Noire Women's Wellness Mag | The Power of You | September/October 2022

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W W W.T R O N U S O F F I C I A L . C O M



Shanille McIntosh-Suckoo

COPY EDITOR Jennifer Knauf





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Dr. Trudy Wright Dr. Trudy Wright is the CEO and Pharmacist in Charge of John’s Creek Pharmacy in Suwanee, Georgia. Dr. Trudy has 17 years of experience, and has worked every position from cashier, to owner-operator. Her journey to become a pharmacist began when her mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Dr. Trudy’s mission became seeing her name on her mother’s pill bottles. After undergrad and pharmacy school, Dr. Trudy began her career as a pharmacist at Concord Drugs. In 42 years of business, she became the first Black, male or female, Pharmacist in Charge hired by Concord. After five short months of unprecedented professionalism, she bought the Suwanee location and has added a holistic component to the practice. Her independent pharmacy specializes in compounding, a process by which drugs are combined and or tailored in a way that meets the needs of each individual patient due to allergic and or various other restrictions.

Dr. Michelle Mitcham Dr. Michelle A. Mitcham is thrilled to empower women, teams and individuals with strategies for success in both the workplace and relationships. As CEO of Courageous Conversations, a counseling, coaching, and consulting practice, Dr. Michelle Mitcham executes solution-focused success coaching for relationships, mindfulness, divorce, wellness, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), effective leadership, communication, conflict-resolution, and collaboration. Dr. Mitcham believes that “With taking some risks and having courage, you CAN redefine the possibilities in your life.” She was honored to once be a featured guest on Oprah Winfrey show. She is the President and Publisher of the Tallahassee Woman Magazine.


Nicole Paradise D. Scott D. Scott is an author of six books and counting. She also had a column in the Artvoice called, “Dear Auntie”, where she offered advice on topics from dating to dress codes. Additionally, she has a podcast on iTunes called, “Stay in Your Lane with D. Scott”, that has over 350 episodes and has been on air for almost nine years. D. ghostwrites and edits for local and budding authors, as well as publishes books through her publishing entity. She has ran several businesses throughout the years and sits on several boards in her city of Niagara Falls, New York.

Andréas R.B. Deolinda Andréas R.B. Deolinda is a poet and writer passionate about using her craft to inspire change in every aspect of life through thought-provoking discussions. Through her out-of-the-box approach to writing, she hopes to inspire her audience and advocate for the power of education to give voice to individuals from all walks of life. Andréas is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Psychology Research and holds a double major BSc degree in Biochemistry and Psychology, and two BA Honors degrees in Psychology and Drama Therapy. Discover more about her work:

Shanille V Shanille V is an emerging freelance writer and podcast host based in Atlanta. She is a strong advocate for women empowerment. In her free time she enjoys cooking & mixing cocktails, while enjoying the Stush Life. September/October 2022

The Walk & Talk Life Coach and Author raising awareness for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) commonly known as Seasonal Depression. An honors graduate of Virginia State University with a B.A. in Sociology whose main objectives are helping women improve their mental health habits, crushing their goals in every season and walking boldly into their purpose.

Website: Instagram: @andy_poet

Kimberly Hart Kim’s primary belief is that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. Variety _is_ the spice of life and that comes through in her cooking. She teaches people how to properly fuel their body with whole foods and provides a simplistic approach to meal prepping. Her goal is to change people’s relationship with food and ultimately live a healthy balanced lifestyle. Noire Women’s Wellness | 5

Autumn Vassell

Leslie Salmon Jones Leslie Salmon Jones, Alvin Ailey trained dancer, yoga teacher, wellness coach, CEO, and co-founder of Afro Flow Yoga®. In 2008, along with her husband, multi-instrumentalist Jeff W. Jones, the couple developed a new integrated embodied practice, combining dances of the African Diaspora, yoga, and live healing music. For 30 years, Leslie has been speaking, writing, coaching, and teaching classes, retreats, and trainings internationally. Leslie has been featured in O Magazine, Essence, Black Enterprise, and a recent New York Times article. “Dark Girls 2,” a documentary produced by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, features the healing aspect of Afro Flow Yoga®.

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Autumn Vassell, founder of Fall For Your Travels LLC, is a Verified Travel Consultant from Detroit, Michigan. While working full-time as a process engineer, Autumn also decided to open her own travel agency in 2022 named Fall For Your Travels LLC based on her love of travel. Fall For Your Travels offers clients a variety of different services like travel consultations, itinerary planning, and booking travel to enhance your vacation experience. Trips stemming from affordable solo/group vacations to high-end luxury vacations can be booked through this flexible travel agency. With her experience in structure as an engineer and her avid travel journeys, being a travel agent is Autumn’s entrepreneurial dream come true.

Regina Lynch- Hudson Great-great-granddaughter of museum-recognized mountain medicine woman and herbalist Mary Louisa Stepp, veteran publicist Regina Lynch-Hudson exhales at healing sites and explores wellness experiences including spas, meditative sanctuaries, healthy eateries, soul-reviving resorts, and nature reserves. Wellness is a lifestyle for the world-trekking 64-year-old, formerly licensed esthetician, pescatarian, water aerobics aficionado, and shade-tree-seeker. Contact MadameXhales:

September/October 2022



Farm to Table

Earth to Skin

Featuring ancestral products from

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Santia Deck














36. P.M.S.



















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“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Power of You is about discovering and harnessing our strengths within through intentional reflection. We often set goals for ourselves and don’t see the need for rejoicing until we achieve it. Sometimes we’re so disappointed when we fall short of our goals that we don’t realize the valuable lessons that were learned and growth that was achieved. However, there lies so much value in the journey itself. I can honestly say that I too am guilty of not celebrating the steps I make toward progression regardless of the outcome.


n North America, the Autumn season is also known as Fall because this is the time of year when the treesshed its leaves for the winter. As humans, we have the ability to metaphorically shed our “leaves” throughout the year. In fact, it’s a healthy practice! It’s extremely important for us to routinely spend time reflecting on our experiences and making the necessary adjustments in our life. In this Autumn (Fall) issue of NWW Mag, we share stories of trials, tribulations, and triumph and reflect on a few amazing women’s journeys. Recognizing the

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and its main purpose is to bring awareness to the disease. Sticking with the theme of harnessing the Power of You, in this issue we pay tribute to the strong women who have either won the battle or are still fighting for their lives. As Black women it’s extremely important for us to be self-advocates for ourselves when it comes to our health and these women’s stories are a testament to that. FALL into this issue today! Eternally yours, Kaye Sadler Editor-in-Chief Q @kayeannsadler


The fierce young woman gracing the cover is Santia Deck, who is no stranger to breaking the mold and challenging herself (as well as the masses) to get what she wants. Her story is still being told and the first few chapters have already been a page turner.

September/October 2022


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September/October 2022

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all has arrived and you can smell it in the air. There are a million reasons to love this season: leaves changing, breeze blowing, warmer colors, cooler weather, firepits, family gatherings, and at it’s best, fall fashion trends are still top tier. It is the season of transition. The change from summer days into winter nights reminds us that the holidays are right around the corner. The time of the year when deciduous trees teach us that change is inevitable. The heat fades away and the leaves fall off the trees introducing new beginnings. But as great as it is for some, it is also the onset of sadness for others. It is the prelude to the winter blues causing a slow and steady decline in happiness. A season characterized as dark, depressing, and lonely. A state of being where human connection is lost through hibernation. And the drop in temperature becomes an easy escape to cover up the lack of interest in engaging. The search for warmth, however, is continuous. Clothing begins to layer and concealing the chaos becomes normal as individuals socially withdraw from the world they once knew. There is something to be said for those who, despite the struggle, still love this season. They fight hard not to succumb to the feelings of darkness, but no matter how hard they try to keep their spirits up, on some days when the sun goes down, so do they. The days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the daily disappearance of the light sends some souls spiraling into a black hole. That is where the SAD story begins.

