#MeTo, #TimesUp, #UsToo, Center for Media Innovation, International Association of Business Communicators, media, media chicks network, PA Women's Press Association, Panel Discussion, Pgh Black Media Federation, Point Park University, Public Relations Society of America, radiochicksrock
Local Media Chicks Host #UsToo Panel Discussion
Continuing the Discussion of the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movement and How It Effects Local Women in the Media
Pittsburgh, PA, January 30, 2018– The Media Chicks Network will host a closed panel discussion based on the recent events effecting women in the local media following the #MeToo and #Times Up movement.
“The issues of inappropriate sexual misconduct, abuse, assault in addition to body shaming, unfair/unequal pay and gender discrimination are unacceptable and it’s time to speak out in hopes that our initiatives will help others to be thoroughly prepared for a future in the media”, LaKeisha “Ki Ki” Brown, veteran radio personality and Founder of the Media Chicks Network.
The panel discussion will host women in television, radio, print and production areas of the media and will be open to the student body of Point Park University at the Center for Media Innovation in Downtown, Pittsburgh. The time will be 5PM.
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Media Innovation, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, PA Women’s Press Association, International Association of Business Communicators, and Public Relations Society of America.
- Allegra Battle-City Style Blogger/Radio/News Anchor
- Pat Griffin (veteran journalist and podcaster)
- Paige Mitchell-Front Paige Me Public Relations Agency/Blogger
- Charlise Smith, Founder WAVE-WOMEN AGAINST VIOLENCE ENTERPRISES AND SERVICE
- Elizabeth Rosemeyer, Point Park University Title IX Director
- Vanessa Doss, Account Executive and Marketing Strategist for WAMO 100
**Awaiting more confirmations from local TV/Radio personalities**
Media Chicks Network is a Facebook group with over 200 members of women who serve in the media from Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Houston and Pennsylvania. The group will host various events that range from panel discussions, self-defense classes, brunches, and fun activities to increase bonding opportunities for women in the media.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact KiKi Brown at Media Chicks Network or email at email@example.com
I met a young lady a few months ago through a business contact and I was amazed by her excitement when she was sharing with me her vision about a new non profit she had been working on called I Am Whole Mentoring. That young lady was Maryilyn Hornsby (pictured below in the center), the Founder and CEO of I AM Whole Mentoring.
The mentoring program is for young women ages 15-25 in the city of Pittsburgh who are longing for mentoring (of course), extended education assistance, job readiness, etiquette, and so much more!
The organization hosted a recruitment and informational in Pittsburgh in July and hosted over 25 aspiring mentors and mentees who are looking forward to starting the new Fall season with some informative events and projects.
I’m excited to see something like this come to the city for our young ladies. For years, I’ve been thinking of starting a non profit (and I will…when I have enough time) and although this concept has been duplicated over and over by so many people, I Am Mentoring is a personal venture from one woman who saw a need to supply the right resources to women not just of younger ages, but those older and more mature who are also struggling to find a happy medium.
If you would like more information, become a mentor or mentee, email info@IAMWholementoring.org.
Make sure you support Mrs. Hornsby and I AM Whole Mentoring. It’s a wonderful thing and our young ladies really could use more good mentors, don’t you think?
Follow them on social media:
- Facebook @IAmWholeMentoring
- Twitter & Instagram @IAMWhole2017
On top of all the other things I’m handling in my day to day routine (CEO of Nice 2 Media Marketing & Promotions, LLC and now afternoon personality for WAMO100, Pittsburgh), I am now music & content coordinator for an online station called Urban Media Today Radio; a product of Urban Media Today online magazine.
The station is an Urban AC music format that includes music, entertainment reporting, sports (coming soon) and finance commentary (also coming soon). It’s not as easy as one would seem it is but I really like it! I hope you will too!
You can find the online station via Live365 online or through the free app which Urban Media Today also carries on iPhone and Android.
I’ve always wanted to program a station so this is a dream come true for me. One that is extremely challenging as well as super fun!
If you’re ever in need of checking out a new UrbanAC station online, log onto www.UrbanMediaToday.com and let me know what you think by emailing me at PD@UrbanMediaToday.com!
And follow the station on Twitter & Instagram @UMTRadio!
ABC 2, Ashley James, CBS radio, Fox 45, Kelly Swoop, luncheon, media, media chicks, media chicks network, media chicks rock, news anchors, radio chicks, Traffic chicks, Vanessa Herring, WJZ TV, WMAR, Women In Radio, women in television
I’ve always been one to support my fellow females in the media. If they’re traffic anchors, radio pesonalities, producers, television, newspaper (print), or social media, we all work hard and deserve the same amount of respect and support as anyone else in this industry.
