5 Black-Owned Body & Skincare Brands

In honor of Black History Month, check out these body and skincare brands that were created by black people for black people!

In honor of Black History Month, check out these body and skincare brands that were created by black people for black people!

1: Nyakio (Neh-kay-oh)

Nyakio Kamoche Grieco founded Nyakio, which is a skin and bodycare line she created by using her Kenyan family heritage’s beauty secrets and travel experiences. Her products are made by hand with “cold-pressed oils in small batches,” and include everything from a Kenyan Coffee Body Scrub, Marula & Neroli Brightening Oil, and an African Black Soap Purifying Mud Mask. Click here to check out her products exclusively available at Ulta!

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2: skinBUTTR

America’s Next Top Model first runner-up, Tatiana Price, was inspired to create skinBUTTR after developing products to treat her skin problems. The mission of skinBUTTR is to “simplify, educate, build confidence, and promote healthy skin.” Price’s products include body butters, moisturizers, cleansers, exfoliators, masks, and toners. Click here to shop skinBUTTR!


3: The Honey Pot Company

The Honey Pot is “the first complete feminine care system that cleanses, protects, and balances your vagina.” The company was founded by Bea Feliu-Espada after a dream she had where an ancestor gave her a vision of how to heal herself from vaginal issues she was experiencing. The Honey Pot’s products are 100% natural and include everything from cleanses, menstrual care, refreshing spray, and lubricants. Click here to check out her products!


4: Unsun 

Unsun is an all-natural skin protectant line specifically formulated for people of “beige to dark chocolate tones.” Katonya Breaux was inspired to create Unsun after growing tired of “white film” that sunscreen left on her face. Her products include Tinted Mineral Sunscreen, hand cream with SPF 15, lip tint with SPF 18, and so much more. Click here to check out Unsun Cosmetics!


5: Limegreen

Talima Davis and Allison created the personal care brand, Limegreen, after Talima’s best friend was diagnosed with cancer. Limegreen aims to “provide a safe and nontoxic alternative in a personal care industry littered with unsafe chemicals.” Their products include multi-oils, multi-washes, multi-sprays, and multi-candles. Click here to shop Limegreen!


 

Black Inventors that Changed the World: Richard Spikes

Richard Bowie Spikes, born in Dallas, Texas in 1878, was a black man with an innovative mind that created and patented numerous inventions over the course of his lifetime. We use many of his inventions on a daily basis and consider them essential in our daily lives! Check out a few of them below!

1: The Automatic Gear Shift (1932)

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2: Automatic Car Wash (1913)

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Aciti.com

3: Automatic Safety Brake (1962)

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Discovery Sport

4: Beer Keg Tap (1910)

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5: Barber Swinging Chair (1950)

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6: Continuous Contact Trolley Pole (1919)

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Matt Johnson (Flickr)

7: Brake Testing System (1921)

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8: Automobile Turn Signals (1913)

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YourMechanic.com

9: Self-Locking Rack for Billiard Cue Rack (1910)

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Iszy Billiards
For more of Spikes’ inventions, click here.

Cory Booker Announces Run for President

U.S. Senator Cory Booker announces on the first day of Black History Month that he is running for U.S. President in the 2020 Election. Senator Booker is a phenomenal man with a heart for the people. Check out more about Cory Booker’s campaign in the video below.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Everything You Need to Know About Kamala Harris: Political Views, Background, and More

Kamala Harris is the new Democratic candidate for the 2020 Presidential Election. She has an extensive background of nearly 30 years in government, criminal justice, social reform, and fighting for the rights of underserved Americans. Harris has been acknowledged for her work and has been honored as a “Woman of Power” by the National Urban League and was even awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award by the National Black Prosecutors Association, and so much more. Here is everything you need to know about U.S. Senator Kamala Harris including her career, views on important issues, accomplishments, and much more!

