Trendsetters to Trendsetters Magazine Nov Dec 2012

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Together Building Strong Relationships ave you ever heard the saying, “two heads are better than one?” This is a very effective and true statement, especially when it comes to business. There are several elements to building a successful business; within those elements it is extremely crucial to have the right team or partnership in place, working together for a common goal. One must be careful when selecting business partners, making sure that partner can successfully fulfill the responsibilities and obligations required of them. Trendsetters to Trendsetters started as a magazine, however because of the suc-

cessful relationships we have built with DPI Graphic Design and Lukeither Multi Media, we now have graphic designs, web development, digital media and social media and recently we have added The Mill’s Connection Show, which will bring us television. We believe building strong relationships in other media arenas helps us to build a strong brand for not only ourselves, our partners, but our future clients as well. If you feel your business can benefit from a team of strong relationship builders and growth oriented, business minded people, please let us know what it is you offer; we would welcome an opportunity to discuss a partnership with you and would encourage you to consider being part of a winning team. ■

Willie Stewart CEO / PUBLISHER






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

Four more years with Obama


resident Barack Obama defied the odds and sealed his legacy by being reelected and named the 44th president in United States history. The American people spoke clearly on election day. As many of us celebrate this historical event, let’s keep in mind and focus on the fact that we still have work to do! The aftermath of derogatory comments that surfaced after the election disturbed me but as my high school football and track coach used to say, “It takes all kinds to make a world.” Diversity was the key to Obama’s re-election. The black and Latino vote (as well as that of Asians, single women, gays and young voters) were crucial factors in President Obama's re-election. Not only was there a historic turnout of Latino voters and a larger share of African American voters this year, but an overwhelming majority of them voted "blue." Obama received 39% of the white which was also a crucial factor in the elections. I am proud to be an American and am looking forward to seeing what the next four years will bring. Please join me as I pray for our great nation and it’s leadership! We all need one another in moving forward.

Derek Payne show that Obama won the Hispanic vote by a dramatic margin of 71 percent to 27



contents NOV/DEC 2012 ■ T2T MAGAZINE

what’s inside

04 Publisher’s Notes 28 Educational Trends 30 Health & Wellness Trends 33 Pet Care 411 46 Inspirational Trends 52 Lifestyles 53 Beauty Trends 56 Fashion Trendsetters Trends 59 Art & Entertainment Trends 65 Travel Trends

special features

36 Mixing Love and Business John & Rhonda Wilkins and Dr. Curtis & Kristin Wagner

40 Business Spotlight

Nancy Klopper, Casting Director & Mershele Brown, The Antidote Show

42 Author’s Corner


Helen V. Laney Humprey, 86 year old author and Sandra Dubose, Bald Beauty Queen

54 Beauty Spotlight

Colleen Garey “The Human Hair & Wefting Guru”

58 Fashion Spotlight

Helen V. Laney Humprey, 86 year old author and Sandra Dubose, Bald Beauty Queen

Fashion Trendsetters of 2012

On The Cover

56 34


young & trendy MAGAZINE


Save Our Son With Dr. Steve Perry On tvOne








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

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

“Together Building Strong Relationships” TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS MAGAZINE












TWO OF A KIND Mariah Mercer and Alahna Singleton


ot many people get big opportunities and take advantage of them while in high school. After graduating, most people look back and wish they could have done something different, something that would have helped them get into the career field of their choice. Here we have Mariah Mercer and Alahna Singleton; both are juniors at Timken Senior High School located in Canton, Ohio. They are taking full advantage of every opportunity in their way. Mariah and Alahna are part of a broadcasting program where they host their own show "Sports 101". They are writing their own scripts and editing highlights as well as getting highlights from the previous week in sports. Other than hosting their own show, they are also student athletes.

Mariah and Alahna have both received lettering in basketball since their freshmen year; Alahna Singleton, being noted as No.2 leading scorer in Stark County Ohio and Mariah Mercer is being noted for No.1 leading in assists in 2011-2012. Both these girls have their goals set and they will not stop until they are achieved. They have chemistry on and off the court that has been built since their seventh grade year and they have continued to display that. Not many schools have programs that help you get ready for college. Timken Senior High has programs such as welding, criminal science, culinary and cosmetology; being in one of these programs will help students such as Mariah and Alahna get into a good college with the possibility of obtaining a scholarship. Both Mariah and Alahna will be the ones to look for in the years to come and Trendsetters to Trendsetters will keep a watchful eye on these fine young women as they succeed. â–




Artreprenuer Stephen Philms By Ava Simone Collier


riter, Director, Filmmaker, Photographer and Poet - Stephen Philms is the quintessential definition of a young renaissance man. - He’s doing it all. His latest project is his short film entitled Love on the Rocks, with the prequel entitled DGAF – Don’t Give Away Freedom. “I did the prequel so that when the film comes out, people will be familiar with it and know what the movie is about. This film is really about bringing attention to certain moments in life where, when presented with the opportunity, people may end up doing something outside of their character. It doesn’t make them a bad person, it’s just that sometimes people get caught up.” Love on the Rocks is a 30minute film, which is loosely inspired by an experience that he had in Rio de Janeiro while working on a documentary. Philms says that he was the only black American male among the crew, which were mainly all from London. While most of the crew was very friendly to him, there was one girl who seemed to have chameleon-like tendencies. “She wasn’t mean to me, just aloof during the day. But at night when we would go out as a group, I was her best friend when she was drunk!” Stephen laughs as he recalls the events. “ I was the one who made sure she didn’t run out in the street or into the water and get swept away. I became her protector - making sure she got safely back to the hotel we were staying in.” Philms says though, that when he would attempt to talk with her the following day about the previous night’s events, she had amnesia. “I would 14

Stephen Philms joke about it the next day, but she didn’t remember anything! This happened two nights in a row.” Stephen says this experience sparked his idea for Love on the Rocks. “I wondered how this would play within a romantic relationship,” he says. “Love on the Rocks is about a guy who grew up with a girl. They weren’t really close while growing up, but their paths crossed again as adults. He would take care of this girl in her drunken moments where she spilled out her entire life to him - including how she’d always had a crush on him.” But, just like his Rio experience, the girl doesn’t remember anything the next day. Only this time, the guy decides to take matters into his own hands. “He


decides to put himself in a position to keep her intoxicated so she could be the girl he needs at this time.” I wanted to know where Stephen’s love of filmmaking comes from. “Well, I’m a writer first. As early as second grade, I wrote stories and did illustrations and begged my teachers to let me read them in class. I was never shy about sharing my ideas.” He reflects on his younger cousin BAM, who Stephen says was a terror as a child. “He was so bad! I wrote a whole story about him. My uncle made me sign the book and to this day still has it!” His interest in filmmaking was piqued while in school when he wasn’t able to enroll into the journalism class he wanted because it was full. Advised by his counselor that a TV production class was open, Stephen reluctantly enrolled for that. “I didn’t realize it was something I could do – I knew I could write for a paper – get a job – I could write and cover sports – get a job. I didn’t think bigger than that. Taking that class was the best thing that ever happened for me.” Philms credits one teacher in particular for allowing him to spread his creative wings in high school. “Mr. James Dinsmoore didn’t limit me at all. He allowed me to come in early to edit and work on the news and come up with my own ideas.” Stephen says it was during this time he finally realized what he wanted to do with his life. Casually dressed in T-shirt, jeans, and a cap, Stephen Philms looks every bit of the creative artist that he is. Wearing dreadlocks and an infectious smile, he talks about his image. “I always thought that I had to dress a certain way – suit and

YOUNG & TRENDY SPOTLIGHT tie. I thought I would have to become someone other than who I am. But doing the work that I do, I can dress the way I want.” Stephen emphasizes that his look is not calculated at all. “This is me being myself. My look lines up with my personality - laid back, easy going. If I had to get a traditional job and commute in Atlanta’s traffic every day, then just kill me!” He laughs. Born and raised in Atlanta, 25 year old Stephen Philms was born Stephen Pulliam. However, he says that his last name was difficult for people to pronounce and spell and is more common than you might think. “If you Googled Stephen Pulliam, hundreds and hundreds of names came up – it was hard to find me. People are always saying - Hey,

if there was something else I wanted to do with my life.” He says that his mother is even supportive of his new name. “She loves it and calls me by that name. She puts it on Facebook and even on one of my birthday cakes. Mom is on board!” I wanted to know some of the challenges that this young artist faces in this competitive industry. Stephen says that it’s important to find the right people to work with. “It takes team work, versus ego,” he says. Actresses Maxie McClintock and Leslie Drake of the Cinema Dolls are featured in Love on the Rocks. “They are friends and professionals who are constantly working

have some photography concepts also. I want to work with fashion brands in advertising - I’m about expression and want to be viewed as a complete artist with a

on their crafts. I couldn’t have done this current project without their help and support.” Another obstacle that he’s running into is being taken seriously, especially because of his age. “I’m a young artist - many times people don’t think that I’m a professional - that I’m not really about my business. I have to be about my business even more!” Philms calls himself an Artreprenuer, a combination of his professionalism and artistic creativity. Philms says that Spike Lee, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat are a few of the artists who have inspired him. “It’s not just about films - I write and I

voice, no matter what the medium is. Artists are constantly creating, pushing the envelope. I’ve grown to not really care about other people’s opinions of my work. Not everyone will like my work, but they will respect it.” Love on the Rocks is still in production at press time. To view the prequel, DGAF, and for more information or to contact Stephen, visit:

All Photos by PRO-ART

Stephen’s working on his films again.” With that in mind, Philms says that after playing around with some letters in his name, he came up with his creative moniker. “I decided to purposely misspell my last name and I came up with Philms It’s a conversation starter. Now there’s no confusion when you Google my name.” Long before Stephen met a teacher who encouraged him, he says his mother Regina was there. “She is the best support system I’ve had for my entire life. She has always encouraged me and always tells me how much she believes in me and to keep working – never once asking me Twitter: @stephenphilms Tumblr and Linkdin Or just Google his name!




Madison Wytovich: An unstoppable teenager By Dr. Linda Amerson

hildren react differently when they are affected with Alopecia. We interviewed Madison and her parents Betsy and Jeff Woytovich. They created the Children’s Alopecia Project Organization to help children diagnosed with Alopecia. Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. It affects over 80 million Americans. Who is Madison Woytovich? Madison is an amazing 14 yr old teenager! Her Alopecia diagnosis was at the young age of 5. With support, ambition and determination, she has proven that anyone can enjoy a full quality of life without hair. She has her own Radio Show! Madison is smart, and on a mission. Many times an unwanted situation may be turned into a passion for awareness. Her radio show allows her to use her voice to make her mark, which includes a variety of topics and guests. We spoke to her parents Betsy & Jeff. “From a parents prospective, Madison’s diagnosis was a challenge. We were devastated. Jeff tells the story of driving home with Maddie (age 5) strapped into her car seat behind us. We were crying so hard that Jeff had to pull over. We imagined a life of loneliness for Maddie: That she would never have friends, get a job, get married. We were worried sick about her future.” They also give this advice to other parents who have children diagnosed with alopecia, “Have your moments of devastation, but eventually, as soon as possible, you need to come to acceptance and move forward. Your child can live a perfectly full life with or without hair. Don’t let your child see you upset. And, most importantly, let your child make his or her own decisions about whether or not they want to seek treatment or wear hats or wigs. If you are suggesting they wear a wig or hat or scarf, you are inadvertently telling them to cover up their baldness, that you are embarrassed by it. And if you are seeking treatment after treatment, you are telling them that something is wrong with them that needs to be fixes. It is a parent’s instinct to want to help their child in any way possible, but we as parents have 16


to let our children lead the way regarding how they want to handle their alopecia. And we have to let them know that we think they are beautiful (or handsome) with or without hair.” Madison tells us her side of story, “I first received it when I was just 5 years old with alopecia totalis beginning kindergarten in about late October 2004. I had lost about 80% of my hair within 30 days in June 2004. It started growing back, then a bald spot appeared in my front hairline in August 2004. It progressed, and by thanksgiving I lost it all over my body. I have had Universalis since that time.” She also elaborates on how she was affect you at school, “Well I wore hats and scarves to school but one day I was in a thanksgiving play and had to wear a feathery head band since I was an Indian, so I didn’t wear my hat that day and my dad talked to my class and everyone took it very well! I go to a catholic school, so I’m still in the same class as the kids my dad talked to in kindergarten so they don’t really know me any different! I occasionally do wear wigs around the house, but when we leave, I put it away, and my mom can never get me to wear


a hat when it’s cold, I just like going bald! Probably my parents helped me the most with coping. They gave me the option of wearing hats or going bald and I think that made a big influence on my life because if they just covered my alopecia up with hats and scarves, I might have been still wearing them today!” Madison shares about start your own Radio Show. “When given the opportunity I said ABSOLUTLEY! I’ve always wanted to know how other people feel because I am obviously fine with being bald, but many people aren’t, so I like hearing their experiences and sometimes I can even help! I don’t just interview people with alopecia, I can interview anyone!” She also tells us about C.A.P and the annual event that is hosted. “CAP; or the Children’s Alopecia Project, is a non-profit that helps kids self esteem and confidence. We are not trying to try to cover their alopecia up, nor are we trying to search for a cure, we are strictly about self esteem, and helping kids a positive attitude! We recently had our 8th annual Spring Spectacular Silent Auction which is an auction and gala where we raise money so we can do all the fun activities that we have. This year, I spoke about my story for the first time, I was very excited for this, but sort of scared, but I felt less nervous then thought I would be because I was used to speaking through my radio show, so I think that really helped! There are many people that when they come to a cap meeting or camp for the first time they say it’s the first time that they’ve ever seen someone without any hair. That is hard to believe and I couldn’t imagine going through that experience again! Those kids are truly brave for coming and showing their alopecia to everyone. If you would see these kids, you would think that they are so comfortable with their alopecia, like they’ve met thousands of other people with no hair, when truly, they haven’t come in contact with anyone! I really look up to those kids.” Q: What advise would you give parents who have children affected with Alopecia? A: Keep your head up high for your kids. If they see you suffering, they will suffer too. If they see you acting like it’s not the end of the world, they will feel the same way. Also, you always should tell your children that confidence is the answer to everything! Always be confident and even if you are upset about losing your hair, don’t show others at school that you are affected by it because that’s what bullies are looking for. If someone is confident and knows that they are beautiful, then there is no reason for someone to bully them! They will truly be unstoppable!” To contact Madison Woytovich go to madisonwoytovich.weebly.comyou can email me there or comment on my blog! ■








