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WSSN Stories

The First Roll Out of ‘Encounter Camp’ Sells Out in San Bernardino Mountains, Brings Together to Millennial Entrepreneurs and Professionals

By Naomi K. Bonman

After being exhausted from all the happy hour and per usual networking events at restaurants and local clubs, entrepreneurs and Clark Atlanta University alumni, Shanelle Williams and Kareem Taylor wanted to create something different where other Black entrepreneurs and professionals could come together in an adventurous and fun environment, which is how the Encounter Camp was launched.

“My goal is simple,” Williams, CEO at True Splendor Events and Encounter Co-Founder, explains. “I want to create events and experiences that inspire and change people. I want to create a safe place for people to come and share their fears and their thoughts, and those things they’ve been struggling with but leave refreshed and inspired, and renewed to go out into the world and make a difference.”

And that is exactly what the Encounter Camp offered—refreshment, rejuvenation, and inspiration! The camp was held at the beautiful Pali Retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains from Friday, August 25 to Sunday, August 27. Attendees had a full-fun weekend that consisted of workshops, early morning yoga, dance classes, s’mores around a campfire, and archery. Dance classes were taught by Los Angeles based Choreographer, Luckie, who is known from Oxygen’s hit show “Dance Your A** Off.”

“It was very powerful experience,” Dwight Williams, Art Director from Los Angeles, stated regarding his experience at Encounter Camp. “It was definitely life-changing and reaffirming. It’s for those who want to get away and want to grow. I had a wonderful time with great people, great views, and the facilities were clean. What set it apart was the structure, friendliness, speakers, activities, down to the food and the snacks. It was very well organized.”   

Bummed that you missed out? Well, there are already talks about the next Encounter Camp so make sure you follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @EncounterSoCal or visit www.encountercamp.com and sign up on the email list to stay updated!

What It Do With the LUE: Winner of LUE Productions 2017 B.S.M. Competition-Clyde Gatewood

By Lue Dowdy

Winner of LUE Productions 2017 B.S.M. Competition, Clyde Gatewood, is What It Do! History was made! It was a packed house and something different. LUE Productions was able to pull off the 1st Big and Sexy Men Competition in the Inland Empire. The event was created to bring focus to the plus-size community and to show that sexiness and confidence comes in all shapes and sizes. Body shaming in my opinion is another form of bullying and it needs to STOP! No longer do you have to be a size 0 or 4 to be considered beautiful or handsome.

The event was held at the Women’s Club of San Bernardino on Sunday, August 27 where a total of four handsome men competed for a crown, trophy, and $500 cash. It wasn’t easy! Each had to endure rehearsals, multiple photoshoots, and more in preparation for the competition.

The categories consisted of four sections: Boss Look, Summer Nights, Free Style, and Questions. Contestants were also judged on their group opening performance and individual performances. We had the pleasure of having VIC Camp, former Miss California Lea Freeman, Celebrity Hair Stylist Brittney Shearz, and Gina Carter as our panel of judges. Alfred Parker, Michelangelo, Clyde Gatewood, and Maurice Cunningham did a fabulous job from beginning to end. The ladies loved them!

The evening was hosted by Petti Model Krystal Yvonne and very funny Comedian Tamiko Kirkland. The audience could not stop laughing with Tamiko’s hilarious jokes. We continued on with our mini BBW fashion show featuring DIVA’s Outlaw Fashions provided by Mrs. ‘Riisha Shelby. The pieces provided by DIVA’s Outlaw Fashions were smoking hot and gorgeous. R&B Singer Annyett Royale blessed our ear gates and DJ UpperKutt kept it live on the turn tables. Food was catered by PitStop BBQ and the moments captured on film by ILondon Fog and F.W. Photography. Special thanks to all our volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and supporters. We could not have done it without you all.

Make sure to follow LUE Productions on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, IG, and Snapchat for upcoming events. Donations are welcome and can be made via PayPal under Lue.info@yahoo.com. Remember to always love the skin you’re in! Until next week L’z!

Bottomline: Key to Emergency Preparedness… Human Kindness!

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

As we are mesmerized by the video visuals of the tragedy in Texas, we are also driven to tears of pride as we witness the heroic response from plain folk volunteers.  The expected first responders are needed and extremely appreciated; however, the truth is that the real first responders are often potential victims that were prepared for an unexpected emergency. The clean water and plastic bags for personal waste go a long way when strangers are herded to a safe-from-danger-spot that has room, but no accommodations for a large gathering of people. Shelters are temporary spaces, such as churches, schools and stadiums that are seldom, if ever, able to accommodate at any level of comfort.

We have seen the Texas tragedy cause people to open their homes to strangers! That is a great storyline that will probably soon be countered by stories exemplifying the other side of human nature.  There will be examples of real looting, not just the “emergency borrowing” that some did survive. There will be stories about folks who were ridiculed by people who could have helped. 

The rain is moving out of Texas into neighboring states where it will eventually normalize. Texans and the nation will feel the ripple effect of the human toll of death and property loss for years! Recovery from the coming health issues will be countered by “economic opportunity”. There will be growth and development, but the memories of pain will remain throughout the lives of some.

I pray that this evidence of unexpected devastation will cause more people to realize the importance of each other! There may come a time of tragedy when the people that you disagree with will be the same people that you will be depending on for help.

We do not have to agree with each other about how we got here, but we do need to respect the fact that we are here together!  Friends do not have to agree, they should only be friendly!