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SouthernSoul April 2015 | Volume 2, No. 4

Taste Life With Kat

April Showers

Satisfy My Soul: A Punky Reggae Dinner Party

Virginia & Paige

A Peek Inside A Same-Sex Relationship


Southern Soul l April 2015



Southern Soul l April 2015

SouthernSoul PUBLISHER/CEO Chris Boyd

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Toni Blount Harvey


ART DIRECTOR Detric Stanciel

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Terri Smith Anderson


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Attorney Charles Blatteis Douglass High Young Soul John Doyle Apostle Ricky D. Floyd, Sr. Danielle Inez Veronica Jackson-Ratliff Kathy Kirk-Johnson Pepper Lewis Myron Mays Alexandra Matlock LaTina Epps Thomas Southern Soul Magazine™ is a monthly publication of MAAC Media Group, LLC and is distributed in locations throughout the Memphis/Mid-South area. Annual subscriptions are available for $40.00 (twelve issues). Readership: 70,000 ©2015 by MAAC Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not return unsolicited materials to sender. Photography and images obtained for editorial usage is owned by Southern Soul Magazine and may not be released for commercial use such as in advertisements. Reproduction in whole or in part without the publisher’s consent is strictly prohibited. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions or views of the editor or publisher. The publication of any advertisement in this issue does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s products or services by this publication. Southern Soul Magazine™ is a trademark belonging to MAAC Media Group, LLC.

MAAC Media Group, LLC | PO Box 18100 | Memphis, TN 38181 Phone 901.366.SOUL (7685)

Contributors John Doyle

John Doyle, a native Memphian, is the Executive Director of both the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum at FedEx Forum ( and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame ( A graduate of Rhodes College, he worked in radio promotions and marketing prior to opening his own advertising agency and, then, working as Vice President of Programming for Memphis in May. He and his wife, Lynn, have one son, Bennett, who now also works in Memphis radio.

Danielle Inez

Danielle Inez is the award-winning Owner, Director of Marketing of ding! Marketing Studio, a Memphis-based marketing management firm for small businesses. The marketing maven has been featured nationally by Black Enterprise and MSNBC. In 2014, she was named to Memphis Flyerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 20<30 for her international client portfolio and local commitment to youth development and female empowerment in business. Find her online at Tweet her @dingmktg.

Alexandra Matlock

Alexandra Matlock, native of MedellĂ­n, Colombia, is President/Founder of ContigoCreative, a public relations and marketing agency, based in Memphis, specializing in Latino and larger Multicultural markets in Memphis, Nashville, Little Rock and Atlanta.

Kathy Kirk-Johnson

Kathy Kirk Johnson is an Attorney and Lifestyle Expert with an innate affinity for good food and stylish entertaining. She lives in in Cordova, Tennessee with her husband and two sons. Get more lifestyle tips from her website

LaTina Epps Thomas

LaTina Epps Thomas is a Certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor specializing in Corporate, Group and Private Yoga Instruction and Stress Management Seminars. She is also a Lifevantage Independent Distributor and is currently pursuing the profession Naturopathic Doctor. In her spare time, she and her husband, Darrell, like to travel. For more information about yoga or naturopathic remedies contact her at or 4|

Southern Soul l April 2015



V O LU M E 2 • N O 4


KNOW VIRGINIA & PAIGE A Peek Inside A SameSex Relationship

56 SOUTHERN STYLE April Showers


(SIS “THE BOOK CLUB”) Celebrates 15 Years and Counting



xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx photography by BRYANT REDDICK

56 Southern Soul l April 2015




APRIL 2015




Editor’s Letter p.11 • Taste Life With Kat p.73 • uMATTER p.81

Departments 8





Latin Soul

100% by 2020 Campaign To End Colon Cancer Deaths In Memphis

Soul Seeds

Seeds Sown Determines The Harvest Grown



Young Soul

Lucie E. Campbell

Feeding the SOUL! 17

Legal View

Dancing With The Colorful, Mesmerizing Latino Rhythms


Smart Business


Hey Myron!





Simple Steps To Take After A Traffic Accident

Pitch Like A Girl! 25



Cordova High School


Salon Owner Takes On Weaves, Relaxers, and “Going Natural”



Combat Stress With Yoga


Spring Cleaning

Southern Soul l April 2015

Satisfy My Soul: A Punky Reggae Dinner Party

On Cover: fashion by Dillard’s – Carriage Crossing photography by Bryant Reddick

18th Annual YWCA Benefit Luncheon

letters to editor

Volunteers Make A Difference

Mid-South Food Bank appreciates our wonderful volunteers, who make it possible for us to provide nutritious food for those who need it most. Volunteers sort food in our warehouse, fill boxes for the BackPack and Senior programs, organize food and fund drives, work in the office and at special events. 901.527.0841


Soul Seeds

Meet Dr. Ricky Floyd

Senior Pastor, The Pursuit of God Transformation Center

Ricky Floyd is Sr. Pastor of The Pursuit of God Transformation Center; an internationally known, multi-site church in the Memphis, TN area; where the Word, Worship, and Wonders meet; whose mission is to lead people into the body of Christ, and to Touch, Teach, and Transform their lives.


Southern Soul l April 2015

Pastor Ricky shares the gospel though leadership training, marriage seminars, praise and worship conferences, workshops, television, radio and the internet. God especially uses him throughout the United States, and abroad, to bring healing and instruction to marriages and as an awesome teacher and trainer on leadership. From humble beginnings in Tunica, MS, Pastor Ricky received a God given strong mandate to live and teach holiness, purpose, vision, biblical economics, and solidarity

to the church and community. In addition to his pastoral duties, he serves on the Advisory Committee for Methodist North Hospital; the Advisory Board of Urban Child Institute; and, as a Missionary and Consultant for World Venture Global Missions. Pastors Ricky and Sheila Floyd can be seen weekly on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pursuit of Godâ&#x20AC;? telecast. They reside in Memphis, TN and are the humble parents of three beautiful children, Brennan, Christina and Ricky Floyd, II.

Soul Seeds

Seed Sown Determines The Harvest Grown by APOSTLE RICKY D. FLOYD, SR.

"Your ears, eyes and emotions are the gateways to your heart." I walked into my living room and my beautiful, saved, single 19 year old daughter was snuggling with a pillow and locked in on the television screen with a big smile. She appeared as if she was anticipating, at any second, a laugh-out-loud moment. Being the family-oriented, inquisitive father that I am, I sat down to see what had captured and commanded my daughter’s eyes, ears, and emotions. Much to my surprise, she was locked in on the reality show “LOVE AND HIP-HOP.” I looked at her in an astonished manner and asked her, “are these the type of relationships that you envision having with your friends and future husband?” She responded “no” and immediately changed the channel. Interestingly enough, her response was not a rebellious response. Nor did she give a pacifying the pastor, the reverend-doctor-daddy response. She didn’t even give me the “shut-up and leave me alone” response. She responded as if she instantaneously received the revelation of what I was saying.


In the bible, Mark 4:23-24 (NIV), says, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. Consider carefully what you hear. He continued, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and even more.” Your ears, eyes and emotions are the gateways to your heart. Whatever, and I do mean whatever, enters through those gates land in seed-form on the surface of your heart. The scripture further reads in Mark 4:26-27, “…This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the SEED sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Have you ever thought about a situation or a circumstance and said “I don’t know where that came from,” or asked “how did I get in this situation?” Let me help you. That situation or circumstance arose from a seed that landed in your soul. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” So when a thought gets caught in the mind, it becomes a desire or a fear. When that desire-thought or that fear-thought is imagined, it becomes a seed that gets stuck in your heart and when they all connect, OPERATION MANIFESTATION will take place. Our visions are being told to us by the television and we really don’t realize:

• How much our souls are being controlled by the remote control; • How radioactive our lives have become because of the radio; • How our moods and minds have been messed up through the manipulation of print media; and, • How negative news has caused negative expectation and negative manifestation in our lives. I often say don’t let CNN cause you to S-I-N, to miss the mark, and the mark is your dream, your vision, your goals, your purpose, your destiny, your calling or shall I say, your divine assignment on earth. When you decide to pursue and discover the passionate person of purpose and prosperity that’s on the inside of you, you must immediately identify “THE WEEDS”. It’s necessary to identify manifested weeds because they need to be uprooted and torn down, but we also need to identify weeds that are in seed form and never let them enter your soul. Never let them enter your mind, desires, imagination, emotions or your intellect. My mother, Ruthie Foster says, “the best way to stop a thing is to never let a thing get started.” In other words, preventive medicine is the best medicine. A SEED PLANTED IS ACCESS GRANTED! He that wins souls is wise and it appears that the children of the world have become wiser than the children of the light. It’s wise to know that: • What you repeatedly hear, you will eventually believe. • What you continually see, you will certainly desire. • What you frequently feel, you will ultimately follow. My desire is that this article makes you more conscious of what’s entering into your subconscious mind or what seeds you are allowing to be sown into your souls. Here is the $100,000,000 question. Is watching, listening to, reading, feeling, or doing this going to cause you to BECOME THE PASSIONATE PERSON OF PURPOSE AND PROSPERITY THAT YOU WERE PUT HERE TO BE? Only sow or allow seed to be sown that will produce the harvest you want grown. §

Southern Soul l April 2015



Friday, May 1, 2015 Annual Tribute Luncheon and Symposium

LEGENDS AWARD RECEPTION Thursday, April 23, 2015 SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE | Facebook: Women’s Foundation | Twitter: WFGM_ORG Instagram: WFGM_ORG office: 901.578.9346 | fax: 901.578.9446 10 |

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20thAnniversary_SavetheDate.indd 2


Editor’s Letter

Whew! We made it through the winter. It’s time to shed our winter coats, trash the winter blahs, and, lose those extra winter pounds. Spring is here! This is one of my favorite times of the year. As a child, my mother was our “carpool pickup” after school. Not only did my siblings and I pile in the car, but there was always a host of other kids hitching a ride home. A Spring ritual (which I still get teased about) was my mother’s slowing down near each glorious patch of color sprouting up, and directing us to “Look at the pretty flowers. Aren’t they beautiful?” So, at an early age, I learned to stop and welcome the beauty of Spring and to appreciate the colors, renewal and vitality it brings. Needless to say, in keeping with my mother’s tradition, this month, I want you to slow down, look at the beauty of Spring and enjoy what it brings. This month, in case you are not moving fast enough, we have a few treats to nudge you into Spring. By now, as a member of the Southern Soul family, you know we open each magazine with an uplifting message. This month, Apostle Ricky Floyd shares a guide to identifying the weeds in your life and a plan to plant seeds for a better life. And just when you start enjoying the weather in your newly shined convertible, the car behind you didn’t brake – Attorney Blatteis has pointers to help you sail smoothly through the accident. SMARTbusiness is back this month with tips to tighten up your small business pitch and our Yoga-Yoda gives tips to help relieve your stress. As always, while you are hitting the soil with your Spring planting, take a minute to read John Doyle’s retroSOUL giving fresh and in-depth knowledge of our musical roots. We also celebrate Sisters ‘N’ Sync, a book club meeting their fifteenth year with gusto! Be sure to check out these ten connoisseurs of literary, life, and love!

Toni Blount Harvey Editor-In-Chief

Since Spring brings a fresh perspective to life, this month, we give you a peek into a same-sex couple’s lifestyle from their perspective. You will enjoy their story from beginning to end. Kathy, our in-house Lifestyle Guru, spent a Spring break in the Caribbean (lucky her!) and since then, she welcomes the season with bright island colors, flavors and seasonings. This month’s Taste Life with Kat shares her love of the Caribbean from her beautiful coral and crab embellished table to her flaming bananas -- her menu will spring your taste buds into action.

Thanks to all who have sent such uplifting responses to our magazine. We appreciate the support! Until next month, remember “Look at the pretty flowers!”

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Africa In April

Africa In April

Memphis, TN 38111

Cultural Awareness Festival Africa In April P. O. Box 111261Cultural Awareness Festival P. O. Box 111261 Memphis, TN 38111 (901) 947-2133 (901) 947-2133


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Salutes (901) 947-2133

Cultural Awareness Festival P. O. Box 111261 Memphis, TN 38111

Africa In April



Cultural Awareness Festival P. O. Box 111261 Memphis, TN 38111 (901) 947-2133

africa in april

29th Annual

Young Soul

Feeding the SOUL! With Memphis Culture by DOUGLASS HIGH YOUNG SOUL photography by ISAAC J. SINGLETON, JR.

“A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” Mahatma Gandhi


A healthy diet makes a fulfilling life. The doctor tells you to drink eight glasses of water a day, eat your veggies, and stay away from red meat. On the flip side, the internet tells you an 8oz sirloin steak is just the appropriate amount of protein needed in your daily diet and there are tons of dietary supplements to get the necessary nutrients needed for healthy living. Often, the things your doctor advises are unhealthy are just not that easy to give up. Sometimes you want to hit the streets and eat whatever is convenient or downright outrageously tasty.