etermination to see others as well as himself win in every aspect of life was the birthing ground of Sam Collier’s relentless mission for the world to adopt his philosophy of "No Losing”. As a blooming singer/songwriter and social activist, Collier was inspired to create No Losing Incorporated in 2011. No Losing Inc. was formed to equip individuals, families and communities with the tools needed to achieve and maintain healthy and successful lifestyles, mindsets, and behaviors. In one short year the organization has adopted three metropolitan Atlanta schools bringing them engaging sessions which captivate the students through a one-of- a-kind experience. Collier and his team of "winners‟ have touched over 10,000 Atlanta youth through uplifting and timely messages, from music and business executives, lawyers, and musicians, just to name a few. As a native of Atlanta, Collier was influenced by the echoes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; this influence encouraged him to step out and make a change in the culture and environment around him. Collier further drives his message of "No Losing‟ through the infusion of music, a detail that sets him apart from any other motivational figure today. With an uncanny ability to capture emotion through song, Sam Collier is the voice of love in its most raw state. Through his music, Sam Collier captures the essence of the beautifully human needs of freedom, peace and love. Refusing to be confined to any specific “box” or Sam Collier “niche” has allowed Sam Collier to take the limits off of Founder of being a one-dimensional artist and created the opportunity to touch all people and meet them in any situation they No Losing, Inc. face. "I am committed to a As a skillful vocalist, composer, music director, actor, lifestyle of Winning. I and musician, Collier has lent his gifts to dozens of musical will Win, I will not Lose. theatre productions, workshops, and youth organizations. He has also written for India Arie and One Chance, as well Losing is a state of mind, I will develop my Mind as shared the stage with recording artists Tyrese Gibson, until my reality begins to Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett, D.Woods, and Byron Cage. mirror my Vision. In January 2011, Collier released his highly anticipated mixed tape entitled, “No Losing,” and has since released “No Losing Part II: The Saga Continues” and "No Losing Part 3: Watch Me Win" (Oct. 16th, 2012); all were received with incredible response and acclaim from its listeners. A winning mindset is what Sam Collier believes can change the outlook and lives of millions. Collier challenges individuals to ask themselves the questions, “Am I winning or losing right now?” and “what will it take for me to win?” More than just a song or melody, “No Losing” was created to be a lifestyle revolution, a revolution to revive and transform a generation to change themselves and those around them. ■




Youth Author Jenna Anderson Collaborates with parents to create

THE CHERUB GENERATION THE AUTHOR enna Anderson is an 8th grade student that attends Faith Ministries Church in Columbus, Ohio. She currently assists with the youth ministry program by working with her father to help teach children about God. Jenna currently maintains a 4.0 GPA and has remained consistent with an overall average of 3.8 GPA during her middle school years. In 2001, she is featured with her Father (Deric Anderson) in a television commercial for the "Early Readers Program" (PBS), and is a participant in the interscholastic competition "Power of the Pen." She was awarded national recognition for a poem she wrote in 2007 called "The Dove" (which was published in a book of children's literature), and participates in the annual "Komen Race for the Cure." Jenna enjoys reading and writing; her favorite author is J.K Rowling of the "Harry Potter" novel series. Jenna plans to become an accomplished writer and/or lawyer and looks forward to accomplishing her goals in the future. Jenna serves as the author and the assistant to the artist of the team. THE ARTIST eric Anderson is a gospel recording artist and the founder of Hisway Records, LTD. He currently attends Faith Ministries Church, where he is a youth ministry worker and a member of the Praise Team, under the direction of Ceylon Wise IV. With Deric's passion for comic books and art, as well as his determination to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, he has devoted himself to introduce tools that will allow ministry to children and adults across the world. It is also for this reason that Deric has created the new Graphic Novel series "The Cherub Generation" with the help of his 14-year-old daughter (Jenna) and wife (Sharon). Deric serves as the Chief Executive Editor, Co-Author, Artist, and Production Manager of the Production Team. THE MISSION

THE CO-AUTHOR haron Anderson is a recording artist (Sisters of Faith) and the co-founder of Hisway Records, LTD. She currently attends Faith Ministries Church, where she is a member of the Prayer and Visitation Ministry and the Praise Team, under the direction of Ceylon Wise IV. Because of her sincere devotion to helping others, Sharon volunteers at two Columbus Area nursing homes, helping seniors and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sharon has teamed with her husband (Deric) and has assisted in the creation a new Graphic Novel Series called "The Cherub Generation" She works to assist her 14-year-old stepdaughter (Jenna Anderson) as a co-author and text advisor. Sharon serves as Co Author, Assistant to the Chief Executive Editor, and Assistant Production Manager of the team. â–

In the distant future, the world is segregated into three classes of beings: Citizens, Members/Chosen, and M.O.B. (Mark of the Beast). The Members and Chosen are called The Cherub Generation, and each member possesses a special power called "Entropy." This power is an unavailable energy stored in those possessing the skill, and the power can only be used when necessary. The Members of this class of Cherub Generation heroes only use their power to save humanity from the enemy.

To learn more about the author and The Cherub Nation, purchase your copy of The Cherub Nation - The Battle in Brazil on their website at:




Five Young Black Writers You Should Be reading Now 1.





Nick Burd, Novelist/YA Author Book: The Vast Fields of Ordinary Residence: Brooklyn, N.Y. Age: 30 Graduate degree: M.F.A., The New School Influences: James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Roberto Bolaño Themes: Sexuality, suburbia, adolescence Reading now: Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, old detective novels Danielle Evans, Fiction Writer Book: Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self Age: 26 Residence: Washington, D.C. Graduate degree: M.F.A., Iowa Writers Workshop Influences: Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, ZZ Packer Themes: Adolescence, race, gender, sexuality Reading now: Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad Brandon JacobsJenkins, Playwright Play: Neighbors Age: “20-something” Residence: Brooklyn/ Berlin Graduate degree: M.A., performance studies, NYU Influences: Suzan-Lori Parks' In the Blood, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, Caryl Churchill's Far Away, Tracy Scott Wilson's The Story, Sam Shepard's The Red Cross. Non-theater influences: Toni Morrison, Olafur Eliasson, Aaron McGruder, Nina Simone



and Michael Haneke. Themes: History, race Reading now: Theater history books, Octavia Butler, early American literature, accounts of Spaniards "discovering" the New World, diaries of early settlers and Indian captivity narratives, religious sermons and poetry. Ernessa Carter, Novelist Book: 32 Candles Age: 33 Residence: Los Angeles, CA Graduate degree: M.F.A., dramatic writing, Carnegie Mellon Influences: Alice Walker, John Hughes Themes: Beauty, love, mental health, pop culture Reading now: Terry McMillan's Getting to Happy, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel Gary Jackson, Poet Book: Missing You, Metropolis Age: 29 Graduate degree: M.F.A., University of New Mexico Influences: Ai, Louise Gluck, Yusef Komunyakaa, Lucille Clifton, A. Van Jordan, Bryan Dietrich, comics Themes: Isolation, masculinity Reading now: It's hard getting English-language books in Korea, but I managed to order the complete collection of Lynda Hull's poetry. She's since become my favorite poet; the way she turns images is breathtaking.


21 Extraordinary Youth Alliance for a Healthier Generation Announces 2012-2013 Youth Advisory Board (NEW YORK) – Twenty-one passionate and committed young people are raising their voices against childhood obesity and inspiring their friends, schools, and communities to live healthier lives. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, is proud to announce their 2012-2013 Youth Advisory Board.. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board is one of the only youth-led advisory groups in the country focused on childhood obesity issues. With a belief that young people play a crucial role in engaging and educating their peers and in creating healthier communities, the Alliance relies on the Youth Advisory Board to advise the organization on how best to inspire young people to make healthy behavior changes and become leaders and advocates for healthy eating and physical activity. “We believe that listening to youth perspective and empowering them to make a difference is critical in helping combat this public health crisis,” says Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “The Alliance is committed to supporting the amazing work of our Youth Advisory Board and showcasing the powerful impact youth can have to inspire healthy living in their schools and communities.” In addition to their role as advisors and thought-leaders on childhood obesity issues, a cornerstone of the Youth Advisory Board is their commitment to service-learning. Each board member is responsible for initiating healthy changes in their own neighborhoods and school districts by engaging in service-learning programs in their communities. Examples of past service-learning programs initiated by board members include:

Ashlyn Pinkins, 16, from Gretna, LA, has worked with her school board to implement new health policies and organize annual youth rallies, educating students about the importance of taking care of their health Katie Stagliano, 13, from Summerville, NC is the


Leading the Fight Against Childhood Obesity Founder and CEG (Chief Executive Gardener) of Katie's Krops, her not-for-profit organization. She works hard to feed those most in need by starting vegetable gardens and donating the produce to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and directly to the needy through Katie's Krops. • Rogelio Barrera Bejarano, 17, from Van Nuys, CA was able to spread awareness on the importance of eating healthy and being active by teaching empowerME4Life, a healthy living curriculum, to two little league soccer teams. Following a nationwide search, the Alliance selected a group of youth ages 8-17 from diverse backgrounds to serve on the Board. These youth leaders are invited to join the Alliance for one year of service based on a combination of factors, including evidence of their passion for living a healthier life and a desire to inspire others to join them.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation’s leading public health threats—childhood obesity. The goal of the Alli‐ ance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nation‐ wide to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference in a child’s health: homes, schools, doctor’s offices, and communities.

2012-2013 Youth Advisory Board

“It is important for youth to have voice in the fight against childhood obesity because we are the ones living it. In order to combat the problem, those who experience the problem must be involved in the solution,” said Mataio Swain a fourteen-year-old from Charlestown, West Virginia who is returning to his second year of service on the Board. The members of the 2012-2013 Youth Advisory Board are:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Rogelio Bejarano,17, Van Nuys, California Zach Dell, 15, Austin, Texas Guido Dominguez, 12, Miami Beach, Florida Major Dukes, 13, Greensboro, Georgia Jodi Evans, 9, Bowie, Maryland Akansha Jain, 16, Omaha, Nebraska Danyel Jonnson, 11, Sanosteel Tonatchi, New Mexico Bodhi Lovely, 10, Russellville, Arkansas Daniel Muller, 17, Weston, Connecticut Ethan Oro, 14, Menlo Park, California Joe Bear Ortiz, 15, Conifer, Colorado Kyle Ortmeier, 17, Faulkton, South Dakota Ashlyn Pinkins, 16, Gretna, Louisiana Anita Rao, 16, Pearland, Texas Chloe Rosen, 17, Concord, Massachusetts

• • • • • •

Miranda Rosen, 16, Henderson, Nevada Bobby Sena, 9, Orlando, Florida Sarwat Siddiqui, 16, Staten Island, NY Katie Stagllano,13, Summerville, South Carolina Mataio Swain, 14, Charlestown, West Virginia Haile Thomas, 11, Tucson, Arizona Youth leaders, parents, school administrators, teachers and community members all play an important role in inspiring kids to live healthier lives. Visit to learn more about the work of the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board and how anyone can get involved. ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012



imply stated – teachers are jewels. They educate our children, who many go on to become community leaders, doctors, lawyers, corporate executives and even presidents! Think about it - If you’re able to read this article, then you went to school to learn how. I couldn’t even write these words if it had not been for my early years in elementary school, where the fundamentals of ABC’s were taught. We take these things for granted because we exercise these tools every day and never even think about it. No doubt, if any of us were fortunate enough to have had “pre-school” either outside the home or inside, we still needed the lessons that were taught to us by our teachers from grade school to high school, and even beyond. While teaching should be a life-long journey with many rewards, let’s face it, it can also be extremely challenging. One future English teacher is well aware of both the rewards and the challenges. Melissa Buckner is a 22 year old college senior who attends the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Her chosen career has put her on a focused path of educating herself so that she can educate others. I spoke with this confident young woman who is incredibly dedicated and determined to be an integral and vital part of the solution to education in this country. “I love the thought of teaching and sharing my knowledge with others, especially kids. It’s always been a passion for me. I have jumped from different career paths and changed my major several times, but teaching just stuck out for me as something I wanted to pursue,” says Melissa. About a year shy of earning her

