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From ‘American Crime Story’ to Co-Starring With Oprah and Tom Cruise, Actor Courtney B. Vance Reflects on His Career

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(Image: Twitter/CourtneyBVance)

 

Though he’s been acting for more than 30 years, Courtney B. Vance credits his award-winning performance as Johnnie Cochran for the FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story with pushing his already successful career to the next level. Now, Vance will be co-starring with Tom Cruise on the big screen in the upcoming summer blockbuster reboot of The Mummy.

In his role as Army Colonel Greenway in The Mummy, Vance is charged and challenged with keeping Cruise’s character, Nick Morton, in line. Shot in various locations, including Oxford, Surrey, and London in the United Kingdom, the film wrapped production in Africa.

 

(Image: Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

 

On Working With Tom Cruise

 

Vance says working with Cruise and the cast of The Mummy has been one of his greatest experiences on set.

“Tom Cruise is one of the most wonderful, kind, and generous men that I’ve ever met,” he says. “He took care of us on the set in London. Everybody had organic food, coffees, and teas—on the set, we didn’t do the traditional lunch and dinner breaks. During the production, there was continuous shooting, but you’re [also] continuously on a break. So, you can go and get an organic pizza slice or organic juice; healthy and organic food is brought on the set all the time. When we went to Namibia to finish the final month of shooting, [Tom] brought that whole [organic food] team out there for the entire time. When your tummy is full—even while shooting for long hours—you feel good.”

 

On His Role in the HBO Film ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ 

 

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of HBO)

 

In Oprah Winfrey’s critically acclaimed HBO movie, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Vance portrays Sir Lord Kennan Kester Cofield, a slick Southern con artist, who perpetrates as a lawyer representing the Lacks family in various legal matters. The film also stars Winfrey, who plays Deborah Lacks, the youngest daughter of Henrietta, and Rose Byrne, who plays Rebecca Skloot, a journalist and author.

Vance says he was grateful that he had the opportunity to be included in this project, and that, after receiving the call from George Wolfe, he made himself available immediately. Wolfe and Vance had previously worked together, when Wolfe directed him in Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy. A Broadway play, Vance played the role of James “Hap” Hairston alongside Tom Hanks, who played Mike McAlary. In 2013, Vance earned a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor because of his portrayal of this character.

“When that man calls me, I jump,” Vance says of Wolfe. “I said, ‘George, I’m so jammed right now, but when do you need me? Tell me where I’m going.’ I had a day or two to get my stuff together and go down there.”

The story of Henrietta Lacks had a profound effect on Vance. “The movie is devastating, because—once again—this is another situation where black folks were experimented on,” he says.“We’ve heard about it time and time again, the most famous being that Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, which was well-documented, but there are others that people don’t know about.”

“The whole world was operating under the fallacy that people of color were inferior,” Vance continues. “It’s interesting that they were getting the blood from black folks, and found out that these cells—these strong, amazing, immortal cells—were from a poor black woman with five kids. Why weren’t they doing it for white people? If we were so inferior, why take blood from us?”

Vance recalls a particular scene with Winfrey, as Deborah Lacks, becomes distraught after discovering what they did to her mother. “I was destroyed. That scene, on the screen, devastated me,” Vance says. “The abuse that our people have taken for so many years [is devestating]. And when the credits roll, and [the audience] realizes that still—to this day—the family has not been compensated in any way, it’s a double tragedy.”

 

Life With Wife Angela Bassett

 

A devoted husband and father, Vance and his wife, actress Angela Bassett, are both experiencing a well-deserved upswing in their careers. However, nothing comes before family. The couple’s twins are now 11-years-old. Together, Vance and Bassett work closely together as a team to coordinate their work schedules in a way that ensures someone is always home to care for their children.

They also take care of Vance’s mother, who is battling Amyotrophic Laterals Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease. “It’s a horrific disease where you have no control over your muscles, the main muscle being your diaphragm,” he says.

“However, we’re blessed to have our mother is with us. She can spend her remaining days with us, surrounded by family, and not in a nursing home. We can see her on a daily basis, and the children can see her and see the cycle of life. She has a ventilator that breathes for her, but she’s still got joy. We all have our rhythm with her. Friends come by and spend time, too. So, we’re just grateful.”

 

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Bow Wow Debuts On ‘Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta’

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Tonight, the series premiere of Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta airs on WE tv at 10/9c. As part of the press roll-out to the national broadcast premiere, on Tuesday, May 16, Strategic Heights Media and WE tv invited me to the exclusive screening of the highly anticipated reality show, at the iPIC Theater in New York City, and let’s just say, I’ve found my new favorite reality TV binge show.

 

A Recap of the Private Screening Event for Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta

 

As described in the press release, the series “chronicle[s] the perks and perils of being born into hip hop royalty, in the city that the New York Times called ‘hip hop’s center of gravity.’”

The statement continues:

 

“The rich history of the Atlanta hip hop scene has fostered a unique sense of pride and closeness among the artists that resembles a family. But like any family, Atlanta’s next generation of hip hop stars do not always get along. Growing up together in the shadow of their legendary parents has established tight bonds and bitter rivalries, as everybody fights for their chance to push their way into the spotlight.”

 

Shad “Bow Wow” Moss, the celebrated child hip-hop phenomena, not only stars in the series, but he is also executive producer of the Atlanta branch of the franchise. In addition to following the life of Moss, the program also showcases Shaniah Mauldin, daughter of Jermaine Dupri; Zonnique Pullins, daughter of Tameka “Tiny” Harris and T.I.; Reginae Carter, daughter of Lil Wayne and author Toya Wright; Ayana Fite, daughter of DJ Hurricane; and Brandon Barnes, the younger brother of Waka Flocka Flame and son of infamous hip hop manager Ms. Deb Antney.

