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E N T E R TA I N S ,




Volume 9 – Number 30 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017








contents 7

ONYX Salutes


Letters to the Editor


Deidre Parker Joins ONYX as Advisory Board Chair


Applying to college? Check out the library.


B-CU 40 Under 40


History of the Florida Classic


Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University


Florida Memorial University


Edward Waters College


Florida HBCU Campus Queens


Beating the holiday blues


12 steps to ensure a safe and happy holiday season


West Lakes residents are here to stay


Florida Scope


Doll created to bring awareness to albinism


Hit the slopes with the Brotherhood


Kendra Foster: From P-Funk to Grammys and beyond


Members of Blush aim to inspire young women


Deniabetes: Don’t ignore your diagnosis


Heed the Smart Tips of holiday shopping


ONYX on the Move


ONYX Profile – Eric Weems


ONYX Profile – Chassidy Williams and Brandi Jean-Baptiste


ONYX Profile – Avido Khahaifa


ONYX Profile – Marcus Burgess



Giving back is a key to success


Delicious Coconut Layer Cake


Where to volunteer during the holidays


Don’t Stress Over Giving. Have a Plan.



Coverage from the Congressional Black Caucus


Hearty cocktail Swine Brine


Above photo by John Reeves Cover photo by Michael’s Photography and Video





Photo courtesy of US Army Special Ops Command

Dr. Robert “Bob” Billingslea and Sgt. La David Johnson The Walt Disney World Co. announced the passing of Dr. Robert “Bob” Billingslea on September 1, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Deidre (Mason) Billingslea, son Robert Billingslea, Jr., two grandchildren and one great grandchild. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Bob retired from The Walt Disney Company in February 2012. To acknowledge Bob’s retirement, the Honorable James E. Clyburn, U.S. Representative from South Carolina, published a “Tribute to Robert Billingslea” in the Congressional Record of the 112th Congress, and Mayor Buddy Dyer proclaimed February 27, 2012, as “Robert “Bob” L. Billingslea’s Day of Diversity” in Orlando. Bob’s Disney career began in the late 1960s as a senior personnel representative at Disneyland Park. He became the founding executive of Disney’s Corporate Urban Affairs and Development department in 1993. In this role, Bob advised senior management on matters related to diversity and other areas of social concern. He helped to establish and maintain strong relationships with diverse organizations nationwide in support of Disney’s corporate mission to include diversity in all aspects of its business. In 1986, Bob and a team of Walt Disney World colleagues helped to establish a hospitality management program at Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU). Bob became a member of B-CU’s Board of Trustees in 1987. In 2015, B-CU inducted Bob into the Dr. Richard V. Moore Legacy Society and bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate degree. In 2016, B-CU dedicated the Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management. During his career, Bob served on boards and held leadership roles with some of America’s most prominent, diverse organizations that included: Children’s Defense Fund; Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; the National League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); National Council of La Raza; National NAACP’s Special Contributions Fund Board, National NAACP Image Awards Committee, and National NAACP ACT-SO Committee; National Black MBA Association’s Strategic Business Alliance; The Able Trust; and United Negro College Fund (UNCF). He was a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi (Boulé) fraternities, and National Association of Guardsmen, Inc. He also served on the board of directors of Axiom Bank and Gourmet Services Inc. He received his Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Kent State University (KSU). In 2009, he was selected to deliver KSU’s Winter Commencement address. Bob served on KSU’s Centennial committee and was a member of the University’s Capital Campaign Fund Committee. He also is among the first alumni to receive the KSU President’s Social Responsibility Award for his work in developing programs and activities that support positive development of under-represented individuals. See his biography in its entirety at

ONYX Magazine honors the life of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, who lost his life in an ambush in Niger alongside three other soldiers, while courageously fighting for the U.S. He had been sent on his second deployment to Africa in August, shortly after his third wedding anniversary. At his homegoing service, his family and loved ones remembered the young man who loved to work on cars, graduated from Miami Carol Senior High School, matriculated through 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project, which was founded by Miami Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, and married his childhood sweetheart, Myeshia. The two have a 6-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son and a daughter due in January 2018. They remembered a neighborhood boy made motherless young but taken in by his aunt and uncle. They recounted his bicycle tricks, the hot dog cart he used to run, the ambition that led him to enlist and rise quickly in the Army. And, over and over again, they described Johnson as driven and a loving son and husband, dedicated to improving life for his family. Sgt. Donald Young, one of Johnson’s best friends, recalled their first meeting after they joined the military. After finding out Johnson was from Miami, Young asked, “What made you do this, man?” “I realized what I had in Miami,” Johnson told him, citing his family as the reason. “I had to make a better life for myself.” His aunt, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, and uncle, Richard Johnson, reared him after his mother died when he was 5, said Johnson’s supervisor, Staff Sgt. Dennis Bohler. Johnson grew up in Miami Gardens, where people on the streets recognized him by his penchant for riding his bike onewheeled, nicknaming him “Wheelie King.” Before he joined the Army in January 2014, it was where he found a second family, and where he met Myeshia. Part of this story was written by Elizabeth Koh of the Miami Herald and reprinted with permission. ONYX Magazine honors the lives of Sgt. La David Johnson; Staff Sgt. Bryan Black; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson; and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright—the four young American soldiers who were killed in an attack in Niger on Oct. 4. We send our deepest condolences to their families. Furthermore, we stand with Democratic U.S. Florida Congresswoman Frederica WilRep. Frederica son in demanding a thorough investigaWilson tion of the attack, hoping to bring some semblance of peace to loved ones.


FROM THE PUBLISHER PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Richard “Rich” E. Black EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Marianne Eggleston, M.B.A. MANAGING EDITOR D. Shenell Reed, M.B.A. ASSOCIATE EDITORS Laura Dorsey Gayle Andrews Sharon Fletcher Jones

RICHARD “RICH” E. BLACK NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 ONYX Magazine is proud to celebrate its 20th Anniversary. What an incredible journey it has been! Throughout the years, the company has seen significant growth. We have secured numerous new partnerships, participated in community events, and appointed new members to the team. During this season of thanksgiving and holiday cheer, we take a moment to say thank you for your continued support. Our holiday issue is uplifting and festive with new holiday recipes and tips on how to search for the perfect Christmas gift. On the cover, ONYX is excited to introduce Judge Hubert Grimes as Bethune-Cookman University’s interim president. Also in this issue you will meet Florida’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Royalty and Queens. We love our queens and take every opportunity to recognize them for the influence and inspiration they provide to the communities they serve. This year’s leaders are just as beautiful and impressive as they have been in the past. We would be remiss not to include one of America’s greatest past-times…football. One of the most exciting games in Florida football history is the Florida Classic. This battle is the best on the gridiron: Bethune-Cookman University’s Wildcats and Florida A&M University’s Rattles. Since the game moved to Orlando 20 years ago, each team has won 10 games. This year will tip the scales. Who will take the lead in the series? The Rattlers or the Wildcats? We can’t wait to find out! It is also the time of year when high school seniors complete their college applications. This can be a most hectic experience for students and their parents. However, the Orange County Library has several useful tips which can help relieve the stress. Also, research shows that people tend to get a bit gloomy around the holidays because of missing loved ones or spending time alone. We have some help for you to beat the holiday blues and start some new traditions of your own. We are committed to communities across the great State of Florida. So, look for some awesome things to come from ONYX in 2018. Women on the Move, our annual acknowledgement of top Florida women, is emerging nicely, and we are excited about the return of the ONYX Awards. We will have more fabulous news to share with you very soon, so stay in touch. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and don’t forget to check out our website for updates at As always, we remain committed to bringing you news that entertains, inspires and informs. Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season and a Happy New Year! Enjoy.




Talia E. Ashley Jenny Boniface Keisha Boyd Gigi Brooks

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sam Gardner Constance Brown-Riggs Penny Dickerson Ursula Jorch Laura Dorsey Maud Purcell Roniece Weaver Marianne Eggleston Sharon Fletcher-Jones Mary Williams

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Pop Lancaster, John Reeves ONYX ADVISORY COMMITTEE Deidre Parker, Chair Michelle Tatom, Immediate Past Chair Bob Berryhill Dr. Lavon Bracy Bryon Brooks Hon. Mable Butler Dr. Cynthia Chestnut James Clark John Crossman

Tony Hill Alma Horne Rodney Hurst Ann Jenkins Larry Lee, Jr. Zita Steglich-Ross Margaret J. Thompson

Gail Thomas-DeWitt Hon. Alan Williams Carla Williams Dr. Samuel Wright Lady Dhyana Ziegler


Lester and Lillian Seays ONYX Magazine is published by ONYX Communications and Media Group, Inc., Address: P.O. Box 555672, Orlando, Florida 32855-5872 Phone (407) 451-2891, or (407) 298-0544. Subscription rate is $19.95 for six issues. For subscriptions and notification of address change, contact ONYX Magazine at the above address or e-mail us at Letters to the editor are encouraged. Copyright 2017 by ONYX Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writer or interviewee and not necessarily those of the publisher. Manuscripts, photos and art should be submitted with a self-addressed stamped envelope. The publisher does not assume responsibility for any materials not submitted in manner advised. Unsolicited materials are not subject to payment from ONYX Magazine.

Letters to the Editor ONYX Magazine wants to hear from you! In our new Letters to the Editor department, let us know how ONYX Magazine is entertaining, inspiring and informing you and your family. You may email your letters to Please keep your notes to fewer than 80 words.

Thanks for featuring in your July/August issue an article about our work in preserving historic Newtown located in Sarasota, Fla. As director of the Newtown Alive! project, I am proud of the progress our team has made in showcasing the enterprise, courage, sacrifice, and determination of community pioneers. His-story and Her-story are Florida treasures. I am thrilled to have a partner such as ONYX Magazine to help me celebrate untold and underreported accounts of heroism. Vickie Oldham, Ellenton, Fla.

ONYX does a great job at trying to keep readers healthy. I am a nurse and I had to do a presentation at my family reunion in New York. I decided to talk about health, but I didn’t know which angle to take. I read the articles about healthy family reunions and clinical trials in your July/ August issue. Bingo! I had my topics. My family loved my presentation and the publication. Keep bringing us healthy, good articles. Patricia Sharpe, Savannah, Ga.

