Posts in "Feature"

Meet STEM From Dance!

A couple of weeks ago I visited students and founder of STEM from Dance at IS 145 in Queens where I got to see the program in action. STEM from Dance is an organization that combines dancing with science and math to help encourage young girls to gain confidence within them and science. Their mission is to reach under-represented minority girls by using dance to encourage girls to seek STEM careers later on in life. I interviewed the founder, Yamilée Toussaint, about her organization.
Let’s get to know Yamilée + STEM from Dance a little better…
Echoing Green
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’d say there is probably two types of schedules when it comes to my day-to-day activties.  I’m either going to a school at some point in the day to see the program in action. Usually, I’m there to observe, support, lend an extra hand, and offer feedback with an outsider’s perspective to the instructor to see where we can add improvements.
My time outside of the school is spent running the rest of the organization which entails having conversations with people who do similar work or who are interested in partnering in some way.  It could also be managing our finances, reviewing a grant application that somebody else wrote for us,  or prioritizing on how I’m spending my time with the organization.
So either I’m at a school tending to the little things or being absent but focusing on the items I need to do to keep the business afloat.
What is most challenging about your job?
There are so many things but I’ll just  try to name a few.  One challenge  is that a good amount of what I do I’m doing for the first time and learning as I’m doing it. I’m constantly wondering  ‘Am I approaching this in the best way?’ Should I be seeking more opinions before I make this decision? Is their somebody who has done this already that I can learn from?
I’m always questioning and making sure that I am choosing the right choices so I’d say the second-guessing is challenging.
 A second difficulty is convincing others of the value in investing in supporting what we’re doing.  I think people sometimes feel the concept of using dance to draw young girls into stem is something that is unusual and confusing. The challenge is to make sure that partnered schools and organizations genuinely understand what we do and don’t think that we’re using dance as a gimmick.  Explainining that our program makes an impact can sometimes be a difficult hill to climb.
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What is most enjoyable about your job?
I’ve had the option to use my engineering degree and get  a job in that field but I knew that I wanted to directly impact the minority community. It’s important to empower those who are disempowered that’s why that my main reason why I chose not to do engineering full-time.
It’s enjoyable to do something that aligns with my personal passions. I’m just grateful that I love what I do for my full-time job.  To be able to empower youth while using my educational background is such a privilege!
What makes your program stand out compared to other programs?
I think the core of what we do is look at the population of who we want to serve and think about what they are already excited about.
The key is to use their personal interests to bridge the gap towards  careers that  may have a reputation of being whack and boring you know?
There’s still a lot of work to do to make math + science more approachable and so I think that we have an advantage to draw students who just like to dance.  We are offering the chance to dance to create and perform as well as  leading them down a transformational path that could be very promising for their future.
Did you have a program like this when you were younger? If not, then how do you think a program like this would have affected your life?
Not exactly, so I’ve been dancing since I was 4 or 5 years old.  I went to this dance school not too far from where I lived and I was there 6 days a week which was a large part of my upbringing. But on the flipside I particpipated in math club on this side but was never able to  practice them together.
I developed strong friendships because I was surrounded by individuals with similar interests. I went to a school focused in technology so I was around people with the same  passions which naturally encouraged me to move forward.
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Who or what inspires you?
My father because he is an engineer and would bring me to work all the time. Even when he came home he had the mindset of naturally creating solutions to any challenges he was ever facing. He was my inspiration and so clearly he was a big influence in our lives.  My mother always made sure I was exposed to different opportunities such as dance and music. So it was a perfect mixture for my life!
Where do you see this program in 10 years?
My long-term vision is to continue to use relevancy and tying them to opportunities of today’s youth. I want more students to have access to the program not only by location but also to those who are interested in different activities outside of dance.
 We want to expand beyond dance and make subjects that youth may not neccesarily be enthusiatiastic about yet  and make them more attractive.And even go beyond students and adults who are looking for a new career or trait!
We are all about EMPOWERMENT at C.O.R.E mag, what does empowerment mean to you?
There is something special about discovering untapped potential and realizing that we are capable of more than we think.
A major moment in life is when we realize that we naturally put limits on ourselves until we’re exposed to something better.
 I remember when I was in high school I was doing well academically and during freshman year I was receiving low to high 90’s. I thought I was doing great!  But one day I was at my neighbor’s house and saw their report card. He was receiving over 100 because our school offered extra credit. I didn’t even know you could receive over 100! But all I needed  was to discover it was possible and voila!
The rest of high school I began performing at that level so I think it’s just being able to help somebody realize they’re potential and encouraging them by exposing them to something new.
You can find more about the organization at the website, stemfromdance.org and follow
them on twitter: @stemfromdance
Interview by Xandria Milligan

Meet Brittney Grant!

