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Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Jess Creating Memories

It's another glorious Friday! And it's time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind. IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). My name is Mrs. Jessielyn Wade. Known to some as Jessie and Nakia. I am from Warrior, Alabama, a small town outside of Birmingham. I'm the middle child of four and have a twin brother. Family time as a child was a must. During the summer we traveled with our grandmother to Buffalo, New York. We looked forward to this trip every year. Our family got together often for dinner, Friday night fish fry's or just to hang out. I was recently married to my wonderful husband Greg on December 10, 2016. We have a beautiful seven-year-old daughter, Leah, who is the princess of the house. I love my family and cherish the time and memories we had and continue to have until this day. I have learned to cherish the time and memories you have of your loved ones while they are still here. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? My business started off as a hobby that I was passionate about. The more pictures I took the more obsessive I became. I began to take classes to learn more about my craft. Soon after, I began to get my business affairs in order. I secured my business name, built my website and began to market my business. I established Jess Creating Memories (JCM) in 2014 which is a manifestation of my passion to create memories. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). JCM is all about creating memories one picture at a time. JCM was founded on the principles of prayer, morals, and integrity. I consider myself a "Passionate Photographer". I look beyond the time of the picture being taken to see what memory can be captured for years to come. After consulting with my clients and getting to know them I begin to get a fell on how to capture their memory. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? I capture the community prayer walks, back to school events and feeding the homeless just to name a few. My future goal for the community is to have a photo shoot for the nursing homes that would consist of a complete makeover. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? Starting a business is to first learn the industry (know your craft), read, research, be consistent, get a mentor, plan, get organized and NEVER give up. There will be some struggles along the way, but they will help you in the long run. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? "Don't take it personal". Everyone is not

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money- MOSAIC Moon

Mosaic Moon

In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we highlight MOSAIC Moon. IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. I came to Atlanta as an adult and I've made it home. I have a daughter, who is also a part of MOSAIC Moon. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? My husband losing his battle with Brain Cancer, and challenging me to "do what I say, I'm going to do" and "to go all of the way". After he passed my sisters took me to a studio to paint. I realized that when I painted I didn't think about my pain or my problems. I thought that other people in our communities could benefit from the same experiences. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.) MOSAIC is an acronym. It stands for Maintaining, the Onus of Synergy, Authenticity, and Independence in our Communities. Moon was my late husband's nickname. We are a mobile PopUp Painting Experience. We bring everything one would need to have a fun Paint Party and create great art. We are known for our professionalism, punctuality, creativity, and sense of humor. We're unique because we teach several pieces of art at the same time. Everyone can paint what they want to, we have a plethora of art to choose from. No artistic ability is required. We are there for our painters every step of the way. The majority of our painters(87%)are women, but once a man is in front of a canvas, they're hooked. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? We volunteer with Seniors that have challenges with their memory. Painting helps with cognitive skills in addition to being extremely therapeutic.  We also donate classes to different organizations to give away to their supporters. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? •Do your research. •Identify your audience •Know your market • Surround yourself with people of like minds and who are smarter. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? •Don't give up! •Plan, Plan and Plan some more! You can learn more about Sabrina Player and her services by visiting her on Facebook MOSAIC Moon Art Services.

Stacey Abrams’ Run for Governor of Georgia Is #Goals

Governor

I am always on alert for stories about black women defying the odds.  So, when the alert came from Cosmopolitan magazine... yeah, I was a bit intrigued.  Like, are they about to piss me off with an article about "boxer braids" or some other form of cultural appropriation and try to pass it off as an in-depth perspective of black female life?  I'm sorry but I see it so often so I was a bit hesitant.  The headline grabbed my attention immediately "The U.S. Has Never Had A Black Female As Governor..."  I didn't need to the read any further than that. The article goes on to introduce me to Stacey Abrams, Georgia politician making a run for Governor in 2018.  The sister is ambitious, blatantly and I love it.  After all, why not?  In the article, she talks about ambition being used to undermine black women, “When people use the phrase ‘media darling’ as a pejorative, what they’re saying is I’ve done a good job of making people pay attention to a state they did not think they needed to pay attention to.” Seeing black women on political stages is always a cause for celebration.  And seeing a black woman achieve a historical appointment is just the nail needed to break the glass ceiling.  What I love most about her is that her aspirations and ambitions are no different than that of any man.  Yet, when it is that of a woman.  A black woman at that, it is seemingly "out of the norm".  She is showing young black girls to have a "why not" attitude when it comes to reaching these seemingly unattainable goals.  And for that, I have to say, "I Hear That Girl!" Read more about Stacey Abrams and her candidacy by visiting her website, www.staceyabrams.com.  

Africa: A Muse for American Hip-Hop

Hip Hop

Hip-Hop is an art form that I grew up in.  The culture, the aesthetic, the authenticity of it.  So, you can imagine my excitement when I attended the recent art exhibit at the High Museum of Art.  Africa:  A Muse for American Hip-Hop, was a pure treat for any hip-hop enthusiast. Prior to viewing the exhibit, we attended the discussion panel featuring hip-hop connoisseurs, DJ Nabs, Professor Griff, Dr. Paula Grissom-Broughton and moderated by Dr. Joyce Wilson.  There were so many jewels of information dropped during the panel.  The conversation weaved between the new wave of mumble rap to the appropriation of hip-hop to the preservation of the culture.  The entire panel was a delight and very well versed in their appreciation and attribution to the culture.   Following the panel, we visited the exhibit, which held tons of beautiful art pieces from African artists showcasing and interweaving their love for American hip-hop.  It was reflected in the art but it also showed how Africa and Hip-Hop are synonymous.  There is no hip-hop without our African roots.  Which makes it very easy to see why Africa would be drawn to the hip-hop culture.   The Black American has long felt our connection to the continent of Africa.  We know that is where our roots lie.  However, I'd be remiss if I failed to note that the Black American has also developed our own culture.  The melting pot of our fading ties to our African history and culture (thanks to the establishment), we held on to what we could and intertwined it with the European culture that was forced on us.  Sometimes, we were forced to alter some of our cultural behaviors as a way to disguise it from our masters in an attempt to keep it alive.  Yes... it can be so confusing, but those were confusing times.  With all of these factors at play, we created a culture all our own.  This Black American culture, would birth Hip-Hop and take over the world. I am a lover of hip-hop culture in its pure form and I also understand that as with everything it must evolve.  But as DJ Nabs stated during the panel, we have to be careful that in evolution we don't lose the root principals of the culture.  If you get an opportunity to check out the exhibit, please do.  If you've already seen it, leave a comment below telling me your thoughts.  See you guys around town!

Black Woman Makes Video Game for All of Us Tired of People Touching Our Hair

Hair

We've all dealt with it.  Solange made a song about it.  And now, we have a game about it.  Black women have been irked for decades about the intrusion of personal space that is touching our hair.  For whatever reason, folks think they have the right to feel on our tresses!  Even with the highly successful theme song "Don't Touch My Hair", we are still plagued with the audacity of some white folks (I mean, black folks already know what it feels like... ijs) to invade our space. Wieden+Kennedy art director, Momo Pixel found a way to express that frustration we all share when this takes place.  She created Hair Nah!, am 8-bit video game with a simple task of swatting aggravating hands away from character, Aeva's hair.  All the while she's enroute to some amazing travel destination.  How lit is that?!  I played the game this morning while getting my coffee and honey let me tell you, it was hilarious!  I was definitely hooked after playing just 5 minutes.  Desperately tapping away at my phone screen to keep the pale hands out of my dope bantu knots!  Yes!  You get to choose your hairstyle and skin tone of the character, Aeva.  And is it just me or does Aeva resemble Ms. Don't Touch My Hair herself, Solange Knowles??? It seems simple enough, but it is actually a great tool to show the perspective of black women who have to literally deal with this issue DAILY!  I work from home, so I am not so often accosted when it comes to my hair.  Even still, I have experienced it when amongst white associates.  Even with some black people! Pixel, told travel platform, On She Goes, that she hopes the game helps push the conversation forward and helps people understand how offensive it can be to treat someone like they're on display at a petting zoo.  She makes that crystal clear with a note for users after finishing the game (see below).  The game will soon have an app version, for now you can enjoy the game by visiting Momo's website, here. I love it and I love the message!  Let us know what you think about the game in the comments below.  Happy gaming!

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: C Durr Visuals

C Durr Visuals

In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful black dollars amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we feature C. Durr Visuals. IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.) First off, I want to thank you for considering me for this feature. A 25-year-old southern belle. Born & raised in North Carolina. I'm married with no kids (yet)! I would say I'm a nerdy goofball with an edge to me. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? I love working with small businesses especially because of the building from the ground up process. I understand that being creative gets hard for some business owners which is why I dedicate my time to help those in need of new ideas to promote themselves and their businesses. IHTG: Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). I strive to create logos, flyers, and social media content. I work on social media managing and start-up businesses as well♥ IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? As of the holiday season approaching, I plan to donate to nursing and a homeless shelter. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business?  FOCUS.FOCUS.FOCUS GIRL! First-time entrepreneurs feel the need to jump at every "opportunity" they come across. Trust me, I did. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? My best advice came from a fellow designer from "Hope's Harbor, LLC". She told me "Listen. Whatever you do be confident and consistent with your brand. Never charge less than what your work is worth. It's hard to break that habit. You'll have great days, you'll have days you have to think hard to remember why you started...but don't quit! You're so awesome!! Can't wait to watch you SOAR!" ❤❤ You can learn more about Chakarra and her services by visiting www.cdurrvisuals.net and connecting on social media @c.durrvisuals.  Know a business owner that should be featured?  Let us know… shoot me an email:  isis@ihearthatgirl.com!  

OWN’s “Checked Inn” tells a story of black excellence that is long overdue!

Checked Inn

Black excellence is a phrase that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.  It is the summation of a centuries-old thesis on survival.  Simply put, regardless of the obstacles of injustice and stacked odds, we always find a way to come through the fire unscathed and stronger than before.  I Hear That Girl! is a huge proponent of positive and empowering content for black women and the community as a whole.  That is why I was so eager and excited to hear about Mrs. Monique Greenwood and her new reality show on OWN, "Checked Inn". Monique Greenwood is the owner of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns.  I say inns with an "s" because sister-girl has four of them!  I'm a southern girl, Carolina Girl in fact... born and bred.  From the country fields of Edgefield County.  So, I know the prestige of a bed and breakfast establishment that some others may not understand.  A bed and breakfast deliver an intimate and thoughtful experience that you cannot receive from a hotel.  It's like being welcomed into someone's home. I watched the premiere episode and I fell in love with Mrs. Monique (that's what I call her).  This lady is an accomplished entrepreneur, but not only in the hospitality industry.  She was the editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine following Susan Taylor.  She speaks her mind and knows the importance of representation, which she attempts to share with her daughter.  Monique's daughter has her own pursuits in life outside of the Akwaaba and Monique will find it difficult to help her understand the responsibility of their legacy and generational wealth in the black community. You have to check out this show which gives us a perspective on black life that until now, has never been shown on a major network!  Thanks to Mother O, we have this type of programming in which our young people can see that there are sooooo many opportunities for them to excel in outside of the typical (athletics/entertainment).  Here's a first look at the premiere: You can tune in to view Checked Inn Tuesday, November 21 at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.

Celebrating “Beautifully Driven” Women & Experiences in ATL

Beautifully Driven

This week, I was invited to celebrate the launch of the Beautifully Driven web series starring social influencers, Africa Miranda and Kimberly Lachelle.  Presented by KIA and Harmon Kardon, and held at the Bravo Ocean Studio, it was a jazzy evening on a rainy night. I was happy I decided to drag myself out of the house, despite the rain showers beckoning me back to bed.  I don't know about you guys, but lately, I've become a serious homebody.  I jazzed myself up a bit, played in my makeup, and by the time I headed out the door I was pleasantly pleased with my "look". We previewed the premiere episode of the series and enjoyed a live performance from Chantae Cann and India Shawn.  I had no idea they would be there AND these women are two artists that I truly enjoy.  So, you can imagine my delight. I absolutely love it, when OUR stories are being told.  For that reason alone, I urge you guys to support the series as it serves as a new perspective on life as a black woman.  So yes!  Let me give a loud, "I Hear That Girl!" to Africa Miranda and Kimberly Lachelle! Powered by Kia Motors, "Beautifully Driven" is co-created by Africa Miranda and Kimberly Lachelle and produced by Tomorrow Pictures. The series can be found on beautifullydriven.com.            

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: SHE by Schericka

SHE

It's another glorious Friday! And it's time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  Today's feature is SHE by Schericka!  IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). My name is Schericka Gee and I'm the brand owner of S.H.E. by Schericka, an empowerment brand. I'm from a small town called Bennettsville, SC and I'm a mom to a gorgeous and ambitious 7-year-old daughter named Landyn Kardia. I'm a true lover of fashion and philanthropy. My ultimate objective is simply to be a vessel used to encourage others. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? I was motivated to start SHE because I wanted a business where it was more a catalyst used to unite us as women and encourage us to be greater in all aspects of our lives. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). The brand offers: tees, totes, earrings, candles, nail polish, bracelets, pillows, scented wax melts, coffee mugs, sweathoodies, dresses, hats, and leggings. I hope I didn't forget anything. Lol. I also have other divisions called #SHEbrands and #SHEspeaks. One for branding assistance to other businesses, the other for motivational speaking. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? I love working with local community philanthropists holding giveaways and charity givebacks. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? The best advice I'd love to offer to any aspiring entrepreneur would be to always be authentically you in your business and always run your business in your truth. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? The best advice I've ever been given is to remain consistent and to always remain humble. You can learn more about S.H.E. by Schericka and her services by visiting www.shebyschericka.com and connecting on social media @shebyscherika.  Know a business owner that should be featured?  Let us know... isis@ihearthatgirl.com!

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Uncovering The New U

New U

It's another glorious Friday!  And it's time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we spotlight Uncovering the New U. IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). I am Master Trainer & Life Coach, SheNesia Ewing. I currently hold a Masters in Sports & Health Science with a concentration in sport and exercise performance. I am also a doctoral Psychology Candidate with a focus in Sport Performance. I am currently located in Marietta, GA. I am a mother of a 10-year-old son with 11 additional blessings & a wife. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? It started with a few things: (1) I have been in the United States Army for over 16 ½ years and both of my parents went through life-changing situations while I was overseas that forced me to do whatever I needed to save both of my parents. (2) I was able to transform an environment of soldiers as an amateur spin instructor while in Iraq. (3) My brand for one stands on ethics and honesty. I do not provide any service that is above my skill set. If I don't qualify to help, then I won't take on the client. Secondly, my desire is for all my clients to Uncover the person that they have desired to be mentally, emotionally, physically, & spiritually through what I provide. I empower people to use their own strength to build performance and take their lives back as well. Change in health and wellness is a self-driven initiation. We must hold our selves accountable for how we live and what we put inside of our minds and bodies. The gym does not do that. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). As a Trainer, Nutritionist, and Life Coach I offer a variety of services. I offer individualized nutrition consultation & programs, performance nutrition, athletic training, strength & conditioning programs, peak performance workbooks, Senior strength training, and much more. I am also a functional fitness instructor (Zumba, aerobics, boot camp & spin). Being new to the Atlanta area I currently do not have any current events scheduled. IHTG: How does your business give back to the community? UncoveringTheNewU has donated money to the victims of Harvey & Irma, participated & ran raised money for Breast Cancer, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, and while in Virginia (previous residence) offered a FREE Saturday fitness group in local parks and trails to encourage others to get out and get active. Once I am acclimated into GA I hope to offer the same! IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? JUST DO IT. I had no knowledge of running a business nor what it took for me to

See what she can do… You can find #BlackGirlMagic in her hair!

Magic

Black women are truly magic! Our magic flows through every crevice of our being.  And we love spotlighting those amazing #blackgirlmagic moments. While scrolling my FB timeline, I came across a video courtesy of BBC Africa.  The video showcases, African artist, Laetitia Ky sculpting extraordinary designs in her HAIR!  I'm telling you, when I saw the first 20 seconds of the video, I saved it and began typing this post!  What CAN'T we do??  It's an ingenious idea that involves coat hangers, wire, a few hours and tons of creativity.  Why didn't I think of that?? I just love it when #blackgirlmagic is spread!  So share and let me know what magic you have that should be shared!

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Heart Armor

In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful black dollars amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we feature Heart Armor. IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). My name is Stephanie Cook, I was born and raised in York, Pa, and as a teenager, I moved to Baltimore, MD, where I currently resided. I am a mother to two children (boy and girl) and a wife. I enjoy working out and spending time with my loved ones. I am always trying to make others smile and laugh. I just enjoy life to the fullest. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? What motivated me to start my business is my son. My son Malik was born with Congenital Heart Defects and at the age of 1, he had open heart surgery. To cope with my journey of CHD I wanted to raise awareness and have a brand that represents him. Heart Armor has given me the strength because we still fight in this journey. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). Heart Armor is an apparel line in honor of my son. We have t-shirts, sweaters, phone cases, pillows you name it representing my brand. Majority of my customers are those who have loved ones with CHD or just wanting to support Malik. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? My business gives back by donating some of the profits to a local Heart foundation to help other Heart parents out there suffering and cannot afford the expenses of surgery. We also plan to start a Heart Walk the week of CHD in February to spread awareness. IHTG:   What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? The advice I would give someone is to never doubt yourself. Everyone won't believe in your brand but that is perfectly fine. God will provide and bring people in your corner who will support you. If you don't leap you will never sorrow and learn. Go after your dreams! IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? The best advice I received so far is to stay encouraged. Many have told me they believe in me and that when you have individuals who believe in you to keep grinding and shining. I am thankful to those who have supported me through this business journey. Some days I question it but then my peers give me the advice of continuing to spread awareness because people need to hear our story. You can learn more about Stephanie and Heart Armor by visiting her on Facebook & Instagram @HeartArmor.

Yass Mother! Cicely Tyson continues her royal reign on the cover of ELLE Magazine

Cicely Tyson

I Hear That Girl! was created to provide a platform for the positive and uplifting black perspectives.  Growing up, I was blessed with classy, sophisticated and respected women of color as role models.  One of those women is the iconic Cicely Tyson. At 92 years young, this Queen is showing us all the vigor and vitality that a purposeful life has to offer!  Gracing the cover of ELLE Magazine's Women in Hollywood, November issue, she is absolutely stunning.  Seeing that beautiful smile made me gush with pride and run to Amazon to order more coconut oil soap, so I can continue the "black don't crack" legacy. In the issue, Cicely Tyson speaks about her influences in the industry and drops some major keys we can all be inspired by: “At the very beginning of my career, I had a teacher whose name was Vinnette Carroll,” the iconic actress explained. “She directed a number of Broadway shows. She kept saying to me, ‘You know the problem with beautiful women? They tend to rely on their beauty.’ And I said, How wrong she is! I never think of myself as being beautiful. I thought, What are you talking about? I work so hard. And I did. But I learned from her how important it is to learn your craft. When all else fails, you will land on that, and that alone.” Elle’s Women in Hollywood issue hits newsstands October 17.

