Huami Magazine Denver Feb./March 2024

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Feb./March 2024 Vol. 1 Issue 11

Author & Poet

Denver - March/April 2024


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Love Is What Makes Black History Important A Letter From The Editor

It’s Black History Month, and Huami Magazine has produced a gallery of artistic portraits to honor 29 individuals who’ve helped us enjoy many opportunities. Follow our social media pages to enjoy the productions, and please feel free to share and include someone who belongs and is worthy to be celebrated also. In recent years, the argument has been that Black History should be celebrated 365 days per year. I agree. I am also aware there needs to be more emphasis on an annual year-round celebration of our Black history. Let’s get the conversation started, and let’s talk about what needs to be discussed. While producing the gallery for this year, I enjoyed learning more about the individuals that are showcased. These include George Washington Carver, Elijah McCoy, W.E.B. DuBois, Carter G. Woodson, Hiram Rhodes Revels, Sarah Boone, Garrett Morgan, and others. It’s fascinating to learn how their perspectives on social issues of their time resonate with the present day. As Black people, we still face similar challenges, and it appears that we are still fighting the same fights of decades ago. I ask the question, what has changed? Terry L. Watson


Dorjae’ McClammey Sherry Rogers Hill Monica Montgomery Marrissa Dick

Writer Writer Writer Writer

Tamara Smith

Still Shots Photography Photographer Todd Youngblood Photographer AngelaHoward Maria Gaither Photography Photographer

What are we doing as a people to create better living opportunities for our race and the world as a whole? Tearing each other apart with our words, actions, and slander on social media doesn’t solve our problems. We need unity instead. We need to love one another a whole lot more. How do we do that? I believe it begins with us genuinely supporting each other’s efforts, whether in business or our communities. We must love and pray for our neighbors and truly desire to see everyone succeed. Let’s not be too concerned by what the other person has and what we may lack; instead, let’s find ways to collaborate and level the playing field for us all. That is real love. One’s skin color doesn’t define real love. Real love encompasses culture, race, and religion. When we get to a place where we care more about the welfare and survival of our neighbors just as much as we do for ourselves, real love will already be waiting for us there.

Terry L. Watson Email 336-340-7844 Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2024 All Rights Reserved

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On The Cover

Author & Poet

Zaneta Johns


Temprance Bell 24 My Natural Butter

Mom Squad Worldwide Agency

Tramika Craddock

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Mecca Causey



Also Featured

Crystal Hemphill-Hayes Meet the face and founder of Too Rise Up Inc. Her organization is committed to enriching lives of others. Los Angeles, CA


Senator Deon Tedder Meet the face and founder of Too Rise Up Inc. Her organization is committed to enriching lives of others. Charleston, SC


Dr. Terrence Graham Don’t look now, but the face of founder of 5FT Productions LLC is up to something new. Learn more about it. Raleigh, NC


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Author & Poet

By Myra Davis Branic Photos Provided by Zaneta Varnado Johns

Zaneta Varnado Johns is a woman on fire. Known to her readers as Zan Johns, she is an author and poet featured in over 70 national and international publications. What is even more impressive is that she is only getting started. At the age of 62, Zan published her first book of poetry. That was in 2020, yet she has been writing since 1979. Zan’s poise and beauty, both inside and out, are reflected in her poetry. Her soothing and comforting voice is saturated with a natural Southern Hospitality. Zan Johns began writing in her early twenties and was inspired by authors like Maya Angelou and her kindred spirit, Nikki Giovanni, who she reminds me of in a lot of ways. Zan had the pleasure of hearing both celebrated authors speak when they each visited the University of Colorado in the 1970s, but something lit a spark in her when she heard Nikki Giovanni recite the poem “Ego Tripping.” Seeing these black women using their words and doing what they loved to do let Zaneta know that, as a black woman, she could do it, too, and she eventually did. Although Colorado has been home to Zan for almost 50 years, her roots are traced to Hammond, Louisiana, a town of approximately 21,000 people located 45 miles east of Baton Rouge and 45 miles northwest of New Orleans. She came from a large, loving family of nine, including her hardworking parents, five siblings, and paternal grandmother. She says the nurturing she received from her parents helped her to develop into a confident, caring person. Growing up in a nearly half-black and half-white community at the dawn of integration may have led to her insightfulness. This characteristic is beautifully demonstrated in her body of work. Writing and poetry were a goto for Zan, and her passion for them followed her throughout her young life. She attended the University of Colorado for three-plus years before leaving the classroom with exceptional critical thinking skills and knowledge. Soon after, she started working in the university’s payroll department before becoming appointed director of human resources. In between that time, Zan married and had two children. In her professional career, which spanned 29 years, she brought a climate of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which again is reflected in her poetry. During that time, Zan continued to write, penning hundreds of poems she only shared with the people closest to her. At the age of 50, Zan retired and focused more on spending time with her family, traveling, staying fit, and, of course, writing. As time passed on, Zan described getting little nudges from God that she should be doing something with her writing. She says, “Her sister-in-law, an author herself, encouraged me to join the Women Speakers Association. At first, I resisted the idea because I thought of myself as a quiet person. When I worked in Human Resources, of course, I was required to speak, but once I retired, I was more laid back.” Denver - March/April 2024


