandemic”. So, the key is awareness, awareness, awareness. KMJ: We are now beginning to learn that mental health is not only just psychiatric disabilities but there are other illnesses that are considered to be mental health can you name some of the others? JS: Depression, Alzheimer, panic attack, anxiety, eating disorder (Anorexia), sport gambling, phobia (any kind), substance abuse and addiction, domestic violence, and obsessive compulsive behavior KMJ: What can we as a community do to help improve on mental health and how can we get more involved? JS: The main keys in your question are: “community” and “help improve”. Improvement is needed and for that to occur, the community involvement is a must. When a patient recovering from mental illness is set to be discharged, he or she goes back to the community. That’s where the true healing and recovery occurs, not in the hospital or clinic. The community and everyone must be educated and informed about mental illness. It is a disease like diabetes or hypertension. It is usually chronic; communities can get more involved by learning more about types of mental illness and how those involved could be supported.

KMJ: Final Question John, we are living in our new normal with the coronavirus, what can you tell us about the coronavirus, the bad and the good and what should our safety practice be in our new normal right now and moving forward into our future practice? JS: The good news is, we are figuring out how to deal with this pandemic. We all know hand washing is the key, social distancing is the key, masking while going out in the community is important, quarantining is a golden requirement. However, we all have the social responsibility to keep coronavirus at bay. In our practice (Nursing facility), it really hit home in the past weeks. We have at least four of our staff tested positive, one died and one in critical condition in ICU, one experiencing active symptoms at home and the other is asymptomatic. We also have three additional staff with active symptoms but not tested. We are closing our clinic for now and practicing tele-health for the next few weeks. It has been very tough right now and has really hit home but I truly believe what won’t break us will make us stronger. Moving forward, we would continue to embrace tele-health services and increase the awareness of alternative care model. I can see a silverlining here. People are requesting for help and accessing care without physically going to hospital or clinic. People with suicidal ideations are reaching out to providers via texting while in crisis. Overall the whole world is learning new ways of working, being safe, and being kinder to one another. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to wait and see. KMJ: Well said my friend. Thank you and God bless! If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Talk to your primary care doctor or another health professional about mental health problems. Ask them to connect you with the right mental health services. You can also contact the National Suicide Lifeline 24/7, for free and confidential support when in distress, prevention of a crisis. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)



By Donna Harris

If you are feeling defeated by what you are no longer allowed to deduct on your tax return and if you were fortunate to not owe, but are a bit unsettled because you did not get back as much as you normally would have received two years ago? Take a breath, pull out pen and paper and start taking inventory. Yes, it is time to evaluate your financial position! First, I want to dispel the habitual thinking that getting back thousands of dollars in tax refunds is the optimal goal. Consider the times during the year when you found yourself strapped for funds. And, it was not an enormous amount that you needed. Not getting back thousands of dollars in tax refunds simply means that you are keeping an immediate access to your earned income throughout the year. Albeit, there are prevailing circumstances that would merit a larger tax refund even if you have mastered the art of retaining access to more of your earnings throughout the course of the year. Second, let us examine how and why we benefit from conducting a financial inventory, and why it is vital to reaching our goals. Simply put, being honest with ourselves with the truth staring right in front of us in black and white is proven to be foolproof. Did you accomplish your financial goal for 2019? If the answer is “no", evaluate your progression. Literally! Did each action you took place you in a forward motion towards your goal?

If the answer is “no”, give an account of every negative outcome. Ask yourself, what could I have done differently? Answering these questions will aid you in understanding the journey toward your success. Yes, the journey of your success! Not the success of your journey! When we allow ourselves to learn the correct steps to take, our errors are minimized and executing our plan becomes less flawed. Third, follow these basic steps to build or rebuild your finances: 1. Take care of your mind. If you are stressing over your current financial position, your decisions will be made in haste. Delay acting on any decisions until you have examined all options. Including the decisions on what to invest in and how much to invest. So, stressing? Give yourself a “mental” break.

2.Set up a budget and stick to it. Let us get smarter about our finances. Ask yourself, do I really need this item? Is it an immediate need? Why create the debt if it is not urgent?! Plan to buy what you want and if feasible, what you need. Do not let the burden of debt take control. If you go astray, do not keep going in the wrong direction. Jump back on board with the plan!

3. Rebuild your credit score. Your credit score is not the issue? And you find yourself in a financial quandary. Perhaps benefiting from the expertise of a Financial Counsellor – this is not a debt or credit counseling, may be the order of the day.

4. Establish an emergency fund. So often, people think that they must have a large sum of funds set aside for mishaps. If your income status does not allow a large sum to be set aside, do not let this disrupt the ultimate prize. Setting aside funds of any amount, will help offset the expense of the unforeseen!


Undoubtedly, we will at various times of our strive toward our financial goals, experience the lows and the highs. It is important to know that when you fall, do not stay there. Get up! Instead of pondering over a familiar path, think outside and beyond what you were taught or not taught. It would even be beneficial to think outside of the scripted financial layout you were handed. This practice could very well bring to light your true path. Not only in a financial perspective but in your career endeavors as well! For example, do you have a hobby which you have mastered the activity? Consider turning it into a business. It is just that simple.

Because financial soundness is paramount for a Business’ survival, why shouldn’t we as individuals grasp the full, in depth understanding of our financial stability or lack thereof? Do not hesitate to ask yourself the following pertinent questions. Why (am I stagnant)? How (did I get here)? Which (actions were repetitive) that did not attribute to the advancement of my financial growth? What (can I control and change)? Where your answer to these questions (or your version of questions) lies, should foster clarity of the direction that you should follow to achieve your financial goals.

Financial wellness is all inclusive and should not be looked upon as an enigma. For example, let us look at how businesses view their economic positions. Businesses are continually searching out ways to stay viable. They will seek out the leaders in various areas for their knowledge and expertise. When necessary, we should also seek guidance from experts. A word of caution, just as you are interviewed for employment positions, you should interview the Expert whom you are considering entrusting your hard-earned money. In other words, execute due diligence! Contact the Local and State governing agencies to validate the Experts credentials and whether he or she is in “good standing”.

As always, in our future issues of V &P, I would like to address the tax matters that are relative to you, our Readers. If you have a situation that you are concerned about, let me hear from you. Your name and/or company will remain anonymous. I do ask that in your contact information, provide your name and business type if applicable. But also, give yourself and/or your business a code name. This will enable you to recognize that the article is addressing your specific concern(s) while possibly helping others in similar circumstances. On the subject line of your email, enter “Tax Matters”.


I cannot put enough emphasis on why a financial inventory is as vital to your wellness as scheduling those annual physicals! Remember, financial stability starts with changing our mindset! And please note, the tax season deadline is July 15th.

Health &Wellness

The Power of Perspective By Candice Camille Being in your own company gives you the chance to see where you’re heading in terms of your mind, body and spiritual evolution. If you spend at least a half an hour each day looking back at the previous day and analyzing how you lived it, you’ll gain some great insights. That’s the power of perspective! Meditation is an exercise that will help you see things differently, especially those of us with hectic and stressful lifestyles. It has been shown to relieve stress, and promote overall good health, by simply reflecting upon our day, and finding happiness within ourselves. “Peace Be Still” Our spirituality and meditation practices are the tools we have available to keep our mind as fit as we keep our bodies. The mind is a complicated and versatile machine, but it can become overwhelmed and unable to function correctly, if we don’t take the time to care for it. Our mind has varying levels of operation, known as brainwaves. As we pass through our day, we enter various stages of brain wave activity. The brain uses this tool as one way to allow us time to rest our busy mind, and cope with all the pieces of information we’ve received. It’s like having a hard drive of your day. During meditation we can reformat or upgrade the feelings and information that’s no longer needed. When we don’t give adequate time for these processes, or we simply don’t get enough rest, our mind cannot maintain its state of wellness, just like our bodies aren’t capable of fitness if there is no chance to rest and replenish. Breathing techniques, music, aromas, and candle therapy are all ways we utilize the opportunities to reflect on our day, allow our mind to rest and replenish itself for further use. But are these methods keeping us mentally fit? Yes, but they don’t work alone. The absorption of new information, new opportunities to learn, and play provide our mind the stimulus it needs in order to stay well and functioning.


