Inspired,Victorious, Empowered: One On One w/ Vanessa Payne

2014-06-10 06.31.52When I asked Vanessa Payne if she would grant me an interview, her first response was “LOL! Wow! Thank you!” She was a bit nervous about it because no one really asks her about her life. They never ask her how she got to be so confident and strong as a woman living with Lupus. You’ll find that Vanessa Payne is just like every other woman who lived through so much turmoil and is now standing tall; making a difference.

We met through an email. She asked me if I would help her raise money for Lupus Awareness in a Lupus Walk. I must admit, I really didn’t know much about the disease so I was more curious about it than anything and I wanted to help someone who has always shown her support for my career. It was only right, and I’m glad I did. I met an amazing woman!

Lupus Walk

This Sunday morning, as you prepare for your weekend worship service, know that you’re not alone in your storm. God will carry you THROUGH every bit of turbulence only to place you in a peaceful stretch of life (only to go through it again).

As a woman living with Lupus, Vanessa doesn’t let it stop her! Read her story and be blessed.

Vanessa Payne photo

Where are you from?

I come from a small poor town in upstate NY called Troy (close to Albany).

What don’t people know about you?

My family had a lot of dysfunction, child abuse and physical, domestic, and just plain crazy. My mother was abused for years and years, but after years and years of abuse from the men, my mother had enough. My sisters’ father had been beating so much that one day, she just couldn’t take it anymore! Next thing we know is we’re standing there she pulled a gun out and she shot him in front of us. Needless to say, my life and my sisters and brothers was never the same.

I was on my own at the age of 15. To find work, I lied about my age but I supported myself at the age of 16. A girlfriend took me to the local carnivals and I met a man who traveled with the carnival. He told me that I could stay with him for the rest of my life and I decided to go with him because I felt that he was my escape. So I left and never looked back!

When were you diagnosed with Lupus?

In 2008, I started missing time at my job that I held for 15 years. There was a time that I was bedridden with swollen limbs that hurt so bad. I felt like death! It was a year later when I was experiencing  a painful ear ach (this was in May of 2009). The doctor looked at my face and found round purple sores. Then she asked me a quesiton that I would say changed my life forever. She asked “has anybody ever told you that you have lupus?” I laughed at her “What? Lupus?” I didn’t know much about it but to me lupus was a death sentence!!!

After many tests and skin biopsies, it was confirmed that I did have SLE and Discoid Lupus!!!

How difficult is it living with this disease?

I can no longer make a long term plans because I would feel tired all the time. Thing is for me, I would push myself to a point that I would have a flare-up that not only affected my family, my life, my friendships, my job, but my everyday living. It affected my husband and our relationship as well as my relationship with my daughter. There are days that I just couldn’t (and still can’t) get out of bed because I’m just too tired.
I want to sleep but my body aches and my fingers and joints swell up. You’re tired and you’re nasty and you’re hurt and you’re mean and they say you hurt the ones you love the most.

What’s a good day and when was the last time you had one?

I try to make everyday a good day because if I didn’t try, my world would really not be nice place.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Lupus?

When people say “wow you don’t look sick”! People don’t understand that all day long my body on the inside is damaging itself. Like I’m allergic to my own body so in layman’s terms what happens to the inside of a hotel room after a rock star is having a major rock party damage. It’s like my body is having a big rock party; breaking and damaging my insides. Everyday my lungs, liver, heart, emotions, kidneys, and my mind are damaged in ways that you could never imagine! So I encourage people to take a minute and read about The Spoon Theory and maybe they’ll understand how we have to change our entire life on an everyday basis!!

What do you want people to know about Lupus?

Not to look at us as lazy. We’re sick! Ask us about it! Don’t be ignorant and think wow she an Auto immune disease. Live your life to the fullest, but always maintain your number one priority, you.

What are you doing to bring awareness?

I have fundraiser twice a year for lupus. We have a walk with Alliance For Lupus Research ( Last year, 97 people walked with me and helped raise over $11,000 for lupus research. That is my greatest achievement to date. I’m confident that it will be bigger and better next year. We need to find a cure.

