When I initially introduced my perspective on this project last month, it was with due diligence that I asked you all to give it a chance. Because often times, most of us are always pre-judged and stereotyped one way or another, before we’ve ever had a chance to convey our message. I felt empathy for the women of The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond, because despite being from a certain kind of area and having children outside of marriage, they described their intentions as being purely positive. With a heavy heart, I heard and saw all of the feedback on social media, which suggested that some of you still felt “some type of way”. Apparently, these ladies sold a positive quality program that would not only “Put Richmond” on the map, but also tell the story of Real single parent mothers in the city… however fell short of accomplishing this goal their first go-around on public access television.
Waiting patiently for some reaction from the cast and crew… there was dead air. I grew lethargic waiting for the show and its creator to speak up, after she blatantly posted that her television program CD recording skipped. Even now as I write this, there still has not been any comments or response from the cast, which may even indicate that they themselves may have jumped shipped and abandoned the ratchet titanic before publicly sinking and being chalked up as the negative aspect of RVA. (*Note: Since editing, the Producer left a comment here) I really wanted great things to happen with this project, and I hoped that they would have proved most people wrong… However, what is not meant for us, is not meant for us.
I recently sat on air with Kiara Lee and Zenobia Bey this past weekend, for the new Kiara Lee Show (airing this July). We discussed black women images on television. I refused to throw these people under the bus, but it’s apparent that positive intentions and actually hitting their target were foreign concepts as of last night. These black women do not represent me or any of the black women I associate with, but they do have a testimony. However, having an actual plan on how to convey that testimony, that is another story. In today’s media, we don’t need one more reason to defend our race or culture, because of shows like this. (Below are screenshots of comments, criticisms, and opinions that either made me laugh [because I'm human] or concerned me about how we are being viewed in the public eye, Either way these people are entitled to their opinions and it’s not a personal shot against any particular person or group)
After the initial interview, I was a little taken aback because I thought this was meant to be a preview of what we can expect. I was concerned because of this.
Let’s be clear:
Age, Weight, Race, or Income does not matter at all… so all criticism regarding that is irrelevant.
People are just not willing to allow certain entities to represent them, and that’s cool. The biggest lesson from this for all of RVA and the world:
I’m not a single parent, but many of my friends and family are. I know how they feel about these ladies representing them as Richmond “Baby Mamas”, however they don’t allow them to speak for their personal lives and circumstances. They post pictures, they are out there in the community, they network, they’re handling business and connecting with individuals that can see firsthand what a single mother in Richmond is capable of looking like and behaving. If these women can have a platform, any woman can. Don’t just scream your distaste, create the example you want to see. From here on out, there should be as least three new shows coming soon that counteract the TRBMOR show. Get to work!
How do you not spend the first episode giving us a back story about the main characters of the show? Every reality show I’ve ever watched, introduces you to the cast in episode 1. I don’t understand, why this show just assumed everyone knew all the characters and we’ll just all fall in love at first sight. That is all.
I’m under the belief that the producers of the show really didn’t factor in how extremely big this idea could get until it was too late. I don’t think they had a clue at the gem they had, and dropped the ball on making a real difference in Richmond. When we end up on MediaTakeout.com, I’m like… WTF! RVA should start bangin’ with all types of creativity at this point. Momentum people!
After this program, it was clear that we should be more ambitious than ever to change whatever the current circumstances are in a hood near you. I personally felt that despite what they were trying to do, we should look at this as a blueprint on what needs to be rectified for women and families in situations such as these.
There are people who don’t like the Honey Boo Boo show. There were thousands of people who petitioned against Love and Hip Hop and Basketball Wives. I will not give a pass to a certain project because there are other shows that exist. If you aren’t going to bring something of quality and motivation to my demographic, than you are just taking up space online. Show us something we can learn from, regardless of who is doing what. You may get money down the run, but what is the price of gold, if you lost your integrity and sold your soul?
The Camera, the Camera, the Camera!!! This was all I heard last night. The camera quality was poor and the footage was not up to television standards. However they had photo shoots, after photo shoots and these ladies, in their own way… dressed up and showed out with outfits, hair, and shoes. If more time was spent on the content of the show, and not the marketing photographs, the public would have probably been able to focus on the message of this reality series.
