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INSIDE Publishers Note Spiritual Space

Event Recap: 4th Annual I AM Empowerment Brunch & Celebration Just My Two Cents

FEATURE: WOMEN Women History Month SPOTLIGHT: WOMEN

Cover Model Cocoa Brown

MARCH APRIL 2017


CELEBRATING

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH


The Bible is filled with verses that encourage women of all ages because God has a special role for us, Woman of God! 1 Timot hy 3:11 11 I n t he same way, t he women ar e t o be wor t hy of r espect , not mal icious t al ker s but t emper at e and t r ust wor t hy in ever yt hing. Pr over bs 11:16 16 A kindhear t ed woman gains honor , but r ut hl ess men gain onl y weal t h. Pr over bs 14:1 1 The wise woman buil ds her house, but wit h her own hands t he f ool ish one t ear s her s down. Pr over bs 31:10- 31 10 A wif e of nobl e char act er who can f ind? She is wor t h f ar mor e t han r ubies. 11 Her husband has f ul l conf idence in her and l acks not hing of val ue. 12 She br ings him good, not har m, al l t he days of her l if e. 13 She sel ect s wool and f l ax and wor ks wit h eager hands. 14 She is l ike t he mer chant ships, br inging her f ood f r om af ar . 15 She get s up whil e it is st il l night ; she pr ovides f ood f or her f amil y and por t ions f or her f emal e ser vant s. 16 She consider s a f iel d and buys it ; out of her ear nings she pl ant s a vineyar d. 1 7 She set s about her wor k vigor ousl y; her ar ms ar e st r ong f or her t asks. 1 8 She sees t hat her t r ading is pr of it abl e, and her l amp does not go out at night . 19 I n her hand she hol ds t he dist af f and gr asps t he spindl e wit h her f inger s. 20 She opens her ar ms t o t he poor and ext ends her hands t o t he needy. 21 When it snows, she has no f ear f or her househol d; f or al l of t hem ar e cl ot hed in scar l et . 22 She makes cover ings f or her bed; she is cl ot hed in f ine l inen and pur pl e. 23 Her husband is r espect ed at t he cit y gat e, wher e he t akes his seat among t he el der s of t he l and. 24 She makes l inen gar ment s and sel l s t hem, and suppl ies t he mer chant s wit h sashes. 25 She is cl ot hed wit h st r engt h and dignit y; she can l augh at t he days t o come. 26 She speaks wit h wisdom, and f ait hf ul inst r uct ion is on her t ongue. 27 She wat ches over t he af f air s of her househol d and does not eat t he br ead of idl eness. 28 Her chil dr en ar ise and cal l her bl essed; her husband al so, and he pr aises her : 29 ?Many women do nobl e t hings, but you sur pass t hem al l .? 30 Char m is decept ive, and beaut y is f l eet ing; but a woman who f ear s t he LORD is t o be pr aised. 31 Honor her f or al l t hat her hands have done, and l et her wor ks br ing her pr aise at t he cit y gat e.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-for-women/


Rain Raph ael Rain Raphael is an empowering wordsmith who seeks to restore urban family structure by tackling one relationship issue at a time. Better known for her independent music career, Rain is now reaching new heights with her social media presence of wise words. Like a young Iyanla Vanzant, Rain offers sage advice and unique perspectives on traditions, life, love and relationships. Affectionately known as Sarabi-The Lioness, Rain offers to lead the way to spiritual sustenance in her own a metaphoric hunt for inner peace. Passionate, unapologetic, loving, regal, powerful and eloquent have all been used to describe her, but inspirational is all she truly seeks to be.. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? Welp! You know my name... I'm Rain Raphael. I am born and raised in Connecticut, where I still reside with my son, Legend. I am the middle child and only daughter. I guess what brought us here today are my unique views on traditional relationships and my online effort to encourage people. I have a genuine concern for our culture on the whole, but specifically for what I call Brown Culture, and the restoration of minority family structure. I make it a point to attempt to inspire people, to identify with their innocence and vulnerability every day on my facebook page through a daily status. I call it my #BrownDailyAffections. I use that platform to promote healthy dialogue among people of color, because we can't fix the issues if we can't converse effectively. I also use my Sincerely, Rain Raphael facebook page to highlight the things I think my audience should focus on in these times of heavy distraction. Lastly, I am in the midst of writing a book called I Never Did Like Pink, about being a free thinker. I feel I've had an impressive unsigned career as a songwriter and recording artist and now, I've been called to uplift people in a different way. Overall, I'm a people lover. Those who meet me know this. I live in my heart. I think that is how I got this opportunity! 2. How did you get your start? I got my start in music, because the opportunity was there. My ex boyfriend at the time, was called to choreograph for an upcoming artist at an independent label, years ago. I helped him choreograph the dance and he forgot the steps when it was time to teach her. She had a huge showcase coming so they called me in, and after, I found myself hanging with their in-house producer, going over tracks. I wrote something, and recorded it. As I was recording the owner of the label was on the phone with an A&R who asked to hear what was happening in the background. He loved my song and told her to run with me as an artist. She did. That's how I got into music. Now, how I got into this new realm of writing books and giving lectures? All God. I never saw myself doing this, but now I can't figure out why I didn't do it sooner. I always wanted to write a book. I've known the title since I was twelve, but it wasn't until the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, that I began to promote love among Brown People so heavily. I just thought there was a numbness among people of color that I didn't like. I feel a deep need to heal others and it started from a small action with pure intentions. After that, people began to listen.


3. What made you decide to follow this path? The feedback I received for my opinions in the videos I dropped on my Sincerely, Rain Raphael page. It shocked me. I didn't expect to get many views and especially not in the thousands. For me, I just speak what I feel, mainly to my little circle and never saw much more than that to come of it! However, I began to get inbox messages for advice and requests for more insight. Then, after multiple requests to write a book and to have a place that people could meet me and talk to me directly, I said okay! Then, I put together a lecture at my old college to see if that is what I've been called to do and I began getting up at 4am, to write my book. I just made a way off my faith! 4. What women do you look to for motivation? Everyday mothers and students. I respect the consistency of my peers and the purpose behind our movements, daily. I know we push through every second, because of love. Love is the most powerful and most positive form of motivation. So, on the days that I feel like I don't wanna take another step, I look up and a see a woman doing what she has to do, to be who she wants to be, all because she loves her child.That's inspirational to me. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? The best piece of advice I can give a young Baby Queen is to do whatever it takes to be honest with yourself and to accept your personal truth. By doing so, no one will ever have a weapon that can penetrate your spirit, which is the most vital part of us as women. Get comfortable with your truth and be powerful for it. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Oh wow. Maybe Harriet Tubman. I relate to her love for her people and the intolerance of fear in them. I have that reverence for true freedom and the desire to share its benefits with as many people as i can, just as she did. However, while she sought to break the bonds of physical captivity I am working to free the enslaved heart of our people. I seek to free as many hearts as I can, to encourage them to love without fear and to respect the most common miracle that love is. I do this passionately, aggressively and purposefully with my life staked in it. So, I think I could be considered a Harriet Tubman of hearts, if you will. At least, that is the goal.


Sash an n a Lee

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? My name is Sashanna Lee I am 32 years old. I currently own a Group family home day care called Nana?s little angels LLc. I have always had a love for children even as a teenager. As I grew up I was always in teacher roles in my church as well as volunteer work. As I grew up and finally had to find out what I wanted to do for a career it was a very natural transition to go in to the field of teaching. After attending Midwood High school I then went to Medgar Evers College where I majored in early childcare education. 2.How did you get your start? While working for a fortune 500, I started a childcare company. As I worked my way up the corporate latter I realized that my true passion was for the children and seeing them grow and learn. As I am going through this life realization my mother gets downsized from her job at multi million dollar Bank. As we were going through this transition one day we realized that we had all the skills we needed to run a home daycare business my mother had the finical background and I most importantly had the early childcare background so we started on this journey 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I decided to follow this path because this is the start to a bigger dream that I have for myself. When you have a dream you must understand that it takes work and starting of where you don?t want to finish, however the race isn?t given to the swift but to the one that indorse all hardship. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? The main woman that motivates me is my mother Emily lee she has been through so much in her life but she has never lost her fight. Life is not skipping picking roses but it is planting them and working to harvest them. I also have wonderful women that I call my boss circle this is a group of women that I choose to have around me that are making there dreams and others dreams come true. They are not sitting around waiting for someone to help them they are helping themselves. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? The advice that I would offer a young lady is, allow yourself to fail and learn from you failures. You will never be great if you don?t take risk and do what you love even when other don?t see the value in it. I would also say live your life for you and not for others no matter who it is. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? This may sound sappy and or emotional but it would be my Grandmother she was the wisest woman I knew. She always had the answers. I would love to know whether I make her proud because in everything I do I want the people that sacrificed the most for me to be delighted in the that I conduct my life.


Ericka Perry Ericka Perry is the CEO of the Stork Bag (http:// www.thestorkbag.com/ ), which is the first ever reusable pregnancy subscription bag curated with 8-12 products each to meet expectant mothers trimester and postpartum needs. Founded in 2014 by Ericka Perry, wanting to focus solely on what brought her pure happiness - offering solutions to help get expecting moms through each trimester. The Stork Bag has quickly gained universal love from moms in the USA, Canada, Australia, UK and the Netherlands (we're available for purchase there). She started her first business, MommyMaiDD Services, Inc. in March of 2012 while she was working on her Master's degree, pregnant with her 3rd son and working full-time in the nonprofit sector. Soon after, she quit her corporate job to place full focus on entrepreneurship. Ericka launched her flagship product, The Stork Bag back in November 2014. The Stork Bag has also become the first and only pregnancy subscription bag to receive OBGYN certification.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am a wife, mom of 3 boys, businesswoman and investor. I believe that our thoughts shape our reality and therefore I am very conscious of my thoughts at all times. I have an immense passion for serving mothers and women and intend to lead by example. I believe I have no limits on what I can achieve and that excites me! 2. How did you get your start? I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2012 while I was finishing up my master?s degree, pregnant with my 3rd son and working as a supervisor at a non-profit organization. At that time, my husband and I worked crazy hours and often times never really spent any time with one another, I remember one night I was exhausted and I express my need to have an assistant, to my husband. After we chuckled at the idea, we then came to the conclusion that something like that would actually be a great idea and MommyMaiDD was born. My first business, MommyMaiDD Services Inc didn?t work out the way I had planned but it now serves as the parent company for my other brands that I have created since then, including my flagship, The Stork Bag, which is quickly becoming a household name within the maternity and prenatal community. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I?ve always had a great deal of drive and ambition, once I completed my Masters program and secured the job that I had been working toward, I quickly realized that although the youngest person in my position, I still was not fulfilled. I needed more-- more freedom to create, more freedom to dictate ?my? time and more freedom to lead. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? When it comes to women who inspire and motivation me, I gravitate more toward women who are mothers and possess great business acumen. Angela Benton and Lauren Maillian are a couple of current women in business that I look to for motivation, whether its reading articles or books they?ve written, reaching out to them or simply watching them work, their moves motivate me. A few of the other women who motivate me include, Oprah Winfrey, Ursula Burns, Rosalind Brewer and Lucille Ball. I could name at least 10 more but I won?t for the sake of time. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Thoughts become things; guard them carefully. Also, figure out at least 5 different ways to become a master at your craft and consistently practice them 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Lucille Ball