What is SAD?

SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression. It is a type of depression that is related to changes in season and occurs at the same time each year. Seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men. The symptoms start off mild and get more severe as the season progresses. The key component of SAD is its seasonal pattern. It often starts in fall, 12 | Noire Women’s Wellness

when the days get shorter and there is less natural sunlight, and most commonly peaks in winter. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer months. The specific cause of SAD remains unknown, but some causes may include the following: -Your biological clock (circadian rhythm)A decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock leading to feelings of depression. -Serotonin levels- Reduced sunlight causes a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. -Melatonin levels- The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin which plays a role in sleep patterns and moods. Symptoms may include depression, sadness, loneliness, mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, excessive sleepiness, social withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts. Treatments may include psychotherapy, phototherapy, and medications.

The full scope of life is comprised of several emotions that we all will experience throughout our lifetime. Our journeys, alike and different, will always be full of ups and downs. But if ever you find yourself down for days or periods in excess, seek help from a licensed professional.


Relationships are the foundation of life. Starting with the relationship we have with our parents, onto our friends, spouse, children, coworkers, and of course, the relationship we have with ourselves. But what about the relationship we have with light and time? Diagnosed or undiagnosed, seasonal depression and the winter blues are real things. As a sociology graduate, I have always been intrigued by patterns of social relationships and how communication affects human behavior. But even with all the knowledge and loads of information, it became cloudy once I began dating depression. At the time, the intention for dating was commitment. How then did I find myself in a relationship that I had no intentions of ever wanting to be committed to? The season changed, summer was over, and unbeknownst to myself, I was falling. Fall was and is ironically September/October 2022

still my favorite season, hence why I fight hard not to sink into the cycle of sadness with the seasonal shift. Even though that is not where I am now, the beginning was quite different. Like most relationships, there is a honeymoon phase, then time passes, patterns set in, and things inevitably change.

ated for myself. I now traded my tale of tragedy for a treadmill, so when it was too cold outside, there were no excuses. I was no longer looking at life through a minuscule lens. I understood that change was going to happen with or without me. I started to question myself and revisit my patterns.

The start for me was never about getting out of my funk. Subconsciously, I was helping myself dive deeper into it. My home was my safe haven, and any opportunity that allowed me to stay inside was golden. The crisp air circulating throughout my space was refreshing yet delicately dosed with depression. You could almost smell what was coming. There was no morning routine, just the daily dread of going into a dark building with bad lighting and no sun exposure. Unfortunately, this was work for the next eight hours. Getting off work at the same time was now different. The sun had already disappeared, and something in me shifted. On the days that I felt bad, I would add things in to make myself feel worse, including sad songs, movies, books, videos, and the list goes on. Sadly, I looked forward to it. I have always had a love for storytelling and creativity that evoked raw emotion, so this was nothing out of the norm, or so I thought. I spent my work day planning my date night. My small joys then came from choosing between a tale of tragedy or immense heartbreak along with a good snack and some comfort food. I was eager to exit work, trading one gloomy day for another dark night. The seasons changed, but the days and nights both felt the same. Some days I would skip date night in an attempt to be active. I would physically be in attendance at events and gatherings, but I was never present. I was socially withdrawing because I was down and lethargic, and my energy was constantly low. I felt alone and wanted to be alone. This became a pattern: same time, every year, slowly but surely. As time continued on, it got darker earlier and progressively colder; therefore, declining an invite for a date with depression seemed reasonable. Every day I crawled deeper inside the black hole.

What part of the change did I control?


Own Your Mornings:

One day the walls were closing in and I was suffocating. I just needed to breathe so I went for a walk. Consequently, something as simple as walking helped me change course. It was one step at a time, day after day. A new cycle to combat the beautiful chaos I had creSeptember/October 2022

And if I crawled myself into this blackhole, could I not then claw myself out? I realized there was still power inside of me and I controlled any and every day that was given to me. I could have chosen to wait for brighter days because seasons are guaranteed to change. But the illumination I would have continued to wait for had already dimed the life that I was living. so, the real question was this: Who did I want to be when the lights came on? Clawing yourself out of any situation is never easy. It can be painful and scary, but ultimately, a process well worth it. Your mental and emotional well-being are essential parts of life. Understanding how to navigate negative emotions is a key component in taking your power back. I ditched dating the depression and committed to my happy hacks. It was a new day and this was just the beginning. A journey of a million miles.

SAD Happy Hacks Self help treatment to get you through the SAD season. Tips & tricks learned and shared along the way. How you begin your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and the first few minutes are crucial. This is when your mind can be internally programmed through prayer, gratitude, affirmations, yoga, meditation, and motivational videos.

Get Moving:

Dance, take classes, hit the cardio machine, run, swim, bike, or walk (my personal favorite). Exercise and activity release endorphins, “the feel-good hormone,” which can help alleviate stress and decrease symptoms of depression. Whether in your home, at the gym, with a partner, or on your own, get moving and wake your body up.

Organize Chaos:

A mess causes chaos. Keeping order in your home keeps peace in your mind. Declutter your home, organize cabinets and closets, let go of old clothes, clean out rooms, and keep a clean car.


I love writing (another personal favorite) and there is no wrong way to journal. Do what feels good even when it doesn’t. Journaling can be therapeutic. It is another way of releasing emotions. Daily journaling can also be a timeline that helps identify patterns that cause depressive episodes as well as habits formed that help combat negative emotions. Food journaling is also a great way to determine what foods boost your energy and which foods make you sluggish. Not to mention it helps you keep tabs on your weight.

Brighten Up:

Change the light bulbs in your home. Choose brighter colors for your wardrobe. Incorporate pops of color on your walls and when choosing decor.


Vitamins D and B12 can help boost energy and have positive effects on your mood. (Refer to a medical professional)

Share Your Story & Stay Connected:

Acknowledge your emotions and talk about your feeling with friends, family members, or support groups. Human connection is vital to your mental wellbeing. Surround yourself with positive people, those that make you feel good, inspire you, and motivate you. Have fun, enjoy life, and stay present. The Walk & Talk Life Coach #ParadiseWalknTalk Why walk alone when we can walk together?

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hat is your mindset? How do your friends, family members, or coworkers describe you? Do you readily see the positive perspective when things go awry? Sometimes we must have a courageous heart-to-heart conversation with ourselves to arrive at courageous solutions to issues holding us back (mindset, relationships, environment, workplace, etc.). Each of us has the power to be positive and adopt the philosophy of abundance, realizing that no one can block our blessings. Breaking down the psychological barriers, keeping it real, and being authentic proves to be the healthiest mindset and releases your inner power. The power of your mindset may help or hinder your success. Taking time to mediate, reflect, and focus on what really matters helps to develop a positive mindset and adopt abundance thinking and a general philosophy of abundance. We all have an inner light that may help others by shining a light on all things positive. The philosophy of scarcity will paralyze you, your business, or a relationship. Expanding our thinking and removing limits, barriers, and unreasonable expectations are great first steps to embracing the philosophy of the abundance thinker and taking things to the next positive level. An abundance thinker focuses on possibilities, faith, and optimism, while the scarcity thinker focuses on limitations and pessimism. How can the light within you honor the light in others? The following quote captures the focus of the philosophy of abundance and the message of this article. “Plant the seeds of abundance and water the garden of your mind.” -Tavia Rahki Smith, DC, RYT-500


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Power of You, Strategies for Cultivating Possibilities:

A B U N D A N C E September/October 2022

ADAPT to change and be open to possibilities. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a regimented or strict way of doing things. Not being adaptable contributes to limiting the possibilities in our lives and businesses. Talk to a friend, colleague, or personal coach to develop strategies for trying new ways of doing things.

