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PRESIDENT / T2T MEDIA GROUP, INC . DIR. OF SOCIAL NETWORK MARKETING & WEB DEVELOPMENT Lukeither Willingham / Atlanta, GA VICE PRESIDENT/ T2T MEDIA GROUP, INC. CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Derek Payne / Columbus, OH ASST. TO PUBLISHER / YOUNG & TRENDY Essence Bradley /Akron, OH FREELANCE WRITER Lisa Earley / Atlanta, GA Ava Collier /Atlanta, GA Carol Courtney Anglin / Brooklyn, NY EDITORS Teri Miller Barker / Dayton, OH Tracey Farley / Nashville, TN Cheryl L. Iszard / Woodstock, GA CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gigi McCrary / Columbus, OH Angela Thomas / Miami, FL Dr. Linda Amerson / Arlington, TX The Weight Loss Angel / Philadelphia, PA Joseph Booker / Baton Rouge, LA Ava Simone Collier / Atlanta, GA





ow, 2013 is here! As the year begins, I find myself facing major changes in my life. I’ve discovered that change is not always easily accepted, wanted and sometimes difficult to deal with. I’ve also realized that without it, one cannot continue to grow. My goal is to embrace the changes that I have been confronted with. I stumbled upon a poem that I’d like to share. Maybe it will help you make a tough decision and for others, simple peace of mind. It may make you decide to remain idle temporarily. Nevertheless, here goes:

Do not just long for a change, know how to accept it Nothing is permanent Except the change Change is a necessary phenomenon In an active system Changelessness is deadly Change is continuous Steady and driven by a cause Nature and extent of change Depend on Nature and extent of cause We all look for And indeed long for a change And we have specifications Many a time The occurring change is Not the change we were Looking or longing for We turn excited or sad Because of the change Many a time we are Unprepared for the change Though we were longing for it Often we find it difficult To accommodate and

Accept the change Nothing wrong Longing for a change But desiring itself not enough We need to create such Causes that will lead To the change we look for Many a time these causes Are not totally under our control So, it is well-advised To be prepared for the Deviations from your specifications Then you will find yourself In a position to accept The change whole-heartedly Long for a change, Plan actions accordingly, Execute and wait Change has to come But, again be prepared To accept the change Despite its falling short Or exceeding your Specifications Bashyam Narayanan

Thanks Bashyam!

Poem by Bashyam Narayanan by way of

CEO / PUBLISHER T2T MEDIA GROUP, INC. Willie Stewart / Atlanta, GA

contents JAN/FEB 2013 ■ T2T MAGAZINE

Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine Supports

President Barack H. Obama!

what’s inside

10 Publisher’s Notes 27 Educational Trends 28 Educators 29 Awareness Trends 43 Health & Wellness Trends 44 Petcare 411 53 Inspirational Trends 56 Lifestyles 61 Art & Entertainment Trends 65 Travel Trends

36 Cover Story

special features

40 Health & Wellness Spotlight Kayla Martell Former Miss Delaware 2010

46 Mixing Love and Business

Alozo and Tracy Mourning & Bishop Darius & Dr. Leslie Ashlock

48 Radio Personality Spotlight Ryan Cameron & Missy E “The Partydoll”

50 Author’s Corner

Roger Louis Kennedy “My Spose Made Me Rich”

58 Beauty Spotlight Astara Gatewood

58 Fashion Spotlight London West

58 Comedian Spotlight Mark Gregory

20 Legendary Awards





Willie Stewart / Chief Executive Officer Lukeither Willingham / President Derek Payne / Executive Vice President Our Mission It is our mission to be the premier source for positive news and information among trendsetters around the globe and to build strong relationships among individuals, corporate companies, businesses, and organizations in the communities that we serve.

About Us Trendsetters to Trendsetters Media Group, Inc., (aka T2T Media Group and Trend to Trend Media Group) is a minority-owned, privately-held, national media group headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. T2T Media Group started as a single magazine and through strategic planning has grown into a multifaceted media company which now includes a Publishing Division with three magazines (Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine & Trendsetters to Trendsetters Latino Magazine and Young and Trendy Magazine); and a Digital Division which specializes in graphic design, marketing, and social media. Companies in our Digital Division include DPI Graphic Design, Lukeither Multimedia & Design (Internet and Social Network Marketing), and numerous interactive websites and blogs (entertainment, food, and technical). Through our divisions and various companies, it is our goal to provide excellent returns to our shareholders, and provide support to the community and businesses where we live, work and play. Our company motto is “Together Building Strong Relationships.” We pride ourselves in building strong business relationships and offering services that help businesses reach their target audiences. Trendsetter to Trendsetters Media Group, Inc. specializes in business to business relationships and offers strategies and solutions for every budget.

“Together Building Strong Relationships” TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE










and your product. ello T2T readers we have journeyed through * Appearance: Getting to the NEXT LEVEL depends on who another year!! you keep in your reach. I call it the law of attraction. It’s imporThe past six years many of us have wittant to build relationships with individuals that nessed the economic downare already on the level that you’re trying to turn, people losing their busiembrace. nesses, their jobs; their * Approach: You have to show passion about homes; their hopes and their dreams. The econknowing your business products/services and omy has brought understanding and new meanin knowing what you’re bringing to the table. ing to the word “focus” for me. 99.9 percent of what we do in building a strong Focus has taught me the value of strategic relationship is done on approach so cultivate planning and the need for restructuring of fiyour relationships with your current customers nancial metrics (if you don’t have a plan, you and when dealing with potential investors and won’t be able to balance and manage them) to sponsors. stay on task for reaching goals. * Attitude: Embrace and learn new and emergIn surviving the economic downpour we ing technology how they can grow your busimust be unconventional in our approach to ness and enhance visibility, be hands-on with business growth ventures. My metrics system our customers as well and engage more netthat I use is called “Three A’s” and I; which working with your climb to the NEXT LEVEL. means, Appearance, Approach and Attitude = * Image: Your business is who you are. How is Image and Image is Everything. Willie Stewart your appearance, approach and attitude, have Being focused may mean being unconvenPUBLISHER you measured them lately, if not ask your custional. You have to be willing to consider all tomers how you look. angles 1) Creating multiple streams of income within your company, 2) Creating less overhead 3) Being effective with They as well are doing the same. I’ll see you at the NEXT your approach to customer service and 4) Believing in yourself LEVEL. 2013 here we come!! ■




2013 Trumpet Foundation Honorees



Xernona Clayton FOUNDER

Alonzo & Tracy Mourning HUMANITARIAN AWARD




Edward T. Welburn, Jr. CORPORATE AWARD





rom the moment she burst onto the music scene in the 1970s as the 18-year-old lead singer of Rufus, Chaka Khan’s powerful voice and show-stopping stage presence set her apart from any other singer. During her career, which has spanned nearly 40 years, Chaka has developed a vast international fan base and has performed on six continents. She has become a legendary music icon who has influenced generations of artists. The ten-time GRAMMY Award winner has the rare ability to sing in eight genres of music. Born Yvette Stevens in 1953, Chaka grew up in Chicago. Unlike many African American artists, she did not begin her singing career in church. She never considered singing professionally, but she and her sister formed a singing group, The Crystalettes. As teenagers, they became involved with an organization called the Affro-Arts Theater, where Yvette participated in a naming ceremony by a Yoruba priest, who gave her the name “Chaka,” which means “Woman of Fire.” At age 17, Chaka married Hassan Khan. And had one child. A second marriage produced her second child. Chaka sang with many groups but she never became serious about being a musician until she heard the group Rufus. Early on, she caught the attention of music icon Stevie Wonder, who penned her first smash hit with Rufus, “Tell Me Something Good.” The Rags to Rufus, earned Chaka her first GRAMMY Award. With Chaka as the group’s dynamic center, Rufus became one of the most popular acts around selling out shows throughout the country and dominating the airwaves with hit after hit. Chaka’s second GRAMMY Award-winning song racked up five certified gold and platinum albums.



In 1978, Chaka blazed onto the music scene as a solo artist with the release of the smash hit “I’m Every Woman”….but the song that made Chaka Khan a household name and propelled her to superstardom the world over was “I Feel For You.” Despite her busy schedule, Chaka has always made time to support and uplift her community. She has a deep commitment to women and children at risk, which led her to establish the Chaka Khan Foundation. By 2003, Chaka had been urged by her sister to write an autobiography as a way to help others who were struggling to deal with problems similar to those Chaka had faced and worked to overcome. Convinced by her sister’s words, Chaka teamed up with an author to produce Chaka: Through The Fire, a candid account of her life, which she describes as “going to hell and back in a limousine. The book, which is currently being adapted into a screenplay, details Chaka’s struggle with drugs and alcohol, which plagued her throughout much of her career. Despite the constant pleading from her family to address her drug dependency, Chaka always believed she could pull herself back from the brink. It was the desperate and urgent pleas from her daughter that finally got Chaka’s attention, and strengthened her resolve to get clean and sober. The mission of the Chaka Khan Foundation expanded as a result of her nephew’s autism. Efforts were focused on public awareness. Teaming with the Cure Autism Now, Chaka raised one million dollars for research. Chaka has received numerous accolades for both her artistry and philanthropy. Last year she was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Besides being a successful musician and a devoted philanthropist, Chaka also is an entrepreneur. Her line of gourmet chocolates, Chakalates, was sold in Neiman Marcus stores around the country. Plans are underway to re-launch her signature brand of chocolates. ■


ebra Martin Chase, born October 11, 1956 in Great Lakes, Illinois, is a twotime Emmy nominated motion picture and television producer. The former lawyer is the first African American woman to have her own producing deal at a major studio. Her company, Martin Chase Productions, has been an affiliate of the Walt Disney Company for over 11 years and she recently signed an overall deal with ABC Studios. Ms. Chase received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1981. In an interview, Debra said, “I’ve been a movie fanatic since I was a child, and my images of the world were shaped by what I saw on the screen.” When I first started in the business, “I didn’t know the mechanics of how things worked. So I read books, went to seminars, met with anybody who’d meet with me just to learn information,” Now, I want to do my part to see that Blacks are not only represented in film but also enhance it.” Chase uses her work in film & television to deliver positive messages. “It’s immensely rewarding to know that you are having a huge impact on the self-image, values and life perspective of kids,” she contends. Ms. Chase was the motion picture and television producing partner with Whitney Houston in BrownHouse Productions. Denzel Washington hired Ms. Chase to run his production company, Mundy Lane Entertainment, where she stayed from 1992-1995. She executive produced Courage Under Fire, which starred Denzel. She worked with him to executive produced Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, a two-hour documentary on the baseball legend. It was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy and received a Peabody Award, the Crystal Heart Award from the Heartland Film Festival and was voted Best Documentary by the National Association of Minorities in Cable. Debra was one of the executive producers of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella which aired in November 1997 on ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney and starred Brandy, Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg. The television musical was watched by over 60 million viewers. It was nominated for seven Emmys and won the Emmy in the category of Art Production. Chase was the executive producer of The Cheetah Girls, Raven-Symoné, Sabrina Bryan, Adrienne Bailon, Kiely Williams and Lynn Whitfield. A second installment of the movie, The Cheetah Girls 2, was the most watched movie of the Disney network. The third installment, The Cheetah Girls: One World’s soundtrack was the first movie to win double platinum. Chase produced Just Wright starring Queen Latifah and Common, which was the winner of the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Best Screenplay and the recipient of four Image Award nominations, including Best Picture. Chase was the executive producer of the Disney Channel musical Lemonade Mouth which debuted as the most watched cable movie of 2011. Its soundtrack, which she also executive produced, became the number four album in the U.S. in its second week of release and the number one soundtrack for several weeks. ■





ichael McMillan is serving his second term as the License Collector of the City of St. Louis. He is responsible for collecting almost $60 million in revenue in business taxes from almost 15,000 businesses, which is redistributed to the City of St. Louis, St. Louis Public School System and other government agencies. For a decade, he served as Alderman of the 19th Ward of the City of St. Louis. At that time, he was the youngest St. Louisan to be elected Alderman. Prior to being elected Alderman, McMillan held the position as Administrative Assistant to the first African American Mayor of St. Louis, Freeman Bosley, Jr. He considers his most significant accomplishment as Alderman to be the initiation and collaboration of over $1.25 billion in economic development. McMillan is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation. The mission of this organization is to inspire selfsufficiency and community empowerment for disadvantaged and under served people through educational incentive programs, neighborhood stabilization, crime prevention and social service programs. Each year, he is personally involved in hosting Senior Citizen Forums that impact 3,000 senior citizens from over 70 different facilities. His mission with children and youth is equally committed on all levels of their educational development. Each year, he organizes five events for six different educational institutions including a Back to School and Community Empowerment Festival, which attracts almost 15,000 people annually. McMillan has led the foundation in



