Huami Magazine California Sept./Oct. 2022

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Sept./Oct. 2022 Vol. 1 Issue 10

Fuller Life Concepts, Inc California - Sept./Oct. 2022 1

w w w . l a d y e s p e c s . c o m

Exclusive Specs For Men and Women

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

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!

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 andEditor avoid any form of an altercation. No matter A Letter from the 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.What That’s why I believe it’s vital to share with if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of our yourthoughts plans, hopes God beforehand and confirm His viewpoint because God’s plan and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if is greater than anything I can decideto forput myself. everything that you decided off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy Like most the spare thrill ofsomeone victory isthe generally day, andpeople, you could troublethe of reason makingwhy I compete or fight. Also, if you areopportunity anything like me, I understand promises. What if your last seemingly expired that you may hate to lose, regardless of what is at stake. Yet, I am today? What would you do? learning that I must do a better job choosing my battles because, for the mostI’ve part, every battle not mine tolike fight. been told that is I often seem I doGod toodesires much. to fight for me, and He expects me to let go and allow Him to do aHis thing. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m firm I’ve learned that the car drives better when He controls the wheel. believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would I recently celebrated my birthday, and to be honest; I celebrated be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I for the entire month. That was my choice because I love birthdays. have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity I also used that time to reflect on where I am in life and where I’ve is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge come from. I wanted to know what I am currently doing to get to to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? where I ultimately want to be. What was revealed is my interests and If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn efforts were possibly pointed in the wrong direction. I learned that something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in while I am blessed, God is more concerned about those individuals return acquire life. 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 The best advice ever givenoftoreal megreatness; happenedthat’s whenwhat someone cooperative vessel are attributes God told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so spoke to me. I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also difference Living my life as a Christian andlearned believerthe in God meansbetween that I must what God blesses me with and what life can with trust God. Even during the most difficult moments,burden if I justme show well. I compare to knowing when to beI confident and up forasthe fight and trustitGod while I am fighting, will then see when to be quiet, because Him move on my behalf. The things that I may be dealing with and someone get it confused determined to be may unbearable may with being arrogant. actually amount to nothing once it’s placed in God’s hand. How will I ever Makeallow you tomorrow know if I don’t God to lead me? happen today, but most importantly it count. God has a plan andmake purpose for all Life is but a whisper andthan of us, and His plan is far greater put ourselves in aI get anythingwe wemust can imagine or think. position to hear what it is excited when I think about everything us. for me. His is God hastelling prepared greater, and all I have to do is trust His process and believe what He tells me.

Terry L. Watson Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder



November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

Publisher Monica Montgomery Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Ellen Richardson Writer Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Writers Monica Montgomery Tonya Dixon Writer

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336-340-7844 HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Media Company LLC Mykel MediaMykel Company. Any reproduction of any Greensboro,isNCprohibited without portion of this publication 2022 All Rights Reserved written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

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Alice West-Goers 26

AWG Counseling Services LLC


On The Cover

Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. Kim Fuller

My Life in Poems

John C. Johnson


Better Buttah Skin Care

Iris Mangano

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson



Also Featured

Kara White Learn more about this serial entrepreneur. She knows something about dance, finances, and giving back to her community. Phoenix, AZ


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


Pastor Cleophus Lee From Houston, TX, all the way to the windy city of Chicago. Learn more about his calling. Chicago, IL

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California - Sept./Oct. 2022