So you may stray a little while feeding your body. But how do you feed the soul? Southern Soul begins each monthly journey with its Soul Seeds designed to feed your spiritual Soul and sow an uplifting seed to move your Soul. Any pastor will tell you “man cannot live by bread alone.” That is certainly a true statement; Jesus said it. It’s going to take more than a few pieces of meat and cheese to have a happy meal or a happy life. But, what moves the soul of your taste buds, sounds, dance and visions? What about the cravings the inner SOUL yearns? Is there one simple thing anyone can do to be soulfully liberated? Consider the antidote for soulful hunger is culture: the social custom of a place that enables people to live, laugh and love life with adventure, excitement, and pleasure. Southern Soul l April 2015

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Young Soul them memorable. It’s not uncommon to go out alone in Memphis and end up building relationships that become life-long friends. Driving through Downtown and Midtown offers the aromas of sweet and savory barbeque and the sounds of great music. Walking along historic Beale Street, you can try one of the famous, award winning restaurants, stop in at one of the nostalgic lounges, or watch the street dancers and musicians. Beale Street is always filled with energy and southern hospitality is always on display. A short trip around Interstate 240, back down to I-55, ending on Riverside Drive is a ‘plate-full’ of euphoria. Memphis has a uniquely evolved culture made up of down home blues, singing and dancing, good finger licking food, and rich history told in some of the most notable museums. April in Memphis is one of the best opportunities to nourish your soul with cultural arts: rhythmic blues, history, and theatre. Delectable eateries in the heart of Downtown Memphis, Midtown and throughout the city are added features to the culture of Memphis. It’s no secret Memphians love to eat. That’s one of the reasons many family-owned restaurants have been around for years. April, brings forth times of epic fun and memories that will last an eternity. For native Memphians this is a time where family ties can grow stronger because of the fun and excitement of the festivals hosted in April. In addition to the cultural aspect of things, there are trailblazers around the city having debatable dialogue about how to make this place even better during the month. Memphis museums strive to capture the historical contributions of American society such as the Civil Rights Movement in particular, which is one of the city’s most prominent attractions. Other historical landmarks can be found throughout the city as well. The MLK Park is a Sunday favorite in spring where families get together to share their love. Robert R. Church Park, which is minutes from the city’s famous Beale Street, hosts Africa In April, an annual event for families to enjoy. The sweet scent of incense and oils floating in the air at the festival makes you feel like you’re in the motherland. The smell of smoked turkey legs from the truck parked on the street instantly lures you. When you leave the festival held during the day, don’t shy away from the many night adventures happening in the "bluff " city. A night in Memphis differs from other cities not only because of its location, but the people who make 14 |

Southern Soul l April 2015

In April, let’s not forget basketball! Memphis is no stranger to athletes who have come from stellar athletic programs in high schools and universities in the city. As the NBA playoff nears, the home team’s high ranking in the Western conference adds more excitement for die-heart Grizzlies fans. This exhilaration adds more character to the city of Memphis. Winning brings about pride, and pride makes each moment in a sports bar around the city, especially Midtown, even more exciting. While basketball fans are cheering at the Forum, there’s the theater district just a block away showcasing musicals, plays, and charity events to make Memphis a better place to live. In Midtown, the theater district is a lively place with theaters, restaurants, lounges, and hangout spots for any occasion nearby. Feeding the SOUL in Memphis is colorful. One must be able to enjoy life without regret, and Memphis is the place for that leisure. People from bordering states enjoy Memphis’ culture too as many of them travel near and far to enjoy what our city has to offer. It’s literally impossible to be bored in a city with such distinct character. Young SOUL says, “I (heart) Memphis!” Don’t get caught in the marathons of television. Get out, and explore what we call home. §

Douglass High Young Soul Authors

Derrick Chalmers

Jamie Culpepper



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Life turns on a dime. You have no idea when you’ll “need” insurance. That’s why it’s important to plan for the future. Expenses like a new home and children weigh heavily, and you’re likely still in your career, far from your peak earning potential. In the mean time, you need to begin saving for the future: college for the kids, a nest egg for you and your spouse

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Legal View

Simple Steps To Take After A Traffic Accident Que Hacer Despues De Un Accidente De Tránsito



After a traffic accident, most people are very nervous and shook up. Accidents can be a traumatic event. Although faced with such a traumatic experience, there are many important steps you need to take immediately after an accident. Here are a few tips to follow to help you calmly respond to the accident; to help you control the situation; and to help you capture the appropriate information. TIP 1: DON’T PANIC After a crash, remain as calm as possible so you can take correct actions and make the best decisions. TIP 2: ASSESS THE SITUATION Look around immediately to determine the status of the accident. Check the inside of your car, look out the windows of your car and look at the scene of the accident. You need to familiarize yourself with the situation and make sure it is safe before you move out of the car or take any other actions. TIP 3: CHECK FOR INJURIES: YOU, YOUR PASSENGERS; AND THE OTHER DRIVER The first action you should take is to check your own health. Immediately check to see if you are injured or whether you can move effectively. If you are injured or cannot move, yell or signal for help. If you can move without injuring yourself, immediately check on the health of all persons in your own vehicle. Look at your passengers to see if they are in immediate need of medical attention. Once you determine you can move, provide assistance (if you can) that is needed to anyone else in your car. Then, check on injuries of anyone else involved in the accident. The drivers or passengers in the other vehicle may be injured and may require immediate assistance. Remain calm and do what you can.

TIP 4: CALL 911 When you have assessed the needs of the people present, call 911 from the first available telephone. Today most of us have a cellular phone and can call immediately. Tell the 911 operator what happened; identify yourself; and, provide the accident location. The operator will ask several questions such as whether an ambulance is needed. Provide the requested information to the best of your ability. TIP 5: EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO HELP Regardless of legal status, residency or language ability, everyone in a traffic crash is provided the same services from 911 and the emergency services. If medical attention is needed, an ambulance will arrive. If Fire Department services are needed, the Fire Department will be there shortly. A Memphis police officer or Shelby County officer will be dispatched to the scene to investigate and assist. TIP 6: RESPOND TO THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER The police officer arriving at the scene will ask questions. In most cases, no one will be arrested immediately. The officer will prepare a report, possibly issue a ticket to one of the drivers, assess necessary medical needs and then will release all drivers, passengers and witnesses. You should always assist with the officer’s investigation by answering his or her questions. Tell him/her what you saw and the names of any other persons whom you know witnessed the accident. The officer will write down an accurate investigative report. Southern Soul l April 2015

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Legal View Generally, when this report is very accurate, it will assist the parties involved to sort the case out. TIP 7: DO NOT ADMIT FAULT TO ANYONE If anyone asks you whether the wreck was your fault, it is a good idea to say nothing. You are not required to admit the crash was your fault, even if the officer asks you. Provide factually correct information, but do not admit fault to anyone. TIP 8: IDENTIFY WITNESSES If you are able, identify any witnesses who observed the crash. If the witnesses possess helpful information to you, make sure you obtain their name, address and phone number. You may need this information at a later time. Write this information down on a piece of paper and keep it with you. TIP 9: OTHER DRIVER INFORMATION Make sure you write down the name of the other driver. Also, identify whether the other driver was working for a company at the time of the crash. You can find this out by asking the driver or looking at his or her car. If there is anything written on the side of the car, please write down the name that appears there. The driver may have a shirt or a hat which identifies his company. You should exchange insurance information with the other driver. Write down the name and policy number of the insurance company from the other driver. TIP 10: HAVE INSURANCE Tennessee law requires every driver of a vehicle have minimum coverage by an approved insurance company. Always operate your vehicle with the required insurance. If there is a crash that is your fault, the insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend the case, up to the limits of your policy. This will provide comfort and protection for you and your family. TIP 11: PHOTOGRAPHS It is a good idea to take photographs of the scene, if possible.

If you have the ability, take pictures showing the scene of the accident. Also, in the event of a serious wreck with serious injuries, it is a good idea to take photographs showing these injuries. These photographs can be taken at the hospital, at home or elsewhere. TIP 12: MIXING ALCOHOL AND DRIVING Always note whether the other driver has been drinking. Use your own judgment to determine whether you believe the other driver has been drinking alcohol. Also, you can ask other people, either passengers in your vehicle or witnesses whether they believe the other driver had been drinking. If you have been drinking prior to driving, you have made a poor decision. It is always a bad idea to drink and drive. It is much cheaper and safer to take Yellow Cab than to risk injuring yourself, others or being charged with a DUI by the State of Tennessee. You should never drink and drive. TIP 12: ACCEPT MEDICAL TREATMENT WHEN OFFERED If the officer on the scene calls an ambulance for you, it is generally a good idea to accept medical treatment and go in the ambulance to the hospital. The officer and the medical professionals are trained to assess whether you are in need of medical treatment. You may think that you are okay, but you could receive a serious injury from a traffic accident and not know it. TIP 13: ASK QUESTIONS As soon as posible, contact an attorney to answer questions about further actions to take. In any serious accident case, you will need the advice of a good lawyer who will help direct you through the legal process to collect your medical expenses and compensation for injuries sustained; and, if necessary to initiate litigation on your behalf. In any serious accident, the decision to hire a good lawyer could be the most important decision you will make. Good luck and drive safely. §

Attorney Charles Blatteis provides corporate and transactional legal services to individuals and business entities doing business in the United States and internationally. He also assists clients with their litigation matters and has successfully resolved numerous large claims in favor of his clients. Attorney Blatteis has extensive experience and unique understanding and resources in representing foreign nationals and immigrants. A first generation U. S. citizen of Hispanic and German descent, Charles Blatteis is bilingual in English and Spanish at the legal professional level and speaks French at the conversational level. Charles Blatteis graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a BSFS in International Law, Politics and Organization and a Certificate in Latin American Studies. He obtained his J.D. in Common 18 |

Southern Soul l April 2015

Law from Tulane Law School along with a Certificate in European Legal Studies. Prior to establishing his own firm, Mr. Blatteis practiced with International Paper Company in their Memphis headquarters and Baker and McKenzie (the world’s largest international law firm) in their Chicago headquarters. He served as a partner with the Bogatin Law Firm, PLLC, and Burch Porter & Johnson, PLC. Mr. Blatteis currently serves officially as a “Consulting Attorney” for the Consulate General of Mexico in Little Rock and as the Consulate General of Peru in Atlanta.


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Pitch Like A Girl! Walk, Talk, and Win Like Only A Woman Can



When it’s time for me to meet with a potential client, I have a ‘get ready’ routine. I research the business and owner, the industry, and the current competition. On the night before the “big” meeting, I don’t stand in the mirror and practice. Instead, I lie in the bed and read. My book of choice: Pitch Like A Girl – How A Woman Can Be Herself And Still Succeed. I began reading Ronna Lichtenberg’s best-selling self-help book in 2004. I’ve since read it cover-to-cover at least a half dozen times. Interns who join my firm have read it. And when friends complain about their personal fear holding them back in business… you guessed it. I give them the “Quick Dry” version of Pitch Like A Girl and refer them to the book when they have more time. In today’s world, we talk a lot about the feminist movement, equal pay, sexism in the workplace, and how men impact all of it. We will continue to talk about those things until systemic injustices go away and the business world learns to respect women. In the meantime, a few soulful Memphians have learned how to make being a woman work for us. From our collaborative style to our personality to the way we command attention - we’re pitching and we’re winning big. Check out their advice and tell us what you think. Stop Playing Boss. When Brit Fitzpatrick, owner of MentorMe, Inc., walked into the boardroom for her first team meeting, she didn’t know how to be the boss. “Should I be stern? Would I need to raise my voice? I wanted my team to respect me, but I wasn’t sure how they’d respond to having a woman calling the shots.” Sure enough, Brit spent her first few meetings making little progress with her team. “It wasn’t until I stopped playing pretend and got real with myself that things started to turn around. I’m a woman. I like to hear about my team’s day. I want to laugh and chat before we get down to business. I need to know

Danielle Inez who is sitting at the table with me. So, that’s what we did and you know what – it paid off.” It paid off in a big way. Brit’s mentor management platform raised over $240,000 in funding and she was profiled as a tech entrepreneur to watch by Inc. Magazine. Ask For What You Want. Women executives and managers are paid approximately18% less than men to perform the exact same job. We’re also least likely to receive critical investments to start or grow our businesses. But worst of all, we’re least likely to ask for any of the above. What’s the phrase that I’ve heard throughout my entire life? Closed mouths don’t get fed. It’s time to demand a feast, ladies. Research the pay range for a position before you negotiate your salary; then aim high and mean it. Go after a client who you just know will benefit from your services, and don’t shy away from the qualities that make you great. And for goodness sake, add 20% to your “ask” when seeking a business investor; capital is critical to the success of your business. Don’t undercut yourself. Southern Soul l April 2015

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Celebrate The Good Guys. Some men get it. Ask Audrey P. Jones, a project manager at Auto Zone. Her responsibilities in the office mean very limited interactions with other people who are both black and female. That doesn’t stop the leadership at Auto Zone from seeking opportunities to not only understand Audrey’s unique perspective but also support her. “I spent my first year at Auto Zone feeling nearly invisible. No one knew my skills or experiences. They later hired a new CIO and it was clear that he ‘got it’,” explains Audrey. “He boldly stated in his first meeting that he would seek out opportunities to support women in our organization.” He became my mentor and made a point to help cultivate my skills, seek out opportunities that highlighted my experiences, and helped me emerge as a leader. “Oftentimes, I’m the only woman in our meetings. At best, I’m in a room that is 80% male. I needed a man who was willing to be my advocate. Every woman needs men who are willing to lean in.” Bring More Women To The Table. Society’s expectations, the media’s (mis)representations, and personal limitations are all factors that work against women in business. So how do we combat that? Elizabeth Lemmonds, originator of “Grow The Village” 22 |

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campaign has a simple solution. Invite your friends to join the movement. Her philosophy is that the mere exposure to a diverse pool of women – moms, newlyweds, homemakers, philanthropists, world travelers – will benefit everyone in the workplace. “Women are fierce. They're also fiercely loyal, and collaborative. We want to bring women together, to learn with and from one another. To build personal and professional networks. Our village is truly a place where the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts.” Right on, Elizabeth. Right on. It is no longer enough to recognize the value of women in the workplace, or even to encourage growth. To meet business objectives in the future, organizations of all sizes need to create an environment where women can thrive and build careers, where they have opportunities to stretch their skills and take on visible roles, and where they are encouraged to integrate work and life in a way that works for them. As we strive to bring more women into leadership roles, we cannot afford to neglect the pipeline of women waiting to break into executive roles. How we nurture these women in the early and middle of their careers will determine the strength of our leadership in the future. §


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One Salon Owner Takes On Weaves, Relaxers, and “Going Natural” Your Hair is MY Business photography by APRIL TOLBERT makeup by DIONNE DICKERSON


When you walk into Salon 22, don’t be surprised if it smells more like a bakery than salon chemicals. The small studio boutique located near the Wolfchase Mall is known for fresh flowers, modern finishes, and sweetly scented aromatherapy. For nearly five years, owner Allison Person has quietly built a client base of “bombshells” including some of the Mid-South’s most acclaimed women: news anchors, television personalities, music artists, and successful professionals. Her appointment book reads like a “Who’s Who of Memphis,” while her service requests are more like a crash course in African American hair care. “My bombshells have phases. I’ve taken clients from relaxers to natural hair to short cuts to extensions and back again,” stated Allison as she quickly curled her own long extensions. “It’s my job to make sure the women who sit in my chair feel confident that I’m going to create a look that works for their

