LMJ Second Annual Scholarship Benefit Recap

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, we successfully hosted our second annual scholarship benefit! LMJ is a strong believer of sharing ones experience in order to connect and help further the growth of someone else. And this is how the scholarship benefit was created. Going through the process of college, I know firsthand what it’s like to not be able to pay tuition. College is very expensive. Period. Knowing what it felt like, it was my intent to create opportunities to help others in areas that I could’ve used assistance. I wanted to be able to be a blessing financially to a few college students, to help alleviate the financial strain they may experience.

December 19, 2015 was our first. Seeing its effect, it was only right that we continue and make it an annual affair. It’s not easy putting any type of event together, but knowing that this was bigger than us, pushed me to do it anyway. The purpose of the event was to celebrate these college students for their accomplishments. The first step being, making the decision to further their education in order to pursue their dreams. It was intended to be a night of sharing, educating, honoring, educating, and connecting with others. And I must say, it was a success.


The event was hosted by author, poet, and content creator Church Johnson. Which is a product of networking and making connections. Intentional connections.

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There were two speakers; Asha Boston, Director of The Dinner Table Documentary (a documentary geared towards changing the perception of black women in media. Also offering high school and college workshops centered around self esteem) and Schoquilla Coleman, Founder and CEO of Golden Life Resource Center (an organization that encourages and promotes educational growth, financial stability and positive mentor ship in youth). Both of these ladies have succeeded after going through the college process. They are an inspiration to many, and needed to share their experiences. In order to let the candidates know that they too can make it, and also to show others how they can contribute to the lives of our young people.


There were two incredible performances by amazing artists, ART Music and Lynette Rhett-McNeil. Both blessed us with their amazing gifts.

We honored Ska-Keya Flenory, who tirelessly dedicates her time and service to NYC Public Schools, along with Sheneya Wilson, who recently graduated with her masters degree in accounting and is on her way towards obtaining her phd at the age of 22. Their hard work is inspiration to others.

Raffle prize sponsors; award winning author, Nigeria Lockley, Michelle Dwight Designs, and Elle and Johns body products.

Other sponsors include; Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Campus Essentials (donating care packages to our winners. Innovative Music Inc (silver sponsor). And BCAN2SOC (Brooklyn Community Acition Network To Save Our Community) our double platinum sponsor!

Excellent food provided by SWB Catering.
Lastly, we acknowledge our 2016 LMJ Scholarship recipients! First place, Sherqwanna Laws. Second place, Niesha Georgeon. Third place, Candace Rose. Fourth place, Naomi Georgeon. We are extremely proud of these young ladies. And because of your help, we are collectively able to make an impact in their lives. They all have their own stories, their own struggles; but we were able to make a positive impact. We thank you all for your support.

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To view photos from LMJ’s Second Annual Scholarship Benefit (captured by PhotosByCeeJay) click here.

The Ultimate Women’s Empowerment Event – The Other Festival 

Now is most definitely the time of year for festivals. The festivals that you would usually hear of only consist of musical artists and bands. However, there’s a festival this weekend (Saturday, June 11th) in TriBeCa NYC that is like no other! Hence the name, The Other Festival. 

The Other Festival is all about “connecting, building, and supporting  entrepreneurial spirits in the face of an ever changing world.We are the best, the strongest, the boldest of our generation. We are a squad of renegade businesswomen in the form of artists, musicians, chefs, photographers, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, storytellers, designers, and we are here to make things happen.” – The Other Festival 

This event is brought to you by Women Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE), which is a social enterprise that works to provide emerging women leaders with the tools to succeed in their careers. WIE is founded by Dee Paku-Spalding, who is a social entrepreneur born in the UK and raised in London. A former Hollywood studio exec, Paku has now begun a career in brand marketing and promotions. 

The Other Festival showcases the makers and creators of this generation, the women who are redefining how to do business, setting their own rules, putting new systems in place, pushing their own agendas. Inventors, storytellers, founders, artists who can’t be boxed in.

This festival will showcase a group of elite women; their background and their career work. Through this, many females will have the opportunity to glean from their journey. It’s about embracing the other, but also embracing you. Embracing who you are, what you offer, and your journey towards success. There will be workshops, discussions, along with a concert. A full day of sharing and gleaning. 
Speakers include: 

  • Naomi Campbell (Model)
  • Rosario Dawson (Actress, Activist, Entreprenuer)
  • Reshma Saujani (Founder, Girls Who Code)
  • Lindsey Stirling (Musician, Vlogger)
  • Melissa Ben Ishay (Founder, Baked by Melissa)
  • Beverly Bond (Founder, Black Girls Rock) 

And many more!

Musical Guests Include:

  • Justine Skye 
  • Brooke Candy 
  • Vashtie Kala
  • Grace Weber

And more!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to sulk in all that you can from these very powerful women in business. Women who have owned who they are and will be able to share and showcase their journey, their sound, and their careers. This is a festival you want to be sure to attend! 

LovelyMissJones is all about sharing ones experience to benefit the lives of someone else, so you know we will be on the scene! And we want to see you there! Purchase your tickets today by visiting theotherfestival.eventbrite.com. 
  

  

Vow to Empower: Interview with Author Shanikqa Canty

Shanikqa Canty is the author of a book entitled, Their Vow. She has now committed her life to empower others. Shanikqa intends to empower others through her writing and public speaking. It is always a pleasure to meet people who are motivated and determined to reach others through their gifts. And this is no different. Shanikqa has been a supporter of Lovely Miss Jones for quite some time, and shares similar goals of empowering others through writing and through experience. Below you’ll get to know a little more about this blossoming author, along with what you can expect in the near future. 

Miss Jones: Tell us a little about yourself?

Shanikqa Canty: My name is Shanikqa N.Canty, I am 24 years old and I currently reside in Brooklyn, New York (In the Crown Heights Section). I am a Best Selling Author, Writer and a Promoter Of Empowerment. I have a passion for empowering and connecting authentically with those I come in contact with. 

MJ: Was becoming an author something that you’ve always desired to be, or was it something that just happened?

SC: Becoming an author was something that honestly just happened (LOL). Like seriously, I didn’t even expect this to happen. And not just an Author, a Best Selling Author. God is just amazing! 

