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e h t om Letter fr editor. While creating every issue for the magazine my goal is to remain centered around inclusion. The key to success, in my opinion, is growth. In order for LUL Magazine to grow, we must put ourselves on the front line for Others. We must be willing to learn and empathize for those who do not have a voice of their own; or those who have survived or accomplished their dreams. We must try to understand exactly what life is for so many others, and not just ourselves. Let Us Live Magazine isn’t only a publication. To some we are seen as just a right now fad; but to others LUL has become a movement. It is important to carry out actions that generate solutions in life by to bringing awareness, creating safe spaces for conversation about financial,health, social and economic issues. Education will always be the gateway to higher levels of success. With time and growth the mind can obtain anything. The tittle of “A New Decade” is the theme of Issue #3. It signifies the change in us all as an entire human race, learning and evolving every day. At first I was unsure about the title, but after taking time to think and really hone in on where we are today, I realize that the world is shifting, we must shift as well. Ready or not we have to understand what the word “Decade” means, and why it is so important. The definition of Decade means “a period of ten years” which is just a big piece of chapter within our lives.

Each moments we breathe defines who we are and the decisions we choose to make. I observe a lot around me, and I have come to realize that as a human race, a lot of us are shaped by our pasts and allow it into our present deterring us for our “best” future. If you look at how things are progressing now, our past is like a vehicle in which we can navigate through life. In some cases we had to learn from those experiences to help us figure out what we should do next. For most, this is just another DECADE, but that’s the not focus, as our focus should be centered around what we will do to make this new decade in our lives different. Think about your personal life, your businesses, your family, relationships, finances, new opportunities, commitments, dedications, etc that you can ultimately change in this NEW DECADE. It will challenge you on a new level, require you to think more about what it is that you want to do to potentially make this decade one of the best ones ever. Your decision will shape the next 10 years, and you must ask yourself… Do I want to repeat the last ten years, or do I want to create a whole new chapter that you can be proud of for another decade after? FOUNDER AND CEO

Dwyane Stovall Photographer: Ralph Edwards Instagram @iamredbrand





“Dear Black People”


Quinn G: “The Tale of the Stubborn Tree”


Eric Brown: “Cooking is EZ”


Shaquita Smith: “I’ll Set My Stage”


Cheri Smith: “A Woman’s Manifestation”


“Dear Fellow People of Hispanic, Latin, & Spanish Origin”


“I Wear Me”




Three Common Mental Health Illnesses


Natalie J


Anita Scipio: “Call Me Mama”


Cyn The Great: The Journey To Cyn


I Am Me

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salamat j u f a leminder ie z it s a e i h i c gr a ta t kas r o d g a a im h k ter arigato ri xie Akeva d n paldies xie na TO ALL FRONTLINE WORKERS


DEAR BLACK PEOPLE by Kehyare Landrum

Dear black people. Stand High. Dear black people. Our time is now. Dear black people. Don’t be afraid. They’ve been this way. Since we were slaves. Dear black people. Show love. Dear black people. Show up. Dear black people. Don’t hate your shade. Because whites will pay To look our kind of glade. Dear black people. Give love and peace. Dear black people. Never accept defeat. Dear black people. Always reach the stars. Know it seems impossible. But it’s not that far.

. Dear black people. Show me something new. Dear black people. Just be you. Dear black people. Know that words can hurt. But when they put you down. It’s never in the dirt. So I stand tall So I stand straight Look oppression in the eye In the face No hint of fear As I turn the page I fight away Live another day Education is my motivation know the systems flawed It’s a deprivation Love unto your own or you never will Black on black crime Is miseducation

Know the media tries to paint a picture And BLACKS are violent, looters Segregation Is a real thing So let’s make a change Let’s go buy our homes Stocks And everythang Love lost But it’s coming back Melanin Together Power to the blacks Family strong And our blood is stronger Gotta stand up for our queens and mothers Just know They can’t keep us down Cause Black Power is a hand me-down Generations.

Photographer: @OlgaM. via Twenty20 ISSUE #3 | 4

The Tale of the Stubborn Tree by Quinn G.

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am SoulStallion. Living mathematics. Unlimited. Child of the Origin. I am a creator. I am the creator. You are a creator. You are the creator. We Are The Creators. We create our reality with the way we think. Along my journey, I have come to many realizations and have gained a tremendous amount of wisdom by studying and understanding nature. We are directly connected to nature. Humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. The same way nature goes through cycles, so do humans and this brings us to “The Tale of the Stubborn Tree.” There was a Tree, deep in the woods. The Tree started out just like the other Trees and understood the seasons and the cycles of life. It also understood that one of the most important cycles a Tree must undergo is Photosynthesis. This is the process in which the leaves of the Tree absorb sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and converts them into energy and food. Trees need this process in order to survive but this particular Tree went through some extreme seasonal changes one year. It started with Spring. The Tree was more than prepared because it still had some energy and food left from the previous winter. Due to this fact, the Spring proved to be the most productive Spring that the Tree had ever seen. When the Tree began to grow its leaves, it was the brightest tree for miles. The leaves had such a vibrantly green glow that the sunlight reflecting off the leaves could blind the human eye. The Tree continued to flourish throughout the summer. It was recognized as one of the most beautiful trees and had promise to becoming the biggest, amongst the rest. This summer was very hot and dry. Normally, the summer will bring an ample amount of rain for the trees to be able to store enough water to last through the Fall and Winter seasons. The drought put the Trees in a slight panic but this particular Tree wasn’t worried because it had some of the biggest and strongest leaves, which gave the Tree the ability to store more energy and food than the rest. As the summer was reaching its end, the Trees began pulling all the nutrients, energy and food from the leaves, to prepare for the Fall and Winter seasons. The beginning of Fall ushered in one of the worst Hurricane seasons that the Trees had ever encountered. Many of the Trees were pulled from their roots. The strong beautiful Tree survived the Hurricane season. It gave the credit for its survival to the leaves that had provided energy and food throughout the Spring and Summer. The other Trees

