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I’m mad and it’s about a lot of things I’m mad about, more than Ice Tea and Skittles, hands up or I can’t breathe. I’m also mad about black on black crime I’m mad about kids fighting and dying over sneakers like Jordan’s and killing each other over a dime

I’m mad that Democrats and Republicans seem to be the same Services are being cut or deleted while Congress and Senate up on the hill are playing games

I’m mad about mothers leaving young children at home alone and leaving them in a hot car I’m mad about men having to be held accountable to being Fathers by legislation or laws

I’m mad we listen and dance to music that degrade our women and athletes won’t band together for civil right causes Don’t they know that they’re more then what they do on turf, court and diamonds with a ball

I’m mad that we have to be encouraged, instead of running to register and vote with all the blood that our ancestors shed People like C. T Vivian, John Lewis, Jimmie Lee Jackson, and so many others for the right to vote with billie clubs were beaten across the head

I’m mad at Cancer; I wish cancer would get cancer and die I’m tired of cancer taking my loved ones beyond the sky

I’m mad that our churches are not what they used to be I’m mad that policemen can shoot and kill innocent black people and walk around free I’m mad that we don’t eat at black restaurants and shop in black stores I’m mad you see all the black people before you who got you that corporate job, and when you got in, not only did you not bring anyone else in behind you, you locked the door I’m mad young ladies are getting pregnant and not even thinking about marrying the father I’m mad the young men who are getting them pregnant just move to the next young lady, like the last one was a bother I’m mad that now adults or children don’t say Thank You and Please I’m mad we don’t teach our young boys work ethics, like cutting grass and raking leaves I’m mad that in Africa little kids don’t have shoes I’m mad that people like Clarence Thomas, Stacey Dash and Charles Barkley don’t have a clue

I’m mad that parents can find time to do everything but can’t find time to go to PTA at their child’s school I’m mad that we are losing our history, BTW, I’m still waiting on my 40 acres and a mule I’m mad that The Montgomery Boycott, Selma and March on Washington seem to be for naught All the civil rights leaders that lost their lives not to mention the way Medgar and King were shot I’m mad that we don’t have a bill for the voting rights act And we’re saying nothing, but let something happen with an entertainer, on social media its blown up, how easily we distract I’m mad and I'm mad that you’re not mad How could you just sit there? If we’re not careful, what we have will be, what we had” But I’ll keep on grinding and fighting and trying to live a life of substance Because Edmund Burks said it best ”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing” But I’m still MAD are YOU?

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I’m mad that during Christmas, people can give gifts without ever saying Christ I’m mad we have homeless people who you won’t give pennies but will walk into a store and buy red bottoms, rims and jewelry without looking at the price


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remember eight years ago when I first started this magazine, it was hard to get my foot in the door to connect with the powerful decision-makers in the city. They wouldn’t return my calls. It was rough starting at the bottom, trying to brand my name in a city where I hardly knew anyone, and trying to penetrate a market I knew hardly anything about. But the passion I had for my product gave me the energy to persevere and move forward. I had a vision, and I was determined to succeed. So I showed up, and I showed

out.

Willie Stewart, Publisher

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What do I mean by show up and show out? When you have an opportunity to present yourself, and your brand, in front of someone that can help you get to the next level, you must make a strong yet positive impact on them. Show up with your “A” game, be impressive, dress professional, go with a winning attitude, have your facts together, and build a relationship. Before you start knocking on doors, however, do your research. Know your competitors. Know your potential customers. Use your resources, such as business journals which profile major corporations in your city, to determine who to call on. Make sure you have a mission that will gain support of the company you are approaching, and a brand that upholds a positive reputation. Then ask yourself these questions: What is my strategy to get in the door, and why should they meet with me? How is my brand different from others? How will I ask for their business or support once I get in the door? What do I have to offer in exchange for their business? Find out who the decision-maker is, and schedule your meeting with that person. Be persistent in establishing the contact and getting the meeting arranged. Once you get into the meeting, do not focus on yourself. Instead, focus on the success of the company you’re meeting with, and how your product can benefit them. Listen to them, understand their needs, and recognize the outcome they seek. Remember you only have a small window of opportunity. So be very impressive. Bring all the tools that you need to close the deal. Do back-flips, and summersaults, so to speak. Because when you leave the meeting, you want them to remember you in a positive way. If your appearance, approach, attitude, and facts are on point, they will never forget who you are. And if you can’t close the deal at that time, always leave a good impression so that they will welcome you back a second time. Although there are people along the way that can help you, always remember that YOU are the one who holds the key to your success. And, when you get that opportunity you’ve been working so hard for, make sure you SHOW UP, and SHOW OUT!!! ■

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VP NOTES Derek Payne

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ometimes it is difficult to deal with change. Change is always coming. Whether you look forward to change or dread it, change is coming! Even when change deserves celebrating, it can bring some level of stress. Let’s face it, change is inevitable and a certainty in life. Some change comes invited, some really out of your control. Some of it is a matter of everyday living and some of it we choose to create. When dealing with change, it is important to face your feelings. Realize that you don’t have to always feel like a victim if the change you are going through is not controlled by you. Figure out when to accept or reject the change. One thing that has helped me over the years is the “Serenity Prayer.” It has helped keep me grounded and increases my faith in God. It is a powerful motivator and comforting prayer that many people from different spiritual beliefs use as a means to cope with change. Whether you’re changing grades in school, losing a job, getting a promotion, lost your best friend, girlfriend dumped you, had a new baby, got a divorce, lost your home, losing sight, hair graying, gaining weight, or winning your first marathon race….change is always coming. Maybe it’s easier said than done, but I’m striving to embrace change and possibly come to love it! If you are a trendsetter, you have first hand experience of what it takes to make a difference in your community. Don’t let the fear of change overpower you. Pray the “Serenity Prayer.” It may help you too! ■


TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS STAFF PUBLISHER

Willie Stewart / Atlanta, GA VICE PRESIDENT / CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR

Derek Payne / Columbus, OH DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL NETWORK MARKETING & WEB DEVELOPMENT

Lukeither Willingham / Atlanta, GA DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES & BRANDING

Lacie Williams / Atlanta, GA DIRECTOR of PUBLIC RELATIONS Glenda Scott / Atlanta, GA EDITOR Melody Edwards / Atlanta, GA FREELANCE WRITERS Greta Wheeler / Atlanta, GA Shernita Wiggins / Atlanta, GA Beverly Hill Shelley / Atlanta, GA Glenda Scott / Atlanta, GA Melody Edwards / Atlanta, GA Tina Williams / Atlanta, GA CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Linda Amerson / Arlington, TX Joseph Booker / Baton Rouge, LA Carrie Johnson / New York, NY Jacque Johnson / Johannesburg, South Africa PHOTOGRAPHY Joe Carter (J. Carter Photography) Atlanta, GA Rodney Adams Photography Memphis, TN

TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MEDIA GROUP RESERVES THE RIGHT TO PUBLISH ANY MATERIALS RECEIVED. WE APPRECIATE ALL MATERIAL, HOWEVER, SUBMISSIONS MUST BE OF A POSITIVE AND INFORMATIVE NATURE. PLEASE MAIL OR EMAIL ARTICLES TO WSTEWART@TRENDTOTRENDMAG.COM TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE, 3007 PANOLA ROAD | SUITE 283C LITHONIA, GA 30038 / 1-866-958-7363. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MEDIA GROUP, LLC


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CEO - BOBCAT FILMS


what’s inside 06 Publisher Notes 07 VP Notes 12 Young & Trendy 14 Up and Coming Trendsetters 21 Education Trends 23 Health & Wellness Trends 27 Fitness Trends 28 Business Trends 30 Financial Trends 57 Beauty Trends 60 Fashion Trends 62 Arts and Entertainment 65 Real Estate Trends

ON THE COVER: Front: Xernona Clayton Left to Right: Ronald Isley - Recording Artist/Songwriter, Jamie Fox – Award winning Actor/Musical Artist/Comedian, Lou Brock – Baseball Legend, Franklyn R. Wilson – Chairman, Sunshine Holdings, Ltd., Bahamas, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice - President and Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, Arnold W. Donald, CEO & President of Carnival Corporation & PLC, Janelle Monáe, Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Model; Guy Vickers, President of PVH Foundation and Senior Vice President, Global Community Relations. Ernie Isley - Recording Artist. Photo by Rodney Adams

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features

KIMBROUGH

20 Educational Spotlight

President Walter M. Kimbrough

31 Trendsetters Spotlight

Ruby Johnson, Roland Martin and Mershele Brown

34 Cover - Trumpet Awards 42 Cover - Profile Africa Jacque Johnson

48 Author’s Corner Mary Morrison and Robert Wagner

58 Beauty Profile Dionne Reeves-Grubb

63 A&E Spotlight

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31 DON BARDEN

NITA GRAY

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10 10 CONTENTS

JAN JAN/ /FEB FEB2015 2015


ON THE COVER: Tony Braxton

Photo by Dream Photography

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TONI BRAXTON

14 DEJE’ KELLY

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REEVES-GRUBBS

SETH TOWNS

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63 COUNTRE BOI

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JACQUE JOHNSON


Shay’na Fields

Celebrity Journalist, Red Carpet Host, Emcee, Motivational Speaker and Community Volunteer has done it again.

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n November 28th, in Miami Gardens, Florida, the third annual Gospel Explosion Event was held by rapper, “FloRida.” Shay’na presented “The Shay’na Fields Show” streaming live with www.108PraiseRadio.com . Guest artists, Michelle Williams, J.Moss, Casey J, Tye Tribbett, and many others warmed our hearts with their amazing performances. A special prayer vigil was held for the family of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, who was killed tragically by former police officer Darren Wilson. Among those attending the vigil were Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Morgan, the parents of Trayvon Martin, also killed by profiled violence.

Sabrina Fulton: This is my first time being here. I’m very excited to be here listening to the music….just coming out to show community support. Shay’na Fields: What are your views on the violence at the moment. How have the events of Trayvon Martin changed you and your views about the community, and how do you think we can make a difference? Sabrina Fulton: First of all, I don’t agree with violence. I don’t agree with the protest, tearing up your own communities, that is totally against my morals; it’s totally against what I’m all about. I think we need to do more purposeful things when we want our voices heard. We need to vote. Voting is very important; this is what we can look into. Make sure you vote and make our voices heard.

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Shay’na Fields: What do you feel about the Gospel Explosion?

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Shay’na Fields: Another thing, my generation sees a problem with the things that happened with Mike Brown. We did not get an indictment against Officer Darren Wilson. What do we do now? My generation complains, but I know we need to grow up, study, and show that we have a voice. We must change the system if we want change. Do you agree with that? Sabrina Fulton: I absolutely agree with that, I will add this, there are non-profit foundations, grass root foundations, and you all can join one of those foundations and make a difference. It always starts with one individual, one person. So, I think it is important for you to get involved with one of these organizations that's fighting for the same purpose. Shay’na Fields: Definitely, we should stand hand in hand and unite with one another. Miss Sabrina you are definitely an inspiration to my soul.

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Don’t miss out on interviews live with Shay’na Fields Log ontowww.108praiseradio.com To request Shay’na Fields to Emcee, speak, or host contact: Denise Williams (Manager) cconnection2@hotmail.com FB: Shay’na Fields FB: Denise Williams Twitter: @whoisshayna


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Photo Credit: Mann Photography

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By The Nocturnal View with Bianka Mehnyel'

NV: First of all, thank you for submitting your song and introducing your music. I absolutely love the vibe & tone. With the track, 'Full Glass Me' , it has a unique take on a sexual experience. How did you come up with the drinking "taking shots"concept? DK: Really I needed a unique way to say something that's been said over and over again. If anything the beat screamed for that melody, then words kinda filled themselves in. Next thing I knew, the song had written itself. NV: Just to be clear, the concept behind that metaphor is on the same level as Usher's "Good Kisser', is it not? DK: In my opinion it's on a whole other level. "Full Glass Me" can have multiple meanings, different people take different views on the song. NV: I get a little August Alsina flow with your style. Has anyone compared you to anyone as of yet? DK: Definitely. My entire life I've been compared to someone. Everyone wants to compare you to someone so that they can better categorize you. I've been compared to everybody from August Alsina to Stevie Wonder. NV: What sparked your interest in becoming a singer and when did you first pick up a mic? DK: Well there was never a spark. It was an ongoing flame that I was born with. I've been singing since I was in the car seat. I've always had a mic in my hand, whether it was a fake remote control mic that my imagination created, or an actual one.

