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Volume IV, Issue IX



LIA MONET Photo: Gabriella Salinas

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DON’T MISS Calendar 48

TWELVE Magazine is part of the network. Owned by H.G.E. Marketing, LLC. Views & opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of H.G.E. or contributors. © 2017 H.G.E. Marketing LLC Higher Ground Entertainment



FOOD: Taste the City


HEALTH: Misty Copeland


BUSINESS: Music: Jo Blaq




ARTS S. M. Henderson


SPORTS: Shane Ray


Rocky Harris


Welcome to number NINE of TWELVE. This is our KC to LA feature. We’ve connected with a few former Kansas Citians who are now a part of LA’s entertainment and media scene. You’ll find stories of inspiration and success. There are more stories and KC people you should get to know, so be sure to read it cover to cover. Review the calendar to discover upcoming events and take note of what’s happening in the city. You have an opportunity to contribute to the content by writing, submitting story suggestions, and of course, attending our events and more. Contact us today at Sincerely, | @TWELVEKC

What’s Different? Read It & Experience it Live 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 new magazine content. The magazine is paired with a live events, 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 new content. Digital | Print | Live. #12Mag Movement


SPECIAL THANKS To all of Our Writers, Designers, Planners, Contributors, Advertisers & Supporters of Xii.

Ken L. PICTURED: Jo Blaq Hosting Poetic Notes, Open Mic Photo: Raye Jackson




LeAndrea Mack


eAndrea has spent half a decade devoted to her children’s book collection that she coauthored with her daughter, Aubree. She’s also facilitated all-girls book clubs at the Kansas City Plaza library and was a staff writer for Twelve magazine. Mack’s most recently expanded her literary endeavors to adult fiction. In an interview, we asked her what prompted the leap from a children’s books to adult narratives and she explained, “I always wanted to write an adult fiction book, however, my daughter started to show interest in story telling so I put my project on hold to ensure she fulfilled hers. It was a legacy project for us. Something we would be able to show our grandchildren and great grandchildren. It became a priority!” Last year, that priority shifted to her own adult novel when she released her book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and on her website (Continued on page 7)



LeAndrea Mack

Seeing Red (Continued from page 6)

Mack’s trek has been challenging as well as rewarding. She’s appeared at events all around the city to introduce her book to her hometown. During her tour, she recalls, “I wanted the release to be perfect. I wanted all my family and friends to share the special day with me but schedule conflicts and planning became overwhelming. I was going through a divorce, moving out of my house and battling with extreme hair loss from Lupus. I was trying to do everything myself and I realized that in order for this book to have a successful launch, I was going to have to rely on friends and family to get through it. I literally wanted to just throw the book in the trash and go back to being a medical coder but when something is your passion, it follows you. It literally haunted me like a creepy ghost until I gave in and started asking for help. I posted on Facebook what I wanted to do and within hours, every aspect of my release was planned. It just goes to show that Kansas City does support its own and the support keeps coming!”

On the Essence Festival: The opportunity to sell my book in the same booth as Zane, Nikki Turner and K’wan was incredible! These are some of my favorite authors! I have been reading their books for years, well before I thought about being an author myself. It was an amazing experience and I am truly excited to see what’s next! –LeAndrea Recently, LeAndrea had the opportunity to highlight her book at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Essence Music Festival is held by Essence Magazine, a preeminent lifestyle magazine for African American women. The festival celebrates the culture and advancement of African Americans through contemporary and cultural music, art, style, and empowerment 7

from today’s hottest artists, moguls, activists, and celebrities. For years, LeAndrea has sat in as a press representative for the festival and met and interviewed several stars. She said, “I would sit in the press room and listen to artists tell their stories and that became the ultimate motivation and inspiration to pursue my passion. The time there [at the Essence Festival] allowed me to make some very good connections and when the time came for me to introduce my book to fans of the Essence Festival, I jumped at the opportunity. New Orleans is my second home and I had plenty of family and friends ready and willing to help me. It seemed destined. I encourage everyone, young or old, to go to the festival and really take in the scenery, the people and the culture. The events celebrate the African American culture and you really feel celebrated. Everything is geared towards YOU. From the seminars to the marketing, you get to celebrate the beauty and strength of African Americans during an event where the main goal is to empower and uplift the African American community.” LeAndrea’s book, SEEING RED is a fiction based suspense-thriller that will suck you in and keep you on the edge of your seat. It follows an amnesia stricken woman who was left for dead. The book is the journey of her trying to find out who tried to kill her and why they wanted her dead. In addition to not remembering who tried to kill her, she is also missing other pieces of her life and as she faces who she was, she runs right into the trouble of her sick and twisted past!


Prebis Burton PAB’s Mobile Treats

Taste The City By Monica Thomas

PAB’S Mobile Treats Owner: Prebis Burton Phone: 816-645-8057 Facebook: PAB’s Mobile Treats According to Prebis Burton, “all food is a treat”. With PAB’S Mobile Treats you can find delicious foods such as Philly cheesesteak, fried cheesecakes, and fried apple rings. However, his most unique items are his five creative flavors of funnel cakes. From the fried Oreo funnel cake to “Choc Me Crazy”, these treats are enjoyed by customers young and old. Prebis began cooking for his family and friends, using his own sauces and began to desire having his own restaurant. This led to the thought of a mobile food. This way, PAB’S could be accessible to more costumers in various places throughout the community.


Photo: Keyana Collins

Since 2014, Prebis has served in multiple places in the Kansas City metro area. You may have seen him at the Grub and Grove

plethora of dishes to choose from, including smoked ribs and angus brisket. Of course, every main dish needs to be accompanied by

Food trucks serve the masses at some of the city’s largest events. Pictured: KC Jazz & Blues Heritage Festival, Memorial Day Weekend.

Festival, Juneteenth, and Jazz Fest. In 2016, PAB’S was nominated for the KC Fan Choice Awards and won Food Truck of the Year. However, Prebis doesn’t like to consider the food truck business a competition. “I just want to make people happy with food.” Aside from the food truck, PAB’S also provides catering and funnel cake parties for children. Business Name: Vee’s BBQ and Casual Catering Name of Owner: Arthur Thomas Phone: 816-365-1572 Facebook: Vee’s Barbecue and Casual Catering LLC Website: When you think of food in Kansas City, naturally barbeque is the first thing that comes to mind. Vee’s BBQ and Casual Catering has a 9

sides such as crispy onion rings and finished off with a strawberry cheesecake. Vee’s BBQ has everything you need for a standard Kansas City barbeque meal. Owner Arthur Thomas started out cooking for family, friends and co-workers. His dishes received such rave reviews, he let his mind wander to the opportunities his cooking could bring. He went to Ohio, purchased a truck, and independently built a food truck from scratch. Arthur has been diligently working to expose Vee’s BBQ to the community. He is constantly trying new things to discover what works best for his business. Vee’s has been in numerous competitions in the Kansas City Metro area, including the Brew-B-Que competition, where he took 2nd overall in 2017. (Continued on page 10)

(Continued from page 9)

Cajun Cabin Food Truck and Catering Owner: Mark Drouin Phone: 816-813-6112 Facebook: Cajun Cabin Website: Jambalaya. Red Beans and Rice. Shrimp Etouffee. If your thoughts traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana then you’re in the right spot. But hold off on buying that plane ticket, you can get all of that and more on the Cajun Cabin Food Truck owned by Mark Drouin. Back in his hometown of New Orleans, Mark had a community center in the city. The center began selling treats such as nachos, snow cones and hot dogs in the backyard. However, after Hurricane Katrina, like most New Orleans, Mark had to start 10

anew. In 2009 he moved to Kansas City, and began Cajun Cabin Food Truck two years later. Transitioning from the south to the Midwest was a challenge and required an open mind. For example, brisk winters was something new for the company, however they were determined to make it work. Mark states that it is always important to have a backup plan. This is where the catering comes into play. “People still have to eat”, Mark states. No matter the weather, you there will always be access to Cajun Cabin. The dishes have earned a spot in the Top Three for Best Cajun Food in The Pitch Magazine on numerous occasions.