began releasing their leaves to prepare for the dry Winter. Releasing the old leaves, in the Fall, is detrimental for the Tree to survive through the Winter. Leaves drain the water supply from the Tree, so if the Tree doesn’t release the leaves in the Fall, it would be very strenuous to survive throughout the Winter. This particular Tree decided to hold on to its leaves because these leaves had provided the Tree with more notoriety than it ever had and they also provided the Tree the strength it needed to withstand the hurricane season. The Winter came in very swiftly and the Tree stood out from the rest like an apple amongst oranges. It was the only Tree that still had its leaves. The Winter that year was very brutal but the Tree survived even though it kept its leaves. The Tree became very stubborn and attached to the leaves. The leaves had seen the Tree through its most profound and hardest moments in its life time. The Tree held on to those same leaves for 5 years and became known as The Stubborn Tree. As the years passed, the Stubborn Tree began to realize how all the other Trees were growing and evolving. It began to question why the other Trees were growing so rapidly. The other Trees had outgrown the Stubborn Tree so much that the sun light could barely reach it. The Stubborn Tree couldn’t even be seen at this point. One day while feeling really confused about the direction of its life, the Stubborn Tree began to look within and ask the Universe why it wasn’t thriving like the others. The Universe answered with the same question. “Why aren’t you thriving like the others?” The Stubborn Tree responded by saying that it was unable to thrive like the others because it wasn’t getting any sun light. The Universe replied, “So you expect the others to be held responsible for your lack of growth?” The Universe reminded The Stubborn Tree that it had refused to lose its leaves and that those old leaves had finished serving their purpose years ago. At this point, the old leaves were only draining the Stubborn Tree of its energy and food. The Universe told the Stubborn Tree, “Release what is not serving you anymore. You’re more loyal to what was only supposed to help you, than you are to yourself. Believe in yourself. People, places, and things come into our lives to help us get through a specific phase in our journey. We also develop different ways of thinking and handling things, based on the experiences that we have. The problem is knowing when to let go of those people, places, and things that aren’t serving you anymore. Allow yourself to go through the different phases of life while also knowing when to let go so that you won’t stunt your growth. “Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.”

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COOKING IS EZ by Cyn The Great

When imagining or forecasting who we desire to become, as children, our visions are almost always influenced by our upbringing, things we have experienced, family, friends, and even teachers/staff. Most people change their minds a million times before actually settling into a career; and then there are those who actually follow through and execute. It takes discipline and courage to see a vision all the way through to its manifestation. For Eric Brown, Chef and founder of EZSCRATCH Kitchen, this serves

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to be true as his family’s diverse background and love sparked and influenced his dream at an early age. My opinion on feeding one’s soul is that you must center yourself and the things you want around core values so that once you accomplish your desires it’s not only meaningful to self but also blesses others. To be able to pull from different influences and create new innovative products or services for others is a daunting task that only the strong can accomplish.

Eric was born, May 28 1985, and raised in LA California. When I inquired as to how he manifested his creative pastime into a career he recalled a time where his parents and grandparents were all cooking a meal together in the kitchen. His father, a Jamaican immigrant, and his mother, a Kansas native, both spent a lot of time preparing meals for their family as a way to express love and spend time together. At the age of 12 years old Eric realized how culturally diverse his family was and how he could use the skills they both taught him and use it as his creative outlet. Growing up, he was fortunate enough to attend private schools and get the better side of education that led to a degree from Oakwood University and University of Alabama in Huntsville. Once he earned his degrees he made the huge decision to make his home Birmingham, Alabama. Eric always had a niche for creating meals that are viewed as common. The idea of traveling while being in the comfort of his own space is displayed through his cooking and is one of many things that keeps him engaged. In the summer of 2019 his career started to take off because he lost his job and decided that he needed to have a source of income. He wanted to feel creative and have something challenge him on a daily basis to step outside of his comfort zone. Little did Eric know, losing his job was the gateway to him really settling in with cooking and spending time doing what he loves. For about two weeks; he spent time cooking for friends and spending time. The idea to meal prep for others was spawned. He worked on a cost effective menu that was still creative and effective for business. He used the marketing approach of selling all meals for $10. A childhood friend , Danielle Hasely, believed in Eric’s dream so much that she designed business cards and created his logo. From there; his motivation took off on a higher vibration. Eric scouted, gyms, business offices, neighbors, and shared his idea with pretty much everyone he encountered. His business

grew to a level where he would do private events for couples, catering gigs and parties. I asked what it was that set his style aside from others at that point and he shared “ I just wanted to be able to incorporate dishes that people weren’t used to and blend them to create innovative meals outside of their comfort zones.” He shared that his biggest obstacle in the kitchen was getting over the fear of failing himself. Once he got out of his own way he began to realize that he was good enough and that everyone has their own creative niche that people wish to experience. Eric shared with me that one of his biggest challenges in life has been self doubt, and to him putting in work to overcome that fear was a struggle but with time he was able to sort through things. Eventually, he started feeling like he had a place where he “belonged” and was recognized by others as well. He quoted Oprah Winfrey “ One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is time.” On free weekends he spends time doing absolutely nothing. Having quiet time and space, to him, is good for reflecting and mapping out things that he has accomplished and things that he plans to accomplish moving forward. The world seems to stop every-time he gets in the kitchen to create “something out of nothing” with his two hands. He said that loving and nurturing self is important when influencing others. Eric shared how he would use social media as a platform to brand himself. A lot of times we have this idea that if we are talented someone will notice and we will blow up. The reality is, if you want to be successful you must push your brand and make people see why your craft is worthy. He coined the idea that people will support you if you are genuine. When people see your growth throughout your journey they feel like they are a part of your truth and tend to support you even more. For me; Eric exemplifies hard work and dedication and I look forward to his influence in the cooking industry.

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There is always someone watching. We live in a world where photos depict success, people push their own brands/ have something to sell, networking and “claiming fame” become goals and having a large fan base on stage equates to fame. The biggest platform to broadcast who we are is social media. As humans, I believe, we are all born with this intuitive desire to be wanted, seen and heard. We naturally seek constant growth and success. We observe our surroundings and learn behaviors based on what we see and experience. We learn early in life the importance of knowing and living the difference between perception and reality. Culture teaches us to “honor the family name” whereas society teaches us to “be the model citizen”. The trick to success in my eyes is visualizing what we want from life and doing everything within our power to accomplish our hearts desires. Imagine coming from brokenness; and turning your pain into an escape or happy place for someone else. Shaquita Smith was born and raised in Birmingham Alabama. She knew early on that she would have to manifest her wildest dreams in order to escape her reality. She was forced to experience things that most children are protected and sheltered from. At a young age she was molested by her uncle, her mother was on drugs and her father was around and did what he could; when he could. The combined tramas that she experienced subsequently forced her to mature faster than she desired or deserved. As an escape or leap of faith Shaquita decided to take a theatre class. It was there, in the acting classes that she found a new love and realized that she had the power to become anyone she wanted to be and go anywhere she wanted to go. Shaquita shared with me how she fell in love with the feeling that came with making others happy through her talent and has been on her journey ever since. ISSUE #3 | 9