MJ: How long have you been writing?

SC: I used to write when I was younger, in the 3rd and 4th grade, and I stopped; but in the Fall of 2014 the creativity of writing came back to me.

MJ: What experiences led to where you currently are today?

SC: Letting my past struggles empower me to create a life that I desire. I truly believe that each and everyone of us holds the power to create what we want. I let my testimony become my empowerment.

MJ: What were some of your biggest struggles during this journey?

SC: Some of my biggest struggles during this journey was keeping myself motivated and not letting fear and rule overtake me. But I’m grateful that I am on this journey of being more grounded in my Faith, that helps me overcome.

MJ: What were some of your biggest highlights or positive movements during this journey?

SC: My biggest highlights would have to be, connecting with some awesome and amazing Kingdom minded Men and Women. Just being able to fellowship and have a real support system. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. 

MJ: Who are some of your biggest influences, and why?

SC: Some of my biggest influences are: of course my mother because she supports me no matter what I pursue in life and just loves me as I am. My Spiritual Father Apostle Steven Newton, My Spiritual Mother Pastor Christian Newton, My Kingdom Sisters and Brothers, also Dr Myles Munroe & Steven Furtick (through their videos and books). Each and everyone of these individuals inspire me to be a GREATER woman that GOD has called me to be. 

MJ: What was the process while writing this book? 

SC: Writing “Their Vow” was fun and a little scary because I thought “Who wants to read a fiction book promoting celibacy”? But the feedback has been awesome.

MJ: How were you able to overcome those things that came up against you?

SC: Just remaining focused and keeping my eye on the prize. 

MJ: What/who kept you motivated? 

SC: Myself, and allowing the Holy Spirit to just move right through me. 

MJ: How long have you been working on this project?

SC: Honestly I finished the book in 2 days, by typing it on my iPhone while at work. The words just flew right through me. 

MJ: Tell us a little about your book?

SC: It’s the story of two individuals who decide that it’s better to keep Their Vow and not let the temptations of the world rule them anymore. 

MJ: What else are you currently working on?

SC: At the moment just focusing on getting myself out there more, and my line of Tele-classes I’m about to launch. 

MJ: What are a few of your biggest accomplishments?

SC: Just being able to share my gifts with the world. 

MJ: What can we look forward to in the future?

SC: Live in person “Empowerment Sessions”, more books, videos and an empowerment product line. 

MJ: What encouraging words would you like to leave with us?

SC: Your Testimony Is Your Empowerment, Because You’re Empowered By Your Struggles. 

Wise words from a wise woman. Not only is Shanikqa a bestselling author (her book can be purchased on Amazon.com), but she is also launching ‘A Movement Of Empowerment’ that will be held every second and fourth Wednesday via conference call. Check out the flyer below. Also, stay up to date by following all of Shanikqa Canty’s social media networks: Facebook.com/BeEmpoweredWithShanikqac and Instagram/Periscope @iamshanikqac. 
 

 
   
   

Growing Up Hip Hop

Growing Up Hip Hop is a new reality show, which will air on WE TV. As the network says, it’s truly the rise of a real empire.
  
The show dipicts the life of the children of celebrity hip hop artists. The cast includes, Angela Simmons (who is one of the producers of the show), Romeo Miller (son of Master P), Damon “Boogie” Dash (son of Damon Dash), Kristina DeBarge (daughter of James DeBarge of the group DeBarge), TJ Mizell (son of Jam Master Jay), Egypt Criss (daughter of Saundra “Pepa” Deton) and Angela Simmons (daughter of Rev. Run), she’s also one the producers. 

Growing Up Hip Hop follows the next generation of hip hop royalty as they attempt to step outside the shadow of their famous families. Music legends Damon Dash, Rev. Run, Russell Simmons, Master P, El DeBarge and Pepa are always nearby as each up-and-comer tries to build their own life and fortune in careers ranging from music to acting and fashion. At every turn they are challenged with maintaining their own identity while evolving the hip-hop sound and culture they come from.
With their love and work lives intertwined and with their overprotective families always nearby, these friends will each face challenging and sometimes surprising situations as they strive for independent success.

– wetv.com
Last night at Haus in NYC, WE TV hosted a premier party. The red carpet included many celebes, such as: Taye Diggs (who hosted the party), Marquisse Jackson (50 Cents son), TJ Mizell, ASAP Ferg, Diggy and Russy Simmons, Angela Simmons, Kristina DeBarge, Salt-n-Pepa, Egypt Criss, Lil Kim, Reven-Symone’, Damon “Boogie” Dash, Romeo Millers, Ray J, and more. 

Lovely Miss Jones was on the scene to get some of the footage. Below you’ll see a few pictures on the red carpet. Inside the stars along with well known guests, press outlets, and more celebrated the upcoming realty show, which will air January 7th at 10pm. A night where everyone came together to celebrate the success of these stars who are not in the shadows of their parents, but are walking in their own paths. 
Special thanks to Entertainment Fusion Group. 
   
(Marquisse Jackson)

(Taye Diggs)    
(TJ Mizell) 

 

(Diggy & Russy Simmons)
   
(Angela Simmons)

 

(Salt-n-Pepa & Egypt Criss) 
  
(Damon “Boogie” Dash)

 

(Romeo Miller)
  

(ASAP Ferg)

  
(Lil Kim)

ESSENCE and Prudential Presents: Money + Power   A Rich Conversation

Friday, November 6th, I had the opportunity of attending this wonderful event presented by Essence and Prudential. As the flyer says, all of the guests joined together for “a rich conversation”. And that’s exactly what the night entailed. There was a panel of very successful business women who came together to discuss their experiences in their separate fields, as well as help encourage and motivate other business owners trying to reach their status of success, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. 

On this panel of amazing women were: ESSENCE Feature Editor Lauren Williams (as the moderator), President and CEO of Britto Agency Marvet Britto, TV Personality and Lifestyle Expert Tai Beachamp, “The Budgetnista” Tiffany Aliche (who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing), and Interior Designer Dani Arps. All these women are powerhouses in their own right.  