Zan had no interest in public speaking but later learned that the Women Speakers Association focused not only on empowering women to express themselves but also on empowering women to write to inspire. It published a series of inspiring books, each featuring women who shared their trials and triumphs. Zan’s poetry is also featured in four of them on the dedication page, including “Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise and Make a Difference”, “Voices of the 21st Century: Conscious, Caring Women Who Make a Difference”, “Voices of the 21st Century: Women Transforming the World”, and “Voices of the 21st Century: Women Empowered Through Passion and Purpose.” With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, Zan Johns decided to take her poetry and publish her first book of poetry entitled “Poetic Forecast”. It almost instantly became a #1 Bestseller on Amazon. Zan states, “We were afraid; this was something we’ve never seen in our lifetime; I couldn’t see my family, our grandchildren; we were forced to stay inside and keep still. I looked through my poems, many of which I’ve written years before, sat at my desk, and asked God to give me the words,” she says. The old adage comes to mind, “you have to be careful what you ask God for”, because when she was finished, Zaneta Varnado Johns gave the world Zan Johns, and some of the most intuitive, and compassionate poetry. What has become her signature piece, “What Matters”, beckons the readers to search their hearts for what really matters, as demonstrated in the lines, “If your eyes met my eyes in the midst of a crisis, would their shape and color concern you? If you felt my hands as they massaged your aching body, would you care about the pigmentation of my skin?” This poem gives readers the message to take inventory of what really matters. Her poem, “One Day” explores how things would be in a perfect world. Another poem from Poetic Forecast called “Spiritual Reset” captured 2020 and encased it in a nutshell. It described the pandemic, the chaos, the politics, and the racial unrest experienced during that time. If we were to put that poem, “Spiritual Reset” in a time capsule to be opened 100 years from now, the person who found it would be able to read it and know exactly what we were experiencing. Her next book of poetry, “After the Rainbow,” captured her personal experiences about life, family, nature, and her love of diversity. She published the What Matters Journal in July 2023, and her latest book debuted in the fall of 2023.She hadn’t planned on publishing a poetry book in 2023. Urged by friends and family, she birthed “Encore” which features a poem that became my favorite, “Why I Write”. Zan’s writing has brought her full circle, from listening to Nikki Giovanni speak and writing her ideas on pieces of paper to attending Nikki Giovanni’s latest book signing and presenting the legend with a signed copy of her own book. The things Zan has accomplished in life, even after retirement, prove that it’s never too late to start doing what you love to do, and what Zan loves is “touching the world line by line.” This year, Zaneta has plans to release another book of poetry. Zaneta Varnado Johns is a woman led by her spirituality. She is a sagacious author and poet who encourages other writers to listen to God’s words. “When God tells you what to do, there is a burning…” Zan Johns is a woman on fire. To learn more about Zaneta Johns, please visit her website.

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United States Senator

Deon Tedder By Sherry Rogers Hill Photos Provided by Senator Deon Tedder

Deon Tedder was born to lead. With charisma and an innate ability to motivate and inspire others, the 33-year-old attorney is one to be watched on the political spectrum, recently making history as the youngest member of the South Carolina State Senate. A native of Durham, North Carolina, he continued his family’s legacy by attending Durham’s Hillside High School, where his dad, the late Louis Tedder Jr., and his mom, Chandra Tedder, once attended. At Hillside High, he excelled academically and discovered his sphere of influence through extracurricular activities. “In high school, I was class president, Mr. Hillside High, a student government representative, and a trumpet player in the marching band,” he shares. During summer breaks, the young scholar participated in North Carolina Central University’s Legal Eagle camp, sponsored by the university’s law school. “The summer camp taught us about law and government, and toward the end of camp, we participated in mock trials. This is what sparked my interest in wanting to pursue a legal career.” By the time Tedder graduated from High School in 2008, he had the rare distinction of acquiring a perfect attendance record, never missing a day of school from kindergarten to the 12th grade. This accolade was a nod to his parents’ strong value of education. “Although my parents did not attend college, education was very important to both of them.“ They instilled this core belief into their son, who not only graduated with honors but also as the recipient of a full academic scholarship to South Carolina State University. His family was ecstatic. In preparation for his college transition, the firstgeneration college student traveled with his mom and dad to Orangeburg, South Carolina, to the campus to meet with the honors program director and tour the residential facility. Deon was all set to go when the unthinkable happened only a few weeks later. His dad died unexpectedly, completely devastating his family.