Fuller Life Concepts, Inc By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Kim Fuller You can’t help but feel a little jealous when you first meet Kim Fuller. Whether it’s the Southern California sunshine at her back, her eyes full of joy, or her bright smile full of light, you find yourself happy to have met her. Kim Fuller is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, psychotherapist, author, trainer, founder, and CEO of Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. is a mental health and wellness agency that helps women, children, and families manage anxiety and depression using evidence-based models. Kim’s vision is to be a nationally recognized mental health and wellness agency for Black families and people of color. Helping people has been Kim’s passion from a young age. She shares, “I’ve wanted to be a therapist since junior high school. I took an elective that allowed me to work as an office assistant, and I would see the students coming in to talk to the counselor. I thought it was cool that the students had someone they could go to for help. My mom was a principal, and I would sometimes chat with the psychologist at her school about what they did. So, I am one of those unusual people who have known for pretty much my whole life that this is what I wanted to do.” Whether you believe in signs or destiny, life experiences helped confirm that Kim was on the right path. “As I said, I always knew I wanted to study psychology. I had a friend in high school who struggled with her identity. She was Asian American, but she wanted to be white. S o much so that she contemplated ending her life. I wanted to understand what she was going through.” Kim received her bachelor’s in psychology from California State University, Fresno. “I grew up in a pretty diverse small town in Central California, but there were no dating opportunities. I wanted to go where the men were,” Kim said with a laugh. “While there, I spent a summer with some friends, and one of the girls took a bunch of sleeping pills attempting to commit suicide. I was the first one at home, so I found her. This was another level of depression and feeling helpless for me. The challenge was that it was kind of dismissed when we got her to the hospital. They just sent her home like it was no big deal. We were only about eighteen or nineteen, so we were just kids, but there was no additional support for her or us, her friends who found her,” Kim explained. “That was traumatic, but we were just sent home. I felt like this person needed more. That night we all stayed together, none of us wanting to be alone after the experience. The next morning, I called home and started bawling as soon as my dad spoke.”

“I’ve wanted to be a therapist since junior high school. I took an elective that allowed me to work as an office assistant, and I would see the students coming in to talk to the counselor. I thought it was cool that the students had someone they could go to for help.”


Kim credits having the support of her parents as being one of the biggest reasons she could pursue her passion. That experience compelled Kim to want to fill those gaps she and her friends experienced. As a result, Fuller Life Concepts focuses much of its energy on anxiety, depression, and trauma in adolescents and children. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Kim’s first job was with the VA hospital in their inpatient/outpatient substance abuse clinic for about a year. “I worked with a doctor researching cessation, like how to get veterans to stop smoking. That was a vital time because it helped me realize two things. One, the cessation of substance abuse and tobacco use was not my area. Two, veterans were not my population. My dad was a Vietnam vet, so that was too close for comfort. My father was my hero, and to imagine he was suffering the way these men were, was a little more than I could take.” Thinking ahead to her next steps, Kim decided to go back to school and get her master’s degree in counseling from California State University in Long Beach. “I focused my graduate studies on marriage and families so that I would have a broader range of options in my career field.” Kim’s first paying job was with an agency called LA Child Guidance, now Wellnest in South Los Angeles. “At LA Child Guidance, we worked with severely emotionally disturbed children and their families. Our goal was to help create stability within the family so the children could remain in the home. We wanted to avoid having them go into a higher level of care,” she says. She started as an intern, but once licensed, Kim was promoted to Director of the center’s learning program. “I really loved that position because I was able to help the older teens and young adults. They still needed support. Some of them were transitioning from foster care, and at that time, you transitioned at age eighteen. Since then, the laws have changed, and it’s closer to twenty-five.”

Kim Fuller

Fuller Life Concepts Inc. 323-334-0064


Transitioning from a minor to adulthood is difficult for anyone, but it’s compounded for young people who have aged out of the foster care system. They lose any semblance of stability and support. This is what the program Kim worked with provided. “We partnered with the department of rehabilitation to give them on-the-job training, life skills, and experience. I am really proud of the work we did in that program.” Seeing the work she did as important, Kim took advantage of every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who needed it. “Eventually, I left LA Child Guidance and took a position at a different agency as Director of the outpatient clinic. I managed supervisors and programs. Thanks to the fullservice partnerships with the state. We created programs that focused on the underserved and the inappropriately served. This meant we could do early intervention before things got to really bad.”