Thank you for the story “Shutting Down the Bully” in your September/October issue. It was exactly the statement that needed to be made to people who bully and to those who are bullied. Bullying is a very serious topic that needs to be addressed. As the writer/director of AMRAK, I felt honored and blessed to be a part of this issue. I have shared this issue with so many people -- on Telemundo and on 95.3 radio. It has been an amazing experience. God is on a mission and I’m excited to be doing His work. Thank you for helping me spread the word. Sean Roberts - Orlando My teenage daughter had been despondent and sad lately. I learned that she has been having issues with some mean girls in her school. We tried everything — from counseling to medication. Nothing worked. But then, she got involved with AMRAK and everything changed. She is an actress in the film and she wrote a beautiful song called “Broken.” Now, I see her coming out of her shell. She is very confident and coming into herself. I was happy to see your article “Shutting Down the Bully” in the September/October issue. It gave me some good resources to check out about bullying. We have got to do something about this issue. Thank you for sharing. Julie Honohan, Orlando


Deidre Parker Joins ONYX as Advisory Committee Chair


Deidre “Dee” Parker has joined ONYX Communications and Media Group, Inc., as the chair of the ONYX Advisory Committee. She will assume the role until December 2018. She also will serve as the chair of the 2018 Women on the Move, ONYX’s signature event that recognizes the accomplishments of women of color from around the state. The event is planned for Thursday, March 15. “I am excited about the solidified, important business relationships that Mrs. Parker brings,” said Rich Black, the publisher and CEO of ONYX Magazine. Parker is the broker and owner of Parker Realty Group FL, one of Central Florida’s rising real estate companies serving Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake and Polk Counties. As Parker maneuvers the landscape of her vast territory, she also honors scripture that many successful business owners live by, “… to whom much is given, much is required.” With that, there should be no surprise that she believes in giving back to the community. Parker also has several professional affiliations. Among them are: • ONYX Magazine - Advisory Committee Chair • Florida Virtual School Foundation - Board of Directors • National Association of Realtors - Member • Florida Association of Realtors - Member • Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA) - Member • ORRA Government Affairs Committee - Member • ORRA Community Relations Committee - Member • Citrus Club Minority Business Owners - Committee Member


Bethune-Cookman University Head, Heart and Hand 113–Year Legacy of Empowering Students


ethune Cookman University has a storied 113-year legacy of empowering through education head, heart and hand. The University’s leadership, with support from faculty, staff, alumni and benefactors strive to deliver on the promise of student success by ensuring access to a rigorous education that equips and graduates global leaders with core values of faith, integrity, respect, service and a thirst for knowledge. Its vision is to empower people to seek their own solutions

Dr. Irving W. Robinson, Assistant Professor of Biology in the John O. Gross Science Hall/School of Science and Mathematics

and advocate for opportunities for all citizens to improve their quality of life as it invests in its graduates an international perspective that facilitates an awareness of constantly evolving geo-political realities which reveal that collaboration and compassion are as valuable skills as competition. With the rising cost of pursuing a four-year degree, Bethune-Cookman University is constantly seeking viable options for students to affordably earn their degrees in less time. New degree programs,

Environmental Science students tend to a garden.


Athletic Director Lynn Thompson

“Our success is this community’s success and together, we will continue to make strides to provide the best education for our students, while also transforming them into talented and committed career-conscious servant leaders who “Enter to Learn and Depart to Serve.” –Interim President Hubert L. Grimes

promising research and experiential learning opportunities mean more options and greater access for students at home and abroad as the University broadens its global footprint. B-CU Online College is a vital pipeline and central to the life-changing mission of providing the resource of a high-quality education. Building on the foundation and resourcefulness of founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, the University’s executive leadership and Board of Trustees are committed to the stewardship of the University’s human and capital resources and endowment.

Finally, Bethune-Cookman University takes pride in and is deeply grateful for its faculty, staff and alumni who, while building professional careers and legacies of their own, give and ensure the University’s future by forging mutually beneficial alliances and institutional relationships with public and private sector entities and organizations that inure to the benefit of the University and the vast communities it serves. Learn more about Bethune-Cookman University online or visit its historical site, archive and library.

Photos courtesy of Bethune-Cookman University

Interim President Hubert L. Grimes

A Classic Rivalry The Match-Up Between B-CU and FAMU Spans 90 Years By Sam Gardner


Sunshine State rivalry dating back nearly a century, the Florida Blue Florida Classic is more than just the nation’s largest annual HBCU football game — it’s a celebration of sports, family, music and culture that is woven into the fabric of Central Florida. The first matchup between Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Bethune-Cookman (B-CU) University took place in Tallahassee in 1925. Through 71 meetings thus far, the Rattlers hold a 49-21-1 series lead, thanks in large part to FAMU’s early success — including a run of 25 wins in 26 games between 1930 and 1972. The final game in that stretch served as the final meeting at Welch Memorial Stadium in Daytona Beach. By the mid-70s, the event had outgrown the teams’ respective home stadiums and organizers held the game at multiple venues throughout the state, including Doak Campbell Stadium, Daytona International Speedway and Camping World Stadium

— then known as the Citrus Bowl — in Orlando. Eventually, the schools agreed on a permanent neutral-site location, and the “Florida Classic” was officially born. In 1978, the first meeting under the Classic name, Florida A&M and head coach Rudy Hubbard (a former Woody Hayes assistant) turned a 17-0 halftime deficit into a 27-17 victory that ultimately proved critical during the Rattlers’ run to the inaugural NCAA Division 1-AA title. FAMU would go on to win 10 of the 17 games in Tampa. It wasn’t until the game returned to Orlando for good in 1997 that the rivalry truly found its perfect fit — as evidenced by the 56,351 fans in attendance for Orlando’s first “Classic,” more than 25,000 more than the previous year in Tampa. In the years since, the move up I-4 has proved to be a boon for both universities as well as The City Beautiful. More than 1.2 million game attendees have passed

through the turnstiles at Camping World Stadium over the past two decades, an average of more than 60,000 fans per game. Since the rivalry put down roots in Orlando, FAMU and B-CU have split the series 10-10, with each game seemingly more thrilling than the last. In addition to the star power on the gridiron, FAMU’s Marching 100 and B-CU’s Marching Wildcats always provide the perfect soundtrack for Classic weekend with their memorable halftime performances, while the pregame fanfare outside the stadium offers a tailgate experience unlike any other. A cross between a family reunion, a can’tmiss music festival and an action-packed game, the Florida Blue Florida Classic has grown from a fierce small-school rivalry to a nationally-televised, must-see institution in Orlando. And with a centrally-located, first-class venue playing the role of host to these historic institutions, the future of the Classic is ripe with promise.

Sam Gardner is the associate director of communications at Florida Citrus Sports ONYX MAGAZINE 15


Top-Ranked FAMU Celebrates 130 Years of ‘Excellence with Caring’

PresIdent Larry Robinson


elebrating 130 years of “Excellence with Caring,” Florida A&M University (FAMU) is celebrated nationwide for its commitment to providing access and opportunity to a high-quality, affordable education. For 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranks FAMU among its “Best Colleges,” including the No.1 public and No. 6 overall historically Black college or university (HBCU). “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education,” has also named FAMU among the top overall bachelor’s and doctoral degree granting institutions in the nation. The University was ranked as the No.1 HBCU for producing African-American bachelor’s degree and the No. 4 overall institution in the nation for producing African-American bachelor’s degrees. FAMU was also ranked the No. 2 institution in the nation among all universities for producing the most African-American professional doctoral degrees. In 2016 and 2017, FAMU received top rankings from publications and organizations around the country. They include: • One of “America’s Top Colleges” (Forbes Magazine) • No. 2 Best Value College in Florida (SmartAsset) • No. 4 Top Affordable College in Florida (College Choice) 16 ONYX MAGAZINE

• A National Top College for Diversity & Inclusion (Latino Leaders Magazine) • A Top School in the South for Student Engagement (WSJ/Times Higher Ed) • Nationally Recognized for Online Excellence (Affordable College Online) • A Top HBCU for College Scholarships (GoodCall) • Nationally-Ranked Military-Friendly School (GI Jobs) Since its inception, FAMU has excelled at attracting federal support thanks to outstanding researchers and professors. Ranked by the National Science Foundation as the No.1 HBCU for research and development, FAMU is the recent recip-

Athletic Director Milton Overton

ient of a five-year, $15.4 million award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Educational Partnership Program to establish the Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. The University also recently signed a $5 million master agreement with Lockheed Martin that enables FAMU students and faculty to work on NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program and other space exploration projects. FAMU is the first HBCU to participate in these efforts. Founded on October 3, 1887 as the State Normal College for Colored Students, FAMU is home to 14 colleges and schools and several centers and institutes with a global reach. The University offers 54 bachelor’s degrees, 29 master’s degrees, three professional degrees, and 12 doctoral degree programs. The University has expanded its legacy from opening its doors with just fifteen students and two instructors in 1887 to now serving nearly 10,000 students, employing nearly 2,000 faculty and staff, and an alumni base of more than 70,000.

Florida Memorial University

President Dr. Michelle Howard


lorida Memorial University is a private, historically Black institution offering 32 undergraduate degree programs and five graduate degree programs to a culturally diverse student body. As South Florida’s only Historically Black College or University (HBCU), it is widely recognized for being the birthplace of the Negro National Anthem. The University is the alma mater of Barrington Irving, who while a student at Florida Memorial University, set two historic aviation records: he was the first person of African descent and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the world. The Aviation Department houses one of three Cessna Pilot Training Centers in the country and the only HBCU to claim this distinction. Our student body is comprised largely of first generation (74%), low wealth (84% Pell eligible) students. Therefore, Florida Memorial meets a critical workforce and economic development need in an under18 ONYX MAGAZINE

served community. Despite these challenges, FMU’s graduation rate is 39% which compares quite favorably to the mean of 41% for all colleges/ university’s in the Southeastern United States, including UVA, Duke, Emory and other highly selective institutions with small populations of low wealth, first generation students. FMU’s graduation rate is in the top quartile of the 103 HBCUs nationwide. Moreover, Florida Memorial (FMU) is among the most global of the higher education institutions in Florida. Nearly 14% of the student population are international students. Therefore, FMU’s campus is a uniquely diverse and global learning environment for its students. Florida Memorial University prides itself on providing a high-quality education at an affordable price. Eighty-two percent of our faculty holds a Ph.D. in their discipline and 92% of courses are taught by full-time faculty. In addition to regional accreditation, the University holds specialized accreditations in computer science, aviation, business, social work and music. Among the six pri-

Athletic Director Artis Maddox

vate schools in South Florida, FMU is the least expensive. Significantly, 67% of FMU graduates are employed in the state of Florida compared to a mean employment rate of less than 51% among our private peers in the state. FMUs graduate employment rate is among the highest in the state. Therefore, an investment in FMU results in a tangible positive return for the community, the state and the country. Florida Memorial continues to produce significant numbers of public school teachers, social workers and criminal justice professionals. While these are critically important fields, we have expanded our program offerings to include high demand fields like Cyber security and Logistics and Supply Chain Management. We remain highly engaged with

our industry partners in order to stay abreast of workforce demands and to eradicate any knowledge gaps for our graduates prior to completion. The University is part of the NAIA and is home to eight collegiate sports, including men/women’s basketball, men/ women’s soccer, men/women’s track and field, baseball and volleyball. The institution recently cut the ribbon on a state of the art wellness center which serves as a home court for Lion Basketball and Volleyball as well as a multipurpose wellness program which is available to our students, staff, faculty and community. I am also pleased to share that we are now in 6th place among the 104 HBCUs nationwide for retention and completion among black male students. This is due in part to the ongoing success of the Black Male College Explorers Program, a pre-college mentoring program for black males in grades 8-12. This important program is funded in part by the legislature and boasts impressive outcomes including, 92% retention rate for program participants; 100% HS graduation rates from program completers; 100% college attendance among program completers. Additionally, for those fortunate enough to attend Florida Memorial University, the mentoring, academic and social support continues during their college. The University is grateful for the ongoing support of this critical program.

