Gisèle Claudia Ntsama

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Des Ateliers Haute Couture F/W 2021



The world slowly opens as folks emerge from their homes destined to visit  family and or friends. Some have cautiously attended open air patios, venturing out for coffee, lunch or drinks while others have gone all out heading across the land by car, train or airplane; all determined to experience that long awaited opportunity to socialize.

Whatever the scenario, "it" is happening!

What do you think? 

Let's be honest, we cannot remain locked behind doors, peering around curtains, wondering what ills await us "out there,"  forever. The opening of things was bound to happen and we must get on with the getting on!

That said, the New Normal might be a little too new for many to feel normal, right about now. In fact, many of us are downright trepidatious about "getting back out there." Considering the numbers shot up - again - some places worse than the last THREE (or is it FOUR?) times, we have "opened things up," anxiety is understandable! 

If you are such an individual, know that your hesitation is just fine. When YOU chose to leave the security of your shelter, and how that leaving looks, IS all up to you.


Yes, some folks were chafing at the bit so sprang into liberation the moment their government issued the go ahead. Some had even remained "normal" through this entire experience, visiting and travelling like there was no declared pandemic plaguing the world. But, if you are not such an individual, and such a person contacts you to play, don't stress - it is alright to say, "No (I am not ready, just yet)," or "Let me get back to you (once I weigh how I feel about socializing, again)."

True. We want to save people's feelings. Truer still, YOUR feelings are what should matter most (to you). A loved one will appreciate you, understanding that not everyone likes to dive into the water - some prefer a slow emersion, starting with a slight dip of the toe. Those who don't understand you were never really worthy of you in the first place.They were probably more friends with the idea of friendship than with you personally. Don't be offended! If you lose them, there are plenty more fair-weathered folks ready to entertain or be entertained by you. 


The caution to remember is, your mind can be like a tricky child, if you allow it control you, you could be headed down a troubled path. Keep in mind, we humans are social creatures who need to share and communicate in the way we need to share and communicate. Whether you are great with your own company or just plain paranoid (yeah, I said it), make sure you take the opportunity to dip that toe! You don't have to dunk your entire head in the water, but, you should at least wade into the water and splash the cool wetness on your face. 

Long story short? Do what you want to do without influence from others, but, don't drive yourself mad. 

Making yourself distressed over if, when, and how to spend time with people is completely unnecessary. Focus on enjoying yourself. If you are enjoying your home time, do your thing. If you want to see what all the hoopla is about but are feeling scared, SAFELY, meet up with folks you trust the most. Remember, these people probably actually really like you and only want to share your company so why not grant them the privilege of yourself? If you find you are not having fun, no excuse is necessary to  return home whenever you wish.

Keep the process simple.

Start by being good to you.


Hey! Did You Know...

An Easy Way to Build Healthy Habits


is by Habit Stacking?


What the heck is that?


Habit Stacking is a practice that allows you to take advantage of the way your brain works. Instead of fighting with yourself to start a new habit, you simply establish a new habit while taking advantage of (stacking onto) an old one.


Other than it being where processing ideas, planning, will power, and self talk occurs, your brain has plenty to do with forming a habit through a process known as Synaptic Pruning. You see, as we age, our brains "prune away" connections (aka: synapses) between the neurons in the brain that we do not use. You heard the expression "use it or lose it?" Well, this is one reason why that saying is true. Impressively, the brain also  BUILDS (makes stronger, faster, synapses with) connections we frequently use, making us more adept at whatever that (connection) skill or ability is. Synaptic Pruning is a biological change that leads to skill development. This is how practice is made perfect.

Habit Stacking offers an easy way to maximize lifestyle choices and use time efficiently. It’s a simple practice that many Goal Focused individuals have incorporated into their lives.

One idea of stacking a new habit onto an old might be remembering to take your vitamins. Instead of stressing over trying to remember to take your vits at a specific time, a helpful example would be to pull your vitamins out along with your breakfast dishes. Once you have had a few bites of toast (or spoonfuls of muesli) pop a vitamin. Before you know it, eating your vitamins (and drinking water, by the way) will become part of your NORMAL routine. No pressure.