Living life to the fullest is what we thrive to do and with helpful hints sprinkled along the way it  makes the journey so much sweeter! Brittney Grant is the creator of KeepingupwithBritt.com who shares her vibrant spirit of loving and creating. Her goal is to continue to inspire and help individuals in their everyday lives through her knowledge and personal experience. Healthy Lifestyle and Beauty Enthusiast with years of first hand experience, she empowers you and throws some of  her simple, easy and affordable life hacks your way too!

“Remember, no one can take care of you like you can take care of you, so please take care! A Happy, Healthy life is the best life.” – Brittney Grant, KeepingUpwithBritt.com

Let’s get to know Brittney a little better…

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You’re a fly lifestyle blogger hailing from Brooklyn, NY! What made you want to blog about health and beauty?

I’ve always been passionate about Health and Beauty! Growing up, health was an important part of my childhood, my family stressed the importance of “Good Food” and the effect it had on our bodies and overall health; my parents made an effort to ensure that my diet was rich in fruits, vegetables, home-cooked meals and healthy lifestyle practices. I was probably the only kid in my junior high school who knew what a green smoothie was!

Blogging is a great outlet to share your journey, how does your site allow you to express yourself and your dreams?

KeepingupwithBritt.com has allowed me to share my love for Beauty, Fashion, Food, Photography and Graphic Design in a way that has allowed me to inspire and help others in their everyday lives.

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Health is sometimes a topic that is overlooked in the black community, why was it important to blog on your healthy lifestyle?

That’s just it, health is sometimes a topic that is overlooked in the black community and I am on a mission to change that through my blog. KeepingupwithBritt.com mission is to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a specific race, age, be an expert or make a certain amount of money to make health conscious decisions. My simple, easy, and affordable tips, inspires and helps others in their everyday lives.

Being young and having responsibilities can sometimes get a bit overwhelming, how do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?

I am naturally an over-zealous perfectionist but in times when I need a little motivation I tell myself that “ I want to rule my destiny”…. so much so that nothing and no one should stand in my way. I accept and understand that there will be obstacles, but they are only there to make the journey more worthwhile.

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We tend to pull characteristics from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

My Mom may no longer be here physically but her spirit and life has taught me the importance of Love and Dedication. Her commitment to being a Mom and a role model has helped me through the most difficult times in my life thus far.

We are all about empowerment, what does empowerment mean to you?

To empower is to encourage, inspire and motivate a group of people or a cause. Empowerment enables one to outstrip their sense of powerlessness and lack of control bringing forth self-confidence and change.

Time for faves! Celeb Crush? Artists? Food? Movie?

 CELEBRITY CRUSH – Trey Songz

ARTIST – Bob Marley

FOOD – Avocado Toast

MOVIE – Love Jones

Check out more of Britt here!

KeepingupwithBritt.com

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Meet Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart!

“Beauty and confidence is defined by one’s perception of self, not that of others.”

-Kamelah Muhammad, Founder & President of Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart

The most powerful gift we can give is unlocking the potential in another individual. Kamelah Muhammad is doing just this as she’s paving the road for others while walking in her purpose! Seeing the negative impact that traditional and social media was having on the self-esteem of teen girls and women around the world, Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart, Inc. (SOTTH) was born. Founded in Brooklyn, New York on November 22, 2014, SOTTH’s founder, Kamelah Muhammad, wanted to create an atmosphere where teen girls and women came together in an effort to bond and hold each other accountable for uplifting one another. This is accomplished by motivating through life’s stories and promoting self-worth.  We create programs and experiences of empowerment.

Every teen girl and woman should be the definition of BEAUTY and the definition of CONFIDENT. We encourage each person to create and represent what beauty and confidence means to them. SOTTH, Inc. is about sharing a journey from woman to woman, state to state, country to country.

Let’s get to know Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart a little better…

Women in Need NYC PEACHY Experience

Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart, Inc. empowers teen girls by motivating through life’s stories and promoting self-worth, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I honestly wanted to make young girls and women feel good about themselves and to be comfortable in their skin. It’s pretty tough to think of yourself as beautiful especially being a woman of color when the media doesn’t promote your blackness as beautiful or important. Therefore, I saw a huge need. Our mission is to promote just that, beauty and confidence. I wanted to create an opportunity for women to come together, bond, laugh, share experiences and uplift one another. Our logo represents that. It is a
variation of different sizes and shades of peach to represent different women coming together and connecting. The color peach represents courage, elegance and immortality and these are the attributes that I wanted every young girl and woman to embody.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, what type of events and courses does Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart host?

