Huami Magazine St. Louis Nov./Dec. 2023

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Nov./Dec. 2023 Volume 2 Issue 5

Dr. The UnGun Institute St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023



Cathey L. Williamson

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Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Cambridge and Williamson Financial Management Group LLC, are not affiliated. FINRA is located at Fixed insurance offered through Williamson Financial Management Group, LLC. © Williamson Financial Management Group. All Rights Reserved.

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Your Voice is Your Ticket A Letter From The Editor

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

Everything that will come to us in life is connected to our voice. The word of God shares there is power in what we speak. A Letter from the Editor We can speak about things that can change our outlook and circumstances: greatness, healing, abundance, prosperity, deliverance, victory, etc.didn’t With arrive? the same weplans, have hopes the option What if tomorrow Allvoice, of your toand speak of detriment destruction. dreams wouldn’tand have a street to park on. What if

everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never I am reminded of would what my toldtome as for a young boy, “Be happened? There bemother no reason save a rainy careful what you say”. When faced with adversity throughout day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making my life, the outcome has always been connected to what I said. promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired Whatever thought I allowed to reside in my mind about a situation, today? What would you do? my actions would align with it. If I believed that I could win, I won; if I thought I couldn’t, not.seem It all came down what I spoke to I’ve been told thatI did I often like I do tooto much. myself. 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 Imagine the challenges and adversity Brain Surgeons face within that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would their profession. They are asked to care for patients who have be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I suffered trauma to their head that involves bleeding, swelling, and have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity ultimately life-threatening conditions. The degree of difficulty in is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge their actions within the operating rooms is off the meter; still, they to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? must remain calm and complete their assignment. If the surgeons If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn spoke doubt and were unable to care for their patients, they would something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in fail. They would fail if they allowed fear and disbelief to dictate return acquire life. their actions. Instead, they must speak with assurance, and by doing so, their confidence in their abilities will arise. It all comes The best advice ever given to me happened when someone down to what they speak to themselves. told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only God speaks to us, and He doesn’t expect us to be quiet. hope provided. I have also learned the difference between Whatever you want and need, open your mouth and speak. Your what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with body language should speak for you. How we treat others speaks as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and for how we feel about ourselves. You will only go as far in life as when to be quiet, because your voice will take you. someone may get it confused with being arrogant. Your voice is your ticket to the greatness that God promises. Speak Make you tomorrow about what you expect to happen happen today, but most in both moments of gaining and importantly count. relinquishing and make givingitand receiving, Life is but a whisper and as the impact effect is the same. We put ourselves in us, a as it mustwe usemust the voices God gives position to hear what it is pleases Him when we do. telling us.

Terry L. Watson

Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder



November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

Publisher Dorjae McClammey Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Monica Montgomery Writer Marrissa Dick Writer Writers

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Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett (336) 340-7844 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 Greensboro, NC for statements made by individuals featured or 2023 All Rights Reserved advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

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NOV./DEC. 2023


Tracy Thompson Speaks

Tracy Thompson

On The Cover

Unwrap Your Wellness Coach Melody McClellan


Delicious Foods in Louisville

Eden and Kissi



Contemporary Batik Artist

Henry E. Sumpter

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Ashton Hairston



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Tyler Williams Who says that good food has an age requirement? Lean more about the founder of The Cooking Besties. Indianapolis, IN


Tyra Moore Learn how she has built her nonprofit organizatoin around meeting the needs of other young ladies in her community. Detroit, MI

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Tiffany Gina Akins This serial entreprenuer has built her brand on providing great service and quality brands. Learn more about her. Pensacola, FL



St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

Dr. The UnGun Institute By Monica Montgomery - Photos Provided by Dr. Marty K. Casey Dr. Marty K. Casey is the founder of the UnGUN Institute. This trauma-informed company specializes in helping people recognize and work through trauma issues using the arts as their platform of choice. “I am a singer, actor, playwright, and producer. I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I have been blessed to perform and speak all over the country and different parts of the world. But before Marty was any of that, she was a teenager who was struggling with unresolved childhood trauma,” Dr. Casey explains. As a child, she and her older brother were exposed to the toxic relationship between her birth parents. “It was a loving home, but it was also very dysfunctional and toxic,” Dr. Casey shares. “Our father was a violent alcoholic. There was physical and mental abuse taking place in front of us regularly. The last fight I remember happened in front of our grandparent’s house. The police were called, and I watched from the second-story window as they picked my father up and put him in the trunk of the squad car because he was so out of control.” As an adult, Dr. Casey acknowledges that exposure to so much rage seeded anger and rage in her. “We are all products of our environment,” Casey explained. “Watching my father planted a seed in me. Whether he knew it or not, he modeled how I should respond to stress or frustration. The injury or wound caused by what we saw became trauma. It didn’t just happen around us; it happened inside us.” The laws of nature dictate that whatever you plant will bear fruit after its own kind. The wounding Dr. Casey experienced manifested through anger and a short temper. “Because anger was sown into me, that’s what came out,” she shared. “I was quick to, as they say, ‘match energy!’ If I felt disrespected, then I gave disrespect. The painful part is that it wasn’t who I wanted to be. But because I was carrying someone else’s hurts, anger, and fear, I couldn’t see myself. I was bound by the toxic layers put upon me.”

