Huami Magazine Hampton Roads Feb./March 2024

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® HAMPTON ROADS Feb./March 2024 Vol. 3 Issue 4
Celebrating Black History Month
A Kingdom Creative

“We looked like a wholesome, loving family on the outside, but on the inside, our house was a living hell. I had a controlling father, and my mother was his punching bag. I felt abandonment, fear, anxiety, and depression. I didn’t take care of my childhood trauma, so it showed up in my adult life. I wanted control, and the men in my life were victims of my wrath. My life came full circle when I met a man just like my father.

It is time for my story to be told my way. My trauma. My triggers. My truth.”

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Love Is What Makes Black History Important

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

A Letter from the Editor

It’s Black History Month, and Huami Magazine has produced a gallery of artistic portraits to honor 29 individuals who’ve helped us enjoy many opportunities. Follow our social media pages to enjoy the productions, and please feel free to share and include someone who belongs and is worthy to be celebrated also.

In recent years, the argument has been that Black History should be celebrated 365 days per year. I agree. I am also aware there needs to be more emphasis on an annual year-round celebration of our Black history. Let’s get the conversation started, and let’s talk about what needs to be discussed.

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?

While producing the gallery for this year, I enjoyed learning more about the individuals that are showcased. These include George Washington Carver, Elijah McCoy, W.E.B. DuBois, Carter G. Woodson, Hiram Rhodes Revels, Sarah Boone, Garrett Morgan, and others. It’s fascinating to learn how their perspectives on social issues of their time resonate with the present day. As Black people, we still face similar challenges, and it appears that we are still fighting the same fights of decades ago. I ask the question, what has changed?

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.

What are we doing as a people to create better living opportunities for our race and the world as a whole? Tearing each other apart with our words, actions, and slander on social media doesn’t solve our problems. We need unity instead. We need to love one another a whole lot more. How do we do that?

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.

I believe it begins with us genuinely supporting each other’s efforts, whether in business or our communities. We must love and pray for our neighbors and truly desire to see everyone succeed. Let’s not be too concerned by what the other person has and what we may lack; instead, let’s find ways to collaborate and level the playing field for us all. That is real love.

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.

One’s skin color doesn’t define real love. Real love encompasses culture, race, and religion. When we get to a place where we care more about the welfare and survival of our neighbors just as much as we do for ourselves, real love will already be waiting for us there.

4 4 November/December 2014 Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844 Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Writers Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove Photographers Perfect Lenz Photography Linda Bennett HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any 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 E-mail at (336) 340-7844 On The Cover Photo by Shaw Photography Group
Terry L. Watson
Todd Youngblood Photography Tamara Smith Terry L. Watson Publisher Terry L. Watson Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Dorjea’ McClammey Writer Sherry Rogers Hill Writer Chris Kelly Photographer Snuggs Photography Photographer Terri Jackson Photographer Email Want To Advertise? Call 336-340-7844 Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2023 All Rights Reserved Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website General Inquiries
Letter From The Editor
Terry L. Watson

Sunshine R. Huggins

Introducing Miss Juneteenth USA. Learn more about who she is and what she aims to accomplish with her platform. Norfolk, VA


Jackie and Rodrick

What began as a fundraising idea for their daughters has blossomed into a full time family owned business. Learn more about them.

Fredericksburg, VA

Roberta Lea

It’s all about music, life, and, love. Learn more about this soulful songstress and the journey she has taken in music. Norfolk, VA


A Kingdom Creative Joy Clayton
On The Cover DanzStar Studio Starlet Huger
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Mini Millionaire Moguls Vickayla Pope Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Mecca Causey
18 5
CC PatchWorks LLC Keisha James

A Kingdom

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.”


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.”

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.”

“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


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 choose to be a vessel of honor for His glory, and as I obey, His promises are yes, and in Him, Amen.” h

10 Hampton Roads - Feb./March 2024

Star Huger

DanzStar Studio

At a very young age, Starlet Huger of Virginia Beach, VA, recognized the connection between expression and body movement, and she used that knowledge to translate her emotions into art. But above all else, Star has yielded her body and her life to the one true God, Jesus Christ, who has transformed her dance into worship.

