Role Model Beyond Beauty / Part 6

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 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. Maya Angelou

The Life of Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

From the time she was a child, Dr. Angelou proved that she was a unique individual with amazing commitment and focus. The birth of her son, Guy Bailey Johnson, when she was 17 did not prevent her from continuing in pursuit of her dreams of a creative career—from her start as a singer in San Francisco’s Purple Onion and Hungry I in 1953 to the installation of her portrait in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC in 2014. She was on a dramatic, musical and political stage.

Dr. Maya Angelou was a dancer, singer, an actress, a poet, a writer, magazine editor, a playwright, a film director as well as a college lecturer, full Professor and a fearless, outspoken activist. She never let her various vocations inhibit her activism or her willingness to speak out against injustice and inequality. She performed in a number of major productions. She was in both the 1954 International Touring Company and sequent movie of “Porky and Bess.” She was also in the 1977 television series of Alex Haley’s “Roots” and in the 1955 film “How to make an American Quilt.” There are too many other productions to name. She directed the films “Georgia, Georgia” and “Down in the Delta”.

Throughout her life Dr. Angelou never flagged or waned. In 1959, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she headed the New York office of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership. Next she worked for the Arab Observer news magazine in Cairo, Egypt which was the premier English language magazine in the Middle East. Later she moved to Ghana and met Malcolm X. She continued to be a voice of humanity, speaking out against anything that fettered the human spirit. Her life and body of literary work trumpet the importance of love, tolerance and forgiveness. She was a warrior for truth, justice and love.

Dr. Maya Angelou’s first book “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was published in 1970. She went on to write thirty-six other books including autobiographies, poetry and essays. A number of Dr. Angelou’s works were best sellers and were published in a number of languages.

The book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” drew the notice of black students at Wake Forest University, who invited Angelou to speak during Black Awareness Week in 1973. Though hesitant because of the racism she had experienced growing up in the South, she needed the speaking fees, she said, so she “wrapped her courage around her purse” and came to Winston-Salem. Angelou was introduced to a wider audience when her reading of her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s 1993 presidential inauguration was broadcast live around the word. The album version of her performing the poem won her the first of her three spoken-word Grammy Awards.

Angelou became involved in her adopted community of Winston-Salem well beyond her teaching at Wake Forest. She was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church and participated in countless events to raise money for issues including the arts, health care and child welfare. Among the local institutions named for her are Winston-Salem State University’s Maya Angelou Institute for the Improvement of Child and Family Education; The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at WFU School of Medicine; the Maya Angelou Research Center for Minority Health at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center; and Forsyth Medical Center’s Maya Angelou Women’s Health & Wellness Center.

Along with two more autobiographies, she published two cookbooks, each including stories from her life, and several children’s books. Hallmark put out a line of greeting cards and other products bearing her name and verses.

In 2011, she criticized the paraphrasing of a quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., saying it made him look like “an arrogant twit.” The quote was later removed.

Sybil Morial

Most biographies will mention that Sybil Haydel Morial is the wife of the first black mayor, Ernest “Dutch” Morial, and the mother of another, former New Orleans mayor, Marc Morial, who is now the president of the National Urban League. But there’s a lot more to her story.

She is a dedicated citizen and former teacher who inspired elementary and college students over decades while raising a family of five accomplished children. She has stories to tell about surviving the segregated South and was the right hand of the man, Dutch Morial, who turned New Orleans into a city for all its citizens—black and white—when he became the city’s first black chief executive in 1978, serving until 1986. Dutch led a new era in politics that made political participation possible for black citizens on the New Orleans City Council, the Orleans Parish School Board and other public offices. And Sybil made her own unique contribution to the political body by establishing the Louisiana League of Good Government, a woman’s organization promoting good government.

But many of her battles for equality were fought in the classroom; she did not let the grass grow under her feet. She graduated from college when she was 15 and had her first teaching job at 19. She taught students in Massachusetts and in New Orleans at the Hunderson Dunn Elementary School in the lower ninth ward. She earned a master’s degree in education from Boston University, topping off her educational career at Xavier University as a vice president of public affairs and communications. She did all this while working with Dutch to raise a family of five who themselves are making outstanding contributions to the community.

Sybil’s list of awards is remarkable by any standards including her most recent, the New Orleans Feeding Dreams Outstanding Mom, a community health and education initiative sponsored by General Mills. She has her own “mom secrets” on teaching children. “They all know how to cook. I made each of them responsible for one day each week to produce the evening meal. They had to go to a cookbook and figure it out and make it themselves. They got a lot of praise and compliments on what they did.” So all of her children—Marc, Julie, Jacques, Cheri and Monique—are handy in the kitchen. “Yes,” she says proudly, “even the boys know how to cook.”