By Ava Simone Collier

22 22


Bachelor’s degree in English Language Arts Education, Melissa says that her love for reading and writing has always been present and was nurtured early by her mother. “My mother is a writer and she’s the person who I’ve probably inherited my writing abilities from and my


love for reading. She helped to shape and mold me into a better writer and taught me about sentence structure and the importance of increasing my vocabulary. My father and sister are also very supportive in my career choice and that really makes a difference to have them in my corner,” she stated. Teaching English to eighth graders and high school juniors is a preference for Melissa. Although MELISSA BUCKNER she realizes that she may teach other grades, she is very specific about this particular age group. She explained that teaching English to older students will allow her to teach them to read in between the lines. “I recently read a story by Kate Chopin called The Storm. The author was actually talking about sex, but not overtly. It was layered and you had to not only read and comprehend, but you had to read beneath the surface of her words to really understand it.” I asked her why she is specifically interested in eighth and eleventh grade students and her response was very interesting and thought provoking. “High school seniors can be lazy,” she laughs. “After they get back from the Christmas break, it’s just count-down time to graduation – so it can be pretty challenging to keep their attention. Juniors, on the other hand, are still interested enough because they’re trying to make it to senior year, so their attention span is still there. Eight graders are the oldest of the middle school students and they’re about to go to high school – they’re probably scared about that and will welcome teachers who are trying to prepare them for high school.” Competing for students’ attention is surely a tremendous effort for all teachers, especially in this day of cell phones, iPads and the Internet. I wanted to know what this young teacher-in-training felt about the distractions that will certainly be attending class along with her students and how she plans to deal with them. “I think as far as cell phones and the internet, probably most students will have them. I believe there’s a way to incorporate the use of all of them with learning. For example, in my college classes now, my professors sometimes host surveys and allow students to text in their answers on a particular topic. So, cell phones, iPads and the internet can be used as a teaching tool. But, if this does not apply to my lesson agenda, and students were using their electronics anyway, then I’d have to eliminate that distraction, either by requiring them to put it away, or confiscating them and allowing parents/guardians to retrieve them. They would have to follow classroom rules. If they (students) want to learn, they will be there and present.” When I asked Melissa why she thinks she’ll make a great teacher, this is what she had to say. “I’m very approachable. I can relate to students, even the ones who have gone through lots of childhood struggles-even if I didn’t go through that myself. I’m a good listener and will always try to help.” She realizes that life isn’t perfect and a student’s home life may not be

idyllic. “Students have problems at home that may prevent or interfere with them making school a top priority- especially if they don’t have family support or they have to care for younger siblings, or even have to work. I think that I would understand that and be sympathetic to that fact and always try to find a way to help them.” She adds, “In me, they will find someone who understands and respects them. I would try to put myself into their situation and let them know that I’m here for them as their teacher and someone they can trust and talk to.” Parent involvement is vital Melissa agrees. “These kids are in our classrooms for 7-8 hours a day. Most times, if they’re not at home, then they’re at school – it’s a second home and teachers are, in many ways, like a surrogate parent to them. If we (teachers) don’t have parental reinforcement and support, then it makes our jobs much harder. Parents and teachers need to work together for the benefit of the student. When I start teaching and a student is failing or not coming to class at all and I reach out to the parent and get no response, then I don’t want to hear about it later when the student fails my class – I tried.” Studying for her career has not come without sacrifices. Melissa says that she’s missed out on some partying and good times with her friends because she had exams to study for. In addition, she also works a part-time job to help her through school. However, she says the rewards will be more than worth it. “Finishing my degree is the most important thing for me right now. The rewards – knowing that students are passing standardized tests because we’ve been practicing and are passing my class because they’ve learned the information that I’ve taught them. Realizing that they’ve absorbed the information and can even challenge it, or each other, in a discussion will be very satisfying for me. To have my students graduate from high school will be rewarding, but even before then, knowing that they’ve grasped the lessons and passed the tests and assignments – that’s just as important. I want them to give it back to me and I’ll know I’m doing my job.” ■

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By Ava Simone Collier

t first when I started making music, I thought I could sit in the studio and record one or two songs and I could put it out and have a deal, then I recognized that it’s not realistic. When you don’t have a team, you have to be a lot more proactive about your career. You have to become that team until you get one.” Theo Hammond, stage name Yung Mejah, is talking about his initial expectations of being a successful artist versus the reality. He is a musical artist who says he never had a desire to be front and center. “I started off in a group setting, so I’ve never been the person who naturally sought the spotlight. I was always more comfortable behind the scenes. The only reason I’m in front now is because my productions need to be heard and I have to be hands on until I find a solid situation.” Songs such as Summer in the Dina and Letter to My City pay tribute to a place where his childhood was spent and lifelong friendships were made. Born and raised in Fernandina Beach, Florida – a small city approximately 25 miles north of Jacksonville – boasting pristine beaches and a long history of resident fishermen and blue- collar mill workers – native son Yung Mejah is this town’s newest and brightest star. With an effervescent 24


smile and long dreadlocks, his voice is deep and rich as the lyrics flow effortlessly from his mouth, sounding like a seasoned veteran. In reality, he is young in this business, but not naïve. “I’ve been doing this since high school. I was a part of a group called The Troops. Our initial group did not have original production – so I became the producer. I always rapped, but making beats is what I love the most. I realize that the lifespan in this business for an artist is short, 1-2 albums tops- and that’s for artists who are new to the scene and attempting to stay relevant, which is hard to do in this game because things change rapidly- sound wise and trends. Lots of artists aren’t versatile enough to stay relevant. I do because I’m always open to trying new things.” He adds, “You have to be flexible. People come up with a plan and stick to it without making adjustments as needed or considering changing trends. The industry changes every five years – if you’re not hip to it and embrace it, you could fall when the music changes.” Party in da Mansion, Ft. Thoro & Nugget, Do Dat, and Day Off are just a few of the songs that Mejah has written and produced. Realizing that the music industry is highly competitive, I asked him what gives him an edge – what sets him apart? “I


Photos by Vidal Acosta of

desire to be in this game so much that I’ve acquired other skills in order to accommodate myself as an artist.” Making beats, writing lyrics and rapping are what Yung Mejah does. Sharing the spotlight with other up and coming artists is also on his radar, as is evident in one of his newest songs, Vroom, featuring the rap group “99” – also from Fernandina. “I’ve always been open to giving other people the opportunity to see the greatness in themselves,” admits Mejah. “I feel like I want to give someone else the chance to develop their talents.” Currently living in Orlando, Florida and attending the University of Central Florida, Mejah is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in social work. I asked him how important location is regarding his genre of music. “Location is very important, but

at the same time, it’s also important to not let that hinder you from the bigger picture. I still know that although I’m in Florida for school – which is very important to my mother - and people in Cali and NY know nothing about me… yet, sooner or later I’m going to be heard. You have to think on a bigger scale. Miami is big right now with Rick Ross and Tallahassee with T-pain - they’re giving Florida a national buzz and that helps the whole state.” “Like poets Ernest Hemmingway and Robert Frost, I am inspired by everything around me – that’s how I create my music,” says Yung Mejah. “I look up to legendary artists like Biggie Smalls – when his songs came on, you felt like you were in Brooklyn, even if you’ve never been there before. When NWA came out, even if you weren’t from Compton, you understood where they came from – the way they talked about where they were from was so vivid. That has always inspired me to never forget my home.” And going back to Fernandina often is something that is important to him. He says the response, love and support that he has received from his home town has been incredible “I am honestly speechless because the support from home is so great and that’s hard to get,” he says. “These are people who I grew up with and if you are not genuine in what you say in your lyrics, those will be the first people to recognize that. Their support makes me believe that what I’m doing is genuine because when I make music, it’s not a gimmick or to impress, it’s from my heart and experience.” Growing up without a father could have negatively influenced Yung Mejah – but it didn’t. He says that his grandfather Henry was the father he never had and it

Twitter: @yungmejah

was because of him and his presence in his life that he has become the man he is today. “My father wasn’t around. At that age, you don’t know why – you start to think it’s something you did or like you’re not good enough. My grandfather took on the role that my father was supposed to. I thank God for him.” Mejah says that his grandfather bought him his first computer “I made my first beat on that same computer.” Although his grandfather didn’t get to see that he has found his passion in music, he believes he knows it. “He’s not here physically, but he’s looking. I can hear his words - One day you’ll understand - I wish I could tell him that I do. He raised me well and I hope I’m making him proud.” No journey is effortless and without sacrifice. Yung Mejah agrees as he shares some of the obstacles that he is overcoming. “You have to work hard. It takes a team to really get you to the top. I’ve sacrificed relationships because when you love what you do and do it for a living, you have to pay your dues – part of that is investing a lot of time that doesn’t give you money in return initially. I realize the bigger picture – my success will guarantee somebody else’s success. This business has taught me so much - not just as an artist, but as a man.” I asked Yung Mejah what he would offer to other aspiring artists. “You have to be self-made and prepared to do the things that need to be done even if you don’t have the means or resources. From the outside looking in, things look easy – but you have to have a passion and you really have to love it. Study and perfect your craft – set yourself apart from the pact and have a hunger to progress – it’s a necessity!” ■

YouTube: Yung Mejah








By Ava Simone Collier

e’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child. Dr. Steve Perry agrees with this, but adds, “It also takes engaged adults and we’re doing poorly. This is as bad as it’s ever been and our community is struggling mightily to exist.” Steve Perry is the Founder and Principal of The Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Preparatory has bragging rights to the fact that 100% of their students go on to attend four-year colleges. When I asked Dr. Perry how he achieves this remarkable accomplishment, he explained that, in addition to longer school hours, it’s a group effort. “I have a very good team of caring and capable educators who come together to create an environment within which children are expected to go to a four-year college. It works and we’re very proud of that.” I last spoke with Dr. Perry two years ago. Since that time, he continues to work with CNN and MSNBC as their education contributor and has self-published two books, Man Up and his most recent, Push Has Come to Shove. He is also an education contributor to Essence Magazine and has recently garnered applause for his newest endeavor to save our children with his television show on TVOne, Save My Son. Dr. Perry explains the importance of Save My Son and reveals that it’s not just a show, it’s a movement. “It’s about how we can save our sons. People are beginning to realize that they aren’t dead and aren’t done, even when they’re on drugs, disengaged, violent towards their mothers or stealing from them, or have issues with their fathers.” Save My Son is a weekly, one-hour prime time show which airs on Wednesday nights at 9 pm. EST., focusing 28


on young black males who are misguided and off track. I asked him how these families are selected. “They find us. We get phone calls and emails every day, and the numbers are too big to ignore. That lets us know that we’ve got a lot of work to do.” Dr. Perry says that in addition to his intervention into these boys’ lives, he has support from other men who also want to see our sons living their best lives. “There are celebrities and athletes who come onto the show. They don’t come in as celebrities. Instead, they come as mentors - men who care about these boys. They come as regular brothers who want to see our boys in a better place.” Dr. Perry says that some of the men who have joined him to date have been comedian, actor & author, Steve Harvey, American Idol star Ruben Studdard, actor Pooch Hall


(The Game), Former NBA players Charles Barclay and Jalen Rose (current ESPN sports analyst). He also states that one of his former students, Andre Drummond (first-round draft pick for the Detroit Pistons) is on board. “The show is working amazingly well,” says Dr. Perry. “And the response has been phenomenal and mind blowing.” Dr. Perry states that he spoke with someone recently who works in a rural white community in Connecticut. He explained that this man told him that Save My Son was being discussed in the teachers’ lounge at the school where he worked. “A lot of people want to see positive programming and are pulling for these kids. It just goes to show that both black and white people and other races want to see black people do better. There is a crossover appeal and the ratings received numbers which far exceed anything that the network has seen in this genre.” So, what does this mean, I asked Dr. Perry. “It means that it’s not

just black people watching and who are engaged in what it takes to save our sons.” Having only seen one episode of the hour-long show, I am hopeful and encouraged that Dr. Perry and others are reaching out to save our youth. However, I honestly wondered how much could be done to turn an angry young man around and improve his outlook and environment in such a short time. I asked him what happens to these young men and their families after he leaves and after the cameras are gone. I wondered if the changes really lasted. When I asked him, he simply said to me, “You gotta watch the show. I wouldn’t have done this show if I didn’t think it was possible. The only people who see things as impossible are the people who’ve never done it before. I think it’s possible. I don’t just spend an hour with the families, I spend the entire weekend - 72 hours - and we do follow ups!” He spoke about how important it is

to have family involvement and participation with these young men. Once again, the side of me which remains hopeful and optimistic, but slightly cynical, asked him how does a parent who doesn’t know how to nurture give this to their sons. “Our sons just want someone to love them. I know that one of the reasons that our kids are not doing well is that they don’t get the love and support they need. Save My Son is so important because we’re showing parents how to give and do things that many of them have never had themselves and the parents are very receptive!” I applaud Dr. Perry for his interest, efforts and for reaching out to make a positive difference in the lives of our children and, subsequently the community at large - one son at a time. Even if one child’s life is progressively impacted and transformed by this intervention, then the village is a success! ■





y 1st Alopecia Awareness Cruise was a tremendous success! We set sail September 10-15, 2012, to the Western Caribbean. After fifteen months of marketing and advertising this highly anticipated cruise, it was off the chain!!! All of my guests truly enjoyed themselves. We departed from Galveston, TX, and docked at Yucatan Progresso and Cozymel. After departure, I surprised everyone with tote bags full of goodies…and stepped out of the box to write and sing a cruise theme song. “Cruise with a purpose” was an instant success! I was so excited that everyone loved it! It was suggested that I go into a recording studio and record it to music and have it copyrighted. So that is what I am doing before it is released. How exciting…my own cruise theme song! You will hear it soon!!! Since we were combining alopecia awareness and vacation, we only had a schedule for Awards Night and the two Educational Trichology Seminars by Dr. Amerson. We had so much fun, gained weight with the all you could eat food 24/7, shopped, relaxed, did beach excursions, other excursions, relaxed in the hot tub, sang karaoke, laughed, line dancing, attended shows, played dominoes, played taboo- men against the women, played spades and whatever we wanted to do. The winner of my essay contest won a FREE Cruise for parent and child! During Awards Night, my essay winner Cayla Staples read her winning essay, received surprise gifts, I played a surprise congratulatory DVD, including her original song “You Are Beautiful” from Songstress/Motivational Speaker/Life Coach Sandra Dubose-Gibson. Lastly, I presented certificates to everyone, and highlighted two custom awards, designed by Artist Tyra Goodley for Dr. Amerson, were presented to: Essay Winner Cayla Staples Corporate Award to Children’s Alopecia Project, Inc. Appreciation Certificates were given to my 8 Media Partners.