I always like to say that our events aren’t just events, we call them experiences! Our current experiences allow for bonding through authentic, fun and uplifting activities. For instance, during our Sisterhood PEACHY Experience, attendees are encouraged to unleash their inner confidence through dance during our choreography component, get wardrobe advice from our fashion consultants while shopping through free items, learn about the cosmetic industry while getting free makeovers and make vision boards that speaks to their future. We cater the activities to the wishes of the organization we work
with. We also host prom-themed experiences as well as back to school focused events. Our workshops allow for more in depth discussions around lifestyle improvement and empowerment. These workshops more so focus on etiquette, educational and professional development. We are happy with what we have accomplished thus far and are looking to grow and improve one step at a time.

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We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

My mother, Darlene Pierre-Muhammad! I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. As I’ve grown older, she really has become my best friend. It really doesn’t click when we are younger but everything she told me then makes so much sense now and I am happy our relationship has grown to where it is today. I talk to her pretty much every day. I’ll even call her at work and say “Hey mom! What are you doing” and she’ll respond “Work, girl!” I always laugh (lol) and then if she can spare a few minutes to talk,
she always does. She is the true definition of a strong woman and I always pray that I will be half the woman, half the wife, and half the mother that she is. She has shown me patience and compassion. Through her, I have learned what sacrifice and being a blessing to others really means. She is extremely supportive and for that I am forever thankful to God.

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

I would let them know that God doesn’t make any mistakes. It’s important for all girls to know that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I want girls to understand that beauty comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. I encourage girls to say words of affirmation on a daily basis to boost their confidence and to know that they don’t have to look like the girl on TV in which media is promoting as the standard of “beauty.” You are beautiful just the way you are. We must do better as a society to make sure our young girls understand their worth and value themselves.

Teen Living Programs Back to School Block PartyL

Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with girls?

Resilience. I must say that after interacting with the young ladies that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I’ve learned that the trials I have had to overcome in life has been so minuscule compared to what these girls deal with on a day-to-day basis. One of the moments that really stuck with me is at an event we were hosting, every purse in our ‘store’ area had been claimed by other attendees. A young lady – about age 13 – who I had been interacting with throughout the day came to me and asked if we had
anymore long strapped purses such as the one I was wearing. It was tough having to tell her all the purses had been claimed but I then told her I had a special one for her. I proceed to empty my purse (which was a favorite) and put it around her. She gave me THE biggest smile and hug. My eyes watered. From there, instead of creating a vision board for herself, she created a thank you board for all the volunteers. I am getting choked up reflecting on this. It’s those moments which makes me know that I am truly walking in my purpose. It has been such a humbling journey since I’ve launched this organization. These girls are so strong-willed. It makes me happy knowing that even if for two hours, my volunteers and I can create a moment in time where they don’t have to have a care in the world. Our goal is to create an escape and true girlfriend-like bonding experiences. I love seeing them smile and having a good time!

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We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you + your organization?

To empower others means allowing your personal journey through life be another person’s inspiration and motivation. Empowering another means to allow some vulnerability and openness. It means having the courage to share experiences, good or bad, in hopes of inspiring the person who is on the receiving end to overcome and to trust their own process. To empower oneself means to take control of your life.

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Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?

Song – Literally every song is my JAM so it’s hard to narrow down but I am such a fan of 90s R&B

Food – Fish Tacos, French Fries & Cookies

Artist – (Current Artist) Drake

Celeb Crush – Michael B. Jordan

Check out more here!

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Hearts

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Meet She’s All That!

The key to life is to be so confident that you encourage others to be confident as well and that is exactly what She’s All That! does. This powerful organization was founded by Conchetta Jones in after hearing the young ladies she was mentoring using the term in a negative way about other girls. They would say “she thinks she’s all that” whenever another young lady aspired to be the best she could be. Conchetta wanted girls to realize that thinking ‘she’s all that’ is not a negative thing but a very positive way to think.

She’s All That! was founded on the premise that every young woman should have access to programs and activities that would inspire, empower and educate. To empower, inspire and educate girls through informative workshops, cultural outings and real world experiences. Girls learn life skills, self-esteem, integrity, relationship building, conflict resolution, health and fitness and etiquette lessons.

Let’s get to know more about She’s All That!

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She’s All That! is an influential organization that encourages, empowers and motivates young ladies, what made you want to create this platform for empowerment?

For over 10 years I worked with girls from my church and in the school system. I would listen to how they interacted with each other. There was a lot of negativity. Some girls were shunned if they did not wear the “right” clothes, or if they hung out with the “wrong” person. There was a code to how a girl was supposed to act to be considered “cool” I would watch as girls would be uncomfortable, but go along with the crowd anyway. They were too afraid to go against the “in crowd”. There was a lack of values among the young women. They looked up to the women in the Reality television shows. I created She’s All That! as a way to give girls a safe space to be themselves. During our workshops we give them skills that help them to say no and to stand up for themselves. They understand that they don’t have to follow the “in crowd” to be popular.

Your organization embraces the term ‘she’s all that’ as a positive statement, how do you help make the mental shift to girls to accept their power and love who they are?

