Planet Thirty
Episode 69: Flyy Moon

Episode 69: Flyy Moon

December 8, 2021

Her name says it all. Flyy Moon. Her personality, her spirit and her art invite anyone who crosses her path to elevate and indeed ascend to the level of…. Flyy Moon.

Born and raised in Compton, Flyy Moon discovered writing at an early age. When her heart and pen first connected, beautiful poems decided to manifest themselves. That was followed by stories, then plays and scripts and all sorts of wonderful pieces that erupted from her musings.

Through the years she thoroughly enjoyed all forms of writing, however Flyy felt as if it was time for her words to be accompanied by her own voice. With encouragement from her Godmother, the legendary T’keyah Crystal Keymah, Flyy Moon decided to get behind the mic in a studio and record her first song. Flyy Moon realized that her poems were dictating their own directions and in some cases they were begging for melodies. Some of her beautiful poems were becoming beautiful songs. “Black” is one such song. More like a piece of art, “Black” is the new anthem. It celebrates black people globally. It pays attention and highlights the struggles of black people while allowing the music to breathe over its genuinely optimistic melodic chorus. Coupled with its opening soliloquy by T’keyah Crystal Keymah and closing poetry by famed Chicago poet Useni Eugene Perkins, “Black” is sure to become a staple across every important moment of teaching and celebration for decades to come.

“Black” is also a strong indication of the journey that Flyy Moon will be taking us on through her music and words. She is equipped to shift lives, attitudes and culture with her work and we should all look forward to it. With several singles and visuals planned for the next few months, Flyy Moon is just getting started…

And this is the story… thus far… Of Flyy Moon!

Episode 68: Twilla Amin

Episode 68: Twilla Amin

December 2, 2021

Many times in the world of film and television, people are encouraged to pick a role. Producer, Director, writer? Which one are you? Sometimes however, someone like Twilla Amin arises. Twilla has experience working as all of the aforementioned and more.

Born in North Carolina to an African American Mother and a Cameroonian father, Twilla fell in love early with art and media. By childhood she was auditioning for national commercials as an actor and performing. As she grew, so did her love for show business. Twilla entered the famed Univerity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and excelled. If ever she was weary about what she wanted to do in life, this was confirmation. She completed UNC and continued her journey into film in Howard University’s MFA program.

Ready and prepared to take on the world, Twilla moved to Los Angeles. Years on Twilla has touched virtually every facet of show business and has worked for major networks, production companies and music artists. She has even won some awards along the way. She is capable of birthing a concept and shepherding it to completion. Her ability to do this lead to her team up with her colleague Dion Lack to start Lacktoast Entertainment, an innovative multimedia production company that develops web content, short films, comedy sketches, and promo videos. 

Twilla has accomplished much, however the world has not seen her best work as yet! She is filled with ideas and concepts that once released are sure to shift the world. Remember her name. She is a growing force in the world of entertainment. Get used to hearing the phrase “And the award goes to Twilla Amin” because Twilla… Is not done yet. This is the story… thus far… Of  Twilla Amin.

 

 

Episode 67: TK Dawkins

Episode 67: TK Dawkins

November 26, 2021

TK Dawkins is an intellectual. TK Dawkins is a leader. Perhaps most importantly, TK Dawkins is an executer.

Born and raised in Jamaica, TK Dawkins had dreams of becoming an attorney.  Afterall, society dictated that that was the path to success. Luckily, by the time TK entered University she realized that success could be reached via many paths. TK took advantage of everything the university experience had to offer both inside and outside the classroom.

Upon completion she returned to her beloved Jamaica. While many were seeking ways to stay abroad, TK was trying to find out how and where she could help her community. This in itself tells you everything you need to know about TK’s character. She is a giver. She gives of her time, knowledge and resources all for the improvement of others. Since moving back to Jamaica, TK has established herself as a force in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur. She works hard to succeed at everything she touches in her professional life… and she does. What pleases her soul most however, is her ability to reach others who are less fortunate and those who need improvement in their lives. TK is not shy about using whatever she has to help in whatever way she can. Her recent project titled the improvement movement is designed to teach people how they can use small steps in three key areas to improve their lives overall. You see TK is not one to accept the word “no.” She dreams BIG. Nothing is impossible, especially when it comes to the betterment of her beloved Jamaican people.

TK is a woman of service, knowledge and love. She is selfless and exemplifies what we should all strive for.  She has accomplished much and still has much to achieve. In this conversation, I guarantee that you will not only fall in love with TK Dawkins’ personality, but you will learn a thing or two. And you will seek to improve your life in some way.

This is the story…. Thus far… Of TK Dawkins.

Episode 66: Janay Reymond

Episode 66: Janay Reymond

November 20, 2021

Simply put, Janay Reymond is a creative and has always been. Though she was fascinated by all forms of art, fashion mesmerized her most. Her paternal grandmother was a seamstress, while her maternal grandmother owned one of the most popular boutiques on her native Anguilla. Janay was smitten by clothing and in particular swimsuits. As a little girl she would sketch patterns for all types of clothing however, by age 12 she had designed her first evening gown for a pageant contestant. That contestant came 1st runner up.

