Music in my soul: In My Mind #PassionateSpot

Event Recap: The Atlanta launch of @RobHillSr #HeartHealer Project

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Event Recap: #ImpactMagazine #CocktailsandConversations with #AngieStone #PassionateSpot

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Exclusive Excerpt: Purple Tears by @KharaCampbell in stores Feb 3rd #PassionateSpot

purpletearsCan the truth really set you free?

Shocking news rips Purple to the core and sends on her a downward spiral. Everything she thought was true now is a lie. She’s lost. Her sister Gina steps in to be the voice of reason that Purple now needs. Logan, Purple’s boyfriend stays faithfully by her side, trying to help her heal. He so desperately wants her to be his wife – but now just isn’t the time and she keeps pushing the idea of marriage away because of her now complicated life. Purple throws her faith in God on the back burner. The need for sex, alcohol and her resentment toward God soothes her as she decides if she wants to find truth from the person that caused the downfall in her life.



June lay bedridden due to debilitating pain from breast cancer and guilt. She was helplessly on her bed in the hospital room. She just had the nurse call her two daughters to have them rush back to the hospital after she had just an hour ago forced Purple and Gina to leave so they could go home and rest. June almost always had to threaten to call security to get her two girls to leave her bedside. The guilt of never revealing a huge secret about her eldest daughter seemed like it was causing her more pain than the cancer that had overtaken her now frail body. June stared up at the fluorescent light on the ceiling, and then slowly closed her eyes as a wave of pain swept over her body. She didn’t want the nurses to administer anymore medicine to her yet, she wanted to be alert when her daughters got back so she endured the pain a while longer. She inhaled and exhaled deeply in hopes of that helping to relive some of the agony that radiated throughout her body. Tears slid from her eyes as she tried to mentally pray the pain away.

After they received the call from the nurse Purple and Gina rushed backed to the hospital in a panic. They burst into their mother’s hospital room expecting her to be taking her last breaths of life. They were relieved to see her sitting up with her eyes closed listening to inspirational Christian music. They both simultaneously blow a sigh of relief.

June’s eye’s slowly opened when she heard her daughters walk into her room and close the door softly behind them.

“Mom, are you okay.” Purple asked sounding concerned, while she walked toward her mother’s bed.

Gina walked to the other side of the bed so she could see June clearly too.

“I’m fine.” June answered weakly as she looked to the left and then to the right of her at both of her daughters.

“We thought you were in more pain or worse.” Gina said when she took a bedside seat.

Purple sat near the bed too, and then reached for her mother’s hand and held it firmly.

“I’m not in any more pain than before baby; I just need to talk to you both.” June shifted her hips a bit to get a little more comfortable, if that was even possible given her pain. “There’s something I need to tell you both, that I haven’t told anyone.”

June looked first at her eldest daughter Purple, and then Gina to gauge their disposition. Her heart quickened at the fear of revealing her deeply hidden secret. She struggled with whether she should tell the truth or not.

“Mom what is it, you’re starting to scare me?” Purple said as she leaned closer to her mother and examined her for clues of anything else detrimental other than the fact that her mother was dying of cancer. ‘What could the news be? Is today or tomorrow her last days with us’? She thought.

Gina just sat there silent, while tears streamed down her face. She couldn’t help but cry for months now, ever since she heard about the turn for the worse for her mother. She felt so helpless and couldn’t bear the thought of knowing life without her mother in it. Gina relied on the strength of her sister Purple. Purple was so strong, and she knew how to handle tough situations. In the beginning, when Gina couldn’t bear to see her mother weakened with pain and confined to a hospital bed, it was Purple that sat by their mother’s bedside night and day, not wanting to leave. Gina found the courage to be by her mother’s side because of Purple’s strength and dedication to face the tough truth of their mother’s failing health. Gina realized that even though it was hard for her to see her mother that way, it was even harder on their mother to know she will leave them that way as well.

“Baby please don’t cry. I hate that you both have to see me this way,” June said weakly so Gina quickly wiped the tears from her eyes.

