Women’s History Month Feature – Rasheedah Thomas

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Rasheedah Thomas.

Rasheedah Thomas co-founded RC Communications, a DC-based strategic communications firm, in 2014. She advises a diverse group of clients on strategic communications, media relations, and branding strategies. Rasheedah is passionate about women in positions of power, and loves helping women business and government leaders define their brand and raise their profile. She is also a highly sought-after commentator for US and international media where she shares her expertise and analysis of US and international affairs, women’s issues, and personal and corporate branding. Prior to co-founding RC Communications, Rasheedah worked in fundraising and donor relations at National Public Radio. For over a decade, she raised an average of $2-3M a year and created strategic stewardship plans for NPR’s corporate, foundation, and individual donors. She worked closely with NPR’s CEO and other executive management, as well as with major stations and Trustees of the NPR Foundation. As a board member of the Women’s Congressional Staff Foundation, Rasheedah works to not only increase staff diversity on the Hill, but create a pipeline to foster more diversity in Hill leadership positions. An advocate of more women in elected office, she is a Certified National Trainer for VoteRunLead and the national spokesperson for Protecting Our Vote PAC. She is a member of Washington Women in Public Relations and was selected to join Politico’s Women Rule advisory group as one of its first members. Rasheedah was named to the 2020 list of Influential African American Women on LinkedIn. She is a proud native South Carolinian and alumna of Howard University.

Here is HERstory:

After working for 11 years in fundraising and donor communications at National Public Radio, I co founded RC Communications. I’m the woman you hire if you either are in a crisis, or are ready to raise your profile and brand yourself as an expert.

Her business is RC Communications.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I’m a huge advocate for women in positions of power. I want women to feel empowered, even if they aren’t yet where they want to be. For example: are you a mother? You are responsible for incubating life and expanding young minds. How powerful is that?!

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to create six figure jobs for Black women so they can create wealth for themselves and their families.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by women who life their lives on their own terms, support other women, and remember their struggles enough to try to make sure others don’t have to have the same struggles.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I hope people witness my success and see that as confirmation that they, too can be successful. And I want to always take time to give advice or an encouraging word to a woman on her success journey.

What does self care mean to you?

Saying no. Not only is it necessary, it is empowering.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

Year Three of our business was rough. Our traditional client pool dried up and I contemplated going back to a 9 to 5 job. Instead, we pivoted to government contracts. It was an onerous process, but very much worth it. We got to add some amazing clients and projects to our roster which helped us with later successes.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?

I was never good at taking orders from others! LOL Also, my father always had his own practice and always emphasized that business ownership was THE path to success.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

Corporate America is a toxic place for Black women. The stress takes its toll on our mental and physical health. Besides that, I wanted to feel empowered every day over my own destiny. That’s what entrepreneurship gives me.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

To make my ancestors proud.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I’m excited that I get to use my platform to empower other women, both in my work in the firm and outside. As a board member of the Women’s Congressional Staff Foundation, I help create a pipeline of the next leaders on Capitol Hill. As the the National Spokesperson for Protecting our Vote PAC, I helped create campaigns to defeat Donald Trump, educate the electorate, and help Black candidates get elected. Strategic communications is what I’m good at and I’m blessed to use my skills to uplift others.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

I want to create a successful seven figure business not just for my own financial gain, but so I can employ six figure Black women. Creating opportunity and wealth for others will be my legacy.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

My parents always told me that I could do anything. They probably regretted that later in life when they wanted me to go a more traditional career route. But they are proud of me now!

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.

In February 2014, I found myself seated in a conference room with my boss, her boss, and an HR representative. I was told they our department was restructuring and offered a chance to apply (apply!) for a more junior position or take a severance. I’ve never made a decision more quickly. And that day, as I made my way home, I promised myself that I would never again put myself in the vulnerable position where someone else had that much power over me and my livelihood. And I’ve kept that promise to myself. Clients come and sometimes go, but NO ONE has that kind of power over me and never will again.

What’s next for you in your business? What can readers look forward to from you?

We hear from people all the time that they would love to retain our services, but can’t afford it. In particular, new small businesses who don’t yet have big budgets for comms. The pandemic has only made those cries louder. To that end, we recently created a private Facebook community – The Communicators Network – where we provide free webinar trainings and resources. We will train on things like executive presence, media training, how to look great on Zoom, and the best ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field. I’m really excited about it and we’ve gotten great feedback already!

Website | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

Women’s History Month Feature – Jae Monique

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Jae Monique.

Jae Monique is a co-owner of Pitch Vault Media, a PR company located in Central Florida. She is also co-owner/co-creator of Pvmmagazine.com and On Repeat—a new streaming music video channel on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Additionally, she is a co-host on the Reality Intercepted podcast and former co-host on The Bossman Show. Prior to becoming a PR professional, she began her career as a contributor for online media outlets such as Examiner.com, AXS.com, The Hype Magazine, and other online media outlets. Throughout that time, she has interviewed numerous entertainment professionals, public figures, and celebrities. As a host on Reality Intercepted, she (along with her co-host) is unfiltered when it comes to sharing her opinions on national news, social injustices, and the mistreatment of others. As a publicist, Jae has worked with music professionals, public figures, authors, and non-profits. Her can-do, “can’t stop” personality and will to persevere has led her to navigate through the worldwide COVID pandemic and the birth of her baby son.

Here is HERstory:

I am originally from Bronx, NY and I currently reside in Florida. I am a mother of three, including a 6-month old. As a media professional, I started off as a contributor for Examiner.com where I covered entertainment and celebrities. It was the Examiner.com platform that led me to conducting interviews and landing other writing opportunities. I have written for several media outlets, including AXS.com, thehypemagazine.com, Therichest.com, and others. Eventually, I became a publicist and started wearing both hats. I was receiving media pitches while doing the pitching. I started off working with music professionals and then branched out to representing other brands. Some time later, I co-created Pvmmagazine.com, Reality Intercepted Podcast, and On Repeat.

