Talent at Myeka Johnson, INC (MJI)

Fierce, encouragement, and standing ground. These are the words that describe The MJI Talent Consulting Agency. I had the privilege to interview six individuals on what it’s like working at about MJI. The more I found out about agency, the more I can see why anyone would want to represent it. Genelita, Shawn, Yasmine, Fay, Everett, and Anthony all gave me an inside scoop of what being a talent is all about during out interview. I was amazed on what this agency could be for upcoming models, actors, and talent. This agency will be the next big thing.

So tell what Talent is all about?

Fay (Yasmine’s Mother): Talent is all children and adults making an impact of the world in modeling and acting. The company is all about professional seeking. It is also about focusing on an individual’s talents. Talent uses their models to reach their goals in success and just allowing them to be themselves.

We know that the world is cut-throat when it comes down to the modeling and acting industry.  How to encourage the young models when dealing with rejection when it comes down to their race or features?

Shawn:  I always tell the child to love themselves first.  That they are going to be plenty of rejections but, there will be plenty of acceptance.  To not let one person discourage them and just love themselves.

Everett:  I would tell the model that everyone have different views of what they want but, only the views about yourself matter.  Just continue on trying and know that someone will like your perspective.  Remember, there are different categories and different expectations.  

What if the young model does not feel comfortable of doing a project that a brand wants him or her to do?

Everett:  I would talk to the brand to see if they can meet the child’s needs.  If not, we will go to another brand.  

Shawn:  Also talk to the young model that he or she does not have to do anything that he or she is not comfortable of doing.  

How to allow the young model’s to not effect their school work:

Fay (Yasmine’s Mother): I have Yasmine to focus on her school first. We would usually have a tutor or someone to bring in her homework whenever she goes.

Everett:  Education is always our first priority in Talent.  We make young models keep up with their school work.  You cannot hit the second step in life without the first. 

We all know that the student life and being a young model can sometimes be challenging,  how do you talk to young models about peers on  trying to intermediate them about their modeling career?

Fay (Yasmine’s Mother): I tell Yasmine to always be the great example, not the follower. That if someone is getting bullied, be that friend.

Shawn:  I always tell young models that it is all about how you see yourself.  Never stoop to peer pressure in order to get an approval from others.  As long as you love yourself, nothing else matters.

After having a great interview with the talent represented by MJI, I learned a lot about what the company is all about. This company is not only a great influence to their talent but, small business owners and CEOs. The MJI Talent Consulting Agency is greatest thing to happen for aspiring talent.

How To Live For YOU

You should push to live for YOU every day. Happiness comes from within, so if you’re looking for happiness in your career, family, friends, titles, etc., then you’re going to be disappointed all the time. Happiness is a good thing, but nothing beats being in love with yourself. Ten or twenty years from now, when you look at your life, being proud of your success and who you’ve become will be one of the most pivotal moments of your life- if you live YOUR life. The majority don’t know how to think for themselves. This is why you see so many people doing the same things. Why not stand out?

How do you know if you aren’t living for YOU:

Everyone likes you.

You make decisions based on what others “may” think.

You can’t think for yourself.

You have to be around everyone and everything all the time.

You can’t be alone.

You don’t who are or who you want to be.

You hold back because you don’t want to lose people.

You’re a follower, not a leader.

Living your truth is really important to your success and your future. If you are willing to accept what comes with choosing you, then my next point will help you get there. In order to live for you, you first have to think for yourself. Thinking for yourself begins with the way your subconscious thinks. This development begins early in life and is affected by your environment, your circle of friends, family, and experiences. Read my blog post on how to reprogram your subconscious.


What programs your subconscious?

Your circle

What you watch on televison

What you read and study

Your experiences. If your experiences are bad, to reprogram your subconscious, you need to create new and positive experiences.

