The AFRIKIN Experience

By, Ascellia Arenas

7/3/16

  Saturday night I attended the inaugural event for AFRIKIN, a cultural festival held in Little Haiti, Miami to embrace the artistic, economic, political progression,  and communities from across the diaspora. I was expecting dashikis, incense, oils, cultural food, and the like. To my pleasant surprise I was right! I encountered that plus so much more. The Rockers Movement described AFRIKIN as follows: “Afrikin Fest is an African inspired food and music festival aimed to attract the best chefs, rum connoisseurs, musical and fine artists from around the world to the infamous cultural hub of Miami, Florida. Miami will be completely transformed through fascinating sights, smells, and sounds during this weekend celebration. – See more at: Rockers Movement 
 This first installment was co-hosted by author and activist, Julie Mansfield, a sexual abuse survivor, who champions women’s rights and cultural education surrounding the impact that molestation, rape, and abuse has on women and their families, worldwide. The #charity benefitting from the event is the #nonprofit organization, “Give Me Dignity,” to raise awareness and prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA). Mansfield encouraged the crowd to raise additional funds to end sexual abuse and child molestation.

Dr. Lanalee Sam, Director of Obstetrics and “Docstar”

#Presentations were given by: Dr. Carole Boyce-Davies (Education), Dr. Lanalee Sam (Health), Artiste Philippe Dodard (Art), and Umi Selah (Activism). The cultural #PERFORMANCES by artists such as: Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin,  Tambor feat. DJ Stan Zeff, Kevens (unplugged), Moonchild, Equalizer Sound Selector Iscious, P.E.A.C.E and Anita Will, made the crowd feel the mystic vibration of Mother Africa, speaking a language we all understand, which is #love.
  
Visual #ART by, Philippe Dodard, The Ebohon Collection Benin City, Nigeria, Turgo Bastien, Gregory Vorbe, flashed on the walls as digital projections. Performances in #DANCE by #SASA African Dance Theater

  
#SPOKENWORD #poetry by, Aja Monet, and Give Me Dignity and #POETRY by, Mecca Grimo, and Bongo Bluez.


Community economic empowerment #AWARD was presented to Chef Creole #owner, Wilkinson Ken Sejour.
Economic empowerment was embraced through vendors of #AFRICANEATS by, Native African Cuisine and Lovely Roots Gourmet. I was pleased to meet and have a wonderful conversation with Mohammad Sene who performed #AFRICANDRUMS all evening. Sene is from Senegal and teaches African Drums, here in Miami.


My favorite perfomance of the night had to be the soothing melodies emanating from Rastafarian legend, Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin. His enchanting tone made the crowd sway to and fro as only Benjamin can do. With over 50 recorded albums to his credit, Benjamin did not disappoint.


The evening was filled with positive energy, beautiful people, and good vibrations. The next installment of AFRIKIN will be November 18-20, 2016. Follow Afrikin Fest on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information:
Economic empowerment
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

BMe Community Names 10 Top Leaders in Miami 

By, Ascellia Arenas 

7/1/16

Thursday, June 30th, I was a special guest of, author and President of Affirming Youth, Jonathan Spikes, at the Better Together Celebration Miami, at The historic Lyric Theater, in Miami Florida. Spikes was honored as a community leader that significantly impacts the progress and development of youth and community at large in South Florida. 

  
All 10 of the men honored are pillars of the South Florida community and abroad. They can be found providing community service, working with youth, providing expertise in all areas of education, law, medicine, business, physical fitness, spirituality, and much more. The honorees will receive $10,000 each for their community programs after being named Miami’s first BMe Leaders. The event was energetic, electric, and filled with hope and expectancy of great things to come.  

  

  

Learn more about the honorees here: bloggingblackmiami.com
 
Benjamin Evans III, Managing Director of the BMe Community, was an engaging host who kept the large audience of families, supporters, and honorees cheering in the hallowed halls of the historic Lyric Theater . Evans did not skip a beat, each honoree danced on stage to celebrate success. The BMe Better Together Awards also honored Alberto Ibargüen, Javier Alberto Soto, Felecia Hatcher, Dr. Pandwe Gibson, David Lawrence Jr. The event was energetic, electric, and alive. We are looking forward to more from all of the honorees and BMe Community. 
 

Founder and CEO of BMe Community, Trabian Shorters, was inspired by the progressive development of black men and developed an extensive network of all races and genders that is committed to building better communities across the U.S. 

Learn more about Shorters and BMe Community here:

Black men doing good things in the ‘Hood’

America’s Great, Underappreciated Assets

 BMe Community

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

 
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com.