So, I figured why not show my ladies in the media (I call them Media Chicks) some love by inviting them to a private luncheon where we can share strories on how we got started, who motivates us, and so much more.
(Ki Ki and WBAL’s own Vanessa Herring)
In attendance were news anchors from WJZ and WMAR in Baltimore as well as WBAL TV, Radio One, TV One, Metro Traffic, Total Traffic & Weather, Radio One and CBS radio/TV.
Sharing lunch with these women was an amazing experience not just for me but for anyone looking to start a career in the industry. I’ve received advice from news veteran Kelly Swoop (WMAR) and Ashley James (WMAR) about what to expect when starting a career in television.
(Ki Ki and Nicki Mayo go dress shopping)
Nicki Mayo (TV One, Associated Press and President of Black Association of Black Journalists) helped me learn some pretty “bloat” appropriate poses when taking pics and wearing the right “newscaster wrap dress”.
(Ki Ki & ABC 2’s own Kelly Swoop take a selfie #MediaChicksLuncheon)
I’ve learned a lot that day and plan on doing activities like this one more often. I encourage you to do the same for others in your industry of choice. It helps get to know those you work with and learn more from them. It will help you gain a little more respect and figure out if this is where you really want to be.
Salute to all the media chicks in the entire industry! You are appreciated!
She smiled. I smiled. And that was that.
I didn’t think I’d see Ashley again until she agreed to sit down with me for my monthly Happy Hour/Talk Show the Urban Hang Suite.
I learned a great deal and you can check it out for yourself in our one one one!
Reach out to Ashley T. Moore on social media:
Facebook: @Ashley T Moore
More amazing Baltimore artists you should also check out:
FOLLOW ME ON IG @JustKiKiBrown
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @RadioChickBrown
FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
Kimia Workman entered a contest hosted by 92Q Jams (Baltimore) for a chance to host a portion of the Stone Soul festival and let me say SHE DID THAT!
Kimia Workman, Sheffield Institute graduate and former intern for 92Q, showed up at Druid Hill Park on time, without an entourage, and ready to work! She did so well, she received an internship with 92Q Afternoon jock, Konan and worked as a board operator for Radio One, Baltimore.
Her path has changed as she is now concentrating solely on becoming an actress; working in dramatic short films, stage plays and music videos.
Kimia not only acts but she dances and models! She’s THAT CHICK!
I can’t wait for that one day, I’m at a movie theater and I see my girl Kimmie on the screen featured as the main character or supporting actress in a major film! It’s going to happen! I’m praying a film director or producer is reading this because this chick is talented!
Read about Kimia and check out her work:
Name: Kimia’ Workman
Station (market/format/timeslot): formally weekend personality for 92Q Jams
How long have you been in the radio business? I studied communications/broadcast journalism at Morgan State University and went to Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts. I’ve been working for Radio One since 2010, starting out as an intern. So professional, going on 5 years.
How long were you in the television business? I’ve always wanted to do television. I first appeared on television with my internship in high school on The Educational Channel in Towson, Md. I then interned for ABC Channel 2 news while in college, had my own fitness tv show, and was an anchor on MSU TV News.
What is more enjoyable/different? I really love them both. I didn’t think I would love radio the way I do. When I was growing up, people always said they could see me on TV. I never considered a career in radio until I won the K-Swift scholarship from 92Q to study at Sheffield.
Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men? I think it is equally hard no matter who you work for. Entertainment in general is a cut throat business and you have to put your all in it and work hard at it if you want to succeed. Radio is no different. With the limited opportunities there are for men and women in radio, it’s even more paramount that you make an impact and significantly stand out no matter who you are working for or with.
What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career? The most challenging I would say is trying to stay focused and understanding who your real friends are, who are really looking out for you, as opposed to the so called “haters” that are looking for you to fail. And of course, again, the opportunities are limited.
Did you (or do you) have a mentor in radio? If so, who are they and what have they helped you on in reference to your career? I would say my first major mentor was Konan. I interned under him for months and really learned a lot. I always asked him so many questions about the business and he always gave me straight up answers. He has been in the business for years and still going strong so I will always look to him for advice. Others that I love watching progress and that have inspired and gave me advise, either through knowing them personally or just through social media are Free, Big Tigger, Tom Joyner, Kiki Brown, April Watts, Angie Ange, Deja Perez, Porkchop, Producer Frenchy, DJ Kei Touch, Ron Thompson, and Angela Yee just to name a few. Also music director Tayla Johnson and Radio One Baltimore Operations Manager, Al Payne have been a pivotal part in starting my on air career here at 92Q.
What was it about radio that struck your interest? I think it was the impact that you can make on people and the fun you have. I have never enjoyed a job this much ever. Radio has a way of transforming society and communicating with people in a different way. It is a very powerful medium that influences our culture, and overall, I just love entertaining.
