PLUGGED: Never Giving Up Kesha L. ( KeyStylist)

You all may know the next person I sat down with by her Instagram name “Keystylist”, but this super personal interview simply left me knowing “Kesha”. As I was buzzed into the salon I was amazed by the beauty of the shop. The music was going, a movie was playing and the vibes were those of a salon in my dreams. Beyond the beauty of the decor, lives another beauty in the shop, the owner Kesha. The 38 thousand followers holder is a breath of fresh air in her insouciant city.

Cheanell: Why are you plugged?

Kesha: Why am I plugged? It’s so many different reasons, but I’m plugged because I’m known for ponytails. I’ve been a hairstylist for 21 years now. Also, I do a lot of the basketball and football players’ girlfriends’ and wives' hair, and a lot of other professionals.

Cheanell: What lead your passion for hair?

Kesha: I’m the third generation of hairstylist in my family. My grandmother, mother, aunt and two of my Uncles all do hair. I originally started off as a barber in ‘98 and the men were so " iffy tiffy”. I then transitioned to doing women’s hair in 2001-2002. It was faster money, and I had the opportunity to be more creative.

Cheanell: How does it feel to be a big name in Chicago right now in the hair industry? How has that journey been?

Kesha: {She exhales deeply} The journey was something else. I think what motivated me to want more is being pregnant with my daughter. I was in a comfort zone, I was at my salon home for 11 years on 71st and Exchange. With the violence going on, and me seeing my daughter watching me I knew I had to work harder. So I reinvented myself. I didn’t want to be just the stylist on 71st in this 800 square foot place. I noticed I was fast and started to have a structure and science to getting clients in and out, and the hair (was) still looking good. With that I decided I wanted to build a salon and train stylists how to get the job done, and (on) which products to use so they could take control of their businesses.

Cheanell: What was the turning point in your career?

Kesha: When I was on 71st and I was building here, I didn’t have the funds to move. So I was talking to God like 'okay, I found this place, but I don’t have the funds to get it together’. All I did was post one ponytail and it went viral. It got like 60,000 likes! I posted it at like 8am, and I didn’t go back to my page until around 6pm. It was prom season so my clientele went from 600 to 1600 in two or three months. And that gave me the funds that month to take control and renovate, and do everything I needed to do here. I even put the floors down myself.

Cheanell: How important is success? How important is it for your children to see the work you’re putting in?

Kesha: It’s a 100 precent important. It’s not 99.9 it's not 90 , it’s not 80 it’s 100 percent important. That’s who I do it for. A lot of people look at my Instagram and can’t figure out the dynamics or the personal part of who Kesha or Keystylist is but I am a single mother. I’m consistent at working. Thats another thing that makes me popular in the city. I’m not the hairstylist that runs off and takes a trip, or runs and do this and be everywhere. People know that when they book their appointment, they’re going to come and be out on time. They’re going to get the service that they wanted and it’s going to be a professional environment. I make sure my kids see that.

Cheanell: Besides your kids, what else inspires you?

Kesha: The industry and watching other people grow. I have a massive clientele and I still have people coming in. I know other stylists want and need opportunities, so when stylist do come in I like to help restructure their business or make them change their prices to make sure they valuing their time.

Cheanell: What makes you want to help people as much as you do? Not only are you helping other stylists but you’re helping the community. Last year you were helping house the homeless during the winter season. Was that apart of your upbringing?

Kesha: That was apart of me growing up but it was also apart of my struggling. During my struggle I was in a very dark place. {Kesha begins to get emotional, and starts to cry} I went through a lot and I never want to see anyone else go through what I’ve been through. {She takes a moment}

Cheanell: I want you to know you’re doing a great job with helping others. You are inspirational.

Kesha: I think with the last question, I never want people to feel discouraged because I was discouraged that I couldn’t do and I couldn’t build. When I see other people going through something, it’s kind of like I’m Oprah. Every time someone told Oprah something she would respond “Aw I did that too”. { Kesha laughs with tears still in her eyes} Everything someone said they were going through on The Oprah show she said she went through it before. When it comes to multiple things: marriage, divorce, being a single mother, finding a home, just a whole bunch of things, when I see other people going through it, I just tell them I’ve been through this, I’ve gone through this, don’t be discouraged, just keep going, just keep going.


How Warner Bros' "Joker" Creates Conversation on Mental Illness (Spoiler Alert)

We have had a week to digest the masterpiece that is Warner Bros’ newest film “Joker.”


That’s right, I said masterpiece. Hopefully if you’re reading this then you’ve had the pleasure of seeing the film. The film was officially released last week on October 8th.There has been lots of controversy surrounding its release.

The uproar comes from the film’s historic significance, a culture where we have seen things like copycat killers and the glorification of mass shooters. The devastating incident in Colorado back in 2012, where 12 people were fatally killed during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” has been a big focus surrounding this topic.

The movie itself takes us into a world that we never knew we needed. We get to see Joker before he is Joker. Looking at Arthur Fleck’s life and the events that create the monster we know him to be. Despite what you thought you knew about the villain, the 122 minute film gives insight that shows you there is really two sides to every story.

 With the  amount of people who have portrayed Joker, we see multiple ways the character can be manipulated. In Joaquin Phoenix’s take, the Joker has a mental condition in which he has an uncontrollable laugh that seems to happen in the most inappropriate situations.

The fact that the film dropped during mental illness awareness week (October 6- October 12) showed major significance. Joker was an outcast in the time he lived in, but today he could thrive. In 2019 mental health is a top priority and victims of mental illness have found a safe place in today’s climate.    

“Joker” helps us to understand that there are inner battles others face that you may never even realize. You may ask yourself, “If humans just treated each other like humans would such killers even exist?” This is not to give an excuse for anyone who finds consolidation in murder, but it is a big “what if” to ponder on.  

 Rotten Tomatoes rated the film a 68% but reviews from moviegoers tells an opposite story. What critics are failing to realize is that anyone who leaves the theater after seeing “Joker” will leave wanting to be a better person. You really are forced to step back and examine yourself. 

