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  • “I Care." Kenyon Glover is a Celebrity Who Truly cares About His Impact

    by Devyn Imholt Kenyon Glover is an actor, author, philanthropist, model, athlete, motivational speaker, and minister who recently released his third book “Faithful & Focused Volume 1: Conqueror” on January 3rd. I had the pleasure of speaking to Kenyon about his latest book, his careers in basketball and acting, his battles against depression, and his goals for the future. Kenyon Glover was raised in Monroe Louisiana. He grew up heavily involved in athletics, primarily focusing upon martial arts and basketball. He was a good student who maintained a high GPA, resulting in him playing basketball at and attending the University of Maine. After college, Kenyon went to England to play basketball professionally before realizing his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA, being signed by the Milwaukee Bucks. Kenyon’s dreams of playing in the NBA were tragically cut short as he had a career ending injury only three months after being signed. This took a toll on Kenyon’s mental health, as depression surrounding his future without basketball led to attempted suicides. Despite the lows, through faith and hard work, Kenyon would be able to come back better than ever. Rather than dwell on his past, Kenyon felt spiritually uplifted, noting that it “wasn’t his time” and that “God had a purpose for him.” After basketball, Kenyon delved into the world of fashion as a model. By a chance encounter, Kenyon’s career path would take a surprising turn. Supporting a friend, Kenyon attended an acting class that happened to be short on people that day. Kenyon offered to step in and was surprised by how much he took to it. Signing up for the class, Kenyon “caught the love” of acting, eventually moving to LA to pursue it as a career. Kenyon’s career took off as he began to work behind and in front of the camera. Beginning with an independent film called “Chip Factor” in 2007, Kenyon has now acted for over a decade and has credits in 69 different projects. Kenyon has acted in everything from films, to television shows, advertisements, and video games. Behind the scenes, Kenyon has 23 credits as a producer and six as a director, ranging from shorts to series. Kenyon received his degree from Maine in Business Management and always had the personal goal of building a business. He established KGXperience, an entertainment company, and KG Films, a media production company, companies that he is looking to continue to build and expand upon in the future. Kenyon is a difference maker. His personal success means little to him if he is not having an impact on others. Beginning his Faithful & Focused brand, Kenyon has begun to use spirituality and faith as a means to spread his story and inspire others. Religion has played a profound role in his life, as he explained to me, that by remaining close to God in tune with his spirituality, that he “no longer suffers from depression and hopelessness.” Faithful & Focused is a ministry, an apparel line designed by Kenyon, and it is also the name of his book series, created in order to “uplift spirits.” Kenyon describes the current state of the world as “broken,” his hope being that his books can help people who have also undergone battles with mental health. Kenyon described himself as “compassionate about humanity.” When asking him about his long-term goals, he explained that one of his biggest goals is to play a role in decreasing suicide rates. Kenyon survived his battles with depression, but he knows that there are many people who will not, and he will do everything that he personally can to help them overcome their trials. Kenyon created an initiative called “Fitness Beats Depression,” inspiring people to use exercise as a healthy means to deal with depression. One of his upcoming projects is a documentary about mental health, another step Kenyon is taking towards increasing awareness and advocation. “I care” he emphasized to me. I ended the interview by asking him what his advice would be to those who may be struggling with anxiety or depression. “You aren’t alone. Keep believing in yourself. You aren’t taking up space, you have a purpose. You have to find your gifts and talents and stay away from the world’s pollution.” Kenyon Glover is a multi-talented and multi-faceted celebrity who is truly passionate about making a difference and using his story to inspire others.

  • The Most Powerful Species on Earth: Women

    by Delvon Johnson As far as I’m concerned, women are the strongest individuals on this planet. It’s no secret that they don’t receive the credit that they deserve, and are undermined when it comes to the workplace, rights, equality and the credit they truly reserve. I can probably write a whole book about their accomplishments and achievements that they have contributed to the world, but that would be more than the world could probably handle. So, let’s just start with humanity. There would be none if women weren’t in existence. Women are responsible for the birth of men and women. So, while men try to take dominance in so many ways, the truth of the matter is men wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for women giving birth to them. Period. Men perpetrate through their masculinity that they are stronger than women, but the truth of the matter is that men can’t endure 10% of the trials and tribulations that women have gone through in the past, are going through in the present, and will go through in the future. History proves that women have broken barriers that men couldn’t even come close to breaking, and they continue to do so. Women like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, and Michele Obama, just to state a few. Not to go too graphic into what women must endure on a monthly basis with menstrual cycles, but the intensity that women have to undergo through pregnancy to give birth is a vital example in itself of what would be impossible for men to withstand. As men, we will never know the anguish that they go through just for that aspect of their lives. Not to mention the men that leave them desolate to raise their children as single mothers. The struggle is real and real women deal with this in real life every day. Perhaps if men knew this, they would respect and treat women worthier. In the 21st Century, regardless of how men attempt to downgrade their work ethics, capabilities, and trailblazing, women still strive for excellence. These are women from every shape, color, size, and race. They fight for what they want and feel, and most don’t give up until they accomplish their goals, despite the uphill battle. Their determination is unparalleled. They have evolved into doctors, lawyers, congresswomen, mechanics, corporate executives, CEO’s, business owners and so much more. In 2020, the United States was even graced with a woman elected as the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris! Women continue to strive no matter what, because they know where they have come from, where they are going, and their self-worth. Men in power consistently downplay what women are capable of, but they know. It intimidates them because it’s really all about power, and most men feel they are more powerful than women perhaps due to the emotions that women portray. But what most men fail to realize is suppressing emotions is a sign of weakness, and only the strongest individuals are the ones that can share their emotions, and THAT is the secret to enduring, strength, and power. And this is just the beginning. There is so much more to come from women and I am looking forward to seeing so many more amazing achievements.

