Defeating The Distractions
There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!
I’m a firm believer in God-given purpose and assignments. Huami Magazine is a result of answered prayers and isolated conversations with God. I could hear God’s voice mainly due to my ability to block out any unnecessary noise and ultimately focus on what I was seeking God for. I had a yearning for something more, something greater than myself, but I knew I didn’t possess the ability to visualize it by my own efforts. I had no choice but to rest on what I needed for God to show me.
A Letter from the Editor
What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do?
The experience I just described exemplifies the power of defeating distractions blocking and holding our blessings and purposes hostage. Distractions are often present as a means to prevent us from seeing or hearing the things needed to grow. Distractions are only effective when we allow them to be. Even more, distractions have no power unless we give them power.
What are you allowing to have relevance in your life that serves as a distraction? What are you giving energy and attention but serves you no purpose or benefit? If you can identify what is fruitful and what is not in your life, you will take the first step in clearing the path to what is purposed for you—your destiny.
I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge to me 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 something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life.
Distractions can present themselves in various ways and forms. Distractions can be friends or associates. Distractions often appear in text messages, emails, and other places such as social media platforms. Distractions can begin as small meaningless occurrences but can grow into things that consume your time and affect how you act, move, and live.
The best advice ever given to me happened when someone told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused with being arrogant.
We must eliminate distractions to reach our goals and live more purposeful lives. We must focus on the things that help us become the most excellent versions of ourselves. While many things in life can be reproduced and duplicated, time isn’t one of them, and with the time that life offers us, we must make the most of it.
My best advice is for you to live your life to the fullest potential by identifying and defeating distractions.
Make you tomorrow happen today, but most importantly make it count. Life is but a whisper and we must put ourselves in a position to hear what it is telling us.
The Source Unlimited LLCBy Terry L. Watson
Without question, Jensine Reeder is a lover of all people. The Greenville, SC, resident has a reputation for giving and pouring into others. She has intentionally made limitless connections across the beauty, technology, and nonprofit sectors and provided hope and opportunities while doing so.
Jensine’s story reflects the life of someone who has refused to be denied or misled. She shares, “Family has always been important to me. I grew up in Greenville, SC, as the oldest of five siblings, and Southern Baptist ideals shaped my adolescent identity. While the church offered community, support, and love, it also led me to believe that money, specifically desiring money, is bad. I scraped by for years to make ends meet. I hoarded basic supplies like toilet paper and worked tirelessly for less than minimum wage to feed myself and my family. My efforts kept us fed, and we were alive but not truly living. I knew deep in my bones that I was capable of more, and we deserved more.”
Jensine says her career and entrepreneurship journeys taught her wealth is not inherently evil. “I learned that money is neither good nor bad but simply a tool. What matters is how you use it. Money provides stability and offers opportunities. I wanted to allow my children to pursue their education, dreams, and passions and access the best care and resources money could buy. Furthermore, I never wanted my children to feel the suffocating fear of living paycheck to paycheck. So, I carved out a new career path for myself and climbed from minimum wage jobs to a salaried position,” she says. However, little did she know her journey out of poverty had only begun.
Today, Jensine owns Source Unlimited LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to connecting small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and corporations with the resources necessary to thrive professionally. “We offer nonprofit IT consulting services to ensure data collection procedures are efficient and accompanied by effective workflow processes,” Jensine says. “That enhanced efficiency better positions organizations for additional funding opportunities and enables organizations to tell their stories.”
One of the services offered by The Source Unlimited is Professional Nonprofit IT Consulting. Her goal is to ensure data collection software and procedures are efficient and accompanied by effective workflow processes. “This positions the organization for additional funding opportunities,” she says. Another product offered is Elevation Coaching™, designed for small business professionals, which offers small business establishment for Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), Incorporation (Inc), Sole Proprietorship, and Nonprofit (501(c)(3) establishment. Additionally, they offer coaching with a phased approach to growing their clients’ businesses.
Another product offered, which is designed for individuals, is Elevation Coaching™. Jensine asks, “Are you ready for your elevation journey? We offer a process to tap into your highest self and elevate your thinking about yourself, your purpose, and your life! My services are for anyone with a vision to start or expand their business and needs guidance, support, and accountability.”
Jensine’s creative side is displayed with Goddess Wraps by Jensine™, which was launched in 2021. She hand-makes vibrant satin-lined headwraps with 100% Cotton Ankara fabric lined with high-quality satin. She says the line resulted from her doing some soul-searching and learning what her life’s purpose was. Annually, a portion of their sales are donated to organizations that focus on raising awareness about breast cancer and alopecia. Additionally, Jensine provides virtual and in-person wrap services for photoshoots, date nights, weddings, birthday celebrations, anniversary events, and more.
