Category Archives: Arts & Culture

The Latest Issue of PANACHE Is Here!


Cover- Issue December 2018

Sabrina Reynolds’ 2019 collection of leather handbags shines in our final issue of 2018! Read her rebirth story by Marshelle Haseley on page 17. Then island-hop with us to Grenada as we shine the spotlight on Belmont Estate- a true foodie’s paradise. Kaleidoscope makes a colourful splash back into the Jamaican market- learn more about their future plans for the vibrant island. Get wooed once more with Miami Temptations as you check out Choiselle’s new soursop oil infused face elixir; amazing holiday recipes and more!

Happy Holidays from #TEAMPANACHE!

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The Amazing Amanyea

By Marshelle Haseley

Amanyea released “Aye aye,” her debut single and video in mid- September, sending waves through Jamaica, the region and even farther. The movement inducing tune was an absolutely fantastic start to a new chapter in her journey that appears to have so much magic ahead.

All Photos courtesy of Amanyea

It is said that names are powerful, and the names that are given impact us greatly as we walk through life. Amanyea says her name has a number of meanings in various cultures. “I love my name because of the different derivatives it has in many different languages and cultures,” she explained.

Amanyea said, “I was named after a dancer, Artistic Director in Chicago Amaniyea Payne. The meaning she chose to use for her name is “Amani” means “peace” in Swahili and  ‘Yea’ is a light force, a call ‘to you’—so combined it means ‘peace to you’.”

She said her mother chose to use “Aman” which means “peace” in Hindi, and the same “Yea” as a light force— combined, her name means the same— “peace to you”.  She said, “It is something you acquire, but it’s also something you always extend ( like reciprocity with mutual respect ).”


The artistic talent embodied by Amanyea would have been shining brightly for years leading up to the start of this new chapter in her journey. She said at this point, her mantra is  “Dawg wid too much massa sleep widout suppa.”  She explained her mantra to mean, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great. And while doing so, don’t lose focus because of the opinions of too many people (masters).”

The outstanding young Jamaican dancer said she did not get time to realise she could dance. “Mommy being Dr. L’Antoinette Stines, Artistic Director of L’Acadco, I started dancing at an extremely young age,” she said. In a funny tone, she said she has yet to realise she received the gift of dance.

Singing, however, was a different process. Finding a tone which best suited her soul was a process— digging deeper to discover who she was as a musician— both as a vocalist, and a songwriter. “I realized I wanted to do it when I was 11— then I realized that I ‘needed’ do this at 18. The only thing that was stopping me was fear and opinions— hence, the mantra.”

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“I received many, many years of formal training in dance. I trained with Dr. Stines at L’Acadco, Ballet Training with Elizabeth Samuda and Cathy-Ann Gibbon for Royal Academy of Dance, Cuban Moderna with Arsenio Andrade, and many more,” she said. As soon as she was inspired to begin her journey as a recording artiste she did a number of vocal training sessions, “ but not enough to say I am vocally trained,” she added. Amanyea said her vocal training sessions are important and is continuous.

Her style is unlike anything one would see walking through the city of Kingston. Her eclectic style stands out in any crowd, though she is not a physically tall person—her style and the energy she wears around it makes her seem ten feet tall. Asked about her style she said, “Travel and my background. I grew up around artistic, cultured, ‘MAD’people.” She said fortunately, she has been traveling before she could walk or talk.

“I love different cultures, I love traveling and I unconsciously grab from these different experiences and cultures I’ve encountered,” she said warmly. Amanyea’s mother and brothers are all lovers of music. She said they would listen to Bach, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Beyonce’, and then Jay Z. “It was a vibrant, colourful home that I grew up in.  I was exposed to a wide range of music from a very young age,” she said.

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The uncontainable creative life force within her may be responsible for how she experiences the process of creating. She said what she enjoys most about creating is freedom. She said, “I enjoy the freedom of my mind. I get to express in so many different ways, freely, uncensored and comfortably.  I get to freely be myself.”

Many artists say they experience a depth which seems almost like an out-of-body experience when immersed in their craft, but she said she views the concept a little differently. “For me, it’s the other way around. Being immersed in my craft is a ‘reality’ for me. I don’t feel lost, I actually feel like I have found ‘Om’— ultimate consciousness” she explained.  She said her experience is as though everything else she focused on made her lost, while her craft remains the only stable thing in her life. “I finally told myself that  4 years ago— and ever since then, I have been the most focused and ‘found’ I have ever been.”

