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FAREWELL OBAMAS

CONTENT Willie L. Stewart FOUNDER/PUBLISHER

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Publisher Photos by JETSONZ MEDIA

WHAT’S INSIDE: 06 Publisher 12 Young & Trending 17 Up & Coming 22 Health & Wellness 28 Fitness Trends 34 Legal Trends 50 Inspirational 58 Mixing Love & Business 64 Author’s Corner 72 Event Trends 78 Philanthropic 82 Beauty Trends 86 Fashion Trends 90 Arts & Entertainment JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017


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WILLIE STEWART: Trending His Vision

YEARS In!

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Written by: Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

he Man Behind the Magazine Willie L. Stewart, Founder and CEO of Trendsetters to Trendsetters (T2T) Media Group embarks upon an incredible 10-year milestone, as a result of nothing short of hard work and determination. Examine if you will some of the words and phrases used to define Trendsetter: One who starts something and others follow; Takes the lead; Sets an example; Closely watched and Groundbreaker… all characteristics that immediately introduce you to one of Atlanta’s most reputable and prominent Publishers. Willie (Will), a forward thinking and inspirational leader, believes everyone should have a passion, a PURPOSE in life, that makes them wake up every morning and hit their grind with a smile, even if it means just three hours of sleep. So why are we featuring the Publisher in THIS issue? Because we are celebrating a 10 Year momentous occasion of "Positive Publication" with Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine, established in February 2007. A decade of putting in his dues to deliver a quality coffee table magazine, edition after edition, has been realized. Originally a black and white newspaper-like publication, T2T has evolved into a massive ensemble of glossy full color printed and digital media. Its presence graces the social media platforms with stories that extend from the household celebrity, to the unsung hero... from the young—to the young at heart. Will has never allowed his vision for the magazine to become cloudy. He has remained true and committed to producing a unique networking magazine that engages, inspires and motivates the readers,

PUBLISHER’S NOTES

while at the same time serving as a solid platform for introducing and highlighting movers and shakers, some known, and others newly discovered and exposed through the intriguing and noteworthy featured articles. Will is a purpose driven media mogul and publication guru trained from the school of "hard knocks." He is strategic in his work, but at the same time tactical and engaging. He is the epitome of an inspirational leader, always bringing a fresh perspective and willingness to take calculated risks. Will is tough, as his role of the CEO demands such. He has an uncanny ability and foresight to identify market trends well before they occur. Although not easy, Will has stayed the course through so me not so great economic times. Throughout the magazine’s 10 years, he has overcome many obstacles. He has spent countless hours cultivating his own style and reputation in the business. The T2T culture has been founded on inspiration and superior team collaboration. Under his direction, the team has successfully taken the magazine content to key stakeholders through effective writing, marketing, and an explosion on social media. What you may not know about Will is that before he was one of the leading print media publishers in Atlanta, he spent his life in the fast lane... and learned many powerful lessons. As a native of Canton, Ohio, Will played both high School and college football. In the 90's when his sports career ended, he was enticed into the world of nightclubs and remained for 17 years, enjoying the lucrative business of "easy money," underground thugging, loose women, and things he has


chalked up to hard life lessons. It wasn't until December 2006, that he'd realize that every driver in the fast lane must come to a screeching halt when a wall of deceit and danger erects. The decision to transition to a safer confine and pursue a hidden dream literally saved his life. “I had to cut the umbilical cord of the people I was dealing with and follow some wise words, 'When you change the people around you, it will change the people around you. So the people that I deal with now are some of the most brightest and uplifting people you will come to know.” He took a chance, sold everything, left Ohio, and the streets, and journeyed to an unknown land - Atlanta, Georgia, to find peace and pursue a new calling. He helped a friend, Sharon Gordon, to start a publication, Urban Trendsetters, and gained enough knowledge to branch out on his own. He connected with a few people, shared his vision, and utilized his marketing degree that had been lying dormant for so long. Negativity was no longer his scene. He was now swimming deep in the sea of positivity. A wise man once told me, if you get it in the streets, you leave it in the streets. In the beginning, he struggled to brand his publication and by the time he mastered his niche, he found out that he had to keep up with the new trending digital era. But, like his football career and life in the streets, he optimistically leaped into position to block any opponent that tried to stop his progress. Dubbing himself, "Call me Willie Weeble Wobble," he was learning to master the art of getting knocked down, only to bounce back up. This strategy would pay off in the long run and TEN YEARS later, with God, it has earned him a seat at the table of some of the most iconic legends and influential people, he would meet. Will has served as a sought after guest speaker on a myriad of shows and continues to avail himself to others, always delivering a positive message. Trendsetters to Trendsetters is a beacon of light publication that uplifts others. "We tell stories in a positive manner. What you do when you leave the plantation is not our business, but what we see you do to uplift and empower is. The story we want to tell is of how you overcame your struggles... the stories that encourage and inspire, because nobody's perfect…. There are so many people who are lost, so we hope they read our magazine which includes many topics like: Up and Coming, Young and Trending, Health and Fitness, Arts and Entertainment, Mixing Love and Business, Authors, Inspirational, Beauty and more. For that person, we hope they find someone that resonates with them in a way that encourages, motivates and inspires them. Will attributes his success to God and his amazingly talented team of professionals. For an extensive coverage interview, visit this link: https://www.spreaker.com/user/kimmiekimm/from-under-abridge-with-blossom-rogers_6 to find out what he shared with radio host, Blossom Rogers.■


Shernita Wiggins-Wynder/ Senior Writer/Celebrity Journalist

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CONTENTS


IT'S OUR ANNIVERSARY... AND WE ARE UNITED FOR PURPOSE Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder, Senior Writer/Celebrity Journalist

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

at the time, said she was hearing for the first time...and there was a video interview with my sorority sister, the legendary Xernona Clayton sharing the background of how the Trumpet Awards manifested from her vision of excellence. Then there are the "unsung" heroes and heroines like Valaria Fenderson, the teenage young lady who was fighting her battle with Sickle Cell Disease by giving back to the community with her foundation and awareness. The NFL couple who were "mixing love and business" featured in our FanSetters Magazine because Walter Briggs, the first African American quarterback for the NY Jets became the caregiver to his wife who has ALS and made sure others knew the importance of being supportive. And the single mother, Carolyn Bradley who started a non-profit to help other single parents and guardians by starting the S.P.R.A.G. foundation. Being able to share their stories is amazing and every writer for our brand knows that feeling of fulfillment. The best part of all of this, is the fact that we get to hear from you, our readers and those featured in the Trendsetters to Trendsetters magazine, about how our stories made a difference in your lives or inspired you in some way. This has always been the vision and intent of Publisher Willie L. Stewart. He testified that God gave him this magazine during one of the hardest times in his life and it inspired him...so he wanted to inspire others with a positive publication—10 years later, he has kept his promise. So we want to thank you all for the many years of support in helping us to "Build Stronger Relationships Together!" Stay with us as we extend our brand into other parts of the country and around the world in other brands. Blessings from us to you.■

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his year marks a pinnacle in the Trendset ter to Trendsetter Magazine brand, because we are celebrating 10 years of service to our loyal fan base around the world. I am honored to be a part of this amazing publication and team comprised of talented professionals from various career backgrounds and expertise. I am even more honored to have been a part of this team for 3 of those years, and I must say, my excitement for writing for this prestigious magazine is just as ablaze today as it was with the first article I submitted. For me, being given the opportunity to write for such a platform, whose following encompassed the elite, elegant, and empowering individuals from across the nation, was a dream come true. When I met Founder and Publisher, Willie Stewart at a networking meeting back in June 2013 for a CFOX Business Network event, it was a privilege. I was doing a story on CFOX founder, Carlos Coleman and he introduced me to Mr. Stewart, because they were covering his event hosted at Six Flags over Georgia that year and he was being spotlighted in that issue. After talking with Mr. Stewart, or "Will" as we who know him, so passionately call him; I knew I wanted to do more than just one article. He graciously gave me a try and my first article appeared in the July/August 2013 issue. One look at my work in print had me sold. Like so many of you, I became an instant fan of the T2T brand and knew there was no turning back. Just like the Trinity, we here at T2T have a oneness that operates in "unison for purpose." Many issues later, I’ve had fun developing my craft, and learning from Will and others who have been a part of the magazine for years. My cover stories like the March/April 2014 issue of Dr. Maya Angelou written a month before her passing at the last event she attended before her death, was an honor. Or speaking with the iconic civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. to reveal stories his Executive Director Atty. Janice Mathis,


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Augustus “gus” Jevic year old superstar

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By Kathy Jackson-Cherry

help other children who may have fallen victim to bullying or had an unpleasant experience with a bully. Gus already possesses the skills of a leader and is determined and focused on steering clear of any types of gangs or gang activity. He aspires to become the next black President of the United States, and has identified his platform as one of peace for all mankind. Although Gus stays quite busy, he has found time to fit modeling into his schedule. He has modeled for designers in Atlanta, Georgia in addition to his involvement in a few kid productions. He also plays basketball and soccer, and loves to swim, but most of all he loves to draw and has phenomenal artistic talents. Look out for Gus Richardson; he is a SUPERSTAR on the rise!■

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ugustus “Gus” Jevic Richardson is an up and coming 9 year old Trendsetter. Born in Austell, Georgia, Gus is the youngest of five siblings. While Gus is loved by many, he really loves his family and loves getting together with them. At just 9 years old, he has already captured fond memories of family fun through his travels from South Carolina to San Diego! Gus is no ordinary 3rd grader; he is active, outgoing, and highly engaged in school activities and in his community. He was recently elected to his elementary school's student body committee. He thrives to make both his school and community a better place by volunteering to

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Zoe Octavia Turner year old

8 8 “Work Hard! Win Hard!” By Ginel Turner

Zoe

Octavia Turner is a very natural talented 8-year old from Atlanta, Georgia. She is definitely one to keep an eye out for with her acting, singing, modeling, dancing and hosting. We first noticed her singing talent at age 1; by age 2 she was dancing; by age 3 she was acting; by age 4 she branched out to modeling and photoshoots; by age 5 she became known as a triple threat; by the ages of 6 and 7, she started spreading her wings; and, now at the age of 8, she's ready to share all of her talents with the world. Turner has hosted several events. She was the overall winner of Fashion 4ward junior 2015 Model of the year competition, which landed her a 3-year contract with MMG New York. She won Best High Fashion Walk. She's been in many fashion runway shows and tends to have the crowd on their feet with her stunning style of walking the runway. She has been featured as the front cover model for Wild Child Magazine Special Edition, She has also been featured in FAB UK Fashion Magazine, TM&TSN Magazine, and The Bella Dream Dolls Magazine. She filmed an educational and promotional video for D.B.A.B. and she is All Star for Don't Be A Bully Foundation Inc. Turner has also been a model for Heaven Help One Help All Foundation in giving back to school and Christmas charities for children in need. She fed the homeless for Christmas, and used her own money to give back and spread her love for those in need. Some of her other projects are: Extra in The Legend of Hip Hop - Origin Nile films, Kid's model with Urban Spice Magazine Kid's model with Denim & Desserts Fashion Show Featured Soloist in Christ in Christmas with UpHigh Entertainment Production Featured Soloist in School Christmas Play, Led the Pledge of Allegiances 2014/2015 for the NAACP Cobb County Martin Luther King T.V. Special "His Dream: Hope for the Future "

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Photography by Brian McGee Make up Artist is LatoyaYoung of Edna's Boutique &Beauty Bar Wardrobe by Ginel Turner

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Turner currently takes piano lessons with Rick Callier Multi Music Studio, and takes vocal lessons with Audrey Beharie of Vocal Zones Inc. She has recorded two original songs and was co-writer on both. Her title new single is "Rock The Runway," which she has been performing around Atlanta, Georgia. Her dream is to be on Disney with her own television show… singing and playing music. She loves to read and draw in her down time, and is working on her own foundation in 2017…the next Kid entrepreneur in the making. It was recently announced that Turner just landed the lead role in the new movie "The Huey," which will start filming in July 2017. Her motto to inspire other girls and boys is “Work Hard! Win Hard!”■


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EDUCATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

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Chef Zac Kara

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elebrity cook and television personality, Zac Kara, was a semi-finalist in the Final Four of Gordon Ramsay’s Master Chef Junior cooking competition. He appeared on Master Chef Celebrity Showdown, a reality cooking show which aired on the FOX network, and will be featured on the Master Chef Cruise this upcoming November. Fourteen-year old Kara is self-taught and attends culinary school online. He stars and produces YouTube cooking shows, “Cooking with Zac,” “Cooking with Zac LIVE” (Periscope stream), and “Kickback with Zac” web series. He was nominated for a Young Entertainers Award for Best Web Series for “Cooking with Zac.” Kara earned a Top Five placement amongst 56 of the finest chefs in Orlando, Florida at the Gourmet Soiree. He is currently developing a new YouTube cooking show geared to get teenagers cooking and into the kitchen; and, working on his first cookbook. Kara has been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Weekly, and Creer Magazine. He has done charity work with Ronald McDonald House and Gourmet Soiree – a Florida Hospital Charity with Chef Robert Irvine, and served as a judge at the Orlando Junior Academy cooking competition for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and the Central Florida YMCA Cooking Competition. He was a contributing chef at Steve and Kate’s Camp and a celebrity speaker at the Feed the Children Gala. Kara will also be a speaker at the Cuisine Corner Series, sponsored by the Orange County Libraries. In addition to his cooking talent, Kara is also a great student and gifted tennis player. ■

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For more information about Zac Kara, visit him on the web at www.zackara.com and subscribe to his YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/c/ zackara. To connect with Zac, follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @zac_kara and like him on FB at https://www.facebook.com/ Zac-Kara1189829367698904/?fref=ts. For media and press inquiries for Zac Kara, contact Amirakal Marketing at pr@amirakalmarketing.com or call 866-441-3583.


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his knowledge and abilities to the entertainment business. He began taking drama classes in 9th grade, which ignited an interest and passion for acting. DomiDELLA has since starred and been featured in multiple local TV shows such as, “The Funnyville Show,” “Precinct 757,’’ and “The Hampton Roads Show.” After years of experience in the filmmaking business, he became more interested in acting rather than the video editing he was doing. In November of 2015, while on his way to a video shoot, DomiDELLA was in a serious car accident that resulted in severe abrasions to the head, and glass becoming lodged in his throat. As a result of the accident, he temporarily walked away from his passion of being an actor, and moved to writing music lyrics. Using the pain and anger from his life obstacles, he began writing full songs and finding his voice as a rapper. After months of recovery, DomiDELLA released his first single “Beast Mode,” and launched his first music movement called, “DELLA BeatZ.’’ In May of 2016, DomiDELLA began to work on his first official music project with the help of his father, and close family member, Andre Ford. In October of 2016, he released his first independent album “Lethal Weapon.” Having the ability to produce music, rap, and write lyrics, gave him more confidence to continue his career in entertainment, but to navigate towards the music industry rather than the acting business. Today, DomiDELLA continues to rap, produce music and act. When asked about his music career, he states “Music is my first love; I can never walk away from it. The only person that can stop me is me, and since I don’t wanna stop, I’ll keep at my love of music.’’■

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ominick Joseph Robinson, better known by his stage name, DomiDELLA, was born May 30, 1998 in Canton, Ohio. He is a rapper, music producer, and actor, who developed his interest in music at the age of 3, from his father, Shannon Robinson, who also rapped and produced music. He gained his musical knowledge from his mother, Victoria Robinson, who would later give him the nickname, Mr. Nostalgic. Sadly, Dominick lost his Mother in February of 2010 to a house fire while he was in school for the day. This tragedy resulted in his moving to live with his father. At the age of 9, Robinson began to call himself DomiDELLA due to audio mistakes during a video editing session with his voice, resulting in the term “DomiDELLA,’’ which means creativity in a person. The loss of his mother, caused Robinson to suppress his love for music. But, at the age of 12, he found his way back to the pursuit of his passion for music, producing his first song for his father called “Suicidal Lifestyle.” Using the knowledge and lyrical interest his mother and father gave him, he ultimately began to recognize himself as an aspiring rap artist. He eventually started his own video production at age 12 called Skooker Productions, with a couple of neighborhood friends and encouragement from his father. All of the knowledge and experience he gained from making videos, gave him more inspiration to create music and develop himself as an up and coming artist to take note of. At age 13, DomiDELLA moved to Hampton, Virginia, where he applied


RUFFUS:

NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE

TURNING A

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uffus was born and raised in the South End section of Albany, New York. He spent his early years being raised by his maternal grandmother. By the time he turned 11, he had relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he would join his mother and attend middle school. Rufus is the middle child of three, and at the time, considered himself average. Although not easy, he eventually made his way through middle school and entered the local high school. Unfortunately, for Rufus, he got caught up in all the wrong things and didn't take high school serious. His bad actions and behavior would lead to his dropping out of school. Rufus did however, work to get back on track by later attending Job Corp where he was successful in obtaining his G.E.D. Upon graduating Job Corp at age 17, Rufus moved back to Albany to again live with his grandparents. After moving back, he started running the streets and hanging out with the worst possible crowd. He became known as a reputed gang member, an idol to some, and a target to others. Like many rebellious teens, he would turn out to be too much for his grandparents to handle. He attempted to redirect his energy by using his earned G.E.D. to gain acceptance into the Community College. While in college, Rufus was involved in an incident where he got shot. That incident would result in him developing a deeper appreciation for the streets, which made it almost impossible for him to focus on school. Months later, he would get arrested on a gun and robbery charge. Rufus was sentenced to 4 years in prison. While in prison, he decided to utilize his time productively. He read over 500 books and made a selfcommitment that once released, he would never go back. This was the work of a young man who barely made it through middle school and dropped out of high school. Once released, he kept his promise to himself. He enrolled in Branford, an Albany Medical School and is set to graduate this year as a Registered Medical Assistant. These days, Rufus volunteers much of his time at Green Tech High School where he works with Head Basketball Coach, Hood. Rufus is a leading example of how, with the right focus and determination, anyone can turn their life around from what was once viewed as negative to something positively noteworthy. â–

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YOUNG & TRENDING

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The Perfect Eyebrow By Dr. Linda Amerson

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he eyebrows are an important enhancement for models, professionals, and consumers. There are five popular ways to make the eyebrow bone more prominent. They include: tweezing, waxing, sugaring, threading, and using the razor. So many different looks may be achieved per the occasion, and makeup artists see the entire face as a canvas for contour, highlights, color and illusion. The options of transforming the look of the eye and eyebrow are limitless. For example: look at theatrical makeup used in movies for eyebrows. It is truly amazing! On the other hand, there are some consumers who suffer with alopecia conditions which causes them to have no eyebrows. Two examples include: trichotillomania and alopecia universalis. Trichotillomania is a compulsive hair pulling disorder. Some consumers pull out their own eyebrows, and other hairy areas on the body. Whereas, alopecia universalis is an auto-immune disease, which causes a person to lose all body hair. I asked Junette Altidor, freelance hairstylist, to share some valuable information about what technique she prefers, tips on shaping the eyebrow with stencils, sterilization, educating clients, airbrush techniques, eyebrow tattooing, the new wave of permanent eyebrows, and how she deals with clients affected with alopecia of the eyebrows. “My interest in eyebrow arching started mainly because of the grace and elegance it brings to the structure around the eye. I mainly service women. There are many different shapes ex: round shape brows soften angular facial structures. Sharp angled opens up the eye and gives a younger looking appearance. Soft angled gives an even younger appearance, curved gives you a strong appearance for those who have square facial structure and last is flat which works best with long faces and gives the face an appearance of a more oval face look. I prefer tweezing because you have great control, and can accurately choose the hairs you're removing. This method can basically be done on

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anyone, despite their condition or medicine they take. When used correctly, tweezers shouldn’t have any harmful effects on the skin. With tweezers you only have one tool to worry about vice waxing, which is much quicker but some clients may have a reaction to the wax.” Why is sanitizing so important? “Tweezers that look clean can still be contaminated with microscopic germs. Rinsing off a pair of tweezers will not be enough to sterilize and kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Disinfect and store tweezers in sterile conditions. To ensure they are sterile, use a mild detergent and soak in a bowl for 10 minutes. Scrub tweezers with a sterilized clean toothbrush or new one. Rinse with cool water for 30 seconds. Boil tweezers in for one minute in a bowl of hot water. When complete remove tweezers pat dry on a clean paper towel, then soak tweezers in alcohol jar until you are ready to use them. For determining how often you should wax your eyebrows will depend a bit on how fast your hair grows at first. Most often, re-touch after 2 weeks or so. A more youthful look, frames eyes, balances out facial features, and for many makes a more refined appearance. Consumers must follow directions and labels when using an eyebrow arch kit to prevent harm to their skin surrounding the eye and face. If you are not sure about what to do, seek professional help. I regularly educate the consumer about the importance of arching eyebrows for a polished look for any event. My recommendation is the sharp angled, because this particular arch

opens up the eye and gives you a younger looking appearance. In addition, it also gives a polished glow that makes your eyes shine.” “For my clients who suffer from alopecia of the eyebrow, I apply a stencil shaper to draw in natural looking brows. Another great method to use is airbrush makeup to give a natural flawless appearance. I feel with the application of new wave of eyebrow tattooing and permanent eyebrows the results are less makeup use. What consumers should know is it dangerous to get tattooed and permanent eyebrows removed and quite risky. Conditions you may experience include: rusting, infections, allergic reactions, and skin cancers, color fading or last but not least, a bad job or totally an arch you didn't ask for. So be sure to make your decision wisely when ultimately making your decision.” Junette Altidor (aka Jazzyjuju Bee)■ Contact world re-known Dr. Linda Amerson for any questions about over 100 categories of alopecia or scalp issues. L.A’s Hair & Scalp Clinic, Arlington, TX 76013 We invite you to listen to our informative radio show segments on Wednesdays at 11am-12pm CST-‘Ask the Hair & Scalp Doctor’ on www.DfwiRadio.com www.hairandscalpessentials.com www.facebook.com/ divadoctor09 www.twitter.com/scalpdoctor

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HEALTH & WELLNESS

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Dr. Amerson consults a client


SHARITA IS BACK

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y journey and fight with breast cancer began February 25th 2016. Just a few days before I'd gone to my scheduled mammogram appointment that I had been struggling to get for a few months. I had a lump on my left breast that I'd had for quite some time that I could sometimes feel and at other times I couldn't even find it. I told my doctor almost a year earlier at a check-up that I had been feeling a knot on my breast and when he did my breast exam he didn't feel it and neither did I. His reaction, and mine as well was that I probably didn't need a mammogram because I was so young and didn’t have any family history of cancer. It was probably nothing to worry about. I put it in the back of my mind and didn't really think about it much anymore until it began to hurt and cause me discomfort. Right then I knew that it was something that I needed to address. When I was finally able to get my mammogram, my aunt went to my appointment with me. Considering the circumstances, I was actually pretty calm. It wasn't until after the mammogram was done and the doctor wanted to do a biopsy that same day that my anxiety level skyrocketed. When my biopsy was complete I talked with the doctor and asked her what she thought the results might be, which officially I wouldn't get back for 2 days. She told me that she couldn't give me an official diagnosis until the results came back from the lab but in her 15 years of experience she was pretty sure it was cancer. I didn't cry or have any overly emotional reaction, at least not right then. On February 25th 2016, 2 weeks before my 36th birthday, I was officially diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. It was said to be invasive because it had spread outside of my breast and to my lymph nodes. I kept a brave face all day but cried myself to sleep that night. After the initial shock of it all, my mind was only focused on doing whatever needed to be done to get rid of this uninvited beast that had invaded my life. I was determined to do it with a positive attitude and with a smile on my face. Things moved very quickly after my diagnosis. It

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seemed like I was going to so many different appointments back to back. The week of my birthday, which was March 14th, I had a doctor's appointment or some sort of related appointment every day that week. I had my chemo port placed on March 17th and began my 8 rounds of chemotherapy on March 24th. Every other Thursday for 16 weeks I had an appointment with my Oncologist, Dr. Christopher Thompson who was absolutely wonderful. I'd have my lab work done and then I'd have to report to the infusion room for my dose of poison. I was extremely blessed to have handled the chemo as well as I did. I didn't have a lot of the side effects that a lot of people going through treatment have. I experienced mostly a lot of fatigue, weakness, bone and muscle pain, and anxiety. I started losing my hair about 2 weeks after my first treatment. It started falling out in clumps and after a few days of waking up with hair all over my pillows, I Just shaved it all off. Even though I knew to expect it, it was still a little traumatic experiencing it. I lost all the hair on my body eventually including my eyebrows and eyelashes. Thankfully one of my best friends is an amazing makeup artist and hairstylist and she made me a custom wig and helped me with keeping my makeup right. With everything I was going through, I didn't want it to show. I did my best to remain fabulous through my fight. One of the hardest things for me to get past was my pride. I've always had a hard time asking others for help. But the hardest part was really needing help. I was really struggling financially because I wasn't working and it was stressful having the medical expenses piling up on top of my regular bills that I was already struggling to pay. Those close to me that really knew my struggle didn't let me go without anything and if they found out I was in need of something and hadn't let them know, which I did often, they were upset with me. If it wasn't for the support of those few loving friends and family who were there for me every step of the way, I believe my fight would have been a lot harder to deal with. The beast slowed me down quite a bit but I was determined to be unstoppable. After I completed all my chemotherapy I had my surgery. I chose to just have the lump removed from my breast rather than a mastectomy. On August 1st 2016 my surgeon preformed a successful lumpectomy and also removed 19 of my lymph nodes. My surgeon, Dr. Brian Boggs, did an excellent job and I healed well. Seven weeks of daily radiation was

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to follow. Reporting for radiation everyday was even harder for me than getting pumped full of the poison. After about my fourth week of radiation treatment, they started to really drain me. My skin was burned, peeling, irritated, and it was pretty painful. I still have remaining burns and scares on my skin from the radiation. It was a little hard to deal with at first being that I take a lot of photos and the burns are a little hard to hide but I realized that I am blessed to still be here and the scares are a reminder that I'm a survivor. I'm working on falling in love with my body all over again because it has changed a lot. You never know how strong you really are until you don't have any other choice. As hard as it was to go through all of the treatments I did it without any complaining or negativity. I kept a smile on my face even when I felt like breaking down. I fought fabulously for the sake of my daughter. I didn't want to scare her or have her worried about me. She lost her grandma to cancer just a few years before my diagnosis and I knew that she would worry that I'd have the same fate. I kept my sickness from her as long as I could and we continued with most of our usual activities as if there was nothing wrong with me. I think a lot of times she forgot that I was even sick because I rarely showed it. The blessing of my great medical team at Mercy Hospital and an awesome support system of friends and family helped me with handling everything as well as I did. I'm so thankful to be done with all of my treatment and the recovery road that I'm on. I didn't let having cancer stop me from doing anything that I did before I had the disease. I still have five years of hormone therapy that I have to take in a daily form of an estrogen blocker to help reduce the risk of my cancer returning. My biggest fear is that this beast will return, as I've seen happen to so many women who have fought this disease. I think I'll always have that fear and anxiety of the unknown and not knowing what could possibly be next. This journey has been one that has changed me forever. I've always known that life is short and you never know what the Lord's plan is for you but when you have to fight against a disease that's known for taking so many lives, it truly changes your outlook. Problems that I once thought were astronomical now seem unimportant. I'm more appreciative and thankful for the simple things that I took for granted before. I've learned that every day that we are fortunate enough to see is a blessing and shouldn't be taken for granted. I believe that attitude and frame of mind shape your world. I pride myself on getting through life's obstacles with grace because happiness is empowering and sexy. I shared my journey through social media with positivity and a smile hoping that someone somewhere, would possibly find hope and strength. â–


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"No" "No" Your Your "Why" "Why" Camela Douglass, M.S. ED.

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t’s that time of the year again when my phone blows up with calls from people who want to lose weight and get fit— again. Resolution season brings out the best and the worst in people. Their head wants to change but their heart is far from the challenge. According to the University of Scranton, research suggests about 40% of American people make New Year's resolutions and only 8% of them are successful. How do people make promises to themselves that they won’t keep? The answer is clear; they don’t know their “why.” Before I accept a new personal training client, I ask them, “what’s your why for training?” It gives me an understanding of what they want to achieve and forces them to know their purpose for training. People train for different reasons. Most people train to be healthy. Some train to look good in their clothes. Others train to look good without clothes. Whatever the reason, knowing your why can provide purpose for your action and help you stay focused to achieve your goal. German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, "He who has a why can endure any how." If you know your why, you are most likely to stay the course and endure the challenges that come with change. When you don’t know your why, quitting is easy and failure comes fast. The absence of purpose leaves room for destruction. Then insanity steps in and keeps you revisiting the same resolution year after year—without any change. Since we were toddlers, our vocabulary expanded

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Here are some questions to consider: 1) Do you know your purpose in life? 2) How often do you ask and answer your own why? 3) Am I afraid to ask myself why because my answer might change my reason for doing something? 4)How does this action make sense to me and if I do this, how does it benefit me most? 5)Am I willing to take risks, regardless of the obstacles I might face along the way?■ Camela Douglass, M.S. ED. is the owner of Mo Better Me Lifestyle Change in Columbus, OH. She is a Professor at Central State University and works with individuals to maximize their potential for greatness. For booking or more information go to: www.cameladouglass.com

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with age. We went from declaring "no" to asking "why" as if we earned a preschool degree in Philosophy. No was a formative answer for everything and why became a permanent question to figure out the world around us. Now, if you're a parent, your child has found a way to pay you back for all the times you said "no" and has managed to ask you the question "why" at least a hundred times a day. How can a child quickly tell you no and ask you why without feeling disrespectful? It’s simple. They just want you to give them a purpose for their action. They are curious and need a basis to relate to. Purpose is important, even to a child. They don’t want to do anything unless they know why they’re doing it. There's a lot to be learned from a child. As adults, we need to find the purpose for our actions. Instead of doing what makes sense to others it’s time to look at how things make sense in our world. I challenge you to commit to finding purpose in what you decide to change and choose to look at your life from the eyes of a child. Know your why so you can endure the challenge of change.

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You wonder why we call it Brown Sugar? Because it's bad-azz, like me!"-- Fred Williamson

Brown Sugar

PAM GRIER and FRED WILLIAMSON "CATCH YOU ON THE FLIPSIDE...STREAMING THE REBIRTH OF AN ERA" Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

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re you ready for the largest collection of the baddest movies, with the "hippest" Super Fly actors and one of the toughest "Foxy Brown" women to ever set the stage for action and drama? BOUNCE TV has rehashed a movement from the iconic libraries of Black films by streaming features like: Dolemite, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Uptown Saturday Night, Cooley High, Cleopatra Jones, Mandingo, Which Way is Up?,

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Car Wash, The Original Gangstas, Black Caesar, and more titles from the archives of the 70's, 80's and 90's, starring two of its most prominent and legendary actors, Pam Grier and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. See them again with the familiar flair of the era where "Black is Beautiful" and everyone had soul...in the new video-on-demand streaming site and app entitled "Brown Sugar." These movies are available on any media. From your phone or tablet, you can go to the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store and from your computer at www.BrownSugar.com. You

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can get a FREE initial trial period for subscribers and pay a retail price of ONLY $3.99 each month following. Nowhere else can you get "quality" viewing of these types of AfricanAmerican action and drama films many grew to love and respect over four decades ago. These hot titles will cross the boundaries of every generation...from the young, to the young at heart. Brown Sugar is comprised of classics with actors who trail blazed and paved the way for the generations that would come after them. In addition to Pam Grier and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson...Jim Brown, Richard Roundtree, Jim Kelly, Godfrey Cambridge, Max Julien, Richard Pryor, Rudy Ray Moore, Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Isaac Hayes, Tamara Dobson, Yaphet Kotto, Keenan Ivory Wayons, Bernie Casey, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Thalmus Rasulala, and many others can be seen when you stream “Brown Sugar” from the comfort of your home, or convenience of your media devices on-the-go! After speaking with spokespersons for this genius resurrection, Pam and Fred, they had a lot to say about why YOU NEED to subscribe to BOUNCE TV's "Brown Sugar" library of films dubbed the "Blaxploitation Genre." The beautiful and talented Ms. Pam Grier shared this revelation and introduction: "I am extraordinarily excited about being a part of educating the public and introducing to a new generation, a pop culture of the African-American community of art, film, and music. You can't learn this in history books; it would be a daunting task to approach. This way, through the genius of BOUNCE TV's “Brown Sugar” streaming service, you get to see different genres of African-American films from the Foxy Mamas like Foxy Brown, Coffy, Cleopatra Jones, to the righteous revenge movies like Dolemite, and Black Caesar… you'll have love stories like Black Sister's Revenge, Bad Black and Beautiful; you have the shakedown movies, Blue Collar, Amazing Grace, Cool Breeze, and the Jive Ass Turkeys, like I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Car Wash; Black Horror like Blacula, Sugar Hill, Blackenstein and MORE."--Pam Grier T2T: As a fan of these movies, I have a favorite quote, I'd like to share, "She's sweet brown sugar, with a touch of spice and murder if you don't treat her nice." You mentioned that your roles embodied the black, powerful, independent and courageous woman you portrayed in that era...How do you see the Black woman portrayed in films today, as opposed to how your characters were portrayed?

