Category Archives: News

08Apr/19
Black Owned Healthcare Practice

Self Love Series | Black Owned Healthcare Practice Targets Sexual Health and Education

Black Owned Healthcare Practice

Vontrese at her practice.

“Everyone is doing it (sex) but nobody is talking about it.” I hear Vontrese Warren, nurse practitioner and fellow Louisville Central High school alum, explain. As a writer covering self-love and seeing sex as a part of that, I felt it important that Vontrese shares her story and the importance of sexual/reproductive health. Besides being a credible resource on the topic, Vontrese also co-owns her own healthcare practice (with Cynthia Parker) in west Louisville, KY. Their Black-owned healthcare practice focuses on reproductive health and education. West Louisville is not known to have many Black-owned healthcare businesses, especially not considering its population demographics.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What made you become a nurse practitioner? 

Vontrese Warren (VW): I have always wanted to be in the health field since I was a child, I really wanted to be a neurosurgeon. I attended Moorhead State University as a pre-med/chemistry major but realized it wasn’t for me and changed my major. That’s when I decided I wanted to be an obstetrician and went to nursing school. Once I completed the nursing bachelor’s program, I got a job working at UK (University of Kentucky) hospital in the labor and delivery department. For the next ten years, I held jobs at UK hospital, Medical University of North Carolina, and Baptist Health Louisville.

“I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others.” – Rebecca Lee Crumpler (The first African American Woman to earn a medical degree)

FYI: Crumpler, like Like Vontrese Warren, was a nurse for 10 years before she furthered her education and practice.  

DDF: What made you go into reproductive education? 

VW: After being on call on holidays during the summer and spring break when most families are on vacation and realized I’m missing out on family events like some of my sons’ events, I decided that I didn’t like the current lifestyle/schedule. I decided to go in another direction. It was at this point I decided to get my master’s in nursing at the University of Cincinnati. While studying nursing, I also studied sex counseling.

Black Owned Healthcare Practice

When you put yourself in a specialty, you put yourself in a bubble, like, a family nurse practitioner can get a job anywhere. However, I knew what I wanted to do and I didn’t want a job just anywhere.

It was difficult finding a job that fit me. Job after job, I searched and they were either already taken or not a good fit for me. I finally found a job at a doctors office where we performed aesthetic care which included weight loss management and reproductive care. This was right up my alley but it still didn’t work out.

After two years looking to find a job, I thought, if I can’t find a job I am going to make a job. So that’s what I did.

“…somewhere in your life, there has to be a passion. There has to be some desire to go forward. If not, why live?” –Alexa Canady (The first African American Neurosurgeon) 

DDF: What is the importance of sexual health education, outside of just grade school? 

VW: As I mentioned, everybody is doing it but nobody wants to talk about it. When people are talking about it, they are not discussing correct information. Like my son is in second grade, you have kids in third grade and up talking about sex but what are they saying?  

Even when it comes to the parents or grandparents sharing old wives tales about sex, these aren’t backed with education or studies. So, I like to inform people to give them the direction to go. If you are doing it the right way and have a good knowledge base, then you are better off in any relationship with your own sexual health and whomever your partner is.

“Talk to her about sex, and start early. It will probably be a bit awkward, but it is necessary.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

DDF: Do you have male patients as well? 

Both women and men are patients, but I have more women patients because I provide more for women. It just depends on the type of venue.

DDF: How important is sexual health and sex education to self-love? 

If you are unhealthy in any aspect, you have to take some accountability on why you are like that. Why aren’t you as healthy as you can be? You know what can be done and/or can seek the resources to help yourself.

DDF: What are your goals, both short term and long term? 

VW: My goal both short and long term is to educate the community on reproductive health and let people know that there are resources out there. Here in West Louisville, there are not too many businesses, let alone healthcare, but that’s why I have my services here.

If you are in the Kentucky area, visit Vontrese at her business:

Warren & Williams Health C.A.R.E., PLLC

2600 West Broadway, Suite 208, Louisville, Kentucky 40211, United States

Contact: [email protected]

Tel: (502) 653-9716 or (502) 309-4432

07Apr/19
Lunden DeLeon

Lunden De’Leon is Lighting Up Screens in High-Powered Roles

Lunden DeLeonRecently nominated “Best Leading Actress” for her role as a high powered attorney in the movie “Pure Justice,” actress Lunden De’Leon is no newcomer to television and film. “There’s nothing more exciting than developing a strong character and taking her from script to screen,” says De’Leon. “I’ve had the opportunity to portray some very powerful women throughout my career and for that I am grateful.” De’Leon has worked alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Her list of credits includes the blockbuster comedy “We’re the Millers,” Vital Signs,” “Sweet Home Carolina,” “Somebody’s Child” and, just recently, the police drama “The Carson Brothers” as well as the thriller “Angels Prayer.”

In “The Carson Brothers,” De’Leon portrays Captain Dillan, a hard-boiled police captain overseeing a team of police officers and investigators.  “We filmed the show in the North Carolina mountains,” claims De’Leon. “It will be hitting the small screen later this year so I’m super excited.”

