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CONTENT

COVER: LYNN WHITFIELD

WHAT’S INSIDE: 06 Publisher’s Note 14 Up & Coming 22 Health & Wellness 28 Fitness Trends 30 Legal Trends 42 Inspirational 46 Mixing Love & Business 48 Philanthropic 50 Author’s Corner 56 Event Trends 60 Beauty Trends 66 Fashion Trends 70 Arts & Entertainment

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MESSAGE FROM THE

PUBLISHER “Are You Running on a Full

Tank?”

2016 was a blessed year….bridges crossed, mountains climbed, and relationships built. But when you think about goal-setting and the work that lies ahead of you, I ask the question, are you running on a full tank for 2017? Although many accomplishments transpired last year, do you have a game plan for moving forward in life, and in business this year? What are you doing to improve your current situation? In getting to the next level, be sure to fill your tank with a progressive strategy. Whether your road to success is personal, spiritual, or financial, re-evaluate yourself, your surroundings, and your objectives. Get rid of the crud, the weight in your trunk, and the unwanted baggage, in order to create a clean and positive path of direction. Once you determine your new direction, you can establish a precise plan for how you wish to move forward. Fill your tank with positive resources, education, and financial growth opportunities. Don‘t forget while driving such a long route, that nutritious eating habits and physical exercise help to maintain a strong mind and good health. Pack some patience, perseverance and knowledge, because they will all play a part in your journey‘s success. Running on a full tank offers many benefits. But most importantly, it assures you have enough energy to run the route and finish your journey. Remember that mileage is important, and sometimes the longest route can be the most rewarding. Obstacles and stops may slow you down along the way, but if you‘ve got a good map, are well prepared, and have determined your purpose, you will reach your destination successfully and reap the rewards you set out to achieve.

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If you‘re not running on a full tank for 2017, how will you get to the next level?■

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Photo By Jetsonz Media

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Lynn Whitfield: hitfield

Iconic Living Legend and Hollywood Royalty Written by Greta Wheeler

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n May 6, 1953, Valerian Smith and Jean Butler Smith presented to the world their firstborn, Lynn Butler-Smith. Today, she is famously known as Lynn Whitfield; a living legend, Hollywood icon and royalty to both stage and screen. The eldest of four children, the Louisiana southern star, hails from a noble family. Her father, Valerian Smith, was a dentist and her mother Jean, was a financial officer. Whitfield, however, traveled a different career path than that of her successful parents and began a journey of her own. She was introduced to dramatic arts due to her father‘s role in forming the community theater in her native home, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her start with the local theater eventually led her to the Black Repertory Company in Washington, D.C. and New York City; ultimately leading on the path from starlet to stardom. ―My dad, who wrote music, came to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from West Virginia and identified a void in the community at that time in the 50s and 60s. There weren‘t a lot of cultural opportunities for African American audiences to be apart of so he started something called the Baton Community Chorus doing plays….‖ She shared with T2T. Whitfield continued to fuel her love for theater, earning her bachelor‘s degree from Howard University. Upon graduation, she relocated to New York City where she further trained, ultimately landing roles in off-Broadway productions such as the musical, The Great MacDaddy, Showdown, and For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. In 2013, Whitfield delivered a powerful performance as Alberta Gaye, in My Brother Marvin, a stage play


depicting the life of iconic R&B recording artist, Marvin Gaye.

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The legendary actress has starred in countless television series‘ and made for television movies, portraying strong supporting characters as well as leading roles in shows such as; Johnnie Mae Gibson, FBI, The Slugger‘s Wife, Women of Brewster‘s Place, Stepmom, The George McKenna Story, Confessions, A Girl Thing, The Color of Courage, and Gone Fishin‘; just a small extraction from her extensive list of television appearances. The pivotal moment of Whitfield‘s career that made her a national Phenom came in 1991 when she reduced herself and resurrected the spirit of Josephine Baker in the HBO biopic film, The Josephine Baker Story. The performance led her to a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a mini-series or movie and she won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. During the making of the Josephine Baker story, Whitfield became the leading lady for a second time to the director of the feature, Brian Gibson. The two grew attracted to each other and became husband and wife in June of 1990, shortly after the completion of filming. The marriage only lasted a little over a year but, during their union, the two celebrated a precious gift on August 2, 1991, when they gave birth to their daughter, Grace. Since the highly acclaimed performance as Josephine Baker, Whitfield continues to move forward; evolving as an artist and consistently demonstrating versatility with an effortless and flawless ability to transform into any role that‘s laid before her. Whether portraying the role such as the pretentious, conceited mother, Victoria, in ‗Madea‘s Family Reunion‘ or Brandy, a woman scorned and a force to be reckoned with in ‗A Thin Line Between Love and Hate‘, Whitfield is armed and ready for the task. ―I think that there‘s so much more that I can do. I don‘t believe in any of the hype. I just feel so young in my spirit that I don‘t want to be put in a box.‖ She affirms. There are many facets to the thespian gem apart from her artistry. Whitfield enjoys being involved with [campaign] surrogate work, advocating on behalf of candidates or elected officials. ―I love surrogate work for people I believe in.‖ She expressed.

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Grace and Lynn

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muse. She‘s my encourager… She‘s the best project I ever did.‖ She shared. Currently, the five time NAACP Image Award winner can be seen delivering yet another powerful performance on OWN Networks prime time television series, Greenleaf, as the imperious, Lady Mae. The iconic Hollywood beauty shares her continued love and passion for the art form and has no intentions of slowing down and hopes to undertake future projects of her own as a producer. ―As you mature in the business, there‘s a lot you can‘t do, but maybe there‘s a lot more that I can do… I look forward to taking on roles that I‘ve never ever done before.‖▄

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―One of the best things in the world for me was working for both of the elections for President Obama where they flew many people around and I happened to be one of the surrogates… That kind of work takes me out of myself; takes me out of this whole world [Artistry] because that‘s real life.‖ With an immeasurable list of achievements behind her, Lynn jubilantly admits that her greatest achievement is her daughter, rising recording artist and actress, Grace Gibson, who recently landed the role of Faith Evans in the biopic feature film about the life of Tupac Shakur, ‗All Eyez On Me.‘ Grace landed her first role as the Virgin Mary in Black Nativity Whitfield shared that she and daughter, Grace, are and always have been a team who supports and encourages one another. ―My daughter is my


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Shae Harmony

The Grand Prize Winner of ―Atlanta Top Vocals‖ Sponsored by TuKute By: Tukute & Tina Williams

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star was born on July 28, 1990. This star is none other than ―Brittney Lashay Farmer‖ who is also known by stage name, Shae Harmony. Shae Harmony's sultry voice and demanding presence captivates the hearts and minds of listeners. Shae Harmony hails from Snow Hill, North Carolina and has been entertaining masses locally with her soulful voice since the age of 8. Not only has Shae Harmony performed at the Radio One Raleigh's Woman's Empowerment, but was named the Sing off winner of WPEG /WBAV. Most recently, Shae Harmony was named the Grand Prize Winner of Atlanta Top Vocals sponsored by TuKute in October 2016. Shae Harmony doesn't have a target audience because she wants her music to reach everyone. Shae Harmony hopes to inspire, influence, and empower through her own lyrics. When asked which icons most influenced her and ignited her desire to sing Shae Harmony responded, "Michael Jackson and Beyoncé. Michael had music that brought people together, and that is my mission too. I love his inspiring and fun music. He was a trooper who pushed through all the negativity critics said about him; and its Beyoncé‘s strength, endurance, humbleness and powerhouse vocals. She inspires me to never give up, no matter the criticism!" Additionally, Shae Harmony wants to shift the negative portrayal of women in the entertainment industry to more positive images of success. She had this to say to women who are constantly engulfed by the industry's denigrating portrayal of females, "I want to show women that we can be CEO's, entrepreneurs, and so much more. We can be attractive with clothes on. Don't let the media discourage you!" Shae Harmony is very family oriented and humbly acknowledges that without God, the support and encouragement from her family and friends she wouldn't be where she is today! One thing is for sure, Shae Harmony's powerhouse vocals will send shivers down your spine, shivers of ecstasy and ultimate satisfaction!■

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Booking: Tukute Comedienne/Promoter Email: tukute@tukute.net Website: www.tukute.net

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H A E

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Z I O N T2T

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orn and raised in Decatur, GA, Zion Moore is an up-and-coming artist and media personality who is no stranger to hard work and dedication. Inspired by the likes of James Brown, Michael Jackson, Usher, Justin Timberlake, and Chris Brown, Zion has developed a sound that can be labeled as urban-pop. His debut single, ―Splash‖ is a fun, up-beat work that blends the sounds of his many influences together + in a fresh and modern way. To date, Zion has taken stage at numerous major label release parties (Tyrese, etc.), concerts and the acclaimed International Bronner Brothers Hair Show with the world left to blaze. Having spent a considerable amount of time amongst Atlanta‘s urban elite, Zion has already begun making a name for himself within the community. In addition to music Zion hosts YouTube segment, Zion Da Fro Show, where he‘s had the pleasure to interview notable talent such as Nick Cannon, rapper Super Duper Kyle, actress Claudia Jordan, actor Jackie Long, radio personality Traci Steele and author/ actor Hill Harper. Zion is definitely on the move as he was selected by Essence Magazine as the next emerging artist to watch. Zion hit center stage in New Orleans for the July 2016 Essence Festival where he breathlessly left the audience craving more. Self-described as possessing a love for the underdog Zion relentlessly works to hone his craft and strives to be recognized as a positive influence on teenagers today. Always aware of his calling, Zion says ―we all have a purpose, you just have to find out what it is and operate in it."■

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THE

SHELTONS:

Family, Music and Inspiration

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By Marcella Phillips

he saying ‗there is beauty in the struggle‘ is an understatement when it comes to the young, talented, dynamic group The Sheltons. Their self-taught instrumental abilities, effortless harmony and positive inspiration delivers a message of hope and family values to all who listen. The Sheltons consist of 5 members, all brothers and sisters ranging in age from 14-20. David Jr, Angelique, Shilah, Thaddeus, and Xavier Shelton are the epitome of young people inspiring others to focus on their dreams and to wholly trust in God. Parents, David and Yevette Shelton, made a huge move from Detroit to the Atlanta area in 2008 with their 5 children. All of his life, David had an undying love of music, teaching himself to play multiple instruments. He was completely unaware that his musical talents and determination was all part of God‘s bigger plan that would later manifest into greatness. A few years ago, the Shelton family faced a spiral of storms. David and Yevette divorced and David became a single father. Shortly after this happened, David lost his job. To make matters worse, he and his children were the victims of a total loss house fire resulting in them being homeless. Having to live in shelters, cars, hotels, and with family and friends, David prayed and pleaded with God to grant him a new start. In the midst of these tragedies, the triumph would spark and a transparent display of God‘s promise would begin. The Sheltons, under the teachings of their mentor and father, David Shelton, are jumping into the Gospel scene and ready to make their mark in the industry. These 5 very inspirational young people want to encourage others to stand firm on Gods promises. They want to remind you to build your foundation on faith, family, hard work, dedication, and to always wait on and follow the instructions of All Mighty God, trusting and believing that storms do pass, mountains are moveable, and giants do fall!!▄

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Booking Contact Info: Email: therealsheltons@gmail.com David Shelton, CEO, 770-334-0681 Marcella Phillips, Manager, 678-724-2881


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ELWOOD ELWOOD L.ROBINSON, L.ROBINSON, PhD PhD Chancellor Chancellor of of Winston-Salem Winston-Salem State State University University

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entered graduate school and 40 percent have achieved doctoral degrees. From 1993-1996, Robinson also served as chair of NCCU‘s Psychology Department. During his three-year term, he instituted a new clinical master‘s program, developed a faculty development program, increased external funding, and improved graduation rates by 25 percent. Concurrently, Robinson directed NCCU‘s Alcohol Research Center, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. A collaboration with predominantly minority and research-intensive institutions, the center provided support to faculty interested in alcohol-related research. In 2006, Robinson was named founding Dean of the NCCU College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, where he oversaw nine departments, five centers and over 200 faculty and staff. Over the next six years, he generated over $15 million in federal grants and other external funding, achieved accreditation for 16 programs, established a Department of Social Work, secured funding for a $1-million endowed professorship, and developed a national partnership with the Institute for Homeland Security and the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium. He remained in the post until he left North Carolina for Cambridge College in 2012. Active in professional and civic organizations, Robinson has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career. A former National Institutes of Health Fellow, he has received the Sigma Xi Award (1995), the Omega Psi Phi Founder‘s Award (2007), an Image Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (2003), and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine (2012). He has served on the boards of the YMCA of the Greater Triangle, the Center for Child and Family Health, and the Uplift Foundation, and has served as a delegate for the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program to China, Egypt and South Africa. Robinson is married to Denise Robinson, a 1978 NCCU graduate and former elementary school teacher. Together, they have two children: Chanita Robinson Coulter, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and school teacher living in Charleston, SC; and Devin, a student at North Carolina A & T State University.■

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lwood L. Robinson was elected Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University in, September of 2014, by the Board of Governors of the 17campus University of North Carolina, and assumed his duties on January 1, 2015. Prior to election as Chancellor at WSSU, he had served as Provost and Vice-President of Cambridge College. As Cambridge College‘s chief academic officer, Robinson has advised the president on matters of educational policy and the development of teaching and academic programs. He also has managed the school‘s academic planning and program reviews and overseen its regional academic centers. Under his watch, the teacher education program has achieved national accreditation and the College has forged an innovative partnership with Granite State College in New Hampshire to offer online programs — the first private/state partnership of its kind in New England. In addition, the American Council on Education has awarded Cambridge a grant to establish an Innovation and Change Lab designed to increase the number of first-generation and nontraditional students earning college degrees. A native of Ivanhoe, NC, Robinson graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Central University in 1978 with a degree in psychology and then earned a master‘s degree in the field from Fisk University in Tennessee (1980). After completing a pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center, performing rotations in neuropsychology, psychiatric inpatient and behavioral medicine and health psychology, he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University (1986). He later completed his clinical training as a research associate at Duke University Medical Center (1990-1993). Robinson joined the faculty of NCCU in 1984. In 1993, he was named Director of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program, which provides research-training opportunities for students and faculty from minority groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. He directed the federally funded program for the next 11 years, establishing collaborations with several major research universities, expanding course offerings, and mentoring more than 100 MARC Scholars. Remarkably, 80 percent of those scholars


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he issues that our boys and young men face require that we work with them and equip them to be better prepared for life. We want them to believe and demonstrate each day that they are BOLD and Born to WIN.