Star readily acknowledges God as her choreographer and is determined to change the world through dance. In her own words, “…Dancing builds faith and removes fear with prayer and consistency. There are no limitations to dancing. What’s deemed a disability can be revived as an ability to dance as long as you exude passion and keep God first.”

“I grew up with a father who was non-communicative and seldomly home. I was not raised with my mother, so I pretty much grew up on my own. In both homes, I experienced abuse, but it was the grace of God who watched over me. Coming up as I did, I always had a passion for other kids who may have faced the same situations or needed extra love or even a conversation. I want to let them know “your childhood doesn’t define you and remind them to seek God always in everything, regardless of how tough it gets,” Star says.

Ultimately, Star wants to save a generation through dance. “A lot of times we ask “why me”. Some things we go through are not only for us but to help other individuals. If I can be of any support to the youth, I will do all I can to help them believe in who God has called them to be; then I feel I have done my job.”

Starlet’s career began as a cheerleader at the age of 12, something that followed her throughout high school. Cheerleading helped to keep her on the right path and opened the door of freedom from a home that was unhealthy.

A lot of times we ask “why me”. Some things we go through are not only for us but to help other individuals.
13 Hampton Roads - Feb./March 2024

After graduating high school, Star moved to California and attended Grossmont College, staying in the sunny city for six years. In addition to her regular studies, Star was teaching lessons and choreographing for a group. She also learned American Sign Language and shared her dream, which is to bridge the gap between the deaf and the hearing through dance.

In California, Star would give birth to her first daughter in 2004. She says that God began to speak to her about how she could dance for Him and not the world. “I wanted to raise my daughter the right way and still dance and do what I loved to do,” she says. Soon, Star would be a single mother of two young girls for 7 years from 2013 to 2020, and praise dance would shape her heart. In the middle of praise dancing is where she received her love, comfort, and healing from the Lord. This was only the beginning of what she wanted the youth to feel while dancing. She eventually got married in 2020 to Efrem Huger, who supported her getting a bigger dance space in the middle of the pandemic.

With all her technique and knowledge, she always remains humble, encourages others, and is relentless in making sure everyone reaches their full potential. An example of this is when she gave her dancers an unforgettable experience, signing them up to travel to New York to perform in Times Square, on Broadway, and attend classes with the Lion King cast. It was the highlight of 2023 to make dancers’ dreams come true.

One thing to remember about this woman who has experienced many trials, tribulations, and heartache is that her passion is to leave a life-changing impact on every student by making sure their emotional and mental state is at a good place while making leaps and bounds in the dance floor. Star believes and lives by Phillippians 4:13...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. “Without him, there would be no me.”

Without a doubt, every student will be empowered while dancing at DanzStar Studio. Now operating in its eighth year, Star Huger is focusing on growing its brand and developing additional programs to reach more students. Her services are offered to individuals as young as two through adulthood.

To learn more about DanzStar Studio, please visit their website. h

14 Hampton Roads - Feb./March 2024


Miss Juneteenth Virginia Queen

Miss Juneteenth USA 2023

Meet teen musical enthusiast Sunshine R. Huggins

Sunshine began teaching herself the Harp at the tender age of eleven years old. With an unyielding vision to bring peace, happiness, and tranquility, she often played her harp to soothe tensions among those suffering from depression during and after the COVID-19 epidemic.

Miss Sunshine directly engages with other teens to help them cope with matters of depression and anxiety. Queen Sunshine is on a mission to elevate young people and become a beacon of hope. At the same time, she educates, elevates, and empowers others about Emancipation and Virginia’s role in the “Story of Us.”

Sunshine is an Honor Roll student and Senior at Smithfield High School. She is looking forward to her High School graduation in June 2024. Her extracurricular activities include being a Smithfield High School band member as the Drum Major. Other accomplishments include serving as the Vice President of the Woman’s Empowerment Club, and she was an active member of the Green Club, which focuses on cleaning and caring for our Earth. She plans on furthering her career at Norfolk State University to pursue a major in Music Therapy while simultaneously certifying as a Surgical Technician.

