The Unleashed Voice Magazine January 2023 Issue featuring Pennsylvania State Rep. La'Tasha D. Mayes

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VISIT TUVMAG.COM JAN - FEB 2023 Order in the House! MEET PENNSYLVANIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE LA’TASHA D. MAYES La’Tasha D. Mayes, MSPPM, is a nationally recognized leader in the field of reproductive justice, human rights and leadership development for Black women and girls. She is a native of West Philadelphia and believes in the indefatigable spirit of women. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! The Memphis PRANCING TIGERETTES Meet Trans Activist DENA WILLIAMS Remembering COACH PAYTON Meet Quincy Oliver and Jamar S. Oliver the men behind this successful dance group Breaking Barriers in Corporate America The lessons Sharolyn Payton shared still lives through her work and legacy. + + THE UNLEASHED ISSUE NEW YEAR, NEW YOU, NEW BLESSINGS


This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.


BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including:

� Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. Your healthcare provider will test you for HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking BIKTARVY. Do not stop taking BIKTARVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months, and may give you HBV medicine.


BIKTARVY is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults and children who weigh at least 55 pounds. It can either be used in people who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before, or people who are replacing their current HIV-1 medicines and whose healthcare provider determines they meet certain requirements.

BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS.

Do NOT take BIKTARVY if you also take a medicine that contains:

� dofetilide

� rifampin

� any other medicines to treat HIV-1


Tell your healthcare provider if you:

� Have or have had any kidney or liver problems, including hepatitis infection.

� Have any other health problems.

� Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BIKTARVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking BIKTARVY.

� Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take:

� Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-thecounter medicines, antacids, laxatives, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist.

� BIKTARVY and other medicines may affect each other. Ask your healthcare provider and pharmacist about medicines that interact with BIKTARVY, and ask if it is safe to take BIKTARVY with all your other medicines.


BIKTARVY may cause serious side effects, including:

� Those in the “Most Important Information About BIKTARVY” section.

� Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that may have been hidden in your body. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking BIKTARVY.

� Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. If you develop new or worse kidney problems, they may tell you to stop taking BIKTARVY.

� Too much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious but rare medical emergency that can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, stomach pain with nausea and vomiting, cold or blue hands and feet, feel dizzy or lightheaded, or a fast or abnormal heartbeat.

� Severe liver problems, which in rare cases can lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get these symptoms: skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, or stomach-area pain.

� The most common side effects of BIKTARVY in clinical studies were diarrhea (6%), nausea (6%), and headache (5%).

These are not all the possible side effects of BIKTARVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking BIKTARVY.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with BIKTARVY.


Take BIKTARVY 1 time each day with or without food.


� This is only a brief summary of important information about BIKTARVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.

� Go to or call 1-800-GILEAD-5

� If you need help paying for your medicine, visit for program information.

February 2021 © 2022 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. US-BVYC-0008 01/22
BIKTARVY, the BIKTARVY Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, and KEEP BEING YOU are trademarks of Gilead
Inc., or its related companies. Version date:
Please see Important Facts about BIKTARVY, including important warnings, on the previous page and visit BIKTARVY® is a complete, 1-pill, once-a-day prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in certain adults. BIKTARVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. Ask your healthcare provider if BIKTARVY is right for you. Because HIV doesn’t change who you are. ONE SMALL PILL, ONCE A DAY Pill shown not actual size (15 mm x 8 mm) | Featured patient compensated by Gilead. #1 PRESCRIBED HIV TREATMENT * *Source: IQVIA NPA Weekly, 04/19/2019 through 05/28/2021. Scan to see Chad’s story. CHAD LIVING WITH HIV SINCE 2018 REAL BIKTARVY PATIENT KEEP BEING YOU.
4 | CONTENTS 08 -10 Cover Story State Representative La'Tasha Mayes Order in the House! 06 | Editor’s Letter Gwendolyn D. Clemons Unleash Your Vision 07 | Editor’s Letter Dr. Davin Clemons Life is a Vapor 11 | HIV Awareness Brodderick Roary The Importance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day CONTENTS Ad Deadline February 12, 2023 Next Issue to March | April 2023 La'Tasha Mayes Photo Credits: Cover: Provided By Pennsylvania House Of Representatives Democratic Caucus This Page: Rep. La'Tasha D. Mayes 14 | Motivational Dr. Umieca N. Hankton, Ph.D New Year. Ever-evolving Me! 15 | Health & Wellness Latrina Moore Taste of Eden 19 | One to Watch Venise Bowen Trippy Alien Clothing 20 | Business News Orange Mound Roots Sister Soul Seasoning 21 | Health & Wellness Michael Q Lau How to Avoid the Flu This Season 16 22 12 Trans News Community News In Remembrance Dena Williams Breaking Barriers in Corporate America Quincy & Jamar These Young Men Can Jam Sharolyn Payton 10 Steps to Follow for the New Year
Shawn M. Clemons Administration/ Fashion Director Gregory Graphics Layout/Design
Transgender Correspondent TEAM TUV Scan this code with your phone to subscribe to The Unleashed Voice Magazine Today! Take it everywhere you go, along with the print edition. You’ll qualify to download each issue digitally through your iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. National Advertising + Rivendell Media Company 1248 US22 Mountainside, NJ 07092 Office 908.232.2021 | @TUVmagazine
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Brodderick Roary Special Contributor
Dr. Umieca Hankton Special Contributor

Unleashing your vision

ON THE COVER: Meet the newly elected State Representative La’Tasha D. Mayes, MSPPM a nationally recognized leader in the field of Reproductive Justice, Human Rights and leadership development for Black women and girls.