I believe that “Joker” will win movie of the year for 2019. This is a film that makes you think and one you have to discuss with everyone who sees it. Having a conversation not only how the age gap between Joker and Batman seems tremendous, but also the mindset of the arch nemesis. 

The sensitivity of society today combined with recently gained knowledge on mental illness allows for us to see what people around Joker couldn’t see back then. We empathize with him, we feel hurt for him, and disdain for those that cause him harm. We become his protectors as we watch him go through his evolution


The saddest part of it all was that Joker was battling it all alone. I can safely say that all of our hearts dropped when reality showed us that Joker had fantasized his romantic relationship with his neighbor. It makes you wonder if having at least one person in his corner could have made the slightest difference in his life.

These conversations are necessary. Art is a reflection of life and what we decide to do with it is up to us. What are your thoughts after seeing “Joker”? Did you leave the theater feeling changed or wanting to make a change?

The Maven Method Media Training With Portia King

This Saturday, October 5th I had the pleasure of attending The Maven Method Media Training, hosted by Portia King. The media training workshop is for artists and talent to better their interviewing skills and to be a better personality all the way around. 

The event took place at The Invisible Space, a gallery and gift shop that sells merch designed by artists on the South Side Chicago, that also doubles as an incubator for public and private events.

I got the chance to ask King what her inspiration was for starting this workshop she responded,

“A person could have the hottest song out, the hottest movie out. And if they can’t speak to it, if they can’t articulate, if they can’t make an engaging conversation to expand their brand, then it can almost inhibit the growth of what they do. It can limit the outreach and audience that they reach.”

She states that she started the Maven Method for the talent to sell themselves, to make an engaging conversation, and to be able to make her job as an interviewer much easier.


The people in attendance ranged from artists, media personalities, and even talent managers, all there to soak in knowledge with open ears and open minds. Portia broke down her presentation into four parts: The Law; Preparation; Media Etiquette; and Action. Each section gave examples of public appearances in which a celebrity demonstrated poor media training and the consequences of it. King even brought back old memories when she played footage of August Alsina on BET’s classic 106 & Park, where he was asked about his beef with Trey Songz. During the interview August curses at the interviewer in anger. 


The tips that were given during the 2 hour media training session were truly valuable. Guests were informed on how much stations are charged when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laws are violated. She told the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl story, which surprisingly some people didn’t know about. King also spoke about how important having an agenda is when preparing for an interview and knowing your brand. 

There were also various activities that took place at the media training. King had us play a game in which we paired up, picked a topic, then took turns speaking about said topic for 30 seconds without long pauses or saying um (it’s harder than you think). We also did a few tongue twisters to help with diction and pronunciation.

At the end of the event, everyone stayed for a while and did some networking. Be on the lookout for the next Maven Method Media Training. Be sure to follow @portiakingmedia for details on the next event and to keep up with her ventures. 


PLUGGED: Designing the life you want with Ron Louis

The conversation I had with the 26 year old fashion designer Ron Louis surprised me. Instead of him filling the room with words of who he is, he taught me who the world is. The mastermind behind the “Phera” brand believes in a world we control. He believes that not only do you “design the life you want” but that the thoughts we have control our actions and who we are. This interview felt like a conversation you have with a blunt in one hand and understanding of the world the topic of discussion.

Cheanell: Why are you “PLUGGED” ?

RON: I guess cause the people made me that way. This my city, I have to be plugged to do what I need to do.

Cheanell: Chicago doesn’t have a big celebrity culture like New York or LA does. We don’t have celebs just walking around. Do you look at yourself as a Chicago celebrity, do you feel like you’re valued in the sense of a celebrity? Do you feel important?

Ron: I try not to think about it like that cause you can get caught up in feeling yourself. I try to make it more about the culture and pushing my art form. However, it is important to go outside and meet people to gauge where you at. I see the love and respect it, but I don’t think too much of it.

Cheanell: I know years ago you had a music blog, and you mention before that that got you some buzz in the city. Which one gave you the most plug, fashion or music?

Ron: Probably music, I had a few clients just being in the culture because I started to do interviews with local artist. Organically, just me being around is what plugged me and not necessarily music or fashion. I started out just being a person that was around.

Cheanell: What are the cons of being being Ron Louis the fashion designer? We can guess the pros.

Ron: The things I run into can be annoying. I was at a restaurant and the waiter ran over and was like “Man, I’ve been trying to get an order in!” Im like aye I’m out to eat. People be all in your business, it can be a lot. I’m a private person so it can be a little scary.

Cheanell: You said “You want to do something great for your city and be recognize for it.” do you feel like you gotten to that point?

Ron: Naw, i’m getting my toes wet. It’s a lot of things I have to get done before I become a face of my city. But I might not never feel like I’m doing enough.

Cheanell: Explain that a little more.

Ron: I don’t doubt I’m going to be successful, it just a personal journey. I’m chasing myself. It aint about success because success comes with chasing the best version of you.

Cheanell: And what does success look like for you?

Ron: Living my truth, being me and expressing, while pushing others. My definition of success is always changing. I feel like it’s never enough, and that fun to me. That means its always room for growth. I don’t want to get involved with anything and feel like there a ceiling.

Cheanell: Damn, I always thought I was going feel successful once I got financially good. I thought that was going to bring me happiness. But once it happened for me it didn’t bring me joy. So I feel what you’re saying.

Ron: We always say we want one thing but once we get it we like aw, this not what I thought this would feel like. Same thing goes for life. You can have the prefect situation but still feel sad or not fulfilled. Thats cause you aren’t checking with yourself everyday to see what that true being of you is . And it might not have shit to do with money.

Cheanell: What else do you want from life?

Ron: To be free and I don’t even know what that is but that’s the best part.

Cheanell: Thats not scary to you, to not know where you want to be or do next, not having a plan?

