Plus Size Beautis (@PSBinc) is a organization here in Virginia dedicated to uplifting and empowering women of all sizes, mostly curvaceous, to love themselves and take care of their God-given temples. This organization, based out of Richmond holds several recruiting sessions throughout the year, participates in community events, and mentors to younger girls ages 8 and up with their subsidiary YLOB (Young Ladies of Beauty). The idea is to uplift the spirits of women, tackle sensitive issues in the plus size community, and mentor members young and old. It’s an opportunity for those full figured, plus size and curvy girls to bond with a sisterhood of like-minded individuals and make a difference in the world around them.
This past weekend, Plus Size Beautis had their first ever Women’s Empowerment Symposium at the Holiday Inn in RVA. The event was well attended by groups of individuals, all seeking the same thing… to be empowered and inspired. Plus Size Beautis did just that, by featuring Motivational Speakers, Inspirational leaders and Coaches like Kita Martin, Cecily Hickman of SassC Creations, and Coach Metra of Love Life Enterprises, LLC. These women took the stage to discuss their experiences while providing a message that everyone could relate to and become encouraged. Plus Size Beautis brought women of diverse backgrounds to speak on subjects relating to self-love, faith, and being true to oneself. Several people in the room admitted to being emotional, captivated, for they understood the dynamic, and could resonate with the speakers and their testimony.
I missed the opportunity to catch the testimony of Ms. Kita Martin, Empowering Women on Purpose. She is a Host, Motivational Speaker, Poet and Writer in the 757 area. Her message related to “B the Best “You” can B!” a mantra eloquently placed on the back of her business card. Make sure you get in touch with her for empowerment and motivation, via email at email@example.com
I caught the message from Cecily Hickman, of SassC Creations . Knowing Cecily to be a kind hearted and gentle spirited entrepreneur, I was intrigued by her testimony at the event. Talking to Plus Size Beauti members and their supporters, Cecily touch on issues regarding her self-esteem and the feelings she had growing up. Like me, Cecily had to busy herself with her passions and creativity to eventually find value in herself, thus discovering a new sense of self-esteem. Cecily encouraged event participants to write strong positive affirmations everyday. She listed individuals who have failed in one aspect of their lives, but went on to succeed beyond what they, themselves may have expected. It was motivating to hear some of my own favorites listed, among them Oprah… solidifying the belief that if you keep going, your dreams can and will come true. I appreciate Cecily sharing those aspects of her life. Her presentation was very inspiring. Please be sure to check out her beauty and styling work, as she specializes in versatility in today’s women with SassC Creations at (804) 822-1236.
During our intermission, prizes and raffles drawing were being conducted. Vendors such as Melanie Wade of Modgyrl Cosmetics were in the building. Modgyrl Melanie was displaying and promoting Plus Size Beautis newest partnership with Modgyrl, their exclusive lippies and glosses. Exodus by Design by Brenda Powell was in the building. Her vendor table was being manned by former WEA Member and Hinton Consulting CEO, Tamera Hinton-Bulger. Plus Size Beautis were also selling their branded t-shirts to supporters and their families as well. Among the other vendors were also Hands On Massage Therapies and Palms of Passion. It was great to see all the PSB members rocking their official PSB white polo shirts, looking fabulous and cohesive for the day’s event.
Last, but definitely not least was acclaimed motivational speaker and life coach, Coach Metra of Love Life Enterprises (sharmetrapittman.com/). Metra shared detailed aspects of her life that I think may have hit home with many people. Her honesty and energized spirit was charismatic and engaging, which made her testimony even more motivating and easy to relate to. What hit home with me the most was the experience of having her daughter tell her that she couldn’t wait to get older, so that she could attend nightclubs like her mother. That is something that I think many women don’t realize being prevalent in their child’s mind. That is not the memories I want my child to have of me, and neither did Coach Metra as she admits during her presentation that that incident was one of the catalyst in transforming her life. As she discusses being a better woman, mother, and wife, it’s the down to earth feeling that I get from her that makes me know; this woman isn’t speaking anything but the truth to me. Her speech “Size Does Matter” isn’t dripping with corny phrases set to entice the curvaceous community at all. Her message speaks to the soul that faith, heart, dreams and communication are the most important aspects to living a fruitful and blessed life. The issues discussed were magnetic in their own way; nevertheless, this was an awesome way to wrap up an extra special event orchestrated by the women of Plus Size Beautis.
“The size of your faith, the size of your heart, the size, of your communication, the size of your dreams. Be Loved, Be blessed, Be You!” – Coach Metra
Ladies, if you are looking to join an organization that supports the plus size community here in Richmond or the 757 area, contact Plus Size Beautis today (http://www.plussizebeautis.org/). Even if you aren’t in Virginia at all, and believe that you can head your own chapter wherever you are, feel free to give them a call. Also, check out volunteer opportunities with YLOB (Young Ladies of Beauty) as well at youngladiesofbeauty.com, because mentoring young women to be amazing grown women, should be a priority for all of us.
I’m excited to see what comes down the pipeline for this group next. I hope their work is blessed and they continue to inspire throughout their journey. It was an awesome event, so the next one is promised to be greater.
Be sure to check out and support…
Want to see more pictures from the event? “Like” our Fan Page on Facebook, and check them out at www.facebook.com/gaptoothdivaonline
For more events and baddest creative motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
It’s so exciting to officially blog for the Lyric Ave. Freestyle showcase’s monthly show. The shows are done monthly for a season, highlighting local and national talent with live music, poetry, and skits. From thought provoking prose and performances to amusing parodies, this show is more enjoyable than most programs on television. I wrote about the January 2013 installment of Lyric Ave., and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it absolutely did. This go around it was funnier and I think that would be an understatement.
The excitement started immediately on the street outside of the Hippodrome Theater in Jackson Ward. As we headed inside ready to enjoy the show, a homeless man stopped us to ask for change. Immediately I was suspicious. I’m not a “homeless man” fashion expert, nor do I qualify the needy by how dirty they are, but this homeless man had a lace-front beard on! That thing was so smooth and luxurious, either someone donated a hot comb and some Luster’s Pink Lotion or this dude was an imposter. Nevertheless, Hubs gave him some change and we ran inside, laughing because we knew we were in for a surprise.
The show maintained the excitement through out. I especially liked how enthusiastic the other audience seemed to be, making the ambiance very jovial for everyone. It’s was like a thirst in the air for more laughs, something that I believe we could all use nowadays. Lyric Ave. definitely accomplished that. Carla Jackson, one of the featured artists performed on her guitar, and had me ready to turn up. When you start like that… it’s only getting better from there. I was cracking up laughing off host Micah “Bam – Bamm” White with his “Take that back and do whatever you want with that” jokes. Such a talented individual did an amazing job as usual.