Kamala Harris’ Career Timeline

  • 1989: Harris received her Juris Doctor from the University of California’s law school.
  • 1990: Harris was admitted to California’s State Bar
  • 1990-1998: Harris served as a deputy district attorney in California.
  • 2000: Harris served as Chief of the Community & Neighborhood Division for San Francisco’s City Attorney, Louise Renne.
  • 2003: Harris served as District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco
  • 2007: Harris was reelected as the San Francisco District Attorney
  • 2011: Harris became the first woman of Jamaican-American decent and Indian-American descent to serve as the California Attorney General.
  • 2014: Harris was reelected as the California Attorney General.
  • 2016: Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate
  • 2019: Harris announced her run in the 2020 Presidential Election

Kamala Harris’ Views on Important Issues

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Photo by: Al Drago/Getty Images

Kamala Harris Announces Presidential Run

“I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are.” These were a few of the many powerful words of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris in her Martin Luther King Jr. Day announcement that she is running for president in the 2020 presidential election. Senator Harris is a phenomenal woman with an extensive political background, a passionate heart for the people and a smile that can brighten up any room. Watch U.S. Senator Harris’ announcement on for the 2020 presidential run on Good Morning America.

 

Black Girl Magic: The Story of Taylore Graham

“You are not powerful despite being black, you are powerful because you are black and beautiful.”

“Black Girl Magic” has become a staple in society. It’s the phrase used when an African-American girl pushes past stereotypes and showcases the true beauty, brains, and brawns that black girls possess. After meeting Taylore Graham, a 17- year old high school student, I have an eloquent example of what black girl magic truly is!

Since she was a little girl, Taylore’s personality has always been bright and unpredictable. Her family calls her an “alien” because you never know what you’re going to get next with her. Since the days when she would volunteer to help in the kitchen at the age of 2 and turn the pots and pans into her own one-man percussion, she has continued to be full of life and promise.

Taylore2-218969672-1545338752458.jpgShe fell in love with sports early while attending Parker Intermediate Elementary. Basketball was her first love because it allowed her to release aggression in a safe way on the court. She has always been super competitive, and it shows with her younger brother, Bernard, who she competes with on EVERYTHING. A little healthy competition never hurts!

She channeled her increasing competitiveness into other sports. By the 7th grade, Taylore was involved in volleyball, soccer, track, and basketball. Impressive right? When I was in 7th grade, I was still adjusting to the fact that they really turned recess into P.E. (It is NOT the same thing.)

She didn’t just stop there! Taylore was also 5th chair clarinet in the band. By the 8th grade, she wasn’t satisfied with just being involved. She wanted to perfect all her crafts! She elevated her way up to 1st chair bass clarinet after the original one was broken, she improved on her defense in basketball and perfected her spike in volleyball. It was true black girl magic in action! She even added tennis to the roster!

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It was a struggle at first managing sports and band practice. Sometimes it would be leaving practice just to rush to another all night then back up the next day to do it again. It made it all worth it when she would win games against rivals or the UIL trips she was able to take. She learned the difficult task of multitasking at a young age. Her parents, Shawn and Mya, made sure that their children knew the importance of staying busy because there’s less time to get in trouble or lose motivation. By the 9th grade, Taylore was accustomed to her lifestyle.

Unfortunately, circumstances caused her family to downsize in housing and capabilities. Instead of allowing defeat to wash over their household, Taylore stepped up and began to take charge to relieve her parents of added stress. Whether it was cleaning, chores, making dinner on a hectic night, or helping with her youngest brother Shawn Michael, she understood that just because life happens, it’s not a pass to give up and stop pushing.

She had to make sacrifices and among those sacrifices were cutting all of her extracurricular activities down to only two. Even in losing a few obligations, she managed to join Student Council, HOSA, and she even met a new coach by the named of Charles Brown. He would change her trajectory and take her to new heights.

TayloreTrackFor the first half of her freshman year, while most teenagers are finding themselves and abolishing adolescence, Taylore had already matured and was adjusting to her surroundings. She would spend 8 hours in class, then go straight to tutorials so she could maintain her GPA, then it was off to basketball and track practice which she chose as her two sports, which finally led to working out 3 times a week with Coach Brown to end her day.

Taylore would say “You wouldn’t know tired until you fell UP the stairs. Your body wouldn’t even let you make it to the next step.” This was the routine until tragedy struck and Taylore suffered a severe calf strain. She was devastated. Everything that she had worked for and cherished was instantly halted. She had to sit out for the rest of the season but her resilience and hard-wired aversion to being stagnant pushed her to train harder than ever to be ready for the next season with Coach Brown.

TayloreLiftTaylore began to live in the gym. Coach Brown introduced her to powerlifting. Initially, it was a way to increase intensity and speed up recovery without risking the calf, but Taylore immediately fell in love with it. She loved the adrenaline rush of leaving it all on the weights. The excitement of not knowing her number and still lifting and trusting her inner strength was therapeutic. Coach Brown was strengthening her body but also simultaneously strengthening her mind.