I’ll Set My Stage by Cyn The Great As a writer and poet, I have found that people relate to my craft because I am able to be the voice for people who do not necessarily have one. For Shaquita, as an actress and producer, she related to this because she is the escape for those who dream and cannot do. She embodies each character as though she’s been them her entire life. Her acting style is geared more to drama and action but she has over 44 film credits that back up her ability to integrate her skill into the person written in the script. She takes on roles that have substance and provide her audiences with jaw dropping reactions from beginning to end. We all have our “why” or force that drives us; hers is her past. Being a young black female from Birmingham, Alabama to her, already meant that she had to work twice as hard to be seen. She knew that her past could be the thing that kept her from reaching her goal and when she realized what that goal was she never looked back. The crown of strength that Shaquita wears on a daily basis is just the surface of who Shaquita is. There’s also her soft side. The side that has a weakness for lemon pepper wings, and craves more spiritual and personal growth. Being broken and bruised is just a testimony that Shaquita uses on a daily to empower and uplift others. Breaking generational curses is the intended way she plans to give back. No only through her family but to other young Black girls and women. She works on herself by constantly auditioning for roles that are in the norm for women such as herself. She takes on roles that align her with Angelina Jolie or Nakita and uses that as inspiration to give back to show that you can be from a small town, face adversities and still be successful. Ways that she perfects her craft include practicing for different roles; auditioning and even writing stories and scripts. When asked what her biggest accomplishments were, Shaquita shared with me that a few highlights have been working on scene with Scott Bakula from NCIS, working with Langston Fishburn, graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and simply being able to give back to others. She recalled many moments where there was someone who passed knowledge down to her that have made lasting impacts. Shaquita is a brand ambassador for “Kids Say” which is a non profit organization in LA for children in holmes that helps them get placed into homes as well as an active participant for the The Boys and Girls Club, she’s spoken at many Women Empowerment events, recently sponsored an event with Cynthia Bailey.

We all aspire to reach higher levels in life that set us aside from our norms. We have people that we look up to no matter where we are in life. Even those who have “made it” or peeked certain successes have someone they look up to or aspire to be like. I asked Shaquita if she could work with anyone in the industry who would it be and she instantly named Regina King, Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. She loves actors who are able to just go from one character to the next bovldly and be “in it”or blend like chameleons. Actors that come from a theatre background serve to have a different kind of connection when performing. Sometimes when we’re on our personal journeys to “find self ” or reach our goals we have moments where we question if it’s all worth it. We wonder if we are really serving our purposes or if we’ve gotten sidetracked and even derailed by insecurities. I often think about the advice I would gift to my younger self. Shaquita’s response to this was that she’d tell her younger self “stay focused on the goal, always go with your first mind and stay afloat”. This question brung us back to her “why?”; her purpose if knowing that she didn’t have anything at want point but can now having anything she wants. She thrives off of knowing that she wants more. She is driven by her family; her friends and just giving back. The crazy thing about mapping out how we want our lives to pan-out; is that no matter how meticulous we are, some things are just out of our control. Without control; some people either sink or swim. To stay above water there must always be an alternative route or the stamina to endure until the time is right to spring back into action. For Shaquita, COVID-19 put her livelihood on hold. Not being able to work on set brought things to a standstill. I asked what she has been working on in the meantime and she said that she has just been counting her blessings and being grateful for the things in her life. She’s been doing things like; staying fit by reaching personal body goals, working on scripts and business proposals and aiming towards her long term goal which is owning her dream house, a really extensive resume and her own official production company. For Shaquita, A New Decade means rebirth. The rebirth of staring anew and doing things on her terms.

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Business owner / Event Coordinator

Shedella Reovan was born in Beautiful Grenada Spice Island. As a child she discovered that she had a passion to become a fashion designer. Ms. Reovan decided to come to America to pursue her dreams where she had the opportunity to work in retail, but the the bigger picture was to have her own online clothing boutique, and so she made that vision come true. During the building of her business, she also realized her love for events began to grow while setting up events. Like any boss, she combined the two together allowing her to tap into both worlds ultimately giving her the experience & the best of both worlds. Apart from her own dreams, this Proud mother of 5 children loves to spend time with them, her family and doing the things she loves the most which is helping others, when she’s not working on fashion ideas for her boutique or putting events together. Please check out her work on her website where you can find her most up to date fashion designs and the time and dedication she puts into her business.



n o i t a t s e f i n a M

by Cyn The Great


Photographer: Dash McIntosh IG:digitalbydash

typically defined as an adult human female. Depicted over time, in my eyes, as everything beautiful under God’s creation. Just hearing the term causes images of love, nurturing, life, beauty, strength, vulnerability, pain, fury and so much more to play upon my mental. Over time society has shifted the idea of women being inferior to men. The concept of women simply “preserving mankind” has been taken away and enriched with the same unique possibilities granted to men. Women are stepping up and taking the lead in all aspects of life; success and possibilities are boundless. There is no definitive outline or guide on what a woman is or should be.

Growing up Cheri Smith lived in Montgomery Alabama where she and her two siblings spent the school year with their father and summers with their mom and youngest brother. They did not know at that time; they were poor. “My father always made sure we had what we needed and we were taken care of, that’s all we knew” Cheri explained, during our one on one interview. Cheri shared that things were very religious and conservative growing up. Her parents had divorced which is why their time was split between two parents. I asked what was the determining factor that led them to be with their father and she said that it was his ability to be able to provide for them. Time with their father was more strict and routine; whereas with their mom they were unruly and they often pushed limits that they wouldn’t with their father. She shared that each child dealt with the divorce differently but they were all pretty close knit with one another. There are no separations and we all love and fight like siblings do. Naturally she and her older sister grew to be the closest because they decided to be roommates and live with one another on and off throughout the years. The turning point that shifted Cheri’s life and her entire family was the murder of her father. Instantly his parents stepped in and moved Cheri and her older siblings in. They each dealt and still deal with his passing differently but in a strange way it keeps them connected. For Cheri, quietness and sassiness were her medians. Her grandparents were very religious so they spent a lot of time in church. Cheri found solace in praise and worship. She did not always feel like she fit in. Her fair skin made her and her sister different from most girls and she always dealt with the light skinned versus dark skinned complex. Because of the lack of her parents she did what most girls do. She looked for love in the wrong places, made mistakes with boys and had what some would perceive as an “attitude”. She was forced to grow up sooner than she needed and spiraled out of control. She shared with me that there were times where she was too naive or too trusting in times where she should not have been.

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At this point in life Cheri was trying to tap into a long term goal or dream that she manifested for herself; being a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. Flying and traveling the world has been her aspiration since she was young. Modeling was a pass time that she enjoyed but she knew that it wasn’t her end all be all. For Cheri, success won’t be accomplished until she is able to give back and equip young women

with the tools and skills to create and lead in the business industries. Her manifestation kept being interrupted, or so she thought, at the time because things kept happening each time she would attempt to apply. From ending an unhealthy relationship, feeling conflicted with leaving her sister, to not getting the paperwork done to get the home she wanted. There were roadblocks coming from every direction. The turning point for Cheri; was her sister announcing that she was going to move to Atlanta, Georgia. She was forced to make a quick decision to take a leap of faith without a plan. Too often we become stagnant or comfortable in our situations. We think that because we have made certain mistakes or choices we cannot still accomplish the goal we have set out for ourselves. When Cheri arrived to Atlanta, she was uncomfortable; for her the most she had ever been. She then decided to put her best foot forward, and apply to Delta Airlines. They took their time in the process as they do when it comes to the interview and intake process. Cheri kept her eyes on her end goal and took other jobs. She begin to connect to God and practice daily practices that she felt would bring her to her absolute best. Putting time to tap into her spirituality, changing the way she ate, getting her body in shape physically and just freeing herself of her past and connecting to her inner peace. Cheri shared with me that by taking these small steps and keeping her plans to herself she being to really see and feel what her purpose is. She was constantly doing the research on the ins and outs of working with the airlines. She had a back up plan with one of her three jobs where she worked her way up to a huge promotion. She was manifesting the things that she wanted. All the late nights and multiple jobs were starting to pay off. Cheri was finally at a place where she was able to take their uncomfortable situation and use it to

