2019 May






From The

Editor in Chief

And we are off to the

tracks....yes Derby

145th is upon us and

it is an exhilarating

time at the tracks.

This few minutes spectacle is viewed

all around the world has become

not only a global phenomenon but

something to look forward to. As a

Nigerian, I find it fascinating because

I’ve never attended such an event

that is centered around horses. I

never phantom that a whole culture,

event, community, sporting brand

can be built around horses or horse

back riding. Coming to America and

moving to Kentuckiana certainly

changed that perception. I remember

attending my very first Oaks and

Derby events and going to the tracks

with friends. This was many years

ago but it was so much fun: it was

fun to people-watch, the fashion was

on point, the race was nerve-wrecking

but beautiful and because I had

such a great time, I’ve made it a point

to attend almost every year since

my first encounter. I wonder what

this year’s Derby has in stock. I’m

prepped and ready to experience the

biggest horse race in the US. Will I see you at the tracks? Will you

be at this year’s events? Well, don’t be shy....make sure to say hello.

Oremeyi Kareem

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher


Tynesha Bishop-Thomas & Teandra Bishop both sisters & entrepreneurs

in the hair industry both knew at an early age that they wanted not only

to become hairstylists and own their own businesses but to give back to

the community and inspire other entrepreneurs within the industry.

Tynesha Bishop-Thomas hairstylists of 22 years had established her career in 2012

as VersaStyles. Tynesha is the vice president of the Mary Alyce foundation , founder

of Shop Talk and the Artistry Gala.

Teandra Bishop hairstylist and entrepreneur for 18 years established her career

in the early 2000’s as “The best of Re’Neahs ( hair salon) which later in February,

2019 joined her sister as VersaStyles. Teandra is a board member of the Mary Alyce

Foundation and the founder of the Artistry Gala as well.

The Mary Alyce foundation is a family foundation that has been established for nine

years. Throughout the year the foundation has dedicated time to give back to the

homeless, provide prom dresses/ tux’s for any student(s) and give a scholarship to

any aspiring student within the hair and beauty industry given at the Artistry Gala.

Tynesha and Teandra not only want the Artistry Gala to be dedicated to the industry

but to inspire students who want to further their careers and may need financial

assistance towards their tuition.


1767 BARDSTOWN RD | 502-409-6968

info@flavourlouisville.com | www.flavourlouisville.com



hats and fascinators

Drawing inspiration from the women in his church who wore hats as a natural addition to their attire,

Tony used his talent and natural ability to create hats for women that radiated feminine charm

and were as unique as the women themselves. This hobby led to a business venture, Designs by

Tony. His hats and fascinators are not only one of a kind, they are individually inspired. His original

creations come from a God-given inner talent that flows through his fingers as naturally as breath

flows through our nostrils. Tony feels there is nothing else that makes a woman stand out in a crowd like a beautiful


Tony’s hats and fascinators are sought by some of the best-dressed women who attend the Oaks

and the Kentucky Derby. One of his original designs was worn by none other than actress Angela

Basset for the 2015 Kentucky Derby. A feature article in the Churchill Downs Magazine in 2015

acknowledged Tony’s hats as distinctively different. One of Tony’s creations graced the front cover of

Today’s Woman Magazine in 2016 and has been featured in the same magazine since 2013. In addition,

his hats have been highlighted in Martha Stewart Living, Ebony, and Mogul Magazine. So, if you

want to be that well-dressed woman who draws the attention of those who appreciate good taste

and unique style, call on “the Hat man”, Designs by Tony.

2019 Derby

style guide


India Marks

Fitz Fitzgerald


Denisha McCauly


VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019



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VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019



Celebrating Black




Bridgeman &

The Trifecta Gala


Eden Bridgeman:

by Nikayla Edmindson

A Glimpse at the Trifecta’s Reigning Queen.

Eden Bridgeman Skelnar is the daughter

of businessman and former NBA

Guard Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman.

