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Verbally Effective Podcast

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Verbally Effective with Ena Esco is a topical interview-style podcast that intersects art, culture, politics and entertainment. Each week Ena is joined by a featured artist, entertainer, elected official or professional with roots in Memphis. Verbally Effective delves into each guest’s personal journey to uncover the incredible stories fueling their purpose, the highs and lows of their pursuits, and how through their passion they are moving the culture forward.
65 Episodes
Whitehaven, TN native Deric "Sleezy" Evans began his love for comedy at a very young age. This actor, comedian and radio personality earned a Bachelors degree in Human Performance Sports Science from Tennessee State, and secured a coveted membership in the world famous Aristocrat of Bands. Deric discusses very humble beginnings in the comedy game once he graduated college. However he continued to persevere which resulted in a comedy career gracing both local and national stages. You can also find Deric on the radio as the fifth member of the "Kenny Smoov Morning show" on Nashville's 92Q. Tune in to hear Deric's amazing story in which he breaks down the comedy game, elaborates on the internet comedian fame and shares some of the politics within the radio industry.
Tune in to South Memphis Legend IBN Young AKA Playa Fly as he gets Verbally Effective with Ena Esco on Ep 169. Playa Fly is an artist, writer, musician, and entertainer who became a certified hood celebrity at the age of 21. Many of us still to this day recite verbatim Memphis anthems such as “Gettin It On,” “Crownin Me,” and “Nobody Needs Nobody.” He talks of his close relationship with his grandmother Minnie Mae who he refers to as being a "safe haven" during his formative years. In addition, he talks candidly of the bond between him and his father Bill Chill who you can hear on many of his most coveted tracks. Nowadays, Playa Fly is the CEO of Minnie Mae Muzik and is monetizing his brand in numerous ways. Take a listen as he shares his thoughts on Memphis, social media and performing during a pandemic. Fly is currently on a mini tour promoting his new single “Don’t Know Me" produced by Zaytoven.
West Memphis, AR native Carmeon Hamilton is HGTV's most recent and only African American Design Star: Next Gen Winner. Carmeon exists in a space where there are eighty percent Whites and two percent Blacks often being one of very few in her profession. Her love for design flourished when she was in college as a RA and rearranged her space with a hot pink and zebra theme. She immediately changed here major from physical therapy to design and received her first design job offer a semester before graduation. Nowadays, you can find Carmeon in pre-production with HGTV for her new show focusing on her life in addition to those who create beauty as renters. Take a listen as Carmeon walks us through the disparity in blacks having a seat at the table in leadership in the design community, her experience of often being the "show pony" at market and lastly the elitism that exists within the interior design world. You'll learn that the last fifteen years has been filled with many lessons including lasting relationships that keep her going.
Frayser native Dr. Bobby White is the Founder and CEO of Frayser Community Schools - a Charter Management Organization designed with the intent of positively transforming schools with the support of the community to build Family Centered Schools in Frayser// and Memphis Communities as a whole. Take a listen as Dr. White walks us through his journey of becoming a single parent to a child with a disability and battling homelessness. During that time, he was attending what was then Shelby State Community College and received both an Associate degree of Arts and Science in General Education. From there he enrolled at LeMoyne Owen College where he tapped into his true abilities as a leader. After graduating near the top of his class at LeMoyne Owen College, he entered Corporate America working for the government and later joined the Memphis City Schools. You'll hear the intricate details on how and why he made the decision to start Frayser Community Schools in addition to the wonderful work that is being done in the community.
Jason “Jay” Anderson hails from City of Smiles - Grenada Mississippi. At a young age Jay had an affinity for science, music, and business. After becoming a hall of fame graduate of Grenada High School, he jumped headfirst into corporate America as the youngest African American human resource representative for Lennox International Incorporated. Jason thrived in this arena fast tracking into fields of Production Management, Purchasing, Accounting, Safety, and Operations; eventually becoming the Quality Engineering Leader. Currently Jay is the 6-business unit Quality Leader of the Modine Manufacturing Corporation. Mr. Anderson also has 2 private businesses and 1 nonprofit; Anderson Lockridge Property Group – A LLC focused around real estate investment, Check Conversations LLC encompassing financial literacy, and The Class Acts 501c3. Take a listen as we discuss his journey with highlights in mentorship, cryptocurrency, and generation wealth.
It's all about balance for episode's 161 guest Meridith Miller Rucker. Having a strong support system has aided this South Memphis native in accomplishing a plethora of goals. Meridith is currently the Director of Program Development for Bridges, yoga instructor, writer, wife, and mother. She discusses navigating through private institutions during her formative years that was very rewarding academically yet challenging socially. Meridith powered through graduating from HBCU Tennessee State University and grad school for journalism at New York University. While in New York, she served as an editor for CosmoGIRL! and worked for Soap Opera Weekly. Her writings have appeared in Glamour, the New York Post, Hallmark, and Southern Women. These days Meridith is shining her light specializing in leadership development and social and emotional learning for youth, young adults, and emerging leaders. We discuss the tenacity of Generation Z, importance of a strong support system and her recent honor with the Memphis Business Journal's Top 40 Under 40.
