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Crying All The Time

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Crying Time

By Tonya L. KillikellyYES! It’s Crying Time again!

This is the time of year when baseball fans lament their teams’ player movement, or lack thereof, at the Winter Meetings. The Mets trade their Cy Young Award winning pitcher, R.A.Dickey; the Angels, as usual, are buying everything under the sun (doesn’t mean they’ll win anything). The Rangers keep A.J. Pierzynski for another year. He’s only the most durable catcher anyone’s found in eons. I’m happy for them.

Basketball fans don’t cry because we’re only 1⁄4 into the season as of now; and at this point, hey, everybody’s a hero unless your name is Dwight Howard. Hockey Phans? Well, what can I say? As of this morning, the league has cancelled all games through Jan 14th. Your sport is losing relevance. Fast. Didn’t your players/owners/managers learn ANYTHING from the Trials of Baseball and Football when they strike? You had your own mini strike a couple of years ago, but no! You gotta come back for more! AND You place Donald Fehr at the helm of your Players Association? That loser nearly helped destroy baseball during THEIR strike! I LIKE hockey, I don’t LOVE it, so I’m not MISSING My NY Rangers like I’d miss my football GIANTS. Ya dig? So what’s the plan here? Alienate the fans you have left? How much gluttony for punishment is there among you? You guys aren’t as rich as baseball, but you’re millions look pretty good from where I’m standing. Why are you killing the goose that laid the Golden Egg? Paging Marvin Miller!

It’s Football phans who do the REAL crying time! If you root for the Jaguars, Eagles, Buccaneers, Titans, Lions, Jets or Cardinals? I’m putting you on suicide watch.

I may have to join you. My GIANTS are so up and down. Pass the pizza so I can stuff my face to keep me from screaming. They beat the Saints by 52-27 two weeks ago, and the next week the Falcons pitch a shutout against them. Zero points. I mean Nothing. Nada. Maybe I should forget the pizza, and have some cognac. Is there anything stronger in the house? You know, to kill the pain.

The poor Saints, they got a raw deal. Here we were, calling them criminals and goons. Cheering the suspensions of their coach and some players for Bountygate, and what do we find out? The commissioner only had half of a leg to stand on. Picture it, Sicily 1930. Errr,wrong picture. Picture it again: your championship, perennial playoff bound team gets heavily sanctioned for having its players and coaches head hunt their opponents. The commissioner comes down hard, really hard on your team. The head coach is suspended for the entire season. Your defense looks like Swiss cheese now, because half of them are suspended too. You think the commissioner had the goods on them to levy such heavy penalties.

Your formerly Super Bowl winning team is now 6-8 with no chance for a playoff spot. THEN, you find out that the commissioner is on some kind of ego trip, and half of those suspensions shouldn’t have taken place. How are you feeling? Light-headed? Nauseous? Sick to your stomach? You sound pregnant to me. Just try to breathe and remember that it could be worse. You could be a Jet Phan.

As you well know, I’m a GIANTS Phan: First, Second, Last and Always; but I’ve watched the Jets since 1988: the good old Ken O’Brien days. We’ve seen their quarterbacks come and go: Browning Nagle, Boomer Esiason, Neil O’Donnell, Ray Lucas, Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington. And now, it appears that the beautiful Mark Sanchez is gonna be swimming with the fishes soon, because he just got benched after another HORRIFIC performance. One cannot win football games if we throw interceptions and fumble the ball. The dude has regressed. Badly. How do you go from AFC Championship games your first two seasons to where every game there are bets on not how many touchdowns you’ll be throwing, but how many interceptions?

You know who’s to blame? Ownership and management. When you draft a quarterback, you have to build a running game and an offensive line around him. You don’t flirt with Peyton Manning, get turned down by him, and then sign your guy to a heavy contract, only to turn around and trade for a “quarterback” like Tim Tebow. A guy who can’t throw the ball to save his life, to put “pressure” on him: tis the height of madness. I love their owner, Woody Johnson. When the question was put to him about WHO was responsible for Tebow being on the team, he threw his GM and head coach under the bus. It was “them”, he said; pointing a girlish finger in the direction of Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan. If it was “them” how come they couldn’t find a proper way to utilize Tebow, the athlete; not Tebow, the quarterback? So no, Woodrow. You don’t get a pass. If management knew anything, they knew Sanchez was mentally fragile. Sure, he came out like gang busters that first game against Buffalo; but what’s happened since then? He’s slowly gone down the I’ve Lost My Mojo Hill. He’s taken a dip into the Sea of Perpetual Turnovers because whatever confidence he had is gone.

How do we fix it? The backup to his backup will start next Sunday, because he’s been benched. So No Tebow for YOU! As bad as the Eagles, Cardinals, Titans, and half of the NFL are and can be, nothing compares to the abject misery of Jet Phans. I won’t go through the litany of their pain, but the mention of the Dan Marino “Spike Game” is enough to send most Jet Phans reaching for pain killers.

So here we are. Singing “Cry Cry Baby” by Janis; but it’s really Crying Time by Ray Charles.

Dr strains coupon

LOVE AND FORGIVENESS BY: ROCHELLE ROSE

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love and forgiveness

 

Love and forgiveness are two of the strongest human emotions. You can’t have love and not forgive and likewise you will not forgive unless you love unconditionally.

The first step to forgiving another is forgiving yourself for any wrong doing you have yet to come to terms with or resolve. There’s a saying that when one knows better, one does better. It is imperative that a person forgive themself for actions taken and decisions made prior to their not knowing.

Once I turned 40 years old, I measured my life and found comparability to being in the wilderness for 40 years (old biblical story that makes a lot of sense for me in today’s time in my personal life). That is when the wake-up call in my life hit me, something about those 40’s. In my 20’s, which was about twenty years prior to the light bulb experience, I was living the misconception that my life was good. Believe me it was anything but.

I had to deal with rejection which started at birth when I was placed for adoption. I found myself in and out of toxic relationships as a result of abandonment issues and my not having the love of a father that only the presence of one brings. My dad passed away and wasn’t able to love his little girl.

Growing up without that fatherly love I yearned for and wanted so badly, made me look for relationships that were characteristic of a father-daughter relationship. I longed to have someone who I knew would consistently be there when I needed him to be, providing for me and taking care of me, being a protector and loving me.

In addition to my troubled past, I was psychologically dealing with being touched and mishandled by boys and men, because they felt privileged to so. I felt powerless because of this insatiable desire I had to be loved.

Growing up I mistakingly allowed myself to be used for sexual favors, all in the name of being the “girlfriend”, but in my heart of hearts I really wasn’t the girlfriend, I was the hit it and quit it girl. Why did I accept the negative behavior? Why did I settle for a relationship with a man for 20 years who got married to another women while I lived under his roof with our one year old son? Why did I allow him to control my life only to almost lose my mind behind the whole thing? I’ll tell you why… because I had not learned the benefits of crossing the bridge to the un-matched love I had always longed for, the love that first had to start from within… the love that only began its bloom the moment I let my past go and forgave myself.

Hometown Hustle Mama Pastor Phoenicia Sibert

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Pastor Phoenicia Sibert

… TRENDY… ANOINTED…WORDS USED TO DESCRIBE THIS POWERHOUSE WOMAN— Pastor Phoenicia Sibert

MEET THE PASTOR WHO’S SNATCHING EVERYTHING BACK WITH A HARD CORE VENGEANCE!

•••

Phoenicia Gearing (Pastor Phoenicia Sibert) was born May 9, 1984 in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the daughter of Bishop C.D. Gearing Jr. and Dr. Andrea L. Gearing. After graduating from high school in 2002 Phoenicia served in her father’s ministry at Zion Full Gospel World Ministries, Doraville, GA until being licensed to preach and ordained as Assistant Pastor of Zion Full Gospel World Ministries in 2008.

Pastor Phoenicia Sibert

Pastor Phoenicia Sibert has developed a style of teaching and preaching that is innovative, yet trendy, strong, powerful, bold, and truthful.

She often refers to this style as “snatching back by force!” I had the opportunity to spend time with this powerhouse woman, and there’s no doubt in my mind that her life’s work of “snatching back” is an understatement of all that she does. Her ministry is about performing outreach to the world to take those who are a part of generation X back into the kingdom as part of generation ‘resurrect’.

HMM: What would you say is plaguing relationships today or the cause of their demise, and how would you remedy?

Pastor Phoenicia Sibert: I grew up around a lot of love and the expression of it. We got up and went to church together as a family. I would say it’s the lack of love and Godly principles. There’s not enough prayer in the households, or love shown between mothers & fathers. As a result people are going outside of the home and themselves to fill that void. We must first learn to love God because He first loved us. Once we know how to love God and ourselves, it will spread.

HMM: What would you say to those young women without a proper example in the household?

Pastor Phoenicia Sibert: I would tell them that they could still make it, even if they don’t have responsible mothers and/or fathers. You have to connect with those people that you know who see something in you that you don’t even see in yourself. There is usually someone that you can always kick it with and talk to, and that is the person you need to have in your ear. No matter what, you can be greater than what the statistics say.

We have to get closer to God. The more we get closer to God the more people He will send into our lives to help us through situations. God has the last say so in all things.

A lot of the young men I have talked to are hurting because they feel as if their fathers have abandoned them. It is important that we learn out to forgive so that we can be healed.

HMM: In addition to God, what would you say could turn the state of affairs around for us that would make things better for our lives?