“We are all products of our environment....Watching my father planted a seed in me. Whether he knew it or not, he modeled how I should respond to stress or frustration.”

Living in a violently toxic home gave way to Casey’s tendency to respond to violence with violence, which was second nature. “In eighth grade, a girl slapped me, and I responded with the full weight of my wrath. The level of offense didn’t matter. It was violent, and I responded violently,” Casey explained. “Then, in ninth grade, a P.E. teacher stepped on my hand, and when I pointed it out, she told me my hand should have been in her way. I punched her and was suspended for ninety days.” Regular discipline issues in school started to take their toll on Casey, and she wanted to drop out.


Dr. Casey’s mother, to whom she attributes her strength, faith, and love for community, stepped in and pushed her daughter in the direction that helped change her life forever. “When I told my mother I was dropping out of school, she told me she wouldn’t allow it. She pointed out that my brother had already dropped out of school, and somebody from their family was going to graduate from high school. She said in plain terms that it would be me,” Casey explained. Determined to ensure that her daughter completed high school, Casey’s mother moved the family to the Webster Groves area. “My mother had been remarried to my “Step-Up” father for two years, and the new house was closer to his job.” The issue with trauma is unless it is adequately dealt with, the triggers will yield the same response. Dr. Casey says, “I wasn’t at my new school thirty days before a young lady disrespected me. I beat her with my eyes closed, then ran home. By the time I arrived, the police were already there.” Not understanding that trauma is transferrable, Casey’s mother sought help for herself but couldn’t see the issues her children were having as a result of the violence they witnessed their mother going through.

A choir teacher at her new school recognized Casey’s talent and gave her some valuable advice. “She said, ‘You have a gift, and doors will open for you, but they will close just as quickly if you don’t change what is happening inside you.’ I was confused initially because I didn’t see the big picture. After thinking long and hard about it, I realized she was talking about my attitude. I had to stop responding to every provocation. I had to decide what was more important to me. Proving that I wasn’t going to take anybody’s crap or walk through some of those doors.” Casey wanted everyone in her new school to know that she wasn’t just a problem child but that she had a valuable gift. She wanted to be seen as different from all the other labels she’d worn before. “My choir teacher told me that if I stayed out of trouble until the Black History program, I could sing a solo. Finally, I had something to reach for. I wanted the school to hear me sing more than anything else. My principal made me a hall monitor to keep me focused and busy, and by February, I hadn’t gotten into trouble once.” Standing in front of her school, letting her gift speak for her, Casey had a revelation. “It was at that moment that I realized my true power. I didn’t have to fight with my fist to be seen or heard. I could fight with a microphone.”


Today, Dr. Casey teaches people how to heal through the arts. “I use the arts to help people locate their power so that they can heal on the inside. We call it UnGun because we say that trauma bullets cause wounds. I help people remove and resolve those trauma bullets and heal those wounds using their God-given power, gifts, and talents.” Dr. Casey, a St. Louis, Missouri native, is passionate about helping people heal from and deal with the traumas we all have encountered at some level. Although her doctorate is honorary, she has more than earned a Ph.D. in life studies through her personal experiences. “I’ve lived all of the St. Louis area. I often tell people that by the time I’d made it to the ninth grade, I had attended ten different schools,” Casey shares. After graduating high school, she earned a full scholarship to Missouri Baptist College to study music. Music was an integral part of Dr. Casey’s life as a teen. Her voice was a gift from God that would usher on to platforms worldwide, including activism. “I was the first African American female to be awarded a full music scholarship to Missouri Baptist College. I was also the first African American to become freshman class president there,” Casey shared proudly. “I went from being voted class clown in high school to class president in college,” Casey laughs. In January 1990, Dr. Casey’s leadership skills were tested, and her activism emerged. “I was upset when I discovered that Mo Bap didn’t recognize Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday. I couldn’t understand that. As the freshman class president, I felt like it was a discussion that needed to be had,” she explained. “I decided I would rally the students.” Casey persuaded the students not to attend class in protest of the school not acknowledging Dr. King’s holiday. To prepare the troops, she did what she did best. She taught them to sing. “I taught them every song I could think of. This Little Light of Mine, We Shall Overcome, Stevie Wonders’ Happy Birthday (Dr. King), and just about anything else I could think of. We marched from the dorms to the classrooms and back, but we didn’t go to class,” Casey said. But her activism came at a price. “We marched, sang, and made our position known. Then the dean of students called me in and said, ‘If you don’t get everyone back to class, you will lose your scholarship.’ I told him I couldn’t lose something I’d never had.” Dr. Casey chose to stand her ground. Years later, when the Michael Brown unrest occurred, God showed Dr. Casey how to combine all she had learned through trauma recovery, entertainment, leadership, and activism and channel it into helping others. “After the Michael Brown incident, God told me to do the same thing I did in college. He told me to be a leader and a voice for the people,” Casey explains. “What happened was inhumane and wrong. That was the wound that rioters were angry about. We witnessed what happens when people are tired of being stripped of their humanity and told it’s their fault and what they deserve. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic human respect. It doesn’t matter where you live, who you are, how much money or education you have; everyone should give and receive human decency.”