NV: I see you rep the ATL; Atlanta is definitely making its' mark in today's music...With so many transplants in the ATL, are you originally born and raised in Georgia? If not, where are you from? DK: I'm from Greensboro ,North Carolina. Yes I am a transplant that's been back and forth for years. Since half of my life I've lived here in ATL I guess I'm half transplant if that makes any sense. NV: Are you currently signed to a record label (major or independent), or with a production company? DK: Independent all the way! I believe in full creative control. NV: Any plans for a full album release? if so, when? DK: I do plan on an album release. Probably in 2016 though. 2015 is my year of smash hit singles and feature galore. NV: Have you any upcoming shows/ appearances your growing fan base can catch on? What's next for you? DK: I have an appearance at Spelman that I'm so excited about! I'll be there sharing my music and explaining my hardships throughout life.

NV: Are you your own sole songwriter on this project, or do you work with a team of writers? DK: Nope, my bestfriends helped me write the song. My friends are my team honestly.

NV: Tell people where they can follow you to stay informed. (Instagram, twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud etc.) Everything is the same. Deje Kelly everything. DK: Thank you! Everything is the same. Dejé Kelly everything! Twitter: @DejéKelly Instagram: @DejéKelly YouTube: DejéKellyMusic Vevo: Dejé Kelly Official Website: www.DejéKelly.com Thank you again for chatting it up with me, and cheers to wishing you continued success. ■

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NV: Who has influenced your musical taste? And who would you most like to collaborate with? DK: Who hasn't influenced my musical taste is the question. I find inspiration in any and every song that I hear. When I was introduced to EDM music it broadened my ideas for music. That's where I came up with RB&Drop music. Stevie Wonder is over course my first choice. He's a legend that proves that good music conquers any physical abnormalities.

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NV: In the beginning of the 'Full Glass Me' track, there's a mention of the producer (I believe)...Who's the producer and how long have you been working together? DK: That's a dope underground producer here and we've been working together for a year now.


20-Year Old Singing Sensation Nariah Set to Release First Single: Star Crossed Lover Promises Excellent Entertainment Experience

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he’s young and beautiful, energetic and inspiring, smart and witty. Most importantly, the girl can sing. No…..actually, the girl can sang! After having captured the heart of Atlanta in the “Stars of Tomorrow” competition and wowing crowds with her scintillating vocals and incredible stage appearance, Nariah Francis dropped her first single, Star Crossed Lover on the Sound Wave Entertainment record label. Star Crossed Lover is available on itunes and soundwaveatlanta.com. Of St. Lucian/Caribbean and African American descent, Nariah smoothly fuses her heritage into her music, creating an excellent entertainment experience. She looks forward to taking her professional experience to the level of recording artist as part of the Sound Wave Entertainment team. The label, which is under the leadership of long-time music mogul Mark Patton, is one of the industry’s most diverse and highly sought after. It boasts of artists with genres that include Adult Contemporary, R&B, and Hip Hop/Rap. The label’s accomplished team of Grammy (2) and MTV (5) award winning professionals has worked with celebrities that include Chris Brown, Faith Evans, Biggie Smalls and Mary J. Blige. Patton is greatly enthusiastic about Nariah’s new single. “Nariah brings a lot of flavor to the industry. She’s got a lot of energy, charm and talent, and she’s generated a following that’s been waiting for her to give them more of what she’s already brought to the stage. This is a wonderful time!” The 20-year old Nariah is a student at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. She is currently majoring in Communications Studies; her minor is Theater and Dance. Very active in school, Nariah is a member of the Wooster Chorus, the Black Student Association and the Wooster Bible Study group. She is grateful, honored and humbled to count her school among her cadre of supporters. Nariah’s musical abilities have been carefully nurtured since the time of her early school years. Formally trained in choral music since age 11, she was an esteemed member of Honor Chorus from grades 6 through 12, she won second place in the State for Literary Trio, and she was an active member of the dance team as well as the a cappella group, Chordination. Nariah also founded the a capella group, Shades of Gold, where she now serves as Musical Director. Nariah can be found on social media at: Facebook – Nariah Francis ■

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Florida to D.A. (Douglas Anderson) renowned High School of the Arts, Dominiq has demonstrated a work ethic that has been complimented as one of the best in the entire city, by Kezia Row of Jacksonville Center of the Arts (JCA). Dominiq has been a student at JCA for the past 4 years, working diligently on cleanliness and the artistic/technical side of dance. The level of commitment to his craft has garnered him several lead rolls in major productions, very early on in his career, after dancing for only 2 years. He has had lead rolls in The Chocolate Nutcracker 2012 – 2013 and The First Coast Nutcracker from 2012-2014. He has been in two stage productions; Perilous Times and Ragtime. This year he will be in the ballet production of Sleeping Beauty. Dominiq’s talent as a young male dancer has awarded him many scholarships. As a result, he has attended prestigious schools of dance, such as The Rock in Philadelphia and Alvin Ailey in New York. Not only is Dominiq Luckie a talented dancer, he has fierce inspiration and drive. His teacher and mentors describe him as an independent young man and likeable. According to Savory Morgan ,”He is destined for greatness, but most importantly a beautiful human being. This ‘Quiet Storm’ is definitely one to watch. ■

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owerful, delicate, and a young artist of technical strength, Dominiq Luckie (referred to as the “Quiet Storm”), has managed to captivate the east coast dance world in a matter of the past two years. While most dancers start their dance journey at the age of 3, Dominiq Luckie found dance at the age of 12, with the help of Cooper Morgan Dance Company. It was during a ballet class that Mr. Cooper leaned over to his partner Savory Morgan and said, “this is one to watch.” As a middle school student, Dominiq’s focus was a little questionable. Like most young men in middle school, he had dreams of becoming a professional football player. His speed and agility made him a sought after player. However, his dance skills were undeniable. Dominiq would joke that he initially enrolled in dance because he figured that it was the best way to meet girls. Little did he know that he would fall in love with dance. Soon he was faced with a hard decision at a very young age, one that would set the stage for the rest of his life. He had to choose whether to pursue football, or dance. He chose dance and has truly found his calling in the area of classical and contemporary dance. Although, ballet for a young man was not a popular choice, he has never looked back. From middle school, LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville,


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ldredge E. Washington, also known as Made Mann, believes in three things: God, family, and community. At the age of 18, he decided to dedicate his life to rebuilding and installing the pride back into communities. He relentlessly invested all of his time, energy, and resources into founding M.A.D.E (Motivated Adults Developing Excellence), which is one of the most innovative and supportive group mentoring, non -profit organizations in Atlanta, Georgia. Eldredge’s secret to the success of his organization is building strong relationships. The electrifying love that he leaves in the hearts of those he encounters is undeniable. With his affectionate spirit, he uplifts everyone who crosses his path. Eldredge is on a mission to help his generation progress by coaching them on how to live the M.A.D.E lifestyle. He has traveled domestically and internationally spreading the message of “Become M.A.D.E.” He believes if you see more and want more, you will eventually do more with support from the people in your life. Ultimately, Eldredge desires to coach people on healthy relationship building, which will help them discover purpose and accomplish goals in their life. When asked about the destructive behavior of his generation, Eldredge quoted author Stephen Covey, “If you want to change someone’s behavior, you change their title.” Instead of complaining about the high school drop outs, teen mothers, gang members and drug dealers, Eldredge has decided to change their title to the leaders of tomorrow. He encourages everyone to Become M.A.D.E. because it’s a lifestyle worth living. ■

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Become M.A.D.E It’s a Lifestyle is a self-help motivational book written by Eldredge E. Washington, aka Made Mann, the Founder and Executive Director of M.A.D.E. This book was designed to highlight the importance of maintaining positive relationships in young people’s lives while on their journey of discovering purpose. Reading this book will challenge you to analyze each relationship that you currently have in your life, and determine if they are helping or hurting your success. With a combination of universal principles, life experiences, and personal stories extracted from his own life, Eldredge has laid the blueprint to live a good life by becoming a Motivated Adult Developing Excellence. ■

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eth Towns is a 6-7, 180pound Small Forward from Columbus, OH.

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Towns, who has a 4.3 GPA and nine Division I scholarship offers, including one from Ohio State, has developed into one of central Ohio's top offensive threats in his third season as a key player for the Northland Vikings. He scored his 1,000th career point Jan. 23 in a 43-42 win over Columbus East. On Jan. 7, Towns scored 47 points in an 87-51 win over Linden-McKinley to break the program's record of 44 points in a game previously held by 2010 graduate and current Boston Celtics player Jared Sullinger. â–


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native of Atlanta, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough was his high school salutatorian and student body president in 1985, and went on to earn degrees from the University of Georgia, Miami University in Ohio, and a doctorate in higher education from Georgia State University. He has enjoyed a fulfilling career in student affairs, serving at Emory University, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University, and finally Albany State University in 2000 where he became the Vice President for Student Affairs at the age of 32. In October of 2004, at the age of 37, he was named the 12th president of Philander Smith College. In 2012 he became the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college. Kimbrough also has been noted for his active use of social media to engage students in articles by The Chronicle of Higher Education, CASE Currents, and Arkansas Life. He was cited in 2010 by Bachelors Degree.com as one of 25 college presidents you should follow on Twitter (@HipHopPrez).

torically Black, Latin and Asian groups. He is the author of the book, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities. Dr. Kimbrough was named the 1994 New Professional of the Year for the Association of Fraternity Advisors, and selected as a 2001 Nissan-ETS HBCU Fellow. In 2009, he was named by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of 25 To Watch. In 2010, he made the coveted Ebony Magazine Power 100 list of the doers and influencers in the African American community, joining the likes of President and Mrs. Obama, Jay-Z, Richard Parsons, Tyler Perry, Debra Lee, and Tom Joyner. Finally, in February of 2013 he was named to NBC News/The Griot.com’s 100 African Americans making history today, joining another impressive group including Kerry Washington, Ambassador Susan Rice, Kendrick Lamar, Mellody Hobson, and RG III. Dr. Kimbrough and his wife Adria Nobles Kimbrough, attorney with the Kullman firm in New Orleans, are the proud parents of two children: Lydia Nicole, 7, and Benjamin Barack, 5. Follow Dr. Kimbrough hiphopprez.blogspot.com â–

on

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blog:

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A 1986 initiate of the Zeta Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the University of Georgia, Kimbrough was the Alpha Phi Alpha College Brother of the Year for the Southern Region and served as the Southern Region Assistant Vice President. Dr. Kimbrough has forged a national reputation as an expert on fraternities and sororities, with specific expertise regarding his-

20 20 EDUCATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

JAN JAN//FEB FEB2015 2015


U.S. Fund for UNICEF Partners with Consortium of African American Faith-Based Leaders to Help Stop Ebola Fundraising initiative to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work in West Africa will launch during Black History Month By Black PR WIRE

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needed items. The hygiene kits will be distributed to households and schools in communities across Liberia that are affected by Ebola. The disease has infected more than 21,000 people and claimed over 8,000 lives in West Africa. More than 11,000 children have lost one or both parents due to the virus. To learn more

about I AM #STOPPINGEBOLA, please visit http://www.unicefusa.org/ i a m s t o p p i n g e b o l a Members of the Faith-Based Leadership Consortium include Dr. Calvin Butts, the Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the City of New York and the President of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury; Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III, Presiding Prelate of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc.; Dr. Williams B. Moore Chairman, Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, National Baptist Convention USA; Dr. James C Perkins, 20th President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; and Bishop P.A. Brooks, First Assistant Presiding Bishop on the presidium of the Church of God in Christ, Inc.