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“Life threw us a curveball after my dad died. I contemplated not going to college. I was mom’s only child, and it was just her and my dad. So, I felt like I needed to stay home and work to help her pay bills. I felt guilty leaving her to go to college,” he says. Recognizing the pivotal moment in Deon’s life, his family rallied around him. “My aunts and uncles said my dad would have wanted me to go because he didn’t have that opportunity. Earning a full academic scholarship made him super excited.” With the assurance from his family that his mom would be supported, the resilient leader stayed the course and reluctantly headed to South Carolina State University. Void of the typical excitement experienced by new college students, Tedder was grieving the loss of his dad, compounded by the concern of leaving his mother. Tedder says, “When I arrived, my anxiety increased. I learned that my mom, who was an administrative assistant, had picked up a second job. She was working so hard to prevent me from having to work. It was very tough.” Recognizing his mom’s sacrifice, Deon would remain focused and committed to excelling while in college. Once acclimating himself, he did what came naturally to him: to thrive academically and engage through leadership and student involvement. During his tenure at South Carolina State, Tedder was actively involved in various facets of student government. He served as junior class president and pledged the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. In his senior year, he experienced the sting of defeat when he ran for Student Government president and lost the election to a friend. Characteristic of the wise young leader, Tedder graciously conceded to his opponent and agreed to support him. Together, the two created the position of Chief of Staff for Tedder, and the student government position still exists at the university today. During summer breaks, Tedder took advantage of internship opportunities. His assertiveness changed the trajectory of his life, landing him an opportunity to serve as an intern at the United States Senate for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. “This experience exposed me to politics and sparked my interest in wanting to go into public service,“ said Tedder. “It was interesting seeing people making serious decisions about people who looked like me, but there weren’t people who looked like me making those decisions. Decisions were being made regarding minority communities, yet there was no representation or perspective in many cases. So that sparked my interest and the exposure was amazing,” he added. There was no one in my family involved in politics or law, so I used different opportunities to expand my network.“ Another internship opportunity was with Sidley Austin’s Prelaw Scholars program. Notable alumni of the firm include the former first couple, President Barack and Michelle Obama. Tedder acknowledges that each of the work experiences he acquired through networking, expanding his network, and exposure. This a skill he imparts to young people when given the opportunity. Tedder graduated magna cum laude from South Carolina State University in 2012. He describes his graduation as an emotional experience. “My entire extended family, aunts and uncles, and even some of my dad’s friends came. People joked with me by asking if my family took a charter bus because we had so many people who showed up for my graduation. It was emotional because people were there to support me while knowing that my dad would’ve been there. We had a huge section in the stands at the football stadium, and when they called my name, you would’ve thought that someone scored a touchdown at the Superbowl,” he laughed.

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Following graduation, Tedder headed off to law school at the University of South Carolina. While in law school, he served as a representative of the Student Bar Association for his first two years. In his third year of law school, he served as a law school senator. While a law student, Tedder worked a clerkship and served as a law school senator representing the law school for the University of SC student government system. He graduated in 2015 and secured a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Casey Manning, a Circuit Court Judge and the first African American basketball player for the University of South Carolina. “That was good exposure and an experience sitting on the bench with the judge, doing legal research,” he says. Tedder’s career did not go without challenges. He acknowledges that he sat for the bar twice before actually passing it. That experience impacted him financially and was humiliating. After all, failure was not a familiar experience for this confident leader. “My favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, kept me going at this time. , “For I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord. Plans to prosper you and bring you no harm, plans of hope and a future. I kept reciting this,“ said Tedder.

“Had I passed the South Carolina bar, I would be limited to that state, but passing New York’s uniform bar allows me to practice in South Carolina as well as in North Carolina, where my family continues to live.”

Three is a charm, so on his third try, he passed the bar in the state of New York, which granted him reciprocity in several states, including South Carolina. “I know that everything happens for a reason. Had I passed the South Carolina bar, I would be limited to that state, but passing New York’s uniform bar allows me to practice in South Carolina as well as in North Carolina, where my family continues to live,” he says. In 2020, Tedder served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 109. While in office, the first bill passed by Representative Tedder was “HBCU Day,” which was created to bring greater awareness to historically black colleges and universities. The state of South Carolina recognizes HBCU Day each year on the third Tuesday in February, thanks to the former House Rep. Three years later, a South Carolina senate seat was vacated following the resignation of former SC Senator Marlon Kimpson, one of Tedder’s mentors. Deciding that he could make an even greater impact on others, Representative Tedder threw his hat in the senate race. Following a highly contested campaign, Tedder won by an 11-vote margin in the primary race. He went on to beat the Republican candidate, making history as South Carolina’s youngest state Senator at the age of 33. Earlier this year, surrounded by his wife of six months, Dr. Jillian BroughtonTedder, his mom, and his family village, Tedder was sworn into office as a South Carolina State Senator, representing District 42 (Charleston and Dorchester Counties). The newly elected senator plans to continue pushing legislation that supports affordable housing, public education, criminal justice reform, and the rights of women. “Whatever I do, I want to make sure to provide access and opportunities to other people,” he said. h