fuel herself forward. She got her own place and regained her independence. She was living the life that she shared with the world via social media. Living holistically, taking pride in the way she carries herself on a daily basis and manifesting daily. One day she received the email for the Delta Airlines invitation and then followed up with an interview. The rush of emotions that came with this milestone was one that was well worth the wait. For Cheri, all these years had finally come full circle and her dream job no longer a dream. Just as Cheri was preparing herself mentally to start her new journey; and tell her family and friends what she had been manifesting we were all hit with COVID-19. This put her intake process on hold and prolonged her start date. Instead of taking the news and feeling defeated; Cheri’s words “I didn’t

get defeated because I really feel like this was God’s way of saying that I am deserving, I can have the things that I manifest; I just have to continue to do the work. This just proves that there is something greater for me.”

Cheri has always held herself to a high standard as a woman. For her, that means taking the extra time to look as good as she feels, practice clean eating, meditating and just constantly representing herself in a good light. She shared with me her thoughts of how as a woman it is important to always carry yourself to a certain standard and do it confidently. She said that her self image and standards may look different to someone else. For her; a woman that is not afraid to identify herself for her worth in all things. She has the desire to turn all of the knowledge she has learned and incorporated into a business. This will be accomplished by creating and starting and organization from women who need the tools to help themselves in all aspects. To be women that mentor young women and help them understand the importance of being “A woman”. This organization will not only create a safe haven for others but also laying down the foundation for her legacy to birth visions and be Goddess and Queens. The value of manifesting lifestyles as black women from their roots to progressive times today. For her starts with spirituality and self care but ends in no specific form.

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Dear Fellow People Of Hispanic, Latin, & Spanish Origin, So many of you have been showing your true colors lately when it comes to this #BlacklivesMatter Movement and seem to have forgotten where you came from and who your ancestors are. Allow me take you down memory lane and share with you some history and few facts I have learned over the years. Let’s start with the terms Hispanic & Latino. These two terms have nothing to do with race at all but rather what part of the world you are from. Hispanic is the term used to identify people from Spanish speaking countries such as Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic. Latino is the term used to identify people from Portuguese speaking countries such as Spain and Brazil. If you notice when filling out the US Census it asks you are you a person of Hispanic,Latino, or Spanish Origin. After you check that box it will ask you again to pick a race. Many get confused by this and you are not alone. This is strategically set up this way so that White America can use us to boost the numbers of the white race in the population. Since so many Spanish people know nothing about their history they choose the box that says “Some Other Race”. When doing this the government automatically marks you as a “White Hispanic”. In all reality all of us from these origins are made up of a mixture of different descents which is why we come in all different shades and have many different features. Let’s go back to the early 16th century when Spain sent their Conquistadors on expeditions to explore what they called “The New World.”. Their conquistadors murdered,raped,and stole everything they could from the indigenous people. This caused the Great Extermination that ended in 95 percent of our people gone and a lot of our history disappeared with them. The descent of Latin America was indigenous and Iberian that was then mixed with European hence the reason why some of us have blond hair and blue eyes. The African presence in the New World came around the 18th century when Africans were brought to the Americas as slaves. Meaning the Hispanic origin consists of Indigenous,European, and African descent. Remember that there is no such thing as being 100 percent of one particular race. We are a vast network of tribes that commingled, cohabitated, and freely migrated consisting of north, central, south, Caribbean and Mexican Indians, and WE ARE ALL THE SAME BLOOD. With all this being said we should all want to participate in the movement of #BlackLivesMatter and here’s why. As a community we ISSUE #3 | 15

should remember the way that America has treated us and still treats us is not much different from the way they treat African Americans. Let us not forget that between 1830 and 1930 600 of us were lynched due to the Repatriation Act where they blamed us for taking jobs during the depression and America didn’t care if you were born there or not. If you refused to leave then you had to worry about facing death. We too also feel the need to disguise ourselves in front of police out of fear of being deported or worse killed. As a whole we were systematically cut out of the history books. The system has failed us too on many levels. Our children have the highest high school dropout rate of any minority in the country. Due to immigration detention our ethnic group makes up 40 percent of the prison population. Also statistically we are the most bullied ethnic group in the workplace. Even our own president has declared war on us with his threats and abuse towards Mexicans not to mention the way he abandoned Puerto Rico and left many of us to die. The whole point I’m trying to make is that we are struggling the same struggles fighting the same fight. It does not matter how light skinned you are it does not make you superior. Take the time to learn your history and not be afraid to embrace your ancestors. Remember those people in White America that you are aiming so hard to please look at you the same way you are still considered a person of color, a statistic. And why is that, because People Are Naturally Jealous. People have to feel superior and will look for the smallest minutiae of difference to make them feel better about themselves. So even though we are all the same people will always find some dumbass fucked up way to hate on each other. Excuse my french. There is power in numbers whenever one person stands up and says “wait a minute, this is wrong” it then encourages others to do the same. Just imagine how much we can accomplish by working together. So the next time you sit and think this fight is not your fight look back on those facts and remind yourself that “America doesn’t give a fuck about us, We All We Got. Yours Truly, Bonnie Speaks Diaz “THOSE WHO DO NOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT” -GEORGE SANTAYANA

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:2 (MSG Version)

each time we wear their name. We would not wear a brand if the designer was known for being a rapist, murderer or thief. Then again... maybe some would. This is why we must step up and be DIFFERENT! It is time to follow a NEW trend. A trend that teaches you what it means to invest in YOUR name, be secure in YOUR name, and look exclusive in YOUR name. The return you get back on THAT investment is unmatched and priceless!

The world trains us to follow behind every fashion trend. We break our pockets and struggle to buy expensive designer outfits just to be accepted by a group of people who are also struggling. Do you or someone you know stand in line waiting for the stores to open to buy the latest pair of sneakers? Do you or that person, have that same amount of money you’re about to invest into that brand in your savings account? Have you ever really thought about why you choose to wear these brands?

God challenged me, now I’m challenging you. Join the I WEAR ME Fashion Movement. The movement where we learn to break the curse of insecurity while styling and wearing OUR OWN name brand. YES! We ALL have a few insecurities. That is what helps us easily fall into the trap of investing in others instead of ourselves. Why do you believe someone else’s name looks better on you than your own??? Take a second and think about that.