It is not a discriminating disease! It affects African American women 3 times more but men and children also get it…

How can people reach out to you?

Facebook: @ravensgirl196r

Twitter/IG: @ravensgirl1964


lupus butterfly

Know the symptoms of Lupus:

  • Fatigue and fever
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion, memory loss


For more on Lupus Awareness: 

World Lupus Day

Lupus Foundation of America

Alliance for Lupus Research – Prevent Treat and Cure …

Celebrities With Lupus

Follow Me On Twitter/Instagram @JustKiKiBrown

Fan Me On Facebook @MsKiKiBrown

promo pic 3


Can I Attend Your Christmas Party? No, I’m Serious!

2014-06-10 06.31.52Now, I’ve been invited to FEW (yes, that was shade) Christmas parties (not including my workplace “gatherings”) but I have NEVER been to a REAL Christmas party.

You know the ones I’m referring to. Where everyone drinks from REAL wine glasses, with a waiter/waitress serving h’orderves and a patiently waiting bartender ready to pour you a drink (for free I might add).

I want to know how I can get an invite to one of those parties! Don’t get me wrong, the “regular” parties that involve boxed wine, paper cups and plates, pot-luck, CD on repeat shing-digs are pretty cool. But can I experience this once in a lifetime moment to laugh at a few dry jokes and participate in some uncomfortable pop culture/political conversation?

Who throws these parties anyway? I’m thinking rich people! (that was a joke) I have associates that work in high profile positions (I think) but are they close enough to my social status to even get an invite or e-vite, text (not group), or Facebook event reminder to add me to their list of attendees?

I’m a pretty cool chick! I can chuckle with the best of them! If you’re considering sending me an invite to your not-so-regular holiday party, I’ll research every newspaper, watch every talk show (did plenty of that during my medical leave), and I’ll even work out to lose 10 pounds just so that I can look “the part”!

So, Matt Lauer, Ericka Hill, Mayor Rawlings-Blake,  Baltimore Ravens/Orioles…I’m waiting!

Ok…I’m done! Does this make any sense to you? A holiday party is a holiday party! It’s fun when you can enjoy the holidays with people you know and admire and can share personal and professional stories without feeling like you just sent an uncomfortable photo to the entire world, thinking you hit “delete” button. (witness)

So, either way…I’ll be happy just to get an invite! I’ll even bring a dish! Think about it! I’ll be here!

Oh and happy holidays! (insert cheesy smile)

By the way, I found some online tips that might be a good way to get you going:

Follow Me On Twitter/Instagram @JustKiKiBrown

Fan Me On Facebook @MsKiKiBrown

promo pic 3

You may also want to read:

Common Pic 2 Derek Luke David E Talbert Derek Luke

This Natural Chick Rocks! One on One w/ Zarah Charm


You don’t have to be a natural girl to know this woman, but it would make more sense if you were.

I met Zarah Charm a few years ago when I wanted to make the transition from relaxer to natural (not once, but twice). My line sister told me about this chick who is “really talented and can do some hair” she told me. And she was right! (thanks Fab!)

So, I walked into the salon where this big haired, almond shaped eyed, bright smiling young lady was there to greet me. Her voice is soft and her handshake made a statement that said “I know what I’m doing”.  Call me crazy, but a handshake says a lot and I knew I was good from that point.

Zarah Charm is one of the most talented naturalist in Baltimore and I believe in other big cities because people travel to see her (one because she’s always booked and two…well, because she’s freakin’ awesome!) She’s so good, even songstress Marsha Ambrosius knows about her and she’s been featured in Essence Magazine!

I’m a tender-headed chick and it was never an issue. Zarah will refuse a relaxer in a minute so please don’t try it. She’s educated about natural hair so if you need a tip or some advice on how to treat your naps, feel free to hit her up!

Ok, enough of me blowing this girl’s head up any further. Check out my one-on-one w/ the ONE AND ONLY (there I go again..) Zarah Charm:


When did you start doing hair?