Now, there are not many girl honor students who also powerlift, run track, play ball, and participate in StuCo so Taylore knew that what she was embarking on was something major and uncharted. She wore her struggles and responsibilities with pride.

TayloreFriendsShe is referred to as “mother goose” by her friends because she takes every opportunity to do the right thing and will walk up to you with no fear and call you out if she sees you doing the wrong thing. She refers to her group of friends as the “Goof Troop”. They consist of childhood friends who are also athletes that support her love and dedication to sports. Because they understand her plight, it further increases their bond and makes the time that they do get to let loose that much more fun.

While Taylore does work extremely hard, she still makes time for play. In her free time, Taylore loves to spend time with her friends and time perfecting her hidden love for art. She loves to draw and create things. Her passion for creativity flows into everything she does. Whether it’s the homemade chocolate chip and Oreo brownies that she sold to pay for homecoming, or the way she rocks her natural fro at school without a care in the world, to her even modeling for her teacher’s clothing line, Good English.

TayloreDadThough she has more on her plate than the average 17- year old, she says her boyfriend and her family aid in alleviating some of the stress. Her parents are her driving force and they mold her to be her best self. Her dad Shawn takes the time to sit with her and discuss everything under the stars. He enlightens her about things she questions and educates her on the many lessons there are to learn in life from one’s father. Her mother Mya says she is the best daughter anyone could ever ask for. She is so caring, loving, and her drive to never quit even inspired Mya to go back to school and continue her newfound passion for writing.

Both Shawn and Mya reinforce the importance of Taylore not being ashamed of her blackness but instead treat it as your greatest attribute. You are not powerful despite being black, you are powerful because you are black and beautiful.

Taylore3Her boyfriend is an echo of the powerful message and uses every opportunity to uplift and motivate her. He also has an athletic background with being a D1 shooting guard for the Hornets. Taylore states he is, “A mirror image of her, like two puzzle pieces that were meant to combine.” He pushes her to achieve more and grow all with an understanding that her time is precious. Sometimes they want to hang out and relax but instead, Taylore chooses to volunteer or do community service. He gives her accolades and even tags along.

Last year she hosted a breast walk and backpack giveaway, giving away over 2,500 backpacks to underprivileged children. She says that making others happy, makes her happy. She has always had a helping spirit and she found ways to utilize that in her sports. By pursuing athletic training, she can nurture her passion for helping others and play a part in her love for the game.

Although she still has another year, Taylore is already preparing for college and her promising future ahead. She has her eye on a few colleges such as Miami, LSU, and UT Arlington but she wants to wait and make sure that the college she picks will set her up for the best opportunities.

She has already started training in her career field by athletic training for a semi-pro basketball team. She claims every day is something new and she loves the experience she is gaining. With college waiting in the wings and the cusp of adulthood approaching, Taylore says the important thing she has learned throughout her journey is to not let life get the best of you. No matter what age, size, height, there is always a way to accomplish what you want to do.

TayloreSmileEven after she was turned down for an opportunity to be in another magazine, she didn’t give up and she was blessed with a better option. When she lost her uncle Robert “Bassman” Washington, she felt that even all the strength she had developed over the years would get lost under the weight of her hurt and pain. She mustered up every ounce of courage and wisdom and she began to say despite her brokenness, “Now I have to make it because he’s watching me and rooting for me. I won’t let all that he was and all that he did for me go in vain.” Strength like that takes most people decades to develop. We never truly know the strength of ourselves until we are placed in front of the door to our greatest fears and still must push and move forward. Only then can you know the magnitude of your worth. Taylore comprehends that all that she’s been through is not by accident but it is just a journey to the discovery of her immense value to the world.

The motivation from her support system causes her to achieve 150% in everything that she does. She maintains impeccable academic integrity and even smashed a world record in her latest powerlifting match!

At the tender age of 17, Taylore has overcome hardships, felt the weight and importance of sacrifices, and learned to enjoy the journey that life chose to take her on. She is a true testament that black girl magic is universal and can come in any package!

 

Lena Waithe’s Black Women Who Brunch #MelaninMagic

Black Women Who Brunch is a networking and support group of African-American female writers in the entertainment industry founded by award-winning writers Lena Waithe, Erika L. Johnson, and Nkechi Okoro Carroll.

