Black Buying Power: The Importance of Supporting Black Businesses

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

I have conversations regularly about how we as Black people should support Black businesses. When the option is available, we should always choose to work with a Black business owner, especially if it’s a locally owned small business. Minority business owners seem to suffer from the myth of offering bad service and not providing as good of a quality product as their white competitors. I’ll admit that I have often had that thought in past. I have a friend that always said she never lets an Asian do her manicures and pedicures. She will always find a Black nail tech and support her first. Me, being prejudice and ignorant about the abilities of my own people [Black] would say, “I don’t think anyone can do nails better than Asians.” Please don’t judge me by my ignorance, I’ve since broadened my mind and accepted that we [Blacks] are capable of absolutely any and everything.

When referencing Black owned businesses and entrepreneurs, people tend to make comments like, “Black people don’t know how to conduct business” or “I don’t support Black businesses because they can’t be trusted.” How do you know they don’t know how to conduct business or they can’t trusted if you’ve never given them a chance? So you mean to tell me that every white business owner is trustworthy and conducts business in a proper manner ALL THE TIME? Every last one of them? Nah bruh, I can’t except that. Whenever you hear about a business man embezzling the money of investors or a Ponzi scheme, isn’t it usually a white person? I’m sorry, that’s stereotyping isn’t it? But it’s true. The term ‘Ponzi scheme’ was even named after Charles Ponzi–a swindler, con artist and WHITE man from the early 1920s. So why are Black people seen as sub-standard when it comes to operating a legit business?

Whenever we get bad service from a retailer or restaurant, or any establishment that offers a service, we are quick to submit a complaint to the manager or through the business’ online website. We sometimes say we’ll never go back again, but after a short period of time we usually do go back. Especially if it’s a place that we frequent. Or if this business has multiple locations we’ll usually just visit a different location. Unfortunately, in most cases, Black owned businesses do not have multiple locations to choose from. Especially if it’s a locally owned small business. So let’s say you decide to support a Black entrepreneur and you receive not so favorable service. Instead of voicing your concerns or dissatisfaction, we just never go back; because that’s the kind of service you were expecting to get anyway right? But let’s say you go to Chick-fil-a and you get bad service; you’re more likely to complain and just vow to never visit that particular location again. But you can go to another location on the other side of town and still give your money to chick-fil-a. You can’t likely do that with a Black business because often times there is no other location.

Despite the lack of support, Black businesses are actually thriving. A 2011 survey of business owners conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of Black owned businesses increased by 60.5% between 2002 – 2007. There are multiple reasons we should support Black owned businesses. One is that they usually employ a high number of Black people, thus contributing to the decline of the Black unemployment rate. Those that open businesses in their own communities are helping to supply necessities to those who don’t have the means to venture outside of their neighborhoods and communities. We [Blacks] have a $1.1 Trillion spending power. Supporting more Black businesses contributes to the increase of Black incomes, giving families a chance to properly provide for their children and fund Black education. We should make a conscious effort everyday to buy Black. Even if we have to go out of way to do it. Other races and ethnicities are always going to stick together no matter what, it’s time for us [Blacks] to do the same. If you get bad service, which is most likely to be from an employee of that business, make it a point to talk to the business owner about it, even if you have to return at a later date. They want your business and will surely do what they can to rectify the situation. We should never think that what we are doing to personally contribute to the rise of the Black community is enough. It’s never enough…commit to doing more.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

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The Highs and Lows of Being in Leadership

View More: http://trunettaatwater.pass.us/markittag

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

According to Forbes.com, leadership is defined as: a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal. For me, leadership has many definitions, and comes with many responsibilities. There are many benefits to being in leadership, and sometimes it can really SUCK! From afar, being in a leadership position can look glamorous, some may think it comes with power, prestige, and privilege. Now I’m not here to give you a seminar on how to be a better leader. I’m going to give you a real inside look on what it’s like to be in leadership. I’m going to tell you about the sucky side and some of the things that makes me want to kick a hole in the nearest wall almost everyday.Whether you’re a leader on your job or you’re in organizational leadership, there are highs and lows of holding that position. How do I know anything about leadership? Well, I have 10+ years of organizational leadership and management experience.

I’m a retail manager by day, and blogger by night. I’m proud of my accomplishments in my current job, even though my degree has absolutely nothing to do with my current job. I started out as a sales lead, was promoted to assistant manger and 1 year ago this month was promoted to manager. It’s not my first choice for a job but it pays my bills, offers great benefits, and is helping me fund my future career. I’m grateful for the experiences and lessons I’ve learned…the good and the bad. I’ve also discovered that it takes a strong person to be in a leadership role. The highs can make you feel good about your position while the lows will make you want to run and hide under your desk…forever! Whether it’s in the retail industry, ministry, or organizational, leadership can be very emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.

Let’s talk about those lows first, so we can end on a positive note. 😉

Picture courtesy of LinkedIn.com

(picture courtesy of linkedin.com)

Lows

There is no such thing as working 9 – 5, eight hour days do not exist. I usually arrive to work between 7:30 – 8:00am and don’t make it home until about 6:00pm or 6:30pm everyday. That’s almost 11 hours of work, of which I’m only getting paid for 8. Whenever someone asks what time I get off work and I say 5:00pm, their response is, “Oh so I’ll see you around 7:00pm”, because anyone that knows me knows that I never leave work on time.