servicing over one hundred thousand residents over the years including a Salute to Women that is one of the best in the nation. McMillan has a long history of providing scholarship assistance for low to moderate income minority youth who excel academically and give back to the community. This started with the creation of a tuition/book assistance program he initiated while he was enrolled in high school and college. Currently, endowed scholarships are in his name at four institutions. Students receive paid internships, mentoring and leadership development. In 2009, he was one of eight Americans to be awarded the Eisenhower International Fellowship to visit Ireland and Paris to observe their forms of government, problem solving processes, and energy management. As a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders he has traveled to Malaysia, Russia, Nicaragua and El’Salvador. On a regular basis, he also hosts many delegates from other countries. As part of his community outreach and continued public service, McMillan is a member of several Boards of Directors. He is a member of the 100 Black Men of St. Louis, the National League of Cities, the Boulè and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. He is the recipient of over 150 awards for his community service including the Ethics Project inaugural award and the Ambassador Andrew Young Award for Outstanding Ethics & Service to Family & Community. Michael McMillan is a native of St. Louis, MO. He is a graduate of Saint Louis University with a degree in African American Studies, and a minor in Political Science. ■



asim Reed was inaugurated as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta in 2010. Since then, he has hired more than 600 police officers, re-opened all of the city’s recreation centers as safe havens for young people and improved core city services such as fire-rescue response times and sanitation operations. Working with the Atlanta City Council and the city’s employee unions, he successfully initiated a series of sweeping reforms to address the city’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability. He began his term facing a $48 million budget shortfall; under his leadership, the city has had three years of balanced budgets with no property tax increases, and its cash reserves have grown from $7.4 million to more than $100 million. Mayor Reed has received numerous accolades since taking office. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies honored him with the Louis E. Martin Great American Award, saying he “heralds a new and creative approach to leadership.” Governing Magazine named Mayor Reed as one of the top state and local government officials of the year in 2011. Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist and author of “That Used to Be Us,” called Reed “inspiring” and labeled him as “one of the best of this new breed of leaders.” In his book “We Can All Do Better,” former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley cited Reed’s straightforward approach in successfully reforming the city’s pension plan and wrote: “We need more of that kind of candor.” Mayor Reed’s civic leadership and service have been nationally recognized on programs such as Meet the Press, The Charlie Rose Show, The Kudlow Report and Andrea Mitchell Reports. He has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal -Constitution, The Washington Post and Black Enterprise. He

has been a guest speaker and panelist at numerous national and international conferences, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, New York Ideas, New Cities Summit, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, and the Gathering of Leaders. Prior to his election, Mayor Reed established a track record of leadership during his 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and served two terms. He also served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus and a member of the Judiciary Committee, Higher Education Committee, Ethics Committee, Transportation Committee, and State and Local Government Operations Committee. Mayor Reed is a former partner in the litigation practice of Holland and Knight LLP, an international law firm, where he specialized in entertainment law. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia. He grew up in Southwest Atlanta, where he attended Elementary School and High School. He is a graduate of Howard University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees and an honorary Doctor of Laws. As an undergraduate member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment since its inception. Mayor Reed was appointed as Howard University’s youngest General Trustee and remains a dedicated member of the Board of Trustees. Mayor Reed enjoys attending sports events and reading. He likes playing golf with his father, and calls his mother his “best friend.” He also enjoys spending time with his three older brothers. Mayor Reed is a member of Cascade United Methodist Church. ■



Edward T. Welburn Jr. CORPORATE AWARD


dward T. Welburn Jr. began his career at General Motors in 1972 as an associate designer with the Advanced Design Studios. In 1973 he joined the Buick Exterior Studio where he worked on the Black Riviera and Park Avenue. Later, he was assigned to the Oldsmobile Exterior Studio. There, he led the development of a number of successful production vehicles and designed the Oldsmobile Aerotech speed-record vehicle, which set two world records of more than 257 miles per hour. The Oldsmobile brand, started by Ransom Eli Olds in 1897 was the oldest car company in America. Mr. Welburn was named chief designer of the Oldsmobile Studio in 1989. Welburn’s projects included the Oldsmobile Antares concept car, and the Oldsmobile Intrigue, both of which received AutoWeek magazine awards. In 1996 Welburn began a two-year assignment at Saturn in Germany, and later named director of GM’s Advanced Design Team in Warren, Michigan. His team was responsible for the development of new and innovative vehicles for all GM brands, as well as the development of all GM concept vehicles, including the Chevy SSR and a new generation of hydrogen fuel cell concepts. In 2002 Ed Welburn was appointed executive director of design, body-on-frame architectures. In this position, he was responsible for the three truck studios at the GM Design Center that produced the Hummer H3, Cadillac Escalade and the latest generation of full-size trucks scheduled to reach the market in 2006. Named vice president of GM Design North America, Mr. Welburn became the sixth design leader in GM history and later



named to the newly created position of GM vice president of global design, and the first to lead all of the company’s global design centers. In his new position as vice president of global design, Welburn created a network of 10 Design Centers in the United States, Germany, England, Korea, China, Australia, Brazil and India. He and his team of more than 1,500 people are responsible for the design development of every GM concept and production car and truck globally. Ed Welburn received the Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals for their significant contributions to the auto industry. He is on the board of directors for the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. He has been recognized and honored by several impressive organizations and institutions. He received the Man of Excellence Award from the Michigan Chronicle and made the list of the Ebony Power 150: The Most Influential Blacks in America as recognized by Ebony magazine. Black Enterprise magazine named Welburn as one of the 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America. Welburn, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Fine Arts at Howard University, where he studied sculpture and product design. In 2012, Mr. Welburn received the inaugural “Nicola Bulgari Award” for outstanding contributions to preserving America’s automotive heritage through education, restoration or collecting classic cars in conjunction with the grand opening of LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Also, Mr. Welburn was recognized recently by the Detroit Historical Society’s Black Historic Sites Commission for being the first African American to lead a global automotive Design organization. ■



harlie Wilson is timeless. It’s something every artist wants to be, but few earn the distinction. Mr. Wilson, born January 29, 1953, was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The famed R&B singersongwriter-producer, at age 3, was taught to sing in church which led the way for him to sing in his junior high school’s choir, which was a precursor to his musical career with The Gap Band. From the start of his career, Charlie and his brothers, helped define and popularize an upbeat form of funk music that was infectious and lasting with their group. The group’s songs like “Outstanding”, “Party Train”, “Yearning For Your Love”, “Burn Rubber on Me”, “You Dropped A Bomb on Me”, and “Oops Upside Your Head” are among the most sampled songs in music history. After 15 albums The Gap Band announced their retirement in 2010. Wilson’s struggle with alcohol and drug addiction consumed him after the breakup of the GAP Band. He decided to enter rehabilitation and turn his life around seeking to live a clean and sober life which in turn would give him a new perspective. In rehab he met social worker Mahin. They married in 1995…Wilson has had 17 years of sobriety. His music continues to resonate with generations of musicians and rappers, many of whom clamor to recreate his soaring vocals, collaborate with him, or just achieve the level of artistic quality that he has maintained. He is recognized as a true ‘living legend’ and his chart-topping solo career has now surpassed the success that he earned with the GAP Band. When you hear Charlie Wilson’s voice it reminds you of both the past and the present. He is one of the few artists whose

vocal style and performance continue to influence some of today’s most popular artists. He has been nominated for six Grammy awards, and received numerous other honors. Charlie has consistently topped the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary chart. He has been a sought after vocalist and contributor/collaborator to dozens of songs. Charlie has opted to make it his personal mission to support American troops especially in the Middle East. Wilson and his band have traveled to Kuwait and Iraq taking his critically acclaimed, high energy show to dozens of bases throughout both countries and giving our service men and women a “little taste of home.” Nearly five years ago, Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, the cancer was detected early, so he was able to begin treatment immediately. In typical Wilson fashion, he and his wife, Mahin, took this challenge head on and because he received an early diagnosis and was treated properly, he is now cancer free. However, he chose not to keep his diagnosis private. He said, “I’ve always been performing but now its time for me to start informing.” Wilson remains committed to promoting awareness and testing for prostate cancer. As a survivor Wilson teamed with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Today he continues to speak at events around the country, educating and encouraging men to get screened for the disease. He also supports the PCF through the sale of his signature fedora hats at his concerts and on his website. Wilson is the national spokesperson for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which has raised over $380 million for research and funded more than 1,500 research projects at nearly 200 institutions worldwide. With music and his work to combat prostate cancer, Wilson has been able to sustain the passion and drive that have been hallmarks of his legendary career. ■










Actress Sharon Morris Co-Host


ctress Sharon Morris is a native of Atlanta GA. After a thirteen years hiatus, having been an entrepreneur, and mother, Sharon returned to her love of acting on the advice of her daughter. Sharon took on theatre, commercials, then feature films and tele-

vision. Sharon has appeared in many television and film productions such as The Secret Life of Bees, Due Date and Green Lantern. Sharon’s most recognizable roles to date are her supporting roles in The Blindside and The Hunger Games. Sharon performs alongside Hollywood’s best and brightest in films like, The Lucky One starring Zac Efron and Blythe Danner, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green starring Jennifer Garner. Sharon can be seen in upcoming films like Arthur Newman starring Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. Sharon has recurring roles on Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva, Single Ladies, MTV’s Teen Wolf and the new Sundance Channel Original Series Rectify. Sharon is committed to providing excellent performances and encouraging a new generation of hard working film professionals.



Co - Host Mr. David M. Conley


avid Martyn Conley is a tenured Writer, Director, and Actor.

As the head of Munirah Entertainment, Conley has developed exciting, award winning independent motion pictures. Conley has costarred on Lifetime Television series, Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva. He also had a recurring role on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Conley has also been featured in movies like Disney’s Let it Shine. Conley works as a consultant for directors and writers on stage plays and independent motion pictures. Conley is also a celebrated screenwriter. One of his pieces Raising Izzie has recently been taking the industry by storm. It’s many awards and nominations include:

Mr. Teddy Riley 2013 Brand Ambassador


dward Theodore Riley, professionally known as Teddy Riley, is a Grammy Award winning, singersongwriter, musician, keyboardist, and record producer credited with the creation of the New Jack Swing. Through his production work with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Doug E. Fresh, Today, Keith Sweat, Heavy D., Usher, Jane Child, etc. and membership of the groups Guy and Blackstreet. Riley is credited with having a massive impact and seminal influence on the formation of contemporary R&B, hiphop, soul, and pop since the 1980s.

• Winner of 2011 gmc Television’s Faith and Family Screenplay

Competition. • The film was produced by and was the directorial debut of

Roger M. Bobb • Premiere was gmc Television Network’s Biggest World Pre-

miere Ever • Nominated for 2 NAACP Image Awards • Nominated for 5 Black Reel Awards

Conley is currently writing screenplays for hire, teaching/ coaching actors and packaging three films for production over the next three years.

Mrs. Parisa Khosravi Humanitarian Award


arisa Khosravi is Senior Vice President for CNN Worldwide in charge of International Newsgathering. She has editorial, operational and administrative oversight of CNN’s international bureaus and CNN’s International Desk, which oversees CNN’s global coverage. She also oversees International Newsource, the network’s international affiliate division with over 200 CNN affiliates worldwide. Khosravi has played an integral role in some of CNN’s defining moments, including the network’s live coverage of the first Gulf War; the fall of the Berlin Wall; the end of apartheid; the show-down between protesters and the government in China’s Tiananmen Square; and the genocide in Rwanda. TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103


Ms. Xernona Clayton Pioneer Award


ernona Clayton is the Founder, President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. and Creator and Executive Producer of the Foundation’s Trumpet Awards. The Trumpet Awards is a prestigious event highlighting African American accomplishments and contributions. Initiated in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting, the Trumpet Awards has been televised annually and distributed internationally to over 185 countries around the world. Ms. Clayton began her television career in 1967 and became the south’s first Black person to have her own television show. She was a regular feature on WAGA-TV, CBS affiliate in Atlanta.

Tommy W. Dortch, Jr., Mr. Spotlight Award


homas W. Dortch, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TWD, Inc., has established himself as a leader by diligently working to dismantle systemic barriers to empowerment. Some of Mr. Dortch’s accomplishments include: establishing the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.; Co-founding the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (GAME); and Co-founding the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance as a capacity building and business development organization for the construction and transportation industries. He is currently the Chairman of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, a national effort founded by Susan Taylor, Editor Emeriti of Essence magazine to recruit one (1) million black men and women to mentor 1 million black boys and girls.

Keith Sweat Highlight Award


eith Sweat is an R&B and soul singer. Sweat sang at nightclubs until he was discovered. In 1987, Sweat released his debut album Make It Last Forever, which sold four million copies. The biggest hit from this album was the song that inaugurated the New Jack Swing era "I Want Her". In 1992, Sweat discovered the group Silk, and helped craft their debut album, Lose Control, which hit #7 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Jamie Foster Brown Media Icon Award


rown’s entertainment career began in 1979, when she founded the Washington Theater Group, an organization that marketed group sales for theatrical performances. From there, Brown worked for Black Entertainment Television (BET) as an advertising secretary to the network’s founder, Robert Johnson. Brown was eventually promoted and produced BET’s flagship shows, Video Soul and Video LP. In 1988, Brown founded Sister 2 Sister magazine, a monthly trade newsletter targeting prominent women in the entertainment and media industries; the newsletter has since evolved into a popular cultural magazine. As the popularity of Sister 2 Sister magazine grew, Brown created a syndicated radio show, The Sister 2 Sister Celebrity Update. This program is heard on thirty-nine radio stations across the nation and has aired on the BBC in London, England. Brown extended her readership in 1998, when her tribute book to Betty Shabazz, Betty Shabazz: A Sisterfriends’ Tribute in Words and Pictures, was published by Simon and Schuster. 22


Rasheed Muhammad Highlight Award


asheed Muhammad is the Vice President for SunTrust Private Wealth Management Sports and Entertainment Specialty Group in Atlanta, Georgia and the Client Advisor to sports and entertainment professionals. Muhammad previously served as Vice President for the Atlanta Chapter of The Recording Academy (2007) and has served on the Board of Governor’s for the Atlanta Chapter of The Recording Academy.

