Stylist to The Stars Kee Kee Taylor Shares Her Journey to Success

How did you get started  in the Hair care Industry?

As a child I was so tender headed. I was raised by my great grandmother and she was so insensitive to my pain till finally she would wake me up for school and my hair would already be done! It was so good that as I got older everyone would ask me to do theirs too. I really care about every strand of hair. Hair care is essential.

How did you make a name for yourself in such a competitive field ?
To be honest, I just stayed true to myself and did all that I could to master my craft and the opportunities just presented themselves

What are some obstacles you have faced as a female entrepreneur?
The issues I faced are not unique to females these are issues for entrepreneurs. For instance, just learning people, feeling like there’s not enough time in the day and basic trial and error. The hardest is finding a work life balance.

Growing up, was being a celebrity hair stylist something you always envisioned, or did you have other plans?
I’ve always wanted to do hair but the celebrity aspect of it didn’t kick in until I was 17. That’s when I decided to push it to the limit.

What would you say are the main keys to success?

The first would have to be PATIENCE, which is needed to be able to trust the process and keep faith in your journey to success.
Second you have to DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE. When you do things from the heart it’s done well. It will never feel forced and always make you happy.
Last but definitely not least you have to always remain HUMBLE. I came from humble beginnings and no matter how much success you achieve you have to remember you are always one moment away from losing it all.

Competition is something that a lot of business owners like to stay away from. How do you view competition, and deal with it?
I don’t believe that I’m in competition with anyone but myself. I believe that what God has for me is truly for me. I focus my energy on always doing my best work and providing the best experience for my clients. I wish the best for everyone in the industry.

What other future projects are you invested in?
I have an invention that I’m working on that will change the game for hair and continuing to expand the Deeper Than Hair brand.

How are you using you gifts and talents to give back to those around you? 

The Deeper Than Hair Project, is a service project that our stylists gave birth to as a concept to empower women who have experienced a tragedy or life changing event. In 2016, the salon was able to give back to the women in our immediate community. It was through this vision that we have been able to outreach women who are not able to access the services that the salon provides. The Deeper Than Hair project kicked off in Philadelphia. We have improved the lives of numerous women, on that day. We provided makeovers for the women selected. The power and improved self esteem that was created, impacted the Deeper Than Hair stylists in a way that spawned the concept to continue this mission of helping others. Stay tuned as 2017, the project will be going mobile.

How is life in California, are you originally from there?
Although I have visited California often, I’ve only been a resident for 3 months. And I am absolutely loving it. I’m originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What has been one of the most memorable moments in your career so far?
My first year working for Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey popped up on the set! Best day EVER!
Follow Kee on Instagram @sosheargenius or YouTube at DeeperThanHair TV

This Photographer Made His Passion His Paycheck

Written by Abner Jackson III

Michael Martin is from the old school ideology of believing in dreams coming true. A true expert in personal photography and model portfolio design, Michael is a true leader amongst his generation. Michael has the undying drive and dedicated heart that puts his creativity in a very unique place.
He would be best described as “a photographer after his clients heart” and all of that shows in his work.
From his passion for design, his professional etiquette to his unending humor; Michael is the complete package.
“I am about progression and new standards,” states Michael about his vision of photography. All of his movements through his work benefit society. Always looking to add new direction and visions to his work and having no fear of trying new ideas and angles, why not have a photographer behind the lenses with that vision.
Michael always keeps a heavy work load

How long have you been a photographer for and when did you realize you wanted to become a photographer?

I have been a Photographer for the past 17 years. I knew I wanted to do this craft when I was 7 years old right after my mother passed.

What are the pros and cons of being a photographer?

The pros are you get to do what you love and share your craft with the world. Allow people to see from your point of view. To be able to work with amazing clients, their staff and their teams. The cons are more so seeing and getting the let downs pushing hard and feeling it’s never hard enough. The bad business people in the industry, the ones that don’t give you credit for your craft. There will always be cons to this I feel working and learning from the good and the bad will only make me a stronger photographer in the long run.

