Tag Archives: alopecia

The Books Have Arrived!

THE SEED HAS FINALLY SOWN

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It’s been 4 years in the making of research, planning, production, and post-production… and I Am More Than My Hair books are finally here. Thank you to everyone who believed in my project, supported my fundraisers, and gave words of encouragement or resources to help me more forward.

This is not the end, but only the beginning of an entirely new direction. I have to hit the road with books signings, exhibitions, speaking engagements… and of course… I must sell these books.

You can now purchase on Amazon for $39.95. Remember, 10% of sales proceeds will be donated to Children’s Alopecia Project (CAP). I LOVE their mission: “Help change the emphasis from growing hair to building confidence.”

So feel free to order a copy… or 2… or 3.  Purchase your copy on Amazon.

UPDATE ON THE FILM

I am still in the post-production phase with I Am More Than My Hair documentary film. I’ll have a narrative rough-cut by the end of new week. However, I’m still raising funds to finish because after receiving the rough-cut, there are other steps needed to complete, such as color and sound correction, original score (music) and footage/music licensing (I’ve been working really hard to get permission for India Arie’s song, I Am Not My Hair.

So far I’ve been given access to footage from OWN TV (Harpo Inc.) and I’m very grateful for the permission granted. Your support to help me finish my film will be greatly appreciated… and it’s tax-deductible. Please share.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Book Launch – September 9 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Busboys and Poets
5331 Baltimore Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20781

Join me in celebration of the launch of my book, I Am More Than My HairPurchase your ticket »

 

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Book Signing – August 4 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Sandy Spring Museum
17901 Bentley Road
Sandy Spring, MD 20860

This is my first book signing. I will be on hand to sell and sign copies of I Am More Than My HairReserve your spot »

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Film Finishing Funds

A few weeks ago, I was excited to share my idea to launch a crowdfunding campaign with iFundWomen. It is a great platform, but after serious consideration of the time involved to manage that campaign, I decided it’s best that I stick with raising funds through my fiscal sponsor, Docs In Progress.

At first, the thought of crowdfunding, made me think of just asking friends and relatives for donations. But, it’s actually an invitation for others, for YOU, to join together to support me in the making of my film.

Over the next few months, I will send reminders and updates about my fundraiser to help bring my film into completion. In other words, Finishing Funds. If you’re interested in supporting me, please make a tax-deductible donation via the Docs In Progress project page for I Am More Than My Hair. And don’t forget to share! Sharing is caring.


Feminine TransitionsIn honor of her birthday month & my coming “out” last year, Wendy Simon, has launched a fundraiser for I Am More Than My Hair on Facebook. Wendy has not only participated in my project (both the film and book) but she has also been extremely supportive in consistently providing me with resources and ideas to help complete my project.

If you’re on Facebook, please join Wendy’s page, say hello and let her know how awesome she is for showing her support. She could have supported another non-profit in honor of her birthday, but she decided to contribute to the continuation of my work. Thank you Wendy!

Visit Wendy’s Facebook event page.


The date is set! Please join me in celebration of I Am More Than My Hair book release. It takes place on Sunday, September 9, 2018 from 5-7PM at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, MDPurchase tickets for $10. The book cost $39.95.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the event, you’ll receive a complimentary ticket. Please contact me and let me know.

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The proof is here!

20180509_132238.jpgI received a proof copy of I Am More Than My Hair book. How exciting!

After review, Robin Benson, my Designer, made a minor change then I gave the OK for printing. All copies are expected to arrive by or around July 23, 2018.

In the meantime, I’m working on plans for distribution, marketing, speaking/book tour and of course… grant applications.

This time around, I’m applying finishing fund grants. And in a few weeks I’ll launch…

iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign

I discovered iFundWomen last month while attending Light City Baltimore. How cool is it to have a crowfunding platform dedicated to women only. Amazing!

After speaking with one of the coaches I decided to launch a crowfunding campaign to help cover the finishing cost of I Am More Than My Hair film. I’m almost there. I just need one more push to complete it.

At this point, I will edit the film on my own (rough-cut) and will hire an Editor to complete the fine-cut. As much as I tried to avoid it, I’m guessing the Universe wants me to edit this film. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.

Pre-order your copy

If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of I Am More Than My Hair book, you can do so via PayPal. It will also be available on Amazon but won’t go live until I receive the shipment of books. Pre-order your copy here.

 

HuffPost covered the Fashion Show!

HuffPost Editor, Jamie Feldman, covered the Bald, Beautiful, & Bold Fashion Show. If you missed it, read more here.
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The Fashion Show Was A Success!

Five months of planning, a set venue, a dedicated team of professionals, everything was ready to go. Just 2 weeks before the show…we hit a bump in the road.