What makes a good radio talent? I would say you definitely have to have a great personality that attracts people. Also, attentiveness to details, the ability to adapt in a fast paced environment, adapt to changes at any given moment, interacting with listeners, focus, leading your community, and investing yourself in making an impact. Being a personality is not just being on air, you have to be on all the time, just like famous celebrities. You never know who may be watching.
How do you respond to women in the media who become out of touch from those trying to reach that particular level of success? The main thing to do is to never let anyone tell you you can’t do something. If you have a strong desire to accomplish something, nothing should get in your way. There are going to be obstacles along the way, but that is just to test you to see how serious you really are. Stand strong, stay focused, and get the mentality that “you can’t” out of your head.
Have you ever been fired? How did you bounce back? I have been fired from a job before. It wasn’t my fault, but my first reaction was to stay calm and know that everything happens for a reason. I knew that either that job just wasn’t for me, or something better was going to come along.
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why? I love hip hop, old school/classic hip hop, rnb, pop, club, reggae, and sometimes jazz depending on what mood I’m in.
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to) LOL, Even though I could dance to anything, having a background in dance and choreography, I would have to say, although people may think I’m crazy, the thun thun song. It’s by Finatticz called Don’t Drop That Thun Thun Thun. It’s so wrong but the beat is hard.
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe. It’s funny I was just starting out and got my first opportunity to interview major celebrities at the Stone Soul Picnic. One of them was Bobby V. He made some type of comment and we were recording it on camera and I had to play it off like please you probably say that to all the girls, then went right into the next question. LOL I was stumped at first, but played it like a professional.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why? I would say Tom Joyner. He is such a nice and genuine person. You can even tell when he’s on the air. He’s very down to earth and was a pleasure to meet.
What’s the biggest misconception about you? Before people meet me, they think I am snobby or stuck up because of the way I look. I had several times people told me that when I met them, and then they would say wow you’re mad cool.
Why don’t people get about music when it comes to radio? People get mad when radio stations play the same thing over and over. I think they don’t understand that the radio industry is higher than the personalities you hear. We have to follow certain formats and play certain songs, which does in fact hinder the creativity of the craft.
Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why? I admire any and every professional out here hustling, grinding, and just doing their thing. I know what it takes from everything I’ve been through and I haven’t even reached the top of my goal sheet yet. Just to make it, doing what you love to do is admirable.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? David E Talbert said “talent gets you far, but grind and drive gets you further.” I’ve always liked that quote.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio? Not only in radio, but just in general, that we have it easy. That we can sleep our way to the top. Every time a successful woman makes it big, it’s “Who did she have to sleep with to get that.” It’s a huge misconception, we work just as hard, if not harder, than the men to get to where we want to be.I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen, but it is one misconception.
Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years? Technology is changing, everything is changing. There’s definitely a lot more competition than there was years ago with pod casts, internet radio, Pandora, iTunes, etc. So wherever it will be, it will definitely be more digitized than ever before.
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B? I could get deep into that, lol. Really, I just think the music industry is all about money; maybe not so much talent. There are lots of artists out here with mad talent, but then there are ones that got put on because of the dollar amount. Many of the really talented artists, you may never even hear. Songs, just as television have the tendency to influence our youth, and some songs send out the wrong message. But at the end of the day, it’s entertainment and people are going to love it or hate it.
Who do you think is the most under appreciated artist out there right now? Oh soooo many artists are under appreciated. Older artists that we heard on the radio years ago, some that you hear on the radio, and some that we never even hear on the radio. It would hard just to name one.
Who’s in your iPod/radar? I like a mixture of music. Right now I have August Alsina, Teyana Taylor, TI, Drake, Jhene Aiko, Childish Gambino, School Boy Q, Warren G, Wu-Tang Clan, Yo Gotti, 2 Pac, Prince, Kid Ink, Lyrica Anderson, Aaliyah along with others.
What do you want your legacy to be? I want to be an inspiration to not only kids, but even adults who never got the chance to live their dream. There are many situations and obstacles that stop people from chasing after what they really want. I want to be known for making it, living my dream, creating positive movements, and helping/supporting others to do the same thing.
If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say? I would say just like what I was told “Talent gets you far but grind and hustle gets you further.” You might have talent, but if you not out their grinding, hustling, and doing something toward your goal everyday, don’t except to get far. You can’t expect any handouts. You want something, you have to go out there and get it. You think going to school is going to enhance your skills, go to school, learn the business, learn the craft, make connections…networking is soooo important. Also, get advice from other professionals, watch what they are doing, and start building a brand.
Biggest regret is…. Probably not moving to New York when I had the opportunity to. But like I said, everything happens for a reason.