Pastor Phoenicia Sibert: I would have to say to be real with ourselves. A lot of times in this life, we want to blame other people for our decisions and what we are going through, but we haven’t looked at ourselves to better our life and make us better in certain situations. Are we doing everything within ourselves that we are capable of doing to make ourselves and our lives better? We don’t have time to be fake or phony. We have to begin to do things the right way in order for this world to change.

HMM: How do we begin to change the paradigm of the unspoken jealousy that exists among sisters today?

Pastor Phoenicia Sibert: There’s jealousy and competition among women because we don’t know who we are. A lot of times, we as sisters, have to learn how to keep it real with one another. We have to learn who we are, what we possess inside of us, what God has given us and that we are precious!

Running Confuses Me— to the finish line

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By: Julz Pulley

Although I have been running for a while to the finish line, there’s precious li9le that I am sure of. Back in May, I ran into a friend that I had not seen for months. While catching up, she told me that she was training for a 5K and let me know that she would appreciate my support in the way of a poster and cheering her on. This entailed creating said poster and meeting her at Butt Crack o’ Dawn, on a Saturday morning. I was more than happy to oblige. As the race progressed, I could not help but be drawn in by the effusive support that strangers eagerly gave to participants.

As folks crossed the finish line on their own steam or with a tow (a compatriot grabs you just before your face breaks your fall), sheer strangers, as well as families & friends, heartily cheered them on.

It occurred to me like a jolt, a proclamation from a burning bush, if you will: I Will Do a 5K. If you know me any, at all, you would know how ridiculous this statement is. Well, perhaps “ridiculous” is not the proper term; let’s say ludicrous.

You see, I never have been able to run for more than a minute without feeling like I was wearing knee-highs doused in gasoline & yes, set ablaze. Not one to wait for the scent of charring flesh, I’d throw in the towel, resign to a brisk walk, & ultimately a soul-satisfying and abrupt halt. This time, I vowed, was going to be different. I am using a popular app, rhymes with touch-to-5K, and despite the agony of very punctual, incendiary calves, am meeting with much success! That success reminds me that this is part of doing my best for myself. But, I have to let you know that I’ve been registering complaints from various of my body parts.

For instance, there is a quarrel between my breasts & my gut (who, due to the shrinkage, now is demanding to be called the diminutive “Tummy” or, “the artist formerly known as gut”). Well, Tummy gripes about being double-teamed. My breasts feel betrayed, for having lost their platform, of sorts. I can appreciate both (three?) of their points of view. Once, I tried to chime in on how expensive a really supportive bra was, not to mention, a sports bra. I was told to pipe down, or else. Well, I did not pipe down & somehow the very next jog resulted in a black eye, when one of “the girls” managed to jostle out of captivity. I’ve remained piped down since. Even now, I know they are watching me, as I type. So, I will remain circumspect.

Running Confuses Me While I am talking about conformity, have you ever wondered what some women are thinking when they leave the house, for exercise? I have seen some crimes against the female form that baffle me. For instance, what are women who jog thinking, when they will not invest in underwear that keeps their members from springing out, up & over to pat themselves on the back? I really want to ask them, “Don’t you think all the jostling will result in a malformation, at the least, or a concussion at the worst?” I would have asked the few that I saw, if I ever could have caught up with them. At that same 5K, I saw a woman who showed more cleavage than the average pin-up calendar. She made a good time, too.

But, if she is honest with herself, she has to attribute her success to her, um, companions. After all, Newton’s very first law states that a body in motion stays in motion.

When I saw her, I mean them crossing the finish line, I envisioned her at the starting line, possibly pulsing her thorax back and forth, as a yo-yo, to gain inertia.

Her breast gave her a tow. Purely, speculation – I could be wrong. But, I doubt it. Seriously! Another thing I think about is hygienic protocol. Who are the women who shower before working out? Who are you and, more importantly, WHY? Why would you waste your smell goods? Frankly, if you smell April-fresh, a.er you have worked out, well, you’re just not doing it right. If the objective is to work up a sweat, funk comes with all of that. Just as with good music, in exercise, there is pride in the funk.

Furthermore, ecologically, how is taking a shower before you work out green? I hope you’re not likely to forgo a shower post-workout, if you shower pre-workout. Are you? This is a matter for the EPA. I mean, who are you to thwart the very noble efforts of the EPA? I want to know who you are. And, I want to know Why. But, most importantly, I want to apologize. I am sorry, deeply sorry, to those of you who are unlucky enough to get caught in my post-workout wake. I know it can’t be pleasant in and of itself. You get up early, apply deodorant, talcum powder, maybe even do your hair & to encounter me – Me, who in one whiff can damn to heck

all your feminine wiles. In just one involuntary whiff, you wilt like a cartoon flower. My olfactory offense, in one whiff, neutralizes, nay, negates your deodorant, your powder, and likely your coif. I imagine us accidentally touching and your carefully placed falsies giving up the ghost and peeling away from your lids, forming sad little commas on your cheekbones. I hear that this will pass that as I continue to work out, the efforts will push toxins out of my pores, and eventually, I will cease to get funky. *insert sarcastic emoticon* Not getting funky, during a workout, is a lie. I know it is. I knew it was even as the messenger was giving the message. I did not pull her onto the carpet, because right on the heels of that lie came a doozy, a doozy even doozier than the funk one. Ready? My running buddy, the 5K chick, seeing my face in a prolonged grimace that usually indicated severe discomfort, bordering on paralysis said … the burning in the calves would become a feeling … that I would crave. I was offended unto violence. I was offended to the point that I wanted to sock her in her mouth. I literally wanted to pummel her with a sweaty sneaker. I think I would have, too, if I had the strength. Recall, I was in agony, when she chose to violently assault my intelligence with blatant falsehoods. Why didn’t I hit her? Well, it was not because I thought violence was wrong. In some instances, only violence sufficiently can answer an affront. I did not care that she was a full head shorter than me & that it would be perceived as an uneven match.

Nor did I have any scruples over ruining a great friendship. I cared that I would be unable to make my case, after exerting the last bit of my precious strength and breath. By my self-assessment, if I had enough breath, after beating her, to make my case, the authorities would see my side, I’m sure – I mean who takes advantage of someone in distress? Someone in need of a beating that’s who! Oh boy, if I knew that I could give her what for, oh buddy. She does not know how close she came. What is it about any real physical exertion that makes you forget you love someone?

Then, there also was the possibility that she could win the contest, being in better physical shape than me. Being shorter than me, I bet if she answered me with a punched to the gut, pardon me, Tummy, I bet my “Tummy” would hurt on purpose, just to spite me. Yeah, that could be the real reason. Which is it? I am pretty sure it is the former. Further vexing is make-up. What is with the full face of make-up? Again, Why? Is your make-up so cheap or plentiful that having it converge into your clavicle not of real concern? Or, how can you work out and not give in to the very real urge to wipe sweat from your brow? “Work out pretty” baffles me just as much as “sleep pretty” (getting a hairstyle that condemns you to sleeping upright for weeks at a time, solely for style preservation). If I am going to go to the effort of working out, make-up is the last thing on my mind. First of all, it has been decades since I have worn face powder/ foundation. However, if I did wear make-up, what with all the grimacing, pursed and dehydrated lips, there is not a scintilla of doubt that I would look like The Joker, on a bad day.

And, let’s not even imagine the vertical contributions that my mascara would make to this masterpiece to the finish line.

I more so would look like a deranged carny. I can accomplish this without wasting make-up, thank you very much. Frankly, don’t you feel silly either returning home with perfect make-up or, having it coalesce in the dimple in your neck? Really, is it just me? Additionally, I am concerned that if I fall out, the EMT will be peeved if I get makeup all over her nice smelling uniform. With my luck, I will be her first emergency of the day, after she has gotten up early, showered, put on her facial regalia, sprayed her smell goods and done her work out. Then, she has to aOend to what must be some smelly derelict. Sure she will forgive the perfunctory and aggression. It’s the funk and clown make-up that may conflict with her own goal of doing her best for herself, that may discourage her from doing her very best for me.

Hometown Hustle Mama Jacqueline Edmond Long

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Jacqueline Edmond Long, Fall 87 Sigma Chapter

MY PERSONAL DELTA JOURNEY

international levels of the sisterhood. These high standards remain the expectation as the torch is continuously carried to younger Sigma Chapter sorors who have come after us.

My journey in Delta Sigma Theta began not when I made the Fall 1987 line at Sigma Chapter, Clark College, but eight years prior while visiting my sister who was attending Shippensburg University. I was 12 years old and visiting her  for the weekend. While on campus, I noticed these three young ladies who were dressed the same: red berets, buttoned trenchcoats, white shirts, red skirts, white stockings and black shoes. learned in our time together on line.

Not a word was uttered among them as they walked in sync and in a straight line, seemingly determined to reach their Delta spans the globe and is so much more than our few destination. When I asked my sister who they were, she said, weeks together learning about the sisterhood. As I have “They’re pledging Delta Sigma Theta.” During the remainder continued to learn and grow, I have met Sorors across the of my time at the college, I asked her friends questions about country who have so openly demonstrated Delta’s virtues. Delta and was determined that when I went to college, I would “Public service and sisterhood are for what our Founders become a member. stood…” are the words to one of the many steps that we have chanted throughout the years. That is the core to Delta and by That was 33 years ago and I still have the same kind of which I have lived my life. Giving love to those who are less fortunate.

