Death & Grief Talk with The Grave Woman®
By The Grave Woman
I am your host The Grave Woman. I'm a licensed funeral director, embalmer, insurance agent and scared death/grief care practitioner. I have over a decade of experience working in the death care industry. I am dedicated to helping everyone navigate individual journeys to find peace and purpose with life, death and grief.
Death & Grief Talk with The Grave Woman®Nov 01, 2023
Death & Grief MagiK w/ Uncle Brandon
Have you ever heard of a conjurer? According to my guest “a conjurer is a magical practitioner based in the African American experience”. He explains that “being an African American is not just based on being a descendant of slaves from Africa but being the blueprint of mankind. We are the living embodiment of what multiple races look like in one vessel. All our bloodlines come with sets of magik.” But what is magic? Is it something that we all possess? Is this something given only to a select few for specific reasons? How do we discover, work with, and begin the process of utilizing our own magik? How do death and grief tie into this and the overall ebbs and flows of the cycle of life?
In this episode of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast, I explore and discuss the concept of reincarnation, spiritual progression, death truly being the beginning and other facets of black and hoodoo folklore with Brandon Wilkins aka Uncle Brandon. I became acquainted with Uncle Brandon on TikTok and was immediately drawn in by his enthusiastic and charismatic personality. Through his social media presence, he answers questions from his 1000,000 plus viewers daily. There is undeniably something mysteriously captivating about Uncle Brandon and the ancient wisdom that he shares. When he speaks the ancestors and Magik of the universe speak through his deep and raspy voice. He seems to have an endless wealth of not only spiritual knowledge but also practical and simple perspectives that awaken the desire to learn and glean more from his experience and expertise.
He is a chef and spiritual practitioner and conjurer who has traveled extensively not only geographically but also through time and space utilizing the vehicles of literature, sacred text ancestral knowledge and wisdom. Uncle B is making His-story through carrying on his family’s legacy through sharing his craft. He grew up in the kitchen watching his grandmother make miracles with her hands. He is an entrepreneur, public speaker, musician and music director, bartender, sewist, personal chef, spiritual advisor, creative and teacher. His goal is to celebrate life, while creating meaning and enjoying a plate of new memories.
Connect with Uncle Brandon
About the Death & Grief Talk Podcast
Death and grief are sacred aspects of our human journey that we all witness, honor, and process uniquely. The Death and Grief Talk Podcast is here to host open and honest conversation about the questions, fears, anxieties, and emotions that we all experience when someone dies.
I am your host The Grave Woman. I'm a licensed funeral director, embalmer, insurance agent and scared death/grief care practitioner. I have over a decade of experience working in the death care industry. I am dedicated to helping everyone navigate individual journeys to find peace and purpose with life, death, and grief.
Ways you can listen on the go:
Anchor FM https://anchor.fm/deathandgrieftalk
Watch on YouTube www.youtube.com/thegravewoman
Follow @thegravewoman on all social media
Beyond the Veil with Shawna Temple aka Oshun's Light
Loss and grief have a magical and peculiar way of propelling our personal and spiritual journeys in directions that in many times result in us showing up for ourselves and in the world in ways that differ from the visions of ourselves that we had sketched in our minds. For many, spirituality becomes less about subscribing to what some consider to be outdated traditions and more about seeking answers and guidance from divine sources both seen and unseen. When embarking upon transformative spiritual journeys many seek guidance from those gifted in communicating with the “other side”. One such person is Shawna Temple. Shawna Temple aka Oshunslight describes herself as a Hoodoo/eclectic witch living in Houston, TX. Her practice combines spiritual paths, reiki healing, and psychology. Shawna holds two master’s degrees in psychology and counseling and is now pursuing a PsyThD. According to her website www.oshunslight.com , Shawna’s path is one of a Root worker and Grey Witch. She blends aspects of African Spirituality, Santaria, wisdom from the Orishas, Traditional Witchcraft, and good ol' Southern Hoodoo. She has walked a varied path and am ALWAYS learning. She believes strongly in the unseen. Forces that were set about at the beginning of time and before. She believes that witches, brujas, and root workers; are blessed to have the intuition and knowledge to touch this energy and be a part of the reawakening of the human race.” Shawna is the founder of The Deep Roots Society which boasts members from around the world and practitioners of varied backgrounds. Many paths are represented and respected in the space that she has created. I was blessed to find and connect with