Eden is the chief marketing officer

at Manna Inc., a restaurant franchising

company built by her father. Manna Inc.

has over 400 restaurants – some internationally

recognized, like Chili’s and Wendy’s, and some

local preferences like The Napa Valley Grill and

Mark’s Feed Store. Her work ethic and leadership

got her recognized by Louisville Business

First as an “enterprising woman to watch,” it’s

no wonder she has an entrepreneurial minds.

Eden also is the chief marketing officer for The

Trifecta. The philanthropic and entrepreneurial

mindset runs in the family. Alongside her

brothers, Justin and Ryan, Eden is reigning over

Derby Eve’s most sought after, star-studded

charity gala. Their father turned the Trifecta

Gala over to them in 2017 transitioning it from

a private, celebrity packed Derby Eve party to a

public phenomenon.

The Trifecta Gala benefits the local community

and impacts worldly research. The beneficiaries

are the University of Louisville Autism Center

and West End School of Louisville, Eden and

the Bridgeman family also added The V Foundation

for Cancer Research to this year’s list of

charities. Eden leads the family’s foundation and

the Trifecta Gala as it continues to spread its

wings, reaching far and wide building relationships

with other organization. This year Eden

and the Bridgeman family has donated Trifecta

Gala tickets to their newest partner, the Derby

Diversity Business and Summit (DDBS). DDBS

will be giving these tickets away to winners

of contest at two of their pre-Derby events

hosted throughout the week.

Eden and the Bridgeman family have shown

tremendous dedication to the community

and using their platform to create a Derby

experience that will impact the guest attending

and the community beyond. “Derby is a

magical time in Louisville and collaboration

is key to ensuring our guests have the best

experience afforded to them. Our family is

so blessed on many levels: financially, communally

and spiritually. We believe that to whom

much is given, much is expected.” Eden

Bridgeman said.

With worldly research and some experience,

Eden and her brothers will team with Millennium

Events to transform the YUM! Center

into the best possible space to host this

year’s extravagant Derby Eve Trifecta Gala.

The gala has R&B Superstar Usher performing

and expects Steve Harvey and other celebrity

guest to attend. As the gala continues

to evolve at Eden’s growth in the forefront,

we look forward to seeing its impact as it

kicks off Derby weekend this Friday.

We can look forward to the Trifecta Queen

giving us a memorable look, with inspiration

and a drawn from various celebrity experience

throughout the year, the same ones that

will impact the Gala’s design and decorum.

Eden’s attire from last year’s Gala hosted

at the Omni Hotel was inspired by the film

Black Panther. This year’s style is said to

be inspired by the Dolce & Gabbana Alta

Moda Show hosted last July, sporting hyper

feminine florals, with various textures and


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19 19








Celebration of Black Excellence within the community has been the trend now for a long

time amongst other things, but Black Excellence has always existed. In centuries past,

there has always been many examples of those who used their gifts, talents, passion,

purpose, talent, knowledge, and hard work to design, create, inspire or clear the path

for others to follow. The Black Excellence trend coupled with Black Girl Magic is an

amazing sight to behold and it exists on a daily basis.

VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019

23 23



Black women have

always dominated

every industry they’ve

stepped into when

giving the opportunity,

From fashion, sports,

arts, music, education,

etc, they’ve always had

the “It factor” but history

has not always done a good

job or recognizing or appreciating

the Black Girl Magic.

Seeing that there are many within

our communities who embody

such attributes, we decided to

showcase a few in this edition.

The first to be showcased is not

only beautiful and a brainiac, she is

also an executive with a large corporation.

She is Victoria Russell,

the Chief of Diversity, Equity &

Inclusion for Papa Johns International,


In this exclusive piece featuring

Ms Russell, we delve a little bit

into her personal and professional

life and the many hats she wears.

In a piece she wrote recently, she

speaks about a cause that is near

and dear to her heart. Excerpts


“Born & raised in Louisville, KY.