A Melanated Moment with the ladies of Classy Living Society

Melanated women are magical indeed.  We can turn an everyday moment into a lasting memory.  Because of this, I've decided to highlight the amazing "Melanated Moments" that happen in my life.  You may be asking, "what is a melanated moment"?  Well, I'd like to describe them as those moments when we sisters get together and turn the ordinary into extraordinary! It's those moments when we defy the odds that are stacked against us while coming out the other end chic, fleeky, sophisticated, and fierce!  These are the moments when we adjust our crown so that our little ones never forget or doubt the magic that is being a black woman.  Are you ready? A good friend of mine sent me a text on a Friday evening and stated that she wanted to gift me a ticket to a wine & tapas event for that coming Saturday.  Since I had no plans for the coming weekend, I excitedly accepted her gift and thanked her for the opportunity.  I am a real lover of wine, so anything including wine is a win for me!  This event was a private event being held at Hal's Kitchen.  I had heard a bit about Hal's Kitchen through some media releases but had never made the chance to visit.  Even more interesting, the event was a private event for a volunteer group of sisters called the Classy Living Society. Shortly after accepting, I received a Facebook message from the founder of CLS, LaShanda Pitts.  She kindly greeted me, gave me the details of the event location, what to expect, and more.  After researching the organization, I was really excited to see what this event was all about and to meet these new faces.  When I walked in, I was greeted with hugs and smiles from beautiful melanin women of all shades and sizes. My spirit just expanded with joy to see this sight.  Black women coming together to love on one another.  I mean, they didn't know me from Adam, and they were genuinely treating me like a long lost sister.  The wine was being poured by Pitts herself, and I was all too happy to finally meet her. There was delicious food waiting to be prepared for us ladies by the private chef and her team.  Some of the ladies helped out in preparation, while others milled around to chat.  I decided to chat and get to know the ladies and more about the organization.  I learned a lot about these women and their intense focus of volunteering in their communities and abroad.  The women of CLS are mainly a volunteer organization, and they host events like the one I attended as a way to let their hair down with their sisters after a busy volunteer season. I'm telling you, it was truly a sight to see and experience.  The food was absolutely amazing!  I don't even know where to start.  I believe the menu consisted of 5 courses, be it tapas, I promise you I was stuffed!  I mean... look

Genuine Sisters Organization Announces 5K Walk & Brunch Awards to Honor Cancer & Domestic Violence Survivors

5k

On Saturday October 7th, the Genuine Sisters Supporting Sisters nonprofit organization will host a 5K Walk & Brunch Awards to benefit and celebrate cancer and domestic violence survivors at Stone Mountain Park. Created by Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker and Domestic Violence Survivor, Betty Murray; Atlantans of all facets are invited to register at GenuineSisters5K.Eventbrite.com in support of this empowering community initiative. Attendees will enjoy gourmet brunch, pink carpet arrivals, live music from Collective Element Band, sounds by DJ Amber Jaii, shopping with vendors, fun activities for kids and a 5K Walk to bring united awareness to both causes. Hosted by Melissa D. White, the survivor honorees will be presented with awards during a post-brunch reception and guests will hear from keynote speakers Stacey J and Jameliah Young Mitchell.     About Genuine Sisters Supporting Sisters Founded by Betty Murray, the mission of the Genuine Sisters Supporting Sisters non-profit organization is to restore beauty and dignity inside and out, in support of women who've faced the challenges of Cancer, Domestic Violence, Abandonment, Homelessness, and Incarceration. Genuine Sisters offers 24/7 hotline support, group/individual awareness meetings, housing support, community support, community transitioning planning, and customized wigs for Cancer patients. For more information on Genuine Sisters 5K Walk email, 4GenuineSSS@gmail.com.

Clean Living Tips with Trena Dee: Ditch the Clorox!

Clean Living

Clean living is a thing!  We are inundated with so many products that are hazardous to our health.  And it takes a little research and extra effort to find healthier alternatives.  This goes for things we put into our bodies as well as our homes.  I've embarked on this journey since becoming Vegan a year ago.  Today, I want to share with you an alternative to Clorox bleach. Product crush... chlorine-free bleach!!  Yes, there is such a thing.  The bleaching agent in this product is hydrogen peroxide instead of the toxic chlorine. Non-toxic, emphasis on "TOXIC".  I purchased this particular cleaner from Publix for like $2 and it actually works! I still have to get used to NOT smelling the strong fumes when I clean (potent Pine Sol or Clorox).  It's funny how we can get used to fumes, right?  The transition to natural or more non-toxic products is truly a journey! Side note: Clorox and Pine Sol are TRASH... :-/  

Laila Ali takes on DIY as the new host of “Home Made Simple” on OWN

Laila Ali OWN

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Procter & Gamble announced today that Laila Ali, undefeated four-time boxing world champion, cookbook author, lifestyle brand creator, inspirational speaker and youngest daughter of Muhammad Ali, will join Daytime Emmy award-winning DIY series "Home Made Simple" as the new host for season seven. "Home Made Simple," which recently earned its fourth consecutive Daytime Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lifestyle Program, will return with an all-new hour-long format on Saturday, November 4 at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Home Made Simple's easy-to-follow DIY projects, delicious recipes and dramatic home makeovers are featured on P&G's popular website www.homemadesimple.com. "I am thrilled to join the OWN family as the new host of 'Home Made Simple,'" said Laila Ali. "Being able to merge my passion for cooking with my longtime love of interior design and the desire I have to help families, all on a network created by Oprah Winfrey, a woman I have always admired, is truly an honor." Creating homes that deserving families love to live in is at the core of "Home Made Simple."  The show pairs inspiring families, a team of professional designers, carpenters and special guest artists, who work together with the families to create simple solutions to everyday home challenges and design dilemmas.   Host Laila Ali will be working alongside families as they transform their living, work and play spaces, revealing the compelling and inspiring stories of the families behind the makeovers. Laila, who describes herself as a "home cook," will also teach the families delicious, easy recipes from her upcoming cookbook "Food For Life," which will be published in January 2018.

TV One shines a light on the horrors of domestic violence in When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story

Falicia Blakely

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story tells the tragic story of Falicia Blakely, a teen mom from Atlanta who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Dino. His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she's forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives. TV One's latest original film, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, will premiere tonight, Monday, August 28 at 9 pm EST. The film marks the feature-length directorial debut for Tasha Smith and stars Niatia "Lil' Mama" Kirkland, Lance Gross, and Tami Roman, with special appearances from Big Freedia, Lil Zane, and Floyd Mayweather. The project is the network's first original movie inspired by an episode of TV One's original true crime series, "For My Man." "I totally did not see myself playing an exotic dancer, but it was so much more to the story," says Niatia "Lil' Mama" Kirkland of taking on the role. "I pulled from the truth of women all around the world who have been victims and not known that they were victims of society. This is what's so amazing about acting - allowing myself to be as vulnerable as I would be in that moment, just to actually live through the character and become Falicia. I want to do her justice, and so I tapped into truth to tell her story." In playing Dino, a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who uses Falicia's desire to be loved for his gain, Gross says he had to "dive all the way in."  "This is a role nobody's ever seen me in - they're used to me being the nice guy," says the actor, who is known for his roles in Tyler Perry's House of Pain and Temptation. "I want the audience to know that you really have to be conscious of the decisions that you make, because there's consequences that come along with it." Additionally, TV One partnered with Saving Our Daughters, an organization whose mission is to empower teenage girls from multicultural backgrounds through theater, music, film and television, to help overcome many obstacles such as bullying (cyber, gossip, face-to-face), dating abuse, domestic violence and other esteem slayers. Young ladies attended the When Love Kills premieres held in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles to walk the red carpet with the cast and have a dialogue about real love and self-esteem.   If you need help starting the conversation, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.thehotline.org."

How embracing my cycle introduced me to my best friend Ruby

Last month was a busy month for me.  I visited multiple cities to speak and empower sisters.  I love it!  My last event was down in Savannah, Georgia.  I had planned to enjoy the beach with my mentee after speaking to this amazing group.  I also had another friend that I took with me, and I realized that I needed to accept that she was coming.  Ruby.  Ruby is my oldest friend.  She's been in my life since the age of 11.  She and I haven't always been best friends.  Only recently have I come to realize that she is actually a friend.  Ruby, is what I named my cycle. I had this epiphany that at that time of the month, there is an entire metamorphosis that takes place.  I become a different version of myself.  Ruby appears, and she is straightforward, blunt, fatigued, and boy does she have a sweet tooth.  I envy her ability to speak exactly what she wants and she couldn't care less about how the rest of the world sees her.  She relishes in comfort foods, sweets, and chips.  I stopped treating her like a "visitor" and began welcoming her as a "friend".  Maybe it's because I got older and busier and very seldom got those days to do nothing and pig out.  Maybe I began looking forward to Ruby because she gave me what I was afraid to snag for myself. What I learned from accepting Ruby is that self care is utterly important.  Ruby has taught me to listen to my body, because it's always speaking to us.  It tells us when we're motivated, satiated, excited, frustrated, and stressed.  But more importantly, by accepting Ruby as a friend, my cycle is bearable.  It actually doesn't cause me as much pain as before.  I prepare for her with the things she likes most.  We plan her favorite activities (usually Netflix and chill weekends).  I keep my heating pad on the ready, which astoundingly, I haven't had to use as much.  By welcoming her and being thankful for her arrival, I've appreciated the process of my womanhood.  My cycle is not a burden, it is a blessing. Each month, I am reminded of the complex beauty that is me.  The beautiful power of my creator.  The purpose of my being, not necessarily to mother a child (I have no kids), but a symbol of my creativity.  In my creativity, I bring things to life.  I am empowered by Ruby.  Ruby is teaching me to enjoy the life I create one month at a time.  She checks on me every 28 days, and she will be honest and blunt about who I am as a woman.  Ruby arrived yesterday, so quietly, so calm.  I welcomed her, and we've had an amazing weekend together.  She made me slow down and really enjoy my weekend. I hope that this will change your mindset on how you view this beautiful process that we experience each month.  Have you named your cycle?  What do

An Evening With Ledisi: Let Love Rule

I had the opportunity to attend the private listening event for Ledisi's newest album "Let Love Rule" and I was completely in awe of her artistry and spirit. During the Q&A portion of the evening Ledisi was completely transparent with the audience, answering questions about her upbringing, loving the skin that she is in, of course the album, and her growth as an artist. She let us know that she took a different approach with this album and is really tapping into her songwriter talents-singing songs and telling storie,s that may have not actually happened to her, but she definitely connects with. She also stated that this album has lots of reggae influences, as she recorded the majority of project in Jamaica. Ledisi graced us with 3 songs off of the new album "Add To Me", "High", and "Let Love Rule". If you ever have the chance to see her perform, I strongly suggest you do so(thank me later)! The room was filled with the who's who of the industry and I even had the opportunity to meet THE TY HUNTER-you can't think of Beyonce's style and not think Ty Hunter! "Let Love Rule" is the ninth solo effort from the Grammy-Award winning singer and is slated to touch down on September 22nd. Check out her new single- High

WYSBSYM: For the entrepreneurs- Are you a GlamBoss?

money-making

Women are kicking butt in the entrepreneurship department.  I love meeting sisters that are taking life into their hands, utilizing their gifts and talents, and making a profit off of their skill set.  On top of that, we make running business look good!  The mixture of glamour and entrepreneurship is the aim of GlamBoss a store filled with educational tools for the blossoming entrepreneur. I frequent the store and have learned a lot from the resources available.  There are ebooks and webinars to help you learn everything you need to know about starting your business.  From teaching you how to get paid to speak, to learning how to utillize Canva, there is a plethora of information available at your fingertips.  There truly is no excuse as to why you haven't stepped out on that dream you've been dreaming for years.  Oh, and wake up!  Realize your dream by taking action.  And if you run into issues, I have just given you another resource to tap into to move you along.  So go get it girl! As President of Lillie Mae PR and Creator of GlamBoss.org - Lillie Mae has dedicated her efforts to empowering, recognizing and supporting entrepreneurs of all facets around the country.  From London to California, she has connected with women through power calls, books, webinars, innovative events and empowerment tours, to provide them with unique resources that will elevate them professionally and personally.  GlamBoss.org has become the go-to source for women to discover products and opportunities to enhance their brand and income! Let's show our sisterpreneur some love and send those coins flowing her way!          

Empowerment & Black Excellence at the 2017 Essence Festival

Kenya Essence

2017 marked the 23rd year of the Essence Music Festival that celebrates the best and brightest in entertainment and it did not disappoint. For those who have yet to experience the festival, it is a combination of free, themed seminars during the day and concerts in the evening held this year in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Performances are a broken up between the main stage where opening acts and headliners perform and in super lounges around the main stage where mini-concerts are performed. Seminars topics centered on social activism “Staying Woke”, entrepreneurship, and the black community and an all-star gospel salute honoring GRAMMY Award-winning artist Dr. Cissy Houston—featuring a variety of soul-stirring musical guests, including: GRAMMY Award-winning artist CeCe Winans, J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise, and many more. The immense air of empowered sisterhood was healing and, at times, overwhelming throughout the empowerment expo sessions.  Sybrina Fulton (Trevon Martin’s mother) explained what it means to be “woke’ and how that manifests into action on a grassroots level.  Then a panel of heavy hitters shared insight into their own versions of staying woke, maintaining a level of “wokeness” while fighting oppression as a woman of color and influence in patriarchal society, and self-care through the trauma of oppression.  Panel members Angel Rye, April Ryan, Luvvie Ajayi, and April Reign set up aflame, and validated the issues of our hearts concerning our community and our power to make positive change in our community. The strength of a woman panel with Mary J. Blige and cast of “Girls Trip” touched on sisterhood and living outside of the bondage of insecurity and societal rules for womanhood. And for the music lovers, paradise awaited ticket holders nightly with performances by Mary J. Blige, Monica, John Legend, Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, India Arie, Diana Ross, Master P, Xscape, and Chance the Rapper on the main stage and Lalah Hathaway, Remy Ma, Yuna, PJ Morton, Jhene Aiko, Ro James, Doug E. Fresh and more in the super lounges. Friday night concerts opened with India.Arie warming us with her rich contralto vocals.  John Legend performed leading with “Used to Love U” transitioning into “Tonight.”   The crowd sang along to every word and screamed as he ended with “Love Me.  The night was closed out by the legendary original diva Diana Ross. This is Ross’s first performance at the Essence Fest and I’m sure it won’t be her last.  Her show included various costume changes ranging from green sequin and fabulous to red sequin and fabulous. It’s Diana Ross, what did you expect? She sashayed across the stage killing us softly with It’s my house, Touch me in the Morning, Upside down and many more of her plethora of hits. Saturday’s “Strength of A Woman” themed concerts, inspired by of Mary J. Blige’s upcoming album, was the basis for an all-female show with artists such as Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, and Monica. Master show woman Mary J. Blige had everyone on their feet. Thigh high boots, leather hot pants, signature sunglasses, and abs blazing, the Mary J swagger was in effect as she sang Real Love, I Love You, Love No Limit, All Night Long, No More Drama and I'm Going Down and Good Love. In recent events of her estranged husband’s infidelities, she truly took us through her emotional journey and rounded the night out with I’m Fine which had even security dancing in the halls. We were all very happy to see their queen of

Beach Side Birthday With The Bestie & Bendiware

A month ago, I traveled with my best friend to Mexico to help her celebrate her 40th birthday.  What's better than an international beach getaway?  Drinks!  And lots of it! This was my first trip to Mexico and I had such an amazing time.  I swear, I think I'm Blaxican.  The Mexican culture just feels like home for me.  You know, how people say when you visit Africa, you feel at home?  Well, that's how I felt in Mexico.  I felt the same in Puerto Rico too... so maybe I'm just a Black Latina.  I need to dig deep into my ancestry to see if there are any connections there.  Anywho...let me get back on topic, lol. We visited Costa Maya and Cozumel.  My bestie and I checked out the Mayan Ruins and did our trinket shopping.  However, our entire goal for the trip was to get some real rest and relaxation on the beach!  While in Cozumel, we enjoyed an all inclusive beach, so the drinks were flowing. My bestie and I came prepared to take full advantage of the drinks with our travel cups from Bendiware.  These super portable cups are made of silicon and they bend and fit ANYWHERE.  We were able to stuff them in our crossbody purses and popped them out at a moments notice.  I'm kinda OCD when it comes to cutlery and drinkware at restaurants, especially tourist spots.  You never know how clean the stuff is, ya know? With Bendiware, we had our own drinkware for the duration of our trip.  We were on a 5 day cruise, so you know it got its true wear.  Instead of using the cups on board, we used our Bendiware.  We saw people looking like, "Did they just pull that cup out of their pants pocket?"  Lol.  Decked out in my swimwear for 90% of the trip, I could carry my cup with me everywhere.  You can purchase your own Bendiware drinkware here:  www.bendiware.com.  

Why Xscape reunited is great for Black Feminism

Xscape

Last night, live on the BET Awards, Xscape gave us a trip down memory lane.  For those who remember the SoSoDef R&B group with all the hip-hop edge we southern girls needed; it was a flashback to an earlier time in our youth.  I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, I was out of my seat! Tiny, Tamika, Kandi, and Tocha gave their first live performance reunited in well over a decade  It was such a statement of girl power to see these grown ass women together again!  The new generation were able to see that Tiny & Kandi (obviously the most familiar of the group to them) were "bosses" well before T.I. or The Real Housewives.  On top of that, they showed that they can STILL hold their own. With the recent split between Tiny and T.I., I could feel the rest of the world pulling for her to show up and deliver.  That, she did.  It's sad, but even in 2017, when a woman goes through a divorce at any level, she is expected to fold under the trauma.  To see Tiny on that stage, looking as good as she did, and singing her little butt off... Girl, I was like, "Girl Power!!"  She was singing for divorced sisters all over the country in that moment.  Tiny is relevant without Tip!  She was someone before and she will be after.   Dear Children, Once upon a time, Tiny was more famous than TI. We were wondering why SHE was dating HIM. #Xscape #BETAwards — Echo (@EchoDoesRadio) June 26, 2017   The music industry was reminded of just how many hits this group had in the short medley:  Who Can I Run To, Understanding, Just Kickin' It.  I cannot wait to see them live at Essence Fest!!  So many statements were made last night with their appearance.  The group is probably unaware of it, but let me point out what it meant to me: The ladies of Xscape have always represented the strength, vulnerability, tough skin, and softness of being a woman.  We're tough, but we desire to be loved as well.  All we need is a little understanding (pun intended). Coming together again after turbulent times is always good.  Reuniting with your sisters and showing the world that TOGETHER we are a force, well... you get it. This Xscape is a GROWN ASS WOMAN group!  Yes, for those grown ass bodies on stage! I know some were nipped, tucked, and body magic'd the hell out, but there is no denying that those were adult bodies on that stage.  They were beautiful, thick, and lovely! And finally, these women who were once young girls from Atlanta, Georgia.  Have grown to be leaders in their own right.  With or without successful husbands on their arms; these ladies are the captains of their destiny.  They are in control and if they didn't know before last night, they have a legacy. Check out their performance on the BET Awards here and let me know what this reunion means to you:  

Not Just Another Dope Boy Story: SnowFall Premiere’s July 5th on FX

SnowFall

I had the pleasure of viewing the advanced screening of John Singleton’s new drama, Snowfall, which premieres on FX, July 5th.   The show is set in Los Angeles during the early 80's and focuses on the lives of three main characters. Franklin Saint, played by the gorgeous Damson Idris, is a young man fresh out of high school who is involved in the drug game on a low scale.   Teddy McDonald is played by Carter Hudson, who becomes involved in the movement of cocaine from South America into the United States.  The third main character is Gustavo Zapata, who is played by Sergio Peris- Mencheta.  From what I understand about his character; he is a professional wrestler who becomes involved with a crime family. The show immediately grabs your attention, as soon as it begins. It is a tad on the graphic side, definitely not anything you will want to watch with the kids. The first episode follows all three characters through situations they are each experiencing.  Each of the main characters is from a different background. Franklin is a young black man living in an inner city neighborhood with his mother.   He also sells drugs with his uncle.   From what I saw, it looked to be marijuana. Teddy is a CIA agent who has fallen from grace. They haven’t revealed yet what he’s done to piss off his superiors but he is given the opportunity to lead the operation that will begin the widespread distribution of cocaine into the United States. I didn’t really get much of Gustavo’s story, except that he is trying to impress, who I believe, are his sister and brother, by completing a mission where things get a little out of hand. What I like most about this show is the representation of different social groups and how they are affected by the cocaine epidemic. I’m excited to see how each story will play out.  I appreciate the importance of this story.  It is important for the American people to know and understand how the “War on drugs” originated. Snowfall is airing at a pivotal time in our country.  I’m excited to see how it will be received. #SnowfallFX  premieres Wednesday, July 5th at 10/9c on FX. Photos by James Pray for FX Networks

Sistas! Protect your melanin, skin cancer affects us too!

