Huami Magazine Florida Feb./March 2024

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Feb./March 2024 Vol. 2 Issue 5

My Natural Butter LLC Florida - Feb./March 2024


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

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

It’s Black History Month, and Huami Magazine has produced a gallery of artistic portraits to honor 29 individuals who’ve helped us enjoy opportunities. A many Letter from the Editor 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. What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes dreams have ahas street tothat parkBlack on. What if should Inand recent years,wouldn’t the argument been History be celebrated days year. to I agree. aware there everything365 that youper decided put offI am untilalso tomorrow never needs to be moreThere emphasis annual year-round celebration happened? wouldonbeanno reason to save for a rainy of our Black history. Let’s get thesomeone conversation started,ofand let’s talk day, and you could spare the trouble making about what needs to be discussed. promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do? While producing the gallery for this year, I enjoyed learning more about the individuals are showcased. These include I’ve been told that Ithat often seem like I do too much. George Washington Carver, Elijah McCoy, W.E.B. DuBois, Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a Carter firm G. Woodson, Hiram Rhodes Sarah Boone, Garrett on Morgan, believer in knowing thatRevels, God wouldn’t put anything me and others. It’s fascinating to learn how their perspectives on that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would socialbeissues of their time withwhat the present day. to Asme. BlackI if I chose to sit idleresonate and accept it presented people, we still face similar challenges, and it appears that we are have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity still fighting the same fightsafforded of decades ago. I ask the question, is a blessing that isn’t to everyone. A challenge whattohas mechanged? is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn What are we doing as a people create better something new about myself.toRelinquish yourliving pride and in opportunities for our race and the world as a whole? Tearing each return acquire life. other apart with our words, actions, and slander on social media doesn’tThe solve our problems. We need unity instead.when We need to best advice ever given to me happened someone love told one another a whole lot more. happen How do today. we do that? me to make my tomorrow In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only I believe it begins with usalso genuinely supporting each between other’s hope provided. I have learned the difference efforts, whether in business or our communities. We must love and what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with pray as forwell. our neighbors desirewhen to see succeed. I compareand it totruly knowing toeveryone be confident and Let’s not be too concerned by what the other person has and what when to be quiet, because we may someone lack; instead, find ways maylet’s get it confused to collaborate and level the playing with being arrogant. field for us all. That is real love. Make you tomorrow One’shappen skin color doesn’t define real today, but most love. Real love encompasses culture, importantly make it count. race, and religion. When we get Life is but a whisper and to a place where we care more about we must put ourselves in the a welfare position and survival of our neighbors to hear what it is just as much asus. we do for ourselves, telling real love will already be waiting for us there.

Terry L. L. Watson Terry Watson Editor/Founder


November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

Publisher Terry L. Watson Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Dorjea’ McClammey Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Joy Rogers Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Writers

Tonya Dixon Todd Youngblood Terry L. Watson Photographer Still Shots Photography Alana Allen Photographer Tamara Smith Jeuron Dove Photographers Perfect Lenz Photography Todd Youngblood Photography

General Inquiries Shaw Photography Group Still Shots Photography Howard Gaither Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout

Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett Email 336-340-7844 (336) 340-7844 Mykel Media Company LLC

HUAMI MAGAZINEGreensboro, is published NCquarterly by the Mykel Media Company. AnyReserved reproduction of any 2024 All Rights portion of this publication is prohibited without 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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Family, Life, & Business

Urshala Rivers

On The Cover

My Natural Butter LLC Temprance Bell


Roses Without Thorns Inc.

Veronique Pierre



South Carolina US Senator

Deon Tedder

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Mecca Causey



Also Featured

Thomas C. Dean III From the streets of New Orleans, LA, he has persevered to build a thriving flooring business. Learn more about the path he has taken. Conyers, GA


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


Joy Clayton What began when she was a small child has grown into a life of serving God. Learn more about her journey. Norfolk, VA



Florida - Feb./March 2024

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.


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


Florida - Feb./March 2024

Florida - Feb./March 2024



Florida - Feb./March 2024

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.

Florida - Feb./March 2024


“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.


