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For Connoisseurs & Conscious Living This magazine is called TWELVE to note it’s monthly presence, only TWELVE times a year. Also, and more importantly, TWELVE is a symbol of time. So it represents timely information and the central point by which life events are measured. And of course, time pieces are part of the finer things, perfect for our core readers in pursuit of sophisticated living. Welcome to TWELVE.


Volume I, Issue III

DON’T MISS  Check out pictures from our TWELVE SIGNATURE event and more.  Be sure to join us at our live events, held monthly on First Fridays, to win prizes.

TWELVE Magazine is part of the network. Owned by H.G.E. Marketing, LLC.


MARCH 2013

LADIES FIRST. Welcome to No. III! It’s March and the women have taken over this issue for Women’s History Month. From women in business to women in nonprofit leadership, we touch key people and events as part of our salute to women. Special thanks to those who attended our March 1st magazine launch event too, SIGNATURE. A key part of that event was our “Girl Talk” where women discussed relationships, business and opportunities to support each other. As always, we’ll highlight the people to watch and places to go. So enjoy the features.

Archives History


Keep in mind, this is really your magazine. You have an opportunity to contribute to the content by writing, submitting story suggestions, and of course, attending the launch parties and more. Contact us at to get involved and send us feedback too!

Fly Guys



Nia Richardson: People to Watch


Ken L

Kiss & Tell



What’s Different? Read It & Experience it Live


March Calendar


Vicki’s Shoes


Buy Guide


Though a lifestyle publication isn’t unique, TWELVE evolves the genre. It’s the only magazine that you both read and live. We set out to create more than a literary piece. We’ve merged both the online world and the live event into the “magazine experience”. Once a month, we release a new issue of the magazine. The release is paired with a live launch event on First Fridays, where the feature elements and characters of our magazine are brought to life for you to touch, taste, feel and experience. The live experience becomes part of gathering ground of additional stories, photos, and more for the final written magazine.

Because sometimes they need it. Other times they deserve it.


Plan now for Spring Graduation! Establish a Gift page today for the graduating student. Enable friends and family to easily make a contribution to salute their well-deserved accomplishment. Help toward future expenses such as travel plans, a new car, or a new suit for interviews or jobs. Chances are a little extra money toward the tuition bill would be useful too! It’s FREE to start your page. Log on today.


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Where The Nation Goes to Give

SPECIAL THANKS To all of Our Writers, Designers, Planners, Contributors, Advertisers & Supporters of TWELVE!

Ken L. Larry Alexander Shomari Benton

Join the team: Email:

Erika Brice Kween Colston W. Sarah Fletcher DJ Franklin Raye Jackson Vicki Kelley Iman Lott Sherry Lumpkins Mario McCrary Gary Mitchell Miko Richardson Nia Richardson Sharon Sanders Brooks Earl Smith Michele Watley Dr. Doretha Williams India Williams Jessikha Williams Christopher White Salute To: Black Archives of Mid-America Blue Symphony, LLC Pop-Up Art Gallery Shots By Miko TWELVE PLAY artists 5

Women’s History Month Edition. Pictured here: Nia Richardson Photographer: Jessikha Williams Stylist: Kween Colston

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Inside the Black Archives of Mid-America, visitors discover, learn and remember.

The Black Archives Of Mid-America 1722 E. 17th Terr Kansas City, Missouri 64108 TUES-THURS 10:00 pm - 4:00 pm. MONDAY & FRIDAY BY APPOINTMENT SAT (CLOSED)

(816) 221-1600


KC’s Past & Future he’s a well-educated Midwest native and has nurtured a genuine passion for history and research. Dr. Doretha Williams was clearly destined for the role of Executive Director of the Black Archives of Mid-America. Dr. Williams was born and bred in neighboring Topeka, KS and her grandparents lived in Kansas City, KC has always been like home to her.

She made her way to Kansas City after earning a Bachelor’s in Literature from Fisk University as well as a Masters in English, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Kansas. At heart, Williams is a researcher. Uncovering unique nuggets of history in the annals of history books trolling small town libraries, and conducting live interviews. It’s her background (Continued on page 12)

ICONS (continued) Volume 1, Issue 1

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ICONS: Stand Out

“ICONS Fine food, elegant surroundings and the elite”

Dr. Doretha Williams Executive Director Black Archives of Mid-America





TWELVE PLAY artist series by TWELVE Magazine. Presenting KC’s Best! Next Up, the TWELVE PLAY LIVE CD!

LeShea Wright

Mike James, Jr.