Ron: No, you gotta change that word to excited, and anxious. You have to change the words to those feelings. But you should be scared because that’s going to create a new you.

Cheanell: What are your fears then?

Ron: Jumping and people not understanding it. But more recently it has been not wanting to lose the people I know. I’m scared about out growing the ones I love and that mean the most to me. Them asking me, why you trying to grow, why you trying to change, why you trying to be better?

Why Dave Chappelle’s "Sticks and Stones" is Necessary

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Or at least that’s what I was taught growing up. But in this social media age, society has become more sensitive now than ever. You can’t express an opinion or even have an open dialogue about a certain topic because then you’re “cancelled” or bashed for having a difference in thought. 

With the release of Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones the sensitivity of this era has surely been highlighted. There have been op-ed articles about how Chappelle’s special helps to support the thoughts of white supremacitsts propaganda. They say that his remarks on the LGBTQ community are dangerous, that he trolls rape victims, and as one article puts it, “There’s the far-right element putting him on a pedestal as a face of its toxic ideologies.”

As I know that my opinion will be met with opposition, I have to say that Sticks and Stones is a piece of work that is much needed, especially in this era of #MeToo and cancelling culture. What others see as Chapelle’s “say what I want to say” attitude, is more of a “say what needs to be said” attitude. 

Everybody wants to censor everything and I’m glad that we have individuals like Dave Chappellle who challenge such ideologies. What we can stand to learn from the special is that it’s okay to laugh at yourself. With all the movements that are in place today and everybody wanting to identify as one thing or the other, it’s a breath of fresh air to be able to take a step back look at the comedy in it all.

You don’t have to agree with everything an individual says, but giving credit where it is due takes honesty and courage. That being said, I didn’t agree with Chapelle’s thoughts on a man being able to walk away free if he doesn’t agree with a woman keeping the baby. However, his comments on the issue made me laugh and can start conversations. If you are a sensible adult, you would know that Chapelle’s comments are in no way out of malice like the white supremacists or extremists that he’s being compared to. 

I’m glad we are in a time where social media can highlight the issues that have been overlooked for centuries. What I would love to see it do next is recognize that comedy takes serious matters and makes you look at them differently. It takes a genius to do it effortlessly and we have witnessed a genius master his craft. 


ComplexCon Chicago - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Last week I got the chance to attend the inaugural ComplexCon that took place at Chicago’s McCormick Place on July 20-21st. 

The music conference/festival/fashion convention usually takes place in Long Beach California but decided to switch things up by bringing the exhibit to Chicago this year (There will still be a ComplexCon happening in Long Beach this November).  

ComplexCon brought lots of excitement for the city, for more reasons than one. First, this would be the first time hypebeasts in Chi City would be able to participate in the large convention that is specifically targeted at them. Secondly, local streetwear brands would be able to showcase their clothing and have it available for purchase during the event.

ComplexCon was full of excitement with panels that included Questlove and Black Thought to Juice Wrld, Killer Mike, and T.I. The attendees were full of excitement to hear people spit game and to enjoy performances from artists like Rick Ross, ScHoolboy Q, Ella Mai, and Saweetie just to name a few.

Juice WRLD joined Sean Evans LIVE at ComplexCon Chicago this past weekend, just hours before shutting down the Pigeons & Planes stage. The Chicago superstar is a platinum-selling artist whose latest album, Death Race For Love, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, and he has a new single with Ellie Goulding called "Hate Me" out now. But how is he with spicy food? Find out as the hometown hero takes on the wings of death in front of a live audience. Along the way, he talks about his dirt-bike obsession, the appeal of Percy Jackson novels, and the reason you shouldn't pigeonhole SoundCloud rappers. via Complex

There were lots of things to gaze upon at the exhibit like special appearances from Allen Iverson, exclusive sneaker drops from Puma and Reebok, and even a dunk contest. The most exciting thing for me was the panels and getting to hear artists like Smino drop gems about not taking advice from too many people.

It was also dope to see Chicagoan fashion designers like Joe Freshgoods get representation. Other Chicagoans in the fashion world that were represented included were Sheila Rashid and Kristopher Kites. 

Sadly, this is where some of the criticism comes about ComplexCon. Lots of locals feel like the convention misrepresented the true essence of the city. The biggest mistake, not inviting Leaders 1354 to be there. They had a collaboration with the Hundreds, but the iconic Chicago brand deserved to be highlighted more.

If you know Chicago fashion then you know how much of influence Leaders 1354 has had on the culture. Starting in 2002, the clothing store got its start in Hyde Park. Founder Corey Gilkey says, even though they felt cheated out of the experience, it has pushed clothing brands to want to work together even more. 

I’m also not too sure that I saw any of the brands represented in our article for Chicago brands to watch out for.

While ComplexCon was one of the main events that took place last weekend, it wasn’t the only one, which could have hurt the success of the event. Pitchfork Music Festival and the Silver Room Block party were also on the agenda for many Chicagoans. 

I attended both days of ComplexCon, the only thing I regret missing out on is Silver Room Block Party. Especially after news that Pitchfork got rained out on Saturday. Critics of ComplexCon Chicago have also stated that the floor also seemed a bit empty, compared to the one in Long Beach.  

One thing for sure, ComplexCon racked up bank with this two day event. I just hope local brands were able to make a good profit off of the business it brought. The most memorable moment from ComplexCON was the Hype Beast Stampede. People literally ran out of the room during a Q&A with Allen Iverson to try and cop the Nike Air Fear of God 1 “Yellow” on the SNKRS Stash.

Did you attend? 

Let us know your favorite or least favorite part of ComplexCon in the comments! 


Xtreme Kustom's Car & Bike Fest 2019 was lit!!!


This past weekend was the Car and bike fest in south holland at South Suburban College. Hosted by XTreme Kustoms Wheels, Dtlr, Power 92.3 & yours truly Whats The Word. Hundreds of people came out to see some of the rawest rides, that cruises the streets. There was lots of food venders and plenty of good music. The event also hosted a contest with many different categories. Categories such as Loudest sound systems, Fastest engines & etc. 