say, "I will be that"…"I am that." I have a mission and I have something to say, to protect my children. So I see the women today just spring boarding off of that with a realm of confidence because of recognizing gender oppression and saying "Oh no, that's not accepting." That's what my mom and my aunt, and their peers would say. That's the beginning of the women's liberation movement… that unity of women saying, "How do we keep the house going?" "How do we pay the mortgage and keep our kids safe?" And say, "If we don't have an education, if we don't have independence, and confidence, we're not gon' fall. And I see that today in a global mass. T2T: Mr. Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, I grew up watching your films and my uncles and cousins used to imitate your style...In the roles that you portrayed, there were so many strong characters that you emanated in those films, where did you channel the energy to bring those characters to life? FRED WILLIAMSON: Being black and growing up without any heroes to emulate, there were no Black heroes in the 50's. The characters I saw did not give me the example that I needed as a physical character. Sidney Poitier is a great actor, but he never hit anybody and I needed that kind of example and portion to strike back. I'm not as strong as Sidney, he can get hit on the right cheek and then turn to the left and let them hit him on that one, too. I'm weak, if you hit me on my right cheek, I'm taking you out. I needed to see some black males that had the strength; that when he had to fight back, he wasn't concerned about the consequences. You're just protecting yourself and sometimes physicalness comes into it. I needed to see that. So what I did was put it on screen so that the Black public could see it, and emulate it, and not actually do it in the streets. But, they got a chance on a Saturday night to see me do it. Which I think is what happened. I had one young man run up to me in the airport and tell me, "Hammer, I hate your guts.” I got sick of my father always talking about how much I needed to be like the Hammer. It's about presenting something that the young brothers, and sisters too, can relate to. Be sure to visit www.brownsugar.com and subscribe to the hottest, hippest, coolest, baddest...and foxiest films ever created for television. Rick Ross who is also a huge fan and spokesperson of this brand, is demonstrating how mainstream this resurrection of popular Black films can be in today's society. Catch ya later, cats and chicks!■

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PAM GRIER: They are my children, they are my daughters and I know I set a tone and opened doors for many women to


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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 TRENDSETTER SPOTLIGHT


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ASK ATTORNEY MO! Setting Life Goals for You and Your Business By Monica A. Teasley, Esq.

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en years is a long time. It was ten years ago that Trendsetters to Trendsetters published its first issue. Since then, Trendsetters to Trendsetters has worked to perfect the magazine, gaining a large following, and providing valuable and insightful information to its audience. As we celebrate the magazine’s 10th anniversary, I want to focus this column on setting long-term business and personal goals – the kind of exercise that has helped Trendsetters to Trendsetters be the success it is today. As the recent election has shown us, the tide of events can change quickly: politics, economics, technology, and world events can change in the blink of an eye. Many changes that are not in our control have a direct effect on the course of our lives. In order to exercise some control in our lives, we have to plan for an uncertain future. A 10-year horizon is a good time frame to work with, as it allows us to set meaningful goals for starting and building, and for creating the basis of a life plan. The book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, concludes that it takes an average of 10,000 hours to master a talent. That number works out to 4.8 years of practice, given a 40-hour work week. Working at something for 10 years, it seems, would make us expert at our occupations and ventures. Setting goals requires a wide-angle view of the big picture, and determining where our focus should be for the next year, the next 5 years, and the next 10 years. 10-year goals will also be determined by what decade of life you are in: 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s, etc. Developing a plan for your life that covers 10 years can be daunting, no matter what decade of your life you are in; but, drafting a plan sets you on an actionable course that you may choose to discuss with a coach, mentor, or financial planner. The exercise of creating a plan has valuable implications for you and your future. You should set S.M.A.R.T. goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. To start, establish a statement of purpose for you, personally, as well as for your business, that covers the next 10 years. Although you can do this exercise at any time, the ideal time to establish goals is at the end of the year; that way, you can start the new year actually implementing your goals. Set specific goals in manageable increments such as 30 days, 90 days, 1 year, 5 year and then 10-year goals. These goals should build on each other. In addition, you will need to revise your goals periodically to adjust for changes in your life

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and in your business achievements. Revising goals allows you to adjust to circumstances that make certain goals either unnecessary or unachievable. Remember, your adjustments may make way for bigger goals, for more accomplishments, and for higher achievements than you had imagined you could achieve. Make your goals measurable. A goal that cannot be measured is a wish. A goal that can be measured is easy to assess. For example, “To complete a course in how to use Excel,” or “To increase revenue by $XXX.00 per month.” Each of these goals is measurable – you can measure that they have been achieved. Make your goals achievable. A goal that is not achievable is a wish. There is a difference between “I want to be famous,” vs. “I want to be the Number One real estate agent in Atlanta.” Make your goals realistic. A goal that is not realistic is a wish. At 20, is it realistic to have the goal of being CEO of The Home Depot next year? Probably not. Is it a realistic goal to be a manager with significant responsibility by age 30? Probably yes. Make your goals Time-based. A goal with no timetable is a wish, not a goal. Time boxing a goal puts some “teeth” into your plan. For example, “To complete a course in how to use Excel by the end of Q1 2017,” or “To increase revenue by $XXX.00 per month beginning in January 2017.” Each goal you set must support your overall plan. If personal goals do not dovetail with your professional goals, the disharmony is likely to cause one part of your life not to work. Creating your 10-year plan sets in motion the thought processes that allow you to script a successful life. When you complete your 10-year goals, like Trendsetters to Trendsetters, you should celebrate your 10-year anniversary and the success you have achieved. Then, you should plan your next decade of success. Happy Anniversary, Trendsetters to Trendsetters! Wishing you another successful decade of outstanding growth, and wishing all of our faithful T2T readers the same. Here’s looking forward to another 10 years of informative, helpful, and entertaining information disseminated and published by Trendsetters to Trendsetters.■

Teasley Law Group, LLC 404-377-5512 teasleylawgroup.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017


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"MEDIA"— Not Just Another Film About Success and Infidelity "Sometimes the truth is more wicked than the lies embedded within the wealth...behind closed doors."

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duced by the Radio One Founder and Chairperson. This powerful family dynasty will give larger than life elements this family will face; when years of hidden secrets surface to haunt them. Matriarch and Media Communications Guru of Jones Universal Media Properties or JUMP, Jackie Jones, is teaching her son and ruthless protege, Clay Jones, second in command, the ropes; while supporting her only daughter, Crystal Jones' ambition as CFO; continuously covering for her creative and youngest son, Anthony Jones, whose addiction will cost them more than what they are willing to pay, all while balancing her son, Michael Jones, whose life as the city's successful attorney and prosecutor, was knocking at the Mayor's door, before tragedy struck. Now, the family must ban together and do whatever it takes to remain in control of the family business as corruption, infidelity, and crimson murder-mayhem ooze from the once pearly white walls of their safe-haven. MEDIA's cast features Brian White, Penny Johnson-Jerald, Pooch Hall, Gary Dourden, Stephen Bishop, Chrystee Pharris, Blue Kimble, Finesse Mitchell, Jimmy Gonzales, Stelio Savante, Jillian Reeves de Ortiz, Jasmine Kaur, Diane Kirby, and MORE! This project has been in the works for six years and now it will be available for the world to see! You don't want to miss it! An exclusive interview with some of the leading casts gives an insight into just what you can expect to see and the journey it took to get there. They leave us with some penetrating advice as to why we need to be tuned in when this show airs and a few personal treats of wisdom.■

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eginning January 1981-1989 ABC aired Dynasty, the Carringtons, a very esteemed family who lived in Denver, Colorado and endured every kind of issue, the "white collar" untouchables could serve up with a silver spoon. They CATHY HUGHES were competitors to the show Dallas that aired on CBS from 1978TV ONE, Founder 1991. Both families showcased immeasurable wealth and twisted deceitful acts that money enticed them with blind lusts. It was in Dynasty, we saw the first wealthy African American woman, Diahann Carroll in a role like this. And for many of us, it was a defining moment. For some, understanding what a family like that had to endure, was a bestkept secret...but for others, it was a lifestyle that even then, many accomplished African American households knew...all too well. But never disclosed, because they didn't want to upset the neatly placed stitches within the confines of the fabric of society. Well, it's high time we rip off the blinders and open our eyes to share those stories, especially after watching our first African American President and First Family who was a "President of the People" and a family who gracefully handled every chess move with integrity and tact. Although the color of our President's skin was a big issue most of the time...President Obama's decisions were made in retrospect for the betterment of ALL people in this country. Coming this Winter 2017 to TV ONE, Founder and Media Mogul, Cathy Hughes, will air the first of its kind, a film that will allow you to indulge into a world that eats truth for breakfast, tosses back glasses of "don't even think about it" for lunch in the parlor, and goes to bed to the lulling of safe clicks locking up the deviant thoughts that will keep their millions secure. MEDIA, an original movie about The Jones family, executive pro-


BRIAN WHITE "MICHAEL JONES" Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

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family tragedy forces her son, prominent lead city attorney and prosecutor Michael Jones, played by Brian White (Scandal, Chicago Fire, Stomp the Yard), to abandon his political aspirations and take over the company just as a ruthless rival challenges JUMP’s longtime domination of this lucrative industry. “I am honored to portray this character and that Cathy Hughes trusted me to headline a project that she is so passionate about,” commented White. “There are few movies that show all shades and sides of the political and economic spectrums, in particular, films featuring persons of color, without catering to one side. Here we see everyone represented and every character has a purpose in this unique story. This family didn’t come from wealth; they built it.” When Michael Jones (White) steps up to run the company, he is confronted by the sins of the past, and the dangers of the present.

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BRIAN: To tell the truth. I've never seen the truth told like this on television. I went to Dartmouth, but I also played in the NFL. My daddy's from St. Louis, Missouri; my mom's from Topeka, Kansas; and, their families represent the divide in this TV family. My dad's side was church folks and my mom's side was 18 mortuaries and Cadillacs. You don't get much different as house and field...and as far as white collar and blue-collar in our community, and I've never seen this story told like this. As a matter of fact, the only show I've seen discuss these type of topics, was "In the Heat of the Night" with Captain O'Connor, back in the day. They used to discuss racial topics, as "matter of fact" and this show does, also. Politics, economics, class, etcetera. The topics we usually stay away from as African Americans, this show embraces. I think it's because of Cathy Hughes’ journey as a female business woman living in America and even a little bit of truth about her struggle and journey, is so relevant in this day and age, and I am excited about it and wanted to help. I have a picture of my grandmother, Pearl Bowser, sitting on a Cadillac in 1938. She owned 16 mortuaries and my grandfather had passed, and she doubled the amount of mortuaries they had and said, "The way you present yourself to the world, is the way they will receive you." And she was right. She died in 1998 and that was the philosophy of Cathy, and so the first time I talked to her, I told her, "Whatever it says in this script, I'm gonna follow and I'll support you… cause people need to hear that message and people need to know more about Cathy Hughes." T2T: Brian, you have a plethora of films in which you play antagonistic characters like in Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds” and “I Can Do Bad All by Myself,” “Fighting” and “Stomp the Yard,” and protagonists in films like “Cabin in the Woods,” “The Shield,” and Disney’s “The Game Plan"… also, your character in Cathy Hughes' film, "Media," Michael Jones, who's the brother of Clay, played by Pooch. You are the city's lead attorney who wants to run for Mayor. How did your past feature films prepare you to take the character, "Michael" to the level you took him? BRIAN: The dichotomy of my life experience, like Denise mentioned earlier. All I did in my life was a prelude to preparation for this movie. I'm an Ivy League grad who ended up going into the NFL for a living and then transitioned to Wall Street. It's the same kind of street fight, but it's definitely a different game than what Michael does. He's into politics and he's not in the family business. And he thinks politics is the dirtiest world he's ever seen, but he sees it can give him a lot of power and money. He comes to find out that the family business he's been running away from and afraid of...has even more power, more politics, and more money involved in it. Michael is the odd-ball of the family. He's the "white sheep" of the family. His family is very much like the Godfather, and Penny is Marlon Brando. Michael is the son that everybody looks at him and says, "He's too clean." Dad is not around and Dad was a "square" and Mom had to show Dad how to roll up his sleeves and make stuff work. From the time that Dad left us, I've been the least likely person JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

to get involved with the company, because I don't want to be like Dad. As the story unfolds, we find that even the most corporate, the least street, the least dummy...of the family can roll up his sleeves, and for family—CHANGE. I make some changes for the good and bad and betterment of the family. All of that, from my past, learning how the world really works versus how we really want it to work. I get to play both sides. That's what I find exciting. What I learned in my life- the good and bad in corporate. I learned to support the good and bad in Hollywood and I bring that all into play in Michael's experience. I just want to add about this overall show. Maybe Penny may remember something different. This is for Pooch and this is for all of us. Pooch named this as Empire meets Godfather, I don't think that I've seen in my entire lifetime, an African American family that was presented white collar in a show that wasn't a comedy or didn't have a soapy tone. Like Empire, it has an undercurrent of soap. It's very salacious, it's very scandalous. It's water-cooler fodder. It's a great show, but it's definitely soap. I haven't seen anything featuring African Americans that was able to remove that edge and stick to the dramatic format and not push comedy, and showcase an African American family that was wealthy, but then also had all the bottom, all the edge of the Dynasties, Dallas...and Empires of the world. And I think for those reasons, this show has never been seen. It's like taking the Cosby's and giving them guns, and some edge, and some street sense. Something you've never seen. It's always an either or, for us. This election revealed that there's not an even/or...there were some Black people who voted for Trump. And so in this story, we see all of that; we see the people who voted for Trump, we see the people who didn't. We see everything in between and it's going to clash and I think all Americans will be able to relate to it. And that's why it's so exciting. T2T: Why should the public watch this film? I want people to watch the film to learn what we've seen for the last 8 years but have not talked about. The Barack and Michelle Obama or Jay Z and Beyonce or Oprah and Stedman, what it looks like at home for these families in 2016. And there are lots and lots and lots of them. Jay Z is rapping openly about having 250 million dollars in stock, but also occupying the Wall Street movement. That's all well and good, but hopefully, our show will set the table for what that entails. If you are not on the board at Goldman and Saks, then how are you occupying the Wall Street movement? Communities should be having these types of conversations. And our families have buying power and tons of it, and families like the Joneses are showing how to use it.■

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T2T: Brian, what excited you about doing this film?


