Huami Magazine Arkansas Sept./Oct. 2022

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Sept./Oct. 2022 Volume 2 Issue 1

My Best Is Yet To Come Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022


A Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

Handmade Soaps Body Scrubs Body Butters

and more.....

God’s Plan Is Greater Than Me A Letter From The Editor

With every ordeal or trying circumstance, there will always be more than one way to handle them. We can face them head-on, or we can turn away and avoid any form of an altercation. No matter what decision is made concerning the matter, the impact or effect of what we chose will most likely be waiting on the other side of our decision. That’s why I believe it’s vital to share our thoughts with God beforehand and confirm His viewpoint because God’s plan is greater than anything I can decide for myself. Like most people, the thrill of victory is generally the reason why I compete or fight. Also, if you are anything like me, I understand that you may hate to lose, regardless of what is at stake. Yet, I am learning that I must do a better job choosing my battles because, for the most part, every battle is not mine to fight. God desires to fight for me, and He expects me to let go and allow Him to do His thing. I’ve learned that the car drives better when He controls the wheel. I recently celebrated my birthday, and to be honest; I celebrated for the entire month. That was my choice because I love birthdays. I also used that time to reflect on where I am in life and where I’ve come from. I wanted to know what I am currently doing to get to where I ultimately want to be. What was revealed is my interests and efforts were possibly pointed in the wrong direction. I learned that while I am blessed, God is more concerned about those individuals He can reach beyond me, and when I don’t allow God to use me, He isn’t able to reach them through me. Being vulnerable and a cooperative vessel are attributes of real greatness; that’s what God spoke to me. Living my life as a Christian and believer in God means that I must trust God. Even during the most difficult moments, if I just show up for the fight and trust God while I am fighting, I will then see Him move on my behalf. The things that I may be dealing with and determined to be unbearable may actually amount to nothing once it’s placed in God’s hand. How will I ever know if I don’t allow God to lead me? God has a plan and purpose for all of us, and His plan is far greater than anything we can imagine or think. I get excited when I think about everything God has prepared for me. His is greater, and all I have to do is trust His process and believe what He tells me.


Terry L. Watson Terry L. Watson


Dorjea’ McClammey Ellen Richardson Monica Montgomery Terry L. Watson

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SEPT./OCT. 2022


Alexis Fussell 22 Cake and Love

On The Cover

My Best Is Yet To Come Denaro Cook


Alexanders Secret, Inc.

Alexander and Veronica


Blake Counseling

Tashara Childs

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson



Also Featured

Richard Steadwell He set his mind on accomplishing one goal. Learn more about his brand and journey. Concord, NC


Michelle Coleman Learn how this young and ambitious businesswoman is putting her name on her community. Columbus, OH


VaShaun Mosby Never judge a book by its cover. Learn more about how she uses her experiences to help others. Louisville, KY



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

My Best Is Yet To Come By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Denaro Cook

We’ve all heard about the many innocent people who have been victims of inadequate representation. Denaro Cook served eighteen years of a twenty-year sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. I wish I were about to tell a story about how the truth won out in the end, but that was not the case for Denaro.

Since his release in 2017, Denaro has hit the ground running, fueled by the hopes and dreams he never let go of during his eighteen years of incarceration. Music has always been a large part of Denaro’s life, and his time in prison was no different. “The inspiration didn’t stop just because I was locked up. In fact, it happened more often. I have so many songs and lyrics that I have yet to record it ain’t funny.”

The culture that most African-Americans grow up in says that you don’t turn on your family. Denaro heard this a lot as a kid. “My mother used to say all the time, ‘your family is all you got. You should never turn on your brother.’ So, I didn’t. And it cost me eighteen years.”

Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, Denaro has always loved country music. One of his songs is titled “I Love Country.” But it’s not the sad, jailhouse blues. What Denaro sings is Joyful Country.

At eighteen, four days after his high school prom and two weeks before graduating, Denaro was arrested and charged with a murder he didn’t commit. “The detective told me if I testified, I would have been cleared of all charges. But the person was my brother, and they already had him in custody. They knew he was the guilty party. They just wanted me to make their case for them. Because I refused to say anything, they charged me as well,” he says. Because Denaro wouldn’t testify against his brother, he was punished and spent eighteen years of his life in jail. “I completed 80% of the sentence I was given. If I’d had the financial means available to me at the time, I wouldn’t have served a day,” Denaro explained. Losing your freedom just as your life is about to begin is a hard pill to take. Especially when you and everyone involved, including the detective and prosecutor, know that your only crime was guilt by association. “I had a public defender, but they were no help. So instead of continuing to fight and get my hopes up, I decided to make peace with the hand I was dealt.” Although Denaro gave up the hope that he would be exonerated, he never gave up on hope. “That’s all you have, really. Life without hope is death.” So Denaro refocused his energy toward the future. When you are locked up, you are at the mercy of someone else. They tell you when to eat, sleep, and control every aspect of your life. The one thing they can’t control is your ability to dream,” Denaro shares.