During my school stint, I found out that a girl thought she was “all that” if she did positive things, like go to class, do her homework, be respectful, not hang out or sleep around. This disturbed me. When working with our girls we challenge them to stand in their power. I urge them to think that they are all that. Because they are. They are precious, priceless. I urge them to think before they make any decisions. And to let the decision be hers. Because good or bad her decision will come with consequences, and she should be willing to accept that. We do a lot of self-esteem activities, affirmations and journaling.

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We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

Right now I am blessed to be surrounded by women who are movers and shakers. They are everyday women who are doing big things. From them I am inspired to never give up (Caprice O’Bryant) to go after what I want (Felicia Houston) to speak boldly (La”Keisha Gray-Sewell) to love hard (Da-Nay Macklin) to make sure I have foundation before elevation (Monique Caradine) to give and to support others (Peggy Riggins, Keana Jones, Priscilla Williams) to never stop hustling (Cara Aljoe) to take time for self and breathe (Crystal Iris) to share resources freely (Tiffany Fincher). To look for the beauty in the simple things (Iris Connor) and to see God’s hand in everything (Jakki Smith). And my dream team, Angela, Roxanne and Shanta who support me in everything I do. These are just a few of the powerful women in my everyday life.

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If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

The message that the media sends of what is beautiful is all smoke and mirrors. That that level of perfection is created by a team of people and photoshop. Do not compare yourself with something that is not real and is impossible or dangerous to attain. I urge them to love and to appreciate their own unique beauty.

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Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with girls?

To live in the moment and to dream big.

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you + your organization?

Empowerment means having the courage to live your own reality. To dress how you like, do the things you want to do, to have the confidence to stand up for yourself and to not feel like you have to follow the crowd.

Check out more here!

She’s All That!

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Meet Blogger Myah Rebecca!

Trendy + stylish are just a few of the fab traits that UK teen Myah Rebecca possesses as a  blogger! With her fashion forward taste and her distinct eye for all things beauty, Myah is on the road of sharing her inspiration to the world through her readers. She covers beauty, fashion, style, entertainment, health, interviews and much more!

As she continues to share her voice to the world her motto is (which we love!)  “It’s a long road but I’m dressed for it.”

Let’s get to know Myah a little better…

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You’re a fly teen blogger hailing from the UK! What made you want blog about fashion & beauty?

-I started reading blogs like fashion toast and Blogging was something I’ve always wanted to do. I love fashion and beauty and it seemed to be the perfect thing to blog about, as it’s always changing and progressing and its individual too. I felt it was the best thing for me to blog about when I spend 80% of my time online shopping and the other 30% real life shopping.

Blogging is a great outlet to share your journey, how does your site allow you to express yourself and your dreams?

-Well My blog is hosted by WordPress, and WordPress is very flexible as there’s and app so I can blog on the go, it’s super easy to make pages and change themes which allows me to put just about anything I want to online so I’ve created a trends page where typically monthly I post what trends I’m loving in order to express myself.

Style is a way of expressing yourself without speaking, how would you describe your personal style?

-I’d like to think that I have quite an on trend style. I’ll be honest I love shopping for the latest items, I love predicting the trends too and beating everyone to it. I honestly get joy out of buying a new item and seeing it a few weeks later in magazines and on my favourite celebrities. Always makes me think that I’ve inspired them to wear it, ahaha I know I haven’t though.

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Being young and having responsibilities can sometimes get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?

-A good little list always helps me to be able to put my problems into perspective. My responsibilities is school, work and my blog. I have recently started a job and I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea based on how little time I have to do anything. School always goes first so homework, course work and revision is always a top priority. Blog posts no matter how much more I’d rather be doing them comes second. When it feels like I’m drowning in work and can’t get a blog post out anytime soon I get in contact with guest bloggers so there’s always something on my blog for my readers to read and know I haven’t just fallen of the face of the earth and I wait till the holidays and schedule posts then for later on when I may not be able to write for a while.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

– It’s going to sound typical and soppy but it’s true, my mum is my main inspiration in life because she’s so driven and creative and understanding, for example when ever we would have fancy dress days in primary school if I wanted to be an octopus she’d help me make the best octopus outfit, we did win best dressed every year. Doing things like that from such a young age I feel really gave me the confidence to do creative hings on my own such as my blog.

We are all about empowerment, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

-Empowerment to me means that I am independent and strong. Typically being in a society were racism is such a big issue yet I am able to feel important, respected and on par with other women of different races. Not to say that the world is accepting because that’s one thing it certainly isn’t however there are communities where you can feel accepted and the teen blogging community so far feels like it’s opening up.

Time for faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?

-My favourite Artist would have to be Beyoncé for obvious reasons like she’s the queen of everything.

– My favourite food would have to be pizza, bbq base though it’s the future.

