Everybody Wants A Shugga Mama In Their Life: One On One w/ Shugga Mama Radio

Have you read the one about the Shugga Mama?

ThisRadioChickRocks

2014-06-10 06.31.52

It was a late night, just before Christmas and I’m at an event at the Horseshoe Casino downtown Baltimore.

I have to meet my manager for a toy drive promoted by a few folks who had invited a few “industry” people to mingle and of course, donate some toys to some needy families.

It was a good night! I met a few people and even ran into a few Radio Chicks but one part of the night that was a truly a highlight was when I ran into the ladies of Shugga Mama Radio.

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I had never heard of the show (until then) and I was truly inspired and excited to see two beautiful women doing their thing and hosting their own internet radio show that’s actually making some noise!

Since then, they’ve agreed to join me in the Urban Hang Suite and one of the hosts and I stay…

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Everybody Wants A Shugga Mama In Their Life: One On One w/ Shugga Mama Radio

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2014-06-10 06.31.52

It was a late night, just before Christmas and I’m at an event at the Horseshoe Casino downtown Baltimore.

I have to meet my manager for a toy drive promoted by a few folks who had invited a few “industry” people to mingle and of course, donate some toys to some needy families.

It was a good night! I met a few people and even ran into a few Radio Chicks but one part of the night that was a truly a highlight was when I ran into the ladies of Shugga Mama Radio.

shugga mama 7

I had never heard of the show (until then) and I was truly inspired and excited to see two beautiful women doing their thing and hosting their own internet radio show that’s actually making some noise!

Since then, they’ve agreed to join me in the Urban Hang Suite and one of the hosts and I stay in contact with one another via social media.

So it was only right I ask for an interview! Why not?

Meet one half of Shugga Mama Radio (Radio On Fire) Miss Shamika Shantel:

 

Shugga Mama Radio 1

Station (market/format/timeslot): 

Radio On Fire is the home of ShuggaMama Radio. Live broadcast every Monday @ 6:30-8:30pm on Radioonfire.com.

 
How long have you been in the radio business? 

An exciting 2 years with many more great years ahead. Yes, I’m claiming it.

 

Have you ever been in any other markets? If so, where and for what station?

I also do party promotions, Event Planning, Public Relations for small businesses.

 

What is more enjoyable/different? 

I absolutely love radio and music but honestly, I enjoy the party planning more because I really just love seeing people having fun and enjoying life in the moment especially ones that I help create.

 
What was it about radio that struck your interest?

I love music and entertainment, so when I was presented with an opportunity to connect with people through music and conversation; I was like let’s do it!

 

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Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men?

Honestly, working with women has been easier than I expected.  In the past I have not had the best of luck working with females other than my best friend.  I host the radio show with Chenelle Nicole and we both have diva moments but we have become good friends outside of business so those moments go right over our head like it never happened.

The women in radio have welcomed me with open arms, as well as the men.  Much love to Tiara Laniece DTLR Radio and Star Brooks WPB Networks. The love and support has definitely been overwhelming because I wasn’t expecting it but definitely received and appreciated.

 

What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career? 

Knowing that so many people are watching, listening, and JUDGING!  I’m learning not to go home with people opinions of me because those opinions of me haven’t paid one bill yet.  *snaps* Hmph!

 

 

 

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?

No, I wish I did.  I would love to have one. But when opportunity knocks trial and error works best for me.

 

What do you think about most female personalities “losing touch” with those who aspire to be where they are? Have you ever experienced this?

No haven’t.

 

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How important is it for a female in your industry to reach out to other females to network, bond, learn, teach, etc?

It’s very important because coming together to be an inspiration to others.  We as woman have to learn how to uplift each other and come together.  There is power in numbers.  I’m actually working on an event now for teenage girls called L.I.L (Ladies Into Leaders) Tea Party.  I’m getting together a group of woman to speak and provide different resources to the city’s young ladies.
What makes a good radio talent?

Honestly I don’t know I am my worst critic and I’m still learning. But I do think you have to have tough skin you can’t always care about the negative things people have to say about you.

 

Is being an announcer where you want to retire?

Actually, no I want to produce radio and talk shows. I know it may be hard to believe but I’m a little shy; I rather be behind the scenes.

 

Do you want to lead in your industry at some point?  Oh Absolutely.

 

How challenging is it to come up with the topics of your show?

