CRUISING IS BACK! SEE WHERE TO SAIL ON YOUR NEXT TRIP
THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE
THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE
WAYS TO SHOW YOUR CURLS LOVE
HOT FASHION LOOKS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
MARIA TAYLOR BENAISHA POOLE-WATSON CANDACE MITCHELL-HARRIS APRIL-MAY 2023
2023 VOLVO XC60 upscalemagazine.com
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C over s hot a nd t hi s p a g e : J a ke e m S mit h ; In d iv idu a l S h ots : Mose s Brown / R ocke tpwe r Set d es i g n : gl itz of A t la n ta - Ay u n a R e y n olds
CONTENTS FEATURES 36 THE UPSCALE
WARM IT UP
Progressively fashionable looks from a enviornamentally-friendly designer that let you serve up effortlessy chic “#lewks” this spring. By Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds
Forty dynamic individuals who are under 40 years which influence all spheres of life, including athletes, publicists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, lawyers and marketing executives, were identified and comprised this year’s 40 Club. By Jonell Whitt
CRUISING IS BACK
It’s time to set sail on the deep blue sea enjoying luxury cruises to barefoot excursions By Annita Stokes Thomas
CRUISING IN CLASS
Equipped with all the bells and whistles, the Volvo XC60 delivers top safety mechanisms, style, class and built-in google. By Jonell Whitt
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UPDATE 08 / Update Opener A Brewing Crises by Utamu Belle
10 / M edia Reviews Always Keep It Hott, The Body Liberation Project and Rules of Engagement by Leslie E. Royal
11 / Navigator Turks & Caicos Is Calling You by Sheryl Nance-Nash
12 / Pets PCelebrity publicist Jonell Whitt finds her son a dog of his dreams by Utamu Belle
17 / S tyles Mother’s Day Gifts by By Leslie E. Royal 18 / H air Ten Ways to Show Your Curls Big Love by Jocelyn Amador
COLUMNS 22 / Health Flicker of Hope: How to navigate daily anxiety by Tash Van Doimen
27 / Wellness Mental Health Crisis in the Black Community: Addressing the challenges by Utamu Belle
28 / Justice Community First: Sheriff Maddox serves with action and progressive involvement by Denise Powell
30 / Business Black Tech Founder: Isaac Hayes III empowers social media users with the Fanbase App by Dr. Adia Winfrey
32 / Parenting Emotional Damage: How to help an entire
generation struggling to process healthy emotional responses by E. Monique Johnson
34 / Gospel Timeless Music: Stanley Brown on his love for gospel music by Yannason Duncan
SPOTLIGHT 62 / Spotlight Latocha Scott-Bivens unearths her gospel roots; Cheryl Mayberry Mckissack brings the rebirth of a cosmetic icon; Elijah Mckinnon awarded ‘The Elevate Prize’; Zurin Villanueva shines no matter the platform
ET CETRA 67 / Last Word An American Legacy-Dr. Ruth J. Simmons
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Over 100 CLASSES
200 COMPANIES CO OMPANIESS
SCAN THE Q SC QR CO CODE ODE TO VIE VIEW THE SHOW T DIGEST:
FOLLOW W US:
REGISTE REGISTER ER TODAY AT WWW WWW.BRONNERB WWW.BRONNERBROS.COM BRONNERBBROSS COM FOR LICENSED PROFESSIONALS AND BEAUTY SCHOOL STUDENTS
M ose s Brow n / Rock e t P w e r
BEHIND THE SCENES Bernard Bronner sits with COO and VP of National Sales and Marketing Millie Y. Harrell to discuss upscale Media. Bernard Bronner Publisher Ceobernardbronner Bernardbronner Bernardbronner
BB: What is your role at Upscale Media? MH: I design, implement and oversee business operations. Also, I operate in every company sector to promote company culture and vision. BB: What do you enjoy most about your job? MH: I love the daily interaction with
staff, clients and associates. We have radio, print, television and digital platforms, and these continue to grow by the day. BB: What are some challenges you experience? MH: My main challenges are financing for business growth and staff retention. We are moving on the right track!
From the desk of Bernard Bronner 1 Our cover story, compiled
by Jonell Whitt, features The upscale 40 Club. We searched the black community for some of the most inspirational people under 40. (pg 36)
Cruising is back! We tell our readers how to enjoy from luxury cruises to barefoot excursions. Anita Stokes Thomas wrote this exciting piece. (pg 58)
Spring has sprung! Our writer Jocelyn Amador talks to an expert and shares ten ways to show your curls love. (pg 18)
Warm it up! Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds heads to the streets in New York to inspire progressively fashionable looks from an environmentallyfriendly designer. (pg 50)
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Founder / Publisher
VP / Editorial Director P. Nigel Killikelly Art Director Michael A. Chester Associate Editors Utamu Belle, Sheryl Nance-Nash Editors at Large Michelle Elliott DeShields, Tash Van Doimen Senior Writers Jocelyn Amador, E. Monique Johnson, Hal Peat Fashion Editor Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds Copy Editor Evelina Singh Writers Kitty J. Pope, Pat Ramanou Editorial Events Manager Dirk ìChiggaî Christiani Senior Contributors Sharon Grant LPC, Shindana Johnson, Dr. Johnecia L. Mason, Brenda Washington-OíNeale, Leslie E. Royal, Annita Stokes Thomas Contributors Yannason Duncan, Carolyn Walcott, Antasha Royal Wilson, Ibiyi J. Wilson Correspondents Errol McCollin, K. Nkosi Killikelly
VP / National Sales and Marketing National Sales Director Senior Account Manager National Sales and Promotions National Sales / Health and Wellness East Coast Sales and Promotions West Coast Sales and Promotions Media Consultant and Advisor Radio Producer / Host / Graphic Design Newsstand Sales Director Publicist Digital Manager Regional Promotions Manager Event Managers
Millie Y. Harrell Deborah Fuller Armenious Patterson Jr. Endura Govan Leris Bernard Jay Ellis William M. Johnson Bob McNeil Kerry Hines John Blassingame Jonell Whitt Annette Johnson Gail Foster/Midwest Marie Tichler Denise Powell
CORPORATE/EDITORIAL OFFICE 4200 WENDELL DRIVE, SW ATLANTA, GA 30336 404-407-5750 OFFICE 770-953-0848 FAX
Two and Naturi Lewis shows love for their upscale cover! Upscale magazine is the ultimate lifestyle magazine addressing the needs of stylish, informed and progressive African-Americans. You Can Also Stay Connected to Our Digital and Radio Network Platforms DIGITAL Like and Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ Upscale Magazine to stay informed on the latest in news, lifestyle, entertainment and education. Check out the links below: website: upscalemagazine.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/UpscaleMagazine Instagram: instagram.com/upscalemagazine Twitter: @upscalemagazine All editorial queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscription Service: 404-407-5750 upscalemagazine.com upscale (ISSN 1047-2592) “The Ultimate Experience” is produced bi-monthly by Killikelly Media for the Publisher. VOLUME 34 ISSUE 2. Periodicals postage paid in Atlanta, Ga., and additional ofﬁces. Copyright © 2023 by UPSCALE Communications Inc. Printed in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustrations without written permission from the Publisher is prohibited. UPSCALE assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations. Views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the magazine. ABC membership applied for. Subscriptions are $14.99 for six issues in the U.S.A. Postmaster: Send address changes to email@example.com
RADIO UpscaleMagazineRadio.com streams celebrity talk, hair and beauty, travel and so much more around the clock. It hits all the points of interest that are found in Upscale magazine and allows for those stories to come to life on the radio network. UpscaleMagazineRadio.com is powered by HaiRadio and headed by longtime hair industry entrepreneur, Kerry Hines. Listen out for amazing new original content streaming across the airwaves at www.UpscaleMagazineRadio. com. Just a click away. Stay tuned.
A PEEK i n t o t h e F RESH and TR EN DIN G P E O P L E , P L A C E S and THIN G S
A BREWING CRISIS BLACK FAMILIES BRACE FOR SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES AS INFLATION SOARS. As the cost of living continues to rise worldwide, many are finding it hard to cope with the impacts and challenges associated with inflation. The steep price increase on necessities such as food, housing, electricity and gas is a major cause for concern. The United States has had its fair share of dealing with these effects, as it faces its highest inflation rate recorded in over 40 years. Researchers say Black families in the United States will suffer more significantly since they are further behind on the economic ladder than their White counterparts. A lack of action by lawmakers and policymakers to cushion the effects of inflation and recession may lead to disastrous consequences. ! —UTAMU BELLE
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As I paint for you, Live your life in full color
"Expression" 30 x 24 Acrylic on Canvas
THE BODY LIBERATION PROJECT How Understanding Racism and Diet Culture Helps Cultivate Joy and Build Collective Freedom
ALWAYS KEEP IT HOTT! A Journey from “Kitchen Help” to Master Chef
An educator, speaker, and former strength coach, Chrissy King has written a book challenging social and racial norms. Published by Penguin Random House, the book seeks to empower individuals and encourage them to celebrate their bodies as they navigate their way through the fitness and wellness industry. Using her life as a backdrop, she addresses racism within the diet and fitness sphere, letting readers know the Eurocentric way is not the standard of beauty for all.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT A Thrilling Novel from the Eyes of Selena Montgomery
Penned by Chef Glenn Law Instagram @ChefGlennLaw
Penned by Stacey Abrams Instagram @StaceyAbrams
As an executive chef for several renowned restaurants in the Atlanta area, Chef Glenn appeared on popular cooking segments for Good Day Atlanta, Better Mornings, Atlanta and Company and others. His self-published cookbook includes delectable recipes for appetizers like Creamy Spinach with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Greens and Things such as Ceasar Salad with Fried Okra Croutons, The Main Event (Entrees) like Oven Baked Rainbow Trout, Side Kicks such as Kale, Spinach and Rhubarb Collard Greens, Sweets and Treats like Walnut Apple Cobbler, and more. The book can be purchased at www. chefglennlaw.com. —Leslie E. Royal
Known as the “Queen Maker”, Stacey Abrams is a powerhouse in American politics. Having written more than 21 books, she is a New York Times bestselling author writing under the pen name of Selena Montgomery. Published by Penguin Random House, this romance and suspense novel follows the career of Dr. Raleigh Foster who works undercover in a top-secret intelligence organization. She partners with Adam Grayson who poses as her lover. The job threatens to cross the line to pleasure as they work to complete their mission. —L.E.R.