Your words. “The words that come from your mouth, you’re the first to hear.” – India Arie

Your decisions

How you handle certain situations


How you spend your time

Living for YOU requires you to be rejected and lose people in your life. That’s okay. This process is about you and if you’re the chosen one, it won’t matter later anyway. What’s meant to be, will be. Everyone isn’t going to like you or be for you. Whenever you are set to do BIG things, you lose those you love the most, first. It’s a test. The higher you go, the stronger the test. Below are two blog posts that could help you understand why this happens and how to deal with it.



If you want to live for YOU, then Do YOU. Fuck what others think or how they feel. Most of the time, they are jealous. They can’t do it or are afraid to, so they try to stop you. When they realize they can’t stop you, then they copy you. Jealousy is real and people have done crazy things out of jealousy. If they aren’t trying to help you, then leave them alone and do what you need to do to have a great life and to be happy. You aren’t responsible for their life.

Written by: Myeka Johnson

Prosperity Vs. Luck

Recently, I was talking to a friend who happened to be an atheist. Her outlook on life is” life just happens.” I responded with “I believe everything happens for a reason.” Both, her and I logic makes sense based on how we were raised, how we live our lives, and what we know thus far. After our conversation, I thought about if things really just happen or is it part of our purpose in life. So, what is the difference between prosperity and luck and will it happen for you? 

Does life just happen?

When something tragic happens, we ask why? Why did this happen to me or why did this happen to a good person? Many would say, it had to happen. Others would say, it just happened. You can be a good person and bad things happen to you. You can be a bad person and good things happen to you. We are not going to completely understand why things happen, but how we deal with it is important. One thing my friend and I debated about was if it happens, then it just happened, but my logic was since it happened, it was meant to be for a reason

Do you have a purpose?

When you wake up in the morning, do you feel happy where you are in life or do you feel discouraged? Feeling this way, no matter what age, means it’s time for a change in your life or career. Finding your purpose can never come too late, however never rush the process. You don’t want to be living your purpose without being ready for your purpose. If you don’t know what you’re meant to do in life, then I suggest exploring life (people, places, activities) to further your knowledge of the world and what’s needed. You can’t save everyone, but you can make a difference. 

Why is life so confusing?

Life is hard. Life is confusing. Life is unfair. But, life is meant to be lived. Even if you don’t know what you’re meant to do, that doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to live your life. Some people just live. Others, live for a purpose. So, why does it seem to get harder once you’ve set a goal? Here are the some cons of success:




Lack of support

Ostracized from a particular group of people


Jealousy, envy, and hate


These cons can cause you to experience the following:

Success anxiety


Rejection resentment

Imposter syndrome 

What if the purpose you had in mind doesn’t happen?

No one knows if things are going to actually happen. We want it happen, we plan for it to happen, but we don’t know if it will. At some point in your life you will experience “silence.” This could happen when you have accomplished everything and you’re happy and this could also happen when you are struggling in life and are not happy. It’s called the “silent year(s).” It sucks, but this is the time in your life when you are meant to learn more about you.

Written by: Myeka Johnson

The Charismatic Miss Twitty

We spent the first part of the interview exploring words to describe Miss Twitty. I asked, name one word you would use to describe Miss Twitty. She replied with a boisterous laugh, “One word? Oh my God, just one word?” She thought for a moment then, “charismatic.” After watching her in deep thought for just that moment, I believed her. I would be sure to find out over the course of the interview.

“Charismatic would describe my personality. However, professionally, in reference to my drive and aspirations, I’d say… ambitious.” And there you have it, Miss Twitty wanted more than one word and she got it.

When asked about being a model, she mentioned that within the industry she is considered “a model who can act.” She further explained the importance of that distinction. The acting component gives her modeling personality more depth.

“Wow, modeling and acting? You have many gifts to offer.”

She flashed that enigmatic smile, “I’m a triple threat. I model, act and, though many don’t know, I sing too.”

“Well, alright, Miss Twitty. You’ll be hitting the stage in no time, right?”

“Well, actually, I do look forward to landing a singing role.”

Though, the movie and stage opportunities are appealing to Miss Twitty, she is true to her profession as an International Plus model.

