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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Foster Youth Lead in Film Festival at 3rd Annual Real to Reel

By Naomi K. Bonman

The opportunities for people of color in the entertainment industry have increased; however, getting in the industry is still very competitive and opportunities are far and few in between. Then you have programs, such as Better Youth, that provide outlets for young people to utilize the tools to get a few steps ahead of the competition and to build experience.

Real to Reel is one of the outlets. Founded by former foster youth Johna Rivers and Syd Stewart, the two of them together realized a dying need in the industry and have put forth together a momentous event. Each year this red-carpet celebrity studded event gets even better with entertainment vets who come out to speak and spark inspiration to these talented youths. Every film in the festival is shot, produced, and edited by youth. This year was even more powerful than others because every film submitted was by foster youth.

The day started with morning workshops facilitated by Akuyoe Graham (acting workshop), Ruben from AT&T (New Media), and Ullisses from Wells Fargo (Financial Literacy). Following the morning workshops was the red-carpet session which led to the panels and film screenings.

Casting Director Leah Daniels opened the festival with a presentation of special awards, with a surprise awards that was given to herself on behalf of Real to Reel. Edwina Findley also spoke and following her were a few performances. A panel took place after the films were shown.

To view the interview with Syd Stewart and to hear Leah Daniels speech, please visit www.purposelyawakened.com.

Youth Spotlight: Inland Empire Native, Tanai Smith, Launches Organic Lip Balm

Tanai Smithholding up her Crown Me Lip Balm. (Photo Credit: Tana Phelice)

Tanai Smithholding up her Crown Me Lip Balm. (Photo Credit: Tana Phelice)

By Naomi K. Bonman

Back in the day, as kids growing up, we were taught to do good in school, go to college, and then get a good job. However, those times have drastically changed. As more Generation X adults and Millennials are becoming more successful in their entrepreneurial endeavors and jumping ship from their corporate and day jobs, they are instilling in their children at a young age to claim their destinies and to make their side hustles work for them now verses later so that they will be well-off by the time they reach adulthood.

This is the case for 11-year-old Tanai Smith, daughter of San Bernardino native, author, and playwright T’ana Phelice. Smith will be launching her Crown Me Lip Balm on Monday, October 16. She was inspired to make Crown Me Lip Balm after she had made three ingredients for lip balms in her own spare time, so she decided why not make it into a profitable business.

“I researched how to make people’s skin feel smooth in a healthy way,” Smith stated on what made her decide to make an organic lip balm company over just any lip balm.

She has always been creative and has been heavily into arts and crafts. For her birthday this past August, her parents threw her an arts and crafts party.

“I see myself owning my own arts and crats store when I’m older,” she explains. “I want my Crown Me business inside my future store. I also want to play my clarinet.”

There is nothing better than when our youth are determined about what they want to do after childhood and are working diligently in achieving those tasks to ensure that their futures will be bright. This is also the aftermath of great parenting.

Smith stated that her parents are both her inspirations in achieving greatness. One of the most memorable lessons that they have taught her about entrepreneurship is that sometimes you must adjust to changes and make sacrifices.

For those interested in purchasing Crown Me Lip Balm, please visit www.tanaphelice.com/crownme and be sure to keep up with the Crown Me brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CrownMeOrganicStuff.

Exclusive Interview: Chante Moore Chats on New Album, Tour, and Love

Chante-Moore-THE-RISE-OF-THE-PHOENIX_By Naomi K. Bonman

Where are all my R&B lovers at? You know those ‘REAL ONES’? Those of you that love that music that just feels good to the mind, body, and soul? Those that enjoy those love songs that you can vibe and chill to. If that’s you then you are probably a fan of and are very familiar with Ms. Chante Moore.

Those that follow her regularly have probably been anticipating on when her next album, “Rise of the Phoenix” will be dropping. Well, it’s finally here and you can pre-order it today to get it on the release date on Friday, September 29. 