Melanin Skin Cancer

36 year old Jacqueline Smith has been spreading the word in the black community about the serious affects of skin cancer.  Although this is not a form of cancer that is often seen in our community, when it does rear its head, the outcome is disparaging.  Many of us, myself included believed that our melanin was all the protection we needed from the sun.  However, 14 years ago, Jacqueline Smith learned first hand the truth of this myth. She was 22 when she noticed a lump in her bikini area.  That inner voice pushed her to see about it and eventually, four years later, she was diagnosed with stage-3 melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer).  That's one of the biggest problems in the black community.  Because we believe that our melanin makes us "exempt" from getting skin cancer, it's easy for us to not seek treatment when symptoms present themselves.  Thus, avoiding catching cancer much earlier than our white counterparts. “It’s important to share my story with other African-Americans so that they can understand that skin cancer is our problem too. I’ve worked with other cancer organizations and have even been to Capitol Hill to spread the word!” According to Cancer.org, the five-year survival rate for African-Americans is 69 percent compared with 93 percent for whites. Experts believe this mortality gap is largely due to the fact that by the time African-Americans are diagnosed, their cancer is at an advanced stage (52 percent compared to 16 percent among whites), which makes it harder to treat.  Also add in the lack of access to health care and a dermatologist, and it’s no wonder why this racial health disparity continues to persist. Jacqueline’s cancer was aggressive and required surgery and serious treatment. She had multiple lymph nodes removed, started an experimental interferon treatment through a clinical trial and underwent radiation treatment.  Ten years later, Jacqueline is cancer-free.  She tells Hello Beautiful in an exclusive interview, “It’s important to share my story with other African-Americans so that they can understand that skin cancer is our problem too. I’ve worked with other cancer organizations and have even been to Capitol Hill to spread the word!”  Jacqueline offers these tips to women of color in regards to staying aware and vigilant in protecting our melanin from skin cancer: Don’t Slack On Getting Screened- Be sure to get your fingernails and toenails and your palms and soles checked as part of the process, and always alert your doctor if you notice anything at all wrong with your skin for more than a few days or weeks," and don't forget the sunscreen and limited exposure to the sun. Advocate For Yourself- You know when something is not right. Don’t Fear Clinical Trials- The black community has a substantiated and real fear of being the government's guinea pigs.  However, it is an avenue to be considered when it comes to increasing your chance of living. Learn more about skin cancer at skincancer.org

Movie Review: Transformers “The Last Knight”

Transformers

Summer is here and a few of my favorite summers things are music festivals, beaches, and movies!  Coming from the class of '79, I am a true Transformers fan.   I was excited to see the screening of Transformers "The Last Knight". It was hosted by Dwight Howard; my ex, lol.  But he really is a handsome specimen isn't he?  In this excerpt of Transformers, humans and Transformers are at war,  and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.   Until this film I have always been an Optimus Prime girl.  However, this installment of the film, has made me the ultimate Bumblebee fan.  Bumblebee's loyalty and friendship shines most above all the action this film brings. One of the morals I stand on is that of loyalty, and Bumblebee exemplifies that.  It is his undying friendship that is able to bring Prime back from the grips of evil. On top of all this, we learn just how bad ass Bumblebee really is and he easily holds his own with Optimus Prime.  I love how he is always there, giving his silent support for those he loves.  When a Nemesis to Prime rears his head, Bumblebee's confusion is all too real.  His loyalty to Prime and to Cade Yeager had him frozen for what his next move should be.  Yet, right was his path and he did what he had to do to save his friend. There is so much action in this film and I am here for it!  I've heard rumors of a Bumblebee spin off from this film, and if so I am so excited to know more about Bumblebee!  He deserves to shine.  He makes me want to buy a Camaro because I feel it'd be that loyal to me and never let me down, lol.  Be sure to take the family out to see this one, although I wouldn't recommend kids under the age of 16 due to the language.    It is surely a summer blockbuster hit!

Sleep, Eats, and Business at Baymont Inn & Suites

Business at Baymont

Summer 2017 has been absolutely amazing already for my business!  I recently celebrated my best friend's birthday in Mexico and since my return, I've hit the pavement speaking at women's events.  Of course, I love traveling and empowering women as I go.  This past weekend, I was asked to speak at an event in Augusta, Georgia. The event was held the day before Father's Day, so I knew I'd have to make a weekend of it to visit with my Father that Sunday.  I stayed at the Baymont Inn & Suites on Riverwatch Parkway for the weekend and it truly was a great choice.  I am very familiar with this area, yet I was unaware of this hotel tucked away from the bustle of Washington Road.  It's close to everything while still giving you the privacy and quiet you need to truly relax.  It only took me 9 minutes to get to my event in the downtown area of Broad Street. At check-in, the staff was super kind and helpful.  Upon entering, I noticed the cleanliness of the establishment.  It smelled super fresh!  That is always a thumbs up for me, lol.  I noticed a lot of families checking in with kids anxious to jump in the pool.  When I got to my room, I was again pleasantly surprised at the space of my room.  I was given a king suite for the weekend and it was HUGE!  It included an almost full kitchen, two bathrooms, living room with sleeper sofa, and working area.  There was also tons of comfortable seating in the suite.  Of course my mind was rolling with ideas of "Girls Night" events that would be perfect for that space! What I enjoyed most during my stay was the bed!  Yes!  The bed was everything.  You have no idea how bad your own bed is until you lie down in a bed like this.  Friday evening, I slept so soundly and comfortably that I did not want to leave the bed Saturday morning for breakfast.  I was able to pull myself out just before the end of breakfast.  Good thing too, because the waffles were delicious.  When I returned to my room I climbed back in bed and enjoyed cartoons and Martin until a couple hours before my event.  I really felt rejuvenated because my sleep was excellent!  I wonder why hotel beds are so awesome? If you're ever in the Augusta area for business or pleasure, I recommend trying the Baymont Inn & Suites on Riverwatch.  As I said, it is just steps away from busy traffic of Washington road, but you can get anywhere you need to in just minutes!  That is big when you want to relax or focus.  I was able to prepare for my speech in peace while getting the necessary relaxation to deliver a powerful and empowering talk to the women at the tea.  It's a hidden gem in Augusta, and I plan on visiting there again.  Make sure you tell them I Hear That Girl!

Event Recap: Queens With a Purpose Southern Belle Tea | Augusta, GA

Queens With a Purpose

The month of June has been great so far, filled with empowering events and amazing black women.  Saturday, I was invited to speak at the Queens With A Purpose event sponsored by Real Talk Girl Talk blogger, Mone Wallace. Held in my hometown of the CSRA, I felt at home.  The women in attendance came ready to find direction in regards to their purpose.  I spoke among a group of powerful speakers, La'Preia Williams, Victoria Wilson, and Stephanie Barnes.  Mone was a gracious host that encouraged the women to tap into their inner Queen. Mone was such a gracious host that encouraged the women to tap into their inner Queen.  We indulged in delicious tea sandwiches and a variety of teas, and fun ice breaker games (in which I won) that allowed us to learn so much about the other women in attendance.  Some women came alone and still felt like they were in the presence of friends. Each speaker shared their stories of finding and/or searching for purpose in this journey called life, as well as teaching the attendees how to walk as the Queens they are.  I met lots of  intelligent young women searching for a mentor.  I am excited to lend a helping hand to them in search of true purpose. Check out a snippet of my talk as I discuss the power of CHOICES: This was definitely a "must attend" event.  So if you missed it, be sure to follow @realtalk_girltalk for any upcoming events she may be hosting in the Augusta area.

The Black & Beautiful Women Brunch is Giving Me Life!

Black Women

I am coming down from a "Brown Sugar" high this past weekend.  I had the opportunity to speak to a group of beautiful black women at the Black & Beautiful Women Brunch in Atlanta, GA. Just imagine if you can, a room filled with beautiful black women enjoying a delicious brunch on the east side of Atlanta.  Can you envision it?  And add to that, the women are chatting, laughing, and embracing one another just like sisters.  Is that any better?  I tell you this, whatever you are imagining, if you were there, your heart would have not believed it. Saturday, June 10th, I had the opportunity to be a guest facilitator at this awesome event.  I found out about this brunch via Facebook, and I'm so happy I was able to meet Tiffany Wright, the founder of this prestigious event.  Her motivation and purpose behind this event is for black women to have a safe space to just be and celebrate their beauty and all the exhausting hurdles we have to endure in wearing this skin.  It was such an enlightening brunch that focused on self care, self love, and mental wellness. I delivered a session on Embodying Self Love in which we discussed the three facets of existence and how to become a fully empowered woman that embodies self love in those areas:  Mind, Body, & Soul.  The attendees shared affirmations with one another, encouraged and pinpointed powerful traits for their sisters, and embraced our quirks. It was truly gratifying to share stories and dialogue with the women in attendance.  I met so many amazing black women that I plan to continue to converse with.  The Black & Beautiful Women's Brunch kicked off their tour in Atlanta, GA.  The next tour dates are:  July 8th in Washington, DC and August 5th in Chicago, IL!  For more information on the Black & Beautiful Women's Brunch Tour, visit www.livetheBELife.com/bbwb  

Sixth Season of Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class returns featuring Kevin Hart

Master Class

The sixth season of Oprah Winfrey's Master Class returns, June 10th at 10pm EST!  She has an amazing line up of inspiring celebrity stories.  I'm such a fan of this series as I am a strong believer that through our transparency, we contribute the best of our lives to others.  We all have dreams and aspirations to become great leaders, pioneers, and successes.  More often than not, the end of the journey is sensationalized, but the story of the obstacles they've overcome are left in the shadows.  It is in these stories in which others can learn valuable lessons on our individual journey.  Lessons of resilience, persistence, and faith. "Oprah's Master Class" featuring an unprecedented first-person insight into the brilliant minds of the entertainers and public figures we love, respect and admire, returns with a special sneak preview with world-famous actor/comedian Kevin Hart on Saturday, June 10 on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. One of the longest-running OWN series, "Oprah's Master Class" has featured in-depth interviews with over 50 masters. From award-winning musicians and box-office busting actors to groundbreaking leaders, this all-new season includes such luminaries as world-famous actor/comedian Kevin Hart, Original King of Comedy and television personality Steve Harvey, civil-rights hero Congressman John Lewis, hip-hop pioneer LL Cool J, R&B legend and the "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight, NBA champion and Hall of Famer,  Shaquille O'Neal, film and TV mogul Tyler Perry, multi-platinum singer-songwriter Usher, and Emmy-winning actress Lynn Whitfield. I will definitely be tuned in to get a weekly dose of fresh inspiration and encouragement.  This journey is not always roses, but inspirational stories like those featured on Oprah's Master Class, are the sure fire jolt you need to keep pressing forward.  Will you be watching?

Women That Rock: Ray BLK

Over the weekend, I surrounded myself around music. I know some of you may be wondering what does that mean. Well, I'll tell you. So often we as music lovers just put on a piece of music to just have sound filling up the room. Often times you don't literally listen to the words or the structure of the track, to really appreciate what is being played. Well, this week I did just that. I literally listened to the lyrics of a familiar tune and I studied the concept of the record, the placement, structure of the song, and also the attitude and passion that was used to project the track. And, I must say it made me take notice to what and who I was listening to. This week's artist spotlight, was found while watching a show on Netflix. “Rita Ekwere”, is better known to most as “Ray Blk”. This British singer and songwriter is a Nigerian born artist who grew up in London. You may ask how the BLK portion of her name came about. Well, it stands for Building, Living and Knowing, which she describes as her three main values. So, right away she has caught my attention with such a profound message. So let’s talk about the music. Ray can be referred to as an artist who isn't afraid of being totally honest and giving her listeners a glimpse into her very own life. Her single, entitled " My Hood" demonstrates this practice effortlessly. Ray's vocal tone is a clear display of complete control and direction of her vocal capabilities. Ray currently has an EP entitled "Durt".Which takes her listeners on a cosmic ride into her world. With her melodic vocals flowing over heavy synthesized beats. At times, her style reminds you of the 90's rapper Bahamadia. For all those real hip hop headz the track I would say is my favorite joint is entitled "Chill Out". This track has good placement and structure. She definitely gives us a clear idea of her musical influences on this track. From artist like Lauryn Hill to Bahamadia, I advice you to check out a fresh artist whose style and sound is remincing the days of good thought provoking music. Remember, to support real musicians and their crafts. Cause, if we don't show them that we support what they do. They won't continue bearing nothing but their souls. Spread the word when you find those artist that are getting the attention like the major artist. Remember, if you don't like what's on the airways then change it.

Cynthia Bailey Featured in “Freedom From Fibroids” Documentary

Esteemed female professionals recently convened for the official Premiere of the documentary Freedom from Fibroids, featuring Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey, Former TV Anchor and current Radio & TV host Monica Pearson, and John C. Lipman, MD, FSIR, Medical Director of the Atlanta Fibroid Center (http://AtlantaFibroidCenter.com). Guests enjoyed red carpet arrivals, an intimate reception with trumpeter Melvin M. Miller, catering by Akoma Events, special giveaways and a post-screening meet-and-greet with Cynthia Bailey. Atlanta Mayoral candidate Kwanza Hall and Atlanta City Council candidate Erika Y. Mitchell attended to support Fibroid Awareness as well. The Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Millard J. Collier kept the show lively with his dynamic style.  Peter Morrison, theatre manager and magician extraordinaire, provided production support for the event.  Cast members in attendance included Wayne & Gwen Tyler, Constance Barnett, Carmen McKever, Cie Cie, Wilson-McGhee, Robie West and Lauren Hawkins. Presented by the Atlanta Fibroid Center and narrated by Monica Pearson, the documentary explored the journey of Cynthia Bailey and other patients that suffered with fibroids and did not want surgery. Surgery was the only option given to these women until they found Dr. Lipman and the Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure. As a community awareness effort, Dr. Lipman created the documentary to educate women on the non-surgical treatment for fibroids. UFE treats the symptoms of fibroids, for example, heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and increased urinary frequency. UFE avoids all of the surgical risks and long recovery, and allows women to keep their uterus. Immediately following the screening, Dr. Lipman moderated a Q&A segment with the audience to further discuss fibroids and their treatment.

World Slow Down: What Happened to the Weekend?

Weekends are supposed to be a time of relaxation.  I can remember when I was a young girl, living on the dirt roads of South Carolina, and how we so enjoyed the weekend.  Waking up around 6am, tip-toeing into the kitchen to fix a bowl of cereal.  Then making our way into the living room (back then, there were NO tv's in your bedroom) to catch our favorite cartoons.    My parents would exit their bedroom, fully dressed to take on the day around 10am.  Mom would enter the kitchen and make a filling breakfast, interestingly enough just as Soul Train was preparing to come on (those who don't remember... that's 11am). They later ushered the kids out the house to play, and with that, we knew that meant not to come back in unless you had broken a leg or something that required medical attention.  This was our parents' free time.  They were able to relax from a long work-week and do whatever they wanted to do.  We would run, jump, climb, and play to our heart's content until Mom yelled from the screen door for us to come in and get something to eat.  And that was just Saturday! I miss those days.  I miss enjoying the weekend.  The world today is so fast, so busy.  The world has taken away "the weekend".  We work constantly!  We feel guilty for sleeping in.  Society has us so focused on becoming entrepreneurs or doing "something" with our lives that we shame ourselves for the thing that matters most:  SELF CARE.  "Taking it easy" is a thing of the past.  Why do we have to have a to-do list at every turn? "I can do whatever I want, even if that is nothing at all." - Kimberly "Isis"  Even when we call ourselves enjoying ourselves, we feel obligated to take the perfect picture for Instagram, or capture the best moment for a Boomerang vid or SnapChat.  Our enjoyment has been hijacked by planned exposure.  I'm guilty of this as we all are.  How many times have you been out to eat a lovely brunch and wanted to share a pic of your plate before digging in?  I caught myself about to do that recently, and just said...NO!  I dug into the plate and enjoyed that first bite immensely. How do we take our weekends back?  How do we take our lives back?  I wonder who does this crazy guilt belong to?  You know, the guilt you feel when you sleep in or when you don't want to do anything but NetFlix and chill all day.  We're adults right?  So, who's checking us so hard that we need to feel guilty???  When I asked myself this question, I realized, that I had allowed "society" to dictate my worthiness.  This assumed sense of guilt is a figment of my imagination.  I can do whatever I want, even if that is nothing at all. So, I stayed in.  I was up early, but I asked myself, what do you feel

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Tee’s Hair Secret

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Lots of company's have been making some big blunders lately:  United Airlines, Pepsi, Ebony, Shea Moisture... Yes, I'm still shaking my head over that one.  It just seems like they still haven't figured out that our money is powerful.  And that is the exact reason why each week, I give you a company to put your power to work!  Today, I introduce you to a hair care company.  That's Tee's Hair Secret! RELATED ARTICLE:  SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH & COIN! I've noticed many sisters have vocalized their frustration with hair care companies that fail to remember their core audience or give them any love when it comes to advertising a product that we helped build into a multi-million dollar company.  That's what makes owner, Taneika Randall, so unique.  Her product was created for her.  She is a black woman with all the concerns that we have and she particularly created a formula to alleviate her needs.  Needs that we (black women) share.  In 2011 she was diagnosed with Leukemia and underwent 5 rounds of chemotherapy. By the grace of God she became cancer free but the chemotherapy also unfortunately left her completely bald. She started to research ways to naturally regrow her hair. During this time she also educated family and friends on proper hair care and maintenance. One day it dawned on her to share her passion with the world (Facebook) and by doing so, many friends were interested in trying out her products. After rave reviews and the support of her loving husband; Sweet Soaps and Suds LLC was born. She later went on to develop Tee's Hair Secret, their natural hair care brand. Tee's Hair Secret is much more than hair care, it is a lifestyle.  With offerings of head wraps, soaps, shampoo bars, and much more; you are sure to find something to fit your hair care fancy.  Based in Houston, TX and available worldwide, this is a sista that should be supported by other sistas.  I met Taneika in 2015 at the Nzuri Hair Festival.  She had a sweet and kind demeanor then as she still does today.  Connections are amazing aren't they? Visit her online today:  www.teeshairsecret.com or follow her on Instagram (@teeshairsecret)!  Make sure you let her know we sent you!   Know a business that should be featured in our Where You Should Be Spending Your Money segment?  Shoot us an email:  isis@ihearthatgirl.com.