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Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc. 16 Denver - March/April 2024

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tramika Craddock

“It’s no secret that the world Led by Atlanta, GA, resident Tramika Craddock, a certified Lifestyle Coach & Empowerment Speaker, Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc. provides its clients with Business Coaching services and assists them with transitioning from a (9 to 5) routine into a life of entrepreneurship. This womanbased agency is dedicated to empowering mothers and helping them reach their full potential. Their extensive range of services is designed to support maternal mental health, foster personal growth, promote community engagement, and provide access to invaluable resources and tools. “We are passionate about assisting moms in becoming the best version of themselves through inspiration, connection, and unwavering support,” Tramika says. The three key areas that Mom Squad focuses on are Maternal Mental Health, Connection to People & Resources, and Personal Development. Within the Maternal Mental Health component, they prioritize the well-being of mothers by offering specialized support and resources tailored to their unique needs. They also believe in the power of community and provide opportunities for mothers to connect with others who share similar experiences. Additionally, they offer access to a wealth of resources that can help navigate various challenges along the journey of motherhood. This is accomplished with their Connection to People & Resources program. Finally, with its Personal Development programs, the agency focuses on helping women understand and realize untapped potential. “We understand that personal growth is essential for every mother’s success. That’s why we offer a wide range of tools and resources that promote self-improvement, including financial assistance programs, homeownership guidance, stress management techniques, and accountability support,” Tramika says. For the most part, Mom Squad Worldwide serves mothers around the world through its unique community designed specifically for moms. “We support moms with a variety of different resources including but not limited to rent/mortgage, home placement, home buying, tuition assistance, grocery and utility assistance, therapy assistance and more,” Tramika shares. “Moms are welcomed with open arms into our vibrant partnership community that hosts enjoyable events throughout the year. Moreover, we also host a national annual conference, MOMscape, which is an unforgettable getaway and celebration of motherhood everywhere.” Established in 2020, Mom Squad Worldwide has steadily evolved to answer the demands of mothers across the globe. While embracing a non-profit model, they are able to accomplish this by recognizing the ongoing need for resources. Therefore, with a strategic vision and unwavering commitment to better serve mothers globally, Mom Squad Worldwide became an official non-profit organization in July 2023.

needs more comprehensive support networks for moms, a place where they can feel wholly seen, thoroughly connected, and inspired.”

Where did the vision to create such an organization come from? Tramika shared that God downloaded it into her, and she felt called to create an esteemed platform devoted entirely to mothers. With Tramika’s obedience to what was asked of her, the organization has become more than just a meet group but also a beacon of inspiration. “It’s no secret that the world needs more comprehensive support networks for moms, a place where they can feel wholly seen, thoroughly connected, and inspired. In this journey through motherhood, every mom deserves to be supported in nurturing their little ones while chasing after their own dreams without compromise. So we pour heart and purpose into lifting up this amazing community, celebrating all their contributions with joy, and affirming that being both an extraordinary mother and successful individual is not only possible, it’s downright inspirational!” The Mom Squad Worldwide executive board is composed of many vibrant individuals. There is a care team, events team, prayer team, social media mavens, conference planners, and radiant ambassadors! However, Tramika says the ones who truly sparkle are their devoted partners, which are the dope moms who not only bask in the support and inspiration they receive but also act as pillars in blessing moms worldwide with their profound service. “It’s truly a delightful circle of giving and receiving here at Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc.,” she said. It’s refreshing to know there are organizations such as Mom Squad Worldwide that cater to the needs of mothers. It is also evident this organization is moving on purpose. Looking ahead, Tramika says there are plans to add a women’s and children’s shelter. She plans to create a business academy for their clients and establish a scholarship program for children. She also plans to offer test prep for children, childcare placement, national brand discounts for partners, tutoring services, co-working space, and investment opportunities such as real estate. To learn more about Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc., please visit their website. h

