huami North Carolinaâ€™s Community Magazine
FREE Volume One - Issue 3 February/March 2011 Charlotte-Metro Edition
Dr. Patrick Graham
from the Editor/Founder
My Black is Beautiful In celebration of Black History Month, I have chosen to use this opportunity to express the significance of being an African American, the pride that I am personally responsible to exhibit, and to also encourage other African Americans to ask themselves the question of what being black means to them. The culture of every ethnic group is what shapes our world. How it is regarded by those of which it defines is equally important. My Black is beautiful, and for so many reasons. Our history and those who make it are what makes being black an honor. In the month of June in 1933, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed the works of Florence Beatrice Smith Price. Titled “Symphony In E Minor” this piece was later performed at the Chicago World’s Fair as part of the Century of Progress Exhibition. Price was the first African American female composer to have a symphonic composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. In this Superbowl this year, for only the third time in the history of the National Football League, an African American straddled the sideline as head coach of one of the participating teams. As great and meaningful as this accomplishment is, the door for Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers was opened by Fritz Pollard who was the very first black NFL coach. Pollard also played in the same league for seven years. Collegiality, he was the first black All American running back, and the first black to play in the Rose Bowl. There are countless “firsts” by African Americans and our contributions will continue to influence the perception others have of our race. Being black means that we are destined for greatness, but only if we are responsible with our potential, and conscious of the pitfalls that can prevent it. Black is beautiful when it is used for its intended purpose; to impact the lives of others with actions that provoke change. We become elevated when we learn how to persevere through the most unbearable moments. I am proud of my race and just as excited to experience the celebrations that take place all year long and not just during the month of February. If I don’t believe that my Black is Beautiful, then how can I effectively persuade anyone else to embrace their heritage and respond to its call of empowerment? Happy Black History Month!
Terry L. Watson 4 HuamiMagazine.com
www.huamimagazine.com Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Deputy Editor Alana Allen Copy Editor Almena Mayes Women’s Interest Editor Alana Allen Writers Tonya Dixon Crystal Kelly Photographers Bradford McKenzie Howard Gaither Tiffany Fuller Layout Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org (336) 340-7844 HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or to Mykel Media Company P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2010 All Rights Reserved SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE Have Huami Magazine delivered to your home or office. Send Money Order for $16.00 for 4 issues to our P.O. Box, and allow three weeks before first issue is delivered. Include subscriber contact information with phone number. No Refunds Allowed. On The Cover Photos by Howard Gaither
24 Her Soul Sings
In His Perfect Will
26 20 12 44 16 32 36
Rev. Odell Cleveland
Create Your Reality
Huami Fashion Virgo Soles African American Art Bovanti Make Up Essentials 101: Concealers & Foundations Obesity in African Americans Jameel McGregor
Community Change Rev. Odell Cleveland
Popcorn Fanatic For The Love of Popcorn Create Your Reality Almena Mayes
Western Guilford JV Cheerleaders The Baby Bees Alstons Personal Care Tamika Alston
Western Guilford JV Cheerleaders - Baby Bees and Universities and the traditional technical style performed in many other colleges and universities.
The Western Guilford Junior Varsity cheerleaders’ community service project, the “Baby Bees” allows girls, ages 6-12 to practice and perform during Western Guilford High School home football and basketball games, but more so, it creates a spirit of mentorship between young women and young girls. JV cheerleaders are matched with elementary and middle school girls who have the desire to cheer. Cheerleading fundamentals as well as advanced skills are taught to girls who want to cheer but may not have that opportunity anywhere else. The girls are exposed to all styles of cheerleading including the “stomp shake” styles utilized at many Historically Black Colleges
“As the coach of the Western Guilford JV cheerleaders, I noticed the girls that seemed to be prepared for tryouts were the ones who had been in cheerleading programs before they entered high school. Unfortunately because cheerleading can be relatively expensive, many parents find themselves unable to enroll their children in prepatory programs. In addition, many young women do not understand that cheerleading is much more than just wearing a skirt,” says Mayes. There are three core goals the Baby Bee service project was created to address; childhood obesity, low-self esteem, mentoring and volunteer service. The girls that participate in the program are taught to condition their bodies through aerobic exercise and strength training. The weekly practices and instruction are offered free of charge. The only financial responsibility the parents have is to provide their child with the uniform. There is a non-profit summer camp that also works to offset the cost of the program. The project is completely self sufficient. The activities
By Almena Mayes Photo by Mykel Media Company are modified to be age appropriate but push the young women to do and be the best they can be. Secondly, the program allows elementary and middle school girls to cheer at high school games. The cheers and routines they perform are on the same level as the high school squads; they perform in the stands and on the field. The fans love them and give them positive feedback. The support the program is given from the fans, parents, staff and administration of Western Guilford helps to build a spirit of excellence and consequently drives the girls to do their very best at all times. The love shown to the members of this junior squad ushers in a sense of accomplishment and boosts their selfesteem. Finally, the high school cheerleaders have an opportunity to mentor and give back to the community by volunteering. All of the students involved realize that to progress they have to reach out and help someone else be successful. The JV cheerleaders all participate in teaching and training the younger girls. Practices end with the chant “whose world…our world”. The truth in this statement is evident as each of these young women is prepared to take her place and make her mark on the world.
