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Sept./Oct. 2017 Vol. 1 Issue 1 FREE

Ameerah Minton

Avail Outpaitient Counseling, LLC


AGAPE LOVE EVENTS Richmond - September/October 2017



Her new single BIGGER will be available Tuesday, September 26th On all musical outlets including iTunes, Google Play and Spotify

Richmond, VA

Richmond - September/October 2017


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

Huami To About Grow It! There Magazine Are No If, Continues Ands, Or Buts A Letter from the Editor

A Letter From The Editor

A Letter from the Editor

What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? Allsince of your hopes Can you believe it? Ten years have passed the plans, very first edition and dreams wouldn’t have ainstreet to parkNC. on. What Whatstarted if of Huami Magazine was launched Greensboro, as a everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never if tomorrow arrive? ofayour plans, hopes personalWhat conversation with didn’t God has grownAll into full-fledged publication happened? There would be reason to save a rainy spanning four states. Beginning with the September/October and dreams wouldn’t have ano street to park on. for What if2017 edition, Huami Magazine now covers andtomorrow Nashville, TN, day, and you could someone theuntil trouble of making everything that youspare decided to Memphis put off never Greenville and Spartanburg, and VA. promises. What yourSC, last opportunity happened? Thereif would be noRichmond, reason toseemingly save for aexpired rainy today? wouldspare you do? day, andWhat you could someone the trouble of making

Sometimes scratch mylast head and think ofseemingly how God placed promises.I still What if your opportunity expiredsuch a hugetoday? responsibility upon me. He andlike believed in my capabilities, I’ve been that I often seem I do too much. Whattold would you do?knew and has been merciful to allow me time to realized it for myself. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm Even now,believer I am still learning enjoying the ride the in knowing that God seem wouldn’t put onchanges me I’ve been told and that I often likewhile I do anything too process much. and the purpose becomes clearer. that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would

Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm be if I chose to sit idle and accept whatput it presented believer in knowing that God wouldn’t anything to onme. me I This is an amazing moment for Huami Magazine. Just as we have haveI found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity that couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would showcased various business owners, community individuals and leaders is aifblessing that isn’t afforded to what everyone. A challenge be I chose to sit idle and accept it presented to throughout North Carolina, we have now acquired the interestme. of I toinme is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? have found that states to be very boring. opinion, opportunity others neighboring who desire toIn bemy informed and learn about If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge what’s happening in our portion of the African American community. something newwe about myself. Relinquish your pride and in me aisfeature an adventure. Whatinis2008 the worst can happen? I can to recall produced on thethat Warnersville return acquire life. If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn neighborhood in Greensboro, NC. They were the very first African something new about myself. Relinquish and in American neighborhood in the triad, and we wereyour verypride fortunate to Theone best evercitizens, given toTeresa me happened when someone return acquire interview of advice the life. original Pennix. The story was rich told but me to make my tomorrow today. Inamongst doing soother in history it also helped to positionhappen Huami Magazine I have pressed my wayarea. through doors with a key that only to existing publications in our What started then has continued The best advice ever given to me happened when someone 2017,told all because of the support from our readers and the surrounding hope provided. I have also learned the difference between me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so community. blesses and what cana burden with Iwhat haveGod pressed my me waywith through doorslife with key thatme only as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and hope provided. I have also learned the difference between With theGod expansion Huami so does opportunities when to be the quiet, because what blessesofme withMagazine, and what life can burden me with for our readers and supporters grow. You will now be connected someone may get it confused as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident andto others who also think and thirst for thewhen African American culture and with being to bearrogant. quiet, because information Huami Magazine is known for delivering. If it’s happening someone may get it confused in Tennessee, we will share it in South Carolina. When a musician or Make youarrogant. tomorrow with being author needs to be heard outside of happen today, but most Richmond, we will transport their craft importantly make it count. Makeof you tomorrow to the readers Charlotte, Raleigh, Life is but a whisper happen today, but most Spartanburg and Nashville. and we must putmake ourselves in a importantly it count. position to hear what it is all Life is but a whisper and This is what Huami Magazine is telling put 10 ourselves in a about. we Formust theus. past years, everything position to hear what it we’ve done has now opened theisdoors telling us.headed. I am very to where we are honored andTerry privileged to take you L. Watson along with us. Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Editor In Chief

TerryWriters L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Tonya Dixon Editor Terry L Watson Terry L. WatsonPublisher Writers Alana Allen Tonya Dixon Jeuron Dove Writer Dawn C. Thornton Terry L. Watson Safiya Nelson Alana Allen Writer Photographers Dr. Marrissa Dick Jeuron Dove Writer Perfect Lenz Photography Terry L.Shaw Watson Writer Photography Group Photographers Still Shots Photography Tamara Smith Lenz Photography Who Shotya Photography HowardPerfect Gaither Photographer Shaw Photography Group Ashleigh Crawley Photographer Still ShotsLayout Photography Toni Shaw Photographer Who Photography MykelShotya Media Company Sherwin Evans Linda Bennett Photographer Layout Howard Gaither Photography

