Weekend Equation Solved


By Roland E. Williams

You did

You solved your weekend equations

As you dressed to kill

Readied to party

Geared up for inebriation

And now, too, you’ve solved all

Yet there’s one unsolved

The one you’ll find in due time

When it is inevitable

And while you were busy

Solving all that

And feeling merry and free,

Uncaring about destruction,

You forgot to tell me

How to solve the one

About living without you

Your apologies will never equate

They do not solve this, which

You’ve said I never deserved

There Was Joan of Ark and Then There’s ‘Joan Johnson’!


By Faye-Chantelle Mondesir

Meet the ‘Legendary’Joan Laurencin-Johnson — an iconic role model for several young, aspiring females sharing her creative interests. Prominently positioned among some of the most attractive St. Lucian women, it is no surprise why Joan’s tenure within the local fashion world was an extensive one.

Her entrance into her first beauty pageant later led to Joan being numbered among the key influencers who comprised the unit which gave birth to the Saint Lucian Fashion and Modelling industry. ‘Aunty Joan’, as she is affectionately called by many youngsters, quickly gained prestige and recognition on the local fashion scene — securing an innovative spot, while leaving her unforgettable mark as a resourceful contributor.

Some may wonder what ‘Afro’ Joan’s mantra is. —”Life is short and unpredictable, so live good to feel good and look good, look good, look good!,” she brazenly advises.

A very adventurous fashionista to say the least, this one-of-a-kind mentor was inarguably one of the notable trendsetters of her day. The lovely Lucian lady could easily be spotted in any dense crowd, prominently gabbed down with outfits such as cool hipsters and striking platform shoes, accentuated with captivating accessories which spoke volumes. One has to admit that few people were capable of creating such an unforgettable first visual impression.

Joan Johnson ‘Centre Stage Feature’

Flavourful fashion shows soon became her forte as she assumed the role of an advisor on the board of various committees, entrusted with the organisation of local beauty and talent shows. Her successful coaching and chaperoning stints with the Carnival Queen pageants attest to, not just her industry knowledge, but also her application and implementation skillsets.

The age-old artform of make-up artistry is yet another hobby Joan pulled out of her hatful of surprises. She has gifted many with the thrill of observing themselves from a totally different perspective — not only beauty-conscious females, but also brides-to-be and others desperately needing an urgent picker-upper for their big, momentous events.

‘Aunty Joan’ is undoubtedly a talented, balanced ambitious woman who when summoned, is sure to respond to the call of duty. Many will in unison agree that Joan Johnson’s legacy and impartation of knowledge to her friends, associates and the wider society, have created for her a legacy which won’t be forgotten.

RED MOON OVER VENUS


By Roland E. Williams

Who appointed you to be my killer?

Did I ask you to find me a savior?

There’s a red moon rising over Venus

Ever since you killed your throbbing fetus

Your mother said she could have done so too

Then, for conceiving a killer like you

Now all she can do is pray all night long

And wonder how she could have gone so wrong

Spectacular Saxophonist & Singer Rashaad Joseph Makes Major Musical Moves!



By Faye-Chantelle Mondesir

Rashaad Joseph, an all-too-familiar title on both the Saint Lucian and international creative scene kick-started his music career at the St. Lucia School of Music as a preteen. He sampled various musical instruments until he stumbled upon the ‘sexy sax’ which he immediately passionately fell in love with. His instant fascination with, affinity for and adaptation to the piece — convinced him that becoming a saxophonist must have been written and set in the stars.

“I drew inspiration from Gerald Albright, Luther Francois & Rob ZIi Taylor,” he informed In The SpotLyght Feature Magazine. “As a youngster at school, I participated in an Inter Secondary School X-Tempo Competition hosted by Invader and triumphantly took home the crown to the Corinth Secondary School — a feat achieved with the fervent support of my music teacher Ms. Maraj.”

Rashaad consistently cultivated his craft with the goal of levelling up with the best in the industry — a challenge he took very seriously.

The young, dexterous player was fortunate enough to collaborate with amazing bands like the Black Antz Jazz Band and Dynamix during the formative years of his career, prior to putting together his very own band ‘Oceanview’ in early 2019.

He has professionally graced many stages, where he represented well at major events including the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Jazz On The Grill and U4Ria. Subsequent to these appearances — Rashaad gradually became a household name as one of Saint Lucia’s rising young saxophonists — offering stellar performances with a depth of heart, topped up with deep-rooted soul which undoubtedly resonated with his inspired audiences.