Dr. Amerson’s Alopecia Awareness Cruise 2012 By Dr. Linda Amerson

Please make plans to join us in September 2014 on our Cruise With A Purpose!!! Cruise Essay Contestant LA’s Hair & Scalp Clinic Dr. Linda Amerson 2304 W. Pioneer Pkwy, #6 Arlington, TX 76013 817 265-8854 30


• EncoreHD Hair Magazine • Trendsetters To Trendsetters

Magazine • I Messenger Newsletter • Perfected Magazine


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Living Magazine Chocol8 Magazine Inc. Midwest Black Hair Magazine Southern Dallas County Business & Living Magazine

I would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Doris Crawford, Mr. Kenneth Williams, Mrs. LaNette Kincaid, and Mrs. Sandra DuboseGibson who gave donations/gifts to my essay winner Cayla Staples. Also, Graphic Artist Derek Payne, and Artist Tyra Goodley for designing my unique awards for my honorees. With excitement, are preparing for our 2nd Annual Cruise With A Purpose 2014! Dates TBA on the beautiful Carnival Magic for 7 relaxing days and 2 educational seminars! My Alopecia essay is for children ages 10-18. The essay theme is “I have Alopecia, but it does not define who I Am.” Essay deadline is July, 2013. The essay winner will win a FREE Cruise for the parent and child. Cruise coordinator is Ms. Armie Snarley. Send all essay submissions to me. ■


Dr. Amerson’s Alopecia Awareness Cruise 2012 TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012





Your Pet and the Holidays Vol. II


By: Leslie Ayo “The Dog Guru” Now that you have made arrangements for your pets holidays schedule, we need to focus on several holiday dangers to pets. There are many that most people don’t consider until it is too late. While the holidays are an exciting time for us, it can be very stressful time for pets. New people, strange smells, unfamiliar places, can cause anxiety for your pet. If you know your pet gets a little nervous around unfamiliar people or places, a good idea is to place your pet in a room where he will be away from all the excitement and small pulling fingers. If a room is unavailable, have a travel crate or pet play pen handy to place your pet in, be sure to add his favorite toys, snacks, and blanket or bed. Other dangers to your pet can come from leftover gift wrapping paper, string, food, and ornamental plants. Promptly throw all the gift wrappings away, pets can easily choke on or strangle themselves on these. You also might want to buy only plastic decorations, glass ones can break and easily injure your pet. Giving your pet leftover food can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and small bones can even pose a choking hazard. Many ornamental plants can also be poisonous to pets and you should use great care when bringing these into your home, or just not bring them home at all. Noise, lights, and fireworks from celebrations can scare a pet and cause him to run away from all the commotion, never to be seen again. Always keep your pet securely leashed or tucked away safe at home when attending these types of events. Let’s recap what we just talked about:

ith the holidays fast approaching once again, it is time to prepare your furry, four legged companion for the upcoming festivities. Will you be boarding your pet while you are away visiting family, will your pet be traveling with you, or is the family celebrating at your home this year? Now is the right time to prepare. You will need to make sure your pet is current on their vaccinations including rabies, these need to be current if you are staying home, visiting family, and especially if traveling or if you plan to board your pet. Have a current copy of your pet’s health records with you. You will need to show these to your pet’s boarding facility. If your pet is traveling by airplane with you, you may need a health certificate issued from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your flight. Always call ahead and find out your airlines rules for traveling with your pet. Boarding facilities fill up fast so you will need to book your pet’s stay now. Contact your local boarding facilities in your area for information. Many veterinarian clinics also board pets for the holidays.

Pet Holiday Safety Tips Do make travel or boarding arrangements in advance. Do have current vaccinations and health records on hand. Do bring travel, crate, food, bed, bowls, and leashes with you. Don’t bring pets to loud, crowded celebrations or firework events. Stay away from these dangerous foods and toxic plants: Chocolate, Caffeine, & Coffee Macadamia Nuts Onions, Chives, & Small bones Milk and Yeast dough Avocadoes, Grapes, & Raisins Alcohol, Prescription pills, & Drugs Poinsettias, Lily, & Daffodils plants Holly, Mistletoe, & Christmas Trees Ingesting any of these dangerous food and toxic plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, lethargy, and even death. Keep these food and plants out of reach of your pets. If you notice your pet experiencing any of the above symptoms, note the amount ingested and call your vet and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888)-426-4435. Please protect your pets, prepare in advance, and have a Happy Holiday Season. ■ TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012



Cover Story by Lisa Earley et’s keep it real…. when we watch movies, we often find ourselves saying, “OMG, he is sooooo fine; or, she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen!” We can go down the list of countless handsome (and pretty) faces we have seen dawn the silver screen, or our TV screens at home. Yes, those faces often cause us to become fans of particular actors, initially. However, if you are a person of substance, you aren’t moved by what you see on the outside. You are more interested in what lies beneath that good looking shell.



COVER STORY Unfortunately, many people have this perception that Hollywood is full of shallow, bird-brain folks, with handsome/pretty faces, and that is not the case. Actually, Hollywood is full of hardworking, intelligent, talented men and women who take their craft of acting very seriously. They breathe, drink and eat acting. Darrin Dewitt Henson is one of those individuals I have just described. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing him, and ladies, please know that he’s so much more than a handsome face. He is a caring/kind, deep/insightful, intelligent, multitalented actor/director, author, choreographer, dancer, philanthropist, and producer (and let’s not forget, happily married). Mr. Henson is truly a man of many talents, and he exudes passion regarding the many hats that he wears. It was exciting to listen to the enthusiasm in his voice as he discussed the many facets of Darrin.

Although Darrin loves choreography, he is equally passionate about his acting. He said, “Acting is about telling stories. You have to tell a story with your character, and make it believable.” On that note, I remember watching Stomp the Yard, and thinking, “What a jerk!” about Darrin’s character (now that’s what good acting is all about… being believable!). He played the role of Grant (the boyfriend of April, played by Meagan Good), a cocky fraternity playboy who was incredibly arrogant and disrespectful to women. He was so believable! Let’s not forget his character, Lem Van Adams, from Showtime’s longestrunning drama with a predominantly African-American cast, Soul Food. Darrin was awesome as Lem as well! He played the husband of Tracy “Bird” Joseph (Malinda Williams), and as a convicted felon turned into a doting husband, he was often the target of blame and ridicule from Bird’s sisters. I remember thinking, “why do they treat him so bad sometimes…. people make mistakes, and they change… right?” Again… his character was be-

Born in the Bronx (NY), Henson grew up admiring people like Eddie Murphy, Don Cheadle, and John Travolta. He had diverse interests, but got his start in the entertainment industry through choreography and dance at the age of 14, when he joined Boogie Down Production’s Scott LaRock’s Vermont school tour. Darrin has worked as a choreographer with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Brittany Spears and NSYNC, to name a few. In 2000, he won MTV’s Music Video Award for Best Choreography, for his work with NSYNC’s Bye, Bye, Bye. In addition, Henson’s video, Darrin’s Dance Grooves has sold over three million copies.

lievable; great acting. Darrin currently has several irons in the fire. He is shooting a movie called, The Hotel, an American Bollywood film, about a family that runs this hotel and every occupant/room has a different and interesting theme. It’s dramatic, and fun, but also about ownership and corporation. Henson is producing, directing and choreographing this film. He is also starring in two upcoming films: Ex Free, written and directed by Troy Byer, which is about freeing yourself from the baggage of your exes (Actress Shari Headley plays his wife in this movie), and The Great Divide, which is about couples and relationship dynamics. His wife in the film (played by Tichina Arnold) is working

on a class project where she examines and writes about their friends and the good, the bad and the ugly in their relationships. In addition to acting himself, Darrin has found time to teach up and coming actors how to enhance their craft. I had the pleasure of witnessing Mr. Henson’s “let me reach into the ‘depths of your

soul’ approach” as a participant in his Master Acting Class in June, as part of the DC Black Theatre Festival. He read everyone like a book… including me. It was so intense, that I felt like I had a sign on my forehead that read, “This is MY story, read me, Mr. Henson.” It was so deep, and so spiritual, I almost wanted to have prayer (as a group) when we finished the class. Thank you, Darrin, for making what I thought was going to be a “traditional” workshop, so much more meaningful. The word is spreading about Darrin’s masterful abilities to teach other actors about the craft of acting. In fact, Continued on Page 64




Mixing love and business makes for powerful partnerships John and Rhonda Wilkins orking with a spouse has it's o w n c h a l lenges, but it’s up to the couple to set the boundaries to make the working relationship powerful. Over the past 20 years I have created numerous business partnerships with my spouse; each time we would sit down together and clearly define our individual roles. Working in Corporate America for over 25 years, one career path i chose was to become a Department Manager

About the John and Rhonda Wilkins


0-year veterans in the Entertainment Industry, The Wilkins are owners of an event marketing and production boutique, Diva’s Unlimited, Inc., that has been featured in numerous national media outlets. and Glam Concierge, the Booking Agency, an Atlanta-based booking service for backstage productions of Fashion, Film, and Music industry events with satellite offices in New York and Los Angeles.

They also created and executive produced two annual award galas, The Legendary Awards, benefiting the American Diabetes Association and The InfluenceHER Awards benefiting the March for Babies Campaign. ■


of a Customer Service Call Center for 12 years. This position allowed me the opportunity to receive Human Resource, Diversity, Leadership and Project Management training. As an ambitious young lady I knew I wanted more and to have my own business one day. Knowledge is Power! I took on every task in front of me and I took advantage of the knowledge that I was given and applied those same principals I learned and used them in my own business. Evaluating my strengths and weaknesses I knew that I needed someone else to balance me. My husband was always my pitch guy. If I came up with a project I wanted to do all I had to do was pitch it to him, if he liked it I knew I had a winner because he has always been honest with me whether it was good or bad. As the creator and producer of some amazing projects we have a few tips that we practice consistently that has worked for us. 1.

When starting a new partnership, Get it in writing! An entrepreneurial partnership is just like being married 2. Communication is key and collaboration is key for execution 3. Avoid arguments by listening to each other and being respectful of 4. Acknowledge your spouse’s strengths and recognize your own weaknesses so that you can compliment each other 5. Consult with each other before making big decisions 6. Have clear job descriptions and concise goals for each of our roles 7. Have a “weekly meeting” to discuss exactly what needs to be done 8. Enjoy our work and not let work interfere with family time. Business issues and family time are best kept separate 9. We have different styles of working so we have separate offices 10. and last but not least, we HAVE FUN doing what we do. ■



Side By Side By Ava Simone Collier


wonderfully warm breeze caressed my face as I sat across from Dr. Curtis Wagner and his lovely wife of 20 years, Kristin. They graciously invited me to join them for lunch at The Tap Room at Dubsdread Restaurant in Orlando, Fl. The food was wonderful and the view outside from the patio of the lush green golf course was tranquil. Dr. Wagner, a successful podiatrist with his own practice at the Foot and Ankle Associates of Florida, left his office to meet up with his wife and myself at the restaurant. Kristin Wagner, a registered nurse, is tall and graceful and sits quietly next to her husband now as he speaks. I first met the Wagners when I worked at Orange County Medical Clinic and they came once a month to voluntarily provide medical care to our homeless and indigent patients. As a nurse, she assisted Dr. Wagner in patient care and they worked beautifully as a team, side by side. Still dressed in his scrubs, he is speaking about his practice. “I’ve been in practice for about 24 years now. There are seven of us in the group now and I have been volunteering at Orange County Clinic for about 12 years.” I asked them both about how important it is to maintain balance and friendship in their marriage. I also asked how vital is pursuing individual interests apart from each other. Although Kristin does not work with her husband in his practice, she stated that it is important to still have interests that help to make her a better woman, wife and mother. “I guess the biggest thing for me is exercise. I take classes at the Y and take yoga. I do drag him with me every now and then. I also do a lot of volunteer work and substitute teaching at a preschool and religious education at our church. It gives you something to talk about when you come back together.” Dr. Wagner agreed. “It’s very important. You have to find that balance and spend time together making those times count. But you also have to have an individual life that make you grow and do things that make you feel accomplished and also I think it gives you’re able to give that much more to your spouse when you’re together. It’s a balance of sharing and individuality.” Dr. Wagner says he also enjoys exercising and swimming. “We have our times where at least twice a year we have a day or two that I’m just with my friends or she’s just with her friends. It’s important because it re-bonds relationships that were important from college. All of that together makes you grow as a person and appreciate the things you share together.” Dr. Wagner referred to a passage in best selling author

Steven Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “ ‘Sharpen the saw’; every day the lawn cutter has to sharpen their saw to get the job done, it may get repetitive but it’s important. Everyday you go home and do the stuff it takes to make things work. When I get off from work, I’m tired after a long day. But my kids, for them, I’m just getting home for the first time. I give my energy to them when I get home even though I’m tired because that’s all they’re seeing. This applies to spouses too. We all get tired and frustrated but you have to put effort into it every day.” I asked them how important a sense of humor is in a

relationship. They both looked at each other and started laughing. Kristin quickly adds “I have three children, him being my third,” she says as she tilts her head in his direction. Dr. Wagner chimes in, “I’m a kid at heart. Every day you want to have some fun so things don’t get mundane. Although Kristin is very organized and detailed oriented, she doesn’t take things to seriously and that helps to keep me balance.” In addition to a sense of humor, time together and apart, the Wagners agreed that faith is also a necessary ingredient for a successful and lasting marriage. “Faith in God and following his teachings and commandments, to love your wife/husband and kids…it makes a difference.” ■ A special thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Wagner. They have been trendsetters in my community for a long time working quietly and diligently while providing necessary healthcare to the uninsured and underinsured citizens of Orlando, Florida. Thanks, Dr. Wagner, for being my personal physician for so long and taking such good care of my feet and ankles over the years!