Mykel Media Company For General Inquiries Linda Bennett (336) 340-7844 HUAMI MAGAZINE is published bimonthly quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any (336) 340-7844 portion of this publication is prohibited without written MAGAZINE permission isfrom the publisher to HUAMI published quarterly prior by the doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any for statements by individuals featured or portion of this made publication is prohibited without advertisers. Comments concerning this publication written permission from the publisher prior to be Media submitted to the editorresponsibility by doing so. may Mykel doesn’t accept Email or Telephone E-mail at for statements made Email by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication 336-340-7844 or toto the editor by may be submitted Media Company, LLC E-mail atMykel P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, or toNC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE Mykel Company, LLC 2014 Media All Rights Reserved Box 20102 2017P.O. All Rights Reserved Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

On The Cover

Photo by Shaw Photography Group

Editor/Founder Want To Advdertise? Terry L. Watson Please Photo bycall Shaw336-340-7844 Photography Group Terry L.2014 Watson Editor/Founder November/December Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844 On The Cover

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November/December 2014

Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844

Richmond - September/October 2017



Bishop Bryan J. Pierce Sr.

Avail Counseling




Mackenzie Deanna Cox


Also Inside..........................



14 C


Healing Flows Ambi Shantay of Nashville


A Life of Pearls Equator Kennedy



Agape Love Events - Jasmine Lowery

Preemie Bella

Teen Adolescents Pen Girls Journal A Girls World

Tekia Lewis




Ameerah Minton


Richmond - September/October 2017



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Jasmine Lowery AGAPE LOVE EVENTS 6

Richmond - September/October 2017

By Terry L. Watson Photos provided by Jasmine Lowery


gape Love Events, LLC is a premier and award winning event planning business that specializes in Month-of/Dayof Coordination Services. They also offer Full Planning Services. Jasmine Lowery coordinated her first wedding, just three months after she married her best friend and the love of her life. She agreed to barter “wedding dayof” services with a close friend who was also getting married. Jasmine or “Jazz” provided day-of coordination services and her friend was the DJ at her wedding. Little did Jasmine know, her services would leave the other vendors she worked alongside in awe. In the spring of 2015 Agape Love Events began. Jasmine is a devout woman of God. She is also a wife, mother of two amazing little boys, educator, creative artist, public speaker, event planner, and coordinator. She recalls the first time she heard the term “Agape Love”. It was in a Sociology class at Virginia Commonwealth University while her professor explained how Agape [ah-GAH-pay] love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional, and the highest of the four types of love. Agape Love perfectly described the love Jesus has for all people. Jasmine decided to name her business, Agape Love Events, to serve as a gentle reminder that the services she provides should reflect the unconditional love she has received through her relationship with Jesus. After her first successful event with well over 200 guests, Jasmine realized she had a gift and was anxious to share it with more couples. “After much prayer and research I knew becoming a wedding planner would be the ideal business for me to start,” she says. Continued on the next page Richmond - September/October 2017


Her inspirations are her husband and two boys. She also finds inspiration while working with her clients to produce the best experience possible. As a Christian, her desire is to always show the love of Christ in all she does. Her services include Month-of/ Day-of Coordination Services, as well as Partial and Full Wedding Planning Services. Agape Love Events is geared towards the creative, artistic DIY bride and groom. Jasmine absolutely loves to support her clients’ ideas. “I’m open to working with them to think of the best ways to customize their wedding details that will most accurately reflect their relationship with their partner. My team and I can support our clients in basking in all of the beauty and love on their wedding day without them having to worry about the teeny-tiny event management details.” Jasmine is also fascinated with learning about love languages, personality types, and ways to promote emotional health. She was nominated for the Black History in The Making Award while studying at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also has a heart for children and has taught within the Richmond Public School system for the previous five years. Moving forward, Jasmine hopes to make Agape Love Events the premier event planning service in Richmond and surrounding areas. If you are in the market to get married, please include Jasmine in your plans and enjoy the Agape Love experience. h 757-334-3238 8