“It is important to me to inspire others because I love what I do, and someone inspired me. My cooking is my purpose, my passion, and my love. People always ask me how to cook something or for a recipe for food. I would hope by having the cookbook, it will help to inspire others to cook and share their love for food with others.” – Chef Glenn Law 10
Cour tesy of Authors
Penned by Chrissy King Instagram @iAmChrissyKing
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Sher yl Nance-Nash
MOTHER NATURE’S MAGIC
Experience the beaches, cays, reefs and national parks and you’ll know why Turks and Caicos’ motto is “Beautiful by Nature.” B Y SH E RYL NANC E - NASH
Turks and Caicos is for nature lovers. This small island in the Caribbean has just under 45,000 people, 100 named islands, cays, and rocks. There are beaches like Grace Bay beach, touted as one of the world’s best, with its pink, peach, and white sand. Take your pick of how you want to play -- paddleboard, kayak, or snorkel in this watersports playground. Get your wildlife fix with the wetlands, reefs, and hikes. Expect sharks, stingrays, dolphins, an array of fish and birds, flamingoes, owls, osprey, and pelicans. Depending on the season, you might glimpse humpback and pilot whales. PARTY IN PROVO The action jumps off in Providenciales at spots like The Terrace on Grace Bay, where you dine steps from Grace Bay beach and feast on anything from shrimp and grits,
lobster and bacon dip, a curry seasoned chicken flatbread, and other goodies. Another favorite is the beach bar, da Conch Shack. They are the king of conch, but you can also feast on snapper, lobster, or jerk chicken. Noah’s Ark, the floating beach club, is a full-service restaurant in the middle of the ocean, off the coast of Little Water Cay. You get there by boat, water taxi or jet ski. Order the popular conch salad. If it’s the weekend, the DJ will keep you dancing. A-listers like Simone Biles and Drake are among the celebrities who have chilled there. REJUVENATE YOURSELF For relaxation, head to MRVL Spa, where luxury meets innovation, with technologies like infrared sauna therapy. Lay in the space-age capsule and sweat it out or chill with cryotherapy. Go for a combination of
IV therapies, therapeutic body treatments, and its specialty, revolutionary Blue Scorpion Peptide technology that is used in treatments and products. STAY IN STYLE As for where to stay, the biggest buzz is about the Rock House, a boutique hotel perched on high along rugged coastline built on cliffside. You’ll swear you’re in the South of France. Choose an oceanfront villa with awesome views. Enjoy a sunset splash in your infinity pool or in the private beach. If you’re more the big resort type, consider the Ritz-Carlton, with its ocean-view suites. Set sail on the resort’s luxury 65-foot Lady Grace catamaran, pamper yourself at the spa and try your luck at the casino. A meal at BLT Steak is sure to please. The braised short ribs and truffle mac and cheese will send you straight to heaven. upscalemagazine.com
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HUM ANITARI AN
Ce l eb ri ty Pu b l i c i s t ’s chance encount er w it h dog leads t o her find ing a home BY UTAMU BELLE
PETS ARE TYPICALLY CHOSEN AND INTENTIONAL when it comes to adding a new member to the family. While this is typically the case for most people, it was quite the opposite for Celebrity Publicist Jonell Whitt, known to most as Jonell PR. When she spotted a 76 pound Cane Corso, stretched out in a vacant field appearing distressed, she immediately called the Humane Society. Little did she know that this chance encounter would lead to her surprising her son with the dog of his dreams. “I immediately pulled all my water bottles together, [which were] laying around my truck and found a bowl and sat it out for her. Immediately, she jumped up and proceeded to scarf down the water and I noticed she was limping, but grateful. After that, I decided to go to the store and get her some food as I could see the bones sticking out from her nutritionally deprived body as she appeared to not have eaten in weeks”, Whitt said. When the representative from the Humane Society arrived, she advised Whitt that she would be doing the dog a huge disservice by taking her to the dog pound due to a deadly influenza which had been reported at the time. Whitt said the representative noted that she had been advised that she should only bring in dogs which were in critical condition. “ Upon arrival, she scanned the Corso for tags to find any type of ownership. It was apparent that she had recently given birth. Though she was wearing a collar there was no ownership information and it clearly looked like a case of inhumanity of someone who took the puppies and tossed the mom”, Whitt said. “After much consideration, I made a phone call to my good friend Dr. Vernard Hodges, one of best veterinarian surgeons, hospital owners and star of National Geographic’s show ‘Critter Fixers.’ He is also a new owner of the Petsmart in Smyrna, GA. We Facetimed and he immediately exclaimed, ‘She’s a sweetie pie!’He also owns a 170 lb. King Corso. His advice was to take good pictures and put her up for adoption”, Whitt continued. After having the dog checked out by a local veterinarian who gave her an excellent report, Whitt’s son decided that he would adopt her. His dream dog was initially the Tibetan Mastiff, but after one week he found love in ‘Moxy’, which he now sees as “Protector” and the “Best Cane Corso ever”.
UPSC ALE M AGA Z INE
/ u p s c a l e m a g az i n e . c o m
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Feed Your Pets Like Family with BLUE
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JUST FOR HER This Mother’s Day, get the special woman in your life something quite distinctive. Whether she has a fondness for home décor, gorgeous jewelry, or gifts that will encourage relaxation, she’ll appreciate these presents for some time to come. BY LESLIE E. ROYAL
Baloom Stretching Massager 4 Pre-Programmed Sessions, $349, www.thebaloom.com
Sidney Byron Sun Catcher Carry All Pouch and Tote, $115+, www.sidneybyron.com
Smart Glass Jewelry Cube Rings $56, Cube Necklaces, $46, www.smartglassjewelry.com
Uber Chill 6-Can Mini Fridge Cooler for at Home or on the Go, $59 www.uberappliance.com
Admiral Row Delicate Necklaces Prices Vary, www.admiralrow.com This Atlanta based Black woman owned business handcrafts remarkable jewelry and accessories.
Midnight Velvet 3-Piece Tribal Warrior Women Art, $99, www.midnightvelvet.com
Tea Forté Jardin Collection Curated with New York Botanical Garden, $60+ www.teaforte.com upscalemagazine.com
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SPRING IT ON!
10 Ways To Show Your Curls Big Love .
With Spring in the air, it’s time to get curls poppin’ from root to tip! Natural curl expert and educator Pat G. Williams, author of Natural Hair Hairversations: The Guide to Natural Hair, shares ten tips to try for gorgeous curls all season long.
WORDS BY JOCELYN AMADOR PHOTOGRAPHER: JAMES SCHLEFSTEIN MAKEUP: TIE COOPER STYLES: PAT WILLIAMS, MEKA SIMS
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MYA From any angle, these color-enhanced 4B/4C curls are stunning. This style’s coif care cocktail consists of: a sulfate-free shampoo, intensive conditioner, leave in conditioner, a styling mousse (or setting lotion) and a hair shine mist.
Get your curl care kit together. Always start with a great shampoo that moisturizes and hydrates, a good conditioner (that you can leave on the hair for 5-10 minutes so it soaks into the hair) and a leave-in conditioner.
Use the right leave-in conditioner. The leave-in conditioner provides a barrier to protect the outer layer of the hair. I would suggest a leave-in that you spray on, rather than one that you pour on, because sometimes you can overdo it and that affects the styling products you may be using.
Hone your hair conditioning technique. The best place to start applying your conditioner is on the ends of the hair and work your way up. The ends are hair you’ve had the longest and it’s always going to be the most damaged. The hair at the scalp is hair that just grew in so it’s never going to be as damaged as the ends. upscalemagazine.com
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AKIA This chic crop’s mane goal is to keep 4B/4C curls hydrated and defined. The coif care cocktail to help make this happen: a sulfate-free shampoo, intensive conditioner, leave-in conditioner and styling lotion and pudding.
Try a hot oil treatment to quench thirsty curls. We all have oil on our scalp. But when the hair is curly, that natural oil never gets to the ends of curly hair because it doesn’t work its way through the ringlets. There are hot oil treatments you can heat up and use by themselves. Or, you can cocktail the hot oil treatment with a cream conditioner. 20
Shampoo after a work out. The salt in perspiration is very acidic. If it stays in your hair, that salt dries out the hair and it turns white and can sometimes be confused with dandruff. Find a hairstyle that allows you to shampoo your hair after working out—like pulling hair into a ponytail or a “Pineapple.”
6 Re-energize your scalp. Scalp serums are a new product category growing by leaps and bounds. Some of them have oils but they’re designed to re-energize the scalp. I recommend using it every night and massaging it in wherever there’s hair loss concerns. Serums are usually a very lightweight liquid and help recharge the hair roots. I’ve seen cream-based scalp energizers as well.
7 Address those split ends. If you have split ends you’re going to have hair loss. Go to your stylist, every 6-8 weeks, for a trim so those split ends don’t “travel” up the shaft. Some women think trimming ends prevents hair growth. But it’s not that your hair isn’t growing. It’s not staying because as fast as it’s growing it’s breaking off.
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TY’RA These 3C/4A spirals are kissed with color and detailed with flat twists on the sides using curling creme. The coif care cocktail for this style: sulfate-free shampoo, intensive conditioner, leave-in conditioner and curling and styling mousse.
8 Use mousse to create curl elongation. Elongation is the ability of the hair to stay stretched when it’s dry. If you have wavy or curly hair, my go-to product would be a styling mousse. Because it’s water based, the mousse not only moisturizes but it also gives the hair definition with its holding capabilities. And because it’s lightweight, it doesn’t weigh the hair down. The puddings and the gels that harden the hair don’t elongate, but a mousse will.
9 Apply mousse like a pro. The mistake is to put the mousse on your hand, try to emulsify it then comb it through the hair. Instead, you’re going to apply that mousse directly on the ends, working it through the hair.
10 Find out if your hair is porous. Porosity is the ability of the hair to absorb moisture. if you want to check your hair’s porosity at home, take three strands of hair and put it in eight ounces of water. If the hair is damaged it will sink to the bottom because it has “holes” on the strands. But if it floats to the top, it’s healthy because the cuticle is closed. If you have “holes” you want to condition, condition, condition— because the conditioner is what fills the “holes.” That’s why conditioning is so important.