Lunden DeLeonDe’Leon goes from playing a cop in “The Carson Brothers” to being the wife of a slain cop in the upcoming film “Angels Prayer,” a thriller about a police officer who goes through a traumatic experience when his partner is killed. De’Leon plays the role of Patricia. “Angels Prayer” is produced by G! It’s Entertainment, a film production company based in Los Angeles and South Carolina with films airing on Lifetime and Hallmark.
Follow Lunden De’Leon‘s journey and keep up to date on her endeavors via her website, Instagram, twitter, and facebook!
04Apr/19
Secret to Success

Why Your Squad is Your Business’ Secret to Success

So you’ve decided to take the jump and start your own business. You’re not alone. Entrepreneurship is popular. There has been no better time to be a Black Woman Boss than right now.                                                                                                     

In the past year, I took this leap. I invested several hours of research, had a business plan, paperwork filed, and was ready to open for business. I promoted and waited, but business didn’t boom as I expected! What do I do? I reached in my bag for my secret weapon… my squad of girlfriends. Here’s why you should too.

Your Squad Will Encourage You

Secret to SuccessAll entrepreneurs experience occasional self-doubt and those nagging questions of “what if I’m not successful?” or “what I am doing wrong?” Your squad will remind you that you’re amazing. Remember, you’ve already done the hardest part by simply getting started. Your support system will provide the encouraging words you need to move forward during the toughest of times. In my lowest moments of the process of launching my business, I knew that I could always rely on my close friends, and even some acquaintances, to let me know that they were proud of me. That support alone has kept me going and tenacious when facing the daily challenges of entrepreneurship

Your Squad Will Send You Referrals

Whether you’re selling a product or offering a service, getting the word out about your business to your target audience is paramount. While you can pay for marketing services, it’s even better to get it for free via word of mouth. Who better to tell the world about your business than your squad? They will spread the word to their networks,  simply because they love you and believe in you – no marketing budget required.

Your Squad Has Different Skills

Let’s say that you recently decided to start your own catering business. You’ve always been an amazing chef, and you love serving people. Great! Does that mean you aware best equipped to build a website or manage your finances? Not likely. You started your business because you’re an expert on your product or service. You don’t have to master every single aspect of running your business to be successful. This is where your squad comes in!

I hired one of my oldest friends to be my photographer and another friend to build my website. This freed up my time to focus on my other work. Now, EVERYTHING is top-quality.

Whenever you need feedback, a shoulder to lean on, or to perform some essential part of your business where you lack expertise, don’t just try to get through it yourself! Your squad is there to help you get through…and can take your business further than you’ve ever imagined! They’re literally your business’ secret to success…

22Mar/19
Celebration Of Our Queens

Lindi Roaming The Streets In Celebration Of Our Queens

‘Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’ (you strike the women, you strike the rock)

These words from the famous resistance song have come to symbolize the courage and strength expressed at the Women’s March of 1956 as South African women refused to give into increasing oppression without some form of protest.

Before the 1950s, only Black men were required to carry passes. This gave them permission to be in an urban area. Only people who could find work were given a pass. This allowed the government to control the influx of Black men into the cities. The passed law was one of the most hated of the apartheid laws. Men were repeatedly arrested under this law and it had the effect of turning the majority of the population into criminals.

In 1952, the government announced that Black women would also have to carry passes. Women actively resisted this. The idea began in 1955 at a meeting of FSAW, where a suggestion was made: “Let us go to Pretoria ourselves and protest to the Government against laws that oppress us.”

On the 9th of August 1956, over 20,000 women of all races marched in unison to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a petition to, the then South African prime minister, Hans (JG) Strijdom.

This was a significant turning point in the struggle against unjust apartheid laws. Though the march was against the restrictive pass laws, it led to significant changes towards the emancipation of women

‘Nelisiwe Mwase’, better known as “Nells”, optimizes the word “Imbokoto” (rock)! She’s a scriptwriter, content creator, music video producer, and actively manages Ofentse Mwase Flims, “OM Films”. The company was officially launched in 2017 as a comedy skit brand.

In that short space of time, Ofentse Mwase has been able to secure 1million views on two of their short film videos. While they don’t have a properly set up training program as yet, they take in a new intern from film school every three months.

They scout natural talent from underprivileged individuals who can’t afford tertiary education, and are passionate about film… encouraging them to start creating content with what they have, to develop consistency and discipline.

‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN MYSELF.’

“I couldn’t believe my own words. I could think of 10,000 different ways and things that anyone in public could say to discredit me. In my heart, I knew without any dim light of doubt; that I am great. I am gifted. I am good for it. This is my life.  But I was negative.”

-Nells

“I’m here to inspire”

Radical Creative Entrepreneurs

“My name is Ennock Mlangeni, a self-taught visual art artist based in Sasolburg, Zamdela SA. I specialize in various mediums from pens, paints, fabrics and pencil works.” His work is mostly influenced and inspired by women, as he has seen the strength that lies behind their beauty. Ennock started drawing in grade six and still remains loyal to the same resources he used when he began. He believes he stands a chance to compete with the new age technology material and artists, as he has refined and mastered his craft over the years using just basic tools… basic tools such as ballpoint pens, wax crayons, bottle caps, fabric etc.

     

“Black has never looked this good, bathed in the sun with pure sheer glow, black has never looked this beautiful. Dressed in the colours of my ancestors walking like the greatness of my past, I am not my scars but I am my heritage. Proudly reaping the presence of my heritage… black don’t crack, don’t crack, black don’t crack, as it oozes out of me cause kenna, it’s me, ndim dizibiqele ngoba ndim, black don’t crack. It simply draws the path on the palm of my hand…YES, black don’t crack! I am who I am because of my ancestors. My head wrapped in the presence of men to show respect, head bowed and knees bent to signify the presence of the man

Instika yesizwe

Black don’t crack black don’t crack black don’t crack because I am Instika Yesizwe.”