  • Black History 2.0

    by Delvon Johnson "Critical Race Theory" by Detroit Artist Jonathan Harris As a child growing up, Black History month was a time when we learned about all of the trailblazers that made major contributions to the world. Whether it was Harriet Tubman, who led the slaves to freedom, or Garrett Morgan, who invented the traffic light, it was the month of February that we learned all about the amazing contributions and the influences that African Americans gave to not only America, but the world. But the world is changing. Black History Month doesn’t have the impact on the world as it did years ago. In 2022, there is so much happening that it feels as if the recognition of what all African Americans who have done so much for our lives seems less important. White Supremacy and privilege is playing an integral part in dimming the light on the blood that our ancestors shed to make this country what it is today. It feels like we are going backwards instead of moving into the future. Politicians are trying to take our voting rights away. Civil Rights are being challenged. It’s even to the point where caucasians, in certain parts of the country, don't want African American history to be taught in our schools because they don’t want their children to feel guilty about the color of their skin. Their skin!! They want them to be unaware of how we were treated in this country with centuries of abuse, neglect, and even death. All because of the color of our skin. Isn’t it ironic? It seems to me that they want the truth to be covered up. They call it Critical Race Theory, and it’s even being considered to be a law. But this can’t happen. Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. It would be a disgrace to every African American in history that has fought, shed blood and gave their lives as a sacrifice for us to have better ones. It has nothing to do with making white children, or adults for that matter, feel guilty about the color of their skin, or the discomfort they might feel in a conversation about it. It’s about facts. It’s about being educated on what this country was built on. It’s about knowing what life was like for African Americans because it is a part of history. Period. Racism used to be concealed. We always knew it was there, but it just wasn’t as visible. Whether you were in a store shopping, and the salesperson would follow you through the store assuming you might be shoplifting, or if you were seated in the back of a ritzy restaurant by a white waiter with wine glasses and a smile. But we knew. We always knew. In 2022. Racism is no longer concealed. It is directly in your face. It’s a part of our lives every day, and some caucasians are no longer ashamed to express it. Our former president opened a pandora box from the past that we may never be able to close. The racial sensitivity is gone. It actually feels as if it is ok to be racist, but the behavior isn’t considered to be. We hear it on the news, the radio, and even in person unapologetically. We have got to fight for the will of our future. We have to fight so everyone will know the importance of Black History Month, and how many of us have done so much to make this country the great one that it is. We cannot let White Supremacy diminish all of what we have achieved for not just this country, but for the world. That’s why Black Lives Matter. That’s why voting matters. That’s why Black History Month matters. And we cannot let anyone convince us to think otherwise.