Mr. Sugar Ray Leonard, Life Time Achievement Award retired professional boxer and occasional actor; he was the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses, won world titles in five weight divisions and defeated future fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Wilfred Benítez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durán and Marvin Hagler. Leonard won the gold medal in light-welterweight boxing at the 1976 Olympic Games, and went pro the following year. His 1987 defeat of "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler for the World Boxing Council's middleweight title is considered one of the greatest professional boxing matches of all time. Leonard retired in 1997, and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame and was named "Boxer of the Decade" for the 1980s.

Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir 2013 Legendary Award


bdul 'Duke' Fakir is best known as a member of popular Motown act The Four Tops from 1954 to the present day. Fakir, who sings first tenor, is the only surviving original member of the group.

The Four Tops Four powerful voices. Four powerful friendships. The founding members of the Four Tops – Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton – performed together for more than four decades, building their harmonies, chart-topping songs and success on the foundation of a friendship that began as teenagers. Barry Gordy’s Motown label signed the Four Tops in 1964 to its “Workshop” (jazz) division. But the group’s act proved pop-worthy, and Gordy put them together with the songwriting and production team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland (Holland Dozier and Holland, or HDH), which proved to be a chart-topping combination. Between 1964 and 1967, HDH and the Four Tops produced most of the group’s early hits: “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself,” “It’s the Same Old Song,” “Bernadette” and many others. By the time the Four Tops joined Motown Records, the four singers had been performing together for 10 years. Already seasoned performers, there were no bumps on the road to superstardom. The group remained hit-makers for Motown until the label moved to Los Angeles in 1972. The Four Tops signed to the ABC/Dunhill Records label after their exodus from Motown. At ABC/Dunhill, they ran up the charts with “Are You Man Enough” (Soundtrack, “Shaft in Africa”). The Four Tops continued to create chart-busters with “Keeper of the Castle,” their 18th album. Despite their separation from HDH, they continued to create great albums while at ABC/ Dunhill with Brian Potter and Dennis Lambert. TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103


FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Student Strives to Better Nigeria’s Economy


enee Gordon, a first year doctoral candidate at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, is changing the steel industry with the use of cassava leaves. Case hardening is a process used to strengthen the steel that is used for gears and tools in factories and cars. The materials typically used for this process are deadly and expensive. Through her research as well as a collaboration with Obafemi Awolowo University and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure located in Nigeria, Gordon has discovered something that will not only change the steel industry but will also bring in revenue to the country. “This process is both economically and environmentally safe,” said Gordon. “It’s perfect because with this process they can do anything within the country.” Most developing countries have a shortage of spare parts and tools, especially in the automobile industry. Through the use of cassava leaves, Nigeria will have a chance of producing automobiles in-house, providing jobs and generating revenue for the country without outsourcing. “These experiments are very important to the development of science,” said Dr. Decatur Rogers, dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. “This is actual research that can be used and this is what we are here for.” Nigeria is the number one producer for the cassava plant.



Although it is not native to the land, they have adopted the plant and have used it as a source of nutrition and income. The leaves and peels of the cassava plant contain a large amount of cyanogenic glucose, the substance used to case harden steel. The leaves of the plant are placed in a holding container with the steel molding. It is then placed in an oven and baked until the case hardening reaches its preferred thickness. The result is an outer case that is wear resistant with a ductile inner core. Through the use of cassava plants, the cost of production and the waste of natural resources will decrease. “We can be comfortable and not indulge ourselves with unrenewable materials,” said Gordon. “We can have a healthy balance between mankind and our environment.” Gordon is doing more than revolutionizing the steel industry. Through her use of MatLab to conduct her experiments, she is revolutionizing the experimental process. She recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar that focuses on the MatLab software. MatLab is software that uses mathematical modeling to demonstrate an experiment. This software allows researchers to conduct experiments without worrying about the costs of materials and time. “MatLab software is amazing,” said Gordon. “It’s really helpful because I can conduct a lot more experiments without worrying about the cost of materials.” ■ (BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE)


eth Towns is one of several Columbus, OH area freshmen starting on varsity teams. Towns, who is 6 foot 7, averages 11.7 points and 4.0 rebounds for the Northland Vikings. He is shooting 66 percent from the field, including 60 percent from three-point range. An honor student, Towns is ranked as the No. 2 freshman prospect in Ohio by Prep Spotlight Magaz ine, based in large part on his potential to play small forward or power forward.









Cookietown was the result of a dream that founder, Alan C. Woods, had some 13 years ago.

r. Woods was a production manufacturer for a gourmet gift company for 18 years. Cookies were one of the main components of those gifts at that time. Christmas season was one of the company’s busiest times. Starting right after Thanksgiving weekend they would work every day 12 to 14 hours a day until Christmas Eve. As cookies were being produced, they would literally be stacked to the ceiling of a three story building. With some 20 pieces of equipment and 75 people on his shift alone, Mr. Woods had his hands full. After what seemed to be one of the longest nights of his career, Mr. Woods went home and collapsed on the couch not even making it to bed. This is how Mr. Woods entered into what is now known as Cookietown. Walking down what he thought was a dirt road only to find out later that the road was made of chocolate and everything in Cookietown was eatable. Well, as he continued to walk, he felt someone or something was watching him. He kept walking and when he looked back, there they stood a group of big round heads that looked like people far off. As they got closer, he could tell something was different. Their approach became faster and faster. Well, Mr. Woods wasn’t taking a chance to find out what they wanted and began to run. The faster he ran the closer it seemed the cookie people got. Just before they caught him, he woke up. Needless to say, the cookie people didn’t catch him, however, they did capture his mind from that night forth and so Cookietown was born.




Dr. Robert Michael Franklin


he Reverend Dr. Robert M. Franklin is the tenth president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Previously, he served as the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and president of the Interdenominational Theological Center, both in Atlanta. He also served as a program officer in the Human Rights and Social Justice Program at the Ford Foundation (NY). In 2005, he served as Theologian in Residence for The Chautauqua Institution (NY). He serves on numerous boards, including the Character Education Partnership ( W a s h i n g t o n , DC) and Public Broadcasting of Atlanta (WABE). He has provided commentaries for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and televised commentary for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting. Currently, Franklin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the Executive Committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Executive Committee); the HBCU Capital Financing Advisory Board; and the Naval War College Board of Advisors. Franklin is the author of three books, Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities (2007), Another Day’s Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (1997), and Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African American Thought (1989).



Dr. Robert Michael Franklin

President of Morehouse College, USA

A native of Chicago, Franklin was educated at Morgan Park High School, Morehouse College (BA, 1975), Harvard Divinity School (M.Div. 1978) and the University of Chicago Divinity School (Ph.D., 1985). In 1973, he received an English Speaking Union scholarship to attend the University of Durham in England. He is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Bethune Cookman University, Bates College, and Swarthmore College. Franklin is married to Dr. Cheryl G. Franklin, a gynecologist, and is the proud father of three children. ■


president of Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Sidney A. Ribeau, Bowling Green, OH. Over Ph.D. the course of 13 years, he President of Howard initiated and led a compreUniversity, USA hensive campaign that raised more than $180 million to fund a number of capital initiatives, including the construction of a regional campus. The university was also recognized, during his tenure, for its residential learning communities, values-based education, and innovative graduate programs. Ribeau holds a B.S. degree from Wayne State University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Interpersonal and Group Communication from the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign. In 1976, he joined the California State University Los Angeles faculty as a professor of communication studies. He received accolades as an outstanding instructor and student adviser, and, in 1984, he was named the chair of the university's Pan African Studies Department—a position that he held until 1987 when he was named dean of Undergraduate Studies on the university's San Bernardino campus. Three years later, Ribeau was appointed dean of the College of Liberal Arts at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo campus, and, in 1992, he was named vice president for Academic Affairs on the university's Pomona campus. He currently serves on the board of directors for a number of organizations, including the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association–College Retirement Equities Fund, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Worthington Industries, the Association of Governing Boards, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Consortium of University Presidents. He has received distinguished alumnus awards from Wayne State University and the University of Illinois; scholarly recognition from the National Communication Association; the President's Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and was named the 2012 Educator of the Year by the World Affairs Council. Dr. Ribeau is married to Dr. Paula Whetsel-Ribeau. They are the proud parents of two daughters and one son. ■

Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D.


idney A. Ribeau is the 16th president of Howard University and the sixth African American to serve as its chief executive officer. Since taking office in August 2008, Ribeau has initiated a comprehensive academic renewal for all 170 plus programs; initiated $150 million facilities renewal initiative; improved the University’s infrastructure and business operations; expanded the university's international footprint; solidified its legacy of leadership and service; and enhanced its research capabilities, particularly in the STEM disciplines. Recognizing students as one of Howard University's greatest resources, Ribeau has fostered an environment in which teaching and learning are ongoing priorities. Before coming to Howard University, Ribeau served as the




“Not On My Watch Endeavors” Advocates for Eradicating Human Trafficking By Lisa Earley


iva Tyler is a professional actress, poet, writer and an activist. She is a committed advocate for damaged and abused children, both locally and globally, and is extremely passionate about eradicating Human Trafficking. This cause is personal for her for many reasons, but the two primary reasons are: number one, she is a steward for our youth, and states, “As stewards of our children it is our responsibility to cherish, nourish, and nurture our children;” number two, she is an adult survivor of sexual child abuse. While attending an event, a colleague mentioned to Ms. Tyler that she was involved with an organization called "Not For Sale," which focuses on raising awareness and putting an end to Human Trafficking. When Diva heard the words "Human Trafficking," she stopped completely in her tracks. “I remembered learning about compound words in elementary school years ago, and I immediately said to her, that sounds like two words that shouldn’t go together, I asked her to explain and when she did, I was sickened to my core,” said Diva. “You see, I love kids….they are my favorite people and I have worked 30


with damaged children for years; most of which were victims of sexual abuse.” {As an advocate for youth myself, like Diva, it’s hard to even imagine the horror of human trafficking.} “Because I had to deal with the devastation and degradation of sexual abuse as a child, the advice I was given at the time was, ‘Whatever happens in this house, stays in this house.’ Well, I will no longer be hushed; I have decided to break the silence and do all that I can to create the awareness that something very wicked and unconscionable is happening to our precious children,” said Ms. Tyler. We often ask ourselves…. what is wrong with people? What is wrong with this world? Diva indicated that she could not even begin to process what it would take to mentally, emotionally and spiritually restore a child from this type of unnecessary evil called human trafficking; where kids may be forced to have sexual intercourse with up to 30 men a day, or face horrible beatings and other atrocious disciplines. Ms. Tyler shared, “As adults, we owe it to our children to become their protectors/their stewards. It still takes an entire village to raise/save a child. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? Our call to duty is today; our childrens’ lives and well-being depends on us taking action now!”

