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Chronicles of a Black Leading Lady on Purpose: The One-way Ticket to Africa


Vuyanzi is a the owner of Onyx Channel: The Black Experience, the podcast host of Black Leading Ladies on Purpose, co-author of four books, and Certified Life Coach. Vuyanzi is leaving on a one-way ticket to Kenya. Click here to keep up with her as she chronicles her decision and travels.

‘Bear Our Pain’: The Plea For More Black Mental Health Workers

By Yuki Noguchi (NPR)

Two decades of life experience made a mental-health activist of Kai Koerber. When he was 16 and a student at a Parkland, Fla., high school, a gunman killed 17 people, including one his friends.

“I really did suffer a domestic terrorist attack, and that’s not something that happens to you every day,” Koerber says.

But as a young Black man growing up in the South, Koerber had already faced threats of racial and police violence routinely, and those experiences, too, shapedhis relationship with the world. He’s coped with that stress, he says, through a lifelong practice of meditation. And after the school massacre, Koerber also sought emotional support from a therapist with a deep empathy for his personal traumas.

“Finding a Black therapist really saved me some time, and there was more connection, in terms of the kinds of struggles that I might feel or the the kinds of ways I might think about certain scenarios,” Koerber says.

Now a rising sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, Koerber says having access to good mental health care is critical to both preventing and dealing with the after-effects of violence.

Racism’s burden

The need for mental health support is more evident than ever, especially among Black Americans, say people who study and experience the burden of racism. People of color were already dealing with heavy loads from a pandemic that continues to claim a greater proportion of Black, Latino and Native American lives and a greater share of jobs. Now there’s the emotional reckoning following George Floyd’s murder, which has stirred up a kind of collective trauma.

Meanwhile, the economic barriers to accessing mental health care have only increased.

Dr. Rhea Boyd says many members of the Black community feel emotionally raw and tapped out.

“We haven’t been asked to publicly bear our pain as frequently as we are now, and we haven’t had to witness other Black folks publicly baring their pain about it as frequently as we are now,” says Boyd, a Bay Area pediatrician who studies the effects of police violence.

She says racism’s toll threads through the psyche, manifesting in many ways, and shaping the youngest of brains. She worries most about Black girls, for whom suicide risk is increasing — not just among teenagers, but among preteens as well.

The need for mental health support, in other words, is great. But the history of meeting that need is not, says Dr. Ruth Shim, a psychiatrist at the University of California at Davis. The American system’s abuse of African Americans spans generations — from forced experimentation to committing black civil rights activists to mental institutions.

Misdiagnosis prevalent

Misdiagnosis of Black people,Shim says, is still prevalent today — often by non-Black doctors who misread emotional cues like anger.

“We look at these things and call them ‘disruptive behaviors,’ we misdiagnose young people with things like ‘conduct disorder’ instead of the result of chronic trauma from racism,” because many physicians haven’t experienced it, Shim says.

For many Black patients, access to mental health treatment often comes in places of last resort: Jails, schools, emergency rooms. And studies show that African Americans tend to be given psychiatric diagnoses that are incorrect or especially severe or less treatable — such as schizophrenia instead of depression or bipolar disorder — and that can lead to inappropriate treatment. So, not surprisingly, Black patients who do get treatment tend to fare worse than white counterparts.

“I do think changing the workforce and changing the face of the workforce is probably the most critical thing that we can do now to start to address some of these issues,” Shim says.

The scarcity of Black mental health professionals in the U.S. is now an acute problem, says Dr. Altha Stewart, a Memphis psychiatrist who became the first Black president of the American Psychiatric Association two years ago.

“I get calls from people right now asking, ‘Can’t you refer me to a Black psychiatrist?’ And because there are so few of us, I’m limited in how many of those people’s referrals I can make to their satisfaction,” Stewart says. And that contributes to a lack of faith in health care among African Americans.

Stewart sees some signs of hope. In recent years, Black celebrities in sports and entertainment — like former NBA star Ron Artest, radio personality Charlamagne Tha God and actress Taraji P. Henson — started openly advocating for the importance of mental health screening and support. She says more Black faith leaders in churches and mosques are partnering with programs that help them connect congregants to treatment.

But at the moment, Stewart says, in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, the need is simply too great. “This was one bridge too many, one act too many, one heinous crime too many. It’s something too much.”