1980s

This past fall, me and nine of my nineteen line sisters celebrated 25 years in the sisterhood. We have all grown; each of us with husbands, children, careers, ministries of varying kinds, etc., but we will always have the memories of and lessons learned in our time together online.

then. I was 13 of 20 women who “crossed the burning sands” scholarships, participating in demonstrations, attending city back in 1987 at what is now Clark Atlanta University. The council meetings, serving as Deputy Registrar in voter experiences that I had on line I still use to this very day. registration drives are among the multitude of activities of which Perserverance, sisterly love, restraint, patience, obedience, I have participated as a Delta. Meeting and working alongside listening and learning, thinking under pressure, sharing and so women of caliber who, in spite of meeting family demands, still many more qualities, virtues or whatever one calls them, were for have the time and energy to aid their fellow man. These are school girl curiosity and love for the sisterhood that I did back fortunate and weak by providing assistance, raising money for me, lifelong lessons in my 7 weeks on line. After becoming a Delta, those qualities were fine-tuned beyond measure and have been incorporated into every aspect of my life.

The added bonus of being made in Sigma Chapter, the 18th chapter and the first Delta Chapter in the south, has made my experience all the more enlightening.

Because we were “single letter” Sigma Chapter made, expectations were higher for raising scholarship monies, raising the caliber of public service initiatives, college-wide leadership, how we carried ourselves and the maintaining high expectations at the national and only a few reasons as to why I continue to be in love with my sisterhood.

To conclude Sigma Chapter, as Delta embarks upon its 100th year in existence, and as I reflect upon my journey in Delta, I can honestly say that most of the lifelong friendships that I have established are due to Delta Sigma Theta.

I thank my 22 Founders for having the vision and foresight to create a sisterhood that focuses upon public service because those kindred spirits whom I call Sorors and friends, I may have never found were it not for Delta!

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Centennial Celebration – 100 Years of Wonderful

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CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF SERVICE & EXCELLENCE of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

 

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the single largest African-American women’s organization in the country, will celebrate its100-year anniversary beginning Jan.1,2013 and continue throughout the remainder of the year. Several centennial events have been scheduled across the country to commemorate the Sorority’s founding on Jan. 13, 1913.

Events include, but are not limited to: participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.; a Delta Torch Tour across 22 cities; Centennial Founders Day Weekend; Reenactment of the Women’s Suffrage March; and the 51st National Convention. The festivities will allow more than 250,000 initiated members, representing over 900 chapters in the United States, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to observe the Sorority’s Centennial year. Led by National President, Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre, for the past five years, the organization has operated under the theme, “Delta Sigma Theta – A Sisterhood Called to Serve: Transforming Lives, Impacting Communities.” Since its inception 100 years ago, the public service organization has promoted academic excellence in education; community service; and participation in political and legislative processes.

“The women of Delta Sigma Theta have been and remain a vital contributor to the success of our communities and a defender of rights of all people for 100 years,” said Butler-McIntyre. “We are going to take this year to honor the rich legacy of our 22 Founders, celebrate the inheritance they generously placed in our hands, and humbly take up the torch they lit for us to carry and pass on to the next generation.”

Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre is the 24th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has served Delta with distinction at the local, state, regional and national levels which has earned her the respect and admiration of the membership.

CYNTHIA M.A. BUTLER-MCINTYRE UP CLOSE & PERSONAL

Butler-McIntyre is an educator who currently serves as a director of human resources for the Jefferson Parish Public School System in Harvey, La. She has impacted the lives of countless young people for over 30 years as a teacher, assistant principal, summer school principal and personnel administrator in her school district. Her professional experience also includes her service as executive director of Tech-Prep Summer Program at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, La. She has also worked as the assistant coordinator of field experiences and College of Education supervisor for early childhood student teaching experiences for the University of New Orleans.

Butler-McIntyre earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood education at Dillard University. At the age of 20, she earned a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction/educational administration at the University of New Orleans. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree in religious education from the Louisiana Christian Bible College. Some of her recognitions include: National Alliance of Black

School Educators Lifetime Achievement Award in Education, Shiners Hall of Fame, Women of Substance Inductee (Bennett College), Langston University Presidential Award, Dillard University Distinguished Alumnus Award, MLK Outstanding Activist Honoree, and a host of others.

Butler-McIntyre is an active, life-long member of the Olive Branch Baptist Church in New Orleans. Her professional and community affiliations include: Board Commissioner for the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans; MLK Task Force and The Delta Research and Development Foundation; National Board Member of the National Council of Negro Women; a past National Board Member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators; the State Secretary of the Louisiana Association of School Personnel Administrators; and Founding President of Algiers- Gretna Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. President Barack Obama also appointed her to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation in 2011.

She is married to Mr. Ronney McIntyre, owner/ operator of McIntyre Masonry, and they reside in New Orleans. Through her marriage she has four children: Shavonny, Ronney, Jr., Ciara and Rachaud; and two grandchildren, Gavon and Angie.

A Delta’s Story:

THIS GEM OF A POWERHOUSE WOMAN IS LEADING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF POWERHOUSE GEMS ACROSS THE GLOBE…

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. A sisterhood of more than 250,000 predominately Black college educated women, the Sorority currently has over 900 chapters located in the United States, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea. The major programs of the sorority are based upon the organization’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust:

Economic Development Educational Development International Awareness and Involvement

Physical and Mental Health
Political Awareness and Involvement

A Leader With A Servant’s Heart

The Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded in 1913 by 22 students at Howard University. These young women wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence; to provide scholarships; to provide support to the underserved; educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy; and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in their communities.

A Candid Speak with the Powerhouse Woman Leading One of the Nation’s Largest Women’s Organizations…

My SOROR PRESIDENT CYNTHIA M.A. BUTLER-MCINTYRE

I was absolutely delighted to have the good fortune of landing my Soror, President Butler-McIntyre for this issue’s cover and feature story. Having my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, celebrate its 100th Birthday has me beaming with pride. The sorority is near to my heart and dear to my entire family. My great aunt pledged in the 1940’s at Virginia State University, and both my mother and younger sister are my Sorors as well. Growing up in Delta and participating in each and every one of the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter’s featured programs was sometimes more hectic than not; but absolutely something I would grow to appreciate as I got older. In fact, I was the first editor of the DEL-TEENS (one of Brooklyn Alumnae’s initiatives from the 1980’s) Newsletter. I remember being in Del-teens, doing the HBCU Tours, and being among those high school girls in Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter’s first Jabberwork. I came in 2nd runner up and it was the experience of a lifetime. In fact, I recall my original Waltz dance partner being Omar Epps (yes, THE Omar Epps, Hollywood Actor).

I remember all of the meetings my mother would attend and also host at the house. I remember the pyramids from one of the lines coming to visit and my mom telling me I had to go upstairs. We lived in a 3-story brownstone and they were ushered into the basement for their meeting activity. I remember trying to sneak downstairs to hear what was so top-secret, but I couldn’t make out anything they were saying. By the time I pledged in the late 1980’s learning secrets was farthest from my mind, and the benevolence of public service at the forefront. In fact, I didn’t even tell my mother I was pledging because it was something I wanted to do all on my own (she had been one of Brooklyn Alumnae’s past Presidents). I remember having one of her best friends from her chapter, Sandra Snead (who is the current President of Brooklyn Alumnae), write one of my recommendation letters. I swore her to secrecy and she obliged, working evenings with me to help me through the process.

I’ve met some wonderful ladies along the way and besides the rewarding work of doing public service, I believe that the sisterly relationships formed have completely enriched my life’s experience. New York Alumnae Chapter was our advising chapter (Bernie Calendar Hodge was the President at the time, and one of our advisors) and we had line sisters of NYAC on at the same time as us. My mother’s dear friend Elsie Atwell was stellar, and a comfort during my experience. I had the good fortune of pledging with my childhood friend from Camp Atwater, Ramona Barksdale, and still remain very close to my Hustle Mama sands Melissa Beech to this day. My line sisters of the Epsilon Tau Chapter have accomplished and achieved much over the years and I am very proud of them.

I am blessed to have had this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about Soror President Butler-McIntyre in a very different light, and I want to share with you the joy she has for her life’s passion and what she’s been purposed and destined to do. It was an honor for me and was a reminder of WHY I pledged Delta in the first place. ~

HMM: What would you like the world to remember most about you and your life?

CBM: I would like the world to remember that in every leadership role I have held, I have always tried to lead with a servant’s heart. Any good leader can bark orders to their subordinates, but an exceptional leader has to be able to direct others and get down in the trenches with those willing to follow them. I want to be remembered for not only giving whole- heartedly of myself in all I do, but also instilling that same drive in the women of Delta.

HMM: What words of advice would you give to these young women in the world who are without love and leadership?

CBM: The only advice I would give young women today is to first find and understand the love of God, then, find the courage to love themselves. All the love they truly need is in God’s love. We can’t begin to seek love from others if we do not first love ourselves. To love God and know Him is to love ourselves.

HMM: If you could leave a legacy of your choice, what would it be?

CBM: The legacy I hope to leave is one that encourages and inspires women of every race to excel in their personal, professional and spiritual lives. It isn’t enough to see the members of Delta Sigma Theta reach the pinnacle of their careers, be leaders in the community and become the new face of politics. I want to inspire and hopefully see women around the globe fulfilling their greatness and changing the world for the better.

HMM: In your opinion, why are relationships failing at every level today and if you could provide a remedy in what you’ve come to know, what would that remedy be?

CBM: The one thing we seem to forget these days is that God can do anything but fail. If we would just allow Him into the center of every connection we have, be it a relationship with your spouse, colleague, relative, or childhood friend, He would help us to see fault with our own behaviors before we are quick to walk away from the necessary people in our lives. I am certain that if God was in the center of those relationships, he would not fail us and let us fail at building much needed companionship with those around us.