Her businesses are Pitch Vault Media, On Repeat is a new streaming music video channel, PVM Magazine.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

To me, women’s empowerment means having confidence to you what you want to do and being determined to get it done. It’s going after our dreams and pushing through the advertisites that come our way. Women’s empowerment also means uplifting other women, standing up for each other, and uniting.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

Be yourself and put what others may think of you to the side. Speak your dreams into existence.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by those who are kind to others. I’m also inspired by those who have beat the odds that were stacked against them.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I want to show people that they can overcome adversities. I had many turbulent times come my way that I didn’t even know I would be in the position I am today.

Have you authored any books?

Yes. I wrote a book a long time ago called “Chronicles of a Cheater.”

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

I have been the target of slander, backstabbing, lies, false accusations, belittlement, and hatred. There were friends that I helped that that turned into enemies. I was told throughout my life that I was worthless, stupid, and wouldn’t amount to anything. There were times when I didn’t have a dime to my name. I had low self-esteem so I believed the negative words that were said to me over time. To overcome, I leaned on God and prayed. I had a few people who were in my corner to help me build up my confidence and self-esteem, including a mentor. Through my mentor, I learned that I was not any of those things that people said to me. I became mentally stronger and my confidence grew. She helped me in so many ways. I was able to realize what my true talents were, and that the friends who turned into enemies were never really my friends.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

I’m not a person who likes to be micromanaged. I don’t like being told when to clock in, when to go on break, or when to clock out. Those jobs aren’t meant for me and never worked out in the long-run. While entrepreneurship can involve long, tedious hours, at least I’m on my own time for the betterment of my own business.

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

Pitch Vault Media is expanding to include more marketing services and increase partnerships. Reality Intercepted just came back from hiatus and will be doing more podcasts and interviews. On Repeat will continue expanding its music video playlist.

Pitch Vault Media Website| Instagram| Facebook

On Repeat Live Website| Instagram| Facebook

PVM Magazine Website| Instagram| Facebook

Women’s History Month Feature – J’Tasha St. Cyr

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to J’Tasha St. Cyr.

Black Millennial Film Executive, Director, Producer, and Media Maven J’Tasha St. Cyr is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. St. Cyr’s culture-making influence has led her to become an integral part of expanding the largest Black film and arts festival in the United States, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF), as she has now been tapped as Head of Acquisitions for a new original streaming service that PAFF is launching. Since 2019, St. Cyr has produced and moderated several groundbreaking panels as the festival’s global Millennial Brand Ambassador. Taking her contributions to the next level, St. Cyr stepped up into the indispensable role of overseeing PAFF’s pivot into the digital space due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her most recent panel, “Boss Moves: Women Who Are Changing The Industry,” offered insights from c-suite executive panelists like Connie Orlando, EVP of BET Networks, Leah Daniels Butler, Casting Director for Empire, and Rikki Hughes, award-winning producer of the Netflix Comedy Special for Dave Chappelle. Now, being tapped as Head of Acquisitions for the new original streaming service that PAFF is launching, St. Cyr is without a doubt propelling herself from behind the curtain to center stage of the globally respected institution. J’Tasha’s mission to become a household name for young women of color to aspire to a career in film is evidenced by her impact across multiple sectors of television, film and music. To date, St. Cyr has produced over 20 music videos across various genres, multiple films, and tv shows, in addition to a host of commercials, advertising, and marketing brand promotional tools. She’s amassed music video production credits ranging from Jim Jones, French Montana, Teyana Taylor, Charlie Wilson, JACKBOYS, and New Years Day, to name a few. She was instrumental in bringing to life 2020’s most notable COVID-conscious concert, The Parking Lot Concerts Series in Atlanta, GA. The revolutionary concert series brought St. Cyr in to produce and direct all streaming for the drive-in live shows featuring Lil Boosie, Lloyd, Rich the Kid, Pleasure P, and more. Her film credits extend back to the long-standing 40th People’s Choice Awards (2014) hosted by Beth Behrs and Kat Dennings, up to BET’s last in-person ceremony, hosted by Lil’ Duval The 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards. With a reputation in the entertainment realm, amongst influencers and those alike, she is known as “Miss. Everything” because of her innate ability to get any production completed with excellence. As the founder of Miss Everything Entertainment, (M.E.E.) St. Cyr aims to deliver an all-inclusive, all service powerhouse for entertainers to define their brand voice and communicate their message boldly to their audience. Miss Everything’s rapidly expanding culture add is showing no signs of slowing down in 2021, as the millennial media guru has produced two feature film projects expected to release this year. Both being Jean Claude Lamare Films, the first Gangland: The Musical stars R&B songstress Tamar Braxton, Wood Harris, and Keith Robinson in a modern-day rendition of a Romeo and Juliet styled forbidden romance. The second film production is the highly-anticipated Chocolate City 3: Live Tour, slated for release in May 21st via Amazon Prime in 2021, which stars an acclaimed cast including Clifton Powell, Lisa Raye, Earnest Lee Thomas, and Marc Jefferies. J’Tasha St. Cyr is carving out a lane of her own, building her own table and swiftly solidifying her space in the entertainment world. St. Cyr holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, concentrated in Entertainment Marketing from California State University, Polytechnic of Pomona, and frequently works on productions bi-coastally from Los Angeles to New York, Miami and Atlanta.

Her story is:

I am a Los Angeles native of Creole and Belizean descent. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Entertainment Marketing and a Minor in International Business from California State University, Polytechnic of Pomona. My experience as an international dancer, actor, and model expanded my rolodex and prepared me for a career producing and directing films and tv shows.

Her business is Miss Everything Entertainment Inc.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

I would like to tell anyone but especially young black girls to never give up. If they have a dream or a goal they want to achieve, to always put their best foot forward and that no one is perfect but you can always get better.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I would like my legacy to be known as the girl who can do everything in film.

What inspires you?

My biggest inspiration is my mother. She was born in Belize and comes from a big family. She has raised 4 beautiful children while working a 9-5 and owning and managing a restaurant. She has shown me what a strong woman is mentally, physically, and emotionally. Michelle Obama, Oprah, Issa Rae and Masai Martin because she continues to rise.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I would like to have a positive impact on those around me because there are many things beating us down on a daily basis that I don’t want to add to the problem but I want to help be a part of the solution. I want to bring joy, open people’s minds to creativity, and help people experience things in a new light. I want the films I produce to help bring someone’s vision to life creatively.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

The hurdles that I faced and continue to face in my career was allowing others to take credit for the work that I’ve done or not speaking up about receiving my credit. I have put in a lot of time, effort, and resources into everything I do and it took me a while to stop letting people take advantage of me and start accepting the power I hold and demand the respect that I should receive.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?