Florida - Feb./March 2024

Florida - Feb./March 2024



Florida - Feb./March 2024

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



Florida - Feb./March 2024

Veronique By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Veronique Pierre


Veronique Pierre, a native of South Florida, is a mother of three and the youngest of five siblings. In addition to her role as a mother, Veronique is a published author, mental health advocate, entrepreneur, and the visionary founder of Roses without Thorns Inc. Founded in 2019, Roses Without Thorns, Inc. is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering teen girls and young women living with mental illness and mental distress. Roses Without Thorns, Inc. was born from Veronique’s personal battles with depression and anxiety stemming from a series of traumatic events in her life. These battles involved the loss of her father, the murder of her older sister when she was eight months pregnant, and an abusive marriage. Determined to reclaim her happiness and strength, Veronique invested in therapy and self-love. During her journey, Veronique funded Roses Without Thorns, Inc. to empower teen girls and young women facing similar struggles and offer support and resources to foster resilience and healing. “At Roses without Thorns, Inc., our dedicated team is committed to providing a robust support system, fostering resilience, and enhancing the quality of life for individuals in Broward County and beyond. Join our movement to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young women facing mental health struggles,” she says. Veronique earned her master’s degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her book, “The Strongest Woman in the World is You,” reflects her dedication to empowering individuals to overcome challenges and embrace their inner strength.


Being able to share my story and journey with others is incredibly rewarding, especially when it helps them realize that their mental illness doesn’t define them.

Veronique says what she loves most about what she does is the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. “Being able to share my story and journey with others is incredibly rewarding, especially when it helps them realize that their mental illness doesn’t define them. Everyone is like a beautiful and delicate rose without thorns, and it’s a privilege to help others recognize their own strength and beauty,” Veronique shares. Managing the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit organization can be challenging, and Veronique and her team address the ones they face head-on. She says finding the right team, securing funding, and managing time effectively are just a sample of what she encounters. Despite these challenges, she remains committed to making a positive impact and assisting anyone who needs the services they offer. “I concentrate on networking to build the right team, pursue diverse funding sources, and implement efficient time management strategies. I also prioritize self-care and seek support from mentors.” Veronique says that putting God first, having the love and support of her children, and the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life is what inspires her. “My testimony is rooted in faith, family, and the belief that every individual has the potential to overcome challenges and find strength and purpose in their journey,” she says. Looking ahead, Veronique has put plans in place to ensure her organization remains positioned to serve. She says, “The next step for Roses Without Thorns, Inc. and me is to build a strong, dedicated team. With the right individuals on board, we can enhance our programs and services, making a greater difference in the lives of those we serve.” To learn more about Roses Without Thorns, Inc., please visit their website.


Florida - Feb./March 2024

Florida - Feb./March 2024



Florida - Feb./March 2024

A Kingdom Creative By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Sharp Films