BE a visionary and dream beyond limits. See the possibilities and know that dreaming doesn’t cost a penny and you should never be afraid to dream. Sometimes we surround ourselves with scarcity-mindset people that cannot see our dreams; be careful of this. UNCONDITIONAL positive regard for others: employees, colleagues, family, and business partners. Exemplifying unconditional positive regard for our team members and associates communicates care and respect. This professional disposition and attitude contributes to an atmosphere conducive to possibility and embracing new ideas. NEVER be overly attached to one idea. Use the creative brainstorming strategy of SCAMPER to think outside the box for abundant possibilities. SCAMPERing ideas stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to other uses, Eliminate, or Reverse the idea. This tool opens up possibility thinking.

DEVELOP yourself and others. Investing in yourself is critical for your success and retooling, both personally and professionally. Professional and personal development renew our thinking, ideas, self-awareness, goals, motivation, talent, skill sets, relationships, and communication skills. Investing in your talent development, as well as others, increases the possibilities for success. ASSERT yourself and your ideas. Always use your voice. To develop a philosophy of abundance, it takes effective communication and courageous conversations. Difficult dialogue will occur when you decide to change your way of doing or being in any situation. Others may be uncomfortable, but your display of assertiveness in a positive way may very well lead and pave the way for others to walk the talk and be more assertive. NEGOTIATE. Do you look at what’s in the best interest of the team, the business, the family, or the relationship? Practicing interest-based negotiation empowers all to focus on win-win outcomes for everyone. Looking at all perspectives opens and expands the possibilities. True interest-based negotiation does not allow for anyone to be stuck in their position.

COLLABORATE AND COMMUNICATE. Working with others and recognizing their talents and contributions are key to any successful personal or professional relationship. Authentic communication and collaboration contribute to innovative ideas and a new vision.

EXPAND your thinking, circle of influence, activities, mindfulness, vision, and operational definitions regarding expectations and possibilities. Expand your heart and mind to welcome all the blessings of the philosophy of abundance.

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By Autumn Vassell


an you practice mindful travel? My answer is yes. Have you ever sat in front of an ocean and been in awe of its beauty? Have you ever breathed the air on top of a mountain and felt a true breath of fresh air? Traveling has become my favorite hobby, not because it is an escape from day-to-day life, but because it allows me to live in the moment. Being in a different environment and surrounded by different cultures can give you an alternate perspective on so many things. You can be present by not worrying about the past and focus only on what is happening around you. Follow these seven tips to help practice mindful travelling and give your vacation a whole new meaning. MEDITATE Meditation is the key to channeling inner peace. Find a serene spot away from any distractions to begin meditation. You can either choose to meditate indoors or outdoors, whichever is most comfortable to you. Bring yourself to a very calm state and breathe in and out to bring your awareness to your body of where you are. This doesn’t need to be a long activity but doing a couple meditation techniques for a few minutes at the start of each day will give you a clear perspective from there on out. EXPLORE It is important to step outside your comfort zone to travel mindfully. Be curious, go on an adventure, or try something new. These types of activities immerse you into new experiences that you would not otherwise do. You may discover a new hobby, new outlook, or even simply a new food that you love. You will be surprised at how much you learn about yourself just by taking a new leap.

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EMBRACE NEW CULTURES This is a tip that many often forget, but do some research on cultural norms before traveling. To fully embrace a culture, you must be respectful of their values. Using the correct greeting or wearing the appropriate clothing can go a long way when you are interacting with people during your travels. As foreigners, it can provide understanding and deeper learning for a productive cultural exchange. This interaction can make the trip more positive by not offending the locals. REST Often people think that you need to be on the go for the entire vacation, a trip, usually you are experiencing jet lag and exhaustion from your journey. How can you truly be present if you are half asleep? Take time to reset and get a nap in to allow you to be alert for all the wonderful experiences during your vacation. PACK LIGHT Are you the person who brings three checked bags and two carry-ons for a trip? Try packing light next time. It may sound cliché but just bring the necessities. Think about how much time you can save choosing outfits if you bring fewer choices. This simple tip will save you energy from lugging around all your belongings and money for paying all the baggage fees. By only bringing the necessities, you can devote more time each day to all the other mindful travel tips! GO WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE Being in accord when traveling can be difficult when traveling in groups. However, if everyone has the same goals or “traveling style” then it creates less chaos. If you

like to go with the flow and you are traveling with someone who likes to have a list of plans, then this will not be cohesive. This is when determining travel styles is key to planning a group trip. Realistically, even those with the same traveling styles may not want to do all of the same activities together. But if you can agree on a few big group activities before the trip, it will bring a sense of togetherness. Those group activities after time apart doing your own thing will be much more rewarding. DISCONNECT This is probably the hardest tip I’ll give because, as we all know, disconnecting is easier said than done. We live our entire lives on our cell phones these days. However, for mindful travel, we must remember to maximize our experience by being aware of our surroundings. It is nearly impossible to be completely aware if we are constantly posting on social media or facetiming family and friends back home. Feel free to take pictures to commemorate the special moments but save the sharing until the trip is over. You’ll have a lot more stories to tell because you wouldn’t have missed a beat. So go ahead and put up that out-of-office notification; your brain will be grateful for the break. Use these mindful travel tools to enrich your travel experience. By devoting your full attention to your surroundings while traveling, you will enjoy more of the trip. Thus, instead of feeling the anxiety of coming back to reality, you can leave your vacation feeling recharged. Remember that being on vacation is an experience everyone should be grateful for anyway, so let’s make sure to make the most of it during your time there!

September/October 2022

Courageous Conversations Life Coach, Facilitator & Counselor Dr. Michelle Mitcham, LMHC-QS, NCC, CCMHC, CFM


Dr. Michelle A. Mitcham is thrilled to empower women, teams and individuals with strategies for success in both the workplace and relationships. As CEO of Courageous Conversations, a counseling, coaching, and consulting practice, Dr, Mitcham coaches on leadership, workplace resilience, emotional intelligence, imposter syndrome, relationship building, women’s empowerment, diversity, equity and inclusion, conflict resolution, mindfulness, and team building.

September/October 2022

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k c i h T m i l S

IN A BLACK WORLD By Andréas RB Deolinda


s far as ideas about perfection go, black women's bodies have largely been under the surgical knife of society's self-appointed experts. Historically, the image of a white woman’s thin silhouette has been regarded as the optimum body physique for women to aspire towards. Media, such as magazines or newspapers, depict a language of convention that resonates with the target audience. The trajectories of content represented by the media, including the influence of social media, rely on dominant ideologies. Many of these ideologies have depicted slender women of white ethnic origin as objects of perfection causing a disparity in what is perceived as perfection in relation to body image and skin color. The table has always been negatively skewed towards black women. Still, as the movement toward body positivity has been grasped among people of all shapes, the voices of many black women seeking representation in the media advocating for inclusiveness and equality have amassed to a level of activism. These spaces have opened up what Elizabeth Hughes calls "cultural buffers", where people of minority groups become “acceptable” to society’s cultural standards. Hence, we dive into the narrative of “slim thick” or “thick fit,” which has captured pop culture and infiltrated the