Shawna via social media (Instagram to be exact) where she shares jewels of wisdom, readings, and real spiritual talk with her nearly 20,000 followers daily. During our time together in this episode of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast, Shawana and I candidly discuss everything from what left-handed work is, what she defines as rootwork, the necessity of elevating one’s ancestors to why it is important to not rush into setting up ancestral alters immediately after someone dies. Connect with Shawna Online Website www.oshunslight.com Email Oshunslight@gmail.com Social Media @Oshunslight YouTube @oshunslightoshunslight8329 Magical Moments with Oshun’s Light Podcast https://open.spotify.com/show/1nkgrd5iXnccuck4iBQ8xM About the Death & Grief Talk Podcast Death and grief are sacred aspects of our human journey that we all witness, honor, and process uniquely. The Death and Grief Talk Podcast is here to host open and honest conversations about the questions, fears, anxieties, and emotions that we all experience when someone dies. I am your host The Grave Woman. I'm a licensed funeral director, embalmer, insurance agent, and scared death/grief care practitioner. I have over a decade of experience working in the death care industry. I am dedicated to helping everyone navigate individual journeys to find peace and purpose in life, death, and grief. Ways you can listen on the go: Anchor FM https://anchor.fm/deathandgrieftalk Apple https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast... Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/3mdh03y... Watch on YouTube www.youtube.com/thegravewoman Follow @thegravewoman on all social media
Dear Brandon with Krystina Christiansen
The universe has a very strange way of connecting us all in ways that at times seem divinely orchestrated and at others feel completely chaotic and random. Regardless of how it chooses to connect it; the universe, aka Spirit is intentional, timely and unfathomably precise and accurate in its execution. I was connected to today’s guest of The Death & Grief Talk Podcast; Krystina Christiansen in a way that feels equally divine and random. Krystina is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, CA. She's produced, directed, and written a bit of everything - from documentaries and music videos to art installations and talk shows. I had the honor of experiencing Krystina exercising her passion for story telling through the medium of film on the set of a documentary she is producing about the death care industry. In between shooting with her in LA we had a chance to share an intimate moment over dinner in which she shared the heart touching and breaking story behind her passion project. During our time together in this podcast episode, Krystina and I discuss everything from the way Spirit speaks to and guides us, shared southern Baptist roots, how telling the stories about life and death and those of us who work in the death care industry has assisted her in navigating her personal grief to the current SAG AFRA strike and its true impact on the creators and the viewers of the stories they write, perform, and sell them. Currently, she's campaigning for her short documentary, “Dear Brandon'', following an outdoorsman now paralyzed with MS who, at the end of his life, writes a letter that was left on a hiking trail in Utah by his social worker. The inspirational letter quickly made its way to the highest peaks in the world with his newfound family of strangers, which is how she finds it 3000 miles away in Hawaii. The 30-day crowdfunding campaign has a goal of $20,000 in order to finish the film and submit it to festivals for distribution consideration. To support, visit seedandspark.com/fund/brandon. To read the letter visit: krystinachristiansen.com/brandon Krystina is also in post-production on her first feature length documentary produced under the Appian Way and QC Entertainment banners, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Eli Roth as Executive Producers. When not immersed in storytelling she can most likely be found maintaining her duolingo streak, wandering a National Park, art gallery, or the nearest science museum. Connect with Krystina Online Website www.krystinachristiansen.com Email Krystinaoliva@gmail.com Social Media @KrystinaOlivia Brandon’s Instagram @forbrandonslove77 About the Death & Grief Talk Podcast Death and grief are sacred aspects of our human journey that we all witness, honor, and process uniquely. The Death and Grief Talk Podcast is here to host open and honest conversation about the questions, fears, anxieties, and emotions that we all experience when someone dies. I am your host The Grave Woman. I'm a licensed funeral director, embalmer, insurance agent and scared death/grief care practitioner. I have over a decade of experience working in the death care industry. I am dedicated to helping everyone navigate individual journeys to find peace and purpose with life, death, and grief. Ways you can listen on the go: Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/3mdh03y... Watch on YouTube www.youtube.com/thegravewoman Follow @thegravewoman on all social media
Sunday Dinner Conversations- What Really Matters to YOU at the End of Your Life?