3 Diana Sisters – Programming Your Beauty GPS

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Me. Powered. Programming Your Beauty Global Positioning System (GPS) or Beauty GPS

Your beauty confidence is the total sum of your thoughts, your health and your spirit. The life you create for yourself and your circle of close friends and family is influenced by who you are ‘Be-ing’.

Your ‘Be-ing’ and your ‘Beauty’ are one in the same. Have you considered programming your Beauty GPS? While many powerhouse women have great intentions in their hearts while marching feverishly forward to the pursuit of their dreams, a lot still have not yet mastered the principal of putting themselves first.

Who is the CEO of your life? You are! You know that if you are not programming the direction of your life, then you will remain in the same place; the same principles apply to your beauty confidence. Think of your body as a vehicle, your mind as the engine, and you as the CEO of your life! Take charge of your vehicle so that you can use the power of your engine to steer your vehicle to the destination YOU want. Every day we are choosing our thoughts, words and actions. Being the CEO of your life can be a fantastic opportunity to create your every heart’s desire. But first, you must take care of your temple to nourish your total beauty.

THE DIANA SISTERS OF 3D BEAUTY GPS

Our Question to You: Most of you have used a GPS before to get you in your car to a destination you have never been before, correct? Have you ever considered programming your GPS to get you to your most confident and healthy self? When you think about what makes you outrageously happy, do you know what that is? Let us help you program your beauty GPS so that you steer the road to your most

THE FIVE KEY AREAS TO DEVELOP WHILE PROGRAMMING YOUR 2013 BEAUTY GPS

YOUR DAILY BEAUTY REGIMEN: Health, grooming habits, and managing stress are very important to self-care. Developing your 2013 Beauty GPS is identifying your day to day habits that support your overall health, wellness, and self-confidence in your unique beauty; this is a personal must for all women.

SELF-DEVELOPMENT: We are constantly evolving and growing. For every skill set we have, there are many more we can learn. By perpetually educating yourself in areas that will complimenty our knowledge base, you are being a constant learning leader.

BUSINESS/WORK – FOCUS ON THE RESULT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE: Having intense passion and releasing of all doubt is what allows each of us to achieve our goals. What are you passionate about in your business? Allow that to fuel you on a day to day basis toward the big picture. Your WHY is most important to achieving your goals.

RELATIONSHIPS – PRIORITIZE YOU FIRST: As an entrepreneur and female power house, being 100% in a business means that you have identified your purpose in life and have a very strong relationship to self. It is imperative that you balance your business life and personal life in order to meet your objective and enjoy the process. You need to network, meet new people, and not be afraid of new relationships coming in, while honoring those already cultivated. Beauty has everything to do with how you view and honor you.

PLAY – LET LOOSE AND HAVE FUN: Create a Play Jar and start setting aside your funds to treat yourself at minimum once a month. In all of your business endeavors, it is still important to make time to play. The little girl inside all of us wants to learn how to play like she use to when she was a child. Whole-heartedly letting loose and getting lost in the moment is healing. Do not allow your past experiences to prevent you from taking a chance and allow yourself to run, dance, play, and be treated to simple joys in life. Incorporating regular play time in your life is healthy!

beauty gpsIt is time to feed your beauty confidence ladies! Passion, purpose and the pursuit of your dreams is a God given ability and you have the right to live a life filled with happiness and contribution to others. A well-maintained temple allows you to experience and live an active and healthy life. Fuel is the energy that runs your engine. When you are taking proper care of your engine, you are feeding your beauty confidence. Remember, how you feel ties deeply to how your outer appearance radiates. Prioritize yourself, your health, your body and your spirit first. This will ensure that pursuing your passions will be gratifying and you will have the energy to achieve your goals and look fabulous doing it because you are loved…by you! For more information on the 2013 3D Beauty Rejuvenation Series taking place in NYC starting this January 2013, contact info@3dbeautyconsulting.com or call (877) 668-6066.

Chasing Butterflies

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A Story By YL Trent
Most mornings Tamar is awakened by ambient sounds of her husband moving about in the early darkness from bed to bathroom, bathroom to bedroom closet, and finally out the house—nary a word shared between them. Today she realizes she has slept through his morning routine. Lying on her back she stares at the ceiling thinking about the day ahead of her. The threat of a smile tugs at the corners of her mouth as her gaze drifts to the closet where inside hangs the peony pink colored dress she purchased two weeks ago.The salesgirl had gushed, “YOU LOOK AMAZING! If I am to be honest I don’t know that it has looked better on anyone else.” Tamar thought it had been a hard sales pitch, but when she looked in the full length mirror, she blinked several times as if to bring her reflection clearly into focus. She had looked… stunning. The good feeling had inspired her to splurge, resulting in a stop at the hair salon and nail spa, then at a café she and Alan used to frequent during their first years of marriage.

Tamar slides out of the bed, retrieves her cell phone from her pocketbook, and re-reads text messages between her and Justin Powell. Justin is in town and has asked her to meet for lunch. She and Justin had been best friends in college. Although they had never dated, having made a pact to never cross the line for it would potentially destroy their friendship, Tamar often wished either of them had been brave enough to give it a shot. There had been moments over those four years— moments of lingering glances, lips only inches apart, teasing tickles, hands held longer than friendly, and warm embraces, but never an admission of what either was feeling.

They’d had a tearful parting with Justin going to graduate school in Texas and her in Washington, D.C. In the beginning they would call each other weekly. The excitement of a new city’s culture and its people, and their interesting classes had supplied much fodder for conversation. During those rare instances, when they had run out of things to say, the comforting sound of the other breathing, or the clicking away on a keyboard filled the silence. Tamar had sometimes fallen asleep to the sound of Justin turning pages as he studied. Time passed, and as the novelty of their respective graduate school experience faded, communication dwindled. After graduation, deeply immersed in their first professional careers, they had attempted to re-establish communication, sending an e-mail every now and then; however now and then eventually became rarely ever.

A few weeks before Tamar’s twenty- ninth birthday, she had received a pearly white envelope in the mail. She’d felt sick to her stomach when she opened it and read:

Together with their families, Anissa Collins and Justin Powell request the pleasure of your company… Although she had been happy for Justin, she’d also felt aguish for never having revealed how she felt for him all those years. That day, she’d reconciled all had been lost and promptly discarded the envelope.

It had been Alan who turned her world upside down over take-out Thai food a week later. “Check it out, babe,” Alan had said, grinning from ear to ear. “You owe me big time. This…” He had produced the white envelope, seemingly from nowhere, and waved it under her nose. “Almost got shredded. Luckily, I decided to see what it was. I RSVP’d for us.”

Four months later, she and Alan were on a plane to Dallas. When the reception was in full swing, only then had Tamar gone to the bathroom and cried her eyes out for the first time since receiving the invitation.

On her thirtieth birthday, her beloved Alan proposed. The day of her wedding—minutes before walking down the aisle, Justin had snuck into the back room of the church and convinced her bridesmaids to give them time alone. Justin had taken hold of her hands and said, “I just wanted to let you know you are and always will be my best friend. Don’t forget that. No matter what. No matter where we are in the world, or who we’re with, or what our condition.” His words had only added to her already overwhelmed emotions. Before leaving he’d asked her a question.

She cannot recall the question this or her answer this many years later; however, she remembers his expression that day—the slight smile upon lips and sadness in his eyes.

Tamar runs a warm bath and luxuriates in the rose scented bubbles while humming songs from her college years. Afterward she moistens her skin with scented cream then sits at her vanity to apply make-up. Studying her reflection, she notices the subtle changes time has made in her thirty-seven years of life. Despite the changes she can still see the old Tamar shining through. She feels beautiful again. Out of nowhere a sensation overcomes her. Her eyes widen in disbelief. She cannot believe she feels butterflies in her stomach. She hasn’t had this feeling since Dean and Tricia introduced her to Justin nineteen years ago.

The silver frame on her vanity glints in the sunlight, drawing her attention. She picks it up and looks at the picture of Alan and her laughing in each other’s arms. Taken without their knowledge it had captured the sincerity of their love.

She wonders what has happened to them. Alan has become the man who retreats to his home office and sits in front of his laptop for hours on end. Tamar can’t remember the last time they had a discussion. Mostly they are roommates who share a sleeping space. She isn’t certain why they have become this. There have been no major events or circumstances that have impacted their finances, professions, or personal lives. Alan, simply, does not see her. They are not a unit. She is often frustrated and confused, but it’s his seeming apathy over their situation that angers her the most.

Tamar shakes off the negative feelings threatening to ruin her early morning quietude. She slips into the dress, puts on pearls, steps into her black heels, and checks her appearance. Well done, she says aloud, admiring her reflection. Her make-up is subtle, her skin glows, and her hair is shiny. The dress perfectly showcases her small waist and toned legs. She can’t remember having looked this good since she and Alan started dating.

Two hours later she is in Manhattan’s SOHO neighborhood. SOHO has the same vibe from years ago. She walks leisurely among the crowds, stopping to look at the local artists’ jewelry and painting displays, and gets a few cards from several posh boutiques she may revisit for Christmas shopping. In the distance she can see the marquee of the Delacorte Theater where she and Justin used to watch foreign films. Afterward they’d walk these same streets, chatting the evenings away. Several blocks down she finally arrives at Étoile de la Nuit, the restaurant where Justin has made reservations.