" During meditation we can reformat or upgrade the feeling and information that's no longer needed."

We must remember over the course of our daily routine, to make time to maintain mental fitness, as we strive to maintain physical fitness. The nice thing about the whole process is that, as we go about accomplishing these tasks, quite often the opportunities for preservation and care are interchangeable. We can help quiet our mind as we take a twenty-minute walk, and we can build muscle strength as we meditate. Often just the opportunity to listen to music will allow our mind the chance it needs to relax and regroup. It’s not always the most formal of occasions that we find an available chance to reflect and listen to that inner voice. It can be in the middle of the day, with the wind blowing through your hair, and the radio turned up really loud! What we don’t realize is the role music could play throughout the course of our life. Music is our connection between the everyday spoken word, and the power of our spirituality. Music operates on sound waves that fall in the range between vocal sounds, or our voice, and spiritual prayer. What does all that say? A link, an avenue to connect with our higher consciousness on a moment to moment basis, to relieve stress, comfort us, or simply lift our spirit.

Health & Wellness

Music Moves the Mind By Kyonna F. Brown As we celebrate music and mental health this month, it reminds me of just how much these two topics have so much in common. Music has a conversation with the mind that can shift your state of mind and mood. In my past I have had many connections with music. Singing in the gospel choir, playing the piano, the clarinet, and being a part of the marching band. I have been introduced to many styles and formats of music. The translation of the music allowed for me to become energized, inspired, sad, and renewed. In today’s society music is used as therapy in many ways.

The most common is emotional mental health, but there is a long list of other health illnesses that use music as therapy: Schizophrenia. Speech disorders. Behavioral disorders Cardiovascular disease Substance use disorders Autism spectrum disorders Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

"Music has a conversation with the mind that can shift your state of mind and mood"

Searching the web for more information about these therapies, I’ve found countless practices who offer music as therapy. I found repeatedly that music has been deemed as alternative medicine.



Music Was a Healer... My family has a history of dementia. I can remember having a conversation with my grandmother. During the duration of the conversation she repeated herself several times. She couldn’t remember if we talked about certain topics from time to time. I wanted to lighten the mood. With my frustration towards her forgetfulness and wanting to change the mood I decided to sing a song. It was a song that she taught me in my youth. As I started to sing, she began to sing and knew each word. She’d begun to smile. The countenance of her face changed. She even started to clap her hands. Music was a healer for my mind and her mind in that moment. It brought joy back to our day. There have been many nursing homes who have also used music as therapy for senior citizens.

An ethnographic approach to the study of caregiver‐assisted music events was employed with patients suffering from dementia or suspected dementia. The aim of this study was to illuminate the importance of music events and the reactions and social interactions of patients with dementia or suspected dementia and their caregivers before, during and after such events, including the remainder of the day. The results showed that the patients experienced an ability to sing, play instruments, perform body movements, and make puns during such music events. While singing familiar songs, some patients experienced the return of distant memories, which they seemed to find very pleasurable. During and after the music events, the personnel experienced bonding with the patients, who seemed easier to care for. Caregiver‐assisted music events show a great potential for use in dementia care.

Here’s a published study. Caregiver‐assisted music events in psychogeriatric care E Götell, S Brown, S‐L EkmanJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 7 (2), 119-125, 2000

Music is the balance that the mind needs to thrive, in my thoughts. Turn up the volume to your life stereo. Add beats to restore your mind. Let your mind release toxic impurities as the flow of the rhythm takes you to a new level of sound. Let the music move your mind.

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As children we are taught that having a good diet is a great benefit to looking and feeling physically fit. Rarely were you told about the nutritional benefits for mental health. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help you think clearly and feel more alert. It can even improve concentration and your attention span. An insufficient diet can lead to fatigue, impaired decision-making, and can slow down reaction time. Did you know that a poor diet can also cause personal aggravation leading to stress and depression? One of society’s biggest health impairments is the reliance on processed foods.

These foods are high in flours and sugars that ultimately train the brain to become addicted to them, rather than nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. Those highly addictive ingredients are in most processed foods and stimulate the dopamine centers in your brain, which are associated with pleasure and reward. Processed foods can also lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, which can contribute to mood disorders including anxiety and depression.

When most people are feeling blue, they tend to either indulge themselves with lots of sugar such as cake and ice cream or not even eat at all. If you eat too much you will find yourself dealing with sluggishness and weight gain. If you eat too little and the resulting exhaustion makes this a hard habit to break. In either case, a poor diet during periods of stress and depression only makes matters worse. This cycle is a vicious one, but it can be overcome. Studies have shown a reduction in depression of 40 to 60 percent when people are eating the right foods, which is a better outcome than most prescription drugs. MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 33


Researchers have proven a direct correlation between your intestines and brain. Our intestines and brain are physically linked via the vagus nerve and the two can converse with one another like instant text messaging. While the stomach can influence emotional behavior in the brain, the brain can also alter the type of bacteria living in the stomach. Stomach bacteria produce an array of neurochemicals that the brain uses for the regulation of the physiological and mental processes, including mood. It’s believed that 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, a mood stabilizer, is produced by stomach bacteria. Stress has been known to suppress beneficial stomach bacteria. There are four top food groups that can stimulate positive nutritional benefits to mental health: Complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, dark green leafy vegetables & fatty acids. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and starchy vegetables can give you energy. Quinoa, millet, beets and sweet potatoes have more nutritional value and will keep you satisfied longer than the simple carbohydrates found in sugar and candy. Lean proteins also lend energy that allows the body to think and react quickly. Good sources of protein include lean beef (sirloin/tenderloin, round roast), Greek yogurt and egg whites. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta carotene. Fatty acids such as Omega-3 are vital for the proper function of your brain and nervous system. You can find them in fish (especially salmon), nuts and seeds (walnuts and flaxseeds) and plant oils (flaxseed, soybean & canola).


The vagus nerve is the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system and is one of the most important nerves in the body. The vagus nerve helps to regulate many critical aspects of human physiology, including the heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and even speaking.

It is a personal responsibility to stay physically fit as well as mentally fit. Staying mentally fit can be very tough in today’s social climate but it is crucial to living a healthier life. Here are a few tips to incorporate in your everyday life to help you maintain a positive nutritional mental stability. While grocery shopping, try spending majority if not all your time in the surrounding fresh food areas instead of the middle of the store, but be careful the bakery is always located in these areas. All processed foods are in the middle of the store sitting on shelves for customers to choose at will. Another tip is to have a healthy snack when hunger strikes, such as fruit, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, baked sweet potatoes or edamame. This will give you more energy than packaged products. Lastly, think about where and when you eat. Don’t eat in front of the television, this can be distracting and cause you to overeat. Instead, find a place to sit, relax and really notice what you’re eating. Enjoy your food and chew slowly, savor the taste and texture. Don’t eat too late, give your body the proper time to digest your food properly before lying down.

Political Awareness EMERGE

Recruit. Train. Connect. "A premier organization that recruits, trains, and provide a powerful network to Democratic women who want to run for office."

