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 RoleModelBeyondBeauty.org and the SMSi-Urban Call YouTube Channel (http://youtu.be/2VHP8iadIB8). 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.
Victoria Rowell is an award-winning actress, international lecturer, holds two doctorates, and is a teacher, advocate, mother, and former foster youth. One hundred ninety three members of Congress for advocacy work on behalf of education, arts, foster and adoptive youth, and parents as well as diversity issues have recognized her.
Her New York Times bestseller, “The Women Who Raised Me” published by HarperCollins Publishers, received literary acclaim. Rowell also enjoys a literary book deal with Simon & Schuster for her popular soap opera novel series.
Rowell is an Emmy-nominated, NAACP-winning actress, who co-starred with Dick Van Dyke in the prime time television series “Diagnosis Murder” for VIACOM for eight seasons, as well as starring in daytime television. Rowell was submitted for a Golden Globe Award, starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson in “Home of the Brave.”
Other credits include “Law & Order: SVU” and other series. She stars in the movie, “Marry Me For Christmas” and an upcoming feature, “What Love Will Make You Do.” She has been in multiple films, starring opposite Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Jeff Bridges, Samuel L. Jackson, Beau Bridges, Forest Whitaker and more. Victoria is currently filming opposite The Blacklist/Man of Steel star, Harry Lennix.
Born in Portland, Maine on May 10, 1959, Rowell was raised on a 60-acre working farm and learned classical ballet from a book. She eventually turned professional and performed with American Ballet Theater (ABT) II and other professional ballet companies.
Her biological mother, Dorothy Rowell, was of English descent and a Mayflower descendant, and her birth father, whose surname was Wilson, was of African-American descent. Rowell knew very little about her father. Dorothy, who suffered from schizophrenia, took a taxi to a hospital to give birth to Rowell, leaving a son and two small daughters unsupervised. When she was 16 days old, Rowell along with her two sisters, Sheree and Lori, was surrendered to child services.
While living in Maine with foster parents Agatha C. and Robert Armistead, Rowell, then eight years old, began ballet lessons. After dancing with the American Ballet Theater II and the Juilliard School of Music Dance Extension program with Antony Tudor, Rowell accepted guest artist teaching posts in England. In the 1980s, Rowell became an in-demand runway and catalog model. Rowell made her film debut in the 1987 comedy film “Leonard Part 6” opposite Bill Cosby and later had a recurring role on “The Cosby Show” In 1988 she also had the recurring role of Nella Franklin on the CBS daytime soap opera, “As the World Turns.”
In 1990, Rowell was cast as street urchin-turned-ballet-dancer Drucilla Barber on the CBS daytime soap opera, “The Young and the Restless.” Rowell became a fan favorite and was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998. She won 11 NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of Drucilla. Rowell’s first run as Drucilla was from 1990 to 1998. She briefly returned in 2000, and then returned on a regular basis from 2002 until early 2007. In 2007, Rowell became unhappy with the soap opera behind the scenes, labeling daytime television and “The Young and the Restless” as racist for not having enough African American cast and crew. She also argued the directions of her storylines, which weren’t heard, prompting her to leave. Within the storyline, Drucilla fell off a cliff and was presumed dead as her body was never found. Rowell has openly expressed pleasure in returning and due to the character’s strong appeal and popularity viewers have begged the series to re-hire her. However, CBS has stated that having Drucilla return is not the creative decision they are looking for, which has disappointed fans of the actress. In 2014, Rowell posted a series of tweets criticizing the show for not having enough African-Americans in decision making positions.
In February 2015, Rowell filed a lawsuit against CBS for racial discrimination.
From 1992 to 2001, Rowell starred as Dr. Amanda Bentley in the CBS primetime series “Diagnosis: Murder,” opposite Dick Van Dyke, replacing Cynthia Gibb from the original made for television movie. For much of Rowell’s stint on “Diagnosis: Murder,” she was working on that show and on “The Young and the Restless” simultaneously.
In 1990, Rowell founded the “Rowell Foster Children Positive Plan“ which gives emotional support and financial aid to foster children, especially to those who aspire to become actors and dancers – the road Rowell took.
Rowell was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Southern Maine in recognition of her work for the benefit of foster children. Rowell published a memoir of her life that focused on her time in foster care. Entitled “The Women Who Raised Me,” Rowell discusses all of the foster mothers who cared for her and for her sisters. Victoria was the first recipient of the Gift of Adoption Celebration of Adoption Award, an award given to individuals or groups who are helping to unite children with forever families. Rowell has two adult children, Maya and Jasper.
Sources: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, MDb Mini Biography
Trice Hickman’s love affair with books began at a very early age, setting the backdrop for her writing career. As a student, Trice excelled in literature and creative writing. She attended Winston-Salem State University, where she wrote for the school newspaper and was an intern writer for the Winston-Salem Chronicle and UNC Public Television. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from WSSU, she worked for several years in higher education. During that time she also obtained her Master of Arts degree from Wake Forest University.
Trice worked in a variety of industries and management positions; from the corporate halls of a multi-billion dollar telecommunications company and the diverse pathways of a private community development corporation, to the management of law programs for an international legal association in the Nation’s Capital. All the while, she continued her love of books and her dream to someday write one of her own.