I’ve attended Ballard High School



and went on to the University of

Kentucky where I received my BBA

in Management and MBA with a focus

in Marketing. I returned to Louisville

and had the honor of working for

amazing employers like Humana and

Brown-Forman, eventually landing at

Papa John’s for the past 13 years. I

adore my friends and family. I lost my

mother to cancer just last year. She

was survived by my father Leon, my

identical twin sister, Jacquelynn and

my older sister Adrienne (Crosby)

and her husband Jerry. I have an amazing

basketball star niece Noelle (13)

& newly published comic book author

nephew David (17)! In my free time

I enjoy traveling to warm tropical

places and am also a Zumba instructor!

Why I Support the American

Cancer Society

In May of 2018 after a two-year battle

with ovarian cancer, I lost my mother

and my life changed forever. Not in

the devastating way many would assume.

My mother was an extremely

tough lady led by her faith in God. She

used it as a testimony to uplift others

going through the same. She remained

extremely positive and optimistic

throughout the entire experience

and rarely complained. That type of

strength is rare and has completely

shaped my faith and outlook on life.

When this opportunity was shared

with me, I could not say no. If I have

the opportunity to shape and encourage

others through my own experience

and honor her legacy, then that

is exactly what I’ve been called to do.

I am excited to share my story and

honor my mother’s legacy through

the ResearcHERS campaign!

Funds raised support cancer patient

programs and groundbreaking

research that can help save lives. This

event also celebrates more than 15.5

million cancer survivors nationwide.

15.5 MILLION. That’s huge.”

In her professional life, she’s

had to make to make tough

decisions as well.

In a period where controversy

surrounded Papa Johns because

of the racial remark of the N

word made by the company’s

founder John Schnatter, Victoria

found herself at a crossroad

between quitting or staying with

the company. She talks about

how co-workers encouraged

her to remain so she can do her

part to change the culture. Even

though she felt very pained by

such remarks, she decided to

stay and do everything in her

power to effect change.

After taking on the new position

as the Chief of Diversity, Equity

& Inclusion with the company,

she immediately went to work

with the top executives of Papa

Johns to try to fix the problems.

Part of the initiatives was taking

on a “listening tour” to nine

cities to meet with executives

and franchise owners, to discuss

future steps to secure businesses

lost and gain back trust

and good reputation within the

community. One of such steps

was bringing on board Basketball

legend Shaquille O’Neil as

one of the Board members and

Brand Ambassadors for Papa

Johns international. As Victoria

continues to engage within the

community and speak on issues

such as diversity and inclusion,

we can only continue to expect

more changes that is truly reflective

of diversity and inclusion

of the Black community.

Article by: Oremeyi Kareem

Featured person:

Tawana Bain

29 29


As a freelance stylist, image consultant, and owner of Foxy Feet Boutique

for ladies for the past 11 years, Tonya Godsey-Lowe specializes in red carpet

dressing, campaign, fashion editorial, and personal shopping. She brings style,

class, and elegance to the city by finding the most fierce shoes and accessories

from over 45 different buyers.

She styles individuals, brides for their wedding, and seniors for proms. Her goal

is to make them look fabulous on any budget.

Tonya developed an eye and love for fashion at an early age, she followed

trends in magazines, stars and have attended fashion classes in Las Vegas for

5 years to stay on top of the latest fashion colors and trends.

Whether it’s a high-profile celebrity for a red carpet event or a recent college

graduate looking to create herself, she gives each of her clients the same

amount of respect, attention, and honor making it easy to work with and love


Mrs Godsey-Lowe was the exclusive shoe provider for Derby City Fashion week

from 2011-2016, and again this year 2019 creating relationships with designers

all over the United States. She’s proud to have been the exclusive shoe

provider for the 2019 Super Bowl Fashion Show.

She also takes personal styling classes to keep up with the very fluid fashion

industry. Her clients include News Personalities, Authors, and everyone in between.

Her personal styling clientele includes clients, in LA, New York, Texas,

Virginia, NC, DC, Seattle, Atlanta and adding more to her resume weekly.