Understanding the type and texture of your hair along with its curl pattern and porosity are the defining reasons to help properly care for your Natural curls and help you make your product selections. Author and Natural hair care expert Pat G. Williams explains it all in her book, Natural Hair Hairversations: The Guide to Natural Hair.
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FLICKER OF HOPE
Five ways I navigate daily anxieties in a world full of triggers. BY TASH VAN DOIMEN
Sharing your experience with stress and anxiety can be quite challenging. Finding the right words, identifying the myriad of emotions, opening yourself to others, and finding ‘safe’ spaces and coping mechanisms, are just a few factors that add to this challenge.
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Even for the most social person, navigating the terrain of the 21st century takes its toll. We live in a fast-paced and increasingly interconnected world full of triggers that contribute to stress and anxiety, and, on the extreme side, depression. But life is filled with its share of ups and downs. Certainly, those low moments make the ‘highs’ extraordinary. Consider how bright a shimmer of light seems in a dark room. Indeed, enjoying the good days is the easy part. As the saying goes, time flies when you are having fun. But how do you navigate the dark ones? When time slows, you are ‘locked’ in your thoughts, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems miles away. I find it difficult, I am a classic over-thinker, and I like to dwell in my ‘pain’. This a terrible trait when you live in a world constantly confronted by ‘perfect lives’ on social media or one disaster after the next on the news. Finding the right balance, even without these distractions, is daunting. Daily struggles such as pressing deadlines, stressful workdays, a fight with a loved one or a goal that seems out of reach can quickly send you into a downward spiral. While remaining positive and maintaining good health and wellbeing takes much time and effort. After dwelling in a state of heightened anxiety within the last three years, I decided that 2023 would be different. Admittedly, I am no expert on the topic, and every day is a learning curve, but I strive to cultivate a balance of healthy habits that encompass both physical and mental well-being. Here are a few things I do to survive my days, tune out the noise and centre myself. 1. MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET You would think this is easy; however, maintaining a balanced diet is not always as easy as it sounds, especially on lazy days. I feel I’m at my best when I eat healthily. So, I take my vitamins, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink water, and listen to my body. The older you get, you become sensitive to what your body needs; it talks to you, and ideally, you should listen. Starting small helped me to eat healthier rather than consciously choosing more nutritious meals instinctively. Eating may be the last thing you think when in a ‘funk’, so start small. Little progress is better than no progress. 2. EXERCISE I am not a big exercise fan, but I have learnt that being unfit takes its toll, especially when you are down and out. Exercising weekly and remaining active is proven to improve your physical health and mental and emotional well-being. I practice yoga twice weekly whenever I feel overwhelmed or stressed (this can mean yoga every day for one week). Yet when you find your
groove, your ideal type of exercise, whether cardio or dance, jogging or aerobics, you eventually crave it and not run from it. Pushing yourself a little harder every day will raise the bar. Start simple with a 5-minute workout and see how it goes as you add more time when your body adjusts. 3. PURSUE JOY There is a psychological theory that re-watching your favourite movie or listening to your favourite songs can be therapeutic in times of stress and anxiety. I have tried this and can confidently say it works for me. While this might only work for some, particularly if you are restless or are easily distracted, do those things that make you happy. You can actively pursue joy by doing something you like; this might be taking a walk, sharing a meal, or practising a hobby. Everyone has their thing, and searching for it, will, at the very least, keep you engaged. 4. SEEK PEACE Now admittedly, this one is hard. Peace is subjective. We all have our understanding of peace, whether it’s contentment, calm or zen. I find peace in my spirituality. I like to pray and listen to the word of God. Others would meditate, journal, have ‘me’ days, practice breathing techniques or go to a spa. Whatever the case, while defining peace may be a challenge, pursuing it ought to be paramount. Think about the times you feel most at peace and try to recreate those moments or create new ones. The eye of the storm is the most peaceful place in a disaster. Learn to find your peace in chaos. 5. M AINTAINING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS Maintaining healthy relationships, like seeking peace, is easier said than done. Whether it’s a romantic or platonic relationship, a family member, or a friend, I strive to engage positively with others because it is simply what I want from others. When you feel safe, respected, appreciated, and loved in the presence of others, bad days are not so gloomy and good days are remarkable. You feel empowered, happy, and secure. These factors provide emotional well-being that promotes mental and physical health. However, sometimes more than these factors are needed. Just as it is important to identify when you are anxious, stressed, or depressed, it is also necessary to admit when you are overwhelmed. It is perfectly normal to feel how you feel at any moment, and we should seek help when this becomes more than we can handle. Similarly, while admitting your vulnerability can pose another obstacle in finding the right balance, you should still seek help when needed. After all, there is beauty in the imperfections of this chaotic world.
The older you get, you become sensitive to what your body needs; it talks to you, and ideally, you should listen. Starting small helped me to eat healthier rather than consciously choosing more nutritious meals instinctively.
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MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY Addressing the Challenges
BY UTAMU BELLE
While mental illness is known to affect people of all races and ethnicities, some unique factors contribute to the mental health crisis and increased challenges faced by those in the Black community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2022, reported that the mental health of some racial and ethnic minority groups had worsened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These groups were placed at a higher risk of contracting the infection. This factor, compounded with other stressors such as stigma, unemployment and loss of loved ones, was reported by the CDC as contributing to increased stress and mental health problems in the Black Community. STIGMA According to Mental Health Advocate and counsellor Michelle Elliot- DeShields, one of the key challenges is the stigma surrounding mental health. Due to this, DeShields said many might feel embarrassed about discussing their mental health issues, thus creating a barrier to accessing relevant resources and support. DeShields notes, “The stigma is often reinforced by negative stereotypes that view mental illness as a sign of weakness or failure. Therefore, many do not seek the help they need.” SUBSTANCE ABUSE DeShields pointed to substance abuse and addiction as significant challenges in the Black community. She said substance abuse is a coping mechanism for those with mental health problems and is often linked to poverty and lack of support systems. DeShields contends, “This can create a vicious cycle of substance abuse and mental illness that is difficult to break. It is important to address these challenges by providing Black individuals with access to mental health care and support and resources to help them overcome addiction.”
RACISM On April 8, 2021, the CDC declared racism a serious threat to public health while concluding that it negatively impacts mental health. The CDC reports, “Racism negatively impacts mental health…First-hand experiences of racial discrimination, as well as witnessing or hearing about discrimination from others or in the media, can cause or intensify stress and racial trauma.” ACCESS TO QUALITY MENTAL HEALTH CARE According to DeShields, access to quality mental health care is another major challenge in the Black community. She highlighted barriers such as cost, lack of insurance, and distrust in the healthcare system as challenges which may affect access to quality mental health care in the Black community. DeShields states, “This lack of access can result in untreated mental illness.” The CDC has also reported that racism contributes to unequal access to resources, services and support needed for mental health care. ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES According to DeShields, mental health challenges faced by the Black community can be complex and multifaceted. She concludes, “Addressing the challenges will require a commitment from everyone in our community, putting policies in place to improve access to mental health care, and openly discussing mental health to help reduce the stigma, as well as supporting those working to improve their mental health.” The CDC collaborates with partners to improve mental health among racial and ethnic groups by developing and sharing culturally responsive resources, gathering and analyzing data, implementing strategies and raising awareness. We all can become involved by embracing and encouraging those affected.
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Ph otos cour tesy of Melody M. Maddox
COMMUNITY FIRST Sheriff Maddox extends her reach outside of the DeKalb Judicial Complex to the community she serves with action and progressive involvement.
BY DENISE POWELL
Sheriff Melody M. Maddox, the 50th Sheriff of Dekalb County, Georgia, has made history for herself and the world’s women as the first woman to hold the office. Many elected officials are unwilling to share the truths of their pasts that might have closed the door to their success. But this 28-year law enforcement veteran was transparent and engaging. Along with telling, she demonstrates through non-stop community engagement and visionary leadership what it means to be committed to creating a safer environment for Dekalb County’s citizens. Sheriff Maddox appears in the doorway of her office's impressive gold and blue conference area with an immaculately pressed uniform and service weapon on her hip. Her sharp eyes convey her seriousness about the depth of her responsibilities. But her sincere smile and wit reveal a woman with humility, faith, and sincerity. The 56-year-old lifelong DeKalb County resident is a “Grady baby,” a term used by Atlanta residents born at Atlanta, Georgia’s Grady Hospital. She graduated from J.E. Brown High School, starting life as a single mother. This might have derailed many. But determined to be an excellent role model for her daughter and to pursue a lifelong dream, she enrolled as a student at Morris Brown College. In 1995, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.
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“I got my degree to do more than just say I have a degree. I used it to help the community.”
In 2020, she won the election to Sheriﬀ by a large margin of victory, receiving 83.9 per cent of the votes.
She recounts with great pride why she believes she owes her all to Morris Brown.
I didn’t run for Sheriﬀ to be the ﬁrst anything. I wanted to serve my community.”
“Being a student at Morris Brown changed my life. If you were hungry, you could get some food. If you needed a ride somewhere legitimate, someone would take you. I came to ﬁnd out that some of the other students had children, and we would help each other based on our trust factor. To this day, we still communicate. “Only now we’re grandmothers.” Sheriﬀ Maddox also has a Master of Arts degree in General Administration from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in African American Ministries from the Newburgh Theological Seminary and Bible College.
Serving the community is something she does daily. Sheriﬀ Maddox is a member of the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2017 and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the DeKalb County NAACP.