Vonetta Moore The Diva V ~ MUA Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay ADVANCED Color Consultant http://www.marykay.com/the_diva_v 410.929.5165

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am a single, 40 something, kid free, woman of color who works in the construction industry. My volunteer life, OES and DOI, take up a large chunk of my free time. Plus my side hustle of selling Mary Kay. I do crafts to keep my sanity in a very white male dominated world. 2. How did you get your start? I majored in Construction Management at Tuskegee. I worked my way up to Project manager, until the recession. I am currently the office manager for a nonprofit construction company that rehabs row houses on the Eastside of Baltimore, and then rent them out to disadvantaged families. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I love seeing nothing, a vacant lot, transform into a building, big or small, that can be used for anything. And it was all made by human hands. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I look up to women who can keep their cool under pressure. Strong women who do not take no for the final answer. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Live your Dream, and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something because you are a woman. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? I would want to have dinner with my grandmothers Viola and Marie, for them to see what kind of woman I have grown into. I hope they are proud.


Cindy Mich

Biography FILM/TV/Hosting: Producer and Director, Upcoming Comedic Short Film, "Swooning Sutherland" Producer and Director. Upcoming Silent Film, ?The Looks of Love? Producer and Director, Upcoming Web Series, "Dapper Dates" Producer and Director, Upcoming Documentary, ?Brazen Biker Babes? Producer and Director, Upcoming Documentary, ?Bipolar Beauty? NYC Documentary Participant, Abuse Victims Wisconsin Documentary Project, Craigslist Creatives Film Festival Judge, Studio City Film Festival Film Festival Judge, WilliFest Film Festival Panelist, FANtastic Horror Film Festival Founder, Art is Alive Film Festival Red Carpet Interviewer, SoHo Film Festival and Golden Door Film Festival Host of To Have & Hold Bridal Show in Birmingham, Michigan Freelance Independent Film/ TV/ Book Reviewer Freelance Editor and Script/ Screenplay Reviewer RADIO: Creator and Host of Cin's Chat Corner, Sons Spotlight, and Cin's Canadian Connections TEACHING: Professional Educator in the MPS System, Catholic School, as well as initiating public workshops on creative writing and broadcasting. Additionally, working on establishing a theater/ arts program for youths in Midtown New York. MODELING: Figure, Portrait and Trade Show Model/ Brand Ambassador BUSINESS: Sole Proprietor of Cin's Sweet Creations, which offers the following: personalized writings, poetry, love letters, bridal party gifts, childrens' books, and sonnets. Under this umbrella, I sell my homemade Oreo truffles. PUBLICATIONS/ WRITINGS Author of Handbook, ?Fundamentals of Care for Senior Seizure Patients? Co-Author of Textbook, ?35mm Action: An Industry Text for Filmmaking? Author of Children's Book "A Heavenly Visitor" Author of Poetry Book "Views from the Heart" Author of "Cin's Celebrity Chats" Author of Play "Cin Meets Einstein" Author of Play ?Players Purgatory? Former Feature Writer for Town News Today Contributing Feature Writer, Story Chick Magazine Contributing Feature Writer, Perle Magazine Contributing Feature Writer, Lee Publications Contributing Feature Writer, Cynical Magazine Contributing Feature Writer, Urban Girl Magazine Contributing Feature Writer, Bowl of Entertainment Contributing Feature Writer, Irish Film Critic.com Contributing Feature Writer, Section925.com


1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am a 47 year old author who has finally found the free spirit within herself. I am a combination of a sassy, sweet, and sarcastic hot mess! I am a bit over the top in terms of my opinions, and am bluntly honest to a fault. A die hard romantic at heart; lover of a fine glass of wine and an old black and white movie. I dance in fountains and on tables; I push people to be the best every minute of every day. I am a mother to four beautiful souls, and their presence in my life brings me a higher purpose and pleasure. I would be nothing without those truly beautiful babies of mine. I have been a professional author for over twenty years, radio show host for four and modeling for five. I also am now a professional movie/ book reviewer, Film Festival Founder and Judge, as well as a teacher and truffle maker. 2. How did you get your start? Well, starting at age eight, I just knew that my chosen calling was to be an author. I had a very toxic childhood, so I would draw to escape that environment. I kept telling myself at first, look you are such a great drawer. Turns out, NO, I was an awful drawer of spiders, but I sure could write a story about those same spiders! Luckily for me, a high school English teacher by the name of Nan Roddy decided to push me to enter into a writing contest. I ended up taking first in state, tenth in the nation. This was the moment I realized I was good enough to entrance an audience with my words, and decided to find more ways to make magic with language. This led to endless submissions to multiple mediums, and a TON of rejections. I did college for a year, but balancing a family, husband and school was not in the cards. I had to find a way to pursue the passion minus finishing my education. I wrote my first children?s book at age 24, and now here we are four books later, masses of published works, and new mediums of employment. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? Two reasons. I never really had any big dreams growing up with the exception of wanting to be a writer. I saw my mother?s dreams fall to the wayside. I doubt my father had any real dreams. I wanted something for myself to be proud of, and also to show my family that I was worth something to someone. I felt in my heart that this would make me a different person, more successful in some way. I thought my family would be impressed by accomplishments done outside of the traditional workforce. Turns out I was wrong on that front, but did find that almost 58,000 people are moved by the material I write each week for radio. Thousands take time to read my writings or buy books. Hundreds have heard me lecture. I matter to them, if nothing else, and they matter to me. My heart and head are so enriched by the care and concern, along with the support and steady stream of love, given to me by my many fans and followers. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? At this point in my life, some of the best life lessons I have ever received were from my friend family. These are the individuals who are not related to me by blood, but rather hang to me in heart. The first is my BFF Sherry. She is a strong, successful and smart woman with a brave heart and soul. She pushes me to be the best I am, and I see the best of me in her eyes. She enriches my life every moment she is in it. Donna Ross and Rachel Kadushin are also my main motivators. They are both in the entertainment business and they watch out for me, personally and professionally. I trust and respect them, and I revere the work they produce. They epitomize secondary best friend roles to me. I also look to those women who have buried children, lost livelihoods or homes, as well as those who are battling major illnesses. On my worst day, I never have to feel or fight against feelings of such loss or loneliness. They wake up every day and they push on with courage and a concrete plan of action. They never quit, they never let others either.


Cindy Mich 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? The best advice comes simply and in three short sentences. NEVER, ever, pick your career solely for materialistic or monetary perks. Pick your passion time and time again. You may not make a million in a year, but the best and brightest work brought out of you comes from you, the person, not the pocketbook. The richest in life are those who get paid to inspire, motivate, educate or entertain. Start slowly as opposed to stirring fifty pots all at once. Some of the best opportunities come to you over time, not in a minute. Try to procure some patience each day, and one day the payoff will be yours. Be selective as it relates to your relationships in the business world. When you become successful, everyone wants to be your best friend. Sometimes that is solely motivated by who you know, not who you as a person are or was. Stay true to you first, then those who stay with you for every moment of your journey, good or bad. Learn the difference between genuine and grossly exaggerated. 6. If you cou ld h ave din n er w it h an y w om an livin g or dead w h o w ou ld it be? Undoubtedly, Marilyn Monroe. She is one of my idols. She owned her insecurities and her issues. She was fabulous and full of beauty and never noticed. She was classy and sassy, and knew how to get her point and purpose across, anywhere; anytime. She could be sexy or sad, and still be legendary all at the same time. Her mere existence was a blessing to billions of people.

"I f you want somethingsaid, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." ? M argaret T hatcher


Pau lin e Alleyn e

?Disabled but not Unable?

I knew from the age of 11 that I wanted to devote my life to helping people. I obtained my degrees in Human Service and Criminal justice. I fulfilled this dream by working with the Department of Probations and the Board of Education until the chronic pain from Lupus and Fibromyalgia made it impossible for me to work. Some of my children?s friends started coming over and never wanted to go home. After speaking with them and learning of the poor conditions that they were living in, I would allow them to stay the night with their parents?permission and assist them in whatever the problems were. My home soon became the refuge to several teenagers. Over the years several teen moms resided in my home. I worked with them from parenting skill to time management to looking for housing. I became the legal guardian who at the time was 17. She is now 22 and still living with me along with her daughter. I am also the legal guardian of a beautiful 9 months old girl whose 22-year-old mother felt that she could not give her the best care. On any given night at my house you will find my living room filled with young adults either doing homework, watching television, playing games or just relaxing after a hard day of work or school or both. My home as I call it ?Sterling Sanctuary?is the Safe Haven. Besides many famous female historians, I look up to my mother and my sister. My mom was a loving, caring, non-judgmental woman who saw good in everyone. Growing up my home and stoop was the place where the neighborhood kids hung out. If at any time someone need anything my mom would not hesitate to give. My sister Brenda just like my mom will give. She is always readily available to assist me with helping the young people in my home. I greatly appreciate everything she does. One woman whom I wished that I could have known was Maya Angelou. She kept it 100. Her poems and works dealt with issues that I believe any individual could relate to. As a mother of 3 biological children who has been married for 24 years I wished someone would have told me would be that I can?t do it all. My motto is ?I am disabled not unable!? I make myself available 24-7-365 and I am Ma to all. I wear many hats and I enjoy every second sent doing what is needed.