 

NEW YORK, NY: Zonnique Pullins, Shad Moss, Reginae Carter, Shaniah Mauldin, Ayana Fite, and Brandon Barnes attend the WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta premiere screening event on May 16, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for WE tv)

 

Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, DJ Hurricane, Ms. Deb, Toya Wright, and Kristinia DeBarge, daughter of R&B singer James DeBarge and featured cast member on the original Growing Up Hip Hop, also came out to support the show’s launch. DeBarge even gave attendees a sneak peek of season two of the drama filled inaugural series, which is set to debut later at a later date. After the screening, cast members of Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta answered questions on a Q&A panel moderated by Sway Calloway.

 

Initially Hesitant, but Pleasantly Surprised

 

Although reality TV is among one my favorite guilty pleasures, I was initially unsure about how the series would measure up to my expectations. In my opinion, the current reality TV market has become so oversaturated with stories told from the perspective of attractive, wealthy, and entitled young adults, that the plotlines are just too predictable. Could Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta bring something fresh to the table, breaking ratings records with its authentic capture of sincere moments of vulnerability, or would it be another formulaic “unscripted” show featuring fabricated drama?

This skepticism only further increased in the wake of the highly trending #BowWowChallenge incident.

 

 

After all, Moss was on his way to New York City for the Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta press tour when he made the rookie mistake of posting an uncredited stock image accompanied by a vague caption on his Instagram that gave followers the wrong impression about his travel accommodations.

 

 

Was this careless publishing of “alternative facts” karmic foreshadowing of what audiences could expect from the show? Though hesitant, I did my best to keep an open mind and not allow any preconceived judgments cloud my own.

As it turns out, Bow Wow’s lack of fluency on “the gram” wouldn’t be the only thing to surprise me that week; the premiere episode of Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta was a lot more interesting and entertaining than I had originally anticipated. I actually really enjoyed it! Of course, the show had its fair share of classic reality TV plot devices that err on the side of inauthenticity—such as first-person green screen “confessionals,” or frequent “impromptu” visits to practically deserted boutiques and restaurants. However, in the case of Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta, these moments were often overshadowed by a number of unexpected twists and moments of organic sincerity.

So, without giving away too many spoilers, these are three things that surprised me about Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta:

 

1. Yes, They Actually Grew Up Together

 

Although most are aware of past professional and creative collaborations between the celebrity parents of the featured cast, many probably underestimate the extent of how deep these relationships really are. As a result of their parents’ relationships, Pullins, Moss, Carter, Mauldin, Fite, and Barnes have actually known each other for years, with history dating so far back, their friendships are more reflective of familial bonds. There was even a point where Carter and Pullins sang together in the girl group The OMG Girlz. And since everyone has known each other since back in the day, the chemistry between cast members is not only genuine, it’s dynamic.

 

NEW YORK, NY: Sway, Reginae Carter, and Zonnique Pullins speak at the WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta premiere screening event on May 16, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for WE tv)

 

2. Though Born With a Silver Spoon, These Kids Know How to Hustle

 

Although I walked in assuming that, other than Bow Wow, these kids were simply the spoiled beneficiaries of nepotism and extreme privilege. However, I could not have been more wrong. Sure, they may have moments of bratty-seeming soundbites on the show, but in actuality, each one was very humble and down to earth.

Carter, Fite, and Mauldin, in particular, didn’t even appear all that interested in pursuing a career in the music industry. A former member of OMG Girlz and the daughter of prodigy rap lyricist Lil Wayne, Cater mentioned that she was currently working with her mother to pen her first novel.

 

NEW YORK, NY: Reginae Carter and her mom, Antonia Wright, attend the WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta premiere screening event on May 16, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for WE tv)

 

Fite, who can be seen discussing how she quit her job as a retail manager within the first few minutes of the episode, clarified during the panel that she didn’t quit her job because she didn’t enjoy working. Rather, at that time, she was also trying to develop her own clothing line, so she took a temporary hiatus from her retail position to focus on her designing aspirations. She also mentioned that, now that her line is complete, she has since returned to the former retail gig.

 

NEW YORK, NY : Ayana Fite, daughter of DJ Hurricane, playfully gives her father style advice, while attending the WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta premiere screening event on May 16, 2017,  in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for WE tv)

 

Meanwhile, Mauldin, whose status as music mogul Jermaine Durpi’s daughter would theoretically allow her to transition into any facet of the music industry with ease whenever she wanted, is in school pursuing a college degree. Perhaps the most reserved of the bunch, it’s clear that, much like her father, Mauldin’s no-nonsense work ethic will lead her down a successful career path of her own making.

 

NEW YORK, NY: Shad “Bow Wow” Moss, Jermaine Dupri, and Shaniah Mauldin attend the WE tv’s Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta premiere screening event on May 16, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for WE tv)

 

3. Is Bow Wow Really Ready to Retire?  Not Without J.D.’s Seal of Approval

 

Contrary to previous reports about Bow Wow’s  “retirement from hip hop,” I don’t think he will ever actually be done with recording music—at least, not until mentor Dupri is finally satisfied with the well-rounded, mature quality of his send-off album. Dupri certainly didn’t seem all that impressed by Bow Wow’s most recent album, Ignorant S***, which he impulsively recorded with Soulja Boy in one night.

 

You can find out how everything unfolds when the broadcast premiere of Growing Up Hip Hop Atlanta airs TONIGHT, May 25, 2017, at 10/9c. Catch it right after the season finale of Braxton Family Values, only on WE tv!

 

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Serena Williams Says Sleep is Her Secret Weapon

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(Image: Instagram/serenawilliams)

 

For most aspiring women, there’s a time to be young, there’s a time to grow your career, and then there’s a time for motherhood. For Serena Williams, quality sleep is key if you want to meet or exceed all the expectations that come with being a female role model, as well as, being a first-time mom. The 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion is currently raising awareness about the power of rest in the new “Tempur-Pedic Sleep Is Power” campaign, her first major endorsement since announcing her pregnancy last month.