Being a leader can often feel like being a babysitter because you are, essentially, responsible for everyone that is under your supervision. I spend 75% of my time reminding my team to essentially do their job. I’m always telling them the same thing over and over again. I have to watch them to make sure they don’t stick their fingers in any sockets or put any foreign objects in their mouths, just like babies. Well, not literally, but you get the picture.

Even when you have a so-called off day, you’re still working. If something goes wrong, or they need help understanding something, the head person in charge is the first person they call. My phone rings almost everyday during a time when I’m not at work, with a question from an employee that is usually not important. Now I do have some that will take the time to figure it out themselves. Then there are those who act as if their heads will explode if they stop and take a minute to think and at least try to figure it out. Nope, call the boss because if no one else knows, the boss has the answer. Who cares if the boss is on vacation, surely he/she doesn’t mind taking a call from work.

Clearly you are the ONLY person that knows how to anything and resolve all issues, because they don’t ask anyone but YOU for help. If you’re the leader, you’re the go-to person for EVERYTHING! From fixing the computer when it freezes to unclogging the toilet, you’re the one person that is expected to know how to do it all…even if you don’t, the expectation is so high you’ll fake it (no pun intended). You are expected to make all the hard decisions.

Leaders are the protector of all things. At the end of the day, you are responsible for everything that does and doesn’t happen. When one of your employees or organization members messes up, a good leader will usually do whatever they can to cover for them. How well they do their job and the knowledge they have about the task at hand is a reflection of your leadership skills. And you often end of taking the blame for whatever mistakes have been made. For example, I had a customer to get upset with me, on my off day, because I didn’t solve her problem as fast as she thought I should. Instead of being upset with my employee that was actually at work, she wanted to submit a complain on me because my employee made a mistake. Never mind that I was helping resolve this issue on my own personal time.

Because you are the HPIC (Head Person In Charge) you are expected to be available at all times. It’s like you are expected to sit on phone and wait for someone to call so you can be of service to them. You sacrifice a lot of your personal time for your career, which may cause you to miss a lot functions and events with your family and friends. You never leave work on time, and unfortunately people get use to you rarely being available because of work.

People like to be rewarded like dogs love getting Scooby snacks. In the past, I’ve held friendly competitions between my employees to motivate them to work harder or achieve a company goal. But lately they actually expect me to reward them for doing what they were hired to do…WORK! One of my employees asked me to buy them cupcakes as a reward for being hard workers. Ummm excuse me?! You want me to reward you for doing what you were expected to always do every time you come to work? No ma’am! That’s crazy! Yes, your hard work will eventually pay off in one way or another. It is a leaders job to keep the morale and everyone’s spirit lifted in the workplace, to motivate and inspire their employees to perform at their best. What they shouldn’t expect is a reward or a pat on the back for simply showing up for work and doing their job.

Now let’s talk about the highs, the benefits of being in leadership. I promised you I’d end on a positive note, so here it is:

Highs

I make more money than everyone and I get to delegate to my team, most of the tasks I don’t want to do. J/K… My 10+ years of leadership experience has taught me many skills that I can use in every area of my life. No matter what career I choose, because this is not my last stop, I can carry all my skills and qualifications with me and apply them to help me do my job better. As stressful as it can be, I enjoy being in leadership. I believe my job puts me in the position to not only motivate my people to do a better job, but it also puts me in a position to uplift and empower them in other areas of their lives. Because all eyes are on me, I can set an example and inspire someone else to do better. Also, being chosen as a leader, and having others allow you to lead them, is an honor. It means that someone, well several people actually, think that you have what it takes to WIN! You have the ability to take that organization or business to the next level. You are seen as an ambitious, determined, trustworthy and dependable person. So to all my leaders out there that are about to run head first into that wall, STOP! Just remember that you’re in that position because people believe in you and your leadership abilities and that should make you feel pretty darn good…until tomorrow at least! 😉

As always…Keep Laughing!

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in healing pain through the power of laughter.

RnB/Soul Artist JL: Painting A New Picture of Music

View More: http://trunettaatwater.pass.us/markittag

Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

R&B/Soul artist JL (Jawaskia Lake) is not just stepping on the stage and singing songs, he’s bringing back the true sound of  R&B and soul music, providing true entertainment for his fans. I first became acquainted with JL when I heard him sing at a First Friday event about 3 years ago. He describes his music as 90s style R&B and soul. Originally from Bolivar, TN, most of his fan base is located in Jackson, TN. Having opened for major artists like Keith Sweat, Brian McKnight, and Keisha Cole, he is definitely making his way to the front line in the music world.

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At the young age of 8 years old, like most musical artists, JL got his start in church. Coming from a musical family, his mom being a gospel artist and his older brother being a member of a musical group out of Memphis, TN called Perfection, it was only right the he also became involved in music. He soon found himself traveling with his brother’s group playing the drums and eventually filling in for other singers in the group. After about 7 years of singing gospel JL ventured into the world of secular music and started experimenting with R&B, wanting to try something new and different from what his family was doing. His new sound soon garnered him a new fan base and he knew he’d made the right move. That’s when he decided to start buying his own equipment and set up a studio in his home so he could write and produce more music.