DENISE BOUTTE DANIELLE JONES"

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T2T: Denise, before you got into the entertainment circuit, you were quite the accomplished woman…you have a Mass Communications Degree and took the advertising world by storm as a respected Account Exec and Manager of a leading Dallas advertising agency. You had clients who are household names, like Pampers, Fossil, and Mary Kay Cosmetics, to name a few. You got your big break as “Trina” in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” with a character every married woman loves to hate. Then you went on to do shows like “Meet the Browns,” “For the Love of Ruth,” this year’s “The Bounce Back,” and “The Choir Director,” and now as Danielle Jones, in “MEDIA,” Brian's character, “Michael's wife.” How did your corporate background help to develop your character or inspire you to portray her? What would you say breathed life into Danielle? DENISE: Well, I would say that so much of my business background is woven into my acting in a way that people may not imagine. I believe that people sometimes forget, that it is "show business" and you have to conduct it as such. There is a lot of energy portrayed in this character that resonates with me and who I was in Dallas, Texas. It has been inspiring surrounding myself with such strong females like Ms. Cathy, who I had the distinct pleasure of meeting for the first time this year, even though I studied her when I was looking for someone to model my career after. But, never in a million years, did I think that I would actually meet her in person and then have the privilege of breathing life into one of her characters. All of these characters possess unique traits that inspire her. One character’s role is actually taken from someone in her past. So, to be able to breathe life into Danielle, to bring my business savvy into her character...it's been honestly a surreal experience. To work with Ms. Penny, Brian, and Pooch has been a joy. I admire all of their work and to be a part of this "dynasty" of sort is uplifting. I admired the talent of Diahann Carroll, back in the day, even before I had aspirations of becoming an actress. I looked up to this woman. She had a savvy and classy way she carried herself on and off stage. Who knew, that years later, I'd be breathing life into a character that to me, is my version of the new age, Diahann Carroll. It's been such a phenomenal experience and like I said, "There are no mistakes in life." I think there is a lot of my past that I am able to put into this character. It was fun. I mean honestly, it was like getting a reunion together and just playing and sparring off of such amazing talent! So, it really didn't feel like work. It was truly an honor to do this character for Ms. Cathy and do a story that was near and dear to her. It was really a beautiful thing we had on the set. I have done other stuff before, but it was nothing like this synergy and it was more

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than what was on the pages for all of us. There are no mistakes in life. There is a reason why my past is not translated into my present. There are so many avenues and places to explore in this film. So I am ready for more of a ride. I am ready to take this thing to the next level. All of these characters are so dynamic and can go into so many directions. T2T: How did you enjoy working with this cast of such amazing talent? What are you taking away from this film? DENISE: Like I said, before I even began to get into acting, I loved each of these people and their works. And to get to know them as people and beyond professionals, was just surreal. It was so much fun and synergy that—everybody wanted to make something great. We knew we were breaking the mold and we knew we were doing something different, and showing us in a light that has never been done before. Even days before, we were given the script and talking about our characters and what my take was, as opposed to say, Brian's take on it, what we wanted to bring into it, and how we wanted to breathe life into our characters. It was such an amazing creative experience for me. It was leverage that I had never experienced before. The creative process was really and truly fun, and Ms. Cathy was on set, every single day...and you know she would have never given her blessing had she seen us not doing our jobs. But she was also open to our creative takes on it. It was a creative process that I had never experienced before. There is a lot of technique in comedy and sometimes we don't have that same leverage to play. Because what you do, the next person plays off of it. But you really had to search and put a true level of yourself into your character. You can disagree with the character, but if you want them to be believable, there is a certain part of you that has to go into this character. Everybody's got something...everybody's got an edge, a portion of themselves that they can tap into. And for me, it was like an amazing freefall and creative process that I have never had in my career. T2T: Why should the public watch this film? DENISE: Family first. Each of the people you have spoken with have families. I come from very humble beginnings. I grew up on a farm in the backwoods of Louisiana. I don't compromise who I am. I very often remain true to who I am. Those values I had back then, are still the values that I have today. And this family, they don't compromise. You have to know who you are before you enter into this industry or any industry. As long as you stay true to who you are as an individual and who you are as a person you're invincible! I keep my village, very, very small, and very, very intimate. But, I also have people who will pull me to the side and tell me what I need to hear. We all have personal lives that we are bringing into this film to show that we have this in our culture and hopefully people will see that and become open and realize this is not a "Black show," this is a show for anyone. I am excited for people to see it.■

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enise Boutte (Meet the Browns, For the Love of Ruth) as Danielle Jones, Michael’s elegant, neglected wife. She does the unthinkable and lands in the "dog-house"...or rather, in some hot water, too steamy to take the heat. In our interview with her, she shares how her corporate background prepared her for this film and that every journey in her life was leading her to this defining moment. This is what she had to say…


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POOCH HALL

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CLAY JONES" Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

he Jones family, is rounded out by the eldest son, Clay Jones, portrayed by Pooch Hall (The Game, Ray Donovan) as the mercurial head of the family business. Pooch's character is somewhat a different tone from what we are used to seeing. His presence makes you rethink our "dear sweet Derwin" has an evil twin...well, not so evil, but he will certainly raise a few eyebrows. I won't give it away, but you just have to see it for yourself when it airs. T2T had a chance to chat with him and some of the other cast, and this is what he had to say... T2T: Most of America fell in love with you as Derwin Davis, the wide receiver for the San Diego Sabers on the BET comedy, "The Game." You went on to do more shows like the drama, "Ray Donovan" in which you played "Daryll" the illegitimate son of Jon Voight who played "Mickey." Now, here you are playing "Clay Jones," the son of a powerful Female Media Mogul. How is this drama different from the other films in the past, and what did you gain from them to help you prepare for your character in the film, "Media?" POOCH: I was approached with this opportunity from a friend and told it's like the Godfather meets Empire...and then he said, it's with TV ONE. Then he sent me the material and I was like, "Whoa!" Based off of who we are in the industry, most focus on the analyst thing, but it doesn't matter to me about that; what matters, is the material...and I loved it! That says a lot about TV One, because this project could easily be at Showtime, HBO, FOX or any of those other networks. This is huge for TV One and the characters...us having a moment as Black people to tell our stories. It's not always about--can we run fast, or you can rap, but, we have business lives as well. To play this character, it's a different character from what I am used to playing. He's dark, he's very much about his family, he's very much about his mom, and he's fighting so hard to do what's necessary because his family fought so hard to get into this position. Clay makes sure he's in a position that no one is going to mess with his family, no one is going to get in his way or the family business. For my character, he is like, "If anyone is gonna mess with home...I'm gonna have to see to it." I make things disappear; so, I had to do some things that's above the law. I think it's truly fun to play this character. He's so different from anything that I have ever played; and then to be playing with

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my friends, it's been truly an honor, and that made it fun for me. I am excited about my fans getting to see me play a different type of character and my full acting ability. One thing that makes it fun, we trust each other and we all came from serious backgrounds that are full of major talent. So I think each one of us, made each other better, and it's not just one main ingredient. I think that we are all main ingredients, so we have this souffle of just "thunder." T2T: What was your most rewarding moment in this film "Media?" POOCH: My most rewarding moment in the film, was almost like seeing myself as a father figure of the family making sure everything was good. I always wanted to work with Brian and Penny, as our mom and Chrystee Pharris as my sister, and Blue Kimble, I worked with him on "The Game." I think it was for us, working together and seeing ourselves as a family, and my rewarding moment was just literally seeing us as a family...and it being believable on screen. I felt that it was my job to make sure we shared the top. I felt this was an opportunity, as far as being second in command, under my Mom. It was just an honor that my Mom put me in that position. To play a character like that‌ to have the free range, just to be able to play was fascinating. T2T: For fans, like my daughter, Hatiara, who is an aspiring actress, what advice would you give her on getting into this industry? What are the perks and pitfalls? POOCH: You always want to remember to have fun. I can't stress that enough. Whatever you experience in life, no one can take that away from you. Sometimes we complain about catching bad breaks, or I wish it was like this. It's gonna happen like it's supposed to be. As long as you keep your nose clean and watch those around you, most likely the outcome will be that of something positive. You have to educate yourself in this industry. Remember, its show business. Don't try to adjust yourself to what they want. You have to make yourself the strongest you can make yourself, mentally. I've been very fortunate to be blessed with my daughter who has cerebral palsy and she doesn't complain, all she knows is love and she doesn't know hate, she doesn't know race, she doesn't know anything but love. So, I take a page from her book, and I tend to walk through life with a smile. That's something genuine and authentic and no one can take that away from me.â–

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Penny Johnson-Jerald "JACKIE JONES"

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Written by Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

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T2T: Ms. Penny, your portfolio reads like a “Michelle Obama” of entertainment. Graduate of Juilliard in New York, performances in shows like “The Paper Chase” and “Homeroom,” the HBO comedy, “The Larry Sanders Show,” recurring roles in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,”, Fox series’ “24,” "The 4400,” “October Road,” “Eve,” and portraying Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in two productions on the 9/11 attacks for Showtime and ABC. As the matriarch in this drama...as the mother and media mogul “Jackie Jones” in “MEDIA”…What drew you to this TV One film? And, how has it added to your already extensive list of works? PENNY: Thank you so much. First of all, I am glad I got to hear my fellow castmates share in how they felt. Which brings me to "why" I wanted to do this film. It adds to one of the reasons I wanted to just "grab this film."--is the people. In the beginning, I didn't know many of the cast. The script was sent to me through a colleague who I was working with on another project. She said, ‘just read it.’ For someone who knows me, knows that I am not just reading it once. I'm reading it 10 times. I gave this such a read and actually said, "Oh, I can't put this one down." It read so well. I said, "Well, who am I playing?" I tried to figure out, have I been doing this so long that I could have all of these grown children? (laughs) I didn't know anyone at all. But I hold this woman's (colleague's) opinions highly. So she said, just give it a read, and each time I read it, I couldn't find any fault in it. So I said, "I really like it." So she said, ‘Will you do it?’ And I said, "Okay." Then I asked the question, "Well, who's doing it? And who’s on cast?" She said, ‘It's TV One.’ And I must confess that I didn't know who TV One was. I thought it was an opportunity for African Americans to put on stuff...because they wanted to put on stuff. I said, "Oh, this is not like a TV One that I am familiar with, or not familiar with." She said, ‘I think it's going to change the fabric of TV One.’ And I said, "I know it is." So again, she asked, ‘So will you do it?’ Then I asked, "Who's in the cast?" They didn't have the cast, but they had one cast member, Brian White. I wasn't familiar with this man's work, so I Googled him. I said so far I was glad that we were extending beyond the TV One that I am familiar

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with and then I said, "Okay, I'm in!" Then I wanted to know "Who" was behind TV One and that was my introduction to Ms. Cathy Hughes. I looked up Ms. Cathy Hughes and I said, "O-M-G!" I know this is not really Ms. Cathy Hughes, but it's supposed to be Ms. Cathy Hughes. So I watched videos of her and I wanted to know what she stood for. What got me, is that she wanted to break the mold of what people THINK we are. And like Brian said, we are not just beginning this journey or just getting in this game, we've been in this game. We just haven't been recognized, as being in this game. I thought it was like one of my former characters, Sherry, but after meeting Ms. Cathy Hughes I realized, it was NOT. Both strong women, but totally different. Sherry had a touch of evil. Jackie has a touch of brilliance. To answer the second part of your question, "How it adds to my portfolio?" I think being able to not only play a powerful woman, but a brilliant woman, with her intentions intact, meaning "family." Later I learned that Pooch was in on the project and I was like, okay, I am a fan of Ray Donovan and then I looked at Denise and she looked like my baby sister. I said, "Oh Wow! They're really trying to do this right." So I really hope there's a great future for it. T2T: Where did you channel the ability to portray such a complex character that makes you maternal and an overachiever...but yet, a "force to be reckoned with?" PENNY: I'm a mother of a rebellious child. I am a Black woman in Hollywood and I've been doing this for thirtysomething years—so there's not much I haven't seen. I'm a family person who believes in unity, regardless of anything else that's going on. So I think that since that's the essence of who I am in my life experience I am able to just pull that out. One thing about this particular project, it was very organic and natural for all of us. We were able to see how different it was for most people. We had an opportunity to arrive together at locations, and during that time, we all fell in line into the hierarchy of these characters we were playing. We were able to have discussions about how we were all very passionate about the story being told with truth. And that these were people that we could personally identify with, being people of color, who aren't necessarily, "ghettofabulous." We were really these people. We have a launch pad from which we could start from with real truth. It was a wonderful opportunity and more like preparation for theater. Because we had a short time to prepare before appearing on camera, we utilized every minute we had and even before deciding that we were working on the project, we were working on the project. We were working on the project by the conversations we were having in the ride over and we were working on the project in the makeup and hair trailer. We were working on the project at 2 a.m. in the morning while we were eating greasy food in the process. We were working on the project and we were forming a chemistry...on and off screen, and that makes for great relationships and the core of this project—is about family.■

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assion, intrigue and murder become a lethal recipe for a powerful matriarch, Jackie Jones, and her children, in this captivating urban production. Portrayed by Penny Johnson-Jerald (Castle, 24), Jackie is the founder of Jones Universal Media Properties, known as JUMP, the world's premier urban media conglomerate. While speaking with Ms. Penny and her castmates, she opened up the wealth of knowledge and insight that her character was bringing to the screen. Media Mogul, Jackie Jones can be related to regardless of social status when it comes to motherhood and protecting her own. Her fascinating business-sense is a cross between a Wall Street broker, and the leader of a Mafia when it comes to making decisions. She scrutinizes the overall benefits and profits to the JUMP Empire while ensuring that each outcome is worth every carefully anticipated and calculated move. This is what Ms. Penny Johnson-Jerald had to say…


Kimberly Kimberly L. L. Mays Mays Named Named Partner Partner Lueder, Larkin & Hunter LLC By Jennifer Alou

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ueder, Larkin & Hunter LLC is pleased to announce the promotion of Kimberly L. Mays to Partner. Kimberly manages the firm’s Airport/Camp Creek location, and her practice focuses on residential real estate and new construction transactions. Kimberly is a Georgia native who received her undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and her Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law. Prior to beginning a career focused on real estate, Kimberly dedicated her practice to helping individuals in need. She served as a Supervising Attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program (“GLSP”). GLSP provides litigation representation to low income clients in various civil law areas. Her previous practice areas included family law, landlord tenant, estate planning and consumer rights. Kimberly is a Certified Arbitrator with Henning Mediation and Arbitration Service, and a Certified Mediator with the Justice Center of Atlanta.■

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etrina Bryant is known as Trin-AThoughtz, the Motivational Speaking Poet. This spoken word artist is in a class all by herself. She captivates, demands and keeps every drop of your attention as she takes you on a lyrical Train Ride through this journey we call "LIFE". She has the ability to captivate audiences from around the country whenever she graces the many stages she has set foot upon. She delivers her poetry with such passion that you feel her spirit through each and every word. She will climb inside your mind and have a poetic conversation with your conscious. This poet, has the ability to pierce the human heart, captivate the soul, lift your spirit, and linger in your mind all while leaving the audience speechless. But it's not just her poems, it's her passion. One of her passions include being the founder of PROJECT T.R.A.I.N. (Taking Responsibility and Improving Nations). She is deeply committed to her community and the communities around her. This poet is truly blessed as we all are by her rich aroma of words that inspire us all to greater heights. Won't you elevate yourself to a new level and allow her to...TRAINZ YOUR THOUGHTZ. â–

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For Bookings, Please email her @ pcbcreation@aol.com


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"More than half of my life is over. I got more years behind me

than I do ahead of me. How many black men you know is 102 years old? Half of my life is over...and I'm okay with that. So, it's not about how much I got left. It's how much I accomplished while I was here. Did I reach some destinations? Did I touch some lives? Did I change some lives? That's what it’s about. Am I about my father's business? That's what it's about."--Tommy Ford

FAREWELL TOMMY MIKAL FORD By Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

June 15, 1964 - October 12, 2016

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ounder, Angella Banks, of Xcellence brother, Tommy Mikal Ford, known him, sharing those words of wisdom in would do. Trendsetters to Trendsetters Cross, wrote a review on the with his star-studded cast Perry, Jasmine daughter) and Peachtree val's 2016 annual event. It Tommy to share his vision volved and to those who Ford was—and so MUCH

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Community Magazine captured our beloved simply as, "Tommy" to those who loved what would be the last radio interview he Magazine contributing writer, Kimberly screening of his film, "Conflict of Interest," of Carl Payne, Dorien Wilson, Rodney Lewis, Bria Murphy (Eddie Murphy's Tommy Ford, himself, at the Village International Film Festiended with Q & A that allowed and appreciation for those inattended. This is who Tommy more.

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A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9

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got more years behind me than I do ahead of me." Ford came from humble beginnings in the city of Long Beach, California. Born on September 5, 1964 to his mother who was a secretary, and his father, a pipefitter at the time. When he was younger, Ford actually wanted to become a minister. However, participation in high school plays would spark a love for acting. So, he attended the University of Southern California, where he earned a B.A. in theater. Ford met and married Gina Mari Sasso in April of 1997, and his long-time friend, Martin Lawrence, stood by his side at his wedding. From this union, they had a son and daughter, Thomas and Madison. They moved from Los Angeles, California to Kendall, Florida. But, as life and lessons would have it...the two parted ways and divorced in 2014. Later that same year, God gave him another chance at love and he moved to Atlanta, Georgia and married Viviane Brazil. In Atlanta, Ford established his presence in film, theater

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HIS LIFE

and community… helping those who needed it, supporting those who warranted his advice and guidance, giving back to those God placed in his path, and encouraging everyone along the way. In an interview on the Motown Maurice Show in 2010, with his usual infectious laugh and gentle, yet funny demeanor, he shared some truths about what he and character Tommy Strawn had in common, and he said it like this: "I'm six—four, the character is six—four, I'm bout 270, he's bout 270. His name is Tommy and my name is Tommy. But I got a damn job...and don't you say it no more! We all have a job!" (in his preacher's voice) "I must be about my Father's business! That's my job. I must work the work of Him who sent me!" Then he jokingly ends with..."Why does every Baptist preacher have asthma?" His father was an MP in the Navy and he was driven by a quote he taught him, "Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream; get off your butt and do something!" That is what he did. "If you don't work, you don't eat!" "Faith without works, is what? (pauses) Heeeey!." Ford shared that all of his life, he learned the importance of work, the importance of applying yourself, and this would follow him during his career. On October 12, 2016, in an Atlanta hospital surrounded by family and close friends only two weeks after a "normal" knee surgery, our cherished Tommy--father, husband, son, brother, best friend, and mentor, succumbed to a ruptured aneurysm in his abdomen at the tender age of 52, after his family made the painful decision to remove him from life support. Contrary to the latter...his LIFE and LEGACY lives on.