-To be able to pick a fave movie is such a hard thing to do. My favourite movie at this moment would be untouchable it’s a French movie but I there’s always subtitles. It’s the sweetest movie ever. Another movie I’m really loving and have been for a couple of years now is attack the block it’s the funniest thing you’ll ever watch it’s full of wanna be gangsters and aliens, also it was one of John Boyega’s first films.

Check out more about Myah ….

Myah Rebecca Blog

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Victoria’s Corner!

  Press For A Day

Alot of teenagers know the career they want and then for some of us, it changes from time to time.  I want to be an investigative reporter, but there have been moments of me daydreaming about standing on the mlk-nowsidelines at some fancy shindig, taking pictures of stars doing their best Ms. America wave. Although it’s not my chosen field of journalism, the urge to go paparazzi just once was becoming more than a fantasy. I wanted to satisfy that urge to make sure I was going into the right field of journalism. I made up my mind that the next major event I attended was going to be as press. The biggest problem was finding something I wanted to attend. I have attended many red carpet events where the purpose of the event gets lost amidst people networking or promoting their own self interests. Most of the time I just want to leave and go home.

I wanted my first journalistic experience to be a positive one so I wasn’t going to pick just any affair to cover. It had to have substance and meaning. While surfing Facebook, I came across an event which caught my eye. It was marketed as MLK Now and was to going to be held on the King Holiday. MLK Now was going to feature historic speeches performed by some of the leading talents in Hollywood today. The event was being produced by Campaign Black Male Achievement, VICE, and Blackout for Human Rights. To be honest, I had never heard of any of those organizations. I was already impressed by them for being able to put together a free program featuring performers that could charge thousands for appearances. Ryan Coogler, founding member of Blackout for Human Rights, was listed as executive producer and co-host of the event. I knew him as the director of Fruitvale and my favorite movie this winter, Creed! The event was going to be held close to where I live, Riverside Church in Harlem where Dr. King performed his famous 1967 speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence”. When I clicked on the link to register, it was standing room only. I signed up anyway. Then it hit me.

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Ryan Coogler “Artist Conversation” with J Cole

I didn’t just want to attend this event. I wanted to cover it as press and blog about it for The COREreader. I emailed the event planner requesting a press pass. Low and behold, a few minutes later I received an email confirming my attendance as press. I was ecstatic. Then I started to worry. I didn’t want to cover my first affair using my phone as a camera. My mom tried to make me feel better telling me about all the bulletin boards featuring photography with the iPhone. Doesn’t she know those professional photographers could use a Fisher Price kid camera and make the photos look good? Mom trying to make me feel better wasn’t working. I guess going to buy me a nice Nikon never crossed her mind.

When I arrived at the church on Monday, January 18th, I was a bundle of nerves. As I watched the professionals set up their camera equipment I felt so out of place. I didn’t belong. I knew many people at the event including the head technician of Riverside Church, members of the wonderful activist group Justice League, and attendees who recognized me from my work in the community. I actually had people requesting a photo with me! I still felt out of place. My mother’s advice was to introduce myself to other members of press, let them know it was my first event and be guided by them. When I wasn’t warm to the idea, she left me with the parting words, “Sink or swim. Grow up”.

Michael B Jordan on the edge of his seat while he watches Mr Harry Belafonte.  Photo credit Bayete Ross Smith

Michael B. Jordan on the edge of his seat while he watches Mr Harry Belafonte.
Photo credit Bayete Ross Smith

All of a sudden, I really was alone. I got in the elevator to go to the sanctuary of the church. Imagine my surprise when Ms. Octavia Spencer herself and Michael B. Jordan entered in the elevator behind me. I dared not say a word to them. Ms. Spencer smiled and said, “Hello dear”. I remembered my home training and replied hello back. Mr. Jordan nodded. I smiled but fainted inwardly.  I excitedly texted my mom. Inside I was screaming and yelling like a crazed groupie. On the outside I maintained professionalism.  I entered into the sanctuary and went to the press area. I was officially covering a major event! One of the members of the press announced #MLKNow was trending on social media. This was it! Time to start swimming.

Most of the MLK events I go to are usually the same. Politicians are in attendance, and they usually talk about the importance of MLK and his movement. However on Monday, January 18, 2016, I experienced an MLK celebration that was so unique and really highlighted the true essence of MLK and the civil rights movement. MLK Now celebrated King Holiday from the artist prospective. From actors to vocalists, all the entertainers embodied what it was like to be a part of the civil rights movement. Each entertainer adopted a significant person and delivered one of their speeches as if they were them.