I have always realized it. ever since i was a little girl i would not knowingly boss people around. I was a natural born leader and didn’t like to take direction from others but not to confuse it with taking corrective criticism.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

Not working for others, Creating my own schedule. To live financially free, and because I actually love what I do. I go by a saying ” It’s not consider WORK if you love what you do”

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

Goals I would like to accomplish are Getting my business to a 7 figure company. Creating a production school for young kids in the inter cities to learn about film making music and events. Personally the goal I would like to accomplish is helping however many people and families I can be creativity financially free.

What’s next for you in your business/brand?

Next would be directing. I would like to direct my own project. I produce a lot for other directors now I would like to direct.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | IMDB

Women’s History Month Feature – Erica Watson-Randolph

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Erica Watson-Randolph.

Erica is the CEO and creator of MixxTresses Hair Collection. As a Licensed Cosmetologist and Natural Hair Salon Owner in NYC. With Woken’s History Month here and consideration of the recent election of the first Female and WOC VP, and the significant role Black women in Georgia played in creating this milestone in history, Erica, found it to be the prefect time to celebrate and encourage the embracing of our natural curls, coils and kinks. Black people’s physical appearance, including our hair has been a topic of discussion for a long time. So for Black History Month, Erica decided to recreate photos of prominent and iconic Black women of the past like Mahalia Jackson, Madam C.J. Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer and Mary McLeod Bethune with natural and textured hair styles using her hair extensions, services and hair products in an effort to encourage Black women to embrace and celebrate our natural kinks, curls and coils.

Here is HERstory:

Erica Watson has been a hairstylist for over 10 years & what began as a hobby for her as an adolescent, has now become her passion. She is skilled in natural hair care, hair repair and treatments, protective styling (twists, crochet braids, sew-ins, feed-in cornrows, lace closure & wig installs), two-strand twists, loc maintenance/repair and extensions and also provides lash extension and waxing services. She is very knowledgeable & focuses on HEALTHY hair above all. She aims to change the way people view acceptable hair services & provides her clients with a professional and memorable experience, all while making them feel beautiful and also teaching them how to care for their hair in between visits. In 2020 Erica started her branded natural hair care line featuring products like Tangle Release Conditioner, Triple C Hair Mask, Avocado Mint Hair Mask Moisturizing Hair Milkshake Cremeto name a few.

Her business is MixxTresses Hair Collection.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Women empowerment means providing support, encouragement and resources with the goal and intent of strengthening women’s access to political, educational, economic and social wellness and advancements.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

I’d share that the tools needed to succeed at anything we desire are always within in ourselves. However, sometimes and often, it requires some form of interaction with others, trust and faith to ignite and spark them.

What do you want your legacy to be?

My legacy will be up-lifting, encouraging and educating others about self-care and embracing their natural beauty. When you see yourself in a positive light, you are your best self. Confidence is a vital component of our overall well-being.

What inspires you?

Love inspires me. Love is in everything and ignites passion. People’s love of anything is what motivates them.

What does self care mean to you?

Self care means self preservation. It means prioritizing the things that help us to function steadily and provide us with stability. Recharging oneself is self-care to me.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

In the beginning of my career, I was working full-time, attending school in the evening and transitioning my son to elementary school. Three months after enrolling in cosmetology school, I became pregnant with my daughter but still managed to juggle everything and graduate on time. I took a leave of absence from work to attend school during the day to complete more hours, while simultaneously nursing and working on building the foundation of my business. After my daughter turned one and I was fully licensed, I turned my living room into a full service salon, and two years after that opened my very own natural hair salon in Washington Heights. MixxTresses Salon has been opened now for 6+ years with myself as the sole stylist there, despite the shutdown during the pandemic.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

I wanted to create place for women of color to feel comfortable getting their hair done and properly cared for. Everyone I knew saw it as a daunting task and I wanted to help change that. It was also important to me to show my peers that building their own businesses was very possible.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

My children for sure. Showing them that if you work hard and commit to something you love, anything is possible. I was told it would take me at least ten years to create and build my business and it took me less than three (five including schooling).

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

I would love to expand my business and begin educating stylist on the proper ways to care for textured hair, especially since it is not taught in traditional cosmetology schools. I plan to bring more awareness to my hair care product line, MixxTresses. They are made with natural and organic ingredients and custom formulated. I am currently looking into becoming a trichologist and the proper ways to become able to offer my hair extensions to be covered by insurance as a prescription for women dealing with alopecia due to medical causes like cancer, diabetes and thyroid disease (amongst other autoimmune diseases that affect hair growth) to help them look and feel like themselves again. Finally, I aspire to continue to grow wiser in my profession and would like to eventually become a life coach and mentor. It’s important to me that I continue to be a shining example to others as a mother, wife, friend and entrepreneur.

Is there anything else you would like to share with me?

Yes – I recently recreated photos of prominent and iconic Black women of the past like Mahalia Jackson, Madam C.J. Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer and Mary McLeod Bethune with natural and textured hair styles using my hair extensions, services and hair products in an effort to encourage Black women to embrace and celebrate our natural kinks, curls and coils.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Women’s History Month Feature – Tae Lee

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Tae Lee.

Tae Lee, known as the “Money Maximizer,” is a International Best-Selling financial author, speaker, coach, and trainer based out of Birmingham, Alabama. Tae now creates diverse streams of income in the tax, real estate, insurance, and finance industry. Tae Lee is also known for her other financial literacy books, Never Go Broke, Inc. Money Success Planner & High School Edition. She is constantly building generational wealth, not debt.

Here is HERstory:

Tae Lee of Never Go Broke has always been dedicated to bringing financial expertise to communities in need. I decided to build this brand because I was noticing the lack of financial literacy education in urban communities. There are so many things that were not taught to us as kids that revolve around finances that have to deal with basic survival skills in life. I hope to provide valuable knowledge to my clientele in regards to changes in the world as it relates to finance, reducing and avoiding debt, and building wealth. The Never Go Broke resources include a K-12 curriculum, tailored for each grade level. I also provide adult educational material and fun ways to learn via live webinars and podcasts.

