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Exclusive Interviews

    Exclusive Interviews

    Interview: Myesha Chaney Founder of “She Won”

    STN: Talk to us about “She Won”

    She Won: In a world that promotes shame, hiding our scars, and covering the truth, She Won is a safe space for women who share similar stories of abuse. It fosters healthy relationships and facilitates community. She Won is a movement that is intentional about shifting the social shame experienced by those who have been sexually abused, creating a culture that unites and celebrates survivors, and empowering the lives of women and young girls.

    STN: What made you create “She Won”?

    SHE WON: After hearing heart breaking stories of women who were sexually abused, my heart was broken by the reality of its prevalence. I wanted to make a difference by uniting them in community, empowering them to take their rightful place in the world, and celebrating them for surviving.

    STN: How is this a safe space for those who were sexually abused?

    SHE WON: Women are able to share or choose not to share real life experiences related to sexual abuse without judgment or advice giving. They are held emotionally with attentive care and concern. There is a sensitivity and an openness we have while listening or being with survivors. I have been with women in all kinds of pain over the past decade. Sexual abuse was the most common occurrence over the years. I feel very comfortable journeying with women into the depth of their pain. Our spaces are safe because women feel supported, accepted, and known.

    STN: Is there mentorship for those who are sexually abused?

    SHE WON: Our heartbeat is to broker healthy mentorship relationships amongst survivors of all ages. We don’t want anyone to navigate the journey of healing alone. It is so helpful to have someone who is a bit further on the journey to affirm, add value, and support another survivor’s journey.

    STN: What else is in store for “She Won” are you looking to expand to other cities?

    SHE WON: There is so much happening with She Won. We will not stop until we rid shame from the hearts of women and girls who have endured sexual abuse. We hope to gather survivors in cities across America and beyond. We plan to add value on high school and colleges campuses, and we are hosting our first camp for girls this summer.

    Where can we find out more information? Visit Officialshewon.com for more information or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @officialshewon

     

    Beauty Exclusive Interviews Natural Hair

    Interview: Miss Black USA 2017 And Ballerina Daphne Lee

    Daphne Lee is Miss Black USA 2017 she is also a ballet dancer and Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone. She graduated with Honors from Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. program in dance and is a recipient of the Denise Jefferson Scholarship.

    Tamara: Tell us about yourself.
    Daphne: My name is Daphne Lee and I am a full time ballet dancer with Collage Dance Collective in a Memphis TN. I am a graduate student at Hollins University as well as an ambassador to the Republic of Sierra Leone. 

    Tamara: Did you always want to be a ballerina?
    Daphne: I never wanted to dance professionally. I got into dance because my mother was a dancer and she was my teacher. Dance was more recreational but I ended up getting into Alvin Ailey/Fordham BFA program and ended up joining Alvin Aileys second company. I’ve toured over 60 cities in the USA and 7 countries. I am currently touring here in China with Collage Dance. 

    Tamara:What inspired you to become Miss Black USA?
    Daphne: Miss Black USA has many success stories. In 2010, I had the pleasure of meeting Osas Ighodaro-Ajibade, Miss Black USA 2010. The now successful Nollywood actress saw me perform and encouraged me to apply. Inspired by the organization’s mission to celebrate the unique talents, traits and beauty of women of color and award scholarship opportunities, I decided to apply. The rest is history.  

    Tamara:What words of encouragement do you have for a little young girl who aspires to be a ballerina or Miss Black USA?
    Daphne: My advice would be to know that practice and consistency is key. Continue to watch who you want to become and to never quit.
    Tamara: How did you overcome stereotypes and barriers?
    Daphne: Barriers are inevitable and I brush them off because I am focused on my goals. Obstacles are simply distractions from my journey yet I use them to fuel my inspiration. Plus I think of all the people who came before me who might have had it worse.
    Tamara: Did you always have natural hair and why did you decide to go natural?
    Daphne: For the most part I always switched up hairstyles. My hair was relaxed when I was younger and my mother warned me. But I eventually switched because the idea and reality of putting chemicals to change my hair texture felt unnatural. It’s almost similar to the idea of wanting to bleach skin; it’s no longer who I am. I appreciate the amazing hairstyles and inventions that black have attributed to hair yet there is something to be said when the hair is Natural and you have the diversity to wear it in many styles.