Edward Waters College Charters New Ground in $8.5 Million Investment as President Glover Plans Retirement By Talia E. Ashley

President Dr. Nathaniel Glover

Edward Waters College (EWC) is the “Mother of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Florida,” as it is the first in founding, with a precious history, set of traditions, and present-day accomplishments. Founded by Reverend Charles H. Pearce in 1866, Edward Waters College is also Florida’s oldest private institution of higher learning. The College was established by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, one year after the Civil War, to help educate newly freed slaves. For 151 years, the vision and mission lives on with every student EWC educates. Edward Waters College has transformed generations through education and continues this legacy, as the current President and EWC alumnus of an amazing legacy, Dr. Nathaniel Glover, plans his retirement. Days before Dr. Glover announced his retirement from EWC the report of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s $8.5 million investment into EWC for its Community Revitalization Project was published. This funding will provide support for an Athletic Com-

munity Field, male dormitory, and safety improvements and infrastructure enhancements at Florida’s oldest independent institution of higher learning. Dr. Nathaniel Glover stated, “This is a long-awaited and much needed investment in the northwest area of the City and its oldest institution of higher education. Edward Waters College is a resonating symbol of the history of our great City. This investment will bring safety and increased benefits to the New Town Success Zone and Health Zone 1 that includes the highest health, safety, and education disparities. I am ever so grateful for the Mayor’s recognition of Edward Waters and for the support of Council President Anna Brosche as well as the support of the members of the City Council.” In addition to receiving the funding, EWC has graduated three students from its new Criminal Justice 3+1 Law Enforcement Police Academy program, during its spring 2017 commencement. Also, EWC’s Call Me M.I.S.T.E.R. Initiative (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models), which provides an excellent talent pool of African American male graduates, who will literally “touch the future” by teaching children in Duval and other counties of Florida graduated three students, since inception in 2015, as well during spring com-

mencement 2017. These are only two programs highlighted, among many accomplishments made across the campus community. Dr. Glover’s reign at EWC has added to an already exceptional career, and receiving the $8.5 million from the City of Jacksonville serves as a phenomenal capstone. President Glover has obtained monumental success in his professions in law enforcement and higher education, alike. President Nathaniel Glover, who is the 29th President of EWC, and was the first elected African American Sheriff of Jacksonville, as well as the first elected African American sheriff in Florida since the end of Reconstruction is elated to end his career on this high note. When asked of his retirement, Glover stated, “Retirement is a strong word. I plan to remain connected to EWC. I think this is the appropriate time to look at the transition of the College. I will remain as close as the in-coming President would want me to be. I will remain engaged. I am still here until May of 2018. I still have work to do. And, I look forward to doing it.”

Athletic Director Stanley Cromartie



Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Miss Bethune-Cookman University Aminata Seye All great things have small beginnings. I am Aminata Seye, a senior matriculating in the field of international studies from the great Bethune- Cookman University. I humbly serve as the 64th Miss Bethune-Cookman University. I am African by blood and American by paper. Dakar, Senegal, is where my heart is deeply rooted. This third-world country has been my motivation to make something of myself so that I can go back and bring change. I am a sister to two and a daughter of two phenomenal beings who encourage and have molded me to become the very best that I can be. Since my freshman year at this illustrious institution, my goals have been to graduate with honors and work for a United States ambassador. Working in the foreign services will allow me to help those less fortunate than myself and open new doors for them as they have been opened for me. My ultimate goal in life is to live comfortably, attempt to repay my family for all that they’ve invested in me, contribute back to my HBCU and help anyone I can, while uplifting and motivating through positivity, dedication, and being a servant leader.


Miss Edward Waters College Tashan Shavoyne Alexandria Morley Miss Tashan Shavoyne Alexandria Morley is a native of Nassau, Bahamas. She is the daughter of the late Ryan Wood and Tamatha Morley. Miss Morley is a senior Criminal Justice major and an honor student. She is a proven leader among her peers, royal court, and family. She has served as Edward Waters College 2014-201 Homecoming Duchess, 2015-2016 Miss Kappa Alpha Psi, 2016-2017 Miss Junior, Miss Faces Modelling Troupe, the Captain of the Cross Country and Track & Field Teams, a chartering member of Faces Modeling Troupe, Inc., and a member of TRiO. In her leisure time, Morley enjoys spending time with her younger brother and Cross Country Track & Field teammates. Upon graduation, Morley will pursue a law degree. Miss EWC’s future aspirations are to become a juvenile attorney and ultimately, a judge. Her daily motto is “You always go to the top of the fountain to get your drink. If you go to the middle, you’re going to get pressure. And if you go to the bottom, you’re going to get dirt.” Morley always believes that preparation precedes blessings. She understands that the best preparation for tomorrow is best prepared today.

Miss FAMU’s photo by Ernest Nelfrard/Rattlers United

Queens Miss Florida A&M University Michelle Marva Johnson

Miss Florida Memorial University Khadija Alexander

Michelle Marva Johnson is a native of Dallas, Tex., and a graduate of the Newman Smith High School. Currently, she is a senior business administration and theatre and performing arts student. She is proud to serve Florida A&M University as the 2017-2018 Miss FAMU. Her mother Vivian Johnson, served as the 75th Miss FAMU and her brother was the 12th Mr. FAMU in 2011. She is focusing her platform on “education, safety and engagement of the Rattler Student Body.” “I have developed a love for Florida A&M University that is unparalleled. It is with the conviction of the 110 women that have reached for the mantle before me that I have decided to follow in their legacy to become an HBCU Queen of my university,” she explains. She has served FAMU as a resident assistant on campus, vice-president of the Peer Mentor Program in the First-Year Experience Program, vice-president of the Dallas Club, a presidential ambassador, an executive leader in the Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and owner of pageant coaching service – MARVAlous Pageantry.

Khadija Alexander, also known as Lola, is a naturalist with a magnetic energy and a passion for the arts. She hails from the small, lively island of Jamaica, unparalleled in beauty and renowned for its great minds. Lola is a first semester senior and a Communication major with a focus in Television Broadcast. She was Miss Black & Gold in 2015-2016, then she was elected Miss Senior in 2016-2017. Presently, Lola is the elected Miss Florida Memorial University for the year 2017-2018. On her campus, she worked hand-in-hand with her best friend to revive the Jamaican Students’ Association, which has since placed first runner up, and then first place consecutively in the annual Culture Night Show and Competition. She is a second soprano and active member in the esteemed Ambassador Chorale, and has performed with the group at several churches and high schools across the state. Her motto in life is, “What is to be will be, for time will reveal all.” She hopes to empower her peers to find an inner sense of ‘Black Pride’ through unlocking the secret to wealth and success.



Angela Robinson Treasures Her HBCU Roots The Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” actress supports funding for students to attend historically black colleges and universities. By Penny Dickerson


ngela Robinson is one of Florida’s homegrown jewels. The Jacksonville-native proved her star quality early-on in the role of “Shug Avery” in the national tour and Broadway run of The Color Purple, and is currently cast as Veronica Harrington, “The Ice Queen,” in Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots —the No. 1 scripted show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network which is now in its fifth season. But before she shimmied on stages or spewed insults as the fiery Harrington, Robinson established firm roots as a graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU) where her parents, Maryland and William James Robinson, also earned degrees, and her father started the campus ROTC program. A former Miss FAMU, Robinson is generous in giving homage to her alma mater and further, lifting up all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and United Negro College Fund (UNCF) schools. “It means everything to have an opportunity to share my FAMU experience,” said Robinson. “It was there that I discovered my culture and gained an appreciation for who I am— how I look, my hair, my skin

tone. It was more than attending a school, it was continuing a legacy that my parents began,” she added. According to Robinson, her first public speaking engagement as a notable actress was in Florence, S.C., for a UNCF fundraising event. With fondness, she recalls both the opulent ball and her first slice of broccoli cornbread, a local favorite. “That was the first time I got to speak publicly and then three or four colleges followed,” explained Robinson. “Then, FAMU homecoming came, and I spoke at the convocation. It has all been impactful of my dad’s life and memory; almost like a love letter to my dad who passed away in 2009.” Robinson asserts that “giving back to the community” was a means of service taught to her by the HBCU community. Additionally, they instilled an appreciation for tradition along with the core academic and cultural values offered by the HBCU. And while all HBCU’s do not belong to UNCF consortium of private schools, Robinson is quick to point out that, “FAMU has the same ideas as UNCF Schools.” “Mainstream colleges and universities will not focus on you as a person,” said Robin-

son. “It is valuable to attend an HBCU, and if I were to make an appeal for continued funding for both the HBCU and UNCF, I would cite that there are many young people who

would not go to a college at all if it weren’t for these schools. Through funding, you have the opportunity to change a life and that is what these schools do,” added Robinson.

Penny Dickerson is a Florida-based journalist whose primary work illuminates the African-American community. Visit her website to view more at ONYX MAGAZINE 23


Beating the

Holiday Blues

By Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEPA


oy to the world! ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Festive music fills the air; holiday cheer abounds. Everyone is happy at holiday time — right? Wrong. Truth be told, many people feel lonely, sad, anxious and depressed at this time of year. How can this be? There are many reasons why people feel down at holiday time. Here are the key causes for the holiday blues:

Pressure to feel merry: The disparity between how you actually feel and what you think you are supposed to feel can cause you guilt and confusion. This phenomenon can start you off on the wrong foot, even before the festivities begin. Remembrances of holidays past: Your mood may be contaminated by the specter of sad holidays past. If your current life circumstances are unhappy, however, you may long for the happy holidays you once enjoyed. Reminders of loved ones lost: Often, thoughts turn to loved ones who have passed away. The subsequent sense of loss you feel can spoil even the happiest of celebrations. Loneliness: Holidays can be dreadfully lonely if you don’t have a significant other or if you’re separated from family. Financial hardship: Limited financial resources may make you feel insufficient, and as though you are “on the outside looking in.” In search of sunlight: Your holiday blues will only be exacerbated by limited sunshine – not so much in Florida, but in other states where skies often are gray during the winter. 26 ONYX MAGAZINE

Sound familiar? Here are some ways for you to effectively beat those holiday blues: It’s OK to feel what you feel: If you don’t feel as happy as you think you should, don’t fight it. Forcing feelings that aren’t there will only make matters worse.

Seek sun and endorphins: If you find yourself feeling blue, be sure to get at least 20 minutes of sunlight each day. And don’t forget to exercise. Both sunlight and exercise help to fight any chemical causes for your holiday funk. Help someone else: It’s hard to feel down while you are busy helping someone else. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, wrap gifts for unfortunate kids, or spend time with an elderly relative or friend. Create your own traditions: Contrary to popular opinion, there are no rules for how you spend your holidays. So, if old traditions bring up unhappy memories, start new ones. Make your friends welcome in your home instead of going to theirs. If cooking a Christmas dinner feels like a drag, do brunch. Have your own worship service outdoors, at home or wherever you wish. Stay busy and avoid unstructured time: If you know the holidays are difficult for you, plan ahead and minimize your difficult feelings. Try to fill your calendar with fun events. Too much time spent alone may bring you down. Most importantly, think of the blessings you do have. Taking stock of all of the positives in your life can go a long way toward ending your “bah humbug” mood. Originally published on



Steps to Ensure a Safe and Happy Holiday Season By Roniece Weaver

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays. 1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s flu sea-

son. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. 2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. 3. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep. 4. Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone 28 ONYX MAGAZINE

drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same. 5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke. 6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.

7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. Get insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are not insured. 8. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. 9. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children’s reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents. 10. Practice fire safety. Most res-

Meatless Collard Greens 8 Servings idential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly. 11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly. 12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens

be active for at least one hour a day. If you want to make sistahs raise some eyebrows, ask them who makes the best collard greens. Then, move out of the way, because it’s coming… every dash of this and hint of that handed down for generations. And, of course, each one does it the best! Rarely, however, do you hear of collard greens recipes without meat. Well, this twist on a tasty Thanksgiving favorite is sure to turn some heads this holiday season. If you are cooking for a crowd, make an effort to introduce healthy recipes and entrees to the dinner table. But do me one favor: don’t tell them that you made a change. Just watch the reaction. Enjoy!