A Candid Conversation with a Fashionista on the Rise: Cerah Ceesay

Introduce yourself and tell us about Ceesay Banjul:  My name is Cerah.  I was born in the UK, and I'm from West Africa the Gambia. I moved to the United States at a very young age and I've been living in Atlanta, Georgia ever since. I've always had an appreciation for beautiful things, which led me towards my  love for fashion. Years ago, I read an article about Coco Chanel and the things in life that inspired and motivated her. I in return started looking for things that inspired and motivated me. This led to the birth of what is now Ceesay Banjul. I've always looked at my first and last name as something unique so I knew I had to incorporate that in my brand. I've always felt a sense of appreciation for my roots, so I had to give thanks.  My parents were born and raised in the city of Banjul, so therefore all of my values and work ethics are a product of what the people and the city of Banjul taught them.  Ceesay Banjul is a lifestyle brand that caters to all types of styles and backgrounds. My vision is to not have Ceesay Banjul solely be a clothing store, but to expand into a department store. What makes the brand different from others in the industry?  At Ceesay Banjul you will always feel a sense of belonging. Diversity is of great importance to us, so we make sure every piece we pick out from cosmetics, home decor, or fashion is something that will reflect you as an individual. What makes us stand out is the fact that we operate at a high level of integrity and take our time to assure we are giving you quality products. Tell us about your upcoming launch event in Atlanta?  Being that I've always read magazine and articles, editors and bloggers have always been a reliable source for me to turn to. Therefore it only made sense for me to turn to them to bring additional exposure to my brand. On May 20th I will host my first Bi-annual Blog & Brunch. I will be having a private brunch for the top bloggers and editors in Atlanta. After we have properly welcomed our bloggers and editors and introduced them to Ceesay Banjul, we will then open the event up to the public for a pop-up shop with a special preview of our spring/summer collection.   What is next in 2017 for the brand? In 2017 we will be expanding and adding a plus size department, relaunching my beauty department as well as working on electronics and small appliances.   How can readers connect with you online or RSVP for the event?  You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @CeesayBanjul or check out our website at www.ceesaybanjul.com. For the event please RSVP at: CBfashion.Eventbrite.com. If you are a blogger or editor and want to attend please email: PR@LillieMaePR.com.

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Confections 320

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Hey gang!  The weekend is upon us once again and it is time to put you on game on the best places to spend your coin!  Why not satisfy your sweet tooth?!  Confections 320 can help you with that. RELATED ARTICLE:  SKIP TRENDS & FIND YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE If you're visiting the Augusta, GA area, and you're a sucker with a sweet tooth, you will adore Confections 320.  Owner/Baker, Angela Robinson, is one of the kindest spirits you can meet.  She puts all that kindness in her pillowy soft desserts.  Confections 320 is a licensed cottage food delivery bakery service, which means, no standing in lines waiting to get cupcakes for your event. They bring them to you!!  I absolutely love her Key Lime Cupcakes!  To try and describe them would be a disservice.  Trust me, you just want to try them for yourself. Confections 320 began when Angela's daughter wanted to take cake pops to school for Christmas. In response to her request, Angela started researching.  After much practice, she successfully produced the product and shortly after Confections 320 was born. Why 320  you ask? Simple, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" , (Ephesians 3:20) . Believe it or not, their very first order was produced without a mixer!! That's right, she didn't even own a mixer but she had a bowl, spoon and a dream! Fortunately, Christmas was just around the corner and she found her first mixer under the tree and she's been at it ever since. We have to celebrate that type of determination!  It's sisters like Angela and all our previously featured entrepreneurs that inspire and motivate us to continue pursuing our dreams!  There is so much more in store if you just take the leap and walk into your purpose. Confections 320 (Augusta, GA) Phone 706.452.1563 Website:  www.confections320.com  

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: The Blonde Gazelle

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Man, do the weeks seem to be flying by or what?  I'm sure some of you are thankful for the speedy work week and looking at me sideways, lol.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy for the weekend.  It's Friday, and that means it's time for me to enlighten my sisters of just another place they should be spending those hard earned coins.  This week, I'm highlighting The Blonde Gazelle in Decatur, GA. RELATED STORY:  ARE YOU A SOAP SNOB? The Blonde Gazelle is a vintage boutique that specializes in funky, eclectic, and unique women's wear and accessories.  I've been a customer of the boutique since it's infancy on Etsy.  The fashion curator and owner, Zakiyyah Shahid, has been styling me for the red carpet since 2013.  She's an amazing person and makes sure you feel at home in the cozy boutique.  She is sure to help you cultivate your own personal style with her items.  I love the fact that she doesn't sit idly by and allow you to just browse the racks.  She gets involved by asking you about your style and offers suggestions of items she has that would fit you perfectly.  February marked The Blonde Gazelle's first introduction on the Thrifting Atlanta Tour! I always walk out of The Blonde Gazelle with something I know reflects my personal style.  You don't have to fear being cookie-cutter here, because it is anything BUT!  If you are the type of person that wants to define your own personal style, express yourself through fashion, or just want to find those "unique" items... then this is the place for you. Be sure to visit The Blonde Gazelle at her Decatur location this weekend, and don't miss her SIDEWALK SALE BLOWOUT, Saturday April 22nd!!  All items will be $5!  Yes, five bucks!  I will be there and I hope you meet me there as well.   The Blonde Gazelle 4449 Covington Hwy Decatur, GA 30035

Women That Rock: Dawn Richard

We are experiencing a great moment in music. I think with what is going on in our country and our everyday lives as a people, we can surely say that our music is speaking loud and clear to the many diversities, that are plaguing our cultural society. Many of our very talented artists are indeed using their voices to speak on many of these pressing issues surrounding our communities. One artist I would like to shine a spotlight on this week is “Dawn Richard”. Dawn Richard graced the music scene a few years ago, after auditioning for a little show called “Making the Band”. Dawn's roots begin in New Orleans. She has always had deep ties with father Frank Richard, being the former lead singer and percussionist of the group Chocolate Milk. So, this means she always has been surrounded by music in some form or another. Now prior to Dawn attending that audition, which eventually landed her a spot in the very successful group, she had already landed a deal with “Octarve Anderson, Jr.” and his Atlanta Independent record label. “Yeah! Brother Records” and she had already recorded a solo album called “Been a While” that featured a single entitled “So What”, which was co-produced by “Ne-Yo”. So now fast forward, enters “Sean (Diddy) Combs” of “Bad Boy records”. Diddy along with her previous New Orleans Management Company began negotiations to postpone the release of that Album and the immediate release of the artist from her contract. Now, we could say that the rest is history, or we could continue the narrative and outline this artist's achievements. Dawn shared great success being apart of the group “Danity Kane”. But, what many of you may not know is how the group got its name. Dawn created a drawing of an Anime character. The drawing caught the eye of Sean Combs, when asked does the character have a name. Dawn responded with her name is Danity Kane. Now, you can say that the rest is history. Following her success with the Danity Kane, Richard also had the pleasure of being a member of the eclectic group Diddy's “Dirty Money”. Dawn is back with yet another amazing project. The Album is entitled “Infrared Deluxe”. This album is jammed pack with deep downtempo vibes and infectious melodies along with catchy choruses. Production on this album is carefully mastered. While watching an episode of this season's “Being Mary Jane” featured the track “Paint It Blue” in the background. The tracks soothing sounds filled the scene with so much passion as if it was the official video release of her song. Dawn's voice almost hypnotizes you with her smooth transitions. I will be surely putting this fire track into heavy rotation at several events this spring. This season is starting off to an awesome start.

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Soap Snob

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It's Friday!!!  And that means it's time to enjoy the wondrous weekend!  Weekends are a great time to rejuvenate and catch up with friends... oh and brunching on the weekend is great too!  Anywho, I need to let you know about another amazing black owned business... female owned business that you should spend all your coins with this weekend!  SERIOUSLY!  Soap Snob is a super cute online boutique chop full of your basic self-care essentials! I met the owner, Monica Dickerson, a while back at a Walker's Legacy event in Tucker that I hosted.  She was eager to learn pertinent information to help bolster her business and she was such an encouraging face in the group of ladies.  Networking is something isn't it ladies?  If you're not out the networking, I encourage you to do so.  I'm actually going to find somewhere to network this weekend. RELATED ARTICLE:  SUPER CHIC GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR YOUR HOME But back to Soap Snob.  This woman hand crafts amazing soaps that help nourish and moisturize your skin.  And it's born of necessity as she battles eczema. "As owner of Soap Snob and sole Soapmaker, I have years of soap making experience, advanced coursework in organic and inorganic chemistry, and membership in the industry’s leading professional organization, the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild. At Soap Snob, I will never compromise the quality of my handmade products by using substandard ingredients or additives. This is my promise to you and your skin." Instead of running to Vicky Secrets or B&B Works... why not hop online and shop with Soap Snob for all natural products, great customer service, and you'll be supporting a sister in the process!  Oh, and try the OMG! Moisture Cream... it will change your life.  Her bath bombs are awesome too.  Visit her site to look around and purchase:  www.thesoapsnobcompany.com

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Kelliebrew’s World

money-making

It's another gorgeous Friday and that means for many of us, it's also payday!  Of course, shopping is that "thing" we do when the weekend comes.  So today, we're giving you another place to sprinkle those coins... enter KellieBrew's World. I met KellieBrew a few years ago at an UNCF event.  She was a person you don't forget.  Edgy, bright, electric and a sweetheart!  We exchanged info and I learned so much more about her.  She's a graphic artist and her work is SICK!!! If you like super dope -ish, then this is exactly where you should be!  Her art is so eclectic and not only can you purchase a piece for your walls, she designs websites, logos, and even SHOWER CURTAINS!  Yes, in her shop, many of her designs can be printed onto various accessories like:  headphones, shower curtains, pillows, and coffee mugs!! A post shared by Kelliebrew (@kelliebrew) on Mar 8, 2017 at 7:14am PST RELATED ARTICLE: Co Working Space for Black Women Entrepreneurs   A post shared by Kelliebrew (@kelliebrew) on Nov 26, 2016Th at 5:55pm PST  When I saw this... This coffee mug will be joining my collection soon!  Oh, and did I mention that this diva is also designing sneakers?!  I live!!!  You've gotta check her out for yourself and see what is "brewing" in her beautiful mind.  Visit her online here:  KellieBrewsWorld                    

Black Girls Making Magic: Frelicia Tucker is Wendy’s 2016 High School Heisman

courtesy of Wendys. It was Frelicia Tucker’s father’s idea to get his twin daughters involved in track and tennis at a young age. But when Frelicia was just nine years old, she tragically lost her father during a home invasion. Moving beyond that pain has been unimaginably difficult. But her mother set the example, doing what she had to do to keep her family in tact, and encouraging her daughters to stay involved in athletics as a way to honor their dad. Today, the memory of her father, combined with her mother’s support, is Frelicia’s motivation, inspiring her to train hard, to continually strive to better herself, and to both literally and figuratively get past any hurdle in her way. “My hunger to succeed comes from realizing that through both achieving and failing, I can continue to better myself.” ~ Frelicia Tucker ~ Turning tragedy into perseverance has driven Frelicia to unprecedented successes in her sports. She has set three school records in track and field, breaking two records that were more than 20 yeas old. She became the state champion in the 400-meter hurdle, while also lettering in tennis and cheerleading. She has worked her way to the head of her class as well, and she will graduate as the valedictorian.   Frelicia doesn’t keep her work ethic and passion for excellence to herself; she uses it to inspire others and to champion causes she believes in. She began volunteering with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a freshman, earning the position of President of the state NAACP Youth Chapter as a junior. This January, she delivered a speech on education equity to an audience of more than 4,000 including Democratic presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Her passionate address earned her a joyous round of applause, a warm hug from Senator Sanders, and 60 shares and 2,500 views on social media. The positive response and hearing how her words touched peoples’ lives has been her proudest moment. To honor Frelicia and all she has done for her community, her hometown announced that Wednesday, January 11, 2016 is Frelicia Tucker day in the City of Aiken.

Women That Rock: Ari Lennox

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Discovery of viable artists seems to be sprouting up everywhere you look. And this week’s selection is a welcome addition to that growing list.  This week’s “Women That Rock” selection hails from our nation’s capitol, Washington, DC. I present to many and introduce to some the ever talented singer songwriter Ari Lennox. So, let’s jump right into it. Ari Lennox is simply put, a musical force to be reckoned with. Back on October 22, 2013, Ari put out an EP entitled “Ariography”. This album was an introduction to her steadily growing career in the music industry. This album was more of a precursor to what was yet to come from this young lady. Fast forward to a couple of years later then in July 21, 2015, while celebrating the success with appearing on “Omen's” album “Elephant Eyes” on a track entitled “Sweat it Out”, that year also gave way to a record deal with J.Cole's recording label Dreamville Records. Ari's creative style is a combination of a sassy soul singer meets a slick rapper, this might explain her signing with J.Cole. Listening to her tracks you can definitely hear rap influences as well as many other genres. In 2016, she released an EP entitled “Pho”. Now, this EP left me yearning for more. Her musical style is a combination of a sassy 90's R&B singer meets a slick charismatic rapper. I absolutely love her vocal delivery on each and every track. But, the track that absolutely caught my ear and made me pay close attention to what this artist had to say is entitled “Backseat” featuring “Cozz”, the vocal arrangement and placement displayed on every track, speaks volumes to her extensive works. I'm sure we're going to be hearing lots more from this very gifted young lady, cause remember guys with our support we can demand that artist such as Ari Lennox and other get their just due.

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Open For Business Coworking Space

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Look, the sisters are doing it for them selves, are we not?  I love seeing the boss babes in action!  And you know we always put a little magic on everything we touch right?  And I do mean, everything!  Yes, from products to services, we can't help but be magical.  And I know exactly where you can get a super dose of magic while handling your own boss moves...it's at the Open For Business Coworking Space in Atlanta. That's right!  Located on the historic Auburn Avenue, this space is a haven and resource for some serious Girl Power!  It's a place that offers the professionalism of a dedicated office space, without the hefty bill through shared spaces.  You can also invest a bit more to secure a private office space as well.  Either way, you'll not only have access for work space, but access to a plethora of like-minded, educated, and knowledgeable businesswomen.  This is a great added value for those of us in need of a business mentor. RELATED ARTICLE:  Black Owned Nail Salons to Support It is seriously like the coolest, trendiest tribe of black female bosses I have ever seen.  You can't help but be inspired by the amazing decor that fills the walls.  As well, the other businesswomen keep you motivated and inspired.  The visionary behind the space is a bustling boss lady herself, Mrs. Nicole Garner Scott.  She has a long list of entrepreneurial accomplishments, too many to add to this post, so for more info on Mrs. Thang, click here! She created the space to be both a community for women business owners ripe with learning opportunities and a physical collaborative work space where women could come to work, meet, and learn. The surrounding community is alive with new energy, innovation, young business owners and endless opportunity.  Members of OFB are also connected with their parent organization, 100 Female Entrepreneurs and are able to tap into the resources of a global network of raw and rewarding girl power. I know many of my readers are women with some serious goals and aspirations.  That is why I am sharing with you information on a place to invest your hard earned coins towards your goals.  Our money is power, and we should be spending it with businesses that will utilize those funds by pouring them back into the community, back into us.  For more info on OFB, visit their website:  www.openforbusiness.space.  Check out the video below for a virtual peek of what this space has to offer:      

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Jazzy Nail Studio

money-making

Hey sistas!  After a busy or hectic work week we all need that self-care fix.  Am I right?  For me, the nail salon is that spot.  However, most of the nail salons in our communities are owned by Asian Americans.  I don't know about you, but I almost NEVER feel respected there.  I mean, even when there is no blatant disrespect, I feel disrespected by the use of two languages! My thing is this... if the majority of your customers speak English and YOU speak English, why in the hell are you speaking to your co-worker in a different language???  I don't know if you're talking about me or not, but the consumer shouldn't feel "uncomfortable".  Especially when I'm funding little Ling Chao's medical degree.  #facts  With that being said, a couple years ago, I was on a mission to spend money with a black owned nail salon.  I found a place where I felt comfortable, met amazing women, shared great stories and even grieved the loss of Prince in true black style, while having my nails sculpted to perfection (shout out to my stylist LaKendra)!  If you have never experienced a black owned nail salon and you're in the Atlanta area, let me introduce you to Jazzy Nail Studio! Business Name:  Jazzy Nail Studio Location:  Norcross, GA About:  Jazzy Nail Studio is an appointment only nail art studio.  We have a talented team of nail artists that specialize in the latest trends in nail art and nail care, all while maintaining the health of your natural nails. We also offer lash extensions, pedicures and henna.     Owner:  Jasmine Requena Jasmine has been a licensed nail technician for over 15 years now. She has used her expertise to brand herself, thus making her stand out among her peers. She is passionate about the nail business and teaches other nail technicians how to tap into their inner artist and grow their business.  Visit her website to book your next appointment!                              

Video: Greenleaf cast talks about the importance of representation of black women on television

greenleaf representation

Representation matters.  I remember coming up, I had Claire Huxtable and Rudy (Cosby Show), Freddie and Kimberly Reese (A Different World), and Laura Wilson (Family Matters) as representations of young black women.  They looked like me, they dressed like me, and they were into the same things I was.  They had lives like mine and they were positive black women. Black women are diverse.  So, there is good and bad, sophisticated and ratchet in us all.  However, it seems that recently, mass media has only been broadcasting the negative portrayal of black women.  When I see these "reality" portrayals, I call foul.  That's not my reality.  My sisters love each other, lift each other up, everything opposite of what is portrayed. However, when you see the various characters recently played by black women on television, it gives me hope that there will be more than one story told about who black women can be.  Those diverse characters are seeing more and more roles as leading actresses in prime time shows such as Greenleaf on OWN.  This amazing show gives us a plot filled with diverse black women.  For each character, I truly feel I know someone just like that!  The characters are so realistic.  I fell in love with season one and this week, we prepare for season two. READ MORE ABOUT GREENLEAF HERE. I had the opportunity to speak with the cast of this amazing show and talk to the ladies about how representation really matters in the black community.  Hear what Kim Hawthorne and Deborah Joy Winans had to say on the subject:

Women That Rock- K. Avett

K avett

Now, that the Grammy Award event is over and all the lavish parties have ended, maybe you found that your favorite artist claimed the most prestigious accolade in the music industry that night, or maybe, not. Then there is the infamous day when all the morning shows are buzzing about the shows winners and performers, and in the mist, of the chattering talk surrounding Beyoncé's Grammy snub, Adele's unofficial announcement that she doesn't deserve the album of the year award, and that the better woman should have won the covenant award. I actually watched this year’s celebration of the one language that can truly unify us all. I told myself that I was going to participate in the spectacle to really see if at last the music will have the last say. Well, let's just say things were a little better than they have been in the past airings. I mean they did get it right in some categories of the night. I was still looking for that one performer that I could say they've got that jenassaiquoi... that umph. So, I took to the internet searching the many music sites on my quest to locate those amazingly gifted artist that the mainstream continues to overlook. Music lovers, I have an awesome treat for you guys this week. This week's “Women that Rock” spotlight artist goes by the name of “K. Avett”.  K. Avett is a singer songwriter with a sound that's reminiscent of days gone by, when artist actually sung what they wrote. Her sound is familiar yet new at the same time.  Her unique blending of exploring different genres throughout her music only adds to her overall musical talent. K.Avett is gearing up for her sophomore album slated for release Spring 2017. She is currently finding success with her debut single entitled “The Matter (What are we here for)”. Her vocal projection is felt throughout the very silky smooth track. It's as if her voice is floating over the melodic sounds and beats of the track. If you guys are big fans of artist such as Algebra Bassett, Anthony David, and Conya Doss, well then you catch my drift. You'll sure to appreciate this very gifted and inspiring talent. Let me conclude with this. See, I watched the Grammy awards to get confirmation that we control who should be recognized as great, and it is not some old ass men on some board of an academy, we the connoisseurs of great music have this say. With your continued level support we can show these artist that their works are greatly appreciated throughout our community.  Leslie Thomas is a DJ, traveler, blogger and lover of all things music.  Follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005 and visit my blog, The Sophisticate.  