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We want them to set high expectations, Make RIGHT Choices and Achieve Personal SUCCESSES.


Scalp Micro-

Pigmentation By Dr. Linda Amerson

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Dr. Linda Amerson

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was honored to interview Mark Weston, the Inventor of scalp micro-pigmentation. He shared his journey of loving ART to taking his profession to the next level as a Trendsetter! ―I have loved art since I was just a few years old, drawing on everything. Through my early teens I started one hand-painted pin striping and then quickly got into hand-painted lettering, so when I joined the Navy in 1977 I was very much into art, so from boot camp on, all my commanding officers made use of my passion and talent for art, lettering office doors, painting huge ships on the mess hall walls and then the same on the ship, even lettering the captain‘s skiff.‖ Mark shared when he began learning tattoo techniques. ―When my ship deployed, one of the places that we went and spent a lot of time was Hong Kong, where I went to a tattoo shop called ―Pinky‘s.‖ I stood at the desk

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Mark Weston and talked to the ―artist‖ (turned out to be the owner, Pinky Lee.) I quickly drew out what I wanted for my tattoo and handed it to him. While getting my work done he told me that he thought that I would make a good tattoo artist, being able to draw so well free hand, and asked me if I would like to learn. I can still remember how excited I was when I blurted out my yes. I spent a month, in and out of the shop whenever I could get off the ship. From that day on, I loved tattooing and never let my machine get cold.‖ His work spoke for itself. ―No, and honestly I have never had to try to get ―recognized‖ to get work, I have always had more work than I could do, and now, over half of my clients are people you see every day when you turn on your TV. Now I am being asked to speak

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but, I do not feel that it is the answer for every case, just like men, NOT everyone is a good candidate. The companies that are out here now are all in it for the big money, most of these people are NOT doing this with the customer‘s well-being or quality of life in mind. Keep in mind, just because a person can hold a tattoo machine in their hand, does not make them a tattoo artist, No more than a person holding a scalpel; makes them a surgeon.‖ Mark has the ability to use this technique for strip scars, punch grafts, FUE donor areas permanently, concealed freckles, dark spots, birthmarks, scarring due to scalp injuries. ―I have helped a lot of men and women with all types of scars and skin discolorations from all walks of life; my work has given these people the ability to lead a life where they don‘t feel that everyone is staring at them. They can now feel like they look ―normal‖ and their quality of life has been boosted 10 fold. And I don‘t think that it matters if your scar is from a bad decision in a hair transplant, a burn, surgery or a road side bomb, they all have one thing in common; the people want them to not be there, and with 40 years of art experience, I give them that.‖ So you can fix any scar? Mark answers, ―A lot depends on the scar, the skin around the scar. Is the scar bright white or pink? Is the scar flat or raised? Is it full of keloids? Where is it on the body? Scars on the scalp; if the scar itself is the latter, bright white or pink, I do a 2 step process, matching the skin tone around the scar and ridding the scar of the offending color tone. Then once it heals, (about 30 days) the client would return for me to add the 3D hair follicles, matching their natural hair color and density of the surrounding hair.‖ What are some of the other forms of alopecia you have assisted with restoring confidence on your clients we asked Mark? ―Alopecia universalis and alopecia areata.‖ Will you share with us any home care recommendations for your clients? ―I will… Stay out of the sun!!! Use sun block, or wear a hat.‖■ Please visit our comprehensive website for our email address: www.artistryconcepts.com For questions contact : Dr. Linda Amerson, world renowned Trichologist. We invite you to tune in to our radio show, ―Ask the Hair and Scalp Doctor‖ at 11am-12pm CST on www.DfwiRadio.com

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at Tattoo Conventions all over the world. My time is very limited.‖ With a smile, Mark shares his most unusual tattoo request from a consumer. ―That one is easy, I was doing a portrait on another customer‘s arm and while I was doing the hair, my friend stated that what I was doing really looked like hair, and said ―Can‘t you do that here,‖ (pointing to his balding head.) I said ―I don‘t see why not.‖ The first scalp pigmentation was born. I asked Mark during our interview about some bizarre/ unusual placements for tattoos on both men and women. Such as on the forehead, face, inside of bottom lip, and eyelids. Do you have any advice/suggestions to consumers who request one of these placements for a tattoo? ―Those are all excellent ideas for someone that never wants to have a professional job. I personally won‘t do that type of work on anyone. They may not appreciate my opinion on it, but in the end, I think I have done the right thing.‖ Mark shares with us his motivation for Inventing the Scalp Micro-pigmentation. ―It started with a friend asking me about tattooing ―hair‖ on his head, which was mentioned earlier. I did it for him using standard tattoo needles and pigment that I use for regular tattoos. (The same equipment that all other smp providers are using NOW, I might add.) It became painfully obvious very quickly that there was a great deal of room for improvement. I then began research to make a much smaller needle set ―one the size of a hair‖ and pigments that stayed the color that I applied, not turning blue and green after a few days. I have spent years researching and developing needles and pigments to do just that, and I have now used them on over 3000 customers with results that you can find in my hundreds of testimonials and thousands of before and after photos.‖ This technique at first took me about 18 to 20 hours over 3 days to apply 500 points per square inch, before having perfected my technique and needle size. Now, it takes me about half a day to apply 70,000 to 80,000 points on an average scalp consisting of 1000 to 1100 per square inch on a typical Norwood 7.‖ Mark continues, ―My technique is unlike all other SMP methods as it is a one-time, one day appointment only. It is ―permanent‖ for a lifetime. Unlike ALL the other providers that use vegetable dye (permanent cosmetic ink) that in reality the original color that is applied lasts about a year or so. Just the use of the word ―permanent‖ by these companies is misleading; there is nothing permanent about their pigments except for the blue, green or pink tint that it leaves behind. Yes, Mark has done this technique on women. ―I have, I believe that it can work on some cases for women,


Beverly Hill (Shelley) COMMENTARY VOL. 1

MALE ABUSE… BIRTH CONTROL SABOTAGE

Beverly Hill Hill Shelley Shelley Beverly

abuse if he committed the same actions toward her!! Just like us, believe it or not, men are victims too!! The difference is that they think no one will believe that a man can be abused by a woman, and if he is, why is he still there with his abuser?? Just as women experiencing these circumstances, he may feel if others knew, he too might face unsolicited advice from people who have probably never walked this path! There are many types of abuse; there is verbal, emotional, mental, physical, manipulations, trickery and threats! In my opinion, one of the most reprehensible is called reproductive coercion, also known as coerced reproduction. I surely never knew of this type of abuse until I saw it portrayed on a few television shows. After learning of this atrocious behavior and then hearing of actual real life accounts, I began doing research! Reproduction coercion is a form of power and control. I read that some women want their children to have what they consider ‗good hair‘ or a certain complexion…so her hunt begins. She may also see this victim as a potential jackpot; have babies and never work…he‘s a real keeper! This kind of woman can spot a good father/man a mile away. She‘s extraordinarily crafty and will know that he has kids already and that he takes excellent care of them…and this is exactly what she wants for herself!! She does whatever she has to do for as long as it takes, using any unscrupulous means necessary…until she finally has him in her trap. This poor guy is about to be the victim of a well-planned, elaborate scheme that she hopes will keep him trapped for life!! She lays low and waits like a preda-

I T2T

was once a victim of domestic abuse in a couple of relationships, so I know how it feels to be trapped. I was kicked in the face and this left me with a fractured nasal bone. I was raped, given a black eye, and encountered several other not so nice situations. In the 70‘s and 80‘s, there was not much recourse for women to protect themselves from their attackers, so we stayed. Today there is a plethora of help for women. In recent years, I‘ve heard many stories from men about their mistreatment, abuse and various other things that they suffered at the hand of a woman…things that would be classified as

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to believe that he is the insensitive, cruel one…that he is the one that‘s abusive. She may threaten her victim saying that she will report him to the authorities touting false accusations of physical abuse and sexual assaults on her…and maybe even upon the children. Sometimes she actually carries out making a report of these falsehoods!! These domestic episodes could adversely affect the children causing developmental problems, psychiatric disorders, difficulties at school, aggressive behavior and low self-esteem. At first, you might find it extremely hard to talk about the abuses. For fear of appearing weak, you may continue in this suffering because men are considered to be the strong ones… the macho, macho man. So many thoughts and questions bombard you as you are tossing around in your head the kind of ridicule you may get from your buddies if they knew what was REALLY happening in your home. Plus, who in the world is going to believe something like this happens to a man anyway?? How can you ever live this down…the humiliation, the shame?? Leaving an abuser can be extremely dangerous, even for a man. A variation of an old African proverb states that if you have your hand in a lion‘s mouth, you must remove it very slowly. Therefore, precautions must be taken for your safety and maybe for the safety of others. Start by telling someone about the abuse whether it's a friend, relative, or health care provider. Then begin devising a plan for safe escape. You are not alone; make your voice heard so that other men will know that they too are not alone!! Maybe your story will help someone else to be more aware. TELL YOUR STORY…REVEAL THE SECRET… BIRTH CONTROL SABOTAGE IS REAL!!■

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) http://www.thehotline.org/

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tory animal…slowly devising and implementing her devious plan, while he is like a sheep being led to slaughter. I never knew that some women could be so manipulative, calculating, deceptive and desperate! These unsuspecting men get blindsided by what is referred to as birth control sabotage. He is under the impression that the woman is protected from pregnancy or that he‘s protected because he is using a condom. This cunning, crafty woman interferes with contraceptive methods by poking a hole through the condom wrappers using a needle or by taking a turkey baster and collecting sperm to insert into herself!! She may completely remove contraceptive rings (IUD), contraceptive patches or flush her birth control pills down the toilet!! This woman may do any one of these or several…all in her frantic quest to get herself pregnant, hoping to get and keep that man! Real talk guys…always buy your own condoms, keep them in your possession, and please make sure that you discard them ‗yourself‘ after use. Oh, and get paternity tests to prove that you ARE the father! Unfortunately, there is no law that protects an individual, woman or man, from coerced reproduction. I stayed in my situations because I knew that I had nowhere to go and for fear of what would happen to me if I did go! I was threatened that if I left, I would get hurt!! A good man that‘s considered responsible may stay because he wants to do the right thing and take care of that child or children, even though children were not in his plan. He may even be fearful of physical abuse, so he chooses to stay to keep the peace. This man feels embarrassed and trapped as if he has no way out. He‘s just in too deep! He feels like a fool, like his life is over or even doomed. So, like me…he stays. Depression may set in, and he resorts to alcohol or to using some other coping methods to make his dungeon-like prison tolerable. This woman‘s behavior may often become very explosive, exhibiting aggression, violence, rage and destruction! He despairingly, with seemingly no end in sight, tolerates her cussing, hollering, picking fights, hitting him and throwing things. She knows what kind of man that he is, so she‘s sure that he will not strike back. Her family and friends are made