1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Picture Perfect—Theory I Finally Know—EVEREADY Consummate—Reggie B Lay With Me—Jodi Treatment—Mike James Jr. 1 Side Lover—LeShea Wright I Salute You—LeVelle



8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

I Really Love You—Kenyatta Woods Poinsettias—MicKey POW!ers Notice You—EVEREADY So We Dream—Mike James, Jr. All I Know—Sosha Oshaye Real Love—LeVelle No One—Randi McCreary



(Continued from page 6)

and affinity. It aligns well with the needs of the Black Archives. The Black Archives mission is to collect, preserve, and make available the history of African -Americans of the Midwest, primarily the Central Plains-which includes Nebraska, Kansas, southern South Dakota and Minnesota, western Iowa and Missouri, and northern Okla-

The Black Archives mission is to collect preserve and make available the history of African-Americans of the Midwest.

of Historic Places. There are a few original embellishments including the fire doors, and original rafters that give the venue some

ICONS STAFF: Anthony Montgomery, Albert Kelley, Alisa Nelson, Simone Tolbert, Marisa Nelson, Rome

A glimpse inside the permanent exhibit, “With My Eyes No Longer Blind,” homa. It houses thousands of artifacts, photographs, manuscripts and more. Its mission is in line with Horace Peterson’s direction, who founded the Black Archives in 1974 as repository of KC’s African-American treasures. One of its original residences was the firehouse at 2033 Vine. Doors closed there in 2006 after revenue shortfalls and paperwork woes. In 2012, the Black Archives rebounded with the support of state and city officials, the Kauffman Foundation, and with a special alliance with the Kansas City Library. The Black Archives building is now in the KCMO parks department’s former Parade Park Maintenance Building at 1722 E. 17th Terrace. It’s open for special events, tours and events, for family reunions and more. Take special care when entering. The archive is on the National Register 12

added character. Plus, it’s considered a LEED Silver venue for using more “green”

environmental friendly systems. Its new location houses a permanent exhibit,

“With My Eyes No Longer Blind,” titled after a similar phrase from a Langston Hughes poem. It reveals the story of African Americans in Kansas City from pre-Civil War to more recent history. With a few houses of historic collections in town, the Black Archives maintains a distinct place in KC history. Dr. Williams states, “We have one of the largest collections on AfricanAmerican hospitals in Kansas City, including photos, papers and more. We also have personal papers from Alvin Ailey, provided by Lee’s Summit councilman, Alan Gray, who was a personal friend of Mr. Ailey.” Understanding the current electronic age, the Archives is working to digitize many more of its materials for the online community, but researchers are also welcome to make an appointment to mine the wealth of information onsite.

“We have one of the largest collections on AfricanAmerican hospitals in Kansas City, photos, papers and more. We also have personal papers from Alvin Ailey.”

Education, research, special projects and the collections are the foundation of the Black Archives. Special projects include those such as public programming for all age audiences, helping teachers teach history in the classroom and even working with adult care centers. Dr. Williams stays active, even outside of the Black Archives to build an array of partnerships and stay engaged in community development. She’s a member and regular attendee of Downtown KC and Envision KC and other civic interests. But often, she finds that she’s the only African-American or AfricanAmerican woman in attendance. In these cases, she considers this an opportunity to help keep others in the African-American community engaged, not just the Black Archives. After only eighteen months, Dr. Williams is optimistic about the future of the Archives and Kansas City. She hopes the community will continue to embrace the Archives and offer support. Your donations, volunteer support, and especially visits support this national treasure in Kansas City. xii 13



Woman: Hear Me…Meow? BY: W. Sarah Fletcher We have entered the Golden Age, The Age of Enlightenment. Anthems proclaiming girls, ladies, women, “Run the World” belted out by music royalty like Beyoncé. This is a time of unprecedented technological access, a space where we know more about ourselves, and more about other women. We have connection with each other like never before. So, WHY DO WE AS WOMEN and YOUNG WOMEN, CONTINUE TO DENY OUR OWN POWER, COLLECTIVE POWER, AND TEAR EACH OTHER DOWN? Quick Secret: In relationships no matter the type, we are either growing it, letting it die or killing it off. Period. As women, if we are not building each other up intentionally, then we are letting each other die and are tearing each other down. The bigger secret? If you see in yourself the latter, you are choosing your own slow death. We NEED each other. Some may say, well I have my girlfriends, and we are close, so how am I tearing another woman down? Simple. Have you ever walked by a woman you don’t know and either avoided eye contact or made eye contact but still did not acknowledge her presence? Did not speak to her? At the very core, that behavior is destructive and a sign that we are not standing in our power as women. Ladies, we were designed to FLOURISH, THRIVE, CREATE, CARRY and BRING forth LIFE, not just with a physical child, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually, in every aspect, in every fashion of life. That is the core of our purpose. We give LIFE. We are POWERFUL. And yet, we are so afraid of another woman’s power, to the point of our refusing to stand in our own, we find ourselves shrinking in our own shadows. IT. IS. TIME. Time to take our place as the Queens that we are and were designed and created to be. It is time to OWN our collective power that we already possess. It is time to ROAR.

Sarah moderating the “Girl Talk” at TWELVE Magazine’s SIGNATURE event on 3.1.13




Yeah, she happens to be one of your favorite bartenders. Oh yeah, she models, too. Not impressed yet? Keep reading. The old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be more appropriate. Introducing Marlena “Miko” Richardson. She holds two bachelor degrees from Baker University, one in biology and the other in chemistry. That alone tells you two things: first, she’s on a serious mission, and second, mixing and formulas are going to be easy for her. By day, she’s a Product Innovations Supervisor, handling product development, R&D work, and water analysis. That could explain her fascination and talent as a “mixologist”, but bartending just came by chance. “My boyfriend had some friends who were opening a nightclub and needed staff and I was already there helping set the club up so it was just the next thing in line along with being the lead VIP hostess.” Her ambitions have moved beyond the realms of science and into business. She manages two businesses. The first is Shots by Miko, which provides bartending services, custom cocktails & shots. The other venture, Osmose by M: Model Placement Services offers runway consultation, model coordination, fashion show choreography and casting, to name a few services.