  • The Whiz Kid Kimeila Campbell is Being Called "Mini Oprah" for Good Reason

    Growing up in St. Ann, Jamaica, WI, Kimeila Campbell became known as the “Whiz Kid” for her extraordinary intelligence at remarkably young ages. Kimeila could read at only two years old, and by the time she left Jamaica at six, she had been featured in a variety of different Jamaican media outlets. Having such a childhood laid the foundation for success, as Kimeila was able to know from a young age that she was going to have an impact on the world. “A lot of people expected a lot from me.” I had the pleasure of speaking with Kimeila about her journey into becoming an entrepreneur and launching her brand “YNTY Magazine.” Kimeila and her mother Mesha moved to Queens, NY when she was only six years old. Moving across the world at such a young age was difficult, especially due to the negative reactions that children often had to her accent. This resulted in Kimeila moving through various schools before landing at the Collaborative Arts Middle School in Queens, where she attends now. Despite such a difficult move, Kimeila continued to remain engaged in school as an honor roll student. Kimeila is a forward thinker, and as a result, she has had a dream since she was young of going to the prestigious Harvard School of Law to become a lawyer and then eventually a judge. Despite being passionate about law, at thirteen, Kimeila decided that she wanted to start a business. She scared that she was too young to accomplish such a lofty goal. However, her mother, who is also an entrepreneur, encouraged her to follow her dreams, emphasizing that “you are never too young.” This is where the acronym and idea for YNTY was created. Noticing the issue of feeling too young to pursue entrepreneurship, Kimeila realized that there are many other kids that probably feel the same way. Kimeila saw a problem in the world, and decided to try and create a solution. YNTY is a magazine that showcases youth entrepreneurs and provides helpful tools and tips for pursuing entrepreneurship at a young age. Kimeila summed up the goal of YNTY as “to show young people that they can accomplish their goals without procrastinating.” In other words, the goal of the magazine is to educate and empower. YNTY helps kid entrepreneurs to be inspired to chase their dreams while being given ideas on how to do so. The magazine was launched on January 23rd, Kimeila’s 14th birthday, and was celebrated by a red-carpet release event in Queens. The reception since the magazine’s release has been overwhelmingly positive, and the support has come from all over the world. The magazine is only in its first issue and is already gaining traction, with exciting commemorative issues being planned for February and March, in honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Kimeila Campbell, the Whiz kid, is a fourteen-year-old entrepreneur who dreams of venturing into the world of law. She values family and religion, citing her church as one of her biggest supports. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and dancing. What would be her advice to young entrepreneurs like herself? She emphasized that procrastination is the enemy of success, that being a kid is no good reason to wait on fulfilling your dreams. She also discussed the fact that many successful people keep their knowledge to themselves, and that she would encourage anyone pursuing entrepreneurship to look to spread awareness as well as to make a profit. Despite being only fourteen, she is wise beyond her years, and is refusing to wait until she grows up to make her impact on the world.

  • Coach Latasha Brooks: Guiding Entrepreneurs Along the Road to Success

    Latasha Brooks is a serial entrepreneur, business coach, mentor, event planner, motivational speaker, designer, executive producer, and author who is best known for mentoring and coaching up-and-coming business owners. She focuses on far more than simply profiting or expanding her businesses; instead, she uses her skills and knowledge to give back to the community and help those who need it the most. Despite becoming the business guru who is affectionately called “Coach Brooks,” Latasha’s introduction into the business world was anything but ordinary. Latasha credited her introduction into business taking place when she was only in sixth grade. She had been passionate about performing arts and was preparing for an upcoming audition at the top-performing arts theater in Jacksonville, Florida. However, on the day of her audition, she was needed by her older sisters for help on a project concerning event planning. Latasha was forced to make the difficult decision of helping her sisters instead of attending the audition, which she feels allowed her to separate her passions and move towards a business life. Latasha went on to land her first corporate job at eighteen years old and later graduated from the Florida State College at Jacksonville. Working in corporate America, she learned the ins and out of the business world, noting the methods in which businesses operated. She noticed the stark contrasts between the operations of corporate America and small businesses, noting that “everything that corporate America is doing, small business owners should be mimicking.” She began coaching small business owners on how to improve and expand their businesses, something she has been doing now for over thirteen years. This eventually manifested itself in the Moneybaggs Mentoring Program, a hands-on program where Latasha personally mentors and meets with small business owners and entrepreneurs. The program launched in 2020 but took full effect in January of 2021 when it started accepting members. Not only is it an extremely hands-on program (initially beginning with Latasha meeting with the mentees for thirty days straight!), but Moneybaggs Mentoring was also the first mentorship program of its kind to allow its payments to count towards business credit for the owners attending. This means that while owners are attending the program and building payment history with a vendor, while learning from Latasha, they build a strong business credit profile as Latasha reports their positive payment history to the commercial credit bureaus. Latasha made an analogy of operating a business being similar to operating a vehicle on the road. She describes the beginning of her own journey in business, “I was driving in circles, I had no destination…I wasted money and time. 90% of business owners are just driving…The reason behind her passion is very personal for her. “I do for people what I wish someone would have done for me.” She compares mentors to GPSs, a guide to the destination. Through her coaching and mentoring, Latasha provides small business owners with the necessary tools to get to their destinations and find the path to success. Latasha is far more than just a businesswoman or coach. Her many talents and continued efforts to give back to the community have garnered her multiple awards across multiple states, including the Farbe magazine 2020 Business Coach of The Year, the Iconic Woman Award in Virginia, the I AM SHE Award in North Carolina, and the Pretty in Pink – Honoring Outstanding Women Award in Florida. She has planned fashion weeks, business summits, government-sponsored events, become a renowned motivational speaker, created a highly successful business-centric TikTok, and blossomed into a budding author. She published her 2021 autobiographical book, “Paid and Free,” a few book collaborations with great authors like Les Brown, and has two more new releases set to come out in 2022. She is even venturing into the world of television, becoming an executive producer working on her own original show. Alongside wearing the many hats she does in her professional life, she is a wife and mother who is recently pregnant and expecting her third child. “Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster.” Latasha has been navigating the ups and downs of the business world for a long time now, so what is her advice to small business owners who are struggling? “I would tell them to not do it by themselves…Entrepreneurship is very lonely. Do it with a like-minded group of people.” With the right guide, any business can find the road to success. For Latasha, her success comes from seeing the people she has coached thrive and prosper in the ever-changing business landscape. - A.D. Imholt

  • Floyd the Mogul: A problem solver looking to shift the entertainment landscape.