HIS CAREER (Laughter) A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great. Proverbs 18:16

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id I reach some destinations?" Ford's career spanned many levels and skill sets during his lifetime. In the 8th grade, because he was the class clown and had a natural ability for literally "acting up," his teachers decided to encourage him to channel that energy somewhere else. In an interview with Revealed Magazine, he told the host that his teacher said she needed a lead for the 8th grade farewell play. Ford told her he wasn't doing that sissy stuff. But, after she reminded him about the note his mother sent instructing that if he ever got into trouble to call her, he responded, "I think I feel that acting bug coming on." And although everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, he found out that acting was more natural for him, than the sports he played - basketball and football. Later in his life, Ford's manager at the onset of his career, was Lee Daniels. He was one of Lee's first clients which helped to shape his career. Although Ford is most remembered for the character Tommy Strawn, the lovable gentle giant with the explosive laughter, humored intellect, allegedly with "no job" that anyone could identify, he leaves a long list of credits to his name. He blasted out the gates on the TV screen with "full steam ahead" in 1989, appearing in Harlem Nights, Nasty Boys, and A Different World. In the 90's he continued his journey with overlapping projects portraying characters in Uncle Buck and Across the Tracks (1990), The Flash (1991), Class Act (1992), Martin

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(1992-97), Living Single (1993), New York Undercover (199899), The Jamie Foxx Show (1999), and The Parkers (19992001). Then in the 21st Century, he did not slow up his craft, but hit the curve with stops that led to more acting, stage, and directing, doing what he loved. He appeared in Who's Got Jokes? (2006-2008) as the Pope of Comedy, and Let's Stay Together (2011) as the Reverend. In the last few years, Ford doubled up on stretching out his legs in at least fifteen films: First Impression, Hillbilly Highway, Ivy League, Who Did I Marry, Unspoken Words, Douglass U, Dreams (the movie), No More Games, Switching the Script, Hard Lessons, 4 Play, Mississippi Blues, Back Court and others. But what has become the most treasured part of his journey, was his career behind the camera. He directed and produced several projects which include: Blvd West, Ancestors, Troupe, Healing 100 Hearts, Comedy Camp, Flipping Bird & Brick by Brick, Conflict of Interest, Baby Mamas Club and Beat Street Resurrected (both Lionsgate releases), The Club, At Momu's Feet, Breezes, and Switching Lanes. He also joined three TV productions, On Uplifting Network Called: Sugar Mamas, To Love and to Cherish, and In the Meantime. Ford’s career spanned over two decades and yet in that time, he was not limited to TV or big screen. He took his skills back to his roots of stage acting and produced Jonin, South of Where We Live, Monsoon Christmas, Living Room, and Distant Fires, to name a few. He was also working on some variety talk shows: Don't Be Stupid and Spoken Word with Hank Stewart The Poet, and documentaries Reverse the Lynch Curse, Through My Lens Atl (aired October 2016 on Aspire TV), and The Sharon Crawford Story (that will be released in 2017 in tribute to him). As if his path in life hadn't already been filled with enough to sustain him, Ford took the time to add AUTHOR to the long list of his "Father's Business," with two inspirational children's books that became best sellers: Positive Attitude and I Am Responsible for Me. I'd say, he reached all the destinations that were on his GPS (God's Purposed System) of life. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017


(Labor of Love) What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? James 2:14

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id I change some lives?" When it comes to changing the dynamics of someone's life, you must first have been qualified by knowing what it will mean to possess change. Before he got in front of the camera, Ford was a human relations specialist. He went to Christian schools from elementary to high school. He did not let his life in front of the camera speak for him. His most prized possessions were the children he mentored and visited through his non-profit organization founded in 1998 called, "Be Still and Know." It's not a surprise, that Grammy Award winning gospel artist, Yolanda Adams, would create a song from the same title—as fate would have it. Her song speaks of a child of God taking the time out to stop what he/she is doing, long enough for God to speak to him/her and remind His child, that He is STILL ever-present and watching over each situation; so, don't worry about how it will turn out, because He already knows and will work it out; learn to be at peace. How befitting, that in Ford's last radio interview, he expressed just that. His peace with having LIVED. This peace came with the knowledge that he knew he desired and made an effort, to impact each life he came across. As a gifted motivational speaker, he visited many schools and worked with The Hank Stewart Foundation in Dekalb County to motivate, educate, and inspire the youth to aspire to achieve beyond what they conceived in their own personal struggles. Taking the teachings of his father who disciplined...yet, encouraged him, he led hundreds of children to

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desire a bright illuminated future. In his own words, he explains the purpose behind his madness that matters. "BE means to have a place, a position, a purpose...STILL--means to be free of commotion, agitation, and confusion...AND--means to bring things together and to KNOW--means to be introduced to the truth...and the truth is our children; they're beautiful, they're powerful, they're valuable, and they're wonderful and worthwhile and they need to know that."--Tommy Ford (Motown Maurice Show, 2010) Ford toured all over the world, where called, from city to city, applying his mission to kids in the U.S., Caribbean Islands, and Haiti. He strongly stressed this point, "I think it is more important that my job, is more than getting in front of a camera and acting a fool‌that we can't just get what we can...can what we get...and sit on our can. HELLO WALLS! That God blesses us, so that we can bless others." That is one of my favorite mottos in life (God blesses us to be a blessing)...so, it's no wonder, when I had the opportunity to meet him and hang out in his presence on a few occasions, that this is where his genuine love for kids and life came from. I shared about my having taught the arts to kids in high risk settings using visual art, theater, choral music, and dance. His voice was melodic, yet his tones had a fatherly or brotherly feel to it, depending on the conversation as he explained there is no better place to be. We were at a function supporting a mutual friend and actor, Darrin Henson, and his unmistakable laughter could be recognized even if you were not in the room. See, it takes a special kind of person to take time out of his/her life to give a portion of it to others without compensation, with your only reward being, to see them achieve. When Ford was a human relations specialist, it was with an organization called the National Conference of Community and Justice in support of eradicating biases, "a human relations organization that promotes inclusion and acceptance by providing education and advocacy while building communities that are respectful and just for all." He worked with law enforcement agencies that had issues with racism, to help them communicate with people from other races. His job was to break barriers in communication. Not only did he break them, he built stronger bridges to travel further, in its place.

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HIS CONTRIBUTIONS


HIS LEGACY I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. John 17: 4-5

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id I touch some lives?" Only in a "God-touched" lifetime, can someone endure such milestones and become at peace with his/her life. We often talk about a person's life is not the year they were born, nor the day of their departure...but ultimately, the "dash" of time that spanned in between the two. How do we know if we touched someone's life? When at the end of the day, when the sun has gone down on our existence in this world (and if you are blessed enough, you will hear or read these words while you are alive) has ceased, others will speak your flowers in your celebration and honor. To share in the legacy that our loving and compassionate Tommy Mikal Ford, or "Tommy" left as his imprints in the sands-of-time...I have several testimonials who shared how he impacted their lives and where their journey in his "dash" began.â–

LEN GIBSON

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Founder of Peachtree Village International Film Festival

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ommy impacted my life by showing me that I could be myself in this challenging industry called entertainment. He impacted me by showing me how to be a great father and a great friend while doing it. Tommy was one of my best friends because he allowed me to be me and he was there through all of the ups and downs, in my life. We did business together, we laughed, we cried, and most importantly we worked in the community together. Tommy was given my name and information by two people. One of those people was Autumn Bailey Ford. Tommy reached out to me and stated he's been looking for distribution for a few projects and he wanted to talk to me about producing a few others. I assisted Tommy with landing a distribution deal with Lions Gate for a film entitled "Coming Correct" which was later changed to "Baby Momma's Club" by Lions Gate. Tommy and I also produced various projects to include: "Don't Be Stupid" a variety comedy and entertainment talk show, "Templeton Pride" a drama series, "The Divorce" a short film, "Reverse The Lynch Curse" a town hall conversation series and many more. Tommy was very instrumental with the support of my film festival which is the Peachtree Village International Film Festival (PVIFF). I owe a lot to Tommy and although he's not here physically with us; I will continue his mission by producing great quality inspiring projects and working with kids in communities worldwide."â–

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Founder of The Hank Stewart Foundation ommy impacted my life in so many ways. Tommy was a man of action, not talk, Tommy was 'about our Father's business.' Tommy was a great father to his children and a great friend to so many. He was more than an actor and every chance he got, he used his stardom for good. Tommy would recruit and bring in other celebrities for the good of the community, or the cause. I met Tommy at an event and we connected immediately. We shared the same birth month, we were born a day apart. My birthday is September 4th, Tommy's was September 5th. We were brothers. I can't remember one time I asked Tommy to do something and he declined. I remember Tommy leaving town and coming back for an event that affected children and then leave again. He could have very easily cancelled...but he didn't and who could have blamed him? Tommy was cut from a different cloth; he believed in people; he trusted people; he loved people. I never saw him not take a picture for his fans, or with his fans (no matter how tired he was ). Tommy was never rude to anyone - a "gentle giant" of sorts. I will miss my friend and my brother. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him. I can still hear his laughter. I texted Tommy the day before he went into the hospital and he texted me back; our text messages went back and forth up until 30 minutes before he went into the hospital. I will cherish the moments we spent in the trenches together for our youth, for the community. We lost an incredible individual in Tommy Ford, but I will continue to work even harder now because I have to continue the work he and I started. I thank God for allowing our paths to cross for six plus years. I miss my Friend...I miss my Brother...I miss Tommy Ford."â–

JOHN & RHONDA WILKINS

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met Tommy at one of his tapings of Don't Be Stupid, supporting my friend Len Gibson. We became friends immediately. He did not hesitate stepping up to the plate to support every event I called on him for, that meant giving a hand in the community. He was a presenter for the Legendary Awards, and in August I booked him for a Northside Hospital Employee Appreciation event at Six Flags in Atlanta, as the host. Tommy had such a blast and he was excited about bringing the kids he mentored to Six Flags. When I got that crazy call that he was in the hospital...I immediately dropped everything and went to be by my friend's side. I spent two days at the hospital with close family and friends. When the decision was made to let him go...it turned into such a long night and day. God was still good in the midst of the storm. Even when I called on my buddy Tommy Ford for the Northside Hospital Company picnic a couple of weeks before his death, Tommy said "Whatever you need sis." He had the best time hosting the stage and was laughing at the kids that remembered him from the show, Martin. My son, Paris Wilkins and his friends were so excited to meet Uncle Cole (Carl Payne), friend of Mr. Tommy. There was never any question about staying those countless hours at Tommy's bedside because he was just that kind of guy you wanted to be there for, and I wouldn't trade those moments for the world." â–


The he P Power ower of of T

R.E.D. Camela Douglass, M.S. ED.

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f you choose to indict me

for wearing red, I guess I’ll be guilty by association. With my left hand on the Bible. and my right hand up to God, I tell no lies and make no apologies. In the court of public opinion, I plead the fifth; because, when a woman wears the color red---everybody becomes guilty of something! The color red is stimulating and exciting all by itself. Often associated with fire, blood and warning, red communicates numerous meanings. It carries more associations than any other color on the color chart. It’s an emotionally intense color, exuding passion, expressing sexual energy, and motivating action. On the other extreme, it can attract an angry bull, promote violence, raise blood pressure, and stimulate the human appetite. The control that red has inspires people to love in February, celebrate independence in July and redecorate their home in December. The color red is very powerful! The influence of red is not a new trend. Historically, the Bible refers to the power and extremes of the color red. Isaiah says, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Oddly enough, there’s even a story about a harlot named Rahab who helped the Israelite spies and was told that her family could be spared if they put a scarlet cord out of the window. In this case, red symbolizes salvation. R.E.D. will never lose its power. It Redeems. It Empowers. It Defines. Know your why for wearing red. It could literally change your life.■

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Camela is a Professor at Central State University and the owner of Mo Better Me. Follow Camela on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @cameladouglass or visit her website www.cameladouglass.com

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PASTOR

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LEROY & JACQUELINE

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Liberty University, so she may continue to work with young women at the church, in the school system, and throughout the community. Jacqueline has also retired from Stark County Developmentally Disabled program which gave her the opportunity to work with individuals who suffer from mental and physical disabilities. This was a passion of hers that gave her great satisfaction for many years. Pastor Tavares holds a Master of Theology from Liberty University Baptist Theological seminary, and is the senior Pastor over the Grace Christian Fellowship Church in Canton, Ohio, where he and Sister Jacqueline minister the gospel to members, friends, family, and visitors. This year, Grace Christian Fellowship Church began a cancer support group that focuses on the mental aspect of the disease. They have also initiated the “Fellowship Friday's,” events where the congregation

The covenant of marriage between the ordained Elder Leroy Tavares, Jr and his First Lady Jacqueline has always been a mutual agreement between them to remain bound together by the Word-of-God. Also, to adhere to Ephesians 5:21-33. The Word-of-God is what rules and reigns over their covenant. Two suggestions they received early in their marriage that has helped, was to spend plenty of quality time together while having a great amount of open-minded communication. The formula that Pastor Leroy Tavares, Jr. gives to his congregation, pre-marital counseling couples, and to anyone who will listen is to first “Pray;” secondly, “Read the word of God (daily);” thirdly, “Meditate on what you've read;” and finally, “Obey IT.” When a married couple spends time together praying and reading the Bible, this will strengthen the bond of their covenant with each other, and more importantly will strengthen their relationship with their God. While staying busy with duties at their church, both Pastor Leroy and Sister Jacqueline are actively working in different areas. Jacqueline is completing her Psychology degree at

and friends get together to build Christian relationships, watch Christian movies, and have local artists come to praise and worship the Lord. Pastor Tavares who taught Anatomy & Physiology at the downtown Atlanta Everest College campus, also holds a Bachelors of Applied Management, and is CEO of the Eagle's Courage non-profit organization that teaches business planning, communication, and uses biblical princples to reinforce God's authority over successful business. Pastor Tavares is also a published author of the prayer book, “Supernatural Communication With God.” The Tavares' have the love and support of their families and church family. Pastor Leroy, and his First Lady, Jacqueline, are thankful for the blood of Jesus, give total credit to the Holy Spirit for guiding their lives, and render All the Glory to God.■

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icah 7:18-19 states that, “God pardons iniquity, forgives mistakes, and forgets our sins, by throwing them in the depth's of the sea.” He's truly a God of second chances. Here is where the story begins for Elder Leroy Tavares, Jr., and his First Lady, Jacqueline. They met by chance, became friends, and began dating. Their love and respect for one another grew stronger. This friendship grew out of a growing love for the Lord. This love for the Lord lead to their union. The couple attributes the success of their marriage to many factors, but they all boil down to, “The Love of God.” Wanting to please the Lord drives them to do what they do.


