Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition $3.95
Our Career, Our Business, Our Finances
Shades of Beauty in Black
Black Women Talking Beauty
Stylish Women of the World
Natural Girl in a Corporate World
From Television Studio to Fitness Studio
From Volunteer to Healthcare Career Gateway Health Plan
Photo by: Ahmad Sandidge
| A WORD FROM OLA
Ola Jackson, Founder and CEO - OWN: Onyx Woman Network
The Beauty Principle is Evolving It was sometime in the Seventies when I first saw beauty icon and supermodel Beverly Johnson staring back at me on the cover of Glamour Magazine. Brown skinned with high cheekbones and hair pulled back, Beverly was a vision of beauty seldom showcased in the African-American community, let alone mainstream America, especially on the cover of a major publication. Fast forward to 2012, and there are only a few more African-American women on the cover of major magazines as there were “way back when.” Why? Because deep shades of Black and Brown are still not synonymous with beauty. Yes, beauty does come in a kaleidoscope of earth tones, even if society and members of our community try to tell us differently. The time has come to show more pride in the array of skin tones, hair textures and body silhouettes we possess. In this issue, we spoke to a bevy of beauties to get their views about the standards of beauty and their own personal experiences related to their looks, style, and physical attributes. Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
There was a time when big butts were considered bad butts and large lips subjected their owner to shame and ridicule. Today, some of the most popular features that are natural attributes for black women are being recreated in plastic surgeons’ offices around the world. We live in a society that spends a lot of time and money convincing women that we are not good enough unless we purchase a product or service that will alter our appearance or send us back to looking like our unpractical and unattainable youthful selves. As time passes, it seems that Madison Avenue keeps raising the bar on what women are supposed to look like in order to be considered acceptable by society. The message to women of color is that the further we are removed from our Afrocentric features, the more attractive we are. We experiment with a broad range of hair textures, skin colors and beautifying concepts, transforming the fashions that adorn the runways of the world to the streets of urban America, with dollars and
cents never getting in the way of our style sense. So much time, effort and money is spent with women transforming themselves to adhere to what society has deemed beautiful in a society obsessed with youth and unrealistic beauty. Too often women are validated based on their looks. What is worse is that some women fall into the trap of trying to emmulate an appearance that is not meant for them, and in some cases, not even healthy. Not even the models on the covers of magazines look as good in person as, “the airbrushed model on the cover” I will never forget a quote that I read many years ago, “If women felt good about themselves the economy would collapse.” What hasn’t seemed to collapse is the new revolution taking place as black women alter the mantra of the 70’s, “Say it Loud. I am Natural and I’m Proud.” It’s a revolution. Black women are changing the game and playing by our own rules.
ONYX WOMAN MAGAZINE Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition FOUNDER/PUBLISHER: Ola R. Jackson CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Khadija Woods Carla Dean COVER PHOTO BY: Joey Kennedy
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Daryl E. Jackson Diane I. Daniels Allegra Battle Johnson L. Denise Johnson Renee P. Aldrich GRAPHIC DESIGN: William H. Feagins, Jr. High Impact Designs/Multimedia PHOTO CREDITS:
Catherine Cooper - Roy Cox Photography Kim Wood - Laszlo Bartos Debbie Norrell - Ahmad Sandidge Judge Kim Berkeley - Clark, Ricco J.L. Martello Marcia Martin - Ronald Glover Melinda Glover & Julie Latham - Andre Glover
There are well-dressed women; there are stylish women; and there are women whose flare for fashion, sense of style, and innate ability to coordinate make them stand out as fashion leaders.
Marcia Martin is definitely a corporate leader in the healthcare industry in Pennsylvania. What you might not know is how her love of people led her to volunteer and eventually started her on her career path.
Unless you have been on another planet, you will know that natural hair is here to stay, and African-American women are embracing their kinky, curly, and wavy coif. Kristen Freeland shares her experience of being a natural girl in the corporate world.
10 Beauty in Shades of Black
Black women are having their say about beauty, the industry, their images, and America’s perception of beauty.
VISIT US ONLINE: www.ownonyxwomannetwork.tv www.onyxwoman.ning.com www.homegirlceo.ning.com www.facebook.com/homegirlceo www.twitter.com/homegirlceo Onyx Woman was created as a how-to guide to educate, inspire and motivate African American women on their journeys through entrepreneurship, up the corporate ladder and to every other destination on their search for financial empowerment. ONYX WOMAN is an online publication that publishes special edition hard copy issues. OWN: Onyx Woman Network, P.O. Box 8653, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Tel: (412) 731-5159. www.ownonyxwomannetwork.tv. Advertising is accepted at the discretion of the publisher. Acceptance does not imply endorsement. All information contained herein is believed to be factual. The opinions expressed by contributors or those interviewed are not necessarily those of the publisher. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is prohibited. ONYX WOMAN Network © 2012. All Rights Reserved. ONYX WOMAN and the three ONYX WOMAN ladies are registered trademarks of Ola Jackson. ISSN# 1098-1764.
18 Women Unite to Achieve Women’s Empowerment and Collaboration
We will not be responsible for any unsolicited materials. You must submit address changes to OWN: Onyx Woman Network, P.O. Box 8653, Pittsburgh, PA 15221.
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
See what happens when African-American, Lisa Harper and South African, Nthabi Ledwaba come together to launch a dream that would unite women business leaders from both sides of the world.
| LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
| SPIRITUAL NOTES ter hours at the salon, I was never happy with the results and couldn’t maintain the style for more than a week. When I cut out my perm at 15, I was too young to know how liberating it would turn out to be. Going natural encouraged me to create my own style and make myself beautiful with the attributes given to me at birth. Khadija Woods New Jersey
Going Back to My Roots I love being natural because it’s me in the RAW, no additives or preservatives. My hair is a reflection of my God-Given spirit. Strong but gentle, full of twists, turns and infinite possibilities. Missie Shealey Atlanta, GA
The Root of the Problem I was sick of going to hair salons, spending lots of time and too much money for a hairstyle that lasted about a week. I can save a lot of money and wasted time not going into an environment that isn’t always as professional as it should be. No need to mention the damage done to my hair by stylists who don’t believe in giving consultations before handing you over to the sometimes untrained shampoo girl. Jarene Barnes Pittsburgh, PA
Naturally Beautiful! In high school, I struggled with straight hairstyles. My mother vetoed most of what I liked because they were “too old” for me, and my hairstylist ruled out the rest because I didn’t have enough hair. Af-
Learning to Lose the Mask and Be Yourself by Renee P. Aldrich
One of the overwhelming challenges of being a woman is coming to terms with who we are in a world full of hype about what it means to be beautiful. Many of us struggle to accept our life condition in the face of a media culture that dictates the dimensions of a perfect body. We often allow Renee P. Aldrich ourselves to be subject to hurtful opinions of family, friends, and significant others, even when those opinions are formed by whatever warped view they have of themselves. Historically, society dictated to us what we should look like, sound like, act like, where we should live, and so much more. This made many women develop emotional masks in a self-imposed quest to be “perfect”. A woman wearing a mask meets people and creates an imaginary existence that presents her in a better light. You have seen a woman behind a mask or been one yourself if you ever found yourself in conversation presenting an extremely exaggerated version of yourself. At work, we go to great lengths to present a picture of perfection. We create undue stress and anxiety for ourselves by trying to be indispensable, rather than assessing the reality of our capabilities. Another place where you may see a lot of “Masked Women” is, unfortunately, in the church. Presented with a picture of what spirituality should look like, many find themselves unable to keep up. On Wednesdays and Sundays we show up with “Masks of Pious Pretense” that are impossible to maintain. This happens when we do not cont’d on page 21
Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
Photo by: Roy Cox Photography
| VIP VISIONARIES, IMAGES & PROFILES
FASHION ICON You know who “She” is. “She” is the woman who always gets it right in the fashion department. “She” has a signature style that is both classic and modern. Her sense of fashion is an outward presentation of her focus, drive and playful sense of beauty in her own form. “She” is elegantly coifed from head to toe, and the confidence that imbues shines through. The ladies on these pages are the epitome of style and creativity. These fashion VIP’s are not just dressed well; they are poised, polished and fashion forward. They are our Fashion Icons.
Kristal Turner-Childs Pennsylvania State Trooper Harrisburg, PA
Catherine Cooper Image Stylist Washington, D.C
Kristal may adorn a state trooper uniform during the day, but at night, she stands out at her Delta Sigma Theta sorority events and in her work as a motivational speaker and consultant. Turner-Childs expresses her individual sense of style with a flexibility that showcases her most elegant ensembles. While her uniform includes a standard-issue State Trooper hat, her personal collection is far more vibrant. Her fashion choices define her individuality and makes her one of the city’s best dressed.
This former fashion model works the sidewalks of our nation’s capital, where she uses her natural sense of style to combine traditional ensembles with contemporary trends accented by unique, one-of-a-kind pieces collected during her travels. Catherine opts for select silhouettes to frame her statuesque physique and highlight colors that enrich the finished look. She is as versatile in her fashion choices as she is with the many glamorous hairstyles that she has become known for.
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
Photo by: Laszlo Bartos
Photo by: Ahmad Sandidge
Photo by: Ricco J.L. Martello
| VIP VISIONARIES, IMAGES & PROFILES
Kimberly Slater-Wood Director of Outreach Pittsburgh Penguins Organization Pittsburgh, PA
Debbie Norrell Lifestyle Editor The New Pittsburgh Courier Pittsburgh, PA
Judge Kim Berkeley Clark Administrative Judge, Family Division, Allegheny County Common Pleas Pittsburgh, PA
Kim keeps it simple, classic and sophisticated. Even though she doesn’t get on the ice in her work with Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup Winning hockey team, her style is hot! The busy fashion-forward business executive has a well-orchestrated wardrobe that must accommodate her hectic schedule full of board meetings, special events, social gatherings and business trips. Away from the office, this well-traveled fashionista chooses to make daring fashion statements in trendsetting garments that celebrate her curves and hold her place on our most fashionable list.
When this award-winning journalist isn’t writing about lifestyle news, covering fashion shows or emceeing one of Pittsburgh’s fabulous events, she can be found in vintage, thrift and consignment shops searching for durable, timeless pieces to add to her eclectic yet adaptable wardrobe. Debbie sponsors group shopping expeditions to teach others how to develop wardrobes with longevity to create their own signature look. That animal-print clutch in her photo was purchased over 20 years ago!
Although the understated black robe is what you see in the courtroom, her career wear underneath is eye-catching and simply elegant. The usually conservatively dressed, award-winning judge is fierce in her take-charge business attire. She has a keen eye for what works for her and, as her admirers know, Judge Clark can work a hat like nobody’s business! The jury is in on one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved judges. She does not break the rules when it comes to making a fashion statement.
Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
| WORK ZONE
From Volunteer to Health Care Career An Onyx Woman Q & A with Health Care Professional Marcia Martin Marcia Martin has always been passionate about helping people. When she was a young girl, she spearheaded her first volunteer action, inspired by her desire to help other kids in her neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. As a student, she continued to volunteer for various causes, choosing to develop her passion for people with a career in the health care industry. She currently serves as the Vice President of Gateway Health Plan, Pennsylvania’s alternative to the Public Welfare Medical Assistance Program. It provides services to over 200,000 members. Martin’s work demands that she understand the core health care needs of her service area, an understanding that has made her an advocate for access to affordable health care in low-income communities. OW: How did you get your start in the health care industry? MM: This is a second career for me. My first career was in human resources and I was looking to make a change. I’ve always done a lot of volunteering in the community and I wanted a job where I could help people. I was particularly interested in helping people with low incomes. I felt health care was the best opportunity for me to use my skills to help people live longer, healthier lives. OW: Where did you get your passion for helping people? MM: I started helping people at a very young age. I was in a program called Urban Youth Action, founded by Bernard Jones. I’m originally from the Hill District and I saw some kids that had holes in their shoes. I told Mr. Jones and his response to me was, “What do you plan to do about it?” So I wrote a letter to the Pittsburgh Press. I did a shoe drive and hundreds of pairs of shoes came into the Hill City Building on Bedford Avenue. I’ve been giving ever since. OW: What does the passing of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act mean for Pennsylvanians?
