HealHaus: A Safe Space for Black Men

Guest Writer: Alexis Janel

A highlight of my previous week was discovering HealHaus, a new holistic wellness studio for black men, now accessible in Brooklyn, NY. The studio has received notable recognition from Essence magazine and the New York Times to name a few. Founder Darian Hall, a Kappa Alpha Psi brother, had inspiration for this space after meeting his father for the first time. Additionally, men in his circle also have had similar concerns within the context of family relationships or marital relationships. So, Darian designed this safe space with Black brothers in mind.

These men are fathers, husbands, businessmen, and much more, but it still doesn’t take away from America discounting them as the minority and men. They are taught to be strong, yet anxiety and depression plague their daily lives. Darian recognized that it’s time to change this narrative. Jay-Z, a personal inspiration for Darian, once shared in a song lyric from his 4:44 album, “You can’t heal what you don’t reveal.” In other words, for Jay-Z, Darian, and black men period, the time is now to speak up about feelings and experiences that are affecting mental health. Healing takes time, but what better way to go through the process than with individuals that look like, talk like, and relate to you?

Currently, HealHaus offers psychotherapy, of which black practitioners can primarily reach black men. This is encouraging news, considering I don’t think there’s enough black representation in the mental health counseling field. Other available options include massage therapy and a wellness café with specialized smoothies and teas prepared by an on-staff chef and doctor. A goal in the works for this year is to bring HealHaus services to corporate offices, essentially for men that can’t easily access the site due to work agendas. A future goal is to open more sites in other areas, with D.C. being a target. If this plan is finalized, which I would love to see, I will share at a later date. So proud of you, Mr. Hall!

I end with this point: black men, pray for, check in on, and encourage other black men in schools, workplaces, churches, and even in passing. You cannot wholeheartedly commit to your job, school, relationship, or any other personal goal when pain is held in. You are no good to yourself or others this way. You matter. So, I urge you to put in effort to heal past and/or present wounds and live like you matter.

Inspirational Jam: “Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme)-Mariah Carey

“They can try how to make me feel that I don’t matter at all, but I refuse to falter in what I believe or lose faith in my dreams…”

This song right here is a throwback near and dear to my heart. Before I was an inspirational writer (or a writer period), Mariah Carey’s track, “Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme),” was really my own theme. So I figured it would make for a perfect Inspirational Jam this week!

Mariah has definitely had her share of critics and naysayers. I mean, you don’t have an almost 30-year career without dealing with any negativity. This song simply says that, despite what other people may think or say about her, she was going to continue to keep her head high and shine as she was meant to. No matter how you may feel about her, that’s a living musical legend!

How many times have we let other people’s opinion sway us from reaching our fullest potential or going after our dreams? I know that I’ve let discouraging words hold me back before, but now? I refuse. We were all meant to shine like diamonds, but diamonds come from serious pressure (i.e., challenges, failures, and, yes, maybe even some haters). Can’t ever let all of that make you crack.

Watch the official music video for “Can’t Take That Away” below…

#GreatRead: “The Power Playbook”- La La Anthony

“Power is the strength to face the things you may be afraid to do and then doing them anyway. Power is no regrets. Power is pushing forward. Power is making the tough choices in your life, and even if you fall or fail, having power allows you to get back up and try again.” —La La Anthony

Long before her stint on Starz’ Power, La La Anthony was a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment business. I grew up watching her co-hosting MTV’s TRL and hosting other shows, as well as starring in movies and TV shows. On the interviewing side, I loved her classy interviewing style, while still managing to keep control during shows. So, of course, when I heard she was coming out with a book detailing rules to success, I had to order it.

La La’s The Power Playbook: Rules for Independence, Money, and Success, offers a lot of great advice in finding success in your career, finances, and overall life. Looking at my Amazon history, I bought this book three days after it came out, and I finally picked it up to read three years later. I’m a mess, I know. BUT, once I did start reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

Many people want to feel a sense of power in their professional and personal lives. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be in terms of a supervisory role, but just having control of your own world and being able to execute your own vision for your life. That can be working your way up the ladder at a 9-5 or starting your own business. That can be having a set game plan for your family. It can also be (and honestly should be) having a good work-life balance. Having a better handle on your life is powerful.  In order to have that power, though, you have to not only know what you want but be willing to go after it with full force.

In the book, La La speaks on how she had to figure out what she really wanted for her life and move with purpose. She saw her worth professionally and began grinding even harder and asking for what she wanted. Where she saw she needed practice (like with acting), she put in extra time behind the scenes.  She made necessary changes to progress professionally, and it paid off. Over the past few years, she’s not only been acting, she started her own cosmetic line, she had her own reality show, and she wrote her very first book, The Love Playbook. She’s a busy lady!

However, she also wrote about the importance of still putting herself first. She needed balance before she ran herself into the ground. So, she began exercising and eating better, taking her life into account first. Because if she wasn’t okay, her family nor her career would be. “If you don’t put yourself first, you cannot build a solid foundation for your life,” La La stated. She also spoke out on being gracious to others, no matter how much power or clout you have, as well as being grateful for the life and blessings you have.

I really liked this book and liked reading more about La La’s rise in the entertainment business. I always respected the way she moved in the industry, so getting these tips from her in The Power Playbook was inspiring. I encourage you all to pick up your own copy of this great read!

Inspirational Jam: “Live Like Music”-Alexz Johnson

“I’m out of tune with who I am…now, it’s gotten way out of hand.
I’m spread too thin and it’s hard enough to zero in on the heart of it, the soul of it…”

Okay, so when I was a teenager, I was a HUGE fan of Instant Star on The N (or TeenNick as some of the kids now may know it as). It centered around a girl named Jude Harrison, played by Alexz Johnson, who won this Canadian teen version of American Idol. Throughout the series, Jude fought to make the right decisions for her life and career. This song, “Live Like Music,” is testament to that. So I thought it would make a perfect Inspirational Jam today!

Much like Alexz’ character, I have struggled to find my voice. To stand up and fight for what I want. To stick to my guns about my creative process. In the past, I’ve gotten out of touch with who I am, what I have to offer, and how I want to live. Now, I know who I am and what I have to give. And I definitely know that I want to live freely, answering to God for my life choices. This song, for me, is all about that freedom and boldness. That’s why I love it even after all these years.

Take a listen to the track below!

Words of Wisdom: “Why Are You Here?”-Alexi Panos

In searching for new inspirational content to share, I came across inspirational speaker and writer Alexi Panos. I was impressed by these powerful Words of Wisdom from her, and wanted to share with you all.

In this YouTube clip, Alexi opens up about the two questions to ask to find fulfillment in your life. The first is “Why are you here?” and the second is “Where are you going?” These questions push us to focus on why we are truly here on this earth. Is it for notoriety or money? Is it for impact? And how can you do that?

I’ve written before about the importance of discovering your purpose through self-reflection, prayer, meditation, etc. I believe that all of us have gifts and they’re meant to be used for a specific purpose. You don’t have to have it all figured out today, but focusing on a key gift and how you can best use it will help to give you direction. For example, my writing. When I first started, my focus was entertainment news. However, over time, I began to think more and more about using my gift and love of writing to not only help myself, but to help others. That’s how Imperfectly B was born! But it took self-reflection and prayer about how to best use that gift. I encourage all of you to consider that today!

Watch Alexi’s video below!