Kween Colston is your favorite stylist’s stylist. She also models, designs

She’s making a name for herself in all areasapparel, having and can often be found at the hottest events promoting and hostbeen featured on both KCTV-5’s Better Kansas City ing. The Kween Colston brand was created to bring style and class to local and Kansas City Live. As a model, she’s had the amazevents that focused on giving back to the communities they serve through ing opportunity to showcase the Feng Faces Spring high fashion and entertainment. campaign, as well as a plethora of very large fashion th shows: West 18 Street, Rock the Block, Rock N Her life’s Fashion, Kansas City Fashion Week. As owner of motto is that we all must use our gifts to inspire others. She loves to sing and her favorite genres of music are jazz, blues, r&b, classical Osmose, she’s had the great opportunity to coordiand real nate, construct, produce, cast and chair the annual hip-hop. Her favorite singers are Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and Kansas City Urban Fashion Fest and more.Ella Fitzgerald. Education + Determination /Different paths mixed to near perfection = Success. I’ll take a glass of that.






They don’t set out to follow trends or even desire to fit in. They are the one’s to watch for style. They aspire to stand out and paint the city with their personality and individuality. Sometimes bold. Often simply stated. Always stylish. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30. (l-r). Larry Alexander, Mario McCrary, Christopher White, Shomari Benton.

Concept: Meddrin, Inc. Photo: Raye Jackson



JaiWill behind the scenes at the March, TWELVE Magazine photo shoot at the Pop-Up Art Gallery, KCMO.

Jessikha (JaiWill) Nickalette Williams is a Spring 2012 graduate of the University of New Mexico where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and her Minor in Art with an emphasis in Art Studio. Her passion lies in the visual arts where she has studied many forms of visual media since a very young age. For the past eight years of her post-secondary education, Jessikha has been enveloped in photography and graphic arts design where she has worked as a photojournalist, art photographer, and portrait and fashion photographer. With her degree in Architecture, Jessikha now looks forward to working with an Architectural firm here in Kansas City. In addition, Jessikha describes herself as an advocate for community service and isalso passionate about working with young people. She believes them to be not only leaders of tomorrow, but relevant participants in the global society of today. As a result, she is dedicated to helping children develop their own voice. For the past eighteen years, Jessikha has involved herself with the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools, a non-profit organization promoting literacy and ensuring that each child is equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in life. Jessikha currently serves as an Ella Baker Trainer where she prepares college interns to teach in a classroom. All things considered, in both her art and advocacy, Jessikha finds interest in exploring controversial subjects and issues of race and gender. Her hope is to one day fuse her love of children, education, and the visual arts to aid in the fight for social justice. 23

NIA RICH By Iman Lott

LOVE Photo: Jessikha Williams Stylist: Kween Colston

HUDSON & JANE Velvet Blazer, Pants, Shirts, and Pocket Square. BANANA REPUBLIC Boots HALLS Pin


Nia Richardson: Moving KC Forward


he saying “big people do big things”, I’ve learned is not always accurate. After meeting Mrs. Nia

Richardson I’ve discovered sometimes big things come in small packages…Nia is every bit of 5”3. Big character precedes her petite frame. I introduce myself.

services in site development, water supply distribution, urban hydrology, modeling, storm water management, erosion control, and structural design. I mention to her that I also work in a family business.“People think it’s easy to work for your father. Not the case. If anything, it’s harder. Expectations are set at a much higher standard than normal…but I love it!” Mrs. Richardson doesn’t confine her service to the family business. In 2012, she was appointed by Mayor Sly James to serve on the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Municipal Arts Commission.

“Hi I’m Nia, “ followed by a larger than life smile.

Nia was recently appointed Director of Business Development and Marketing at “I met the mayor DuBois Conthrough a friend sultants, Inc. who was working Based out of on his election Kansas City campaign. We Missouri, Duchatted briefly Bois Consultabout his promBetween stops. Nia, wraps up a Municipal Arts Commission board meeting at City Hall. ants has ises of making been providing civil and structural engineering sure young people are involved more throughdesign services since 1988. out Kansas City, being assigned to boards and different projects, for example.” “I have just recently moved into a new position in our family owned company. Our company Although she is the only Black owned, Black operated busiproclaims herness located in the urban core that provides self less of an civil and structural engineering design . artist and more of a connois“My overall vision is to make DuBois Consultants seur, “I enjoy the a place for engineering and design innovation arts and know for Black engineers in Kansas City. Kansas City’s the imporbeen identified as having the highest number tance,” she apof engineers per capita. Every major engineerplied for a posiing firm has an office here, and three big firms tion on the Arts are headquartered here. I plan to capitalize on Commission this. I want us to be recognized not only as a and was appointed and sworn in shortly after. viable Minority Business Enterprise, but as a viable enterprise.” “The biggest thing this board does is oversee 1% of the arts fund. Right now, we are overNia is now responsible for aiding DuBois Conseeing the mayor’s initiative for improving the sultants in its plans to expand services regionally arts around Kansas City. There is a lot of private to provide new market clients with specialized (Continued on page 26)