Magnolia’s on the Move Owners: April Hall-Key and Shanita McAfee Facebook: Magnolias On The Move Website: Who doesn’t like some authentic southern cooking from time to time? With items such as the Red Velvet Waffle and Shrimp and Grits, Magnolia’s on the Move is bound to have something on the menu just for you. Meals are made from scratch by Shanita McAfee using fresh products. Shanita recalls the inspiration for starting the business. Kansas City has a southern feel to its cooking, and she always wanted to know the difference between KC style recipes, and the dishes that area made further south. This led to much research and support from many mentors to make Magnolia’s a reality. From the beginning to the present, Magnolia’s has definitely been on the move! The dishes have been featured in Ebony Magazine and Rising Star Business Magazine. It has also entered numerous competitions including Battle of the Sexes. This is all on top of the high volume of costumers Magnolia’s has acquired over the years. Shanita credits the fruits of her labor to constantly keeping an open mind, self-responsibility, and a healthy balance between work and home.

Photos: Raye Jackson



#12Mag’s Mariah Kelli Givens and Misty Copeland. Photo: Ken Lumpkins


By Mariah Kelli Givens


isty Copeland does an exemplary job of sharing the secrets of how to achieve our lane, strong physique and glowing health. In her new health and fitness book, Ballerina Body, she outlines an understanding of what it means to embrace your own unique beauty. Thus, the educational

tome highlights understanding the value of your mind, incorporating movement and motion in daily activities. It further encourages readers to explore nutritious meal options that help maximize one's endurance and lifespan. Co-authored with Charisse Jones, the book takes a refreshing look at rejuvenating and restarting your life and in a healthier manner. It is gracefully written for all ages and allows you to come away feeling like you can achieve a more vibrant lifestyle in the kitchen, at work, and in leisure. What’s the biggest take-away from Ballerina Body? Initially when people look at just the title and the cover, a lot of men say ‘Well it’s not for me. I don’t want a ballerina body.’ It’s not so literal. It’s about creating your own version of your best self. It’s been a long journey, really my entire professional career, just understanding how to respect my body and under13

stand that I am an athlete and I have to treat my body just as any professional athlete would. But also for the average person just to be able to appreciate and accept who they are, the package they come in, but make it their best self. You don’t have to look like women on the cover of these magazines that project these unattainable ideals of beauty. I just wanted to create a realistic goal and image.

Was there a turning point when you said ‘I need to start doing better’? As a lot of Americans, not really understanding as an athlete how to feel my body, how to take care of it ...and that was not something that’s explained to a lot of professional dancers, and maybe when I was around the age of 23, being told to lose weight by my company was the first time I had to reassess what it is I want and how do I become my best self. It never crossed my mind that I needed to look like some skinny girl next to me or to have an eating disorder or anything like that. It was how do I become my healthier self. That was the start of that journey. We thank KC’s own Misty Copeland for sharing her tips for better living. We hope she’ll visit again soon. Until then, for more on Ballerina Body and being your best, visit


Jo Blaq Music Producer In the Lab


THE FORMULA There’s a definite equation to success. It’s not even a secret. In fact, if

you follow your Instagram stream you’ll find memes that lay it all out. One tells you to grind. Another tells you to never give up. Swipe left and you’ll see that you should “Be prepared because you never know when opportunities will arise.” Those sound like just lofty, inspirational ideals until you meet someone who’s lived by these to achieve, like Joseph “Jo Blaq” Macklin. Yet, if you hear his story, there’s one precept he’d offer as the most important. If you guessed “talent”, you’re right. Jo Blaq’s talent as a music producer earned him a

Grammy nomination. But that’s not all there is to it for Jo. There’s the God factor. “I believe in God. Period,” says Jo. At the same time, I have to challenge what I’ve learned. My mom told me “You have find God for yourself. I can’t force you to think you know God. It’s a relationship.” As Jo developed that relationship, his eyes opened. The problem, he says, is when we think there is only one way to the top. “We get stuck caught in the mode of tradition. We say it runs in the family. It doesn’t run in the family. It gets passed on until one of us breaks that tradition.” The traditional path tells us to get a nine-tofive, get married and have some kids. Jo went a different route. “I owned a mortgage company in Kansas City. The market was crashing. It was time to get out. I got out. I said I’m going to pursue my dream. I had a little money saved up so I took that year to do nothing but music. Money got low. “It was hard,” he recalls, “God told me to follow this dream, believe in it. I prayed, ‘God, I don’t want to get to Christmas without being able to get my nieces and nephews something for Christmas.’ My mom and everybody was on my head. You need to get a job, a nine-to-five. ‘Cause that’s what they know. My mom said, ‘Baby you sure you don’t need to get a job?’” He affirmed, “I know what God told me to do.” As the saying goes, Look at God. Jo recounts, “Dec 17th Leo Williams, of publisher Bug Music, Inc. (now of Sony/BMG) (Continued on page 18)


Jo Blaq Good to Be Home Photo: Ken Lumpkins

“...I get to say that I was part of something that now has wings and you see that it’s flying. You can’t take that from me and I got to make money doing it, good money.”



