Karema McGhee, the founder of Luxinous has been a healer and alternative medicine practitioner for over two decades. She is currently in the process of relaunching her brand. The relaunch of her brand Luxinous is scheduled for June 1st. The entire relaunch process is in tune with her mission to change the way the world views smudge tools, healing arts and herbs.
Karema, Thank you so much for this Interview. Kindly tell us when and how did you associate yourself with smudging.
Thank you for having me. I’ve been a healer, alternative medicine practitioner for over 20 years. Some of my mentors, teachers, and friends have been some of the most sort after healers, herbalist, lightworkers, and freedom fighters I am proud to know. I found my way to smudging back in 2002, before becoming associated with the shrine of ptah in Brooklyn. New York.
Smudging has been traditionally practiced by some Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Tell us more about the current state of smudging.
I recall walking into the shrine and the priests were doing what we call the opening of the way. The smell was coming out of the shrine into the sidewalks of urban Brooklyn, I recall walking into the shrine impressed by the feeling of ritual. Mesmerized by the act of cleansing. I wanted to learn each chat, each movement, the dance, and most importantly the look of freedom and power as the sounds were leaving their bodies permeating the atmosphere. It was captivating. I was in. I was hooked. It was sage.
How is Luxinous impacting the lives of people who become a part of it?
My objective with Luxinous is to remove many of the stigmas, the dogma, the separatism and myths associated with the act of smudging.
To teach the facts that almost every indigenous people from every nation, from every religious association and denomination, has some form of smudging built into its ritual, religious, and cultural practices. Even those who are opposed to smudging because of religious reasons don’t realize that they already have a form of smudging built into their cultural fabric.
In order to live a fulfilled life, you need to set aside prejudices. How do smudging help in realizing our true potential?
The natives of the Americas are famous for white Sage & Sweetgrass, the native Peruvians for Palo Santo. I can go on and on.
The current state of saging, smudging, and the like is disheartening at times, as many want to own it, and not share it with the world. It’s as if we believe that if we shared our sacred arts with others, they will run off with it and we will never get the credit we deserved. We are afraid for our ritual to be common.
What is the your mission and how do you see Luxinous achieving that mission?
For me, my mission is to bring fair trade to the indigenous, to provide responsibly sourced healing tools to as many who want it. To bring unity, understanding, education and awareness, and to normalize ritual.
I believe that mother nature wants us to share with each other our regional wisdom. To heal one another. None of us own mother nature, but she gives of herself to us, for us, and as long as we approach the Goddess with an offering, with truth, respect, kindness, and fairness, we as a Human collective can further heal and began to see that we have more in common than we ever thought.
An Interview with Veteran Actor & Dancer Deborah Lee Fong
Panamanian/American actor, Deborah Lee Fong is known for her critically acclaimed performances. An entrepreneur at heart, she has over 30 years of experience in Acting & Dancing and has played lead roles in several movies. In this interview, she shares details about her career and her future plans.
Deborah, Thank you for talking with us. You have over 30 years of experience in Acting and Dancing. Tell us more about your tryst with Dancing and Acting?
I suppose it started with my first trip to Broadway, as a child, to see Oliver. I was intrigued by the production, the music and of course the company of actors who made me believe I was in a different place and time. In my heart of hearts I knew I wanted to be a part of that world.
My career has taken lots of twists and turns, and careers; life does that to you. I am fortunate and grateful to be where I am in my life. It has been a dance woven between familial commitments, maturity, and patience. You start out pursuing your passion and along the way, there are entanglements, not necessarily negative, just events that take you on a different journey.
I was introduced to the theatre through dance and drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse children’s program where I attended classes every Saturday from elementary school up until high school. I also modeled for the ILGWU for several years and had tremendous fun walking the runway with my mom.
When it came time for high school, I auditioned for the High School of Performing Arts on 46h Street in Manhattan and was accepted. High School was an incredible time – studio every day, meeting talented young people from all the boroughs. (I grew up in Queens so Queens was home, the other boroughs not so much, lol) We were teens, with all the angst and traumas of teen years and we were also neck-deep in absorbing the details and discipline necessary to nurture our interests.