Not really, I always have so many crazy ideas in my head. What inspires you every day in reference to your show topics?  My friends we talk about the craziest things.  My show also highlights a lot of artists in the DMV so the talent also inspires a lot of the shows.
How do you respond to women in the media who become out of touch from those trying to reach that particular level of success?

Honestly I can only worry about me.

 

There are many women in internet radio who consider themselves “true to the game”. Is there a such thing? Terrestrial radio verses internet radio.

What does that mean exactly “true to the game”  I read the book and it doesn’t make me think of anything positive.  lol.. Seriously tho, I wouldn’t want to limit myself to one thing if I’m capable of doing it all.

Shugga Mama 3

 

Is there pressure to “look” a certain way in radio? (to be considered for hosting, television, other opportunities).

I believe so, I’m a thick girl and when I read people comments they are just cruel about how I look; never mind what’s coming out of my mouth.  They are more concerned with how my hair is, what I’m wearing, what animal I look like… it’s just bad.

 

Have you ever been fired? How did you bounce back? 

I’ve been able to control whether I work or not, so no.

 

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What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why?

R & B…I love 90’s R&B!

 

What is your TURN UP song?

Don’t judge https://www.youtube.com/embed/i_kF4zLNKio” target=”_blank”>Trap Queen (lol) and Baltimore’s own https://www.youtube.com/embed/i3i2s3JELFs” target=”_blank”>Tate Kobang “Bank Rolls”

 

You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe.

I love Trina but I would have to say Trina.  The energy was just weird. We didn’t even release it.

 

Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?

Maybe its just me but all the celebrities I’ve met have been just weird.  I think they all be on mushrooms or something..lol …Chrisette Michelle was pretty dope though.

 

What’s the biggest misconception about you?  That I have an attitude or I’m mean.  I really do have a “natural mean mug” but I’m really a nice person and almost always happy. You just have to get to know me and judge a book by its cover.   I will give the shirt off my back if somebody needed it.  I’m just about my business and don’t take no (bleep) when it comes to being treated fairly.

 

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Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why?  Awww man I have to say Angie Martinez and Baltimore’s own KiKi Brown be holding it down!

 

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t do it. (lol)  When people doubt me or don’t believe in me, it pushes me 10 times harder.

 

Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years?  Dominated by women.

 

If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say? Go for it! Don’t let nothing stop you from being who you want to become.

 

 

Who’s in your iPod/radar?

Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Baltimore artists.

 

What do you want your legacy to be?

Iconic

 

Biggest regret is….

No regrets; just lessons and blessings.

 

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How can people reach out to you?

www.shuggamama.com

shuggamamaonline@gmail.com

IG:  @ShuggaMama

Twitter: @ShuggaMamaradio

 

Read about some other sugah mama’s in the media:

 

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FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @RadioChickBrown

FOLLOW ME ON IG @JustKiKiBrown

FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

#UrbanHangSuiteExclusive: One On One w/ Baltimore’s Own Ashley T. Moore

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It was our first “official’ encounter but I had met Miss Ashley T. Moore before in passing at a function at DTLR to promote a new Uggs footwear line.

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.

Ki Ki and Ashley T Moore

 

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:

Twitter: @AshleyTMoore

Facebook: @Ashley T Moore

IG: @ashleytmoore

 

 

More amazing Baltimore artists you should also check out:

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FOLLOW ME ON IG @JustKiKiBrown

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @RadioChickBrown

FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

Headed To A Theater Near You: One on One w/ Kimia Workman (Actress/Dancer)

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2014-06-10 06.31.52

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:

   Kimmie 4   

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.

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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.

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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.

Kimmie 11 (Kimia w/ radio personalities for 92Q Konan & Dirty Rice) 

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.

Kimmie 2

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.

Kimmie 3 (Kimia with singer/actor Ray J)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Kimmie 9

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.

Kimmie 1

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.

Kimmie 8

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.

Kimmie12

How can people reach out to you? 

Twitter and Instagram @KimiaWorks

Facebook @kimiaworkman.

Email at kimar1002@comcast.net.