Lin dsay Gom ez Lindsay Gomez is a systems and operations expert specializing in online business management and consulting. She helps coaches and creative entrepreneurs who feel like there aren?t enough hours in the day to reach their goals. Lindsay works with them to create a personalized, actionable plan so they can build a streamlined, successful business that they love. If you want to take charge of your day and amp up your productivity, sign up for the 5 Tips to Become a Productivity Ninja.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself. I?m an INTJ, so my love of systems and operations is not something I can turn off. It?s actually what I geek out over and can talk about for hours. Although my career and life goals changed for what I originally planned, my work in office products truly shaped and developed my love for operations and efficiencies, design and branding, the need to always provide a superior customer experience and my 1:1 management skills. When not providing amazing client care (and performing the occasional magic trick or two), you can find me taking a stroll with my super supportive husband and our two rescue pups, catching a Gilmore Girls or Parenthood marathon, or geeking out over all things organization. 2. How did you get your start? Before branching out with my management and consulting work, I spent over a decade in the office products industry developing consumer products. In fact I worked for my family?s business and was planning to take over the company in the future with my siblings. I had BIG PLANS for my future and could see exactly how my career would pan out all the way to retirement (and beyond). But funny how plans usually have more twists and turns than you anticipate. I got so broken down by the corporate machine. The struggle to be two different people ? one that was cold and calculating and only cared about the bottom line, versus my truer nature that cared about the environment, customer experience, and office culture. My low point ? being told in a performance review that, after a year of amazing professional highs, I lacked empathy. And worse yet, being completely okay with that. I believe my response to my husband, when later recounting my manager?s comment was, ?yeah, so what?. I literally had to look up the definition of compassion. It was such a foreign concept to me, and so, I took an extended leave from the company in 2014. During that leave, I had a session with an outstanding business coach, and the idea of virtual assistance work. So I researched and looked around and got my first paying gig within a few weeks. Before I knew it (aka about 6 weeks later), I had a long-term client and then another and another! I loved helping these amazing coaches bring their talents to the world. I was truly making a difference in the lives of these women, so that they could in turn help clients to make positive changes in theirs. After dipping my toe in the virtual support waters while returning to my corporate position, I dove full force in January 2016 to run my business full time. There have been highs and lows since then, but I wouldn?t change it at all. Now, my schedule is as flexible as I want it to be. I use my spare time to volunteer helping local women entrepreneurs grow their businesses. I have the agility to try new business ideas within my own business, versus getting buy in from multiple department heads in a corporate setting. I can shape my client experience in a way I couldn?t in the corporate world. And most importantly, I?ve built a business that I love. I?m devoting my time to something I truly care about.

3. What made you decide to follow this path? I was looking for a career without a ceiling, with more freedom and flexibility to pick projects that better suit my talents and skills so that I can best serve the world. I wanted my work to matter and I wanted other women to know that their work matters too. Plus, I had a huge desire to help people on a more personal level, which is why I work with entrepreneurs today. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? Strong women who have a clear sense of self and aren?t afraid to voice their opinion, regardless of the opposition. There?s so many right now that are my guiding lights, but a short list includes Susan Hyatt, Jenny Shih, my amazing cousin Sarah, and the fictional Lorelai Gilmore.


Lindsay Gomez 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Stand up for yourself and your skills and what you think is right, good and decent. Don?t silence your voice to make someone else happy. You are enough right now.

6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? My grandmother, Mimi. We didn?t have enough time together for me to fully realize the amazingly positive impact she?s had on my life and where I am today. I?d love that one, last chance to say ?thank you?.


Sh yn iek a Taylor Shynieka is an On Air TV Personality Host and the creator of MadTalkin TV. Shynieka graduated from Delaware State University with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. Subsequently Shynieka attended the Ween Academy in NY, which is an intensified entertainment Academy that prepares individuals for their career choice in the Entertainment Industry. While attending the Ween Academy, Shynieka meant her mentor from PBS Paternity Court, Judge Lauren Lake. Lauren Lake offered her assistance to train and sharpen Shynieka?s hosting skills while guiding her. Soon after graduating from the Ween Academy Shynieka moved to Atlanta and started her very own media outlet which highlights education, economics, politics, culture, and lifestyle through an urban perspective. MadTalkin operates a street show in Atlanta which provides the voiceless with a voice. Shynieka is passionate about helping raise the image of African Americans through media. Equally important her long term goal is to host her very own talk show which inspires everyone to be the best they can be. In summation with Shynieka?s hunger, passionate, energetic, and distinct voice she believes her time is coming very soon. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? My name is Shynieka Taylor. I am a host and I am the CEO of MadTalkin Network. I love to debate. 2. How did you get your start? When I decided to step out on faith, trust God, and move to Atlanta without any guidance or network. I later auditioned for the Ween Academy and was accepted into the program. This 4 week Industry Crash Course prepared me so much that I went from one who hustles to a hustler. Immediately upon returning ATL from NY I began digital hosting red carpets, and events. I also started my own network MadTalkin Network. Nothing makes me happier than holding the mic and expressing my thoughts in my unique way. For me, when I hold that mic and I have an audience it represents being all I can be to be a positive force, and in that itself is my power God gave to me. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? Being a TV host will provide a platform to be the voice for the voiceless. Being able to inspire and empower unapologetically. What better career choice than being a host, where I can be free to be me. I'm also a creator, a thinker, and I believe everyone should be an entrepreneur, hence why I decided to develop my own Media Network. Ultimately MadTalkin Network can create jobs for others and that is what it is all about. Uniting and giving others opportunities to build a strong community is something I believe we all should work towards. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? My mentor Lauren Lake hands down. Her life represents no short-cuts, no self pity, give 100 percent daily, and drive yourself to victory. After spending a month with Lauren at the Ween Academy, the advice she gave me allowed me to go back to ATL and dominate. I have always hustled and been very competitive don't get me wrong, but this woman will literally have you feeling like you are superwoman. I believe every woman who is striving for success, should follow Lauren's lead, not because she is on TV, but because watching her on TV it is evident she continues to work hard. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Put all your cares in the Lord and watch him bless you abundantly. Never allow resources or financial support deter you from accomplishing your goals or you thinking others are better than you. Once I stopped waiting for opportunities to host and I created my own platform to host, I kicked down some major doors. It is not about your circumstance, it is all about 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be?

Oprah Winfrey for sure and I only say this because she was homeless before and I have experienced that. What I love most about Oprah Winfrey is her works in philanthropy. That passionate heart of gold is all what being a leader is about. To love people and give back so much that you inspire others to be positive influencers and pay those very deeds forward. I am going to make it my duty and obligation that just like Oprah Winfrey I am able to inspire the world to spread more love and help others in need on all my platforms. I just want to sit at that table with her because she represents perseverance, and I know for sure if I ever get the chance to sit next to her over dinner, at that point, I have persevered


Alexis Fedor As a performance artist, Alexis Fedor struggled for years to discover a way to make a living doing what she loved. She began studying under successful financial and marketing experts, determined to uncover the missing link in her own business. Alexis transformed that journey into a comprehensive, online-education program focused on helping raise the financial IQ of other artistic business owners. In addition to her 14-day course, Alexis hosts the Artists in Business podcast as well as offering memberships to a Facebook group that synthesizes each of the lessons taught in her course by connecting creative?s like her with art and business experts to inspire, guide and motivate them to build businesses with their craft.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? First and foremost I am an artist; I was a dancer my whole life and segued into acting and performance art in grad school. I've also always been a writer and am currently an online marketing strategist with my own company, Artists in Business. 2. How did you get your start? I started as an artist and a dancer my whole life, a writer, and segued into acting after grad school, all the while struggling to make it. Although I was focused on the arts, I had always had an interest in business and how the economy works as well. I have an uncle who is a stock market investor who was always talking with me about the importance of running my own business and learning to invest, so I started to look for courses I could take after graduating from NYU. Struggling to pay my rent, I couldn't find many courses for artists on how to run a business so I enrolled in a stock market course and learned how to buy and sell options. When I wanted to produce a show I sold some Blue Chip stocks my uncle bought for me and learned the hard way that was not a wise move because I lost the compounding effect those stocks could have had over time! So I started all over, determined to teach myself to run a successful business as well as teach other artists to do the same. That is where Artists in Business evolved from. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I knew my path was to stay true to my art, and when I found myself taking jobs that were not in sync with furthering my growth as an artist, I knew I needed to find a way to build a successful business that would yield a profit while contributing to the art I believe in and continue to create today. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? So many women inspire me, but the ones who have helped me believe in me the most as I've built my business are Annette Bening, Suze Orman and my mom, Mary Alice Fedor 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Take control of your financial life and make a concerted effort to learn how to manage, make and invest your money so you can make decisions that keep you on the path that matters most to you and your vision of the future. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Gloria Steinem


Kh alilah Olok u n ola Khalilah was not born with a silver spoon she worked for it. Although life happened and she experienced a myriad of scenarios that she reaped the consequences for God has redeemed her. Today she is a successful entrepreneur with a proven track record in building people, business, brands and shoe stories. She has been training & developing for more than a decade while producing events for corporate, philanthropic film and TV. In a few words She speaks | she authors | she builds and she lights fires inside of women. She has been named a Woman to Watch by WILMA magazine & nominated for the Women of Achievement Award by the YWCA. Khalilah has also received 4 awards by the W.I.A committee and is a W.I.A hall of fame inductee. Some of her past clients include Former Chairman of Monster Worldwide, Former president of Daimler Chrysler Pro Football players & movie production companies including Will Ferrell's HBO East Bound & Down. She has also worked with Achieve Medical Weight Loss Center, a hand full of churches and alongside Mayor Bill Saffo at The Brave Business Breakfast at The County Club of Landfall In addition to attending college, Khalilah also holds certification in Executive development, Workforce Development, Peer Counseling, Ministerial Accreditation & has taken open course work with credential certification option from M.I.T u.lab on Leading from the Emerging Future, Harvard University on Leaders of Learning & Deliberations for Social Change. Khalilah is the current chair of The New Hanover Commission for Women receiving an acknowledgement from the White House in 2013 for her work in reviving a defunct board during Women?s history month. She has been sourced as an expert for News Channel 14, WWAY, FOX & WECT stories. She was also recently featured on The Star News who covered her ?empowerment? seminars for the community. Some of her past work has been featured locally, nationally & internationally in the UK and Australia. Khalilah is the author of Be Brave-An interactive workbook & Journal of intentional lessons of leadership for powerful women who aspire to lead. She is the creator of the BRAVE Boot Camps for Women with a goal to impact 10,000 women this year personally one conversation at a time. She is happily married to Al with 4 children ages 21, 20, 7 and 8. Along with a pup named Ms. Bailey they call Wilmington, NC home by way of New York City 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I speak | I author | I build (businesses, brands & shoes stories) and I light fires in women 2. How did you get your start? BY accident - I saw a need. I realized there were other women like myself who had walked in disbelief, discouragement and fear. I wanted to help them not only overcome but discover the greatness on the inside of them so that they would win and walk boldly in their business, their career and create their own shoe story 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I realized it was a passion 4. What women do you look to for motivation? Hmmm - Definitely Juanita Bynum , Oprah Winfrey and Cheryl Woods 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Believe in yourself and don't focus on your inabilities but your capabilities. There lies greatness 6.If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Oprah or Rosa Parks - I would want to ask her what she felt when she declined to give up her seat Biography