Roniece Weaver, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietician.

If you want to make sistahs raise some eyebrows, ask them who makes the best collard greens. Then, move out of the way, because it’s coming…every dash of this and hint of that handed down for generations. And, of course, each one does it the best! Rarely, however, do you hear of collard greens recipes without meat. Well, this twist on a tasty Thanksgiving favorite is sure to turn some heads this holiday season. If you are cooking for a crowd, make an effort to introduce healthy recipes and entrees to the dinner table. But do me one favor: don’t tell them that you

Ingredients: 2 Tbsp Canola oil 3 cups Onions, diced ¼ cups Sugar 1 cup Fresh green bell peppers, sliced 1 1/2 tsp Minced garlic 1 tsp Red pepper flakes 2 lb Fresh collard greens or mixed greens , chopped ( 1 large bag, cut , trimmed and cleaned) 2 1/2 tsp chicken base, or bouillon cube 1 qt Water 1 Jalapeno (optional) Directions: 1. Heat oil in a large stock pot uncovered over high heat. 2. Add onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. 3. Add sugar and bell peppers. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Onions will begin to caramelize. 4. Add garlic and pepper flakes. 5. Reduce heat to medium. Add collard greens and vegetable base. Saute uncovered for 2-3 minutes. 6. Add water. Stir well. 7. (Optional) Add 1 jalapeno. 8. Bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes or until greens are tender. 9. Remove jalapenos before serving. 10. Portion ½ cup.

made a change. Just watch the reaction. Enjoy! ONYX MAGAZINE 29

West Lakes Residents Are Here to Stay The Kelleys Have Lived in Clear Lake Cove for Years and Are Excited Its Growth By Keisha Boyd

Prince and Sandra Kelley have lived in Clear Lake Cove for nearly 50 years. They are proud retired educators who found the West Lakes neighborhood to be an inviting foundation for their family. The Kelleys have witnessed the growth and change within the West Lakes community over the years. They are proud to call Clear Lake Cove home and are excited for the changes they see and anticipate. “We’ve been here for 48 years. This was a development for young Black professionals and we decided to buy here in this neighborhood,” says Prince Kelley. As young African-Americans, education played vital roles in their lives. Mr. And Mrs. Kelley were both instrumental in integrating their schools. As a young child, Mrs. Kelley said many of her family members were teachers and so she strived to do the same. In addition, education was a viable career choice back in the days when other opportunities weren’t so plentiful for African-Americans. When asked about their feelings toward public education today, the Kelleys were in unison. They both said that education begins at home. “Parents must be involved with their children’s schools and teachers. They have to know what’s going on,” says Mr. Kelley. The Kelleys love Clear Lake Cove and look forward to its continuous growth. They are certainly noticing the ethnic diversity in the neighborhood. Mrs. Kelley spoke on the recent shift in demographics.

“Parents must be involved with their children’s schools and teachers. They have to know what’s going on.” –Sandra Kelley

“We welcome the families into Clear Lake Cove. In addition, we have many elderly people here and it’s important that they feel safe and that we look out for them as a community.” Mrs. Kelley says Clear Lake Cove was a place where they took care of each other and took pride in the neighborhood. “We kept our lawns and homes looking neat and nice,” says Mrs. Kelley. “I think it is important that we continue to do so. We need for the young kids to see that we live in nice looking places.”

Mr. Kelley is a native of Miami and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. He received his bachelors degree from Florida Memorial College (St. Augustine) and taught biology and chemistry. He retired as principal at Memorial Middle School. Mrs. Kelley also graduated from Florida Memorial College, where she met her husband. Mrs. Kelley is from Tampa and graduated from Middleton Sr. High School. The Kelleys have two daughters, who both graduated from Jones High School and have matriculated through college. ONYX MAGAZINE 31


State Colleges/ Universities Offer In-State Tuition to Hurricane-Hit Students

Florida Offers Online Voter Registration

Technology is making it easier for us to register to vote. Florida joined 35 others states in launching an online voter registration site. is in compliance with a 2015 law that required online registration to be available by Oct. 1. On the site, residents will be able to register to vote, update their current registrations or fill out and print registration forms to submit at a local supervisor of elections office. Voters will need a Florida driver’s license or state identification card and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers to register online, according to the Department of State. For those concerned about privacy matters, “multiple safeguards” were put in place to verify the registrations and protect personal information, officials said. Safeguards include a “state-of-the-art” firewall, data encryption, captcha boxes, which are designed to prevent bots, and session timeouts after inactivity.

Correction Beverly Kuykendall is president of Government Business for American Medical Depot in Mirimar, Fla. The September/October issue of ONYX stated the business was in Gainesville. 32 ONYX MAGAZINE

Adobe Stock

With the recent devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Gov. Rick Scott asked all Florida state colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to any student who was displaced from their home in Puerto Rico. Several colleges around the state have already announced they will adhere to the governor’s clarion call. At St. Petersburg College, students from the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Houston area also are welcome to the special rate. “As Floridians, we know all too well the pain and anxiety that a destructive hurricane can cause. Our hearts are with all of the storm victims,” said SPC President Tonjua Williams. “At SPC, we are solution-oriented in helping students continue their education. Returning to class is a huge part of restoring a sense of normalcy and routine.”

Doll Created to Bring Awareness to Albinism


By D. Shenell Reed


rowing up, many little girls had their hearts set on one thing at Christmastime—ripping open a carefully wrapped colorful box that cradled the doll she’d been longing for since the summer. She couldn’t wait to braid her quaffed do that was tied up neatly with a pink silk bow. She thoughtfully mixed and matched the impressive wardrobe that arrived in a separate colorful package. She stealthily planned her strategy to protect her new friend from her brother and his wicked band of action figures. This doll was very special. A lifelong friend who looked just like her. But not all little black princesses had a twin doll to call

her own. Some had never seen a doll that remotely matched her skin’s hue, hair texture or eye color. Parents found the scarcity of black dolls disappointing and studies showed that the constant presence of white images, even in toys, perpetuated feelings of inferiority in some black girls. A few years ago, one woman joined the trend of creating dolls in various shades of brown so that all princesses are represented. Mala Bryan took it one step further when she created a doll with albinism. The creator and West Indian model recently added Alexa to her Malaville collection of brownskinned dolls. After much research, Bryan saw something

was missing from the market and filled the gap. “Alexa is very important because all children need dolls that they can relate to,” Bryan told the Huffington Post. “But she is very important to me because I believe she can help create an awareness for people with albinism. There is so much that is going on in the world when it comes to people with albinism and it is now time for those who don’t know to get to know.” Albinism is an inherited disorder and it affects all ethnicities—fewer than 200,000 Americans currently live with it, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is a deficit of melanin, a natural substance in the body that gives color to hair, skin, and iris of the eye. People diagnosed with it often are taunted, discriminated against and sometimes are believed to be witches because of the lack of education and awareness. Bryan is trying

to garner positive attention for the disorder, dispel myths and demand that “representation matters” for all people with the creation of Alexa. “Teaching children from an early age will help change the views of a new generation for the better,” Bryan was quoted in a video on Malaville’s Facebook page. “They will treat people with albinism as equals.” Bryan’s first four dolls spanned the brown rainbow to be relatable to black girls of many shades. But Alexa is different. “Alexa is very important to be inclusive,” Bryan told online publication Parent 24. “Imagine, little girls with albinism have no dolls. Parents have to buy them white dolls, but [the girls] aren’t white and [the dolls] don’t have that afro and curly hair.” Well, now those little girls, too, can rip open that wrapping on Christmas morning and see the face of a long-awaited friend who looks just like her.


Hit the Slopes with the Brotherhood


By D. Shenell Reed


t’s a mild day in March. The cool winds beckon us outdoors to a mimosa brunch on the patio or a breezy sail along bluegreen water ways, clad in short sleeves and sandals. These are familiar scenarios to Floridians who love the perfect late winter weather we often enjoy. But not this Florida lot. They have one thing on their minds: powder. Several feet of it. Equipped with boards, poles and parkas, the members of the National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS) are spending this same day bundled up and whisking down the snowy slopes of a popular mountain somewhere in the world. In 2018, they will meet in Squaw Valley, Calif., Lake Tahoe, for what is the largest gathering of black skiers in the world. The NBS annual meeting is a time for partying, relaxing and, of course, skiing. They have come together since 1973 when founders Art Clay and Ben Finley hosted the first meeting in Aspen, Colo., with more than 350 skiers. Now nearly 1,000 brothers (and sisters) congregate each year. “It’s just a beautiful feeling to see all of us skiing,” said Stephen Thompson, the first president and co-founder of Sunshine Slopers, Inc., in Miami Gardens. “It is really a fun time.” But the question that many ask is how do you get warm-weather people to trade their flip-flops for ski boots? Ray Campbell, charter member of Onyx Ski and

JOIN NBS FOR THE BLACK SUMMIT March 3-10, 2018 Squaw Valley, Calif. Visit the Florida clubs for more information

“They say ‘I’m going to sit by the fireplace and watch.’ But once they give (skiing) a try, many like it and stick with it.”

NBS skiers meet on mountains around the world for the annual Black Summit and at other times of the year.

Sports Club, Inc., in Tampa/St. Petersburg, says it’s not always easy. “Lots of members may not like the cold, but they may love the culture of Europe,” he says referring to the fact that NBS members travel for more than skiing. “They say ‘I’m going to sit by the fireplace and watch.’ But once they give (skiing) a try, many like it and stick with it.” They also like what happens in the offseason—NBS members become a community that parties together. They host happy hours, picnics, golf outings, and other social functions. The diverse activities help to attract those who may be thinking about skiing and entice them to take a trip. The NBS got started with a vision to see an African-American on the Olympic Ski

Team. So far, the group has worked with Errol Kerr, a California native who represented his father’s nation of Jamaica in the 2010 games in Vancouver and has completed other ski competitions. NBS also produced two skiers in the para-Olympic games. Their desire to train another winner continues as members introduce youths in their communities to winter sports. “We do this because we love the organization,” says LaWanda Joseph, the NBS national director of public relations and past president of the Sunshine Slopers. “If anything, we know that we have made a difference in the lives of our youths.” Over the past five years, the organization has given more than $143,000 to the Olympic scholarship fund.