Ceci` Maria Orengo: Atlanta’s version of Adversity to Business Owner

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eci` Maria Orengo is the first in her family to have earned a Bachelor‘s Degree. She studied Mathematics from Kennesaw State University and studied Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Savannah State under their dual degree program. She is currently a financial analyst at TravelPort, a travel distribution technology company located in Atlanta, GA. She also mentors and offers math tutoring to the youth in her community. In December 2013, her grandmother suffered from a stroke and she was compelled to gain the knowledge to promote health and fitness. She is now the owner and founder of CMOResults (pronounced C-MORE-Results) Fitness & Nutrition. She takes pride in encouraging healthy lifestyles to enhance the mind, body, and spirit. She has been a guest speaker for prestigious organizations such as the Eastern Stars and the United States Navy Military just to name a few. She enjoys sharing her knowledge about Fitness and Nutrition with others. She has helped several people in her community achieve their health/ personal goals. Ceci` believes the greatest rewards in life are accomplished by consistency and struggle. She is the mother of two young boys Demayas 9 and Amari 5 years old. This motivational speaker‘s motto is ―achieving is believing.‖ Ceci` recalled and shared how her grandmother‘s stroke took her to another level. ―The day I CHANGED my mind about food, increased life-long benefits that I could never imagine.‖ She considered it a lifelong transformation. She quickly realized how ones eating habits affect them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. For her, food was an outlet. As a young girl, her mom helped control her eating habits by placing parameters on what and how much she could eat. She remembers her saying ―Ceci` slow down, some day you are going to want be a cheerleader and boys don‘t like fat girls.‖ She didn‘t mind telling her like it was. Ceci` credits her with the reason she didn‘t grow up as an overweight child. However, those restrictions only lasted for so long. After going off to college, she was free to eat as she pleased. She remembers eating her first Jr. Whopper and how good it tasted! She ate out a lot and would eat 2-3 plates of food in the college

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HEALTH & WELLNESS SPOTLIGHT

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“What did the Scale Read, little miss piggy?” A few months later, she decided to buy a scale. It took a few months because she was still in denial about being overweight she bought a digital scale because she wanted to know exactly how much she had gained. She was shocked to learn that she weighed the same weight when full-term with her youngest son. She was 40 lbs. overweight with no baby inside her belly this time. At this point, she knew she needed to make a change. She had already lost uncles and aunts from health-related issues such as heart attacks, cancer and strokes which alarmed her greatly. In addition to that, her Abuela (grandmother in Spanish), had suffered from several strokes within a three-month span (Early 2014). Her grandmother‘s

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passing last December caused her to really realize that our health and environment has a lot to do with how we survive as humans. “Little Miss Piggy competes in Bikini Bodybuilding Competitions” In December 2014, she had lost 40 pounds by simply changing her eating habits, counting calories and exercising more often. She used the MyFitness Pal religiously. It took her awhile to wean herself off that app after a year. Although, she lost most of the weight on her own, she did not like her lack of muscle mass. She wanted to be more toned and tight. She would see other fitness models in the gym and I can remember thinking ―I want to be tight and tone just like those ladies.‖ She thought about plastic surgery too! But, plastic surgery is the easy way out and can cause many health risks. So she hired a nutritionist who introduced her to the world of bodybuilding. His program taught her a lot about weight training and how to organize her training sessions. She also learned how to be in tune with her bodily changes. Now she can determine which foods benefit her health. With the help of Raul Hitshew, she placed 2nd in her 1st bikini bodybuilding competition. In addition to his methodology, and her own research she learned the ―what‖ you eat matters just as much as ―how‖ much you eat. Through food manipulation and elimination, the body can undergo amazing changes in just a few months. She believes her profitable investment in her life was investing in her health.■

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“I’m fat and I hate it! Hiding beneath clothing” Seven years later and two kids, she found herself at a breaking point. After traveling to Puerto Rico on a vacation, she took several pictures on the beach. When she got back home to load the pictures on her computer, she noticed that her body looked different from what she remembered. In fact, she was quite devastated looking at those pictures because she remembered sucking in her tummy on the beach. She never noticed how much she had gained due to the fact, she would just buy larger clothing and would hide behind her clothes. She never wore skirts, shorts or anything that would show her legs.


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CAMELA

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FITNESS TRENDS FITNESS TRENDS

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t would be great if everything we heard, read and seen about health and fitness were true. It would be really awesome if the dude in the gym with the big shoulders and bird legs (who gives everybody training advice) really knew what he was talking about. Then it would be super dope if all the people you follow on social media with the beautiful, sculpted, tanned body, actually knew what it was like to be overweight. The world would be a more educated, healthier and fit place to live. It‘s time to get your fitness facts straight. Truth is there is ―no one size fits all‖ program for getting fit. However, there are some basic general facts that people need to know while on the journey to getting fit. Let‘s debunk the many fitness falsehoods that can hinder you from achieving your fitness goals. Here are a few:▄

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Myths of Fit: 10 Fitness Myths Debunked Camela Douglass, M.S. ED.

Myth #1: Women who lift weights will immediately bulk up. Truth: Weight training is an effective way to tone muscles and burn fat. You have to train and eat a specific diet to obtain huge muscle mass.

Myth #2: You have to work out 7 days a week to lose weight. Truth: If you expect to maintain the progress you make in the gym, you cannot work out every day. Active rest should be a part of your workout regimen. You have to give your body a chance to repair itself.

Myth #3: Muscle weighs more than fat. Truth: One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat. Muscle takes up less space than fat because it‘s more dense and compact.

Myth #4: Jogging is more effective than running sprints. Truth: Jogging for 45 minutes will burn as many calories as sprinting for 10 minutes. Sprinting is a total body workout featuring short, high-intensity repetitions and long, easy recoveries. Compared to jogging, sprinting will burn fat faster and preserve or even build muscle.

Myth #5: Crunches will get rid of belly fat. Truth: Spot training is unrealistic for any body part. You have to reduce your overall body fat to get visibly toned abs. A good clean diet, cardio and strength training are key components to obtaining a flat stomach.

Myth #6: If you‘re not drenched with sweat, you didn‘t do enough. Truth: Sweating has nothing to do with intensity. It is your body‘s way of getting rid of heat, to cool your body down. Sweat is water loss, not fat loss.

Myth #7: Cardio is the best way to burn fat. Truth: Cardio is helpful, but will limit your overall results. In order to achieve optimum fat loss, a combination of diet, weight training and cardio is essential.

Myth #8: If I don‘t eat, I will lose weight automatically. Truth: When you don‘t eat, your body goes into starvation mode and begins to hold onto to anything you put in. This mode causes weight gain instead of weight loss. Not to mention, by not eating, your muscle will begin to break down due to the lack of nutrients.

Myth #9: Drinking sports drinks during a workout is better than drinking water. Truth: Water is essential to living. Water should be your first go-to drink when thirsty. Sports drinks are beneficial when exercising for long periods of time to bring balance to sugar and electrolyte stores. Obey your thirst.

Myth #10: If I have weight loss surgery, liposuction or body enhancement, this will all go away. Truth: Exercising after surgery is critical for effective weight loss and building lean muscle. Surgery can help you lose

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weight, but a good clean diet and exercise can help you keep it off.


ASK ATTORNEY MO! On Becoming Your True Self Written By By Monica A. Teasley, Esq.

W

omen‘s History Month and International Women‘s Day were created to celebrate the women of the world and their contributions to the history of the world. Women‘s impact has had a profound effect on how we are treated and operate in the

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world today. Women‘s visibility in the world has increased. We are thought leaders, CEOs of large corporations, heads of states, some of the best and brightest that the world has to offer in all areas; be it science, technology, arts, fashion, finance or sports. We truly are exhibiting signs of Superwoman while continuing to live our alter egos as mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, best friends, mentors and mentees. This increased visibility has created a sense of amplified responsibility causing many women to struggle in theirr roles as women in the world. We appear in control and collected but inside we struggle. What does it mean to be a success currently when you are a businessperson, a spouse, a partner, a mother, a caretaker or all of the above? Women have to contend with wanting children and not wanting children at the same time. Realizing at a certain age that now you may want children but it is too late. Alternatively, feeling guilty because you are in the prime of your career and seriously not thinking about children. Or, the ultimate betrayal in the minds of some, not wanting children at all. We successful women also struggle with balancing our giving of ourselves, volunteering for this or that or those organizations. We struggle with our weight, our mental health our emotional health and ultimately our spiritual health. Sometimes in an attempt to maintain the status quo we start to go through the motions. We know that work has to be done, people have to be cared for, and stuff just has to happen. Obstacles pop up, or life happens as they say. A water pipe breaks, a car breaks down, a partner is hospitalized, a child is having trouble in school, and a parent is in need and so on and so on. We take vacations, get a little sun because we need a break from it all, go to the mountains take in the fresh air or cruise across an ocean just to feel okay. However, lately even these short breaks do not seem to be doing enough to get us back to where we need to be, to get out of going through the motions. If we do not break out of going through the motions, we may get to a point where we just feel broken. There is so much going on with work and home spiritually and emotionally, that nothing is able to fix the feeling or at least it feels like nothing can fix it. Depression in women can be extremely debilitating. Although men have a higher suicide rate then woman across the country, between 1999 and 2014 there was a 45% increase in the

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suicide rate in women, whereas for the same period there was only a 16% increase for men. This is when we need to do more than take a vacation. This is when a holistic approach must occur. It all comes down to ―standing in your truth‖ as Oprah says and being honest with yourself and becoming more of who you are. This is our one and only life and whatever it is that we want for ourselves has to begin with us. Going through the motions is not anyone‘s true self. We must do the inner spiritual work to be on purpose. How we see ourselves defines who we are, for it is the mind that guides our footsteps and drives us into action to develop, enhance and express our true selves. Whatever is revealed in the mind is manifested in the care we give ourselves and ultimately in what we present to the world. Simply put, how you honor yourself is the key to true love of self, which in turn breeds true confidence. This kind of confidence does not happen by chance; you have to take possession of it deliberately, purposefully. However, once you gain it, you get over a whole lot of stuff, for it propels you to live the life you want rather than cheating yourself by acting out the one you think you should or worse yet just going along with the program. The challenges of being a superwoman and the desires you want and need to fulfill require tremendous balance. We must take the steps to being confident, comfortable with ourselves and whole. It is easy to lose sight of you and what is important in the busyness of life. We all need to take the time to step away from life with purpose, not sneak away but deliberately take care of ourselves. Learn to be comfortable about placing yourself at the top of the list and schedule time for yourself, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. Life is too short. As Susan L. Taylor former editorial director of Essence Magazine says, ―You have to give yourself to yourself before you give yourself away.‖■

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Monica A. Teasley, Esq


SOOKIE

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SOOKIE

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began working on my product line in 1996, after discovering that I couldn't wear most of the conventional products on the market at the time. Many contained excessive alcohol as a main ingredient, which was damaging to my sensitive skin. Moreover, I found that many of the other products designed for my skin type either smelled medicinal, had no scent at all or couldn't last through the day. Determined to address an essential need, I experimented with ingredients day and night in my kitchen until finally coming up with the perfect formulas. My products contain all natural ingredients such as; shea butter, raw cocoa butter, jojoba, mineral, and caster oils. My research revealed an array of market products that were hard as a brick, some actually needing to be melted down in order to use, and very few smelled pleasant. Identifying a need and realizing there would be a demand, I set out on my journey to what would later become the SOOKIE success! It wasn‘t long before I began receiving positive reactions from everyone, everywhere, everyday about my products. During the day I worked as a Technician with a reputable phone company repairing phones and laptops and selling SOOKIE in between. My boss didn't much mind my promoting my products at work because they kept the place smelling great. I sold out of the trunk of my car to friends and family, to fellow soldiers while serving in the Army, and in several Beauty shops I owned in Vir-

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NOW!

ginia Beach, Norfolk and Portsmouth. I even sold my products in other salons and delivered it most of the time to clients with businesses or to anyone who asked me what I was wearing and where could they buy it. I forged ahead through partnering with several consignment shops, boutiques and online businesses. I chose the name SOOKIE inspired from an old song called ―Grove me Baby‘. My grandmother used to play it when I visited her growing up in Philadelphia. The lyrics reminded me of the effect the product had on people whenever they smelled it. And it reminded me of her watching soul train and good times. I grew up the youngest of nine and always had an interest in mixing up ingredients whether it was hair products, chemicals, paint, nail polish or food. I loved mixing things that's where I acquired the nickname Ms. Kool-Aid in Norfolk Virginia. I would later attend school for cosmetology and became an instructor teaching the art of nails and airbrushing. I enlisted in the United States Army. While there, I built upon my client base and sold products to fellow soldiers. I worked in a Lab testing fuel and all fluids used on ground and aviation vehicles which again taught