She reflected on her first foray into modeling at the age of 16, when she joined Barbizon Modeling and Acting School. As a student at Barbizon, she competed in a modeling competition and scored her first signing with an agency. That relationship provided steady work for about four years.

I couldn’t help but inquire, “Why modeling? What made Miss Twitty desire to walk the runway?”

She spoke fondly about the summers she spent acting and doing voice over work for a teen acting company that paid $2K. Within another organization, she participated in opportunities to sing, write and perform raps for youths which encouraged drug free behaviors and provided HIV/AIDS education. It was during these events that she discovered modeling.

She was immediately drawn to the ‘being healthy’ aspect of models. It had always been important for her to stay healthy for her roles. Once presented with the idea of using her body to represent a product or a brand, it was a no brainer that modeling would be the key to continuing her healthy fitness habits.

She released a hearty laugh, when she said, “modeling is actually much easier than acting.” She went on to explain that there isn’t a need to memorize lines when you are walking the runway or posing for photos. She definitely enjoys it all but has received more training in modeling than her other two talents.

“Performing is my fire. When I stopped modeling at age 20, I got caught up in high level network marketing. It was business, there was a lot of success, many multi-millionaires, successful business gurus and [I had my pick of] mentors and leaders. They wanted me to go further but I didn’t have the drive to go any further.”

Even with four promotions and unlimited earning potential, Miss Twitty, still couldn’t find the drive to go on. She wasn’t happy doing all of the work. “All I wanted to do was perform.”

In 2012, she made a decision to return to the runway. She worked for a couple of agencies prior to joining Actors, Models & Talent for Christ (AMTC). Her performance opportunities have been skyrocketing since!

Of course, I had to pose the question, “What was the focus of the training at AMTC? How was it different than other agencies?” She joined AMTC after a break from the industry.

“I was reunited with my love of the profession. I was reminded of my passion. The fire was ignited, once again.”

With AMTC, the training was intentional. There were various showcases in which she could perform. She opted to perform in all 10, including areas which were usually outside of her comfort zone, such as singing in front of large crowds.

She knew that modeling would require a change in the way she managed her time. She needed to focus on herself. She would become her business. She made the leap in 2014 to Miss Twitty, LLC. When she began to put her energy and time into Miss Twitty, LLC the opportunities multiplied. Please believe, there are plenty to speak of, in addition to modeling and acting, there’s the radio show which she produces and hosts monthly.

She was encouraged by her talent manager, in 2017, to make a choice between working a high paying, full benefit corporate job or pursuing a career in modeling which would require a more flexible schedule. She made the decision in June 2017, to leave her corporate position to become self-employed and spend all of her time doing exactly what drives her… modeling.

Her advice for young people interested in modeling, “quite simply, invest in yourself.” Many times, people expect to fall into modeling, it’s important to remember that modeling goes beyond a moment. The formal training will transcend that one moment. Investing in yourself will afford endless moments to walk the runway or appear in print ads or whatever else your heart desires. She is not shy about attributing her successes to her self-investment and professional training.

“Nothing gets me more excited than performing. I like to be on stage. I like to get into character. It’s just a feeling, I just can’t explain it. I love the preparation, the eating healthy and working out and doing everything I have to do.”

“So, it feels like home?”


Miss Twitty was right from the very beginning. She is deserving of both words… charismatic and ambitious. As I’m thinking about it, let me add a third… pleasure. It was a truly a pleasure chatting with her. I am definitely looking forward to the next time.


One of the topics we are studying this semester is biasness. Our debate is on whether we make decisions based on what we know or what we don’t know; our biasness. As a leader, is being biased good or bad? There are three reasons why someone would be biased towards me. I’m black, I’m a woman, and I’m young. Some would say thirty isn’t young, but in the corporate world, a thirty-year-old lacks experience, toughness, and direction. 