He was determined to be heard and noticed for his style of music. When he debuted his song Paint A Picture, he did just that. Even though he had been recording for years, Paint A Picture was his breakout hit and what made people want to hear more of his music. His music was now being heard by more people, but this new-found popularity came with a few bumps in the road. People that he’d worked closely with no longer wanted to be in his shadows and decided to break away. When booking shows, he found that promoters didn’t want to pay him much. Although performing, for JL, is not all about the money, he also didn’t want to be taken advantage of. Which is one of the reasons he started hosting his own events, sponsoring several shows at Miss Ollie’s, a venue located in Jackson, TN. These events are made affordable to his fans and provides local, much-needed entertainment to those of us that enjoy great, live music. He also does a lot of charity events for free.

JL says that through his music, he wants to bring back that 90s style R&B sound. Because his music is relate-able, JL has built a huge fan base. He writes songs that are true to life…touching on things and situations that everyone can relate to. Most of his songs lyrics come from his own life experiences. His  sound is a blend of melodic, soulful music you can slow dance. Now when is the last time you slow danced? In the 90s right? I know, me too. And how many times have you said or heard people say that music just isn’t what it was 10 or 20 years ago? Music doesn’t give you that same ‘good feeling’ it once did because artists today aren’t true R&B singers. Most artists don’t do it for the true passion and love of music, rather for the love of money and fame. If you’re ever fortunate enough to have the JL experience you’ll hear the same feel good, classic R&B music that came from artists such as Joe and Donnell Jones. JL’s music has that soul sound that you aren’t likely to hear from many artists today. In 2011 JL started his own label, SouLink Music. Although he hasn’t signed any artist, other than himself, through SouLink JL is able to be an artist, producer and song writer. He’s already gotten calls to write songs for some major artists, so if singing doesn’t work out he has some eggs in other baskets. In one way or another JL’s name will soon be well-known in the music industry.

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JL’s Laugh Story

“I’m not a drinker or a smoker, but one time I was at a show in Nashville when one of my band members decided we should have some drinks before the show. This was my first time performing at this particular venue and it was a full house. Well I had TOO many drinks. Once I got on stage I forgot every song I was performing that night. I almost fell when I was going on the stage. Eventually I gathered myself and was able to get through the show successfully, but I will never drink before a show again. That was my worst show to date.” ~ JL

JL’s new album will be released August 2015. In the meantime you can go to iTunes and download his EP, The Appetizer, which features the single Paint A Picture.

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Follow JL on Facebook and Instagram

As always…Keep Laughing!

Follow me: Twitter
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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy through reality, one laugh at a time.

It’s Been A Long Time Coming: G Billa of Jackson’s Hot 96.1

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

In 2010 Gary Bills went to one of the local radio stations in Jackson, TN in an effort to get his music played. Unsuccessful, he never gave up. He returned to that same station every week, determined to get his music played. His determination earned him an internship at the station. Not quite what he was expecting, but at least he now had his foot in the door. After learning how to work the ‘boards’, he eventually landed a position working with radio personality Mr. Richard Donnell Sr. during his Community Feedback show that aired on Sunday mornings on 96 KIX. While grateful for this opportunity, Gary was still very focused on getting music played.

For as long as I can remember, Jackson, TN has only had one R&B station that appealed to the younger generation, and the not so younger generation that enjoyed R&B and the sometimes hip hop music that this station played. We really had no other options, unless we popped in a CD or streamed music from an online outlet such as Pandora or iHeart Radio or had satellite radio. This particular station didn’t really play a lot of up-to-date music, but if you were into ‘old school’ music then this was definitely the station for you. However, in 2014 Jackson was introduced to a new Hip Hop station, Hot 96.1.  This created a lot of buzz and excitement, because Hip Hop fans now had another option for music. Well, at least that’s what we thought, until this station started to sound very similar to the old station that we were all accustomed to hearing. The same music and the same radio personalities came through the speakers. What the freak?! Back to my CDs and Pandora. Then one day I tuned in and a heard a new voice…Gary Bills, a.k.a. G Billa was now rocking the mic! No disrespect to any of the vets of the Jackson airwaves, but it was refreshing to hear new talent, which hopefully meant a whole new sound. So I had to have a one on one conversation with G Billa.

Now G Billa always had dreams of being on the radio, not just behind the scenes pushing the buttons on the tech board. Even as a kid, not fully recognizing this passion, he would record his own live radio broadcasts. After mistakenly taping over his mom’s Patti Labelle tape, she went out and bought him a stack of blank cassette tapes. He would record himself doing live commentaries to all of the San Francisco 49ers football games…his favorite team I’m guessing. After working at the radio station for about 3 years the program director finally gave him the opportunity to fill in for DJs when they were out or if they were at a remote location doing a live broadcast. He was a natural behind the mic. After only one time on the air, he knew that being behind the mic was where he was meant to be.