  

Before the intriguing conversation began, there was thirty minutes set aside for cocktails. I assume it was a time for drinks, possibly food, and networking. Because I was late for the event due to work, I missed it. However, by the time I got there, there were a few minutes before the conversation began. I checked in quickly and headed right into the designated room at the Apella, Event Space at the Alexandria Center. Which is an absolutely gorgeous venue. There were posted set up nicely in the area before the conversations space. The latest issue of ESSENCE with Taraji P. Henson on the cover so gracefully stood on a stand. As well as selfie props that had great sayings on them. I initially grabbed the prop that said, “I do what I love. I love what I do.” However, by the time the event ended, I left with three more. Which said, “I am a strategist”, “I am an innovator”, and “I am a trailblazer”. 
  
The conversation started out with introductions. Then we went full speed into the conversation that helped many women that night. Below you’ll find a few questions and answers from the evening from each woman on the panel. 

Lauren Williams asked, how are you able to manage to maintain and build your brand. Marvet Britto answered, and explained that she focuses on being the best her. Marvet, who’s a very successful Public Relations Architect and Brand Strategist, has never had to solicit any one of her clients. She stressed that when it comes to branding, all that you desire comes by the work you do. Branding is really about the work that’s put in. Many people have made it about popularity, but it’s really all about the work. We have to learn how to be masterful professionals. She said that it’s important to make sure you nurture the trunk of the tree first, before worrying about the branch (brand) extensions. It’s about the work, and mastering what you have to offer. 

The discussion the led to a point where many people have been. The point of transition. Tai Beachamp, who has been able to incorporate her background in beauty and fashion with her love and passion for philanthropy, shared some of her experience by discussing some of the steps before leaving her job. She began to feel unfulfilled and burnt out. Although doing something she was great at, her purpose and hearts work was to empower. Tai expressed that we have to be able to distinguish between our passion and our purpose. She also let us know, that on the other hand, the answer doesn’t have to be today. Meaning things won’t be where you want them to be overnight. You won’t be where you want to be overnight. Sometimes you have to stay in the position that you’re in for a little longer than you’d like. She also said, you learn one thing from a position and take it and apply it to your purpose. 

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, who is a financial educator who has helped thousands of women take a journey to get their finances in order through her Live Richer Challenge, shared a similar story later in the conversation. She shared her story and where she started. Learning about finances growing up, but deciding to become a teacher. She was able to take her teaching skills and become the financial educator that she is today, because she took what she could from where she was. Often times we may become frustrated after sometime on the jobs we have, but we have to come to the place where we learn that we are there for a reason. There’s something that we can learn and take with us when it’s time for us to start our own business. It’s a matter of what will you learn from the position that you’re in. You’re strategically put in places to learn these particular lessons. Embrace where you are. Then after you’ve learned from the positions you were in and have been able to step out and start your own business, go around and explore to see what else you can learn. Never get too comfortable. 

Tiffany later went on to defining what having a business really is. She explained that many people have created something that looks like a business; a nice website, pretty business cards. However, there’s no product. She says, a business is when you have a product and people are willing to pay for it. And sometimes we don’t get this right away when we’re working towards a goal. So Tiffany lets us know that some things wot directly give you money in the beginning, but it will overtime. You have to make the proper investments first.  

Marvet also added to the startup of a business. When you have a desire to become an entrepreneur you think about a void that you want to fill. You have to have something that’s different, that people are willing to pay for. 

The question was then asked, as business women, what is the one things that keeps you up at night. Each lady had the opportunity to answer. 

Dani Arps, who is an interior designer and has had great success in only a year and half, said something that many of us (business owner or aspiring entrepreneurs) may concern ourselves with; meeting the needs of her clients. Making sure that she’s doing the work according to their standards. 

Tiffany’s concern is not letting one part of her life pass her by while pursuing her career. She doesn’t want to chase her dreams career wise and love an unfulfilled personal life. Therefore, she’s in the process of balancing her life. It’s important to have a balance. 

Tai thinks about the people she has to feed. From her clients, down to the people she employs. Her company isn’t all about her, but the people that she services. 

Marvets’ main concern is shattering glass ceiling. I truly believe that this was a pivotal point during the discussion. She’s concerned about women of color being taken out of the boxes that society so often places us in. 
She the. Went on to how we need to work hard to make sure we are given a seat at the table. And in order to do so, we have to make sure we are consistent and deliberate in all that we do. Our capabilities and talents outweigh our color, and we have to be sure to put forth the effort in showing that. We must also look at the ones who have come before us, and we’re able to succeed. As well as think strategically, understand where your place is, and finding ways to stretch our culture. 

The conversation shifted into mentorship. Tai raised a few good points when it comes to mentorship and connection. We don’t always like to admit when we need help. Sometimes we can’t do everything on our own. And that perfectly ok. When finding connections, it’s good to seek out people who we can partner up with. And fulfill our goal and vision together. Also when it comes to mentorship, we shouldn’t just try to see what we can get from others, it’s reciprocal. You should also be able to give something in return. 

As you can see, this event was intriguing, and very thought provoking. And there was so much more. After the conversation, there was an after party where drinks and food were served. But the most important part, was that these women stuck around and talked individually with the guest. We were able to share our experiences, our future plans, and receive advice. These women spoke a few good words into my life. And I, and I’m sure many other females as well, am grateful for the opportunity. 

A special thanks to ESSENCE and Prudential for putting on such a great event, having an amazing panel of successful business women, giving other women the opportunity to connect and share with others, and the gifts as well. 

  
  
(Miss Jones and Tai Beachamp)
  
(Miss Jones and Marvet Britto)

From DC to NYC: Riding Her Way To The Top    Interview with Lea Anderson

One weekday afternoon riding the A train to work, I watched a young lady and a gentleman with a speaker walk pass me. But I had no idea what was about to come next. As I sat and heard the microphone come on, I kept my music in my headphones playing, as I anticipated just getting to my destination. However, after listening to the first few minutes, I was compelled to take one ear out. I soon turned my music off all together. The vocals were smooth and the song had such a nice vibe. While this trumpet player so gracefully played in the background. My words were, “this is dope.”