In my past careers, I was in the Marine Corps. At a time in my career, I was a platoon leader of forty-seven Marines. Three females and forty-two males. After the military, I was CEO of a business consulting firm with six locations in four cities. Now, I am the Assistant General Manager of a fitness franchise and will soon move into the Operations Manager position. The toughest challenge in all positions is being considered “emotional” when I express how I feel. I’m often asked, “Is this an emotional decision,” when I give feedback or pitch an idea. I’m looked at as the “black woman” if I show any form of aggression. When I mention anything lifestyle related to my older superiors, it’s considered “a young thing.” 

Here are four keys to overcoming biasness in the workplace. 

  1. Know your talents and skills. Find your niche.

My niche is business. Many of us discover our talents at a young age. I’ve always known I would be a successful businesswoman. I studied successful entrepreneurs like Oprah and Bill Gates. I read Forbes magazine religiously. I discovered I was good at business when I created Bird’s Basketball Tournament. It was the beginning of MJ’s Be YOU LLC. I hosted my first event on April 7th, 2007 while I was a senior in high school. It was a 5 on 5 basketball tournament. The winning team received a trophy and a cash prize. The event was open to the community. Friends, family, and classmates participated. My principle, a few of my teachers, basketball coaches, and teammates also participated. I did the marketing, fundraising, advertising, and organization for the event. It was a successful event. That was the day I discovered my talent and learned of my many skills. I was a businesswoman. 

2. Know who and what you want to be in the future. 

Believe it or not, I didn’t get anything I wanted in my twenties. I created an entire life plan for my twenties. The things that actually happened to me in my twenties were the total opposite of what I had planned. However, I did accomplish my career goals. I made decisions based on what I needed to do to accomplish the goals I had set for my life. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. There are so many lessons I learned from it all, but most importantly, I discovered who I am as a person and who I wanted to be in my thirties. 

3. Understand that where you are right now doesn’t determine who you’ll become. 

Social media will have you feeling like you are behind. It’ll also make you feel like you are a failure. You should never compete with others. Basing your timeline on someone else’s will only distract you. There are many success stories that started with no money, in poverty, and lack of support. Moral of the story; they made it.

4. Some things are inevitable, but that’s life. 

Guess what? Things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. It’s called life. You lose money, fail at something, go through a breakup, or get fired. It happens. Yes, it sucks and you wonder “why me.”Earlier, I mentioned I didn’t get anything I wanted in my twenties, but I reached my goals. Just because it happened to you, doesn’t mean you can’t become who or what you want to be. 

Here are 10 ways to limit your distractions

  • Have a positive circle of friends, family, and supporters.
  • Reflect and meditate.
  • Stick to your routine.
  • Pray
  • Celebrate and reward the small things.
  • Forgive and move on.
  • Be humble and patient.
  • Don’t try to control everything BECAUSE you can’t.
  • Don’t judge, be nice.
  • Focus on one thing at a time.
Written by: Myeka Johnson

Amber Greene

  1. Why did you become a model? 

I became a model because I wanted to challenge myself to do something I’m passionate about. Often fear gets in the way of our greatest dreams and we run from it. I decided to take a different approach. 

  • What is your favorite part of being a model?

My favorite part of being a model is how it develops your personality. You become an instrument and subject of the photographer.

3. What is your least favorite part of being a model?

My least favorite thing about modeling is not being in total control of what happens.

You must focus on what the client needs.

4. How did you land your first gig? 

I landed my first gig when I was about 6 years old at America’s Mart in downtown Atlanta. I was a runway model.

5. How do you improve your modeling skills?

I improve my modeling skills by practicing new poses in front of the camera, practicing my walk, and also surfing the web about top models to learn new techniques and recommendations to improve my skills.

6. What recommendations would you make to other models?

Some recommendations I would give to other models would be to focus on the type of model you want to be, start marketing yourself and get evaluated by a professional model agent/scout.

7. Who are your role models? Why?

My role model is my grandmother. She’s my role model because she is always treats others kind. She has such a good heart and treats others well despite challenges. She carries herself as a lady should (classy). My grandmother also took etiquette classes and she used to model at a very young age. She is very fashionable and a gifted woman of God.