Along his journey, Rashaad has continued to steadily prune his craft as a musician, developing the complementary role of a vocalist. Listening to and observing international artistes like Drake, Alkaline and Chronixx motivated the young hopeful and propelled him to hone in on his own vocal skills which before then, mostly remained dormant.

With total control of the sax, the young man continues producing melodious sounds on his big horn — while simultaneously developing his vocal inclinations into a steady, profitable career. Rashaad’s debut track was released during the latter part of 2018 and continued to create ripples into 2019 among his fans which were many.

‘Casanova’ was the hit original song which stirred his appreciative listeners in a major way, accompanied by a music video filmed and produced in Miami, South Pointe Park, starring feature model Chanel Carter who also appeared in Alkaline, Chris Brown and Trey Songs’ videos.

At the age of 20 years, Rashaad Joseph continues to mature as a musician and artiste, fine-tuning his artform in between his collaborating stints with various artistes — to help speed up his career expansion, bringing Saint Lucian musicians and performers the attention they deserve.

I Will


By Roland E. Williams

’ll take you to feelings you never knew you had

I’ll mend your broken heart with words from my senses

I’ll tease your body with every touch of my lips

I’ll bind your soul to mine the moment you sigh

I’ll forever capture your image in the lenses of my eyes

I’ll fathom your depths with my unending love

I’ll enrich your life with my mere presence

I’ll lock you into my heart and throw away the key

I’ll miss you being with me even before you’ve left

I’ll addict you fully and wholly to our love-making

I will

You Are My Everything


By Roland E. Williams

Are you not the moon to my sun?

Are you not the waves on my sea?

Are you not the love to my lust?

Are you not the innocence to my guilt?

Are you not the light to my darkness?

Are you not the feelings in my emptiness?

Are you not the blue in my grey skies?

Are you not the blessing to my prayer?

Are you not the omega to my alpha and…

…The alpha to my omega?

Are you not the moments in my time?

Are you not the beauty in my ugliness?

Are you not the ease to my longing?

Are you not the mirror to my soul?

Are you not the answer to my questions?

Are you not the silence in my storm?

Are you not the door to my heart?

Are you not the bridge to my mind?

Are you not the wonder in my awe?

Are you not the air in my lungs?

Are you not the beat of my heart?

Are you not the reason for my love?

Are you not my everything?

Forever Is Yours


By Roland E. Williams

When I count your name

How far back does it go?

And when, in time, will it end?

Ever? Not whar I think

Not what I know

It is lot, like white clouds

On a dark blue sky

And returns at times as a whisper

That rolls in from the sea

When your name calls me

And what of the image

That you are, aren’t you

All the imperfect ones

That are perfectly

Stitched together as one?

The dream I chiseled of you

In my immortal moment

Has stretched beyond time,

Warped beyond space,

And outlived every big bang

Mellow D Brown All Set for Higher Heights in 2021!


By Faye-Chantelle Mondesir

Dwayne Carlton Brown is fond of singing and possesses a deep-rooted passion for GOD. He enjoys ministering to people who have been downcast, broken, depressed and feel like no one cares. Mr. Brown is always keen to introduce Jesus to them through the music which he confesses is part of his make-up and has been a worship leader for over 26 years. Those who are truly familiar with Carlton would describe him as a walking ‘Powerhouse of Praise’!

“I pursue music because it’s my passion to be a professional gospel singer. I want to travel the world and minister to people globally,” he reveals. “Music has been a part of my family throughout the generations. Through the art form, I encourage myself and it gives me that urge to aim higher,” he concludes. 

Dwayne’s professional creative career officially kicked off and began bearing fruit in 2019, when he commenced work with The House of Flamz Productions & Xlusiv Soundz Music (H.O.F.) recording label. There, he was branded ‘Mellow D Brown’ by his manager Faye-Chantelle Mondesir (Empress Faye), she explains, “because ‘the name encapsulates the essence of who Carlton is and what he represents — sweet, sweet melodies sung by Mr. Dwayne Brown himself!”

Mellow D Brown (Musical Reign Riddim) – Signs Of The Times (Official Video)

His debut track production and release by the umbrella Global A & R, Management, Creative Arts, Entertainment, Production, Event, Promotion Company & Music Recording Label was ‘Signs of The Times’ which was a hit with his supporters, followed by ‘I Worship You’.