I began doing hair in 2002… not seriously but just to get by while I was in school.  I made it my full time career two years ago.

Who do you admire the most in the hair industry?

The hair industry is always changing… what is hot today in out tomorrow. Keeping up with the trends is fun! I’m always learning something new.

Why did you decide to do natural hair verses relaxed hair?

I decided to specialize in natural hair for several reasons. One reason is because it is healthier. Our skin absorbs everything that touches it… so if we are placing a harsh chemical on our scalp how is that affecting your health? Second, it is hard to find someone stylists willing to care for natural hair holistically.

What stands out about you that sets you aside from other stylists?

What sets me apart from other stylists is that I take care of holistically. I will prep your hair using quality products and gentle hands and style your hair giving you the look you’re going for… professional/conservative/playful/mature/eccentric… etc… What sets me apart is I have the hair to prove that I have growing hands… haha.

What irritates you the most about people and how they treat their hair?

What irritates me most is the person who is looking for hair advice and is not completely honest with me about what they’ve been doing to their hair. I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what has been going on!

The biggest misconception about natural hair is…..? It is always big afros and uncombed naps. Natural hair does not equal unkempt.

zarah with client

When all else fails and your hair isn’t cooperating, your advice would be to………Let your hair do what it wants to do. Most of the time it doesn’t look as bad as you think it does.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I live in the moment. At this moment it’s all about hair J

How can people reach out to you?

If you would like to see my work or book an appointment check out

Instagram and Twitter: @ZarahCharm

Youtube Search: Zarah Charm

You may also want to read:

4 Reasons Why Your Twist Outs Aren’t Correct

VIDEO: Top Questions To Ask Your Stylist Before Going Natural

The Problem With Length Checks and Hair Challenges (A Friendly Critique of the Hair Goals Set on Forums)

Follow me on Instagram/Twitter @JustKiKiBrown

Fan Me On Facebook @MsKiKiBrown

promo pic 3

Fix It Jesus: One On One w/ A True Sister United In Verse, Mrs. Sonya Caldwell

2014-06-10 06.31.52

I’ve heard Steve Harvey say every morning when he began his radio show “prayer changes things”. Even my mom says “all you need is prayer”. I agree 100% and I’m thankful for those people that GOD placed in my path that continue to pray for me and bless me with favor because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. That’s real talk!

One particular person you don’t know (but you will know her now) is a friend and a sister of mine who I was blessed to know about 8 years ago and am blessed to know today because GOD knew I needed her spirit around me to guide me and guide you in the direction you were purposed to be in.

I shared some of her posts on her Facebook page, Sisters United In Verse  which helps people of every age, race, cultural, or professional background  find their inner voice, peace and self love.

Sonya Caldwell and her staff bring prayer, inspirational quotes, personal testimonies and more to readers through her website,, from across the world.

Here is my One on One with President and Founder of Sisters United In Verse, Mrs. Sonya Caldwell. I pray it touches your spirit:


How did you get started with Sisters United in Verse?

I left corporate America as an executive a year ago after over 20 years of a hectic demanding career.  I knew when my season for change came that I desired to serve God in a new way.   It was 10 years of preparation for leaving corporate America.  I prayed often for the change, but I didn’t know it would take that long.  When I left it was definitely a walk of faith, I asked the Lord to lead me to my purposed life and he began showing me things that led me to Sisters United In Verse.  I wanted so much to spend my life serving others and pleasing God that I was willing to submit to HIS will to do whatever he called me to do.

Why did you think it was important to start up this site?  

As I matured more in Christ, I started wanting ways to share with women about my learnings and journey.  I was seeking and desiring a fellowship with other women and I realized most of my friends were still in that hectic corporate life and they didn’t have time to talk and explore with me as much as I wanted.  So I prayed about it and was given this vision to reach out to women around the world who may be experiencing the same need for connection.  As I shared the concept to a few women at church, they would get so excited about it… I knew then that I was on the right path.  They too were feeling the same as I was… we enjoyed our Sunday services, Bible Study, women’s ministry but on a day-to-day basis we thirsted for more.  When you truly understand walking in the presence of Jesus daily and all that is requires to do so, you acquire a strong desire to connect with Him as often as possible and others who feel the same.