Richmond - September/October 2017

Richmond - September/October 2017


Wake, Pray, Slay … The Avail Way

Shawnrell Blackwell & Tangee Moore Avail Outpatient Counseling


Richmond - September/October 2017

By Terry L. Watson Photos by Jesse Humphey


vail Outpatient Counseling, often referred to as “Avail,” is a small, certified woman and minority-owned (SWAM), private practice with a mission to empower and heal the total person —mind, body, and soul. By definition, the word Avail is two-fold. One stance, means to use or take advantage of an opportunity or available resource and the other means to help or benefit someone or something. Either way, it is how the business name was coined. “The Avail Way™ best describes the company’s practices. They are devoted to providing services focused on the person, healing, and is goal directed. Tangee Moore, LCSW and Shawnrell Blackwell, PhD both founded Avail on July 17, 2016. Moore and Blackwell, aka “Dr. B” met as strangers, both with a shared vision for helping others. The pair held several meetings and discussions before ultimately deciding to join forces, thus Avail Counseling Services was born. The founders of Avail believe in staying true and authentic to their vision. Blackwell is a single mother of a college-bound African American male whom she says is her greatest accomplishment. Despite the many obstacles she faced in life such as growing up in poverty, being a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and becoming a teenage mother, Shawnrell defeated the odds. She became a school principal and earned her Ph.D. at the age of 27. She used dancing as a coping mechanism throughout her life to create a means of balance. She is best known for her leadership skills, motivational speaking, and passion for helping others who’ve faced obstacles as she has, while empowering and teaching them how to be better. Her mantra is “to live, laugh, love, and dance like no one is watching”. Moore is a ‘SOULcial’ worker whose purpose is being the light for others. She is also a mother, wife, blogger, and avid cyclist. Determined to bring forth change and better opportunities, Moore often references a quote by Oprah Winfrey, “Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.” After long days of being a vessel and touching the souls of others, she refuels by spending quality time with her family. “My daughters, ages two and six, mean everything to me. I fill their lives with experiences, not just things,” she says. Her blog, Tangee Taught U (www.tangeetaughtu. com) has nearly 200 posts offering healthy recipes for Food, Fun, and Fitness. Cooking vegetarian and pescatarian meals is a big part of Moore’s self-care, as well as being active and maintaining fitness. She is a founding member of BreakawayRVA (, which was born with a mission to build community through biking, and biking through community. Breakaway RVA provides people with a chance to break away from the current status quo, changing the norm – getting off that app, hopping on a bike, making a new friend and exploring the best Richmond has to offer. Overall, Moore is creative and sets herself apart in the world of mental health where her spirit and energy for people is unmatched. In addition to outpatient psychotherapy and empowerment coaching, Avail’s wellness activities, AvailFit™, is a holistic approach, that provides uniquely individualized options for one to heal by including their body and soul in the process. This includes Reiki, Pilates for Stress and Anxiety, Dr. B. Therapy, Guided Meditations, and more. Avail looks at the mind, body, and spirit as parts of one’s self that profoundly affects one another. Blackwell and Moore are true believers in change and that people can create the life they want.

Shawnrell Blackwell became a public school principal and earned her Ph.D. at the age of 27. She used dancing as a coping mechanism throughout her life to create a means of balance. She is best known for her leadership skills and motivational speaking, and her passion for helping others who’ve faced obstacles as she has, empowering and teaching them how to be better.

Continued on the next page Richmond - September/October 2017


The overarching vision of Avail is to help people connect the dots as they explore dysfunctional or non-beneficial ways of thinking, eating, relating, and behaving, and to support them in incorporating new ways of existing which leads to abundance, fulfillment, and congruence. “What we love most about being business owners is being true believers of what we prescribe, and practicing what we preach. We are always participating in community events and giving back. Whether it is feeding the homeless, lending a hand with art groups for the senior community, or conducting fitness classes for college students. Our success depends on our connection with the citizens who need our services,” they said. Avail services are intended for individuals who are non-hospitalized, may be on medications, and welcome holistic measures to heal. Their psychotherapy sessions focus on healing and understanding. Avail’s empowerment coaching sessions focus on helping individuals evolve and manifest their true potential. Both disciplines are intended to work with fully functioning individuals/couples who are facing difficult situations. Both professions focus on helping people makes changes and accomplish meaningful goals. Avail wellness activities, referred to as AvailFit™, focuses on equipping individuals with techniques and tools they can employ on their journey back towards wholeness. Avail’s target population includes individuals from age seven to adults who are having difficulty with mental health, addiction, relationships, health, and corporate wellness. They are targeted because they are most likely to experience emotional, mental, and behavioral distress resulting from psychiatric, substance abuse conditions, or life stressors that impact or debilitate their overall functioning. Avail also strives to work with individuals who are motivated to change and ready to heal. Though their services are voluntary, Moore and Blackwell are committed to working to meet the needs of those who want to discover their true self and true potential. In the future, Avail’s goal is to become a fully operational Counseling & Wellness Center. “We envision having a facility where people can pause amidst the chaos of the world and seek services that will offer them the comfort of holistic care for their mind, body, and soul. Our grandest vision is to expand and have a small group of therapists, empowerment coaches, health, wellness, and fitness instructors supporting our dream and offering the traditional and nontraditional approaches to healing that we believe in,” the pair said. h

“My daughters, ages two and six, mean everything to me. I fill their lives with experiences, not just things.” Tangee Moore


Avail Outpatient Counseling 2025 E. Main St. Suite 202 Richmond, VA 23223 (804) 214-2260

