Role Model Beyond Beauty / Part 5

This month’s edition of Urban Call Briefs features another group of “Role Models Beyond Beauty” who are doing wonderful things in our community.

“Role Model-Beyond Beauty” has been a Sophisticates Black Hair Styles and Care Guide magazine feature for more than 25 years. It highlights women of color who have made significant advances in their careers and who have given back to their communities. Nearing its 100th edition, the column has honored black women in a wide range of fields.


The column portrait art by commissioned artist Leo Rucker is also an art exhibition of 180 pastel portraits with the Role Model story about these accomplished women and their distinguished careers are in the personal collection of beauty industry leaders Sandra and Lafayette Jones. Visit and the SMSi-Urban Call YouTube Channel ( In August 2013 the Role Model Beyond art portraits and editorial were featured at the National Black Theater Festival held bi-annually in Winston-Salem, NC where more than 30,000 festival participants had an opportunity to view the exhibition at The Sawtooth School of Visual Art.

The column is written by beauty industry and icon, Lafayette Jones and is co-authored by his daughter, Bridgette Miller Jones, who joined as co-columnist five years ago. Bridgette is a 2011 Spelman graduate and now East Carolina School of Dental Medicine candidate (2015). The “Role Model Beyond Beauty” column originally debuted as a touring 180+ piece art collection and exhibition.

The expanded exhibition opened for a second year in Winston-Salem, NC, the City of the Arts. Selected pastel portraits of the large collection commissioned by Sandy and Lafayette Jones and illustrated by Artist Extraordinaire Leo Rucker are being shown July 13—August 9, 2015 in the Milton Rhodes Sawtooth. A handful of profiles are included in this OTC Beauty Magazine edition.


Dr. Mae Jemison, Ph.D.

Mae C. Jemison is the first African-American female astronaut. In 1992, she flew into space aboard the Endeavour, becoming the first African-American woman in space.

Mae C. Jemison was born on October 17, 1956 in Decatur, Ala. On June 4, 1987 she became the first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. On September 12, 1992 Jemison finally flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, becoming the first African-American woman in space. In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison has received several awards and honorary doctorates.

Astronaut and physician Mae Jemison was born on October 17, 1956 in Decatur, Ala., the youngest child of Charlie Jemison, a roofer and carpenter, and Dorothy (Green) Jemison, an elementary school teacher. Her sister, Ada Jemison Bullock, became a child psychiatrist and her brother, Charles Jemison, is a real estate broker. The family moved to Chicago, Ill., when Jemison was 3 years old to take advantage of better educational opportunities there, and it is that city that she calls her hometown.

Throughout her early school years, Jemison’s parents were supportive and encouraging of her talents and abilities, and she spent a considerable amount of time in her school library reading about all aspects of science, especially astronomy. During her time at Morgan Park High School, she became convinced she wanted to pursue a career in biomedical engineering, and when she graduated in 1973 as a consistent honor student, she entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship.

As she had been in high school, Jemison was very involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford, including dance and theater productions, and served as head of the Black Student Union. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the university in 1977. Upon graduation, she entered Cornell University Medical College and, during her years there, found time to expand her horizons by studying in Cuba and Kenya and working at a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand.

After she obtained her M.D. in 1981 Jemison interned at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and later worked as a general practitioner. For the next two and a half years, she was the area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia where she also taught and did medical research. Following her return to the United States in 1985, Jemison made a career change and decided to follow a dream she had nurtured for a long time. In October of that year, she applied for admission to NASA’s astronaut training program. The Challenger disaster of January 1986 delayed the selection process, but when she reapplied a year later, Jemison was one of the 15 candidates chosen from a field of about 2,000.

When Jemison was chosen on June 4, 1987 she became the first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became the first African-American female astronaut, earning the title of science mission specialist—a job that would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle.

When Jemison finally flew into space on September 12, 1992 with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, she became the first African-American woman in space. During her eight days in space, she conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew and herself. In all, she spent more than 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on September 20, 1992. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison received a number of accolades, including several honorary doctorates, the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the Ebony Black Achievement Award in 1992 and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993. She was also named Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year in 1990. Additionally, in 1992, an alternative public school in Detroit, Michigan, the Mae C. Jemison Academy, was named after her.