    You can follow Daphne Lee on her website https://www.daphnemlee.com/

    For more information on her role as Miss Black USA visit https://www.missblackusa.org/

    Christian Events Exclusive Interviews

    My Interview With Priscilla Shirer On Her New Book “Awaken”

    1. What led you to write Awaken?
      The majority of what you’ll encounter in Awaken are personal whispers from God’s spirit to my own soul over the last decade. I didn’t initially write them with the intention of publishing them, but simply to chronicle my own personal time with the Lord, captured in store-bought spiral notebooks filled with wide-ruled paper. To be honest, I’ve encountered far more insightful and discerning devotional books than this one-rich and timeless compilations from generations past, volumes that have been the framework for my own spiritual formation. But that which I do have I willingly and humbly offer to you. As I shared bits and pieces of these devotional thoughts with friends and smaller circles of ministry in past years, I was encouraged to share them with others. And so not, finally, I am. I hope these entrees will be a blessing to anyone who might read them.
    2. How has your walk with the Lord been affected by understanding God to be “the God who speaks?”
      Knowing that God speaks and being more acquainted with hearing Him has revolutionized my Christian experience. It has shifted my sense of anticipation and eagerness. For example, prayer has become a less vocal, busy exercise where I spill out a litany of requests. Now, there is joy in silence- margins of stillness while in prayer or even throughout the day- where my spiritual eyes and ears are piqued in holy anticipation. I’m anxious and expectant to see Him sovereignty maneuver circumstances to point out His will illume the Scriptures by God’s spirit to direct me to His best for my life.
    3. As you were writing, did God reveal anything new to you? Were you surprised that He did? Of course! He always does and every time I’m grateful. His word is replete with riches that can never be comprehensively mined. So, as I explored are devotional topics and revisited old ones, I was refreshed in a very personal way- a way that I hope will translate to anyone who grabs hold of this devotional.
    4. How did you choose the topics for each devotion? These passages and devotional thoughts have often challenged me, at other times encouraged me, but every time they have transformed me in some significant way- redirecting my focus., shifting my perspective, compelling me to action, and purifying my inner motivations. But that didn’t happen without investing time and quiet into the process. Somewhere along the way as I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered how much treasure is available beyond the surface reading of a Bible verse. I’ve learned not just to scan it but to do business with it- to wait underneath the revealing spotlight of God’s Spirit until some aspect of my frailty is exposed and brought it the tenderness of His sanctifying work.
    5. What are some practices that have strengthened and inspired you to in your spiritual journey?
      There are many but one of the most important has been to record and truly treasure the work of God in my life. When He speaks, I’m trying to become more diligent to write down what I sense Him saying to me instead of hoping to remember it (because I probably won’t). When something stirs in my heart while reading Scripture of He points out an element of His character through nature or gives me an illustration of His grace during an interaction with my children, I want to capture it so that I can have a continual reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life and also accountability to remain obedient to any directives He has given me.
    6. What advice would you give to women struggling to have “alone time with God”?
      Relax. God is not mad at you. Refuse to let your quest to find devotional time stem from guilt of fear. That would be exactly what the enemy would want. Instead, talk with God about your priorities and ask Him to stir in your a continual passion for intimacy with Him. Let your meetings with Him emanate from this place of holy passion. And then, give yourself permission to meet with Him “all day long.” When you’ve missed the time that you intended to have devotions, don’t throw up your hands in despair and give up. Instead, talk to Him while you are washing dished or folding laundry, jogging or riding the subway. Carry this devotional in your bag so that you can carve out time for Him in unconventional places. He is everywhere.
    7. What is your hope for this devotional? How dod you hope women grow from using it?
      I pray that these passages bring an added layer of dimension, or even just some renewed direction, to the reader’s own exchange with the Savior over the next ninety days. Where young or old, I hope women will be encouraged and realigned toward the simple beauty of sitting with Him, hearing Him, speaking to Him and being enlightened by His love letter to them. I’m praying women will be beckoned away each day form the fast-paced, temporal whirlwind of lesser (though necessary) tasks and be refocused on greater things-things that aren’t applauded and appreciated by most, but are eternally recognized by One…the One who makes life worth living. The One who wants to Awaken you each day to the sound of His voice.
    8. Is there anything else about this book that you’d like to share with women who might pick it up?
      Use the journaling space provided to keep track record of what God is saying and doing in your life. Write down the shifts in your perspectives and the transformations in your circumstances. Make plans for accountability and obedience and keep running tab on your prayer requests and God’s answers. At the end, you will have a beautiful record of this season of your journey with God.