Photo by: Ronald Glover
MM: I think the bill will expand medical assistance. The issue we have in Pennsylvania is that, even though the Supreme Court upheld it, a lot will depend on the election. Mitt Romney has clearly stated that he plans to repeal it (if he gets into office) and there’s a lot of opposition. Pennsylvania has not signed on to cont’d on page 20 Page 8
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
| WORK ZONE
Claudette Lewis: Reimagining Retirement by Allegra Johnson
When most people think of retirement, they picture themselves lounging on a beach, fishing or having drinks by the pool. That’s not the portrait that Claudette Lewis had in mind when she decided to retire. Lewis has worked around the world in various corporate and non-profit jobs, and wined and dined with some of the world’s elite. She has positively impacted communities across the world, so there is no way retirement would slow her down. After the Brooklyn, NY native earned university degrees in math and Spanish, she went to work as a research analyst at an airline in 1968. The position afforded her the opportunity to travel the world and live out her dreams. After working and living in Central America, Europe and South
Africa, Lewis found herself in the Pittsburgh area. “I got a call from the Department of Human Services to see if I wanted to be a senior staff member, and I accepted that position and stayed there for almost 14 years until I retired,” Lewis explained. Since retiring, Lewis has embarked on the next chapter of her life, a chapter just as exciting and diverse as her career. She was recently named the Interim CEO/ President of NEED, a community-based, non-profit, higher education assistance program for minority students. There, she has also served on the board and as Chair of the Scholarship Committee. In addition, she serves on the executive boards of a number of organizations, including the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise
(PACE), the Mt. Ararat Community Center, Three Rivers Youth and the Pittsburgh Foundation. cont’d on page 11
Naturally Speaking: A Natural Girl in the Corporate World By C. Denise Johnson
Nowhere is the relationship between hair and image more tangled than here in the United States. In the Motherland, hair was a crowning achievement. Some hairstyles signified one’s station in society or marked a rite of passage. This changed during the slave trade when hair texture was used to part the Black community. Nearly 160 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, we are still living the good hair/bad hair legacy. During the height of the Black Power movement, the focus changed as we encouraged each other to embrace our natural assets. Afros and cornrows became political statements of cultural authenticity. Our styles said it all: “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.” The new millennium sister has more coif choices than ever before, enough to make Madame C. J. Walker flip her wig! From extensions and weaves, lace fronts and locs, the modern Black woman can change her hair shade or style at a whim. She may even choose to rock a bald dome and still turn heads. Kristen Freeland
Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
cont’d on page 20 Page 9
COVER STORY In the eye of each beholder, beauty is a varied thing, but perception drives the “standards” of beauty that inform modern mass media discourse. We spoke to five women from our cover photo who had a lot to say about defining their own standards of beauty in society as well as the workplace, their families and in their own minds. Tamiko Stanley Assistant Director & EEO Officer City of Pittsburgh, Mayor Ravenstahl Society’s definition and portrayal of beauty has always been contrary to the natural characteristics of women of color, creating an inferno of self-hatred. Inaccurate images of women and girls have supported stereotypes that form negative attitudes many women have about their bodies and their appearance. Even though it seems that girls of color have fewer relatable portrayals of beauty in media today, I believe our saving grace is the confidence that women of today have in themselves and each other. We are on the brink of change as women in and out of the limelight exhibit their beauty and uniqueness with confidence and assurance. Today, you can find more positive campaigns that combat the expectation
that young girls conform to an unrealistic standard of beauty. These include campaigns like “My Black is Beautiful” and “Black Girls Rock”, opportunities to teach that beauty has no one face, size, style or color. The features that society often defines as shortcomings are usually the very unique oddities that make each person beautiful. I embrace my own uniqueness and did so at a very young age. As an adult, I understand that it was not by accident that I appreciated the intrigue of my unique features. The oddness of my deep, dark skin and deep-set eyes were attributes that I was taught to appreciate. My mother raised me with positive references to my looks, something women of color must always do from one generation to the next!
Carmelle Nickens Development/Marketing Consultant As a young model and retail buyer in the fashion industry, I knew that perception of beauty was a matter of who one was culturally, ethnically and racially. It was clear to me that cover images of vixen-like, blond, blue-eyed, thin and flat-chested Caucasian women fit the “standard” for the fashion industry, but were so unlike the curvaceous and voluptuous women who filled my life as grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and cousins. I was driven to set a standard for women of color, and let people know that we were out there in all colors, shapes and sizes! I did “break the barriers” locally when I was hired in the early 80s to do one of the first magazine covers for Pittsburgh Preview! African-American women, Latina women, and women of mixed racial descent all had a place in this industry, but were faced with the issue of “looking difPage 10
ferent” and not being accepted for our hair, skin color and body types. I can say that my looks have been both an asset and a detriment in my life. Most often, because of my skin tone, people don’t know “what I am.” In truth, men have always been kinder to me than women (whether African-American or Caucasian), personally and professionally. During my career, other women resented my “glam” factor, even if I “dressed down” to hide my curves or wore little make-up. At this point in my life, I am not concerned with the perception of others. I wear what makes ME feel good, whether it’s a 5” stiletto or the reddest lipstick! I applaud every woman of color who is comfortable in her own skin, hair and curves! The world is evolving, and we need to embrace, appreciate, accept and respect our differences. Beauty is, indeed, in the eye of she who holds it! Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
Anchorwoman Darieth Chisolm’s Fullbody Fitness Center From Television Studio to Fitness Studio
Ola Jackson and Darieth Chisolm
Anchorwoman Darieth Chisolm sits behind the news desk every night at Pittsburgh’s NBC affiliate, WPXI Channel 11, where she ties together local and national reports with grace and gravity, assuring her place in the pantheon of local media greats. In contrast, outside of the newsroom, she seldom sits down! Her boundless energy and desire to promote healthy, active lifestyles led her to found Fullbody Fitness Center. Fullbody Fitness Center is a private fitness studio that abandons traditional weight lifting instruction in favor of dance and movement-based fitness programs that present a non-traditional approach to “working out”. Chisolm is a long-time health and fitness advocate. The busy wife and mom is also a certified instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, and an avid runner, having completed a full marathon, a half marathon and several road races. Chisolm got the idea to start her own fitness center after years of traveling from Pittsburgh to her hometown of Detroit to visit a similar center. With the help of her mom, who relocated from Detroit to support her daughter’s vision, and a supportOnyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