One to Watch: A United Kingdom

"A United Kingdom" is a ravishing film that expresses to the world courageousness and love by taking a stance for unity in a nation of segregation. The true love story of Seretse Khama, an African King and Ruth Williams, a white woman and London native; looked beyond color, tradition, notoriety, and defied all rules for companionship. The challenge was not two races unifying but for a country to become independent. The story shares of trials and division between the hearts of man. Prideful-ness was infectious and became viral within the governance of The British and the people of Africa. This caused a gruesome form of hatred in the souls of their citizens in each country. "No man is free who is not master of himself" –David Oyelowo. Serete Khama was a noble man, honest leader, loving husband, and caring King. His duty was to his people. His love was for his country. His passion was liberated through his progression of bringing promising change that would enhance the welfare of his people. With Ruth Williams by his side; they were able to change the sight in how "the new normal" is supposed to be gleamed upon. "Race has no bearing on equality and justice," –David Oyelowo. Ruth was a woman who teaches us a lesson through her grace. She was a force to be reckon with. She didn't say much, yet when she spoke she said enough. Ruth, was a wife of a King and a mother of a nation. She always showed love, generosity, and concern for a country that once rejected her. Nonetheless, grew to love and respect her. To change a perception, actions must be taken by love. Love is the healer for brokenness. The people of Africa lived in darkness for ages, having little resources to survive, and were abused by a white government. Nevertheless, their lights never dimmed within... "Don't allow the ugliness of this world, to take our joy away from us."- David Oyelowo The ending of A United Kingdom expresses the worth of waiting. This concludes us to acknowledge hope even in a moment of despair. The release of this movie was right on time. The well-known screenwriter, Guy Hibbert and childhood actress, now director Amma Asante told a story that aligns us with common world issues in which we are presently confronted with. The sensitivity of the matters of the heart are always relevant but at times exile.  Many common circumstances are seemingly overshadowed by fear of uncertainty.  A United Kingdom answers the uncertainties of life to its audience by using a simple tool and international language called love. Check out the trailer below and let us know if this is "one to watch"!  Camille Snow is an entertainment journalist.  Follow her on Instagram @iamcamilleelise.

Women That Rock- Terri Walker

Like most of you by now, I have seen the most inspiring made for TV movie of all time, the “New Edition Story”. This movie was the equivalent to an R&B Roots. Three jammed packed nights of shear excellence. Once again we got a up close and personal look into the glamorous, but sometimes ugly, life of the music business. Like the old saying goes, this business can either make or break you. And this movie clearly showed that very theme. Again, the industry doesn't know what the people really want, as it was clearly displayed throughout this movie. Dear Music Industry, Please let the artist do its thing. That's why you signed the artist in the first place. Let's be real, the artist already possesses some type of star quality, hence the reason why they signed them in first place. So, for this week’s “ Women That Rock” series selection, it is yet another young lady from a growing list of Artists that need to be heard by the masses. Hailing from across the pond, London born”Terri Walker” has a voice and sound that needs to be heard, not just on a national but global level as well. This gifted young artist not only studied classical training at a young age, but it can be heard throughout most of her music. Ms. Walker recorded her demos in LA then shopped them to several labels located both in the UK and the US., which eventually ended up with a recording deal with “Def Soul” UK division. Now, I know most of you would say that's a good look for this talented artist. But, let me show you how they, (meaning the music industry) do nothing for the artist. She records her debut album entitled “Untitled”, the debut single is entitled “Guess you didn't love me” featuring “Mos Def” which is a very nice track, but guess what, it doesn't stand a chance to reach the masses due to the fact that there is no media outlets that will play the track. This is the first mistake and then if we fast forward several albums and years later after dealing with several labels not knowing what to do with yet another amazing talent. Terri tries her hand at putting out yet another album entitled “Untitled to Entitled” a nod to her first debut album. This album is definitely a well balanced project. I absolutely love the track “Lose Twice”, its one of my extreme favorites on this great album. Terri delivers a stellar performance on this great body of work. If only the record companies would stop controlling what's being played on the airwaves, maybe only then would great artists have a clear and fair shot at dominating the market. After researching Terri's work and story, I found myself feeling overwhelmed at the fact that her music and musical stories need to be heard by all that value true soulful music. There are hundreds even thousands of great talents that are going undiscovered each and

Valentine’s Day Done Different: He Said She Said Event

Valentine's Day 2017 will never be the same.  I Hear That Girl! founder, Kimberly "Isis" Thomas and comedian, Alton Walker hosted the He Said She Said Love & Relationships Talk event.  The event was held at We Got Soul Food Restaurant in Stone Mountain.  The event was an open forum on the issues men and women fail to understand about each other. Of course, the women were happy to voice their concerns.  And the men found a hopeful spokesperson for their cause in Alton Walker.  The event brought out the best and worst in both genders' behaviors in a comical, funny, and truthful way.  Check out the stream video of the event below and post your comments.  Let's keep the dialogue going!

Happy New Year! Women That Rock- Ella Mai

Well, we've made it through another year. In the midst of creating new resolutions for the New Year, I'm always on the quest to discover timeless artists, that are attempting to prove to everyone that they are indeed the next biggest star status or accolade. I'm very optimistic that 2017 will provide us true lovers of pure authentic music, a quenching for that incredible thirst.  To kick off the 2017 series of “Women that Rock” artist profile, I present to some and introduce to others. Ella Mai (pronounced Ella Mae). A native of the U.K. Ella moved to New York at the tender age of 12, and then in 2014, while residing back in London for the second time of her life, she competed on the popular TV show X factor. She performed along side a group called Arize, and even though they didn't make it through the competition, the exposure did provide the opportunity for Ella Mai to try her hand at becoming a solo artist. Ella's impressive writing style comes through strongly in her music. She managed to accumulate a rather large fan base after uploading a four track EP to Soundcloud, which ultimately gained attention of DJ Mustard who signed her as a young artist on DJ Mustard's 10 Summers label. So this proves that sometimes things and events happen for a definite reason. Ella Mai's well controlled voice is heard loud and clear on every track. She clearly possesses the talent of a poised artist.  She is celebrating the release of her EP entitled “Change”, this six track EP produced the debut single entitled “She Don't”, that features “Ty Dolla $ign” one of the most underrated new school artists.   Just to let you know this guy is very talented also.  But, back to the track, this song shows off Ella's excellent singing and writing skills. I was absolutely in aw of this track.  Actually, every track is filled with so much passion and heart that they truly speak to the soul in each an every one of us. Whenever you need to hear that special song to really express how you're really feeling or if you are going through something in a relationship, this amazing EP has it for you. To my hardcore music lovers of great R&B music. Here's your first awesome CD for the year to add to your collection. Get ready guys, I think that 2017 is going to provide us with some amazingly talented artist.  Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all this sophisticated.  Check out my blog, The Sophisticate, and follow me on Twitter:  @LBoogie252005.

NEW MUSIC: Missy Elliot drops “I’m Better” Music Video

If this is your first time to IHEARTHATGIRL.COM, then let me warn you...WE LOVE Missy Elliot!!!! Yes, she is such an inspiration to me.  I saw the emergence of this female artist.  I watched as her gift cultivated and evolved year by year into the legend she is today.  When she put the game down, flipped it, and reversed it.  It wasn't just a song lyric.  She was telling you her plan. 20 years later, Missy Elliot is still killing the music game.  It doesn't matter how many times music styles change, she will always be ahead of the game (oh, she told ya'll that too). "Ain't no shame ladies do yo' thang.  Just make sure you're ahead of the game." -  Missy Elliot, "Work It" She's always ahead, because she's always been ahead.  She never created music on trend, she set the trend.  And with this latest offering, "I'm Better", I see how she's even taken the current music style and evolved it in true Missy fashion. As a hardcore Missy fan, I will always be thankful for her artistry.  I love an artist that I can count on.  An artist who's style changes, but still remains true to who they are.  An artist that can be influenced by what goes on around them, but reflect it in THEIR own special way. Missy is also working on a documentary and we can not wait to see it!!  Check out the video below of her latest release, "I'm Better", and let me know your thoughts.  

Detroit student, Dannah Wilson, gives stirring response to Betsy DeVos

The new President selected a cabinet to head various departments in the US Federal Government.  One of his selections are for Betsy DeVos, a woman with absolutely NO experience in higher education or education period. She has been tapped to oversee the United States Education Department.  She is undergoing glaring scrutiny during her hearing, as she is most known for steering funds away from public schools.  The most articulate, searing, and insightful response to her speech came from someone who would be the most affected by her confirmation.  Dannah Wilson, a 17-year old Detroit student, gave a stirring speech in response to Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing. I am moved by the passion and intellect from this young lady.  She not only confronts the issues that plague our public school system, she provides insight and possible solutions for what is so greatly needed.  She gives a perspective that only a student invested in the system can give.  As always, I Hear That Girl! stands behind women, young and old, that use their voices to speak up for their beliefs and the empowerment of their communities.  To you Dannah, we say, "I Hear That Girl! and we stand in solidarity along with you."  View her entire speech below:  

Women That Rock- Melody Angel [A Changing of the Guards]

Melody

As we embark on a changing of the guards, I've asked myself a serious question. Will our artists provide a deep understanding of the changes that our country will be experiencing in the days, months and years to come?   I wonder will they speak out on issues involving Americans in this country just as our greats did in the late sixties and seventies. Or will they just sit back and remain silent. Either way they choose to look at it, is solely their choice. The young lady I'm about to introduce to you guys this week clearly has been lending her voice to the voiceless. I first discovered this amazing singer, songwriter on a reality show. Yes, I said it. P. Diddy's Starmaker. This show aired on MTV in 2009. That young performers name was “Melody Angel”. The Chicago native impressed her judges and fans alike, with night after night stellar performances. It just wasn't enough to clinch the winners title. But, the exposure did help this amazingly gifted singer, songwriter with a boost in her music. Melody's raspy, soulfully charge voice leaves you absolutely speechless. She shows complete control over her voice. Careful placement of her vocals can be heard on every track with conviction and accuracy. And, I wouldn't doubt that growing up in Chicago helped to shape her into whom she has become. Sometimes, seeing the day to day injustice and turmoil growing has a way of molding you. And in many cases, music acts as elixir, to smooth the pain. Melody has a project out entitled “In This America”. The title track speaks loud to the injustice that has been plaguing the country lately. Accounts of Police brutality and senseless killing are addressed boldly and prophetically on this track, accompanied by beautiful guitar riffs that fill the room as they are being strummed. This is a powerful song that should be spread everywhere throughout the communities stricken by gun violence and senseless killings. Melody not only sings about injustice in the community, but she also shows her support by becoming active in the community, by showing her solidarity with the marchers of injustice and equality for all. This young talent is clearly channeling the spirits of the greats like Nina Simone. I would love to see this amazing artist perform the Afro Punk festival 2017. It's just an idea! If you guys are in need of some musical therapy to get you thru the weeks to come, try Melody Angel on for size. I think she may have just what the doctor ordered. Remember everyone, now more than ever; we as a people have to stick and stand together to make it through these next few years. Support you indie artists and their craft. It’s more valuable than you think. Leslie Thomas is a festival addict , travel enthusiast, lover of all things music.  Follow me on twitter @lboogie25!

Recap: Helping women to Envision Their Vision in Augusta, GA

envision your vision

This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet a new set of women.  I visited Augusta, Georgia as we partnered with my mentee, Mone Wallace of Real Talk Girl Talk, for her Envision Your Vision Party!  These women were eager to ignite their visions and set a plan of action.  I am so happy that I had the chance to empower them. Facilitating vision board events is as much a blessing to me as it is to the attendees.  I enjoy talking to women from all walks of life, hearing their stories, their dreams, and their desires.  Everyone wants more.  Everyone wants to be their best.  I get hands on and literally pull their greatness out! The women in Augusta had a great time and felt like they left with a real plan of action, not just a pretty board.  That's what we want...women empowered to take action in their lives!  Email me to book your own vision board event, isis@ihearthatgirl.com.  Check out pics below from the event:  

Motivation Video: An easy way to Push Past The NO!!

NO

You've got to be able to take the no's.  As an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a goal chaser, I heard my share of NO's.  However, I never let a NO stop me.  I just kept pressing for the YES.  And when I got it... oh!!!  How sweet it was.  Knowing you can get that YES means you know you can get even more.  You just have to keep pushing past the NO's.  Everyone is not going to need, want, or desire what you have to offer, don't take it personally.  Just keep going until you find the people that do!!! Don't allow the fear of a NO to stop you from trying.  You will never know the answer if you don't ask.  Keep pushing, never give up.  Your YES could be behind your next NO. Do you struggle with the NO's??  How do you handle them?

Angela Bassett brings better skincare for dark-skinned women

Angela Bassett

Black don't crack.  We've heard the saying, said it, and believe it.  Most of the older black women and men that I know, hardly show any signs of aging.  And for those that do, they age so gracefully.  Angela Bassett is one of those women.  I swear this woman looks as if she froze time. As flawless as she looks, Angela Bassett has had issues with her skin.  She used treatments to deal with skin irritations and breakouts, but found that much was missing in the area of hyperpigmentation for black women.  The actress has teamed up with Dr. Barbara Sturm, her friend and a well-known skincare expert, to launch a skin-care line that addresses the specific needs of women with darker complexions.  Hyperpigmentation is characterized by a darkening of an area of skin caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. The skincare line, "Darker Skin Tones by Dr. Barbara Sturm", is now a reality.  Bassett said that she wants to bring more awareness to skin care and for people, “to see what is good for it and ingredients that are helpful — not invasive or irritating. I like them to be pleased when they look in the mirror, to feel good about themselves and the condition of their complexion.” The line is available exclusively at Harrods in store and online.

Make these small changes today for better Self-Care in 2017!

New Year

2016 is now in the past. Another year has begun. What will 2017 bring for you? There is no way in knowing what to expect during the next 365 days, but you can have a better understanding on how you will move and react to situations in this year.  It's important to plan your attitude for the year as much as we plan our goals. So here are some tips for better self-care in 2017. We always take time to plan out our physical goals, but how much time are you taking in mapping out the emotional you?  Our mental and emotional health is more important than any physical attributes.  No matter what you "physically" achieve, without a healthy mental and emotional life, you will surely lose it.  Pun intended. I had to take this into practice for myself, as I've been really focused on my physical goals, and almost forgot to check in with myself mentally.  I did it yesterday, a full evaluation of my mental and emotional health, on New Year's Eve.  I learned so much about how far I've come and how much more I need to work on.  Take this evaluation for yourself, be honest with your answers, and plan to work on positive changes for 2017:  How do you deserve to be treated?  Why? For many of us, we don't truly understand what we deserve.  Or, we have a construed idea of what we feel we deserve.  This is usually based in a lack of self-esteem, devaluing of self, and in some cases based on someone else's life.  Find out what you feel you deserve, but also speak on WHY you feel you deserve that. How would you like to be treated?  How will you teach others to treat you this way? We teach people how to treat us.  If you want to be treated with respect, you must demand it and be respectful to others.  What are you doing currently that has taught others to treat you the way they do? How do you value yourself?  Are you living up to that level of value? When saying you know your worth, does your life match that value? What will you do to change the way you value yourself? Change begins with you.  YOU have the power to gain the respect you desire, but you must respect yourself.  Whatever it is that you want others to value in you, be sure you are exhibiting the same for yourself.  Invest in yourself, that could be self-care through, books, prayer, meditation, business courses, etc.  My book, I Hear That Girl!:  Life Advice for Every Sista, is a great guide to understanding yourself, your value, and your purpose. ;) As you start this new year, take time for self-care.  Allow yourself room for the truth without judgement and a willingness for change.  I wish you guys the best and a level of self unlike ever before!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Avoid Unnecessary Stress: Finals Week

Finals

Finals Exam Week comes around twice a year in a student's life. At the end of the first and second semester. It has to be one of the most stressful times you will ever experience. The grade from your exam will either make or break you. It's almost like your entire life depends on the outcome of your test. You could be doing great in all your classes the entire semester and one exam grade will ruin that for you. This is why most students, if not all, don't seem to be the same carefree, easygoing students we once were during syllabus week. The entire campus looked sleep deprived and exhausted. The library was also packed. Students were either studying or sleeping with their legs kicked up on the coffee table and using their book bags as pillows. You couldn't walk by without hearing someone discuss how they think they either passed their final or failed it. The week felt like it would never end. I could not sleep or think straight. My mind was constantly in testing mode. All I thought about was how to convince me professors for extra credit even though they made it quite clear that they do not offer it. I thought about all the times I could've kissed up to my professors throughout the year and all the free tutoring sessions I should've attended. The papers and projects I procrastinated doing were piling up and were all due at the same time. It was definitely crunch time. I had to get my life together and I had to do it quick. I studied and prayed to God that I would come out on top. My parents did not send me to college just to find out I was trying to pull my grades together at the last minute when I should've been doing that all semester. Not only did I have to make sure I finished all my work and see to it that I passed all of my tests. I had my parents continuously asking me how was school and how was I doing in school. If it's one thing I know about my parents, it's that they do not play when it comes to school work. My parents did not send me to college just to find out I was trying to pull my grades together at the last minute when I should've been doing that all semester. So I smiled and told them everything was going just fine. Deep down I was crying, panicking, hoping and wishing that I would get everything done in time with excellent grades. After an extremely long, sleepless, gruesome week of memorizing formulas and going over significant dates in history it was time. It was my turn to see how the rest of my college career would play out. I felt like I was ready, but I was also nervous. As a student you already know which classes are easier for you and which classes you have to put a little

HERstory Brunch Inspires Women to Share Their Stories

Herstory Brunch

Sunday, I Hear That Girl! and We Got Soul Restaurant, brought together women from all walks of life to the first HERstory Brunch.  The event was hosted by I Hear That Girl! founder, Kimberly "Isis" Thomas and owner of We Got Soul, Cola Pettiford.  The upscale brunch was held at the posh event location, The Pink Hotel, in Stone Mountain, GA.  Attendees were treated to a private tour of the facility and led into the room to enjoy delicious eats by Celebrity Chef Maurice and share their stories. "...Regardless of how much money you make, your education, or anything else; your story is still important..."- Kimberly "Isis" Thomas   The event was created to show every woman that their stories were important.  Host Isis had this to say, "I believe that every woman has something to share that can help encourage, empower, and inspire someone else.  Regardless of how much money you make, your education, or anything else; your story is still important.  That's what we want these women to know today."   There was lots of socializing, networking and smiles throughout the 2 hour event.  Check out more of the pictures below:  

A Gift for the Stylish Man & a JORD Watch Giveaway!