Whenever we purchase apparel, we are investing in that designer. When you make an investment, you do so hoping there will be returns greater than what was originally put in. Think of the designers you have already invested in. What greater return have you received??? Some designers have BOLDLY stated that they’re clothing was not made for certain demographic groups and areas. Yet we STILL seem to choose to put money in their pockets. So again I ask.... WHAT WAS THE GREATER RETURN? The ability to say that you have their name on your back, your bag or your feet? Believe it or not, WE ARE WHO WE PUT ON!! Believe it or not, we are promoting and representing that designer’s lifestyle and image

Ever since I started designing and wearing my ‘SB’ (Shontyce Brand) clothing brand two years ago, I’ve noticed the enhancement in my self confidence, self love and self image. I can’t remember the last time I researched the latest trends. I’ve been too busy being content in my own. Oh! And check this out y’all. I wear embroidery designs! Who does that?? I DO! Personalize your style. No one can wear you like you. Let the world see what that looks like! I would like to give a very special S/O to Dwyane Stovall. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences, talents and work. Shontyce Brand

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veryday I wake up around 9:00am and sit in my bed and scroll through Twitter. Then about 10 seconds later I see a couple tweets that instantly remind me “Oh yeah, we’re in the midst of a pandemic”. I’ve come to realize that I am living through one of the most unprecedented times in history. I’m in an era where my children will look through their textbooks and ask me about the times that were currently living in. And the worst part is no one really knows how this story will end. No politician, religious leader, or news anchor knows the true ramifications of Covid-19. As of now, we’re about a month into quarantine, with approximately a little over 60,000 deaths stateside and almost 227,000 worldwide. These are the increasing numbers as of April 29th. People are perishing at an alarming rate. In the midst of this pandemic, the American people are looking for sound leadership. Successful leadership of any organization starts from the top down. If the structure at the top is insufficient, then the organization is doomed to fail. President Trump’s role in the escalation of Covid-19 in the United States should not be excused in the slightest. His administration represents failed leadership. From the early stages of this pandemic, Trump downplayed and minimized the threat of Covid-19 to the detriment of the American people. Some of Trump’s alarming statements include, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”- Trump in a CNBC interview. I’m well aware that he is our President, and it is his job to console his people during times of uncertainty but, as the leader of the free world, he knowingly downplayed the virus and its seriousness. Now , the citizens of this country are left to prematurely adjust because we are left without direction ,except “Stay inside. Wash your hands. Where a mask.” Even on the home front, life has changed drastically



since March 11 - the day the World Health Organization declared this global outbreak a pandemic. The decisions have been swift and disheartening, starting with Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp, and his reopening plan. Currently, the state of Georgia is in phase one of this plan, which allows for certain businesses such as hair and nail salons, barbershops, massage parlors, gyms, restaurants, and theaters to open for business under restricted guidelines. This is especially frightening, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is a United States Federal Agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, which is located in Atlanta,Georgia, the capital city of the state which Kemp governs. So, if any state should be able to use science and human intelligence to be modeled by other states, it should be Georgia. Instead, we’re on the other side of the spectrum being one of the first states to reopen. Valuable lives are now being viewed as statistics and test dummies. We now have to ask ourselves, “What line is our government willing to cross?” Are we choosing commerce over lives? At what risk is caution thrown to the wind and an Ivan Drago approach is taken - “If he dies, he dies.” In metropolitan Atlanta, things haven’t been quite as peachy. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was sent a very racist and distasteful social media message, all because she does not agree with Governor Kemp’s position on reopening the state. Don’t get me wrong. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, especially right now, but in the middle of a crisis, the last thing we should do is create strife between the Atlantians. Mayor Bottoms has done nothing, but tell her constituents to stay home and protect themselves, even when their government won’t. Our lives have changed so much over this last month. We can only wonder how long we’ll need to fight this invisible threat. Most of us have already made major adjustments. From working from home, to not being able to go to eat and grab drinks with a friend. Things are changing right before our very eyes. Use the time you have wisely. Sit and plan your future, while we are in pause. by Noah H.


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One of the most prevalent mental illnesses is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. As defined by the American Psychiatric Association PTSD is “ a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.” PTSD can be grouped into 4 types: intrusive memories, avoidance, changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. When an individual is living with PTSD they can experience symptoms like reliving a traumatic event or avoiding places,activities,or people that can spark a memory of an event. Furthermore, when coping with PTSD it is normal to feel Irritable, have an angry outburst, and tend to have aggressive behavior.


by Noah H.

Have you ever wondered why people say your brain is the most important organ of your body? It’s not a visible piece of a person’s structure, like your arms or legs. When detached, the brain is a jelly-like mass connected to you through your spine. So what makes the brain so valuable? The brain is the engine to one’s central nervous system, being the most complex part of your body. It has the unique ability to send massive amounts of information such as controlling your actions and reactions. It also has the capability to create emotions, memories and most importantly make us human. Although due to its complexity, the brain is not fully understood by doctors and scientists alike, making mental health awareness of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, the brain can develop illnesses that prevent it from performing as it should. These illnesses can be described as health conditions that can change your behavior, thoughts, and emotions.

Doctors are not certain why some individuals develop PTSD and others of the same caliber do not. It is widely understood that the metal illness is a complex mix of inherited mental health risk and inherited features of one’s personality. People of all ages can develop some form of PTSD, some factors make you more likely than others. Military veterans and first responders are some of the first occupations that come to mind when discussing PTSD due to the nature of their position. Experiencing intense or lasting trauma can also lead to the development of PTSD. For example, a military veteran who experienced deployment or battle would be more susceptible to the effects of the mental disorder than a civilian. As there are many uncertain causes of PTSD, is it critical that you are aware of signs and symptoms. Once identified please speak with a healthcare professional such as your local practitioner or psychiatric physician or nurse. As someone who can speak to the hardships of PTSD, I stress that you are not alone and who you can fight this. Please do not feel afraid to reach out to your loved ones as they are your support system to assist you with getting your life back on track.

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by Noah H.

Kanye West has been a voice that has brought mass awareness to mental health. We know of his tragic battle of losing his mother while also dealing with the in and outs that fame and life-altering success can bring. West detailed on the David Letterman platform “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” that coping with his bipolar disorder is like having a “sprained brain” and he also stated “once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.” You must commend Mr. West for giving us a peek into his mental state, because bipolar disorder is something that affects a wide spread of people, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation “A 2005 study found that 2.6% of the U.S. population or more than 5 million people, are living with some form of bipolar disorder. Bipolar or “Manic Depression” is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep patterns, energy levels, thinking, and behavior. Individuals can experience periods where they are overly happy and energized and other times they can feel hopeless and sluggish. In between those two periods, people have a normal feeling. The highs and lows of the illness are considered “poles” of mood giving it the name “Bi-Polar”. High Periods are called mania. Signs of mania can include feeling overly happy or high for long periods of time. Usually when feeling periods of mania, one can expect a decreased need for sleep and excess talking rapidly with racing thoughts. So what’s so bad about a period of mania? Even though it sounds like a good time, people who go through this period can feel extremely restless and impulsive. Individuals tend to involve themselves in risky behavior due to them having a sense of over confidence.