“Hygiene is the first line of defense for children and their families against Ebola,” said Dr. Calvin Butts. “We are looking forward to galvanizing our community during Black History Month to learn more about Ebola and help save lives in Liberia.” “Along with my other distinguish friends in the Faith-Based Leadership Consortium, I am honored to work with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to assist in providing hygiene kits where they’re most needed,” added Bishop Charles H. Ellis, III. “It’s gratifying to know that our efforts to help stop Ebola will make a meaningful impact in communities that are still vulnerable to the disease.” From the outset, UNICEF has been on the frontlines in Ebola-affected countries in West Africa, in the heart of the most vulnerable communities. It is the lead organization conducting lifesaving awareness campaigns and is providing massive quantities of medical supplies, tents, hygiene kits and protective equipment in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. UNICEF is also caring for children affected by Ebola in treatment facilities and in their communities. Key officials from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF first met with members of the Faith-Based Leadership Consortium in December to outline a pathway for an ongoing partnership to assist children and families in Africa. It was the first meeting of many the U.S. Fund intends to convene with African American organizations and groups as it works to develop long-term relationships with them. ■

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The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is proud to announce a new partnership to combat Ebola with a consortium of noted faithbased leaders who head up some of the largest African American churches and religious organizations in the country. The joint initiative, I AM #STOPPINGEBOLA, will launch during Black History Month and aims to raise funds in support of UNICEF’s work to halt the spread of Ebola in Liberia, one of the West African countries hardest hit by the virus. “We are thrilled to join forces with the heads of African American religious groups in the fight against Ebola. These leaders have stepped up to the plate at just the right time. Global attention on the crisis is fading, but children and their families in West Africa still need our support,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Every donation, no matter the size, helps save lives. We are grateful to everyone who donates and shares the message that with enough resources, Ebola can be stopped,” added Edward G. Lloyd, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. From February 1, 2015 through the end of the month, faith leaders representing churches with more than 11 million members will encourage their congregations to donate toward the purchase of hygiene kits critical to protecting children and families from Ebola. Each hygiene kit costs $43 and contains soap, chlorine, gloves, buckets and instructions for usage, among other much-


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POOR ELIMINATION AFFECTS THE HAIR & SCALP ot an attractive subject, yet millions of Americans are victims of poor elimination and constipation. Constipation is defined as the difficulty in passing stools, incomplete of infrequent passage of hard stools. Related factors include intestinal obstruction, or diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is the inflammation and penetration of fecal matter through the thin-walled diverticula, causing an abscess formation in the tissues surrounding the colon. Also, tumors, inadequate water intake, not enough fiber, little or no exercise, emotional stress, changes in your daily routine that does not allow time for elimination. metabolic problems, poor dietary habits, medications, neuromusculoskeletal impairment, diagnostic procedures, pregnancy, and the list goes on. Abdominal distension, rectal pressure, headaches, abdominal pain and appetite impairment are common characteristics of constipation. You may have tried herbs, enemas, laxatives, suppositories, colonics or home remedies with limited success. You should see your medical doctor to determine if you may have a health condition which needs medical attention. Many hair care professionals are affected with poor elimination because of long work schedules, overbooking appointments, stress, poor eating habits, and several other reasons. You may have wondered why your hair does not grow at the same rate it did years ago, and you may observe pimples or scalp sores occasionally on your scalp. These are both signs of an unhealthy scalp. Constipation does affect your hair and scalp. Constipation causes a diminishing of the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching your scalp tissue. Because your skin and hair are extremities of your body, they are the first to suffer. Constipation also increases the tendency to scaly scalp disorders, and in extreme cases scalp infections. You should seek the expertise of a board certified trichologist for an accurate analysis and use Dr. Amerson's Therapeutic Essentials, LLC. There are six types of scaly scalp disorders, and many consumers may have two or more types at the same time. In addition, constipation contributes to pimples on your skin, as well as a greater vulnerability to skin infections. Nutritionists and Dieticians recommend to most consumers to eat foods high in fiber, and roughage. This includes breads that contain whole wheat and bran. Avoid refined foods. If you must have sugar, use natural brown, unrefined sugar, or check at your local health food store for a recommendation. Eat plenty of fruits, particularly prunes, and prune juice. Vegetables, whole-wheat and bran cereals are also good sources. Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily, even if you are not troubled by constipation, water is very helpful in flushing out some of the toxins in your body. Iron can sometimes contribute to constipation, but rarely if it is taken in natural foods. Unre-

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fined, natural foods contain sufficient roughage to counteract iron-induced constipation. To conclude, although constipation affects many consumers, it has many related factors. Many hair care professionals may have never considered that their clients poor elimimation conditions may contribute to scalp infections. Therefore, the importance of Consulting with a board certified trichologist should become routine. For additional questions or an appointment, contact Dr. Linda Amerson 817 265-8854 www.hairandscalpessentials.com â–

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By Dr Linda Amerson


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eartening, encouraging, and uplifting, is how I describe Lamecia Smith who is in the business of making people feel better about themselves. “It comes natural for me to help others,” says Smith, owner of the 3-year old Zha’Zar Hair Loss Studio in Atlanta, Georgia. “I was raised that way, so I do it from the heart, not for the money or the fame.” A trained medical assistant, certified nursing assistant, licensed hair stylist, and non-surgical hair loss replacement specialist, Smith owned and operated a beauty salon for numerous years. In the midst of styling hair and getting to know her customers, she recognized that a large majority of her business came from customers who were experiencing hair loss due to health issues. With a genuine concern, this initiated her interest in researching cancer, alopecia, thyroids, diabetes, lupus, and other medical conditions as they pertain to balding. In an effort to give back, Smith revamped her mission to include both physical appearance and emotional healing. Henceforth, she became a certified facilitator of the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good Feel Better” program. Smith was trained and certified by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Professional Beauty Association, and works to bring self-confidence back to individuals who experience loss of hair while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other conditions. Look Good Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects they inherit from cancer treatment. The program is for women who are either going through chemotherapy or radiation, recovering from cancer, or in cancer remission. Smith’s certified non-surgical hair loss center works with men, women and children with physical appearance concerns as a result of chemotherapy, alopecia, lupus, thyroid disease and medical hair loss traction. She helps her patients regain inner peace by making them look and feel better about themselves. “It’s a really vulnerable time for them,” states Smith. “I teach them how to apply make-up and wear hairstyles to enhance what they have. You don’t feel pretty when you’re losing your eyebrows, your skin is different, and you have no eyelashes. So that’s where I come in, teaching them the different physical techniques and tricks to make them look better and feel better about their appearance.” Local churches donate hair-wraps and other items to help. Through Smith’s establishment, patients can order custom-made wigs to enhance their outer beauty which provides more self-confidence as they go through the trials, tribulations, and emotional distraught of having cancer.”

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The Look Good Feel Better group programs are open to all women with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other forms of treatment. In the United States alone, more than 900,000 women have participated in the program, which now offers 15,400 group workshops nationwide in more than 2,500 locations. Smith’s next project is to open the “Atlanta Hair Loss Solutions” facility in Georgia, and eventually open multiple locations across the nation. “When you help others,” says Smith, “you help to empower them. Whatever you are facing or going through, face it head on. You can get through it. Don’t allow anyone else to tear you down. Embrace life, and continue to pray on everything. Smile, thank God and continue to move forward.” If you need Smith to recondition your selfconfidence, please contact her at www.Zhazar.com. ■

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PARI ALLEN

Difference Maker

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like to call myself a Difference Maker, because I work to make a physical and financial difference in the lives of everyone I meet. As a country we are in the midst of an epidemic; Diabetes, High Cholesterol and Obesity are raging out of control, even in our children. Doctors are providing more and more medications that have more and more harmful side effects. I meet people every day that feel trapped and hopeless. Prime is defined using words like: significance, relevance, importance. What does the word Prime mean to you? For a person that does little to no activity, prime could be walking 15 minutes on the Treadmill. For the avid fitness person, prime could be running a 3 min mile. Using clinically proven, medically endorsed, all natural products, I am able to help people achieve their Prime! What are these products? Unicity Balance, Unicity Complete , Unicity Matcha and Unicity Cleanse, are the foundation upon which all can achieve their Prime; they are known as the Core Pack. Unicity Balance does exactly that, it balances your Glucose, lowers your bad AND raises your good Cholesterol, as well as helps you lose fat. Do you skip breakfast or have something unhealthy for breakfast? Unicity Complete is a delicious meal replacement that is packed with 20 grams of protein, per serving. Do you find yourself drinking lots of coffee or "energy" drinks, or eating sugary snacks throughout the day trying Pari Allen to stay awake? Unicity Matcha is an allnatural energy solution with NO caffeine and only 1 gram of sugar; it's tasty too! Finally, Unicity Cleanse is a MUST for everyone! It is a gentle effective 30 day Cleanse, that helps rid your body of parasites and harmful toxins....you are literally full of mess! No matter your age, it is never too late to achieve your Prime. Make an investment in YOU! Through consistent use of our Core Pack, I have seen people reduce and or eliminate prescription medications! Take control of your health. I would love to help you DEFINE YOUR PRIME!! ■

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Trying to break through the threshold to get into the network of doctors, and getting onboard with the doctors’ offices, was a huge challenge for Smith. However, the patients are always open to learning and welcoming what she has to offer. Smith volunteers to help children and worked with the Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, referring parents to organizations that offer free wigs for kids, children’s programs, and other things that children need. “I live for my kids, Zhane 14 and Zarea 7,” states Smith. “They inspire me and they give me the will to want to continue…to keep going…to strive to be better… to accomplish my goals. I love seeing the faces on the kids, and on the adults. It’s all about giving back to make someone else’s life feel more enhanced.” The American Cancer Society determines who goes through the Look Good Feel Better program, and must pre-approve each patient wishing to attend the classes. Zha’zar does not supply medications or cosmetics. However, each participant in the program receives a special cosmetic gift bag with products donated by sponsors like Elizabeth Arden, Mary Kay, Aveeno, Lancome’, IT Cosmetics, Biore, and others. The cosmetics donated are specifically American Cancer Society approved items that can be used by cancer patients.


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By Camela L. Douglass, M.S. ED.

I want to change but change doesn’t always come quick. I wish I could take my pick at what I can change today and make it stick; excerpt from my poem “I Want to Change.” I have battled with this concept of change throughout my life’s journey of being healthy and fit.

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lthough I have been a fitness instructor and personal trainer for 15 years, I too have struggled with maintaining weight loss through proper eating and exercise. Weighing over 225 lbs., I finally had to face reality and make a decision to incorporate the necessary lifestyle changes to become healthy. Between getting married and divorced, having three children, postgraduate studies, and starting a new business, my biggest challenge was choosing the right method to achieve this goal and be consistent. By the grace of God, willpower, great workout programs, and a good support system, I am finally able to maintain my 60lbs. weight loss. The truth is, there is no quick fix to losing weight and becoming fit. Fad diets and fitness fads have kept Americans confused and defeated for years. If losing 10lbs. in 3 days was that easy, everybody would be doing it. Not to mention, trying to keep that same 10 lbs. off. Despite the $30 billion spent on weight loss programs and products, a one-size fits all method does not exist. Research has proven, and I have personally experienced that, in order to achieve the best quality of

life, an individual must adopt an effective eating plan and exercise program that works for them. There is no surgery, pill, exercise program, or diet that will work for you unless you work it. Benjamin Franklin said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” Thus the notion, if you want success, you have to put the work in and shed some blood, sweat, and tears. As an instructor for Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can Program, we taught people the responsibility of self-determination. No individual can experience true change unless they are willing to be responsible for how that change takes place. Talk shows, magazine stands, and gyms all over America are filled with success stories of people who achieved weight loss because they accepted responsibility and worked their individual program. The magic wand of change starts with your own finger. Touch your head and tell yourself, “my change starts here.” Then, decide what change is necessary in order to achieve the best quality of life for you. After that, determine the realistic method that you need to take to make it happen. Lastly, make it happen!!! ■

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Camela L. Douglass M.S. ED. is the owner and operator of Mo2V8U! Enterprises, LLC. DBA, Mo Better Me in Dayton, OH. She motivates, inspires, and coaches her clients to make lifestyle changes that will increase their quality of life.