Has Social Media helped or hindered the modeling industry?

It has most definitely helped me. I love the fact that you can share your work on so many different platforms. I think this will either make or break anyone that love this craft

Since you been a photographer, what do you feel is your biggest accomplishment so far?

As of now I have been published in a few platforms. I think just my biggest accomplishment is to say that I’m still doing it. Still learning, still creating. 75% will give in and give up, and I’m still pushing.

What else what you like to accomplish in this field?

I would love to have my own magazine. A large platform to help train models and photographers. To be a team and join together to do this all as a team

Is there anything you would like people to know about you?

There is so much I would love for people to know. Yet the most important thing is I love this craft, it’s my heart and soul just doing this will.

Thank you again for your time and letting our readers get to know you. Please let everyone know how you can be reached ( twitter, IG, FB, websites, etc)?

Mike1stimpression (instagram )

Actress Sunny Aiken- Leaving Corporate America to Follow Your Dream

Interview by Maria Rochelle

Sunny is an Actress, Producer, Writer, Insurance Broker, Wife and most importantly a Mom to three sons. Sunny is also Host of The “Actors Prayer Breakfast” in which meets every 3 months in Conyers/Atlanta, Georgia.
She has written and pitched her 1st script for a film, which she plans for it to be a series on a Major TV Network.
As an actress, Sunny says it’s not all about the acting but it’s also about what she can give back to the community.

How long have you been acting?

Five years, even though I had years of theater experience. Prior to that, I was working Corporate America and wasn’t as serious. I  soon realized that my full time job was indeed robbing me from my passion. I prayed and built enough courage to take that Leap of Faith and I haven’t a single regret!

Who inspired you to act or was it a film?

So many contribute to this recipe of Art:
Funny as a child- I recall being in my 1st public talent Show-as Apollonia. I guess there has always been a part of me that loved to Entertain. But Phylicia Rashad, whose role was Claire Huxtable from “The Cosby Show”, inspired me the most.
No. I didn’t want to act at the time, instead, because she was an attorney; I thought I could do that as well. The way she carried herself made me want to be smart, nurturing and even (the times when she had to) snap someone into shape- in a nice way of course. Her ability to bring “Claire” to Life-was everything to me. I still love her!

The writer in me is enthusiastically inspired by Author, John Grisham.

In addition I’ve recently subscribed to the work of Director, Marty Scorsese. Just like an artist, he appears (to me) to be very calculating and patient with any project.

Who is your favorite actor?

Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper

I enjoy sharing motivational quotes with my readers. Is there one you can share?

“Whatever energy you put in the universe, is certain to return.”

You’re going to be on the TV show “Fatal Attraction in March, what part are you playing?

My role on Fatal Attraction- is Rita Smith (Supporting).

What do you enjoy most about acting?

I am able to be completely free!

In one word describe how it feels to be an actress.
Alive!

Who would you like to work with in a film?

Definitely, Meryl Streep, Diahann Carroll, Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Vanessa Williams. I Can Go On………

I know you’ve written a script “DNA: The Pardoned”, have you ever thought about who you would like to play the main roles? Who would your dream cast be?

My vision for it is mind blowing! Initially when writing, it began as a featured film, but soon after studying a few of my favorites and my love for Suspense- I experienced a creative conception to allow the journey to grow astronomically, thus turning it into a series. I haven’t assigned the main roles yet, but if I had to choose today- I would offer the opportunity to Columbus Short, Jesse Bingham- for starters. Hint: They would be My KILLER Attorneys.

Do you think films and the arts can change the world and if so, how?

I definitely have a strong and confident belief that film and arts will inevitably have a major impact on the world. With the evolution of media and televised programs, many people are fashioned by the imagery of it all. I also believe that the “powers that be” know that- and some realities are hidden through the facade. On the other hand; Entertainers who are keen and responsible to their audience, embody the role while still being true to themselves and the obvious factor- that they have a great deal of influence.