Her business is Never Go Broke, Inc.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Women empowerment means empowering women’s health, wealth and education as a whole. It means not leaving women behind, but instead educating them as much as possible so that they can become they strong women they were destined to be.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

I always tell me people to never give up. There will always be obstacles that will hinder your progress, but keep going. Don’t stop driving, just change the route as much as needed.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be that I tried and lived my life to the fullest. If it was something that I wanted to do, I did it. No regrets. I want my legacy to be that I educated and helped as many people as I could.

What inspires you?

My family and friends along with my passion for life is the biggest inspiration in my life. Knowing that I can live life on my own terms doing what I want when I want while helping others inspires me.

Books she has authored Money Success Planner, Jump Start Money Success Planner High School Edition, Never Go Broke An Entrepreneurs Guide to Money and Freedom.

What does self care mean to you?

To me self care means taking at least one day a week to myself. It is important to have moments where you can reflect and do absolutely nothing. Being a small business owner can be difficult at times, so taking a breather to clear your thoughts and focus on yourself is essential.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

The obstacles that I have faced in my life are from just not knowing the information or how to handle the situation. Throughout my life I have made mistakes because I didn’t know what or how to do things. With increased knowledge from mentors, coaches, researching, reading, and just messing up allowed me to overcome my obstacles.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

Life experiences inspired me to become an entrepreneur. After I went to college and could not find a job in my field, I had to figure out. I started waitressing at a restaurant and realized that this was not my calling. From there I never looked back. Entrepreneurship here I am.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

Within in my business, I want to touch as many youth, young adults, and entrepreneurs that I can so they can not make some of the same mistakes I did within my life and business. Personally, just stay happy and free.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

Yes, the key mentors in my life have helped me get to where I am today. They have motivated me, pushed me, educated me, and guided me. Whether they held my hand through the process or gave me a word of encouragement, they were influential to my success. My parents have always encouraged me to keep going and never give up, regardless of the obstacles. I am also deeply influenced by my business besties, too many to name, but they give me the accountability that I need to stay on top of my goals!

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

Currently I am working on launching a new in-hand and online game called Game of Fortune: Win In Wealth or Lose In Debt in March. This game will teach kids from 10 years old and up all about financial literacy, investing, saving money and building credit using real-life scenarios. Utilizing three different cards that represent wealth, income and debt players will immerse themselves in a game of fortune. I am also currently working on creating a new financial literacy curriculum for grades 6-12, but there will be information in the coming weeks.

Website | Instagram | Instagram (Never Go Broke)

Women’s History Month Feature – Love Logan

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Love Logan.

Holding her own in the entertainment industry, Love Logan represents the beauty of what it truly means to have an independent mind. As a professional Publicist, Publisher, Show Runner, Executive Producer and accomplished Entrepreneur, Love Logan remains diligent in maintaining her position as an innovator. Always one to think “in the red zone” and never afraid to push it to the limit, Love Logan is a savvy risk taker always assertive in being the one to lead the way to success. ​ Love’s career in the Entertainment Industry began as early as 2001. Since then, she has worked at ABC-NBC WTWC-WTXL in master control, sales, and production; Cumulus Broadcasting as Creative Web Consultant and as a on-air Entertainment News personality; Bad Boy Entertainment in Promotions; Warner Music Group in Digital Media and Marketing; and Sony Music Entertainment in Marketing and Promotions. In Fall 2011, VH1 did a professional profile showcasing her industry expertise on Season 4 of their hit record breaking show Basketball Wives. In May 2013, Love was featured as an expert celebrity publicist in Black Enterprise, Don Diva Magazine, WBKS1 Radio, Hot 97.1 and Power 105.1. In 2018, Love Logan Executive Produced “First Lady” an Indie urban film starring rapper Jim Jones, Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander (Flavor of Love), Royce Reed (Basketball Wives), Comedian Mike Bonner, & Julius Washington (Drive Angry). 2019, Love Logan Produced the pilot episode for the TV series “The Probe” starring Clifton Powell, Gary Anthony Sturgis (Daddy’s Girls), Trey Chaney (Saints and Sinners), J.D. Williams (Saints and Sinners), Jasmine Burke (Saints and Sinners), emcee Gillie da Kid, and Dennis White (Notorious). In August 2020, Love Logan Executive Produced horror thriller “Call Time” featuring actor Marcus Paulk, rapper Babs Bunny (Making the Band), Royce Reed (Basketball Wives), and YouTube sensation Tyrone Magnus. Currently Love Logan is in preproduction for horror thriller Caroltyn that starts filming 3/5/21 starring actors Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Bill Cobbs, Tray Chaney, and Bill Oberst Jr. Additionally she’s in the pre-production phase of Executive Producing Hollywood film The Desire starring Danny Glover, Lamman Rucker, and McKinley Freeman. These projects are just a small drop in the bucket in consideration of all of the projects she has in the works including three reality show pilots with critically acclaimed celebrities that are in pre-production and negotiations with networks, celebrity charity galas and celebrity basketball games, and touring. The sum of her experience and accomplishments has made her a sought after industry speaker at many universities. ​ The year prior to COVID, Love presided on many panels alongside other respected professionals such as MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, CBS Journalist Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, and BET’s VP Vicky Free, at Shaw University, Johnson C. Smith University, Harris‐Stowe State University, & North Carolina A&T University. With print, television, film, radio, and label experience backing her, Love Logan is the best to ever do it.

Here is HERstory:

The path I took to get to where I am was very unorthodox. I made a lot of mistakes, had many hard times where I was nearly homeless and at one point suffered a medical issue that nearly cost me my life. I’ve had plenty of doors shut in my face but God saw it fit to keep blessing me in spite of my flaws and disobedience. I have been blessed to work in every area of the entertainment industry and through my journey I have learned to be patient, understanding, and to show mercy to others no matter what. I learned to extend grace and gratitude in even the smallest daily interactions and to spread light when I can. I learned to surround myself with like minded people and people who are doing things that I aspire to do. I have learned the fullness of God’s love.