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5FT Productions LLC “The Building of A Legacy” By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Katrena Wize Artography He is best described as a man of vision. Dr. Terrence Graham is a licensed therapist and the sole owner of Graham Moore & Clark, LLC. He is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, a Clinical Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist, and a Distance Credentialed Counselor. Dr. Graham also works as an S.A.P (Substance Abuse Professional) with the Department of Transportation. He evaluates employees of the D.O.T as they work to regain their driving privileges after failing a drug screening. In addition to working with adults, Dr. Graham also provides therapy services to adolescents across seven different states, including Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana. Dr. Graham, a Gulf War Combat Veteran in the United States Army and an NC A&T State University graduate, has been blessed with many gifts and talents. He is a locally acclaimed author and independent filmmaker preparing to build his own studio on family land, which will be his company’s new home, 5FT Productions, LLC. Family is essential to Dr. Graham. He shares his parent’s love and support is what shaped him and his brother. “I was born and raised in Magnolia, NC. My parents raised my brother and me to value family, education, sports, and community. My father was a Vietnam Combat Veteran in the United States Air Force, and my mother, a retired Quality Assurance Clerk, wore many different hats. By setting the standards and helping me focus on what’s important, my parents made it possible for me to become the man I am today.” As a child, Dr. Graham’s love of the arts was sparked by one of his classmates. He wanted to create amazing drawings like his friend. So, he went to his number one fan for help. “While in elementary school, I had a friend named Stan Singletary who could draw. He used to draw comic book characters, and they were amazing; I was so inspired that I went home one day and asked my mom to teach me how to draw,” Graham shared. “My mother wasn’t an artist, but she taught herself so she could teach me. I’ve always loved comic books and I learned to draw Marvel and DC comic superheroes like Spiderman and Batman. I worked at it until I became good at drawing and began making my own comic books and selling them to the kids at school. It was just pocket money to buy snacks, and not knowing what an entrepreneur was as a kindergartner, it would become the first time I would make my passion profitable.” Dr. Graham’s creativity is something that has stuck with him. As a therapist, he pulls on his unique personality and gifts to help his clients and utilizes his love of hip-hop and comic books as part of his therapeutic process. As with art, there aren’t any limitations on where it can go. That principle applies to Dr. Graham, who saw an opportunity to use his talent for storytelling and drawing to create a book to use in his practice. The book allowed his clients to engage and explore topics like anger and grief. In 2003, in collaboration with his brother Eric Graham, Dr. Graham created their first action comic series, Bobbee Bee the Hater. Although the production company was conceived in 2003 with the publishing of the Bobbee Bee the Hater book series, 5FT Productions, LLC was formally launched in 2016.

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“Growing up, my eldest son had a lot of anger issues. He couldn’t see how the things he was doing and how he was reacting to certain situations were impacting the family. So, my brother and I decided to create a character based on my son. We wrote and illustrated an action comic depicting him and the situations he would find himself in,” Graham explained. “There are three books in the series: In the Mind of Bobbee Bee the Hater, Larry Long Legs featuring Bobbee Bee the Hater, and A Sad Day for Jose.” Understanding that art imitates life, Dr. Graham felt the Bobbee Bee the Hater books could help his son and other children dealing with anger issues. “Bobbee Bee the Hater is a reflection of most kids at that age who are struggling with anger issues. H.A.T.E.R is actually an acronym that stands for His Anger Teaches Everybody Reality. The goal was to use these books as a cautionary tale to show kids what happens when you allow your anger and frustration to control you,” Graham explained. “I was a School-Based Therapist for Wake County Human Services for thirteen years. The book series was an effective tool I utilized in my therapy sessions. By using a platform that will get the child’s attention, we have a better chance of helping them discover the keys to success. That is why the Bobbee Bee series was so successful.” The popularity and reach of the Bobbee Bee the Hater series went beyond Dr. Graham’s clients. “The books were being used in classrooms throughout the district, as well as by my colleagues,” Graham shared. “The downside is, although they were short action comics, in reality, kids don’t like to read. We had to find a platform that was accessible to everyone.” The Graham brothers sat down and formulated a plan of action. Due to their desire to make a bigger impact, the duo decided to turn the book series into an independent film. In 2012, the movie, In The Mind of Bobbee Bee the Hater, debuted at James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, NC. “The community came out and supported its own. It was a rough cut because it was our first film, but being selftaught, it went pretty well,” Graham shared. “Remember, it was before we were using social media the way we do now, so most people heard about the movie through word of mouth. That said, there was an overwhelming reception of our movie and a huge outpouring of community support. People hadn’t seen anything like that done in their communities before, and they were excited! It became a whole movement. We sold Bobbee Bee the Hater DVDs, soundtrack CDs, T-shirts, and other merchandise. People wanted to be a part of what the film represented to them.” Another key to the successful reception of In The Mind of Bobbee Bee the Hater had a lot to do with their decision to cast people from their local community. “We decided what better way to connect the film with people than to make them a part of it. We cast individuals from the community, some of our childhood friends, and their children. My son, William Shakur Graham, the inspiration for Bobbee Bee, played the title role,” Dr. Graham says. Even more impressive is that William is currently working on his PhD in Education Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University.