“I could be bitter, but what would that accomplish? The time I spent in prison caused me to see life differently. I had to learn to forgive. Forgive the people who put me there, forgive myself, and forgive God. Once you do that, you can have peace no matter where you are.” Denaro credits his faith in God for seeing him through the rough times. “I learned to trust and believe God would see me through it all. And he did. Since my release, I’ve seen him work things out for me that I couldn’t do for myself. My dreams are becoming a reality,” he said.



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

Denaro is a country music recording artist. He has a talk show called Prison Chronicles. He owns a book publishing company, Cook Book Publishing LLC, and he just started a nonprofit organization called Ones WHO (Ones Who Have Overcome). “These were the things I dreamt about, and I’m watching God put people in my path who can make things happen. That’s why you don’t give up on your dreams. Especially when you are in the darkest of places.” Prison Chronicles is a YouTube web show that gives voice to those affected by the penal system. This platform gives voice to former inmates, current inmates, family members of incarcerated people, and the people who put them there. Denaro has hosted correction workers and even judges. “Everyone on both sides has experienced some form of trauma. I believe it’s essential to understand that. The show allows people to speak their truth and dispel the lies and misconceptions people have about life in prison. It’s not what you see on television. These men and women are still human beings and deserve to be treated as such. These stories not only give them a release, but it also helps others who don’t yet dare to speak out. It’s therapeutic in many ways.” The seventeen episodes of Prison Chronicles have been over three thousand times since the first video podcast aired. “We are in the process of revamping, but there will be new episodes coming soon.” As a recording artist and a talk show host, it’s only natural to have a Cook Book Publishing company. “I never thought about becoming a publisher until my brother and his friend started writing books.” Denaro’s brother, who is currently serving time for the same crime Denaro was convicted of, has written several books. “An inmate who started a publishing company while in jail published one of my brother’s books. When I visited him, he asked why I didn’t do it too. At first, I didn’t think I could, but after some research, I realized it was simple. With just a few steps, I had a legitimate book publishing company.” Cook Book Publishing is a licensed publisher with nine books published under their label and four authors.

taking you to the Goodwill to get clothes. Giving you guidance on where to go to get help for different things.” Denaro admits that he has had a few struggles while making a name for himself as a free man. “Everyone has trauma, and I’m no different. It was painful to endure what I did, knowing I hadn’t done anything wrong. While you are away, life begins, and it ends. People you love pass away, but none tells you, thinking they save you heartache. They don’t understand that it’s more painful to find out years later.” During reentry, everyone has a decision to make about the way forward. For Denaro, that meant losing friends and family. “Inside, I had to make a change of mind and change of heart. When I got out, I had to change my environment to maintain that change. I lost friends and family who didn’t understand that I wasn’t the person I was when I went in. As a man, society has taught us not to show weakness. We have to suppress it and suffer through it. To do that, we have to become detached and inaccessible. It makes having successful relationships hard because you don’t know how to open up without being vulnerable. Thankfully God blessed me with a beautiful daughter who has taught me how to love again. Because of her, I feel myself coming alive again.” It’s been five years since his release, and Denaro has never let go of three things. His faith in God, his love for his family, and the belief that it’s never too late to dream. h

The nonprofit is a recent addition but not a new idea for Denaro. “The nonprofit was just approved, but it’s an idea I planned out while in prison. Originally it was supposed to be called MAID by Us, but the name was taken. Ones WHO is a rehab, recovery, reentry, and disability assistance program for ex-inmates trying to restart their lives.” After release, most former inmates have to adjust to the world they are being released into and come to terms with losing the world they left behind. “You must apply for your social security card, driver’s license, and all kinds of documents that make it legal to walk around. You have to figure out how to function in an alien world. When I went in, technology was nowhere near where it was when I came out. I wasn’t familiar with smartphones, tablets, and things like that. For successful reentry, there needs to be technology training. You have to know how to use computers and the internet to fill out a job application.” Along with the need for help with technological advances, Ones WHO will act as a resource for people who need support during reentry. They will help with everything from basic needs such as clothes and personal care items to mental and emotional support. “You learn to cherish the things most people take for granted. Something as simple as someone 9