Joy Clayton wears many hats: mother, entrepreneur, and ministry leader. She confesses that God is first in her life. “I was born to believing parents who prayed for my salvation at conception. I gave my life to Christ watching the 700 Club when I was three because I couldn’t understand why someone who didn’t do bad things would die for the bad things I did and would do and the bad things others did. That’s the gospel. Innocent blood in exchange for a bloodline destined to be separated from a perfect God. I learned God as I grew.” The Norfolk, VA, resident is the founder of Joy R Clayton Enterprise, LLC. Her company is segmented into various divisions and DBA’s. Joy’s focus is creatively discovering and developing people’s purpose through education, connection, enjoyment, and community. MiraVida Solutions serves families, individuals, cross-sector companies, and nonprofits to assist neurodiverse teens and young adults transition into adulthood. With RIZound Movement Co., Joy aims to restore the zeal for wholistic wellness through movement, nutrition, and spiritual guidance. Other divisions include an urban arts academy and a Christian athleisure brand called Free Conqueror Apparel. Joy is a divorced mommy of one amazing seven-year-old brilliant brown boy whom she says is the light of her life. “I could talk about him all day.” Joy was raised in Delaware but frequently visited family in South Jersey. She attended Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ, and was heavily involved in church, high school, and college activities such as theater, dance, choir, writing/poetry, leading bible studies, and the Black Student Union. At Rider, Joy obtained a B.A in Psychology with a minor in Speech Communication. “Life has given me so many opportunities to develop myself artistically and professionally. I’m a teacher of the Bible and disciplemaker. I also lead two ministries, Arise & Ascend, where our mission is to curate community spaces for God, and 21Verses, a young women’s ministry that teaches others the ways of Jesus and how to navigate life in the Kingdom of God. I am also a business owner, Purposeful Lifestyle Development Coach, Neurodiversity Advocate & Educator, Speaker, and Spoken Word artist,” she says. Joy’s stage name is The Creative Word. Additionally, she is a NASM-CPT-certified personal trainer. At MiraVida Solutions, Joy is building an ecosystem that focuses on the neurodiverse community and those who support them. Her team offers tutoring, community guidance, advocacy and support, and much more. For cross-sector businesses, they are hired to train staff on how to hire, train, and retain neurodiverse people and how to serve them in their company. For communities, Joy says she plans to hold events that support enjoyment in the family dynamic and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We creatively design strategic plans for all three personas,” Joy says. “In phase one, we are developing community partners that will support families on their journey into adulthood and serving families who need a second wind for the next season of their child’s life. It is very scary for parents I speak with to imagine what life will be like for their child living independently or with support. We are here to support those concerns and pain points. In phase two, we are hiring clinicians and opening a clinic that will be franchised or publically traded, Lord willing. In phase three, we are hiring, training, and retaining neurodiverse staff and reaching out to the younger generations to pique interest in this field so we have more color and more men. The mission is to create industry awareness, mentor professionals through scholarship towards certifications, then hire them and teach them to do the same for someone else. Most importantly, discipleship is the model all around.”



Florida - Feb./March 2024

Services with MiraVida Solutions are designed for families with teens and young adults between the ages 16-26. Joy points out that Autism affects African American and Latinx biological males at a higher rate, and as a double minority herself, Joy understands the need to have representation. “All neurodiverse males, and especially BIPOC neurodiverse males, need representation. This includes strong males, strong fathers, strong families, and strong communities. Neurodiversity does not exclude men from a purpose-filled life that leaves a legacy.” Neurodiversity is a new, yet very popular topic. “Diagnoses such as Autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are not sentences to a life of shame, humiliation, and worthlessness. We help families “See Life in the Light”. We take a different approach to help people and their supporters feel empowered. Our long-term plan is to change how the church and the culture adapt to these members of our society.”

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deut. 30:19-20

Joy gives all credit to God for the opportunity she has. “It is God. Period. You read these things on paper, and you think, “Wow!!” and I’m thinking, “How?!” God’s vision is to see people whole and set free. I go by JoyStaysFree on all social platforms because that is what God wants for all people: freedom from sin and the penalty of sin, then freedom to live an abundant life. We can’t live that life apart from Jesus, and He deeply cares about our struggle with Krispy Kreme and sugar, our family issues, our soul work, and the marginalized people with Autism, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. He cares. The enemy of your soul doesn’t give two ants about that five-year-old boy with delayed speech and parents who are trying their best to be parents and help him grow. He doesn’t care about your trauma and the wounds people left on your heart. He aims, fires, and leaves you there to bleed out on everything around you, and that makes God angry. God calls people like us, to take back the land and clean up the mess sin leaves behind. That’s the vision God has for the world, that we would take dominion- to occupy- do business until He comes back to make it right,” Joy says. When asked what she loves most about what she does, Joy shares, “I love to see people set free. I love to see the light bulbs in their mind and heart come on and shine bright when they see improvement and realize they are not alone. I love people even though they be peopling. I love it when people praise God for the victory and when He proves Himself to them by making a river in the desert and streams in the wilderness. I love to see the Son shine His light on a heart and it becomes new.” Joy credits her family, friends, and even former educators for inspiring her to become the woman she is today. She says, “I love my parents. I love them even when it’s difficult to. Relationships are hard, but you have to see the value in what God does when He gives you parents who pray and fast with and for you and teach you about their mistakes and how to avoid them. My son and my sister inspire me, too. It’s about where you come from, where you are going, and what you are leaving behind.” Florida - Feb./March 2024