Chari Brown definitely surprised me with her two performances that evening. I saw her in the February showcase and thought she was an amazing actress. However, the evening proved that she is also a great songstress as well. I didn’t know that, so I was pleasantly surprised when she sang one of my favorite Beyonce tracks “Flaws and All” with such conviction. Her performance with J-Gott was exceptional as well. Between his eloquent lyrics and her sweet voice, I felt that was a very soulful duet.
Speaking of beautiful duets, Jarrard Anthony and @Ameramen made beautiful music on stage, speaking volumes to the Hubs and I. Artists like these make events like this perfect to bring your significant other to, sets the stage for fun and a little expressive romance. Jarrard Anthony is definitely a talented songwriter/musician here in Richmond, Virginia and the host of Saturday Soul Social (www.saturdaysoulsocial.com ). Check it out for more information.
Randolph A. Fitz, another featured aspect of the show has seriously gave me whiplash for “umpteenth” time. In person, this man will have you in stitches with his random silliness. He was even outside the Hippodrome when we ran into the homeless person, which turned out to be Iman Shabazz (Creative Director, cast member and actor for Lyric Ave.) Randolph said, “Ya’ll give that man something, Ya’ll got it!” while we were too busy trying to get into the theater and figure out if this dude was authentic or a hoax. Laughing at him, I’m immediately switched into a different emotion with his performance on stage. With “What If” and “I Know I’ve Been Changed”, I got excited and all in my feelings. Great artist have that ability to make you feel all sorts of things through their art, He just happens to be one of those individuals.
With the hilarious skits like “In the Streets” and “Yo People’s Court” making us laugh so hard, we had ugly faces on. “Yo People’s Court” had me doing my super ghetto laugh, that I reserve for family and close friends only. You know that one that could get you kicked out of the movie theater? It was that funny, for real. We just knew that we had our fill for the evening. Lyric Ave. saved a real gem for last. First, the funny Cory Marshall did his thing, setting us up with very funny jokes and audience engagement. The Featured comic of the evening, DMV’s Comic of the Year, Larry Lancaster killed it with his routine. He joked about old people trying to look like young thugs, but looking extremely childish, something I see so often it’s scary. The guy was so funny, I later realized that I was the only girl in my section claiming to be a “big girl” when a couple of sisters around me was definitely pledging Beta Phi Thick as well. Nevertheless, it was all good fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. Larry was seriously funny and talented, ending another amazing showcase with smiling faces.
Overall, the cast of Lyric Ave. kills it each and every time with entertainment and performances that caters to a mature and eclectic audience of people who can appreciate a certain caliber of music, soul, and truth. I never expect less, but I’m learning to always expect more and more from this dynamic group of people.
I’m so excited to see what happens at their 10th anniversary edition on May 11th, 2013. They have two shows on that night (and every night they feature) at 6:00pm and 9:00pm, so be sure to get your tickets. Check them out at www.thelyricaveshow.com for more information. Tickets are on Sale NOW. You will not be disappointed. Next month, I may be giving out another pair of tickets to a lucky GaptoothDiva.com supporter, so be sure to tune in for details.
For more of the baddest creative motivation, reviews, events, and more follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Plain and simple, I was floored. From the beginning to the end, I was captivated and inspired. I know I throw many words out there, but speaking from the heart, Zakia Jameceye made me want to be a better woman… period. It sounds crazy, right? This woman saying that she was inspired to be a better woman by Zakia and a group of professional Female Impersonators, would probably make many of you weary as to what in the world I’m thinking. I don’t care! It’s the truth. The All Red Affair managed to take entertainment to a completely different level and I’ll explain why…
I’ve been to drag shows before, who doesn’t love Godfrey’s brunch on Sundays. Get the mimosa, honey it delicious. However, it’s so much going on during those shows between my plate and the hard-core entertainment; I’m spent just thinking about it. I enjoy it! Nevertheless, last Saturday in a hotel conference room, Zakia and her entertainment family, Nationz Pageantry Systems managed to take me from loving my femininity and myself oh so dearly, to wanting to be straight fierce, ferocious, gracefully elegant, and majestic all at the same time, every second of every day. I know they were performing, but hear me out. These entertainers, Mr. Nationz included managed to take an art form and push the envelope so far, that you have no choice but to be greater than what you are. You have to be there to understand the magnitude of what I’m saying, but allow me to paint a picture I know you’ll get…
If they can be that beautiful, that intriguing, and that spectacular on stage and they weren’t born with all of the amazing things that got them there to that point (you know what I’m saying), then what’s YOUR problem?
I thought about this deeply as I watched them cascade up and down the aisles casting spells on the audience with their glamour and fierceness, I want to be better. I want to feel better; I want to feel free and uninhibited to captivate just as much minds as they did on stage with my words. I too am a DIVA!
Now some of you may have your feelings right or wrong about female impersonators and/or drag queens, that’s your right. I support the LGBT community fully and I won’t apologize for that. This isn’t about that. What’s important is that these amazing men and women took art and inspired in the way they know best. I loved every minute of it, the crowd was drunk off excitement and support, and it was the best entertainment showcase of performances and glamour in a while. I appreciate Nationz Pageantry System for inviting me and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
They are currently looking for qualified promoters to produce official preliminaries. Visit www.nationzpageants.com to get more information.
Support their events and check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationzPageantrySystem
Check out this preview of the evening events:
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Lela Bizz listening party at 2 Beyond Recording Studios on Southside Richmond Virgina. The studio is located right next to Antonz Barbershop and Beauty Salon off Semmes Ave at 3414 Semmes Ave.
This state-of the art studio featured equipment and resources that any musician would appreciate. Built and managed by Keleek Collins, I’m sure that RVA independent music scene could take advantage of all the features that 2 Beyond Recording Studios has to offer.
At the listening party, we had the chance to check out Lela’s Youtube channel via a flat screen for all to check out and enjoy. The vivid lighting and set-up made it comfortable and enjoyable for us to mix and mingle during the event and participate in watching Lela’s latest hits and covers.
Although the space isn’t huge, it was large enough to accommodate many of the guests, more than we had anticipated and so much more. The studio has a large back entrance where many people were able to congregate and relax, while others enjoyed the main area, and the large open front entrance right off of Semmes Ave.
Anton Cofield was in the building, being a gracious and sophisticated host networking with all in attendance. The evening went without a hitch; everyone laughed, sang along to music tracks, and even completed surveys provided by Lela and her team in regards to her music. Food and drinks were provided, making those invited even more comfortable and at home. Hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I definitely think you should check out 2 Beyond Studios for your music and/or recording needs. The management there will cater to what you want in services and the location is sophisticated and pristine. The studio is adorned with old school and new school attributes, it’s that “at home” feeling that made us not want to leave. Check it out for yourself and tell them that GaptoothDiva sent you.