How can people reach out to you?
Twitter and Instagram @KimiaWorks
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you thought Kimia’s story was amazing, you might want to read up on these fabulous Media Chicks:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
News anchor, Vanessa Herring, reached out to me via twitter with a surprising message that said something like “good to see you again” or something like that.
It made me think “again?” I couldn’t remember where I knew her from. Sad thing is my memory is the ABSOLUTE WORST and it never dawned on me that Vanessa knew me from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
I embraced her sentiment, naturally but curiosity set in and I was instantly intrigued.
An avid WBAL-TV watcher myself, I was excited to see my new Twitter buddy on the evening news, doing a story on something that happened here in Baltimore.
It was cold out. I tweeted her. She tweeted me back. A few emoji’s and “lol’s” later, we had a sisterhood.
So obviously, I asked her for an interview. Why not? I mean, she’s from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA! Duh!!!
If you’re ever up late night, watching the news (preferably on WBAL-TV), you’ll find Vanessa delivering the hard stories. Check her out!
Here is Vanessa’s story:
What is your occupation?
I’m a freelance reporter in Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C.
How did you get started in your career?
I got started more than a decade ago, and it’s so hard to believe it has been that long! I went to an audition to co-host the premiere season of the McDonald’s Steelers KidZONE, and I got the gig! I survived two rounds of cuts, and went on to host the show for 4 amazing years. I even got to be one of the first reporters to interview Ben Roethlisberger after his name was called at the 2004 NFL Draft in New York City.
What do you like/love most about your career?
I love getting to meet new people and try new things! The coolest part of this job is having a front row seat at events I may never have been invited to, or had an interest in going to. It’s a privilege to be able to share stories. I also like that every day is different, especially when it’s a tough, or bad day. The slate is wiped clean, and you get to start fresh all over again.
Live in the studio at WUSA 9.
What is it about this industry that struck your interest?
The ability to learn something new every day, connect with people, and share information.
What are the hardest stories to report?
Any tragedy—deadly fires, murders, accidents. Knocking on someone’s door after they’ve lost a loved one is the hardest part of this job.
Is there division in the news/media industry?
I don’t think so many of the reporters and anchors get along even though we compete with each other. At the end of the day it’s about serving the viewers and making sure they have the information they need.
Are your male co-anchors supportive?
Yes! I don’t work very closely with all the anchors, though. The photographer staffs at many news stations are dominated by men, and reporters and photographers work very closely together. All of them have been supportive, especially when you’re new in town. Photographers usually know the ins and outs of the city, major players, and the good places to eat when you’re stuck on a live shot J
Are other African American anchors supportive?
I have found other African American anchors and reporters are pretty supportive. In my first market I was one of two African American people in the entire building! At my second job there was a handful of African American reporters and anchors. I connected with many of them, and we were able to support each other—even if it was just a smile, and hello on a hectic day.
In action at the Hearst Television D.C. Bureau.
Who is your mentor?
I have a few mentors that I check in with from time to time. They are producers, reporters, and anchors and they’re all able to offer great advice! I also have a couple young reporters I mentor. I once was told, as you climb the career ladder, don’t forget to reach back and help someone. I try to pass along the good advice, and things I wish I knew when I was just starting out!
What was the best career advice you ever received?
Get your foot in the door, and once it’s there, force the rest of your body in!
There are so many reporters and anchors I admire and respect! I adore Robin Meade, Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, and Soledad O’Brien. I also admire many of the journalists I work side by side with in Baltimore and D.C.
We are our worst critics. What do you NOT like most about what you do?
There’s always something! I’ll watch my story the next day and think, “I should have used a different sound bite,” or, “I should have used a more descriptive word,” or, “I said that word funny.” I try not to beat myself up too much, but I’ve found being honest with yourself about the quality of your work will help you improve.
Are you the type that must do more than one take?
I hate doing more than one take! I always feel like the first take is the most natural.
When you’re on location, what don’t the viewers see?
Oh my gosh, there’s so much that you don’t see! Sometimes there’s a pretty elaborate lighting situation going on. Photographers are great at making it look like we look that awesome all the time, but they really make the magic happen! If it’s breaking news I may be on the phone with a producer, or source, right before I go on air. I have literally hung up the phone and started reporting right after. There’s the hour lull between shows, where you just kind of hang out in the truck with your photographer—and if you’re working on a developing story that time gives you the opportunity to make changes or gather new information.