With the holiday season upon us, we are usually thinking of the perfect gift for our special someone.  When it comes to the men in my life, I am almost always at a loss here.  Like, why are men so hard to gift?  What do they want??  My beau is no easy task for sure.  He is an extremely stylish man (one of the many qualities I adore) and he already has EVERYTHING! So how do you find something to wow the guy that already has everything?  Luckily for me, and the perks of blogging, I was given the opportunity to gift him the ultra swaggalicious, JORD watch. We had a scheduled weekend getaway to beautiful Charlotte, NC coming up.  My beau is a busy businessman that is always on the go, so having a weekend with him to myself, away from the hustle and bustle of clients, was a special opportunity and I took full advantage of it. My guy loves this watch!  He got tons of compliments on it as many couldn't believe the craft-work of a wooden watch.  I chose the Delmar in dark sandalwood, since his favorite color is black.  He loves unique items and this watch did not disappoint.   This is definitely the gift for the guy who has everything.  But most importantly, the stylish guy who has everything.  It's sophisticated, unique, and stylish just like me guy. The good folks at JORD are giving you a chance to win a $75 e-gift card for any of the amazing watches on their site.  Everyone that enters will receive a $25 e-gift code.  So everybody's a winner!  The contest will close 12/18/16 at 11:59pm.  So don't hesitate enter HERE. This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches, but the fun was all ours!   Wooden Wristwatch

4 Ways the Philmor Academy Girls School is creating Girl Bosses!

Philmor Academy

I recently accepted a position as a Pathway Teacher at the Philmor Academy Girls School in Lithonia, GA.  This private school is educating girls on a whole new level.  Founded by Sherrie Raymore, the Philmor Academy creates a culture of scholarship, sisterhood and the pursuit of excellence. It is the first of it's kind for the city of Lithonia in regards to minority private schools. Philmor Academy Girls School, a grades K-8 private school, is preparing young women today to be leaders of tomorrow through STEAM, Communications/Media and the Arts. Our goal is to ensure that each student is provided with a holistic educational experience that will equip all students with the tools for becoming successful. With a focus in the areas of STEAM and Communications/Media, our students will develop academically, think critically, lead purposefully, and make healthy and responsible decisions. I teach Radio/Media, at the school.  And I love the hands on approach to opening the minds of our young girls.  We are showing them that there is nothing that is impossible.  My girls will soon be launching their very own radio/talk shows to share their viewpoints and use their voices to empower other young girls.  I am so happy to be a part of this amazing school and below, I will give you 4 ways Philmor Academy Girls School is creating "Girl Bosses": 1.  Daily Affirmations The girls begin their day with affirmations that remind them who they are, their potential and encourage them to expect nothing but the best.  Repeating these affirmations cultivates a belief of confidence, surety, and boldness in our students.  They in turn exhibit the level of confidence in their work, their conversations, and interactions.   2.  Sisterhood Research confirms that students who attend gender-based classrooms achieve an edge in the real world.  Philmor Academy girls learn to listen to one another, accept each other, and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual.  They are encouraged to uplift one another instead of tearing each other down.   3.  Pathways Beyond a wide array of core content classes, Philmor Academy Girls School students enjoy the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their talents in a variety of media/broadcasting, the arts, and STEAM curriculum.  I see this each week in my Radio 101 class.  When I entered radio, I was 16 years old, and soaked up every experience.  It is what has allowed me to become the woman I am today.  Opportunities like this at an early age, provoke girls to achieve goals that aren't "typically" expected or afforded to women. 4.  Community The staff and faculty at Philmor Academy serve as passionate role models for the students.  Women like Sherrie and myself are excited to pour into these girls because of our passion to empower young black women.  Girls at Philmor Academy will be surrounded and supported by amazing women in the community who serve as mentors for the school.  This level of positive support helps young girls thrive into young women.  The Philmor Academy culture prizes leadership, character, integrity, and kindness, which means your child will enjoy a safe and supportive environment in

Women That Rock: Break Out Artist, Tish Hyman

break out artist

With the holidays fast approaching, it's always been a great opportunity to discover fresh new talent to show off to friends and family. I always seem to love this time of year, all of my family together under one roof, and at my family home we always seem to get into a deep long conversation on the topic of music. Man, when I say we go heavy on this subject it is an understatement. My family's life revolves around music. I'm always on the look out for that break out artist. We have yet to feature a rapper for the “Women that Rock” series, but guys do I have a special treat for you. This piece is truly dedicated to all my Hip Hop heads.  This amazing artist isn't only a rapper, but also a gifted singer songwriter. She goes by “Tish Hyman”.  This Bronx native began her plight as a battle rapper, that's right she could flow with best of them. Then in 2010, Tish moved to Los Angels, Ca. This is also where she forged several artist relationships that would soon land her with the opportunity of a lifetime. You guys may be familiar with some of the many mainstream artists she's lent a creative pen to. She’s written for the likes of  Alicia Keys, Ty Dolla Sign, Diddy and Kelly Rowland just to name a few. In 2015, she released her first single, entitled “Subway Art”. This track really expresses the deep struggles of many New Yorkers that frequent the New York subway system on a daily basis. On this track her infectious vocals are compared to the great Lauryn Hill. Celebrating her July 12, 2016 release of her debut EP, entitled, “Dedicated To”, this project is jammed packed with hits. Tish gives us a brief uncovered look into her life and experience as an MC, she's clearly bringing back true Lyricism to the art of rapping. My favorite track on the album is entitled “All That I can Do”.  Tish delivers an astonishing performance on this very heartfelt track. We have to support these creative artists and their craft. Buy good music go to great concerts. Show your support for truly good music. And those great artists, like Tish Hyman will keep supplying the demand. https://youtu.be/aJhaMy7IG-4  Leslie Thomas is a music blogger, lover of travel and music festival enthusiastic.  Follow me on Twitter: @lboogie25.

Feeling Stuck? Stressed? Well…Get Over It!

2016 is almost over.  At this time of the year, many of us can feel stressed, depressed, and stuck.  We may not have reached the goals we set at the beginning of the year.  Setbacks and failures can mount to where we don't know how to pick up the pieces.  We hear you, and we've got tips to help you get over it!  Here's a special one on one interview with empowerologist, Dr. Adair.  As a best-selling author and motivational speaker for the last 22 years, Dr. Adair has created various avenues for self-empowerment and resiliency strategies for women and teens. IHTG:  You made the "jump" from a six-figure career of over 20 years.  How did you find the confidence to do it and why do you think it's so hard for a lot of people?  Dr. Adair:  I was unhappy at the time, and I’ve never been the type of person to wallow in unhappiness, despair, and misery.  I knew that I needed a change but was unsure what the change was.  After all, I had been comfortable in that position for many years and I actually still enjoyed many aspects of it, but because I found myself more unhappy than happy, I knew that a change was imminent. My confidence is embedded in my spirit.  You see, I knew that my life was not just about what I wanted because I have Faith that God has a plan for me and orders my steps.  There were several life-changing events that happened to be over the course of the year that I walked away from that position that clearly impacted my worldview and my spirit.  Because my confidence is aligned with my spirit and my spirit was no longer actively engaged in the position I knew it was time to “walk away” and I also knew my confidence was intact. Please understand, though, that I had a plan…I didn’t just wake up and say “I’m out!”  I was still working in another professional position that I also was passionate about, and I had written and released my first book.  Between the two of those and my strong belief that God had created this path for me to follow, I had the confidence to know and believed that everything would be alright.  So I took that leap of Faith, and everything was alright. I think that it is challenging for others to make the “jump” because we have a natural fear of the unknown.  We are comfortable where we are because we are comfortable where we are.  It’s as simple as that.  I had a friend once tell me that we would rather “live in a comfortable hell than strive to be in an uncomfortable heaven” because it is easier there.  We know what to expect, and in many cases, we have conditioned our responses.  It’s easier for people to dream about their dreams because they know it can’t hurt to dream.  But the reality is that by just dreaming and not doing we are

Rickey Smiley For Real Season 3 Screening ATL

Known for his comedic style, Mother Bernice, the hilarious Rickey Smiley Radio Morning Show, Joe Willie and the Deuteronomaires, and for playing the keyboard, one of America’s favorite Que Dawgs, Rickey Smiley and the cast of   Rickey Smiley For Real hosted a live viewing party at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta, Ga Tuesday November 15, 2016. The red carpet was lit with stars who came to support such as: Rapper Scrappy, singers Bobby Valentino, former Destiny’s Child member Latavia Roberson, from Love and Hip Hop-Atlanta Benzino, from Have and Have Nots (Zena)Portia Furgueson, from Braxton Family Values sisters Trina and Traci Braxton,  and the show’s Executive Producer Rodger Bobb just to name a few superstars. It was the cast of the show that everybody was excited to see! Gary With Da Tea, Ms. Juicey (she came to slay), The Smiley children D’Essence, Aaryn, Brandon, Craig!! Co-host HeadCrack, Spirit, and Shanta Paige all on the carpet. There were door prizes, Que Dawg line step from a fellow Omega Psi Phi Que Dawg in the audience. Also making an appearance mother of sangin powerhouse Keke Wyatt, Ms. Lorna Wyatt!! From Married to Medicine, Dr. Heavenly, Lisa Nicole Cloud, and so many others. However, it was the entrance of the man of the hour Rickey Smiley that sent everyone into a frenzy! Smiley came in showing his snapchat followers all of the love and support the he and castmates were receiving!! It was a great night full of love, support, and pure comedy!! Rickey Smiley For Real airs at 8/7C on Tuesdays on TV ONE! I Hear That Girl salutes Mr. Rickey Smiley and the cast of Rickey Smiley For Real! We hear That!!  Media is a gift God bestowed on me to do as my career and ministry. If I can help show the world positive media, then I’ve done my job. Follow me on Instagram @tamrontobiassho

I Hear That Girl! on set of The Rap Game Season 3

Family, friends, school, faith, and the environment you live in can help shape the future of a child. Imagine being that child. You’re a dreamer with dreams bigger than you, but you have no idea how you’re going to get to your destiny, nor who to talk to other than your family. Well, somehow these five young aspiring artists heard that a big name producer was looking for new talent to introduce to the world help take their artistry to a new level. Young rappers Nova, Deesta Nada, Flau’jae (daughter of late rapper Camoflauge) Latin Rapper Tally, and King Rosco decided to audition and have Grammy Award Winning Producer Jermaine Dupri as their mentor as he guides them to their destiny. Jermaine Dupri and the Queen herself, that’s right QUEEN LATIFAH are executive producers for the The Rap Game. “The Rap Game” is currently in production and I HEAR THAT GIRL WILL BE REPRESENTED!! Yes, I represented as one of the round table media panelist interviewing these young artists on their political views and musical inspirations. YES! YOU HEARD RIGHT, GIRL! I HEAR THAT GIRL WILL SHINE ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!! Just know the media did not take it easy on these aspiring artists, they were asked the tough questions! The show will air on Lifetime Television and we will keep you posted on air dates!!! I Hear That Girl! wishes the best to all contestants, Jermaine Dupri, Queen Latifah, and all those involved with the show!! We also thank you for allowing I Hear That Girl! to be a part of the show! I Hear That Girl hears you!!! Media is a gift God bestowed on me to do as my career and ministry. If I can help show the world positive media, then I’ve done my job.   Follow me on Instagram/Twitter @tamrontobiassho.    

STAR: Atlanta Screening

STAR

Ahh, the joys of a young actress who auditions for the role of a lifetime. She stands in line and waits her turn. She's feeling confident as she stands with thousands of hopefuls knowing that she has what it takes. She's the total package, she can sing, dance, & act making her a triple threat. Finally it's her turn, she auditions...SHE NAILS IT!! The producers/directors all excited to work with this new talent as they feel a sense of "We've found gold!" Just as she is walking out of the door, she hears executives say, "Honey, we are gonna make you a #STAR! That's what what happened for the cast of Lee Daniels new hit STAR. The show is about a girl group with big dreams of making it big in the Atlanta music scene. Main *Stars* playing lead character Star (Axiom) Jude Domorest, Alexandra (A Girl Like Grace) Ryan Destiny, Simone (Trophy Wife) Brittany O'Grady, & the shows first transgender (Cotton) Amiyah Scott. The cast also includes Actress/Rapper (Living Single) Queen Latifah, (Miss Congeniality) Benjamin Bratt, with legendary rocker & guest cast member, THE LENNY KRAVITZ!! And might I say Lenny is some kind of fiinne chile (wink). The night was not only the screening and concert held at the Park Tavern-Atlanta, it was definitely a party! Some of your favorite stars came out & walked the red carpet such as Actress Vanessa Bell-Calloway (Coming to America, Tina Turner Story), (House of Payne) Actress/Singer Demetria McKinney, (Next Friday, Ray) Actor Clifton Powell (It's Pinky), (Braxton Family Values) Actress/Singer Trina Braxton (Yaaaazuh)! (Fighting Temptations)Actor/Rapper Lil Zane, (Black Nativity) Jacob Latimore, & (Madea Goes to Jail, The Man in Room 3B) Actor/Singer Christian Keyes just to name a few. The carpet however, was all about the cast of Star, these ladies were very graceful and beautiful! You can tell the excitement and eagerness for the guest to view the show! During the screening, you could hear the crowd clapping and cheering for the cast. You could see the excitement on everyone's face as familiar faces appeared on the scenes. I dare not tell you who they are, but I will say this, there's a particular character we were introduced to from the #RHOA (Real Housewives of Atlanta),  and "bebe`" (in my nola accent) this person is serving and is quite hilarious (popslips and bats eyes)!! Oh my! The setup and the drama will leave you gasping and wanting more! Lee Daniels is on it for this show! The after party was nothing short of fantastic performing & giving us vocal life was thee Sandy Redd! When I tell you she gave everything she had, this woman is phenomenal! Get to know her! Houston's own Dondria, and Atlanta's own Tasha Scott of XScape, just to name a few of the performers. Star is set to premier Wednesday December 14, 2016 right after the season finale of hit show Lee Daniels' "Empire" only on Fox. I Hear That Girl Congratulates Mr. Lee Daniels, & the cast of STAR! WE

My first run in with campus racism

racism on campus

I was raised in an area filled with African Americans. My parents’ home is located in an area where hard working blacks thrive. The high school I graduated from was almost 100% African American and had a 100% graduation rate in 2015. I never attended a predominantly white school because the area I lived in did not have much white people. All the clubs I joined, sports I played, classes I sat in, and grocery stores I shopped at were filled with beautiful people of color. When I graduated high school I decided to attend a school with more diversity. An institute where I could interact with other races and gain more knowledge and understanding of other backgrounds. The first few weeks were going well. I was meeting new people and learning things I did not know before. A few more weeks passed and I noticed people physically expressing their negative beliefs. I starting noticing people wearing t-shirts with the confederate flag printed right along the front of the shirt. It was exposed for the whole campus to see. This was my first time ever seeing something like this in person. The person and shirt left me speechless. I was disgusted. Just knowing there are people in this world that actually support the meaning and idea behind the Confederate flag infuriates me. "...you can imagine the look on my face or anyone’s face to realize that students are being harassed and degraded because of the color of their skin in an environment that is supposed to feel and be safe."  A few weeks ago as I was leaving my 9 am class to go meet up with some of my friends I heard someone shouting a few derogatory remarks behind me. I was not sure if I was hearing correctly. It was early in the morning of course and anything between 8 am to 10 am does not register in my mind properly. I kept hearing the phrases become louder and bolder, “white power not black power!” “Vote Donald Trump to restore power!” and even a dumb phrase like, “If it’s black take it back.” At this point I knew my hearing was perfectly fine. I kept walking and contemplated for two seconds whether I should or shouldn’t say something to the person. I heard giggles and laughter from what sounded like a young lady behind me. I knew something had to be said because obviously she found it amusing. As if the entire existence of black people is to be used as punchlines to pathetic jokes. I turned around and began to tell the young man to shut his mouth, he quickly interrupted and said “It’s okay to not be white,” to patronize me. From there he quickly ran out the door with his friend trailing behind him. I could not believe what I just experienced. I was in utter disbelief. It was like everyone around me was already used to this type of behavior. No one seemed phased by his words. As I told

Building Businesses in 2017 with Women of Color

Business women of color

2016 was an interesting year for me business-wise.  I saw the launch of the highly successful STRONGER Empowerment Tour and I also had a few failures.  However, one thing I've learned this year is that 2017 will be an even bigger entrepreneurial year of businesses for women of color.  I'm planning to stand side by side with my sisters in order to learn more, share more, and become a better businesswoman in my community. Odyssey Media, the leading brand in the empowerment of influential and affluent multicultural women, has announced the return of "IN THE BLACK," a dynamic tour of powerful networking experiences that allows women business professionals to share insights, discover strategies and build relationships.   Building on the success of last year's event, the "IN THE BLACK" Tour will take place November 11-18, 2016 and will host events in Newark, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta. Each event will feature a chic cocktail hour and high-energy presentations by notable business experts and speakers, including Odyssey Media founder Linda Spradley Dunn.   On the heels of one of the most polarizing elections in history, IN THE BLACK will be the nation's largest gathering of a key voting demographic: multicultural women business owners. For the past two terms, it has been widely recognized that this important group has been instrumental in deciding who fills the White House office as President. IN THE BLACK will include frank, post-election discussion topics ranging from the influence of our vote and the business of politics to inking the important documents needed to run a successful business.   This year, to reach a broader group of women, "IN THE BLACK" will host virtual watch receptions on November 18th in twenty additional cities nationwide where guests can experience this one of a kind tour via streaming video.   "The success of last year's tour inspired us to revamp our original concept to allow more women to join the movement that is 'IN THE BLACK,'" says Dunn. "By expanding our reach, we will be able share more information, provide more resources, create more opportunities and overall better serve the various needs of America's fastest-growing community of entrepreneurs – and that is multicultural women. I'm excited about the possibilities."   Confirmed speakers for the tour are:   Newark - 11/11 Tara Setmayer Love, CNN Contributor Jane Carter, Entrepreneur www.janecartersolution.com/ Gayle Hawkins, Prudential Financial Becky Davis, National Speaker, Business Coach http://www.beckyadavis.com/ Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   DC - 11/13 Twyla Garret, Entrepreneur, http://womensventurefund.org/twyla-garrett/ Silvia Tarvas, Prudential Financial Monica Cost, Business Coach http://monicacost.com/ Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   Chicago - 11/15 Amy Hilliard, Entrepreneur ShirleyAnn Robertson, Prudential Financial Monica Cost, Business Coach Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   Atlanta - 11/17 Sharmeen Hawkins, Entrepreneur Lydia Reid, Prudential Financial Becky Davis, National Speaker, Business Coach http://www.beckyadavis.com/ Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   The tour is presented by Coca-Cola 5by20, an initiative developed to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs worldwide by the year 2020. Additional sponsors of "IN THE BLACK" include Prudential, The COTY Family of Products (COVERGIRL, Sally Hansen and Clairol) and Life Reimagined.   Launched in 2015, "In the Black" was founded on the premise that women need several tools to succeed, including: a black book (with

Save Your Coins with Kroger Click List

If you can save your coins, it is the number one way to build wealth.  I am looking for ways to build wealth as I close out 2016 and enter 2017.  I think so many people have gotten caught up in the idea of making money, but have totally forgotten the importance of saving.  I tried out Kroger's new convenient shopping app Click List to see if it could help me save more. One of the easiest ways to save money is to take a look at how and where you're currently spending it.  For me, grocery shopping was one of the places I was seeing an increase in the amount I spend and an increase in wasted food.  :(  I don't like wasting food, and I also don't like wasting money.  It's hard when you're shopping for one because most meals are made to serve at least 4.  Walking in the store is also a coin drainer for me because if it's on sale, sweet, or salty and maybe not on my list, I'm bound to purchase it.  Oh, and don't be hungry when you go shopping either.  Before you know it, your grocery bill has doubled. Yes, this was me. Preparing for an upcoming grocery store run, I decided to get my list together and stick to it.  So I began pulling recipes for the week.  Once I had that together, I knew the items I needed to purchase.  Kroger Click List is an easy tool that allows you to grocery shop online and pick up. You simply visit the Kroger.com website or use your Kroger app to start shopping.  Kroger is the store I usually patronize.  All my previous shopping lists were already on my app, plus my Kroger Plus coupons! I scheduled my order to pick up the next morning.  When I arrived at the store, I followed the signs to park in the rear for pick up.  Once parked, I called the number posted on a sign in front of me to let them know I was there to pick up my order.  Two super nice young ladies named Zaria and Karen came out to my car to review my order and let me know of any substitutions they had to make.  I only had four substitutions.  I was fine with them as my items were actually upgraded to name brand items at the same price of the Kroger value items. Once all my items were confirmed, I was given my total, which was $10 less than I expected (with coupons, Kroger Plus discounts, etc.) and paid with my debit card.  The entire pick up took less than 5 minutes and my groceries were loaded without me ever having to leave my vehicle. I will definitely be using this service again, as I was able to come under budget this grocery trip, while also getting everything I needed with no hassle, and super quick.  It's a great service for busy moms, elderly people, and those who need help staying on budget with little to

Election 2016: I’m in a glass case of emotion!