“I’m sorry mommy,” Gina spoke up.

“It’s okay. I understand.” June closed her eyes as she tried to find the right words.

She couldn’t bear to leave this earth without finally telling the truth regarding her firstborn’s conception. She had buried the truth deep inside her for thirty-two years. She didn’t want to take the truth to her grave.

She opened her eyes, looked at Purple and then said, “Purple, I haven’t been honest with you about your father.”

“What?” Purple was confused.

“Your father isn’t dead, or at least I don’t know if he is.”

“Mommy, what are you talking about? Why are you bringing this up?” Purple asked, still not understanding what her mother was trying to say.

“Sweetheart, I haven’t been honest with you about how I got pregnant.  I…I… W…Was raped.” She finally blurted out.

Purple looked at her mother in shock. She saw the weakness in her mother’s light-brown eyes, and how much grayer her mother’s long, once thick, coarse, but now thin, hair had gotten since the cancer progressed. Gina’s hand hadn’t left her covered mouth since June said she was raped. Gina’s shock matched her sister’s.

Purple released her mother’s hand and stood up. She walked over to the opposite wall that faced her mother’s bed. She was stunned silent, and her mind raced with all kinds of thoughts as it tried it’s hardest to process what her mother had just said.

“As you know I got pregnant with you while I was in college. My girlfriends and I went on Spring break to The Bahamas and that’s where I met your dad – Malcolm.” June continued.

Purple and Gina were in complete disbelief. They both felt like they were having an out of body experience.

“My three girlfriends both had boyfriends with them on the trip and I didn’t, so they kept trying to set me up with random guys. Well I finally met Malcolm and we got along with each other right away. Two days after meeting him we went to a concert on the beach one night. We were all having fun; people were drinking and smoking weed, all that crazy stuff that goes on during spring break. Well after the concert, my friends went their separate ways with their boyfriends, so I asked Malcolm to walk me back to my room. When we got there, he assumed I would let him in, but I didn’t want to. I was a little tipsy from indulging in a beer. He had drunk a lot that night, and I was afraid of where things would lead. I was still a virgin at twenty-one and I had never gone past first base with a guy.” She paused to catch her breath.

June suddenly found enough strength to continue her confession. She was grateful for the girls not interrupting her while she told them her truth.

“Well, he convinced me to let him in. We started kissing and touching and when I realized things were going to go too far I told him to leave, but he didn’t. That’s when he forced himself on me.” June closed her eyes on the vision of the painful memory. “He hoisted up my skirt, and he ripped off my purple underwear as he said, ‘Stop fighting, you know you want it’…”

Gina spoke first, as she cried out, “Mommy, why didn’t you tell us this before?”

She looked at her mother, and then her sister who stood distraught by the wall in front of June’s bed. Purple, unable to handle the truth of her conception, slid to the floor in anguish. Gina didn’t know who to comfort first, her dying mother who was finally relieving herself of a thirty year old secret or her sister whose life as she had thought it to be was just shifted to the far left.  Gina got up and went to her sister’s side on the floor.

Purple felt like melting to the ground, and then she hoped to be absorbed by it. How could my mother have kept this a secret for so many years? It took Purple years to accept the fact that her daddy was dead, which her mother told her when she was six. Purple thought not having and knowing her father was bad, but now, she wished it was the truth rather than knowing her father raped her mother and he may be alive somewhere. ‘God what does that make me – a mistake, and the result of a vicious act? I’m the product of a rape’!?

June’s face was wet with tears from the relief of revealing her dark secret, and because of the additional pain she laid upon her daughters. As much as it hurt, June felt she couldn’t die without letting Purple know her truth. ‘She knows her father isn’t dead, or at least there’s a possibility he’s alive’. She never told anyone about what happened that night. When her parents begged her to tell them who the father was she wouldn’t, she was ashamed. For so many years June felt the rape was her fault. ‘Was it rape? Did I want to have sex with him that night?’ She shouldn’t have felt pressured by her friends to find a boyfriend. She shouldn’t have let Malcolm in her room. She shouldn’t have worn that mini-skirt to impress him. She should have screamed harder or bit him when he placed his hand over her mouth. June didn’t report the rape to the hotel. She was in a foreign country, and the reality of being raped and ripped of her virginity was too much for her to bear. She left on a flight back to Maryland the very next day.