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Artist J.Cole

The lineup of celebrities was incredible and the audience were definitely in for a treat. Ryan Coogler, director and filmmaker of Fruitvale Station and Creed spearheaded the event. He brought along two stars from his hit movie Creed, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson.  Jordan delivered a speech by the assassinated activist Fred Hampton entitled “Power Anywhere Where There’s People”. The speech was given with extraordinary conviction and passion. Chris Rock proceeded after Jordan, joking announcing he was following behind “the heartthrob”. He had nothing to worry about. His performance of James Baldwin’s “My Dungeon Shook” was so compelling that not one person thought of Oscar nominations or Rock being the host. Tessa had me raising my fist in the air when she recited Angela Davis’  “Victory Speech”.  Lin Manuel Miranda, known for his star roles in the Broadway plays “In the Heights” and “Hamilton”, played MLK and delivered the speech given by Dr. King during a historic visit to Riverside Church, “Beyond Vietnam/ A Time to Break Silence”. Condola Rashad, actress and daughter of Phylicia Rashad, played Shirley Chisolm and gave her “Presidential Campaign Announcement”. Actor Andre Holland had the audience mesmerized as Malcolm X whose “Police Brutality and Mainstream Media” speech is still relevant today. Tony award winning actress Anika Noni Rose did double duty performing Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” and singing J Cole’s Be Free while he looked on from the audience.

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Tony award winning actress Anika Noni Rose

When the great at 88, Harry Belafonte, delivered Patrice Lumumba’s “Proclamation of Independence”, followed by personal revelations of his involvement in the Civil Rights movement, the audience were literally on the edge of their seats. Rounding out the rest of the artistic part of the program, an emotional Octavia Spencer delivering Dr. King’s final speech “Been to the Mountaintop” and Adepero Oduye as Ida B. Wells’ “This Awful Slaughter.”

The program also contained performances by award winning India Arie, poet and activist Karega Bailey, artist Bilal, poet Saul Williams and an unannounced visit by Empire’s Jussie Smollett, who surprised the audience with a heartrending song. There was one tabloid moment when Ryan Coogler’s one on one conversation with J Cole revealed Mr. Cole was married. Although the audience were surprised by the revelation, they were too caught up in the spirit of the program to dwell on the unexpected announcement.

After the performances and speech renditions, a panel discussion was led by MSNBC National Reporter Trymaine Lee.  The panel featured Urban Cusp Founder, Rahiel Tesfamariam, executive director of Arab American Association of New York,  Linda Sarsour, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice executive director Dante Barry, Filmmaker/Activist and Sankofa.org director Gina Belafonte, and activist Leon Ford, Jr. The MLK Now event became a trending topic on social media and was watched by over 400,000 people on live-stream. I believe Dr. King would have been proud of the way the profound messages of yesterday were presented to the masses today.

pressIf I’m going to become a serious journalist, I must get a professional camera. Covering the MLK Now event was a wonderful experience but I need a career where I can use my activist spirit and make a difference in society. As an investigator reporter, I can reach millions to expose unknown and untold truths.

Many thanks to public relations and event planner extraordinaire Janet Dickerson. My message to Mrs. Dickerson, “A heartfelt thank you doesn’t even seem sufficient enough to express my gratitude but maybe knowing I left a better person coming out of MLK Now than when I arrived will do it. Thanks for the pass.”

I have enclosed the link so you can watch the entire program of MLK Now. Be prepared to be inspired.
 

-Victoria Pannell

Meet Autumn Johnson!

Who doesn’t want to live in a world surrounded by beauty, makeup, and photo shoots? Hands up! Well, fab makeup artist Autumn Johnson has carved out her passion in the beauty industry and we’re thrilled to have her as a Beauty Editor for C.O.R.E Mag!  Autumn Johnson graduated from The Academy of NYC: A Paul Mitchell Partner School in 2010. After graduation she went on to help launch the first Brooklyn Sephora store becoming their Beauty Studio Captain and later took her talents to work with stylists at Hair Rules Salon. The talented makeup artist has freelanced for innovative beauty companies such as Hourglass, Too Faced and Laura Mercier.

She has  assisted with wig designs for Fashion Underground The World of Susanne Bartsch, an exhibit at the FIT Museum. She has also been apart of New York City’s fashion Week, The 48 film project and the short film New Clear from Kickstand Productions.

Today, Autumn is building her own brand providing makeup and hair services to women & men all over New York City. Aside from her beauty career, Autumn is also starting a nonprofit to help aid children in high-risk communities to become empowered and achieve all their goals and dreams.