Jensine says her journey in poverty began in 2012 while working as a paralegal at a private law firm. She overheard a conversation between the attorneys about a client who didn’t understand their life of poverty. At that moment, Jensine learned there was a difference between being poor and being in poverty. “I was in shock because, according to my family and friends, I was doing well for myself because I had a good job, a car, and was renting a home. I then researched what career I could transition to in order to increase my income to make enough money to be above the federal poverty line,” she says.
Her next move was returning to college to get her degree in Computer Technology at Greenville Technical College. While being a full-time student, she worked on campus in the Engineering and Technology computer lab, an experience that allowed her to sharpen her skills and gain professional experience. Jensine shares that with the support of her family, friends, and church members, she graduated with honors in 2014 with a degree in Computer Technology.
Continuing her educational journey as a working mother required great personal sacrifice, Jensine confesses, but she was ready to pursue a career in technology. She soon started her consulting business, The Source Unlimited. In no time, doors began to open in her favor. Jensine says, “The United Way of Greenville County was searching for a Database Administrator. I applied and got the contract, and that seven-year opportunity helped me find my niche within the technology field. I also assisted over 222 Greenville County nonprofits with acquiring over $4 million in grant funding.” She was off and running, and The Source Unlimited LLC was birthed in 2014.
Jensine’s new career helped her purchase her first home in 2015. “My children and I were so happy to have a place to call home,” she says. Her children also inspired her to share her story with others and pursue public speaking engagements throughout the Upstate community.
I was in shock because, according to my family and friends, I was doing well for myself. I had a good job, a car, and was renting a home.”
When asked what she loves most about her journey in business, Jensine says it’s the opportunities she has to mentor entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and professionals. She enjoys transforming their lives, careers, and mindsets through the power of radical self-discovery, self-care, and self-love. “I also love the opportunity to honor my Afro-Indigenous heritage with Goddess Wraps by Jensine.”
Jensine emphasizes that external success cannot exist without internal success, and when she reflects on the fear, anger, and grief that consumed her at the beginning of her journey, she’s overwhelmed with joy. “I cherish and appreciate the peace, prosperity, and stability my family knows now. I am also humbled by the blessings God placed in my life,” she said.
Jensine thanks the members of her community for their constant support. She also thanks her mother for always breathing life into her vision. “Thank you, Mom, for being the wind beneath my wings!” Her advice to others who may follow in her footsteps is simple. “Life will never be without trials and tribulations, but we are strong, creative, and gifted enough to turn those trials and tribulations into something more. Whether it takes a year, a decade, or multiple decades, you can transform your life. You have everything you need within you to start and succeed.”
The future looks very bright for this savvy businesswoman. Jensine’s businesses and brands are growing, and soon she will launch a new men’s line at the beginning of 2024. To learn more about The Source Unlimited LLC, please visit their website.
Kala Slade is the super stylish owner of Unikornish, the brand that celebrates one’s individuality. The Greensboro, NC, native has been a serial entrepreneur and hairstylist for 24 years and counting. She’s tried her hand at all types of businesses that intrigued her. For the most part, if she wants to do it, it’s done.
So how did Unikorn-ish come into the picture? Well, Kala has dealt with depression and anxiety, and to help, she joined a group called ‘I Rock My Curves,’ a modeling agency for plus-sized models. At first, it was a hobby to get her mind off the things she was dealing with, but as she grew within the agency, it became so much more.
Entering the industry at 42, Kala did not fit the usual profile, but she used that to her advantage. “I wanted to do something that would encourage others to accept their differences, walk in it, and be comfortable with who they are.” That was when she gained the nickname ‘Unicorn Chick.’ When she started modeling, Kala constantly changed her hair, keeping it original.
Overall, this boost in self-confidence and the inspiration from the ladies in the agency motivated her to open Unikorn-ish, which was officially established in August 2020. Unikorn-ish offers many brightly colored, unique items, from t-shirts, hats, and lip gloss to duffle and messenger bags. She also sells limited edition items from time to time.
Kala’s primary goal is to give back to her community. To do so, she has partnered with the local nonprofit Peace of Hope, founded by her best friend. The organization provides various services for those struggling with mental health and illness. With each purchase made on Unikorn-ish, 10% goes to Peace of Hope. “I love being able to work with someone so close to me, and at the same time, I am able to help strengthen their business as well,” Kala says. Kala believes, “It’s our differences that make us,” and loves that through Unikornish, she can encourage and help others.