Lean n e Hope Fair w eat h er A Georgia native living in Stone Mountain as the youngest of 5 children to two Jamaican immigrants. I've traveled to the Caribbean, Jamaica particularly, exploring the beauty of island culture, music, and fashion. My love for reggae music stems from my Jamaican roots and pastimes listening to classic dub records in my childhood home. Through my blog posts, I'd like to share my passion for Ska, Rocksteady, Loversrock, Conscious Roots, Dub, Dancehall, and Modern Reggae genres. My weekly blog posts will share my favorite songs, international playlists from across the globe, and interviews from rising talents. Using the title ?The Black Queen?, I motivate young women achieving their goals. By starting a conversation on Twitter I engage with females who are artists, models, dancers, and media journalists. I use networking to connect with influencers who share my interests and vision. 1) Promote Caribbean music, culture, and lifestyle. 2) Connect fans with their favorite reggae artist. 3) Share resources to produce income for bloggers on the web. 4) Serve God and make my life a living example of his love and mercy. 5) Empower Black Queens through engaging images, encouraging messages, and evoking emotion that results in action. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? Drawing is my passion. No really if I could just be drawing all day in my room with the music blasting that is what I would do. I just recently realized that I am an artist. I have had so many titles from teacher, linguist, polymath, polyglot, multi-hyphenate, etc. But I learned that I am truly an artist because of the level of patience I have for my craft matched with my love of creativity. 2. How did you get your start? I started by learning an instrument. It was the French Horn. That was my gateway into the arts, before then I did some dancing - but if you aren't the best at first you feel like quitting. I still dance for fun but learning how to play music propelled me into other artistic and academic fields. If it wasn't for music I don't think I would be doing what I do now. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? Well I am really shy, but when I do open up I like to speak different languages. Language is like music to me and vice versa. There is so much feeling & expression in speaking and playing music. Spanish really peaked my interest when I was around 13. I had friends from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras - I wanted to understand from their perspective what music, food, and culture was like. I dove right into Latin American history and discovered we have so many similarities. The Caribbean is a melting pot of people, places, and diverse perspectives. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? Oprah Winfrey, Grace Jones, and Maya Angelou to name a few. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Don't grow up it's a trick. Keep growing you never know what you can learn. Look before you leap, but never let fear hold you back for what is on the other side. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Maya Angelou. I want to know how she became such a phenomenal woman. A second choice, Whitney Houston because I Will Always Love You!


Eden Oyewo

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? Originally from Indianapolis, IN and received a BA in Fashion Marketing/ Management at Illinois Institute of Art Chicago. I went on to be a contributor and digital editor of a variety of platforms in NYC. I currently do social media for fashion + beauty brands. I?m a lover of words, music and dance. I believe solitude is sacred and self-care is vital to achieve your dreams. Nature rejuvenates my spirit + the city stimulates my mind. 2. How did you get your start? C.O.R.E was launched by both my sister and I to fulfill our passion of pouring back to young girls of color. We came together to create a platform where teen girls can express their true thoughts as well as to be inspired to live their dreams. We felt that creating a digital magazine was a great way to reach young ladies worldwide and also believed the on-site programs were equally as important to bring the online community to life. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? We both decided to follow this path because it?s instilled in us to live an impactful life where we?re always pouring and giving back to individuals. We truly believe that we?re blessed to bless others. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I would start with my family of my grandmother, mother + sister. Just being able to grow up and be shaped by phenomenal women in my family has instilled a relentless spirit in me to tackle my dreams. I?m also blessed to work within a community surrounded by powerful women of color which is extremely empowering on a daily basis. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Don?t look to the left or the right and just focus ahead on your individual goal. The only person you?re competing with is yourself and you measure greatness + happiness by your own standards. As long as you can smile in the mirror + love who you?ve become, no one else?s opinion matters. 6.. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? I would also have to say Maya Angelou! As a lover of words I get so easily wrapped into the journey of her poems and stories. To be able to sit down with her humble, genuine + humorous spirit would have been an amazing honor to soak up her wisdom.


Gladys Ken n ey 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? My name is Gladys Kenney but I prefer to be called, ?Peaches?. I am new Author of Stepping Out on Faith Dare to Dream: A Journal of Faith book and WORKBOOK. I am a fun loving, humble, social butterfly who loves to encourage and motivate others through my books, smile, text messages, phone calls, notes, prayers, cards, letters, and hugs. My faith in God has allowed me to face the toughest obstacles such as the tragic death of a spouse, loss of employment, and being diagnosed with breast cancer, yet I have risen above them all. My courageous smile not only brightens any room, but it provides a warm sense of hope in the most destitute situations. As a prayer warrior, I have learned walk by faith and not by sight. Therefore, I know that this too shall pass 2. How did you get your start? In 1998, I began journaling, but at the time my focus was not to publish but to express my feelings, write out prayer requests and goals, and share my struggles and strengths to God. Journaling became a positive outlet for me, it helped me to process, to reevaluate and reflect. After years of expressing myself privately and being prophesied that I would write books; I finally decided to tell my story. In 2012, while attending a book expo, and after observing several successful writers, I knew it was time to stop procrastinating. It was during that event which caused me to put my pen to the plow. Most of my book was written during my commuter train ride to the District of Columbia. Due to procrastination, life, and distractions, it took me four years to complete my book. Based on the chapter, ?His Stripes?, which I disclose getting diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2016 brought me to the realization that life was short. That is what motivated me to fulfill my purpose. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I followed the path of becoming an Author and Motivator because my steps were ordered by God. As a child, I loved reading books but when I grew older I began journaling in 1998. My journaling outlet drew me to start writing my first book, Stepping Out on Faith Dare to Dream: A Journal of Faith book in 2012. However, the book was not completed until four years later. It was not until the summer of 2016 when I lost my job as a Social Worker, and being diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer a few weeks later is when I decided to stop procrastinating. In the process of seeking employment, I prayed to God that I would not return to work until my book was published. Days after being diagnosed with cancer, God revealed that I needed to share this information in my book. Now I understand why it took me four years to finish the book, God let me know that my story would bless so many other cancer survivors and people in general. In November 2016, I had my first surgery cancer was removed from my right breast. Amazingly, my first book was published the next day. Thus, I knew that my sickness was not unto death but God had a greater plan in store. During my post follow up appointment in December 2016, surprisingly, my doctor reported that more cancer was found, but it was invasive this time. Another surgery would be required. Although I was shocked, I kept the faith that God would heal me. In addition to that, I requested prayer from my family and friends, church and social media family. With the support of my Virtual Assistant and Editor, I published my 2nd book, Stepping Out on Faith Dare to Dream WORKBOOK. Although my initial book signing had to be postponed due to my health, I know that once I am completely healed, I will be producing more. I am determined to not let anything stop me. Therefore, I am Stepping Out on Faith which requires me to press by the pain, discomfort, distractions, and excuses. On January 12, 2017, I had my 2nd and final surgery. I have been recovering well and receiving lots of support from my family and friends near and far. I am truly grateful and appreciative. I will start radiation in March everyday for six weeks then hormonal therapy medication for the next 5 years


4. What women do you look to for motivation? There are quite a few women that motivate me who are local and others are celebrities: Ayo Thomas, Editor in Chief of WOW magazine, she is a Dynamic Woman of God and a dear friend, her lifestyle and how she built her brand from the ground up with a spirit of excellence; Dr. Karen Bethea, my Apostle of Set the Captives Free Outreach Center, blesses my life as she delivers the Word of God in practical ways. Also, she is an Author, Mentor, Great Leader who empowers men and women; Thee Danielle Baker-Jones is an Awesome Entrepreneur, Modeling Coach, and friend who owns her a modeling company, Signature Inc and Girls Glam; Tressa A. Smallwood is a former teacher who developed a multimillion empire after having surgery; Latrice Ryan is an Evangelist with Unshakeable Faith that is contagious. Taraji Henson is an excellent actress from the District of Columbia. Oprah Winfred?s success speaks for itself. Last but not least, Mrs. Margorie Harvey, Steve Harvey?s wife and ?good thing? has a beautiful godly radiance and love about her that it illuminates through her husband. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Words of wisdom that I would offer to other young ladies, is that being told "NO!" is not always the final and they should still pursue their dreams and goals. In my early years of life, I accepted the word "NO" as if whatever I was attempting to accomplish was not attainable. Thus, I would not continue to seek opportunities or advocate for myself. Today, I know that being told "No" is part of the process and that most successful people were told ?No? and that they could not make it, but they never stopped trying. Also, I have learned sometimes being told "No" can be a blessing in disguise. For example, after I was told "No", it made me reevaluate how I could improve my work and presentation. Once I reassessed the situation, then I would reapply and be told ?Yes?. The "No" was sometimes an indication that I was not as fully prepared, and I needed to gain more information and try again. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? If I could have dinner with any woman it would be First Lady Michelle Obama. I would like to learn how she was able to handle all the pressure of supporting her husband, being a mother, wife, advocate and more and maintain such poise all the time. She is very intelligent and I love how she supports young people.