In April, the 35-year-old revealed on Snapchat that she’s pregnant by accidentally revealing her baby bump. On Mother’s Day weekend, Williams showcased an even bigger bump halfway through her pregnancy on her Instagram account.

So how does she keep her batteries charged given all the new demands on her time? “I require consistent, restful sleep in order to be at my best,” said Williams through a spokesperson. She also reveals that she’s been a Tempur-Pedic owner for a decade, which helps her power up for a rigorous training regimen. On average, Americans get 6.8 hours of sleep per night, short of the seven to nine hours that people need, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Many folks just assume that the demands of being an athlete are too much for a new parent. But that seems more myth than fact. A 2017 study by Tend Lab finds that moms and dads actually outperform non-parents. Secondly, Williams is known for her positive attitude on and off the court, and that should translate well in her effort to become the best tennis player of all time. A 2010 study by British economists finds that happy people tend to work harder than others.

Williams has said that she plans to return to the sport in late 2017 with an eye toward winning a record 25 Grand Slam titles and beyond.

It’s not unprecedented for mothers to conquer the tennis world. Australia’s Margaret Court won three of her record 24 Grand Slam championships after giving birth in 1972. Belgium’s Kim Clijsters won the US Open in 2009 and 2011 after having her first baby in 2008. But Clijsters has said that it’s much tougher to win a Grand Slam after childbirth because of all the changes a woman’s body goes through that makes it tougher to move laterally on the tennis court. And Clijsters was 26 when she returned while Williams will be 36.

Williams is engaged to Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian and their baby is due in late summer to early fall. It’s safe to say that all eyes of the sports world will be upon her to see if she can make tennis history.

It was also just announced that Williams has joined the board of SurveyMonkey—a startup that offers a platform for creating online surveys.


 

Author Chanel Martin is a certified Life Purpose Coach and Brand & Media Exposure Coach. She helps entrepreneurs turn their purpose into profit and get brand exposure. A co-founder of two haircare companies, her brands have gained national exposure with media outlets such as MSNBC, Forbes, Essence, Ebony, BET, Business Insider, The Real, and more. Chanel also teaches companies how to raise funding for their small business or non-profit. You can learn more about her by visiting her website: www.chanelemartin.com.

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Red Bull May Give You More Than Just Wings

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Type 2 Diabetes (Image: By Pia von Lützau [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Are Energy Drinks Dangerous?

 

According to a study from the Journal of the American Heart Association, the surge from energy drinks can cause unhealthy changes in your heart rhythm and blood pressure that don’t occur with other caffeinated beverages. The blend of caffeine, sugar, and herbal stimulants contained in energy drinks may cause changes in the heart’s electrical system, which can promote an abnormal and potentially dangerous heart rhythm, the researchers found. Energy drinks may also increase a person’s blood pressure for longer periods of time, compared to caffeine, the trial results suggest.

The article Energy Drinks Linked to More Heart, Blood Pressure Changes Than Caffeinated Drinks Alone, originally published by the AHA/ASA Newsroom, states:

“‘While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally considers caffeine in doses of less than 400 mg safe, energy drinks often include proprietary energy blends. With more than 500 types of energy drinks on the market, energy drink-associated emergency room visits and deaths have increased, prompting questions about their safety,’ researchers said.”

 

A Closer Look at This Study

 

For the study, researchers randomly divided 18 participants into two groups.

“The first group drank a commercially available energy drink containing 108 grams of sugar, 320 mg of caffeine and various other compounds. The second group had a control drink containing 320 mg of caffeine, 40 milliliters of lime juice and 140 ml of cherry syrup in carbonated water. After a six-day washout, participants switched drinks,” the AHA/ASA Newsroom article states.

Researchers measured the electrical activity of participants’ hearts using an electrocardiogram. They also measured their peripheral from the arm and central blood pressures in the aorta near the heart at the start of the study, as well as at one, two, four, six, and 24 hours after drink consumption. Two hours after consuming the beverages, those in the energy drink group had a corrected QT interval 10 milliseconds higher than those in the caffeine group.

The AHA/ASA Newsroom article further explains:

“’The QT interval is the measurement of the time it takes ventricles in the heart (the lower chambers) to repolarize, or prepare to generate a beat again. It’s the pause from the end of the electrical impulse generating the heart to beat to the next impulse,’ said Emily A. Fletcher, Pharm.D., [study author and deputy pharmacy flight commander from David Grant U.S.A.F. Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California].

‘If this time interval, which is measured in milliseconds, is either too short or too long, it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. The resulting arrhythmia can be life threatening,’ [she continued].

‘To put the 10-millisecond difference in perspective, there are medications that affect the corrected QT interval by six milliseconds, and have warnings about the effect on product labels,’ said Fletcher.

While both the energy drink and caffeine-only groups had similar increases in systolic blood pressure, systolic pressures in the caffeine group had almost returned to their original readings after six hours.”

 

 

The Study’s Results

 

Both groups had similar increases in systolic blood pressure, but levels in the caffeine group had almost returned to their original readings after six hours.

However, the AHA/ASA Newsroom article reports:

‘”Those who consumed the energy drinks still had a mildly elevated blood pressure after six hours,’ Fletcher said. ‘This suggests that ingredients other than caffeine may have some blood pressure altering effects, but this needs further evaluation.’”

‘Based on this preliminary evidence in young, healthy adults, people who have high blood pressure, underlying cardiac conditions or other health issues might want to avoid or use caution when consuming energy drinks until more is known about their impact on heart health,’ Fletcher said.”

 

 

 

***Excerpted from the article Energy Drinks Linked to More Heart, Blood Pressure Changes Than Caffeinated Drinks Alone, published via the AHA/ASA Newsroom.

 

 

 

 


nurse_aliceNurse Alice is a nationally board-certified and award-winning cardiac clinical nurse specialist with nearly two decades of experience in cardiovascular health. She is a community health activist and freelance media health expert. She has appeared on various national radio and TV shows including Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Dr. Drew, News One with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner Morning Show, and more. She is also the author of Curb Your Cravings: 31 Foods to Fool Your Appetite.