Florida Clubs: Onyx Ski and Sports Club, Inc., in Tampa/St. Pete – www.; Sunshine Slopers, Inc., in Miami Gardens - http://www.; and the Miami International Athletic Ski and Sports Club, Inc. in Miami – ONYX MAGAZINE 35



From P-Funk to Grammys & Beyond

The Two-Time Grammy Award winning Tallahassee-born singer talks about her highly acclaimed single “Promise To Stay Here” from her self-titled album “Kendra Foster” By Gigi Brooks


Photo courtesy of Clever Agency


t’s raining here in Brooklyn. The tiny cafe has emptied. As I take a sip of my tea, she appears at the door, wearing a long rose-gold, silk dress; her hair is pulled back from her face, as her reddish-brown curly hair drizzles down her back. We embrace like old friends and order a late lunch. After 10 plus successful years as a singer and songwriter with George Clinton, Parliament/Funkadelic, Foster has managed to scoop up two Grammys for her songwriting on D’Angelo & The Vanguard’s Black Messiah while touring for over two years with the band. We begin talking about her roots in jazz. “I always felt accountable for improv, because I always thought about jazz whenever I sang. I approached it as an external musician, like a horn player because my mentor, Whitney Russell, whom I met at Florida A&M University, taught me what “shed” meant, which comes from wood sheddin’, when you go in the wood shed and practice—spend time with your God-given talent.” “Promise to Stay Here,” which turns us onto “Kendra Foster” the album, has accumulated more than 5.2 million streams on SPOTIFY, a rash of Kendra Foster fans, SIRIUS XM’s Heart & Soul spotlight, a “Billboard Magazine” interview and more. “Promise to Stay Here” became the first representative, and probably the best representative of me and the album. It was hard to choose a single for Kendra Foster, because so many of my songs were my favorite. I was blessed to work primarily with Kelvin Wooten, who is an amazing musician and engineer. He’s the one of the best so far, agreed by all, to mix my voice, which is very important. Kelvin did all of the production, I did top-line, which are the melodies, lyrics and vocal production. This song was chosen as a single, because it was Chaka Khan inspired obviously; Chaka,

I’ve had a few people let me know how this album has affected their lives circa Rufus, with a splash of Prince. It was one of the few tracks Wooten and I didn’t compose from scratch. It was something that was already made that I ran from one room of the studio to claim. Jermaine Holmes, my fellow D’Angelo & The Vanguard, Grammy winning vocalist, produced one of the songs as well.” She pauses thoughtfully for a moment. “One of the key things I want to say about the song is that I thought it was a grown folk’s song. I was in love with it and I thought that’s what it was going to be, that’s what kept me from choosing it as the hit, until George Clinton’s younger granddaughter, my mentee, who was 22, begged me for my computer password so she could play it a thousand, billion, drillion times until almost I was tired of it!” We both laughed. Although, the album was released early 2016, its success continues to grow worldwide. “The reason in today’s climate I continue to promote it, even though I dropped it about a year ago, is because it’s been so long in my womb. Kelvin and I had been working on it since 2007, 2008. Life would just have it that I had to put it on pause, I felt like Black Messiah was my personal project as well, it meant that much to me. It gave me a chance to get a lot of my revolutionary out... to speak on a lot of issues very boldly. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t do it in my work, but a lot of the work I’ve created more recently was much more a cathartic experience I had, which happened to be universal in a major way, because we all go through these rights of passage.” She leans back in her chair, reflectively. “I’ve had a few people let me know how this album has affected their lives, for instance “Step Into the Light” has inspired them to get through whatever they were going through. I want my music to minister to people as something they can use that can touch them.”

PLACES TO GO & PEOPLE TO SEE Marc Anthony: Full Circle Tour November 19 Amway Center, Orlando

Preservation Hall presents Irma Thomas, The Blind Boys of Alabama & The Preservation Legacy Quintet November 21 The Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg

Jazz at Lincoln Center w/Wynton Marsalis presents Big Band Holidays December 3 Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center, Orlando

Orlando Ballet presents The Nutcracker December 21-24 Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center, Orlando

Clare and the Chocolate Nutcracker December 16-17 Dr. Philips High School Performing Arts Auditorium, Orlando For more information and tickets 407274-5523

New! Miles Jaye’s MANHATTAN Jazz Cafe & Lounge feat. Miles Jaye Jazz Experiment 2111University Blvd. North, Jacksonville

New Year’s Eve 2017 Diamond Ball at One80 Skytop Lounge Amway Center, Orlando

Gigi Brooks is a jazz radio personality and journalist. ONYX MAGAZINE 37


Follow Your Dreams Members of Blush Aim to Inspire Young Women By Marianne Eggleston


lush is one of the hottest upcoming hip-hop and R&B girl groups to hit the marketplace. Their name means “beauty lives under stoned hearts.” They added a twist to their mix by joining a vocalist with two rappers. Comprised of Sunni, Tali and Bunni Ray, they present something indeed poetic and fresh. Sunni, a Woodland Hills, Calif., native moved to Houston at age 6 and quickly found a passion in writing rhymes and poetry, while heavily influenced by artists like Lauryn Hill and Tupac. Tali, a Houston native, incorporates her Colombian roots throughout her lyrics and style while complementing the rap duo with her vocal prowess. The newest member, Bunni Ray, another Houston native, synchronizes her fast rhymes with a highpitched, sassy swagger. A few months ago, I met Blush at iHeart Radio in Orlando and talked about their careers, how they started in the music business, education, and the future of their success. The young girls practiced more than five years in a garage and gained recognition around town. Someone told the group about a showcase where they could perform. Mathew Knowles, former manager of Destiny’s Child and father of music mogul Beyoncé came to one of their shows. He asked them to perform on three occasions before he finally signed them to an artist development


“Education play s a major part in finding your passion. deal where they would learn the business and not just sing and perform on stage. The group lives together and the bond between them is so cool. It has helps them to keep their morals and values high while learning their craft. They say they have grown to accept each other. Their goal is to continue growing their talent as artists, writers and vocalists. “Education is a key component for all children to develop and learn different types of skills, morals and values. Knowledge is powerful,” Sunni shared. “I also believe everyone should follow their passion and dreams, because if you are unhappy what is the point of success? It took us over seven years to get where we are. It was hard, but we followed

our dream of making the group successful.” Tali talked about her experiences. “Education plays a major part in finding your passion. That’s how I found out that I loved singing and going to choir practice. I also loved that I had to study to pass math and science which were the two things I thought I was not good at. I had to make sure my grades were top so I could enjoy being in honors choir and theater arts. Every day I am learning and getting an education while in this group.” “Being an artist in a group is a constant educational and learning experience, because there is the business aspect to the work. Therefore, it is called the entertainment business.

It is only through education that you can further your skills. I believe it is very important for our young people to strive harder to complete their education,” Bunni Ray said. Blush met Beyoncé on her Formation Tour. It was their first time seeing her in concert and meeting her. Knowles taught Blush the ropes of Destiny’s Child, and they continue to learn more while in the studio and on tour. They agree to keep their song messages real with hip-hop poetic lyrics. They agree it makes a difference to audiences when they are working and having fun too! Each day the goal is to polish their talent as artists, and to be role model for other young women to follow their dreams. Blush, keep pushing toward your dreams of super success!


THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2018 11:30 A.M. ALFOND INN, WINTER PARK, FLA. Women on the Move celebrates trailblazers who make positive impacts in their communities and their chosen professions. This event has become a highly-anticipated event to acknowledge these accomplishments.

For more information, visit

JOIN OUR TEAM ONYX Magazine celebrates 20 years of entertaining, inspiring and informing African Americans throughout Florida. Join our team as we continue to expand. We are seeking experienced and enthusiastic Sales Representatives and Writers. Send your resume’ and writing clips (for writers) to or call 407-451-2891.




Deniabetes: Don’t Shrug Off Your Diagnosis By Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN


t’s common for people to experience a range of thoughts and feelings when faced with a diabetes diagnoses. “Diabetes runs in my family, but I don’t think I have it.” “Diabetes? That’s probably just that cake my wife made on Sunday.” Sound familiar? November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to get the information you need about this very deadly disease. If you’ve been told you have diabetes and you don’t do anything about it, you may actually have


two diseases: diabetes and deniabetes. Diabetes symptoms—which you probably experienced and ignored—include thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. Symptoms of deniabetes—denial of diabetes—include a refusal to admit that you have symptoms; an unwillingness to accept a diabetes diagnosis; and a lack of attention to the medical, dietary, exercise, and other recommendations your healthcare providers offer to help you manage the disease.

Unfortunately, denying you have diabetes won’t make it go away. In fact, if you don’t cure yourself of deniabetes, your diabetes is likely to get worse. If diabetes goes uncontrolled long enough it can lead to all kinds of complications that can have devastating effects on your eyes, kidneys, limbs and heart. The good news is that deniabetes is absolutely curable and diabetes itself is manageable. Once your deniabetes is managed, you can begin to manage your diabetes much more effectively. Denial isn’t necessarily a bad thing and most people will experience a little denial after a diabetes diagnosis. Denial is a way to protect yourself from thoughts that are painful or uncomfortable. It can actually give you time to adjust to a stressful situation and think about making changes. Health experts describe denial as one of the stages of grief. After all, you are accepting a major loss—the loss of your “normal” life. If you think of it that way—as a cause for grief—it’s easy to see why denial would be a natural response to a diabetes diagnosis. But getting through any grief is a pro-

Unfortunately, denying you have diabetes won’t make it go away. In fact, if you don’t cure yourself of deniabetes, your diabetes is likely to get worse. cess. There are five stages of grief. Denial is usually the first stage, followed by anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. Experts say you can expect to cycle in and out of the stages of grief—including denial—several times on your path to acceptance. The following steps can help you break free of denial: Understand how diabetes works. Hav-

ing a clear picture of how uancontrolled diabetes can affect your heart health, your kidney function, your ability to heal from a wound, can increase your sense of urgency when it comes to taking care of your health. Make a plan. Work with your diabetes care team or other supporters to develop a diabetes care plan that includes your health care goals. Then post the goals where you will see them and be reminded to stay on track. Enlist friends and family. Find family members, doctors, diabetes educators who are willing to work with you to keep you on track. Ask a member of your diabetes team about things you can do to take care of your diabetes. Find a fitness buddy who will exercise with you every day. Beware of cycling back into denial. Studies suggest that even when you have accurate information, a good support system and the best intentions in the world, you can still experience symptoms of denial. If you find you are denying some parts of your diabetes care, ask your diabetes educator for help.

The Link Between Diabetes and HIV By Constance Brown-Riggs According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people are living in the United States with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and African Americans account for the majority of new HIV cases. Moreover, HIV is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes – a condition also affecting African Americans at disproportionate rates.

What is Type 2 Diabetes? Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by elevated blood glucose—also called blood sugar, levels due to problems in insulin secretion, insulin action or both. Insulin is the hormone that helps move glucose into your cells to be used as energy.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk If you are older than 45, have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, and aren’t physically active you are at risk for diabetes. People whose family background is African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander American are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes. Having HIV is also a risk factor

for diabetes. The ADA recommends people with HIV have their blood glucose levels checked before they start taking HIV medicines. If your glucose levels are higher than normal, you may need to avoid taking some HIV medications and use other HIV medicines instead. Blood glucose monitoring is also necessary after you start HIV medicines. Ask your health care provider about the link between your HIV medications and diabetes.

Managing Diabetes Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with a healthy diet and regular exercise. A healthy diet includes vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and lean meats and is low in processed foods high in sugar and salt. Regular exercise means being active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Sometimes, in addition to a healthy diet and regular physical activity, medicines are needed to control type 2 diabetes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes after HAART, you may be treated with oral diabetes medications or insulin.