"I t took mequitea longtimeto developa voice, and now that I have it, I amnot goingtobesilent." ? M adeleineA lbright


Jacqu elin e Gik ow A long-time New Yorker with a lifetime of experience in personal fitness, Jacqueline Gikow inspires a healthy, active, and vital life now and tomorrow with wellness programs supporting bones, brain, heart, joints, and weight management. Jacqueline Gikow is certified as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor through ACE, AEA, and AFAA. She is a Wellcoaches® certified health & wellness coach. Additionally, she is licensed as a Zumba®, Aqua Zumba®, and Zumba Gold® instructor, certified as an AcquaPole® instructor, and SilverSneakers® trained. She is also a specialist in strength & conditioning for seniors through Exercise ETC., Inc. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I spent 30 years as an industrial designer, specializing in creating products and environments that made people?s lives more comfortable. My long term interest was in independent living, which was a perfect lead-in for my current activities. I?m also quite active, and have pursued various fitness activities and sports for most of my life, starting with synchronized and competitive swimming as a teenager. I?m an avid bicyclist - from my first post-college job leading teenagers on bike trips to the distance and social cycling I do today. I am also an artist specializing in watercolors. You can see my work on Etsy: https:// www.etsy.com/ shop/ goldfishwatercolorny. Additionally, I?ve had some success as a writer and author, with 4 books published in the art and fitness fields, a weekly blog on my website, and as a voice on Huffington Post. 2. How did you get your start and what made you decide to follow this path? I became active in health & wellness the period after my mom died from old age at 93 (perhaps cut short even then due to dementia). To make a long story short, I took a Zumba class, and was captivated by the energy. After a year or so, I was struck by the thought that I could teach it. One thing leads to another and I became certified as a personal trainer and then a wellness coach. I also became passionate about aquatic exercise. My interest grew as my knowledge of the aging population in this country grew. At the same time, I developed a growing awareness of the difference between my active life and the sedentary nature of the majority of our population. I feel I am uniquely positioned to offer successful paths to people wanting to maintain their health and independence as they get older. 3. What women do you look to for motivation? In general, I do not look to anyone for motivation. I am attracted to women who have come into their own through whatever hurdles they have had to overcome. I look for women who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, take risks, and follow paths that are not necessarily easy. A few women that I am impressed by are Gloria Steinem, Ernestine Shepherd, Ruth Ginsberg, and Hillary Rodham-Clinton. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? The advice I have to offer to any woman, young or not, is to not allow herself to be devalued, and called a ?young lady.? The demonetization of women is rampant in this world and being aware of any effort to divest us of our stature is to be vociferously avoided.


M usi cal M i nute Joi ?JC? Carter Joi ?JC? Carter is a Baltimore born singer/ songwriter with a Caribbean spiced, funk infused, rock sound. Her stage presence captivates audiences across the globe with an energy that can best be described as the sultriness and grit of when Tina Turner meets Janice Joplin. JC has graced the stages of some of the most prominent live music venues in the United States as both a solo artist and as the former lead singer of the Washington, DC based, internationally renowned band, Mambo Sauce. JC?s musical career has allowed her to shine as a background singer for R&B crooner Carl Thomas, tour internationally with Washington, DC-based alternative-rock-reggae band The Pocket, and as a part of Mambo Sauce, was the opening act for Grammy Nominated Reggae band SOJA for their 2011 National Tour. As a solo artist, Joi has dominated stages from China to Mexico. She brings a fierceness to the stage that is unrivaled and with ?Let?s F*ck Sh*t Up? as her motto, Joi ?JC? Carter delivers a soul stirring live performance that you won?t soon forget. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am a unique, one of a kind, creative, honest, straight-to-the-point, accredited, Certified PR. With acquired extensive knowledge with many years in the Entertainment Industry where I?ve worked for various companies and has held many positions such as Artist Manager, Marketing Manager, Promotions Manager, On-Air Radio Personality and Public Relations. But with a passion for Public Relations and Marketing, i establish an Independent Boutique Public Relations firm called Just 1 PR so i can continue to provide services such as Public Image Branding, Social Media Management, Event Planning and Brand Consulting. With my in-depth knowledge and experience paired with her style of work, Sandra has proven to be extremely beneficial with the way she handles and executes business with her current and new clients. 2. How did you get your start? I started with doing actually doing marketing and promotion prior for a lounge in my area. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? The culture, the work and the ever changing environment. It?s always something to improve, change, write up plus many more in this filed. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? First my mom- she showed me what it means no to give and always go after what you want and Viola Adam she?s a superhero! 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Never ever give up and always Dream Bigger! If this is your dream and passion, go for it... it doesn?t matter how slow you start, if you don?t know anyone, if you don?t have any connects, if you have no clients? just go for it. You?re hard work will pay off in due time. Always remember success doesn?t come over night, it takes hard work and perseverance 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? So i have two Coretta Scott King and Oprah Winfrey


In honor of Women's History month we have listed 10 songs that will make you proud to be a women! 1. Man! I feel like a Woman - Shania Twain: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=ZJL4UGSbeFg 2.Scars to Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara : https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=MWASeaYuHZo 3.Express Yourself - Madonna : https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=GsVcUzP_O_8 4. I'm Every Woman - Whitney Houston : https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=H7_sqdkaAfo 5. Fight Song - Rachel Platten: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc 6. Brave - Sara Bareillies: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4 7. I AM Woman - Helen Reddy: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=V6fHTyVmYp4 8. A Rose is Still A Rose - Aretha Franklin : https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=gtMUQbnT_Lo 9. Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=J91ti_MpdHA 10. Roar - Katy Perry: https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8


Cocoa Brown Comedian , Act ress All Around

Super W oman!! COCOA BROWN is undeniably one of the most talented performers of this era. The Newport News, Virginia native, born Farah Brown, assails her craft with such passion and soul searching veracity, when she claims the stage the ensuing act is nothing short of a force of nature. COCOA BROWN audaciously draws from painful reminiscences and hard-knocked lessons, bravely weaving humorous tales that uplift, upend and upgrade everything you thought you knew about comedy. What drives the comic that female fans nationwide have nicknamed ?The Truth?? The sheer will of a woman who has survived the worst life had to offer and is still standing. The fiery performer, who recently lost fifty-three pounds, credits including the upcoming comedy documentary, ?Dying Laughing?, which lands in theaters on Friday, February 24, alongside Jamie Foxx, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart and Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few. A starring role in the hugely successful and critically acclaimed ?American Crime Story: People v. OJ Simpson?, which aired on the FX Network; a recurring role on TV Land?s ?Soul Man? with Cedric ?The Entertainer ? and Neicy Nash and starring as fan favorite ?Jennifer? for six (6) seasons on #1 rated ?Tyler Perry?s For Better or Worse? for the past six (6) seasons on The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). COCOA BROWN has amassed an extensive body of work, including co-starring in last summer ?s blockbuster ?Ted 2?, alongside Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlburg, working alongside Samuel L. Jackson in ?Lakeview Terrace? and her starring role in ?Tyler Perry?s Single Mom?s Club?. COCOA BROWN recurred as co-host on the ABC Daytime talk show ?FABLife? and has been a guest on all three (3) seasons of the hit daytime talk, ?The Real?. COCOA BROWN has released her comedy CD ?One Funny Momma?, which is available on iTunes. With a Screen Actor ?s Guild Award nomination under her belt, COCOA BROWN aspires for an Oscar, an Emmy Award and a Pulitzer Prize. The lovable and down-to-earth celebrity and proud single mother to her pre-school aged son, Phoenix, keeps television audiences tuning in for an intoxicating dose of ?Cocoa-infused?humor. She captivated arena audiences across the country as part of the ?Mike Epps & Friends? comedy tour. Her creative writing and meticulously produced sets couple with the ever-changing hairstyles and gutsy sense of fashion ignites rousing, protracted standing.


1. Please t ell u s a lit t le abou t you r self ? My name is Cocoa Brown I'm a mother an actress a comedian and a writer I've been doing stand-up comedy for 20 years I've been acting for 15 I was born and raised in Newport News Virginia I have a bachelors degree In mass communications from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix I love working with children and exposing them to the arts and have recently partnered the dance for one want to expand their acting dept. I live in Georgia but I also am in Los Angeles. In my spare time I enjoy reading spending time with my son traveling and cooking 2. How did you get you r st ar t ? I got my start in stand up comedy in 1996 after a friend took me to a comedy club and the owner asked me to come to open mic night. I did my first play at 10 years old and minored in Theatre in college. 3. Wh at m ade you decide t o f ollow t h is pat h ? To be honest I realized corporate America was just not my thing and it took my boss at Feld entertainment which at the time ran Ringling Brothers and Disney on ice to give me an ultimatum one day that I could either quit and file for unemployment or get fired and get a severance but she said to follow my dreams. So to be honest I owe her a lot! 4. Wh at w om en do you look t o f or m ot ivat ion ? I look to my mother I look to my aunts but I also look up to women like Viola Davis, Ruby Dee & Michelle Obama. 5. Wh at advice can you of f er ot h er you n g ladies t h at you w ish som eon e h ad given t o you ? To be me unapologetically and to not sweat the small stuff 6. If you cou ld h ave din n er w it h an y w om an livin g or dead w h o w ou ld it be? I would have loved to have dinner with Ruby Dee, Dr. Maya Angelou, Pearl Bailey & Coretta Scott King. I would love to have dinner right now with Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson & Debbie Allen


Bianca M Williams

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am an outgoing, goal driven woman. From since I can remember I have always had visions, dreams, and ideas of helping others and reaching the masses running through my mind. I am a self motivated, funny, kind, hard working, loving, brave, giving beautiful soul. 2. How did you get your start? I got my start unbeknownst to me when my late Aunt Lynette would have me come over to her apartment in Tribeca where she was a fashion designer. At a younger age my Aunt Lynette was in a tragic accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down in which she had to be wheel chair bound. But that did not stop her as she would say " little girl lets go". We would go to events or even sell in her apartment buildings hallway. So she taught me early on about be an entrepreneur. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I began to follow the path of being an entrepreneur when I was working as a manger for an insurance firm for 4 years and making them millions of dollars while I was only getting a six figure income, in which I worked really hard for. I said to myself if I could put this much effort into my business, wow what a difference and fulfilling journey and lifestyle that would be. So that?s exactly what I did. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? For motivation I look to my mom, late grandmother and late Aunt. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? The Advice I would give to young ladies that I tell myself every minute of the day is always " Put the Yes before the No" -BMW It has gotten me through more doors than I can imagine. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? If I could have dinner with any woman alive or dead? Oh how I love some Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, Sanaa Lathan. But hands down it would have to be my Grandma. She just meant so much to be, I could just remember all of our encounters the laughs on top of laughs, the support and I mean support in all aspects and most of all the unconditional, soft, monumental love she couldn't help but to share. multi-media entertainment company Monami Mona Scott Young, Bravo?s Fashion Queens star Derek J, VH1?s Love & Hip Hop star Tahiry Jose, VH1?s Mob Wives Ramona Rizzo, Hip Hop Legend Roxanne Shante and more. With such company and work ethic, the sky?s the limit for this talented young lady. Mother, television personality, businesswoman, socialite, soon to be published author, entrepreneur and philanthropist; Bianca continues to show the world why she is such a modern day phenomenon and has no plans of stopping. Her passion for defining opportunities, building a brand, happiness, service, family, business mogul and entrepreneur talents she continues to drive every aspect of her brand.