Gun Violence In Miami Gardens Strikes Again

Gun Violence In Miami Gardens Strikes Again
6/6/16

By, A.Arenas  

The city of Miami Gardens is in the news again for yet another tragic gun violence incident. On June 4, 2016, at what promised to be a fun evening, Alexandra Dean, recent NSU graduate was fatally shot down in a drive by shooting at or around about 9pm in the evening. Ms. Dean was described as being a lovely young woman who worked very hard to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in the challenging program offered at Nova Southeastern University. Alexandra Dean was described as being a very good student who had just received her degree at the commencement ceremony in May. Ms. Dean had just spoken with her mother on Friday evening and was dutifully preparing to take her nursing boards examination. Her mother encouraged her to study hard and be well prepared for her test but she was sure she would pass with flying colors because nursing was Dean’s passion. When her mother, Pauline Dean, learned of the tragedy she immediately flew in from Jamaica. Since Saturday evening Dean’s friends and those who pass by the home where the tragedy took place leave teddy bears, cards, and light candles to pay respects to a light blown out too quickly. Raymond Dean, Alexandra’s father, says he hopes once the shooter has been found that they, ” lock him up for the rest of his life.”

Alexandra Dean, 23, was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, she volunteered her time and efforts to community service, she was very well-liked, and strikingly beautiful. Horrifically, Dean was shot in the head at a house party in the 40 block of Northeast 212th Terrace. She was taken to Aventura Hospital, where she died of her injuries, said police. Police are currently investigating this case and are looking for the person or people behind it.

The Miami Gardens Party was promoted on Instagram as being a “Project X” style party themed after the popular movie. Posts on social media attracted over 200 guests who were offered free food, free drinks, and entertainment. The yard was strewn with broken glass, paper cups, flyers for other parties and quite possibly the casings from the bullets that struck Dean down on Saturday night. Dean’s friends and family began posting to social media in search of anyone who has information about the persons who may have been involved with the shooting of Alexandra Dean. Each social media post was followed #RIPAlex, her story soon became a trending topic.
In response to the tragedy the “See Something, Say Something Rally,” was put together by the Miami Gardens Police Department and family members of people who were murdered and or were victims of gun violence. The “See Something, Say Something Rally,” will be held in Miami Gardens on Thursday at 18665 Northwest 37th Avenue. 
Enough is enough: it is time to bring an end to unnecessary gun violence.  
  
#RIPAlex #NSU #BSN #nurse #college #party #service #stoptheviolence #guns #education #prevention #community #women #girls #change #cellibrationpublishing 

©2016 Cellibration Publishing

Sybrina Fulton: Woman 

By, Ascellia Arenas

4/30/16

This weekend was packed with wonderful events and activities. It was such a rewarding feeling to be invited and welcomed at these various activities and special events. But, there was one moment in time where everything stood still. While at the Miami -Dade County Chapter of Charmettes Annual Scholarship Breakfast, I had the unique opportunity to speak with a woman whom I admire and have so much compassion for. Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin-who was murdered in 2012 by George Zimmerman, was one of the recipients of the “Woman of The Year Award”. At first, the moment seemed surreal because I watched this woman traverse the stress and anxiety of testifying in a murder trial where her son was the victim. I directed two documentaries about the trial and I documented the first rumblings and initial investigation, rallies, and more. I felt her pain and agony while she held her head high and demanded respect for her child that was ripped away from her. I thought to myself “what can you say to her that can even express how much you respect her, her experience, and her testimony”? I was standing in front of the woman who faced the dragon that killed her son in cold blood. To make matters worse, he was exonerated. This tragedy gave birth to our favorite hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 
I spoke, “Good Morning”.  Then I said, “Congratulations on the honor you are receiving today.” She replied, “thank you,” and then, all of a sudden, she doubled back and tilted her head to the side. She said, “let me see your teeth”. I thought it kind of odd, but of course I obliged. Then she asked me about my braces. Of all things, she could have asked me about, she was most interested in my braces! She wondered if they were retainers, how long I would need to wear them, and so on. Then I saw it, it was in that moment when I gave her an opportunity to actually talk to someone about anything other than her slain child, to ask about how someone else lives, to talk to someone who does not have the experience of moving on with her life without her child, to not have to re-hash that event for the millionth time. After all, we have a lot in common: we are black women from South Florida, we have birthed two black male children, we both attended HBCU’s in Florida, and both of us have deep understanding of real grief that profoundly changes your life forever. She wanted to know about my Invisaligns. She just wanted to talk about something “normal”. I was happy to give her that moment. 

  
Later that day, when she gave her speech, she emphasized how she was thrust in to becoming a Civil Rights Activist; she was just a girl who was born and raised in Miami, went to school in Miami, and had a “normal” existence until that day when everything changed. She explained that Psalms 23 is what gets her through the days, weeks, months, and years. She showed me that God doesn’t call the qualified: God qualifies the called.  You better be ready, too! 