Want to advertise? Call (336)340-7844
Alstons Personal Care Services
Serving Alamance, Chatham, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham and Stokes counties. Tamika Alston says the year was 1997 when she realized her true calling in life. A summons that instructed her to serve her community and help those in need. She then began working in the health care field as a Habilitation Technician. Ten years later she began working in the personal care field, first with children and later transitioned to assist disabled and elderly adults. Unexpectedly, Alston found herself unemployed and began working with family member Almeta Alston, who had previously launched her very own personal care business, Alston Personal Care Services.
Tamika Alston By Terry L. Watson Photo by Mykel Media Company
The idea of owning and operating a personal care business Alston says originated with her uncle Jerry. While attending North Carolina A &T State University as a nursing student, he was murdered. “He was the sort of person that never met a stranger and spent his entire life helping people,” Alston expresses. As a means of carrying on her uncles legacy, her second business venture Samaritans Heart Shelter operates with the same compassion he offered to others.
While under Almeta’s leadership she became ill. Tamika soon took ownership of the business after purchasing it with funds she amassed while working at the same company, along with selling some of her own possessions. In 2010, she took over the business as owner, office manager and patient care coordinator. A native of Greensboro, Alston has a rock in her office called Ebenezer. She says, “it means God has brought me this far. This rock is a reminder of the trials and tribulations that were behind me. I look through the windshield of life and not the rear view mirrors. God reminds me that my work here is not done and I’m inspired daily to continue on and not go back.” Client satisfaction is very important and essential to the success of Alston Personal Care Services. “We understand there are several personal care providers in our operating areas, but customer service is the dividing resource,” says Alston. Each day the staff of Alston Personal Care Services strive to provide excellent care and assistance to their clients and their families.
Want to advertise? Call (336)340-7844
Dr. Patrick Graham President & Ceo of the Urban League By Crystal Kelly Photos by Dr. Patrick Graham
ebruary is set aside as the time to celebrate Black history and the people who have shaped the past to provide a better future. Pivotal leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Dorothy Height and others are recognized during this month. These leaders all have one thing in common; they took time out of their lives to stand up for someone else and believed that change was possible. These celebrated leaders emphatically believed and diligently worked so that African Americans could be assured of the same rights as White Americans. The question is who is standing up for Black America today? Who are the people that are continuing to inspire the change that these leaders fought and died for? In this issue we take time to recognize one such leader; Dr. Patrick Graham, president and CEO of the Urban League of Central Carolinas, Inc. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” The Bible says in Luke 10: 25-37 that the first question which the priest and the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But, the Good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” This mentality; that of taking time out to stop and help someone is what compels Dr. Graham to continue to push the Leagues’ mission to empower the community to attain financial stability and social justice in a global economy through education, training and placement. Dr. Graham was born and raised in Long Island, N.Y. and considers himself to be a very inquisitive person. “I always wanted to know where things came from and how we all got to where we are today,” says Graham. “They say you never know where you’re going until you know where you came from.” His mother, while raising him and his younger brother, always participated in community events. This community involvement at a young age served to make community service as an adult a natural transition. After receiving a graduate degree in African American history from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a doctorate’s degree from Stony Brook University in American history, Graham became the executive director for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Long Beach, N.Y. He says just like Dr. King he didn’t have much political experience. This worked to his advantage because people didn’t expect him to be such an inspiring leader. He has passion for the cause and believes in uplifting the community.
In 2001 he became the director of the Emergency Financial Assistance Program for Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte, N.C. During this time he also took on the responsibility of being president of the Diversity Counsel of the Carolinas in 2004. He states, “I am a person that doesn’t like to keep still for too long. I like to be involved in different things.” When he isn’t leading the community in some fashion, you may find him riding dirt bikes, hiking or trail running. In 2007, when the Urban League needed a leader to fill its open slot, he was highly recommended for the position of president and CEO. During his three years as president and CEO, he has continued to push and strive to fulfill the Leagues’ mission to place people from disenfranchised communities, educate them and train them to become financially stable. Programs are offered to assist individuals obtain their GED, get certified in special fields such as HVAC, fiber optics, energy auditing and much more. After completing the certification programs, many people are employed by reputable companies. In addition, urban youth empowerment programs for young adults
“I am a person that doesn’t like to keep still for too long. I like to be involved in different things.” ages 17 – 24 are available. These programs are provided free or at very little cost to the participants. Dr. Graham has taken time out to plant seeds in today’s youth to aspire to be more than just the minimum. He has received leadership awards from numerous organizations such as Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Intercultural Coalition, and has been named Community Person of the Year in The Long Island Herald. He instills in his own two children, Jasmie who is 22 years old and Myles age 7, the same values that he promotes to the youth in the community; to push the limits – don’t settle for less. Dr. Graham is only one of many leaders who have taken time out to stop and ask the same question the Good Samaritan asked. This Black history month, we want to celebrate those leaders and recognize the people who take time every day to help those in need.
Bovanti Make Up Essentials 101:
Concealers & Foundations By Beauty Experts Marquel & Marquis Bohannon The ultimate beauty guide specifically for women of color has been well overdue. Bovanti Cosmetics & Spa is setting the record straight on makeup fundamentals. In this article, you will learn the purpose of concealer, how to find the perfect match foundation, and the tools to create the look, and much more. Let Bovanti teach you how to enhance your natural beauty.
Before What tools should I use when applying Concealer & Foundation?
COSMETICS & SPA
Just as important as the makeup you wear, so are the tools you use to apply it. To capture a well blended look use the following brushes:
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Bovanti Oval Camouflage Brush
Used to blend your concealer evenly throughout problem areas.