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As a mental health provider, Kim admits there were periods in her life when she had to ask for help. As a black female, Kim comes from a culture of strength, but that strength was also a stumbling block when life took an unexpected turn. “I met a wonderful man. We were both single with no children, and we both loved to travel. We did everything from skiing, sailing, scuba diving, hiking, and camping we did it. We spent about thirteen years of our lives together, but he was diagnosed with leukemia soon after we met. He initially chose to keep it to himself. So, we continue to live and enjoy life together. He was told that because of chemo, he was infertile,” Kim winced then laughed. “To our surprise, we came up pregnant. Thankfully we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. My husband died when our daughter was less than a year old.” With the demands of her career, the loss of her best friend and life partner, and then instantly becoming a single parent, Kim was starting to struggle under the weight of it all. “So much happened in that year. I got married, I had a baby, and I got a promotion. Then in one month, I was demoted, and my husband died. A few months later, I left my job completely.” Kim prides herself on having a fantastic community of supporters, but when she needed them most, she didn’t know how to ask for help. “Call it pride or ignorance, but I just couldn’t reach out. I was featured in a book about 16 successful Mompreneurs. The book starts with me trying to get a car seat into a rental car on the day of my husband’s funeral. There I am, frustrated as I struggle and tussle with trying to install this car seat, and I’m just all over the place. The thing was, my parents were standing right behind me, watching. They didn’t offer because I was so sensitive at the time that I would have snapped at them. So… I continued to struggle. It would have made sense to turn around and ask for help, but that’s not the culture.” Along with working to help children and families heal and live their best lives, Kim focuses on bringing light to the black and brown community. “We believe seeking social-emotional help is not a “black” thing. That’s not true. I was grieving and a hot mess, but I wore my mask every day because the culture said I couldn’t let anyone see my pain. I had to break down and find help. Fuller Life Concepts dispels the myth that only white people do mental health. Black women and black men are just as likely to deal with trauma. My goal is to let them know that there are people who look like them and understand who they are and where they come from that can help. That’s what the Fuller Life is all about.” h

Acknowledging National Black Excellence


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Iris Mangano

It Started With A Dream 12

By Terry L. Watson Photo Provided by Iris Mangano In the fall of 2019, Iris Mangano found herself at a crossroads. She had just left her job at a local HBCU to begin working at her “dream job” with a local Engineering & Technical Consulting firm. There she worked in Human Resources; however, on April 1, 2020, she was let go due to the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Discouraged and upset, but still a woman of strong faith, she began to pray, asking God for a new job. There was a sense of urgency in her request because Iris had bills that needed to be paid soon. She applied for at least 15 positions online within one week but got no response. Still, Iris kept praying and believing. A few weeks later, Iris had a dream one night. Her dream involved an unrecognizable man appearing as a security guard at her door. She says that with a knock on the door, she received a revelation that would change the trajectory of her life. “The dream I had encouraged me to be confident within my own abilities. The message in my dream reminded me that I’ve always had the keys to unlock my success. I woke up the next morning and knew what I was supposed to do,” she says. The dream that Iris had led to the birth of Beauty Butttah Skincare, LLC. Though her company didn’t officially launch until May 2020, Iris says her journey began a long time before then. “I had already begun practicing natural skincare production during my natural hair journey in 2009, making my own hair oils and butters. I also made Skin Butters from Shea Butters purchased at local beauty supply stores in an effort to solve my dry skin concerns,” she says. Beauty Buttah Skincare, LLC is a black woman-owned skin and body care products company based in Greensboro, NC. They offer handmade premium self-care products that are healthy, effective, natural, and organic. Their products are made with quality natural plant-based butters and essential oils. They also offer a wide variety of body butters, body scrubs (sugar/salt/ foaming), body oils, handmade soaps, body washes, facial care products, feminine hygiene products, men’s grooming care products, and natural hair care products. Being an entrepreneur is something that Iris says she loves. She also appreciates the positive feedback from her clients who share how well her products work. Running her business has a lot of things attached to it. “I am doing this for my kids. I do what I do with the hope of building a legacy they can participate in and be proud of,” she says. And with her kids’ assistance, she is able to keep her business running. She shares who they help with packing and shipping and are often present at pop-up shops and events. The future is encouraging and broad for the BBS brand. “We are currently on Walmart Marketplace Faire and soon to be Amazon. I want to continue to broaden my customer reach all around the globe. You will see BBS products on the shelves of Walmart, Target, Marshall’s, and many local beauty stores and spas in 2023. We are entertaining a location to be used as a showroom and as a pick-up site for local residents to gain access to our products,” she says. h