I think I was more embarrassed by the diversity of the hate and the comments about being ashamed to be from RVA. Considering I’m not a native myself, I felt that these women had an opportunity to really put a light in a dark places and make it shine for all those closest to them. Without trepidations, I say they dropped the ball. Forget the T-shirts, and the club parties, and the constant footage of you holding your hips. They could have really erased some local stereotypes about black women, and due to poor execution failed. It’s not over though, a great thing to do would be to respond to the public and your supporters… because although misguided at times, many of them are looking to you to set the example, otherwise… why have a platform at all. Keep on trucking and don’t stop, never give up.
You may not be ghetto, hood, ratchet, or trifling’, but because of your address, how you wear your hair and how you communicate, people will always find a way to throw you into a box. Your job isn’t to lash out and go off on anyone who disagrees with you. Your purpose is to be the best person you can be and do what makes you happy. Educating yourself and learning about the world outside of your project community can do wonders for your life. Because of this program and many like this, black women are being viewed in ways that make me uncomfortable. It’s a crying shame the way we’re treated, and if many more women would use their platforms to solidify an image of excellence and positivity, then you wouldn’t catch young people sighing in disgrace, wishing they weren’t black and from a certain city.
It doesn’t matter what your tax bracket is, if you are rough around the edges… you can still conquer. Don’t allow yourself to be limited because of who you are and where you’re from. Make your dreams come true despite the obstacles that come your way.
The biggest hilarity of the evening, was after NB12 covered the story and opened the door up for many more people in the community to learn about the ladies of TRBMOR, Everyone’s favorite News anchor Curt Autry threw a slice of shade of his own. I love the news! Although, the “Baby Momma” in question wasn’t the one coming off the bus (also known as “Rich B***h), he pointed out the contradiction and made us all laugh.
Aside from the footage and the first premiere of the show, realize that these women have to start somewhere. If you have $1.00 and a dream, don’t let your bank account keep you from your purpose. Start now, but watch for progress and growth in your journey because we all need that to reach our fullest potential. Nevertheless, do your research and educate yourself on the best way to make that dream flourish, don’t ever step into your purpose half-ass.
Overall, I’m not impressed, I’m devastated, and quite frankly… disappointed. You get points for effort, which is more than we can say about many. This is not a reflection of all black women, all single parent mothers, nor everyone that happens to live in the hood or low income community. However, who are we to take someone’s dreams away. Let them live. They got us good. No experience and they attracted more attention than many of us could have ever imagined. You can hate all you want, but if you tuned in… You gave them ratings. So if you don’t agree with them, just don’t tune in… or create something of your own.
It is my hope that these events are making us reevaluate how we carry ourselves in public, online, and throughout social media. I also would like people to provide some constructive feedback on how they can improve and truly make a difference. If you don’t like what you saw, create something that you would like to see. Anyone can do it obviously, so let’s all get to work. Nevertheless, if you have a project or brand you want to put out to the public, ensure that your messages aren’t being thwarted by miniscule details that a little research and knowledge could avoid. We all start somewhere, the difference is.. how many of us haven’t even started at all.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
From comments posted on social media to conversations had at the salon and barber shop, Richmond Virginia has been buzzing about a reality project called, “The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond”. It was made evident that a lot of people wasn’t going to like the idea of several women banning together to share their testimony on single parenting, while representing RVA without a few folks making some noise. I must admit, initially I was concerned about whether this was going to be a mockery of African American women bashing their child’s father and acting a fool. With the travesty of Shawty Lo almost getting his own show with all the baby mothers he has, I wasn’t prepared to support anything that was going to make us look bad.
However, I watched people commenting on the project, making false judgments about what they were going to see and cyber bullying these women, when the show hadn’t even dropped yet. Expected to air June 10th at 9pm, the cast of ladies have been spotted taking photos and doing interviews all under the watchful eye of the public. It’s true that ratchet (some use to describe ghetto/hood behavior) does sell. Nevertheless, the ladies urge that their project is nothing ratchet, it’s their life. So why so much controversy around their reality show? Well apparently, people are up in arms about the fact that Pumpkin, the creator of this project decided to call it the Real Baby Mamas of Richmond. The term Baby Mama has long been used to describe the mother of a child to whom you are not married nor in a relationship with. You had a baby with her and now you must either co-parent or continue to provide her with child support. During our interview, the ladies stressed that they did not aim to celebrate the fact that they are Baby Mothers, but bring to light that this is a situation that affects many women, and they just want to share how they survive day to day.