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🌟 inna makin

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From the fancy and exotic cars to the spicy and loud bikes. We had some of the dopest people hit the stage. From Spardo , Nia Kay, Lyric, Cheaneall truu the list just goes on. Overall the event was very dope & peaceful. Other then the heat everyone enjoyed themselves!


Looks Of The 2019 Agora Sneaker Ball

The event of the year happened and it was off the chain! The Agora Sneaker Ball invite only gala was filled with food, people and music. And the attendees did not come to play about networking and having a great time.


The Agora Sneaker Ball is the urban Met Gala, mixed with sneakers, networking and promotion of community service. In preparation for the event I looked forward to the looks, the concept of millennials giving back and the diversity of attendees. However, the fashion stole the show. Chicago natives and others who traveled to the city all looked beautiful. Women were dressed in bright, bold colors and the men were Dapper Dan fresh.


I think it’s safe to say the trend for the night was fluff and tule and the men went for the clean look. I myself followed the craze and I think I pulled it off very well.


Okay enough about me, lets take a look into two very important looks. The looks of the founder of sneaker ball, Justin Johnson and the host LaRoyce Hawkins.


Both men were looking like millionaires but let’s take a deeper look into their attires. Starting with the host of the night, LaRoyce Hawkins, who wore a purple suit with many accessories. The rosary and the bracelet were great additions to his look. Plus the splash of purple his of his Off-White x Serena Williams “QUEEN” shoes matched perfectly to his suit.

Justin Johnson, a fan of Nipsey Hussle wore a blue quite close to the hue Nipsey Blue. He ties his outfit with only a couple accessories and black Off-White shoes.

During my interview with the men I didn’t get to ask about their outfits however, I do wonder if the outfits say anything about who they are?

Here’s a few more looks at the 2019 Agora Sneaker Ball


Getting Specific With Bree: Radio and Event Host Bree Specific Sits Down With Our Writer Cheanell

Chicago’s 290 Queen Breanna Anderson, who’s best known as Bree Specific is taking over the radio, and plans on taking over the world. The Public Relations degree holder decided that instead of managing the spread of information between someone and the public, she’ll embark on a journey to become a Media Personality. Recently, the radio personality was awarded her own show on Power 92.3 and is also now apart of the Whats The Word family. Specifics’, “Specific Sites” are now available on Whats The Word platforms showing you all the dope events going on in the Chicagoland. To get y’all familiar with our girl Bree, Whats The Word member Cheanell sat down with her to chat. The ladies talked men, colorism in this industry, education and more.

Cheanell: Who is Bree Specific?

Bree Specific: She’s the person within Breanna that never really came out. It took like 22-23 years to come out. Growing up I was shy, I didn’t have too many friends, I didn’t like to be around too many people. But I always felt like being outgoing was in me. But I didn’t know where it was. I feel like Bree Specific is the person that was inside of me that was scared to come out. “

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2018: cut my hair, learned to trust, figured out my angles with my phone out 😂, a few anxiety setbacks, embraced a team for my brand that helps me & everyone around me, lost homies 🙏🏾 to guns & the police who “sworn” to protect us, talked my ish on Chicago Radio, still had some broke days, questioned my spiritual methods, hosted some dope events, cried because I’m a cry baby 😢, broadcasted live from the Bud, understood the importance of vibranium, realized i couldn’t get this far without my supporters & homies 🤞🏾, made some selfish decisions, became an auntie, struggled with comparison, witness friends grow in their fields & take some Wins 🙌🏾, changed my circle to people i can look up to, loved a bit more, ran out of gas, started a YouTube series, obsessed over twist outs, traded the club for branding & networking events, contemplated changing who I am to get where i wanted, started my own candle business 🕯, told my granny i was good even when i wasn’t, learned to WOP 🤼‍♀️, had the BEST birthday ever, talked millennial impact with Rev. Jackson, over worked myself, apologized, revamped my spiritual journey, I’ve supported, & i’m blessed to bring in the New Year in ya ears from 10p-5a on @power92chicago 🔥😍 2019: i got it mapped out strong 💪🏾 This year was something else & I’m grateful for every part of it! Thank yal for being here to grow with me frfr!! Friends, followers, supporters i appreciate every DM, ticket bought, like, text, repost, listener, retweet, etc. Yal the Some people hit me when i felt the lowest & didn’t even know it. Let’s continue to love & support one another in 2019 Specifics 💜👑 #breespecific🎙

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Q: Is Bree Specific Brianna Anderson’s alter ego, do you click Bree on and off?

A: No, I don’t think I click her in and out. I think I’m okay with being who I am now. She came about in college. I think going to college made me who I am now.

Q: So was leaving SIUC while pursuing a Masters a difficult decision? Do you feel like it was a good move for your career?

A: I was terrified! I didn’t have a plan, I started doing radio my senior year and it rolled over to my first semester of grad school.  The only reason I went to grad school is because I didn’t have a plan and I knew I could keep my radio show if I stayed in school. In the meantime, I was sending my videos and audios to different people, but nobody was responding. I didn’t know how to get into radio, I didn’t go to school for it.

Q: What do you want next, what do you expect next from yourself?

A: I really want to hone into being an entrepreneur. I have a candle line called Specific Scents and it is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I feel like it explains who I am. I’m a real zen person. I want to learn more about entrepreneurship.

Q: You host events, you have a radio show and you’re an entrepreneur, what suffers in your life?

A: My candle business.  I work a lot to support my lifestyle and to invest in myself. I have to work to buy inventory and people not buying the candle and I have to figure out why they’re not buying the candle and that costs money.

Q: Does your dating life suffer too because you’re a woman in media?

A: Yes, my dm’s do not bust, well they just started bustin. As far as dating, I really believe in friendship first. A lot of people have more loyalty for their friends than they do their counterpart.

Q: Do men befriend you to better their careers?

