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PHOTO BY J. MARIELLA PHOTOGRAPHY

VP NOTES

Derek Payne

The 80/20 Principle Be a Trendsetter All Year Long ost people look at the New Year as a time to reflect on the outgoing year and evaluate their successes and failures. Well, I guess I am no exception! The question to myself and people in business or goal seekers is, “Why wait until the first of the year to get busy and focus?” You may be familiar with the Richard Koch book: The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less. This book uses as it’s foundation the Pareto Principle, which states that “roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” In business terms, this means that 80% of your revenue is likely to come from around 20% of your clients. So you need to ask yourself: how much time are you spending with your best clients, compared with the time you’re potentially wasting on people who will either never buy anything from you, or will only buy very little? After coming across Koch’s book, I’ve decided to not only apply this concept to clients but to myself as well! I’ve decided to focus on the 20% of actions (planning, advertising, marketing, etc.) to get 80% of the revenue I need to earn in 2014! To me that just makes sense. In other words, if I keep failing to plan, then I am planning to fail. Join me in applying the 80/20 Principle this year. Let’s strive to be trendsetters all year long! Are you with me? Happy 7th Anniversary T2T! ■ DPayne

4 JAN / FEB 2014

OFFICIAL GRAPHIC DESIGNER FOR TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

“Be Addicted to your Grind!!!” t’s 3:30am and I’m still up working on the magazine. I’m very tired, but my mind will not allow me to close my eyes. I work 18 hour days and hardly ever sleep. But that’s what I do, because I’m addicted to my grind. I’m so engaged in the quality and substance of the magazine and how readers may perceive it, that I spend extra time, quietly alone, browsing every article to ensure a positive influence. One by one I review the dialogues that are submitted by my writers, and I take time out to thank God for each staff member for bringing their amazing talents to the magazine. It’s now 5:30am and I’m still at it, making sure that this issue, like every other issue, makes its mark. My bed is calling my name, but not before my mind and soul are both satisfied. This is nothing new to me, day in and day out, because the success of the magazine gives me the strength to keep going. I’m addicted to my grind. We started in 2007 as a 24-page black and white newspaper, and have grown to a 90-page full color glossy magazine with amazing content. Early on, I made the decision that I would not allow anyone to restrict my path. I stayed away from negativity, and maintained my drive to succeed. My dedicated team supported my vision, and that was an important factor in the magazine’s success. We’ve grown tremendously over the past seven years. Everything from the Grammy Awards to the Presidential Election has been covered in T2T. We’re half a million strong with digital readers, and have hard copy distribution in seven major U.S. cities. I’ve seen a lot of changes throughout the magazine’s history, but we adapted to those changes, realigned our objectives, and continued to survive to remain on top. For, I’m addicted to my grind. Being addicted to your grind means you’re loyal to your mission to succeed. Recognize your passion and move forward. I’m not suggesting that you miss getting your rest, or work 18 hour days as I do. But once you realize what your passion is, maintain a sense of urgency in all that you do. Look at the overall big picture, and view the glass as half full instead of half empty. Unleash your power, set your goals, and strive for success. It may seem like a long journey, but it will become a rewarding one. If your friends or family members don’t see your vision, don’t worry about that, it’s not for them. Position yourself around positive people. Persevere and never give up. As you climb the ladder of success, become a positive role model and example for others to follow. And as God blesses you, become a blessing to others. You will eventually reap your rewards, and that will make your addiction to your grind truly worthwhile!

Willie Stewart

Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine – 7 Years Strong!!! ■

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TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS STAFF PRINT MEDIA PUBLISHER Willie Stewart / Atlanta, GA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL NETWORK MARKETING & WEB DEVELOPMENT **Lukeither Willingham / Atlanta, GA VICE PRESIDENT / CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Derek Payne / Columbus, OH SALES EXECUTIVES Willie Stewart /National Sales Glenda Scott / National Sales Kenneth Prophet / Atlanta, GA DIRECTOR PUBLIC RELATIONS Glenda Scott / Atlanta, GA COPY EDITOR Melody Edwards / Atlanta, GA EDITOR Greta Wheeler /Atlanta, GA FREELANCE WRITER Greta Wheeler / Atlanta, GA Shernita Wiggins / Atlanta, GA Beverly Hill Shelley / Atlanta, GA Glenda Scott / Atlanta, GA Melody Edwards / Atlanta, GA CONTRIBUTING WRITERS **Kirstin Fuller / Washington, DC Dr. Linda Amerson / Arlington, TX Joseph Booker / Baton Rouge, LA Carmen M. Colon / New York City, NY Nita Gray / Atlanta, GA PHOTOGRAPHY Joe Carter (J. Carter Photography) Atlanta, GA Rodney Adams Photography Memphis, TN TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MEDIA GROUP RESERVES THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH ANY MATERIALS RECEIVED. WE APPRECIATE ALL MATERIAL, HOWEVER, SUBMISSIONS MUST BE OF A POSITIVE AND INFORMATIVE NATURE. PLEASE MAIL OR EMAIL ARTICLES TO WSTEWART@TRENDTOTRENDMAG.COM | TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE, 3007 PANOLA ROAD | SUITE 283C | LITHONIA, GA 30038 / 1866-958-7363.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MEDIA GROUP, INC.


TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS STAFF DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL NETWORK **Lukeither Willingham / Atlanta, GA ONLINE STAFF WRITERS Valante Grant / @ByDesigNetwork / Chicago, IL **Kirstin Fuller / @TheTravelinDiva / Washington, DC Donna Payne / @DonnaPayneAtl / Atlanta, GA Rashida Veronique Serrant - Fitzgerald, DWS / @wineLIFECEO / New York, NY Latrice Scott / @TampaBizWomen Tampa, FL Paolo Morelli / @uncronista Turin, Italy Denise Renee Phinn / @DeniseReneePhin Atlanta, GA Angelique Williams / @AngeliqueW New York, NY Bianca Shane DeLoach / @BiancaShane1 Columbus, OH Trevor / @1VooDooChild Southside Atlanta Coline Walther / VirtualVirtuos1 Canandaigua, NY

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JANUARY/FEBUARY 2014

what’s inside

04 VP Notes 05 Publisher Notes 10 Community Empowerment 26 Young & Trendy 26 Up and Coming Trendsetters 34 Education Trends 35 Education Services 36 Education 40 Health & Wellness Trends 41 Fitness Trends 50 Health & Wellness Trends 58 Inspirational 72 Arts & Entertainment Trends 80 Real Estate Trends

features

38 Health & Wellness Spotlight Adraine Conrad

46 Awareness

The Don Cornelius Foundation

48 Travel Spotlight

The Soul Train Cruise

51 Special Showcase

Motown Revue - Hitzville

52 Business Spotlight

Carl Payne II, Rodney Adams

64 Lifestyles - Mixing Love & Business

Antonio & Tia

67 Beauty Profile Mia Mi’Chaele

68 Beauty Spotlight Gina Conwell

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trendsetter spotlights

10 Judge Penny Brown Reynolds

12 Thomas W. Dortch 14 Xernona Clayton 16 Janice Mathis, Esquire 17 Keith T. Parker 20 John & Rhonda Wilkins 21 Dora Din-Durant 22 Stacii Jae Johnson 24 Randy Rolle JAN / FEB 2014 9


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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

Judge Penny Brown Reynolds: The New Face of Empowerment!

PHOTO BY J CARTER PHOTOGRAPHY

By Greta Wheeler

n the film and television industry actors go from audition to audition with the anticipation of landing that one role that will lead them to their destiny. As the result of spending much of their time training and preparing, they hope to at least hear that they have a callback. That wasn’t the case for Judge Penny Brown Reynolds. Judge Penny began preparing for her many roles as a young girl growing up in Laplace, Louisiana, not knowing that her early life from her very conception was preparation for the roles that were written for her long before she entered into this world. Judge Penny often shares her heartwarming story of the phenomenal woman who, through the adversity of rape, carried her to full term rather than aborting or giving her up for adoption. “My mother could have had an abortion. She considered giving me away for adoption, yet she decided to keep me,” Judge Penny shares. In the aftermath of the rape, Deforest Marie Brown’s experience transitioned from trial to treasure as she gave birth to greatness. Although Judge Penny did not learn of the circumstances surrounding her conception until recent years and after the passing of her mother, she decided as a young child that she was going to matter. She owes this affirmation to that pivotal moment in her life at the age of eight while attending a tea party of a classmate. The mother of that classmate confronted her harshly questioning her being there, and uninvited her saying that no bastard child would be attending her daughter’s party. The distraught eight year old cried as she walked for miles back to her home. But it was at that moment when Judge Penny resolved within herself that she was going to make an impact. “The greatest gift that woman could have given me was a determination to show her and everybody that I’m not what that word was, that I belonged and it cut both ways because I spent all of my life trying to belong,” Judge Penny states. Judge Penny has been living her life with purpose ever since. She has made many accomplishments, one being the first African American to serve as a lawyer to Georgia’s Governor. She also served as Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General. One of her greatest accomplishments was seeing her childhood dream of becoming a judge realized. “I’ve always wanted to be a judge. I’ve

never wanted to be anything other than a judge,” she shares. In 2000, she was appointed to the bench for Fulton County State Court in Atlanta, Georgia. After serving eight years, she accepted the call to preside as judge on “Family Court with Judge Penny.” The show did not return after its first season, but that didn’t bring her to a halt as she continued to move forward. Today she is an Ordained Minister, Entrepreneur, and a dynamic speaker. She uses all three platforms to encourage women to be all that they aspire to be. “I am an encourager. That is my gifting. I’ve been gifted with encouraging others,” says Judge Penny. One of the outlets that she uses to draw women together and reawaken the gifts nestled within them is her annual Women’s Empowerment Conference that’s held every November with a designated theme. The November 2013 conference entitled Sister Talk was a success, and she has already begun preparations for next year’s conference where she will aim to teach women how to obtain power and to understand that they were created for a purpose. Judge Penny has proven to be a woman who ascends above any obstacle. She has weathered the storm of homelessness, defeated hardship, and has made it her personal business to use her experiences to help other women live a life of relevancy, which is what she realized she had to continue to do for herself in light of the revelation of her conception. “I firmly believe that nobody comes here by accident… it’s now almost irrelevant how I got here… I’ve decided to make my life relevant,” she professes. Judge Penny decided that because she made it here, she is going to make a difference, and she started with making the decision to seek God and all that he represents first. Her daily affirmation is God will you call into existence those things that do not exist? She says, “If you’re living your life like that, you’re waiting in anticipation; how are you going to use me today?” As Judge Penny dances to the beat of God’s drum, the rhythm leads her down various paths that allow her to operate in all of her gifts. She is the epitome of the concept behind Every Woman for she is not confined in a box of limitations. She’s the face behind entrepreneurship, a judge on the bench, God’s mouthpiece in the pulpit, and a producer behind the television. Judge Penny is truly a woman of empowerment. •

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

Introducing Thomas W. Dortch “Effecting Change One Community at a Time”

PHOTO BY J CARTER PHOTOGRAPHY

By Greta Wheeler

hen we are asked to name any of our great leaders, we often reflect on historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Andrew Young, Reverend C.T. Vivian, and so many of the renowned great leaders that rose to the occasion during the Civil Rights Movement. Those great men stood united in the 1960s to quell inequality and social injustice, and it is those leaders whose shoulders we stand on today. Thomas (Tommy) Dortch not only stands on the shoulders of our great legendary leaders, but he is their torchbearer. It all began during his youthful days growing up in Toccoa, Georgia, a small town located in the North Georgia Mountains, also home of the late Godfather of Soul Music, James Brown, and the late 1960 Gold Medalist, Paul Anderson. With Tommy Dortch added to the small towns list of prominent people, Toccoa continues to bear witness to the adage that great things come in small packages. A thriving entrepreneur in Atlanta, Georgia, Tommy Dortch credits much of his success to his childhood experiences in Toccoa. Graduating in 1968, Dortch was a part of the last segregated class in the local high school, and shares that this particular chapter of his life is probably what made him strongest. “The strength came from having teachers, mostly reigning from HBCU, who believed in excellence without excuse and having a community that wraps its arms around the students in the community,” he shares. It was that type of support and reinforcement that ushered Dortch into the expedition towards success. Dortch also pays homage to his parents for planting the seed of excellence and establishing the attitude of entrepreneurship that continue to reside in him today. As the result, in spite of growing up in an environment where times were harsh, Tommy Dortch never felt inferior to anyone. “If anything, they taught me that I can compete with anybody in the world.” Suited up with that mindset, Mr. Dortch rose above the ugliness of racism and segregation to become one of the most successful businessmen in Atlanta. He sailed through Fort Valley State University, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in Sociology. In 1974, Dortch stepped into politics accepting the position of Associate Director of Georgia for the Democratic Party. In 1978, he began working as Administrative Aide for U.S.

Senator Sam Nunn. In 1986, while still working for Sam Nunn, Mr. Dortch earned his M.A. in Criminal Justice Administration at Clark Atlanta University. That same year, he joined forces with the 100 Black Men organization. Dortch shares that it was while working for Sam Nunn, writing legislation and helping the 31 plus African American millionaires gain access to the federal procurement arena, that he sparked an interest for small business. “After working for Sam Nunn for 16 years, I thought that if this is working for them, it should work for me.” Thus, Mr. Dortch took a leap of faith and resigned from his government position to tap into business ownership, starting his first company, TWD, Inc., a private sector consulting firm. Dortch continued to grow as an entrepreneur with several more businesses under his umbrella. His second company is the Atlanta Transportation System, Inc., a private company categorized under Emergency Social Services. He subsequently embarked on a different trail and started the Cornerstone Parking Company and Landcor Parking, LLC. His latest business achievement is the Better Dreams Mattress Company that designs mattresses for college campuses throughout the U.S. Tommy Dortch considers himself as a social entrepreneur for he aims to use his success to effect change in the community. He demonstrates a strong passion for mentoring young black men, which is why he continues to maintain his position as Chairman Emeritus of 10 years, with the 100 Black Men organization. During his tenure, Mr. Dortch grew the organization from 43 chapters to 102 chapters and created Four for the Future, an organization that identifies the areas of mentoring, education, health and wellness, and economic empowerment. Mr. Dortch views the 100 Black Men organization as a labor of love and shares its belief that what our youth see is what they will be. “So we have to be engaged. Our young black boys and girls need to see positive black men in their lives.” Tommy Dortch holds value for the strong, positive black male role models such as C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, and his father, and it is his hope to represent to today’s generation of young black boys what these men represented to him; courageous, fearless, and strong. “I want my legacy to be that I’m one who wants and always tried to make a difference.” ■

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Xernona Clayton

FOUNDER OF THE TRUMPET AWARDS AND TRUMPET AWARDS FOUNDATION THE EPITOME OF EXCELLENCE WRAPPED IN A TIMELESS PIECE By Shernita Wiggins