Alexander & Veronica Alexanders Secret, Inc


Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by

Veronica Tess Myers is a stay-at-home mother, autism activist, advocate and strategist, and community mobilizer. Though her greatest assignment, one that gives her the most joy is caring for her autistic son, Alexander Myers. Veronica is a first-generation college graduate. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Applied Communications at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. In 2021, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Communication Studies. Some of the organizations and programs she has worked with are the Arkansas Legislative Task Force for Autism (2011-2018), the Arkansas Governor’s Developmental Disability Council Family Leadership Training Project/Partners In Policy Making, Disability Rights Arkansas PAIMI/AC (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness/Advisory Council (2011-2018), and The Judevine Center for Autism Parent Training Program. Caring for her son Alexander Myers is what does it for Veronica. She shares, “After primarily meeting and bypassing most of his developmental benchmarks, Alexander was evaluated at the age of two as a means to rule out autism. He had a second confirmation of moderate to severe autism and severe sensory processing disorder when he was just under three years old. Left with no hope and no expectation of a true quality life, the only option presented was to pick a place to put him because it was thought that I wouldn’t be able take of him,” she says. Well, someone got it wrong. Fast forward… today, Alexander is the Autism Ambassador, and Veronica is The Autism Lady. Together, they make the phenomenon, The Dynamic Duo For Disability Rights! The name of their organization is Alexander’s Secret, Inc, a 501(c)3. Launched in May 2011 after Alexander’s high school graduation. Veronica says they are proactive in providing assistance to parents and families who deal with the Autism Spectrum Disorder, anf face the challenges of meeting their child’s educational and community based-needs. The organization is dedicated to providing customized opportunities and resources to improve the success of the transition process of life after high school for children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the training and community education necessary to accomplish this goal. They also provide awareness about community inequities experienced during the education and community inclusion process. Additionally, they help families understand and navigate the complex system of public schools, waiver home and community-based services, and the laws that govern them.


“This is not a journey for the passive who hide behind the greed of money and politics. This is a journey

Veronica says her goal is to bring power to the truth, and sometimes, she has to speak that truth to those who hold power. “This is not a journey for the passive who hide behind the greed of money and politics. This is a journey for those who fear retaliation when someone speaks up for the rights of the vulnerable. This journey requires a certain fierceness, and I have and will continue to be up for the task at hand,” she says.

have and will continue to be up for

Alexander’s Secret, Incorporated is dedicated to providing customized opportunities and resources to improve the success of the transition process of life after high school for children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the training and community education necessary to accomplish this goal. The organization’s specific activities will include gathering policy and protocol information on the best practices in transition and supported living and employment. They will share this information with others via individual technical assistance, group training, and conferences. That is why moving forward, Veronica plans to continue her journey to ensure everyone with ASD has a voice in the fight.

the task at hand.”

To learn more about Alexanders Secret, Incorporated, h please visit their website.

for those who fear retaliation when someone speaks up for the rights of the vulnerable. This journey requires a certain fierceness, and I



Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson The daughter of Elise Blackmon and Dante Williamson

Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022


Coleman The Coleman Estate JC

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Michelle Coleman This young and vibrant entrepreneur has one thing on her mind: to succeed. She is no stranger to hard work; at a moment’s notice, she is ready to roll up her sleeves and make things happen. Micelle Coleman of Ohio, comes from a large family. Along with her twin sister, she has five other siblings. She describes her mother Theresa Magee, as being strong and wise. Her father, the late Frederick Coleman, was awarded a purple heart for his sacrifice in the U.S. Army. When her father died at a young age, Michelle says her mother, aunt, and uncle worked in unison to ensure that she and her sister never went without. “They were someone we looked up to. They never forgot a birthday or holiday, and they instilled in us the importance of education. I would not be who I am today if it were not for the three of them,” Michelle says. Originally born in Nashville, TN, Michelle attended Forest Hill High School in Jackson, Mississippi. There, she ran track, cross-country and created a dance team in high school named the 601 Chicks. “The dance team gave young girls like me a fun space to express ourselves throug dance,” she says. She later graduated high school in 2013, and along with her twin sister, they were the only two children on her mother’s side to receive a high school diploma. Michelle says it was a great day to see her mother so proud. After high school, she attended Hinds Community College and received a trade certificate in business. She would go on to work a couple of side jobs until she received her license in the insurance sales field. Today, she owns The Coleman Estate JC, and Wealth Consulting Group LLC. Both were established between 2019 and 2020.