3414 Semmes Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23225
Office: (804) 447-2429
Manged by Kaleek Collins
Last year my husband had the awesome privilege of attending the Camp Diva Date with Dad Dinner and Dance, and came home talking about how amazing the whole event was. Naturally, we discussed all the beautiful dresses the girls wore and the fathers who compassionately accompanied their daughters to this event, which celebrated love and the bond between father and daughter. At the time my relationships with my own father was strained and virtually in limbo, so I felt my heart tug when my husband joyfully described the love and affection shown to each girl by her father. It was the pictures that depicted fun, excitement, and grandeur, which made me want to attend the event this year on my own. However, it was my husband’s powerful testimony that enticed me to make the decision to repair the relationship with my father and bring him along, with my two sisters as well.
I knew from the very beginning that God had his hand in this situation. As I was preparing to talk with my Dad about attending, my sisters had already caught wind of the event through social media, as I was tweeting and posting it to Facebook. Immediately when I suggested that we should all go, they both squealed in delight. “This will absolutely bring us all together!” they exclaimed. It was just a matter of asking my Father. When I arrived at my father’s house to ask him, I must admit I was nervous. In my late twenties, I have never embarked on something as wonderful as a father/daughter dance. I would have never imagined inviting my father to an event like this, or even him attending one with me. We just were never that type of father/daughter team. Neither my sisters nor I knew what was going to happen, but I stepped out in faith and invited my Dad anyway. My Dad immediately said “yes!” I was ecstatic. He said it sounded like a great idea and he too wanted to start spending more time with us and create a stronger bond with his daughters. This was going to be an experience I never wanted to forget.
I prayed on it the whole way through. Most of us were struggling financially, trying to make ends meet and pay bills. Just barely keeping our heads above water, I faced the challenge of paying for all four of us to attend the event. With tickets costing $25 each, I knew I wanted to contribute to the event and deliver an awesome experience to my sisters and father at the same time. I had to get to work. The Date with Dad was my priority. Most of the people I talked to were difficult to close on the idea that they too should contribute to this monumental occasion, some even suggested that it might not be worth it. Here I am trying to help and create a wonderful memory for not only me, but other girls and their fathers too, and obstacles were coming from left and right. I pressed on, I sold clothes, I contracted work, and saved pennies just so that I could attend with my family and give them the night I promised. I could only imagine the work that the women of Camp Diva have to put into what they do. They are truly an inspiration. The ability to keep explaining your vision, your dream, and your purpose to people, in the hopes that they too buy into it and can contribute a small iota of assistance to see it flourish… it monumental. Those women are amazing!
I finally got the money together and I paid for my ticket, Glory to God! We scheduled a date to help my Dad find a suit, which for some reason was rescheduled three to four times due to scheduling conflicts. However, when we finally got together, it was an awesome Saturday afternoon. We laughed, we cracked jokes, and we talked. Something we rarely get to do with him on our own. It’s that nervous feeling around him, as if you’re meeting someone for the first time. We ask ourselves constantly, “Does he know this” or “Have I told him this”. This event was going to be the catalyst to jump start a relationship with our father. This was going to be the marriage of a father/daughter bond that we never experienced. We wore variations of white and gold, because we were solidifying a solid bond with this man, who we have lived with our entire lives, but know rarely anything about. Our Dad, who has always provided for us, but never really tried to get too close. This was our chance to change what history has tainted, and I couldn’t have been more excited if I tried.
The night was beautiful! In gown and dresses, my sisters and I stepped out with our father in a spectacular way. I walked in a saw all these beautiful little girls and gorgeous women, all adorned in pretty dresses and incredible smiles. My Dad was dapper in his suit and tie, looking nervous but excited himself. He cleans up well, and we were so proud to have him on our arm. As we ate and drank punch at the table, marveled by the beautiful families around us, we laughed and joked the whole night. I am not going to lie and say that we weren’t at the table waiting and ready to get “turnt up”. I wanted to dance and watch everyone else get his or her party on as well. So right after the celebration of the Real Father Award Winners: Congratulations to Harold Coles Jr., Scott Randall, Thomas Nixon, Anson Owen, and Nelson B. Farrar and the Father/Daughter game with Actor Chad Coleman (Miss Evers Boys/The Wire), Juan Conde (Anchor with TV 8) led us into the dance portion of the evening.
My Dad was a straight crazy man on the dance floor and I loved it. We laughed at his silliness and delighted in his ability to just let go and be free. It’s times like this when I realize that time is never promised to us, and if I could make that moment in time last forever, I would. Nevertheless, I soaked in every minute of it, and enjoyed every second. He talked with Juan Conde and shared stories about us when we were little, listening to him on the radio when Juan was with Power 92. He was so excited. He ran and took pictures everywhere and profiled in his suit, something he doesn’t get to wear often enough. I was proud to have him with me that evening. My sisters looked beautiful and my Dad was so excited, the evening turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
When I think about what Angela Patton and everyone with Camp Diva are doing, have done, and are attempting to do with these young girls in Richmond, I kind of wish I was a little girl again. I wish I had this when I was younger, because we wouldn’t be trying to begin a relationship with my Dad as adults, we would be celebrating what already was in place. I wish that some more people out there were diligent in trying to institute something so precious as that bond, like Camp Diva is doing. Nevertheless, my mission was to prove that it is never too late. As a grown woman with children of my own I’m making it my business to make something happen between my sisters, my dad, and I. Life is too short and I don’t have the time for “should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve”, I want to take advantage of these opportunities when they come. I didn’t know if I was going to even be able to afford to do it, but my trust that God was going to see me through, and it did, it saw me through that hotel, with two beautiful sisters and my handsome father in tow. So just when you think it’s not important for you to strive for life has a funny way of showing you, everything is worth it and more. Our experience is one for the books, a lifetime memory and a whole lot of love was in that room at the Marriot. Camp Diva did an awesome job in putting that together and creating a chance for fathers to make their daughters feel special. I can’t wait to attend next year; I hope that I see you at the table beside us.
Shout out to Melody Short (Artisan Café), Craig Watson (Lyric Ave), Rob (Peace Clothing) who I saw and spoke to that evening. A huge shout out to Angela Patton, Ayana, Lisa, and all the beautiful women of Camp Diva (Camp Diva).
Please follow and support Camp Diva www.CampDiva.org
To see more photos go to my Facebook Fan Page at www.Facebook.com/GaptoothDivaonline
I’m so excited about this weekend’s 2013 Natural Hair Care Expo Evolution Tour in Baltimore Maryland March 23rd to March 24th 2013 11am – 7pm.