.A.L.D. is a jewelry line created by sister team Aria Nero-Seder and Deirdre Nero. The acronym B.A.L.D. stands for Bad Ass Lawyer & Designer, and represents the sisters themselves. They are from Miami, and have created this line for women who are struggling with medical hair loss, especially due to conditions like Alopecia Areata and cancer treatments. Deidre shares her story, "My name is Deirdre Nero. I am an Immigration Attorney that runs my own law practice NERO Immigration Law, P.L. in Coral Gables (Miami) Florida. I am 35 years old, divorced, with no children other then my adorable little dog Marty that was a rescue from a puppy mill. I was diagnosed with alopecia areata when I was 21 years old. I was living in Spain at the time studying abroad my junior year of college. One day I was blow drying my long, thick, curly hair and I found a round smooth bald patch about the size of a 50 cent piece. I was very upset and scared and didn't know what it was. I vividly remember making a transatlantic call to my mother and hysterically crying and she didn't understand what I was saying because I was crying so hard. Like most people I had never heard of alopecia. When I got back to the US I had a lot of tests (thyroid, blood, etc.) and visited a few dermatologists and was then diagnosed with alopecia areata. For many years I had just patchy alopecia that I was able to hide rather easily. It would get better and worse but I really never looked bald. I had so much hair that was able to cover the spots. I got treated with cortisone injections

and that seemed to help. I also tried all kinds of topical treatments my dermatologist prescribed me. The worst part was just not knowing if and when it would progress and to what extent. Fear that I would go completely bald was always in the back of my mind. I remember I always used to ask my (now ex) husband "will you still love me if I go bald?"‌ He would always dutifully say yes (oh, the irony!). Around 2008-2009 It started to get really bad. The spots started growing together and taking up more and more of the surface area on my head. I became less and less able to hide the spots and I was becoming very self conscious and so I finally, with the encouragement of my mother, I decided it was time to start wearing a wig. I was going through a very traumatic and unwanted divorce around the same time and my self esteem was already very low. Going bald was just another added stressor in my life and made me feel like I was being kicked when I was down. My patches kept getting bigger and finally I was totally bald except for a large spot about the size of a small hand on the very top of my head. My sister finally encouraged me to just shave the spot off all together so I would have a nice smooth head and she sat me down on the floor in the bathroom and did it for me. That was about 2 years ago. After that I started to shave my head regularly and also wore wigs in my everyday public life. As an at-



torney I did not feel free to be out in the open with my baldness. I was also trying to get back out into the dating world (a nightmare on it's own, never mind when you are bald!) and it wasn't easy for me to be free with my alopecia with men I was dating either. I felt like I looked strange and I only would let my close family and friends see me bald and a the few boyfriends who "passed the test" and accepted my bald head. Around March of this year my alopecia again progressed from totalis to universals. I lost the remaining tiny spot I had on my head and I no longer have to shave it at all. I also lost my eyebrows, almost all of my eyelashes, and all the hair on my body. I took this very hard. Losing my eyebrows and lashes is especially hard. I felt like I looked like a creature/alien and did not recognize myself in the mirror." To encourage others, she share, "The number one thing I can share is to try to love and accept yourself for what and who you are. If you can't or don't, then you really can not expect other people to either. I have learned that the hard way the past few years. The acceptance and love has to start inside of yourself first. Don't be afraid to rely on your friends and family and the people who love you unconditionally. They see you for who you really are, and so whenever you can, try to see yourself through their eyes because they see the best of you. It is hard, there is no denying

that. I still catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and am startled. I don't recognize myself sometimes when I see the bald women staring back at me. But the more I accept my alopecia as part of my life the less I find that happening, and that is a good thing. We are our own toughest critics. What we need to remember is that we should also be our own biggest fan. It has to start from inside of yourself." "The B.A.L.D. jewelry line is a joint endeavor with my sister, Aria, and was born out of her love and encouragement. She has been a jewelry designer for over 10 years and is very talented. She is also my biggest supporter and best friend. Right around the time that my alopecia got really bad she kept saying to me "you know we should really do an earring line and have you be the model with your bald head, it would be so fabulous!" At first I thought she was crazy and I kept saying no (hell, no!) to the idea. I knew it would mean going public with my baldness and I just wasn't ready for that. She didn't push me but she also never gave up and would occasionally remind me of the idea and give me very gentle nudges towards the idea. Right around the time that my eyebrows and lashes and body hair fell out I finally decided OK! What the hell? Let's DO IT! It was a big step for me. She kept asking "are you sure you are ready for this?" and I just finally knew I was and that I could do it and more importantly, that I wanted to do it. And B.A.L.D. was born! The acronym B.A.L.D. stands for Bad Ass Lawyer &

(L to R) Deidre Nero and Aria Nero-Seder



BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Designer- the name is meant to represent me (The Bad Ass Bald Lawyer) and my sister (The Bad Ass Jewelry Designer). We want to use the line to raise awareness for alopecia and to give encouragement to women struggling with hair loss (be it from alopecia, cancer treatments, or whatever else) to embrace their beauty… and to be bold! All the earrings are designed by us and handmade by Aria, and we donate 15% of sales to NAAF and GAM, two charities that I think are doing great work in the Alopecia Areata field in terms of awareness, support, and research towards a cure. As far as B.A.L.D. goes- Our webpage is almost ready to go live and will feature an online store. Right now we have a great Facebook page ( w w w . f a c e b o o k . c o m/ baldjewelry) where we are building up a strong group of fans and supporters and getting our name and story out there. We have sold the B.A.L.D. line at 2 shows in person in the Design District in Miami and will continue to do so. We also just taped and interview with our local FOX affiliate WSVN that will be airing in the next few weeks and are looking to get more press coverage. As far as personally- I am continuing to build my law practice and also focus on my personal life. Spending time with the people who love me and working on myself both internally and externally. Learning to love my bald self! :))" ■



The Little Girl Who “Knew She Could”

emember the story we read as chilBy Lisa Earley dren, The Little Engine That Could? That story graced so many of our classrooms and homes when we were growing up. I loved that story! It was such an encouragement to young people, and served as a reminder… to never give up! If you think you can…. you eventually will! When I spoke with Casting Director Nancy Klopper, I immediately drew the comparison between her story, and The Little Engine That Could. Nancy left home at age 18, right after graduating from high school, and moved across the country to California. That demonstrated an incredible amount of courage! Nancy knew that she didn’t want to go to college, because she felt like she didn’t excel in school. What she did know, is that she wanted to do something in the entertainment industry. Ms. Klopper initially worked in retail when she first arrived in L.A. Then “Good People,” an employment agency that specialized in job placement for people wanting to work in the entertainment industry, sent her on an assignment that would prove to be the foundation for Nancy’s life in Hollywood. As luck would have it, the assignment was working for Lynn Stalmaster (an award winning casting director). That one day temp assignment actually turned into six years. “When something fits, it fits!” said Klopper. “I am sooooooo lucky (and I know it)!” Here’s this young woman, from the largely agricultural state of Ohio, with no major training, and no education beyond high school, who suddenly finds herself under the tutelage of a great American casting director. Nancy learned a lot from Lynn (who cast roles for Coming Home, In The Heat of the Night, The Graduate, Tootsie and Westside Story, to name a few; in fact, he has a “huge” list of credits). She had two things working in her favor: exuberance and youth. Nancy talked about how at age 20, you don’t have an ego, and there are no limits to what you are willing to do. You don’t mind grabbing or making coffee for your boss, filing papers, and running errands. In the early 80’s, Nancy decided to branch out on her own. In 1983, she had the pleasure of casting roles for Risky Business. That is the film that opened doors for Nancy (and, that film also launched Tom Cruise’s career). Ms. Klopper has a rather extensive list of films to add to her repertoire, but some of her more popular films are Fantastic Four, Office Space, Ray and The Devil’s Advocate. Some of Nancy’s current projects include: Born to be Blue (the Chet Baker story), Parker, The Black Marks and The Chronoscope. Nancy likened her profession to that of a “comfortable pair of shoes.” Yet, after many years into her life of being a casting director, she began to feel burned out. So, she decided to experience a different side of the ‘world of film.’ In the late 80’s, Nancy went to work for 20th Century Fox as a VP and assistant to the president, Leonard Goldberg. After


BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT a short stint there, she then went to work for Norman Lear at his company, Act 111 Productions. Although the executive side of film gave Nancy a glimpse at an unfamiliar world, she soon realized that she really missed her life as a casting director. She asked herself, “Why did I leave something I was so good at?” So, in the early 90’s, with a ‘new-found’ respect and certainly a deeper appreciation for what she did, Ms. Klopper decided to return to what she knew, and did very well. However, in this industry, when you take a break, during that re-entry period you are no longer the 1st choice (such is life). So Nancy, if people are interested in being a casting director, what should they do to make that happen? Nancy advises people who are interested in pursuing casting as a career, to send resumes to the CSA (Casting Society of America). “Watch lots of movies, go to lots of theatre. You will have to begin by working for a casting director. Be open and willing to learn from someone. Be prepared to do anything. Get coffee, lunch, etc. You can't have an ego get in the way. I had great mentors….the key is to always have your eyes and ears open so that you can learn from them.” I am inspired by Ms. Klopper’s story, and I hope you are, too! Yes, she was lucky (many of us call it blessed) to have been at the right place at the right time in some cases. She could have allowed the education barrier or the formal/major training barrier to hold her back in her 20’s, but she didn’t. What an incredibly courageous woman! I had the pleasure of spending time with Nancy while she was in Atlanta, speaking at a film festival. She was sooooo delightful! We exchanged funny stories, hugs, and lots of laughs. While speaking with Nancy, I was reminded of how important it is to, dare to be different… follow your dreams…. think outside of the box!! These phrases may sound like clichés, but they each apply to Nancy’s story. My friends, her story can be your story as well. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from making those things you’ve only dreamed of as a kid (and oftentimes as an adult) become your reality. Just like Ms. Klopper, The Little Girl Who “Knew She Could” (and The Little Engine That Could), tell yourself…. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can (and you will).” Dream it~ believe it~ do it!! ■


would like to take this time to thank you for the support that you have given me for The Antidote Show. For the past six months, I have been on sabbatical, praying for direction and allowing God to speak to my heart and to lead me into my next assignment. God has changed my life in a profound way by preparing me for my next journey for him. This journey’s purpose will be for people to know what the Antidote is. God is the Antidote and if we as a people would turn from our wicked ways, only then can he, the Creator, heal our land. This is what the Lord is saying to his people at this time. By applying the Antidote to your life, you will eat the good of the land. God has birthed out a new show called Real Talk, Real Solutions. This show reaches out to the lost soul that needs an ear to hear and to show them through my life how to be a fire of the word as well as pointing them in a Godly direction. My focus with the Antidote Show was to inform the audience of the things that God has done. Now it is time to let the world know that what he did for others he can do for you. Our God loves everyone! He loves us and wants us all to have life more abundantly. We understand that the people need more. They need The Solution and not a solution. Being that God is the Ultimate Antidote to all your situations, we encourage our viewers to get the Antidote. Join me as I reach out for those that need The Solution for their life. Let’s reach out and help those who do not have the Antidote, get the Antidote. Let's embrace them, help them and love them as God loves them. Mershele Brown




“A Matriarch’s Journey

…Mrs. Helen V. Laney Humphrey” By Lisa Earley t the ripe age of 86, Helen V. Laney Humphrey has authored her first book, An Intercessor’s Journey: Preparation for Standing in the Gap. Mrs. Humphrey is a wife and the mother of six. She was born July 12, 1926, in Beaver Falls, PA. Helen is the eldest of nine girls, and the daughter of the late Walter and late Josabelle Laney. She spent most of her life in Canton, OH, but currently resides in San Antonio, Texas (where she has lived for the past 25 years). ‘Aunt Helen’ is my mother’s oldest sister, and I adore her! I have visited with my aunt on several occasions throughout the years, but our interview provided me with some information and stories I never knew. It’s amazing how we sometimes “think” we know family members, but we have no idea what they have been through, and the journeys that have shaped their lives. As a young woman, Helen developed an affinity for music. Her mother played the piano, and she started taking piano lessons at age 12. Her piano teacher, Mrs. Northrop, noticed that she was not reading the music, but playing by ear. She was a natural pianist. Aunt Helen started playing the piano for her church as a teenager, and singing in the choir. When Helen was a 15-year old high school student, Cab Calloway was performing at The Palace Theater, and he hosted an audition. She auditioned and they LOVED her! Cab and his team wanted young Helen to travel with them. At first, her mother was fine with it, but the buck stopped with her father; unfortunately, he objected. He said those people will be drinking and all kinds of stuff… ‘no.’ So, Helen’s dream of big lights and meeting people like Lena Horne was just that, a dream. Helen and her sister Ethel worked at The Belden, a local hotel in Canton; they were elevator operators. She had some ‘interesting’ experiences while working in this capacity. One day a gentleman asked her, “Where are you from, girl? You don’t sound like ‘those other’ people.” (What in the world did that mean?!) Because race relations were so poor in those days, they had to go to the basement to each their lunch. They weren’t allowed to eat in the hotel’s restaurant (The Purple Cow). The ladies had to wait for the Bell Boy to bring them lunch because they weren’t even allowed to order food there. In those days, African-Americans had to sit in the back of the bus. One day, after working a double shift at the hotel, Helen and her sister Ethel decided to sit in the front of the bus. When the driver asked them to move to the back, they started talking Pig Latin to each other, so he thought they were foreigners, and he left them alone. When they got off

of the bus, they laughed hysterically all the way home. (I guess they had to laugh to keep from crying.) On a better note, she had the opportunity to baby sit Shirley Temple one night. Shirley was performing in Canton, and her parents wanted to go out afterwards. They thought Helen was a nice girl, so they asked her to babysit young Shirley. Temple and Helen had a ball! They played and laughed, and examined each other’s hair. Shirley had dealt with people of color; after all, she tap danced and learned from an A f r i c a n American~ Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. At 21, Helen got married and had six children; five girls and one boy. She became a housewife and a stayat-home mom. Helen continued to play the piano, which she genuinely loved. She bought a Baby Grand piano so she could practice at home. Her hope was to one day give the piano to her children, but she eventually traded it in for an organ, because that’s the direction everyone seemed to be moving. In her late 20’s, she got saved and really began to develop a relationship with the Lord. She would have dreams, and then she would write things down; scribbles on pieces of paper. During years to come, and while she was experiencing a lot of problems, she found writing was an escape. Continued on Page 44




Bald Beauty Queen Pens New Book By Dr. Linda Amerson

andra Dubose is clearly on her way to becoming an international, multi-media success. The Bald Beauty Queen of SelfEsteem is a motivational speaker and professional performing artist with an inspiring personal story that has made history, and national headlines. Sandra has overcome many life challenges including Alopecia Areata, the autoimmune disease that caused her to lose all of the hair on her body starting at the age of 25. She has learned firsthand how to heal emotional wounds and build healthy self– esteem. Sandra is an Empowerment Specialist, teaching others how to transform their pain into power, to consciously create a life by design. “Honest, humorous, inspiring, informative, and entertaining” are just some of the words audiences have used to describe her dynamic presentations. Sandra provides a unique benefit to event coordinators over traditional speakers. This multi-talented singer/songwriter and recording artist can also provide special entertainment upon request, delivering a powerful vocal performance that leaves her audience wanting more and standing to their feet. With her infectious and charismatic personality, Sandra is sought out nationally to deliver keynote speeches, facilitate workshops and host events at conferences, corporations and schools. She is a radio personality on WSHA 88.9 FM in Raleigh N.C., and the author of My Crown and Glory-It’s NOT About the Hair. Through her words and music, Sandra empowers others by sharing her expert strategies to build selfesteem, and by letting her light shine bright to lead the way to self-love and personal freedom. Sandra informs about her recent free concert. “I AM Not My Hair” Alopecia Awareness Concert took place on Saturday, September 1st to kick off Alopecia Awareness month. I was the featured artist and I shared the stage with some super talented local artists from North Carolina: Rozlyn Sorell, Von Neuman, RaShad, Melissa Oliver, Tracey Pulley Fleming, Albert Joyner and Charles Hill. It was a labor of love for us, and we all came together to put on a show that would not only raise awareness about alopecia but bring inspiration and encouragement to those who are challenged with hair loss. I wanted to do it as an initiative through my support group, The Alopecia Community of the Triangle. Yes, I am going to coordinate this concert every year to celebrate Alopecia Awareness Month. We want to reach as many people as we can to educate the public. Also, it helps us to reach those people with alopecia who need emotional support but may have been too uncomfortable in the past to speak out.” Her new book was released September 1, and she shares, “My Crown and Glory, It’s NOT About the Hair covers the Six Fundamental Principles to Heal Emotional Wounds and Build Healthy Self-Esteem. I wrote this book because I wanted people to have the tools TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012