Although the group began with only 12 members in 2014, its membership has exponentially grown and now Black Women Who Brunch has almost 80 distinguished female writers of color that gather throughout the year to discuss their challenges and celebrate their recent successes. “It’s not just a community we’re building, but a resource. We really are able to recommend eight or nine black women for certain jobs.” Waithe said.

In 2017, Waithe made history as the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her writing on Master of None. The group is full of accomplished black women writers like Waithe! Co-founder, Erika L. Johnson, has served as a writer for Queen Sugar, Being Mary Jane, Ugly Betty, and The Village.  Nkechi Okoro Carroll, who is another co-founder, is the showrunner for All American and has written for Rosewood, The Resident, The Finder, and Bones. 

The group gathered together in November and made history as the biggest photoshoot The Hollywood Reporter has ever had! Check out some behind-the-scenes footage from the photoshoot! WARNING: Melanin Magic 🙂

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Picture by: The Hollywood Reporter.

Tyler Perry Pays $434,000 in Layaway Debts at Walmart

‘Tis the season of giving! In addition to making people smile through his films, movie mogul, Tyler Perry is also making people smile where people save money and live better. On Thursday, December 6, Tyler Perry visited two Walmart’s in the Atlanta metro area and paid off every balance on layaway, for a total of $432,635.00.

Perry hoped to keep his good deed anonymous, but the moment word got out, he addressed it through his Twitter as seen below. “I’m just really, really grateful to be able to be in a position to do this,” Perry said.

If you had items in layaway before 9:30am on December 6, 2018, at the Walmart locations on 844 Cleveland Ave., East Point, Georgia and 7001 Concourse Parkway, Douglasville, Georgia, then Merry Christmas to you!

Colorism & Confidence

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there. I’ll tell you how I became a confident woman in my own skin (you thought I was going to say “became the prince of a town called Bel-Air right? Ha…I wish).

Like every child of the 90s, I grew up watching reruns of television shows like, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, A Different World, Living Single, Family Matters, (and for some reason I fell in love with The Golden Girls, Cheers, and Three’s Company but that is beside the point). Among all of those shows, I vividly remember the many times I sat in front of the television watching the first Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince…before they replaced her character with a woman with a lighter skin tone.

From an early age, I formed a connection with her role because she was the first woman I saw on television with just as much melanin in her skin as mine. With every episode, I would take mental notes of the woman I desired to be when I grew up. Vivian Banks was a strong woman with a confidence and beauty that entered a room before her presence ever stepped inside. She fearlessly spoke her mind and handled all conflict in the classiest manner while never compromising her dignity. She was admired by her children and desired by her husband. She defied all of the stereotypes that I would soon encounter as a darker-skinned woman in hue-obsessed America of being less attractive, less intelligent, and less desired.

There was a point in my life where men could not see past my skin color. I’ve heard plenty of insulting remarks but most people don’t voice their color bias, whether man or woman. It is a hidden belief that they operate in silently because the high-pitch tone of their ignorance quiets their mouth. It is an ignorant belief with roots in slavery that have caused some in the black community to believe that the level of my beauty is affected by the shade of my skin because I don’t pass the paper bag test. The only thing worse than complete ignorance is false knowledge accepted as truth.

Imagine this. There are two identical million-dollar homes built right next to each other. Both have ten bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, granite countertops, marble flooring, crown molding, and a heated jacuzzi and Olympic-size pool in the backyard. Beautiful, right? One day, the news reports a major storm coming their way and the families of both homes decide to evacuate. The storm eventually passes and both families come back to check on their houses. One family is relieved to see that their house is untouched and still standing. The other family is devastated because their home has collapsed and is severely damaged. Now, if the homes were identical to each other then why was one still standing and why did the other one collapse? Although, it was the same storm that hit identical homes it affected each home differently because of the foundation each home was built upon.

When I was younger, my self-esteem was built on the approval and validation of other people. So, as long as men were validating me and the sun was shining, then my self-esteem appeared beautiful and of high-value. But the moment I would encounter the storm of being rejected on the basis of my skin color, I would come back to find that my self-esteem had collapsed because the rejection I faced had taken away the validation I depended on to uphold the structure of my self-esteem.

As I got older, I learned the importance of validating myself and I realized the beauty in the shade of my skin to the point where I thank God for the extra dosage of melanin he sprinkled over me. I’m not defined by the shade of my skin, although I do love it. I take pride in everything that I am and I live every day like Aunt Viv. I’m a strong woman with a confidence and beauty that enters a room before my presence ever steps inside and I fearlessly speak my mind and handle all conflict in the classiest manner while never compromising my dignity.