For more information on Nurse Alice, visit her website, AskNurseAlice.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via the handle @AskNurseAlice.

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10 Reasons You Should Visit Turtle Island

Turtle Island

If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime event, sometimes you need a once-in-a-lifetime location. And if you’re planning a wedding, anniversary, vow renewal, or just a long overdue getaway, there’s no place like Turtle Island.

A 500-acre, privately owned island in Fiji that looks like a picture postcard come to life, Turtle Island offers warm sunshine, beaches of powdery sand, sumptuous meals, warm local hospitality, and outdoor activities unlike any you’ll find at a typical all-inclusive resort.

Here are 10 reasons you should visit Turtle Island:

 

1. It’s Easy to Get There

 

Considering how far away Fiji is (hint: it’s in the South Pacific), getting to Turtle Island is surprisingly convenient. One direct flight from Los Angeles to Nadi via Fiji Airways takes less than 12 hours. If you’re in Business Class, the hours fly by—pun intended—quite comfortably.

 

Turtle Airways planes are equipped for land and sea. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

 

Once you arrive, it’s a short seaplane or boat ride to the island. Depending on when your flight lands, you may need to stay overnight near the airport or relax at the rejuvenation center.

 

2. The Traditional Fijian Bure on the Blue Lagoon

 

Remember the movie Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields? Parts of that movie were filmed here. High, thatched roofs and local wood are hallmarks of the bure—or cabins—on Turtle Island. But don’t let the eco-friendly design fool you; these are luxury digs with high-end fixtures and bedding.

 

Tradition and luxury come together in the Turtle Island bure. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

 

3. Friendly People and Unforgettable Hospitality

 

Visitors to Turtle Island enjoy true Fijian culture, which stresses the value of friends and family, community, and caring. Culture is shared through stories, songs, and activities where you can learn about the local flora and fauna.

 

Resort staff and guests pose for a picture. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

4. Being Pampered by Your Own ‘Bure Mama’

 

Couples are pampered by a “bure mama,” who attends to their needs during their stay—think of someone akin to a personal concierge. Bure mamas ensure all housekeeping needs are taken care of, can step in as a tour guide when desired, and will even take pictures and prepare photo albums for you to go home with.

 

The fine hospitality on Turtle Island. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

5. Award-Winning Cuisine

 

Travel and Leisure rated Turtle Island’s food among the best in the world. Diners enjoy local seafood, Australian beef, and island-grown fruits and vegetables, accompanied by wines from around the world.

 

 

 

A refreshing salad preceding a delicious dinner. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

 

Visitors can enjoy shared dinners open to all guests, as well as many specialty options, including beach picnics, private meals at the bure, lantern-lit lagoon dinners, and moonlit mountaintop dinners. Each bure also has a fully-stocked refrigerator for refreshments anytime.

 

6. Pristine Beaches That Stretch for Miles

 

Enjoy Turtle Island’s 14 white, sandy beaches from a daybed on the veranda of your bure, a seaside hammock, on horseback, or simply walking along the beach.

 

Picturesque Turtle Beach. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

7. Blissful Pastimes

 

Guests of Turtle Island can enjoy as many (or as few) activities as they like. Scuba diving, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and fishing are included. Take a glass-bottomed boat ride, walk through jungle paths, or hike to the highest point on the island. Every evening, there’s a sunset dinner party, followed by the chance to take in Fijian music and stories.

 

Both pool and sea beckon on Turtle Island. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

8. Private Getaways

 

There are never more than 14 couples at the resort at one time. Guests’ bures are wide-set for privacy and solitude. While couples are always welcome to dine together at dinner, guests always have the option of dining alone.

 

Tropical romance. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

9. Unforgettable Special Events

 

Couples getting married or renewing their vows have the option of a traditional Fijian ceremony—complete with handmade wedding clothes—and a feast followed by wedding cake. The music, the minister, a champagne toast, and the marriage license are all taken care of.

 

Entertaining and educational culture. (Photo: Aniesia Williams)

10. No Additional Costs

 

Guests enjoy a truly all-inclusive vacation—where all meals and beverages are included—plus all activities, laundry services, cultural experiences, spa services, and entertainment. Just like you’d imagine in paradise.

* This article previously appeared on the A Global Lifestyle website.

 


Aniesia Williams is an LA-based, yet global senior brand strategist and expert, multimedia journalist, and digital beast. She was recently named as one of Network Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. She brings more than a decade of experience in marketing, new media, and branding. She has provided her expertise to some of the world’s largest brands, including Ford, Samsung, Shell, Lionsgate, and the Clinton Global Initiative. As a journalist, Aniesia also writes extensively about business and luxury travel experiences. Beyond her own media platform, A Global Lifestyle, Aniesia has provided content for top publications, including Business Insider, Black Enterprise, and Ebony Magazine to name a few.

 

 

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CreativeSoul Honors Natural Hair and Black Life Through Art

Mastering a skill as an individual is something truly amazing, but this husband-and-wife duo tackles the photography industry together. Regis (husband) and Kahran (wife) both went from the world of marketing to capturing the essence of all things beauty within a few frames. Each of their skill sets has awarded them the chance to look out of their lenses from a different perspective.

Their approach to successfully taking the internet by storm with their ode to natural hair and kiddies makes us want to learn more about their work. BE chatted with CreativeSoul about all things photography.

Black Enterprise: How did you get started in photography?

CreativeSoul: We both started out in the marketing and design world and fell in love with photography while dating long distance. We decided to start CreativeSoul Photography together while Reg was in school studying photography.

(Image:creativesoulphoto.com)

 

BE: How did your sole focus become the natural hair movement?