Mostly quiet and reserved, some not as social as others, the cast gave me their nicknames on the show which I guessed was meant to reflect their personality. My impression of the women during our sit down conversation and taped interview, was that although they seemed defensive to the idea of being labeled and ridiculed online, that they honestly just want to change their situation. You can’t fault someone for wanting to make a way out of no way. Let’s be real, who would be banging down a lot of your doors begging to give you a reality show based on your struggle if that’s what would get you out of the struggle in the first place? I’ll wait. So this woman decided “I’ll do it myself, and I’ll bring a few understanding women with me for the ride”. That’s inspiring in itself. She made her own reality show, now it’s just making sure that her project has a message. Because without a distinct message that will resonate with audience to be more positive and to seek a better life, it can and will get thrown in that bucket of “ratchet-ness” and stay there.
From haters and naysayers to supporters, many people feel some way or another about this representing Richmond. Many have commented that Richmond women don’t look like the ones depicted in the project, bringing to light that people can be judgmental about your physical appearance without even knowing your purpose. During the interview another good point was brought to light, if you felt that you were a better representation of what single parent mothers look like in Richmond Virginia, then why didn’t you attend the audition? Pumpkin stated that she had many inquiries of women interested in being a part of the show, even now many women have expressed a desire to join the cast, yet only so many people actually showed up. We all know individuals who wait until something becomes successful or until it’s a guarantee hit, before they decide to participate. I think it would be a crying shame not to share your testimony as a single parent, if it could inspire some other young woman doing it all by herself… and you technically can do it yourself like the cast of RBMOR are doing. *hint*
Most of the judgment comes from people who aren’t in their situation. Having multiple children with different fathers, shouldn’t automatically categorize you as a hood chick with no future. However, let the internet thugs tell it, they snatched the pic, post it on their page and go to town, laughing and ridiculing these women about their story before the show even aired. I had a few people I know personally try to justify their judgmental comments, and my questions was politely, “Do you know them?” Everyone has a story, and yes we have our full of reality show drama, but just maybe it’s not meant to hurt or hinder… just maybe it’s about to make a difference in how we see each other. Who can say only a certain type of woman can get a reality show, why can’t some of our most struggling brothers and sisters share their journey as well, regardless of their fashion style, personal appearance, and the title of the project? The definition of coming up is trying to progress from where you are to something better. That’s a struggle for everyone, not just the people in your circle. They deserve the same opportunities as the rest of us, a chance to try to come up and make a change for their children, regardless of their address or family tree.
I’ve had conversations with several people about this project, expressing that as long as it’s not what a friend of mine affectionately calls “Coonery Bafoonery”, I can’t be mad at them. I wouldn’t want any black woman to get on a platform that thousands or millions can view and make a mockery of a lifestyle that many other black women struggle with. Please just make sense, just be real, and understand the influence you could potentially have on your supporters. I just stress that in the end, the message should be a positive one. The ladies mentioned that viewers tune in everyday to watch Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta and New York, Basketball Wives, & 16 and Pregnant, all reality series that have been described as ratchet as well by most of the general public. Yet and still, people tune in weekly to watch the madness and be entertained. So why aren’t they supportive of these women sharing their journey as single parents in a city that has been notoriously described as being unsupportive? Weird, huh.
Well time will only show and either prove you all wrong or not, however The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond is coming on the air, and honestly a few of you have already decided to tune in. Don’t front! Whether you are spectating to watch them fail or to truly support them, realize that every second counts as you give them the ratings they need to be successful and to change their situation for themselves and their families. Which I believe is basically what this is all about, they want to make a difference in their circumstances. They strongly stated that their intention is to do nothing more than be constructive, and that’s exactly what we need to see. With everything going on in the world, we can’t seriously accept anything else.
I can’t wait to see what unfolds and I truly pray that this project does inspire many mothers (single or not), because everyone’s testimony can bring light to someone.
Check out their Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheRealBabymamasOfRichmond
Their Official Website: www.therealbabymamasofrichmond.com/
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
If you aren’t looking to get super dressed up and change clothes during the week, but you want to go out to a stylish nightspot right before the weekend, I hear Ladies Night Thursdays at BrickStone Grill is the place to be. This Thursday, 4/4/2013 at 8pm is there official launch that aims to cater to a diverse crowd of sophisticated and stylish people, especially the women. In the former “Razzles” location, BrickStone Grill is offering up a certain atmosphere that promotes maturity and class for those interested in having a great time without all the hassle.