I refuse to ever diminish my self-worth or the magnitude of my confidence because someone has chosen to subscribe to the historical ignorance of colorism. I can’t control how others view me, but I can control how I view myself and I am a confident million-dollar house created in the image of God and built upon self-validation. That is who I AM.

Meet Beast Mode 365: Changing the Face of Fitness

Beast Mode 365 is a powerlifting team that is breaking stereotypes and barriers by showing women and men how to bulk up, how to achieve personal weight goals, and embark on new fitness journeys, all while achieving mental stamina to tackle anything life throws you.

Meet the Coach

Coach-Brown.jpgCoach Charles Brown

Charles Brown, who goes by “Coach,” is a 51-year-old youth leader, teacher for the Aldine school district, and is the coach of Beast Mode 365. He spent 25 years working with youth in the lockup center and 19 of those were spent in the Aldine district.

He is very passionate about assisting young males struggling in today’s society. His passion for youth comes from his belief that the world we live in waits for young black men to slip up and he wants to catch them before they fall. He is devoted to helping the youth before they make mistakes that cause their entire lives to change. Coach Brown is no stranger to being a mentor for those in need. Regardless of the circumstances that he has met people in, he has been a friend and motivator to all.

As the treatment supervisor, Coach Brown exhibits a caring, loving, helping spirit that resonates with his boys as well as everyone he meets. Coach Brown is the oldest of nine siblings, therefore, taking care of people is weaved into his DNA. His greatest accomplishment was taking care of his wife of 13 years. She passed away tragically from cancer in Brown’s arms and it was in that moment that he realized just how strong he really was.

Having a rough childhood and a dad that was everything short of being a positive male role model, Brown has come to believe that all the trials he endured molded him into the man of God that he is today. “Life is about choices and I chose to not become the man that I saw growing up,” Brown said. God has been the driving force in all that Coach Brown does and no matter what he has gone through, he has praised God every step of the way. He never left his wife’s side despite the trials and he never abandoned his faith even when the outcome seemed unclear.

Coach states that his motivation for creating Beast Mode and getting his body in shape was to stand up against his violent father if he needed to one day. That is the same motivation that led him to set 19 world records and obtain an undefeated title.

He keeps his team strong by setting clear standards. It’s not just about taking care of the body, because while 20% of it is training, the other 80% is eating. He believes that if you trust the process, you will see a change. Brown says that you can’t halfway do anything in this life. If you’re going to do it, you must do it with all your might. At times when he would question if he was fit to lead all of these people to their goals, his mother would assure him by saying, “God trusts you with others and that’s why he continues to put you in the position to lead.” Brown has done just that! Guiding the boys to positive lifestyles and ideologies, motivating the members of Beast Mode to achieve every single goal they set, and encouraging and uplifting every person that he encounters. Coach Brown leads Beast Mode 365 in Humble, Texas. If you’re hungry for change and ready to embark on a new journey, contact Coach Brown at 281-780-3395!

 

 

Meet the Team

Amber_webAmber Lewis

Amber Lewis is a 30-year-old well-rounded athlete who evacuated to Houston 13 years ago when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

She met Coach Brown at Fitness Connection while lifting and squatting. Coach Brown saw something in her that compelled him to ask to train her.

Although she had already mastered what she was doing, Coach Brown saw potential in her to do more. She embraced the new powerlifting lifestyle head-on. Amber explained to Coach Brown how she wanted to look, and he threw her into grind mode.

Coach Brown has not only been there for her on the weights, but he has also been like a father to her by helping relieve some of the weight that has been thrown her way in the real world. He has strengthened her body, faith and her confidence in the 13 years of knowing her. Amber says, “When lifting the weights, it’s all in your head. You have to just lift and trust what Coach Brown sees in you.”

Her confidence pours into all areas of her life. She loves her slim-thick physique and knows that her lifestyle and personality aren’t for everybody. Working out is her life and people can either respect it and love it or they can find someone else because she loves the woman that she is becoming and doesn’t plan on changing for anyone.

The thing that she wants people to take away from her story is that you must believe. “Belief is for you and no one else. No one can believe for you,” Amber says. She stands firm in the fact that the key to becoming great is believing that you are great. You must stay planted and seeded in who you are and focus on your personal growth. Amber has competed in several lifting competitions and has come in first place in her division. Deadlifting over 330 pounds, Amber is truly an inspiration and an example that women can lift and keep up with the boys, while still maintaining their femininity!