“After the Michael Brown incident, God told me to do the same thing I did in college. He told me to be a leader and a voice for the people.” Answer the call to arms, Dr. Casey used the tools she had at her disposal and founded her 501c3 organization, Show Me Arts Academy, in 2014. The Academy worked with local community centers, churches, and schools. They aimed to help children find their voice and value through the arts. “The Show Me Arts Academy serviced over three thousand youth and children. We formed a choir of twenty students called the Spreading the Love Singers, and we traveled around the country doing pop-up concerts,” Casey exclaimed. “I felt it was important to let people know that genuine love and kindness still existed. My favorite concert was on the steps of the Dr. King Memorial. My activism started with wanting to honor Dr. King and all he stood for, so it was fitting that we sang there, where it all began.” Continuing to listen to the voice of God and follow her passion for helping youth find themselves through the arts, the UnGun program was born. “I was working with the Academy when God spoke again and told me that, while the Arts Academy was great, what about those whose living conditions and situations didn’t allow them the opportunity to take part in the Academy? So, I came up with the program UnGun.” The UnGun program took Dr. Casey behind the walls of the juvenile detention center. “I had the opportunity to work with eight boys assigned to me by the center. Their charges ranged from petty theft to murder and everything in between,” Casey explained. As Casey helped the young men focus on what they liked and loved about themselves, their talents surfaced, and they came alive. “With support and encouragement, they became DJs, rappers, and dancers. All while having the time of their lives! They were no longer just a description of their past deeds and poor decisions. I no longer saw their problems; I saw their purpose.” The UnGun program was eight weeks long. The students would prepare for seven weeks, then perform in the eighth week in front of their parents, staff, and inmates. 2017 was a crucial turning point for the program. “In 2017, a few days before the student showcase, I arrived at the facility and was told that one of the group leaders would not be able to perform due to a technicality. He had aged out of the juvenile system and was waiting to go before the court. He was so depressed about not being able to perform with the other team members that he stopped eating and speaking for three days. My heart was broken. They asked me to speak with him to see if I could get him to talk,” Casey explained. “The first thing I did was remind him of the tools and techniques we teach in UnGun. One is that the mind, body, and spirit collectively work together. There must be a balance. Then, I shared with him the most important component of that teaching. I told him they could lock up his body, but only he could lock up his mind. Set your mind free so that your body will follow. Then, be grateful to God for the life you have. I don’t know how much more time you will be given as an adult or if you will receive any additional time. I know that you will be a free man if you choose life. In that instant, I saw him move.” As a result of the interaction with that young man, Dr. Casey decided to incorporate UnGun and make it a business in 2020. “Guns kill, but UnGun heals.” Dr. Casey’s UnGun Initiative and curriculum are now in St. Louis city public schools and other organizations. The UnGun tools and techniques are taught by people with first-hand experience with Trauma and what it takes to be free of it. The presenters often start the conversation with their testimonies. “We do that because it does two things. It gives us credibility in the space and helps students by modeling how to have those difficult conversations with their peers.” The purpose of UnGun is to help identify the trauma first and then unpack it so the individual can heal. “Because trauma triggers are different for everyone, this is not a one-size-fits-all system,” Casey shares. “The U in UnGun is the individual.” When God seeded the idea of UnGun, Dr. Casey didn’t know how it would grow or become such a powerful tool for so many. “I have to admit, I was so surprised at the effectiveness of the UnGun Institute. We have had the honor and privilege to touch so many lives, but I believe much more work must be done.”