    When Shawn Floyd, aka “Floyd the Mogul,” began to formulate his business ideas, he was merely sixteen years old. A former childhood actor, Floyd knew that he wanted film and television to be a part of his future. However, these were not his only passions, nor his only goals. On a piece of paper, Floyd wrote out his ideas for a company called United Entertainment, ideas that laid the foundation for a successful and impactful future. Floyd would spend many years working in the music industry, under labels like Atlantic and Warner, and with a variety of artists from Halsey to YG. He developed a new form of digital marketing, “harvest integration,” that allowed him to specifically target people whom he felt could be potential consumers of the specific song he was promoting. He explained that “if you reach the right person with the right product, you get the right results, this person becoming a fan, you make a connection.” This strategy helped a variety of artists to boost their streams (specifically on YouTube) and rocket to the top of charts and trending pages. However, rather than simply boosting streams with his campaign, he was able to create a database of likely customers, in his words, “capturing that virality, that viral effect, and turning that into a fanbase.” His success led to the creation of United Entertainment, a former idea, now turned into a physical company. He emphasized to me that his methodology has been so effective that he has been encouraged to “keep quiet.” “People planned on keeping me locked away as their secret weapon they wanted no one else to have.” Throughout his success in the industry, he has gained little public recognition as a result of his former clients’ desires to keep him tucked away as the ace up their sleeve. Now, he is coming out and explaining his methods not only to receive his due credit, but to also encourage artists to branch away from the control of their labels and management. “Now the artists can have this secret weapon for themselves.” So, how does it work? We discussed one of his biggest accomplishments in the music industry, as well as the one he is most proud of, that of Saweetie and “Icy Girl.” He clarifies that when they began working together, “Saweetie wasn’t someone who was already famous or established, I was able to apply all of this from the ground up” (including creating her YouTube channel and filming the “Icy Girl'' video in his own home). “It transformed her to the point where she literally got a multi-million-dollar record deal. I saw this change someone’s life, it changed my life.” What he did was attach “tracking pixels'' to the video, allowing him to “capture the traffic of the people that viewed the video.” Through this, he was able to receive IP addresses that then gave him even further information, including how someone reacted to the video itself, and if they took further action with Saweetie’s brand. He then created a database of over 20 million “IP addresses” of people that reacted to the video (likes, subscriptions, follows, purchases, etc.), effectively capturing the people that made the song go viral. He kept this information, and continues to with every song that he has worked on. This means that he has information on large groups that allows him to accurately tell if they would be a consumer of the next song he works on (he may target a pop song to those who reacted to Halsey, a rap one to those who reacted to Kodak Black, and so on). Through this methodology, he was able to help Saweetie blow up while simultaneously laying the foundation for a method that could successfully do the same for other artists. The goal in all of this work was to take the middleman out of advertising. Through his methods he can directly target a device rather than having to work through websites like Google or social platforms like Facebook. “There was always something or somebody that was blocking artists from reaching their fans. I saw the internet as the Trojan horse to reach the world.” Through his work with a variety of artists and labels, he earned the nickname “the Ghost,” for being the ghost behind so many viral songs. “People needed me to be invisible. It’s time for me to step up and step out by simply just revealing what I’ve been doing.” Before Floyd began these campaigns, there was no platform to track analytics on YouTube, “I do believe that what I’ve done inspired YouTube to actually partner with Google to start making these campaigns.” Harvest integration was an idea that, at the beginning, few understood and many were intimidated by. Over time, as a result of its success, Floyd’s program has actually begun to change the music industry landscape as people try to emulate his success. Floyd is publicizing his past successes in the music industry not only to highlight his successes, but also to help propel his future endeavors. Through his connections in the music industry, Floyd began to meet and befriend people that could help him pursue his original passion, film and TV. He ended up living with Dana Brunetti, the producer of House of Cards, and befriending Jake Seal of Black Hangar Studios, as well as Cordell Broadus, the son of Snoop Dogg. Through these connections he was able to write and create two television series, Ground Zero and Model Citizen. “Model Citizen came because I used to be a model. I began to learn the fashion business and I also started to see the dark side…I wanted to tell that story, to paint that picture to talk about the other side.” Alongside the release of the show, Floyd is also releasing his own fashion line of the same name, another goal that was originally on that paper when he was sixteen. “The clothing line is Model Citizen. I wanted this to reflect the fashion industry, being a model citizen is not just for show, it’s a statement.” Ground Zero is the other show that Floyd is working on. The show is based upon lessons he learned growing up in his hometown, Long Beach California, “I wanted to tell a story of the good gangsters and the bad ones.” Abandoned by one of his writers, a chance encounter led him to Cordell Broadus, who had recently decommitted from a football scholarship with the goal of entering the film and TV industry. Of the show, he explains that he “wanted to tell a story of the good gangsters and the bad ones…I didn’t have the younger part of it. So, when I took Cordell’s younger side, it kind of gave it more depth.” He also had a deeper purpose that he wanted to tackle with Ground Zero. “I saw that there was this underlying racial tension that was building. I wanted to create something that would highlight the issue but then offer a solution.” Like with his work in the music industry, his success is not purely for himself. Floyd is someone who is constantly working to make a change and to have an impact, regardless of what industry or medium he is working with. From being a child actor, to a model, to a technological wizard advancing the music industry, to a writer and producer of films and television shows, what could possibly be next for Floyd the Mogul? “As long as there are ideas in my head, they’re going to keep coming out. I’m always going to make new technology to advance the culture.” Floyd discusses future ventures in film, including horror and romance, as well as in technology, discussing the possible creation of dating apps as well as holographic performances. There are also his two shows, that can run as long as his imagination does, and his new brand of clothing, Model Citizen. Between becoming a secret weapon advancing the music industry, Floyd created a brand, became a model, writer, producer, and is only getting started. These were all passions that he had written down on a paper at sixteen, all turned reality through dedication, vision, honesty, and hard work. This is merely the beginning of his run in the limelight, and before you know it, Floyd the Mogul will be a name we all know.