After receiving her information, come to find out the young lady who was able to put on such a great performance on that moving A train was Lea (pronounced Lee’) Anderson. I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Lea. We were able to talk about her experiences and what led her to the place she is today.
We met and found a great spot on the rooftop of Novatel in Times Square. There was a nice breeze, great view, and good vibes. As the vocals of Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé played in the background, we were able to have great conversation. 

  
Below you’ll read highlights from the interview, intriguing conversation with great laughs. 
Miss Jones: For those who may not know you, let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself. 
Lea Anderson: I was born in DC, grew up in South Carolina, and now I’m in New York. I’ve been here for four years. What initially brought me here first, was musical theatre. I did musical theatre for five years across the country, and now I’m in New York pursuing a career as a recording artist. And it’s been good. 
Miss Jones: Are you currently in school?
Lea Anderson: Not anymore. I graduated from the College of Charleston. 
MJ: How long have you been singing?
LA: As long as I can remember. (Laughs)
MJ: Did you grow up in church singing, or was this just something that you’ve always done?
LA: I grew up in church, but I didn’t start singing in church. I started singing with the records that my dad would play in his man cave. 
MJ: What role did your family play in your career?
LA: Well, my dad really introduced me to music. And my mom really helped me flourish it. Once she found out I could sing, she tried to look up any other opportunities that I could have. She started taking me to auditions, she started getting me to sing in front of her friends, so I wasn’t so nervous. And then I started going to music camp when I was 9. That’s when I learned how to sing musical theatre and opera, and reading music. 
MJ: What was the music camp like, what did you learn?
LA: We would learn music; music theory, music history, voice, musical theatre, dance, everything. 
MJ: Do you still dance today or are you more focused on your singing?
LA: I do dance, and it helps create more opportunities for singing. And I still do theatre as well. 
MJ: Have you done any musical theatre shows in NY yet?
LA: Not as of yet in NY. I still do it regionally, I’ll leave and come back to NY. And most recently, I’ve done Smokey Joe’s Cafe. 
MJ: At what point did you realize you wanted to make this your career? What was the deciding factor?
LA: I think it found me. Every other job I tried to pursue, didn’t work out. I don’t want to say I’m constantly getting fired, but it’s true. And no matter how much time I try to put in one thing, it doesn’t work out. But music is always there and it always works out. It’s like my best friend. 
MJ: What are some of your biggest accomplishments so far?
LA: Finishing my EP with a Grammy nominated producer, D Moët, who’s best known for Hate Me Now (Nas featuring Puff Daddy). Becoming a member of Actors Equity Association. Which is a phenomenal unit that helps actors, singer, dancers across the country get our rights and what’s well earned of us. Lastly, being in a city where I am able to be around people that have made it, and are living the life that I want to live. Also being able to get advice from them and work with them. 
MJ: Being that you still act and are pursuing musical theatre as well, are there any shows that you are interested in doing?
LA: I want to do a Rock Musical so bad! So I’m constantly looking for auditions for the opportunity to be in that, because I missed the whole American idiot boat. And there’s definitely a lot of other producers that I want to work with. I just want to continue to grow as an artist and continue giving my sound to people. 
MJ: What are some of the most challenging moments you’ve had to face when trying to reach your goals?
LA: Everything seems like a challenge but after you wait it out, it’s kind of like ‘whoo, that was it?’ I feel like when it’s meant to be, when you’re meant to do something, it’s not a challenge. It’s more of, ‘how can I get through this or how can I accomplish this?’ So it’s more like a journey. There’s no problems, just patience. 
MJ: I like that. It’s a great way to look at life. My next question was going to be, how did you overcome them but….(laughs) 
LA: (laughs) with yoga. Yoga and church. Jesus, whoo. 

  

MJ: Are you a Christian?
LA: Yes. 
MJ: How has your relationship with God helped you coming out here four years ago alone, and pursuing your dreams?
LA: It helps me filter out my thoughts and how to trust my thoughts. Being a Christian, I know God’s words and that’s easier for me to filter out BS, all the negativity, and all the things that would just keep running in circles. I just listen to Him, and I ask Him to order my steps. And the path has been easier because I have a relationship with God. 
MJ: What do you ultimately wish to accomplish with your music? Is there a message you wish to convey, is it the sound or the feel? What do you wish to accomplish?
LA: It’s my story. I feel like ultimately, that’s what artists are meant to do. Whether you’re a musician, whether you’re a painter, even a fashion designer. We’re chosen to be the voice of God, the voice of society, the voice of the youth. We were chosen to paint what’s going on in the world. And that’s my main goal, to just paint what’s going on around me and deliver it to people. So they can relate and become unified. And unites us all. 
MJ: Do you have a team?
LA: No, but I do have a group of people who love me and push me in the right direction. I call them my tribe. So they’re not per say working for me, but they’re working with me.  
MJ: Who are your biggest inspirations?
LA: My dad. And although I’m nothing like him, I would say Ray Charles. I feel like if you could overcome racism, being blind, poverty, drugs; and still be successful, that’s pretty commendable. 
MJ: Why is you dad one of your biggest inspirations? 
LA: He’s the strongest person I know. He’s had two major stokes, and he’s still alive and still positive. He stills tells me everyday, it’s great to be alive. And just knowing that I’m working towards this for him and he’s the first one to put that musical note in my heart, just thinking about him and wanting him to be proud of me really inspires me. 
MJ: How long have you been singing on the train? I hear people sing on the train everyday, but there was something about you. And I said to myself, this girl has a crazy voice. Honestly, it was amazing. So what inspired you to just decide to sing on the trains?
LA: I came to a wall, I didn’t know how to get my music to anybody. Every time I applied to submit music to radio stations, they would say “30 spins for $400”. I said really? So how do I get music to people that don’t know me. So I met Kafele (trumpet player), and he said we should play the trains. And I said, that’s how I’m going to get music to the people that don’t know me. And we started six weeks ago. 
MJ: Only 6 weeks? You seem so confident and comfortable, as if you’ve been doing it forever. But that’s what a real performer does. 
LA: (Laughs) Thank you!
MJ: What advice would you give a young person, or anyone, who’s trying to put themselves in a position that you’re currently in and where you hope to be?
LA: It’s hard, and be yourself. No matter what, be yourself. Being a musician is not a get rich quick plan. You really have to put everything into it, and you really have to be yourself. And that’s the only way that you’ll be the artist that you’re supposed to be. Like I said before, it’s your responsibility to deliver the message from God, from society, the pain that people are going through. Just look at Marvin Gaye. That’s your responsibility, and being someone else, a cookie cutter, a carbon copy, is not what it is. It’s not being a musician. 
MJ: What can we look forward to from Lea Anderson?
LA: My music video is coming out for Detatched, November 11th. I completed my EP. I don’t have a specific date for when it’ll drop, but I’m going to release it like a blogger. I’ll release a different song every period. I’ll probably release Real Love in the top of the spring. Around April or March. I also have t-shirts with the lyrics of Not That Type of Guy, available for purchase on my website. 
MJ: Is there any inspiration you’d like to leave with us?
LA: Just be yourself and follow your heart. And know that you deserve everything that you’re going towards. The world is huge and you have to be comfortable with doing things that are bigger than you. 
  