The Coleman Estate J.C brand involves real estate investing, wholesaling, Airbnb, and rental properties. Michelle shares she helps her community by buying unwanted properties, rehabbing them, and turning them into beautiful masterpieces. She also enjoys helping families out of foreclosure, problem homes, and relocations. She successfully acquired rental property, turned it around, and later built her dream home within 12 months. Those accomplishments even happened during the Covid 19 pandemic, and now Michelle is teaching others to do the same, no matter what the housing market looks like.

“While in college I started attending real estate (wholesaling) seminars and reading real estate investing books. I attended many seminars throughout the years. Then I finally invested in a mentor who gave me more hands-on training. After doing my first flip and receiving a check for over $10,000 for little to no work, I believe that was the start of my journey.”

Michelle Coleman

Wealth Consulting Group LLC 614-972-3026

Her other company, Wealth Consulting Group LLC, assists clients with their credit, offering many services such as free consultations, free one-on-one credit coaching with a credit expert, free credit analysis, and much more. “We are changing the lives of our clients, their families, and our community,” she says. Michelle also named one of her businesses after her father’s last name and hopes to build a housing community for veterans one day. How did Michelle get started on her entrepreneurial journey? She says, “I have always had a vision of helping others. I guess that is what sparked an entrepreneurial spirit that initially launched my business interests. While in college I started attending real estate (wholesaling) seminars and reading real estate investing books. I attended many seminars throughout the years. Then I finally invested in a mentor who gave me more hands-on training. After doing my first flip and receiving a check for over $10,000 for little to no work, I believe that was the start of my journey. I purchased my first rental property at the age of 24, built my home at 25, and purchased another property at 26. There is something about owning multiple properties that always gave me such excitement. My second business came about as a response to something that happened to me. I was a victim of identity theft and had to work personally for many years to clear up my credit and regain my identity. I have seen what the damage can do, and after studying and getting my own score above 740, I’ve set out to help others do the same.” Like most business owners, Michelle has faced some challenges along her journey. The first and biggest challenge she shared was finding new clients without being one of those large household names. “I had to work hard every day to bring as much attention to my business as possible. Another challenge was finding help with running my business. That issue was easily resolved after hiring family and close friends, which allowed them to be a part of the journey of helping others,” she says. Moving forward, Michelle says her goal is to acquire five multi-family homes by 2023 and at least three more Airbnb properties by the end of this year. She has already set a goal to help one hundred credit families get the credit score they deserve. “My ultimate plan is to keep changing lives,” she says. Michelle has one son, Jeremiah, who she professes is her rock and greatest motivation. h


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Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

& The Plan Works Better With Two By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Autumn Shelton Autumn Shelton and Nathaniel Taylor possess a vital ingredient that a successful relationship must have. That is chemistry. In just a few short years, this young and talented power-couple has built several businesses in Nashville, TN. Their first venture, Honeyed Natural Health & Beauty Store, made its debut in 2020, during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic. Honeyed Natural Health & Beauty Store is a natural health and wellness company that specializes in alternative holistic healing. Today, the innovative product line has converted to a new identity, and is known as the Honeyed Skincare, and has increased its overall footprint with the addition of many new products. Their newest brand is the Golden Plant Vegan Eatery, a vegan-based food product line that tastes just as good as it looks. Autumn shares, “We are a vegan popup company offering fresh vegan food, catering services, and many other plantbased options. We have vegan-friendly universal items such as sandwiches, Mexican cuisine, and Veganese, also known as Vegan Chinese) BBQ, Soul, Jerk, Mediterranean, and more.”

Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022


Nathaniel and Autumn have enjoyed the vegan lifestyle for nearly five years and started their vegan business in July 2022, and while they primarily serve the community of Nashville, their pop-up arm allows for them to travel around to other states frequently. Being a vegan and owning and operating a business that caters to the growing vegan population is something that Nathaniel and Autumn has enjoyed. Autumn says, “We are changing the perspective on veganism. We provide good authentic food to those who are already vegan, transitioning to this eating lifestyle, or are simply open to trying something new.” They share personal life experiences and transitions inspired them to start The Golden Plant Eatery. “After making better health decisions and chasing a healthier lifestyle, we learned a lot about alternatives. Once we shared our cooking with others, we knew they loved it and decided it was time to finalize things and open up the doors to our business.” While the Covid 19 pandemic affected many businesses worldwide, Nathaniel and Autumn have been fortunate not to be directly impacted by it’s grip. “Our biggest struggle is getting people to try vegan and understand that you can get just as creative with vegan than you can anything else. It’s more than just a simple salad,” they said. The future looks very bright for The Golden Plant Eatery, and Autumn and Nathaniel have positioned themselves for success. “We plan to move into a food truck soon and hopefully acquire a small location. We hope to open up shop in many states one day. For now, we want to take it one step at a time,” they said. To learn more about The Golden Eatery, please visit their website. h