Dr. Dionne Rouselle becoming a bombshell! look and lifestyle. I don’t box anyone in. I’m excited to explore healthy style options for my clients.” One such client is Dr. Dionne Rouselle. Dionne began her relationship with Allison nearly four years before Salon 22 opened. With relaxed hair, she looked to her hair stylist for custom color and attractive hairstyles that would hold up during her busy days of delivering babies and providing essential health services to women in the Mid-South. Allison delivered flawlessly week after week, but soon Dionne was ready for a change. “One of the best things about being a black woman is the freedom I have with my hair,” offered Rouselle. “After nearly a lifetime with straight hair, I wanted to experience my natural texture. I didn’t know how Allison would respond. I didn’t see a lot of natural bombshells during my visits, but I was ready to convince her to support my vision if I needed to.” No convincing was needed. To Rouselle’s surprise, Allison was thrilled: “I was ready to switch things up, too.” Together, the women discussed how Rouselle would transition to natural hair, the best methods for protecting her hair, and new options Rouselle would have. Southern Soul l April 2015

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Allison says her instant support for change comes from regular conversations with women who sit in her chair. “Hair is a way to safely express yourself. These women juggle busy careers, “HAIR IS A WAY TO relationships, SAFELY EXPRESS growing children, YOURSELF. and church and community commitments.” “When things get crazy, sometimes they come to me and want to cut all their hair off or try a bold color. Sometimes they want to add extensions and leave

my salon feeling like Beyoncé. Whatever the case, we discuss how to personalize the style so she can own it; I also teach my clients how to maintain the health of their hair.” It’s now approaching a decade that Rouselle has relied on Allison and Salon 22. Today, Rouselle is looking to make her favorite request to the only person she trusts to touch her hair. The style: a full-body flat iron to temporarily straighten her curls. To that, Allison says: “Dionne is beautiful regardless of how her hair is styled. I love that she’s confident and trusts me with her hair at any texture or length. This look – like all others – will be flawless.” §

Allison Person is the owner and master stylist of Salon 22 in the Wolf Lake Shopping Center. She is the wife of recording engineer Walter Person and mom to two girls Alana (5) and Ana (8 months). In 2015, Allison launched a quarterly fundraising discussion called Bombshells & Curlfriends. The next discussion focuses on entrepreneurship and takes place on April 25. Tickets Available @

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Combat Stress With Yoga Finding Relaxtion by LATINA EPPS THOMAS

faster, breathing patterns change, and if the cause of stress isn't discontinued, the body secretes more hormones that increase blood sugar levels, raising blood pressure. Yoga is one of the few stressrelief tools that has a positive effect on all the body systems involved."


Stress and anxiety are everywhere. We live in an over-worked, over-stimulated, over-obligated society. We are taught to run faster, work harder, and achieve more, while simultaneously trying to multi-task our schedule and the schedules of everyone else in our life. The obligations we have to family, work, church and friends can be overwhelming at times and can create major stress in our lives. Perhaps this sounds like your life right now!

To combat stress many people turn to meditation or other mental stress reduction tools. But stress doesn't just affect your mind; it also affects your body. It creates a physical response in the body that depending on how long the stressful situation last, will determine the negative effects it has on the body. Luckily, such stressors can be managed with exercise - and particularly, with yoga. "Stress sends the entire physical system into overdrive," says Garrett Sarley, president and CEO of the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts. "The muscles tense, the heart beats

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Understanding Yoga Fortunately, today, the medical community has begun to realize yoga's incredible potential for healthy stressrelief. Yoga is a holistic approach to dealing with stress by taking into consideration the mind and the body, and how stress affects both. It has been considered a complementary and alternative medicine practice. Yoga brings together various physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness and balance of the body and mind, helping you to gain relaxation and effectively manage stress and anxiety. In the past 5,000 years, yoga has undergone various adaptations and now is practiced in four major ways: as a method of maintaining physical fitness and health; as therapy to restore health or relieve ailments; as a lifestyle; and, as a spiritual discipline. All share important fundamental disciplines. The first is cultivation of awareness: the ability to focus on exactly what you're doing in the preset moment, allowing you to take a proverbial "time out" and unplug from the rest of the world. This can be cultivated by practicing yoga poses also


a good choice for stress management. Vinyasa yoga connects one breath to one movement, allowing you to move at the rate of your own breathing. Another style of yoga, Hatha, tends to move at a slower pace. Breath, in yoga, signifies your vital life force or energy. Conscious breathing is an intrinsic part of yoga and the ability to recognize your breathing pattern and how to control it are essential to reducing the effects of stress on your body. Breathing exercises in yoga build lung strength and have the capacity to unite the body and mind; teaching you that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and ease your mind.

called yoga postures. Poses or postures are a series or movements conceived to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may push you to your physical limits; in the midst of it, learning how to find relaxation while in the "stress" of the pose; encouraging the release of unnecessary tension in the body.

With increased availability of yoga classes it’s important to find a certified yoga instructor you connect with. Yoga is practiced to reduce stress -- not add to it by practicing with someone you’re not comfortable with! For some, getting personal instruction can result in a better experience, as the entire class is devoted to your specific needs, making some more likely to continue.

Regardless of whether you are a "newbie" to the yoga world or you have been practicing for years, yoga is about taking care of and being good to yourself. "By being more sensitive to your body Practicing yoga poses can lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. and mind, you learn to see stress coming and can take preventative measures," says Sarley. "Yoga This means you will be less likely to injure yourself while preforming other physical activities teaches nurturing of one's body, mind, and spirit, which leads to a healthier way of being." or in your daily life. Yoga can also help with reducing risk factors for chronic diseases, such As with anything else in life, while trying to as heart disease, and high blood pressure. Yoga manage stress, sometimes you have to remember postures have proven to help alleviate chronic to just be! Namaste! conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia just to name a few. For more information on yoga classes or questions you may have regarding yoga or stress Most people can benefit from any style of management, please feel free to contact me at yoga — it's really all about your own personal or preferences. Yoga takes on many styles, forms justbeyoga. § and intensities. One style, Vinyasa yoga, may be Southern Soul l April 2015

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CHECK-IN STARTS AT 11 A.M. * ALL Registrants receive an Inaugural T-shirt * Live Entertainment * Food Trucks * Local Vendor Fair * Family Picnic Area - "the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon" * Prizes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Proceeds from the race will benefit the mission of the Brown Butterflies Foundation Registration, Pledge Sheets & Donations are available on-site. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than 1.6 million people in the United States

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Dr. Phillip Bowden Announces 100% by 2020 Campaign To End Colon Cancer Deaths In Memphis March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


On March 11 Dr. Phillip Bowden & Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, announced Dr. Bowden’s 100% By 2020 Campaign. A collaboration between Dr. Bowden, the City Of Memphis, local health organizations, and small businesses with the goal to encourage 100% of qualifying Memphians to get a colonoscopy screening by 2020. Memphis has one of the lowest rates of colon cancer screenings yet one of the highest rates of colon cancer deaths in the nation. Ninety percent of advanced stage colon cancer diagnoses can be prevented with a simple colonoscopy. During the announcement, Dr. Bowden said “This campaign is about 100% inclusion. Regardless if you’re in North Memphis, South Memphis, Hickory Hill, or Downtown – this message will reach you. We’re going beyond the conversation. We need our Memphians to know the current screening guidelines and then act on that knowledge.” Mayor A C Wharton, a patient at the Mid-South Gastroenterology Group, agreed with Dr. Bowden. “We don’t talk about colon cancer enough. People want to avoid the topic. Sometimes people even act embarrassed at the thought of getting a colonoscopy. Let me tell you something: I’d rather be embarrassed than dead.” §

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Easter is also a day of spiritual promises… most religions offer reassurances. In a city that is also often labeled as divided, or broken, or prejudiced… it should be reassuring when we pass a church on this corner, a temple on the next corner, and a mosque on the next, that these brick and mortar buildings (and the people inside of each) should promise us a city of love, kindness, brotherhood and reconciliation. Sorry, I promised I would not get preachy until the final paragraph. So let’s instead relate our city’s chapelmonopoly to our musical-legacy. Is it a coincidence that we have almost as many churches as we have legendary hit records? Is there a correlation? Not just in reference to our city’s great gospel repute, but what about country, soul, rock, and even rap. Are religion and our musical legacy as unrelated as FedEx and Gus’s Fried Chicken… or not?

Lucie E. Campbell A Gospel Legend




Now, don’t let me get preachy (I’ll save that until the final paragraph). Whether you are an egg hunter, a candy hoarder or a believer… April is the month of Easter. For many it’s the month for baskets, for Christians it’s the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Regardless of belief or not, it’s a cool weekend when we’re usually reminded that Memphis is a major American city with more churches than McDonald’s. Not to diminish its meaning for those of us who are Christian, there is still a basis there for our Southern hospitality, so the charm that makes guests from both Boise and Britain remark, “Everyone is so nice.” Not bad to be from a city when, as far as tourism goes, kindness competes with barbecue when it comes to Trip Advisor reviews.

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A year or so ago a reporter from the New York Times visited us at the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and asked, “Could rock ‘n’ roll have been born in any other city than Memphis?” Was it simply Elvis? I’ve always had great pride in the fact that Memphis is a city of music… lots of music… many genres of music. We’re not singular-sound here in Memphis. We’re not just country. We’re not just jazz. The great thing about Memphis launching and preparing to cut the ribbon on a Memphis Music Hall of Fame is that we are one of the only cities on the planet… I might argue the only city on the planet… that, if you consider its menu of many types of music, is worthy of its own Music Hall of Fame. We may explore that more thoroughly next month. St. Louis and blues, sure. New Orleans and jazz, yep. Nashville and country, of course. However in Memphis, we’re talking blues, soul, R&B, gospel, rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and so many more. So is there a common thread? I think so. When I answered that New Your Times reporter, I said, “Sure, rock ‘n’ roll could have been born in any other city…” but there would have had to be a river; there would have had to be white people and black people; there would have had to be rebellious entrepreneurs like Sam Phillips, Joe Coughi, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, and others… and it would have had to be a city on the Bible Belt. While it’s one of several influences, if we strip away gospel music… we are not the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll.

retroSOUL It is no coincidence that when you enter the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the first legend you encounter is the reconstructed Hoopers A.M.E. chapel. Your exploration of soul music begins within the church, its foundation. Same is true of the blues, from the gospel roots of field hollers brought into the city. Same for rock ‘n’ roll, constructed and inspired on the notes and lyrics of gospel influences. Even though Elvis and his parents were not committed church members, sporadically attending First Assembly of God Church in East Tupelo, Mississippi, the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” was a frequent visitor of the great Reverend Herbert W. Brewster’s East Trigg Avenue Baptist Church, where he acquired much of the love for black gospel which molded his music. So if Memphis is the birthplace of rock ‘n’ soul, must it also be the groundswell of gospel? We don’t corner the market on churches (pardon the pun), and national media often hypes Memphis as the home to many un-spiritual lesions (crime, prejudice, poverty… clarifying, poverty is not a lesion, but the failure of so many churches to eradicate it may be)… so why is it that gospel influence is so prevalent in Memphis. As we celebrate 60 years of rock ‘n’ roll, based on Elvis Presley’s recording of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right,” and if rock ‘n’ roll is an offspring of gospel, then was Memphis ever the home of our own “Gospel Elvis”?

widowed mother (both parents were former slaves, and Lucie’s father died around the time of her birth). She graduated as valedictorian of her 1899 class at Kortrecht High School, now Booker T. Washington High School. In 1927, Campbell earned a baccalaureate from Rust College and, at the age of sixtysix, a master’s degree from Tennessee’s Agricultural and Industrial State College (Tennessee State University). Lucie Campbell became one of the most productive gospel music composers of all time, and helped bridge gender and racial divides in the world of gospel music. Along with other musical peers, including fellow Memphian Rev. Herbert W. Brewster, she helped forge the black gospel sound of the first half of the twentieth century. In today’s twenty-first century, it’s hard for us to comprehend the enormity of Ms. Campbell, a woman… a black woman, daughter of slaves, over 100 years ago, forging the foundations of modern gospel music, and helping to create the DNA of the rock ‘n’ roll and soul music which would define twentieth century America… and our own lives.

“Could rock ‘n’ roll have been born in any other city than Memphis?”

Shortly after being born in a caboose in Duck Hill, Mississippi, Lucie E. Campbell moved to Memphis, Tennessee along with her eight siblings and her

Campbell gained her considerable musical reputation through her long, five-decade tenure with the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc., the largest black denomination in America. A beloved force at the convention, Campbell was in a position to not only promote her own songs but the songs of a new generation of gospel composers. In 1919, Campbell made her compositional mark at the NBC with her now classic song, “Something Within,” historically recognized as the first gospel hymn published by an African American woman. The story goes that Southern Soul l April 2015

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Campbell overheard a group of people on Beale Street provoke a blind guitar evangelist, Connie Rosemond, to “get down in the alley” and play “St. Louis Blues,” to which he replied that “something within” kept him from doing so. Decades later “Something Within” has remained a favorite in black and white gospel circles from Elvis Presley harmonizers the Jordaniares to Take 6 and Keb Mo. Invited by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, Campbell attended the 1938 Negro Child Welfare Conference, and served during the 1940s as president of the Tennessee Negro Teachers’ Association during which time she fought for equal pay and benefits for black teachers. Lucie Campbell debuted a new song annually at the NBC, and is credited for more than 100 compositions. This makes her one of the most prolific… though less known… composers in Memphis’ rich music history. More information about this great composer, and Memphis Music Hall of Fame inductee, is provided by author and Memphis musician William Lee Ellis at

Every month, for the past six months, I have provided a little retroSOUL musical assignment – nothing too daunting, just enough to make each of us proud to be a Memphian. This month, with our gospel theme, a “listento-this-song” assignment is too overwhelming, because gospel, as I’ve shared, has influenced almost all of our many Memphis music genres. You could, of course, earn extra-credit by listening to a little folk gospel by the Staple Singers (“I’ll Take You There”), a Willie Mitchell produced gospel soul hit by Al Green (“Nearer My God to Thee”) or a country-flavored hit by The Blackwood Brothers (“I’ll Fly Away”). But listening to any of those, while enjoyable and inspiring, is just extra credit. Here’s your real assignment. Regardless of our beliefs, morals, religion, ethics… or simple humanity… we are all wired to show compassion; to help somebody. A kind remark, a greeting to a tourist or stranger, checking in on an elderly neighbor, a small donation of time or money to someone in need. Let’s become more than the most musical city on the planet; let’s become the most compassionate. Your assignment; due today. §

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Latin Soul

Dancing With The Colorful, Mesmerizing Latino Rhythms



There are as many Latin rhythms as there are Latin countries. Who hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been fascinated by a couple dancing Tango, or perhaps a Flamenco dancer? But Tango and Flamenco are only two of the vast number of wonderful potpourris of Latin rhythms. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start our journey in Spain with Flamenco. This beautiful, sensual and strong dance is a form of Spanish folk music from the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. This mysterious and misunderstood dance is actually a culture of its own that has been in Andalusia for hundreds of years. Flamenco's origins go back to when Spain was under Arab domination during the VIII to the XV centuries. Their music and musical instruments were modified and adapted by Christians and Jews after the XV century, and later by gypsies. It became hybrid music separate from the musical forms from which it was created. Flamenco involves the combination of singing, dancing and guitar, simultaneously creating a passionate and seductive art form. Today, Flamenco has thousands of aficionados around the globe.