       Priscilla Shirer is a wife and a mom first, but put a Bible in her hand and message in her heart and you’ll see why thousands meet God in powerful, personal ways at her conferences and through her Bible studies.

    For the past twenty years, Priscilla had been in full-time ministry to women. She and her husband, Jerry, have founded Going Beyond Ministries and count it as their privilege to serve believers across the entire spectrum of the body of Christ. Priscilla is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies on a myriad of topics and biblical characters including Discerning the Voice of God, The Exodus, The Armor Of God, Jonah and Gideon.

    Priscilla is passionate about ministry, but prioritizes her calling as wife and mother about all. Between writing and studying, she spends her days cleaning up after (and trying to satisfy the appetites of) three rapidly growing sons-jackson, Jerry Jr., and Jude.

                 

     

                    

    Book Reviews Exclusive Interviews faith

    My Interview With Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross

    1. Your new book, Chasing Grace, is organized in four sections-push, pace, position and poise-share the inspiration behind these.
      When I first started running the 400 meters, I didn’t have a strategy, I just ran. Then I met Coach Hart and he taught me a race strategy: the 4 P’s. I realized how important strategy was to my race but more importantly the race of life. After working for years to perfect the P’s on the track, I started applying it to my life. I wanted to share these guidelines with others because I believe that everyone is in one of these four phases at any given moment in life.
    2. Born in Jamaica, you were raised to believe first place is all that matters. How did this mindset affect you?
      The mentality of always striving for first was a good and bad thing. I loved competing and the drive to be the best was something I relished. It challenged and brought out the absolute best in me, but there were times that I valued my wins more than what really mattered. I learned that in life, you must have balance and you have to define success for yourself.
    3. Your family moved to the United States when you were a teen and lived near your Aunt Maureen. Tell us about your relationship with your aunt. What influences did she have on you?
      She was an avid Christian and lived in the church. She taught me the importance of having a personal relationship with God. She has a peace about her that I always admired. She lost her youngest son in his early 20’s, and although she was brokenhearted, she leaned on God in that critical moment, and showed us all what it look like to have blind faith, knowing that God is always working things out for our greater good.
    4. What was it like competing in your first race on team USA as a Jamaican-American?
      It was intense. I competed for the first time as an American on Jamaican soil. It couldn’t have felt more like a movie. I had so many fond memories as a child competing at the Jamaican national stadium and I couldn’t wait to get back. However, I wasn’t met with love and acceptance by everyone. Many people were disappointed and called me a traitor. After a while, I appreciated their disappointment as I know they were just proud of me and wanted to claim me as their own, but it was difficult thing for me, and I learned that you can’t please everyone but the people that mattered to me supported me 100% and that I how I made it through.
    5. In the book, you share how every step on the track was geared towards bringing you closer to God. How have you sustained your faith amidst the fame?
      The seed of my faith was planted when I was about 13 years old and flourished over time. I always knew that I had a greater calling in my life than just gold medals, and I still try to tap into all that God has for me by keeping Him at the forefront of everything I do. I know that money and fame will fade, but the relationship I have the Lord will last all of eternity.
    6. Family is a major book theme. How has your family impacted your career?
      My family meant everything to my career.If not for their investment, I would not have become an Olympic gold medalist. I am sure of this. My dad made every sacrifice to be with me at my training sessions and competitions. My mother quit her job to be my manager and travel all over the country with me and my sister bolstered me up, reaffirming what I believed I could be. They are the absolute best in the world.
    7. In Chasing Grace, you share how to prepare ourselves for transition and disappointment. Why is this important?
      Whenever you are aiming to do something great, it’s important to understand that failure is part of the experience. The earlier you embrace that reality, the closer you are to achieving your goals and dreams. The reason it was so important for me to address transition is because it’s one of life’s most challenging phases. It’s incredibly hard to let go of something we feel so passionate about. Talking about and sharing our own experiences through transitions so often helps other people who are in transition themselves handle that part of their journey in healthy and productive ways.
    8. Were you prepared for your retirement after pulling your hamstring during the Rio Olympic Trails?
      I was prepared in the sense that I had been mentally preparing for the transition for the last year. My toe injury was an indication to me that my body wouldn’t be able to take much more. However, as mentally prepared as you can be for change, it’s often still just as hard. I loved competing (for over 20 years) and representing our country, so the loss of that was very real.
    9. Tell us about your new career as an entrepreneur?
      I’m enjoying it so much, it’s as exciting as it was when I first discovered my love for Track and Field. So many of the lessons I’ve learned from sports I am able to draw from as an entrepreneur now: problem solving, work ethic, setting goals, etc. I feel like so much of my preparation came from the track.
    10. You vulnerably share your experiences of meeting with psychologist in the book. Why do we need to defund the misconceptions of anxiety and depression?
      Depression and anxiety can truly control your life. I learned that in the same way I trusted my coach on the track because of his proven skill set to make me a faster runner. I had to trust my doctors to help me out of my negative thoughts that had the potential to pull me down a darker path. It was one of the best experiences, and in hindsight, greatest blessings working with my sports psychologist. It’s just like having a mentor or coach.

