Memphis and surrounding areas remember when we did this last year? And how much fun we had? Let’s do it again! #NITC4 #naturalsinthecity #naturalhairmatters #naturalhair #naturalista #Memphis #ANaturalAffair


Women’s Empowerment WINSday: Giovanni Dortch, Zenzile’s Way

imageGiovanni N. Dortch, when I first saw the name I aligned it with her iconic namesake. And I’ve found that it is a more than valid correlation. Giovanni, neé GioD is an Entrepreneur, Activist, Philanthropist, Womanist, Spiritualist, Mentor, and Coach, Scholar, Author, Pedagogue, Filmmaker, Domestic Goddess, Wife, Mother…

Giovanni Scholar

How she manages to find the time to be anything else while being in the dissertation stage of pursuing her Ph.D is beyond me… I can barely walk and blow bubbles at the same time… I kid, of course!

But she is, she is doing everything while completing her Ph.D in Sociology from the University of North Texas. Her work is focused on African Immigrants in the United States and Identity Formation and or Retention. How do they navigate the immigration process? What is it like being an immigrant of color? How do they identify or continue to identify? Is their identity defined by ethnicity, nationalism, or race? Very interesting work on navigating the process of immigrating and how it shapes identity… Although I’m not an immigrant, I am relative to more than a few and that whole process… Just whew! And identity, Listen Lindas and Lonnies! People of Color, don’t we know something about that identity…Or we learning.


Giovanni, Scholar (photo credit: Quinn McGowan)

Giovanni Wife and Mother

And while she is in pursuit of her continued advancement in academia she continues to foster and model friendship, parenting, and love gracefully. Married for 2 ½ years to her best-friend and prom date (it really is one of the sweetest real-life love stories) and mothering 3 teenage boys– one in public school, one in charter school, and one being homeschooled… YAZZZ! Wipe your brow honey, she is doing that, seemingly with ease (and it’s not always easy, but she makes it look that way). Her career, scholarly pursuits, and family oft overlap as she lives out her politics and very full and colourful life. One awesome overlap is Co-Ownership with her husband, Quinn McGowan aka The Mighty Quinn of Iron Mic Coalition(but this ain’t about him, I’ll do that another time…) in Legends Press Comics. Her role as Business Administration means keeping the business end of thing in balance… And if you hadn’t figured out by now… This Libra woman knows something about balance and keeping it together… Can you say “In touch with your star player…”


(Giovanni, Wife, Mother, Friend… photo credit/ artwork: Quinn McGowan)

Giovanni Entrepreneur

Which brings us to the business woman… As Owner and C.E.O of Zenzile’s (pronounced Zin. Zee.Lay) Way Consulting, Giovanni is leading the way in Public Speaking, Writing, Editing, Coaching, Diversity Training, Workshops and Corporate Communications with creative magic and keen insight. Through her company and aligned with her astrological nature, Giovanni will be launching her Luxe Libra Lifestyle brand (Coaching) in the upcoming month, which promotes “Better living through balance.” And has already embarked upon a partnership, The Scoop Divas, with Black Opal Media– a division of Harkins House Productions– offering on-site social media management and public relations… Meaning they can take our local events, GLOBAL! Somebody shout Gloowwwwray with me!!!

Giovanni Activist

And just when it looks like her plate could get no fuller, Giovanni adds just one mo’ thang! Community Service, again the GioD lives her politics and she does so seamlessly: The Activist Mother, The Business-Partner Wife, The Student and The Educator… Giovanni has currently picked up the mantle and is working on several projects in Memphis, including Memphis TEEN SUMMIT, a live series based on BET’s popular nineties TV Show that launched the career of Ananda. MTS is also part of an effort of supporting and welcoming the Cutting Edge Youth Summit , a project she’s been involved with for several years, to Memphis (February, 2015) And at the same damn time she has partnered to organize a push to bring FREE Yoga classes to under-served areas in and around Memphis through the Memphis Urban Yoga Initiative… Oh did I mention, she’s a YOGI! Yazzz! That too!image

Yeah!!! She is the GioD an amazing, magical womb warrior! 

Doing it with #AbundantFaith and #winning because #theUniverseIsHerHomegirl 

Watch as Giovanni answers the 7 Questions I ask Everybody and we totally NERD out about Office Supplies! 

Connect with Giovanni @


Phone : (318) 936-9453 or(318) ZEN-ZILE


Twitter: @ZenzilesWay




Everything you need to know to support Jaz Joyner’s “Juniper Leave” Kickstarter Campaign

Please Support JazzSoandSo’s “Juniper Leaves” Kickstarter Campaign!

Book cover by Aspen Aten

What is Juniper Leaves?

Juniper Leaves is a YA sci fi fantasy novel about Juniper Bray, kinky-haired queer nerd, who embarks on a magical adventure in Scotland after losing her grandmother. 


“A survey of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013—out of a total of 5,000—found that only 67 were by African-American authors, and only 93 titles centered on black characters. That’s the lowest number of black protagonists since 1994, when the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison began tracking that data. ” Nina Terrero of Entertainment Weekly.