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Amanyea was asked how she maintained a powerful energy amidst challenges such as a recent injury. She said, “After going to four different specialists in the past year I finally got an MRI done. I had a flap of cartilage that needed to be shaved down. I went in for what may seem like an hour surgery tops and came out 4 hours later. Turns out I had Grade 4 Chondromalacia of the patella and the femoral sulcus.” This means Amanyea had a condition where the cartilage on the under surface of her kneecap deteriorated and softened—a condition common among young athletes.

She was also diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and Synovitis, which is the medical term for a condition where the body tissues lining the joints possess cavities—causing pain and swelling when the joint moves. For any dancer, this would feel like a nightmare.

On April 5, 2018, she said,  “I had arthroscopy surgery done, debridement and microfracture of the femoral sulcus and patella. I lost 17lbs post-surgery and after 8 weeks I started my physiotherapy journey.”

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“I am going to be honest with you— I had fear, emotional pain, and I felt discouraged. I am still pushing and this is still very emotional for me. But I must say – I used my support system as much as possible. I tend to be a loner— but during this whole process I realized how much I need my friends and family,” she explained.

She said she also wanted people to get to know her on social media, “Me— not the pretty side but, me. But social Media only saw the semi-hard parts of my journey. I went through a lot more than I chose to share. I was bedridden for 6 weeks, sent to the hospital because of bad reactions to the pain medicines.

Did more than half of my painful journey without pain meds because I was afraid of the side effects.”

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She said, “ If I didn’t have my friends, and my family around— I wouldn’t have made it this far. I am lucky to also have a physiotherapist who is also a friend— and especially my Mother, Dr. L’Antoinette Stines. She did everything for me, lol “bade me, feed me, everything me” – when I couldn’t myself. It’s okay to need help. I told myself I will be able to do what I love. I am lucky to have 2 loves, Music and Dance and the people around me definitely told me the same. Don’t worry, we got this.”

In wrapping up we asked Amanyea three final questions:

P: What can we look forward to from you?

A: Music. This is only the beginning of my career. I can’t wait for people to hear more of my music and see more of my art, blossom. My aim is to blend all my talents together in one. I released my single September 7th, and the feedback had made me so excited. I am grateful, that so far, people love what they hear and see. Shocking of course, because I am being vulnerable, putting my art out there for people to either love, ridicule, scorn, hate etc. But so far I am humbled at how well received it has been. So, look forward to more music and dance, but not separated anymore. 

P: Where do you visualise seeing yourself one year from now?

A: Can I tell you one year from now? lol I see myself being an artiste, just more potent.

P: What message would you give to Amanyea at 15 years old?

A: Do not be afraid. Cliché? Yes. But I was so afraid to do all the things I wanted to do, I was afraid of opinions, of being laughed at. Dancing was my comfort zone. I wish I was confident enough to sing, and write. Join clubs just for that. But I was afraid.  Fear is a hell of a thing. 

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Calabash: The Best Literary Festival

Words by Justine Henzell & Photography by Collin Reid

One of the best ways to spend a weekend anywhere in the world is at the Calabash International Literary Festival in Treasure Beach. A small fishing village on Jamaica’s rugged south coast may sound like an odd place for book lovers from around to congregate but that seaside haven is exactly where thousands make a pilgrimage to every other year.

Yes thousands! From all over Jamaica and from all over the world for 3 days and nights of readings and music which are all presented for free. As the organisers say “Passion is the only price of entry”. Started in 2001 by three friends, Colin Channer, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell Calabash is now firmly established on the world calendar of literary events and has hosted Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer prize winners, Man Booker Prize winners, MacArthur Genius Award winners and many Poet Laureates from around the world.

The 2018 staging saw four Lady Laureates reading together for the very first time anywhere – Carol Ann Duffy from the UK, Georgette LeBlanc from Canada, Tracy Kay Smith from the USA and Jamaica’s own Lorna Goodison. Readings of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and memoir are all popular as are the in-depth and often hilarious conversations. Open Mic is expertly guided by Professor Carolyn Cooper and the standard is very high – the audience makes sure of that!

The next staging of Calabash will be May 29-31 2020 so make your reservations now! Follow @calabashfest for all updates.