Recently the people of Jackson were shocked when one of the local radio personalities posted a video on Facebook announcing his departed from radio. Richard Dee of 96 KIX and Hot 96.1 was stepping away after being in radio for many years. His voice was very recognizable and the people of Jackson and surrounding counties had become accustomed to hearing his voice when they turned on their radios. I tip my hat to Richard Dee because he definitely made his mark in radio and left a lasting impression on all that listened to him. His departure now made room for new talent. G Billa finally got the call he’d be waiting on. He’s now the new midday, early afternoon voice of Hot 96.1. When asked about what he’s going to bring that makes him different from the rest, “You never know what to expect from me. I’m all about having fun, bringing the excitement and making people laugh. I have a lot of ideas It’s go time! Expect the unexpected!”

I admire the determination and passion that G Billa has displayed. His journey to radio hasn’t been an easy or fast one. For anyone who’s interested in being in radio or anyone who has dreams G Billa has a few words of advice: “Be persistent and don’t quit. Don’t ever stop chasing your dream. Don’t ever say, I’m done with this. You may feel like giving up but DON’T DO IT! One day it’s going to be your time. People are so impatient when it comes to getting their shot, their time to shine. I’m 35 years old, it’s been a long freakin time coming. Throughout my 20s I’ve just been cooking in restaurants. And don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I went to culinary school also, but I love the radio. I knew in my heart that’s where I belonged. I never gave up. I continued to work other jobs while still working in radio. And now it’s my time. I finally got my shot.”

You can catch G Billa on Jackson’s Hot 96.1, Monday – Friday from 12pm-6pm.

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Hot 96.1 is a division of Thomas Media, which also includes 96 KIX, STAR 107.7, WYN 106.9, and 102.3 THE ROCKET.

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As always…Keep Laughing!

Follow me: Twitter
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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

So You Think You Can Blog

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now.  I’m not an expert blogger and I don’t have a ton of followers, but I do have a faithful few that keep up with me and for that I am grateful and honestly honored that they enjoy my random thoughts enough to read them.  I’ve had a few people to actually ask me about my blog setup and for advice on blogging.  Can you believe it?  People are looking to me for blog help.  If I could I’d blush, but cocoa doesn’t blush so I’ll just grin really hard :-).

When my business partner returned to school to get her graduate degree, she no longer had time to write the blogs.  So in order to keep the Laugh blogs going, I quickly had to learn to navigate WordPress.  I originally wanted to use the blogs to give my business more exposure, but now I’ve fallen in love with the art of expressing myself through writing.  So, with that being said, I always try to follow the following guidelines when writing my blogs.  Now I can hear some of y’all whispering, “What makes her think she can tell anyone how to write a blog?” Again, I am not an expert!  But through trial and error I have discovered what works best for me and makes my blog look more professional.

#1 Be Open and Honest

Depending on the type of blog you’re writing and your reason for writing, determines just how open and honest, and usually opinionated, you will be.  For example, I often refer to my blog as the Laugh Blog.  My business, Can I Laugh Now?, was created for people to be able to find the funny in their most painful and embarrassing experiences. I bring people together and show them that we all make mistakes, have been hurt, and even embarrassed, and YES we will overcome and even Laugh at our mishaps one day.  If I expect people to open up and share their embarrassing stories, I myself have to be transparent and honest.  I’ve transferred this concept over to my blog.  I’ve been labeled crazy and delusional for some of my opinions displayed in my blog.  But crazy and delusional is interesting right?

#2 Proofread

There is nothing more annoying than trying to read something with typos and bad grammar.  I know when typing fast we can sometimes overlook a mistake in spelling and grammar, but that’s what spellcheck is for.  I know when you have a new blog idea you’re anxious to get it typed up and published so the world can read your thoughts.  But take the time to review and proofread before you post.  I’m paranoid of looking STOOpid so I proofread at least 5 times before I publish my blogs.  I still miss things sometime but that’s what the edit option is for.  The more typos you have, especially if said typos show up in every blog, the less traffic you’ll see on your blog.

#3 Less Is More

Keep your blog design simple.  There is no need for smoke machines and bright lights.  You want people to read your blog, not be blinded by all the colors and different fonts that you’ve used.  So start with a simple background, white or even a nice photo of yourself or something that represents the theme or purpose of your blog.  It took me a year of playing around with templates and colors to get my blog the way I wanted it.  So don’t be afraid to try out new templates and colors until you find something you’re satisfied with.

#4 Again, Less Is More

Don’t try to sound smart by using big words.  There’s no need to try prove to everyone you have a college degree by using words you learned in your English, Philosophy, or African-American Studies class.  Just have a regular conversation with your readers.  No one likes a smarty pants. And throw in a photo or two…just to break up the monotony of reading.

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#5 Support For Support

If you want people to support anything you are doing, you have to return that same support.  For example, I want people to read and share my blog with others so I can gain more exposure.  So I try to support other bloggers, especially those I know personally.  The one thing that bothers me most is when you ask someone for advice or tips and they act stingy.  If you have already gotten where I’m trying to go, why not help me get there too?  I understand that some people are afraid that someone will come along and be better than them, but that’s why you have to perfect your craft and be irreplaceable.