In her final years of high school, Janay decided what industry she wanted to work in for the rest of her life. Against all odds she started to craft swimsuit and legging designs while building a team of models and support staff. By her late teens Janay was designing for pageants and swimsuit competitions across the Caribbean as well as producing her own runway shows.

Janay Reymond, has been instrumental in shaping the fashion scene on Anguilla and is considered a pioneer in local fashion. After showcasing her work at her annual shows, and participating in shows across the Caribbean, Janay took her designs to two of the biggest stages in the world. LA Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.

By her 20s Janay had accomplished much of what she set out to do. Most persons around her knew that she was a talented makeup artist as well, however Janay surprised many people when she decided to pause on designing and fashion shows and enter the beauty arena full time. In typical Janay fashion, she went in 100% and immediately cut out a niche for herself. Today, she is one of the most requested makeup artists in the immediate region. While her skills speak for themselves, she has taken it a step further and opened her own headquarters and retail outlet called The Face Lab.

Janay however, is not done yet. This is the story… thus far… of Janay Reymond.

 

 

Episode 65: Maya Gilliam

Episode 65: Maya Gilliam

November 10, 2021

Maya Gilliam is a consummate entrepreneur. This introduction could possibly end right here. My first sentence more than aptly describes Maya, but, she is so much more.

Born in the Tar Heel State, North Carolina, Maya was surrounded by a family teeming with entrepreneurs and investors. She remembers observing family members as they tended to their separate businesses and made decisions. Her lessons in business came directly and indirectly. Maya, soaked it all up.

By the time Maya walked onto the infamous yard at Howard University, she was prepared for greatness. Her college years saw her becoming a photojournalist for the university’s newspaper. She had the uncanny ability to slip into concerts, parties, press conferences and other exclusive events. Maya always came home with the perfect shots from her assignments prompting her fellow students to label her “All Access.”

While working for the school’s paper as a sophomore, Maya recognized that there was a need for a strong digital agency especially for small businesses. Thus, Third Eye Digital was born. Third Eye Digital would go on to secure contracts from Howard University and other major businesses in the Washington DC area. All before Maya even graduated.

Upon graduation, Maya became a photo editor for one of the largest newspapers in the United States. With time she decided to move on to explore other talents. She became a licensed massage therapist and in true Maya fashion opened her own Spa. A very successful spa might I add.

In 2020, when the world was turned right side up, Maya swiftly turned on a dime and reinvented herself. She closed her spa and used the opportunity to invest time and money into a new company creating products from hemp. With acres of land in her possession she is well on her way to becoming one of the industry’s rock stars. Maya is also on the verge of developing similar businesses in Rwanda and Ghana.

But Maya is not done just yet. This is the story… thus far… Of Maya Gilliam.

 

 

Episode 64: Sabrina Francis

Episode 64: Sabrina Francis

November 3, 2021

Sabrina Francis is brave as she is charming. The Grenadian chanteuse fell deeply in love with music in her childhood but began her professional singing career in her late teens. Like many singers in the Caribbean, Sabrina held down traditional jobs in order to provide for herself. Though she appreciated the opportunities, she was convinced that her soul could only be happy if she was doing music full time.

Sabrina began working the local circuit in Grenada. Local gigs turned into regional ones and eventually international. What is remarkable is that Sabrina is not performing sets of the proverbial Reggae, Calypso and Soca songs. She prefers to perform Jazz and songs filled with African and Caribbean rhythms infused with Jazz. Sabrina decided to grab her career by the horns and face her challenges head on. To follow your own plan and strategy by offering your own style of music when most would advise against it, takes tremendous courage. Sabrina did it and is winning. She says that she had to adhere to her own authenticity. Like most young West Indians she loves the Soca genre, but, she admits that is not her home sonically.

Now on the cusp of a fourteen-venue tour in 3 of Europe’s most popular countries, Sabrina Francis is out to prove yet again that a little Grenadian girl with a dream and an abundance of talent will be the Caribbean’s next success story on the global music scene. The melodies and lyrics that she has packaged in her studio deep into the mountains of Grenada will be introduced to audiences under the bright lights and bustle of cities in the UK, Germany and Switzerland.

Sabrina Francis is the perfect blend of discipline, determination, humility and talent. Listening to Sabrina’s music is like sipping a glass of fine wine surrounded by light rain and cool breezes while observing the last bits of a Grenadian sunset. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the story… thus far… of Sabrina Francis.

 

 

Episode 63: Bramma

Episode 63: Bramma

October 27, 2021

Take 2 parts historian, one part activist, 3 parts teacher and 4 parts fashion guru and you will end up with a potent blend called Bramma.

Bramma is a man of many talents who thinks on many levels. He was born and raised in Trinidad by a Trinidadian mother and a Jamaican father. Having parents from two different countries contributed to his understanding of the Caribbean, its people and its culture. What added to this, was the fact that he had the opportunity at a young age to travel. Bramma was not only a “Beewee” baby, but was a decorated swimmer for Trinidad and Tobago’s National team.