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Look book


photo credit

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Photo credit: Dantana Smith

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photo credit

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Growing up in Los Angeles, California as a young girl who was shy but charismatic, Tianna

Barnes used to try on her mother’s shoes, jewelry and makeup and strut around the house

pretending to be a fashion model. “Becasue of my slim frame, I was constantly approached by

model scouts, but my mom was very skeptical of scams and predators looking to take advantage

of us,” said Tianna. “My passion for fashion and catwalks really developed at Bennett College

where I met women from all over the world who slayed everyday going to class on campus.” Bennett College is a

Historical Black College for women that encourage their students to become leaders on and off campus, but also

dress for success in the classroom. “After Bennett, I knew I wanted to start an e-commerce business after learning

of the exponential growth in online stores. “I started in the industry as a model and learned the business side

working part-time managing a local boutique in New Albany,” said Tianna. Experienced and ready to step out on

faith, she decided to pursue her dream in the fashion industry by opening Dream Boutique.

Dream Boutique is a women’s clothing and accessory store that caters and styles with the sophisticated

woman in mind. Dreams’ style speaks to the ambitious woman that wants to build up her

range of office clothes, party wear, casual wear and formal gowns. Initially established in 2015 by

owner Tianna Barnes and Sheena Swift, the two opened a location in Downtown New Albany in

the Underground Station business center. The duo quickly developed a following and strong brand

throughout in the Kentuciana area, but decided to depart the New Albany location after two years

in business.

Tianna continued on with Dream Boutique and opened the Louisville location in January 2017,

where she focused on increasing the online presence and 1 on 1 personal styling. Dream Boutique

Louisville offers clients the opportunity to set up an appointment to come into the office and

receive personal attention from a stylist. Tianna says, “ My customers love the fact that they can call

their stylist and rest assure all details from their attire, hair, makeup, shoes, photography, and videography

will be handled. This business model works best for women who don’t have the time to shop

for an upcoming occasion or event and rather allow my team and I to handle the details.”

Dream is taking full-service boutique to the next level with their customized services at an affordable

price point. The goal of Dream is make every woman happy no matter the cost. Online

shopping is very popular today, however, many clients are skeptical to shop online due to negative

experience with receiving clothing from other countries that are too small or poor quality. Dream

works with only the best designers from the USA, Europe and Africa that use quality materials and

one of a kind designs. The Zuri African Collection offers custom blazers and formal gowns imported

from a designer in Zimbabwe. Other designers Dream has collaborated with include Aryea

Kolubah & Co. and Romanian designer Nissa whose Spring and Fall collection is previewed every

year during New York Fashion Week.

Another unique feature of Dream Boutique is the Modeling and Ambassador Program which offer

teens and women who aspire to grow their experience in modeling a chance to develop their

portfolio in a professional and trusted environment. “We develop our models through opportunities

to work with some of the best photographers in the city, hottest fashion shows, features in

local magazines, casting in movies, videos and commercials,” said Tianna. “What differentiate Dream

from other modeling agencies is that the models that sign with us actually get a variety of different

work opportunities and training through workshops to help build their skills. Parents trust their

daughters with me because they know they are in good hands.”

To connect with a Dream stylist or learn more about the Dream Modeling and Ambassador Program,

visit the website at LiveYourDreamBoutiqe.com or follow them on FB/IG @LiveYourDream-


VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019


photo credit

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photo credit

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MUA: Makeup by Tiamao


Terrence Humphrey

Model: Lily Smith




MUA: Makeup byTiamao


Model: Samantha Roman

44 44



Miguel Hampton


Business &


The Starks

As a 2nd generation company with over 28yrs

experience, G. Starks Realty has been making

a remarkable impact on the real estate industry.

The company was originally founded by

Geraldine Starks, a single mother with 5. With

the company located in the Westend of Louisville,

she took pride in helping individuals gain

the knowledge needed to become homeowners.

7 years ago, the company was passed down

to William D. Starks Jr. who’s determination

and ambition finished the vision of his mother,

which included hiring more real estate agents

along with creating a property management and

Commercial real estate department.

William D. Starks Jr., currently principal broker/owner

started out as a real estate investor.