Her business is Love Logan Productions, LLP.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Women empowerment means to uplift and celebrate women in all of their strides, pivotal moments, and achievements. As a woman, when you empower other women, you are actually in turn empowering yourself. You have to be the energy you want to receive. When you sow seeds and invest into people through praise and support, it will come back to you in a way you never imagined.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

Don’t be afraid to think “in the red zone”. In other words don’t be afraid to think big. Your dream is never too big for God. We only live once so you only have one shot. Anticipate failure but don’t settle for it. Define what success looks like for you. Create a plan and stick with it. Most of all, keep your eyes on your own paper. Don’t judge your success or worth by someone else’s. Everyone has their own journey and cross to bear. It doesn’t matter if they get there first. Just make sure YOU get there. Don’t be so busy watching them that you lose your footing. Stay the course and stay focused.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to create films and tv shows that resonate with people. I want my films to be considered “classics” long after I’m gone. I want to inspire others who come after me to want to achieve the same level of success and visibility. I want to inspire people to keep believing and to keep going. I want to be remembered as a woman who worked hard, who went many days without rest, constantly pushed the limits, and created opportunities where there were none and triumphed despite it all.

What inspires you?

My mom inspires me the most. Her love and support is everything. I’ve become a strong woman because I was raised by one. Both of my parents push me to reach the highest levels of greatness. I grew up very privileged so at this point in my life I’m inspired to pay it forward and retire them. To make their life just as comfortable and happy as they made mine growing up means the world to me.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I want to impact others to want more for their life. In life we should always be striving to get to the next level. I want people to refuse complacency and to always strive for promotion and excellence in all that they do. Always try to outdo your last accomplishment. Impress yourself. I want people to be impacted by my way of thinking when it comes to reaching your highest level of greatness and living a full life.

Have you authored any books?

I have published books under my company (College Girls by Royce Reed Copyright 2010 and Razors by Mel Melendez Copyright 2012).

What does self care mean to you?

Self care means taking time to maintenance your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s important to have “me” time. Unplug and let your body and spirit recharge. Go for a walk or a jog, have a night out with the girls, or stay home and cuddle up to a good book. Without proper self care it’s impossible to be an asset to someone else if you aren’t the best version of yourself or functioning at your highest level of greatness.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

My last year in high school, I had a series of close deaths. My Aunt was found dead in her home. Just a week later my other aunt died in a horrific car accident on the way to the funeral for my first aunt. A few months later, my sister passed from complications of a tummy tuck surgery and almost a year later a close friend who was like family passed away. Everything happened so suddenly I never really had a chance to mourn for either of them. I became numb. Eventually, when I went to college, I threw myself into activities and made life long friends and that seemed to ease that loss. Being an entrepreneur is no walk in the park. The greatest perk is you get to decide your own hours however, there is also no safety net in regards to paid sick days and medical insurance. Add to that being an entrepreneur in the entertainment industry, it’s almost twice as stressful. People assume that because you represent celebrities that your bank account is overflowing. The reality: celebrities are human and flawed just like everyone else. They don’t always pay bills on time either. So as an entrepreneur you have to become creative to cover and prepare for situations like that when they occur through multiple streams of income. When it comes to entertainment, business can be up and down, almost seasonal. One month you can pull in 5 figures and the next six months nothing at all. I never like to struggle so at times, off and on, I’ve juggled my company and a regular corporate job to ensure I have health insurance, and a steady timely paycheck. At times balancing the two became extremely difficult because of client obligations, events, productions, etc. In 2018, I was hospitalized. My hemoglobin level had dropped to a dangerous 5.1 (a normal hemoglobin level is between 14-17). I had to get 5 blood transfusions. Shortly after that, I started to have intense migraines to where my nose would bleed and my vision started to fade. I thought the migraines were caused by straining and that I needed glasses. After seeing several specialists it was discovered that my eyesight is perfect. My vision was blurry because I had blood in my eye which was being caused by a condition they revealed to me as intracranial hypertension and hematoma. I had extreme pressure and tumors on my brain. This was foreign to me because I was in the best shape of my life at that point and didn’t have high blood pressure. I have continued to see many specialists since and keep an eye on the tumors. My vision has been restored fully and only from time to time will I experience flair ups. In a situation like this, it was a blessing to have an insurance plan.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?

Once I got laid off from Sony (back when they claimed the recession was over), I decided to start my own business. The goal was to do stage plays. However, it wasn’t long before my industry contacts started to discover I was a “free agent” and approached me about certain opportunities that included everything from doing PR for their client, managing, being their agent, etc. Before long, the company took on a life of its own with 90% of my clients being referrals. I’ve never looked back. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

I’ve always been a leader and had a boss mentality. In fact that was my nickname given by my parents. My mom calls me Bossy Bear and my dad calls me Baby Boss.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

My parents and my family. I do it all for them. I’m not married and I have no kids (unless you want to count my 9 year old Pitbull Dakota). I don’t feel like that’s an accident. I feel my circumstances are a clear indication that God has cleared the path for me to be able to make strides and secure a solid comfortable future for my loved ones without having to worry about any other obligations.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I’m most excited about my upcoming film projects, a horror thriller Caroltyn with legendary actors Danny Trejo, Eric Roberts, Bills Cobbs, and Bill Oberst Jr. the film is directed by Derrick Hammond. I’m a Producer on the film as well as the Unit Publicist. My company LLP is associate producing the film with lead production company 1st Dibz Entertainment and it’s owner James Hunter. Additionally, I’m excited about the upcoming release of horror thriller Call Time on 4/20/21 starring Marcus Paulk, Babs Bunny (Making of the Bad), Royce Reed (Basketball Wives), and Youtube sensation Tyrone Magnus. I look forward to getting started on the rest of our slate for this year. In life I’m excited about continuing to work on myself and my character. I feel there’s always an opportunity to be better in all areas.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

Business wise, I want to create opportunities and a space for others to fulfill their dreams, to see their work on screen, and gain hands on experience…winning a couple of OSCARs for my film projects would be great too. Personally, I want to get to a place where I 100/% enjoy every part of my life and stress is either non existent or at its minimum. I want to live life at its fullest potential and be a source of light for others.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

My very first mentors were my parents. They are entrepreneurs and owned several Janitorial and Paper Supply companies and a couple of laundromats. They taught me about entrepreneurship and I got to accompany them to work often to see the ins and outs of securing clients, and even the delivery process. Later in life my mentor was Mel Smith the former SVP of Promotions for Bad Boy Entertainment. He believed in me from “hello” and he’s supported and lent advice and extended further opportunities since. He’s become much more than a mentor, he’s family.