By Dr. Sharon H. Porter I have had the opportunity to attend many events sponsored by EMERGE Maryland, an affiliate of EMERGE America, headquartered in San Francisco, CA with a national office in our nation's capital, Washington, DC. The organization inspires Democratic women to run for an elected office. Not only do they inspire, but as the tag line says, they "RECRUIT, TRAIN, AND CONNECT! Perhaps the connection to the impressive network is by far one of the greatest advantages to being affiliated with EMERGE. It was great chatting with the President of EMERGE America, A'shanti F. Gholar. As president, her role is to lead the organization and steer its overall strategy and direction. She oversees the national staff as well as affiliates across the United States. She is also the Founder of The Brown Girls Guide to Politics Podcast.


The more women run, the more they inspire other women to run for office.

A'Shanti F. Gholar, President, Emerge America

Emerge America currently has 27 affiliates across the country. Expansion efforts are on hold as the organization has shifted training due to COVID-19. The traditional campaign is not possible due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Emerge has renewed their five-part webinar series to assist in preparing Democratic women to continue their campaign during the wide-spread closures. The expectation is that 1000 Emerge Alumnae will file to run for an elected office. There are over 700 alumnae currently serving in Office. "The more women run, the more they inspire other women to run for office..." said Gholar. She also mentioned that Emerge has been

doing this work since 2002. Andrea Dew Steele founded Emerge California in 2002 because of the lack of women in Office in the Bay Area. Women began to notice the success of Emerge California and wanted to replicate the affiliate...Emerge America was created in 2005 to expand the presence of Emerge. Gholar goes on to say, "The training Emerge offers provides an ongoing network and a space with other like-minded women. It also helps to demystify the process for running for office." A'Shanti Gholar says, if you want to run for an office, you should do it! MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 37

Photo Courtesy of EMERGE Maryland Class of 2020

EMERGE Maryland "You cannot have a government for and by the people if it is not represented by all of the people." - Ayanna Pressley

My direct experience with EMERGE has been through EMERGE Maryland. I attended a Taste of EMERGE Maryland a few years ago and was simply impressed with the organization as well as the Executive Director, Diane Fink. Since that initial meeting, I have followed the organization and have had the pleasure of covering an EMERGE Maryland event with live on-camera interviews. I have always had an interest in politics, not necessarily running for an office, but more-so just being knowledgeable about local, state, national, and global politics. I feel it is our duty as productive citizens to know and understand the process for making decisions that will directly have an impact on on our economic system, cultural system, legal system, and other social systems.


It is never enough to only participate in national elections. Change begins at the local level. Fortunately for us, in the United States, we are a democracy. This allows for each individual to participate. Because, we are a representative democracy, we MUST have knowledge of those who seek to represent us as well as those who are representing us. I encourage you to go a little deeper during this election season. Take note of who is running and why they are running. What are the candidate's views on the issues that are important to you? For me, I have to know where the candidate stands when it comes to Education, the Economy, and Taxes. For you, it might be Energy,Environment, and Climate Change, Gun Control, or Immigration. While all the issues are important, you will more than likely not line up exactly with any one candidate. Do your research and VOTE!

Political Awareness

AN INTERVIEW WITH DIANE FINK DF: Our success has been Maryland's success. Under Speaker Adrianne Jones, women are now a majority of the Democratic House caucus. That's a result of our work - There are 13 of our alumnae women in the house and one in the Senate. When you look at the nature of the legislation that is coming out of Annapolis it's clear that certain issues that had previously been sidelined by the majority male leadership are now becoming front-burner issues. These aren't women's issues, these are human rights issues, criminal justice issues, healthcare issues, education issues, and more. We have alumnae women serving as State's Attorney, Boards of Education, County and City Councils, and local Central Committees. All of them are doing stellar work in their jurisdictions and inspiring others to think outside the patriarchal box we have been stuck in for so long. SHP: What is the participants' benefit of attending The Taste of Emerge Maryland?

Photo Courtesy of EMERGE Maryland

I had the recent opportunity to ask Diane a few questions about EMERGE Maryland. SHP:Tell me about the Emerge Maryland Class of 2020? DF: There are 16 women in this class including 11 women of color and two who identify as LGBTQ. They range in age from 31 to 60 and come from nine different counties and Baltimore City. These are dynamic women with deep varied experiences of community service. They are all committed to helping to improve the quality of life for their neighbors. SHP: The Mission of Emerge Maryland is to increase the number of Democratic women leaders from diverse backgrounds in public office through recruitment, training, and providing a powerful network. What has been the impact of Emerge in the State of Maryland and surrounding jurisdictions?

DF: Thank you for this question, we are now starting to open these summer classes for 2020. The Taste of Emerge Maryland one day class has three goals. The first is to engage women who are still not sure they are ready to fully jump into the political arena. The second is to help guide them through the process of finding what level of engagement is right for them (volunteer, activist, or candidate). The third is to teach them skills they can use to be their most productive and effective in their public service. The women can then decide if running for elected office is right for them and apply to our signature candidate training program. SHP: There are currently over 30 Emerge Maryland alumnae serving in an elected office. How specifically do alumnae reach back to support current cohort members? DF: We have had 46 alumnae elected to offices across the state, there are now 35 still serving. There are currently 12 running in 2020. The bond between these women cannot be understated. MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 39

One recent example was when Lisa Belcastro (class of 2020) was appointed to fill a vacant seat as State Delegate in her Baltimore County district, she found an immediate friend in Del. Wanika Fisher of Prince George's County (Class of 2017) who helped her through those early days in Annapolis. When Elizabeth Paul (Class of 2013) ran for State Delegate in Washington County, Del. Brooke Lierman (Class of 2013) drove from Baltimore to Washington County to help her knock on doors. There are many, many stories like this. Further, we have alumnae come back to help train our new cohorts, they offer support, guidance, friendshipMaryland to these Photo Courtesyand of EMERGE women. They areClass always of eager 2020 to come back to help their sisters succeed. SHP: What additionally, would you like our readers to know about Emerge Maryland? DF: We want women to know that they should run for office! We all have ideas about how to improve our communities, our state, and our world. Look into Emerge Maryland if you are interested in learning more about running for office. Your experience and ideas are valuable. You can find more information about EMERGE Maryland at

About Diane Fink

Diane Fink is the Executive Director of Emerge Maryland. She joined the founding organizing committee in September 2011 and in March of 2012 she was hired as the Executive Director. Since then, Emerge Maryland has become the fastest growing organization dedicated to helping women attain public office in the state. Diane is a member of the Western Maryland Democratic Caucus, a Board member of the Frederick Community Action Agency and Secretary of the Board of the Friends for Neighborhood Progress in Frederick. She is also a member of the National Community Action Foundation. Prior to joining Emerge, Diane worked as legislative staff in the Maryland General Assembly. In 2006, elected by popular vote, she served two terms for a total of eight years on the Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee. During that time she chaired the Candidates and Campaigns sub-Committee and edited and published the newsletter, The Banner. Diane began working for local political campaigns in 2001. She worked at all levels from canvasser to manager, field operations director to consultant on federal, state, and local races. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Frederick County, Maryland.


