Nov./Dec 2017 Volume 2 Issue 2 FREE
Garrett Davis Productions
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
www.jj-catering.com Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Somethings Aren’t Meant To Be Explained There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!
A Letter From The Editor
One of the greatest waste of time is that of someone who uses it to search for answers to the various complexities life has to offer. A Letter from the Editor Sure, there isn’t anything wrong with striving for perfection, or even seeking improvement. I have personally dealt with some things that I wished the outcome woulddidn’t have been favorable, andplans, in dealing with What if tomorrow arrive? All of your hopes them, I caused myself more strife by holding on when I should have and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if moved on. I believe we serve ourselves a disservice when we try to everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never make sense out of something that has been declared as senseless. happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making Only God knows all, and if I never learn anything else in my life, I promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired know for sure that man isn’t God. Though it may not sound plausible today? What would you do? to others, I believe that God doesn’t want us to know the answers to everything. If we did it might spoil the experience he promises on our I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. day of judgement. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm knowing that God wouldn’t put anything me For believer example,inI misplaced something very important that Ion really that I couldn’t I sometimes wonder how life would needed. After lookinghandle. for it nearly two weeks, I never found it. I be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me.at I prayed that I would find it before the third week arrived because haveitfound be very boring. my opinion, opportunity that point wouldthat havetobeen too late. TheInthird week came and to is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge my misfortune, my lost item was an even bigger loss for me. I never meIiswas an looking adventure. What is the worst that can found to what for and even after asking God tohappen? help me to If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn locate it, nothing happened. something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return life. There haveacquire been individuals I have crossed paths with that have greatly impacted my life. Their sheer presence left indelible The on best everhelped given to me happened when impressions meadvice that have shape and mold me intosomeone the to make today. In modest doing so persontold I amme today. Littlemy didtomorrow I know at happen that time, but the gestures of kindness compassion moments I have pressedand my way throughduring doorsvery withdifficult a key that only actually helped to pull me outalso of the jaws ofthe despair. I hadbetween no goals or hope provided. I have learned difference dreams, butGod theyblesses spoke of lifewith andand what it was to be like what me what lifegoing can burden meonce withI opened eyes and saw as God made it.when to be confident and asmy well. I compare it to knowing when to be quiet, because God cared enough foritme to someone may get confused place certain people in my life at with being arrogant. specific moments to carryout His intentional plan.you While I may fall at Make tomorrow times and fall short of His happen today, butglory, most He made preparations so my purpose importantly make it count. would still fulfilled. I know I don’t Lifebe is but a whisper and deservewe Hismust graceput andourselves mercy, and in aI can admit that things should have position to hear what it is gone another telling way. us. What I don’t know is how and why, because God’s love doesn’t require an explanation.
Terry L. Watson
Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder 4
www.huamimagazine.com www.huamimagazine.com Editor In Chief Terry L Watson
Publisher Terry L. Watson Allen - Deputy Editor DawnAlana C. Thornton Writer Safiya Nelson Writer Writers Dr. MarrissaTonya Dick Dixon Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Tamara Smith Jeuron Todd Youngblood Dove Photographer Ashleigh Crawley Photographer Photographers Toni Shaw Photographer Perfect Lenz Photography Todd Youngblood Photography Jerry Shaw Barbry Photographer Photography Group Still Shots Photography Howard Gaither Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout
Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett
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HUAMI MAGAZINE is published bimonthly 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 may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Email or Telephone email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org or to 336-340-7844 Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2017 All Rights Reserved 2014 All Rights Reserved
On The Cover
Photo by Shaw Photography Group
HuamiMagazine.com Raleigh/Durham - 2014 Nov./Dec. 2017 HuamiMagazine.com November/December Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844
Carlton L. Gray
Kristie Turns Five
Genesys Apparel Jurry Smith
Huami Magazine Turns 10 Thank you!