The biggest lesson you’ve learned as an anchor is? (Ex: not cussing when you’re mic’d up)
Definitely don’t say anything you don’t want heard with a microphone on—ever!! Fortunately, I haven’t made that mistake. Always show up to work ready for air because the day you come in with your hair looking a mess and no make up on will be the day you’re sent out immediately! Always double check pronunciations of new places—viewers do not like when you mess up the name of their town! Be willing to take criticism from your bosses, mentors, and even viewers. I’ve gotten nasty comments from viewers, and it’s easy to get upset and lash back. I usually thank them for even taking the time to watch and send me their thoughts, and use the constructive part of their complaint to improve my performance.
Can anyone be a news anchor? What should you possess in order to do this type of work?
Yes! You’ve got to have thick skin, curiosity, and be able to work well under tight deadlines.
What’s the biggest misconception about what you do and how do you respond to it?
That it’s “easy.” It’s certainly not manual labor, but it’s not easy. For example, I’ve had days where I was reporting live at noon, 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m., and in between all that I had to find time to interview people, write a story, lay down an audio track, and engage and share information with viewers on social media. That makes for a very busy day! I also hate when people ask if someone else writes my story for me… NO!!!
What are some things we don’t know about you? (name 3 things)
I love history! I had a history minor in college, and I enjoy learning about historical figures, places and events. I am a makeup JUNKIE! I have so many products it’s sort of embarrassing! If I wasn’t a reporter, I’d probably be a makeup artist. I really enjoy arts and crafts and DIY projects and I’m always trying to find little things to create.
How do you unwind?
Relaxing at home with my boyfriend. We’ll watch a movie on Netflix, make dinner, or he’ll make cocktails (he’s like a bartender!). I also like to grab some Starbucks (I’m obsessed!) and go shopping.
The happiest or most proud moment of your careers was…..
Any time I can help someone. I’ve done a few stories that have inspired people to get behind a cause, or shown people just how much support they have in the community. Those are the best stories, and when I feel like I’m really able to make a difference through my work.
The most embarrassing moment/interview you had was…..
So one time when I was working in Erie, Pa I was anchoring the noon show, and the prompter switched modes. It went from showing words to showing video. So, when we got into a soundbite I thought I had time to fix it. The button was under the desk, and just as I crawled under to press it…the director came back to me! I had to crawl out from under the desk AND explain why I was under there! Talk about embarrassing!!
If you weren’t a news anchor, what would you be doing?
I’d probably have a creative career! I’d love to be a makeup artist or interior designer.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you imagined.” I believe that you can’t be afraid to go after what you want. You’re never going to accomplish what you’ve dreamed of if you’re afraid to take the first step!
How can people reach out to you?
my blog: www.vanessaherring.wordpress.com
Checkout these stories on some other dope MEDIA CHICKS in front of the camera:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
She’s not really a diva (if you know her) but if she was, she’s earned the title.
Paula Campbell is called the “First Lady of Baltimore” and for good reason.
As a singer, song writer, model and award winner, Miss Campbell is a woman with purpose, passion and a force to be wreckend with.
She and I met at 92Q (Baltimore) a few years ago and I will be honest and say that I was a little intimidated by her. It wasn’t her fault! She’s beautiful! She’s bubbly and extremely secure about who she is. Most women with insecurities would find that intimidating, but I overcame that real quick.
She and I had to work a Mother’s Day event together and our pre-teens at the time (her daughter and my son) clicked instantly. Nothing like teen dating but like a family bonding moment.
Paula Campbell has been my sister from another miss & mister ever since!
Here’s her story:
Where are you from?
I’m from the Westside of Baltimore City
How long have you been singing?
I’ve been singing probably longer than I can remember. From the time I was in kindergarten, I sang in every school assembly and talent show that I knew about.
What other talents do you have?
My other talents are acting, writing, poetry, painting… Some other talents that I can only discuss privately… lol (that’s a joke KiKi) Plus I’m an awesome cook and baker.
What inspires your music?
Everything inspires my music from a real life situation with myself or someone else or even just my imagination… Music is a part of my higher self. Anything that embodies love makes me want to sing, and love is even a constant choice through hurt and pain… So EVERYTHING makes me want to sing!
Do you have days when you just don’t feel like singing/writing? What gets you out of that slump?
Honestly I always want to sing. Writing, however is sometimes challenging because most writers can go through periods where the words and melodies just don’t feel great so it can become discouraging at times. What gets me out of the slump is knowing that only by continuing to push forward will I get it right. So I guess the fact that I don’t want to believe I allowed myself to fail is what I use as motivation to not stay down.
What genre of music do you really like to listen to the most and why?
My favorite genre of music to listen to is probably world music. It’s imaginative, creative, and inspiring. It has real messages with creatively told stories.
What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to) Carl Thomas “Summer Rain” is my let go JOINT!!!!
You’ve worked with lots of singers, song writers, producers in your career. Was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable experience where it went terribly wrong? Describe.