Finding a group of people who love unicorns just as much as she does is icing on the cake. Kala’s work through Unikorn-ish has kept her and others pushing through major and everyday issues. She notes that the business has a sense of hold on her and says, “when I want to give up, it won’t let me go.”- Photos Provided by Kala Slade
Kala also says she feels accomplished seeing the joy on customers’ faces, and witnessing the impact it has on their lives. “A lot of times, God does things, and you think He’s giving it to you for other people. In reality, He’s giving it to you too. I thank God daily for His grace and mercy and for putting me in a position where my testimony helps others.”
As her business grew, there were a few challenges. One was learning her target audience and ensuring she reached them. Plus becoming more tech-savvy in a now heavily virtual world. Although Kala has come out of her shell more, there were times when she second-guessed her purpose. But just like the original unicorn she is, Kala flew past the problems. She stretched outside her comfort zone through prayer and skill-building and broadened her horizons. She took classes that would help her invest in her business and herself as a person.
Through her journey, Kala found her ‘why.’ She says, “If I can remember that there’s somebody else out there feeling and thinking how I’m feeling today. If I can say something or do something that can give them hope for one more day, that’s my ‘why’. I want to make sure no one feels alone in this.”
As for the future, Kala’s primary focus is the growth of Unikorn-ish. “It’s bigger than just me; I just want people to embrace themselves and be ok with that.” She is also working to create a platform where anyone can join her, talk about what’s going on in their lives, and create opportunities to pour into your girls.
Uncle Reggie’s CateringBy Terry L. Watson
If you are looking for proof, check their reviews. Uncle Reggie’s Catering is regarded as one the best catering services available in the Richmond, VA, area and is known for its Mac n Cheese (Smac Mac).
Owned and operated by Richmond native Reggie Rhoades, Uncle Reggie’s Catering offers a variety of items for their clients, including brunch, lunch, and dinner. They also offer a buffet, drop off, or drop off with setup services for events. Additionally, they allow their clients to customize menus to fit their events. Reggie shares that his services are designed to be professional and affordable.
Reggie describes himself as someone who loves to cook. He earned his culinary degree from Virginia College in 2007 and started his catering company shortly after. He has been married to his wife, Alisha, for 20 years, and they share four beautiful kids; Quintrell, Mariah, Jordan, and Reginald Jr. They also have a grandson, Dazai.
Uncle Reggie’s Catering came to life because Reggie was connected to the right person and at the right time. He shares, “My wife’s best friend Kenya Bundy had a catering business when I graduated from culinary school. Her business was thriving, and she would have to turn down many potential clients due to her already being booked. She brought the idea of catering to me, and I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I gave it a try. Kenya took me under her wing and taught me everything about catering, and I have been blossoming ever since.”
Besides cooking, Reggie says he loves making people happy through his food. He also loves meeting different people regularly and experiencing different venues. He credits his mother for instilling the importance of working hard and being consistent in everything he does. “My mother is my rock, and I love her to the ends of the earth,” he says.
Reggie advises others who may follow a path similar to his to have realistic expectations. “Running a catering business is a fun but sometimes stressful job. You have to ensure with every event that you give 100% to your clients no matter what. It is your job to help make their event as successful as possible,” he says.
Moving forward, Reggie says he plans to own a food truck. He says he would also like to do more travel catering jobs for artists. He mentions that he just finished a catering job for the Lacrae tour.
To learn more about Uncle Reggie’s Catering, please visit their website.
“My wife’s best friend Kenya Bundy had a catering business when I graduated from culinary school. Her business was thriving, and she would have to turn down many potential clients due to her already being booked. She brought the idea of catering to me, and I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I gave it a try.”By Terry L. Watson
I Can Overcome,
Angel Johnson is sort of a world traveler. Her feet have touched down in many places, such as Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan. However, she is still a true Southern girl.
Originally from Charleston, SC, she attended the Citadel Military College there and is one of the first one hundred black women to graduate from there in its 150 year history. Her next move, she was commissioned into the United States Air Force as a Second Lieutenant and enjoyed an eight-year career there, obtaining the rank of Captain while, of course, traveling abroad.
All of her experiences have shaped Angel into the person she is. Today, she resides in Denver, CO, and owns ICONI. “I consider myself a start-up founder that likes leggings,” Angel says. Her company offers products for men and women, such as leggings, sports bras, shirts, shorts, and tops. Angel adds, “ICONI activewear delivers motivation and empowerment, and we guarantee to safeguard and support our customers’ bodies. More importantly, we aim to ensure our customers can focus on their workouts instead of see-through, non-supportive, low-quality, and boring activewear.”