  
 My sons are still here alive and well, healthy and happy, I’m blessed not “lucky”. She is missing one of her two sons, forever. The world has its way with her son, Trayvon.  She did not self-destruct. She holds her head high and walks the walk into her destiny every single day. She’s definitely a remarkable example of a virtuous woman. I’m honored to have made her acquaintance. 

 

C.2016 Cellibration Publishing

David Bowie’s Triumphant Exit: Music Legend Loses Battle With Cancer at Age 69

By, Ascellia M. Arenas

  

 
Super model and beauty industry mogul Iman and music legend David Bowie are pictured here at the height of their wedded bliss in 1992. 

  
Bowie was said to have fallen in love with Iman at first sight. Iman and David’s daughter, born in 2000, is named Alexandria Zahra Jones, paying homage to Iman’s original name, Zahra which means , desert flower. 

  
Always stylish and on the cutting edge of the art world, Iman and David Bowie made an indelible mark with their vision, editorial prowess, and outspokenness about social issues and societal ills such as racism. 

   Bowie is credited with giving new artists an opportunity to record professionally and tour before the world’s stage. 

 Artists like Luther Vandross and Nile Rodgers were integral members of Bowie’s team of traveling artisans who helped him make musical history.   
Iman took to social media last week to participate in some early promotion for Bowie’s final studio album (28th), “Blackstar”, and to pay homage to her late husband. 

    

David Bowie fought an 18 month long secret battle with cancer until his demise on 1/10/16. He was 69 years old. 

   
 Bowie left a haunting yet poignant music video, Lazarus, as a parting gift for his adoring fans world wide. According to Telegraph magazine, “The producer of Blackstar confirms David Bowie had planned his poignant final message, and videos and lyrics show how he approached his death. David Bowie’s final record was a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans, his producer has confirmed,” says Hannah Furness, Arts Correspondent. 

  
The video, Lazarus, was released on Bowie’s 69th birthday just two days before his death, opens with the lyrics: “Look up here, I’m in Heaven!” How befitting the artist, to make an elaborate production of his final act here on earth.

 
  
Bowie will surely be missed. Farewell Ziggy Stardust. 

  

Sources: Inquisitr Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Telegraph Magazine, Us Magazine, Instagram, Twitter

C.2016 Cellibration Publishing 

“Cookies For Everyone!” Taraji P. Henson Snags Golden Globe! 

“Cookies For Everyone!” Taraji P. Henson Snags Golden Globe! By Ascellia M. Arenas
  
Our favorite girlfriend next door wins the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series. Let’s keep it 100, everybody loves cookies and everybody loves down-to-earth mega actress Taraji P. Henson. The Howard University Alum stole our hearts in her early work in the film Baby Boy and then she won us over when we heard her vocal chops as she crooned “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp”, which earned her an Oscar in 2006. We always see Taraji encourage her contemporaries, friends, and colleagues as they pick up shiny golden statues at other award shows: and, for that reason alone she is more than worthy for her win at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. 

   
In her own words, “I waited for this moment for 20 years!”

  
Congratulations girl, you earned it.
c. 2016 Cellibration Publishing 

Health: Can Yoga Change Your Life? 

Can Yoga Change Your Life?

By, Ascellia Arenas

  Can Yoga Change Your Life? 

By, Ascellia Arenas

It was January 1, 2005 and my sister took me to The Yoga Connection in Davie, Fl for a “hot yoga class”. She said she wanted to try a class she had been hearing about. She wanted me to go with her because I was gaining a lot of weight and I was stressed out of my mind. Being as I had taken dance for a number of years, I enjoyed movement and dance classes, I even coached award winning cheerleading teams, and I was naturally very flexible, she thought I’d be good at it. 
  
The class consists of 26 poses in a heated or humid room. When the instructor saw my bow pose ( Dhanurasana), she thought I had taken yoga for years. I was a mere novice. Needless to say, I physically enjoyed the challenge and my natural flexibility found acceptance in a new and honorable way. The benefits of that hot yoga class were amazing! It provided me with a potent detoxifying experience, full body strengthening and elongation, and an overwhelmingly intense feeling of relaxation. 

  
Now, some ten years later, I still practice yoga and I have even considered becoming a certified instructor. Maybe I will one day, I don’t feel any pressure to do so. Yoga teaches you to let go. If it is to be a part of my journey, then it will be. 

As for now, I enjoy practicing in my little sacred space built into my new bedroom. With no gym at my disposal, I put the weights down and lift my body weight instead. Yoga helps me to feel relaxed and focused on what really matters in life. The years following my first yoga experience were a challenge. For seven years, 2007-2014,  I was under such an intense amount of stress and anxiety :  it is amazing that I’m still here. Had I been more deliberate with practicing maybe the events of my life would have been different. I am more aware now, and practicing at least three days a week. 