IG @mandy

Amanda Limpho Mboyi

15Mar/19
Anthony Trucks

Former NFL Player Anthony Trucks Explains How Self-Love Affects Your Service

Anthony TrucksAnthony Trucks is currently one of the few football players to complete an American Ninja Warrior gauntlet. At 225lbs he really wasn’t expected to complete the gauntlet because the people that are normally able to complete these obstacles are around 160lbs. He approached the obstacles at the event like he approaches life, looking to only to do his best and nothing more. Taji Mag was able to talk to the competitor and former NFL athlete about the importance of self-love, life shifts, and overcoming obstacles as a current self-help coach, influencer, and inspirational speaker.

“Sometimes it takes years to really grasp what has happened to your life.” – Wilma Rudolph

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What is an Identity Shift?

Anthony Trucks (AT): “We have a lot of things that vastly change in life, things like relationships, income, family, and self-image. Along with that is what we desire to change and that change comes from not only our mindset and habits but our identity as well. When our identity becomes dialed into where you want it to be, the mindset and habits will fall into place smoothly. I believe that when you have identity anchors in place, life becomes easier and smooth.

We as individuals want more. More love, more freedom, more time, etc. But we want these things without changing our routines or schedule. Life doesn’t work that way. I think the desire for change came through the desire to want.

I’m always looking back at my life to evaluate my desire for that certain period and time. At that point I was thinking about why I wanted to close my gym, why I didn’t do anymore consulting or guest speaking. Well, about two years ago I decided that the last thing I want to be on my deathbed is the person I could’ve been.

DDF:  What gave you the strength you needed during your childhood?

AT: Being a kid, you know no other option. For me, I started to grow into my conscious mind as a young fostered child. I knew no better nor examined the difference between my self and other kids until I was exposed to more things. It is then I began to question “Why don’t I have new clothes or why are there holes in my shoes?” I was lucky enough to have a caring foster family to get me through difficult times in my life. The other thing that helped was that I had people outside of my family who helped facilitate me into programs and spoke positivity into me.

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” -Muhammad Ali

DDF: What allowed you to move into your calling and current position after your career ending injury?

AT: The change from my NFL life was one of the big identity teachers for me, I think it’s a good teacher for anybody. I think what we do is what we become, much like if a person at a young age swings a bat every day, often times they become a baseball player. This happens to athletes and some people in the military. When you are an athlete, you base your sense of self-worth and guidance on this thing you do, but when the thing you do (career or activity)  is no more, you don’t know who you are.

I was smart enough to know that there may be an asterisk on the future of my football career, so I took care of my academics and made sure I graduated. When I came home, I started to figure out who I was because my life went from everyone wanting to talk to me and have me sign stuff to not even knowing my name because I didn’t play anymore due to my injury. That is definitely a difficult transition.

Anthony Trucks

I had to find a way to re-direct my energy into finding that new thing that made me feel as if I mattered. It helps me more when I find things that will help other people.

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

DDF: Where did this re-directing of energy take you?

AT: I decided that I wanted to use my kinesiology degree to open a gym. There was a drawback, however. I became hyper-focused on the gym. At the same time, I had a family – wife and kids – but I neglected them all with my focus being to maintain and build this gym. Thinking that if I had this thriving business then it would be best for my kids but all they wanted was quality time with me, money or not.

DDF: How do you use self-love to be the best version of yourself?

AD: The reason that I am able to serve at a high level is that I love me. When you love someone, you not only tell them that you love them but you love them with action. You don’t want to let that person that you love down, no matter who it is. Yet, we don’t take this same perspective and reflect it internally.

We eat a crappy meal during a diet, we miss a workout, we don’t make phone calls to people to help ourselves, or we don’t chase a dream. It is during these times that you are not doing actions of love to the person you need to do it for the most and therefore you don’t show up. That makes you feel like you are not deserving and when you feel that way, you don’t put things out into the world. Self-love affects your service for sure.

DDF: You have a wonderful family and of course you are full of good advice. What advice do you give your children?

AT: It’s a daily conversation with my kids. As children get into their teens, they seek freedom, they seek autonomy. Freedom is like value. It’s like giving a kid $20 million dollars, if you don’t have experience then you will burn through it.

In regards to adults, freedom is you get to make the choices you want to make but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about responsible decisions.

I teach my kids how to be responsible and, with that, explain how this approach will allow them to attain any goal.

Anthony Trucks

Check Anthony Trucks via social media and follow up on his TV appearances on American Ninja Warrior and more here!

21Feb/19
Growing Up Immigrant

Series, Growing Up Immigrant, Explores the Dynamics of a First-Gen Ghanaian-American

Growing Up Immigrant is a 6-episode cultural comedy and web series that explores the dynamics of first-generation, Ghanaian-American millennial, Nicholas Aajayi, as he navigates his career and romantic life while adjusting to living with his more “traditional” aunty. This series travels through so many cultural stigmas, most that people are silent about or choose to turn a blind eye towards.

Growing Up ImmigrantGrowing Up Immigrant’s creator, writer, co-director, and lead actor, Nathaniel Kweku, is American born but grew up going to Ghana every few years and recognized some strong cultural misunderstandings between Africans and African-Americans. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, he understood the dynamics of both sides and became passionate about helping to spread cultural healing. Inspired by legendary African leaders and activists such as Kwame Nkrumah, Fela Kuti, Jomo Kenyatta, and Steven Biko, Nathaniel believes that more holistic African stories are needed to heal the wounds of colonialism and slavery.