Dr.Allycin Hicks Appointed Creative Director for A|Orie Cosmetics

What happens when a writer has an affinity for lipstick? Two words: Ardre Orie. Acclaimed writer, publisher, playwright and media maven Ardre Orie is flexing her entrepreneurial muscles with the launch of A. Orie Cosmetics in 2017. We sat down to talk with Dr. Allycin Hicks, appointed Creative Director of the brand to get her thoughts on the year ahead.

1. Why did you accept the invitation to join A. Orie Cosmetics in the role of Creative Director?
I accepted the role because I have, like many women my age, an obsession with cosmetics and a deep desire to support Black owned business. I’ve known Ardre for a while and respect her work ethic and kindness. So, when she asked me to be Creative Director I jumped at the opportunity.

2. How does Orie plan to mix her love for words and writing into the brand’s identify or are they two totally different ventures all together?
Ardre’s writing is a natural part of her personality so therefore is is part of everything she does. Each of our colors arrives to our customers with a “Love Letter” written by Orie to serve as yet another reminder of how special we each are. The company will also boast a series of inspirational quotes through our social media channels which will continuously reflect Orie’s love of writing and inspiration.

3. What makes A. Orie Cosmetics different from the existing cosmetic lines?

A. Orie cosmetics is founded by acclaimed writer Ardre Orie and she is a busy writer at that. So, she has integrated her love of prose into the product and it has a truly emerged as a motivational brand. Orie has enlisted an all African-American female team. That’s something that you don’t typically see. We’re a package deal. It’s not just about the lipstick. We put a lot of time into making sure that each and its associated message are communicated to our users. A. Orie Cosmetics is also about expanding your mind, developing your character and understanding who you are as an individual. This obviously goes beyond just lipstick but the lipstick is our route into people’s homes and hearts.

4. Why is the brand’s message so important?

We live in a world where positivity is becoming passé. We want to be a voice for unity, positivity, self-love, self-expression, understanding of others and a drive to do well. We definitely don’t think that were alone in this desire but we know that we desire to stand out as a cosmetics company with emphasis on inward beauty as well as outward beauty.

5. What is your vision for the line’s role in inspiring women and girls?

In a culture where every thought is featured on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook, we have to be cognizant of the fact that we are always being watched and that everything we do from making lipstick, clothes, or even writing books, you can be a form of inspiration for someone. For A. Orie Cosmetics, we really want to focus on African-American women, considering that they are a group who has been so vulnerable to media images. This is a group that obviously most of us in the company have been at one point and we really want to reflect that you can do anything you want to do, that you are beautiful, and if you work hard and produce good products you will be successful.

6. How many colors will be featured in each collection?

You have three colors for each season so that is 12 amazing colors that will be released in 2017. My creative team and I conducted a lot of market research and a lot of research on runway shows and projected trends for 2017. We came up with colors that I think are really fun and really clean. Some you will definitely recognize, and others will be a little funkier.

7. What was your inspiration for 2017?

I was thinking about the needs of the today’s woman. We are chameleons. We transition from mommy mode to girl boss mode and into turn up mode. I worked to create a color story that was playful but also has the basics that every woman needs. Each lipstick isn’t necessarily meant to be worn alone you can actually buy all three lipsticks for each season and wear them together.

8. What can we expect from A. Orie Cosmetics in the coming year?

Expect a lot of playful colors, fun combinations, looks from the hottest runways and a little bit of charity on top. We also have launch events coming up in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago. Everyone be ready to come out!

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Beautiful Struggle

image1) How did the Beautiful Struggle movement begin?

Beautiful Struggle came from my own personal Life struggles with insecurities. I wanted to be able to offer Products to help women enhance there beauty and share a movement to stop insecurities!

2) What products and services do you offer you clients ?

Beautiful Struggle Offers Luxury Hair, EyeLash Extensions, Accessories and Custom T-Shirts

3) Tell us about your Women on the Rise Expo

Women on the Rise is a series of Expo’s that will tour the country inspiring and helping men and women achieve greater heights. It’s an event where people can share stories, provide exposure to their growing brands while support one another’s business endeavors. The event will travel to many locations throughout 2016 and 2018 with hopes of creating an annual expo.