Whew Chile… let me tell ya’ll something! 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022, have all kicked my butt! These last four years has taught me the meaning of how life be “life-ing.” As we enter the New Year of 2023, I can tell you that life is still life-ing and we really need to gain a better understanding about how God operates. One thing for certain is that God is not on our calendar and that the business of God is not a respecter of man-made rules and laws.

As we continue to live and go through life there will always be wins and losses. Sometimes the losses seem bigger than the wins, but these are all about perspective. In the words of Les Brown “in this life we have to learn to expect opposition, because it is surely coming.” This brings me to the point of my article. It’s time to “Unleash Your Vision” for your life and stop waiting on the perfect time because time may not be on your side.

I see 2023, as the year a lot of people will begin to put themselves first. I have heard the conversations of strangers who swear that they will no longer play small in life. The common whispers are that people are “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and they are determined to do something about it!

If this is you, I have the perfect opportunity to help you further develop into the person you know you can be. Join me the week of February 28, 2023, through April 4, 2023, for my seven-week virtual E-Course titled “Unleashing Your Vision” as we lay the foundation for your personal development to becoming the best version of yourself. Go to my website and grab your seat. I’ll see you on the inside!

"Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women, and black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society."
Angela Davis
Gwendolyn D. Clemons

Life is a Vapor

Dr. Davin D. Clemons

First, Happy New Year Y’all!! Secondly, life is so short and fragile. People are dying every second and minute of the day! For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Living knowing that your life is a vapor is different than just living. I have experienced several deaths in the first couple of days in 2023 and I will be literally preaching my first funeral on Saturday January 7th; so, remember “Life is a Vapor.” The text that I will be preaching from is James 4:14, “that life is "even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (NKJV), it is important to look at the larger context of the passage.

In this passage, James is talking about people who live in the confidence of themselves. They take for granted that each day is given to them and that their own plans will work out. They do not live depending on God for their needs because they are confident in their own plans and ability. They do not consider whether their plans are pleasing to God, nor are they making time to serve others. This attitude stems from their belief of a guaranteed life.

While we are young, our time on earth seems like an eternity, but truly our days are like a vapor, here one moment and gone the next. A vapor cannot make its existence last any longer, and it leaves the space it occupied virtually unchanged. James is pointing out the self-importance we give to our lives and our plans without considering eternity.

So, with all of this in mind what are we waiting on? Why are we making New Year resolutions and doing nothing to change the situation? Why are we still mad at family, friends and enemies when life is a vapor! Practicing gratitude can be a game-changer: it has far reaching effects, from improving our mental health to boosting our relationships with others. Living your life with gratitude helps you notice the little wins which in turn create a web of well-being that, over time, strengthens your ability to notice the good. Remember Life is just a vapor!




A: My campaign slogan was "Disrupting politics as usual" and the politics as usual was the lack of respect and support for progressive Black women when we run for office by political parties and political infrastructure specifically the ideas of electability, the politics as usual of giving lip service to campaign platform issues without any actual lived or professional experience or track record of leading on those issues, the politics as usual of candidates being selected during Special Elections by local party committee members instead of by the voters, the politics as usual within our state legislature whose members demographics do not represent the demographics of the residents of our Commonwealth but laws are passed that directly and negatively impacted our most marginalized communities and the politics of usual of Black women holding our American democracy on our shoulders in every single election in every election cycle but without the political power or representation to reflect this reality.

My presence as a progressive Black masculine of center lesbian woman is disruptive. I am the first out lesbian ever to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the first woman to represent my district ever in over 50 years. I am also a long-time community organizer, so my decades of leadership have always been about putting marginalized people at the center of my work. This will remain true in my role as Pennsylvania State Representative, my constituents and residents will have a knowledgeable, resourceful, and solutions-driven leader to support them in their daily needs and larger vision for a just community, city, and region.  My presence is a disruption to our local and statewide politics because I am still an “atypical” candidate in the eyes of the political machine regardless of all the important work I have done in this district,

across Pennsylvania and nationally. I was considered a long shot in my race and the odds were indeed stacked against me, but I knew I could win my race as did my supporters. I knew it was my destiny and no one can get in the way of your destiny. I understand the assignment of delivering for those I serve as State Representative, and I can organize my constituents to confront systems and institutions of power. I disrupt politics by intersecting my role as a state legislator, expanding statewide infrastructure for electoral justice, and expanding important movement-building work as community organizer.


A: I have been blessed to have many proud moments in my background and if I had to name my "Top 5," I would name the following:

1. Founding, leading, and expanding New Voices for Reproductive Justice in 2004 with three incredible Black women in the City of Pittsburgh that ultimately was the catalyst for movement-building for the Human Right of us all to control our bodies, sexuality, gender, work, reproduction, and ability to form our families specifically throughout the Rust Belt and Mid-Atlantic regions of America.

2. Legalizing civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ residents in Allegheny County by co-leading a coalition to pass the Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 2009 which prohibited discrimination in housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

3. I am proud of local, state and national work for healthcare access that began with the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 that led to actually enrolling women and LGBTQ+ folx in the healthcare exchange to increasing access to more affordable contraception to suing the Pennsylvania Department

of Human Services for not giving lowincome women on Medicaid access to full health care through the ACA to passing statewide legislation to end the shackling of pregnant incarcerated inmates to defeating multiple abortion bans in Pennsylvania and Ohio to fighting for Black maternal health locally, statewide and national and ultimately permanently extending Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to 1 year;

4. Organizing the #SayHERName March in Philadelphia in June 2020 which was the largest action organized by New Voices for Reproductive Justice in honor of Breonna Taylor, Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells and Nalani Johnson; over 1,000 people attended this March which was in response to the lack of attention and action when Black women, femmes, girls and genderexpansive folx are killed by police, intimate partner or community-based violence and the #SayHERName Justice Fund which provides immediate financial support in the midst of a violent tragedy; and

5. President Biden winning the 2020 Presidential Election based on the votes of Black women in Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties that carried the victory for Pennsylvania is the direct result of years of integrated voter engagement I led through the New Voices' Voice Your Vote! Project that educated, mobilized and turnedout Black women ages 18-49 to vote in every single election and I directed this work in multiple counties in Pennsylvania and in Ohio.