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By Keith George President & CEO, The Consilium Group

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n the previous issue, we discussed how business strategists, like those found at The Consilium Group Inc., helped a small startup business become profitable and expand within a year of opening its doors. Now, let’s talk about how your business can appear to be healthy, but can be inches away from failure. You might be thinking, “I don’t believe you,” or “this isn’t possible.” These positions may appear to be valid…until you find that your business is in jeopardy. At this point, if your business can be saved, it may cost you more than if you had been proactive during the startup phase. Here are some troubling and startling statistics. According to Forbes Magazine, 80% of businesses that start today will fail within 18 months. Three of the most common reasons for business failure are: a poor business plan or the absence of a business plan, poor management decisions, and the lack of cash flow. We will discuss each of these extensively over the next three issues. First, let’s look at business plans. A business plan is critical to your business’ success! It isn’t just a nice to have document, nor is it a document that you develop once, to last forever. It is a living, breathing document that changes as business conditions, economic conditions, and your market change. As a general rule, business plans should be reviewed monthly, and revised at least every six months. However, business plans must be revised annually for them to remain relevant. Business plans are important because

they are not only used for guiding your company strategically, but for securing financing as well. Unfortunately, most business plans are ineffective, even when the writer follows guidance provided by wellknown government and non-profit business organizations. Other sources of poor business plans are low cost templates that promise results. Unless you have extensive experience in developing business plans, or a formal business

education, these templates produce business plans that are almost guaranteed to fail. To provide perspective, a Vice President of Lending for a community bank in the Washington, DC area declares, “Over 80% of the business plans we receive for financing are unacceptable and become the main reason the business loan is not granted.” A bank officer from a regional bank states, “Over three-quarters of the business plans we receive don’t tell us what we need to know about the business. The loan requester completes a template that is useless for us to decide if the business is a good investment for our bank.” There are two valuable ad-

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ages concerning business plans: “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and “You get what you pay for.” The Consilium Group Inc. develops business plans that include indepth, comprehensive, competitive analysis that includes accurate predictions of the actions of your competitors, and the recommended counter-actions that will best position your company to maximize its revenues. They also include accurate revenue projections that take into account the most probable market conditions that will occur in the future; and, provide the information that banks and financiers are looking for so the conversation can shift to your business, and the terms of the loan itself. Partners of The Consilium Group, together, have over eighty years of strategy and analytics development experience. Their strategies and analytics have brought success to businesses, as well as federal government agencies. They can increase your current plan’s predictive capabilities, as well as ensure that your business plan has the information that banks need for favorable consideration. To quote one business owner located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Consilium Group is “wonderful to work with, and an asset to getting established in business.” Scheduling an initial consultation is free and may provide significant benefits to your business. Give The Consilium Group a call and find out for yourself. ■

JAN / FEB 2015


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Top 10

Don Barden’s Financial Tips for 2015

Barden Reveals Tips to Achieve New Year’s Financial Resolutions. Resolutions for the New Year offer hope for new beginnings and opportunities. According to Forbes, New Year’s resolutions are made by 40% of Americans and less than 10% achieve their goals. In order to make selfimprovement possible, economist and CEO of DDS Financial Don Barden created the Top 10 Financial Tips for 2015.

1. Opt for the advice that is applicable to you. Don’t follow every piece of financial advise you hear on the radio or television. Advisors may sound confident and have great intentions, but there is a good chance their advice is not meant for you. Get guidance from someone who is actually speaking to you and is fully aware of your current situation and financial goals. 2. Focus on income first. This is simple. How do you solve money problems? Make more money. 3. Manage your expenses, but do not obsess over them. Too many people are OCD on expenses and calculate every single expenditure. Sadly, they miss out on many of life’s opportunities. Several talking heads like to penny pinch. That’s fine but consider on what you are missing if you cut too many corners? 4. Discover your purpose. Find what you love and what you’re good at. Then decide how you can make a living doing it. Commit to working with a mentor who can help you discover your purpose and gifts. Then use them. Not only will you be happier, the impact you will have on others is priceless.

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5. Beware of this CPA. Don’t listen to a CPA who 1) Makes less money than

you do, or 2) focuses on expense and tax savings before they focus on revenue (see #2). A lot of people “outgrow” their accountants – that’s fine – they know it too. It’s up to you to take action and align yourself with someone who is trying to help you grow. 6. There’s no business like your business. If you own a small business, don’t contribute to your own 401(k) but instead invest in your business first. If you have employees, contribute to their 401(k) and help them, just not yourself. You are a better investment than Wall Street. 7. Relax. Don’t worry about variables outside your control. The market will continually shift no matter how financially savvy an individual is. Turn off the news from time-to-time and focus on what’s important. Family first, everything else second. 8. Take control by making time. Take control of your finances by making time to review your budgets everyday. Start with a daily review of your bank accounts and expenses. Take action everyday. This will allow you to achieve the clarity you need to make purposeful decisions. “Control” is where you find financial freedom. 9. Take Breaks. Go on vacation and

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relax. Life is too short for you to miss out on great experiences. Taking breaks allows you to rejuvenate your mind for more productivity in the future. 10. Give it away. Set a goal for financial giving and time allocated toward mentoring others. It may begin small, but in the end, it is all you will remember. About Don Barden Don Barden is a classically trained economist who earned his M.B.A. in Global Technology Management and International Business with an undergraduate B.B.A. in Economics and Finance. He is currently completing doctoral studies with a Ph.D. in Finance. Barden's work challenges and motivates people to think deep about their beliefs, and reveals a plan to consistently achieve maximum communication and growth as an out of ordinary leader. Barden's "unfair advantage" theories are revolutionary in today's economy as he leads you on a journey that exposes the myth of modern sales and communication techniques. As a corporate executive and leader, Don has personally averaged over $1 billion in annual sales. He is highly praised for his ability to see "three sides to every coin. ■ JAN / FEB 2015


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uby Johnson is one of seven siblings born in Alexandria, Louisiana. She has always viewed education as her best opportunity to make something of her life. Consequently, she obtained both her bachelors and masters degree in computer science from Grambling State University and Stevens Institute of Technology, respectively. This education afforded her the opportunity to start the computer consulting firm, Gemstone Computer Resources, Inc., in New Jersey, and now in the metro Atlanta area for the last 19 years. She has secured consulting opportunities in many of the Fortune 500 telecommunications companies. In addition, she spent some time in Dusseldorf, Germany as the Lead QA Strategist for EPLUS/Excelecom. Currently, Ruby is the Quality Assurance Manager for Comet Global Consulting, an international consulting firm, and is providing consultation for Verizon Wireless with their Customer Retention project. But, her involvement in business does not end there. She also procures properties, renovates, sells and/or leases them to persons via her Second Chance Program. The Second Chance Program gives those who have credit challenges, in particular, and those who have had foreclosures, an opportunity to not only secure a place to live, but to also rebuild their credit. This is crucial given the crash of the Metro Atlanta Housing Market. Having observed the abandoned and neglected areas of Atlanta, she plans to create affordable housing by building up Atlanta, one house at a time. Ruby is the mother of an 18 year old who is active in the entertainment world here in Atlanta. To give her daughter the best chance of success in the music industry, she has joined forces with Conglomernation ENT, Greyology Management, and several others, to form Team Kalliope. Although Ruby attended Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California for a short time, she felt the need to further her education to optimally manage her daughter's music and acting career. So, she is currently pursuing a Master's certificate in artist management at Berklee College of Music. She hopes to devote the majority of her time to her current project which involves the release of Kalliope Ray's new EP, scheduled for the summer of 2015. It is not just all business for Ruby. Her motto is: “work hard, play harder.” She also enjoys traveling, sports, spending time with family, watching movies and the simple, everyday things in life. ■


NEWSONE NOW HOST ROLAND MARTIN SIGNS

NEW RADIO SYNDICATION DEAL TO LAUNCH "THE ROLAND MARTIN SHOW" The Roland Martin Show began broadcasting Monday, January 19, on Empowerment Radio Network, 10a.m. - 1p.m. EST in 20 Markets

By The Front Page Firm

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lways relevant, cast television, NewsOne Now's perinsightful and proformance among Black viewers in the vocative, Awardaforementioned demos was second only winning journalist to NBC's Today. and host of News In fact, December 2014 was the proOne Now Roland gram's best month ever, since premiering Martin is announcin November 4, 2013, among Total ing a new partnerViewers 2+, Households, Persons 25-54, ship between his media company Nu Women 25-54, Adults 18-49 and Vision Media and Empowerment Radio Women 18-49. ROLAND MARTIN Network to launch a new syndicated Martin is thrilled to launch the new daily radio show. Covering pop-culture, show and excited to offer another platentertainment, breaking news and political topics of the day, form for his audience to remain informed about the issues af"The Roland Martin Show" will premiere on Monday, January fecting our community, as well as, a forum to weigh in on the 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET in 20 markets across the nation. most buzzed-about stories of the day from the headlines and "The Empowerment Radio Network is excited to add Rosocial media. As the host and writer for the radio show, Martin land Martin to its midday line up Monday through Friday from continues to convey relevant information with his quick wit 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET,"says David Anderson, Founder of Emdelivery. powerment Radio Network. "Roland Martin is the most signifi"Radio is a tremendously powerful medium. It allows me cant voice in America for Black issues and he will now be disto get up close and personal with the audience, and to hear what tributed on the only 100% wholly-owned black talk radio netis happening on the ground around the country," says Martin. "I work in America... Empowerment Radio Network." am excited to own my show, and to grow it in partnership with The new syndication deal represents both a day part change David. It's time to #bringthefunk!" â– and expansion for Martin on the radio platform, while it comes on the heels of a recent announcement by TV One that Martin's For a list of markets and stations where you can tune-in to The NewsOne Now - the first morning news program in history to Roland Martin Show, visit focus on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports, [www.empowermentradionetwork.com]. and culture from an explicitly African American perspective has finished as the number one cable news show in 2014 in its time slot among all African American viewer. Including broad-

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Mershele Brown By: Alisha Davenport In 2007 Mershele Brown emerged on the scene with a new dynamic talk show that focused on believers sharing their testimonies from trial to triumph. The Antidote talk show is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is streamed live all over the world. The show has celebrated over 250 episodes in its seven years, and is a positive way for real people with real issues to come forward and share their testimonies without judgment or backlash. It gives believers the opportunity to prove to the audience that trying God works! I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ms. Brown to catch up on how things have been going over the last seven years. We discussed her show, how it started, and what is next.

To whom much is given… When I spoke with Mershele she had just wrapped up teaching a class at a popular cosmetology school and was preparing to go to her second love, the hair salon. Where do you find the time to work and do the show? It’s a walk of faith. “Those to whom much is given, much is required.” What do you mean? God has blessed me with talents and I am required to use those talents to uplift the Kingdom. It is not a job, it’s a life. I love every minute of it and while it sometimes comes with frustration, I appreciate where God has taken me. It is my responsibility to use those gifts for His glory. In my lifetime, I have overcome drug addiction, abuse, near death experiences, and personal and professional loss. I know that I owe my life and everything in it to God, so it is my pleasure to work for Him!

Dollar, and he was talking about his journey with cancer, and he kept yelling on that screen that ‘God is the Antidote’. It was such a powerful word, and it encouraged me, so it became the name of the show; The Antidote Show.

I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord…

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So what’s next? Well, The Antidote belongs to the Lord, so we are always willing and ready to move in the direction that he says move. We are currently looking toward syndication, radio, books and movies; with God all things are possible. We are helping heal communities by taking the show to churches, groups, and community centers, trusting and believing that God can heal the land. People are out there hurting. Being a Philanthropist, giving back, showing the world the God in me is bigMERSHELE BROWN ger than the world in me . If we can just I will trust in the Lord… reach one person, that one person can cause a chain reaction that can move mountains. It is my prayer Take me back to the beginning, how did the show begin? that maybe one of these shows will encourage someone to keep In 2007 I was diagnosed with cancer and went through a series going. of operations. It was a very difficult time for me, and I must have gone through every emotion known to man; I mean anger, fear, frustration, uncertainty, and discouragement. You name it, Last words… I felt it. But one day, I decided that I can stay here, in this place God Said I am come that you might have life and have it abunof pity and defeat, or I can get in Gods face and claim my vicdantly. John 10:10. I encourage the readers to take time and tory. That is what I did, I chose God. build a personal relationship with the Lord. As long as you I stayed in His face all day every day. Not only was I healed, have God, you have the Antidote! but during that time God spoke to me. He said “Mershele, go back to your first love.” When I thought about that, I rememYou can find The Antidote on line at TheAntidoteshow.com, on bered back to Junior Achievement and working on the Radio social media at facebook/@mershelebrown ~tweet/ and how much I loved it. So I said, “okay God, I will walk theantidoteshow or call the office at 678-478-9487. Want to where you say walk and do what you say do.” So I asked, but watch a taping? Catch the “Praise and Purpose” events at what do I call it, and didn’t think any more about it. The next Smyrna Community Center in 2015. O be announced morning I go up to do my normal routine and I turned on the TV to listen to the word from a Pastor by the name of Creflo


Photos By Joe Carter and Rodney Adams

23rd Annual Trumpet Awards Gives Accolades to Remarkable Honorees for Their Contributions to the Advancement of African American Achievements Honorees are humble as they agree they owe their success to many Black Americans who paved the way. Laila Ali and Dolvett Quince, awards show hosts; Jamie Foxx with Quvenzhané Wallis; The Isley Brothers; Janelle Monáe, baseball’s hero Lou Brock, Xernona Clayton and others shine on the Trumpet Awards stage.