DaRu ddest Jon es

Bianca M. Williams stars and co- hosts Pretty, Styled & Beautiful, a video series on YouTube which highlights and explores beauty, fashion, and "the world of glamefication." Bianca is also the owner and founder of B Pretty Inc, B Pretty Lashes and Specialty Salon B Pretty Glam Factory. Synopsis: Bianca M. Williams was born on May 10th in Brooklyn, New York. This business-driven wife and mother of one became an entrepreneur in 2013. Bianca continues to operate B. Pretty Inc, Catch my Lash Classes and The Power and How to Put the Yes before the No Seminars, working with individuals all over the world. Early Days: Bianca was born on May 10th, in Brooklyn, New York. Her rise in the business world began at an early age, as she embarked upon an entrepreneurial path after graduating high school. Bianca?s journey began when she decided to start learning business from the inside out by working as a manager at an insurance firm for several years. Bianca began to close more and more accounts at the insurance firm and decided that with her key attributed customer service, business savyness and key contacts she could begin to build her own legacy by returning to her initial passion for sewing. Bianca began to use her sewing as a platform to gain insight into the industry. As a result, she created B. Pretty Inc: a plus-size fashion line which has established itself as a fine purveyor of plus-size clothing. ?I wanted to create something that was special,? Bianca notes, ?something for everyone.? Creating looks for legends such as Roxanne Shante and more, Bianca has used her platform to gain access into the beauty world as well. She went on to create B Pretty Lashes in 2014, which is a Pure 100% Human Hair Eyelash Line, which quickly parlayed her as a media celebrity simultaneously becoming a positive vessel to promote the success of moms and other individuals. She strives to have a positive impact on other's lives by embracing and understanding the value of putting the yes before the no. Accompanied by her commitment to being a role model, Bianca drew national attention with her tireless commitment to her foundation: Power on Yes and Businesses. The Birth of an Entrepreneur: Bianca's philanthropic ventures and brand continued to flourish as she later focused her energy on pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams. She opened B Pretty Glam Factory LLC, started seminars teaching individuals how to accept their blessings, rather than push them away, and is currently working on publishing her book. Beginning with plus-size ensembles, Bianca, who has been featured in the national publication Hip Hop Weekly (3x), cites fashion as her lifelong passion. She is now evolving into eyelashes to bring out the natural ocular beauty of the wearer in a product that is comfortable, even with extended wear. ?I wanted to preserve that natural look,? says the designer, ?while keeping it comfortable all day long.? The fit and craftsmanship of her work soon gained Bianca and B. Pretty a prominent seat at the industry table. Fashion shows beckoned, most recently at Black Rock?s Beauty for All extravaganzas in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Runway the Realway at New York City?s plush Yotel. After being a product sponsor at the 3rd Female Hip Hop Honor Awards, Bianca is now ready to be a household name in the business of lashes and celebrity designs. Building her brand and throwing Lash parties all over the East Coast, is the next level for this designer who has been spotted with the likes of comedienne, actress, author and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg, CEO of multi-media entertainment company Monami Mona Scott Young, Bravo?s Fashion Queens star Derek J, VH1?s Love & Hip Hop star Tahiry Jose, VH1?s Mob Wives Ramona Rizzo, Hip Hop Legend Roxanne Shante and more. With such company and work ethic, the sky?s the limit for this talented young lady. Mother, television personality, businesswoman, socialite, soon to be published author, entrepreneur and philanthropist; Bianca continues to show the world why she is such a modern day phenomenon and has no plans of stopping. Her passion for defining opportunities, building a brand, happiness, service, family, business mogul and entrepreneur talents she continues to drive every aspect of her brand.


DaRuddest Jones is a Spoken Word Artist, Event Curator, Event Host, Graphic Designer and the Executive Producer and Lead Host of NYC-based radio show, Rude On The Radio. Ms. Jones is a powerhouse that is forcing herself to be seen and heard far and wide. Ms. Jones goes out of her way to make a positive impact on the world around her. She strongly believes in being the change that you want to see in the world. With all that she does, Ms. Jones still manages to work Monday through Friday with young adults teaching about the importance of self-love, self-awareness and not living up to the societal standards of young adults of color. She also teaches them about how to launch their own small business and the greatness of working for yourself. Ms. Jones is a beautiful being with a beautiful heart. Her goal is to be remembered and so far she is on the right track. www.daruddestjones.com

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I'm simply a young woman that is doing all that I can to make a difference. I believe that every person that is birthed into the world is supposed to be the greatest version of themselves and actually care about the people and the world around them. I try my best to live by those standards. I share myself, the good and the bad, open and freely because I know that others will always be able to pull something from my life that can help them be a better version of themselves. 2. How did you get your start? I have been into performance since I was 4 years old. My first love was dance. Followed by singing, then rapping, then theater and now Spoken Word, Host, and Event Curating. I think I am just overall in love with the stage. But what really set me on the path that I am currently on is heartbreak. I was hopelessly heartbroken and I needed to distract myself. DaRuddest Jones was born from pain and I turned the pain of yesterday into my glory of today. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? Honestly.... I just needed to release. I needed a way to share what I felt so I started off blogging my poetry and when I got bored with that I found my way back to the stage. And when I stepped on the stage again my soul instantly began to heal again. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I look to my Mom and my Grandmother. I think I look at them and I see myself. I also see things that I want to avoid if that makes any sense. I look at them and I see that they were okay with what they had and it makes me want more. I enjoy reaching for more because it puts me in a position to be able to do more for them. I can't do everything I want to do for them, not yet, but I am capable of doing more than I was able to do in the past. I enjoy being able to put a smile on their face. Even if it's just for a moment. Outside of them, my idol has always been Maya Angelou. I thought she was the greatest person to live. And being able to share the stage with her and sit in her home and have a conversation with her... that is the greatest high I will ever have in life. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Be you. Be free. Fuck standards. Exceed Expectations. Don't accept defeat. Don't make others comfortable. Be most important. Be loud and RIGHT. Not Strong and wrong! The world will always try to dim your light. Don't let it. Fight hard and long. Don't lower your standards because others don't want to meet them. If they won't someone else will. And above all, love you the most. Never give anyone 100 percent of yourself. If you give away all of you, what will you have to repair yourself when you are your weakest? Always save some of you for you.... ALWAYS! 6.. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? My Great Grandmother. I have questions and she is the only person with the answers. She is one of the many keys to who I am.


Au n t ea M ar is


1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am Auntea Marie, pronounced (Aun-Tay-a). I was born and raised in New Orleans, La. I moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University. I graduated in 2007 with a degree in Communications. I am totally obsessed with my 5-year-old son. I am the co-founder of Media International PR & Marketing, LLC, a boutique firm that I share with my mother. I focus on brand and business strategy. I am results driven and success is the only option! 2. How did you get your start? I got my start in PR at Marriott International. I was the PR coordinator for DC and Boston hotels. In that position, I was exposed to several facets of PR and I loved the variety. A few years later, I ventured out on my own and did freelance PR focusing mainly on entertainment. A couple years after that, I co-found Media International. Now, I have a diverse roster of clients that thrive in various industries. It has been ten years of long nights, sacrifice, tears, joys, accomplishments, growth, learning and excitement. Looking forward, I plan to continue to elevate my brand, expand my professional reach and strive to be a woman of excellence. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? When you believe in destiny, you find peace in going with the flow and following the path of least resistance. There was not anything in particular that "made" me follow this path. I made some good, and some bad, business decisions that led me to where I am now. I always knew I would work in entertainment, but I never imagined I would be a Publicist. However, I am confident that PR is not my final occupation. I am following my path and will gracefully embrace each stop on the journey. I just want to be great! 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I come from an army of strong independent women. I am in constant communication with my mom, her two sisters, and my two great aunts. We are on daily group text (LOL). I use their lives as examples and seek m and motivation from them. Additionally, my two grandmothers?(both passed in 2016) lived amazing lives. I gained a lot of strength through them as well. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? There is a silver lining in every situation. No matter how uncomfortable or challenging it may be, your perspective of the event will shape the experience. If you focus on the silver lining, you will always gain. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Oh my, there are sooo many women I admire. At this point in my life, I would love to have dinner, and wine, with Oprah Winfrey. My respect for Oprah expands beyond her obvious professional achievements. I truly admire her leadership and exposure with regard to spirituality. As someone who also practices gratitude, meditation and law of attraction, it would be most rewarding to discuss life and success from a metaphysical perspective with Oprah.


Ch ar on Gar in g I am a lover of His presence, a wife, a mother of one beautiful boy that is 7 years old. I have been cooking and baking for 20 years. I cook live on periscope M-Th 5pm PT/ 8pmET @charonnichole on twitter I am @charonnichole. On IG and Facebook The Anointed Baker 24/ 7. And you can check out my club: Charon?s Dinner Club on Facebook at bit.ly/ mydinnerclub. I am the author of two eBooks Your Baking is Whack you can purchase your copy bit.ly/ whackbaking ; My newest eBook Sauces to keep your man! A mini sauce guide bit.ly/ saucybook! Owner of The Anointed Baker, where I make phenomenal homemade coffeecakes and gourmet cookies sent to your doorstep; www.anointedbaker247.com.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am a child of God, wife, mom, sister, cousin Auntie, and friend. I?m 33 years old and my passion is cooking and baking. The kitchen is my playground! I love creating new recipes and practicing techniques and learning more about my gifts. I am beautiful, funny and eccentric. I love to laugh and fellowship! I enjoy coloring, crafting and painting with acrylic and watercolors. I love eating a good meal! 2. How did you get your start? I started baking when I was 7-8 years old. My grandma has a blackberry bush and she gave me a choice to make jam or a pie. I choose making a pie with her direction and I nailed it! I have been baking pretty much ever since. Now I create new recipes! 3.What made you decide to follow this path? I asked the Lord what should I do with this gift and He told me to share it. He gave me my name and the Lord directs me in all of my business endeavors. 4.What women do you look to for motivation? I look to the Lord from motivation. He guides me and gives me my best Ideas! I really like Michelle Obama, she showed us that if we put our minds to what we?d like, we could achieve anything! 5.What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? What I would have like to know when I was young, that I would like to share is that: You are beautiful, you are worth it and you matter. Embrace who you are and know what the Lord says about you and lastly do not change yourself for anyone be the original you are. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Maya Angelou, her wisdom still gives us power and insight and challenges us to be the best we can be!