Richmond - September/October 2017


Preemie Bella Celebrations


Richmond - September/October 2017

ByTerry L. Watson Photos provided by Stephanie Finney

reemie Bella Celebrations is a onestop shop for anyone who is thinking of planning a fabulous event. From the point of conception, they’re capable of providing everything including invitations, reservations, etiquette services, venue selections, vendors’ coordination, budgeting, decorations, party favors and more. They also have a photo booth which brings more flavor. Whatever the case, they can handle it. When owner Stephanie Finney first started her business, she had the greatest idea of how to name it. She has always loved taking pictures, planning parties, and coordinating events. She focused her energy around those things and came up with a brilliant idea. Preemie Bella signifies the celebration of a beautiful preemie, Noelle, her daughter who weighed only two pounds at birth. She spent a little over six weeks in the NICU and faced a lot of challenges while doing so. There were uncertainties and surgeries she had to undergo. “From day one, the doctor and nurses told me she was feisty, and she proved to be. Watching her fight for her life made me cherish and celebrate each day I was able to spend with her. That experience changed my perception on life and how I should live it,” says Stephanie. Preemie Bella Celebrations really took off when Stephanie decided to work to live, instead of living to work. She made a very tough decision to leave a comfortable and stable job in the field of criminal justice. “I had become complacent but I was very stressed and unhappy. I knew several co-workers who were being diagnosed with all kinds of medical conditions relating to stress and I knew I had to get out before the job consumed me,” she says. Stephanie wanted to enjoy all life had to offer her. “I reflected back on the experience with my daughter and decided to put those feelings into action.” “I love seeing people being happy and enjoying themselves. I choose to create an atmosphere where people can come and have a great time,” she said. “Being a business owner gives me a sense of pride and it gives me an avenue to express my creativity.”

Noelle Though they are currently mobile, Stephanie and Noelle hope to eventually have a storefront one day. While the internet has helped the business significantly, having an actual physical location would help take Preemie Bella to the next level by allowing them to showcase their products and services in a consistent setting. This will also give them the ability to offer various types of Photo Booths for events. “I want people to remember the name Preemie Bella Celebrations and how it gave life to their vision,” Stephanie says. h

Preemie Bella Celebrations (804) 304-9386

Richmond - September/October 2017



Richmond - September/October 2017

Certified Teeth Whitening Technician By Terry L. Watson Photos by Ameerah Minton


xquisite Pearls Teeth Whitening service has received a five star rating from its growing list of clients. They are in the business of giving individuals winning smiles that’s guaranteed to boost confidence. To achieve the marks of brilliance they utilize Hydrogen Peroxide Gel and blue L.E.D. lighting. Their services are geared towards anyone between the ages of 16 (a parental or guardian consent is required) and up. For the most part, their client list is composed of coffee and tea drinkers, smokers, and anyone seeking to enhance their overall oral beauty. Their services are also becoming popular at bridal parties, speaking events, model and fashion shows, and more. The business was started by Ameerah Minton in August 2014. After enjoying a career in the Fashion and Beauty industry for over 10 years, which also included a stint as a Runway Model, she noticed a lot of women hiding their smiles. “I was even hiding mine. I wanted to do something about it, so I found a way to do so. This is how Exquisite Teeth Whitening Service came about,” she says. Her services consist of The Love Your Smile Session, Bride and Groom Sessions, Spark A Smile for Prom and Graduates, Instant Teeth Whitening Private Party for Five, Bring a Friend Sessions, and Mobile Travel Services, Exquisite Men’s Mondays and Hers-day Thursdays. She also offers gift cards. Ameerah Minton is a resident of Richmond Virginia. She is a mother and friend to many. Moving forward she hopes to offer her teeth whitening services to others outside of the Richmond area. h

Exquisite Pearls Teeth Whitening, LLC 715 East 4th St. Richmond, Virginia


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Perfect Harmony Graphics & Sound By Dr. Marrissa Dick Photos by Still Shots Photography ife has its twist and turns, however Stephanie Carver rises from the ashes of adversity and oppression into her promise land of milk and honey. Now a days, divorce and being a single parent seem like familiar societal norms. What’s not normal is how she has managed to navigate through these gates of subjugation utilizing her personal life experiences as a blue print to combat oppressive forces. Unfortunately, we know all too well that life happens and things can go very wrong at times.. Well, Stephanie is no different. At one point in her life she had it all - - marriage, children, and a well-paying job in corporate America. Inevitably life happened and she found herself in a volatile marriage and soon afterward unemployed and homeless. Stephanie credits God for being the one stable anchor in her life through it all. She also credits Him with giving her the wisdom to work part-time on her business, Perfect Harmony Graphics and Sound, the one stop shop for all types of event printing and planning, even while she had gainful employment. The impetus for her business was drawn from volunteer work she did for her church, family and friends. Stephanie is thankful the people she love not only love her but aided in honoring her creative skills by entrusting her with designing, programs, obituaries, invitations, flyers and commemorative booklets, over the years. It was during these special occasions when people began to take notice of her anointed abilities and since then the referrals haven’t stopped flowing. She firmly believes that praying and being under the leadership of Apostle Mary D. McKenzie, incorporating the teachings of the 4 E’s, Evangelism, Empowerment, Education and Entrepreneurship from Faith Assembly Christian Center, THE NEW CHURCH has undoubtedly been a major blessing in manifesting God’s will in her life.


Richmond - September/October 2017

It is clear that when the blessings begin to flow you have to be ready for the transition. After losing her main job at IBM, Stephanie was fortunate enough to work for her cousin for a season while still garnering clientele for her own business that she was working from her home. Within a year she has been able to step out on faith into an actual office suite where she has expanded her business. “In March I branched out into my own office so I could expand several different parts of the business. The first part of Perfect Harmony Graphics and Sound is printing and copying. This is where we do anything that a store like Kinko’s or Staples can do. Now we’ve incorporated an event side where we actually coordinate and plan special events like designing a wedding program to planning the entire wedding. We also do creative parties and graduation celebrations from beginning to end. Perfect Harmony Graphics and Sound also produces the lighting, music, and live sound for these events. We can do it all right here. We can be the one stop shop that people need.” The passion and satisfaction that motivates her in this area of her life is the personal connection she makes with each client. “The one thing I love about this business is that I have the ability to personalize and customize whatever my clients need,” she shares.