LeAndrea Mack

Seeing Red Essence Fest 2017 Author Feature


(Continued from page 15)

said he wanted to sign me. Dec 20th, I got my checks in mail. The checks came to house and my mom opened them up. At that point she said, ‘I believe!’” Jo’s Christmas wish was granted. Isn’t it cool when your timeline aligns with God’s? Time to move to LA. Jo was well-trained by a mentor, Craig Lewis, in the craft. Then, NBA friends, Earl Watson and Baron Davis believed in Jo and gave him his start in LA. He’s been there since 2011. “LA is a roller coaster,” he says. “It’s a great place to hone your talent and really find your niche and make money doing it.” It’s not easy making the move. Jo recalls what it felt like when he first moved to L.A. “It’s new. Nobody knows me. I’m in the land of the unknown. It’s scary. It’s expensive! How do I survive?” he wondered. Yet, he had his “village” to show him the ropes. Rule Number #1 The right connections make all the difference. Jo states, “That’s the most valuable lesson about L.A. You can have the most amazing talent. If you are not with aligned with the right people, it’s not going to work. Everything is relationships. If you think I’m not somebody, cool. I respect everyone’s gift. My mother always told me, I don’t care who it is, always respect them, you never know down the line, what’s going to happen. Some of these guys that were interns are now running these companies. The way you treat them, they never forget.” In L.A, you never know who is who. “That’s the scary thing. You gotta be careful about who you align yourself with. A lot of people don’t know who they say they know. They’re trying to find their way in like you’re trying to find your

way in.” Fortunately, Jo had a solid team of people in-the-know. Here Comes Success Jo’s worked with Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, production Jordin Sparks, and Rodney Jerkins. He executive produced LeToya Luckett’s new album, and single, “Back to Life.” Producer, Harmony Samuels gave Jo one of his biggest breaks. “He brought me in to vocal produce with Ariana Grande. He gave me the experience of a lifetime. I worked on her first and second album. When you’re multitalented, you’ve got options. I’m a producer but there are so many avenues to make money in this industry. My mentor told me: You may not get the producer, but you can vocal produce, engineer, arrange vocals. Use all of those things to make your way in. I believe Ariana Grande will go off and be one of the greatest artists of our time. I get to say that I was part of something that now has wings and you see that it’s flying. You can’t take that from me and I got to make money doing it, good money.”

Kansas City Yes, Jo moved to L.A. years ago, but you might not know it because he commutes to KC weekly. Who would take the time to fly back to KC every week?! Now That’s love. “Jason Betts asked me to come in and host Poetic Notes. I said I’m with it. Anything to showcase KC talent.” Poetic Notes recently concluded with Betts move to LA, but was a weekly open mic and a great place to nurture the talent. Jo even has celebrities appear occasionally like Arian Davis from Love & Hip-Hop perform. Jo professes that one thing KC does well (Continued on page 21)


Serayah McNeill (Tiana Brown on the FOX TV Show EMPIRE). Participated in the KC Jazz & Blues Heritage Festival. Special guest of Jo Blaq who also is one of her music producers.

7 19


LaLa Hathaway, performing live at the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival. Jo Blaq was one of the music producers.

(Continued from page 18)

is help you develop your craft. A lot of people that come to L.A. come for the glitz and glamor but without the talent. KC comes ready. However, where the talent is plentiful, artists still have challenges to overcome. But Jo has some advice for KC artists. “Too many artists feel they have to be on top to the detriment of other artists. “We’ve got to get out of that mentality. Music is a billion-dollar export. When people get to L.A. they realize I don’t have to be like that. They don’t feel like there’s enough room, but there’s enough room for everybody.” KC Jazz & Heritage Festival Jo continues to find new ways to give back and to support KC. This summer, he was one of the music producers of KC’s newest fest, the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival, Memorial Day weekend. Beyond jazz, Jo helped bring artists such as Brandy, Lala Hathaway, Yazz (Hakeem Lyon from Empire), Serayah McNeill (Tiana Brown on Empire), as well as our own KC talent like The Truth Band and Lee (Langston) just to show how strong KC can bring it. “It was as good to see them (KC artists) on the stage as anyone else,” he said.

It’s Sunday morning, back in L.A. Jo prepares for another studio session with artist, Serayah. Working on music he hopes will live for a lifetime. In the end, he has simple goals. “I don’t want to be the man. I just want to take care of mom, my future wife, future kids, family… give back, buy some buildings and be happy.” Thank God for another day.



Brandy (Norwood), one of the headliners at the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival. Photos: Raye Jackson



Kansas Citians

race to those Cali hills. It’s Hollywood Baby! Call these individuals dream chasers if you will, but they’ve beaten the odds. No. Life isn’t perfect, but they’ve made progress, solid achievements and are equipped to do even more. LA is the address, but love for KC has never diminished. KC to LA. Welcome to Letters home from Cali.




Lia Monet

Bringing Faces to Life Photo: Gabriella Salinas


Lia Monet, one of KC’s favorite makeup artists sets out to expand her brand, making the move to LA. 12Mag: You’ve got several talents, so describe your profession? I am a makeup artist and hair stylist. I've also grown to be a public influencer on social media. 12Mag: What are some highlights since your move? I recently got the chance to work with clients for the BET Awards ("Dear White People" star, Logan Browning) and The ESPYs (USA Olympian, Gabby Douglas), which was a goal of mine when I decided to make the move to Cali this year. 12Mag: How’d you get trained in this field? I attended cosmetology school at Entourage Institute of Beauty & Esthetics in Lenexa from 2011-2012 and graduated in August of 2012. Upon graduating, I then went on to attend college at Missouri State University to pursue a degree in Fashion Design/ Merchandising. 12Mag So what prompted your move from KC to LA? I moved in March of 2017. I made the move to pursue more opportunities in my industry. I felt that I had accomplished a lot while living in Kansas City and wanted to grow in my craft. Also, my boyfriend, JaRon Moore (also a KC native) was living in Cali and that was also a big part of my reason for moving. 12Mag; What do you miss about KC? I mostly miss my family and friends. They make sure to call and check up on me a lot, but it's not the same as being there in person. Since it's summertime, I've seen a lot of events going on in KC as well, and I miss that too because nightlife was a big part of my life when I was hosting events. 12Mag: How is life in LA different from home? There's definitely so much to do in LA. No matter what day of the week it is, there's always some type of event going on. You're also more likely to bump into a celebrity at the most random places which is pretty cool. Traffic is crazy out here! You definitely have to time out when and where you're going somewhere or you could end up being stuck for hours. Most of all, it's a very creative place. Everyone kind of has their own "thing" and expressing yourself whether through your personal look, craft, or personality is totally accepted in LA. It's like a "judge-free" zone, which I think is pretty dope. What’s your advice for people interested in making the move? I would tell anyone wanting to move to LA for any career purposes to just DO IT!!! Make the jump and don't look back. I was guilty of waiting for the "right" time to move and never realized that realistically there will never be a right time. You just have to have faith in God and yourself that you will succeed in your transition. 12Mag: Tell us how to stay connected? You can always reach me by email at, Also, you can follow me on social media @liamonet on Instagram & Twitter.



Trina Lewis

Photo: Raye Jackson


“The truth is, our inner world directly impacts our outer world. When we desire something (to release weight, find a mate, establish a business or live with more joy), it’s extremely important that we are in a good mental and emotional state.”