We had a challenge. A canceled venue location due to circumstances beyond our control – AKA given false information. As devastating as it was when we first got the news, the new location worked in our benefit. We can fit more of an audience and the show went on.

If there’s one thing I’ve always been clear and upfront about, it is the fact that in life we always face adversities. Especially when it’s a cause you feel most passionate about. As much as I’d love for my journey to always be smooth, I’ve learned that the bumps in the road prepare you for greatness.

Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey.”

Carolyn Phillips hit the road (literally) and connected with the Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church who willingly provided us with the space to hold the show. Woohoo! The thought of canceling was eliminated.

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for Carolyn and team of people who came together to make the fashion show phenomenal.

Thanks once again….

Carolyn Phillips, Joan Carter-Smith, Lakisha Ellis, Wain Jenkins, Sharon Diggs, Barry Page, Londa Msanii, Lauren Stewart, Artartus Jenkins, April Clark, Nora Bonds, Erica Strong, Rue Medley, Lou Fields, Nora Yolanda, DJ Hardpoint Entertainment,  (if I missed someone please know it wasn’t intentional)

Designers – Londa Msanii for Designs by Londa Msanii; 13-Year-Old Samalie Kabenge; Donna Henderson for Flowerbaum; Aristotle Bouvier for Bouvier’s Creations; Simone Ashley For Simone’s Designs; Carissa Bernard For D’kultered Kunsepts; Ola Raphael For Ola Raphael Designs

Models – You were amazing! Absolutely stunning!
Brenda Alford, Toni Jessop, Isaiah “The Model” Branch, Thurman Jones, Sharon Alford, Verne Johnson, Cornelius Bryant, Troy Mitchell, Tondalaya Dunn, Shalonda Mitchell, Tea Copeland, Michael Nwachukwu, Kathie Ehrmann, Nicole O’Brien Dupee, Sin Gabriel, Ty Sydnor, Tammy Flake, Carolyn Phillips, Steve Golub, Prentiss Hakeem Watson, Deborah Gray, Wain Jenkins, Paula Hart, Lillie William

SponsorsThe Umbrella Syndicate, Anu Essentials, Turban Diva, Miss Jessie’sEmmanuel Lutheran Church

Cheers to all hostess and volunteers for making this a successful event!

Here’s a sneak peak of the Designer’s creations. Did you know there were two young designers in the show? See the creativity of 13-year-old Designer Samalie Kabenge, and 17-year-old Designer Simone Ashley.

     See more photos on The Umbrella Syndicate’s Facebook page and Barry Page’s Dropbox.  And how amazing is it to have a project from this project! Ken Rochon, Founder of The Umbrella Syndicate, and 5K sponsor for the Bald, Beautiful, & Bold Fashion Show, is going to publish a new book from his Keep Smiling series titled, Bold, Beautiful, & Bold. View a sneak peak here.
     We’d love for you to share but please remember to keep the photographers caption/copyright info on the photos. If cropping is necessary please include the photographer’s credit. Thank you!

I’ve been shot at and was setback… Maybe or maybe not.

I’m sure you’re wondering… Maybe?

Reading the first 4 words in this title is unsettling for me, and although I wish it were different, unfortunately it’s true.

On July 17, in the wee hours of the morning, a group of individuals did a drive-by shooting on my home.

I woke up to the sound of bullets shattering through the walls, the sight of sparks as it ricocheted throughout the room and the smell of gunpowder as the bullets exploded. I swore I was dreaming.

Not in Montgomery County, Maryland… or so I thought.

My husband and I are hard workers, both entrepreneurs, and have never been involved in any form of criminal activity and fought our asses off for the past 12 years to maintain our home (renovating it little by little all by ourselves).

So the question we were left with was…

Why?

And…

Who?

Who in the hell would drive-by and shoot up a family’s home and for what reason?!?

Since then I’ve felt different emotions, anger being most prevalent. Although I’ve been frustrated and had moments of fear, tears and prayers, I’ve had to do my best to shake off the worry and prepare myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and most definitely physically.

Thankfully, I planned a trip to California months before and was able to clear my head, take in the beautiful sights and get a change of scene for a few days.

Alyscia takes photos of La Jolla Cove in San Diego, CA

During my visit, I had the opportunity to film Mary Marshall, founder of Bald Mannequin Project and International Alopecia Day Facebook group, as well as a drummer, dancer, and diver among so many other wonderful qualities.

We connected two years ago about my project (I Am More Than My Hair) and I told her I would film her during my next visit to San Diego. At that time, I wasn’t sure when it would happen but the time finally came in July 2017.

During the interview with Mary, she mentioned a moment in her life that she literally had to “fake it to make it”. In her example, she was referring to her concerns while facing alopecia (hair loss). She went on and on with so many powerful statements about her experience and how she conquered her emotions.

Mary didn’t know of the shooting incident.