Be sure to check out reviews from authors that attended the event earlier this summer! See link below:

Panache Mag August 2018

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PANACHE Magazine Wins Big at CTO Travel Media Awards In New York

Best Feature by Caribbean Journalist for a Caribbean Media

June 8, 2018, New York, USA

Kinisha and Tricia
Kinisha Correia (L), award-winning journalist, and Tricia Williamson, CEO & Editorial Director, PANACHE, proudly display their winning award at the recent Caribbean Travel Media Awards in New York.

PANACHE Magazine (the flagship travel and lifestyle magazine from the PANACHE Digital Media family), has won the Best Feature Award that appeared in a Caribbean-based media by a Caribbean-based Journalist.  This was announced at the coveted Caribbean Travel Media Awards in New York on Friday, June 8, 2018.

The award-winning feature, “More than Just Beads: Story and Myth,” which was written by Kinisha Correia, was published in the October 2017 issue and showcased the work of Story & Myth, a Jamaican brand which specialises in, “island-inspired handmade jewellery.”   The four-page feature, which included photography by Niesha Brown, was a unique celebration of stunning earthiness behind each Story & Myth bracelet and necklace.  The feature shared details on how each bead is made and highlighted the fact that they are created by local artisans, many of whom are physically disabled.   The creations of these individuals provide them with much-needed income for their families.


Tricia Williamson, CEO and Editorial Director of PANACHE Magazine, said, “We are honoured by this achievement.  This win speaks volumes to our unwavering commitment to being the voice for Jamaican and Caribbean stories that truly connect with our readers. I commend Kinisha on the way she utilised her writing prowess to produce such a well-written story that captured the imagination of the readers and I am forever grateful to Story & Myth for allowing us to share their powerful story through our magazine.”

Award-winning writer, Kinisha Correia, shared, “I’m appreciative and honoured that my work has been recognized by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). I’m also proud that the piece selected was on a business creating change by weaving environmental and socially conscious practices into its work. Winning this award strengthens the message that business can be a force for good in the region. I’m grateful to be a part of that cultural shift.”

Kristie Stephenson, owner of Story & Myth, added that she was, “…thrilled and excited that these long time oral mythical stories are getting acknowledged in the mainstream.”

This was PANACHE’s first time participating in the prestigious travel media awards and along with the historic win; the magazine was also a finalist for Best Photograph Accompanying a Feature.  The image by Ikenna Douglas, which was displayed on the PANACHE Magazine Cover of April 2017, was the entry in this Category.

We’re very proud and excited at PANACHE!  This win is a “celebration of excellence” and we are humbled to know that our efforts are seen in that light!  We are also truly grateful for the recognition of our Caribbean talent by the CTO, as we know that this will serve as motivation to other upcoming Caribbean journalists,” shared Tricia Williamson.


PANACHE Communications/ PANACHE Digital Media is a magazine publishing and digital marketing company based in Jamaica and the USA. PANACHE Magazine is published six times annually in print on demand via Magcloud and free digital editions at

For more info, visit

About the CTO Travel Media Awards

The Caribbean tourism industry cherishes its strong relationship with the media and in appreciation for their constant positive coverage of the region, recognizes media for influencing their readers to travel to the Caribbean.  This recognition took place in New York City during Caribbean Week New York.

To honour the media’s exceptional work in promoting the Caribbean, in feature print, broadcast and online, we invite CTO government members, their public relations agencies and journalists to provide us with their top media placements for 2017 on CTO member countries. Awards will be presented to journalists from US and Caribbean-based media.

For more info, visit:

Deep in the Wood Work with Tamara Harding

Trees sprout up from the earth- fed by the soil, maintained by water, and given energy from sunlight. They expand- extending toward the clouds, stretching branches and digging roots deep and wide. Development and a myriad of human ventures see many trees being cut. But isn’t it a wonderful thought that somehow we can keep these trees in our spaces after they are cut? So they can somehow continue to add that powerful earth element to our spaces. Tamara Harding, the creator of Mara Made Designs may have had this thought, resulting in what may be among the most remarkable pieces of functional art in the world. A body of work which emerged in shapes and forms from trees – “Blue Mountains to Mocho.”

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Photos courtesy of Tamara Harding

“The magic begins before the tree is cut,” she said with excitement shining through her eyes.