A Must See For African Americans Smithsonian Museum in DC
James and Jameria Self
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
James & Jameria Self J&J Catering Services 6
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Best Tasting Food With A Twist of Southern Essence By Dawn Cauthen Thornton Photos by Jerry Barbry
t’s ironic that James and Jameria Self met surrounded by food. When James and a friend entered the restaurant where Jameria worked, he didn’t expect to meet his future wife. And she certainly wasn’t looking for love. In fact, she was an undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill, working three jobs, trying to earn extra money. Since James is such a fun-loving guy, it took him two visits to the restaurant for Jameria to take him seriously. And more than 24 years later, the two share a beautiful daughter, a catering business, and a world full of goals and dreams that they’re steadfastly working on (including an idea for a bed and breakfast that Jameria is speaking life into).
“Having more than 10 years of personal chef and southern hospitality experience, J & J Catering is on the path to becoming one of Durham’s premier companies.” James and Jameria are both in the technical field, worlds away from the food industry. James is a computer engineer and a N.C. A&T State University graduate where he was also a studentathlete. Jameria is a technical writer and a UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State alum. Though she hails from Raeford, NC she has firmly planted roots in the triangle, the main service area of their business.
Continued on the next page
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
As a child, Jameria loved to cook. She watched both parents in the kitchen and absorbed as much knowledge as she could. “It was the thing that brought the family together,” she says. Her parents would charge each one of their children to bake their own cakes during Christmas. After college, she found herself cultivating her skills with homemade lasagna and other dishes. James started sharpening his cooking skills in college, completely as a means
“One day Jameria simply asked me if I wanted to start a catering business together. And I said, ‘sure’” . of survival. He didn’t always travel home for the holidays, so he and his buddies would each pick a dish to contribute to their potluck meal and James would call his mother for a recipe. That led to him experimenting with seasonings and how to add flavor to certain foods. Even though they both love to cook, the two didn’t really have intentions on starting J&J Catering Services 15 years ago. For the first five years they were just the go-to couple when friends and family needed food for special occasions. They’d provide southern style favorites such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, greens and other staples. “One day Jameria simply asked me if I wanted to start a catering business together. And I said, ‘sure’,” James laughs. Within the last 10 years the business has been licensed as they’ve grown to service larger projects. Clients tend to be the best marketing tools and the couple is grateful that happy customers have spread the word about their food.
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
They don’t only cook for friends and family like they once did, now their portfolio includes churches, family reunions, graduations, Greek organizations, and corporations, including the town of Chapel Hill. “There are some who contact us and we don’t know how they found us,” says Jameria. Now with digital and social media so prevalent, there are countless ways to attract customers. Within the last few years, they’ve also built a website to showcase their dishes. Over the years, the two find that balancing home and work life has it’s challenges, but they manage. With a 10 year old daughter, schedules can sometimes feel like a juggling act. James confesses that he works at the office at least an average of 65 hours a week as a Principle Solutions Architect with a service provider. Recently James’ coworker got wind of the family business and hired them to cater a high school graduation party. “I’d been working with this gentleman for at least 17 years and never really mentioned our business. When he found out, he was shocked,” James says. Even the coworker’s guests were surprised to hear they were both IT professionals. One friend in particular is such a fan that he persuaded them to travel almost three hours for his event in Fayetteville, NC. Within the last year they’ve been asking themselves how can they take J&J Catering Services to the next level. Transitioning from two financially stable jobs to relying solely on one income that’s not guaranteed can be tricky. “You also have to think about hiring employees, having a brick and mortar versus a stand-alone trailer for a food truck and so many other things,” James explains. With the help of a few extra hands, James and Jameria plan to go as far as they can for as long as they can. Who knows, maybe one day you will be able to come to them instead of them coming to you.
J&J Catering Services
www.jj-catering.com 919-475-3931 or 919-810-8413 email@example.com
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Jurry Smith irst and foremost, Jurry Smith of Nashville, Tennessee, is a husband and father. His devotion is offered without compromise to everything that he involves himself with, whether in the workforce, at his church, or in the community. His flexibility and dependability are attributes that have also helped him build a fashion business from the ground up, Genesys Apparel.