Promoting life comes in multiple and competing ways for Stephanie. One way is being a viable parent for her two daughters and another way is authoring two novels that are spiritual self-help books. Next month Stephanie will launch these two books simultaneously. The first book is entitled, After the Alter and Before the Pulpit and the other title is You Were Born To Embrace and Triumph the Brain Power of Your Advisory: Come As YOU ARE God Has Need of You. Both of these books speak to God’s ability to empower us to triumph over the struggles in our lives. It is going through the struggle that Stephanie believes comes any testimony. She shares, “I believe that God allowed my struggle to be so hard so I can be committed and really make a change. I do everything within my social justice advocacy on a voluntary basis. It’s my way of giving back especially because He has really prospered my business.”

Remaining transparent is important to Stephanie as her business and volunteerism expands through the Triangle area into other cities in the United States. She wants people to know that her “business was really a recovery from being a survivor of domestic violence, losing her job and then being attacked and raped. Regardless of the situation you’re in you can always have a bounce back spirit and conquer it.” Stephanie encourages people to find what they love to do and do it. She firmly believes that God has created and endowed everyone with the ability to do something and that when we find that something we should love it and learn to live in it instead of merely existing through life. In fact, she is so steadfast in her belief of having a “bounce back spirit” that when she preached her initial sermon, “There’s Life After Death,” she realized that her experiences were there to undergird her testimony. She says, “God gave me that title because when you’re in a situation like divorce you feel like you’re in a dead space but then when you find that purpose inside of you that’s when you come back to life and understand that there is life after death. You understand that you can’t live in the struggle. … So I would say to anyone to keep your foundation in Christ. That’s just what brought me over and that’s my drive. I can do this. I was created for this,” she shares. As a community social justice advocate, minister, and evangelist, Stephanie partners with community constituents (Amazing Grace Adoption Agency) to share factual knowledge about laws and policies that affect education, domestic violence, rape victims, and Dumpster Babies that may otherwise be overlooked within the community. One of her current victories surrounding education has been that she she aided in collecting over 5,000 signatures. She had an amazing team working with her to increase the High School dropout age from 16 to 18 which is a laudable accomplishment. Additionally, Stephanie advocates on behalf of Dumpster Babies. It has been her experience that, “Sometimes women end up pregnant from being raped and if they have these children some women will abandon these children inside of a dumpster instead of taking them someplace safe like Amazing Grace Adoption Agency, the fire department or the police station out of fear of being arrested for abandonment and charged with a crime or simply being embarrassed. So I want people to know that there are safe places to leave these children. I want them to know that there is another option because I promote life.”

Stephanie would like for her community to know that she stands by her ministries as well as her business. She literally walks her talk. Stephanie says, “My business really is everything that I stand and fight for. I want to encourage everyone that wants to step out there and own their own business or work in the community to focus on the benefits and overlook the no’s. I never want to paint this perfect picture that everything is great and there aren’t going to be any struggles because there are giants that you will have to face whenever you’re trying to conquer anything but you just have to focus on the doors that open for you. Don’t waste time trying to convince the no’s because that one yes will be more than enough,” she assures the person desiring to own their own business. h

4819 Emperor Blvd. Suite 400, Durham NC 27703

Richmond - September/October 2017 1919

Her Nicknames



Cutest Baby

Mackenzie Deenaya Cox The daughter of Xavier and Shontria Cox Photos provided by Shontria Cox

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to

Chiccy Baritone


here isn’t just one word that can sufficiently describe this remarkable and talented individual. Introduced to the poetry circuit in 2001 and affectionately named, “Chiccy Baritone” (Pronounced “chick-y”) Charlene Evans lives up to the full meaning of her stage name - Chic, well-put together (spiritually and emotionally).

First, she is a Christian and poet who has a talent for manipulating words as a means of expressing herself. She is also a writer, bookworm, traveler, and coffee connoisseur who has a natural love for people and culture. Her work as a poet is spiritually grounded and inspired by God. While she speaks, Chiccy hopes that something spoken will minister to the souls of others. Baritone uses her deep melodic alto voice to share her life stories in the form of poetry with much authority. Her work can best be described as spiritually grounded, filled with real life situations and God-filled solutions. Before discovering the gift of poetry, Chiccy worked corporately as an engineer, focusing on project controls and product development, all while balancing her love for arts and technology. She believed managing a professional career and a career as a poet helped cultivate a desire for social change and empowerment.

“I discovered the gift of poetry while doing pageants at Spring Valley High School during my junior and senior year. While trying to decide what I was going to do as my talent, I knew I loved to read poetry so I decided to do monologues. Once I graduated from high school, I entered college at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC with the desire to start writing. Right before graduating I visited an “open-mic” event where I opened my personal notebook and began reading poetry that expressed my growing pains in college,” she says.