Initially, this process will take planning - and work. You have to know what new habit you wish to form, where best to incorporate this habit into your day (what behaviour it might best fit in with) then actually carry out the action a few times. But, continuing the practice as part of your regular routine will be much simpler than forcing yourself to remember something out of the blue. 

Once you try this routine you might find you actually like it.


"An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." Have you heard that saying? How about, "There is no such thing as being too careful."

When it comes to your identity, few truer words were ever spoken. One cannot be too careful when it comes to protecting one's identity. The last thing an individual wants is to jump through the hoops  required to regain a clean record once someone has wrecked havoc with their identity.

So, what steps can be taken to reduce one's risk of identity theft?

First and foremost, Be aware.
Most of us are on the internet, daily, searching for information, visiting websites we assume only want to share information with us. Unfortunately, we might not know that servers of said sites send files to our devices. These files are sent so the website can recognize us, allowing us to upload it faster the next time we visit it. Even if we do not return to the website, the not so nice piece to these files accessing our devices is the sale of our date to organizations wanting our consumer dollars. Ever wonder how an ad appears on your device related to something you recently searched? Through the server tracking process mentioned above, known as "using  cookies," is how. Many sites offer options restricting the use of cookies. According to, regardless the options chosen, valuable user data is still uploaded in the background, and likely sold

That is behind the scenes, what about what is taking place right before your eyes? What about the information you willingly give when typing on a "friendly" site? Be aware! You may believe you are sharing with trusted friends or family, but, you may also be sharing with  a stranger infiltrating/ spying/ hacking into your communication.  Worse, yet, the family or friend that you trust may not be so worthy! 

As zero guarantees exists, personal information should be kept to a minimum. Leave out details like dates of birth, banking and credit card information. Keep in mind, every time personal information is shared YOU present another opportunity for a criminal to gain access to your information. Social media users 
have a 46 percent higher risk of account takeovers and fraud than those not active on any social media networks. Yikes!

Offline also requires caution. All personal information from slow mail can be torn from envelopes then shredded or better yet burned - a fire proof dish and lighter are all that is required. Phone scams change, regularly, so, if the caller claims to be from your bank, government body - or a desperate family member - HANG UP! Call said bank, government office, et cetera. Rule number two is Verify. Verify who you are sending to/ sharing with when it comes to giving YOUR PERSONAL information. Better yet, don't do it! No family tree, financial application or anything is worth the mess. 

Paranoid much? Why not?

Identity theft is sometimes months of devastation from which some people never fully recover. Do yourself a favour, avoid the foolery. Reduce your risk by being aware and verifying before you reveal anything - better yet, share nothing about yourself, what do you have to lose?

Are You Offended?

Ever wonder why We People seem unable to get along? No matter how similar we are, who we are, what we do or how we do it there is always a struggle or conflict of sorts. Regardless our Gender, orientation, socio economic status, education, age, ethnicity, culture, language, height, weight, pet lover, pet lover type, vaxxer or not, the fight continues on and on as if we simply cannot help ourselves. What is at the root of all this disharmony?


Well, a close look at our root may be an answer. In this context root does not mean heritage. Root - the basis of our self as in "the cellular basis of life itself" is the reference. We are looking at cellular behaviour, to be exact. 


Scientific studies have proven, on a cellular level, we compare ourselves with our neighbour, adapt to what is most popular, compete for dominance and even destroy the weaker. This is a simplistic explanation to a very complex occurrence, but this phenomenon is an intrinsic biological behaviour, consistently taking place in our bodies.  

This process is essentially about maintaining organs and protecting against cancer but without a doubt it is in our nature to "protect ourselves" and "attack when feeling threatened" - however that feeling is interpreted.

Let us understand, nature is brutally cruel. We are nature. 


As much as we would like to believe in the "advancement" of our species, we have proven ourselves as unaware as a sea lion when it comes to who we truly are, in spite of the double megaannum  (or four decem millenniuum since leaving Africa) of our existence. Due to our ability to rationalize, moralize, communicate, plan and create, we feel we are or should be "above our nature." This belief is illogical. It is also unfair to ourselves and those at whom we point a finger.