“...I carry my father’s passion of advancing my community...”


funding but very little public funding which is unique compared to any other city in the nation. We are trying to change that.” Nia is also on the Blue Hills Community Service Board serving her second term as a community member for the not-for-profit community development corporation that battles social and economic challenges faced by residents of the Blue Hills neighborhood. “I carry my father’s passion of advancing my community”, Nia acknowledges in a nod to the example set by her parents, Ajamu and Kinda Webster, who have been and still are very active in community. Nia was born and raised in Kansas City, but her childhood was unique compared to some of her local peers. “I grew up very different from others. I traveled outside of the country a few times. Both of my parents went to HBCU’S (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). I saw things first hand and grew up in a socially conscious household.” Nia received a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from the HBCU, Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee where through an exchange program she also studied at the University of the Virgin Islands-St. Thomas, also an HBCU. “I am a firm believer in African Centered Education. I consider myself a conscious woman. I know who I am and it drives toward where I am going. “Last year I was asked by various community leaders to run for the 5th district seat on the Kansas City Missouri school board. I jumped into the race three weeks prior to election day and actually came in second. I thought that was cool.” I proclaim Nia a future politician in the making, however, she replies adamantly, “I’m not particularly interested in being a politician because I’m not a big fan of campaigning. I don’t know…”, she contemplates , “If it works out that way, so be it. But I’m definitely not trying to pursue it. The only way I would run is if I had the money to finance it but more importantly, if people were actually coming out to vote.” This shouldn’t be a problem for her if she were to run. Nia’s current community campaign, The 1840 Vote Project, increases voter education and turnout for local elections for voters aged 18-40. ( How does one handle all of Nia’s professional and


community responsibilities and still manage a personal life? “I was just married in July of 2012. While I would like us to experience everything together, my husband and I take turns covering parental duties.” Nia is married to Benjamin Richardson. Together, they are raising sons Eusavio, eight, and Zion, one. “My overall goal in life is to advance my community. It does not matter how successful I am, unless my community is successful with me.” Nia Website has big ambitions combined with a big spirit. I guess “big people do big things” is quite fitting after all. Stay tuned.

“My overall goal in life is to advance my community. It does not matter how successful I am, unless my community is successful with me.”


28 29


‘Cause Women Love A Well-dressed man!


Larry Alexander

Mario McCrary

Gig: Ford Motor Company Employee

Gig: US Postal Service Employee

On Style: Individuality sums of Larry’s sense of style. “Whatever I’m feeling for the day. It could be a suit or something more casual, like my work outfit,” says Larry.

On Style: Mario likes fashion that is classic, simple, with something that will “pop” it. “Style should be the way you explain to world who you are without ever speaking.”

Married: Larry’s appreciation of a good woman starts with a reflection of his mom. “She’s passed away now, but she used to write letters to her sons to make sure she could express herself. “That same care and attention I wanted in a wife.” Being a Believer in Christ was a must. Good conversation, goal compatibility and being well traveled also stirred his interest in his wife.

Single: “It’s about her Spirit first”, Mario says, speaking of Christian Spirituality as a priority. He’s lived the life of a “womanizer” in the past, but has now made God a priority, so a woman has to be beyond looks. “She has to be more than what I can see in the club, just some nice measurements,” says Mario.


Christopher White

Shomari Benton

Gig: Meddrin, Inc. Fashion Stylist

Gig: Method Men’s Clothing Store, Co-Owner

On Style: His family starting with his Grandparents. “My Grandfather wore tailor made suits with his name embroidered on in the inside of every jacket and suit.

On style: “I’m infatuated by the 1920s era.” It was a great decade for men’s fashion. I like to push the edge a little bit, but I like the classics.”

Single: Chris simply wants a woman made for him. To be “Equally Yoked” is sums up his relationship goal. He believe that within true love, a woman-on the inside--should reflect a man’s inside. “She sees herself in me and I see myself in her,” he said. Being “wellread” and patient are other fine traits he likes.

Has a Girl. He needs a woman that will step out, explore and do new things. “She has to have willingness in terms of experience…or the ‘Want to. She has to be open to grow. She has to have that innate womanly trait to love. Part of that love includes telling me when I’m overstating my bounds,” says Benton.

PART II Since this is the Women’s History Month edition, it’s especially appropriate to continue our “Girl Talk” on relationships, where ten professional African-American women spoke candidly about love and relationships. Twelve magazine was just a fly on the wall, taking notes. After all, this magazine seeks to bring awareness to many issues. That’s the ”Conscious Living” part of our tagline. So let’s get back to it. In our last issue, the TWELVE Black Book, we laid the groundwork. We examined where the good men are, the Kansas City dating scene and tips on how to approach a woman. That was the warm-up. Now we go deeper!

Social Media is the Devil

Speaking of approaching a woman, direct one-on-one interactions can be intimidating. Knowing what to say, how much, and when can make or break a first impression. Yet, twenty-first century technology has provided alternative arsenal for the approach.


“I want a man who wants me just a little more than I want him.”