A: I have always known that I wanted to run for elected office, and I have been running for elected office since 7th grade. I ran my first serious race for Pittsburgh City Council in 2015 and I lost but it was


the best loss of my life. My decision was also driven by opportunity and timeliness when the previous State Representative vacated his seat to run and ultimately win as the first Black Mayor of Pittsburgh. Open seats are the best times for Black women and political "outsiders" to run. My Mother, mentor and political inspiration inspired me to run. I am the daughter of a giant - my Mother Charlotte D. Stroud, a single Mother, Army veteran, food service worker and UNITEHERE union member from whom I inherited my deep-rooted thirst for justice. My Mother passed away in January 2018 and this unspeakable loss has changed the trajectory of my life - giving me strength, power, and purpose like I have never known.  I was raised by my grandmother for the first two years of my life while my mother was in the Army and when my mother returned, she had to figure out how to take care of me and my Brother and her Mother. That was my family unit growing up in West Philadelphia. I watched my mother do all that she could to make sure my brother and I had the best opportunities in life and sacrificed greatly so that I could even have a thought about running for elected office. See - my mother told me I could do anything, and I believed her. This motivates my drive. Then she showed me that I could change my community and change the world.   The first example of this is when she took me to the Million Women March in 1997 when I was 16 years old. It was the first time I understood the power of Black women, organizing and to speak up for the issues impacting our lives. As I grew into an adult, my mother questioned some of my life choices like my decision to not become a corporate energy lobbyist to take over corporate America. She tried to figure out why I would decide to stay in Pittsburgh instead. What she didn’t know is that there would be a series of events that would change the trajectory of my life like meeting the founders of New Voices for Reproductive Justice and creating a nationally respected organization that has served and organized over 250,000 Black women, femmes, girls and gender expansive folx over 18 years, or my opportunity to work

and serve in state and county government, or recognition for my work that would take me to the White House and meetings with Presidents or that I would find my political voice and run for office twice and not win my elections or that I would build a community in Pittsburgh that has made me who I am to this day that would keep me together after she passed away. My Mother is my ancestor and in my holy trinity along with Shirley Chisholm who by her life and legacy taught me to unbought and unbossed as well as undeterred and she literally came to me in my dream and it was clear as day - she was swearing me into the office and I could not talk about this campaign without talking about Alma Speed Fox the Mother of both Civil Rights and Women’s Rights, a woman before her time who lived a remarkable and power 99 years of life who saw something in me at the age of 22 that she would encourage me to organize the March for Women’s Lives that would transform my life because it put me on the path to leadership in the national Reproductive Justice movement, it has be one of the greatest honors of my life to sit at her feet for nearly two decades of a woman who ran for office, confronted racist and sexist institutions and inspired generations to fight for justice. It is this combination of specializing in the wholly impossible, that wakes me up every day to work, lead and serve.


A: Reproductive Justice will always be contentious, but I am here to be unapologetic about health care, abortion access, Black maternal health, comprehensive sexuality education and so many other intersecting policy issues of reproductive health and rights. I expect resistance from Republican and conservative elements in the General Assembly to the inevitable culture change led by a new wave and generation of legislators like myself who are bold thinkers who are relentlessly driven by a vision for justice as well as service. My biggest challenge will be

accelerating the glacial pace of legislating, policymaking and governing to serve the needs of Pennsylvanians.

I am proud that I have been appointed to be Chair of the Joint Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color for both the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and the Women's Health Caucus. It was a harrowing political journey and a hard-fought victory in the Primary Election for my own campaign and in the General Election where my continued community organizing, and campaigning efforts supported victories up the ballot and across the state. I also think that in general this is a new role for me, and it does take time to learn how to best serve my constituents and the inner workings of Harrisburg and that simply takes time. Once I get a decent lay of the land, I will be able maximize my years of community leadership into tangible changes and wins for House District 24 and Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth.


A: You are ready to run. You are ready to lead. You are ready to change your community and the world. Prepare for the journey personally, professionally, and politically. Know who you are. Choose the elected office you want to run for wisely and strategically with counsel of those with greater knowledge than you. Put in the hard work even when you don't want to or feel like it. Then run to win with everything in your soul.

La'Tasha D. Mayes for State Representative PO Box 5483 Pittsburgh, PA 15206 412.475.8354

Photo Credit: Njaimeh Njie


The Importance of National Awareness Day BLACK HIV/AIDS

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day to acknowledge progress in #HIV prevention and care among Black/African American people while recognizing much work still needs to be done. Black communities have made great progress in reducing HIV. Yet racism, discrimination, and mistrust in the health care system affect whether Black people seek or receive HIV prevention services. These issues may also reduce the likelihood of engaging in HIV treatment and care.

To continue to reduce the burden of HIV and other health risks, people need adequate housing and transportation, employment, access to culturally competent health services that are free of stigma and discrimination, and more. Together, when we work


to overcome structural barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment and to stop HIV stigma, we help reduce HIVrelated disparities and health inequities in Black communities. While Black community leaders and members, activists and organizations continue to work tirelessly to reduce HIV and AIDS in our communities and mitigate the seroconversions (new HIV diagnoses), Black Americans remain disproportionately impacted by HIV. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an annual observance aimed at increasing education, testing, treatment, and prevention of HIV in Black communities and communities of color. It is also an important day to raise awareness around the disproportionate impact of HIV in Black communities, and what we can do to turn the tides. In recent years, research continues to demonstrate that the social determinants of health such as housing, income, education, food security, and insurance status – to name a few – are the leading indicators of health outcomes and health disparities

among certain populations. To reduce the burden of HIV in Black communities, we must address the structural barriers to accessing health care.