ive husband, Chisolm found a location, put her plan to work and is now the owner of one of the most unique fitness facilities in Pittsburgh. At Fullbody Fitness Center, a dedicated team of professionally trained, licensed and certified personal fitness instructors use ropes, bands, blocks and techniques related to martial arts to present visitors an expanded world of new fitness fields that focus on upbeat music, activity and movement. Jukari Fit to Flex and Jukari Fit to Fly are two fitness programs developed by Reebok in conjunction with Cirque du Soleil that are exclusive to Fullbody Fitness Center in the region. They also offer Zumba, Yoga, Turbo Kick, Aerial Dance and programs for kids and teens. Chisolm’s goal is to one day head a franchise of Fullbody Fitness Center’s throughout the country where other women can enjoy the benefits of a fitness center that offers a variety of fitness options that are just as beneficial as they are fun. Fullbody Fitness Center is located at 4070 Brownsville Rd in Brentwood, Pa, just south of Pittsburgh. You can find out more about the center at: http://www.fullbodyfitnessclub.com. (412) 692-1600
Reimagining Retirement cont’d from page 9
Lewis holds advisory positions with the Pittsburgh Literacy Council, the African American Leadership Association (AALA) and New Voices Pittsburgh. She also remains involved in social organizations that include the Pittsburgh Chapter of Links, Inc. and the Northeasterners. Although this keeps her fairly busy, Lewis makes sure to balance her civic duties with a significant amount of time devoted to her family and 42year marriage to Rev. Harold Lewis. She insists that balance is something that is very important to her. As a wife and mother, Lewis was able to be successful working outside of her home thanks to the dynamics of her household. When asked what advice she would give to a married working woman who is afraid of losing herself in her work and marriage, Lewis gives one simple piece of advice; “Make sure that the person you decide to spend the rest of your life with is the right person.” “My husband and I have what we call a modern day marriage, in that we have always tried to share duties,” said Lewis. “The years that I had to travel and stay away, he took on all the responsibility of grocery shopping, play dates and daycare; all of those kind of things.” Lewis attributes her successful transition from work to retirement to always taking care of the important things. “One of the things that we’ve always tried to do and we have kept very sacred is that we always take vacations,” said Lewis. We’ve all heard the stories about the empty nest syndrome, retirees not knowing what to do with themselves after the kids have gone, but that’s not the case for Lewis. She also makes sure that she stays involved with each new generation of dynamic women with her work as a mentor to five young women who are at different levels in their careers. “One of the things that I enjoy is that I am able to devote as much time as I would like to all the things that I enjoy,” said Lewis.
Sisters Coming Together for Change The Ujamaa Collective Brings Global Ideas to the Marketplace By Allegra Johnson
Back Row: Karen Eady Lockett, Bekezela Mguni, Debra Starling Pollard 2nd from the Back: Kim Flury, LaKeisha Wolf and Baby Amari, Regina Yasmeen Brown, Celeta Hickman 3rd Row From the Back: Errin Perry and baby Zosha, OIafemi Mandley, Dessie Bey, Laverne Baker Hotep, Tia Baker, Leah Baker Fowler 4th Row from the Back: Maa-t Manker, Beverly Price, Beverly Parker, Von Singletary 5th Row from the back: Kitty Ayika, Cayla Easley
The Ujamaa Collective is a non-profit organization made up of women of African descent. These women are entrepreneurs, artisans, artists and community members dedicated to building economic growth within the Hill District section of Pittsburgh. When founder and interim president Celeta Hickman was first inspired to create the Ujamaa Collective, she was thinking on a global scale. “If we want our children to be entrepreneurs (who are) serious and ethical about business, and not always depending on the Western model, we have to be present in the moment and space so they can see us doing those things,” said Hickman. The Ujamaa Collective uses the concept of a green marketplace to benefit the Hill District, an idea that has been very successful. Since the organization was founded in 2008, Ujamaa has participated in over one hundred events and programs with organizations in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. The women of the Ujamaa Collective manage and operate the Ujamaa Collective Marketplace, the Ujamaa Boutique and a fifteen-acre urban farm, all servicing the Hill District of Pittsburgh. “We chose to focus on The Hill because we thought we cont’d on page 21
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
The Business of Beauty
Tips on Salon Etiquette
By Allegra Johnson
In my 20-plus years of experience as a beauty salon owner, I’ve realized that only the professional survive. The turnover rate is quite high in this industry, and salons are opening and closing all the time. If you are good at what you do, your clients may follow you to your next location; however, if you are unstable, you can lose more than you gain. If you have provided salon Jeanine Wilkerson services to at least 100 guests in a year’s time and still don’t have a strong client base, it could be that you lack salon etiquette. Listed below are key tips for proper salon etiquette: •
Top row (left to right): Darlene Harrison-Nutall, Renita Williams, Diane Harrison Bottom row (left to right): Virginia Means, Nora Johnson
Like most beauty supply stores, when you walk into Sisters Beauty Supply in downtown Pittsburgh, you will be greeted by a sales associate or the storeowner. However, unlike most beauty supply stores, the owner and employees are all African American. In 2006, independent filmmaker Aron Ranen plunged into the world of black hair care with his YouTube documentary, “Black Hair”. In 2009, actor/comedian Chris Rock took a humorous and informative look into black hair with the hit film, Good Hair. It surprised many to learn that Korean Americans own more than half of all U.S. beauty supply stores. The beauty supply industry is big business, especially in African American communities. According to a recent consumer report, black buying power is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, with over $7 million to be spent on hair care. Nora Johnson, one of the owners of Sisters Beauty Supply, gives Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
us some insight into the world of black hair care. Your store is named “Sisters”. Do you actually work with your family members? Nora Johnson: Yes, we are sisters; there are five of us. We get along very well. We were all brought up like that and we all have something we do; my one sister is an accountant, while another sister does the ordering. We have been in business for six years. You are located in downtown Pittsburgh. Tell me about your location and how you got there. NJ: We started out on Warrington Avenue in a little Mom and Pop shop, which didn’t do real well. The goal was to either shut down or move to another location
Keep your salon neat & clean, including your restrooms. Clean your station, chair and sink between each guest. Do not overlook the importance of having a clean sanitary restroom. Clients do notice. Receptionists and/or Stylists, please greet every guest with a hello and a warm smile. Do not overbook. Guests don’t appreciate having to wait a long time before you get started on their hair. Give consultations to each new guest BEFORE your assistant shampoos them. Do not discuss personal business matters in front of guests. Don’t gossip with guests or stylists, especially about other clients. Remember to reschedule with your guests at the end of a successful appointment.