Jemison has been a member of several prominent organizations including the American Medical Association, the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and served on the board of directors of the World Sickle Cell Foundation from 1990 to 1992. She has also served as an advisory committee member of the American Express Geography Competition and an honorary board member of the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition.

After leaving the astronaut corps in March 1993, Jemison accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth. She also established the Jemison Group, a company that seeks to research, develop and market advanced technologies.


Dr. Lottie Perkins Ph.D., MHA, RN

For 40 years Dr. Lottie Perkins Ph.D., MHA, RN has been a prominent voice in the field of health. Her commitment to healthy living, comprised of a vegan diet, daily transcendental meditation, yoga exercise, and walking, has proven to not only be a great benefit to her life, but an inspiration to others.

Dr. Lottie began her career in health as a vocational nurse in 1969. She went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of California at Los Angeles, a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from the University of LaVerne, and a Doctorate Degree in Alternative Healing from Albert University. In addition, she is a Certified Natural Wellness Consultant from the Clayton School of Natural Health. A successful entrepreneur of 30 years, Dr. Lottie is the CEO/President of her own company, Perkins Enterprises, Health Consultation and Training, which provides: healthy lifestyle consultation and coaching, continuing education for health professionals, and consultation to health care agencies.

Dr. Lottie is also the previous owner and director of Step One Training Institute, Inc. a nurse assistant training school.

In her pioneering book, “Eating to Die, Changing African American Attitudes about Health,” Dr. Lottie shares her knowledge, insight, and personal experiences in an effort to help African Americans recognize the importance of healthy living. She reinforces her message on her bi-weekly live Internet radio show, “Living Powerfully,” every second and fourth Tuesday, 12:30PM-1: 30PM, on

African-Americans are dying younger than any other ethnic group because of unhealthy lifestyles and diet. This reality so profoundly disturbed Lottie Perkins that she wrote this book to try to make a difference. A registered nurse and a certified natural wellness consultant, she has vast knowledge in the health field and lives a holistic life of meditation, prayer, exercise, and healthy eating. Lottie shares her knowledge, insight, and personal experiences to help other African-Americans make conscious lifestyle choice that will increase their quality of life and longevity.

Stress is the wear and tear that your body experiences as you adjust to a continually changing environment. If you don’t reduce the stress in your life, it can have a devastating effect on your health, and contribute to major health problems such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, digestive problems, and overeating.


Physical reactions to stress:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Increased muscle tension


Relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms and help you to enjoy a better quality of life. Relaxation is a process that decreases the wear and tear on your mind and body from the challenges and hassles of daily life.


Relaxation techniques:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Bio feedback
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Guided imagery


Explore the relaxation techniques in her book “Eating To Die, Changing African American Attitudes About Health. It will get you started on de-stressing your life and improving your health.


Dr. Jennifer Mieres

Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FACC, FASNC, FAHA

Professor of Cardiology and Population Health

Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

Senior Vice President, Office of Community and Public Health Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

North Shore-LIJ Health System, NY.


Dr. Jennifer H. Mieres is one of the leading experts and patient advocates in the fields of cardiovascular disease in women. In her role as leader of the North Shore-LIJ health system’s Office of Community and Public Health, Dr. Mieres has oversight of the Katz Institute for Women’s Health, all of North Shore-LIJ’s health and wellness, community health education and healthcare access programs. She is also the health system’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and is a member of the health system’s leadership team.

A graduate of Bennington College and Boston University School of Medicine, she is a Fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), and in 2009 she served as the first female President of the ASNC and is board certified in cardiovascular diseases and nuclear cardiology.

Dr. Mieres is actively involved in clinical cardiovascular research. She chaired the AHA’s 2005 and 2014 writing group on imaging in women and is the lead author of the AHA’s 2014 scientific publication on diagnostic testing for women. She has presented her research papers on cardiovascular disease in women at national and international conferences and has been one of the distinguished faculty invited to scientific sessions of the ACC, AHA, ASNC and the International Conference of Nuclear Cardiology.