Amongst other honors, Sunshine is the Inaugural Miss Juneteenth Virginia Queen and represents the sole Juneteenth Ambassador for the state. She is active within the Hampton Roads Community, where she has performed for Virginia’s former Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, the William Tucker 1624 Society, and other historic community organizations.

Sunshine enjoys “all things nature,” and she enjoys creating her own works of art, which include painting, writing music, and crafting. Her life’s motto is: “I am the product of my Ancestors’wildest dreams.”

and Information Provided by Eboni Seals

Keisha James CC PatchWorks LLC

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered for its sudden and harsh wave of destruction imposed throughout the world. Countless lives were lost, sickness and illness became bedfellows with fear, and the adage of tomorrow isn’t promised lived up to its daunting declaration. As with each storm, there are often a few bright spots that were revealed in the pandemic’s wake. One is the creation of CC PatchWorks LLC.

Keisha James of Norfolk, VA, shares the vision to launch CC PatchWorks LLC, which came from her desire to serve the early education community during the pandemic by providing virtual administrative support to childcare providers. Her desire grew into serving entrepreneurs who serve children and families.

CC Patchworks LLC offers Processes & Systems Consulting Services to establish and improve systems within her clients businesses. She is passionate about serving black and brown entrepreneurs who may be starting or fully established. Keisha’s goal is to establish or improve systems within her client’s business. Presently, she is in the process of releasing a children’s book and working on launching a Homeschool Hub & Networking platform that will allow entrepreneurs to establish profiles to market their businesses. Additionally, homeschooling families can connect and utilize resources from highlighted companies or providers that offer educational support services. “I aim to support the whole child through my work because they are influenced by what they are connected to. This can be their environment, immediate support circle, parents, families, educators, and community. By supporting these core components, our children will have a solid foundation to be successful throughout life,” she says.

Keisha is a natural lover of life. She is an entrepreneur, educator, and empowered single mother of one charismatic little boy. She is the eldest of four children from her mother and the second eldest from her father. “My father is native to Antigua and my mother’s father native to Grenada so I am of Caribbean Descent,” she says. Keisha was born in Brooklyn, NY and later raised in Atlantic City, NJ.

Her educational path began in Early Childhood Education & Development. Keisha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Family & Child Studies and a Master’s in Teacher Leadership & Educational Management. She is a Certified Infant & Toddler Class Observer with a Certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship, a Certificate in Career Coaching, and a Certificate as a Trauma-Informed Individual. Additionally, she is the Co-Founder of Curriculum Agents.

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

Keisha has provided her services to entrepreneurs in various industries, including Health Care, Beauty and Hair Care, Food and Beverage, and Professional Services as well as Education and Child Care. “My business has impacted children, families, contractors, and business owners. Most importantly, I work to ensure that they have the support, tools, and resources needed to operate effectively,” she says.

Being an entrepreneur can come with many challenges. Keisha says that one challenge she has faced is starting over following a divorce, all while starting two companies, being a present parent, and homeschooling her son. She has managed her challenges by dedicating her time into laying a new foundation for her family by pouring her passion and creativity into growing her businesses. “Things have been tight, but my son is my motivation, and I am vested in doing right by him,” she says. Keisha has also benefited from the support of her SCORE mentor, the Start Small, Think Big program, and her loyal clients and closest friends. “Self-care through journaling, counseling, self-help books, yoga, aromatherapy, daily walks, music, meditation, and prayer have also played significant roles.”

Though Keisha has faced some difficult moments, maybe more than she anticipated, she doesn’t regret anything that has happened. “Life is about learning and growing through trial and error to figure out who we are and what works best for us,” she stated. In the future, she plans to publish ebooks and children’s books and launch a homeschool hub. She also hopes to expand her business by hiring other virtual administrative assistants in the near future.

To learn more about CC PatchWorks LLC, please visit their website.

20 Hampton Roads - Feb./March 2024
CC 757-354-4596 h

To her fans, Roberta Lea is a rising musical creative ambiguously regarded as a soulful country-neo-pop singer/songwriter. While her style is eclectic, uniquely representing a fusion of musical genres, her familial roles are more precisely defined.