CS: When we first decided to get started in the kid’s fashion industry, we noticed that a lot of the models would send us their snapshot before the shoot and would have gorgeous natural hair. When they arrived for the shoot, many of them would arrive with their hair straightened because they felt that’s what they needed to do to thrive in the industry. We decided to do a couple of personal shoots showing child models rocking their own natural curls and the success from those shoots allowed us to create our own niche in this space.

BE: What advice would you give other professionals looking to navigate through the business world with their significant other?

CS: The best thing that helped us in our journey was figuring out each other’s strengths/weaknesses and dividing responsibilities based on that. Reg is much better at some of the technical aspects of the business and Kahran much better handling the client side, business, and marketing. We try to stay in our own lanes, which gives us each a sense of personal ownership in the business.

BE: Describe your feelings toward your photos that garnered massive attention via social media.

CS:  We are always surprised when our photos go viral because we never really know which ones will take off. Our roller girls shoot was one of our very first photos to go viral garnering attention from celebrities to everyday people around the world. We love hearing stories from moms of little girls who say that they are inspired by our work and use our photos to inspire their daughters to be confident with who they are.

(Image: creativesoulphoto.com)

 

BE: Did you have any setbacks when creating CreativeSoul?

CS: In the beginning of our career it was very difficult to fully expand and grow our business while Kahran was still working a full-time job. With only one spouse being dedicated to the business it meant that we had certain aspects of the business that had to be put on hold until we could find a convenient time. After seven years of building our business, Kahran was finally able to leave the corporate world to focus on the business full-time.

BE: How important is it to find your niche?

CS: In the photography world it is extremely important to find your niche because it is easy to be forgotten in the large pool of photographers. Finding your niche not only allows you to stand out from the crowd but also allows you to focus on the things that you are good at and love to do.

(Image: creativesoulphoto.com)

 

BE: Explain your entrepreneurial mindset and what it means to society?

CS: In our business, we always strive to keep our brand positive and uplifting. Years from now when people see our work, we would love for them to be able to get a glimpse at our culture during this time and see positive images that uplift our community.

BE: Who are some of your inspirations?

CS: For photography, our biggest inspiration would be Gordon Parks. We absolutely love his work and the legacy he left behind. We love the way his images tell a story and leave the viewer wanting to explore more about what was going on during that particular time. For business, we love the way Oprah has continued to reinvent herself and her business over time while maintaining a positive image in the industry.

BE: What does the CreativeSoul brand look like within the next five years?

CS: We’d love to see our brand expand to much more than photography in the next five years. We’ve recently opened our online art store selling fine art created with some of our most popular photos turned into art. We’d also like to use our brand as a connection point in connecting the kids that we work with to other brands and organizations that can help them pursue their own dreams and initiatives.

BE: What are some brands, individuals or organizations that you would like to work with?

CS:  We’d love to work with organizations like Black Girls Rock! because we think that they would be a perfect fit for our brand. We’d also love to work with some of the major brands like Dove to be able to tell their brand story in a unique way.

BE: What are the various qualities the two of you bring to your business relationship?

CS: Kahran’s career in marketing, technology, and design allows her to bring a unique set of skills that are needed to help build and expand our business. Regis is amazing at the technical aspects of photography and is the key to bringing all of the pieces together. Reg keeps our day-to-day business running smoothly and makes sure everything is picture perfect.

Regis (left) and Kahran (Image: creativesoulphoto.com)

To view some of CreativeSoul’s other amazing work visit creativesoulphoto.com or their Instagram @creativesoulphoto


Written by contributor Regan Farley 

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Turn On, Tune In: “The Bachelorette” and 5 Other Can’t-Miss Summer TV Premieres

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TV

Spring is officially in full swing, which means summer is just around the corner! Although warm weather is an excellent excuse to get outside and enjoy all the majestic beauty that Mother Nature has to offer, for self-proclaimed sofa spuds like myself, it’s also a great opportunity to embrace the wonders of the great indoors—i.e. relaxing on a comfy couch beneath the frosty blast of an A.C., with a bowl of popcorn, glass of wine, and entertaining TV shows. And as the flowers continue to bloom and temperatures continue to rise, us indoor enthusiasts can take solace in the continuous rollout of summer series premieres.

So, whether the debut of a new season means finally getting some kind of resolution for a previous cliffhanger, or you’ve grown bored of current programs and are looking to discover fresh entertainment, here’s a list of five summer TV premieres that you can look forward to:

 

1. The Bachelorette 


Why You Should Watch:

Now in its 13th season, most are fairly familiar with the premise of this show and kind of know what to expect; there will be a parade of attractive guys from all walks of life, each desperately seeking a chance at true love (*cough* or fame *cough*) with one girl, a recently rejected fan favorite from a previous season of The Bachelor. We can also expect many romantic dates, exotic vacations, wild challenges, rose ceremonies, trips to “the fantasy suite,” and questions surrounding the authenticity and/or mental stability of certain contestants.

So, why is this particular season of The Bachelorette so special? See for yourself:

 

(Source: YouTube, User: tvtymes)

 

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! For the first time in the history of the franchise, America’s favorite “bachelorette” is black!

Although attorney Rachel Lindsay may not have taken home the final rose from Nick Viall on The Bachelor, it was clearly a blessing in disguise. Now, Lindsay has the chance to call all the shots as men vie for her attention. And, as she says in the promo, she’s “not looking to play games or get played”—her ring finger is “READY.”

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show?

You can watch the history-making premiere of The Bachelorette Monday, May 22, at 9 p.m./8c (with future episodes moving to 8 p.m./7c) on ABC.

 

2. Beat Shazam

 

Why You Should Watch:

Executive Producer and Host Jamie Foxx challenges contestants, as they compete for cash prizes based on their ability to quickly and accurately identify a song’s title and artist. The catch is that rather than merely working against the clock, contestants must be able to produce an answer before these details are revealed by Shazam, an app designed to speedily identify a song’s credentials based on mere sound bites.