The first day I worked with Carvin and Ivan they had just brought Crystal “Tytewriter” Oliver on to their team. She was late for the session so I went in my car to write to the beat alone. I was probably PMSing or something. Anywho, my A&R from Sony at the time came out to talk to me and we got it all squared away. I felt like I was being disrespected or taken for granted but it was all a misunderstanding. I apologized and Crystal, Carvin and Ivan are still my great friends to this day.
We are in the reality show era where many performers (successful and not-so-successful) decide to become a cast member on a reality show. Is this something you would do to promote your music? If so, which show would you be on?
I honestly don’t know if I’d do reality TV. I’ve been asked to do about 6 different reality shows. A few I’ve been asked to do more than once but it just never worked out. I can’t knock anyone for the way they hustle. The way I see my music touching people though is not relative to what I see on reality TV. Sometimes I think that could be a not-so-good thing but I’m not interested in conforming or compromising my music or what I stand for.
Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?
NeYo is always my best celebrity encounter because not only was I able to learn so much about artistry and writing but I learned that it is possible to have super success and still be a good, pure heart. I’ve never met a more genuine spirit and for his humility, transparency, help and honesty I am truly blessed.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
The biggest misconception about me is that I’m super strong. People always tell me how strong I am and they know that I know that God favors me. The whole time I often feel like a 4 year old little girl lost out in the world; searching for security. Real-talk? Even the smallest amount of success can feel lonely and scary.
What genre of music would you say doesn’t get the most credit?
That’s a tough question because I no longer know how to classify music with substance. That’s the music that doesn’t get any credit… Unless its country music.
What are your thoughts about independent artists and nationally recognized artists?
I think both independent and nationally recognized artist all have their space and serve a purpose. The only difference is a check. Indie artists are just as talented as national artists and some are even more talented.
Do programs like YouTube, and Spodify give artists a bad name or a greater advantage of being recognized?
I absolutely believe that social (media) music sights give artists a greater advantage at being recognized because it links artist to a world that would otherwise be unknown.
Jay Z started an online streaming service called Titan which premier’s new music/movies/material that is most likely un-obtainable on other sources. What are your thoughts about this as an artist?
Kudos to Jay Z! He started off as an independent; built his own empire and is now opening up different avenues to shine light on not just Indies but “unknowns”. I can appreciate that.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
As simple as this may sound, the best advice I’ve ever been given is – “never give up on you and don’t forget to be yourself.”
What’s the biggest misconception about women in this industry?
For the most part, I don’t think there are a lot of misconceptions. Most of these chicks are cray! The industry is very small so you can’t act one way and expect to be treated or talked about as if you’re someone who you’re not. On the other hand, the women who are in the industry really try to take care of their business, endure many hardships for simply being ladies. So the misconception would be all women are the same.
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B?
I think Hip-Hop and R&B has lost substance and in turn has lost its timelessness. Fads, change and catchy tunes are all good but it doesn’t have to be all the same. Hip Hop use to educate the black community and R&B was the songs that people got married and made babies to. Most of today’s Hip Hop is money, hoes, clothes and drugs and most of today’s R&B is vulgar at best. Not all Hip Hop and R&B is that way but most of the most popular songs are definitely filled with nothingness.
Who would you want to collaborate a song with and/or tour with?
I’d love to both collaborate and go on tour with J Cole. He’s to be admired for what he’s bringing to the table
What was the funniest thing that happened to you while on tour or during your singing career?
I was in Houston on tour with NeYo. I had a head cold and hay fever. My sinuses were draining but I still had to sing. I was singing “Leaving Tonight” (NeYo ft. J-Hud) and because I was sick my nose was running and all I had to wipe it with was my hand. Right after I wiped my nose, NeYo put that exact hand on his face to play out the song. I don’t know if he knew what he did but that’s what it was. It was disgusting but I thought it was funny! I’m still laughing!!
Who do you think is the most underappreciated artist out there right now?
Jazmine Sullivan is the most under-appreciated artist. There is too much talent to go unnoticed but too much substance for an honest chance at mainstream.
Who’s in your iPod/radar?
Right now I’m on a Barbra Streisand/Celine Dion musical kick.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I’ll have starred in leading roles on the screen and have music serviced through my own entertainment company Camp Rebelwood. I believe by that time I’ll be fully prepared to put out my own artist successfully. My boutique will be up and running; my clothing line as well. Above all, my success will have brought in enough revenue where I’m giving back in abundance and helping the progression of teenage mothers. I plan on opening up a few homes for teen moms that offer job placement program and a real chance to succeed. Those are just a few things so keep me prayed up on this 5 year countdown.
If singing wasn’t your “thing”, what else would you be doing?