Yes. We have impulse control and reasoning - but so do many animals, birds and sea creatures. We don't expect them to behave beyond their natural instinct (well, we do, and are terribly disappointed when scratched, pecked, bitten or mauled, but that is another story). Yes, we are consciousness: aware of internal and external existence. But, why is that an excuse for being so hard on ourselves? 


Some might argue, we think so highly of ourselves due to one way we manage order in society called positive reinforcement. Positive Reinforcement refers to an unspoken expectation in society where we are to behave well so we do (well, most of us do - or try to - much of the time).  Others say, this expectation is an example of our self delusion - our complete denial or inability to see - our primitiveness as a species. Yes, our evolution is extraordinary, but, so is a dog able to perform tricks; it is still a dog.  

The point? Maybe it is time to understand who we are at our most basic self, and give ourselves - as well as the person next to us - a break. Yes. We want to live in a society of goodwill and honour. We could best achieve this when we learn to get over ourselves - give ourselves a break  - just a little bit.


Getting over ourself is an important ponderance then a relevant behaviour, achievable by putting aside some (eventually hopefully all) hindrances blocking us from exemplifying our FULL nature. This FULL nature includes a phenomenal incredibleness, a wonderment, an awesomeness that is us. Have you ever marvelled at the sheer beauty of something, someone or someplace? Picture whatever problem/ trouble/ dislike - even hate -galling you then place it somewhere over there... allow the exquisiteness of nature (that marvellous beauty) to enter into its place. This is giving yourself a break. 


You will find, it is not apathy, hopelessness or aloofness you are experiencing. You are simply allowing. Allowing the tightness in your chest to release, the tension in your head to cease, the pressure in your chest to ease, the knot in your stomach, tension in your limbs to untie. Allow the intake of breath to fill your lungs, spread calm through your body then slowly release, allowing the stress to fall from you, allowing you to exit the "troubled situation" and enter the peace. This is letting go. This is step one to getting over yourself. Most importantly this is getting out of the way of magnificence.


Some say we all cannot sit around marvelling at magnificence. The question is, what does "sitting around" have to do with anything?

As we move through our day we can marvel, be curious, feel impressed by something or everything - on a continuous basis. This makes room for ourselves -our full selves. 


Does this sound impossible to achieve?


Try a four step practice. In preparation of this practice, forget about your self - just for a moment. Step out of the situation. If you have to physically take a step forward then take it! Every time you feel upset, every time you feel angry, let down, frustrated, hurt, offended, take two quick and one long inhales (totalling about 8 seconds) then exhale.  Look at "it." The "it" you are looking at could be your feelings, your reaction, the other persons' behaviour, their perspective, the situation or all of the above! Be curious by asking two questions: why did you feel then react as you did? If you were the other person or people involved (not you in their position but actually them) would you act any differently? Be impressed with your discovery.  Marvel over "it..." we beings are a captivating breed. 


Dr. Wayne Dyer said, "when you forget about yourself, miracles happen." He also said, "Reach out and serve; it is always about serving..."


Hang tight. That venture is a whole other conversation.


Milan opens with Black designers -for the first time in history-
and they are set to STUN!



Think you are smart, as in, incredibly sharp witted and knowledgeable? Well, as uniquely fabulous as you are, remember there is always someone smarter and someone who is, shall we say, not. This reality should be kept in mind to avoid complete arrogance or deep self loathing.


It is noticeable, these days, how many of us are so very pleased with ourselves because we believe (or "have proven") that we are markedly informed. Many of us seem to believe, our brightness elevates us above everyone else. Be cautious of this way of thinking. Depending upon the grandiosity of self, it is likely a set up for a colossal fall


There is a wonderful Jamaican expression that says, "Every Dog Has Its Day." Regardless how beautiful, talented, inventive, rich, athletic, strong or intelligent an individual is their thing will always bested or will fade with time. That is just life; nothing lasts forever - which may be why so many of us vie for this recognition.


Be sure this is not you. 


Need an example of how you could be taking yourself far too seriously? An individual declared not too long ago that "people" from one hundred years ago were "not very intelligent." He believed that "we" are so much smarter than those people from way back when. 