I hope these few tips are helpful to you on your blogging journey.  Again, I’m not an expert, but I’ve learned a few things from fellow bloggers and through the trial and error of my own blog.

Happy blogging! And as always…Keep Laughing

~Kitta

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Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.

So You Fancy Huh?!

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

A few months I did a photo shoot for my birthday.  I had no problem choosing a photographer.  It was a no-brainer to go with Miss Fancy herself, Trunetta Atwater of Trunetta Atwater Photography.  On August 20, 2013 I joined her Fancy 150 Movement.  What is the Fancy 150 Movement you ask?  You’re so inquisitive! I love that about y’all!  Well, let me first tell you a little about Tru, as she is affectionately called by those who know her.

Fancy 5 Tru specializes in boudoir photography, but trust me she can do ANYTHING!  From wedding photos to high school senior pictures, she’s sure to make you Fancy and capture every moment of your event in a way that only she can.  She’s a beast with the camera and once you have a photo shoot with her, you won’t let anyone else near you with a camera.  Yes, she’s that good!  She holds a degree in Finance and an MBA…very smart, educated young lady.  Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “How does a Finance major end up doing photography?”  We’ll get to that later, but trust me, it was her destiny.

Tru started doing photography as a hobby and soon discovered that she had a love for the art of capturing life through photos.  It wasn’t long before she was in high demand and after much prayer she decided to answer the call of photography.  Oh yes, it’s her calling.  She took a leap of faith, quit her job, and started doing photography full-time.  God is using Tru to help other women find their beauty, talents, and their inner strength.  Once you have the Trunetta Atwater photography experience, you are a different person.  You walk away feeling prettier inside and out, with your head held a little bit higher.

Now back to this Fancy 150 Movement.  The 150 movement is Tru’s effort to shoot, empower and inspire women.  The number 150 is significant because it is her goal to shoot 150 women.  Through these photo shoots she encourages women to tell their stories about what empowers and inspires them.  Let me tell you, Tru has a gift for making women talk about things that they wouldn’t otherwise bring up in a normal conversation.  Before I arrived for my appointment I had already told myself, “Tru will NOT get me to open up about ANYTHING!  I will take pictures and I will leave! No expressing myself, Tru will NOT get me to talk!”  Ha!  Who was I kidding, Tru broke me down like a, like a…well let’s just say she broke me DOWN! When I left my heart felt lighter, and I realized a lot more about myself…things that I never really thought about before.  Can you believe it?  But I’m not mad at Tru, she was just doing what she does best.  She made me Fancy inside and out.

Tru is also bringing more events to the city of Jackson, TN.  Just recently she teamed up with Stephanie Graham, founder of AHY (A Healthier You) and presented “Fancy’s Fall Ladies Night Out” event.  This event was held at the Carnegie in downtown Jackson and included vendors from other female business owners, a fashion show, wine tasting and live perfomances. This event brought women of all races and backgrounds together under one roof with nothing but positivity, good energy, and inspiration flowing through the room.  If you missed this event, you might want to like her fan page on Facebook, Trunetta Atwater Photographer, to stay in the loop on future events.  Her next event is the “Holiday Faces” FREE PHOTO EVENT, Canned Food and Toy Drive.  This is a free mini holiday photo session for children 10 years and under.  Donate a canned food product to get a $2 credit for each item donated, or a $10 credit for each toy donated, up to $20 credit available.  All food and toys will be donated to a local charity.  Click here to RSVP to this event Holiday Faces Free Photo Event.

I can only tell you about the Fancy experience, I can’t feel it for you.  To have your own Fancy experience, contact Trunetta Atwater and join the movement TODAY!

Check out a few of the pics from my shoot!

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Watch my entire interview with Tru below…

Trunetta Atwater Interview

Until next Laughers…Keep Laughing!

~Kitta

Follow me: Twitter
Like me: Facebook
Share my world: Instagram
Laugh with me: YouTube
Kitta, a native of Jackson, TN, is a Laugh Coach, blogger and co-founder of Can I Laugh Now? This Traveling Media Personality is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she earned her degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.  Kitta believes in spreading joy, one laugh at a time.
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The Haves vs The Have Nots

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Can I Laugh Now? *Encouraging You To See The Humor In Life’s Embarrassing Moments*

Some people crave it. Some will do whatever it takes to get it. Some people are addicted to it and don’t know how to let go. Your parents want you to have, society thinks you can’t live without it. EDUCATION! We’ve been taught that without it, we’re nothing; that without, we will never have any of the luxuries that life has to offer. But what is education? Well, when most people think of education they think about knowledge that is acquired at a college or university. But Yahoo provides what I think is a more accurate definition of education: An instructive or enlightening experience. So Yahoo is suggesting that you don’t have to go to college to be educated? How dare they! Everyone knows that the only way to be educated and make lots of money and enjoy success is to go to college and get a degree…right? Hmph! Maybe we should rethink how label people as “educated.” I use to say, “I want an educated man.” Meaning I wanted a man who went to college. That was such an uneducated statement.