It’s scheduled to be an awesome event! Here Mareesa Dawn, Marketing Queen creates a List of Reasons for you to attend…
(more reasons to ink these dates on your calendar)
1. Super hottest vendors
2. Best classes – mind, body, spirit and soul
3. Head turning – natural hair styles & fab fashions
4. All new location – Baltimore Convention Center
5. Kyle Bullock – the barber extraordinaire will be there
6. People from all over will flock to this event
7. Natural hair celebs, great bloggers and cool peeps attend
8. Powerful networking occurs
9. Spotlight on 100 authors – reading rocks
10. March 23-24th a great weekend of events
11. all the natural hair meet-up’s meet up
12. product junkies go crazy
13. get ideas for new styles
14. meet folk IRL -
15. discover new musical talents
16. get ideas to start a business
17. find vendors for your next event
18. promote your next show, event or product
19. do a girls weekend away – with friends
20. March 23-24th a great weekend of events
21. Susan Taylor of Essence Magazine
22. Torrey Smith of the Raven Superbowl Champs
23. Professor Griff of Public Enemy
24. KIdz Arena
25. All new location – Baltimore Convention Center
26. Live Poetry
27. Late Night Concert
28. Discover new musical talents get ideas to start a business
29. Herbal Hair Remedies
30. BALTIMORE NATURAL HAIR CARE EXPO TURNS 10 years old!!
31. Susan Taylor – Essence Magazine – had to mention again !
32. Monica Green – So Curly so Kinky so Straight, The Salon
33. Kendra Bell – cultural sociologist and author
34. Netfah Amina Afia – soul-owner of Simply Netfah Wholistic Boutique and conducts both private and public ‘wearable art’ shows and ‘conscious dress’ workshops
35. Dr. Renee – The Four Paths to Ultimate Wellness
36. Alexis Scott – “Diabetes Free America” Start reversing high blood sugar in 21 days or less!
37. Micheal Imhotep – Executive Producer & Talk Show Host of
The African History Network Show
38. Cykeithia Kumani – create fuller loc looks more versatile loc styling options
39. Nailah Clay – Holistic Hair Designers
40. yes.. only 60 more reasons !!
41. Conscious Concert Expanding the 3rd Eye – ALL NEW EVENT
42. Papi the General and his crew will be opening the concert off at 8:00pm…so make sure you get there to she the show!
43. Jimmy Wilson, a renowned trumpet virtuoso and bandmaster
44. Precise Science
Precise Science will be preforming a thirty minute set Saturday night.
45. J. Locke Christian Hip Hop ; a phenomenal talent who has been making melodic movement in the music industry
46. Mr. Keep On Moving aka: KOM
Where Langston Hughes meets Mos Def,” he walks like a poet and talks like an MC.
47. Mar 23, 2013 8:00 PM
48. tickets only ten dollars for the concert
49. BALTIMORE NATURAL HAIR CARE EXPO TURNS 10 !!!!
50. half way there !!!
51 Jamaican Comedian and playwrite LEMON
52. Proverbs reggae Band Performing live
53 Over 40 free classes
54. Swag bag at the door
55. Teri Tobin Arizona-born soulstress, songwriter and producer
56. “The Band Belief” – people deserved higher standards of lyrics and music RICHMOND VA’S OWN !
57. LaRetta Ann Taylor licensed Senior Cosmetologist
58. Yuma “Dr. Yew” Bellomee certified as a Holistic Health Counselor through the International Board of African Thinkers, Traditional Priests, Priestesses, and Religion, Inc.,
59. Deizshel Japonica Setzer Mortage Loan Officer
60. Sahande Sy Founder of eBraiding.net / eNaturals.net
Class: “Publishing a Natural Hair Care & Braiding Magazine”
There are forty more coming down the pipeline, so be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook for more information.
The Baltimore Natural Hair Care Expo
March 23 – 24, 2013
11am – 7pm
The Baltimore Convention Center
1 West Pratt Street
Baltimore MD 21201
$15 in advance $20 at the door
It takes so much to gather a bunch of folks together, but thankfully, Mareesa Dawn did it! The Queen Breach Accessories herself was so awesome that she decided to throw a small gathering at Island Bistro for yours truly during my birthday weekend. Collaboratively, we decided to utilize this time to not only celebrate and have a great time, but to engage with other people that understand the GaptoothDiva.com movement. I was so pleased and I had a great time, enjoying great conversation with all those who stopped by to celebrate with us.
I “diva-fied” myself for the first time in a long time, putting on a piece selected for DashA’veri Vintage and Thrift, specifically for the evening. I had one of the best barbers in Richmond cut my Mohawk just right, and I beat this face as if I was crazy. I was ready to have a truly special celebration. A super awesome celebration is what I got. This is just the beginning. There is so much in store coming from GaptoothDiva.com/DashA’veri, Breach Accessories, and from all the other wonderful entrepreneurs that attended Saturday evening. I was motivated and inspired that we are truly going to grow this city. There will be change, with these positive agents in place; I can already feel the wonder.
Check out all the pics on the GaptoothDiva.com Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/gaptoothdivaonline)
I’m so happy to announce that I have been selected to be a Badged Blogger for RVA Fashion Week. My love for Richmond Virginia, fashion, and creativity are all blossoming into opportunities that I can’t wait to dive into immediately. I appreciate all of the support and accolades that I’ve received, because without certain individuals recognizing my talent and my goal for this movement, it wouldn’t have been possible. GaptoothDiva.com had been an ever-changing concept, with lessons and obstacles that I never regret. I’m learning as I go along, and my intention is to be a service to those people who felt like I did a few years ago, “Where can I find people like myself?”
When your style is so different, when you neglect the safe route and choose to do what makes you feel “normal”, then it becomes difficult for you to put yourself out there. I get that and I hope that from here on out, you feel welcomed enough to join me on my journey as I tap into my own style and that of some of the phenomenal people I meet everyday.
With this blogging collaboration, I plan to convey a message that is parallel to RVA Fashion Week. I also want to shed light on an eccentric and nontraditional territory of fashion and culture in our city and around. “The mission of Richmond Fashion Week is to:
- RVA Fashion Week website (www.rvafashionweek.com)
I look forward to giving you more of what I love and I can’t wait to report on the events, styles, and amazing people I plan to connect with because of this new opportunity. I want to thank all of you again for your support. Let’s Work!
Check out the RVA Fashion Week website and connect with them on twitter.
Follow them on Twitter: @rvafashionweek
- I’esha “GaptoothDiva” Hornes
This past Saturday, I had the incredible pleasure of attending the Lyric Ave. show (www.TheLyricAveshow.com), a comedic freestyle performance showcase which is executive produced by Craig Watson. The show was staged at Richmond’s prestigious Hippodrome Theater in Jackson Ward, and could only be described as a whole lot of fun. Each segment of this showcase was filled with either profound poetry, real life testimony, or hilarious bits of comedy that literally made you think. Hosted by funny man JeRoyd Strother also known as Dyore, who also brought his own dose of humor and charisma, the show maintained an upbeat and enchanting energy that was appreciated by the diverse crowd. It was stated that the purpose of the show was “to feel something”, and feel something I did. I was engrossed in the cast, the level of their creativity and the positive vibes that saturated the room through every skit.