14 JAN / FEB 2014

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PHOTO BY RODNEYADAMS ,COM

TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

er name alone embodies what former employer, Ted Turner, of the Turner Broadcasting Network said about her. “Xernona has an impressive record of accomplishments and we are proud to recognize her commitment to bettering human relations…” During the span of over a half century, this “Queen of Trailblazing” has left legacies that are as timeless as the clocks she collects in her immaculate office. The focal point of the interview was not centered around her many accolades which can be read in books, journals, periodicals, publications and today, at your fingertips with the touch of a button from the Internet—no, the intimate discussion that flowed out of this vessel of wisdom concentrated on the empowerment of others. When asked what she considered to be a driving force behind the success that the Trumpet Awards has accomplished in over 20 years since its implementation, this petite woman in stature—but giant in a wealth of knowledge, responded. “I think I’d have to say… a combination of things. Everybody knows it’s going to be a first class production. First Class means, it’s going to be positive, it’s going to be a learning experience. Ambassador Andrew Young says he’s traveled everywhere and thought he’d been every place and met everybody, yet he says when he comes to the Trumpet Awards he meets somebody he didn’t know, but he is glad that now he does.” She went on further to point out that there were many untapped sources on the lack of acknowledgment of African Americans throughout history in the text books in schools, and “we are behind sharing what many of our ancestors have and are STILL accomplishing today.” This tends to be the motivating factor behind the mission of the Trumpet Awards, coupled with maintaining the integrity of the production of the overall program that tends to bring hundreds back year after year, and is still growing. Unlike some of the awards events many are accustomed to, the Trumpet Awards does not place a lot of emphasis on the “televised” individuals who are seen across the globe (although many of them have been honored), but the attention rests upon unsung heroes who have made history, yet many are unaware of the impact of their achievements. You can expect to see scientists, doctors, lawyers, community or business leaders, educators, politicians, Indian chiefs and teachers who most would overlook, like Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Dr. Watkins is a physician, pioneer, the inventor of a device that has saved

many lives, and the first African American admitted to graduate from Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine. Xernona Clayton told Trendsetters that he was receiving an award for his invention of the first human implantation of the automatic implantable defibrillator, and other devices which followed, that are now at every airport in an effort to treat those at risk of sudden cardiac death. The night that Aretha Franklin appeared at the Trumpet Awards, most people ignored Dr. Watkins in an effort to get a glimpse of her. Yet, when he took the stage and shared his historical and documented breakthroughs in medicine, the audience applauded with a standing ovation to his accounts. Xernona Clayton explained that, “The beauty of the program is that once you come there and see and hear the contributions that are made, you grasp the context better.” The Trumpet Awards seeks to educate not only the public about outstanding African Americans who have achieved great success and sometimes unknown impacts within society, but also to enlighten our youth in a way that compels them to set goals higher and apply those goals towards their own milestones in life. The Trumpet Awards Foundation has disbursed millions of dollars towards scholarships over the years. When asked if any of those scholarship recipients returned to share their gratitude, Xernona Clayton noted that this question was timely, and she told the story of one young man who shared with her just a month ago how the scholarship had impacted his life and assisted in his graduation from college. We must understand Xernona Clayton; like her friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed…that DREAMS can be achieved if you join in the efforts to make a difference. Over the years, Xernona Clayton has seen and experienced insurmountable civil movements, but she shared that her pinnacle was seeing firsthand President Barack Obama elected for not one, but TWO terms as President. She quoted a statement Dr. King made, “Unless and until, white men of good will, unite with us and join the fight for freedom, we may lose the war; but, when that day comes, when we come together… black and white, old and young, poor and privileged, we will see results that we never have imagined.” ■ Visit http://www.trendtotrendmag.com/ for a more indepth video interview

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Janice Mathis, Esquire (Attorney at Law)

By Melody Edwards

hen I stepped off the elevator and rounded the corner at 250 Auburn Avenue, the woman behind the desk was on the phone and motioned for me to have a seat. After completing her call and extending a warm greeting, she came around the table to sit next to me for our interview. Janice Mathis, Esquire (Attorney at Law), began to talk candidly about her life as an advocate for civil rights and her role with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. I was intrigued by her stories what a powerhouse! The Beginning‌ Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Mathis grew up in a very close knit family, community and church. She remembers how different things were when she was a young girl. "I

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didn’t know anyone who was divorced when I was growing up," Mathis says. She spent much of her time in North Carolina mostly because her mom attended North Carolina A&T State University, her family went to church conferences in NC, and she spent many summers at Bennett College academic camps. Her parents were very conscientious about education and religious training, so there was no question that Mathis would attend college. After high school she attended Duke University where she was the recipient of the Angier Biddle Duke Scholarship. She also spent time in England studying British Politics and History at Oxford University. Like many young people, Mathis went through a brief rebellious period, but finally settled on law school at the University of Georgia. While in law school, she met the man who she has been married to for the past 21 years and moved to Ath-

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT ens, Georgia. There they raised his two children; she practiced law, and did legal work for the State of Georgia. Fueling the Fire Mathis attributes her motivation and drive to a strong family culture. Her dad was a city councilman and political campaigns were a way of life for her. She says, "I can remember watching the Kennedy and Nixon debates when I was six with my mother and passing out Jack Kennedy literature at the shopping center." She recounts the story of how her mother went downtown in Greenville, South Carolina to register to vote after graduating from college. It was so unusual in 1948 for a black woman to graduate from college, much less think about voter registration, that a photograph was taken and printed in the local newspaper. "My mother is standing there, she was a tiny little thing…she was standing there, and my uncle was standing next to her with his arms folded daring anybody to say anything to her." Apparently her mom got her motivation from Mathis’ grandmother who was poor, but proud, and was also adamant about voting and exercising her rights as a citizen. "They would call my grandmother ‘auntie’ and she would say, ‘I’m not related to you; I’m not your mother’s sister; don’t call me auntie; I’m not your aunt.’" That fire was there long before Mathis was born and is still burning brightly in all that she does! Living With Purpose In our family it was important for you to be a citizen, recalls Mathis. We were sent to integrated schools not to improve ourselves, but to improve the people we went to school with. We went to show them that black people can learn and that their conceptions about us are ill conceived. At 11 you knew that was your job – to go over there and prove the point, and don’t make no excuses. We are part of that generation where we had to prove ourselves and we didn’t mind doing it. It was an interesting time – some people fought and some people didn’t. She remembers writing a letter when she was eight years old to her cousin who was Reverend Jesse Jackson’s classmate. Her cousin went to jail because she was standing up for her civil rights, and Mathis wrote to tell her how much that upset their grandmother. Looking back, Mathis now understands that it sometimes took drastic measures to effect change in those days. Mathis is one of the driving forces behind the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (People United to Save Humanity). She was named as one of Georgia’s 50 most influential women in 2007 and was among the most influential African Americans in Atlanta in 2003. She has taken on many leadership roles with groups such as the Legal Women Voters of Georgia, the Democratic National Committee, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She is currently Vice President of the Citizenship Education Fund

(CEF) which is the charitable research and education affiliate of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Before she joined CEF, she was General Counsel to the Coalition. She says, "Being part of the leadership groups is not just because you are talented, but because you want to do it. Not that many people want to do that kind of stuff and it’s been a blessing in a way." Mathis has also been a strong advocate for many of today’s issues taking positions on topics such as the “stand your ground” law in Georgia. She says that according to statistics this law tends to promote racial profiling and hostility and they are working to change that. Working with the Coalition has given her the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into social issues. Reaching the Masses Although she has a lot on her plate, Mathis is a little more strategic about how she spends her time these days because she realizes that she cannot do everything. "I spend a good bit of time at church because that’s important; I spend a lot of time at work; I spend a lot of time on my family; I spend a lot of time

"One of the reasons I do radio every week is to use a more massive medium to get the word out about important issues.” with the sorority, and that’s kind of it for right now, because that’s enough," says Mathis. Part of spending a lot of time at work includes getting involved, educating, and fighting for social change. Some of the areas that the Coalition addresses are: foreclosure prevention, neighborhood stabilization, gun control, voter ID, voter intimidation, voter suppression, scholarships, driving safety for teens, and youth empowerment. There is also a move to partner with a major corporation to go out and teach financial literacy. Mathis feels that we are still making very poor financial decisions. Self empowerment is important to Mathis. "One of the reasons I do radio every week is to use a more massive medium to get the word out about important issues. It’s a challenge getting people engaged and competing with the massive popular culture.” She often blogs, tweets and utilizes Facebook to educate and inform, and has written several pieces in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Writing is something she would like to do more of. “At seven, I already knew I was supposed to write and teach. I put it on the back burner and I did everything else; but, I don’t care how hard you try to suppress it, it comes back if that’s who you are. Your gift will come out whether you want it to or not, so I stopped trying to fight it and found a way to combine it all.” And what a combination! ■

For more information on the Rainbow PUSH Coalition go to www.rainbowpush.org Get informed. Get inspired. Get involved. TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

JAN / FEB 2014 17


GAME CHANGERS

Keith Parker, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)

MARTA’S NEW STORY:

“RIDING WITH RESPECT” By Melody Edwards

hat’s the new motto that Keith T. Parker, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), has implemented in Atlanta, and he is taking steps to ensure that commuters experience nothing less. Successfully overseeing transportation systems in Charlotte, Virginia, San Antonio, California and Washington, Parker is well equipped and up for the challenge. Since taking the helm of MARTA one year ago, two of the biggest challenges that Parker encountered were employee morale and public perception. He is diligently working to turn those challenges into successes by leading the

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organization in a new direction. “Most of our folks have not had raises and read lots of negative things about themselves in the local media, or seen television stories that just weren’t very favorable, so the morale of the agency was quite low. Overall public perception of the agency…they’re viewed as very negative. People blame MARTA for many, many things including the failure of an initiative over a year ago...many people think that MARTA holds Atlanta back from drawing new corporate partners and holds back the economy.” But Parker has proved otherwise and wants the public to know the new story. “We make an investment in our employees to let them know they are valued and we care about them; and,

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

we are doing a number of things to show that this agency is well run, spends taxpayer dollars wisely, and is something for the region to be proud of,” Parker maintains. Why do people opt to maneuver around horrendous traffic in their vehicles every day, rather than choose public transportation? Parker thinks there are several reasons. “Agencies and planning groups…when Atlanta was being formed, mass transit was not at the top of the list of what was important. As the region has unfolded, essentially people have moved to where the highways take them. What we have to try to do is retrofit our service to serve a huge 18 county metropolis. That is very difficult because we have limited amounts of resources.” Secondly, Parker feels that “much of the South is a place where people view cars as a part of freedom and a status symbol, and mass transit has not shared that same level of status. Finally, it’s just a matter of convenience,” which Parker wants to combat by building more services, being more frequent, and changing the image of the system which is well underway with the new “Ride with Respect” campaign. When he is not overseeing Atlanta’s transit system, Parker takes on several other roles, that of husband and father to three children – two daughters, 14 and 10, and a one year old son. He credits his family for keeping him balanced. “The balance happens over time. I try to attend as many of my kids’ events and programs and activities as I can with my wife…we have a very strong foundation. We’ve been married now for 17 years and been together even longer. They keep me well-grounded.” Parker goes on to talk about some of the things that helped shape his success. “I feel like I’m a person who has been blessed in a number of different ways – great parents – very solid support system growing up. I don’t think there is anything particularly special about me, just been in the right place at the right time and taken advantage of situations as they have arisen.” Parker believes that we really should try to eliminate all the excuses and take advantage of opportunities. “Never before in the history of our country has there been more opportunity for African Amercians. I try to be a good person as best I can be; I’m certainly fallible but also striving to be a little bit better than I am today – tomorrow.” Year two at MARTA? Becoming even more efficient is at the top of the list as well as continuous investment in employees. He praises his employees for their hard work, outstanding efforts, and giving spirits. Over the last 30 years, employees have donated money to different causes ($700,000 this past year) through MARTA’s program of giving back to the community through charitable programs. Parker is proud of MARTA employees because they did this even when they did not receive increases. “Right now…we have more than 6,000 toys including almost 1,000 bicycles downstairs in our atrium, and we will be serving over 5000 families over the next few days. Many of these are our own customers.” “MARTA has a lot of good new stories out there,” Parker says. He encourages people to ride MARTA and maintains, “It’s safe!” Not only does he encourage people to use public transportation, but he sets the example by riding MARTA just about every day. He notes that MARTA is one of the safest large transit systems in the country when compared to Dallas, Houston, DC, and New York as far as Tier 1 or violent crimes. “But there is what is called ‘knucklehead’ behavior such as playing music too loud and eating,” Parker says. “The ‘Ride with Respect’ campaign is clamping down on that type of behavior and the public is embracing the program.” Parker definitely has a plan and it’s off to a great start! R- E -S –P- E - C -T – be a part of the story! ■

To learn more about MARTA services go to itsmarta.com

THE FACTS Spending taxpayer money wisely; Investing in employees; Investing back into their customer base, and being good citizens of this region by giving back to some of their neediest customers. Under Parker’s leadership, a projected 33 million dollar budget deficit has become a nine million dollar surplus in under a year; after not having any type of incentive program or raise in the past six years, and only one in the past ten years, money has been budgeted so that all MARTA employees will receive some level of additional funding this year. Negotiations are in the finalization stage for labor union employees, but non union employees received a 3% bonus just in time for the holiday; two fare increases scheduled for 2013 and 2014 have been eliminated; one third of the bus routes were cut over the past four to five years and some of that subservice is being restored in the next year or so; half of the bathrooms were shut down and some of those have been reopened in several stations, train service was substantially cut but nighttime service is now doubled, and even more service will be added in 2014, all in Parker’s first year on the job!

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

“TOGETHER we ma John & Rhonda Wilkins FOUNDERS OF THE LEGENDARY AWARDS AND LEGENDARY AWARDS FOUNDATION THE FAMOUS LEGENDARY AWARDS IS THE BLACK HOLLYWOOD OF THE SOUTH By Shernita Wiggins

hey have been called: VISIONARIES, PHILANTHROPISTS, ENTREPRENEURS by supporters and community leaders. When you think of the definition of legendary which means famous, celebrated, famed, acclaimed, illustrious, esteemed, honored, exalted to name a few, then you can agree that what this “power couple” has done in four years, is nothing short of DISTINGUISHED. John and his wife Rhonda Wilkins, Founders of Diva’s Unlimited Inc, A Marketing and Production Company, were asked by their client NBA Hall of famer, Dominique Wilkins in 2009, to produce his Commemorative 50th Birthday Celebration. After the success of this event John said it went over so well, they decided to use that opportunity to celebrate other legends like Dominique, who have exceeded acclaimed status within society. The Wilkins say that the only thing that has changed is the size and participation of the Legendary Awards program since its conception and they look for it to get larger. Rhonda Wilkins elaborated that after the first year, “It sort of got legs of its own…and other awards have been added year by year.” As I listened to the efforts put forth by these two illustrious people who are providing amazing opportunities not only in the celebration of “legendary figures,” but also providing underserved areas with health awareness and educational enrichment through extended programs…I was in awe. We all know that partnerships are so important when establishing feats of this magnitude. John and Rhonda have been blessed to have Mecko and Jayneice Johnson to also collaborate

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in an effort of ensuring that the Legendary Awards remains a success. Mecko and John met at Alabama State University in Alabama their freshman year while both of them were on a basketball scholarship. It was then that the two established a bond and shared their visions, dreams and hope for the future. According to Mecko, “After graduation, I went off to the military, but we stayed in touch, and after 24 years of service, we came back together for a dream that we had in college ‘to do something good for a great cause.’ And I truly think that God will bless us when it’s all said and done.” One thing was evident by Mecko’s remarks… he too, feels honored to be a part of such an exceptional entity. His motivation to participate stemmed from the initiative that addressed diabetes, since his father-in-law, cousin and others have the disease. In his words, “The Legendary Awards has changed me and my wife, Jayneice tremendously and we have something annual to look forward to. So when people tell you that you’re too small to do something this big, don’t follow. Do what you want and follow your heart.” Mr. Johnson is a Steering Committee Member for the Legendary Awards and Advisory Board Member for the Legendary Awards Foundation. It’s no wonder John gets the feedback of people calling it the Black Hollywood. For those of you, who haven’t experienced the Legendary Awards, get ready to be exalted into EXCELLENCE! ■ For more information go to www.legendaryawards.com.

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

ke a DIFFERENCE” Dora Din-Durant LEGENDARY AWARDS, Steering Committee Member LEGENDARY AWARDS FOUNDATION, Director of Education AWARENESS IS ESSENTIAL IN MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONE PERSON AT A TIME By Shernita Wiggins

Atlanta Black Nurses Association and Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford who is the Director of Health with the Legendary Awards Foundation….plays an integral part in the success of the programs. The education series called 50 Stars, empowers the youth with tutoring, mentoring and arts enrichment activities. This is all made possible with donations generated from the Operation Give Drive, “$5 Towards the Future,” which allows individuals to make donations online. Rhonda Wilkins is the Director of that program. It is imperative that the community supports initiatives like the ones the Legendary Awards Foundation has implemented so that they are allowed to remain going strong and effective for those served. I am sure that when John and Rhonda Wilkins ventured on this journey, they had no idea how quickly it would lead to such amazing endeavors. ■ For more information on how you can volunteer or partner, go to www.legendaryawards.com or info@legendaryawards.com To view a more in-depth video interview, go to the T2T magazine website at www.trendtotrendmag.com.