Roberta is the devoted wife of 14 years to her husband, Nick, a retired veteran, and the loving mother to 10-year-old Vanessa and seven-yearold Michael, who seemingly have bustling social calendars of their own. When Huami Magazine caught up with Lea, she was transporting her children to piano practice, a responsibility often shared by Lea’s sister—a wonderful benefit of living within proximity to her family village.

“I am extremely blessed. I have a supportive family with sweet kids, and my husband supports me 100%. We all have dreams that we’re pursuing and supporting one another as best as we can,” she says. For instance, her daughter, Vanessa, is currently participating in a play, “Black Girl Magic,” for which Lea has penned the original music.

Much like her daughter, Lea’s musical journey began in elementary school, where she excelled in both piano and violin. She recalls attending a church concert series where she started exploring other instruments, including the drums. As a teenager, Lea developed a keen interest in songwriting and began crafting original songs for the church band.

“The church is such a great place to incubate talent. It plays a crucial role in talent development. Regardless of your skill level, because you were singing and playing for the Lord, you would receive an ‘Amen’, or someone would tell you that you were great,” she laughed. “It was a space that said, ‘Yes,’” she added.

After high school, Roberta Lea pursued her education at Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach, graduating in 2008. Following the conventional path, she eventually landed a position as a high school Spanish teacher. She says, “I was following the worn, beaten, and predictable path. You graduate from college, get a 9 to 5 job, retire, and get your pension.”

When the opportunity to pursue music arose, Lea found herself at a crossroads, admitting she had no mental framework for how to navigate the process. “I didn’t know how it worked. I was given two extreme perspectives and not enough conversation about the middle class of musicianship. I was told that either you would be a starving artist or sell your soul in the business.” Preferring neither option, she continued teaching while honing her musical craft, as she describes it, “It was something that I could never not do. It was an itch I needed to scratch.”

I was given two extreme perspectives and not enough conversation about the middle class of musicianship. I was told that either you would be a starving artist or sell your soul in the business.
Music. Life. Love

With the onset of Covid-19 and the transition to virtual learning, Lea, like many educators, found herself reevaluating her career. “Not all of my students logged on to participate in class discussions, and when they did, they rarely showed their faces on camera, so I didn’t know what most of them looked like. It made me consider this as an opportunity to make a change,” Lea explained.

Toiling over her decision, she grappled with feelings of doubt and questioned if she was too old to pursue music full-time. “I started feeling like I was too old. I was in my 30s.” She silenced her doubts by drawing inspiration from musical icons like Tina Turner, Bill Withers, and Anita Baker, who found success later in life. “I recall figuratively talking to my 80-year-old self who asked if I had at least tried songwriting and music professionally.” Determined to pursue her dream, she shifted into a different posture, what she coined as the “pandemic pivot.”

As part of her preparation, she and her husband, a realtor, devised a financial plan to support her transition to full-time music. “You really have to put yourself in a financial position where you can devote your attention without the weight of needing to make money. Having that distraction definitely interrupts the flow. This gave me the freedom to be wide open to possibilities,” Lea says. A year later, in the summer of 2020, they achieved their financial goals, becoming debt-free.

“The process is called the ‘quantum leap’ because I really do believe that there is power when you finally make a decision and tell God and the universe ‘Yes’. On the very day that I resigned, I went on Twitter and posted, ‘I just resigned from my job so that I could pursue music full-time. Here I go!’ On that same day, Rissi Palmer, host and founder of the Color Me Country radio show, reached out to me and offered me a grant.”

With the grant money, Lea recorded and released several singles. Meanwhile, music journalist Holly G. created the Black Opry, initially as an online blog. To Lea’s surprise, Holly G. posted on her blog, “Yay! Roberta just released her first country record. When I read it, I thought, ‘I did?’” as she laughed. Holly G. included Lea’s profile along with other Black and Brown country artists on the Black Opry Revue’s site. A few months later, the Black Opry creator invited Lea and several others to attend the Americana Music Festival.

Photo by Laura Schneider Photo by Laura Schneider

“I had never been to a music festival and had no idea what the Americana festival was,” she laughed. Despite the uncertainty, Lea made her way to Nashville to assemble with other musical talents. “On the first day, there were four of us. By the second day, there were eight, and by the third day, there were 20 of us. NPR was conducting interviews at the house, and famous artists were stopping by, and suddenly, we were a thing.”

