For the past few months I have spoken to my mother in regards to creating a Caribbean themed event in Atlanta where the proceeds go to an Aids organization. After a long debate, we have decided to purchase Christmas gifts for the kids of the infectious disease unit of Grady Hospital. She was even going to come down and help work the event. We even decided to have her prepare rum cakes to put inside of the VIP gift boxes the day before she passed….
So my family decided to instead of asking people to send flowers for the funeral, we are requesting for people to donate money towards purchasing presents for the hospital. Since she passed November 10, 2015 during the holidays, we have decided to pick a different county hospital in different cities and do the same thing every year.
The 1st annual Cherry May Reynolds Christmas Hope fund was a success! We raised 725 in total allowing us to purchase gifts for 41 children ages 3-17.
We shopped at several different stores but we started off at Care Mart. For every hundred dollars spent in this store provided cared for a family of 4 including their utilities. We were able to provide for 8 people on our first run shopping!
Meet the ladies of Sistah Mind in Motion Book Club (SMM)
Sistah Minds In Motions (SMM) is a group of women with diverse backgrounds located in the surrounding areas of the greater Atlanta area. SMM stemmed from a vision of desiring to bond resilient African-American women in cultivating friendships, encountering new and unique
experiences, social gatherings, networking, taking part in community events and the overall encouragement of each member. They are women that are married, single, employed, in school, educators, working moms,
stay-at-home moms, and women from all walks of life. We chose to come together to share wisdom, advice, opportunities and discuss the ripples of day to day issues in life.
SMM was established in November 2009 by Bobbi Ramey. Their first official book club meeting took place on January 16, 2010. Bobbi Ramey is an avid inspirational reader. The idea was to bring together a diverse group of women who enjoy reading and to bond spiritually. She asked her family and friends if they would be interested in joining and the rest is history! SMM was born!
As black women, time and time again we have exclusive desires and concerns that are not recognized by those who cannot relate to our cultural issues. They speak openly and honestly to each other about all aspects of life. They continue to respect our differences give our
support, uplift, and celebrate one another.
On Saturday October 3rd, I met with the ladies to discuss Pum Pum my 10th title. We cried, laughed, and debated for hours my characters, and why I chose to write about Iyana and Phe Phe. We celebrated the club members birthdays who were born in the month of October, and even I love meeting with these beautiful ladies and just wanted to share my experience with you.
For more information contact Bobbi Ramey at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Being a Jamaican national, but growing up in the United States, I always felt out of place. Whenever we went back home to Jamaica, my family members would say that I chat like a Yankee (spoke like an American) and was a fake Yaude… In America, especially the West Side of Las Vegas (the hood), where back in the 80’s there were very few West Indian people. My friends and their parents, would shun almost everything about my heritage. From the food we ate, the way that we spoke, to the way I could wind my hips when I danced. The constant ridicule made me embarrassed of my roots, my upbringings. It made me hate it whenever my Mother would blast the Calypso music from the floor model stereo in our living room and my step father would stand in the door way dancing for our neighbors. I began hating who I was and practiced to speak American and tried to become someone that I was not. I felt like no one understood me except my best friend Steeve Washington. He embraced my culture with open arms, and would come over and dance and learned how to chat Jamaican Patois, a dialect that is also known as Jamaican Creole by linguists. (It is an English-based creole language with West African and Spanish influences.)
It wasn’t until the movie How Stella Got Her Groove Back in the 90’s, which was depicted from the book by Terry McMillian that being from Jamaica finally became cool. This is when dancehall singers like Patra, Shabba, and Spragga Benz became popular. Now all my friends and American born cousins, were asking me to teach them how to dance like that.
Then in 1997, when my all-time favorite independent Jamaican film Dancehall Queen came out, my love and respect for my country grew even more. This movie told a story of a struggling single mother, who worked as a street vendor while trying to raise her two daughters. She had a man that offered her household money, in exchange he wanted her teenage daughter, a neighborhood thug that was after her brother, and the most important issue, her lack of money.
This is when she decided to take matters into her own hands and create this dancing celebrity that competed for cash prizes and became the dance hall queen. This movie made me become fascinated with the story of real dance hall queens, and I began researching them. I never knew that 15 years later, I would be writing a story inspired by them and their everyday struggles and journeys.
So in 2013 I began writing my story of the dance hall queen, but kept getting stuck. It didn’t seem authentic to me. Yes I was born on this island, but I was raised in America. So I changed the story up some. I decided to write the story from the perception of my oldest daughter Destani’s biggest fear. That one day immigration was going to snatch me up, and deport me back to Jamaica. Even adding that element to the story, it still felt like it was missing something, so I again, I put the book to the side.
It wasn’t until July of 2013 when I heard the story of Dwayne Jones, a homeless transgender 16 year old boy that was murdered on the streets of Montego Bay during an Anti-LGBT attack. Not only was this child murdered, for wearing female clothing, but he beaten, stabbed, shot, and run over by a car. When I heard of this story, I was not only horrified, because this baby was the same age as my child, but it baffled me that no one was charged for his arrest because Jamaica is one of the 70 out of 195 countries in the world that still honors the buggery law. This law, also known as the sodomy law which outlaws “unnatural” and immoral sex which includes: anal, oral, and bestiality.
So I added this component in the book as well. Now that I told you where I came up with the concept of this book, I want you to understand one thing. Yes there are many social issues in this book from deportation, LGBT, and being a dancehall queen, but I the main objective that I want you as the reader to get from this book is to not judge. You may not agree with one’s lifestyle, their background, their belief system, or who they want to be intimate with, but it is not for you to agree. If we all agreed on everything, we would not be human species that God put us on this earth to be. So with that being said, I hope that you enjoy this book. After all the time that I have spent on it, I can honestly say, it has grown to be one of the best books that I have written. Sit back and enjoy!
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Leaving the island of Jamaica as an infant with her parents, the only home that Iyana Cambell knows is the United States of America. At the age of sixteen, not only does Iyana lose both of her parents, she meets a law student named Bradley. Bradley has taken a caring interest in her and promises to pick up the pieces of her past tragedies. Now in her third year in college and engaged to a powerhouse attorney, Iyana feels that she has met her knight in shining armor. However, one 4th of July, Iyana is set up on a drug charge. Iyana realizes that Florida is home to her, and according to immigration law, she is deported back to Jamaica: a culture she has never known. Iyana is forced to stay with an Aunt she never knew and live in poor conditions. Determined to obtain some sense of normalcy, she tries to finish her education and enroll in the University of the West Indies. With no loans or financial aid, she must find another way to make money to pay for school and other necessities. Now at the end of her rope, Iyana meets another American deportee, Phe Phe who helps her get into school and teaches her the ropes on how to make it on the streets of Jamaica, as a Dance Hall Queen. Phe Phe is reluctant of letting Iyana know too much about her life, but soon the two become best friends. Phe Phe introduces Iyana to a lawyer Marlon that works to get her deportation overturned and help her discover the beauty that Jamaica has to offer. From the Pen of Ni’cola Comes a tantalizing tail of lies and deceit woven into the exotic life of a dance hall queen. The island of Jamaica has many secrets and taboo to offer. Will Iyana naivety cause her to be overtaken by all the deceit or will her Pum Pum bring her into the light?
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I love free gifts! #ATL Check out Project Dior Beauty & Your Best Face Forward event on 11/21 inside of Dillard’s in the Perimeter Mall and this can be one of the gifts that you will get while being pampered by four makeup artist. Thank you Dillard’s for my goodies:)