Jesse and Sham Redmond

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or over 20 years, Jesse and Sham Redmond have been working together as a husband and wife powerhouse writing and production team. Combining their talents and gifts together, they are evolving their musical and writing skills into a well sought out creative landmark. From the beginning, they realized each other's special abilities and knew they had something great. The Redmonds both grew up in small towns in North Carolina, with big dreams of making it in the entertainment industry. From an early age, Jesse was humming and singing at local talent shows, winning many. He would go on to join a local male group called Average Guyz, which landed him a deal that introduced him to writing, engineering and production. He later relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and had the opportunity to work with some of the greats such as, Missy Elliot, Chad Hugo from the Neptunes, and Big Bub from the legendary group, Today. Jesse also shared the stage with the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Aaron Hall, Bernie Mac, Tank and Craig Mac, to name a few. He was able to sit in private sessions with one of the greatest producers to hit the scene, Mr. Teddy Riley. There he learned valuable engineering and production skills that enabled him to develop into one of the best producers in the game today. And, it doesn't stop there. Jesse's vocal and writing abilities have allowed him to venture off to become one of the heavy hitters in the Southern Soul genre today. We're meeting him as Jesse Redmond, but his fans know him as J. Red the Nephew. His soulful sounds have put him into a market where his masterful abilities have created a sound that combines R&B, Blues and Soul music, with just enough of a Hip Hop undertone to keep you dancing. He has people everywhere stepping to his hit songs, My Good Thang, Give It to Me, Step Out and I Will, to name a few. But, Jesse doesn't take all the credit because writing right beside him is another gifted writer, his wife of 18 years, Mrs. Sham Redmond. Sham was in NC writing songs and poems on paper bags at an early age, not realizing that her ability to write would lead her down avenues that would give her so much joy and satisfaction. In the neighborhood, she would become well

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known for writing hooks, songs and even stage plays. Sham's love for writing has given her one of her most successful stage plays called "If All Men Were Good, There Would Be No Bad Women," which she wrote in two days. This play fills auditoriums all over, and rave reviews would be all that could be uttered after the production. Songs, stage plays, poems, sitcoms, web series, you name it, she can write it. Sham gives much credit to her supportive husband, Jesse, because he has stood by her side while she was standing by his. And not only do they write, sing and produce, but they both have star roles in the stage productions. Acting and producing the shows can be challenging, but they do it and they do it well. Sham also wanted us to know that Jesse has been beneficial in her learning more and more about artist development and studio production, which now allows her to sit in their sessions, not just as an observer, but as a creative force that has helped in their business developing many artists. Bringing their talents together, has made the Redmond’s music and writing companies, Soul Mop Music Group and Redmond’s Production, thrive. They are now writing songs for Southern Soul Artists such as Theodis Ealey, Willie Hill, and Sir Charles Jones, to name a few. This couple has learned to bridge their personal life, business and talents together, creating an emerging business that has brought them to Atlanta, GA, where they now reside. Being in “Hotlanta,” is opening up doors that they well deserve. They are both working on projects that are sure to be a success. The best thing is, they’re doing it TOGETHER. Most people say that mixing love and business never works but Jesse and Sham Redmond say that mixing love in business is how they made it work. ■ Sham Redmond Facebook.com/shamredmond Jesse Redmond Facebook.com/JREDMUSIC

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Jesse & Sham

Jesse & Sham

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Donna Scott

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onna Michelle Scott was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has over 25 years of experience as an Entrepreneur and business woman. As a salon owner and beloved hairstylist, she is known for giving words of wisdom and encouragement while getting her clients ready for a job interview or the next special event. Also known for making bold moves and taking chances, in December 2010, Donna made the move to the Midwest. Now residing in Indianapolis, Indiana, Donna is re-branding herself as a writer and poet. Donna is using her life experiences to write about love, relationships, and God, her sources of strength and inspiration. Her first book ‘Awakening Renewed’ is a book of poetry pinning different times and life experiences. Donna chose the title to describe and summarize her personal journey in moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar. The poems are memories of events, feelings about life changes, people she met along the way, and life lessons learned and chronicled. As she writes about her life and experiences, she is using her business experience in the private sector as an Administrative Supervisor for a major car rental company. Her years of working one on one with people taught her that making people understand that they matter helps to build connections. Donna always says that ‘blood doesn’t make a family….love makes a family’.■

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DJ Cool V: The Man, The Music, The Message Camela L. Douglass, M.S. ED.

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pushing. This, I pray, is the reassurance my ‘Artifaction 18’ needs to know I truly acknowledge the importance of them in my life.” Immediately on the heels of the success of “The Symphony,” comes “DJ Cool V Never Sleeps.” This is a stylish behind-the-scenes look at his most successful, co-produced Gold album, “The Diabolical Biz Markie Never Sleeps,” containing the DoublePlatinum song, “Just A Friend” and Gold single, “Spring Again.” With writer Lucio Dutch, the Cool Elizabeth, New Jerseyan DJ gets personal with the first installment of his four-book album series. In “Never Sleeps,” Cool V discusses creative wins and struggles, industry naysayers, and he systematically breaks down studio sessions, song and beat construction, and digs emotionally deep, revealing a tragic loss. The book, “DJ Cool V Never Sleeps” is an instant Golden Era Hip Hop collector’s item, and includes everything a fan would want to know about one of their favorite albums. It also comes with an exclusive surprise only available with the book. “The Symphony” is still available exclusively at www.djcoolv.com and “DJ Cool V Never Sleeps” will be released in Spring 2017.■

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or over three decades, heavyweight Hip Hop producer and mixologist, Cutmaster Cool V, has given his best, and brought unmatched talent and true work ethic to the music industry. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with gifted hands and a love for music, he’s touched numerous gold and platinum records by an array of artists, including Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Kid Capri, Kool G Rap and Technotronic. As a member of the Queens' Bridge based Juice Crew All-Stars, DJ Cool V began working side by side with Hip Hop groundbreaking radio personality, the late DJ Mr. Magic. He is one of three DJ's who were first to command the stage at the historical NAACP Awards. He also counts musical production credits on The Oprah Winfrey Show in his thorough repertoire of accomplishments. To add to this journey of success, on Thursday, February 18, 2016, the City of Elizabeth added an honorary street sign to recognize the Legendary DJ Cutmaster Cool V. DJ Cool V has a life message beyond the music. Along with Hip Hop writer Lucio Dutch, Cool wrote the internationally acclaimed “The Symphony,” which is a memoir celebrating the people who took time to pour into his life. The legendary DJ believes, “there are individuals that come along and enhance who you are; I will not allow any of my inadequacies to dictate my recognition of them. “The Symphony” is a celebration of people that have positively affected me. When life is unbearable, recalling valuable memories stabilizes pain, giving you the power to keep


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T2T: What was it like growing up and what difficulties did you face? Where did you turn for strength? Melissa: It was not easy growing up, but then again, is it ever? I was taken away from my family and became a ward of the state. This caused me to transition from home to home. Many times my experiences weren’t pleasant and sometimes I did meet those who genuinely cared and wanted to see me do well. I remember once at the dinner table I said to my friend, “I wish that I met someone who can understand what I am going through.” There were instances that I wanted God to prove Himself to me. Was I wrong for that? No…we question God because for understanding of the “whys” and in the end, it helps us to get to know Him, because what He “proves” is… His love. That’s where I draw my strength, from His love for me. T2T: Describe a turning point in your life. How did it change your life for the better? Melissa: Times were tough growing up. I didn’t know who I was and I found myself taking things for granted. But through God’s grace, I have grown into an amazing person. I mean, I didn’t know God when I was growing up, but several instances have prepared me for my journey. I had a life-threatening accident in 2008 that changed my life. In 2014, I wrote a letter to God asking Him to help me find my family and in 2015, my

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older brother contacted me and I was reunited with my siblings and birth mother. Both of these instances changed my life because I realized that God’s presence within my life was greater than I’d realized. I went back to school after the accident, got my degree, wrote two novels, and learned what happened to me --HAD to. Through my pain and losses, I never allowed a bad situation to eat me alive. I am grateful for my support along the way during each of those turning points. T2T: What inspired you down the path you are on? What is your drive to continue? Melissa: I have goals that are forever changing depending on the path “God” is leading me down. I didn’t always understand that reasoning, but the fact that I am currently a head chef at a wonderful pub, proves that He sets my journey and not me. During each endeavor, I have met some amazing people and had an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of others. So people are my drive…like my daughter, Kenzie, who inspires me to want to be a better person and loves me without reservation. When I look into her eyes and see the love she has for me…I want that for everyone. I have helped people less fortunate because I know what that feels like. I speak at charitable events to share my story and even donate when I can to them, because God has been so good to me and I want to pay it forward. T2T: Where did the idea of The Tree House stem from? Melissa: After my accident, I decided to go back to school. I met a professor who inspired me to write. To this day, I believe that if the accident hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be who I am: an author, recipient of a bachelor’s degree, and even…a head chef. I was researching a local murder and decided to write a book that would share that story in a way that exposed warning signs and hopefully encourage others to avoid this type of tragedy. The Tree House Series is a suspense thriller about a man who should have received help, but his mental instability was overlooked…until it was too late. T2T: How can the public keep up with you? Melissa: Visit my FACEBOOK: Melissa Marie Johnson and The Tree House or email me at: thetreehouse49@gmail.com.■

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hat would it take for you to pursue your dreams? Who would you look to for inspiration? Many of us would say, “I’ve watched my parents, so I wanted to be like them.” Or, “My mother was my inspiration; she taught me to be the best I can be.” But, how does a child who has never experienced a nurturing parent’s love…nor even knew who their parent was because they were adopted, or given away to be raised in the system, respond? They rely on hope. An internal instinct that only a higher Authority can provide, that makes them determined to go beyond the realm of adversity, and makes them aware they have a voice and place in this world. Suspense thriller Author, Melissa M. Johnson, not only understands this…she has LIVED it! Join me as she opened up to share some intense realities that are sure to give you a new perspective on life and overcoming pain; so that you can walk in your purpose.


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AMOS WILLIAMS:

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Lay Them Down To Sleep

hen Officer Quynlin Lee leaves his beat to become a Detective, he quickly realizes that sometimes you actually get what you wish for. But working in the big league can also mean dealing with an array of heartbreaking cases, and this one is certainly no exception. Someone is on a killing spree involving children, and the Canton Police Department, although fully devoted to solving the case, find themselves painfully entwined as they learn of the loss of one of their own. Tragedy has struck for Quynlin’s partner, Buster, as his daughter is among the victims. The stress of the case ultimately leads to Buster’s retirement and voluntary commitment to a mental institution. He admits himself to the same facility where his intuitive sister is a patient when he can’t get the answers he seeks. Clairvoyant visions from his sister, Amy Sue, give Quynlin and his partner some clues into the case, but can they solve it before the killer strikes again? In working to solve the case, Quynlin must also battle his own demons, including a serious heroin addiction and thoughts of suicide that plague him. He is further troubled by thoughts that his own daughter could fall prey to what’s been called the Candy Man Killer. “Lay Them Down to Sleep” takes readers on a twisting, turning ride of suspense as they follow one raw edge detective determined to do whatever it takes to solve the case. Intriguing and mesmerizing stories have surrounded Amos L. Williams all of his life. Amos grew up hearing some that were more captivating than fiction. The passionate storyteller resorts to the emotions he still feels about his brother’s murder when the two were young men. His intention is to create a sense of realism in his novel, infusing his characters with the anger and pain of that violent act. Amos hopes readers relish the twists and turns of “Lay Them Down to Sleep” and intently follow along in Detective Quynlin Lee’s journey.■

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Photo By Paul Biagui

2016 InfluenceHer Awards Written by: Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

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rendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine is a publication on a mission to INSPIRE, EMPOWER, EDUCATE, and ELEVATE. Because Founder Rhonda Wilkins, of the InfluenceHer Awards, embodies this and more...we have been there to share and support. Each year, she and her dedicated team of professional and inspirational committee members have selected the honorees for recognition due to their contributions as women who have gone above and beyond in their field of purpose; to make a difference in someone else's life. This year was no different and just as humbling and exciting. Well known "advocates for change" like actress Kim Fields, singing sensations Nicci Gilbert of Brownstone and Angie Stone, actor and comedian Palmer Williams, Jr., radio host, Willie Moore, Jr. and actress Chrystale Wilson all supported the 5th Annual InfluenceHer Awards. In what could only be described as an evening of empowerment celebrating efficacious women operating effectively in the nation and in local communities, Atlanta, Georgia laid out the red carpet on September 29, 2016 at the Spring Hall Global Forum at 7 p.m. to honor them. The recipients were venerated for their leadership, impact within society, and influence in their distinguished fields and communities. As with each year, the event invariably provides support for the March of Dimes

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of Fulton County. "I had the privilege of assembling a committee of Influencers who have joined me in honoring nine phenomenal women. We are excited to acknowledge the efforts of these trail blazers who consistently demonstrate a high level of commitment to improving their communities. The 2016 InfluenceHER Award Honorees have been selected based on their unique ability to uplift those in the spheres of influence, while serving as positive role models in and throughout the metro Atlanta area and beyond. These impressive women have met unparalleled success in their respective areas and we are elated to be able to present a small token of gratitude for their efforts,� remarked Executive Producer, Rhonda Wilkins. The exceptional ensemble of women, hosted by radio veterans, Joyce Little and Beth Goodman were bestowed awards as the 2016 InfluenceHer Award Honorees: Ms. Nicci Gilbert Daniels, (NO EGO Entertainment) ; Ms. J. Veronica Biggins, (Diversified Search); Ms. Erika Barnes Ford, (Southern Solutions); Ms. Treya Tolbert, (USA Caravan); Ms. Felicia Phillips, (The Pinkprenuer Network); Ms. Alma G. Davis, (Alma G. Davis Foundation); Ms. Kim Fields (Actress, Director, Producer and Writer); Ms. La Detra White, (Noble Insight Inc.); and 12 year old Aaliyah Rucker, (A Touch of Warmth Foundation). The Presenters for the evening were: Actor, Mishon; Blogger, Yalanda Lattimore (Dryer Buzz); Actor, Palmer

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EMPOWERING AND MOTIVATING CHANGE WITHIN COMMUNITIES— IS OUR LEGACY

Williams, Jr.; CouncilWoman Mary Norwood; Actress, Chrystal Wilson; and Radio Host, Willie Moore, Jr. Special Performances by: Angelica Reese, Love Parq, and Xavier Lewis. Special tribute from Angie Stone and Dr. Pauline Key for Creator Rhonda Wilkins, who received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award signed by President Barack Obama. For more information, please visit: www.influenceherawards.com and for Media Inquiries conntact Wendy Malloy at info@influenceherawards.com.■

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Photos captured by Larry Person of True Life Media


Hank Stewart’s 2016 Annual

Hot Chocolate Affair

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Written By Beverly Hill (Shelley)

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was in attendance once again for Hank Stewart’s 2016 Annual Hot Chocolate Affair supporting the Stewart Foundation. The event this year took on a little different spin. It had the same excitement, but the difference was a little bitter sweet because Tommy Ford, better known as Tommy from the 1990’s sitcom Martin had recently died. Everyone remembers so well the famous line, “TOMMY AIN’T GOT NO JOB!!” Who can forget Tommy’s famous hardy laugh that is quickly and easily identifiable from a distance…Aha ha, ha, ha!! Tommy was a good friend and colleague to Hank Stewart. They worked in collaboration on various projects supporting the Stewart Foundation. Stewart dedicated this year’s Hot Chocolate Affair to his dear friend. The announcement to honor Tommy during this event inspired

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countless people to come out and celebrate his life. It was a packed house!! Later in the evening, there was time set aside to honor and remember him! So, this year had a slight somber feel combined with love and compassion. The festivities began in the huge lobby of the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center. As always, there were lots of chocolates and other delectable goodies to sample via tasting stations. Later in the evening, judges voted the ‘BEST’ for their culinary skills. Walking around sampling foods, talking, meeting new people, and laughing with old acquaintances is always fun as we listened to music spun by a DJ. Sean Mulkey, live acrylic artist, was in attendance for his second year. Near the end of the affair, Sean’s art is auctioned off with proceeds going to the Stewart Foundation. We moved from the lobby area into the auditorium. Rep-

