Graduating Growth

Graduating Growth

Graduating growth is the idea that you have took the time to learn something new to accomplish a goal that has added value to your life. It can be a very minute lesson which can enrich you with the knowledge that can help the next person you may come in contact with.

This is another way of saying “greet one teach one” or “each one teach one”; whichever phrase works for you. The point of understanding is to learn something today and pass on the information tomorrow to whoever is ready and willing to hear it.

Knowledge is power, and the information from that power is the key to success; so nevertheless, continue to be a receiver of information, whether it’s large or small. Your dreams should become your goals because it takes a dream or idea to achieve them. That’s leveling up, and that equals the terms of graduating growth.  With God’s blessings first, there is nothing too hard to accomplish.

The doors of opportunities will continue to come open as long as you trust and believe within Him.

You will reach the true meaning of graduating growth. 


Mark 9:23: Jesus said if you can believe, all things are possible to those who believe. 

Matthew 17:20: And he said unto them, because of your little faith, for verily I say unto you. If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed. You shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 

Keeping the machine well tuned up

Keeping the machine well tuned up

It’s a fresh start of the day and sometimes you don’t want to get started, but you know that you have to get yourself ready. Some of us have a daily mission or planned out day. Keeping the machine well tuned up is a daily, short workout session. It is a consistent 30 minute workout. 30 minutes, you may ask or wonder, “Why so short?”

Well, it doesn’t take a lot to do simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, or air squats. Each exercise can be a count of 15 to 30 repetitions for three to four sets. These different exercises “touch up” on the different sections of the body, and doing them correctly will help you stay toned up.

Always remember to stretch either afterwards or in between each rotation. Doing these classic exercises on a daily basis will help to keep you tuned up when you aren’t able to make it to any gym regularly. This can be useful to help maintain keeping you “well tuned up.” Also, if you integrate resistance bands or workout balls when you do not have weights, these extra tools can help keep you toned up. 

We were all given one body of all different shapes and sizes; some short and some tall, but it’s up to us to take care of ourselves. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Your body is a temple so treat it right.

So glorify God in your body by taking care of yourself and keeping the machine that you are well tuned physically, mentally, and spiritually.

HEAVY

HEAVY

Healthiness equals a valuable you (HEAVY). Whether it’s eating cleaner or dieting and working out, knowing your health status matters. No one is perfect in this world and no one person has all the answers to a healthier you.

Yeah, there are millions and billions of health gurus out there, but only you can determine which plan works for you and your body type.  There are tons of different methods out there for weight loss, weight gain, and lean out that all play different roles in the game of health and wellness.

But sometimes, we just need to look at ourselves in the mirror, and at what we are placing into our bodies. Just like the old mantra goes. “Everything that looks good, ain’t good”,  meaning in the long run, if you keep eating all kinds of junk food and eating late at night, it will began to show.

So, if you’re choosing my terms of being HEAVY (healthiness equals a valuable you), get out and actively fit, eat healthy, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Remember God has given you a gift each day, the will to live a positive healthy lifestyle. 

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Catching Up with a Gay Fraternity in St. Louis

Catching Up with a Gay Fraternity in St. Louis

Fraternities and sororities are rapidly becoming the hot topics within the social media network, from community involvement and commitments to causes that they feel are important for change.

Just last week on Facebook a photo was circulating around several social groups, featuring a fraternity leader decked out in a pink suit with heels. So, now the narratives going around is to question whether this is environmentally accepted in what is supposed to be a straight order.

I had the opportunity to talk to another place that fraternities belong, and this place may not be getting too many blessings. However, gay fraternities are here and they are making people take notice of their power. Before today, I didn’t know such fraternities existed until I met one of the members.

His name is DQuann Knight and he is the Vice Chancellor of Theta Pi Upsilon Fraternity Inc. They are a Greek-lettered organization created by gay men of color for gay men of color. He is 27 years old and based in St. Louis, MO, and is known in the Greek world as Asclepius, the God of Healing.

So, sit back and let’s see what is going on with gay fraternities in St. Louis, as part on an ongoing series of stories reflecting the ever-changing world of sexual orientation.

Hello, how are you today? I am so happy to be speaking with you.

DQuann:  Hello, I’m doing fantastic, thank you so much. I am so honored to be here.

Tell us more about your decision to start a gay fraternity?

DQuann:  Well, I am not the founder of my organization, but I am on the founding line. The organization’s founder, Marcus Miller, saw a need in a community that was being pushed to the side or having to hide a side of themselves to “fit in”.

Interesting, so how long have you been involved with this organization?

DQuann:  I’ve been a part of this organization for two years. I crossed in the Summer of 2019.

What school are you connected with?

DQuann:  We are actually not based off of a school campus. We are socially based so anyone in the MSM of color community can apply to join. 

St. Louis is truly not a popular gay metropolis. Was it hard to get people involved? 

DQuann: That is a very true statement. It only seems hard because it is something new and unfamiliar, but as we recruit and get our name out there, we received a lot of inquiries.

Counting St. Louis, how many members are in this fraternity?

