Dionne Halsey is a song writer, event host and mental health/self care advocate. She’s also the co-founder of Heal Baltimore and Creativity and Conscious Sippin, Dionne currently co-creates events that bring people together to support art and to give back to their communities. Dionne also hosts a popular variety show in Baltimore called #ThursdayNightRealness and facilitates workshops that focus on mental health and self care. Let’s take a minute to get to know her a little better.
Sapphire: I was initially drawn to you because of your drive. I first noticed you as an event hostess. I was pleasantly surprised to find out you had much more to offer. In three sentences or less, how would you pitch yourself. Who are you?
DaHitWryter: First let me thank you for this interview. Alright so, I’m a motivator, team player and creator. I build, create and work with others to do the things that align with my purpose, and provide positive change.
Sapphire: You’re so diverse and I love it. You originally got your start in music. How did you get into song writing? Was writing always a hobby or passion for you?
DaHitWryter: Writing is so therapeutic for me. I wrote my first song for church when I was about 9. Then I got consumed with my first love, basketball. So I actually started writing consistently again when I was in high school. I actually would write for my peers and hang on my front porch and write and spit verses with the guys in my neighborhood.
Sapphire: You been lucky enough to work inside the music industry as well learning more about the industry. These days you even guest host and interview some cool people. What have you learned from working inside the music industry?
DaHitWryter: Working in the music industry, I learned about the business and most importantly I learned a lot about what’s for me, and what’s not for me. It’s important to be self aware when you are constantly around others and exchanging energy.
Sapphire: Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or more behind the scenes? Why
DaHitWryter: I actually prefer to be behind scenes because I love supporting others and seeing other people take my words and give them life when I write a song or some other piece for them.
Sapphire: You have many artistic talents, I love that you nurture them. How long have you been doing graphic arts? Was it hard to learn the craft?
I’ve been doing graphic arts, without realizing it, for over 10 years. I’ve always been the type to play around with gadgets and take things apart and put them together so once I taught myself the program, making flyers and all that, became easy. It definitely saves and creates additional income for me.
Sapphire: You are co-creator of Heal Baltimore and Creativity and Conscious Sippin, what can you tell us about these organizations and how you became involved?
DaHitWryter: Heal Baltimore came about after the riots that took place in Baltimore. It was actually an uprising as well. I kept saying the affirmation Heal Batimore so I reached out to my business partners and said, hey, would you be interested in putting together events that support and give back to our communities? And they were all in. We have artistic events, and we put together drives to collect things for those who need them. CCS is a mobile paint and sip company. We bring the sip and paint to your home, office, bar or wherever we are needed. Another business partner of mine was looking for ways to incorporate her artwork into her brand. So we did research and reached out to a company for her to work with. At the time they didn’t have any openings so I encouraged her to start her own company and ended up becoming a business partner. We also put together artistic events for the public too.
Sapphire: As someone diagnosed with mental illness Myself, I was extremely drawn to your need to share your story of battling depression. I’m glad that you got the help you needed. How has battling depression affected your life?
DaHitWryter: Battling depression would always have an effect on me being consistent with my career. There were times where I just wanted to sleep all day and let life pass by.
Sapphire: In the Black community, mental illness is generally overlooked or downplayed. We are told to Suck it up, pray and the like. How supportive was your family and inner circle when they found out You were battling with mental illness?
DaHitWryter: My inner circle really stepped up once I revealed that I was feeling depressed and suicidal. At the time, I had a partner who went to the end of the world for me, and I cherish her for that. My family didn’t really know because I shutdown after coming to a family member about it and it not being taken serious. That family member was depressed too.
Sapphire: What’s up next for you? What can fans expect to see from DaHitWryter?
DaHitWryter: Fans can expect more hosting, workshops about mental health and self care, motivational speaking, and new music! More businesses and merchandise too.
Sapphire: How can people keep up with your work? Drop them links on us.
DaHitWryter: I’m big on hashtags so if you’re on Twitter, IG or Facebook it’s @DH_DaHitwryter or just plug in #TheDHExperience. To hear music from me as a lyricist and also a songwriter, check me out at www.soundcloud.com/dhdahitwryter. My website will be returning soon. Thanks again Queen and to all those supporting.
In a world of social media and digital technology it can be a little hard to know who’s real and who’s blowing smoke up your ass. Especially when it comes to business “opportunities.” I constantly meet entrepreneurs like Myself and engage in conversation. One approached Me this morning and was telling Me about an awareness campaign for women, he was trying to sell Me pads. Not cool.
There are people like Me, who refuse to chase easy money by deceiving people with products I know nothing about. People who offer a quality service at a reasonable price with no hidden agendas or fees and still deal with nonsense. With Sexy Sapphire what you see is always what you get, direct answers are easily available and most information you need will already be made clear on My sites. No need to deceive, or reel you in.
When you know your target market there is less chance of you being the pushy sales person in every conversation you have. You’ll be able to identify and qualify a customer up front.
I had the opportunity last month to attend the most amazing event, actually it was two events held by the same entities on the same day. The people at Dewmore Baltimore teamed up with Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and put on two spectacular events. It was a big day for Me and My son personally because My son was being honored at one of the events.