The hostess informs her Mr. Powell has instructed that she be seated. Étoile de la Nuit is not like the wanna-be French cafés they used to frequent in the past. It’s sophisticated and very romantic. The ornate chandelier casts the room in a creamy warm glow. The table is covered with a smooth heavy white linen cloth and set with sparkling crystal and gleaming sterling silver. Her breath catches in her throat when Justin appears in the threshold of the dining room dressed in a dark suit and crisp white shirt that contrasts starkly against his deep bronze complexion. She stands when he reaches the table, and accepts his open arms for a hug. They separate a few seconds later and stare at each other with wide smiles before hugging again. He feels solid and warm against her body, and smells of citrus and pine.

“You look amazing, Tammy,” he says. His resonant voice vibrates through her body. “You too.” He shakes his head. “It’s amazing. You get prettier with time.” Tamar smiles. “You always were a master flatterer.” Justin’s expression turns serious. “I don’t flatter, Tammy,” he says firmly. “I speak the truth.” “So, how was Hawaii?” Tamar asks, as they sit. It’s funny how she suddenly feels nervous; when driving across the bridge earlier she’d thought of a hundred and one things they could talk about. “Wish I could have stayed for leisure, but with trying to sell this company—” he smirks. “It could have been better.” “Sounds like you’re due for a vacation.” Justin nods. “Sure am. I’m going to take my time planning it, though. I want to do something different this year. Something adventurous…out there. You know me. I’ve never been into lying on the beach.” “What are you talking about? Jumping out of a plane? That kind of out there?” She teases. “Everyone does that. I’m talking about climbing K2.”

Tamar has no mountain climbing experience, but she knows of K2 from a book she’d read about a man’s humanitarian efforts in Pakistan. K2 is part of the Karakoram Range and the second highest mountain on earth. “Are you going through something?” she chuckles. Being bored or stressed at work doesn’t usually spur people into climbing deadly mountains. She senses something else is going on in his life. “What does Anissa think about this? Is she up for the adventure?” Justin sits back in his chair. “Honestly, I don’t know what she thinks,” he responds. Tamar’s head jerks back slightly, “You didn’t tell her?”

Justin stares at her. “I should have told you,” he says, looking contrite. “Anissa and I divorced—two years ago.” Tamar’s eyes widen. “What? Wow, I don’t know what to say except that I’m shocked and sorry.” “I’m not,” he responds. When Tamar frowns, he quickly explains, “That didn’t come out right. I’ll give you the condensed version since this is supposed to be a fun reunion. When the excitement of being the new Mr. and Mrs. Powell wore off, I started noticing things I refused to acknowledge before. Basically, we realized we were together more for the picture we presented than how we truly felt. We realized divorce was our only option.”

Tamar shakes her head. “No, you have to give me more than that. We’re not talking about something as insignificant as selling an old car.” Justin seems reluctant at first, but responds, “When we were dating I was awed by Anissa and vice versa. We were both upwardly mobile, we knew influential people, and enjoyed the perks of those privileges. There were invites to posh parties, to events some politicians couldn’t even get into, offers to take exotic trips—you know…things like that.”

“I don’t,” Tamar laughs. She and Alan once took a vacation to Goa, India. After extensive touring an entire afternoon they’d decided to dine at a highly recommended restaurant.

They’d eaten Xacuti, a Goan region curry made with roasted grated coconut with pieces of fish. Upon return to their room and discovering they’d been robbed she thought Alan, doubled over in the corner, had been reacting to their misfortune. That was until she saw the sweat beading his forehead and his eyes rolling around in his head. The hotel had strongly suggested he be taken to a medical center and promptly loaded him into an old pick-up truck. They’d traveled through darkness filled with strange wild noises, and air thick with mosquitoes until reaching the nearest clinic.

The following afternoon, and several bags of antibiotics, intravenously administered, later Alan had opened his eyes. Tamar wept with relief and thankfulness that Alan had not been taken away from her. As months passed, and the gravity of what could have been a tragedy lessened, they had been able to find humor in the situation. Whenever out to dinner, they would tease each other, asking if they believed their meal would have them Goan to the bathroom or hospital.

“Go on,” she prompts Justin. “In the beginning, I was happy because Anissa was happy. You know me, Tammy. I’m not used to that lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I live very well now and enjoy it, but without it I’d be fine.” “Would you? I know how we both grew up wasn’t bad, but how you live now is miles apart in difference.”

“I enjoy my comforts, but if I suddenly had to live a lifestyle like the one my parents provided me, I wouldn’t complain. People like us didn’t have everything, but we wanted for nothing.” Tamar nods in agreement. “Anyway, our careers started taking off. People would constantly tell us we were the poster children for beauty and brains. We were in a vibe. Every day was great…on a material level. Let me tell you—power, money, prestige, and flattery, are just as powerful as drugs. Anissa and I were high the day we started dating.”

“Did you two become competitive?” “No.” Justin goes on to explain how he was pushing himself too hard and wanted to step back. “Anissa thought I was losing my edge. She wanted me to keep striving. I started to wonder what end would be good enough for her. Her family has always had money and while, I guess, we all want to do better than our parents as proof of their hard work and a sacrifice, the bar was set much higher for her.” He stops himself for a moment. “You know what? It sounds like I’m putting the burden of failure on her. Truth is I wasn’t Mr. Fantastic. I realized I wanted Anissa to be someone other than who she always was. It wasn’t fair. One day we had a real talk—all pretenses and careful words were put aside. We finally admitted to each other we both wanted out.” But you once loved each other. Wasn’t it worth a fight?”

“Anissa and I loved each other as people should love their fellow man in general, but we didn’t have that deep abiding love that makes people want to fight it out to the bitter end no matter what obstacles they face.” Tamar can’t help but think about Alan. She feels heavy inside. There had been a time when she and Alan made it a point to discuss anything and everything, especially if it was something that bothered or hurt the other. “Well, I know you two have resolved this and are happy, but I’m sorry it turned out this way,” Tamar says.

“Thanks,” he replies and steers the conversation to a lighter subject. “Know what I’d like to do?” “Tell me?” “Let’s get on one of those cheesy tourist buses and ride around the city?” Tamar laughs out loud. “Are you kidding?” “Not one bit.”

Justin insists on paying for lunch. They stroll casually, stopping at a few galleries and stores. While in Tomlin’s, a family run, upscale bookstore, Justin’s hand brushes against hers, sending a frisson of pleasure coursing through her body. The butterflies flicker their wings again deep in her belly. Eventually, they find a tour bus and take seats on the outer top deck to enjoy the delightful weather. Conversation is interrupted, intermittently, by their joyful shouts of “Do you remember that place?” followed by laughter. At the end of the tour Justin suggests they go to the King Tut exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the cab, as they cut through Central Park, he grabs her hand and thanks her for meeting him before releasing it.

After the exhibit they go for a glass of wine at a local wine bar. Conversation flows as if they’d never lost touch and the hands of time have turned back. “You should probably head back,” Justin says when she yawns. Her eyes widen when she looks at her watch. “Time flies when you’re having fun, huh?” “It does,” he agrees. There’s a beat of silence. Any on-looker would surmise the couple staring at each other is wishing the night would never end.

Justin comments, “We have to do this again.” Tamar smiles, but her throat and chest feel tight. She can’t leave—not like this. “Oh god, Justin,” she groans. “What’s wrong?” “Didn’t you ever want more?” She blurts out then holds up a halting hand. “No, don’t answer. I shouldn’t have asked.” “Tamar—“ She cuts him off. ”I have to say this. Part of me agreed to meet you because I needed to—I was hoping to—” She groans again then her covers her face with both hands, silently asking herself, what the heck are you doing?

He gently pries her hands away. “Can I answer your question?” She can’t bring herself to respond, so he says, “Since the first day we met.” This gets her to look up. “Why didn’t you ever do anything about it?” She cries out of frustration. “I always thought you would hate me if I tried. That if anything went wrong we would never be the same toward each other.” “You could have tried.” “We figured this out a little late, huh?” He jokes. They laugh simultaneously. Sobering, he says, “Guess I messed up.” “Yeah, I think me too.”

Justin brushes away a strand of hair from her face. “Since we’re letting it all out guess I should tell you I had every intention of ruining your wedding day.” Tamar lets out a breath as if she’s been punched in the gut. “Right before Desiree pulled me out the room—

Do you remember what I asked you?” Tamar shakes her head no.

“I asked if you loved Alan with every fiber of your being. And you said?” Tamar shakes her head, indicating she still doesn’t remember. “You said you loved him more than that,” Justin tells her. “Are you and Alan still happy?” Solemnly she responds, “We haven’t been. Things have changed.”

“Things always change.” “And what do you do when that happens?” “You already know the answer to that,” Justin replies. “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “We both know what we’re doing, Tamar.” “I can’t,” she mumbles and says no more because she doesn’t know what she was going say. Justin takes hold of her hand. “Come on.”

They take a cab back to SOHO and sit in the lobby of his hotel. When they know nothing more needs to be discussed, Justin asks, “Are you sure about this, Tammy. I want you to be sure.” She nods in the affirmative and hugs him tight. At the revolving door, she looks over her shoulder and waves before leaving. Tamar cries the entire drive back to Westchester. When she walks into the house, Alan takes in her appearance and is off the couch nearly charging at her.

“What happened?” The worry in his voice is apparent. “I came home early…thought we could go to the movies,” he continues to ramble nervously. “The Pennington is running their one dollar movie special. We haven’t done anything together in such a long time.”nShe looks into his peaceful, tired eyes and starts crying again. He walks her to the couch, asking if he should call the police or take her to the hospital. She hugs her husband tight and says, “We need to talk.”