Bovanti Foundation Brush Used to apply and blend cream foundation
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Bovanti Kabuki Brush Used to buff powder and small enough to carry in your purse
Bovanti Powder Brush
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What is a Concealer and why do I need it ? Using a concealer is the first step in creating a flawless finish and the key to having a fabulous start. Concealers cover blemishes, dark under eye circles, minor scarring, and imperfections. We have found the problems that causes women the most concern is concealing. The biggest mistake women make is using either a foundation shade or a concealer that is too light. This will draw more attention to the problem area and will not help you achieve the correct results. Concealers come in various shades and you might think you have to match one to your skin complexion like a foundation. This is not true, however the best way is to choose a concealer that is one shade lighter than your skin tone to even out the complexion. Cream concealers like the Bovanti Camouflage Cream are the easiest to apply. If you have a hyperpigmentation problem like large brown spots or deep scarring it is important to blot your concealer on heavier to camouflage your imperfections before a foundation is applied. The perfect concealer for this is the Bovanti Paramedical Kamaflage Concealer.
How do I find my perfect match foundation ?
Choosing your perfect match foundation is not as hard as it seems. Bovanti offers different types of foundations to create the most flawless of finishes. Most women prefer a more natural look and only need a light application of foundation. Foundation should be applied very lightly so that your skin is visible underneath. It looks best when blended into your skin not sitting on top. Foundations come in many different forms and provide many different finishes. Testing colors on your jawline could be the easiest way to see which color matches. Not your hand. The truest color to the rest of your body is your jawline. For more coverage use the Bovanti Matte Finish Cream Foundation that gives the ultimate flawless finish. Then apply the Bovanti Wet/Dry Pressed Powder to set and maintain the color of your foundation. Like many women of color you probably have oily skin. Using a pressed powder is great for touching up oily areas such as the T-Zone, chin, and are great for on the go touch ups.
Can I use my powder as a foundation ?
Yes, a powder can be used as a foundation. We recommend using the Two-Way Bovanti Wet/Dry Powder Foundation to give a natural light weight finish. It is important to choose a color as close to your natural complexion as possible. To avoid the ashy look try using the Bovanti Vitamin E Cream Moisturizer for combination to dry skin or the Bovanti Hydrating Moisture Gel for normal to oily skin underneath your powder first to prime your face.
Model Michele Thomas
For more tips and tricks, Fan Bovanti on Facebook: Bovanti Cosmetics of Greensboro
Raleigh, North Carolina
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Barbara Cox-Jackson nvolving the application of acrylics to canvas and employing a unique blend of hand, fingers and brush techniques to bring images to life, Barbara Jackson Cox’s art form is described as “contemporealism”. Through this transforming technique, the viewer is able to look deeper within the artist’s subject and explore its inner spirit.
A native of Atlanta, Ga., artist Barbara Cox-Jackson received her associate’s degree in commercial art and design from Atlanta Technical and Community College in 1975. She continued to fine tune her artistic ability by studying expressive drawing at the Atlanta School of Art and Stillicum Community College in Tacoma, WA. With no formal training, Jackson’s career as an artist started out as a hobby to relive stress and boredom. “I’ve always painted for my own pleasure and after years of traveling and exploring other careers, including director of a sales force of personal consultants, I finally settled into my niche as an artist. In 1995, I established my own personal business,” says Jackson. She created a unique marketing concept that includes an exhibition format. Jackson’s art creates an atmosphere that promotes an informative, educational, cultural and profitable exchange.
This relationship with the public is exemplified by the name she has given her business, “Bringing Life’s Images to Canvas”. Jackson says her most memorable piece is “Premonition”, a painting of a universal Jesus. First seeing it in a dream, she says the work is her vision of one Christ. She says she was inspired by her vision of spiritual unity and believes it is both passionate and thought provoking. If the face is divided vertically, the black and white are visible. Divide the face horizontally and a male and female are visible. Looking at the whole image, it’s easy to notice that it bears no specific race, color or gender. “Jesus is all of us in one as we all are one in the eyes of the Lord,” she explains. Because her work is a reflection of her life, Jackson says that she constantly puts herself on display. She finds inspiration in young people and quite often encourages and reminds them of how important it is, even when faced with ridicule and rejection, to continue to draw, paint, or use whatever medium to express their talents. As an artist, Jackson has faced her share of challenges and obstacles. A degenerative process in her cervical spine affects the use of her hands. As glaucoma looms and is countered with daily eye drops, she is concerned about her eyes. Being diabetic, she adds, brings its own series of problems. “With these issues I feel compelled to complete as many paintings as possible. I do the things that need to be done and I just continue to pray that my health continues,” says Jackson.
Jackson says she hopes to touch as many people as possible with her art. Stating that her life is not about making it big in the art world, she says it will be worthwhile if someone stands before her work and is affected in some positive way. For those who are interested in purchasing a piece of art by Jackson, limited edition prints cost around $150.00. Giclees and original work are priced between $250.00 and $4,500.00.
Barbara Cox-Jackson www.coxgallery.com 910.864.5802
Faceless Ghost HuamiMagazine.com
Greensboro, North Carolina
Preacher, Teacher, Activist and now Author..