I’m excited to attend this Thursday for my full GaptoothDiva review, so make sure that you’re there as well. We can experience this together. I’m very excited to hear DJLuxxlife on the tables, who promise to provide music we all can enjoy. I’m not nightclub person, but they promise to change that and I can’t wait to see if they can. I hope to see you there for a cocktail… or two. Come ready to have a great time, good conversation and connect with like-minded individuals. I would even bring my business cards and be prepared to network, because you never know who will be in the building. Ladies, it’s all about you this Thursday, can’t wait to have a good time with you.
Invite to Ladies Night Thursday at BrickStone Grill: https://www.facebook.com/events/153343181498483/
9826 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, Virginia 23235
For more about this event and others, connect with me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
This Thursday March 28th at 8pm, I will have the pleasure of attending a listening party for our girl, the beautiful and very talented Lela Bizz (www.LelaBizz.com) at 2 Beyond Recording Studios (3414 Semmes Ave. Richmond, Virginia 23236 – right next door to the acclaimed Antonz Barbershop & Beauty Salon)
Lela has been working diligently to drop not only an EP of songs that she has written and created herself, but also a mixtape of covers as well. I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions about her style and her music recently and I just couldn’t wait until after the event to share with you what she had to say. If you follow her on Twitter or on Facebook, Lela exemplifies a playful yet seductive style that is as bold as her performances. She always has such a bright and positive spirit every time I see her around RVA. I’m excited for her new projects expected to release, and I believe that you will be also.
I asked Lela how she would describe her personal style. She stated, “I would describe my fashion taste as classy risqué. I like to (think of) it as being daring. I love timeless pieces, I love putting things together.” That’s awesome. From her eclectic choices to her quirky/sexy selections, I can see that she is a risk taker, and we all love a bold and daring style personality.
Lela lists three things as her must haves before ever leaving the house, 1. ModGyrl lippies/ ModGyrl lipstick, 2. Scarf (She ties it as a hair bow), and finally 3. Nerdy glasses or a pair Sunglasses. I’m starting to think this is the universal uniform for all of us these days, because I literally have all that in my purse at this very moment. These are amazing choices for an amazing fashionista, for sure.
Lela doesn’t attribute her style to any favorite designers, but admits that she loves a good thrift shop.
However, when it comes to her favorite cosmetic brand, it’s no surprise that she exclaims, “I’m a ModGyrl all day!”
When asked which trends were currently her favorite now, Lela states, “I love looks from the 90′s., Mom jeans and tied up button ups blouses, and I love polka dots as well”. Lela also explains that she doesn’t necessarily hate any trends, “History repeats itself so I tend to have an open mind with fashion”, she stated.
If you are a supporter of hers on Instagram and Facebook, Lela often post many pictures of her progress through out her insanity workouts and healthy eating. Such an inspiration to young women who want to improve on their bodies and health, she advises, “Beach body workouts are the best! Insanity was the ONLY workout that I have done and seen results. I worked out before, pretty frequently, but it’s something about insanity that pushes you to new heights!” Lela also mentions that she is currently a Beach Body coach and that she goes hard for Insanity. She plans to do Chalean Extreme next. You can check her out at www.beachbodycoach.com/Bizzybfitness
So when it comes to her music, she takes it extremely seriously. I remember seeing her doing covers on Youtube back in 09, and she has only progressed since then. She was even featured on GaptoothDiva Radio back in March 2011, bringing a genuine talent that was respected and adored.
When asked how her new EP and her mixtape differ from past projects that she has worked on, she stated, “The mixtape is all covers. I have never done a mixtape with all covers before. (In addition)The EP is a collection of songs, that I feel represent exactly who Lela Bizz is! If you didn’t know who I was, The Ep would explain all of that in 7 songs.”
When asked which track does she say describes exactly where she is in her life at this moment, Lela explains “If I had to pick one… I would say, “Would’ve Known Betta “. That song speaks to me!” Therefore, who has influenced this artist throughout this whole creation process, Lela attributes Jazmine Sullivan for embodying so much emotion in her music. “I feel I really embodied my emotions in that song. I feel Jazmine does that with every song she does!”
Lela Bizz says that the people who understand her music the most are the individuals that have fell in love and fell out of it! She says that her songs are based on true events, and that what she speaks to.
So, what can we expect from Ms. Lela Bizz after this scheduled listening party March 28th ? She informed us, “I’ll be touring and promoting!” The hard work never quits and that is truly motivating.