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Photo by Major Mindz

he Legendary Awards Foundation’s Director of Education is the esteemed Dora Din- Durant, MPH and she is the CEO and Founder of Trios Degres Management & Media Group where Rhonda Wilkins is her partner in managing many celebrities. Durant oversees the educational segment of the Legendary Awards Foundation and supports the foundation’s three initiatives in health, education and fundraising. The Legendary Health Initiative is hosted at the Greenbriar Mall on the same weekend as the awards program. Hundreds are served each year with information, screenings, preventative measures and demonstrations. Dora Din-Durant stated that, “We pretty much, educate families, we work on prevention methods with eye checks, blood pressure checks and information on mammograms while bringing awareness through live performances, to make it as fun as possible. This also gives us a chance to do our part in underserved areas of the African American community. The feedback,” she told T2T, “has always been positive and working with partners like the owner of Shamrock Gardens, Brent Sobol, the

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

Stacii Jae Johnson, Who’s Who in Black Atlanta Associate Publisher

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The 15th Annual Edition of

“Who’s Who in Black Atlanta” By Glenda Scott

e often hear accolades of people in high profile occupations, such as doctors and lawyers, but rarely do we hear of the unspoken leaders in other professions, and their legendary achievements that impact the world. Founded in 1989 and now distributed in 25 cities across the nation, Who’s Who Publishing, owned by Real Times Media, is the premier source that uncovers and salutes African Americans throughout the entire country. The “Who’s Who” publication was created to record, inspire and recognize positive achievements of men and women doing great things professionally, and in service to others. Who’s Who in Black Atlanta celebrates diversity, and showcases the accomplishments of African Americans in varied industries among the Atlanta community. Associate Publisher,

Stacii Jae Johnson, is passionate about acknowledging those accomplishments, and is extremely excited to launch the recognition of “game changers, interesting personalities, and emerging leaders” in the Atlanta 15th edition. Game changers are trendsetters who signify a shift in direction in their manner of thinking, and make their own rules to inspire others to overcome barriers, while instilling positive onward success. Interesting personalities are achievers who are captivating, distinct, inspiring, profound and impassioned. Emerging leaders are young trendsetters who we uplift and honor by making them a part of the publication, and acknowledging their talents and efforts, for they are our leaders of tomorrow. The unveiling of the 15th edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta inductees and honorees will be held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on Wednesday January 22, 2014.

2013 Game Changer Honorees: Lisa Williams, Karen Duckett, Dr. Valerie Montgomery-Rice, Candace Byrd, Rob Hardy, Tharon Johnson, Rodney Bullard, Christopher Leggett, Evens Charles, DeMarco Morgan

2013 Interesting Personalities Honorees: Mary Parker, Joy Rohadfox, Stacy Cole Bell, Cathy Hampton, Cassius Butts, Keith Parker, Reggie Rouse, Donald Woodard, Armintie Price-Herrington, Shanti Das

2013 Emerging Leaders Include: Justin Tanner, Kim Poma, James Bailey, Blayne Alexander, Brandon Banks, JaDawnya Butler

“Atlanta has often been considered a place where dreams come true, and the spirit of entrepreneurship and opportunity welcomes dreamers in Atlanta to be the best of the best,” says Johnson. “Over the next five years, Who’s Who in Black Atlanta will continue to be the premier publication for endorsing and exposing achievements of African Americans. When you’re building your career you can’t always see the level of success that others see you on. The Who’s Who in Black Atlanta publication discloses that success. I’d like to thank Real Times Media CEO, Hiram Jackson and Who’s Who Publishing COO, Carter Womack for having faith in me, and for giving me the opportunity to work with Who’s Who in Black Atlanta. Even more importantly, I’d like to extend sincerest gratitude to our sponsors Chik-fil-A and Southwest Airlines. If not for their generous commitment to diversity, this publication would not be possible.” Inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta provides a multitude of networking opportunities, offers visibility, and provides an opportunity for young trendsetters to become a staple in a community that infuses change to help other children grow. The Who’s Who in Black Atlanta publication can not only be found in the offices of corporate CEOs, but also in local schools and libraries. It is an inspirational tool for emerging leaders, and a study guide for success. ■

www.WhosWhoPublishing.com

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INTRODUCING RANDY ROLLE: BAHAMAS CONSUL GENERAL By Diane Larche’,

Larche’ Communications LLC

Randy Rolle

(Left to Right) at the reception hosted by Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc.'s Xernona Clayton, Founder, President and CEO are: Robert Pinder, Student & Cultural Affairs Officer; Monique Vanderpool, Deputy Consul General; Xernona Clayton; Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., PresidentElect Morehouse School of Medicine; and Bahamas Consul General to Atlanta Randy Rolle. (Photo by Kenyon Missick)

andy Rolle is a graduate of The Bahamas Baptist College, Butler County Community, Bethune Cookman College, and Johnson & Wales University. He was appointed as Consul General of the Bahamas Consulate General Atlanta office by Prime Minister Perry Christie in July of 2013. His jurisdiction includes 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Missouri and Tennessee. He has enjoyed a rewarding career in the hospitality Industry, which has allowed him to travel and acquire international recognition. He is a 1998 C.H.A (Caribbean Hotel Association) Scholarship award winner who has worked in Spain, Seattle and Boston, where he was acknowledged for his exemplary work ethics and representation of The Bahamas. In 2008, Mr.Rolle received a Bravo Award from Starbucks International for playing a vital role in its market opening of its stores in The Bahamas. In addition, Randy was one of the top three sales executives for Harbourside Resort at Atlantis from

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2001 to 2003 where he received awards for highest sales volume in the summer of 2003. Most recently he was a certified Project Manager with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Very active in community and civic organizations, Mr. Rolle is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Masters of Excellence Toastmasters Club 933001, and a former American football standout with the Commonwealth American Football League’s Nassau Sunburners. Mr. Rolle is married and the proud father of one son, Deshaune Rolle. He is the son of former professional baseball player Randy Rolle Sr. and Mrs. Karen Johnson. For interviews with Bahamas Consul General Randy E. Rolle please contact his public relations firm at Diane Larche’, Larche’ Communications LLC, 404 273-3227 or diane@larchecommunications.com ■

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YOUNG & TRENDY

“I Am Brooklyn Rene” By Glenda “China” Scott

“Never stop dreaming and believing in yourself…”

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REAM BIG,” says this eight year old rising star who has already performed live in front of thousands of people. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Brooklyn Rene Freeman is a gifted child with exceptional skills. She is a straight “A” student and has always been recognized as an advanced learner. In 2009, Brooklyn began competing in gymnastics and dance, and won several awards. At the age of six, she landed her first modeling assignment with Cynthia Bailey of Real Housewives of Atlanta, who chose Brooklyn for the cover of the African Pride Dream Kids hair product box. Her modeling assignment turned into a five year contract, and inspired Brooklyn to also train in acting, and singing. In her first acting role, she played “Pattie” in Vincent Kee’s production of Angie…the Musical. Then in 2012 and 2013, she played the leading role of “Destiny” in producer Stepp Stewart’s theatrical stage production of A Soulful Christmas. With all the glitz and glamour of being in the spotlight, and the large number of requests for autographs she receives, Brooklyn is still humble, respectful, and spiritually grounded. Her parents, Brian and Sheimicka Freeman, make sure that Brooklyn is a well-rounded little girl. She attends dance classes 3-4 times per week, acting classes and vocal training once a week, guitar lessons every week, and just when you thought she could do no more, she is interested in print, and just booked a voiceover gig for Publix grocery store chain. “The entertainment industry is where Brooklyn is supposed to be,” says her mom. “She doesn’t get every role she auditions for, but takes rejection very well and moves on to the next audition.” Although Brooklyn is very competitive, she is also very compassionate and often helps her understudy with learning and comprehending her role. Looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty, Brooklyn realizes that she has to be better than the next person, raise her bar, and not stay complacent. She stays humble, spends time with her friends, toys and dolls, and continues to have play dates with children her age to allow her the opportunity to be a child. Brooklyn has matured tremendously over the past four years, developed her talents, and holds her own in the entertainment industry. She is not a stranger to hard work, receives rave reviews with each of her performances, and is preparing herself for other areas of success. This talented and energetic little lady is currently working with acting coach Neko Parham, and is now signed with the Houghton Talent Agency as “Brooklyn Rene.” Brooklyn’s family prays about the sacrifices they make for her classes and auditions, but they believe that entertainment is the destiny that God has assigned for her. Her 15 year old brother Brian, aspires to be a movie stuntman, and is sharpening his talents to evolve alongside Brooklyn in the entertainment industry. Everyone needs a good reputation and positive character to climb the ladder of success, and Brooklyn plans to be a role model for up and coming artists and kids. “We remind ourselves that whatever God’s will is, we will go with it,” says Brian and Sheimicka. “There is a place in the entertainment industry for Brooklyn Renee’ Freeman and God will order her steps. Never stop dreaming and believing in yourself, and always allow God to use you in whatever shape, form or fashion He sees…by any means necessary.” ■

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YOUNG & TRENDY

Broderic M. Simpson “Your Gift Will Make Room For You.” By Maxine Swain

roderic has been singing since the age of three. He began memorizing lyrics before he could speak well. His most favorite play time was finding household items such as a brush or anything that could be used as a microphone. No matter where you saw him, he would put on a musical show with his pretend microphone. At the age of four, he asked his mom for a real microphone, a piano, and a church pulpit for Christmas. Well….he got the microphone and the piano, but he had to continue to use his table as his pulpit. Broderic’s love for singing and performing continued to grow. At the age of five, he told his mom that he wanted to be on TV. He has remained consistent with his goal to someday perform on television. He was a member of The Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde. He performs frequently with Kameo Production Studios, and at various school events, church programs, weddings, and birthday parties. Broderic has been honored to perform for prestigious events such as singing The Negro National Anthem for the NAACP City of Stone Mountain Parade and Rally and Million Dollar Committee Historic Program. He was recently cast as Frankie Lymon in A Soulful Christmas Musical, and Ronald in Show N Tell. Both plays were written and produced by Stepp Stewart, founder of Dynamite Production Talent Competition and producer of the Stepp Stewart Show, Dr. OZ Health Corps, and Bubbling Brown Sugar. Through his involvement with these productions, Broderic was featured on CBS Better Mornings. Broderic is an active member of Faith Temple Missionary Baptist Church where he is actively involved. He serves as the Youth Worship Leader, and is a member of the dance ministry, youth choir, and junior usher board. He is a junior at Southwest DeKalb High School. When Broderic is not singing or performing, he enjoys going to church, hanging out with his family and friends, and playing with his dog. Broderic humbly acknowledges and gives all honor to God for the gift of music. His motto is “Your Gift Will Make Room For You.” ■

Broderic M. Simpson (right) at Show-n-Tell Musical, Summer of 2013

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UP & COMING TRENDSETTERS

Eric Sheppard Jr. Full Time College Student/Coach/Community Leader

A Young Man with a Plan for Socioeconomic Change By Keyla Berry

ight, in many cases can serve as a beacon of hope because without it we cannot see a clear pathway to guide us into the future. In this case, the “light” I speak of is Eric Sheppard Jr., a 20 year old native Atlantan who is maturely independent and a straight A student at Valdosta State University in South Georgia. Shining brightly amongst his peers, Eric who is enrolled in one of the University’s Bachelor degree programs with a dual major in Sociology & African American Studies and dual minors in Philosophy & Economics, says his life goal is to bring all people together through the implementation of self -education methods with emphasis on self-knowledge. Passionate about his community role, Eric spends quite a bit of his spare time coaching high school wrestling and mentoring youths in Valdosta, he endeavors to start his own family therapy practice and to open recreational learning centers in socioeconomic impoverished communities. When asked what the motivation in his drive for success is, Eric replied;

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“Simply, the knowledge that one day there will be a global unification of all things. If success is defined as academic achievement in this case, then besides any motivation to attain such, my performance is a reflection of my obligation to do what is needed because to accomplish any less in this kind of schooling system would be shameful.” Eric’s advice to other young men and women entering college and leaving home for the first time is “Be not naïve and complacent in the definition of life. What is often prescribed is not always the truth; question everything until you have found what it is you search for. Educate yourself outside of the classroom and allow your consciousness to be ever expansive.” When looking towards the future, previous generations can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that young adults such as Eric, with ambition, drive, and the mental fortitude have the skills to take the reins of positive leadership. ■

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UP & COMING TRENDSETTERS

HARMONY “Dignity and Pride of the Violin” By Sasha Keys he twins, Megan and Mia Polk, also known as Harmony, picked up the violin at a private magnet music school in Texas with training in Music Theory, Music Composition, Improvisation, Harmony, techniques and dynamics. Playing the violin for 13 years, and performing for the past 10 years, has given them dignity and pride of being blessed with such a talent. At only 19 years of age, Harmony is making their stride in the world. They recorded their first CD at the age of 14 and would love to record a new one. Powerful and profound, they auditioned and performed with the McNeese State University Youth Orchestra. They experimented with traditional Classical like Baroque, Modern Classical, and Orchestral, but their heart yearned to develop their own style. Their vast search for more led them to continue to seek out professional violinists on the Web. The sounds of Ken Ford, Gerald Damien and Daniel D, just to name a few, gave them true inspiration. Performing on stage with Devin Phillips and Michael Ward inspired them also. Harmony’s journey began in Texas where they developed their musical tastes and interests. The adjustment of moving from their hometown has not changed their love for music and performing. It wasn’t long after picking up their violin again that they would be experimenting with traditional zydeco and old time gospel or R&B and Jazz. The development of Harmony’s unique style is the result of a lot of musical influence. Receiving instruction from the talented Ann Lundy of Texas Southern University, and attending advanced camps back in Texas kept them sharp and driven. The venture to Louisiana led them to meet and perform for some of the greats: Debbie Allen and the Harlem Ballet Company, LC Ballet Company, Shawn Ward, Gervis Guidry, Nuttin but Stringz Violin Group and Michael Ward/Kyle Turner Band, and Jazz Musicians, Chester & Jairus Daigle. In 2014, Harmony shall continue their quest to meet and greet the best in their craft and absorb more training and education in music, as well as complete their college degree. The girls love different genres of music. Gospel, jazz, rock, hip-hop, reggae, and of course classical and sometimes country, are all included in their repertoire. Their performances have ranged from a classical lunch with Debbie Allen to a night out with Michael Ward at the Strand Theatre – Showtime at the Apollo (Motown Review). The girls look forward to having the opportunity to promote their music, and overcome financial difficulties to be able to travel and perform with some of the great female and male violinists on stage while continuing their college education. Performing live on stage with one of the greats, or even being included on an album would be a dream come true! The twins believe in serving their community and their performances for various organizations such as shelters, nursing homes, hospitals and schools, help inspire and soothe the hearts of many with the sound of their sweet music. ■

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UP & COMING TRENDSETTERS

INTERNS: The Forgotten Essentials By Avery Allen

nvision a highly motivated, educated work force so eager to please they give tirelessly of themselves solely for the experience. Now imagine it snatched away because of bickering law makers. Internships are a right-of-passage for many college students. Every year hundreds of applications are submitted to congressional offices in hopes of obtaining a precious position with the federal government of the United States. However, in the face of tumultuous economic times, many of these hard-earned, volunteer positions were threatened. For the first time since November 1995, the U.S. Federal Government shutdown to expenditure. On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, over 800,000 government employees found themselves on furlough due to political conflicts. Everything from national parks and monuments to certain branches of the military absorbed the impact of Congressional in-fighting over the federal budget. Interns were a forgotten casualty in this great battle between House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Brea Wilkerson, a 2013 Hampton graduate with a degree in Political Science and full-time legislative intern and Taylor-Renee CollinsHeadley, a Howard University Broadcast Journalism Senior, parttime intern sat down to share their experiences. AVERY ALLEN “It’s helping direct where I want to go in life. [Interning] teaches me many things I wouldn’t have known otherwise,” Wilkerson says. Wilkerson first developed a love for government in middle school when she served as a senate page in North Carolina. She continually engaged in student government and is very delighted to have the opportunity to serve on Capitol Hill. Her future plans include law school and hopefully a position as a senator which would enable her to help her hometown community through legislation. Unlike Brea, Taylor has not always dreamt of a career in politics. However, as a future broadcast journalist, she understood the importance of the obvious connection between news and politics. “As a journalist, it’s great to have an inside perspective of how laws are made. Not everyone gets that. It really affects every other field.” Both young women felt the shock of the government shutdown. Wilkerson expressed that since she was uncertain of whether to come into the office, she spent