Nowadays, before we even start a conversation, the internet becomes our research tool— “our friend who knows a friend”. A friend who’s more than happy to tell us relationship status, education, family, and interests of anyone we’d like to meet. In fact, we don’t even have to meet in person or start with a greeting to become someone’s “friend”. Welcome to the world of social media. Sure, there’s “some” limited protection with privacy controls, but social media can be a treasure trove of information…and a bevy of trouble. Shonda describes a club incident where a Twitter follower, a person she didn’t know, abruptly interrupts her conversation with another man. “He came up and said, I’m going marry you. You’re my wife”, just because he followed her on twitter and was interested. People have always had trouble separating reality from digital communications. Back in the day, people were so embroiled in their “Soaps” that they would accost actors, sometime spewing negativity because they despised the fictional character the actors played. Today, the same is true with reality TV


fans who imagine they’ve connected with the Real Housewives of…whatever. This fancy now extends to social media. First, there’s plenty of fiction online. Club names, aliases and secret personas abound. To maintain some semblance of secrecy and to embellish reality, people will mix fact and fiction. Catfish Melonie points out “People have alter egos on Facebook. You’re not dealing with a person. Everybody’s a ‘bad ass’ on Facebook.”. Some people go beyond posturing on Facebook under their real names. Sharon brings up the show “Catfish” which airs on MTV. People will reportedly have up to two-year relationships with people they’ve never seen. College football star Manti Te'o, a recent target in the now infamous ‘girlfriend hoax’, is a perfect example. (This “virtual relationship” phenomenon seems new at first blush, but men and women had long distance relationships by old fashioned mail before the web. Think about the incarcerated prisoners and pen pals who write, give gifts and more before even meeting the sub(Continued on page 36)


Just a snapshot of events from the nonprofit calendar. For complete listings, visit

Women’s History Month Malcolm X

SEE MORE EVENTS AT: Add your upcoming events and more to Just create a login or use your Facebook log-in. Sat 03/09 Blue and White Masquerade Mixer Event type: Party Venue: Ararat Shrine: 5100 Ararat Drive KCMO Time: 7:20 PM - 12:00 PM Producer: Upsilon Zeta Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Contact: Angela Canady Email: Thu 03/14 20 Steps to 7 Figures: Planning Your Retirement Event type: Business/Finance Venue: UMB BANK: 1010 Grand Blvd Kansas City MO Time: 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM Producer: KC - National Black MBA Assoc. Contact: Catrice McNeely Email: Phone: 1-877-493-2073 Web: Fri 03/15 Links Happy Hour Event type: Fundraiser Venue: Diastole Center: 2501 Holmes Kansas City MO Time: 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Producer: Greater Kansas City Chapter of The 34

Links Contact: Email: Phone: Web: Sat 03/23 2013 OLD-SCHOOL THROWBACK JAM Event type: Fundraiser Venue: Knights of Columbus Hall: 5101 Blue Ridge Cutoff Kansas City MO Time: 8:00 PM - 1:00 AM Producer: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Beta Lambda Education I Contact: John Pitts Email: Web: Sat 03/23 10th Annual Father/Daughter Ball Event type: Other Venue: The View Community Center: 13500 Byars Rd Grandview MO Time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM Producer: M.A.C.A.A. Contact: Murad Baheyadeen Email: Phone: 913-269-9669

Sun 03/24 HBCU College Tour by A-Phi-A Event type: Community Action Venue: HBCU schools: Kansas City MO Time: 8:00 AM - 8:00 AM Producer: Alpha Phi Alpha Beta Lambda Chap Contact: George Ramsey Email: Phone: 816-516-7630 Web: Sat 03/30 Women Entrepreneurs On The Move Event type: Networking Venue: Brush Creek Community Center: Kansas City MO Time: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM Producer: Sherri Flowers - The Flower Pot Foundation Contact: Sharla Webb Email: Web: –KCs Urban Source ADD EVENTS OF ALL TYPES POETRY, CONCERTS, PARTIES, NETWORKING AND MORE. Just create a Login or use your Facebook login and post for FREE.


Kiss & Tell: II (Continued from page 33)

jects of their affection. Social media can cause many issues. Ironically, nowadays, if you don’t have a Facebook page, you appear suspect. “What are you hiding that you can’t be out in public?” After all, Facebook and Google are research platforms. Others remark that “hiding” online is a sign that they can’t control their mess.

You Say He’s Just a Friend

Next, people, listen up. “Friend” doesn’t really mean “friend”. “Someone that follows you, and whom you follow in kind, is called Twitter good practice - #TeamFollowback - but it’s not a real relationship. It doesn’t even mean you’ve seen or paid attention to each other’s tweets. Many are event promoters just building their numbers for media and marketing purposes or bragging rights. Even a Linked In connection, doesn’t mean you know a person or have even met the person. The person’s a LinkedIn connection, not a friend. The world needs some reeducation on the word friend. Where’s Whodini when you need them? Unpredictable behavior from virtual “friends” has caused some of the ladies to react. “If I haven’t met you in person I no longer accept you into my social media circle”, say Melonie. “Once, someone made a comment clearly meant to antagonize my boyfriend. I didn’t move fast enough to delete a comment and it caused drama. You have to respect the relationship.” Shonda notes that she’s also been more discerning because of stalker tendencies, but she plans to go even further. “When I get married I’m deleting all of that stuff. When I got engaged, people came out of the woodwork and were so disrespectful.” Melonie, reinforces that point, “It’s like on Facebook and other social media site, ties you would have lost, had it not been for the internet, are still connected. It’s like maintaining a tie you don’t need. Some acknowledge a mixed bag with social network experiences. “There are married couples I know that have no problems”, says Karen. “Then, there are couples, not even married, that have agreed not to use social networking.” Can someone say insecure? Some men can’t handle it when you have too many followers. But it goes both ways. DeAnna brings up the YouTube video, “Like it one more time” If you like a girls status fifteen times and a picture six-