V&P Inspiring Our Community Podcast

Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine and Media Founders, Karen McConnell-Jones and Dr. Sharon H. Porter, with the V&P Team, hosts the V&P Inspiring Our Community Podcast each Saturday from 2:00 -3:00 PM EST. The pages of Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine come alive as hosts extend the conversation from topics included in the magazine. The V&P Inspiring Our Community Podcast is a part V&P Media which offers podcast hosting and recording, webinars, and livestream events. Contact V&P Media for inquires at

COMMUNITY OUTREACH By Karen McConnell -Jones

We all know that community outreach is KEY. It allows us the opportunity to get involved with the different subject matters that are concerning to our community as we provide our community with the solutions that support their needs. V&P Magazine Community Outreach Choices Of The Month Are: May/National Mental Health Awareness Month & June/Black Music Month Given Special Tribute To Dedtra A. McConnell In Honor of Mental Health Awareness Month Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949. Many national organizations such as NAMI, Mental Health America, and other affiliates spotlight Mental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. In hopes of putting a stop to the stigma associated with mental health, which led the United State Congress in 1990 to establish the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise awareness to mental illness. Recent Statistics On Mental Health In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. 5 percent of adults (18 or older) experience a mental illness in any one year, equivalent to 43.8 million people. Of adults in the United States with any mental disorder in a one-year period, 14.4 percent have one disorder, 5.8 percent have two disorders and 6 percent have three or more. Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. In the United States, only 41 percent of the people who had a mental disorder in the past year received professional health care or other services. In Memory of Dedtra A. McConnell Dedtra A. McConnell was the elder sister to Karen McConnell-Jones. “Dee” as she was affectionately known was diagnosed at the tender age of 15 with Mental Illness (Bipolar Disorder). Dee did not allow her illness to stop her from being a positive voice for mental illness in her younger days. She went on to become a Nurse’s Aide and continue doing her great work in the community. Dee worked In-Home Healthcare and volunteered her services at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 41

I AM MY SISTER'S KEEPER! Eventually Dee had to embrace her mental illness and had to leave the work industry to finally focus on taking care of herself. With the love and support of her family she was able to continue to live a full independent life. A Public Thank You Announcement I would like to take this moment to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your act of kindness you gave me during the loss of my beloved sister Dedtra. Because of each and every one of you, you helped me keep my promise to my sister by continuing to fight for mental illness and starting a family legacy in her honor. Dedtra McConnell Greater Consciousness, INC. is now a reality. Again, thank you all for your generous donations and standing in the gap for the McConnell family during our time of need. I am ever so grateful and love you all! I I Am My Sister’s Keeper and I Will Always Keep the Fight for Mental Illness Alive. Love you forever more and miss you much! Your Little Big Sis Karen


Dear Sister By Seth Eric Washington

Sister can I thank you for all the things you do Sister I really must recognize and thank you for being you You never told Momma that it was me not you Your inner strength is amazing By your example I know what I have to do My Sister at a young age you revealed what it means to truly live That it's not what you receive it's what you give Sister you've been a friend true blue and these inspired words I've written about you A Sister sometimes is like a best friend When things are tough, upon her you can depend A Sister sometimes can be like a boss Holding you accountable to the details even the little ones and Like a great coach acknowledging you when appropriate for a job well done A Sister sometimes can even be like Mom Making certain that our chores are finished On time neat and tight so when Momma really comes home everything is alright Sometimes a Big Sister in her own way reveals what that title truly means In a given moment standing in the gap for a younger sibling Or in other words taking one for the team A Sister no doubt is a role model in many things in many ways Like Dedtra who was gifted at being a caregiver even in her high school days A Sister sometimes shows us good taste in the arts Dedtra wrote original greeting card verses, sharing them with the family She also enjoyed the sounds of Earth Wind and Fire, Their beautiful lyrics and soulful melodies And guess what else, a Sister sometimes loves us more than we love ourselves This blessing of course we never forget Instead from the heart it is acknowledged In the fullness of joy as we walk in this love with no regret So once more Sister can I thank you for all the things you do Dear Sister I sincerely thank you for being authentically you. In these words we poetically celebrate the life and times of Dedtra Antoinette McConnell on behalf of her Little Big Sis’ Karen McConnell-Jones MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 43

Photography by Dominique Massaquoi

MAY 2020 Days: 1st International Labor Day 3rd World Press Freedom Day 4th Melanoma 10th Mother’s Day, World Lupus Day 11th World Fair Trade Day 12th World Migratory Bird Day15th International Day of Families 17th Endangered Species Day 17th International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 18th International Museum Day 20th Arthritis Day. International event to raise awareness about AUTOimmune & AUTOinflammatory diseases. 21st World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 22nd International Day for Biological Diversity 23rd World Turtle Day 25th Memorial Day (United States) 29th International Day for UN Peacekeepers31st World No Tobacco Day Month Long:Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Better Hearing and Speech Month, Clean Air Month, Foster Care Month, Mental Health Awareness Month Family Health & Wellness Awareness, National Barbecue Month (United States, )National Arthritis Month (United States)National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month (United States)National Physical Fitness and Sports Month (United States), National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (United States)In Nurses’ Week -May 6th -12th.

JUNE 2020 Days: 1st Global Day of Parents 5th World Environment Day 8th World Oceans Day 12th World Day Against Child Labor 14th World Blood Donor Day 17th World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 20th World Refugee Day 21st Father’s Day 21st International Day of Yoga 22nd World Rainforest Day 23rd Gay Pride Day 23rd International Widows Day 26th International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 30th International Asteroid Day Month Long: Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Professional Wellness Month Black Music Month Adopt a Cat Month

Women’s Health Week May 10th -16th Teacher Appreciation Week -May 4th- 8th.






AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE AUTHORS African American Male Authors Are On the Rise!

by Dr. Essie McKoy


ow many African American male authors do you know? Sometimes, it seems as if they are unheard of or they do not exist at all. We do not hear too much about these authors in the mainstream media. We are not bombarded by appearances of these authors in magazines or other media platforms. Therefore, some may think that the existence of such a group is very small when in fact this group of authors is on the rise.

are several recognizable categories. For example, there is a list of famous black male authors of our times, a compiled mustread list, a best-selling list, a contemporary and an urban list, a best books list, and the groupings go on and on. So, the next time you are in a bookstore or just browsing social media, take an account of how many African American male authors you come across. You just might be surprised!

According to recent book listings, there are plenty of African American male authors. They are well-known writers of the past and the present. So many, that there

Expand Your Horizon When I became an author in 2018, I really started noticing more authors in this group. It seemed as if I were surrounded by them and did not

even know it until I increased my connections and put myself in the places where I would meet such authors. I made it a point to get to know more of these authors which led me to more and more African American male authors! We know that if you want to see more of what we’re looking for, we need to make a concerted effort to expand our horizons and step outside the box into the unknown to find the known.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” — Louis L’Amour MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 45

As a result of continuing to make those connections and seek more African American male authors, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Glen Mourning, an author, educator, and speaker who wrote Crunchy Life Kid’s books. Glen’s books tie in life memories, a spin on traditional fairy tales as well as his imagination to create heartfelt and mesmerizing stories. Not only did he share about becoming an author but gave some very compelling thoughts about the African American author. In his words, “Just do it. Whatever comes to your mind in terms of an idea or a creative way to share information, a story, an experience or perspective, just go for it and type it up. You never know if your ideas can help to improve someone else’s life or even your own. Don’t be afraid that someone might not like it or that the masses won’t understand you. Just do it and put everything you have into it. In the landscape of cultural diversity that we are in now, it can easily be assumed that as a young black male author that I or we haven’t done the work to compete with professional writers or that our work isn’t of the industry standard. However, I have learned that the process is very lengthy in producing quality work and that we cannot get discouraged when we get feedback or receive criticism, both good and bad. If you are willing to remain humble, persistent even when you see signs of success or growth, you can compete and get your messages out there. My goal is to win the Newberry Honor and because of that, writing for me is a lifestyle, not a job or task. I consider what the best in the industry have done, are doing and will do and I look for advice and suggestions that will help me take my game and craft to newer heights. "The moment when we forget to learn something new is the moment when we miss out on opportunities to create even more impactful work.”