In efforts to promote the album, Chante did a few phone interviews last week and I was blessed to be one of those lucky individuals that got the opportunity to chat with her for a few minutes. We talked about love, what’s she’s been up to, and of course the new album. 


Chante Moore (Podcast/Radio Interview: Click Here)

Your new and long awaited album, “Rise of the Phoenix” releases on Friday, September 29. What can fans except from this one compared to previous albums?

…I think these are songs that they can make love to, songs that they can dance too, and songs that they can drive too [laughs]. I think that it just gives you a little bit of everything. These are beautiful times when we can share our lives in song. I just try to make sure that I put all of my heart and experiences into the music because it is important for me to share my real heart and not just what somebody else may think that I may sing. These are all songs from my heart.

Are there any shows or a tour coming up to compliment the new album?

We certainly will be on tour. The best thing that you can do for those dates because I’m horrible, I don’t remember sometimes what day it is today, so please don’t go by me [laughs] but look it up on ChanteMoore.com. We will definitely be posting the dates on there, so yes be on the look out for the ‘Rise of the Phoenix’ tour.

One of the ways that people have been able to connect with you is when it comes to love. So what lessons in love have you learned?

To take each moment as it comes, and I say ‘Carpie Diem’ a lot, just seize the day, seize the moments that come and make the most of them because when you’re with the people that you love tomorrow is not promised. So, if you make sure that you give all and you say everything that you mean to say, and if you love them tell them that you love them. If you’re disappointed in something let them know that with love that you’re disappointed or want more out of this or that. I think being honest and open and supportive of the ones we love, you don’t have time for all the fake and wasting time lying and deceitfulness.

I agree. In addition to your music, you’ve been doing some acting. I recently seen you in a few stage productions. So, do you have any new acting gigs coming up?

Not now. Right now I just want to go and support the record and let the people know that its out on the 29th and I did a Christmas album as well, so that comes out in November. The first week of November. So, right now it’s about the music. I didn’t want to do another play because you do have to promote the play and make sure your present for that, so I didn’t want to anything but focus on the music and the performances that are coming up.

Understood. So, you’re working on a Christmas album, what can we except from that?

There’s four remakes and six originals and it’s called “Christmas Back to You,” and it will be out in November. We already shot one video and we’re going to shoot a couple more. But it’s really good [laughs]. I love it! I’m listening to it a lot now; I’m listening to my other CD. I just mix them up. What’s beautiful is that they’re all about love and loving each other and taking time out to love each other with your family and your loved ones. That’s what it’s about. That’s what life really is. That’s apart of life that makes life worth living. It’s not just about going day to day. It’s like Groundhog Day, if you don’t make it special. So, that’s really part of my mode of operation! [laughs]

Awesome! Love it! What is one unknown, fun fact that fans may not know about Chante?

Well, let’s see…I’m sort of a foodie. Not sort of, I’m a foodie [laughs]. I love food! I have named my inner eater. I’m always saying that there’s a fat girl dying to get out and I don’t let her out [laughs], but I did name her. Her name is Beaula and whenever I’m really super hungry, I’m like, “Oh, my god, Beaula stop!” [laughs] but she loves to eat. So, whenever I’m really eating something good, most of my fans know that I really do love to eat. They know, “Uh, oh there goes Beaula!” That is one thing that I absolute love and I also love just laughing. I love watching crazy movies and funny movies and love stories. I love old movies as well. It’s just about taking in the moment that makes life bright and fun because there’s enough negativity that’s going to come from every direction without even asking for it so prepare for that, but try to smile as much as you can.

Awesome! Thank you, Chante,!

It’s my pleasure.

How can we remind people to follow you?

You can follow me @IAMCHANTEMOORE on Instagram and Twitter. @ChanteMoore on Facebook. If you forget all of that stuff, just go to chantemoore.com and you can get all the information for my tours, my YouTube channel, @ChanteMoore by the way, and you can get information for the new record where you can order right this moment and get it on the 29th! I encourage you to pre-order and get it immediately.