She admits that life for her has not been an easy road. She maintains, “It’s been a tough road. But it’s a road that I’m so glad that I traveled because I wouldn’t be this woman. I thank God for the determination in me that has always been there.” For Maddox, the mission is “community ﬁrst.” In the summer of 2021, she created a free camp for the male youth of DeKalb Maddox’s stellar career in law enforcement led her steadily to County entitled “Boys to Men.” It gained so much attention and the DeKalb County Sheriﬀ’s top oﬃce. From starting at the praise that it inspired the “Girls to Pearls” camp in the summer DeKalb County Sheriﬀ’s Oﬃce and progressing through the City of 2022. of Atlanta and DeKalb County Police Departments, she created public safety oﬃce for the DeKalb Technical College, now Within the Sheriﬀ’s Department, she fulﬁlled her promise to Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC). There she made increase pay, elevate recruitment eﬀorts, and introduce the history as the college’s ﬁrst female Chief of Police. After not DeKalb Sheriﬀ’s Oﬃce Volunteer Program. In September winning her initial pursuit of election as DeKalb County Sheriﬀ, 2022, she also launched a program to make 150 Chevy Bolt EVs she came back to the DeKalb County Sheriﬀ’s Oﬃce in 2019 as available to take home for detention oﬃcers in good standing. Chief of Administration. On July 1, 2019, Sheriﬀ Jeﬀery Mann She does not rest on her accomplishments but sets out daily to appointed her as Chief Deputy, the agency’s highest-rankingdo what she believes she was called to do: to serve and make the elected position. community a safer place to live.
BLACK TECH FOUNDER
Isaac Hayes III Empowers Social Media Users with the Fanbase App
Photos courtesy of Isa a c Ha yes III
BY DR. ADIA WINFREY
Through inspired action and lessons from the music industry, Isaac Hayes III has raised over $8 million in three years to develop Fanbase. Fanbase is a social media platform allowing users to monetize their content. Son of Academy Awardwinning artist Isaac Hayes, Hayes III invited upscale to Fanbase’s Atlanta Headquarters to share his story.
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HOW DID YOU ACQUIRE THE FUNDS TO DEVELOP FANBASE? I initially invested $200,000 of my own money in 2018 to create the prototype. I was fortunate that I had been in the music industry and licensing my music for four years. In 2020 we utilized an equity crowdfunding site and raised $1,000,000 in three weeks. During the next fundraising rounds in 2021 and 2022, Fanbase raised over $5,000,000 primarily from investors of color. WHY EQUITY CROWDFUNDING? Equity crowdfunding has been a blessing. There is an intentionality behind it. Others framed equity crowdfunding like, ‘oh, you weren't good enough for somebody to invest in you from the tech world, so you had to slum it out there in the hood’. But using the record industry as an example, I went independent. I sold [Fanbase] shares out of the trunk of my car to over $8 million in three rounds to the people. IN ITS FIRST FIVE YEARS, HOW HAS FANBASE PROGRESSED SOCIAL MEDIA? During our initial development phase, there were no apps in the marketplace where you could subscribe to someone via an in-app purchase. I wanted something seamless and instantaneous, so we went to Apple. They said no, we could
not do it. I was devastated until our Chief Technology Oﬃcer realized we were creating something that had never been done. In early 2022, we called Apple again because we heard Instagram was about to start doing subscriptions. Their response was, ‘we've had a change of heart about how we do subscriptions. We made many advances in viewing them, so you should see what we’ve done’. Once we found that out, we built Fanbase so you could just click a couple of buttons and subscribe to as many people as you want. So now you're seeing Super Follows, Twitter Blue, Instagram subscriptions, Snapchat Plus, and TikTok. None of that existed before Fanbase. We were the ﬁrst to do that. HOW WILL FANBASE CONTINUE TO REIMAGINE SOCIAL MEDIA? Black culture and youth are the economic engines of social media. But there's this disproportionate relationship between these multibillion-dollar tech companies and the kids in the street who power these apps. Fanbase is changing this by empowering its users. Unlike adbased platforms, Fanbase recognizes that social media users give platforms their value. Disruption is at the core of what technology is. So, we are changing and disrupting industries that are kind of like mainstays. I want to be disruptive because one of the things that Fanbase does is democratize the distribution of content to every user on the planet.
/ UPSCALE MAGAZINE
From the pandemic to political upheaval, changing social norms, and good old-fashioned hormones, we have an entire generation struggling to process healthy emotional responses. Here’s what’s happening and how we can help them and ourselves.
BY E. MONIQUE JOHNSON
Arguments about the proper way to raise, discipline, and guide children are endless. Is corporal punishment still acceptable? Should we implement a more conversational and empathetic approach? Is there a balance between the two that would be more effective? Here is the reality, though. No matter what side of the fence guardians land on, the truth is that some foundational shifts in our society seem to have resulted in a generation of children less resilient to real-world situations, limited conversational ability, and a whole lot of emotional baggage and a limited skill set to process any of it healthily.
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First, let’s identify the factual problem and put it in context. There is a constant barrage of stories about increases in behavioral concerns, so what is going on? Well, first off, there was the pandemic. It was an unprecedented global event that turned the world upside down. Never before had an event of that magnitude shut down daily life as we know it. As a result, emotional, physical, and mental health repercussions affected children and adults. In addition to the isolation and stunted socialization of the pandemic, recent political shifts in our society can be challenging for some. Redefining how we look at gender, relationships, race, our political parties, etc., was a major environmental stressor. All those events require processing, and when the emotions that come with the above are not dealt with properly, they manifest in various ways, some decidedly unhealthy for the person and anyone else. A recent Surgeon General report states, “Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among young people have increased. The pandemic is most heavily affecting those who were already vulnerable. This includes youth with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, LBGTQ+ youth, and other marginalized communities.” Not only are the factors above the only influencers of these current behaviors, but when we throw our age-old friend, economic disparity, into the mix, we have a stew of emotional chaos that even the most well-adjusted adult would find challenging to navigate. “All these difficulties, on top of growing concerns about social media, mass violence, natural disasters, climate change, and political polarization—not to mention the normal ups and downs of childhood and adolescence—can feel insurmountable,” one government report states.
TURN DOWN Or better yet, turn it off! The devices, that is. Increases in depression and anxiety, especially among teen girls, have been linked to social media. Tell the truth. How many teens or pre-teens do you know who LIVE for the next TikTok trend or spend mindless hours watching YouTube videos? Content creators aren’t one of the hottest new career fields for no reason. Help your minis disconnect and increase your quality personal time.
All these difficulties, on top of growing concerns about social media, mass violence, natural disasters, climate change, and political polarization— not to mention the normal ups and downs of childhood and adolescence— can feel insurmountable
The good news is that young people are resilient and historically have been — even in dire circumstances. One report states that “some young people thrived during the pandemic: They got more sleep, spent more quality time with family, experienced less academic stress and bullying, had more flexible schedules, and improved their coping skills.” Here are some immediate practical tips that you can implement to help the youth you know, and love navigate the residual “crazy” of our world and live their best lives.
WORK IT OUT They have told us that exercise releases endorphins (happy cells that make us feel good) for years. Go ahead and get comfortable, naturally, by working out together. Need to get into gym life? That’s cool, too. Get creative with it and get outside. Go for a family walk and discover something new in your city or town. LEVEL UP Listen, it's hard out here for parents and guardians, whether you are a single parent or juggling taking care of multiple littles, being a good partner, and working too. If you are a grown-up to a little human, you already know what it is, so why not try a new hobby together? Learn to do something you always wanted to or teach them to do something you forgot you knew how to do? Roller skate, sew an outfit, play the piano, learn a language, hell, build a car! Whatever it is, do it together.
SCENE STEALER Travelling can be expensive, but it is possible at any income level. Hop in your car, visit neighboring towns, or practice your saving skills and work towards a more extravagant trip to an international locale. Make sure that you plan for your trip. Get passports, research the location(s), and consider alternative means of travel (by land, air, or sea!). Join parenting travel groups and look into companies that allow you to pay month-to-month. However, you do it, make it happen and discover a new world! The opportunities to get us back to the center are endless, but no one-size-fits-all solution exists. Consult your medical and mental health professional(s) before starting new treatments. Remember to be gentle with yourselves and your children as you figure it out. You’ve got this.
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C our t esy of St anle y B rown
Stanley Brown on his love for gospel music
BY YANNASON DUNCAN
Stanley Brown is a Brooklyn son who fell in love with music at a young age and began his career during the Golden Era of hip hop and R&B. Brown started as a writer and producer for some of the most groundbreaking artists to emerge during that time, helping to craft sounds and songs that stand - decades later as classics. Some legendary artists he’s worked with are RUN DMC, LL Cool J, Salt-n-Pepa, Christopher Williams and more. During that same time, Brown also met Hezekiah Walker, and they founded the incredible, Grammy®-award winning Love Fellowship Choir. Brown was the choir’s original music director. His ear always to the streets, and his mind always focused on the business behind the music. Stanley Brown went on to lead A&R for Island Black Music, where he signed Bishop T.D. Jakes to his first recording contract and co-produced Karen Clark Sheard's definitive debut album Finally, Karen. After Island Black Music, he was appointed Senior Director of A&R at Motown Records. There, Brown spearheaded the Temptations’ Grammy®-award winning album Ear-Resistible and acclaimed projects from Will Downing and numerous other top R&B acts. He became Senior Director of A&R at RCA Inspiration, where he executive produced Jason Nelson's major label debut. Stanley Brown is driven by a business acumen and creative vision to make Gospel music popular beyond Sunday morning. This is evident in his new single, “God Is Good,” a musical homecoming for the producer. Featuring Hezekiah Walker, Karen Clark Sheard and Kierra Sheard-Kelly, the song stands out in today’s Gospel music landscape because of its up-tempo bounce, a sonic reminder that it’s okay for the good news to
make you bop. As the song begins, Hezekiah Walker proclaims, “this is the vibe we’re on, no negative energy,” and it sets the tone for the entire track. Karen Clark Sheard and Kierra Sheard trade pristine vocals that imbue every lyric with perfect-pitch joy. Through a deal brokered by Title 9, “God Is Good” is released on Brown’s Timeless Music Group with distribution through urban giant Roc Nation. “It is an honor to be in business with Roc Nation. I am grateful that they believe enough in me and my vision to bring Timeless Music Group into their family for this project,” says Brown. “My career was shaped early on by being an executive at mainstream companies, but still having a focus on Gospel. I think when we – as a business – approach Gospel music as the crucial component of Black music that it actually is – we win.” “God Is Good” is the prelude to an EP project Brown is working on for release later this year. “It’s going to blow people away,” says the always passionate producer. With his track record, which includes serving as musical director for BeBe Winans and Michelle Williams, as well as events such as the BMI Trailblazers Awards and the Urban One Honors, there is no doubt that he is cooking up something major. “I love music, and I always felt like Gospel was underserved. I believe in the power of this music on a spiritual level but also on a business level. I always wanted my work to be a part of the expansion of Gospel music, sonically and financially, through innovation and through partnerships. That’s what I’m doing with Timeless Music Group, and the single ‘God Is Good’ is just the beginning.”