A: I have that happen all the time and I see through it all the time. I will start talking to someone and then they’ll start sending me music or their homie music. It is an instant turn off for me.

Q: What else do you battle with in this industry that comes with you being a woman? Colorism?

A: Yeah, I’ve had someone in this industry come up and tell me “They’ll never going to pick you, you’re too dark skin.”

Q: They said this to your face?

A: Yeah, but I never took it as an insult. They weren’t saying I’m not capable or that I’m not talented. I took it as that person being someone in the industry and being around and knowing what’s going on. However, that made me work harder. I feel like colorism is definitely a real thing. 

Q: What is your motivation to stay positive and reach your goals?

A: My family and wanting better for myself. Sometimes I found myself just wondering about my future. I want my family to be okay. If I'm ever in a jam, me and my parents are going to figure it out. I just want to be at peace. Me really being at peace in trying to be specific with my self has really got me to where I am now.

Because of Mama: The truth behind Mother’s Day

The History of Mother’s Day is a simple one. A caring, hardworking woman who witnessed war tear down men, boys, and families decided to make a difference. Ann Jarvis was a social activist and community organizer who started a woman’s club in the 1860’s to help assist mothers and children affected by the trauma of the American Civil War. Within these clubs she assisted in serving the needs of the public. She served the community in multiple ways like education on sanitation, medical issues, and whatever she saw fit.  Ann Jarvis expanded on that activism by deciding to shed light on something deeper, the role of a mother. She chose to honor them with a day of recognition. This task was not an easy one. In fact, Mrs. Jarvis died before her dream reached a calendar. But as said, a mother’s love extends through her children. In 1905 Anna Jarvis chose to continue her mother’s work only months after her death. After years of advocating and raising awareness for the day of observance, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation for the national holiday in 1914 and we’ve been celebrating the holiday ever since.

Although the meaning behind the holiday hasn’t changed, the way we practice has. To Anna, the observation of Mother’s Day was meant to be showed through truth, admiration, and hand made cards. She strongly advocated against the commercialization that’s overtaken the holiday. She didn’t believe in spending $10 on a card that read another person’s thoughts. She believed that a significant part of honoring your mother on this day meant speaking from the heart. Therefore, that’s the goal we aim to complete here.

I read a quote once that stated,

“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”

Not only did I find this quote to be interesting, I found it to be true. As I reflect on my 22 years living, I realize that everything I know has come from a common source, my mother. Throughout my entire life my mother has served as my confidant, life coach, and instruction manual. If I don’t know how to do something, you can bet she’s my lifeline to figuring it out.

It’s no question that the culture recognizes the importance of a mother’s presence. We all agree and take heed to the gravely significant difference they can make in our lives. You see that idea reflected on TV everyday. Mothers like Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side and Phylicia Rashad in The Cosby Show reciprocate that idea and truth every time we watch. Just like our real mothers our TV mothers provided a support system for us and their children. Their willingness to believe in us and fight for us at every twist and turn life throws is what drives us to keep going.

The culture has always proclaimed its love for motherhood through music. Rappers like Lil Wayne, Drake, 2 Chainz and countless others have consistently referenced their mother’s impact on their lives. We praise and sing along to songs like Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur and Hey Mama by Kanye West everyday. Tracks likes Dear Mama express in numerous ways how both a mother’s negative and positive impacts help shape us. But still, throughout his lyrics we understand that a mother’s love is reliable, she’s always there.  

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“Pour out some liquor and I reminisce, cause through the drama

I can always depend on my mama

And when it seems that I'm hopeless

You say the words that can get me back in focus”

In Hey Mama Kanye West recognizes that a mother’s love is consistently given to us in an abundance. Although we sometimes take that love for granted, we never forget that it’s in arms reach. She’s our first friend and our best friend. Throughout these lyrics, Kanye West acknowledges that a mom’s love is forgiving.

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“My mama told me go to school, get your doctorate

Somethin to fall back on, you could profit with

But still supported me when I did the opposite”

Along with music, the sports industry is no stranger to acknowledging their mother’s contribution. Whether it’s thanking them throughout speeches or interviews or simply hugging them after a game, athletes steadily advocate their mother’s role in their life. Athletes like Lebron James have consistently referenced their mother as an important factor in their success. Throughout interviews he’s stated that


“Being a mother -- it’s the toughest job in the world. It’s tougher than being a professional athlete or being the president. It’s a powerful thing…”

James, like us, learned throughout his childhood that a mother’s love is sometimes sacrificial to her own happiness. Through an interview his mother, Gloria James, spoke on her decision to send him to live with another family. She goes on to state,


“It was the hardest decision I’d made in my life but it was also one of the best. At that time in his life he needed stability. It was hard, but I knew it was not about me. It was about him. I had to put him first.”

Just like many moms throughout the world, community, and culture, Gloria James knew and understand that motherhood involves putting your child’s needs before yourself. Herself and many others do it everyday. Whether it’s the working mothers who come home after 16 hour shifts and still helps with homework, or the mothers who drive an hour everyday so their child receives the best education, they do it with a heart full of love and their child’s future in mind. Thus, as the day unfolds, remember to take a moment to step back and truly tell your mother what she means to you. Whether it’s your biological mother, grandmother, aunt, family friend or neighbor; make sure that you speak from the heart and express your admiration for all that they do for you. To every mother near and far, we, the culture, appreciate you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Source: McMillen, M. (2019). LeBron James Talks About His Mother. [online] WebMD

F Is for funny, fourth and Fantastic, Comedy Night A Success

Whats The Word had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual comedy night presented by MiHiChi and Troy Pryor. F is for funny was an event worth attending and one created solely for the community. All of the comedians were Chicago natives who brought their life and relatable experiences center stage.

The evening started with a bang! Singer Gifted Keys serenaded the crowd with a soulful song about following your dreams, entitled “next to blow”. The song’s message laid the tone for the evening and served as the perfect soundtrack for the comics and creators. Following your dreams is something that everyone on the stage had the courage to do.