  • Interview With Frank Kelley Jr. - Southern Artist Recognized For His Timeless Artwork

    October, 2021 By Ariane Stein As time makes its way toward the shift into the new year, many of us may find ourselves reminiscing on what life was like a year ago, two years ago, and so forth. Perhaps you find yourself reminded of what you did to occupy those apprehensive months in 2020 when people all over the world were subject to remote academia and working from home; while the ambitious discovered new hobbies and gave Tik Tok a run for its money, it wasn’t seen as unusual to partake in more comforting and low-profile activities, such as binge watching Netflix while eating take out in bed. below: 'Construction' featured on above: 'Path of Righteousness' For Louisiana artist Frank Kelley Jr., solace was found in his dedication for producing expressive paintings that range across genres of portraits, landscapes, and creations of abstract and figurative art. This true southern artist produced such an impressive plethora of unique pieces during 2020 that collectors are being sought to invest in his work, granted the motivation of being generously offered up to half the price on original market values. Four paintings belonging to Frank Kelley Jr.’s Gallery are currently listed for this promotion, with the titles as followed: Carnival, San Marco Square, Body Electric, and Gem Tourmamine. Each individual painting has been originally listed at $3,000; those who take advantage of this brief inventory reduction will be able to purchase each painting for the price of $1,500, no additional fees included. Subsequent to having earned degrees in both Business Management and Fine Art, Frank Kelley Jr. embarked on his first and dearest mission to provide for his community in rural Louisiana. He volunteered at the elementary and high school once attended by himself, having recognized a necessity for creative education while witnessing the artistic talent possessed by the children of his hometown. Despite not having been exposed to the luxury of art education during his own youth, receiving a degree in Fine Art granted Frank the expertise and knowledge which he continues to share, especially in relevance to the nonprofit organization he founded in 2001, better known as the Educational 'Carnival' offered in inventory reduction Arts Initiative Program. EAIP enables the younger generation the opportunity to have developed profound learning experiences based on exposure to the arts; it is his hope to support these children in their artistic pursuits so that they may gain the confidence to become successful in art, as was the case for himself. “The environment that you live in has a lot to do with your creative form,” Kelley said during an interview with Labelladiva Public Relations Firm. He attributes much of his inspiration to his upbringing and life experiences that he prefers to share in paint; whether realist or abstract, he has found a way to speak his own language through this creative form. “People gravitate towards art without knowing why, because something lingers and they become attached without the use of words,” Kelley stated. He feels it is one of his utmost duties to impact the world in a positive manner, to bring joy and interest to the world, spark thinking, spur conversation, and to be seen as a light that shines as opposed to a dark place, all of which he is grateful to be able to do through the creation of each and every painting that he produces. below: 'Body Electric' Carnival, San Marco Square, Body Electric, and Gem Tourmamine can all be viewed on Frank’s E-commerce website, He will also be presenting his work during a live virtual art show that will take place at the end of the month, so that potential collectors may be able to experience his work at their own convenience. Each painting contains an authentic certificate having been insured by Frank himself, dated and signed. Each painting has also been custom framed and floated with a lifetime seal so that they will not weather over the course of time. Inquiries can be made by emailing Frank at; he is also available to speak over the phone if preferred. Payments can be made through PayPal, Zelle, Square, and cashiers checks, with shipping costs covered. “When someone purchases my work or accumulates my work they’re not only getting a piece that’s visual, they’re getting a large piece of me because my soul goes into each and every painting,” Kelley commented. His work has been recognized by collectors as deeply expressive and emotionally evoking; his work has been featured in Art and Antiques Magazine as well as in the permanent collection of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Instagram: @frankkellyjr