Sandra Dubose The Bald Beauty Queen of Self-Esteem For bookings contact: Booking@ 919-610-5420


needed to build healthy self-esteem. I have personally used these principles throughout my life to overcome challenges, heal from past hurts and find my way to freedom. The book offers journal exercises to help the reader work through their emotions and apply the principles to their own life.” Sandra humbly tells us about her recent award, “I was honored to receive the 2012 Radical Woman Award from Radical Success Coach, Doreen Rainey. It took place at the 4th Annual Get Radical Women’s Conference where I had the opportunity to be amongst powerhouse women like Suze Orman, Lisa Nichols and Jillian Michaels.” She also stated, “Currently, I am in the process of promoting my book and starting in October, I am offering a free six week teleconference for women who have read my My Crown and Glory and want to engage in some healing dialogue around the principles found in each chapter. To sign up, join my e-mail list found on the home page of my website and you will be sent the dial in information to join the “Conversations of My Crown and Glory.”” Sandra has a DVD documentary. She says, “The Project Liberation, My Alopecia Experience Documentary is my debut production as an independent filmmaker. It documents the season of liberation in my life when I finally decided to go outside without my wig and let the world see me for who I am. I celebrated my freedom by doing a bald glamour photo shoot as a sign of self-acceptance and self-love. It is a source of inspiration for anyone who wants to get out of their box and find the courage to express their selves in a brand new way and let their true light shine. I also had the opportunity to sit down by the fireplace with some of my closest friends for a candid woman to woman conversation. We opened up about our beliefs about beauty and the deep relationship women have to their hair and why. It is available on Amazon and is a must see, especially for any woman challenged with hair loss.” ■


Laney Humphrey

Continued from Page 42

Many years passed by, and in her late 60’s, Helen started feeling inspired to write a book. During her first trip to Israel in 2000, she became even more inspired to write. In 2008, she was inspired to bless others in a different way. She recorded a string orchestra CD. When she completed that project, a friend (Pamela Holland) told her to get her story out so she can further bless others. So, she helped her by typing her stories. In 2012, she published her first book, An Intercessor’s Journey: Preparation for Standing in the Gap. You can purchase her book at: My aunt’s story tells me that it’s never too late to do something great! I’m so inspired by my auntie! Helen is so incredibly talented! She’s creative…. an artist, musician, shoe designer, singer and a writer. Wow…’s that for a resume?! Helen is currently working on her second book. She has plenty to say! If she can still follow her dreams in her late 80’s, then the rest of us have “no excuses.” Years from now, if someone writes your story…. what will that story say about your life’s journey? Hmmm…. it not only makes you think, but it makes you want to ‘do something’ to make sure your story ends well. ■






Del Shea Perry: The first and only African-American female Christian watch designer

he Itzadel watch was birthed in a vision back in 1998. The inventor Del Shea Perry had a dream and in her dream this watch design was revealed. The inventor believes that this watch was given to her as a gift from God. She also believes the prophetic message that encircles the watch "Jesus is moving around the world in a timely fashion." The Itzadel Watch will not only change lives by inspiring and motivatiing them, but to continue to keep them on the path of righteousness. These precious time pieces will be used as a witnessing tool for the greater cause in the Kingdom. She would like people to know that with this watch you'll get more than just time! You will receive God's gift of time. Because in God's perfect timing dreams like this come true. She says "to never give up on your dreams" and when God gives you a vision, run with it; until he says your mission is complete. God gave her this vision and gift to share with the rest of the world and that is exactly what she intends to do until He calls her home. God will not command us to do something without giving us the tools necessary to get the job done. If you believe in Him, He will do the rest. In her dream there were three knocks at her door, and when she arrived there was no one present. However, there 46


was this red and white gift package left behind. In this beautifully wrapped gift was God's most precious gift of all ~ TIME!!! The package was a round red container with a white bow. The RED indicates the blood, WHITE the Holy Spirit and GOLD for His righteousness. The Cross in the middle shows us that Christ is the center of all things. The three continents represent the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit. There are only four roman numerals in the design which shows us God's creative works and also depicts that it was the Romans who crucified Jesus. Therefore, He tells us to love our enemies. It was God's perfect timing that the ITZADEL watches came to fruition. This by the way is HIStory, not hers; she was a willing vessel and an obedient servant of the Lord. He wants her to tell the world that through this divine time piece He put His Son's message in it for the world to know that the end times are near. After all TIME is what it's all about; isn't it? The Lord had her to research for weeks on the HIStory of watch making. Only to reveal to her that she is the first and only African-American female Christian watch designer. Finally, her message is to let us know to just follow your dreams and stay the course never giving up and when we become more than hearers and readers of His Word, to WATCH what He'll do next. â–


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

• • • •

Conceived 1998 Birthed 2005 The 1st and only African American female Christian watch designer The only watch on the market that we know will give you more than just time

Email Address Email Address

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




hen Lisa A. Hightower aka THEE’ Oracle (Voice of The DIVINE) first stepped up to a microphone, at the tender age of five, and belted out a few notes, people were amazed at the powerful voice that came out of such a little person. Hence, she was affectionately called, “The little girl with the big voice.” Some people just have a gift for singing, and Ms. Hightower is a perfect example of someone who has this special gift! In the Hightower home, music was part of their family tradition. After dinner, they would play the organ, piano, the drums and sing. Everyone in Lisa’s family sings. Her mother loved music, and although she could sing, she would primarily sing around the house (she loved Sam Cooke). Lisa’s father would tell her, singing should have purpose; a meaning, a message. That has always stuck with her. As a child, although Lisa was an excellent singer, she didn’t see herself as being a professional singer at that time. In elementary school she landed a lead role in Mary Poppins. She did such a great job, that her teachers told her that’s what she should be when she grows up, a singer. But Lisa didn’t give it much thought; she sang because that’s just what she ‘loved’ to do. In high school, Lisa was a very good basketball player; that was more so her focus. Although she was very involved in the choir at church, she still didn’t look at singing as her career. Lisa was al48


ways singing… in the bathroom, in the hallways at school, wherever she could. She even sang for weddings, and once sang 18 songs for a Catholic wedding. (Wow, she literally gave them a mini concert!) Then one day, after a series of powerfully successful performances, and singing a song she had written (entitled All About Me) in front of 5,000 people at a Martin Luther King event {plus several gentle nudges from a friend (Dr. Sharon Waters) who kept telling her to take her music seriously and take it to the next level}, something just clicked. From that day forward, she knew that singing would become an essential part of her life. After all, “Singing is truly in my DNA, RNA,” Hightower said. Aside from family members who inspired Lisa to sing, Liz Wright is Lisa’s inspiration in terms of artists. “She absolutely sings from her core; she’s not owned by the industry, and I love that about her.” Lisa has a unique style, and has pegged her own genre as Core~to~Soul. When people think of your music Lisa, what do you want them to think? “First of all, I want to make sure that I keep my music global, adaptable and expansive. I want their soul to be awakened. My music is a ministry, a journey of the heart. I draw from a deep place, and I use music to express it. The deeper the message, the more present I have to be,” said Hightower.

INSPIRATIONAL “I’ve passed up some recordings because I refuse to sit down at a table and give up my true essence/soul for a record deal,” Hightower continued. “I want my music to be transformational, and bring healing & pleasure to others. My goal is to help other artists as well, and teach them how to have a ‘whole’ life and not just a ‘stage’ life.” Lisa is from my hometown, Canton, Ohio. While I was there visiting family in August, I had the pleasure of attending one of her concerts. I was blown away by her anointing, her gift and her beautiful spirit! She is an incredible artist, and her songs drew me in and gave me the chills (in a good way)! Ms. Hightower mentioned that she goes back to Canton to re-connect with where it all started; she loves to visit home to give and receive. When she gets what she needs, she moves to the next step. She has spent time living in Toledo, and re-

“Singing is truly in my DNA, RNA” Lisa A. Hightower

cording in Atlanta, and is now in L.A. performing, writing and recording her music. So, where does Ms. Hightower see herself in three years? By then, she wants to have two to three CD’s released and available globally, in various parts of the world. Five years from now, Lisa wants to have her record label set up, as well as her housing for artists. The housing will be an oasis for them; a haven to come write and produce music in a creative, productive and supportive environment. Some people just have pure, raw talent; but Lisa Hightower is not only extremely talented, she is gifted. That little girl with a big voice, grew up to be a wonderful woman, who is using her “gift from The Divine” to bless others on so many levels! Stay tuned, folks…. and remember I told you: Lisa “Core~to~Soul” Hightower (aka THEE’ Oracle) will be a household name sooner rather than later. ■






The Wings of Hope By Angela M. Thomas


ver wonder how did you end up where you are? Well in actuality our path is paved. In life we are given a choice to make decisions and hope that we make the best one we can or rather the right one. Life is tough and we may not always end up with the best result from the one decision we have made which in the end may lead us to deterring from our paved path. The paved path may become more of a detour; instead of making a right we make a left or a left instead of making a right. In that detour we may come across many challenges. The detour may cause you to face traffic slowing you down from reaching your destination, road blocks which may block you, or even an accident which may completely hold you back or slow you down to make you realize what’s important in life and the things that matter most. Life can become a detour from that one wrong turn which may take you through a whole different path to get back on the right path. That detour is all for a greater purpose which you may not realize at the time. Once you arrive back on the right path of your journey, the path that our Heavenly Father has paved for us, it allows you to appreciate the greater things. Sometimes we have to go through different turns to realize our path. Slowly moving through traffic, coming to road blocks and stopping because of an accident will eventually make you completely turn around or turn into a different direction so you can then move forward and progression is accomplished. God is the restorer of our souls, sometimes we may fall short and take a path other than the one that was paved for our destiny, but only he can mend the past, the present, and the future. He is the therapist that relieves trauma no matter how it was incurred, even from a traumatic accident. Perhaps you don’t even began to understand how you ended up where you are or was faced with a crisis, it does not matter whether your pain comes from a haunted skeleton, secrets, or an event that occurred that was out of your control. He is the Prince of Peace and he rides into the worst of situations on the wings of hope that he can make us whole again. Don’t Angela M. Thomas is a Certified Speaker and ever give up and allow the has written and enemy to talk hold of your published eight inspirational books. life and keep you from what To book Angela, please call God has each assigned to us. (305) 793-1347 or Visit: Through him you will be free and be all God has appointed you to do and be. ■




Forgiving God… Please note that this article is not titled “A” Forgiving God but is titled “Forgiving God.” By Reverend Timothy J. Chambers


ow that may raise at least a few eyebrows, as it should. But for those of us who are honest enough to admit it, there comes a time in every believer’s life when in order for them to grow spiritually and develop a deeper more meaningful relationship with God they are faced with having to forgive

God. Now I know there is some person or a group of persons out there wondering, whispering, yelling, possibly even cursing did this author really just say that people who are instructed in Deuteronomy 13:4 to “…walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him”, is this preacher actually saying that we, those who are called to serve God, need to forgive God? What in heaven or hell is he talking about? Before you come down on me, before you stop reading or judge me (and I don’t mind being judged) let me ask this question…have you ever questioned the negative things that have happened in your life that you weren’t directly responsible for? Have you ever lost a job with no warning, due to no fault of your own? Have you ever been robbed or mugged? Has anyone ever cheated you or cheated on you? You ever been abused or even worse raped? Have you ever lost a loved one with no warning? Ever lost a child, your only child? Have any of these things occurred after you “gave” your life to the Lord? How do you go on serving a God who for no apparent reason allowed these horrific things to happen to you? I know, I know, there is someone out there right now misquoting the book of Job and talk about how patient Job was. There is someone suggesting that I should take notes from Job and be appreciative of all that God has done for me. Well before you misquote Job I would suggest you read Job. You can start in the beginning when for no apparent reason God enters into a bet with Satan and Job is apparently the pawn in the bet. I mean did God really need to prove something to the devil? While you’re reading about Job be sure to read chapter 23 where Job starts by saying, “Even today my complaint is bitter…” The word forgive, simply means to cease to feel resentment against something or someone. If you have been around for any significant period of time you have felt resentment and while you may be too afraid to admit it when life has dealt with you seemingly unfairly that resentment, however inconspicuous, more times than not has been towards God. You did all you could do, you’re living right, your treating people right, you’re praying, tithing, fasting and still God allows something terrible to happen to you for no other reason than because that’s part of life. When those unthinkable occurrences of life occur, and they will, you will be faced with having to forgive God before you can begin to grow in Christ so that you can actually serve God. Yours in Christ




Valante M. Grant Joins the Trendsetters to Trendsetters LIFESTYLE Team


alante M. Grant is the founder of The byDesign Network. A passionate writer, Valante authors three columns for The Chicago City Guide Examiner, The Chicago Home-Based Business Examiner and The Chicago AfricanAmerican Community Examiner. She serves as Lifestyle Director for Trendsetter to Trendsetter Magazine online. Valante’s media experience includes a special guest appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s LifeClass, coverage of Super Bowl XLVI and Earth, Wind and Fire and Anita Baker concerts at Ravinia 2012. The networking aspect of her business affords her the opportunity to meet people from various industries and collaborate with them. As Graphic Designer, Valante designs customized graphics for business and personal use. She utilizes social media and her online presence to expand her network and build solid networks for her clients and associates. Her philosophy is that every human being is one of God’s designer originals. She uses her creativity to design a life that fulfills her purpose and helps others reach their destiny. Valante shares her message of encouragement and motivation through writing, speaking and facilitating workshops and seminars. Valante resides in the Chicago metropolitan area. Her inspiration is her daughter, Vanyce. ■