INSIDE & OUT Coach Trina Lewis, MA Trina Lewis encourages both body and mind development. That’s the secret of success. 12Mag: So, tell us about your work. I am a Life, Health & Relationship Coach and Motivational Speaker. I work with clients oneon-one and speak at events all over the country. Recently, I spoke at the Phenomenal Woman’s Celebration in Kansas City. I will be speaking at the ReFRESH 2.0 retreat in Atlanta, September 29 and 30 of this year. When I am not speaking around the country I am teaching yoga & meditation classes or actively writing my upcoming book which will be published 2018. 12Mag: What training do you have? I have a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology, bachelor’s in Business Administration and certifications by Aerobics & Fitness Association of America. 12Mag: Moving is a big decision. What prompted your move? I moved from Kansas City to Los Angeles in March of 2000. At the time, I worked as a model & talent agent and moving to a larger market to advance my career was a natural next step. 12Mag: What’s special about KC? What I miss most about Kansas City are the people! For me, KC is “home” and every visit home nourishes my soul and reminds me of who I am. Nothing matches Midwest values and authenticity. As much as people can be impressed by your accomplishments, they still treat you like you belong. It’s like, “Yeah I saw you on that TV show, now pass the potato salad.” And of course, I miss my family 29

and the best barbeque in the entire country! 12Mag: How is life different in LA? Los Angeles has a special energy that one can feel upon descending into the city. It can be hectic to get around in traffic and full of hustle, but this city offers endless beauty and excitement, along with beaches, mountains and warm weather year-round. LA is a city that advocates all things health & wellness and it’s easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle here – from trendy gyms and spiritual centers to health food stores and vegan restaurants. It’s known to be the beauty, health & entertainment capital of the world! 12Mag: As a coach, if you had to pick just one, what’s the single success tip or piece of advice you’d provide to readers? I’d encourage readers to Live with intention and be deliberate creators of the life they desire. To release the past, stop telling selflimiting stories, drop negative thinking, excuses and false beliefs. The truth is, our inner world directly impacts our outer world. When we desire something (to release weight, find a mate, establish a business or live with more joy), it’s extremely important that we are in a good mental and emotional state. If you want something, align your thoughts, words and actions - GO FOR IT! 12Mag: What’s one tip you have for physical well-being? Practice Intentional Movement, daily. Next to sleep and alkaline food, exercise is the best natural medicine for the human body. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity every single day. The key is finding something you enjoy and is easy to commit to - be it a dance class, a boot camp program, a brisk walk in your neighborhood or yoga on your living room floor. Invite a family member or friend to join you to keep you accountable. Move your body! 12Mag: Tell us how to stay connected? Email or follow me on social media at “Coach Trina Lewis”.




FENCES CO-STAR COMES HOME Words: Ken Lumpkins | Photos: Raye Jackson


f he’s a familiar face, I’d say, of course. Chances are you’ve seen Stephen McKinley Henderson, since four of his films were nominated for the Best Picture at the Oscars: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011), Lincoln (2012), Fences (2016) and Manchester by the Sea (2016). On TV, he’s played numerous roles ranging from the stern judge on the long-running, acclaimed drama franchise, Law & Order, to fresh sitcoms like Tyler Perry's House of Payne and many more. The Journey The road to Hollywood by way of Broadway started right here in Kansas City. In 1967, Henderson graduated from Sumner High School. He started his college education at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. There, a teacher, Patricia McIlrath, who coincidentally, formed the Missouri Repertory Theater (now KC Repertory) took an interest in


him and told him about auditions for the prestigious Julliard School in New York. Already famous for music and later, dance, Julliard held auditions in Chicago in 1968. McIlrath helped sponsor Henderson’s trip and he made her investment worthwhile by being accepted into Julliard’s first drama class. Henderson’s academic achievements continue many years later returning to Julliard as a master’s class teacher, this year, delivering the commencement address. He holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and in 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from his alma mater, Julliard. Do you feel you made it? When asked if he feels he made it, Henderson responds “It’s a blessing to do what you love to do. So, I wanted to be an actor. When I got my union card, (Continued on page 34)

It’s time to spread optimism. Don’t think you can’t get there. You can get through it. You can make it.”






new portal for Kansas City is here!, the urban source for Kansas City since 2000, is expanding. Beyond event information, a new KC Soul app just launched to provide increased on-demand access to all types of KC info for residents and visitors. Not only can viewers

access events, but businesses directories, too. The app also features shopping, local music, and navigating to KC hot spots. Get couponing and loyalty programs for area retailers as well as exclusive specials for app owners. H.G.E. Marketing, LLC is the owner of the KC Soul brand as well as TWELVE Magazine. The company plans to leverage the KC Soul brand to serve not only KC residents, but particularly newcomers and visitors to 33

KC. “The app is just one piece,” says president, Ken Lumpkins. “A new website is coming but in addition to that, we’ll be the one-stop resource for event planners and conference organizers for urban KC. If your question is where to go, what to do, or how to start, we can help. Though we cover many services in-house, we also engage area vendors and other professional resources to ensure we build the highest quality team to meet each need. Take a test drive now with the new app. Download it

on the Google Play or the Apple Store today. Interested in getting connected or featuring your business on KC Soul? Email: or log on to today. Interested in getting your own app or website? Contact the developer, Blue Symphony, LLC at

“...The pressure you feel is just to do your best. It’s not the circumstance. It’s the bar you hold yourself to, you want to bring your best game.” (Continued from page 30)

working in St. Louis in a rep company, during a season of plays, I had become an actor. The thing I always appreciate is I set out to do this profession and I was able to do it for a living.” He recalls some of the best memories. “I’ve had such great experiences. I always wanted to meet Muhammed Ali. I got a chance to direct a play about his

ly a kick. That’s uptown man!” Watching Denzel’s artistry in directing, shooting on the actual streets of Pittsburgh, were all bonuses of his role. In Fences, with a small cast and Oscaraward winners as your cohort, the novice might be stressed, but not Henderson. “We had done it on stage. The pressure you feel is just to do your best. It’s not the circumstance. It’s the bar you hold

From the Movie FENCES: 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Plus Outstanding Performance By A Cast in A Motion Picture. Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sidney

life. Off Broadway in England and also at the Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta the year he lit the torch, 1996. In London, I got to spend time with him. He and his mother enjoyed the play.” Well-traveled, Henderson’s work has taken him worldwide, to destinations such as Dublin, Ireland. In the acting realm, it’s hard to beat “Fences”, the Pulitzer Prize winning drama from August Wilson. “Working with Denzel and Viola on Broadway was a Florence Osei kick.” Henderson performed the play on May 2016 Broadway with those two in a revival of UMKC the play in 2010. Then, Denzel directed theMajor: movieBiology in 2016 securing Henderson in his same stage role as Bono, close friend and confidant of Denzel’s character, Troy. “Doing the movie six years later was real34

yourself to, you want to bring your best game. It’s the same on any set as he recounts working with Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, “In those scenes you do, you’re the whole cast.” Class of 1967 “Nothing…Nothing, compares to coming back here with this class,” Henderson reflects on coming home for his 1967 class reunion. Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in Kansas City, KS, the town Terrance representsMabry some of his finest memories. May 2016 “This is it. I feel like a survivor. I made it UMKC to this.” Major: Biology “They’ll come upon you sometimes, when you’re in the business, and say ‘I know (Continued on page 35)

(Continued from page 34)

you’. ‘I know you’ or ‘I know you from somewhere’, or ‘I know you ‘cause I saw you in this’. When I come back here, these are people, that when they say ‘I know you’, they know me, they really do. They appreciate your journey more than anybody else can appreciate your journey.”