Take Command of All Your Storms

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storm

Last year Hurricane Irene came barreling down on us and I watched as people prepared for the storm and scrambled and scurried and scared and…you get the picture.

In the aftermath as I waited for my power to be restored and cable and all the amenities we take for granted will always be there, and can’t seem to let go of…even for a minute…I wrote that poem…Commanding the Storm to Pass. There are always storms brewing in our lives. Weather related or whether…related, they are coming…and they pass. How, then, do we do this? What do we do to Prepare for the STORMS we constantly face? What do we learn? Do we even…think about the storms…what is our defense against ANY storm…

It didn’t register until that Thursday that a real weather related storm was coming…and that it was expected to be “bad”. You see, on a daily basis, I pray for peace in my day…for protection, for covering. So, a weather related storm would not register until it affects my day (i.e. traffic, long lines, etc.) On Saturday I could see that people were really preparing for this “storm”, buying all the food and goods they could get their hands on. “Preparing” for what would surely cause havoc in their lives and hinder them from being able to get what they needed. I watched people stock up on “stuff” to keep them for a few days, weeks, months! No, I’m not kidding. As I stood in line with my bananas and grapes, and my water…and comfort foods for my daughter who was home from college, people looked at me as if I was…crazy? Maybe…but I was prepared. You see…I have a clear vision of “stormy weather”

We spend so much of our time abusing the time we have and never taking a moment to just Be Still…and listen. To our minds…our hearts…our bodies even. We are in such a rush…everything in our lives is so…microwaveable…we want and we want now. Nothing is in our time…we are NOT in control…no matter how well we prepare for things. Sometimes…God has to use his gangsta to show us who is in control and tell us to “sit down and pay attention”. He has our attention. He gets it whenever he wants it. He incapacitates us…takes away those things that are not of Him and puts us in a position where we can be our most creative. What did we do in the midst of the storm. No lights…no cable…no internet…no…nothing…just stillness. Even in the midst of chaos, did you feel His presence? Did we…embrace His Power? I am my most creative when I am totally still. Being still does not mean doing nothing…they are two different things. You can be doing lots of “things” and it means nothing…and be perfectly still and do much…growth occurs when we allow it to…and that can often require…stillness.

So…when Sandy pounded the earth…changing the landscape…changing the direction of our lives…in so many ways…did you find what you should have been seeking…Calm…in the midst of the Storm? Learn to command YOUR storm to pass by staying prepared…and you won’t have to get prepared.

By Sina McClendon

Keion Carpenter

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Keion Carpenter

Building Baltimore Neighborhoods & Creating Communities…

Carpenter’s House – This is absolutely his HOUSE!

FORMER ATLANTA FALCON KEION CARPENTER is weaving parts of the fabric of Baltimore that are about community and EMPOWERMENT

By: Stefany J.

HMM: What was family life like growing up and who was the most influential person in your life?

Keion Carpenter: I grew up in a single parent household with a lot of love and my mother was then and still is now, the most influential person in my life. She raised me by herself with the help of my grandparents until she married my step dad when I was 14.

She’s the strongest and most powerful person I know. I saw her work 2 and 3 jobs at a time just to provide the best living situations for us that she possibly could. Her drive was like no other. That’s what encouraged me to want to do something positive with my life: using sports to get a free education. It would ultimately also bless me to be able to play 8 years professionally in the NFL.

I couldn’t begin to really pay her back for everything she’s done for me in my life, but I can certainly pay her back a little bit by how I choose to live my life. By walking in God’s purpose for my life and using the platform of the NFL to help and give back, and try to raise the levels of these children is a small part.

I want to give children hope and empower the single parents of the low-income families I’m trying to assist through my work and non-profit foundation CARPENTER’s HOUSE.

HMM: What words of advice would you give to other single mothers?

Keion Carpenter: To always be there for their children. Always make time for your children in spite of any other obligations you may have. Those are the moments children remember, not the things you buy them but the sacrifices that were made for them and time spent.

HMM: What are you most thankful for?

Keion Carpenter: One thing I’m most thankful for having growing up is my foundation in God. My mom and grand-parents provided that foundation at a young age. Back then my grand-parents would drag me to church. We would be in church from 8am to 9 at night. It was so prevalent in my home, I was able to grow up in the Lord and get my own personal relationship with Him.

HMM: Being in athletics and pro-sports, how did you deal with peer pressure?

Keion Carpenter: My relationship with God definitely helped me to maneuver and deal with peer pressure. Of course I made mistakes growing up like anyone else, but they were never detrimental to my life or my family. I also had friends around who really cared about me and enough so that they shielded me from things that were not part of my character and would tell me to go ahead about my business. Even during those times when I strayed away, I always found my way back to my foundation and upbringing.

HMM: What is a moment when you were most disappointed in your life and how did you overcome it and handle the adversity?

Keion Carpenter: When my name didn’t get called in the draft, I was very discouraged. It could have changed everything but I didn’t allow it to. I had a never quit or die attitude. God had a special plan for my life and that was a test of my faith. Did I really believe this was for me? And if so, then I needed to go get it. Buffalo Bills gave me my shot. I came on un-drafted and after the first year I made the team and after the second I made the starting lineup. I was a starter every year in the NFL from that time forward. That was a huge blessings. There are some who get drafted who never start. I learned it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.

HMM: Tell us about Carpenter’s House.

Keion Carpenter: Growing up, I remember my mother being a very hard worker and always wanting her to have her own home. I started Carpenter’s House to help others. I wanted to offer financial literacy education, loss prevention assistance and other tools to help sustain families once they are in those homes. If I can help to rebuild neighborhoods in Baltimore, if I can help educate some of our people on the importance of financial literacy and encourage them to be homeowners, if I can make these homes affordable for them to be able to buy, if I can help put recreation centers back in place, if I have helped to re- establish the sense of community; then I have reached my goals.

Karimu International Help Foundation

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karimu international help foundation

WHAT STARTED OUT AS A FAMILY’S DREAM TRIP REALIZED HAS EVOLVED INTO A FOUNDATION & LIFE’S PURPOSE OF MAKING THE DREAMS OF OTHERS COME TRUE

I had the good fortune of meeting the Stolls from a mutual friend, Piper Dellums, who lives in Idyllwild, California. I knew from the moment I spoke with this husband and wife team, that I would view mission work differently going forward. I was able to speak with them at length about how they got their start, how a family vacation turned into a lifetime of stewardship and travel, and how the very well-meaning and generous hearts of this family have impacted generations to come. You can find all of the information in the world about Karimu International Help Foundation by clicking the link, but I thought there would be no better way to impart and share the vision of their work, than bringing their life’s work to you! The world definitely needs to know what this power couple is doing to make it a better place.

The Karimu International Help Foundation grew out of a vacation taken by Marianne Kent-Stoll and her husband, Don Stoll, in 2007.

During a visit to the remote Tanzanian village of Bacho, they learned that Tanzania’s government had threatened to close Ufani Primary School. When Marianne and Don, educators in Santa Cruz, California, asked if they could help, Ufani’s teachers told them that the government demanded better toilet facilities. After the two Californians came up with a few hundred dollars to build a basic latrine and Ufani School remained open, the villagers invited them to return the following year with as many volunteers as they could find.

Marianne and Don then established the Karimu International Help Foundation—“Karimu” means “generous” in Swahili—to “provide funds to schools and other community projects enhancing the well-being of rural villages in the developing world.”

This mission statement from Karimu’s Articles of Incorporation suggests Marianne and Don didn’t yet grasp the strength of the bond they had formed with— out of all the “rural villages in the developing world”— Bacho, Dareda Kati and its people. But the mission statement also shows that Marianne and Don never meant to limit Karimu’s work to education.

Besides continuing the renovation and expansion of Ufani School, Karimu now pursues similar work at nearby Ayalagaya Secondary School as well as ongoing health care and water sanitation projects in Dareda Kati. These projects rely on the devotion of scores of volunteers, many of whom return to Tanzania every year because of their friendships with the villagers. (*Content reprinted from www.karimufoundation.org)

Breathe Life

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In this July 24, 2014 photo, from left, siblings Michael Montelone, 10, Brooke Montelone, 10 and Gavin Montelone, 8, do a breathing treatments before heading into the surf Thursday, July 24, 2014, in San Clemente, Calif. The children are part of a growing number of people with cystic fibrosis who are taking advantage of the health benefits that come with surfing. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The MONTELONE 5: A FAMILY UNITED

By: Stefany J.

FORGET EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT CYSTIC FIBROSIS (CF)

It’s amazing how sometimes things don’t become real until they happen to you. I knew nothing about Cystic Fibrosis (CF) prior to being sent the media content about this family. Sure I had kind of heard of the disease but I had no idea what it was about or any of the particulars. Imagine my surprise when as a severe asthmatic, I learned that it is a lung disease that starts and is completely centered around lung function. From that point on it became near to my heart and a new cause for me to add to my long list. I know what it feels like to not be able to breathe. I know what it feels like to have your life impaired by an illness that handicaps you from simple things. I know what it feels like to have tubes down your throat and machines breathing for you, and now that I learned about CF and what so many live with, I couldn’t turn back or turn MY back: nor will you!

YOU CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE! | IN THE BEGINNING …

The Movement

You can help make a direct impact and difference in the lives of these 3 children, their treatment, and their quality of life with a simple gift of $3.