OK... Scientists have indicated that since IQ tests were invented - one hundred years ago, by the way - intelligence levels have increased approximately 30% (3 points a decade). But, is it logical to measure our environmental changes against that of 100 years ago? Does our adaptability to social exposures, medical and technical advances, skills cultivated off the backs of past successes make us worthy of comparison?

One hundred years ago (give or take a few decades), the automobile was invented. Frozen foods, sunglasses, televisions, sonar, insulin and kiss proof lipstick soon followed. The invention of spears, glue, beds and clothing at the dawn of homo sapiens or irrigation, mortar, pottery and tattooing  all before the Bronze Age, speaks to a profound intelligence of yesteryear


Why the mention?

Believing we are smarter than those before us, sets us up for a superiority complex that only harms us as a society. We begin to believe our own fame -that we are smarter than/better than others. Remember, the concept of races was born from hate disguised as science. The purpose of separating humankind into different races was not curiosity which is the basis of intelligence, it was to prove that "his people" were better than "those" people - then the idea proliferated via people buying into the rhetoric of a "smart" man. Look at where that construct has gotten us, today. Many of us are still dumbed by it.


Consider The Age of Reason, for example. In human history, this was the era of Europe's rise, where the centre of trade shifted from African domination to European by way of the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British and Dutch. 1685-1815 marked a time of "great thinkers" throughout Europe. They questioned traditional authority and trumpeted the notion that humanity could be improved through rational change. These "great minds" helped form today's Western philosophy. Interestingly, most Enlightenment thinkers did not advocate equality for all. Unlike their predecessors, they insisted that rights and freedoms were not for all people (which meant not for women and non Europeans).



Before there was Locke, Hume, Hegel, and the others, seventeenth-century Ethiopian Philosopher, Zera Yacob, had written and published great works investigating the light of reason. Acquainted with the Psalms of David and educated in the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian faith, Yacob rejected the constraints of religion. He rebelled against the Catholic faith (to which his King converted) forcing him to flee into exile. Yacob lived as a hermit in a cave for two years, praying and developing his ethical philosophy surrounding the principle of harmonyHe did not believe in slavery, but, believed that all beings were equal. This belief was another big problem for the king (and his followers) who captured slaves from the spoils of war, crime and punishment, children of slaves, and all other forms. Today, the work of Zera Yacob predates most of the works from Europe's great minds - by over a hundred years. His claim to fame was his belief that God created all things and all things of God was good, meaning all beings were (essentially) good. 














Taking this reality further, Socrates - ya know, the so-called father of philosophy - wrote in his book, Bucyrus: "I studied philosophy and medicine in Egypt." He was accused of corrupting the youth (students like Plato) and failing to acknowledge the city's official gods. Thales, (another known) Father of Philosophy, One of the Seven Sages of Greece, who Aristotle regarded as the first Greek philosopher to make sense of the world using reason, travelled to Egypt and studied there (when it was called Kemet), and advised his students to go to Africa to study. It is written that Ethiopians said that the Egyptians were nothing but a colony of Ethiopians.

The point to this short chronicle? Thinking too highly of ourselves is a clear mark of ignorance. Keep in mind, there is someone before you who taught your teacher the brilliant lesson you just learned. 


Desperate Times aka:
Heads up! Canadian Businesses

I was interested in applying for the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund - until I learnt more about it.


Was judgement too swift?.


You decide.

Monday, May 31, 2021 at 11:15 a.m. (ET) Minister Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, along with peers, announced the launch of The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. According to the government of Canada website, The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is a partnership between the Government of Canada, Black-led business organizations, and several financial institutions. A major component to a nearly $221 million investment that created the Black Entrepreneur Program, The Loan, is identified as being established to help Black Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs grow their businesses and succeed now and into the future. A mouthful, but, a thrilling prospective, none-the-less.  

As access to financing for startups or growing businesses is one of the top barriers faced, particularly by Black entrepreneurs and business owners, the Minister's announcement triggered an avalanche of interest. Those of us desiring a ration of the $33.3 million, available in the form of a 25,000 to $250,000 loan leapt at this opportunity. While many were hopeful, many still were doubtful, convinced, "if it was from the government, a string would be attached too costly to bare in the end."