8. What are the most important qualities to be a successful model?

The most important qualities to be a successful model are respect, confidence, creativity, free spirit, and hard work.

9. What would you change about the modeling industry?

I would change the qualifying size. I feel most models are very small in size which gives them more opportunities on gigs. There should be an equal opportunity all size models.

10. How can you be reached?

Email would be the best way to reach me, ambergreenjoy@gmail.com.

Chic For The Feet

It is finally cold enough for boot season!  This is one of my favorite seasons of this time of the year.  Whenever it comes down to the beautiful cold season, I always buy myself new boots.  It is so fun to go out and buy cute footwear that keeps the feet nice and warm.  During this year, I had no problem keep the feet chic and sweet! When brand new boots, I can walk into the cold season with style.

The Color…

During this year of buying boots, I decided to go to Marshall’s.  This store usually have the best footwear whenever it comes down to boots.  I always can find the best style, color, and brand in footwear.  That is why it came in no surprise when I bought my brand new boots by Carlos.  The color of the boots were the color black blair.  These jet black boots were to die for.  Whenever I buy brand new boots, I was get the color brown.  For this year, I decided it was time for a little change.  It was time for me to buy another color other than the color brown.  The color black goes with anything. They are hard to scoff up.  They are so easy to keep clean.  This color has no problem keeping an attire and feet chic for the cold weather.  With this color, I can easily rock them with confidence.


One of the reasons why I fell in love with the boots is because of the material of them.  The material of the footwear is no other than suede. This material is the best thing to wear during the cold season.  It keeps the feet nice, warm, and comfortable.  Considering that it sometimes snow in my city, rocking into these boots during the winter season would be a breeze.  I can easily take care of them.  I can easily keep them from getting wet.  With this somewhat nice cold weather in my city, showing off my love for suede boots will be east like Sunday morning.

Zip Up…

With these jet black colored boots by Carlos, they zip up from the inward sides of the boots.  When first trying on these boots, I thought I could just slip them on by not zipping them down first.  I thought the zippers were only just for design on the boots.  However, I was wrong.  It was so hard on trying to put my foot in the boot that it was not even funny.  Once I zipped down the boots, these babies fit like a glove.  My feet had just little bit of space to move in them.  However, the boots still a little tight in them.  I knew by just wearing these babies a few times, they would break in in no time.  By just trying on my brand new footwear,  from my feet to all the to my calves were looking fabulous!  With these new boots, my feet will never be the same.

When wearing these babies for the first time, I could of not been even more happier.  The boots had no problem looking phenomenal with my outfit.  I rocked these boots with confidence and passion.  With these boots, my feet is walking on cloud nine throughout the cold weather.


This is something you should do if you start a new journey that requires a new career or routine. Many people aren’t aware that our subconscious plays a major part in how we think, act, and live our lives. When we make a major change in our lives, those attributes change. If not prepared, it could be a rough start. The subconscious mind stores all of your previous life experiences, your beliefs, your memories, your skills, all situations you’ve been through and all images you’ve ever seen. 

According to Wikipedia, Sigmund Freud first used the term “subconscious” to describe associations and impulses that are not accessible to consciousness. He later abandoned the term in favor of unconscious, noting the following:

“If someone talks of subconsciousness, I cannot tell whether he means the term topographically – to indicate something lying in the mind beneath consciousness – or qualitatively – to indicate another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were. He is probably not clear about any of it. The only trustworthy antithesis is between conscious and unconscious.”[

Think about it like this: When driving a car and talking to a friend, the conscious mind is the one engaged in conversation. Our subconscious mind is the one who keeps automatically doing everything needed to drive the car. 

How do you reprogram your subconscious if I have a negative mindset?

Life experiences: The key is to create NEW experiences. You do this by disassociating with people or things that created bad experiences. 

  • Explore a different experience each month.
  • Talk to a different person each day.
  • Read a different topic each week.
  • Learn a different language. 
  • Hang out with a different friend each time you go out.
  • Take a chance on something new each time it’s presented. 
  • Have more than one hobby.