After minutes of silent cries, Purple finally spoke. “Do you know anything else about him? Do you know where he lived?”

She couldn’t believe she was asking anything about the monster who was evidently her father, but that was all she could think to ask at the moment. Her head was throbbing from all the chaos that was happening in her mind and the different emotions that were surfacing.

“All I know is his name is Malcolm, he went to the University of Florida and he played football.”  June answered weakly, while wiping tears from her eyes.

Gina hugged her sister tight.  She could feel her shaking.  Gina had never seen her sister so broken before. She was always a pillar of strength, but news like this could break anyone, especially when it’s coming from your dying mother.

STARZ debuts new trailer for season 2 of #Power returning this summer #PassionateSpot

#WithThisRing Watch Party: A Planner For You & Your Girls #PassionateSpot

With This Ring Trailer

If you’re anything like my girlfriends, you use pretty much any excuse to get together for food, drinks and general tomfoolery: bridal showers, baby births, Idris Elba sightings, Fridays. So I know for sure you’re grabbing all your good girlfriends and gathering er’body up in your house for the premiere of “With This Ring.” It’s the #WithThisRing Watch Party, baby! Who’s in?!

Here’s everything you need for a great party!

The Particulars:

Regina Hall and Grammy Award Winners Jill Scott and Eve Jeffers Cooper are starring in the lifetime original movie, “With This Ring,” based on “The Vow,” a novel penned by Denene Millner (MyBrownBaby), Angela Burt-Muray ( and Mitzi Miller (editor-in-chief of EBONY). “With This Ring” premieres on Lifetime January 24, 2015 at 8 p.m. EST/7 C. Set your DVRs now, so that you don’t miss any of it and also so that your view can be counted for the viewing stats. 

The Premise of “With This Ring”

After attending their friend Elise’s (Brooklyn Sudano) wedding to Nate (Stephen Bishop) on New Year’s Eve, Trista (Regina Hall), a career-driven talent agent, Viviane (Jill Scott), a successful gossip columnist, and Amaya (Eve Jeffers Cooper), a struggling actress, make a pact to get married within the year to either a new love or a man waiting in the wings. But the close friends face their own set of challenges – Trista has not gotten over her commitment-phobic ex-boyfriend Damon (Brian White), Viviane is secretly in love with Sean (Jason George), the father of her son, and Amaya is desperate to break up her boyfriend Keith’s (Deion Sanders) unhappy marriage so they can live happily ever after. Each woman starts the year with high hopes and dreams of what will happen over the next 12 months… but will they all make it to the altar? Want to read the book? Buy “The Vow: A Novel” here.

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Set off your #WithThisRing Watch Party with these elegant cocktails.



Pour the vodka and white grape juice over ice, then strain the mixture into a champagne flute. Top with champagne.


1 1/2 shots CRÈME DE CACOA
1/2 shot VODKA
2 1/2 shots HALF-AND-HALF 

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

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Your guests will love these delicious, homemade, tried-and-true treats. 

For the more adventurous: Cider Apple Pie with Apple Cider Drizzle 

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A party ain’t a party unless the music is right. Don’t worry, we got you covered. Pump up the volume on these, some of our favorite #WithThisRing-themed songs, created exclusively for us by DJ Wayne Ski. Follow Denene Millner on Spotify and get the playlist all queued up and ready to go for your party.