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health and wellness industry. Today, we see the thick fit or slim thick narrative being boasted by a fitness industry that sells the idea of perfection by enforcing strength training exercises that target weight loss while enhancing glutes and thigh areas, as well as sculpting the abdomen area. As the image of black women's bodies becomes a symbol of desirability, the over-sexualization by the media pervades the ideal physique of being thick or curvy as a standard of beauty. While this may seem revolutionary (shifting away from slim beauty standards), it has created a system of "othering" in two ways. In the othering of black bodies that don't necessarily fit into the thick/curvy girl frame, we find two subtypes: The first, those who, according to research, still fear getting fat and desire a slimmer body shape. The second subtype is black women who naturally have slim body types. In this system of othering, we have the narrative that includes those who are naturally curvy but lack the fit component and don’t have the aesthetic hourglass frame. According to Women’s Health, #slimthicc has accumulated 328 million tags on TikTok. With numbers as high as this, it's no surprise the mental strain and pressure

women, especially black women, now experience in lieu of meeting the status quo. Not to mention how this continues to dictate women's bodies based on shape-shifting societal norms. As we navigate these notions of beauty standards, it becomes increasingly important to become self-aware and practice selfcare based on what is best for our health and overall well-being. If there’s one thing the history of beauty standards has taught us, it's how fleeting these standards are. Our bodies naturally fluctuate from one form to the next. Should you embark on a journey of health and wellness? Caution towards evaluating your whys. Who is the leading voice behind wanting to achieve a certain goal, especially in relation to body goals? Perfection should be an intimate personal goal that we strive towards. To achieve perfection is to attain a level of confidence and comfortability that supports both physical, mental, and overall well-being and that is not influenced by external circumstances. So, while society sells us its definition of perfection, it is our individual responsibility to tune into our definition of worth and navigate from a place of kindness and love toward our inner being.


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As summer dissolves into autumn and temperatures dip, there’s no healthier sip than wellness in a cup. The history of tea dates back to ancient China, with records of tea sipping spanning back as early as the third century, in a medical document scripted by Hua Tuo, a Chinese physician. Many of our early foremothers, with no formal education in medicine, were prolific healers who performed the duties of doctors using curative herbal brews. Had my great-great grandmother Mary Louisa Stepp Burnette Hayden been born in 1958 instead of 1858, her legacy could have very well been that of a physician, pharmacist, or president of her own holistic nutrition company. Her skills as an herbalist and natural healer, combined with her extensive knowledge of common mountain plants of western North Carolina—golden seal, black cohosh, crushed ragweed, ginger, and garlic—enabled her to look after the health of entire families. Plants and plant extracts were used to treat every type of ailment, from indigestion to colds to flu. In later years, Mary Louisa practiced her craft from a small cottage. Barely less than five feet tall, she was known as a “fierce force to reckon with,” clothed in her flowing aproned-dress, waist-length hair protectively twisted into a bun as she boiled leaves, herbs, and ingredients of Mother Nature into tea potions in a cast iron cauldron.

The world’s top tea producing countries include China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Argentina, Japan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malawi, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Myanmar, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Nepal. Rooibos tea, a favorite of mine, is consumed by South Africans around the clock as a breakfast drink, luncheon beverage, or nighttime cocktail. Caffeine-free rooibos tea offers vast health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. Another favorite is karkade, a refreshing red tea first introduced to me in Cairo, Egypt in 1993. Karkade boasts many medicinal properties, including regulation of blood pressure and a high C content. Africans have been consuming tea concoctions for ages for remedial benefits. Kenya has become the top tea-exporting nation around the globe for black tea, rich in antioxidants, thought to improve heart and gut health and lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

For centuries, antioxidant-rich green tea has been a dominant refreshment throughout Asia and has gained popularity worldwide.

So powerful are the healing properties of tea that tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water, according to the Tea Association of the USA. 20 | Noire Women’s Wellness

September/October 2022

AT INTERNATIONAL TEA SITES By Regina Lynch-Hudson | Photography by Courtland C. Bivens III

For centuries, antioxidant-rich green tea has been a dominant refreshment throughout Asia and has gained popularity worldwide. Admittedly, the only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house. Yet, thanks to worldwide excursions and tea-making demonstrations across the globe, I’ve found myself using my kitchen to concoct a medley of organic tea recipes that would make great-great-grandmother Mary Louisa proud. Babington’s Tea Room: Rome, Italy After hiking Rome’s Spanish Steps, it was time to refuel at Babington's Tea Room, a traditional English tea shop established in 1893. Located at the foot

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of the Spanish Steps in the Piazza di Spagna, the famed shop offers a vast array of teas carefully curated from all corners of the earth. There I devoured Babington’s red rhubarb, a blend of black Darjeeling tea enriched with hibiscus and rhubarb. The Art of the Deal: Marrakesh, Morocco Tea is the libation used to seal deals in Morocco. When hubby traded me in for 420 camels, 2 castles, 100 Arabian horses, 2 suits of Saladin armour, and 5 swords made of Moorish steel, local Berber villager Aziz and I toasted over mint tea, Morocco’s national drink. After the transaction was consummated, hubby forewarned Aziz that he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. Hokokuji Temple: Kamakura, Japan At the legendary Hokokuji Temple, renowned for its bamboo forest containing over 2000 moso trees and Japanese tea house, I sipped therapeutic green tea at dusk amid a calming cascade of magnificent bamboo stalks.

Great-great-granddaughter of museum-recognized mountain medicine woman and herbalist Mary Louisa Stepp, veteran publicist Regina Lynch-Hudson exhales at healing sites and explores wellness experiences, including spas, meditative sanctuaries, healthy eateries, soul-reviving resorts, and nature reserves. Wellness is a lifestyle for the world-trekking 64-year-old, formerly licensed esthetician, pescatarian, water aerobics afficionado, and shade-tree-seeker. Contact MadameXhales:

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any of you may be wondering, “Who is Santia Deck?” Well, more than 800,000 people tune in to her page regularly on social media and know what all the hype is about. Santia’s love for sports began when she played tennis at four years old. Then, at the age of seven, she began running. She landed a full scholarship at Texas A&M University – Kingsville as a track and field sprinter. Growing up in a house with three brothers—one of which is her twin— she played football with them and was seemingly good at it, but her mom put a stop to it after she took a hit to the chest. However, her natural athletic abilities sparked her interest in sports post-college. I was extremely curious to know: Why football?! After all, football isn’t a sport that is typically promoted for female athletes. Santia went viral playing flag football and began training for the 2020 US Olympic rugby team until she, unfortunately, suffered an injury. Playing rugby helped her pivot to tackle football, which landed her a deal with the Women’s Football League Association, making her the first woman to sign a multimillion-dollar football contract. If this isn’t a testament for embracing the unknown and walking your own path, I don’t know what is!

a i t n a S eck D

With this amazing accomplishment, Santia is even more determined to continue breaking records and smashing through the glass ceiling by decreasing the pay gap for women in sports. Additionally, she wants to show little girls that they can do anything they want to do. Young girls stop playing sports by the age of 14 at a rate 1.5 times higher than boys, according to a report by Gatorade. Santia wants to be the motivation they need to keep going and show them that it will translate to success later down the road. Playing sports is beneficial in many aspects besides winning and the physical aesthetic advantages. It teaches work ethic, team building, and how to overcome obstacles, just to name a few things. Santia has overcome her fair share of obstacles and is still at it. In January 2022, she suffered yet another injury, this time to her ACL. She’s currently going through the healing process, so she tries not to engage in any physical activity, which is extremely difficult for her. This young wom24 | Noire Women’s Wellness

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an has been going practically non-stop all her life! To put things into perspective, this is her first summer not playing sports since she was four years old. However, being injured is forcing her to not only rest but to discover other pleasures in life besides footwork and ladder drills.

rep for the brand she was representing, and the rest is history. Although she never considered starting a shoe line, she is a bonified sneakerhead, so it’s only right. Her mom, who also doubles as her manager, stepped in to conduct market research, analytics, and most of the business processes.