End of life planning looks different for Black and Indigenous families. It’s more casual, more informal and in most cases involves food and historically happens around our tables at Sunday dinner. Sunday Dinner conversations not only serve as social gatherings but are imperative for Black and Indigenous families because they serve as a medium for opportunities to discuss preferences, desires and individual needs and wishes for end-of-life treatment, funeral and burial planning. Each person has their own unique “diet” so to speak when thinking about these vitally important matters. Most importantly, Sunday dinners have the power to ensure that information is verbally communicated amongst loved ones in the hopes that further steps can be taken to create solid end of life plans.
In this episode of The Death and Greif Talk Podcast I am joined by Ashley Johnson and Dr. Elisha Hall. Ashley Johnson is an alumni of the Univ of Florida, and a trained End of Life Doula. She currently serves as the President of National End of Life Doula Alliance. Her death care career was inspired by growing up in a low socio-economic neighborhood that lacked advocacy on how to deal with end-of-life practices. With more than a decade in the death care industry ranging from Forensic Anthropology to whole body donation, she launched Loyal Hands, an End-of-Life consulting agency.
Dr. Hall restores African and Indigenous healing legacies. As an impact strategist and systems thinker, Dr. Hall is the founder of the African and Indigenous Knowledge Institute (AIKI), a local consulting organization that develops institutions through interactive educational platforms. In 2020, Dr. Hall received his Ph.D. in Policy Studies in Urban Education at the University of Illinois (Chicago). His research centers on how storytelling can heal youth and adults, especially when used as self-edification and character development. With over 20 years of food equity and community organizing experience, he fuses political education with public health justice frameworks to provide restoration for African and Indigenous communities. Currently, he is the African American Engagement Director at Compassion & Choices.
About the Death & Grief Talk Podcast Death and grief are sacred aspects of our human journey that we all witness, honor, and process uniquely. The Death and Grief Talk Podcast is here to host open and honest conversation about the questions, fears, anxieties, and emotions that we all experience when someone dies. I am your host The Grave Woman. I'm a licensed funeral director, embalmer, insurance agent and scared death/grief care practitioner. I have over a decade of experience working in the death care industry. I am dedicated to helping everyone navigate individual journeys to find peace and purpose with life, death, and grief.
Connect with Ashley Johnson
Social Media TikTok & Instagram
Watch Her Ted Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gj9gGJiD4c&feature=youtu.be
Connect with Dr. Elisha Hall
Compassion and Choices https://www.compassionandchoices.org/
Ways you can listen on the go:
Anchor FM https://anchor.fm/deathandgrieftalk
Watch on YouTube www.youtue.com/thegravewoman
Follow @thegravewoman on all social media!
To Have and to Hold
“To have and to hold”, these words are commonly thought of as being part of wedding or commitment vows but for me these words resonate across the board in all things especially finance. When we think about it, we are constantly in the process of working towards accumulating something. Possessions, money, a partner, a home, vehicle, health, relationships, achieving our personal goals, etc. During this accumulation of gathering to “have”; how many of us stop and think the cost of “holding” onto what we have accumulated. Especially when thinking about our personal finances and legacies.