It was a pleasure talking to this lovely young lady, who not only has a great voice, but is intelligent as well. Lea has performed all around NYC. Places such as, Ella, Sylvana’s, The Highline Ballroom, SOBs, The Bitter End. 
Not only is she a performing artist, but she’s also a painter. Lea sells her artwork and presents her portfolio upon request. Be sure to stay up to date with Lea by visiting her website, iamleaanderson.com, and following her on social media. Twitter: @iamleaanderson, Instagram: @iamleaanderson, facebook.com/iamleaanderson, youtube.com/musicbylyriclea, soundcloud.com/iamleaanderson. You can also download and purchase her two singles out now, Not That Type of Guy and Detached, on iTunes and Spotify. You won’t be disappointed. 

Get Your Finances In Order: Interview With The Budgetnista

“Women get together and we discuss men, children, and our lives over a glass of wine. But how often do we talk openly about finances? We say, ‘The Lord will make a way,’ and that’s true. But I’d like to empower myself.” Whether you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties or fifties and beyond, it’s not too late to get started. This quote is from an article in the February’s issue of ESSENCE Magazine. 
So often we get together with our friends and loved ones to talk about life and all of our issues. But how often do we discuss financial struggle, along with the importance of saving or budgeting? It wasn’t until my last year of college, when I was about to graduate, I realized the importance of saving and how I should’ve done that during my journey. 
After finding out about the Live Richer Challenge (a free, online financial challenge created by The Budgetnista to help women achieve 7-specific financial goals in 36 days. Currently over 15,000+ women in all 50 States and 52 countries, have signed-up and participated in the LRC.) and hearing her on the panel at a financial education event; I had the pleasure of interviewing financial educator, Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. The Budgetnista has been featured in The New York Times, US News and World Report, the TODAY show, PBS, Fox Business, MSNBC, CBS MoneyWatch, TIME, ESSENCE Magazine, and FORBES. She regularly blogs about personal finance for The Huffington Post. She has also been has been a featured speaker at American Express, Princeton University, Wyndham Worldwide, Columbia University, Circle of Sisters, MegaFest, The United Way, Prudential Financial Inc. and many more.
Below you will find a few highlights from the interview where you’ll get to know a little more about Tiffany, as well as get some useful tips on how to get your finances in order. 
Miss Jones: How did you decide to start this journey? (Entrepreneurship)

The Budgetnista: Life decided for me. I was a school teacher for ten years. The school I was working for lost funding and everyone lost their jobs. I was relieved because I knew it was time to move on, but I was scared as well. You can do all of the right things and still be without a job.  

Miss Jones: For those who may not know, tell us a little about your business.

The Budgetnista: I have a financial education firm, which helps people with basic finances. My audience is predominantly women. I work with sets/groups of people and companies. Because I was an educator, I am able to teach in these settings. I’ve worked with companies like Prudential, United Way, and more. 

Miss Jones: What life experiences growing up contributed to the career path you have now?

The Budgetnista: I grew up in a household with my father, who was a financial banker. My father always talked to my sister and I about finances. When I got my first job, I had to talk with him about my paycheck. So I was able to master that at home. The rest was natural progression. I taught preschool, which played a part. The younger the age, the better to teach. College age students have knowledge, while preschoolers have no knowledge at all. You have to teach them everything, and that’s the best place to start. If you can teach preschool effectively, you can teach anyone. 

Miss Jones: did you ever think you’d write a book?

The Budgetnista: Yes, I always though I would but I never knew what it would be about. When I was teaching, the parents would come in around nap time and I would help them with their finances. As I was helping them, I would write it down. And eventually u wrote a book about it.

Miss Jones: Did you ever think the LiveRicher Challenge would be as big as it is now? 

The Budgetnista: Yes and no. I thought it was a great idea, and would be great to do. The I thought to myself, ‘it’s too much, no one’s going to do this.’ It was the same with my book. It humbled me. What the challenge is doing now, is something I dreamed of. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the goals you’ve had?

The Budgetnista: I ultimately wanted to have a business and fully support myself. I wanted to make a certain amount of money a month. I wanted by book to be a number one seller. I also wanted to be featured in certain publications. And I was able to accomplish all of these. There are still some goals I have yet to reach. I would like to speak at ESSENCE Festival, as well as be a branch certified one day. 

Miss Jones: How were you able to accomplish these goals?

The Budgetnista: Putting one foot in front of the other, without overthinking. I’ve learned to do what you know, and the rest will come after. When you do what you know, the more you learn. Two, always keep positive people around you. I call those people in my life, the dream catchers. Keep people around you who have their own business. You’ll be able to learn from them. Also, keep honest people around you, that’ll let you know when you’re doing too much. Remember why you started, and don’t be afraid to look for assistance when you need it. Learn when to ask for help. It can cost you time, money, and happiness when you try to do everything yourself. 

Miss Jones: Many people growing up, as myself, were never really taught to save, and are now struggling with the transition and mind shift. What are some tips to get back on track?