AWARENESS Diva, in her youth advocacy work, created and developed a 10-week therapeutic poetry workshop called "Destined 4 Greatness." She facilitated and guided children on how to find their inner poet as a more positive outlet for their pain, and to teach them how to take the anger and negative repressed energies, and redirect them into positive energies. Turning self-defeating behaviors into self-creating behaviors by writing emotional poetry to assist them in identifying what they were really feeling, and to create a platform that encouraged selfexploration and healing. Ms. Tyler had a lot of positive and hopeful results during her seven year run, volunteering and working with kids at a locked facility, known as “The Bridge” (whose doors have been permanently closed due to lack of funding), and three years working with Juvenile offenders through DeKalb Juvenile Courts. When some people learn of her work with kids, they say, "Wow, I could never do that!! She replies by saying, if everyone took that attitude, there would be no one left to protect our children.” Diva adamantly points out, “If we don’t take a stand and say that it is wrong, then that says it is right.” "Human Trafficking and the sexual exploitation of our children ‘MUST STOP.’ Working together in our communities, both locally and globally, we can build a barrier between our children and those who mean them harm through commercial sexual exploitation. Children as young as 6 and 7-years old are becoming targeted more and more each day,” Diva said. “That is why I decided to create NOT ON MY WATCH ENDEAVORS (NOMWE). I am working toward creating a 501(c)3 status for my organization, but I needed to start somewhere, and I needed to begin now.” NOMWE is a part of the anti-slavery/anti trafficking movement. As many as two (2) million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade. Our mission is to work aggressively to: 1) increase awareness by educating the general public regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children in our communities, both locally and globally. 2) work toward the elimination of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, including forced labor; advocating for the provision of both medical and mental health services and other psychosocial reintegration support for victims of trafficking; educational outreach; direct service to victims. 3) secure safe housing options by fundraising, networking and collaborating with organizations working to eradicate human trafficking, including non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies and grassroots advocacy groups. In addition, NOT ON MY WATCH ENDEAVORS will endeavor to establish and develop a funding vehicle for antitrafficking and anti-slavery organizations. This not just happening somewhere overseas, it is happening in our own front yards. In Atlanta alone, 250-300 children a month are found sex trafficked and caught up in the scourge of being prostituted due to

the demand by 7,200 men a month, and this is happening right here in our own community... “Well, Not on my Watch!!” said Diva. There is only one Safe House for these victims in the whole state of Georgia, and it is limited to 16 beds. What happens to the other 234-284 children? Diva implores the community to please join her in creating an awareness of such magnitude, that our politicians and communities will pull together and aggressively find ways to “Stop Commercial Exploitation of our Children in the City of Atlanta, the State of Georgia and respectively across this country and worldwide.” Diva Tyler lived and worked in Peru for three months with rescued kids in the sacred valley of Urubamba. So she has not only seen the dreadful impact of human trafficking in the states, she has seen the effects of sexual abuse on youth outside of the U.S. borders. The children she worked with lived in a home of protection called ‘Mosoq Runa.’ While she was there, she partnered with an organization called ‘Nexos Voluntarios’ (translated it means ‘Connecting Volunteers’). “It was the most amazing experience working with, and serving those wonderful kids! I encouraged and assisted the children to create a ‘Wall of Dreams Mural’ in the bleak courtyard at the safe house where they lived, as well as taught them English, songs, games and poetry. My efforts helped them to arrive at the notion that they too have value,” said Ms. Tyler. I asked Diva, who are NOMWE partners in this fight to eradicate Human Trafficking? Current partners are: A Future Not A Past (AFNAP), Street Grace, YouthSpark, Not For Sale, Polaris Project, Hands Off This Girl, The Somaly Mam Foundation, Darkness to Light and Wellspring Living Waters for Girls. How can people help? They can help by joining our “causes” page:, by spreading the word, by educating themselves and by watching, observing and reporting. Also, donations will help and are greatly needed. Please join Ms. Tyler in supporting the efforts of NOMWE. If you would like to make a donation, please go to paypal an d search for No donation is too small. Any and all contributions will be greatly appreciated and utilized for the said purpose. Diva ended our conversation by indicating that she believes that her steps have truly been ordered by God. She said, “This is ministry work, and the children are a major part of my purpose for being on this earth, to help these innocent and unwilling victims. I pray that people will join me in getting the word out and boldly stating ...NOT ON MY WATCH!! Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Ever!!” ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103



“Human Trafficking ...through the Eyes of a Victim.” By Lisa Earley


ost of us are horrified when we hear stories about human trafficking on the news. But we never in a million years think that we will be directly impacted by this unthinkable crime. Unfortunately, Marlene Carson knows about this very ugly topic {human trafficking} first hand. When Marlene Carson was 15-years old, a (what appeared to be) nice couple moved into their quiet, middle-class neighborhood. They gained the trust of some of the neighborhood teen-age girls and their parents, and soon invited the girls on a trip to New York City. While they were on this trip to the Big Apple, the unimaginable happened… they were prostituted for several days, against their will. Unfortunately, when they returned, they were too afraid to disclose what happened to them, so the perpetrators initially got away with this heinous offence. “They ‘put the fear of God’ in you, so you are afraid to say anything,” said Carson. Pimps/traffickers are very clever; they are organized and strategic. Two weeks after returning from the dreamturned-nightmare-trip to NYC, Marlene was kidnapped and sold into prostitution for nearly one year. They moved her from city-to-city, and from state-to-state. In fact, during that period of time, she was in almost every state in the Union, except for three. Her pimp was trafficking several young people; no less than 15 girls and 10 boys were being prostituted. While Marlene was in captivity, she was sold through brothels and escort services. They even took her and the other victims to high profile events and sold them for sex. During that time, Carson even became the “bottom girl” and began recruiting for her pimp. She was finally rescued when they raided the place where she was being kept. (Marlene later found out that just before she was rescued, she had been sold to another pimp.) “There is no profile for a John, a pimp or a victim. Anyone can become a victim, and teenagers are particularly vulnerable,” said Carson. “When you hear the word pimp, the picture that society paints couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a large number of pimps are females. On the west side of Colum32


bus (OH), 40% of the pimps are White females,” Marlene continued. We hear about ‘unlikely’ suspects who are pimping young girls all of the time. The 30-year old police officer in Memphis, the Nashville pastor who was arrested for trafficking, and Steven Seagal was busted for caging women in his basement. The University of Toledo recently conducted a study of victims of human trafficking, and the number one client of these victims in the state of Ohio is police officers. {Wow…. you mean to tell me, that people who have taken an oath to ‘serve and protect’ are actually contributing to robbing our youth of their innocence?? I’m speechless!} No wonder victims who are recovered have so many trust issues! So what happens to these victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) when they are recovered/rescued? That’s the age old question. “They either end up in foster care, juvenile jail or in psychiatric care. There is no place for them to go. In Ohio, we have not addressed the issue of housing. We have over 800 beds for dogs, yet there’s a waiting list of 36 girls who need to be housed after these traumatic experiences,” said Carson. “Plans were under way to open a facility for these young ladies right here in Columbus, but we have to go back to the drawing board because that facility was purchased by another entity. The facility, previously used to treat teenagers with behavioral issues, would have been ideal. God is in control, and He will make a way,” Carson continued. January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and January 11th is National Human Trafficking Day (the color is orange). Please make it your mission to learn more about Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). Marlene is rolling out some phenomenal programming in 2013, to empower women. She currently works with the local school district and one of her programs is called “Loveable, Valuable, Capable and Beautiful.” Ms. Carson has been working with the FBI, Homeland

curity and the governor of Ohio, John Kasich, to bring attention to DMST in Ohio and nationally. She has received many commendations, and received the 2010 Artists United for Social Justice Award, presented by Demi Moore. Marlene was also highlighted on Oprah Winfrey’s Life Lift Blog {Life Lifter: The Restaurant That Takes "Soul Food" To A Whole New Level.} I appreciate Ms. Carson enlightening me regarding the topic of human trafficking. It was painful to hear about her experiences; but I truly appreciate her opening up about her painful journey. It takes an incredibly brave person to do that. Marlene’s first book, Twelve Steps to Transform the Exploited Soul will be released on Jan. 11th. To learn more about her story, purchase her book at Marlene, keep being a guardian angel and an advocate for these young women (and men) who need our help. They need you, they need us…. we are our sister’s (and brother’s) keeper. God bless you for being a blessing to so many! For more information on Marlene Carson’s programs, visit or ■




Carl Anthony Payne

“It’s Important to Leave a Legacy” By Lisa Earley




arl Anthony Payne is no stranger to the stage. After all, he’s been acting for more than 30 years; most of his life. Carl grew up in Harlem so, with New York City being the U.S. theater mecca, he was surrounded by ‘the arts.’ Payne started out taking dance classes, and he received a scholarship to attend dance school. Then, a childhood friend introduced him to a theater company, and he started acting at age 10. Payne was considered a veteran in New York’s professional children’s theater community. Because of his work in theater, he made a smooth transition to the small screen as a young adult. Of course we will always remember his most memorable roles as Cockroach, Theo’s bestfriend on The Cosby Show, and Cole, Martin’s “bird-brained” friend on Martin. We will be watching those reruns from now until the end of time. Both of those shows are classics! Carl has made guest appearances on several dramatic series, and he has appeared in more than 35 commercials. Payne also guest starred in an episode of Girlfriends, and he had a recurring role in Under One Roof. Although Payne has plenty of ‘on camera’ experience, he shared, “There’s no quality on T.V. anymore. We should be so much further along; but the images are taking us backward instead of forward. We need to redefine what is ‘relevant.’ You’re in a box, and often times, so is your character.” “Theater is my first love…. it keeps me in touch with people. You get to ‘live in the moment.’ There is this immediate gratification and personal touch on stage that you don’t get with the screen. It allows you to stay connected with your audience/ supporters,” said Payne. “In theater you are trained to have a private moment in public; you don’t get five or more takes to get it right.” As a fellow thespian (with only stage experience), I have always ‘heard’ from others that it’s a little easier to transition

from the stage to T.V., rather than going from T.V. to the stage. People feel that theater training provides actors with a solid foundation. I mentioned this to Carl during our conversation to get his thoughts, and he concurs with this opinion. Mr. Payne is currently working on Don B. Welch productions’ Gospel Musical The First Lady of Zion, with other Hollywood notables, Flex Alexander, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Jackee’ Harry, Kenny Lattimore, and Shanice Wilson. He recently completed an original gospel series, 'Love Me or Leave Me' currently airing on GMC. Payne also has several projects Continued on Page 64 TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103



“Vincent M. Ward: Doing By Lisa Earley


hen I recently spoke with Vincent M. Ward, these words immediately came to mind: charismatic, debonair, and very funny. However, what stood out even more was the compassion I could feel through the phone as I interviewed him. This gentleman, who stands a commanding 6’4, is truly a gentle giant (no pun intended). His laughter was infectious, and it made me smile just hearing him laugh! I learned a lot about him in a short period of time, and I feel very comfortable saying, Mr. Ward is genuinely a “good guy!” {I’m not just saying that because he hails from my home state, the great state of Ohio.} Vincent Ward, a former stand-out basketball player in high school, was “The Man” on the court, and he broke all kinds of records during his years at Trotwood-Madison High School, a suburb of Dayton. After making his mark in Ohio, he is currently making his mark in Hollywood. Mr. Ward grew up with varied interests, and acting was not one of them. In fact, he played basketball and he danced. As a teenager, he wanted to be MC Hammer and also wanted to be on the Arsenio Hall Show; Wow, now that’s a ‘blast from the past!’ He and his dance partner, who stood 6’5, were referred to as the ‘twin towers.’ Vincent loved to dance…. he even won some dance contests. “Growing up in an area where drugs were prevalent, I was not afraid of the streets…. I was afraid of my mama, and what she would do to me if I got caught up,” said Ward. Although he laughed when he made that statement, he was very serious. So instead of being enticed by what happened in the streets, he was interested in basketball, dancing and rapping. After graduating from high school, a basketball coach contacted Vincent’s mom, and he ended up playing ball in college in Chicago. Years later, back home in Dayton, Vincent found himself working as a manager at Champs. He did so well, the regional manager asked him to run a store in Columbus. While in Columbus, he was approached to audition for a play with James Chapman and Living the Dream Theater. Before he knew it, he got ‘the acting bug’ and was auditioning for his first movie.




‘Big Things’ from Ohio to Hollywood”

It hasn’t been an easy road, and if Vincent would have given up when he first encountered problems, he would not be in Hollywood today. Ward suffered his share of heart-breaks and setbacks along the way. But… he got back up, dusted off, and kept moving forward! “People see the success; but they don’t see the closed doors, the headaches, or the struggles…. that’s what really builds your character,” said Ward. “Those experiences make you appreciate success when it does come.” His life in acting includes the following credits: he appeared in Army Wives, Big Shots, C.S.I., C.S.I Miami, Days of Our Lives, Desperate Housewives, Dollhouse, Gary Unmarried, General Hospital, Girlfriends, Head Cases, Hot in Cleveland, N.C.I.S., Robbery Homicide, The Bold & the Beautiful, The Game, The Middle Man, The Wire, Traffic, Unhitched, and Viva Laughlin. Vincent had recurring roles in Body of Proof; Everybody Hates Chris, Knight Rider, The Starter Wife, True Blood, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, and Whitney. Ward also appeared in more than 10 straight to video movies, and more than 20 stage plays. Vincent’s most recent role in AMC’s #1 show The Walking Dead sparked concerns and questions from adoring fans when they killed off his character, Oscar. According to fans, via social media outlets, the pattern seems to be consistent that only one Black character appears on the show at a time, and they always get killed. People, particularly Black people, have noticed and want some answers. After all, the show is even taped in Atlanta (which has one of the highest concentrations of African-Americans in the United States). Fans really liked Oscar, and they hate that he was killed. They feel that he even deserved a better death (after he was shot and assumed dead); no one even came to check on him. However, the way the writers left it, would leave an opening for Oscar to resurface. Will Oscar come back? (Hmmm….maybe so; Ward is open to resurrecting Oscar.) Mr. Ward is keeping pretty busy these days. In late January, Vincent is starring in a play in L.A. (January 25-27) about domestic violence, The Conversation. He is also attending conventions directly related to his role as Oscar in The Walking Dead. Ward has projects on the horizon in Brazil & Germany. ►




TAKE THE CHALLENGE Get educated. 1. Support companies who are green friendly. 2. Find out where and how to recycle products. 3. Identify ways to save, just makes good cents.

2013 Go Green Pledge Recycling Programs Best Buy Best Buy's recycle program recycles electronics, including TVs, DVD players, appliances, cameras, camcorders, computer monitors, audio, cell phones, and more for the complete list and to check for your local area you can go to ( Crayola has a National CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM: Crayola's recycle program melts down old crayons and reforms them into new ones. Send crayons to the National Crayon Recycle Program ( TIP: Leave the wrappers on so can tell the colors apart (colors like black, blue, and purple are hard to tell apart).