During their time together, the group developed a bond and friendship. Shortly after leaving Nashville, one of the musicians sent out a call for a performer interested in a show in New York. A featured performer had canceled, and the show was six days away. The new friends answered the call. “We did this show at Rockwood Music Hall, and this was the birth of the Black Opry Revue.”

The rest is history. Lea’s career has taken off like wildfire. In addition to touring extensively with the Black Opry Revue, she ended 2022 with a fully funded independent project. In September 2023, Lea launched her debut album, “Too Much of a Woman.” Last year, the musical talent was inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country. “And I don’t even live in Nashville,” she laughs.

Roberta Lea’s story is one of determination and courage. Exchanging feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, she demonstrates that it is never too late to pursue your passion. With her debut album creating a buzz and continuing to inspire audiences, one thing’s for certain, Roberta Lea’s journey is just beginning.

Photo by Christal Marshall Photo by Laura Schneider

Worldwide Agency Inc. Mom Squad

28 Hampton Roads - Feb./March 2024

Led by Atlanta, GA, resident Tramika Craddock, a certified Lifestyle Coach & Empowerment Speaker, Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc. provides its clients with Business Coaching services and assists them with transitioning from a (9 to 5) routine into a life of entrepreneurship. This womanbased agency is dedicated to empowering mothers and helping them reach their full potential. Their extensive range of services is designed to support maternal mental health, foster personal growth, promote community engagement, and provide access to invaluable resources and tools. “We are passionate about assisting moms in becoming the best version of themselves through inspiration, connection, and unwavering support,” Tramika says.

The three key areas that Mom Squad focuses on are Maternal Mental Health, Connection to People & Resources, and Personal Development.

Within the Maternal Mental Health component, they prioritize the well-being of mothers by offering specialized support and resources tailored to their unique needs. They also believe in the power of community and provide opportunities for mothers to connect with others who share similar experiences. Additionally, they offer access to a wealth of resources that can help navigate various challenges along the journey of motherhood. This is accomplished with their Connection to People & Resources program. Finally, with its Personal Development programs, the agency focuses on helping women understand and realize untapped potential. “We understand that personal growth is essential for every mother’s success. That’s why we offer a wide range of tools and resources that promote self-improvement, including financial assistance programs, homeownership guidance, stress management techniques, and accountability support,” Tramika says.

For the most part, Mom Squad Worldwide serves mothers around the world through its unique community designed specifically for moms. “We support moms with a variety of different resources including but not limited to rent/mortgage, home placement, home buying, tuition assistance, grocery and utility assistance, therapy assistance and more,” Tramika shares. “Moms are welcomed with open arms into our vibrant partnership community that hosts enjoyable events throughout the year. Moreover, we also host a national annual conference, MOMscape, which is an unforgettable getaway and celebration of motherhood everywhere.”

Established in 2020, Mom Squad Worldwide has steadily evolved to answer the demands of mothers across the globe. While embracing a non-profit model, they are able to accomplish this by recognizing the ongoing need for resources. Therefore, with a strategic vision and unwavering commitment to better serve mothers globally, Mom Squad Worldwide became an official non-profit organization in July 2023.

“It’s no secret that the world needs more comprehensive support networks for moms, a place where they can feel wholly seen, thoroughly connected, and inspired.”

Where did the vision to create such an organization come from? Tramika shared that God downloaded it into her, and she felt called to create an esteemed platform devoted entirely to mothers. With Tramika’s obedience to what was asked of her, the organization has become more than just a meet group but also a beacon of inspiration. “It’s no secret that the world needs more comprehensive support networks for moms, a place where they can feel wholly seen, thoroughly connected, and inspired. In this journey through motherhood, every mom deserves to be supported in nurturing their little ones while chasing after their own dreams without compromise. So we pour heart and purpose into lifting up this amazing community, celebrating all their contributions with joy, and affirming that being both an extraordinary mother and successful individual is not only possible, it’s downright inspirational!”

