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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

Tears, Laughter, and Unity Arise During the Premiere of The Diamond Monologues

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

By Naomi K. Bonman

After a two year process of grinding it out, The Diamond Monologues finally came to life on Saturday, October 1 in Ontario, California. The Diamond Monologues has been in the works by author and now playwright, T’ana Phelice. In order for the play to be a success like it was, Phelice had to ensure that she had the right team in place and the right girls to bring the monologues to life, and it was well worth the wait!

Jacquene Richardson. Photo credit Freddie Washington

Jacquene Richardson. Photo credit Freddie Washington

The evening began with an empowerment series with speakers Nakea Brown, Rebuild Your Laugh; and Karla Quebec, Mrs. Latina Global (Guatemala) contestant. Brown prophesied on being ‘The Message’. We each have a message that we have been called to give out to the people through our passions, gifts, and purpose. Quebec followed by giving her personal and very deep testimony of what her childhood and teenage years were like and how they formed her into becoming the strong woman that she is today. To compliment the speakers, Jacquene Richardson also gave her testimony through spoken word.

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

The pieces of the puzzle would not be complete without the diamond of the show. These five ladies did an excellent job in bringing the characters of the book to life and tapping into what their character went through to relate to it and make the issue their own. The cast included: Asia Smith (Tia), T’ana Phelice (Monqiue, writer), Precious Chapman (Sheena, Director), Karina “KJ” Johns (Bernice), and Ericka Marmolej (Veronica).

For those that missed, you definitely missed a phenomenal show! But you will have another chance to see it in Los Angeles, California in January 2017. To keep updated on the exact show date and time or to purchase a book, please visit www.tanaphelice.com.

Karla Quebec. Photo credit Freddie Washington

Karla Quebec. Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Photo credit Freddie Washington

Meet Kimberley Zulkowski, Former Foster Child Turned Hollywood Filmmaker

By Naomi K. Bonman

 The best Hollywood success stories are those that have testimonies of triumph, courage, and strength. They are the ones that capture the audience’s hearts and inspires them that they too can overcome whatever they are going through or where they are from in order to accomplish their dreams. Kimberley Zulkowski is a former foster child that has broken the mold and has become a successful Hollywood filmmaker.

I recently was able to catch up with Zulkowski for a second interview where she went deeper into her life’s journey. She shared her story of strength, survival, and sparkle through her upbringings in Milwaukee. She is now using her experiences to inspire others and to also give back to her community. 

In the interview, Kim chatted about her current crusade to help #OperationSaveMilwaukee, which is on a mission to stop the killing and clean up this 52306 zip code. The area has been seeing a spike in homicides within the last two years which has become a nightmare for such a small town. In lieu to #OperationSaveMilwaukee, Zulkowski is also working on a new production titled, “53206” where she has used local city actors who are now up to par with big names, such as Loretta Devine, Denzel Washington, and many other greats.

In addition to the film, Zulkowski also serves as a private donor of ‘Angels of Darkness’ to families who are unable to pay for funeral services for those that were victims of the violence in the community. She helps victims of homicide with their transition to heaven from outfitting them in the most beautiful of clothes, often releasing doves with a horse and carriage with proper prosthetic make-up and complimenting casket.

“From 9-year-old children gunned down in the comfort of their own home watching television on their couch to grown men, Kimberley dedicates herself entirely to the repair of her former community. Though successful and with a beautiful family of her own in the safety of the suburbs,  Kimberley still returns to serve as a mentor to those in dire straights needing guidance, food, “blessing bags” stuffed with personal hygiene products and more. If anyone knows how to #GiveBack, it is Kimberley Zulkowski.” stated by Kelly K. of Jaded Umbrella. 

To listen to the interview, click below:

4th Annual Women’s Wellness Conference 2016

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Young Women Empowerment Foundation will host their fourth Annual Women’s Wellness Conference at San Bernardino Community Hospital Henderson Auditorium, 1800 Western Avenue in San Bernardino, on Saturday, September 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. YWE invites family, friends, faith base, students and community supporters to this augural event that focuses on emotional and physical health and wellness. This is a free event for all women in the Inland Empire

This year’s theme is Double D’s. Double D’s refers to diabetes and depression. Both of these diseases plague all people but especially minority women. The conference will focus on the prevention of diabetes and depression as well as learning to live with and maintain if one is diagnosed with either. The women in attendance will have the opportunity to participate in interactive demonstrations and hear life changing testimonials from other women on diabetes and depression.  There will also be a free continental breakfast, lunch, entertainment, giveaways, and opportunity drawings.

The two keynote speakers for the wellness conference will focus on issues that are important and relevant to diabetes and depression. The keynote and guest testimonial speakers are as follows: Dee De La Cruz (Diabetes Keynote), Lue Productions 2016 1st Big Beautiful Woman Modeling Queen Winner; Pasha Fruman, PA-C (Depression Keynote), Health Educator and Community Health Activist; Deborah Smith (Depression Testimony), Community/Business Relationship Specialist-Personal Banker WFAW; Gloria Dowdy (Diabetes Testimony), Retired IT Specialist (Programmer)-Department of Veterans Affairs; and Lea Michelle Cash (Depression Informational), President/CEO of The Brightest Star, Inc.

In addition to providing useful health and wellness information at the conference, the attendees will also be presented with the opportunity to get physical during the live dance/exercise demonstrations and have their funny bone exercised as comedian Amber Thorney-Croft  explore the humorous side of life. Please come dressed to participate. Workout clothes are highly encouraged and recommended. 

Please register on Eventbrite under “Free Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation (YWE) 4th Annual Women’s Wellness Conference.  Also, please encourage and invite family and friends to register and attend this noteworthy opportunity focused on empowering women to live mentally and physically healthy lives. Space is limited, sign up today.

All inquiries, pre-register individual or groups, please email Devona Robertson or Tiffany James at ywefoundation@gmail.com. Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/youngwomenempowermentfoundation or visit www.youngwomenempowerment.org.