“I am creative and have an eye for things most people can’t see. I’m a stylist and a designer. I am my brand and today’s versatile man, whoever that may be,” Smith says. “My clientele ranges from pastors to lawyers, entrepreneurs to socialites. I even style young men needing formal attire for school functions.” Smith opened the doors of Genesys Apparel to the world on the day he got married. That day served as a statement for him, because he believed that weddings shouldn’t just be special for the bride. Smith wanted his own signature style that would also be authentic. “I designed my tuxedo, which was gold and trimmed in Sangria with our wedding date monogrammed on the inside. I also wore a custom shirt with my initials on it. I was so nervous that it wouldn’t look right, my measurements would be off, or that my bride wouldn’t be pleased; but it was perfect and my bride loved it. Soon, I started looking for manufacturers to make my dream a reality.” The identity of Genesys Apparel was very important to Smith. “I wanted to represent Christ in whatever I did. I wanted people to see themselves in the image of God, because He thinks highly of us. So I based Genesys Apparel off of the book of Genesis 1:27 - So God created man in His own image,” he says. Genesys Apparel offers custom men’s suits and tuxedos, jackets, and shirts. They offer men’s accessories which include ties, bow ties, pocket squares, and lapel pins. They also do special orders for groups and organizations, and there are plans in the works for personal styling services for the individual who have things in their closets that can be utilized, but need a little help on learning how to make it work. Smith decided to use his gift to help other men who desired to stand out but need a little help with getting started. Seeing the confidence that exudes from his customers when they try on their custom piece for the first time, Smith says gives him a sense of relief and achievement. “Occasionally, a client may lose or gain weight during the process of designing a suit which throws off the measurements. I am blessed that I haven’t encountered anything that I couldn’t resolve in a timely fashion,” says Smith. Smith doesn’t take the credit for the success of his business. “I owe it all to God. He never ceases to amaze me. He has afforded me many opportunities to make my name great and to introduce Genesys Apparel to various markets,” he says. Moving forward he plans to continue serving Nashville and surrounding states. Contact Jurry Smith and Genesys Apparel for all of your unique fashion needs. h
Jurry Smith Genesys Apparel www.genesysapparel.com 877-293-6906 Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Advance Planning Or Pre Plan Funeral Arrangements Information and Photo provided by Carlton L. Gray
he very idea of discussing or talking about death can be very difficult, however it is one worth having with your loved ones. It has many advantages, among them peace of mind. Knowing that you have a plan in place not only eases your mind, but your loved ones will not have the extra burden of the unknown.
There are many details that immediately begin when a death occurs. Research has listed at least 101 items that every survivor will be confronted by on the day of death of a family member. From contacting other family members, friends and community to selecting and meeting a funeral provider. Advance planning can relieve much of this by having these important tasks already in place.
The following are some methods of funding your final expenses; personal insurance policy, pre-need policy purchased from the funeral home, or private funds or savings. I encourage every adult regardless of age, married or single make this a part of your important to do and have list. In life there are a lot of unknowns but, it is sure and certain that every person that is born will lay to rest eventually. With this being known why not approach it with the importance it deserves.
â€œIn life there are a lot of unknowns but, it is sure and certain that every person that is born will lay to rest eventually.â€?
The first step is to discuss with significant others your desires and final instructions. Secondly, meet with a funeral provider of your choosing. By doing this ahead of time you can take your time and investigate and or compare services and cost without the immediate pressure and stress that death, especially sudden death can bring upon a family. Once you have a funeral provider you can then begin to formulate your wishes and directives in a carefully laid out plan. This could be from a simple direct cremation to a full traditional service followed by burial or cremation. The third step is to consider how you will pay for these plans and make provisions ahead of time. The advantages of this is you can have control over the amount of cost and in some cases, guarantee that your service will be protected against future inflation.