DQuann:  We are at a strong four members, but that’s due to change very soon as we are now in our recruiting season.

Do you all have any causes within the community that you are involved in?

DQuann:  We are involved with a few things. We are involved with Red Tides, which is our sexual health initiative, Chaos in Action, which focuses on mental health, and we have a scholastics award called E. Lynn Harris Scholarship.

Man, that is so wonderful for the local gay community. Tell me about you, and how do make time for yourself?

DQuann:  Well, I am a St. Louis native and I do a lot of the things within the fraternity. I also enjoy life outside of it, as well. I also love to travel.

When was the last time you had an event with your order?

DQuann:  Our last event as a fraternity was our street clean up within our community, but we have several up and coming events like our movie night on May 24th.

Do you travel to raise awareness about being gay and part of a fraternity?

DQuann:  That isn’t always why we travel, but when we do travel we make sure we are in our paraphernalia and make ourselves available to answer any questions someone has.

Being gay is not easy at times, but is there a certain standard you require from your organization?

DQuann:  Not per se a standard because we are about continuous growth as an individual, as a brother, and as a community, but there are certain responsibilities within the community and as an individual that we hold our aspiring and current members to. 

Thanks for your time. Do you have any websites that we can follow up on?

It was my pleasure, thank you for allowing me this opportunity. It is very much appreciated! Yes, we are on Facebook as Theta Pi Upsilon, and Instagram as Theta Pi Upsilon Fraternity Inc. Also, our website is www.thetapiupsilon.com, and if you click our ‘join us’ tab you can also send us an email, or email us directly at thetapiupsilon18@gmail.com.

Stepping into Tomorrow from Kansas City, MO

Stepping into Tomorrow from Kansas City, MO

When you think about a Midwestern city, you hear about Chicago, St Louis or maybe Detroit, but Kansas City, Missouri’s second largest metro in the state, is a sprawling hotbed of new ideas. It is also the biggest urban city in the state. With a city named like it across the road in Kansas, Kansas City is a town of barbeque, fountains and dazzling entertainment.

There is a lot to do in this palace of a region that is only four plus hours from its big sister, St. Louis. Therefore, do not sleep on this cosmopolitan cow of a town; go and enjoy all that it has to offer.

I had the pleasure of reaching out to the other world of Kansas City, the award winning dance tour social group, The Stepp-Taculars. And when you think of steppers and sliders, you think of Chicago, with the bop and the classical hustle.

Photo by Stepp-Tacular founder, Mello

However, this dance tour group travels all over the states, including St. Louis, Dallas and Omaha, to perform and recruit new dancers and members. They also host many events in the city to help with their charitable initiatives.

Hello, can you tell the world about the group?

Stepp-Tacular:  Hello, and thanks for having us. Stepp-tacular is a stepping organization founded in Kansas City, MO on September, of 2012 by De’Shugg “Mr. Shugg” Fishback and Carmeleta “Mello” Canady. The organization was inspired to begin because of the first dance that the two founders shared in TX.  The group colors, which were the colors worn by the couple during their first dance, red & black, serves as a constant reminder of how stepping between the two began.

The mission of the organization is to “Take Care of Home First and Family First.” They take care of home by keeping the KC2Step alive through providing instruction & performances, as well as spearheading and taking part in several community outreach events throughout the year to promote a Healthy KC overall.  They are a family-based organization that provides something positive for all age groups. Stepp-Tacular Royalty was formed to provide positive alternatives for the youth.

Photo by Stepp-Tacular founder, Mello

When was the last time you’ve been on a dance tour?

Stepp-Tacular: The group’s last dance tour was in Milwaukee, WI, where they met up with their dance family, The Command Steppers of MN, to step at a weekend affair given by The Party People Steppers.

Do you have a class where you teach your members and new recruits the latest moves?

Stepp-Tacular: They currently host a Tuesday night line dance class, as well as a Wednesday night stepping class that is open to the public.  They schedule private, individual, and group classes for those that prefer this option.

What is it like when you travel across the road to St. Louis and meet dancers there? 

Stepp-Tacular: St. Louis, MO, being Kansas City’s sister city, is one of the dance family’s favorite stepping locations. Stepp-Tacular has enjoyed attending The Stepaganza, as well as meeting up with stepping friends who are STL Boppers and linedancers. St. Louis always shows love, along with other places the group has been blessed to travel to for the love of dance.

Photo by Stepp-Tacular founder, Mello

When is your  next event? 

Stepp-Tacular: Upcoming events hosted by Stepp-Tacular are in the making, while Mello is currently hosting an old school concert series, brought to you by local promoters, who have now become family. 

How many members are in the Stepp-taculars club? 

Stepp-Tacular: There are currently 35 members in the organization. Some of them often travel to several different cities and states to share their love for The KC2Step abroad, as well as learn and appreciate other dance styles, like that of the 8 Count Chicago Stepping, Swing Out, etc. 

Tell us about you, as the founder and president. Do you have time for your family life?