The content in these articles was originally published in It has been reprinted with permission. ONYX MAGAZINE 41





he holidays are upon us, and for many this is the time of the year for major shopping. I was speaking to a friend the other day and this is how we described this time of the year: “Too many people spend money that they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want or need, to impress people they don’t like!” If you ask the average person a question and he or she does not know the answer, the response is likely to be “let me Google that.” When it comes to holiday spending, I am going to save you the trouble of “Googling” that. Let’s start with some background information and then get into some dos and don’ts for shopping this holiday season. According to the Nielsen study titled “Resilient, Receptive And Relevant,” African-Americans would have spending power of more than $1.3 trillion by 2017. With *nearly 46.8 million blacks in America in 2016 making up approximately 14.5% of the population, that would give each black man, woman and child annual spending power of just under $28,000. As consumers, we buy smart phones, look at smart TVs and live in smart homes. However, we do not take that smart approach with our spending habits over the holiday season. To provide some smart tips on holiday spend-


ing, I sat down with David Watson II, Financial Representative from SmartWealth. SmartWealth is a local financial organization in Maitland that helps clients get to a state of financial balance and then stay there. Here are some smart holiday spending tips that Watson suggests to help get you through the season with your wallet still intact. 1. Value Your Relationships Make a list of everyone who you plan to give gifts, from immediate family to the mail carrier. Put a dollar figure next to each. Seeing the numbers in black and white will help you keep your holiday budget on tract. Also know your WHY when it comes to the people on your list. A small, considerate gift can sometimes be worth more than an expensive gift that someone may never use. 2. Price Check Despite your best intentions, perfect gifts have a way of blowing your holiday budget. If you find a gift that’s over your budget, see if you can find a better price elsewhere. Many stores have pricematch policies if you find a better deal. Sales aren’t the only way to get great deals on the gifts you want for your friends or family. Before you shop online, perform a quick web search for coupon codes from your favorite online stores. Before you shop in local stores, comb through the coupons you received in your mailbox before hitting the mall. While you search through the flyers, make sure to comparison shop for the item you’re interested in. 3. Don’t Procrastinate One of the surest ways to overspend is to wait until the last minute and buy all your gifts in a rush. Not only are you

more likely to overspend, but it also makes an already stressful time of the year even more so. 4. Know the Truth about Black Friday and Cyber Monday Research has shown there isn’t a huge difference in markdowns between one-day promotions, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and regular holiday sales. Instead of focusing on event-style sales, look for deals every day. 5. Stay on Top of Your Spending If you make a purchase with a credit card, using a card that offers cash back or other rewards is another smart holiday budgeting tip. Since you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get something—whether it’s retail discounts or travel deals—in return. 6. Save up for Expensive Presents Putting money aside for big-ticket items can prevent you from depleting your accounts or going into debt during the holidays. One of the best savings tools to use is automatic transfers, which nearly all banks offer. This can help you save without thinking about it. Some banks will let you sign up for automatic transfers and decide how much money to move from your checking account to your savings account and how often. I use this feature and save several hundred dollars each year. 7. Avoid Shopping Sprees Know the difference between your needs and wants. Retailers are good at enticing people to buy. They try everything from display placement to lighting and music which is designed to trigger impulse purchases. Researchers have dubbed this the “shopping momentum effect,” noting we’re more likely to keep spending once we’ve gotten started. You can counteract the phenomenon by sticking to your shopping list. 8. Factor in Shipping — It’s not unusual for an online item to appear cheaper than its in-store counterpart— until you add in shipping costs. Take note of any delivery or service fees, as well. Keep in mind, many retailers offer shipping coupons or free shipping days to attract cus-

“Too many people spend money that they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want or need, to impress people they don’t like!” tomers, so do some research before you click “buy.” 9. Organize Family/Group Volunteering Instead of Holiday Parties - Your family and friends probably struggle with overspending as much as you do over the holidays. Give them the relief of forgoing buying gifts for you by organizing a family/group volunteer day instead. You will spend quality time together, plus you’ll come out of the day feeling proud of your efforts rather than suffering from buyer’s remorse. Anyone can benefit from volunteering and it is a good example for your children or just the younger generation. Remember to take along a digital camera or your cell phone and use social media to share your experiences. The money you can reasonably spend on gifts is money that isn’t going to bills. You also can use the money that you would

Laura Dorsey is a retired assistant vice president of Comerica Bank and current associate editor of ONYX Magazine.

normally spend elsewhere, such as on your morning latte. If you are using cash (not cash advances from credit cards) without spending your rent money, you are doing great. Just remember to be realistic about what you are willing to sacrifice. Smart shoppers set a budget and limits that they stick to—without caving in and racking up the credit. Our final smart tip is do not let your debt become the Scrooge that steals the fun out of your holiday season. Spend time with your friends and family, base your gift buying on sentiment rather than dollar value and avoid giving yourself a year-round debt headache. If you are smart enough to follow these tips provided by David Watson of SmartWealth, when your holiday bank statements arrive in the New Year, you’ll find yourself singing “Joy to the World.”

*According to, in 2016 there were 46,778,674 black people in the United States— 14.5% of the total American population of 323.1 million. ONYX MAGAZINE 43


ONYX Gets Moving at Community Events Tom Joyner photos and captions by Jhonn de La Puente

ONYX Magazine Visits The Chew at Epcot ONYX Magazine ventured to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to sit on the front row of the Emmy Award-winning show “The Chew.” Chefs Clinton Kelly, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall cooked up delectable foods with special guests for a week. Mid-week, the cast prepared Chicago-style Polish sausage with Glee actor Chris Colfer, center.

Jekalyn Carr

Tom Joyner Family Reunion Was a Blast!

TJS Reunion photos and captions by Johnn de La Puente

The All State Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Kissimmee, Fla., lived up to its name of being that party. So many people from all over the nation gathered on a beautiful, sunny day. The grandiosity of the Gaylord Palms Resort was breathtaking. The beautiful and anointed gospel singer Jekalyn Carr perform and she took us to church!


One of the many highlights of the event was the Maxwell concert. The energy in the ballroom while waiting for him to take center stage was electrifying and humbling. He steps out, smoke all around. You only heard his voice singing while the purple and red lights painted our faces. Then he emerges dressed in all white and the crowd goes into a frenzy. Overall the event was an amazing experience.

Congresswoman Val Demings Speaks at African-American Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Congresswoman Val Demings spoke about her new experiences on Capitol Hill at the African-American Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Citrus Club in downtown Orlando. The event sold out with more than 300 in attendance, including ONYX Magazine. The luncheon is designed to educate attendees through a series of keynote speakers expounding on relevant topics. Past speakers have included luminaries from such fields as professional sports, the arts, business and government. It is an opportunity for attendees to interact with business leaders, corporate partners, and entrepreneurs. In the photo: Dee and Ed Parker, Parker Realty Group; Taylor Brock, Charlan Brock & Associates; Nancy Schwalb, Nancy Schwalb Public Relations; Rich Black, president and CEO of ONYX Media Group, LLC; Heatherann Antonacci, Herzing University; John Davis, African American Chamber of Commerce; Congresswoman Val Demings; Gary Brock and Butch Charlan, Charlan Brock & Associates.

Photo by Pop Lancaster

FAMU and TSU Bring Back Tampa Classic – photo by Pop Lancaster Football season in Tampa Bay was missing its Classic game for 20 years— two Historically Black College teams going head-to-head on the field while the riveting bands battled it out in the stands. In September 2017, Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Tennessee State University (TSU) brought it back. The two teams used to face off in Atlanta, but after years of hiatus, the game moved to Tampa, filling the gap left by FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University in 1997. The TSU Tigers wiped out the FAMU Rattlers 24-13 in front of a light crowd. Organizers are discussing plans for 2018. ONYX Magazine was a game media sponsor. In the photo, TSU President Glenda Baskin Glover, Ph.D., presents the game plaque to TSU MVP; and FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., present the game plaque to FAMU MVP Jakaris Wilson.



Eric Weems

Eric Weems was born on July 4, 1985 in Ormond Beach, Fla. He attended Seabreeze High School where he lettered in both football and basketball and was named an all-state and all-area athlete. He went on to attend Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) in Daytona Beach, where he appeared in 44 games over his four-year career as a wide receiver and return specialist. After finishing his senior season with the B-CU Wildcats, Weems signed with the Atlanta Falcon as an undrafted rookie free agent in the spring of 2007, and made his NFL debut against the Seattle Seahawks on December 30. Weems then spent the next four NFL seasons (2008-2011) with the Falcons. In that span, he appeared in 42 games, recording a total of 24 receptions for 205 yards. Weems set a Falcons franchise record when he returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown at Tampa Bay on December 5, 2010. He then tied that long with a 102-yard return for a touchdown in the Divisional Playoff game against the Green Bay Packers on January 11, 2011.


Weems’ record-setting 2010 season earned him a spot on the Pro Bowl roster as a return specialist after ranking third in the NFL with a career-high 27.5-yard kickoff return average and posting both one kick and punt return touchdown, respectively. On March 14, 2012, Weems signed with the Chicago Bears as an unrestricted free agent. He would spend the next two seasons with Chicago before resigning with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014. After competing in Super Bowl LI as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, Weems presented his alma mater, Seabreeze High School, with a golden football to commemorate his participation. Weems played in all 16 regular-season games for eight consecutive seasons from 2009 to 2016, a feat that has continued into the 2017 season. He signed with the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent on March 11, 2017.

Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver


Chassidy Williams Edward Waters College Student Body President Chassidy Williams is a native of Dougherty County and was born and raised in Albany, Ga. She is a graduating senior attending Edward Waters College. Over her college career, Williams has been involved in a wide range of campus activities. This includes being a member of the women’s volleyball team, Alpha Chi National Collegiate Honor Society and Miss Black & Gold for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Williams currently is the Student Government Association president for 20172018, chapter president for the Omicron Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a Teacher’s Assistant and English/

Writing Tutor in the F.A.M.E. (Focused Academics Motivating Excellence) Program. She was previously a Resident Assistant in the Honor’s Village Resident Hall and the chapter secretary in her sorority. Williams’ major is communications with a concentration in public relations. She is preparing to take the LSAT in December as she takes the necessary steps to become a law student in the fall of 2018. Her current ambitions include maintaining high scholastic achievement, engaging in The WinnHers Circle mentorship program on campus, and drafting a proposal to begin an annual pageant for the choosing and crowning of Miss Edward Waters College.

Brandi Jean-Baptiste Edward Waters College Student Body Vice President The Edward Waters College Student Government Association vice president for 2017-2018 is Brandi Jean-Baptiste, a junior majoring in Criminal Justice. Jean-Baptiste has established herself to be a servant leader among the student body, faculty, staff and administration, especially in the area of social justice. Since her arrival on campus three years ago, Jean-Baptiste has been a voice for her peers presenting their issues to administration. She accepted the role of president of the EWC campus chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in her freshman year and is currently serving as its 2017-2018 president. Her work with the New Town Success

Zone (NTSZ), a community engagement and development initiative in partnership with the College, has aided in building relationships between the community and the College. Through her work with the NTSZ Vision Keepers, Jean-Baptiste is leading the charge for voter registration, clean street initiatives, and food distribution. She also serves as the vice president of the Pre-Alumni Council and is active in the College’s Cafeteria Committee and History Club. Because of her community activism and social justice platforms, Jean Baptiste is a 2017-2018 Newman Civic Fellow and served as Miss Criminal Justice for 2016-2017.



Avido Khahaifa

Orlando Sentinel Publisher and Editor-In-Chief

Avido Khahaifa is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Orlando Sentinel Media Group. In this role, Khahaifa takes on responsibilities beyond the newsroom, including advertising, circulation, marketing, finance and operations. Khahaifa, a 1984 graduate of Florida A&M University, was named editor in 2013 after working more than 29 years in various editorial and business positions for the Tribune, first at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He came to the Orlando Sentinel in 2005 as general manager and senior vice president


overseeing various business side operations before becoming director of content for Florida in 2010 and the Orlando Sentinel editor two-and-a-half years ago. During Khahaifa’s tenure as director of content and later as editor, the Orlando Sentinel was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and has won numerous statewide journalism awards. In 2016, Editor & Publisher magazine named the Orlando Sentinel as one of the ’10 Newspapers That Do It Right’ for its video initiatives that led to record growth in 2015.