  • Turning trials to triumphs…Gary Hill comes out of retirement to help the Dowe Twins

    The Dowe Twins are no strangers to overcoming adversity. Princeton and Brazil are 12-year old twins from the Bronx who were born prematurely, coming into the world with a combined weight of less than four pounds. Back in July of 2016 the twins created Water 2 Kids (W2K), a brand with the goal of promoting and educating children on the importance of water. In the midst of running their new venture, the twins were diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unfazed, the twins began to reshape their brand and expand its message. Upon learning about their unidentifiable disabilities, the twins decided to place a new emphasis on spreading awareness. They created a documentary, The Dowe Twins New Faces of Disabilities, where they were able to effectively share their story and explain their experiences as children with unidentifiable disabilities. They also created a workbook series entitled “Think You’re Smarter than the Dowe Twins, Learning Through Trivia Activity Workbook Series” in order to exemplify that disabilities do not affect intelligence, rather, they simply change the way that you learn. The twins are working not only to spread awareness, but also to remove some of the negative stigmas around having disabilities. Water 2 Kids would prove to be one of their most difficult ventures. The business of bottled water, as described by their mother Alina, was very difficult (and expensive) to get into, “it’s not just the financial backing…it’s not just what you know but it’s also who you know.” W2K had been placed in a few different local locations for sale, including a certain indoor trampoline park. In February of 2019, the park was bought out, and in turn shifted from W2K to a larger, cheaper brand of bottled water. In early 2021, after sharing their frustration, the twins were introduced to Gary Hill. Gary had been in the water business for over twenty years. Upon hearing about the Dowe Twins’ struggles to enter the business, he decided to come out of retirement to help them grow and expand W2K. Gary has a niece who also has an unidentifiable disability, and the twins’ efforts to educate alongside attempting to grow their business was inspiring to him. He wanted to personally work to help the brand expand while also teaching the twins how to run a successful business, effectively passing his knowledge down to a younger generation. With his assistance, knowledge, and connections, the twins were able to secure a water manufacturing plant as well as to establish a sales channel distribution. W2K is now on pace to reach their goal of selling 150,000 cases of W2K water by the end of 2021. “I’m going to see this all the way through” Gary emphasizes. Gary’s decision to come out of retirement to help the twins is truly touching, but his dedication to ensuring that his efforts lead to success for all parties involved, is absolutely amazing. With Gary’s mentorship and industry connections, W2K has gone from a local brand to one that has the potential to fulfill the twins’ dreams of becoming a household name. Ultimately, the goal of the brand is to educate children on the importance of drinking water and valuing it as nature’s most important resource. As W2K expands, so does their message. The Dowe twins have been remarkable since the day they were born, and with Gary Hill’s help, it’s only a matter of time until Water 2 Kids is a brand beloved by children and parent alike, across the globe.

  • Osaretin Oghomwen on her process to becoming a filmmaker and her feature film Strip