There I was… in Beautiful San Diego… still worried about what happened back home.

I choose not to tell Mary because I didn’t want to spoil the mood. She also didn’t know that her comments during my interview with her, empowered me and gave me strength.

When I returned to my hotel, I reached out to several of my spiritual communities, rehearsed certain Psalms and chanted for peace of mind.

I needed to get my sanity back.

After returning home, I connected with a priestess in an indigenous spiritual community I am a part of , and spoke with her about the incident. She made a comment that helped to put things into perspective. Her response was…

Haven’t you wanted to move for a while now?“… her question gave me goosebumps. I replied, “Yes, but…”. She responded, “So why are you still here?”

She then went into a discussion about how the Universe, although sometimes harsh, forces movement. Especially if we’ve made it known to the Universe that we’re ready for a particular type of movement in our lives.

In that conversation I had an AHA moment…

No matter how difficult the circumstance, there is a reason for everything and there’s always a bright side. 

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I’ve wanted to leave Maryland the first day I step foot here from Queens, New York back in the 90’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned to love and appreciate where I am but always felt there was something more, something better, a place I truly feel connected and can call home for my family and I.

In 2014 I traveled to San Diego for the first time and feel in love. In my soul, I knew that California was the place for me and my family. I just haven’t figured out exactly where (the city). Though San Diego is beautiful, I know it’s not the place for us. The biggest reason being the lack of diversity.

And today, as I type this blog, I open my email and see the subject “The Universe’s Plan for You” by Madisyn Taylor, one of my favorite writers. A section of the article reads…

Nothing happens without a purpose. Whether we attract success or repel it depends on our willingness to stay open to a wide range of possibilities and to embrace concepts like synchronicity.” ~Madisyn Taylor

I must be honest with you and myself and accept the fact that this situation changed my life. At first, knowing that I was just a few feet away from a bullet, left me in fear of my life. Given that my children didn’t sleep sound for a few weeks because of the constant nightmares, broke my heart.

Afterwards, considering those “few feet” saved our lives, I gained a different perspective and felt grateful.

In that moment of gratitude, The Farmer’s Luck came to mind (a wise tale I’ve read to my children since they were all very young). My afterthought was, although situations may sometimes look like bad luck, it could actually be good luck for a future time.

And in that I also learned, time passes and we often find ourselves “busy”. In our “buziness” we may have missed an opportunity to connect with a friend/family who may need our listening ear or support though a rough time or challenge.

I truly appreciated the small handful of people who were genuinely concerned and kept in touch to make sure my family and I were OK.

And to those who who knew my previous hurdles and considered this event to be another setback, my response is… Maybe… Maybe not.  It could be a blessing in disguise.

As for now, I have some serious work to do in figuring out my next move and having faith and trust in the process.

I took a break to gather my thoughts but I won’t allow an obviously unhappy and miserable person to make me unhappy and miserable. That goes for family, friend or foe.

I’m excited to  finish the filming and photo shoots for I Am More Than My Hair and finally now in the post-production phase. I’ll continue to keep you posted. Until then, please continue to support my fundraising efforts by sharing and contributing via my Fiscal Sponsor, Docs In Progress – https://docsinprogress.nationbuilder.com/hair

In the meantime, enjoy this short clip of my interview with Mary during my visit to California. May the solar eclipse bring positive energy to you and our world.

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“Hair is an accessory. Not a defining trait.”

“Hair is just an accessory. Not a defining trait. I don’t have to have hair to be beautiful. My hair doesn’t justify who I am. Beauty comes from within. A beautiful heart and soul makes a beautiful person. So through my life’s journey, I have learned to love all the things about me that I once thought imperfect.”
~Nketia, 62

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/IAmMoreThanMyHair/photos/a.300453623483252.1073741828.230282350500380/546103318918280/?type=3&theater

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#IAmNotMyHair #MoreThanMyHair #baldandbeautiful #naturalbeauty #beauty #beautywithin #hair #cancer #alopecia #solidarity #documentary #coffeetablebook #selflove

Acceptance

I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me
Photograph from Alyscia Cunningham’s photography book, I Am More Than My Hair: Bald and Beautiful Me

“I am NOT my hair because I have accepted and EMBRACED he fact that I AM so much more.”
~Jameelah, 46

What that comes to mind when I think about Jameelah is she has an undeniable strength and sincerity. I met her just a few weeks after I had the idea for my project I Am More Than My Hair, at a book fair.

I spoke excitedly about my plans and Jameelah reciprocated the excitement as well. I asked if she could recommend anyone for my project and she looked at me and said, “I have alopecia.” And she’s also the Founder of SWAG (Sisters With Alopecia Group). Most of my participants thus far have come through Jameelah.

She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and encourager. I am so grateful for Jameelah because if it wasn’t for her, through my frustration I would have given up. And so I continue.