Marcus H. Burgess

Florida Memorial University Vice President, Advancement

Mr. Marcus H. Burgess is a native of Cades, South Carolina. He is a 1996 graduate of Claflin University where he earned a BS in Elementary Education a 1997 Graduate of The Citadel, earning a M.S. in Education Administration and Supervision. Currently, he is the Vice President for University Advancement at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida. A job he started in June of 2015. There he leads the Office of Alumni Affairs/Annual Fund, Corporate and Community Affairs, Public Relations, Advancement Services, and Governmental Relations. Most recently, Mr. Burgess was employed as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. There he oversaw marketing and communications, alumni relations, development, WVCD-790 AM campus radio and advancement services. Under his leadership, the college has experienced increased alumni participation and involvement through workshops and seminars from 7% to over 22% during his tenure. Under his leadership, the President’s Gala was revived and saw a net increase of over $140,000 in sponsorships and gifts. The establishment of a Student Philanthropy program has empowered the college’s students and future alumni to become involved in the fundraising process thus supporting their

own education. The creation of Corporate Roundtables in various cities in South Carolina have increased the visibility of the college and created great partnership opportunities. He recently secured an $18.5 million HBCU Capital Finance loan to increase institutional fiscal sustainability. Prior to Voorhees College, Mr. Burgess began his path to higher education at Claflin University as the Director of the Annual Fund/Alumni Relations, where he kept alumni abreast of all the happenings and current affairs of the University, served as a liaison between the Claflin University International Alumni Association and the college, and ensured that all alumni continue to support the University through student recruitment, monetary gifts, participation in class reunions, and much more. Through his efforts, Claflin University celebrated an alumni giving percentage of over 45% during his tenure, which was the highest among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities at that time. He raised an unprecedented $8 million from alumni in support of a $96.4 million Capital Campaign with an additional $100,000 from students. He is married to Leandra Hayes- Burgess, and together they have three children Marcus (Deuce), Mariana` and Tyler. ONYX MAGAZINE 49


Your Business Impact May Already Be Bigger Than You Think As an entrepreneur, you don’t need an empire to have impact. The impact that you have in your business and beyond may already be bigger than you imagine. By Ursula Jorch, M.Sc., M.Ed.


ere’s some great news: businesses that consciously focus on impact, on making a positive difference, have 12-14 times more income than businesses that just focus on profit. Impact is not a nice-to-have. It’s not an add-on. It’s an integral part of your business vision and strategy. You may be thinking, I’ll focus on my impact once I make more money. I can’t have impact without more income. The truth is, you don’t have to wait for some future “ideal” condition to have impact. Your plans for impact can be built right into your business from the start. When you do that, not only your impact increases. Your income increases as well. Focusing on impact has other benefits too: • Your decisions are easier. When you make your impact the center of attention for your business, then it’s easier to say yes or no to new ideas and prospects. • You have focus. • You have a greater sense of purpose. Having clarity about the impact that you want to have will give you a greater

sense of purpose than you’ve ever had. Impact is greater than purpose, greater than mission. This clarity will carry you through challenging times. • You have motivation and energy. You’ll jump into your business and life with more energy and motivation than you’ve ever felt. You don’t have to have an empire to have impact, to make a positive difference. You affect everyone you meet, whether you notice it or not. We are the sum of our relationships, with ourselves and with others. The African word, “Ubuntu,” means, “I am because you are.” Ubuntu captures the essence of our interconnectedness. I once held a meeting in an African hut with that word, Ubuntu, boldly painted on the outside of it. Nelson Mandela visited the village where this African hut after his release from 27 years in prison. It is said he wandered through the village in the mornings to greet everyone he met. He showed real presence and caring in his interactions, never rushing, reaching out to each person individually.

Mandela’s presence was honored by the creation of black pillars installed throughout the village that still stand. On each one is written a word. Freedom. Courage. Trust. Resilience. Unity. Vision. Each word speaks to presence and to impact. He understood that each person is important, that our connections with each other are what matter. The point: your impact doesn’t have to include a vision about influencing the larger world, but your impact probably already is big. It is estimated that we are able to maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people at a time, and that each of us knows between 472 and 750 people. That assumes that you’re not making a major effort, that you’ve stayed pretty much in the same place for most of your life, and you don’t include social media. Let your impact be whatever moves you, whatever you see as your positive contribution in your business and in the world. And that vision may grow as you recognize your impact.

This article was originally published at and has been reprinted with permission. 50 ONYX MAGAZINE


SUCCESS Entrepreneur and CEO Gary Hartfield explains that giving back is tied to success. By Gary Hartfield Who and what did you have to give up to become successful? Success is inextricably related to sacrifice, the act of giving up something highly valued for the sake of something else considered to have greater value or claim. As a leader, you should embrace the principle of sacrifice and the responsibility of Giving Back. Great experiences, tough challenges, invaluable life lessons, and mountain-moving faith lead to success. But we don’t get there on our own. We must acknowledge and honor the key people who pour into us on our journeys. Then, pay it forward by investing in others. Investment in others is stewardship of your time, talent and treasure. Sacrificing your time to Give Back to others is good stewardship of that which has been invested in you. God’s promise for good stewardship and a return on your investment is solid: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, said the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a

A good way to start Giving Back is by making our communities better. Personally, I have a passion for the younger generation. I give them opportunities to be a part of my community investment strategies; and I lead them to equip others with employability skills, public speaking skills, and conversational skills: all tools they will use for the rest of their lives. Partners like the Parramore Kidz (PK Zone) and the Corporation to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa have supported me in my efforts by inviting groups of eager learners to my coaching seminars. blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10) The simple truth is, there are many ways to make money and achieve professional goals. But if you Give Back and sacrifice to tithe and invest your time and talents to mentor others, all these things, including success, will be added to you.

Hartfield engages students in conversation about his autobiography “Stand” Photos courtesy of Parramore Kidz.

Photo of Hartfield by Kerrick Williams Photography

Gary Hartfield talks with young men after a presentation.

Gary Hartfield is president and CEO of Serenity Village.




2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces 2 cups sugar 4 large eggs 1 cup coconut milk 1 teaspoon coconut extract Frosting: 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature 8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1 tablespoon coconut extract 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 2/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut (1 7-oz. bag)

Coconut Layer Cake

DIRECTIONS Step 1 Make cake: Place a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350ÂşF. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans. Step 2 In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low; beat in half of flour mixture. Beat in coconut milk and extract, then beat


in remaining flour mixture until just combined. Divide batter between cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks to cool completely. Step 3 Make frosting: Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until light, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in extracts. Chill 15 minutes.

Step 4 Assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread with 1 1/2 cups frosting. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides. Sprinkle remaining coconut over top and sides of cake, pressing to adhere. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to a day. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Make the Most of the Thanksgiving Weekend Instead of sitting on the couch watching football, take a hike or get a massage this Thanksgiving break. By Mary Williams


hanksgiving is all about family gatherings over good food, enjoying parties, dinners and celebrating the event with musical parades, festivities and football. This long-awaited weekend is celebrated with great enthusiasm and thrill throughout the nation. While most of us are following the same traditions from the past few years, there are some looking for a new way to spend the weekend with family and friends. If you are among those who believe your Thanksgiving rituals need a boost, here is a list of activities that will help you utilize your weekend to the utmost. Watch a movie: Watching a movie is a good way to make any day interesting. Whether you wish to watch a latest movie or have a stack of DVDs you haven’t watched in a while, movies can carry you off to a carefree afternoon. Call up your movie buddy, set your home theatre and watch them all. And if you want to get out of the house, head to a nearby theater and enjoy a movie with a tub of popcorn.

Meet your old friends: When was the last time you met your favorite group of friends together? Don’t even remember, right? Then, this Thanksgiving Day plan an outing with your high school buddies and make your weekend a great one. Hang out at your favorite place, eat at that popular restaurant and have lots of fun. Can there be a better idea of spending a weekend? Pick up the phone, fix a plate and raise the toast for your friendship. Go for a family picnic: A family get together is a fun way to interact and come closer to all the family members who spend a lot of time apart. Thanksgiving weekend is an ideal time to spend some quality time with family and create magical memories. Going out for a picnic will not only double up the fun of the weekend, but will also help you make your family members happy. Take a long drive and choose a spot to spend the day. Spare time for yourself: The hectic routines have stolen our “me time,” selfcare and introspection. While the whole

world is busy celebrating the event, how about giving some attention to yourself? This might sound strange, but there are moments in life when we need to focus on our own well-being. This Thanksgiving weekend, go to a spa, meditate and relax yourself with the pleasures that make you feel good. Escape to a stress-free break: It’s time to take that long-awaited break because your job and other priorities didn’t let you do so for the last few months. Take friend or family member with you make the best of this Thanksgiving Day. You could even explore new destinations, take a hike or visit a favorite spot. There are so many choices. Check your local bulletin boards, newspapers and events calendars to see what new events are taking place on Thanksgiving and go for it! This article is courtesy of



Metropolitan Ministries volunteers collect toys for children.

‘Tis the Season for Giving Help these worthy outreach organizations carry out their missions


he holiday season is one that brings out the best in all of us. Why not use that festive energy to help someone in need? Throughout Florida, many individuals and families turn to shelters and missions to get through the season. Here are just a few such programs that welcome volunteers to minister to some of Florida’s most vulnerable residents. CLARITA’S HOUSE OUTREACH MINISTRY, INC. Orange and Osceola Counties A non-profit program for the homeless and disadvantaged, Clarita’s House is a Christ-centered program based on biblical principles. The outreach team serves the homeless on the streets, in shelters, in the woods, and in motels in Orange and Osceola counties. In Osceola County, Clarita’s House puts heavy emphasis on children in need. They provide groceries, clothing, personal care items, ACCESS, spiritual support, mentoring, and other resources to these families with children. 54 ONYX MAGAZINE

Most of the homeless children in Osceola County live in aged unkept rent-bythe-week motel complexes along U.S. Highway 192 minutes away from Disney World. Most are doubled up with friends and relatives and some are living in cars and travel trailers. Clarita House’s goal is to have housing accommodation and resources for men, women, and women with small children. They depend solely on assistance from individuals, churches, businesses and foundations to operate our programs.