Bramma would go on to Howard University to study engineering.  He became a teacher in Washington DC. He admits that while it was his job to teach his students, he soaked up many lessons from them. His students inspired him. The true understanding of African people developing new cultures through the lens of slavery and colonization in the Caribbean, North and South America started to intrigue him more and more. Bramma, an already avid reader began to read voraciously about the movement, culture and general history of all African people. He expanded his studies to other ethnicities as well.

Though Bramma always had a love for history and culture there was another passion that he would not begin to fully explore until recently. In his teens and early 20s, he remembers having a love for styling himself particularly when it came to sneakers. Years on, Bramma is one of the founders and the Creative Director of Third World Famous. Third World Famous is a clothing line that merges fashion with the cultures, history and style motif of third world countries. Bramma’s vision for 3rd world famous is enormous. With his drive and knowledge, there is no stopping him.

These are just a few parts of the Bramma blend, and this is the story… thus far… of Bramma.

 

Episode 62: Olaide Banks

Episode 62: Olaide Banks

October 20, 2021

I first encountered Olaide Banks when we were both boys. We both attended the same primary school and coincidentally were a part of the same cub scout pack. As an elder cub, he was chosen as one of our pack’s leaders. Olaide was then and is now a natural leader.

Upon passing his CXC exams, Olaide went against the grain and began to work at a bank in our native Anguilla. While many were shocked at his decision not to continue on to the popular advanced level program at his high school, Olaide says that the experience of being thrust into the work force, long sleeves, tie and all, forced him to be responsible and taught him early on the importance of discipline, hard work and the value of money, among a bevy of other lessons.

Olaide attended the University of Houston and then prepared for a career in finance. He began his journey but swiftly realized that he wanted to add more to his arsenal. He decided to attend law school. With a mortgage, a full-time job and a marriage, Olaide navigated three years of law school, completed a clerkship and started his law practice with a colleague. While others would have made excuses or buckled under the pressure, Olaide stepped up to the challenge and conquered.

In the years since, Olaide has been able to blend his knowledge of finance and law to serve plethora corporate clients. In addition, he has been a key figure in the careers of his father Bankie Banx and his brother Omari Banks, both wildly popular artists in the music world.

Recently Olaide has allowed us all to see his own musical talent by releasing singles and music videos. Though Olaide the artist may have caught casual observers by surprise, those who know him were not at all shocked. To know Olaide is to know his passions, his willingness to take risk where necessary and his willingness to serve others. To know Olaide Banks is to know… well… A LEADER!

This is the story… thus far… Of Olaide Banks!

Episode 61: Tamara Leonard

Episode 61: Tamara Leonard

October 13, 2021

Simply put Tamara Leonard is a warrior. A native of Dutch St. Maarten, Tamara fell in love with business from an early age. Both of her parents were entrepreneurs. Their work ethic and the independence that entrepreneurship allowed had a profound impression on her.

Though business was always her first love, she remembers seeing members of St. Maarten’s government being sworn into office after every election. There was something about being able to make changes in her community that spoke to her.

After completing studies in the US, Tamara would return to St. Maarten and fulfil her promise to herself by becoming a business owner. She admits that there were a few stumbles along the way, however she saw great success eventually. And yes… being a politician was always at the back of her mind, but it was not priority. That was until the opportunity came to her in the early 2010s. Tamara Leonard was elected to office on her first attempt.

However, this almost did not occur. During the election campaign she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the fight of her life. Tamara however did not give up. With strength, hope and immeasurable faith in God, she pushed through and was able to defeat the disease. She went on to serve the people of St. Maarten well.

In late 2020 Tamara was again diagnosed with breast cancer. Fresh from her treatment, Tamara sat with me to discuss her ambitions, her philosophies and shed light on her journey with breast cancer.

Tamara is strong! Tamara is an inspiration! Tamara is a Warrior!

This is the story… Thus far… Of Tamara Leonard!

 

Episode 60: Rae

Episode 60: Rae

October 7, 2021

In the fiercely competitive world of Soca music, it is very difficult for new artists to propel themselves through the wall of already established super stars. Difficult, yet not impossible. The probability of breaking barriers however depends on the artist.

Rae is one such artist. She has an unforgettable combination of good looks, superb vocals and personality galore. Added to that, Rae’s formal training in music, coupled with her manager and co-writer Darryl Gervais’ ability to pen strong hooks and verses has taken her on a meteoric rise. Have you seen a flier for a Soca fete in the United States this year? There is a high chance that Rae is on it. She is booked and busy.

While other artists were not seen or heard from during the pandemic, Rae was pumping out songs and music videos. She says that as a new artist she did not want the old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” to affect her career. Thus, she ensured that whether it was social media, traditional media or music platforms, you were able to see and hear her.

With a mind full of ideas, a body of work yet to be released and an unstoppable work ethic, Rae is poised to shine through and light up the Soca industry even more as time passes.  In her short career, she has worked with the likes of DJ Private Ryan among others and has built a strong catalogue in less than five years. She is however, by no means done.

This is the story… Thus far.. of Rae…

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