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Seeing the impact of the books and the film, Dr. Graham was inspired to explore cinema and storytelling further. “What is important to understand is that our stories are how we maintain history and culture. After the first film, I recognized I had another skill set to draw on. Since I am a therapist, I wanted to find a way to connect the new skill, filmmaking, with my private practice,” Graham passionately explained. “I decided I wanted to make documentaries on people in my community. Who better to tell our stories than us?” The next project the production company would take on was a documentary spotlighting an essential figure in the local community. “My first docu-film was based on Rudolph Becton. Mr. Becton’s barbershop is a pillar in my community. He was my grandmother’s best friend. Everybody went to Becton’s barbershop to get their hair cut. He wasn’t just a barber. He was a role model to young black men. He was the first black entrepreneur I had ever seen. He owned his own business; he was a deacon in the church and a civil rights leader. Without knowing it, Mr. Becton created a safe space for black men to gather and speak their minds. It was a place where fathers could take their sons to teach them everything from politics and religion to sports and music. Every community needs a Becton’s Barbershop.” With a new target in sight, Dr. Graham spent a year interviewing Mr. Becton and filming his story. He shares, “A big part of therapy is giving people a voice, a platform, and a space to tell their story. Telling Mr. Becton’s story wasn’t just about him. It was also about the community he served faithfully. It is about the young men he inspired and nurtured. We let the community see themselves in the life and story of Mr. Becton. In his narrative, we were all elevated.”

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In 2017, Dr. Graham received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I AM A DREAM Award for the docu-film, Becton The Barber. “Mr. Becton is well known in Magnolia, and stories like his enrich us all and can inspire other communities to see their greatness within. That is why I wanted to get it out there,” Dr. Graham says. Additionally, Dr. Graham has five films to his credit, including Earl of Duplin, The Cycle, and Dumpster Diving. In 2022, he received the Let’s Talk Media Productions Community Social Wellness In Film Award for Dumpster Diving, a docu-film. His growth as a writer, director, and filmmaker is exhibited in each production. “The theme in all my films is self-help and overcoming trauma. Thanks to social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon Prime, I can get my films out to those who can benefit from them,” he shares. When Dr. Graham created his first comic book, he knew the arts would be an important part of his life. Now, at fiftythree, he is about to achieve something few black men have by building a television studio on his family’s land. “Now that I have done the books, the independent movies, and the docu-films, it’s time to take things to the next level,” he professes. Construction of the new home of 5FT Productions, LLC began in August 2023 and will be completed during the summer of 2024. It will be the home of the Terrence Graham Talk Show, hosted by Dr. Graham and co-host DeAndria “Dee” Blount. Dr. Graham says with the support of his childhood friends, the studio will provide a platform for guests to laugh and learn. It will also honor others with love for their accolades, accomplishments, and achievements and offer advertisement opportunities. Dr. Graham says, “I’ve always wanted to have my own talk show. I loved watching shows like The Johnny Carson Show, The Arsenio Hall Show, Stephen A. Smith, and Rap City with Big Tigger. My dream is to host a show that combines those influences.”

Dr. Terrence Graham 5Ft Productions LLC 919-710-7332

In addition to producing his talk show, Dr. Graham plans to utilize his newly constructed studio to record his podcast, shoot other films, produce a sitcom, and provide live workshops and trainings. Having such a life-changing experience happen in his hometown of Magnolia is very important to Dr. Graham. “This isn’t for me. I want to make this space an opportunity for people to be seen and heard. I’m creating a platform for educators, therapists, entrepreneurs, budding artists, and musicians. My parents helped me understand the importance of family and community. Because of the land my Grandmother, Bertha Graham, left our family, my dream is coming full circle. With this generational gift, I can build my legacy upon theirs,” he says. “Along with my sons, William Shakur Graham and Xavier Graham, and with my community behind me, the sky is the limit for 5FT Productions, LLC.” h

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My Natural Butter LLC By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Temprance Bell Temprance Bell describes herself as a sunshine-loving soul who loves gardening, meditation, and spending quality time with her family. Originally from the vibrant city of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Temprance says life has always been an exciting journey. She is happily married and blessed with four wonderful children who keep her world spinning. When the military called for her husband’s service, they found themselves in the charming embrace of Gulfport, MS. “Life in Gulfport has brought a new chapter of joy, and the slower pace and warm-hearted people here have stolen my heart, and I am eager to share the love,” she says. With a passion for making a difference in people’s lives, Temprance has dedicated the past 20 years to a fulfilling career in healthcare. In 2016, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science with a concentration in Pharmacy. Today, she is the face and founder of My Natural Butter LLC. Unveiled in 2021, My Natural Butter strives to empower women of diverse ethnicities, hair textures, and skin types on their journey of self-discovery and embracing their inner Divine Goddess. Temprance says, “It all began as a solution to the everyday hair care and skin care needs of my family. Combining my academic background and the hands-on experience I gained as a salon apprentice with my mother during my younger days, I discovered a harmonious way to blend science and practicality. The vision for My Natural Butter was born out of a desire to provide natural, nourishing hydration to all hair and skin types without compromising on quality and effectiveness. Our products cater to individuals seeking to cultivate and sustain a holistic hair, skin, and self-care routine that enhances their physical beauty and nurtures the soul.” Seeing her brand evolve Temprance vividly compares to watching a dream take flight. It’s an extension of herself and exudes her stance and perspective on promoting self-confidence and celebrating one’s inherent beauty that nature offers.