Walking into her workspace, you’d first see sawdust like snow, huge blocks and trunks of trees. You’d see strong men paying close attention to the instructions coming from a relatively smaller frame assertively guiding the team- clothed in overalls and protective gear. You would then receive the warmest greeting in a cheerful tone, accompanied by a beautiful smile from the leader of the team. That is the duality that is Tamara “Mara” Harding.


Tamara speaks to us in her living room, opening up about her journey as a dyslexic tomboy with a high IQ. A child who absorbed information a little differently from most- but clearly had the ability to express it in ways that were nothing less than clever, original, and inventive. “Being dyslexic was almost definitive of my nature. It required me finding other ways to get things done. I had to work on the traditional ways of learning, and creating.” A deep appreciation and exploration of her whole self as an individual was also another defining quality of Harding. She describes herself as the teenager who cared about her nails and ballet, but also thoroughly enjoyed playing competitive water polo. This “ebb and flow” of her nature, as she calls it, is what she flows over into her creations. It was a moment of awe, discovering that “Mara” was not formally trained to do what she now does. She was not trained in woodwork, metalwork or visual arts- yet she creates some of the most stunning pieces to be found in homes, restaurants and boardrooms all around Jamaica.


Deepak Chopra speaks of the fact that “…even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might not have imagined.” This is likely to have been the case with Harding. After being involved in the business of doing home renovations, followed by running a successful advertising agency with her husband, Zachary- she still experienced what she described as a “feeling of urgency- like time was running out.” The feeling of urgency came along with the feeling of a need for a more holistic and deeply purposeful, passion-filled day to day kind of productivity. In response to these prodigious changes, after five years of operation and tremendous growth- the doors of “Agency 20Seven” were closed. The closure of her corporate business operations allowed her the time and silence- which gave way to her spending more time with herself and more time for mindfulness in nature, which allowed a creative awakening. An inspiration which prompted her to act- gaining momentum, propelling her love for creating to where it has now become a booming business driven by passion and purpose.

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And like a tree, she is rejuvenated by nature with her feet in the soil, at the beach or rivers, her soul being maintained by water and absorbing energy from the sun’s rays. She is expanding- extending toward the clouds, stretching and digging roots deep and wide.

Deepak Chopra speaks of the fact that,“Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might not have imagined.”

The work by Mara Made Designs speaks for itself- when you experience it, you will feel it!|P

Capturing The Jamaican Culture (Shot By Deth)

Photography by Keanu Gordon

To quote words from the most prolific dancehall artist of the 21st century, Vybz Kartel “Dancehall a mi everything”, is a sentiment shared by many both locally and internationally. Within the dancehall sphere, many jobs and opportunities are created, but being able to capture an image of a particular time or occurrence could shift the way we view the dancehall industry or even the Jamaican society itself. This is why photography is considered an art because it literally encapsulates and immortalizes the world in a single shot/moment. Jamaica, being a breeding ground of art, has its fair share of photographers but only a few stand out from the very expressive bunch. The “few” are the ones who possess the capability to instantly evoke an emotion that enables the viewer to create a conversation about/around the story they just saw, that and the unique way that the image is taken and edited. Looking at the artist, dance moves, fashion and just the richness of culture, one is often prompted to ask about the person who is able to put a thousand words into a single image.

Keanu Gordon (Shot By Deth) is a 19-year-old self-taught photographer hailing from the capital city Kingston,  who captures the Jamaican dancehall scene through an artistic millennial purview. His excitingly colorful yet often somber pictures usually showcase somewhat of an x-ray into the content of the image. Seemingly candid, the pictures give a youthful take on the ever so evolving dancehall scene which in my opinion gives international viewers a modern take on the Jamaican culture and dancehall industry. Being this creative with a fresh eye and a unique signature, Keanu has most certainly begun to charter his course in photography and the artistic arena. He is also proof that the memories of particular dancehall happenings will most certainly be preserved.

MBJ Airports to host International Reggae Poster Contest awards and exhibition

Sangster International Airport operator MBJ Airports is pleased to announce it will host an awards ceremony and exhibition for the annual International Reggae Poster Contest on 17 November 2017.

The exhibition will feature the top 100 posters from the fifth annual contest, selected from among 1,270 entries submitted by 748 graphic designers representing 75 nations. The winning submissions can be seen on the competition’s website,

The first place winner, Russian national Julia Egorova, has won a trip to Jamaica sponsored by MBJ Airports and the Spanish Court Hotel to participate in the awards ceremony and spend a week exploring the island’s culture. Second place went to Cortney Benvenuto of the US, and third place to Simona Galizia, of Italy. Posters created by two Jamaican graphic designers, Andre Hutchinson and Phillip Taylor, were also selected for the exhibition.

