This Week in the News

Happy Friday!  First, let me thank everyone that came out to Jin last night to help me celebrate my one year blogoversary!!!  I appreciate all of you, and your support is so overwhelming!  For those of you that missed it, my big announcement was that I have officially opened my doors for business!  Elle Speaks PR and Communications was officially launched last night, and I have my first client.  I’m currently working on securing two more, so please keep me in your prayers.  Yes, I know I’m a busy bee, but my goal is to eventually work for myself. 

Some more great news to share-David Bruton, a safety for the Denver Broncos, isn’t just sitting on his tail during the NFL lockout.  He’s substitute teaching at his high school alma mater.  I think this is SO commendable!  Instead of just sitting on his keister, he’s giving back to his community.  And I’m glad that he graduated with his degree so he was able to do something constructive.  His actions definitely deserve to be recognized. 

The preview for “Dark Girls”, a documentary done by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, focuses on the issues still surrounding color in the Black community.  It’s amazing to me that color is still an issue in 2011.  The women and girls featured tell their stories of feeling un-pretty or “less than” just because of their complexion.  I couldn’t watch the entire thing.  I became thoroughly disgusted when a guy said he doesn’t date dark-skinned women and his reasoning as to why he doesn’t.  I know we all have preferences in what we like, whether it’s height, education background, etc., but this guy was a complete jerk.  In any event, I’ll let you guys take a look at the clip yourselves and come to your own conclusions.

One thing that seems to be on minds and in the mouths of many is that Oprah has completed her “Farewell” season.  After being a staple on afternoon television for the last 25 years, Oprah Winfrey has completed her talk show.  Honestly, I’ve never been a huge Oprah fan.  I felt that most of her shows were not geared towards my demographic.  There were a few episodes that she did that I watched-for example, when she had the cast of “Crash”, Tyler Perry, and the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides.  But most of the other topics-I could do without.  This is definitely the end of an era, but I’m sure we will still Oprah on the OWN network.  I can say that watching her on “Masters Class” this past Wednesday made me want to watch “The Color Purple”. 

My girl Kim Kardashian is engaged!!!  After only dating six months, Kris Humphries, a forward for the New Jersey Nets, proposed to Kim on May 18 in her home.  Yes, while I think it’s rather quick, we all know Kim is ecstatic.  She’s wanted to be married for some time.  I wish them nothing but a lifetime of happiness.

The trial of Casey Anthony started this week.  Some shocking news has come out during the trial, such as the defense claiming little 2 year old Caylee Anthony drowned in the pool, and Casey and her dad tried to cover it up.  (Uh, who saw THAT one coming???)  I just feel really bad for this little girl who was never allowed to grow up.  If Casey is guilty, I hope she is punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Bishop Eddie Long settled with his four accusers out of court.  I’m glad this has been resolved.  I doubt that any amount of money will take away the pain and shame that these young men felt.  It will be interesting to see how Bishop Long bounces back now that this is settled, and he can move on.  It is surprising that he didn’t go to trial so he could clear his name, but just as Tulane professor Shayne Lee stated, “When you settle outside of court, it implies that there’s some guilt involved.”

Whew! It’s been a busy week!  I hope you all have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!  I plan to go to the beach and get some sun!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

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Young Entrepreneur Series- Take 6

Today’s featured entrepreneur grabbed life by the horns and kicked it in the gut.  She didn’t allow a setback, something that would devastate most people, defeat her.  She has taken the art of being a woman, being confidant, and being a go-getter work for her…and for others.

Shanel Cooper-Sykes has been a lifelong entrepreneur.  Her first business that truly prospered was SCS Media Publishing, which was started in 2009 and still exists today.  Her highly acclaimed book, Stilettos in the Kitchen, was first published as an e-book in May of 2009.  (Might I add she began getting orders for the book before it was even finished.)  The first edition printing was done in August of that same year and is almost sold out.  Shanel’s book, which is a mix of recipes, financial advice, make-up tips, and so much more, was inspired by her mentor Les Brown.  After moving to New York, she became depressed.  She would cook and stay in the kitchen, but she stopped speaking to people and became a hermit.  After reconnecting with her mentor, he told her that in order for her to help herself, she was going to have to help others.  That is how her book was born. 

Her book has now grown to Stiletto University, which will open for enrollment during the Summer of 2011.  This school will consist of extraordinary women who will be taught by Shanel in a weekly on-line course.  This will allow women from all over to experience the knowledge of Shanel first-hand.  There will be activities and homework that the ladies will need to complete as well as participating in community service.  With Stiletto University, Shanel hopes to create a sorority of women who are educated, independent, and empowered women who will be recognizable to all just by the way they carry themselves. 

I appreciate Shanel for allowing me the opportunity to interview her.  It was a pleasure to speak with her.  If you want to know more about Shanel, you must go to her site here.   Everyone can learn a thing or two from this extraordinary and amazing woman.  I might cook in some stilettos this weekend! 😉  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

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Today’s Black History Month fact is about Harriet E. Wilson.  Wilson is credited as being the first female African-American novelist.  Her novel “Our Nig” was first published in the United States in 1859 and was rediscovered in 1982 by professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Young Entrepreneur Series- Take 5

Photographer Extraordanaire Jerome Pearson

The gentleman I’m highlighting today is multi-talented and is quickly rising to the top of his game.  With just a camera and a dream, this guy has turned a love for art into something great. 