Mary Lee Joshua

Mary Lee Joshua is Vice President of M3 Cosmetic Labs, LLC, manufacturer of Arganics brand products. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., M3 Cosmetic Labs is one of the newest and largest manufacturers of ethnic hair care products in the United States, with affiliated offices in North Little Rock, Ark. and Johannesburg, South Africa. Mary Lee launched M3 Cosmetic Labs, LLC in partnership with her mother, Marty Harris Joshua. Mary Lee’s vision for the company is to give ethnic consumers the quality and differentiation they have been longing for. Born into one of the most prominent families in the ethnic beauty industry, Mary understands today’s consumer and market trends like few others can. She represents a new generation of consumers—one with more buying power and greater expectations of the brands they choose.

She is a former marketing and key accounts sales manager for J.M. Products, Inc. (J.M.), based in Little Rock, Ark. J.M. was the manufacturer of ISOPLUS brand products.

“The legacy and hard work of my grandfather (Ernest Joshua) and parents (Michael and Marty Joshua) is the fire that fuels me. I’ve been a part of this industry since I was in diapers, and have worked hard throughout my career to ensure that I not only leave a legacy of my own, but that I continue to work hard to see the category flourish and to give our consumers the products that they love and deserve by ensuring that we always put quality, not quantity, first,” said Mary Lee Joshua, Vice-President of M3 Cosmetic Labs.

Mary Lee’s fresh perspective on the industry and future trends has gained her recognition from several publications and organizations including Business Week, Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles & Care Guide, OTC Beauty Magazine, Salon Sense Magazine, The AR Young Professional’s Network, several Arkansas State University commercials and print campaigns and many, many more.

Mary Lee holds a BS in Business Management with a minor in Marketing and an emphasis in Leadership. During her undergraduate studies at Arkansas State University, she managed the school’s $15 million student activities budget as president and served as chairperson of several of the university’s largest events, including Homecoming and Welcome Week. Today, she is a member of The Little Rock Chapter of The Links, Inc. and serves on the planning and advisory committees for the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHBAI).

Melicia Whitt-Glover

Melicia Whitt-Glover is President and CEO of Gramercy Research Group in Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Whitt-Glover has spent more than 20 years honing her skills in academic and community settings as a researcher who works for and with communities to improve their health. She received her B.A. and M.A. in Exercise Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993 and 1996, respectively, and her Ph.D. in Public Health/Epidemiology from the University of South Carolina in Columbia in 1999. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2000 – 2002) before joining the faculty as an Instructor from 2002 – 2003. After a particularly cold winter in Pennsylvania, she decided to head south to join the faculty in the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where she served from 2003 – 2009 in a variety of roles including Assistant Professor, Assistant Director and Director of Community Outreach for the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, Associate Faculty Member in the Women’s Health Center of Excellence, and Co-Director of the Wake Forest School of Medicine – YWCA Collaborative to Strengthen Families and Neighborhoods.

Dr. Whitt-Glover has always felt a strong calling on her life to work with people, and in 2009 she left Wake Forest School of Medicine to form Gramercy (which combines the words “grace” and “mercy”) Research Group. The new role allows her to more closely interact and partner with individuals in communities to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships and solutions to improve the health of the community. In 2009, Dr. Whitt-Glover was awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the Learning and Developing Individual Exercise Skills (L.A.D.I.E.S.) for a Better Life study. To date, the L.A.D.I.E.S. Study is one of the largest studies ever funded focused on increasing physical activity among African American women. Dr. Whitt-Glover has also received funding from a variety of national, state, and local agencies to conduct her work.

Dr. Whitt-Glover lives in Winston-Salem, NC with her husband Raymond Glover (Ray) and their two sons, Garrison (age 7) and Logan (age 6), and their dog, Seager. She is a diehard Tarheels fan. She enjoys reading, and watching and playing sports. She recently coached her son’s YMCA soccer team through a winning season. When the family is not in Winston-Salem, you can find them building sand castles on one of the many beautiful beaches along the coast of North Carolina.

Each month, Urban Call Briefs covers subjects that provide readers of OTC Beauty Magazine with information on multicultural consumers, Hispanics and African Americans, who are the fastest growing consumer segments in the U.S. The mission of this column is to build a bridge of communications and information between manufacturers and retailers and the ethnic consumers they wish to serve better. The column offers resources covering marketing, retail merchandising, consumer research, purchase behavior, fashion and beauty trends, industry events and people, trade association news, new product launches and a potpourri of information designed to help the readers make intelligent decisions about the customers they serve. Urban Call is a registered trademark of Segmented Marketing Services, Inc. (SMSi). For more information, call 336-759-7477 or visit

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