We chatted a bit about self-care, and Santia admitted that she needs to work on finding more balance. She understands the importance, but when you’re thirty years old and building an empire, I can imagine how that could take a backseat. She did promise to become intentional about taking time for herself regularly, whether at a spa or a cabin, to prevent burnout. Sitting still has also stimulated her spiritually. She talks freely about being a child of God and drawing closer to Him in times like this. Along with her spirituality, Santia is enjoying building memories, traveling, and tapping into other opportunities that came about because of her athletic skills and notoriety.

Santia admitted that she doubted herself at first— after all, she was about to be the first woman (yet again) to pull this off— but her mom did what moms do. Her mom told her that she was walking the right path and reassured her that she could do it. From there, Santia left it in God’s hands. The Tronus shoe line has been extremely well received so far and is available for purchase in Champs Sports and The Athlete’s Foot retail stores, as well as online.

What initially started out as her being a brand ambassador for another sneaker brand blossomed into having a shoe line named Tronus. Yes, you read that right! Santia has her own sneaker line. She was approached by a

And she’s not finished yet. There’s so much more to come in the future for this hungry, determined, ambitious young woman. Besides the book she is writing and social media masterclass she’s preparing to offer, Santia hopes to settle down one day. She would like to get married, have kids, and truly enjoy the fruits of her labor. Until then, she’s enjoying the many routes life has her running, both on and off the field.




By Kimberly Hart


enerally, when people hear that phrase, thoughts of strict diets and counting calories comes to mind. It’s also followed by thoughts of bland and tasteless food. I’m unsure where the idea started that because someone is trying to live a healthier lifestyle, they cannot enjoy the foods they are eating too. What I’ve found over the years is that, when you enjoy the food(s) you’re eating, you’re more likely to stay on track. As they say, the best diet is the one you’re able to stick with. For me, I believe that every food has a place in a healthy diet, and I lean into everything in moderation. That said, I wholeheartedly believe that the food you eat can be healthy without sacrificing taste or flavor. Learning to make simple swaps and using easy to find herbs and spices makes all the difference when creating my healthy meals. Take my creamy shrimp and grits as a great example of how simple swaps makes the dish healthier for you. Instead of traditional bacon, I use low fat Cajun chicken sausage. Next, instead of tons of butter and heavy cream, which is traditionally used to make creamy grits, we’re going to use plain almond milk and just a tablespoon of butter. While grits are in itself a great source of carbohydrates, if you wanted to make it low carb, you can swap out the grits for cauliflower grits. Again, just simple swaps without skimping on flavor. Get the full recipe for the creamy shrimp and grits on my blog:

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The Random Whine is an entire experience filled with arbitrary conversations and extraordinary outcomes. It’s what random friends do together to create a beautifully random experience, discussing random topics, while randomly indulging in what was created for this exact moment— wine!

Red Blend-12.5% alc. This red blend features rich cherry, plum and stone fruit flavors and very mellow tannins making this an ideal companion for a wide range of foods, especially meats and hearty pastas. Multi-vintage Blend of Zinfandel, Petit Verdot Petite Sirah & Merlot

Pino Grigio- 12.5% alc. This crisp, delicate white peach and orange blossom flavored white is accented with Symphony, a fragrant grape that adds enticing floral aromas. The pleasant finish is ideal with lighter foods including appetizers, dinner salads, baked chicken and seafood.

"Good wine is best paired with random conversations." Kaye Jackson, Founder





“I knew it was my calling when I had lost weight and started eating healthy within nine months. I looked in the mirror and I could not believe how great I looked. I knew it kept me looking young.”

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Photography: Robert Ector

By Shanille V

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all sorts of things. It’s very important for Black women to know our numbers, know what your blood pressure is, know what your weight is. I think we can't avoid it if we work more on our health and diet.” As the matriarch of your family, what prompted you to make a change to your health & wellness? Sometimes it takes you to look at yourself in the mirror, a glimpse of your reflection can help you turn your life around. “I had turned 40 and someone had taken a picture of me, all I saw was butt and gut. I also remember reading a report, my mom had died at an early age at 62, her medical report said that she was overweight and obese. I knew that she was overweight, but when they called her obese that just hurt me so bad. So, I decided to be a leader in my family and, you know, show them what's it like to live, to live a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to bring not generational wealth, but generational health to my family.”


llen Ector is a 69-year-old mom of five and grandmother of four. She is getting ready to embark on her seventh decade of life, the


She quit her job and decided to focus on her health journey almost 30 years ago when her mother passed away at an early age from uterine cancer. She said it broke her heart to see what was written on the coroner’s report, and then she knew that she needed to make some life changes. Walking in her life purpose, she is the CEO of Gymnetics Fitness that she operates with her daughter, created “Black Girls Workout Too,” and has a vegan cookbook “Black Girls Gone Vegan.” Her mission is to break generational health curses while aging blackwards. How do you start your morning and how does it help you to keep aging Blackwards? Creating the atmosphere for a radiant morning: meditation, meditation, meditation! “Step 1. Mediate between 20 to 30 minutes a day and do breathing exercises. Step 2. Turn on gospel music and get in the gym.” Why do you feel it’s important for black women to be healthy? Women, specifically black women, should pay more attention to their health. “Black women are leading statistics in cancer, diabetes, strokes, September/October 2022

What mindset did you have to get into to keep going towards your goal? Focusing and tunnel vision always helps to keep you focus on a goal, it helps to allow yourself to continue your life’s work and purpose. “My mindset is, I want to keep on living. I wanted to be able to tie my shoes when I got older, I wanted to not age backwards, but age blackwards.” They always say that black don't crack. “I wanted to have a plan as I grew older, I wanted to grow wiser and being wise, we had to do a lot with health and fitness. Not only mentally, but physically also.” As the amazing Ector duo, how has motherhood been shaped being able to work with your daughter to help end generational health curses? What made your daughter Lana join you on your journey? Working with family members can sometimes be a struggle in itself, but this duo makes it work.” We're a perfect team. We have our ups and downs like any business, but it has been good. It's been rewarding being able to do what we love, working together.” Following your purpose in life gives you a full life. “I had already been in fitness, but Lana had done a couple of fitness shows in college. We just molded together and were able to come up with ‘Black Girls Workout Too.’” Some people start a journey but don’t feel like it’s their calling. When did you realize this was Noire Women’s Wellness | 31

your calling? “I knew it was my calling when I had lost weight and started eating healthy within nine months. I looked in the mirror and I could not believe how great I looked. I knew it kept me looking young.” You look amazing and I know a lot of people/women, including myself, struggle to find tasty plant-based meal options. How were you able to come up with the recipes for “Black Girls Gone Vegan”? “Black Girls Gone Vegan” took about three years to make. A lot of thought had to go into the process of developing recipes. “We had to make it soul fit, everything that we used to eat, we just converted into vegan meals by buying plant-based items to go into plantbased meals.” Your granddaughter is also featured on black girl gone vegan, did she have any input with recipes? How does she like the vegan lifestyle? Larc wasn’t always too fond of the vegan lifestyle. “At first, she didn't adapt to it, she thought we were crazy. She said kids were 32 | Noire Women’s Wellness

laughing at her because she couldn’t eat meat.” But that didn’t stop grandma from winning her over and showing her how beneficial it is. “But we had to ease her into it. So now she loves it. She'll come home and fix a tofu scramble that's out of this world. It was hard at first, but we were able to win her over.” Being a mom of five, grandmother of four, I know you get multiple inputs or suggestions about your lifestyle habits from your kids and grandkids. How did your kids feel when you decided to make a change to your life? It’s always a great feeling when your family supports you every step of the way in making life changes. “My kids are very supportive. Everything I do, they're very supportive because they look at me and say; when I grow older, I want to look like mommy or when I grow older I want to be able to run like mommy.” With you about to embark on your 70th birthday, what else can we expect from Ms. Ellen Ector? New goal; new attitude. “I'm coming out with

a skincare line to show women how to age blackwards.” Ms. Ector reminds us that she is still young and has many ventures that she plans to take on as she enters her next decade of life. Ms. Ellen Ector is a fitness sensation, you can catch her on Instagram showing off some of her moves that keeps her fit, aging blackwards, and enjoying life. September/October 2022