We attended the LTAB ( Louder Than A Bomb) finals for middle and high school before attending a book release event that My son was taking part in. The LTAB was amazing, I’ve written about Dewmore Baltimore before, this local group of poets give these kids a way to express themselves unlike I’ve ever heard from minds and hearts so young.
These children write their own poems and perform them with meticulous execution. Some of the teens brought tears to my eyes in telling their life stories through their writing.
I had shared a few videos from that day below and more are available on youtube. If you go through My videos you will find even more youth poets.
The middle school and high school LTAB events were separated by a book release event called Baltimore Art Rising.
Baltimore Art Rising is a poetry anthology put together jointly by MICA and Dewmore Baltimore featuring the poetry of youth under the age of 18. My own son was one of those youth represented in Baltimore Art Rising and we were so excited to be a part of it.
The set up was really nice plus they set out a beautiful spread of appetizers and snacks. Each student who had a poem published in the anthology also had their poem turned into visual art and it was hung gallery style at MICA. The young poets had their poems turned into visual art and also received a copy that visual version of their poem framed.
One of the young women I recently introduced you to through the site was also one of the featured youth poets. You guys remember Mecca right? She was a judge for the high school LTAB finals as well.
It was so wonderful to watch the kids all lit up and beaming with pride as they walked up to accept their visual poems. I was such a proud parent. Spending the day with My son and kids his age while listening to them speak about such adult topics was eye opening. We’d like to fool ourselves into thinking they are children like we were, but they aren’t. The world they are growing up in is so different than anything we experienced at their ages and they have to stories to back it up.
Want to see more pics from the events? Check out the gallery below and remember for more videos check this link. Click a Photo to make it bigger.
Name: Mecca verdell
Sapphire: When I met you I was introduced to you as Mecca but I’ve come to know you as M E C C A ~M O R P H O S IS. How did the name come about?
Mecca: I got the name from another nickname actually, “Meccaroni” and I wondered what other words I could play around with. So it went from Meccaroni…to Meccatron…then one day Meccamorphosis was born and it sound awesome to me so I stuck with it.
Sapphire: You perform as a part of DewMore Baltimore. Can you tell us about the program and how you got involved?
Mecca: Getting involved with DewMore had to be the best experience of my life so far. I came into the program through a club they had for western high school then started writing more and more. I was looking for an outlet since Western didn’t have a theater club at the time and poetry was a perfect blend of acting and writing. Now to be a writer is a career I hope to have.
Sapphire: How long have you been writing and performing poetry and spoken word? What influenced
Mecca: I’ve been writing for little over a year now, and I owe it all to my mentors at Dewmore Baltimore.
Sapphire: You’re not a Baltimore native but you’re making quite a name for yourself in the city. Where are you from and what was it like relocating here? Did you find it easy to assimilate?
Sapphire: I’m from New Jersey and I was just starting to have a footing there but right when things started to go right it went sour with family issues and such. So having a complete new start in Baltimore was a huge change for me. Especially with Baltimore being so other worldly but then again so am I in my own way. I awkwardly felt at home as soon as I started to meet the right people.
Sapphire: You recently hosted your own open mic event for the first time. How’d you pick the name
Ryhmin Noodles? What was it like to host your own event?
Mecca: Recently I started the first independent youth open mic, and it was the most stressful time of my life. I was worried but it was nice seeing my dreams come true. I called it “Rhymin noodles” after a verse by one of my favorite artist Chance the rapper. “I should rhyme, rhyme with ramen noodles.” Its was a good success for a first open mic and I owe to my poetry family, my parents, also the owners of Breaking Bread restaurant for letting me host the show at their establishment.
Sapphire: You’re a co-host on VVC Radio? What is your show about and when is it on?
Mecca: I started co-hosting on VVC online radio in November I believe. It was right after my first interview they asked me to join with Speak, the main host of the show. The show is called Speakeasy Poetry Radio. We talking about current events in music and poetry locally and nationally every Monday at 8 on VVCRadio.com
Sapphire: What inspires you? What topics do you find yourself compelled to write about?
Mecca: I write about everything, at least I try to. Because I don’t want to be limited at all. I wanna make poem on almost every topic in a new refreshing way.
Sapphire: Switching gears a little, you’re not just a spoken word artist/writer, you’re also an activist. You marched for justice for Freddie Gray and locked yourself in a government building
overnight in the name of justice. Were you arrested? What inspired you to get involved
Mecca: I got involved because my friends needed me to but I don’t like calling myself an activist just because I got arrested. It wasn’t solely for the cause even though I was in the moment. I did it because I wanted to make sure my friends were safe. And that they weren’t hurt in way. But now I’ve been more active ever since. I’m an ambassador at LBS (Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle) where I use art to give attention to different issues. I still feel like I cant call myself an activist. Not just yet.