He later released yet another crowd favourite in honour of CREATOR’S  redemptive power entitled ‘Who’s Calling Me?’. The up-tempo rhythm created by his label producer Richard Glace (MackieMac) does justice to the song — allowing Dwayne to authentically express his appreciation for the saving power of Christ who has been calling him while lost in darkness he shares and also a world of confusion. Another global hit of M D Brown, also known as ‘MDB’, is ‘Renew My Mind’ which has been receiving tremendous international traction and positive feedback.

With four very solid hit originals created for his very first EP, the artiste couldn’t resist upping the anti and throwing in a bonus all-time-popular gospel Medley cover version performed by yours truly. This ‘Redemption 2K20’ album was launched by House of Flamz Productions & X-Klusiv Soundz Music (H.O.F.) in collaboration with Meditationz Media Network (MMN) on December 21st, 2020 at the Greater Works international Ministries located in Bisee, Castries.

Mellow D Brown – I Worship You

The historical and transformational album launch opening concert was subsequently distributed to international audiences and is currently available for viewing through House of Flamz’s very own Holistic Life Portal’s ‘Portal Virtual Event Cinema’ for global access via Pay-Per-View. Concert E-Tickets cost just US $50 with unlimited streaming privileges. The epic show can also be rented with 72-hour streaming access for US $5.

The ‘Portal Virtual Event Cinema’, brainchild of young businesswoman Faye-Chantelle Mondesir, is the very first of its kind — a contemporary, innovative virtual cinema which hosts strictly live events in a convenient, global home with the sole purpose of staging an endless variety of online events and performances filmed from key venues around the world. Thousands are poised to grace the Portal Big Screen and Virtual Stage in grand red-carpet style.

The digitally-accessible version of a walk-in cinema offers the provision of the all-too-familiar complete and dynamic cinema experience without ever having to lift a foot to go outside. While this modern, updated entertainment concept may seem sufficient in itself, The Holistic Life Portal’s cinema has the added value of being available to audiences from any country in the world.

While one of the key benefits delivered to its users and product and service consumers is the safety advantage of ‘attending the movies from home’, the viewing option of enjoying an exciting atmosphere by inviting a few favoured friends over is always a possibility — particularly in these times of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Just when people thought it couldn’t get better any than this, The Holistic Life Portal’s founder, who also happens to be the artiste’s manager — again lifted the 21st-century revolutionary virtual bar, adding even further value to the exclusive online entertainment zone by incorporating customisable food service (meals, beverages, munchies and more) for Portal Cinema viewers to enjoy by pre-order through their Virtual Restaurant Hub.

The Holistic Life Portal’s unconventional Digital Meal Ordering and Delivery Services are available for grab ‘n go meals catering to hardcore meat-lovers, vegetarians, vegans and also high-end cuisine to satisfy the food cravings of their V.I.P. viewers offered by some of the best culinary experts globally.

All consumer demographics are sure to be catered to in many more ways than one with meal, merchandise and shows ranging from general product and service offering to elite/ 5-star. Mellow D Brown Merchandise can be purchased at The Rootz Mall Luxury Storefront and The H.O.F. General Store, while lovers of his music can pay to stream and download his songs in the H.O.F. Soundz Music Store.

The best food, drinks and entertainment is what most agree to be ‘The Ultimate 21st Century Experience’ available in one virtual, convenient space. Discover and explore more about the Portal Virtual Event Cinema and Portal Virtual Restaurant Hub in upcoming SpotLyght featured articles. For now, enjoy the first of Mellow D Brown’s series of events in celebration of this debut album, set to climax with yet another red-carpet virtual event — this time in a form of an album launch dinner party. This high-end event will feature, you guessed right — in The Portal Virtual Event Cinema! Stay tuned for the official event date to be announced via the H.O.F. Facebook page.

While Dwayne Brown is fond of his music, his goal is to ensure that it touches the innermost parts, particularly the soul and spirit of listeners, transforming their entire being. He is grateful to the Almighty for his craft — his label for helping him manifest his dream and musical goals, his family, friends for their encouragement and his appreciative supporters who consistently motivate him to continue utilising his divine gift for both the honour and glory of his Maker.

Check out ‘Who’s Calling Me’ official music video and expect an amazing and different follow-up extended album (LP) featuring a range of genres, impactful collaborations and deep, soul inspiration from the artiste.

Mellow D Brown ~ ‘Who’s Calling Me?’ (THE ANTHEM)

While Mellow D Brown’s musical inclination is old school, fusion and contemporary gospel, his vision also includes reaching the wider world through positive lyrics strategically infused into an array of trendsetting, versatile rhythms from a range of musical genres which both resonate with him and also people can relate to.