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hai Yoga Stretch is an ancient alternative healing modality believed to have been started by a doctor from northern India, known as Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, over 2,500 years ago. But it isn’t really a massage in the traditional sense. It’s, what I like to call, assisted stretching. It also differs from traditional massage in that the recipient doesn’t have to undress. In my opinion, it’s best on a comfortable floor cushion where both the receiver and practitioner can move freely. The practitioner guides the recipient through a series of movements designed to stretch the limbs or apply pressure on the muscles. What makes Thai Yoga Stretch so therapeutic? Well, it has to do with our physical and energetic body, the fascia, and the energy meridians. Fascia, a tissue casing that surrounds and holds every nerve, blood vessel, muscle, organ, and bone in place, plays an integral role in our flexibility and quality of life. The more active a person is the “looser” their fascia and vice versa. When we experience stress, our fascia tightens, which can manifest in stiff neck muscles, knots, headaches, etc. Your shoulders are probably tight right now—let go! Stress has been shown to be detrimental to our health in so many ways. So, the more we can relax, the better we feel, and in turn, the more active we can become. Additionally, since we are energetic beings, we want the flow through our energy centers, or chakras, to be at optimal levels. 34 | Noire Women’s Wellness

Remember the physical body and energetic body should operate together in harmony. Any imbalance in either body can cause one to experience an array of symptoms. A typical Thai Yoga Stretch session last for an hour and begins with a consult. The practitioner can create a very relaxing atmosphere with spa music, aromatherapy, and dim lighting. Or it can be practiced impromptu in a park or on the beach. It’s so versatile that, in Thailand, practitioners set up on the street out in the open! The goal is to enjoy your session no matter where you are. Not only does Thai Yoga Stretch relieve pain and muscle tension, but recipients also experience reduced headaches, increased energy levels, and an improved range of motion, circulation, and lymphatic flow. Thai Yoga Stretch is a great way to not only improve your flexibility but also to reduce your stress levels. Thankfully, it is becoming more and more available in our communities. Follow me on Social Media if you’re interested in learning more or to book a session. Goddess Touch Health and Wellness Fitness Coach, Reiki & Thai Yoga Practitioner IG: GoddessTouchHW

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"The competence to know what is right, and the character to do what is right." OPEN DAILY 9AM - 5PM Mon -Fri Closed Sat & Sun

September/October 2022

Scan the QR code to receive your free athome Covid testing kits. For more information about products and services, kindly visit our website at Noire Women’s Wellness | 35



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t’s not what you think; I want to talk to you about preventive maintenance scheduling. Countless Black women, we won’t even mention Black men, live a poor quality of life and/or die prematurely simply because they skip routine visits to the doctor. While I truly understand the rationale behind self-diagnosis—please excuse my peremptory tone— change orders are imperative and must be our new narrative. When was the last time you made a change for the better that wasn’t a direct response to a change for the worse? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so at minimum, ask your healthcare provider about a screening. Preventive maintenance scheduling, or PMS, rose to prominence shortly after World War II. In a nutshell—and sometimes I find myself highly allergic to proactive routines—it’s all about fixing machines before they break beyond repair. While our bodies are not machines, if we are truly seeking optimal wellness levels, we will look for the low hanging fruit in our daily rhythms and routines. There are several types of preventive maintenance programs, but I want to focus on prescriptive maintenance, and not just because it sounds like a prescription. This should tell you not only when but why equipment breaks down and what you can do to curtail the costs. If you can identify and understand patterns of inheritance, you can launch a preemptive strike on diseases and set sail for a new destination for your family. Lena Horne said it best, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that Black women are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. According to the medical journal “The Lancet,” America has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized nation on Earth. While much of this is a direct correlation between risk factors and predicted outcomes, learning about potential outcomes could be the first step in changing the outcome itself. I encounter women on a regular basis who do not have a primary care physician; instead, they opt for clinics and urgent care facilities on an as-needed basis and bring me their prescriptions. While financially feasible for a flu shot or stuffy nose, this creates an atmosphere of low trust in worse-case scenarios that could cause you to delay treatment. Not having a relationship with your doctor could cause you

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to waste time that you don’t have. Some say they can’t afford to visit the doctor; I say you can’t afford not to. During my last year in pharmacy school, I became pregnant for the first time. I had occasional headaches and nausea, but I figured these were badges of honor and came with the territory. It wasn’t until my second OBGYN visit that I realized my extraordinary problems were far too ordinary in the Black community. Preeclampsia is 60% more likely for Black women according to To exacerbate the high-risk pregnancy, I was also diagnosed with an incompetent cervix and had to have an emergency procedure 22 weeks into my pregnancy. Tina K. Sacks, author of the book “Invisible Visits: Black Middle-Class Women in the American Healthcare System,” masterfully talks about how many studies point to Black uneducated women without healthcare while ignoring the fact that the same issues are prevalent amongst educated affluent Black women as well. Trust me, I know that health equity is virtually nonexistent in our community. A survey conducted by from 2021 revealed that 21% of Black women experienced body-shaming at the hands of a doctor. The UCLA Newsroom did research in 2018 that showed the proportion of Black physicians in the past 120 years in this country has only changed by 4%. While the country is 12.8% Black, only 2.8% of doctors in America are Black females. You may not have the resources of Serena Williams or Beyoncé, and while this is not your fault per se, it is your problem. In my humble opinion, making it into professional football and having a Black female team owner who understands you would be easier than locating a Black female physician who understands your tendencies, upbringing, and collective consciousness. If your name is Santia Deck, you can do both.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” —Benjamin Franklin Being a Black female pharmacist who understands you, I suggest breaking things down even smaller. Start with a mere gram of prevention. Take baby steps towards your goals. As I stated earlier, to say I had a rough pregnancy would be a gross understatement. There are lifestyle changes that I was forced to make that could’ve been made prior to having my unborn son’s survival jeopardized. I have a new saying: “make decisions under

caress and not duress.” I am asking each reader to establish stretch goals and immediately attainable goals. Subsequently, identify any physical, mental, or spiritual habits that honestly don’t align with those non-negotiable goals of yours. In conclusion, this October, please don’t just rock your pink T-shirt that matches your mani-pedi and crossbody bag. Ask your healthcare provider about scheduling a mammogram. There’s a wonderful checklist for women that can be found at urologyhealth. org entitled, “Women’s Checklist What Black Women Should Know.” Utilize this resource to learn about timelines for various screenings, and please also encourage others.