Rev. Odell Cleveland 16 HuamiMagazine.com
By Alana V. Allen Photos by Rev. Odell Cleveland
everend Odell Cleveland is the CEO and president of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project based in Greensboro, N.C., and he is a minister at Mount Zion Baptist Church under the leadership of Senior Pastor and Chief Elder, Bishop George W. Brooks. Most recently, he has added the title “co-author” to his name with his newly released book, Pracademics and Community Change: A True Story of Nonprofit Development and Social Entrepreneurship during Welfare Reform. Growing up in Charleston, S.C., Cleveland grew up very poor. “My family was so poor we could not afford the “o” and “r”, we we’re just po,” he says of his childhood. However being “po” never deterred him from being successful; it made him work harder at everything he pursued. He played basketball throughout school and received a scholarship to attend the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg, now known as the University of South Carolina Upstate. He majored in business administration and pursued a successful career as a sales representative in the trucking industry. Throughout this time in his life, he also volunteered with his church’s prison ministry and soon desired to want to help more people. After seeking guidance from Bishop Brooks, he decided to become a minister and was later offered a position with the church. Bishop Brooks decided to fund his education, and he received his master’s degree in divinity (cum laude) from Hood Theological Seminary of Livingston College in Salisbury, N.C. The story of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project begins with Cleveland’s master’s thesis; he decided to write his thesis in theology on the topic: “Some Black Churches’ Response to the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.” Within his thesis, he outlined a program to help women living in poverty to move from welfare to obtaining a job. He presented the thesis to Bishop Brooks, and the bishop asked him, “Can you do what you said you can do on paper?” and he said yes. Bishop Brooks then challenged him to quit his job and to become a staff person in the church, and that he would only have one year to make the nonprofit work. “If I failed he would fire me,” says Cleveland. Given this challenge, Cleveland knew he had to talk to his wife about the risk he was about to take, and after the conversation she only asked him one question, “Is it God, or is it you?”, and he knew at that moment it was all God. In 1997, the Welfare Reform Liaison Project was birthed through the spiritual womb of Mount Zion Baptist Church. The first year of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project was a struggle, however through faith and perseverance his vision would take a turn for the better. In the winter of 1997, Cleveland would meet one of his mentors and co-author, Dr. Bob Wineburg, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on a basketball court. The two would soon forge a partnership that would develop an organization that would put ex-offenders to work and keep them out of jail, help prostitutes restore their self respect and attend college, and help moms on welfare gain their independency.
Pictured with Odell is Beverly, his wife of 25 years.
study of the progression of the nonprofit. That case study would soon turn into a book co-authored with Wineberg, Pracademics and Community Change: A True Story of Nonprofit Development and Social Entrepreneurship during Welfare Reform. The book is a tool that gives a more realistic approach on how nonprofits work behind the scenes. The title of the book, “Pracademics & Community Change” reflects the need for academics (University Professors) to take the knowledge they possess and make it work in the greater community and for social service practitioners to educate academics on how things really work. In addition to being a CEO and president, he is also on the board of directors for the United Way of Greensboro, an adjunct professors with Duke University’s Certificate Program in Nonprofit Management, an instructor in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and an instructor for the Minority Enterprise Training and Development Program at North Carolina A&T State University. He is also the founder of Faith Based Entrepreneurial Think Tank. In the future Cleveland plans to write another book, continue teaching and speaking at major events. For information on purchasing the book or booking him for speaking engagements and events please contact Odell Cleveland at 336-375-1095 or email@example.com or at facebook.com/ Rev.OdellCleveland
Cleveland being the businessman that he is would soon find out how difficult it was in the nonprofit world. “I learned patience, because things move a lot slower in the world of nonprofits,” he says. “The challenges were trying to get folks to look at a new way of building sustainable models for nonprofits.” However, Wineburg would coach him through his first grant process to secure funding from the United Way of Greensboro. Thirteen years later, the Welfare Reform Liaison Project is still thriving in the community being the first faith based community action agency in the country. Over the years, the nonprofit would continue to receive grant funding from prominent foundations in Guilford County. In addition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would name the program one of the 200 best community practices in the nation. Cleveland received a great amount of media attention for his successful efforts, and being the clever man that he is, he kept a case
Fighting Obesity in the African American Community Jameel McGregor CFT, SPN Motivations Fitness 336-708-6973 www.mofitnessnc.com
besity in the African American community is growing at an alarming rate. We are considered 60% less likely to engage in physical activity when compared to whites according to a study in 2007 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. We are also more likely to develop heart disease than whites as well. So what exactly is being overweight or obese? According to the NHLBI Obesity Guidelines, when your BMI (Body Mass Index) is between 25.-29.9, you are considered overweight. When your BMI is 30.0 and above, you are considered obese. By these standards, 77% of African American women are overweight and 50% are obese. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. African Americans compared to whites are most likely to smoke cigarettes, drink excessive alcohol and eat a diet high in fat, in other words, soul food. We are less likely to get medical attention and we suffer from hypertension and diabetes when compared to other races. Socioeconomics is believed to play an important role in these stunning statistics.
They are a few factors that play into the socioeconomics in our community. Culture, environment, and heredity are some of the factors that affect what we eat and how our bodies process food. When we examine our culture, it seems that we like our women” thick”. This concept could be very hazardous especially if their BMI is over 25.
of the three meals a day which are usually consist of large portions and can cause your body to store fat.
Environment plays a part when you think about how fresh foods are not readily available in poorer communities then they are in some upper class areas. Proper nutrition can’t be a priority when you honestly can’t afford to eat healthy or when fast food restaurants are more convenient and easier to access than a market that sells fresh produce, lean cuts of meat and foods made with whole grains.
*Taste your food before you add butter- you may be surprised at how good fresh corn is all by itself.