The series takes a comedic approach, in the beginning, joking about who makes better Jollof between Ghana and Nigeria but eventually leads us straight into the unjustified murders of unarmed Black men in America. Along the journey, we experience what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant, an elder African woman who is interested in dating but fears she is no longer desired, a millennial African woman who can’t find a man (particularly not an African one) to match her success who isn’t loving a white woman (Sidebar: she needs some restitution in a spin-off series), a Black man with a record from crimes he didn’t commit who cannot find a decent job due to said criminal record, dating a white partner who doesn’t understand… well… anything, and so much more. Watch it for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.

19Feb/19
High-End Black Designer

50+ High-End Black Designer Brands Across the Diaspora to Support Instead of…

High-end Black designer brands have existed for decades, yet we often look to the colonizers to flex our style. No more. Here are some extremely amazing brands with high-quality products to fill your closet listed in alphabetical order. Let us know your favs!

High-End Black Designer

Adele Dejak | AdeleDejak.com | @AdeleDejak
Adele Dejak The Brand is home to luxurious African inspired jewelry handcrafted in the heart of Kenya. Everything comes from materials that different African tribes would use to make their ornaments and trinkets. We have contemporary, artistic and wearable bags, necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets not forgetting some exclusive home decor items. If you consider yourself sophisticated, edgy, trendy and fashionable, Adele Dejak is the brand for you.

High-End Black Designer

Adoni MMVII | AdoniNYC.com | @AdoniNYC
Signature products, apparel, and accessories.

High-End Black Designer Brands

Ainsley & Troupe | AinsleyAndTroupe.com | @AinsleyAndTroupe
Ainsley & Troupe believes there aren’t many things in life (aside from a strong spiritual foundation) that gives a man confidence and a sense of purpose quite like being well-dressed does. Their aim is to equip men with the sartorial tools they need to exude confidence and remain purpose-filled throughout their everyday lives.

High-End Black Designer

Andrea IyamahAndreaIyamah.com | @AndreaIyamah 
Andrea Iyamah, owned by Nigerian fashion designer Dumebi Iyamah, is a clothing line strongly inspired by color and ethnic cultures. Although Andrea Iyamah is popularly recognized for its eccentric and unique take on swimwear, using vibrant colors and cuts inspired by an array of African cultures, the brand also specializes in ready-to-wear and custom made special event dresses.

High-End Black Designer

Armando Cabral | Armando-Cabral.com | @armando_cabral
Founded in 2008 by Portuguese model and designer Armando Cabral, Armando Cabral was established to offer premium footwear and accessories that reflect and support modern living. Inspired by timeless design, easy elegance and luxurious comfort, the brand merges minimalism with intricate details and innovative technical construction. From loafers and derby shoes, to boots and sneakers, each style is crafted from premium leather and made by Italy’s finest artisans, creating new classics designed for every occasion.

High-End Black Designer

ASHYA | Ashya.Co | @Ashya.Co
ASHYA is a Brooklyn-based design label featuring exclusively belt bags and travel-friendly accessories made for the modern day explorer. The brand aims to unify function and style through its purposeful designs. The contemporary design label reinvents a staple style by offering an unconventional and reimagined look on luxury belt bags. The brand emerged as an “ode to exploration” and pays homage to effortless movement. The thoughtfully crafted accessories are designed to fill the gap in the traveler of today’s arsenal of timeless pieces.

High-End Black Designer

Brother Vellies | BrotherVellies.com | @BrotherVellies
Brother Vellies was founded by Aurora James with the goal of introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. Handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco, Brother Vellies creates boots, shoes, and sandals in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts.

High-End Black Designer

Christie Brown | ChristieBrownOnline.com | @ChristieBrown 
Luxury Ghanian fashion brand.

High-End Black Designer

Claude Lavie Kameni | LavieByCK.com | @LavieByCK
The Life of Fashion and Beauty. Celebrity Designer, originally from Cameroon, currently based in the D(M)V and Los Angeles.

High-End Black Designer

CUSHNIE | Cushnie.com | @Cushnie
CUSHNIE is a luxury women’s ready-to-wear and accessories brand designed by Carly Cushnie. At the helm of her namesake label as CEO and Creative Director, Carly Cushnie sets forth with a mission to empower women, and to celebrate diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the business.

High-End Black Designer

Dleak Leather Bowties | DleakLeatherBowties.com | @dleakbowties
Dleak Leather Bow-ties is a NewYork-based brand with a collection of handmade leather bow-ties and accessories. Each bow-tie is customized for each individual.

High-End Black Designer

Fe Noel | FeNoel.com | @FeNoel
“Eat well, travel often, and dress to inspire!”…In other words, make life beautiful. This is the philosophy behind the Brooklyn based, womenswear brand Fe Noel. The label’s founder, Felisha “Fe” Noel, is deeply influenced by her Grenadian heritage and has mastered the ability to bottle up culture and glamour infused with sensibility and sensuality.

High-End Black Designer

FEAR OF GODfearofgod.com | @fearofgod.com
American Luxury.

High-End Black Designer

Felix Asuquo | @Fai_World
Bespoke fashion brand based in Lagos.

High-End Black Designer

FemiHandbags | FemiHandbags.com | @FemiHandBags
Colourful. Eclectic. These are the trademarks of FemiHandbags, an African handbags and accessories brand that embodies the exuberant approach to life of its founder, Femi Olayebi.