What did you do before you started the website and why was it necessary to switch gears?

I was an executive in Corporate America, traveling like crazy.  One year I traveled over 100,000 miles by air, I had a demanding role and my health started shifting from all the stress.  I knew over 10 years ago that I was ready for change, I wanted so much to live my life more freely and healthier.   I wanted to spend more time with my family especially after the birth of my grandson.  That “BIG CORPORATE LIFE” wasn’t appealing to me anymore, I desired to have more in my life.  After many years of seeing good people lose their jobs without notice and people making changes about my career without notice, I didn’t want to allow anyone else to control my destiny, I simply had enough.  I couldn’t live like that anymore.

What’s been the biggest response from people?

Absolute excitement and amazement….those who are close to me and on the team are really excited about this journey.  We have men and women supporters.   Those who don’t realize my background are amazed that I designed and built the site myself.   I often hear, it’s a much needed product.  I know that are thousands of sites out there with a similar mission, we’re not trying to be all things to all people, it was important to me to offer what God placed in me to do.  That included a fellowship with girls and women of all ages from around the world.  Reaching 4,000 Facebook followers the first month of launch has many people asking me “How is that possible for a grassroots website?.”  I love hearing that because it shows the power of God!


Why do you think it’s important to have spiritually based websites like yours?

In this day and age, different outlets affect and impact different groups.   Newspapers – my mom’s generation, TV News – my mom and grandmother’s generation, Internet – my daughters and my generation and so on…..

Life is fast-paced for most people and the internet provides a way to keep up, make it exciting, make it accessible, make it diverse and make it affordable.   There are a lot of things out there competing for our attention in the marketplace and unfortunately most of it is negative or inappropriate for those who desire and often struggle with a closer walk with Christ.  When we have positive, faith-based, news and messages available to us online, we as Christians have a way to spread the gospel, get connected and serve through ministry while promoting the teachings of Christ.  We need this, there is so much pain, crime, hatred and violence in this world and it affects us in such a way that we can’t even imagine for the most part.   Having spiritually based websites can save lives, lift spirits, ease pain, feed the spiritually hungry souls, teach the unteachable, nurture the broken and save the unsaved.  It’s so important.

Tell me the most touching story that inspired you to continue on.

I have two… a young woman in Africa sent me a message that read…  “Sisters please pray for me”  I responded that we would do just that and I asked her if there was anything in particular we can pray about for her…she responded “Yes, I want so much to have a better life, please pray that I finish school and I do good on my grades”  I was so moved by her because she was all the way in Africa asking me for prayer.  That was an incredible moment, I realized then that God intended for this ministry to be international and was humbled once again.

The second time, a First Lady from a church in Michigan reached out to me for prayer and that really caught me off guard.  We emailed one another several times and we were both blessed.  The fact that she would share so candidly moved me to tears because I realized at that moment, that I was being led to do something great for HIS Kingdom and all I could do was pray and read the word.   That moment taught me that I was going to experience things that only God could bring to pass and I want to be prepared for each step.  I don’t want to miss a beat nor displease HIM in any way.

In 5 years, where do you see yourself and your organization?

Well, I’ve already been working with the team to prepare for that… I see God moving us to a higher level with significant growth and unimaginable results.  Every day I wake up excited to see what he has for me to do.  Each week I get a new opportunity presented and as I pray about the direction HE has for me, I can’t help but to think about how great this will all be in 5 years!  We are gearing up for launching products through our online store this month, we are launching a book club this month for our young readers and next month we’ll launch the book club for our 18-35 (MPIII’s: Millennials Praising The Trinity) and the book club for our Sisters United In Verse.  We are working on a few cool brands for the MPIII’s to get more involved and excited about.  We are launching Brothers United In Verse next month, I have many brothers ready for that launch, they keep asking “What about us?”, now that they’ve seen the excitement around the Sisters site.  We also have some very exciting things ahead that I can’t talk about right now, but when I get to that point, you’ll be the first to know!!!