The Budgetnista: 1. Discipline. Decide how much from your check to save. It’ll get you to practice. Ask your job to take out $10 out of $100, and send it to another account through direct deposit. 2. Start with saving goals that are fun. For example, specifically saving for a vacation, a car, or an apartment. You can either go to a concert, or live home with your parents forever. Find what motivates you, even when you want to spend. 3. Open up an online savings account, which allows you to magnify your money online. Banks such as Capitol one 360 and Ally banks offer great online accounts. And it is only a savings account. Separate accounts for specific goals. Whether it be a travel or a car account. These online accounts take 2-5 business days (unlike a regular bank) to transfer money. So it forces you to save. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the most important steps to becoming financially stable?

The Budgetnista: First, imagine you’re in a ditch. Just stop digging. Stop using your cards. Stop eating out. Find the issue, and take a step back. Bring things back in order one at a time. Be sure to create a budget, it’ll help you see where your money is going. Try the Live richer challenge. Miss Jones: How can one save and still enjoy your life? Looking well, vacationing, but still have funds saved?

The Budgetnista: Budget. Including travel, clothes, etc. Look at what you want. Take out bills first, and put 10% into your retirement account. With the first check of the month. From 90% figure out how much the things you need are, how much will you save, and how much will you do for fun stuff. Retirement should always be first, then emergency savings, bills, then fun. When there’s no money left, you’ve made poor choices. If you want fun, lower your bills. 

Miss Jones: How do you build your credit score?

The Budgetnista: Your credit score is broken up into five different components 1. Inquiry. Which is when someone else looks at your social security number, if you were applying for a credit card etc. You should save it for a car or student loans instead of applying for multiple credit cards you don’t need. Even if you don’t qualify for the card, points are still taken off of your credit score. And that’s 10% of your credit score.  

2. 10% of your credit score is debt. 

3. Length of credit history. And that’s 15%. Keep your oldest credit card open. If you’re in college or fresh out of college, let your parents put you on as an authorized user. Where they are the primary user and also pay on time. 

4. Utilization. Which is how much are you using. This is the thing that brings most of it down. Using too much of what you’re given. Keep your spending under 30%.

5. Payment history. Which 35%. Keep your payments down. Always pay what they ask when they ask. Charge a card with something small regularly and pay it off in full every month. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the best budget plans that you’d give others? Is the Mint App a good budgeting tool?

The Budgetnista: From what I’ve heard about Mint, its pretty good. However, my book The One Week Budget, I give a great way to budget. Set it up and automate it. Separate checking account for bills. Second account not attached, so that all of your bills are taken from one specific account. One should typically have at least three separate bank accounts. A savings account, an emergency account, an online savings account, and/or a regular checking account. 

Miss Jones: Is there any advice you’d like to leave with us?

The Budgetnista: It’s not as hard as you think, it’s just about practice. With time it gets easier and easier. But only if you get started. 

Tiffany, The Budgetnista, was a pleasure to talk to. She is going around the world sharing financial tools that can ultimately change someone’s life. She offers financial education to companies, small groups, churches, and universities. You can visit her website to invite her and find out her pricing, thebudgetnista.com. Also purchase her books The One Week Challenge and Live Richer Challenge. Lastly, follow her on Instagram and Twitter @thebudgetnista and continue to find out ways to get your finances in order!

Tha L. Spot Ent. & PR LLC

Tha L Spot Ent. and PR, LLC is a company that provides public relations services to clients in music, special events, event planning, and photography. They focus on networking and recognizing talents, brands, and the community. Tha L Spot also focuses on creating and giving opportunities for those who wish to gain experience in any of the fields listed above. Along with this, they also have their own blog. Founder and CEO, Jessica Lanice started this company because she wanted to bring people into her world. Being surrounded by talented people, she wanted to give them exposure. Before graduating with a degree in public relations, she decided to write about the wonderful talent she experienced on her blog. Upon graduating, we decided to start her company. 

On Thursday, March 12th CEO Jessica Lanice and Tha L. Spot PR company, celebrated their third year anniversary with a concert held at the Roulette Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. The show was hosted by the very funny, Charlie Wilson, whom we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing on the site. But before he rose to the stage, Micheal Mills and Ms KG hit the stage ginger the crowd rocking, along with DJ NO. 

  

Charlie came to the stage and started off with some jokes. Then he got a little serious and brought out Jessica. She talked about her company and what she sets out to do, and brought a portion of her team up with her. (Journalist, accountant, etc.)

  

(Charlie Wilson & Jessica Lanice)

 

Then Charlie shared how real R&B and Hip Hop has slipped away from us. So he was excited to have all these artist together for this concert. The show then started. 

The first artist to perform was Dave Al. He came out singing a cover of Sam Smith’s, ‘I’m Not the Only One’. He then sang a few original songs as well. Songs that were slow and intimate. Which allowed him to be close and connect with the audience. He wanted the audience to be able to hear and feel his lyrics. To hear some of his music, visit  https://soundcloud.com/dave-al. You can also connect with him on his social media networks. Twitter: twitter.com/Dave_ALMusicIG: instagram.com/dave_almusicFB: www.facebook.com/pages/Dave-Al/24798

  

Next up was, Cameron Jay. He is a rapper and had the crowd rocking. To stay up to date and hear some of his music, visit his website http://www.cameronjaymusik.com. Also check out his Instagram: @cameronjaymusik. 

  

Then the group, D Limitz came out with their drums and set the crowd on fire. This is a group from East New York. They had African Drums, along with dancers. They also rapped. To hear their music, visit https://soundcloud.com/d-limitz. Also check out their Instagram: @dlimtzofficial. 

  

Before the performances continued, of course there was a little fun. There was a lot of crowd of participation. There were crowd members who got on stage and sang. Then there was a little runway as well. They audiences loved every bit of it. 

  

  

  

  

Next to perform was, Islima, who goes by Songbird. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing her on the site. She started out with a cover of Jhene Aiko as her guitarist Elliot played in the background. She then went to singing her original music; her singles, Perfect Harmony and The Break Up. You can download her single on iTunes, Amazon, spotify, and more. Check out her Instagram as well, @islimasongbird. 

  

The very last artist to perform was Kwoat. He’s a rapper and came out and somewhat put a story to his songs. You to learn more about him and hear his music, you can visit http://allunsigned.com/kwoat-kwoatalent-songs-for-breakup/. Also visit his Instagram page, @kwoatalent. 

