II SWAGHER FALL 2020
Arnya T.M. Davis
Francheska “Fancy” Felder
April D. Byrd
Arnitris L. Strong
Francheska “Fancy” Felder
Get Croissant (Co-Working Space)
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:
Jarmel Roberson, VP of Marketing
Ricardo Santiago and Dwight Howard
THE NEW NORMAL III
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 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
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
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
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
However, Terricina has not ever battled with
cocaine addiction, as she has reached out to
me (Francheska Felder) personally and cor-
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.
Francheska “Fancy” Felder
Publisher/EIC of SwagHer Magazine
THE NEW NORMAL V
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
Arnitris L. Strong
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
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
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
Vince S. opens by observing the
new usual way of living due to
the pandemic and social unrest.
Glendora Dvine is the mental
health professional, author, and
breast cancer survivor saving
Black boys and girls from a
world of pain.
Kaitlyn D. shares the secrets
behind your favorite clothing
stores and explains sustainable
Arnya M. shares social media
platform options that are Blackowned.
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
Malcolm A. explains how
healing is an art that everyone
“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
We spotlight author and owner
of Priceless Inspirations, LLC,
Lynette Edwards, who also tells
you how to be unstoppable.
April B.highlights the collaborative
efforts of black people,
companies, and organizations
rallying for the BLM movement.
Vince S. gives a recap on the
men killed due to police brutality.
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
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.
Naja Hall details the inspiration
behind Black & Blended.
Wellness and fitness diva,
Beverly Johnson gives insight
into why GenFit was created
and the forgotten woman.
Kristen P. gives style tips by
mixing and matching mixed
prints to create an iconic look.
LaTanya “Ms. Unorthoodoc”
Tibbs talks about her journey as
a womb healer.
Arnya D. shares the wellness
practices she has incorporated
into her life for peace amid all
the current chaos.
In this feature, Terrancina
Jackson talks healing and
trauma with Fancy.
Learn the story behind DemiBlue
Polish in this beauty
Author Spotlight Teresa Stith
shares her struggle with her
faith and how it influences her
The last Author Spotlight
highlights the accomplishments
of Kimberly P. Jones, early
childhood educator and
children’s book author.
We Interrupt Your
Programming-Meet the new
SwagHer Magazine media
Arnitris S. gives tips on how to
get over a breakup to becoming
a better person in the end.
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
BY MALCOLM ANDERSON
THE NEW NORMAL 1
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
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
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
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
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.
THE NEW NORMAL 3
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4 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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
know what? I
can help these
the assessment, I’m already like, “Hell, yes, we need to
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
Fancy: Oh, wait, I thought that’s where your “One life,
keep it moving” motto came from, from overcoming
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
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.
“All of them are
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
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
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
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
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
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.
12 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
SWAGHER MAGAZINE'S GUIDE TO
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.
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
$10/monthly with a 4.6
rating - didn’t get past the
first part of the registration.
didn’t want to pay $10 a
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
Free with a 3.0 rating.
This social media site
made me nostalgic. I think
it is worth keeping to look
16 SWAGHER FALL 2020
THE NEW NORMAL 17
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
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
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
my “personal relationship with God.” So tell us how
often do you draw from your personal experiences
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
slow down and
catch your breath.
There is no place
on God’s green
earth that you can
hide from the one
you and instilled
purpose and destiny
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
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
Connect with Debrayta below.
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!
Fancy: Has COVID-19 impacted your life or work
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THE NEW NORMAL 21
BY MALCOLM ANDERSON
22 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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
O U N S E L O R S
24 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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THE NEW NORMAL 25
BY VINCE SMITH
26 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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
n e O
h i n g a b o u t t r a v e l i s , i t m a k e s y o u a p p r e c i a t e
e t u r n i n g h o m e . E n j o y t h i s
o w n t i m e , a n d w h e n t h e w o r l d o p e n s a g a i n a n d
3 6 - 6 7 6 - 4 7 8 5
w w . c a r i b b e a n c r u i s e s a n d m o r e . c o m
THE NEW NORMAL 29
T H E
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
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
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
Dove: Lol, well he is not my partner, just a close
friend, though we do get that a lot. The show
though and I am
now the only
host of Distress
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
Fancy: I noticed you host Distress Signal Podcast
with your partner. What is it like working so
or bad, is
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
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
Connect with Dove and Dynasty Solutions, LLC
Business Website: www.dynastysolutionsllc.com
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
that offers services such as
owned by Christian,
author Shelly Lee. Lee
two books and has many
THE NEW NORMAL 33
F A C E B O O K : A U T H O R
S H E L L Y L E E
T W I T T E R :
I G : @ L A D Y L E E B O O K S
Can Help You Birth and
Your Book in 6 Months!
34 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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?”
