The New Normal

swaghermagazine

SwagHer Magazine' celebrates 10- years in business with its 3oth issue by sharing the new normal way of living during a pandemic with its award-winning publisher Francheska “Fancy” Felder as the cover . Other spotlighted features are Naja Hall of Black & Blended and Terracina Jackson of The Sacred Space.


II SWAGHER FALL 2020

SWAGHER

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Contributors:

Malcolm Anderson

Arnya T.M. Davis

Francheska “Fancy” Felder

Vince Smith

April D. Byrd

Kristin Peoples

AllisonJanel

Arnitris L. Strong

Christina Woodard

Copy Editors:

Andrew Horton

Francheska “Fancy” Felder

Photography:

Clay Banks

Gama Films

Annie Spratt

Cassandra Hamer

Jeppe Monster

Get Croissant (Co-Working Space)

Josh Herrington

Jealous Weekend

Ricardo Santiago

Cover and Editorial Photography:

Shameka Matthews of Smile 4 Meka

Fancy’s Editorial Makeup:

Robyn Pope of Lotus Love BR

Cover Shoot Location:

Smile 4 Meka Studios

Cover Shoot Sponsor:

BoxOffice7 Studios

Marketing:

Jarmel Roberson, VP of Marketing

Shanice Ashby

Angelique Janey

Layout Design:

Ricardo Santiago and Dwight Howard

of ATHNTK


THE NEW NORMAL III

From

The

Editor

If you’re reading this, then, congratulations! We’ve

both made it this far amidst a pandemic and a possible

social uprising. A shift has definitely taken place.

I never imagined our tenth year in business to be like

this. It has been both scary and challenging, filled with a

lot of bad and good. When lockdown occurred, I wasn’t

sure what I would do.

The nationwide shutdown went into effect two

weeks after my kids and I packed our overnight bags and

rushed to my cousin’s house to escape my emotionally

and physically abusive ex. Like many others, I/we weren’t

prepared for the shift, or so I thought.

As news outlets began to report the disproportionate

deaths in Black communities due to Covid-19,

the world learned of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery,

George Floyd, and then Breonna Taylor. I wondered if

our work not only would be able to sustain us but if it

even mattered in a world that appears to be so self-absorbed

and wicked.

And yet, I also saw people, not just Black

people, though that is who I was more so looking at, I

saw people reverting to many practices and ways that we

seemed to have abandoned. We rested, some of us a lot,

but not all of us in comfort.

Ironically, I noticed many other Black businesses

pivot and thrive during those first few months, but I was

too scared. I didn’t know what the future held. I’m grateful

to say that during that time, God sent me my ideal

future husband (the name was chosen carefully), and

somehow those months that really could have been hard

months of struggle turned out to be peaceful, loving

months. Honestly, I feel like I bloomed during that time.

I know my confidence and knowledge of self certainly

did.

That’s when I took the time to recall and observe the

growth of SwagHer Magazine. We had come too far.

And not only that, but in a spiritual sense, all of the magazine

and my trials and tribulations had been preparing

us for this. I realized this wasn’t the time to back down

but to stand up.

Thank you so much to my team members, but

particularly my core team. You all believing in me and my

crazy ideas and then helping me execute them, sometimes

when we have nothing but a dream itself. This

means the world to me. I only wish to make you proud.

Thank you, Jarmel, for being my PNC all these years.

You keep me and this thing going. Thankyou, Arnya, for

being some of whatever I lack in whatever the situation

may be. I love you guys

I know we joked online about how these times

would reveal who’s a hustler and who’s not. I don’t knock

anyone who’s having hard times right now, but I was

determined not to be in the latter.

The words of William Ernest Henley ran

through my mind continuously. I am the master of my

fate: I am the captain of my soul.

I am that I am.

But that time to rest was like a caterpillar going

into its cocoon. I feel as if I came out more robust and

more beautiful than ever, and that is all that I aim to

manifest around me even in this new normal.

Until next time...

From Fancy w/ Love


IV SWAGHER FALL 2020

Full Apology and Retraction

to Terricina Jackson From

Francheska Felder and SwagHer

Magazine

SwagHer Magazine, and I, Francheska

“Fancy” Felder, sincerely apologize

for the erroneous and unacceptable

statement made against Terricina Jackson in

SwagHer Magazine’s recent, Unapologetic

Issue.

In our feature of Ms. Jackson’s story titled,

“Terricina Jackson Reveals What Healing

From Trauma Looks Like” (Felder,

Francheska. “Terricina Jackson Reveals

What Healing From Trauma Looks Like”

SwagHer Magazine, November 2019. 53-57.

Print), I wrote,

I had no idea when she caught my eye as

the owner of Respect the Queen, that she

was molested by her babysitter at the age of

four; began an incestuous relationship with

her younger brother at the age of nine; battled

alcoholism beginning in her teens; been

gang-raped also in her teens; and later battled

alcoholism again, along with a cocaine

addiction in her early twenties; before facing

drug trafficking charges, and going through

court-ordered programs.

However, Terricina has not ever battled with

cocaine addiction, as she has reached out to

me (Francheska Felder) personally and cor-

rected me.

Ms. Jackson was oblivious to the false statement

made on her behalf. She wasn’t given

the opportunity to review the article prior to

it being published. Although, she has been

more than candid about her life’s story her

brand, as well as her image, is of the utmost

importance to both parties.

While this unfounded statement was not

made with cruel or malicious intention but

in error, I understand the seriousness of the

matter and would like to publicly acknowledge

this mistake, retract it, and we/SwagHer

Magazine will be updating future and digital

issues on our platforms and print (if further

prints are ordered).

I take pride in telling the stories of others and I

only do so to uplift and educate, so I wouldn’t

ever want to inaccurately share someone’s

stories. Personally, Terricina’s story is one of

my favorite pieces, so it saddens me as a journalist

that this happened, and I wish Terricina

nothing but the best in the future.

Sincerely,

Francheska “Fancy” Felder

Publisher/EIC of SwagHer Magazine


THE NEW NORMAL V

Meet the

Contributors

April D. Byrd: April D. Byrd believes that positive, uplifting media has the power to

inspire hope and courage for people to excel. She is a Writer and Producer that uses

her voice for good while helping others express their talents. She is the creator of

Breath Of Life Daily Online Journal and Podcast, which can be found on all social

media networks @BOLDJournal

Malcolm Anderson: Malcolm Anderson is a Cum Laude graduate of Reinhardt

University. From the beginning of his education, the ideas of creativity and ever-expanding

curiosity were instilled in him. He loves working with children and

helping them believe that they can do anything they put their mind to, a lesson he

was taught from an early age. Although his focus is on Sports Media, Malcolm has

been writing for various mediums over the past few years and aims to expand his

repertoire in efforts to reach as many people as possible.

April D. Byrd

Arnya T.M. Davis

Kristin Peoples

Arnitris L. Strong

Malcolm Anderson

Vince Smith

AllisonJanel

Christina Woodard

Arnya T.M. Davis: Arnya T. M. Davis, a native of New Orleans, was transplanted

in Dallas, Texas, in 1999. Arnya started her serial entrepreneur journey at the age

of 23, with Arnya’s Abstract Services. She has owned businesses in six industries

to date. At present, she is the CEO of LadiCEO, LLC. LadiCEO was birthed in

2012 to help up-n-coming small business owners and entrepreneurs find their voice

and determine how they want the world to view them. LadiCEO has three components

Media, Fashion, and Brand consulting and management. Arnya is Co-Host

of the weekly podcast, Theories & Thoughts, which can be viewed on her YouTube

channel, LadiCEO Media, SwagHer YouTube page and Spotify. Arnya’s goal is to

uplift those connected to her and her community, no matter what they look like,

their education level, or their life goal. She lives by the thought, “You don’t have to

subscribe to what people think of you, be you genuinely.”

Vince Smith: Vince D’Writer was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He

attended Purdue University. While working as a Sports Recruiter, Vince D’Writer

wrote a how-to guide that explained the recruiting process about obtaining an athletic

scholarship. Developing a passion for writing, he transitioned to writing urban

fiction books and becoming a contributor to multiple media outlets.

Kristin Peoples: Kristin Peoples is a Style Coach & Blogger from North Carolina.

She’s always had a curvier figure and learned her to dress her body in stylish and

flattering clothing. Kristin now teaches other women how to find their confidence

and rebrand themselves through fashion by discovering their personal style. Her favorite

mantra is “the joy of dressing is an art,” as she expresses herself as a Fashion

Creative. Kristin is relentlessly growing her platform and has recently been featured

in multiple publications. You can check out her website at www.kristinpeoples.com

or via Instagram @thekristinpeoples.

AllisonJanel: Hailing from Manhattan, New York, AllisonJanel is a graduate of

Saint John’s University, where she majored in Legal Studies with a minor in Court

Administration. In 2015, she attended Metropolitan College of New York and

received her MBA in Financial Services. AllisonJanel is the Owner of AllyKatzAlley

& Everyday Accessory Collection, and Founder & CEO of Everything Phenomenally

You and AllyJ Media, slated to launch in January 2021. Additionally,

she’s an Editorial Assistant at SwagHer Magazine, Influencer, Blogger, Community

Volunteer, Legal Consultant, and Licensed Notary in NYS. You can find her on

Instagram @chatwitallyJ

Arnitris L. Strong: Arnitris L. Strong, a certified Christian relationship coach, is

dedicated to supporting single mothers as they heal their hearts to have room for

the love they desire. Using her signature system, The Blessed Dating Experience,

Arnitris guides women by creating a plan to date intentionally in preparation for

marriage. When she is not working with women, you can find her living, loving, and

dating as a good thing. Follow her on social media @blessedbthetie on IG & TW

and theblesseddatingexperience.online.

Christina Woodard: Christina Woodard was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

She attended Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and received a

Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. She is passionate about all things related

to writing, investigation, family, and crime and hopes in the future to put those passions

to good use by becoming an attorney. She is currently the Magazine Manager

at SwagHer Magazine and Media. You can find her on Instagram @cstina.nicole.

Fancy: Francheska “Fancy” Felder is the founder/publisher/EIC of SwagHer

Magazine. She’s a single mother of 3 -Libra - Trapping scribe -Lover -Mental health

advocate - Country girl -Proud, liberated Black goddess.


VI SWAGHER FALL 2020

I

Cover

II

Acknowledgements

III

From

the

Editor

IV

Apology to

Terricia

Jackson

V

Contributors

VI

Table of

Contents

CONTENTS

01

Feature

Vince S. opens by observing the

new usual way of living due to

the pandemic and social unrest.

04

Health

Glendora Dvine is the mental

health professional, author, and

breast cancer survivor saving

Black boys and girls from a

world of pain.

06

Fashion

Kaitlyn D. shares the secrets

behind your favorite clothing

stores and explains sustainable

fashion.

14

Social

Arnya M. shares social media

platform options that are Blackowned.

17

Author

As she celebrates her ten year

anniversary of life coaching,

life coach, mentor, and author

Debrayta reminds us that she

and her clients are in it for the

long haul.

21

Healing

Malcolm A. explains how

healing is an art that everyone

should experience.

THE

NEW

NORMAL

“The new normal of a Black man

being able to exercise freely and not

have to worry about fitting a description.

The new type of normal where

everyone is accepted as a human being

before deemed as being worthy of fundamental

human rights.” - Malcolm

Anderson, Pg. 1

10

Spotlight

We spotlight author and owner

of Priceless Inspirations, LLC,

Lynette Edwards, who also tells

you how to be unstoppable.

12

Revenge

April B.highlights the collaborative

efforts of black people,

companies, and organizations

rallying for the BLM movement.

25

Essay

Vince S. gives a recap on the

men killed due to police brutality.

30

Author

A domestic violence survivor,

homelessness overcomer, U.S.

army veteran turned author and

podcast hostess talks about her

life and work.


THE NEW NORMAL VII

66

Cover Story

SwagHer Magazine and Media’s E.I.C., Francheska “Fancy” Felder

is interviewed by her 'Theories & Thoughts' co-hostess, Arnya.

Fancy shares how she grew from a teen mom and exotic dancer to a

successful business owner and award-winning publisher.

34

Q&A

Naja Hall details the inspiration

behind Black & Blended.

39

Fitness

Wellness and fitness diva,

Beverly Johnson gives insight

into why GenFit was created

and the forgotten woman.

41

Style

Kristen P. gives style tips by

mixing and matching mixed

prints to create an iconic look.

43

Medicine

LaTanya “Ms. Unorthoodoc”

Tibbs talks about her journey as

a womb healer.

48

Peace

Arnya D. shares the wellness

practices she has incorporated

into her life for peace amid all

the current chaos.

52

Healing

In this feature, Terrancina

Jackson talks healing and

trauma with Fancy.

59

Beauty

Learn the story behind DemiBlue

Polish in this beauty

spotlight.

62

Spotlight

Author Spotlight Teresa Stith

shares her struggle with her

faith and how it influences her

work.

76

Author

The last Author Spotlight

highlights the accomplishments

of Kimberly P. Jones, early

childhood educator and

children’s book author.

79

Meet

We Interrupt Your

Programming-Meet the new

SwagHer Magazine media

correspondents.

81

Love

Arnitris S. gives tips on how to

get over a breakup to becoming

a better person in the end.

84

Men

This MANdatory Awareness

features S.L. Jackson, an urban

fantasy author. He gives insight

into his new book, podcast, and

upcoming animated series.


VIII SWAGHER FALL 2020

FEATURE

The New

Normal

BY MALCOLM ANDERSON


THE NEW NORMAL 1

The New

Normal

BY MALCOLM ANDERSON

Covid-19 was not, cannot, and will not be the

most significant societal impact of 2020. The

most massive shift of the year won’t be everyone

moving 6 feet away. But instead, everyone finally taking

a step in the same direction and being unilaterally tired

while unanimously acknowledging it. What if THIS is the

new world?

The new world where the money goes to the people fighting

the disease as opposed to the money going to people

hiding the cure. A place that offers multiple opportunities

at the same quality of life without a system to load the

deck of some while removing cards from others. A world

filled with accountability and credibility, where police departments

aim to “Protect and Serve” rather than aim at

defenseless targets. Dare I say the type of normal where

a “few bad apples” are removed and adjusted by the “few

good ones.”

The new normal of a Black man being able to exercise

freely and not have to worry about fitting a description.

The new type of normal where everyone is accepted as

a human being before deemed as being worthy of fundamental

human rights. A new world where the victims

of oppression aren’t reminded of it every time they hike

Stone Mountain or attend a class at Clemson University.

A world where the simple statement of “Black Lives Matter”

isn’t considered a threat. I mean, I don’t understand.

How hard of a concept is that? You would have to WANT

to be ignorant to still disagree at this point. When a house

is on fire, and the fire department shows up to put it out,

nobody says “All Houses Need Water”. There is absolutely

nothing controversial about saying that a life simply

“matters”.

We’re not saying matters more than other lives; we’re not

saying it’s the only thing that matters, but we’re saying

Black lives matter simply because they’re the only ones being

targeted at this moment and seemingly every moment

in the last 400+ years, and even now as you read this.

If the world is too big for you, we can start smaller, let’s say

an organization? Perhaps, the NFL, for example. A league

that categorically rebuked Colin Kaepernick for calling out

the system and its constituents while using his most lucrative

and only platform. Kaepernick uses every right he has


2 SWAGHER FALL 2020

“If “They” are

offended, “They” have

a personal problem

because “WE” are

exhausted.”

as an American and exhausts every legal avenue while doing

so to be still cast aside like a pariah just because some guys

with a brand got their little feelings hurt. I could be wrong,

but I feel as if that would be a great place to start replacing

and apologizing if anyone was wondering.

We’re all beginning to see that there is a group of people

willing to go out of there way to remain ignorant in hopes

of deterring progression. “They” ask for proof and law enforcement

provided and have continued to offer a long list

of references of those who can no longer represent themselves.

“They” wanted peaceful demonstrations but poked

and prodded them until peace no longer filled the require-

ments. “They” reference events and microcosms of society

that “They” either created or benefit from and then

explain such said situations as if those affected actually

have a shot at fixing it.

If “They” are offended, “They” have a personal problem

because “WE” are exhausted. “WE” are done with the

way of just accepting what “They” give because that’s

just the way it is. “WE” are ready to be the change in the

world that we want and need to see whether “They” are

ready or not.


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4 SWAGHER FALL 2020

MENTAL HEALTH

MEET

GLENDORA

DVINE

The mental health professional saving black boys and girls from the system

Glendora Dvine has been a nationally accredited

licensed counselor since 2007 in South Georgia

and has always had a passion and drive

to help others. She is the founder of Dvine Systems

GA, which is a mental and behavioral health practice

that has been in operation since 2010, and in 2015 she

became board-certified to provide TeleMental Health

services. Dvine Systems GA offers an array of face to

face and telemental health therapeutic and professional

services to the community. Through Dvine Systems

GA, Glendora has become recognized for her passion

in three primary areas; 1) Family safeguarding through

healthy mental living, 2) Parenting Strategies/Intervention,

and 3) Developing one’s vision for life.

Glendora acquired her bachelor’s in psychology and

masters in professional counseling. After completing

her studies, the Detroit native relocated to the Metro

Atlanta area to plant her roots and began to uplift and

inspire her community of families. She speaks on various

platforms (schools, private and government companies,

etc.), motivating, encouraging, and inspiring others

to keep moving in their purpose of life. Glendora’s favorite

two types of clients are someone who is trying

to get through something or someone who is trying to


THE NEW NORMAL 5

reach a goal.

Glendora received a life-threatening challenge in 2013

after a breast cancer diagnosis; after several procedures

and months of recovery, Glendora persevered to become

a breast cancer overcomer and from there, a motivational

speaker and author. She published her 1st

book in 2016, entitled “Leaving Legacies - Breaking the

disconnect between parents and millennials.” (amazon.

com/author/glendoradvine - eBook), a guide on safeguarding

families, which include worksheets. Her focus

of writing reflects her passion for educating parents and

caregivers on new ways to parent their children by embracing

new habits and being mentally aware of old patterns.

Glendora also has created “Just In Time” online

educational courses, which are parenting courses that

center on positive communication, quality family time,

and family unification.

Fancy: What sparked your interest in psychology?

Glendora: I’ve always been a person that helped people

with their problems. I was always in people’s business.

When I graduated from Master’s School, I had a party,

and my husband held a toast. He stood up and said, “I

want to give a toast and say finally, she can get paid for

being in people’s business and stop taking my money to

help them.” So, pretty much, I’m always helping someone.

I think I am a natural servant.

Fancy: So tell us a little bit about Dvine Systems Georgia

in layman’s terms.

Glendora: Well, Dvine Systems Georgia is a counseling

agency, but it’s a system of networks, so we link up with

a lot of different community entrepreneurs, educators,

council people, and overall influencers. We connect with

others in our community to help better serve our community,

which is why it’s a system network. We try and

put forth energy and effort in helping our community be

great and leave a legacy. So for over ten years, we have

offered counseling- individual, family, couples, marriage,

we see an array of disorders and behaviors being versatile

by accepting over 13 different insurances.

Fancy: As long as I’ve known of you and your brand, I

never made the connection between the network that

you’ve been building and the systems part within your

business title. It’s impressive. Now, I did notice that your

three primary areas of counseling pertain to the family.

What was your own family like growing up?

Glendora: Well, my dad raised me. My mom left when I

was five, and my dad raised my two brothers and me. He

was very strict concerning you don’t ask, don’t borrow,

or beg. “You can go out there and get it yourself. Try not

to do it on credit because you should have money if you

really want it. So if you don’t have money to afford it, you

don’t need it” was more of his philosophies. So it almost

felt like a militant upbringing, but I honestly see now that

it was a lot of structure and morals that he was providing.

He was keeping my brothers and me safe. He was actually

making us understand how to have integrity and also understand

what his legacy was.

Fancy: That’s deep, but I’ve said before that you seem like

a very purposeful person, which brings me to my next

question. You are a certified sex offender specialist, and

I’ve heard of a little of your backstory about it, but what

influenced you to want to work within this population?