High-End Black Designer

FRÈRE | FrereNY.com | @MusikaFrere
FRÈRE is the new voice of modern fashion. With an obsessive focus on fit and fabrication, the FRÈRE brand elevates classic silhouettes with extensive experience in bespoke suiting. FRÈRE brings the expertise forward to express a continuation of this vision of an expansion into a fashion house with the offerings of ready-to-wear collections and accessories with a global presence. All of FRÈRE’s garments are hand-made by the finest artisans in the world using the most luxurious materials.

High-End Black Designer

Hanifa | Hanifa.co | @HanifaOfficial
Hanifa is a Ready-to-Wear (RTW) designer line which features contemporary apparel for women. Feminine with chic simplicity, Hanifa features an array of styles, colors, textures, and exclusive patterns that cater to a woman’s body. Hanifa targets your everyday hardworking, bold and beautiful woman who embodies class and a subtle edge.

High-End Black Designer Brands

Haus of Falenci’ago | HausofFalenciago.schedulista.com | @HausOfFalenciago
Specializing in Red Carpet Fashion.

High-End Black Designer

Hideoki Bespoke | HideokiBespoke.com
Born of traditional craftsmanship, infused with an innovative style, and personalized to express the client’s individuality, a Hideoki Bespoke garment enhances every client’s lifestyle.

High-End Black Designer

Ites International | ItesInternational.com | @ItesInt
Caribbean-born, but raised in New York, Sequoia’s journey to Jamaica and her exposure to Reggae, Rastafari, and the African culture inspired her to launch the ITES INTERNATIONAL label.

High-End Black Designer

John Ashford Shoes | AuthenticByJohnAshford.com | @JohnAshfordShoes
John Ashford is a New York Shoe designer and published visual artist and photographer who hand makes his shoes.

High-End Black Designer

LaQuan Smith | LaQuanSmith.com | @LaQuanSmith
LaQuan Smith, born in Queens, New York, has cultivated an equally dynamic private order clientele which spans the globe from Lagos to London. Smith’s unapologetically glamorous aesthetic has also been tapped by world­ recognized brands.

High-End Black Designer

Laurence Basse | LaurenceBasse.com | @laurencebasse
Project Runway Finalist with an excellent aesthetic.

High-End Black Designer

lemlemlemlem.com | @lemlemofficial
lemlem is an artisan-driven collection of women’s, men’s, children’s and home goods made entirely in Africa. Supermodel Liya Kebede was inspired to launch the brand following a trip to her native Ethiopia where she met a group of traditional weavers who no longer had a market for their craft.

High-End Black Designer

Made Leather Co. | MadeLeatherCo.com
A leather goods brand that inspired the avid traveler and stylish business person to create a brand for the same. Handcrafted bags for any occasion or no occasion at all.

High-End Black Designer

Mantsho | Mantsho.co | @PalesaMokubung
Mantsho” is a Sesotho name meaning “A Beautiful Complexion” a clothing label that was established by Palesa Mokubung in 2004. Palesa zooms in on African materials and cleverly transforms them into modern and edgy designs incorporating fine silks and woven fabrics to end up with a 100% Mantsho garment.

High-End Black Designer

Mifland | Mifland.com | @MiflandBrand
Mifland Leather Goods is an American based mixed accessory goods company with a modern utilitarian approach. The collections are defined by Mifland’s signature architectural inspired bold design and attention to detail, with an emphasis on durability and unique use of colors and heavyweight leather.

Milano Di Rouge | MilanoDiRouge.com | @MilanoDiRouge
Milano Di Rouge, LLC is an apparel brand that focuses on providing luxury to the fashion enthusiast. Owned, operated and founded by Milan Rouge, the message the brand promotes is Making Dreams Reality.

High-End Black Designer

MWR Collection | MWRCollection.com | @MWRCollection
MWR Collection is a luxury lifestyle brand that is bold, distinctive, and connected. The masterful hands of our Creative Director, Mia Wright-Ross, and our experienced artisans work to massage a true connection of design, creation, and human kinship within each customizable work. The brand seeks to bring back a sense of human nature and character to each individual product.

High-End Black Designer

Negash | Negash83.com | @Negash83
The name Negash is of African Amharic and Tigrinya origin. The meaning of Negash is “in line to be king”. Negash is generally used as a boy’s name. It consists of 6 letters and 2 syllables and is pronounced Ne-gash.

High-End Black Designer

Nene-YayaNene-Yaya.afrikrea.com/en | @neneyayahb
Stylish Clothing, Accessories, and Home Decor from Senegal

High-End Black Designer

No Tribe Clothing | NoTribeClothing.com | @notribeclothing 
LA Based, print-inspired brand.

High-End Black Designer

Nubian SkinNubianSkin.com | @NubianSkin
A nude bra and skin tone hosiery are the basics of every woman’s wardrobe, at least in theory. For many women of colour, finding suitable skin-tone hosiery and lingerie has not been an option. Frustrated by the lack of skin-tone choices to go with her ever-expanding wardrobe, Nubian Skin founder, Ade Hassan, decided it was time for ‘a different kind of nude’.

High-End Black Designer

Off-WhiteOff—White.com | @off____white
This luxury streetwear label was founded by Abloh in 2012. The range of items includes markers, leather goods, shoes, purses, belts, and pants.

High-End Black Designer

Olori | BeOlori.com | @beolori
Olori means “Queen” in the Yoruba language, which symbolizes every girl’s inherent worth and power. We make handbags that make women feel strong, confident, and secure. We work with artisans and women-owned businesses to help preserve unique craftsmanship and regain influence in a woman-driven industry. Every product sold provides tuition fees for an underprivileged girl.