Reflecting on her testimony, Joy states being saved at a young age does not mean there isn’t suffering, trauma, and heartbreak. Joy admits she walked away from the faith sophomore year in college and deconstructed her faith before it was popular. “God saved me so many nights, I owe Him way more than one life. I was talked about, rejected, cheated on, lied to, abandoned, suffered with anxiety attacks and with depression. BUT GOD!!! God set me free and I have not had anxiety since the day God set me free.” Joy states she has been set free, which is what drives her passion for business and ministry. Joy’s advice to others who may follow a similar path as the one she has is to obey God. “Break the generational cycles and stay free. It may not be easy, but you have to make a choice. Will you live in bondage to what the generations before you did, or will you press forward and accomplish what they could not? The choice for life is up to us. Once you have gotten free, you have to stay free,” she says. Looking ahead, Joy has set her sights on doing God’s business. She states, “If the Lord wills, I’m taking dominion. Period. I’m putting my son in a position of young entrepreneurship, and his coloring book will be released in Spring 2024. As the Lord leads, I plan to build, expand, and grow my businesses and ministries. I want to build a larger family and empower other singles to avoid some of the mistakes I made while training to be an example of Kingdom family life to the world.” Joy concludes by sharing, “Tomorrow is not promised, but there are some promises from God that are conditional upon obedience. I h choose to be a vessel of honor for His glory, and as I obey, His promises are yes, and in Him, Amen.” 24

Florida - Feb./March 2024

Florida - Feb./March 2024



Florida - Feb./March 2024


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.


“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.


Florida - Feb./March 2024

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.”

Florida - Feb./March 2024


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


Florida - Feb./March 2024

Florida - Feb./March 2024



Florida - Feb./March 2024

C. Dean III

Premier Flooring Group Information and Photos Provided by Thomas C. Dean III

The story of Thomas C. Dean III is a classic American story of overcoming adversity through hard work, determination, and guts. But this story comes with some very unusual twists and turns that make Thomas uniquely qualified to inspire others through his gifts as a community leader and public speaker. New Orleans, LA, native Thomas C. Deans was born to a large Creole family. At age 17, Thomas’ mother gave birth to him with the help of her “village,” which included Thomas’ maternal grandparents, his paternal grandmother, his uncle, and five aunts, she raised him. His mother worked a lot to provide for him, a quality Thomas also observed in his Grandfather as he held down three jobs while providing for his family. Witnessing his family’s hard work implanted sound values and work ethics in him, qualities that he continues to carry even today. Throughout his childhood, Thomas’ Grandfather was a revered “Indian Chief” in the 2nd Line Mardi Gras tradition in New Orleans. From the age of five, Thomas’ Grandfather and uncle began to teach him the art of costume making and indoctrinated him into the traditions of the Mardi Gras culture as a young Indian. This would become a defining part of Thomas’ life as he grew older. At the age of 11, Thomas was forced by his Grandfather into his first public speaking engagements. He was commissioned to speak at 28 public schools throughout New Orleans on the traditions and history of the Mardi Gras Indians. At 13, Thomas began working in the French Quarter as a busboy. Money was tight in the family, and part of earning your status in New Orleans as a young man meant dressing to impress. Thomas recalls, “We were a poor community. The only thing guys in the neighborhood had was their appearance, so dressing sharp and staying well groomed was a priority to gain respect and status.” Growing up in New Orleans also meant that Thomas would have to learn how to survive, and knowing how to fight was a necessity if you wanted to go to the playground. “To make it in the neighborhood and gain the respect of your peers, you had to be able to stand your ground and learn to scrap, and that’s what I did,” says Thomas. While Thomas worked a job and even played football in Middle School, academics were more important to his mother, specifically for Thomas to maintain good grades. “My mother’s rule was that I had to maintain at least a B average if I wanted to work during school,” he says. Following his mother’s instruction, Thomas excelled and became captain of the football team, even holding the office of Student Body President. In high school, Thomas continued to hone his public speaking and leadership skills. He was part of the speech and debate club, and in his Senior year, he was class president. As a Senior, Thomas earned a nomination through the Louisiana House of Representatives, gaining him a full scholarship to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Thomas experienced a few ups and downs while adjusting as a young cadet with the U.S. Air Force Academy. Things didn’t go as planned, and at 22 years of age, he returned home to New Orleans and dove directly into his work creating Mardi Gras costumes with his Grandfather and uncle. His uncle had since graduated to become the 2nd generation Indian Chief, following Thomas’ Grandfather, who remained the patriarch. His uncle had fallen ill and was forced to pass the Chief’s stick on to another member of their Tribe. Fortunately, Thomas had developed a formidable self-confidence and was prepared to answer the call of his family’s legacy. Florida - Feb./March 2024