Election 2016

Today, November 8th, 2016, is a day of many emotions.  I'm conflicted, irritated, numb, and happy all at the same time.  It's election day and although I've voted early, this date signals the end of Election 2016.  Whew!  I know I'm not the only one who just breathed a sigh of relief at the end of this ridiculous melee for the position of President of the United States. I've voted in five presidential elections and I can honestly say that Election 2016 is the ONLY one in which I have felt as if my vote really didn't count.  The candidates we have to choose between in the major political parties (Clinton/Trump) are people that individually I can't stand behind.  And don't think I'm overlooking the Green and Libertarian party.  After looking at both of their platforms, I would have voted for Jill Stein, but the odds of her winning swayed me to believe I'd be wasting my vote again.  Geesh!  I get frustrated just thinking about the thought process I've had to employ over the past few months.     It irritates me that Trump is even a contender in this election.  I mean, what does that say about our country?  Everyone gets so caught up in what he's saying but the fact that he's even a part of the conversation says a lot more about us as a country.   Having to explain that to people caused me to avoid political conversations all together.  I've even had to stay away from certain discussions on social media.  Election 2016 has revealed the inner racist in many a social media commenter.  The sheer foolishness that has been posted sometimes drove me nearly insane.  I love my life, so this election has been horrible for my stress levels.  It's been too easy to get pissed off at peoples ignorance in this election. I'm really trying to do better on giving folks a good cuss every now and then. A lot of my friends and peers are suffering from the same election frustration.  And the results from this election will be felt for some time after.  Personally, I have lost all confidence and hope in our government.  PERIOD.  There is no way that you could believe after this horrible election campaign that politicians actually care or have concern for the citizens of America.  If you do...send some hope my way in your comments below or via email to: isis@ihearthatgirl.com. Seriously. I need it. PS- Be safe out there and exercise your RIGHT to vote!

Black Lives Matter Founders are Glamour’s Women of the Year

black lives matter

2016 has been a year of reactions to the police brutality in the black community.  We've seen many more celebrities speak out this year. There's been more exposure of the injustice we face.  Yet, nothing has changed.  The rallying cry of Black Lives Matter has shined a light on the issues that we [black people] suffer daily.  Only for the rest of the world to see. Founders, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, opened the lines of communication by summing up our frustrations in a simple phrase.  Their movement has allowed us to feel connected with one another.  Also, it has allowed us to share our experiences using the hashtag.  Not only that, but the movement has sparked a civil rights movement among the youngest of us. For 27 years, Glamour has recognized “Women of the Year,” women who, as the magazine’s website says, show us “that you can do great things in life when you find a way to park your doubts at the curb.” This year’s group of women includes the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement along with several other women of color, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, actress and activist Zendaya, and former ISIS captive Nadia Murad. We are happy to see mainstream outlets applaud the work of amazing black women and their fight for justice!  Click here to read their article.  

I could stand a money-making getaway, could you?

money-making

Sisters are doing it and doing it for themselves!  While African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs and the most educated group in America; our finances aren't reaching positive milestones.  Our money-making skills are great, but we definitely have trouble holding on to it. Women control 75% of the wealth in America and are in more control of the purse strings in their households. Women are also the biggest consumers. They have reached $18 trillion in spending power and have decision-making influence over $11.2 trillion of investable assets. A Prudential research report reveals that just one-third of women have a detailed financial plan in place. Only 53% of women indicated that they had begun saving for retirement, compared with 65% of men.  And women with some retirement savings have accumulated less than half of what men have saved. Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group is a boutique financial advisory firm focused on educating and supporting professional women and the community to build and transfer wealth. Her firm’s goal is to help clients achieve financial success by guiding them through major life-changing events, such as marriage, divorce, widowhood, career transitions, or the selling of a business.  to help women better manage their money, investments, and give them the chance to focus on themselves for a change, Harris is kicking off a Finance ‘n Stilettos Wealth Retreat. This retreat will allow high achieving, professional women plan their financial future and become the best version of themselves. Participants will meet one-on-one with a female certified financial planner to learn strategies on how to make their money work for them. While mapping out the ultimate prosperity plan, attendees also have the opportunity to network with other women.  They'll take advantage of full body massages, sample some exclusive wines, and enjoy luxury shopping. Women in attendance will rejuvenate physically, mentally, as well as financially. The trans-formative event will take place April 26–29, 2017, at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa. For more information on this event, click here.

America’s school system could learn a LOT from this woman!

America's School System

Without telling my age, schools just aren't what they used to be.  When I was going to school, it was more of an extension of my home life.  My teachers and principals were like my aunts and uncles.  And my peers, were like cousins.  My parents knew my teachers, we all lived in the same neighborhoods.  It was perfectly normal to see our teachers during a grocery trip or at the local park.  It takes a village to raise a child was a true sentiment that we were living out.  Today, America's school system could benefit greatly from this blast from the past. Back then, the teachers were concerned with your overall well being because they cared for you as if you were their own.  So if you were getting out of hand, there was no need to send a student to the principal, when the teacher had full authority (by the principal AND your parents) to discipline you as necessary.  THEN, your parents would also be made aware of your behavior.  But that's the time when children revered their parents.  "I'm gonna tell your mama," was an actual threat.  Today, it seems we have lost the sense of community.  The understanding that the entire community shared in the development of not just successful students, but all around good people for society.  Everyone took part in this development:  parents, teachers, board of education, council persons, etc.  Today, there is just a lot of placing the blame. I was happy to run across the story of Dr. Nadia Lopez, the Principal and founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.  She has taken the extra step to show how true concern and love can be the best form of developing great individuals (students).  Her story is so inspiring because she is serving an under-served community and shining a spotlight on the brilliant minds located there.  There's nothing wrong with our students, instead, there is something wrong with the way we are schooling them.  And it's time for a change.  I'm proud to see this sister at the helm, leading the charge.  Watch the video below for more information on Dr. Nadia Lopez and her role in the educational system in America.  From us to you...I Hear That Girl!

Women That Rock- The mysterious HER

HER

Fall is officially upon us, and with each season, I would have to say brings about a different type of attitude, mood and state of mind.  Let me explain, for instance Spring & Summer are both seasons that share a sense of urgency to get out and roam about with friends and it also gives the urge to attend outdoor concerts and festivals, for example. It may also be like going off for spring break on some exotic sexy beach and even spending a long steamy summer night on the hottest rooftops of your favorite city hotel.  But I betcha, you've never payed much attention to the soundtrack that's playing for those type of events. It's those electric, bass driven, pulsating dance grooves followed by a catchy hook. Now, let’s explore the Fall & Winter seasons. These months as I like to mention provide a more calming relaxed demeanor. You're drawn more to attending intimate house parties or your feeling gravitate to a sort of closed off feel, from the rest of the world. You're more likely to engage in rich deep conversations, while a very smooth laid back track spins in the background. So with that said, I have yet another emerging artist to add to that growing collection. The artist I would like to introduce too many of you, has been making quite a name for herself, despite the fact no one actually knows the identity of this new talent.  This week's Women That Rock artist spotlight goes by the acronym “H.E.R.” That's pretty much all we know of the artist. Oh yeah, and let's not forget that she's a genius and has put out an incredible body of work. H.E.R. currently holds the number one spot on iTunes. The project is entitled H.E.R. Volume 1. I'm eagerly awaiting volume 2. One thing that can be said for this artist is they've brought back being different and creative with introducing the world to your sound, your art form, and presentation. The album brings a vision of a woman sitting down to her desk and writing in her diary for the night. Providing a very detailed recap of past and present love experiences. I absolutely love how each song appears to float into the next, almost like one continuous thought. The beats are very sexy and artist's voice appears to melt on the track. There's a clear presence of influences from the best that have done it. Influences, like the late great “Aaliyah” and “Marsha Ambrosia” just to name a few. Tracks entitled “Loving and U”, shows that whomever this artist turns out being, she clearly has excellent writing skills. The mastermind behind this album banger provided listeners with a brief 22 min. glimpse into the soul and passion of a spirited artist. So, may I make a suggestion for your next home gathering? Press play and groove out to something that will surely leave your guest begging to know more about H.E.R. Leslie A. Thomas is a lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @lboogie25.

Relaxation & Self Care at Girls Wine Out 2016

Girls Wine Out

Women live hectic lives and we usually carry the burden of caring more for others than for ourselves.  Why?  It's just in our nature to give so much of ourselves for those we love most.  It's called nurturing.  With this responsibility also comes the need for self-care and thanks to Not Just a Getaway, some lucky women experienced that through the 3rd Annual Girls Wine Out. Hosted at the impeccable Chateau Elan, women from all walks of life gathered for a day of pampering, empowerment, fun and wine of course!  The day began with an empowering workshop with guest speakers, T.Renee Smith and Dr. Natasha Lamar.  The ladies enjoyed an energizing workout with Dr. Jerica Todd and a panel discussion that covered issues on topics such as self care and the importance of it.  Following the workshop, attendees were pampered in an exclusive and relaxing spa party and indulged in dinner following a hands on gourmet culinary experience. Going 4 years strong, Not Just A Getaway continues to bring a platform for women to get the balance needed away from the hustle and bustle of life not only for physical well-being but for mental health as well. Partnering with various charities and/or nonprofits, NJAG sponsors underprivileged, deserving women the opportunity to learn how to improve key categories required for life balance including financial, professional, spiritual, relationships, and self-care. NJAG initiates innovative events domestically and internationally empowering women influencers to have life experiences while taking care of self.   This event is an annual experience for any woman in need for a luxurious escape from the mundane.  For more information on Not Just A Getaway and the 4th Annual Girls Wine Out event, visit:  www.notjustagetaway.com.    

Black Women Doctors?? Oh Hell Yes!

Black Women Doctors

Dr. Tamika Cross, who is an OBGYN in Houston, posted on Facebook last weekend that a Delta flight attendant rejected her offer to help a sick patient and questioned whether she was really a doctor. Dr. Cross is young and black. Another doctor on board was allowed to help. He was older and white.  It seems that the world cannot believe that there is a such thing as black women doctors. I saw this story in my Face Book timeline over the weekend and it just added to my mental fatigue over the continuous racist assaults.  No, this hasn't happened to me personally, but it has still happened to me.  Racism affects every person of color.  We feel the pain like ripples in the water, wave after wave of injustice stemming from one person to us all.  This is why, I Hear That Girl! has committed to empowering our young girls and women.  We believe that by showing the diversity of possibilities in Black Women, showing the various perspectives, careers, and beings; the rest of the world will cease marginalizing who we are, what we do, and what we can be. “You can’t be what you can’t see.” - Dr. Joycelyn Elders Dr. Cross’ experience highlights a major problem in our society. Currently, only 2% of all physicians are black women. This sobering statistic has real-life implications for the health of our country. Women like Dr. Cross have persevered in medical fields in part by overcoming barriers linked to race and gender. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the first African-American Surgeon General, told me, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Women That Rock- Jamila Woods

Jamila Woods

Guys, I have a confession. Lately, each week it's becoming more and more difficult searching for great music to showcase. There's so much garbage out there these days; that the real artists are being smothered. This is why I've set out on a quest to only provide my readers with quality musicians who truly are making a difference of providing excellent music and musicianship.  This week’s artist hails from Chicago, Illinois. Currently Chicago has been producing some of the hottest artist in the game. So, you know I am most intrigued by this gifted artist.  Her name is Jamila Woods; the Brown University graduate is a singer songwriter as well as a phenomenal poet. Her writings have been said to explore a deep sense of blackness and a celebration of womanhood. The nature of her music has a pro dominantly center around soul and hip hop influencers. Her music and poetry speaks volumes to the celebration of being proud of her heritage. We are surely in need of changing the culture of our music. I believe that music should speak as a voice to the voiceless and tame the savage beast. But, with artists like Jamila and others it appears that we may have a fighting chance after all. With Jamila's latest track entitled “Black Girl Solider”. This track is surely to become the black woman's anthem. The track speaks loud and proud to strong and empowering black females all over. It's filled with emotion and prideful melodies. I can't wait for the completion of the album. This track is surely going to leave you wanting more. Seriously guys, we can change the narrative when it comes to the music that's being played on the air waves. The time is now to take a serious look at what's going on with and in our communities and taking back our music should be first on the list. So, until next week. Remember it's all about the music. Support your favorite indie artist and their craft. Leslie A. Thomas is a lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @lboogie25.

Purple Affair Celebrates Survivors of Domestic Violence

Survivor: (noun) a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.  That's webster's definition, but we at I Hear That Girl define survivor as Tamiko Lawry-Pugh! A victim of domestic violence herself (Mrs. Pugh) learned to live life as a survivor which prompted her to launch the #StillStanding Foundation. This foundation helps abused women turn their lives around one loving step at a time. The setting for the evening was all of that befitting a survivors party: Purple Affair: Honoring Survivors of Domestic Violence, with the color purple as the theme color. The banquet style setting featured a live band and guest singers. Survivors and those who accompanied them were all adorned in their purple gowns, serving us life honey!! All in attendance went through hell & high water, some giving their personal testimonies of how they nearly died at the hands of their abusers.   Take for instance, Ms. Nikki Payne, who's husband shot and killed their 2 year old daughter and 7 year old son before turning the gun on himself. "He didn't just kill himself, but he killed me to." Mrs. April Kelly, who was sexually abused by a man at her church. He used God to control her and made her feel that it was God's will for them to be together. "Imagine my surprise when I found out he was living a double life. He used to be a pimp who wined & dined young girls to lure them into a relationship with him." Mrs. Tamiko Pugh,  whose ex-husband beat her to within an inch of her life on the side of the interstate; "People were blowing their horns and swerving trying not to hit me. Then a couple stopped an told me they saw everything, called the police, and helped me to safety. Y'all I could've died that night." These were just some of the powerful testimonies of the night. Also featured at the Purple Affair was a live & silent auction. Some of the items were authentic autographed pictures of the nation's 44th President, Barack Obama, the legendary late great Muhamad Ali, and actor Will Smith. Drawings by Olympian artist Jessie Russel who drew a portrait of 1st Lady Michelle Obama.   The best highlights of the evening goes the #StillStandingFoundation Fashion Models these victors strutted their way across the purple runway with grace & confidence letting the world know, "I SURVIVED!" Special guest of the evening included host and Fox 5 Atlanta's own Ms. Lisa Raham. Congrats on the success of this great event. Mrs. Tamiko Lawry-Pugh , staff, and survivors, "We Hear That Girl!"  

Women That Rock: Solange

It's been four years since this gifted young talent's last album. And I've been eagerly anticipating her triumphant come back. The Women that Rock artist I speak of is none other than Solange.  Okay, let me give some of you guys a little background on this underrated artist. This American singer songwriter hails from the Texas City called Houston. Now she may be Beyoncé's little sister, but, she's surely made a huge name for herself in the Industry as well. Solange is no stranger to the music business, at the tender age of sixteen the young star was signed to her father Matthew Knowles's label Music World Entertainment. She also recorded her very first studio recorded album at this time entitled “Solo Star”. She has always expressed a very strong interest in music. thus, developing her creative writing style that encompasses all genres of music. Her music even transcends between different eras as well. Her very grown up sound, could be felt very strongly on her second debut album entitled “Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams”. This album celebrated the music of the Motown Sound of 60's and 70's. Do you guys remember “T.O.N.Y.”? That was my absolute favorite cut off that album. Then we come to the third studio album following that entitled “True”, this album I believe, wholeheartedly was completely slept on by the masses. True explored more with one of my favorite genres of music down-tempo and electronica sounds. Now I must tell you she's back, with what I've clearly deemed as her best work to date. The album is entitled “A Seat at the Table”. The album features several excerpts from the legendary “Master P”.  P. Tells of the journey of how he first got his deal in the music Industry and how that was unprecedented for a young black man being from the South. I absolute salute this young lady for paying homage to the ones that paved the way. She also expresses her love for wanting to express and celebrate her blackness. This is clearly what speaks to the climate of the country right now. This is so needed right now. There are several tracks I absolutely love on this album, but I would say the one I'm feeling the most is entitled “Don't Touch My Hair”. This track is an expression of all of us embracing our hair. So guys, if you are known for loving an album with substance then this is the one. The album gets my strong stamp of approval. But, don't take my word for it. Give it a listen and tell me what you think. I look forward to the conversation. Remember to support indie artist and their craft. Cause, without the music what type of life would this be. Until next time, remember to play your music loud and often.  Leslie A. Thomas is Music Blogger and lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @lboogie252005  

Kontrol Mag Women of Style Dinner for Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas

How do you celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of a Queen? You can start by honoring her and Kontrol Magazine did just that! Honoring music legend Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of hit 90's group TLC as this years Woman of Style Award recipient! The 5'0ft petite music legend graced the red carpet in a simple black two piece ensemble. Though she maybe small in size, her work is that of a giant. Attending the event were many friends, but some notable friends, R&B singer Dondria, former Destiny's Child singer Latavia Roberson, LeAnne "Lele" Lyons of SWV, R&B singer/ActressTiffany Evans, and her charity group Saving Our Daughters just to name a few! The invite only event took place in the VIP Lounge at the Suite Lounge in downtown Atlanta. The elegant setting fit for a Queen gave a relaxing vibe for great food, great music, and an all around great celebratory vibe. Towards the end of the night Editor-in-Chief and owner of Kontrol Magazine Julian Lark and Award Winning Enchanted PR owner Christal Jordan presented Chilli with the Woman of Style award. As she graciously accepted, the soft spoken beauty declined to have any remarks but you could tell she really felt honored. CONGRATULATIONS MS ROZONDA "CHILLI" THOMAS on your award! I Hear That Girl Salutes you! We hear ya girl!!  Check out pics from the celebration below!  