If you thought Kimia’s story was amazing, you might want to read up on these fabulous Media Chicks:

She’s A “Digital” Chick? One On One w/ Roxie Digital of Radio 103.9 New York

She’s A Diva Chick Doin’ Big Things in the VA: One On One w/ Dominique Da Diva

This Chick Is Hot Off Tha Wire! It’s Fredas Friday: One On One w/ Alfredas

The Pocket-Sized Fire Cracker Chick: One On One w/ Danielle Fiers

Oooh We Luv Ya B’more Brave: One On One w/ R&B Diva of LA Brave! [Video]

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown

FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

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She’s A “Digital” Chick? One On One w/ Roxie Digital of Radio 103.9 New York

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I surf the web A LOT and I listen to a lot of different stations (mostly urban format) and one station in particular is Radio 103.9 (Cumulus Media) in New York City.

I found Roxie Digital on IG and admired how she would post show content about television shows  such as Scandal, Love & Hip Hop, RHOA, and everything else that everyone else is talking and tweeting about.

She uses this information for her weekend show on Radio 103.9 which is one of the most important ingredients necessary to becoming an effective radio personality.

So of course, I had to reach out to her and ask if she wouldn’t mind sharing her expertise with This Radio Chick Rocks. She said “yes”!

Whenever you’re in New York or surfin’ the web (or in your app store), make sure you look up Radio 103.9, New York’s best mix R&B!

 

 

Roxie 4Radio 103.9, New York City, Sundays 3p-7p

 

How long have you been in the radio business? 

I have been in the radio business for 11 years!

 

Have you ever been in any other markets? If so, where and for what station?

Yes, I have worked in the Long Island market at WBAB-FM 102.3  and WBLI-FM 106.1

 

What is more enjoyable/different? 

All of my radio experiences have been enjoyable and different, but more importantly a learning experience that has helped me grow as a radio professional

 

What was it about radio that struck your interest? 

What I love about radio is its intimacy and the influence you can have from the use of your voice.

 

Would you say it’s hard to work with/for women in radio than it is to work with/for men?

Radio is a hustle 24/7 for both men and women.  Nothing is easy, but I would have to say as a woman, I have had some very unique experiences.

 

What do you think is the most challenging being a talent in your career? 

The most challenging aspect of being a talent in my radio career is the hustle because everyday we see new changes and we are in the business of “keeping up with what’s new” so we have to do our jobs as well as be in the know of whats going on locally and globally and with the climate of our current culture—it can be a challenging task at times.

 

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?

Yes I do have a mentor in radio.  My mentor is Deja Vu of 107.5 WBLS-FM in New York and she has helped me put situations in terms of my radio career into perspective especially during times that I felt little confidence.  She is very motivational and has been the voice I need to believe that I am built for radio!

 

What do you think about most female personalities “losing touch” with those who aspire to be where they are? Have you ever experienced this?

I have not personally experienced fellow female personalities “losing touch” with those aspiring to be where they are, but I have seen it and I feel like that is a confidence issue.  At the end of the day, it is about passing the torch.  We are looked up to, the standard, and the teachers who give our “students the tools and knowledge” to make it to graduation.

 

Roxie 5(Roxie w/ Radio 103.9 APD, Raphael George

 

How important is it for a female in your industry to reach out to other females to network, bond, learn, teach, etc? 

To me, it is in my core to network and give back to others—-especially other females in the radio industry.  It is important because there is someone to relate to, someone to learn from; a source to ask the questions no one else may be able to understand.  Due to the nature of our business, support is essential or you get lost in the hype!

 

 What makes a good radio talent?

A good talent does more than get on the mic and plays your favorite song. She gets in her listener’s head, she’s interested in likes and dislikes, she is involved in the community, she is as much a part of your life as you are hers ….she is just like you!

 

 

Is being an announcer where you want to retire? Do you want to lead in your industry at some point?

By the time I retire, I would love to provide opportunities to others in the radio industry by owning my own radio stations in both the US and the Caribbean.  I want to cultivate careers and be the catalyst for a new breed of media/radio personalities across the country.  I will do this through mentorship and building stations that will act as more of a learning institution than studios with mics!

 

 

Who are most difficult to work for: male/female managers? 

In my opinion, male managers are more difficult to work for at times because of ego.

 

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How challenging is it to come up with the topics of your show? 

There is little to no challenge in coming up with topics for my show because there is always something going on in the world, locally, or personally…I draw from everything in life to engage my audience

 

What inspires you everyday in reference to your show topics?  

My inspirations in reference to my show topics are music, the youth, what’s going on in our communities and love.

 

How do you respond to women in the media who become out of touch from those trying to reach that particular level of success? 