Glendora: Well, again, it stems from my community. So I

service a lot of children, and one of my philosophies is

if you want me to see your child, you must also make an

appointment with me for yourself as well. Because I’m

not going try and help your child or pour into your child

knowing they are connected to you, and I don’t know if

you really are provoking this issue or there may be an action

you can take to help decrease this issue. These appointments

allow me to understand better if I may need

to help the parent understand how to work with the problem

also. Therefore, it’s a mandatory requirement.

But what inspired me to obtain certification was the fact

that I was getting a lot of African-American kids charged

with sexual molestation or sexual battery. When they’re

accused of these kinds of sexual crimes, the charges stick

with them for life, especially the molestation. I also didn’t

like the fact that so many of them were coming through

the office for such trivial things or things they did while

calling themselves “dating.” I understand that our culture

has dating twisted, and our children are claiming they’re

dating while in elementary and middle school, and the

kids that were coming to see me were in middle school

and over-sexualized. They were saying things that made

me look at them like, “Wait, hold the hell on!” It was like

they were talking about how to make Kool-Aid. So with

all of that being said, the kids were facing charges and

didn’t have anyone to counsel them without the parent

driving over an hour away.

That’s when I thought, “You know what? I can help these

children because all of them are basically saying that they


6 SWAGHER FALL 2020

don’t have anyone to talk to at home”. They’re getting information

from friends, social media and technology, and

half talking parents. I realized I need to find a better way

to treat them because I couldn’t treat them the same as

an adult. I believe adults understand what they are doing

from the moment they did it. For a child, I feel like they

are trying to experiment with what they have been told or

taught, so children don’t have that understanding of the

full ramifications of what they’re doing.

So I now service teens 18 and younger, and I created a

program for juveniles who have sexual offending problems

or charges. We currently use the program is currently

used in my community at the county courthouses. Also,

as part of the program, in the last eight weeks of the program,

the child goes back to the parent, and they complete

an activity about decision-making

that they do together as we

close out the weeks.

I’m trying to create a real relationship

between this child and

their parent without there being

a wall built up. So that was

the whole point of me creating

the program because it wasn’t

anything out there to involve

the parent. Most programs

just include the perpetrator or

allege perpetrator. At the end

of the program, I created it so

that the parent has a discussion

with the child to gather more

about what the child has learned related to sex and decision

making. The parent now understands a little bit more

about where the child’s decision-making skills are coming

from and why.

“That’s when I

thought, ‘You

know what? I

can help these

children.’”

the assessment, I’m already like, “Hell, yes, we need to

get started.”

This way, they can say, “Well, I already started counseling

for that particular issue. “So then, the court will have me

or the parent come back around and give them the outline

of the program. Parents will take that back to their

lawyer, who will present it to the prosecutor and submit

it to the judge, and it goes from there.

Fancy: So three years into your practice, you are diagnosed

with breast cancer, but you beat it. How did it

change your life and your work?

Glendora: Honestly, it didn’t because I was more like,

“Okay, so what are we going to do because I’m not going

to make my life doctor’s

appointments. Just keep it

moving?” Plus, my family was

very supportive, so I didn’t

focus on it. I even went back

to work early. As soon as the

doctor was able to take the

tubes out of me, I was like,

“I can’t sit in this house. This

is making me depressed, so

let me go hear other people’s

problems.” That made me

happy. Yes, I couldn’t do that

girl. I’m just really not a good

patient. I don’t want to sit. It’s

too boring.

Fancy: Oh, wait, I thought that’s where your “One life,

keep it moving” motto came from, from overcoming

that experience.

Fancy: I’m just still kind of blown away by the child offenders

and how you’ve built the program, but now I curious

as to how you went about the process of creating

that type of relationship to work with the County. Did

you pitch them?

Glendora: Well, my clients pitched it for me because they

would mention they are already seeing a therapist. Kids

would get in trouble, and then the court date might not

come as soon. Now the parents are freaking out; the kid

just knows some ish has gotten serious but doesn’t really

understand. And then next thing you know, the parents

are trying to run and find some type of counseling. When

they come to me, and they tell me what’s going on during

Glendora: No, girl, that’s just been me. And I had a double

mastectomy too because the cancer was only in one,

but I was like, “Listen, do both of them. I don’t have

time.”

Fancy: Wow...

Glendora: Of course, I get sad, I get down, and I mope,

but my family doesn’t do those things. So it doesn’t last

long, and reality comes back. Everyone around me is always

like, “You laugh at disappointment; you laugh at

sorrow; you laugh at everything!” I laugh because God

is in it all, and positivity is there somewhere. So let’s find

it. Have that negative moment, but it can’t be any more


THE NEW NORMAL 7

than a moment.”

Fancy: Yes, that’s a great perspective. I realized we hadn’t

discussed your book yet. Please tell us about it.

Glendora: Leaving Legacies: Breaking The Disconnect

Between Parents And Millennials. Basically, it’s a behavior

therapy book because it’s actually a to-do book, an

enlightening book on how to communicate effectively

honestly. I’m highlighting assertive communication, and

I’m pointing out that the reality is, we were raised in an

aggressive communication style. That’s what most were

taught. Now we have to reteach ourselves to talk assertively

and honestly. It’s a conscious decision that we have

Health. Now since COVID-19 and the global awareness

of social injustice, I want to certify as many professionals

as possible to ethically and legally provide counseling

services via Telemental Health. If you are a mental

health professional and would like to build, scale, and

grow in Telemental Health, then please join my Facebook

group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/OnlinePrivatePractice/.

Connect with Glendora and Dvine Systems GA below.

Website: http://www.dsgeorgia.com/

Instagram: @glendoradvine

Facebook: DvineSystemsGA

Book: amazon.com/author/glendoradvine

“All of them are

basically saying

that they don’t

have anyone to

talk to at home.”

to practice because it’s a skill. So, I’m really trying to get

parents to understand how they’re talking to their children

and how to stop for a second, regather themselves,

and understanding how to speak to themselves first.

This way, they can clearly relay the message to their children

instead of responding so quickly with no listening

or misunderstanding.

Fancy: So what other events or upcoming projects do

you have in the works?

Glendora: This year, I have been accepted as a board

member for a nonprofit that empowers women and girls

called SheSteams. I have a lot of girls that come through

my office, and I always look for referrals to connect

them with to help them blossom into beautiful beings.

But also, I have a 14-year-old daughter who participates.

Currently, I’m also teaching a Masterclass for Mental

Health Professionals to start their own business by

providing counseling services online with Telemental


8 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Combating

Fast Fashion

by Kaitan Darby

We’ve all heard the horror stories about

women and children working for virtually

nothing in sweatshops in developing

countries. Places like your faves, Fashion Nova, just

to name one, and CEOs like Kylie Jenner exploiting

and even refusing to pay workers who bust

their tails making these products seem to be on the

rise because people demand fast fashion. If you’re

wondering what that is, it’s trendy articles of clothing,

usually stylized by whatever is on the runway at

that particular time that is mass-produced and sold

much cheaper than their runway counterparts. Is it

starting to sound familiar?

Another thing with fast fashion is that it’s not a sustainable

model of production. It’s harsh on the environment.

So if you’re looking to help combat the

effects of fast fashion, a simple solution would be

to start at places like Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s

Closet. There are other places that sell gently used

clothes at a fraction of the retail price. You can find

all kinds of designer brands if you’re looking in the

right places and you can save yourself a lot of money

while you’re at it.

You can also try apps such as Poshmark, Vinted, or

ThreadUp. Poshmark tends to have some real luxury

items on it, I mean like really bougie things, Red Bot-

toms, LV, etc. So if you want to rock the rich b*tch

attire but you aren’t really getting that rich b*tch income,

download Poshmark. ThreadUp is also the

largest gently used clothing website, so you’re bound

to find something that fits your style there. You can

buy or sell on these apps just like you can sell at Plato’s

Closet. It’s basically a win-win if you need a new

outfit and are looking to make some extra cash.

If you’re really crafty, you could learn to sew your

clothes. This way, you know the quality of the product

and the work, and no one has to work in a sweatshop

to make it happen. Of course, this isn’t the answer

for everyone, I know I couldn’t sew my clothes,

but it’s a cool alternative.

Lastly, you can shop at small businesses. Crazy right?

When you shop with a small business, your money

is going toward someone’s family, someone’s bills,

someone’s something. Someone like you. Not a rich

person who is exploiting workers. Fast fashion retailers

sometimes even steal designs from smaller brands

and try to pass them off as their own (Fashion Nova

is notorious for this). Call it out if you see it. But the

best way to support is to buy directly from the small

business rather than its fast fashion counterpart.


THE NEW NORMAL 9


10 SWAGHER FALL 2020

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

LYNETTE

EDWARDS

Lynette Edwards (Lyn.Free) is a nationally recognized

author, she is a certified life coach, and

owns a publishing company. She is the CEO

of Priceless Inspirations, LLC and served as a global

campaign member for the Born to Lead campaign in

2017. In addition, Lyn.Free has served as the Executive

Producer of the hit play ‘One Night Only’, inspired by

her best-selling book series. She was cast as the narrator

of the sold-out play ‘Secrets of a Woman’, and she has

made several guest appearances over the years which

includes ‘The Balancing Act’ on Lifetime television,

‘Shine Your Light’ Christian broadcasting network, ‘Minority

Women’s Movement’, ‘The Authors Lounge Radio

Show’, ‘A Literary Affair’, and ‘UP WORDS’ international

magazine just to name a few.

She has published four inspirational books to help uplift

and encourage others, three urban fiction books targeted

towards women who are on the Christian journey trying

to find themselves, one children’s book to bring awareness

to mental health and the impact it has on children, and

one interactive journal to help others create a clear path

during life’s journey by releasing negativity, finding your

why, and setting obtainable goals.

She started the ‘unSTOPpable’ collection which consists

of apparel and limited accessories, inspired by her

best-selling interactive journal titled, ‘Unstoppable: 15 Es-


THE NEW NORMAL 11

sential Steps Toward Becoming UNSTOPPABLE.’ Her

motto for 2020- ‘Ready-Set-Succeed, the time has come

for you to be UNSTOPPABLE!’ Learn more about Lynette

below.

Fancy: How would you describe your swagher? What

makes Lynette, Lynette?

Lynette: My swagher is bold. I believe in living out loud,

seizing the moment, and making the best out of every

situation by turning each of life’s lessons into unlimited

blessings. What makes Lynette, Lynette? My willingness

to think outside of the box makes me who I am. I am

not afraid to stand alone or follow the road less traveled.

I am a firm believer that what God has for me is mine,

therefore I don’t have to rush the process or try to figure

out what lies ahead; I can simply live each day at ease. I

take pride in the ability to become better instead of bitter;

wiser instead of weaker.

Fancy: What sparked your passion for writing?

Lynette: In 2011 I was given a book about inspiring women

by a family member, they wanted me to read the book

since I was always trying to inspire others. I took one look

at the cover of the book and thought, if I wanted too, I

bet I could write a book to help inspire others. Just like

that the idea came to me, I sat at my computer, grabbed

my bible, and said, ‘Lord if this is your will, please make

a way.’ Within six hours, I had the title and the first 28

pages to my first book. I have been writing and publishing

books every since.

Fancy: Is it safe to say that you also coach through your

writings?

Lynette: Of course, in fact, the majority of my coaching

is through written words. I believe that you can reach others

through writing. When you coach through writing you

allow the reader to interpret the book for themselves and

apply it to their lives as needed. They can then return back

to the written words at any time and utilize it to help them

on their journey in life.

Fancy: You also write across different genres. Is that ever

a challenge for you?

Lynette: Writing in itself is a challenge for me. I am not a

traditional writer. I am an emotional writer. Every book,

except the journal, was inspired by a significant life event.

I use writing as my therapy when I am dealing with life

events and having a difficult time coping. I write to release

my emotions. All of the books were inspired during seasonal

changes in my life; they were not planned. The first

four books were written when I was building my foundation

in Christ and learning who I was, while the three

urban fiction books were written as a result of bad breakups

and during times that I questioned my faith. The

children’s book was written after I lost my mother. She

battled mental illness for most of my life, and after she

died, I wrote the children’s book Birdie’s Way to shed light

on mental illness and the impact it has on children. My

‘Unstoppable’ interactive journal is the only project that

I completed on purpose. It was something that I wanted

to do for me, something to help push me towards being

a better person while motivating others to do the same.

Fancy: So your ‘Unstoppable’ interactive journal inspired

your Unstoppable collection. Can you tell us a little more

about the collection?

Lynette: The Unstoppable collection is a collection of apparel

and limited accessories. There are t-shirts, hoodies,

cell phone case covers, and laptop sleeves just to name

a few. The collection is simply to help you feel unstoppable.

With the hustle and bustle of life, we forget and

need to be reminded that we are truly unstoppable. We

each have something unique about us that allows us to do

great things. The collection reminds us to keep going, it

motivates us to never quit, and most importantly it ignites

us to become unstoppable.

Fancy: What are one or two ways, we can practice being

Unstoppable in 2020?

Lynette: Various steps to being unstoppable are included

in my online course “Unstoppable 2020”, but two of the

ways to practice being unstoppable is by releasing negativity

and finding your ‘Why’.

Once you release the negativity in your life (negative people,

toxic environments, negative thinking) you can then

focus more on yourself and when you do you will be able

to find your ‘why’. Why do I exist? What am I passionate

about? What are my life goals? Once you find your ‘why’,

you will be on your way towards becoming unstoppable.

Connect with Lynette and shop below.

Website: www.unstoppablebylyn.com


12 SWAGHER FALL 2020

The Best

Revenge

BY APRIL D. BYRD

During this moment in history, as Black people mobilize

and organize for justice like never before, many wellknown

companies and organizations are stepping to the

forefront to present statements of solidarity; some are

even backing the cause with donations and making it

known.

While these companies are stepping up now that the fire

is going, it’s vital and essential that the Black community

and all who are standing with us in the fight for justice

continue to put their money where their hearts are.

Regardless of how many statements and changes are

made by white-owned companies, we have to note Beyonce’s

famous line from the song Formation: “The Best

Revenge Is Your Paper”. Even amidst a pandemic, Black

people have come together emphatically to put an end to

the senseless violence and killings that are happening at

the hands of certain police. Just as we are fervent about

raising our voices, we should just as strongly consider our

invoices.

The most significant time to support Black-owned, buy

Black-owned, patronize Black-owned is right now so that

these oppressive systems of the world know that this

movement is not a game, and this is not a trend. This is a

revolution! Black lives not only matter, but they are also

immensely valuable.

The companies that are issuing such statements know this,

and perhaps they know it better than some Black people

themselves. Remember, the best revenge is your paper as

we rally together in protests, let’s also rally behind each

other with payments- payments of love, respect, and support,

now more so than ever.

To really slay as Beyonce says, to really kill them with

kindness is to direct that kindness to your nearest Blackowned

innovator/ entrepreneur/ creative and all the other

marvelous things we are. During this COVID-19 pandemic,

now is undoubtedly the time to pool and practice

cooperative economics. While we are embracing “cancel

culture,” let’s more importantly, look toward the future of

building our own monuments and foundations.

This way, we can “always be gracious”. Amen.

Lakisha

Mosley

The LM Experience

Event Planning & Management EntrepreneurshipTime

Management & Balance Mompreneurship

Panelist | Presenter | Speaker

The LM Experience @thelmexperience

LaKisha Mosley www.lakishamosley.com @lakishammosley

Convo with Kisha www.convowithkisha.com @convowithkisha


THE NEW NORMAL 13


14 SWAGHER FALL 2020

BLACK OWNED

SOCIAL MEDIA

SITES DO EXIST

by Arnya T.M. Davis

They said the revolution would not be televised

but I’ll be damned if it hasn’t been posted.

Since we as a people have had the time to sit

down and focus on the many injustices of the world

we’ve begun to unite and demand what it is that we

want. When it comes to police brutality, we have not

gotten to the tip of the iceberg, but with so many businesses

as our allies now, how can the system shut us

up? With the rise of social media posts mysteriously

being deleted and Black people feeling they cannot express

themselves the way they would like, several Black

innovators have turned to start their own social media

sites. These are the places where you can be blacker

than black, and you be celebrated, not tolerated. Here

is a list of some of those places that are out there.

1

Melanated People: $10/monthly with a 4.6 rating

- didn’t get past the first part of the registration.

didn’t want to pay $10 a month.

https://melanatedpeople.net/

2

Black-Page.Com: Free with a 3.7 rating.- This

site reminds me of Facebook. As a matter of

fact, I logged in through my Facebook, but

Facebook login is not mandatory. I think I am going to

play around with this platform a little. The site seems

to have a Black face with a Facebook backing if that

makes sense. It definitely screams Facebook. Whoever

created this platform may have used Facebook as the

blueprint.

https://black-page.com/

3

Black Connect: Has different levels of

memberships, Free, $30, $50 or $250/year; not

rated.- I joined under the free membership.

Users can create polls, forums, and take quizzes. It

seems to have a social and business flow. There are

specific networking groups within the app as well, and

you are encouraged to add your business to the busi-


THE NEW NORMAL 15

ness directory. Once I signed up, I received an email

welcoming me to the platform, which also has 18

features. This app is established as a non-profit, so it

also offers programs designed for members who lack

the resources, skills, exposure, or access to the capital

necessary to establish and grow a business. Their purpose

is rooted in eliminating the racial wealth gap. Did

I mention it is easy to navigate? This app may be my

favorite of the four. Let me figure out which yearly

fee I am interested in paying.

https://www.blackconnect.org/

SWAGHER MAGAZINE'S GUIDE TO

BLACK OWNED

SOCIAL MEDIA

MELANATED PEOPLE

BLACK-PAGE.COM

4

Black Planet: Free with a 3.0 rating. This social

media site made me nostalgic. It took me back

to my college days. The difference is this is an

app, whereas when I was in college, we had just begun

using the computer. Ooo, I feel old. Nevertheless, if

you want to meet new people, you slide to the right

to become friends. If you opt to pass, you slide to the

left. The app includes different chat rooms that you

can connect to and of course, notes. Notes is similar

Facebook messenger or like email. I think it is worth

keeping to look around.

https://www.blackplanet.com/login

Being such a social media junkie, I am very interested

in seeing what else is out there, what other options we

may have. It is almost like, if you show Black people

that we are not wanted or welcomed, we go and create

our own. However, on the flip-side, the minute we

don’t agree with something, we are like, ‘ok, we are

out.’ I look forward to returning to the site and playing

around a bit more and really navigating the scene.

Who knows, I may come back with a part two of this

segment.

$10/monthly with a 4.6

rating - didn’t get past the

first part of the registration.

didn’t want to pay $10 a

month.

BLACK CONNECT

Their purpose is rooted in

eliminating the racial

wealth gap. Did I mention

it is easy to navigate?

This app may be my

favorite of the four.

The site seems to have a Black

face with a Facebook backing

if that makes sense. It

definitely screams Facebook.

Whoever created this platform

may have used Facebook as

the blueprint.

BLACK PLANET

Free with a 3.0 rating.

This social media site

made me nostalgic. I think

it is worth keeping to look

around.


16 SWAGHER FALL 2020


THE NEW NORMAL 17

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

DEBRAYTA

SALLEY

Debrayta (Dee) Salley, aka Dee Life Mentor

Coach founder of Debrayta Salley

Enterprises, LLC, is a mother, servant,

Christian author, inspirational speaker, biblical life

coach, event host, and wellness advocate. Her life’s

mission is to empower paths, support growth, and

inspire change. She supports/serves women of all

ages through all phases of life transition and breaking

free from any place, space, or relationship where

they may have settled for less than God’s best. Learn

more about the author and coach below.

Fancy: You’ll be celebrating your tenth year of life

coaching soon. How does that feel? Are you excited?