ICONI is an acronym for “I Can Overcome, Nothing Is Impossible”.”The ICONI logo represents power, strength, and versatility. The base is a power button representing your power to accomplish your goals. The overlay is the Adinkra symbol for strength and versatility. It takes all these elements to control your total wellness, especially when starting a fitness journey.”
“I consider myself a start-up founder that likes leggings.”Photos Provided by Angel Johnson
Facebook @ICONI Leggings
Instagram @ iconileggings
Tiktok @ iconileggings
Twiter @ iconileggings
While still in the military, Angel started her company. The idea came about in October 2019, but the company was launched in January 2020. Angel says, “I got tired of spending so much money on activewear. I never understood why women’s activewear was see-through, and I wanted to change that. I also learned that other women shared the same concern, as well as others regarding active wear.”
To build the ICONI brand, Angel utilized the power of social media. “I asked questions about the issue other women had about activewear. One thing I learned was the issue they had with leggings falling down. I thought to myself, well, I need to ensure that leggings will not fall while my clients work out. I need to make sure they are not see-through and have compression. I used social media and the feedback from my friends to help create the best products.”
In addition to finding ICONI products on their website, they can be purchased from their Amazon store. Their goal is also to have them available in five to seven boutique stores and gyms by the end of 2023. “We are moving slowly with distribution because gyms will reach out to us to have our products available in their business, but they are not an inclusive environment. We only want to work with inclusive environments because our customer base is very diverse.”
Angel credits her mother, Pearl, with having the most considerable influence on her life. “She has always taught me the value of having a hard work ethic. She taught me the value of working hard at some things and keep going,” Angel said.
After launching her brand, Angel faced the challenge of the Covid 19 pandemic. She had an activewear line, and her original marketing goal was to go into the gyms, but most gyms across the country were closed. She overcame this challenge by networking and applying to various databases and even hired a marketing company to assist with her marketing needs. Those challenges Angel shares have only made her a stronger and wiser businesswoman.
There have been some highs and lows with running her company, Angel shares. One high was when it was listed as one of Oprah Winfrey’s favorite things in November 2020. Angel says that experience turned her side hustle mentality into a fully-fledged business. Since its inception, they have done over half a million dollars in sales. Now, with the assistance of outside investors and a marketing company, the projections look promising.
Looking ahead, Angel says she hopes to give back and mentor other aspiring entrepreneurs. She also wants to expand their size range and incorporate more fabric technologies into their clothing.
To learn more about ICONI, please visit their website. h
Supplemental Education LLC CassandraBy Terry L. Watson
Photos Provided by Cassandra Bruington
Cassandra Bruington of Kansas City, MO, is an educator, speaker, and relationship-builder. She uses her gift of encouragement to help parents of K-12 students to use their voices to ensure accelerated learning.
Cassandra’s love for empowering others to grow has opened many doors of opportunity for her. Along with holding her Master’s degree in Education, Cassandra has 14 years of experience in education and has started multiple businesses. One of those businesses is Supplemental Education LLC, a virtual tutoring service catering to Kindergarten through 12th-grade children. Supplemental Education creates customized learning roadmaps focusing on a child’s strengths to address their unique learning needs and reach their learning goals.
Cassandra says, “We match students with qualified tutors who specialize in building strong relationships with families. One-on-one tutoring sessions are targeted and engaging, and our students experience accelerated academic, social, and emotional growth. Even more, our services are virtual, which means we can reach students from any location!”
As an added bonus, Supplemental Education gives parents and tutors personalized ongoing coaching, training, and support through monthly workshops and video tutorials. Cassandra also offers a learning resource library with topics ranging from how to plan an engaging read-aloud to how to make learning from home real and fun! Parents can even find free learning resources on Supplemental Education’s YouTube page.
Cassandra shares she loves empowering parents with the mindsets, skills, and knowledge that unlocks extraordinary learning which starts from home. She thrives in building relationships through humor, humility, and connection while empowering adults to support children to reach their fullest potential. “I launched Supplemental Education LLC in 2020 to ensure that children grow and thrive in the world. In two years, my business has supported more than ten families in six cities nationwide. My students’ results range from earning 100% on math assessments to scoring in the 82nd percentile on a national reading assessment,” she says.