She is very involved in community service and is a national spokesperson for the AHA’s Go Red For Women movement and has served as chair of several national AHA committees including the Professional Education Committee; the Cardiac Imaging Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology (2006-2008) and was a member of the AHA’s National Board of Directors (2004-2006). She also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for WomenHeart; the national coalition for women living with heart disease.

In acknowledgement of her dedication and commitment to mentoring women in cardiology, she received the 2014 “Women in Cardiology mentoring” award from the national ACC. In recognition for her work as a cardiologist, researcher, patient and community advocate, she was the recipient of the 2011 national AHA Louis B. Russell, Jr., Memorial Award, presented annually to an AHA volunteer for outstanding service in addressing healthcare disparities and/or service to minority and underserved communities. She is also a recipient of a 2008 Woman’s Day Red Dress Award for her contributions to Women’s Heart Health. In 2005, she received the Long Island AHA Award for Outstanding Service as President and was the recipient of the AHA’s William Groom Award for Volunteer of the Year. She was also awarded a 2002 New York State Governor’s award for excellence and in April 2004, she received the WomenHeart Wenger Award for Healthcare.

Dr. Mieres is routinely called upon by the media to comment on heart health, appearing in national and local media outlets on such programs as “20/20,” the “Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Today in New York,” “CBS Early Show,” “CNN,” “NBC Nightly News” and many others. As a producer of the PBS documentary “A Woman’s Heart,” (2003) she was nominated for an Emmy for best documentary in the Health Science category at the 46th Annual New York Emmy Awards. She was featured on the cover of the May 2008 issue of Black Enterprise magazine as one of America’s leading doctors and in November 2008 she was featured in SHAPE magazine as one of the women who Shape the World. In 2009 and 2010, Dr. Mieres was listed as one of the best doctors in New York magazine and in January 2011 was featured in Essence magazine as an expert on women’s health. Dr. Mieres’ first book “Heart Smart for Black Women and Latinas: A Five Week Program for Living a Heart- Healthy Lifestyle” ( was published in 2008 by St Martin’s Press.

Dr. Shanessa Fenner

Dr. Shanessa Fenner is a highly motivated , community active, and well-educated Principal of Alger B. Wilkins Elementary School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from North Carolina Central University, Master of Arts in Elementary Education, and a second Masters degree in School Administration and Elementary Education, as well as a Doctorate In Educational Leadership from Fayetteville State University.

She has made a significant difference in the academic performance of her elementary school by inspiring and motivating both educators and students. She’s involved in tutoring small groups of students in math and reading within the school, leading these students to successful end of grade proficiency testing. Dr. Fenner encourages not only her classroom teachers but administrative and custodial personnel as well by setting a tone of high expectations. Under her leadership The Wilkins Elementary School received North Carolina’s prestigious Title I Reward for a High Achieving School.

Dr. Fenner is also involved in her community as a volunteer in the Fayetteville Ministerial Council’s homeless family and youth program. She also serves as master of ceremonies for various banquets and events, including the NAACP, Afro-American Cultural organization, Red Carpet Event for Cool Carolina, and others. She has hosted her own Time Warner Cable channel TV show “Let’s Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner” for the past 15 years in Fayetteville, NC. and is a KISS 107.7 FM former radio personality.

In addition, she uses her talents as a blogger and writer for several magazines and newspapers, a print model, soap opera actress and songwriter. She has written songs that have been featured on albums by southern soul singer Michelle Miller’s (“I trusted You”) and music producer Carl Marshall’s (“You Never Know Who You Are Going To Love”) albums.

Her most recent award was the Fayetteville Observer newspaper’s Forty under Forty Award highlighting individuals in the community who had extensive records of community service and giving back to others through their time, talents and donations. She has received awards from Up and Coming magazine for Best Local Columnist, Best Local TV show, one of the Most Influential Women in the Community and is a past Ebony magazine Bachelorette.

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