Cystic Fibrosis is considered an Orphan’s Disease because there are less than 200,000 with the diagnosis. The government does NOT fund research.

Meeting this family helped me remember…

LIFE…

These parents have made sure to be completely honest and transparent with their children about the life expectancy of their disease. When their mom told them that the average years was 37, their frame of reference led them to believe that meant they would grow to be old. It won’t be until they get older that they realize that a life expectancy of 37 years old is actually very young by traditional standards. Once I started doing my own research I learned that there is a lot for us to take for granted when it comes to the expectation of quality and quantity of life and especially for those with an illness. The Montelones came home from the hospital with two sets of healthy twin children and another child. They had no idea until the diagnosis of the first, that their lives would never be the same, and nor would the lives of these beautiful children.

IS MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE MANAGED TO FIND WITHIN YOURSELF TO GIVE, RATHER THAN WHAT YOU MAKE ROOM ENOUGH TO RECEIVE.

THE JOURNEY OF THE MONTELONE FAMILY IN THEIR OWN WORDS: BY PAULETTE AND ROB

HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL & THE DIAGNOSIS

EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE GOING WELL…

In our world every day is precious. It was a real wake-up call when we were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and told that this is a fatal disease. You never want to hear that word. That just is really difficult as a parent.

LIVING EACH AND EVERY DAY WITH HOPE & FAITH

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US…

And for whatever reason, part of His plan was for us to have the cystic fibrosis and to come into contact with the people that we’ve come into contact with. Our purpose is to show God’s love through how we raise our children and how we are with our children; and the fact that we can put our faith into God. It may not be the plan that we had in mind for our kids and it may be a difficult plan. God never promised us that life would be easy. He just promised us that He would be there with us through it all, through the ups and through the downs. That’s what we rely on.

We rely on the fact that when we’re having a tough day, when we’re having our kids go into the hospital, that God sends us a friend that cheers us up. He guides the doctors and helps them to give us the right medication. We trust that God has a bigger plan and that our life can be a story about how God has worked through our lives. I think when we were diagnosed, we came away with that “Lord, why?” It’s just a natural reaction. I don’t think we were angry, I think it was more of we don’t understand, humanly, why you walk away, why this is the way it is, why we have three kids who have this. We have friends who unfortunately aren’t able to have children and I think, “God, how blessed am I that you’ve given us five beautiful kids.” It’s a perspective thing. We are just very, very grateful to the Lord.

They were growing well. We had some issues with Michael. As far as we thought he had a lactose intolerance, but our pediatrician kept reassuring us that it might be something he would outgrow. We really didn’t have a diagnosis of the kids until Gavin was nearly three years old. Once that happened, we had the test run on all the other kids as well. Michael was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and so was Brooke.

It came right before Christmas that year, and we were really just in shock because you go from having perfectly healthy children and expecting so many things out of life and so many things for them and activities that you just take for granted that your kids are going to be involved in, and everything changed. We were just dumbfounded with, “How is this going to affect our lives? How is this going to affect our daily day-to-day activities?”

Right away we had a hospitalization with Gavin. It was like our introduction to cystic fibrosis. That previous November he started with three sinus surgeries back to back; and then another hospitalization in March. One day all this medication arrived at our doorstep, and there were no instructions on how to administer it. We had to call around to friends and finally found someone in our neighborhood who had children with cystic fibrosis. She kindly came over and gave us directions on how to put the equipment together and give the treatments.

It was just completely life-changing, especially having three of them with this. We had to have friends in the church come over in the morning because the kids were so young and needed someone to sit with them. They didn’t want to sit with their face masks on their faces and they didn’t want to shake in the Vest machine, so someone had to sit with them during all of the treatments.

It was really overwhelming at first, the whole adjustment to the future and the things that we don’t do. We don’t go out to places where other kids are in huge groups. We don’t go to the bounce house places and different things like that, because every time they’re around a large group of kids and they’re bouncing and people are coughing, you are more exposed to all those germs. Our kids can breathe those in and then that might cause them a hospitalization or shorten their lives to a certain extent.

It becomes a lot more of awareness of the people around you, what’s going on in the vicinity around you, and trying to just allow them to have a normal life and to do the activities that children do. Also, to be aware of the possibility of harm to the kids or the possibility that this may not be the safest environment for them. Things like that.

It really was a huge change for us. We still do as many activities as we can. We have them playing soccer with their friends and they go to public school, but we also are very cautious… It’s that balance. We have to now have a balance, something that we never would have given a thought to before. There has to be a balance between what’s the healthiest option for them and are we still allowing them to be kids and allowing them to enjoy life and do things that are great experiences in life.

MY QUESTION AND ANSWER INTERVIEW WITH THE PARENTS:

HMM: How is it possible that the surfing is therapeutic and not exhaustive to the point where it’s harmful?

TMF: I don’t know. I think this is kind of a God thing too. In the ‘90s, in Australia, there was a group of cystic fibrosis kids who were healthier than others in a group. In a nutshell, the doctors put together that these kids that were healthier surfed.

The results weren’t just, “Hey, these kids are healthier.” They were remarkably healthier. They had less hospitalizations, their lung functions were higher, … They just were healthier. To make a long story short, they made a link to the ocean, God’s fluid. I say, “God’s magic fluid,” in the film and it’s absolutely true; true hypertonic saline.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been out in the ocean and you’ve been a little clogged up in your sinuses, but after you get out, your nose will drip water out for awhile. Your upper sinuses and everything are clear. I’m not a scientist. I know that the hypertonic saline opens up these clogged airways and helps to dispel some of the mucus. It gets the kids clear.

I also think that from doing this with the Mauli Ola Foundation for the last … I think we’re going on two and a half years, surfing is such a great exercise. I’ve been under those waves. Holding your breath, standing up on the surfboard and cutting waves and then paddling all the way back, is great for getting those lungs working and building lung function, the lungs and muscles. Besides the good smiles it gives us all and the good feeling of enjoying life.

HMM: My last question to you is, we’ve talked about your faith, we’ve talked about how you perceive things as parents and how it was interacting with the children and the siblings. Marriage is a challenge, period, the relationship of marriage. Marriage with children, another challenge. Now, marriage with two sets of twins, another child, because it’s always the twins and then the child, and then three with diagnosed CF and then your faith and everything you go through. Could you please tell our readers how you’ve managed how to stay so tight-knit as a couple in your relationship with all of this?

TMF: I think that sometimes a diagnosis like this can do one of two things. It can divide a family or it can unite a family. I think that part of the reason that we’ve been so united is because of the Mauli Ola Foundation. When they brought surfing into our lives it was like the glue for us. It was like the silver lining in the dark cloud of cystic fibrosis. I said this before, but I can’t express it enough. We were given this diagnosis and it was like this doomsday. Hopelessness. Like you said, you have to understand that we had all five kids in three years. We went from zero kids to five kids in three years. We had four kids in diapers and one that had just been potty-trained. Life was extraordinarily busy in this household. At the, at time, my husband was working in the mortgage industry and he was working crazy hours. It was just very, very difficult. Then we started to come out of that and were hit with the diagnosis, and it was overwhelming. Our relationship was difficult, we were difficult with each other, things like, Did you give him his treatment? Did you do this? Did you do that? Oh, why did you forget that? With five kids there’s always something that you’ve forgotten to do or the kids have done something that they shouldn’t have done. There’s always some little trauma in the house, and yet we had surfing. That was something we all enjoyed.

It was the only time we were united. We went out to the ocean. You could almost put everything else on hold. At least you could for the moment.

The CF stuff was all left at home. Sometimes we had the nebulizers with us and what not, but for the most part you put that aside and you went out with the family.

You enjoyed your day, the kids’ laughter, the kids’ smiles. You were able to build sandcastles and you were able to swim in the ocean with them, and experience that with them, and know that it was good for them. It really united us.

Marriage is a difficult part of life, but it is also a wonderful thing to have somebody to share it with and company to share the ups and the downs.

I know a lot of families that are dealing with cystic fibrosis and their marriage hasn’t been successful and they’re dealing with this alone. The father or the mother is there, but they’re not together anymore. They go home and they have to be alone knowing that their child has to be in the hospital. They don’t have that communication with each other. I can’t imagine that. We share the burdens, the joys, the disappointments.

Even when we were totally overwhelmed we progressed in this. Golly Jeepers! The lists are endless. Just being up at 10:00 at night and running around and racing around, just working as they’re totally tired, we would just laugh like we’re just teenaged kids or something. It sucked, but you were in it together. It was, and it is. We’re happy.

We’re in it together. These are our kids and we work together to make or lives as great as we can. Obviously there are challenges that we face, but we are in this together and I think we appreciate each other’s abilities and commitment. This is our life and we considered it blessed.

Hometown Hustle Mama Miriam Hyman

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Miriam Hyman

Miriam Hyman is the new Robyn Hood

… AND BEGINNING A LEGACY OF HER OWN WHERE HER FAMILY MEMBERS LEFT OFF.

By Stefany J.

•••

THIS PHENOMENAL YALE GRADUATE IS CARVING OUT HER OWN SPACE IN HER FAMILY’S HISTORICAL ARCHIVES.

If Miriam Hyman’s name sounds familiar to you, it should.

She is the cousin of the late sultry singer Phyllis Hyman, the cousin of Earl Hyman who is the actor who played Heathcliff Huxtable’s father on The Cosby Show, and the daughter of Hyman, Publicist to the late Malcolm X (pictured right). And while these mentions are just the beginning of this woman’s esteemed family tree, she is making moves of her own that are sure to continue the legacyof greatness that has been forged.