Check out the official Lela Bizz website: www.lelabizz.com
This Saturday March 30th, I will be accompanying Zakia Jemaceye (also known as Eye2go on FB) to a few events. She has been crowned Mz. International Supermodel 2011 and 2012 & Miss Gay Richmond 2011-2012. In addition, if you inquire with her about getting your face beat and looking fabulous, she states, “I slay a set of Eye-Brows, Lashes or Faces”. I love it! I met Zakia a few years ago as she performed for an earlier showcase that was hosting back in 2009, her grace and pose makes her a force to be reckoned with and an exemplar among the Richmond LGBT community. I’m certainly excited to spend the day with her. Her amazing personality and her fierce performance skills proves that Saturday may just be more electrifying than I can anticipate.
The first event that we are attending will be all about Empowerment. The Train Yourself to Win Empowerment Seminar for Women is scheduled to go down at the Comfort Inn Midtown Jefferson Conference Room in Richmond, VA. The event is all about building self-esteem and having fun. From 10 am to 12pm, we will enjoy life coaching and making our goals count with Author Suzanne A. Roberts. To get tickets to attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 908-9043. This is an adult only event and light refreshments will be served.
Later on Saturday, we will be celebrating the launch of Nationz Pageantry System. The name derived from the local Richmond club Nations, where Zakia was crowned the last Miss Nations before they closed. She inherited the rights to the name and changed the spelling. Zakia began to market it on a national level and currently travels the county entertaining and competing in pageants on a state and national level. It has always been her dream to bring that to Virginia.
Recently, September 30, 2012 Nationz Pageantry System held their Plus division for Plus sized female impersonators and on September 28, 2013 they plan to have Mr. and Mz & Plus National Competitions. The All Red Affair is a Promotional Party to introduce Nationz Pageantry System to the world. It will be a night of Glitz and Glamour, featuring some of the most beautiful Female Impersonators and Lead Male Entertainers from all over the east coast. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Fenniz Baldwyn Zakia has special guest entertainers from Washington DC and New York as well.
Doors open at 8pm with a Meet and Greet for those who have purchased early tickets from 8-8:45 then Showtime is at 9:00pm.
It is Zakia’s hope to bring to Richmond a new and improved outlook on what Female Impersonation is all about. Nationz Pageantry: The Red Affair is the official Kick off for something wonderful here in Richmond. I couldn’t be more excited for her, because I love a good show full of fierce beauty and lots of fun!
Tickets are 20.00 in advance and 25.00 at the door unless you have on Red or Accents of Red. There will be a great Buffet and DJ Robb will be spinning the music and giving the kids the old Scandal’s Pyramid feel of House and Club Music. I really hope to see you there looking beautiful and glamorous.
Well, this weekend I’m headed over to Gallery 5 for The Spa Soiree brought to us by Sophi Chic LLC, who is dedicated to promoting health and beauty related businesses to new customers, while providing sophisticated chic experiences to empower and reward women. Collaborating with Sophi Chic is Jovee Co., they are gearing up to be RVA’s premier pampering party.
Spa in the City (SITC), a multi-city event is designed to bring consumers together in support of women-owned small businesses operating within the beauty and arts industries. Spa in the City (SITC) founded by Jhavon Smith assembles aestheticians, manicurists, makeup artist and stylists, as well as community vendors who specialize in a range of beauty and health services like massage therapy and nutrition. “It is an exciting event that brings together retailers and spa services all under one roof!”
Jhavon Smith says, “I have always admired women who have succeeded and failed at owning their own businesses. It is the sharing of information, and ideas/concepts that make us stronger as women and entrepreneurs. That energy is one that cannot be bottled and sold”
Spa in the City (SITC) caters to women by allowing them to indulge in services while providing an outlet to do so in a relaxing eclectic art atmosphere. SITC- Is currently scheduled to visit 5 different cities this year. Next Stop NYC- May 2013. Spa in the City has also featured in Oakland, CA, Washington, D.C, and Baltimore, MD
Here at GaptoothDiva.com, we’re pretty excited to see how amazing this event will be and to share all of the fabulousness that I catch. I hope to see you there!
The exclusive beauty event of 2013 is here! Come out, unwind, and indulge in luxurious spa treatments with your friends in Richmond’s eclectic Arts District.
“The Spa Soiree” will feature:
*FREE Beauty Product Samples
*FREE Beauty Gifts
*Deluxe Spa Treatments
*Boutique Style Shopping
*Complimentary Hors d’oeuvres
*Raffle and Door Prizes
*Fundraising for local RVA charities
*Health & Wellness Consultations and more!