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We searched for some of the most inspiring leaders in the Black Community. Forty dynamic individuals who are under 40 years which influence all spheres of life, including athletes, publicists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, lawyers and marketing executives, were identified and comprised this year’s 40 Club. These players overcame many obstacles in life, and their stories teach us that we can have communitychanging careers with determination and dedication. WO R D S BY J O N E L L WH I T T
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Mos es B rown/R oc k et P wer
Adds Femininity to Football
Maria Taylor is a television host and producer. She was a two-sport player at UGA, on the volleyball team as an ALL-SEC player and on the basketball team. As a proud double dawg, Maria graduated from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and later earned her MBA from the Terry College of Business. Taylor’s extensive football knowledge is quite impressive. The 6’2 tall, beautiful, smart host created quite the name for herself in the 2022 NFL football season as she moved on to NBC and joined the Sunday night Football studio show ‘Football Night in America.’ It’s the most-watched studio show in sports. Taylor is always poised and in a full fashionista-style wardrobe when serving as the first female full-time primary host. She is also a 2023 TEDx GA featured speaker. When it comes to race and gender in a male-dominated industry, Taylor exclaims, “‘The reality is that all people are running the same race, and they’re just trying to get to that finish line, whatever that success or the goal. The real reality is that people of color, and specifically women of color, have way more hurdles in that race than anybody else. Still, we don’t sit around asking for pity, and we don’t sit around asking for anyone to help us.”
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Diamond DeShields WNBA Player
Braxton Simpson Entrepreneur
Braxton Simpson is a 24-year-old native of Atlanta, Georgia, who resides in North Carolina. She graduated from Tennessee State University. Braxton is the CEO of Braxton Simpson Enterprises. She focuses on taking her customers from “PASSION to PURPOSE” through social media management, business-marketing campaigns, speech writing, digital media, and career services. 38
Associate Director, Inclusion Experience
LaMonica is the foremost thought leader and subject matter expert on the topic and practice of MultiCultural Marketing. Her work helps to ensure that Brands don’t get “Canceled” by holding them to a higher standard of real allyship to the communities that they wish to serve and by developing both organizational transformation and marketing strategies that ensure brands are “walking their talk” both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. LaMonica has developed a proprietary framework for Influencer Marketing that not only amplifies black and brown content creators but helps to close the ethnic pay gap and addresses pay disparities suffered by marginalized creators by pairing them with brands seeking ways to authentically connect with minority audiences. LaMonica is an Associate Director of Inclusion Experience at VMLY&R. She consults some of the world’s largest brands on organizational transformation with an emphasis on making brands more culturally cognizant. She is a thought leader and digital storyteller and aims to bring out the human element in corporate advertising to create a deeper brand affinity between a brand and its consumers. Before joining VMLY&R, LaMonica consulted and led brand, content, and digital strategies for both public and private sectors as well as small to midsized businesses before deciding that telling stories that globally shape and influence our modern culture was her passion. Her expertise has been featured in publications such as Black Enterprise, Essence, Forbes, Rolling Out, and The Huffington Post.
Images Courtesy of Subjects
At just 27 years old, she is a WNBA AllStar, an ESPN ESYaward nominee, and a WNBA champion (Chicago Sky, 2021) and was chosen to play in the 2023 NBA Celebrity All-Star game. As much as she is celebrated for her athletic talents, she has also become recognized as a fashion force. She has easily fused her fancy style of play with her love of fashion. She is the face of worldknown eye designers Oakley and has graced magazines and billboards for clothing designers, Fear of God, and many others.
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WeightWatchers (WW) Manager of Multicultural and Brand Marketing She is an accomplished Marketing Executive with a 10-year career encompassing demanding leadership roles and delivering innovative, 360-degree marketing strategies across advertising, media, content creation, digital/social, and experiential disciplines that elevate brand equity. Austin is known for bringing a gamechanging perspective and developing branded entertainment partnerships across key lifestyle and multicultural platforms.
Images Courtesy of Subjects
Images Courtesy of Subjects
Netta Jenkins Author
She is the author of The Inclusive Organization, listed by Forbes as one of the top 4 DEI books to read. She is CEO of AeroDEI, a DEI tool that helps organizations measure and quantify the impact of their DEI initiatives through gamifying employee experience. Netta has been advising corporations and audiences of all kinds for years on the most effective strategies to address inequitable gaps. That led to a 300k+ LinkedIn audience and played a key factor in Forbes naming her as one of the top 7 Anti-Racism consultants in the world. She also gave a ground-breaking TEDx talk, “Reimagining the Workplace”.
Marcus W. Tyler
Multicultural Marketing Lead, Oncology With over a decade of successfully growing businesses and building brand equity with global brands, Marcus now works at Eli Lilly. He leverages his brand marketing expertise to help people live longer, healthier, and more active lives. He recently oversaw the launch of the company’s first campaign targeted at Black metastatic breast cancer patients with a 41% higher mortality rate than the general population. As part of the pharmaceutical giant’s Multicultural Marketing hub, he is developing further marketing initiatives to attack other health disparities within the African-American and LatinX communities. upscalemagazine.com
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Hannah Ramanou Pianist
Andrea Fernandes Public Relations Lead
Fernandes serves as the public relations correspondent for Revolt TV, Ciroc, Deleon Tequila, and many more. She loves communications as a whole and being able to help transform her clients while promoting the wonderful things they are working on.
(Margo the Beauty Guru) Terrance Addison Business Leader
He is the Co-Founder and President of United States Operations for MAYVENNTM. MAYVENNTM is a Corporate and Federal Recruitment Firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. Addison began his career in the Corporate Staffing world. He traversed the corporate ladder spanning a 12-plus year period, where he sharpened his skills and enhanced his abilities to lead and build organizational recruitment processes and human capital pipelines. Addison established himself as the connector and convener for innovative workforce solutions in MAYVENNS’ corporate structure.
Images Courtesy of Subjects
Ramanou is a 24-year-old, selftaught classical pianist who received her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance at Mercer University. Hannah’s introduction into the world of music began at age six when she was asked to play the Glockenspiel for a Pre-K school performance. This started her love of all music. Hannah has received awards and accolades for her piano performance, placing first in the 2018 College Piano Competition for the Southeast Young Artist Piano Performance at the Steinway Galleries. She is now a graduate student and Teaching Assistant at Georgia State University.
Margo Taylor is a native of Miami, Florida who currently resides in McDonough, GA. She’s known to her clients as Margo the Beauty Guru. Taylor has always had an interest in the beauty industry and decided to pursue her passion. In 2016, Margo became the founder of Sheek Studio. As a licensed Esthetician and Multi-Certified Lash Artist, this career has given her the platform to showcase her creativity as well as make her clients feel their absolute best! Margo’s expertise and passion is providing services to empower and naturally enhance the beauty of clients. Sheek Studio Spa currently have three locations located in McDonough, Fayetteville, Avondale Estates, Georgia. Margo is a beauty expert on a mission to empower women to embrace their inner beauty and feel confident in their own skin. With over 6 ½ years of experience in the beauty industry, Margo the beauty guru is a leader in her industry.
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Images Courtesy of Subjects
Images Courtesy of Subjects
Will and Channan Kennedy
“Will and Channan Kennedy are the owners/operators of Images by Kennedy, Photography Studio. “Images by Kennedy” studios is an Atlanta Georgia based high-end portrait studio. Specializing in commercial beauty, fashion, and entertainment portraiture, the duo has become known for the unique creative flair in their artistry. With over 10+ years behind the camera, Will Kennedy have been commissioned by multiple brands, publications, televisions networks, and entertainment companies. Although well known for his ability to create eye-catching images, Wills’ philosophy on dealing with clients has never been one that focused solely on his vision alone.
Croix Bethune Athlete
Bethune is an attacking midfielder who has been named a first-team All-American twice (2021, 2022), a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy twice (2021, 2022), the Pac12 Midfielder of the Year twice (2021, 2022) and the All-Pac-12 first team three times (2020, 2021, 2022). The only other Trojan to earn All-America first-team recognition twice in their career was Kristin Olsen in 2007 and 2009. Bethune is also the only Pac-12 player named to the first team this year. She was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America first team in February, becoming the second player in USC history to earn first-team honors twice.
Kevin Savage Actor
FOUNDER/CEO OF THE KEVIN SAVAGE BRAND As a singer, actor and model in the entertainment industry it’s important you treat your brand as the business that it is. Kevin ended 2022 completing several acting projects starring opposite A-list celebrity talent. He’s currently developing a sunglass line and his own workout gear. He enjoys working out and mastering his craft to always be prepared for the next big project. Follow him on social media for updates @kevinsavagebrand. upscalemagazine.com
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Owner and creative director of Angelica Faith Creative Design Co. Where we give your business a Brand-New Transformation. She’s selftaught designer with over 12 years of experience. When I was pregnant with my son, I had a choice: work part-time, or go full-time. I chose to go full-time to have the time freedom to raise and spend more time with my son without asking permission from my employer. Now, as an entrepreneur, designer, and mother, it’s my mission to empower Boss Moms/Boss Women to design their own lanes in life and in business unapologetically.
Ralph Pittman Jr.
Producer/Consultant Reality Television Star/ Author of The Step In Parenting available at Barnes & Nobles
Pinky is a serial entrepreneur, brand strategist and CEO/founder & visionary of Bar Vegan, Slutty Vegan – a nationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based burger joint offering creative takes on plant-based burgers with names like PLT, Fussy Hussy and One Night Stand – Founder of The Pinky Cole Foundation - a charitable organization dedicated to empowering under-served populations with the resources to help break cycles of poverty. Pinky made national headlines for raising 25 million in series A funding and the company has been valued at over 100 million. Pinky has graced the cover of Essence Magazine & INC 5000 , as well as featured in Business Insider, Washington Post, People Magazine, Forbes.