Dr. Marty K. Casey 10

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


A Girl Like Me, Inc. 12

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

By Terry L. Watson - Photos Provided by Tyra Moore Tyra Moore calls the west side of Detroit, MI. Married and blessed with three beautiful children and a wonderful bonus son, Tyra says family is at the center of her life. “Growing up in the vibrant city of Detroit, I have deep roots and a strong connection to my community. Education has been a significant part of my journey, and I accomplished a major milestone when I graduated from high school at 17. Furthering my education was always a goal. I recently achieved another milestone by completing my studies as a surgical technician, and being able to make a positive impact on others through my work gives me immense satisfaction,” she says. One thing that truly lights up Tyra’s spirit is the Christmas holiday. “ It brings me joy beyond words, and I have a tradition of starting to play Christmas music as early as September. Something about the holiday season fills my heart with warmth and happiness, and I embrace it with all my enthusiasm,” she says. “When it comes to colors, red holds a special place in my heart. It symbolizes passion, strength, and determination. I find it energizing and uplifting, and it often finds its way into my everyday life.” Tyra’s role as a wife, mother, community member, and healthcare professional shapes her into who she is. She also finds fulfillment in helping others. She has found a way to serve many through her nonprofit organization, A Girl Like Me Inc. In November 2019, Tyra began her journey of community service by organizing events for young girls ages 11 to 17. These events focused on empowering them through activities like vision board parties and journal writing. However, it was in 2020, when the pandemic struck, that she truly felt the call to help others in need. “My husband and I decided to utilize our savings to purchase essential items like diapers, wipes, feminine care products, and household supplies for families who were struggling. We also started organizing community events in our neighborhood, where we collected new and gently used items such as clothing, shoes, and baby items. These items were then made available for free to anyone in need through a community lot,” she says. Tyra organized a Christmas giveaway for 100 children, providing them with much-needed gifts and joy during the holiday season. This venture gained momentum, and she expanded her efforts to include parenting and childbirth classes, lunch and learn sessions, and even a prom for teen moms like herself, who had missed out on their high school prom due to their responsibilities as young parents. Some of the services her program offers are free baby items (i.e., diapers, wipes, bottles, baby milk, and food, clothing), free self-care kits for our Girls, Teens, Teen Moms, and Moms, free resources on various services, a mentoring program for girls, teens, and teen moms. Some of the topics they address are Bullying/ Domestic Violence, CPR – First Aid, Finances/ Budgeting, Family/ Friend Relationships, Mental Health, Nutrition, Personal Hygiene, Pregnancy/ Pregnancy Prevention, Self-Care, Self-Esteem, and Sexual Activity, and STD’s. They also offer Books, Journal Writing, A Girl Like Me Talks, Field Trips, Community Outreach, Vision Boards, and Educational Baby Classes for Our Moms. Tyra says she is dedicated to supporting teenagers and young moms between the ages of 11 and 25. “I understand the unique challenges they face and strive to provide them with the assistance they need to navigate through this stage of life. “It is important to note that I do not turn anyone away who is in need of help. Regardless of age or circumstances, if someone requires assistance, I am here to provide support and resources to the best of my ability. My goal is to make a positive impact on as many lives as possible without any restrictions or limitations,” she says. St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Tyra is a very confident woman and believes in the work that she does. She states, “I have never believed that I could achieve what I have today. Being a teen mom brought its fair share of shame and self-doubt, and I never imagined that one day I would confidently share my story with the world. However, despite the challenges, I refused to give up on the promise I made to myself at the age of 14. I held onto the hope that the opportunity would arise for me to make a difference. As I live through this life-changing experience, I am in awe of the strength and resilience I have discovered within myself. Taking that first step and embracing my journey has transformed my life in ways I never thought possible.”

Pictured above is Tyra with family. Below, are members of A Girl Like Me, Inc. 14

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

One major hurdle that Tyra and her program have faced has been funding and securing adequate financial resources to support their initiatives and dreams. Additionally, there have been instances where A Girl Like Me Inc. has been labeled as too small. Another significant obstacle is having a dedicated building or home for their services. “Being unable to establish a physical space that aligns with my vision has posed difficulties in providing the comprehensive support I envisioned. Additionally, financial constraints have made it challenging to afford a full staff, limiting our capacity to deliver services effectively,” Tyra shared. While these challenges have tested her resolve, they have also fueled Tyra’s determination to find creative solutions and seek out alternative avenues of support. “I firmly believe that with perseverance and the power of collaboration, we can overcome these obstacles and continue to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others.” Her advice to others who may follow a similar path is to not give up on your dreams, no matter how challenging they seem. She also advises you to persevere through the obstacles and remember that as long as there is breath in your body, there is always a chance to achieve your goals. “Furthermore, it is crucial to approach life with an open mind and heart. Avoid passing judgment on others and, instead, strive to offer help and support whenever possible. Every act of kindness can significantly impact someone’s life, and by extending a helping hand, you can contribute to creating a better world.” In the future, Tyra’s vision is to establish hubs across the globe that provide free essential resources and necessities for families in need. These hubs will serve as a lifeline, offering support and assistance to those facing challenging circumstances. She also wants to acquire an apartment building designed to help teens and young moms get on their feet and serve as a nurturing environment to receive the support and resources necessary to build a stable and thriving future for themselves and their children. “Through these initiatives, I aim to provide a solid foundation and empower individuals to overcome their challenges, achieve their goals, and create a brighter future for themselves and their communities,” she says. h

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023



St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

Eden & Kissi Afro-Carribean Gourmet Cuisine with a French Touch

Information Provided by Eden & Kissi Photos Provided by Mykel Media Company LLC

There is some delicous Afro-Carribean food in Louisville, KY. A feast of love and family in the heart of a bustling city, there’s a restaurant that’s more than just a place to satisfy your taste buds; it’s a testament to the power of family, faith, and an unwavering passion for cooking. Kissi is the remarkable owner of this culinary haven, where Afro-Caribbean flavors blend seamlessly to create a truly unique dining experience. Kissi’s story is as rich and diverse as the food she serves. Kissi is a wife, and mother of four children and seven grandchildren. She was born into a family of 19 children, and her childhood was a constant celebration of life through food. In their home, cooking wasn’t a chore but a festival of flavors, where every meal was a joyful occasion. Kissi embodies the essence of family. She lovingly speaks of her son David as more than just a child; David is her confidant and friend. He is also the mainstay of their restaurant, Eden and Kissi, located at 3912 Bardstown Road, Suite 101, in Louisville, KY. Kissi’s and David’s bond is unbreakable, and it’s clear that they have each other’s backs in the kitchen and life. Eden and Kissi’s journey began in 2014 when they started selling their mouthwatering dishes at local markets. Four years of dedication and hard work led them to their dream – a food truck. The beginning was promising, but three months into the venture, mechanical issues brought the food truck to a halt. However, this was just a brief setback in the larger tapestry of their story.