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resentatives from Xerox came to the stage offering very encouraging words, thanking Hank Stewart for his caring, his hard work and dedication to others. Xerox has been a supporter of the Stewart Foundation for 13 years. They asked that each of us put time and finances into this formidable organization. Though Chef G Garvin was unable to be in attendance as host this year, he offered his apologies via satellite. He congratulated Hank Stewart for his 25 years of absolutely amazing, profound life-changing poetry. Garvin states, “When you think about poetry you don’t typically think of African American men; you don’t think about 25 years and what it takes to get to that level.” He continues with more accolades, appreciation, and congratulations!! Garvin then went on to give tribute to Tommy Ford sharing a lot of his very own personal memories of him. He said, “When you think of Tommy you think about his laugh, a laugh that everybody knows!” Now it’s time for the concert!! The guest for this year’s Hot Chocolate Affair was saxophonist Marion Meadows!! The music was phenomenal! Later Joey Sommerville and Ryan Kilgore came on stage to join him. Wow, what a concert! Meadows adds a very personal touch and variety to his performance by the way he interacts with the audience between each song selection. He spoke of memories that we all could identify with, and he also made us laugh. Meadows announced that he loves Atlanta and will definitely be back!! The host, Vincent (Dichotomy) Hockett, gave recognition to the Executive Director of the Stewart Foundation - Ms. Gwen Mason. She is the backbone of the foundation. Ms. Mason spoke about the great turn out of people that came out to pay tribute to Tommy Ford. She went on to say that Tommy was a

strong supporter, a strong partner, an incredible brother, and a true bloodline to the Stewart Foundation. A video was created that showed Tommy’s television and movie involvement. Actually viewing all that he had done and hearing about his help and ministry to others was awe-inspiring. In the 7 years that he was in Atlanta, he did so much to encourage and inspire. Near the end of the video, in the last clip Tommy said, “People ask me everyday something about a job, and here’s what I believe. A job is when you are about your Father’s business!” The video ended with Tommy saying in a loud voice…“You Got a Job Dawg!” Hockett introduced the man of the hour, the man behind the Stewart Foundation, none other than Mr. Chocolate himself, Hank Stewart! Stewart thanked everyone for making the event a success. He reminded us that we were privileged to experience a Grammy Award winning sax player Marion Meadows, along with Joey Sommerville, Ryan Kilgore, and an incredible band all on one stage for only $25.00!! I personally don’t know where you can get all that this evening encompassed for such a small fee!! Stewart also reminded us stating, “All those dollars make their way to our kids! We gave away seventeen book scholarships…each five hundred dollars! The foundation also gave away footlockers full of everything needed for those going away to school.” He added, “When you pledge, that money will hit the street, no slicing it before it gets there. It’s going to hit the street…it’s going to touch our children. Make a pledge, and you’ll see this money work!” Of course, Stewart always blesses us with his poetry before we go. He recited several pieces that are always enjoyed to the utmost ending with his poem, Chocolate!! Well, this concluded another Hot…Hot Chocolate Affair! I’ll see you again next year!!■


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9th Annual Winter White Georgian Terrace was the host location for the 9th Annual Winter White Party held Monday, December 19th, with proceeds from the glamorous event benefiting Atlanta-based charity “Social Georgia.” The prior year’s Winter White Party attracted more than 1200 people, including celebrity guests such as Bravo’s Married to Medicine reality TV star and fashion designer Lisa Nicole; former Atlanta Hawks center Kevin Willis; DJ Rooney G; and, many others. The 2016 event had nearly 2000 people in attendance – all wearing their most fashionable white attire. The event featured an exquisite red carpet experience hosted by Elizabeth Cooper of The Elizabeth Cooper Show,

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ince 2008, a week before Christmas, the Winter White Party has brought out a mix of Atlanta business professionals, artists, fashionistas and celebrities, who have been encouraged to wear their most fashionable or outrageous white outfits to this festive gathering. The party kicked off with an Invitation-only 2 -hour VIP reception at 6 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m., with specially selected DJs, live music, dancing, interactive entertainment, and more! The Unforgettable and Tantalizing Winter White Party of 2016 had “The ATL” eagerly awaiting another big night! The

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produced by Turning Point Broadcasting, an online media company with five million plus subscribers nationwide. Turning Point Broadcasting taped live from the entrance of the event with a full blown “Academy award-like” set up. Also featured were a few dynamic surprise performances and artists along with expected celebrity guests from the music industry such as rapper/songwriter/producer Christopher Ghoulson (aka Drumma Boy), who is a three-time Indie producer of the year winner, and has twice been nominated for Producer of the year at the Ozone and BET awards and Latin-American pop group Ruth & The Knights. Former Falcons Fullback and ProBowler Ovie Mughelli served as a Host/MC alongside PR guru, Krista Lewis. Many local and international sponsors such as JP Morgan, American Family Insurance, Miles Models, Grey Goose, Image SkinCare, and Bebe, all aligned in support of the most anticipated holiday event in Atlanta. “We are delighted to have our brand be

a part of the Winter White Party 2016 which was totally fashion forward with a good cause,” said Taylor Olson from Bebe’s marketing team, an international fashion brand based in Brisbane, CA. “The Winter White Party has become a tradition in Atlanta, perfectly blending a fantastic holiday party with a meaningful cause,” said Michael Bryant of Philip Michael Public Relations, LLC, in Atlanta. “We were proud that the occasion benefited “Social Georgia” (socialgeorgia.org) as it played a significant role in helping to advance their mission to support the philanthropic endeavors in Atlanta and help sustain, teach, and increase effectiveness of non-profits that need support and direction. We invited everyone to come out and celebrate the holidays at one of the best experiences of the season – all while contributing to a wonderful cause.” If you missed the 2016 five-star event, plan now to be in attendance this year working your winter white!■

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The Power in the Paint Camela L. Douglass, M.S. ED

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e put on his red tie. She put on her red lipstick. They both showed up and won! Power to the people. The psychology of wearing red lipstick is a historic phenomenon. Despite its risqué and tumultuous beginnings—a real lady loves her red lipstick. The power of painting the lips red has transcended ancient civilization, social class, fashion trends, and has influenced the lives of both men and woman around the world for centuries. From the infamous “kiss of death” to Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I’s love for red lipstick, painting your lips red is more than a hashtag. It has earned its place in history as a power move for change. Atlanta business exec and life enthusiast, Dr. Karmetria Burton, is now a part of this powerful history. Hit by the magic in the midst of getting made up before a show—she chose RED. As her makeup artist proceeded to paint her lips red, she felt different. She explains this experience in great detail. “When I looked in the mirror I saw a ‘different’ me. The MAGIC happened! I felt sexy, empowered, abled, poised and ready! On any given day, I am usually confident; however, today was different. There was a different ‘swagger’ that happened. I was intentional and laser focused. As I went about the day, I received an unusual number of compliments. I immediately noted the greater sense of awareness that I was experiencing.” This empowering experience motivated Dr. Burton to reach out to other women and inquire about the feeling they experienced when they painted their lips red. Over 50 women in all states answered the call, and the magic was ignited. As a result, the Paint Your Lips Red campaign was born. Paint your Lips Red (PYLR) is a campaign to empower, equip, create awareness and become a daily reminder for women to use their voice, and watch the magic that happens through the power of wearing red lipstick. The campaign started as a social media challenge and has turned into a movement. Women have found their shade and their groove through the power of the paint. The red lipstick has united women in sisterhood, and allowed them to share their personal stories, while encouraging them to be bold, courageous and authentic.

Dr. Karmetria Burton FOUNDER, (PYLR)

ally. The movement will equip women to become more aware while preparing the next generation of women leaders. A national PYLR day is underway in partnership with a cosmetic line which will create an exclusive shade for the national day. PYLR will also partner with the American Heart Association and AIDS awareness campaign to promote the importance of health. ■ Join the Paint Your Lips www.paintyourlipsred.com

Red

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#paintyourlipsred #redlipmagic #girlmagic

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The mission of PYLR is to reach 10,000 women glob-


GOD’S GIRLS INTERNATIONAL(GGI) “Give Back Project”

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id you know that Now, with five years under its in the state of belt, annual conferences have reGeorgia, almost sulted in hundreds of young ladies twice as many peobeing trained, inspired and motiple die by suicide vated to believe in, and walk out, than homicide, their destinies. Girls are coached with the largest on insights which support a strong recent increase in self-esteem as an essential element suicide being young girls ages 10 to 14? in today’s changing and challenAre you also aware that well over 50% of ging world. Conferences provide all youth have been a victim of cyber bullyawareness about the real world of ing, again, with young girls having a higher social media and introduce a variepercentage than young men? With a clear ty of relatable topics that stimulate target placed on the future of America’s conversation “to be real – to be young women, there is clearly a need for honest.” organizations right here in Georgia to adGirls not only learn to receive, dress some of the core issues in this generabut are also taught to give. This Kimberly Tibbs, tion. attribute is demonstrated via annual FOUNDER (GGI) In 2011, God’s Girls International “Give Back Projects” which pro(GGI) began as part of a church ministry vide solutions to hundreds of peoseeking to combat these ills for young laple in a number of ways. Locally, dies ages 12-18. The mission of the initiative was designed to through the United Way, GGI donated boxes filled with perempower young women through mentoring, personal and prosonal items to benefit homeless mothers and their children. fessional entrepreneurial training, and more. As the progresOlder mothers in a senior citizens’ facility smiled a bit longer sion of the ministry continued to expand, systematic steps were after they were given handmade sachets to brighten their day. taken by founder, Kimberly Tibbs, to organize for a greater Abroad, U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan experienced an impact. God’s Girls International formally became a 501(c)3 increase in morale when they opened handwritten letters Christian-based, non-profit organization in 2014. In 2016, Glopenned by GGI girls who endeavored to encourage them durbal Girls Incorporated (GGI) was birthed as the sister organizaing their combat tour of duty. Also, young ladies in Africa tion, projected to reach all audiences around the world. received a wardrobe makeover when GGI collected and donated pillow cases that were converted into dresses and sent from the U.S. “We realize that some of the many testimonies and the impact we are making will only be heard when we get to heaven”, said founder, Kimberly Tibbs. A few of the testimonies from young girls and comments from their mothers are included below:

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“When I first came to GGI, I didn’t know what to expect. When I walked in the doors, I was given lots of hugs and I felt welcomed. During each session, I learned something new. I learned about cyberbullying, sexting (something you should never do), catfishing and I learned that I need to keep my self-esteem high. I learned that beauty is not just on the outside but on the inside, too. If I am talking to future kids, I want to tell you that GGI is very good for you

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“The conference was great. Can’t wait ‘til next year’s and the sleepover!” D. Johnson, Douglasville, GA “Keep this program going strong – these young women need something like this to stimulate their minds in a different light.” K. Holston, Atlanta, GA “Excellent conference. Will be back again. Very protective parent – lol. Foremost, felt God’s presence from time I entered room and felt my daughter is in good hands!!! Thanks so much. I was blessed as well.” – M. Jones, Atlanta, GA GGI conferences are full-day, interactive events, complete with sessions that delve into a wide range of topics. Each lovelaced session equips girls with educational empowerment to strengthen the awareness of what a healthy relationship should be. The all-important “What to Wear…What Not to Wear” session is always fun and enlightening, as the young ladies awaken to the perils of inappropriate dress, which represent appetizing advertisements for trouble. Other staple course sessions include lessons on Etiquette before elevating to fun and loads of laughter in the always-popular, “Picture Me” photo booth! Beyond the annual conferences, life courses arm young ladies to stand strong amid a wave of over-sexualization of women. In the session titled “How Women are Portrayed in the Media”, the objectification of the female body is discussed in age-appropriate terms that set the standard for developing a strong identity. Additionally, in “The Path for Your Future” session, young ladies are guided along a track designed to

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complete the enrollment requirements for college. GGI has also held other fun, yet informative and engaging, events like sleepovers and a young and adult women’s tea. Future classes will include, but are not limited to, sessions on reading comprehension, entrepreneurship, and personal development. These examples are not exhaustive, but are thematic in that they all are purposed to help each attendee understand and achieve their God-given potential. Hosting a GGI event is an easy task to accomplish. All conferences, courses and events are scaled to match existing needs that arise within our community’s emerging women. Once you envision needs for the girls in your area, simply contact us for a consultation. GGI will work with your representative to create the same level of excellence and excitement for your girls that GGI girls have experienced at previous events. The ease with which we customize the program is seamless, as the foundational principals remain consistent throughout the country. However, we equally understand the uniqueness that makes up each need within a given community. Global Girls has plans to construct GGI Centers across the country and around the world where girls from all backgrounds, socioeconomic classes, and faiths can be celebrated, taught and trained to be empowered and to commission others to achieve their dreams and goals on a global scale. Within these Centers, the legacy and spirit of the “Give Back Project” will create scholarship, goodwill, and expand the heart and soul of what it means to be a Global Girl.■ Please join us as a Global Girl, as a volunteer, or as a donor. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, please call Marlene Collins-Hamler, Executive Director, at 470-236-1444.

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and that you would always be welcomed.” C. Burrows, Villa Rica, GA


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SS A A B B E E R R II N N A A 80BEAUTY PROFILE

photo credit David Price designer Coretta Maria2017 JANUARY/FEBRUARY


S ABERINA The Ageless Beauty

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photo by David Price designer Bae-bee Stylez Kimberly Young

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aberina’s modeling career began December 31, 2015, New Year’s Eve, at the age of 56, when she signed on with the Lyngale Modeling Agency in Atlanta, Georgia after meeting Lanita Jo Fox, one of their models. The CEO, Ms. Tina Bridges had a concept that she agreed with that “Life is not over… Life begins at 40 and that age is just a number.” The Agency requires that you have confidence and an attitude. There are more than 30 Ageless Beauty & Beau Models of Atlanta that Tina B keeps werkin. The agency is for the older models who never had a chance to pursue their modeling dreams. You don’t have to be a young or a slim sized model, or even a tall model, just a confident model that loves what you do. The Agency was recognized and nominated by the Atlanta Rice Awards, as well as some of the models, as Atlanta’s Hottest in various categories for not only modeling, but radio broadcasting, authors, ministry and acting careers. Saberina has always had a love for fashion growing up in a small town in North Carolina, and she learned about sewing and design from her grandmothers, one who made a living as a seamstress. Saberina stands at 5’3” and is modeling and slaying the runway for Ageless Beauty of Atlanta and charities like Ovarian Cancer Awareness, and the Goodlyfe Atlanta Full Figure Fashion Week that supports Lupus Awareness. She has just this year begun to engage in an acting career as a positive role model, and is currently on the cast of Curvz N Slimz of Atlanta. She will also be featured in April 2017 at the Peach State Film Festival held at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center. The Ageless Beauty Models will put on a fashion show at this 2017 event. Saberina is currently 57 years of age and will be celebrating her next birthday in March of 2017. She will be traveling some in 2017, modeling, and will continue to pursue her acting career. She has been on the cover of Bold Favor Magazine for Ageless Beauty, twice for the Designer, Norah Khan, of Snellville, Georgia. She recently graced the latest November edition of The Bold Ageless Beauty Magazine for models. She is a Distinctive Model and a Norah Khan Commercial Sales Fashionista. A model for YCYOS Photography, Saberina enjoys being a fun size and height that is accepted in the modeling industry. She loves to sing and has been a member for several years of the Ministry of Arts Word of Faith Cathedral Choir in Austell, Georgia. Her Pastor Bishop Dale C. Bronner has always inspired her to be positive and impactful with his teachings. She encourages women to be healthy, love God and to love themselves as God has created them, flaws and all… and to pursue your dreams and purpose. She’s a mother of two adult daughters and grandmother of two grandchildren in Atlanta, Georgia. She inspires others to be a trendsetter, a role model for your children and to love what you do. It’s never too late to use your gifts, talents and ability to give God all of the Glory!■


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lessed Edwards is a 37 year old Plus Size Model, Actress, and Poetry Writer from Atlanta, Georgia. She began her modeling career some 13 years ago as a print model and from there decided to expand her career to runway modeling. Blessed enjoys showing off her runway flair and loves the pleasure it gives her audience. Both she and the designers are routinely overjoyed when she graces the stage in their beautifully crafted garments. Her decision to enter the world of modeling was motivated by her desire to show nay-sayers, that there is room for women of all sizes in the modeling industry to be recognized for their beauty and talent. It is also important to her to encourage and uplift other beautiful women and children sized like herself. Blessed wants those women and children to know that they too are beautiful and should love every inch of themselves no matter what anyone says. In addition to her modeling, Blessed is a motivational speaker in all aspects of life. Modeling became an escape into a new world of living for Blessed. Blessed is determined to keep others motivated and encouraged by her hard work. She is constantly encouraging others, women and men to go after their dreams. Blessed is no stranger to hard work and delivers with such grace as she prominently maintains her rightful place on the runway. Blessed genuinely embraces who she is, inside and out, and it shows every time she steps into the spotlight. Blessed attributes much of her success to not conforming to society’s ideals of beauty, but rather showing by example that you can be beautiful and confident regardless of your size. Blessed is considered an empowering, confident, and inspiration to all within the plus size industry. She shows no signs of slowing down or stopping her ambitious pursuit of maintaining success anytime soon.â–

Social Media: Instagram: PlusModel_Blessed Facebook: www.facebook.com/PLUSMODELBLESSED

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Yazmina De Casta:

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azmina De Casta is 42 years old and married with two beautiful daughters. Originally from Panama City, Panama, Yazimina currently resides in Arlington, Texas where she has been modeling for about 4 years under the name “Yazmina La Flor”. Yazmina has a true passion for fashion, citing how it has no color, size, weight, age, or ethnicity requirements “It’s universal”. Yazmina began modeling as a way to learn to love herself. Yazmina believes that low self-esteem is a real issue for many people and a battle she had been fighting for years. Through modeling, she has pressed forward to overcome that obstacle. Yazmina considers herself as a true giver, one that is there to support others and share her gifts. Yazmina sees it as a blessing to be able to help others. She also serves as a Pastor Assistant in addition to donating her time and talents supporting non-profit organizations. Yazmina’s biggest inspiration has come from working with people who she states “believed they weren’t good enough to achieve their dreams because of some insecurity”, but through hard work and determination were able to overcome those obstacles. Yazmina is a professional model and advocate for women and their body image. She inspires, empowers, uplifts and motivates others as she graces the runway. She has a keen sense of fashion and takes command as she models designer pieces in editorial photoshoots. Yazmina is a brand ambassador for the Designer Faith Diva and Laila Glam Cosmetics. She’s been published in three magazines and has appeared in a video and commercial for a fashion boutique. Yazmina had the good fortune to model for a designer on Good Morning Texas News Cast. Her charity work is something she is very proud of as well. On the job, she donates for “Jeans day” where those proceeds directly support several charity organizations. She doesn’t stop there, she also delivers meals in the Meals on Wheels program and volunteers at the local elementary school where the annual event supports low income families and children. It is no secret, Yazmina is very ambitious. She is motivated by the fashion designs that have been created from her visions. She is a trendsetter and innovator. She represents her style by choosing to coordinate colors, patterns, and styles in her pieces. Her favorite color is the rainbow because she loves a variety of colors. She believes colors bring positive energy and smiles to people’s faces. Yazmina makes it her goal to dress to impress every day and loves remixing things that she has already added to her wardrobe. She enjoys creating styles from her Thrift Store finds which often surprises people by how stylishly her outfit treasures come together. Yazmina reminds women to create and wear clothing that is flattering to your size and shape. Don’t settle for something just because you find it in your size, allow it to compliment you. Yazmina believes it is important that women find their own style, one that makes you feel and look confident, bold, and makes a statement everywhere you go. It is very important to embrace who you are and feel empowered in your clothing while motivating others. She believes fashion is an artistic way to express yourself in the clothing that you wear. Yazmina’s vision is to be a worldwide trendsetter, cover model, Fashion Icon and even a legend! With hard work, determination, and positivity, through God all things are possible. Be Free To Be You!!!■

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Dominique

Lemon Actress Singer Model

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ctress Dominique “Journ’e S’mone” Lemon is earning her way to the top in the entertainment industry with her amazing skills of singing and acting. She was recently on tour with the stage play “Even a Good Man is Tempted”, written, produced and directed by Jeremy E. Cormier. She shared the stage with Shirley Murdock and Denzel Wells from Tyler Perry’s “If Loving You Is Wrong”. Before long, she landed a lead role in the stage play “Don’t Judge Me for Who I Am” written, produced and directed by Jessie “Mr. MiraKool” Simms. Soon after, she booked a feature role in the movie “Aborted” in hopes to be in theaters soon! Born in El Paso, TX, she grew up in St. George, South Carolina with her dad and grandmother. At the age of 14 years old, her grandmother died. After the death of her grandmother, she relocated to San Antonio, TX. When she was in the 10th grade she was introduced to theatre. She was so intrigued by the arts; she continued her passion for acting throughout high school. She was so elated with the arts that she decided she wanted to pursue theatre as a career. After graduating high school in 2004, she relocated to Tallahassee, Florida to attend Florida A&M University (FAMU) where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre Performance. While at FAMU she was in several productions such as Dearly Departed, The NEC Classic and many more. Also, while attending FAMU she received Ms. Essential Theatre from 2008-2009. She graduated from FAMU in December 2009; upon graduation she landed her first lead role in a stage play entitled “For Real This Time” by an up incoming director Markeisha L. Gordon. In this production she discovers her voice (musically). Lemon then relocated to Atlanta, GA to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress, music artist and her new found interest modeling. Upon arriving, she dove right into her artistry by taking classes at the famous,” Blue Print for Hollywood Studio”. While studying there, she also auditioned for many other plays and came across the play “Church Folks” that she was cast for, directed by Zakiya H. Watford former cast member of Tyler Perry’s play “Family Reunion”. Shortly after, she continued her training through Alchemy of Acting with instructor Lalanya Master former actress. In this acting ensemble she was able to get in front of some respected names in the entertainment industry; such as director John Singleton, Malcom Lee and casting director Kim Hardin. Lemon, wanted to break into the film industry so she decided to train with the best. In 2014, she was able to train in New York with acting coach Nina Binder, former student of celebrity acting coach Susan Baston. This experience was one of the trajectory points of her career. This experience motivated her to have courage, to work on some short films and TV pilots. The acting gigs were not coming as frequently, so she decided to focus on her other passions, modeling and music. While focusing on modeling she was able to do a few fashion shows and photoshoots. When she wasn’t focusing on modeling she focused on music. While focusing on music, she discovered her artist name Journ’e S’mone. She started singing in church and performing at open mics. Lemon is currently enjoying the journey God has her on.■


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Tony Terry “WHen I’m With You” By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

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which was released October 2015! He presently has a brand new single titled, “December Goodbye,” which he tells me is an end of the year song…a break up song. He states, “I’m singing it with a friend, Sylver Logan Sharp. I went to high school with her; we had a long-term relationship. Emotionally, it’s just a powerful song.” Terry also shares, “In January 2017, I have a new CD titled From The Heart, which will have a single released from it called, Who Can Tell The Heart, and I’m also shooting a video for it!” He is currently starring in Black Nativity at Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey. This man is steadily on the move! I wanted to know more about Tony Terry the person, so I asked him to share a couple of things that most people don’t know about him. He proceeded to reveal to me, “A lot of people don’t know that I can cook…I can burn!!” Of course, I asked for an invite!! (Laughter) I asked if he played any instruments, and this was his response, which had us both laughing, “I don’t play any instruments; I have a short attention span. The patience that it would require to learn an instrument I didn’t have, so I wanted to sing!! As far as hobbies, my son plays football, so I’m active in that, supporting him and making sure he has what he needs. I take care of my family and keep a normal existence. I also spend a lot of time in the studio or in the gym.” In 2010, Terry was the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) spokesperson. The association commemorated National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day in Anaheim, California. Terry, whose wife has fibromyalgia, performed a special concert during the closing Lights of Hope candle lighting ceremony. He also created a not for profit organization, Tony Terry All Lives Matter, Inc. The proceeds from his single, “All Lives Matter,” serve to benefit the victims of violence and brutality, and their families. Terry stated, “World peace is something that must happen without delay.” It’s clear to see that Tony Terry is a multifaceted man, full of talent and has a lot going on!! Oh! I must add that for the 59th Grammy Awards, Tony Terry is being considered for the Best Historical Album award, which includes his most famous hit, “With You”!! This has been such a long time coming. Good luck Tony! Remember we are “With You!”■

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don’t know anyone that does not remember Tony Terry; he had several R&B hits in the late 80’s! Remember his song, “With You,” from his self-titled second album in 1990?? This song still makes us women swoon today! It’s one of the most requested wedding songs of all time!! Tony Terry was born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, D.C. While in D.C., he attended and graduated from the Duke Ellington School of Arts. He currently lives in Atlanta with his family. I had the privilege of being invited by Terry to the Howard Hewett, Tony Terry, and Rome concert on October 14, 2016. Actually, before the show, is when I did this interview! Terry is a very personable man with a contagious smile, and he’s an absolute delight to be around. He dedicated the show to his friend Tommy Ford better known as “Tommy” from the sitcom Martin. Tommy transitioned from this life just two days prior to this interview. I wanted to know what inspired Terry’s famous song “With You.” He states, “A friend of mine by the name of Raymond Reeder wrote the song. I had a lot going on in my life at that time and that song represented how I felt. The reason the song was written is another story, but I recorded it because of the things I was going through, and had just won custody of my baby…that made me happy! A lot of people don’t know it, but Anita Baker is the reason that the video “With You” exists. I didn’t even know her at the time! She gave me the money to produce it and she is the Executive Producer.” Terry has had many amazing and memorable moments. He was a 1991 Soul Train Music Award nominee. He reminisces, “I was honored to be in the category with Michael Jackson, and Luther Vandross… (chuckling) Michael Jackson won!” Another memorable event for him was when he worked on a musical titled Sisterella that Michael Jackson produced. Terry continues, “The song She’s Fly was released in 1987, and written by one of my high school friends whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. I had just finished my album when I ran into him. I took him to the studio right away; we recorded She’s Fly…it ended up being the first single off the album that started the whole thing!” Tony Terry has definitely not been idle. He is continually working on great music. His most recent album was iTony 6


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The legacy I want to leave other than my children making me prouder is for people to know that I was a man, not just a singer…I was a man. And I hope that I played a part in someone’s life to make the world a better place.~Will Downing

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Will Downing R & B AND JAZZ ARTIST, WRITER AND PRODUCER SOPHISTICATED SOULFUL SOUNDS THAT ARE TIMELESS Written by Shernita Wiggins

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this song during sound check one day. His keyboardist started playing it and he said the composition just began to flow. Then he jumped in singing the familiar tunes as the rest of the band joined in and it erupted into some rearrangements taking place. One thing is for sure, Will Downing has some of the most talented groups of musicians working with him and ready to spark a flame no matter where they are. The other classic tune is entitled, Does Your Momma Know About Me, a 60’s track that expounds upon interracial dating originally cut by Bobby Taylor. Will manages to share the intimate notion in such a way, that you find yourself rooting for the couple just from the sweet lingering tones; and, realize that “love is just love” no matter the color of your skin. The next track to get you in the lollipop-mood is This Song Is For You. This song is the candy-man version of inspiration to those who need that little extra encouragement, and it is sung to the tempo of a Stepper’s beat. Next on the list of “sweets for my sweetie.” is I Could Never Say No To You. For all you lovers who find it hard to resist doing whatever it takes to please that love of your life, Will Downing draws you into the storyline with tantalizing crooning that will either have you wishing that you were the object of that man’s affection, or taking notes on how to keep her from saying no, to you. And the last tasty treat on the “platter of love” is a chocolate-covered strawberry temptation created just for YOU, Till U Come Back. This number is toe-curling and sure to make you put it on repeat. That’s enough drooling for now; lick your lips, and remember… when Will Downing’s Chocolate Drop album…drops in April 2015, make sure you are there to catch it (wink), and get your copy as quick as you can. Just in case you were wondering how this magnificently sexy and soulful artist is able to put out hit-after-hit for his fans…it came from his deep spiritual connection, and realizing early on that one of his gifts was singing. The foundation was inspired by some of the late-greats like, Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross, along with Stevie Wonder who is still “relevant” today. So, Will is determined to produce albums that are timeless, no matter the change of the times, or his battle with health issues. He is only slowing down long enough to keep lighting fires under romance and retaining its kindle by adding his own cinnamon touch of a “spice o’ life” for the grown and sexy fans.■

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he Prince of Sophisticated Soul has done it again! His last album, Euphoria, combined the soulful sounds of R&B and Jazz to create melodies and lyrics that shared a little flava with both genres, for his dedicated fans. Now, get ready for the New Chocolate Drop album, filled with the sensational and audible sounds of Will Downing’s smooth R&B vocals, flowing just like the delectable title that bears its name. He’s dropping spectacular sounds that are continually tugging at the heartstrings of the ageless baby-boomers, peaking the curiosity of the young crazy-in-love generation, and even opening a floodgate of heart-stopping memories—for the young-at-heart. In other words, Will’s faithful fans who have followed him for 29 years…18 albums later, will not be disappointed. He’s even picking up some new generation music lovers who are developing a savory appetite for the sultry and familiar “old school” R&B sounds that many have labeled, “baby-making” music. It is apparent that the success of Will Downing’s music comes from his consistent ability to share songs that are relevant today. I am talking about those timeless scenarios that speak about love and relationships that he knows all too well. He shares that the inspirations behind the songs come from his own experiences. I live it every day, the good and the bad. I also observe those around me, like my kids and their relationships. I believe that it’s important to talk about the things we and others go through that will be repeated for generations. This type of music will always be relevant to the time you are living in, no matter when that may occur, Will explains. Although his music spans across the sands of time, the Chocolate Drop album will quench the thirst of the most advantageous person seeking for that heart-throb answer to love, or appease the tastebuds of the one in need of a solution to their broken heart. Actually, I think as a whole, this album from top to bottom will be something for everyone. Whatever you play on it, I am proud of, Will elaborates. So what are the scrumptious melodies that you can expect to hear? Let me give you a mouth-watering sample. Will has two classic remixes, and the first of the two is Saving All My Love for You by the late and amazingly talented, Whitney Houston. You’ve heard Whitney’s breathtaking version, but now you can indulge in the scintillating vocals from a man’s perspective. Will Downing was on tour with Patti LaBelle when he was inspired to sing


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By Artist’s Staff

ne of the biggest stars of R&B, contemporary and straight-ahead jazz, Gerald Albright has earned his reputation as a “musician’s musician.” Born in Los Angeles, he began piano lessons at an early age. Albright’s love of music picked up considerably when he was given a saxophone that had belonged to his piano teacher. By the time he enrolled at the University of Redlands, he was already a polished saxophonist. Albright decided to switch to bass guitar after he saw Louis Johnson in concert. A few months after graduating from college, he joined jazz pianist/R&B singer Patrice Rushen, who was in the process of forming her own band. Later, when the bass player left in the middle of a tour, Albright replaced him and finished the tour on bass guitar. During the ’80s, Albright became a highly requested session musician, playing on albums by a wide variety of artists – including Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Lola Folana, Atlantic Starr, Olivia Newton-John, the Temptations and Maurice White. He also toured extensively with Les McCann, Jeff Lorber, Teena Marie, the Winans, Marlena Shaw, Quincy Jones, and Whitney Houston, among many others. Albright also went on to record numerous successful solo albums for Atlantic Records. Two albums hit the number one slot on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Chart, and were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards in 1989 and 1990. Phil Collins asked him to front a Big Band in 1998, and they toured together. The two of them also recorded one of Albright’s tunes, “Chips N’ Salsa” on Collins’ Big Band Project, entitled A Hot Night In Paris. Later that year, Albright released Pleasures of the Night with Will Downing on Verve Forecast, which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart as well. Albright moved to GRP in 2002 for the Groovology album, and continued to maintain his busy schedule as a session man. His second GRP album, Kickin’ It Up, followed in 2004. Two years later, he signed with Peak Records, which released the 2008 GRAMMY® nominated New Beginnings, and the 2009 GRAMMY® nominated, Sax for

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Stax; both in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album. Over the years, Albright has appeared on numerous TV shows such as A Different World, Melrose Place and BET Jazz segments, as well as piloting a show in Las Vegas with Designing Women star Meshach Taylor. Albright was selected to be one of 10 saxophonists to play at President Clinton’s inauguration ceremony. Along the way, he has sold over a million albums in the U.S. alone and has appeared on nearly 200 albums by other artists. Albright released Pushing The Envelope in June 2010 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. Pushing The Envelope is a showcase for Albright’s remarkably fine balance of songcraft and musicianship, and features special guest appearances by Fred Wesley on trombone, Earl Klugh on acoustic guitar and George Duke on acoustic piano. In December 2010, Pushing The Envelope received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album. On June 19, 2012, Albright teamed up with GRAMMY®-winning guitarist Norman Brown for 24/7, their first album together. Featuring ten killer soul-jazz tracks, 24/7 includes updated versions of “Tomorrow,” a Brothers Johnson classic from 1976, and “Champagne Life,” from singer Ne-Yo’s album Libra Scale. 24/7 was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album. On August 5, 2014, Albright released Slam Dunk and continues his reign supreme as the genre’s most compelling and consistent artist. Fans will hear his searing and soulful sax lines on this twelve-track recording. And, they’ll be in for a surprise, as Albright shows off his chops as a bassist, along with his ebullient tenor, baritone and soprano saxophone arrangements on his own compositions, and his super covers of classics by Phil Collins (“True Colors”) and James Brown (“It’s a Man’s, Man’s Man’s World”), with special guest vocalist Peabo Bryson. In December 2014, Slam Dunk received a GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.■

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Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine Jan feb 2017  
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