The Mom Squad Worldwide executive board is composed of many vibrant individuals. There is a care team, events team, prayer team, social media mavens, conference planners, and radiant ambassadors! However, Tramika says the ones who truly sparkle are their devoted partners, which are the dope moms who not only bask in the support and inspiration they receive but also act as pillars in blessing moms worldwide with their profound service. “It’s truly a delightful circle of giving and receiving here at Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc.,” she said.

It’s refreshing to know there are organizations such as Mom Squad Worldwide that cater to the needs of mothers. It is also evident this organization is moving on purpose. Looking ahead, Tramika says there are plans to add a women’s and children’s shelter. She plans to create a business academy for their clients and establish a scholarship program for children. She also plans to offer test prep for children, childcare placement, national brand discounts for partners, tutoring services, co-working space, and investment opportunities such as real estate.

To learn more about Mom Squad Worldwide Agency Inc., please visit their website.

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For Vickayla Pope, it is all about helping the kids. The Flint, MI, native is the founder of Mini Millionaire Moguls. Her organization focuses on helping your minds understand the principles of business and grasp the concepts of how to succeed as young entrepreneurs.

Now residing in Norfolk, VA, Vickayla works as an Associate Broker and Team Leader for The Pope Team at Prodigy Realty, celebrating her 24th year in the real estate field. She has 11 God-Children, is also a 10-year Navy veteran, and brandishes an Associate Degree in Drafting and Design and a B.A. in Construction Management. Additionally, she is the owner of Virtuous Vixen 810. As the founder of Mini Millionaire Moguls, Vickayla focuses on teaching today’s youth to be the wealthiest generation of tomorrow. “I consider myself a connector of people,” she says.

Where did the vision to launch Mini Millionaire Moguls come from? Vickayla says, “I had a real estate meeting, and a friend of mine was a speaker for the training. She brought her sons with her, and by the end of the meeting, I mentioned that I would be holding more real estate classes. One of her sons showed a lot of interest in attending a class. However, he was school-aged, so it needed to be when he was not in school. While my youngest real estate client was actually 19 years old, I was still surprised that someone his age would be interested in the home-buying process. I realized that it was possible for someone that young to purchase a home if they were equipped with the proper knowledge. It was then that I discovered a need to educate children under the age of 17 about financial literacy and prepare them to buy their first home. Our first class was held in 2021 with approximately eight young members, and the rest is history.”

While my youngest real estate client was actually 19 years old, I was still surprised that someone his age would be interested in the home-buying process.
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When asked what she loves most about Mini Millionaire Moguls, Vickayla says it is the opportunity to connect with children and families and provide a safe place for our youth to grow consistently. She also appreciates the ability to teach, build relationships, and collaborate with different types of businesses. “More than anything, I love being a lighthouse within my community,” she says.

Getting her brand up and running hasn’t been easy, and Vickayla has faced every obstacle head-on. Some of the challenges she’s faced are getting exposure and obtaining adequate funding. “We handled our need for exposure by being more proactive in the community and supporting other non-profits. We handled our funding challenges by finding creative ways to raise funds and honestly just talking to people and educating them on the services we offer to our young Kings and Queens. Having a circle of entrepreneurs, friends, and family who truly support my vision has made all of the difference,” she says.

So what is next for Vickayla and Mini Millionaire Moguls? Vickayla plans to extend its reach by providing Virtual Seed 2 Green classes. She also plans to continue to expose youth to Life skills by way of Basic Life Skills classes such as Etiquette, Check Writing, Public Speaking, and more. h

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Joy’s Delightz, LLC

Rodrick and Jackie Ross are the owners of Joy’s Delightz, LLC headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA. This duo is also the parents of young business masterminds, Jocelyn and Madison Ross.

Joy’s Delightz, LLC is a baked goods company that offers a delectable assortment of chocolate chip cookies, red velvet cookies, lemon sugar cookies, butterscotch oatmeal cookies, and double chocolate cookies. Their menu also includes a variety of cupcakes, mini bundt cakes, specialty cakes, brownies, chocolate-covered pretzels, and their signature, Maddie’s lemonade.