Salsa is one of the most dynamic and important musical styles of Latin America.

THIS ROMANTIC RHYTHM HAS ITS ROOTS FROM AFRICAN ELEMENTS AND EUROPEAN STYLES. Just to the south of the US are the tropical islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico where we find the Salsa rhythm. Salsa is one of the most dynamic and important musical styles of Latin America. Salsa represents a mix of Latin musical genres, primarily Cuban dance music Southern Soul l April 2015

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Latin Soul with its roots in the ‘Cuban Son’ and Afro-Cuban musical elements. Eventually, Salsa migrated to Puerto Rico where the rhythm was enhanced by the Puerto Rican influence of congas and other percussion instruments. Not far from Cuba and Puerto Rico, in the western Atlantic Ocean sits the large island Dominican Republic. This Caribbean jewel was discovered by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage to the new world and he promptly claimed the island

Tango is a playful and vibrant dance between two people for the Spanish Crown, naming it La Isla Española, also known as “the Spanish Quisqueya,” mother of all lands. It is from this colorful island that Merengue and Bachata originated. Merengue is a genre strongly associated with Dominican national identity that gained popularity in the mid-19th century. Merengue has become one of the most popular genres throughout Latin America and major cities in the United States. Bachata is embraced throughout the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. This romantic rhythm has its roots from African elements and European styles. Speaking of Southern Soul, the Southern Soul of the Latin world is no doubt South America, with its fascinating musical genres. Traveling south from Colombia to Argentina, we find several authentic rhythms such as, Cumbia and Vallenato from Colombia; Joropo from Venezuela; Pasillo

Latin Soul

from Ecuador; Polka Chilena from Chile; and finally, the famous Tango from Argentina. Tango is a playful and vibrant dance between two people with very rich potential for expression, connection and improvisation. Tango makes you think of the ‘Yin and Yang’ of Chinese philosophy. Perhaps that’s the true origin of the famous saying, ‘It takes two to Tango.’ The history of Tango is very fascinating and complex at the same time. The evolution of the dance has profound implications on its evolution. The fusion of Spanish, Italian, African,

British, Polish, Russian and native-born Argentinian resulted in a melting pot of cultures, and each borrowed dance and music from one another. Today, tango is an international dance. In many countries around the world, you can find at least one tango club. I hope this brief musical trip around Latin America and Spain leaves you with a better understanding of our fascinating rhythms. And hopefully, this is just the beginning of your voyage into Latin music. Hasta pronto mis queridos lectores! §

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taste memphis ad

Hey Myron!

Spring Cleaning Dust Out Your Cobwebs! by MYRON MAYS photography by JAY ADKINS


Hey, it’s spring time! First thing that comes to mind is getting rid of clutter – cleaning our home, garage, car, office, etc. Time to trash, recycle, donate and put our stuff on eBay, head to consignment shops, or have garage sales. We also start thinking about getting our body in shape. Spring brings walks, jogs, and outdoor exercise. But, few of us think of spring-cleaning our Relationships! Yes, relationships can get cluttered and messy too. So, work with me - - - shake up the bag of romance tricks, dust off your relationship, and clear away the cobwebs! So, how do you do this? Well, here are five romance-spring-spark tips!

the heater and doing nothing but watching TV and drinking hot tea – you got to be tired of the sight of each other!

Cobweb sweeper: Get out and live life! Head to the river, pack a picnic and sip wine in the great outdoors. Or head to Gatlinburg where there are cabins perfect for a weekend getaway. Just enjoy each other’s company. Use it as a "throw-back" moment. Talk, try new foods, walk in the sun, dance the night away, get naked, and practice that new sex game you read about. Then go home revitalized and remember how much fun you had together! If outdoors is not your thing - book a table at a restaurant you both have • Cobweb #1: We’re so bored with each other? Sure, maybe the frigid temperatures, snow and potholes talked about trying but never got around to visiting kept you cooped up indoors all winter– cozying up to and have champagne waiting on ice. Southern Soul l April 2015

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Hey Myron! • Cobweb #4: It’s Spring! Why aren’t we getting married? Ahh, yes! The familiar cry from that person who’s Significant Other has passed up Valentine’s Day and now reached the newbeginnings season (Spring) without a proposal.

• Cobweb #2: Sex is ho-hum! You put on socks, cuddle under the blanket and go to sleep - your sexy teddies are now your drawer liners and your warm, comfy flannel jammies are your weekend attire. How’s anyone going to feel sexy under those conditions? Cobweb sweeper: Peel off the layers! Ditch the jammies and drag out the lingerie. If you’re still cold in bed, you already know a few under-thecover activities to generate some heat. Spring is here start showing more skin. And while you’re at it, tell that man of yours to lose the khakis and put some jeans on! You remember how his butt looks, get it back in view! • Cobweb #3: Sex is more like “if we do it at all! He/she gets in bed and faces east; you get in bed and face west. Barely touching. Maybe its stress or maybe it’s no sex drive. But whatever it is … fix it! Cobweb sweeper: Plan a sex-date! Take a day off from work and spend a whole day in bed together. This doesn't have to mean eight hours of non-stop sex. Share your fantasies, watch a movie, have lunch in bed - the important thing is to communicate.

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Cobweb sweeper: Get Real --Put it into perspective! Is it just that it’s Spring or that you really feel the time has come to elevate your relationship to a more committed level? Wait for it! Work on your cobwebs - when the time is right – it will happen. Cobweb #5: Spring Cleaning – new start - maybe I should start with a new romance! You’ve been together so long, your relationship has become a mundane routine. You don’t talk anymore or “share” anymore. You have started looking for another. You start to tally up all the “things I don’t like.” You start thinking about that ‘green grass’ over there. Cobweb sweeper: Stop. Appreciate what you have! It's all too easy to criticize our partner. But do you balance it with words of praise. Tell your partner about their special qualities and make them feel appreciated. Buy him/her a special gift. Doesn't have to be expensive but it should say loudly and clearly "I love you and I appreciate you.” Be affectionate and praising of your partner when you're with friends. Tell others something fantastic about your partner or something noteworthy he/she has done. Your partner will appreciate your loyalty and respect. Now, get on with dusting those cobwebs and sprucing up your romance– summer is just around the corner! §

Hey Myron!

HEY MYRON! ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL Hey Myron, The other night during sex with my husband, I could have sworn I heard him snoring. It was dark & I couldn’t really see his face. I got his attention & asked if he was asleep & he swore that he wouldn’t fall asleep during sex. A few minutes later I discovered that he had actually fallen asleep because he did it again. Is there something wrong with me…or him? -Pissed Hey Pissed, Trust me there is nothing wrong with you. I can't even imagine such a thing happening. But I've heard much stranger stuff. I think it could have been a number of things. First of all, I’ll be fair; the brother just could have been tired.... real tired. But anyway, don’t sweat it. If it only happened that time, it could have been just a fluke or something. But if it becomes an ongoing thing, it might just be a sign of low energy or diet on his part. And if that’s the case, there are things he can do to get his energy up, such as eating better and perhaps taking vitamins. If it continues, he may want to pay the doctor a visit. Give him the opportunity to take care of this. Also, I’m assuming “you” were on top. 50/50 RELATIONSHIP Hey Myron, I am about to get married, I love my man. However, when I get married, I want it to be a 50/50 marriage. It has to be equal. But people are always telling me that there is no such thing. I beg to differ- In Disagreement Hey In Disagreement, question…Have you ever been in a 50/50% relationship before? Probably not. If you

did, you’d still be in it and would be getting married without writing this letter. That’s because there is no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. In a lot of relationships, somebody will end up having to give more than their 50%...either by force or by choice. Does this mean that one person cares more about the relationship than the other one? No. Does it mean that someone is getting cheated? No. It just means that one person just so happens to give a little more than the other one. I mean, who keeps score in a 50/50 relationship? What scale is a 50/50 relationship judged upon anyway? Who makes the determination as to what is equal? I’ll tell you who. It’s usually the person who feels like they have something to lose. And when you go into a relationship with the thought of possibly losing something, then you’ve sort of already lost. No one wants to go into a losing situation… knowingly anyway. If the relationship is not 50/50, what makes you think the marriage will be? And exactly what are you afraid of losing? But look on the flip side… What happens in the situation where someone “wants” and is “willing” to give more than their 50%? Should they hold back? Should they stop at 50% because that’s what the rules are? No, they should give as much as their hearts can give. That’s how relationships work. I mean why can’t a relationship be 75/75 or even 100/100? Why does it have to stop at 50%? Think about it…50% is really only halfway right. If you are in a relationship where no one is willing to give 100%, then you’re probably not gonna make it anyway. Think about this, relationships are not supposed to be a game. Games are for players. You’re not a player are you? Of course not. Talk. Communicate. Express your concerns to your man. Ask him what his concerns are. Focus on trying to have a quality relationship instead of trying to one up each other. If you both love each other, then you both have something to lose. §

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Getting To Know


SOUL Talks

VIRGINIA PAIGE A Peek Inside A Same-Sex Relationship

“I don’t understand why people really get upset about something that doesn’t affect them at all.” -Wanda Sykes

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SOUL Talks To . . .

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SOUL Talks






oday’s gay community has heralded a message heard around the world. The astonishing speed with which same-sex marriage has swept across the United States – now legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia –reflects the shift in America’s societal acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community. No longer considered an “alternate lifestyle,” the LGBT Community has become an “everyday-normal” lifestyle and is widely supported among a majority of Americans. Not so long ago, American society was unwelcoming and punitive towards the LBGT Community. Individuals were forced to go to great lengths to hide their sexual orientation, and those who were discovered were often fired, expelled from the military and, sometimes, found themselves without family and community support. Conservatives and faith based entities waffled and grappled with accepting the LGBT Community. But, the paradigm is shifting. Just last month, after decades of debate over same-sex relationships, the Presbyterian Church (USA) expanded its definition of marriage to include a “commitment between two people,” recognizing and accepting gay marriage in the church constitution.

For some, it might be hard to reconcile the notion of Lesbian, Gays, Bi-Sexual and Transgender couples and even harder to consider same-sex marriages within your faith. As someone who is gradually evolving in my thinking on this issue, I hope to encourage many to accept and love people where and how you find them in life. We should see the good in all; embrace them; learn from them; and, have them learn from us. That is how we grow and change into better people— how we build a nation of true fellowship and understanding, versus some cold and disconnected notion of tolerance. Love is a natural feeling. It is a feeling you have for another, which comes from within. Love between two people is a shared feeling expressing their interest in and concern for one another. It is not about jealousy, conflict, testing, instead love is a positive feeling. And who are we to judge or say whether that feeling should be expressed between individuals of the opposite sex or the same sex. I had the pleasure to sit and chat with Virginia Awkward and Paige Hannah. Virginia and Paige live together as a samesex couple. They allowed me the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of same-sex relationships from their prospective. Simply put, what they shared made me more aware and knowledgeable of their lifestyle.

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SOUL Talks SS: Did you grow up in the Mid-South? Virginia: Yes, I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I grew up with my mother and father in the household. I graduated from Craigmont High School and Christian Brothers University. Paige: I grew up in Holly Springs, Mississippi. I was reared in the home with both parents. SS: How and when did you discover you were lesbians? V: In high school, I felt something was different. I wasn’t the regular tomboy that likes to play all the sports. I felt that there was more. I had an attraction to females. I knew then but I didn’t act on it.

Just because we don’t agree on something doesn’t mean we can’t be cool. We just agree to disagree.

P: I started feeling things much earlier. I would say probably 9 or 10 years old. I distinctly remember it was in 4th grade. I pushed it in the back of my head as long as I could. I didn’t really have boyfriends. I talked to some guys here and there but I knew what I felt. So to me, it would have been a waste of time, plus I was so into school at the time. SS: Who was the first person you told about your lifestyle? What was their reaction? V: The first person I told was my grandmother. She just responded, “Ginny, well I don’t know.” But it’s amazing I would tell the matriarch of the family first, considering how she was raised. But I felt comfortable enough to do it. And she supported me throughout. P: One day, during my senior year of high school, I finally got the courage to tell this guy (who oddly enough liked me) about my feelings towards females. Once I told him, it felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulder by just telling one person. SS: At such a young age and still discovering yourself, how were you able to share your lifestyle with your parents? What were their reactions? V: During high school and college, I did not act on it nor did I come out or say anything to my parents until I graduated from college. I felt that not acting on it was important because my parents are well known throughout the city and my mother has always told me – “If it’s something you’re doing and you can’t tell me, you need not do it.” I felt that I wasn’t in a place where I wanted to share with my mom. Nor did I want to act on it because I felt as if it did happen, then I would have to start lying to my parents and myself. And I didn’t want to do that. I finally told my mother. And she 48 |

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was hurt. She didn’t understand. It was a lot of her asking me, “Well, can you try again to have a relationship with males?” And I actually tried. But in the end, I said mom it’s not about trying; it’s about me not having that type of connection or yearning [for a man]. I don’t want to disappoint him or myself. My father’s reaction was different from my mother’s. He was concerned, but he wasn’t upset. He said, “I love you no matter what. You know that’s not the life I wished for you, but that’s your life and I accept it.”