Your beliefs: First, understand what you believe. Your belief is YOUR belief. Even if you don’t always live up to something, doesn’t mean you don’t believe in it. Not everyone is going to understand and agree with your beliefs, but you can’t lose focus. 

Your memories: Your memories are the base of your subconscious. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we deal with them. Our memories come from good experiences and bad experiences. If we decide to look at the good, no matter how hard things get, our subconscious mind will remind us of the good things. This can only happen if you look for the good when things aren’t going as you would like them to. 

Your skills: There is a difference between talent and skill. Each of us has talent, but not all of us are skilled in that talent. You have to practice, practice, practice…… This will help develop skillRepetition creates muscle memory. Muscle memory creates discipline. 

  • Talent: a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude;  
    a natural ability to do something. 
  • Skill: the ability to do something well; expertise.
  • Muscle memory: the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement.

Situations you’ve been through; Images you’ve seen: When we go through things, the images of that experience begins to develop in our subconsciousness.This is what develops your subconscious. No matter what you’ve gone through in your past, you need to reprogram your subconscious to develop healing, growth, maturity, positive thinking, and confidence. We can’t avoid offense in life, but we can forgive and move on. If you are someone who grew up in a negative household, had negative parents and family members, and a negative environment, YOU CAN DO THIS. It may take longer, but it is possible. If things are beginning to go wrong, YOU CAN DO THIS. Train your subconscious to produce positivism NOW. You will begin to view your circumstances or situations differently. Reprogramming your subconscious begins with your decision to make a positive change in your life. YOU CAN DO IT.

Written by: Myeka Johnson

Jenna Pelletier

  1. Why did you become a model?
    I’ve always had a love for modeling. I watched runway shows, red carpets, fashion shows, and I have always been fascinated by everything about it. I always knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. Another reason is because, growing up I always compared myself to Victoria Secret models. I wanted to be the same size as them because I thought I had to be that size to be a model. But that’s not true, and it took a long time and an eating disorder for me to realize that. I want to be a role model to young girls with big dreams! And show them that if I can do it, you can too!

2. What is your favorite part of being a model?

Oh gosh, there are so many things. But I think my favorite is the creative direction that most people don’t realize. The fact that you are taking someone’s vision and making it come to life is exhilarating.

3. What is your least favorite part of being a mode?

There honestly is none about the overall job. It’s the things sometimes I do to make the job hard like being very strict on myself to be perfect all the time. I’ve gotten better but I just am a perfectionist.

4. How did you land your first gig?

Well ,I haven’t yet.

5. How do you inprove your modeling skills?

I have posing cards, and books, I watch YouTube videos, put my phone on self-timer to practice posing, look in the mirror and practice faces, and walk around in high heels till my feet can’t take it anymore. I do all these things every day. I also workout 6 days a week to keep my body in shape, and I’m vegan so I try to eat healthy.

6. What recommendations would you make to other models?

Stay determined, believe in yourself, and most importantly always be yourself because that is the most beautiful thing you can do.

8. Who are your role models? Why?

Charli Howard, is 100% my biggest role model ever! She is a model, but she also suffered from an eating disorder. She’s such a strong independent woman, she’s a go getter, and most importantly is unapologetically herself!

9. What are the most important qualities to be a successful model?

Keep your head up, be yourself, be a go getter, and work your butt off to make it happen!

10. What would you change about the modeling industry?

I think that the model industry has gotten better at this, but I think they need to have more body types. Not just in magazines, or online. But on runways!

11. How can you be reached?

My phone, (207) 356-3529.

Team Shipman Productions, a New Type of Publishing House

by Khalil Shipman

It’s Field Day at Anne E. West Elementary school. Kids are pulling ropes and falling in mud, doing relay races and making massive jump rope competitions. The smell of freshly cut grass pressed down by pint size sneakers wades in the air yet, on the bleachers next to the field is a boy, sitting alone in his white t-shirt with a bright TS drawn in a superman symbol. His teacher and coach for the day, Mr. Shipman, walks up to him and says, “What’s wrong?” The boy said, “I don’t know what I can do. I’m not good at any of these games.” Then Mr. Shipman looked at him and smiled, saying “You’re part of Team Shipman, and that means we’re all on the same side. Everybody has a part to play.”