He rejoined the family processions and, that year, created his own costume. While participating in the event, Thomas’s costume and presence in the “2nd Line” procession caught the attention of the community, and people began whispering about how Thomas had outshone the new chief of their tribe. Thomas had created a bright yellow costume, and people said Thomas was the “prettier” one of the two of them. This was unusual, particularly as Thomas was quite young at the time, and this ended up creating a certain degree of jealousy and friction with the new Big Chief. The following year, when Thomas was 23, his Grandfather stepped in to resolve the matter. He determined that between the two of them, Thomas possessed the greater charisma and leadership abilities. So he anointed Thomas to the role of Big Chief and handed him the ceremonial stick. Thomas was given the name “Big Chief Bo”. Something else happened upon Thomas’s return to New Orleans: he reunited with his girlfriend Enola, whom he’d been dating since he was 17. He and Enola were married that same year, and the following year, their twin sons Thomas and Tony were born. In the years to follow, Thomas worked for MCI as a salesperson and at a restaurant at night. When MCI left New Orleans, Thomas moved into a few corporate Sales Management positions, first at Cadillac of Metarie and later with Fairfield Resorts, while continuing to work nights in the restaurant business. His next career venture would be in the flooring business, where he learned the trade and worked doing sales and installations. He also opened a dry cleaners around this time.

Elona and Thomas C. Dean


Florida - Feb./March 2024

In 2003, he decided to open his own flooring store and installation business in New Orleans, Premier Flooring Group. Things were going well, but then Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and turned his business upside down. The impact of the storm was too severe, and Thomas and Enola decided to pack their bags and relocate with their children to Atlanta, GA. What was supposed to be a temporary move became a permanent stay. In Atlanta, Thomas took a position as a sales manager in the flooring business to support his family until his sons graduated high school. A few years would pass while he worked as a salesperson in Atlanta, and Thomas knew there was more that his family needed. Obediently, he opened his heart and asked God to please lead him to something that would provide more financial stability to his family. God was listening.

While attending a meeting at his place of employment, he got a call from his wife, Enola, telling him their home was in flames. Everyone was safe, but the entire house was burning down. All of their belongings, including any family photos that survived Katrina, were taken in the fire. When the fire department arrived, and the scene was investigated, it was determined that a shoe-shining device that Thomas used had shorted and created the spark that ignited the fire. By the grace of God, Thomas had recently restructured his home insurance policy to cover everything. From that tragedy grew a blessing, and Thomas was able to use some seed funding to open his own flooring business. Thomas and his family moved from Stone Mountain to Conyers, GA, and purchased a new home. In 2017, Thomas founded the Premier Flooring Group, the same name as the fledgling company he’d started in New Orleans before Katrina hit. In Conyers, Thomas worked as a community leader, helping in local political campaigns with the Splost Committee, as an Ambassador/Chair in the Rockdale/Conyers Chamber of Commerce, and as a teacher for the Entrepreneurs Academy at the Chamber. In 2019, he graduated from the “Leadership Rockdale” program, and he currently speaks as a mentor for two different organizations: the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, a national group as well as The Hills Academy representing “The Man’s Cave”, a Rockdale County-based mentoring organization that has adopted Hills Academy for its mentoring program. Premier Flooring Group has grown to become a successful business, which Thomas runs today with his two sons, Thomas and Tony. He has 15 teams of installers in the field who run a range of commercial and residential projects ranging from flooring to staircases, kitchen and bath remodeling, and basement renovation throughout the greater Atlanta area. In 2021, Premier Flooring Group was named the #1 business partner for education by the Rockdale/Conyers Chamber of Commerce and Rockdale County Schools. In 2023, Thomas founded the Premier Business Network, a 501c3 and thriving weekly Business Development Organization of entrepreneurs who meet to network, exchange ideas, and help members grow their businesses. He speaks regularly at meetings and does a range of public speaking engagements in and around the Atlanta community, focusing on the power of relationships in building a successful business career. h