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money to commute to and from the Hill as the result of conflicting reports from staffers. “It’s no one’s fault. Everyone was confused on the issue,” Wilkerson shares. Without being able to work, it’s an expense Wilkerson believes to be a waste if she isn’t getting the benefit of experience. Collins-Headley revealed that she is thankful her position with the Legislator is not her primary internship or else her credits for graduation would be compromised. As the shutdown continued, Brea Wilkerson reported that she, along with other legislative interns, were officially cleared to resume interning after checking with the ethics board. Wilkerson was glad to be back working and is currently keeping up with developments from the congressional floor. In 1995, the nation wanted to know who would be dismissed as a result of the shutdown. The terminology to determine who did or did not keep a paycheck was “essential” and “nonessential.” In today’s crisis, these terms have resurfaced and many workers feel slighted when the job they devote so much of their time and energy to is deemed “nonessential” to government functioning. Interns fall into a peculiar category. At a glance, they appear as merely fledging “wannabes” who are meant to only fetch coffee, deliver messages, shred papers and serve as a barrier between crazies and legislative assistants. However, most interns realize the true worth of their work. “We are believed to be nonessential because we don’t make the big decisions, but that is not the case,” Collins-Headley asserted. “We do the things [staffers] don’t have time for. They are able to do their jobs because we do ours,” Wilkerson added. The Federal Shutdown of 2013 was the result of Congress’ inability to compromise on federal spending. “It’s childish how they go tit for tat back and forth. I believe all of it could have been avoided,” says Wilkerson. Interning is a huge element of higher education. It allows students to get a preview into life in the real world. During the shutdown this valuable learning tool was compromised. The nation must be careful of partisan bickering and its effect on the education of future leaders, though unfortunately this is often the case. Though the job of the intern seems menial, to those in such positions, it is a major accomplishment. ■

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The Wall Street Project was founded in 1996 by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., and the Citizenship Education Fund, and officially launched by Rev. Jesse Jackson and prominent minority business owners on January 15, 1997, Dr. King’s birthday. The Project is represented by satellite or bureau offices (New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, East Palo Alto, Houston and Washington, D.C.), each representing the competency center for one or more of the industry spokes the organization focuses on: financial services, public policy, telecommunications, automotive, energy, advertising, international affairs, food services, insurance, entertainment, manufacturing, and information technology. The Wall Street Project challenges corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers and works to assure equal opportunity for diverse employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers. The Project uses Operation Breadbasket’s model of research, education and negotiation and reconciliation to achieve its mission to promote inclusion, opportunity and economic growth by encouraging public and private industries to: • Improve hiring, promotion and retention practices • Name more minorities to corporate boards • Allocate more capital to minority companies • Promote intra-trade relationships among diverse businesses • Increase funding for educational scholarships, and voter registration education • Increase financial literacy in minority and/or underserved communities through the work of the One Thousand Churches Connected program

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EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT

Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D. President and Chief Executive Officer UNCF ince 2004, Dr. Michael Lomax has been president and chief executive officer of UNCF, the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to African American students and a leading advocate of college readiness: students’ need for an education, from preschool through high school, that prepares them for college success. Before coming to UNCF, Lomax was president of Dillard University in New Orleans and a literature professor at UNCF member institutions Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. He also served as chairman of the Fulton County Commission in Atlanta, the first African American elected to that post. Throughout his career, Lomax has worked to provide educational opportunities for under-represented Americans. As president and CEO of UNCF, he oversees UNCF’s 400 scholarship programs, including the UNCF Gates Millennium Scholars Program, a 20-year, $1.6 billion program whose 14,000 lowincome minority recipients have a 90 percent college graduation rate. He also launched the UNCF Institute for Capacity

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Building, which helps UNCF’s 38 member historically black colleges and universities become stronger, more effective and more self-sustaining in such critical areas as fund-raising and building strong academic programs that prepare their students for careers in the global economy. Under Lomax’s leadership, UNCF has fought for college readiness and education reform in the media and through partnerships with reform-focused leaders and organizations. He serves on the boards of Teach For America, the KIPP Foundation, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Stand for Children. He also co-chaired both the Washington, DC, mayoral education transition team and the committee that led the search for a new school chancellor. Lomax also serves on the boards of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of African American History and Culture and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He founded the National Black Arts Festival. ■

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EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

Tom Joyner Foundation Announces Applications for ‘Full Ride’ Scholarship he Tom Joyner Foundation® announced the ‘Full Ride’ scholarship program that will cover all the expenses of one student planning to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the fall of 2014. “The cost of a college education isn’t getting any cheaper,” said Tom Joyner, chairman of his Foundation and host of the top-ranked nationally syndicated radio show. “So, I want to help a graduating high school senior with a chance to attend a black college to pursue their dreams.” Past Full Ride Scholars have impressive backgrounds, including the first winner, Britney Wilson, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who graduated from Howard University, last year. She is now in her first year of law school at the University of Pennsylvania. She impressed the Foundation’s scholarship committee with her solid academic record and her knowledge of local, national and international politics. Cheyenne Boyce of Detroit is now a senior at Spelman College, where she is an international relations major who is fluent in Japanese. Students will receive full tuition and stipends for up to 10 semesters to cover on-campus room and board and books. Students must meet the required academic standards each semester to renew the funds each year. Graduating high school seniors can apply for the scholarship by going to the Tom Joyner Foundation website at www.tomjoynerfoundation.org to download an application. To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria: 1) A United States Citizen 2) Current high school seniors attending school in the United States (applicant must be anticipating completion of high school degree in the spring of 2014). 3) Minimum high school grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4.00 grade scale, excluding home school studies) and Minimum SAT score of 2100 (combined math essay and verbal score) or ACT score of 30. 4) Applicants must apply and be accepted to an HBCU by July 1, 2014. 5) Applicants must have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities. The applications must be postmarked no later than January 17th, 2014. Interviews will occur in April 2014. Founded in 1998, the Tom Joyner Foundation has raised more than $60 million to help keep students enrolled in black colleges. It has assisted more than 29,000 students and worked with more than 100 HBCUs. You can learn more at www.tomjoynerfoundation.org. ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

NOV JAN/ /DEC FEB 2013 2014 35


EDUCATION

30th Anniversary of the Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball

Robin Lori Photography LLC

By Glenda Scott

(L to R) Dr Michael Lomax, Billye S. and Hank Aaron, Sarah Langford and Mayor Kasim Reed, Carolyn and Honorable Andrew Young. ayor Kasim Reed was joined by CEO of the United Negro College Fund, Dr. Michael Lomax, to host the 30th anniversary of the Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball on Saturday December 21, 2013 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. An elegant evening of the community getting together to support education, the star-studded affair included dignitaries, celebrities, philanthropists, city leaders, music, entertainment, and reality TV stars, and community business leaders. The annual event, co-chaired by Hank & Billye Aaron, Ambassador Andrew & Carolyn Young, and Gary & Lori Peacock, raised nearly $1 million to benefit local historically black colleges supported by the United Negro College Fund. “I strongly believe HBCUs are vital in preparing the next

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generation of African-American business owners, attorneys, doctors, artists and civic leaders and I am honored that with our annual UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball, we are able to help fund the education of thousands of students matriculating at the Atlanta University Center,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This year’s gala was truly a night to remember, and I thank the UNCF for their unwavering commitment to our nation’s future leaders.” The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and educational support to minority and low-income students, and its 37 member colleges and universities, and is an advocate for the importance of minority education. In the past seven years, the Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball has raised more than $10 million dollars for the four UNCF institutions in Atlanta including Clark Atlanta University, The Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse

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Gladys Knight

Mr. & Mrs. Fonzworth Bentley ►

Jasmine Guy and Jonathan Slocumb

College, and Spelman College. Approximately 9,000 students attend these private colleges. “Every year, the Mayor’s Masked Ball brings together Atlanta leaders who are committed to education and to help the next generation of doctors, teachers, lawyers, engineers, business executives and entrepreneurs get the education they need to compete in a global economy,” said Lomax. “The Mayor’s Masked Ball is a not only a fantastic celebration, but it’s an opportunity for our community to come together to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get to and through college.” UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly affective, awarding 21 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, fellowship, mentoring, and faculty development programs, and supports more than 60,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. This year’s festivities started with a VIP reception, followed by a silent auction, the parade of stars and dignitaries, an elegant dinner, the signature parade of masks, and a live performance by the legendary Gladys Knight. The 2013 list of distin-

Phaedra Parks and Apollo Nida▲

▲ Mr. Cee Lo Green and Guest

guished honorees included Georgia State President of Bank of America Geri Thomas; nationally acclaimed Grammy Award winning recording artist Gladys Knight; and Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra Conductor James Patterson. Political dignitaries included Ambassador Andrew Young and wife Carolyn, Bahamas Consul General The Honorable Randy E. Rolle, and philanthropists Hank and Billye Aaron. Celebrity guests included Cee Lo Green, Phaedra Parks, Apollo Nida, Derek Fonzworth Bentley, Jasmine Guy, Kendra Johnson, radio personalities Frank and Tonya Ski, Sasha the Diva with husband Kevin, Roger Bobb, Susan Taylor, Demetria McKinney, Jonathan Slocumb, Chrystale Wilson, and many others. The Annual Mayor’s Masked Ball is one of metro Atlanta’s signature fundraising galas and premier social events of the year attracting more than 1,200 attendees. It is the highlight of Atlanta’s holiday charity season, and is sponsored by The Coca Cola Company, Delta Airlines and UPS. Thanks to the UNCF support, member institutions have produced more than 400,000 graduates. The UNCF logo features the torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® www.uncf.org ■

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Robin Lori Photography LLC

▲Frank and Tanya “Ski”


HEALTH & WELLNESS SPOTLIGHT

or as long as I can remember I have always been active, playing sports, running and enjoying life. Being an athlete introduced me to training at an early age. Weight and endurance training helped me in my everyday living. I took this love of fitness and became a personal trainer. My goal as a personal trainer is to motivate, inspire, and educate others about the benefits of exercising and living a healthy lifestyle. Health and fitness is more than just your appearance; exercising makes you feel better and live healthier. With patience and persistence, everyone can achieve realistic goals, including high self-esteem, confidence, and the body you desire. I strive to create a personal relationship with all my clients. I'm here to provide encouragement, confidence, motivation, and strength, to help you reach your fitness goals! â–

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Certifications: Expertrating Certified Personal Training Expertrating Certified Master Training / Nutrition CPR Specialties: Boot Camp Cardio Weight Loss & Toning Core Training Circuit Training Strength & Conditioning


Michael Mitchell, Vice President Strategic Marketing & Partnerships for Time Life (story on page 48-49)

Tony Cornelius, Founder of the Don Cornelius Foundation (story on page 46-47)

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

Hair & Health… Make the Connection By Dr. Linda Amerson ould you imagine the social embarrassment of your hair thinning, breaking, falling out in patches and you don’t know why? Help is available! Alopecia currently affects over 80 million Americans, in various categories. This statistic does not include the International market. September is recognized as National Alopecia Areata Month. What is Alopecia? Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, and may affect men, women, children, and even some pets. A board certified Trichologist is a specialist in Alopecia and scalp disorder maladies. Your hair acts as a barometer for imbalances/changes in your body. So, do not think that only external contributors and products are the culprits, seek a specialist. In addition, a microscopic consultation from a board certified Trichologist can confirm vital health information and health conditions. A polarized microscope and tricholoscope is used to get to the ROOT of the problem, not put a bandage to cover/mask the problem. We accept mailed in loose hair strands (10) along with our fee of $160 and completed data form from our website. A detailed report will be emailed or mailed to you with our evaluation and recommendations.

Dr. Linda Amerson Doctor, educator, columnist, radio host, television personality and international lecturer, all these things describe Dr. Linda Amerson, a doctor of Trichology and world-renowned expert on hair and scalp disorders. In addition, she is the manufacturer of Dr. Amerson's ™ Hair, Scalp and Skin Therapeutic Essentials, LLC. To continue growing her product line, she has added Dr. Amerson's Educational CD & DVD Series and Leather Accessories.

There are many contributing factors for Alopecia. Some of these factors include: Hereditary Predisposition Auto-immune Disease Head Trauma Scalp Infections Neurological Condition Nutritional Deficiencies Domestic Violence Chemical Over-processing Trendy Hairstyles Medication Side Effects Excessive Emotional Stress And on goes the list. The worst thing any consumer or professional stylist can do is to self diagnose the onset of their Alopecia condition. There are also signs that reveal a scalp crisis. Some of these signs include: If the scalp looks red or inflamed. If the scalp has black dots on it. If the scalp looks blue, beige, black, purple, or any other scalp discoloration. If there are pimples or scalp lesions on the scalp. If the scalp looks dry with clumps of patchy flakes, etc.

What is Alopecia? Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss, and may affect men, women, children, and even some pets. A board certified Trichologist is a specialist in Alopecia and scalp disorder maladies.

In closing, seek the expertise of world-renown Trichologist, Dr. Amerson for an accurate microscopic analysis. Contact her at (817) 265-8854 or www.hairandscalpessentials.com. Please tune in every Wednesday, @ 11am CST to Ask the Hair & Scalp Doctor Radio Show on www.DfwiRadio.com. Make plans to join us September 28-October 4, 2014 for our 2nd Cruise With A Purpose for Alopecia Awareness! Cruise details are on our website. ■

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FITNESS TRENDS

BIG BONE FITNESS Vol.2

By Krystal (LADY KARAR D) Brown

appy New Year from Big Boned Fitness! As you settle into the new year I’m pretty sure you found a few extra pounds have gravitated towards your waistline. You are not alone. We do it to ourselves every year. And every year we make a new year’s resolution to ease the guilt of overeating during the holidays. Trust me, you are not alone. And the most puzzling thing about this situation is even though so many of us know exactly what we need to do for the betterment of ourselves, we do nothing. Why is that? There was a man who woke up one morning smack dab in the middle of a forest. He didn’t know how he got there. He had no car, no cell phone, and no map. He didn’t know much about the forest around him. He knew nothing about navigation. He was stuck. Then there was another man who found himself in the same predicament. But this guy was determined to get out. Eventually he found a GPS and some cash stashed in the brush about 100 yards from where he stood and walked out of the forest onto the city sidewalk and soon home. This story is similar to how we start our weight loss journeys. One day we wake up and realize we really need to do something. But we don’t know where to start or how we even got there. Some become complacent and let time go by and do nothing. Others search and find resources that will help them get to where they really want to be. And that is how we should be when it comes to pursuing our weight loss goals. For the past few weeks I have been working on a fitness challenge for my Big Boned Fitness beauties. I’ve taken before pictures, body measurements, and BMI (body mass index) and body fat composition data for my participants. This does three things for each person. First it sets in the back of their mind a starting point. After they see the numbers they realize there need to be changes. The journey is solidified as something attainable. Second, it sets a level of expectation for each person. They know they have to do something to get that number down even though they may not know how to do it. And lastly, it creates a desire and appetite for change. They want the change because they see they can achieve it. I had the opportunity to participate with CVS Pharmacy’s Project Health Initiative this past November. They screened for BMI, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, and Diabetes. They handed me over a record of numbers that indicated if I was at risk for heart disease. I encourage you to get screened for factors related to heart disease. Its important to understand where our health levels are so we can make sure we are on the course to healthy living. Its 2014, lets start the new year aware! ■ We are in Atlanta, GA. For more information please visit www.BigBonedFitness.com.

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Contributing Writer

ANNIKA SCHALL

MAIMO, SWEEDEN

hen Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born in 1918, South Africa was a country entirely different from what it is today. Since colonial times, people of color in South Africa were seen as second-class citizens despite the clear non-white majority. In 1948, when the National Party (NP) was elected, it institutionalized racial segregation with a policy of "apartheid." Public services, resources and even living areas were allocated based upon race. Anyone not classified as white had to deal with being treated as inferior. Like no other, Mandela's life had always been closely connected to the history of South Africa and the struggle for racial equality. Already before the NP came to power, Mandela had joined the African National Congress (ANC) which fought for the rights of South Africa’s non-white population. He quickly climbed the ladder of the party's hierarchy and when apartheid was implemented, Mandela opposed it.

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he more resistance against unequal treatment grew, the more the apartheid government tightened their grip. Mandela and some other leading ANC members were arrested multiple times. He was eventually sentenced to a lifetime in prison in the Rivonia Trial of 1964 and sent to the infamous Robben Island, where he would spend the next 20 years. However, Mandela continued his struggle to end apartheid from within his cell and became a symbol of the fight for racial equality. He was seen as one of the world’s most famous prisoners, with people worldwide supporting his release. The impression Mandela made on the world was not only due to the cause he was fighting for, but also because of the way he handled the consequences that came with the struggle. Even during his overall 27 years in prison, he maintained his poise and did not turn bitter. He was offered conditional release multiple times, but stayed true to his beliefs. When he was finally released under internal and international pressure in 1990, the end of apartheid subsequently followed. And even after Mandela was elected as president of South Africa in 1994, he maintained a course that fostered reconciliation between different ethnic groups in the country rather than promoting revenge for all the years of oppression. He retired after one term in office, but remained politically active and engaged in the fight against HIV and Aids.