Meet Whitehaven, TN native and fashion designer Prep Curry. When he arrived in Los Angeles, California with only $6 to his name to work on his dream of becoming an accomplished fashion designer, he had no idea where his journey would lead. Five years later, history has been made as Prep Curry has grown his craft from creating bowties and pocket squares to become the first African American designer to partner with Banana Republic to release a collection. Take a listen to Prep's amazing journey which includes many challenges that has made him much stronger.
Finance professional and podcaster, Willams D. Brack, is originally from the Delta of Greenwood, MS. Growing up he faced much adversity moving to Chicago, IL for a few years and coming back to the midsouth with family in Memphis, TN at the age of thirteen. He learned a plethora of life skills at a very early age and excelled in academics and sports graduating summa cum laude from Carver High School. Brack's next chapter consisted of a few school endeavors in which he ultimately graduated from Morehouse College. Fast forward to today Brack is the Vice President and Community Development Manager for Regions Bank in West TN and AR. Brack believes there is plenty of financial opportunity for the midsouth community through elevating income and providing much needed resources. Take a listen as Brack breaks down the Community Reinvestment Act, his love/hate relationship with cryptocurrency and his thoughts on a few trending topics. You'll also learn more about how he became the co-host of The Grindset Podcast and Sell or Fail Podcast.
Mike Ware, Jr. is an entrepreneur who is part owner of Chuckles Comedy House and the Cockeyed Rooster. He was born and raised in Whitehaven, TN and graduated from Overton High School in 1998. Mike received a chorus scholarship to the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and majored in Communications. Upon graduation, he began working in radio sales at WRBO where he gained his confidence in building relationships that would soon be important in future business endeavors. In 2014, he along with his father Mike Ware, Sr. and Prescott Gilliam, started Chuckles Comedy House. Take a listen as Mike walks us through the dynamics of the comedy scene in Memphis and beyond, navigating through multiple businesses during covid and expansion. Mike has quite a few stories to tell us from having some of the biggest comedians come through the city of Memphis to grace the stage of Chuckles. He also shares his thoughts on how the comedy game has changed with the onset of the internet versus stage presence amongst entertainers. Nowadays Mike has his sights set on expansion with an upcoming Crumpy's opening soon in Memphis in addition to a Chuckles Comedy House in New Orleans, LA.
South Memphis native, Larry Dodson, has experienced a total reset since the pandemic. From writing a book, to becoming a spokesperson for Guidance Whiskey, Larry has created many opportunities for himself. It all began in South Memphis at Carver High School when he started a group called the Temprees. Once he graduated, he joined the Bar-Kays and began his entertainment journey. On this episode you'll hear Larry discuss his time selling millions of legendary masterpieces, however, you'll also discover that moment in his career when he decided to take a step back from the limelight to focus on family. You'll learn the motivation behind his first book including some exclusive info regarding his Music Moves record label he runs with his son. He shares some key advice for artists and continues to let his light shine during this pandemic.
White Haven native, Jimmy Stokes II, is ready to wake up the city of Horn Lake, MS. He is currently the City Planning Commissioner for Ward 5 and Pastor at Northeast Side Church of Christ. Her grew up as a preacher's kid and always knew he would one day become a pastor. He proposed to the love of his life his senior year in college and officially started his ministry after graduation. These days Jimmy has his sights set on being the first black mayor of Horn Lake, MS which is a city consisting of 60 percent minorities. Jimmy speaks on the citizens top concerns in addition to opposition he has faced since campaigning. Help Jimmy Stokes move Horn Lake, MS forward by voting in the General Election on June 8th.
East Memphis native, Nia Dorsey, is a model, actress, writer and entrepreneur. 2021 has started with a bang being featured in British Vogue, Vanity Fair and the recent season of VH1's Basketball Wives. Take a listen as Nia walks us through her formative years playing sports in high school, attending University of Memphis and how she started taking her role in the modeling and the entertainment industry more seriously in 2015. Like many of us, the pandemic has affected Nia personally when her father unexpectedly passed away. You've probably seen this tragedy discussed as the world watched Nia and her sister Noria make their debut on the new season of Basketball Wives franchise. You'll learn how the entire Basketball Wives opportunity unfolded including the background tea with OG. Nia is definitely on the come up and wants the world to soon know her name.
Felicia Jarrell is a walking goldmine of resources for those who want to step out of their comfort zones to pursue their calling and create generational wealth. She is the owner of Goldmine & CoCo which is a luxury stationery business featuring hand-drawn images everyday African American women. Felicia is also a six-figure luxury business coach providing aspiring eCommerce startups and veteran entrepreneurs with the insight they need to curate profitable product launches, build loyal communities and plan for the luxe life of their dreams. Take a listen and learn about Felicia's journey and how she will soon be the first black owned luxury stationery company on retail shelves.