You c a n re a c h Je a n i ne at : email@example.com, 412-880-8207.
cont’d on page 22 Page 13
Hats Off to Janis Burley-Wilson In this Q & A with milliner Janis Burley-Wilson, she tells Onyx Woman how she got her start making hats and found success in a lesser-known side of the fashion industry. Tell us about your business? I started my business in 1999, but I have been a milliner since 1996. I started “self-taught” in 1995, then met an older gentleman in New York City, named Horace Weeks, who had been in business for 40 plus years. He taught me the classic art of millinery, hand-blocking, using vintage equipment, hat blocks and millinery sewing machines. Why did you choose this type of business? I love hats; I love the lost art of millinery. The millinery business, in the late 19th and early 20th century, was predominantly woman-owned and run. I am intrigued by the entrepreneurial and independent nature of women as it relates to the history of millinery. These women were characterized as tough (and) hard-nosed, the type that might not be the “marrying kind”. My grandmother, Lynda Burley, is a master fiber artist, knitting, crocheting, and making GORGEOUS pieces, even now at 93. My mother is also an artist, who can make almost anything, without any pattern, from impeccably tailored suits to curtains. In her 60s, she started quilting, and had a quilt featured in a few gallery shows. My father is an engineer, but also a talented artist. I guess I get the desire to create beautiful things honestly. My Publisher Ola Jackson wearing Janis’ custom design daughters are also artistic; one is an actress (she is 13), one is a very talented cartoonist (she is 14), and my son (who is 5) is an aspiring pianist. I guess the artistic gene is flowing through the family. What is the best part about doing what you do? Making one-of-a-kind hats that make people stand out, feel beautiful and express the image the customer wants to present. What has been the highlight of your experience as an entrepreneur? My hats traveled to France from NYC with fashion editors of French Vog ue for a photo shoot. Where do you expect to be in 5 years? I’d love to have a boutique where I can sell hats, beautiful handmade and unique footwear, gloves, and jewelry. cont’d on page 22
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
COVER STORY (cont’d) Kimberly Slater-Wood Director of Outreach Pittsburgh Penguins One of the biggest issues that women of color face when it comes to our own perception of beauty is that we allow images in the media, music videos and magazines to define what we should look like. These images often depict women of color with long straight hair, keen noses, and emaciated. Society defines this image as the essence of beauty. This reinforcement bombards us with self-doubt, low self-esteem and diminished self-confidence, creating a false perception of who we are. Every woman of
color does not fit into these images. Our culture plays a vital role in supporting these attitudes by subconsciously promoting and capitalizing on the hype. There are African Americans who determine how women of color are portrayed in the media and we, as consumers, naively consent to this damaging portrayal. If we choose to enhance our beauty, it should be solely for self-satisfaction and not to duplicate the images projected by others. We forget cont’d on page 21
Patrice LeSesne City of Pittsburgh We bought into a bill of goods that said if women do not meet certain standards of beauty, then we as women of color are not attractive. Although we come with a broad variety of skin tones, facial features and hair textures, we have accepted others’ views on how we should look and diluted our own appearance, while other groups attempted to emulate our characteristics. We are not valuing attributes that other nationalities duplicate via surgery and other cosmetic procedures. When we as women of color don’t respect ourselves the way we should, others don’t value us either. The mainstream features that define beauty have been pushed on us and we have accepted those attri-
butes as ours. It is time for us to promote our standard of beauty, instead of endorsing what is promoted to us. We need to learn to love and accept ourselves as we are. We also shouldn’t focus so much on external features in a constant pursuit of beauty. The issues facing women of color are more significant than the fallacies that inform society’s definition of beauty. Beauty is only skin deep. My personal preference for how I attain and sustain my own look is to keep things simple and natural. We need to know that what we were given is good enough.
Robin Greer Salon Owner, Trevor James Experience Salon Empowering women to look better on the inside and out is what I strive to do. One of the biggest issues women of color face is the refusal to address their problem of weight. That struggle is what prompted me to start my program, called Mirror, Mirror. Mirror, Mirror inspires women to be healthy while losing or sustaining weight. The members meet once a month. We shop together, consult on appropriate eating habits, and work out together. My clients spend money on hair, but oftentimes neglect spending money pur-
Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
chasing healthy foods. I have found that bad eating habits have a lot to do with their emotions. Therefore, I want them to feel better emotionally. As far as my own image, growing up, I hated being super skinny and flat-chested. I used to wear two pairs of pants to look thicker. I have two children and lost the weight after childbirth, but I still need to exercise to stay in shape. I eventually had to embrace who I was, and now I am very confident and work with other women to help them do the same.
| FAMILY FOCUS
Sister Sheroes Police Chief Maurita J. Bryant Public Information Officer/Spokesperson Diane Richard
Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Assistant Police Chief Maurita J. Bryant and Public Information Officer/Spokesperson Diane Richard never imagined that they would have long and enduring careers in law enforcement. As women in a male-dominated field working for the same organization, they became accustomed to looking out for one another as well as supporting the other 200 or so female officers and police affiliates in the Bureau. “In this job, women have to support one another,” points out Assistant Chief Bryant, a 35-year veteran of the force. The bond between Bryant and Richard is even stronger because of their relationship; they are blood sisters. Although they did not live in the same household as children, Bryant and Richard grew closer as they got older. “She is my shero and means everything to me,” said Richard, who is the younger of the two. With 28 years with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Richard says she has a great deal of admiration for her sister on and off the job. “She is the epitome of what a professional should be, in uniform and out, but my sister at home. She’s a fun person. That is the part of her people don’t see.” Concurrent in their descriptions of one another, Bryant says, “We are complete opposites, but we are the same in a lot of ways. I’m plain and a homebody, where Diane is more flashy, outgoing and adventurous.” Jokingly, Richard says, “I’m looser than she is.” Bryant, the mother of two adult daughters, grandmother of four and greatgrandmother of three, views the family structure as very important. “I appreciate the bond and connection I have with my baby sister. I have only loved my mom more,” she said. “We look after one another. The bond sisters have is like a gift, a treasure. Sisters not only share blood, but they share emotions.” Page 16
Photo by: Andre Glover
By Diane I. Daniels
Diane Richard and Maurita Bryant
Richard has two adult children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her role models are two family members, her sister and grandmother. “My grandmother was a no-nonsense woman with a soft heart. She took me to church and raised me to be who I am now,” she reminisced. “She showed me how good life can be.” Women who have influenced Bryant include the late Pittsburgh Police Commander Gwen Elliott and Civil Rights leader Alma Speed Fox. “They are two women, sisters, that were and have been very supportive of me.” Bryant pointed out that sisterhood exists in ways other than blood. “As you go through life you are going to meet people that mean different things to you,” she explained. She listed them in three categories; blood sisters, sister-friends and sistas.