The good news is that it is NEVER too late to start to correct bad habits and to teach our children better eating habits for the future. Here are a few tips you can start today:
*Try eating your vegetables raw with some low-calorie salad dressing.
· Get moving- 10,000 steps a day can burn up to 500 calories. Do this every day, and you can lose one pound just from walking. · Do bodyweight exercises at homeSquats, lunges, jumping jacks, walking up and down the stairs, push up and sit-ups all can be performed in the comfort of your home. Pick an exercise to do in between commercial breaks and watch the transformation on your body. · Eat four to six small meals a day- Small meals will give your body enough fuel to keep it energized and burning fat instead
Also follow these nutrition tips:
*If you usually deep-fry, try sautéing vegetables in low salt chicken or beef broth. *Replace fats like bacon grease and butter with olive or canola oil. *Try steaming vegetables and add a few spices for flavor.
*Replace heavy cream sauces and butter with low fat or non-fat sour cream and try putting sauces on the side. *Enjoy seasonal fruit for dessert, such as berries, citrus fruits, pears, cherries or grapes.
These small changes can make a huge impact in your health and waistline. Taking care of yourself has to be top priority, because if you are like me, a lot of people may be depending on you. Jameel McGregor, the creator of “Maximize Your Metabolism” weight management program, is a certified fitness professional and specialist in performance nutrition. He currently is the owner of Motivations Fitness, executive director of the Move 2 Lose Foundation, he is a strength and conditioning specialist for the High Point Ravens and member of Get Healthy Guilford. He has appeared on WFMY News 2, WGHP FOX 8-TV and radio station 102 Jamz to discuss various fitness topics from nutrition to weight loss.
Kick Boxing Drills
Itâ€™s a great idea to warm up with a few boxing drills. Boxing is great to improve hand-eye coordination, great cardio and will hip to tone up your upper body.
One of the newest exercises is the Kettlebell swing. This exercise is great for core strength. It also helps with toning hips, thighs and the butt muscle.
Great exercise for the back and biceps. In this demonstration, she is using her own bodyweight which increases resistance and challenges her core muscles and balance.
Stability Ball Crunches This exercise is the Stability Ball Crunches. Itâ€™s great for people who struggle with lower back pain. It also works your overall core and improve your balance.
Greensboro, North Carolina
22Years of Black Heritage
African American www.GreekStuff.com
202-D Four Seasons Town Center - Greensboro, NC - (336)292-3209 facebook.com/AfricanAmericanArt facebook.com/GreekStuff facebook.com/CurlyCuties
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“It is almost inconceivable to find a local shop that caters solely to the needs, wants and interests of the African American culture.”
By Tonya Dixon Photos by Howard Gaither
n Art L to R: Jackie White, Eresterine Guidry and long time employee Tonia Cowans “Stepping Out and The Amazon Woman” by Thomas Blackshear
hen Jackie White was young she recalls visiting a store in Four Seasons Town Centre in Greensboro, N.C. She vividly remembers seeing a print by Joseph Holston titled, “Merry Go Round.” It was a print of some black children riding a merry-go-round. She instantly fell in love with the picture and wanted it for her bedroom. Despite her desperation, her mother Eresterine Parker Guidry, told her to wait and she would return for the print later. Unfortunately when her mother returned to purchase the print for her daughter’s birthday she could not find it, in fact the entire store where the two first saw the artwork was completely gone. After searching high and low for the picture, they finally located it in Baltimore, Md. Guidry realized she couldn’t be the only person in Greensboro looking for African American art. Understanding the law of supply and demand, she decided to start her own business selling black art. The business began with a simple red three-ring binder that contained samples of various art prints. She held art show
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ings and once she had secured enough orders she would place her order. The simple idea and three-ring binder would soon come to be known as African American Art. Guidry started out in a small rented space on High Point Road that was opened by appointment only. In the summer of 1990, she had a new vision which led to her being the first African American owned business to open in the Four Seasons Town Center for the coming Christmas season. It has been 22 years and African American Art is still in business, still located on the second floor of Four Seasons Town Centre and still North Carolina’s number one source for all things of African American interest. “Creating a brand with the sustainability of the African American Art name started with a love for black art over 20 years ago,” says White. “My mother wanted consumers to know exactly what she sold when they saw her store. Today, the name ‘African American Art’ is a misnomer because we have had to restructure and bring new items into our product mix. Quality however has not changed.” Consequently, the store strives to stock as many quality, affordable items that African Americans want but may be difficult to find. The store provides a unique gift shop experience. Although African American Art still carries fine artwork from legendary black artists such as the late Ernie Barnes (best known for his print “Sugar Shack” that was featured in the 1970s sitcom “Good Times), the store has expanded its inventory to include, among other items, black figurines, Greek, Mason and OES paraphernalia, jewelry, books, incense, black soaps, raw shea butter, greeting cards, rasta and most recently natural hair care brands such as: Miss Jessie’s Original, Kinky-Curly, Mixed Chicks, Uncle Funky’s Daughter, Jane Carter, Oyin Handmade and many more. Customers come from all over, many purchasing several at one time just for the specialized hair products. African American Art also has an extensive assortment of President Barack Obama collectibles. The changes the business has made in no way indicate a decline in business, on the contrary, African American Art has learned to listen and be sensitive to the needs of its patrons. “Giving you more of what you want,” the shop’s slogan is more than just a motto it symbolizes their absolute commitment to customers. It is almost inconceivable to find a local shop that caters solely to the needs, wants and interests of the African American culture. Often mainstream retailers have not felt it necessary or lucrative to meet the needs of the African American consumer, but the philosophy of African American Art will always be to meet the needs of African Americans. “We do ‘little things’ that wow our customers and make them want to return to our business. This type of personalized service lets customers know that we value and appreciate their business,” says White. “We would rather sell you something for $12.99 that you only purchase once a month than sell you something that cost $50, that you take home, and do not like and then never return to the store.” Investing in the African American experience is par for the course for the store. Guidry and White are intensely committed to the customer. Their dedication and years of providing for the community proves to the naysayers that the business is here to stay. “Many companies jumped on the ‘black’ bandwagon in the ‘90s (when black art and culture was popularized), but in 2011 it is hard to find suppliers that manufacture items that we specialize in,” says White. “But we try to remain true to our business model which is to supply affordable gift items that represent images that look like us.” Yes the specialized shop caters to the African American consumer but anyone is welcome to patronize the store. During the 2008 presidential election, the store became a self-proclaimed Barack
“My mother always says that God watches over her store. We have only been able to remain open this long by God’s Grace.”