Jocelyn “Joy” Ross and Madison “Maddie” Ross are the masterminds behind the family-owned home bakery business. Launched in December of 2022, the young kidprenuers learned how to cook and bake many years ago. What began as fun family experiences would manifest into a family-owned business. “On our family vacations, we would ride in what we call the “Think tank” and talk about business ideas. It somehow always came down to baking and cooking in some way or fashion. We always brushed it off as talk because we thought of the extra work and feared the process. On December 13, 2022, Jocelyn and Jackie discussed the upcoming major events, such as high school games and summer camp activities. We also discussed that we would have to purchase them both a car soon. Jackie joked about selling cookies. Jocelyn created a website and shared her plans. Madison shared that she could enhance the website, and I posted their ideas on social media. Soon, my sorority sister, Sharri Mapp-Jones, Esq of The Mapp Law Firm, Pllc, reached out and offered her assistance. The rest of the story is history,” Jackie says.

"Teaching them to work together and interact with people has been rewarding as we have seen their relationship with one another blossom."
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Jocelyn’s passion for baking and Madison’s love of decorating and graphics has helped strengthen the company with great branding and showmanship. Rodrick is a native of Lexington, KY, and Jackie hails from Tarboro, NC. Rodrick works as a forklift operator for a local warehousing company in their hometown of Fredericksburg, VA. Jackie has worked for the US Government for 18 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC.

Having a family-owned business is something they all appreciate and enjoy. Jackie shares they get to teach their kids how to build from scratch and how to create their own avenues of success. “Teaching them to work together and interact with people has been rewarding as we have seen their relationship with one another blossom. We get to spend family time differently now by always having something to do on the weekends. The baking time allows us to show them that learning goes beyond the classroom as they are constantly solving math problems, such as figuring out units of measurement and conversion factors of the ingredients. Our business also gives their tutor, Strength In Numbers, LLC, real-life examples to help them.”

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Jackie and Rodrick find inspiration in watching their family bond strengthen. “We now do life together in so many ways. As parents, we are allowed to learn with our kids as we are new to being business owners just like they are,” they said. As with any business, they also face unique challenges, but they have managed to find ways to overcome them. One is navigating the Health Department inspection and permitting process and finding the right venues to sell their goods. Another challenge is ensuring their girls remain active in school and extracurricular activities. “Our goal was to remove every “no” from this business. We wanted to be able to do vendor booths anywhere and even have the opportunity for wholesale opportunities. We were required to go through the health department certification process to remove the restrictions. Often, many people quit pursuing a business because of the processes in place. We kept telling ourselves that we were going to do everything the department told us to do because we knew that on the other side of the process was access to the marketplace.”

Growing their brand is something Rodrick and Jackie remain committed to doing. They recently joined the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce to network in an effort to learn from powerful business leaders already in production. As far as the girls’ schedule, they work to keep the family’s calendar as accurate as possible. “Everyone must add their activities, and we divide and conquer many weekends to ensure that we keep them engaged,” they said.


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Mecca Causey

The son of Ryan Causey and Nijalon Jackson-Causey

Deon Tedder United States Senator

Deon Tedder was born to lead. With charisma and an innate ability to motivate and inspire others, the 33-year-old attorney is one to be watched on the political spectrum, recently making history as the youngest member of the South Carolina State Senate.

A native of Durham, North Carolina, he continued his family’s legacy by attending Durham’s Hillside High School, where his dad, the late Louis Tedder Jr., and his mom, Chandra Tedder, once attended. At Hillside High, he excelled academically and discovered his sphere of influence through extracurricular activities.

“In high school, I was class president, Mr. Hillside High, a student government representative, and a trumpet player in the marching band,” he shares. During summer breaks, the young scholar participated in North Carolina Central University’s Legal Eagle camp, sponsored by the university’s law school.

“The summer camp taught us about law and government, and toward the end of camp, we participated in mock trials. This is what sparked my interest in wanting to pursue a legal career.”

By the time Tedder graduated from High School in 2008, he had the rare distinction of acquiring a perfect attendance record, never missing a day of school from kindergarten to the 12th grade. This accolade was a nod to his parents’ strong value of education.