“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
me these questions,
want to make
sure I’m giving
them the right
What was that
like, your mental?
as far as my
is in Family
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
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
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
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
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
THE DEFINE U RADIO SHOW
Weekly podcast on iTunes or
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@THEDEFINEU | BIT.LY/THEDEFINEU
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?
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:
Website: https://www.blendedandblack.com/ and
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
38 SWAGHER FALL 2020
D E J A V U S K I N
DEJA VU SKIN FOR MEN
THE NEW NORMAL 39
WELLNESS & FITNESS
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
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
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
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”
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,
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
Christina: I’m going back to
this “forgotten” woman term
that you use. Why do you fight
so hard for the “forgotten”
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
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
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
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
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
THE NEW NORMAL 41
42 SWAGHER FALL 2020
Creating Your Own
Style with Mixed Print
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
3Relax & try something new! Remember,
there is no right or wrong when it comes to
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
which you can
stay updated on
all my social media
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 .
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
c o m m u n i t i e s t o b u i l d
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
s u p p o r t t h e i r c o m m u n i t i e s .
@COACHCAI1 | HTTPS://CAISM.ME/
We believe every day can be a good
hair day. But at Sassy Sasha Hair &
Beauty Salon, we can make your
hair even better.
THE NEW NORMAL 49
IN THE MIDST
by Arnya T.M. Davis
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
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
depict a story, but film
you to share your story
imagery and sound,
you tell your story
you like. Sizzle reels?
us to bring your
from concept to the
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
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
B O X O F F I C E 7 S T U D I O S
THE NEW NORMAL 51
52 SWAGHER FALL 2020
AND HEALING FROM TRAUMA
THE NEW NORMAL 53
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: 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
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
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
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
Fancy: How would you describe how you’ve been affected both
currently and with regards to your future by the trauma you’ve
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
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
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
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
K I M C R O S S
C R A F T S W O M A N , K I M C R O S S
I S A S K I N C A R E
F O R M U L A T O R . S H E H E L P S
F O L K S W I T H S K I N
C O N C E R N S C U S T O M I Z E
T H E I R S K I N C A R E R O U T I N E
S O T H E Y C A N H A V E
H E A L T H Y , T O X I N - F R E E
S K I N T H A T G L O W S
B E C A U S E H E A L T H Y S K I N
S H O U L D B E H A R D T O G E T .
W W W . Z H I B A T H A N D B O D Y . C O M
I N F O @ Z H I B A T H A N D B O D Y . C O M
Z H I B A N D B
@ Z H I B A T H A N D B O D Y
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
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
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:
IG: @speakerterraj | @thesacredspacecommunity | @
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
T H E
R E G A L
P H O E N I X
THE NEW NORMAL 59
M E T A P H Y S I C A L B O U T I Q U E
Online Crystal Shop | Candles | Apparel | Accessories | Tarot | Reiki
I G : @ T H E R E G A L P H O E N I X | F B : @ S H O P R E G A L P H O E N I X | P I N T E R E S T : T H E R E G A L P H O E N I X
W W W . T H E R E G A L P H O E N I X . C O M | O R D E R S @ T H E R E G A L P H O E N I X . C O M
60 SWAGHER FALL 2020
A MOMENT WITH
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
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
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.
Michelle: I don’t have a mentor in the beauty industry per se;
however, I seek guidance and accountability from my friends
62 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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Company w/ its own seasoning
THE NEW NORMAL 63
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
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
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
or bad, is
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
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
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!
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
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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A Talk With a
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHAMEKA MATTHEWS
68 SWAGHER FALL 2020
A Talk With
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
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
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
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
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
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
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“ 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 ”
STRIPPED TO MY TRUTH:
Micaela “Cae” Thomas
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
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
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
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.”
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CHAMPION IN YOU
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76 SWAGHER FALL 2020
EDITOR. BOOK COACH. LIFE CONSULTANT
THE NEW NORMAL 77
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
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: 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-
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
Fancy: I read somewhere that you had an interest in writing children’s
books about slavery. Would any of your books be categorized that
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
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.
Fancy: Do you often draw inspiration from your children and/or students?
THE NEW NORMAL 79
E O | A U T H O R | A T T O R N E Y | E N G I N E E R |
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 |
F O U N D E R O F D E M A N D T H E D R E A M
80 SWAGHER FALL 2020
Meet The Correspondents
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
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
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
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:
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
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:
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:
A U T H O R A U D R A H I L L
FROM TRAUMA TO
ALL THINGS NEW
Facebook: Audra Aliticia
82 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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.
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.
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
into their divine purpose orchestrated by God.
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
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
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.
A U T H O R
84 SWAGHER FALL 2020
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THE NEW NORMAL 85
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
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
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
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
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:
Connect with S.L. Jackson:
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
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