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Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

Cake Bar By Alexis By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Alexis Fussell I am a free spirit adventurer. This is how Alexis Fussell describes herself. “I’m a mother, sister, friend, and entrepreneur wanting to surround myself with positive influences continuously. More than anything, I am a forward thinker, and I desire to leave a beautiful impact on the world.” The Charleston, SC resident is the proud owner of two brick-and-mortar businesses, one being the bakery, Cake Bar By Alexis, and the other, a salon called Pink LaLa. Along with her spouse, she owns the AirBNB, The Charleston Pretty Pink House. “The Cake Bar is my pride and joy. That is my place and space that allows for my creativity to flow,” she says. Alexis has been baking for as long as she can remember. It began with her first edition of the Mini Bake Oven. Then as a teenager, she developed a passion for cosmetology and attended cosmetology school after graduating from high school. After getting her license, she opened several salons but would later return home to care for her two young sons. While doing so, her passion for baking came back into the picture, and she considered making a business out of it. “I made my first cake for Easter that year using advanced tools like piping bags and tips. Everyone in my family thought it was store-bought and couldn’t believe I made it. My mom then pushed me to make my son’s first birthday cake. The guest loved it so much that I began booking jobs right away, and the rest is history,” she says. With Cake Bar by Alexis, Alexis offers custom cakes with simple or extreme designs. Her cakes are made for all occasions and holidays. She also prepares a variety of sweets that include but aren’t limited to, cupcakes, cake bowls, cheesecakes, cake slices, cookies, brownies, chewies, cake pops, milkshakes, and more.



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022


Tashara Childs Brave Counseling & Consulting, LLC


Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Blake Counseling Usually, she is the one asking her clients the question. For this feature, we wanted to know who is Tashara Childs? Her answers were spot on. She describes herself as a Southern Belle and Millennial. She is also the only child raised by her two parents. She says her mom is her rock and someone she aspires to be. Her father, who passed away when Tashara was only 18 years old, was definitely his little girl. “He passed down his strong but quiet presence to me.” Tashara says writing is her first love which inspired her to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. After working several jobs, and writing books and blogs, she transitioned careers and received a Masters of Science Degree in Counseling. “Though I am ever evolving, I believe that being a therapist and an entrepreneur is my life’s calling,” she says. Currently, Tashara is the “Boss Lady” of Brave Counseling & Consulting. Her practice offers counseling services for clients ages five and up, including individual counseling, play therapy, and family and marriage therapy. They’ve also added life coaching and business coaching/consulting. Tashara says BRAVE is a small business seeking to invest in other small businesses and entrepreneurs. “In our office, we sell adult coloring books that I create. There is also The Brave Box, which is filled with tangible coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression. I also wrote a Bible-based devotional for Millennials and a workbook focused on discovering your purpose,” she says. All of the products mentioned are available for purchase. Brave Counseling began in a tiny office with a small desk that Tashara’s 6’1” body could barely fit under. After working with agencies and private practice, Tashara says she did not feel capable of giving her clients quality care. “I used my last check and took the leap to put down a deposit on office space. The practice grew very quickly, and after a few months, I was able to expand into a larger space,” she said. With only being in business now for less than two years, Tashara and her team are currently working on opening offices throughout Alabama.


Tashara says she loves to see growth and change in people who feel as though they are stuck. “I enjoy being the light for those who feel as though life is dark. I can be the voice for those who feel silenced. I can offer hope to those who feel hopeless, and I am able to see families reunited and marriages reconciled. In a world where it seems as though we are constantly surrounded by pain and negativity, I am able to see glimpses of hope on a daily basis.” While therapy and counseling is becoming more acceptable, especially in the black community, Tashara says there are still some challenges for her to overcome. For the most part, her profession can be physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally exhausting. Some challenges are fighting against insurance companies and the negative stigma often attached to therapy. Surprisingly, she shares that renting office space has also proved to be difficult as well. “I handle these obstacles by implementing coping skills, deep breathing, maintaining a positive mindset, and self-care. I ensure that I always do things that make me smile, laugh, and feel good about myself and life.” Where does she find inspiration? Tashara’s mother, she says, has always been supportive and believes in whatever she does. “I have an incredible partner who constantly encourages me, pushes me to keep going, and supports all of my big or small ideas.”