The ideal client for Supplement Education is a K-13 parent who recognizes their involvement in their child’s education experience is not just significant; it’s critical. They may be lacking information on how the school system works, but they believe their voice can and will ensure learning success for their child. “We call them Parent Plus. A Parent Plus is ready and willing to engage with the school system to center their child’s academic, social, and emotional success. They know their child best, and so they know what’s best for their child. A Parent Plus doesn’t need a teaching degree to advocate for their child’s education. They have a superpower called love that allows them to think, say, and do what’s best for their child, especially empowered with information about the best ways to engage with their child, the school, and community resources. We supplement what they already have because love conquers all.”
We match students with qualified tutors who specialize in building strong relationships with families. One-on-one tutoring sessions are targeted and engaging, and our students experience accelerated academic, social, and emotional growth.”
The Parent Plus workshops Cassandra hosts help parents develop a plan for success by getting clear of a specific goal, setting tangible steps toward it, and scheduling success and celebration. During this process, parents are positioned as their child’s first teachers and have the option to enroll them in virtual tutoring, such as one-on-one parent coaching or live monthly group coaching and accountability.
Cassandra’s passion for teaching took her to the island of Costa Rica. She taught and led literacy for our Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle School there. Her classroom and curriculum support extended to the high school setting as well. When Cassandra returned to the States, she wanted to partner with parents and help them accelerate their children’s success, but she needed clarity on how to proceed. She asked her parents and colleagues, and Cassandra’s answer came from writing a book, ‘ABCs: How to Help Your Child Succeed in School’. That was a precursor for her work during the COVID-19 virtual school crisis. While on bed rest during the onset of the pandemic, Cassandra began supporting a rising 5th grader in developing foundational reading and literacy skills. At the same time, she started coaching a Black American teacher who was working with English Language Learners in Mexico. Cassandra welcomed the challenge.
Cassandra was able to accomplish all of this while she was pregnant with her son. Not to mention, her son had recently received a diagnosis of spina bifida and was recovering from prenatal surgery. She pushed through and assisted others as much as possible while on bed rest. “After I had my son, I launched Supplemental Education. I knew more parents needed the type of support I was able to offer during the pandemic. After launching, I recruited and onboarded 15 teachers, enrolled in business coaching, and grew my client base. The rest is history!
The impact Cassandra’s company has made has not gone unnoticed. She says, “I am changing education one family at a time. I love that parents own their power, and we partner with them as they lead their child’s learning success. It’s beautiful to hear about students whose growth means they no longer require tutoring. I find comfort in knowing that when students reach a new hurdle in learning, Supplemental Education is the first place they think of for support and accelerated results.”
Cassandra’s parents, she admits, have mostly impacted her life. She says, “My dad grew up between NYC and South Carolina, and my mom was born and raised in St. Matthews. They met as kids and grew up knowing one another’s families. Their love story is beautiful, and they have always been committed to building a strong family of relatives and friends centered around Jesus Christ,” she says.
Raised as a child of parents who served in the military, Cassandra traveled often. Her parents supported her when she wanted to travel to Paris, Italy, and Prague in middle school. When Cassandra studied abroad in South Korea and South Africa, they also helped fund her extracurricular aspirations. “I am doing what I love because of their example.”
One of Cassandra’s biggest challenges was her unborn son being diagnosed with Spina Bifida – Myelomeningocele in 2020. After hearing all my options, she agreed to undergo surgery while pregnant so surgeons could stitch his back closed, giving him a chance to live and one day walk. Three and half weeks later, Cassandra lay on the operating table, fully aware of the risks but hopeful of the outcome. Then the world shut down due to the spread of the Coronavirus. She spent three months on bed rest, away from loved ones, with limited visitors. During this period, she attended weekly ultrasound appointments until she delivered her son, Josiah, by C-section, as scheduled. Today he’s walking and thriving as a smart, clever, musical, and talkative three-year-old.
Cassandra advises others who may experience a life or business journey like hers to stay the course. “It doesn’t mean things won’t shift and evolve, but if you’re willing to grow, you’ll get clearer and clearer with each step you take. Entrepreneurship is worth personal development alone. As you change, so will the world,” she shares. “Also, invest in yourself first. Look good, feel good, be good, and do good every day,” she says.
As the future looks bright for Cassandra and Supplemental Education LLC, she is excited to partner with schools and school districts. “The answer to every issue in education lies in our ability to awaken, empower, and re-position parents as their child’s first and best teacher, indefinitely. As school leadership partners with Supplemental Education, I’m convinced we can change education, one family at a time.”