The event was hosted by Michael Issac and starred Joey Villagomez, Em Brown, and Calvin Evans. Although the female comedian Just Nesh, wasn’t there as advertised her presence was certainly felt. The event featured both a recorded video message from her as well as one of her video skits featuring Michael Issac. The clip was very creative and served as an interactive segment for the event.

The featured comedians were all unique. Although they were diverse their similarities like growing up in the city allowed them to seemlessly connect to each other as well as the audience. Joey Villagomez, the south Chicago native told relatable jokes like grocery shopping at Whole Foods and being Mexican in the city. Calvin Evans on the other hand vented about missing Chicago, past relationships, and his family. Finally, to close the evening, Em Brown spoke of his kids, dating women, and his job at the pawn shop.

Overall, the show was a success. The purpose of it, as stated by the creators, was to create a platform for black and brown comedians. The event also served as footsteps towards a bigger dream. The creators spoke on their aspirations to build the comedy night into a televised show.


Why Chicago is Way More Dope Than NYC

The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, The Media/Fashion Capital of the World. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I am not talking about Chi-Town. I am speaking of the city that people say dreams are made of, New York City.

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting the concrete jungle. I’ve always dreamed of going to New York, living there, I even applied for a few jobs. To be able to visit was like a dream. During my visit I was shocked to see how much better Chicago is.

I got inspired to write this piece after my visit and stumbled across this article,“33 Reasons Chicago Kicks New York City’s Ass”. Here, I take a few reasons from them but speak on other ones as well.


As Chicagoans, we know how to lay it on THICK when it comes to our pizza. This seems to be a foreign land in New York. Not to say that their pizza isn’t good, but you have to eat about 3 slices just to get somewhat full. And what they think is deep dish, is actually deep crust. I’ll give it up to them when it comes to there pizza shops being on almost every corner, which cannot be ignored, in addition to the food stands that come in handy.  When you’re in the Chi, Giordano’s will have your stomach satisfied with one bite from its’ packed slices, the same goes for Beggar’s. NYC’s measly pizza pie cannot compare to our fulfilling slices.


That’s right, our skyline. New York has something that Chicago does not have, which is multiple skylines. But what Chicago has that New York doesn’t is beauty. Our skyline has symmetry and buildings aren’t just placed in random places, When you look at our city in the night sky, it's a picture perfect moment, something to be appreciated. The way that everything is placed in New York, you’d have to have a million eyes to see anything. Picture a cool summer night at the lakefront, looking out and seeing that Chicago skyline. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.  


Riding the New York train system is an experience like no other, because it was so CONFUSING. I don’t understand how a platform has two trains that go in the same direction. What they do have a leg up on is the full plastic seats, while Chicago uses fabric on its public transit. (terrible idea and possible they reason why there has been an influx of bed bugs) However, Chicago’s subway system is much more easy to navigate with our color lines. When you get on a CTA platform you know that a train is going one way or the other, which eliminates the confusion by 200%.


Of course Chicago is cleaner. When a city is void of alleys and puts their garbage curbside in front of their home, that’s a recipe for disaster. I mean, I was in Times Square and visited a Chase Bank where there was loads of trash on the floor. I’d never seen anything like it. Cleanliness counts for something and New York is definitely losing that competition. I was just happy I didn’t any infamous NYC rats during my visit.


The people in Chicago are much more dope than the people in New York. We are way nicer. Who says that just because you’re focused on what you got going on that you can’t say excuse me or sorry when you're in someone’s way? One thing about Chicago is that we are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, even NYC has admitted it.

Some of the dopest people of the culture come from Chicago. I mean, when you have Chance The Rapper how could you lose? NYC may have Jay-Z, but we all know that Kanye has shaped the culture so much more.

NYC may be the birthplace of hip hop and the media capital of the world, but Chicago is the trendsetter. Chicago is the wave and we are the future.

Premo Shuts Down Union Station,For The Color Me Bad Fashion Show

Mostly known for their premier night life events, PREMO House shut down Chicago’s Union Station for the Color Me Bad (CMB), Season 19 Fashion show.  

CMB is Chicago's premier and most sought after fashion exhibition for millennial youth brand, models, and fashion enthusiast. CMB 5th YEAR ANNIVERSARY Spring fashion exhibition was held March 23, 2019.

The CMB team celebrated with w highly energized and  inspiring showcase of fashion and arts. The event featured Chicago’s hottest models, who slayed the runway. The models were dressed in Chicago's most promising up and coming fashion designers and stylists' latest threads.

The CMB brand was founded by Myles Grio with long time business partner Manny Treo after finding a void in Chicago for competitive fashion design that can viral the likes of the urban NY fashion week. Now serves as Co-Coordinator and Creative director. 

“CMB changes the way Chicago view fashion. Everyone thinks of New York, but Chicago got it poppin’ too”

Galore Arleeza, former runway model who is now retired is crushing behind the scenes logistics for the CMB brand. Serving as the Co-Coordinator she executes at a high level and has a niche for finding talent.

The Lead stylist for the CMB event was Amer G. She’s responsible for breaking up and coming designers in to the main stream fashion scene in Chicago. Amer challenges designers to meet tough deadlines and production requirements to make it into this gaudy show. 

The CMB's team most nationally known member is Cartlon Spencer. A certified celebrity stylist and trainer. His cliental includes Keke Palmer, Shad “Bow Wow” Moss, Love and HipHop Atlanta Lil Scrappy and more! He whips models in shape from average to “slay Bish” 

"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the streets. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live , what is happening."    - CoCo Chanel

The CMB season 19 fashion was pure amazing and it no doubt that season 20 will be bigger and as much anticipate as this one. Chicago is coming to make a statement in the fashion world, and Color Me Bad will be one of the forces to make it happen.