Today, there are various ways to prevent and treat HIV, but many people do not have access to these tools. By providing equitable access to care and reducing factors such as discrimination, stigma, and shame, we can overcome HIV.

One of the most important tools for HIV prevention is PrEP, or Pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a medication that, when taken correctly, can reduce that risk of HIV transmission by up to 99%. Recently it has shown that the people who could significantly benefit from PrEP are Black but only 1% of PrEP users are Black. Education, access, and reducing stigma are key to increasing the uptake of PrEP.

Another important HIV prevention method is PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis. PEP is a medication taken after a potential exposure to prevent transmission of HIV. PEP is highly effective if taken within 72 hours of a potential exposure.

U=U, or “Undetectable = Untransmittable” is another important guiding principle when considering the importance of HIV treatment as a prevention strategy. By taking HIV medication as prescribed, a person can achieve what is known as an undetectable viral load – meaning the amount of HIV in a persons’ blood is so low, it cannot be passed onto others via sex. In addition to reducing transmission, people living with HIV can lead long and healthy lives by taking medicines that keep the virus undetectable.

National Black HIV/AIDS

Awareness Day is a chance to get more involved in getting the word out that HIV is preventable and treatable. With greater awareness about how the disease is spread and how to avoid risky behaviors, people can reduce their chance of infection. With appropriate treatment and medication, people living with HIV can live long and productive lives and manage their disease like other chronic illnesses. That is why it is so important for everyone to get screened for HIV and to know their HIV status.


In Remembrance

The world lost a gem when Coach Sharolyn Payton was abruptly taken from us too soon. This article was originally published in 2019 and her teachings are even more profound and relevant today. Sharolyn was a mother, grandmother, friend and mentor whose legacy will live through her teachings. In this issue we humbly pay tribute to her life by resharing her gift to the world… Rest in Perfect peace my friend!


Getting our year off to a purposeful, powerful, productive start both personally and professionally begins with personal responsibility. No matter the trials, the triumphs, or the turmoil faced in the previous year or past years, what matters now is how we respond to, plan for, and advocate for ourselves, our vision, and our values as we look forward towards the future.

Here are a few simple tips for executing a personal responsibility plan for 2023 and beyond:


Practice and master the art of gratitude. I believe that gratitude is the key to unlocking life’s abundance and makes everyday worth living and certainly worth looking forward to.


Do your own personal “Year in Review.” Look back at the previous year’s events, meetings, engagements, projects, and personal/professional connections, and ask yourself three questions:


• Was it time well invested, or was it simply time wasted?

• Did I follow through/follow up or get the outcome desired?

must choose what areas of life and vocation we want to master and focus on doing just that. So, never let it be said that you were a “Jack (or Jill) of many trades, but master of none.” For the record, that’s not a compliment.


Be honest about successes and failures. Be willing to take a good hard look at past actions/ outcomes so that you can manage and set more realistic future expectations and goals. In order to live our most authentic lives, we must always be honest about who we are, who we wish to become, and most importantly, we must know the difference between the two.

Treat people with respect, even when relationships come to an end. It’s important to avoid publicly shaming, embarrassing, or in any way humiliating those who we were once in relationship with. Yes, sometimes it’s necessary to burn bridges but it’s never necessary to set people on fire along with the bridges we burn.

or Reward” component that makes the goals even more effective. If goal-setting and follow-through are areas of your life that are challenging, overwhelming and/or cumbersome for you, it would be in your best interest to identify and hire a professional life or business coach to help you identify ways to overcome this. Once you find the right coach to support your vision, you’ll find this to be the best investment you’ll ever make.

• Did the action improve my life or put me in a better position socially, emotionally, spiritually or financially?

Refocus your time, energy, and attention on the people and things that will get you closer to your goals and help you grow personally and professionally.

Clarify your vision/purpose. Make sure you understand what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you expect to get it done, as it relates to your personal or professional vision/mission.


Evaluate your gifts, talents, and abilities. No matter what the clichés may lead us to believe, we can be good at a lot of things but at some point, we

Partner and build relationships with people who believe in you and who want to see you win! This is not one of those areas of life where we can afford to lie to ourselves or misrepresent what we know to be true. If the people who we are currently partnering with don’t openly and/or publicly show support for our vision or mission, they are probably not true supporters. Real support is always evidenced by action.


Create an asset list for your life. Just as we often take an inventory of our possessions or the things in our homes, offices, etc. in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as fire or burglary, I believe we must also have a personal asset list or inventory of those whom we have allowed to be in our lives. The list should assess the value that they add to our lives and clearly define why they are there.

Set personal and professional goals, and write them down. One of the things I value most in life is my time. And, because I value it, I make sure to steward it well through deliberate and effective goal setting. Personally, I recommend setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals, instead of just S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals have an “Evaluate and Revise

Above all, take care of yourself. Make sure to put self-care and self-advocacy at the top of your list. Caring for and investing in the wellbeing of others is fulfilling and often necessary. However, caring for and investing in ourselves is the key to living a peace-filled, abundant, and purpose-fulfilling life. I wish you a purposeful, powerful, productive, and limitless year and beyond!

Deep belief and warm regards, Coach Payton.