So, with my father, it’s more of a respect factor because I’m his daughter versus him wanting to accept the lifestyle. He just embraced me because he loves me. Since then, I’ve been able to enlighten him and my mother to the point that they’re like, there’s nothing wrong with it. So, my parents didn’t disown me for being who I am. P: I struggled. Right before my high school graduation, my parents found out. They asked and I admitted it. It was the week before graduation, I was preparing for my valedictorian speech, getting ready to accept a scholarship and I felt like I was the biggest disappointment in the world. They hit me with – “What did we do? Where did we go wrong?” They wanted to send me to see a psychiatrist. I was supposed to attend their alma mater, Ole Miss; but because of my lifestyle, they didn’t want me to attend. So I had to choose another school that offered me a full scholarship. Which was fine with me. I felt like, once I confirmed it to them, I was walking on eggshells. So I just couldn’t wait to get away. It was a small town where everybody knew everybody and they were educators in the school system for decades. They really didn’t want anybody to find out because they felt it would have been a bad reflection on them. So for years it was kind of the elephant in the room that no one wanted to discuss. I really wasn’t comfortable at home at times but they never totally disowned me. SS: Paige, how are your parents towards you and your lifestyle today? P: I lived in Ohio for 11 years before moving

to Memphis. I was able to live my lifestyle as I please. In the beginning, when I would bring a friend home with me, they were like, “Don’t you bring that home or bring it to our house.” But I always told my lady let’s be who we are together. It took a while for my parents to come around

SOUL Talks because I played it down. I took the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach. But over the years, my parents have grown to accept who I am and come to terms with being a lesbian. When I started dating Virginia and eventually moved to Memphis, I think it encouraged my parents to be open and more acceptable. And Virginia being the person she is helps. They see how happy I am with her. It’s amazing to be able to plan outings together. Virginia and my mom have birthdays just a few days apart, so last year we had a Girl’s Day Out. It is incredibly different from what I expected. And I’m thankful for it. SS: Do you think your sexual preference is natural? P: You do have many people who are in the lifestyle for recreational purposes. But for me, the only thing I chose was to act on it. V: I feel the same way. The choice to act on it was the only decision I had to make. Just like many choose to be with a man. It was just that natural for me.

I despise) is because they feel like people aren’t going to accept them. I’ve noticed that if you just be who you are, people have no choice. And if they don’t want to be in your life, then so be it. P: I haven’t really given people an opportunity to express how they may feel. The people I’m close to everyday or come across are cool with it. SS: What would you say about the general public’s overall acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle? V: To be honest, I’m thankful. I’ve never felt convicted. I’ve never really had an issue with me being a lesbian. You hear the rumors. I think my demeanor plays a part. I’m a very nice person. But I am passive aggressive due to my career. I am a very open-minded person. Just because we don’t agree on something doesn’t mean we can’t be cool. We just agree to disagree. Because this is my life and that is yours. And I think my approach has allowed people to just say, ‘screw it, I love her, regardless.’ So, I’ve never had any issues from the public. You know people say you’re black, a women and a lesbian. That’s three strikes against you. Well, if there was some despair over it, I wasn’t aware of it. And I don’t think it has taken any merit away from my work. I don’t think I’ve been crossed over for promotions because of it. I’ve never experienced any ill intent. I feel that I’ve been accepted.

I took the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” approach

SS: Have either of you been with a man sexually? V: Yes, I have. It’s not that I didn’t like guys; I just couldn’t get the same connection with a guy. And I wanted to fulfill my entire being. That’s what I’ve done and I haven’t dated a guy since. You know, some women go back and forth between another woman and a man. That’s why I didn’t act on it prior to telling my parents. Because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hide it. I’m the type of person – pick one. I hate the unknown. I had to make a decision. I’m not going to take myself and other people through this anguish for no reason. I’m a very likable person and not going to be dragging all of these people around. I think that’s just messy. P: No. I’ve never been with a man sexually. I’ve had guys who wanted to date me but, like I said before, I felt like it a waste of time. I knew what I liked. SS: Do you think people have become more accepting of same-sex relationships or marriages? V: Yes, the people in my life or my circle are. I have been dating women since 2002. It’s been awhile. Everybody in my life is used to it. I think being myself helps. I don’t just come up to you and say, ‘hey I’m Virginia and I’m gay.’ It’s not a part of the announcement of my name. It’s a part of me; it’s not the total me. People respect you for being who you are. I think all the people who are in the closet; they are in the closet for individual reasons. The one reason (which

SS: What is your stance on religion? Do you have a place of worship? V: I am a Christian. I was raised in the church. I currently do not attend or actively participate in any organized religion. I am more spiritual. I do read my bible. I do feel like God loves all His creations. I know and believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. Everyone’s path and journey is different in the flesh. If you don’t understand something that is of me, get to know God. Pray for the spirit of discernment, and then you would know me. I have prayed to God that if this or anything that I am feeling is not of You, take it away. If I ever feel convicted, and I never have, but if I do feel convicted at any point, I will act upon it. P: I grew up in the church. My struggles were similar to Virginia’s. But, I felt so bad at times. I had many dark days. Once I started understanding myself, who I am and feeling more comfortable in my relationship with God, I started feeling better. I do attend church in my hometown every now and then. SS: How do you feel about same sex marriages? V: I am so elated of all the legislation coming forth for same-sex marriages. Because when it comes to marriage, Southern Soul l April 2015

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SOUL Talks To . . .

They see how happy I am with her.

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SOUL Talks and when it comes to anything, drinking out of a water fountain, your color doesn’t matter. We are all human beings. We all have the ability to feel love. I don’t think whom you love or whom you’d like to spend the rest of your life with has any bearing on what you can actually do. In different cultures, they accept multiple marriages. If you partake in that religion or lifestyle -- who am I to say what you believe in is wrong? That’s why everyone comes to America. It’s the land of the free. And it should be completely free, not just partially free. If it’s going to have conditions, have conditions. But don’t make conditions according to your own bias and fears. As I said, people may say, “so you believe in multiple marriages?” My response is -- if that’s what you want and all parties involved are not against it, and they’re willing to do that, who am I to stop you. You’re not hurting anyone, you’re not forcefully putting anyone in a marriage they don’t want to be in; you’re not marrying off a 14 year old that cannot make an informed decision for him/her self -- I’m totally against that. But someone who is completely grown and they can think for themselves, I think they should be happy, as long as it’s not hurting anybody. I’m not hurting anybody loving Paige or loving anybody. SS: Do you believe gay marriages have a negative effect on traditional marriages? V: No. If anything, gay people are more dedicated. They don’t have that piece of paper that keeps them together. Up until now, because of our laws, only their love and devotion define a same-sex marriage. Those marriages have survived with nothing but a commitment between two people and they stay together without an official document. Whereas, in many instances, it’s the official document that keeps a heterosexual couple together, all while being unhappy together. Again, the commitment is between two people. SS: Virginia, I understand you were in a same-sex marriage before meeting Paige. Can you elaborate? V: Yes, I was with someone else for 7 years. In 2008, we went to Toronto, Canada and got married. This was before the states started accepting samesex marriages. During that time, it was my family and her family. And everybody was like, “Why do you have to get married it’s not even legal. So what’s the whole point?” Well the point was, I think we should be able to get married if we love one another and want to make that type of commitment to each other. We should be able to be married just like everyone else. Of course, we didn’t get the full rights and benefits of a traditional married couple. And I found it a difficult process with changing my last name and going through the court system was a challenge. Normally, when you get married you take your Marriage Certificate, fill out the paperwork and boom it’s done. SS: How did you two meet? P: We met through the world of social media. I was living in Ohio at the time. We became Facebook friends in 2011 and then I saw her on TLC’s Police Women of Memphis documentary series and I noticed she was a friend with one of my cousins. After seeing her on the show, I immediately had an interest. But we never interacted or messaged one another; I just read her post here and there. Over time, her post started peaking my interest more and more. At one point, she was going through a hard time in her marriage and I thought maybe she needed a friend. I came home for my birthday that year to visit my parents in Holly Springs. I didn’t want to sit around for my birthday, so I muscled up the courage to send her a Facebook message the day of my birthday. I just laid it all out, pressed send, got nervous, and went out to celebrate.

V: When my ex-wife and I were going through rough times, there was uproar on social media about my ex-wife dating someone else. We tried to work it out. I was doing what you are supposed to do in a marriage. You know, forgiving, trying to move pass this and that, but things just didn’t pan out. Around September 2013, I had surgery on my knee and after surgery; I spent more time on social media because I had a lot of time on my hands. I was going through a bad time and Paige started seeing those things. So, when Paige sent the message, the only reason I checked it was because I saw an intriguing picture. So, I clicked on it and I read it and I said oh, I’ve read messages like this before. But the only reason I paid it any attention is because where I was in my life. I was hurt both mentally and physically. My whole body was aching. When I saw her pictures and profile, I thought she was very attractive and very goal-oriented, successful, smart and all those things. I noticed she’s a cousin with one of my friends. Perfect! And I thought -- look what I found. I actually responded and invited her over to my house to watch the football game with some of my friends. After that, we started talking, talking led to more and more. She asked to come back and take care of me. She wanted to move away from Ohio. So, I invited her to move here. That was December 2013. And we have not had time apart since. Most people would think that is racing, running to the finish line. I think it is also, but it just happened. We just wanted to help one another heal in the process. We have a great relationship where we can talk to each other about things. It’s amazing. I’ve never had a relationship like this. Honestly, I can say she’s my best friend. I love her character as a person. I love everything she stands for. It’s amazing! P: Virginia makes it easy. She scared me in the beginning. She would say things like, “You’re going to get tired of me. I’m going to have you doing this, this and this.” And she’s a neat freak and OCD about so many things. V: You believe things about yourself because people you’ve dated or known have told you negative things about Southern Soul l April 2015

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SOUL Talks yourself and you begin to believe them. The growth I have received in this relationship has made me aware of certain things that I was told in the past just aren’t me. It’s hard to realize when you’re in a long-term relationship with somebody. Seven years is a long time especially when you’re young. My ex-wife is 6 years younger than me. So the dynamics of that relationship were different. And it was mostly all about the younger person. I am 36 and Paige is 34. SS: What challenges have you encountered being a lesbian? V: People don’t take our relationship seriously. They don’t look at our relationship the same as a heterosexual relationship. Nor did they look at my marriage seriously. It takes the same dedication, but respect wasn’t given. Many times people have said, “You don’t understand because you don’t have the same issues as other relationships.” As if our relationship is less than all other relationships. We’re all human. We have feelings. Actually, feelings and emotions may be elevated because it’s two women. That’s a lot of emotions. When you talk about a heterosexual, most of the time, the man is not as emotional and that’s when the woman says, ‘well you don’t understand me.’ She can always say, ‘you don’t understand me or you don’t know where I’m coming from.’ Even though we are two women and we do understand, it’s still hard to deal with all those emotions. Sometimes you don’t get that one rational being that’s not so emotionally vested in the situation. So the dynamics of a relationship or marriage is going to be the same no matter what. I get a lot of guys that say, ‘you’re just playing or you haven’t met the right man yet.’ We get a lot of that and it’s not the same respect. If Paige were a man, a lot of guys would not say or approach me in that fashion. Since she is a woman, they feel as if they can. P: They feel they can say certain things to me about Virginia; things that I know they wouldn’t say to a man about his woman. They feel like it’s ok. Also, the dynamics of the relationship were challenging in my past relationships. Where women had been with men before, had kids or married previously, but were trying to act on their true feelings. Being a lesbian for them was kind of hard because they didn’t view it the same. They were like, ‘you’re not a guy so I can’t depend on you for this or I don’t expect you to do this.’ Or they didn’t think that we could have a family. It was a little shocking for me to realize. With Virginia, we do everything together. We complement each other. We can visualize being a family. In previous relationships, some girls said they couldn’t see that. They couldn’t see being a family. Even though they truly and genuinely want to be with women. To them, it just wasn’t right if they didn’t suffer through a relationship 52 |

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SOUL Talks To . . .

I love you no matter what.

with a guy because that’s how they felt it was supposed to be. One of my exes now is very unhappy but it’s what she wanted. She feels comfortable because she has a husband and a child but she’s totally unhappy in every other aspect of her life. SS: Are there any places or establishments where you feel you’re not welcomed or may receive unwanted attention? V: Not that I can think of. But if so, I may not have processed it in my head. But we get looks when we may be holding hands while out and about. One thing I don’t get that people say is ‘you are too pretty to be gay.’ I guess only unattractive women are the only ones that are supposed to be lesbians. A lot of the awkwardness comes from the shock factor. Virginia & Father, Elbert Rich, Sr.

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SOUL Talks SS: There are many straight men that readily accept lesbians, but have a hard time accepting gay or bisexual men. Why do you think that is the case? V: Yes. Many straight men have bias towards gay or bisexual males. If a man has a son or a daughter and the child shares that he/she is gay, most men are more acceptable of a daughter than a son. It takes a lot longer and a lot of prayer and understanding for a man to come to grips that his son is gay or bisexual. I think it’s the esthetics of a man. The build that makes a man see gay men different than gay women. I think in the back of a man’s mind, he is thinking ‘well, he’s such a man how could he be with another man.’ Well, I’m such a lady, how could I be with another lady? Especially in a male-dominated workplace or environment, it creates a negative, condemning tone. It’s harder to accept mainly because of what society wants a man to be perceived as. In the end, it’s within your own bias. It’s hard for a man to wrap his mind around it; if he’s not gay or bisexual.

trying to transcend religious and cultural barriers. They welcome all regardless of lifestyle or sexual preference. SS: Do you find it easy to be accepted in the LBGT community? V: Yes. I didn’t know there were some many nuances to the LBGT community. I had to understand the different roles of what I like in my partner. I consider myself a femme, who is a woman that takes on the female role. I like to wear dresses, heels and makeup. Paige is considered a stud, she is takes on the masculine role in our relationship. But there are many nuances in the LBGT community I had to learn.