Images Courtesy of Subjects
Sebrina Rowe & Sharlinda Parker
Founders of Tu La 2 Nail Salon & Company early on opened the nail salon because they wanted to change the narrative of having someone that looked like them in this dominant Asian business. African Americans spend billions of dollars in the nail care industry and only 10% are licensed to provide the service the legitimate way. Tu La 2 Nail Salon & Company 1133 Huff Rd. Suite E., Atlanta, GA. 30318. We both believe that Tu La 2 Nail Salon & Company would be successful because anything we do we give it our all. Providing the services boost our clients mind, body & spirit makes us feel like we have offered something genuine and awesome in the universe. We pride ourselves in giving the best Tu La 2 Experience.
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Rwanda Ray CEO and Founder of the Afrolicious Hair and Beauty Expo CEO and Founder of the Afro City Marketplace in Los Angeles located inside the of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall. Rwanda has always had a passion for entrepreneurship and helping small businesses develop and scale. She came up with the Afro City Marketplace Concept to have all black owned businesses under one roof during the pandemic in order to recycle black dollars in the community and provide affordable retail space for black on black businesses. She’s looking to partner and expand “The Afro City” concept to other cities and states like Atlanta, Houston and Dallas.
Images Courtesy of Subjects
FreddyO-Worldwide Social Media Influencer and Blogger based out of Atlanta, GA
Clinical Social Worker/Therapist CEO of Restorative Minds Therapeutic and Wellness Services in Bowie, MD. 46
CEO of Watson Realty Company A full service real-estate brokerage bringing you top of the line marketing and representation.
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I m a ge s Co u r t es y of Sub j ec ts ; C a nd a c e Mi tc hel l - H a rri s C ourtes y of Mos es B ro w n / Rock e t P w e r
I ma g es C ourtes y of Sub j ec ts
Leon Bernard Buie IV
It was in Buie’s native city of Philadelphia where his passion for fashion evolved. After moving to Atlanta in July of 2008 and attending AIU he began working for upcoming designers which inspired him to create his own clothing line ‘ Bernard Buie Clothing. Fast forward, It was in his generation’s worst time during the global Pandemic, Bernard started VIP THERE NOW, a luxury technology concierge service company in Atlanta that provides a one stop marketplace to complete an experience for the client. To date, this company manages 50 million in assets around the world.
Owner of Jay Productions Agency launched his media house after recognizing amongst his many talents his passion was in production and photography. He built his huge portfolio of work by shooting some of the most notable names in the entertainment industry. Over the years Smith has worn many hats but with all his accomplishments, he never stops thinking about others. Currently he serves as a segment and casting producer for Viacom.
Creator of Myavana App for Hair Analysis
Candace Mitchell-Harris is a graduate of Georgia Tech and CEO and developer of the Myavana App. What’s impressive to me is the fact that Candace was inspired to create her own brand from something not right in front of her but on top of her head. It was because of the crisis Mitchell-Harris was having with her own dry and damaged hair, bad hair coloring at salons and damaged hair experiences from using the wrong hair products she decided to turn her pain into profit. With the Myavana app a person can use technology to get online customer service (with membership of course), and you are able to send your hair strands to their facility and obtain a scientific assessment of your elasticity, texture and porosity. They can use this analysis and determine the best type of products for your hair. There are a staff of nine people working for Myavana that cater to more than 25k registered users on the free Myavana free mobile app. This is truly artificial intelligence and image recognition technology working at its best. Imagine eliminating the perils of buying a bunch of hair products to test only to discover you have wasted your money because nothing works! Hats off to Candace Mitchell-Harris truly thinking outside the box. Download the app and check out how to make your crown shine more radiantly. upscalemagazine.com
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DeBonair DJ Pnut
DJ Pnut was exposed to art, athletics, and music from an early age. With a father who was a guitarist and an uncle who was a DJ and a producer, it was inevitable that he’d get involved in music. He now resides in Atlanta, GA where he moved after high school to attend Morehouse, College. To date his track record includes exhilarating sets at the Super Bowl, NBA AllStar Weekend, Essence Festival, and the infamous Hard Rock Casino. His prowess is not limited by geography and audiences in the Dominican Republic and the O2 Arena- London also had the pleasure of experiencing his excellence. www.DJpnut.com @ djpnut on IG
Dora Din Whittley Founder/CEO of the Whittley Agency Mike Whittley Co-Founder of the Whittley Agency Both have spent over 15 years working in sales and marketing in the corporate, film, television and telecommunications industry. The Whittley Agency, a global talent, business management and consulting firm that specializes in marketing & strategic planning, product development, and project management. 44
I ma g es C ourtes y of Sub j ec ts
Is an amazing mom, Singer, Songwriter, Executive Producer on WE TV, Reality Star, Fashionista and Creator of T-Rivera Swimwear and comfortable resort wear. She’s what you call the ultimate entrepreneur & influencer. Rivera recently opened her new Boutique T-Rivera located at 2115 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA. Her latest invention is a skincare line Beccare by T-Rivera. Follow her on social media to keep up with her Pop-up Shops and Sales @ beccarebyrivera @triveraswim @charliesangelll
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I ma g es C ourtes y of Sub j ec ts
I ma g es C ourtes y of Sub j ec ts
Chef/Restauranteur/ Mom Owner of Nana’s Chicken & Waffles located in McDonough, GA
Omar Lewis Attorney
Lewis is 25 years old and grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia. He played soccer for the University of North Georgia in his past life. Subsequently, he attended Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC. Currently, he lives in New York and practices corporate litigation.
Jeff Johnson President/CEO Vinton Capital Seek partnerships with strong management teams and entrepreneurs to provide them with significant liquidity while still maintaining ownership in their business. Additionally, his company works with CEO’s to design equity ownership packages for key management team members to align incentives and allow them to participate in the value they help create.
Destiny Payton Actress/Singer/ Business Owner of Madonni Beauty Supply in Huntsville, Alabama upscalemagazine.com
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Images Courtesy of Subjects
Images Courtesy of Subjects
Actress/ Social Media Influencer, model and CEO of the J Nova Collection
Actor, Writer, Executive Producer, and Author of Ladies Night & Dr. Feel Good. Keyes career in the entertainment industry encumbers all aspects from music videos, stage plays, television series, movies, and he currently stars in a Ramces Rouzard television series “All the Owner of In the Mirror, Queen’s Men” created Founder of The Reflection by Christian Keyes. He is Show, Director/Producer. an incredible dad. Television and Radio Host
Moniece Slaughter is a force to be reckoned with. She not only has the voice of a songstress, but she has a heart of gold. Since leaving Reality Television the Independent reality star was able to launch her clothing line and publishher new book Mayhem A Mental Health Memoir. upscalemagazine.com
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Restauranteur/Owner of Nouveau Bar & Grill 2 locations in Jonesboro & East Point, GA. Founder of Nouveau Grits
is a Change Maker for the Culture
As an assertive businesswoman dedicated to making change in communities nationally. Her main objective in business is to economically empower people and put financial stability in their hands and mindset. She is also a real estate broker in more than 16 states. The icing on the cake is that she is a black female business owner; an entrepreneur and the owner of her own Federally Chartered Bank, Prime One Lending Group/Prime One Home Loans based in the state of Texas. They are direct lenders in every state including Alaska and Hawaii. She can also finance commercial real estate up to 650 million dollars. One thing that Poole-Watson noticed was that the biggest problem in black communities is having access to capital. Benaisha saw the opportunity where she qualified to make a major move to own a bank. Working as a real estate professional she was already at the pentacle of being in the real estate business selling 400 homes per month. “What I noticed in transactions is that 50% of our loans were being denied because we have job loss and credit issues that causes disruptions in our packets, we have life in our packet. I was tired of seeing our people of color not being able to pass go. They could make it around the monopoly table but not able to pass go. The other 50% that were getting approved were not being treated fairly with comparative rates and comparative services. So, me being able to provide this service was MY WHY. This is the reason I wanted to own my own bank”. 48
Crystal Renee Hayslett Dennis McKinley
Dennis McKinley is the Owner of The Original Hot Dog Factory Franchise & also the CRU Lounge Franchise. He prides himself on making the franchise partnerships affordable to accommodate people of color who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs and franchise owners. McKinley is also owner of NYAC Cognac with his business partners. He thought it was important in his line of business to promote a black owned liquor product. During the pandemic is when he was able to spread his wings and create over a dozen franchise opportunities as he had the time to travel and provide exclusive training. The businesses are still going strong and franchise opportunities continue to expand.
Decided to pursue a career in music and acting. Her first opportunity on camera was landing a role in Oscar award winning Matthew Cherry’s short film, “This Time”. She also made appearances on BET’s “The Game” and “Stomp the Yard 2”. Currently Crystal can be seen in BET’s “Sistas”, the spin off “Zatima” and upcoming in Universal’s film “Praise This”, out this Spring. She attended the University of Tennessee at Martin & received a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations. #funfact Upon graduating she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the United States Senate.
I m ag es Co u r t e s y o f S u b j e c t s ; B e n a i s h a Wa l t o n - P o o l e C o u r t e s y o f M o s e s B ro w n / R oc k e t P w e r
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The Future of Healthy Hair Care is NOW. Elevate and Innovate Your Retail & Service Experiences. Join Our Hair & Beauty Network
Warm It Up! Progressively fashionable looks from a enviornamentally-friendly designer that let you serve up effortlessy chic “#lewks” this spring. BY DR. COURTNEY A. HAMMONDS
PHOTOGRAPHER: LENNARD DELVIN OF L. DELVIN PHOTOGRAPHY CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND STYLIST: EMMA EFFA MODEL: SHAY DAVIS, NAOMI HUGHES, AND ESI ESHUN.
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PRIMA BALLERINA STYLE. We’re talking about that “omw-todance-rehearsal” look that’s inexplicably cool. Staple pieces include wide leg warmers, bodysuits, boleros, and precise detailing, and don’t forget to set it off with a pair of chunky heels. Leave the pointe shoes at home, though, and stick with square-toe clogs to get the same look in a modernized ballerina-approved way.
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THE DARKER Okay, so all-black isn’t your typical spring vibe, but it’s trending right now thanks to Jenna Ortega’s portrayal of Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s Wednesday. If you’re wondering how to style the gothic look for (slightly) warmer weather, focus on using little details like black lace and sheer paneling to add edge to a softer outfit. Try pairing your chunky platform boots with a metallic sundress, or wearing a sheer corset top over a sheer, colorful long-sleeve top.
