Black Entrepreneur Spotlight: Tammy Williams, MSW Founder & Owner of Imena Salon

Imena38Tammy Williams, MSW is the Founder & Owner of Imena Salon in East Harlem. Trained in Social Work & Cosmetology Tammy and her staff  provide holistic haircare to their clients. Imena Salon specializes in natural hair but the staff can do a variety of styles for all textures of hair. Other Imena services include eyebrow shaping, make-up, workshops and events.

While studying at Hunter School of Social Work Tammy researched hair, mental health and Black women, the result of this research is the documentary Beautiful which she produced and directed.

Listen to the interview below for Tammy’s words of wisdom on building a business, natural hair, beauty and mental health. For more information visit: http://www.imenainc.com.

“As a business owner you have to have faith.”-Tammy Williams

 

 

 

Prayers for Children

Sandy HookMy heart was saddened when I learned of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but I was also reminded that in the inner-city children are shot and killed everyday. Growing up in East New York, Brooklyn I was accustomed to hearing gun shots and hitting the floor for cover at an early age, this is a tragedy as well. In Chicago for 6-months in 2012 on average 50 people were killed by gun violence a month (many children and teens), this is higher than the death rate in war torn countries. Trauma research has shown that youth in inner-city communities in California have higher trauma rates than youth in Iraq-this is a tragedy as well. I do not like to compare pain because pain is pain but what we must overstand is that when we allow the poor to die for years without concern we open ourselves up for tragedies like Sandy Hook. ALL life is sacred! Black, white, rich, poor, children, teens and elderly. What is done to one affects all because you can not build a gated community to keep out the violence and pain of the rejected. Yes we need access to mental health and gun control but what we also need are villages that will shepherd youth with love and justice.

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What Vincent van Gogh can Teach us about Clergy, Artist & Depression

Though I still love Kandinsky I have to show some love to Vincent van Gogh. Many may not know that he was a missionary early in life and tried to become a minister but failed in theology school and was fired from his missionary post for actually following in Christ foot steps and living among the poor miners he ministered to; he actually slept on the floor and lived in poverty by choice. The church felt his choice demeaned the office of minister-wow what spiritual ignorance. What many may not know is that Van Gogh’s most well known work Starry Night is a powerful indictment on the church because all the buildings in the painting have lights that are turned on except–the church. Starry Night always challenges me to consider about my role as a faith-based organizer and spiritual person-is the light of Christ turned on in my life? On one hand I have always wondered (with indignation) what  the church lost because Van Gogh was not allowed to minister, but the Holy Spirit allowed me to see  that by being kicked out of the church Van Gogh’s purpose was able to expand so that generations are able to benefit from his art. Sometimes our anointing and gifts are too expansion for the church, but I don’t want to start preaching so I will let you all meditate on that! “Van Gogh aspired to become an artist in God’s service, stating: “…to try to understand the real significance of what the great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God; one man wrote or told it in a book; another in a picture.” Van Gogh can teach us much about what true ministry is and the role of depression in the lives of many artist and clergy(yes many clergy suffer with depression even Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King faced bouts of depression).

English: Theo van Gogh, 21 years of age. Accor...

English: Theo van Gogh, 21 years of age. According to the Nationaal Archief this would be Vincent van Gogh, the source of this photograph is the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. However, Stedelijk Museum transferred their material to the Van Gogh Museum when it was founded. The latter states it is a depiction of Theo van Gogh.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personally, I have struggled with depression and though I am healed from the darkest bouts, to stay in that healing I have to lean on God’s grace, seek out help and make choices each day to live in joy.

What can the life and work of Van Gogh teach us about the role of depression in the lives of ministers and artist?

Note: as I understand Van Gogh my have lost his faith after being rejected by a woman he was pursuing and her family, but anyone who walks this path of faith knows that there are ups and downs and so we can not judge the final destination his journey.