Henderson believes other actors can make a similar and successful track. “Start where you are. Find out who in the area is already in the arts will have a connection you haven’t explored. And for my money, you gotta start on stage. You don’t act for the camera. You can act for the people.” Henderson has had a triumphant life, but not without its challenges. When he thinks of life today and what we all need, he recalls Amiri Baraka, the great writer and poet, who’s considered the founder of the Black Arts Movement and coined the term “revolutionary optimistic”. “It’s time to spread optimism. Don’t think you can’t get there. You can get through it. You can make it.”

Mozella M. Dyer, ED.D., ED.S., M.B.A. April 2016 Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership Saint Louis University


Photo: Raye Jackson



Taylor Smith SET LIFE. An Actor’s Life. Photo: Karine Simon


12Mag: So Katt, how long have you been acting now? Since I was 8 years old. I started acting in school plays not because I wanted to be an actor when I grew up but because I was outgoing and it was fun. I continued to act in theatre throughout high school, college and after college just because I loved the feeling of freedom I got when I was on stage. I didn't start acting professionally until I moved to LA in 2003. 12Mag: Why do you think people are fascinated with LA? I love a lot about LA. What first drew me to LA was the weather & the beach. When I first moved to LA I would go to the beach just to read scripts, study lines & to just write in my journal. I love the diversity of people, cultures & food. I also love that you can go skiing, hiking & surfing all without driving more than an hour away. I love the entertainment in LA. I can never get bored because there is always something fun, interesting or unique to do. I especially love that people are very heath conscious out here. Exercising, eating healthy meditating & growing spiritually are a part of the culture here. It's contagious & inspiring.

roles throughout my career, however my casting is primarily the tough mom, tell-itlike-it-is friend/girlfriend/wife, helping professional (doctor, nurse, lawyer, teacher, etc.) & law enforcement/military.

12Mag: We know it’s not easy, so what keeps you motivated? I don't need much motivation because I really love what I do. However, I'm very goaloriented and self-motivated so once I decided I wanted to pursue acting full-time I refuse to quit until I have achieved the level of success I set for myself. I also want to model a happy working wife & mother to my daughter.

Surround yourself with people who support your dream to act, keep you focused, share resources, keep you grounded & love you unconditionally.

12Mag: So what did you enjoy about living in KC? I love the people in KC. Kind, honest, "what you see is what you get" kind of people. I'm from the South so Midwest values are very similar. I love how much I learned to appreciate the jazz culture while I lived there. I miss me some "Jardines." Oh, and "Gates BBQ", how could I forget that?!

12Mag: What type of roles have you had? I have had the pleasure of playing various 37

12Mag: What's the most difficult part about acting? I actually don't know what's easy about acting because it’s a tough career choice. For me the three most difficult parts about a career in acting are: 1) The lack of control you often feel. You can feel like your career is in someone else's hands, your agent to submit you, the casting director to bring you in, the producer or director to hire you. It's taken me years to take back the power I gave to casting directors, directors & producers. I now believe I have 100% control (well, with God, of course) over the jobs I book or don't book based on my attitude, my beliefs & the energy I am projecting. I am the master of my fate. 2) The envy that you sometimes feel when others book jobs. "What God has for me, it is for me," is easier said than felt, especially when you constantly see the person who got the role you didn't get on tv or at the movies. Talk about "in your face"! I still work on that one. It's a very natural reaction to perceived failure so all I do is celebrate them and stay focused & grateful for what I have and what I've accomplished, eventually (Continued on page 38)


Kathryn Smith Taylor (Continued from page 37)

that feeling of envy goes away. You can't be envious and grateful at the same time. 3) Trying to balance career & family. Particularly as a woman, you can fall into the trap of negating marriage and children chasing that golden statue only to find yourself never married with no children and in a career that no longer fulfills you. I didn't want that to be my story; so many of the decisions I have made have been to create a space for a balanced life (career, husband and children). 12Mag: What advice would you give to someone interested in moving to LA to act? I have many: #1 Have a reliable car, secure place to live & a stable source of income before you move. #2 Get in a good affordable class asap. #3 If you have to work a regular job, work a job that is flexible enough to allow you to audition and take off when you book. #4 Live within your means. #5 Surround yourself with people who support your dream to act, keep you focused, share resources, keep you grounded & love you unconditionally. #6 If you go to church, find a church home and go regularly. If not, discover and practice a belief in a higher power. It will save your life, literally. #7 Create your own content. #8 Give back, even when you don't think you have anything to give, you do. The universe will reward your effort. 12Mag: How can fans keep up with you? Website: FB: @kathrynjtaylor Twitter: @kathrynjtaylor IG: @memphiskatt

Erròn Jay Learn the Game Play the Part To be a working actor is a dream among many. There’s a common tale of the journey to LA, by dreamers, on a one-way ticket. Sheer will, a lot of talent and the right opportunity are needed just to be noticed. There are a few, like Erròn Jay, that seem to have learned how to navigate Hollywood waters and regularly have a project in the works. 12Mag: How long have you been acting? I’ve been acting professionally since 2003. My first film was “Larva” on the SyFy channel, and I had a gruesome death. It was great! 12Mag: When did you catch the acting bug? I took interest in acting in high school (Hickman Mills). I booked a commercial for I.G.A. grocery stores at 15 years old. I was paid $250 bucks for that commercial and I bought the original Breds with the money. I thought this is a great feeling! LOL! I moved to LA in 2009 after completing my Master of Fine Arts in Acting at DePaul University. 12Mag: What’s fascinating about LA? I love the abundant amount of opportunity here. More than any other place in the world, LA really stands out for the creative soul. I even started a band called Those Acoustic Kats and put out a CD, because in LA you can be and do whatever you desire. Also, the weather. The weather is really what people pay for. 12Mag: What’s great about home, KC? I love the potential KC possesses to be a city full of culture. I love the ability to remain grounded that KC gave me. I love to run into people from KC and seeing how much pride they have for home. 12Mag: What type of roles have you had? I’ve done it all from comedy to drama. Tough guy (Brick in SyFy’s “2 Lava 2 Lantula 2016), Funny Villain (Olu Disney’s “KC Undercover” 2016) Too numerous commercials (Nationwide commercial with Peyton Manning and Brad Paisley premiering Fall 2017) (Continued on page 41)


Photo: Jamaal Murray


SPORTS Photo: Raye Jackson

Photos: Keyana Collins


SHANE RAY Denver Broncos Champ Giving All He’s Got By Mark Gunnels


very summer across the country, we hear about professional athletes hosting camps in their respective hometowns, but it's even cooler when there's someone from your city doing it, which is one of the many reasons why Kansas City native and Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray is becoming a hometown hero right before our very eyes. The former all-state product hosted his first annual football camp at his old stomping grounds of Bishop Miege High School. However, this wasn't your typical football camp. It was more than that. "I wanted to be a guy that does a really good camp, a really big camp that is annual for people to come and a camp that provides not just knowledge about on the field stuff, but off the field work with parents as far as nutrition and things like that, that (Continued on page 43)


(Continued from page 38)

12Mag: What keeps you motivated? My family. I give my all towards my dream to be able to one day allow my family to live their dreams.