teen times, there’s a problem. Shonda says, “Social media should have the same etiquette as real life. Don’t make in appropriate comments on status or pictures.” The difficulty is that it’s not just what you say, but what people say to you. Lisa, who describes her husband as a low key lurker on Facebook, states that “Facebook is Satan’s Playground. Whatever mischief you want to get into, you can.”

Online Dating

Despite social media problems, online love interests aren’t all bad. Computers are the new landscape on which to build romance, in theory. Sites like and are mainstream and boast impressive results. Closer to home, local urban Kansas Citians connect on the Singles portal of The ladies in our roundtable have heard of some success with online dating… at least among white friends. One of the issues with sites like those large national sites is that the community of people of color is so small. DeAnna noted that eligible bachelors on those sites end up unintentionally sending messages to women who are friends with each other. “Everybody meets the same Black guy!”

The Promise Land – Just One for Me

For most of us, while navigating through the love maze, a good marriage is still the goal. At our girl talk soiree, the women here range in age from late twenties to almost forty. These women are ready to settle down. No one seems to be rushed…just ready. To some, it’s a matter of defining what they really need. Melonie says “My grandmother always said, ‘There’s what you really need and what you want’.” If you want, you can develop a list of those things to help you hone in on your true perception of a soul mate. However, “People make lists and forget to do what’s natural”, Karen muses. Shonda, puts it all in God’s hands. “It’s not wrong to want, but pray over things and be patient and wait,” she says. “He knows I’d like to have grandchildren for my mother. It’s all in His timing. God knows what you need.” DeAnna, “I want a man who wants me just a little more than I want him. If he does, all of the other stuff will fall into place.” Julie, “Right. We [women] naturally give more. That just gives you a chance to relax and get into him instead of going all out to

prove yourself.” Just when this seems to be the solution, Lisa, who’s married, chimes in with the reality check. “They always want you more in the beginning. When the relationship is new, it’s all peachy. For men, it’s the chase. When you answer every call, when you’re always available, they get bored. They want the one they can’t have, the Upgrade. Lisa reiterates the challenges of keeping a man after this “new” and fresh phase. “I’m forty in nine in months. 29-, 27-year-olds are out there and thirsty and you’re here married with three kids.”

Keeping the Marriage Strong Once you’ve found “the one”, walked down the aisle and pledged to live happily ever after, congratulate yourselves, but also realize that the real test is longevity. One of the biggest keys to keeping the marriage alive is keeping it fresh. Julie, “It’s about sustaining. I’ve met women who’ve been married for twenty years and they say, ‘I take a vacation by myself without my husband or go here and there without my husband.’ They still need to chase you, miss you and realize you’re independent. This helps maintain their attraction.” Lisa states, “When you’re married and sleep with your husband every day, he sees you crusty, dusty and all of that, but sometimes , walk out dressed as opposed to letting him watch you get dressed. It’s like a fresh breath.” Keep a little bit of mystery, even in a marriage. Be-

cause when he sees someone out, he didn’t see the “before” image nor did he witness the process of transforming the “before” into the “after”. Julie, “Yeah, a lot of French women have separate dressing rooms.”

Slip and FAIL

After already stating the challenges of keeping a man’s interest and commitment, Lisa drops some additional perspective, “Cheating is not the worst a man can do to you. It’s not. For a man it’s a just a piece…most often.” Several of the women nod in agreement. “Emotionally cheating is much worse. It’s all gross, but it’s not the worst. People fall. People have different shortcomings; theirs just might not be the same as yours.”

Let’s Talk About Sex

Women aren’t generally inclined to putting all of their business out there, so you may want to save this article for future reference. Know this: most women are not prudes. Sex is on the agenda, even for those who aren’t getting any…right now. Start men off with a least two women in a room, and you’ve covered 90% of male fantasies. But women don’t seem to have any specific scenarios, maybe a few fantasy people. The consistent theme is that they want sex to be good and exciting. Melonie volunteers, “It can’t be boring. Bring some excitement, like the possibility of getting caught. You know, it’s illegal to do something in the movie theater, but at least try. Just because we’re old enough to know the law, doesn’t mean we can’t bend it. So it’s not all salt and pepper, put a little cayenne in it!” Shonda shares that she’s not a virgin but she’s currently celibate. “Sex tends to make you lose focus on what’s important”, she says. But she looks forward to an active sex life with a husband one day. (Continued on page 38)


(Continued from page 37)

“If we ride or die, I’m down with it. I want to be able to say, I haven’t done that for my husband,” meaning saved some of the exclusive tricks for him. “There’s only a handful that I have gone hard in the paint for, you know, come off the plane with no panties on,” says Shonda.