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


In 2020, amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kissi and David opened their first brick-and-mortar restaurant. It was a battle they not only fought but also won. This victory was a testament not only to their culinary skills but also to their resilience and belief in their vision and, most of all, God. And speaking of that vision, Akissi, as Kissi is also known, believes it came from a divine source. After relocating to the United States from her native home of Africa, she had a prayer point where she asked God to reveal her path. Through two vivid dreams where she found herself wearing a chef’s hat, she received her answer. From that moment on, she knew her calling was to share her love for cooking with the world. The heart and soul of Eden & Kissi’s restaurant is their Afro-Caribbean cuisine. They skillfully combine the flavors of both cultures to craft unique dishes. Whether it’s the succulent Goat, tender Oxtail, or mouthwatering Fish Curry, their food takes one’s taste buds on a journey of discovery. Everything at Eden & Kissi is made from scratch, a testament to their dedication to the art of cooking. The result is a menu that not only satisfies your hunger but also leaves you yearning for more. “I was fortunate to visit Eden and Kissi while traveling through Louisville. Immediately upon entering the restaurant, I was politely greeted by David. He was professional and knowledgeable about everything. I took food with me as I continued my trek to Indiana, but amazingly, the Red Snapper plate I was given didn’t make it very far up the road. It was so delicious, and I can’t wait to return to try more items from their menu. Kissi was equally pleasant. I wish I had more time to listen to her talk and share stories of her home and food,” says Terry Watson, the publisher of Huami Magazine. The food at Eden and Kissi is not just a meal; it’s a unique culinary experience that transports you to distant shores. But the culinary journey doesn’t end there. Next door, they’ve opened “Delicious Foodies,” a delightful shop where they serve French crepes, delectable desserts, and refreshing natural juices. It’s a testament to their creativity and their commitment to providing a diverse range of flavors to their patrons.


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

My passion for cooking shines through in every dish served at Eden and Kissi. For me, cooking is not just a job; it’s a source of immense joy. My love for food is palpable, and it’s this genuine passion that infuses every bite with love and flavor.”


Kissi says, “My passion for cooking shines through in every dish served at Eden and Kissi. For me, cooking is not just a job; it’s a source of immense joy. My love for food is palpable, and it’s this genuine passion that infuses every bite with love and flavor.” In the world of food, there are restaurants, and then there are culinary destinations. Eden & Kissi fall into the latter category. It’s a place where food is more than sustenance; it’s a celebration of life, family, and faith. Kissi’s culinary journey is an inspiration to all, a reminder that with determination and passion, even the most challenging circumstances can be turned into victories. If you’re in Louisville, please stop by Eden & Kissi to enjoy some of the delicious food. You will not be disappointed. Also, please visit their website to learn more about them. h

Eden & Kissi 3912 Bardstown Road - Suite 101 Louisville, KY - 502-384-9102 19


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

Tracy Thompson Speaks By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tracy Thompson When she opens her mouth, It is a great idea to listen. Tracey Thompson of Houston, TX, is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is an author and a woman who believes that knowledge is power. Tracy shares, “My family is indescribable; they are unique. They are often associated with various aspects, including love, support, belonging, shared experiences, and mutual responsibilities. Additionally, they are commonly characterized by a deep and unconditional love.” Tracy is also the face of Tracy Thompson Speaks. Her company offers various business solutions, including virtual office space, meeting facilities, print and promotional materials, marketing and branding, public relations, social media management, business coaching, financial literacy, credit repair, and real estate funding. “My products are designed to propel every entrepreneur,” Tracy shares. “The Thompson Enterprise is here to serve the entrepreneur on the rise. We serve dreamers who simply need to understand the step-by-step process for achieving their next goal.” Tracy says she started her entrepreneurial journey in high school. She was doing hair every weekend and changed courses because she wanted to be a mortician. Then, she changed up again and decided to start a few businesses as well. With her degree in hand, she launched her mortgage business. Seventeen years later, Tracy opened a total of five businesses, and with that success, she retired from corporate America.

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Tracy says she loves the opportunity her companies provide her to help and serve others. “Helping people is what we are designed to do. If I can change one person’s life, I pray they will also pay it forward,” she shares. One might ask what pushed Tracy to be the entrepreneurial force she is today. Her response is very clear. “My financial situation impacted my life. It forced me to be persistent and consistent in changing my situation. Our situations are in God’s hands. If you continue to push through the trials, your situation can change. I wanted to see that change, so I knew I had to make an effort. With prayer and me trusting the process, it was changed.” Tracy says her family, including her husband, kids, and other family members, inspire her to be all she can be. “They provide emotional support, care, and affection. I love getting those morning texts; my kids are my true cheerleaders. My husband always inspires me to push harder and to go to the next level, and with him on my side, how can I not go harder,” she says. Additionally, Tracy acknowledges her mom, dad, sister, and nieces as a constant source of love and support. “My family offers a sense of belonging and creates a safe and nurturing environment where individuals can find love, acceptance, and understanding. We are a crazy bunch, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.” Building her brand has required a lot of resilience and patience from Tracy, yet, she says, she wouldn’t change how things have occurred. “Trials and tribulation are meant to push your journey. If you didn’t have any hiccups, how would you learn? I look back over the years, and the growth I see now is remarkable; I know God is always in control, so I know there is more to come, and I am ready for it,” she says. Tracy’s plans for the future include continuing her quest to be a bridge for those who might be unsure of their next financial step. From blended families to entrepreneurs, she says her team is working to roll out programs that make accessing those solutions easy. She concludes by professing that 2024 is going to be an amazing year. We concur. h


