Wednesday, March 19, 2014



Brown Gyrls, Incorporated is a vision given by God to Latasha Johnson in October of 2013.

 Mrs. Johnson, who already has a thriving accessory business in Che’ Bella Customs and 

partner in Put It On A T-shirt Clothing, decided that there was a need 

for a parent company to house these ventures. Thus, Brown Gyrls, Inc was born. BGI is not

only a home for these companies but also an entity on its own. BGI produces events 

where vendors can network and sell their products, community events and parties with a 

purpose!! Come join us on this ride we call the Brown Gyrl Experience!

3375  Tell us when and how your career got started?

Tasha  I really through myself into this career. I've always loved a good party and loved to have fun. Event planning just kind of came to me. Ive always wanted people to have a good time and just wanted to be apart of making it happen.

3375   Can you tell us about Brown Gyrls?

 Tasha  Brown Gyrls is an event planning and promotions company. We produce events of our own such as our semi annual SASS event, complete with vendors and our Sticks N Stilettos event that is coming up in June. But we also plan events for clients anything from birthday parties to black tie events. No event is too big or too small

3375   How did Brown Gyrl come about?

Tasha   Brown Gyrls is a vision I received from God honestly. I had been thinking about it off and on for the past year or so and God finally said, Now is the time, and we were off and running. I grabbed some friends of mine that are very talented and was willing to take this journey with me and we've been rolling ever since.

 3375   Tell us about your first events?

 Tasha  Our first event was our SASS(Sip and Stroll Social) in February 2014. It was wonderful. It went off without a hitch and we still have people saying they can't believe it was our first event. We had great music, a wonderful caterer and 13-15 vendors promoting their businesses, we also had raffles. It was a really good time, we are doing it again in the Summer.

3375    What role does your family play in your success?

 Tasha  My family plays a huge part in this. My husband, Lamont, is actually Brown Gyrls CFO. We really wouldn't be able to do this without him. My kids have been so understanding realizing that Mommy may work from home but I'm always busy...they have been real awesome.

 3375   Who inspires you?

Tasha  People that have dared to step out on faith and start their own business, no matter what it is, they inspire me. The women entrepreneurs that we have connected with on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, they inspire me. The people that grind daily, just to carve their own path...they inspire me.

3375   Whats the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

 Tasha  The first thing I do? I pray. I that God continues to keep and provide for my family and I thank him for everything that He has done so far in my life and the lives of those around me.
3375   How important is it to give back to your community?

 Tasha  It is very important. Our goal is to find a charity or non-profit organization to partner with. Right now, we are looking to plan an event for Ovarian Cancer Awareness in September.

 3375   What is your greatest accomplishment?

 Tasha  My greatest accomplishment to date is getting Brown Gyrls off the ground and having a very successful event.

 3375   How can we find you online?

 Tasha  We can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Our website is still currently under construction.

 3375   Do you have any shout outs?

Tasha  HUGE shout out to my Director of Operations, NuDasha Gratic-Fludd. Social Media Director, Joi Donaldson. CFO, Lamont Johnson without those three people Brown Gyrls would not be possible. And all those that have followed us and liked our page and shared our info. 2014 is the year of the Brown Gyrl, stay tuned for future events!!


* April 19, 2014 - In conjunction with Motivation Central  Dreamcatchers Music Symposium and Conference 

* May 3, 2014 - Unbreakable Bond: Mother/Daughter Brunch with guest speaker Rev. Lakeisha Cook of St. Paul's Baptist Church. 

*July 2014 - SASS event 

Thursday, March 6, 2014




The Joi Element was birthed from the marriage of poetry and the right side of Joi Donaldson’s brain. Joi Donaldson has been writing since the age of seven. Diagnosed with Dysthymia at an early  age, her painfully shy nature gave way to her truly creative side, allowing her to best express herself through written word. Fast-forward a few years, after a painful bout with Endometriosis, the birth of her daughter and a messy separation, Joi finally found herself and her voice. She started performing Spoken Word on a whim in 2010 and since then she has embraced the stage and the art form. The emotional reactions she receives, ranging from laughter to tears to revelation, feed her spirit. Desired in her community for not only her written work but also her ambiance, Joi is frequently requested for special events and appearances. Joi Donaldson has written three books to date: To She Found Daydreaming in Glasses, Full of Myself and Things I want to Say, respectively. She is the sole owner and founder of Right Side Reign LLC, a creative collective that houses her book and album sales, videography/editing services and creative consulting ventures. Some of her clients include Michael “Maestro” Turner of Motivation Central LLC, Brown Gyrl Inc. and Shauna Denee of Shauna Denee Ministries. A member and staple of The Project Band RVA, Joi can be seen and heard performing weekly in The Listening Room Unplugged. She also serves faithfully on the audio/visual team at Village of Faith Ministries. Joi Donaldson refuses to allow her illness or former depressive diagnosis to define her passion. She discovered her mission is to tell her story, to encourage those who have experienced similar trials and she strives to do so through her poetry, Spoken Word and the occasional song.