California - Sept./Oct. 2022

Real Estate, Finance, and Dance....... I Do A Lot By Terry L. Watson - Photos Provided by Kara White

While Phoenix, AZ, is widely known for its often sweltering climate, someone else is blazing their own path in the black business community and helping others succeed along the way. Her name is Kara White. The young and ambitious entrepreneur wears many hats, including that of a real estate agent, financial planner, dance instructor, and director of a nonprofit organization. Kara was born and raised in Chicago, IL. In 2002, she decided to make the cross-country trek to the Desert Valley in search of a new start. That same year, she received her real estate license and followed that by becoming a licensed broker in 2009. She shares how her journey began, an experience wrapped in surprise and purpose. “While on a trip with my mother, I talked with an owner of a real estate agency. They offered me a job and even offered to cover the cost of my real estate license. However, as soon as I received the license, I left the resort gracefully and began building my clientele,” she says. California - Sept./Oct. 2022 15

Due to the ever-changing real estate market, Kara had to reinvent herself. That’s how one of her products, Kara’s Wealth Consultant, was developed, which spawned another product, Get the Money Friend. In this brand, “F.R.I.E.N.D.” is an acronym for “Financial Consultation, Real Estate, Investments, Planning, Notary Public Services, and Debt Elimination. She also offers credit consultation with services that include Credit Report Review, a Credit Repair DIY Kit Guide, and Income Protection and Budget Review. While she has demonstrated an astute business understanding, Kara’s talents expand beyond the entrepreneurial sector. She is the former Miss Arizona International. Her platform and influence were carried over into her nonprofit organization, Live Love Dance Inc. Its focus is to empower youth and lead them to live healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives via the performing arts. It also provides workshops, empowerment sessions, galas, fundraising, private lessons, and community service events.

Kara shares she has always had a passion for dance. “When I was 11 years old, my first job was as a dance assistant. I quickly rose in rank from an assistant to teaching my own class. I’m disciplined in all seven dance forms, with contemporary dance being my favorite. I favor this style more because it incorporates the basics such as ballet and the freeing movement fundamentals of jazz and modern dance,” she says. Kara’s genuine love to see others succeed is an attribute that comes into play in her personal and professional life. “I am committed to helping others, and my business endeavors must positively impact my community. The different experiences I’ve gained have allowed me to not only help others, but I’ve benefited from those that I serve, pouring back into me,” she says. The life of an entrepreneur can present unique challenges, and Kara has also experienced her share. She says that times can get complicated, but during those moments, she has to search deep within and find a way to stay positive and keep moving. “Despite my challenges, I am committed to living in the moment. I try to live and be present because time is whatever you think it is and whatever you create. I often tell others not to dwell on the past or focus too much on the future because they don’t know what will or might happen. We must live in the moment,” she says.


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California - Sept./Oct. 2022

“I am committed to helping others, and my business endeavors must positively impact my community.”