    Photograph credit: Karl M Lee Osaretin Oghomwen is a Los-Angeles born director, producer, and filmmaker. Following a successful run on a previous network in 2020, her debut feature film Strip (which was screened at both the Peachtree Village International Film Festival & the Golden gate International Film Festival) is coming to the XOD Network and Smart TV platforms on August 30th. Speaking with Labelleladiva's Lounge, she discussed her journey to becoming a filmmaker, the process of creating Strip, and what it’s like being a director as an African American woman. Osaretin discovered filmmaking when she was fifteen. Looking through Teen Vogue Magazines at a State Fair, she saw an ad for the New York Filmmakers academy. “It literally felt like a lightbulb went off in my head, it clicked.” She had always considered herself a good writer, and in combination with her appreciation for film, this career path felt like “the perfect marriage.” After high school she went to SUNY Albany, the place where her career as a filmmaker would truly begin. She joined the Upstate Independents Group, where she would meet experienced people to help her create her first short film. “I persuaded some much older, more exp erienced people to help me with my short film…that really gave me my start.” The fact that these people were willing to take a chance meant a lot to Osaretin, “the first [film] is really hard. When you have no body of work, it’s hard to get people to take a chance.” She went on to create three short films before beginning to work on Strip. She describes the second one, Goodbye, Apathy, as her favorite short film that she has created. It was picked up by Shorts International, one of the highest praises a short film can receive, “it gave me my confidence to move on to a feature.” Strip itself was a long process that began almost eight years ago. Just graduating college, she was looking for ideas for a feature when she came up with the idea to explore “how far would someone go to save their Dad?” The film showcases “a dark domino effect” of a daughter who enters the world of erotic dance in order to help her father survive a financial crisis. Seeing the idea come to life has been “surreal.” The film premiered at an Atlanta film festival in October of 2020, describing the positive reaction Osaretin explained that “it really solidifies my confidence as a filmmaker.” The process of creating the film was not easy, in fact she emphasized that it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Strip was 90% funded by her job as a waitress in Atlantic City. She used her own money to fly out actresses for filming, she even used to carry props in suitcases on the subway in order to ensure that the filming would turn out the best it possibly could. Describing the process of a feature film, she explained that with a big budget a movie can be filmed in merely a few months. Her process of creating Strip, being very different, took almost two years just to film. “I really feel like it’s something I can look back on and be proud that I had the strength.” All of her hard work paid off, as the goal of Strip was to be acknowledged and appreciated as someone who has a talent for direction and filmmaking. “I felt like I had to pull off my first film by myself.” A recent study found that in America, only 4.3% of directors are women, even less are African American women. This number is shockingly low and is proof of why Osaretin is so important to the film community. She described her experience as “very lonely.” She’s only met “one black female filmmaker” as a teenager in high school. “I wish I had more women that I was acquainted with that could relate to my experience.” The statistics show that she is an outlier, but she made sure to emphasize the fact that these statistics should not distract young women who may share her passion. “I would encourage them to persevere and pursue their passion even if they’re the only one doing it…the fact that you are an outlier later on can help you.” What’s next for Osaretin? She plans to begin developing more films this fall. “Strip has given me some momentum where I could be given a chance again.” Strip’s success has given her the opportunity to prove that she has what it takes to be successful in the film industry. She does not plan to slow down, “I’m someone you can look out for.” Osaretin’s dedication is an inspiration for all filmmakers, proving that with enough hard work and passion, you can make a good film even without a large budget. Strip is coming to the XOD Network as well as Apple TV, Android TV, Google Play, and other smart TV platforms on August 30th.

  • What is worth your energy? Mario Bonds speaks on Juneteenth, raising a family, and inspiring change

    By Devyn Imholt Photograph credit: Karl M. Lee Mario Bonds is a singer, songwriter, motivational speaker, author, and journalist who rose to fame on season 2 of Oxygen Network’s “The Glee Project.” In March of 2021 he released his debut album I AM Human TOO: The Acceptance, showcasing his ability to create impactful music with a meaningful message. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about overcoming adversity, raising a family, and making a change with his work. Mario was born with Morning Glory Syndrome, causing him to go completely blind by the time he was nine years old. As he has grown up and pursued his passions within his many professions he has always placed an emphasis on encouraging acceptance and promoting change. He describes his speaking and songwriting as his “most effective” methods of conveying his messages. “To be able to write lyrics or experiences that are reflective of how I grew up or any adversity I might have faced and have those songs be someone else’s escapism…I think is a gift.” Creating music seems to be an escape for Mario himself, explaining that he gets “lost” in singing, sometimes for hours at a time. This is described affectionally by his children as Dad being in the “zone.” June 19th, 2021 was the first Juneteenth to be declared a federal Holiday in the US. Mario described his last single, “My Eyes, My Life” as the potential “mascot song for Juneteenth.” “The whole point of the song is that it’s a bold statement from a blind person to say…come take a look into my eyes and see what I think we could be if we only stopped all of this hate.” Of the government’s recognition of Juneteenth, he emphasized that it came “far too late.” “I’m glad that it happened…I think that there’s so much work to do, I hope that the next great feat doesn’t take 150 years to achieve.” Mario is uninterested in waiting around for change to happen. In 2018 he released the song “Human” as part of his #IAMHUMANTOO campaign to combat bullying. This is an issue that is close to him, reflecting on his childhood he said that he “was bullied…from every angle…all with the backdrop of going blind at nine.” He feels especially compelled to combat this issue now, as he described the suicide rates of children being at “an astronomical high.” “I remember being twelve and feeling like I was God’s waste of space.” Mario wants to ensure that other people don’t have to grow up feeling this way as a result of being bullied. The campaign’s success has both inspired and humbled him. “Everything I was teased for I’m praised for today…from top to bottom…that’s very ironic.” The passion for his work is evident, however, this pales in comparison to the radiance in his voice when discussing his children. He has adopted four boys and is enjoying every second of raising them. “To my kids I’m Super Mario.” His ability to motivate as a career translates effectively to his home life. As a Dad he is “big on lessons,” detailing one of his recent conversations with his seventeen-year-old where he emphasized the question “what is worth your energy?” He wants the best for his children, and this lesson was about encouraging them to see past the many trials and irritations in everyday life in order to focus on the big picture. He has found that his ability to be larger than life, even as someone who is blind, has been motivational to his children. “In fact, they forget I’m blind most of the time.” Mario has used his trials as fuel to his fire rather than hinderances to his mission. His dedication to enforcing a message and making a change is inspiring, and as such, I wanted to know his advice to those who may be struggling through their own trials. He explained that “knowing is half the battle.” He described the key to combatting disability as “acceptance” and the key to beating bullying as “knowing you are more important than what that person says.” Self-care was another thing he placed an emphasis upon, saying that “we have to take care of our physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health on a daily basis.” On July 15th Mario is dropping a video to “In Love,” a dance track that features a collaboration with a plus sized dance group called Pretty Big Movement. “I’m jumping into the conversation that we shouldn’t body shame.” Mario hinted at some “surprises” in the video, making sure to share his excitement for its release. He will be releasing “more music videos in the fall” and is now focused on “embarking on another social media cooking wave” after a video of him cooking eggs went viral. Speaking with him was a pleasure, his focus on making meaningful messages coupled with his drive to create is truly inspiring. He truly is as his kids describe him, “Super Mario,” making sure to focus his energy towards making real change. Listen to “My Eyes, My Life” here. Read his book, “Without Sight but Full of Vision” here.