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.

When I first started college the goal was to major in English, go to law school and get a job in the White House. I wasn’t remotely interested in Entertainment. However, entertainment found me. One day I was job searching looking for a part time gig to have a few extra dollars while in college. I was willing to do anything for anybody that was hiring so I cast the net wide and applied for everything. It just so happened that ABC-NBC WTXL WTWC called me for an entry level master control overnight position, soon after the Cumulus Radio opportunity happened and it was only up from there.

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

New release films this year: Call Time, Caroltyn, A Summer in Puerto Rico, as well a reality shows, for the LGBTQ community and hip hop industry. I also have a app in development with my long time friend and business partner Erica Lane that is geared for the entertainment industry and sure to be a game changer scheduled to launch this year.  

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Women’s History Month Feature – Erika Bryant

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Erika Bryant – Author & Executive Producer.

Erika Bryant is a showrunner, Emmy nominated television producer, film producer and songwriter. She has produced over 40 television shows and worked with ABC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, OWN, MTV and Facebook networks during her 15 year matriculation in the entertainment world. She’s been a contributing producer on Emmy Award Winning Extreme Makeover Home Edition as well as Iyanla Fix My Life winner of multiple Image Awards. Prior to her ticket to Hollywood, Erika began her exploration and ascension of the multi-media and entertainment ladder in Atlanta. While a sophomore at Clark Atlanta University she was offered the honor and herculean task of managing Patchwerk Recording Studios, home to national and international Grammy Award winning music artists. She was integral in the growth and expansion of the studio that led to amazing opportunities at LaFace Records (home to Usher, Toni Braxton, TLC, Outkast and Goodie Mob) and Hitco Music Publishing. Alongside her many accolades and commendations, Erika’s love for music and writing earned her the coveted ASCAP 2003 Songwriter of the Year award presented by Heineken. Erika’s ambition and innate love of all things good and media related, eventually landed her at Tyler Perry’s Studios coordinating the Diary of a Mad Black Woman Soundtrack as well as presiding as Mr. Perry’s executive assistant. In 2006 on the heels of that opportunity she was offered, what she believed would be, a two-month stint as a production assistant on America’s Next Top Model. Those two months turned into a complete relocation to Los Angeles and the beginning of an entirely new career. Erika’s time and the invaluable lessons she learned at Patchwerk, LaFace Records, Hitco, Tyler Perry Studios and America’s Next Top Model would be the springboard that would launch her trajectory of a successful career in film and television. Since appearing on a couple dozen podcasts and radio shows in recent years Erika has unique experience as a woman of color in her field where representation has been largely nonexistent. Being a producer on popular and well-known television programs such as Undercover Boss, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, America’s Next Top Model, Iyanla Fix My Life, Married to Medicine, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Family or Fiancé, Ready to Love and The Real World has given Erika a unique perspective in her industry. In that vein she’s interviewed nearly twenty thousand people for her shows arming her with a wealth of experience to pull from. Her access to celebrity and influencers spans far and wide as she’s maintained relationships with personalities who have become household names and a part of popular culture. Further expanding her horizons Erika has recently written her first book in a budding series called Doing It Scared. In her freshman release, Erika carefully and thoughtfully guides readers on a journey toward confronting then conquering their fears by providing them with applicable practical tools and take-aways for better living.

Here is HERstory:

I realize that I am blessed to be a blessing. For work I’m an executive producer and showrunner turned recent author who began my career in the music business. I’ve faced may obstacles and all along the way and I have always chosen to remain authentically me even if it was not popular. My goal is to continue to water the seeds that have been planted in me and be blessing to those I come into contact with.

Her businesses are Stone and Sky Productions and Chapter 8 Publishing.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Women’s empowerment means standing in our individual greatness without comparing where we stand to another person’s position. It’s embracing the fact that we as women are pure magic and transform everything that we touch.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

You can BE, DO and HAVE any and everything you have the power to create with your mind / imagine. We ARE as we THINKETH!

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to one of love, laughter and fearlessness.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired when I see others being courageous and living out loud despite what others might think. I’m inspired by God’s amazing grace and the beauty of nature. I’m inspired when I see others walking in their purpose and creating opportunities for others.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I would like for everyone that I came into contact with to leave our interaction feeling better, stronger, more empowered and confident about themselves.

She has just published Doing It Scared – An Inspirational Guidebook To Facing and Conquering Fear.

What does self care mean to you?

In my mind, self care begins with self love and prioritizing my happiness as I realize that what I have to give to others comes from the overflow of my cup. So in order to give love I have to be full and filled with love to do so.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

Being a Black woman in my field has been a lonely road as I have often been the only one in the building, room and at the table. It’s an honor while at the same time a sad reality that I’ve had to maneuver with grace and confidence.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I’m most passionate about inspiring others to live their best life and walk in their power. I’m most excited about stepping into new roles and allowing my God given gifts to make room for me.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

My current goal is to become a #1 best selling author while continuing to matriculate in my field of television and film. Personally I want to continue “Doing it Scared” by stretching myself into new directions, travel more and inspire women all over the globe.

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

Readers can pick up my new book Doing it Scared March 22nd, 2021.

Is there anything else you would like to share with me?

Coming from behind the camera to write and book is new territory for me and it took a lot of courage to sit down and complete a book in the midst of a national quarantine – and in only 10 weeks. It was ALL God and a little bit of me! I’m so thankful.

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Women’s History Month Feature – Betty Ceus

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Ms. Betty, CEO Natural Bunch Kids.

Natural Bunch Kids Hair Care, was founded by a serial entrepreneur, Betty Ceus. As a single mother of two and educator for the past fifteen years Betty has earned her immense recognition. As one of the top hair care brands in New York City and in the haircare field. In 2016, subsequent to observing the consistent struggles parents shared with their children’s hair. As well, the founders own complexities unearthing quality haircare products for her own daughter led her on an innovative entrepreneurial journey, Having a vast zeal for children the brand, Natural Bunch Kids Hair Care, launched. In 2017, following her pursuit in quality hair care the founder acquired her stylist license. Over the duration of four years NBK has dominated in being a children’s hair care line that empowers children with diverse hair textures to love their hair. In addition, NBK has successfully provided a solution that assists parents in increasing mixture retention and promotes healthy hair growth.