On top of being able to help others, Kara also loves that she doesn’t have to conform to anything. Whether it’s her money world or dance world, she’s able to be personable while working at the same time. She also loves being able to work with a team of great people. As life moves forward for Kara, she expects to be involved in more endeavors and hopes to launch an event planning business. She also plans to expand her brand, Kara’s Wealth Consultant, and continue spreading financial advice in her community. Additionally, plans to continue to promote and grow Live Love Dance Incorporated. Their signature gala fundraiser is coming up in October, with proceeds going towards dance scholarships. For anyone looking to follow in Kara’s footsteps, her number one piece of advice is this; no one is going to be better at being you than you. She says, “Don’t try to be me, be better than me, be better at being you than me.” Please visit her website to learn more about Kara White and her great endeavors. h


California - Sept./Oct. 2022

Pastor Monumental Baptist Church “When I was a teenager, I started to question my purpose in life. This was mainly due to me learning that God saw it fit for me to be born despite my mother being told she was unable to carry a child. Knowing this made me realize that I purposed for greater and called to effect and bring change in the world.”

By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Pastor Cleophus Lee

What do you do when God calls you into your community and makes disciples of the masses? Obedience may be the obvious answer, and this is the story of Pastor Cleophus Lee. Born in Houston, TX, but currently living in Chicago, IL, he is Monumental Baptist Church’s Senior Pastor. Pastor Cleophus Lee first received his God calling when he was in college, but much like Jonah, he would run before Th e Great Shepherd would bring him back into the fold. “When I was a teenager, I started to question my purpose in life. This was mainly due to me learning that God saw it fit for me to be born despite my mother being told she was unable to carry a child. Knowing this made me realize that I purposed for greater and called to effect and bring change in the world,” he says. Pastor Lee shares that he even believed at one time that God had destined him to be the next Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X. “I believed that he wanted me to help people move from where they are in life and into better opportunities,” he says. Though empowering in its nature, Pastor Lee would be pushed into a new direction, and that was ministry. California - Sept./Oct. 2022 21

He shares “I actually started my career by working with a non-profit organization. I also worked with social services, and because I am educated in political science, I envisioned myself going to law school to become an attorney. With a law degree in tow, I believed I would go back to my hometown community in Houston and run for city council and eventually become one of the first Black mayors in the city of Houston. This plan would conclude with me retiring as a sitting Judge.” He also notes that Malcolm X advised Black people to become involved in the political system to ensure a positive change. While attending college at Dillard University, Pastor Lee was very complacent. Things were happening the way he expected for them to happen, and for the most part, he was happy. Yet, he would find out that God had a different plan. “I started to wrestle with a call to become a preacher. During my freshman year, my cousin and I were rooming together, and after returning from a school break, he told me that he was called to preach. When he said this, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit that said it wasn’t supposed to be him; it was supposed to be you,” he says. This prompting would send Pastor Lee on a life-enriching journey. He references Jonah, a Bible hero who a huge fish swallowed after running away from God’s plan for him. After living inside a whale’s belly for three days, Jonah prayed to the Lord. Soon the Whale relinquished the prophet onto dry land so he could start again. Like Jonah, Pastor Lee saw himself in a similar situation.


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My life’s mission has now become to impact the people that God sends me to help them discover their God-ordained purpose

“Before this prompting of the Holy Spirit, I was regarded as the Black militant. I was even involved in selling drugs at one point. However, I was blessed to be able to change. I realized that if I continued on that path, I wouldn’t be able to make the difference I wanted inside of the political world. I also felt God leading me to make a difference by doing things His way versus my way. These are the things that happened which initially led me to become a pastor,” he says. Fast forward to today, and Pastor Lee has clearly answered the call on his life. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Original Providence Baptist Church in Chicago and does everything he can to lead the community God has given him. “My life’s mission has now become to impact the people that God sends me to help them discover their God-ordained purpose,” he said. To learn more about Pastor Cleophus Lee or Monumental Baptist Church, please visit their website. h

Pastor Cleophus Lee


Monumental Baptist Church

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California - Sept./Oct. 2022

AWG Counseling Services By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Alice West-Goers