Author Glen Mourning, The Crunchy Life Series

Glen shared some personal experiences that really propelled him forward. He stated, “Having grown-up without any positive male models, the odds of socially developing into a productive and successful man was not in my favor. My mother dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and formal education was never reinforced or prioritized in my household. Instead, I watched my mother, her brothers and most of the people around me in my community fall victim to drug abuse and violence. It was not until I was ten years old when I finally had the support around me to see that there was more to life than making a quick buck and struggling to get by on a day-to-day basis. Fast-forwarding my life to college, I was blessed to earn a full athletic scholarship whereby then, school and academics were my main priority. A life of athletics would ultimately end immediately following playing Division One football. After deciding to teach after graduating, I had known since being a

child that writing was therapeutic, and it was one of the only ways that I successfully communicated how I viewed the world. I knew that writing stories could be powerful to share with kids that I would end up teaching but I quickly found the power in words as I began writing for students of color, to create a voice for them and to tell “our stories” to the rest of the world. It was then when I knew that becoming an author would fuel my life’s work.” Often authors share the different aspects of their life experiences through writing books and for Glen he did just that! Many times, they share their perspectives about a wide range of topics and often give us intimate insights into their personal journey. I believe that when authors share their private pain and life experiences, they not only disclose their intimate thoughts, but dispel and uplift a people and expand the mindset of readers. We all grow and gain from their wealth of written knowledge and their collective body of work! We need to read and promote their books.

It is known that the plight of the African American male is so rich. Their voices are grand, and their writings can magnify their aptitude and shed light on an enormous number of topics and issues. Their expansive knowledge gives them a unique voice and a wide range of gifts and talents to share. We must embrace these authors and give them credit for the paths they have trod and continue to navigate. Encourage them to write their stories because no one else can do it the way they can do it! Remember only they can provide all the intimate details through the lens they possess. Amazingly, this group of authors continue to lay the groundwork as they navigate life and embrace society. Let their truths be told so we can continue to make progress and future generations can navigate the world we live in with rich collections of books by African American male authors! The African American male author has a powerful presence in our society, and we must charge forward with their voices and words in books of today and tomorrow!



From the Founders The 2NCs By Karen McConnell-Jones and Dr. Sharon H. Porter

The 2NC’s column was created to allow the founders of V&P Magazine, Karen McConnellJones and Dr. Sharon H. Porter, who are both from Winston Salem, North Carolina; to give their insights and their expertise on questions asked by their readers and followers. The conversations will range anywhere from education, business & entrepreneurship, community, and just on life itself. Creating a fun and loving atmosphere with this column as well as answering the hard and tough questions that may arise from time to time. Question: Living in a time with the COVID-19 Pandemic, what is V&P Magazine & Media’s role through all of this and what inspired the message behind the front cover page? As our nation is experiencing a fast, spreading virus called Coronavirus (COVID-19), spreading so fast, it has truly taken the world by surprise. The Coronavirus is spreading so rapidly having us to experience a global COVID-19 Pandemic. Never in our lifetime did we ever expect to see something like this to hit our nation, having most of us to be in a place of disbelief! Shock! Just plain out fear itself, with the world having no defense mechanism (VACCINE) to fight against this. Leaving us to turn to our government, our doctors and nurses, and our media outlets for answers that just are not available as fast as we need it to be or as fast as this virus is spreading. This is just the real truth and reality of it all.


This work, "In His Hands" by Karen Clay, is a derivative of "Creative Commons Horseshoe Falls" by Flying Freddie, used under CC BY-SA 3.0

"He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" So, what is V&P Magazine & Media's role through

You will see and hear this message in our stories

all of this? It is our obligation and duty to our

over and over again. Particularly now during this

community to be that positive force and voice

COVID-19 Pandemic and moving forward once

that is needed. Especially, at a time such as this

this virus has subsided.

and when some of our mainstream media outlets want to keep us in a state of negativity and a

Our role is to be socially responsible and

state of disconnect with one another.

reinforce a “public service journalism” mindset that mitigates social anxiety. We aim to “Inspire

At V&P, that cannot and will never be our

Our Community”. Through our publication you

practice. We must be that positive and listening

will undoubtedly experience varied perspectives

ear that our community can depend on and need

on our chosen topics.

from us right now. Yes, our writers will oftentimes insert their Yes, we all are practicing our Social Distancing

personal perspective and always their incredible

nevertheless V&P will report and show how even

expertise. But, we commit to showing up as a

in the midst of our social distancing that we are

credible and reliable source for information. The

still showing a kind act of TOGETHERNESS.

COVID-19 Pandemic is no exception.

This is the very structure and foundation of V&P

We feel mainstream media, in some cases, have

Magazine & Media, to be a community-based

created confusion and panic. There has been an

entity that brings forth the issues and topics that

avalanche of information creating widespread

are of great concern to our community. Allowing


us to have the conversations that need to be had yet bringing positive solutions and uplifting

What is paramount for V&P Magazine during this

messages that will feed the heart and soul of our

pandemic is to be a media company that

community, truly allowing our community voice to

contributes to easing public emotion. COVID-19

be heard.

has disrupted society. We have received conflicting information from our national


government on several occasions; direct conflict to messages shared from scientists and medical professionals.

While V&P Magazine does not specialize in public health reporting, we do specialize in “community” reporting and this pandemic has absolutely affected our community in an enormous way. As we take a closer look at the COVID-19 Pandemic, V&P Magazine & Media has a chance to make its own history, so what do we want that history to be and what effect do we want our message to have on our community? Having our message to reflect that we are not afraid to show that there is a Higher Power in all of this and yes “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands'”. We want to show in spite of this virus coming to cause ill will and take this world by a storm there is still peace in the midst of the storm. Peace will be still! Purposely, we have embraced our new normal and showing act of kindness throughout our community. We are witnessing the world showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and selfcontrol which is all the fruit of the spirit. Exactly how He wants this world to be. To live in this world more Christ-like. Leaving us with this last word that the world has discovered and that is “TOGETHERNESS”. Togetherness will keep us connected and we will have the humility that is needed to get through this. We must trust and believe that this too shall pass. Until then keep the focus on the Vision and Purpose that He will have you to do. V&P Magazine & Media would like to give special thanks and prayers to all of our Frontline Workers who are risking their lives each and every day to keep us safe and protected, May God bless all of you and God Bless America!



Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Who would have ever imagined that the fast-paced day-to-day grind that many of us have grown accustomed to in the United States would be significantly reduced to a snail's-pace over the past few months? I certainly didn't. We followed daily news reports regarding the surge of coronavirus cases in China and then Italy, leaving countless victims in its path. With today's technology, many of us may have naively assumed that a flu-like virus could be quickly brought under control. Unfortunately, we've been wrong in our assumptions.


Coronavirus 3D Model

The World Health Organization (WHO) is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and is comprised of more than 7000 people from over 150 countries who are deemed the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations System. Their goal is to attain the highest possible level of health for everyone ( WHO explains that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.

People can also be infected by touching a contaminated surface and then their eyes, mouth or nose. There aren't many flights that I've had over the years where someone hasn't sneezed or coughed, but I certainly didn't think much of catching a cold or anything else as a result. My perspective on that has changed drastically as of late. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the first case of coronavirus was recorded in Wuhan, China in 2019, and the first known case in the U. S. was reported on January 12, 2020. ( 9-ncov/)


According to the website,, officials with the Cruise industry claim that they were caught off guard by the pandemic, despite operators continuing to launch cruises as late as mid-March - after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global pandemic. The Guardian also reports that outbreaks were known to have been on at least six cruise ships that set sail from U.S. states after the CDC advised against travel by cruise on March 8.



Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

TRAVEL BAN TO CHINA Since then, WHO reports that 1,995,983 people in the world have contracted the deadly COVID-19 virus, claiming the lives of 131,037 victims globally. The CDC reports that 31,071 of those deaths occurred in the United States as of April 16, 2020. The CDC further indicates that 14,728 coronavirus cases were derived from close contact, while 6,814 were a result of travel-related contamination. The remaining 611,006 U.S. cases are still being investigated. On February 2, 2020, the United States Federal Government issued a travel ban prohibiting flights to China in an effort to contain the coronavirus (www.Travel.State.Gov). This had a direct impact on my travel plans, which resulted in my February 9th flight to Thailand being cancelled just three days before I was scheduled to fly out. My flight to Thailand had a connecting flight in China. Talk about disappointment...I really needed a vacation at the time and was looking forward to that trip! However, what I needed most was the assurance of knowing that I would not unknowingly and innocently expose my loved ones, and everyone else to this highly contagious virus. Fortunately for me, my international flight to Asia was automatically refunded citing the coronavirus as the catalyst. I had also booked a separate connecting domestic flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to New York with a separate airline. MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 52


TYPES OF TRAVEL INSURANCE PLANS Flight Insurance Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains Insurance

U.S. TRAVEL MARKET The U.S. travel market grew 5% in 2018, with gains remaining steady in 2019; by 2022, total gross bookings will have increased to $441 billion


This flight was not automatically refunded since it had not been banned by the federal government. Since I had not purchased travel insurance for this ticket, I began researching the possibility of a reimbursement since I obviously no longer needed to fly to New York. Typically, if insurance on a flight is not purchased at the time of booking, the airfare will not be refunded unless there are extenuating circumstances such as the untimely death of a passenger, or a medical reason as described by a physician (

A fee of approximately $250.00 (varies with each airline) is assessed to cancel or change a flight, with the balance being applied to a future credit with that same airline. For example, if you purchased a $350.00 flight without insurance and needed to cancel the flight without a qualifying reason as indicated by the airline, you would be charged a fee of $250.00 and the remaining $100.00 balance would be applied as a credit for a future flight with that same airline.

U.S. DOMESTIC TRAVEL U.S. domestic travel increased 1.7% from 2018 to a total of 2.3 billion person-trips in 2019.

TRAVELERS' SPENDING Leisure travelers (domestic and international) spent a total of $792 billion in 2019, up 4.1% from 2018. Business traveler spending increased 2.2% to $334 billion in 2019. Of total business traveler spending, meeting and convention travelers spent $139 billion, up 2.6% from 2018.

U.S. Travel Association


Phuket, Thailand

Each airline has their own set of guidelines regarding refunds listed on their respective websites, which should be thoroughly reviewed prior to booking any flight. In my situation, I had to select the 'Other' option on the airline's website and explain in detail why I was requesting a refund, along with a photo attachment of the international flight that was cancelled by the government as supporting evidence for my refund request. Within a few days, I received an email from the airline indicating that my airfare would be fully refunded. I have honestly never purchased insurance for an airplane ticket, and more than likely will continue this practice moving forward. However, I will definitely rethink other aspects of my travel routine in the future. Aspects, such as touching surfaces in public areas and taking it upon myself to wipe down my seat and meal tray before a flight. I will also be more cognizant of others exhibiting flu-like symptoms when traveling locally and abroad. I'll never forget my first trip to Asia in 2017 and arriving at JFK airport in the wee hours of the morning. I was scheduled to fly from New York with a connecting flight in Hong Kong. It was not surprising that the vast majority of passengers at the terminal were of Asian descent. What did come as a surprise to me was that several of the passengers were wearing masks at the airport long before COVID-19 ever reared its ugly head. I remember thinking to myself that I must not have gotten the memo. I thought it was strange, but simply attributed it to cultural differences.

Upon arriving in Thailand, I continued to see much of the same practice of people wearing masks at the airport. Even while riding in a Tuk-Tuk (pronounced tuke-tuke), or taxi in Patong Beach, I recall seeing a young lady on a moped at a gas station wearing a mask and glasses. She looked up at me as I zoomed in with my camera and obliged me by displaying the 'Peace' sign as she posed for the photo. Through her body language and friendly hand gesture, I felt the warmth of her smile beneath the mask she wore. The question is not 'will' things get back to normal...the question is 'when' will things get back to normal. I truly believe that the resiliency of our nation and the people of the world, will enable us to eventually return to a modified version of the life we once knew. I realize that things will never be the same in the world again. And, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully we won't get offended if someone decides to catch the next elevator instead of riding with us. It could be that they are caring for an elderly parent or have a newborn at home and simply don't want to risk being infected. Or, perhaps they work on the front lines at a hospital or a grocery store and don't want to risk infecting us. Nevertheless, the goal moving forward should be to raise the awareness of just how dangerous and easily transmittable COVID-19 and other viruses are. It is truly astonishing to see how quickly coronavirus has brought the travel industry, and the world for that matter, to its knees. Which in my humble opinion is the best place to be in these unprecedented times...prayer changes things. The possibility exists that this pandemic may get worse before it gets better. In the interim, don't allow fear and anxiety to rob you of your peace and happiness. We'll all be able to get back to traveling and adjusting to this new normal once the pandemic is under control and we can find a vaccine. Until then, we all need to implement cohesive measures to protect and care for our loved ones, our neighbors, and ourselves. Things WILL eventually get better, so don't forget to smile...even if you have to do it wearing a mask. Bon Voyage! MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 54


By Alia Jackson

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many inconveniences, including the closing of many businesses, restaurants,, bars, and also clothing stores. While the pandemic is very serious and social distancing is now legally required, fashion lovers everywhere are feeling the withdrawals from their favorite brands. The 2020 Met Gala was postponed due to the events of the coronavirus. Formally known as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala, The Met Gala is a fundraiser and fashion exhibit that was organized by Vogue. The Met Gala is a formal event featuring fashion at its best which is always well attended and has been attended by many famous people such as Diana Ross, Naomi Campbell, David Bowie, and Beyoncé. While the Met Gala originally was planned to occur on May 4th, it has been indefinitely postponed. Most would agree that this is a necessary measure as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York has reached an astonishing number of 113,704 people and is still increasing. While the effects of coronavirus are saddening, it is important during this time that as a community people remain positive for future events. While we cannot change the current state of shutdown, nor travel to the past to prevent this, we must embrace it and make the best of it as well as learn as a country from mistakes that have been made. Fashion lovers are in luck—the internet is still one of the few things that have not experienced a shutdown during this pandemic. Many experts and officials have expressed that accepting packages and deliveries during this outbreak does not put a person in immediate danger of contracting the virus. Some physicians also still emphasize that it is important to wash hands thoroughly after accepting packages. This is great news for fashion lovers as this confirms that online shopping will not put anyone in immediate risk or harm.


Model: Mary Harris Jones, The Polished Diva Fashion by The Couture Soror


We all have heard the saying “when you look good, you feel good” but of course we all have different personalities and different styles that we feel comfortable in. I’m going to be touching on the colors and styles of clothing that can make you look and feel good this spring based on your personality. Spring is all about bright colors, you can always turn heads with a mauve pink, pastel purple, or a bright red, but not everyone feels comfortable in eye catching colors. If you are comfortable in bright colors Take advantage of the spring! This is your time to match the flowers that are blooming. Surely, great color is the way around this time of year including white and all pastel colors. Give in to the upcoming trend!