On the contrary, symptoms of depression can include feelings of extreme sadness or even depression itself. Individuals who are going through a period of depression can be identified physically as they can show significant changes in their appetite. They also have feelings of severe fatigue or a lack in energy, and can also be known to withdraw from close friends and family. It is also common that anyone coping with Bi Polar have problems with memory loss, concentration issues, and questionable decision making. There are two distinct types of Bi Polar - the classic form also known as manic depression and Bi Polar II. With manic depression, manic phases are more prevalent to observe along with behavior and shifts in mood are more extreme. For an individual to have manic depression they must have manic episodes while simultaneously having depressive qualities. Bipolar is known to be more common than manic depression. It involves depressive symptoms, but manic symptoms are much less severe and are referred to as Hypomanic symptoms. Be aware, in the wrong environment hypomania often becomes worse overtime without treatment. The causes of Bipolar disorder are unknown even to this day. There are certain risk factors that can make an individual more susceptible to the disease such as hereditary factors. If a relative in your immediate family circle such as your parent or sibling has manic depression, you are a higher risk for the illness. Other factors such as environment and stress level also play huge parts in determining one’s risk level. There’s no sure way to prevent bipolar disorder, however, getting treatment at the earliest sign of a mental health disorder can help prevent bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions from worsening. Despite the extreme moods, people with bipolar disorder often don’t recognize how much their emotional instability disrupts their lives and the lives of their loved ones when they don’t get the treatment they need.

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by Noah H.

Schizophrenia is the most stigmatized and misunderstood mental illness. To date, there is no known cure for schizophrenia as most individuals are shunned or disregarded due to the nature of the disorder. This could speak to the fact of the illness rarity. According to the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America approximately 3.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with schizophrenia and it is one of the leading causes of disability. It also speaks to the early development cycle that illness can manifest, affecting younger patients from ages 16-25, making schizophrenia a hard burden to understand for young adults. Schizophrenia is described as a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. It can result in a combination of hallucinations, delusions, extremely disordered thinking, and behavior that impairs daily functioning and can be disabling. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hearing, seeing, or smelling things that others cannot perceive. These voices or images are known to be threatening to patients. Also it is possible for individuals to develop false beliefs called delusions which are beliefs that won’t change even if a person is presented with facts or ideas. Delusions can also be characterized as causing confused thinking or a sense of blocked thoughts. Negative symptoms diminish cognitive abilities by being emotionally flat, having a dull tone, or having issues sustaining relationships. Schizophrenia makes everyday tasks such as remembering things, organizing thoughts, and motivation to follow through an constant uphill battle. Research suggests that schizophrenia may have several possible causes. Schizophrenia isn’t caused by just one genetic variation, but a complex combination of genetics and environmental influences. Schizophrenia is six times more likely if a close relative i.e a parent or sibling has the disorder. Problems with certain brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and

glutamate may contribute to schizophrenia. These neurotransmitters are a key component to allow brain cells to communicate with each other. Environmentally, the risks of developing schizophrenia can even occur before birth. For example, the risk of schizophrenia is increased in individuals whose father is of an elderly age or whose mother was malnourished or had one of several infections during pregnancy. Studies have also shown that those who participate in mind altering drugs and alcohol as adolescents during their matriculation process are at a higher risk due to the effects that substances have on the brain and more specifically ,the frontal lobe which controls decision making and cognitive thinking. Schizophrenia is the mental disorder that scares the community due to the side effects and more importantly how they can be displayed . Many people who are diagnosed struggle with how to maintain their symptoms, due to paranoia and others misunderstanding their disorder. Most who deal with this disorder develop anosognosia or “lack of insight.” Meaning that people are unaware that they have any disorder at all. Schizophrenia is a hard burden to bear alone. Anyone who is dealing with schizophrenia should reach out to their medical professional such as a physician, psychiatric personal, or any licensed clinical social worker for further treatment and diagnosing. ISSUE #3 | 22


resent day July 2020. The world as we know it is in complete uproar. From COVID-19, Wayfair child trafficking scandals, politics or the lack thereof, still not having answers for Breyona Taylor to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Just as we think the world is progressive we are hit with the tough reality that times has only “dressed up” underlying truths. The change we wish to see has to start through education, action and execution. Imagine being born in 1964 when the Civil Rights act was passed. The change during that timeframe was one of optimism and hope for the future. Natalie J; California raised, was born in 1964. Her parents were both from Georgia and raised them with southern upbringing and hospitality. Her father was in the Navy for 20 years so they were fortunate to have two parents that exposed them to everything. They were exposed to different cultures, foods, and people; they never instilled the hatred they’d experienced in the south into her or her siblings. Although they were aware of the world around them; they were taught to judge people based on their charter rather than the color of their skin. She experienced a lot of Mexican culture being on the border and shared that it added a lot to their diversity and upbringing. Out of 5 siblings she is the second to youngest but was always considered the baby out of all of her siblings. Growing up Natalie was very shy. She shared with me that she was always aware that there was this person or voice inside of her that was waiting to speak up. She was very smart in school; particularly enjoying Math and English. There were times where she can remember knowing the answers in class but being too shy to speak up. She endured a timeframe where she was even bullied in school, which she believes created the mental figure or surviver within herself. She stayed busy with things like track & field, and choir but she still saw herself in public speaking. She envisioned herself as a business woman in a suit and a pair of stilettos without being as shy as she use to be. There is a beauty of knowing what you want to accomplish in life. Being able to better advance in personal growth and influence others is an accomplishment that not everyone is able to obtain. Natalie J was able to turn her life around and take charge by seeing goals, setting them and making them happen without thinking twice about it. I asked her, “when it was that she began to actually start speaking publicly”, and she shared that it started in church, and began

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by Cyn The Great


spill over into college where she gained a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. She was the Superintendent for her Sunday school program which required her to speak in front of everyone as well as singing in the Sunday choir. Once she gradated from college she decided to go into law enforcement because she was interested in public work and service. She wanted a career where she could give back which required public speaking as apart of the job. She said that speaking publicly was something that just happened and seemed to be are part of who she was.

of overcoming Cancer and remembering to keep pushing no matter what she experienced. Her words “As long as we are alive, We will. Everything starts in our minds and we can have success if we feel safe within ourselves through faith, belief, and God.” This book lead her to her purpose in life. Natalie created a coaching and consulting company, TILT Synergy. TILT, is the name given to her by her father as a little girl, which stands for Transformational Integration Leveraging Team and the Synergy stands for being the thinking partner that fills the gaps and helps to get you to the other end of ideas.

Natalie always admired others who could speak fluently. She said that it was in the 90s when her children were little that she decided to join Toastmasters, which is a non-profit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. She obtained her Master’s degree in Human Services, where her dissertation had to be presented in front of a panel. The opportunities that came with her career and education always seemed to allot her with opportunities to speak in front of others.