“Women need to stick together as sisters, no matter what ethnicity,” she said. “Throughout history, women have been victimized. We need to be there for each other, to lift one another up, to be mentors to younger women.” She pointed out that women have issues and a bond that only they can understand. “We have to respect self and each other.” Referring to younger women, she said women have to stop, think and realize that we all go through phases in life. “You can’t get stuck in one phase.” Love, trust, commonality, faith and inclusion are how Richard defines sisterhood. Strong believers in education, the sisters are Westinghouse High School graduates with college degrees. Bryant has her Bachelor of Science Degree and Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from Point cont’d on page 22 Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
| FAMILY FOCUS
Sister…Friend…Sistah Friends Colleagues in work and life, sisters Melinda Glover and Julie Latham reflect on the many sides of sisterhood
On any given day, patrons at the Wendy’s Restaurant on Baum Boulevard in the Shadyside area of Pittsburgh think they are seeing double. Sisters Melinda Smalls Glover and Julie Latham repeat more times than they care to count that they are individuals. “People always think we are twins, but we are twins that aren’t twins,” they joke. Melinda recalls that, growing up in a family with five female and five male siblings, they were treated like twins. “We were raised very close. We have always been together since the first grade.” Employed at Wendy’s for over 30 years, Melinda as a manager and Julie as head crew chief, they say they have met many types of people, some who they have mentored along the way. “Often we have gone into our mother mode where we provide advice,” explained Julie. “We share our experiences and speak from the heart. That is what you call sisterhood in a different way.” “Melinda is like my oldest daughter,” explains Julie, who is the younger of the two. “I always look out for her. What I do for my daughters I do for her, even when I shop.” Julie has two daughters and five grandchildren. Melinda has no children. “She has always taken care of me, protected me,” admits Melinda. “That’s our bond as sisters.” To Julie, sisterhood is about love, loyalty, support, sharing and friendship. “It is not about envy. (Our) relationship is built on trust and confidence. We can talk about everything and know we are not judged.” “Even though we are family, we are friends,” points out Melinda. “We know each other very well; our love is unconditional and always there. We accept each other for who we are.” “Sisterhood is women sticking together, sharing, and respecting one another,” says Melinda. “We have to feed off of each other, to connect, to know that being friends does not mean putting labels on everything and everyone.” “Learning to be real with self and others is imperative. Complimenting one another and uplifting is what friendship is about,” adds Julie. Both ladies find themselves mentoring through work and church, when and where it is necessary. They maintain that working within an industry with flexible schedules has helped, allowing them to live the lives they wanted: for Julie to raise her children and for Melinda to travel. They relish the opportunity to experience other segments of life that God has in store for them. Julie, who Melinda describes as a thinker and very creative, hopes to continue her hobbies of photography and scrapbooking. “I have a love for what I do. Right now, I take pictures for my church and at events for friends. It is a joy and love that I take pride in.”
Onyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
Photo by: Andre Glover
By Diane I. Daniels
Melinda Glover and Julie Latham
Melinda, the intuitive one, hopes to expand her fashion wardrobe coordination business, Inside Out. “I come to your home and work with the apparel and accessories that you have,” she explained. Graduates of Westinghouse High School, the sisters value the relationship they developed at a young age. “Whether it is sisters or people you have met along the way, friendships are a valuable commodity,” said Julie. “Often, friends you meet along the way are like sisters. It’s about unconditional love,” said Melinda. “You know when it is real. The love is always there.”