I am an advocate for creating your own lane in life.  We are all different in terms of how we reach our own success.  My response to women in media who become “out of touch” is to allow yourself to step “outside the box” once in a while in addition to staying true to yourself.

 

There are many women in internet radio who consider themselves “true to the game”. Is there a such thing? Terrestrial radio verses internet radio.

Again, as previously stated in my last response to the last question, we are all in our own lanes and come with our own level of confidence.  We are all working towards the same goal at the end of the day and that is reaching the masses through our message and using radio to get there.  If the particular place you are in life is “true” to you then so be it—as long as you are doing the game justice.

 

Is there pressure to “look” a certain way in radio? (to be considered for hosting, television, other opportunities)

I do believe there is pressure to “look” a certain way, although it is radio, when it comes to hosting and TV opportunities, we all know the deal….the prettier you are, the longer hair you have, the skinnier you can be is always an advantage, however, thankfully opportunities are opening for women who can express themselves authentically with curves, short or natural hair that are just as beautiful and relatable —-I think society is moving is so many different directions that the pressure is dissipating

 

Have you ever been fired?

No, I have never been fired.

 

How did you bounce back?

Although I have never been fired, I am a true hustler and I can bounce back from anything with my unique skill sets

 

What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why?

I listen to R&B and Caribbean (Soca/Zouk) music the most partly because I grew up on this music in my household and have worked primarily in Urban Contemporary/Adult AC formats.  However, I do enjoy a mix of genres from Top 40 to Jazz.

 

What is your TURN UP song?

My current TURN UP song is …… “B*tch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna …lol

 

You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview where it went terribly wrong? Describe.

I once had an interview with Swizz Beatz that was just uncomfortable because he just wasn’t into the interview.  It was very early in the morning and he kept giving me one word answers and the interview was one way.  I want to blame it on his early morning flight and fatigue and I definitely want a do-over ..lol

 

 

Roxie 2

Who was the best celebrity encounter and why?

I always say the best celebrity I encountered was COMMON…he is so down to earth, personable, and funny!

 

What’s the biggest misconception about you?

The biggest misconception about me is that People think I NEVER sleep …totally NOT true …I get at least 4 to 5 hours a day!

 

Roxie 6

Why don’t people get about music when it comes to radio?

I think people don’t get that we don’t just play anything on the radio …I can’t count the number of music I get submitted to me and people just expect me to play it right there on the spot!  There is a process to everything in life folks! People’s actions as of late when it comes to music on the radio is definitely a sign of the times!

 

Who do you most admire in the radio industry and why?

The person I most admire in the radio industry is no longer in the industry but has definitely made her mark …it is Wendy Williams!  I’ve always admired her for her bold approach on the radio, drawing people in with her stories (She is a great storyteller) and she is truly an entertainer. Wendy is definitely one of the best to do it—-Queen of All Media!

 

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The best advice I ever received was from both my high school Social Studies teacher and former President of Def Jam and record exec Kevin Liles and they said “You will always be learning, it is okay to be an intern wherever you go because you are a student of life!”  In fact, Kevin Liles even referred to himself as an intern at his present position in life and that he learns something new everyday!  That advice alone helped me to appreciate my learning process in the industry and my journey.

 

 

What’s the biggest misconception about women in radio?

I don’t think there are many misconceptions particularly about women in radio as there are about women in media in general. I think women who are actively involved in multi-media platforms have the misconceptions that they are workaholics and do not have much of a social life.  Part of this is true, but it is doable—you always make time for people and things you want in your life.  I am living proof of all this!

 

Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years?

Everything evolves ….Urban radio will be revamped and listened to differently!  Artists are challenging themselves musically. Currently, we are in an age of social media and we are all expressing ourselves in an honest and authentic way!  I am excited for urban radio in the next 10 to 15 years and being a part of the change!

 

What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B?

Hip Hop is too generic and has no real message these days!  I remember when people used to watch music videos or wait for shows like Music Box to see the latest video and artist interviews ….today that is non-existent!  We are not as excited about the visual or lyrical part of the music industry anymore!  It is sad when a culture is disrupted in this way, the music industry needs healing.

 

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Who do you think is the most under-appreciated artist out there right now?

In my humble opinion, currently the most underrated artists today is Janelle Monae and Jhene Aiko ….. their music is timeless

 

Who’s in your iPod/radar?