The International Reggae Poster Contest invites sponsors to join MBJ Airports in supporting the awards ceremony and exhibition. The International Reggae Poster Contest will be held alongside a ceremony awarding winners of an artisan’s competition, whose crafts will be made available for sale in partnering retail outlets at the airport.

The brainchild of late Jamaican graphic designer Michael “Freestylee” Thompson, the International Reggae Poster Contest was launched in 2012 in collaboration with Greek graphic designer Maria Papaefstathiou. Jamaican cultural critic and retired University of the West Indies Professor Carolyn Cooper is an advisor and board member of the organization behind the competition. Exhibitions have been held across the world at Jamaican embassies, reggae festivals, in galleries, museums and universities. This is the first year the exhibition will be hosted by an airport.

As its primary objective, the contest engages reggae fans from across the globe by providing a platform for artistic expression that celebrates the universal appeal of and respect for Jamaican music. The outpouring of artistic talent in turn heightens Jamaica’s musical presence internationally, supporting the founders’ vision for a world class Reggae Hall of Fame in Kingston.

Secondly, the contest aims to raise awareness and funding through the sale of posters for the Alpha Boys’ School, a non-profit institute that provides vocational training and general education for 150 teens and young men from inner city communities. Alpha Boys’ School has nurtured several notable icons of Jamaican music and continues to make an important social and cultural contribution.

Notwithstanding its name, the Poster Contest welcomes submissions that celebrate all genres of Jamaican music, from mento to ska, rocksteady and dancehall. Two jury panels are comprised of 24 judges each, hailing from Jamaica, Canada, Greece, the US, Mexico, Cuba, Ghana, China, Japan, Bolivia, Italy, Israel and the UK.

About MBJ Airports:

MBJ Airports Limited, operator of Sangster International Airport, is a partnership between Mexico-based Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP) and Canada-based Vantage Airport Group Ltd. through a 30-year concession agreement with the Government of Jamaica that began in 2003. For more information about MBJ Airports, please visit

001. Positive vibrations | Julia Egorova – Russia 001. Positive vibrations | Julia Egorova – Russia

Meet the Models: PANACHE Body Collection Calendar 2017

PANACHE CALENDAR 2017: The Body Collection

By PANACHE Communications INC in PANACHE Calendar 2017

28 pages, published 1/13/2017

The hottest calendar in Jamaica, the PANACHE Calendar 2017: “The Body Collection” builds on last year’s inaugural release. This year we focus health and fitness and spotlighting 11 beautifully sculpted Jamaican men!

Photography by Craig Harley

The hottest calendar in Jamaica, the PANACHE Body Collection builds on last year’s inaugural release. This year we focus health and fitness and in this feature happily introduce you to our calendar models… 11 beautifully sculpted Jamaican men!

DAMION MOODIE, Businessman

Why do you think your boyfriend material?  “I believe I’m boyfriend material because I’m educated, good looking and know how to treat a lady.”
What traits do you look for in a woman? A girl who is a bit on the short side, who Is intelligent with a great sense of humor, and not too sensitive.
What is the one thing you can’t live without? “I can’t live without the Gym!”
Who do you think should make the first move? “I always make the first move once I see a girl I like, I always go for.”


Why are you boyfriend Material? “I believe I’m boyfriend material because of my moral standards. I’m selfless, I like to have fun and I’m very romantic.”
What traits do you love in a woman? “A woman who is healthy and loves the gym, also has moral standards, a bit shorter than I am as I am 5ft 8inches, and must be a friend.”
What was the best compliment you ever got? “Best smile ever.”
What is the one thing you could not live without? “I could not live without keeping fit.”

DWIGHT JAMES, Gym Instructor

What traits do you love in a woman? “I love when a woman is loving, quiet and clean”
What is the one thing you could no live without? “Women, food, water, gym and money.”
Who do you think should make the first move? “Ladies should always make the first move.”
At what point do you know a relationship is right? “Once you know that she is willing to forgive.”