“After my father’s death, I went to counseling, but there were no counselors available who looked like me. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for needing help. My personal experience drove me to want to change the perception of therapy.” 28

Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

Looking ahead, Tashara and Brave Counseling have plans to continue to make their work better and effective. “After my father’s death, I went to counseling, but there were no counselors available who looked like me. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for needing help. My personal experience drove me to want to change the perception of therapy. I aspire to be the person who helps to break down the stigma of mental health. I also want to create a legacy of acceptance and advocacy for those who are suffering in silence and have the confidence and strength to seek help,” she says. h

Tashara Childs Brave Counseling

Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

VaShaun Nicole Group By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Chanel Wells-Henderson

“I didn’t plan on becoming a serial entrepreneur... all of my businesses evolved from a need I saw in the community.” Successful businesswoman, VaShaun Mosby’s story is that of determination, hard work, and promise. Born and raised in Lexington, KY, she began her career in the corporate sector. VaShaun was a troubled youth who never went to college, yet she set her sights on working in the corporate sector. Without having a college degree and experience, she had to start at the bottom, and she did. She shares, “I worked from small beginnings, all the way to the vice president of Global Services and Operations before I was 30-years-old.” VaShaun had acquired 20 years of corporate experience before a last-minute ultimatum led her to a new beginning in the world of entrepreneurship. “While I enjoyed corporate life, a new path began forming for me when I received an email that said my entire department would be shipped to the Philippines. As a newly divorced single mother with two small children, I realized I had a significant decision to make.” After understanding that she had already received the skills and talents necessary to gamble on herself, this decision quickly turned into an entrepreneurial venture, VaShaun Nicole Enterprises. VaShaun Nicole Enterprises is a minority, woman-owned publishing house and marketing firm that was born from her personal story. “When I started my own business, I wanted to do so by telling my personal story of overcoming struggles,” she said. Her story would begin while growing up with a father who was a sniper and a mother who was a preacher. Together, VaShaun says they raised a troubled child who even faced jail time at one point. That was before VaShaun would find her life being dug from the ashes and climbing the ladder of success.


“I may have been a young kid whose past even included facing 25 years in prison at the age of 19. Still, I always tell anyone who will listen to not let your past dictate your future because you could be the person that others look to for advice and encouragement.”

After publishing my first book, Behind Her Eyes, VaShaun was offered a deal from Barnes & Noble and Joseph-Bell Booksellers in Lexington, KY. There she participated in a series of tours and inspirational book signings. That experience was what she needed and opened her eyes to more opportunities. She hoped her writing would serve as encouragement for women, and soon she was on her way to publishing her second book alongside Angela Allen-Johnson. Entitled 365 Days of Attacks but God, this devotional is written from a mother and daughter’s perspective and allows readers to experience the highs and lows of becoming who God called them to be. VaShaun’s entrepreneurial journey would continue. She reveals she learned there was more to her life than just making people feel good. After giving birth to her second business, she officially launched VaShaun Nicole Consulting. “My second chance to become a successful entrepreneur stemmed from my love of helping people learn their God-given abilities. Today, our alternative staffing organization focuses on those who have criminal backgrounds or lack the professional skills necessary to scale the corporate ladder,” she shares. As VaShaun continued to climb the entrepreneurial ladder, she began to see other needs within her local community that would eventually spawn her newest business creation. Vauntech Solutions, a minority-owned tech startup, creates innovation and social services spaces that help provide the information necessary for people to meet their basic needs. Her fourth venture came about due to challenges she was already facing within her existing businesses. “As I began to grow in entrepreneurship, I noticed others within this field were not adapting within the professional setting and could not effectively present their small business,” she says. This revelation gave the “queen of entrepreneurship” the idea for VaShaun Nicole Advisors. This advisory company offers professional development for new business owners and those who may need to brush up on their skill sets. VaShaun uses 130 classes and other workshops, all based on what she learned during her time in the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. As VaShaun continues to follow a path toward philanthropy, she remains committed to building up others who look just like her. “I may have been a young kid whose past even included facing 25 years in prison at the age of 19. Still, I always tell anyone who will listen to not let your past dictate your future because you could be the person that others look to for advice and encouragement,” she says. Please visit her website for more information about VaShaun Mosby and any of her four effective businesses. h 32

Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022


Charlie’s Horn

In memory of Pastor Charlie Adams, III By John Johnson

It Seemed That on Every Sunday Morn When Charlie Would Softly Play His Horn, That It Was More Than Just Playing with Love For We Were Hearing from Angels Above. The Drummer Would Start His Soft Roll And Sweet Music Would Fill Every Soul, Then We Would Open Our Mouths and Sing, Giving All Praise to Our Savior and King.