Terance Shipman in Animated and real forms.

Dr. Terance Shipman, CEO and founder of Team Shipman Publishing LLC, takes the family spirit he brought to his classroom into the publishing house. 

We had such a bond: the former students, parents and I that I wanted to tell their story.

– Terance Shipman

When reminiscing on his former students, his eyes grew brighter for just a second until he said, “I taught kindergarten for 11 years, and I wanted to tell the story of that experience. We had such a bond: the former students, parents and I that I wanted to tell their story. You rarely see that today, when teachers bond with their students’ families and form a relationship.” 

Shipman is still in contact with many of his former students through Facebook Groups and the occasional invitation to their kids’ birthday parties or a graduation. One thing is made clear: his students love him. 

“When I wrote the first story, I asked [former students] and they said it had to be either Field Day or the December Celebrations. It all started with these two stories.”, Shipman said. 

Terance Shipman is not only the head of a Black-owned and operated publishing house, but a self-published author, with three books available on Amazon and on his own website, Teranceshipman.com. His Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles series, covers his more than a decade of teaching kindergarteners and the importance of teamwork. Every event they had in Mr. Shipman’s class was a Team Shipman event, and done to the maximum. 

“The holidays in my class were a huge deal. We didn’t only celebrate Christmas, but Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. It was a huge event.”

Team Shipman has scholastic origins as well. The idea of making a formal group came to Dr. Shipman when he needed a way to build morale in his kindergarten classes. He decided that instead of the feigned “school spirit” other classes had, his class would be a team! The Team Shipman Facebook Group currently has over 400 members: former students, parents, readers, and family. 

“When you come across that threshold, into that classroom, you want to feel safe. You want to feel loved. You want to feel like you’re part of a team”

Terance Shipman

“It’s just a way of keeping up after all these years. When I teach… I want to give you something that no other teacher ever gave you. ”, Dr. Shipman said. 

“I made Team Shipman because when you come across that threshold, into that classroom, you want to feel safe. You want to feel loved. You want to feel like you’re part of a team, a family.”

Another unique quality of Team Shipman Publishing is who works there. Terance Shipman has his whole household working to share the TSP message. His wife, Prudence Williams Shipman uploads and edits the books, his sons Zaire Shipman, Khalil Shipman, and Jerontai Mcfee (& his girlfriend) make the videos, audio and uploaded the first book, respectively. Besides team meetings being a lot easier when you already sit in the big chair, I asked him why he had incorporated his whole family into his business.

“To teach them life skills and give them exposure. I think it’s important they know how to run a business, and how to be professionals… You have to learn how to work with the world”, Dr. Shipman said. 

Khalil Shipman (left) and his father Terance Shipman (right)

The Shipman family has collaborated on a number of multimedia projects. 

Shipman & Shipman @ The Movies Youtube Channel

Shipman and Shipman @ The Movies was originally a Youtube show where Dr. Shipman and his sons, Zaire and Khalil, would review a handful of in-theatres and online films. Also, Dr. Shipman and his wife, Prudence, host a podcast, titled Mr. Shipman’s Class, where they dissect the unspoken rules of teaching they’ve picked up in their over 25 years of teaching and learning.  

Zaire and Khalil Shipman recently worked together to produce the ‘Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles: The Field Day’ Audiobook on Audible. 

“You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. The best way to do it is to be around people who love you and will tell you the truth.”, Dr. Shipman said. 

Out of the house, the impact of Team Shipman Publishing’s family model can not be understated, either. For the Holiday season, Dr. Shipman gave his 5th grade class a signed copy of Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles: December Celebrations and is hosting a Goodreads.com book giveaway until December 16th. Dr. Terance Shipman has gone on numerous book tours with his sons Jerontai, Zaire, and Khalil. They bring their books to festivals, schools, bookstores and coffee shops around Atlanta, all culminating in a Christmas-time temporary pop up in a local Mall. 