Upon moving to Greenville, SC in 2001, she took poetry a little more seriously and started memorizing her work, until she started Chiccy Baritone Productions in 2004. God is a keeper. From 2009 to 2016 she has experienced several challenges in life. One being very painful, was the death of her mom, Viola Evans, and a bitter moment with the deaths of her two best friends, Mertyse Lemons and Tavis Brunson. At those times in her life, Baritone recognized how close she was to falling deeply into depression but says God continued to keep her through it all. “My relationship with Jesus and the power of the word of God continues to strengthen and motivate me to live my life for God and to fulfill every assignment that God appoints,” she says. Baritone is not content with being the last in line. She has strategically moved her way to the front of the line where she maintains a strong presence. Looking forward Baritone hopes to complete a couple of books, one for poetry and another dedicated to the memory of her mom. She plans to continue to work on her next CD titled, “Wildflower Vol. 2” along with her band in Greenville, SC. She will also host “Breakfast for Champions/Women Empowering Women” sessions throughout the United States. Her first independent session h

Richmond - September/October 2017


Ambi Shantay

Healing Flows was written as a spiritual and emotional release. It details my faith-journey with infertility and high-risk pregnancy. It looks at those issues in the face and speaks to men and women everywhere because my battle may not be their battle. For every problem, GOD has a solution. I instruct readers how to trust God for the impossible. I also speak to issues of depression, anxiety, and loss. These are things that we don’t like to talk about in the Black Community; but if we can have it, then God can heal it. We just have to believe, and I have been chosen to share my journey in order that someone else may be healed and set free.

Who is Ambi Shantay? Ambi Shantay is my brand but I also wear a lot of hats. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, minister, a visionary-and with all those hats, I have to be somebody different in each role. I am the person you want to call on the phone and ask for advice, but you’re not really sure that you are ready to receive what that person has to say. I can love on you and give you the words you need to hear; but at the same time, I am that person that’s going to hold you accountable and allow you to really look inside yourself and pull out those things that you desired to keep hidden. I’m everybody’s sister.

What do you love about writing? I have always loved writing, yet I’ve always pursued it as a hobby. Whether it was just journaling or writing devotionals and sharing them when I minister, I never took it further. I considered journalism when I went to college, but I ended up pursuing a degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication because my passion for speaking was greater. I never had a desire to actually be an author; which is so ironic. My first book “Healing Flows”, I consider an assignment directly from the Lord, so of course I had to be obedient. I had recently given birth to my first child and I was suffering from post-partum depression. I didn’t know how to express my emotions. There were so many and I just felt alone like I couldn’t talk to anyone, and so I started back writing. However, I didn’t know that my written thoughts were going to be shared with the world. Two years later I was in prayer and I was asking God to move me to the next level. Clear as day, I heard “write your book”. I didn’t have to question Him because I already knew what He wanted.

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Richmond - September/October 2017

What is your testimony? I am ecstatic to be celebrating 5 years in ministry this year ! Not only am I celebrating 5 years in ministry, but I am doing what I love to do. What better way to celebrate than with the release of my brand new book! God has called me to tend to the hearts of my sisters, and it’s not a task that I take lightly. I am also grateful for the leadership of my shepherd Jason Scales and Lady Barbara, pastors of Believers Faith Fellowship, who allows me to freely walk in my calling and encourages us to define our destiny and walk in our purpose. I can finally say that I am doing just that, and it is a great feeling. The process is not always easy and we don’t always understand it, but it’s definitely worth the struggle. A lot of people won’t see what has been planted inside of you. It’s not for them to see. Stay the course! Don’t giveup. h

Shay Stanley Myrtle Beach Resident Launched Her Own Line of Hair Care Products By Terry L. Watson Photos by Pure Artistic Studio


hay Stanley has built a hair product line on one principle, “do it with passion or not at all”. At the start of Shay’s career she worked as a licensed Cosmetologist in someone else’s salon before opening her own salon, Styles By Mizz Shay in Little River, South Carolina (located within 15 minutes of Myrtle Beach) in 2013.

As a stylist she specializes in Silk Presses, Blowouts, Relaxers, Styled Cuts, Color, Natural Hair, and Extensions. While operating a salon in a beach community, Stanley noticed many of her clients’ hair were adversely affected by high humidity and a lack of moisture. She responded by creating a line of hair care products that would directly address their issues. Thus, Desire Transformation Hair Care was born. Desire Transformation Hair Care is designed to infuse moisture and proteins that aid in eliminating frizz while leaving the hair soft and manageable. Some of their products include Detox Therapy Shampoo, Hydrating Moisture Shampoo, Moisturizing Silking Conditioner, Shiny Satin Silk, and Hair Growth Oil. They also offer personable selections and travel kits. All of the Desire Transformation Hair Care products are available online. The transformation experience is what Shay loves about her products and services. “I chose this career because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. I understand the needs of my clients and I am able to meet them by providing a level of service that brings life back into their hair,” she says. “At my salon, I provide an atmosphere that promotes healthy hair and beauty, both outward and inward. It is impossible for one to leave and not feel transformed.” Moving forward, Stanley hopes to expand Desire Transformation’s presence in the marketplace to that of the bigger brands. She also hopes to conduct continuing education classes and seminars for other stylists in and around South Carolina.