Debrayta: Wow! Thanks for the reminder. I have to

say that ten years have flown by so fast that I had

to double-check the dates myself to confirm this. It

feels great to celebrate such a milestone, especially

since I recently completed my goal of becoming a

Transformational Biblical Life Coach. A goal that I

had set my sights on over nine years ago, and it has

finally become a reality.


18 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Fancy: What do you think makes your coaching

unique?

Debrayta: I am unique as a coach because I don’t

just coach others; I have been living as a coach. One

thing that I learned in my training is that to be an

effective coach, you have to BE a Coach and not just

DO Coaching. I have been in my personal transformational

process over these ten years, so it enables

me to lead others from a place of experience, as well

as use the professional skills that I have learned along

the way. I am also a heart-centered coach who gives

me a genuine heart for the growth and well-being of

others.

Fancy: How do you celebrate your clients’ achievements,

and do you find that celebration to be of importance?

Debrayta: I celebrate the achievements of my clients

through gifts and words of continued encouragement,

as well as sharing their accomplishments with

others. I absolutely believe that honoring one’s accomplishments

is extremely necessary. The process

of achieving goals is not always an easy feat, so when

you get to the finish line, a celebration is ALWAYS

in order! When my Client wins, I win also. WE are in

this thing together!

Fancy: How does your religion affect your advice

that you administer to clients?

Debrayta: I’d rather term it “Personal Relationship

with God” instead of religion.

As a Transformational Biblical Life Coach, my main

clientele is people of faith (mainly women) who desire

to grow in body, soul, and spirit, discover their

life’s purpose, get support in reaching their goals, etc.

Also, as a Biblical Coach, my first responsibility is to

seek God directly to get clarity and direction as to

how I can support the individual. It’s not necessarily

about me telling them all what I think that they

should do, but supporting and guiding them to see

what God would have them to do about a particular

situation, goal, or desire.

Fancy: That’s funny. I refer to it that way as well,

“When my Client

wins, I win also.

WE are in this

thing together!”

my “personal relationship with God.” So tell us how

often do you draw from your personal experiences

when coaching?

Debrayta: I find that using personal experience as a

reference is always a plus. It helps to center the individual

and lead them to a place of calm and reflection.

I believe that it’s vital to help the client see that

they are not the only one experiencing or who has

experienced what they are facing. There is nothing

new under the sun, and there’s light at the end of the

tunnel. We are in this thing together.

Fancy: In a perfect world, what are the characteristics

of the ideal life coach, and why? How do you identify

with that individual?

Debrayta: I believe that the characteristics of the ideal

life coach are honesty, integrity, excellent listening

skills, compassionate, knowledgeable, intuitive, humble,

vulnerable, and resourceful.

I identify with these characteristics in a coach because

I desire the same from anyone whom I would hire as

a coach myself. I believe that each of these is needed

to have a successful coach/client relationship.

Fancy: When we talked before, we discussed you

were running away from our purpose. What words

of advice would you share with those who may be

running from their purpose?

Debrayta: It’s virtually impossible to run away from

the purpose that God has assigned to your life. We


THE NEW NORMAL 19

may turn away from it for a time, refuse to acknowledge

it, stuff it away in an invisible closet, and/or

be frustrated by the weight of the assignment, BUT

GOD will always draw us back to it.

For that person

that may be running

from their

purpose/assignment/destiny,

slow down and

catch your breath.

There is no place

on God’s green

earth that you can

hide from the one

who foreknew

you and instilled

purpose and destiny

within you

from the foundation

of the earth.

God doesn’t want you to run from him; He’s waiting

for you to run to Him so that he can lead, guide, and

equip you. You will never be completely fulfilled until

you answer His call. Don’t leave this earth without

allowing God to fill you with purpose so that you can

be a blessing to others. There is someone out there

who will never be who they are called to be unless

you submit to becoming the YOU that you are destined

to be.

any?

Debrayta: COVID-19 landed right in the middle

of my latest book launch. We were in the midst of

planning our book release party for our new book,

“Grace FULL Seasons”. Unfortunately, we had to

cancel our date and will reschedule at another time.

Prayerfully, before the end of the year.

Fancy: Do you have any upcoming events or projects

that you care to share?

Debrayta: I am currently seeking God for guidance

about the direction of my business/ministry. I hope

to be able to produce new programs and products

that will assist women in being well in body, soul, and

spirit.

Connect with Debrayta below.

www.deelifmentor.com

https://www.facebook.com/DeeLifMntrCoach/

https://twitter.com/DeeLifMntrCoach

https://www.instagram.com/deelifmntrcoach/

Fancy: That was beautiful. Now, you are also releasing

a new book at the end of the year. Can you tell us

more about that?

Debrayta: Well, that must be from God’s lips to your

ears LOL because I don’t have a firm date as of yet

for my next book project. I don’t even have an outline

formed just yet. As far as what the new book is

about, all I can say is that sometimes we are tired,

frustrated, unhealthy, burnt out, and everything else,

because we are carrying around “weights” that God

never intended us to carry and in order to be all that

He ordained us to be we must lay it aside/drop it!

D.D.S.

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THE NEW NORMAL 21

The Art

of Healing

BY MALCOLM ANDERSON


22 SWAGHER FALL 2020

The Art

of Healing

BY MALCOLM ANDERSON

The art of healing is just that,

an art. Art as an identity of

itself is merely reflective, receptive,

and perspective. Relevant to

those that created it or those that are

receptive to it. There are no wrong

interpretations of art, more so unjust

condemnation. Who is anyone

to label one’s expression laid out for

another’s perception as wrong or

misguided? Art is a technique, similar

to healing, that is a necessary outlet

for sanity if nothing else, an entirely

internal sanity, a sanity that has a balance,

holding on and letting go.

Holding on to anything only accomplishes

one thing...keeping whatever

it is you’re holding on to within arms

reach. Regardless of the emotion

tied to the subject, it’s right there.

If it’s something you need to look

at every once in a while to remind

you of who you are and who you

are supposed to be, it’s there. If it’s

something necessary to have to share

with others so the world around you

can learn by observation rather than

trial by fire, or if it’s something that

needs to be let go in due time but has

a place in relevance, again, it’s right

there.

Whatever is in that hand is specifically

for you, nobody can take it away from


you, and nobody can tell you what to

do with it. For some, it may be completely

personal, but for others, it

could be used to lend out for someone

else.

Aside from that hand, you possess its

equal and opposite, wholly independent

but connected all the same. As

one hand can grasp, the other can let

go.

Letting go is the counterweight. Letting

go is removing the weight that

holds you down or releasing the platform

that keeps you up. There’s no

rule book for how long one needs to

be on a level to consider it accomplished.

Some need short-term memory

to avoid drowning themselves in

an undesired position. In contrast,

others thrive under pressure, under

the circumstance, under the motion

that this test is going to take overachieving

to overcome.

THE NEW NORMAL 23

it’s just that, YOUR madness, it’s

your life, your feelings, your actions,

and your reactions. It’s you. You can’t

fail a test that you created with your

own answers in mind. You know

what you want, and your well being

knows what you need.

Don’t let anyone take your test for

you. To be transparent, the answers

of others aren’t necessarily your answers,

and that doesn’t mean they

aren’t an answer, but every puzzle

piece doesn’t exactly fit anywhere on

the puzzle either. Circumstances determine

many things.

N A K I S H A J O L A N D A

T H E M A D A M C U P I D O F R E L A T I O N S H I P

M A R K E T I N G

Like a wave, there is an ebb and flow

to life, whether you stay in and let

the crash wash the burden off or you

ride it out till you make it out.

Regardless of your preference, there’s

a method to your madness. Because

G I F T O P E N E R L L C

P A I R I N G P R O F E S S I O N A L S C O A C H

W W W . G I F T O P E N E R . C O M

( 7 5 7 ) 5 9 8 - 3 4 7 0

2 0 1 9 W O M E N V E T E R A N ' S S U M M I T T R A I L B L A Z E R

A W A R D R E C I P I E N T D R E A M . P R A Y . E X E C U T E

M U A : M S M A N A G E M E N T - @ M S M A N A G E M E N T V A D R E S S : C O V E R E D B Y A L O Y S I A - @ C O V E R E D B Y A I M A G E B Y :

R I C K I E R E C A R D O P H O T O G R A P H Y | @ R I C K I E R E C A R D O P H O T O G R A P H Y W W W . R I C K I E R E C A R D O P H O T O G R A P H Y . C O M


I C E N S E D P R O F E S S I O N A L

L

O U N S E L O R S

C

24 SWAGHER FALL 2020

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WWW.DSGEORGIA.COM

TW: @DVINESYSTEMSGA


THE NEW NORMAL 25

FEATURE

The Visual

Effect

BY VINCE SMITH


26 SWAGHER FALL 2020

The Visual

Effect

BY VINCE SMITH

“I am not going to stand up and show pride

in a flag for a country that oppresses black

people and people of color. To me, this is

bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my

part to look the other way. There are bodies on

the street and people getting paid leave and getting

away with murder,” Colin Kaepernick stated after

the first time he did his silent protest in August of

2016.

Kaepernick was referring to the police brutality that

became consistent for two years. In July of 2014,

Eric Garner had an encounter with the police that

landed him in a chokehold. While lying face down

on the sidewalk, Eric Garner repeated the words, “I

can’t breathe” 11 times. Garner loses consciousness

before being transported to the hospital. He died

an hour later.

“This is not something

I am going to run by

anybody. I am not

looking for approval. I

have to stand up for the

oppressed people...”

The death of Eric Garner was one of the multiple

reasons why Colin Kaepernick decided to orchestrate

a silent protest. Too many black men were losing

their lives at the hands of the people who are

put in place to protect and serve the community.


THE NEW NORMAL 27

“If they take football

away, my endorsements

from me, I know that

I stood up for what is

right.”

On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore,

Maryland. While being transported in a police

van, Gray fell into a coma. A week later, Freddie

Gray died. The cause of death was determined to be

a spinal cord injury. The trend of black men losing

their lives to the police continued in 2016. During a

four day period in the month of July, Delrawn Small,

Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile, all were killed

by police officers. This sequence of unfortunate

events inspired Kaepernick to carry out his silent

protest a month later.

Kaepernick knew certain people would take offense

to his protest, but he was willing to face the consequences.

“This is not something I am going to run

by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have

to stand up for the oppressed people... If they take

football away, my endorsements from me, I know

that I stood up for what is right.” Kaepernick predicted

the future as a year later; his football career

was a thing of the past.

Kaepernick’s kneeling protest was targeted toward

social injustices and police brutality. It wasn’t aimed

at disrespecting the country or the military. Some

people understood his stance, and others such as

the NFL Commissioner, and multiple team owners

never gave the effort of trying to understand

his position.

Five years and ten months after Eric Garner uttered

the words “I can’t breathe” on a cell phone

video, George Floyd found himself in a similar

predicament. Floyd was arrested after attempting

to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a store. He was

detained and forced to the ground by a group of

police officers. Derek Chauvin decided to press

his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck for 8

minutes and 46 seconds. Onlookers pleaded with

the other officers to help, but no one stepped in

to stop the malicious act. Floyd stated, “I can’t

breathe” 16 times. A heartbreaking moment occurred

when he shouted, “Mama!” Floyd was motionless

for the last three minutes.

The gruesome footage of George Floyd taking

his last breath provided the visual effect that people

who weren’t capable of understanding the


28 SWAGHER FALL 2020

struggle needed to see. The tragedy provided a reality

check as protests in regards to the murder of

George Floyd included people of all races. When it

comes down to social injustices and police brutality,

Black Lives Matter. For the people who couldn’t

comprehend this statement in the past, they’re now

starting to understand the meaning. Even the National

Football League is showing signs of understanding

the struggle. Commissioner Roger Goodell

admitted the NFL’ s reaction to Kaepernick’s

protest was wrong. “We the NFL, admit we were

wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and

encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.

We the NFL believe Black Lives Matter,” Goodell

stated.

It took 27 “I can’t breathe,” and 8 minutes and 46

seconds of torture for some people to realize the

struggle exists, and the movement is necessary. The

George Floyd tragedy cut deep as it opened eyes

and hearts. With the NFL encouraging players to

kneel, and people from other races understanding

why Black Lives Matter, this could be the new normal.

2095 Hwy 211 NW Suite 2F

Braselton, GA 30517

706-255-5094


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THE NEW NORMAL 29

T H E

SISTA

TRAVELS

a d v e n t u r e a w a i t s , b o o k w i t h u s .


30 SWAGHER FALL 2020

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

DOVE

BENNETT

Dove Bennett is a force to be reckoned

with. While being transparent

and open about her life dealings with

homelessness, childhood abuse, mental health,

and domestic violence, Dove is far from a victim

and should definitely not be underestimated.

Dove is an award-winning author, United States

Army Veteran and the Founder and CEO of Dynasty

Solutions, a boutique marketing and Public

Relations firm. Throughout her years as a business

owner, business partner, and CEO, Dove

has developed a key understanding of what it

takes to succeed in business. Additionally, she’s

the Editor-In-Chief of the newly launched magazine,

Dynasty Evolution, and the host of an

award-nominated podcast, Distress Signal. Dove

has spoken at dozens of conferences around

the country and is a strong advocate for mental

health, entrepreneurship, and the epidemic of

homelessness.

The LA resident is a self-proclaimed mompreneur

and has served in various leadership, com-


THE NEW NORMAL 31

munity and mentorship roles. Dove’s mission is

to inspire and empower growth in entrepreneurs.

Dove is witty, clever, creative, and brings understanding,

communication, and organization to

every project that she is involved in. Learn more

about Dove below.

Fancy: How long were you in the army?

Dove: I served in the United States Army for

three years.

closely together?

Dove: Lol, well he is not my partner, just a close

friend, though we do get that a lot. The show

just recently

relaunched

though and I am

now the only

host of Distress

Signal Podcast.

Fancy: What sparked your interest in media?

Dove: I honestly had no intention of getting

into media until I was already doing it. I went viral

from a book excerpt from my autobiography

and more and more people started turning to me

for my opinion and to show support. It showed

me that I did have something of value that could

help others and I wanted to be able to put that

out there as much as possible.

Fancy: So tell us more about Dynasty Solutions

and what type of services you all offer.

Dove: Dynasty Solutions is a boutique marketing

and public relations

firm. We offer marketing,

PR and social media

management to small and

medium businesses so

that they are seen by the

right people, in the right

way and at the right time.

We pride ourselves on our

ability to get our clients

directly in front of their

target audience so that

they can reach their business

goals.

Fancy: I noticed you host Distress Signal Podcast

with your partner. What is it like working so

“People’s

energy,

whether good

or bad, is

contagious.”

Fancy: Your

publication Dynasty

Evolution

Magazine

was recently

launched. What

can readers expect

from it and

what was the inspiration behind it?

Dove: The motivation behind Dynasty Evolution

Magazine- so funny story... When I was a

child, I was obsessed with running a magazine. I

actually used to staple notebook paper together

and create articles and things and take it to school

for all of my friends to

read. Well as I got older, I

was told by everyone that

starting a magazine was a

waste of time, that magazines

were becoming

obsolete because of the

internet and that no one

would be turning to print

to get their news anymore.

Feeling defeated, I

gave up on my dream of

running a magazine. Well

when I started my mental

health journey, I decided that I deserved to be

able to follow whatever passions I have, regardless

of the opinions of others.


32 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Dynasty Evolution Magazine focuses mainly on

businesses and entrepreneurs, but we also include

articles on lifestyle, relationships, and beauty.

Achea Redd, the wife of ex-Olympian and allstar

NBA player Michael Redd, graced the cover

of our first issue to talk about her book and her

non-profit, and Arlan Hamilton, Founder and

managing partner of Backstage Capital graced

the cover of our second issue.

Fancy: You’ve endured several hardships in your

past. What keeps you motivated and moving forward?

“The best way to make

sure that my thoughts

are in order and aren’t

manipulated by others,

is to spend a lot of time

with my thoughts and

talking to myself.”

Dove: To be honest, I hadn’t realized that I’d

had a tough life until recently. I was physically

and mentally abused as a child, and after leaving

home, I was pretty much done the same way by

everyone else that I came across. I was a shell

of a person just going through the steps of life

on autopilot. It hadn’t occurred to me that the

constant pain and struggle that I had been living

in wasn’t normal and it definitely wasn’t the

only way to live life. Now that I am aware, it’s so

much easier to go through life, because I’ve been

through so much and survived. Now any obstacle

that I face kind of pales in comparison to

what I’ve been through and what I’ve overcome.

Fancy: How do you practice self-care?

Dove: For self-care, I get a lot of alone time. People’s

energy, whether good or bad, is contagious

and the best way to make sure that my thoughts

are in order and aren’t manipulated by others,

is to spend a lot of time with my thoughts and

talking to myself. I also enjoy exercising, listening

to music, and the occasional glass of wine.

Fancy: Do you have any upcoming events or

projects that you care to share?

Dove: I am always working on something new.

I will be releasing my new book, “Beauty in

Business; Designed for the SheEO in You” this

year. If you are a female and you are striving for

greatness in your business or career, then you

need to read this book. I am also a delegate for

the Women Business Leaders and Entrepreneur

Pageant which I will be competing for the crown

in September.

Connect with Dove and Dynasty Solutions, LLC

below.

Website: www.dovebennettspeaks.com

Business Website: www.dynastysolutionsllc.com

Instagram:

www.instagram.com/dovebennettspeaks

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/dovebennettspeaks

LinkedIn:

www.linkedin.com/in/dove-bennettb553b9189/

YouTube:

www.youtube.com/channel/UCq2mb9wHqkaQxzTHHVT0AkA?view_as=subscriber


P E N .

P A P E R .

P U B L I S H .

@ L A D Y L E E 4 5 2 0 1 8

is a

Pen.Paper.Publish.

that offers services such as

business

self-publishing, and

copy-editing,

owned by Christian,

ghostwriting,

author Shelly Lee. Lee

inspirational

has

two books and has many

written

to come.

more

THE NEW NORMAL 33

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34 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Q&A

THE

PERFECT

BLEND

Entrepreneur, content creator, author, wife, and

stepmother Naja Hall has become the go-to

woman for all things blended. The Memphis

native took her personal experience as a woman dating a

man with children and turned that into a super successful

brand. She has given hundreds of women in relationships

with men that have children advice and counseling.

Arnya: How did you decide, “Okay, this is needed, this

is what I’m going to do. Let me reach out to other black

families and help them.” How did you come about that

decision?

Naja: The thing that made me decide to even just look

for sources that could help me with my blended family

conflict because I had fallen for a man whose previous

family had been devastated by divorce because they say

divorce is like the death of a family.

I had fallen for a man whose previous family had been

devastated by divorce. You know they say divorce is like

the death of a family. So what inspired me to first look

for resources was my personal need to solve my blended

family’s conflicts.

I feel like the new guy usually catches the brunt of the

problems, and a lot of stuff is directed at you (the new

guy). That’s what was happening in our family. It was

just - it was nuts. It was going crazy. There was disrespect

and negative talk, and the children were alienating

him. People were hurting and didn’t know how to redirect

their pain or find good sources for help. Of course,

I started Googling, just because this is what we all do

when we face a life problem- we start to Google.

Ultimately I relented because my husband is genuinely

the best man I’ve ever had in my life. I did what most

sisters would do. I built. I rolled up my sleeves, and I

built. I created my first Facebook group. It was named

‘Blended In Black’ and very quickly within maybe two

or three months, I built it just so I could have a space

for Black people, so I can ask them questions like, “Hey

you all, what’s happening with my life?” But then I got

pushed to the forefront of it because they were expecting

me to be the leader of this space.


THE NEW NORMAL 35

When I saw that other people were relying on me,

someone that was very new to the game to help them,

I realized, number one, there were not many resources

available because folks were out here suffering. Four

years later, I’ve become the leader of the largest millennial

Facebook group for blended families. I even started

a separate platform, a paid membership community for

stepmothers. It’s become a whole business for me.

Arnya: Awesome. I’m just sitting here like, “Girl, that

was my thing, dating a man with kids- I don’t have time.”