Working with his father remodeling homes.

While creating passive income he was able to

start helping others by conducting classes on

how to create wealth through homeownership.

William has a passion for realestate that cannot

be measured. He understands the importance

of education and makes it a point to stay ahead

of the game. Also, teaching anyone who wants

to learn. He is a regular volunteer for the Junior

Achievement program, where he gives the

next generation the tools needed for Entrepreneurship

along with Personal Finance and Career

Success. He is also a member of the Professional

Standards Committee of the Greater

Louisville Association of Realtors. Currently, he

is a Councilman of the City of Coldstream. He

works alongside his wife of 29 years, Christine

A. Starks who manages the day to day operations

of Leverage Property Management.

G. Starks Realty now has a diverse group of

real estate agents who have built a reputation

for providing excellent customer experience.

While providing real estate services throughout

the entire state of Kentucky we have over

1000 real estate transactions. We continue to

build our management department and now

manage hundreds of single-family homes along

with small multiplex units and large apartment

buildings. The company has over 50 maintenance

vendors that we contract with on a

consistent basis to help with maintenance issues.

Currently, the company has a commercial

leasing department that manages over 100,000

square feet of office space throughout the Louisville

Metro area. The goal is to keep providing

a great customer experience while helping

people reach the dreams of owning a home and

providing space for those building a business.


VM: What will you like for people to

know about you first and foremost?

WS: I am William Starks Jr. a father of 5 kids and have

been married for 22 yrs to Christine Starks. After college

I started working for United Parcel Service where

I started buying investment property in my spare time.

After working for 24 years at UPS, I followed my mothers

foot steps and left UPS in 2014 and got into real

estate. I am now principal broker and owner of a 2nd

generation real estate company named G. Starks Realty.

The company was started about 25 years ago by

my mother Geraldine Starks. We now have a property

VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019


management company that my wife Christine Starks runs

the day to day operation of. We also have residential

and commercial sales, along with commercial leasing. I

currently work with Junior Achievers, where I go into

the classrooms teaching kids Career Success, Personal

Finance as well as Entrepreneurship. I am also a Councilman

for the City of Cold Stream.

VM: How did you get started? What motivated

you to get started? What made you jump

from your 9-5 to owning your own company?

WS: My mother and father were the reason I got started.

My father was a contractor and built garages as his profession.

My mother was a real estate agent who eventually

became a broker and started her own company. I

remember going to showings with her. She knew a few

investors back in the early 90’s where at 22 years old

I purchased my first home. I was never satisfied with

working a 9-5 job. I felt like I could make my own money

and not settle for the same pay every week. I started

with a plan and started building up my networking circle.

Then after long consideration, I left my job to pursue my

dreams of Entrepreneurship.

VM: Do you feel that this is your purpose/


WS: I feel like real estate is my passion. What I love is

the fact are so many different avenues to real estate such

as; property management, investments, sales and etc. So

far as my career goes, I wake up every morning ready to

see what and how I can take another step closer to my


VM: What challenges and successes have you

experienced so far?

passed away and to hear her say how proud she

was of me.

VM: Did you have any mentors who

helped to guide you, your beliefs and


WS: As far as my knowledge of how a business is

supposed to run I would credit that part to my

former employees at UPS. However, my mother

and father where both self employed throughout

much of my life, so watching them pay employees

and work many late days and nights to make

a deadline prepared me to travel the hard roads

head. Before I was a real estate agent my mother

always talked about real estate and how to invest.

I also watched as she ran her company. So, in a

nutshell, everything that I do and the belief that I

have in the company has come from her and will

always be a part of her.

VM: what’s in store for the future?

Projects? Initiatives?

WS: We have become more involved in helping

more people become homeowners. We have created

a wealth building class to help our youth to

become homeowners and investors. We are partnering

up with several non profits to help revitalize

the downtown area. Stay tuned, with have more

to come this year.