As far as who is on my IPod/radar …I am feeling Mali Music, Sam Smith, Drake, Jidenna, Jazmine Sullivan, Kendrick Lamar, and K. Michelle just to name a few

 

What do you want your legacy to be?

I always say I want my legacy to be that I created opportunities for others to grow, live their dreams, and fulfill their goals whether it be through creating jobs, mentorship or teaching others what I’ve learned through my personal and professional life! I want to be known for working towards the advancement of my community and moving the culture forward!

 

 

If you could give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality, what would you say?

If I were to give advice to someone wanting to be a radio personality today, I would say take everything you learn in life as a stepping stone to helping you get closer to sitting in front of that mic!  You will be surprised at how much your life experiences will contribute to your professional life.  Also, hone in on your people skills and focus on skills you may not think matter but are very important..like reading, listening, communicating clearly with others, research, and socializing/networking at events.  Its the little things that takes you big places!

 

Biggest regret is….

Ideally I can say “nothing” because everything in life happens for a reason….I truly believe that, but I do have to say I regret not pursuing a career in teaching.  Initially I started out at St. John’s University Queens Campus as a Spanish major with intentions of teaching high school students, but that changed once 9/11 happened my freshman year and  I made the decision to follow my inner dreams.  September 11th was a turning point in my life and I am thankful of my decision to follow my calling in life.   Although, I did not pursue teaching, God graced me with an even bigger blessing of allowing me to work with kids through my non-profit campaign, the No Disrespect Campaign!  Again…everything happens for a reason!

 

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How can people reach out to you?

Twitter:  @roxiedigital

Instagram:  @roxiedigital

Facebook:  facebook.com/Roxiedigital

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbaradelaleu

Email:  BUtifulstrngr212@gmail.com

 

Checkout these stories of some talented radio chicks around the US: 

 

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FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

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The Evening Anchor Chick: One On One With Vanessa Herring of WBAL-TV

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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:

 

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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.

 

Venessa Herring 3 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.

 

Vanessa Herring 2 Reporting life for WBAL in Baltimore City.

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.

 

Vanessa Herring 1 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!

 

 

Who do you admire the most in this industry?

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.

 

Vanessa Herring 6 Skydiving for the American Lung Association. Thanks to viewer donations I was able to raise more than $1,000 for the organization

 

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.

 

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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.

 

Vanessa Herring 7Challenging viewers and Ellen DeGeneres to take the JDRF egg crack challenge. The goal is to raise money and awareness about the disease.

 

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!

 

Venessa Herring 6

How can people reach out to you?

Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanessa_herring

Instagram: www.instagram.com/vanessa__herring

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VanessaReports

my blog: www.vanessaherring.wordpress.com

website www.vanessaherring.com.

 

 

Checkout these stories on some other dope MEDIA CHICKS in front of the camera:

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The R&B Diva Of B’more: One On One w/ Paula Campbell [Video]

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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:

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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!

 

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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.

 

Paula and Neyo

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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

 

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How can people reach out toyou? 

IG & Twitter @PaulaCampbell

Website IamPaulaCampbell.com

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

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The Be Extraordinary Chick: One On One w/ Ericka Alston, CEO The BE Extraordinary Project

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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.

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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:

 

Ericka Alston 1(Erica Alston, Founder/CEO The BE Extraordinary Project) 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

ERica Alston 8 (Erica w/ TRCR alum Rochelle Boykin and Tabitha Richardson)

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.

 

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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!

 

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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>

 

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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.

 

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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

IG: Just_Ericka2

Feel free to email me:  Easlton@penn-north.org

 

More Extraordinary Women In Some Extraordinary Places:

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown

FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

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This Diva Knows Some Hair Honey! One On One w/ Cindy Tawiah, CEO of Diva By Cindy

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Baltimore is known for the hottest hair stylists and the best hair trends across the country.

It’s one thing to know a dope stylist but it’s another to know a chick who can put together some amazing hair products to help your crown stay looking beautiful and healthy.

DivaByCindy, owned and operated by Cindy Tawiah, is one woman in the hair care industry who has the passion to reach out to her community promoting a healthy lifestyle (for your hair, that is). She’s been featured in many magazines, blog sites and the most powerful method of communication…WORD OF MOUTH!

I use DivaByCindy products and I must say if it weren’t for Miss Cindy’s hair care products, I would be planting flowers at my edges’ gravesite (no joke).