  
 Consider yoga as a way to learn about yourself, to improve your mind/body connection, and to soften the way in which you interact with others and yourself.  

Some added benefits of practicing yoga are as follows: 

1. Improved focus

2. Decreased stress

3. Increased adaptation to change 

  
 Learn More

I still dance, run, and watch what I eat. Waking up to do some sun salutations really helps me focus for the day ahead and gives me the energy I need to maintain a healthy balance, as well. 

Comment below and share, share, share!

Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel,  are both available at Amazon.

Wealth: How Much Money Did You Make This Week? 

How Much Money Did You Make This Week? 

By, Ascellia Arenas

  
How much money did you make this week? Oh, my apologies, I didn’t mean to get in your business…However, how well are you doing in “business” this year? Well, now that I got your attention; hopefully I can get you out of your feelings and in to the stock market. This week (10/20/15) our pal, Oprah Winfrey, made 70 million dollars in ONE DAY. 

According to USA TODAY, “Just the word that Winfrey took a 10% stake in the company — buying 6.4 million shares and being awarded options to buy 3.5 million more — caused the stock to more than double to $13.92 a share.”

  
She is definitely doing something right. While Artal Investment Group was the bigger winner at 29.4 shares, Winfrey came in as a 6.4 million share holder making her the only African American woman, or woman of any race, to claim this honor. Weight Watchers (WTE) coupled with Winfrey’s value magic are a winning combination. 

Ask about stock trading with your financial advisor, make good choices when supporting businesses locally, understand the market and teach your children the value of entrepreneurship early. 

Congratulations Ms. Winfrey, we are impressed! 

Learn More

 

Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel,  are both available at Amazon.

Did You Know?

What is Domestic Violence? 

by, Ascellia Arenas

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, let’s talk about it. The problem is real. We can’t ignore it, make jokes about it, or continue to blame, shame and humiliate the victims. Victims of DV are all around us but they are shrouded in secrecy. It’s time to shed some light and make it STOP.  
According to the US Department of Justice, the definition of Domestic Violence is as follows, “We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.”  
  
The perception that Domestic Violence (DV) only happens to a “certain” type of woman is the main reason why this problem persists. DV can happen and does happen regardless of situational circumstances, ” Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.”

Domestic Violence (DV) has a far reaching effect that impacts the lives of the victims, their children, and the community, as well. Children who are exposed to DV are more likely to have social development issues than those who are not. The Department of Justice informs, “Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers.”

My first experience with DV happened when I was a teenager. I knew what happened to me was wrong and I felt the need to protect myself and fight back. Imagine me 5’5 and 115 pounds thinking I could defend myself against a young man probably 3times my size. I tried it though, I wasn’t going to let anybody put hands on me! I would push back, fight back, earn my respect, or so I thought. I was not aware, as I am now, that I was being  abused. 

I continued in that cycle of abusive relationships well in to my adulthood. Defending myself, arguing, cursing, fighting back when boys in my life wanted to control me. Then, when DV reared its ugly head in my marriage, I continued to “fight for my respect” and those episodes of violence persisted until I decided to get help and consequently walk away from that unhealthy relationship. My children witnessed DV: it has impacted their lives tremendously. 

The  consequent divorce impacted all of our lives significantly for many years after. I lost everything I worked for. I spent years in court fighting for my rights, my safety (& my children’s safety), and for a better life. 

I want women and men to learn what DV is, how it affects others, and what they can do to prevent it from reoccurring. 

We can change only if we desire to be better. 

 Learn more from The Department of Justice 

Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel,  are both available at Amazon.

Did you know?

“Forbes List Power  Players” 

By, Ascellia Arenas

 

The 18th annual “Most Powerful Women” list, from Fortune Magazine,   included a few women of color  among the 51 selected featured women. This gives us a reason to celebrate. 

Rosalind Brewer (pictured, left) ranked 15th, is the CEO and President of Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart.

Ann-Marie Campbell (right) ranked 37th,  is the President of Home Depot’s Southern Division, earned both her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Georgia State University.  

 Learn more here

  Ursula Burns, CEO and chairman of Xerox, was ranked 17th on this year’s list. In her five years as CEO, Ursula Burns has managed to make Xerox a powerful and profitable company. In a virtually paperless society, that is no small feat. 

Burns helped Xerox generate adjusted earnings per share of $1.09, up from $1.02 in 2012, and post $21.4 billion in full-year revenue. More

Today, September 20th, just also happens to be her birthday! Congratulations, Mrs. Burns, you’re an inspiration.

Comment below and share, share, share!

Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas
Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel,  are both available at Amazon.