From the very beginning, the audience was catapulted into distinct prose by infinite poets speaking on subject matter that resonates with what most of us go through today. In example of the impact of society and our ability/inability to act came directly from one cast member, Tron with his piece “That Nigga”. The story of his desire to change the circumstances of a loved one is something so familiar for us all. The passion displayed in is performance spoke volumes to me, as it conveyed a messaged that could not be ignored. J. Gott, also hit the stage delivering a captivating and intriguing piece regarding Never Giving Up. Fittz, as silly as he is in real life, managed to tap into a philosophical alter ego with his piece about Martin Luther King. From the very beginning, I was excited to see what the next hour or so had to bring, simply from the performance of these two very talented men.
If you are a lover of good music, and even better performances, you would have been pleased with the performances by some of Lyric Ave. supreme songstresses. Teshia Lesane delivers a powerful performance and skit, proving that no matter what you can’t make someone love you. Amazingly so, it was hard to believe as she proved that her skills and beauty definitely made the crowd love her. Beautiful Rev. Carla Jackson and Gail Branch both presented fascinating solos individually, setting the scene for the couples in the house. Their voices and grace were appreciated and proved that Lyric Ave. is catering to those that appreciate good soulful vibes in their nightlife repertoire.
Two of the highlighted performances were especially exciting. One from female artist Choklate (www.choklateonline.com/) from Seattle, who has just earned herself a new fan. Her refreshing and high-energy soul presented on the stage was not only memorable but beautiful as well. This former office manager stumbled upon her purpose in music and I’m excited to check out what she has up her sleeve from here on out. The other highlight was from RVA’s own Tamir Rock (http://everythingtamirrock.wordpress.com/) who always distributes an artistic and innovative performance wherever you’re lucky to see him. Tamir took to the stage performing his track “Mi Amore” and an incredible hip-hop track where he flows backwards, then forwards. All the while during his performance, he manages to sketch up an awesome picture that also translates into another art piece upside down. At that point you have just exceeded you limit, you’ve gotten your moneys worth, but Lyric Ave. is far from being close to over.
My favorite parts would have to be the Lyric Ave. Cyphers, which are a remake of the acclaimed BET Cyphers featuring the cast. There were two versions, the male version and then the female version (my personal favorite). Although the male version was excellent in its own right, I was able to hear the females more clearly. It could have been audio, but who cares? They were awesome! So much dopeness coming from cast members such as Lee “Narrator” Jones, Nikkea Smithers, and Nickey McMullen, you will be an instant fan at best. The counseling skit was beautiful as well, touching on our hearts, speaking to our souls that tomorrow will be a better day.
I laughed at comedic skits like “Busted”, Lyric Ave.’s version of Cheaters featuring Iman Shabazz and even the “Fiscal Cliff” skit, where Chari Brown and Shanell Anderson play two different African American women on the opposite side of the financial spectrum. Who won’t remember the POMFUS (The President of the M*** F*** United States)? You have to see that funny part alone. I mean… how else are we going to know how to claim our “dependables” on our taxes? LOL
Lyric Ave has proven to be necessary “MUST DO” in RVA for the 2013 New Year, stepping their game up from their good fun shows of the past. It makes me believe that this cast and all the crew behind its creation deserve the opportunity to be on our televisions as well. The people associated with this show are creative, magnifying, and diligent in their talent and efforts to make us feel something. I felt it all. I laughed, I teared up (cause I just put these lashes on) and I clapped with excitement of toddler at all that they had to bring. The audience responded in the same way, most leaving saying that they couldn’t wait for more. I can’t help but to agree. If you haven’t seen the show, put it on your list of things to do with your friends, your spouse, even with your family. There is no doubt that you will have the time of your life with this bunch of astonishing people.
To support Lyric Ave. or for more information, Go to their website www.TheLyricaveshow.com today!
To see more photos of the show, check out my Facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/GaptoothDivaonline
Follow me on Twitter http://www.Twitter.com/GaptoothDiva
After doing the Glam Gurl, Inc. Fashion show in Richmond, I was contacted by Sherra and Tiffany Brown about doing a photo shoot in the Maryland/D.C. area, for their fabulous clothing line Ivie Rose. I rocked two of their outfits in the fashion show, so I was totally excited to see more of what they had to offer. I packed up the Hubs and my beauty kit and hit the road.
If you ever been to a fashion photo shoot before, it can be tense. You have to look good, stay looking good, take photos, change clothes, and some more craziness. However, despite all the hard work, everyone made it fun. This group of beautiful women, including the remarkable photographer Marc Wyche, who took those amazing pics at the fashion show, created a stellar team. Among the group was makeup artist and entrepreneur Treya of http://www.treschicmakeupartistry.com from Columbia, Maryland. I’m talking about a true squad of beauty professionals here!
I really enjoyed myself, as I mingled with some incredible people who truly love what they do. Among the group were some funny girls and my fellow models like Zakiya Payne, Erica Wright, Wema Enofe, Aysha, Michele, and Temeka Brown. I thought they were all beautiful and remarkable in their own way, bringing that extra dose of uniqueness that only they could bring to the shoot. Sherra and Tiffany chose a great group of females to wear their clothes and touched on a diverse market of women, and I am honored to be included in that.
Check out the video of my experience and let me know what you think….
A brand new online boutique that offers affordable clothes & jewelry to women of all shapes and sizes visit them at www.ivieroseboutique.com
Make sure to shop Ivie Rose Boutique when you get a chance. There are some magnificent dresses and eclectic prints that I know you’ll adore.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on twitter @GaptoothDiva
I’ll be honest, with all the things that I’ve been through these past couples of months (baby, health, loss, etc.), I wasn’t too sure if I could make it out to this event. However, because it was Naneen Johnson’s first fashion endeavor with Theresa Flatts, and my love and respect for the plus size community. I rebuked any obstacles that I could foresee, put my big-girl panties on and strutted with the beauties of Glam Gurl, Inc. This fashion show was for the graduates of the Glam Gurl, Inc. modeling school, who paid to be trained and educated on the ins and outs of full-figure modeling.
Even if you’re not interested in being a model, trainings such as these are meant to instill confidence and self-esteem in the participants. It is my hope that all curvaceous women, plus size or full-figured, learn to appreciate their God-given bodies and beauty, and not shy away from life as if they are anything other than amazing. Therefore, when an opportunity like this comes along, where I can support them and promote this, I’m always down for the cause. When I was requested to walk the runway, I paid the baby-sitter and headed out to what was an overall success.
There is a diverse group of women, who all are beautiful and unique in their own way. Modeling with a group like this gives you a sense of community and appreciation with our large community. People assume that most women can’t get along and that models are all narcissist. However, I have never experienced any negativity when modeling with these women. They are some of the most compassionate and genuine people, who will help you in a second. You don’t have to stress about what you bring to the table, because backstage is filled with positive feedback, accolades, and constructive criticism that is only meant to propel you into being the best plus size representative you can be.