4) Who or what inspires you the most to keep the beautiful struggle movement going ?

My Nieces and Nephews Inspire me the Most but My Purpose is to help all young adults with insecurities

5) What methods are you using to effectively market and brand your business.

I Mostly use Social Media because thats the GO TO now a days for people to shop and be apart of anything New.

6) What has been one of your biggest obstacles as an entrepreneur My biggest Obstacle is getting my brand across in a Positive and inspiring way that stands out from MOST!

7) How does someone go about being apart of the beautiful struggle movement ? beautifulstrugglelove.com visit the site. Also Beautiful Struggle offers a Distributor Program where you can be your Own Boss having a Luxury Hair Line. We will also have Distributor seminars on buying whole sale and becoming your own boss.

8) What is the biggest impact that you want your business/ movement to have on it’s followers. I want my followers to GET and BE inspired by knowing their worth with Beauty… I want to help and pull all women and men out of insecurities

9) What can we expect next from the Beautiful Struggle brand

Be expecting Multiple Sales through out the year of 2017! Follow My Social Media for all future Sales, giveaways, videos, and Movements

Entrepreneur Spotlight: London Author and Historian, Dan Jones

Interviewed by Maria Rochelle

imageMy latest interview is with Dan Jones of London, England. He’s a historian as well as an author of four books. His second book “The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England” was published in 2012 and it became a New York Times bestseller. He’s also a TV presenter of “The Secrets of Great British Castles” as well as the writer for the show which is on Netflix.

Was there anyone in particular who inspired you to become an historian or was there an event that you read about?

I had a great teacher at school, who got me hooked on Tudor history and then sent me off to Cambridge, where I specialized in medieval history. A brilliant set of teachers there – Helen Castor, David Starkey, Christine Carpenter, Jonathan Riley-Smith, Christopher Clark and others – kept the fires stoked, and I seem to be still studying history now, two decades later.

I’m excited that there is going to be a second season of your show, what exciting castles will we get to see?

The full run will be Edinburgh, Cardiff, York, Lancaster, Leeds and Arundel – I think in that order. They’re all magnificent, and making the shows was a real pleasure.

Of the two who do prefer, Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

Stones. Come on.

Tell me three fun facts about you….

I have a perfect 100% record in boxing matches: fought one, won one, and retired unbeaten.

I have DJ-ed at the legendary London nightclub Ministry of Sound. (It was under-18s night, and the set was at about 9pm. But still.)

I have a tattoo of St Edmund, king of East Anglia, being martyred by the Vikings in 869AD. They tied him to a tree, shot him full of arrows and chopped his head off. A wolf found the head the woods, and miraculously led people to the site by crying in a human voice, ‘Hic! Hic! Hic!’ This was a talking wolf that could speak Latin. You know the type. The wolf and the head don’t feature in my tattoo, and even the Vikings are out of fame, as it were. But still, Edmund’s there, prickled with arrows like a porcupine and looking bloody displeased about it.

Who is your favorite King of the Middle Ages and why?

Apart from St Edmund the Martyr, you mean? Henry V. The perfect medieval king, who managed to balance foreign aggression with judicious government at home, and died at the right moment before it all started going wrong, ensuring that he left an appropriately heroic legacy.

I enjoy sharing motivational quotes with my readers do you have one that you would like to share?

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go,
to let it go.

(Mary Oliver, ‘In Blackwater Woods’)

Is there a particular individual in history that you would like to meet?

I’m writing about Saladin at the moment. He seems to have made quite an impression on the people around him, and he certainly made his mark on the middle east… so right now I’d take a meeting with him.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what book would you take with you?

‘Escaping Desert Islands For Dummies’

Are you currently writing any more books?

My new book, about the Templars, is coming out next autumn. That’s what I’m working on right now, and I’m loving every moment of it. It’s the most amazing story of medieval supermen: the Templars were like the Navy S.E.A.L.S with a sideline in international banking. And of course their downfall – tried for heresy on trumped-up charges at the instigation of a truly diabolical king of France – is pure drama. It’s a dream subject for me and for my narrative style. I’m looking forward to you all reading the book in 2017!