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

“The Thompson Enterprise is here to serve the entrepreneur on the rise. We serve dreamers who simply need to understand the step-by-step process for achieving their next goal.” St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023



St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

The Cooking Besties By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tyler Williams There is something about good food that makes one’s heart smile. In regard to Indianapolis, IN, native Tyler Williams is making some moves and raising eyebrows in the local culinary community. Tyler is the owner of The Cooking Besties, a fullservice catering company that specializes in doing just about anything to meet their client’s requests. They primarily cater to small and large organizations within Indiana and provide catering services to private clients. Tyler and his team also offer traditional buffets, private dinners, charcuterie, brunch, and dipped treats. Tyler is the son of Rick Williams and Michele McFarland. He has lived in his childhood home in Haughville, IN, for almost 21 years. He has three siblings, Jessica, Jordan, and Bryce, and one niece, Jalayah, and two nephews, Charles and Levi. Tyler graduated from Cardinal Ritter High School and earned his undergraduate degree in Tourism, Events, and Sports Management with a minor in Business Foundations from Indiana University. In 2021, he returned to school and earned a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership and Human Resource Management from Purdue University. The Cooking Besties started in 2020, right in the middle of Tyler’s mother’s kitchen. He says, “I was laid off from my corporate job in May 2020 due to COVID, and a former childhood friend mentioned the idea for us to cook, and I instantly was against it. I’ve always enjoyed cooking for my family, but cooking for others and for money kind of made me nervous. I finally gave in to the idea of cooking and came up with the business name by joking and asking, “What are we going to be called…….The Cooking Besties?” On that day, we became The Cooking Besties and started doing bi-weekly comfort food meals. Those meals St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


became popular, and often, we had a line wrapped around my neighborhood. That’s when I knew we were on to something. The following year, we secured our first large catering contract with Eskenazi Health Center and provided over 700 charcuterie boxes for their employees. The rest is history. Tyler shared that he has always dreamed of owning a restaurant. “I would sit it in my 7th grade Algebra class and map out the design of my restaurant, create menus, and write down my crazy ideas. I’ve always been a dreamer, so I would write it down whenever I had a thought.” Those thoughts would eventually become Tyler’s future, which is the title he gave them. “My Future.”

“I would sit it in my 7th grade Algebra class and map out the design of my restaurant, create menus, and write down my crazy ideas.”

Living out his dreams is what Tyler says he loves most about The Cooking Besties. Every day, he gets to wake up to cater. He says his prayer to be self-employed, successful, and booked has become his reality. “It’s the best feeling in the world,” he explained. He also appreciates his family and friends’ support and the business referrals. His church family has also played a significant role in Tyler’s success as they have pushed him to keep striving for better and offering help anytime he has large events. It takes a village, and Tyler says he is grateful for the one he has. One challenge of running your own business is to ensure that it’s profitable. For Tyler, he manages this kind of issue when he’s pricing catering packages and ensuring they yield the right return. “There have been times where I have walked away with less than I am supposed to earn, but it was simply because the math was not mathing! We now have systems in place to make pricing out our items much easier and accurate,” he says. He also acknowledges his mother for inspiring him. “I am the product of a single parent, and my mother goes above and beyond to ensure my siblings and I have the best. She has helped me scale my business by always finding areas of improvement and ensuring that everything I do in the business has a certain level of excellence,” Tyler says. Tyler’s business journey, he shares, has forced him to trust God, and he says that God hasn’t failed him yet. “God has been extremely faithful to me, and all I can say is thank you.” Looking ahead, he plans to continue running his catering business and even open a brunch restaurant. To learn more about The Cooking Besties, please visit their website. h

Tyler Williams The Cooking Besties 317-292-4379


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023



St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

TIFFANY GINA AKINS De’Jure Life Notes LLC By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tiffany Gina Akins

Tiffany Gina Akins of Pensacola, FL, is a seasoned professional. She has over 26 years of experience in business, law, and finance. As the CEO and Founder of De’Jure Life Notes, LLC, she has provided countless clients with top-notch services. De’Jure Life Notes, LLC is a consulting service “Our experienced team of legal consultants offers sound legal advice and strategies to help you navigate the complexities of family law. We specialize in handling various family law forms such as divorce decrees, time-sharing, parenting plans, child support, modification, financial affidavits, and many more,” Tiffany says. Tiffany’s impressive background includes a Degree in Computer System Analysis. She is also an Alumni of PHI Beta Lambda and a nomination for Who’s Who Among Junior College Students in America. She has gained expertise in various areas, such as criminal justice, financial advising, and legal consulting. She has also held internships as a paralegal and IRS tax preparer. She has become a Florida Notary, Certified Remote Notary Public, and Certified Loan Signing Agent under the National Notary Association. Additionally, she is a Certified Mortgage Field Service Inspector, IT Network Expert, and Certified Graphic Designer. “I bring an entrepreneurial mindset to every project. With my passion for fashion, and as the owner of a record label, Graphic Design & Branding Studio, I have a unique perspective on what it takes to succeed in a variety of industries,” she shares.