 

(Source: YouTube, User: PromosTV Network)

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show?

The inaugural episode of Beat Shazam airs Thursday, May 25, at 8 p.m./7c on FOX.

 

3. America’s Got Talent 

 

Why You Should Watch:

This spring/summer oldie but goodie competition show, which seeks out raw American talent with the potential to parlay into an international phenomenon, will be changing things up a bit for its 12th season. Earlier this year, Nick Cannon announced his departure from the summertime smash on Facebook, after hosting the show for eight seasons.

And who will replace Cannon as the emcee for America’s Got Talent?

 

(Screenshot from America’s Next Top Model, Season 13, Episode 3. Source: The CW via Hulu.)

 

None other than veteran supermodel and reigning queen of “smize,” Tyra Banks, will be taking over as host for season 12 of America’s Got Talent, alongside judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, and Howie Mandel.

Perhaps Banks is brushing up on her hosting skills in anticipation of the upcoming season of America’s Next Top Model? Although Banks has remained at the helm as the program’s executive producer, she did take a step back from hosting ANTM, when it relaunched with Cycle 23 on VH1 last winter. However, Banks recently announced that she would be replacing host Rita Ora, reclaiming her OG hosting gig in the upcoming season.

https://twitter.com/tyrabanks/status/842497262802554881

 

Although Cycle 24 of ANTM is currently still casting, one can only hope that, in the meantime, we can catch Banks unleash her arsenal of impassioned, one-of-a-kind Tyra-isms on the America’s Got Talent audience.

 

(Screenshot from America’s Next Top Model; Season 4, Episode 3. Source: The CW via Hulu. Meme Source: imgflip.com)

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show? 

Season 12 of America’s Got Talent premieres Tuesday, May 30, at 8 p.m./7c on NBC.

 

4. Fear Factor

 

Why You Should Watch:

I’m sure everyone remembers this ick-factor driven competition show from NBC; contestants face a series of dares that push them to their emotional, physical, and psychological limits. Challenges involved graphic, grotesque, hair-raising stunts like eating live roaches, being buried alive with live snakes, or bathing in cow’s blood. Those strong enough to withstand these stunts and ultimately face their fears were rewarded with a hefty cash prize.

Well, after a five-year hiatus, Fear Factor is back! Now on MTV, Fear Factor‘s Executive Producer and Host Ludacris is aiming to put a fresh, youthful spin on the series. According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter:

“The new incarnation will flip the script on its targeted Generation Z audience and instead of gross-out challenges (like eating worms), will be more playful with the hope of providing a cathartic tension release along the way. The newly designed stunts are geared at tapping into visceral fears of today’s anxious youth — such as couch surfing at 300 feet and waterlogging personal cell phones.

Inspired by urban legends, scary movies and online videos from the zeitgeist, contestants will be pushed beyond their comfort zones where their body’s physiological responses will take over.”

 

(Source: YouTube, User: MTV)

 


When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show? 

The reboot of Fear Factor will premiere Tuesday, May 30, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

 

5.  Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME

 

Why You Should Watch:

The always entertaining Steve Harvey hosts this new show, which helps entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.

According to the casting announcement published on ABC’s website
:

“Steve Harvey is hosting a new, groundbreaking show on ABC looking for great innovators and entrepreneurs to help fund their American dream. We’re looking for mom-and-pop businesses, unique and interesting products, or creative ideas that just need a little more money to jumpstart their next phase. You could win anywhere from $10,000-$100,000, all you have to do is win over the live studio audience and convince them that you deserve to be funded.”

Think Shark Tank meets American Idol: those looking for a chance to finally make their big, entrepreneurial break will compete for a chance to obtain funding. But, rather than impress a panel of judges, the winners are ultimately determined based on the opinions of the live studio audience.

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show? 

Watch the premiere of Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME Sunday, June 11, at 9 p.m. on ABC.

 

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Lifestyle(AA)

Turn On and Tune In: 5 Summer TV Premieres You Can’t Miss (the Competition Show Edition)

TV

Spring is officially in full swing, which means summer is just around the corner! Although warm weather is an excellent excuse to get outside and enjoy all the majestic beauty that Mother Nature has to offer, for self-proclaimed sofa spuds like myself, it’s also a great opportunity to embrace the wonders of the great indoors—i.e. relaxing on a comfy couch beneath the frosty blast of an A.C., with a bowl of popcorn, glass of wine, and entertaining TV shows. And as the flowers continue to bloom and temperatures continue to rise, us indoor enthusiasts can take solace in the continuous rollout of summer series premieres.

So, whether the debut of a new season means finally getting some kind of resolution for a previous cliffhanger, or you’ve grown bored of current programs and are looking to discover fresh entertainment, here’s a list of five summer TV premieres that you can look forward to:

 

1. The Bachelorette 


Why You Should Watch:

Now in its 13th season, most are fairly familiar with the premise of this show and kind of know what to expect; there will be a parade of attractive guys from all walks of life, each desperately seeking a chance at true love (*cough* or fame *cough*) with one girl, a recently rejected fan favorite from a previous season of The Bachelor. We can also expect many romantic dates, exotic vacations, wild challenges, rose ceremonies, trips to “the fantasy suite,” and questions surrounding the authenticity and/or mental stability of certain contestants.

So, why is this particular season of The Bachelorette so special? See for yourself:

 

(Source: YouTube, User: tvtymes)

 

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! For the first time in the history of the franchise, America’s favorite “bachelorette” is black!

Although attorney Rachel Lindsay may not have taken home the final rose from Nick Viall on The Bachelor, it was clearly a blessing in disguise. Now, Lindsay has the chance to call all the shots as men vie for her attention. And, as she says in the promo, she’s “not looking to play games or get played”—her ring finger is “READY.”

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show?

You can watch the history-making premiere of The Bachelorette Monday, May 22, at 9 p.m./8c (with future episodes moving to 8 p.m./7c) on ABC.