Her Business is Natural Bunch Kids, a holistic children’s beauty brand.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Women’s empowerment to me means to impart power to other women who lack it. It is pouring from one full cup to another, the wisdom, knowledge, and experience required to reach the next level. It is extracting, uplifting and unlocking the powers within with genuine support to identify which limiting beliefs are keeping that individual from developing and reaching their full potential to create one’s goals. Women empowerment is strengthening each other, encouraging each other positively in collaboration rather than seeing each other as competition.

What does self care mean to you?

To me, self-care means doing things that makes me happy, being mindful of my own needs. It means not answering a call and not judging myself nor feeling guilt for not doing so. It means pouring back into my cup, saying no when I need to. Sitting quietly with self, meditating and allowing myself to feel whatever I feel, and to hear the divine in me speak. Self care to me is an opportunity to remind myself that I come first, I matter and I too deserve time to rest and recharge.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?

My entrepreneurial journey began very early on at the age of 23. I attribute my entrepreneurial mindset to my caribbean mother, who wasn’t afraid to step outside of the box. As a young girl I’d watched her buy and sell wholesale goods to both local and regional eager buyers. Her courage led me to become confident in myself, and so it was inevitable for me to follow and explore entrepreneurship.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I am passionate about self-improvement and development, I am always excited when creating, and being of service to others. Growing Natural Bunch Kids is a passion I live and breathe daily. Children have always been my lane and I enjoy that lane very much. I am extremely excited for what’s to come for my family, we are on an amazing journey together, all small and big wins are celebrated equally together.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

The Natural Bunch Kids brand is so much more, but I believe in divine timing both in business and with personal. My goals are big and it’s true, they definitely scare me a bit, but I feel that we are moving towards building, and manifesting a legacy for generations to come.

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Women’s History Month Feature – Sherita Carthon

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Sherita Carthon.

Sherita Carthon is a Celebrity Brand Precision Expert who has helped more than 3k celebrities, artists, entrepreneurs and small business owners navigate their brand. An award winning speaker has, Sherita has been featured on VH1 | FOX | ABC | MARKET WATCH | ASK.COM and most recently Live with Les Brown discussing her innovative project: The Celebrity Sales Method.

Here is HERstory:

Cleveland, Ohio, born and raised. I’m a twin and I have an older brother. Our mother is a Minister. Our biological father is a Pimp & Street Hustler. By 10-years old, my twin sister and I made nearly $300 per day going door to door selling “Jump For Your Heart” Sponsorships. Displaced at 13, due to a failed mission trip to Africa, our entire family lived homeless in the Sunday School room of a church in Brooklyn, NY for 3 years. Later attended Wilberforce University, graduated with a BA in media communications. Started a graphic design business at 25/yo. By 35/yo, became a multi-figure Celebrity Brand Designer. I was considered by most to be a Independent Boss Chick, but was quietly suicidal and emotionally unstable after divorce and kidnapping of my children. Later remarried, and spent 8+ Years To retrain mindset to be clear, focused and disciplined. I’ve been featured on FOX, NBC, CBS, VH1, ASK.com and most recently Live with Les Brown to discuss my innovative project called The Celebrity Sales Method.

Your business is Carthon Consulting Group, LLC.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

A woman who understands the strength of vulnerability and uses it to balance the scales between self-love and selfless-service.

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

Potential is not harnessed by procrastination, but the persistent pursuit of process and due diligence. You can break through anything if you have a clear plan, discipline order and an open mind.

What do you want your legacy to be?

To create an army of women who stands unafraid in their own skin and build amazing businesses.

What inspires you?

Growth and Ah-Moments

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I want them to see my life as template to their potential future successes.

She has a new book coming April 1 called The Ultimate You & The Celebrity Sales Method Vol 1.

What does self care mean to you?

Taking a shower. Sleeping at night. Saying No. Not taking myself too seriously.

What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?

That journey is outlined in my story.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?

I was bred in entrepreneurship. From 10-years old… I’ve never let it go.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?

My daughter, Aalayah. She has so much potential and i see myself in her.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

Growth and and the process of evolving.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

Changing the lives of 500,000 women.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

Rev. Earl Jordan. Les Brown. Courtney Adeleye.

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

The Celebrity Sales Method Master Course & Workbook drops April 1st.

Is there anything else you would like to share with me?

I’m the quiet brand secret behind some of your favorite celebrities.


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Women’s History Month Feature – Indya “Icy” Wright

For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

I want to introduce you to Indya “Icy” Wright.

Indya Wright is an award-winning media professional from Washington DC. Brand strategist and curator of good vibes. Indya believes in cultural advocacy through creative exploits. After having success as a producer, graphic designer, Capital Hill commercial banker & Superior Court deputy clerk, Indya decided to use her broad expertise to serve other creatives. She founded the public relations and production firm Artiste House. Her mission is to help preserve DC urban culture through media & work with DC creatives to give them the support, tools & skills necessary to live their dream full time.

Here is HERstory:

I had been working what most older folks in my (Black) community would call, ‘One of those good government jobs’ for about 10 months. Only two months away from my probation period ending. The money was good, but I had been insanely unhappy. At 28, I was one of the youngest people in my branch and also the only one with seemingly any bit of happiness left. I was surrounded by older people that were so miserable and full of plans of how they would finally be able to pursue their lifelong dreams, AFTER they retire. I knew I could not wait that long. I’ve always been a bit off-center & marched to the beat of my own drum. An artist to the core, my greatest joys and hobbies included random doodles, foreign films and journals full of stories that I prayed would end up in the hands of an amazing agent.

I knew from an extremely young age that I wanted to be a director and to write movies. My first mistake was telling my dream to the wrong person. A family friend who found great success as the owner of a company that created standardized tests for various school districts. For the sake of anonymity, we will call her “Sarah”. Sarah was my idol. As a young 13 year old insecure kid, she had everything that I admired. A husband, a nice car & money. Sarah, my unofficial godmother, would whisk me away on weekend excursions that my family couldn’t afford. We’d go horseback riding, eating at nice restaurants & she’d buy me makeup. It was always an adventure with her.