Trice’s literary window opened with the release of her critically acclaimed, self-published debut novel, “Unexpected Interruptions,” November 2007. The book garnered praise from literary reviewers, book clubs, and readers across the country and overseas, won two literary awards, and was selected by Black Expressions as the December 2008 Editor’s Pick for Dynamic Debut Feature. Trice’s much-anticipated sequel, “Keeping Secrets & Telling Lies” was released June 2009, and quickly became a hit with book clubs and readers. Her third book, “Playing the Hand You’re Dealt,” was released August 2010, and made the list of “The Top 15 Books That Mattered In 2010” by AOL BlackVoices. Trice also received the 2010, Washington, D.C. Ward-4 Exceptional Women In The Arts Award for outstanding work in the field of literary arts.
Upon Trice’s literary success, Kensington Publishing Corp. offered her a contract to purchase the publication rights to her three originally self-published novels. Kensington’s imprint, Dafina Books, re-released the novels for worldwide distribution. After its re-release, “Unexpected Interruptions” received a coveted Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and was nominated by the American Library Association for their 2012 “The Reading List.”
Trice’s portfolio of novel writing has grown to include “Breaking All My Rules,” “Looking for Trouble,” and “Troublemaker.” Her seventh novel, “Secret Indiscretions,” has yet to be released and her eighth novel, “Deadly Satisfaction” will follow in February 2016. She currently resides in her North Carolina where she is busy at work on her next book.
For information on how to purchase Trice’s books please visit her website, www.tricehickman.com, and click the “Books” page. You can reach Trice by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can connect with her via social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest by her first and last name. You can also follow Trice and learn more about her through her blog, www.fabuloussouthernbelle.blogspot.com.
Judith Jamison is a renowned performer and highly regarded choreographer. Her work as the Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater helped to assert the prominence of art in our culture. Judith Jamison was born in Philadelphia, Pa. Her father taught her to play the piano and violin. She was exposed to the prominent art culture in Philadelphia from a very early age. At the age of six, she began her dance training at Judimar School of Dance. By age eight, Jamison began dancing on pointe and started taking classes in tap dancing, acrobatics, and Dunham technique. At age 17, Jamison graduated from Judimar and began her collegiate studies at Fisk University. Jamison made her premiere with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at Chicago’s Harper Theater Dance Festival in 1965 in “Congo Tango Palace,” and in 1966, she toured Europe and Africa with the company. Jamison had always had a strong interest in African identity; therefore, traveling to Africa with the company and having the opportunity to observe the culture first-hand was an exciting and valuable experience for her.
Judith Jamison, choreographer and dancer, has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. Born on May 10, 1943, Judith Jamison trained early in dance and music and attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy before performing with the American Ballet Theatre in 1964. Jamison was with Alvin Ailey Company until 1980 and during that time gave several notable performances. After Ailey’s death, Jamison became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Jamison has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and the National Medal of Arts in 2001. Her autobiography, “Dancing Spirit,” was published in 1993.
Fantasia Monique Barrino
Fantasia Monique Barrino, commonly known simply as Fantasia, is an American R&B singer and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the reality television series “American Idol” in 2004. Following her victory, she released her debut single, “I Believe,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. As of February 2012, she has sold 2,842,000 albums and 1,425,000 tracks in the U.S.
“I always say you’ve only got one life to live and you’re not promised a tomorrow. So, you might as well just have a good time with it.” Since American Idol, Fantasia has released three albums and played Celie in the Broadway hit “The Color Purple.” She is one of the greatest artists to ever win American Idol, and she is also a strong young lady who has been through so much in her life.
Fantasia was born to Diane and Joseph Barrino on June 30, 1984 in High Point, N.C. The star attended Andrews High School, but dropped out feeling embarrassed and harassed after a classmate raped her. On August 8, 2001, she gave birth to her daughter Zion Quari Barrino. While in the relationship with Brandel, she was physically, verbally, and emotionally abused. In 2004, Barrino auditioned for American Idol singing Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” At age 19 with sixty-five million votes she won American Idol.
“When I was on American Idol,” she says, “people fell in love with the young lady who took her shoes off to come onstage, who spoke her mind and didn’t hold anything back.” After winning she signed with J Records, released her first debut album entitled “Free Yourself” which went platinum, and then went from singing on the stage to acting on the big screen. In 2006, she played herself in a Lifetime Television film based on her autobiography “Life Is No Fairy Tale” that reached nineteen million viewers throughout its debut weekend.
Fantasia later underwent surgery to remove a tumor in her vocal cords. After a successful surgery the tumor was completely removed, and she was back to singing and recording songs, however she took a turn for the worst; she was hospitalized on August 9, 2010 in Pineville, N.C. due to overdosing on aspirin and an unknown sleep aid. On a VH1 “Behind the Music” series she confirmed the incident was a suicide attempt, saying, “I didn’t care about anything. I just wanted out. At that moment I wanted out. I wanted it to be over with.”
In January of 2011 she starred in her first reality show entitled “For Real” and she later gave birth to her son Dallas Xavier. Barrino has been through a lot her whole life. She was raped at 14, won American idol at 19, starred in Broadway, and attempted suicide. However, she still came out strong and believes no one can tear her down or break her joy.