To learn more about Supplemental Education, please visit their website. h
“You are all Iconic..... That’s the Truth”
Are you looking for new music to add to your playlists? If so, then you must consider Charlotte, NC, very own Kiing Le and the Iconic Truth Band. Iconic Truth Band has the “I.T.” factor capturing a unique and infectious Go-Go vibe. While displaying various components of percussion and vocal excellence, audiences will always be enlightened and entertained.
Born and raised in South East Washington, DC, Kiingi, a natural neo-soul artist, moved to North Carolina in his thirties to pursue music. Surprisingly, he didn’t start as a go-go artist; Kiing was pursing other interests. He was a personal trainer and owned a company, Get Fit For A King. Soon his focus would change, or more so, get in alignment with his true passion for music.
Kiing’s pursuit of music grew while living in Charlotte. He joined a few R&B bands as a lead vocalist. This was his platform until a friend took him to see a go-go band in Charlotte. After attending a few of their shows, Kiing auditioned to be a vocalist, but he didn’t make the cut. Determined to succeed, he didn’t let that stop him and eventually earned the role of the band’s talker. He says, a talker is like an orchestrator; they give shoutouts and help boost the crowd’s energy. “If you know the talker and the talker knows you, you’re popular.” From the platform of band talker, everything started to fall into place for Kiing.
He would stay with that particular band for nearly eight years before leaping to do his own thing. Thus the birth of The Iconic Truth Band happened. Launched in 2020, Iconic Truth started with Kiing, his cousin Darnell, and Keena Thompson. The band chose the name ‘Iconic Truth’ because it genuinely reflects their energy. Kiing says his mentee told him, “You all are iconic, and that’s the truth”. The group was excited about the opportunity to be a fresh new face on the band scene and a new voice for Go-Go.
Like anything else that starts from scratch, there were some hurdles and obstacles the band had to endure. Kiing says, “It was a struggle at first. We would practice in a little section of my home. We had different artists moving in and out, but everything eventually fell into place.”
At one point, Kiing was ready to give it all up. When he started Iconic Truth, it took a toll on his family because of the time and focus he was putting into the band. However, after hearing his music on the radio and his brother’s constant encouragement, he was motivated to continue the journey. He, unfortunately, lost his mother in 2022, but before she passed away, she gave him a folder with his complete bio of work that he did in D.C. When he asked why, she said, “It’s yours.” He says that was her way of reminding him who he was. “You’re Kiing Le, don’t stop; keep it going. She was so proud of me.” From that moment, no matter the trials and tribulations, he decided to move forward.By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Todd Youngblood h
When asked what he loves most about the band, Kiing says he loves the creativity his band brings. “Everyone is so individual, and together, we make Go-Go magic. We can take Mary Had a little lamb and make it into a cranking Go-Go song. What’s interesting is how we work to formulate an original sound through each song and have fun with it simultaneously. As a band, we focus on doing what feels good without trying to fit anyone’s mold. We want everyone on that stage and in the audience to live in their iconic truth.”
Kiing isn’t just a musician; he is also a businessman. He owns a production company, DC2NC Productions, which allows musicians and bands to go schedule live performances. He also contracts DJ’s, comedians, vocals, and more. He also has a clothing line called ‘I Don’t Think You Ready”, a spinoff to his onstage performance. Kiing has also found a way to combine his music love with personal training. On his podcast Cardio Conversation, Kiing talks music with guests while they work out. Additionally, he has enjoyed some memorable moments in his career, such as performing with Mint Condition and SWV, traveling, and performing with other big bands and celebrities. He has also written a song for Tone-X, the voice of V101.9 FM in Charlotte.
Kiing advises upcoming artists to persevere, stay consistent, and connect themselves with people who will challenge them. “Remember always to follow your heart and passion and trust your gut. Most importantly, always put the creator first with everything you do, and everything else will fall in place.”
Kiing’s primary goal is to be known as The King of Southern Go-Go. He says it’s time for Iconic Truth to be known as the “go-to Go-Go band” in the South. He wants his name to be in the company of other greats such as Chuck Brown, Little Benny, The Masters, Big G from Backyard Band, and many more.
In the future, Kiing Le and Iconic Truth Band will continue to be involved with community awareness programs and teach kids more about live music and performing arts, “Performing arts saved my life, and that is something I want to give back to the community.”