Obama central station. Guidry and White noticed other ethnicities began to patronize as well as African Americans. “We laugh because we had more white people shop with us in 2008 than we had in the previous 19 years combined,” says White. The store received widespread attention from several media outlets because of the wide selection of Obama novelties they carried. It is moments like the 2008 election that are most memorable to Guidry and White. They’ve had the pleasure of meeting many celebrities over the years including Michael Baisden, Vicki Winans, Flavor Flav, Anthony Hamilton, Ed Gordon and many more. Many customers have even met their spouses (including Guidry who met her husband, Floyd Guidry) within the store. The consistency and stability of African American Art certainly has something to do with the store’s ability to stay afloat during tough economic times. Nevertheless, White and Guidry say they have had to endure many challenges, work extra hard and even downsize to just the flagship store, just to remain in business. “Retail has many challenges. We sell items that are wants instead of needs. We experienced a decline in black art sales in the late ‘90s due to the bootleggers making pictures without the artist getting any rewards,” says White. “Consequently, many artists stopped painting and went to work in other industries. We constantly have to find suppliers who allow us to purchase items that will compete in the larger market in which customers shop today such as big box retailers and the internet.” White admits if an item comes in and sits then it is time for it to go.
African American Art is North Carolina’s largest retailer of Natural Hair Care product brands. This includes Miss Jessie’s Originals, Kinky-Curly, and Mixed Chicks . Shop online at www.CurlieCutie.com
Guidry and White are also very financially cautious. They haven’t been in business for over 20 years without learning a few things about being financially savvy and being able to maintain and even increase profit. “My mother also watches every penny,” says white, amusingly. “My nickname for her is Penny.” However, there are just some challenges that White says are simply out of their control. She remembers the year the mall was under construction. “Business was horrible in Four Seasons that year (1998) due to the construction. We also had another test during Christmas 2002 when the weather was bad. We have weathered the storms though, good or bad,” says White. “We try to remain prayed up and we know that God is in control of this business.” The mother and daughter team are undeterred by the bumps in the road. They continue to be inspired by their desire to meet the needs of every customer. They remain encouraged by a flow of steady customers, but it’s the simple moments that make it all worthwhile. It’s the stories White tells of watching two children in the store with their grandmother marvel at a black history calendar showcasing prominent African American women such as First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Dorothy Height, Shirley Chisholm and many more. “When we see people young and old come in our store with a new found love for being black that is what keeps us going,” says White. “If the big box retailers don’t want to sell Princess Tiana or Iridessa (Tinkerbelle’s black fairy friend) we will gladly sell them with pride.” Guidry and White love being in business and the freedom that comes along with it, but they stress there is an even greater responsibility that follows. As owners they must be prepared to feel in the gaps when something goes wrong or employees don’t show up. There are certain restrictions and governmental guidelines that have to be adhered to. White admonishes anyone looking to follow in their footsteps to get up early, get educated, read, research, learn everything from those that came before, multitask and the three “P’s,” pay your taxes, put your trust in very few and PRAY. Nevertheless, there is very little the two would change about their journey. They simply say to remember adversity can only make you stronger.
Charlotte, North Carolina
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Charity
er resume’ paints a picture far different than that of a gospel singer. Yet she decided to sing praises unto God, glorifying him as she introduces the artist, Charity, to the world. Elayne Gilchrist of Charlotte, N.C., has a sincere compassion to help others along their path in life. As a captain, Gilchrist’s full time profession is to oversee incarcerated individuals as they pay their debts to society within the confines of North Carolina’s penal system. When she was just a teenager, Gilchrist says that she talked really fast and people had trouble understanding what she was trying to say. However, when she would sing everyone knew exactly what she was trying to explain. Singing has allowed her to encourage others as others have encouraged her. Gilchrist says she has so much to be thankful for. She has released two singles, Let It Rain and He’s For Real. Currently, she is working on her new album, A Walk of Faith, set to be released in the spring of 2011. “I believe my first single is special because it was produced with my one and only son, Jason, an upcoming gospel rap artist,” says Gilchrist. “I strive daily to be an encouragement to others, especially teens.” Gilchrist says she finds inspiration from the blows that life has dealt her. “My daily prayer is that I will encourage others. I
“My daily prayer is that I will encourage others. I pray that God continues to humble my spirit so that I can be an example to my child as well as the hungry souls searching for the peace that I know only Christ can give” pray that God continues to humble my spirit so that I can be an example to my child as well as the hungry souls searching for the peace that I know only Christ can give,” she says. Instead of allowing a series of tragedies derail her dreams, she turned those ordeals into victories. A month after she was married, her mother-in-law passed away. A few months later her mother died as well. As she leaned on her husband of just seven months for strength, he also passed away and then her dad died as well. As if she hadn’t seen her share of misfortunes, Gilchrist’s nephew, who she raised as her very own son, was murdered. These situations initiated a praise in Gilchrist. “God’s grace and mercy kept me and I will forever give God the honor and the praise,” she says. Gilchrist states that she will continue to sing God’s praises and bring music into the lives of those who may or may not know the Lord. Her prayer is that those that do not know the Lord will receive Him through her praises and experiences.