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he Trumpet Awards Foundation recently closed out the 23rd Annual Trumpet Awards where an international cast of who’s who in the areas of religion, politics, public service, law, entrepreneurialism, and entertainment turned out to witness the Awards Show and the celebration of African American achievers. The festivities took place at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, January 24, 2015. The new RED CARPET reached out to welcome celebrities, VIP guests, honorees, 200 plus media sources, and participants who and were seen walking the Carpet before the festivities got started. Congressman/Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Barbara King, Power Series Actress Naturi Naughton, HWOA Cynthia Bailey, Preachers of LA stars Bishop and Mrs. Ron Gibson, American Idol Ruben Studdard, Comedian Jonathan Slocumb, and many more. The 23rd Annual Trumpet Awards was hosted by Laila Ali, four-time Boxing World Champion, award-winning TV host, fitness & wellness expert, beauty brand ambassador, and author; and Dolvett Quince, known for his successes with NBC’s “The Biggest Loser;” he is a celebrity trainer, a best-selling author, and a popular television personality. Xernona Clayton, Chair, President, and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, and Creator and Executive Producer of the Trumpet Awards, and an international celebrity in her own right, presented the “Trumpet Award” to honorees that included Lou Brock, Baseball Legend; Arnold W. Donald, CEO & President of Carnival Corporation & PLC; Jamie Foxx, Award-Winning Actor; Tommy Hilfiger, Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger; Guy Vickers, Presi-

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Jamie Foxx and Cathy Hughes

Laila Ali

Cynthia Bailey

Ted Lang

Janelle Monae

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Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Young


Lou Gossett, Jr.

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dent of PVH Foundation and Senior Vice President, Global Community Relations, The Isley Brothers, Recording Artists; Janelle Monáe, Singer/ Songwriter/Producer/Model; Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President/Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine; and Franklyn R. Wilson, CMG, Chairman of Sunshine Holding, Ltd, Bahamas. Ms. Clayton says that “her favorite moment at the Trumpet Awards is when the curtains open and the trumpet plays because this is the time when more information comes to light telling the world about the many accomplishments of some of the most remarkable African Americans whom I know.” Presenters who handed out the coveted Trumpet Award included Quvenzhané Wallis, Roland Martin, Dr. Rachel Ross, Lou Gossett, Jr, Cathy Hughes, Ted Lange, Harry E. Johnson, Sr., Egypt Sherrod, Jimmy Jam

Tyler Lepley and Terry Lewis. Performers who provided the entertainment included awardwinning recording artists Avery Sunshine, Dorinda Clark-Cole, the St. Augustine School Choir, Leela James, Johnny Gill, soul/funk music sounds of The Bar-Kays, Con-Funk-Shun, Brick, and the Dazz Band, recording artists from the 70’s and more. Other events held during the weekend included the Race Relations Symposium, entitled “The Continuing Quest for Equality, which was held on Friday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel downtown Atlanta. This timely discussion was moderated by Danny J. Bakewell, Sr, Los Angeles civil rights activist and entrepreneur. Panelists included Georgia State Representative Tyrone Brooks, President of the Georgia Association of Elected Officials, Janice Mathis, Esq, representing PUSH and Michael P. McMillian, CEO of the Ur-

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Chante Moore ban League of Metropolitan Saint Louis. Sponsors for this event included Ellen Torbert with Southwest Airlines, Myra Reeves with Home Depot, and Moanica Caston with Georgia Power who took part in the discussion. AIB-TV (Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters) will broadcast this event during the coming months. The Soulful Ending was packed with honorees, presenters, sponsors and celebrities who came out to enjoy the entertainment of the soul/funk music sounds of The Bar-Kays who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary in the music industry. TV-One will broadcast The Trumpet Awards show on Saturday, February 21, 2015 and other syndicated television broadcasts will be announced on other television networks. Please watch your television program listings for final air dates. ■

JAN / FEB 2015


Ernie Isley, Johnny Gill and Ron Isley

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Roland Martin interviews The Honorable Andrew Young


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JAN JAN // FEB FEB 2015 2015


COCA-COLA AND STEVE HARVEY PARTNER TO MOTIVATE MOMS AND TEENS THROUGH THE NEW COCA-COLA PAY IT FORWARD ACADEMY Media Personality and Comedic Legend Teams Up with Coca-Cola to Open More Possibilities with the 2015 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Program By BLACK PR WIRE

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for moms focusing on areas including college financial preparation, self-empowerment and study skill support for their teens. “Since 2012, the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program has offered African American teens and their moms valuable resources to help them pursue their personal and educational aspirations,” said Lauventria Robinson, Vice President, Multicultural Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. “We’ve partnered with Steve Harvey again because his strong commitment to mentoring and education continues to be an inspiration.” Now through March 31, parents, relatives, friends and mentors may nominate an aspiring teen for the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program by visiting www.coke.com/payitforward. The program is open to high school students, grades 9-12 (nominees must be 13 by May 1, 2015), and the moms/ guardians who love and support their academic and community endeavors. Nominators must be 13 years of age or older. Eligible high school teens may also nominate themselves. Winners will be selected and contacted near the end of May. Each winning student will receive a $5,000 scholarship to assist with his/ her pursuit of higher education. In addition, each winning teen will receive a trip from their hometown for them and their mom/legal guardian to attend the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy July 24-26 in Atlanta, GA. Winners will be required to arrive on July 23, 2015 in order to participate in orientation activities prior to the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy. ■

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he Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program returns with a stronger focus on African American moms and their impact on the academic success of their teens. Building on the initiative’s accomplishments, the 2015 program will offer up to 20 winners each a $5,000 scholarship and an invitation to the all-new Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy. Aligning with his commitment to teen mentoring, Steve Harvey returns as the program’s celebrity ambassador. He will help launch and co-host the 2015 Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy, a three-day mentoring and education preparation experience for the winners and their moms/legal guardians. The Academy will take place in Atlanta, July 24 – 26. “Having a mentor as a young man played a pivotal part in my success,” said Harvey. “In the African American community, moms take on the same role. Their involvement has a crucial impact on the development of their teenagers. Through the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy, we can influence the lives of some truly deserving teens, while supporting and empowering their mothers.” The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward Academy is designed to share valuable resources to help empower moms as they prepare their teens for higher education. During the Academy, the winners will be exposed to custom experiences that will help build their confidence to pursue academic success. The CocaCola Pay It Forward Academy will engage them on relevant topics like personal branding, preparing for higher education and selecting a career path. Additionally, there will be a track


Urban League of Greater Atlanta

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53 Annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner Celebrating Women of Empowerment Written by Tina Williams

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oni Braxton and a plethora of other phenomenal women were honored at the 53rd Annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner on behalf of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta (ULGA). The dinner was held on December 6, 2014 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. An astounding crowd of approximately 700 were in attendance including; Braxton’s mother, Evelyn, and her sisters Tamar, Towanda, and Trina. The Braxton family and other siblings were also among the attendees supporting Toni Braxton, the recipient of the Urban League’s Women of Empowerment Award, for her exceptional humanitarian efforts within the community, and her fierce commitment as a supporter and advocate for the American Heart Association and Autism Speaks. The six-time Grammy award-winning entertainer, revealed family health struggles such as her diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in the year 2010. SLE is a life threatening autoimmune disease that attacks healthy tissues such as: skin, kidney, brain and other organs. Against all odds, Toni’s audacious and courageous attitude has given her the ability to persevere despite obstacles that could have hindered her from living her best life. Toni Braxton’s youngest child, Diezel, faces daily challenges as a result of being diagnosed with Autism. Autism is known as a complex mental developmental disorder that appears in early childhood, and is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Toni Braxton often speaks about the support system of her family’s unconditional love and commitment to ensure that she and her son live a healthy and balanced life.

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Greater Atlanta President Alicia Philipp - Community Philanthropist, and Corporate Manager; Adrienne Green - Young Professionals Volunteer. Nancy Flake Johnson, President & CEO remarked, “These women accept nothing less than excellence in their professional careers, but they believe equally strongly in the importance of helping others. They have lent their time and talent to causes that affect the physical, financial and mental health of our communities. They have embraced the responsibility of empowering others, and in so doing, they have become quintessential women of empowerment.” About the Urban League of Greater Atlanta (ULGA) “Founded in 1920, The Urban League of Greater Atlanta is a civil rights organization dedicated to economic and civic empowerment. For 94 years, the mission of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta has been to empower communities and change lives by enabling African Americans and others to achieve their highest human potential and secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. The Urban League of Greater Atlanta is one of 97 affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Nancy Flake Johnson is president & CEO.” ■

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Toni Braxton’s riveting acceptance speech commenced with gratitude and honor to be chosen as a recipient for such an outstanding award on behalf of (ULGA). Toni says she has endured, survived, and surpassed an abundance of obstacles, yet still she could not have achieved without the love and continuous support of her family, fans and supporters. Toni acknowledged her mother, Evelyn, with special thanks for empowering and inspiring her life. After the acceptance speech Ms. Braxton was accessible to the invited guests for photos and autographs. The League Auxiliary Volunteers escorted women of Empowerment Honorees on stage. Before the acceptance speech of each honoree a video snippet appeared on the projection monitors as an introduction to their humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors. The Honorees were elated, and their emotions were evident: poised, charismatic, and obviously dedicated to building a legacy for future generations. Mr. Demarco Morgan, News Anchor, for WXIA TV/11ALIVE, presided as The Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Master of Ceremonies. The musical interlude was represented by The Ike Harris Group, featuring renowned saxophonist, Mike Phillips. Other honorees included: WSBTV journalist Jocelyn Dorsey - Community Advocate; retired librarian and community volunteer Victoria Williams Jenkins - Guild Volunteer; Atlanta Tribune publisher Pat Lottier –Entrepreneurship; Atlanta Beltline Inc. Vice President and General Counsel Patrise Perkins-Hooker - Economic and Civic Development; Community Foundation for


JACQUÉ JOHNSON Founder & CEO Profile Africa Worldwide Enterprises®

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lobal Innovative Leader, International Political Advisor, Master Business Strategist, Commentator, Brand & Communications Expert, Success Architect. These descriptors only touch the surface of a befitting profile for Jacque Johnson. Possessing a global mindset since she was a child with dreams of traveling to see the world, Johnson has mastered her multifaceted skills in many arenas, spanning global business development, public relations, brand communications, governmental and diplomatic relations, strategic alliance partnerships, economic development, international trade and commerce among others. The wealth of Johnson’s international experience has been channeled into her latest venture: Profile Africa Worldwide Enterprise®, a Competitive Intelligence, Brand, PR, & Strategic Communications AgencyTM. This global boutique is established to attract and facilitate both local and international trade and investment partnerships and is strategically positioned to galvanize global business alliances and provide support services to governments, corporations, investors, entrepreneurs, and non-governmental, faith and value-based organizations involving innovative business and market-positioning strategies critical to participation in the new global economy. Through Profile Africa®, Johnson brings a fresh awareness and an informative outlook on the continent of Africa, both economically and culturally, showcasing the truthful revelation that indeed Africa has Risen and is a civilized and progressive society. She seeks to change the narrative on Africa by giving a more accurate picture of Africa worldwide and has joined forces with like-minded global leaders of the African Agenda who share intentions to unleash Africa’s vast potential through win-win trade and

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inv es tme n t opportunities. Johnson’s journey to Africa began with a chance meeting with (Chief) Inkosi Zebusi Mlaba, a S o u t h African provincial government official, while he was on a visit to Atlanta in 2004. He stirred Jacque’s interest in South Africa and how she could add value to their economic transformation. Johnson later was extended a diplomatic invitation in 2005 to meet key government officials and business leaders in order to become exposed to South Africa’s growth opportunities and development needs. She returned to South Africa in 2006 to initiate people-to-people diplomacy and business development projects. From 2007 onward, Jacque has spent much of her time in South Africa and interfacing with other leading African countries to obtain a better understanding of Africa’s business climate and culture from an insider’s point of view. While on her initial visits, Johnson used her networking skills to get around South Africa, popping up at every major social, political and cultural event held in the country. Immersing herself in the culture, she spent years being mentored by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini’s wife Queen Mantfombi Dlamini-Zulu in order to understand the role culture plays in society and business. Originally, to get to know ordinary people, she rode around on minibus taxis, spent time in townships and rural areas where she lived as the peo-