Dan Smith Charon Thompson and The Porter House KC Creating Opportunities For The Betterment of OthersBy Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by The Porter House KC
The Porter House KC is an inner city-based co-working community that provides entrepreneurship access and resources to underserved populations in the Kansas City, MO, Metro area. Founded by Dan Smith and Charon Thompson, the organizations’ mission is to be a bridge for underrepresented individuals who typically don’t have access to the entrepreneurial dream. They also assist in representing entrepreneurs of color by providing an affordable business space to grow an idea into a full-fledged business.
Dan is a native of Kansas City and graduated from Bishop Hogan High School. He has worked in for-profit and not-forprofit sectors for the past 18 years, and in addition to the Porter House KC, he has started, owned, and operated five businesses. Dan’s affinity for the not-for-profit sector, explicitly helping underserved populations, started over 20 years ago when his mother exposed him to the importance of helping others. This experience gave him a deep appreciation for the not-for-profit work in underserved communities of color and fueled his drive to help those in need. Dan will serve his first year as a professor at the University of Kansas School of Business this fall. He previously taught at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He shares two boys, Michael and Daniel Jr, with his wife, Aisha.
Charon is not a native of Kansas City, but he has lived in the “City of Dreams” since he was seven years old. Most of his family lives in Dallas, TX, and Shreveport, LA. Charon was a military brat who traveled all over and found his way there by way of his grandmother, a Kansas City resident. He attended Lincoln College Prep and the University of Missouri in Kansas City. At UMCK, he majored in Electrical Engineering, and from there, he started several businesses with Dan and worked with the BNSF Railway for 17 years. One of the businesses he and Dan created was a coffee wholesale company called Black Drip Coffee. Dan is married to Lauren, and together they share two boys and a girl, Caleb, Dylan, and Bryson.
The Porter House KC was developed when Dan and Charon were challenged with access to few resources when starting their business. “We wanted to help entrepreneurs in the community have a sustainable business. We reached out to a couple of businesses and noticed gaining access wasn’t easy. We had to ask the hard questions to make it easy for others who look like us to have access and operate successfully,” they share. “The plight of the minority entrepreneur is one with many struggles and hardships and very few victories. We aim to reverse this narrative and help entrepreneurs grow in victory.”
Why do they serve their community, one may ask? The answer is simple. Dan and Charon are committed to bringing change and opportunity. “We love improving our community and seeing generational wealth pour in.”
Others have shaped and molded the minds of these servants, whom they both acknowledge. Dan says his grandfather and mother impacted his life while growing up. They showed him how to be the man he has come to be. Charon says his mother, twin sister, and brother, John Wilson, helped make him the man he is today. Additionally, he had role models in Deion Sanders and Derrick Thomas as a child.
“The plight of the minority entrepreneur is one with many struggles and hardships and very few victories. We aim to reverse this narrative and help entrepreneurs grow in victory.”
Running a business will always come with its own challenges, and the Porter House KC is no exception. Charon says marketing and getting known in Kansas City is one, while Dan says one of his challenges has been figuring out better ways to connect with his community. “Even though I come from the same community as our target population, the population we’re serving is ever-changing for business owners and changing for them as well,” Dan said.
Their advice to other entrepreneurs, whether in business or thinking about getting into business, is to keep grinding. “Believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities and your vision. Those two things are very crucial. Also, trust your instincts, stay true to your values, and believe in your potential to positively impact your business.” Dan emphasizes that it’s essential to have the power to create a successful business and inspire others as a minority entrepreneur. “Stay resilient, persevere, and let your passion guide this rewarding journey,” Dan says.
In the future, Porter House KC will open another space at 811 W 31st St in Kansas City. The opening is planned for August. “Instead of trying to figure out eCommerce and how to get in the next pop-up show or ‘First Fridays’ type deals, we want founders and business owners to be able to have stores and be a retailer out of their own space. We want to create opportunities for entrepreneurs,” they shared. There will be a lot of surprises when their new space is finished, that is for sure.
To learn more about Porter House KC, please visit their website.
Focuses on two groups of business owners.
Individuals Just Starting Out:
Those wanting to launch a product or create a start-up
Have an idea and the motivation to learn
Needs the resources and facilities to get started
Looking for the education to start on the right path
Entrepreneurs In The KC Metro Area:
Their company is 0-2 years old
Looking to expand operations
Success is haltered
Needs the expertise to continue growing
The Unwind Music Festival September 30th, 2023By Terry L. Watson
The Unwind Music Festival is designed to bring Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, EDM, G0-Go, and other music classifications together under one roof. The brain and visionary behind the festival is Thomasville, NC, native Anthony Anderson, who owns The Unwind Bar in High Point, NC. Anthony is no stranger to event planning. In his early years, he produced gospel concerts in Columbia, SC, and facilitated and managed events in several states throughout his life.