High-End Black Designer

Orijin Culture | OrijinStore.com | @orijinculture
Orijinal’ Design, Culturally inspired. A brand creating a unique culture lifestyle through African inspired fashion. Although Orijin is Afro-centric in nature, our themes are universal. An Eclectic brand fusing creative, modern, ambitious and “orijinality”.

High-End Black Designer

Oudyk | Oudyk.com | @oudyk_
Offers a garment that is an extension of your personality. Cuts minimalist and sophisticated outfits that will enhance you. Garments made in Mali.

High-End Black Designer

Ozwald Boateng | OzwaldBoateng.co.uk | @Ozwald_Boateng
Ozwald Boateng’s design evokes the essence of a man’s spirituality and character through the enhancement of the physical being. The acknowledgment that style is an extension of one’s self culminates in the wearer having their own voice. The quintessential cut. A thought, a revolution, detail, concentration, pushing the craft of bespoke tailoring further. Crisp and structured, exquisite artistry, innovative classicism. Our secret, uniquely Boateng.

High-End Black Designer

Paul Elle | PaulElle.com | @paulelle
Celebrating African Craft. Shoes, Bags,
Dakar – Paris -Montreal – Worldwide Shipping

High-End Black Designer

Pyer Moss | PyerMoss.com | @PyerMoss
Pyer Moss was founded in 2013 by Kerby Jean-Raymond. Jean-Raymond describes the brand as an “art project” or “a timely social experiment” at times. Pyer Moss aims to use its voice and platform to challenge social narratives and evoke dialogue. Pyer Moss continues to redefine itself every season with collections and runways that combine storytelling, activism, debate, theatre, and social commentary; all while using collaboration with artists and brands as a medium to further the dialogue around seasonal themes.

High-End Black Designer

Romeo Hunte | RomeoHunte.com | @RomeoHunte
Romeo Hunte New York is a definitive lifestyle brand created for all women who appreciate intricate details. Designed in New York City, the line embodies an aesthetic that is cool, conservative and intricate with a balance of feminine and masculine. The brand emphasizes on impeccable outerwear that is practical such as the signature cashmere shearling hood shawl that is one of the core elements of Romeo Hunte the brand.

High-End Black Designer

Southern Gents | S-Gents.com | @S_Gents
We strongly believe the characteristics of a true Gent, Southern or otherwise, include but also expand beyond the execution of style and eloquence alone. Through the delivery of a wide array of enlightening information, contemporary yet classic style accessories, along with hosting of dynamic & inspiring events, an ambition to unite Gents around the world regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or disability has begun. The intent of such efforts consists of bringing about the re-emergence of strong positive community leaders, responsible for administering the common good in all aspects of life.

High-End Black Designer

T-Michael | T-Michael.com | @tmichael_bergen
T-MICHAEL is a bespoke tailor/ designer /artist with a conceptual approach to men’s tailoring inspired by his love of sartorial traditions and his passionate quest for a different narrative within tailoring, design and creativity, to celebrate stylistic and cultural diversities present in today’s zeitgeist. He is known for his meticulous attention to detail and for his garments’ impeccable construction.

High-End Black Designer

Talley & Twine | TalleyAndTwine.com | @TalleAndTwine 
Talley & Twine was created after realizing that most watch companies just emulated the most popular brands. Their goal was to create a quality, detailed, attention-grabbing timepiece. They like to operate outside of the “norms” and away from the long-standing gatekeepers of the watch industry.

High-End Black Designer

Tsemaye Binitie | TsemayeBinitie.com@TsemayeBinitie
Tsemaye Binitie is a contemporary fashion label characterized by exquisite clothing encapsulating a love of luxury and innovative design, specialising in cutting edge advanced contemporary ladies-wear that combines functionality with high design content. Meticulous cut, indulgent fabrics and sartorial construction permeate the delivery of sharp, refined and timeless pieces. The pieces will feature dynamic, draped and body conscious silhouettes with a deep desire to communicate a new sense of elegance and modern glamour.

High-End Black Designer

Undra CelesteUndraCelesteNY.com | @Love_UCNY
Contemporary Clothing for the Modern Woman.

High-End Black Designer

Uniquelywiredm | Uniquelywiredm.com | @Uniquelywiredm
Uniquely Wired M. jewelry is essential to every King and Queen’s trove of fine pieces. From rings to bracelets, crowns to vests, everything is designed to revitalize and re-imagine the feeling of individual strength and style.

High-End Black Designer

Wales Bonner | WalesBonner.net
Informed by broad research that encompasses critical theory, composition, literature, and historical sources, WALES BONNER explores a distinctive notion of luxury via a hybrid of European and African approaches.

High-End Black Designer

Waraire BoswellWaraireBoswell.com | @WaraireBoswell
The WARAIRE BOSWELL brand has been synonymous with attention to detail, proper fit, style, taste level, and innovation.

High-End Black Designer

Vitae London | VitaeLondon.com | @VitaeLondon
Vitae London is a watch brand based in London, England. Vitae combines classic and beautiful design with social justice. Pairing minimalist concepts with stylish modernity, their watches are subtle, yet slim, sophisticated timepieces suited to everyone.

High-End Black Designer

Yvonne Jewnell New York | YvonneJewnellDesigns.com | @YvonneJewnellNY
Yvonne Jewnell New York is an award-winning women’s wear company that creates clothing that promotes women empowerment and celebrates culture from across the globe. Owned by a mother-daughter team, YJNY creates garments with an ethnically inspired message of overcoming obstacles and revitalizing strength.