Sapphire: What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
Mecca: I hope to push poetry to new limits as my writing grows. I don’t wanna give to much because I have such a big mouth, but I’m working on a poetry mix tape called “Unaprosegetic.” It talks on all social issues about blackness in a new way. But I’m also making this mix tape to kind of “scratch” black lives matter poems off my list. I also have a lot of projects coming up so stay tuned.
Sapphire: Where can people follow your work? Drop them links on us.
Mecca: As I always say “you can follow me everywhere but my house” @meccamorphosis on all social media.
When I first noticed this model it was through the photos of a photographer I had once shot with. I was mesmerized by her beauty and style. She was young and though she was in a world full of models, she stood out. I silently followed and watched this young beauty for the last year and became a fan.
Watching the model, designer, stylist, singer turned fashion blogger I was constantly amazed at the versatility and drive this young lady possessed. I was so excited when I approached her to interview her for London LeBlanc Magazine and she happily agreed. The interview will be available in print and digital format January 13th.
In the meantime you can take some time to get to know this young fashionista on the rise by checking out her fashion blog or following her on social networking sites. She has some great ideas for Valentines Day and much more. Check out some of her other fashion blogs at http://sevnetwork.com/author/junglebarbiejulia/
Follow her on social networking sites
Have you ever just happened to wander in on something so beautiful you found yourself stuck in a trance as you tried to take it all in? That’s what happened to Me this summer at Artscape as I wandered around tent to tent, building to building soaking in all the creativity that flowed. I somehow ended up in one of the Mica ( an arts colleges) buildings and saw a lot of people milling about on a lower level.
My friend and I followed the flow of people and walked into a concert that was already in progress. The sight shocked Me, the music coming from the stage was so sharp, and beautiful but I was not ready for the musicians, they were all children. The oldest looked about 14 maybe. These children were playing music with the talent of well trained adults who had studied the craft for years.
OrchKids is a year-round, during and after school, music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Under Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director, Marin Alsop’s artistic leadership and direction, OrchKids is the cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s efforts to expand their relevance within the broad and diverse Baltimore community. (From the website)
This group of talented youth have even been recognized by the First Lady, Michelle Obama who presented them with an award for excellence on Thanksgiving 2013. I was so lucky to happen upon them performing and was quick to whip out My camera. I captured four videos and uploaded them to youtube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe_NSxP-NWTFCoSQDLyphvg
For more info on the Orchkids check out their website at http://www.bsomusic.org/education-community/young-musicians/orchkids.aspx
I’m the first to say you can find talent in all places but I was shocked to find it flowing from My own womb. I entered My son into this poetry writing/spoken word program for the summer with the Maya Baraka Institute directed and ran by various National poetry slam winners and contestants. The program is for youths age 13-20 and focuses on spoken word and the creative arts with an afro-centric flair.
We were invited to their first performance last week which was in the format of an open mic which was also open to the public sponsored by the Maya Baraka program along with Dew More Baltimore. The open mic was hosted by the youths of the program and many of them blessed us with their talents from singing, to poetry and rapping. I recorded quite a few of the performances but no where near all of them nor did I capture what I think were some of the best performances.
Hopefully you will enjoy a peek into what you missed. These talented teens and young adults blew Me away.
I have a few more videos from the event and will be continuing to upload them to youtube at http://www.tinyurl.com/sapphiresyoutube.com
While I’m working hard to boost the popularity of this site I’m also working hard to brand it on social networks. Daily, on Facebook through our fan page https://www.facebook.com/spotlightontalent I post tips for writers, contests, artwork and videos of amazing talent. To check us out on Facebook either click the link above or the facebook like box in the right hand side bar. This site and our social networking pages are designed SIMPLY to provide a platform for aspiring and established talent to promote themselves and gain valuable information that can be critical to their careers.
This site isn’t JUST about interviewing and promoting hot talent but also to provide a place that offers a range of resources that can assist talents of every type. You will notice the resource guide area at the top of the page and in the left hand side bar. Just as I am constantly seeking talent I am also seeking businesses and resources to add to the resource guide. So Email and tell me about your business and lets get you added.
Here’s just a few examples of the type things shared through our facebook page. I would hate for you to miss out on great talent or an opportunity to get your own work out there.
Screencraft.org Short Screenplay Contest final deadline is one month away! Submit your script for evaluation by judges from Vimeo, Cannes Film Festival, Maker Studios and more:
These young girls had Me smiling, the shy one with the book bag is going to have a hell of a voice once it’s properly trained.
I found an awesome artist on facebook named KellieBrew check here out by clicking her name.
The following video really touched Me , I meant it hit home on so many levels. I hope you take a minute to check her out.
I’d love nothing more than to showcase your talent, here and on our facebook and twitter pages. SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT and show us your talent at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be the first to admit I’m not a fan of watching videos online and I don’t watch talk shows. I miss out on a lot of what’s currently popular. That’s part of of why I started this site, I know so many like Me who are just as clueless. Well until last week I’d never heard of 4 year old Heaven King but since the first time I saw her she has been blowing up all over My social networking pages.
This darling little girl has taken the internet by storm with her danced moves.
Her and her mom were recently featured on the Ellen Degeneres show.
Her mom has many more vids with her on her youtube page HERE