If you want to learn more about Dan Jones, please follow him on his social media.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/danjoneshistorian/?fref=ts
Twitter:https://twitter.com/dgjones

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Grammy Nominated Music Producer James Worthy

image.jpegFor those who don’t you, give us a little but of your background

My name is James Worthy and I’m a record producer, songwriter, actor, and CEO. Been in the industry roughly going on 7 years now. Worked with pretty much any artist you can think of.

 When did you first realize that you wanted to get into music production?

Just being around music and different genre’s it made me interested in finding out how music was actually crafted. Once I studied it, I fell in love with it.

 How did you go about building up your clientele and getting celebrity clients?

Networking, relationships, creativity, and humbleness. There is enough success for everyone. I’m well respected because I never let the fame take over me.

 What have been some of the biggest obstacles on your musical journey so far?

People not believing and understanding the type of music I make. Even coming into the industry early on it was tough to break in, because of stereotype’s of what you should be doing verses what you feel is right.

What can someone expect from a James Worthy production/ beat?

Expect creativity, soul, and melody.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences ?

Michael Jackson, A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West, Quincy Jones.

What sets you apart From other producers in your field ?

I make what I feel instead of what is  needed. I do all genre’s of music so my mind is worldly enough to experiment.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?

Inspiring others, a grammy nomination, and doing what I love.

 Where do you see yourself being or doing in the next year?

Having another #1 record, winning a grammy, working with many new talents, and expanding into other entertainment ventures.

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Brandi Jordan of Chic Desires LLC

Interview by Abner Jackson III

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Chic Desires LLC is a mobile hairstyling and makeup artistry business, based in Orlando, FL, with the ability to service diverse clientele in multi ethnic environments. Licensed Natural Hair Care Stylist, International Makeup Artist, and CEO of Chic Desires LLC, Brandi Jordan, is living her dream. Brandi is well on her way to becoming a recognized name amongst some of the industry’s top photographers, hair extension companies, cosmetic companies, and clientele. As a young woman with the ability to adapt to any scene, Brandi is continuously sought after for weddings, promotional shoots, editorials, and more.

Brandi has had the opportunity to work with some of the who’s who of beauty and style including Celebrity Stylist and Reality TV Star Mushiya Tshikuka (WeTV’s “Cutting It In the ATL, Runway Curls, The Damn Salon), International Makeup Artist Rory Lee (Tracy and Alonzo Mourning, Dr. Oz, Pit Bull, Rory Lee Makeup), and Celebrity Makeup Artist Lena G. (P. Diddy, Essence Festival, Elle Girl Magazine). Brandi has worked with Jockey, NIKE, and Signet Jewelers, as well as worked events for Jones Magazine and had her work featured in Essence Magazine Online..

Brandi realized her passion for hairstyling at a young age, often styling friends and family’s hair at the age of thirteen. She has since dedicated her time and efforts toward her hairstyling and makeup artistry career. Brandi also spends her time pursuing her education and Master’s degree in Accounting. She recognizes that it is necessary to have other skills to complement her creative skills. Therefore, she plans to utilize her accounting and business skills to enhance her harstyling and makeup artistry career.

In her spare time, Brandi enjoys being a Philantropist and strives to continuously enhance herself and others. She is the founder of Beautiful YOU charity projects and a dedicated Spokesmodel for Our Girls Enrichment Program. Brandi also volunteers with Coalition for the Homeless, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Russell House, and many more.

Tell readers about your Chic Desires LLC company and when did you start it?
Chic Desires LLC is an award-winning, mobile hairstyling and makeup artistry business based in Orlando, FL. We specialize in natural hair care and makeup artistry and the majority of our clients are brides. I have been styling hair for 20 years and doing makeup for 9 years. Chic Desires LLC was created, in 2010, when I decided that pursuing my passion to be creative was more meaningful than being a corporate accountant.