Catherine's Closet Looking for a way to recyle Formal wear and accessories? Old prom or bridesmaid dress in mint green or purple? Give it to a Catherine's Closet and they give it to a girl who can’t afford one ( St. Jude's Ranch for Children Has a year-around Recycled Card Program. They accept used cards for all-occasions. The cards are then given a new life by the children and sold (

Gazelle Trade in your Smartphone, iPad or Mac and get paid with an Amazon gift card or PayPal ( Mailing tip: To mail large quantities in the least expensive way, use the United States Post Office in a Flat Rate Box (available at the Post Office), which holds up to 70 pounds This list will grow as we find additional sources and information to share with our readers. Please come back often and share your tips with us.

We're depending on you to take the challenge with us and leave the world better than we found it. 38


In addition to acting, Vincent is certainly diversifying his portfolio. Mr. Ward is the Brand Ambassador of Steven Land Clothing, which are many of the fashions you see him wearing. He will be featured in a national magazine’s “Sexy & Single” segment in June. He has an erotic poetry CD available called, Eargasms (Don’t Talk, Just Listen), t-shirts, photographs and more. They can be purchased by going to his website. Vincent is producing a cooking show, American Chefs, and he is serving as the host of Battle of the Sexes L.A./Boston. Mr. Ward is also writing a few projects: A Bad Boy’s Tale of Choosing Heaven or Hell (play), Choose Your Weapon (movie), Homeless in L.A. (documentary), The Step Daddy (horror film) and Until Death Did Us Apart (movie), and he has casting calls for upcoming plays in Atlanta. When I concluded the interview and came out of the office, one of my dear friends asked, “Who were you talking with? I thought you were doing a telephone interview, but I heard a lot of laughing…. loud laughter. I replied by saying, “That wasn’t an interview… I connected with an old friend.” {At least that’s what it seemed like.} Thanks for the memorable conversation, Mr. Ward! We wish you continued success with your career. Keep making your family, and Ohio, proud! Vincent’s famous quote on Twitter is, ‘Rise and Grind.’ “I believe that you have to work hard to better your life, but it’s also important to better someone else’s life,” said Ward. Vincent believes in ‘giving back’…. to family, to the community. He is truly a man after my own heart…. loves family, loves the community. When I think of Vincent Ward now, I’ll think of what Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “If I can help someone along the way, then my living will not have been in vain.” Follow Vincent on Twitter @VincentMWard, or check out his official website: For additional information, contact his business manager/publicist, Zee Mullen at: ■

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ayla Martell is an example of persistance. She is the former Miss Delaware 2010. Kayla shares how inner beauty is more important than outer beauty, which society emphasizes. She suffers with an incurable condition Alopecia Areata….”If you hate Alopecia, that's okay! But don't hate yourself. Find a way to love you and your hair. If you want to wear a wig, wear a wig!” Kayla also gives this encouragement to everyone, “Your journey is your own-so own it!” Kayla shares her passion with us. “Not every person is fortunate enough to understand part of their life's calling and purpose so young. Since losing my hair in junior high, I have gradually learned that beauty goes beyond what the eye can see. My passion is to show women, of all ages, they can find happiness within themselves by learning to love whatever it is that makes them different. Loving the qualities that make us blend in sends a mixed message. Learn to love the things that set you apartbald patches, height differences, unique talents, etc. That is when you can truly learn to love yourself.”



HEALTH & WELLNESS SPOTLIGHT “Becoming Miss Delaware 2010 was a dream come true. I had attended the pageant each year with my mother, starting when I was three years old. At 17 I began pursuing my dream and competed at the Miss Delaware pageant, placing 4th runnerup without wearing a wig. I worked long and hard over the next four years to achieve that goal. I was given advice from different people, with varying opinions. I tried all sorts of things from changing my talent from dancing to singing, to changing the platform which I would represent. As you may know, I even changed my appearance by adding a human hair piece to my wardrobe my last two years competing. In 2010, my final year competing, I decided to just be the best version of myself- to be free of everyone else's opinions and suggestions. I competed with a gorgeous wig that r e s e mb l e d m y h a i r before it fell out, I danced to my favorite song, and wore attire that represented my personality and was selected by me with those I love,” Kayla shares. Her next journey began…”After being named Miss Delaware, I set off on my journey to the Miss America stage. Two years ago from this week, I was on a plane headed to Las Vegas, hoping to fulfill an even greater dream of becoming Miss America. I continued with my same mode of preparationbeing the best version of ME that I could be. I was honored to be chosen as America's Choice during the Miss America 2011 pageant on ABC and ultimately placed in the Top 10, a feat for a titleholder from Delaware. I was awarded 1st runner up to the Quality of Life Award, an honor for our commitment to service.” Kayla shows pride in bringing awareness to Alopecia Areata! “Looking back on my year as Miss Delaware, I feel true joy and great pride knowing that I was able to not only put Delaware on the map, but also bring awareness to Alopecia Areata through appearances on national television. My experi-

ence was everything I dreamed it could be, and more. And I wouldn't have changed a thing.” Kayla shares the challenges of self-esteem and Alopecia. “When first learning you have an incurable condition, it is hard to accept. You wonder how (or if) your life will ever be the same. But, if you challenge yourself to look in the mirror and tell yourself you ARE beautiful (or handsome) you may gradually believe it. Be your own cheerleader; learn to love the new you. You cannot change your diagnosis, but you can change your outlook. Be responsible for your approach to your hair loss. Know that even if your moments of doubt and insecurity, you are no less strong than the bald person with a smile on their face. Your journey is your own- so own it!” “For 2013 I hope to put my health and happiness first. We live in a society of "shoulds"what we should and shouldn't do. I hope to make choices each day that will help me be happier and healthier, regardless of "shoulds and should nots," states Kayla. “Over the course of my journey with Alopecia, I have met countless people who say, "I'm not as strong as you, I can't stand my hair loss." Every time I hear that I just want to grab that person and give them a huge hug. One person's journey shouldn't mirror another's. Comparison will kill you. Not literally, of course, but it can kill your confidence. If you hate Alopecia, that's okay! But don't hate yourself. Find a way to love you and your hair. If you want to wear a wig, wear a wig! If you like drawing on your eyebrows- do it! None of those things make you less strong, “ Kayla concludes. -Kayla Martell Miss Delaware 2010 Tweet @MissDelaware10 Blog






How Alopecia Affects Eyebrows By Dr. Linda Amerson

he eyebrows are an important enhancement area in the beauty industry. There are five popular ways to make the eyebrow bone more prominent. They include: tweezing, waxing, sugaring, threading, and using the razor. So many different looks may be achieved per the occasion, and makeup artists see the entire face as a canvas for color. The options of transforming the look of the eye and eyebrow are limitless. For example: look at theatrical makeup used in movies for eyebrows. It is truly amazing! On the other hand, there are some consumers who suffer with alopecia conditions which causes them to have no eyebrows. Two examples include: trichotillomania and alopecia universalis. Trichotillomania is a compulsive hair pulling disorder. Some consumers pull out their own eyebrows, and other hairy areas on the body. Whereas, alopecia universalis is an auto-immue disease, which causes a person to loose all body hair. I interviewed Junette Altidor, freelance hairstylist, to share some valuable information about what technique she prefers, tips on shaping the eyebrow with stencils, sterilization, educating clients, airbrush techniques, eyebrow tattooing, the new wave of permanent eyebrows, and how she deals with clients affected with Alopecia. Junette shares her expertise, “My interest in eyebrow arching started mainly because of the grace and elegance it brings to the structure around the eye. I service women, there are many different shapes ex: round shape brows soften angular facial structures. Sharp Angled, this opens up the eye and gives a younger looking appearance. Soft anJunette Altidor JuSha’s Salon Suffolk, Virginia (757) 742-3448

gled gives an even younger appearance, Curved gives you a strong appearance for those who have square facial structure and last is Flat which works best with long faces and gives the the face an appearance of a more oval face look. I prefer tweezing because you have great control, and can accurately choose the hairs you're removing. This method can basically be done on anyone, despite their condition or medicine they take. When used correctly, tweezers shouldn’t have any harmful effects on the skin. With tweezers you only have one tool to worry about vice waxing, which is much quicker but some clients may have a reaction to the wax. Why is sanitation so important, Tweezers that look clean can still be contaminated with microscopic germs. Rinsing off a pair of tweezers will not be enough to sterilize and kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Disinfect and store tweezers in sterile conditions. To ensure they are sterile use a mild detergent, soak in a bowl for 10 minutes. Scrub tweezers with a sterilized clean toothbrush or new one. Rinse with cool water for 30 seconds. Boil tweezers in for one minute in a bowl of hot water. When complete remove tweezers pat dry on a clean paper towel, then soak tweezers in alcohol jar until you are ready to use them. To Determining how often you should wax your eyebrows depends a bit on how fast your hair grows at first. Most often re-touch after 2 weeks or so. A more youthful look, frames eyes, balances out facial features, and for many makes a more refined appearance. Consumers must follow directions and labels when using a eyebrow arch kit to prevent harm to their skin eye and face. If you are not to sure what to do, seek the professionals who can properly be of service to give you the desired look you are wanting to achieve. I myself always educate more to the consumer about the importance of arching eyebrows for a more well polished look for any event.

The always recommend the sharp angled because this particular arch open up the eye and gives you a younger looking appearance and a polished glow that makes your eyes shine. Clients of mine who suffer from alopecia of the eyebrow I apply a stencil shaper to draw in natural looking brows, another great method to use is airbrush makeup to give a natural flawless appearance. I feel with the new wave of eyebrow tattooing and per-

manent eyebrows are convenient, less makeup you would have to apply, helps with thinning lashes. And it's ultimately what you prefer. What consumers should know is it dangerous to get removed and quite risky. Conditions you may experience include: rusting, infections, allergic reactions, and skin cancers, color fading or last but not least a bad job or totally a particular arch you didn't ask for. So be sure to make your decision wisely when ultimately making your decision.” ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103



Your Pet & the New Year Vol III By: Leslie Ayo “The Dog Guru”

Core vaccinations for your Canine Parvovirus The most deadly and highly contagious, fatal

viral disease of dogs. It affects and attacks your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and white blood cells.


ith a New Year upon us and spring just around the corner, now is the right time to schedule your pet’s annual physical examination, grooming schedule, and bi -annual dental exam and teeth cleaning. Yearly vaccination boosters will be given at your pets’ yearly check-up. These vaccination boosters need to be maintained to protect your pet from deadly viruses and diseases. You will need to check with your Veterinarian to determine which vaccinations your pet will need. Vaccinations will be determined by the species of pet you own. Cats and dogs receive different core vaccinations specific to each species. Some vaccinations are considered non-core vaccinations, and are determined by your Veterinarian from the area of country you live in, and which diseases and viruses are prevalent in your area. Along with your pets yearly booster, you will also want to set up a grooming schedule for your pet. Your grooming session should include: bathing, hair cut or trim, cleaning of ears, nail cutting, flea control and anal gland expression as needed. How often your pet is groomed will be determined by their breed, coat length, activity level, and/or age. Most puppies, long haired breeds, and younger active dogs may need to be groomed more frequently than older dogs with less activity levels. You will also want to schedule a dental exam and teeth cleaning appointment for your pet. Your vet will check your pets’ teeth and gums for disease and also plaque and tarter build -up. If your pets teeth has a tarter and plaque build-up, your vet will schedule an appointment for your pet to return to have the build- up removed. At the return dental visit, your pet will be placed under local anesthesia to keep your pet calm and sedated while his gums and teeth are treated and cleaned. It is a good idea to give your pet toys and treats that aid in the cleaning, prevention and removal of plaque and tarter build –up on their teeth.



Hepatitis-Adenovirus Type I This virus attacks the tonsils, lymph nodes and then the liver. It is shed in all body secretions, but most commonly by urine. Transmission is by contact with contaminated objects.

Parainfluenza-Adenovirus Type II This virus causes a mild respiratory tract infection. It is transmitted through contact with oral and nasal secretions.

Distemper This disease is highly contagious and can be fatal. It is primarily transmitted by contact with respiratory secretions from an infected dog, but it can be found in all body secretions.

Rabies A severe, and often fatal, viral disease that specifically affects the gray matter of the dog's brain and its central nervous system

Non- Core Canine vaccinations Lyme: Vaccinate where Lyme disease is a concern or if traveling to an area where it occurs. Coronavirus: A gastro-intestinal disease that is much less severe than parvovirus.

Leptospirosis: A bacteria which is shed in the urine of infected animals. Transmission occurs through direct contact with the skin or oral mucous membranes. Bordetellosis-Kennel Cough: The most common bacteria isolated from dogs with respiratory disease. It causes a respiratory infection that is spread by breathing in respiratory secretions from coughing, infected dogs.