Present day Natalie is working on a book titled “Street Smart for Personal Safety.” The book is a curriculum that covers 15 Tactics from Cinnamon the Undercover Cop. While Natalie worked as a detective there was a time where she took a case where she went undercover as a prostitute. This sparked a desire in her to make people aware as well as teach them about the crazy things going on in the world as far as sex trafficking, domestic violence, shootings, rape etc; that continue to happen in our society. The book will share tools that she used to stay safe during her 20 year career. Natalie will also will be publishing her legacy book about her life titled “The Transformation of Cinnamon From Undercover to Being Covered”. She has given back to the community through her tenure as a superintendent at her Sunday school, supervised kids at CAMP, being a Big Sister, and she was a guest speaking at different high schools to help students transition into the real world. For Natalie, a new decade means unlimited possibilities; and being a change agent to do and be better. She shared with me how she is a true believer in seeing and doing better. She quoted Wayne Dyer “You become what you think about all day long and those days eventually become your lifetime.” to say, that in this new decade we should stretch our minds further to envision a better way to live.

If you’ve never spoken in front of a crowd; you would be surprised what kind of rush it is that takes over. I asked Natalie to share a couple of her practices to prepare herself to speak. She shared her two things: 1. Self-meditation affirmations and 2. To get into character playing as an animal. She says that her animal is a black panther. The black panther is a predator that people or other animals watch because it is sleek, fast and powerful. She found this tactic to be very unique and impactful to audiences. Through speaking, Natalie was in a constellation book called “Rockstars” that featured 100 influential stories of business leaders, professionals and athletes and their inspiring stories. Her story can be found on page 84 titled “It’s Safe to be Me.” She shares the story

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“Call Me Momma” Have you ever met someone who instantly made you smile because their smile touched your soul in some way? I am sure you can recall a time where someone’s voice created peace within you at the exact moment you needed to feel warmth the most. For those of you who can relate; you know how amazing it is to see a “light” in someone or even being that same light to others. The desire to influence or be influenced by someone else creates a feel-good pay it forward attitude. For those of you who have not had the pleasure to experience this I would like to introduce you to Mrs. Anita Scipio. Born December 14, 1956 in Harlem, New York, Anita was the first born within her blended family of eight children between her mother and father. Anita shared with me how her family did not come from wealth and simply “made it by with what they had”. Her mother was always very hard working and worked in a factory and her father was not in the picture after some point. There were times where they made sandwiches with no meat. She named dressing, sugar, mayo and other types of sandwiches they would create and even recalled a time as a child where an old man knocked on the door and expressed to her mother that he was so hungry and asked for food. She shared how her mother told him that she didn’t have meat or anything extravagant but invited him and went in the kitchen and fried him up an onion and threw it between two slices of bread. As Anita shared this memory with me you could hear her smile so brightly through her voice. She shared with me how her mother would always take the time out to take care of others and be kind to them no matter what. This, she expressed, has stuck with her; her entire life. Anita expressed how she hopes that she can be half the woman that her mother was. ISSUE #3 | 25

by Cyn The Great

At a young age, Anita knew that she had a calling over her life to fellowship and share her love for God. She would take her Bible to school and read passages to her classmates during recess. She giggled as she told me about how, as a second grader, she’d make up the words she didn’t know. Anita just wanted to be a good person but her mother always instilled in them to be happy with what they had and be good to others. She said that she lives by this in honor of her mother. It is of no surprise to her now that she has been an ordained minister for the past 16 years. She found herself outside of religion but connected spiritually with God an began to share her knowledge and love for God with others. Anita shared with me how there was a time of darkness for her where she found herself around people who were so self-righteous and that was not how she intended to spend her relationship with God so she began to stray away from the “church”. Then her mother fell ill with cancer and she believed God’s word “whatever you ask for; believe and you shall receive it”. This bothered Anita because she had the faith and believed that her mother would survive and have a long life. However, she passed away and Anita was crushed. She felt confused and disenchanted. She, at that point, strayed away and was angry with God for a while. Her sister passed a year later and then her brother drank himself to death a year after that. two years later Anita’s father was killed. She went through a time where she had no one to look up to and was forced to realize that without God she would continue to be alone. With time, she began to understand God’s will and rekindled her relationship with him and has been steadfast in her walk with him daily by being a light to others and always giving what she can for those in

need. She explained how this light just came over her and she knew that God had forgiven her. Anita took her first job at 13 years old. She took on youth core programs and mentoring to make extra spending money for herself and family. Her first adult job was working with mentally challenged adults at a facility called Bronze Developmental Services. Ms. Anita spent 9 years enduring the hard times and reaping the benefits and rewards from helping others. One day Anita was in New York City riding in the car and heard an old country song that took her back to her childhood, reminding her of summers where she had spent time in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She said “those many years ago they only had two radio stations and they both played country music and that’s where I was really introduced to my love for music.” Anita could not remember the name of the song so excitedly she called in to the radio station and let the gentleman who answered know that the station had just played a song that really touched her heart and she needed the name. The gentleman apologized and said that he did not know what song was played and unfortunately their receptionist had just quit. Immediately, Anita’s interested was peeked. She let him know that she’d love to be a receptionist. The guy on the other line asked if she could type, answer phones, speak well with people and a few other questions surrounding the job; her answer was yes to every question and two weeks later she was sitting at a radio station for the first time in her life. Anita spent her first five years in radio at this country music radio station owned by Westward1. They interview every genre of music, so she met many of the “anyone who was someone” type of people. It was there that she met Will Smith. Anita explained how she made all lateral moves throughout her tenure and eventually worked her way to IHEARTMEDIA. Anita wanted a career that did not revolve around deadlines but rather enjoyed meeting amazing artist, actors, professionals, athletes etc. the top of their careers alongside her talented coworkers. Anita was in the position to be first face seen and voice heard in the radio station as THE front desk receptionist. Anita shared with me that being an ordained minster is what she does for God and being a receptionist is what she did for herself. Anita encountered many famous people and when I asked what her most memorable moment was and initially, she responded that when you meet almost everybody who is anybody you’ll have some amazing stories to tell. However, she recalled a

day where she was sitting at her desk; she said that she didn’t always know who’d be walking in; on the phone and here comes Mr. SNOOP DOG walking in looking so cool and tall. He stopped before walking in the studio and said to his entourage “hold up; I gotta stop and say hi to my momma”. She smiled as he came walking around the desk and giving her this huge loving hug. Anita said that Snoop has been one of her favorites ever since. She named dropped a few people that she had met over the years like Whitney Huston, Mariah Carey, Patty LaBelle, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith and many others. Anita knew from the time that she was a little girl that she would be rich and famous. Although, she doesn’t see herself as being famous she has always been rich in God’s love so everything else fell into place. Anyone that she encountered in the past loves her and that is what has always been most important because it shows what a wonder person she truly is. After 19 years at IHEARTMEDIA, Ms. Anita decided that her time working for others was up and that she was ready to retire and begin working on things she’s been wanting to do for herself for years like starting a podcast, traveling and writing a book. On Anita’s last day, officially, Will Smith surprised her by coming back to do an interview with her. Will first met Anita decades ago before his very first interview as a celebrity and like many others who met her, claimed Anita as his “momma”. He wanted to pay homage and stopped by to wish her well. Following Will’s live interview Ms. Anita’s Instagram @ Anitascipio hit 20K followers. Elvis Duran gifted her a trip to Paris and $10,000 to spend however she pleased. These are just a few of the many gifts she received. On the night of her retirement Ms. Anita said that she danced, laughed, cried and just enjoyed all the love that was in the room. Although her career was ending Anita knew that her life was just beginning. I followed up with Ms. Anita after our interview and she just so happened to be visiting at IHeartMedia. As she walked the hallways to find a quiet conference room for us to FaceTime I could hear others in passing say “hey momma”. Some people even stopped and hugged her tight and I could just feel the love in the atmosphere. She updated me on her plans to start a podcast and even begin her book all the while traveling, enjoying time with her sweet granddaughter, blessing others with God’s light and just being a good person. Ms. Anita gives you that home away from home type of vibe and I cannot wait to see and hear more of her.