I look forward to more of these as the New Year rolls around. If you’re looking to connect with women similar to yourself, learn new ways to carry yourself better as a full figured woman, and to make friends, I definitely suggest opportunities like this. Even if you don’t see yourself as a runway model professionally, it’s still a great experience. They even give love to our little divas, which were showcased as “Glammettes” on the runway. They were cute and showed that you are never too young to learn how to be a great model.
Shout out to Candice Nicole who sang beautifully and looked amazing and to Earl Fleming who can moderate anything and make it exciting. I also give hugs and kisses to Danielle Flatts, who managed all those women behind the scenes from a chair, and did it all with her big precious smile. I love these amazing women.
Glam Gurls, Inc. 2012 Holiday Fashion Show & Model Graduation held in Richmond, Virginia. Coordinated by Naneen Johnson and Danielle Flatts, this event highlighted plus size and full figured models from the DMV area. With Fashions by IvieRose Boutique and Kederescloset, this event was moderated by none other than the renowned Earl Fleming. Bangles and Bling, Nuimages, shasheelegance, Full figured creations, and Tres Chic contributed to this event as well.
Do you love the outfits? Be sure to check out these businesses represented in the show
Full Figured Creations
Bangles and Bling (Virginia Center Commons)
Marc Wyche Photography
Amor Jay Photography
Andre Mosby (D.J. R. Dre)
For more fashion and inspiration, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Yes! We just wrapped up a great year of having Artisan Café grace us with its fabulous presence. I’m looking for more of the unity and urban collaboration that we have come to expect from Adriane and Melody. The winter edition of Artisan café was held at the very chic Dovetail Construction Company off Chamberlayne Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. I never have been there before, so when I got there it was way beyond my expectation. The event was held indoors, but a portion of the vendors was extended outside covered by tent. I thought it was lovely, so much so I did not want to leave… again. It is getting to the point; they are going to have to carry me out there by security one day. When I say I LOVE Artisan Café, it’s because there are no other words to describe my appreciation for what this event has done for the Richmond business community. By bringing everyone together, with great music, networking, and what we all love… shopping, Artisan Café still maintains my top spot of favorite events to attend. I only missed the first one, and I have not missed one since. My support for this venture is solid, and I hope you feel the same.
Saturday was filled with cozy fashions and warm use of bold colors. I’m especially impressed with how unique and creative Richmond’s fashionable has become. Many attendees stepped far out of the box with certain aspects of their ensemble, it was so different… it was perfect. I’ve made a few adjustments to my style as well, deciding to throw caution to the wind and dress how I feel. There were some classic looks present as well, however although the looks were classic or “classic Inspired”, individuals chose to still add certain details to make even an ordinary look their very own.
From naturals to meticulously straighten curls and waves, women were sporting their made up dos with pride. You rarely ever see an unsmiling face in the crowd, which was flooded with beautiful people. The atmosphere drives you crazy. Never has a person felt so alive, forgetting that the babysitter does have to get off the clock eventually.
I want more Richmond events to adopt some of the style that Artisan Café exudes. It’s all about how the people dress who attend, because honestly neither Adrienne nor Melody can control that. It’s about the support that comes through door. It’s about the attitude of the individuals invited. Everyone know you come to support, to shop, to connect with new and old friends, and to simply have a fantastic time overall. There is no shade, other than the tent. There is no hate, other the feeling of having to go home. These folks come together with purpose and passion, for their business, their crafts and art, and for each other.
When I’m there, I feel like I’m at a family reunion. I’m drawn to the smiling faces and open arms of people willing to embrace each other’s difference and unite for something bigger and more positive. I’m impressed and infatuated with what’s next for our city. I feel like I belong. When other happenings occur, some of us are on the defensive. We don’t know what to expect, how it’s going to turn out, and if we are going to get our money’s worth. However, at Artisan Café these questions never arise. You can grab your friends and family and walk around feeling great. With amazing tracks pouring out of the speakers, DJ Nobe (@deejaynobe) spins records that are the perfect soundtrack of excellence. I’m jamming in the middle of a graveled floor, forgetting where I am and I loved every minute of it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read a review of Artisan Café and still haven’t made up your mind if it’s for you. I’m telling you it is! Trust when I say, that everything you want in Richmond Nightlife minus a free bar full of all the alcohol you can drink, this event has got it. There is no need to question should you go. You need to be in the building. I feel like I’m apart of the graduating class of urban art, culture, music, and business. I feel like this is where I belong.
Check out more amazing photos of my night at the Winter Edition of Artisan Café on my Facebook fan page. Be sure to like us for more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, you’ve come to love.
Support Artisan Café by going to there website – http://www.artisancafeva.com
Also, follow them on twitter @artisancafeva
Email them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
On Sunday afternoon, decked in my fall thrifted finds, I made my way to Wingate by Wyndham Hotel in the Short Pump area. Keenya Kelly did it again, bringing stylish, chic, and eclectic natural hair and fashion devotees under one roof for networking, shopping, and education. Accompanied by Co-host, Speaker, and Blogger Mealing Tapp (www.naturalchica.com), who shared her natural hair journey and answered questions from attendees, Return of the Curls aimed to awaken a true essence of natural beauty for Richmond residents. The hotel’s lobby was immersed with beautiful women and men, displaying an array of personal and individual style. Although the air was somewhat crisp in Richmond yesterday, the overload of “you betta weerrrkk” brought the temperature inside to an all time high. I was rocking a new favorite sweater adorned with faux fur and I couldn’t help but glisten (I say glisten, cause I’m a lady chile!), and I wasn’t the only one. Some divas had to hang out in the halls, and even the bathroom to cool their beat faces; I wasn’t tripping. I said, ‘keep the party going” and snapped shots of some of my favorite fashionistas at the event, fanning myself the whole time. Girls were bringing serious attitude as well, but not how and/or what you would come to expect, at an event where the majority is women. There were definitely positive and smiling faces walking around as I observed women empowering each other, offering advice and tips, and even sharing their fashion and hair care secrets.
There were plenty of beautiful faces decked in vivid shades and hues. I’m talking seriously beat faces from self-proclaimed non-professional makeup artist. As a woman addicted to her lipsticks and eye shadows, I can appreciate a great makeup job, especially if I have to do it myself. One girl even admitted to wearing cosmetics that she purchased from the dollar store. We all know that truly proves skill. It’s not about the brand of tools when you know that you can complete the mission. I was impressed with her eye shadow game and complimented her on the spot. Kudos dolls for beating those faces as if they stole something!
Of course, when attending a natural hair event you expect to see various curls, kinks, locs, and braids. Well, attendees of the ROTC Trunk Show brought straight drama, class, color, and funkiness with unique hair creations. Shea Radiance and Infinite Hair Car System took to two main areas educating event goers on hair care maintenance, styling, and how to properly utilize their products. Women were immersed in learning new ways to take their natural coif to the next level.