Raleigh, NCâ€™s Prominent Funeral Service Provider 2810 Kidd Road - Raleigh, NC 27610 919-231-6120 www.carltonlgrayfuneral.com
Five Years of Grace & Mercy HuamiMagazine.com
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Kristie Wallace Barrow Shares Her Story of Survival Who am I? It might be easier to tell you who I’m not. I am not a quitter. I’ve been through things that would have possibly killed the average person. It was through these trials where I found myself and learned that I am not easily defeated. Yet, as I wipe the sweat from my brow, I know that it is only by the grace and mercy of God that I am alive today. Simply put, I am a wife, a mother of four, daughter, sister, and friend to many. I love God and am not ashamed to tell the world that I do. I’m also a woman that loves life and ask the same of others. I am a (ride or die) type of girl. I am down for the cause and loyal, but foremost, I am a team player. I am trying to live my best life until I die, but I refuse to die while I yet live. Yes, I am ‘Living Pink’! My Diagnosis I remember it like it was yesterday. I got the call at work on the seventh day of January 2005 around 3:00 pm. It was a Friday and I had been looking forward to the weekend but things would soon deter any plans I had thought of making. In a few shallow words, my surgeon told me that I had breast cancer. I was only 29 years old and never knew of anyone so young having breast cancer, so I immediately thought my life was coming to end. I immediately planned my funeral. I called my circle of friends and close loved ones, telling them the news while inside I was a nervous wreck. I cried for three days straight until I made it to the altar on Sunday at my home church, Cedar Grove Tabernacle of Praise. I was surrounded by my family and friends and as soon as we said “Amen”, survivor mode was in full effect. I bought a survivor t-shirt and bumper sticker, but there was no escaping the inevitable reality that Cancer would change my life forever. The things most people take for granted like birthdays or even watching their children basketball games, bring me joy. I know that it could have easily been the other way. Second Time Around Eight years later when I was faced with breast cancer again, it was different. My second diagnosis made me angry. I felt like I was a target for disasters. I remember asking my mother, “why me?” I didn’t hang out, I didn’t drink, and I wasn’t in the club. I couldn’t understand why I was having to go through this again. God spoke to me and said “why not you”. He used little ole’ me to let people know He is in control and still performing miracles. I am a walking miracle. Both times I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast. I could have easily been misdiagnosed. I found my lump in 2004 while I was pregnant with my fourth child Kelcey. While speaking with midwives each month leading up to my delivery, I was told that I shouldn’t worry about the lump because they were sure it was my body getting ready to breast-feed. I am truly thankful that I still chose to have the lump removed. Continued on page 41 Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
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Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Tristan Mason Kornegay The son of Kiana Kornegay and Corbin Smallwood Photo provided by Shaw Photography Group
To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Kelley is The Match Maker www.aplusintroductions.com
Single For The Holidays
The holiday season is just around the corner, and many singles feel anxious about their current relationship status. Often this time of the year is tough on those who wish they were involved romantically. There are family holiday gatherings, church events and workplace functions centered on couples. It is easy to get disillusioned and to feel left out if you are not seeing someone special. It can be tempting to settle in for the long winter nights dwelling on your loneliness while eating a big container of ice cream. However, there are many more positive ways to get proactive and add love to your life instead. Here are a few ways to make the most of your singleness during the holiday season:
Sparkle socially-- You can expect to get invited to lots of festive events over the next several weeks. Your loving family and wonderful friends will want to include you in their plans. Make a point of accepting their invitations and to inquire in advance about the other guests that have been invited. If there are going to be any other singles, be sure to request an introduction in advance. Most hosts will be delighted to play matchmaker for the evening. You can be certain that the host will make charming comments about you and you will feel more comfortable knowing that there will be someone else single with whom you may share a fun-filled evening. (If your host has not included any other singles guests, remind him that youâ€™re in the market to meet someone new) Create some magic-- If you have not made plans for the holidays, seek out others that might be in the same situation. Invite a few of your close single friends to join you at a local coffee shop or neighborhood meeting spot. Agree to stay for a set amount of time and to spread the joys of the season (offer compliments to others as they enter, sing silly holiday songs and encourage others to join in the fun, practice random acts of kindness). The point of this is to get out and have fun! Not only will you keep yourself in a fun state of mind, you will also make new friends. By keeping your energy level high, you will increase your chances of attracting a like-minded, high-energy potential mate. Share your gifts-- The holiday season is the perfect time to highlight your talents and to use them in a positive way. If you are a talented, talkative extrovert, why not consider taking a role in a community production of a holiday play? Or maybe you should volunteer to wrap gifts or to play Santa. If you enjoy cooking and entertaining, invite family and friends to celebrate with you and encourage each person you invite to bring along one single person. By developing your individual skills and interests, you are becoming a more attractive mate and encouraging others to want to learn more about your potential for a relationship. With a little advanced planning and a sense of adventure, singles can create very special moments throughout the holiday season. Whether it is hosting an elaborate party, visiting a local coffee shop, or reconnecting with old friends, the opportunities to mingle are abundant. Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the year and you owe it to yourself to enjoy every minute of it!