Miriam was raised in the city of Brotherly Love from her early years and while Initially she wanted to be a brain surgeon. At 13 she went to see a film with her mom and knew that’s what she wanted to do for the rest of my life. While, the initial family response wasn’t supportive, over the years Hyman proved to everyone including herself, that she wasn’t going to just talk about it but be about it too. She started training at the Freedom Theater and knew in her heart this was what she was supposed to do.

More than just talent, with her gifted skill set Miriam graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA. More recently she earned her MFA from Yale and was named the 2011 Princess Grace recipient of the George C. Wolfe award in Theater. Her additional training includes a Guthrie Experience, BADA Oxford, England, and Shakespeare & Company’s Intensive.

Next up, she will be portraying the role of Beneatha in Lorrain Hansberry’s production of A Raisin in the Sun at PlayMakers Repertory Theater in Chapel Hill, NC.

Miriam Hyman earned 2009 and 2007 nominations for the F. Otto Haas award/Emerging Artist and a 2006 Barrymore nomination/Best Supporting Actress in PLTC’s Man from Nebraska. Her T.V. /Film credits include 30 Rock, The Wire, Law & Order, Conviction, Bereavement, Angel Rodriguez, Inclinations, and Music City.

THE BEAUTY OF HER MUSIC

The material is very conscious but at the same time gritty. There’s no profanity. It’s uplifting; paying it forward. It’s about having a good time. With my music my desire is to positively affect and inspire my listeners. How can I reach you and inspire you to want to go and do something positive? With so much going on in this world – what we take in affects us. We react like a reflex and respond without thinking. I want others to take time to reflect on my lyrics and rock out to a versatile feel good track like Will Smith’s Summertime. And if you have seeds they can rock out with you too because my sound is clean. You don’t have to worry about it. I call that spicy raw.

HER MESSAGE TO THE SISTERS

It’s hard out here. Take all of this negative energy that you could consume and turn it into positive energy. I grew up in the hood. I am not a writer for the shooters or the cats getting shot, but those who are ducking the bullets. You learn how to survive. You take what’s around you and let it fuel you. We don’t get that kind of motivation in the hood. We take so much in. It’s not just music, it’s a lot of things and it’s not ok. I’m not into being called out my name and especially not a B… I can’t call anyone the N word, not even on my worst day. My message is about bringing it back to the basics.

Hometown Hustle Mama Dr. Melanye Maclin

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Dr. Melanye Maclin

Dermatologist, Melanye Maclin, M.D., aka “Dr Mac”, and a graduate of Howard University, founded Innovative Hair Technology, Inc. in September 1999 based in Maryland.

She created the research and product development company through determination based on her early childhood medical interest in hair and skin. Dr. Maclin has successfully developed the all-natural supplements, ‘BellaNutri’ for Women(2004) and ‘BeauNutri’ for Men (2008) that benefit hair and skin from an internal nutritional perspective. She has also helped to launch L’Oreal Garnier Fructis ‘Triple Nutrition’ hair products in 2009.

To date, millions of people across the country have become firm believers and supporters of Dr. Maclin and her products. In addition to Dr. Melanye Maclin’s research and development capabilities, her passion is to nationally educate the masses on various hair and skin issues.

Within the first year of business, Dr. Maclin was selected to be the Medical Director of HYPE HAIR and Braids & Beauty which she continues along with an “Ask Dr Maclin” monthly editorial. She also provides articles for Jamie Foster-Brown’s Sister 2 Sister and Beauty Times Korean publications.

Dr. Melahttp://Making Money By Writing Articlesnye Maclin has contributed to the former, Try It Yourself Hair and Ultimate Weaves & Hair Extensions. For those readers that may not be able to get to a dermatologist, she offers toll-free numbers to personally answer questions and suggest products from drugstore.

As a result, a fascinating buzz was stimulated within Dr. Maclin’s first year quickly branding her as the ‘over-the-counter’ expert dermatologist. She was featured on a national FOX news health segment, ABC news, Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Redbook, Health, Launch Pad, Black Elegance, Jolie by Vivica Fox, Washington Weddings and People En Espanol.

This pretty in pink Powerhouse Celebrity Dermatologist from The Steve Harvey Morning Show continues to make her mark, & her mission is beyond traditional dermatology…
Dr. Maclin’s launch into radio began in June 2007 when she was offered to be the resident
Dermatologist for the nationally syndicated radio show, ‘The Steve Harvey Morning Show’.

Her radio experience expanded in November 2007 with “The Dr. Maclin Show On Call” airing on Radio One-WOL in DC market for one year.

Dr. Melanye Maclin has been the guest Dermatologist for the nationally syndicated radio show, ‘The Russ Parr Morning Show’ and continues to be a voice on WKYS/93.9FM and WERQ/92.3 FM in DC, Maryland and Virginia markets.

To date, Dr. Maclin continues to provide ongoing research and development for hair or skin products, offer BellaNutri & BeauNutri supplements, toll-free guidance along with sharing hair and skin education for multi-media outlets.

The Superstorm Sandy 2012

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Sandy

Sandy….2012

Superstorm Sandy rage inviting calmness As the earth purges our souls Be still..
Be still..

Close eyes and minds
And voices and…breathe
Be silent listening
For direction
Reflection
Reflect on
And in the moment
Grow…move forward into Greatness…your next level awaits Seek what you have not Found…find what is missing
The piece…peace
In the midst of the
Storm…

Sandy…

Titanium Sports & Entertainment— MANROCK

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A man, his business, and his MANROCK!— Titanium Sports & Entertainment

TITANIUM ENTERTAINMENT’S CEO, G. STALEY, GREW UP ON THE SOUTHEAST SIDE OF WASHINGTON, DC IN A DEVOUT CHRISTIAN, SINGLE-PARENT HOME AFTER HIS FATHER’S DEATH.

AS THE YOUNGEST OF 5 BOYS AND 1 SISTER, AND AFTER BEING TEMPTED FROM NEIGHBORHOOD INFLUENCES ALONG WITH AN OLDER BROTHER, STALEY FOUND HIMSELF FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THOSE AROUND HIM.

AFTER ENTERING AND SPENDING YEARS IN THE STREET GAME, AND GOING TO JAIL ON A CONVICTION, THINGS BEGAN TO CHANGE.

THIS YOUNG MAN TURNED HIS ENTIRE LIFE AROUND AND IS BUILDING A BRAND OF ENTERTAINMENT AND ART UNLIKE ANY YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE. EVERYTHING THAT HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED, HE ATTRIBUTES TO HIS FAITH IN GOD AND HIS CHRISTIAN WALK.

HE ALSO SAYS THAT HIS WIFE HAS BEEN EVERY BIT THE BACKBONE OF HIS SUCCESS AS SO MANY OTHER SUCCESSFUL MEN WITH COMMITTED SPOUSES.

HE’S BRINGING A STANDARD TO TitaniumSports & Entertainment THAT IS ON A WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL, AND WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT DOWN WITH ONE OF HIS NEWLY SIGNED ARTISTS, MANROCK.

HMM: As the CEO of Titanium Sports & Entertainment, When did you know this was what you wanted to do? What is so special about this music for you?

MR: When I heard KRS1 and the Love is Going to Get You song being performed on the Arsenio Hall. I got goose bumps. That is when I knew. Also, it was at my first talent show in Camden, NJ in front of a big crowd. Once I saw the crowd getting into my performance, that is when I knew this was what I wanted to do. Music is my way of communicating. If I’m able to paint a picture, use a metaphor and put it in a rhyme, that is what I do best and when I’m in my flow. I express myself better that way. A lot of things that I do give back to people through my music. It’s one thing when people think your song is hot and listen to it. It’s another when they feel the song to the point of compelling them to do something. I like seeing them take something from the music.

HMM: What are your thoughts about today’s rap?

MR: Today’s rap game is different. It’s more fun, a lot of colorful people, I don’t think it’s real. I believe people are pretending and lying to people. It’s not the same feeling in the music. Renting cars, clothes, jewelry… it’s not really who they are.

HMM: What makes you and/or your music different in Titanium Sports & Entertainment?

MR: Aside from my skill I have an authenticity that separates me from all the others. What I speak is going to move you and stick with you instead of something you just rock to.

HMM: What do you want others to know about you?

MR:I’m comfortable being me. I’ve overcome trying to be something everyone else wants me to be. For me to say no I don’t want to drink tonight… being comfortable with being real without caring what others thought about it. It was other people who pointed out the power behind my music to me. I’m the most successful person I know. I’m my own role model. If I spit it, I did it… I don’t need anyone to co-sign what I speak. You will never second guess it because the proof is there.

HMM: Tell me about you as a father?

MR: I am the father of 4 (3 girls, 1 boy 17 yrs. – 6 yrs.). I never disrespect women in my lyrics, and I never disrespect women in my life. I don’t talk about sex in my songs. I’m unapologetic for my story. I seek to deliver uplifting content. My children can listen to my music and sing it too. I don’t hide anything from my children. I feel confident and safe with my daughters.

HMM: What sentiments would you like to share with us?

MR: One bit of advice – Reach for the things that will make you feel comfortable in the presence of your family; things that will have you sleep well at night. Manage the industry temptations – it’s hard… putting off what you want now for what you want most. What I want most is the most supportive partner when I come home who will be there when the cameras are off. If you have someone by your side that’s tested and who’s proved themselves worthy, that’s who deserves your commitment. If a relationship doesn’t produce anything it’s not fruitful.

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