How did Miss Cindy get started? Why did she choose the hair care industry to build her empire? Find out inside our one-on-one:

 

Diva By Cindy 5 (DivaByCindy, CEO Cindy Tawiah)

 

What is your occupation?

I am a manufacturer of a hair care brand which heals hair and hearts. I am an intuitive healer and an author. I am also a former Hair salon owner (7 years)

 

What made you want to get into this particular industry?

When I was 16years old, I was introduced to beauty product manufacturing . I was failing a Chemistry class and my teacher taught me how to make nail polish and lipstick. He inspired my love of the subject by teaching me a practical application. We had a science fair and he presented me as a Cosmetologist and a Chemist. My passion was born, but due to parental pressure, I decided to pursue a career as an RN. However, I left nursing after 13 years to become an entrepreneur.

 

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What is it about you competitors that help your product stand out? Our focus has always been on healthy hair (whether natural or relaxed), women shed 100 -150 strands of hair per day and Diva by Cindy contains  powerful healing  ingredients such as, panthenol , chamomile ,horsetail, rosemary, peppermint , camphor, menthol to mention a few. Which help stop hair shedding and breakage and help stimulate hair growth.

Because of my background in health and science, our products were also designed to include women who experience hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, hypertension, thyroid issues etc. For those who have experienced traction and tension alopecia, we have a great product, the Super Gro Hair dress, which helps restore growth.

Our product is the only hair care brand which not only donates proceeds to help victims of domestic but also helps the  homeless by providing a day of beauty and healing for the ladies from local shelters through The Diva Project.

 

 

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How did you get started in your career?  I finally had the courage to leave Nursing after 13 years. I was extremely disillusioned with my life and choice of career. I knew from day one as an RN that I didn’t belong ( I loved the patients , I loved caring for people). I belonged to something which could help me reach more people and touch lives in a more profound way and what I am doing is it.

 

Did you go to school for this? I have a strong science background and had a lot of experience running my hair salons for 7 years. Everything I did has prepared me for this.

 

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Back in the day, could you see yourself doing this type of work? Yes, the products were always my passion, but I didn’t realize that the Social Entrepreneurship would be also be my vocation . I wanted to create beauty products when I was younger , but now my hearts desire and focus is to use the brand to help women in a more life changing and meaningful way.

When a women uses the products, her hair becomes healthier and she experiences growth, less shedding, breakage, and an overall transformation in her hair’s look and feel. What she doesn’t realize is that the products she has bought and are also opening the door to healing for another women, a victim of domestic violence who will experience a life transforming day from Diva by Cindy because of the actions of the initial purchaser. We are here on this earth to make a difference and everything we do affects another. So setting off a positive chain reaction and a cycle is what this brand does. We are about healing hair and hearts in the community.

 

What shocks you today about how far you’ve come in this industry?

The seven years have been wonderful and I am grateful to God for sustaining me this far, because the cliché is, “ Most businesses fail within their first 5 years”, mistakes may occur but failure is not an option. Because we are providing  a service that is needed for those without a voice , we are genuine and sincere.

In the hair care industry there are so many who are motivated only by themselves and their companies profits. But we serve our consumers in a more compassionate and caring way. My hearts concern and desire for every woman who connects is the she find peace and healing and learns to love  and embrace her hair whether its natural and relaxed.

 

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What does or has your business done to help the community? (outreach, foundation, community service, free service, etc)

Our business is focused on helping and healing victims of domestic violence and have helped over 450 in MD, DC and VA via our programme( The Diva Project). Sunshine Promises is our Foundation and we have provide : FREE Hair services, manicures, massages and have had various speakers during events to help uplift and transform the ladies from shelters and transitional housing whom we service.

Because your brand serves a particular genre, do you feel that sometimes people take advantage of you or your service? If so, how do you deal with that?  No, the victims of domestic violence have not taken advantage of our services because they truly need them.

 

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What is the scariest part about working in this field?

I have not had any fears with my products its more so my Healing Gift . When people find out the uniqueness of what I possess they require more of me and sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed by that .

 

Have you ever had a terrible learning experience while working in this industry?