Ester Mahlangu Brings Atlanta the Art Experience

Esther Mahlunga

Last night, I Hear That Girl was in the building at the High Museum of Art right here in Atlanta, for the Art Experience with African Artist Ester Mahlangu. Short and petite, but a giant in art, this 80 year old artist shared artwork from her latest project with Belvedere Red, to celebrate 10 years of her life changing charity work. Many came out to support and learn Ester’s unique form of drawing and painting with feathers, as well as trying the new limited edition brand of Belvedere Red Vodka. Those who attended the festivities had fun, learned new art techniques, took a tour of the art museum, and will even have their artwork signed by Mahlangu and mailed back to them. Attendees also enjoyed the cocktail reception that proceeded after the main event.   The unique pattern for the new vodka bottle was chosen by brand ambassador and R&B Superstar John Legend and Ester Mahlangu. The patterns reinterpreted the four campaign symbols which Mahlangu uses in her artwork. The symbols represent security, unity, change, and support which are the core values for the campaign which bring awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Ms. Mahlangu, “We hear that girl!”

Tracee Ellis Ross’ Historic Emmy Win…

Tracee Ellis Ross

Ok, THAT's what should have happened!  After 30 years, Tracee Ellis Ross became the first black actress to receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, the matriarch on black-ish.  I know, I know... it's 2016 and we're still dealing with "firsts".  It's a poor state of affairs that are best left addressed in another article. However, a fact that came to life upon her nomination, was the unsettling truth that she was a realization of the lack of diversity in Hollywood.  This same topic has come up time and time again, as recently as this past Oscar's, and yet, here we are again... The last nomination for a Black woman in this category belongs to Phylicia Rashad in 1986 nomination for her role as Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show. Only five black actresses have ever been nominated in the category, including Diahann Carroll for Julia, Isabel Sanford for The Jeffersons, and Nell Carter for Gimme a Break!). In 1981, Isabel Sanford was the first Black actress to win the award for this category. “At this age, at this point in my career, to be a first-time nominee is extraordinary. To be nominated on behalf of a show that I am so proud of,” Ross told ABC. “I have not yet gotten married or had a baby, and this is pretty up there on the list.” Adding an even bigger boost to the major award show, Forbes reports that 18 out of 73, of the acting nominees in major categories are people of color. This is up from 21.9% last year. While Tracee is never one to shy away from her accomplishments, she always reminds us of the importance of staying humble throughout her career.  “My goal is not necessarily to be an inspiration. I think if anything, I want to continue to be inspired and to continue to grow as a person,” Ross told EBONY. “You can’t know what you don’t know.” What I know, is that Tracee deserved this, and she didn't get it.  Hollywood, needs to do better.  Really guys, do better.  

Tichina Arnold Wows at Triumph Awards 2016

Sunday, I Hear That Girl! covered the red carpet for the 2016 Triumph Awards.  Hosted by actress and philanthropist Tichina Arnold, the Triumph Awards recognizes distinguished individuals and corporations in civil rights, the arts, entertainment, education, business and sports. The show was taped in front of a live audience and will air Sunday, October 2 at 7PM and 9PM ET on TV One. Tichina was gorgeous on the red carpet and of course brought along her funny, girl next door, personality.  There were tons of other fashion forward celebs to grace the carpet as well.  We've got pics below.  Be sure to check out the show when it airs on TV One.  Here's a rundown of the honorees: Attorney Benjamin Crump was presented the “Chairman’s Award for Historic and Transformative Service” by Clifton Powell (Saints and Sinners); Larenz Tate (House of Lies) presented the “Triumphant Man of the Year” award to Jermaine Dupri; The “Triumphant Woman of the Year” went to FedEx executive Gina F. Adams, who was introduced by legendary singer Dionne Warwick; actor and recording artist Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins was on hand to present the “President’s Award for Service and Humanitarian Efforts” to Sean “Diddy” Combs (who was not in attendance); Tim Murphy of Mastercard accepted the honor of “Corporate Partner of the Year Award;” and the final award of the evening was the “Activism in the Arts Award” presented to Spike Lee by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vietta Johnson, President of Spelman College Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell and actress Teyonah Parris. Performers included gospel artist Jekalyn Carr, V. Bozeman, Nick Cannon, BJ the Chicago Kid, the James Brown Academy of Music Pupils, Joe, Eric Benet, Juan and Deborah Joy Winans, and Fantasia. Tichina Arnold, JB Smoove, Carl Payne, Erica Ash and Teyonah Parris also joined forces to perform a “Spike Lee Joint Medley,” a hilarious musical tribute. Additional appearances by Marc Lamont Hill, Dondre Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Terri J. Vaughn, Pooch Hall, Denise Boutte, Ebony Steele, Angel McCoughtry; the “Mothers of the Movement;” Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Lesley McSpadden (mother of Mike Brown) and Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin); and Georgia State House Representative Erica Thomas.

Solange on Angry Black Women

Solange Knowles didn't have a very pleasant experience when she attended a Kraftwerk concert on Friday night. Knowles went to the concert in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband, 11-year-old son and a friend of his. After standing up to dance to Kraftwerk's hit Machine, Knowles claims a group of white women told her to sit down. When she didn't, they threw a lime wedge at her back. The 30-year-old singer took to Twitter to express her rage about the whole experience, starting her series of tweets with "Let me tell you about why black girls/women are so angry". She had been enjoying a chance to "dance and enjoy a band I love." Statistically New Orleans has one of the largest African-American populations of US cities but Knowles said "we are four of about 20 black concert goers out 1500 here. Four out of maaaaybe 20 out of 1500." 4 older white women yell to me from behind, "Sit down now" . I tell them I'm dancing at a concert. They yell, "u need to sit down now"... — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 10, 2016 We are at an ELECTRONIC and DANCE music concert and you are telling...not asking me...to sit down. In front of my child. — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 10, 2016 The younger sister of Beyonce said she shared her experience "so that maybe someone will understand, why many of us don't feel safe in many white spaces ... we don't 'bring the drama' ... fix yourself." She became even angrier after people on Twitter questioned if it was really about race and more about the drama. Nobody goes to the Kraftwerk show with their kid "looking for "drama" But that's how u guys like to spin this. — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 10, 2016 Despite being subject to such a deplorable act, Knowles continued having a good time posting a video of herself and her husband dancing and captioned it "Bye haters."

College Is Supposed To Be Scary

Graduating high school a few months ago had to be one of my greatest moments of 2016. I reached a milestone, but I never really spoke about my unease with going to college during the first few weeks of the summer. I’m a person that absolutely hates change. It scares me to know that I won’t always live life at my normal routine because I enjoy being around familiar places, people, sounds, and even smells. The thought of College came as something that I simply was not ready to take on. Over the course of June and July my mom was making me take on new responsibilities. I started scheduling my own doctors and dentist appointments, getting up early in the morning to buy groceries, and even had to handle a traffic violation...yes... all on my own. Even though these things were very minor it led to a realization. I realized that I actually was growing up and things were going to change whether I liked it or not. I was nervous, scared, anxious, and had no clue what to expect. My friends and I were going to be apart after years of being together, I was not going to see my family’s faces everyday, and the workload that I was used to was going to change. Everything began to come at full force. I felt like I was the only one going through this because everyone around me seemed so excited to move on. At this time college was nothing more than a symbol of change that I did not want. With the first semester quickly approaching, I had to overcome my fears and discover ways to cope with it. I started by tackling my biggest issue… the workload. I had many expectations for my first year of college and failing was not an option. I knew that I wanted to work, join multiple clubs, and still be able to get my assignments done. One night I sat down and created a plan. The first thing that I listed was what I was trying to accomplish within the first and second semester. I listed things that were important to me and not as important. First I had a bullet point for my assignments. Next, I wrote down clubs and organizations that I was interested in. After that I included a space for my work schedule, then a section for anything else that would come up. The key was prioritizing and figuring out what was important and not as important. I even purchased a planner because I knew this would help me in planning out my week. This gave me a clear understanding of everything that would be going on. Everything was mapped out. It made my mind feel less cluttered because I could see everything physically. I am the type of person that likes to know when and how everything is going to be done. I want to know how certain professors are in class, how to get to class, how

South Africa’s Natural Hair Win

It's sad that in 2016, black women and girls are still having to fight for the right to wear their natural hair proudly.  This may sound like the makings of a ridiculously prejudicial story from some place in the United States, but the ridicule that many black women face in regards to their natural hair stretches across the globe.  It has been a long journey, but South Africa’s Pretoria Girls High students have prevailed in their fight to wear their natural hair.  View the video below to get the back story and celebrate in their success!  We will continue to take a stand for the empowerment of black women around the globe, because this case as the countless others happening daily, remind us that black women are devalued and are being taught to despise the essence of what makes us beautiful queens.

Meet American Girl’s Black Diva

American Girl has added a new Black Doll to it's line-up!  My mother, is a fan and owner of Addie.  Well, now, meet Melody Ellison!  She's a young black DIVA!  She's a songstress from Detroit! Released last week, the Melody Ellison American Girl Doll was created in the likeness of a 9-year-old Black girl growing up in Detroit during the Civil Rights and Motown era. Charles H. Right Museum of African-American History President Juanita Moore pointed out several reasons why the Motor City was the perfect choice as the hometown for American Girl’s newest little lady. According to the Detroit Free Press: “Detroit was progressive in that it had one of the nation's largest NAACP branches and it had the most black-owned businesses in the country along with a growing black middle class, but ‘there were still these significant issues around race and discrimination, even in Detroit, with all of that progressiveness that was happening here,’” Moore said.

Positive Outlook Challenge… Join Me!

PositiveOutlookChallenge

Mondays.  Well...you know it can be a sad realization when we realize it's time to get back to work and our weekends are over.  Today, when my alarm clock went off at 6:30am, I had the same thought most people have, "I want to sleep just a couple more hours."  Instantly, something switched in me.  A small voice inside spoke brightly, "No!  We are happy to have this day and we are ready to seize it!"  In that moment, I made a pact with myself to try something different.  I instituted the Positive Outlook Challenge for me and me alone. While preparing for the radio show, I reminded myself to replace each negative thought that enters my mind with an opposing positive thought.  Simple as that.  I am training my mind to always see the bright side of every situation.  I believe that positive thinking is contagious and has a snowball effect as do negative thoughts.  I'd rather positivity consume my life than negativity.  How about you? My challenge is a 7 day challenge.  However, I want to make it a habit.  You can extend or stop after 7 days, but I want you to at least commit to a week of positive vibes.  I am sure it will bring forth the most amazing week you've ever had!  Consciously choosing to have a positive outlook on life is sure to give us abundant life and who doesn't want that?  So, are you with me?  Check out my FB Live video below as I tell you all about the #PositiveOutlookChallenge!  Be sure to share your experience with me here, via social media (@ihearthatgirl), or by emailing me:  isis@ihearthatgirl.com.  I can't wait to hear from you!  

Hidden Figures is the #BlackGirlMagic We’ve Been Waiting For

Hidden Figures

January 13, 2017, will be an awe inspiring day.  Personally, I will have a group of women joining me as we head to the theaters to see the film, Hidden Figures.  It is the anticipated retelling of the true story of the black women behind the NASA program's historic launch. Hidden Figures tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three black women who played crucial roles in one of NASA's finest hours: launching an American into orbit for the first time. As the film's first trailer shows, their story is not only important, it's long overdue. In the film, Johnson is portrayed by Taraji P. Henson; Vaughan is played by Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae makes her acting debut in her role as Jackson.  I'm super excited for this film.  Films like these are needed because they show the diverse make-up of black women.  We come from all walks of life, with various gifts and talents to share.  I'm going to see this film, will you?

Olympian Allyson Felix on Importance of Mentors

Olympian Allyson Felix

The 2016 Olympics are giving the world a healthy dose of #blackgirlmagic.  I am so excited to see so many beautiful women of color representing for this country.  They embody the essence of an american woman and most importantly,  a BLACK woman.  Track and field Olympian Allyson Felix is one of those beautiful women.  Watching her display of strength, grace, and skill in the relay race made me stick my chest out in pride as they clinched the gold and a new world record! These beautiful women are becoming role models for so many young black girls at home that can turn on their televisions and see someone that looks like them achieving greatness.  It's the feeling I had when I saw Jackie Joyner-Kersee.  Allyson Felix understands the responsibility that has been placed on her and her fellow Olympians.   “I think as a black female, our value seems to be so much less than our [male] counterpart so that’s always something that we’re aware of and you try to change [that] for the next generation” she said. “I think that it’s amazing that there are so many strong black athletes that are out there, like Serena Williams, who are doing such amazing things and breaking barriers and breaking people’s thoughts of what I should be. So for me, I definitely try to focus on a positive image and change for the next generation.”  

Serena Covers SELF Magazine & We Love It!

It's no secret that we here at I Hear That Girl! absolutely adore Serena Williams.  She embodies the beauty of black women.  Everything that defies the European Standard.  And I LOVE IT!  The Super Star Athlete, Serena covers SELF magazine and what she says about loving herself and accepting her body, is the stuff dreams are made of.  She is TRULY a deserving role model for our young girls. "I love my body, and I would never change anything about it," she says of dealing with criticism. "I'm not asking you to like my body. I'm just asking you to let me be me. Because I'm going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself." She goes on to say she hopes to be a great role model for African-American youth.  "I can't say I am the pioneer because it was Althea Gibson, it was Zina Garrison, it was Arthur Ashe, it was so many people before me. [But] I appreciate being in a position where I was chosen to be a role model," she explains. "Obviously, being black in tennis wasn't easy, even in the '90s." Make sure to check out Serena's full interview with Self, when the September issue hits newsstands August 9th!

Why I’m Loving The Phrase, “Sorry Not Sorry”

sorry-not-sorry

I've adopted the phrase, 'sorry.  not sorry.' as a personal mantra.  I mean, I feel like this phrase has been something people have been wanting to say for years but just couldn't due to all those pesky PC (politically correct) people out there.   Seriously, if you've ever heard or said something like... "I ain't tryna put you out there, but..." or "Let's call a spade a spade..." or "Not trying to be rude or nothing, but..." It just basically means, you're trying to set up your truth with an acceptable buffer so you don't take it 'the wrong way'.  Knowing full well, you want them to take it just like you laid it out there.  And don't forget, if you've ever started a sentence with, "Look,..." that means the receiver (victim) is about to get served them real feelings. I've been spinning Queen Bey's, "Sorry", back to back on my moody days.  Today, I realized I hummed the song from 11:30pm Tuesday evening through today at 2pm!  Yes, I was shocked myself.  So I had to ask myself, "What is it about this song that you love so much?"  So here goes: It's about time people got real about what they're trying to say without pussy-footing over it.  There are just way too many pansies in the world today.  Why?  Because, we tend to care so much more about how others will view us if we hurt someone's feelings, that we forget about our own.  What about your feelings when that cousin or friend keeps asking to borrow 20 dollars? Don't get mad when I respond, "Hell nah!  You don't have a job to pay me back!"  Talking about borrowing something... that's not a borrow situation.  That's a HAVE situation.  You wanna HAVE twenty dollars.  Am I wrong?  Am I?  Sorry, not sorry.   We've forgotten that THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!  The freedom I'm talking about is being stress free.  Whenever you tell folks the truth, watch them start to disappear.  Well...the ones that can't handle the truth will.  See how I just did that?  The phrase "No shade" is just  the set up to said shade.  Now that's for the people who are afraid to keep it real.  Just say what you really mean and let the chips fall where they may.     It comes from a good place.  It should anyhow.  If not, you're just being a bully.  The statement, "sorry, not sorry" is a statement founded in truth.  It honestly means I'm sorry that what I said bothers you, but I'm not sorry I said it (insert sarcasm).  And how many times have we been there? Feel better?  Embrace the phrase.  Enjoy the phrase.  Don't misuse the phrase.  You'll thank me later.  Always concerned about the plight of my people, I inspire, empower, motivate, and uplift.  Moody Cancerian.  Lover of life.  Tweet me @ihearthatgirl          

Ain’t This a Bihh?!! Leslie Jones Goes Head To Head With Twitter Racists

Comedienne, Leslie Jones, should have been celebrating her amazing success story.  Jones' Ghostbusters opened at U.S. box offices with $46M and ended up coming in at the number 2 position. Instead of focusing on that, Jones was fighting the sea Twitter Racists who hurled slurs and epithets at her on social media.  For over 24 hours Leslie Jones took time away from what should have been one of the high points of her life to strike back against racism on Twitter.     When the abuse became too much, Leslie removed herself from the platform.       I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.All this cause I did a movie.You can hate the movie but the shit I got today...wrong — Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016 This world has many demons that it must face, and RACISM is at the top of the list.  It burns me that this sister had to endure the hateful, lascivious oral lashings from so many in 2016.  And yet, we are still be asked to explain or defend #BLACKLIVESMATTER. GTFOH! I ask that if you have a twitter account, shower our sister @Lesdoggg in loving and supportive tweets.  Also, support her film, Ghostbusters.      

How Four Teenage Girls Organized Huge Silent Protest

courtesy of Chicago Mag  Eva Lewis is someone you should know. She and three other black teenage girls were the driving force behind Monday’s massive sit-in protest in Millennium Park and subsequent march to protest gun violence and police brutality in Chicago. The event to “break the divide between communities, and bring youth from all areas of Chicago in solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” drew more than 1,000 people and the attention of local and national media—not bad for a group of 16- and 17-year-olds who organized the whole thing on social media. The silent sit-in was followed by poetry and other performances, and the group gained steam as it left the park and closed down the streets, marching toward Federal Plaza to meet up with another, unaffiliated group of protesters. Though the two rallies were spurred by the same news events of the previous week—the police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and the subsequent attack on police in Dallas—they differed in both their focus and their methods, Lewis explains. More on that later. When the 17-year-old rising senior at Walter Payton College Prep is asked to describe herself, she first identifies herself as a member of Bomic Sans (“You know, like the font Comic Sans?”), Payton’s team in the Louder Than a Bomb youth poetry competition. She’s an artist. An activist. And advocate. She ticks off an impressive list of achievements—among them, being asked to speak in front of the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year. We spoke with Lewis after she finished her day’s work as an intern at Stony Island Arts Bank to find out how Monday’s protest came together. Start from the beginning: How did you get the idea for the rally? I didn’t decide it. This girl that I knew from my old school, Maxine Wint [16], she [and Sophia Byrd, 17,] had an idea. They know each other from Chicago Children’s Choir. Maxine posted on Twitter that she wanted to have a sit-in on Monday. They hadn’t organized a real protest, a big thing, before. I hadn’t organized one either, except I’d been behind the scenes for some of the Chicago Public Schools protests that have happened this year, helping with press releases, inclusivity, stuff like that. So I offered to help. Natalie Braye, she’s 16, she had also communicated with Maxine. All three of us used to go to Kenwood. So you got your team together. What happened next? I said, we need a group chat. Then they said we need a press release, and I had just learned how to do that. I said, we need goals, we need a purpose. What we wanted was this to be a peaceful protest. We had a goal of no arrests, which seemed impossible, because I hadn’t heard of a protest with no arrests—like this weekend was wild. There were protests all late last week and weekend. Did you go to them? Nope. I’m 17 years old. Although I have a lot of ideas, and I’m an

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