If the truth can be told, most people have been through something in their lives that requires some form of healing. The question is, how do we exactly heal? A general answer may be by asking for help. When that option is chosen, finding the right person to help can be difficult. Fortunately, there is someone who has dedicated their life and career to assisting others during such instances. Alice West-Goers of Denver, CO, is a licensed and experienced counselor and change agent who promotes and facilitates emotional healing. She uses her personal story as a tool to connect and assist others. “My story begins with growing up in Guam. Relatives primarily raised me after my mother lost custody of my siblings and me. At the age of nine, I was flown from Guam to the United States by my social worker. Soon myself and my sister were adopted. This was life-changing for me and ultimately affected the trajectory of my life,” she says. After two years of being placed with her new adopted family, Alice would run away from home to locate her biological family. Her actions would eventually lead to a downward spiral. She says it also made finishing school difficult and could have led her to gang involvement. After realizing her life was headed in the wrong direction, she decided to go back home, contacted her adoptive parents, and asked for help. “At the age of 16, I contacted my adopted mother and asked her if I could come back home. I knew this would mean that I would have to go back into a house with rules and structure, but I knew that was something I needed,” she said. The decision to return home would forge a path leading Alice to a brighter future. Along with graduating from high school, Alice could now attend Regis University college. “During my time at Regis I participated in a commitment program for kids who had trouble getting through high school, which helped with my grades,” she says. California - Sept./Oct. 2022 27

“At the age of nine, I was flown from Guam to the United States by my social worker. Soon myself and my sister were adopted. This was life-changing for me and ultimately affected the trajectory of my life.”

Alice West-Goers

AWG Counseling Services 720-988-9482


California - Sept./Oct. 2022

A new challenge would arise as Alice continued on her road toward a better life. “I got pregnant with my daughter during my sophomore year of college. With the new addition to my life, I decided to transfer to Metropolitan State University (MSU). There I received my bachelors degree in Social Work. I also served as an intern for the County of Denver. That opportunity opened the door for me to work full-time as a social worker following graduation. Life appeared to come back to me full circle. From aging out of the foster care system in Denver County to becoming an intern in the same department where I was once a foster kid, to working alongside my former social worker as a full-time employee,” Alice shares. Following her time with the city and county, Alice would acquire a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Denver, with an emphasis in Child Welfare and Trauma. Next, she worked as a childhood therapist within the nonprofit sector and later with the childhood mental health field at Aurora Mental Health Center. She would also serve as an inpatient behavioral health therapist with The Medical Center of Aurora. Though Alice’s life appeared on the right track, her life would come to another fork in the road in 2020. “It was during the Covid-19 pandemic that I decided it was time to focus more on private practice,” she said. Although it would take time to set up this practice, Alice is now celebrating her first anniversary as the owner of AWG Counseling Services. With AWG Counseling Services, Alice practice now offers counseling services, including adult therapy, family counseling, self-esteem, and healthy coping skills to eliminate destructive patterns. There is even a childhood therapist available to assist those who are dealing with social and emotional issues. Alice has also become a member of the Therapist of Color Collaborative, where therapists of color come together to provide mental health services for those who cannot afford these types of services. With her being a therapy liaison for the University of Denver, Alice’s opportunity to connect with graduate students within the social work realm to be a guiding light towards their future is a way that she gives back. Now that she has her own private practice, what is next for this bright beacon of God’s light? Along with obtaining additional training and licensures in various counseling and becoming a licensed addiction counselor, Alice has some interest in joining various coalitions that would allow her to offer services to more of those in need. To find out more about AWG Counseling Services, please visit their website. h

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California - 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 self-employed 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.



California - Sept./Oct. 2022

“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.” 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.”

“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 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.


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.

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Cutest Baby


Laney Williamson The daughter of Elise Blackmon and Dante Williamson

California - Sept./Oct. 2022

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

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A Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

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and more..... 38

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California - Sept./Oct. 2022