Naja: That’s precisely the same thing I said. While praying

for my husband, I told God, “Don’t send me one with

no children.” Lo and behold... They say if you tell God

your plans, he’s going to laugh at you, and that’s what

happened to me.

“I did what most

sisters would do.

I built. I rolled up

my sleeves, and I

built.”

sometimes.”

He doesn’t comment much, but now that I’ve appeared

on national television and sold 10,000 books in a week,

he sees that this isn’t a game. Number one, he sees that

the work that I’m doing was never my plan. It was never

my plan to be a step-mom. My work was never, never,

ever part of my plan, but I think we’re both faithful

people. We believe in the universe of God, or Him or

Her- or whatever your readers call Him or Her, and we

believe you’re placed in positions because you have a

mission to fulfill. He’s cool about fulfilling my purpose.

He takes a lot of my pictures; he proofreads my articles.

He’s been in almost every TV appearance with me. He

holds me down. So he 100% supports me.

Arnya: I love it! He sounds amazing.

Naja: Thank you. He’s proud of it. Now when his

homeboys have their occasional drama or child support

question, or friends are going through divorces, or just

whatever, now I’m the person that they’ll call for this

stuff. But I remember when I was going through it, I

didn’t have anybody to call. The only thing people would

tell me is, “You knew what you signed up for,” or “You

could always just leave.” That’s the only thing people

would tell me, and I was like, “I know this the wrong

damn answer.” Now I do have a proper answer to give

people. So if I couldn’t get help, I said, “At least I can be

an advocate, so somebody else doesn’t have it as bad,”

and forego what could be a great relationship, because

other people have unhinged personalities or unresolved

emotions.

Arnya: Maybe this was God’s way of showing me that I

can be with a man with kids.

Naja: Seriously, I feel like if I can do it, anybody can.

Arnya: You did as most Black women do. If I don’t see

it, I’m going to build it, which is so amazing. So you

are dating this terrific guy, and you’re trying to get this

information and then boom- you are the “go-to person,”

“Mrs. Know It All.” What were his thoughts on the

matter?

Naja: My husband is a very private person, but I asked

him, “With me doing this work, and putting so much

into it, how do you feel about me talking about this?”

Sometimes, I will talk about my feelings, and those are

a direct result of the decisions he made before he even

knew I existed. So I was like, “Are you okay with it?”

He

replied,

“Naja, I knew that there was something special

about what you were doing when I saw your inbox and

I saw these people blowing you up, and I knew that we

weren’t the only ones.” He’s like, “I go in there and read


36 SWAGHER FALL 2020

If I could, anybody can, because it’s just a certain way

you must finesse it. You can’t enter into it the way that

most step-moms think that they’re going to come into it.

“You’re going to be part of the family. You’re going to

be this.” I’m like, “Girl, look, sit your butt down.”

Arnya: With everything that’s going on, you started a

group, became the expert, and started giving advice. How

did you feel with having that much “power” to give people

advice? Do you have an aim, did you go to therapy and

say, “Hey, I

got all these

people asking

me these questions,

and I

want to make

sure I’m giving

them the right

answers?”

What was that

like, your mental?

Naja: Well,

as far as my

educational

background,

my Bachelors’s

is in Family

and Consumer

Sciences, and

I’m also a Certified Family Life Educator. My area of

the specification is in step-families. I feel that not even

a therapist is going to be as skilled as I am with helping

people navigate these problems because I focus solely

on this one issue. The thing that made me feel confident

is number one; I’m good at what I do! I’m an advocate

for going and getting more letters behind your name

and perfecting your craft. I can gladly and proudly call

myself an expert because I am an expert in this area.

Arnya: Okay, and did you say you also have a book published?

Naja: I do! So in 2017, I released my first book called

Girl Bye! She’s Not Going Anywhere and Neither Are

You. That book paid homage to mothers and stepmothers,

not precisely teaching them how to kiss and makeup,

but like, “Girl, how do we coexist if we don’t exactly

fool with each other?” That book did well, and I just

re-released it. I’ve made Girl Bye! into an entire series.

The one that’s currently available on Amazon is Girl

Bye! Unfiltered, and it’s a mindset makeover journal for

step-moms. It is an unfiltered version; it uses colorful

language. The final one is Girl Bye! He’s Never Going

to Marry You, and it’s just giving statistics on why men

marry some women and not others. We decided to do a

trilogy.

Arnya: So tell us about your podcast.

Naja: My podcast, I Know I’m Crazy with Naja Hall,

covers divorce, remarriage, co-parenting, step-parenting,

and mental illness. We’re top-ranked on iTunes right

now. That’s been like a fun deal because I don’t have to

be cute to do any podcast. I just sit here looking nappy

and just talk, so that’s probably the funniest thing that I

do.

Arnya: Oh, I love everything about what you’re doing.

When thinking about dating a man or being with a man

that has kids, what are three things that women should

consider?

Naja: Let me tell you, if you are a woman that is considering

dating a man with children- for the sake that

the children’s lives won’t be as much of a living hell, I

think you first need to consider his relationship with the

children’s mother. I

believe that the family

is an essential system

that exists. Sometimes,

when people uncouple,

they don’t know

how to untie everything

from their lives,

which makes it very

difficult for a new

person to come in and

have romantic ties to

either of them. So the

relationship that he

has with his children’s

mother is significant.

The next one deals

with the children’s

mother. Is she a problematic

person? Most

D E F I N I N G L I F E M O N E Y

N D B U S I N E S S

A

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of the women that are part of my private membership

community, which is called VIP step-mom, are women

that have found themselves in love with a man who

has a high-conflict biological mother as his children’s

mother. I don’t want you to be the first woman that he

seriously dates after he’s broken up with his baby mama.

Don’t be the test dummy.

You should also check and see what his child support

obligations are. Because if he’s paying $5,000 a month,

then he probably won’t be able to get you that beautiful

engagement ring, or that house, or that vacation that

you’ve been waiting on, because guess what? All of

his obligations are going to his previous household. It

doesn’t mean he’s not a great dad; it just means you can’t

afford to be with him.

Also, understand that becoming a stepmother comes

with its own set of rules and insecurities.

Arnya: My last question is, what is your SwagHer?

Just Listed

THE NEW NORMAL 37

Naja: One of the things that I love about myself is that

I’m always able to self-calibrate quickly. I always know

how to balance myself back out, and I don’t wait on

other people to do that for me. I’ve also heard that I

have an extraordinarily genuine and warm personality.

Connect with Naja below:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/missnajadotcom/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MissNajaDot-

Com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/najamatthews

Website: https://www.blendedandblack.com/ and

https://www.najahall.com/

Creative Calfuray | Charmyra E. Fleming

As an author and through

Creative Calfuray, it is ‘M.A.I.’

mission to ‘M.OTIVATE | A.SPIRE

| I.NSPIRE my readers and beyond

to live their lives with purpose,

intention, and full of passion!”

Romance Author of “The Violet Rose” and

“Three’s a Charm” of The Purple Charm Series,

available now on Amazon. For more information

go to www.CreativeCalfuray.com

www.facebook.com/Cre8iveCalfuray www.instagram.com/Creative_Calfuray

www.twitter.com/Cre8iveCalfuray www.pinterest.com/CreativeCalfuray1

www.youtube.com/creativecalfuray


38 SWAGHER FALL 2020

D E J A V U S K I N

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YOU

Owner: Nikki

Phone: 508-610-9662

Email: Nikki@dejavuskin.com

Assistant: Jazzie

Email: Jazzie@dejavuskin.com

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DEJA VU SKIN FOR MEN

Owner: Terra

Phone: 508-686-5628

Email: Terra@dejavuskin.com


THE NEW NORMAL 39

WELLNESS & FITNESS

FORGOTTEN

WOMEN

Coach Beverly K. Johnson Coach Talks about the Forgotten Women

Beverly Johnson, a lover of music and fitness, founded Genesys Fitness

to help women grow into their better selves. She wants to help

the “forgotten” woman who has lost her way in life. As a fitness

coach, she not only helps women with their physical appearance,

but she also assists them with their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Johnson believes that through fitness everyone can grow and become

a better individual.

Christina: What is your SwagHer? What makes Beverly, Beverly?

Beverly: My SwagHer is bold, optimistic, dry-witted humor. I am

fierce yet humble and thankful. What makes me, me? That’s a tough

one. I’ve learned that I’m not just one thing. I’ve learned that I’m

multifaceted; I have given myself permission to be whole and authentic;

I have multiple interests that make my world interesting. My

tastes range from enjoying my quiet moments to becoming excited

when I hear “Cash Money Records taking over the 99 and 2000s.”

That’s what makes me, me.

Christina: Tell our readers about Genesys Fitness. What does it offer?

Beverly: This has been an intentional year of growth for GenFit.

This year I’ve expanded it into the world of virtual fitness. With

virtual training, I’m able to work with clients across the country. I’m

excited to finally offer that platform as well as nutritional coaching.

My goal has always been to offer a total wellness program for my

clients.

Christina: You were a Zumba instructor for years, then decided


40 SWAGHER FALL 2020

to open up your fitness center. What motivated you to open up

Genesys Fitness?

Beverly: Over the years as a Zumba instructor, I would have students

asking me questions about how to improve their exercise program

and reach their goals. I wanted to provide the best information that

would enable my students to reach their goals, safely and effectively.

It was a natural progression for me to create GenFit.

Christina: In your bio, Genesys Fitness got its name because it signified

a rebirth for the forgotten woman. What is the forgotten

woman?

Beverly: The forgotten woman works at a job and is often unrecognized

for her efforts. She works tirelessly to provide for her family

and often puts herself last. We, the forgotten women, become depleted

because we’ve poured out everything for everyone else. It’s

not uncommon that we forget ourselves. At certain points in our

lives, we’ve all experienced this feeling. My goal is to help women

rediscover their magic and take care of themselves.

Christina: How do you think GenFit has helped these “forgotten”

women?

Beverly: Over the years, I’ve seen

my clients--affectionately called my

DEVAS--reach their goals. I’ve seen

them lose weight and lose the emotional

baggage that has held them

back from being the best version

of themselves. When my DEVAS

are able to [regain identity] and heal

from their emotional wounds, that’s

when change happens. And if I’m

able to become a catalyst for helping

my DEVAS rediscover themselves,

I’m happy.

Christina: Personally, I know nothing

about fitness. What do you tell

people like me, who have no idea

how to start being fit?

Beverly: The first thing I encourage everyone to do is set a goal. The

goal has to go beyond “lose weight.” Your goal should be “lose 10

pounds for my baecation” or “the doctor said I need to take high

blood pressure medication, and I don’t want to.” Those are goals.

It has to be SMART--specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and

have a time limit. Your goal becomes your “why.” Once you establish

your “why,” it makes it easier to remain focused. You won’t

always feel motivated to make changes or to exercise. That’s when

discipline has to kick in. When you have your “why,” you’ll remain

on course.

Christina: I’m going back to

this “forgotten” woman term

that you use. Why do you fight

so hard for the “forgotten”

woman?

It’s not uncommon that

we forget ourselves. At

certain points in our lives,

we’ve all experienced

this feeling. My goal is to

help women rediscover

their magic and take care

of themselves.

Beverly: I’ve been the forgotten

woman. I’ve lived that experience

of feeling tired and

depleted while feeling guilty

for not measuring up to the

“strong woman” narrative. I

created a vicious cycle of being

busy and trying to save the

world. With that, I can relate to

my clients’ struggles and understand

the desire to make the change but unsure of how to get

started.

Christina: Not only do you help women get into shape physically,

but you help women mentally and emotionally. I would think the

constancy of it all takes a toll on you. What are some things you do

to destress?

Beverly: The coach has a coach and

a safe space to unwind. I make sure

that I schedule breaks to nurture my

soul. I have no problems reinforcing

my boundaries.

Christina: What are your plans for

Genesys Fitness? Do you plan to expand

it? Do you want it to be worldwide,

like Planet Fitness?

Beverly: I would love to be worldwide

like Planet Fitness. I think it’s

every business owner’s dream to

have that level of brand recognition.

My plans include increasing my online

client base. My goal is to provide

virtual training to clients across the country. I already have several

clients who are exclusively online, and it’s been very successful.

Christina: Do you have any upcoming events that you would like to

share with our readers?

Beverly: I’ll be launching my first wellness webinar. We’re working

on the details now and will roll out the registration links soon.

Christina: Any final comments?

Christina: Please tell our readers some things they can do to improve

their self-care journey.

Beverly: Self-care allows you to hit the reset button. Become intentional

about setting aside time for yourself. Recognize that you need

to recharge. It can be setting your phone to “do not disturb” for a

few hours a day and taking a nap. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Beverly: Let’s stay connected! On Facebook, join my tribe--The

Fitness DEVAS. Fitness DEVAS is open to and dedicated to all

women looking for fitness inspiration and coaching. Follow me on

Instagram (@bevkjohnson) and receive daily fitness tips and motivation.

Thank you for the opportunity to share GenFit with your

audience.


THE NEW NORMAL 41


42 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Creating Your Own

Style with Mixed Print

Looks

By Kristin Peoples

One of my favorite “style mantras” is from the

lovely Carly Cushnie, which says, “life is too

short to wear boring clothes.” I couldn’t agree

more! Think about it. We are beautiful, courageous, and

risk-taking women; our styles should reflect that too!

So, let’s get into the idea of incorporating “mixed prints”

in our wardrobe. I love this concept because it adds another

dimension to your look with minimal effort. One

of the keys to achieving a chic look is

matching the color schemes but pairing different patterns.

For example, you could pair polka dots with

a floral print or snakeskin prints, with stripes or neutral

plaids! If you aren’t ready to venture out with

clothing pieces that are different - I love the concept of

using bold accessories to add to an otherwise

neutral style, so I suggest that as well.

Here are my top three tips for creating your own style

with mixed prints:

1Treat classic patterns as neutrals. (i.e., leopard

print, snakeskin, polka dots, stripes, etc.)

2Have fun with accessories! It’s an effortless way to

incorporate mixed prints and create a fierce

look.

3Relax & try something new! Remember,

there is no right or wrong when it comes to

fashion.

You determine your look – OWN IT, QUEEN!


3 1 4 - 5 8 1 - 6 5 2 5 | I A M H E R 6 0 7 @ G M A I L . C O M

THE NEW NORMAL 43

W E A R W H A T Y O U W A N T !

S T . L O U I S , M O

W W W . I A M H E R S T L . C O M | @ I A M H E R 3 1 4


44 SWAGHER FALL 2020

THE WORK OF WOMB HEALING

MS.

UNORTHODOC

BY ALLISON JANEL


THE NEW NORMAL 45

Wombprenuer’s mission is to empower

young girls and women all

across the world to learn more

about green, healthy hygiene caring for the

Mind, Body & Spirit! The company was created

based on the belief that their customers’

needs are of the utmost importance. Their

entire team is committed to doing just that! As

a result, a high percentage of their business is

from repeat customers and referrals.

Owner LaTanya “Ms.Unorthodoc” Tibbs decided

to start her process and journey because

she and her sister suffered from chronic dry

skin caused by eczema and had battled with it

for years. This motivated LaTanya to create a

remedy to soothe her skin naturally.

With over 29 years of experience as a holistic

natural specialist, LaTanya has always crafted

herbal-based products for the hair, skin, and

body. Her latest transition into hygienic products

with her V-Smart Bar has proven to be an

instant success. It’s been a blessing for women

all over the world.

Ms.Unorthodoc’s creativity and expertise did

not stop there. Her mission is to provide all-natural

hygiene solutions for the masses, and she

currently markets her products worldwide. Her

product line offers over 150 eco-friendly herbal-based

soaps, all hand-made by herself.

LaTanya’s products have been praised for being

all-natural and proven to aid in the prevention

of many diseases and ailments, and the V-Smart

Bar has been endorsed by a board-certified OB-

GYN physician. LaTanya is a certified stress and

anger management instructor and is welcomed

as a transformational speaker. She travels and

shares her expertise on the subject of women’s

wellness and preventative healthcare, and natural

feminine hygiene solutions.

Over the years LaTanya has been instrumental

in proving her product as an amazing cleansing

all-natural vegan-friendly bar. She has appeared

on the “Dr. Oz” show, pitched her product

to “SharkTank” and was also the winner of

$10,000 on the Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.

Her product continues to prove itself. Ms.Unorthodox

doesn’t stop there. She has also been

known to gather groups of women together to

assist in healing vaginas via V-Steam.

Due to the overwhelming success of her product

line, LaTanya opened Wombtique in the

beautiful, historic downtown location in Roswell,

GA and after three successful years in

Roswell, her vision moved her to a new location

in Columbus, GA where she opened

Wombpreneur Wellness Boutique. Due to the

demand and request outside of her brick and

mortar, LaTanya expanded her service adding

VSteam2Go, where she goes on location

to festivals, churches, parties, restaurants, girls

night out, and retreats. She also offers her

powerful, innovative, educational seminars on

“Dating Detox/Mate Manifestation Seminar”,

“The Truth about Feminine Hygiene”, “How

to Heal Yourself Natural from Fibroid’s”. She

has also been featured on FOX 5 DC NEWS,

ABCNews, WTVM, WRBL, Ledher-Enquirer,

WLTZ, THE MILLS CONNECTION, MGN

Radio, “FRO FASHION WEEK”, and a host

of other various media outlets. Meet Ms. Unorthodoc

below.

AllisonJanel: How would you describe your

SwagHer? What makes LaTanya, LaTanya?

LaTanya: I would describe my SwagHer as a

Spiritual Energy which allows me to help young

girls/women transform and heal within. What

makes me, me is my ability to change or adapt

to whatever assignment the Spirit gives me!


46 SWAGHER FALL 2020

AllisonJanel: So tell us more about the products

that Ms.Unorthodoc offers.

LaTanya: My Smart Self Care Products are

personalized/customized based on the need

of the client. Because our bodies all request

something different based on our lifestyle we

like to create products that get to the root of

the issues not medicate the symptoms. So, we

pride ourselves with the personal connection

we have with both our new and older customers!

AllisonJanel: How long has this establishment

been in business?

LaTanya: My online store has been in business

since 2012 but my new services have been in

existence a little over three years.

AllisonJanel: What made you decide to go into

business for yourself?

LaTanya: Well I’m a child of eight who has

always been different or weird. One day I

watched a good friend/sister get fired from a

job that she was training her replacement for.

She went into a deep depression after her demise.

Not too long after that situation, I made

a vow to myself that no one would be able

to do that to me. At that point, I knew that

I didn’t want to be an employee, I wanted to

be a business owner. Yet, I wanted to build

something that I loved doing without a lot of

stress. I later decided to become a natural holistic

hair stylist at the age of 19. I then retired

from that position in 2010 and closed my hair

salon in midtown GA as well. In my new venture,

I became an energy wellness/life coach. I

specialize in womb healing. Afterwards, decided

to get certified in healing touch, inner child

healing, hand and foot reflexology, meditation,

stress anger management, and Reiki master.

AllisonJanel: What education and/or training

is required to own and operate this business?

LaTanya: I would recommend getting training

in herbalism, inner child healing, spiritual healing,

and healing touch healing.

AllisonJanel: How have your products/services

changed lives for women over the years?

LaTanya: My products have helped a lot of

women from all walks of life heal from repeated

yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, bacterial

issues, odor, vagina irritations, emotional

healing, soul-tie detoxing, mental, emotional,

and spiritual healing. My services are not just

product based but customized to heal from

within.

AllisonJanel: Do you conduct online interactive

sessions for potential clients?

LaTanya: Because I’m a spiritual energy healer,

I can offer my client distance healing services

and meditation services via virtual platforms.

AllisonJanel: Please tell us more about V-Ste

am?

LaTanya: Well because this service has been

shown on different reality shows it’s become

the latest fad to get into. But I’m glad that my

spiritual healing background allowed me to offer

more than just an herbal v-steam. My clients

get to experience a mini healing session before

and after their vste-am services and I custom-


THE NEW NORMAL 47

ize my herbs based on my client’s health issues.