Orders Available Online


Richmond - September/October 2017


A Life of Pearls 24

Richmond - September/October 2017

By Terry L. Watson Photos by Equator Kennedy quator Kennedy is the owner and founder of Styled by EK, Life of Pearls, an empowerment movement that starts with image. They provide unique, hand selected jewelry and accessories, consisting primarily of pearls. They also strive to add to their clients’ image and style by finding fashionable pieces that will compliment any outfit or setting. Kennedy is also a community leader and a champion of women’s issues. Many know her as a loyal friend and family woman. Her passion for fashion and consulting started at a young age. “I take pride in motivating others to leap and conquer every dream that God blessed them with. I love helping in the community and enjoying life through laughter and positive environments. My motto in life is, one person can change the world by affecting one person at a time. Together, we shall all overcome,” she says. Growing up as a child, she was always obsessed with her mother’s jewelry. In her teenage years, she loved shopping with her and helped accessorize her outfits.

“Every lady needs an accessory to make her feel like the most beautiful woman in the room. I’ve been searching for the perfect pearl necklace to compliment serval outfits. I found it while shopping Life of Pearls Boutique! I love my neckace set. My new go to for unique pearl accessories is Life of Pearls! Thank you for providing beautiful quality pearls for all my wardrobe needs.” -Kashinas Kurvy Korner, Fashion Blogger

“I’ve always loved fashion and jewelry and had a love for pearls. I knew I wanted to do something in the fashion industry so I started to educate myself on how to run a successful business. I attended numerous workshops and seminars and often networked while building a following. One thing led to another and in December of 2016 I launched Life of Pearls online,” she says. Their products are hand selected pearl earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. They also have purses, shoes, accessories, and more. In addition to providing products that are geared to women and children, plans are in the work to add men’s fashionable wear. Moving forward, Kennedy hopes to impact more women and help change their mindset and approach to life. “Sometimes our success is hindered by negativity or the hurt we harbor. When this happens, we are not always able to see the good in the world, or receive the blessings that are headed our way,” says Kennedy. h

Richmond - September/October 2017


Adolescent Girls Pen New Journal That Is For And All About Girls “A Girl’s World” is a journal wholly created by girls, for girls that provokes honest and compassionate discussion about what it means to be an adolescent girl. 26

Richmond - September/October 2017

A Girl’s World is an authentic and heartfelt journey into the lives of adolescent girl discovering themselves. The authors, Damonie Johnson (14) and Laila Thomas (10) share true stories about their experiences with pain, excitement and the stress of meeting the many expectations placed upon them as adolescent girls. Through this engaging and interactive dialogue journal, adolescent girls will be challenged to explore their own self-identity, how it affects their relationships with their peers and how their identity and engagement with the world is impacted by simply being a girl. “I really want to be able to share my story and experiences in a way that lets other girls know that they are not alone,” says, Johnson. Johnson bravely shares her heart-wrenching story of helping a friend who was hurting herself and how she has struggled to overcome the pain of growing up without her mother. But this book is not just about heart-ache and pain. The book also encourages adolescent girls to find beauty in everything around them. “I want girls to be inspired by the things they see in their everyday life… shapes, colors, flowers, and h especially, food!” says Thomas.

Damonie Johnson

Damonie Johnson is 14 years-old and a new author. She lives in Crestview, FL and currently attends Shoal River Middle School where she is an A student. She plays the trombone in the school band. In her spare time, she loves to read books, draw and listen to music. Authoring a book is a life-long goal for Damonie. She also looks forward to having a successful career as a musician in a professional orchestra.

The girls will be a part of A Girl’s World Expo in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on October 1, 2017.

Laila Thomas

Laila Thomas is 10 years-old. She is a new author and is full of spirit. She lives in Acworth, GA and is an A student who loves to travel and cheer. She has recently begun to explore photography and has an insatiable appetite for food. Her favorite food is Mexican. When Laila isn’t capturing her life on video using her mom’s phone, you can find her being a loving and supportive big sister to her two younger siblings.

Richmond - September/October 2017


Mount Zion Baptist Church of Greensboro, Inc.


By Dawn Cauthen-Thornton Photos by Still Shots Photography ow does a young boy from the third ward of New Orleans, Louisiana manage to lead Mount Zion Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in Greensboro, North Carolina? Simply put, it was in God’s plan. Like many black families, the Pierce’s typically spent Sundays in church. From the children to the adults, everyone knew how important worshipping was so when Bryan Pierce was a mere five years old, he was baptized. The Pastor held him in his hands and told his mother that her son was going to be a preacher. He gave her specific instructions on how he should be raised and that she most certainly should pray over him every single day. His mother knew she had a task on her hands and allowed Bryan and his siblings to listen to recorded children’s Bible stories to ensure they understood its teachings.