Yes, there have been many. There was a gentleman in the industry who promised to get my products out there if I paid him certain amount of money. Against my better judgment I did and he never produced and he took off. I have paid PR companies (owners of PR and marketing companies) who have scammed me and delivered no results. Stores and people who ask for FREE products and  state they will help and they receive the items and reveal the true intentions. Because I am passionate about what the products do ( restore hair to it optimal health, growth) and who it also helps I find that there have been a lot of trickery out there . Even though I have a strong sense of intuition my love for wanting the products to grow exponentially ( Nationally ) has blinded me  to some of the dishonest dealings of those seeking to “ Rape a sister “ who is only trying to help another sister who may have been violated.

 

Diva By cindy 9 (Miss Cindy and singer Sevyn Streeter)

What was the best advice given to you?

Watch your transactions with people. Money is not the only form of currency, “ Spirit is a currency” there have been key people in my life this year who have made a huge difference in my life my helping me in a very profound way and I will not let them forget how there  kind words actions and belief in what I am has meant so much.

 

(Check out this old video footage of Radio Chicks Rock alum LaDawn Black! WOW)  

Would you say that you understand the difference between gifts and talents? What are your gifts and talents? Yes I do “Your talents” are incorporated into your skills at work and in your career you can develop . Your gifts are what you are born to do. Operating in your gift is effortless.

 

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Were you ever on the receiving end of a customer or client’s reaction that surprised you so much it made you think about why you do what you do? Describe. When doing in-store promotions you approach people and share product knowledge etc, some people may appear angry and abrupt. But I always know in my heart that they me be reacting not to me but something internally (within themselves).

 

Who do you admire in this industry? Why?

Paul Mitchell ( John Paul Degoria) I would love to meet him he is hard working , kind and philanthropic their company also helps the needy and make a difference. Love his philosophy.

 

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Does it ever become too much for you? How do you remain focused and positive? Not at all , Changing the world “ One day and one Diva at a time “ I meditate and try and spend Sundays clearing my mind by watching Lifetime. I learn to forgive and move on each day is a new day filled with opportunities.

 

I believe I saw your product in a major magazine. If true, what was that experience like for you? (if this does not apply, please leave it blank) We were featured in Essence Holiday gift guide a few years back . We have been in industry magazines like Beauty Store Business, and I am a contributing writer for OTC . WE would love to share our journey and mission with O and Essence etc so women can realize their true potential. The title of my book is “Metamorphosis: Finding Your Passion , Finding Your Purpose, Finding U” It is my journey from Hair care to health care and it chronicles my experience with domestic violence. I believe a major magazine feature would help inspire more women to “ Change their focus and change their  future”

 

Have you had your “mama I made it” moment yet? If not, what would that be for you?Not yet, I am so hard on myself and always feel there is more to do. More lives to change. I believe it will happen soon though .

 

Where do you see your business going in the next 10-15 years?  International (yes we have received orders from England and shipped products to Ghana West Africa ( where I was born ) I see more women with hair and life transformational stories.  Using my gift and my products to reach all who desire : Healing Change and Transformation. Distribution in chain retail stores where women can have access to the Diva by Cindy products.

 

If there was something you’ve never done before but you were given the opportunity to do it today, what would it be?  I would have loved to do what I am doing now earlier, timing is everything . And all my experiences have led me to this point .I may love and care too much , and that’s alright because the secret ingredient in the Diva Products is LOVE

What is your favorite quote and why? Spirit is a currency  (Cindys Quote) and you can’t receive with a clenched fist.

 

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How can people reach out to you?

Website www.divabycinbdy.com

Call : 1800-929-4057

Facebook @DivaByCindy

 

 Read about more powerful chicks in business doing great things:

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown

FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

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The Pocket-Sized Fire Cracker Chick: One On One w/ Danielle Fiers

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Danielle Fiers was a promotions assistant at 92Q Jams (Baltimore) for several years. She was the pint-sized chick who used to sing Michael Jackson songs EVERYWHERE!

You would catch Danielle wearing MJ glasses, a t-shirt, maybe rocking a glitter glove and definitely singing an MJ tune; that’s a given!

She doesn’t just LOVE MJ….she REEEEALLY LOVES Michael Jackson!

That’s not just Danielle’s story though. She’s so talented and funny and passionate about music. She sings! She writes! She doesn’t dance much but she tries! (lol)

Danielle Fiers is one of the most disciplined people I know who enjoys what she does! As long as it makes sense, she’s on it!

She left Radio One a few years ago to chase her dream of becoming a singer in LA. She’s taking her time and networking her little ass off!