12Mag: What’s the most difficult part about your profession? Rejection. In this industry we hear “no” more often than we do “yes”. Sometimes it can weigh on you, but its’ all about keeping my head up and my faith in God and in myself. 12Mag: For those interested in acting and moving out to LA, what advice would you give them? I would tell them to make sure this is what they want to do. There is a lot one can lose if you are just “trying” it out. Be prepared to have your emotions tugged on, your faith tested, your tenacity and endurance worn out, your resources to be less than (acting is expensive). The struggle is real. I wanted it so bad that I lived in my Pontiac Grand Am for 3 months until I was able to get on my feet. I could have given up, but I wanted this as my career. Also, I would tell someone to have realistic goals. There is a very small percentage of people that move to LA and are immediately thrust into stardom. Just be real with ones’ self and remain humble throughout the journey. 12Mag: How can fans keep up with you? @erronjay on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, & FB Thank you for allowing me the opportunity! Projects coming up: Nationwide Insurance Commercial feat Peyton Manning and Brad Paisley Spokesman for Trujeo Medication “Destruction LA” Starring me, Romeo, and Master P “Uncle Sam” Staring myself and Nyambi Nyambi “All Rise” Starring myself, Cedric the Entertainer, Persia White and others. “2 Lava 2 Lantula” Starring myself, Steve Guttenberg, Michael Winslow, and others is available for purchase.

"I'm just going out to be the best me every week."



#56 (Continued from page 41)

people really don't think about at that age." Ray's mother, Sebrina Johnson, played a major role in organizing the event, as she helped Shane launch the Ray's Awareness Foundation, which kicked off in Denver. This past March, Ray’s Awareness debuted in Kansas City with a party and fundraiser. "The feedback, the donations, and the support that we've gotten has been amazing." Ray stressed. Camps associated with celebrities can sometimes cost and arm and a leg. Unlike those, Ray decided to make his camp free for children. This standout linebacker truly cares about his community and the future of the kids in the Kansas City area. As Ray heads into his third NFL season, he's projected to be a starter with DeMarcus Ware retiring. Fans and media alike are expecting Ray to have a breakout season, but he's not concerned about the outside noise. "For me, I don't even think about the outside pressure. One thing that I feel like I figured out for myself is nobody’s expectation of me could ever compare to the expectation I have for myself. I'm the hardest on me." Last season, Ray started in eight games, where he totaled eight sacks. With Von Miller on the opposite side of the field, there should be plenty of opportunities for Ray to display his talent. "I'm just going out to be the best me every week." The Denver Broncos will open their season against the San Diego Chargers on September 11. 43

Raye Jackson, photo


Shawn Edwards





f you want the real scoop on Hollywood, take it from someone that sees the innerworkings of the machine. After all, our perception of the glitz and glamour from a seat in a theater or tabloid magazine provides a limited and skewed perspective. Journalist Shawn Edwards connects with the stars and the Hollywood scene when the lights are on and off and gives us the inside scoop. He has a virtually a weekly commute to L.A. working as a film critic and entertainment reporter for Fox 4 News. He’s also now an emerging producer with a feature film in the works.

ditional direct line to stars and executives. “L.A. is all about networking so if you’ve got that name recognition, it helps expedite things tremendously.”

Big Break Prior to transitioning to television, Edwards built his journalism chops at “The Pitch” weekly newspaper and as a writer and freelancer for national magazines. In 2001, Fox 4 was his big break. “Over time people notice who you are and what you do,” he says. On Fox with his film critic partner, Russ Simmons, Edwards has received national entertainment journalism awards for film criticism. “After guest appearances on national shows USA Today, New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, Variety started calling me for quotes.” He’s also cofounder of the African American Film Critics Association. The annual awards show provides an ad-

Favorite interview “Will Smith is solid. He’s a good guy with charisma and personality.” Others that top his list Sandra Bullock, Kevin Hart, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt, a fellow Missourian.

The Most Fun Edwards’ career has created tremendous opportunities. He’s traveled internationally to Moscow, Iceland, Bora Bora, and Egypt. “I would never go to Berlin, Germany on my own but I got to go for work,” he says. “The most fun in L.A. is an A-list premier, seeing all of the stars dressed up. That’s the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.”

L.A. difference “KC is a blue-collar town. They work Monday through Friday. They get excited because the weekend’s coming. No such thing as a weekend in L.A. They’ll have a big ass party on Tuesday. A regular week doesn’t dictate how you live. How (Continued on page 57)



Lights, Camera… Ah, you know the rest Jahmel Holden, Filmmaker

12Mag: You’re a filmmaker, but what else do you do? I am a multi-media artist and the mediums I incorporate into my work range from poetry/ spoken word, film & photography, collaging, lighting, and some elements of music and sound design. Curating art events and hosting open mic shows is still something I am passionate about and a part of helping to create. 12Mag: How’d you get started? During my schooling at Columbia College Hollywood I was awarded the AMPAS Grant (Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; organization known for conducting the Oscars). As one of the winners of this award I was required to intern with a film production company. The company I interned with was Glassrock Entertainment (CRU, The Confidant). While at Glassrock I was immediately thrown into the fray and given an opportunity to contribute and work on commercials, reality tv, and other forms of content. 12Mag: What are some of your career highlights? I have been blessed to be a part of some amazing productions and collaborative opportunities in a still growing career. A couple that come to mind are: being a producer of the awardwinning film CRU which made history at the 2014 ABFF (American Black Film Festival) by winning the most awards (5) in the festival’s his46

tory. Being afforded the opportunity to shoot and produce the “I Am Hip Hop Award” package honoring Snoop Dogg for the 2016 BET Hip Hop Awards was a personal milestone and joy igniter as it gave me an opportunity to collaborate and capture Dr. Dre, Pharrell, & Snoop; three innovators I’ve admired as a music appreciator. Over the last few years I’ve had a great time shooting and producing a series for BET Music & BET Soul titled The Journey of. By far my favorite has been The Journey of Anderson .Paak which chronicled his experience during the BET Awards weekend in 2016. 12Mag: What do you enjoy about LA? I moved to LA Oct. 2, 2006. I love the maturation that has taken place during my time in LA. I love the lifelong relationships that have been established. I also love the fact that I have evidence of the power of intention and the beauty of those goals evolving from concept to fruition. Another love of mine about LA is the opportunities that are abundantly and readily available if effort, perseverance, faith, and integrity are exercised. I also love the varying topography of Los Angeles County as well the entire state of California. Additionally, I love the knowledge that has evolved regarding health and life in all of its vastness. Lastly, but not lastly, I love the weather! 12Mag: What do you still love about home? I love Kansas City for giving me a well-rounded understanding of the importance of being humble. I love Kansas City for being a conduit through which I was given a number of tools to aid me in handling myself in different arenas. I love Kansas City for the fact that I was able to attend Paseo Academy of the Fine & Performing Arts and be exposed to professionalism and creativity early. I love Kansas City for Gates BBQ, Bo Lings, Minsky’s, Peachtree, Winstead’s and too many other food places to list that call me wherever I may be in the world! I love Kansas City for it was there I joined the spoken word collective ULit (Urban Literation) where I was able to connect with youth and adults who enjoy creative writing & spoken word on a large scale. I love Kansas City for being a forgotten contributor to so many facets of the American experience. I love Kansas City for infusing a love for jazz and classical music into the fabric of my being. I love Kansas City 47