If singing wasn’t my thing, I’d be the wife with 13 kids; counseling a community.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to be love… I want to be known and remembered as an artist yes but I want most of all for people to remember a kind word or a good deed that helped give them hope when they thought there was none. I just want my name to make people smile and laugh. That’s good enough for me. To know I changed lives with genuine love.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is lemon cake and silky lingerie
How can people reach out toyou?
IG & Twitter @PaulaCampbell
And everyone can call me directly at the number that I’m not giving out. (lol)
Baltimore Chicks Who Run The World:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
First day I saw this chick, she was walking around the sales floor at Radio One Baltimore with this HUGE afro and jingling bracelets and high heels. I’m like “who is this chick?”
It took a while for us to meet but when we did, it was an instant click!
Ericka Alston is one of the most positive, inspiring and intelligent women I know and I admire her drive so much that I wished to be like her one day.
Being that she’s a lot shorter than I am, I knew that couldn’t happen but I didn’t mind admiring her from afar.
She left Radio One Baltimore about two months ago and since then, Ericka has formed a non-profit, gained employment as a DIRECTOR OF PR for a health care firm, and is breaking barriers in Baltimore and beyond!
I knew this chick had something and I’m glad she took the time to be my feature on This Radio Chick Rocks.
Here’s her story:
What is your occupation?
I am currently the Director of PR, Marketing and Business Development for Maryland Community Health Initiatives, Inc and it’s Penn-North Community Resource Center.
I happen to also be the Founder and Executive Director for The Be Extraordinary Project, a self efficacy program for young adults 18-25, recovering from substance abuse, our mission is to help raise the self esteem of these young people, for we believe when we feel better, we do better!
What is that exactly?
In my role as Director of PR, Marketing and Business Development, I am charged with the public relations and communications strategy of the organization, while also developing and fostering relationships with stakeholders, key influencers and our local, state and government politicians. In laymen’s terms, I am responsible for how the community and funders view our organization and the great works that we do.
For The Be Extraordinary Project, I am responsible for our overall vision and making certain that I have the people in place to carry that out, while strategizing our growth. In both roles I am held accountable to the lives of people and not numbers.
Did you have to go to school for that? What was your major?
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and a double master’s in Journalism and Corporate Communication.
What was it about this particular field that struck your interest?
I am a person in long term recovery from substance abuse, it was imperative that I give back to others what was given to me and that is HOPE.
When you left your last job, you immediately starting working on this one. Was this always “in” you and when the door opened, you ran for it? Why?
My last day on my previous job, I actually didn’t know what I was going to do, I have 15 years experience in public relations and marketing, my layover in my previous position was supposed to be a 90-day to 6-month stay to get me over the hit I had taken during the recession, I had previously owned my own PR Firm, Pyramid Public Relations. Got the new gig and it was easy, so 3-months turned into 3-years, during those 3-years I had been ignoring my call to help those like me. I got home and I happen to be in a relationship with the most supportive man on the planet, he looked at me and said, “you know what you have to do now?” and I didn’t. He said “you have to start your program and I support you 100%, Do whatever you have to and I’ve got your back. Don’t let anyone, including me tell you that you can’t succeed at this, because you can!” So I did.
Who were (or are) your mentors?
I don’t necessarily have mentors, however my life was forever changed after a few friends and I attended the Associated Black Charity’s Girls Night Out, featuring Iyanla Vansant – we walked away knowing that if we were not living in our purpose, we were merely wasting time. I realized I didn’t have much more time to waste.
Who are your biggest supporters?
My partner for life, Edward. My daughters Aundrea and Akcire and I have two of the most supportive and encouraging accountability partners any business woman could have, unquestionably both of them have been featured in your series, Rochelle Boykin of FabFitParty.com and Tabitha Rector of Premiere Homes Realty. My road dogs!
How do you stay encouraged?
I have an awesome intimate, personal relationship with God, I also believe in energy and make certain that I am always surrounded by and produce good, positive, productive energy.
What inspires you?
The smiles on the faces of those I help inspire me, there is no greater reward than the smile on the face of a young person that was once hopeless, full of life, faith and enthusiasm as a result of anything that you were able to give them to get them there.
Are there ever moments, even in the newness of this business, do you feel overwhelmed and want to give up? Can you share?
KiKi, it’s amazing, when you live in your purpose, when your life becomes your ministry, there are no hours, you don’t check the clock on the wall, you look up and it’s 2 am and you can keep going but know that you must rest, you are eager to get up in the morning and do more and more and more – I have not had the experience of being overwhelmed, I’m basking in that!
I would say your job is a pretty demanding one. What do you enjoy most from your job?