At the age of 95, Mandela passed away at his house in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 5, 2013. Why is Nelson Mandela Relevant? Over the years, the ANC may have lost some support amongst South Africans but "the father of the nation" never did. In all the years since he left office, Mandela remained one of the most well-known and beloved public figures in South Africa and beyond. When news of his death reached the public, it spread like wildfire. The world collectively mourned and heads of states across the globe condoled. Meanwhile, South Africans gathered in front of Mandela’s house to express their grief over the loss of the country’s "greatest son," as incumbent President Jacob Zuma had called him. It now becomes clear that Mandela was more to South Africa and the world than just a former president. He has become a symbol of what one can achieve with true dedication to a cause, and a moral authority whose name inevitably stands tall alongside other freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Without Mandela, South Africa will surely be a different country. However, his role in shaping the nation and the impression he made on the world will never be forgotten. ■

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” - Nelson Mandela ►Nelson Mandela revisits his prison cell on Robben Island in 1994; ▼with wife Winnie, walking hand in hand, raise clenched fists upon his release from Victor prison, Cape Town, Sunday, February 11, 1990.

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INTERNET MARKETING MANAGER & STRATEGIST

www.lukeithermd.com TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

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AWARENESS

The Don Cornelius Foundation “Life is Beautiful, Precious and Worth Living.”

Tony Cornelius, Founder By Glenda Scott

Tony Cornelius

46 JAN / FEB 2014

he word “suicide” crosses the minds of many people. Yet rarely do we realize who those people are and how they got to that point. Depression, loneliness, failing health, poverty, and bullying are all reasons we may think of. But to those who are in the mindset of suicide, there may be other critical factors triggering their demise. In 2010, an alarming 38,364 suicides were reported which means someone in the country died by suicide every 13.7 minutes. It is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. The Don Cornelius Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded by Tony Cornelius, the son of celebrity icon Donald C. Cornelius, creator of “Soul Train,” who ended his life by suicide on February 1, 2012. The Foundation is committed to establishing programs for awareness, prevention, education and support to those in transition, in need of healing, contemplating suicide, or survivors who have lost loved ones. Tony realized after the loss of his father, that there is more to learn about this mental health issue, and we all owe it to our families, our friends, and our communities to dig deep within the minds of everyone around us to offer our support. Suicide is a major preventable public health problem according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Among the causes of death for African Americans, suicide ranks fifth for ages 10-14, third for ages 15-24, sixth for ages 25-34, and eight for ages 35-44. Mental health services in communities of color have long been sought through faith-based counseling that is often biased, and doesn’t work for everyone. While there is a national 24-hour hotline, as well as professional referral services available, communities of color sometimes do not seek help, or usually perceive these services as being inaccessible to their particular needs. The issues of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are already being dealt with and at this most vulnerable time, the voice on the other end of the line must understand these issues at the forefront. The Don Cornelius Foundation’s “I Am the Face” campaign examines the issues surrounding mental health and depression and focuses on people who are over-medicating themselves, those having trouble coping in the military, and those experiencing problems within their families. Because suicide knows no boundaries of race, class, age, gender or sexual orientation, the Foundation discloses that suicide is everybody’s problem not just a problem faced by one, and we must get more involved to get victims to reveal their anxieties and grief. The Don Cornelius Foundation supports regional and national mental health organizations that have been up and running for many years. A goal of the Foundation is to become an advocate for increasing the TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE


AWARNESS

awareness of these organizations to eliminate the issue of internalized oppression and create positive mindsets. The Soul Train Cruise “the hippest trip at sea” is the official charity of the Don Cornelius Foundation. Now in its third season, the cruise was created to support the fundraising efforts of the Foundation. Centric Television, Time Life, StarVista Entertainment, and Entertainment Cruise Productions were some of the first sponsors to get involved and have all been instrumental in helping to build awareness. Realizing there is a need, these sponsors have been extremely supportive in creating a presence within their own organizations, growing the Foundation, and extending the Soul Train legacy.

“I thought suicide was for cowards’, says Tony. “But my father was one of the strongest men that I’ve ever known and he lived a fantastic life and did everything anyone could ever imagine. For this to have happened, changed my ideology about what suicide really is. The Foundation was influenced by long-time family friend, Stevie Wonder, who reminded me that life goes on and that life is beautiful, precious and worth living. I’d like to thank Michael Mitchell and all of the sponsor organizations for going down this road with me. Without companies such as these it’s really hard to reach the masses and the Soul Train Cruise is Godsent to people who really want to show their support and be exposed to the 37 year old Soul Train brand. I’m really appreciative of their work and their efforts to continue this legacy,” says Cornelius. For those who choose to withdraw and suffer in silence, we must somehow uncover the harmful secrets they hold within, and encourage and strengthen their mentality to reflect a positive point of view. The Don Cornelius Foundation will soon launch its inaugural “People All Over the World” campaign. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts please call (800) 273Talk (8255) for help, because life is beautiful, precious and worth living!!!

Don Cornelius, born September 27, 1936, started out in the insurance business before going to broadcasting school in 1966. He worked as a substitute radio DJ and on TV's A Black's View of the News before pitching his idea for a music television program aimed at young African Americans. Soul Train, inspired by American Bandstand, quickly became popular, and spent more than 30 years on the air.

The Don Cornelius Foundation, Inc. P. O. Box 69467 Los Angeles, California 90069 www.TheDonCorneliusFoundation.org www.SoulTrainCruise.com TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

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TRAVEL SPOTLIGHT

The Soul Train Cruise By Glenda Scott

(left) Stephen G. Hill - President of Music Programming and Specials for BET Networks; (center) Michael Mitchell - Vice President Strategic Marketing & Partnerships for Time Life; (right) Kenard Gibbs - Chief Executive Officer of Soul Train Holdings and Co-Founder of MadVision Entertainment

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TRAVEL SPOTLIGHT xcitement is running high as the date of the starstudded SOUL TRAIN CRUISE quickly approaches. The “Hippest Trip at Sea” is a seven day luxury cruise scheduled for February 23 - March 2, 2014 out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida sailing to Gustavia, St. Barthelemy; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas on Holland America’s spectacular ms Eurodam. The Soul Train Cruise is the official charity of The Don Cornelius Foundation, a non-profit organization formed by the family of Donald C. Cornelius, creator of Soul Train, whose mission is to establish programs for awareness, prevention and support for those contemplating suicide, or survivors who have lost loved ones. Soul Train is one of the most successful shows ever created, holding the record for the longest, first-run, nationally syndicated television show ever and remains popular to this day. Soul Train has been an integral part of popular culture since its debut in 1970 and continues to be a vital force in entertainment with its all-star Soul Train Awards shows. Vintage episodes continue to air on CENTRIC Television (a part of BET Networks and division of Viacom), and the Soul Train Music Awards draw international superstars to its ceremony every year. The Soul Train Cruise, now in its third season, is a revival of artists that performed on Soul Train throughout its 35 year history. The first cruise featuring artists such as Patti Labelle, The O’Jay’s, Jeffrey Osborne, and The Spinners, was in February 2013 and exceeded expectations by selling out 2,000 cabins within 75 days after its announcement. The second cruise in October 2013 was also a huge success featuring superstars Gladys Knight, Earth Wind & Fire, Regina Belle, Jennifer Holiday and many others. The Soul Train Cruise is a high-end cruise where more than just musical talent is displayed onboard. You may see Gladys Knight on deck doing a cooking demonstration, Jeffrey Osborne hosting a golf tournament, the Whispers directing a game show, or Freddie Jackson conducting a wine tasting. The February 2014 cruise promises to be extraordinary as cruisers are invited to non-stop parties, special events, meet and greets with legendary R&B acts, and are allowed to interact with the celebrities. The incredible line-up of R&B legends include Charlie Wilson, The Isley Brothers, Roberta Flack, Jeffrey Osborne, The Commodores, Stephanie Mills, Peabo Bryson, The Manhattans, Morris Day & The Time, Ray, Goodman & Brown, Maxi Priest, The Chi-Lites, Honey Cone, Blue Magic,

Cool V, Party Band DW3, Peaches & Herb, Comedian Alonzo Bodden, DJ Biz Markie and Host Dane Butcher. The artists look forward to the cruise each season because it’s a different kind of audience that are very respectful and immerge themselves in that genre of music that inspires the artists to come back again. “Part of what we do as the official charity of The Don Cornelius Foundation is to help give exposure to the cruise and give Tony Cornelius a platform to pursue the needs of the Foundation” says Michael Mitchell, Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Alliances for Direct Holdings Global, who was instrumental in creating the partnership with The Don Cornelius Foundation, Soul Train Holdings, Time Life, StarVista Entertainment, Entertainment Cruise Productions, and title media partner and sponsor Centric Television. Direct Holdings Global develops and sells audio and video products via retail, online, and direct response TV under the Time Life name. “After an effective partnership with Time Life to market Soul Train on DVD, we decided to take that concept to sea. Direct Holdings Global launched its StarVista Live Entertainment division in 2010 with the inaugural sailing of the Malt Shop Memories Cruise, now an annual event, and expanded to include the Soul Train Cruise. Entertainment Cruise Productions out of St. Louis had a lot of success with on-board cruise experiences and produced their first entertainment cruise about four years ago with Frankie Avalon, Darlene Love, Leslie Gore, and several other 50s and 60s artists. It was a smashing success and it forced us to consider another genre that represented our strongest sales, urban music. Paxton Baker brought Centric Television onboard as the title media sponsor, and we partnered together with The Don Cornelius Foundation and Kennard Gibbs of Soul Train Holdings to make it all work.” The SOUL TRAIN CRUISE will take you back in time to the early days of the Soul Train TV series. Guests will be invited to join the original Soul Train Dancers and DJ extraordinaire Biz Markie spinning classic R&B and current hits on deck. No doubt the famous Soul Train Line will be mastered by the cruisers by the end of the trip, and the famous Soul Train Scramble Board will get plenty of play. So climb aboard the beautiful Eurodam ship to celebrate, thank, and honor the legacy of music icon, Don Cornelius. It’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey. And as always, we wish you Love, Peace, and Soul!!! ■

Make your reservation for the Soul Train Cruise today by visiting www.soultraincruise.com or by calling toll-free (855) SOUL TRAIN (855-768-5872). TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

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SPECIAL SHOWCASE

MOTOWN REVUE

HITZVILLE The Show

Our Own Dreamgirl! Starring Jin-Jin Reeves Reeves. “My musical in-Jin Reeves By Glenda Scott director worked with Jefhas become, by frey Osborne and Gladys far, the hardest Knight; my guitar player w o r k i n g comes from Stevie Wonwoman in show der; my drummer came business. She from Diana Ross, and my is an incredible fabulous back-up singers actress, singer, are from all over the dancer, choreworld and sang with The ographer, songPlatters, The Coasters, writer, entrepreneur, proand many others. The ducer, director, and trendharmony and love that we setter. Raised in Detroit, have for one another Michigan, Jin-Jin Reeves makes the show a success has been an entertainer and each of us have a pasher entire life. She started sion for what we do and her career as a young teen, are able to bring the auditraveled all over the world ence into where we are performing, and is now a and gel together with the celebrity headliner on the love of the music itself.” Las Vegas Strip. People of all nationaliMotown Revue Hitzties travel to Las Vegas ville - The Show, is a full from all over the world, stage theatrical production and when they arrive they featuring hits made fawant to see an authentic mous by Tina Turner, The Motown show. The overall essence of Hitzville The Show is to Temptations, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Four Tops, Diana do music from various cities and from various artists, not all Ross and the Supremes, and more. The talented cast are all just an expression of the city of Detroit; but, of the Motown accomplished performers that include a trio of women, a quartet sound which expresses itself through many artists who were not of men and the seven member Hitzville Band. The show, chonecessarily recording with Motown, but were doing the Moreographed and produced by Reeves, is the only female and town era type of music. The worldwide appeal for the feel of African American owned and produced show in Las Vegas and the Motown era will last forever and Hitzville - The Show will has been for the past nine years. With lights, sound, and full continue to amaze audiences with its incredible production. stage production, the goal is to take you on a journey back into Jin-Jin Reeves is the biggest well-kept secret of a superstar time to reminisce on the music that made the city of Detroit and in the country and you should jump at the chance to see her and our nation come alive. Hitzville - The Show whenever you’re in Las Vegas. PerformBeing around all the Motown greats, Reeves was inspired to ances are every day Monday through Saturday at 5:30pm at the give something back to Detroit. She decided to put the show together years ago and it’s been going strong ever since. “It’s VTheater inside Miracle Mile Shopps at Planet Hollywood not just a mixture of Motown music but hits from all around the Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The show’s ten year anniverworld,” says Reeves. “I met Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson sary extravaganza will be in November 2014. ■ and I’ve worked with Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Eddie Levert which inspires me to keep that era of music alive.” www.HitzvilleTheShow.com The Production is complete with the most talented musiwww.VarietyTheater.com cians and back-up singers one could ever imagine, and Reeves (702) 260-7200 or (702) 452-4003 is quick to give credit to her band for some of the show’s tremendous success. “I have the best band in the world,” says TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

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TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT

52 JAN / FEB 2014

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

“There’s a new Sheriff in town!”

Carl Payne II ACTOR, WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER HOLDING IT DOWN IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IS NO “CIRCUS”-- BUT THEN AGAIN, THIS ACTOR IS NO “CLOWN IN THE BOX” HE’S MAKING MOVES TO PROVE HE’S STILL “IN THE GAME” 20 YEARS LATER By Shernita Wiggins

rendsetter to Trendsetters Magazine caught up with actor, Carl Payne II, while he was on location in Chicago with the Universal Circus. Most known for his roles as “Cole” on Martin and “Cockroach” on The Cosby Show, he was there as Ring Master to document inside information about the longevity of this circus for its 20th year anniversary. He was connected with this amazing family entertainment unit through one of the producers affiliated with the circus, who suggested that the best way to acquire information was to actually become a part of the action. Carl, being the producer that he is, and an actor who understands that the only way to really develop a good role is to study those who actually live that role on a day to day basis, took the challenge. When I expressed how unique it was to be involved with the circus and asked if it was out of his “element,” he said, “Being a Ring Master is like any other hosting job. You have a script you have to follow, and if you are really good, you can go off the script to interact with the audience. Although it is similar to what I have done, it is definitely a different world. I mean, it’s not like hosting a comedy show and I am not doing tricks or anything, (he laughs), but I can do it.” Carl Payne’s latest venture in the film industry is his starring role in TLC’s biopic CrazySexyCool movie which aired on October 22, 2013 on VH1. He plays the creative genius, L.A. Reid in his earlier years. When I asked him how this opportunity came about, he

shared, “I got a call from Chilli when I was in Atlanta, that she was doing this movie and she said, ‘You got to come in and do a reading for this role. You will be perfect because you have a cute round face.’ I told her, Chilli, I’ve been in the gym since you saw me last and there is nothing “round” about me anymore (he laughs). But I wanted to do this to show people what I can do beyond comedy and to brand myself as a universal artist who was professionally trained. Since I wasn’t able to go to the reading, I still went out of my way to show that I was a good fit for the role, so I contacted a friend who was a make-up artist. She transformed me into the present day L.A. Reid with the bald wig and glasses, not knowing they wanted me to play a younger L.A. Reid.” This creative and seasoned actor now joins the ranks of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy for transitioning between comedic roles and dramatic characters. Carl was passionate about what motivated him for this role. It was the need to validate himself, although some people want to place actors in a box of roles that they portray the most. He says, “Actors have to show industry people that you can go beyond the extent of what they can see you do. I want people to see me in this role and realize that I am capable of developing any role that I choose.” This was not going to happen to him, he is not an inthe-box kind of talent. As a matter of fact, he has been a source of encouragement to upcoming actors like his co-star, Lil Mama, who plays Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez in the movie. Carl shared an inspiring story about one instance on the set when Lil

Mama was having some trouble with rapping one of the verses because she was a little nervous. He said, “I pulled her to the side and told her, ‘Forget about being an actor, be YOU. Own this moment and do what you do…just do it as Lisa.’ Then she nailed it! We have to provide chances to encourage those that need it and Lil Mama had come to me long before this project, but I knew she could do it and I have ‘mad love’ and applaud everyone who was in this movie. They all did their thing.” The interview was awe-inspiring and we ended with some wisdom Carl gained from the 20 years he has spent in the entertainment industry. His message for how he has sustained so long in the business was a combination of never being complacent with where he was, and being blessed. “You can’t sit around and expect success to fall in your lap. You have to get out and do something about it. Faith without works is dead. I am still moving, I have a recurring role on the Rickey Smiley show and next year I am looking to produce shows that will add more quality programming back to television networks. There’s a new sheriff in town.” He mentioned that those who are entering into the industry need to make it a point to “Learn the business side of things and treat yourself—as a business. Stay in your lane and protect your neck.” Well, you can’t make it any clearer as to his role in continuing to make “moves” while taking over Atlanta setting trends. Be sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter @thecarlpayne to keep up with what he is doing next. ■