Along with beautiful hair and faces, the outfits were giving me straight life. Some store bought concoctions and some thrifted and created. Some were even mixing trends with vintage, highs with lows, and DIY fashion with major labels. I just couldn’t take it. It was amazing. I’m a sucker for the unique and quirky, and although I wasn’t too shabby myself, these girls were bringing the business in fashion to RVA.
Overall, it was a very successful event. I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to enjoy another great natural hair event in Richmond, Virginia. I always believe there should be more, because the natural hair community in Richmond is very plentiful. Women here want more style options, educations, and choices for fashion, hair, and cosmetics. With events like these that aim to be about the people and not their wallets, we are well on our way to being yet another capital of urban natural style and fashion. We can’t wait for the next one! I’m definitely a huge fan.
Here is visual of the trunk show…
Connect with Return of The Curls and Keenya Kelly, LLC. -
Go to their website www.returnofthecurl.com
Join their Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/returnofthecurls
You can also follow them on twitter at www.twitter.com/returnofthecurl
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a bunch of other social media platforms, then you should have seen the post urging all fashionable to report to Artworks on last Friday Night. Leslie Marie, from Doll Factory (IHeartPuckCake.com), decided to throw an event filled with shopping and pampering for you and your dolls. This event was to support Dress for Success Central Virginia, which promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women in work and life. Filled with tables of shoes, clothes, accessories and cosmetics, this event proved to be an excellent addition to Richmond nightlife. Dolls in the City: Beauty Night Out provided patrons with the feel of luxury without the heavy price tag, by giving us the opportunity to shop until we dropped, get spa treatments and makeovers, feast, and socialize with new/old friends. I had so much fun at this event, that I can honestly say, “I really wish I never left”.
Among the vendors that were there, I had an opportunity to chat up a few. I was impressed with their table displays of merchandise and their ability to connect with partygoers rather than just sit behind the table. Shout out to a few of those vendors:
Leslie Marie (Doll Factory) – www.Iheartpuckercake.com
ShesFab – www.ShesFab.com
Ashley Flood – www.amway.com/Ashleyflood
Vanita Baugh (C.U.T.E) – www.cutegirlsrock.com
Christian Crawford (Runway Couture) – www.shoprunwaycouture.com
Christina Foster Jackson (Madelyn & Ruby Jewelry Co.) – www.etsy.com/shop/madelynnruby
Chanel Jackson (K. Milan Mobile Spa) – www.kmilanmobilespa.com
Andrea Daughtry (La Dainta) – www.ladainta.com
Shoeicide – www.shopshoeicide.com
Rashawn Smith-Bolar (PurseSuit of Happiness) – www.pursesuitonline.com
Sonja J. Holt (Coffee Distributor) – www.ogcoffeeceo.com
Raegan Gibson (Sweets & Soirees) – www.sweetsandsoirees.com
I wish I had an opportunity to chat with more, but with all the patrons that attended, I can understand how many vendors were… “Getting that money!” LOL
The décor was excellent, providing the perfect taste of ambiance and fabulousness as we walked around and enjoyed ourselves. Immediately I was prepared to have a great time, not even noticing that the D.J. was late and there was nothing bumping on the speakers. However, when the music did arrive, the tempo of the event hyped up even more, making me want to dance. I laughed with a couple of girlfriends, saying this was the perfect set-up to a long week of working and just what the Doctor ordered. Leslie did amazing!
Style and fashion was definitely evident as RVA fashionista graced the building. Events such as these, give Richmonders an opportunity to not only come fashionable, but creative as well. From Natural and neutrals, to prints and colorful silhouettes, RVA girls know how to bring chic out when they want to and this was the place to do it. A few of the girls that were present mentioned how inspired they get when they come to events like Artisan Café, now with Dolls In the City as another option, they’ll be more inclined to seek out more inspiration and ideas from their peers.
It was an exciting evening, and the host was just as gracious and humble as she could be. As Leslie walked around smiling, you wouldn’t have known the amount of work and pressure that goes into planning and event of this caliber. Just the idea of bringing Richmond women together for a true girls night out, is much more than most people can handle. Nevertheless, the doll did it, hoping for positive vibes and success all the way, and a blessing that wasn’t far from reach. I couldn’t help but be proud, that yet another fabulous female entrepreneur is bringing people together, and promoting other local businesses at the same time. Something that we all know this city needs.
Out of all the trends I spotted, color is still definitely still in play this season among RVA style mavens. Make sure to spice up your fall and winter wear, with bright splashes of jewel tone hues and prints. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and play with different combinations. Something as simple as adding a new lip color to your arsenal, could make a huge difference in any outfit. Consider creative and bold accessories, to make an outfit that is simple (jeans and a t-shirt) into a statement making ensemble for a night out on the town.
Thank you so much to Leslie and all of her dolls, for planning just a fantastic evening of shopping and excellence. A big smooch goes out to whoever decided to put a table of food in the building, very nice touch indeed. The event was superb, proving that anyone can take an idea and make it their own. Dolls in the City is an event made for you and girlfriends to have a good time and do what we all do best, shop for fantastic finds from locally owned businesses who get that uniqueness is a requirement. “Dolls in the City” was an event that gave you the impression of opulence without the feeling of exclusivity, during the night you just feel like one of the girls. If they do it again, I don’t think you want to miss it for the world.
**To see additional photos and footage from this and many more events, be sure to check our fan page at http://www.Facebook.com/GaptoothDivaOnline. “Like” us to get exclusive info on upcoming events and promotions from local and national business owners and events.
You know its fall in RVA when everyone heads out to 2nd Street for the annual 2nd Street Festival, brought to us by Venture Richmond. This incredible event brings everyone, young and old, to the heart of Jackson Ward for performances, food, and fun. As always, I was definitely in the building (or just simply outside), ready to report on the styles of the weekend. There was so much to see out there Saturday afternoon, and so much that I wish, I didn’t. If you weren’t out there when I was, I’m certainly about to give you the tea on the event.
If you were paying attention to my Twitter timeline, you know that I mentioned it was some mess out here. There were people who obviously took the time to prepare an outfit specifically for the day’s event. However, some folks just tried too hard. There were women with kids in tow, heels on foot, and stretched wrinkle bellies out, rocking some cute crop tops and belly shirts! Of course, there was a plethora of leggings as pants and booty shorts patrolling the block as well. I always assumed that this event was family oriented, but apparently, I was wrong this year. The year of “YOLO” has definitely brought the nightclub attire to 2nd street. Style is subjective and individual, a subject I will touch on later this week, but at what extent? Hubs and I were surely shaking our heads with frustration looking for decent outfits to feature for you, so be prepared to give some love to those shown below.
When you tell your homies you’re rolling to 2nd Street festival, nowadays it’s only right to make sure that you’re coordinated. Wouldn’t want anyone to think that you’re not together, right? Well these patrons decided to ensure that they cliqued up by focusing on making their fashions match up. Check out the attention to color and details, as these BFF’s floss their outfits on the block.
