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Photo* by Rod Chlrin Hi* Will Photography
Participants in the / Rock My Curves The Best! Fashion Show close out the
show, held in December.
The show includes choreographed dance numbers by the models as they show
off their designs.
Women love themselves, and their curves, through fashion
BY CHANEL DAVIS . *.
The I Rock My Curves The Best!
movement has taken over the Triad with
women embracing their size and shunning
the traditional modeling size.
The movement is one to designed to
"empower, uplift, celebrate and embrace
women with curves" and its mission is to
"change the perception about curves pro
moting self-love and confidence," accord
ing to the website.
"I Rock My Curves birthed from a
fashion show that we did last September in
Greensboro. I had wanted to do something
to empower the plus size women in the
area but I was dragging my feet because I
wasn't sure how people woud respond and
I felt like I didn't have the support I need
ed," said Kenyatta Johnson, founder and
executive director. "There are plus move
ments all over but it was needed here. I felt
like in this area, in the Triad and North
Carolina, there weren't a lot of positive
things centered around and for the curvy
Eventually, though, she would pick up
the phone and make some calls, surprising
herself with the response and feedback.
"It was only supposed to be that one
show. Instead, we had an extremely large
casting, two actually, that I wasn't pre
pared for," she said.
The results ... 40 plus-sized models
from different backgrounds who had never
modeled before but were ready to strut all
of their curves on the runway. The runway
also brought a sense of purpose and cama
raderie to these women who need a lift in
self-esteem and or a push to empower.
"From that developed these relation
ships and people bonding. The more we
spent time with these women, the more
that we heard that women needed this and
didn't know where to get it," Ingram said.
"It turned into a sisterhood and then a
movement, because before I knew it the
word was traveling faster than I could keep
Winston-Salem Resident OUie Green
said that she is proud of Johnson and
thinks the movement is a great thing.
"This is an outlet for women to get
together and focus on encouraging one
another," she said. "It's very positive.
Women like us have curves. Some people
can take that as fat and some people can
take that as overweight, but we love our
selves. No matter what we look like or
what size we are, we love each other. This
is important because it gives an outlet to
other women who may not feel like they're
beautiful, important or sexy."
Johnson said that from that, she began
receiving emails and phone calls from out
side of Greensboro.
"It became much bigger than I ever
thought it would be," she said.
The Fayetteville native wears many
hats, including being a makeup artist, life
coach and motivational speaker. She said
that growing up she was picked on by chil
dren for her weight.
"When I was growing up, 1 didn't
know I was different until 1 went to school.
You know how kids are overly mean. If
something doesn't look like you it looks
different or it looks odd, people are afraid
of it or they mock it," she said. "I was very
confident, even as a child, because I had
great parents. My father was always telling
me how beautiful 1 was, he was always
reaffirming me and loving on me."
She would go on to graduate from
Livingstone College and Howard
University, before realizing that she was
bom to help others. Which is exactly what
she is doing by helping to allow women to
rock their curves, just the way they are.
"The emails never stop, the inbox is
never empty and I feel like I'm constantly
counseling somebody. It never ends, and I
love the work and the opportunity for min
istry that has come from this," she said.
"This is not Kenyatta but a God thing. I
just happen to be the vessel that he minis
ters in to do this work."
Green said that she has enjoyed seeing
the positive impact it has had on other
"I'm an encourager. I love to see peo
ple grow and see them happy. That's my
gratification. We have a large number of
women from all around the Triad, all states
and all ethnicities," she said. "If you are
confident, curvy, love yourself and others,
and love fashion, I would recommend you
join I Rock My Curves."
Since its conception in September
2014, IRMC has been highlighted on
TLC's reality TV show "My Big Fat Fab
Life", IRMC has produced two fashion
shows in N.C., mentors young girls, works
with victims of domestic violence and sup
ports homeless Veterans.
Right now, Johnson said that she is
hoping to be a community-based organiza
tion that's a nonprofit.
"Now it's a matter of getting from
where we are now to getting the funds so
we can continue to go," she said. "I would
love to get grants and provide services to
all women who may need help."
For more information or to join, visit
Salem College students to hold
walk to raise awareness of suicide
BY CHANEL DAVIS
Students, staff and the surround
ing community are preparing to bring
awareness to suicide and its causes.
The Salem College Out of the
Darkness Campus Walk will be held
on Saturday, May 2 with registration
beginning at 8 a.m. The walk will
begin at 601 S. Church St. and is
expected to last until noon.
"This is the first time that Salem
College has done a walk dedicated to
suicide prevention," said Kimya N.