Be Happy — Mary J. Blige
Infinite Possibilities — Amel Larrieux
So In Love — Jill Scott ft. Anthony Hamilton
Single Ladies — Beyonce
Only Wanna Give It To You — Elle Varner
Harriet Jones (ReelSoul Main Remix) — Eric Benet
Let Me Blow Ya Mind — Eve Ft. Gwen Stefani
I Deserve It — Faith Evans Ft. Missy Elliot & Sharaya J
I Can’t Describe — Jennifer Hudson Ft. T.I.
He Loves Me (House Mix) — Jill Scott
Just Fine — Mary J Blige
PYT — Michael Jackson
Feeling Myself — Nicki Minaj
Pretend — Tinashe Ft. A$AP Rocky
Let’s Get Married (Remarqable Remix) — Jagged Edge Remix
7/11 — Beyonce
Lettin’ Go! — Janelle Monáe
Best Of Me — Anthony Hamilton
I Love You — Cherri Dennis
Really Love — D’Angelo
Latch – Disclosure
Can’t Get Enough – J Cole FT. Trey Songz
It’s Your World — Jennifer Hudson FT. R. Kelly
Don’t Tell Em — Jeremih Ft. YG
Golden — Jill Scott
Show Me — Kid Ink Ft. Chris Brown
Own It — Mack Wilds
Fall In Love —Erykah Badu
Stay — Ne-Yo
Good Kisser — Usher
Break You Off — The Roots
What A Man — Salt N Pepa
I’m So Into You — SWV
Just Fine — Mary J. Blige

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Denene Millner: @mybrownbaby

Angela Burt-Murray: @angelaburtmurray

Mitzi Miller: @delcarmen75










Have a blast at your #WithThisRing Watch Party! I want to see pictures, tweets, Instagram posts, and, most importantly, I want you to enjoy “With This Ring.” I love it, and, truly, I hope you do, too!

Rest in peace to legendary author Gwendolyn Forster #PassionateSpot

Gwendolyn Forster

1922 – 2015
Gwendolyn Acsadi was the daughter of Vivian and King Johnson, sister to Eunice and King Johnson. She was born in Burgaw, North Carolina and moved at an early age to Washington, D. C., where her brilliant mind showed itself when she graduated high school at sixteen and went on to Howard University, American University and Columbia University where she obtained bachelors and masters degrees in sociology, a master’s degree in economics/demography and additional graduate credits in journalism. Her educational choices put her on track to launch a stellar career as a demographer. She was quickly hired by the United Nations and rose up the ranks to become Section Chief (non-medical) of research in fertility and family planning in the Population Division of the United Nations in New York, and served for four years as chairperson of the International Programme Committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (London, England). These positions took her on official business to sixty-three developed and developing countries on behalf of the United Nations and for a time she lived in Nigeria, teaching and conducting research.
During one of her many trips to Europe she met and fell in love with George Acsadi. They married in Nigeria and again in New York and between traveling the world together they ultimately made their home on Roosevelt Island. No two people could have been better matched in temperament and intellect. After retiring from the United Nations she and her husband George (deceased)-renowned in his own right-operated a consultancy business in demographic research for the Population Council, World Bank and other organizations.
The writing bug eventually led her to pen her first novel, which was published in 1995. She took the name Forster-her husband’s family name-and from there on was known in the publishing world as Gwynne Forster. From that first published novel to her last, it was one success after another, complete with numerous awards and nominations for her body of work and in recognition of her contributions as one of the early pioneers of African American romance. Some of her awards included Affaire de Coeur Hall of Fame, Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Gold Pen Award among numerous others. In many of the writing circles she is lovingly known as the “Grand Dame,” and in all of them she is revered as “a lady.”
Gwendolyn was an avid gardener, enjoyed fishing and she was a longtime member of Good Shepard Church on Roosevelt Island where she lent her beautiful voice to the church choir. She was an experienced traveler, and a gourmet cook that loved to entertain and blend the cuisines of the many cultures that she knew.
Gwendolyn is survived by her adoring stepson Peter and her devoted daughter-in-law Laura, two step grandchildren Erin and Rose, extended family and countless friends and admirers.

-Published in NY Times


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