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I bet you’re wondering, who is this Cyn The Great person right? What’s so important about this guy that he needed a feature in LUL Magazine? It is my firm belief that everyone has a story to sell. The hard part; is actually picking up a pen and writing down all of your truth. I knew as a little girl (yes you read that right from girl to guy) that my journey would end up in a book. I knew that I would get to the point where complete peace would allow me to tell my raw truth and my journey up to date in this worldly life we live. My grandfather has always called me an elephant in the sense of my mindset. I can remember almost anything that I’ve experienced, anything that is said to me and anything I read. Constantly pulling influence from the things and people around me have always been the biggest tools in my writing. There were times that I kept my words to myself because I was afraid of how people would receive them. I have gone through many things and lived an amazing life to say that I’m only 30 years old. This, where I am in life right now, is just the beginning for me. Now that I have figured out this adult thing; there’s so much more that I have to offer as a man. The Journey of Cyn is currently under construction; meaning I’m still in the process of writing. You can look for the publication within the year. A new Decade for me means that I have the ability to redefine the absolute best version of myself. This book is a gift to myself; for all of the tramas I endured at a young age, the lost loves, misguided

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relationships and my struggle with the world. Throughout the chapters you will find excerpts of my poetry written and collected for as long as I can remember. The details within my book are real events that have happened throughout my life, these are people I’ve encountered (though I won’t use real names because the petty people in my life may want to sue) and memories I pray to never forget. So here it is; exclusively for Let US Live Magazine:

The Prelude: “My life. I take everything it gives. There’s proof in my tears. I took everything it gave.” - 5ive_CRR I think it’s beautiful when you have someone who is truly invested in who you are progressively rather than expectations of who you potentially can become. I put this pressure in the hands of others because sometimes I could not find love within myself. It took being hurt by others time and time again, for me to crave self worth. There was a moment in my life where I was completely broken (we’ll get there) and I realized that I deserved to be adored, craved, respected, honored and genuinely loved. I made immediate transformations in order to recreate the man I wanted to be. Most of us spend our lives in search of these feelings. Some people get lucky and find or stumble across good love and then there are those, ME, who create it. Imagine finding that love for yourself. Falling in love with YOU. Once you feel the “zing” you understand why everything you’ve experienced up until that moment had to happen the way it did.

When I recall my earliest memory, it scares me how vivid it is. I can recall the way the air smelled. Crisp and freshly cut by my grandaddy. I can hear how loud my heart was beating outside my chest; like a marching band composed of only percussion. I can feel the beads of sweat dripping down my face as I ran across the front yard. I used to think that if I suppressed my thoughts the memories would just disappear. I didn’t want to make sense of the hows, why and whens. The internal battle of who I looked like and who I was weighed me down for so long; the safest thing to do was be true to my pen and paper. I had to die to be reborn and this, this is the journey that led me to find Cyn. I pray that this found it’s way to your interest and look forward to the release of my very first published book. If my words touch and resignate with just one person; my legacy lives on. - Cyn The Great ISSUE #3 | 28

LB Clothing and Things LLC is founded by Mrs. Bridgette Crenshaw along with her husband Mr. Dwyane Crenshaw right by her side, encouraging and motivating her to continue to move forward. The company started up back in the year of 2015. With only limited equipment and perseverance, Mrs. Crenshaw was able to move forward into her own shop within a year. From monogramming shirts to making tumblers, she was able to advance to creating signs, banners and a lot more items. Having the ability to create a custom shirt, being different, standing out from others is an excellent way of being recognized by others and promoting your business. We’re not just limited to clothing, we can & have done so, provided personalized car tags, tote bags, glasses, mirrors, key chains, photo buttons & much, much more. And now specializing in sublimation. We have taken the world by storm with this new process. Having the ability to sublimate images directly into garments is a high performance which allows our company to provide even a greater quality for apparel and other items. Reassuring our customers that we are providing the best services as possible helps us to establish a relationship with them and in return, they will continue to use our services. Moving forward into the twentieth century, we are looking forward to enhancing our services more by using dye sublimation.

“No job to big, no job to small.�

Contact us: Facebook @ LB Clothing and Things LLC. Email: Phone: 256-374-4292 or 256-614-5772 As always, thank you. And we truly appreciate your business

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I Am Me

by Noah H.

July 18, 2020 saw the first collaboration in Let Us Live Magazine’s history with the “I AM ME” campaign with Sankofa Athletics and the Nick Ricardo collection. This collaboration comes on heels of two African American Queer owned brands who believe in not only the power of community but of unity and equality. The “I AM ME” campaign stems from founders Khalia Ervin and Nick Ricardo’s passion to uplift the LGBTQIA+ community and People of Color within it.

Photographer: @rlathepoet

As creators of color, they hope to not only motivate their community to be unapologetically themselves, and to show the importance of solidarity within one’s self. The Founders mission was to also bring to the forefront the need for queer and POC entrepreneurs to give back and contribute to their communities. Let Us Live Magazine was able to host a space where all creatives came together to share ideas, experiences, and network with new minds. While all three brands joined forces, Let Us Lives’s team was able to capture unique individual footage to support the campaign, support the models who participated in the campaign, and sponsored two models by the name of Toni

Bryce and Quinndarius Gamble from that day and also behind the scenes footage to use to help promote the cause. Founders Khalia and Nick have made it possible that with every purchase of the “I AM ME” collection, customers will receive a fragrance sample set from the Nick Ricardo Collection and a fashionable lgbtqia+ apparel shirt from Sankofa Athletics. Both have come together to partner with the T.G.I. Justice Project, an organization challenging the end of human rights abuse committed against transgender, gender variant, and intersex people, particularly against transgender women of color, in California prisons, jails, detention centers, and beyond. Two dollars of a customer’s purchase of the “I AM ME” campaign will be donated to the organization. Khalia, Nick, and LUL Magazine CEO Dwyane Stovall want to lead by example by collaborating on this movement as they believe this partnership is bigger than themselves and hope their stories continue to inspire their community. ISSUE #3 | 30



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