Who was right?


My goal was to compile then share details of The Loan with our readers while providing hints on how entrepreneurs could successfully obtain The Loan, should they so decide.


The first step in accomplishing my goal was becoming familiar with Minister Ng's media advisory. Read what I did here: which lead to a deeper dive in understanding The Loan Fund by accessing this site as well as this

Step two was for the purpose of comparison. It involved noting the plan in place of each partner bank referenced in the Prime Minister's announcement. When seeking a loan, it is important to understand the process, fees and incentives each financial source offers in order to assess which source best suits one's needs. Disappointingly, zero, head office representative from the big banks returned my call. On the frontline, zero Business Advisors and Business Directors could speak on the subject of the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. One Business advisor returned my call twice, referencing my interest in a business loan. He was cheery and friendly until I clarified which loan I wanted details about. Needlesstosay, I did not hear from him, again. Other representatives suggested that I "go to the website" for the information I sought. They either missed or chose to ignore the point that it was their bank's information I was seeking, not the website I had already perused.  One call centre associate confided, "banks are the last to receive details on administering government initiatives...we wait for the government to communicate guidelines - to roll out the plan. If banks appear to know nothing (about what you ask), it is probably because the government has yet to provide information (to the banks about the loan and its lending terms)." A single financial institution had knowledge of The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund: Alterna Savings and Credit Union. "Violet" was enthusiastic and informative about The Loan. So much so, she made my heart race with hope. She, too, directed me "to the website," but also indicated that an application on their own Alterna Savings website could be completed, should I wish to complete it. Was the Alterna form a direct link to The Loan? Not exactly. Theirs was a link to the site on which one could apply for the loan. Though completing Alterna's site application proved redundant, finally finding a financial entity more keen on the topic than I, was refreshing.


I did as encouraged, though, and returned to the government website. This time I focused on a recurring reference to (yet, another website) FACE. Theirs was the site to visit should one want to apply for The Loan. So, visit the site I did. I wanted to know who this organization was, from where they hailed, and why they seemed to be the only channel through which The Black Entrepreneurship Loan funds would flow. 

This was when I experienced my second disappointment: the site was down - as in crashed. I did not know for how long the site was down before I ventured to it. But, one could not access an application for The Loan; the site screen came up blank. If persistence paid off and the application did eventually upload, the site kicked the user out when trying to advance to the next screen. For two days, the only experience the site offered its user was frustration. It would seem, the seamless loan-application process was not so seamless after all.  As it would turn out, I was not the only one to feel this way. See CBC June 29th News Coverage on Black business owners raise concerns about government loan fund, here.

While awaiting website construction, I learned, FACE Coalition is a federally incorporated not-for-profit, created by a group of Black business support organizations (BBSO) from across Canada. This coalition of five partners includes Alterna Savings (no wonder Violet was so knowledgeable) and the Government of Canada. Their's is a brilliant

concept, allowing for the financial planning and mentoring of Black businesses and entrepreneurs across the provinces. They are a one stop hub of financial acumen that boasts being the biggest digital directory in the country - the likes of which has never been seen before in Canada. As much as I hail the vision (it is about time something such as this was established), as much as I credit the government's confidence in The Coalition as well as the Ujamaa approach, this government's plan was a poor plan. 


Why designate ONE organization with such an enormous task? There are FIVE major banks across the country with branches on almost every corner (not to mention the list of Schedule l, ll and lll banks as well as other financial institutions that are part of the financial network) serving the nation. Why, when it comes to supporting communities of the African diaspora - whom the government supposedly wants to advance equitable access to support and opportunities -  why appoint the administering of tens of millions to tens of thousands across country to one, (newly established, at that) body? The government website identifies FACE as the legal entity designated to administer the government contribution to the loan fundIt is no wonder the website crashed. As impressive as the BoBi Platform is, does having only ONE, Black owned/led, financial organization - for all of Canada! - administering the The Loan not sound like a system set up to fail (by the government)? We have all experienced the frustrating time waster of merging five highway lanes into one, why set The Loan system up for that experience? Is the government that cruel, clueless or apathetic? I posed this question to the Prime Minister (in friendlier terms, of course) who re-directed me to Minister Ng after I left a phone as well as an e-mail request to one of the two Ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. To date, no one has responded.