Some of us don’t want to look as if we tried too hard, so why throw on the flashy stuff early in the day. Instead, these RVA residents decided to save the bold stuff for the night, and stick to classic denim as their style choice. To make it individual, they threw on a splash of bold color to accent their outfits, and made it work.
Camouflage was obviously a favorite of Richmonders, as we witnessed several variations of the style. Added with a printed top or a denim vest, RVA showed their looks can be cool and military inspired. This style was worn by both guys and girls, which proved that this trend is very much versatile. I suggest if you’re looking for a super budget friendly option for camouflage, that you head down to your local thrift shops. You will surely find a lot of jackets and pants to add to your wardrobe, by going that route.
There is nothing like some cute leopard and stripes to spruce up a basic casual outfit. RVA folks added both trendy prints to their ensemble on Saturday in cool and fun ways. Whether it was through a t-shirt or tank, or through another interesting way, the looks were simple, yet still bold in color and hue. This option made what appeared to be a dreary day, brighter through their use of color.
There were some great looks on 2nd street that we may have overlooked. It’s a huge event, and only one of me. I guess I’ll have to catch them next year, or at another event. However, the looks that hurt my eyes are still haunting my nightmares. It is not my style to promote the negative, so the looks that I didn’t agree with I chose not to feature. However, I still think it’s important that we take a few things into advisement. As I mentioned before, style is about the individual. Nevertheless, if you decide to wear certain things be prepared to get some looks, and not in a positive way.
Those are the looks and the lack of the weekend when it came to 2nd street festival. I’m excited to see what next year brings and how it improves. If you see one of your friends or relative featured here, be sure to let them know. You can the full photos and outfits on my Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/GaptoothDivaonline Make sure you click like for new updates weekly.
Be sure to check out Venture Richmond for more events and updates through their site. www.venturerichmond.com/
Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @GaptoothDiva
This past weekend, I met up with a Facebook friend of mine by the name of Tamera Hinton (Tamera Bulger). She recently held what would be the first Women Entrepreneurs of America meeting in Richmond, Virginia. This function was held at Mimi Café on West Broad Street, a restaurant I hear is good (however, we didn’t eat). A handful of women came to find out more about the organization, Women Entrepreneurs of America, Inc. and how they could possibly become apart of it.
Tamera explained her role in WEA and introduced us to the Yolanda Lamar-Wilder. She described her as, “Yolanda Lamar-Wilder, Founder and National President, founded WEA, Inc. in November 2002. Mrs. Lamar-Wilder extended an invitation to over 100 women in business and those who want to start their own businesses to come together and discuss social, economic and legislative issues in Greater Cleveland, Ohio and across the nation. After much evaluation and several months of thoughtful planning and documentation, Women Entrepreneurs Of America, Inc. was officially chartered in November 2002. Now a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, membership based women’s organization.”
They currently have several local chapters within the Midwest including, Detroit/Flint, Michigan, Indianapolis, Indiana, Miami/Tampa, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, Philadelphia, PA., St. Louis, Mo., Chicago, IL., Houston, TX. and now the Founders hometown, Gary, Indiana. Yolanda was placed on speaker phone as we discussed the benefits of the organization and how women like us, all over Virginia, could utilize it to our advantage as well as be of assistance.
The conversation got in depth regarding the benefits of an organization like this, starting from the ground up. In order for it to be successful for Virginia, Tamera would have to enlist at least 10 women. Each of these women would have to agree to pay a membership fee of $65.00 annually, as well as contribute their skills and resources to assisting other women in the organization. The training and workshops would have to be conducted by the members themselves or outsourced from a professional of their choosing. WEA describes their mission as, “The mission of WEA, Inc. is to “empower and support” women, young girls and now men in business, expand and enhance the lives of its membership and the African-American community through quality programs, training, education, volunteerism, and leadership development. Our efforts are in providing resources to “women in transition” and a portion of our proceeds go to the WEA Women in Transitioning Fund for training, workshops and ex-offenders re-entry programs.”
In a time, where everyone with a degree or ambition wants to start their own dream career, people are literally scratching to get out there. We all discussed the rudeness, the frustration, and the negative experiences that come with being an entrepreneur and a woman. It’s not for the faint of heart and as one woman said during the meeting, “you have to have tough skin!” So with Tamera (a new resident of Virginia) trying to bring this organization to Richmond, courage is something to be applauded. Some women fear rejection and ridicule, failing to take their skills and business to the next level, but here is this mother and businesswoman attempting to unite us all, when she barely knows anyone here herself. A huge quality that will aid in the success of the organization is the ability to present connections and resources for those members needing it. If the members pay an annual fee, I’m almost certain they are going to want to see their business progress due in part to becoming a member in the first place. The first to join this project will have to be able to present substantial resources, connections, skills, and knowledge, so that those coming under them will benefit as well.
You could cut the skepticism in the room with a knife. I’m not sure if the resistance was from knowing there isn’t an immediate return on investment or perhaps the knowledge of other female-based organization in the area offering similar payback. Those organizations are already established and functioning in the state. It wasn’t the annually fee for sure, especially since Tamera and Yolanda were offering a special discounted membership fee of $50 (normally $65) and a gift bag to the ten founding members of the future Virginia Chapter of Women Entrepreneurs of America. By participating in the discount, you would officially become one of the founding members, dedicating your time and labors to ensuring that this chapter is of value to future members.
One woman at the luncheon was the apparent individual not awed, however I couldn’t determine which side of the fence the others stood on. I know for certain that Tamera is definitely persevering and motivated that she can spearhead a Virginia chapter of entrepreneurial woman, all seeking support in the evolution of their ventures. She stated that her idea was to bring women together, once attempting to start a Curly Girl meet-up group in the Richmond Area. However, like most people’s experiences, in Virginia you have to earn their trust, then you earn their support.
I look forward to hearing new developments about this organization, Women Entrepreneurs of America. I really hope to see something positive come from this, because it truly can be a benefit to female business owners in the state. I want to see more of us coming together and collaborating, without the cattiness, unnecessary miscommunications, and “diva” attitudes that seem to perpetuate the stereotype that we’re too much drama. It’s enough limelight and success for us all, and treating each other like the competition or enemy, isn’t going to get us anywhere closer to our goals. We’re all-special and come from unique and diverse backgrounds, instead of battling each other, we should learn from each other and produce better quality results. So many of us try to go against the grain in some fashion to be unique, when we should sometimes try to create an environment of things being smooth.
If you’re interested in joining Women Entrepreneurs of America or getting more information, connect with them at their website http://www.weainc.webs.com/
Remember Tamera and Yolanda are offering a special discounted membership fee of $50 (normally $65) and a gift bag to the ten founding members of the future Virginia Chapter of Women Entrepreneurs of America, so time is of the essence. You can also contact the Member Committee Chair at (888-871-3566) for additional info. Payments online http://www.weainc.webs.com through www.PayPal.com (Account: email@example.com)