AllisonJanel: How do you balance your time,

while operating two business locations?

LaTanya: I make my own schedule. Self-care

is first and I work with my clients around their

schedules. Additionally, I travel to meditation

retreats at least once or twice a month. Yet,

I maintain a meditation lifestyle four hours a

day and I eat a plant-based diet. I laugh at You-

Tube videos at least one hour per day. I also

keep my stress in check daily I enjoy each day

as if it’s my last. It’s a continuous reminder to

myself not to waste time on things that bring

my vibrations down.

AllisonJanel: Do you have any upcoming

events or projects that you care to share?

LaTanya: I host a series of services to help

women develop healthy eating habits. I offer

c-steam parties on location, and I offer healing

womb sessions for women who have issues

with getting pregnant. I specialize in

soul-tie detoxing. I’m available to speak at

churches, youth groups, organizations, women

health festivals, hair shows, girls’ night out

and retreats. I also offer services to develop

products for celebrities, make-up artists, hair

stylists, barbers, and companies.

Connect with LaTanya below:

Business Website: www.healmyvagina.com

Instagram: @holistichealinghugger

Facebook: Latanya M.Tibbs

LinkedIn: Latanya M. Tibbs

You Tube: Ms.Unorthodoc

LaTanya: I’m working on my 3rd book/journal

“Spiritual Dating, A woman’s spiritual guide to

manifesting her

king!”. I will be

hosting a couple

of online series

in the fall and I

will be hosting

my first healing

retreat in winter

of 2020 in

Columbus, GA

which you can

stay updated on

all my social media

platforms.

AllisonJanel: Is there anything additional that

you would like our readers to know?


48 SWAGHER FALL 2020

B E T T E R L I F E . B E T T E R

B U S I N E S S . B E T T E R

R E S U L T S .

Carlene

Dr.

Randolph

W . I . N . p r o v i d e s w o m e n w h o a r e

s t a r t u p s o r i n b u s i n e s s l e s s

t h a n 6 y e a r s i n u r b a n

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s y s t e m a t i c a l l y s u c c e s s f u l

b u s i n e s s e s t h a t t h r i v e a n d

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We believe every day can be a good

hair day. But at Sassy Sasha Hair &

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hair even better.


THE NEW NORMAL 49

FINDING PEACE

IN THE MIDST

OF CHAOS

by Arnya T.M. Davis

I

have been facing a roller coaster of emotions

since March. I have asked myself, should I care,

do I care, what if I don’t take this seriously.

Then BAM- George Floyd was murdered, and it

seems like everything went to hell in a handbasket.

I stopped watching the news at the start of the

COVID-19 pandemic; I couldn’t handle the gore

and doom of it all. It drained me, and my mental

capacity could not handle it. I resolved to get my

news from social media. This may not be the best

choice, but it is a choice. I figured anything essential

to know, one of my friends would report on

it, or they will share a news link. One of my jobs

is outside of the house, so I faced the threat of

Coronavius daily. I had to find something to bring

me peace. Once the racial tension started, I had my

plan already in place to make sure my mental health

was not disturbed.

1I stopped watching the news. As I stated in

my intro, the press reported on so many lives

lost but never talked about those who were

beating this thing. I had three friends fight COVID

and win.

2I started seeing my therapist every other

week. Although we did not talk about

COVID, it was good to have a sounding

board for life’s issues that may be getting out of

whack. If life is crazy, and you compound more on

top of it, a breakdown is bound to happen.

3I resumed my massage appointments. This

helped me to have some self-care time. I also

have a dope masseuse, who makes it a great

experience.


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50 SWAGHER FALL 2020

4I started to eat better. Do you know that

certain foods can throw off the chemicals in

your body? When you cook your meals, you

know what is in them.

5I hired a cleaning lady to help with the things

I didn’t want to or had the time to touch.

Best decision EVER!!!

6I re-decorated my living room. I hung up

pictures, re-purposed things, added plants,

and a water fountain to the ambiance. Now I

can sit on the sofa and unwind.

7I now burn candles and wax. I love my home

to smell good. I can appreciate it now that I

am here all the time.

8I remain thankful. It is so easy not to appreciate

the stillness of this time. The fact

that God has caused us all to slow down is

so amazing to me. I’m able to think, cherish the

quietness, and take moments for myself to explore

me further.

As simple as these things seem, they bring me joy,

and I treasure them. I am obedient to this moment.

Although I still work daily and I’m enrolled in a

class. I always find peace in being alone with my

thoughts when I want. I have created a space that

was much needed.

Take time to find what will bring you joy and do

it. They said that 2020 was time for a reset, and

we have the opportunity, space, and for some of

us, the money to reset. Finding my peace was very

important to me, and daily I find other things that

help me.

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THE NEW NORMAL 51


52 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Terracina

FEATURE

Jackson

AND HEALING FROM TRAUMA


THE NEW NORMAL 53

Healing from

Trauma

BY FANCY FELDER

Sometime around 2013 or 2014, Terricina Jackson and I met

while she was running the Respect the Queen, LLC. I loved the

beautiful black artwork of her apparel, that depicted and easily

displayed black power, love, and strength. So, I was shocked

to see her post (maybe last summer or spring) saying that she

would be closing her brand. Her closing the business almost

scared me, because I was worried it was due to some misfortune

or her giving up - and that always makes me feel some kind

of way when I witness it amongst colleagues. I was yet again

surprised to find out she had created ‘The Sacred Space.’ This

had me intrigued and it seemed like we were in the same space

in life - healing.

Terricina’s posts in which she shared her journey was so transparent

and insightful, and as one who has basically grown into

my knowledge alone, I was happy to find someone who could

relate. I knew Terricina knew pain and had endured trauma, but

I was unaware of the extent. I had no idea when she caught my

eye as the owner of Respect the Queen, that she was molested

by her babysitter at the age of four or began an incestuous relationship

with her younger brother at the age of nine; battled

alcoholism beginning in her teens and was gang-raped in her

teens also. Later, in her early twenties, she battled alcoholism

again and faced drug trafficking charges, and went through

court-ordered programs. She later told me this was all preparing

her for the launch of Respect the Queen. Of course, we

never really know what people are going through.

When she and I got on the phone, and she shared her story

with me, I was blown away. I’ve had to shorten it some, but

I fought hard to keep many nuggets of wisdom that she had

dropped. Get your whole life and your family’s lives together in

our discussion below!

Fancy: How would you describe your swagher? What makes

Terricina, Terricina?

Terricina: I would say my swagher is my ability to be transparent

at a level that makes some people feel uncomfortable. I

guess that’s my superpower. I think that is what makes Terricina,

Terricina. I’ve found a unique way to tell the truth about

myself, even when it may not make me look good.

Fancy: I wanted to dive into your history a little bit. Can you tell

us a little about how you grew up?

Terricina: I tell people all the time that I was “literally” born

into dysfunction. The pain is ongoing upon every visit home.

My father kicked my mother down a flight of stairs when she

was eight months pregnant with me, and that really was my

introduction to this world. From that point, it felt like it just

continued to spiral out of control. My father was very abusive

to my mother.

I was born in California. When I was two, my mother secretly

took a plane back to Michigan, where she was born, to get

away from my father. We spent time in hiding for a while until

my mom realized she was pregnant with my brother, and she

ended up getting back with my dad. For me, it was my introduction

into a cycle of dysfunctional behavior, thought, and

belief system.

Fancy: What exactly is your latest venture in regards to The


54 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Sacred Space Community?

Terricina: I got to a place in my life when I understood that

with Respect the Queen, LLC, running the business, and holding

all the different titles, it required that I stay broken. It was

at this point that The Sacred Space came about.

Respect the Queen required that I continuously tell the same

stories that no longer served me, but I didn’t know how to

part ways from it. In essence, it (Respect the Queen) saved

my life once upon a time; but, I had outgrown it and I had

evolved past it. I didn’t want to continue being required to stay

broken to run the business, and I was having a lot of issues

with my oldest boy, the unfortunate aftermath of my addiction,

and growing up in a dysfunctional family. I was trying all kinds

of things to fix his life, trying all kinds of stuff to fix Respect

the Queen, and seeking all these different opportunities, but

things just were not manifesting themselves the way that I wanted

them to.

Somewhere between prayer and meditation, I realized that I

wasn’t caring for myself. That I wasn’t taking care of myself

wholeheartedly, and I wasn’t able to take care of my children

properly. I wasn’t being completely invested in my business. I

have an altar inside of my closet, which I refer to as my prayer

room. Continually, I would go to my altar. One day, I was sitting


THE NEW NORMAL 55

there and I asked myself, ‘what am I doing here?’ I don’t know

if I was praying, or that something just came into my spirit, but

it hit me that most women are struggling, because they don’t

have time in their sacred space. That’s the time to connect to

self. The sacred space is you.

From then on, I thought of how to convey this to my “sisters.”

It’s not the job. It’s not the husband. It’s not all these external

things that are preventing you from succeeding. It’s you who

is not caring for yourself. You are not taking care of yourself

– mind, body, and spirit. At that moment, I wanted to create a

community to teach and share with sisters and show them how

to transform their trauma and their pain into a purpose. In essence,

how to evolve past the story that they tell.

The Sacred Space is just a community of women who are in

different phases of their healing journey. They are there to uplift,

empower, and ultimately teach women how to take care of

themselves. We have workshops, classes, and a retreat coming

up. We are focusing more on the healing aspect because what

we have found with the sisters that I work with, within The Sacred

Space, is that sometimes we focus so much on the trauma,

that we never get to the healing.

It brings me so much pride in helping sisters identify what that

traumatic experience was, what that barrier is, what that blockage

is, and getting them to spend more time in the sacred space,

praying, meditating, or whatever it is that they do because I

don’t enforce or suggest any one right way. For you, it may be

religion or spirituality; for another, it may be nature, reading,

writing, journaling, or whatever it is.

We want to help you really tap into that certain gift that you

have, and of course, we have some products that we have for

sale. These items for sale are really things that I personally use

and that the sisters in the tribe have used for its healing properties,

such as oils, sages, and crystals - things that we have found

are not necessarily mainstream in outside communities, but

definitely within our community. We also have a directory of

resources. That’s it in a nutshell.

Fancy: What would you say is your generational curse? Was it

alcoholism, drug abuse, or something else? Was it something

deeper than that?

Terricina: Since I left home in 2009, I have only returned a

E R I C A T . C A P R I

A U T H O R

G E M L I G H T P U B L I S H I N G L L C @ G M A I L . C O M

H T T P S : / / W W W . E R I C A C A P R I . C O M /

@ G E M L I G H T P U B L I S H I N G

F A C E B O O K : A U T H O R E R I C A T . C A P R I

few times, and I was in and out. Home is where the pain is. I

could not stay long at all. I couldn’t stand being there, because

that’s where all the pain was. It is where all the addiction, all the

abuse, all of the violations took place. I deliberately went home

to spend time with my grandmother who has dementia, but

in the process, I really started confronting things on a deeper

level. I remember talking to my grandmother, and it clicked for

me, what was kind of the root of a lot of the things I had been

going through in life beginning with sexual trauma.

I was speaking to my grandmother, and she told me that she

was 12 or 13 years old when she married her first husband, who

was 22, and how their first sexual interaction took place. Now

mind you, she was sharing this with me so candidly, and it was

not from a place where she recognizes that there is something

wrong with that. She was speaking to me as if it is normal.

Matter of fact, she was 14, and he was 22. But when she was

12, she was molested by her stepfather, and she told. Instead of

being acknowledged, loved, and supported, and him being held

accountable, she was sent away from Mississippi to Virginia.

At that moment, it clicked - this is ancestral trauma! This is

generational. We have been passing this along and I have been

personalizing it like it is just me, but the reality is a lot of women

and men in my family were violated, whether it was sexually

or physically.

The sad and terrifying aspect of it all is that it just kept being

swept under the rug. It became normal. That is the hard part

about healing because a lot of this dysfunctional behavior and

thought pattern is considered normal across a whole family;

all-the-while trying to decipher through what’s real. What’s the

truth? What’s a lie? What are you supposed to believe?

One of the books that opened me up to all of this was ‘The

Four Agreements.’ Understanding those silent agreements that

are being made within yourself based on your primary caregiver

and the messages they give you, whether verbally or silently,

are vital. Here I am, all this time as a child, given the messages

that “it’s ok for men to violate you,” “It’s ok for men to abuse

you physically,” “It’s ok for your mother not to take care of

herself,” “It’s ok to be abused and watch it continue and not

say anything.”

Fancy: How would you describe how you’ve been affected both

currently and with regards to your future by the trauma you’ve

experienced?

Terricina: I would have to connect the promiscuity, the molestation,

the incest and the rape. Being exposed to men at an

early age, or even girls at an early age, sort of opens you up to

this world in many ways. Your body is sexually activated before

its time, and you don’t even understand. Of course, my 39-year

old self gets it today, but the silence of the lessons that are

given to you as a child when your body is sexually activated

are that your body is a tool and it is for the pleasure of other

people, and you have to check out mentally and emotionally to

survive.


56 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Up until two years ago, even going through this healing process,

I hadn’t connected to how I was still checking out in that

area. I was still very disconnected from my own body. I was

very much physically present when I was engaging in sexual

activity with men, but I wasn’t mentally, spiritually, or energetically

there. Having to reconnect with myself, having to cater

to myself and take care of my wounds, and knowing just that

within itself spilled over into every other area of my life.

Growing up, I always used to say that I wanted a man like my

father until I got honest about my father. This was just last

summer when I went back home on this healing journey. I used

to put my daddy on a full pedestal, and I finally was able to say

to myself, “my father was a good man in a lot of ways, but in

a lot of ways, he wasn’t. You are going to have to be honest

about that and how you’ve attracted that type of man into your

life. You know words have power, and here you are seeking out

your father in men.”

It formed skewed perspectives, and it caused me to make so

many dysfunctional choices as it related to men and to relationships

in general. Not trusting my mother, having that mother

wound, and not trusting myself, ultimately led to me not trusting

my sisters. So here I was, running Respect the Queen, but

to my very core, I didn’t trust women, because I was still dealing

with issues with my mom. We had a breakthrough this past October

that opened me up to trust her more, trust me more, and

ultimately trust women more.

I think it’s something we have to be honest about because we

have a lot of these sisterhood movements. It’s really pretty to

say let’s have these sisterhoods and then not be honest about

that mother wound, or about how you’re still learning to trust

and take care of, and love yourself. And if that foundation isn’t

solid, then you really can’t have a sisterhood movement. You

know? It’s also affected how I parent my children. I have been

working on how to be there, working on being intentional, and

recognizing current-day, dysfunctional parenting behavior, and

how it reflects back to my childhood and with repairing my own

children. My oldest child is eighteen, and he went through the

majority of my addiction with me; so, he mirrored my childhood

issues, the things that I am still dealing with, the things

that I still haven’t conquered, and that are connecting to my

inner child.

Depending upon the level of trauma you’ve experienced, it may

feel like it is never-ending. You are continually having things

exposed to you from your past that are affecting your current


THE NEW NORMAL 57

situation. It’s a constant day by day journey.

Fancy: How can we approach trauma and healing with our

family members?

Terricina: Here’s the thing--a lot of the times when we are on a

healing journey, especially when in our younger years, we want

to tell everybody, “Y’all need this shit in your life!” [Laughs].

About four to five years into my sobriety, I wanted to tell everybody

about AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics

Anonymous), and other drug-court programs.

Then when I came to be on this side of things- when I walked

away from the church, and I started to dive into the knowledge

of self, African spirituality, and all of that, I was the same way. I

wanted everybody to know because I wanted everybody to feel

this sense of freedom that I was feeling.

The reality is, that’s in a perfect world, but everybody’s journey

is their own. Everybody’s healing process is theirs. When I started

to focus more on myself and the healing process, I could see

my mom start to catch the light. Not in all areas, but she began

to catch on to some of the information.

So, for she and I, we can have better conversations than we ever

had, but there are still areas where she is in denial or the way she

remembers things - ‘I don’t know where you were at because

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T H E I R S K I N C A R E R O U T I N E

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58 SWAGHER FALL 2020

that’s not what happened.’ But I understand that for my healing,

they almost become envious. It’s like they almost become

jealous in a way, because you have a voice, that they don’t even

know exists. You are using your voice to tell the truth that they

always wanted to tell, but weren’t able to do. When you bring

up these feelings and emotions that they hadn’t dealt with, felt

or acknowledged in a really long time, their first instinct is to

resist. Their defenses go up. They don’t want to hear what you

have to say, because our parents would have to take accountability

on a level that is just uncomfortable. It’s almost like, ‘You

want me to tell you that I failed as a parent. You want me to

tell you and acknowledge that I didn’t protect you and I didn’t

provide for you, and I didn’t give you a solid foundation.’ But

that is not our agenda.

As the person who is healing, that is not what we want them to

do - not to the degree that hurts them, not to the degree that it

causes them pain or that it causes them to be uncomfortable.

We really just want them to feel the same freedom. I learned

not to force my healing unto other people. I learned that in its

proper season, it would come for some.

The best example is my brother, there has always been this uncomfortable

space between us, this pink elephant in the room.

We have never discussed the incest that transpired and we never

truly discussed all the things that happened to us as children,

and what we experienced. We both responded to trauma

in different ways. I responded out loud. I was a tornado. My

brother, on the other hand, distanced himself, always finding

ways to connect to women and connect to their families, to get

away from our family. And so about, maybe two months ago, I

finally mustered the courage to reach out to him and say, “Hey,

we really got to have a conversation about what happened between

us,” but I spoke from a place of being considerate of

him, not making it seem like he needed to go about it the way

that I had gone about it. I acknowledged that he was hurt too

and that things transpired between us that were inappropriate.

Shockingly, my brother reached out to me. I didn’t think that he

was going to respond back, but he shared that he was so happy

that I finally had said something. He had been privately seeking

therapy, and he was apologetic for the things of a sexual nature

that transpired between us. We just got talking, and I let out

a cry. Something came up and out of my belly because it was

something I had been holding on to because I was afraid to

hurt him.

you accept the fact that they are not on a journey. They have

found something. I have aunts that use their financial status as a

means, that it is almost like a measuring stick - ‘I’m okay because

I’ve got this house.’ ‘I’m okay because I’ve got this money.’ ‘I’m

okay because I’ve got a husband.’ ‘I’m okay because I’ve got

these materialistic things that allow me to hide’ because that is

precisely what they are doing. They are hiding from the rest of

the world, and somewhere along the line, they have made peace

within themselves that says this is good enough. Now for you

and me, it’s not good enough, but for them, it is.

Fancy: It will be our generation and those after us that make

the change.

Terricina: I was just getting ready to say, it’s going to be us.

Laughs. Those who are 50 years and over, let them be who

they want to be. You have to know that they have experienced

something within their lifetime.

I say this because my family is from Mississippi, and Mississippi

holds all my family‘s secrets. My father was born on a

plantation. A lot of things have transpired there that I may never

know about, and for them, they are probably going to take

those things to the grave. We just have to be able to accept that.

That is probably what is going to happen.

However, our generation, we have the audacity to heal.

Connect with Terricina below:

Website: bit.ly/TheSacredSpaceHealingServices

IG: @speakerterraj | @thesacredspacecommunity | @

terricinaljackson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesacredspacecommunity/

https://www.facebook.com/Sacred-Womb-Healing-684890885315667/

| https://www.facebook.com/terricinajackson/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Podcast: www.anchor.fm/thesacredspace

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqDilqxUm-

3vrOG9_tVcmggQ

Fancy: So how do we approach the subject?

Terricina: Sometimes, we just have to get gutsy enough to say,

“Hey, we need to talk.” I do believe that the spirit will let you

know when the timing is right. For me, it was just a nudge of

‘you’ve got to do this.’

It was such a relief for him and me, but on the flip side, I have

aunts and uncles who aren’t fooling with me at all. I’ve just had

to accept that it’s not time, and sometimes that it won’t ever be

time for them, and you just got to get to a point, a place where


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60 SWAGHER FALL 2020

A MOMENT WITH

DEMI

BLUE

About three or four years ago, I stopped wearing acrylic

nails. I honestly felt like I was being held hostage

to my habit, and I just didn’t have the time. Then I

thought I could put the money to good use somewhere else.