When the site recovered, two days post my initial visit, as promised the platform was easy to navigate. I marvelled at its intelligence, and actually enjoyed the experience (as much as one can enjoy applying for a loan). Then I advanced to the FACE Personal Networth Statement form. YIKES! I know the FACE approach is "getting to know the applicant," but, I did not feel as exposed applying for my house mortgage nor have I ever felt so exposed attending an annual physical with my GP!


To learn more about FACE, I attended their final online class of the season:  FACE COALITION Master Class on Financials and Your Business.  During the class I was surprised by the number of individuals - likely considering themselves professionals - unable to comprehend the requirement of completing the online application in order to receive "face to face communication" from a FACE representative. Also, the class spotlighted the number of Individuals who did not have their financial information completed. These professionals seemed unaware that it was relevant to have their business/financial affairs in order. Most shocking? The realization that my financials were less prepared and organized than I believed! After taking stock of my lack (and addressing them immediately) the final step to gathering information about receiving the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund was learning the deets most necessary - what The Loan would cost the successful applicant. Parden me, as I again say, YIKES! 


Before revealing this final bit of information, it is prudent to point out that few institutions give money away to those in dire need of it. Funds often go to those less in need. It's all about risk factors because no one wants to lose money, least of all the banks. The banks' purpose is high profit margins so, loan percents, particularly on business loans, tend to be high. Women and those of none Anglo backgrounds will "qualify" for these business loans even less. In speaking with mainstream banks, business loan percents range from 2 to 5 percent, on average, depending on credit risk. Loans similar to the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund offered to our Aboriginal cousins, for example, require a whopping 6 percent (though the representative may research grants that could offset the loan amount). Understandably, during the Master Class I attended, FACE Coalition executives spent quite some time explaining why their loan rate was 6 to 8 percent!


Sure, the FACE Coalition loan approval depends less on credit rating and more on the applicant's character - demonstrating a high degree of risk - but, this commitment forces one to pose several questions: if an applicant is experiencing financial hardship, is an eight percent loan  beneficial or is it one more calamity set to dig the applicant deeper into a financial sand pit? Sure, FACE Coalition offers services to help professionals get financially fit, but, how long would this "getting fit" protocol take, and who can afford that time while labouring under an eight percent loan? Yes, FACE offers repayment periods longer than average, but how many times does one pay off a $25,000 loan on a twenty-five year amortization before actually paying off the loan? Again, I say, YIKES. 


Should one consider the Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund? It might prove more prudent to consider this government "support," with a worst cast scenario in mind. This is NO TIME to be positive or to hope for the best. Unless a professional has the ability to pay then re-pay off a 6 to 8% loan, immediately, meaning the individual is in a stable, good paying job affording the monthly charge as well as the ability to maintain their standard of living, another avenue should be taken. Taking/ continuing that guaranteed income job, establishing good credit by paying off $100 monthly charges, scrimping, saving, and tucking money in the bank until good credit is established might be the best option. The Business can cautiously be done on the side, but a free, short, course on financing is mandatory - we need to know what financials are required and how to get them in order, People! Once that is complete (yes it may take a few years of sucking it up), The Plan can be re-examined.  Instead of going for that government support, visit a bank or financial institution - all of them if you need to! Or visit a good friend or family member. Whatever the scenario, prove your (new?) track record. Show how serious you are about working toward your dream. Prove, you are a worthy. low risk. opportunity.


Being in business begins long before financing, establishing shop (online or otherwise) and opening the doors, bank accounts, et cetera. Being in business is about being serious and sound. Avoid getting caught in the trap of desperation. Avoid being desperate! Notice on Dragon's Den they want to hear about a companies sales? Get your sales numbers happening! THAT is how you transform from the dance Wall Flower to the Belle of the Ball. That is how financial institutions want to invest in you at decent rates. Other wise, loans, especially from the government, could cost much more than it is worth in the end. 


A Trend  Emerges...

Have you Met Miss England 2021?

How about Miss Ireland 2021?