When You’re Married Sex is…

The room tonight is mixed between married and single women, but most seem to subscribe to the idea that the end game is to be married and in a sexual relationship just with your husband. With that said, realize this: Marriage sex is boring,” according to Lisa. “It’s fun in the beginning, before you’re married. “When you’re not supposed to be doing it, it’s good…When you’re sneaking. In marriage, every day is not fireworks, like it is when you’re dating. When you’re married, you schedule sex around Sports Center, then, when he’s ready, he’ll say, ‘Go on and get yourself ready and come on over here’.” “I gotta do my own foreplay?!” It’s unrealistic to expect your sex life to remain on full tilt all day every day for all of eternity. After all, marriage, especially with kids, takes a lot of work—laundry, bills, dinner dishes, and the like. The best marriages make a special and deliberate effort to work hard and play harder.

“When you’re not supposed to be doing it, it’s good.”

Not doing it right

Of course, women have their opinions on men’s performance. DeAnna says she heard from a male co-worker, “Most guys are bad at sex, because they learn sex from pornos and other men. Guys who are really good, learn to have sex from women.” Most women don’t tell a man about their performance, to save their pride, so they go on to next woman, still just as bad. So women, speak up!

Between Never & Not Yet

There was a time when women didn’t do certain things or weren’t forthcoming about their bedroom antics, leading to stereotypes about what a woman wouldn’t do, especially Black women. Between cable TV, the internet and 38

Passion Party type concepts, we know a lot of women are doing it all…Anal, oral, multiple partners, and more, but are Black women doing it all? “No back door!”, yells Lisa. “Looks like it hurts”. But a few aren’t so adamant and more willing to explore. It’s different for every person. “Never say never”, Shonda says. “I used to say I’d never do oral, now I love to do it. I had someone teach me how to do it.” DeAnna, “You know who taught me. Superhead.”, the adult film star. Most claim some skills, but then there’s Lisa, “You know what a guy said, to me? He said, ‘You’re making my head hurt. Just stop.’ All of my other gifts were better always than my head game, anyway!” Though women seem to hate to discuss sex directly with their mate - pride, egos and insecurities are all at play here - communication is key for both men and women for a fulfilling sexual relationship.

“Guys who are really good, learn to have sex from women.” time with the right person.

The Wrap-Up

After lively discussion, the night concludes with a tone of introspection, with the women contemplating their current states. Most are comfortable with who they are and where they are in life. They find peace in knowing that relationships will mature in the right

We hope you were educated, found someone you could relate to or at least realized that there are others out there like you. The order of the day seems to be: Keep God first and relationships second. Keep an open mind, and in all areas, communication is the key. And, Oh yeah, stay off of Facebook.


“I love shoes and I always have. Even as a kid, besides toys, I would always want new shoes.”

By Michele Watley


here aren’t many things that compare to the feeling that overcomes you when you slip on a pair of sexy, chic, show-stopping stilettos.

Self-proclaimed “shoenista” Vicki Kelley’s love affair with stilettos has taken her to new professional and personal heights. Sexy, curvaceous and beautiful stilettos serve as the platform for Vicki’s organization, Hot Stiletto, a free social club for women that marries shoes and philanthropy. Her passion for shoes is trumped only by her desire to empower, coach and serve as a catalyst for women. Her recent election to the Board of Directors for the


Vicki Kelley Shoe Shine

Heartland Women's Leadership Council is just one of the ways that Vicki satisfies this passion for empowering women. “A Passion for Shoes.” Vicki can remember the first time she laid eyes on a pair of stilettos worn by her mother. Her love for stilettos has only grown since that fateful day. “When getting together with friends, I would say to them: ‘Wear your stilettos so you can feel cute!’” Happy hours with girlfriends soon turned into Hot Stiletto. “I never thought shoes could be an outlet. All of this came out of my love for shoes. Because it came from my natural passion, it worked for me.” (Continued on page 42)


(Continued from page 41)

Since Hot Stiletto’s start in July of 2012, over 150 women have joined. Hot Stiletto now hosts many different events to bring “sole sisters” together. The Shoe Shopping Soiree is an afternoon gathering that includes stretch limo transportation to swank shoe shops in Kansas City, shoe shopping and brunch. High Heel Happy Hours include “shoe gazing”, networking and stiletto monologues. The brainchild of Vicki’s husband, stiletto monologues are stories about love, men, shoes and other topics shared by the women attending the High Heel Happy Hour. “Some are sexy, some are racy, some are funny, and some are simple. It’s just fun to see how creative women can be!” Hot Stiletto’s Annual Stiletto Party is a fundraising event for New House, a shelter and women’s empowerment center that works to provide women tools to make positive choices and lead selfsufficient lives. Men and women can enjoy the shoe showcase and the “stiletto strut-off” while supporting a great cause. While stilettos and community service are an unlikely pair, Vicki makes the relationship work. “If we (women) don’t have each other, we are left alone and that is why our sisters fall through the cracks.” Vicki’s work with New House stems from the need to raise awareness about domestic violence “You can look like me, you can sound like me, but when you go home, you might be that domestic abuse victim, and no one would know it.” Girlfriend Hour and Heels Can Heal are a couple of gatherings that Hot Stiletto hosts at New House to connect women who are in need of support from other women. Karaoke, “mocktails”, and girl talk lifts spirits and provides an outlet for women who are experiencing trying times. With the Annual Stiletto Party, Vicki hopes to continue to raise awareness and additional funding for New House. “You may as well be cute while reaching back to pull a sister up.” If you would like to learn more about Hot Stiletto or if you would like to sign up for the free shoe club, please visit the website at and be sure to follow Hot Stiletto on Twitter: @TheHotStiletto. 42