By D. Scott


istorically, we attribute our beauty, strength, endurance, and body type to our mothers. Common sayings like, “she get it from her mama” and “she’s built like a brick house” are all tributes to our feminine elders. We never speak much about how our fathers play an integral role in body positivity, how we eat, how we endure certain situations, and how we are built. The presence of strong and healthy fathers is why a lot of strong, healthy women can navigate a male-dominated, non-melanated world. Saladin Allah is a shining example of this with his three daughters. Saladin Allah is the third-great grandson to the underground railroad Freedom Seeker Josiah Henson, the primary narrative in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Saladin is a father of three girls: Asiyah, Aziza, and Anusha. Asiyah and Aziza are both Howard University graduates. Asiyah earned her degree in administration of justice and went on to earn her master’s in forensic and legal psychology from Marymount University. Aziza earned her degree in chemistry and is currently enrolled at the University of Maryland to earn her doctorate in pharmaceutical science. Saladin is a therapeutic recreation major who attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, a Region 6 Representative of the Five Percenters in WNY/Southern Ontario, and founder of the Atlantis School for Gifted Youngsters, Atlantis Build Talk Radio, and Quanaah Publishing. His youngest daughter, Anusha, is three and has yet to determine what she wants to be. Of course, her father tells her she can be whatever she wants in this life. All three of his girls have a mother who is active, fit, and clear and concise about the girls’ dietary needs. Saladin prides himself on being close to 50, juggling fatherhood and his purpose, and maintaining intermittent fasting. He reduces his caloric intake to just one meal a day. He will drink water and have fruit or a snack, but he sits down and eats a hearty meal just one time a day. His daughters have been both vegetarian and vegan throughout the years. His youngest daughter doesn’t eat red meat

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WE NEVER SPEAK MUCH ABOUT HOW FATHERS PLAY AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN BODY POSITIVITY, HOW WE EAT, HOW WE ENDURE CERTAIN SITUATIONS, AND HOW WE ARE BUILT.” are always going to revere mama, I think it is important to point out that men have a value and healthy place in women’s lives. We need to hear more experiences where our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and male friends influence us as women. You can catch Saladin and his daughters at events all over the country. Wherever there is dancing, education, and opportunity for his daughters to see an impact on the community, you will find them there. Saladin is currently an elementary school educator, visitor experience and community liaison specialist at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, public art coordinator for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, commissioner for the Human Rights Commission in the City of Niagara Falls, New York, and a public speaker.

or pork. The two eldest are in their 20’s while their baby sister is a toddler. Their mother is also fit. She has been eating clean for decades and it shows. All of these things contribute to the girls’ well-being. If we are not able to control what we put into our bodies, how can we control anything else? For Saladin and his daughters this is a simple task. They grew up mimicking their parents’ lifestyles, and that included what they ate. Their father planted a vast garden of vegetables and herbs at his Atlantis School for Gifted Youngsters. He plans on teaching his elementary and pre-k students how to grow their own food. He looks to the past to curate food experiences for his daughters that will keep them healthy and promote a lifestyle they don’t have to recover from. Although we September/October 2022

While working on the yet-to-be-released CBC docuseries “Secrets on the Border” and featuring in the IMAX film “Into America’s Wild,” as well as being directed by Simcha Jacobovici with Samuel L. Jackson for the six-part series “Enslaved,” he may eat some trail mix or fruit. That is a different level of discipline. His youngest daughter has a love for veggies and will eat her father’s lentil soup any day of the week. As a historian, part of his job is to honor those that can’t speak currently. He will be remembered in his city, in the museum, and in the film world. His fondest memories will be chronicled by his daughters. He still can drop it low and his knees don’t give out. With a three-year-old, that is more beneficial than he cares to elaborate on. We constantly say to “give folks their flowers.” Giving fathers their props while they can still receive them is important. We don’t just model our male acquaintances after our fathers, some of us shape our lives around our father’s lead and example.

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September is National

Yoga Month! Designated in 2008, the month of September is dedicated to raising awareness around the practice of yoga and its many health benefits.

“Yoga is not a workout it is a work-in, and this is the point of spiritual practice to make us teachable to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” - Rolf Gates

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BREATH IS LIFE! By Leslie Salmon Jones


reath is the essential life force of our existence. Without breath, we would not be alive! Those of us who are blessed with good health can literally take each breath for granted, and breathing can be a mindless activity left to the brilliance and reliability of our bodies. Yet what happens when we lose our breath? When we're frightened, over-stressed, or physically spent, that previously mindless activity becomes a life-saving mission. We panic! We activate our bodies’ sympathetic nervous system, the “fight-or-flight response.” But if we take a few minutes a day to engage in mindful breathing, we can change our physiological state. Mindful breathing is a great way to relieve stress and trapped emotions that have been suppressed in our bodies. If you're feeling anxious, fearful, racing thoughts, etc., taking some deep, slow, rhythmic breaths activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm your body and mind. It's also a great energy booster, as 70% of our energy comes from breathing. If you feel like you don't have enough energy during the day, take

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a moment to breathe. Engaging in daily breathing exercises for a few minutes elevates the oxygen levels in your bloodstream, which is the key to increasing the energy available to your mind and body. When you're working out, mindful breathing will help you get through tough physical exercises by bringing focus to the mind, energy to the body, and strength to the muscles. Exercise: Deep Belly Breathing: Lie on your back with the soles of your feet on the floor (or sit in a chair with the soles of your feet on floor and your back supported). Feel your spine on the floor and place your hands on your belly. Relax your shoulders and neck. Take a deep breath in through your nose for four counts, filling your belly with air like a balloon. Hold the breath for four counts, and then slowly exhale out of your mouth (as if you are exhaling out of a straw), deflating your stomach until all the air is squeezed out of your lungs. Inhale and repeat the exercise for four repetitions or more. When you feel comfortable, increase the sets to six counts, then eight counts, and so on.

“Mindful breathing is a great way to relieve stress and trapped emotions that have been suppressed in our bodies.”

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atching some of the social media yogis bend it like Beckham all over the world can be a bit intimidating for someone wanting to begin a practice of yoga. Afterall, inversions and backbends do look pretty cool! But the reality of it all is we have to start with the basic poses and work our way up to the more advanced ones. Any good yoga instructor advises to focus on the practice and not the pose. Besides the obvious benefits of increasing strength and flexibility and improving your posture, yoga has been credited with stress reduction via mental clarity and calmness. Although yoga can aid in weight reduction, there is no one size fits all yogi. Yogis come in all sizes and shapes, and in recent years, Black women have emerged as some the most influential yogis on social media. Here are a few yoga poses you can do to begin your practice today:

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This pose can serve as a position of rest and helps with slowing your breath. It’s also a hip stretcher that can be used to prepare for class.

This pose strengthens your spine, thighs, and calves.

This pose stretches your spine, hamstrings, and calves.

Squat downward toward your heels, while bending your knees and keeping your thighs parallel. Lean your body over your thighs, ever so slightly. Maintain firm shoulders. Reach up to the sky our bring your hands to your heart’s center.

Go down on your hands and knees, ensuring your wrists are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Point your fingers to the top of your mat.

Go down on your knees and spread them in the shape of a “V”, while making your big toes touch behind your back. Rest your bottom on your heels. Stretch your arms forward, lengthening your spine. Hold this pose while extending your arms or if you want a challenge, put both arms around your back.

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AWARENESS MONTH This month we honor the strength of women who have fought and are still fighting breast cancer by sharing the stories of a few beautiful and brave souls. By Kaye-Ann Sadler

Kaye Jackson

In 2014, Kaye Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer after experiencing pain under her left arm and discovering a small pea sized lump in her breast. What doctors initially attributed to her “dense breasts” turned out to be cancerous once biopsied. A year after having the lump surgically removed, receiving radiation treatment, and taking medication, additional cancer cells were found. She was officially in stage II. The cancer eventually spread to her lymph nodes, and she had a series of surgeries to remove those and reconstruct her breasts, post-mastectomy. 46 | Noire Women’s Wellness

Kaye was a recently-divorced single mom in a town without family, so she was thankful for support from support groups, kind neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers—including an Uber driver who made sure she made it inside her home safely after feeling ill on her way home from chemotherapy. She was determined to fight and survive despite the odds stacked up against her. After a while of going through treatment, Kaye felt that the fear of dying was consuming her, then she received some valuable advice from her oncologist: focus on things that make you happy. For her, that meant karaoke and wine. That is when she discovered her love for wine and her baby, The Random Whine, was born. Building this wine company was the distraction she needed and gave her another reason to continue fighting. April 15, 2022, was Kaye’s three-year anniversary of being cancer free. While on this journey, she managed to find love again and remarried in 2021. Currently, she still pours into her wine company and tries to always see her glass as half full.