So what now?

As a child, I used to bite my nails, and that was one of the

reasons I wore acrylics, anyway. In my mind, I felt that a lady

did not walk around with bitten nails and nubs, especially a professional

woman. I talk with my hands, so that was definitely a

no-go.

The beauty of wearing acrylics for so long was, I no longer had

the desire to bite my nails. It was at that time that my love for

polishing my nails started. I found that painting my nails tremendously

helped with my anxiety and moodiness. It calmed

me, and changing the color, helped me feel that I was in control

of something when my world felt like it was out of control.

Recently while browsing my timeline on Facebook, I came

across a post in the Billionheiress Girls Club from Michelle

Robinson. Michelle stated that her polish brand was going to

be soon in Walmart. I never heard of a sister making polish, so

I rushed to support.

I loved the polish that I purchased so much that I created a

second-order, right away. One thing about me, when I find a

gem, I like to tell others about it. *Wink* Michelle Robinson’s


THE NEW NORMAL 61

brand is DemiBlue Polish. This is a moment with DemiBlue, a

time for me to introduce you to a new brand in beauty.

Arnya: What is the driving force behind starting your brand?

Michelle: In recent years, consumers have become increasingly

aware of the potentially harmful ingredients in a product many

of us use weekly-nail polish. Health officials warn us to avoid

the “toxic trio,” which includes formaldehyde, toluene, and

dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Formaldehyde, used as a hardening

agent in nail polish, is a well-known carcinogen while toluene,

used to create a smooth finish, and DBP, used to create a chipfree

coat, have both been linked to developmental defects. DE-

MIblue is proof it is possible to make safer nail polish. What

other ways does DEMI blue stand up to conventional nail

polishes, you ask? This 10-Free Vegan-Friendly nail polish is

long-lasting, as it may be worn up to 10 days with no chipping.

Our target market is health-conscious and/or vegan women

in the millennial through baby boomer generations who seek

to expand their choices in products that support their healthy

lifestyles. We also know the benefits that women who have

undergone radiation treatments, who have diabetes and other

ailments, are highly sensitive to carcinogen agents, could have

from incorporating DEMI Blue as a safer alternative in their

nail care regimen.

Arnya: Do you have mentors in the industry?

Arnya: How did you get into the industry?

Michelle: DEMIblue was a response to my mom’s experience

with radiation treatment. I was shocked to learn there are toxins

found in nail polish she cannot be exposed to, which kept

her from enjoying the simple pleasures of a basic manicure. I

had to do something with my 11 years in healthcare and eight

years in education; DEMIblue came to life. Now a manicurist,

I can provide my mom and other women services and healthier

products so they too can enjoy a manicure that helps boost

self-esteem during this transition.

Arnya: What are some goals you wish to accomplish with your

brand?

Michelle: My goal is to continue offering women healthier nail

polish products while also educating them on safer and healthier

nail care practices. Therefore, decreasing their exposure to

cancer fueling toxins and help them create and maintain great

natural nail care.

Instagram: Demibluenn

YouTube: DemiblueNationalNails

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/demibluenn

Website: www.demibluenaturalnails.com

Michelle: I don’t have a mentor in the beauty industry per se;

however, I seek guidance and accountability from my friends

and family.


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THE NEW NORMAL 63

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

TERESA

STITH

Teresa Stith began writing in her early 20’s, starting

with writing topics for the Sunday School Union and

representing Cedar Grove Baptist Church that was

then under the leadership of Pastor Dennis C. Ruffin and the

late Dr. Miranda T. Ruffin. Stith holds an Associate’s Degree

in Criminal Justice and is currently working to complete her

Bachelor’s Degree in the same field. She has a Life Coaching

Certificate and has often utilized her life coaching skills for

the Virginia Department of Corrections where she currently

manages corrections sergeants, officers, and close to 1000

offenders at a Virginia correctional facility. She absolutely

loves facilitating strategies for “learning teams” composed

of groups of staff members who become directly involved

in how to best utilize resources and strategies that will

work best to grow and impact the working environment.

She has also held the title of Certified General Instructor

summoning the “teacher” inside of her. She is a proven

LEADER in her own rite, exhibiting an outstanding ability

to teach and coach those with whom she encounters. Above

all, she LOVES the Lord. She found Christ at an early age

of 19 years old, and through hard tests and trials, she has

remained grounded in her Christian faith. Through her own

struggles and by overcoming obstacles, she has developed

a passion for faith. Unsure of what she was “stepping out

on” in early 2017, Teresa obeyed the voice of the Lord and

ultimately birthed A Faith That Works, a faith-based group


64 SWAGHER FALL 2020

developed to build people up in the area of their faith. The

group is currently 9,300 followers strong. She is the author

of four books and counting: A Faith That Works, Moving

From Seeing To Believing, The Real Purpose Behind The

Hat, The Broken Leading The Broken, Live Like You Know,

Embracing Our Freedom In Christ, and her latest title STEP,

The Day I Told Myself Enough Is Enough. Her upcoming

titles include Contending For The Faith, 25 Reminders That

Will Build Your Faith and Equip Your Mind For The Days

Ahead, Advancing the Kingdom of God, With Nothing But

a Sword, Shame on You, Shame on Me, Love in a Fist, Love

Psalms to God When You’re Single and Waiting, and For the

Writer in You: What Every First Time Writer Should Know.

Her motto is “Faith works WHEN YOU WORK your

faith!”

AllisonJanel: How would you describe your SwagHer? What

makes Teresa, Teresa?

Teresa: My SwagHer is that I am a “lifter upper” of people’s

heads. While I strive to build people up in the area of their

faith, I also help people to overcome

their fears and discover

their confidence and their ability

to move themselves forward.

AllisonJanel: What do you believe

is the most important aspect

to being a leader?

Teresa: The most important

aspect for me, to being a leader

is being able to listen. It is very

important to hear what a person

is not saying to you. When you

can do this, your ministry becomes

effective. When you can

tell a person what he or she has

not verbally stated to you, it is then that you have their full

attention.

AllisonJanel: What led you to become a corrections officer?

Teresa: (Laughs) It’s amazing that you ask me this question. I

had absolutely NO PLANS to become a corrections officer.

As a matter of fact, I hated it. (Laughs) I was pretty much

forced into the position when the position that I held at the

facility was terminated. I was told at that time that I could go

home or I could laterally transfer into the position of Corrections

Officer. At the time, being a single mother with four

young mouths to feed, of course I chose to do the lateral

transfer. All I will say is that when God has a direction for

your life, your plans mean nothing. This was the beginning of

Him working His plan into my life and I am so glad that He

did. I kicked and screamed and even cried in church because I

“People’s

energy,

whether good

or bad, is

contagious.”

did not want to be an officer. I will never forget my First Lady

(pastor’s wife) saying, “God said don’t make Him have to do

you like they do the horses when they want them to go a certain

way--they put a bit and bridle in their mouths.” I finally

got myself together and said, “Okay Lord, I’ll go.”

AllisonJanel: What advice would you give to someone who

wanted to become a corrections officer? Are you still currently

a corrections officer?

Teresa: I will tell anyone who wants to become an officer

that it is the most amazing career. You meet people (mostly

offenders) from all over the world with all kinds of backgrounds.

YOU have the ability to speak a word, encourage

a heart, motivate, inspire, and SAVE a life every single day.

You work with an amazing staff that challenges you to be

your absolute best. One thing that I have learned from others

is that everyday you have to challenge yourself to be better

than you were the day before. You won’t always get the pats

on the back or the “job well done” when you’re busting your

back, day after day. But when you go home and you take that

uniform off and you realize that

today I stopped someone from

hanging themselves, overdosing,

or possibly walking off the job,

you can say to yourself, “Lord I

have successfully completed another

day that YOU equipped

me to endure. You are why I do

what I do.” I am still currently a

Corrections Lieutenant.

AllisonJanel: What sparked your

interest in writing and leadership?

Teresa: I’ve always been a writer.

I grew up not really understanding

how to express my feelings to other people. I learned to

write down what I would say if ever given the opportunity to

say it. I felt that writing covered all the deep issues that I could

not express in words. After I began to understand myself--my

pain, my trials, my tests, my journey--I wanted to prevent as

many people as I could from going down the same path of

allowing situations or circumstances to dictate the outcome

their lives. I realized that being bitter about life would not improve

your life, but accepting your life as is allows a person to

find joy in the midst of the trials. I say to any person reading

this that, regardless of how you started, you will NOT DIE

here, but LIVE to declare the works of the Lord. God gives

us many promises daily, but we have to be willing to accept

His gifts for us.

AllisonJanel: Were you raised in the church? Did you experience

hardship, trials and tribulations in your life that lead you


THE NEW NORMAL 65

to GOD?

Teresa: Yes. My grandparents took me and my siblings to

church at a very early age. We sung and sat under the Word

often. Of course being so young, we did not understand much

about what was going on. Later on in life when I found myself

wanting to end my life, it was that covering that actually saved

my life! Hardships, trials, and tribulations? These drove me

straight to the Lord.

I was so young, and

ready to check out of

here, but God said

“NOT YET!” Glorryyy!

AllisonJanel: Please

provide us with a prelude

to some of your

books. What should

your readers expect?

Teresa: A Faith That

Works is the first book

I’ve written and I get

down, dirty, and real

about my life and how

I struggled with faith.

Faith just simply was not working for me! Hmph, everything

that was happening in my life was confirming that! But just

like Peter, when I began to stop looking at my life and why it

was so messed up, and put my focus on THE AUTHOR of

my life, I began to see my life through His eyes. I began to

understand that He was not punishing me, but that He was

actually trying to give me hope and a future. He was molding

me, equipping me, and shaping me for a destiny that I

did not understand. My, my, my. My readers should expect

the TRUTH as I keep it all the way REAL. Professional, but

real. I tell my readers to “get ready to be broken.” You cannot

be healed until you have been broken and put back together

again by the Lord Himself.

that I would like to see with A Faith That Works. I would

like to get it more deeply involved within the community and

maybe even consider it becoming a non-profit organization.

Not sure if it will happen this year or the next, but I trust that

it will all be in God’s timing.

AllisonJanel: Is there anything additional that you would like

our readers to know?

Teresa: Support authors--local, new and aspiring. There are

some amazing stories that do not get read because some of

your local authors may not have the resources to market and

promote their ideas. Invest in them… There were times (and

this is still true) that people have looked at me and automatically

assumed that I was mean without ever having a conversation

with me. I have been judged by people that did not

know me because of what someone else told them. This has

hurt my reputation in so many ways and I have had to work

extra hard to redeem myself. I redeemed myself by living and

conducting myself opposite of what people were hearing and

saying. I don’t know why God gave me this face, but I know

that it was for a reason and I had to come to accept that, even

when I did not want to. In accepting it, I came to realize that

there will always be somebody who is not okay with you being

who you are. But my advice to you: “Be who God created

YOU to be!” Be the best you that you need to be FOR YOU!

We miss out on the most beautiful relationships with others

when we judge them from the outside. When you can FULLY

accept who you are, regardless of the stares and opinions of

mere men, …you began to live and lead a FULL life. Peace

and blessings to you all!

Connect with Teresa Stith below.

Business Website: afaiththatworks.com

Instagram: @reeblk_motivated

Facebook: Afaiththatworks

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/teresa-stith-44b97512

Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/teresastith

Email: afaiththatworks@outlook.com

AllisonJanel: Tell us more about your group, A Faith That

Works? Do you foresee anything that you would like to add to

the group by the end of the year?

Teresa: In this group, I send inspirational messages of love,

hope, and faith geared toward taking the individual’s mind off

of personal struggles and helping that person to believe in and

focus their attention and hope on Someone greater--Someone

BIGGER than their problems. This is a Christian-based

group, however, where we welcome all those who choose to

know God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

While we do not force the acceptance of the Lord into the

lives of our followers, we do urge them to seek divine fellowship

and a personal relationship with Him. There is so much

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THE NEW NORMAL 67

FEATURE

A Talk With a

Goddess

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHAMEKA MATTHEWS


68 SWAGHER FALL 2020

A Talk With

a Goddess

An Interview With Francheska “Fancy” Felder

BY ARNYA T.M. DAVIS

Any journalist will tell you there is a shortlist or a long list

of people they would love to interview. The people on

this list are intriguing enough to create a desire to want to

know them in-depth. With that, let me start by stating, Francheska

Felder was definitely on my shortlist of people I wanted to interview.

Mind you, I talk to Francheska, aka Fancy, daily, and in most cases,

throughout the day. So I knew a great deal of the information shared,

and at times I know she wanted to say, well, you know this already.

Yes, people may know her as the Editor- in- Chief of SwagHer, but I

wanted the public to see HER. People see a brand and tend to associate

a person ONLY with the brand but never know the individual.

Fancy is a very strong, powerful, and intriguing goddess who brings in

so much when she enters a room. I have been able to learn and work

by her side for many years. I always kid and ask her when she will allow

me to interview her. Little did I know, recently, she would grant me

the opportunity.

Through this interview, I wish for you, the reader, to grasp just who

the woman behind SwagHer is. Her layers, passions, and what made

her not quit, after facing so much adversity. I wish for you to understand

her hardships. They did not tear down but created a BADASS

version of who Fancy was to grow into.

I present to some and introduce to others Francheska Felder, Editor-in-Chief

of SwagHer Magazine and CEO of Fancy’s Thoughts.

Arnya: Good afternoon, Francheska. Thank you for allowing me the

honor to interview you this afternoon and getting to know who you

are. I am aware that many people know you as “SwagHer, the editor--she’s

this, she’s that, she’s [Fancy] the boss.” But can you please tell

us who Francheska is? Not Fancy. Francheska. Outside of SwagHer,

being a mother and everything that you have going on—who are you?

How would you describe Francheska, the woman?

Fancy: It’s rather odd that you added the last descriptive term as “the

woman,” because to me, Francheska is very much a girl. Often, even

when she is mothering her kids, she feels somewhat like a girl—if

that makes sense. In many ways, Francheska can be very timid and

nonchalant. She hates making decisions, which is why I see her as the

girl—she’s just not business-oriented. Francheska tends to end up in

crazy situations, but somehow God always comes through and protects

and/or saves her. She’s more reactive than proactive. At one

time, everything and everyone scared me. A big part of me did not

really feel like an adult until I became 35, at which time I felt a sense of

relief. I could be more of myself because I had earned it. The saying

that we consist of multiple versions of ourselves—Francheska is like

my lowest, weakest form. And to be honest, I do not know if that’s a

good answer. But really, that is how I kind of see it.

Arnya: Actually, nobody refers to you as Francheska. I recall now that

I’ve never called you Francheska—I’ve only addressed you as Fancy.

So, with that being said and you’re saying that people are made of

multiple versions of themselves, would Fancy be another version of

yourself? If so, what other names would you call the other versions

of yourself?

Fancy: Fancy is definitely my more affirmative, dominant side, which I

still have to work on. She is very different from Francheska and looks

at situations more logically and more strategic--which is good because

Francheska can be very naive. It is weird to be talking about myself in

the third person. However, this is the best way I know how to explain

it. At the same time, my childhood nickname, Van, is used by my close

family from Mississippi.

Arnya: In your growth, when I asked you who was Francheska, you


THE NEW NORMAL 69

said you earned it. To me, that made me think that you have battle

scars and had to go through some things. Tell me some challenges

that you’ve faced being a serial entrepreneur, mother, girlfriend, and

wife? How did you get through them?

Fancy: OK. So challenges would definitely be with me. I’ve publicly

talked about my whole stripping phase because that was a challenge.

It was a challenge to overcome that lifestyle of fast living and outgrowing

that desire and finally growing up. My mental struggles of

dealing with my anxiety and depression had frequently been the base

of everything. Taking the time to learn more about my mental health

and going to therapy has helped me tremendously. When I really look

at my challenges, the biggest one is myself. Through an epiphany, I

discovered that I’d been battling imposter syndrome and sabotaging

myself for most of my life. So, to beat that and then learn after the

fact that what I was dealing with was really a big thing. I knew I had

reached another level in life. So, again, most of my challenges have

been within me. Being a Black woman in business; being in media.

The media itself is steadily changing. Different media outlets are popping

up every day, and it seems like it is easy to get into. At the same

time, when you really start to look at the situation--like how you are

going to grow, what are going to be your advantages, how you are

going to set yourself apart from the others--it’s not just as simple as

hopping on the phone and using your social media outlets and creating

a website. It’s so much more than that. Being a Black woman from

a marginalized community, I was so far behind. Add the fact that I

never worked in corporate America—that itself is a significant weakness

for me. I first had to take an interest in that type of culture to

educate myself in those areas where I was weak. I began to think if

this was a Fortune 500 company—this is what they will be doing. So

this is what people are expecting; I had to teach myself much of that.

So that was a big challenge right there—there was much knowledge

that I was missing.

Arnya: You gave great examples. One of the examples that you talked

about—mental health--is so prevalent, and I know we talk about it all

the time. When did you sit back and say, “Wait, there is something

wrong, and I need to get help?” Or did you just say, “Okay, there’s

something wrong,” yet waited a little before you got help? When did

you have the epiphany that you needed to get some help because you

had been battling yourself?

Fancy: I was about 27, and it was back at the time when people began

to really discuss mental health more openly. It was also about the

same time that I started my self-love journey and looked at my family

relationships and family dynamics. As I was learning, I read You Can

Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. One thing that stood out to me was

that she talked about how often the things that irritate us about other

people are what we really need to work on within ourselves. That was

mind-blowing for me, and it made me evaluate my situation much

more. During the same period, I looked at those around me and saw

how they fit the different profiles and how I fitted the profiles. However,

it was a long, slow period. This was seven to eight years in the

making. Although I had wanted to attend therapy years ago, I was

not settled enough in life to be able to take it seriously. But looking

back, I realize my mental health was a big part of my hang-up; even

as a child, I felt like there was always a sadness to me. In many ways,

I had a good childhood, but that sadness was more overpowering.

That is a big part of the reason why I am such a loner now. I can

sit by myself and have a peace of mind, but I might still be battling

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70 SWAGHER FALL 2020

something internally.

Anyway, I also went to my brother, who is two years my junior, and

asked him to watch me and let me know if my behavior ever seemed

sporadic or like I was beginning to show the signs of decline that

we’d seen in other family members. Then when my depression got too

bad due to life challenges, I decided to seek therapy earnestly because

I didn’t like the person I was becoming, and I felt my kids and the

people that loved me deserve better. However, I’d also like to note; it

wasn’t easy for doctors to take me seriously. I really had to advocate for

myself because doctors wanted to say the depression was situational,

but I knew that I felt as if I’d been living trapped inside myself for

years. I knew that something wasn’t right.

Arnya: You mentioned your kids, so I now want to switch gears because

something that I know is important to you is your kids. How

are you as that mother who says, “I’m Mama, who knows how to

parent and take care of my other business matters?

Fancy: I’m not a very strict mom, but, for the most part, I am the

kind of creative, artsy mom who may not necessarily always remember

everything. At times, you might actually have to stay on top of her

with whatever the item is. But, at the end of the day, she teaches you

morals and life lessons. She’s preparing you for the world, but she

might forget your lunch the next day. [Laughs] That’s kind of me, but I

love my kids! We had to work on our relationship, but that’s the beauty

of things because we got to start over. Now our communication is

much better. We’ve had to rebuild our trust due to my moving to

Atlanta to work on the magazine, which was an immense strain. For

about a year or two, I had to work with my middle daughter, regaining

her trust; I feel like our relationship is beautiful now. My son, whom

I had at 14 years old, is still a work in progress. We have had a long

history together because we grew up together in many ways. Then,

[the dynamic] with my youngest daughter, being open with my whole

custody battle and losing custody of her, was something that broke

me as a woman but also revealed many things to me, not just about

people, but also about myself. For a long time, I was bitter [about the

ordeal] but, at the same time, was trying to have a better relationship

with her. To achieve this, I had to move past it to enjoy the time that

I have with her. I think my oldest two children and I used to feel a lot

of guilt about doing anything without having my youngest daughter

present. People talk about long-distance relationships, but the most

challenging long-distance relationship is one as a parent.

that went wrong on my end--from my lawyer dropping my case on the

date of the court date to the social worker mixing up the SwagHer site

and the finding and discussing the site that I sold sex party toys with.