    Make sure you pick up a copy of Chasing Grace

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Exclusive Interviews faith Inspirational Corner

    Interview with Astronaut Mr. Leland Melvin

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    I had the privilege and honor of interviewing Astronaut Leland Melvin. Mr. Melvin is truly a humble spirit. His experiences will cause you to ask how and his response would be my faith in God! His new book called “Chasing Space” is both encouraging and inspiring! I pray you enjoy my interview with him and purchase his book.

    In this moving, inspirational memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance, and grace that align to create opportunities for success.

    Thank you Mr.Melvin for the awesome opportunity!

    1. While I know your NFL injury caused you to have to leave the game how did you go from being a NFL player to a former NASA astronaut? I didn’t know I was going to be a NFL or Astronaut. While in school, I wasn’t the best football player in high school but I got drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. After my injury, I was released from the football team that fall I entered the University of Virginia graduate school studying materials science and engineering. I had a research colleague named Charlie who became an astronaut and I said to myself “If Charlie can do it, I can do it”.
    2. Being an African American male in the U.S. can be challenging how did you stay focused to pursue your dreams? What obstacles did you face? Being both an athlete and scientist I had to overcome people thinking I was only good enough to be an athlete because of my size and build. It’s about staying focused on your goals and dreams despite the opposition.
    3. I know your on the path to writing a children’s book what advice do you give to parents who want to expose their child to stem? The advice that I would give parents is to let your child explore. Expose your child to different things and see where it takes them. If your child finds pots and spoons and starts to make a beat you then start to open the child up for new possibilities on their own. Learning was very important in my family. I also wrote a young readers version of my book “Chasing Space”.
    4. From what I was told and see now you are a very humble person how do you remain humble? Growing up my father was a no nonsense person that always put me in my place. Their vision for my life came from their devout Christian faith.
    5. Out of all of your greatest accomplishments, what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment? My greatest achievement is being able to speak into the lives of others’ kids. I would say the most rewarding was when I spoke at the Symposium on Supporting Underrepresented Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
    6. Where can we purchase your book? You can purchase the book and read more about Mr. Leland here