because Kansas City first loved me, lol! 12Mag: How do you stay motivated? The greatest motivation for me is the belief that with everyday of life I have freedom and space to share love and shine brightly by being myself. I recognize the gift that is life and the abundance in which we live so carrying the torch that was lit by those who came before so that we may pursue our dreams pushes me to carry that torch forward showing the current and next generation that if you truly believe anything is possible. I believe that there are no such things as problems in life only opportunities for growth. I am motivated by the understanding that everything we need we have and that we can live life with unwavering joy. 12Mag; What’s difficult about this business? The film industry can be a tight knit circle which requires some serious exercises in patience. One of the biggest challenges which I think is relatable across any industry is having patience with both self and the process. It takes time to develop relationships and to find proper fits for the team you may need to build in order to execute some ideas, however as the great philosopher Outkast said “In Due Time”. I’m a firm believer that you work with the tools that you have in front of you to get to where you want to go. 12Mag: How would you counsel people thinking about moving to LA? I would encourage anyone desiring to move to LA to have a plan set and have money saved. Furthermore, know your worth and believe in yourself no matter the challenges presented. Network and stay away from the myriad of distractions that would look to be potential pitfalls. 12Mag: How can we stay connected? For those looking to connect or follow me on any social networking they can keep up with the movement at @thejahexp and


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Thurs 08/31 2017 - Sun 09/03 2017 KC Dancefest: 9/3 Day 4 - One For The Road Farewell Set Event type: Party Venue: Nick & Nino's Pub: 10024 N Ambassador Drive Kansas City MO Time: 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM Producer: Back To Living Inc Contact: Daron Barker Email: DARONBARKER@PARENTPOINTS.COM Phone: Web:

Producer: NPHC Contact: Email:

Fri 09/15 TechWeek Entrepreneur Panel: BUILT TO WIN Event type: Forum - symposium Venue: UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Rockhill Rd Kansas City MO Time: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Producer: kcsoul Blue Symphony APhiA Web:

Fri 10/13—11/5 FENCES. August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Copaken stage.

Sat 10/21 Alumni Celebrating Excellence: ACE Club Event type: Fundraiser Venue: TBA Time: 7:00 PM - 2:00 AM Producer: ACE & TWELVE Email:

Sat 09/16 Momma’s Boy, the play. Two shows 3 & 8p.. Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St. KCMO

Fri 10/27 Ice Scream 5 with the KC ALPHAS Venue: Juke House: 1700 E. 18th St. (18th & Vine district) Kansas City, MO Time: 5:30 PM - 2:00 AM Producer: BLEI and KC Alphas Contact: Beta Lambda Email: Phone:

Sat 09/30 NPHC Presents: Parliamentary Procedure Workshop Event type: Conference Venue: Kansas City Airport Marriott : Kansas City MO Time: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM 48

Sat 11/04 Burning Sands Step Show Venue: TBD: Kansas City MO Time: 7:00 PM - 12:00 PM Producer: DEED Foundation Contact: Lakesha Gordon Email: Phone:

Fri 11/17 4th Annual Awards and Scholarship Black Tie Gala Event type: Fundraiser Venue: Grand Street Cafe: 4740 Grand Avenue Kansas City MO Time: 6:15 PM - 11:00 PM Producer: The National Congress of Black Women, Inc.Kansas City Chapter Contact: Sylvya Stevenson Email: Phone: 816.974.3237 Web: Sat 11/18 A Debonair Affair Grand Finale Venue: TBA: Kansas City MO Time: 7:00 PM - 12:00 PM Producer: BLEI Contact: Beta Lambda Email: Phone: Web: Sat 12/02 4th Annual D9HA Venue: TBA: Kansas MO Time: 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM Producer: 12Mag Contact: Email: Phone: Web:



Ericka J. COULTER Music Executive/Entertainment Manager

ALL FOR THE MUSIC Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it. Photo: DeWayne Rogers


12Mag: So Ericka, tell us just a few of your career highlights. As a songwriter, I wrote my first number 1 record with El Debarge & Faith Evans “Lay with You”. As an Entertainment Manager, I’ve worked with music producer Harmony Samuels, teaming him up with artists such as Tamar Braxton to produce her single, “Let Me Know” featuring Future; Ciara to produce her hit single “I Bet”; Fifth Harmony to produce their single “I’m In Love With A Monster”; Keyshia Cole to produce her single “You” feat Remy Ma & French Montana and many others. As an A&R/ Music Executive, I’ve worked with Rick Ross on his “Rather You Than Me” album, Jidenna “The Chief” album and Keyshia Cole on her “11:11” Album dropping Fall 2017.

“I worked like I had the job already and it paid off. I was hired before my internship was up in 2008.”

12Mag: How did you get ready for this career? Since I was 5 years old my mom had me in singing, dancing, plus playing volleyball, basketball and track. When I wasn’t doing that I was singing at Mt. Carmel Church in Kansas City, KS. I graduated from Shawnee Mission North High school in 2004. I then attended Brooks College in Long Beach, CA, where I got my AA in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing. 12Mag: When and why did you move to LA? I left Kansas City straight out of high school. I knew that I wanted to do more and in order to do that I had to leave. I went to Los Angeles with a vision to do something BIG in fashion & music. 51

12Mag: Do you ever miss home? I visit Kansas City often. It keeps me grounded. I love checking on my family & friends. Sometimes you need that peace of mind and that, for me, is Kansas City. I pride myself in keeping my KCK roots with me at all time so, no matter where I am, I always remember and remind people, “Oh I’m not from here… I’m from Kansas City, Kansas and don’t forget it!” 12Mag: How would you describe the LA experience? LA is fast paced. There’s always something going on and definitely more opportunity for the music industry & creatives. You rarely meet people who are actually from LA, so it takes time to know who’s genuine. 12Mag: What was your key break into the music business? First, moving out of Kansas City to Los Angeles. Next, getting an internship at Interscope Records. I worked like I had the job already and it paid off. I was hired before my internship was up in 2008. 12Mag: For all of all of the aspiring artists, home and nationwide, what’s one industry tip? Pay attention to what’s really going on. Develop your craft and know when you still have work to do. The goal is to become a “Career Artist” not a disposable one. 12Mag: Do you think artists should pursue the independent or major label route? What artists have to realize is being an independent artist with great success, getting a huge publishing deal and getting signed to a major comes with one thing and one thing only: YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK. Tech n9ne, Mac Miller and Chance the Rapper didn’t become successful independent artists overnight. A lot of work got put into it. 21 Savage is the perfect example of an artist who put in the hard work on his own so, when it came time for him to team up with a major label (Epic Records), the deal made sense for the perfect partnership. 12Mag: Thank you. How can we stay connected? Instagram - @Erickajcoulter


No Holding Back By Toni Talley


His mother’s artistic influence didn't stop with music, Houpe credits his love of fashion to his mother as well.