Feline Vaccinations Feline panleukopenia Also known as feline distemper is caused by the feline parvovirus. This virus can remain contagious in cages, litter boxes, and bowls for months to years. Cats are infected with this virus after ingesting the virus orally, usually from where another cat has defecated. Feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus This is the most infectious upper respiratory disease in cats. These viruses are transmitted from cat to cat through nose-to-nose contact or by fomites (objects such as water or food bowls). Feline Leukemia virus infection The feline leukemia virus can infect cats by saliva or nasal discharge, biting, or sharing food and water dishes. It can be transmitted to nursing kittens. This virus attacks the immune system. Rabies Rabies is mainly transmitted through the bite wounds of infected mammals.. Although cats are relatively resistant to rabies, they can be potential source of infection for humans. Non-core Feline Vaccinations Chlamydiosis: A bacteria that can infect the eye membranes and respiratory tract of cats. Feline infectious peritonitis: A disease caused by the feline coronavirus. Dermatophytosis: Ringworm caused by a fungal infection. Bordatella bronchiseptica: This bacteria can infect the respiratory tract of many animals and can cause fever, discharge from the eyes or nose, sneezing, and coughing. Giardia: A protozoan parasite that attacks the intestinal tract, causing a range of clinical signs from none to watery diarrhea. As always, talk with your veterinarian for the proper vaccinations and health care regimens for your pet. â–




ALONZO AND TRACY MOURNING “The Mourning Family Foundation”


lonzo and Tracy Mourning are principles in the Mourning Family Foundation: a not-forprofit public fundraising foundation, created to inspire others through advocacy, education, and enrichment services. Since 1997, Mourning has raised more than $10 million for various programs that aid in the development of children and their families. In addition to supporting numerous educational initiatives, Mourning focuses his attention on stimulating the development of youth enrichment centers. With the help of donors, Mourning opened the Overtown Youth Center in the historic South Florida area of Overtown. The Overtown Youth Center delivers enrichment services that foster hope and promote lifelong learning and success for inner-city youth and citizens. Tracy Wilson Mourning is a mentor, designer, broadcast journalist, motivational speaker, soon-to-be published author, loving mother, and wife. With the leadership of his wife Tracy, Mourning supports the Honey Shine Mentoring Program which works to empower young girls to shine as women by instilling the values of knowledge, responsibility, community, and faith. In August 2009, Mr. and Mrs. Mourning were honored by having a High School named after them, The Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Sr. High Biscayne Bay Campus. The couple is united through their



commitment to the children of the Greater Miami Community. Consistently recognized for their charitable efforts, the Mourning’s have received numerous awards. They act as advocates for youth initiatives and foster care programs that assist abused, abandoned, and neglected kids. Mr. Mourning has had a notably successful basketball career as a key member of the Charlotte Hornets, New Jersey Nets, and Miami Heat. A seven-time NBA All-Star and twotime Defensive Player of the Year, he played an integral part in leading the Heat to several Eastern division titles and their first NBA Championship in 2005-2006. Mourning is currently among the league’s leaders in blocked shots, field goal percentages, and rebounds per game. In 2000, Mourning was selected to join an elite group of NBA players to represent the United States in the Olympics in Sydney, Australia where he won the coveted gold medal. In 2000, Alonzo was diagnosed with Focal Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare genetic kidney disease. After being diagnosed with FSGS, Mourning personally led a campaign to raise $2 million to aid in the research, education, and financial relief of patients who cannot afford medication and named the campaign Zo’s Fund for Life. Mourning eventually underwent a successful kidney transplant in December 2003. He continues to raise awareness about the importance of becoming an organ donor and is also active with the National Kidney Foundation, educating the public on the importance of early detection. Mr. Mourning has been sought after as an orator to inspire sales teams, encourage nurses and staff at dialysis units across the country. He is a highly respected business leader and has numerous business development projects in the Miami area. Mrs. Mourning was born in Cincinnati and raised in Las Vegas. She is a Howard University graduate. He is a graduate of Georgetown University. They live in Miami, FL with their three children. Mourning is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a degree in Sociology. He and his wife, Tracy Wilson Mourning, reside in Miami, Florida with their three children – sons Trey and Alijah and daughter Myka. ■


Building a Solid Foundation While Mixing Love and Business by Camille Allen Headmaster Solid Foundation


ishop Darius Ashlock, Sr. and Dr. Leslie Ashlock are owners of Solid Foundation Scholastic Program, Inc. located in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This dynamic duo has been business partners for six years and they are loving every minute of it. They have a blended family that includes five children: three boys and two girls. All of the children attend Solid Foundation. The couple went full force with another ministry endeavor this year called, Church of Social Hope which is an extension of the school. “What makes Solid Foundation unique is the ability and gift we have as a school to reach students who cannot normally be reached,” says CEO and founder Dr. Leslie Ashlock. It has been her experience that as some students may come in with negative reports and a paper trail that has followed them from another school, she has the ability to recognize the gift and talents inside of students and has been able to build upon that. “We recognize that students will not thrive if they are not in the proper environment which encourages them and allows them to feel safe enough to express themselves in their own unique way,” says Dr. Ashlock. Her husband, Bishop Darius Ashlock, Sr. can definitely empathize with each of the children here as he faced educational challenges in his early years. Not only did he grow up in Watts, California, but he was reading on a fourth grade level in the twelfth grade. “If it wasn’t for a teacher who took the time to teach me how to read, I would not have made it

out of Watts into the military, a nursing career, and entrepreneurial endeavors,” says Bishop Ashlock. Bishop Ashlock is also a very savvy business man and was able to share his experiences as he taught an Economics class this year. As a couple, it is amazing to see how they each operate in their gifts separately but for the same goal. Throughout the day at Solid Foundation, you can hear them encourage one another and experience the love they have for each other demonstrated through the support they provide to fulfill each of their goals. Just as Solid Foundation transforms the lives of children, it is the couple’s desire that The Church of Social Hope led, by Bishop Darius Ashlock, Sr. will transform people from where they are into the person God desires for them to be. Bishop Ashlock says, “I pray that God uses us to reach this community by providing a place where the true Word of God is presented and the power of God can be manifested to bring forth deliverance, healing and prosperity in the lives of His people.” ■






is ground-up perspective of the entertainment industry began as a broadcasting major at the University of West Georgia where he worked for the college radio station. In 1991, Ryan went from intern to on-air personality at Atlanta's W-VEE radio station and his life has never been the same. Throughout his career, Ryan has been recognized by his peers as Air Personality of the Year, Best Character Voice, Best Show, as well as being nominated for the prestigious Marconi award for excellence in radio broadcasting. His stage credits include being directed by acclaimed Broadway director Kenny Leon in his production of Fences and his film credits include Trois, Jinx'd, Drumline, and Stomp the Yard. He has been honored by the city of Atlanta with two Phoenix Awards and his own Ryan Cameron Day. In front of the camera, Cameron is a two-time Emmy Award winner for Best On-Camera Talent at



NBC affiliate, WXIA in Atlanta. His stand-up comedy made him a BET Comic View winner and Sammy Davis Jr. Comedy Award nominee. He also has appearances on CNN, MTV, ESPN, the Montel Williams show, Rolanda, the Jamie Foxx show, and the Destiny's Child concert DVD to his credit. Today, Ryan Cameron is the number one afternoon drive personality in the southeast. His show airs Monday through Friday on radio powerhouse W-VEE V103 Atlanta. His cutting edge humor and unique point of view are what make him one of the most listened to personalities in America. When he's not on the radio, you can catch Ryan at the Atlanta Hawks home games as the official Public Address Announcer (the first African American announcer in the history of the hawks franchise) or hard at work in the community with the Ryan Cameron Foundation. Ryan still resides in his hometown - Atlanta - with his wife Kysha and their three children Ryan Megan, Kai, and Cayden. Ryan's motto is success only comes before work in the dictionary. â–




sing my voice to make a difference

Many people ask me what made me want to get into radio? I have to be very honest. Radio found me. I had actually never really thought about being an On Air Personality until I was asked if I would consider a position on the Station that I current work. I did not think that I could do the job but it was a challenge that I was willing to take. I grew up exposed to music at a very early age in life. My father was a musician and I would dance in my room as I listened to him rehearse. Music has always been my inspiration. My first love was dance but engaged with music, it would take me just where I wanted to be at any given moment. As I started my journey as Missy E, The Partydoll. I am not going to lie, I was horrible. I did not go to school for Journalism but “Big George” the station’s manager believed that I would be a great asset to the station. I was very intimidated by the job and worked long hours just trying to get it right. After 4 years of Being the Midday person for LOVE 103.7FM (The heart and Soul of Middle Georgia) I have learned that there is a level of responsibility that comes with the job. And God has blessed me with an awesome gift and the ability to play music that people really want to hear, expose them to something new and educate them in the process. You do not know who is listening to what you say and how impressionable your words are? Until someone approaches you and repeats verbatim what you said on your show. It is a very humbling experience that makes you even more conscious about the power of your voice. Through the air waves, (WE) can influence a great deal of people about a various subject matters and issues. ■


@ Missy E Partydoll




Roger Louis Kennedy: “MY SPOUSE MADE ME RICH”


oger Louis Kennedy is a successful book Author of the self help relationship book titled (My Spouse Made Me Rich) his book can be ordered online through all of the major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders, Books a Million. It can also be downloaded on Nook & Kindle. Roger Louis Kennedy is also a Motivational Speaker, Music A&R, Artist Manager & Event Promoter. In 2013 Roger Louis Kennedy has a lot of upcoming projects & partnerships with some of the hottest movers & shakers in Atlanta, Miami, LA, Vegas. He is also in the process of turning his Book ( My Spouse Made Me Rich ) into a stage play & independent film. Roger Louis Kennedy understands that he is dealing with a very powerful title with his Book & realizes that he is very fortunate to be in the position that he is in. It's not everyday that you have major movers & shakers interested in helping you Brand your product along with wanting to partner up with you on other business ventures. Roger Louis Kennedy understands the Value of Good Character along with being yourself in your everyday life. He realizes that success breeds success & you are what you think which means if you think on a positive level you will attract positive people in your life. So many people get trapped in a negative mindset that destroys there everyday ability to think outside the box which in the end cripples them creatively on all levels. It's very important that you stay focused on what needs to be done when it comes to your business or product because if you don't believe in what 50



your doing no one else will. I encourage everyone to continue to strive to be the best in whatever you do in life, Remember failure is a mindset you can be poor but have a million dollar mindset which could lead you to becoming a highly creative person. It's all about the choices & circle of friends that you keep in your life stay around people that can & will encourage you to be better in your business & your personal life. Roger Louis Kennedy has done things his way when it came to marketing his Book he stayed true to his character & didn't compromise his dignity or respect as a man & that's the sign of a TRUE TRENDSETTER. â–




Our mission at Watch World of Minnesota and Itzadel Watches is to produce uniquely designed time pieces that will give you more than just time.

Conceived 1998 • Birthed 2005  The 1st and only African American female Christian watch designer  •

Email Address Email Address

Direct Line (612) 875-9559 P.O. Box 131974 Roseville MN 55113 52





n this crucial crack of time between celebrating Christmas with family and friends, we are torn between embracing our pain from the horrific tragedy at Newton, Connecticut: Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting and attaining wholeness with very little reasons to experience feelings of joy and hope. We can choose whether or not we will adopt the attitude of hope for such senseless act and continue to pray for better days to come. We will never find any manner of justification for such suffering, but we must learn something from this to prevent incident such as this from recurring in the future. Throughout this, we experience feelings of anger, hurt, or a sense of panic for our loved ones safety as well. During this time, we again find ourselves confronted with difficult choices between doubt and faith, decline and growth, despair and hope. Although all the emotions we feel as we work through pain are valid, even invaluable, hope is our best friend. For it is hope that gives us the strength to face another day, or to keep on trying when we feel like quitting and giving up; it is through hope that we will be able to prevent future tragedies such as this one; it is hope that the hurt will be relieved as the hearts of all the loved ones affected will one day find healing and mend. It is hope that the fallen tears will one day dry up and we are able to reach out and openly share our pain with one another. I want to believe in my heart that we have come too far to give up now the fight for safety against gun laws and protecting ourselves,

family and our communities. For now, as we engage in our struggles and find the strength to celebrate the Holidays and embrace our loved ones, I pray that we will remember and say a little prayer for the families that are suffering and filled with grief and pain. I still believe within my heart that God is present in the world, actively working throughout suffering to offer us hope and healing from these senseless acts. My hope and prayers are that as a nation, we will one day be delivered and healed through the pain. It's quite normal for us to feel sorrow and pain and cling to our feelings of hope while enduring difficult, seemingly impossible times. Author Angela M. Thomas