The worst thing you can do is lie to yourself. Keep your character in tact.

P: I find it easy once you understand who you are, what you like, and you accept it. We are here for each other. SS: What are your thoughts on individuals who undergo reassignment (transgender)? V: You are who you are. I know both males and females who have undergone reassignment or are in the process of reassignment. I never understood it until I asked. Basically, it’s a completely different thing. It’s not that people want to be with the same sex, but they want to actually be a different sex. I think that it is more hurtful for that person because they are living in a body they don’t want. It’s a case of identity crisis, a woman living in a man’s body. Or a man that wants to be reassigned and date men.

There are women who have a hard time accepting their son being gay or bisexual. One minute he’s playing football and the next he’s asking to borrow her lipstick and eyeliner. I myself see gay males walking around at times and say to myself, does he have to be so gay. You look at them and like wow. I think it’s the culture. It has to be our culture. How can I have a bias, I’m gay. But there are some who are so flamboyant, so pro-gay, and I give them that look also. I guess it’s because I don’t live my life gay first. It’s not stamped on my forehead.

P: I accept them for who they are. But you also have similar situations in heterosexual relationships, where a man wants to be a woman while still wanting to be in a sexual relationship with a woman. It goes back to identity crisis.

SS: Tell me about the LBGT community? V: The LBGT community was created for individuals who may have shared their lifestyle with their parents or loved ones and their parents or loved ones cast them away. Their family disowned them or maybe it’s just the kid who is different than most of the kids in school. The community provides families that are mostly gay families, which may consist of two gay males or two gay women. They develop family units with its members for support. There are about 4 or 5 communities in the Memphis area. There are many who come because they don’t feel close to their biological family or they are not at the point where they can tell their family. They come to the LBGT community for moral support and encouragement. Also, the Cathedral of Praise Church of Memphis is a ministry that welcomes and provides support for the LBGT community. They are

SS: Lately, the entertainment industry has pushed the gay envelope through all outlets. How do you feel about this? P: I am glad of the awareness. I think people are learning. Some may have helped my parents realize some things. It’s not that something happened in my childhood. It happened naturally. So people are being educated in different ways. Whether it’s mainstream TV or pop culture. I hope it’s not abused to increase ratings or to get a certain demographic on their side for revenue gains. I’m happy we are getting recognition and awareness out to the masses. There are kids now that are going through what we have been through. But it may be easier for them to come to terms with their sexuality. Many years back, people just didn’t talk about it. But since it has become mainstream, people are more accepting.

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SOUL Talks V: The awareness has decreased the amount of bullying and suicide of gays and bisexuals. Many would disagree and say it has increased, but what they fail to realize is for many years the bullying and suicide were not being reported. I think in the industry it started off as a comic relief, the gay man on sitcoms. The entertainment industry is filled with gays. The nature of a gay man is what everyone looks at. Men have always been in the forefront. Everyone knows the stereotype -- choir directors, hairstylists, and fashion models are gay. But now in the entertainment industry it’s rampant. You don’t have anybody if you don’t have a good ‘Judy’ [gay male] on your team. But what is their reasoning? It is because they are more accepting of gays or some other motive. What if he is a carpenter, a policeman, a fireman, or some other male dominated profession? Many of those professions don’t want to see gay men in those roles or working alongside them daily. So there is still an imbalance, bias still exists in the entertainment industry. Once gay males receive respect then people will have a different perspective of LBGTs. SS: Have you considered getting married? V: I am very optimistic. I will remarry. I have learned so much about myself over the past years. I know I have a better understanding of what it takes to be in a marriage. P: I never really seriously thought about it before. I’ve never been in a fulfilling relationship where I could give it a serious thought. For a long time, I was searching for a flower amongst the weeds. Now that I have found my flower, I can give it a serious thought.

SS: What do you say to a child or adult that is having difficulty coming out? V: I would say think of it as if you are going to your mother when you hurt yourself. Go to your parents and tell them. You already know they may not like it so if you can’t talk to them, please talk to someone. The Internet is filled with support groups. There’s no reason you can’t reach out to someone. I just ask that you not continue to lie. Be who you are. There are a lot of things you may tell your parents that they may not want to accept. The worst thing you can do is lie to yourself. Keep your character in tact. Your being gay has nothing to do with your character. P: I had to reach out to someone outside my family first. So, if not their family, I suggest they reach out to someone and understand that they have to live for themselves. SS: I hope this article has given those who shun our neighbors in the LBGT community a brief peek into a same-sex relationship and delivered the message that we should all consider meeting our fellow citizens halfway; start a mutually respectful dialogue; openly address our fears; and, challenge misconceptions about those with different lifestyles, religions, and races to learn to love and respect one another. Show everyone some real Southern Soul! §

I was searching for a flower amongst the weeds

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SouthernStyle Spring into Fashion photography by BRYANT REDDICK

Clothing, shoes & accessories provided by Dillard’s Carriage Crossing Visit us and ask for any “Brand Specialists.” Mention Southern Soul Magazine and receive a free gift with purchase. Stylists: Carolyn Dockery, Savannah Gamble Models: Britainé Bell, Crystal Sawyer, Wilenceia Selmon,

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Ruby Road Plus Tank, Cardigan & Pant Jessica Simpson Drama Necklace

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Ruby Road Plus Maxi Dress & Cardigan Sweater

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Vince Camuto Pomegranate Poncho Anna & Ava Scarf NYJD Skinny Denim Trouser

Vince Camuto Beaded Keyhole Dress

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L: Eileen Fisher Jersey Tee, Cropped Jean Jacket, Tapered Ankle Pant & Ikat Jacquard Scarf

R: Eileen Fisher Hi-Lo Handkerchief Shirt & Border Scarf Westbound Plus Crewneck Tee Levi Plus Classic Straight Leg Capris

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Ralph Lauren Plus Knit Top, Cropped Sleeved Cardigan & Wide Leg Pant Natasha Tribal Statement Necklace

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Vince Camuto Leopard Print Midi Dress Natasha Tribal Statement Necklace

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Ralph Lauren Plus Poplin Dress Shirt Peter Nygard Plus Ankle Pant & Poppy Zip-Front Mesh Jacket Steve Madden Varcityy Floral PointedToe d'Orsay Pumps Fossil Erin Shoulder Bag

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Gibson & Latimer Heather Knit Maxi Dress & Perforated Jacket Vince Camuto Drama Pendant Necklace Kate Landry Snake ZipAround Frame Clutch

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Vince Camuto Blouse & Pencil Skirt Vince Camuto Limoncello Jelly Satchel Steve Madden Lime Krona Peep-Toe d'Orsary Pumps

Bryn Walker Havana Linen Jaida Tunic Ralph Lauren Plus Cropped Twill Straight Pant Anna & Ava Multi Infinity Scarf Vince Camuto Llina Demi Jeweled Wedge Sandals

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Eileen Fisher High-Collar Zip Coat Zozo Ultramarine Perfect Tank NYJD Alisha Meadow Ankle Jeans Steve Madden Floral Vilenna Dress Sandals

Natasha Beaded Statement Necklace

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Kathy’s life sucks and a fight with her mom confirms that nothing will ever change that. Teased at school and feeling like an indentured servant at home, Kathy leaves vowing never to return. Surviving that night on her own means facing the demons of her mom’s past and the uncertainty of her own future. Can she come to terms with her questionable ethnicity? With being fatherless and different from everyone else? Will Kathy continue her spiral toward the destructiveness of poverty, abuse, and low self-esteem? Or will she find a way out? And if so, what will it cost her? “THERE’S A LITTLE BIT OF KATHY IN EVERY WOMAN…” TO PURCHASE YOUR COPY VISIT: WWW.URBANEDGEPUBLISHING.COM CLICK ON THE “BOOK STORE” TAB SELECT THE COVER OF NO LESS WORTHY OR


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Readings Motivational Speaking Signings Special Appearances Church Groups Youth Groups School Groups Women’s Groups Book Clubs FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: MYPPK.COM/GET/DORCHELLESPENCE


SIS Top Row L-R: Tina Bryant, Yvonne Madlock, Robbi Milan, Naomi Spencer, Hazel Hammond; Front Row L-R: Leah Cornelius, Glenda Oates, Lirah Sabir. Not pictured: Katrina Fayne and Michelle Glass

Sisters ‘N’ Sync (SIS “The Book Club”) Celebrates 15 Years and Counting by PEPPER LEWIS

"A book is a friend whose face is constantly changing. If you read it when you are recovering from an illness and return to it years after, it is changed surely, with the change in yourself." –Andrew Lang


Since the nineteenth century, women have gathered in social settings to discuss various societal interests. Such meetings were used as an opportunity to stay abreast of current events which were “men-only” subjects and taboo for women. In the early 60’s, the feminine liberation and independence movement took hold. Odd as it may seem, carved directly from a man’s world activity, the advent of the Virginia Slims marketing campaign “you’ve come a long way, baby” shook the men-only club. The slogan became a household phrase and a mantle for women’s independence.

Women’s issues and societal interests moved to the forefront of many marketing campaigns and women groups became the norm. In 1991, the Go On Girl! Book Club (the largest national reading organization for black women) was founded. Five years later, stealing a page from the organization, Oprah Winfrey ushered in a revitalization of the women clubs with her now-infamous Oprah’s Book Club where she selects a new book for viewers to read and discuss each month. Immediately, book clubs popped up across America uniting kindred spirits, book enthusiasts, and open discussion groups. Some still meeting, others long disbanded. Today, in Memphis, we have several book clubs but few with the panache of the SIS Book Club. In the spring of 2000, a group of nine longtime friends gathered at a repast in support of a friend who had lost a loved one. When the conversation evolved to planning to Southern Soul l April 2015

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"A book is a friend whose face is constantly changing. If you read it when you are recovering from an illness and return to it years after, it is changed surely, with the change in yourself." –Andrew Lang Since the nineteenth century, women have gathered in social settings to discuss various societal interests. Such meetings were used as an opportunity to stay abreast of current events which were “men-only” subjects and taboo for women. In the early 60’s, the feminine liberation and independence movement took hold. Odd as it may seem, carved directly from a man’s world activity, the advent of the Virginia Slims marketing campaign “you’ve come a long way, baby” shook the men-only club. The slogan became a household phrase and a mantle for women’s independence. Women’s issues and societal interests moved to the forefront of many marketing campaigns and women groups became the norm. In 1991, the Go On Girl! Book Club (the largest national reading organization for black women) was founded. Five years later, stealing a page from the organization, Oprah Winfrey ushered in a revitalization of the women clubs with her now-infamous Oprah’s Book Club where she selects a new book for viewers to read and discuss each month. Immediately, book clubs popped up across America uniting kindred spirits, book enthusiasts, and open discussion groups. Some still meeting, others long disbanded. Today, in Memphis, we have several book clubs but few with the panache of the SIS Book Club. In the spring of 2000, a group of nine longtime friends gathered at a repast in support of a friend who had lost a loved one. When the conversation evolved to planning to get together more often, someone suggested they organize a book club and Sisters “N” Sync (SIS), the Book Club was established. Today, fifteen years later, the founding members of SIS remain actively involved and the two members have been added.

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Consisting of women with varied interests and careers, each brings a unique insight and perspective into the group’s lively monthly discussions. The Sisters ‘n Sync Book Club members are Tina Bryant, Leah Cornelius, Katrina Fayne, Michelle Glass, Hazel Hammond, Yvonne Madlock, Robbie Milan, Glenda Oates, Lirah Sabir, Naomi Spencer and Marsha T. Robinson (2000-2012) in memorial. Initially focusing on works by African-American authors, over time, the monthly selections became more diverse. Selections vary at the discretion of the hostess and have been as varied and diverse as the personalities and interests of the members, ranging from the non-fiction historical work of Warmth of Other Suns by Isabella Wilkerson, to the exciting and fictional Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. Books that offer insights and self-enlightenment such as Instincts by T.D. Jakes and Hannah Hunard’s allegorical tale Hinds Feet on High Places are also part of the SIS repertoire. Unlike most book clubs, many of the SIS meetings have been theme-based in place and activity. After reading Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon and Hampton Sides’ Hellhound on His Trail, members visited the Stax and National Civil Rights Museums. These visits made the recently read and discussed history more vivid and interactive. The club’s quest of experiences to enrich their reading has taken SIS to numerous cultural venues. They travelled to New York City to see “The Color Purple” and to enjoy a weekend of fun, comradery and shopping in the Big Apple. Twice SIS has taken memorable train rides: to New Orleans visiting the Marie Laveau Museum as the Sisters read Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes in New Orleans, LA and to the historic Cedar Grove, African-American Bed and Breakfast, in Vicksburg, MS. Throughout its fifteen years, the SIS has sought opportunities to hear and learn directly from authors of their monthly book selections. SIS attended readings and book signings held in area universities and book stores,


hearing from Dolan PerkinsValdez (Wench) and Pulitzer Prize winner Isabella Wilkerson. The Club has also sponsored book signings at the Civil Rights Museum for renowned civil rights attorneys Johnny Cochran and Josh Smith. SIS has been intentional in its support of local authors including Dwight Fryer author of Legend of Quito Road and The Knees of Gullah Island and Nelvia Broody Hampton who wrote This Mothers Daughter both of whom attended SIS meetings to read from and provide insight into their published works. Over time, SIS has evolved and morphed into an organization that is more than a Book Club. It is an organization that strives to make a difference through philanthropy and volunteerism. Derived from monthly dues and SIS fundraisers, the Club has made several donations to communityoriented organizations. A fabulous excursion to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas was one such event. SIS, a long-time supporter of the arts, financially supports and volunteers with the Hattiloo Theatre. Other recipients of SIS benevolence have been the Hope House, which supports children whose families have been impacted by HIV and AIDS, Partners in Public Education (PIPE), MERITAN Senior Services, and the school uniform drives at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