PK Williams Enterprises, LLC PO Box 1563, Nolensville, TN 37135 615-364-7964 www.pkwilliamsenterprises.com school Alma Mater, Joelton Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee to provide mentoring and tutoring services to students there. This is an opportunity that she is very excited about.
By Terry L. Watson Photos by PK Williams PK Williams Enterprises is a boutique company that utilizes the S.I.P.S. (Strategically Increase Promote Secure) method to enhance and manage the brand portfolios of entertainment, small business, profit and non-profit clientele. They provide a plethora of public relations, publicity, event planning, entertainment consultants, artist development, and marketing expertise. They also offer a “handson” individualized approach, ensuring success and exposure as they embrace the variances of each client’s unique talents. The company’s intent is to make sure their clients are treated professionally and afforded supreme sustenance while aspiring to reach their dreams. Patrycya Williams, the founder of PK Williams Enterprises is a relationship cultivator, event strategist, and social broker. Her corporate expertise as a Marketing and Public Relations Manager in a Fortune 500 company served as a catalyst in building her own company. As CEO, she is multifaceted and instrumental in creating opportunities for her clients. “I began in the music and entertainment industry in January 2010, but my networking and relationship cultivating began in 1996 and continued through my transition into the mortgage industry in 2002 - 2011. I started doing marketing and public relations for artists in January 2010 and that transitioned into managing and brand building clients images while creating events that enhanced their image through release parties, book signings, etc.,” she says. “We do brand development, event planning, securing speaking engagements, and creating public relations opportunities. I also scout talented aspirants for stage plays, independent films, and local/national television appearances”. Williams loves to see people live out their purpose and fulfill their dreams. She also gives back to her community by educating and mentoring youth. She recently partnered with her junior high
Making the transition to from being gainfully employed to selfemployed was not easy. “Going from a substantial corporate America pay check to working for myself was challenging. I didn’t make my husband very happy, but he has always been supportive,” she says. Instead of looking for a job, Williams decided to hire herself. She knew she could always count on herself and could never be fired, let go, or downsized. She looked at the need of the people around her to see how she could fill a void or bless others. “If I help enough people, God will continue to bless my efforts,” she says. In September 2017, Williams brought something new to the city of Nashville, Power Moves Awards Gala. The mission is to celebrate and honor the leaders of the community for their unparalleled commitment to civic and social responsibility while raising awareness to citizens and entities for which the leaders advocate and advance across their respective communities on a daily basis. The event was held on the same day as the Tennessee State University John Merritt Classic, and sold approximately 250 tickets. “To be able to bring together community leaders and our community on a day like that for our black tie event was monumental. It was well received and we were mentioned amongst some of the biggest names in awards shows in Nashville by one of the major local news channels. We were mentioned with the Country Music Awards, Dove Awards, and the Stellar Awards. I think we really made an impact and we are looking forward to next year,” says Williams. She is currently planning her first annual Power Moves Awards Gala that will be held in August of 2018. There are also plans in the making to create a bigger online presence with partnerships and work with others to grow her mentoring program with local youth. Be on the lookout for PK Williams Enterprises and Patrycya Williams. They are making moves and making the dreams of others a reality. h
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