ORAN CARBY, Attendant

Describe yourself in your own words? “Athletic, love to watch movies (action and comedy). I like to bake and cook, lift weights and also a family person.”
What special date would you do for your lady on Valentine’s Day? “Cook something special for her, and then a lap dance later.”
Name three things you plan to do before you die? “I plan to travel Jamaica, go sky diving and visit Egypt.”
What was the best compliment you ever got? “Is all that yours?”
What are the main things you think makes a relationship work? “Trust and Love.”

BRUCE CHIN, Personal Trainer

Describe yourself in your own words? “Driven young individual- owner of several business, one being a gym sponsored by Spryvelocity nutrition; a regional competitor in the Jamaica Amateur Body Building and Fitness Association.”
What traits do you love in a woman? “I like a woman who can be a conversationalist, who is independent and has a lot of pride and one who is not shallow.”
What do you do in your spare time? “Workout, travel, parties, “youtuber” (check out ‘awesomewhey’), video editing, playing the guitar and singing.”
What was the best compliment you ever got? “You look like Greek god sculpture.”

PHILLIP GROVES, Personal Trainer / Massage therapist

Describe yourself in your own words? “I’m a hardworking person who considers himself a go-getter. I like to cook, sing and have fun whenever I can.”
Tell us something some persons don’t know about you? “I was in the military for thirteen years.”
Name three things you plan to do before you die? “Sky diving, visiting the Great Wall of China and also Mount Everest.”
What was the best compliment you ever got? “Are all Jamaican men this fine?”
What are the main things you think make a relationship work? “Communication, honesty and commitment.”

LENROY MORRISON, Air Traffic Controller

Why are you boyfriend material? “I am boyfriend material because I have brains, brawn, and good looks.”
What traits do you love in a woman? “Healthy, caring and image conscious.”
Who do you think should make the first move? “The person who wants something to happen.”
Name two things you would like to do before you die?  “1. Build my dream house and 2. travel to places on my bucket list.”
At what point do you know a relationship is right? “When you both are able to tolerate the little things that use to annoy you.”

CHRISTOPHER CHUNG, Trainer/Mortician

Describe yourself in your own words? “I’m Self-motivated, ambitious, and down to earth. I also love to work smart.”
What special date would you do for your lady on Valentine’s Day? “First surprise her with jewelry and chocolate, then take her on a date. Probably go to the movies then go out to dinner.”
Who do you think should make the first move? “I believe ladies should always make the first move.”
Name three things you plan to do before you die? “Open five gyms, Tour the world, and go skiing.”
What is the one superpower do you wish you had? “The power to teleport.”

LEO FOSTER, Banker & Personal Trainer

Describe yourself in your own words? “I am a single father of one with a passion for helping people. Loving God and all His creations.”
What traits do you look for in a woman? “Beauty and brains with an incredible sense of humor.”
What do you do in your spare time? “Travelling, playing football, creating meals plans, workout programs and drinking rum.”
What is the best compliment you ever gotten? “You are the kindness person I have ever met.”
What super power do you wish you had? “I wish I could read minds.”

ANDRE BROWN, Fitness Instructor

What is one thing you wish woman knew about men? “That some men can be emotional beings.”
Describe yourself in your own words? “I’m pretty outspoken. I love motivating people around me. I consider myself strong, loving, caring and emotional.”
What do you do in your spare time? “Love spending time with my son, I invest time in my relationships, and also time in the gym.”
At what point do you know a relationship is right? “Again it comes down to trust, especially when someone can be open about who they are with, publicly let the world know this is who I am with.”


What’s the one thing you wish more women knew about men? “I wish more women knew how sensitive men are”.
How would you describe yourself in your own words? “I’m a minimalist, I believe simplicity is best, I’m adventurous, and will always be a student of life.”
What do you like to do for fun? “I like to solve problems for fun, draw, write poems and also try to learn something new each day.”
What was the best compliment you ever got? “You’re a beautiful man”
What are the main things you think make a relationship work? “The ability to accept flaws and the beauty beyond the flaws.”

The First Five: A Reflection On the Pioneering Efforts of the First Five Negro Patrolmen In Miami

By Tricia Williamson |Photography by Craig Harley

When the United States entered the Second World War, Blacks were extensively recruited to serve in primarily menial roles the Armed Forces. Following the war, Black soldiers returned to Miami causing the Black population to swell, contributing to the need for greater law enforcement opportunities in the historically Black neighborhoods.