Join us for an evening of relaxation and pampering, while we offer an intricate fusion of art and beauty. Get ready to experience a chic feature of today’s premiere spa and beauty businesses!
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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)
This time last year I was confined to my queen size bed, legs elevated, hating everything about life. I was pregnant, but I was sick, hurting, and too emotional to be around the public. It was sad. The year before that I was preparing to get wasted out of my mind. Planning a party in my loft for any and everybody who saw the Facebook post, I bought liquor, food, and some other things wanting to give people I barely even knew the time of their life. It’s so funny, how two separate years, showed me two very different people. There was the excessive party girl who would go so hard that she couldn’t keep her eyes open. She was so reckless and so ready to give up most of the time, on one hand. On the other hand, just last year I was forced to sit back and focus on what was truly important, my children, my husband, my life. It’s not until I was FORCED to sit my tail down, did I see… how much my life was really worth. I pray that nobody ever gets to the point of being forced, but if they do, I hope that they take the time not to wish they were somewhere different, but to capture the lesson being put on them at that very moment. Glory! Because most of you don’t even realize, don’t even know… I wasn’t even supposed to be here. Therefore, I’m thanking God everyday that I could see today.
I’m celebrating my birthday and I want you to celebrate with me. This Saturday, I’m having a very chic and fabulous Day Party in Richmond, Virginia’s Shockoe Bottom. We will be at Island Bistro (1726 East Main Street) from 5pm to 9pm. This is a Networking style party dedicated to celebrating all of us making major moves in the New Year and collaborating with each other. Mingle and mix with a diverse crowd of individuals who value, love, life, art, and family. I’m giving my celebration to you. It would be nice not to work an event for a change, but to sit down and talk candidly with the people I’m inspired and motivated by.
Island Bistro (Shockoe Bottom)
1726 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219
February 23rd, 2013 5pm -9pm
Network, Mingle, Party, and Chat w/ I’esha GaptoothDiva
Brought to you by the Queen of Marketing, Mareesa Dawn @1marketingqueen
DashA’veri Vintage and Thrifted Redesigns is having a sale! I’m giving all my supporters and friends 35% off on all items until Saturday. Despite the fact that everything is already low priced, because who doesn’t want style for practically nothing, I’m giving you a b-day gift from me. So get your daughter something, your cousin, your friend, or yourself, it’s all on sale. DashA’veri also offers delivery and pickup for those of you located in the Richmond Virginia area, so don’t worry. We will get it to you! Check out the site and buy whatever you want. New stuff every month, but this sale only last for a limited time.
I’m so excited to be 25 years old for the 3rd time. Don’t worry about the math on that, just celebrate with me. I hope to see you this weekend, but if not we have all year long to shake things up. It’s our time!
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)
Last year when I did my first haul video, I enjoyed myself so much. I wasn’t sure if people would like it or not, part of me didn’t care. I just wanted to share one of my passions, which happened to be thrifting. Most girls do their fashion haul videos and it’s consisting of stuff bought from all the major retailers. I don’t think that’s interesting at all. In my opinion, it’s easy to go to Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe, and just pick up the latest trend and take it home. Then these girls sit in front of the camera as if they did something amazing. They did not.
I think it takes more creativity and courage to post a video of stuff you found at a thrift store or flea market. Not everyone else can see the potential in thrift store treasures. In addition, more people are pretending as if they are too high class to shop at thrift stores. With today’s economy and my eclectic personality, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t. I love it, with no trepidations I shop until I drop. That’s why I’m almost complete with my challenge of “At Least 90% Thrifted”, where I only where items that I either already own or I’ve thrifted. I can’t buy new retailer items, unless it’s cosmetics or accessories.
So look forward to me sharing new stuff… and try to see the potential. I dare you!
As always I appreciate getting music videos from Independent artist looking to share the work and get feedback. Since I’ve been away on hiatus, I received quite a few submissions, some overlooked, but most of them from some very creative and ambitious artist.
One particular person by the name of Jaesen K reached out to me, letting me know that he really wanted to get his name out there and was looking to put out a mixtape soon. Say whatever the hell you want, but I REALLY hope they do!!
I was seriously feeling this. They have gotten quite a few views on their video via YouTube, most by some haters who need to shut up and put out something worth talking about. However, they obviously got something. The people were bugging and seriously mad for whatever reason. They are different and that’s what I like about ‘em. No one can be described as “Wack” to me, who has the balls to wear colorful harem pants, rap his heart out, and make me forget the obvious reason why people are mad, when I close my eyes (wink). Nice!