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me about measurements and how to perfect my products. I went back to school and acquired a degree in Computer Science which sparked an interest in computer graphics. This additional knowledge helped me to create the logos for my SOOKIE line. A chemist who I met through a beauty supply chain owner helped me perfect my line. I landed the product in a few stores locally and in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. I began attending trade shows, selling online at the SOOKIE store and continued to travel at the demand of the product. I now have shows lined up in Africa and Canada. I started in my kitchen and ran my business from home. To see it take off like it has is a real testament to hard work and a true accomplishment. The SOOKIE line has 8 scents that are accurate to the scents name. Each scent is complimented with a body butter lotion and soap. The demand for the SOOKIE products that are not heavily weighted down with strong alcohols, unpleasant smells, or

ingredients that promote dryness is at an all-time high and continues to grow. The product has great testimonials from healing scars to hair growth to individuals finding love to children requesting their own SOOKIE. I sold SOOKIE everywhere coworkers thought it had Voodoo on it but I told them that's black girl magic it was amazing how everyone wanted a bottle it motivated me to create more scents and each time BINGO another hit! The products are universal all natural and the mission is to empower women and also help children with school supplies. The success of SOOKIE has been SOOKIE‘s creator and with the blood, sweat, tears and love that go into each unique recipe SOOKIE sells herself. The scents are irresistible and some are also exotic. I believe going all natural does not stop at the hair and that there is no end to the satisfaction of not just loving what you put on your body but the reaction from those around you. SOOKIE natural ingredients are great for health and wellness and will be around for decades to come... as Carla would say... aww SOOKIE SOOKIE now!â–

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www.gotsookie.com


Dawn Wilkinson: Keeping the Reel Rolling! Written by Greta Wheeler

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he may not have a familiar face but her name is quickly becoming a presence across the television screen. Dawn Wilkinson is on the rise to become one of Hollywood‘s leading female film and television directors. The Canadian born filmmaker is responsible for the artistic direction of a number of Canadian films and television shows, including the popular Canadian teen drama series, Degrassi. The knack for creating and directing films became apparent to Wilkinson at a young age. ― I was the person who took all the family photos. I remember being in high school and I had a vintage clothing store and I wanted to show my classmates what I did on the weekends to run this store so I made a video, like a documentary. I rented a VHS and I edited it with two VCRs…I was a filmmaker then, but I didn‘t know it….‖ She recalls. Wilkinson is a graduate of the University of Toronto and an alumnus of her mentor‘s school, the ‗Norman Jewison‘ Canadian Film Centre. As Jewison‘s apprentice, she was afforded the opportunity to work on the set of the feature film, Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington. During her time at the University of Toronto, she enrolled in a women‘s study class entitled,

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Women in Representation. The professor, who happed to be a programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival, shared unconventional films as apart of the class curriculum. She also shared a bit about the women who directed the films. Two of the directors, Maya Deren and Joyce Wieland, both experimental filmmakers, captured Dawn‘s attention. ―When I saw these women‘s short films in particular, I thought, oh wow! This is something you could actually do.‖ From that moment forward, Dawn continued to evolve in the art of filmmaking. Today, the film and television director has added several credits, both Canadian and American productions, to her resume. In 2005, she directed her first feature film, Devotion, the story of eleven-year-old Alice Hope who battles with the loss of her mother while shouldering the burden of an alcoholic father. The film earned her the Director‘s Guild of Canada‘s Emerging Television Director Award presented by the Women In Film and Television Toronto. In addition to her Canadian TV/Film credits, Wilkinson directed VH1‘s, Single-Ladies, produced by Queen Latifah‘s Flavor Unit Entertainment. More recently, she directed episode ten in season 2 of the OWN Network television drama series, Greenleaf.▄

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Meet Patrice G Coleman

:

The Artist behind the Artists or the conventional woman, makeup is used to accent facial features, mask flaws, enhance outer beauty, and unearth confidence. On a larger scale, makeup is also an art that requires skilled and talented experts to spring forth a specific look. For special occasions, events, film and television productions, it is the make up artist that comes in high demand. Patrice G. Coleman is one of the most sought after, highly skilled makeup artists around. With over 30 years under her belt, Coleman can produce an impressive resume that exhibits her flair in the sphere of beauty. An alumnus of Spellman College of Atlanta, Georgia, Coleman initially had plans of a career in Psychology. Although she‘s always expressed a fascination for makeup, she didn‘t envision a lifelong career in the industry. ―A friend who was a makeup artist a few years older than myself, basically just introduced me to it… He liked to dress me up and experiment on me and that was kind of where I realized that there could be a career in makeup.‖ She shared. When Coleman graduated from Spellman, she wanted to take a break, but had to devise a plan to generate income. Because of her love for makeup, a few of her friends encouraged her to pursue job opportunities in makeup until she move forward with continuing her education in Psychology. In spite of her natural skills, Coleman underestimated her ability as an artist and made the decision to seek training and studied under Joya Delgado, at the Essence Modeling School and Agency in Buckhead, Georgia. ―As it turned out, I guess I really was better than I had given myself credit for and ended up teaching classes at her school.‖ She recollects. Coleman is a beauty artist with a vision and enjoys being apart of the creativity of characters and the storytelling process. She was the artist behind the re-creation of T-Boz in VH1‘s biopic of the recording group, TLC, ‗Crazy, Sexy, Cool‘. Her work can also be seen in several of Tyler Perry‘s productions, such as Taraji P. Henson,‗I Can Do Bad All By Myself‘, ‗Sanaa Latham, ‗The Family That Preys‘, Renee Elise Goldsberry, HBO‘s ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks‘, Clayne Crawford, season 2 of ‗Rectify‘, Danai Gurira, ‗All Eyez on Me‘, and countless others. Coleman is also an entrepreneur. Five years ago, she developed the DaBlot Mini Cosmetic Palette, which was specifically

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designed with the professional makeup artist in mind. The product is a stainless steel palette that attaches directly to the artist‘s hand, allowing freedom and flexibility to complete the makeup application of clients expeditiously. Apart from the world of makeup, Patrice is involved with her community and loves to inspire and empower others. She also enjoys mentoring and finds it rewarding when assisting others in reaching their goals. Although helping others is gratifying to Coleman, makeup has always been her passion, thus, she has found a way to use her artistry as a platform to continue to do both. ―I don‘t see myself retiring anytime soon so I would like to just continue to grow and continue to be helpful and continue to serve others and help them accomplish their goals, dreams and aspirations. As long as I can do that, that‘s a blessing to me.‖■

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F

Written by Greta Wheeler


Tina R. Williams

Vice President | Chief Operating Officer Trendsetters to Trendsetters Media Group CEO/ Founder of Posh Entertainment Brand Management Firm She's passionate about her purpose and destine to become one of the most influential successful business women in America

M

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s. Williams joined the Trendsetters to Trendsetters Media Group Team as Editor in Chief for the Latino Brand in 2014. Her appointment materialized after over two years of conversing with CEO/Publisher Mr. Willie Stewart and a relocation to Atlanta. After six months of service, her persistence and dedication to the T2T brand surpassed all expectations; catapulting her to Vice President/Chief Operations Officer. Who is Trendsetters to Trendsetters Media Group? T2T is a print & digital magazine publication with over Half-A-Million readers nationwide, Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. Tina is also the CEO/Founder of Posh Entertainment Brand Management Firm. Tina has successfully managed multi-billion dollar corporations in the capacity of a Human Resource Director via corporate America. She has an extensive background with over twenty-plus years in the areas of human resource management, human relations, marketing, training & development, organizational development, public relations, brand strategist & market segmentation. Tina holds dual undergrad degrees, a Bachelor of Science Business Management, Bachelor of Science Human Resource Management & MBA pursuance. She is a visionary and entrepreneurial woman who prides herself on having the ability to effectively communicate and build healthy viable relationships with others. Tina is poised, vibrant and a professional business leader who‘s dedicated to igniting others as they take the leap of faith regarding their career endeavors. Tina has partnered with a plethora of non-profit organizations doing what she loves, paying it forward. In addition to the aforementioned, she embodies a servant leader‘s heart; also known as a Humanitarian, Philanthropist, Revolutionist, and Critical Global Thinker, who‘s proactive within her community. Tina has acquired many accolades within the public & private sector; previously fea-

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Stay tune for her official book release in 2017. “Dream Big, Die Empty” Subtitle – “Don’t be afraid to Die, be afraid of what Dies inside while yet you Live” Author: Tina R. Williams Tina inspires, motivates and encourages women and men worldwide to never give up on their dreams, goals & aspirations. "An Educated Mind can Change the Trajectory of your Life"TW ―My beauty doesn't define me, people‘s thoughts of who I am don‘t define me. I‘m an educated woman, but that doesn't define me; my pass doesn't define me, my socio-economic status doesn't define me, and materialistic things surely don't define

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me. What defines me is how I choose to live my life daily; Am I an instrument of encouragement to those who cross my path. My humanitarian and philanthropic efforts inspire me. The love of God within my heart ignites me. I wear no mask, what you see is what you get. I pride myself on being an authentic, passionate, and unique individual‖ Stand in your Truth! ―I Am Bold, I Am Fierce & Obviously Unstoppable"- Tina Williams Tina‘s creative influence, Actress, Singer, Model; Ms Williams currently ministers through song, her vocal illustration as a Soprano (AOW) ministries, Ascriptions of Worship; Founder Elder, Lady Wanda Bell. Furthermore, Tina R. Williams‘s repertoire performances consist of; Superdome 2000 Sugar Bowl (BCS) Bowl Championship Series, National Championship Game, Lead Vocalist performing with The World Renowned Zion Harmonizers Gospel Quartet held in New Orleans, La. This is only a snippet of Tina's accomplishments.■

(www.trendtotrendmag.com) www.poshbrandmgt.wixsite.com/poshbrandmgt)

SPOTLIGHT

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tured in magazine publications, radio broadcasting & newspaper articles. What inspires Tina? Leaving a legacy for her Daughter; Brittany W. Mcfield & Grandkids- Gabrielle, Rihanna, Tatianna, and her Grandson Royal Santana Jr. Her Family is the cornerstone and the heartbeat of her soul. Her parents Mr. & Mrs. Robert Williams is her driving force, the death of her father propelled Tina to soar beyond her greatest expectations. No fear, No excuses is her mantra.


Trendsetters To Trendsetters Magazine

Magazine &

pays homage to a Posh Entertainment plethora of Pay homage to aN ELITE Influential Womand Influential Group of to Watch in enWomen to Watch in

2017 2017

www.thatgirlissmart.com

LaWanda Hill

Toni Moore, Esquire

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Monica Johnson

www.Legallychic360.com MARCH/APRIL 2017


Evelisse Jones & Author Nikki Blakely-Simmons

Crystal Cunningham www.crystalcunningham.com

www.wlnoa.com

www.theceomamma.com MARCH/APRIL 2017

Ivy N. McQuain www.thebligroupllc.com 39

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Brandy Adamson


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TENA: The Fire Fighting DIVA “One must identify what failure is to them, and then soar way above that!”

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION Written by: Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

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n a world where a little Black girl can dream and become the First Lady of the United States...where she can become a police officer, judge, doctor, teacher, lawyer, entrepreneur, senator, astronaut, community leader and YES...a FIREFIGHTER— there is little left to be accomplished, except the President of the United States. In the words of former FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made. No greater sacrifice I deem as a human being, let alone, a WOMAN...than being in a profession where you give up your life for your fellow man—daily. Even the scriptures tell us that. Tena McWilliams is a testimony ready to be heard. Her life is filled with hopes, dreams, trials, and achievements. Working in a successful job, that abruptly stops without notice, leaving her destitute and homeless as she rises above the ranks using her brains and brawn, all with her beauty and sanity somewhat intact because she had mastered the art of "wearing the mask." This amazing woman allowed faith to be her pillow of comfort and her drive to become her blanket of trust that protected her from giving up and giving in. Read as she bares her soul on her journey to inspire and encourage others. Just in case you thought you knew...you haven't a CLUE! And her story has only just begun.

I‟M EVERY WOMAN

T2T: What defines beauty? Why is that so important to you? Tena: I believe beauty is in the heart...and in the soul of a person's passion. It is how they take what they have deep within, and bring it out, and share it--to love on others. When we operate from our passions deep within, we tend to love at a greater and pure level which isn't forced or fake, that's what's important to me.

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Photography by PLEXX MEDIA

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T2T: How did you gravitate into the career you are presently in, and what is the story behind your journey?

"My story TRUMPS, my Glory."