We check in with each other from time to time. I’m so proud of my “lil’ girl” (something I call her after I heard actress Jennifer Lewis say it in on a ‘Girlfriends’ episode)

She has a few singles out and she’s working hard on an EP! Remember the name: DANIELLE FIERS!

Here’s her story:

Danielle Fiers 1 (Singer Danielle Fiers)

Where are you from? From Baltimore, MD

How long have you been singing? Since the age of 9 in church

What genre of music do you really like to listen to the most and why? I enjoy oldies more than anything…is Michael Jackson a genre?! Can we just turn him into one?! lol Him too!!

What is your LET IT GO song? (one that you would absolutely lose your mind listening to) Ohhh…my “LET IT GO” song? Hmmm…That’s a tough one…so much great music…IDK….between Beyoncé, Janet, and MJ…one of their up tempo songs. But specifically, IDK..lol

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You’ve worked with lots of singers, song writers, producers in your career. Was there ever a time you had an uncomfortableexperience where it went terribly wrong? Describe. Well!! The first time I went to the studio with a well known Bmore rapper, was my first “Mary Jane” experience. And I’ve never smoked, I just mean SEEING IT!!!! I was sooooo uncomfortable around “The Blunt.” LOL!!! He asked me to hold it for him…I said “Oh…noooo…I don’t want to touch it..” hahahahah

 


Who was the best celebrity encounter and why? …..*chuckles*…. No, no! I’d have to say meeting Alicia Keys!!!! She walked in and I was singing  her song “No One” and she LOVED IT!!! (Kiki you remember!!). Hearing her tell me I have an amazing voice and letting her know I won Showtime At The Apollo singing and playing her song “If I Ain’t Got You” was EPIC!!!! And her little boy Egypt was too cute! I got to Babysit him while she did the meet and greet!!

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What’s the biggest misconception about you? The biggest misconception about me is probably people thinking I’m stuck up (**KIKI** lol). I am naturally shy around people I don’t know, and have very little to say in the beginning lol. So really I just quietly observe. Once I know you, you’ll want me to shut up lol!!!

What genre of music would you say doesn’t get the most credit? Ummm.. I’d have to say…singer songwriter maybe? I personally never knew how great acoustic music could be til recently. It has such a laid back feel, I love it.

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What are your thoughts about independent artists and nationally recognized artists? My thoughts…I mean…in this day in age, I don’t think it matters. As long as you have the final backing you’re good.

Do programs like YouTube, and Spodify give artists a bad name or a greater advantage of being recognized? Greater….anything is a platform

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What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? BE YOURSELF. I think Sam Smith said it best at the Grammy’s… He tried to make music that wasn’t what he felt and it went nowhere. Finally when he was just HIMSELF, he won 4 Grammy’s and took the music world by storm. No fun trying to be like other people.

 

What’s the biggest misconception about women in this industry? I hate the stigma in general that a female is looked at as a whore if she’s sexual, etc…Especially in this industry where Sex Sells (for the most part). That really GRINDS MY GEARS (Peter Griffin voice lol).

What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B? I think it’s just evolving like all music. Maybe one day it won’t be so ratchet lol!

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Who would you want to collaborate a song with and/or tour with? WELL! I am SO PREPARED to tour with The Jacksons!!!! *woop woop* I want to write with
Ne-Yo. He writes great melodies.

What was the funniest thing that happened to you while on tour or during your singing career? Hmm…I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. And to think…people say I’m funny!! But I can’t think of anything..probably having one of my “Blonde” moments.

 

 

Who do you think is the most underappreciated artist out there right now? I’d have to say Chris Brown. I hate how people never let stuff go. When the fans and the media can show me that their shit don’t stink, then you can continue to bash him and put him down. For something that happened YEARS AGO!!!!!! Get outta here with that!! #judgment smh “Let ye without sin cast the first stone” – Jesus #BOOM

Who’s in your iPod/radar? MYSELF

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? DEFINITELY songwriting for major artists

If singing wasn’t your “thing”, what else would you be doing? Psychology…I’m SO into the human mind.

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What do you want your legacy to be? “Damn she was amazing!! Wow! she was so little too!!” hahahahahaha!!

What’s your guilty pleasure? Reality TV!!! the more ratchet the better lol!

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How can people reach out to you? 

Twitter: @DanielleFiers

Facebook: Danielle Fiers      

Instagram: @DanielleFiers

 

Other B’more Bred Singers/Performers Who Rock:

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown

FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown

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