High-End Black Designer

ZAAF® | ZaafCollection.com | @ZaafCollection
ZAAF is a collection of premium leather goods and accessories handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia. ZAAF is a word that means “tree” in the ancient and noble Amharic language. We offer a broad range of fashion accessories for women and men including handbags, weekend and travel accessories, scarves, leather jackets and more.

Post others in the comments and we’ll add them! Many thanks to @NewVisionAfro for making us aware of most of these brands!

15Feb/19

Mercy Baez Embraces Women Empowerment This Black History Month

Mercy Baez is a women’s advocate for domestic violence and, through her artistry of performing and motivational speaking, she tells her stories of woman empowerment and survival. She’s a freestyle dancer, spoken word artist, actress, and model. Creating her own concepts for her projects allows Mercy to help uplift and motivate women.
Photo: Royal | Mercy Baez @Lordda_mercy; Photographer | @ukayhip_photography;
MUA | @Iamlee__; Styling | @Eldiorsodeckdesign
Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez Mercy Baez
09Feb/19
Etymology of Self-Love

The Etymology of Self-Love

Etymology of Self-LoveLove. Throughout the ages, sages, philosophers, and religious teachers have proclaimed it as the greatest of virtues. In 1 Corinthians, we learn that faith, hope, and love are to be extolled, but love supersedes all. Surah 14 commands us to fill the hearts of man with love. In the Madhurashtakam, Lord Krishna urges us to do everything with “love, compassion, humility, and devotion” in our hearts. Countless axioms prompt us to love our fellow man; but what do they say of loving ourselves? Must we love and value ourselves to best be a servant and light to the world? Are we not called to love our neighbors, as we love ourselves? The wisdom of the ancient world tells us it is equally as important to be good to ourselves as it is to do well by others. Today, this philosophy has a name: self-love. The American Heritage Dictionary defines self-love as “the instinct or desire to promote one’s own well-being” or “regard for or one’s self.” This, of course, is simply a connotation. But what is the origin of “self-love”? Who was the first to espouse its tenants and give it a name? Has the quest for self-love always been a journey to securing our own happiness? Through etymology, one can dig deep to answer these questions and gain more insight into self-love.

One might be surprised to learn that “self-love” was originally synonymous with selfishness and vanity, as noted in the first Americanized edition of Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1965). But this idea goes back much further. Greek philosopher Plato said to avoid the “excesses of self-love”, while Roman statesman Cicero considered self-love or sui amantes sine rivali to be a great sin and a sure path to doom and folly. Francis Bacon builds on Cicero’s 1 perspective in his essay “Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self” when he says “it is the nature of extreme self-lovers, as they will set a house on fire, and it was but to roast their eggs.” With this notion, self-love could easily be viewed as a precursor to narcissism.

However, Aristotle, a student of Plato, rejected this notion. In Nicomachean Ethics, he notes that while self-love can represent selfishness, it can also be the love of ourselves in striving for “moral nobility”. That is, the best kind of self-love is that which comes from our ability to love others. This is akin to the message in Leviticus 9:17, where Moses wrote that we should “love thy neighbor as we love ourselves”. Key to this directive is loving and honoring ourselves — not in selfishness, but in seeking the greater good for man.

Today, most understand self-love to be an affirming of one’s own happiness, thanks in part to the works of German psychologist Erich Fromm. In The Art of Loving, Fromm reminds us that if an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he cannot love at all” (1956, 55-56). Not only does he reject the notion that self-love is selfishness, but then goes to say that they are opposites. This seems to jive with what the ancients taught — it seems as if Fromm is reminding us that it is both good and necessary to value ourselves. This is not vanity, but rather a tool of survival. Particularly in a world in which we are encouraged to meet standards of beauty and success that are far-removed from ourselves. True success is the love of self rivaling the love of others happiness; and happiness can only come from self-love. With this as our foundation, we can then go out and heal through the power of lovem — both others and ourselves.

Etymology of Self-Love

Author, Brittany Selah Lee-Bey

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Works Cited
Aristotle (340 BC). Nicomachean Ethics (H.Rackham, Trans). Hertfordshire: Wordworths
Books Limited
Fromm, E. (1989). The art of loving. New York: Perennial Library.
Mayor, Joseph B. (2016). A Sketch of Ancient Philosophy: From Thales to Cicer. Cambridge
University Press.
Rogetm Peter Mark (1965) [1852], Dutch, Robert A. ed., The Original Roget’s Thesaurus of
English Words and Phrases (Americanized ed.), New York: St. Martin’s Press
Self-love. (n.d.) In American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Retrieved from
https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=self-love&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

07Feb/19
Santia Beck

Olympian Hopeful, Santia Deck, Says Self-Love is Self Care

It was Florence Griffith Joyner (U.S. track and field Olympian) who said, “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.” These are the same words that echo in the mind of athlete, author, and fitness influencer, Santia Deck, as she leaves her opponents, both male and female, in the dust. She jukes them with Barry Sanders-like finesse during flag football and rugby games. As she runs past her opponents on the field and gives it her all during workouts, her vision is set on her biggest goal: the Olympics. Taji Mag was able to chat with Santia to discuss health, self-love, and her journey to Japan 2020.

Self-Love is How You Treat Yourself

Santia Deck

Santia Deck is a motivational speaker, author, trainer, and social media fitness influencer. She also appeared on shows like Steve Austin Broken Skull Ranch TV show.