My grandmother would have been THRILLED to see this day. Living in a time when people of the African Diaspora were no where to be seen in mainstream media, Elizabeth Taylor Brown loved any glimpse of those resembling her family, on television.

Late 60's early 70's television brought about shows she loved like: Julia who had her own Barbie doll (starring Diahann Carroll), Shaft (with Richard Roundtree in the lead), Get Christie Love (starring Teresa Graves), Uptown Saturday Night and Let's Do it Again (directed by and starring Sidney Poitier). Our family huddled around the television set absorbing every moment of this era. When Venessa Williams won Miss America 1984,  it was as if time stood still. It did not matter that she later relinquished her crown due to scandal. She still reigned for most of her term and - Venessa was still The First (Miss America of African heritage. I was too young to grasp the significance of  the first Black Miss World, Jennifer Hosten, in 1970)!

Flash forward 37 years to what is currently happening. Miss England 2021, Rehema Muthamia, hails from Kenya. This young woman speaks four languages and studied genetics at the University of Sussex. The glittering crown placed upon her head was done so by,  predecessor, Bhasha Mukherjee, a Junior doctor of South Asian heritage. 


Rachel Christie, the first woman with African heritage (by way of her father),crowned Miss England in 2009, said it best when speaking with the press after winning, "Miss England is changing for the better."

But, it's not just Miss England. On September 5th of this year, shock of all shocks occurred when Pamela Uba was crowned Miss Ireland. Miss Uba and her family entered Ireland seeking asylum from their home city of Johannesburg. This medical scientist is the first full blooded African to have won the crown in the pageant's 74 years. Not bad for an institution that did not allow women that looked like her to compete in the first place.

We know 2019 was a stellar year for  pageants as all the big winners were of the African Diaspora. Frankly, many believed the Big Five Wins was a one shot deal - a spill over from the Black Lives Matter movement. But, maybe it wasn't. Could it be that we humans are learning to be lead with our hearts (that believe in truth, and admires tenacity as well as hard work) as opposed to our eyes (that often cannot see for the preconceived notions that blind us)? 


Maybe, a trend is setting where we decide to celebrate others (and be celebrated) for working hard to achieve incredible things - whatever "incredible" means to each of us. Wouldn't that be phenomenal?  


It hasn't been all stunning gowns and parade floats for our brilliant, talented, beauties. From bullying online to outright anti-Black cruelty, they have proven, there are still those who cannot fathom let alone appreciate more than the Eurocentric presence. 


We humans are not perfect, there will  always exist that small percentage of people who are hurt and like to hurt. But as Miss Ireland said in her SunTV Interview just a few days ago, "Don't let them get in your bubble and break you down"

Miss Ireland is encouraging. Expanding on her message inspires the thought, along with rejecting other people's toxicity, maybe we can allow each other to live our unique way by not dumping our toxicity onto others.  

Could you imagine?

Just Chillin'

Like the flavours of coconut and lemon? 

We do.

Our new summer fave is a thurst quencher, particularly on those hot, humid, days.

If you love drinking a cool, clear, Pina colada, you'll be happy to try Beach Bum.

But, hey! Fall cometh. We Got You for that, as well. If you do not or simply cannot squeeeeze one more summer moment out of your days, get your fall on with
The ROCK! Dwayne Johnson's,
Teremana TEQUILA, baby! It is SURE to warm your insides, and truly get the party started!

Whatever you chose - especially if you chose both - drink responsibly.


Kundalini Yoga Meditation

One Last Thing...

Think you Can't Meditate?

You just cannot find the time to take during the day?

You know when you first awaken and have 30 seconds or five minutes before you HAVE TO begin your day?

What if you took that moment and just said, Thank You?

Maybe list the things that come to mind for which you are grateful. If nothing comes to mind, don't feel bad, it happens to the best of us - just say thank-you. Repeat those words until you realize you had fallen back to sleep or until you finally convince yourself to get the day started. 

That's your meditation. Done.

And if you really want to remain in this gratitude mode, you can say "thank you" all day long, everywhere you are: in rush hour traffic, while you work, in the grocery store line, when that client is yelling at you...where ever, what ever you're doing - it's all up to you. Just say thank-you.

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