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

During Thanksgiving, Clarita’s House distributes clothes, food and toiletries in the parking lot of one of the participating hotels. The organization needs help picking up and organizing donations. They also need people to donate items. At Christmas, they organize a toy drive for children living in participating hotels and distribute good baskets. They need volunteers to collect items for food baskets and the toy drive, and help distribute them. For more information: Call 407-4431210 or visit METROPOLITAN MINISTRIES

Volunteers serve the community at Clara White Mission

Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk Counties Metropolitan Ministries is a local, independent, faith-based nonprofit committed to providing hope. They’ve been doing it since 1972 through services for poor and homeless families in Hillsborough, Pasco Pinellas, and Polk Counties. Imagine what it would feel like to tell your children that there’s nothing to eat

A Clarita’s House volunteer distributed backpacks.

today. That’s exactly what thousands of struggling moms and dads in the Tampa Bay region are facing when they come to Metropolitan Ministries for holiday assistance. For them, hunger is a constant companion. The Ministries’ believe HOPE starts with a meal and leads to life-change. This year, the Ministries expects to serve 18,000 families throughout Tampa Bay this holiday season, an elongated need because of Hurricane Irma’s impact. Join their BE HOPE campaign by volunteering in their iconic Holiday tent this year. Volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries offers you the opportunity to see The Ministries’ mission at face-value. Volunteers are crucial to achieve the Ministries’ mission, especially in an operation like the Holiday Tent – it’s the size of a football field. More than 10,000 volunteers participate each year and you can too! As a volunteer, you can expect to do a multitude of tasks including food shopping with families, toy shopping with families, serving in the hospitality area, receiving donations, sorting non-perishable food, and sorting toys and gifts. Volunteering in in the holiday tent is a great way to engage the whole family. Opportunities are filling up, sign up today and #BeHope! Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Learn more about volunteering with Metropolitan Ministries here: www.metromin. org/holidaycentral

the less fortunate in the Jacksonville, Fla., community. The Clara White Mission offers more than meals for the hungry and transitional housing for the homeless. It offers hope and a way out of the misery of a life on the streets. The Mission provides food and housing and vocational programs to put people to work. The goal is to restore those in need to meaningful, dignified lives in the community. The Clara White Mission depends on those who give unselfishly of their time and talents in service to those who need help so desperately. There are many ways to help, including serving meals, participating in food drives, helping in our urban garden, joining Friends of Clara White Mission and much more. Please refer to our volunteer calendar or click on a day in the small calendar to the right to see what volunteer events are still open for registration. If you have any questions, contact Merle Wright at or 904-354-4162 ext. 1125 today to learn more about how you can help. Please refer to our Volunteer Guidelines for more info. Minors under the age of 17 will need to fill out a Volunteer Parental Consent Form unless accompanied by parent or guardian. Holiday Volunteer Opportunities

Feed the City - November 18 Farm to Tour - November 19 Thanksgiving breakfast 8:00 a.m. 10:30 a.m. - November 23 Call 904-354-4162 ext. 1125 for more information


Miami-Dade and Broward Counties Since 1922, the Miami Rescue Mission, Broward Outreach Centers and The Caring Place, have served the homeless and those in need in South Florida. The Broward Outreach Centers were first established in 1992. The Centers serve more than 1,300 men, women, and children each day. There are approximately 800 people enrolled in residential life-changing programs. At the heart of these decades of serving those in the greatest need are our core values: Compassion, Hope, Restoration, and Transformation. Volunteers are a vital part of providing all types of services in the Centers. Thousands of people from the community bring their time and talents to enrich the lives of the homeless men, women, and children who are being cared for throughout the year. Not only are the homeless and needy touched by the compassion of our volunteers, but the volunteers’ lives are also touched. Serving others is one of life’s greatest privileges. Reaching out to the least, the last, and the lost in a personal way that says, “I care about you” brings encouragement to our residents and staff. Whether its serving a meal, tutoring a student, or working with the youth - volunteers make a difference in people’s live. Holiday Volunteer Opportunities:

Volunteers may serve meals, help with food and clothing drives, and much more. For information on becoming a volunteer, please visit or call 305-571-2273 in Miami, 954-9267417 in Hollywood, or 954-979-6365 in Pompano. Information has been provided by each mission


Duval County The Clara White Mission was founded by Dr. Eartha M. M. White whose compassion for humanity moved her to action. The Mission has existed for more than 100 years, dedicated to serving the needs of

Volunteers at Clarita’s House prepare for a clothes giveaway.



DON’T STRESS OVER GIVING. HAVE A PLAN. Don’t make Christmas gifts a guessing game. Ask. By D. Shenell Reed


hristmas. Stressful, right? You have to make sure the halls are decked and the food is on point. You are exhausted from cleaning the house and fixing up the extra room for Aunt Bertha—because you know how picky she is. Your funds are running low, because you have tried to outdo yourself on outside decorations, yet again, only to have your next-door neighbor win the most festive house award. And let’s not mention the anguish you feel over finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Now things just got out of control. But they don’t have to. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, not go crazy trying to please other people. But if it is important for you to have just the right presents as a part of your holiday traditions, do it stress-free this year. Nobody can help you with everything you 56 ONYX MAGAZINE

choose to include in your holiday repertoire, but hopefully these tips for gift buying will let you check one thing off your list. Make a list of who you’re going to gift – Who in your circle really should receive a gift from you? Immediate family is probably the logical route to take. Also, it’s safe to include nieces, nephews, and godkids. But does your office throw a holiday party complete with gift exchange? What about church and community gift-giving events you attend? Do your closest friends have an annual gift exchange over dinner? Be sure to put all those people on your list, too. Don’t wait too late to get started – This is what really messes us up. How many times have you been in the department

up the dollar amount to $100 or more. Whichever amount you choose, make sure it won’t stress you financially and let nothing change your mind. Don’t forget to calculate shipping and handling if you’re shopping online. Also, online gifts are a great way to go, as they often cost less. Besides, you save on gas and shopping frenzy headaches. Know the person you’re gifting – Remember, this gift is not for you, so don’t buy that silk scarf you’ve been eyeing for yourself. Shopping for others can be a chore. Don’t be afraid to ask others who are more familiar with the person. Also, engage them in conversation and pick up on what they say. You might be able to detect that a person loves golfing or reading. So, a set of golf balls might be attractive or a gift card to a bookstore might do the trick. Ask for hints – Some families draw names from a hat to determine who each person will shop for. On the name card is a list of the types of things they like—or need. Sometimes people are up front about what they want. “I want a blue sweater with white polka dots; I want a gift card to a grocery store.” Other times, they may be

a little less obvious. “I like hiking; I enjoy traveling.” That leaves the door open, but at least you know to check out the sporting goods store. Avoid clichés and make it special – Flowers, cards and candy might be all right gifts for a surprise, but for special occasions, you want to make the gift, well… special. Don’t be afraid to add a little of yourself in the gift and make it an experience. Remember when you and your sister took that first trip to your favorite hot spot? Say it was Jamaica. Why not gift her with a hand-crafted bowl from Montigo Bay to commemorate your trip? Make sure you wrap it nicely and play reggae music in the background while she opens it. Just make it fun! Give back – We can’t save the world, but perhaps we can plant a tree. Think about donating to a favorite charity in the name of someone. Or, invite family and friends out to the local mission to serve those who are in need. What better way to spend time with those you love? And what a wonderful gift to give someone who may have received nothing at all?

Doc McStuffins: Disney Enterprises, Inc.

TOP TOY FOR CHRISTMAS 2017 TIME FOR YOUR CHECKUP! store on December 24, it’s 5:30 p.m., the store closes at 6, and you still don’t have a gift for Aunt Bertha? Fall collections come out in the summer and stores have great holiday sales throughout November. As you see something appealing, make note of it and jot down the name of the person who you think might like it. That will give you a good start. Decide your budget and stick to it – Don’t go broke trying to purchase Christmas gifts. Set your dollar amount make it final. You may decide that each person will get a $10 gift card or $25 present. For those closest to you, you may

Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins is learning all about baby care thanks to her role as a Chief Resident. Preschoolers can nurture and care for their baby dolls right alongside Doc with the All-in-One Nursery, an adorable role-play center full of exciting doctor features and accessories to explore! Use Doc’s portable electronic patient laptop to diagnose, featuring a light-up screen, sounds and lullaby music. The light & sound stethoscope is perfect for checking baby’s heartbeat. When it’s time for a checkup, measure baby’s height and weight on the scale and use the special nursery tools. After the checkup is complete, give the baby patient a bandage from the sticker dispenser. When it’s time for a nap, spin the baby mobile and rock the cradle the best prescription for sweet dreams! This toy is for ages 3 and older. The doctor is in! Doc McStuffins can fix your toys with a little help from her friends Stuffy, Hallie, Lambie and Chilly. Description by Toys R Us



ONYX Attends the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 47th Annual Conference Each year, the black members of the United States Congress convene, along with other experts, to share a snapshot of how their efforts on Capitol Hill are impacting their constituencies and the nation at large. Members host braintrusts, panel discussions that delve into relevant topics, and then open the discussion for members of the media and convention goers to participate. ONYX Magazine joined the five-day Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in its 47th run and returned energized to better serve our community. With more than 9,000 people in attendance, the ALC is the largest gathering in the nation of mostly African-Americans focused on policy. Below are a few snippets to describe how Florida representatives are working for you.

ONYX visited the African-American Museum of History and Culture

it home and her best friend is yet to be found. #BringBackOurGirls founder Obiageli Ezekwesili was a panelist along with filmmaker Ifunaya Maduka; Helon Habila, “The Chibok Girls” author; Yetide Badaki, “American Gods” actress; and Gregory Simpkins, staff director for the House Subcommittee on Africa. The panel was hosted by Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post.

Policing Black Men: Are the Odds Against Them?

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

#BringBackOurGirls Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D) Miami, is dedicated to #BringBackOurGirls and has the support of our current administration and members of Congress. She hosted a panel discussion about the status of the girls who were captured by terrorist group the Boka Haram on April 14, 2014. Panelists strongly advocated for the return of all girls who were taken. During the discussion, we learned that the night of the capture, 57 escaped and so far, an additional 103 have been returned to their families. Panelists also reviewed efforts by the Nigerian government and a multi-national military task force to defeat the terrorist group. The discussion included a moving film “Waiting for Hassana,” which chronicled one girl’s experience the night of the horrific attack. She made

Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson hosted town hall’s panel featuring an outstanding and diverse group of experts in the arena of civil rights and community race relations. They engaged in a thought-provoking analysis of the current state of relations between black men and law enforcement, and the numerous cultural, legal, historical, and psychological biases that often impede trust and understanding between African-American communities and the law enforcement. Moderated by Angela Rye, principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, the town hall featured Angela J. Davis, professor of law at The American University’s Washington College of Law and author of Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution and Imprisonment; Raymond C. Hart, director of research for the Council of the Great City Schools; Cedric Alexander, deputy mayor of Rochester, NY; and Paul Butler, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and MSNBC contributor.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Val Demings

Imagine a Bigger World – Marvel’s Black Panther, Cultural Heritage and STEM Hosted by Florida Congresswoman Val Demings The creative team behind Marvel’s “Black Panther” talked about how truth meets fantasy in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the nation’s technological prowess and how centuries of innovation and culture inspired the Black Panther character, comics and film.



Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, ONYX CEO Rich Black, Rep. Joyce Beatty, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Real Housewives of Atlanta co-star Phaedra Parks.

Rep. Elijah Cummings

Prayer Breakfast Early Saturday morning, more than 4,000 guests sat down to a prayer breakfast with the sounds of Greater Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Tex., and the incomparable Pastor Shirley Caesar. Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Inc., in Los Angeles delivered a riveting sermon that brought everyone to their feet.

Phoenix Awards Dinner This star-studded gala was the perfect culmination to an extraordinary weekend, with more than 4,000 in attendance. Actor Anthony Anderson and White House Correspondent and CNN Political Analyst April Ryan were the evening’s emcees. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson delivered the keynote address.

Members of the CBC were honored on stage

Anthony Anderson, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Joyce Beatty, and other CBC members

Women’s March Board Members Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland Rapper, actor Common and political analyst Angela Rye



Swine Brine

Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival This hearty cocktail is garnished with a “piggy wing” at the new Flavored by Fire Marketplace. Serves 2 4 ounces apple cider 2 ounces simple syrup 2 ounces fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 1/4 ounces bourbon 1.

Fill a cocktail shaker glass with ice, add all ingredients and shake well. 2. Strain into a glass filled with ice.


November/December 2017  

HBCU, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida A&M University, Florida Memorial University, Edward Waters College, HBCU Queens