Hearme out! What if I said, "you DON'T have to reinvent yourself" every year? Can you imagine it? The thought of a NEW YOU every NEW YEAR sounds exhausting. What if you committed to continuing to grow and evolve each year by simply being open to adding what works and subtracting what doesn't work from your life? Do you crave more joy, love, self-care, boundaries, patience, forgiveness, empathy, excitement, stability, or vitality? Great, add these experiences! Do you need to remove yourself from toxic environments or people, refrain from consuming excessive amounts of unhealthy foods or substances, or resist the urge to self-sabotage when fear shows up? Wonderful, remove these things from your life? Regardless of your answers to these questions, there's an opportunity for stretching and growing with each passing moment. So, how does one continue to evolve? Well, this can be quite intimidating at first but grab a notebook or journal, find a comfortable spot where you can sit and reflect with minimal distractions, and give yourself permission to be vulnerable and receptive to exploring the contents of your mind and heart. First, take a deep breath and bring your attention inward to your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Then, with your notebook and pen in hand, go ahead and jot down any initial thoughts you notice (e.g., "This is foolish. I don't like journaling. Why am I doing this? Did I turn off the stove? What are my kids doing in the other room?"), any emotions that surface

(e.g., nervousness, fear, irritability, frustration, excitement, etc.), and any bodily sensations (e.g., elevated heart rate, jitters, sweating, shortness of breath, calmness, etc.). Once you've given some attention to a few things that might get in the way of you fully committing to this practice of reflection, allow your mind to focus on the past year. Okay, before you toss your journal aside, take several deep breaths. Let out an intense sigh, if necessary. But, without self-judgment or trying to dispute or defend what comes up during this period of reflection, start writing what you notice. Then, with compassion and courage, ask yourself the following questions.

• Did my actions align with what I desired for my life?

• Am I proud of how I showed up in the world for myself and others in 2022?

• Did I do the very thing(s) I intended to do last year in the way I intended to do it? What could I have done differently?

• Do the people closest to me support the life I desire to live or contribute to me thriving? Who are my accountability partners along this journey? Who offers me a soft-landing space when I feel overwhelmed, confused, afraid, or tired? Who challenges me to apply pressure when and where pressure needs to be applied?

• What do I need from myself and from others to continue everevolving in 2023?

• How do I want to show up AND out this year?

• What changes can I begin to make to fuel more moments of happiness in my life?

• What do I know I need to change but am afraid to change?

• What changes can I make in the next two, six, or nine months that will contribute to a life that I love?

While this practice might feel emotionally and mentally hard, hard does not mean impossible. Hard things should not be avoided. You can do hard heart work and do it well. Remember, beautiful things can grow outside of your comfort zone. Allow your answers to these questions to guide your journey of evolving in 2023.

Dr. Umieca N. Hankton is a licensed clinical psychologist and owner of UNH Counseling Services. Dr. Hankton's clinical interests include the mental health and wellness of Black women, LGBTQ+, clergy, and college students. Clinical services are available to those located in TN, LA, TX, GA, AL, D.C., & IL. To learn about the services offered, please call 901-300-9082.

D r. Umieca N. Hank t o n D r. Umieca N. Hank t o n


In 2016, I was introduced to the vegan world after being diagnosed with IBS leaving me unable to hold down the southern comfort foods that I grew up eating.

“Chicken, pork, beef, paired with sides filled with butter and salt and anything fried was a norm in our family so not being able to eat those foods sent me searching for a new way of eating.”

I was introduced to a holistic vegan concept by Dr. Franco Taylor of Memphis TN, who showed me the ropes and helped me put the right foods and combinations together. Soon after adopting a vegan lifestyle every aspect of my health got better.

I have been strictly vegan for the past 6 years and during that time I have maintained my health and have not taken a single pill or medication regimen. I attribute that to my healthy lifestyle choices.

Some benefits of eating healthier are weight loss, managing and maintaining healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, mental clarity, better sleep, clearer skin, more energy, and vitality, decreased stress, improved immunity and a better quality of life just to name a few.

Latrina Moore, native Memphian, beloved wife, and mother of three is the owner of Taste of Eden LLC. Taste of Eden is a local health food catering delivery that specializes in freshly made salads, fruit platters, fruit bowls and fruit baskets. Orders can be placed for Taste of Eden by phone, email, messenger or on our social media accounts (Instagram or Facebook). Depending on the size of the order, at least 24 hours’ notice is required. Taste of Eden LLC

Dena is a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional who has led Business Resource Groups for some of the country’s largest corporations. She has a wealth of experience, along with 15 years of activism and advocacy for historically underserved communities.

Dena is also a founding member, former Board Chair, and former Chief Executive Officer of the groundbreaking Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (TCLA) – the nation’s first all Trans-Identified Chorus. Under Dena’s leadership, the organization performed with Grammy Award-winning artists, partnered with GLAAD on a nationally televised campaign celebrating diversity and inclusion, and was featured in the Los Angeles Times.

Dena began her activism with a focus on HIV outreach in the inner cities of Connecticut, where the rates of infection were disproportionate among POC and LGBTQ+ youth. Thanks to her unwavering advocacy and support for the LGBTQ+ community, Dena has been nominated for Orange County’s Unsung Heroes and has received the APAIT Visionary Leadership Award.


With a little creativity and thought, we can all do our part to progress trans equity and inclusion further.


A: The five words I would use to describe myself are: altruistic, resilient, compassionate, plant mom, and insightful.