John Johnson of Greensboro, NC, is retired from the U.S. Army and the U.S.Postal Service. He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. His father passed away when he was only four years old. His mother passed away 12 years later. Though he only had his mother for 16 years, she made a lasting impression on him. He remembers her singing songs and reciting poetry around the house and believes that is where his love for singing and writing began. John has been married to Vera for 60 years. Their union produced two daughters, Yvonne, who passed away in 2013, and Yulonda. John continues to write and sing and credits God for inspiring every word and melody.

Stay Strong in Your Faith By John Johnson

There is so much going on In the world, today, We are running and worrying, And forgetting to pray. But God has not changed From his original plan When he sent his son, Jesus To save sinful man.

Photos Provided by Still Shots Photography

We can’t be caught up In what we hear, When the truth of God Is always so near. Stay strong in your faith From it never depart. Let the truth, God’s word Live in your heart. Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022



Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

Richard Steadwell Kingzi Royal Skincare Collection

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Todd Youngblood The first question asked of Richard was, “Who is Richard Steadwell?” The look on his face was priceless. “Of all the questions I expected to be asked, that was the one I wasn’t prepared for,” Richard explained, smiling and nervous while rubbing his cold, clammy hands. It was clear that Richard was nervous, but he slipped easily into his element as he explained his plight. Richard Steadwell is living his dream of being a selfemployed entrepreneur. He owns and operates Kingzi Barbers Lounge in Concord, N.C., and the Kingzi Men’s Skincare Collection. Although Richard has always possessed the creative spirit of an entrepreneur, there were limitations he says he had to overcome before he could realize his dream. “I’ve always been good with my hands. I love being creative and using my imagination. I always knew that using those natural talents would make me happy.” Richard called himself a kitchen barber because he’s been cutting hair since he was a teenager, but he never thought of it as a career. Richard was born in North Carolina but was raised in California. In the tenth grade, he decided school wasn’t for him. He shares, “I was struggling and getting into trouble a lot. I had convinced myself that they were teaching me the things I wanted to know. Deep down, part of my reasoning was I felt like I was an embarrassment to my mother, and I didn’t want to keep putting her through that, so I quit.” Richard explained. “My mother wasn’t happy about it, but my mind was made up.” Richard’s mother gave him two options, the military or trade school. Due to health issues, the military wasn’t a good fit, so Richard went to the Earl C. Clemmons Job Corps center in Morganfield, Ky. “My mother drove me to the center because she was serious about me not sitting up in her house without a job or trade of any kind. She said if I was going to be grown, I had to make a way for myself,” he says.


While in Job Corp, Richard took several certification classes, including a business course. The one thing he stayed away from was getting his G.E.D. “If I had been wise and not so worried about failing, I would have just gotten my G.E.D. while in Job Corps. Things would have been a lot easier for me, and I would be farther than I am today. But, what can I say? I was young and didn’t want to listen to anybody,” Richard explains with a laugh. In his lifetime, Richard has done just about every laborious job there is. He was a self-proclaimed jack of all trades and master of none. “Wow… I can’t even begin to name all the different jobs I’ve had in my life. I’ve done everything from working fast food to construction. And at no time did I ever feel like I was doing the job I was meant for. I wouldn’t say I like working for other people. Plus, because I didn’t have a high school diploma or G.E.D. I couldn’t go any higher than entry-level work. It was frustrating,” Richard states. After years of going from one unfulfilling job to another, Richard decided he wanted something more. One day, not long after his fortieth birthday, Richard was sitting in his barber’s chair and shared his idea of going to barber college. The response he received was surprising. “I had been going to this same guy for over ten years, and I considered him a friend, but what he told me blew me away. He told me it was too old and it would be too hard for me to build up clientele at this point. I couldn’t believe my ears,” Richard said; still a little put off by the experience. “I was like, wow. I was not expecting that at all. When I left the shop, I kept thinking about him telling me it was too late for me. The more I thought about it, the more I was determined to prove him wrong.” Immediately Richard looked into starting barber college at Park West Barber College in Greensboro, N.C. As he read the requirements, the first thing that stopped him in his tracks was the requirement of a high school diploma or equivalent. “There I was again. Every time I tried to move forward, I found myself coming back to the same roadblock. All these years later, my decision to drop out of high school was still haunting me. I sat there thinking about what I wanted and the time I had wasted. I have to admit I was terrified of going back to school, but I decided I couldn’t spend one more day letting fear hold me back.” Richard enrolled at Gilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, N.C., and started working towards his G.E.D. He transferred and finished the program at Alamance Community College in Graham, NC. School was never easy for Richard, but his desire to achieve his goals was stronger than his fear of failure. “It was hard, working and going to school at the same time, but I finally knew what I was working towards. It was all going to be worth it in the end.”


Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

After completing the program, Richard had to take the G.E.D. Test. Most people struggle with standardized testing. Richard’s past traditional education experiences and test anxiety didn’t make things easy. He says, “I will be honest and say I didn’t do well initially on the G.E.D. Test. I failed it three times!” he said, shaking his head. “I couldn’t believe it! I had worked so hard. Before I knew it, I felt like I was back in high school. I didn’t think I was smart enough to pass the test. I was struggling and embarrassed. Then I remembered that I wasn’t in high school anymore, and my dreams were just on the other side of that test. I couldn’t let it stop me again.” On the fourth try, Richard passed and received his G.E.D. “I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. My family came and celebrated with me, and I made my mother proud. I made myself proud. I proved that I could do anything if I didn’t give up,” he said. After receiving his G.E.D, Richard started at Park West Barber College in Greensboro, N.C. From there, he became an apprentice barber, but he knew that he had to relocate to grow. “After job corp I moved back to Greensboro, and later moved to Durham, NC. to finish barber school. But after barber college, I wanted to go to an area where I could start fresh and have room to grow. Barbering in Durham and Greensboro was a crowded market. I thought about Jacksonville, Florida, or Georgia but settled on Charlotte, NC.” Richard was an apprentice barber at Bennett’s Barber Shop in Charlotte for four years. “You usually do one year as an apprentice before you can take your master barber’s licensure test, but I did four years because I felt I had so much to learn.” As Richard worked as an apprentice barber, he was free to explore his creativity. Barbering isn’t just about cutting hair. Men trust their barbers and seek their advice about looking and feeling their best. Richard noticed a small selection of beard and skin grooming products for men. The scents were basic and didn’t represent all men, especially black men. Hence Kingzi Men’s Skincare Collection was born. He says, “I didn’t like that most beard balms smelled like the great outdoors,” Richard said with a laugh. “Never have you heard a woman say she loves the smell of citrus on her man. So, I started experimenting with fragrances that I liked and ones that didn’t make my customers smell like car air fresheners.”

“I didn’t think I was smart enough to pass the test. I was struggling and embarrassed. Then I remembered that I wasn’t in high school anymore, and my dreams were just on the other side of that test. I couldn’t let it stop me again.”

Richard enrolled in YouTube university and learned all he could about creating beard balms and lotions specifically for men. Once he had the know-how, Richard started making small batched in his home and trying them on his clients.


“My clients were willing and honest test subjects. I gave away free samples, and they would let me know what worked and what didn’t. Before I knew it, word got out, and it’s gained momentum from there.” Putting what he learned about sales and marketing in Job Corps, Richard is preparing to put the Kingzi Men’s Skincare Collection on the shelves of major shopping centers all over the country. But for now, the skincare line can be purchased locally at Kingzi Barber’s Lounge. This was his reply when asked what the future looked like for Richard. “The future is bright. Brighter than I thought possible at this point in my life. I was stuck for forty years because I didn’t think I was smart enough to pass a high school equivalency test. But when I faced my fears and pushed past them, the world opened up to me. Things are happing so fast I am having trouble keeping up,” Richard said, smiling proudly. “But I guess that’s a good problem to have.” Richard intends to continue growing his business, including lotions, skin conditioning oils for women, and a Kingzi clothing line. He concludes by saying, “If I could say one thing to my younger self, it would be this: Don’t let fear and other people’s opinions of you hold you back. You can achieve anything you set your mind to if you are willing to fail at it first. When you fall, you got know where to go but up!” h

Richard Steadwell

Kingzi Royal Skincare Collection 5975 Thunder Road NW - Suite 106 Concord, NC 28027 704-550-6287


Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022


Arkansas - Sept./Oct. 2022

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