I bet if a mixtape did come out and they went super hard, they could be exactly where they want to be. If not, its great art that I can honestly say I appreciate. Keep it up!
Check it out for yourself…
Director: BREE EL Producer: GINYA BOY
To submit your new music videos or to get a featured interview…
After attending the 1st Annual Hair Battle Royal in Richmond, Virginia (at the Showplace) and hosted/created by Mario Lee with some fantastic assistance by none other than the RVA Queen of Marketing, Mareesa Dawn, I was blown away. Although this was his first Hair battle competition, the event showed a dedication and jubilant ambition that many of our veteran promoters don’t display as often as they should. He thanked every single person for showing up, an appreciation that was hard to go unnoticed. He catered to the public, his supporters, and all the people who assisted in putting this effort together, rather made them feel like they were lucky to even get in the door. He insisted upon the crowd showing their support for everyone, not just the individuals they came to see, although at times some were resistant, his efforts were not unnoticed.
The event did not go without some kinks here and there, however the positive attitude he brought with him from the first moment compelled you to give him the chance he deserved. With the help of Ms. Dawn, the two kept it interesting and fun, no questions. I was asked to be one of the judges on a panel that included Ms. Community herself, Clovia Lawrence and a New York Stylist and Promoter by the name of Hustleman. Both of whom I met for the first time that evening, but laughed and conversed with as if we knew each other for a while. I really enjoyed myself and the show. I learned a lot about people and perception that evening, a few details I’m so excited to share with you. Now during my hiatus, I promised myself upon my return I would be a specific as possible, detailed thoroughly, and as honest as God will allow. If some of these lessons pertain to you (as the reader), please don’t take it personally. Just realized that your details (or lack there of) did not go unnoticed by me or anyone else, whether they openly say so or not. Expect for someone to keep it real.
1. Being late to a show/competition that you are in (and I mean seriously late) always shows. No matter how good you may be, people can tell a rushed job and performance versus someone who is calm and already knows they have the prize in the bag.
2. Be careful who you are rude to! You never know if the person you are eye-balling, rolling your eyes at, whispering about, or basically hating on, is the person to bring you to that next stepping stone. Choose not to be a bitch, until after the person as offended you. You aren’t anybody worth making everyone jump through hoops to get a cordial attitude out of, no matter what the mirror told you this morning.
3. Fashion shows, hair shows, creative events as a whole is your opportunity to showcase your unique and eclectic fashion choices. So don’t get upset at the girl who decided to show her creative/sexy side and you chose jeans and a t-shirt. Be inspired and stop hating!
4. You CAN clap and support groups that you did not come to see. It’s not illegal or against any rules. Just because you friend, cousin, or stylist is there, I’m sure there are plenty of other talented groups that deserve your accolades. This is not a gang war, show some love all around.
5. You can not use babies and small children to cover up a sloppy performance… period. Many people are distracted by the adorable faces and sassy dance moves of young people, I happen to not be one of them. Although all kids are cute and cuddly in their own way, if the performance is disorganized, sloppy, and just plan wack… you will know.
6. Creativity can get you a long way in life. No matter the level of expertise you have, if you showcase the limited skills you have in the most creative way possible, you will leave people mesmerized. Don’t worry about what you don’t have, use the heck out of what you do!
7. Participation does not go unnoticed. People can tell when you put your all in something, when you approach the stage fearlessly compared to your competition. Don’t get loss in the sauce.
8. Don’t let your friends down. You only hurt yourself when you flake out on your group, no call-no show, and bail (physically or mentally). That’s just something people don’t forget, ask the winners of this competition. They could have been affected by the shady person who left them hanging, but instead they went even harder and stronger to gain the respect of the crowd and the judges. This attitude made them $2,000 richer in the end *snap*!
9. Never be afraid to be honest. Someone made a comment about not saying certain groups were lame or lacking skills, because their family members may be listening and be offended. Going so far as to say they might want to retaliate after the show. I laughed at the idea of getting into a fight because I was doing my job, which was judging. In life, we have critics. There are people all over who feel we don’t deserve the seat we sit in. However, if you live according to what other people respond to, then you are weak. Period. Constructive criticism shouldn’t be taken as a threat, but as a blue print on how your fans, supporters, and even your haters may see you. You dissect what you need and you move on, don’t stress and damn sure don’t brawl.