Denver - March/April 2024


My Natural Beauty’s product line comprises a curated range of natural beauty and wellness products. Temprance shares, “Envision a collection meticulously designed to cater to your hair, skin, and overall well-being. The shining stars are the Triple Whipped Body Butter, moisturizing hair, and skin oils, each crafted with precision to deliver the pure goodness of nature. Whether it’s quenching your hair’s thirst or indulging your skin, every item reflects the perfect fusion of quality and effectiveness.” Yet, Temprance says it’s more than just a product line; it’s a journey, an immersive self-care experience. Her focus is to inspire confidence, self-love, and sheer joy, and her commitment reaches beyond the confines of bottles and jars. Temprance is dedicated to procuring the overall well-being of her clients. “I love the incredible opportunity to blend my passion for natural beauty and wellness with the joy of helping others embrace their unique beauty. Crafting nourishing products isn’t just a job; it’s a fulfilling journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Witnessing my products’ positive impact on individuals brings me immense joy,” she says. Operating a company such as My Natural Butter requires an adequate support system. She says that without the love of her family, she couldn’t do all that she does. “My family is my greatest inspiration and the heartbeat of my journey. They infuse every step with love, support, and motivation. Witnessing their resilience, kindness, and unwavering unity inspires me to be the best version of myself. Their encouragement fuels my drive, and the shared moments of joy and growth shape my aspirations,” Temprance professes.

Embarking on her entrepreneurial journey has been incredibly rewarding, but Temprance says it hasn’t come without challenges. Like any venture, she’s encountered the usual hurdles, from navigating the intricacies of production and distribution to building brand awareness in a competitive market. “Balancing the demands of running a business with family life is difficult, but it’s a delicate dance that I’m learning to master,” she says. Additionally, staying true to the values of natural, quality products while keeping up with industry trends is a different challenge, but Temprance remains determined to succeed. “Each challenge has been a learning opportunity. By maintaining a resilient mindset and viewing challenges not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth, I have persevered. My challenges have helped to refine my approach and fuel my passion to provide the best for my customers. It’s a dynamic journey, and each obstacle has only fueled my determination to create a business that thrives amidst adversity. It’s all part of the adventure, and I’m grateful for every step of it!” So what’s next for My Natural Butter and Temprance? She says exciting things are on the horizon. “I am gearing up for a journey of growth and innovation. The focus remains steadfast on expanding my product line, introducing even more natural and effective solutions for my customer’s beauty and wellness needs. I am also committed to promoting holistic self-care. Stay tuned for exciting launches, partnerships, and experiences beyond traditional beauty offerings. I am working to create the very best experiences for my clients because their beauty and well-being deserve nothing less!” h

26 Denver - March/April 2024

Denver - March/April 2024


28 Denver - March/April 2024

Crytal Hemphill-Haley

Crisis To Connection

By Terry L. Watson - Photos Providied by Too Rise Up Inc Crystal Hemphill-Haley has dedicated her life to serving. She is the First Lady of the United Christians Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles and has been married to Pastor Nathaniel G. Haley Sr. for 16 years. Together, they have seven Children and six Grandchildren. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently seeking her masters in the same field. Additionally, Crystal works as a public servant to various disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles, as well as the Inland Empire.

Denver - March/April 2024


We need our community to trust us and allow us to assist and help them. They have often been let down, and promises were made and broken by other organizations. For this very reason, I take what I do seriously. Crystal Hemphill-Haley

30 Denver - March/April 2024

Crystal is also the founder of the Too Rise Up Non-Profit Foundation. “My focus is to bring resources and services into communities in need,” she says. To Rise Up provides health and wellness services, food distribution, drug addiction recovery programs, spiritual counseling, and resume writing assistance for job seekers. Additionally, they offer free professional clothing for job interviews, CPR training, PTSD Counseling, housing for abused women, and Safe Passage Facilities. They also offer mentorship programs for boys and girls, summer camps, and Professional Security Training. Along with her co-founder, Delores Simms, they are driven to make a difference, as they have experienced similar challenges and risen above community and social struggles and inequities to achieve a particular level of success.

Crystal says the motto for herself and Too Rise Up is “The Sky’s The Limit”. Moving forward, Crystal plans to lead her organization by being instrumental in establishing programs and resources. This includes developing community policies that will be vital in changing the trajectory of what happens in Los Angeles, The Inland Empire, and surrounding areas. To learn more about Too Rise Up, please visit their website.