Members have participated in local walks and runs in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence and Sickle Cell Anemia. Most recently, the Sisters ‘n Sync recognized their 15th year anniversary with a celebration of High Tea at Chez Phillipe, in the historical Peabody Hotel as they discussed Passing Strange by Martha Sandweiss. The Sisters calculate that over the last 15 years, they have read over 150 books that include classics (To Kill a Mockingbird), best sellers and popular fiction (The Joy Luck Club, Little Bee and Gone Girl), and works of great African and African- American literature (Their Eyes Were Watching God). Throughout their decade and a half, the friendships of the Sisters ‘n Sync have grown and deepened as the members have shared food, conversation, and wine, as they have explored ideas and history through reading and travel. Today the SIS members continue to “do what they do”-- and “have done” since their inception-- support each other through the losses and joys and revelations that life brings. . . and stay ‘n Sync with each other! They would like to collectively honor the memory and spirit of a founding member and the Book Club’s self-appointed Chaplin, Marsha Turner Robinson, who made her transition from time to eternity on April 15, 2012. §

"Often we get busy in our everyday lives SIS gives me an opportunity to prioritize my schedule to fellowship with friends at least once a month." Katrina "SIS gives me a chance to fellowship and engage in service with friends. Our deceased member Marsha often started meetings reminding us that 'today is a very special day,' and I recall those words and proceed to face each day with the intent to make it so." Naomi “SIS is the camaraderie of our sisters getting together once a month to enjoy spirited conversations and discussions; the pleasure of breaking bread and tokens of love received as we leave each other and look forward to our next gathering!” Lira "The often “ah ha” moments; differing perspectives; depths of our conversations and discussion; and, the simple interaction among friends leaves my inner happy energized. These SIS experiences I still find unmatched “away from home,” therefore, making my often little more than 24 hour stay in Memphis and 800 mile roundtrip only a pittance of an issue." Glenda

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working together for stronger, healthier babies

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Taste Life With Kat

Satisfy My Soul: A Punky Reggae Dinner Party by KATHY KIRK-JOHNSON photography by JAY ADKINS



I love everything about the Caribbean. Sometimes I feel like my ancestors were cast out of ships in the Caribbean during the African Diaspora. Every time I am there, I feel at home. That’s exactly the way I felt when I met my friend’s mother, Beverly. She is a beautiful island native, who has allowed me the privilege to watch her make the best shrimp curry I have ever tasted. So, grab your magazine and take a trip to the international market to gather the all of the necessities for your next dinner party. And yes, these recipes are authentic and Trinidadian mother approved. §

Want to “wow” your girlfriends? Menu

Cucumber Salad Jerk Chicken Wings with Pineapple Salsa Bev’s Curry Shrimp Jamaican Rice and Peas Bananas Flambé Sorrel Cocktail

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Bevâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Curry Shrimp

1- 2 lb. (bag) Large Shrimp (peeled, deveined and cleaned) 4-6 Tbs. Olive Oil 1 large Onion (chopped) 4 stalks Scallions (chopped) 6 cloves Garlic (minced) 4 sprigs Thyme (stems removed, chopped) 6 sprigs Cilantro (chopped) (reserve 1 sprig; set aside) Adobo Seasoning Salt (or any seasoning salt on hand) to taste 2 Tbs. Jamaican Curry Powder 1 Tbs. Roasted Geera Powder* (Ground Cumin) 1 Tbs. Amchar Massala Powder* 1 can Rotel** 2 Tbs. Soy sauce 2-3 Tbs. Ketchup Kosher salt (to taste) 2 Potatoes (peeled, cubed) * Geera and Amchar Massala Powders can be purchased at a local international market; on (Chief brand); or you may substitute with Jamaican Curry Powder. **Traditionally, fresh tomatoes are used. You may use canned diced tomatoes, but add pepper (Habanero, Cayenne, Black, Crushed). Rotel adds the pepper flavor desired and is a useful shortcut. Boil potatoes until fork-tender; pour in strainer, and set aside. Do not rinse. In a large bowl, add 2 Tbs. of Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Ketchup, Scallions, Garlic, Thyme, Cilantro, and Rotel. Stir until all ingredients are mixed. In a separate bowl, season shrimp with seasoning salt and 1Tbs. of Curry Powder, Roasted Geera Powder (cumin), and Massala Powder. Stir until Shrimp is coated well. Add seasoned Shrimp to marinade. Toss and allow Shrimp to marinate for 30 minutes. Heat remaining Olive Oil in large pot on medium high heat. Add onion and potatoes. Season with remaining Curry Powder. SautĂŠ until begins to brown. Stir in Shrimp mixture (and all juices). Simmer on low heat until Shrimp turn pink and the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat. Add kosher salt (to taste), stir in remaining fresh Cilantro and serve hot! Southern Soul l April 2015

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Jamaican Rice and Peas

2 cans Small Red Beans 1½ cups Long Grain Rice 5-6 cloves Garlic (minced) 1-1 ¼ Tsp. of Knorr chicken bouillon (loose NOT cubed) 1 cup Onions (chopped) Kosher Salt (to taste) Freshly ground black pepper (to taste) 1-2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers (pierced) 6 sprigs Fresh Thyme 1 Spring Onion (scallions with bulb – crushed) 1 Spring Onion (scallions with bulb – chopped) 1 can Premium Coconut milk 1 Tbs. Grated Ginger 2 Tbs. Sugar 1 small dash Allspice* (Traditionally used, but optional) Coat a medium saucepan with vegetable oil (or olive oil) on medium high heat. Add onions and season with Bullion. Sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add Beans, Coconut Milk, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Ginger And Thyme. Stir. Add spring onions (1 crushed and 1 whole chopped). Add Scotch Bonnet Pepper(s). Simmer on low heat 5 minutes. Add Long-Grain Rice, carefully stirring often to prevent sticking or burning. Continue cooking on low heat about 15-20 minutes or until rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Remove from heat and serve.

Cucumber Salad

2 large Cucumbers (thinly sliced) ¼ Tsp. Kosher Salt Black Pepper (to taste) 2 Tsp. Fresh Lime Juice 1 Garlic Clove (minced) 1 Red Onion (chopped finely) 2 sprigs Cilantro (chopped finely) Hot sauce or pepper sauce (to taste) Add ingredients in large bowl and toss. Serve immediately to prevent watering.

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Sorrel Cocktail

12 oz. Sorrel (Hibiscus Flower) 8 cups Water 2 - ¼ inch thick slices of fresh Ginger Root (peeled) Sugar (to taste) Rum (Typically, Jamaican White Rum) (to taste) 1 Tbs. Orange Peel 10-15 Cloves 3-6 Cinnamon Sticks Add water, Sorrel and Ginger to a large pot and bring to a rapid boil. Add cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. Allow mixture to boil an additional 10 minutes. Remove mixture from heat. Once cooled completely, place refrigerate 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove mixture from refrigerator and strain into a large pitcher. Add sugar and sweeten to taste. Add rum, starting with a generous dash (the rum is a natural preservative). You may add additional rum, if serving as a cocktail.

Bananas Flambé

4 Bananas ¼ cup Banana Liqueur 4 Tbs. Salted Butter ½ cup Brown Sugar Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice 1 Cinnamon Stick 151 Rum (to taste) (at least one good shot!) Vanilla Ice Cream Peel bananas and cut in half lengthwise. Melt butter; add brown sugar, cinnamon stick and cook, stirring until sugar dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur. Cook 2 minutes. Return skillet to medium heat. Add bananas, (cut side down). Cook until glazed (1- 2 minutes). Pour in 151 rum and warm for a few seconds without stirring, then Flambé*. Squeeze with lime juice and serve hot! Top with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. To flambé, remove pan from heat, tilt the pan and ignite with a fireplace match/click lighter. Return pan to stove and gently swirl to reduce the flames.

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I have the best authentic jerk chicken recipe, but making jerk marinade from scratch can be extremely time consuming. So, I sought to create a more practical recipe that anyone could make with ingredients found in your local grocery stores or international markets. Every time I travel to an island, I try to purchase a native dry jerk seasoning and island chicken seasoning. Then, I use a really great commercial jerk marinade as a dipping sauce.

Quick Jerk Chicken Wings

1 package Chicken Wings (separated â&#x20AC;&#x201C; about 12-15 pieces) Jamaican Chicken Seasoning Dry Jerk Seasoning Butter Soak chicken in salt water to thoroughly cleanse (at least 30 minutes). Rinse and pat wings dry completely. Lay flat in large baking pan. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbs. of both dry seasonings. Look for a jerk seasoning with a brown tint and a chicken seasoning with an orange tint. Sprinkle seasoning generously over both sides of chicken. Refrigerate overnight. Allow wings to reach room temperature before baking the next day. Preheat

oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place wings on a lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray at least 1 inch apart. Pour melted butter on top of the wings. Bake one hour. Serve with your favorite jerk marinade and easy pineapple salsa.

Easy Pineapple Salsa

2 cups of Premium brand salsa (preferably one that is refrigerated) 1 cup of fresh Pineapples (chopped) Splash of Fresh Pineapple juice (from cut pineapple) Fresh Cilantro and Green Onions (1 stalk of each) Kosher Salt (to taste) Mix and serve!

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901-474-4938 Southern Soul l April 2015

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Southern Soul l April 2015



photography by: JAY ADKINS

Southern Soul Magazine believes in supporting our youth and giving them a voice. We visited Memphis Business Academy and asked:

You have guests that have never been to Memphis. What in Memphis would you share with them? Why do you think your choices represent Memphis? What goals do you have for your education? What motivates you? What was the best compliment you received? What made it the best?

Cordova High School

"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us." - Wilma Rudolph Bailey Hirscheider

11th | Career Choice: Sports Physical Therapy

I would take them to Bass Pro Shops, the new one located at the Pyramid downtown. I feel this represents Memphis in a positive historical light. It incorporates history from the Egyptian times with current cultural aspects and associates a basic survival technique used in both: hunting. My goal is to go to college and graduate at the top of my class. My plan is to acquire as much knowledge as I can and use it throughout my everyday life. My ultimate goal is to find a career I am passionate about and love to do; I can do this by having a good education under my belt. The feeling of self-accomplishment motivates me. Knowing that I can accomplish obstacles on my own is very satisfying. The best compliment I have received would be one from my dad. When he tells me that I am his number one hunting buddy and that he is proud of me. I have such high respect for my dad and knowing I make him proud and he would rather take me hunting than anybody else keeps my soul happy.

Alex Wadovick

11th Grade | Career Choice: Nuclear Engineering I would take them to eat at Rendezvous and then visit Beale Street. Both the Rendezvous and Beale Street exemplify some of the best qualities and creations of Memphis: its food, music, and social life. I plan on majoring in nuclear engineering and obtaining a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in that field. Nuclear engineering is a growing field with numerous opportunities. It also provides me the challenge and experience that I desire in the modern world. Science and Math has always drawn me in and engineering is the best career to do what I love. There are two main things that motivate me: my parents and the challenges that come through opportunities. My parents have always pushed me to do my best and to always achieve the highest level I can. Of course, with these high levels of achievement come challenges. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life without a few! The point comes from seizing the opportunity to confront the challenge. That is what keeps me going.

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In my freshman year, my Latin teacher called me Sheldon (because I had my hand up to answer every question she asked). I now understand the negative meaning behind the name: being stubborn; a know-it-all; and, not understanding people; etc. But my teacher meant it in a good way. She saw me as incredibly smart, strongwilled, willing to strive forward and having the ability to achieve what is set in front of me. That is what made it the best compliment. She nailed a part of my personality and gave me a goal to achieve: be the best I can be and be who I am.

We asked:


You have guests that have never been to Memphis. What in Memphis would you share with them? Why do you think your choices represent Memphis? What goals do you have for your education? What motivates you? What was the best compliment you received? What made it the best?

Chandra Powell

10th Grade | Career Choice: Art Media / Animation I would take them to see the original and positive masterpieces in Memphis to inform s/he about the intriguing accomplishments that were attained here. To pursue my art career in animation and making stories. I want to be able to accomplish my career in entertaining and share ideas that have not been told. Life happening and how it reflects creating art pieces. Examples such as movies, cartoons, etc., give me inspiration into making my own story. “You will be able to accomplish anything in your beautiful talent that you desire,” is what was told from a special teacher of mine. It pulls my esteem into a higher level!

Sylvana Castellano

12th Grade | Career Choice: Broadcasting/Director I would take them downtown first, because it’s a fun place to be that’s not just for adults but for kids too. I think downtown really shows Memphis’ history and its customs. To be a successful television director. I had a lifelong dream to be a teacher, however, when I came to Cordova, I became interested in their broadcasting program and I enrolled in it. Since then, I now wish to pursue Television Broadcasting and directing so that I can, one day, spread my love of directing with future minds. Being an older sister has taught me responsibility, nurturing, and love. Seeing the creativity in my little sister, Cinthia, inspires me to dream big and be the best role model I can be. On my birthday, I directed a show and during the process, we encountered tons of problems and my crew and me had to work together to overcome them. In the end, it was a great show. My teacher complimented me on my perseverance. This compliment inspires me every time I think of broadcasting and directing.

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Ahmirah Muhammad

11th Grade | Career Choice: Chemical Engineering

I’d definitely take my guests to some of Memphis’ fine eateries. As a Muslim, I don’t eat pork; so I’m not involved with the typical Memphis BBQ. One of my favorite restaurants is Gus’s Fried Chicken. If there’s one thing about Memphis I know, is that you’ll never leave on an empty stomach. To obtain a Master’s Degree in chemical engineering. With that degree, I’d like to inspire other young black girls to go into the field of engineering. We are extremely unrepresented and I’d like to change that. My future. I know that every decision I make today will affect my tomorrow. When people call me ‘smart,’ I often correct them saying “it’s really just working hard and being determined that paints you as smart.” I don’t want to be faced with any financial mishaps, therefore I’m setting myself up now for a successful life. The best compliment I’ve ever received is from a teacher. She said, “I love how you always dress modestly. It’s very uncommon for your age. You don’t let your peers influence you, you stay true to yourself.” As a member of the Nation of Islam, I have been taught to respect myself and demand respect without using my body. I deeply appreciate that compliment.