Tena: Growing up as a young child, I always wanted to be a doctor. So while I was married, I went to school to become an emergency medical technician. I kept the license and worked on an ambulance part-time and I worked full-time, as a mortgage underwriter in the mortgage industry for 13 years. One Monday I received a phone call from a co-worker I worked with on the ambulance (who was now a firefighter) they told me that their department was having a job fair and I should go. I told them, "I'm not trying to be nobody's firefighter! Are you crazy?!" We laughed a little and then hung up. Well...that following Friday, I got to work a little bit early at the mortgage office to find a note on the door stating that the company was closed and that our checks are being mailed to us. I tried to call the number and it was disconnected, so immediately I was like..."What am I going to do? I have two small kids and I needed a job."So I called my co-worker and asked if they were still hiring at the department. They told me that today was the last day since it was Friday. I went home, changed out of my corporate suit skirt, and put on a pantsuit and applied to become a firefighter. They were doing interviews right there on the spot! I remember a chief looking at me and asking me specifically, "If we hire you, what in the world are you going to do with all that hair on your head? You know you have to wear a helmet?"I kind of laughed and assured him that I can become a tomboy, if I have to and what's more...I can do the job! Once I made it past that portion of the hiring process, I was told to show up in gym attire and tennis shoes at their training facility, I had no clue what I was about to get into. I had no idea what I had to do to become a firefighter. I just knew-I needed a job! So I showed up and was shocked! You mean I gotta pull this heavy dummy? I've got to lift this ladder over my head? I began to think, "What had I gotten myself into?"I didn't want to do it, but I thought to myself, "This person has referred me, I can't let them down."So in my head, I'm going to do this and when I'm done...I'm going to look for me another job! A real job! Well I passed the Physical Agility Test and was offered the job. I was like, "Wow! I can do this."So I decided, since I did all that work, let me see what this firefighter thing is all about! I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up....a firefighter!" NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOC.

38%

Evolution of a Visionary

2012 FIREFIGHTERS ARE WOMEN WWW.NFPA.ORG.

72% AFRICAN MARCH/APRIL 2017 AMERICAN WOMEN

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IN 2012 OF THE 295,600 FIREFIGHTERS


...my

road to freedom WHICH WAY DO I GO?

T2T: What was your most defining moment (drastic change occurred)? What happened to turn your situation around? Tena: After almost 17 years of marriage; I went through a devastating divorce which left me with two kids, no friends, and in a big city all by myself...with no family. Realizing that I had officially lost myself in my marriage and didn't have a clue as to who I was, and what I wanted out of life. It was a real eye-opener, to say the least. I had always been a wife and a mother. That's all I could identify with, but I couldn't say who Tena was—that was one of the scariest things I ever had to admit to myself.

T2T: Who was your most inspirational guide? Why? Tena: After my divorce I basically isolated myself and didn't really talk about any of my problems to anyone, but I always knew to pray. I always knew to keep the faith. My grandmother told me, "God will never leave you, he is always there." You see my grandmother was a wise woman who prayed continuously all day long so I trusted her words and read the Word of God and also, I knew I loved myself enough to believe in me, even when I thought no one else believed in me.

T2T: How has your spiritual relationship affected your life? Give some examples. Tena: My spiritual relationship has not affected my life, my

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relationship with God IS my life. When I take a look back, the one thing that has been constant is my life...is prayer. I can honestly say that, my relationship with God—has been a defining factor in my life as to my ability to overcome obstacles. I mean, you try sleeping in your car and not knowing where you or your children would lay your head from day to day...who would you depend upon? Yourself or God...Pray or Complain?

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T2T: What is the most rewarding part about being a Firefighter? Why? Tena: The most rewarding thing to me, is to know that I represent not only women, but Black women. Not only in America...but around the world. To be given the ability to be a conduit to walk into people's lives and positively impact them, is one of the greatest and most humbling blessings that I don't take for granted.

T2T: What legacy do you want to leave and why? Tena: I want my legacy to be one of "example."I want my children and my grandchildren to look back and say that I was a Trailblazer...that I was the example they needed! That I paved the way and opened doors for others. Whether it be in my firefighting career or my personal life. I want my legacy to be duplicated, because the more that we are willing to help others, willing to stand the test of time, and willing to open doors for our fellow man; we will make this world a better place to live full of love for everyone involved.â–„

FaceBook/ tenathefirefightingdiva #tenathefirefightingdiva

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When your truth becomes your Guide !


MICHAEL AND KENYA BERRY HAVE BALANCED THE SCALE WHEN IT COMES TO KEEPING A MARRIAGE STRONG AND HAVING VERY DEMANDING CAREERS. Written by: Elaine Collins Richardson

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ixing love and business is challenging for most couples, but when the business is serving in the United States Army as a young, dual military couple (meaning husband and wife are active duty members), the challenge can seem insurmountable. In the beginning, many told them they were too young for marriage and had the odds stacked against them. Brushing off the naysayers, they are still in love and still together 26 years later and married almost 24 years despite high divorce rates among military couples. With faith, love, and commitment to each other, family, and service to their country, Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Michael Berry and Sergeant Major (SGM) Kenya Berry have successfully merged marriage and parenting their two sons with military service. This couple seems to have it all: a strong and successful marriage, careers they both love, two handsome and well-

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rounded sons that any parent would be proud of, and an abundance of supportive family and friends. CSM Michael Berry is currently serving as Garrison Command Sergeant Major United States Army Garrison Area I and Camp Red Cloud, South Korea and at a separate base than is his wife. When asked what keeps their marriage together and strong, he shares that love and trust are what makes their marriage a success. Michael states, ―Nothing is stronger than true love and trust. You can‘t just say it. You have to feel it and believe it.‖ He continues with, ―The military places all types of obstacles in a couple‘s path. We get separated on assignments, we have to deploy, we often work closely with the opposite sex, and on occasions, you may spend more time with that person or group of people than with your spouse. If love is the foundation then, trust has to be one of the pillars.‖ SGM Kenya Berry is currently a Senior Logistics Service Advisor, stationed at Yongsan Military Base, South Korea. When it comes to sharing the secrets of a successful marriage, Kenya is quick to say, ―There is no secret. We experienced trials and tribulations as in any marriage but our faith, love, and refusal to fail have allowed us to overcome all obstacles. Being in the military itself is a full-time job. And, with both of us being active-duty military and having to juggle our family and careers, it‘s not always easy. We owe much of our success to those who supported us and are always there for us.‖ Their love story began at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia. Both were nineteen years old. Michael was a ROTC Cadet who was quiet, serious, and very focused when it came to his future plans for a military career. Kenya, who was very outgoing and a people-person, was from Milledgeville, and attending college there. They had mutual friends but Cupid was definitely not working to put these two together. Both admit that there was no initial attraction to the other. Kenya reflects back saying, ―I didn‘t really like him because he appeared to have a standoffish attitude. But, to be fair I think it was more about him being an introvert and I‘m more of an extrovert.‖ According to Michael, ―We actually absolutely didn‘t get along when we first met and I think that was more about who would give in first. A good friend kept at us, had us go out on a date, and here we are today.‖ Keeping marriage and family a top priority is difficult for most couples with demanding jobs or careers. For those who are soldiers and are married to another soldier, situations are more unique. The Berry‘s have made their relationship and marriage work despite challenges not normally faced by civilian married couples. ―The odds are stacked against marriage

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Michael and Kenya with sons Kenyon and Kristian

wanted for their children. Their eldest son, Kenyon Berry attended college on an academic scholarship and is expected to graduate in May 2017 from University of Kentucky with a Bachelor‘s degree in Technical Systems Management with a focus in Construction Management. Their younger son, Kristian is in the 8th grade and doing well in a Department of Defense (DOD) school, living in Korea with his parents and plays youth basketball. They are very proud of their sons and their accomplishments, too. Professionally, Michael and Kenya had accomplished the highest grade of an enlisted Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) in the Army with only the Command Sergeant Major of the Army ranking higher than Michael as an NCO. Michael said, ―Professionally, I‘ve been blessed; truly blessed. I‘ve done pretty much everything (Airborne, a Ranger, and now a garrison Command Sergeant Major) that I set out to accomplish.‖ Having higher education is important to both of them and is an example for their children. Michael is currently working on a graduate degree from Troy University. Kenya is very proud of how far she had come in her career. She worked extremely hard to become a Sergeant Major, a rank that less than one percent of active duty, enlisted members ever attain. She also finished college with a Master‘s of Art and Human Services degree with a focus on Health and Wellness from Liberty University. When it comes to the two of them, their love and commitment is apparent and admirable. Kenya responds with, ―He is the man of my dreams, my love, my protector, my soulmate. He always encouraged me and looked after me.‖ Michael adds, ―She‘s the love of my life. She has my back, and is always very supportive of me. Her contributions are what make me who I am today.‖ As his final advice to others, Michael tells us, ―Never forget who your team is.‖ They definitely are ―Team Berry.‖■

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of dual military couples most of the time and divorce stats hovers over,‖ says Michael. He continues with, ―A couple‘s commitment is tested often with deployment separations, the job of taking care of soldiers and their problems, frequent permanent change of station (PCS moves), leadership responsibilities along with the responsibility of having to take care of our own family, especially our kids, handling our personal business, and being there for each other. The military job does not end when you go home. You still have soldiers and missions to think about as well.‖ When it comes to challenges, Kenya speaks about providing stability on the home front for their sons. ―We‘ve been blessed and many prayers were answered. We never wanted both of us to be gone or deployed away from our boys at the same time. We only had one situation that took both of us away. I was stationed in Korea and Michael was deployed to Afghanistan. We are very thankful for a wonderful and trusted friend that cared for our children for the year that we were away.‖ Michael added, ―For the sake of their stability, we purchased a home for them and the friend to live in. It was extremely stressful initially, but we all got through it. Again, love is the foundation with the pillars being trust, commitment, passion, time, and covering it all with faith.‖ It is often said that children of military members are affected by the separation of one or both parents in much the same way that children of divorced parents are affected. The Berry‘s share how they effectively parent their children while honoring their military duties. Michael stated, ―Sure, separations affected our boys but they are resilient. You must spend time with your children, let them know you love them, that you care how they feel, and you must be involved with what they are doing.‖ It was a very difficult time for the Berry‘s when they lost an infant son. Sadly, Michael said, ―Having lost a child at birth you realize it‘s not about you. It‘s about your kids. There is no greater responsibility than being a father and raising good, productive, and educated citizens.‖ Kenya agrees that their boys are resilient but, still they kept in touch with them and set routines in place when possible. ―We still parented them even when we were away,‖ said Kenya. She continued with, ―We made every effort to call, text, or Skype everyday if possible. I usually called during breakfast so I could talk as they ate. It was like having breakfast with them. I watched grades online, I continued to discipline as if I was there. It was business as usual, just far away.‖ They both deny having any guilty feelings about being away from their children when military duty calls. ―It‘s hard on all of us when it is time to leave but everyone understands that this is what we do,‖ said Kenya. Michael adds, ―One of the most important rules we live by is that we can‘t feel guilty about doing our jobs. Military is our profession. We provide for our family and we serve this nation giving it our best. There is nothing to feel guilty about.‖ Both, Michael and Kenya proclaimed that their children are their greatest personal accomplishments and their successes in the Army as their greatest professional accomplishments. They made a career of being in the Army because of the life they


Live Healthy & Thrive Youth Foundation (LHTYF) 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization

LORI A. MANNS, FOUNDER

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t‘s possible for one person to make an impact on their community and everyone should try;‖ is the philosophy that drives Lori A. Manns, Founder and President of Live Healthy & Thrive Youth Foundation, Inc. Lori‘s love of children combined with a desire to serve her community was the inspiration for founding the Live Healthy & Thrive Youth Foundation (LHTYF) in 2010. LHTYF is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, activate, motivate, and empower youth in the areas of academic achievement, health, nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness. ―I truly believe that one person can inspire positive change and ignite the fire in others to accomplish great things in their community and even the world,‖ said Manns. Lori grew up in a household where community service and volunteerism was not just taught but practiced on a regular basis. She can remember feeding the homeless with her mother and sisters as a young teen. Because of the spirit of service that

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was instilled in her at a young age, she has a passion for empowering children towards better health. However, although Lori saw acts of service and community servant modeled by her mother and father, she never had plans to start a non-profit organization. After having a health scare of her own and being told that she needed to change her diet and lose weight to avoid encountering diabetes, she was motivated to do something to inspire her family as well as the community, especially children to get healthier. After her father passed in 2011, she discovered that he had undiagnosed Diabetes. This news along with some of her father‘s advice before his passing, gave Lori the strength to be an Ambassador in the fight against childhood obesity and diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. The CDC also reports that obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate high risk for the development of diabetes. To address the prevalence of obesity and diabetes in youth, LHTYF has created programs that educate children about healthy foods and proper fitness. Its flagship outdoor event, the Unite for Healthy Kids 5K Walk & Run and other projects are empowering families to get active together while building healthy habits that will benefit both parents and children. The Live Healthy & Thrive Youth Foundation has signature programs that have impacted the lives of over ten thousand Atlanta children since 2011. Through programs such as: Gardens are for Kids™, Healthy Kids Summer Camp, Healthy Kids Workshop and the Pinnacle Youth Scholarship Fund, LHTYF has served children from ages 6 to 18 throughout metro Atlanta. These programs focus on gardening principles, cooking demonstrations as well as health and fitness lessons. Additionally, LHTYF‘s scholarship program awards $1,000.00 book scholarships to high school students who maintain good grades and want to major in medicine, education, culinary arts or STEM programs in college. Students are awarded the scholarship at LHTYF‘s signature event the Pinnacle Awards and Scholarship Gala. Under the leadership of Manns, LHTYF went from giving $500 scholarships per student to $1000 scholarships per student and has given $20,000 in scholarships in 6 years. It‘s safe to say that Live Healthy & Thrive Youth Foundation is living up to their motto: ―making a difference in the lives of our youth, one child at time, one family at a time, one community at a time.‖■