In 1944, the City’s Black population had reached 43,187, with most living in the Central Negro District, formerly called “Colored Town.” In a feverish lobbying effort, leaders of the newly created Negro Citizens League finally convinced the City that a Black police presence was essential. Don D. Rosenfelder, Director of the Public Safety Department responsible for police services, began his recruitment of the men who would become the first Black policemen by asking Black leaders to nominate suitable candidates. There was so much resistance from Whites that the training of the Black officers was achieved “under extreme secrecy.” On September 1, 1944, five African-American men made history when they were sworn in as the City of Miami’s first Black police officers. They were: Ralph White, Moody Hall, Clyde Lee, Edward Kimball, and John Milledge. These pioneering men, however, were not referred to as “officers” as were their White counterparts, but instead, as “patrolmen.” These patrolmen were assigned to the “Central Negro District,” an area that included parts of Liberty City and Colored Town (Overtown). The newly created Black police force became a division independent of the White police force, and first operated from the office of dentist Ira P. Davis at 1036 SW 2nd Avenue. The patrolmen were allowed to arrest only African Americans, and had no authority over Whites. There was no job security or retirement benefits, as the patrolmen were not classified as civil service personnel like their White counterparts.

One year later, the number of Black patrolmen had grown to 15 and they were assigned to the historically Black areas of Coconut Grove. The men were given a prescribed route to travel between Overtown and Coconut Grove that would keep them from interacting with Whites as much as possible.
They were directed to clear crowded sidewalks, stop all gambling and profanity, confiscate weapons as well as stop and frisk suspicious people or known troublemakers. As a result, violent crimes in Black areas were reduced by fifty percent.
In the current era, where universal civil rights is accepted as an inviolate principal, it is profoundly important to recognize the time in our history when the segregation of races was the order of the day. The Black Police Precinct and Courthouse remains as a testament to those pioneering African American police officers who, under the most egregious of circumstances, made significant strides in attaining equality, and who distinguished themselves both in their once limited locality and the entire city, and went on to influence national policy. |P|


By Tricia Williamson

Lyric Theater History Built in 1913, the Lyric Theater quickly became a major entertainment center for blacks in Miami. The 400- seat theater was built, owned and operated by Geder Walker, an enterprising Georgian who came to Miami prior to 1900. The theater anchored the district known as “Little Broadway,” an area alive with hotels, restaurants and nightclubs frequented by black and white tourists and residents. It served the community as a movie and vaudeville theater for almost fifty years, and was a symbol of black economic influence – free of discrimination – and a source of pride and culture within Overtown.

An actual Ku Klux Klan cross in the archives of the Historic Lyric Theatre. One could still smell the soot from the burnt cloth that was used to wrap this symbol of racial hate.

Photo credit: PANACHE Magazine

An actual Ku Klux Klan cross in the archives of the Historic Lyric Theatre. One could still smell the soot from the burnt cloth that was used to wrap this symbol of racial hate.

After his death in 1919, Walker’s wife Henrietta continued to operate the Lyric which was also used as a community auditorium. School children and civic groups performed on its state and special events such as commencement ceremonies were held there. Visiting luminaries like Mary McCloud Bethune, Ethel Waters, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers lectured and sang at the Lyric. The Lyric continued to operate as a movie theater until 1959 when it became a church of the General Assembly of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. When Overtown began to deteriorate in the 1960′s the Lyric Theater closed and would remain shuttered for decades.

The Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc. acquired the Lyric Theater in 1988. By 1989, the Theater, the lone surviving building in “Little Broadway,” was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and Phase 1 of restoration of the former showplace began. In 2000, after extensive rehabilitation, the newly restored Lyric Theater opened once again to audiences. In 2004, Phase 2 of reconstruction was completed, with the construction of a new lobby, box office, concession area and offices for the theater. Phase 3, expansion of the Lyric Theater, is currently underway and includes construction of: a studio theater/meeting space, additional wing space and a fly loft for the stage itself, a catering kitchen, a loading dock, a scene shop, archival administration offices, exhibition space, and other backstage operational areas. The theater officially reopened to the public in February 2014.

Renamed the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex, it is now the oldest legitimate theater in Miami. Adjacent to the central downtown business district of Miami, it is an anchor site of the Historic Overtown Folklife Village. Just as in Overtown’s glory days during the early part of the 20th century, the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater is poised to once again become, in the 21st century, a symbol of black economic influence, as well as a social gathering place – free of discrimination – and a source of pride and culture within Overtown.|P|