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Dr. Cree Scott

In 2014, Dr. Cree Scott relocated to Atlanta with her husband and three-year-old daughter. She was roughhousing with her daughter when she was accidentally kicked in the chest and the pain caused her to rub her breasts. It was at that moment she felt the lump. Cree was only 38 years old at the time, so she doubted it was anything to be concerned about. Nevertheless, she attempted to find a doctor to examine her. As a new resident of Atlanta, she didn’t have a doctor and had a difficult time finding one that could see her right away. Finally, she went to Planned Parenthood where she was referred for a mammogram. After a series of tests and what felt like years, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Dayna Farris-Fisher

After a routine mammogram came back with suspicious results in 2013, Dayna Farris-Fisher had a follow-up screening that was deemed “normal” by a radiologist. About six months later, she began to feel pain, and after examining herself, she discovered a lump. Her husband’s COBRA Insurance had just ended, so she was without coverage. She spent about six weeks trying to navigate the medical system without insurance until she finally decided to go to Planned Parenthood. With that short delay, the tumor had almost doubled in size. Dayna underwent chemotherapy for about six months before going for a double mastectomy followed by radiation. Once she completed radiation, she opted to do breast reconstruction surgery. Dayna has a BRCA (breast cancer) gene mutation, which puts her at a much higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. On her maternal side of the family, as far back as she can recall, there has been a woman in every generation that has died from cancer. Know this, she had her daughter tested for the BRCA mutation, and unfortunately, she also tested positive. In 2016, Dayna was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and again underwent chemotherapy for about six months. Once she completed chemo, she received a full hysterectomy. Fast forward to 2021, Dayna was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, which spread to her bones and is currently incurable. Her doctors expected if cancer did recur, it would recur in her ovaries, so they were a bit surprised to see it return to her breasts. September/October 2022

Cree decided to get a bilateral mastectomy, although only one breast was affected, with hopes of preventing it from coming back in the other breast. After four months of chemotherapy, she underwent breast reconstruction surgery and ran into complications which took three more surgeries to correct. This took a toll on her mental health, so Cree turned to her faith. Prayers, meditation, and manifestation played a major role in providing the hope she needed to come out at the other end of this dreadful disease. Additionally, she credits her ability to get through it all to the love and support of her mother and husband, as well as focusing on her well-being. Cree hikes Kennesaw Mountain at least three times per week, which has obvious physical benefits, but it also helps clear her mind. Thankfully, Cree has been in remission for seven years. As a licensed clinical psychologist, she runs Serenity Psychological Health & Well-being, a firm providing employers with resources for employee team building, coaching, and training. She wholeheartedly believes in the importance of taking care of your well-being, personally and professionally. This journey has certainly reinforced that for her.

Living, breathing, and fighting cancer has become a huge part of Dayna’s life. She has been sick for most of her sons’ lives, between seeking diagnoses, treatments, and surgeries. However, she is determined to not let it stop her from living. She knows it’s inevitable that this ugly disease will take her life. For now, she is focused on spending time with family and seeking comfort. She takes comfort in getting massages, when possible, to ease her physical pain. Dayna knows the importance of telling her story to anyone that will listen if it means they will listen to their bodies, speak up, and be a self-advocate. This dreadful disease will be around for much longer than we all would like, but it’s people like Dayna who, without a cure, continue to fight relentlessly that provide us all with a glimmer of hope that we, too, can fight whatever battles we’re fighting.

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Noire Women's Wellness Magazine joined the publishing space with a private Summer Issue Release Soiree held at 5Church Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 19. Hosted by radio personality and actress Shay McCray, this event was sponsored by, Courageous Conversation,, Eye Candy Creations, FUBU Frames Collection, John’s Creek Pharmacy, MarketingCamp LLC, Mayweather Boxing + Fitness - Atlantic Station, OliviaHeyward. com, P.U.R.S.E. Foundation, Sisters of Yoga, The Mane Event, and The Random Whine. The night of health and wellness featured cocktails, heavy hors d'oeuvres, gift bags, and a raffle full of swag, and was enjoyed by an astute group of doctors, health professionals, yoga instructors, fitness experts, trendsetters, and tastemakers. The top raffle prize (FUBU sunglasses) was won by Dr. Audra Price Pittman, Vice President, SCAD Atlanta. Proceeds benefited P.U.R.S.E. Foundation.





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As pictured in photos 1. Rashan Ali 2. Rashan Ali 3. Kaye-Ann Sadler, Lillie Young 6. Rashan Ali, Kaye-Ann Sadler, Shay McCray 7. Ron & Dr. Trudy Wright 8. Dr. Audra Price Pittman, Dr. Michelle Mitcham 9. Toni Schenk, Gloria Amu 10. Brian Mitcham, Kaye-Ann Sadler, Dr. Michelle Mitcham, Rachel Olivia Mitcham, Autumn Vassell 11. Erika Lee Augustin, Kaye-Ann Sadler 12. Tie Simpson, Marsha Shackelford, Shannon Amos 13. Kaye-Ann & Errol Sadler 14. Dr. Audra Price Pittman, Shay McCray 15. Rashan Ali Photography By Paul Biagui

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By Shanille V.

PITCH BLACK By Kaye-Ann Sadler


sat down with world-renowned marketing and communications professional, Tanisha Leonard, who serves as a key member of the executive team for the Detroit-based company Pitch Black, a subsidiary of Real Times Media. A few of Real Times Media’s flagship brands are the Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, the Atlanta Daily World, Who’s Who in Black, the Chicago Defender, the Michigan Chronicle, the New Pittsburgh Courier, and Studio 1452. Tanisha has a wide array of experience in managing marketing, strategic planning, and creative development processes and teams, as well as extensive experience in event production, corporate communications, and media relations. Pitch Black was initially launched as an organization in 2018, but so much has transpired in our community and there became a need to shift. 50 | Noire Women’s Wellness

Since the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, organizations have aligned themselves to the social justice movement, issuing statements of support among other things, but a lot of it has been merely transactional with no significant impact. Pitch Black is positioning itself to step in and help craft these communications and endeavors into actional items. Uncomfortable at times, yes, but extremely important and necessary. Pitch Black’s mission pivoted to an approach focused on science, art, and the previously mentioned “crafting” while upholding the notion that they are promoting all things “Black, Black, and Blackity Black.” Essentially, it’s rooted in us telling OUR stories. Pitch Black operates on six guiding principles, which remain foundational to each and everything that they do. One of them is to “Talk to Her.” As simple as it sounds, it’s a concept that goes over far too many people’s heads, overlooking the impact that Black women have in the workplace and the economy as a whole. Fig-

uring out exactly what it is that we want—not by guessing but by conducting actual market research—is a complete game changer. The Pitch Black relaunch is slated for Sept. 13, 2022. The significance of that date is that it is the first documented slave rebellion in this country. Despite the rebranding and relaunch, the corporate mission of parent company Real Times Media has always been Black centric, even before it was the cool thing to do. Pitch Black’s mission to amplify Black voices is consistent to that of NWW, although they are approaching it from two different perspectives. There is no single road to breaking down the barriers of racial inequity. If we continue to find allyship in those with like goals, we can eventually chip away at the mountain built up against us over the course of the past 400+ years. September/October 2022


270 17th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30363 (404) 600-5161

September/October 2022

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Purveyors of Black Culture REAL TIMES MEDIA Purveyors of Black Culture Purveyors of Black Culture MARKETING/ MEDIA / ENTERTAINMENT

Purveyors of Black Culture


storytellers storytellers 1452 RANDOLPH ST. SUITE 400 / DETROIT, MI 48226 313.963.8100 / WWW.REALTIMESMEDIA.COM