Kristie Wallace continued from page 16 My Life Doesn’t Belong To Cancer I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in my right breast and had a Lumpectomy followed by radiation. Eight years later when the cancer returned, my only option was to have my right breast removed. I then made the very hard decision to remove both of my breasts. After many surgeries, I am still here and still cancer free! As crazy as it sounds, Cancer saved my life. Although I was healed I was still dying from cancer. I feared a recurrence so I was not living. I was not growing in any area of my life so therefore I was slowly dying. I allowed the disease to consume my life for eight years, before I decided to take my life back. Until someone is faced with an illness that kills people daily, you cannot truly understand its power. My second diagnosis saved me and I got my life back and found my joy. Many times we are so obsessed with what we don’t have, that we do not celebrate how far we have come. Now I celebrate everything and I don’t take anything for granted. I try my best to live worry-free and I know who holds my future, and because I know I’m in God’s hands, I have joy! h
A People’s Journey, A Nation’s Story Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture By Terry L. Watson Photos by Mykel Media Company, LLC My brothers and my sisters, if you need another reason as to why we as a people should build up one another, and not destroy each other, then you must visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC. I was fortunate to make the journey this year, and the experience was nothing short of breathtaking. From the very moment I set foot on Constitution Avenue, the edges and architectural brilliance of the museum demanded my attention. I was excited to see what was inside, but even more astonished once I did. It’s huge! There are many levels of exhibits and displays that work together to tell a story of a people and their fight for so many things. It’s more than justice and inequality, the museum opened my mind and imagination, taking me places where I could hear the pains and determination of those who were determined to make my experience better through their sacrifices. I’m not going to give anything away, but the Emmett Till exhibit left me in tears. To experience numerous parts of history and see where we have come from and be educated on where we should be going the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture is a must see. h
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture 1400 Constitution Ave, NW Washington, DC www.nmaahc.si.edu Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
GDavis Productions GDavis Productions Garrett Davis www.gdavisproductions.net 910-728-3389
By Dawn Cauthen Thornton Photos by Shaw Photography Group
magine going to college, selecting your major, mapping out your life plan after you graduate, then being pulled in a different direction.
As a young student at Fayetteville State University, Garrett Davis had it all figured out. He was a Radio/Television Broadcasting major and was the youngest program director in the nation, of a 100,000 watt NPR affiliate radio station. His goal was to one day own his own station. In addition to his major, he decided to minor in speech and theater so he could take a few acting classes. Just to scratch an itch he’d had, he became involved in a play, attended the NADSA (National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts) conference (acting in the same play) and came home with an award for Best Supporting Actor. His theater teacher hounded him to pursue acting, but his heart was set on radio. By chance, shortly after, he attended a professional play, for the first time, and was absolutely in awe. He immediately went home and penned his first script for “Lord, Why Me? Another itch was scratched and he tossed the pages in the closet without a second thought. A few years later, he had the opportunity to become the General Manager at a radio station in Raeford, NC. “Not only was I the GM, but I was the morning man, the sales guy, the janitor, you name it. I was everything. “ Apparently, the station didn’t have much money to spend on extra employees, so Garrett stepped in to help them out, in many ways. As a fundraising effort for the struggling station, Garrett had the bright idea to produce the play that he had written years prior. Surprisingly, the show ran for three days and sold out each day. He moved on to Fayetteville, NC and the show sold out there as well. Then, he made a deal with himself; “If the play sells out in the next city, I’m going to quit my job and pursue this full time.” You guessed it…the show sold out! Garrett ended his stint in radio and started touring the country with the play he’d originally closed the door on. “In those days, it was just me, a caravan of cars (the cast), and a pick-up truck with furniture on the back. We didn’t even have a real set.” The play would travel from city to city several times a year until others took notice and started writing and producing plays of their own, providing a bit of competition for Garrett. Also on the scene was a little-known guy, at the time,