Alluring Looks Make-Up Artistry By Joy Tubbs– Ogrodowicz oy Tubbs was born in Houston, Texas but grew up in the Bryan/College Station area. She returned to the Houston area 13 years ago. Since returning to Houston , Joy has worked as an accounting manager and is currently working for a local oilfield service company. She was selected by the owner of Holy Ghost Boutique as a plus size model for a fashion show. During The 2nd Annual “I’m Every Woman” Fashion Show, Joy was approached by Delilah Alexander of Delilah Unlimited. Impressed with the make-up that she had done on herself, Delilah asked Joy to be her personal make-up artist for an upcoming photo shoot later in the month. It was at that moment that Joy realized she had a talent for make-up artistry. With that encouragement, she formed her own business, Alluring Looks Make-Up Artistry. Joy has a passion for make-up artistry and enjoys the uplifting feeling that she gives to others through her artistic ability. There is no better feeling than what is felt after a make-up session with her. Joy's clients can't believe the transformation that she has performed when they look at themselves in the mirror. The excitement and surprise that each lady expresses at the moment they see the pictures of themselves, is the best feeling in the world for Joy. The owner of Alluring Looks believes that women that do not wear make-up on a regular basis are not knowledgeable about what will work on their skin or how to apply the make-up. This awareness is the reason that during each session every client is instructed on the purpose of certain products and how to properly use them. Joy insists on using only Mac Studio Make-Up on her clients. She stated, "I use MAC simply because the product allows you

to gain a true skin color match with the foundations that are offered, which is very important when taking pictures or when on camera. MAC has a large variety of colors in eye shadows, lipsticks and various other products as well as foundations. The products are easy to work with and it applies to the skin with flawless results, in addition to the added bonus of their products being hypoallergenic and kind to the face after removing it." In conclusion, Joy of Alluring Looks wanted to leave us with two important messages: (1) People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. Belief of this statement empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves, and; (2) You get out of life what you put into! So, work towards your dreams and do not let anything distract you from those dreams. ■






‘The Human Hair & Wefting Guru’…. Colleen Garey


By Lisa Earley

he hair industry is an industry worth “billions” of dollars (yes, billions). For centuries, women have been concerned about their hair; that is not going to change anytime soon. It’s amazing how captivated women are when it comes to hair. We will stop another woman on the street and ask, “Girl, who did your hair?” Or, we will swear that (like shoes) a bad hair do will mess up an outfit. Remember Chris Rock’s 2009 Good Hair documentary, which showcased the great lengths (no pun intended) women go to in order to make certain their hair is lookin’ good? For females, this obsession with hair begins early in life. Young women start caring about how their hair looks as early as elementary school. That being said, with our overwhelming concern with how our hair looks, Colleen Garey (pegged as ‘The Human Hair & Wefting Guru’) will be in business for a very long time. What is wefting? A weft is basically a strip of hair that can be glued or sewn into your hair (layman terms: hair extension/weave). Women of all ages, ethnicities, and races indulge themselves with these products (curly hair, kinky, straight, wavy, etc.). In other words, it is not unique to a particular age group, ethnic group or race of people. Colleen is considered a pioneer, and definitely ‘someone to know’ in this industry. Other human hair professionals say that she is one of the best at what she does. Colleen is well respected not only for her knowledge, but her win-win approach to doing business, as well as her kind spirit. Garey has always been interested in hair, and in 1993, she moved from the city in New York, to suburban Maryland, where there was little access to quality hair. The demand was clearly there, but the supply was not. So, in 1999, she opened her first store. Colleen was more concerned with providing her customers with quality hair, rather than being driven by dollar signs. “I really wanted to wean my customers off of bad hair,” said Garey. “I wanted to provide people with a quality product; better quality, custom-blended hair.” Unfortunately, Colleen encountered a great deal of prejudice and she began to grow. Local business owners even tried to put her out of business because they didn’t want her (a woman of color) as competition. So, she decided to learn about the manufacturing side of this industry. China had a lock on this particular market, and business people in those countries made it almost impossible for her to do business in the human hair retail industry (even though they were making billions of dollars off of women of color). “You have to be 110% committed because sometimes you will lose money before you start to make money in this indus-

try. You have to have thick skin…. it is not for the faint at heart,” Colleen said. Garey started to educate herself by doing research, and she attended conferences/workshops to learn all that she could about her products and network. She is now a full blown manufacturer. {Good for you, Colleen! As I interviewed her, I was so impressed with the strength and preserving power she embodies.} Garey now has 12 plus years of experience in the field of human hair processing, and has been manufacturing her own human hair and retailing it throughout the U.S. as well as overseas. It was Colleen’s desire to help other people who wanted to start a human hair retail business, coupled with countless requests to share her knowledge in this industry, that inspired her to open her own hair processing & wefting training center~ Colleen’s Hair Wefting Training Center, in Sanford, FL. At the training center she offers 3-5 day training sessions, which provide people with training to become professional wefters, as well the tools needed to establish themselves in the industry. For additional information, please visit her website at: You can also visit Colleen’s fan page on Facebook (Colleen’s Hair Wefting Training). Garey discussed her future plans for her business. “I will be going to India next year to finalize plans with a business associate who will be collecting hair directly from the temple for us. I will be there to train and supervise quality control. In 2013, I will be re-launching MyHairMade. We will be supplying (WHOLESALE HAIR) the finest quality hair from the temples in India. In addition to that, we will also be supplying the finest quality customized hand made wigs, closures and toupees, with an emphasis on women who suffer from female pattern baldness, alopecia, trichotillomania, and cancer patients who have lost their hair as a result of chemo and radiation treatment. I am very excited about this, and for anyone who is trying to break into this business, I will be making sure that MyHairMade will supply them with the quality product that they need to make their business a success.” Colleen is very passionate about helping others, and it has always been her desire to give back. She is willing to give consultations in terms of who to go with, or who to avoid when it comes to hair wefting training. Colleen cautions potential students to, “do your homework and research. There are a lot of opportunists out there just wanting to make money, and they’re using sub-standard hair. Be careful…. this is a saturated market. Without the proper training, things can go bad very fast.” As I visited Colleen’s website, a quote on the wall in one of her photos stood out to me, “Come willing to learn, and leave ready to earn.” I love it!! I wish you continued success, Mrs. Colleen Garey… ‘The Human Hair & Wefting Guru.’ ■



Fashion Trendsetters: The Top tyle is imperative and the impeccable presence of one’s creativity displayed on the canvas of the body. Trendsetters Magazine is geared to feature and present the top 12 style icons that present an insatiable array of creativity that draw fashionistas. Here are our choices for 2012:

Michelle Obama Michelle Obama is known as the fashionable First Lady. Chosen for her elegance and sophistication, First Lady Michelle Obama defines style and power... Rihanna Denzel Washington Renowned veteran actor and director, Denzel Washington, known for his major roles in blockbuster films, is a man of style and talent. The twotime Oscar winner was recently featured on the cover of GQ Magazine and is known as one of Hollywood's sexiest and most magnetic leading men. He deserves the title of Trendsetter Magazine Style Icon. Will & Jada Smith Photo: People Magazine This Hollywood power couple exemplifies talent and style. Will and Jada Smith are veterans to the entertainment industry appearing in numerous films and television shows. They are setting trends and now taking on philanthropy along with raising a super star family with their daughter and son. 56


An iconic pop star, Rihanna, has the ability to set trends and defy style with her uniqueness.

Kim Kardashian We know Kim Kardashian as one of the top models and reality stars but she is a fashion trendsetter. Kim is now a fashion mogul with several successful beauty brands paving the way for tomorrow’s trendsetters.

Beyonce Music icon and songbird turned fashion mogul models the fall looks of her line, House of Dereon. In 2012, Beyonce continues to stay on top of the charts and fashion with her unique brands.

12 Style Icons of 2012

LaLa Anthony

Elle Varner Introducing Elle Varner. R&B’s rising star has a style all her own. The 22year-old singer/songwriter, Elle Varner is poised at becoming not only the next music prodigy but a fashion trendsetter.

Television personality, disc jockey, reality star and wife of NBA star Carmelo Anthony, LaLa has established herself as a brand. As a vibrant businesswoman, LaLa has managed to create her newest venture, Motives for LaLa, a cosmetics company with her touch.

Keisha Cole is back and better than ever with her new album and BET reality show. She is known for her ballads and diva anthems. Keyshia rocks a style that is all her own and continues to be a trendsetter.

Reality stars of MTV’s ‘Run’s House’ and daughters Keisha Cole of the iconic legend, Russell Simmons, are not following in their father’s footsteps but creating their own trend. They are fashion moguls and entrepreneurs determined to conquer Angela and the industry with their footwear colVanessa lection, Pastry. Always stylish and Simmons on the cutting edge, they can be seen on television, in films and aside some of the industry’s most elite at top fashion runway shows. With new ventures, such as a hair extension line, the Simmons’ sisters are creating and establishing today’s trends.

Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs Diddy is no newcomer to the fashion and entertainment industry. From actor, rapper, producer, Diddy is truly an icon and Renaissance man. He has established brands and developed conglomerates that continue to lead the masses. His sound, his style, his savvy business sense, all makes him to be a true Trendsetter.

Paula Whittle, President/CEO Atlanta International Fashion Week Intuit Solutions & Consulting, LLC TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012



2012 Bridal Makeover Explosion

vents By Mete’Dela was birthed out of PURPOSE! Event planning has always been apart Melinda Brundidge’s journey. Even as a little girl she would always organize family events or plan amazing surprises for her friends. Planning for Melinda comes natural she says “It's like brushing my teeth or combing my hair I'm just wired for it”. Melinda is a firm believer that everything has it's time and season, so when it was her time to step out on faith and start Events By Mete'Dela it meant fully embracing the gift that God had placed inside her. Melinda is blessed to get up every morning and do what seems to come natural to her, she does not take for granted the gifts and talents that have been entrusted to her. Melinda believes that it is her reasonable service to fulfill her purpose and by doing so it will enable others to discover their own. - The Bridal Makeover Explosion was developed out of a need to do something different. “I love bridal events I believe that they are an amazing resource for the bride but being in the industry allows me to see where there is need” Melinda stated. There is not a bridal event in this market that represents all of the cultures. The bridal industry is so diverse in regards to its audience so there should be a bridal event that looks more like the brides we serve. Our vision with the Bridal Makeover Explosion is to create a diverse atmosphere where every bride from every culture can attend and find resources that are valuable to her and her heritage. The concept arises from a need, the need to represent all seven continents of our world and to highlight all of its rich cultures, fashion, history, and entertainment. We dare to be different. Every culture is so unique and exquisite and the very essence of that is worth exploring. The reason we chose a team concept for the competition is that often times the professionals that are responsible for ensuring that the bride is beautiful on her BIG day, get over 58


shadowed by the rest of the wedding process. The goal of the Bridal Makeover Explosion is to change that by providing a platform that will expose the amazing talent of industry experts. The team concept challenged the contestants to work together as a cohesive unit to create their version of greatness. In the bridal industry teamwork is vital to one’s success at some point and time in our career we are all met with the test of being a team player. How we respond to the challenge is what sets us apart. It is our belief that iron sharpens iron; this year's Bridal Makeover Explosion Cast was a perfect example of that belief. All of the contestants were extremely talented, which at the end of the day makes them all winners! The Events By Mete’Dela staff can be summed up in one word "Phenomenal!" “They make me look good” Melinda stated. “I have been blessed to lead an amazing group of individuals that posses an enormous amount of talent. I can assure you, you are only as good as your team I could not do it without them. They are invaluable and monetary value could never


pay them what they are truly worth. I take this moment to publicly say THANK YOU to the Events By Mete'Dela staff and the 2012 Bridal Makeover Explosion Cast. Your greatness is infectious!” This years Bridal Makeover Explosion winner is Team Africa! The team was comprised of four talented individuals that included: Hairstylist “Sherita Blango” Master stylist to the stars, who has graced the video sets of some of entertainments greats such as T.I.; Nelly; Bobbie V; Rasheeda and more. Sherita has worked with the likes of celebrity photographer Derek Blanks, Bronner Brothers, Wanda Ashford and the list goes on. Sherita has over 10 years of industry experience and continues to sharpen her skills with continuing education while constantly developing her craft. Hard work does pay off, Sherita was able to use her experiences and love for hair in this year’s competition to display a work of art. Sherita captured the essence of South Africa’s beauty and the traditions of Egyptian goddesses. For booking visit Makeup Artist “Ayasha Sydelle” a native of Queens New York grew a strong passion for color and artistry in the area of makeup and design at an early age. A graduate of HEX High Fashion Makeup School, Ayasha studied closely with renowned artist, Angie G. Ford. Ayasha has worked with ICON fashion, Emanuel Scott, Intricate Hair Magazine, and Urban Spice Magazine, just to name a few. Ayasha’s love for making people

beautiful is inspiring. She recently launched her own cosmetics line SLAyDE by Ayasha Sydelle this summer. Ayasha’s attention to detail and flawless execution WOWed this year’s judges which enabled her to take home the prize. For booking http:// Model “Jenn Okafor” represented South Africa for the 2012 Bridal Makeover Explosion. Jenn is highly talented as well as beautiful and a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Known for her captivating eyes Jenn stole the hearts of the judges and audience this year. And last but not least Model “Maegen Carter” which represented Egypt for the 2012 Bridal Makeover Explosion. First time model Maegen entered this year’s competition as one of the underdogs, but she didn’t allow her lack of experience to stop her. She was able to tap into an inner strength and confidence which enabled her to embody the essence of an Egyptian princess on the runway. Stay tuned the best is yet to come from this American beauty. ■

Team Africa’s bridal gowns were designed by Therez Fleetwood Bridal. For more information on Therez’s collection please visit: For more exclusive footage from the show please visit TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012