Women Collaborate in South Africa To Achieve Women’s Empowerment By Ola Jackson
It started out as a vision; a vision that was to expand across the sea to the motherland of South Africa. Visionaries, African-American entrepreneur Lisa Harper and South African businesswoman Nthabi Ledwaba, came together to launch a dream that would unite women business leaders from both sides of the world. Together, they created the African American & South African Women Entrepreneurs Empowerment Forum (AASWEE). Lisa gathered up businesswomen from across America, and Nthabi tapped into her professional contacts in South Africa to hatch a plan that would be the blueprint for this project. I was fortunate enough to be one of several delegates selected to travel on an 18-hour journey to Johannesburg to lay the foundation for this endeavor. The other women, who came from various cities, had a diversity of backgrounds and offered a broad range of expertise. Held at the Fairway Hotel in Johannesburg, the theme for the two-day forum was “Accentuating and Identifying Areas of Achieving Women’s Empowerment and Collaboration”. The goal was to bring women business leaders together to exchange information on collaborating and building business relationships between women on both sides of the Atlantic. Some of the topics covered included: brand building, developing female entrepreneurship, obtaining contracts, networking, and being socially responsible in our professional and business endeavors. The three-day excursion consisted of luncheons and fabulous dinners at a restaurant called The Lighthouse: Afropolitian Lifestyle, which is owned by South African businesswoman Bongi Mthembu. Other gatherings offered us the opportunity to learn more about the country, the culture, and the ways both groups operate and deal with the trials and tribulations of making success happen. There are more similarities than there are differences. Page 18
Founders Nthabi Ledwaba and Lisa Harper
Tammy Press, Tina Patterson, Sonya Alleynes, Nadine Thompson, Lisa Harper, Bonita Brown, Caira Temple, Ola Jackson, Catherine Woods, Stephanie Mass, Jackie Alexander
Our African counterparts are driven, tenacious, and ambitious. As a result of Lisa and Nthabi’s efforts, we have since forged collaborations and shared experiences that both groups of women agree will have a long-lasting and far-reaching impact. Months later we still communicate with one another, and there have been several business relationships established between the South African and African-American delegates. Nthabi has since visited America to explore the possibility of attending one of our universities. What stood out most to me was how well the women worked together. It was a part of African life that we don’t normally
see on television or even read about. The business owners in South Africa were just as multifaceted as those in America. They sold makeup and owned spas, retail establishments, and upscale restaurants. Lisa’s vision includes taking this show on the road to other African countries to see what women are doing across the continent. Lisa says, “The future of the organization is to expand it to other African and Caribbean countries, and to include an element for girls’ empowerment.” Go to our website to see the many talented presenters from both America and South Africa. (www.ownonyxwomannetwork.tv) Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
OWN速 Onyx Woman Network
21 Years ownonyxwomannetwork.tv Online Radio Show Social Network Website: Over 1410 members
Onyx Woman速 Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
Marcia Martin cont’d from page 8
receive the money for the state-run health exchange. If we don’t participate in that health exchange, the federal government will actually come in and run it. OW: So many people are uninsured. What options do people have right now if they need non-emergency care? MM: The number of uninsured Americans is growing, but there are places that people can go—they just don’t have the information. One example—federally qualified health care centers. Right here in Pittsburgh, there are programs for the uninsured through Catholic Charities, which I sit on the board of. There is a free health care center that also provides dental. The other issue is that a lot of people just don’t trust the health care system. Many people who have not had traditional health care tend to use the emergency room as their health care provider. That is not the best health care option. OW: When we talk about the importance of staying healthy, why is it so impor-
tant for women of color? Is there any truth to the idea that Black women are unfit because we don’t want to work out and mess up our hair? MM: Well, that is definitely one reason. You also find fewer women of color swimming, and swimming is one of the best exercises. People need to ask themselves, “Do I want to look cute or do I want to be healthy?” Women could just wear a different hairstyle for exercising, but people aren’t always willing to make that compromise. And when we talk about exercise for young girls, young women these days are much too overweight. Diabetes is starting at a much younger age. From the day you start to walk, you should just keep exercising…forever! Naturally Speaking cont’d from page 9
Today the resurgence in popularity of natural hair is likely to be less political and more for more holistic, health and economic reasons. But the presence of natural tresses in universities and boardrooms across America does not mean that going
au naturale in the workplace, in our “postracial” nation, is not without its kinks. Here, Kristin Freeland, a finalist in the Miss Nappturality 2012 contest, shares her story of transition, naturally speaking. 1. Have you always worn your hair natural? If not, why? If so, did you ever feel pressured to “assimilate” and change your hair texture? I went natural in September of 2010. Up until then, I had always worn my hair straight and since 7th grade with the aid of a relaxer. Honestly, my mother (talk show host Lynne Hayes-Freeland) and I spent 20 years figuring out how to get and keep my hair straight. My natural texture never even seemed like an option because basically everyone I knew or looked up to had straight hair. The decision to go natural was really motivated by my desire to color my hair. I never planned on embracing my curl, I just wanted to limit the amount of chemicals on my hair and I figured blowouts and flat irons would still give me the look I wanted without a relaxer. About four months into transitioning, I started to realize my natural hair actually had a
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition
Naturally Speaking cont’d from page 20
defined curl pattern, and from there, I was hooked. It took me about eight months of transitioning and product experimentation before I was ready for my “big chop”, and once I did, there was no turning back. I’ll be celebrating my two-year natural anniversary this September, and it is, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever done for my hair. 2. What were your reasons for wearing your hair natural? My initial motivation was curiosity. With the exception of a few drastic haircuts, I had always worn my hair long and straight, and the possibility of big curly hair excited me. It was also seeing my hair in a different way—truly embracing the way it grows out of my head and recognizing that other people were embracing it, too. The part of the journey that has been the most encouraging, and initially surprising, is the support of other people. It’s funny that I spent 20 years trying to change my hair to “fit in” and now that I’ve finally let it do it’s own thing, I feel more accepted than ever. 3. Did you ever feel as though your employment was contingent upon your choice of hairstyle? I’m an interior designer working in a corporate setting, so I kind of have a little of both extremes. There is the bold expressive world of design, where everyone is aiming to be unique and memorable, in which case, a head full of kinky curls is an asset. On the flip side, there’s the blue, gray and beige of corporate America where, admittedly, I sometimes stick out like a sore thumb. The lesson I’ve learned is to wear my hair like it’s my favorite accessory. Because I have embraced it and confidently wear it, even the most conservative of crowds has come to embrace it too. At the end of the day, the last thing I want to do at work is blend in. So, if my big natural hair gives me a boost in standing out, I’m quite alright with that. 4. Has your hairstyle helped or hindered your career or impacted your chosen profession? I credit my natural hair with a boost in self-confidence and a step toward defining who I am and how I want to present myself to the world. I think that has had a posiOnyx Woman® Volume 20 Special Beauty Edition