The Unwind Bar opened its doors to the public during the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic. Anthony shares that most people thought opening a business during the pandemic was crazy. He and his team took a gamble and did it, and the results were positive. “The likeness and appreciation of what The Unwind Bar was able to accomplish led to our team researching the impact of live music in our area,” he says. Fast forward, their research has led to the development of The Unwind Music Festival.
Slated to happen on September 30, 2023, at the High Point Theater in High Point, NC. The one-day event will showcase musical talent from around North Carolina. There will be food trucks and vendors on sight, and much more. The team that is producing The Unwind Music Festival includes Anthony, along with his mother Norine Anderson, LaKeith Stevenson, Kika James, and Derrick Jones. The lineup of talent includes Just Once, The Luv Jones Experience, Sumthin 4 Tha People, Alter Egos, and a Mary J. Blige tribute produced by Just Fine.
Some of the sponsors for The Unwind Music Festival are Favor Desserts located in Durham, NC, The Love Jones Experience, Wayne Cotrell with State Farm Insurance, Collaborative Consulting, Dj Jimmy Jam of WJOSHD.com, JMS Catering, Unwind Bar, Harbor One Seafood & Chicken of High Point, NC, and more.
Anthony says his love for live music inspired him to produce The Unwind Music Festival. “I am a pretty laid-back, chill kind of guy, and if I am looking to get into something, I am going to find a place with live music. Live music is good for your soul. It makes you feel good, and people need that nowadays. It has helped people to get back outside and unwind after experiencing the Covid pandemic. The festival was created for those reasons. Music helps people to forget about all the noise. It helps people to unwind. Most importantly, music is life,” he says.
“You have to decide when to start. Once you start, you have to remove any distractions. You must delete all of the noise and the naysayers, those who don’t believe in your vision. If it is in your heart, you must put things in motion and do it.”
The purpose of The Unwind Music Festival is not only to entertain but also to give back. One of the beneficiaries is the Enrichment Fund for the Guilford County Schools. This fund allows all students to benefit from the same enrichment opportunities and for teachers to be as creative as they inspire. Each year, they award hundreds of small gifts that support highimpact learning experiences for as many students as possible. While it is predicated on how well the show does, Anthony shares that a percentage of the profits from The Unwind Music Festival will go to the Enrichment Fund.
Education holds a sincere place in Anthony’s heart. After graduating from college, Anthony spent several years as a teacher. He also spent many years as a site director for a before and after-school program. “I understand the challenges that schools face regarding funding for before and after school, care, and even remediation. That is why we are choosing to place our resources from the festival there,” he says.
Anthony shares the journey to bring a festival to High Point, NC, has been challenging. “Triad natives are producing the festival with no backing from large conglomerates although we hope to obtain the support of some of the city’s way makers. We’re a team of visionaries looking to build a brand and safe platform for the city of High Point to experience and embrace. The journey has encompassed nearly two years, and the response has been incredible. We aim to bring an elevated live music and arts experience year after year.”
An additional challenge with producing The Unwind Music Festival, Anthony shares, has been timing. “I’m one of those people who like to do things in advance. I am a strategic thinker and want to get things done now and be prepared. Getting others to get in line and stand beside you as you move forward is difficult when there is time ahead of you. Most people want to wait for something to materialize. I like to make it materialize.”
It is apparent that Anthony doesn’t believe in wasting time or resources. To produce such an elaborate event as The Unwind Music Festival, he can’t afford to. He says, “I have more years behind me than in front of me. I can’t have reservations about anything. I have realized that it only takes one time to be successful.”
Anthony has some sound advice for those thinking about working for themselves. “Entrepreneurship is not for the timid. You must be willing to pay someone else before you get paid. If you are not selfless enough to do that, entrepreneurship is not for you.” Additionally, Anthony offers some advice to those who may follow a journey similar to his. “You have to decide when to start. Once you start, you have to remove any distractions. You must delete all of the noise and the naysayers, those who don’t believe in your vision. If it is in your heart, you must put things in motion and do it. I do not believe in failing. Give it a shot and see how it goes. There is a lesson to learn in everything. What do you have to lose?”
Moving forward, Anthony plans to continue to create events that his community will embrace and enjoy. He also plans to do his part in contributing to the High Point/Thomasville communities. “I am here to serve and connect with others who have a desire to impact the lives of others positively,” he says.
To learn more about The Unwind Music Festival, including how to become a sponsor or vendor, please visit the event’s website.