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ON THE FRINGE Swish, swish! If you love the fringe trend is going to be right up your alley. Soft, colorful fringe serves that breezy energy that’s perfect to channel as we move into brighter spring days. Try a fringe-trimmed clutch for a night out, or dive head-first into the trend with a fringe dress that has a 1920s feel to it.
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BOLD BAUBLES Ready to step out of your comfort zone? Mix and match your trusty gold jewelry (those are classic “forever” pieces for a reason) with bold/handmade jewels for spring. Whether that means crochet earrings and a complementary hat or super bold rings, there’s a piece of statement jewelry out there that’ll elevate literally *every single one* of your spring lewks.
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Sustainable Style EmmaEffa’s earth-friendly line is what you need in your closet now. Spring hasn’t ~sprung~ quite yet but you may already be excited to tuck away your warmest winter coats and swap for sunglasses and swimsuits. As you’re waiting for the temperatures to heat up, you might even find yourself doing some pre-spring break shopping — but what should you buy? If you need a fresh dose of inspiration, we suggest browsing some EmmaEffa’s #lewks for SP23 and beyond. Maryland-based line Emma Effa’s focus on sustainability married with sophisticated designs earned her acclaim from the public. Founder of EmmaEffa, Maria Fenton, is a fashion designer and multi-hyphenate artist who dedicates her time researching various art forms, sustainability, historical tailoring techniques and how she can weave them into with her designs. She is all about making fashion accessible and specifically curated for the sophisticated and funky discerned. Follow Maria on Instagram (@mariaufenton) to stay update with news about the brand and new arrivals. “We have integrity in how we make our things, check who makes them, and where they come from,” Fenton says. “We make sure that, for our women, things are made in the best environment, in the best possible way and that those core values are placed to the fore.” Maria Fenton’s emphasis on sustainability results in a limited product offering, with demand far exceeding supply.
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CRUISING IN CLASS
Equipped with all the bells and whistles, the Volvo XC60 delivers top safety mechanisms, style, class and built-in google. BY JONELL WHITT
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2023 VOLVO XC60
THE NEW VOLVO IS THE EPITOME OF SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN and truly a clean approach to combining functionality with beauty. This Spring, you will see the Volvo XC60 dominate the road, not simply because it’s easy on the eyes, but because it gets up to 35mph in pure mode and has 455hp and 63 MPGe fuel economy on the road. It’s one of the smartest cars on the highway. Gorgeous, Safe and a Gas Saver. MSRP:
It allows you to go the extra mile with no plug-in required while giving you access to all your favorite features in a mid-size SUV. It’s Smart and has google built in. Google maps are seamlessly integrated into the XC60, delivering real-time traffic information and automatic rerouting to reach your destination via the fastest route. It has google assistant and google play. The advanced air purifier was a game-changer for me. Installed is a world-first air quality system that prevents up to 95 percent of hazardous PM 2.5 particles from entering the cabin. I loved the head-up display that shows your speed and the speed limit on your front window, so you never have to take your eyes off the road. In the winter months, you can toss away those gloves and drive without your jacket on because the heated steering wheel and heated seats heat up in seconds and feel amazing. As far as being the best driver on the road, the VolvoXC60 gives a new meaning to driver assistance. Not only does it help you reverse with confidence, but parallel parking also couldn’t be easier because four cameras assist you with a 360-degree view. It helps you when crossing oncoming traffic, and the intelligent safety assistance technology can help you detect and avoid other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. First, you receive a warning, then auto braking if the driver fails to react. Do you still need convincing? Let’s talk about affordability. Three distinct equipment levels are designed to reflect how you use your car: Core $44,745 Plus (add $4250) and Ultimate (add $10,050).
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CRUISING IS BACK IT’S TIME TO SET SAIL ON THE DEEP BLUE SEA ENJOYING LUXURY CRUISES TO BAREFOOT EXCURSIONS BY ANNITA STOKES THOMAS
he 2020 pandemic may have dampened the cruise industry, but sailing the deep blue sea is showing a big comeback. Getting away has never been better than now, with several options for curating a memorable experience for you and your travel buddies. From ultra-luxury to barefoot experiences, the cruise world has an ideal itinerary for couples, a girlfriend’s getaway, a guy’s trip, or going solo.
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Kontiki Expeditions is where Neoluxury meets adventure aboard the M/Y Kontiki Wayra, a lavish boutique yacht providing the unique opportunity to explore Ecuador up close and personal. Sailing along the country’s lessertraveled coastline, Kontiki offers opulent accommodations, superior amenities, and immersive excursions that feature natural and cultural experiences. With an emphasis on sustainable travel, modern luxury, and authentic experiences, Kontiki Expeditions gives you a truly unforgettable vacation.
The boat is home to nine luxury staterooms and accommodates up to 18 guests. Each stateroom offers views of the ocean, walk-in showers, internet service, and lush, comfy bedding. With a mission to support local communities, many contemporary decor items onboard are from local artists. A sundeck up top with a jacuzzi and bar will be your spot after a day of cultural experiences. Or schedule a spa treatment or workout in the fitness area. The dining area offers a view of your surroundings with large windows to watch the shore and passing wildlife. At the same time, you enjoy gourmet meals prepared by local chefs. A special treat onboard the Kontiki M/Y Wayra is the array of water toys, such as kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear. Kontiki Expeditions is the first luxury yacht listed with the Small Hotels of the World. The itinerary includes stopping in several coastal towns and islands, including Isla de la Plata, Puerto López, Bahía de Caráquez, Valdivia, and San Mateo. From purification rituals to cultural demonstrations, cooking classes, and hat weaving, there are plenty of ways to experience traditional Ecuadorian culture. Kontiki Expeditions is a unique and exciting way to see Ecuador. But more importantly, it’s an inclusive travel opportunity that caters to various experiences – from adventure to cultural travel, black travel, luxury travel, and baby boomer travel; there truly is something for everyone. www.kontikiexpeditions.com upscalemagazine.com
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Scenic Luxury Cruises
Scenic luxury cruises take splendor on the high seas to the next level with a journey through the waters of the Sea of Cortez. The biodiverse calm blue waters are sometimes called “The Aquarium of the world,” where lush mangrove forests brush the shores, and pristine beaches greet you along the coast.
Each day the crew takes you to one of the beautiful islands in the vibrant archipelago, where you can snorkel in the warm sea, kayak along the coastlines, or enjoy spotting wildlife in their natural habitat. There is also 60
plenty of unique cacti on the sandy islands where the desert meets the coastline. Scenic’s Discovery Yacht, The Eclipse, offers the best way to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site by helicopter, submarine, zodiac boat, or kayak. Bring along your binoculars because looking for the tell-tale spray of water from the ocean means the majestic Blue fin and Sperm whales are in the vicinity. After leaving Loreto, Mexico, you may visit: Isla San Marcos, Isla Tortuga, Isla Angel de la Guarda, Isla Coronados, and Isla Parida.
All verandah Suites give you an uninterrupted view of the water as you sail the Sea of Cortez. The spacious 228 guests yacht may encourage you to stay onboard to enjoy the long list of amenities. The ultra-luxury experience of Butler service for each stateroom means attention to your every need. There are ten dining experiences, from casual to fine dining, and complimentary beverages daily, every day. www.scenicusa.com
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Star Clippers If you have wondered about barefoot cruises and if they exist with class, style, and loads of fun, the answer is yes. Star Clippers and their Tall Ships give you a nostalgic experience of traveling by sea along the coast of Costa Rica. The wooden ship has amenities of the golden days of journeys on the high seas. You’ll spend hours of fascination looking up to take in the massive sails and masts as the crew pull and tie the ropes. Take advantage of the opportunity to help raise the sails. The crew will welcome you to join in the fun and help. What’s so special about sailing, you may ask. There is the exhilarating feel of the breeze on your face and the wind in your hair as the gentle sway of the ship sails along the coast. Costa Rica is the perfect destination for discovering the millions of species calling the tropical forest home. It is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. You’ll enjoy exploring several ports as you head out from Puntarenas to Quepos, Golfito, Playa Panama - Bahia Culebra, Bahia Potrero, and Islas Tortugas. The country’s infectious and passionate attention to conservation ensures you’ll have many unique opportunities to discover one of the leading wildlife attractions - troops of Howler Monkeys living in their natural habitat. Hike through a canopy forest or enjoy the sunshine on the beach; there is something unique each day to see and do, including staying onboard the fabulous Star Clipper ship. www.starclippers.com
River cruising is all about the ports. You may have heard this before; a leisurely journey along the rivers is exciting. Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, Emerald Liberté, is specifically commissioned to navigate the Rhône and Saône rivers in France, with stops in Avignon, Tournon, Lyon, and Aries, highlighting the very best of the area. You will visit small towns, villages, and historical sites that larger ships cannot maneuver and tour motor coaches do not include on their itineraries. Enjoy the scenery and onboard entertainment during your seven-day excursion along the historic rivers of France. Beautiful staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows give you a view of the world cruising along the rivers. Onboard the ship, first-class service is the name of the game. www.emeraldcruises.com
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Photographer: Malik Aamir; Hairstylist: Brian Christopher. Makeup Artist: DeMario Ward. Fashion Stylist: E Burns.