Dennis, assistant professor in the
Department of Sociology and
Criminal Studies and the faculty
organizer of the event. "This is
important because mental health has
impacted any human who has ever
existed. That includes suicide and
So far the school has raised $945
dollars of its $3,000 goal. The funds
go toward the American Foundation
for Suicide Prevention so that it can
invest in new'research, create educa
tional programs, advocate for public
policy and support survivors of sui
Dennis said that the group wants
to get rid of the shame and secrecy of
suicide and mental illness.
The walk has been student-led
and organized. Dennis called the
organization stage a very good expe
rience that could possibly turn into an
annual event. There will be entertain
ment, food and participants are
encouraged to walk as many times as
they like. The student center will be
open for those who would need to sit
"We want to encourage people to
discuss the topics of suicide and self
harming behaviors. People harm
themselves for different reasons.
Sometimes we find different patterns
as to why it tends to occur," Dennis
said. "Overall there can be different
issues in why people tend to take their
Dennis also said that it is a great
chance for the group to shine light on
mental illness and suicides in ethnic
minorities of the community.
"African-Americans and people
of the African diaspora in geperal
have a tendency to believe that men
tal health is not an issue of impor
tance, and that suicide is something
that black folk don't do. The common
phrase is that black people don't com
mit suicide," Dennis said.
The faculty member said that is
when she reminds those individuals
about the suicide of Don Cornelius.
"A lot of people know those who
have thought about or attempted sui
cide. We want to make people more
comfortable about the topic, and that
includes looking at religion and how
a lot of black people feel like being
religious means that they can't care
about topics," she said. "1 tell
people 'Even if your praying on it,
there is still resources that you need
For more information about the
If you participate
Online registration closes at noon the Friday (May 1) before the walk. Anyone who would like to partici
pate in the walk can register in person at 8 a.m. until the walk begins at 9 a.m.
Donations will be accepted until June 30.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leader in the fight against suicide. They fund re
search, offer educational program, advocate for public policy, and support those affected by suicide. Find
the North Carolina chapter at http:ZAvww.afsp.org/local-chaptera/local-chapters-list6d-by-8tate/north
If you are in a crisis or are thinking about suicide, call 1-800-273-8255.
"Overall there can be
different issues in why
people tend to take
their own life."
-Kimya N. Dennis
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR
New alliance dedicated to increasing diversity in the N.C. health workforce
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE _
Former HHS Secretary and Chairman
of The Sullivan Alliance to Transform the
Health Professions, Louis W. Sullivan,
M.D, met with senior officials from North
Carolina colleges, universities, statewide
organizations, as well as state and local
health agencies to formally create a state
wide alliance to increase minority repre
sentation in the health professions.
This new academic and state agency
partnership - The North Carolina Alliance
for Health Professions Diversity (The
North Carolina Alliance) - aims to reduce
disparities in health status and healthcare
by increasing racial and ethnic diversity in
the healthcare workforce in the state of
North Carolina, thereby creating a future
healthcare workforce that is increasingly
proficient in cross-racial and cross-cultural
During the official ceremony on March
27, held on the Winston-Salem State
University campus, the senior representa
tives signed the Memorandum of
"We are impressed that North
Carolina's AHEC [Area Health Education
Centers], historically black colleges and
universities [HBCUs], state universities,
community colleges and state and local
health agencies have all committed to
working together to create a more diverse
health workforce," Sullivan said.
"These academic, state and local health
leaders clearly recognize that in the current
environment, with millions more ?
Americans securing health insurance, they
still won't have access to care unless there
aren't more health professionals available
to serve them."
Participating colleges, universities and
state health agencies include: Bennett
College, Campbell University, Davidson
County Community College, East
Carolina University, Elon University,
University of North Carolina Greensboro,
North Carolina Central University, High
Point University, Appalachian State
University, Elizabeth City State
University, Fayetteville State University.
Johnson C. Smith University, St.
Augustine's University. Western Carolina
University, Winston-Salem State
University, N.C. Area Health Education
Center, N. C. Department of Health and
Human Services, Wake Forest Baptist
Medical Center, and the Forsyth County
Department of Public Health.
"With so many Nonn Carolina
Alliance members working together to
address the state's shortage of health pro
fessionals, I am confident we can increase
the racial and ethnic diversity of newly
trained health professionals and improve
access to healthcare across North
Carolina," said Dr. Peggy Valentine. North
Carolina Alliance co-founder and dean of
the School of Health Sciences, Winston
Salem State University.
The first N.C. Health Professions
Diversity Conference was held on March
31-April 1.2008 in Greensboro, NC. Over
150 health professionals, educators, policy
makers and legislators attended.
The conference produced a number of
recommendations to increase the represen
tation of diverse students in health profes