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Tiffany says running a business is hard enough for her business clients without worrying about legal issues. That’s where she comes in. “Our legal consultation firm specializes in a full range of business law forms, including bank forms, business licenses, titles/bill of sale, building permits, real estate closing, travel documents, and more. We also pride ourselves on providing topnotch financial services, including financial affidavits, IRS taxes, financial counseling, and tax preparation.” With her Notary Team, all aspects of notary services are covered. In 2022, Tiffany founded De’Jure Life Notes, LLC, to provide practical solutions for individuals and families facing legal and financial challenges. She shares, “My own struggles with these issues, as well as those experienced by my loved ones, motivated me to create an agency that prioritizes education, compassion, and personalized guidance. I understand the difficulties and challenges of going through legal battles, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like abusive relationships and divorce where children are involved. Waiting for years for your case to be heard or starting the process all over again due to lack of finances can be demotivating. Our team strives to rectify problems caused by incorrect, incomplete, or missing information on legal and finance forms. As a dedicated Legal Consultant, I am committed to helping my clients create a better future for themselves and their loved ones.”

850-860-8058 Overcoming the challenge of obtaining a consistent clientele can be difficult for any legal professional, but De’Jure Life Notes, LLC. has implemented various marketing methods to reach its target audience. Their efforts have resulted in significant growth and a more defined client base. For other aspiring business owners, Tiffany’s advice to you is to remember that every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow. She also says, “Be kind to yourself and take care of your well-being, both physically and mentally. Invest in relationships that inspire and encourage you and pursue your passions with confidence. Keep learning and expanding your horizons, and never stop striving for success. Most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities, and when the going gets tough, keep pushing forward, because success is just around the corner,” she says. Moving ahead, Tiffany says her ultimate goal is to help individuals and businesses of all sizes achieve a brighter future. To accomplish this, she offers a variety of resources such as community training workshops, seminars, monthly televised segments, and a new podcast show that focuses on keeping individuals and businesses updated on the legal issues that matter the most to them. Her services are available in West Florida and surrounding states. To learn more about Tiffany and De’Jure Life Notes, LLC, please visit their website. h


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023



St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

Hearne Fine Art By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Ebony Blevins

Garbo and Archie Hearne III are leading the arts community for Black Americans in Arkansas. Garbo Watson Hearne is a native Arkansan, born and raised in El Dorado, but currently lives in Little Rock. Her parents were both educators and stressed the value of education and reading. Garbo received a BSN in Nursing from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences in 1983. Her better half is Archie Hearne III, MD, and together they have four children and three grandchildren. Dr. Hearne is a native Californian and has been a family practice physician in Arkansas since 1983. He was the impetus for opening a Black art gallery in Arkansas. He was educated on collecting by Chico State University professor and printmaker Marion Epting. Kenneth Williamson, a Memphis artist, challenged Archie and Garbo to open a gallery in Little Rock to fill a niche. He answered the challenge, and in doing so, Garbo put her aspirations to become a nurse anesthetist on hold to open and manage the gallery’s day-to-day business and provide their children a cultural haven to be exposed and nurtured.

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Hearne Art Consortium is an umbrella for Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing, Hearne Fine Art, and Hearne Fine Art Consulting & Appraisal Services. It provides a platform for local, regional, national, and international Black artists and authors to sell and share their talents. The platform allows all people to explore Black culture using literature and the fine arts. Through each entity, they provide the community, the artists, and the authors with a voice in the arts community on every level. “We provide retail services of books, decorative art, and fine art with a focus on Black culture. We also offer community programming, including book signings, artist talks, and community lectures, as well as decorative and conservation custom picture framing, fine art appraisal, and consulting services,” he shares.

1001 Wright Ave. Ste C - Little Rock, AR 39577 501-372-5824 -

In 1988, the Hearnes’ opened the Pyramid Gallery. Pyramid was a print gallery with a focus on fine art by local artists. “In 1988, there was limited access and opportunities for Black artists to show and sell their works in Arkansas, so we filled a niche in the visual arts and literary community. Frank Frazier, a Dallas-based collage artist, introduced us to many regional and national artists. He also encouraged us to host fine art exhibitions and programming to include artists talks and workshops. Soon, we began offering custom framing, books, fine art, and fine art appraisal and consulting services. In 1998, we moved to our third location and changed our name to Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing and Hearne Fine Art. We created a definitive space for fine art and owned it by adding our surname, Hearne. In 2008, after 20 years of renting, we took a leap of faith and purchased real estate in the historic Dunbar community and built The Hearne Centre,” they shared. The Hearne Centre houses Dr. Hearne’s family practice clinic, the bookstore, the custom frame shop, and the fine art gallery. It is also located across the street from the Dunbar Middle School, which was established in 1929 as a Junior College, High School, and Junior High School for Black students. Even more, the Dunbar community is the oldest Black community in Arkansas.