Times, they are-a-changin’ and it is extremely important that our media reflect that. Growing up, I struggled to see or read about many people that looked like me, and I definitely didn’t see many queer characters anywhere. Visibility is a powerful thing and without it, so many kids and teens will go through their formative years developing the thought that they possibly don’t matter as much as the visible do. Juniper Leaves can be just a tiny part of the movement towards positive representations of PoC and queer youth simply because reading it will show how relatable an awkward teen girl can be, no matter her race or sexual orientation.

Read the first 10 pages of Juniper Leaves.


If you asked Juniper Bray (14) why she ever believed in magic, she’d quickly blame her best friend, who just so happened to be her grandmother. But no more of that; these days magic equals fiction to the kinky-haired dreamer and astronomy geek. That’s because just six weeks ago, Juniper’s best friend died. Now she has to go on a long trip to Freeshire, Scotland with her scientist dad and mourning mom, minus the one person that means the most to her in the whole wide world.

And what’s worse, Juniper’s Scottish host family, the McKinney’s, have an evil fifteen year old daughter named Blair that seems to live to torture her. Don’t worry, their arguments come to a halt when they mistakenly fall into a cave that turns into a porthole to a whole other planet. There, Juniper learns of a sort of magic she inherited from her grandmother giving her the power to teleport. But this power comes with paramount responsibility, making Juniper a protector of the Earth overnight. Juniper’s definitely caught off guard, but she’s intrigued by the task until she learns Blair has been appointed as her secret keeper. Now they have to stick together. Just when it seems Juniper and Blair finally don’t hate each other, they are ambushed by a life threatening mission to save their scientist dads’ research, themselves, and ultimately the world. All the while, Juniper has to deal with the awkwardness of being a teenager, from socializing with the locals to experiencing her first kiss. Juniper Leaves is a magical coming of age story of a girl that learns to let go, live a little, and best of all, believe in herself, all before her fifteenth birthday.


The money raised with Kickstarter will pay for the editing, the cover art by the brilliant Aspen Aten, e-book distribution, marketing, and the first 150 print copies of my book Juniper Leaves. It’s most important to me that Juniper Leaves be edited grammatically and developmentally at a professional level so that the final product is at its absolute best quality possible. My hope is that anyone interested in reading Juniper Leaves will have the opportunity.

If I meet my Kickstarter goal or happen to exceed my initial goal, I will use any leftover money to purchase additional books, further promote the book, and sell in other venues.


There is a risk of not reaching the deadline to release this book before the end of 2014. However, JUNIPER LEAVES is completely written and ready to be edited. Also, I have scheduled how long each part of the publishing process will take. I am confident that if this project is funded it will release before January 2015.

Similarly, there is the challenge of making sure the best product possible comes from this campaign. The reason this Kickstarter is taking place is to make sure the most professional quality work is released so I am hopeful that supporters will be happy with the outcome.


Join the Juniper Leaves team by donating, telling your friends, or sharing this post! Any donation, big or small is appreciated. Tell two people closest to about the campaign and hopefully they’ll donate as well. If you have a blog, please repost and share info with your followers. Tweet it, Facebook it, talk about it! If we all work together, Juniper Leaves can one day be available to teens and young adults everywhere! So far the campaign has been featured on Afropunk and named a Kickstarter Staff Pick!

The campaign ends October 3, 2014. Let’s make “Juniper Leaves” a reality!

Sweet Potato Baby

A million watts of star power! Yazzz! After fawning and gushing all weekend over the beauty.full and talented Aryen (pronounced Ah- Rye-Uhn) and her delectable delicacies, I was finally able to steal her away for a few minutes and this is what happened 🙂

twitter @SweetPotatoBC

twitter @onegreatcook

Roll Call!!! It’s day two and NATURALS in THE CITY is about to go all the way in!!!

Get ready! Get ready! Get Ready!

Photos, Interviews, Live Tweets, Updates, Live Blogging… It’s all happening

YOU can get the full schedule of events here»>                             (it can be downloaded to your iPhone or Android)

I’ll be there with my purple hair and converse sharing with you all the #coolpeopleplacesthings! 

And keeping you posted all weekend long about the GREATness that is the 3rd Annual NATURALS in THE CITY Hair and Wellness EXPO hosted by A Natural Affair Beauty Lounge.

Stay Connected via Social Networks all weekend long »>

Facebook: 3rd Annual Naturals In The City Hair and Wellness Expo | A Natural Affair Beauty Lounge

Instagram: @naturalsinthecity |


 #anaturalaffair #NITC3 #purplehairandconverse 

Tonight is Esta Noche!

I’ll be there with my purple hair and converse sharing with you about the #coolpeopleplacesthings! 

And keeping you posted all weekend long about the GREATness that is the 3rd Annual NATURALS in THE CITY Hair and Wellness EXPO hosted by A Natural Affair Beauty Lounge.

Stay Connected via Social Networks all weekend long »>

Facebook: 3rd Annual Naturals In The City Hair and Wellness Expo | @A A Natural Affair Beauty Lounge

Instagram: @naturalsinthecity |


 #anaturalaffair #NITC3 #purplehairandconverse 

A sure sign that I was in the right place! Walked in and met this lovely AllStar getting the curly cut I came for and rocking her chucks! #message

All Star: Frien

Location: A Natural Affair Beauty Lounge Memphis

Hair: Takeisha Berry-Brooks