he New Year has begun with a bang for CAJO International CEO Canton Jones! CAJO International is pleased to announce the ministerial ordination of Canton Jones as Student Pastor at New Hope Church in Fayetteville, Georgia, Sunday, January 13th at 10:55am. Canton has served New Hope Church at Alive Student Ministries since the summer of 2012. During these services, Canton has exposed the youth to action packed nights of activities, including games and contests, engaging videos, a live DJ, praise & worship, and culminating with a relevant Word from God. “New Hope is excited Canton is joining our ministry staff at our North Campus," states Pastor Al Mead, Associate Pastor. "He has already made a huge impact in reaching students for Christ in our community. Canton’s ordination into the ministry is just the beginning of how God is going to use Canton greatly for His kingdom.” Canton is thrilled to be in the position to minister the Word of God, especially to teens. As a married father of three, he values the importance of family and understands the impact that the next generation will have. Canton has a passion for young people, discipleship and outreach and is eager to serve. Canton’s birthday is January 9th and he will celebrate it officially on Wednesday, January 30th during the Alive service. Everyone is invited to join in the festivities. The event will feature fun, games, food and an extra incentive that someone born in January will be entered to win a $1,000 cash prize. 2013 promises to be an event filled year for Canton and the CAJO Family coming off the recent success of a Christmas song "Merry ChristMas”, which features Canton, Ramona Jones, Cory (Coco Brother) Condrey, Joann Rosario Condrey, Vashawn Mitchell, William McDowell, Erica Cumbo and Zebulon Ellis. Canton also has noted features with Vickie Yohe on “So Many Reasons” and “I Won’t Give Up” with Percy Bady. Upcoming features include "Awesome Remix" with Canton, Pastor Charles Jenkins, Isaac Carree, Jessica Reedy and DA T.R.U.T.H; “All Day Jesus Remix” with Canton, Angie Stone, Cory Condrey, and Joann Rosario Condrey; “You’ll be Here” with Jonathan Phillips; and Canton is featured along with Fred Hammond on a song with Veronica from Angelo and Veronica. Steadily riding the success of the Kingdom Business release (CAJO Records) and artist Erica Cumbo’s project Beauty for Ashes, Canton will continue to release EP’s based on themes such as healing, worship, etc. The two EP’s available now are For The Love of Christmas and Short Fuse. Also, there is an exciting new program, CAJOTunes, which offers unsigned, independent artists an opportunity to sell and promote their music on the CAJOTunes site. Canton explains, “In the past, my wife Ramona and I have tried to promote artists through Kingdom Business and fit as many as we could on the CD's. Though we featured a lot of people, we had to turn away a great number. CAJOTunes gives us the chance to afford many more artists an opportunity to showcase their music and be affiliated with CAJO.” For more info, contact or (770)7162256. For booking, visit our website and select the booking tab. Canton’s ordination, birthday celebration and the weekly Wednesday evening Alive services are held at New Hope Church North, 551 New Hope Rd., Fayetteville, GA 30214. ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103



Dinner with Champagne By Rashida Veronique Serrant DWS

think to myself “Ain’t that just grand?!?!” Wine geeks like myself as well as champagne producers and enthusiasts know the beauty of a rich, curvaceous champagne, but not many in the wider world understand the selection of styles that exists. It isn’t all light, crisp and fruity – stick to prosecco if that’s your flavor. To enjoy a very special evening over great food in great company, swap champagne or a high quality traditional method sparkler for still wine and let your palate wax lyrical from there. Here are two champagnes and a traditional method American brut sparkling wine to enjoy with dinner on a cool winter evening during the holiday season (all prices for the standard 750ml-sized bottle unless otherwise stated): Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV @ BollingerUK (It’s properly pronounced boh-LAHN-jay, but if you say it how it looks no one will shudder. Cuvée is pronounced kew-VAY.) Average price $45.00-$50.00 a bottle, widely available on wine A 375ml half bottle will run you around $25.00 and is good for about 2 ½ glasses – perfect if you’re indulging in some me time!

reat champagnes (and comparable traditional method American bubblies) to enjoy through the main course. Smash the rules! Bubbles are not just for toasts, mimosas or breaking on the hull of a ship on her maiden voyage. Before champagne became the world’s most beloved sparkling treasure in a glass, it was wine. The only thing that truly differentiates sparkling is the sparkle, but much like any other category of wine, it can come in a variety of different styles for different purposes. Indeed, there is some champagne and sparkling wine that is best reserved for aperitif use, offered upon entry to the evening’s event and sipped gingerly before any food hits the table. Likewise, there are some richer, fuller bodied, complex, substantial aka sexy-behind champagnes that can carry through a winter evening dinner, even if the main course is red meat.

This champagne’s claim to fame is that it was 007’s fave – the Sean Connery incarnation of Bond helped popularize the brand. The great thing about NV (Non-Vintage) champagne is that, unlike other types of wine, each bottle tastes the same no matter when you buy it. The NV Brut is a champagne house’s signature bubbly, a reflection of that house’s style, which must be reliably the same year after year. One of the factors that makes other wines different from year to year are the weather conditions in the harvest year. A wine


Drinking champagne with dinner is the epitome of style and luxury. When I worked as a sommelier, my tables that ordered bottles of Bollinger Special Cuvée NV and the like to accompany their entire meal were a (purely vinous) turn on! I would 56


LIFESTYLES made from grapes grown in a year that had a lot of rain will taste quite different from the one from a dryer year of serial summer heat waves. Champagne houses set aside some wine every year in fermentation tanks and make their NV Brut by selecting varying amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meniere wines, blending and tasting and tinkering with the ratios to achieve the flavor they are known for. Bollinger consistently puts out their NV Brut, which they label “Special Cuvée”, as a very rich, manly champagne compared to NV Brut from other houses. It always has a nice dose of acidity (as all good champagne should), which makes your mouth water for another bite of your lamb loin and helps deal with the creamy butteriness of your mama’s mashed potatoes. This champagne can definitely hold its own with red meat! Krug Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Clos du Mesnil 1998 @ KrugChampagneUS (Pronounced: Kroog Broot Blahn duh Blahn Cloh doo Maynih) Average price $800 a bottle, best price $679.00 at Total Wine & More in McLean, VA on This is a rare 100% Chardonnay (thus the name Blanc de Blanc, meaning white wine from only white grapes) from an historic single vineyard, the Clos du Mesnil and made complete from one year’s harvest. Each bottle was aged at the winery for 11 years before release – that’s love! Because it contains neither of the two red grape varieties usually used to make champagne, there is virtually no fruitiness to this champagne other than perhaps a hint of pear or green apple. Instead, expect toasty, crisp bread-like flavors and an overall creamy feel to this bodacious

bubbly. This is great champagne for a lightly seasoned heritage roast chicken. I recently learned that Fresh Direct now features heritage breed chickens, which are more flavorful and unique than your supermarket variety birds. Pair this with a medley of roasted root vegetables from your local farmer’s market and ball like the VIP that you are! J Cuvée 20 Brut NV Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA, USA @JWinery Widely available at $20.00-$25.00 a bottle on Here is a bet-your-friend-doesn’tknow-about-it sparkling wine you should take a chance on. It is made using the same painstaking method as used in Champagne, France and with the same grape varieties. This particular bubbly from J Winery in California is 50% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir and 1% Pinot Meunier. The winery was kind enough to send me a bottle so that I could test-drive it with some dinner options for you. The nose shows intense aromas of green apple, raspberry, bay leaf and a hint of hickory smoke. This is a dry sparkling wine that feels silky on the tongue. Ripe green apple flavors on the palate are joined by San Francisco sour dough, buttered popcorn and a custardy-creamy vibe. It has the brawn for very savory and spicy foods – Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing or Curried Chicken would very much enjoy its company! DO YOUR WINE JUSTICE: Refrain from serving it ice cold! Wine fridge or cellar temperature of around 45-50 degrees F will do it justice, or take it out of your fridge about 15 minutes before dinner (you can open it while its still cold and let it sit – well made bubbly doesn’t lose its sparkle that quickly). If its colder than that, you will not taste the magic, so forgo the ice bucket and just set it on a wine coaster on the table where it will slowly increase in temperature as your meal progresses and it is easily accessible for refilling your glass. Also, give yourself the pleasure of drinking your champagne out of a white wine glass instead of the traditional tall, slender flute so the wine can open up and show you all the goods – especially if you spring for the Krug Clos du Mesnil ’98! These are all requests you can make when dining out as well – a good sommelier will happily oblige (an outstanding sommelier will even suggest these preparations!) and you will get much respect for your savvy. ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103







ASTARA GATEWOOD: STAR STUDDED the STYLIST professional stylist for over 11 years, Astara Gatewood (Star Studded the Stylist) uses hair as her canvas, bringing a distinctive aesthetic and fresh approach to draw out each client’s unique beauty. “Extensions are my art and I love the building blocks of transforming someone from start to finish! Astara understood from an early age that hair is not just an accessory; that great hair is the key to feeling beautiful. Mastering skills in Pressing, Cutting Styling and Extensions. Astara’s distinct sensibility got industry insiders to quickly recognize her unique ability to blend innovation with classic designs. Her work has been seen on many networks including but not limited to MTV, VH1, BET several publications & a YouTube channel with over 2.6 million views. Truly passionate about her chosen career, Astara is always on top of the trends. It’s her personal goal to continue to grow and excel in her craft and to ultimately share all that she learns. Astara travels extensively training many stylist throughout the U.S. on her new techniques in the extentions industry. “I love hair and feel incredibly blessed that I’ve found a career that resonates with me so perfectly. As a stylist I believe in honesty, patience, creativity and hard work all functioning together to produce a beautiful end result for my clients.” ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103




Fashion Designer / Artist / Manufacturer


ondon West is a international fashion designer and artist who has works in several media formats from apparel, print, signage and other creative communication materials for last twenty years. London West was educated in fashion design, clothing manufacturing, apparel arts, art production, graphic design, fashion advertising, product and visual merchandising, in the Far East Asia also attended Woodbury University and Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC) and has a Associate of Arts from that fashion institution. London West has worked for a number of prominent organizations and produced creative projects for entertainment company’s and celebrities, which include: American Broadcasting Company, ABC, Universal Studio’s, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum; Grammy Award Winner Bluesman Robert Lockwood Jr, Lockwood Records; Grammy Award Winner George Clinton, One Nation Entertainment; and Sinbad, Polygram/Polydor Records. Columbia Broadcasting Station, CBS Dance Show “Electric Ave.” and Fashion Icon Tommy Hilfiger. London West is know for his fresh perspective and design work targeted for today’s dominant youth and young adult market. London West was

the Art Director for Visionary Marketing Inc. and develop graphics for promotion accounts with Jazz at Drew, Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, WLCAC Smart Shuttles, 20th Century Fox, Sony, Ward Family Life and One Church, One Child, Inc. London West has been involved with pro-bono work for other non-profits like Community Growth, Inc. and the City of Long Beach, Compton, Watts, Hollywood, Los Angeles,Cleveland and the Neighborhood Pedestrian Safety Program. London West has been recognized for his work over the years as a consummate sketch artist by receiving First Place in The Casteron Award Sketch Contest two years standing and received Gold Thimble Awards for fashion design and fashion merchandising at (LATTC). London West has also received and was recognition for his community and volunteer contributions from The State of Ohio and California and had his name entered into the United States Congressional Record. London West was also selected to the Who’s who of the World’s Registry in the field of fashion, and was Honorable Discharged American Veteran from the 101st Airborne Division and founded a youth program Youth for Positive Change. ■

London West can be contacted at London West is again a fashion designer and manufacturer in the State of California 951-326-6316 60



Dishing With the Dolls


Ava Simone Collier

eslie Drake, Lai-Ling Bernstein, Maxie McClintock, Jael (The Great) Roberson and Carrie Choe make up the Cinema Dolls, a sisterhood of actresses who call Atlanta their home. In addition to grinding their way to becoming A -list actresses, they have championed and addressed the very real issue of human sex trafficking in a dramatic PSA which can be seen at Although Lai-Ling was not available for this interview, I did catch up with the other ladies for a conversation. Ava: Leslie, tell me who The Cinema Dolls are and how the name and concept came together. Leslie: The Cinema Dolls are five actresses who work together to accomplish the same goals. Together we write, produce, star and direct in our own projects. We support one another and put on our own productions and host various events, but we’re definitely actresses first. Actually I created the name, but the concept was created by me and a former business partner while we were working on a project. We teamed up and decided to put on productions and work together and not be hindered by the fact that we’re women. Women CAN really work together and accomplish goals. Because of that, we came up with The Cinema Dolls and it has become bigger than I ever could have imagined. We’re putting on our own productions, writing and directing – we’re boss ladies. Ava: Jael The Great, tell me how you became a part of The Cinema Dolls. Jael The Great: I actually would see Leslie and Maxie and a couple of previous members around. We are all in the same industry with like-spirits and minds so we saw each other and would say hello and congratulate each other on projects. I met Leslie years ago though, and God brought us back full circle. My role is like everyone else’s I write, I direct, I produce and we’re doing it together. I enjoy the fact that I’m doing it with women who are on the same page and are beautiful on the inside and outside and we’re working together to accomplish the same thing. I’m a part of the team. Ava: How about you Maxie, how’d you get involved with

these ladies? Maxie: I moved here to Atlanta and started working with other actresses and as a producer and working with film festivals. Leslie and I started working together on the back end of a film fest and that’s how she and I met. At the same time, I was working on a project and hired Leslie to be a host on a television show I was producing called from Script to Screen. We built a good relationship and it was like-minds and spirits and we knew we could work together. Ava: Hmmm…women working together in a very competitive industry. You all seem to be respectful of each other, no hostility, jealousy or rivalry. How do you do it? Leslie: What God has for You is for You. We support each other and we actually share the same grind, we go hard. I am a go-hard type of girl and don’t take no for an answer. I’m very ambitious. I was drawn to each of these women spiritually – no jealousy and we support each other. Jael the Great: For me, as soon as I was brought on I immediately put in my mind that these are my sisters. That’s how I view them and I want them to thrive and make it and they feel the same way about me. It’s a beautiful thing. Carrie: I believe that what God has for me is for me - no competition between me and my sisters and I’ve learned so much about this industry and the craft from these women. I think that team work makes the dream work – why not help each other and take each other along on the journey. Ava: What has been or still are some of your biggest challenges? Maxie: Maintaining Integrity and succeeding without the casting couch. There are people who will try to take advantage of women in this industry – people who try to entice them to get the role: “Hey if you sleep with me, I’ll give you the role.” What we are creating with The Cinema Dolls is a sisterhood fighting against that. I’m not sleeping on anybody’s casting couch, ever! Carrie: For me, the directors and producers are afraid sometimes to make a movie that is too black because they are under the impression that those movies don’t sell. I’ve learned



ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT from these ladies that we shouldn’t wait for someone to put us in their movie. Why not create your own project? Don’t wait for someone else to give you a chance – create your own path. Ava: Why aren’t there more black actors and actresses on the big screen, or even on television? Leslie: I think there aren’t more black actresses/actors around because people are stuck on the ones who are already there. You’ve got people like Vivica Fox and Nia Long and they’re always being recycled. I think that people are stuck on names that they know and it’s hard to let anyone else in, but we will fight for this. Hopefully in Jesus’ name, we will be in the next wave of talented actresses to be cast. Ava: How do you break into this business as an unknown? Jael The Great: I think you break in by being persistent. Every actress that is known now wasn’t always known. We didn’t always know who Gabriel Union or Halle Berry were - they were grinding too. I do my part as an actress. I know I’m good at what I do and when it’s my time, then I will be known - It’s the will of God. It’s not all about being known, it’s about doing what you love. Fame is a product of doing what you love and being good at it. Ava: Did you always want to be an actress and who would you like to work with in Hollywood? Maxie: Yes, I always wanted to be an actress even before I knew what it was called. My parents were in the military and I grew up most of my life in Germany. We had one television station for American programming – I never watched TV a lot. Instead I put on productions with my dolls. I was always a storyteller. I love Alfre Woodard and Quentin Tarantino and would love to work with them. Carrie: I always wanted to be an actress. Growing up I was afraid to perform in front of other people other than my dad and sister because I had a bad speech impediment, so there was always that fear. At about 16, I started doing pageants and after that I went all the way in. I moved to Atlanta to follow my dream and am blessed to have a father to support and encourage me. I’d love to work with Denzel Washington. I respect the way he approaches acting. For an actress, probably Kerry Washington – she has a primetime television show and I’d love to learn from her. Jael the Great: My mother always had me in dance, acting, theatre and singing as a child. I moved to Atlanta to go to law school, not to pursue acting. This is a God thing – He chose it. I’m glad I’m doing it and I love it. I’d love to work with Bette Midler and Robert Downey Jr. Leslie: I’ve always been creative – my first love was to be a writer. I actually fell into acting while working in a retail store. The owner was writing skits for store and decided he wanted to do a local television show and gave me a lead role in it and it was on after that. From a producing standpoint, I’d love to work with John Singleton. From the acting side, I’d love to work in a role with Nate Parker. ■ 62


Alexis Spight's New Video "Steady" THE BELLE REPORT

lexis Spight, with her fiery red hair and golden voice, was a favorite of both the judges and audience during Season Five of BET's Sunday Best. While she came up just short of the crown in the 2012 gospel competition, the 19-year-old singer/songwriter is still a winner. She has been signed by Music World Gospel, where she has just completed recording her first album, L.O.L.: Living Out Loud, which will be released on March 12, 2013. She has a newly released single, "Imagine Me," her take on a song by Sunday Best host Kirk Franklin, which she performed on the show. "It's a song that applies to my life in all areas because it's about being comfortable and confident in who I am and who God made me to be," she says. "I grew up listening to and admiring Kirk Franklin. To sing that song in front of him was an honor. " Alexis describes her experience on Sunday Best as "amazing" and "surreal" from beginning to end. "I remember getting in line and seeing 2,000 people ahead of me and getting very discouraged." However, Alexis made it to the Top 20 out of 15,000 who auditioned for the show and then survived the competition to the final, where she was first runner-up. "Even though I didn't win, I thank God for the platform that it provided, it really opened doors for me," she says. "I'm so grateful for the relationships and tutelage I received on the show. To be mentored and judged by people of such great stature was very, very humbling." She is also thankful for Joshua Rogers, the 18year-old contestant who claimed the number one spot in the competition. "Josh is my brother until the wheels fall off of everything," she says. "It's great to know that there are other young people who love God as much as I do." Alexis has a musical style that is as unique and eclectic as her look, and that is by design. She believes her music and her look may attract people to God who might not feel like they belong in more traditional church settings. "My style is for everyone, but specifically for those who are different, those who some would consider outcasts at church or even by society," she says. "The gospel music industry has to use different methods to get different results. Adding music and musicians with a sense of uniqueness can get those souls who are

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT unique. I'm just trying to do what the Bible says-go out and compel men." Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Alexis is the oldest of five children. Her father is a guitarist, singer, and preacher, and her uncle and grandfather are preachers as well. Both music and God were at the center of her family life. She began singing in the choir at her church when she was three years old. She sang with her mother until she found confidence in her voice. When she was only eight years old, she formed a singing group with her sisters, Alyssa, Jazmin, and baby sister Jada, who Alexis says has an amazing voice. The group, The Spight Sisters, has performed around the Buffalo area and in various parts of New York. Though Alexis is now pursuing a solo career, she says the group still exists. When she was 12, Alexis discovered a love and talent for writing music. She began writing as a way to deal with a traumatic event and a difficult period in her life. Her family lost their home in a 48-hour period due to financial difficulties, and the seven of them had to move into an extended stay hotel, where they lived for three months. "I suddenly knew what it was like to lose everything, but God blessed us through it all," she says, "It prompted my family to have an unspoken bond, and I believe it was preparation for this journey." The Spights now live in Kansas City, where her father pastors Madden Temple Church of God in Christ, and also pastors the Greater Faith and Deliverance Ministries in Binghamton, New York. Alexis continues to hone her songwriting skills. Some of her original compositions are featured on her upcoming album, L.O.L. Alexis always knew that she wanted to be a professional singer. Her father, who helped train her as a singer, taught her that if she wanted to do something, she should go after it and learn all she could about it. She attended Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, the school where her mother and father attended as dance and music majors respectively, and spent hours studying singers she admired, such as the Clark Sisters and Kim Burrell, among others." At 16, she began to audition for televised

singing competition programs. She auditioned for American Idol and X Factor before landing a spot on Sunday Best. "I guess God wanted my voice for him," she says. Alexis is looking ahead to a busy schedule and bright future in gospel music. She recently came under the management of Greg "Uncle G" Lyons' Uncle G Promotions and Entertainment. She is also looking forward to the release of her next single and video, "Steady," a song she wrote that she describes as a prayer to keep her grounded and in His will, when

the world is pulling her in different directions. She says the song's upbeat tempo and "go go beat" will bless all kinds of people. Alexis is adamant about the fact that her music is her ministry and that her number one goal is to "win souls for the kingdom." She also wants to make sure that the message in her music ministry remains clear: "You can be as different and unique as God made you and still love-and be loved by-God, so you can be bold and confident in your uniqueness." â–





songs that they can picith so ture artists who are almany peoready in the game singple ating. Swoozy & Rodge tempting have a huge local folto be mulowing but the one sical artthing they need most is ists these days, it is hard for anypublicity on a larger one to be taken seriously when scale. I have no doubt they say they want to make music that these kids have the for a living. Bradley Salad (22) passion, the skill and and Alvin Rodgers (24), also the vision to do what it known as Swoozy&Rodge, are takes to make it in the two MCees/Songwriters from the music industry. All they Beaver County directly outside of Swoozy&Rodge are going on a 9 month tour called “Major need is the right person Pittsburgh. Labels Must Die” from January 26th to late September. to hear their music and The group has been making The tour includes 37 cities and over 300 show s. believe in them. music since they were both in At the end of the Middle School and the progresday, words are only words and the only real way to feel the sion of their skills is very evident in their new music. With passion in their music is to check them out and let the music Rodge’s catchy hooks and marketable flow, mixing with speak for itself. ■ Swoozy’s deep lyrics and creative rhyme schemes, this group surely has what it takes to stand out from all the rest. The most universally marketable thing about this group is that they don’t box themselves in to one fixed genre. They can tackle many areas of music because they are very versatile and they have very impressive writing skills. In fact, Swoozy & Rodge have a passion for songwriting so they will often write



in the works with fellow actor and friend, Tommy Ford, as well as Nephew Tommy. Carl is in the process of developing a web series that will be aired through his website: Carl Payne plans to be around and acting for many years to come. Mr. Payne wants to be to his industry what Magic Johnson was to basketball… he wants to leave a legacy. “I admire Magic Johnson because not only was he a superb athlete, he’s an astute businessman and a humanitarian. He’s made his mark in every arena he has touched,” said Payne. “My mission is to make a difference, on and off the stage as well.” “My goal is to encourage, inspire, and uplift those around me, particularly the next generation. Our youth don’t have the quality programming we had growing up. We need to bring back the quality in order to leave them with something substantive,” Carl continued. When I asked Carl about advice he would give aspiring



actors, he said, “Don’t be afraid to fail. You don’t appreciate a win until you’ve lost. But no matter what…. don’t lose hope. Also, don’t ever get comfortable or complacent. Swing a big sword. Stay hungry; even when you experience some success, continue to reach for that pinnacle.” He also mentioned the importance of staying grounded and surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Because your energy feeds off of each other. It takes a team to build success…. you can’t do it alone! However, use wisdom, because “everybody can’t go where you’re going,” Carl said. {Great ‘’food for thought!’’} When you close the chapter on your career, what will people remember about you? Will you leave a legacy, fond memories, etc.? I encourage you to leave a legacy; so when people think of you, they will say, “I want to be like her, or him.” What an honor, for people to want to be “just like you.” ■


Valentine’s Day Adults Only Getaway! By The Travelin Diva (Kirstin N. Fuller)

alentine’s Day is fastly approaching and that means it’s time for a fabulous couples’ getaway to rekindle that old loving feeling. Celebrities always inspire us mere mortals to want to visit the same destinations that they are blessed enough to visit while on vacation. Recently Beyonce and Jay-Z caused quite a sensation when they jetted off to the Bahamas for a getaway. They surprised everyone when they popped up in the popular vacation destination, the ultra luxurious and beautiful Atlantis Paradise Island. While the entire resort, which has a sister location in Dubai is a perfect choice for a couples’ getaway, there’s one part of the resort that is mainly adults only. The Cove Atlantis is literally a luxurious hideaway for couples with two fabulous features that make the resort perfect for a getaway. The first feature if you will, that makes ‘The Cove Atlantis’ a perfect choice is the exclusive ‘CAIN Ultra Pool.’ ‘CAIN’ as it is famously known is a 9,000 sq.ft. pool surrounded by plush day beds, twenty private cabanas and an outdoor gaming pavilion. CAIN is located at the center of ‘The Cove’ and Paradise Beaches and it even has its own bar, the CAIN Bar. The private cabanas are completely outfitted with the latest luxuries. The cabanas have plush furniture, a mini bar and flat screen TV’s. The walls of the cabanas are retractable revealing the beautiful beach and CAIN ultra pool. If you prefer not to lounge in one of the fabulous cabanas, or one of the plush daybeds around the pool you can opt to enjoy our favorite pool feature. CAIN ultra pool has daybeds exquisitely placed in the middle of the pool. Put on your hottest swims suit because you have to be flawless when you swim out to these daybeds. These daybeds are a perfect choice for lounging with your sweetheart while catching a few sun rays or a pool party with a few new coupled up friends. Having the option is simply fabulous. If you and your sweetheart want to relax in a luxurious, plush suite ‘The Cove Atlantis’ has that option available to you as well. The loft like suites feature king size beds, sunken living rooms, custom bars in each suite and private balconies to take in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Take your getaway to new heights by booking one of the fabulous ‘Azure Suites’ that come with the amenities discussed before plus a personal butler to cater to your every desire. Or truly vacation like a superstar and reserve the ‘Presidential Suite’ which has two master bedrooms, separate dining room with full kitchen, theater style media room and floor to ceiling window walls with spectacular wrap around views. Paradise is available and it’s in the Bahamas! A trip/vacation package to ‘The Cove Atlantis’ would make a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift! To vacation like Beyonce and JayZ and book your own Valentine’s Day getaway, visit or call 888-670-2683. Book now and save up to 35% and receive a $300 airfare credit on a 6 night/more stay in paradise. To find out more information on Atlantis Paradise Island, please visit Paradise is waiting! By The Travelin Diva (Kirstin N. Fuller) Visit for the latest travel products to put in your carry-on bag. TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | JAN/FEB 2103








Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine Jan Feb 2013  

On the Cover: Carl Payne, Chaka Khan, Charlie Wilson, Teddy Riley, Jamie Foster Brown, Legendary Awards, Trumpet Awards, Swoo&Rodge

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