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Aaron T. Jordan Jr. Aka

Mr. Know Your Worth

Author | Motivational Speaker | Relationship Coach | Radio Personality By: Tina Williams

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aron T. Jordan Jr., known to many as ―Mr. Know Your Worth‖ is an American Award-Winning Author, Radio Personality, Speaker, Relationship Coach, and Philanthropist. He is the founder/host of the Know Your Worth Radio Show. He is the author of the books entitled ―The Power Within, A Woman‘s Worth: From Both Sexes‖ which was published in July of 2014 and ―Dating According to Your Purpose: 5 Laws of Achieving Your Best Life‖ which is on schedule to be released summer 2017. Mr. Jordan is also the founder/CEO of Know Your Worth, LLC; an entity built to empower the minds of both men and women on various levels to help them understand who they are, whose they are, and what they are when it comes to relationships, dating, self-worth, and personal development. Mr. Jordan wears a plethora of hats he‘s also the executive producer, visionary, and mastermind of the inception of two annual regional conferences which he launched in 2015, the ―Know Your Worth Women‘s Relationship Conference‖ which is held in Nashville TN and ―Know Your Worth Relationship Empowerment Summit‖ which is held in Atlanta Ga. Jordan, has been featured in a multitude of media outlets and various TV appearances ranging from CBS News, ABC News, News 5 Talk of the Town, Atlanta Live, and My TV 30 just to name a few. In 2015, he was rated as one of the Top online relationship coaches to follow by Divine Magazine; everything thus far that has taken place has led Mr. Jordan to be recognized for various prestigious awards; 2014 nomination for the Best in Black Award for Best Author of the Year, 2016 Indie Authors Legacy Awards Author of the Year (Personal Development)

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Winner, and 2017 Black 40 under 40 award nomination just to name a few. ―You never know the path or plan that your creator has set for you in your life; I never thought that myself a kid growing up in Memphis TN would later in life be considered one of the most influential men under 40.‖, said Jordan. One of the major highlights in Jordan‘s journey was the launching of the Know Your Worth Radio Show under the Know Your Worth umbrella May 2015. Starting out on a local AM Station; his vision was clear, ―No matter who was listening empower your audience as if there were a millionpeople listening‖, said Jordan. In 2017, Mr. Jordan inked a deal with a bigger station with a broader reach, The Cromwell Group 102.1 FM The Light Nashville; attracting and interviewing notable celebrities in the gospel industry such as AwardWinning Contemporary Gospel Artist/ Legendary Yolanda Adams, Award Winning/ Grammy Nominated Kierra Sheard, and Award Winning/Grammy Nominated Jekalyn Carr grace his list. When Aaron is not traveling the country empowering college students/men/ women on dating and self-worth with his course ―Game of Love‖, speaking on various relationship panels/workshops, interviewing, TV appearances, and writing; Jordan is a believer, a husband, and a father, whom of which he states is the reason he pushes to go the extra mile in the pursuit to continue to inspire. Mr. Jordan is also a proud active member of the prestigious organization, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.▄ For booking please contact Mr. Jordan on his social media outlets. www.aaronjordanjr.com www.facebook.com/authoraaronjordanjr; www.twitter.com/aaronjordanjr

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Aaron T. Jordan Jr Jr..

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King Me Camela Douglass, M.S. ED.

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n any given Sunday, Jay Barnett would‘ve been ecstatic to run a pig-skinned covered football 100 yards down the field of the greenest grass with the cheesiest fans who live to beg and scream for a touchdown. But not this Sunday or any one after that—Destiny, had another game for Jay to play. This game consists of him running alright— running around the world with a book in his hand and a message in mouth inspiring young people to become their own fans. Former professional running back, Jay Barnett has committed his life to reaching back to empower young men and women to become the Kings and Queens they were created to be. He is respectively leading the charge in the nationwide plight to save the children from the grips of selfdestruction. Transparent, authentic and charismatic, Jay shares his own personal journey of how a young man‘s mess can turn into a message. His inspirational message is powered by his passion and personal drive to live, exposing the demons that once sought to destroy him and now seek to annihilate emerging Kings all over the world. Fed up with the assassination of young men‘s identities by the media, Jay proactively details his journey in his latest project, Hello King: Claim Your Throne. Hello King serves as a poignant reminder that our young men need tools that will help them gain clarity and purpose so they may recognize themselves as Kings amongst men. Hello King is the resuscitation this generation needs so that they can live as Kings and walk in royalty. Barnett breathes new life into young men, reviving them from the unconsciousness of an assassination attempt then leading them to take their rightful place as Kings on their pre-destined thrones.■

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Jay Barnett (@kingjaybarnett) www.facebook.com/jaykingbarnett

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Val’s Pen Camela Douglass, M.S. ED

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s a multi-best-selling author, Valerie J. Lewis Coleman is gifted to write stories and tell it like it T.I.S.! Her love for helping people, passion for writing and magnetic spirited energy can be felt throughout her writings and presentations. Valerie creatively shares real-life stories and teaches real-life lessons with every stroke of her pen. She travels the nation serving women who struggle to experience a fulfilling relationship by revealing The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box to attract and keep lasting love. Valerie also helps experts and professional speakers magnify and monetize their message by publishing quality books. Her upcoming anthology—The Wait of Success: How to Become an Overnight Success in 7,300 Days— authentically exposes the truth about avoiding shortcuts and get-rich-quick schemes on your quest for success. With stories from medical doctors, entrepreneurs and educators, the compilation provides realistic insight into what it takes to experience tangible, quantifiable success in a fraction of the time. Valerie believes, ―Overnight success—and its illusions of grandeur—have caused many hopefuls to quit pursuing their dreams. Like an iceberg with only 10% of its splendor visible above water, the real magnificence of success is the 90% that occurs below the surface. Sweat equity, failures, sacrifice and discipline are weighty matters that affect success.‖ This truth will set many people free as they face the ups-and-downs of becoming successful. The anthology reveals: Purpose-driven methods to reduce your wait time to success How to define success on your own terms Proven techniques from a self-made millionaire Strategies to overcome the weight of success including failing forward Everyone wants to be successful, but how can one achieve success? Valerie explains, ―Achieving success is like hitting a moving target. Both require accuracy, the ability to counteract external factors and adjusting the sight when necessary.‖ ■

www.penofthewriter.com.

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The release date for the book is Saturday, April 29 2017 at the Dayton Book Expo in Dayton, OH. For booking and additional information, visit


ACADA (All Citizens Against Domestic Abuse) By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

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Avie T. McDuff FOUNDER

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n November 4, 2016, I was in attendance at The ACADA Foundation‘s first annual fundraiser and awards dinner held at the beautiful ‗Wimbish House‘ in Atlanta, GA. ACADA is the acronym for ‗All Citizens Against Domestic Abuse,‘ which is a non-profit organization that supports victims of domestic abuse. Evie T. McDuff is the founder of ACADA. She is an author and domestic abuse advocate, volunteers at a women's shelter, serves as a care provider for the mentally ill, and is a community youth leader & mentor. This Black & White event was an evening of fundraising, fun, and entertainment. The atmosphere was very elegant with entertainment provided by American Idol season 12 winner Candice Glover, spoken word poet Abyss (featured on BET‘s 106 & Park and HBO Def Poetry Jam), Vedo (singer and contestant on season 4 of The Voice), The Clark Atlanta Philharmonic Society, and others. Celebrity actor and recording artist Redge Green, from the movie Boyz N Da Hood, made a special guest appearance. Celebrity comedian, actor and songwriter TK Kirkland served as host for the evening. Engraved handcrafted boxes with a chain across them representing breaking the generational chains of abuse were given to recipients as a symbolic reminder to have the hard conversations about this topic. These boxes serve as a reminder to no longer keep those secrets bound in darkness. During the awards ceremony, they were presented to Evangelist Blondell Williams, Khalidah Raheem-Stewart, along with other recipients. Ashley Thompson was also awarded, and told us the heartbreaking, yet eye-opening account of how her sister, Mel, was shot by her husband. He then killed himself. Thompson is now raising her sister‘s children. The ACADA foundation was inspired when McDuff wrote, published and released her book titled; Don’t Play In the Sun (Breaking the Chains). This book tells a story about the generational chains of abuse that plagued eight generations of women in one family dating back to slavery. Each woman details what her life was like during that period of time and the abuses that they endured. In her book, McDuff also gives accounts of various types of abuse. She says, ―It's not just being punched in your face. Some forms we don't even recognize as abuse.‖ The more people read her book and were talking about it, the more she wanted to do to help by way of offering some meaningful assistance to them. She herself was almost a victim, but because of

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Angela P Moore Photography

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vance to give them a chance to breathe. We don't want that person to run back because they don't have the means to survive on their own. We want to get grants and other things in place that would help those that are trying to become independent and remain independent. Without help they may fall back into the same snare.‖ ACADA is not only bridging the gap between those coming from shelters to becoming independent, but also between charities and communities, all growing stronger together. McDuff leaves us with these words of advice, ―Let's start having the hard conversations about abuse. As long as it's a secret, it has power…let it out…tell the WHOLE story!‖■ www.acadafoundation.org

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the knowledge she had gained growing up, she made sure it didn't happen to her. McDuff continues, ―My mother had a hard time with abuse, so I pretty much got my directions from her. Mom did not stay in that situation. I saw her get hit in the head, and I knew that was not the life that I wanted to live. Mom got out when I was a little girl!‖ McDuff‘s mother broke the chain; she didn't keep going back and forth, thus the title of her book, ‗Don't Play In the Sun‘ (Breaking the Chains). I remember as a child that if you played in the sun too long, you would eventually get burned. The initial goal of ACADA is to help bridge the gap between people coming from shelters and centers to getting back on their own and becoming independent. The help is for those who have been out of their abusive situations for more than six months because McDuff says, ―anything less than that, they tend to go back and forth to the abuser. When that person leaves the shelter after 6 months, we want them to function on their own. We want them to know that we see their struggle and understand. The goal is to pay their rent 5 months in ad-


DEON DEON COLE COLE & & NICOLE NICOLE ARI ARI PARKER PARKER HOSTED HOSTED THE THE 25TH 25TH ANNUAL ANNUAL TRUMPET TRUMPET AWARDS AWARDS

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lack-ish, Angie Tribeca star and two-time EMMY® nominated writer and actor Deon Cole and Rosewood, The Real Husbands of Hollywood and seven-time NAACP Image Award nominated actress Nicole Ari Parker host an exciting night of inspiration, history and crowd-rousing performances at the 25th Annual Trumpet Awards, the prestigious annual event celebrating African-American achievements and contributions, aired on Sunday January 29th on Bounce. Bounce recently acquired all assets of The Trumpet Awards and now owns, produces and exclusively premieres the star-studded ceremony, this year held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Highlights from the show include:  Lifetime Achievement Trumpet Award-winning New Edition being saluted by R&B bands Jagged Edge, Silk and The Transitions with a medley of the iconic group‘s hits including ―Candy Girl,‖ Mr. Telephone Man‖ and ―Cool It Now‖ that had the audience dancing in the aisles.  Regina Belle, BJ The Chicago Kid and Kenny Lattimore performing ―A Whole New World,‖ ―Feel the Fire‖ and ―If Ever You‘re in My Arms Again‖ to honor Trumpet Legend Award recipient Peabo Bryson.  A show-stopping all-star Gospel Music Tribute featuring Shirley Caesar, Erica Campbell, Jekalyn Carr, Le’Andria Johnson, Travis Greene and Canton Jones.  Tamela Mann, Lalah Hathaway and Keke Wyatt bringing the house down in individual performances.  A memorable spoken-word presentation by Iman Cezanne and Javon Johnson which elicited thunderous applause and brought the audience to their feet.

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Honorees at this year‘s ceremony also included: Daytime EMMY® nominee Wendy Williams, who was presented with the Trumpet Award for Entertainment; former NBA great Dikembe Mutombo, recognized with the Humanitarian Trumpet Award;Martin Luther King III, presented with the Impact Trumpet Award and fashion blogger Gabi Gregg who was given the Trailblazer Trumpet Award. Among the presenters and special guests: Vanessa Bell Calloway, Lou Gossett, Jr., David Mann, Bill Withers, Ed

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Lover, Ed Gordon, Gary Owen, Erica Ash and Willie Moore, Jr.