named Tyler Perry. He changed the game when he presented his signature character Madea and created elaborate sets to go along with his celebrity cast members. To just keep up and continue to perform, Garrett decided he needed to step up his game. “It forced me to write more plays so I could visit the same city with something different each time.” Garrett put pen to paper and cranked out several more scripts which allowed him to continue touring. Life was great, he was gaining a following, and more opportunity presented itself. He was even contacted by Tyler Perry’s personal promotor who wanted to utilize his play, but unfortunately after a few months, the deal fell through and Garrett’s entire team was out of jobs. By that time, the ambitious playwright needed a break from the industry. He was disappointed, he was tired and vowed to never do another play again. That feeling didn’t last long and he found himself creating more scripts. One “Forgot Me Not”, is about the relationship between him and his late grandmother who suffered and ultimately succumbed to Alzheimer’s. “I felt guilty because I wasn’t there for her while she was dying. She would often ask my sister and mother about me but I always seemed to be busy. So I wrote the play as therapy to help get over that.” Because “Forgot Me Not” focused on Alzheimer’s, many people resonated with it. It was originally supposed to run for three days, but that turned into 30 consecutive days at a playhouse in Winston Salem. Knowing that a good friend’s mother was also battling the same heartbreaking illness, he called her to see if she would be interested in partnering to bring it to other venues. That friend was Bern Nadette Stanis, better known as ‘Thelma Evans’ on the former hit show “Good Times”. They decided that it was imperative to use this production as a teaching tool to bring awareness to the disease that affects African Americans at twice the rate of any other race. With the success of this play, Garrett realized he was on to something. He became passionate about the health of his community and brainstormed ways to he could continue to educate. “I became heavily involved with the Alzheimer’s Association. And I became the first African American to receive the Advocate of the Year award for my work with the play.” Not stopping there, Garrett decided to focus on other areas of health that plagued blacks the most. He partnered with AARP who sponsored his play “Mama’s Girls”, about sisters caring for their aging mother. It ran for almost 5 years, traveling across the country. That partnership truly launched Garrett’s career and helped solidify his place not only in the theater world, but also in his own community where he saw the greatest need. “It put me on a national spotlight to raise the awareness of caregiving.” It also afforded
Raleigh/Durham - Nov./Dec. 2017
him the opportunity to connect with others just as passionate as he was about health. And because “Mama’s Girls” was such a hit, people began asking more about his previous play that focused on Alzheimer’s. He soon became one of the founding members of the African American Network against Alzheimer’s alongside Honorary Co-Chairs Al Sharpton and former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher. To date Garrett has written, directed, and toured over 25 productions, five of which are a part of award winning projects. His current project “Daddy’s Boys” will be touring nationally beginning in January 2018. He’s also setting his sights on film and television and currently developing “Taking Care of June”, a series about the patriarch of the family being diagnosed with dementia. Garrett confesses that in his younger years he had planned to be the next big name. He wanted everyone to know who he was and to be famous like most entertainers. But his destiny was much bigger. God had a different plan. With the support of his 23-member staff and his family, his name still sits atop marquee’s and on billboards, but now his purpose has shifted. Instead of just merely entertaining and getting a laugh, he prompts conversations within households. He forces his audience to consider their own well-being and that of their families.
Pictured with Garrett are (from left to right) Amanda Simmons, Kynya Milan, Tiffany McMasters, and Javon Bell
“I was initially writing plays on love and relationships but that’s not what God wanted me to write about. I’m not Steve Harvey or Tom Joyner or Madea. I have to be the first Garrett Davis. Trying to be someone else forces you to get their leftovers. I want what’s mine not what somebody else had.” It’s so easy to see someone else’s success and desire to have their ideas, their lifestyle, their fame. But it’s evident that what God has for you is for you. And Garrett Davis is a testament to that belief. h
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