"Those are the things that drive me and the things I use to motivate myself to progress," Houpe states.

"She did interior design. I remember being with her for hours in paint stores and Hobby Lobby. I would watch her make a couch, pick patterns, and style clothes for people."

ve. Passion. Faith. Three words fashion designer and musician, Justin Houpe lives by.

Houpe is indeed a man of many trades, the genius behind a clothing and swim line, as well as his first album. However, his road to accomplishing goals has not always been easy as he reflects on the selfdoubt and insecurities that almost got in the way of fulfilling his dreams.

"God doesn't give you all of these gifts or talents for yourself. These are for people."

"I got tired of holding onto certain talents and gifts for myself," said Houpe. "God doesn't give you all of these gifts or talents for yourself. These are for people." he explains. These talents have always been passions of his, sensing a vision for business when he was just a high school sophomore. "I just always loved music. I would never sing around people and now people are like ‘I didn't know you could sing’," said Houpe. He attributes his love for music to his mom. Justin remembers the gospel songs she'd sing during Sunday service and church conventions. "She was an old school singer," he added.


And it’s the people that Houpe is hoping, he too, will touch with his talents.

Finally stepping out on faith, the many nights of blood, sweat, and tears for his art is starting to bear fruit. The EP for his upcoming album is slated to be finished by the end of August, just a few weeks before Justin also debuts his 2018 spring/summer line for Naava Swim. "I'll be a part of the fall show for Kansas City Fashion Week on October 12th," said Houpe. With an idea to create positivity to impact the world, he is hopeful that self-love will be promoted through his art. Not only is Justin grateful that he's been given the opportunity to inspire others, he's also grateful for the way his craft has been received. "I felt like I wasted a lot of time being scared to move and now I'm full speed," he added. To catch up with Justin and to learn more about his business, you can follow him on Instagram @justinhoupemusic and @Naavaswim.


Justin Houpe Designer/Musician

Photo: Jaymie Collins



Mickel Garrett


e’s a Kansas City bred artist, who describes himself as a content creator, providing both visual and audio services for artists, professionals, and brands. Known as a photographer to many, he has worked with independent artists on video projects too, but now he’s expanding his skillset. “Music brought me to LA. I’ve always been a big music fan.” Pursuing his dream, he’s now enrolled in Los Angeles Recording School, with a goal of making music for film productions and audio for post-production.

He’s away from home, but he doesn’t lose sight of the larger opportunity. “I do everything I can do to bring my knowledge back to KC to help it grow and be better,” he says.


Photo: Ken Lumpkins

Sight + Sound + Motion


Jannelle McKinney Radio Show Producer ON AIR New City. New Waves. Instagram: Personal – JayeSheIs Radio Show – ThePOJShow Snapchat: janrmck Twitter: KSLoveCaliDream

Photos: Ken Lumpkins

Jackie Ray (far left), the owner of The Poetry of Justice Show (POJ Show) is a poet from Compton, California. The show airs on Y!KES Radio powered by Accelerated Radio owned by Kevin Nash (KJLH). Jackie’s vision for the show is to focus on the social consciousness of the arts. Discussing socially diverse topics and giving a platform for artists and other individuals involved with a specific topic to discuss their points of view.

“Kansas City, to me, is about hospitality, welcoming you with open arms, showing love to others.”


As a new producer, I am learning a lot of things as far as my role. I have to think outside of the box, keep everything in order, speak with the guests, book talent, write the outline for the upcoming show, listen to and critique the show, contact the engineer to make changes, and get really creative with how we can target different types of audiences. Also still being fairly new to California, I don’t have the network or reputation I once had in Kansas City, so it is definitely difficult being a new face and contacting people who have no idea who I am, to speak with them about being guest on our show.


Rocky Harris Reporter/Producer Just Keep Watching

“I want to do it all. Media is my love, my passion, my heart and soul. I want to create content that the youth understand, can get life from, be enlightened from.�

Photo: Ken Lumpkins



aquel “Rocky” Harris attended Columbia College in Chicago, majoring in Broadcast Journalism and graduated in 2015. From there she moved to LA and as common with many in that migration, it was a bit of a struggle adjusting to LA life and even finding a job. However, she did have some television experience, having worked on the Judge Mathis show in Chicago. Connections there helped her land her first gig out of college with Warner Brothers working for The Real talk show. She was a producer/PA working in the “Girl Chat” segment of the show, where they created conversations of pop culture and news. Following, she had placements on shows such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, shows on Oxygen, and also a spent time working on the Dr. Phil show. Continuing to develop her broadcasting talents, Rocky moved to AfterBuzz TV. That led to her work on red carpets, one-on-one interviews and her trek to becoming a reporter extraordinaire. “I worked red carpets from smaller events like ‘This is Us’ to community effort events,” she said. New doors are now opening. “Most recently I did the BET Awards show. That was amazing. The biggest blessing in the world. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” What’s in her future? “I want to do it all. Media is my love, my passion, my heart and soul. I want to create content that the youth understand, can get life from, be enlightened from. I want the Black community to be enlightened and advanced. I want to be an entrepreneur but most of my passion goes into being a media artist. Success is definite for Rocky. She declares, “One day I WILL have my own talk show and I want my studios to be in Kansas City, Missouri and that’s the goal. That’s the dream and the real-life reality that I will make it happen.” Follow her journey: @RaquelHarrisTV 57


(Continued from page 44)

you meet people is also completely different. There’s nothing unusual or outlandish about meeting at the Four Seasons pool. It’s just protocol. That’s how it’s done. It’s a younger town and more opportunity” citing why people flock to the city. “It’s expensive. It’s more competitive, but at least there’s a chance.” But here’s what we really want to know…How do you make it in Hollywood? “Number one, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work. You can’t be afraid of the word ‘no’. You hear the word ‘no’ way more than you’ll hear ‘yes’. If you’re super driven you can make it happen. That calls for sacrifice. You’re going to hit some potholes. Being creative, different and willing to fight are other attributes of the successful, but there’s one thing that’s a must. You’ve got to put yourself in a position where you can network. Nothing’s going to happen if nobody knows you. Nobody’s going to read an unsolicited script. The networking part of it is crucial. You have to be plugged in.” While the Hollywood scene is all about connections, there are more options for the media professional. “In media, it’s different. You can create your own lane”, particularly now, in the digital age where social media rules. You can create your outlet, develop your own following, deliver your own content, and be your own boss immediately. And do it anywhere in the world, from right here in KC. You don’t need anyone’s permission to create your own empire.” We look forward to Shawn continuing his role as a conduit for Hollywood scoop and even more, his journey into the scene as an emerging producer. Shawn, like many of our homegrown talent, is taking KC worldwide through his work and we’re honored to be part of the ride.




TWELVE NINE Sept 2017  

Call this our celebrity issue, better yet, Hollywood, featuring featuring native Kansas Citians or former residents that now live in Cali....

TWELVE NINE Sept 2017  

Call this our celebrity issue, better yet, Hollywood, featuring featuring native Kansas Citians or former residents that now live in Cali....