Mellow D Brown – Renew My Mind (Visualiser)

His music is available for streaming and download in H.O.F.’s ‘Soundz Music Store’ and hundreds of digital streaming platforms worldwide.


Artiste Info

Label: House of Flamz Productions & X-Klusiv Soundz Music (H.O.F.)

H.O.F. Artiste Name: Mellow D Brown

Performing Genres: Old School & Contemporary Gospel, 

Alternative Music, Rhythm & Blues, Slow Jams

Primary Genre: Contemporary Gospel             


📲 Management Contact for Bookings

For Bookings Contact Faye-Chantelle Mondesir (Empress Faye), C.E.O. & Managing Director for House of Flamz Productions & X-Klusiv Soundz Music (H.O.F.) and The Nu Vybz X-Perience.

Email:

General: houseofflamzproman@gmail.com 

Manager (Direct): houseofflamzpromanagement@gmail.com

Call/ WhatsApp 

Business: 1 758 287 7000

Personal:  1 758 727 7196


Pandemic Triggers Benefits Double Take at US Businesses


On Jan. 1, 2020, the world welcomed the beginning of a new year with open arms. Little did we know of the challenges to come and the eagerness to leave 2020 in the dust.

While what lies ahead in the coming year is just as unknown, some experts say a return to normal, whatever that means, is not likely until November 2021 at the earliest.1 Many businesses are following state and local reopening guidelines and revising continuity plans accordingly – all while keeping operations on track, managing overhead, and doing their best to foster productive and satisfied employees.

A core component of a company’s bottom line and employee satisfaction is the benefits package offered to employees. Many businesses decided on their offerings prior to COVID-19’s impact and without consideration for its global effects. Yet, among employers and their workers, the pandemic has created a renewed awareness about health coverage.

A study by worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization LIMRA notes that 40% of employers say the pandemic has altered their views on the importance of the benefits they offer, almost universally shifting toward a view of benefits as more important now.2 This altered perception on benefits is leading employers to reconsider their offerings this open enrollment season. “Stronger on the Other Side,” a white paper from supplemental insurer Aflac, recently analyzed these changes, highlighting the opportunity business owners have to update their current benefits packages in light of the physical and emotional effects of the coronavirus.

Prepare for unexpected health complications

Some symptoms of COVID-19 are distinguishable and tend to linger, including fever, cough, lost sense of taste and smell, fatigue and shortness of breath. A recent CDC report indicated that 35% of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 had not returned to their typical state of health after two to three weeks after testing.3 This can result in chronic conditions like pneumonia, heart attack, kidney damage and more, significantly increasing the length – and expense – of recovery.

“COVID-19 appears to affect everyone differently and is indiscriminate. From healthy 20-somethings to people with more common comorbidities like high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes, it is unknown who is likely to have long-term consequences,” says Stephanie Shields, senior vice president of Broker Sales at Aflac. “Because of the pandemic, people who may have typically overlooked benefits options outside of their health insurance in the past are likely reevaluating the value of supplemental insurance plans such as hospital indemnity and critical illness.”

This increased interest in supplemental coverage is in line with a lack of confidence in the coverage offered by health insurance. Aflac’s annual WorkForces Report found that 33% of employees either do not feel confident or are unsure if their health benefits will protect them or their family in the event they are affected by COVID-19.4

“Our survey shows that a benefits package that includes supplemental insurance and telemedicine options may help boost this confidence level and overall satisfaction,” Shields added.

Getting help with emotional burdens

In addition to the physical effects of the coronavirus, loneliness, stress and fear are also taking a toll on the emotional health of Americans. Extended disruptions in daily routines and social distancing requirements are increasing concern about people’s well-being, with 53% of adults reporting their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.5

“It is easy to see a company’s benefits package as merely insurance options covering medical costs, but it involves more than health insurance alone,” Shields added. “Don’t underestimate the value of services such as an employee assistance program, health advocacy services, wellness programs and financial support services. These give access to specialists who can help with things like work/life issues, medical bill negotiation and explanation, how to stay healthy at a time of remote work, and budgeting counselors.”

As the workforce continues to adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic, employers have learned how to pivot. Understanding the emotional and physical effects of the virus and the benefits options available, businesses can take strides during open enrollment to ensure that when 2020 is finally over, their employees can emerge stronger on the other side in 2021 and beyond.