429896_10100141721306550_1095595369_n I have a college degree, but I’m a horrible speller…spell check and auto correct are my BFFs. I have a college degree, but I still use my fingers and toes to count. I have a college degree, but I still have those infamous “blonde” moments (sorry blondes). I have a college degree, but I still make stupid life decisions. I have a college degree…okay whatever, you get it. Having a college degree doesn’t automatically make one smart. In fact, there are very few people who actually use their degrees after college; meaning that many people work in fields that aren’t even related to what they went to school for. I know because I’m one of those people.

So why do so many people go after a “textbook education?” Why do so many high school students bust their butts to get good grades in order to get into a good school and receive a “textbook education?” Because people are taught that is the only way to make it. Not true. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not trade my education, my degree, my time in college, for anything. But 80 percent of my education obtained while pursuing my degree didn’t come from the classroom, it came from the experiences I had with the people I met, the organizations I was involved in, and the unexpected roadblocks and heartaches during that time. I learned the importance of diversity through the people I met, I learned how to be a good leader through the organizations I was involved in, I learned how to be strong all by myself when I was going through heartbreak. There were two people who would jump in their car without hesitation and drive an hour just to bring me what I needed or just to spend time with me, so I learned who I could and couldn’t call and depend on if I were ever in trouble. I learned that no matter how old I get, I will always be my mommy’s baby, and I’m fine with that–through meeting other people I saw that not everyone can claim that status with their mothers and that was a learning experience in itself. I learned that people will take advantage of you, if you let them, and you have to stake your claim in this world. Unfortunately nothing will be thrown in your lap, and just because you have a degree and no matter how hard you worked for it, people will not look at you and differently, you still have to prove yourself and your worth.

Education in any form is a powerful tool. Whether you’re educated through the formal teachings at a higher learning institution, educated through your life experiences or travel, or educated by the streets, you can use it to your advantage. But what you must always keep in mind is that you cannot put yourself above anyone else, thinking that your “textbook education” makes you smarter. I say that because I have seen it before. You are not guaranteed a job straight out of college. You may have to start in a job that think you’re too good for because you have a college degree. I had an associate that was in desperate need of a job, but she refused to work at certain places because, in her words, “Girl I have a college degree, I’m not doing that.” So she continued to eat hotdogs and noodles for dinner and borrow money from everyone because she couldn’t swallow her pride and take that right now job until God decided to bless her with a different position. You ever get upset because it seems like those without a college degree, the have nots, get better opportunities or make more money? Maybe it’s because you have no idea how hard they have worked to get to that point. Yes, you worked hard for your education and degree, but maybe they took a different route but still worked just as hard. No matter how much education you have, whether you’re part of the haves or the have nots, you cannot promote yourself before God says it’s time.

       “For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled. And he who humbles himself shall be promoted.” ~Luke 14:11                      You are not promoted until God promotes you!

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Until next time Laughers…Keep Laughing!

~Kitta

Clearly a Comedienne

Can I Laugh Now? *Encouraging you to see the humor in life’s embarrassing moments.

“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5: 9-11

Clearly a Comedienne- Yes, Comedienne ’cause I’m female!

Can I Laugh Now? had the privilege to sit down with a very talented and funny individual, Mzzz. Kecia. (That’s right, 3 z’s. One for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit. Or 3 z’s because she’s always tired. Lol, you choose.) Either way she is one funny lady!

A Very Funny and Interesting Start

Mzzz. Kecia is from Gary, Indiana (no, she does not know the Jacksons but she can Moonwalk). So in 2003, she was asked to be part of a Singles Ministry program. Well she was listed as a comedian. Mzzz. Kecia knew she made the program director laugh over the phone but she had no idea she was going to be listed as a comedian for the show!

Mzzz. Kecia began to wonder,”is this the Lord speaking to me?” Because she had always been told that she was funny and should pursue a career in comedy. Well this was her big shot! She never took the show seriously until afterwards when people came up asking for her business card. And thus Mzzz. Kecia was born!

Christian Comedienne? Mzzz. Kecia does not see the need to be labeled a “Christian” comedian. Being a Christian is a part of who she is and is in everything she does, not just comedy. So keep the labels because Mzzz. Kecia tells more than just “Jesus Jokes”!

Lessons Quickly Learned the Hard Way

Mzzz. Kecia now uses contracts when booking a show. Why? Because of the following things that have happened to her that she does not want to happen again!

Being offered to be paid in food! Yes, fish and chicken! Mzzz. Kecia is a recession comedienne; she will work with you! Lol. At least give her gas money to make it back home!

Mzzz. Kecia’s favorite line from clients when it comes to being paid: “I thought you were a Christian.” ATTN:  “Christians eat! Christians have bills! I can’t call Memphis Light Gas and Water and say ‘Hey, I’m a Christian!’ They won’t write that off!” Stop expecting Christians to do everything pro bono, people! Lol!

Scheduling conflicts:  Expecting to go on at noon and not hitting the stage until midnight.

Security issues:  One time while on stage, Mzzz. Kecia saw a guy going through her belongings in the back of the room! Really, dude?! She had to call security on the security! Lol!