William D. Starks Jr., Broker, GRI, ABR


Office: 502.961.9313 option 0

Cell: 502.468.7031


WS: One of my first challenges was to find a way to help

my mother build her company up while working at my

job full time that I had for 24 yrs. I think one of my

biggest successes would have to be when I first started

working for my mothers real estate company and helping

her to see a new vision for the company that includes

more real estate agents along with adding different sister

companies and departments. Also, for my mother and

I to see the growth in the company before my mother

VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019

Featured Model

Ify Whitefield

Most of my life I have

struggled with low selfesteem.

People who

know me would think this

statement is ludicrous,

because I am a very confident individual. I

can imagine them wondering, how can someone

who seems so bold, and confident have

low self-esteem? According to a 2016 article

found in Forbes Magazine, “Confidence is

a belief in your ability to succeed – a belief

that stimulates action. Self-esteem refers to

your opinion of yourself, how well you value

yourself, and the power you allow yourself

to have. Everything you think and say

and do affects your confidence and selfesteem”.

It’s not common that people who

struggle with low self-esteem have high selfconfidence,

but for me this is the case. I too

have often wondered how two diametrically

opposed beings, one a child who is unsure of

herself and the other a fierce strong women ready

to conquer the world, share the same headspace.

To understand how this is possibly I’ll share my

memories of what I believe led to this internal division.

As a British-Nigerian child growing up in a predominantly

Caucasian neighborhood in London, my dark skin, wide

nose, and big lips were seen as unattractive amongst my

peers. I was taunted for having “double rubber” lips, and

called racial slurs, so I quickly understood that in my present

society, being black was not something desirable, and

thus not beautiful. My perception of beauty, which was

what I would call “white washed”, was reinforced by the

49 49

media. I was surrounded by the western ideology of

beauty on billboards, television shows, magazines,

and in my day to day life. The impact that had on my

subconscious mind is immeasurable. Stinging insults

from my peers were not only reinforced by what

the media was telling me about beauty standards,

but at home by my siblings and their friends. They

voted me the ugliest child in the house. I’ll never forget

standing there while they pointed at each school

picture hanging on the wall, and ranked me and my

sisters from prettiest to ugliest, which also coincidently

was in line with our skin tones from lightest

to darkest. As a child, it’s no wonder why, when it

came to beauty my opinion of myself was low.

There was one moment in my childhood that challenged

my opinion to this point, so much so that I

remember it vividly. I was standing on the corner

across the street from my favorite “chippie” (fish

and chip shop), and was flipping through a magazine

that just hit newsstands. It featured Alek Wek (a Sudanese

supermodel) and the moment I laid eyes on

her photograph, my immediate reaction was, “how

is she pretty?” Her looks didn’t fit my definition of

beauty. Alek wasn’t white, her nose was wide, her

lips were big, and she did not have long flowing hair.

I struggled to see her beauty because my subconscious

was so jolted by the fact that someone who

looked so “black” with typical African features was

actually being hailed as beautiful by the likes of Vogue.

This was eye-opening, and even though Alek’s looks

didn’t align with what I believed was beautiful, it gave

me hope that one day people would see me as beautiful,

and if this happened then I would see myself as

beautiful. I heard stories about women in the modeling

world who were taunted as children for being

too tall, too thin, ugly or just plain funny looking, and

now they were beautiful supermodels. Their stories

reminded me of “The Ugly Duckling” fairytale, so

I placated myself with the belief that, one day, I’d

transform from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.

I was convinced that this magical moment would

happen when I turned 16, so you can imagine my

surprise when I reached that golden age and my selfperception

did not magically change. Deep down

inside I still saw myself as the ugly awkward looking

girl the boys liked, but didn’t want to date.