A year after his baptism, the first grader began to get reprimanded for talking in class, until one day, his teacher decided to call him to the front of the room and allow him to share what was so heavy on his six-year-old mind. Bryan stood up and explained to his peers what he had been learning during his home Bible study sessions. His teacher was speechless. She was so moved that she called in another teacher (who was also a Christian) to come and hear him speak on things that no other child his age knew. Stunned, both teachers shuffled him to every classroom on their hall throughout that week to show off their prized pupil. Bryan remembers, “They eventually called my mother and said they wanted her to come and see what I had been up to in school, so of course she thought I was in trouble. And so did I.” Unbeknownst to young Bryan and his mother, he was listed on the program to share his biblical knowledge during the next school assembly – in front of the entire school. Once his mother saw the prophesy come to pass, she broke down in tears and ushered him back to the Pastor who had originally baptized him, showing him the gift that he had spoken of.


Richmond - September/October 2017

“Because there were skeptics, the Pastor wanted to ‘watch me’ to see for himself. They wanted to know that it was real,” explained the Bishop. So, for the next three years he was under his Pastor’s direct tutelage as he dug deeper into his faith. At nine years old, the man who had taken Bryan under his wing and observed the true gift he had been blessed with decided it was time. It was time for him to share this anointed young man with the world. Bryan was finally licensed. Bishop Pierce traveled around the city as well as neighboring states preaching whatever God had put on his heart. “I was called on for almost every youth event nearby. I didn’t have notes or a manuscript to work from. I would just read what was in the Bible and then talk about it.” There were newspaper clippings and articles showing him preaching the gospel at revivals and events all over the area.

doesn’t know the Lord. And I’m sometimes disappointed when I see new pastors abandon the foundation that got us here. There are some that just talk about money and not the core values like salvation and loving your neighbor.” It’s evident that Bishop Pierce hasn’t gotten to where he is by mistake, but by favor. He knows absolutely that to whom much is given, much is definitely required. He feels he was chosen by God to deliver his message to the masses and there are many who echo those same sentiments. During our two-hour conversation, I can see why he is so loved by the church he leads, Mount Zion Baptist Church. He is never content where he is. He’s always searching for another soul to touch and another life to change. It’s a good thing he started with himself all those years ago. h

Years went by before young Bryan started feeling the pressures of being in his position. His friends started shunning him. Not because they were jealous, but because they respected his calling. They revered him so much that they wouldn’t allow him to hang out with them, citing his ‘Preacher Boy’ status. At that time, the streets of New Orleans were dangerous and filled with gangs and violence, even more than it is today. “When I wanted to go do things with them and have fun, they would say no and send me home.” Bryan quickly grew tired of that and tried to boost his street status by rebelling against what he knew was right. He slowly drifted away from school and his faith to ‘fit in’. He wanted to shed the ‘Preacher Boy’ image and the perfect life the community expected him to lead. On Sunday, he would still attend church and fulfill his holy duties, but during the week, he ran the streets with the wrong kids. He even skipped class so he could continue to portray this defiant persona. It took the tragic death of two of his close friends, within the same year, for Bryan to clearly hear God’s voice. “He told me that those were strikes one and two…the third strike would be me.” He learned that when God speaks, he has no choice but to listen. Even if that means letting go of all that you know and all that you think you love. At Bryan’s request, his parents packed up and moved the family across town to save their children. Unfortunately, because he had missed almost the entire school year due to hanging out, he decided to officially drop out of school and did not graduate with his class. Bryan went on to become an ordained minister at 19 and later earned his High School diploma. Knowing that God had bigger things in store, he also earned an Associate’s degree in Biblical Studies, a Bachelor’s degree in Divinity, and next year will defend his thesis to obtain a Master’s degree.

The Mass Choir of Mount Zion and Gospel sensation, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard led the affirmation ceremony in worship.

It would be fair to say that Bishop Pierce has had an eventful life. His speaking ability allowed him to travel throughout his home state and share the word of God. However, he had another talent that took him even further; singing. He was once a third of the award-winning gospel group, ‘Men of Standard’. For years, he divided his time between traveling the world sharing his musical gifts, then running back home to help pastor a local church. He realized he couldn’t do both and decided it was time to plant his feet firmly in God’s house; First in Concord, NC then later in Greensboro where he is currently the head pastor and CEO of Mount Zion Baptist Church. With four children to raise (three sons and a daughter), Bishop Pierce and his wife of 22 years, Debra, saw the value in slowing down to actually enjoy being parents and best friends to each other. “I view my success not by how big my church is and how many awards I get, but…,” he gets choked up, “but that my son jumped in the car after his practice the other night and thanked me for showing up to his games and practices. That’s success to me. Because at the end of the day, my son knows that I didn’t put a meeting or a service or someone else before him.” Bishop Pierce knows all too well how imperative it is for a man to show up in his child’s life. He saw too many of his friends led astray by not having that guidance. He’s a role model not only to the children in his home, but to many in his church and other new pastors wanting to travel the same road. Oftentimes parishioners and seekers of the cloth don’t see the logistics and the dedication behind running a successful organization. “You have to a have a ‘whosoever’ will. Your target audience should be whomever

1301 Alamance Church Road Greensboro, NC 27406 336-273-7930

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Richmond - September/October 2017

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Richmond - September/October 2017



Richmond - September/October 2017

Huami Magazine Richmond September October 2017  

Mykel Media Company, LLC

Huami Magazine Richmond September October 2017  

Mykel Media Company, LLC