I remember the judge [making an issue out of me choosing to attend

an HBCU]. And I was like, “What does that have to do with anything?

I’m still trying to better myself, you know.” The way I was painted in

court was just like this horrible person, and I’ll never forget what that

felt like. To be a girl that everybody back home used to be so proud of

and then see everybody just look at you in a different light, you know.

Just like, “Oh, we thought she was like this,” you know…that was a

really heartbreaking sort of thing. It seems like I’ve been fighting to

get my daughter back for seven years now. This is something still hard

for me to talk about. I didn’t realize it until now. This life event broke

me early on as I was growing into a woman, and it took a lot for me to

rebuild myself after this, but I know it made me stronger.

Arnya: That’s understandable. So, we’ve talked about the person, the

mother. It was important to me in this interview so people can get

to know who you are. Because, again, we only know SwagHer. The

way your spirit is, you like to be in the background. I wanted people

to know who you were so that you can be here and accounted for. So

now I want to delve into the businesswoman. Most people just know

SwagHer. They don’t remember Redbone Entertainment. They don’t

know all of the other things that you do—e.g., websites, PR. After all,

you went through and dealt with in your earlier years, what made you

stay the course, go get it, and fight it out? What made you decide to

relocate to pursue your dreams?

Fancy: Wow. You know it was my youngest daughter’s dad. I wanted to

get away from him. He wasn’t abusive or anything, but I realized that

as long as I stayed in the same town as him, he would always have a

Arnya: So, if you don’t mind and so people can understand what you

mean by long-distance with your kids, can you elaborate on the custody

battle? I know that she lives with her father and her stepmom?

Fancy: My younger self would have just gone straight off the rails,

but now I say I can only share the story from my perspective, of

course. I have almost blocked out this period—I blocked much of

this out of my memory, to be honest, so there is a big part of my

life I feel is missing. I already had so much going on at that time. I

think the depression and our instability did not help. But shortly after

I moved to Baton Rouge after finishing Community College, I got a

marketing job, which did not work out or pay the bills, which is how

I started dancing. Once I started dancing, there was an issue between

my daughter’s dad and me. At this time and in my immaturity, I did

not take him seriously. I take responsibility for that now. Earlier I

looked at it as, “You just took her.” But now I know that I played

some parts in that.

Basically, we went to court that was, like, a year of our lives--going

through that whole situation. To be honest, there were so many things


Sasha

Mercedes

THE NEW NORMAL 71

hold on me, I guess. That has changed since then, of course, but back

then, I also knew that there weren’t many opportunities for me in Mc-

Comb, Mississippi. Not to mention, when I graduated with my associate’s

degree, I didn’t understand what I could do with it or even what

it was. I didn’t understand the job descriptions or what opportunities

it offered. And to be honest, it wasn’t much. But as I was looking for

jobs, and I knew that one of my close childhood friends had moved

to Baton Rouge. So I was like, hey, this could be my way out. At the

time, I was actually working at a chicken plant. So I’m just glad that I

took that leap of faith.

Arnya: You have such a sweet and low-key spirit, and, as you said,

you are a loner. You like to be by yourself. So why did you pursue

marketing and PR? That puts you right in the middle of everything.

Why the media? Why this profession? What made you say, “I’m going

after that”?

Fancy: Actually, that’s the thing, because that is more of who Francheska

is. Francheska doesn’t like the limelight, but Fancy does, yet she had

to grow. It’s always been there, and I’m kind of stepping more into my

power now, but I’ve always loved entertainment stuff. Coming from a

small town, that was one of the biggest things I saw; and at the same

time, I knew I could write. I’ve always loved writing. I knew from the

first grade and all of the gifted classes that I took that I am creative

and like to control whatever I’m working on. That’s one thing I don’t

think a lot of people may realize about me. It can also be a flaw, but

I’m just not a follower. I’m good on my own, if it’s going to come to

that. I wanted to be able to bounce between creative projects. I didn’t

want to be within a box, and I saw a magazine as being that. I looked at

Essence. They weren’t just a magazine: they have a festival and a slew

of other things. It was just something that, you know, stuck out to me.

But at the same time, with PR, I’ve always loved angles, like the angling

aspects of things. Even as I’m reading, I’m still wondering, “Okay, are

they doing this because of this?” or “Is this good?” That’s how I look

at almost every situation.

Arnya: Oh, wow. So I know that you started SwagHer when you were

attending Southern University. You were also waitressing and exotic

dancing at the same time. Then you met a prominent businesswoman,

and you felt the need to start something to promote Black people.

Speak to that, please.

Fancy: It wasn’t just one woman in particular. It was more so the

stories of the women that I met. I took a liking to this group of Black

women, and a lot of them had businesses. But they lived very different

lifestyles, unlike anything I had ever seen at that time. They would

see me, you know, just like really in this funk. I won’t lie, I was pretty

bitter, a Debbie Downer. I said, “When is my time coming? I’m doing

all of this, I’m going to school at the same time, and still, nothing is

coming about.” They would kind of share their stories with me about

the different things they went through. Looking at a person, you know,

from the outside, you’re like, “Oh, they never had to experience all this

hardship,” you know. Just hearing those stories were new experiences

for me, coming from a small town and all. I figured it would be cool

if other women--Black women in particular--could hear these stories

C E O | F O U N D E R | C O U N S E L O R | C O A C H

I N S I D E A N D O U T C O U N S E L I N G

Y O U H A V E T O W I N

B A T T L E W I T H Y O U R S E L F

B E F O R E Y O U C A N S T E P

O N A N E W B A T T L E F I E L D .

W W W . S A S H A M E R C E D E S . O R G

W W W . I N S I D E A N D O U T C O N S U L T I N G . O R G

W W W . S I S T E R S 2 N D C H A N C E . O R G


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72 SWAGHER FALL 2020

“ C H A N G E Y O U R M I N D S E T , C H A N G E Y O U R L I F E ”

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THE NEW NORMAL 73

situation was not working out. I used to sit in the McDonalds from the

time they opened until 10:00 or 11:00 at night. I would just sit there

and work, and then one day, this guy came in, and he wanted to use

the outlet to charge his phone. We struck up a conversation. He was

actually creepy as hell and from the Caribbean. He offered to let me

stay in his room with him.

I did that for about two to three months. Throughout the process,

there were times I had nothing and had to depend on him. I was trying

to find a job and finally found one that allowed me to move in with

a roommate. All of these were very different situations for me. Even

though I had stayed with my best friend and her husband when I

moved to Baton Rouge, I had not moved my kids with me, and now

I was in an entirely different city, 400 something miles away. I hadn’t

ever been to Atlanta by myself. I got a job at a call center, and that kind

of began to help me transition into things. But at the same time, it

was still very different. Living with a roommate thing and being away

from my kids, I [felt] so guilty. Considering the higher cost of living, I

wondered how in the world I was ever going to get to the point where

I can move them here? There was also the situation of my youngest

daughter having to remain in Mississippi. It was a very different experience,

but it had many good moments, and it helped the magazine.

I got to meet a lot of people and, at the same time, realized a lot of

those people weren’t honest. It brought me a good deal of bitterness

and depression to the point where I almost ended the magazine. I was,

like, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.” I didn’t know if it was

worth it. Jarmel was still keeping things afloat, and that’s how we continued

until we got back into the groove of things. Relocating helped

us to grow because Atlanta had more opportunities.

Arnya: Gotcha. You mentioned Jarmel. What role does he play with

the magazine?

as well. Like, what if we shared more? One thing I was realizing, and I

am still amazed by it even as I grow, is how we as the Black community,

we as women do not like to be transparent, or you know- everything

is supposed to be a secret. Nobody’s supposed to know. Often when

somebody does know, somebody might help you or tell you the tools

or the tricks or whatever. If you look at movies, for example, I’m always

amazed at this. We look at films nowadays and realize that many

plots are based on a secret no one wants anyone to know. So then

there is all this disaster and destruction. I want to share the stories of

these Black women. It has evolved, of course, but that was just the

thing at that time. I figured if there was anything that I could do to

help, it was share and educate.

Arnya: Oh, wow. I love that. So SwagHer started in Baton Rouge, and

then you moved to Atlanta on a whim, because of the support you

received from there. Tell me about your experience in Atlanta.

Fancy: Jarmel plays a very vital role as our VP of marketing. He’s had

to keep things afloat many times when I was dealing with my physical

and mental health and personal matters. He wasn’t with me when I

started SwagHer, but he’s been with the magazine for seven or eight

years... I’ve lost many people over the years of getting my life together

both professionally and personally, but Jarmel has always been there

and is a real blessing.

Arnya: Yay Jarmel. Okay, so there is the businesswoman and everything

that you’ve had to go through to keep the magazine. How do

you last ten years, being so young in the business? And, as you stated,

you had to learn so much on the fly, and you’re still learning. How can

one stay ten years in business doing all you do, considering all you’ve

dealt with?

Fancy: All right, the most significant factor is the grace of God, to be

Fancy: I’m not going to lie; I feel like I left a part of my heart there.

And a part of me still feels like I belong there, but it was much faster

than I ever imagined. I just wasn’t ready for that faster pace of

life. And I know many people may not understand that, but it’s just a

whole different way of thinking, and if you’re not ready, then…you

know. I’ve already said I used to be naïve. I was out there, and I was

really green. I packed up my car and left. I met this other girl online,

and she was moving there from New York. She had five kids, but she

told me I could stay with her when I got there until I found a place. I

didn’t know it was going to be so hard to find a place. Now I’m with

this girl in her house with her five kids, sleeping on the floor, and the


74 SWAGHER FALL 2020

honest. Also, another big part of things is maintaining the determination

just to see things through. After a point, you get to where you’re

almost like, “I can’t have wasted this many years.” So I have to make

this work, you know, I have to make something come out of this.

And the crazy thing is, you’ll think that you’re working hard. But you

will look back and realize you weren’t doing anything. You might have

been doing the best you could at the time. Once you grow, you begin

to realize that you definitely probably weren’t working smart. I know

automation is huge, and I know everybody’s talking about it, but I used

to kind of be against it. But now we’re growing to a larger capacity,

and we have to get more stuff out, I see the value in it. Also relationships--I

think that’s a big part of things and I don’t think I touched on

that. Our advertisers and sponsors have been most supportive. Most

have been with us for a while. So that alone, their continuous support

is great! They also tell other people, and that’s another big portion of

our support comes from. The ability to adapt is also beneficial. You

must possess determination, but you too could be stubborn and not

want to adjust when you see that things are going wrong or something

isn’t working. And then there’s also patience, and ten years is,

of course, a lot of patience. But again, once you put more time into it,

you just really want that time to mean something of value.

Arnya: Right. So tell us what else you do besides the magazine?

Fancy: I don’t do much publishing on the website anymore because

I’ve begun to focus more on building up the PR side. So working with

our subscription clients, we offer PR, Marketing, and Creative Services.

It’s a mixture of multimedia stuff, whether from us submitting

guest submissions for our clients or securing them press placements.

Or, you know, taking a lot of their blogs or their products and just

doing different things. Of course, we’re still advertising and promoting

them, but also helping them secure more placement outside of

marketing. We’re sharing their story. We’re actually helping them to

build up their portfolio for their brands. So now you’re not just this

business owner, but you’re a specialist in your field. Since there is both

SwagHer Online and then the print magazine, I still handle most of

the print issue production. I’m trying to get more into writing again,

but I’m also working on some personal brand projects.

Arnya: But you also offer other services too, right?

Fancy: Yes, I design websites. We also offer graphics and marketing

materials. I say “we” because we really work as a team. I’ve been

stepping more into the role of a coach/trainer, but my team also learn

a lot on their own. Sometimes I just kind of help them get started,

and then they one-up their designs or whatever the work may be, by

themselves. So it has just been really cool to watch them grow as we’re

working and revamping lots of things. Then there’s the podcast, Theories

and Thoughts. I handle much back-end production stuff with

the podcast regarding formatting and publishing and stuff like that.

I’m basically a techie. So that’s one of my most significant advantages

on top of the fact that I can write. A lot of people can be technical,

but they can’t write. So I think it’s a gift to be able to combine the two.

Arnya: So, Theories and Thoughts. You do so much, and you have

such a wide range. Why did you want to start the podcast? You got me

hyped about it because I was like, ok, well, we could do it. Then we just

did it, much of the same way we‘ve done other ventures. And that’s

what I love so much about our friendship. So tell me about Theories

and Thoughts. How did that come about?

Fancy: Well, of course, you’re my co-hostess, but for those who aren’t

familiar, “Theories” comes from “my world in theories”: your tagline

and my tagline is #fancysthoughts. So we pulled the “Thoughts”

from there. With that being said, Theories and Thoughts was a way

for us both to use our voices. I knew I was ready to speak. You see,

we wanted to have a lot of those conversations that we don’t have as

Black women.

At the same time, I’m also stepping into being more vocal. I realized

that as much as I love writing, speaking is a whole other passion. I do

publicly speak occasionally, but it’s not as consistent as I would like.

Speaking is such a rush, but it’s kind of a different feel with the podcasts.

But that’s, again, kind of putting myself out there and making

myself uncomfortable. Podcasting is something I had wanted to do

for years but slept on due to my instability and fear. It’s like, you know,

you can write something or hide behind a screen, but if you’re going

to speak, it’s like, “Hey, we got you on tape.” To be honest, I can’t

remember the conversation that we had, but I do remember us kind

of talking about it. Then I got so caught up in some other work, and

it almost didn’t happen. I do remember thinking, “I want to see this

through because I know that Arnya wants to do this as well.” I didn’t

want to let you down. In some ways, I possibly could have still backed

out of it, had it just been me.

Arnya: I’m thankful that you brought me along because I am a talker.

And as you told me, I’m a conversationalist, and I never used that

word for myself. But you said it and other people had said it. And it’s

like, “Okay, well, I guess I can carry a conversation.” But I will say

you brought me out of my shell because, although I talk, I have now

learned to speak about my opinion on a matter. I feel like you got me

out of that. You helped me to grow in that area. So, thank you.

Fancy: Aww, you’re welcome. Thank you for letting me know that.

Arnya: So we’ve discussed the woman, the mother, and the business

owner. Is there anything that I’m missing?

Fancy: Well, we didn’t discuss the Goddess.

Arnya: Come on, Goddess! She’s a part of you. There’s Fancy,

Francheska, and then there’s the Goddess. So let’s talk about the Goddess.

Fancy: Fancy is more a part of the goddess, you know; they’re kind

of one in a sense, but that’s more of the spiritual side of me. Maybe

it’s just me, but as a woman in business, it seems we have to be a

lot more masculine, and I don’t really like that. I’m very much a girly

girl. Often, when people hear about the magazine, they try to label

me a feminist, and I’m like, no, that’s not me. Like, I am very much

like, “Oh, can you please lift this?” I don’t even hold my own door

open. Do you know what I mean? Like, that’s me. And it’s also just

because I think that spirituality is like a massive part of my life. And I

look at everything kind of from some spiritual aspect, but frequently

when people hear you identify as a god or a goddess, they’ll feel like

it’s something offensive. I do believe, you know, when it says that we

are made in His image, then I get it. I’m not the God; I’m not the

capital “G,” you know. But I am a goddess because I believe that we

have a lot of power within ourselves. And when I began my self-love

journey ten years ago (that was the same time I started the magazine),

I began to learn about the powers that we [humans] possess, like the

power of thinking and mindset. The crazy thing is I spent so many

years wanting to believe or trying to manifest, but I didn’t see things

come to fruition. But the stronger that I’ve gotten, over the years, I

began to notice the patterns. I remember because I have a gratitude


THE NEW NORMAL 75

and affirmation journal. So when I’m looking back, and I see many

things did finally come into fruition, I’m just like, wow. That guidance

is a spiritual aspect of me, and it’s what fuels the side of me that is so

passionate about uplifting the Black community and seeing my people

excel. I just want to be a nurturer, you know, and a giver of life, in

whatever the situation may be. I always say to myself, in my affirmations,

that I’m a light. So I like to think that wherever I go, I spread

wisdom, empowerment, and light. The more I grow, that’s who I want

to grow more into. Is this interview sounding crazy as hell? Because I

don’t know. This is me. (Laughs)

Arnya: I love it. It’s you, and that’s why I love it. I LOVE IT…because

everything you speak is like, wow! Gosh, you told me I could talk

about whatever I want, so I’m sitting here talking about whatever I

want. Ten years accomplished, what’s in the future for SwagHer?

Fancy: We aim to have our headquarters/studio opened by late this

year or early next year. [Considering the effect of the pandemic], I’m

just wondering how this is all going to play out. Still, I’m very excited

about this venture, and we haven’t disclosed the location yet because

I just know how people can follow you and try to imitate whatever

you’re doing. But I’m excited about it. Not only will we have more

capabilities, but we will have the ability to do a lot of things in-house

and have the space needed for our equipment and so on. But then

we’ll also be able to give back to the community because we’re going

to hire within the community and offer other needed services and

other amenities that aren’t as popular within that area. We’re bringing

something to a location where it is needed, which will benefit the city

in the long run. Once we’re in our headquarters, I look forward to

working more on the agency part of things, such as hiring more reps

and other positions, bringing in more creatives. I want to create more

opportunities for Black creatives, especially within the South.

Arnya: What is your SwagHer?

Fancy: I’m actually very silly or very serious. I’m not good with the

in-between. I always ask people, “do you want something deep, or

do you want something light?’ but I don’t really do light well. So with

everything and everyone that is of importance to me, I think I can be a

loving person, though hard at times, because I’m frank and straightforward.

Often, I may be afraid actually to say whatever it is, I’m saying,

but I feel so compelled to try to do something. So I am like one of

those who try to help others, but often, the things that I see may not

always be what other people see. And I’m not going to say that I’m

wrong. I’ve had to learn to trust myself. I don’t know if you all are

familiar with chakras--I’m still learning about them myself--but I honestly

believe that I’ve kind of tapped into my crown chakra because

of the wisdom and insight that’s recently been bestowed upon me is

so great, you know. Like I’m a student of life. And I’m a huge lover,

to be honest. At the end of the day, I’m still a country girl. My other

motto is, I’m “a goddess in human form. So I guess that just makes

me a girl that longs for the world.”

L A D O N N A M A R I E B O O K S

DISCOVER THE

CHAMPION IN YOU

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P L A N T I N G P O S I T I V E S E E D S . C O M

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76 SWAGHER FALL 2020

CASSIDY LEE

EDITOR. BOOK COACH. LIFE CONSULTANT

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ConsultantCassidy@gmail.com

www.CassidyALee.com

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THE NEW NORMAL 77

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

KIMBERLY

P. JONES

Kimberley B. Jones is a professional early childhood educator

and children’s book author. Currently, Kimberley is branching

off into writing fiction, young adult and new adult

literature, and adult novels on issues in society. She is releasing her

latest book, Our Friendship Matters, and several others soon.

After receiving her education and being a military spouse, Kim held

several jobs as a preschool teacher and a preschool director. Still, she

wanted to put her knowledge to use by writing children’s books. She

wrote her first book in college for her children’s literature course.

Since then, Kim has self-published several children’s books located

on Amazon.

Born in the small town of Saint George, South Carolina, the author

graduated from Woodland High School in 2000, Benedict College in

2004 with a B.S., Child & Family Development, and from Ashford

University in 2013 with a Masters in Early Childhood Education.

Kim loves writing and wouldn’t change it for anything in this world.

She is now represented by the great publishing company Rhetoric

Askew. Meet the author below.