Big “Cheif ” Bo

The Conyers Chamber of Commerce 35


Florida - Feb./March 2024

Family, Life, and Business By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Jeffery Rivers Sr. Pensacola, Florida, native Urshala Rivers wears many hats. Though living in the Sunshine State, she has Cajun, Creole, Jamaican, and Indian roots. She is a wife and has been married to her husband, Jeffery Rivers Sr., for thirty years. She is also a mother of nine children and comes from a military background with several family members to serve. She currently has two of her children enlisted. Urshala says she is well-versed and will give the shirt off her back to help others. “I try to practice the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you because I believe the Lord will pay me back tenfold for going out of my way to help someone without thinking twice about it,” she says. Urshala describes herself as a “jack of all trades” type of person. She has a notary license and a travel agent license. She is an event planner and wedding consultant. Urshala also sells Paparazzi jewelry, soaps, and candles. Midnight Angels is the name of her business empire. However, Urshala has several brands under that, including Strawberry Dreams Travel Agency, Urshala Rivers Notary Services, R&R Event Wedding Consultants, African Princess Jewels, and African Princess Precious Jewels. Urshala says her entrepreneurial journey began while she was in high school. “It started with R&R Event Wedding Consultants. I established a social club, and we often conducted fundraising events. Whenever we needed something planned, I would handle it. A couple in high school got married, and I planned their wedding for them,” she shared. Urshala’s next venture was her notary business, which happened after high school in 1997, the same year her second daughter was born, and her travel agency business began in 2001, the same year her first son was born.


Family plays a huge role in Urshala’s life. This includes her husband and children. “My husband is all in. He accepts the title of co-owner. If I need to make a really big decision that will affect our businesses, I always include him. He works in the background as well as out front. When I vend at events, he often assists our clients with their questions about our products. He is all in. Without his assistance, it would probably be much more difficult,” she says. Urshala also has a special needs son, who considers himself a co-owner of her businesses. “He is eleven years old and was born with a rare brain condition. Despite his condition, we treat him like a normal child.” Urshala says what she loves most about being a business owner is interacting with people. Besides her immediate family, she also finds inspiration in her sisters. “I have watched my sisters preserve in life, regardless of their trials. They would not allow the challenges of life to hold them down. When I think about my problems, I reflect on their strength. My sister’s determination encourages me to push through my difficulties,” she says.

I have watched my sisters preserve in life, regardless of their trials. They would not allow the challenges of life to hold them down. When I think about my problems, I reflect on their strength.

Urshala also loves gardening and sewing. It is a hobby that she began with her oldest son as a means to get out of his shell. “I love beautiful flowers. Gardening is also something my special needs love. He loves vibrant, pretty, and wonderful-smelling plants. We are presently working on an orange tree, a lemon tree, and a grapefruit tree. Sewing allows me to express myself. I also enjoy making my grandkids blankets, hats, and outfits. My little princesses always got to look good. They know I love them,” she says. One of the benefits of having multiple brands in her business is the profitable opportunities they present. While one brand may not always be strong in sales, another is and carries the weight of her entire empire. Urshala has created many streams of income, and in doing so, it has strengthened the legacy of her family. Looking ahead, Urshala plans to acquire a brick-and-mortar location to house all her brands in one location. She also wants to create more opportunities that will assist others in becoming self-sufficient in her community. “I do what I do with the thought of serving others in mind. I am called to serve and spread love to others,” she says. h


Florida - Feb./March 2024

Florida - Feb./March 2024


“Dream the impossible because dreams do come true.”

Elijah McCoy


Florida - Feb./March 2024

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

Florida - Feb./March 2024



Urshala Rivers, Owner


Elevate your style with A Few Wood Men’s empowering wooden watches!


Florida - Feb./March 2024

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