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JAN / FEB 2014 53


BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Can One Person Really Make A Difference? This Lady Believes She Can! By Will Stewart e’ve all heard someone say, “I’m only one person, I can’t make a difference!” When Cier Black hears someone say this she says, “You’re right, you can’t.” This sounds a little harsh doesn’t it, she was asked? With a sly look of the eye, she goes on to say, “The greatest power behind actually making a difference is believing that you can!” Why is believing so important? “Because the truth of the matter is whenever you embark on a journey of change, you will encounter immeasurable obstacles. Therefore, you must believe your efforts are sure to make a difference. Your survival in spite of the longevity of the project is driven by the mere fact that you simply- believe!” So, who is this lady that believes she can make a difference? Allow Trendsetters to Trendsetters to introduce you to Atlanta’s newest trendsetter, Cier Black, CEO – Cier B. Public Relations, Atlanta’s Chic PR Boutique. With her journalism, communications, and marketing background, this business owner believes she can and will make a difference in the Atlanta small business community. Believing Isn’t Enough! Black isn’t oblivious about the ability to genuinely make a difference and quickly recites one of her favorite quotes, “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” She accredits the statement of Althea Gibson, first black person to win a Grand Slam title at the French Open. “You see, I believe I can make a difference, but I also realize I can’t do it alone.” In order to effectively serve her smaller markets, Black has established critical partnerships and developed a team of highly skilled professional re-

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sources all backing her efforts. It is clear in conversation this CEO is a small business advocate, and has resolved to make a difference! T2T has seen firsthand the powerful presence Atlanta women have in business, particularly as entrepreneurs. An

Cier Black

article in the Huffington Post Small Business publication reported on the five guiding principles of successful women (confidence, persistence, strategy, focus, and effective execution). Cier Black has exactly that! Cier B. Public Relations is certainly a business to watch in 2014. Standing Out…. One aspect setting this public relations boutique apart is the company’s Small Business Georgia Initiative Cier Black implemented just months after TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

launching her company in January 2013. Recognizing the weak links of her smaller market, Black established a public relations educational platform, Building Bridges for Small Business (BB|SB). Building Bridges for Small Business was created to expose small business owners to the field of public relations and engage them in small business forums providing resources for owners to consider their overall long term success. Within its first year, the program (BB|SB) has gained recognition and in October 2013, Georgia Fulton County Economic Development Division awarded Cier B. Public Relations the 2013 Home Based Business Entrepren e u r ia l Success Award! The Lady 2 Watch Black says she is awed by the recognition her company has already received. “I’m just getting started; they haven’t seen anything yet!” she says with a laugh. “Atlanta is filled with such opportunities for the intriguing entrepreneur. Stay tuned, we have new launchings, partnerships, and platforms planned for 2014!” Cier Black is co-author of two globally released books, a radio correspondent, and a speaker. Trendsetters to Trendsetters is certainly keeping our eye on this Atlanta based PR Boutique, Cier B. Public Relations – Atlanta’s Chic PR Boutique! ■


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Visit RodneyAdams.com 56 NOV JAN //FEB DEC 2014 2013

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT “Don't settle for mediocrity. Life is a gift, live it to the fullest!”

eÉwÇxç TwtÅá Businessman, Investor and so MUCH MORE!

CHILD PRODIGY TURNED INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS MOGUL By Shernita Wiggins odney Adams is known as one of the youngest, most accomplished Real Estate Business Investors of his time. At the young age of 23, Rodney has already achieved one of his goals of becoming financially independent using his business principles. He is now sharing these success principles with people all around the world.” This was the caption next to a young Rodney’s photo on the Business Mogul, Les Brown’s Speakers Network flyer that featured “…some of the most powerful motivational speakers, teachers, trainers and coaches on the planet…” It is hard to imagine that one who appeared to be a young prodigy, had a very rocky start before his early successes, but he did. Rodney spent his money recklessly during his youth, living from pay check to pay check with nothing to show for his earnings. You might be thinking, “If he was 23 and already doing well, when did he have the chance to do that?” Well, when you consider that Rodney was only 14 when he showed signs of “entrepreneurship,” then you can understand his early lessons of not knowing the laws of efficiency when it came to money management. That’s the age he started his own lawn care business. At a time when most youth are concerned about becoming a basketball or football star, entertainment celebrity or just hanging out with friends, this incredible being was crunching numbers as an independent representative of Excel Telecommunications, making it to the ranks of Regional Director and National Sales Trainer by the age of 18. True…many of us were not equipped to know about managing finances at that age; however, Rodney went to work with a network marketing company and learned early that if he was to have a life which produced earnings that resulted in the lifestyle of luxury and stability that many of his co-workers had, he was going to have to change his way of thinking when it came to finances. By surrounding himself with people who were successful and achieving goals of great magnitude, he gradually began to gain the tools necessary to do the same. According to Rodney, “I learned the importance of goals and surrounding myself with people that I aspired to be like. My mentors were always learning and reading.” Inspired by the

book “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” he says it changed his entire paradigm of financial literacy and would prove to be a leading factor in his amazing accomplishments to date. Today, Rodney Adams has owned over 170 properties, been involved in over 500 real estate transactions, and helped many companies to excel. From start up ventures to multi-million dollar corporations, these companies have become massively successful through the simple strategies used on the TV series “Shark Tank” which creates win-win alliances. He explains the keys to his continued success like this, “A lot of times people can have the idea, but don’t know how to bring it to fruition. A great idea is useless when the plan of action is poorly executed, causing most to fail from lack of proper capital and the correct platform which could’ve taken it to the next level. I am an investor who looks for good deals and makes them great by investing time and money that utilizes effective ethical and financial sense.” It’s no wonder that he is in the position that most only dream about, because he has maximized on combining his degree in Business Management with principles structured to access a wealth of opportunities, and strategies that can be applied to any situation…. in any business. As an entertainment manager and promoter, real estate investor and venture capitalist, he is mentoring other aspiring entrepreneurs with these simple, yet powerful analogies. “There is no purpose behind doing anything without the end result in mind. You need to know your ultimate goal. If your goal is getting to the airport, a home, job or great relationship, then your vehicle would be the tool you’d use to get to that goal, and your route to that ultimate goal is the plan you execute to arrive there.” Many have sought his services and advice from business to entertainment people seeking to either regain financial freedom, or maintain and increase their present state of stability. He was inspired by those who were so infectious with their passion for investment and business, that it made him love it, even if it wasn’t his forte, He leaves us with this, “Don’t make excuses. Surround yourself with the type of people you aspire to become. You only have one life, don’t try to re-invent the wheel; look for ways to make the wheel better. Consider people like Steve Jobs who was motivated by purpose, or Sam Walton who took an idea and made an empire, or Michael Jordan who after many failures never gave up and became an icon.” ■

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INSPIRATIONAL

Trent Shelton From the Heart By Ava Alexander

piritually graced with a humble and earnest delivery, he is a paradox for sure. Visually, he is young and handsome with a luminous smile, wearing dreads and tattoos. But when he begins to speak, it is clear that his wisdom is beyond his 29 years and his heart and soul belong to God. A former professional football player for the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, Trent Shelton, along with coauthor Baylor Barbee, has written four books entitled, You’re Perfect; See My Heart, Not My Past; Breaking Your Own Heart, and his most recent, Know Your Circle. I recently caught up with Trent and here is some of what he shared with me. Ava: Trent, did you always know you were destined for something more than football? Trent: My mom had always spoken it over my life. I used to visit different churches and the pastor would call me up and tell me that I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing now. I didn’t want to believe it. Later, I had to walk away from football because of all the cuts and instability there. I asked God to place something on my heart. When I make those videos and talk to people, I get a feeling that I never got when I played football in front of thousands. Ava: How did you start REHAB Time? Trent: Initially my focus was on athletes – life after sports. I spoke at high schools, colleges and to professional athletes. I wanted to help them understand that their identity is not tied up in what you do, but in God and Christ. Then I realized that

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there were a lot of people who could relate. I look back and realize that I had to go through a lot to be able to talk with confidence to other people. I didn’t want to draw the map and tell others to go hike the trail. I wanted to hike the trail myself and be able to talk from experience. My dreads and tats are still here, but I’m sharing who I am and being authentic. It’s important to embrace yourself and look in the mirror and know that you are enough. My message never changes and you don’t have to change who you are to get where you want to be; if you have to, then it’s probably not a place you need to be. Ava: Tell me how you came up with the name REHAB Time? Trent: A lot of people may think that it has something to do with drugs or addiction, but it doesn’t. The word REHAB stands for Renewing Every Heart and Body. In any sport, when you’re injured, you go to rehab to put strength back into that weakness. In life, we all have weaknesses - things that need to be strengthened. In order to be able to operate the way God wants us to, we need to strengthen those things that are weak in us. Ava: Although your ministry is for everyone, why do you think that your messages seem to resonate so much with women? Trent: Women are more naturally open. I really do get a lot of men who comment also, but they tend to message me in private on Facebook. I think it’s a pride thing with men. They may feel that they can handle their problems on their own. Ava: Trent, you give so much and inspire so many every day, but who inspires and motivates you? Trent: Well outside of my relationship with God, my immediate team inspires me to always do better. We have healthy competition and they keep me accountable. My dad is a pastor and has been my role model my entire life. Everything I know about being a man I get from him. He’s always been there for me and my mom and he’s the true definition of a man. I try to model my life after him. Ava: When we see and hear you, you’re always focused and serious. But I’d like to know something about the lighter side of you. What’s that side like? Trent: A lot of people don’t know that I’m really a jokester – I laugh a lot and like to have fun! When people are around me, they expect me to be Mr. Motivation every second, but I’m a very shy and introverted person and not a big talker. I’m also a big bowler and I think I’m pretty good at it! You can find Trent on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ LikeTrentShelton or visit his website at www.trentshelton.com. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram : @TrentShelton or find him on YouTube.

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INSPIRATIONAL

Moms Magazine, is working on her first book, and is currently planning the 2014 Single Moms Success Conference Tour that will be held in Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte and Columbus. As a single mother of two (a teen and a toddler), Ms. Howard has firsthand experience with the struggles a single mother faces when trying to balance work, family, education and taking time for yourself. Since becoming a single mother, Ms. Howard has earned a B.A. in Broadcast Communications, and a M.S. in Marketing and Communications. She is an alumna of The Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership and The Progressive Leadership Academy, and a member of The Columbus Association of Black Journalists. ■

(above) Mother‐Daughter Day in Columbus, Ohio. (below) Ms.  Howard pictured wit her two children. 

PHOTOS BY J MARIELLA PHOTOGRAPHY

eitiaunna Howard, M.S. is the Founder and Executive Director of Successful Single Moms, LLC. Successful Single Moms, LLC, (founded January, 2012) was created with a primary goal of providing assistance, support and resources to mothers who are raising their children alone, or mothers who have spouses with strenuous schedules in Columbus, Ohio. This support is provided in a variety of ways including monthly workshops, quarterly Mom’s Night Out events, and quarterly Family Fun events. Ms. Howard’s passion for single moms doesn’t stop in Ohio. She is a motivational speaker, writes a column for single moms in Editorial

For more information about Successful Single Moms, please email SuccessfulSingleMoms@gmail.com or like the page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ SuccessfulSingleMoms. For more information on the Single Moms Success Conference, please visit https://www.facebook.com/lovinmellc  

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JAN / FEB 2014 59


INSPIRATIONAL

Radio Host on the Rise! By Willie Finklin, Jr. inister Michelia Attah is a motivational speaker, evangelist, prophet and aspiring author. She currently serves as Director of Outreach and Missions at “The Word Church” in Columbus, OH under the leadership of Pastor E.T. Parker, III, and is also the Program Director at Holy Hills Network. Minister Attah is the dynamic, passionate, and spirit-filled host of “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah,” an internet based radio show that airs every Friday night at 7 p.m. EST on www.HolyHillsRadio.com. The broadcast is heard nationwide and internationally in over 12 countries including Ghana, Bangladesh, Canada, Pakistan, and Australia. Minister Attah has a heart for the people of God and lives a life submitted to His purpose. Through her dedication and desire to serve God, she has made a tremendous impact in her local community and hometown of Columbus, OH as well as traveling abroad to countries such as England, Ghana, and Mexico. She is passionately devoted to community outreach ministries, mentorship and volunteerism, in addition to international field missions. Minister Michelia has led, coordinated, and been involved in community outreach that has fed the homeless, assisted women in shelters, and ministered to individuals who were incarcerated. She believes that God has purposed her life to provide hope, faith, and the power to change in others. Minister Attah’s mission as a proclaimer of the Gospel is to empower the lost and saved through showing the love of God, ministering the word of God, and transforming lives. I recently had a chance to interview Minister Michelia Attah to find out more about her and her ministry. Q: How did you get started in the radio industry? A: I can say that God provided me the opportunity through faith, obedience and divine connections to end up on the radio. I didn’t see myself becoming a radio personality. It was not something that I prayed for or ever imagined. But on one faithful day while at work, at the right time, the right person walked in and that’s where it all started. I was skeptical and hesitant at first because I had to take financial risks and work in an industry that I didn’t have substantial experience and knowledge of. Surely, the transition into radio pulled me out of my comfort zone. However, I praise God for strong support and leadership that pushed me into my purpose. After launching the show, numerous people reached out to me to tell me how I encouraged them and changed their life. Once I saw what God was doing in the lives of others, I felt that I had to continue moving forward with “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah” as a ministry to educate, equip, and encourage others. I could tell that God wanted me to thrust His people into a deeper and more intimate walk with Him. Q: Do you consider yourself a radio-vangelist? A: (laughs). Some people may call it that but I consider myself a servant. I believe when it comes to God’s will, He’ll provide His servants a platform to minister. My heart has always been in evangelism. My first ministry experience was prison outreach and street evangelism. Interacting with individuals with diverse circumstances because of decisions they made or because of the

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Michelia Attah


INSPIRATIONAL lifestyle they’ve chosen allowed me the opportunity to see the value of encouragement and belief in others. God has blessed me with many opportunities to minister, uplift, and invest in others. Making a difference in the lives of God’s people as well as the lost has always been my desire. God saw it fit for me to be blessed with this platform to bring those same desires to others in a different way. Instead of the streets and prisons, I’m spreading the Gospel around the world through the airways and internet. However, the results are still the same: encouraging, making a difference, winning souls, and spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Q: What is “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah” place in ministry? A: I believe that God has a unique place in ministry for me. He gives us all talents and the opportunity to make a difference in the world with our talents. I plan on pushing this opportunity to the pinnacle of God’s glory by continuing to be salt and light in the world. What I mean by that is I want my listeners to see “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah” as a ministry that changes the flavor of their lives. If they are depressed when they tune into the show, I want the flavor of their lives to change to joy. If they are broken and downtrodden when they tune in, I want the flavor of their lives to change to wholeness

and uplifted. I pray that “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah” will be the light that springs up over the valley of despair for people to change their view from hopelessness to hope, from brokenness to confidence, from desperation to determination in Christ. Ministry is about those who are strengthened and equipped going back to help others to become whole. Though I’m not physically going back to grab someone out of the gutter, I believe God has appointed me as a voice to awaken the spirit-man of the lost and saved alike to elevate them to their purpose. I strongly believe the purpose of life is to live life with a purpose. We’ll never find that purpose until we submit ourselves to God’s will. Therefore, the place for “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah” is to help people find their purpose in Christ. In Christ, we can live righteously and victorious! Q: How can people find out more information about your ministry and listen to the show? A: They can “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ letstalkgospel; By email: MicheliaAttah@yahoo.com or tune into “Let’s Talk Gospel with Minister Michelia Attah” LIVE every Friday at 7 p.m. EST on www.holyhillsradio.com or listen by phone at 610-400-0277. ■

