And another one….Diva of the Week, that is.
Loretta Cabinda’s accomplishments are far beyond her years and in one word: breathtaking. Also known as “Karma Custom,” this 20 (soon to be 21) year old lives in Los Angeles and has an A.A in Merchandise Product Development and a B.S in Business Management. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (L.A. Campus) alumni currently works for Advanstar Communications/MAGIC as a customer service representative. For those not familiar with the company, it puts on one of the largest apparel and accessorie tradeshows twice a year in Las Vegas. As a representative, Loretta plays in an important role in the recruitment process and even gets to attend the show: nice perk, diva!!!
In addition to her work with MAGIC, Loretta/Karma works for Beauty Bureau, Inc, a one-stop shop for beauty that can be at everyone’s fingertips. The family-driven company offers a wide variety of services including video and photo shoots and image consulting. The passionate team consists of Loretta, founder Donny Cole, and designers Deniseea Christine and Veela Funk.
Phew! This diva does A LOT! But, it doesn’t end there! In the future, Loretta hopes to own her own company and work for Beauty Bureau on a full time basis. Her artistic abilities aren’t just in fashion. She is a gifted musician and performer who hopes to create art that will create, heal and unite people; especially those in her home continent, Africa.
Loretta’s positivity and perserverance is infectious and inspiring. She’ s been through it all, including an abusive relationship and homelessness before the age of 20. Unfortunately, most people in those same positions can’t find a way out…Loretta did. And as “Diva of the Week,” she wants to pass on words of wisdom to divas around the world:
“Stay positive despite what life throws at you. I know it’s easier said than done, but when you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity, you not only drive yourself away from others, but you also drive others away from you.
If there is something, anything in your life that you are unhappy with, you have the power to change it. You’ve only got today, so choose to be bitter, or get better.
Most important is to learn to get back up. You will fall! There is no avoiding that. But learn to accept not just the ups, but the downs as well and know that God never throws at you more than you can handle.
Knowing that everything happens for a reason gives you confidence to face another day. Never lose sight of your goals and your dreams because they are what will you keep you sane in such a crazy world. Never lose your voice because that is all you have in this world, even when everything is taken away from you. If people don’t want to listen, make them listen.”
I know that’s right!! *snaps fingers* Now, back to some fun stuff: Loretta’s personal design style!:
“My design aesthetic consists of mixing colorful prints with contemporary styles and adding an urban flare. I truly enjoy the process of turning something ordinary into something unique and extraordinary. I rarely sketch because I feel that as a designer it limits you to that one idea. There are so many things that happen during the design process that sometimes the best decisions are the ones that occur accidentally.”
Loretta: Excuse our French, but you are fxcking fabulous! You are wise beyond your years and already a success in our eyes. We look forward to seeing your star rise even higher and the good “Karma” in your future. XOXO
**Below is another pic of Loretta and then models wearing her designs. Werk!!
A guest feature from former “Diva of the Week” Tatiana Johnson:
I first heard Beyonce’s “Girls (Who Run the World)” courtesy of divaMissioN and was okay with it. I then saw the video and my like for the song exponentially increased. Next, I saw Beyonce perform the song at the Billboard Music Awards and then later on one of the farewell episodes of Oprah. I suddenly found myself saying “HOLD UP!” (Luda voice) and smiling. This song has revealed to me an overwhelming feeling of that Girlfriends popular phrase: “Oh Hell Yes!” I know a lot of women who are also on that train, loving Beyonce’s new jam and blasting it like “Single Ladies” and “Diva”. Yet, there are some women who are not smitten by the song and could care less. There are also women writing about how this song is a representation of feminism and some who RESENT THAT STATEMENT.
So, where can one stand on this song that seems to be celebrating women? In my opinion, this song represents something so powerful that may need a little clarification…
LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT!