MC’s introducing her by the wrong name! Or as Mzzz. Kecia says, “a whole ‘nother name!”

But through all the ups and downs, Mzzz. Kecia knows that she has hit it big because she now has her own stalker. “I understand you coming to my announced shows, but how do you know about the unannounced shows?! You showing up to the women’s conference and you’re a man! Lol!”

From Small Town to Big City

4 years ago, Mzzz. Kecia entered the B.E.T. contest, A Time to Laugh (the clean version of Comic View).

Now Mzzz. Kecia had talked herself out of even going to the audition. But she decided to pray about it because she prays about everything- from lost keys to finding a matching outfit. Lol! Once she prayed, things just started falling into place:  people volunteered to drive her, to buy her outfit, and even offered her a place to stay.

If nothing else, Mzzz. Kecia figured the audition would look good on her resume so she gave it a shot. And would you know, she was selected to be a featured comedian on the show! Mzzz. Kecia definitely stood out from the pack. While everyone else told “Jesus jokes” Kecia talked about it all. Mzzz. Kecia figured “clean comedy” went beyond jokes about church and the judges noticed. Well like I said, Mzzz. Kecia was selected, and this woman who once suffered from low self-esteem was now to be the focus, commanding the attention of a room full of people. “I’m national funny now!” Lol.

The Motto

Pray & Go! Surprisingly, Mzzz. Kecia wasn’t nervous for her big B.E.T. gig because of her motto, Pray & Go. One of the best shows she has ever performed came from a show that she didn’t want to do. She was having an awful day. Her car “blew up,” enough said! When she arrived to the venue she did not have a thing prepared. Before walking on the stage she says “God, if I’m a comedienne, she better go forth and if you’ve called me to do this then please give me something to say!” And He did just that! Mzzz. Kecia still remembers that night as one of her best shows yet.

Mzzz. Kecia is very humbled that God chose her to help carry out His work. And she loves what she does. And while it has not brought her millions (yet) she says that God told her to make his people laugh; he didn’t say go get rich.

“God told me ‘go make my people laugh.’ I wouldn’t trade if for the world. I love, love, love what I was called to do!”

And to all the female comedians out there who may be discouraged to break into this male dominated field, Mzzz. Kecia says “do something with all that personality and funny! Get you a check, chile!” Lol!

Check Mzzz. Kecia out on Facebook, Twitter, and check out her YouTube videos. Just search Mzzz. Kecia!  

Until Next Time,

Keep Laughing!

-CILN

Watch Your Back!

Can I Laugh Now? *Encouraging you to see the humor in life’s embarrassing moments.

“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5: 9-11

Watch Your Back!

Ever been stabbed in the back by a friend? Well this next Laugher has, LITERALLY! And he has the pictures to prove it! This Laugher gives a whole new meaning to “back stabbers”! Read his amazing story below!

CILN was able to sit down with a remarkably blessed young man and hear his amazing story. Eric Maurice Clark is the author of The Experience (Near to Death) which recounts his brush with death. So before we get into that, let’s find out a little more about Eric Maurice Clark.

Eric describes himself as a passionate individual who wants to “ignite people’s passion to fulfill their God-given purposes.” With Eric’s book he stresses the importance of encouragement, believing that encouragement is what helps people press on when life deals them some devastating blows.

So here’s the story:

*Eric is on his way to church with a friend
*He and his friend get into a heated disagreement (Understatement of the year!)
*Next thing Eric knows he is on the ground with the friend pounding on his back repeatedly
*The friend soon runs off toward the church
*Eric stumbles into the church where he decides to inspect his aching back
*To his surprise, horror, and shock his hand comes away bloody
* “When I made it into the church I finally snapped into reality”
*Eric realizes that he was not just punched but that he was STABBED!
*While recovering in the hospital, Eric is informed that he was stabbed 13 times!

Check out the video for Part 1 of “Watch Your Back!” As Eric shares his story I dare you to try not to break out into a shout!

So why did Eric decide to write The Experience (Near to Death) and share this painful moment with the world? After the attack Eric began to write because there was so much on his mind. Eric says, “If God could save my life from such a vicious attack and heinous crime, how dare me sit on my rear and not even express to the people and give them a relevant word of what I went through. And I know it has to be relevant ‘cause if God brought me through it, it’s definitely going to encourage and help people along their way.” Eric just wants people to know that “whatever you are going through know that God is able to see you through.”

Can Eric Laugh Now? “Yes! Yes, we can laugh now at the enemy ‘cause you thought you had me but you didn’t! Your trick didn’t work!” (Eric was literally about to break out into a praise session in the middle of the interview; can you blame him?!)

Eric believes that God shielded him “even in the midst of the attack.” God shielded Eric’s mind in that he didn’t even realize he was being stabbed, which Eric views as a blessing because he knows that he would not have been able to mentally process what was happening to him. He also could have easily gone into shock and could even be traumatized to this day.

Eric is a passionate man who just wants to show the goodness of the Lord and how God has been good to him (Well we all can relate to that! So what are you waiting on to share your story? It doesn’t have to be on the scale of Eric’s but we all have experienced God’s goodness in one form or another, so share! ) Eric says, “[I’m] happy for every opportunity to share ‘cause it’s a chance to SLAP the devil in his face and tell him he’s a liar!” Amen to that!