10. Everyone has to start somewhere, but as long as they start – that’s all that matters. You may not have all the money, the networking connections, or the support that some people have, but if you don’t step out into your dream somehow and someway, then it will never happen. Mario showed that he had a big vision and he was destined to carry it out. He learned from the first experience and vowed to make the needed changes for the next go round. He didn’t fuss about what went wrong or what people said, but promised bigger and better the next time. He displayed and attitude that most of us could learn from. We can’t impress everyone, all the time, but what we can do, is do something. Whether the masses cheer or not. Because he was so positive and driven, he got all the support he needed, which was the coolest thing of all.
I wasn’t able to take a whole lot of pictures because of my capacity as a judge, but I did take a few for this post. Please be sure to like us on Facebook as we gain more inspiration and motivation to hit you with.
To contact Mario (Hair by Mario Weave Master) hit him up via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for weaves, up-dos, and quick weaves. He also offers classes and information on weave which are filling up fast. Check him out on Facebook under Mario Lee
The Annual Hair Battle Royal has a page as well – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Annual-Hair-Battle-Royal/185974514843316 for more photos and event updates
Also contact the lovely and incomparable, Mareesa Dawn VA Marketing Queen who ensured the word got out about this event. She is amazing and always on her grind, so don’t sleep, cause it seems she never does. She is on Facebook at Mareesa Dawn
Examples of other Hair Shows & Competitions…
SOPHISTICATE’S BLACK HAIR AT THE BRONNER BROS.SHOW! -
GaptoothDiva goes on another tour of the Handmade Holiday Craft Show by The Richmond Craft Mafia in Richmond, Virginia‘s Artworks/Plant Zero gallery. This event brings in local artisans and crafters from all over who not only showcase their unique and creative handmade gifts and accessories but they are also available for purchase. Only the best of the best are featured in this craft show, all trying to rub out the mass produced and gift their customers and fans something they all can enjoy, unique things to take home and call their own. Watch as GaptoothDiva stops at some of the boldest and eye catching tables in support of local artist and crafters everywhere.
Crystal J. Silks – http://www.crystaljsilks.com/
Nicole Lee Designs – http://www.nicoleleedesigns.com/
Moon’s Creation – http://www.moonscreations.blogspot.com/
EHL Creations – http://www.ehlcreations.com/
Mashulu by Artina – http://www.mashulu757.com/
Ittty Bitty Press – www.IttyBittypress.com
SquidFire – www.Squidfire.com
MonkeyDogStudio – www.MonkeydogStudio.etsy.com
Penelope Rakov – www.PenelopeRakov.com
Theresa Flatts of http://www.Unforgettablewoman.org facilitated a fashion show for the plus size and full figured community for 2011 Winter season in celebration of the holidays. This event included performances by the Full Figured Dance group, Ms. Proper of So Proper Entertainment, and even audience members. Naneen Cottrell Johnson, model coordinator and trainer assisted in making this event a success. Dance routine choreographed by I’esha GaptoothDiva of www. GaptoothDiva.com, Cecily Hickman of SassC Creations provided the beautiful makeup for most of the girls including I’esha GaptoothDiva. Jamal Mayes on photography.
See the Public Pictures on Facebook by clicking the following link:
For more motivation, inspiration and fun… follow me on twitter @GaptoothDiva
It kills me when people turn their noses up at “thrifting” (best described as thrift store shopping). If you haven’t done this or haven’t considered it, you have no idea what you are missing. Basically, patrolling the thrift store for unique, creative fashion pieces for your wardrobe, to me is the single most therapeutic thing in the world besides alcohol and prescription drugs (did I just say that) I feel like every fashionista should try it at least once, because it truly test your patience and creativity when it comes to clothes and fashion. The idea is to not look like as if you actually shopped at a thrift store, and to be as fashion forward as you can on a limited budget. As you can see, I’m totally into this, therefore almost forgetting the topic of this review. LOL.
Diversity Thrift and the Gay Community Center of Richmond did it again with their fantastic Don’t Hate, Celebrate Fashion show. The turn out was even bigger this year as they paraded the runway with wonderful pieces styled with the clothes right out of the thrift store, giving me new hope in the thrifting sensation. The outfits were remarkable, eclectic, rocker chic at times, and some were to die for. You all know I’m a size accepting diva with curves, but some leather shorts walked past me on the runway that made me want to shed a few pounds so I could get into them. I was blown away.
Check out the video review here:
For more fashion & motivation, follow me on twitter @GaptoothDiva