I remember speaking with a friend who stated some famous words of another friend. The saying goes “Black women’s lives are not tragic”. Being an aspiring filmmaker and someone who cares a lot for popular culture, I cannot agree more with that statement. I’ve watched Precious and every Tyler Perry film under the sun. I’ve heard about little girls who are being called “Precious” in their middle schools, and I have also seen YouTube videos of young black girls being exploited sexually and I must say I have been saddened, disappointed, angry and frustrated. I’ve never wanted to be a mother/father so much, or in some sort of role whereas to teach girls what kind of power they have and how their lives are not tragic. It seems to be ingrained since the age old doll experiment that “black is bad” and this negative reinforcement has evolved into “black is poor”, “black is dirty” and the most recent comment “black is ugly”.
Where is the positive reinforcement?
The media is not the sole proponent of these beliefs, but the continuation of society embracing these beliefs helps keep the cycle going and evolving. Where will this evolution of negative perceptions of blackness lead? As I speak to my aunt and other women in my life about their struggles and achievements as black women and then look at my own generation, I can see that there is a need for a revolutionary shift. As I sat in awe of my aunt’s ability to engage me in her college community in the late 80’s and 90’s full of so much black pride and desire to make their presence, I longed for that to be my generation. During this time there was a dire need to show society that blackness should not be invisible and that black people can and will demand their presence. We’ve seen this with Spike Lee, Louis Farrakhan, the explosive continuation of Hip Hop that embraced Afro-Centricism which was revolutionary in its own respect and the list continues. Hearing about this concrete representation of revolution, change and identity in my aunt’s stories, led me to ask where my generation stands.
Yes, I thought about all of this after watching Beyonce perform “Girls (Who Run the World).” I saw the opportunity for the redefinition of the “tragic black woman”, the “hyper sexualized black woman”, “the caretaker ‘mammy’ black woman” and so many other boxes society has given black women. Seeing Beyonce’s silhouette hold the globe in her hands as a black woman means something. Seeing the many, many women dancing and singing the song means something. It means there is the opportunity to shift our thinking of our black girls who soon become black women from being sad, impoverished and powerless. There is the opportunity to take our power and use it. Not only does this empower black women; it stands as an inclusive voice as it shouts “Who are we? / What we run? /The world!” The song stands for girls everywhere.
This article does not discount the atrocities that happen to girls everywhere, nor does it discount their pain. What it does is provide an analysis of this song and how it can stand for a way of helping girls heal. This song serves as the opportunity for women everywhere to take back their power. Beyonce showed in her performance her ability to be sexy, playful, hardworking, and serious and we can look at this and see her as she is. She maintains so many different dispositions, while not telling us what to be. She allows us to be our own woman, womyn and etc. She embraces us and empowers us. How many songs “raise a glass to the college grads”? This is positive, especially in light of the images of women seen lately.
I hope this article can shift some opinions or at least provide another perception of what this song could mean and can do. I am ECSTATIC to hear the verse “My persuasion can build a nation.” I believe it and maybe we can instill this in our daughters, nieces, friends, mentees and anyone else. Our girls need to know that they can run the world, not be beaten up by it.
Tatiana M.R. Johnson is a senior at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is an English major with a minor in Cinema and Media Studies. She also writes poetry and has performed around the U.S. She hopes to create films that honor the art of filmmaking as well as provoke discussion. She accepts emails at email@example.com.
There comes a time every week that’s highly anticipated among divas everywhere….”Diva Of The Week”!!!!
Alicia Wright is a spicy scorpio who at the age of 23 has accomplished so much. She attended North Carolina A&T SU fall 2007 as a double major in Psychology and Nursing. Throughout her four years in school she’s managed to go to school full time, work full time and make herself an instate resident of North Carolina by abtaining an off campus apartment and vehicle registration.
Alicia has joined two sororities Chi Eta Phi (XHO) nursing sorority holding the position of assistant treasurer and historian, and is also a member of ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY. And if you think that’s all your highly mistaken, Alicia has community service hours spent volunteering at the children’s museum, Greensboro Urban Ministries, Habitat For Humainity, health fairs and clinical hours spent in the hospital.