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publications and mentors young entrepreneurs through her John Maxwell -based leadership training and development program Winning By Leading™. In 2008, she was the South Africa National Women’s Day keynote speaker for KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in Durban, South Africa. Johnson’s interest regarding HIV/ AIDS in the African-American community steered her to become involved as an associate producer, together with former CNN executive producer Bailey Barash, of a 90-minute documentary entitled The AIDS Chronicles - Here to Represent, which captured the African-American plight of HIV/AIDS in very real, personal and balanced story. The AIDS Chronicles has been shown at many film festivals and to receptive audiences with strong positive feedback regarding its effectiveness to motivate people to get tested, know their status and protect themselves. In addition, Johnson is the executive producer and radio personality of A Matter of Perspective™, a one-hour radio talk show that aired in Atlanta on 860 AM and around the world via streaming radio. The talk show provides a venue to discuss national and global issues. Prior to going to South Africa, Johnson had been a regular favorite fillin co-host of the popular Atlanta three-hour Larry Young Morning Show with Atlanta radio veteran Larry Young, as well as a producer of In His Presence radio show with Heidi B. Fuller. Johnson will soon re-launch her own radio show around the world in 2015 and TV segments that will focus on her passion for Africa involving insightful interviews of top global and Pan-African leaders on relevant,

informative, inspirational and controversial issues around business, politics, entertainment and fashion, arts and culture, in hopes of raising awareness. Using her international diplomatic relations, Johnson has led many foreign government and business delegations between Africa and the United States introducing them to new audiences and solidifying US-Africa business opportunities. One of her most meaningful experiences was leading a delegation of senior government officials and top business leaders from South Africa to Washington, DC for the historic inaugurations of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Johnson an ordained minister since 2002 has impacted thousands through her ministry as a psalmist and anointed prophetic teacher of the Gospel. The success of her ministry is marked by the release of favor, spiritual transformation and financial breakthroughs. Johnson continues to keep a robust travel schedule between Africa and the United States expanding US-Africa business opportunities, building ministry relationships and socio-economic bridges and meeting the needs of underserved communities. She is excited about sharing her journey and Africa insights with our readers and invites everyone to come along. Jacque’s Personal Motto: “What I make happen for others … GOD makes happen for Me! To find out more about Doing Business in Africa visit www.profileafrica.org, email j.johnson@profileafrica.org or Facebook@jacquejohnson

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ple did by bathing out of buckets, using o u t s i d e t o i l e t s a n d drawing water from the river with women who walked miles with heavy water containers on their heads. Jacque wanted to understand some of the everyday challenges many faced in South Africa. She also attended cultural events like the Zulu Reed Dance (above) and national events such as the Opening of National and Provincial Parliaments. Johnson’s US-based experience is vast. She has served in strategic positions with The Coca-Cola Company; United States Olympic Committee as National Sponsorship; The Payne Group Real Estate Firm as Director of Corporate Affairs & New Markets Development; and Director of Legislative Affairs for a Georgia legislator. During her tenure in a range of public and private sector positions, Johnson successfully implemented, analyzed and interpreted numerous industry trends, facilitated buy-ins, developed strategic partnerships and cultivated robust environments in which to deal with industry-related issues for seizing new business opportunities. From a variety of corporate cultures she has gained extensive experience in diplomacy, business development and implementing engagement strategy at international and national levels with regulatory agencies and key policy makers, as well as how to bring together innovation and strategy execution across diverse industries. Johnson serves as strategist and advisor to political and development leaders at various levels of local and international governments, ambassadors, C-suite executives and the pastorate. She has met with kings and queens, leads foreign delegations and makes diplomatic introductions to government, political, business and top industry leaders both in the U.S. and across the African Continent. Jacque is a women and human rights advocate, thought leader, motivational speaker, transformation coach, contributing writer on US-Africa trade relations for several business


Written by Jacque Johnson AFRICA is rapidly changing for the better and is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.

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ontrary to anything you may have ever heard before about Africa, during the past decade, Africa’s growth rates have quietly been approaching those of Asia.

Last year, seven African countries appeared on the list of the world’s 10 fastgrowing economies, each with annual growth rates of 8% or more. Democracy is becoming firmly entrenched, with nearly all of the continent’s one billion people expected to vote in democratic elections. Africa is not what you think or what you have been told in the past. It is not filled with war, hunger, AIDS and civil unrest.

Africa has RISEN to new heights! You can feel it on the streets of Maputo, Mozambique and Nairobi, Kenya where students and business people fill urban life with the rhythm of a new pulse. You can see it in the cranes building new neighborhoods for the emerging middle class and in the bulldozers blazing new roads crisscrossing the Continent.

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Africa is growing in economic power and has beautiful landscapes, continental-wide infrastructure development underway to ensure ease of travel,

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breath-taking beaches, resort and luxury hotels, rising metropolises and envious cityscapes across the continent from Nigeria to Kenya, shopping malls that rival any within the United States, restaurants you will crave to frequent, high-rise luxury living to distinctively architected homes for purchase within markets where the US-dollar is extremely strong affording you the ability to buy the dream home you thought was 20years away at a fraction of what it would cost in the US. By 2060, Africans living below the poverty line will be in the minority (33%). Banks describe the trajectory as 'unstoppable'. As an indicator of recent trends, The Economist, which in 2000 ran a cover story headlined 'The hopeless continent' recently U-turned with an article headed 'The Hopeful Continent.'

Luxury Home, Cape Town, South Africa

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Cityscape of Johannesburg, South Africa

AFRICA’S Economic Boom! The International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicates that Africa grabbed seven of the top ten places and over the next five years Africa is likely to take the lead. In other words, the average African economy will outpace its Asian counterpart. The African continent is set to record a projected +5% economic growth in 2015.

Africa’s growth forecast for the next decade is brighter than most other regions, and countries

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Luxury Home in Nigeria

Sun City Resort Hotel, South Africa

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Mozambique Beach


that can diversify and build flexible labor markets while managing expectations will have particularly positive stories to tell, according to Forbes.

AFRICA IS BOOMING as the Next Growth Pole! African economists point out that Africa’s per capita incomes since the year 2000 have doubled, and this boom is impacting on everyone. Africa is going to go from a $2 trillion economy today to a $29 trillion economy by 2050. That's bigger than Europe and America put together in today's money. Life expectancy in Africa has increased by one year every three years for the last decade and is going to go up by 13 years. That means the population is going to double from one billion to two billion, thus, household incomes are going to go up sevenfold in the next 35 years in Africa.

CITYSCAPES within TOP AFRICAN COUNTRIES to WATCH NIGERIA - AFRICA’s New Number ONE! The continent’s top oil producer which overtook South Nigeria’s economy has been growing at an average rate of around 7% a year over the past decade adding 89% to its GDP, now worth $510 billion soaring Africa as the largest economy in 2014, may experience past the previous leader, South Africa, worth $370 billion. one of the most accelerated growths, forecasted at 7.3% in 2015. With a population of about 160 million people, Nigeria is the largest country in Africa and accounts for 47% of West Africa’s population. It is also the biggest oil exporter in Africa, with the largest natural gas reserves in the continent. With these large reserves of human and natural resources, the country is poised to build a prosperous economy, significantly reduce poverty, and provide health, education and infrastructure services to meet its population needs. Nigeria’s economy has been growing at an average rate of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia around 7% a year over the past decade adding 89% to its GDP, now worth $510 billion soaring past the previous leader, South Africa, worth $370 billion.

ETHIOPIA

is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies in 2013 with a growth rate of 8.1%. Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of 85 million; and one of the largest unexplored markets in the world. More than 70% of the country is aged-under 30 and the country’s rapidly expanding education system currently boasts 20 million students. The national economy has registered growth rates in excess of 10 percent for several years and the country appears to be emerging on the world scene and attracting much interest from investors. Ethiopia is already the third largest coffee producer in the world and boasts the largest livestock population in Africa.

Global trend watchers have named Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, one of the next 5 large cities in Africa with rapidly expanding economies. As the seat of the African Union (the United Nations of Africa), Addis Ababa is already the diplomatic capital of an emerging Pan-African polity.

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According to the country’s finance ministry, Ethiopia’s economic growth is projected at 11 percent per annum at worst and, at best, to double the size of the economy by end of 2015.

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Maputo, Mozambique

MOZAMBIQUE

GDP growth rate is 7.7% and is on an upward climb as it transitions from a post-conflict country to one of Africa’s “frontier economies” and has been nothing short of impressive. Economic growth has been bolstered by important Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the burgeoning energy and natural resources sectors, among others.

demonstrated by legislation such as the Foreign Investors Act of 1964, which aimed to protect foreign investors and allowed foreigners to repatriate their earnings. Several institutional changes have been instituted to strengthen the markets, such as the establishment of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in 1990. The CMA's mission is to protect investors' interests, promote market development through research of new products and institutions, and ensure proper conduct of all licensed persons and market institutions. Kenya has the most advanced capital market in the region and has over 60 listed companies on the stock exchange. Market capitalization

Mozambique has a population of 23.4 million and is a natural gateway to neighboring Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the northeast of South Africa, and Swaziland in the south.

KENYA is the biggest and most advanced economy and largest by GDP in east and central Africa. The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. Kenya has a population of 45 million and is very competitive in terms of human capital. In fact, Kenya ranks at the top in terms of adult literacy rate which is at 87 percent. The service industry is a major economic driver which contributes 61% of GDP and is dominated by tourism. Kenya is ranked Number One in the World in mobile money. Mpesa, the flagship mobile phone banking product, put Kenya at the forefront of mobile money transfers and mobile banking services. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is among the best in Africa. Participation of foreign investors in the NSE has always been encouraged and their interests protected since Kenya gained independence on December 12, 1963. This is TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS

Nairobi, Kenya

increased from $453 million in 1990 to $14.8 billion in 2012. Kenya also attracted the most private equity deals in East Africa in 2012, and its private sector was recently hailed by the World Bank as the most vibrant and dynamic in East Africa. Africa’s economic transformation remains key to its global positioning in 2015. According to the World Bank, Africa is forecast to remain one of the fastest growing regions in the world and will maintain its impressive 20 years of continuous expansion. It looks like the 21st Century will be Africa’s Century! ■ To find out more about Doing Business in Africa visit www.profileafrica.org, email j.johnson@profileafrica.org or Facebook @jacquejohnson

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It is bursting with potential and new discoveries of natural gas reserves are likely to be the third largest in the world after Qatar and Iran. The country has become a world-class destination for their incredible beaches and seafood; mining and natural gas developments. Mozambique continues to enjoy strong economic growth, projected at over 8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015. Mozambique was among the poorest countries in Africa only five years ago. Its new affluence is a testament to how quickly Africa is rising to economic power.


New York Times Best-Selling Author

Mary Honey B Morrison Reinvesting in Herself while Empowering Women around the World

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here’s a huge disconnect amongst women globally and my mission is to change that. The majority of women do not have an understanding of or relationship with their vagina, and they’ve never taken a candid look at their vulva,” says New York Times bestselling author, Mary Honey B Morrison. Morrison quit her near sixfigure job with the federal government in June of 2000 and selfpublished her debut novel, Soulmates Dissipate. Writing under the name of Mary B. Morrison, and her pseudonym HoneyB, she has nineteen novels in print with over three million copies in circulation. The female characters in Morrison’s works are successful, but trying to find true love is a greater challenge. “Irrespective of social status, if a woman doesn’t know what she wants from a man before she opens her legs, she’s already been screwed.” If I Can’t Have You depicts three girlfriends who handle their situations differently. Madison Tyler is confident, has been proposed to numerous times, and is engaged to the most eligible bachelor in Houston, Texas. Her best friend, Loretta Lovelace, is a single mom, has never had a man put a ring on her finger, and she’s jealous that men keep falling for Madison’s manipulative ways. “A lot of women are secretly envious of their girlfriends, but they wouldn’t be if they understood the value of their own vagina.” That’s why Morrison is doing a twelve part #IValueMyVagina

series on Google for ladies only. Women anywhere in the world can join her #HoneyBHangout online. Each

MARY MORRISON month Morrison has a different topic starting in January with Sexual Healing. “Sweet sixteen isn’t always so sweet. The average woman has been inappropriately touched, molested, and/ or raped before kissing their first boyfriend.” Her Sweeter than Honey series starring Lace St. Thomas, aka Honey, deals with what happens to a woman after she’s been sexually abused. Morri-

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son opts not to male bash in any of her novels believing that life is about choices and bad things do happen to good people. Single Husbands, the erotic stage play based on her HoneyB novel, received great reviews. Under the direction of Tom Jones, the intensity of the explicit scenes was lightened with a creative spin intertwining comedy with each couple’s infidelity issues. As the relationship sexpert on Radio One’s Foxie 105 FM based in Columbus, Georgia, Morrison answers questions on-air from callers every Tuesday afternoon. She also has the Mary Honey B Morrison Show segment on The Midnight Hour Radio Show, 1490 AM in Cleveland, Ohio, each Saturday night where she talks about female empowerment. “There are some women who write about sex but are not comfortable with the subject matter. I am that confident woman I write about.” She produced an educational and instructional DVD for men and women, entitled Head Master, detailing various techniques. Her upcoming novel with Kensington Publishing Corporation, Baby, You’re the Best, releases August 2015. Morrison resides in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information or to inquire about speaking engagements, visit www.MaryMorrison.com or email marybmorrison@aol.com. ■