Courtesy of Cheryl Mayberry McKissick
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A NEW CHAPTER Courtesy of Cheryl Mayberry McKissick
XSCAPE’S LATOCHA SCOTTBIVENS UNEARTHS HER GOSPEL MUSIC ROOTS BY JOCELYN AMADOR
In entertainment, reinvention is the name of the game and LaTocha Scott-Bivens plays to win. The powerhouse vocalist of 90s multi-platinum selling R&B group Xscape is currently back on Bravo’s six-part limited series, SWV & Xscape: The Queens of R&B. The television show turns the spotlight on the dynamics between the two supergroups and the behind-the-scenes lives of the talented women behind the music. “This year makes 30 years for us and we’re still here—and that’s a testament to the gifts that God has given us,” says LaTocha looking back at her time with Xscape and this foray back into reality TV. “Of course we have drama. Things don’t always turn out the way you want…We just have to choose the right path and go with walking in our purpose.” And for this successful R&B songstress, one way of walking in her purpose meant returning to the gospel music roots she nurtured at Mount Olive Church of God in Holiness in her hometown of College Park, GA. “It’s been an inspiration to watch my father sing and write music for the church…I found that quite interesting as a child and I always wanted to do that,” recalls the star, who acknowledges the undercurrent of gospel sound running through Xscape’s biggest songs, like in the chart topping singles, “The Arms of the One Who Loves You” and “Who Can I Run To.” “[The church is] where I learned to sing and get up on stage and grab that microphone. That was my first initiation to gospel music early on. So it’s been a part of me and it was a no-brainer to go back to what I do,” affirms this pastor’s daughter. And so, with the inking of a partnership with Motown Gospel (a division of Capitol CMG/Capitol and Universal Music Group) LaTocha has started a self-described new chapter in her musical journey. The best part about the deal brokered by the star and her husband/manager Rocky Bivens: the creation of LaTocha’s music label, Made Girl Music. “I signed myself to myself,” says the singer about attaining the power to own her music. The early March release of LaTocha’s first gospel music single and video, “Stay With Me,” paves the way for her much-anticipated album. “The album is coming out on Good Friday, which is April 7th, and it’s entitled The Invitation, A Conversation With God,” she shares about her solo gospel music debut on her label. So how does LaTocha think fans will react to her shift from R&B to gospel music? “I would hope they would embrace it,” she says thoughtfully about the individuals who’ve inspired and supported her throughout her decades-long career. “I’m very passionate about music, about performing…I’ve always talked about being able to be one of those people who’ve done different genres of music. I think music reaches the heart and soul. I don’t think it has any boundaries.”
Desiree Rodgers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack
BLACK BEAUTY AND PRIDE CHERYL MAYBERRY MCKISSACK, PRESIDENT AND CO-OWNER OF FASHION FAIR BRINGS THE REBIRTH OF A COSMETICS ICON BY ANNITA STOKES THOMAS
Inspired by her mother’s love of and pride for Fashion Fair cosmetics, Cheryl started using the cosmetics in college. “My mother put them in a special place with strict instructions that no one was supposed to “play” with her treasured products or there would be consequences!” Many women of color during the 70’s and 80’s shared the same sentiment when the iconic beauty brand offered prestigious cosmetics for darker skin tones affirming Black beauty and pride. The pink compacts with bronze tone foundations and slim lipstick cases filled with lovely colors were classics. For more than 50 years, this beloved brand filled many makeup bags. After bankruptcy, Cheryl and her business partner, Desiree Rogers (President Obama’s Social Secretary), stepped in to keep the iconic brand alive. The two had worked together at Johnson Publication (Ebony and Jet magazines). Cheryl says, “We were inspired by the legacy of Mrs. Eunice Johnson, who created Fashion Fair in 1973 as the cosmetic solution for darker skin tones of her Ebony Fashion Fair Show models.” In November 2019, the dynamic duo combined their technology, marketing, sales, and operations skills to keep the brand globally available to people of color and introduce it to a younger generation. Innovations in vegan makeup include
hydrating sunflower-seed oil, and rosemary-leaf exacts. The packaging is updated to gold and white, bringing back classics like creme-to-powder makeup and foundation sticks. Fans will find their favorite lipsticks like Chocolate Raspberry and Ole’ Orange. The new line includes nude lip products and ingredients like nutrient-rice rice germ extract in loose and pressed powders. Cheryl and her co-founder also own Black Opal cosmetics. With the addition of Fashion Fair, Cheryl feels “it was another crown jewel in the Black Community, and it is important to preserve our history and support the brands that have always been there for us.” According to Cheryl, only .5% of the 60 Billion dollar beauty industry is owned by people of color even though Black consumers spend 6.6 billion annually. Access to capital and additional training, along with education, is needed for businesses to have the ability to scale and create generational wealth. Cheryl and Desiree will soon see the results of the first virtual campaign called “What’s Black in your Bag,” encouraging consumers to support Black-owned brands. “Today is the best time to celebrate beauty for people of color and the business owners behind these brands.”
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COMMITTED TO ACTIVISM ELIJAH MCKINNON AWARDED ‘THE ELEVATE PRIZE.’.
Courtesy of Elijah McKinnon
BY UTAMU BELLE
Award-winning strategist, entrepreneur and visionary, Elijah McKinnon is a proud 2023 recipient of ‘The Elevate Prize’, a 5-million-dollar award, presented to 12 enterprising social entrepreneurs and change makers, working to solve pressing issues around the world. McKinnon, who is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Chicago-based, non-profit platform, Open Television (OTV), was awarded by the Elevate Prize Foundation, in recognition of his work in amplifying the experiences of gender minorities; Black, Indigenous and People Of Color (BIPOC) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) identified individuals. The Elevate Prize Foundation, founded by Joseph Deitch in 2019, aims to “Make Good Famous,” by partnering with rising activists and social entrepreneurs. It provides them with resources to increase visibility about their work, multiplying their ability to mobilize support – whether online or on-the-ground. The prize winners will each receive a minimum of $300,000 in prize funding, as well as leadership development services, social media training, mentorship, and other support needed to reach a wider audience and grow their following. McKinnon utilizes production and health marketing expertise to produce many of the Emmy-nominated OTV platform’s programs. These have all either encouraged 64
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others to love themselves, uplifted narratives and experiences of sexually liberated Black women, promoted the value of PrEP (HIV prevention pill), and/or explored how OTV artists, who all come from a multitude of backgrounds are rooted at the intersection of art and TV. Many of the core programs and initiatives offered by the eight-year old organization have been directly influenced by McKinnon’s artistry and activism. Following the selection announcement, McKinnon expressed excitement about being recognized. “It is an honor to be recognized by a foundation that truly values my unique approach to leadership and fierce commitment to building alternative ecosystems for intersectional people to thrive. The Elevate Prize provides a reminder to those who reside at the corner of change and equity, that we are more than our labor. I’m beyond proud to be a part of a global cohort that believes in a future filled with bravery and compassion. I look forward to building, learning and sharing continuums of care that help us to elevate and amplify all of the good that resides in this world,” McKinnon says. McKinnon also shared excitement about sharing future accomplishments, through OTV’s relationship with the Elevate Prize Foundation.
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CREATIVE AT HEART ZURIN VILLANUEVA SHINES NO MATTER THE PLATFORM.’.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Zurin Villanueva, is the lone performer in her family. With both parents having established careers in law, and even her brother being a current law student, Zurin stands out with a passion for performance arts. She sings, she dances, and she acts; she is what they call a ‘triple threat’ in show business. But would you believe it all happened by accident? Growing up, Zurin wanted to be an actress so she took acting lessons, however her mother wanted her to dance, so over time she developed new skills and eventually added singing to her list of talents in the hopes to widen her scope for more gigs. However, this is no job to Zurin, when asked why she pursued a career in performance arts, her voice softens as she describes what she loves about her profession, ‘[its] the reaction from the audience, [the] power to transform, uplift and provoke thought’. Today, Zurin is doing what she loves and has brought her talent to roles ranging from Lady Anne Margaret in Teenage Dick, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III at Pasadena Playhouse, to Dionne in Clueless, The Musical alongside Dove Cameron. She has also portrayed roles in The Lion King on Broadway as well as The Book of Mormon national tour. Zurin is also no stranger to the small screen and has been seen in Insatiable on Netflix and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. You can currently see Zurin in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, as one of two actresses cast as the musical icon herself. How does it feel to be the principal in a major touring Broadway production? ‘I feel like a legitimate rockstar… its wild and wonderful,’ she chuckled. But not without its share of hard work and grit, the role is 66
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Zurin: Nickolas Vaughan; Zurin as Tina Turner: Mat thew Murphy for MurphyMade
BY TASH VAN DOMIEN
among the most physically challenging roles for females in musical theatre, she shared. The show runs for two hours and forty-five minutes, with Broadway renditions of twenty-one Tina Turner songs. Always up for a challenge however, Zurin relished the opportunity and applied herself to the role, utilising all her talents, because ‘when you take a big challenge and you win, it feels wonderful’. Besides sleep and water, essentials that becomes increasingly challenging to maintain when you’re on the road for extensive periods, sustaining your body with ‘warms ups, massages and a bit of physical therapy’ are all major factors in keeping Zurin stage ready. When she is not working, Zurin, whose name is derived from the Swahili word ‘zuri’ meaning beautiful, loves to eat and try new food. She likes fashion, creating and assembling things, and the one talent she shares with her family of lawyers is writing! During the pandemic, she revisited her love for writing. As a child she would write poems but today Zurin is working on a play, a TV series, and an e-book, that focuses on the business of Broadway. With the constant need to create while on the road, Zurin is very excited to begin drumming lessons even as she navigates her role as Tina Turner, which will be touring North America through early next year. Zurin also has a large role in the Netflix film Murder Mystery 2, staring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, which will be released March 31st on the streaming platform. Certainly, this is just the beginning for Zurin, as she will continue to pursue ‘interesting’ roles particularly new projects in TV, a special interest of hers. She couldn’t help but share that she is a big fan of Octavia Butler, whose work she would love to be a part of as well. Whatever the case, Zurin Villanueva is here to leave her mark in show business.
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Cour tesy of Subject
AN AMERICAN LEGACY BY TASH VAN DOIMEN
DR. RUTH J. SIMMONS HAS DEMONSTRATED a willingness to break the mold with a fresh perspective and continuous inquisition into the history of slavery and injustices. Renowned for her work at Brown University, where she became the first African American woman to head an Ivy League University, Dr. Simmons has led many student-focused initiatives empowering wellrounded leaders. She is the current President of Prairie View A&M University, previously holding the role at both Smith and Brown Universities. Dr. Simmons will continue to advance her efforts as a senior adviser to the president of Harvard University on engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and a President’s Distinguished Fellow at Rice University. For the full story of her life and legacy told by the distinguished scholar herself, her recently released memoir, Up Home: One Girl’s Journey, is now available.
I came to understand the value of education, not just to enable me to make a good living, but to enable me to make a worthwhile life.
—Dr. Ruth J. Simmons upscalemagazine.com
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