The satisfaction of letting our community and state know that people in our program recover! They battle their demons and learn to live life a new way, I get the luxury of shattering stereotypes everyday. I do not look like addiction or homelessness or despair but that is exactly what I’ve been rescued from and my work allows me to be a vessel to help rescue others. It is demanding but worth it and I wouldn’t trade it. When I began working in this capacity, I began sharing that I didn’t realize that I had a dream job until I started working here.
What is the most irritating thing about your job?
The stigma associated with recovery. The illusion of once an addict always an addict and that my people don’t change, we do. We do recover, I’m here to help prove it.
Some people would say your job is “boring”. You would say what about your job?
Ha! That is laughable, there is never a dull moment, never! Boring is not a word that can be used to describe my day to day work. I wear many hats in this long title and most often, none of them are associated with public relations or marketing, I am hugging and consoling, encouraging and motivating folks that many have given up on for most of my workday. I am the first stop for many of the 180 residents that live here – sometimes they just need someone to listen to them or a shoulder to cry on, they’ve been thru a lot and being here for them is nothing close to boring, it’s actually quite invigorating!
What do you want people to “take away” when patronizing your business?
That we are real people, that addiction touches the lives of all of us, that we are not numbers or statistics, we are sons and daughter, mothers and fathers, grandparents friends and neighbors that for whatever reason could no longer play the hand that was dealt to us and chose drugs and alcohol for refuge, figured out that drugs were just a symptom of our problem and made decisions to try again – all any of us ever wanted was another chance, people walk away from the Penn-North Center, knowing that we all deserve a second chance and my organization is helping those that come here go to the moon and beyond with this last chance.
Who are your main clients? Anyone suffering from substance abuse, with or without insurance. We even have a few of the Unger Project dudes, recently released from prison after doing 40 to 50 years in jail, we have a thriving, vibrant community of clients. Drug addiction does not discriminate.
The Be Extraordinary Project is for both male and female clients 18-25, also recovering from substance abuse; we actually operate in both the Penn-North Community Resource Center and within Mountain Manor Treatment Center for Adolescents and Young Adults.
How many hats do you wear and which hat makes you the most proud?
I am a mother, I am in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in, in my life –thus making me a partner to him. I have the hats that I wear professionally but I am most proud of the mother and partner that I am.
I decided to interview you because I believe you are truly inspiring to me through the conversations we have and the wisdom you share. Where do you get this from? Like, who would you credit is responsible for your personality?
Thank you so much. Ironically, I am a member of a 12-step program, I believe in the steps and traditions of that program. When I entered recovery I was taught that my most important relationship would be with the God of my understanding, not thru religion or anything taught but by how I come to KNOW him, personally. I have learned thru life’s experiences that material wealth and superficial things don’t fix our internal, spiritual problem, so I am inspired wisdom shared with me from other recovering people and their experiences. We are all recovering from something, I just happen to be surrounded by people living in the solution, knowing that I have always been my problem, I live a life working on me, when I rest at night knowing that I spent the day being the absolute best version of myself, I smile.
What song makes you LOSE YOUR MIND? This is embarrassing…. Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off!
What is your favorite line in a movie and why? “All my life, I had to fight.” – Color Purple, and sorry I don’t use if seriously, anytime I say it – I am most times being an absolute nut.
What makes you suck your teeth and roll your eyes? Women that don’t support or uplift other women! We have to do better. When we realize that we all have our stuff, that another women is not my competition or my problem, that I don’t want your shoes, your bag or your man – we’ll be in a better place <insert teeth sucking and an eye roll here>
If there was a Lifetime movie made about your life, who would play you? Tell me why you chose that person. Gabrielle Union, duh, don’t you see it? Lol. But seriously, the whole Being Mary Jane thing was what I thought I wanted my life to be, and then I got a real life.
What is ONE THING about you (you’d be willing to share) that NO ONE knows about you?
I just did, that for 2 years I was addicted to crack cocaine, homeless and hopeless and for the past 18 years I have been living a life beyond my wildest dreams!
What would you want your legacy to be? That every woman grow into a place that she knows her true self worth and lived in it, never willing to settle because she knows that what she dreams of when she drifts off into daydreams in the middle of the day is obtainable. We are worthy. We are worthy. We are worthy. We live in that and teach our daughters to live in it as well. Forever.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? The Be Extraordinary Project being recognized nationally and a model used across the country to help our young people feel better and do better.
Through my work here at Penn-North and the business development efforts and strategies, I foresee me in a role of Vice President of Public Affairs in less than 5 years.
What are your biggest regrets? I have none. Every single decision I’ve made got me here and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else but here.
How can you be reached? (email, social media, etc.)
I am virtually everyone’s Facebook friend
https://www.facebook.com/ericka.alston and https://www.facebook.com/TheBeExtraOrdinaryProject?fref=ts
Feel free to email me: Easlton@penn-north.org
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