Jasmine Wilson moved to Memphis about eight years ago and knew she would have many opportunities in the city, but had no idea she would fall in love with both its soul and the people. She is currently a business coach, healthcare/non profit expert, and recently elected as West Tennessee Vice Chair for the Tennessee Democratic Party. Jasmine comes from a military and multigenerational household soaking in plenty of knowledge and wisdom. Her story continued as she selected HBCU Spelman College as a sociology major. Take a listen as Jasmine brings us up to speed on what we all should pay attention to in the next election cycle in addition to her upcoming IGTV series called Listen, Sis.
Henry Reaves III roots reach back to Benton County, MS and White Haven, TN. He is the owner of one of the largest African American law firms in the country, Reaves Law Firm, PLLC. Henry was raised in a middle class military family living in various time zones including California and Japan. Life was good until the crack epidemic infiltrated his world. Unfortunately, Henry's father fell victim and his life changed forever. Take a listen as Henry describes this pivotal moment in his upbringing including his decision to join the Air. Henry later attended and graduated from Indiana University School of Law which brought him back to Memphis. You'll hear about many of the challenges he faced when moving back home and ultimately starting his very own law firm. Henry expresses why his messaging is intentional when it comes to marketing his firm in the personal injury law arena. What you'll learn is that this sector of law yields very high margins and is also extremely competitive. Find out about Henry's Unity Campaign in addition to why he stresses the need for building generational wealth.
Latrivia Welch is the President and CEO of RiverHouse Publishing, LLC, an indie publishing house for self-published authors spending her time helping people realize their artistic dreams through literature. She currently represents over 75 authors nationally. Welch is the founder of the Russian Romance genre which includes a black heroine lead. If you find this interesting, please take a listen as Latrivia created this entire genre because she was told that there was no room for it in the writing space. Ever since I met Latrivia during our days in the Dubois scholarship program and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at LeMoyne Owen College, she has always been a forward thinker and change maker. Quite naturally she is an advocate in the Memphis community working with the National Civil Rights Museum, ALSAC St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Memphis Redbirds and two award winning PR Firms, Trust Marketing and The Carter Malone Group. Tune in and hear how Latrivia's journey intersects interracial relationships, women's rights and community engagement.
From corporate employee to full-time entrepreneur, Dana James Mwangi's journey began within Parkway Village community in southeast Memphis, Tennessee. Dana describes herself as that "art kid" during her formative years. After graduating college, Dana jumped right into the world of digital design working a few corporate gigs learning the tricks of the trade. She also freelanced at the time building clientele that would help her pivot into entrepreneurship. As a result, Cheers Creative was born in addition to the birth of her first child. Take a listen as Dana talks through the challenges she faced once she made that major pivot. Although the digital design world is cutthroat, Dana was able to persevere and make major strides. She's currently building a "Virtual Tulsa" through her Google Digital Coach partnership helping her local Memphis community with free digital training and coaching. Dana also drops a plethora of gems for aspiring entrepreneurs stating that simplicity and ease should be treasured in the early phases of starting a business. She even dives deep into her outlook for the digital landscape over the next ten years which consists of unrelentless transparency.
Growing up in South Memphis at College and McClemore, James Alexander was a music legend in the making. Just a stone's throw away from Stax Records, James played football and was a part of a band while attending Booker T. Washington High School. Immediately after graduating high school, he was on a plane with his bandmates headed to New York City to play his very first gig at the Apollo Theatre with Otis Redding. James gives us quite a few stories entering the music business with the Bar-Kays at such a young age including comradery amongst musicians and even racism during those early years. He even shares that tragic moment when he flew commercial for a gig while his entire band in addition to Otis Redding were killed on a private plane. As a result, based on a foreshadowing conversation he had with his band mates, he was able to carry the legacy of the Bar-Kays months later. Take a listen as James discusses his influence and relationship with his son Jazze Pha, whom he named after his best friend and late Bar-Kays bandmate Phalon Jones. James continues as the only original member of the Bar-Kays fostering relationships and collaborations with other Memphis artists such as Juicy J, Young Dolph and so many more.
Meet Orange Mound native and certified dietitian/nutritionist Ryan Zuber. Take a listen as "Your Favorite Nutritionist" shares his remarkable journey of how he entered the nutrition field on EP 152. Many don't know that it was because of his wife's illness that he challenged himself to learn and do everything he could to save her life. And he did just that. As a result, Ryan has been of service to his clients by getting to know them on an intimate level and provide the best service possible. Ryan dispels some of the biggest myths about nutrition such as detox teas, shakes, sea moss and over the counter methods. You'll learn that nutrition is a way of life for Ryan that he takes seriously.
Huntsville, AL native, Ali Manning, moved to Memphis about eleven years ago and hasn't looked back. She made that move must three weeks after graduating from Alabama A&M landing her dream job as a food scientist. She later started Umami Food Consulting and created Food Science 4 Kids. Take a listen as Ali breaks down her expertise as a food scientist and how this field has yielded many opportunities. In addition, Ali developed an all-natural beard grooming product line for men partnering with her husband on King Status Grooming. Learn why her motto is "Carpe Diem" and how she has the Memphis Skate scene on fire with the Memphis Skate Hotties.
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