  • Pride Proud! Delvon Johnson speaks on his new book and living his life unapologetically

    Click to buy the book To Round up this year's Pride month, the Delvon way, the notable fashion influencer, self care enthusiast and lover of shoes is launching his new book Invisible Rain! Without judgment, his novels acknowledge the ups and downs that many relationships experience. Delvon's honesty about his struggles creates a sense of healing for readers. While on dialysis since 2010, Delvon is a big advocate for people who deal with difficult life circumstances. He wants it to be known that from struggle, comes growth. What does Pride Month symbolize for Delvon? "For a whille I was involved in Pride month, and it's not that I'm not but I fell into my own shell, and then I started attending all kinds of events." The events and finding new connections lead Delvon to write his books. He believes that celebrating Pride can be in many ways. "For a whille I was involved in Pride month, and it's not that I'm not but I fell into my own shell, and then I started attending all kinds of events." The events and finding new connections lead Delvon to write his books. Tell us about your book Invisible Rain? "It's a way of connecting with my audience on a larger scale." The book touches on issues of domestic abuse and it's impact. "It's an entertaining book with a message about overcoming any life change." He explains, "I struggled for 10 years, and I made it out of my battles." For his readers, the takeaway is that no matter what your struggle there is always a way to face your fears. What are your top 3 Self Care Tips? 1.Do what works for you, and don't rush for anyone 2.Do what makes you happy, life is too short 3.To be happy, you can't let others define you Another way Delvon maintains his self care is through attending therapy. "Therapy is important. I started therapy in highschool, and I was a little freaked out but eventually it became exciting to go." " When you express what's going on with you, it helps, and I need to be able to vent and trust." Through out the years many companies support Pride month festivities due to its overall purpose of promoting human rights. Pride acknowledges "the Stonewall riots which began in the hours of June 28, 1969." "First beginning as marches, and then later turning into a parade;" Pride month, "has been acknowledged by only two presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama." As you celebrate Pride this month, remember that it's about taking time to remember human rights.

  • Pride Heart and Soul

    As many remember, Chris Weaver from NBC's Season 13 The Voice- Singer from Long Island, NY. It's important to highlight his many talents. One to note would be, Chris's soultry and colorful voice. He knows how to capture audiences with his uplifting vocals. Two of his popular renditions are, "Nina Simone, I put a spell on you," and Otis Redding, "Try a little Tenderness." What does growing up singing in the church mean to him now that the world had a glimpse into his many talents? "I'm at a point where, I don't want to take anything for granted. My eyes and heart are opening to other outlets to reach people. When asked in what way? He hinted, Broadway... Chris's Self expression through drag allows him freedom. He makes sure to do this with consciousness and thought through his song choice. What many may not know is that Chris is a personable character. His roots as a worshiper have guided him as he walks through a changing and evolving world. As many of us prepare to return to a new normalcy, like Chris, we will discover there are new paths ahead. This new normal can be scary to look ahead to, but if you choose to embrace it and rebuild then it becomes an opportunity to be better. He shares, 'For me, I love to entertain. If I can have an hour to make people smile and laugh, that is important to me.' Entertainment during Pride month can be expected due to the well thought out symbols of design and performances presented. Sponsors can help establish a platform for human rights. When companies can show recognition for the rights of others this greatly benefits profits and customers. 'Once informed of the Pride Rights, the straight community and politicians became understanding that the rights of all are important,' 'When parades started in cities : Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Sao Palo and San Francisco,' the world began to see Pride as rights for humanness. This year, Chris Weaver will honor Pride month with friends which is his way of maintaining his liberation over the years. Although the celebrations may look different, nonetheless the show will still go on.

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