However, when Team Shipman Publishing has events, they don’t just push Dr. Shipman’s books. Team Shipman Publishing has worked with and published works by four.  Dr. Shipman personally promotes and helps his authors grow a brand. When asked about the importance of being a Black publisher and promoting the growth and success of all artists, but specifically Black artists, Dr. Shipman had this to say:  

“I think it’s important that a good publisher has your back, that they’re up front with you. I tell the authors at Team Shipman Publishing: If you’re not willing to work, you shouldn’t do it.”

Terance Shipman

“So many times when I do events I have authors come up and tell me horror stories of their experience at a large commercial publishing company. They get checks of two or three dollars, or how they paid all this money to get their book published and the publisher only pushes them for the first month. They get left on their own. It’s not just that you need a website, you need other things around to build your brand. I think it’s important that a good publisher has your back, that they’re up front with you. I tell the authors at Team Shipman Publishing: If you’re not willing to work, you shouldn’t do it. It has to be that type of relationship, that type of communication. If you’re going to be successful, you’re going to have to work at it. Don’t expect the publisher to do everything because it won’t happen.” 

Team Shipman Publishing is small but has all the features of a mainstream publishing house. The publisher’s website, Teranceshipman.com, hosts merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, and other marketing goods), blogs featuring a variety of authors discussing a variety of topics. The site has developed an extremely active community of readers and reviewers online.  In fact, Dr. Shipman’s  first published work, ‘Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles: December Celebrations was ranked #1 amongst interfaith books on Amazon, in the Top 5 Kwanzaa books, and among the Top Black characters in books by numerous reviewers. 

But not all reviewers are so kind. 

“I remember when we first started, we had entered a couple contests and lost. And I remember my wife, she said: ‘You can either win awards or make money’.”, Dr. Shipman said. 

In order to stick around on the publishing scene, Dr. Shipman has had to follow a philosophy of grinding to get the job done. 

“You have to keep climbing that mountain.”

Terance Shipman

“Within the last couple of years, I’ve seen a couple of authors that started at the same time as me who aren’t around any more. [Bad reviews] let me know that you have to stay constant. You have to keep climbing that mountain.”, Dr. Shipman said.  He says that he has had to learn from successful people. “I have learned from people who are highly successful. Tyler Perry said that he ‘reads his reviews but doesn’t comment. Stan Lee told his writers, ‘I want you to sit down and write for you. I want you to write for yourself’. And I did. I wanted to tell a story, so I told a story. 

For readers, Dr. Terance Shipman had this to say:

“It kills me how people feel like you have to read a book in one day. You don’t have to read it all in one day. I think our society is in such a way now that we want a quick fix. I want to pick up a book, read it and then say ‘okay, kid I read you a book, now sit down’. How about reading a book with your child or any child and spending time together? Talk about the book. I remember so many times when my mom or my teacher would read a story to me and put a bookmark in the story, and you wake up every day and look forward everyday to go see that bookmark. We don’t take the time to do that anymore and I think that we should. Slow down. Enjoy The Story.”

“Slow down. Enjoy The Story.”

Terance Shipman

Team Shipman has always been about giving people a sense of family. Terance Shipman brings his classroom sense into Publishing by encouraging, educating, and working with other authors, and every member of Team Shipman.

The future of Team Shipman Publishing looks bright. Team Shipman Publishing is still taking on new authors, and plans to release a book in 2021 from, Prudence Williams Shipman, called Ruby Smiles. After that, will be the release of Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles:ABCs, Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles: Field Trip to the Farm, and a new superhero series that follows a pair of young Black siblings with supernatural powers and their grandmother trying to find and rescue their abducted grandfather. 

The Team Shipman Shield

You can find more information on Dr. Shipman and Team Shipman Publishing at Teranceshipman.com or the Team Shipman Facebook Page. His books and audiobooks are available on Amazon, as well as anywhere Podcasts are heard.