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

“In 1988, there was limited access and opportunities for Black artists to show and sell their works in Arkansas, so we filled a niche in the visual arts and literary community.” Garbo Hearne

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023



St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

Garbo says what she loves most about owning their gallery is the engagement with artists, authors, and their community. “I love when clients connect with artists and authors, and they become family. Everybody has a story to tell and we provide a platform that allows authors the freedom to be heard on their terms. I love that we are located in the heart of the Black community and the support we have had from local, regional, and national patrons over the last 35 years,” she says. Hearne Fine Art also has an expansive children’s area that houses a Baobab tree created by Atlanta artist Alfred Conteh. To date, they have hosted over 500 exhibitions and book signings. Like any other business, the Hearne’s have faced some challenges in business. The biggest challenge they share is keeping up with technology and making sure they reach all the audiences to grow our business. “It is imperative to keep your brand fresh and innovative. With so many variables, juggling all the communications and social media efforts can be challenging,” they said. They have engaged in continuing education, communicated with peers, and constructed a supportive staff to manage such challenges. Their bookstore/gallery manager, Patrece Brown, has been a part of the business for 34 years, and their custom picture framer, Randy Taylor, has worked for them for 20 years. Their children have also been supportive, with the oldest daughter, Auna, coming on board to manage PR for both companies. To learn more about Hearne Fine Art and Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing, please visit their websites. h

1001 Wright Ave. Ste C - Little Rock, AR 39577 501-372-6822 - St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Percy B.A Legacy Lawson of Service By Terry L. Watson Photos provided by Demetris Lawson

When defining the life of Percy Lawson, there is actually one word that can accurately capture what it is: service. At 84 years of age, Percy is still quite sharp. His memory and ability to reference life’s experiences are quite impressive. He also dotes on his family whenever he gets the opportunity and shares his love for God without hesitation. In 1938, Percy was born in Caswell County, NC. As a child, he was raised with two brothers and one sister by his mother and father. Percy served in the United States Navy for 12 years, with four of them on active duty and the remaining serving in the Reserves. He was honorably discharged from his duties in December of 1968. He has been married to his wife, Loanne, for 65 years and recently celebrated their union in September of this year. Percy and Syretha have two children. Percy quit school in eleventh grade and joined the military against his mother’s will. He initially tried to join the Marine Corps, but that didn’t work out. Percy returned home, and his mother advised him to return to school. He stayed at home with his parents, but his father continued to encourage him to do something with life. Percy’s mind was set on the military, even though his first attempt at enlisting failed. In 1956, he successfully joined the US Navy and began serving his country. After leaving the US Navy, Percy returned to Greensboro and worked as an NC Mutual Life Insurance insurance agent. He also worked with the North Carolina Department of Corrections until he became unable to walk. Percy graduated from Rutledge College in Greensboro, NC, with an Associates Degree in Business Management in 1980. He continued his education by attending Greensboro College, majoring in Accounting, and graduated with honors. In 1982, he went into business and opened the Lawson Accounting Firm. His company provided accounting and bookkeeping services to churches and businesses in Greensboro for over 30 years. He has also worked for the Internal Revenue Service. Until 2021, Percy managed Lawson Accounting Firm, but due to his disabilities, he passed the responsibilities along to his daughters, and the name was changed to Lawson Accounting and Associates. Regarding accounting, Percy says it is a very technical field. “Most people believe you should be a mathematician to be an accountant. That part is true, but it’s not a requirement. I’ve had quite a bit of training in math, but being a mathematician isn’t required. You must also be sharp in business, have sharp morals, and be pretty exact,” he says. Percy admits that his accounting career and his career with the US Navy shaped his life.

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St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

Family is very important to Percy. He has conducted extensive research on his family and found photos of his family members dating back to five and six generations from him. He has photos of his GreatGreat-Grandmother and Great-Great-Grandfather. “I had a strong father figure as a child. He instilled the importance of working for what we want in life. I feel like men have an obligation to set the trend for their families. Your family’s name is something that every man should be proud to carry on. In my 84 years of life, I have never been to prison, and I don’t intend to go now. I have also worked really hard to support my family,” he says. “I don’t have any sons, only three daughters. My only grandson was killed in Washington, DC, in 2002, and before he passed, I tried to instill things into his life that would be important to his survival. When I meet young men, I want to know what kind of work they do and what their interests are. My obligation is to let them know how important it is to have a job or find ways to support themselves. I pride my life on being honest with others,” he says.

“I had a strong father figure as a child. He instilled the importance of working for what we want in life. I feel like men have an obligation to set the trend for their families.”

Pictured above is a young, Percy B. Lawson. He served in the United States Navy for 12 years.

In addition to all of his other accomplishments in life, Percy is also an accomplished author, having written two published books, “From The Bottom To See, A Brand New Me” and the other “From Slavery to Ownership”. More than anything, Percy shares that he has loved the opportunities he’s had to serve his country and others through his business. While his journey has had many challenges, he shares that it has been all worth it. Percy’s advice to others is to live life to the fullest. “Never give up on life. Life isn’t over until it’s over,” he says. There is truth to what he said, as Percy is currently working on publishing his third book. h

Pictured with Percy B. Lawson are members of his family and wife of 65 years.

St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023


Autumn Thornton The daughter of

Armani Thornton and Gregory (Feva) Bonds


St. Louis - Nov./Dec. 2023

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