Elayne Gilchrist/Artist Charity www.charity4real.com 910-377-1352
Charlotte, North Carolina
Until He Finds Me: Being Single in the Will of God By Crystal Kelly Photos by Crystal Patterson
hen I was first introduced to the book, “Until He Finds Me-Being Single in the Will of God”, it reminded me of a famous quote by Maya Angelou, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.” The title by itself tells a story that many women today are so familiar with – being single while trying to be obedient to God’s will. Crystal Patterson, author and a single mother of three has experienced many of the trials and tribulations of dealing with the wrong men while searching for the right man. She expresses throughout her book that God revealed to her that it wasn’t her search to complete and not her will to follow, but it is His will and on His terms. Patterson walked into adulthood at an early age. She became a mother at the tender age of 17. She is now a proud single mother of three children and has discovered that her experience with bad relationships has helped develop and strengthen her relationship with God. She was a senior at North Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, N.C. when she had her first child. Fear and loneliness grew along with the new life growing inside her . She was afraid to reveal the pregnancy to her parents because of their strong values. They did not condone conceiving children outside of wedlock. Although she wasn’t ashamed to have her child, she always felt that she had somehow disappointed herself, her parents and most of all God She was raised in a Baptist church and was always taught that fornication was a sin and women should not conceive outside of wedlock. Patterson was able to hide her pregnancy for approximately five months; until her mother was informed by a mutual friend. Although her mother revealed that because a mother knows her child, she had always known, she allowed Patterson to come to them on her own time. Her parents discussed that this child was her responsibility and she would have to work and take care of it. They were loving, but very firm and strict. After the birth of her first child and graduating from high school, she was faced with many financial hardships. She went from working part-time to working temporary jobs. She struggled to pay for daycare and babysitters because her parents didn’t help financially. This distance from her family made her feel alone. She wasn’t getting the support she needed at home so she sought the attention
she was lacking from men. At the age of 21, she had her second child and was forced to move out of her parent’s home. Her problems went from bad to worse as her assignment from her temporary job ended and she found herself homeless. Drifting back and forth from several family and friends’ homes with her children she always felt like giving up. However, giving up was not an option because she had children that she loved who depended on her. Her desire to find a man to love continued to lead her to fall into one bad relationship after another. Depression weighed heavy on her heart. At 24, she had her last child and decided it was time to rededicate herself to God. Walking on her own terms in her own way was leading her to dead ends and she decided it was time for a breakthrough. “As I prayed I would tell God what I wanted in a man and then I expected him to cosign to my list of demands,” says Patterson. “I was walking in the permissive will of God instead of His perfect will.” In 2004, she became a licensed minister. She had a story to tell and she wanted to minister to young women who were searching for happiness in men instead of allowing God to provide what He had in store for them. Knowing that she did not fit into the box of normalcy, Patterson says, “I consider myself a person that thinks outside the box; I need to know exactly why things are the way they are or why I am doing something.” “Also”, she says,
“As I prayed I would tell God what I wanted in a man and then I expected him to cosign to my list of demands,” says Patterson. “I was walking in the permissive will of God instead of His perfect will” “I cannot follow along with the crowd and be okay with that. I had to learn how to let go and let God lead me.” Her new found relationship with God grew stronger and she submitted to His plan for her. In 2006 she penned Until He Finds Me – Being Single in the Will of God. This book is a ministry to women who are submitting their lists, wants and desires to God. If you seek God first you will then desire what He wants for you and He will give you the desires of your heart. If you wait, trust and believe, He will deliver. Crystal writes, “The Lord let me know that my problem was that I desired to have a relationship with the right man to fulfill my needs and give me love. Then He let me know that he desired for me to have a relationship with Him and the He would fulfill all my needs and give me real love.”