FEB 17TH | Game Night & School Supply Drive. Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., Xi Tau Omega Chapter.



Christopher M. White Meddrin, Inc Fashion Styling/Image Consulting 816.529.1531 Dr. Doretha K. Williams, Executive Director The Black Archives of Mid-America African-American Cultural Center & Research Facility 1722 E. 17th Terrace Kansas City, MO 64108 816. 221.1600 Jessikha Williams Photographer 816.589.8491 Kween Colston Fashion Stylist, Model, Designer Twitter: @est_Kween Instagram: @est_kween Miko Richardson Shots By Miko Bartending, Custom Cocktails & Shots 816.673.9144 Twitter @ShotsbyMiko Nia Richardson DuBois Consultants, Inc. Director of Business Dev & Marketing 5737 Swope Parkway


Kansas City, MO 64130 816.333.7700 Raye Jackson Photographer 816.916.4711 Sherry Lumpkins Blue Symphony, LLC Web & Software Design, IT Consultant 520 W. 103rd St. #176 Kansas City, MO 64114 816.260.8385 Staci Harrison Phosphor Watches 310.765.1597 Vicki Kelly Hot Stiletto Social Club for Shoe Lovers Facebook: Hot Stiletto Twitter: @thehotstiletto W. Sarah Fletcher Greatness Realized Professional Coach, Speaker and Development Specialist 913.890.3402 Facebook: Greatness Realized


My Mother’s Club It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Wait, this isn’t a Tale of Two Cities, is it? No, but, in a way, those lines still capture the essence of this story. From the 1940’s through the 1960’s, women’s social clubs were some of the most important purveyors of the city’s social climate on both sides of the KC’s state line of Kansas and Missouri. Filmmaker, Rodney Thompson, of Vine Street Films, reveals the history and importance of African-American women’s social clubs. Thompson explores first-hand accounts from living members of some of the most renowned groups. Yes. These are priceless conversations and insightful historical gems. However, what’s key are the testimonies from children of members. Hence, the name of the movie is “My Mother’s Club.” It’s from these reflections that the importance of these clubs are realized. After all, learning is generational. Ask most people and they’ll tell you, a positive upbringing starts at home. Children learn from their parents. From stairwells, children listened and quietly observed. From food preparations and table arrangements of fine linen and silver, they began to understand the expectations of quality. As parents dressed, both men and women, they began to understand beauty and grace and that they too could experience this. Despite segregation and limited opportunities, members of social clubs experienced life to the fullest. Ironically, it’s not just despite segregation, but also because of it, that African-American social clubs thrived. Throughout the film, “Because we didn’t have anything else to do… or anyplace else to go” is the reason these clubs proliferated. Club members socialized in households because they weren’t allowed in many public venues. 45

They shopped in the historic 12th Street and 18th and Vine districts because they were banned from the department stores in downtown Kansas City. Every weekend, women’s and men’s social clubs hosted gatherings ranging from teas, to card parties and dances. Similar to the familiar and widely known Greek fraternity and sorority events, themed parties such as regal galas and elaborate costume events were hosted by well over thirty groups in the metro area. Most of the clubs were purely social, at least initially. However, groups with more progressive agendas, including parenting and community services, such as The Links, Inc. and Jack and Jill are also rooted in the African-American social club collective. As social clubs matured, the realities of the social injustices of the period, were too egregious to ignore. The movie examines how social clubs were integral to Kansas City’s civil rights movement. Sit-ins and marches became part of the movement as social clubs flexed their buying power declaring not to shop where we couldn’t eat. Like most clubs, these groups started as a place for friends. Common backgrounds, neighborhood proximity or similar professional interests laid the framework. Some clubs originated within high schools with student members. Today, a few social clubs continue, but things have changed. The close knit bonds borne of the events that brought people together in each other’s homes are gone, replaced with a member network stretching across sprawling suburbs with large-scale events held in public places. Fifty-cent scholarship benefits have been replaced with the fifty-dollar event PayPal payments. The class of formal long dresses and tuxedos and printed invitations have been substituted with blue jeans, sport coats and Facebook invites. In fact, the generations-old social network is now online instead of in living rooms. My Mother’s Club reminds us of a time and place that helped build a city, and some of the fine qualities we should still embrace, even in an age full of new opportunities.


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TWELVE KC Magazine March-April  
TWELVE KC Magazine March-April  

Issue Number 3 of 12. Twelve magazine presents the March, Women's History Month edition. Delivering Urban KC. This isn't news...this is L...