3375 So, tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from?

Joi   I am originally from South Richmond, VA even though I call Newport News my second

3375  When and why did you begin writing?

Joi  My creativity was cultivated initially out of necessity. I began writing at age 7 because
I was very shy and awkward. I wasn’t great with my words at all when speaking so I
resorted to writing to express myself fully.

3375   What inspired you to write your first book?

Joi   I came across notebooks and binders filled with my old poems and stories. I started
reading them and during my maternity leave I decided to turn them into a book. The
book began to evolve as I went through some of my darkest seasons, most notably
separating from my then-husband and becoming an unemployed single mom. A ton of
rewrites followed until I had drawn the picture God wanted me to show.

3375   So I have to ask, do you ever experience writer's block? If so,
how do you get through it?

Joi   I experienced my longest and deepest writer’s block during my senior year of high
school going into college. I couldn’t write because I was so numb. My grandmother
was diagnosed with cancer and I was grief stricken. I slowly came out of it during my
sophomore year of college. Now if I have writer’s block, I step away from whatever I’m
working on. I find that helps me gain a new perspective and frees up my thoughts.

3375   So let’s switch gears for a moment. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I am just now considering myself a Writer. Initially I just saw myself as someone who
writes because her spoken words tend to get in the way. I honestly have not gotten
used to the words Author and Poet neither because to me they seem one-tiered. Almost
one-trick-ponyesque. I prefer Writer because there’s no limit on that word.

3375   What book(s) have influenced your life most?

Joi   Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets CafĂ© most influenced my current style of
writing. I recently finished reading a book called Me Before You by JoJo Moyes that
influenced my story-telling style.

3375   What book(s) are you reading now?

Joi   I Love Him, He Loves Me Not by Adenike Lucas

3375   Is there someone you consider a mentor?

Joi   Shauna Denee of Shauna Denee Ministries is definitely high up there on my mentor
list. I consider a mentor someone who is blazing their own path; who won’t allow smoke
to be blown up their butt just as much as they won’t blow smoke up yours. They are
genuine. They lead by example and not just by word.

3375   When did you decide to become a film director?

Joi   I have had dreams of being in the motion picture business since middle school. The
movie that most influenced me to pursue that route is The Truman Show. I have always
been in love with movies but I have been blessed to work in the nuts and bolts of that
industry. It’s not for that faint or those looking to make it the easy way.

3375   Have you directed a film yet? If so, what the name?

Joi   Not yet but I’ve started developing some scripts and short film ideas for 2014.
You said you overcame obstacles as an adolescent.

3375   What were some of the obstacles?

Joi   I’m just coming to terms with a lot of the things I went through as a kid. My parents were
very broken; they both had some internal issues that I took the brunt of. One chose to
run away; the other chose to drink. In the midst of that I was molested by a relative.
Overall, I think of it as the devil came for me early but God got to me first.

3375   If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Joi   Italy. Not to the tourist spots. The secluded areas you can only read about.

3375   Tell us about your new book!

Joi   My newest book was birthed out of my frustration of wanting to get through to my
child. She’s extremely smart but she’s also 4 ½. I started thinking about all the things
I wanted to say to her without sounding like a jerk. It was a ton of one-liners that I

expanded on and it became my third offering. This is also the first book in which I’ve
had contributions. Friends and family added to this book which makes it extra special.

3375   What's the message you want people to get from your book?

Joi   Parenting is not one-size-fits-all. And it’s okay to feel like you’re going crazy. Majority of
us, especially single parents, feel the same.

3375   What is your advice to the young women that wants to be successful as a writer?

Joi   Don’t write for others or what you may think the public wants to read; write for yourself.
Tell your own unique story.

3375   How can we purchase your books and contact you?

Joi   All of my books are on Amazon in both print and e-book format.
Facebook: The Joi Element
Instagram: I_The_Abstract
Twitter: @Elemental_Jah
Website is coming soon.

3375   What's next for Joi?

Joi   Filming and collaborations. I really want to complete my short films and work with other

3375   Do you have any shout outs?

Joi  My daughter Sanaa
Brown Gyrls Inc and Motivation Central
My VOFM and Thrive Family
Tai Wo, Unix, B. Ross
Dei of D’Visionz Photography, one of the best photogs ever!
My light bright twin from another mother Dominique Henry
And mostly my friends and family who continue to support me