Tie dye is making its way back into the trendy fashion scene along with “watercolor” mesh sets. Spring is the perfect time to be fun and wear fun bright tie-dye colors. Neon colors such as green and neon pink are also really cute and trendy for the springtime. If you are uncomfortable in bright colors Don’t worry, you don’t always have to be bright in the spring you can be neutral. The best thing about spring, it is the time where nature blooms and we can use all colors of nature to influence our fashion decisions.You can go with a lot of earthy tones such as brown and tan tones, a nude tone, add some greens that are natural, or even a good red punch.

Fashion Tips by Alicia Lynette Morgan

Denim is a year-round material, if you want to add color to your neutrals throw on a distressed denim jacket. And don’t forget you can also add a pop of color with your accessories.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak..” MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 57

The Roaring 2020s

The Modern Gangsta A look at hairstyles from the 1920s to 2020! By Antonio "Tony" and Martina Turner MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 58


“African Americans began to build a new place for themselves..."

The 1920's was a popular era for African Americans. The Great Migration was one of the largest movements of six million African Americans between (1916 -1970). Leaving the rural Southern states to escape racism and The Jim Crow laws. They began to move to urban Northeast, Midwest and West in search for jobs and educational opportunities during World War I. African Americans began to build a new place for themselves while confronting political and social challenges that's still a strong influence to this day.

The Harlem Renaissance was a great time in Harlem, New York City for African Americans. During that time, "New Negro Movement" named after The New Negro, an 1925 anthology by Alaine Locke. During this time Black African Americans dealt with oppression, but pushed forward to build up their community, culture and people. It was a time that writer's such as Langston Hughes ( The Black Experience), W E B Dubois ( NAACP), Zora Neal Hurston and Countee Cullen were able to share their poetic literature. Famous entertainers such as Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, to Cabell "Cab" Calloway, even the late Duke Ellington, composer, bandleader, pianist was one of the most authentic figures of American music.

WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women's suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest. ... Anthony and other activists, raised public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women. The 1920's also was a powerful time for women as they fought for equality among men. Strong Black women dominated such as Eunice Hunton Carter a Black activist, lawyer and first Black woman to receive the Harlem Writers Guild, to Maggie Lena Walker, activist, newspaper editor, first African American female Bank President, to Madam C J Walker first Selfmade millionaire in America, philanthropist, political and social activist.



"Life isn't perfect but your hair can be..." She built her empire by creating her own

over the head that ended in a chignon or

Hair Care Products known as the Madam C

bun at the nape of a woman's neck. Bobby

J Walker Manufacturing Company.

pins were used to create waves and to keep the hair in place. These hairstyles

Hair and Fashion during The Harlem

still are a part of today's fashion and

Renaissance represented style and

themes such as The Great Gatsby. Finger

sophistication. Stylish women such as

waves were also popular in the 1920's, the

Josephine Baker, who wore the Eton Crop,

process involved pinching the hair

the shortest most severe razor cuts of the

between fingers and combing the hair in

Shingle all the way around a woman's

alternating directions to make an "S"

head. Ethel Moses, a popular performer

shape wave.

that showcased The Bob, a bob haircut which could be worn with bangs or to the

The 1920's was a significant time in


African American history. African

Dorothy Van Engle, was an actress known

Americans overcame slavery to become

for wearing stylish and classic updo's in

Business owners, Political activists, to

her films, she wore the Chignon, for

being Entertainers and Fashion icons. Let's

women who chose to keep their hair long

always remember in times of adversity to

and pulled back,the process created waves

Keep God first and think back on how our ancestors fought and overcame


oppression. Let's keep persevering!

By Antonio "Tony" Turner In this time of uncertainty, it's good to look at our past for direction and wisdom. With a global pandemic (COVID-19) ravaging the world and it's economy and a presidential administration that is focused on deregulation of industries, which benefits big business growth at the expense of the environment and the health of the lower economic classes. An organized consortium has monopolized our government.




GANGSTER POLITICS IN REAL TIME We are watching Gangster Politics in real time. Because of modern technology, we can observe gangsters in motion. Gangsters are now mainstream. Unapologetically, art imitates life and life imitates art.

We give you The Modern Gangsta Trend.


ENJOY OUR MUSE! The hairstyles of the 1920's remixed with

Please, let's not forget that hair weave down

the modern tools and ideas of 2020.

to the floor. It reminds me of a poem my grandmother's man used to say, "There was

Let's go! You will see The Roaring 20's mirroring itself right now, in real time.

a terrible crash, a terrible bash, bodies all over the place ." The undertaker smiled and said," business sure is GREAT! "

Enjoy our muse! A beautiful mess. It all goes to show you the whole world is Vanity….vanity...vanity all vexation of the

going mad. What makes one man happy

mind. But good Lord, you know it's fly!

makes another man sad. We make bullets

Watch us all stand in line for a slice of the

and band-aids and then start a war, making

devil's pie. I must repent, let us study

the rich get richer and the poor man

where the money is spent. Shampoo,

poorer. If that ain't gangster, I don't know

conditioner, hair color and more.

what is.

1920 REMIX



We use the media to create propaganda to create more tears and fears. The klan gets stronger with new immigrants to hate as the president says," let's make America great." today looks like the past. Still waiting on the day when the first will be the last. Cuts, curls, and waves still stand today with a modern twist done in a slightly different way. This is my rendition of a gangsta rhyme, as we watch hairstyles go back in time. Meg the Stallion got the young girls saying " I'd rather be your B" cause that's what you are going to call me when I'm tripping anyway." Hints back to the 1920's. It was a time in history when women began to express their sexuality publicly, smoking cigarettes and participating in prohibition. The style of dress for women got more provocative. Josephine Baker mesmerized multicultural stages around the world with a g-string banana skirt and was almost topless. Sounds familiar.Unapologetically twerking. Becoming arguably one of our first black superstars. Not to mention a double agent who was key in bringing down the German army of Adolf Hitler in World War II. She was known for her Savage Dance. They say there's nothing new under the Sun. So, what's new? Speed and texture. Same desires of the 1920s but now we do things with lightning speed. Then it was the Industrial Age now it's the Informational Age, 5g is on its way! Who cares if we microwave our organs as long as we can move information in mind splitting speed. Even our hair styling tools use nano-technology. A Hair duo that used to take five hours can be done in one. Blessings and curses working in the same space. With all this progress, we are still creating our own brick walls. Running into them, breaking our bones and destroying our flesh. Coming to the realization that we must learn to love our Creator and love others as we love ourselves.

So, the Modern Gangsta becomes the new idea of loving the way The Most High created us. Today, The Crown Act becomes Law. We can wear our hair the way God made it and not be discriminated against because of it. And those who love humanity are the new outlaws. If you blow the whistle on injustice you lose your job, you might lose your life. Then the plague comes, we all on our knees. Just as the Plague of 1918, millions died. The fear of death sends the word of Hair Fashion literally in the house. Let's see how we survive under government order.

Over 6.6 million people are unemployed. They say a record breaking 10 million people will file for unemployment during the (COVID19) Pandemic. The country who boasts itself as the Greatest Country in the world cannot buy enough face masks, in it's borders to save its own lives and can't find enough toilet paper to wipe it's own behind.

Big Business has found a way to make it cheaper in other countries, multiplying profits for themselves, while leaving factories in the U.S. empty ghost towns. The word says pride comes before the fall. Could it be that we are so damn smart, we make ourselves dumb. Arrogance never saw it coming or was pride making it feel as though it couldn't be touched. Either way we are now humbly asking other nations to help us clean up this mess. Take a look at the New Modern Gangsta! Truth is Recompense reveals motive. Now that's the real Modern Gangster. Thank you for your time and your mind space.