It is a time I look back upon with great wonder and affection for the patience and wisdom I received from many of my studio and academic teachers. Nothing is ever perfect, and there were difficult episodes in high school and during my teenage years, in hindsight, PA was one of the best decisions of my life. The lessons learned there have served me well throughout my entire life. And, many of the friends I made in high school are still close friends today.
Upon graduating from high school, I had my eyes set on one particular school and they put me on their waiting list. I declined offers from two other very fine schools, and waited for the letter saying I was off the waiting list and on the accepted list. However, it was not to be. I was kind of stuck. At the time I received the disappointing news, I was in Mexico City visiting my father who had relocated t from San Francisco. So, I figured I might as well try university life in Mexico, I was there and it made sense to me. I was accepted into the United States International University – lived with my dad and my stepmother and siblings and started my college life. It was all academics, I did well but I missed the creative process, the daily explorations of self and creativity. It just so happened that my university had a School of Performing Arts (kismet) division in San Diego (USIU SPA). I auditioned and was accepted.
Apart from skill, your field of work requires perseverance. These days, how easy or difficult it is for young actors to get a break?
Talent abounds and perseverance is still a critical factor in pursuit of crafting your skills and having the opportunity to practice them. Focusing on a result, like “the break” can be frustrating and self defeating.
You recently appeared as Agnes in the production of “Secret Santa”. Tell us more about this experience.
Agnes is everyone’s office mom. Kind, sensitive, and just a little overprotective of her office mates. She is the person who calms bruised egos and builds you back up! I really enjoyed Agnes.
Urbanworld Film Festival is one of the largest competitive film festivals. How was your experience in the recently held Urbanworld Film Festival?
It was really terrific and very satisfying. Outstanding talent sharing time and space, what can possibly be better than that?
You have played critically acclaimed roles in several films. Which is your most memorable role so far?
Several years ago I participated in an evening of readings and I had the honor of reading letters from survivors of the Greenwood Massacre. I carry that experience in my heart and soul.
What suggestion would you give to young aspiring actors?
Advice is a tricky thing. What I want to share is that while my journey as an actor did not follow a straight course, I know that my heart never let go of the need to be creative. I found different outlets for that creativity and developed some new skills along the way. I think it’s important to remain flexible, receptive to new opportunities and trust your instincts.
In this Interview, LA based Critically Acclaimed Artist Jessica Soltis gets Candid on the Importance of Representation in the Field of Art
Based in Los Angeles, Jessica Soltis is a masterful artist critically acclaimed for her modern and abstract artworks.
According to Jessica, representation of black women in the field of art isn’t adequate and it wasn’t until college when she met her art professor, Denyse Thomasos who was a beautiful and talented black female artist. She firmly believes that young women can feel the same sense of belonging and empowerment that she did when she finally saw somebody that looked like her in the field of art. She also believes that there need to be more black women that find power in femininity.
Every trade in this world is associated with a stereotype. Do you believe that the art world is also driven by stereotypes?
Yes, of course. I think that our minds tend to gravitate towards quirky, eccentric, derelict outcasts. I don’t fit in that stereotype, and I aspire to change that perception. I’m a sequin and glitter badass!
As much as we talk about gender equality, the fact remains that even today, women face difficulties in their professional and personal lives. What challenges do you see women facing when it comes to the art world, especially when it comes to black women?
Representation is definitely still a problem. The impact that Naomi Campbell had on the impressionable minds of young black women’s vision of a supermodel is the exact wave of impact I aim to hit the art community with. The art community is a male-dominated industry, and I want to pave the way for young artists like myself to gain exposure.
You had a transformative experience when you met your art teacher Denyse Thomasos. Tell us more about that experience.
Denyse Thomasos, a beautiful black woman, was my first exposure into the art world. We all have heard the “starving artist” stigma. I never thought it was possible to sustain oneself solely on your art career. Denyse not only taught, but she created beautiful works of art and did gallery shows. She was the first person I looked up to in this industry and inspired me to courageously follow my passions. I want to instill that same sense of hope in the next generation of young black women.