tive impact in all areas of my life, career included. Although the African-American presence in my office is limited, I would estimate that at least half of us are wearing natural hair and have yet to feel hindered by it. I think the important thing is that you are capable and confident. That’s what impresses your peers and superiors. My hair is a part of me. I’d like to think that any point in my career would be one filled with people who can accept that. 5. Any hair regrets? My only regret would be not going natural sooner! 6. Words of advice for professional women of color contemplating change of hair texture? As someone who transitioned from straight, relaxed hair to natural in a corporate setting, I think the hardest part of the process is the transition and finding ways to make your hair look good every step of the way. Protective styles like twists, bantu knots and twist-outs are healthy ways to style your multi-textured hair and still keep it looking professional. Hair and product experimentation are a big part of the transitioning stage. For me, I left the experiments for the weekend and relied on staple styles, like a 2-strand twist-out, during the week so I knew I’d have no hair surprises or failures on a workday morning. It’s inevitable that people will ask about and admire your new look--be open and honest. I’ve found that most often, it’s just curiosity and, like most things, the more people understand something, the more they can appreciate it. More than anything, it’s about confidence. If you wear your hair like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you, people will notice, and before long they will be believers too. Kimberly Slater-Wood cont’d from page 15
that we are beautifully-made by God and that it is a blessing to be a woman of color. Women of color are blessed with beautiful, striking and exotic features. It is interesting and humorous that a society that once loathed and mocked our full lips, full-size breasts and plump derrières, now embrace and obsess over features associated with our appearance. Many are paying a big buck to acquire what God gave us for free!My features have had a positive impact
on my life, but I have been in uneasy situations because of my appearance. I have been prejudged and categorized unfairly. The good news is that I am sustained by my confidence, assurance and certainty of knowing that God created me - a beautiful woman of color. Spiritual Notes cont’d from page 5
receive encouragement to work through our issues and are pressured to hold ourselves up to some man-made interpretation of how and what our Christian walk should be. I’ve seen many young women sink into despair pretending to be something they weren’t to get the ‘nod’ of approval from church mothers who long forgot any struggles they may have had in their own quest for righteousness. The reason we mask ourselves and the truth about ourselves is because we don’t believe that we will be accepted as we are. WE believe that we are unacceptable; and WE believe this because WE DO NOT accept ourselves. We do accept the faults others find in us, and we start to believe that we are the sum total of those faults and nothing more. We fail to realize that the very people we are trying to impress are themselves flawed!! Only by facing that fact, can we begin to drop our masks. Ujamaa Collective cont’d from page 12
would make the most impact on young people, particularly young African-American women,” Hickman explained. She said her inspiration for the services provided by Ujamaa were based on global ideas. “We thought about how marketwomen in Africa and the Caribbean make money a very vital and engaging exchange, and we’ve done that.” The Ujamaa Collective has also launched entrepreneurial programs that support the needs of women of African descent in the Pittsburgh area. It is very important to Hickman that women work together to share common resources. In the beginning, the Ujamaa Collective was supported by a core group of women who believed in her vision. That vision has grown into an organization that brings women together to build and sustain the community at large. “We’ve got to make sure, as sisters, that we are coming together on a serious Page 21
Ujamaa Collective cont’d from page 21
tip, to build wealth for our people and our nation,” said Hickman. “It makes no sense that they don’t control their own resources and sometimes our steady, quiet power is overlooked for the larger and more aggressive power of men.” The women of the Ujamaa Collective created the popular Ujamaa Collective Marketplace that operates from spring to early fall; however, the boutique is a yearround endeavor. Celeta says the boutique was never on the agenda for the Ujamaa Collective. “We didn’t imagine the boutique, but we had to have a place for the off-season,” she explained. “Now artisans from the region who are of African descent can consign items or sell them to us wholesale.” The boutique carries jewelry, ethnic clothing and fabric, as well as home décor and fine art. The Ujamaa Collective is an extraordinary example of how black women can come together to build and sustain communities. On the growth and success of Ujamaa Collective, Hickman sums it up best; “My mother, God rest her soul, told me that when sisters come together, we can change the weather.” Business of Beauty cont’d from page 13
and in 2008, one of my sisters found the downtown location. What about the customers? How has the response been since you moved downtown? NJ: We get a lot of support from black customers. Our customer base is eighty/ twenty, eighty percent being African American and twenty being Caucasian. Some African American customers are very hard on black-owned businesses, almost as if they have a prejudice against black-owned businesses. Sometimes we have to go above and beyond the call of duty to get their support. For example, there was a young lady in the store the other day who was trying to buy Remy weave hair and there was another young lady behind her who had never shopped at Sister’s before. The young lady who had never been in the store was saying, “Oh my God, I can’t believe how high your prices are.” I would have said to that young lady, “Have
you purchased everything in the store to make that statement?” What are your thoughts about so many African Americans being left out of the black hair care industry? NJ: Well, first of all, it’s very hard to get into the business. It’s hard for two reasons; first, some of the Korean beauty supply stores have called my suppliers and told them to stop selling to me and, if they didn’t, they would stop buying from them. Another reason is it costs so much. And then you have to get the black community to support you; if they don’t, then you don’t have a business. Every year, during Black History Month, your store has a fun Black History trivia game. Why is it so important to bring that element into the store? NJ: I think Black History is very important. It doesn’t matter what type of hair we’re wearing; we are still black and we don’t need to lose that. We already have lost our hair texture; we don’t need to lose our black history knowledge too. Hats Off cont’d from page 14
How do you define success? Success is covering your costs and investment; having someone wear your hat and others know that it is your work; continuing to improve your technique and progress in your field. Staying put is safe. Advancement is imperative, or (the work) just simply becomes something to do. What advice would you give to others about pursuing their dreams? Keep learning, asking questions. Travel wherever you need to, to get the experience, and be appreciative of time that people spend helping you move forward towards pursuing your dreams. Give that time back when you can. Always be “ready” and “willing” to take advantage of an opportunity. How does your business affect your family, if at all? When my children were small, my parents kept my children while I traveled to NYC to work as an apprentice with Horace Weeks, and to intern with (fashion designer) Norma Kamali. If I didn’t have that
support, it wouldn’t have been possible to learn and meet the people that helped me acquire my experiences. On another note, my children might prefer to use the dining room table to eat, rather than have the table covered by my hats, feathers and ribbons. What advice would you give to other women about getting into the beauty industry? Do what you love. If you don’t, you will regret it for the rest of your life, and that’s a long time to look back and wish you had done something else. Janis Burley is also Vice President and Director of Jazz Programs for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Sister Sheroes cont’d from page 22
Park University. She is a graduate of the 218th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and a graduate from the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston, Massachusetts. Richard received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an Associate of Arts Degree in Specialized Business and Retail Management from Wheeler College. She also possesses other impressive law enforcement certifications and credentials. Bryant is also National President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and will be hosting the 37th Annual Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh in August 2013. The mission of NOBLE is to ensure equity in the administration of justice in the provision of public service to all communities, and to serve as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. Bryant and Richard recognize that they could not have achieved any of the above-mentioned success without the support of many people. They maintain the significance and importance of having a sister or sista to lean on. Both women mentor extensively and are involved in numerous organizations and hold various positions. “We are lucky because we have each other. Not everyone has what we have,” expressed Richard.
Onyx Woman® Volume 20, Special Beauty Edition