Photo credit: Dantana Smith

Things didn’t get much better in regards to how I viewed myself when I went to college. It was the first time in my

life I was around other black students in a large capacity and I appreciated the ease at which, culturally, I fit in. But I

wasn’t expecting another layer of rejection and criticism to be added to my lot in life. I quickly found that the experience

I had earlier in life (where I was ranked based on my skin tone) was a glimpse into the discrimination I would

receive within the black community. People would make statements like “you’re pretty, even though you’re dark

skinned-ded” or “girl you so dark!” I remember thinking that’s so strange because I grew up around White people

and they of course would never say such a thing to me so blatantly. By this point in my life, all of the negative criticism

I received had groomed and instilled a deep belief in my psyche that my looks were not desirable. So I accepted

the feedback and focused my energy elsewhere because even if I believed I was ugly, for me, being beautiful was not

the measurement for happiness and success in life. I had the confidence that, despite my looks, I would be successful.

By God’s grace, I have a strong personality and strong will, which I believe is what helped me to succeed regardless

of my silent self-hatred. I placed value on two things that I could control and do well, my intellect and athletic ability.

I was in National Honors Society, recruited by top institutions such as Howard and Columbia Universities, and

received a full scholarship to run track and field at the University of Louisville. I earned an MBA within five years, all

while maintaining multiple part-time jobs, being a graduate assistant and a record-holding collegiate athlete. I chose

to focus my attention where I knew I could win, and ignore what I believed to be a weakness.

VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019

The unfortunate thing about my past perception of

beauty is that it was fueled by my acceptance of others

opinions. Instead of being anchored in something

of substance, pure love and compassion. It wasn’t until

I began to grow spiritually and think about what

I believe the definition of beauty is, that I began my

journey to changing my beliefs. I have always been able

to see the beauty in others regardless of their physical

appearance, because that is not what I find valuable in

an individual. The ability to see someone and appreciate

them beyond their physical appearance, can only

happen when you don’t judge them and view them

with “Christ-like” compassion and love. Yet, for myself

I did not have the same compassion and clarity. My

need for perfection blinded me from seeing myself as

others. I believed that I had to have high standards and

be my toughest judge. There were times I would look

in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw, and spiral into a

cycle of negative self-talk, which led to believing that I

wasn’t enough. I felt ashamed in a sense, and I lacked

compassion for myself. Now I realize love of self is the

key. I don’t need to be my toughest judge or biggest

critic, I need to be the number one fan of myself! Finally,

I am beginning to feel confident in who I am, because

I understand that having compassion for myself

is paramount. I work to control my thoughts because

I believe in the power of the mind and that positive

self-talk can make a big impact in changing deep rooted

false beliefs. Me not seeing myself as beautiful was

a symptom of not loving myself, and lack of self-love is

like a ticking time bomb waiting to self-destruct. It can

affect your family and even professional relationships,

rearing its ugly head as egotism or jealousy. So I work

hard to focus on biblical concepts like “you are what

you think about”, because I know how important it

is to be my own best friend. In your own life, regardless

of what people have told you about yourself, you

need to take inventory of all the amazing things you

have accomplished, and understand whose you are

and place value on what’s important. Most of all have

compassion for yourself so you are able to appreciate

all the beauty you bring in to this world. That is where

you will find confidence and your inner beauty will

shine bright for all to see.


52 52






Women of Power

by Koshie Mills

Photographer: Eva Marie David

54 54


55 55





NOIR Black Business Social Club, Inc. is

a new Louisville-based organization with

a mission to bring African and African-

American small business owners together to

network, collaborate, and strengthen their

businesses to give back to the community.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), entrepreneurship

within minority groups has increased, and data

from a 2016 SBA report indicates minorities own 29% of U.S.

businesses and that number more than doubled between 2002

and 2012. Unfortunately, minority-owned businesses still lack

access to financial and business resources as well as support.

NOIR was established in October of 2018 when Founder and

President, John Howard Shaw-Woo, realized there were no

existing organizations in Kentucky that specifically focus on

supporting small black businesses. Shaw-Woo is a self-proclaimed,

philantropreneur and has founded successful projects

in the nonprofit community including The West Louisville eco-

HUB Arts Community Inc. to support educational programming

for at-risk youth, and the Kentucky Poverty Initiative, Inc.

(formerly GFoundation, Inc.) with the mission of creating innovative

programs that uplift Kentuckians and break the cycle

of poverty.