This whole operation is a subsidiary of Dayson Companies, LLC., I own Dayson Companies, LLC.  This week I’m launching Dayson Marketing, it’s a concierge of services to support faith-based organizations/churches, non-profits and small businesses with website development, marketing and social media.   You’ll see a navigation drop down on the site titled Services and there potential clients can learn more about the offerings of Dayson Marketing.   I have a lot of folks inquiring about work for churches, faith-based organizations, small businesses and non-profits and I hear a lot of bad stories about their previous experience with other service providers.  I just shake my head, I don’t understand how anyone can take money from people and then not care enough to deliver what they paid for, that just blows my mind.  But I’ve personally experienced it, so I know first-hand how much of setback it can me to these organizations.  I want to help fix that by giving back and be a blessing to others who struggle with getting great, quality services at an affordable rate WITH respect and care.  I already have a client geared up for Dayson Marketing!


If Sonya of today could speak to Sonya of 20 years ago, what would she say and how would she respond?

Sonya today would say, “Don’t waste your time trying to create a life filled with joy, accept the peace that God offers now and begin that life today.”

Sonya would respond “I do want that now and I need to release people in my life for that to happen.  Thanks for the heads up.”

What is your favorite quote and why?

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.  Horace Mann

It’s speaks to living a life of servitude and sacrifice as did Jesus and it demonstrates what we should do with our gifts and talents… and have the character to pursue victory for the good of all mankind.  That’s an unselfish life, pleasing to God.

How can people reach out to you?

 Follow Me On Twitter/Instagram @JustKiKiBrown

Fan Me On Facebook @MsKiKiBrown

promo pic 3

 You may also want to read:

15 Random Things Young Black Professionals Should Know Before Moving To New York City

What Your Personality Says About Your Health

So Now What?

2014-06-10 06.31.52

I’ve been on “leave” a total of 3 weeks and I’m losing my mind! You see, I had major surgery that caused me to take off work for a few weeks. The doctor told me that the surgery was pretty standard (of course it is, she’s a doctor…not the patient) and that my life will probably (yep…probably) be back to “normal” within the next few weeks.

After weeks of step by step walks, a few ouches and damn’s, I feel pretty good. I’m actually ready to come back to work! I’m ready to talk to my people! I’m ready to break the mic.

I feel lost! What’s going on? No! I know what’s going on thanks to the Today Show, Today’s Take, Kelly & Michael, Meredith, The View, The Talk, Steve Harvey, Ellen, the news, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition… see what I did there?

When you’re not doing anything and you’re mind is open to so many thoughts, it’s a little hard to get a grasp on just one thing. I feel bad for those hard working Americans (in any industry) who work hard and get let go for whatever reason.

I am confident GOD knows what he’s doing and that a window is bound to open for us all!

So here I am today, blogging about how bored I am and how much I miss my job. I work hard and I hardly take time out for myself. So why is it that I’m complaining about being bored? I’m crazy I guess.

Good thing is, during this entire day, I started working on my non-profit, PO Box, and this blog site! So I guess you can say it’s not all that bad, right?

Have you ever been off work (fired, laid off, disability?) and felt this way? What did you do about it? Click here for tips. (you’re welcome)

So, why did I finally decide to start a blog? Well, I’ve been told to do this a long time ago. I figured this blog will give you a chance to witness how I live my life, how I think, and why I do what I do. People think I live my life differently since I’m a radio personality (nope). Just me! KiKi Brown….

Let’s have some fun!



Follow me on Twitter/Instagram @JustKiKiBrown

Follow me on Facebook @MsKikiBrown

2014-06-10 06.32.36

You may also want to read:

Kanye Responds To Kim’s Cakes

Will Matt Lauer Chat With Ray Rice or Nah? 


Alicia Keys Ashanti B.O.B Adrian Marcell 50 Cent Big Sean  Brandy 1 Bill Bellamy