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): How important is fitness to self-love?

Santia Deck (SA): I would put the two in the same category because how you treat yourself correlates to how you value yourself. If you are someone that doesn’t care about working out, eating healthy, and making sure that you are putting the proper nutrition in your body, it shows that there are some deep rooted issues within yourself. I personally think taking time for health and nutrition, is taking time out for self-care.

DDF: You are in great shape, what made you choose to be a vegan and what changes did you experience once you made the change?

SD:  Well, I was vegan about nine months ago and I just recently decided to go back. My life changed physically, emotionally, and mentally. My skin cleared up, my energy level skyrocketed (I felt like I was a kid again with unlimited energy), I slept better, I had a healthy bladder and intestines, and I felt like I was in tip-top shape. I was competing on a higher level than some of the pro athletes I was training with.

I would eat avocados and mangoes for breakfast before training, then after the workout, I would still feel pretty good but the NFL athletes would be on the ground dying. I realized then that what you put in your body does matter. People think that you have to have all this meat and carbs to gain muscle mass but there are a lot of vegan athletes who are doing well in their respective sports.

Santia Deck

Santia in action on the field.

DDF: What are men’s reactions when they see you on the field and/or guard you?

SA: I usually get questions like “Who are you?” “What are you?” “What kind of girl are you?” and “Why are you like this?” Of course, you have those people that are mad and/or those guys that claim they weren’t giving 100%. I get a lot of different reactions.

It’s funny, people think just because I am a girl that I am not supposed to be super athletic and compete on the same level as a man. Of course, I am not saying that I can go on the football field and be one of the guys, but I do think that my footwork and moves are pretty good for any athlete.

Santia Deck

The first African American woman to win a gold medal Alice Coachman.

“I always believed that I could do whatever I set my mind to do.” – Alice Coachman

DDF: Who taught you about sports and how did they encourage you?

SA: Definitely, my older brother because I grew up with boys. I have three brothers and one sister, one of my brothers is actually my twin. So when I was younger I was always competing with my twin and my older brother would make us compete in various activities. He created that competitive spirit and the reason I am able to do the things I can do now athletically. I was doing footwork drills and running routes when I was five years old. I was never the girl that played with dolls, I was always outside doing something athletic. I was a tomboy doing everything my brothers were doing.

Mind, Body, and Soul 

DDF: What made you practice celibacy?

SA: I was in an abusive relationship and had stayed in the relationship longer than I needed to. I think it’s because I had sex with this person, which created an attachment, and I am very spiritual, so I believe in soul ties. I felt like I had a major soul tie with this person that was created through sexual intimacy.

Then there was a point when I thought that I wasn’t going to be here anymore because of the abuse and I remember praying to God that if He were to get me out of this situation, then I would make a promise to be celibate. Never have sex with someone that doesn’t deserve me. After God got me through that situation, that is when I decided to commit to being celibate.

There are a lot of spiritual demons when you have sex with people and I felt that was something going on with me. Honestly, I just want to have a blessed marriage, I want my children to grow up in a two-parent home, and just do what I feel is the right way.

DDF: Are there some difficulties being celibate?  

Santia Deck

Santia Deck aka Track Baby. FYI: Santia wears mismatched socks in honor of Flo Jo.

SA: It’s been tough while I’ve been dating. I have only had one person that respected me enough not to explore dating with me because of my decision, but a lot of men have tried to act like they can hold out and eventually try their hand anyway.

It is tough trying to find someone when you decide to be celibate but I have avoided so much drama and people I didn’t need to date because they are scratched off my list once I tell them about my decision.

DDF: Have your followers given you a lot of praise for being such an inspiration?

SA: I get a lot of messages about how I have influenced people to workout, chase their dreams.

DF: How do you feel about all the support that you get from your followers?

SA: I am grateful and thankful to have a platform to give people daily motivation. To be an inspiration to the kids that they can do whatever they want to do. Reminding them that there is no limit except the limit you put on yourself. I’m just grateful to God.

Big Goals and Small Worries 

DDF: How do you react to some of the negative people and comments?

SA: I have thick skin and people are going to feel the way they feel and have negative things to say. To me, it’s just ignorance and I don’t care because I love myself the way that I am. I look the way I look because that is the way I am supposed to be… a professional athlete. It’s like the thing that Serena Williams goes through, you can talk about her but she’s a millionaire.

Santia Deck

Tennis player Serena Williams.

“Think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles and being made fun of or called unattractive.” – Serena Williams

DDF: What is your biggest goal right now?

SA: My biggest goal right now is the Olympics because it’s right around the corner. Of course, I want to have success in all aspects of my life but the biggest goal is definitely the Olympics, Japan 2020.

Santia Deck

Victoria Folay Team USA rugby athlete.

DDF: What are your next steps to get there?

SA: It’s a process to make it to the Olympics. I just need to be seen by a USA coach and that is accomplished by going to camps, games, etc. I’ve been doing those things now and just waiting to get a tryout but I will keep grinding until I do.

As many of us watch Santia make countless plays on the field via social media, we may see her alongside current players for the women’s USA rugby team like Victoria Folay. Better yet, we see her being like her biggest Olympic inspiration, Flo Jo, and standing with a gold medal around her neck, mismatched socks and all. Follow Santia on Instagram.

Santia Deck

Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo), U.S. track and field Olympian.

All photos of Santia are taken by Enka Lawson and Jeffery Mustache.