Let’s get to know Autumn a little better…

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You graduated from The Academy of NYC: A Paul Mitchell Partner School, what attracted you to the innovative world of beauty?
Honestly, I had a whole different career path before pursuing the world of beauty.  I was on track to become a fashion merchandiser.  I spent a year away at Delaware State University, I came home to work  and go to school.  I was looking for a way to earn extra money, that’s when the idea to go to beauty school came to mind.  I had always known how to do hair naturally, that plus having my aunt, who was a cosmetologist, style my hair every two weeks since the age of five became my foundation for entering and falling in love with this world.
You’ve already worked NYC’s Fashion Week +  assisted with the creation of the  Fashion Underground The World of Susanne Bartsch, an exhibit at the FIT Museum! If you had to choose, what would be the biggest highlight in your blossoming career so far?
I would honestly say that the biggest highlight in my career thus far has been being apart of a production company by the name of Kickstand Productions.  A really great friend of mine, along with some other great people, started the company and I have had the privilege of being one of the key makeup artist in a few of the projects.
We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?
There are so many people who inspire me I do not know where to begin.  My mother is my biggest inspiration. She, like many other single moms, is such a strong woman. Beyonce, need I say more!?
Her work ethic is really what inspires me, the woman does not stop. Path McGrawth, I call her my makeup Godmother and Sam Fine my makeup Godfather.  The two of them have set the bar, to me,  for
artist of color.  Their work is impeccable.  Also Porsche, Sir John B, and Renny Vasquez all of who work inspires me.
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What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to girls who wanted to pursue their dreams but are too nervous to start?
The first is to start.  Start whatever it is you want to do.  Start practicing, researching, whatever your passion maybe the bottom line is to start. The second, eliminate any type of negativity around your space.Negative words, bad habits, negative people, thoughts etc.  I’m learning that positivity is a full time job, you have to commit to it.  Even when life brings you to those moments where you think it’s over, it’s not.  Try looking at whatever positive outcome can possibly come for that moment, and let that pull you through.
“I always knew that, being 100% wholeheartedly me was going to pay off.” – Solange.  That would be the third, so I share that with you.  Be 100% wholehearted you.
What is your ultimate goal you would like to achieve in this lifetime?
In this lifetime one ultimate goal I would like to achieve is becoming a creative director for an international makeup brand.
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We are all about empowerment, What does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?
Empowerment has a lot of different meanings to me. Motivating, supporting, and encouraging yourself, as well as from others, to be a better you.
Time for the Faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?
Faves Artist?
-Beyonce
Food?
– Cupcakes, and Dough Doughnuts
Movie?
-Stormy Weather, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Cinderella
Favorite Book?
-The Little Prince
Welcome, Autumn!
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Dope Girl, Xandria!

We’re swirling with tons of fresh energy and bloggers at C.O.R.E Mag this year! Xandria will be dropping knowledge on personal + social issues that teens constantly deal with on a daily basis. We’re excited to have her thoughts and tips on board for C.O.R.E Mag!

Let’s get to know Xandria a little better…

Name: Xandria Remi Milligan
 
Age: 17
 
City: New York City
 
Grade: 12th
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What is your dream job and why? My dream job would be a television or radio show host because they get to speak their mind and have a lot of confidence to present to a large audience face to face.  They also meet lots of different interesting people which I think is a nice part of that job.
Which hobbies do you enjoy? Playing video games, specifically Sims 3 and Grand Theft Auto, and making snapchats.
 
Who is your biggest crush? Chris Brown
 
What’s your fav song to vibe out to right now? Thank You Biggie by Dom Kennedy
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 If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? I would take away negativity because I think that is what’s ruining the planet.  People feel negativity towards other people, who are also negative to the environment.  In a positive world, relationships between humans, animals and nature will prosper
 
What does empowerment mean to you? Empowerment means to positively impact ones life in which uplifts them to continue to contribute positively to themselves and society.
 
What are your plans after high school? After high school I plan to go to college to get my Doctor of Pharmacy degree so I can practice pharmacy in the United States.
 
How have you helped someone in your life lately? I helped someone who was lost, find their destination.
 
Who is your role model and why? My role model is forever going to be my mother because she is really strong.  She has made so many sacrifices just so her children could have a chance at a better life and for us to be happy.
Welcome, Xandria!
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Dope Girl, Ryan!

It’s time to kick off 2016 with fresh energy + hot style here at  C.O.R.E mag! We’re thrilled to introduce Ryan as one of our stylish fashion bloggers for this year! She’ll be keeping you on board with the hottest trends and style secrets to keep you fresh throughout your semester.

Now, let’s get to know Ryan a little better…

Name: Ryan White

Age: 17

City: New York

Grade: 12th

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What is your dream job and why?

I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer because I love art and I think it’s even better when you can wear it. Who doesn’t want to strut around in an art piece !?

Which hobbies do you enjoy? I enjoy both drawing and sewing.

Who is your biggest crush? My biggest crush is Adonis Bosso. <3

What’s your fav song to vibe out to right now? My favorite song right now would be Luxury by Azealia Banks.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? I would change the way the world views young women, mostly the double standards.

What does empowerment mean to you? To me empowerment means strength, courage and wisdom because those are the important things needed to grow in life.

What are your plans after high school? I want to go to college and continue to focus on my career in the fashion industry.