Stepp-Tacular:  Because part of their mission is family first, they always find ways to incorporate their children in what they do; traveling & etc., as well as ensuring that we spend lots of family time with our parents, children, and relatives.  Because members are considered family to the founders, they welcome them to their home. They love to cook for their members, whether it’s Shugg on the grill or Mello on the stove, while the adults are kicking it in their area, playing cards, dominoes or just chilling. The youths are in there playing video games or activities of their choice. “It’s just something about sharing meals, drinks, and conversing that strengthens relationships,” Mello says.

From your memories of touring, which location stood out the best for you guys?

Stepp-Tacular: Texas will always be one of The Founders favorite dance tour locations because that’s where they met, first danced, and knew stepping between the two was meant to be.

Have you entered any dance competitions before?

Stepp-Tacular:  The couple together, have not competed, yet they have spent hours preparing others to compete. 

Founders, Mello and her husband, D. Fishback

Thanks for your time, and it was great chatting with you! Any final words?

Stepp-Tacular: You are most definitely welcome. Thanks for thinking of us at The Narrative Matters.

Stepp-Tacular is looking forward to continuing their mission of bringing people together with the love of dance; turning strangers into family and touching people’s lives in a positive way along the way.

Time to Celebrate

Time to Celebrate

The Playlist to kick-off Summer 2021

Everybody is saying and feeling it; this has been an unbelievable and unprecedented 20 months.  Look what we all have been experiencing; working from home, job loss, remote learning for students of all ages, long lines to get into banks, grocery stores and the motor vehicle offices, death of unarmed black men, women and children at the hands of law enforcement, shelves empty of toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant, emptiness of our favorite bars and restaurants, missing cheers in arenas and stadiums for our favorite sports teams and musical performers, traveling for business and leisure, a capitol insurrection and family fun became extinct; compounding on this time, the extraordinary loss of life and how we mourn and send our loved ones to their new land of glory. 

This pandemic has been beyond stressful; defining our personal relationships and stretching our boundaries of mental, physical and financial health; not to mention our psychological fears.  We been through it!

To date, the CDC is reporting half of Americans have received their first vaccination shot, shots for young people as young as 12 are becoming available, the mandate for mask is loosening, gathering entertainment spots is becoming a thing again, airline travel is increasing and a mid-summer goal of first shot vaccinations for 75% of Americans is the new target.  The sun is beginning to shine again… as we begin to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we should take a moment to rejoice.  

If there is anything, we should have learned from the past two years, is not to take any of life’s joys for granted and celebrate!  Yes, celebrate every aspect of life; our families, friends, loved ones, careers, faith; let’s celebrate all the things.  Let’s take in the moments that brings us pure joy; a simple hug, a graduation ceremony, going to the movies, spending quality time with our loved ones, face to face conversations with people, young folks excelling in their extracurricular activities; we need to celebrate life at every available opportunity.  

What better way to celebrate life then the sounds of music; beats, rhymes, rhythm and vocal artistry.  

We are still in a pandemic, but it is becoming safer for us to embrace the happiness that has been missing from our lives.  As I begin my summer road trips, backyard cookouts or chilling on the front porch, I will be enjoying this playlist to celebrate and create my next memory as we move further away from this pandemic.

After 7 – Bittersweet

Alex Parchment f/ Phillip Doc Martin – Vibin’ In Time

Andra Day – Tigress & Tweed

Audrey Nuna – Space

Blossom Dearie – Blossom’s Blues

Chris Botti – The Last Three Minutes

Dixson – Kream

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Brand New Funk

Dojo Cat f/ SZA – Kiss Me More

Drake + Lil Baby – Wants and Needs

Funk Flex f/ Rowdy Rebel – Re Route

Gene Noble – Matching Tattoos

Gwen Bunn + Faith Evans – Between the Lines

H.E.R. – Fight for You

H.E.R. + Chris Brown – Come Through

Hiatus Kaiyote – Red Room

Hil St. Paul – One Life

J.D’s Time Machine + Cleveland Jones – Kiss of Freedom

James Brown – Doing It to Death

Jazmine Sullivan – Pick Up Your Feelings

Julian Vaughn f/ Donald Hayes – On Notice

KAMAUU + Adeline Masego – MANGO

Karyn White – Slow Down

Kindred The Family Soul – Break It Down

Leela James – Complicated

Lil Baby + EST Gee – Real As It Gets

Lonr. + H.E.R. – Make The Most

Loui + Saweetie – Talkin’ Bout

Maeta – Doesn’t Mean A Thing

Mary J Blige – U + Me

Paul Brown f/ Richard Elliott – Notorious

Prince – Welcome 2 America

Raheem DeVaughn – Mr. Midnight

Raiche – Pick A Side

Robert Glasper + H.E.R. + Me;Chelle Ndegeocello – Better Than I Imagined

Sevyn Streeter + Chris Brown + AS$P Ferg – Guilty

Silk Sonic – Leave The Door Open

Snoh Aalegra – Find Someone Like You

Skip Marley f/ Ari Lenox & Rick Ross – Make Me Feel

Stevie Wonder – Love Life In Flight

Tyler Dumont – You

VanJess – Slow Down

What songs will make your summertime playlist?