How to Practice Radical Self-Care

The last two weeks have been a trying time for me. Following the death of George Floyd, I was numb for days. I could not feel yet I was upset. About a week later, the dam completely burst for me. It led to a pouring out of emotions mixed with truth in several areas of my life. The fact is I had to rethink my approach to established relationships and connections.  I am aware of my blackness daily yet my blackness became more tender and palpable than I have ever felt it before. 

“Radical self-care” was a term that I had only heard just weeks before and, now, I know why. I would have to apply it for myself.  It was a GirlTrek interview with Angela Davis and Nikki Giovanni and T. Morgan Dixon asked Angela Davis about the practice of radical self-care. I researched this expression and found that Audre Lorde coined this phrase. Here is the full quote:

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

–Audre Lorde

I thought this message hit home when I found it but, after the events, on May 25, there was a whole new meaning for me. I am black. I am a woman. The intersection of these two identities hit home too. (Check out my podcast episode on intersectionality.)  Knowing that, inherently, there is a double bias, how do I take care of myself? I still have to show up as a Life Coach, a support to others. I still have to make positive impact in the lives of others, how do I do this? The answer is to implement this practice of self care on a radical level.  

I am working this out daily but here is what I have thus far…

  1. Speak my Truth: I did another post about this and since then I have had to up level my role as a Purveyor of Truth (Listen to my speech as a Purveyor of Truth).
  2. Commit to Your Empowerment: Figure out how you need to get your fuel at this time. Is it a 21 day meditation with a group? Possibly a book? Maybe even intentional meetings with other like minded people to build each other up.
  3. Sweat it out: The visual effects of exercise on our bodies may be obvious however the effects on the inside are that endorphins are released in your body and this makes you feel good and it also keeps you focused and alert. For me, this helps.

So, in this time of great shifting for many of us, Black Leading Ladies, how will you practice “Radical Self-Care”?

LEAVE a comment below. And CLICK on the video.

Life Coach Vuyanzi
Life Coach Vuyanzi

Vuyanzi’s greatest teacher has been faith.  Her passion in life is to help Black Leading Ladies over 40 to discover their greatness after a shift in normalcy. Vuyanzi is a Certified Life, Career, Executive Coach. She is the host of the Black Leading Ladies on Purpose podcast. Vuyanzi is the co-author of 4 books being released this year and is working on her own for release in August.

Gift To Mom: Congrats To Exposure Fashion Editor Angelica Owens… Journalism/Mass Communications Graduate Today!

On behalf of Exposure Magazine we want to congratulate you on this benchmark in your life. Thank you for the hard work you have given to Exposure Magazine. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Congratulations to my Wonderful Baby Girl Angel who graduates today with her BS in Journalism/Mass Communications with Concentration in Multi Media from 
North Carolina A & T State Univ.. Although your graduation is cancelled today because of Covid-19, I want you to know that I am so proud of what you have achieved. In this New Chapter in your life I wish you all the Happiness, Success & Blessings that your heart desires. Always remember to keep God first in all your future endeavors and believe in yourself every step of the way….Love Mom

Happy Graduation!!! Class of “2020”👩🏾‍🎓
North Carolina A& T Go Aggies!!!- Loretta Whitfield Owens (MOM)

Top 5 Summer Trends

Top 5 Summer Trends

By: Angelica Owens 

  1. Shirt Dresses

Whether it’s in the office or seaside on a girls trip, shirt dresses are the perfect fit. It’s versatile so you could do a oversized one, pair it a belt to add some fashion to it or have one with different patterns. 

  1. Short Suits

This is the perfect blend of professional wear and summer wear. What a better way to show that you can dress in business professional wear during the summer, than wearing a short suit. If you stick to wearing neutral tones with oversized pockets, you can’t go wrong. 

  1. Ankle Bracelets

Ankle bracelets have always been around but this summer, they are becoming a must need when wearing those beautiful sandles. Some shoes, even have anklets build into the strap so those are an option as well. Pairing them with a vintage jacket or a jean jacket can alo bring out the look. 

  1. Chunky Soles

With a good mix of being sturdy and chic, chunky soles are the perfect shoe for the season. Partner it with dresses or jeans will instantly brighten up your look. 

  1. Denim Dresses

Denim dresses started in the 1970s as a trend, and now are being brought back. The best shoes to wear with this look are platform heels or even thigh high boots. 

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