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To Write Your Self A Love Letter, hosted by Kia Smith

A few weeks ago rising Chicago journalist Kia Smith hosted her “Write Your Self A Love Letter” event.
#WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge Started 3 years ago, it was inspired by a class assignment that transitioned into a blog post, then social media challenge, and now an event. It is now a tri-monthly seminar where Kia Smith will facilitate a workshop with different groups of people across all ages. The March 17th event was extra special because It was Kia Smith’s 25th birthday. 

The amazing event had both men and women In attendance from all demographics. Each person expressed their feelings in regards to self love and the obstacles it presents. Insecurities, self doubt, depression has no gender nor color. It was interesting to hear how people from various walks of life dealt with these things.

“What you think of me is none of my business” - Kizzie Bennett

We put too much emphasis on what others think. To love yourself is to have confidence in who you are, becoming comfortable in your own skin. When you are worried about others opinions, you forget about the only opinion that matters. Your own.

“Even God is a gentleman he doesn’t force himself on you” - Fekissa L. Ducker

Peer pressure is one of the major causes for self doubt and insecurities. Often we let the influences of our community force us to neglect our true identity. To love yourself Is too understand who you are, figure out that part and everything else will flow. Never force anything, love and relationships should be natural.

“Self love may be selfish sometimes and it may be lonely sometimes, and that is perfectly fine. But use those same feelings to empower you to teach yourself and others how to love you at the end of the day.” -Shionda Carlisle

Before you can assist others, you have to make sure things are in order internally. Can’t help anyone unless you're ok. At the event guests talked about lending their energy to others, and not leaving any for themselves. Which can become draining. Make time for yourself, read, exercise, live, laugh and love yourself. Protect your time and energy. Give yourself what others expect you to give them.

In conclusion, the event was amazing. The energy that was presented was something that was must needed personally. Kia’s mother deserves acknowledgement as well, it was something about her presence that enriched the environment. The way she spoke, the “game” she provided was stellar. Shoutout to kia’s mom, you’re awesome. The event concluded with audience writing a personal love letter. Didn’t have a chance to participate in writing a love letter at the event, therefore I would like to share it with you below.

Dear Cody,

I understand you work hard and want to succeed in life. Leaving a legacy is very important to you. But Cody you must take time for yourself, your family. Enjoy the love that people have for you, enjoy the love you have for yourself. You are an amazing person, well at least I think so lol. Keep spreading positivity, keep spreading information, keep empowering and don’t forget to love. You are dope.


Trae Moe - The BlackmARTket

A simple hobby turned into a forever passion when we talk about the story of Chicago’s own Martrae “Trae Moe” Godard, a writer, film director and the creator of The BlackmARTket. The BlackmARTket hosts a wide range of variety of content such as movies, commercials, documentaries, short films, and other dynamic content. Trae Moe started with documentaries, titled “The ART Of ....” highlighting individuals who have inspired Trea in someway and/or is making a good impact on the world. Its unique name originated from the actual definition of the Black Market, creating its own entities, and incorporating Traes’ whole name, Martrae.



When you think about it, Nowadays all people want to do is be a videographer, not a film director. No one wants to actually take the time out and film raw footage and turn it into a documentary or even a movie.

It all started in Trae’s early teens where he wrote for fun about all his experiences. Then shortly after it progressed into creating short films. In high school Trae was involved in radio t.v, which lead him to producing football highlights for his classmates. He then discovered that creating films is what he was made to do. When Trae went to Tennessee State for college, he took a step back from film and received a degree in Health Care & Administration. But he still knew film is where he belonged.



Today Trae is currently still managing working in the health care field & working on his documentary series. Which leads us to March 30th, The BlackmARTket hosted a very dope event. The night was filled with meeting the team and sharing their hard work with the world. The team premiered NEW CONTENT from their documentary series, Highlighting rapper and comedian, Koporate.


They also shared a special announcement. On April 14, 2019 The BlackmARTket team will be hosting The BlackmARTket Red Carpet Edition. Where you can walk the red carpet and get caught up on all 3 episodes in just one night. How dope is that!


Women's History Month: Donnie Nicole Smith

In honor of the last day of Women’s History Month, I would like to give a special shout out to Mrs. Donnie Nicole Smith.

I had the pleasure of working with Donnie while I was a member of her and her husband, Che Rhymefest Smith’s nonprofit organization Donda’s House in 2014. The organization, which now goes by the name of Art of Culture, Inc. allows creative youth a chance to explore their talents, giving them access to various opportunities and exposure.

Those who were unfamiliar with the organization may recognize the name Donda’s House after an internet beef between Kim Kardashian and Rhymefest broke out on Twitter. The back and forth caused the name change, after it was said that fellow co-founder Kanye West didn’t give back to the organization as much as he should.

Now with a fresh name, a rebranding, and a new website Art of Culture Inc. is pushing its mission of cultivating creative potential.   

I am proud to say that I had the chance to work under Donnie’s guidance as a teen. Donnie has so much experience and wisdom under her belt. From being a Chicago Public Schools teacher, the executive director of a nonprofit, and most recently the CEO of her own company.

Donnie has been selected by Ebony Magazine as one of their Ebony Power 100 Award Recipients in the “Woman Up” category for her work with Art of Culture, Inc in 2016. She has also received the “Courage” Award from New York University’s Hip Hop Education Center in 2015. These are only a couple examples of the acknowledgement that she has received for being an amazing individual. For the entire list click here.

Donnie is the definition of Black Girl Magic because she flawlessly and unapologetically executes her dream. She works with the youth and inspires them to go after what they want. She has built her own legacy and continues to put the work in for herself as well as others.

We honor women like Donnie Nicole Smith today and everyday. For more on the latest on Donnie and her work visit her website.  

The Rise In Women Media

In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to shed light on a group of women who are on the rise in the media industry. These women are unique in their own way and determined to be successful.