Apr yl D Rober t s With over 15 years of experience in event design and production, Apryl Roberts has an affinity for style and a keen eye for novel designs which has earned her many industry awards and recognition. Her company, Memorable Events by Apryl, specializes in event production & design and experiential marketing. In addition to social events and weddings, Apryl and her team successfully execute events for corporations, non-profit organizations, celebrities and brands on both the agency and client sides.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am an event producer that is based out of Virginia but produce events nationwide and Mexico. I am a divorcee, mother of two children. 2. How did you get your start? I started out working for a record producer as an intern handling admin duties. I eventually began handling meetings and parties for my employer. I soon began planning parties for family and friends. After I worked for the producer, I worked for a major record label as an intern and then production tour assistant. In this capacity, I learned staging, lighting and overall theatrics of visuals. Both of these positions provided me with the tools that I would need to begin my own event planning business. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? My father actually urged me to start my own business. He noticed how I was planning and designing so many events for colleagues and friends and felt that I need to officially start my business. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? The first would be my mother. She raised me as a single parent and never used that as an excuse. I truly never wanted for anything. I attended private schools, took ballet and participated in pageants thanks to her dedication to working hard. She taught me to not make excuses, but to make change! The second woman that I look to for motivation is my mentor. She would kill me if I mention her name. But this woman holds me accountable in all aspects of my business life. I look at how she is a wife and mother of three children all while maneuvering the world of entertainment without missing a beat. She always places her family first-no compromise, but garners the respect that such a male-dominated industry often belittles from a female. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? When I was younger, I wish that someone would have told me to shut out the crowd of naysayers and take the appropriate risks to achieve my dreams. So often we rely on the "cheers" of family and friends to affirm our thoughts and actions, but they don't always see the vision. That's clearly because the vision is not theirs to see. You have to often act upon your own volition. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? I would want to have dinner with Michelle Obama. I've had the opportunity of briefly meeting her years ago when President Obama was still a senator. And at that time I was in awe of her presence. So to have the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with her at this stage in her life would be awesome.


Tar iqah M ills Tariqah Mills is a Certified Public Accountant licensed with New York State, owner of TÂł Accounting and an adjunct professor at Mountbatten Institute-New York Program. Ms. Mills has over 12 years of accounting and finance experience in the financial services industry working for well-known global companies, such as Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and RBC Capital Markets. TÂł Accounting is an accounting firm offering accounting, tax and financial guidance services to individuals and small business owners. Ms. Mills is a firm believer and supporter of entrepreneurs and small business owners. She is dedicated to educating and ensuring small businesses will achieve and maintain success.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? Born and raised in Harlem, I am a women of many talents wearing many fabulous hats day to day! A mom to 3 lovely boys, a wife to a wonderful husband, an active family member in our family lives, an adjunct professor to study abroad Master students and most recently a business owner of T3 Accounting Services based in Harlem. 2. How did you get your start? This is an interesting question, I ask myself this question time to time mostly when I spend time reflecting on my career and life. My start began with the encouragement from my mother to succeed and strive for continued greatness. She says as a little girl any game I played I always wanted to have money involved as part of the fun! I have had many opportunities to learn about the accounting industry as early as my High School years, attending Murry Bergtraum HS for Business Careers in NYC. Ms. Sobel an accounting teacher taught our class not only about the accounting concepts but included real world accounting examples which not only peaked my interest but solidified my goal in becoming a Certified Public Accountant. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? A desire for a successful career was the primary driver, also the various roles and opportunities accountants may take advantage of across industries; CFO of a major retail company or Managing Director of Finance in a Financial Services firm, the roles and endless. My thoughts are in any business venture a need for an accountant is most probable. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? The women in my family are wonderful motivators and I look to them always for motivation to continue on my path of continued growth and success. Our belief and praise for one other makes my heart swell each and every time I think of our family clan J There are others of course, Michelle Obama is a woman that exemplifies greatness and her candor and belief in the power of being able to motivate others to strive for success is something special. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given t o you ? I have been given many words of advice and guidance over the years, some I have heeded and some I did not but wish I had. My words of guidance to young ladies are ?no matter the obstacle, it is your strength and determination that will prove most beneficial in succeeding? 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Michelle Obama!! Maybe she will read this edition of I AM ME magazine and honor me with her presence!


Wen dy Du t w in

Wendy Dutwin?s experience in the high-pressure world of public relations, marketing and high-profile celebrity endorsements is distinguished by her ability to make relationships and people a priority, without losing sight of the marketing and professional goals of a project. The origins of Wendy Dutwin?s success lie in her rigorous training at NYU and the University of Texas at Austin. Focused on film and screenwriting, she worked on the production of The Newton Boys, directed by Richard Linklater. This led to Production Coordinator and Production Management positions at MTV. Leapfrogging to Creative Development and assisting acclaimed director Martha Coolidge, Ms. Dutwin then began working in talent endorsements at Celebrities Plus, Inc. in Los Angeles, where she rose to Senior Vice President of Entertainment Marketing. After almost six years as Senior VP, she made the decision to go out on her own and created Limelight Media, Inc. with many of her clients choosing to go with her. With over 500 campaigns to her credit, Wendy Dutwin has achieved in a short time what most media professionals take an entire career to accrue. Written up in PR Week multiple times, her successes include working on such high-profile product launches as Amgen?s ENBREL campaign with Phil Mickelson and their ProliaÂŽ campaign with Emmy Award winning actress Blythe Danner, Shire?s award-winning ADHD ?Own It? Campaign with Adam Levine and Shane Victorino, as well as their recent mother/ daughter campaign with Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Peete. Her earlier campaigns included DeVries Public Relations?Tupperware Chain of Confidence campaign with actress Brooke Shields, as well as the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign which helps create real-hair wigs for women battling cancer. Wendy negotiated Oscar nominated actress Diane Lane and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the spokespersons for that campaign in years one and two respectively. Ms. Lane?s hair was cut off live on The Today Show by then-anchor Ann Curry. Ms. Swank?s involvement led to significant media coverage, including The Oprah Winfery Show, where Oprah, in front of the live studio audience, cut off Ms. Swank?s hair which was made into a real-hair wig for the cause. Ms. Dutwin is quoted as saying, ?The corporate world and the talent world don?t really speak the same language. It?s my job to know how to serve as a translator on each deal and build bridges between those two worlds. I also have a production and media background, so I?m able to provide expertise and counsel in many areas outside the world of celebrity endorsement. My clients respect my loyalty to them and my ability to go above and beyond. I do whatever it takes to get the job done successfully.? It is this skillful tenacity and fierce integrity to the client that has made Wendy Dutwin and Limelight Media, Inc. the team of choice for corporations, public relations firms and advertising agencies across the country. Wendy also has her Master of Fine Arts from Antioch University in Creative Writing. She is passionate about writing outside of her work with Limelight Media and spends her time volunteering with The Fulfillment Fund, an organization designed to mentor under-privileged teens in Los Angeles where she lives.


1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I?m a Jersey-born girl who has worked in New York City and Austin, TX. I?ve been in Los Angeles for 18 years. I started my own company, Limelight Media, in 2004. We are a celebrity procurement agency ? working with our clients to find the right celebrity to partner with on marketing campaigns. You see these relationships on billboards, magazine ads and TV commercials. I am also a vegan and I love to mediate and hike. I have one beautiful dog and I?m known to overpay for a latte at my favorite coffee shop. It?s delicious and worth every penny! 2. How did you get your start? I started in film and TV, working for directors and in production at MTV. These jobs evolved to a talent endorsement position when I landed on the West Coast before a series of events led me to go out on my own six years later. It was scary and risky, but 13 years later, we are still here and it?s amazing to be your own boss. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? By nature, I am a leader, Type-A, detail-orientated person. These skills are essential in this line of work. At Limelight Media, we are always communicating with our clients, working with the celebrity?s team, ensuring a successful marketing campaign ? you can?t have any loose ends! So this path sort of found me ? I am a nurturer by nature and this job requires me to be part therapist and part matchmaker. It?s fun and every day is different. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I admire strong women who use their voices well, especially in controversial times, but who do so with dignity and grace, with a goal to open communication lines to everyone and not shut them down. Michelle Obama is a woman who walks that line beautifully for me. She embodies all the characteristics we focus on here at Limelight Media. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Don?t be afraid to say yes. I was given a lot of different opportunities during my career and I always said yes. There were giant leaps of faith and many people probably thought I was nuts, but I knew in my gut I would be successful, so I did it anyway. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? I would love to sit down with the Dali Lama or Desmond Tutu. I am blown away by their depth of compassion and capacity for forgiveness while still being arbiters of positive change and equality for all in the world. Not an easy feat, but the direction I feel brings about lasting and permanent change for everyone.


Tan ish a Laver n e Gr an t TANISHA LAVERNE GRANT single-handedly gets the exclusives! A widely respected entertainment journalist known as a "Hollywood Insider" Tanisha is one of the industry?s leading go to personalities for all things pop culture! Covering everything from exclusive large scale red carpet award shows, film festivals, private screenings, press junkets, and film premieres, all which have set the stage for her to interview some of the most prolific icons, game changers, disruptors, and thought leaders in film, fashion, music and politics, with a roster of luminaries including but not limited to RAOUL PECK whose latest film "I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO" has been nominated for an Oscar. Tanisha has interviewed OPRAH WINFREY, CATHY HUGHES, DEBRA LEE, DEBRA MARTIN CHASE, SHERRY LANSING, VAN JONES, CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS, LAURENCE FISHBURNE, MELVIN VAN PEEBLES, MISTY COPELAND, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, FOREST WHITAKER, KD LANG, TYNE DALY, CICELY TYSON, PATTI LABELLE, LUPITA NYONGO, IYANLA VANZANT, RICHARD CURTIS, YANN ARTHUS BERTRAND, KEVIN HART, ISSA RAE, GAYLE KING, KATHLEEN CLEAVER, GABRIELLE UNION, KERRY WASHINGTON, KOFI SIRIBOE, TAMRON HALL, YARA SHAHIDI, AJA NAOMI KING, MARA BROCK AKIL, SWIZZ BEATZ, SPIKE LEE, MARY J. BLIGE, and many more. Tanisha's contributions to entertainment journalism has yielded her a number of awards and has also resulted in her being the cover story for the winter 2017 issue for "SIZEOVERRATED" MAGAZINE! Tanisha LaVerne Grant is definitely one to watch. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am an on camera entertainment correspondent with 20 years of experience in the television and film industry in both the New York and Los Angeles markets. My goal in entertainment journalism is to create a safe place where artist of African descent can share their stories, trusting me to curate a narrative that speaks to the pride, commitment, and excellence they have for their chosen craft. 2. How did you get your start? I attended and graduated from the oldest HBCU, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania where I earned a BA in Communication Arts. It was during my time at Cheyney that I secured an internship at WCAU NBC 10 in Philadelphia which is the 4th largest market in the television news industry. My internship yielded a full-time position as "Assignment Editor" creating a launching pad for me to have a viable career in the entertainment industry. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I decided to follow this path because the stories of our contributions to film, music, fashion, television, art, and literature must be told at full strength. Our stories must not be watered down to appease mainstream media decision makers. I take solace in knowing I get to create and help move the stories of African people to the forefront. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I look toward all kinds of women for motivation. I pull from my mother, my sister, the ancestors. I gain inspiration from the women in my neighborhood of Harlem rushing to get their children off to school in the morning. I look to women like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tamron Hall, Ava Duvernay, Cicely Tyson, Halle Berry who are leaders not just in the television and film industry but leaders globally because they use their platforms to challenge social stratus that are detrimental to the progress mankind.