I remember the day I told her about my dream of creating films, and how I was looking into the same college that Spielberg went to. She laughed and said “There’s just too many aspiring directors out here, and very few that make it. Even less are black. You may want to consider something more sustainable”.

As a young teen that had no doubt in my mind before hand, those words crushed me. It hurt because I valued her opinion and her experience. It hurt because these were words from someone that loved me. It hurt because Sarah was a white woman. At that moment, I let my dream go. I lowered my ambitions and started working towards what I convinced myself were more reasonable careers.

Years later as a young woman in my early twenties, I found myself working and making a great living. I had accomplished a lot at an early age. I started a part time business that was doing pretty well. I had also worked jobs like Banker, Court Clerk, Enumerator, etc. I was financially stable, but incredibly unhappy. I noticed I was just going through the motions. Then I met Kenneth Wiggins, the man that changed my life and inspired me in ways no one else had. Kenneth was so multi-talented. He designed his own websites, did videography, clothing design and photography. He was young and motivated and loved art just as much as I did. He didn’t believe in limitations. Most importantly, he understood how I could have attained what most consider success and still feel miserable. Kenneth always encouraged me to work on my craft and to not believe in limitations. There’s a quote that reminds me of him, “When we let our own light shine, we subconsciously encourage others to do the same”. Kenneth’s light was so inspiring.

On my days off of work I would spend time doing the things that brought me joy, like writing and makeup. It was so therapeutic. I often shared my plans to one day have enough saved up to quit my job and write full time. Kenneth would always say, “F**k that job. Do what you love and the money will come”. I’d always remind him of my bills and how hard that would be. Kenneth would always say, “You gotta jump & stop making excuses. Think of how far you would be if you had started already”. As badly as I hated working a traditional 9-5, I was still too scared to let go of that safety net. I wasn’t happy, but I was comfortable. He’d always shared encouraging memes with me, saying things like “Life begins outside of your comfort zone”. Everything I needed to hear, but was too scared to try. Kenneth was the only person that knew I was secretly battling depression. He would meet with me over drinks and would never judge me. A constant source of support and understanding. Never pressuring me, but always reassuring me that things would be okay if I just fought a little harder for my happiness. I will hold all of those conversations close to my heart.

Early in 2016, Kenneth passed away. It was one of the hardest experiences I’ve ever had to deal with, and I’m still dealing with it. What I will miss most is his courage & his love for the Black community. He left his job & went into business all on his own. Creating a space for Black creatives and spreading his message of empowerment wherever he went. His life meant something. Shortly after his passing this year, I found myself back at work and trying to make peace with my situation. Trying to convince myself that even though I found my job mundane and uninspiring, that what I was doing mattered. Realizing how close I was inching to 30, I started trying to give up the notion of pursuing more for myself and tried very hard to be content with where I was in life. How dare I be unhappy? I had a roof over my head, my bills were paid on time, and I had money to eat and support a night out if need be. I started telling myself that I was ungrateful and that people “living their dream” are few and far between. I mean, few people even work in their chosen major, let alone their dream job. I had acquiesced to a life I didn’t want for myself. Subscribe to The Morning Email.Wake up to the day’s most important news.

One day last month, I was browsing the internet and found a video of Steve Harvey. It was an excerpt of him on the set of Family Feud and he was speaking about people fulfilling their dream. Steve had used the phrase “You gotta jump” so many times in that clip. I sat there with tears in my eyes, taking in every word. Many things I had heard from my friend before he passed away. It finally clicked that I wasn’t really living, and I was just existing. I couldn’t go another moment feeling like I wasn’t working towards my passions. I typed up my letter of resignation and when I gave it to my supervisor, it was like so much weight had fallen off my shoulders. It felt like the RIGHT thing to do, at the perfect time. My last two weeks at that job I heard so many comments that almost deterred me. “What will you do for money?” “Why would you quit without something else lined up?’ “Why would you quit before the holidays?”

And although these were valid questions, my personal leap was long overdue. This has been the most courageous thing I have ever done in my life and I have never felt more alive. I don’t have a plan. I don’t know what will come from this. I know that telling stories has been my greatest joy, so I figured my first step was to tell MY story. I know in my heart that this jump is the beginning of me finally living. I hope that someone reads this and it inspires them to do something brave. I hope that more people that aren’t living in their purpose make the decision to fight for their dream. I think Kenneth would be so proud of me right now. I am free falling with no safety net, but I’m confident that this journey was destined. I have been sharing my testimony with former coworkers, and people on my social networks. Majority of the response has been positive. So many people, millennials in particular, saying they wished they were brave enough to do it. I’m here to tell you that you ARE brave enough. You just don’t know it yet. I have no delusions about the trials that may lie ahead, but I am the happiest I have been in my entire life. Occasionally I still get the opinion from a Negative Nancy, or someone older that would never have made this decision. A few critiques about how I heard words of wisdom from a game show host. I believe that what we need to hear can come in many different vessels. Kenneth was definitely a vessel as was Steve Harvey (who happens to be living his dream, and is successful) . So to answer that one nagging question, “If Steve Harvey told you to jump off of a bridge, would you jump too?!”

Well, if I saw my dreams waiting on me when I land, then “GERONIMO!!!”

Her business is Artiste House.

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Supporting women and championing their efforts. Doing the work to speak loudly for those that may not be able to speak for themselves

What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?

We only get one chance at life, make it worth your while. Your gravestone won’t say you were a good employee.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I want to be known as a woman that loved her family, did amazing work & poured her heart into her hometown of Washington DC.

What kind of impact do you want to have on those around you?

I want people to say “Icy made me believe that I can do it”. I want to empower everyone I touch.

What does self care mean to you?

Maintaining boundaries. Prioritizing self and making time for me. Being ok with saying no to anything that disturbs my peace.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)

I am a passionate about storytelling In all forms. That’s how my love of art started. It was my way of communicating the things I could not express. Photography, writing, design, etc. it all means the world to me. Film is my dream medium. I have so many more stories to tell.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?

I really want a key to my city. I love DC. And an Oscar wouldn’t hurt lol

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

I am going to curate original content and do more tv/film production. We’re known for our design & PR. Now I can’t wait for them to see my film projects.

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