Delores Sims is the mother of two children and has a passion for helping youth and their families. “I have worked for the Kaiser Hospital for the past 15 years, and in my capacity, I have had the opportunity to provide support to many in need,” she says. The Too Rise Up Non-Profit Foundation was born out of a sincere desire and passion to help others in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. “We have been working in these various communities for three years, and we are full speed ahead in our efforts to make a profound and positive impact on these communities and to improve the quality of life for the many needy families and youth of these communities. More than anything, Sandra states she appreciates the opportunity she has to help enrich the lives of members in her community. “I love seeing our organization make a difference in people’s lives. I have a sincere heart for people, and to be able to give back to needy communities, even the very community where I was raised, is very fulfilling. It’s a great blessing and falls directly in line with my husband’s vision for our ministry.” Too Rise Up has a wonderful support system and network of professionals and organizations. Those partnerships are essential in helping Crystal and her team reach those who most need her services. She says, “We need our community to trust us and allow us to assist and help them. They have often been let down, and promises were made and broken by other organizations. For this very reason, I take what I do seriously. We have staff and members of our organization who fundamentally understand our mission, and therefore, they work diligently in their capacity, in a spirit of excellence, and with integrity. We are obligated to them and committed to being transparent and open about every program and resource we offer. This is how we gain and maintain our client’s trust.”

Crystal Hemphill-Haley

Denver - March/April 2024

Too Rise Up


32 Denver - March/April 2024

Keisha James CC PatchWorks LLC

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Keisha James Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered for its sudden and harsh wave of destruction imposed throughout the world. Countless lives were lost, sickness and illness became bedfellows with fear, and the adage of tomorrow isn’t promised lived up to its daunting declaration. As with each storm, there are often a few bright spots that were revealed in the pandemic’s wake. One is the creation of CC PatchWorks LLC. Keisha James of Norfolk, VA, shares the vision to launch CC PatchWorks LLC, which came from her desire to serve the early education community during the pandemic by providing virtual administrative support to childcare providers. Her desire grew into serving entrepreneurs who serve children and families. CC Patchworks LLC offers Processes & Systems Consulting Services to establish and improve systems within her clients businesses. She is passionate about serving black and brown entrepreneurs who may be starting or fully established. Keisha’s goal is to establish or improve systems within her client’s business. Presently, she is in the process of releasing a children’s book and working on launching a Homeschool Hub & Networking platform that will allow entrepreneurs to establish profiles to market their businesses. Additionally, homeschooling families can connect and utilize resources from highlighted companies or providers that offer educational support services. “I aim to support the whole child through my work because they are influenced by what they are connected to. This can be their environment, immediate support circle, parents, families, educators, and community. By supporting these core components, our children will have a solid foundation to be successful throughout life,” she says. Keisha is a natural lover of life. She is an entrepreneur, educator, and empowered single mother of one charismatic little boy. She is the eldest of four children from her mother and the second eldest from her father. “My father is native to Antigua and my mother’s father native to Grenada so I am of Caribbean Descent,” she says. Keisha was born in Brooklyn, NY and later raised in Atlantic City, NJ. Her educational path began in Early Childhood Education & Development. Keisha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Family & Child Studies and a Master’s in Teacher Leadership & Educational Management. She is a Certified Infant & Toddler Class Observer with a Certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship, a Certificate in Career Coaching, and a Certificate as a Trauma-Informed Individual. Additionally, she is the Co-Founder of Curriculum Agents.

Denver - March/April 2024


“My business has impacted children, families, contractors, and business owners. Most importantly, I work to ensure that they have the support, tools, and resources needed to operate effectively.”

Keisha has provided her services to entrepreneurs in various industries, including Health Care, Beauty and Hair Care, Food and Beverage, and Professional Services as well as Education and Child Care. “My business has impacted children, families, contractors, and business owners. Most importantly, I work to ensure that they have the support, tools, and resources needed to operate effectively,” she says. Being an entrepreneur can come with many challenges. Keisha says that one challenge she has faced is starting over following a divorce, all while starting two companies, being a present parent, and homeschooling her son. She has managed her challenges by dedicating her time into laying a new foundation for her family by pouring her passion and creativity into growing her businesses. “Things have been tight, but my son is my motivation, and I am vested in doing right by him,” she says. Keisha has also benefited from the support of her SCORE mentor, the Start Small, Think Big program, and her loyal clients and closest friends. “Self-care through journaling, counseling, self-help books, yoga, aromatherapy, daily walks, music, meditation, and prayer have also played significant roles.” Though Keisha has faced some difficult moments, maybe more than she anticipated, she doesn’t regret anything that has happened. “Life is about learning and growing through trial and error to figure out who we are and what works best for us,” she stated. In the future, she plans to publish ebooks and children’s books and launch a homeschool hub. She also hopes to expand her business by hiring other virtual administrative assistants in the near future. To learn more about CC PatchWorks LLC, please visit their website. h

Keisha James CC PatchWorks LLC 757-354-4596 34 Denver - March/April 2024

Denver - March/April 2024


“If you can be the best, then why not try to be the best?” Garrett Morgan

36 Denver - March/April 2024

Mecca Causey The son of Ryan Causey and Nijalon Jackson-Causey

Denver - March/April 2024


38 Denver - March/April 2024

Denver - March/April 2024


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