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INSPIRATIONAL

The Key To Having It All

PHOTO BY TERRANCE A. REESE

By: Carmen M. Colon

“...I'm a ‘millionaire’ and now I am working on my second!” - Carmen M. Colon

hat is having it all? To some, it's having a successful business, a lot of money coming in, a family to be proud of - everything out of a feel good movie. We are besieged by images days in and out trying to manipulate and define for the masses what it is and what it means to "have it all." Well, I'm standing up and declaring that I too "have it all" and it looks nothing like what's being told in the media. I work for my living and I feel blessed to simply have some place to work so that I can pay bills and raise my sons. It doesn't fulfill me the way the magazines say it should; but, I have my outside interests and my community groups for that. I have sons, and in having the responsibility of juggling four people’s lives, I also have stress, drama, joy, fear, huge amounts of laughter, anger and lots of love. It is not perfect, but my family appreciates that we are unique. I even have a medical condition that can exacerbate my life, but it's all mine. Yes, I own it. It can make for a very rocky road, but it is every bit a part of me as anything else. Many would ask, "What about the money and the great spouse that is believed to be critical when saying that they've had it all?" I've had money. I also have a lot of debt: college tuition, mortgages, car notes. My father used to say to us that he was a millionaire. He sat me and my siblings down and said, "this number is how much I make in one year. I've been working for 20 years at this profession. If you add it all together you can see that I've made a million dollars over my lifetime so far. They say the first million is always the hardest." It took me a while to fully understand what he was trying to convey, but once the lightbulb went off in my head, I was so excited! I was even more excited when I told my sons that very same story a few years ago! "See boys, I'm a ‘millionaire’ and now I am working on my second!" As for the fabulous spouse, I've been in two long-term relationships. I call them my successful marriages because I didn't kill them and I'm not in jail. Truthfully, each one went through the paces of what most relationships go through, and once I understood my own role and my own contributions to each one, I was finally able to lay to rest a lot of baggage that people tend to carry from one to the next. So, I enjoy more remembering why I fell in love, the happiest of times, and I leave the faults and frailties to those two younger people in the past. We were young, foolish, stubborn, and less knowledgeable, so why hang onto that anyway? It's a brand new world out there every single day, and every day if you wake up grateful for what you have instead of longing for what you don't, then you're never going to be satisfied and you'll never have it all. I'm single, I enjoy meeting new people, but I'm not the dating kind as I'm too busy living my "having it all" life. I've loved again, "You can't keep a good woman down," they say, but I realized that I needed to focus on being only responsible for me before I would once again jump into the deep end of that ocean. I am free to travel, to go left, go right, to start another business or take another job, to go to a movie one day or the theater, the next and I focus on my own dreams. If that's not having it all then I don't know what is. One day, if the stars are aligned and the time is right, who knows, maybe. Until then, I create my own happiness. So tell me honestly, can't we all declare that we "have it all" and isn't happiness and success really about knowing that what we have can be enough? Carmen M. Colon is a mother, an engineer, an education and childrens advocate, an author and a public speaker on the topics of leadership, woman’s empowerment, career advancement and parenting. She can be reached at ccolon.bklyn@gmail.com

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LIFESTYLES

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LIFESTYLES

Antonio and Tia Allen

By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

ntonio Allen is an anointed gospel jazz saxophonist from Atlanta, Georgia. He has been married to Tanisha (Tia) for almost fourteen years. She is also his assistant/manager. Let’s see how this mix works for them! Beverly Hill (Shelley): Working together, when do you have time alone? Tia Allen: When my mother comes and when we travel, that’s when we get alone time. Believe me, if we don’t get alone time in a month, we catch up!! When Antonio was sick, I had to do everything, but I made it work without going crazy. Antonio Allen: The love and business part helps our relationship. Most of the time when we travel we don’t have the kids with us. When they are out of school, we get a suite so we can have our separate spaces. I view every ministry as a minihoneymoon. Imagine going to the Caribbean twenty plus times in two or three years! You’re ministering…but you have more down time than ministry. I think it helps our marriage because we get to spend so much time, just me and her. I have been sick for the past year and haven’t traveled as much, so it’s a matter of implementing those same principles while we are at home. We need to set business hours where we shut down giving the kids their time, and definitely giving each other time. Some spouses don’t want to work together, but we enjoy it. Tia: We’re always together, and it doesn’t even feel like work. Antonio: I’ve had others offer to be my assistant and travel with me etc., but no, I don’t want anybody else but Tia. Tia Allen was a hairstylist for twenty years and also had other careers; it took her a minute to let it all go to assist Antonio. Once she let go, she has never looked back. Antonio says for her to do that has been an honor and blessing. He loves her for

life for that sacrifice. Beverly: What advice would you give couples embarking on a love/business relationship? Antonio: First of all, it is imperative that you like being with each other because you’re going to be together a lot. Now, if you feel like you need space, need to kick it with the boys, or spend time with your girls, it won’t work. We also have to realize that we are not husband and wife when working. Most important is to keep God in the center of it all, He has to be first. Antonio does not believe in soul mates. He says, “You have to work with whoever you are with. Both must put each other’s wants, needs and desires before their own. That’s why many relationships don’t work…the people are selfish. We had to learn that.” Beverly: Does business affect your love life? Tia: Even if we’ve had a day of fussing, it doesn’t affect what goes on in the bedroom. I had to realize sex is an important part of MY ministry to my husband. I asked God to teach me how to pray for my husband, help me to change my ways and help me to be more submissive. Bad things happen when you neglect your spouse sexually! I pray to God frequently to remove anything or anyone from our lives that would arouse temptations or infidelity. My advice to women is, pray for your husbands. YOU can't change anything! Let the power of God change your situation. He did it for us! In 2010, Antonio and Tia launched their ministry/foundation, “FOREVER and ALWAYS”, aimed at Christian couples. ■ Check out the Allen’s blog at: www.facebook.com/foreverandalwaysmarriages

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BEAUTY PROFILE I N T R O D U C I N G

Mia Mi'Chaele ia Mi'Chaele was born Mi'Chaele A. Williams on March 1, 1983, in Gary, Indiana. She hails from a blended background of African-American, Caucasian and Indian, which attributes to her exotic look. Mi’Chaele is a proud mother of four beautiful boys whom she refers to as the inspiration and motivation behind all that she does. Mi’Chaele is a God fearing woman who believes in the power of prayer and stands firmly on the scripture that proclaims, “With God, all things are possible.” As a child, growing up in a small town where violence was a common place, she faced adversity; however, Mi’Chaele found solace in learning and kept her head in the books thus, graduating high school with honors. She has always dreamed of being successful in the fashion and beauty industry and desires to create a brand known to women worldwide. "Since a child, I have always had a love for hair, fashion and glamour. I didn't really think at that time I wanted to make a career in the beauty industry…” Mi’Chaele explains. She admits that initially, she only viewed beauty and fashion as a hobby, but a career in areas such as the legal or medical field, would serve as more practical and offer financial stability. In spite of the logics of pursuing a more conventional profession, Mi’Chaele found it hard to resist her passion for fashion and beauty and decided to risk forfeiting financial security to follow her dreams. Currently, Mi’Chaele is attending school to obtain her Master Cosmetology license and is working to build her brand, Pink Bombshell Glamour. She has also embarked on a career in modeling, which is an area where she has never even given a second thought. “I just recently developed the passion for modeling. In the back of my mind, I guess I just never thought that I could be a model." With a great support team, she is embracing this new journey and opportunity in her life. Mi’Chaele understands that not only talent, but with dedication and hard work, she can surely accomplish all that she sets out to achieve. "I want to inspire women everywhere, to follow their dreams." ■

FULL FIGURED & FABULOUS

J CARTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Hometown: Gary, In Residence: Atlanta, Ga. Occupation: Stylist/Makeup Artist Career Goal: To build a brand that inspires women to follow their dreams. Hobbies: Reading, writing, singing, practicing my craft, and spending time with my kids Instagram: @pinkislove83

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BEAUTY SPOTLIGHT

Desired Extension By Greta Wheeler

ina Conwell has worked closely with the beauty supply industry since1964 when both her father and mother served as owners and operators of a beauty supply house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When the family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 1969, her mother, Robbie Conwell, opened All – N – 1 Beauty Supply. Today, 34 - years later, the store is still standing strong under Gina’s management. Gina’s passion for hair developed while working as a delivery sales representative with her mother’s beauty supply business. She recalls the joy that she experienced as she met with the stylists to both educate and receive knowledge on various hair products that would yield the reward of healthy hair growth. The frequent interaction with the stylists and products allowed Gina to recognize the need and demand for hair extensions, as stylists continually requested hair products that would prevent their clients from going bald or experience hair thinning. Subsequently, Gina began her research foraging the highest quality of hair for wig designing. “Once I was sure I had the highest hair quality in the extension industry, I started customizing full lace wigs, hairpieces for Alopecia, cancer patients, and customers who desired to enhance their appearance… My mission is to empower every woman through inner and outer beauty.” Gina express. In 2009, Gina created Desired Extensions, Inc. to continue helping women add fullness to their tress or simply create a new look. The Gina Conwell company has added 100% Virgin Indian weft hair to their inventory for clients seeking sew-ins to create extra length, different textures, or a color change without altering the natural hair. Presently, Desired Extension is recognized as the hottest new hair extension spot in Atlanta, carrying a plethora of extensions such as Virgin Indian Hair, silk closure pieces, clipins, full lace wigs, frontals etc. “We welcome you to come to our storefront, touch, see, and feel our glamorous long lasting exFull Lace Wig Indian Wavy Silk Base Closure tensions!” ■ 6075 Roswell Road Suite 104 Sandy Springs GA 30328 (770)394-3730 wwww.instagram.com/desiredextensions www.twitter.com/desiredhairext www.desiredextensions.com

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FASHION SPOTLIGHT

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FASHION TRENDS

CARRIE’S “FRESH ANOINTINGS” By Sylvia Chantal Humpreys

t was September 22nd, the first day of Fall 2013, and there was a buzz in the air. The crowd gathered patiently at 115 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. in Atlanta, GA to find out what the commotion was all about. The media, vendors, caterers, staff, and patrons all took their respective places in the building, as Designer, Carrie Johnson, her entourage, and models waited in quiet anticipation for the "big debut". The suspense was slowly building and one could cut the tension with a knife! However, that was to be expected as with any parent giving birth to his/ her first child. Carrie Johnson was about to deliver her new clothing line, "Fresh Anointings". The fashion show was jumpstarted by the rhythmic recital of the featured, spoken word artist. Then the moment had arrived. From sexy, sultry dresses, black jumpsuits, animal print coats, to aquatic designs and circular patterns, the runway was rich with a plethora of designs "For the Confident Woman!" The room was set ablaze by the flashing lights of the cameras as the curvy models strutted their stuff down the catwalk and showed off their pieces. The models put on quite the show!!! The evening culminated with a social mixer, some networking, business card exchanges, and the red carpet/photo-opp. aspect of the LYNBROOK, NY event. There were even various groups of media conducting on-site interviews, some of which were with Ms. Carrie, as well as some of her models. "I wasn't the typical teenager," blushed ings," Carrie Johnson has released the photos on social media, Carrie; "I wore skirts and dresses unlike the other teens." Carrie and is now planning to go into production. Her primary objecproceeded to share how she always dreamed of making her own tive is to reach out to boutiques so that they could carry her clothes and subsequently, her own money. She was so deterclothes in their stores. She prefers boutiques due to their exclumined that in 2006 she actually took the steps to owning a sive nature – albeit she is not opposed to department stores in clothing store, called "Carrie's Closet;" its mantra was to the future. Ultimately, her desire is to let women know they are "Celebrate your Curves." Carrie attended several events as a beautiful, sexy, and that they have to get out there and actively vendor, pursuant to opening her shop. Unfortunately, her cuspursue their passion! Congruently, the tag line of her new clothtomers, though they loved her clothing, conveyed their disaping line, "For the Confident Woman," is to remind ladies to be pointment in having seen the identical items in other stores. confident, hence the reason she incorporates color in her deThis prompted Carrie to start her own clothing line. Consesigns; color brings life. Negativity can and should be counterquently, in February 2013, she opened a shop and could now acted with inspiration, and that's what her brand is all about! move into designing. "I want women to feel special in my To find out how you can own a piece of inspiration, check out clothes," she expressed. She was obviously determined to do her designs on Facebook@FreshAnointings! ■ something about the feedback she had received. After the launch of her new clothing line, "Fresh Anoint-

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www.carriescloset.biz

222 Merrick Road Lynbrook, NY 11563

(678)671-6564

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

By Beverly Hill Shelley

istening to the saxophone brilliance of the talented Gerald Albright evokes multifaceted feelings that are soothing, uplifting, and romantic…something for everyone. I was privileged and excited to be at his show for the first time in July 2013! He blew me away with each note that came from his instrument. At the age of nine years old, Gerald was introduced to the saxophone by his first music teacher George Turpeau, who happened to be the choir director at the church where he grew up. For Gerald, the interest and intrigue with the saxophone was the fact that he could not only blow through it, but he could also press the keys! This childhood interest turned into a successful music career and he has been playing for 34 years. Gerald plays all saxophones, the flute and the alto flute. Among his musical talents, I also learned that he plays bass guitar! During college, he saw Brothers Johnson perform with Louis Johnson being the premier bass player. Louis came off the stage and did a bass solo that floored Gerald! That performance had such an effect on him that he decided he wanted to play bass too! One of Gerald’s college music friends had lots of instruments and let him borrow a bass guitar. He sat in his dorm room and taught himself how to play. Shortly after that, he joined a group and started playing at weddings, parties and other functions to make extra money for books and other college needs. His desire to play bass eventually led him to play for Anita Baker for 2-1/2 years, and to also record for Howard Hewett, Philip Bailey, Phil Perry and others during his time in Los Angeles. Gerald Albright had the honor of performing at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial in 1993 along with Kenny G, Grover Washington, David Sanborn and other saxophonists. “Since the president plays saxophone, we wanted to do something special for him and the first lady.” One thing Gerald mentions that stood out that day was the 35-degree temperature! “I could hardly play my horn because it was so cold. Horns react differently in cold weather.” President Clinton requested Gerald’s presence at the White House on several other occasions for special dinners. He and the president still keep close contact. “This was a great chapter in my life from where I started as a musician in South Central Los Angeles…to the White House! It was a GREAT accomplishment for

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

me!” Gerald Albright has a total of sixteen CD’s to date and is working on number seventeen to be released sometime this year. His first CD was Just Between Us in 1987. He has written and produced most of his music, and has collaborated with some wonderful West Coast producers such as Chuckii Booker, Rex Rideout and others. All of Gerald’s CD projects are special to him, but he does have three that top his list. His favorite project, and most exciting is Just Between Us because it was his first. He remembers all of the hard work involved to have a finished product. Then there was his biggest project titled Smooth that was released in 1994. And finally, the Live at Birdland West CD recorded live in 1991 in Long Beach California, reflecting traditional jazz. This CD includes his first recorded version of “Georgia on My Mind” which has become his anthem song. Gerald says after each show he can hardly leave the stage without someone requesting this song. 24/7 is Gerald Albright’s CD project in collaboration with his friend Norman Brown. They have been friends for over thirty years, and he is also one of Gerald’s favorite guitarists. 24/7 is a split project with five songs that Gerald produced, and five produced by Norman. It was released in June of 2012 and is still going strong. Although the tour is officially over, he and Norman continue getting calls to do projects together. Gerald’s most recent CD is Summer Horns in collaboration with Dave Koz, Richard Elliot and Mindi Abair, released in June 2013. I asked Gerald to tell me about funny things he has seen at his show, and he

laughed and said, “People come to the show dressed like thirty years ago. They wear fur coats with matching fur hats… couples wearing powder blue matching outfits with rhinestones and sit on the FRONT ROW...where we have to look

at them the WHOLE show [still laughing]!! I like to joke around on stage, especially if it is one of my own shows. I enjoy audience interaction.” Gerald’s pastimes include listening to music and playing golf. When he’s listening to music, Gerald likes a ‘gumbo’ of music, as he calls it. “Somewhere in the playlist there’s going to be some James Brown, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, Cannon Ball Adderley, George Duke and many others.” He says it all depends on the flavor of the day! When it comes to his favorite pastime he says, “A lot of people don’t know that I love the game of golf. Even in my home state of Colorado during the winter months, if it is 55 degrees or higher, I’m looking for somebody’s golf

course.” “There are different moods when performing,” Gerald says. When he closes his eyes, he is concentrating and in deep thought about playing the best show he can play. In 2006, while doing a show with Kirk Whalum in Reading, Pennsylvania, 45 minutes before he went on stage, he got a call that his mother had passed! He and Kirk prayed in a corner, then went out on stage and put on the best performance ever!! On the last song played, the whole crowd stood and applauded for such an awesome performance, not knowing of Gerald’s heartbreaking news. “I lost it and just began weeping. They never knew why I was crying. I didn’t want to put that on them. They came to see and hear a great show and to be entertained. The artist never knows what the audience may be going through, and they don’t know what the artist may be going through.” When asked how it feels to have such a loyal following, Gerald modestly replied, “There are so many vocalists and musicians out there that people can listen to. For them to take time and really follow me over the years is such a blessing! People have even told me how playing my music over and over has provided musical nutrition to help them through an illness! We are messengers; we want to make people feel better through our music.” I was surprised when Gerald even thanked me for being a loyal fan and for supporting his music through the years. “It’s such a blessing to do something you enjoy doing and ultimately have people who also enjoy what you are doing. I am glad to be a messenger and glad that people are still following my music.” ■