 

2. Beat Shazam

 

Why You Should Watch:

Executive Producer and Host Jamie Foxx challenges contestants, as they compete for cash prizes based on their ability to quickly and accurately identify a song’s title and artist. The catch is that rather than merely working against the clock, contestants must be able to produce an answer before these details are revealed by Shazam, an app designed to speedily identify a song’s credentials based on mere sound bites.

 

(Source: YouTube, User: PromosTV Network)

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show?

The inaugural episode of Beat Shazam airs Thursday, May 25, at 8 p.m./7c on FOX.

 

3. America’s Got Talent 

 

Why You Should Watch:

This spring/summer oldie but goodie competition show, which seeks out raw American talent with the potential to parlay into an international phenomenon, will be changing things up a bit for its 12th season. Earlier this year, Nick Cannon announced his departure from the summertime smash on Facebook, after hosting the show for eight seasons.

And who will replace Cannon as the emcee for America’s Got Talent?

 

(Screenshot from America’s Next Top Model, Season 13, Episode 3. Source: The CW via Hulu.)

 

None other than veteran supermodel and reigning queen of “smize,” Tyra Banks, will be taking over as host for season 12 of America’s Got Talent, alongside judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, and Howie Mandel.

Perhaps Banks is brushing up on her hosting skills in anticipation of the upcoming season of America’s Next Top Model? Although Banks has remained at the helm as the program’s executive producer, she did take a step back from hosting ANTM, when it relaunched with Cycle 23 on VH1 last winter. However, Banks recently announced that she would be replacing host Rita Ora, reclaiming her OG hosting gig in the upcoming season.

https://twitter.com/tyrabanks/status/842497262802554881

 

Although Cycle 24 of ANTM is currently still casting, one can only hope that, in the meantime, we can catch Banks unleash her arsenal of impassioned, one-of-a-kind Tyra-isms on the America’s Got Talent audience.

 

(Screenshot from America’s Next Top Model; Season 4, Episode 3. Source: The CW via Hulu. Meme Source: imgflip.com)

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show? 

Season 12 of America’s Got Talent premieres Tuesday, May 30, at 8 p.m./7c on NBC.

 

4. Fear Factor

 

Why You Should Watch:

I’m sure everyone remembers this ick-factor driven competition show from NBC; contestants face a series of dares that push them to their emotional, physical, and psychological limits. Challenges involved graphic, grotesque, hair-raising stunts like eating live roaches, being buried alive with live snakes, or bathing in cow’s blood. Those strong enough to withstand these stunts and ultimately face their fears were rewarded with a hefty cash prize.

Well, after a five-year hiatus, Fear Factor is back! Now on MTV, Fear Factor‘s Executive Producer and Host Ludacris is aiming to put a fresh, youthful spin on the series. According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter:

“The new incarnation will flip the script on its targeted Generation Z audience and instead of gross-out challenges (like eating worms), will be more playful with the hope of providing a cathartic tension release along the way. The newly designed stunts are geared at tapping into visceral fears of today’s anxious youth — such as couch surfing at 300 feet and waterlogging personal cell phones.

Inspired by urban legends, scary movies and online videos from the zeitgeist, contestants will be pushed beyond their comfort zones where their body’s physiological responses will take over.”

 

(Source: YouTube, User: MTV)

 


When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show? 

The reboot of Fear Factor will premiere Tuesday, May 30, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

 

5.  Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME

 

Why You Should Watch:

The always entertaining Steve Harvey hosts this new show, which helps entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.

According to the casting announcement published on ABC’s website
:

“Steve Harvey is hosting a new, groundbreaking show on ABC looking for great innovators and entrepreneurs to help fund their American dream. We’re looking for mom-and-pop businesses, unique and interesting products, or creative ideas that just need a little more money to jumpstart their next phase. You could win anywhere from $10,000-$100,000, all you have to do is win over the live studio audience and convince them that you deserve to be funded.”

Think Shark Tank meets American Idol: those looking for a chance to finally make their big, entrepreneurial break will compete for a chance to obtain funding. But, rather than impress a panel of judges, the winners are ultimately determined based on the opinions of the live studio audience.

 

When and Where Can You Catch This TV Show? 

Watch the premiere of Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME Sunday, June 11, at 9 p.m. on ABC.

 

read more
Lifestyle(AA)

‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ What You Need to Know About Hearing Loss

300-beats-e4873521ebb1bfb74a83b70f321210d5be754eb4

Beats World Cup (Image: Thinkstock)

 

We’ve all seen the phone commercials featuring the tagline, “Can you hear me now?’” Most of us have probably laughed about it, but the truth is some people just may not be able to hear you.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, millions of U.S. adults have some sort of hearing damage, and most of them don’t even know it. This could be you, so it’s time to listen up!

 

Listen Up!

 

Hearing loss affects nearly 40 million adults—that is one in five between the ages of 20 and 69, and of those individuals, only one in four is aware that they are suffering from this. Hearing loss is the third most common, chronic condition in the U.S. So, grab the earplugs, turn down the headphones, and move away from the speakers—at least, that’s what the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended.

In its report titled Make Listening Safe, WHO, a United Nations agency, estimates that one billion young people across the globe are potentially at risk of hearing loss, due to “unsafe listening practices.” Common culprits include using a leaf blower, going to loud concerts, wearing earbuds and headphones, and even cell phone use.

 

A Particular Problem for Young People

 

WHO’s report claims that the risk of hearing loss has increased due to the popularization of technology; now music devices are often listened to at unsafe volumes for more prolonged periods of time. In middle- and high-income countries, nearly 50% of teens and young adults are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from such devices. From 1990 to 2005, the number of people listening to music through headphones increased by 75%, according to the report’s analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

According to the report, personal audio devices can sometimes sound as high as 136 decibels, and users typically set their devices between 75 and 105 decibels. Likewise, sound levels at bars can range from 104 to 112 decibels. However, the report identifies 85 decibels as the “highest safe exposure level, up to a maximum of eight hours,” and the louder the noise, the less amount of time one can safely listen to it. For instance, the level of sound produced by a subway train is around 100 decibels, thus the sound of the subway can only be heard safely for about 15 minutes a day.