Media personality and entrepreneur Bree Specific, is definitely one to look out for! From hosting events to being a radio personality on Power 92.3, to even having her own youtube channel, she’s got her hands on a little bit of everything. All that she has accomplished, and will accomplish, justifies that Bree is on her path to success! Bree is all about positive energy and bringing joy to others. Her most recent endeavor is the launch of her own candle line Specific Sense, so make sure to check out that. 


Project management and brand consultant Shei is the girl to go to if you need stuff done. She’s more behind the scenes but she still carries a very important role in the media industry. Being a creative director, event planner, and project manager gives shei the ability to share and speak her wonderful knowledge. Shei is outspoken, fearless, and a perfectionist. But that’s what makes her such a great person to have in your corner.


“What you put in is what you get out of it;” meaning you have all the control. 


Pretty Riot

Blog writer and media personality Pretty Riot is out here working! Being the only female host on Illanoise radio allows her to speak out for our ladies and be heard.


Blogging taught me how to understand being in the media. But radio taught me how to have the courage to voice my opinion.”

She also has a small instagram segment called “TwoPrettyPennies” where she speaks nothing but the truth.

Even though her journey is nowhere being over, She feels that all her accomplishments have been rewarding and she is eager to keep going.Pretty Riot has a lot of things in store for the world but most importantly make sure to look out for her new book “Note To Self” you don’t wanna miss out.

Am I The Only One


Living in two different states definitely did not stop the grind of Am I The Only One. Sorority sisters Tamika & Iesha created a blog that jump started their journey and lead to the launch of their podcast. Judging by their success distance is an obstacle that you can overcome when you are determined. Tamika & Iesha are a dynamic duo you definitely should look out for.



Anything involving content creation, Portia King has her hands on it all. She’s involved in production, hosting events, panel discussions & is the creator of Maven Muse, a series highlighting important artist and influencers. Portia is currently working on her media training course for up and coming artist, entertainers and influencers. Portia will be providing knowledge on personal branding & media etiquette. Portia is a boss in so many ways.




Event host & Content creator shaneika is out here killing the game! Randomly landing an interview with Drew Sidora lead her to who she is today.

“My first interview ever was with Drew Sidora and that interview changed my life.“- shaneika 

You may know her from the radio segment “Tuesday’s takeover show”. But now, shaneika is the CEO of shaneikaspeaks. She provides a segment called “speaks pick of the week” where she performs a platform for the underdogs in the music industry. And Let me not forget,  shaneika is the creator of the annual event “Issa vibe”. Issa vibe highlights the top 5 underdogs that is chosen from “speaks pick of the week”. ISSA VIBE is one of the hottest events in the Midwest! Be on the lookout for ISSA VIBE 2019!


Cocoloso! And we aren’t talking about the drink! We’re talking about the blogger who highlights Chicago talent as well as features news, business, art, and more. Currently Cocoloso is working on her 7th installment of the Blueprint Artist Showcase series, where artists can submit their music and perform in front of their peers. Cocoloso will also be dropping new interviews and documentaries that you want to keep an eye out for.


Nitty Knockers




Nitty is a creative strategist. She gives identity to brands. In other words she creates the graphics, websites, and content for her clients . Nitty also optimizes brands with marketing and things of that nature. So if you want take the beginning steps towards business development, she’s ya girl! Right now Nitty is collaborating with brands to do giveaways to help promote their businesses.

“Wanting to be there for the voices unheard. It's so much good news, music and small business out here and I'm dedicated to exposing it all!”- nitty 

Nitty is on the grind! Watch out!




kiasmithwrites is all about blogging and being a journalist. She’s been blogging for about 7 years and her craft for writing continues to grow. Kia also is a host on a podcast called Soule Sista. Not only is she a blogger but she also has written short stories, poems, and even songs. Writing for fun, turned into her writing for passion. When Kia writes she makes sure that it’s relatable to the reader. And she has a way of keeping the reader's attention. Kia is definitely out here making the right moves to fulfilling her passion. Be on the lookout for Kia.


Broadcasting journalist Bria fachon is another one to look out for. Not only is she featured as a radio personality on power 92.3 radio station, she also is a real estate agent and the founder of BF Cares a community organization dedicated to serving the community. Bria is currently working on her YouTube channel, which is a segment highlighting the positive things that come out of Chicago called “On the Go”.  Bria says networking played a big role in where she is today! At the end of each show she says 


“Make it a good day or not, the choice is yours.”
Meaning, life is what you make it , it’s all on you.


Bomb And Bossy


Covania Washington also known as Bomb and Bossy is a social media marketing agency who lead brands to success. They focus on market trends and opportunities to help spread the word on social media. Just imagine someone being dedicated to getting your work to go viral. Bomb & bossy is definitely one to be on your team.


All these women have 4 things in common. They used their resources and networked, by not being afraid to put themselves out there. They believed in themselves, and didn’t take no for an answer. They didn’t give up. And lastly, they all are strong African American women from the city of Chicago who knew they could make a positive impact on the world.

Meek Mill: Motivation Tour Chicago


Meek Mill brung the heat to Chicago at his Motivation Tour Friday evening (3/8/19), at the Aragon Theater. The night was definitely full of surprises. Brooklyns very on Meli started the show off right by hitting the stage. Meli brung out Chicagos very own 600 breezy. And that was just a warm up. 


Shortly after Kash doll had the ladies going wild. From her very remarking stage appearance to Bringing out special guest Ari who created the “Ice me out” remix

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and Drezzy performing their song “Chanel slide”.

That’s not it , Meek hit the stage and the whole room lit up. Meek mentioned that Chicago had the best crowd thus far on his tour. And he wasn’t lying, the energy was definitely out of the roof.

“Chicago was crazyyyyyyyy they took the crown for best crowd”.


Meeks biggest surprise of the night was when he brought out Fabulous and Jacquees  the stage. Everyone was in shock.


Chicagos’ very own Lil Durk was also apart of the motivation tour but unfortunately couldn’t hit the stage due to legal issues so meek played a special tribute to him and had the crowd going crazy as if durk was there.


The motivation tour was lit lit . Chicago loves you meek.