Fee_webFerleshare “Fee” Starks

At the prime age of 47, Fee has been through one rollercoaster after another, whether it be the changes in her physical health or her mental health. She has always wanted to obtain a solid body shape and get healthy, but family, work, and trials were a few of the things that held her back from achieving the size and weight that she desired.

Life threw curveballs and although she wouldn’t let them knock her down, the discouragement was enough to halt her progress. She met Coach Brown at 29 while teaching in the Aldine district. After being away for so long and bouncing from trainer to trainer, Fee took Coach Brown’s offer to elevate her life and health. He began working her harder than she’s ever trained, but just as things were lifting, the rollercoaster took a drop when she suffered an injury at the gym. She lost all stamina and went from 148 lbs. to 192 lbs. in a matter of eight short months. It broke her spirits to the core this time.

The last three years have been the most challenging for Fee. She not only has had to start from the bottom and work her way back up again, but her challenges have also put a hold on her secret passion of rocking designer fashion heels. Even with a family and career, she struggled as a result of losing herself along with others close to her.

It was those trials that inspired her to do what was best for her health and admit herself to the hospital. She managed to regain herself after undergoing major surgery and has never given up on her goal to become healthy and strong and stay that way. Instead of making excuses for the ups and downs, she used the trials as fuel to her fire and released it on the weights. It became her motivation. She no longer avoided the struggle, she embraced it.

Her beautiful spirit is now a testimony of all that she’s been through. She describes life at the gym as more than reconstruction of body, but also as the opportunity to realign your spirit and mind with the things you value. Coach Brown has given her the courage to stand out and step out on faith.

Fee competed in the latest meet and powerlifted a staggering 148 lbs. on the bench and deadlifted 358.2 lbs., which set a state and world record in her division! She says if there is one thing she wants people to take away from her story is that no matter how impossible it seems, if you want it, you must try! To fail is better than to do nothing at all.

Nitra_webNitra Hammonds

Nitra Hammonds has been on this earth for 45 years and carries a carefree and laidback nature with her like a warm breeze, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. The struggles of life and being a mother to her now 21-year son were daily mountains to overcome.

She has always tried to maintain her health and stay strong in the mind and body but that was easier said than done. With her mother’s health fluctuating and causing her to have surgery, Nitra vowed to do things that make her feel good. She knew that if she didn’t start taking care of herself and treating herself to things that she enjoyed, her happiness would get lost in the translation of daily trials.

She met Coach Brown through her son who had previously worked out with Coach Brown in the 7th grade and had been mentored by him. In 2016, he introduced them and that is when Nitra began her powerlifting journey. She states that powerlifting makes her feel good as well as look good. Every woman wants to look fit no matter the age and that has become Nitra’s motivation. She works out Monday- Thursday and she looks forward to it daily.

Coach Brown has been striving to build her faith in God by letting her know that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and with God at the head, no task is too big for Him. She has gained self-confidence through his words and his unique motivational tactics.

She says that Coach Brown never tells her the amount of weight on the rack. He just places what he wants and tells her to lift. Nitra says at first she was nervous and would question Coach Brown on how much was on the rack and his response was always the same, “God says he’ll never put more on you than you can bear, I won’t either. I have faith in you, now lift!” Every time she would increase the weight and wouldn’t even feel it because she had increased her faith in herself.

Nitra is a firm believer that whatever you start, you must finish. She instills in her son, as well as herself, that quitting is not an option. She was nervous at the competition, but she put all doubts and second-guessing aside and was able to deadlift 292.1 pounds which set a state record in her division! Nitra wants people to take away from her story that all things are possible. No matter what it seems like, she wants you to know that you never know what you can do until you do it.

Bernard_webBernard Graham

Bernard is just like any other 16-year-old boy. He loves going to physics and history class at Benjamin O. Davis High School. He is a well-rounded athlete who is on the swim and track team. He enjoys hanging out with his friends, competing with his big sister on EVERYTHING, and “bringing sexy back” as he likes to call it. In his free time, Bernard says that he loves playing basketball and eating everything!

Bernard is the sole male member of Beast Mode, but he says that doesn’t bother him because all of his team members are strong competitors that motivate him to push harder, regardless of their gender. He started working out with Coach Brown to stay fit for sports but developed a passion for powerlifting. He says it’s a great way to relieve stress and clear his mind. After spending 8 hours in school learning, Bernard loves to go to the gym and unwind on the weights.