Jerome Pearson of J Pearson Photography is a photographer and media journalist.  Based in Atlanta, GA, Jerome started his business in June of 2010.  In less than 8 months time, Jerome has been an official photographer for the 2010 BET Awards, 2010 Soul Train Awards, 2010 Sean John Fashion Show, the Trey Songz and Monica Tour, Usher Raymond’s annual “New Start” Award ceremony, Keri Hilson’s album release event, and the 2011 Trumpet Awards.   At the tender age of 5, Jerome began drawing and painting.  This hobby followed him into his collegiate years, where he advanced to drawing and painting on clothes.  His artistic ability was apparent to everyone, including his big brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., who gave him the nickname “Krayola”.  After Jerome established himself, he decided “to purchase a camera and create beautiful portraits with a lens.” 

Fellow photographers that Jerome looks up to are Colin Plush Myers of Orangeburg, SC,  Dominic McKelvey of Charleston, SC, and Keith Cephus, who is the main person that is responsible for Jerome becoming a photographer.  (You can check out Keith’s work at http://www.keithcephus.com/.)  Jerome has stated “he (Keith) pretty much shared info with me such as what type of equipment to purchase and software to use.”  Jerome’s dream shoot would be a destination wedding on “an exotic beach somewhere in Costa Rica, the Caribbean, or Mexico, or just a beach setting where the water is actually blue and the sand is white.”   When asked who some of his models have been, Jerome shared the following- “Mainly my beautiful wife Jennifer-she was my very first model. I have also had sessions with Miss Korea, Keri Hilson, Roscoe Dash, Pastor Troy, B.O.B., and Verse Simmonds.”  Jerome would love to do a session with Lisa Wu Hartwell “just for the simple fact that I admire her hustle, ambition, and drive; she’s also a beautiful model inside and out. My wife and I are currently working on getting her on the cover of “Mood” magazine, which is my wife’s fashion magazine that focuses on fashion and entertainment in Atlanta, GA.”  While there are currently no plans for Jerome to do photography full-time, he’s content doing this on a part-time basis, until maybe he retires from his full-time job with the Federal government. 

Jerome states he likes Lisa Hartwell’s ambition and hustle, but I can’t help but to admire his as well.  This man is on the move and continues to make things happen for himself and his business.  If you’re interested in booking Jerome for a session, you can find him on Twitter at @Photo_J or on the web at http://www.jpearsonphotography.com/.  I want to thank Jerome for agreeing to be interviewed.  And I need to get on the good foot and schedule my photo shoot!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

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Today’s Black History Month fact:

Moneta Sleet, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1969.  He was the first African American man to win a Pulitzer and the first African American to win the prize for Journalism.  The photo that afforded him this honor is well-known to us all; it’s the touching photo of Coretta Scott King holding her youngest daughter, Bernice, at the funeral of her husband Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Young Entrepreneur Series- Take 3

Today’s featured entrepreneur is no stranger to hard work, helping others, or reaching and setting goals.  Arian Simone serves as the Publisher and Editorial Director of “Fearless” magazine, a new periodical which targets 18-35 year old women who love urban culture.  Arian believes that the word fearless describes our current generation.   She states, “We’re overcoming our fears and reaching our goals.  The name also comes from 2 Timothy 1:7.”  “Fearless” started in digital and print form in the Fall of 2010.  Superstar LaLa Vazquez graced the cover of the Winter 2010 issue.  The upcoming “Love” issue for Spring 2011 will be on newsstands in March and can be purchased at Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores nationwide.  For those of you who are a part of the digital age, the on-line edition can be purchased at www.zinio.com.  When asked who her dream interview would be, Arian pointed out she doesn’t do the interviewing, but “as an obvious choice I would love to have Barack and Michelle (Obama) featured.”  She stated her “vision for ‘Fearless’ is to have a digital circulation in the hundred thousands.  Everything is going digital.  It’s my goal to ensure ‘Fearless’ continues to grow, and I want to ensure this magazine continues to be a part of this large, digital entity.  I want to be part of a community that inspires and connects people who are living fearlessly.”   In 10 years, Arian sees herself retired, enjoying her husband and family and helping her children fulfill their dreams.  To catch select articles, readers can go to www.fearlessmag.com

“Fearless” magazine is our generation’s “Essence”.  They offer style, beauty, advice, and all things related to being a young woman in the 21st century.  Make sure to pick up the next copy on newsstands in March; I know I will!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Today’s Black History Month fact:

The first Black magazine published was the “Negro Digest”, which was started in 1942 by John H. Johnson.  Johnson would later create “Jet” and “Ebony” magazines.  Similar to “Reader’s Digest”, the “Negro Digest” was aimed specifically to target positive influences in the Black community.

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