4. What women do you look to for motivation? I look toward all kinds of women for motivation. I pull from my mother, my sister, the ancestors. I gain inspiration from the women in my neighborhood of Harlem rushing to get their children off to school in the morning. I look to women like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tamron Hall, Ava Duvernay, Cicely Tyson, Halle Berry who are leaders not just in the television and film industry but leaders globally because they use their platforms to challenge social stratus that are detrimental to the progress mankind. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Do not allow anyone to make you feel guilty about opting out of motherhood for a career or vice versa! LIVE YOUR TRUTH WITH UNAPOLOGETIC ENTHUSIASM! 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? I would have dinner with late my maternal grandmother Rose who I love and miss tremendously. She introduced to me cinema. We'd watch old movies together and discuss how we thought the film should have been structured all the way down to the actor?s wardrobe selections. I was 8 years old when she introduced me to the 1975 cult classic ?Mahogany? we watched it so much the tape popped. "Mahogany" was my entree to all things television, film, and glamour. When I stand on a red carpet with a microphone in my hand interviewing some the world's most talented contributors in the entertainment space I stand as my grandmother.

"Of courseI amnot worried about intimidatingmen. T hetypeof man whowill beintimidated by meis exactly thetypeof man I havenointerest in."? Chimamanda N gozi A dichie


Jessica Wilson


Jessica Wilson Jessica Wilson is a 28-year-old new blogger. Born and raised in Brooklyn NY she always had an eye for fashion and style even as a young girl. She learned a great deal about fashion from her grandmothers, her paternal grandmother studied fashion at FIT and her maternal grandmother a self-taught designer. They both could sew and design clothes. So, her fascination with fashion became natural. By the time, she was 21 she was working in fashion marketing for the company where she began to see firsthand the back end of the fashion company, how a collection is made, fabric is bought, how designs are fit and distributed. She created ads and email campaigns and styled models for photo shoots, and that is where she began her love for creating fashion looks. With a background in fashion marketing and a strong passion for fashion and beauty she began giving family and friends fashion tips who then encouraging her to begin blogging to share her fashion inspiration with others. So, she created Abitofeverythang.com where she features fashion looks, inspiration, beauty, and makeup looks and tips, inspiring stories, history, food, and motherhood posts (hence the name Abitofeverythang). It started out as a hobby but then turned into something she loves to do and wants to pursue full-time. She hopes to use this blog platform to become a personal stylist. She loves giving fashion and beauty advice because she believes "When a woman looks good she feels good!" So, her plan is to hopefully make all women feel good one outfit at a time. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am the blogger of Abitofeverythang. I do this more of a hobby now. I just love to give fashion advice and inspiration. I don't consider myself much of a writer, I just like to express myself and this is a great outlet to do that. 2. How did you get your start? I started my blog in May of 2015 after a few family members suggested I start one, they thought I'd be good at it I guess. Lol! 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I started putting looks together for photo shoots at my job but didn't really have that freedom to show my own style so I started my blog to showcase more of my personal style. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? I look to everyday women as my motivation. I am always looking at people and what they're wearing and get inspired. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Believe in yourself! You are capable of being and doing great things! It's ok to be told no, to start over, to fail... just don't give up on yourself! 6.. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Iris Apfel.... I just love her! I appreciate her free-spirited sense of style.


Marilyn Denise Miller Who I am? I?m Marilyn Denise Miller. I was born and raised in Savannah, Ga. That's where they call us down by the water and Ol'Geechee. I guess I?m that down by the water OOl'Geechee gal. I've been a GA peach native, all 34 years of my life. I have eight children, seven boys and one daughter. Their ages range from 18 to 7. I'm a hardworking individual that always has carried the ambition and drive to carry out any task or challenge. I always feel the need to be empowered to complete anything that I set forth to succeed in. My focus will always be to strive for greatness, plan, execute and succeed. Those factors are always great key elements to live by. Remember, to invest in yourself and others will begin to invest in you. 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? I am a mother of eight. A highly-motivated individual who never let anything stand in my way. I am a courageous African American woman that will be ready for the challenge. 2. How did you get your start? The summer of 2016, is when I started my modeling career. Right now, it's off to a good start. And I'm ready for more to come. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I always would watch anything dealing with fashion, pageants, and different known shows. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? For motivation, I look for women that can give me positive advice to always better myself. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? My advice to others, never give up and keep striving for your dreams. Also, have self-confidence and keep your head held high. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? Michelle Obama would be someone I would enjoy having dinner with. I would look to her to give me advice and knowledge of being better than what I am.

"I lovetoseea younggirl goout and grabtheworld by thelapels. Life's a bitch. Y ou'vegot togoout and kick ass." ? M aya A ngelou


Marilyn Miller


Tiffanie Bernard Tiffanie is the founder and CEO of Embodi Collective, THE place for all things indie, plus-size and dope! Born with the creative bug, into a family of makers/creators, she?s always had a huge passion for designing and creating. Studying architecture in undergrad at Howard University really honed her skills and lead to an MFA of Interior Architecture & Design. Her most recent endeavors have led her to women?s fashion. Tiffanie understands the importance of self-expression through developing your own personal. An advocate for being dope and unapologetic, Embodi Collective is her answer to that.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself? My name is Tiffanie Bernard. I am the founder and CEO of Embodi Collective, a lifestyle brand and collective for all things indie, plus-size, dope and unapologetic. I'm a designer/ creator with a passion for the beach, bright colors, and dancehall music. I also love helping women be their dope and unapologetic selves as a certified results Life Coach, or a Confidence Coach as I've dubbed myself. I also do a bit of writing as a blogger and contributor to publications. 2. How did you get your start? I started my entrepreneurial path from a conversation actually. I was talking to my best friend and lamenting about the need for more options in plus-size fashion. There were a few well known brands catering to women of size but many of them had an older customer base in mind. At some point I made the decision to start a boutique for women sizes 12+ in the younger demographic. It was important to me that we went against the idea that bigger women can only wear neutral colors, limited patterns, etc. We want to be able to be trendy too. After running the boutique for 2 years and delving head first into all things plus size I realized that the mission is bigger than just helping women be fashionable. There's a greater need for challenging social beauty norms, building self-confidence and essentially fighting fatphobia. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? It started as hobby and a "selfish" need for more options, but my journey and the growth of Embodi has really blossomed into something different. When you pay attention to something it heightens your awareness and you see how common it can be. When I started to meet women who felt they weren't allowed to wear certain things, or who felt they should be ashamed for the way they looked I knew that there was work to be done. Helping other women feel confident and beautiful is one part. The other part is advocating for our right to own our beauty.


Tiffanie Bernard 4. What women do you look to for motivation? ? ?My mom is at the top of my list when it comes to who I look to for motivation. She really is everything I want to be and making her proud is my life's mission. I also have a great tribe of friends all working really hard to accomplish their dreams and also take the time out to affirm each other. They impress me daily and it motivates me to keep it going and pour into others on the way. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? ?At different points in my life I've felt the need to speak out either less or more, for everyone else's Comfort. I've felt what I had to say would upset others so I would shut down to avoid conflict. Or sometimes I didn't have much to say, but felt forced to come up with something because people are uncomfortable with silence. ? The best thing you can do is be authentically who you are. Don't play small. Don't shrink yourself to fit into small spaces. If you are big and bold, be exactly that. If you are meek and quiet it's OK to be that too! There is a spot in the world molded for you and you already fit into it.? 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? There are so many amazing women, past and present, that I'd be honored to fellowship with! If I had to pick one, the first person that comes to mind is Oprah. ?I feel like she has some gems of wisdom that could be really beneficial. I want to hear all about her "ah-ha moments" and her thoughts on various topics I haven't heard her comment on. Also, if Oprah rocks with you you're pretty much destined for greatness, so it wouldn't hurt to get some of that magic.

"Women arealways saying,'Wecan do anythingthat men can do' but men should besaying,'Wecan doanythingthat women can do.'"? ? Gloria Steinem


Jasmin Alyse 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? My name is Jasmin Alyse , and I am 7 years old and I?m an actress and a model. 2. How did you get your start? I got started acting because of my sister, I watched my sister go to auditions and learn monologue but little did everyone know I was learning all of my sisters monologues just as well as she was even though I was only a toddler. Once I was older I began to go to auditions and get selected for roles 3. What made you decide to follow this path? I decided to follow because I realized that this path led to perfection because I watched my sister act and model and I realized that I wanted to do the same so I did and after a while I realized that this must be my path in life. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? A women I look to for motivation is my sister Jaylin Simone. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? Advice I would offer other young ladies like me would be : Always keep trying because there will always be rejection but stay strong and always believe in your self because you will be exactly what you want to be with some hard work and determination. 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? If I could have dinner with any women living or dead I would have dinner with Janet Jackson.


Jaylin Simone 1. Please tell us a little about yourself? My name is Jaylin Simone I'm 12 years-old and I live in Atlanta, GA 2. How did you get your start? I got started acting when I was I was in the mall with my dad looking for a mother's day gift, and there was a bouncy house that I wanted to go in and to get on I had to enter a contest so I entered and won second place. After that I attended a talent casting with the company I won the competition and got signed with an agency and I've been acting and modeling ever since. 3. What made you decide to follow this path? What made follow this path was the fact that even when I was really little I have always had a passion for acting, I've just always loved it. 4. What women do you look to for motivation? Women I look to for motivation are my mom, and Gabby Douglas. 5. What advice can you offer other young ladies that you wish someone had given to you? ? Advice I would offer would be never give up, because there will be people who will tell you, you can't do that or you will never be great. But if you really want it then just go get it! 6. If you could have dinner with any woman living or dead who would it be? If I could have dinner with any women living or dead I would have dinner with Michelle Obama.


I AM ME Digital Magazine March/April 2017  

This issue we are honoring women with a special feature on Cocoa Brown

I AM ME Digital Magazine March/April 2017  

This issue we are honoring women with a special feature on Cocoa Brown