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In a very special tribute, civil rights icon and founder of the Trumpet Awards Xernona Clayton was presented with the distinguished Golden Trumpet Award in recognition of her unparalleled leadership, ability to affect change and steadfast work in building the legacy of the awards.â–


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AD


Kara

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ara Lynch was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Coming from a city with limited opportunities and little-to-no positive recognition, Kara had to literally start from the bottom and work her way up. Since as early as being a pre-teen Kara has always liked to take charge of things. Her sole ambition has been to be her own boss and set the path for others. Prior to graduating high school, Kara moved to Florida to further her education in Entrepreneurship. Kara Lynch is the proud owner of Global Empire LLC. She is a woman of many talents and an aspiring business woman in multiple arenas. Through her blog, www.iamkaralynch.com Kara is currently working with several business owners and artists to help brand their names for success! Approaching her work with a positive attitude and imagination will lead her clients to charting

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Lynch

the fortune 500 list. With dreams of one day becoming a model since she was fifteen, Kara has always kept up with fashion trends and styles. In 2011 she opened her own salon/ boutique, doing business as ―Trifecta Kiss. ‗‘ Having gained the experience of wholesale and retailing inspired her to start her own line of fashion. Kara is in the midst of launching her line ―FRESH‖ in hopes of one day being brought into high-end retail locations. ―FRESH‖ is aimed towards being the chic and sexy business woman attire for women of all shapes and sizes. In the rare occasion of having spare time, Kara likes to update her friends and family on her road to success through social media. As a God fearing woman, Kara feels as though it is important to share motivational quotes and the events of her day-to-day hustle in order to serve as a positive female role model. While winding down from a long day of work, Kara

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finds relaxation in reading business and informational publications, for she is a firm believer in the power of information! Kara is currently living in Atlanta, Georgia where she hopes to take her skills and success to the next level! Her dreams are unlimited and she is quoted saying, ―Motivated by self, my story is that of an ambitious woman that knows; if the mind can conceive it then the body can achieve it.‖ Having high confidence and an enthusiastic attitude, Kara easily maintains a smile and finds the good in any and all situations. She does not believe in making excuses, but is committed to finding solutions. In addition to eventually settling down and having children, Kara hopes to one day become an executive multimillionaire who gives back to her community and helps to change the lives of others. So do not forget the name, for @iamkaralynch!▄


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veryone meet Petite Plus Size Model Renee‘ O‘Shea. This woman is a disabled US Army Veteran, mother, model, businesswoman, actress, hostess, and more. She has taken the modeling world by storm! But this was not an easy task. Everyone sees her ―breakthrough‖ but no one knows her ―been through‖! She has had many obstacles in her way, and she continues to beat the odds. Renee‘ Continues to grow even with the issues of her own personal weight fight! She stands five feet one inch, with measurements of 41-32-49, she has reached height beyond measure! She stated that her biggest accomplishment was not her weight loss, but winning the battle of self-love! The part that no one saw was the dark battles with depression and military induced PTSD. She was a victim of domestic violence and even sexual assault. It is not something that she likes to talk about and never discloses her personal life, but she has decided to be completely transparent so that the world understands her ―been through‖! This is a battle she continues

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SEVERE PHOTOGRAPHICS

to fight on a daily basis, but with prayer and hard work, she makes it through. She managed to put on a fake smile and hide her pain from all those who knew her. Depression consumed her just four short years ago, which caused two different attempts to take her own life! God had a different plan for her and the attempts were both failed ones! If it were not for her love from and for her daughter, she never would have gotten herself to a hospital to seek help. It was the love of a child, the love of her daughter that made her see her worth and her importance in this world! She took this second chance at life and decided to use her platform for good! She has since relocated back to her hometown of Chicago, where she has started a model training camp and mentoring program! Because she understands the struggles of self-esteem, weight, body image, and self-love, she decided to help others find a positive outlet to use to better themselves. Kandid Kurves University was founded and put into action in February of this year after precisely and diligently putting together the perfect lesson plan to make the training camp work. She has since lost a total of thirty-seven pounds and four dress sizes over the course of one year. Now currently, at a size twelve, she is loving the skin she is in. This weight loss journey was not an easy one. With her weight constantly being up and down, she still continues to fight solidify her spot in the modeling world. Because of her petite size, she is constantly being told she is not ―plus size enough‖! So, she found different avenues to make her mark! She currently does promotional and print work, as well as finding her place in the entertainment industry. She has worked various star studded events to include the TV ONE Soul Train Awards, the Billboard Awards, and the NAACP Image Awards, just to name a few. She is also beginning to use acting as another avenue. She has learned that you have to work hard at what you want! If that means more training, then so be it. She feels as if you need to use your personal ―been throughs‖ to get to your ―breakthroughs‖! Your personal experiences will always give you a greater foundation to stand on. You can definitely learn from your experiences. Being honest with yourself is one of the most important things you can do to start your journey to bettering yourself. You can‘t always rely or depend on others to understand what you have been through or what you are currently going through. Pray on a consistent basis. Try not to lose focus on your goals. There will be some hiccups along the way. Just remember that no one is perfect and those hiccups are put in place to make you a stronger and better you! It has not been an easy journey for Renee‘ O‘Shea, but one she feels she needed to go through to become the woman she is today!■

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Renee3oshea@gmail.com


LaKesshia Slaughter: Power of the Curve Model Motivational Speaker Pageant Queen Mentor

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aKesshia Slaughter is a plus-sized fashion model of Black/African roots with rich brown eyes who confidently accentuates the eloquence of her unique beauty through elegance and positivity. Although plus-sized modeling is becoming more and more of an ―acceptable‖ reality in our world, Ms. Slaughter‘s rise above and beyond the naysayers has been no less challenging. She pays homage to her mother by showing that you achieve success through hard work and so, she works hard—and the result is a thriving career in the plus-sized fashion modeling industry. Ms. Slaughter has become a critically acclaimed and renowned face and body in print, commercials, and on the runway, receiving recognition across the national and international stage. She brings her gourmet expertise as the Brand Ambassador of Godly Curves Boutique, two-time finalist in Cynthia Bailey‘s Curvy Girl Photo Girl Contest, as the Face of FBM (Full Blossom Magazine) 2015-2016 and is featured on its cover in which she also provides an exclusive interview about how she‘s taking the industry by storm, and as a T.D. Jakes Megafest Hair Battle Model, Promotional model for JCLyfestyle of Memphis, TN, Livie Rae Lingerie, Plus-Size Fashions online website and Queens Phasion Studio. She is also being awarded in Jamaica, August 2017, with the Peach Theatre 2017 Trendsetter Award. This award is given annually to those who have broken artistic barriers and set standards of originality by the way of The Arts. This award is her personal magnum opus, or greatest artistic accomplishment, because it perfectly enthuses what she envisions through her photographic achievements. Lakesshia specializes in editorial photography. ―When attempting to capture that phenomenal moment on camera, I

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heavy criticism and misconceptions. She wants to help dissuade the biggest misconception about the plus size industry: it promotes obesity. The media has, for so many years, brain washed women into thinking that if your body wasn‘t a certain size or shape it is unattractive. The Plus size industry has changed that by giving women a voice in this in the media. We are screaming ―We are PERFECT just the way we are,‖ therefore promoting self-love, confidence, and positivity.‖ ―I just want ladies who are struggling with self-acceptance to know that for society to accept us, we have to love and accept ourselves.‖ Ingeniously conveying her ideals through a fun anagram, she developed this platform as a guide for women: PHAATIE – Pursue – Healthy – Autonomic – Acceptance – Through Inspiration/Inclusive - Empowerment In addition to her mother‘s selfevident illustration to her as to how hard work does pay off and will catapult her to triumph, he acknowledges her family and friends for the support and drive they continue to provide. Much credit is given Ms. Nikki Mack of Diva Day International Modeling Agency of Atlanta for the role she plays as dynamic force in her life, pushing her to attain her goals. Every victorious athlete and artist needs effective coaching, and we learn that modeling is no exception to that rule; thus, Ms. Slaughter attributes much of her victory to her coaches, Barry Barnes and Arnetta (Soultry) Sanders. ―They were hard, but the best.‖ And to them all, she offers a booming Thank You! But not only is LaKesshia a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry and pageant world, she also has an astonishingly successful career in healthcare. She uses her Bachelor‘s Degree of Science to work in radiology imaging. Performing ultrasounds, CT scans, x-rays, and echocardiograms, her specialty being Invasive and Noninvasive Vascular Imaging. She has used her vast skills to travel to different hospitals and clinics across the U.S., even being invited to work at the Mayo Clinic Research Hospital in Phoenix, and providing her expertise to the ultrasound team; she utilized that opportunity to provide excellent care to many people with a variety of cultural backgrounds. Because of the humanitarian she is, she was recently nominated for the ―Sunflower Award‖, the highest service award for healthcare workers, which is unheard of for a nomadic employee.■

http://www.modelmanagement.com/model/lakesshia-slaughter/ http://instagram.com/lakesshia_slaughter_ps_model

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More about LaKesshia Slaughter can be captured, and she can be booked online, as follows:

Photography by: Brian Pearse

portray the awe-inspiring emotions I feel at that time‖. Her talent on the runway is evident in hemany fashion shoots throughout the US which includes Curve Nation Expo Orlando, FL, 1426 Fashion Week 2015 Houston, TX, Harrisburg Fashion Week 2015, Harrisburg, PA, Ms. Camay's Black Tie Gala-2015, Seattle, WA, Pink the Runway 2015 in Philadelphia, PA, National Curves Day Washington DC, Indie Fashion Week of DC 2016, Black Fashion Week USA of Chicago, Fire on the Runway and Walk Fashion Show during NYFW 2017 to name a few. Being crowned Mrs. Mississippi Plus America 2016 and 2017, is her most recent accomplishment. She uses her title to inspire curvy women to turn their dreams into a reality and shine a light on child autism and women empowerment. On her plus-sized modeling journey, she exudes physical and mental health, saying ―I believe you can be plus size and healthy,‖ and ―I want to be an example to women that your size does not reflect your health.‖ Her mission is to encourage wellness, positive body image, and beauty with a healthy lifestyle for any size. At a gorgeous size 16, she works out four to five days each week, not necessarily to lose weight, but to build endurance and stamina, a must have in the modeling industry. Moreover, she delights that exercise just makes the body feel good. LaKesshia travels around the U.S. not only modeling, but also as a motivational speaker through her role as Mrs. Mississippi Plus America at a variety of events to empower and encourage women to embrace who they are. ―When a woman looks in the mirror, she tends to see what she doesn't like about herself versus what she does. It's even more difficult for ―plus‖ or fuller figured women, because it's engraved in their brain what society says is "acceptable" for a woman's appearance.‖ The evolution of the plus size industry has taken the world by storm. It is proving to the world that women over a size 12 are not only beautiful and healthy, but amazing! Nevertheless, while the plus size industry is making leaps and bounds towards the limelight, the plus industry is being met with


“fashions Beyond Styles of Imagination was voted best clothing company in Maple Heights 2014. Diane Linston was featured in the 2016, 11th anniversary edition of ―Who‘s Who Black in Cleveland, Ohio, operating the only African American female manufacturing company.