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

ouston’s “Powerhouse of Comedy” Deva Mack started as a stand-up comedian eight years ago. Her brand of comedy is all about real talk covering relationships and life in general. When on stage she gets through to audiences bringing them to laughter. The master of characters also has a case of personas that she brings to life. From the sassy senior Nana Blakes, with fur boots and animal print skirts, to little Baby Mercedes with her baby voice and adult language, she pulls them off effortlessly. Even the aspiring rapper Homeboy with sagging pants, gold teeth, and cap to the side – it comes off as authentic. She truly develops and morphs into these characters. She has come a long way from that first time before an audience. The experience was, at first, “nerve-wrecking.” The nerves calmed the more she delivered her set and she has been making people laugh ever since. Her sets vary between clean and wholesome to a little blue language depending on the crowd and venue. Her favorites in the field are legends Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, and the late Bernie Mack. The writer, producer, and actress is not afraid to deal with real issues or get a little silly with her work. While she will always have a love for stand-up, she has transitioned her career into a full production company. The style of her shows differs from your average

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Sis. Nana Brakes

stage play in that the acting is much like what you would see on the big screen. There is less overacting to get the story out, delivering a more real sense of drama. Mack has written over 40 plays and produced 28. In one of her hit reality base plays she plays the title character that runs a brothel, and also happens to be a pastor. The play focuses on the tale of one of the girls in her charge, and her mother’s struggle to free her from the lifestyle. The story, while dramatic, does have plenty of comedic relief. Through the funny business and plot twists there is a message that breaks through. Mack has big plans that include growing the brand, taking the plays on the road, developing a sitcom, and more. Nothing seems impossible for the entertainer, and no job is too small. You will often see her pulling tickets, and performing stand-up before going backstage to join her cast in prayer before the show. To young aspiring playwrights she offers this advice, “Continue to write and believe in yourself.” More importantly “complete something. Do it, don’t just talk about it.” She also encourages them to be true to themselves and stay focused. “If you worry about pleasing everyone you’ll never get it done.” ■

Homeboy

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Baby Mercedes


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

ite and day…Ahhh…Al B. Sure! Life could have been very different coming from extremely humble beginnings in his hometown of Mt. Vernon, New York. But, in 1988, everything changed when his triple platinum selling album, In Effect Mode, sold more than three million copies. “Nite and Day,” a single from this album, topped the Pop and R&B charts. After two more releases and a compilation album, Honey I’m Home was released on June 23, 2009. This was his first album in seventeen years! “Top of Your Lungs” and “I love It (Papi Aye, Aye, Aye)” are two of my favorites from this album. Today, one of Al B. Sure!’s main concerns is seeing his boys, of whom he is very proud, live out their dreams and pursue their goals to the fullest. He is not concerned with trying to make what is termed a comeback. He says, “For me, at this point, it’s an evolution of deciding when it’s the right time to present another creative element.” A musical mark has been made in history due to Al B. Sure!’s accomplishments which include Grammy, Soul Train, and American Music awards, and let’s not forget the New Edition Heartbreak Tour in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, and so much more! On a nostalgic note, Al B. says, “I learned so much from my cousin Kyle ‘Break it Down’ West who has had several No. 1 R&B records as an artist and producer. I also learned from sitting alongside Teddy Riley when we were kids in the Harlem projects. With them and others, I learned song arrangement and structure.” “I truly appreciate when music lovers spend time listening

to my music. I'm glad that it has become a part of their lives in one way or another, whether it was a song played at a wedding, a part of a special relationship, or…it helped to create a life.” When Al B. Sure! sees soldiers in airports during travel and they say “thank you for your contribution to music," expressing how it made their time on the battlefield feel a little better, it makes him feel especially good. He shares, “It is such an honor to know that my music gave soldiers a piece of home while away during the Desert Storm era.” When asked why he does not use the term my fans concerning those who love his music, his answer impressed me! “I don’t consider myself better than anyone else; I am equal because I’m a fan of music too!” As Al B. continues to speak from his heart he states, I humbly thank all of my social media family for their love and continued support that comes to me from around the globe. I appreciate their interest in my career, even after over 25 long years. I am eternally grateful for all of my followers that keep up with me and support me via my social media forums. Although my numbers aren’t astronomical, I can honestly say I did not buy any of my followers! The bottom line is that I'm very proud of those individuals that have over achieved in my generation, and all I can say is congratulations one hundred percent. There is no hate in my heart, instead I congratulate in admiration. I am not perfect in any way; I’ve made many mistakes in life. Accepting the success of others is a form of motivation to turn up my own grind so that I can offer a positive contribution to this society and leave a legacy of my own. ■

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Real Deal Blue Magic … Ted Wizard Mills By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

o you remember Blue Magic? Surely you remember the songs “ S i d e S h o w , ” “Spell” and “What’s Come Over Me!!” Well, they are back as The Real Deal Blue Magic featuring Ted Wizard Mills! Initially there were two groups formed in 1972, The Shades of Love and Ted Mills’ The Topics. Management decided to merge the groups and form a new act…Blue Magic, one of the earliest acts produced by Norman Harris. Their first single released was “Spell” which was written and coproduced by Ted Mills from their selftitled debut album. This song was followed up with others that led to a contract with Atlantic Records. “Side Show” was the first song to go certified gold! Their first platinum album was Its Only Rock ‘n Roll, a collaboration with Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. Ted states with gratitude, “I co-produced “Spell” and “What’s Come Over Me” with the great Norman Harris. This experience with Norman was the beginning of me becoming a producer!” In 1990, New York Amsterdam News released a horrible story; a car was struck and flipped three times leaving a passenger near death! This passenger was Blue Magic’s Ted Wizard Mills!! Ted sustained injuries that required major plastic surgery. He likened himself to the character in the movie The Invisible Man, so disfigured that he wore sunglasses and had to wear bandages

around his head. Plastic surgeon Russell Morrison rebuilt Ted’s face. He was told that he would never sing again, and if he did, he would not have his same tone. Unfortunately, Blue Magic went on without Ted Wizard Mills. “After the accident, I had no band, no shows, no friends and no trust; all of my financial resources were depleted. I started slipping in a sea of despair! This put me on the road to Hell, but my knocking on life's door and God answering let me know that He is real.” During Ted’s two year sabbatical, he started writing his book titled From Out of the Blue that depicts his musical family history and his life story before and after Blue Magic. The recovering Ted Wizard Mills began singing with the Voices of Serenity choir which strengthened his vocals. This was the beginning of his miraculous comeback! Ted says, “I was now able to start singing solo as The Voice of

Blue Magic because I made the records and sung the songs!” By now Blue Magic had split into three different groups. Ted decided to bring back the original group as The Real Deal Blue Magic. This formation put an end to the other groups. The members are Wendell Sawyer, Keith "Duke" Beato n , F e rna n do "Mo" Kee, and of course…Ted Wizard Mills! The Real Deal is scheduled to perform on the February/March 2014 Soul Train Cruise with other great artists. But they are very excited about their own opening concert at the Shubert Theater April 2014 in Connecticut. They will be performing with their live band! Two people had a great influence on Ted’s life, Eddie Kendricks and Otis Williams of the Temptations. “Otis was my inspiration for putting the group back together. I put The Real Deal in front of Blue Magic so everyone will know we are back and we are THE original!” He adamantly states, “I want it to be known that Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine is the FIRST to have our newly released promo photos and to also have the FIRST exclusive interview with The Real Deal Blue Magic!” Ted Wizard Mills says he wants to raise the performance bar real high in classic R&B. YES! They are back! They are REAL! They are excited! They are the Real Deal…BLUE MAGIC! ■

Booking info: Michael Gardner, MichaelGardnerM@aol.com

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

he year 2013 has been an explosive year for Jeremy “JD” Hill’s Entertainment group and he ended it with a BANG! Since Trendsetters to Trendsetters shared his story in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue, he has been on a rampage with giving the public, JUST WHAT THEY WANTED. One can only sum this creative man’s ventures up as…”He knows how to have fun old school style.” His Affordable Old School Concert Series began the season in June at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater with Mint Condition, featuring Slick Rick, Jon B, Nappy Roots and Comedian Griff. Then in August, JD Entertainment moved his audiences with K-Ci & Jo Jo, Dru Hill, Robe Base, Kut Klose and Comedian Rodney Perry; followed by Avant, Jagged Edge, Juvenile, Case and Doo Doo Brown in September rocking da house . He kept the ball rolling and knocked the public’s socks off with Guy’s sexy “flash-back” of songs enticing the women in the audience to stand up and scream out his name, and the fellas to hold tight to their women in hopes they would take notice of them swooning by flowing with every word seductively. Finally, he closed out this old school ride with TONS of FUN entertainment by making the audience roll with laughter when he teamed up with Sheddrick Clark of 9 Entertainment

at the Macon Centreplex Coliseum presenting Bruce Bruce, Sommore, Mark Curry, Dominique and JJ Williamson. The lineup was so good, that Academy Award winning actor, Samuel L. Jackson, graced the house to support them while he was in Hawkinsville, Georgia shooting a film. What more could you ask for? His first year came to a SUCCESSFUL close in style. We told you to come out and join in the fun and you’d be “glad you did!” Every concert and event I attended, the crowd was on their feet singing along to each old school song, and getting their eat and drink on in the company of family and friends. Whether they were sitting up close and personal near the stage, or back on the lawn, EVERYONE was having a great time. JD Hill managed to accomplish what he set out to do with his acts, even the local talent kept the audience on their toes. Sweat poured from all those in the crowd who couldn’t sit still and were determined to dance to song after song. Both the men and the women moved their bodies to the beat as if they were at their favorite “night spot” while they snapped multiple photos to commemorate the moment. If you missed it this year…make sure you mark your calendars for what JD Entertainment and 9 Entertainment have in store for you in 2014, beginning with Keith Sweat, Sir Charles and MORE in February. ■

For upcoming events from JD ENTERTAINMENT, LLC Affordable Old School Concert Series visit their FaceBook page Jeremy JD Hill Entertainment at https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.j.hill.9 TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Antidote to R&B … Xavier Lewis By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

avier Lewis was born in Queens, New York and then raised in Miami, Florida. He later moved to Atlanta, Georgia with a definite interest in music. As a child growing up in church, he was a little preacher! At ages 5-7, Xavier preached to children and youth groups locally and out of state. He says, [laughing] “At home I would use one of those old time dirty clothes hampers as my pulpit and preach to the couch, coffee table, chairs…all the furniture!” At six years old when Xavier sung his first solo at church, he developed a passion for singing. “After that first solo in church, the rest was history; the love of music and singing took me over!” Xavier has been performing now for over fifteen years, and for five years he’s been doing his own thing as Xavier Lewis, The Antidote to R&B. His sexy, raspy sound is influenced by growing up listening to gospel and R&B! He is a breath of fresh air with a sound that hasn’t been heard in a long time, so he IS the Antidote to R&B!! Once a month Xavier performs at Acoustic Jazz Restaurant and Lounge in Atlanta, Georgia with his group Stilettos and Hard Bottoms. “No saggin, no sneakers, we keep it all the way grown and sexy!” He gives a lot of credit to Anthony Hamilton for showing him that he could be himself on stage and could take his show to church! This lesson from Anthony was a pivotal moment in Xavier’s career. Xavier Lewis has had some amazing opportunities. In early 2012, he performed his song “Georgia Clay” on the Georgia Lottery’s All Access Music Search Reunion that showcased winners of the competition. As the show was being televised, Steve Harvey discovered Xavier while flipping through the channels. Seeing the reaction of the crowd as Xavier performed, Steve wanted to know who that guy was!! Upon finding out the identity of this young man, two weeks later, Steve Harvey had Xavier on his show and premiered his single “Georgia Clay” to over 55 million people! That same year, at the first annual Georgia Music Awards, Xavier won Best R&B Male, and his video for “Georgia Clay” was nominated Best Music Video of the Year! He was even voted Fan Favorite on America’s Got Talent, season three! Xavier’s friend Max Tucci made it possible for him to headline with Patti Labelle at The Lehman Performing Arts Center in New York. Imagine, Xavier Lewis and Patti LaBelle on the same ticket!! Another great opportunity came when Donald Trump and his wife requested that he be a part of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation’s big gala to sing his song, “Give Back.” Donald requested an encore! Xavier says, “Just to perform my song and have it requested a second time was awesome and led to even more opportunities.” I learned that Ray Charles is by far one of Xavier’s favorites. They have parallel life stories and both have songs about

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Georgia. Xavier’s song “Georgia Clay” is about faith and taking everything to the Lord in prayer. “You do what you have to do to make ends meet. It’s a song that anybody can relate to. The verses of the song are my testimony.” Xavier is married with two boys and a new baby girl. “I promote family, relationship and togetherness. The music industry wanted me to portray myself as a bachelor so it could increase record CD sales. At the end of the day what draws listeners to me is my heart, and my willingness to allow them to see Xavier Lewis for who he is.” ■

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Annette Jones-Ward

Author, Motivational Speaker, & Success Coach nnette Jones-Ward, M.A. is a Counselor, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Success Coach and Author today. Mrs. Jones-Ward, though successful today had very humble beginnings. She’s the product of a single mother household and was born and raised in a housing project for 23 years in the City of New Orleans. She was educated in New Orleans Public Schools graduating from Eleanor McMain Magnet May 1993. She’s a first generation college graduate and the very first entrepreneur in her family. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Southern University of New Orleans May, 2003 and a Graduate Degree in Community Counseling from Xavier University August, 2006. She's the Executive Director/CEO of Assur-

ance for Tomorrows’ Leaders (ATLs) Youth Foundation, Inc., owner of Dart Consulting and Professional Services, LLC, co-owner of UpWARD BBQ and Catering, LLC. and author of Conquering the EneME: Being delivered from self and self-imposed limitations and Everyday's a New Day: Powerful daily affirmations for Powerful Daily Living. For booking info please contact PullCorp Media Group at (225) 366-7855. ■

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REALESTATE TRENDS

By Nita Gray

he following are trends for the New Year in ways people will be living and decorating their homes. These trends are rising in 2014 and maybe beyond. 1. Multigenerational Living Research has shown an increase with multigenerational living in the same household. The multigenerational arrangement usually involves three generations which include grandparents, parents and children. This arrangement sometimes is due to aging grandparents that need care and college aged children or twenty-something children staying at home longer for economic reasons. Some builders have embraced this trend with inclusion of two master suites or in-law suites. 2. Urban Downsizing Indicators are showing people moving to smaller homes Intown/ Urban areas from bigger homes in the suburbs. The influx of urban dwellings can be attributed to people wanting to be closer to work, shopping and entertainment. Therefore some urban areas are reflecting an increase in condos, lofts and townhomes sales. 3. Mixing Metals The gold rush is making a comeback. Gold and brass are being shown in kitchen and bathroom

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fixtures, lighting and home accessories. Gold can be mixed seamlessly with stainless steel and other metals. 4. Globing Styling Ethnic inspired home décor is popping up in pillows, rugs and pictures. Asian and African inspired pieces are just two of global influences that appear in the home décor arena. The Asian and African fabrics and furnishings can assimilate into almost any home style from tradition to modern and all stops in between. Here’s to looking like the world traveler without leaving the country. 5. Seeing Blue Interior design and Fashion design tend to mirror one another. Just as we are seeing blue on the runway from top designers, blue is also appearing in home décor. Blue is ranging from royal blue to sky blue in the wall paint, pillows and home furniture pieces. So whatever mood you are in, blue can accommodate it from calming blue to exhilarating blue. ■

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TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

Trendsetters To Trendsetters Magazine Jan Feb 2014  

7th Anniversary Collector's Edition

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