Your artworks have been featured in Tivoli, Italy and in the Marcas Gallery, Southern California drawing in thousands of spectators. Tell us more about this experience.
It is an amazing and humbling feeling when you encounter others that love and appreciate your work. I receive every kind word and every art sale and can only emanate gratitude. Every compliment is received as if I am hearing it for the first time. It truly is a magical experience.
Your recent artwork ‘The Lady In The Shift Dress: Rebirth Of Femininity’ is critically acclaimed. What does this art represent?
The beauty of art is that it is open to interpretation. Your mood, your environment, or your state of mind all can affect your interpretation of someone’s art. What do you think it represents?
What more can be done to empower women, especially black women in the States?
There needs to be positive imagery of beautiful black women in the arts. We are made to be more than just the muse.
What suggestions you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I am far from perfect but all entrepreneurs need to have bulletproof faith in themselves. Others will project their fears and failures on you to try to throw you off or discourage you. Look within yourself to find your “why”; why are you doing what you are doing? Lastly, the most important thing is patience.
In this Interview, Rachel Withers gives some Valuable Advice on Health, Wellness, and Wealth Goals
Rachel Withers, through her various programmes, helps people achieve positive results and success in health and wellness along with teaching them how to have mastery over wealth. Her programmes are carefully crafted to give optimum outcomes for their participants. In this Interview, Rachel shared some valuable tips on how one can have a fulfilled life. She also underscored how important it is to not lose yourself in the whole process.
It’s often said that in order to live a fulfilled life, we need to achieve just 3 goals. Health, Wealth, and Happiness goals. But for most of us, even achieving a single goal could take a lifetime. Where exactly do people get lost?
I think you have to first ask yourself ‘how badly do I want it’ and whether you are truly in it from the start. You’ve got to have that internal belief system of ‘doing whatever it takes’.
I also think to achieve a goal you’ve got to use the motto ‘one step at a time’ and avoid juggling too many things, as you end up splitting your focus over many tasks, which just makes you lose the focus and actually takes you longer to hit goals.
“Successful people achieve their goals not because of who they are but because of what they do.”
It’s important to break the goal down into smaller chunks, with each chunk having its’own deadline. Successful people achieve their goals not because of who they are but because of what they do. Aristotle nailed it over 2000 years ago when he said ‘’We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
What according to you is financial freedom?
For me, it means being able to make life decisions. It’s about much more than just having money. It’s the freedom to be who you really are and do what you want in life.
One of the biggest hindrances in the path of an individual’s financial or other life goals is Procrastination. What are your views on this? How can one overcome procrastination?
Procrastination is one of the leading causes of failure. Procrastination also means one’s lack of ability in differentiating important tasks with unimportant ones.
We all can put things off but for me, the trick is to do the hard and important tasks first. Manage your environment, make sure it’s conducive to the task, and remove all distractions.
It is also seen that many achieve their financial goals but fail miserably at their health goals. Do you believe that of the three goals, health goals should be given a priority? How can one achieve a healthy lifestyle when people seem to be busy all the time?
Looking after your health is really important, in order to perform at your optimum, you’ve got to look after your mind and your body, for me that’s key to success. The better you look after your mind and body the more you’ll thrive. Putting off looking after your health means you don’t respect your body, it’s not a priority and you are procrastinating. In order to have a healthy lifestyle, one should have proper time management skills. With proper time management, you will never be in a rush and will always find some time for your health.
You have an exclusive club where people get introduced to an improved lifestyle, and they learn how to achieve overall personal development. Tell us more about your club.
I’m the founder of the Rachel Withers Academy, an online community, a community of likeminded women, who support one another to achieve their goals in a safe and supportive environment. A community for women who have the belief to do more, give more, be more, and create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, become more.
For our society to grow in a desired pace and manner, women entrepreneurs need to take the centre stage. What suggestions would you give to young women who want to take the path of entrepreneurship?
Women entrepreneurs have shown time and again what they are capable of. To anyone who wants to take the path of entrepreneurship, I would say that you follow your dreams and live life being true to yourself. Don’t look to others, or their opinions to give you a sense of worth. The world needs us all to shine. And most importantly, be true to yourself.
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