JUNE 2020






AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC APPRECIATION MONTH Black Music resonates! For the June 2020 celebration of this world-class artform, we asked members of the Washington, DC region's vibrant music and performance community about how Black Music has impacted them. The black and white sentiments that they shared, below, are as timeless as the music itself... As an artist, Black Music has given me every tool I’ve needed to thrive as a songwriter and performer. Black Music sets the tone... It has been a major pillar of my life...and I was told I sang before I walked. PatriceLIVE - Singer, Songwriter and Producer

Black Music is an art form molded by rhythm and blues, hurt and pain, love, soul. Black Music is something you feel. As a young person, the path that has been created by the pioneers allows me to learn and create my own. LANGSTON HUGHES - Saxophonist and Howard University Jazz Studies Major

Black Music...reached into my years in college at Howard University...much focus was given to one of the greatest influences in classical music, Ludwig van Beethoven. Imagine my surprise to find out that he was a man of African descent. Ultimately I began to sing Black Music, Jazz. Jazz is Black Music, from start to finish, nothing but. I vividly remember my father listening to Mahalia Jackson singing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord". He listened as he cried in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. NATII WRIGHT - Jazz Musician, Creator of ‘My Little World’ Children's Educational Music Series

Within sound engineering Black Music impacted the tone and soul of my mixing. I bring it to every genre of music I mix outside of the likes of R&B, Gospel, Reggae, Neo-Soul, or Hip Hop... Black Music helped me to identify myself within my culture. It gave me a voice. DEAN WEST SR. - CEO of GDIC Live Performance and Rehearsal Space

As a singer and visual artist...It’s humbling and gratifying when viewers or listeners express how deeply or positively they’ve been impacted by your offering; I don’t know if that is primarily a Black thing...but I learned the impact of music when it’s clear that you‘re not copying, usurping, or pretending. It’s God-given. My parents loved music, all many Black households we were ecstatic when we saw Black singers and musicians on the screen. We bring value...we’ve got a certain something, but that something has to be protected. VANESSA RENEE WILLIAMS - Gospel Singer with The Richard Smallwood Singers and Visual Artist

Black Music is the blueprint, it's the most tangible historical account that has existed for African Americans. I make this distinction because the particular crucible that has formed Black American culture is unique to the specific conditions that diasporic Africans have faced in the United States of America. ...aesthetically, I find it a responsibility to continue adding to these stories. As a person, Black Music is the soundtrack of my's an extension of who I am. KOKAYI - Grammy Nominated Vocalist Producer and Educator (Photo by Magee MacIlvaine) MAY/JUNE 2020 V&P MAGAZINE | 66

I listen to a wide range of music for creativity. As my focus turned more to performance, I allowed Black Music and it’s deeply rooted culture to affect my playing style by A. Intensity B. Rhythm C. Overall soul. As a person...Black Music makes me feel connected to an ethnicity that every other ethnicity models in one way or the other. It makes me proud to be Black! CLAUDIA KOOL-KEYS ROGERS - Keyboardist, Be’la Dona Band and Minister of Music, Bethlehem Baptist Church

Artistically it is easy to use Black Music as the medium for all of my creative thoughts and feelings.In my household while growing up, my mother and her sisters filled the house with song. Black Music was always a pivotal part of our daily lives. TOBAL daGRIOT - Songwriter, Poet, and Creator/Host of the Variety Show Open Mic Series

I’m a Recording Artist and I choose songs that give me joy. For example I love and respect the Washington, DC Jazz artist, the late Shirley Horn. My favorite song is her rendition of "Here’s to Life". The words of the song...capture the journey of my life. I recorded the song on my CD, “Shades of Shirley Horn”...A child of the 70’s...Nina Simone’s “To Be Young,Gifted and Black” became my theme song... I am Black Music and Black Music is Me. CONIECE WASHINGTON - Jazz Singer, Songwriter and Producer


Having studied and performed for over 40 years, I’ve seen how music has been used as a call to action in difficult times. For instance during the turbulent times in the late 60's, in the Black community, music was used to create a form of brother/sisterhood among the people. It was the art of music that forwarded the message. Music to me is "air". Much like is able to give us an auditory account of life among ethnic groups. GLENN DOUGLASS - Keyboardist Music Director and Producer

Ninety-five percent of my musical influence is by Black Music. My parents would play their old 8-tracks of The O’Jays, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Teddy Pendergrass, The Stylistics and The Chi’lites.. This became the foundation of who I am as an artist. Black Music has impacted my life as a person in a most profound way. It has definitely been the soundtrack to my life. TAMIKA LAW - Singer, Songwriter and Founder of Musically Yours Entertainment

From listening as a child, I learned from Black Music that it was used as a great communicator of emotions and feelings through song. Black Music impacted my life as an artist by inspiring me into becoming the best musician that I can be... DEREK FREEMAN - Music Director, Producer and Drummer



In the world of sports May and June is known for the NBA Playoffs and Championship games. The National Basketball Association (NBA) started back in June of 1946 and was originally known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). On August 3rd, 1949, is when the BAA merged with the NBL (National Basketball League) and became the National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBA plays 82 regular season games before going into the playoff and championship games, having the NBA players to be one of the highest paid professional athletes in the world of sports. Also, in the world of sports during the end of May throughout the beginning of June, we all are glued to our TV set watching the French Open. The French Open was established in 1891 and in 1928 the French Open started playing their games outdoors on the red clay counts. Having the French Open to be known for their red clay courts and said to be the hardest courts to play on to this day.

Photo Courtesy of the Colbert Family

The French Open is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments played each year, the other three being the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. We sports fans love having the best of both worlds in basketball and tennis during this time of year. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 Pandemic is giving us a new twist on things and never ever in the history of basketball or tennis has the games been suspended indefinitely until further notice. Never could I ever imagine a season of basketball and tennis that we will be experiencing a time of empty basketball stadiums and empty tennis courts. COVID-19 has truly affected the world of sports as we know it to be in one form or another. Leaving us to find what will be our new sport now!

WHAT’S YOUR NEW SPORT? For me, embracing my NEW NORMAL and allowing the walks with my puppy Carson Joyful-Noise to be my new sport. I can honestly say that I really have been enjoying my walks with my pup and seeing my neighborhood in a whole new light. I never paid much attention before on how beautiful the scenery is along our path and finding a new appreciation of having neighbors, watching my neighbors taking on the sport of yard work. This COVID-19 has given me a chance to see how yard work, car washing, and outdoor home improvement is a sport within itself. I now have my favorite yards that I enjoyed looking at along our walks yet noticing how everyone is taking this time in our new normal to give that extra love and care to their outdoor work. Whether is planting the beautiful flowers in their yard or finishing off that newly improved deck and let’s not forget that nice shine on that freshly detailed car wash. Now, of course the reporter and media person in me couldn’t help but to ask the question to a few of the neighbors if COVID-19 has them finding a new love and joy about doing their yard work? As I had suspected the answer was yes. Actually, my neighbors were more thrilled to learn that I was a part of community magazine and I would love for their yards to be a part of my photo shoot for our upcoming edition. We made sure to practice our social distancing while still enjoying the moment of the photo shoot and our new way of communicating. Perhaps the true moral to this story is not finding that new sport during COVID-19 Pandemic however, finding that the COVID-19 Pandemic has allowed us to learn that even in the midst of our challenge of all challenges that we are still being blessed. For let us not be afraid yet to embrace our new normalcy as we trust in He the Higher POWER to continue to keep us, guide us, and protect us as we believe with all our might that “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” Thank you Tyler Perry for reminding us of that. Togetherness We Shall Be Even Through Our Social Distancing.

Job 12:10 KJV In whose hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. V&P Gives World Prayer To Those Who Lost Their Lives To COVID-19.