How have you helped someone in your life lately? I participated in giving out canned food for the less fortunate on Thanksgiving.

Who is your role model and why? My mom because she works hard while being feminine & that’s how I want to be.

 

Welcome, Ryan!

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Meet Butterfly Dreamz!

Life is all about transformation and shedding from one life phase to the next while discovering your hidden strength, beauty + power! Butterfly Dreamz has created the perfect outlet for youth to spread their wings and fly. Through their storytelling services, they inspire individuals to live their lives like BUTTERFLIES: flying fearlessly and pursuing DREAMS boldly, beautifully, and uniquely while inspiring others on the way!

Founder Joy Lindsay launched her organization in July 2013, a year after her younger sister, Kimberly Anyce Lindsay, transitioned into her life in heaven. After Kim’s passing, she had a desire to keep her story alive.

Joy began on a journey to preserve Kim’s story through the children’s book, When a Butterfly Chooses to Fly. Writing and storytelling became therapy for her, helping her to remain strong and pursue her dreams despite the unexpected setback of her sister’s passing. After seeing the impact of storytelling and literary arts had in her own life and the lives of others she shared her story with, Joy decided to explore the art forms more. She began to incorporate storytelling in her work of developing professionals and educating youth. Soon with the help of colleagues Butterfly Dreamz was created!

Through Butterfly Dreamz storytelling services and innovative curricula, they continue to build a universe of social leaders that are inspired to create, share, and use their stories to overcome life obstacles and change the status quo.

Let’s get to know Butterfly Dreamz a little better…

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Butterfly Dreamz uses the art of storytelling to develop literacy and leadership skills in youth and adults, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I launched Butterfly Dreamz, Inc. after the death of my little sister, Kimberly Anyce Lindsay. Storytelling was and still is a huge part of my healing process. I found that telling stories about Kim helped keep her spirit alive; the stories were a much needed reminder of her beauty, boldness, and love for life when I needed it the most. Also, I found healing in sharing my story with others and listening to their stories. I’ve met many people who have transformed pain into purpose, and their stories inspired me to do the same. I soon realized that sharing my story was bigger than me; it empowered and encouraged so many other people to keep pushing despite life’s setbacks. This experience gave me a new purpose; a reason to live despite the death around me. With this new purpose, Butterfly Dreamz was born. At our core, we are an organization that uses stories to change lives.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, what type of events and courses does Butterfly Dreamz host?

We host events and courses that help people: 1.) Build community, 2.) Discover their voice and creativity and 3.) Realize their dreams. In 2016, you can expect to see the following events and courses:

  • HerStory: A monthly workshop series that seeks to convene, celebrate, and build sisterhood. Each month, women and girls of all ages and backgrounds come together to share their stories and learn to create fun DIY projects.
  • Building E-books: A six-week course where students and parents learn to design and publish an e-book of their own!
  • Launching Dreamz: A six-week course for adults interested in launching a youth development program or event. This course guides participants through the process of launching their idea and awards $1,000 to help fund their dream.
  • Books and Burgers: Summer literacy workshops for kids and families. Participants come together to read books and write stories, while enjoying delicious burgers!

We also host online story competitions that are open to all students in NJ. Winners receive $100 and publication in our next e-book. More info about our competitions, events, and courses can be found on our website: www.butterflydreamz.org.

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We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

My mother. She is and will always be my role model, my first teacher, my friend and my biggest cheerleader. Just by being who she is, she has taught me how to love (myself and others), how to forgive, and how to keep going, regardless of the obstacles that may get in the way. She has both deliberately and unconsciously instilled the essence of womanhood in meand my sisters. I am beyond blessed to be her daughter. <3

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

Don’t let others define beauty and success for you; create your own definitions and be open to changing them whenever you see fit. How you define success and beauty may look different today than it looked 5 or even 2 years ago. That’s OK; we will and should evolve as women. The important thing is that as you evolve, you are in the driver’s seat. You are defining what beauty means, what success means, what your dreams are and how you will make them happen.

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Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with girls?

Through my work with girls, I have learned to always be a scholar. By “scholar” I mean to always be inquisitive and interested in learning more, to always have a thirst for knowledge and growth. As I work with youth, I am constantly reminded that we do not just wear one hat (me as “teacher” and them as “scholar”), but we all wear both hats. We teach and learn from each other.

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you + your organization?

For me personally, l would define empowerment as a discovery of the inner strength that drives someone to make his/her dream a reality. For Butterfly Dreamz, Inc. empowerment is when our participants create, share, and use their stories to change the status quo.

Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?

•Song- “You Bring Me Joy” by Anita Baker
•Food- anything chocolate
•Artist- Tupac
•Celeb Crush- He’s not a celeb yet but my forever MCM is my boyfriend 🙂

Find out more about Butterfly Dreamz

Butterfly Dreamz

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