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y: Tina Williams

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obert L Wagner, known by many as SE7EN, is a successful musician, speaker, poet, stepper, mime, actor, comedian, and producer. SE7EN, which means “completion” or “perfection,” symbolizes the completion that is found in his relationship with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While many would call such a person, “a jack of all trades and master of none,” Robert has adequately ascertained the tagline, “master of integration” for his uncanny ability to master the integration of various artistic expressions with his faith. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Robert has practiced social services for over 10 years, providing rehabilitative assistance for parolees and probationers as well as various skills training for entire families (i.e. social, behavioral, educational, and occupational). He successfully completed a Masters of Arts Christian Education degree in May 2011 at DallasTheological Seminary (DTS) and hopes to pursue his dotoral degree in Educational Ministries at DTS in the near future. His successes in academia, in his vocation, and as an artist led to him to create P.H.A.T.B.O.Y., which is a Christian media firm. The production company (P.H.A.T.B.O.Y. Productions) organizes and executes various events from coffee houses and, step shows to concerts. The record label (P.H.A.T.B.O.Y. Records) seeks to articulate the heart of God via Christian hip-hop and urban music. As a pioneering man in the area of artistic expression, Robert formerly created P.H.A.T.B.O.Y. Management – a full-service brand management agency responsible for elevating the profile of elite entertainers. As an artist and speaker, Robert has appeared as a guest on the world renowned Trinity Broadcast Network. He has spoken at numerous churches, corporate events, and has been featured in various magazine and media publications. Using the power of expectation to surpass stereotypes and define his own success, Robert has captivated audiences of all ethnicities as a result of his wisdom, sense of humor, and creativity. After many years of writing blogs and articles, Robert recently published his first book entitled Conversation: Developing An Intimate Dialogue With God. From his perspective, when we don’t communicate in relationships, they often times lose the passion and intimacy they once had, which is true in both natural and spiritual relationships. Robert L. Wagner provides enlightening commentary, and a brief survey concerning prayer within the pages of his book. The faith-based

Connect with Robert on one or all of his many conversation platforms: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram http://robertlwagner.com http://facebook.com/robertlwagner07 http://twitter.com/robertlwagner http://instagram.com/robertlwagner http://youtube.com/robertlwagner

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Love Is No Longer an Option, But a Necessity

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By Angela Thomas

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ou have the power to walk in love. You have the power to do that! No matter how you feel today, you are loved. “God is agape” (1 John 4:16). God is saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Your feelings may tell you otherwise, but God has loved you from the very beginning of your life and there is nothing you can ever do to change that love. He loves you unconditionally just the way you are, every single day of your life. His love never changes. Love has no limitations. If someone has hurt you deeply or mistreated you in the past, don’t allow your heart to close at a chance of experiencing love again. Open up and yield to that powerful force of love on the inside of you. Let it rise up strong in you and overtake that hurt and be healed on the inside. Love is the willingness to sacrifice or give one’s life for another—and has the power to heal. Love is the strongest force in the universe. When given correctly, it unifies and builds, defends and protects. Love is a matter of the heart and unconditional love never gives up. Be bold and courageous and dare to give yourself over to love. It’s time we yield to the force of love by letting it loose and letting it go, for it does us no good to keep what God has placed within us locked inside and buried. It’s time we stripped down to bare minimum and step out of the old, and live the life He has called us to live by walking in love. 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails.” I dare you to stand on it and not back off! If we actually understood the magnitude of the blessing that walking in love brings, we wouldn’t be so quick and willing to abandon it when we encounter disappointments or strife. Don’t allow the enemy to bring confusion or disbelief into your life and harden your heart. God desires for us to be free and live in love and faith. Don’t just open the door to love, take it off the hinges, for however wide you open that door of love, is how much God’s favor and blessings will flow into your life. God wants to give to you. Jesus said in John 14:21 that He will manifest Himself to the person who walks in love. And He is a great One to have on your side, because when He is for you, no one can stand against you (Romans 8:31-34). Love is the real secret of our success in life. Love is the key to God’s wisdom, power, and protection. If you’re seeking to have harmony in your home, family, marriage, life and among your children, then walk in love at all costs, and when you do, you will enjoy the blessings of God like never before! So, today jump in with both feet, pouring out love throughout your life journey to open the door to your inheritance. Receive it. It’s yours. Angela M. Thomas is the Founder of SheerPurrfection Publishing and President of “Rise Up 4 Change Youth Program. Angela has written and published nine Inspirational books. She has also released her audio CD titled, “Let Me Love You.” She is a certified speaker & life empowerment coach. To book Angela, please call (305)9340471 or Visit: http://www.AngelaMThomas.com ■


Q.WANG A Renaissance Man Written by Mae Merriweather

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stroke of genius hit a man one day, and he decided to pursue it to become an artist. That one decision changed his life, and today he owns his gallery. He has a successful book of his paintings and also received a lot of positive reviews from art critics. Yes, life is full of surprises, and Qiang Wang, the man in question, did not know what surprises awaited him on the other side of his journey, and his flight is hardly over! He still has a lot of art pieces that expect to be displayed for the world. This Chinese-American contemporary artist has given us an example of a very valuable lesson in life, which says that we should follow our heart and pursue our dreams because you never know what life might have in store for you.

Q. Wang’s Freeism As a new immigrant in a foreign country, Q. Wang faced prejudice and discrimination, which encouraged him to use his art as a method of escapism. He says that his paintings make him free and that he expresses his heart’s freedom through his works. Some of his artistic influences are derived from Taoism and his Chinese heritage. Since the main theme of his art is freedom, Q. Wang has coined a term called “freeism” to set his art apart from other forms of art and also to describe the core of his paintings. According to Q. Wang, freeism refers to full artistic freedom in terms of the creative process. His style of art is an assortment of different types of European art forms, and he couples that with the unique style of Chinese art to create masterpieces. The Art Produced By Freedom For his first ever painting titled My First Painting (2006), Q. Wang used oil paints on canvas to portray geometric volumes in monochromatic colors. He plays with the light and shadow elements, and he has incorporated his imagination with the spiritual and or the psychic plane. He plays with the light and shade techniques in a lot of his paintings, and My First Painting is the best example of that.

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In a few of his later works, he paints abstract images, and he frequently uses bold colors, a good example of which would be his paintings Land (2010) and Colors (2007). His style of painting is not at all consistent, as it seems as though he goes through periods of phases. His works as such as My First Color Painting (2006), Overlook (2006), Tree (2006), and Volcano (2006) can all be classified as belonging to one group. While some of his other later works, as such as the 3 paintings titled Jiu Zai Gou (2010) can all be seen as belonging to another group. Out of all of Q. Wang’s works, there are a few works that are very striking, one of which was Woman (2007). It was painted with acrylics on canvas. That painting has been mentioned in the Pacific Book Review and has been held in high regard. Some of his other well-known paintings are Kiss (2007) and Lovers (2007), both of which represent red and yellow stick figures, embracing.

Art That Needs To Be Felt His first book, titled “Spirit”, which was first published in March 2011, contains all the artworks mentioned above and much more. His inspiration behind “Spirit” is his need for freedom fueled by the prejudice that he faced as an immigrant. His book is not his only achievement. He has a gallery in Las Vegas, and his paintings are displayed in various art shows and galleries throughout the year. He has had around 20 events to showcase his artwork this year. He also sells prints of his works and originals online on Etsy, AskArt, and ARTSlant.

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A revolutionary artist was born on the day Q. Wang decided to pursue his passion for art. This Chinese-American contemporary artist has coined his own term to describe his style of art. Freeism refers to the freedom of his heart in the face of discrimination, which is clearly depicted in all his paintings. This emotional attachment that he has with his paintings is clearly visible, as some of his paintings have a very strong emotional appeal. His paintings tell a beautiful story, a story of freedom of the heart, a story that cannot be described, it can only be felt and seen! ■


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an anything good come out of Brooklyn, New York? I say yes! Courtney Clarke, born and raised in the Vanderveer Housing Projects of Brooklyn, is a naturalborn artist. Courtney’s mother passed away when he was only 17, and as a result of her death, Courtney used art as his scapegoat. Little did he know it would be the very thing to save his life. He attended an Art & Design High School, where he had a teacher that believed in him and his ability to make it. After graduating from high school, Courtney attended Pratt Institute where he enhanced his art and design skills. It was during his years at Pratt Institute that he met his wife Jacquie. They have been married for 20 years and have 4 children. When Courtney decided that he had enough of Brooklyn, he managed to save 50K, and moved his family to Georgia. As a creative person, Courtney is an airbrush artist, graphic designer and veteran web developer, with 22 years of extensive experience in web development and design. He's also gained an encyclopedia of knowledge that has equipped him for creat-

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ing complex customized projects in many different market segments, transforming business concepts into designs. Continuing to create, Courtney decided to take his plethora of knowledge into a whole new arena - internet radio. In 2011, Courtney launched a Reggae and R & B online radio station, which had an amazing start; but, as successful as the station was becoming, there was still something missing. Courtney had a paradigm shift, which meant that the station could no longer remain secular but had to shift gears, becoming a Christ-centered radio station commissioned to provide a platform that glorifies Jesus Christ, through all Christian music genres and styles, with music for all nations and cultures. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Shay’na Williams (Host), Denise Williams (Public Relations), Tony Morgan (Host of “Prayer Back in School” and Community Relations/ Promotions) and Caleb Hunton (Host and Social Media Associate), 108praiseradio.com is impacting it’s listeners with gospel music and Christian content that is uplifting, encouraging and inspirational.

WWW.108PRAISERADIO.COM Follow us on Facebook or Twitter/108praiseradio Contact us @ 405.586.5241 Email: contactus@108praiseradio.com

JAN / FEB 2015


INSPIRATIONAL TRENDS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49

Robert L. Wagner biblical examples and prayer starters will assist with your daily conversations and devotional journey, providing you with key elements towards sparking a intimate and mature dialogue the God. As Robert states in his book's introduction: “Because it shows His desire to be involved in the affairs of His children; the biblical teaching of prayer emphasizes the character of God. Prayer also presupposes a belief in the personality of God, His ability and willingness to hold conversation with us, His sovereignty over everything and concern with the affairs of His creation.” If you are looking for the keys to a more powerful and successful prayer life, then the daily guides contained in this book are ideal. Conversations: Developing An Intimate Dialogue With God can be found at major retailers, like Amazon and, Barnes and Nobles. The Book is also available at http://robertlwagner.com When asked what inspires him, Robert responds quickly “everything.” He seems to find inspiration in everything that happens in life, and his brain is always looking at how things are done, and how can be done differently. Even when others would say, “if it ain't broke, don't fix it,” Robert loves to break it down and try to rebuild it a different way. Author Robert Wagner is inspired by his family, closest friends and countless books he has read since childhood. He is very passionate about educating, inspiring, motivating and encouraging people to maximize their full potential. His thought provoking, creative style will ignite and inspire those who are ready to conquer their fears and face their personal giants. Invite Robert to come and transform your next conference, workshop, youth event, church service or corporate function. Some of his most popular presentation topics include:

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Vision: To See or Not to See | Finishing Strong | N.O.W. Faith: New Opportunities Waiting | Project H.Y.P.E. | A Dynamic Destiny: Making your Mark | ATTITUDE: The starting Point | Connect with Robert on one or all of his many conversation platforms: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram, http://robertlwagner.com http://facebook.com/robertlwagner07 http://twitter.com/robertlwagner http://instagram.com/robertlwagner http://youtube.com/robertlwagner


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JULY/AUG 2014

JAN / FEB 2015


Foods That Really Make Your Skin Glow By Holly Dawsey

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pigments that tend to produce a red, orange, or dark green hue. Try these snacks that will help color your skin gorgeous from the inside out. Carrots The crunchy sticks also contain skin-loving nutrients and vitamins (A and C), plus have anti-inflammatory properties. Tomatoes Also packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that fights free radical damage, tomatoes help ward off dulling sun damage. Leafy greens Greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli are also loaded with antioxidants and iron, which has been proven to aid in circulation. Sweet potatoes One of the best sources of carotenoids, sweet potatoes are also loaded with collagen- and radiance-boosting vitamin C. Cantaloupe The high water content in this sweet melon helps hydrate skin from within, while folic acid helps regenerate cells so skin looks fresh and supple. ■