A: I feel that before I can offer advice on my professional career path, I need to acknowledge the struggles that trans people face in the workplace, in job seeking, and in overall discrimination just because of who we are. It’s unfortunate that trans people have to deal with these challenges even in 2023; however, I do feel that efforts are being made to help us find lasting and fruitful careers. Now to my advice. I was told once by a trans elder, early in my transition, that “Being trans ain’t for the weak-hearted.” Note: I’ve cleaned that up a bit, or maybe a lot, for this answer. This saying remains one of my biggest mantras in life, especially regarding my professional career. I’m going to be honest with you. As a trans woman and as a Black

woman, I’ve had to work harder, work smarter, and maintain a level of excellence far superior to my peers. I attribute my success to two main qualities: My steadfastness and determination. I relocated to California from Connecticut in 2008 to find a space to be openly and honestly myself. But the move was not easy. Upon arriving in California, I was unemployed for a full year. During that time, I sent out resumés almost every day and went on countless interviews as I dwindled through my meager savings. Nonetheless, I didn’t give up. If I crumbled or gave up every time I was rejected for a job, promotion, or raise, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. Being able to live authentically as myself was worth too much to give in to rejection. I wasn’t going to be “weak-hearted.” I was going to do what needed to be done.

My ability to network and build meaningful, beneficial professional relationships. I’ve always loved forming relationships with new people, and I didn’t realize how beneficial it would be to the progression of my career until I met the CEOs of The Artemis Agency, Catherine Kimmel and Sarah Adolphson. I had begun volunteering with the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles when I arrived in town and had risen to the role of Board Chair. Sarah and Catherine attended one of our events, and we immediately kicked it off. Four years later, these relationships led to a role I’d been dreaming of for years – the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director at an organization that strives

to do good in the world. My ability to form and sustain these relationships over years got me to where I am today. I would advise trans people just embarking on their professional pathways to recognize the importance of relationships.


A: It may seem in the current political climate that trans equity and inclusion have taken a turn for the worse. However, in the face of the apparent attack on Trans rights, I think we need to focus on what we can do in our communities to make things better. One avenue for supporting trans equity in our local communities is through politics. According to, 54 nonbinary and/or genderqueer candidates ran in 2022, compared to 17 in 2020 and just four in 2018 and we won a few of those races too, including James Roesener, who became the nation’s first out transgender man to win election to a state legislature in New Hampshire. Having our voices represented in the political arena is a powerful and necessary step towards trans equity and inclusion. So, if it’s in your prerogative, go out and get involved! Vote! Run for your local political office! Campaign for politicians who hold trans-inclusive views!

I recognize too that not all of us are built for politics, and some of us prefer to

avoid politics altogether. Still, with a little creativity and thought, we can all do our part to progress trans equity and inclusion further. Join your local chapter of PFLAG (which has evolved to include all members under the LGBTQ+ umbrella). Through PFLAG, share your stories and experiences in board rooms, college classrooms, and corporate spaces where trans representation may be absent! Volunteer at your local LGBTQ center! Mentor trans youth to help them gain confidence and career-applicable skills.


A: One of my major projects in 2023 will be to further my DEI initiatives at The Artemis Agency by developing and hosting a series of salons with DEI focuses. The Artemis Agency has direct ties to celebrities and has a lot of stage presence through the media, so it is crucial that we are as equitable as possible in order to present a model for other organizations. I envision inviting speakers who focus their studies on social justice so that we can bring them into the conversation with people who can enact their theories.

The topic of the first salon is Empathy. What I see as a major barrier toward trans equity and inclusion is the lack of empathy some people have for us. As such, I consider it to be one of the most important steps in our journey to educate, communicate, and help people gain understanding and empathy toward our lives and struggles.

17 TRANS NEWS | Dena

Trippy Alien


Venise Bowen a.k.a. Veno is from Memphis, TN currently residing in Atlanta, GA. She owns the clothing brand Trippy Alien Co. It is a streetwear brand that specializes in t-shirts, hats, joggers, and so much more.

Her brand was started in 2015, and according to Venise “she finally came to the realization that she must stop being sorry for myself and do something positive with her pain.”

Venise shares, “As a child I was molested and growing up into adulthood with that pain, feeling Alienated was something I wouldn't wish on anyone. I decided to turn my pain into my passion for fashion and creating.”

The Trippy Alien brand is for anyone who has ever felt alone, unheard, and/or misunderstood. The clothing motto is “You don't have to sit in your pain.” Venise



Trippy Alien Co.

prides herself on reaching out to those less fortunate and giving back. If you're looking for a cool, dope, outta this world brand look no further because Trippy Alien Co. is the brand for you! V e n ise Bowe

n a.k.a

. V e n o .




As it is often said, “All human history has its roots in Africa” so does Sister Soul Seasoning. Stemming from the beautiful land of the mineral rich continent of Africa to the dusty roads of the cotton fields of Mississippi, there you will find the conception of Sister Soul Seasoning.

Faith, family, and delicious food are always on the menu during our family gatherings. A small kitchen in Orange Mound, one of the oldest black communities in America, is the test kitchen for Sister Soul Seasonings. In this kitchen, chitterlings or chitlins were hand-picked and boiled to perfection. The first chitterling seasoning was created and cooked for years in our family home.

Sister Soul Seasonings is the brainchild of Ruby Davis and Dr. Tarcia Gilliam-Parrish. This aunt and niece team is the nucleus of their large family of believers. With grandma’s recipe in hand, the transition from the dusty Mississippi roads to kitchen tables worldwide has been a dream come true. Chitterlings have moved from a leftover afterthought to a delicacy. We do chitterlings right and the seasoning adds a soulful flavor to each bite.

Ruby Davis has been a hometown cook for over 30

years. Ruby asked the elders in the family for their favorite dish recipes. Each recipe told a colorful story of their rich, colorful past. The seasonings were a combination that created tantalizing memories. Each dish told a story of a life well lived. So, she began formulating spice blends in her kitchen. We trademarked our blend of seasonings to ensure our excellent food culture is around for the next generation. What started as motherly love and a passion for cooking became a family business and an antiretirement plan. Food unites families; sharing good food is like a religious activity, especially in black homes. We break bread together to celebrate every occasion, whether dining to celebrate graduation, baby shower, promotions, holidays, and just dinner with friends and family that feed not only hunger but also the soul.