If she’s not studying, working or in class Alicia likes to hang with her line sisters, sorors, line brothers and friends at house gatherings, watch movies and bowl. With her BSN in Nursing Alicia continues to excel as she has a job offer at the medical telemetry floor at Highpoint Regional Hospital and she also plans to go back to school to be a Nurse Practitioner in Oncology.
Alicia describes her own personal style as,
“I like to dress up for the ocassion. Other than that I’m in jeans and a cute top”
Ms. Wright is defintely ON HER JOB. If this isn’t worthy of diva status than I don’t know what is. We here at divaMissioN commend you Alicia and encourage you in continuing to be an example.
divaMissioN’s “Diva of the Week” is international!
Meet Andrea Barbosa-Pereira. She is a 22 year old graduate of Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She now has a degree in International Relations and Economics. Her future goals include getting a masters in International Security (abroad in England) that will help her to contribute to international development and helping women and children in need; especially those caught in wars and crises. Right now, she lives in New York City where she works closely with the United Nations. Now THAT is diva behavior!
When she’s not working hard, Andrea likes writing poetry, art, and any opportunity to empower women. Andrea is an international diva. She’s spent most of her education in international school; part of her education was completed in Switzerland and the rest of her high school years spent at UNIS, the United Nations school in New York City. It should also be noted that Andrea is a Cape-Verdean beauty- her hometown is Praia in the Cape Verde Islands. She’s taking over the globe!!!!
Here is what Andrea has to say about her personal style:
“Definitely feminine with an edge… (I)very rarely wear
makeup. I love the soft look with a leather jacket or boots, but
nothing over the top. Mainly it’s whatever mood I am in in the morning.”
Andrea- all of your accomplishments and future goals are more than commendable. Our hope is that other young women will see this and be motivated to help others and chase their dreams. You are definitely worthy of the “Diva of the Week” title. WERK!!!
As you know, our “Divas of the Week” are all about spreading positivity, making moves, and all having all around “diva behavior” (the good kind!). One of our former Divas, Tatiana Johnson, is one of the most talented poet/spoken artists in New England and she’s just had one of her works published in Simmons College’s Sidelines Magazine. Werk!
Tatiana on what the poem is about:
“I wrote this poem a while ago after I heard someone I know was bleaching her skin. It made me think of ancestry and what it means to be a woman in brown skin, no matter the shade. I wrote this for her, and for women who were born from some amazing, strong, enduring women. This poem is a dedication to them, and is a representation of something way bigger than words and myself. I want people to feel connected to something significant when they read this. It’s simply a reminder of being connected to a past that’s unfathomable”
Read her beautiful words below. We’re proud of you Tati!!!
She speaks like the wrinkles congregating in my knuckles
Like her mouth sits in grins like my nail beds
They call her the mule of this world
She left her mark on my belly to say we were once connected
There is no silence in her birthing
Her becoming is strength wrapped around moments that break backs who’ve never felt pain
Finger prints dusted with soil from digging graves for children that were left in seas before
Her body knew emancipation
Trauma steadily rocking her children and her childrens children in ships from
Passages that brought money to everyone but her
Will God not have mercy on her suicide that for her only meant freedom
She speaks when they call her exotic
Afraid that she may just be beautiful that the coarseness in her hair
Is a metaphor for her complexity
The forbidding of reading does not mean she contains no intelligence
Selling her down river will not quiet the voices in her stride
Taking the men that marry her will never change the truth in her matrimony
She is speaking
Male dominance that never treasured the plight of her brown skin
Or hands that raped the beauty of her smile
They searched the crevices of her
Hoping to leave her vacant
They call her the mule of the world
Wrestling in the winter of her own darkness
When will God kiss her dark skin and remind the world that she is beautiful
So she hopes that swimming in liquids will make her blackness fade
Her mermaid Africa fins being compartmentalized
Like a chemist she disrupts her melanin maybe the skin in the mirror
Won’t be so chalkboard looking
Its no longer in her smile
Its in the way she loves her face with the white foaming cleanser covering it
She is speaking
No one seems to be absorbing her cries
To notice her
As something more than that dark corner in the room
They tell her to stop talking about herself
Racism happened years ago
Racism happened years
Where did it go then?