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t’s no secret that tanning beds are bad news: Ultraviolet radiation from tanning lamps can lead to premature aging (think wrinkles, spots, and sagginess) and, worse, skin cancer. But if for some strange reason you still need convincing, here’s more evidence that you should steer clear of those deadly skin ovens. According to a recent study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, a lit-from-within glow is perceived as more attractive than a sun-kissed glow. Participants were shown images of faces with high carotenoid (from ingestion of fruits and vegetables) and faces with high melanin (from UV exposure and tanning) and were asked to rate which faces they found more attractive. A whopping 76% of participants deemed the high carotenoid faces more beautiful than the high melanin faces. There you have it, healthy skin trumps fake-baked skin. Think about it: Would you rather the looks of Snooki or Gisele? Right, I thought so. So what exactly should you be munching on for healthy radiance? Foods rich in carotenoids, which are


Modeling and empowering others is her passion and hopefully will become her legacy. Her motto is “BUILD YOUR OWN DOOR.” It means you can't wait for someone else to make your dreams come true. Of course, doors will be closed throughout your life and career but you still have to take the bull by the horns and Create your own opportunities. ■

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Photo credits to Ron Mayes and Shoot Wind Photography ( Fashion Meets Film)

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BEAUTY PROFILE

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ionne Reeves-Grubbs is a wife, mother and full figured model from Huntsville, Alabama. Modeling professionally since 2009, she started her career at the age of 15 as a mannequin model for Wilson's Leather and The Body Shop in her hometown. She resumed her career in 2009 with "THE Fashion Show: An Alter Ego experience with friend, Stephanie Love, from high school who encouraged her to get back to what she truly loved. As a result of that encouragement in 2011, Dionne was signed to Blaq Pearl Entertainment, based out of Atlanta, Georgia under Ms. Bo Talley. She has since walked for several celebrity fashions shows, top full figured designers such as Lavender’s Jungle and been the face of Fashion Weeks and Look books. Being a part of the full figured industry she noticed that behind some of the most beautiful faces lay stories of hurt, self doubt and insecurity. With this knowledge, she branched out on my own and founded FULL FIGURED FIERCE in March of 2012. Full Figured Fierce is an empowerment community geared toward rebuilding confidence in women of all shapes and sizes. We use modeling as a platform to reach those who may not have the courage or the willpower to hold their heads up and let the world know that they will not be ignored. In 2013, Dionne formed a team of models, professional to beginners, as an extension of the Full Figured Fierce empowerment team. She felt they needed a powerful name because they had a powerful message and incredible spirits. She dubbed them. THE RUNWAY KILLERS. Fierce, Vibrant, Curvy women who exude self confidence, Beauty, and Love for their fellow sisters. In March 2014, Dionne was awarded her very own day in her city of Huntsville, Alabama. March 22, is officially Full Figured Fierce Day. Some of her accomplishments include, walking for Linda Scott of LS 1426 Fashion Week in Houston Texas, being an extra in the film HOUSE SLAVE which debuted October of 2014 in Los Angeles, features in several online publications as well as the cover of Queen Size Magazine based out of New York City. She recently returned from Portland, OR where she walked for the Plus designer of the year, Kenneth Doswell of Betty Jean Couture in the Fashion Meets Film Fashion Show. â–


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hat does fashion mean to you? Well, to Fashion Designer and Stylist Carrie Johnson, it’s her life. “Fashion is in my soul.” Carrie’s love affair with fashion began as a teenager in high school. She was not the typical teen wearing jeans and tees. She fancied blouses, skirts and dresses. Having the desire to express her inner fashionista, working part time jobs after school enabled her to finance her fashion obsession. “I loved making my own money and selecting clothes that made me feel good about me.” Dreams of owning her own woman’s boutique danced in her head like a ballerina. Today, Carrie has opened her boutique “Carrie’s Closet,” now online, designed her first clothing line, “Fresh Anointings,” and styled several clients at “Carrie’s Couture.” She has taken her passion for fashion and reached new levels. “Fashion is not just my passion; its God’s anointing on my life!” Hence, the name of her clothing line, “Fresh Anointings.” As you can see, she loves all aspects of the fashion industry. One of Carrie’s objectives is to help women who struggle with their personal body image. She has been full figured all her life and has NEVER let that stop her from taking fashion risks. She has a love for vibrant color and prints - the very thing society THOUGHT a full-figured woman should AVOID like the plague. Carrie was determined to change the stereotypes and prove ALL women are beautiful and can indulge in the exciting world of fashion. “We don’t have to wear black and fade in the background.”

Here are just a few of Carrie’s fashion tips: 

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Carrie Johnson 

Try on clothing that you have always avoided. We are often close minded and fearful of certain styles. It does not hurt to try them on. You do not have to buy it if you don’t like it. You will be so surprised when you realize you actually look great!

You must wear a supportive bra. The smallest part of a woman’s body is underneath her breast. If your breast are in the right position, you will now begin to see your hourglass figure that was always there but hidden.

Choose the right size. The sizes are on the inside of our clothing for our eyes only. Having said that, do not focus on the size. Focus on the fit. Always fit the largest body part first; alter the other parts that are too big. Yes, you will pay a few more dollars, but you now have a custom fit garment.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Nothing adds more interest to an ensemble than a FANTABULOUS handbag, an embellished belt, or a statement necklace. Have fun with it. Transform your wardrobe with inexpensive pieces that can work with your budget.

Now go and be FANTABULOUS!

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Interested in learning more about Carrie and her journey? Visit: www.Fresh-Anointings.com

JAN JAN//FEB FEB2015 2015


www.carriescloset.biz

222 Merrick Road Lynbrook, NY 11563

(678)671-6564

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FreshAnointings

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San Deigo, CA-

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MEG’s recently signed artist, Mr. Ricky G is thrilled to announce the release of his single “I’m Saved”, which is based on his very own testimony, available with most major online distributors and also on Goodymeg.com, February 7, 2015. I’m Saved is one of those songs that takes you back to sitting on your porch on a warm day with a slight breeze, That time where you stop for a moment to reflect on the beauty of the world, the goodness and blessings in your life. That time when regardless of what your situation may be, you have a sense of peace and gratitude. I’m Saved, gives listeners that calm and serene vibe which soothes the soul. GOoDy Music Entertainment Group is delighted to present Mr. Ricky G and his single project “I’m Saved”. Mr. Ricky G who has had a long standing relationship as a producer and song writer with GMEG, signed on with the label as a gospel artist in late 2013. Mr. Ricky G who is well known in the Inland Empire, Oakland and also in the San Diego area for being a smooth, old school, and melodic artist. He is likened to secular artist such as Keith Sweat, Anthony Hamilton, KEM and many more with that full flavor R &B sound. His voice is one that is not typical for your Sunday morning worship service. Despite the uniqueness of his voice, he is definitely able to take listeners to “churrccchhh!” “I just want God to get the glory. I love my Jesus.

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What he has done for me, makes me so glad that I’m saved.“ Explains Mr. Ricky G. He is no amateur to the music industry. Although this is his first release with GMEG, Mr. Ricky G knows his way around the studio. As a writer and producer in addition to being an artist, the finished project is that much more polished and of excellent quality. “I’m excited about what God is doing with GMEG. I am honored to be used as a vessel to produce music that will minister and encourage not only the church but those who are not coming in the doors. We are truly going outside the four walls and seeds are being planted.” Says Mr. Ricky G. Since the decision to sign with GMEG and commit his gifts to glorify God, he has been traveling and ministering throughout California and other outside states. The label released a compilation CD as an introduction to their upcoming “Take Back” tour which is now available for FREE at Goodymeg.com. The full album release is anticipated to be released in 2015. For more information on Mr. Ricky G and his calendar of events, visit the company’s website. ■

JAN / FEB 2015


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT SPOTLIGHT

Countre Boi

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four boys. He is doing just that these days as a solo artist, but that wasn’t always the case. Countre Boi’s journey in the industry began about nine years ago with a run-of-the-mill rap group called Trap County Boys. “We came out and did shows, but it didn’t quite turn out right. We were talking about selling dope, robbing, and, to be honest; I don’t like to make songs about things that I am not doing myself. I’m not getting on a song about smoking weed, selling dope and robbing when I’m not doing any of that. So, I didn’t feel right about being in the group. I felt like a liar, and I just wasn’t into it. So I decided to leave.” From there, Countre Boi followed his heart to what he knew best—Gospel. He re-committed his life to Christ and a couple of years after leaving Trap County Boys; he started PMT, a Gospel rap group. “We were doing well. We had shows all over Georgia. We were getting noticed. We pushed hard and overworked ourselves but then all of it came to a standstill.” And so did Countre Boi. Then in 2010 he decided to end his hiatus and hop back into the studio. This time, from the sound of his strong raspy

tone that soaks each methodical Godpraising lyric, he’s on a mission to change lives by telling his story through music. With roots that run deep in the Christian church, Countre Boi has been on a pew from the time that he was born in Pine Mountain, Georgia. While this multi-talented now Assistant Choir Director, who also plays the bass guitar, takes his God-given talents seriously, he hasn’t gone the traditional “church music” route that many Christian performers wander along. “I was raised in the church, but I have always liked hip-hop. I have always been interested in contemporary gospel music. It’s the beat. I love the beat of it. With Christian hip-hop, it has a different style every time. And perhaps his teenaged fans have his father to thank for his choice to become a Christian rapper. “My dad listened to Gospel rap before me. He put me onto it. He bought me my first Gospel rap cd when I was about 9 years old.” Now, years later Countre Boi is on a journey to introduce Christ to all who will listen. Hear music and watch videos from Countre Boi by visiting his website at c o u n t r e b o i . c o m . ■

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ountre Boi is one of holy hip-hop’s up incoming front runners, has a story that resembles most artists; however, there is one aspect of his story that he doesn’t share with many of his counterparts. This is Countre Boi’s third attempt to become renowned for his rapping and songwriting gifts. And, by the looks of his progress as an artist today, the third time’s a charm. His first album “Refined” is laced with a unique sound from beginning to end, and won Album of The Year at the 2014 Rhythm of Gospel Awards. His first mixtape which released in 2014 is nominated for six 2015 Rhythm of Gospel Awards. Not to mention, after one conversation with him about music, his smile and exuberance for his craft makes you think that he just joined the game. “While there have been pain and tears, I have learned in this industry that you have to have patience. My break is coming because music is in me. I love music. God gave this talent to me to use, and I will use it to the best of my ability to influence people,” says the married father of


By Nita Gray

Real Estate Professional Website: PalmerHouseProperties.com/Nita-Gray

Traditionally, the spring and summer can be the most active period for the residential real estate market. During these seasons, the weather is warmer and children are on summer break from school, which makes it easier for people to move into a new home. Below are three steps that will help prepare you for buying a home.

Selecting a Real Estate Agent can be a great starting point. A Real Estate Agent can refer you to a reliable Loan Officer who can conduct a pre-approval process for a loan. The pre-approval process allows a potential homeowner to find out how much of a home they can afford. A pre-approval is a preliminary commitment from a lender, in writing, stating that a borrower will qualify for a particular loan amount based on income and credit information under the lender's guidelines. There are many reasons why you should get preapproved early in the process of purchasing a home. One of the reasons is that you will get an accurate idea of how much you can afford. This helps to ensure that you only view houses that are truly in your price range. In today’s home market, if you make an offer on a house without a pre-approval, your offer will not be taken as seriously as an offer from a person with a pre-approval, and you may miss the opportunity to own the home of your dreams.

Prepare For Down Payment Homebuyers should prepare by having funds saved or set aside for a down payment. In some cases, the down payment for your new

TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE

home can be gifted from a relative. The down payment is a percentage of your home’s purchase price that you pay up front when you close on a home loan. It is viewed by lenders as your investment in the home. Mortgage lenders, however, will grant home loans to qualifying home buyers with a down payment of as little as 3 to 5 percent of the purchase price, if the mortgage is insured, such as FHA loans. FHA mortgage guidelines offer a more liberal approach to credit scores and down payments. The FHA will typically require a down payment of just 3.5 percent in U.S. markets. Conventional loans can sometimes require 5 to 10 percent as down payment. In fact, home loans with down payments of less than 20 percent are becoming increasingly popular.

Choosing A Home The home you choose to live in should meet your criteria. A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. It can be helpful to list the features and benefits you want in a home. Therefore, it’s important to know what options are essential for you and your family. A home buyer should consider such things as pricing, location, size, amenities, school district and distance from work. ■

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Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine Jan Feb 2015  

On the Cover: Xernona Clayton and honoress at the 23rd Annual Trumpet Awards, Toni braxton and Profile Africa.

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