“Although my parents did not attend college, education was very important to both of them.“ They instilled this core belief into their son, who not only graduated with honors but also as the recipient of a full academic scholarship to South Carolina State University. His family was ecstatic.

In preparation for his college transition, the firstgeneration college student traveled with his mom and dad to Orangeburg, South Carolina, to the campus to meet with the honors program director and tour the residential facility. Deon was all set to go when the unthinkable happened only a few weeks later. His dad died unexpectedly, completely devastating his family.

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“Life threw us a curveball after my dad died. I contemplated not going to college. I was mom’s only child, and it was just her and my dad. So, I felt like I needed to stay home and work to help her pay bills. I felt guilty leaving her to go to college,” he says. Recognizing the pivotal moment in Deon’s life, his family rallied around him. “My aunts and uncles said my dad would have wanted me to go because he didn’t have that opportunity. Earning a full academic scholarship made him super excited.”

With the assurance from his family that his mom would be supported, the resilient leader stayed the course and reluctantly headed to South Carolina State University. Void of the typical excitement experienced by new college students, Tedder was grieving the loss of his dad, compounded by the concern of leaving his mother. Tedder says, “When I arrived, my anxiety increased. I learned that my mom, who was an administrative assistant, had picked up a second job. She was working so hard to prevent me from having to work. It was very tough.”

Recognizing his mom’s sacrifice, Deon would remain focused and committed to excelling while in college. Once acclimating himself, he did what came naturally to him: to thrive academically and engage through leadership and student involvement.

During his tenure at South Carolina State, Tedder was actively involved in various facets of student government. He served as junior class president and pledged the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. In his senior year, he experienced the sting of defeat when he ran for Student Government president and lost the election to a friend. Characteristic of the wise young leader, Tedder graciously conceded to his opponent and agreed to support him. Together, the two created the position of Chief of Staff for Tedder, and the student government position still exists at the university today.

During summer breaks, Tedder took advantage of internship opportunities. His assertiveness changed the trajectory of his life, landing him an opportunity to serve as an intern at the United States Senate for the late Senator Ted Kennedy. “This experience exposed me to politics and sparked my interest in wanting to go into public service,“ said Tedder. “It was interesting seeing people making serious decisions about people who looked like me, but there weren’t people who looked like me making those decisions. Decisions were being made regarding minority communities, yet there was no representation or perspective in many cases. So that sparked my interest and the exposure was amazing,” he added. There was no one in my family involved in politics or law, so I used different opportunities to expand my network.“ Another internship opportunity was with Sidley Austin’s Prelaw Scholars program. Notable alumni of the firm include the former first couple, President Barack and Michelle Obama. Tedder acknowledges that each of the work experiences he acquired through networking, expanding his network, and exposure. This a skill he imparts to young people when given the opportunity.

Tedder graduated magna cum laude from South Carolina State University in 2012. He describes his graduation as an emotional experience. “My entire extended family, aunts and uncles, and even some of my dad’s friends came. People joked with me by asking if my family took a charter bus because we had so many people who showed up for my graduation. It was emotional because people were there to support me while knowing that my dad would’ve been there. We had a huge section in the stands at the football stadium, and when they called my name, you would’ve thought that someone scored a touchdown at the Superbowl,” he laughed.

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Following graduation, Tedder headed off to law school at the University of South Carolina. While in law school, he served as a representative of the Student Bar Association for his first two years. In his third year of law school, he served as a law school senator. While a law student, Tedder worked a clerkship and served as a law school senator representing the law school for the University of SC student government system. He graduated in 2015 and secured a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Casey Manning, a Circuit Court Judge and the first African American basketball player for the University of South Carolina. “That was good exposure and an experience sitting on the bench with the judge, doing legal research,” he says.

Tedder’s career did not go without challenges. He acknowledges that he sat for the bar twice before actually passing it. That experience impacted him financially and was humiliating. After all, failure was not a familiar experience for this confident leader. “My favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, kept me going at this time. , “For I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord. Plans to prosper you and bring you no harm, plans of hope and a future. I kept reciting this,“ said Tedder.

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.

“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.”
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Carter G. Woodson
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