When did you start your Luvlee Hair Accents website and what are your best sellers now?
The LuvLee Hair Accents online boutique was created in August 2016. Currently, the best sellers are the bridal fascinators, which can be worn everyday, and the medium florals in vibrant colors such as teal, red, and violet.

What type of makeup do you specialize in and did you take any specific training to become a makeup artist?
I speciaize in bridal makeup, which are more natrual makeup looks that enrich a woman’s natural beauty. Makeup artistry is a natural talent, however, I took (and continue to take) specific training to sharpen and broaden my makeup artistry skills.

What do you feel separates your work from others?

My hairbraiding and twisting techniques in addition to essential oil hair treatments separates my hair care and styling work from others. My precison and close attention to detail separates my makeup artistry work from others. Also, my overall friendliness and professional separates my work from others.

Tell us about the Beautiful YOU event you host annually?
Beautiful YOU started as a charity makeover day for the women at a local women’s shelter where a host of hairstylists, makeup artists, and nail technicians provided free services to the ladies. The makeover days also included a life coaching session, gift giveaways, toiletries gifted to the ladies, and refreshments. Beautiful YOU also provided makeover days to the graduates of the Boys and Girls Club – Taft Branch S.M.A.R.T. Girls Program as a reward for the young ladies finishing the health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program.
We are in the process of incorporating Beautiful YOU as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and have some amazing programs and events in the works. Please stay connected to learn more about Beautiful YOU, the foundation.

What is your biggest accomplishment in this field of work?
Providing great customer service and leaving each client happy and feeling more beautiful are accomplishments within themselves. However, my biggest accomplishment as a beauty professional would be being a Makeup Artist at Mercedes Benz Swim Week, in South Beach, FL, closely followed by being invited to speak at the Hair She Grows Natural Hair Expo, in Maitland, FL. Both accomplishments truly show that my hard work and dedication are recognized and appreciated, which I am grateful for.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Five years from now, I see myself working full-time as a beauty professional and entrepreneur. I also see myself living bi-coastal within the next five years as Los Angeles, CA seems like a great fit for Chic Desires LLC and LuvLee Hair Accents to expand to.

Thank you again for your time and letting our readers get to know you. Please let everyone know how you can be reached ( twitter, IG, FB, websites, etc)?

You are very welcome… it was a pleasure sharing with your readers and thank you for interviewing me. We can be reached (and would love to stay connected) via:

Email: chicdesires@gmail.com
Website: www.chicdesiresllc.com
Website: http://luvleehairaccents.chicdesiresllc.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/chicdesires
Instagram: www.instagram.com/chic_desires_llc
Instagram: www.instagram.com/luvleehairaccents

VEU Spotlight: Author and Film Producer Sheena Herod

Interview by Abner Jackson III

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Sheena Herod, a Jill of many trades, reigns from the city of Memphis, TN. She is the author of two compelling novels and the creator of A thrilling theatrically released film. In a short time, she has had the privilege of working with entertainment leaders such as Tyler Perry (Media Mogul) and Grammy award winning artist, Neyo. With a determined heart and driven spirit, Sheena has launched the 501C3 non-profit organization; Broken Silence. Sheena Herod, an advocate for our youth, is embarking on a systematic journey to increase awareness about the devastating effects of child abuse and molestation.

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Tell readers about your Broken Silence Organization and how did you come up with idea to start it?

Broken Silence is a nonprofit organization that brings awareness to sexual child abuse. I started the organization after I filmed my first documentary called What We Hate to Remember. The filmed was based off the awareness that boys are victim as well as girls.

Tell us about two books you written and where they can purchase them at?

The two books I have written are both tied into my nonprofit. The first book was based off my documentary A Boys Silent Cry. It’s a story about a football player that’s getting ready to get married but hasn’t told his finance about his uncle moving in the house after his dad died and was sexual abusing him for years. He went through the changes having people he trusted misuse him, always being sexual abuse as a kid he has fought with his sexuality.