Megan Williams

11th Grade | Career Choice: Nurse Practitioner I would take them to Beale Street, Graceland, and the Civil Rights Museum. Beale Street is a true display of Memphis sounds, sights and food. It totally encompasses the Memphis experience. Graceland displays one of the music greats showing the home and lifestyle of Elvis Presley, which is a large tourist attraction and represents Memphis music of the past. The Civil Rights Museum represents a struggle in Memphis and majority of the south that should never be forgotten. Not only does it display the last living location of Dr. Martin Luther King, but it also shows how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go to reach unity. It’s the landmark of Memphis. To graduate as valedictorian of my senior class and to attend the University of Memphis to attain my bachelors of science in nursing. Then I will attend the Mississippi University for Women to become a nurse practitioner. My family is my biggest motivation. They always push me to do more than what’s expected of me. They know with motivation, one can strive and accomplish great things. They push me to believe in me when I don’t believe in myself and that’s why they’re my biggest motivation. The best compliment I’ve received was from my friend Joel Thomas. I was feeling down one day and my self-esteem was a little low. He told me that I shouldn’t ever worry about others’ perception of me or what others think I should look like. He said that I was beautiful inside and out because I have an amazing personality and a beautiful smile as well as intelligence to accompany those assets. He made me feel so much better and he brightened my entire day. I’ll never forget. 84 |

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We asked:


You have guests that have never been to Memphis. What in Memphis would you share with them? Why do you think your choices represent Memphis? What goals do you have for your education? What motivates you? What was the best compliment you received? What made it the best?

Peyton Cook

12th Grade | Career Choice: Violinist I would share all the different expressions of music and art that has come from Memphis. Since my career is in music, it is very important to me. I am so fortunate to live in such a musical city. My biggest long-term educational goal is to receive my doctorate at a music conservatory. Also, to learn and study as much as I can with my violin. Seeing young musicians willing to learn and be all they can be is one of the most motivating things to me. They remind me of myself, and it allows me to reflect on my past and how far I’ve come. It encourages me to learn more for the future because I see how I’ve advanced in the past. When I was a freshman, I played in Memphis City School’s ArtsFest Orchestra. We had a visiting conductor, Larry Livingston, from the University of Southern California. He is one of the most skilled and well-known conductors in the country and is my favorite conductor. After our concert, he approached me and said that I stood out in the orchestra and that I played with so much musicality. He then offered me a full-scholarship to one of the best music camps in California (Idyllwild Summer Arts Program). Receiving this award and compliments from such an amazing person is what made it so special.

Zahnbian Mohammed

12th Grade | Career Choice: Nursing I would share several things and places. One place would be downtown because it has amazing views and shows the Mississippi River. Another place would be Shelby Farms because it has various things like a playground, horses, lakes and places to relax. Never give up; no matter how hard it gets. Another goal is to have higher than a 92% in every grade. Last but not least, my biggest goal is to become a nurse. What motivates me in my life is my faith in Allah; He is with us in the good and bad days. He wants the best of us. That’s why I always keep Him in my prayers. One of the best compliments I have received yet is that I am caring because it motivated me to keep going when doubting my abilities. Southern Soul l April 2015

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We asked: You have guests that have never been to Memphis. What in Memphis would you share with them? Why do you think your choices represent Memphis? What goals do you have for your education? What motivates you? What was the best compliment you received? What made it the best?

Ashea Love

12th Grade | Career Choice: Graphic Designer, Culinary Arts & Film Making Beale Street and the different activities that happens downtown and how Memphis represents the soul of music. To become the next Oprah, also to own businesses across the nation; I want to become a millionaire and I will reach my goals. Nothing is easy in life, everyday lessons and failures motivate me. The best compliment I have received was when my principal noted my accomplishments and acknowledged how awesome of a student I am. Also winning Homecoming Queen; Captain of Cheer & Dance and becoming Shelby County Battalion Commander of the WYT pack JROTC Program for Shelby County Schools.

Katie Copley

12th Grade | Career Choice: Neuroscientist First, I might take them to FedEx Forum and the headquarters of International Paper, showing them the industrial side of the city. I would then take them to the Rendezvous, which represents the spirited, hospitable side of Memphis. I plan to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, and then proceed to attain both a master’s and a doctorate in the field. With these degrees, I plan to conduct research that will not only provide fundamental learning principles but also establish realistic treatments and alleviations for mental problems, such as Alzheimer’s. My motivation stems from a desire to have an impact in the world. Study and work both require a great deal of effort, but the end result is overwhelmingly worth the struggle. With a grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, I personally felt the consequences of the disease. This inspires me to find a solution to help prevent people from going through this in the future. The best compliment I have ever received was from one of my teachers who told me that the way I managed my time was excellent. I really took this to heart because the struggle to balance school with over thirty hours of work a week, in addition to maintaining social interaction, can be challenging. This compliment motivated me to keep trying my best. 86 |

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Brandon Love

12th Grade | Career Choice: Medical Field I would most likely take my guest to see Beale Street. It is very cathartic to walk down Beale Street and to take everything in. It’s a unique experience that everyone should have. Beale Street isn’t just an attraction; it is the soul and history of Memphis. To be the cream of the crop. I value each and every learning opportunity that is given to me, and I will use that opportunity to further my education so that I can live a successful life. What motivates me is that one day I will become successful, and full of life accomplishments and rewards. Every day I have this burning desire to strive towards the better things in life. Despite the obstacles that are in my way, my undying determination for success will always lead me into the right path. I’ve received a variety of compliments, but the one that stood out is that I was a ray of sunshine. It best reflects my personality. You could best describe my personality as being an extraordinary loving warm hearted and cheerful person.

Upasna Barath

12th Grade | Career Choice: Economics And International Relations I would take my guests through midtown and downtown Memphis. Memphis is so unique and has distinct character that is definitely displayed in midtown and downtown because of the excitement that thrives there. Being unique should really be celebrated. I hope to travel to different countries and accumulate the type of knowledge that can’t be learned from a textbook. Experiencing different cultures is an important part of my desire for educational growth. My parents were given many opportunities that they could never take advantage of because of certain stigmas in their communities. Now, I have also been lucky enough to have many opportunities in front of me, such as a college education – and I want to make the most of it: learning to be appreciative of all the privileges and freedom I have as a youth today has really increased by intrinsic motivation. I had a friend once who told me that I inspired him and motivated him to do his best. I think friendship has a lot of elements that make it gratifying, but being able to motivate and encourage your friends to do their best is extremely rewarding on both ends.

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School Highlights • Diverse learning environment servicing over 2,000 students while offering an individualized learning experience

Miranda Dyer

12th Grade | Career Choice: Actress – Musical Theater The first thing I would show a guest in Memphis is the Orpheum. Memphis is rich in culture – especially pop culture – which I believe stems from its musical and theatrical background. After nearly thirteen years of schooling, my thirst for knowledge has only gotten stronger over the years. I fell in love with learning and plan on attending college to aim this thirst towards my musical theater aspirations. Living in Memphis has both driven and encouraged me. I have had the opportunity to see the ups and down of life and choose to take my experiences as a reason to always try my best. Knowing that I have the power to change lives in my community propels me to keep going. My father once told me that I was his biggest inspiration. My father is one of my most important role models and knowing that he supports me in everything I do gives me the courage to pursue my dreams with every ounce of passion I have.

• College and Career Counselor offering extensive college and career preparedness for all students • Extensive onsite Career & Technology Education program (Cosmetology, Barbering, Auto Mechanics, Robotics, and Computer Aided Drafting and Design) • Advance Placement Courses: Language, Literature, European History, Spanish, Statistics, Biology, Environmental Science, Psychology, U.S. History, Human Geography, Macroeconomics, Art History, Studio Art, and Chemistry, and Calculus • Dual Enrollment Courses: English I and English II, College Algebra, and Elementary Calculus • Award-Winning array of offerings include our electives and extracurricular activities in Theater, Choral, Band, Orchestra, Technology, Business, and Athletics • Broadcast Journalism Studio Award winning DECA program 2014 Boys Varsity Basketball District Champions

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Her Prom Closet

Davina Jones and Miska Clay-Bibbs

March 7, Couture Cares presented â&#x20AC;&#x153;Her Prom Closetâ&#x20AC;? Giveaway at Shelby County Board of Education. Couture Cares collects formal dresses and accessories for high school young ladies. Attendees can select and receive a free and complete Prom Attire. Young ladies were selected from over 10 schools by their counselors/teachers based on financial needs and good standings. Guest speakers were State Farm Insurance Agent Misty RosserWhite and Shelby County Board Member Miska Clay-Bibbs.

Misty Rosser-White

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Shelby Country Chief Medical Officer Dr. Helen Morrow with AKF VP Dave Frazer

Memphis Kidney Action Day Shines Spotlight on Kidney Health!

Volunteers from UT Health Science Center

Hundreds of Memphians turned out for the American Kidney Fundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kidney Action Day, held March 14 at the Kroc Center. Attendees received free kidney health screenings and enjoyed healthy cooking demos, interactive fitness demos and fun for the whole family. Kidney disease is a serious concern in the greater Memphis area, which has rates of kidney disease higher than the national average. Twothirds of all cases of kidney disease are caused by diabetes and high blood pressure, so managing those conditions can help prevent kidney disease.

Fun for the whole family

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Volunteers from Donate Life


Patient-advocates Bonnie Walker-Thomas Jones-Jacqueline Bland The Just Danz team

Shelby County Health Department Volunteers

KAD-Memphis Cooking Demo

Fitness activities got everyone moving

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Davies Plantation Master Gardeners, SEATED L to R YWCA Staff Members Catherine Jones, Barbara Hardimon, Jody Harris

18th Annual YWCA Benefit Luncheon Held March 12 featuring NFL Wife Dewan Smith Williams speaking on domestic violence and abuse

BACK - Jacquelyn Williams, FRONT - Tracie West, winner of this years â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; Purple Chance for a Purple Purse

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Dewan Smith-Williams

YWCA Board Member Vivian Adamson, Editor of La Prensa Latina, Dewan Smith-Williams, Kym Clark, Jacquelyn Williams, YWCA Executive Director


Cargill Merchant David (Ted) Morley, presenting a donation to Jacquelyn Williams, YWCA Executive Director, YWCA Board Member Leslie Coleman

Elizabeth Shelley & Jevita Perkins

L to R - Dewan Smith-Williams, Kym Clark, Jacquelyn Williams, YWCA Executive Director

L to R - Joyce Springfield Collins, Delores Walker, Ella Watson

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Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, President of Tennessee State University and International Vice President for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Observes Founders’ Day



“Are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) still relevant?” That was just one of the key questions posed by Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, the keynote speaker for the 107th Founders’ Day observance of the Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated held Sunday, February 22nd at First Baptist Church – Broad in Memphis. In keeping with the Founders’ Day theme, “Alpha Kappa Alpha: Leading the Way, Preparing the Next Generation,” Dr. Glover stated, HBCUs face many challenges. “Economic inadequacies still exist and we need to be poised to lead the way in preparing our students.” She encouraged the audience to get out and vote. “The right to vote is a gift we must do more with. The faith of the people of God has never been determined by a Democrat or a Republican, because tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” Glover, who is also the sorority’s International Vice President, delivered a message encouraging those in attendance to work together to enhance our communities.

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Alpha Kappa Alpha’s 2014-2018 programming initiative “Launching New Dimensions of Service,” was highlighted during the festivities. The programs under the new initiative target Educational Enrichment, Health Promotion, Family Strengthening, Environmental Ownership, and Global Impact. A special guest at the program was actress Loretta Devine, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA). She shared a beautiful a Capella rendition of Amazing Grace. Later in the program, Rose Jackson Flenorl, 2015 Founders’ Day Committee Chairman, recognized the members who are Student Leaders on their campuses and those who have graduated from an HBCU. Flenorl also emphasized the importance of the chapter’s and the sorority’s’ youth initiatives and signature programs which include

Spotlight • ASCEND - youth enrichment program designed to motivate, engage and assist high school students in reaching their maximum potential focusing on Achievement, Self-Awareness, Communications, Engagement, Networking and Development Skills with emphasis placed on SMART careers (Science, Math and Related Technologies); • AKA One Million Backpacks - distribution of one million student backpacks and related school supplies over a four year period; • Think HBCU, a national campaign highlighting HBCUs and their contribution to the sorority and society;

Loretta Divine, Member, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Actress

• Teenage Improvement Club (TIC) a signature program for Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter, now in its 50th year. TIC, promotes personal development, social growth, scholarship and service during a year-long mentoring program exposing young women to workshops, community service projects, social events, college prep sessions, and college tours; and, • Cathryn Rivers Johnson Operation Big Sister (OBS) - also a signature program of Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter, now in its 45th year. OBS is a four-week summer program that promotes scholarship and volunteerism, focuses on social development and provides free cultural and educational activities for participants in grades 9 through 12. Honoring the legacy of its founders, the chapter recognized four distinguished honorees: Ms. Pamela Segrest, recipient of the Reva Allman Name that Soror Award; Dr. Willie Mae Williams Crittendon, recipient of the Omicron Omega Golden Soror of the Year Award; Ms. Shirley McCray, recipient of the 2015 Vanessa Rogers Long Humanitarian Award; and, Mrs. Claribelle H. Weaver, who was honored for an amazing 75 Years of Service to the sorority. Beta Epsilon Omega (BEW) was chartered in 1934 and has approximately 400 active members. It was the first AKA chapter to be chartered in Memphis and the fiftyfifth graduate chapter established in the United States. The chapter is committed to improving and enhancing the lives of mankind in the Memphis community. Mrs. Cynthia Bryant Welch serves as the chapter’s president. §

Founders’ Day Honor Recipients: Ms. Shirley McCray; Mrs. Claribelle H. Weaver; Dr. Willie Mae Williams Crittendon; Ms. Pamela Segrest

(L-R) Cynthia Bryant Welch, President, BEW Chapter; Mrs. Loretta Devine, Member, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Actress; Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, President, Tennessee State University and International Vice President for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; and Rose Jackson Flenorl, Founders’ Day Chairman.

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Southern Soul - April 2015  

Lifestyles Issue

Southern Soul - April 2015  

Lifestyles Issue