Coach Brown always tells him that men are naturally strong but it’s not enough to just be strong physically. You must also be wise and educated. Bernard plans to pursue a higher education and is considering attending Louisiana State University or Arlington. He believes that college may be tough for him because he struggles with commitment and distractions, but Coach Brown has been motivating him to stay the course and to not give up. When he’s not being motivated on the weights, his parents are at home motivating him to do better and to strive for more. The most important thing that Bernard said he’s gotten from training with Coach Brown is perseverance.

He has learned that even in the moments where you want to stop and give up, you must push just a little harder and fight just a little longer and your goals and achievements are on the other side of that effort. At the last meet, Bernard lifted a whopping 424.5 pounds!

He wasn’t even aware that he could lift that much. Coach Brown was given the numbers before the meet, but he chose to not disclose them to the team because he didn’t want them to psych themselves out with fear and doubt. When Bernard finally found out his numbers, he was elated and ready to get back into the gym to train more! One thing Bernard wants people to take away from his story is that he’s sexy, smart, and he never gives up!

Taylore_web_.jpgTaylore Graham

Taylore Graham is the older sister to Bernard and she makes sure to remind him daily. She is a 17-year-old jack of all trades. She has played volleyball, track, basketball, participated in the band, and she’s on the student council. She met Coach Brown during her freshman year and began to train with him to stay active during offseason in her free time if she had any.

While training with Coach Brown she was the starting point guard on the B Team at Benjamin O. Davis High School. She suffered a calf strain her freshman year that made her have to halt her sports activities. It was then that she began to train solely with Coach Brown and work on her healing. Sports were her life and she was determined to come back better than ever.

In the process, she discovered that she was excelling in yet another sport, powerlifting. She began to love lifting the weights and the excitement of not knowing what number Coach would give her and then finding out that she exceeded her expectations yet again.

She is now back playing sports and is a starting player on the junior varsity basketball team. Even with all of her activities, Taylore still finds time to hang out with friends and be a normal teenager. She says it’s not hard to maintain friends because all of her friends are athletes as well, so they understand. Although maintaining friends isn’t hard, sometimes it’s hard to find a lot of time to be social, because there have been occasions when she wants to go to the movies or hang out with friends, but can’t because she’s either taking care of things at home as the oldest sibling, has to work out with Coach Brown, attend various practices, or show up to student council meetings. Despite those times, Taylore makes sure to prioritize finding the time to enjoy the things that make her happy.

In addition to the challenges of balancing her activities, the road to where she is now was equipped with some obstacles. She was so close to making district in track, but her grades held her back. She lost two very important people in her life and it took her some time to recover, but the losses she faced became her motivation. She felt that now that her loved ones are not here, she must succeed and make them proud.

She desires to go to college and become a physical therapist for athletes in professional sports. Now that she has improved her grades and began to excel in her athletic career, Taylore believes the possibilities are endless.

She showcased this belief at the latest meet. Taylore was nervous as well, but she trusted Coach Brown. When she lifted the weight, she said something came over her as she yelled “lightweight,” which is a gym term that means ‘I’ve got this’. She deadlifted 275.6 pounds, which set the world and state record in her division!

With the help of her parents constantly reinforcing her worth and value, along with Coach Brown strengthening her body and mind, Taylore says she has developed a new-found confidence in herself that radiates in everything she does. She wants to be a motivation to all young girls and show them that no matter what happens and no matter what you go through, you can make it out and succeed.

She has a helping and healing spirit and wants all young women to realize their potential and operate in it. She strives to succeed and achieve all the goals she has set for herself so that she can be a walking testament of what happens when you don’t give up.


Beast Mode has broken records and barriers and continues to change the face of fitness. Whether you’re slim thick, unapologetic, and fabulous like Amber, an overcomer when your health tries to work against you like Fee, carefree because life is what you make it like Nitra, bringing sexy back like Bernard, sprinkling melanin magic everywhere like Taylore, or being a fighter in God’s Army no matter what the Devil throws at you like Coach Brown, we can all take away knowledge and strength from hearing their stories. Beast Mode is not just a team or fitness program, it’s a lifestyle. It can encourage you to believe that no problem is too big and no situation is too bleak. Don’t say how big your problems are, go “Beast Mode” and show your problems how big you are!

For more information on Beast Mode, contact Coach Brown at 281-780-3395!