Good Touch Bad Touch is a parenting guide on how to protect your children from sexual abuse as well as educating the child and yourself on what is sexual abuse, who can be sexual abusers and the signs to look for if your child has been sexually abused. The self- help book will also include stories from survivors of sexual child abuse. Different articles of sexual abuse caught in the media of known celebrities and teachers that has been accused.

Do you plan on writing anymore books in the future?

I am merging the awareness of sexual abuse into my films. I am using my films to get the message out there more with my new documentary and a new film from my first book A Boys Silent Cry

Tell readers about your Tapoo Productions Company and are they currently working on any projects now?

Tapoo Productions is my film company. We produced several shows, documentaries, movies. I have a new movie releasing next year called The Killing Secret. It’s a great drama and suspense film. It will have you on the edge of your seats wondering what’s going to happen next. Also my new dance reality show called Tha Dance Basement with Actor/author /choreographer Darrin Henson. It’s like the real World mixed with so you think you can dance urban style.

If you weren’t  writing, or producing what would you be doing ?

If I wasn’t filming or writing I would be a fitness instructor or owning a gym. Fitness and health is very important me. I would also like to start a program to feed the homeless. I always wanted to do more to help people that are not as fortunately as the rest of us.

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Where I see myself in five years is making a huge impact in the community. I want to be a household name for producing some of the biggest movies in Hollywood. I see myself doing things bigger than just making films like; building homes for the homeless and film schools to teach young kids the fundamental of the film industry . Let them showcase their talents through acting and film.

How can readers keep in contact with you through social networks?
Facebook: Sheena Herod

www.facebook.com/tapooproductions

IG; @iamsheshe , @tapooproductions

 

Getting to Know: The Fight Win Survive Movement

Interview by Abner Jackson III

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Steven VanDyke had a vision one night while sleeping. Three words caught his attention, those words were Fight, Win, Survive.  Steven was able to turn those words into an encouragement merchandiser and ministry outreach providing visual, emotional, and spiritual support.  Through his ministry outreach, his goal is to touch the lives of those who need encouragement and peace of mind.

 

Tell Readers about your Fight…Win…Survive outreach and how long ago did you start it?

 

Fight…Win…Survive was started in August 2012 through a vision that came to me in my sleep. I was facing personal anxiety issues and those three words brought about a calm that soothed my racing mind.  I channeled my experience into reaching out to individuals who were dealing with their own life circumstances and situations. People think that we are a nonprofit and I actually considered going nonprofit before pulling back. I didn’t feel comfortable with it for some reason even though I have personally given away thousands of dollars in merchandise. My outreach became more about touching, impacting and saving lives than personally making money.

Through our strongest vehicle (social media) our goal is to positively touch at least on life every day with something uplifting, encouraging or thought provoking.

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What has surprised you the most about your company?

 

I am surprised the most about the power of the three small individual words that makes one powerful statement. To give someone a $.50 wristband and see their reaction as if it was a $100 gift means a lot.

 

What challenges in the world, do you think affects people the most?

 

LIFE. People have so much going on in their life that for many just getting out of bed is a challenge. Illnesses, job, finances, relationships, kids, safety and a piece of mind are all challenges that we all face. Life comes at us fast and from all directions. That’s where the Fight…Win…Survive message looms large because it is about mindset.  No matter what ones challenges may be, it’s their mindset that gets them over and through whatever their “it” is.

 

How important is it to have a good support system, when dealing with life obstacles.

 

It is very important to have a good support system when dealing with life’s obstacles, circumstances and situations.  There is nothing like someone being there with you. Many and including myself have not understood the challenges of individuals that I have stood in the gap for.  There is something powerful about just being there or just making a phone call to check on them. That’s the support that many desire and our God-given love for one another should provide.

 

What is your goal for Fight…Win…Survive

It’s simple as I stated earlier, to positively touch at least one person’s life each day. That positive touch can come in the form of personal direct contact/communication, a phone call/text or through our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or our free app that brings them all together in one place.