1 “A return to ‘normal’: How long will the pandemic last?” Medical Press. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-07-pandemic.html.

2 “Will Employers Make Changes to Workplace Benefits Due to COVID-19?” LIMRA. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020. https://www.limra.com/globalassets/limra/research/research-abstracts/2020/impact-of-covid-19-on-employers-approaches-to-workplace-benefits/2020_insurancebenefitchanges_infographic.pdf.

3 “Symptom Duration and Risk Factors for Delayed Return to Usual Health Among Outpatients with COVID-19 in a Multistate Health Care Systems Network.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6930e1.htm.

4 The 2020-2021 Aflac WorkForces Report is the 10th annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes. The surveys, conducted by Kantar, captured responses from 1,200 employers and 2,000 employees across the United States in various industries. Learn more at Aflac.com/AWR.

5 “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use.” KFF. Accessed Sept. 30, 2020. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use.

The content within is for informational purposes for broker-facing audiences. This information is not approved to distribute to prospective insureds, or to use as a solicitation. Misrepresenting this, or any, information to solicit or induce an insured to lapse, forfeit, or surrender an insurance policy is prohibited by law. Any use not specifically permitted herein is strictly prohibited. Aflac includes Aflac and/or Aflac New York and/or Continental American Insurance Company and/or Continental American Life Insurance Company.

(BPT)

Creating working environments for families to thrive


No one has escaped the effects of the pandemic, but working parents are struggling. Staring down a lack of childcare, new work-from-home situations, and insufficient support from employers or public resources, these individuals are nearing the end of their rope emotionally, and for many, financially. The start of the school year further complicates matters as parents grapple with difficult decisions and limited options due to school policies or their own financial and employment constraints. While parents navigate this fraught period for their families and bank accounts, the country must understand three things: Where parents stand now, what they need from their employers in the future, and what can be done in the meantime to find relative peace and security.

Where Parents Stand

According to Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census, over half of Americans said their financial health was negatively impacted following the outbreak of the pandemic. For Millennials and Gen X, many of whom are parents of school-aged children, more than one in five households saw their income fall by half or more. It is no surprise, then, that 58 percent of caregivers, a group which includes parents, are currently concerned for their financial futures. Working parents today are scared and depleted. Doing their jobs at home while simultaneously managing their children’s health, entertainment and education all day, parents have been juggling at least two full-time jobs since March. On top of that stress, their changed financial situations have led to higher stakes and fewer solutions when it comes to education and care as the school year begins.

What Parents Want

In the midst of a financial crisis, the Financial Wellness Census found that Americans turn first to the federal government for help, followed closely by family and friends. Only 14 percent sought financial assistance from employers during this time, but results concerning employees’ feelings about benefits reveal how workplaces can evolve to provide parents with greater support. The statistics are particularly telling for women, who typically carry a disproportionate amount of household childcare responsibilities. In fact, 43 percent of women want more flexible work options compared to only 29 percent of men. “Flexible work options” means the freedom to work remotely or at nontraditional hours of the day, but for parents it means being present for their children at bedtime and making their kids’ lunch without anxiously checking work emails. Less constraining expectations around working hours can even open up the possibility of homeschooling for high-risk families who cannot afford private tutors.

What They Can Do Now

Times are hard and deep systemic problems can slow needed changes. In the meantime, Amanda Clayman, financial therapist and Prudential’s Financial Wellness Advocate, is guiding parents. “As parents in a state of fear and exhaustion, processing reality is difficult, which puts us at risk of reacting (often financially) instead of thoughtfully responding to our situation,” says Clayman. “I recommend slowing down and asking yourself: What are the facts? What aspects of this situation do I control? And what is outside my control?” From there, Clayman encourages parents to find a best-fit solution for their family within their financial means. “Be open to giving up the idea of a feel-good decision and remember your family solution will look different from your peers,” she says. Try looking to community resources for support and solace. No path forward is perfect in a pandemic, but by regularly tuning in to personal priorities, leaning on their communities, and reminding themselves of their emotional and financial adaptability, families can find avenues for support.

Working parents have responded to financial and situational setbacks with creativity and courage this year. Their efforts have kept them afloat, but they are tired. As these parents look to the future, workplaces can help by offering environments, benefits and scheduling options that allow their employees – and their employees’ children – to thrive. Until then, keeping a firm grasp on their emotional and financial reality, being gentle with themselves, and taking pride in their flexibility will keep working parents going.

(BPT)

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