Additionally, exposure to loud sounds for any length of time can cause fatigue for the ears’ sensory cells. When the volume of sound one is exposed to is particularly loud, regular, or prolonged, it can also cause permanent damage to the nerves in the ears and other structures. This can ultimately result in irreversible hearing loss.

 

“Say What?!” How to Keep Your Hearing

 

To avoid hearing loss, it is recommended that you wear earplugs and move away from the speakers used in loud venues. One should also turn the volume down when listening to music via headphones, take short breaks from listening to music in this way, and use noise-cancelling headphones.There no need to have the volume on your cell phone or headphones turned all the way up. If you find yourself needing to do this regularly in order to hear adequately, you may already be suffering some hearing loss.

It’s also worth noting that hearing loss oftentimes doesn’t present itself as an isolated adverse issue. One potential consequence of hearing loss is that the afflicted individual becomes less communicative and ultimately more reclusive. Along with that, hearing loss can lead to an increase in blood pressure, stress, lethargy, fatigue, depression, loneliness, and even heart disease.

Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, but more must be done to ensure that this loss is avoided.

 

 


nurse_aliceNurse Alice is a nationally board-certified and award-winning cardiac clinical nurse specialist with nearly two decades of experience in cardiovascular health. She is a community health activist and freelance media health expert. She has appeared on various national radio and TV shows including Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Dr. Drew, News One with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner Morning Show, and more. She is also the author of Curb Your Cravings: 31 Foods to Fool Your Appetite.

For more information on Nurse Alice, visit her website, AskNurseAlice.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via the handle @AskNurseAlice.

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Lifestyle(AA)

5 Reasons to Vacation With the Family in Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe-300×232-4e92f50402e27cd727f51cf12c1568fb64a33d10

Guadeloupe

Family vacations can be wonderful—and financially exhausting. Guadeloupe is a great choice for families that want to get away without going too far and spending too much money.

It’s close but feels far away.

 

The warm, sunny islands that make up this French territory in the Caribbean are just a short plane ride away. Getting there is easy with Norwegian Airways—it’s a direct flight from New York’s JFK airport. Plus, it’s only a 3-hour flight, so you won’t have to deal with too many ‘Are we there yet?” inquiries from the kids! Then, once you arrive, there are the family-friendly accommodations along white sandy beaches, inexpensive activities that engage young minds, and tantalizing cuisine featuring the freshest ingredients.

The seafood is unsurpassed in Guadeloupe.

 

The islands’ culinary style has French, African, Caribbean, and even Indian influences. Each of the islands incorporates these flavors in a unique way, but all of them make the most of the plentiful seafood, which is prepared to the highest culinary standards. Local fish and shellfish are caught fresh every day, sometimes making it from sea to table in just a few hours—whether you’re dining at a four-star restaurant, on-site at your hotel, or enjoying an inexpensive meal on the go from a local street vendor.

 

(Photo: Aniesia Williams)
(Photo: Aniesia Williams)

Guadeloupe is a paradise for hikers.

 

You know those movies and TV shows where you see hikes through lush rainforests that end when a majestic waterfall comes into view, complete with a natural pool for swimming? In Guadeloupe National Park (Parc National de la Guadeloupe), you’ll feel like you’re in the movie. And, bonus—it’s free! The islands are known for their excellent hiking, with more than 100 miles of trails.

(Photo: Aniesia Williams)
(Photo: Aniesia Williams)

 

The park sits at the base of La Soufrière volcano. Bring good hiking shoes because the trails may be muddy or slippery. Pack a swimsuit and a rain jacket, too. Choose among several well-marked, guided hikes depending on your skill, experience, and interest. Birdwatchers, keep your eyes open for the black woodpecker, pearly-eyed thrasher, and lesser Antillean pewee. And don’t miss the Yellow Baths hot spring! The official park website is in French, but most browsers can translate. Trace (trail) statuses are posted regularly, so check it out before you go.

Guadeloupe has a family-friendly beach resort with something for everyone.

 

La Creole Beach Hotel in le Gosier is nestled among garden surroundings, featuring palm trees and bright bougainvillea. Three on-premise restaurants make feeding the whole family simple, and breakfast is included. Restaurants offer French cuisine, Cajun/Creole cuisine, or a “diner” experience with pizza and quick-service lunch. Amenities include Wi-Fi (for a small fee), satellite TV, room service options, hair dryers, and complimentary crib/rollaway beds.

(Photo: Aniesia Williams)

 

Children of guests are welcome in the children’s club area, and there’s also a fee-based childcare service. There are two pools (one for children), plus many on-site activities for families traveling with older kids/teens, too. Things like sailing, volleyball, windsurfing, surfing, snorkeling, bicycle rentals, and spa services!

You can island hop to a fort.

 

Les Saintes is the site of Fort Napoleon, where you can get unforgettable 360-degree scenic views. It’s educational but it’s also fascinating. The fort’s museum is dedicated to the art, culture, history, and natural beauty of the area. Don’t miss the botanical cactus garden (yes, cacti in the Caribbean!) or the roaming iguanas. Get an early start—the site has limited hours, just 9:00 am to 12:30 p m. Also, it’s a steep walk up from the ferry dock, but a short one—only about 15-20 minutes. You may want to pack a French-English dictionary, as many exhibit materials are in French. Guided tours are available in French, although self-guided ones are fine, too. Admission is roughly $4 for adults, $2.25 for children.

(Photo: Aniesia Williams)

 

Guadeloupe is the perfect family vacation—it’s close to home and there’s lots to do for everyone. It’s hard to see why anyone would pass up a trip to this tropical paradise.

 

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