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aple Heights very own Fashion Designer, Diane Linston steps out as one of the most talented fashion designers in the state of Ohio. Linston, has been featured in more than 20 magazines; nationally and internationally. She was featured in Today‘s Black Women September 2013 issues. Madame Noire Magazine, December 2013, issues Ohio Cleveland.com 2013 issue and a host of others. Linston has participated in New York and Washington DC‘s Fashion-week. Linston‘s NGU Collections garnered national attention, positioning her to work with local and national celebrities. Her credits have allowed her to work with Actress Jazmin Lewis, Dwight Eubank of the Atlanta Housewives, and the mother of Singer John Legend. Recently, Linston modeled for Maple Heights Mayor Elect Annette M. Blackwell, Blackwell is the First African American Woman to be elected to serve as Mayor. Styles of Imagination is the umbrella name for all of Diane‘s collections, the N.G.U. Design label is Diane‘s signature line. N.G.U., stands for Never Give Up, and has been Diane‘s rallying cry throughout her pursuit of becoming a high-fashion designer. “My dreams are more than just being a fashion designer,” states Diane, “It’s a dream come true for me. My career has not been easy; I have learned everything about fashion the hard way and I never gave up on my dreams, hence N.G.U. was born!” In 2010 Diane, was diagnosed with a debilitating disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia, it is universally acknowledged as one of the most painful afflictions known to adults, aka the suicide disease. It affects 1 out of 25,000 people a year. Diane never gave up faith, 2011 she had brain surgery to correct a damaged nerve, and 4 months later she was doing what she loved to do, designing women‘s clothing. In November 2014, Diane found out she had blood clots just inches from hitting her blood vessel. ―Twice I beat the face of death. I am here for a reason God has a purpose for me in life. If not he would have taken me a long time ago. I will not stop until I accomplishes my dreams in life says, Linston. Diane Linston opened her showroom on June 1, 2015 at 3500 Payne Ave, Cleveland Ohio. The N.G.U. collection can be seen in more than 15 stores across the United States.■

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Zachariah Ka1ne: THE STORYTELLER Hit Single “MONA” By Jackie Nance / ACE ENTERTAINMENT

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achariah Ka1ne is not your typical recording artist; he is a unique and profound storyteller, delivering messages through the ink he wears on his skin, to the lyrics he spits, to his songs that provoke lasting emotions. With over 10 years in the business this Columbus, Ohio native has honed his crafts to not only become one of the greatest rappers out of the Mid-West, but he is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, and engineer. Ka1ne has gained respect from his peers and has obtained various accolades including WCKX Radio One station Power 107.5 Best Artist in Columbus Award; he also shares an Ohio Hip-Hop Award for Best Group with his group FHSP. Zachariah Ka1ne was hand selected by Radio One to perform at the ―Pepsi Power Fest‖ with that honor he shared the stage with The Migos, Rae Sremmurd, Juicy J, Yo Gotti, MGK, B.O.B., Sevyn Streeter, & Kirko Bangz to name a few. Zachariah Ka1ne has been a part of several cyphers; he has also performed at Ace Entertainment‘s Annual Got Talent? Bring It! Music Workshop & Showcase where he caught the eye of Music & TV Executive J. Nance. He has been featured in the hit TLC series Gypsy Wedding where he performs and helps mentor a gypsy rapper. Being a multi-dimensional artist Zachariah Ka1ne credits his musical influences to Michael Jackson, Prince, Metallica, Queen, David Bowie, Ice Cube, Kid Cudi, Daft Punk, & The Weeknd who he would love to collaborate with. Ka1ne prides himself on not just making a song, he makes music. He connects with each sound of the track and operates with precision creating catchy punchlines and metaphors all while tugging on your raw emotions. His music is a personal spin on the genre popularized by the likes of The Weeknd, Drake, PND, & Tory Lanez. He describes his sound as R&B vocals over heavy 808 basslines with a touch of distorted lead vocals. Even with all the influences Zachariah Ka1ne is in a class by himself. He doesn‘t operate under the same ideas as some of your favorite artists, so don‘t expect to hear exaggeration in his music or glorification of a lifestyle he

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doesn‘t live. He says ―if I speak about It, I live it, I am it! 100% real at all times‖. What would you like to share with our readers? My name is Zachariah Kaine, real name no gimmicks. I use the name Zachariah Ka1ne because there is only 1 of me. I am not a culture vulture nor am I a clone of popular music; I am an artist that wants the world to experience the emotion behind my music. If I could ask one thing, it would be for you to allow me the honor of 4 minutes of your life to show you my mind, my vibes…If you aren‘t feeling my wave after that then I understand and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to show my passion to another being, if on the other hand you are anything like me, an underdog that had to fight for everything in your life and every time you felt like you were ahead of the curve one of your closest acquaintances stabbed you in the back and kicked you off the ladder and made you start from the bottom again, then you know like me, we won‘t quit. This adversity is what defines us; you are one with me and me with you. This music is the voice of the voiceless and the underdog. So help me share with this world my, no..our vision…the pain, love, hurt, passion, and life within the vibes created by Zachariah Ka1ne…please…walk with me. Zachariah Ka1ne has completed his first professional studio project titled “MONA LISA” which is gaining national attention from his hit single „MONA‟ this true love song has caught fire and is not cooling off anytime soon with a hot video to back it. He explains that the song is ―personal yet universal‖ when asked what he meant by that he answered ―Mona is super special to me and it comes from my heart‖ he went on to say ―daily I get contacted by fans telling me how this song personally impacted them whether the words touched them directly or the message was one they could dedicate to their significant other‖. Mona is currently impacting radio and DJ pools. ▄ Zachariah Ka1ne is currently preparing for tour so he can personally connect with his fans. Follow him @iamKa1ne

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Management: Ace/Cml Entertainment aceentmusic@gmail.com


boss diva Written by: Shernita Wiggins-Wynder

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n an industry where most of the people are untrustworthy, all one sees is the "glitz and the glam"...not the story behind the successes of those who make it, let alone—break it. Of those who seem to be living their dream, if you ask, the reasoning behind finally eating their "pie in the sky," they might say it lies within the confines of a lot of prayers and an amazing management team. When CEO and Talent Manager of the "S"Firm, Melinda Santiago was asked what is necessary to be a thriving entrepreneur, humanitarian, and CEO she gave these powerful words of wisdom. It is necessary to be honest with yourself. Acknowledge your strengths and own your shyt. A successful CEO never boasts...we just SHOW up and support each other. I don't mean just by giving shout outs on social media...but by actually paying your respect with backing them. In this interview...T2T stepped into the den of the mind of a woman who established her mark by making calculated moves. So sit down and listen to how Melinda Santiago's journey up the ladder of achievement, placed her into a position to not only help others, but to live her dream, BOSS-style!▄

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limbing the ladder with one accomplishment after another, as a Powerhouse CEO of a management firm, is not an easy feat. In Melinda's own words, A lot of fails, which now, I look back...and "AM" thankful for like bankruptcy, loss of a job, married— then divorced, doing what I gotta do as a single mom...WHEW! Very few people really understand my story. I've never been handed anything. I learned to say, "No!"a long time ago, to takers and survive through it all. And you know what?...these beautiful beat downs, disappointments, and trials only inspired my spiritual growth. It brought me to the very PEACE people only dream of! Take a look! I''m living in my truth, in spite of it all.▄


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anaging various talents from music artists, to celebrity chefs, talk show hosts, and leading actors mean you have to possess strong communication, business, marketing, and skills versed in the fields of each of your clients. This takes strategy methods that will keep your clients working, happy, and dominating their genres with a "stay-on-top" mindset. For Ms. Santiago...whether she's spending hours making phone calls arranging appearances and seeking engagements...or using her above-average experience to discern which formats will showcase her clients best; the Latin Boss-Diva has no problem dealing with fragile egoes, astute temperament, resilience, and knowing when to set up that calculated shot behind the eight-ball to win...In other words, Melinda Santaigo is not afraid to keep her eye on the BEST move, just as diligent, as her male counterparts. I was too young to remember when we moved to Michigan City, Indiana where I grew up, but I do recollect that there were some things that went down when my dad was a deputy sheriff, causing us to move. But rather than let her woes cause her to fall into a bondage frame of mind; it compelled her to build a game plan. When I started junior high, I was somewhat of a female jock..LOL...I was a cheerleader, gymnast, played tennis, and basketball. No one motivated me to succeed. I have passion that is focused like a LION! I'm going to sniff out opportunities and then I am going to create opportunities to pounce on—with a fierceness. In truth...I had to find that strength in my own roadblocks and testimony. Baby, I was born and built for this!▄

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o what's next for the Santiago Firm...or "S" Firm in Atlanta, Georgia with this Artist Management, Artist Development, and Branding Firm? When it comes to her CLIENTS...They're family! I want each one of them to flourish and they trust me to do just that, to handle their business—because I make it MY business to do so. We all are silly asses that love a good laugh and support one another. When it comes to her PHILOSOPHY...My mantra of "God Blesses Good Business"comes because in this industry, it can be so tempting for people to do bad business. I have no choice other than depending on God and His favor that's over me. just don't say it...I live it. I am a witness over and over again, that the blessings overflow from just doing "good things"ALL the time. When it comes to her LEGACY...I want to leave the knowledge of a long financial stability, good honest morals, a respectful name, my contagious smile (of course) and my overall comedic nature. It matters when a person says, 'Melinda helped me and she had no clue how much her advice helped me'...or 'Melinda saved my life in a way I can't explain.' When it comes to her FAMILY...My greatest joy and triumphs are my children. My twin daughters, my 9 year old son, and my 6 year old "mini-me,"keep me young. I live for them...I strive for them...and I will make sure they have a great example (in me) of empowerment and termination when it comes to fulfilling your dreams.▄ To find out what Melinda or her clients are up to...visit

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http://santiagofirm.wixsite.com.


PRESTON GLASS The Man Behind the Music By: Beverly Hill (Shelley)

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reston Glass is a songwriter and producer born January 9, 1960. In earlier years, he was a professor teaching songwriting classes at San Francisco State University in the Bay area. After moving, he taught a couple of years at UCLA. Preston does it all depending on the song; he writes lyrics, creates melodies, arranges and produces. He has recorded, arranged and released over 250 songs for artists of which a series were chart toppers!! In his 50 years of writing, he has probably written over 3,000

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Photo by Ibarionex R. Perello

songs starting at the age of six. He says, ―I played a song for my brother and he wanted to know whose song it was, and I told him it was my song!! I didn't even know what writing was at six, so basically I was just making up songs.‖ Preston has had many hit songs, but one of his most famous works is ―We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off‖. Jermaine Stewart originally recorded this song in 1986. He says, ―The song appears to be provocative but it has clean lyrics. I wrote it for a female, but it was more unique for a guy to say…we don‘t have to take our clothes off because most of the time it‘s the girl that‘s saying that to the guy. The original song was up-tempo, but a European artist, Ella Eyre, released a Ballard cover version a few years ago. The song caught storm later in 2015 when it was performed by a contestant on The Voice!‖ Another of his famous works is ―Miss You Like Crazy‖ by Natalie Cole. Preston wrote both the lyrics and music, and it was co-written by singer, producer and songwriter Michael Masser. ―Don't Make Me Wait for Love‖ by Kenny G. (featuring Lenny Williams, lead vocals) is another one of Preston‘s famous works. He has produced songs with long time friends Freda Payne and George Benson. One of his personal favorites is

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them if they write music. Just go where the music and musicians are, and ask if they would like to collaborate with you. They may be looking for a lyricist.‖ He concludes, ―The industry has changed a lot. Writing professionally for 35 plus years, I've seen the trend go from when cassettes were hot and the radio was keen!! If you weren‘t on the radio, it was almost impossible to have a hit! Things are different now; it's a different world totally. My advice to artists trying to get out there is to stay educated on the way the industry is today; otherwise you won't get your songs heard. At the same time, don't feel you have to change your music so much. Stay true to your own style.‖ We so often listen to music without knowing the backbone of the creation. I‘m so honored to get to know Preston Glass. He is the man that is behind a lot of music that we have heard for years. We thank you Mr. Glass for so many, many great lyrical and musical works!■

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―Kisses in the Moonlight‖ which he wrote for his friend George Benson. Johnny Mathis stands out to him because his mom played Mathis‘ music around the house when he was a little boy. For Preston to grow up and have the opportunity to write and produce for Mr. Mathis was a blessing and a treat… that was one of his favorite moments! Preston says, ―Working with Earth Wind & Fire was an absolute dream come true. To this day, I don't know why they called me because they write and produce all of their own songs. I think they wanted someone fresh with young ideas…I was 24 years old at that time.‖ Preston wrote four songs with them in 1987, and through that collaboration, Preston forged a great relationship with Maurice White, founder of Earth Wind & Fire. He and Maurice wrote about 40 songs together. Some of those songs ended up on projects in Japan. Preston continues, ―As part of Maurice‘s therapy due to Parkinson's, he asked me to continue writing songs with him to keep his brain and his emotions active and happy. We would get together every two months. We wrote together all the way up to the end.‖ Preston has produced six solo albums, the first one in 2005. Guest artists appeared on his first three albums, and on the latter three, Preston is singing himself!! What's new for Preston Glass? He had a solo album released in August 2016 called ―The Stuff That Matters‖. He states, ―I had a listening party at The Bravado Jazz Grill in L.A. owned by Herb Alpert.‖ Currently, Preston is working on an album of duets called, ‗Dynamic Duets‘ to be released mid-March 2017!! Lyrical creations come to Preston by way of inspiration and imagination. They come from listening to people around him or watching a movie. Lots of things inspire and feed his imagination. Preston plays keyboards, guitar and a little bass guitar. I asked the question how a lyricist can get their music out into the industry having no musical background and not knowing how to play an instrument, and what would he suggest? His answer was, ―For lyricists to get music out there, you have to find your Burt Bacharach. Bacharach did the arrangements, and the lyrics were by Harold David, songs like ―Walk on By‖, ―Don't Make Me Over‖, and ―Message to Michael‖. Find a great jazz pianist playing in a club or bar, and ask


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Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine March/April 2017  

Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine March/April 2017

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