Somehow its been affecting her
Reminding her that she’s stunted sometimes not trusted
Often times overlooked as nothing
But its gone
Someone define this term
Of making her skin less worthy
She wants us to hear her
And her daughters
She speaks to me some nights when
I listen to the music she created while I laid rumbling in her womb
sounds of rope burning, spiritual lullabying, courage
its sung in the key of c
she always knows the sound of oceans
it’s the inner seashell like sound that rocked her to sleep while crossing rivers
they tell us we are just angry
that we should get over it
but these our mothers
these are our stomachs
she left marks on us
calls us hers
sounds like whispering
and we never sit silent
This week’s diva is truly a one woman show. Confident, strong and very serious about achieving her goals Shantell Huggins is doing what most are not. Born in the Bronx and later living in Jamaica don’t let the tough exterior fool you. At the age of 22 Shantell has completed her undergraduate studies at Montclair State University with a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Leadership through Civic Engagement. Some of her internships included NJN, WCBS radio and was an associate at PAN DESI/Dish network. She currently works as an Account Executive Assistant and has active plans of pursuing her Masters degree.
As if that’s not enough Shantell strives for more, it’s what divas do! She is the Co-Production Director and Talent Liaison of “Live Up” which is a non profit organization spreading awareness throughout communities about AIDs, STI, Cancer and other fatal diseases. She coordinates programs, workshops and talent recruits for “LIV UP’s” documentaries and web reality series. As a member of “Liv Up,” her talents will be shown through advertisement, entertainment, and broadcast journalism. Their goal is to inform everyone.LIFE IS VALUABLE, USE PRECAUTION! … LIV UP! In the next 5 years she hopes to produce several accredited, acclaimed, inspiring documentaries and network programs, to have a great career in entertainment and broadcasting, and to travel the world! She often uses the quote,
“If there is no struggle then there is no progress”- Frederick Douglass
As far her her own personal style she says,
I want to age like fine wine…strong taste but a savory finish. LOL eventhough I am 22! I have a very Laidback look, like to wear things that others don’t typically wear or can’t find 😉 and I hate MATCHING!
MUST HAVE: COOL earrings! FLY Sunglasses, Killer combat boots and a rocking BLAZER!
As you can see Shantell is our “Diva Of The Week” for a reason, she’s doing it, from her non-profit org that we truly commend her on for aiding in getting the word out and working effortless for because these diseases still killing black WOMAN a high rate.We encourage Shantell to continue on her path and we have a strong feeling in the near future everyone will know her name! Thank you for being our “Diva Of The Week” no one else could have been a better match.
Uh-huh, you know what it is. It’s time for “Diva of the Week.”
Sarah Elizabeth Perry makes history as our youngest diva so far!!! Woot woot!!!
She is 18 years young and born and raised in Neptune, NJ, also known as the Jersey Shore. Sarah, a high school graduate, will begin her college career this year as she pursues a career in the medical field. When she’s not making plans for her bright future, Sarah likes shopping, reading books, goiing clubbing, chit-chatting with friends, and going to the beach in the summer.
Fun fact: Sarah is an avid dirt bike rider….how many divas you know that do that?!
Despite all of the hardships Sarah has faced in her life so far, she remains extremely poised, mature, and forgiving-all qualities a diva should have.
“I don’t give up. What don’t kill me damn sure will make me stronger. I been through hell and back, and I’m still standing. I plan on working hard to make my dreams a reality in the future.”
Here’s what Sarah has to her about her personal style:
” I like my outfits to be a mixture of simple, edgy, form-fitting…., and a little turnt up. I can take a simple white t-shirt and turn it into something you might have seen in a magazine. I like to add accessories..and a clean shape-up to match ; )”
Sarah-you are beautiful and more than worthy of the “Diva of the Week” title. We look forward to seeing you become a successful woman in the future.