Landing in Memphis, TN, is a truly unique place with one of the country's most fascinating and distinct cultures. Initially, the resulting melting pot of black people in the southern communities influenced the language, music, and, arguably, most of all, the food. We introduced Sister Soul Seasonings at a local market—and the response was outstanding. Though everyone doesn’t eat Chitterlings (Chittlins), these are the best sellers. In 2020, Ruby suggested that the younger generations need to learn the family seasoning blends. Her goal was to pass down cooking to our children. A new generation of cooks was born.

Cooking and creating a seasoning blend became a favorite pastime that included

sharing recipes for his famous homemade soul food dishes. The family cooking event's popularity exploded, and to satisfy demand, in 2020, Ruby and Tarcia began to manufacture his now-famous Sister Soul Seasoning. With their authentic personality and famous Seasoning in tow, they were frequent guest tradeshows and pop-up shops around town. Sister Soul Seasonings are Alfredo Pasta, Chitterlings, and All-Purpose. Their favorite seasoning adds flavor to every dish at many family gatherings, church events, and celebrations..

Ruby said,” She always thought she’d have her own business but didn’t identify with the word “entrepreneur.” Her professors in school would describe entrepreneurs as risk-takers, while she considered herself more calculated. Yet, Ruby spent years building Sister Soul Seasoning with her family before selling it to the public. “We all had different strengths and weaknesses, too,” she says. “We complemented each other.” The family hopes to produce larger quantities of seasonings that will be sold in stores and restaurants.

For Tarcia, who spends her days as a product marketing manager for Sister Soul Seasoning Shopify and Esty online accounts, the family business isn’t their last attempt at being entrepreneurial. “Success is in our DNA,” she says. Tarcia provides business consultations for for-profit and non-profit organizations, social media management, and educational consulting. She takes tactics from her 9-to-5 to her family business as they scale up. She’s learned much in the two years since the idea of packaging and selling the family seasoning recipes was first discussed in

her mother’s kitchen. Sister Soul Seasoning became a passion project after her mother had a heart attack. The legacy of cooking has to continue through every generation.


Celebrate a lifetime of flavor with Sister Soul Seasoning

All-Purpose and Alfredo Pasta Seasoning. Sister Soul’s seasoning is an extraordinary blend of flavorful spices adding soul to every dish prepared by cooks everywhere. You owe it to yourself to experience how much it enhances the flavor of meats, seafood, poultry, vegetables, eggs, soups, stews, french fries, and even popcorn! There is no finer seasoning! Use it anytime, anywhere, on any food. Chitterlings seasoning adds a tangy and spicy taste to every bite of chitterlings.


The future for Sister Soul Seasoning is the hopes of featuring in magazines, movies, restaurants, and eventually downloadable recipes. Sister Soul Seasonings thrives online through its Shopify and Etsy store. Seasonings can also be purchased on all social media platforms. They are working on new bold blends and a No-Salt blend. The family of seasonings adds soul to every dish.


Sister Soul Seasoning

Sister Soul Seasoning

Sister Soul Seasoning




How to AVOID THE FLU This Season

ell it’s flu season… Well, it officially started at the start of October and lasts until May though most of the bugs go around during November through February. Every year roughly 18.7 million Americans get the flu shot in hopes to have immunity against the virus that at one time struck havoc from 1918 to 1920 with the flu pandemic. With the addition of Covid-19 it seems like you are bound to catch a bug or two that can put you out of commission for days or weeks. We all remember watching the news as the daily reports of the coronavirus struck havoc in New York City, the images of long lines for vaccines, patients on gurneys waiting to be seen by doctors, and family members only being able to see loved ones via facetime. You remember exactly where you were when the country shut down its doors to schools, restaurants, theaters, and other places of gathering as you were told to stay at home.

Well times are different, but not quite the same as they once were as we live with that history ingrained in our brains like a tattoo, we wish we never experienced, but are thankful we survived. Though we made it on the right side of life we have to keep our guard up to reduce the risk of not just us catching the seasonal bug, but our loved ones too. 2020 taught us a very memorable lesson in that we have to protect our loved ones by avoiding Covid-19, even if it means giving up temporary luxuries and risking our health to go out to get items to reduce the chances of an elderly or sickly family member from contracting the lethal virus. Though times are better, diseases are still out there, but you can avoid it by building your immune system by doing the things that

you already know to do. Those things include regular physical activity (PA) and eating nutritious healthy food options. By being more physically active you increase your white blood cell count creating more defenders against pathogens that come in handy in times of potential illness. If you couple PA with feeding your body the micronutrients it craves you will be able to heighten your immune system and reach a level of homeostasis that will help you repeal potential illness like water and oil.

Easier said than done because 92% of Americans have vitamin deficiencies, meaning more than one. This coupled with findings that show that in the fall and winter months both PA and levels of nutrient consumption goes down and it’s no coincidence that most Americans get sick in February followed by December then and January.

What is the right amount of PA?

According to states for substantial health benefits adults should

• Moving more and sit less

• Doing between 150-300 minutes a week of moderateintensity or 75 minutes to 150 a week of vigorousintensity aerobic activity

• Participating in musclestrengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week

When it comes to eating nutritious foods a good rule of thumb is to focus on increasing the amount of foods that grow from seeds, whether it be fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, or legumes. By focusing on these foods and eating an array for the spectrum of colors in both fruits and vegetables are

likely to get the micronutrients your body craves without the extensive research and going down the endless rabbit hole that folds back onto itself.