 

 

Tell readers about the three things you need in your life that I saw on your Instagram page. You put Victory, Guidance and Prosperity. In what ways can your life change with those three attributes?

 

The three attributes of Victory, Guidance and Prosperity when put under a microscope is what we all want, need and desire. You want to overcome life’s circumstances, situations or challenges. You need guidance in everything that you do because no man is an island, and at the end of the day we would like all of our hard work to bear the fruit of our labor. When you have experienced Victory, Guidance and Prosperity you have Fought, Won and Survived.

 

What are your thoughts on the current racial/social issues and the Black Lives Matter movement?

 

There is a major problem in the country right now. When something so basic as a traffic stop or what should be a basic interaction/interrogation turns violent and/or deadly, but I can understand the fear of some of the officers. Black Lives Matter but I too fear that wayward person in our race who has no respect or regard for life or property. I profile blacks that look suspicious to me and I watch them closely. Do I want to be that way? No I do not, but when my car was broken into who was the perpetrator? I didn’t see who, but I have a very good idea of who.

Now, in saying all of that it is still each of our responsibility to try and reach those who are lost and confused and I have extended myself in that regard. I have spoken to boys mentoring programs, supported programs and Fight…Win…Survive after Ferguson released a song titled “United We Stand” about the violence and unrest that was going on at that time. Unfortunately, that song keeps replaying itself as these issues with law enforcement continue to arise.

As far as the Black Lives Matter movement, there needs to be a defined plan and leader. We have too many cells and there is no central message. It’s like you’re hungry and there’s no food to eat so whatever someone gives you take and are satisfied with it while another person with the same hunger is settling for another meal and you both end up taking whatever you personally feel that you want.

I have analyzed what is needed for us to see change for our people and it starts with like a band, a drum major. One person who directs all of the moving parts. At this point I believe that individual to be President Obama when he leaves office because he can “manage” what I call the “Five Areas of Influence.” Everyone in the United States is influenced by individuals in one or more of these categories 1. Sports (LeBron James, etc.), 2. Entertainment (Beyoncé, etc.), 3. Business (Oprah, etc.), 4. Religion (T.D. Jakes or ones pastor, etc.) or 5). Education (ones favorite teacher, etc.). If you think about it, you are personally influenced by one or more of those categories and you will listen to someone in that category.

I believe if we create that “one band, one sound” with those individuals/categories we can rightfully move forward because the drum major keeps the “band” moving in perfect synchronization and that would allow us to present a single front and a single message.

 

 

What’s a typical day like for Steven VanDyke?

A Steven VanDyke typical day begins with prayer, meditation and reading my Bible. From that many days it leads me to do a morning inspirational post. From there my day is about checking email and social media for communication from individuals who reach out to me for one on one interactions or through my post responses. People are hurting, feeling helpless and are hungry for someone to let them know that things are going to be alright. That someone cares and someone who will respond.  My day concludes with closing out any communication and a blanket prayer for those whose life I had the opportunity to touch. After that I pray for the individuals who will come in the next day that I might be a positive light that will shine on their negative circumstances or situations.

 

What is an interesting story about someone you helped with your Fight…Win…Survive?

 

I had a lady reach out to me several years ago by email and she put in the subject line “wristband.” I read the email and the lady told me that she was unemployed, lost her car and she was in an abusive marriage but she asked me for one of our wristbands and for prayer. I was floored because I personally saw each of those items as something big and as I was reading that email I already had in my mind that she was going to ask for money thinking we did that.

I got her address and sent her a wristband. A few days later she emailed back and said she received the wristband and thanked me. At that moment I knew that I was on the right path with my company and God was truly with me and it.

Where would you like for your company to be at in the next five years?

 

In the next five years I would like to see Fight…Win…Survive become a household name. I would love to walk down the street and see many people wearing our t-shirts, wearing our wristbands and on posts with people who are experiencing a life situation or circumstance to see #FightWinSurvive to encourage that person. I’ve learned a few years back that the success of this company and ministry is not in money but in impact and I will take impact over money any day.