  

While the show was going, there was a bartender providing drinks as well as vendors. Below are the vendors:

  

(Instagram: @thecollegegirl)

  

(Instagram: @chicbychoice)

  

(Very talented artist. His work is dope. Check him out on Instagram @r.p.gallery)

  

 

(Instagram: @lilyz__closet)

  

(Instagram: @stgserious @hiphop_inthaflesh)

Lastly there was a special performance by Nathaniel’s (singer, songwriter) dancers. They came out and killed! He also brought out an artist to end the show. You can check him out on Instagram, @nathanielrnb. 

  

This was an overall great show in celebration on Tha L. Spot’s 3rd year anniversary. We definitely respect the work that’s being done on behalf of talented artists. Special thanks to Jessica Lanice and her team for the invitation. Be sure to check out and support Tha L. Spot by visiting their social media networks. Website: thalspot entpr.com. Blog: thalspot.com. Instagram: @thalspotentpr. Twitter: @thalspotentpr. 

(All pictures were taken by CeeDeeKay Photographer. Check her out on Instagram @ceedeekayphotography). 

Voyages Prep High School Women’s Day

Thursday, March 12th, I had the pleasure of attending Voyages Prep HS’s women’s day luncheon. I was invited by Leah Williams, who I met at a women’s empowerment brunch the Saturday before. 

Voyages Prep HS is a transfer HS in Elmhurst, Queens. The population is over-aged and under-credited students who failed at the traditional high school setting.  In an effort to lift the spirit of their girls, some of who are single mothers and live in low-income communities, they are had their first ever Women’s Day to inspire the girls and show them that through hard work and determination they can succeed at being strong and beautiful contributors to today’s global society. 

Upon arriving to the school and into the space set for the event, I was greeted by wonderful ladies and students as they continued to complete the set up for the day. This was a day not only to empower the ladies, but to make them feel good. There were beautiful tables set up for the girls. 

  

  

To start the day off, Leah, who is on the advisory board of the young women’s group did her greetings and introductions. There were of course the girls who currently attend the school, along with returning students (one who graduated as the valedictorian and recently received her associates degree, and on her way to her bachelors.), teachers, other advisors, school safety, and the guest speaker Tiana Von Johnson. Once the ladies came in, signed in, received a lovely bag, and sat attentively, it was time to eat and mingle before moving further.

After the food was served and the ladies had a chance to talk to one another, Leah returned to introduce the speaker of the day. 

Tiana Von Johnson started by sharing her story with the girls. She shared her successes with them. She grew up in a broken home in the Bronx. However, she had a different mindset. She never wanted to follow the crowd, rather go down her own path. She learned how to be her own boss from a very young age. She went to work with her father every Saturday while most of the other kids were outside playing. She learned how to save the $10 she made every week, and it taught her valuable lessons. And the same followed her for the rest of her life. And because of this, she was determined to go to school. 

She received her Bachelors degree by the age of 20, Masters by the age of 21; and by the age of 25, she was making $70,000 a year. She was grateful for her accomplishments, but she wasn’t fulfilled. She wasn’t passionate about the work she did. 

Tiana then went on to ask the girls what they were passionate about. Allowing them to speak on their goals and what they eventually wanted. She then went on with her story, letting the girls know that she became a millionaire by the age of 30. She wanted to go back to school to receive her PHD, but was told she was too young. So she continued to work and reapplied at the age of 37, and she was accepted. She wanted to show the girls how she continued to work and make things happen for herself.   

  

When she reached $100,000 a year in her career, she decided to quit her job. She wasn’t fulfilled. She enjoyed the money, but wanted to do what she was passionate about. She did all of this while being a single mother of 2. She then became a producer she was her own boss. And because she was her own boss, she had to separate herself. To focus, sometimes you will have to separate yourself. And this is something she wanted to get across to the girls. It’s important to know when to separate yourself in order to reach your goals. She’s been through some things, as many of the girls have, but she was determined to reach a certain level of success. 

After she spoke for a while, she showed a video which displayed her many accomplishments and success. She was the first young African American female broker on Wall Street. But she was focused and determined. She’s doing it big now because she was determined enough to quit her job and do what she loved. 

Tiana then made it a little more interactive for the girls. She asked them to share what they aspire to do. Which allowed them to declare some of their goals and aspirations, and put it into the atmosphere. They were also asked if they had a game plan. Which led to one of the worksheets set out for them. It was called Envisioning the Life You Want. Which helped the girls to see exactly where they wanted to be in life. Not just thinking about it, but actually visualizing it. 

  

The next activity was where Tiana asked everyone to close their eyes and think about the person they loved. After some time, she allowed the girls to share. Many of them mentioned their mother or their children. But none of them mentioned themselves. Which says a lot. She wanted them to get to a place where they loved themselves enough to pursue their dreams. 

Then they used the following sheet to draw or write out the things they wanted into the box created for them. Many of the girls drew money, houses, and he businesses they hoped to open one day. 

  

Tiana then opened the floor for questions, where she was able to further encourage the girls. Below are a few of her answers:

  • I was able to reach my goals being a single mother because of my work ethic. I was driven. 
  • Time management was big for me. I encourage you all to invest in a journal. Write your goals for the week, month, and year. This is how you stay organized. 
  • People will try to take advantage of you when you’re in a situation like this. When you grow and become a brand, you have to protect your assists. 
  • After you realize your passion, you may have to reach out to others to push you along the way. I reached out to my pastor and educators. 
  • I was able to keep pushing when I saw my vision but faced opposition because I was reminded of my past. Every time I found myself in a position where I wanted to quit, I remembered the place I didn’t want to return to. 

Below are a few nuggets she was able to leave with the girls:

  • Push when no one believes in you. 
  • From this point on think about whether it contaminate me or contribute to my growth. 
  • Shift your mindset for what’s good for you. 
  • Don’t demand respect, command respect. You want your presence felt. Marking your territory. Focusing on what you have to do for you. 
  • Invest in yourself. 
  • You have to have the will to win. 
  • Prioritize relationships.