In sum, focus on moving more and eating more nutrientrich foods that grow from seeds to help boost your immune system and ward off the pathogens that cause illness. Your body naturally leans towards life through restorative and rejuvenating processes and the process is affected by the nutrient-rich foods that you consume. Just remember a time you got a cut and your body healed itself… This is what our bodies’ naturally do. When succumb to a poor d-"iet” you are left slowly dying whereas if you choose a “heal”-thy lifestyle your body leans towards healing and a continuous life

Yet even still 90% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to help reach their nutrient needs that will help improve their gut health and give them the nutrients and energy their body craves to live a healthier and more energetic life. It’s because we’re bombarded with ads and commercials of foods that didn’t exist over 100 years ago that have addictive chemicals in them that slowly kill us rather than heal us. Companies spend billions of dollars fighting for our attention and while the foods that are healthful go unadvertised because natural foods aren’t profitable, manmade, patented, processed foods are. With the food industry interested in profiting off of your pain, is it no wonder why this is the first generation that won’t outlive the previous generation?

But what if I told you there’s a company that has helped 1,000’s of people boost their energy, mood, improve their skin, increase quality of sleep by improving gut

health by giving your body the micronutrients it craves.

Made with real, whole foods, from the farm, lower than the price of a cup of coffee, and it’s certified organic from the man that fought to have the government certify organic foods?

If you’re ready to increase your energy, mood, sleep, skin, by improving your gut health, in under a minute, all without leaving the comfort of your home. You can also register for the free Heal or Kill Masterclass in which you will learn how the food that you’re eating is either healing or killing you, Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 7 pm est/ 6 cst.

If your health can’t wait for the Heal or Kill Masterclass, feel free to schedule a 15 minute complimentary call to see if this product is a good fit for you and get one step closer to reaching your health goals.

Don’t let your health continue to diminish and deteriorate as you fall into the SAD (Standard American) diet culture built on cheap processed foods that are high in calories and empty in sustenance. Food that leads towards death and pharmaceutical companies treating symptoms and never the cause. Where each drug that has a side effect is treated by another drug as they get you paying time and time again, so you suffer through life, while they profit off of your pain, one pill at a time.






Sources: vaccination-dashboard.html


these young men can jam!

Meet Quincy and Jamar S. Oliver, The Founders and Head Coach of the Memphis Prancing Tigerettes. The best hip hop community dance team to crack the cusp of majorette/dance in the city. This world-renowned team has danced their ways into the hearts of millions over the last few years. Quincy is a licensed cosmetologist, and Memphis native who established Memphis Prancing Tigerettes in 2007. Jamar is a graduate of Kirby High School (home of the Cougars) and has been in the dance/majorette/ drill community for 10+years.


A: I have taught kids from across the Mid-South. I am a graduate of Hamilton High School, Mr. Hamilton class of 97, sung in the choir, and is the last known male majorette to dance & entertain the audiences at school activities and local performances.


A: I began teaching many different majorette squads such as Memphis Sizzlers, Wooddale


Middle School, and Kirby High School Sapphires to name a few. I’ve also worked with the lovely ladies of Mississippi Valley State University and the amazing Blazettes of Memphis!!!!! I am now the head coach for the award-winning Memphis Prancing Tigerettes under the great leadership of Mr. Quincy Oliver. It’s important to me that the kids have fun while doing what they love.


A: I fondly remember the times that Mr. James Cathey, Band Director would have the marching unit performing around Gaslight, (the neighborhood behind Hamilton High School). I remember being pushed and expected to perform at my full potential. These practices became entertainment for the residents of the neighborhood.


QUINCY: Mrs. Linda D. Cooper was one of my first sponsors, each day she would have bottled water and snacks at the door as the kids marched back into the band room to close out the practices. REMINDS ME OF THE GOOD OL’ DAYS!!!

JAMAR: I started my dance career under the leadership of the late great Andrea Paschal (Miss Sunshine). I served as Captain for 6 years until it was time for me to move forward with my skills.


A: This type of work has always been our passion. Quincy stepped out on faith and started MPT with 10 members, and we would have rehearsal in a garage. Me and those girls worked hard and were dedicated to the task set before us. Our commitments were fueled by sheer motivation and effort which led to numerous first place and Grand Champion placements. As our brand

Follow Quincy and Jamar Oliver to learn more about the amazing work they are doing in the dance community of Memphis and surrounding areas.


Jamar S. Horton

Quincy Oliver

The Official Memphis Prancing Tigerettes.

became a force to reckon with, the Quincy Oliver brand was becoming a household name, and this was long before we were featured on Lifetime Movie Network’s television series “Bring It!”. The Memphis Prancing Tigerettes was selected to have a cameo appearance on the “Prancing Elites Project.”


A: I estimate that we have encountered and taught over forty-five thousand kids throughout my time as a coach and choreographer. We use this work as a personal mission to build and bond with our dancers. Quincy is affectionately known as “Pop Que” and he accepted the role as being their bonus dad. We believe that the kids we mentor take parts of us with them like we are their parents. We as coaches take ownership, accountability, and responsibility for every little person age, 3-18 that we encounter, and they love us like we love them.

Jamar O. is more of a perfectionist when it comes to execution. I am more of a stickler for clean lines, pointed toes. My motto is “I teach to learn, and I learn as I teach”!!

We as coaches take ownership, accountability, and responsibility for every little person age, 3-18 that we encounter, and they love us like we love them.
deserves expert care. Every body we provide affirming and inclusive care for patients of All gender and sexual identities. across all Tennessee, affirming and gender and sexual Services include hormone therapy, contraception, PrEP, other reproductive health care. 866-711-1717
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