Mamas’ Drama… Inspired by a True Story By Lisa Earley

Nanette Marie Playwright Columbus, Ohio



When we hear about indiscretions in a marriage, we immediately think…. hat did HE do? Not so fast, people. The reality is women cheat, too. Unfortunately, the children who are products of these extra-marital relationships are the innocent victims of these indiscretions. It’s as if they are born with a scarlet letter attached to their foreheads, and it is no fault of their own. Playwright Nanette Marie addresses the “mama’s baby, daddy’s maybe” generational curse in her play, Mamas’ Drama. This play, which deals with the indiscretion of the females in their marriages, made its debut in Columbus, Ohio, in April of 2011. Then it was one of 50 plays accepted out of nearly 400 submissions to grace the stage during the DC Black Theatre Festival in June of 2012. Mamas’ Drama is personal for Nanette Marie… it’s about her life. The main character, Josephine, is based on her mother, who bore eight children, and two of them were fathered by her two lovers. This story addresses the classic “mama’s baby, daddy’s maybe” drama that plagues so many families. It also delves into the agony that the children who are products of these indiscretions often face. The play touches on the family secrets, but more importantly, it speaks to the forgiveness and healing that takes place when the truth comes to light. In 2007, Nanette Marie wrote and recorded a lullaby for a friend’s children’s book series (she eventually wants to write and record her own lullaby CD). That same year, Ms. Hodge knew that she was to write a book or play about her life. However, while Nanette was attending the National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) in Winston Salem, North Carolina (for the very first time), her mom had a pulmonary embolism and passed away. Two years later, while attending that same festival, Nanette shared her story with Garland Thompson, Jr., who is affiliated with the NBTF, and at that moment the title Mamas’ Drama came to her mind. In May 2010, Nanette Marie was planning to celebrate her birthday with six of her closest friends on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. One by one, her friends backed out for various reasons, and she ended up celebrating solo. This turned out to be Divine Order because on the return flight from this trip, Nanette began writing Mamas’ Drama. In July, she completed the play. She didn’t realize that what she had was the book until she had a reading. More than five hours later, it became apparent she had already written her book; it just needed to be refined. Nanette hosted a mini-reading performance in November of 2010, and the rest is history. “Since I was a little girl, I have always loved words. I enjoyed playing Scrabble with mama, and I developed a great command of spelling. I even won the 5th grade Spelling Bee,” said Hodge. “In addition, I have always enjoyed the art of writing; whether it was business or personal, I love writing.” Ms. Hodge has been very courageous in following through with this project. She knew that she would meet resistance; particularly because she was dealing with family shame, and not unlike most folks, her family would rather keep family secrets just that…. ‘secret.’ However, Mamas’ Drama is bigger than me; it’s about my life, but it’s not about me. It’s about bringing healing to others who have been affected by this syndrome. I feel honored

that God has chosen me as a vehicle to deliver this message of forgiveness and healing,” said Nanette Marie. “My mother was my inspiration. Watching what she went through made me realize more about my own existence, and it became that much more important for me to break the generational curse when I married and had my son. Although I’m not condoning what mama did, I was able to better understand why she made those choices; it was more about meeting her emotional needs,” Hodge continued. “Unfortunately, society has a double standard when it comes to infidelity.

It’s expected and held almost as a badge of honor for men, but when it comes to women, it’s a badge of shame.” Nanette Marie intends to take Mamas’ Drama on the road again to spread this message of forgiveness and healing to others who have been touched by this same scenario. If you are interested in seeing Mamas’ Drama in your city, contact her at:, or contact her via Mamas’ Drama Playbook on Facebook. In addition to the play, Ms. Hodge has now penned the book (based on the play), which will be released in early 2013. She is also working on several collaborations to produce plays, two in particular, one about the baseball player Cool Papa Bell and another about musician Louis Armstrong. Mamas’ Drama is special to me for

(Above) Playwright Nanette Marie shares script with cast members during rehearsal. (Photographer-Unknown)

many reasons: the playwright is one of my best friends in the whole wide world. I had the pleasure of playing the role of Suzette (Nanette); not to mention this play inspired me to pursue theatre as a career. Also, I think it’s important to note that Mamas’ Drama began the healing process and inspired other people who were connected with the play to look for their biological fathers (that’s a big deal!). Keep your eyes and ears open for Mamas’ Drama… the book, the play, and God-willing, the movie. As you

read or watch this story, look beyond the entertainment, and embrace the message of forgiveness and healing this powerful story delivers. Nanette Marie ended our interview by saying, “truth is so important, even though it may create guilt or hurt, the truth always needs to be told, no matter what. The old saying is so true… the truth will set you free!” ■




ho is Shawn Cartel?” is the question I asked while doing this interview. “I am a father, brother, son, entertainer, and unlike anything in this galaxy!” said Shawn. Although his path in life hasn’t always been sunny, this ambitious, hungry, confident, and life loving young man is determined to be the best in his lane of entertainment. Shawn says that his motivation is his kids and his love for the arts. Coming from a single mother family, Shawn was introduced to performing as a child through entering in talent shows and being in the church choir. With music being the core of his family, Shawn knew it was his destiny to be an amazing Hip-Hop/Pop/Songwriter. “Life is full of unexpected turns and difficult decisions”, Shawn said as he explained his difficult transition into adulthood. He went on to say that although music was in his heart, he switched from music being a priority to making it a hobby and began playing sports while in college. While playing football he torn his acl; this injury ended his ball playing so he moved to Pittsburgh, PA. While in Pittsburgh music would soon reintroduced itself back into Shawn’s life. “After football I was confused and determined all at the same time” said Shawn. He knew his life would change; he no longer yearned for the field or had that drive. “Pittsburgh was a new beginning for me, which would teach me lessons in life, people, and the streets”, he said. Shawn went thru homelessness and got caught up in the streets. “The streets opened its arms to me easily, I wasn’t from there so it wasn’t any beef or side of town that kept me from doing anything with anyone. I met my bro Ted and he kept it real, being an OG of the game up there, and he started pushing me toward music again”, Shawn explained. So he took heed in his friend’s advice and started getting back in the booth, perfecting his craft which led him to opportunities to open for major artists such as Wiz, Ryan Leslie, and more. After seven years of ups and downs he would return to Canton/Akron, Ohio and strive even harder to reach his goal, his idea of success. “I love the Burgh but I had to get away, I grew up here, but Pittsburgh made me a man”. Shawn would soon connect with two childhood friends who would help motivate him and get him closer to his accomplishments, Sean Erique & Joe Smith, he said while laughing; “Sean and I did so much to make my name known like traveling state to state to pass out CD’s, open mics, college performances, to a ridiculous internet presents. Joey stepped in and just does anything he can to make sure I’m good and I‘m not getting into any drama”. Shawn is currently working with Dreamer Management who put him on a mini tour called “Fire & Ice Showcase”. “With Jazzy, Jay and Scotty to my back and producers like Chase “The Matrix”, Day The Fresh, The Beatz, & Trav Will, I feel like I can’t lose”. Now working on his new project “Take Flight” he feels this will be his strongest project to date. We wish him much success! ■



es. HESTON has received (London) and numerous other plac include his song “If” –Title many accolades and awards to as in 2005 plus several additrack for BET’s Real Life Div p five R&B Soul Albums” tional seasons, charted in the “To – “Album of the Year”, and in Europe in 2008, Soul Tracks ard” and numerous awards. nominated for “BET J Virtual Aw and Rolling Out magazines Ebony, Blues & Soul, Soul Tracks s have featured the soulful and numerous other publication artist. ut full-length CD, StoryWhen HESTON released his deb on teller, ul o S d l r Wo me /Do sic Mu in Rec ord s 2008, it was an instant hit in Europe selling 30,000 over copies. Storywa s tel ler the to e nam “Top 5 Soul of Albums” 2008. Storyteller also won Soul two ard Aw Tracks ns. atio min No In 2009, BET J nominated HESTON for “In dep end ent Artist of the Year.”

ich and Soulful, Refreshing and s, Sensual, Classy and Timeles oul B/S R& al describe Internation Singer HESTON – aka The is Soulful Gentleman. HESTON sindu ic mus the to r no strange try. This passionate, soulful gen ic mus tleman’s love affair with estarted at the tender age of thre ney jour l sica been on a mu years-old, and since then he has destined for greatness. inica (British West InGrowing up on the Island of Dom er and producer, HESTON dies), singer, songwriter, compos days listening to his father’s reminisces about his childhood radio station in the city. He albums and music on the only sical, soul, R&B, and rock recalls hearing reggae, pop, clas d to Aretha Franklin, The Bee music. From Barbara Streisan n, Beres Hammond, Stevie Gees, Marvin Gaye, Elton Joh name a few), enjoying muWonder and Michael Jackson (to professional career in music sic was natural in his home. His launched his self-titled EP in began in Atlanta, GA., where he STON has come a long way 2005 and the rest is history. HE handsome little shy boy nervfrom being that knees shaking, gs. Now, this soulful sexy ously singing on Sunday mornin smerizing people all over the crooner is all grown up and me world. Since that taking leap of faith, he has polished his act and has perat formed the of e som top venues in HESTON’S country the sophomore and to audi(World Soul Music/Dome CD, Warm Human, Cold World By Angela P. Moore-Thorpe of ences c, allowing listeners to enter Records), is unabashedly romanti 40,000 people ughts. Warm Human, Cold his most intimate spaces and tho with e lov in in Europe. en fall has ope Eur for three weeks on Solar Radio #1 rted cha at international venues. In fact, rld Wo t kep t remains America’s bes one of the Top 10 Albums on the Soulful Gentleman, while he The album also hit the charts as and nominated for , Album of the Month in 2011, cks Tra secret. l Sou ic. mus at gre le, “Greatest Lover” s and loves cks Awards in 2011. The sing A music-lover-at-heart, he live Tra l Sou d ishe pol lful sou Year” on Soul Brothers ing music, his hed “Top 20 Soul Tracks of the Known for his lyrically refresh reac ic, mus his h oug Thr . suality Lover” is featured on the voice is laced with confident sen Records in 2011, and “Greatest and ces spa love his r to ente HESTON was also “Best HESTON allows his listeners Music Choice Cable Television. d ban full a by d anie omp acc 1 by Soul Tracks. To view hear his raw truth. His music is Male Vocalist of the Year” in 201 s, root nd isla his to k bac stem k on the links for "My Kinda with foundational rhythms that videos from his latest album, clic ars, guit tric elec and or "Greatest c usti aco ns, :// http comprised of percussions, hor y", Lad the to d ized. Often compare Fm8. often leaving audiences mesmer Lover" and Leon ll xwe Ma n, inso Rob d single, “You” off the y thir oke his Sm d N recently release likes of Marvin Gaye, STO HE ng eati “Cr s. eles l music is tim song, a “Hot Track”. He is Ware, his mellow, seventies, sou , and I-Tunes have deemed the CD s say l,” goa e mat ulti n my on his next CD, due out sumtimeless music has always bee currently in the studio working be can that sic mu with rld Heston. “I want to leave the wo mer 2013. .” time life a played for top ormed at some of the is just getting started and he He has received airplay and perf Stay tuned, this legendary artist and ope Eur ude incl Visit HESTON'S to , oad abr around for a very long time… be to e venues around the country and sur is es Blu b, Clu out his music and Blue Note Jazz to check @ the Caribbean, the world famous site web ion ipat anc Em e Ballroom, Alley, Apollo Theatre, Highlin upcoming tour schedule.■ (London), Bizz Art Club é Caf Jazz Park (Jamaica), The The Union Chapel Islington (Paris, France), The Drum and TRENDSETTERS TO TRENDSETTERS | NOV/DEC 2012 63

HESTON The Soulful Gentleman

HENSON FROM PAGE 35 he’s been approached to do more coaching and instruction. He is in the process of developing a curriculum for actors. Henson feels very strongly about teaching people to “break the chains of ‘not enough.’ People go through life feeling like they aren’t good enough, don’t have enough, etc. I want to teach them to take time to behold the beauty within them and around them,” Henson contin-


ued. As you can see, Darrin is so incredibly multi-faceted and talented. He has recently authored a book, entitled Intimate Thoughts. I love this book! It is a compilation of poems penned by Mr. Henson. My favorite poem is, Make-up! (You have to get this book, folks….. I want my man to read those ‘exact’ words to me…. check it out; you’ll see what I mean.) “Intimate Thoughts is about evolving & progressing,” said Henson.


As the interview drew to a close, Darrin’s parting advice was quite simple, “turn off the TV…. read a book…. take some time to absorb your environment. Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do?’ Then do what is necessary to make whatever that is, happen.” Check out Mr. Henson’s official website at: You can also follow him on Twitter @MrDHen, and also check out his YouTube Channels: Mr. DHen5. ■


VACATION ESCAPES Timeshare Myths vs. Realities he allure of having a steady getaway in a gorgeous destination without the hassle and cost of full-time ownership continues to be an attractive travel option for the more than 7 million timeshare owners worldwide. Still, the idea remains unfamiliar for many. Some people have certain misconceptions that can be keeping them from giving it a try. Here are some common myths associated with timeshare compared to the actual facts: Myth: Most timeshare resorts are outdated. Reality: Many resorts are newly built or recently renovated. In fact, more than 20 percent of U.S. timeshare resorts have been built in the last six years, says the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). As the industry has evolved, so too have the innovative timeshare offerings. Myth: Timeshare does not appeal to young people. Reality: Timeshare has mass appeal. Owning a timeshare is an attractive proposition for all age groups. A recent ARDA study found that Generation Y (15 to 28) and Generation X (29 to 44) account for 39 percent of all timeshare owners. People 64 and older represent 16 percent of timeshare owners. Myth: All timeshare resorts are identical.

Reality: Timeshare offers variety and flexibility. Vacationing in today’s timeshare resorts—which can include stand-alone homes, villas and condos with multiple bedroom options, a dining and living room and other lavish amenities—offers owners more variety, flexibility and uniqueness. Some innovative vacation options even include accommodations aboard luxury trains and boats. Myth: A timeshare is more expensive than a traditional hotel stay. Reality: For many, timeshare is more cost effective over the long haul. If you choose timeshare, you’re paying for tomorrow’s vacations—often at more spacious and well-appointed resorts than hotel accommodations—at today’s prices. With consistent, long-term use, the overall cost savings, including the associated maintenance fees, can more than make up the purchase price. Myth: Timeshare owners must vacation at the same resort every year. Reality: Timeshare owners have a world of travel options to explore. Membership with timeshare exchange organizations lets you “swap” your timeshare for a vacation at a different resort. For example, global vacation exchange leader RCI offers vacation options at more than 4,000 affiliated resorts in approximately 100 countries. You can learn more about timeshare at and, which allow travelers to sample timeshare firsthand before they buy by booking stays at available resort accommodations around the world. ■









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