Winston Salem, North Carolina
For The Love of Popcorn By Tonya Dixon Photos by Howard Gaither & Mykel Media Company
n 2002, Derrick, Sharon, Staphon and Sherri Debnam, recognized an increasingly unstable pattern forming in the economy and decided to take their financial situations into their own hands. Fearing possible layoffs, the familiar foursome decided to market and sell kettle corn at various festivals during the summer for extra money. The part-time work soon began to yield full-time money as well as a serious demand and loyal following. It’s no wonder, the Debnams decided to pursue the fulltime prospects of a gourmet popcorn shop. The Popcorn Fanatic specializes in over 100 unique flavors of popcorn ranging from delicious banana pudding and buffalo wing flavors to wacky watermelon and wild blueberry delights. Their belief in quality is why the company spends hours developing and perfecting every delicious flavor. The best ingredients are selected and used and the popcorn is popped all day long to insure the freshest product possible. Real butter, the best sugar and even made from scratch caramel is used on several flavors. The Debnams’ admit they just love popcorn, creating new flavors and watching their customer’s reactions to what they taste. “If we taste something we like, we try and figure out how to duplicate it on popcorn,” says Stephon Debnam. The flavors are too numerous to name but Fanatic owners see no reason to slow down; in fact they regularly seek flavor ideas from supportive customers. The flavor lab is always mixing, concocting and developing new palate pleasing flavors to wow the taste buds of Popcorn Fanatic‘s…well fanatics. It is the gourmet shop’s consistent customers that the Debnams credit with the companies great success, proliferation and even demand for full-time investment. Every time the owners tried to slow down and pursue other business ventures they were bombarded by customers seeking more of the gourmet popcorn. When the two husband and wife teams desired to focus on real estate they found that customers would contact them at home and even send messages through their children requesting not only more popcorn, but as the Debnams soon came to realize, their customers really sought more consistency and availability from their favorite gourmet shop. “After a while people began to track us down to do special flavors of popcorn,” says Sharon Debnam, wife of co-owner Derick Debnam. “They would say, ’you need to have a store.’”
Opening a store is exactly what Fanatic did. On November 20, 2010, The Popcorn Fanatic held its grand opening with rave reviews. The company was able to secure a prime location on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem, located in the Toys R Us shopping center. However, The Popcorn Fanatic brand is not limited to the physical store. The company is still very much active and involved in various outdoor festivals, sporting events, school activities and fundraisers. As a matter-of-fact, the company boasts a great return for fundraising efforts, paying up to 50% of all sales. Customers can also stay in contact with Popcorn Fanatic and get the latest news about new flavors, daily discounts and super specials simply by following the savvy company on Facebook or Twitter. Still, Fanatic maintains the business model will always begin and end with the customer and providing superior, old fashioned and personal customer service. “Customer service is very important; no customers, no business. We have to take care of them and treat them special because they are special to us,” say the co-owners. “They allow us to do what we love and get immediate gratification by showing us that they approve of our ideas and creations.” The Debnams are committed to not only becoming more visual throughout the community, but they are looking toward expansion, perhaps franchising. The company will be introducing special sodas, cake truffles and pralines this year. The gourmet shop also specializes in homemade flavored fudge, chocolate covered candies and potato chips, pretzels, and gourmet candy apples, all of which make great gift ideas. From Super Bowl party ideas to a gift for that special someone on Valentine’s Day to a Christmas treat, The Popcorn Fanatic has something for everyone. The company even has great shipping options. Although The Popcorn Fanatic is definitely experiencing the fruits of its labor, the company’s road to success has been paved through challenges and trials. “Going through the necessary channels to start the business has definitely been a challenge,” says the Debnams. “Working with contractors and learning the ropes with city officials and inspectors has also been difficult.” Much credit is given to Barbara Debnam, mother of Staphon and Derick Debnam, for being the backbone of their business. Her advice has helped the Debnam’s stay focused and organized. However, the company continues to be inspired by God, family and their customers to keep moving forward. They advise aspiring business owners, no matter the type of business, to do the necessary research to understand your product and market and most importantly love what you do and consequently the grind won’t hurt as much.
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More than 100 flavors available at Popcorn Fanatic
Caramel Cashew Bacon-N-Cheddar
Cookies and Cream Lemonade Black Cherry
Butterfinger Strawberry Key Lime Pie
Loaded Baked Potato
Barbecue Cajun Apple Pie
Bubble Gum Candy Apple
Mint Chocolate Peach Cobbler
Watermelon and more
Greensboro, North Carolina
Create Your Reality When it comes to going after what you want in life, don’t take NO for an answer. Only you can make your dreams a reality! By Almena Mayes Photos by Almena Mayes
he economic situation in our country has created a need for entrepreneurship. Finding a niche that offers an opportunity to prosper is a difficult endeavor, however everyone is looking for quality products and services. This is the key ingredient to the success of our team, Create Your Reality. We offer an opportunity for average families to generate income from a wide variety of products and services that they are already using or consuming. This income does not require any change in buying habits. In addition, we teach others how to build their own businesses and generate income by attracting loyal customers for name brand companies through competitive pricing and personalized services. Because our line-up encompasses many different industries, the fundamental structure is built to withstand any changes in consumer trends. Competitive pricing and the ability for customers to do business with someone they know and trust makes our business a unique and appealing platform from which to promote a variety of quality products and services. Financial freedom is a gift. This business develops leaders that accomplish the goal of freeing their families from financial stress. I was introduced to multi-level marketing nine years ago and I turned it down because I didn’t think it was for me. Subsequently, I found myself diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, divorced, unemployed and struggling to raise my children on my own. I went back to school, earned my degree and realized that in this job market, a degree was not going to help me take care of my children, send them to college or secure their future.
If you can find your “Why that makes You cry” you’ve found the reason to start your own business! 36 HuamiMagazine.com
Further complicating things, in 2007 I had a heart attack. At one point I thought I was living Job’s life. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong! I prayed for a solution and was blessed with an opportunity to “create my own reality”. I became so excited about what this business was doing in my life that I recommended it to all of my friends and family. My legacy will be that they have a life filled with choices and the freedom to not only dream but make their dreams reality! I get to do all that God has purposed me to do. This business allows me to teach, minister and spend quality time with my family while earning an extremely good living. I would love to teach anyone to do the same. Feel free to contact me, Almena Mayes, at 336-455-0677 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
February/March 2011 HuamiMagazine.com February/March 2011 HuamiMagazine.com
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