Fancy: How would you describe your swagher? What makes Kimberley,

Kimberley?

Kimberley: What makes me, me is my passion for writing and expressing

how I feel about situations in life. But it is not only about

how I feel but to also inspire change in the world, with hopes of

letting the world know how others think and may react to situations.

Everyone will not see things the way you see them, but I want people

to know, it’s okay, and the world will change with or without you.

My writing is my voice and how I see potential in a changed- society.


78 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Fancy: How did you fall in love with writing?

Kimberley: In middle school, one of my friends and I used to play

around in writing, but I never had an interest until college.

Fancy: You have several titles under your belt, particularly several

children’s books. Is your upcoming book, Our Friendships Matter, a

children’s book, and can you tell us more about it?

Kimberley: In Our Friendship Matters, these two girls graduate from

a St. Louis, Missouri, private school. But during the summer, they become

enemies because one friend decides to protest for her race: one

black and one white. But once a tragic accident happens, one must

come forward, to tell the truth by leaning on the friend she betrayed.

Sasha is the smart one who works hard to get good grades. They both

have the jocks at school. Leah doesn’t care; what she says goes, and if

it doesn’t go her way, then expect to pay. When one friend is interested

in protesting, the other gets jealous of the other’s new friends and

goes against her. It’s all about revenge.

It takes a tragic accident, threats, and leaving the city for one friend to

realize that she made a huge mistake. A threat that will make all the

high school friends come together and protect her.

Fancy: So what was your inspiration behind Our Friendship Matters?

Kimberley: What inspired

me to write

Our Friendship Matters

was when African-

Americans started

the Black Lives

Matters movement. I

would search the internet

and watch the

news. I would see other

groups, like Whites

Lives Matter, All Lives

Matter, and Blue

Lives Matter, forming

against the Black

Lives Matter movement,

taking the focus

off the real issue. In

my view, it wasn’t fair

or right. The reason Black Lives Matter started was to stop police

brutality against African-Americans, which has been happening for

decades. Yes, all colors are brutalized by police. But in all reality, African-Americans

suffer the most.

Another reason I wrote this book is for African-American parents

who shelter their children from the truth. This isn’t good all the time.

Children need to be aware of certain things that could happen because

of who they are. That way, when they are faced with reality, they

can handle the truth and know what to expect in certain situations.

The world is becoming more diverse, and our children are the future

that can make a change. In this book, two best friends struggle with

their friendship because they have been sheltered by money and do

not appreciate the role race could play in their lives. Sometimes, we

have to sit back and think to ourselves on the point we fought for. We

need to think about what we can do to make things better. It starts

with the youth, who are the future. If we can reach out to them, we

can help them, and they can help us make this world a better place.

Kimberley: Absolutely. As teachers and parents, we have some knowledge

of what children like to read because we spend most of our time

with them.

Fancy: I read somewhere that you had an interest in writing children’s

books about slavery. Would any of your books be categorized that

way?

Kimberly: I started off writing children’s books because my motto

was, “young children deserve to learn history.” I was fortunate to have

a grandma who lived until she was 94 years old, to share with me all

her stories of her coming up through the Marcus Garvey Movement,

Great Depression, boycotting chain stores, World War I & II, The

Great Migration, Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights Movement.

I wanted children to know history to make life better for those

who pave the way for American-Americans today.

I wrote my first children’s book in college, and the book that inspired

me was White Sox Only. It was a cute book about a young American-American

girl who was confused about signs posted that said,

“white’s only.” She does not understand the concept of race, but only

understands the color.

Fancy: Do you have a writing routine? If so, please share.

Kimberley: On the weekends, I start writing first thing in the morning.

If my son allows it, I can get a full day of writing. During the

weekdays after work, I try to do my daily chores and get writing in for

a while. Then, I have to stop to get my 6-year-old son into bed by 8:00

pm. After that, it’s back to writing for me.

Fancy: So how do you balance teaching, writing, and your family?

Kimberley: I have to, but some days I come home too tired to write,

so I have to save it for the weekends. That’s why I hope I will gain

an audience that loves my writing so that I can become a full-time

writer and balance my time with my son going to school and giving

him more attention.

Fancy: How do you practice self-care?

Kimberley: I always try to manage time for myself. It’s not easy to do

with a husband in the army and a six-year-old who is an only child

that craves his mother’s attention. As a mother, you have to get it in

where it fits.

Fancy: Do you have any upcoming projects or events that you care

to share?

Kimberley: Yes, I am working on a romance box-set project with my

publishing company, which is new to me because I never thought in

a day that I would be writing romance. For myself, I am working on

a suspense young adult novel that will knock teenagers off their feet.

Connect with Kimberley below.

Website: www.kimberleybjones.com

Twitter: @KimberleyBJones

Instagram: @authorkimberleybjones

Facebook: @AuthorKimberleyBJones

Fancy: Do you often draw inspiration from your children and/or students?


THE NEW NORMAL 79

KIM

WHITEHEAD

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C

P E A K E R | E N T R E P R E N E U R | B O A R D M E M B E R |

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80 SWAGHER FALL 2020

Meet The Correspondents

Jessica Canty

Jessica Canty hosts SwagHer What’s Going On (WGO) segment live on Instagram,

interviewing special guests and sharing career advancement tips. Jessica Canty is the

founder of Proverbs 15:22 Personal Growth Coaching LLC, a company focused on helping

people go from unfulfilled jobs to their dream careers. @jessicacanty

Watch live on Instagram: @swaghermagazine

Adrienne Allen

TPR specialist Adrienne Allen steps from behind the scenes in her The Purple Pages

segment, where she chats with some of Hollywood’s movers and shakers.

@diaryofaprdivaAdrienne’s segments are usually via Facebook: @swaghermagazine

Chrisnatha Derosier

The MasterPiece Lounge w/ Chrisnatha Derosier is an hour of inspiration being poured into

you by certified life-coach Chrisnatha. Chrisnatha often guides us through self-work with

thought-provoking questions and routines and tips to help watchers be the best version of

themselves. @chrisnatha Watch live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 AM CST on

Facebook: @swaghermagazine

Claricia Lange

Sweet-N-Reel is a live conversational segment hosted by Claricia Newberry- Lange, aka Mrs.

Louisiana Universal 2019. Whether it’s Claricia’s frequent co-host Tyra or a guest co-host,

Claricia takes the sweet side of a chosen subject while the guest gives their real take on

things. @mrslouisianauniversal2019 Watch live every Thursday at 7 PM CST on Facebook:

@swaghermagazine

Brittany Passion

In the More Than a Pretty Face collaboration with The Passion Xperience and its CEO

Brittany Passion, Brittany sits down with celebs, influencers, and creatives to discuss their

gifts and lives. Brittany is an actress and talent scout and executive assistant at Ice

Television. @brittany_passion Watch live on Instagram: @swaghermagazine

Natalie Louis

The Queen’s Corner highlights women in business doing remarkable

things. Hostess Natalie Louis has created a space where people can get to know

the women behind the brand/movement. Natalie is an author, speaker, and

breakthrough coach. @natalie.louis

Watch Live on Facebook: @swaghermagazine


THE NEW NORMAL 81

Beverly K. Johnson

Are you ready to live a healthier lifestyle, but you aren’t sure where to start? Coach Beverly,

The Fitness Deva can guide you! Every weekend, Coach Bev discusses various health and

fitness topics and answers questions. Beverly K. Johnson is the CEO of Genesys Fitness and

life and wellness coach. @bevkjohnson Watch live on Facebook every Sunday:

@swaghermagazine

Delayna Jasper

Unnamed? Delayna Downs-Jasper is also one of our new media correspondents.

Delayna, a corporate flight attendant, tends to interview professionals with

belief in giving back through mentorship or other good deeds. @d.e.l.a.y.n.a.j.a.s.p.e.r

Delayna’s segments are usually via Facebook:

@swaghermagazine

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82 SWAGHER FALL 2020

AFTER THE

LOVE IS

GONE

by Arnitris Strong

You have a good man. I don’t understand why you feel like you need to

explore your options,” he yelled.

“I don’t know who you’re a good man to, but it’s not me,” I thought.

“I don’t think you are in a position to make demands right now,” I replied.

I hadn’t spoken to him at all three days before this 1 a.m. phone call. I was

just getting in from a night of exploring my options with a nice young man

who actually had time for me. As I perched on the bed’s side, I gazed out

of the window at the clouds that loomed in the early morning sky. They

were dark and full and hung low just beyond the horizon. It was a sight that

would initiate a mad dash back into the house to grab an umbrella so that one

wouldn’t be caught unprepared.

What had become of this love affair was a storm that we’d both created. But,

neither of us were ready to say that it was over. All relationships go through

ebbs and flows, but lately, there had been more ebbing than flowing, and I

wasn’t sure that the rift between us could be repaired. If I were frank with

myself, I would accept that I didn’t even want to invest any more of my time

or energy. So, with a deep breath, I grabbed my umbrella and prepared for the

storm to come.

“I think that we both know there is nothing left here. You will always have a

special place in my heart. Take care of yourself,” I said before ending the call.

Deciding to end a relationship you have nurtured is never easy. It can be

challenging to come to terms with the new normal that ensues—struggling to

move past a breakup? Read on for some tips.

1. Feel

The first step to getting over a breakup is to acknowledge and honor your

feelings. Many people attempt to suppress their emotions because they are

uncomfortable. There has been a lot of talk online recently about healing,

but no one talks about the un-glamorous and ugly healing process. But, much

the same as a physical wound must be exposed to the sun’s nourishment, our

feelings have to be exposed to the light to begin the healing process. The best

thing you can do after a breakup is to permit yourself to feel the feelings as

they come. You may as well get comfortable being uncomfortable because we

have only just begun.

2. Find

After you have gotten comfortable sitting with your feelings, the next step is

to find their purpose. Emotions surface for one of two straightforward reasons-

to heal or to reveal. Do you find that you experience the same flood of

emotions whenever you are in a stressful situation? These recurring emotions

arise to heal an emotional wound that hasn’t been addressed. Until they are

addressed, life will continue to present you with problems to resolve them.

Sometimes emotions arise to reveal a hidden truth about ourselves. Maybe

you aren’t angry with your ex. Anger is a secondary emotion that masks a

deeper one. What if you are disappointed that you ignored your intuition the


calling is to help, inspire, uplift and motivate

My

into their divine purpose orchestrated by God.

others

http://www.myradeunique.com/mdu

myradeunique@gmail.com

THE NEW NORMAL 83

first time you noticed something was wrong? There is no shame or blame in

making mistakes in life and love, as long as those mistakes are used to move

forward.

3. Forgive

This is a hard one. Many times, as we navigate a breakup, it is easier to focus

on what your ex could have done differently. This is YOUR process, though,

and concentrating your time or energy on anyone outside of yourself is an

exercise in futility. You have given yourself permission to feel how you feel,

and you have found the reason for those feelings - now it is time to forgive.

Relationships are merely mirrors that reflect the broken pieces of our souls to

us. Each relationship or interaction is an opportunity to get just a step closer

to being whole emotionally. I am sure that this may be a hard pill to swallow

while in the throes of a breakup, but the reality is forgiveness is critical. You

must forgive your ex, but you must also forgive yourself for the part you

played. Maybe your role was a more passive one, and you didn’t speak up

when you were mistreated or even listen to the still, small voice warning you

that something wasn’t right. Give yourself some grace; we are all guilty of

overlooking a red flag or two or maybe even three.

At this point in your healing process, there is nothing left to do except forge

ahead. Using the picture of your ideal relationship in your mind, you are

equipped to make it a reality. It is time to get intentional about creating the

love you desire. Every action that you take from this point forward should be

aligned with this goal and bring you closer to it. Whenever we determine in

our minds that we want something, life presents us with opportunities to test

that desire. This is especially true with relationships. It seems as if just when

we begin to move past the hurt of our failed relationships, the ex pops up- it

may not even be your most recent ex, but inevitably as if they have received

some sort of bat signal that the ship has sailed they will reach out with a Hey,

big head text or call. As tempting as it may be to fall into old patterns, resist

the urge to go backward. You have made so much progress.

Are you struggling to adjust after a breakup? What have you done to navigate

the process?

4. Form

At this stage, it is time to determine where you are going. Start by getting a

clear picture of the type of relationship you desire. This is not to say that you

are going to dive right back into the dating scene. But, to achieve anything

in life, it is essential to know what you really desire. Is your ultimate goal

marriage, or do you wish to just date for fun? Once you have formed the

picture in your mind, take some time to let the feelings about this new normal

settle into your spirit. How will it feel to date different people without the

pressure of wondering where it is going? Or, imagine the security of being in

a relationship that is both healthy and supportive? Remember those feelings

so that when you are presented with opportunities to live out that dream, you

recognize them for what they are.

MYRA DEUNIQUE

A U T H O R

@myradeunique

5. Forge


84 SWAGHER FALL 2020

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THE NEW NORMAL 85

MANdatory Awareness

S.L.

JACKSON

S.L. Jackson, an Urban Fantasy Author from Inkster, MI, who now resides

in metro-Detroit, first entered the publishing scene in 2019 with the

novella ‘Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle.’ He is an autoworker, a

community activist skilled in the art of urban jungle survival, a podcaster, and a

former entertainer and entertainment education provider. You can always find

him reading, watching, and listening to interviews, helping others achieve their

goals, and busying with anything that challenges his creativity. “Writing is my

way to escape,” Jackson says.

Even though his first novella ‘Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle’ is considered

an Urban Fantasy, he prefers not to place himself in a box and stunt the growth

of his creativity by limiting himself to one genre. He is the creator of the hashtag

#respecturbanauthors. He has been nominated for several awards that include

Feathered Quill Awards, Ippy/Elit Awards, Top Shelf Magazine Awards, and

Top Shelf Book Cover Awards. His podcast, “The Connected Experience,” is a

cultural and lifestyle show.

Jackson is currently working on a comic book and cartoon series for ‘Animal

Instincts: The Urban Jungle.’ His plans also include more books, awards, and

his books placed in libraries across the world. “Animal Instincts: The Urban

Jungle” has won the Gold Medal award for “Short Story Fiction” at the 2020

eLit Book awards.

Christina: What is your Swagger? What makes S.L., S.L.?

S.L.: Hello, I am S.L Jackson, debut urban fantasy author from Inkster, Michigan.

My supreme confidence is what makes me who I am. I am a firm believer

in speaking things into existence and manifestation, and this is a prime example

of that. Also, Inkster, Michigan, is the most important 6.2 miles in the history

of the world. I encourage your readers to look it up; they will be surprised who

is from there and the history of my city.

Christina: Why did you become an author? Have you always loved to write, or

is it something that just came to you one day?

S.L.: To be honest, Christina, I have always been a writer. When I was nine years


86 SWAGHER FALL 2020

old, my older cousin Blac introduced

my twin brother AJ and

me to rap. So, I was introduced to

writing raps and creative writing

around the same time. We stuck

with rap for a long time in our

lives, but becoming a published

author was something I decided

to do in September of 2019.

Christina: I am a lover of books,

and I have always loved to write,

and I hope to write a book one

day. What advice would you give

to other aspiring authors out

there and me?

S.L.: Advice I would give to aspiring

authors is to make it happen.

First, research, see where you

would fall in the marketplace, and

decide what type of book you

want to write. Once you figure that out, then put the pen to the pad. You also

must know the business of selling books, so write and research.

Christina: Tell our readers about your novella, “Animal Instincts: The Urban

Jungle.” How did you come up with these stories focused around a family of

outlaw rabbits?

S.L.: “Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle” is based on rabbits because when I

was younger, my brother and I let my older cousins Gator rabbit “go,” and ever

since that day, I wondered about how “FREED” animals lived. So, in 4th grade,

when I was introduced to creative writing, my very first story was based on

outlaw animals and how they lived. “Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle” is just

a spinoff of my very first creative writing story. “Animal Instincts: The Urban

Jungle” has been in my heart for almost 30 or so years.

Christina: How and why did you start your podcast, The Connected Experience?

S.L.: The Connected Experience Podcast was started by my twin brother AJ and

I. Throughout all our years of being involved in business and the entertainment

industry, we built a healthy list of contacts who we stayed in touch with. At one

point in our city, we were the go-to guys for helping people out with the business

side of the entertainment industry. So, we decided to “connect” people via our

podcast, and our show turned into a hit show. We started The Connected Experience

because we wanted to sit and talk with a few people, and we made that

happen. Our motto on the show is “I want for my brother, what I want for myself,”

but it’s more than a motto; it is a lifestyle. If I want for you what I want for

me, how could I not help you advance? (https://soundcloud.com/tcepodcast)

Christina: What is one thing you would tell your younger self now that you are

a published author?

S.L.: I would tell the younger version of me not to rush to get old. Also, live

limitlessly. The world is such a big place, value experiences over money. I grew

up fast, but by no means did I have a bad childhood; I was just in a rush to be

grown.

Christina: You are skilled in the art of urban jungle survival. Tell our readers

about this. What is it?

S.L.: Urban jungle survival is making it out the ghetto. Remember I told you I

was from Inkster, Michigan, well when I was growing up, it was a real war zone.

My roots are deep there; a lot of my childhood friends are dead or in jail; a lot

of us did not make it. But I did, I survived that urban jungle. I am proud of the

fact I made something of myself.

Christina: Who or what inspires you?

who her father is one day, so it is up to me to be great, so she has something

to talk about.

Christina: Why an urban fantasy as your first book? Is that the genre you tend to

lean towards when reading?

S.L.: Urban fantasy was just what came out first. I do not even read urban fantasy

novels. I did my market research and seen that my contribution to the world

was just considered “urban fantasy.” Truthfully speaking, I hate labels, I am only

an author, and I write what I feel.

Christina: Who is your favorite author, and why?

S.L.: I have a host of favorite projects by a variety of authors. But if I had to go

with my top three (it is a tie, I do not have a number one), it would be Iceberg

Slim, Donald Goines, and Harper Lee. Iceberg Slim is on my list because of how

raw his projects were. I was introduced to “pimping” through his books at a very

young age, so I credit Iceberg Slim with giving me the “Game”. Donald Goines

because my father introduced me to his works, and that was an incredibly special

moment in my life. And the truth is my real first name came out either an

Iceberg Slim or Donald Goines book. My dad is not sure which one, so I guess

being an author was in me. Then Harper Lee, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” may

have had the most impact on writing besides religious text. I loved that book as

a kid, and to know she only released one project always stuck with me.

Christina: Do you have any upcoming events or projects that you would like

to share?

S.L.: Definitely, I’m going to give you an EXCLUSIVE: here is the link to the

first look at “Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle ANIMATED” (https://vimeo.com/443440090).

We will be releasing this around the top of 2021. I am the

first author to turn their novel into a cartoon without the help of a studio. That

means I am in control of how the world will receive my content; being self-financed,

I call all my own shots.

Christina: Is there anything additional that you would like to share with our

readers?

S.L.: I would just like to let

your readers know that any

and everything is possible. I

wrote “Animal Instincts: The

Urban Jungle” in September

2019; I put it out in March

of 2020; by May 2020, I won

“BEST SHORT STORY

FICTION” Gold Medal at

the 2020 eLit awards, I’m in

the process of making it into

a cartoon. I told anyone who

would listen when I talked

about everything I was going

to do with this content,

and that’s what I am doing.

It is limitless on all the things

coming from my award-winning

novella, “Animal Instincts:

The Urban Jungle.”

I created the hashtag Respect Urban Authors (#respecturbanauthors), so we

all can have something of our own to be a part of. For more info about me or

to order your copy of “Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle,” visit my website:

www.1sljackson.com.

Connect with S.L. Jackson:

Website: www.1sljackson.com

Instagram: @sljackson3

Facebook: Sljackson522

Twitter: @tcohhdotorg

S.L.: Life inspires me. When I look into my daughter Shelby’s eyes, that inspires

me to want to do more, be greater. She is going to have to tell someone about


THE NEW NORMAL 87

CEO / THERAPIST

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88 SWAGHER FALL 2020

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