It was amazing to be able to see these young girls have an opportunity to experience a day of encouragement and empowerment at a young age. These are the types of events I attend as an adult, so it’s great to start early. They were given tools that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Tools that will help them pursue their dreams. And to see the excitement was great. I over heard a conversation where a young girl was recording and when asked, she said “yes, I’m recording. I want to be a millionaire!” This event will be life changing for them. Special thanks to Leah Ross-Williams for he invite. 

 

 (Leah Ross-Williams and Miss Jones)

 

 (Miss Jones & Tiana Von Johnson) 

Activate Your Vision Board Party with Lucinda Cross

Friday, February 13th, I had the opportunity to attend the Activate Your Vision Board Party presented by “The Chief Activator” Lucinda Cross. Cross has been featured in this years January edition of Essence Magazine. She’s been making vision boards for 10 years, and has received great results. The latest vision board she purposed to be featured, and that is exactly what came to past. She has also been featured on the Today Show, and is also a contributing writer for Black Enterprise and Huffington Post.

Lucinda is a woman who has overcome incredible struggle and is now helping others through a method that has helped her reach this level of success. She has dedicated herself to going around the world and sharing how “the power of vision can set your goals on fire.” She did and now you can too. During these parties, Cross let’s others know the real purpose of creating a vision board and how to clarify your goals and dreams.

Friday’s event was held in Harlem, NY at Raw Space, which is a nice intimate space with beautiful paintings donning the walls. Upon entering the venue, there was music playing, mingling, and the atmosphere was set. The tables were decorated lovely, with magazines, mood rocks, and wine glasses with beautiful quotes. There was then a table with materials to create the visions boards, as well as Lucinda’s vision board that was featured in Essence.

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Cupcakes were being served by the volunteers who did a great job the entire evening. Food was then served, as more people gathered in for the night. Music, eating, and talking commenced for a little while. The sponsor for the evening was donutologist, Todd Jones. He made delicious homemade, mini donuts. He’s the owner of Sweet Dreams, where they bring the donut experience to you. As well as, Cuzzin’s Duzin, where you come to the donut experience. These donuts were mouth watering.

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Then to start the evening off, Dr. Stacy NC Grant came up to speak to this room filled with anxious ladies, ready to write the vision and make it plain. She discussed the purpose of us being there, all the while dropping some encouragement as well. On this cold frigid night, she commended those in attendance who “came out on a cold night to warm their dreams”. She encouraged everyone to jump and grow their wings on the way down. As well as posed the question, “what seeds are you going to plant tonight?”

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She then introduced the financial motivator, author, and speaker Ash Cash. Having heard him speak previously, I knew he’d have some great encouragement for us all. He started by sharing a little of his story. He grew up in Harlem where many people around him either ended up in jail or down a path of negativity. But he went against the grain, and came out on top. He’s been in banking for 15 years and is the author of a best seller. He’s been featured in many publications, such as Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, and more. As well as popular radio stations, Hot 97 and WBLS 107.5.
Ash went on to share a story he heard about a brick wall. The father told his son he broke down a brick wall and wanted him to rebuild it. The father then had to tell the son, because in his mind it was too much, don’t focus so much on the wall, focus on one brick. It’ll be so powerful, you can’t break it down. Often times we try to handle everything at once, when it’s important to put our focus on one thing at a time. He left us with these powerful sayings..
•The work that you put in today is all that matters.
•The power is in your vision.
•Don’t wait until later to do something. Do it now!

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Next up was the energetic, Katie Kozlowski. Started by saying, if you believe it, then you’ll see it. She shared how she knew there was greater ahead, but wasn’t sure how it would manifest. She uses play as a way to reach success. She believes the journey should be joyful and fun. It shouldn’t have to be a sad process. She briefly shared how she took her own worth away and wondered how she would create something golden. And she was able to do just that. So she encouraged the audience that the past is the past and you have an opportunity to change who you are.

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Then the lady of the hour, Lucinda Cross, came up to speak. She shared how she was able to accomplish 80% of the things included on her vision board. It’s more than just a vision board, but a faith board. If you believe it, you’ll receive it. For example, she put Keke Palmers’ picture on her vision board, and she was later one of the speakers for the Activate Conference. That was one amongst many manifestations of the vision board she created. Below are a few powerful points she left us with:

•No one is obligated to support our dream. You have to go after what you want.

•Its important to have abundant thinking when it comes to your dreams.

•Link up with people who have manifested some things. You need a success entourage.

•Say no to certain things, so you can say yes to greater.

•Show up strategically. Lucinda shared stories where she showed up for an event. She wasn’t the main speaker, but someone asked her to come. She said she would, and although it wasn’t a large gathering and she stood in the back, after the event and her sharing a few sentences; someone approached her and asked what she did. The person was someone from Essence Magazine and it led to her feature.

•You have to be a demonstration of a blessing.

•Mantra: “My vision is coming to past, just like that.”

•You have to be ready. Will you be ready when they call? Lucinda shared the moment she received the call for Essence magazine and they told her they were bringing full camera crew for an interview. She was ready, she just purchased a dress and didn’t need the wardrobe that Essence brought for her.

•You’re asking for more when you haven’t finished what’s on your plate. Focus on what you have, so that you’re able to get more.

•Use what’s in your hands.

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After her great speech, we were led into beginning our boards. Those in attendance took all of the encouragement and motivation they received to pour into their boards. They were already excited from the beginning to put their dreams and goals down on their boards, but was given that extra boost. There were some who were moved to tears by what had taken place. This event touched and changed the lives of many.

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It was also important to have others around you who have the same goals of success in mind. Towards the end Lucinda did an exercise to show how we have the support of our sisters. Two women sat back to back with one another after briefly sharing what their goals were for the year. Everyone in the room then walked up individually to whisper words of support, wisdom, and encouragement that they needed.

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This event was so empowering. To have someone who’s gone through a certain process, a rough process, but was able to have enough faith to make it and reach her goals is amazing. But it’s even more amazing for them to dedicate themselves to changing the lives of others through that. Special thanks, to Lucinda Cross and her team for the opportunity to cover this incredible event. Stay in touch with Lucinda Cross by visiting her website and social media networks, http://www.lucindacross.com. Instagram: @lucindacross, twitter: @lucindaspeaks

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(Miss Jones and Lucinda Cross)