Want to read more from Eric Maurice Clark? (Of course you do!) His second book, Addicted to Pain, is due out this fall. Eric deals with something he calls the “familiarity of pain.” Eric says that when we get tired of feeling the same pain, we won’t come back to the same (painful) spot! (So simple yet so profound!)

Eric is also working on I Made a Mistake. Eric states that there is nothing wrong with making a mistake because with mistakes come experience and wisdom. However, it’s when these mistakes become habits that we need to do some internal reevaluation.

Find more about Eric on his Facebook Page #1 and Page #2. (Yes, he has two pages. Lol.)You can find The Experience (Near Death), Addicted to Pain, and I Made a Mistake at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Amazon, and iTunes.

Has this post blessed you? Has Eric’s amazing story helped reveal something in your own life? In your relationship with God? If so, please share by commenting below 🙂 

And now for a little something extra:

When asked to choose between the following, Eric responded…

Last or First? First
August or April? April
Under or Over? Over
Good or Bad? Bad (You’ll have to watch the video to see why he chose bad, lol!)
Hot or Cold? Cold

Until Next Time,

Keep Laughing!

Do you have a remarkable story to share or do you know a remarkable person CILN should meet? If so, shoot us an email at http://www.canilaughnow2@gmail.com.

A Trip Down Memory Lane…

Can I Laugh Now? *Encouraging you to see the humor in life’s embarrassing moments. 

“Resist him, standing firm, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you according to his purposes, after you have suffered a little while will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5: 9-11

Until Next Time, Laughers!

As CILN prepares to make some changes on its way to the next level, I thought I’d look back and countdown my favorite moments thus far…

Favorite Interviews:

12. Raph Small – Not only is he interesting to watch but he gets us (CILN), I mean really gets us! This is still by far one of my favorite clips. Check him out on Twitter.

11. Kitta’s Interview – So real and so honest and so transparent. She really put it all out there and opened herself up to your criticism!

Craziest Stories:

10. Light It Up – This guy’s own sister helped his ex burn up his clothes! Crazy!

9. Zoology – This Laugher thought his girlfriend would be cool with him watching animal porn! Really?!

8. Next Room Bedroom Boom! – This story is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE! This guy was bold enough to cheat with his girlfriend asleep in the next room!

Favorite Blogs:

7. Top Ten Things Learned in Jamaica – This was a really fun post to write! Many of the lessons I learned the hard way; now that I think about it, all of the lessons I learned the hard way! Lol!

6. Can a Cheater Change Her Spots? – This post gave me the opportunity to be transparent and get some things off my chest. I appreciate this blog for giving me the space and outlet to do so. And thanks to all of you for reading!

Favorite Videos:

5. Bloopers – I will never get over introducing myself as “Kitta”! Lmbo! Pay close attention to Kitta’s face as I make this hilarious blunder!

4.  I’ve Got a Crush On You – Kitta and I bear our hearts just to have them thrown back at us!

3. Valentine’s Day – Kitta and I share our worst Valentine’s stories. And I thought I had it bad!

2. 12 Play:  Part 1 and Part 2 – My first time back behind the camera in a while and this story definitely was worth it! You won’t believe the twists and turns this first date story takes!

1. Just a Girl I Met on Facebook and 3-Way Call – This was our first video! So many memories and you can definitely see that we have come a long way! Kitta has learned to do some amazing things behind the camera since that first video!

Bonus Moments:

*Our 1 year Anniversary Dinner where our friends and family got in on the fun 🙂

*Tru’s Anniversary Dinner – It was nice to help out a friend who has done so much for us! It was also my first time at a bed-and-breakfast!

*Our first Laugh Party – That was definitely an interesting night! Many laughs and many “oh, no, he didn’t!” Lol!

*Photo Shoot with Tru – It was fun to play dress-up with Kitta!

*Team Jesus concert where we first heard “Momma?!” – Also Kitta and I performed our first live re-enactment of Is That a 40?!

*Speaking Engagement at First Baptist where we shared our humble beginnings.

*1st Blog

*1st article with Defender of Truth magazine

*Fan Page on FB reaches +300!

Special Shout-Outs!

Special shout-out to Tall Brunette who was our first Laugher!

Shout-outs to Amy aka Ms. Silent Confessions of a Southern Belle and Ashley aka Ms. My 2 Cents and a Biscuit for always being supportive.

Shout-outs to Kiuanna and Jamie who are our extended staff.

Shout-outs to Tyone and Eddie who are our male extended staff (our muscle, lol).

Shout-out to my #1 fan, Mike, who knows my blog backwards and forwards and is always supportive.

Shout-outs to Megan, Tru, and Karen for speaking life into CILN and for their supportive and encouraging words.

And last but not least shout-out to Kitta who first suggested I start a blog.

I wish CILN much continued success, praise, favors and blessings in the future!

Until Next Time,

Keep Laughing!

-Belle

*Want to read more from Belle, check her out at Belle and the Beast.