Shaw-Woo, along with friends and colleagues created NOIR as

a networking platform where members meet monthly to learn

from special speakers and lecturers on specific business topics

ranging from marketing, social media, technology, financial

planning, accounting, business development, Human Resources

management, benefits providers, and many more.

Shaw-Woo stated, “Helping small businesses become Minority

Business Enterprise (MBE) [National Minority Supplier Development

Council] certified is one of the organization’s highest

priorities, followed by understanding the economic and political

landscape of Louisville and Kentucky in order to grow their


NOIR is governed by an Executive Board including Shaw-Woo

serving as President; Marcus Forward, Vice President and

the owner of Personal Options Healthcare the only Veteran

Healthcare services in Kentucky; Michelle Rae Hicks, Secretary

and owner of the Old Louisville Chili Bowl restaurant and

founder of Louisville Integrated Care a multi behavioral, mental,

and social health network

of services; and Blair Butler,

Treasurer, retired JCPS Assistant

Principal and founder of the

nonprofit Lovie’s House, Inc. for

young men aging out of foster

care in Kentucky.



NOIR meets every third Thursday of the month in the evening

at a designated location to discuss and help solve issues

and to plan future activities. In addition, every quarter is a

social event with members and spouses.

NOIR signature events include a signature event called The

Black Ball and an Annual Members Trip. The Black Ball will

serve as an annual fundraising and friend-raising event to

showcase the organization, its mission, and activities. Proceeds

from the event will fund the NOIR Scholarship Fund

which will award financial benefits to non-college bound

students to further their non-traditional educational endeavors.

Membership into NOIR is by invitation but interested

businesses owners can send an email expressing interest

to info@noirky.com. Membership is limited to approximately

30 in 2019 unless there is a tremendous amount of interest,

and the annual cost of membership to NOIR is $250

per year, which helps defer the costs of lectures, meeting

spaces, and activities. Currently there are 11, active members

with more coming on board.

Why would a small black business what to join NOIR? Because

each member will gain ongoing business knowledge

through interactions with similar business owners that are

committed to assisting each other through support and

collaboration. Members will also be partnered with experienced

mentors that will provide one-on-one assistance that

will help the business owner reach their goals.

NOIR is in the process of establishing itself as a 501(c)3,

nonprofit organization, which will allow caring individuals,

corporations, and foundations to donate to the organization

to help hire an Executive Director to lead day to day


For more information about NOIR Black Business Social

Club or to Volunteer as a Speaker or Lecturer, please visit

www.noirky.com, call 502-599-5299

or email info@noirky.com.

58 58


Little Miss Unity

By Jessica Foyah

Mission Statement

For young minority girls ages 8-14 years old, the goal of Little Miss Unity is to promote

positive growth and development for adolescent girls through faith & biblical learning,

education & scholarship, promotion of self-awareness, understanding and appreciation

of one’s own culture, community service, and team development in an effort to unite

young girls of different cultural backgrounds and promote self-empowerment.

The young ladies involved in the LMU program will be scored based on their stage/pageant performance

as well as their participation in the development in order to determine who will be

crowned Little Miss Unity.


• Biblical Learning - Biblical learning in an effort to educate young girls about the word of God and

how to apply it to their own personal lives and how they treat others.

• Education & Scholarship – Educate young girls on the importance of gaining knowledge as it

relates to furthering their education and/or pursuing their future goals.

• Cultural Awareness – Educate young girls on their personal culture and the culture of their peers

in an effort to make them more aware of their cultural background, and the societal contributions of

women like them in order to build self-appreciation and self-love.

• Team Development – Educate the contestants on the importance unity amongst young

women through team development activities.

• Character Development – To help develop personal character in an effort to build self-em

powerment, self-love, and positive treatment of others.

photo credit: Hilton Siaffa

VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019




want to



VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019

Photographer: Mellek Photography

Location: Churchill Downs


Fund for

the Arts


VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019



VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019


photo credit

VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019



VOME Magazine • APRIL 2019

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