In today’s world we are constantly being bombarded with financial advice, solicited. Every other person on social media is a financial guru, and phrases like “generational wealth”, “how to become a millionaire in 2 years” and “invest in this cryptocurrency today” flood our timelines along with images of everyone “living their best life” while in many cases leaving us wondering what were doing wrong.
In today’s episode of The Grief and Death Talk Podcast I have the honor of speaking with a credible source of financial information Mr. Ricardo Thomas. Ricardo Thomas is a graduate of Loyola University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance. He is a Registered Financial Consultant and Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant. He also became a fully licensed investment broker at the age of nineteen. He is a practicing financial consultant and is the president of THOMAS-WADDELL & Associates, Inc., a financial consulting & asset management firm with clients across the country. He has also, worked as a Divorce Financial Analyst, served as an expert witness, and consulted on divorce cases where expert opinions were needed on divorce settlements. He is also a former contributing financial writer for both Perspectives Magazine and Women of Excellence Magazine.
In addition, he is a former adjunct instructor at Delgado Community College and taught financial-related classes as a part of the University of New Orleans’ Project Pass program. His work in personal finance has been featured in the Times-Picayune, N.O. City Business, New Orleans Tribune, Barnes & Nobles Bookstore, as well as other publications around the country. Mr. Thomas is a member of the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants. He is also involved in the community by serving as a board member for the past 19 years for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Louisiana where he is currently vice chairman of the board. He is also a board member of the Urban League of Louisiana and is the current president of the Urban League Guild.
He is also a former president of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals. Additionally, he is the immediate past chair of the Executive Council for WWNO FM radio, the local NPR affiliate and lastly, as a member of the African American leadership council for Compassion and Choices, a national non-profit focused on end-of-life planning. Over the years he has made numerous presentations on radio, television, and newspaper pertaining to a variety of financial topics. He is also the recipient of many awards including “Who’s Who among U.S. Executives”, “Who’s Who in Finance and Industry”, the & New Orleans; City Business Power Generation Award and was named a recipient of the 5-star Wealth manager award for financial planning and was featured in New Orleans magazine.
Connect with Ricardo Online
Behind the Bangs w/ Caitlin Caitlin Doughty
I was first introduced to Caitlin Doughty through the Ask a Mortician YouTube channel in 2012. Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, advocate, and bête noire of the traditional funeral industry. In 2011 she founded the funeral reform collective The Order of the Good Death, which has spawned the death positive movement. Her educational web series "Ask a Mortician" has been viewed almost 200 million times and all three of her books Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, From Here to Eternity, and Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? were New York Times bestsellers.
\Caitlin was the first funeral director (and might I add first female funeral director) that I ever saw articulacy, honestly and publicly discuss the good, bad, and ugly about the death care industry while challenging the way we “do death” in this country. She was also the first person to encourage me to expand my blogspot.com blog into a YouTube page. Over the years I have watched not only her YouTube channel, but she and her career blossom. The thing that I respect most about Caitlin is that though she has amassed countless supporters through her books, social media, public speaking and non-profit, she seems to remain grounded while balancing the role of the observer and advocate.
I recently interviewed Caitlin for the Death and Grief Talk Podcast and consider this episode to be Milestone for The Grave Woman because Caitlin is truly someone in this industry that not only look up to but respect. During our time together I connect with Caitlin heart to heart as she shares how she maintains the balance of her online success and real-life experience, practices self-care, avoids appropriating those that invite her into their sacred space of loss, grief, and celebration and much more. The greatest take away from our interview is that though speaking truth to power, advocacy, educating and speaking up for others can be exhausting, BUT the work that so many of us are doing in death care to create a more equitable, option focused and leveled environment for consumers and death care professionals alike is necessary and not without the reward of positive progressive change.
Connect with Caitlin Online
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/thegooddeath/ and https://www.instagram.com/ordergooddeath/
Honoring Identity in Life & Death w/ Alexandra Jo
“If someone can't respect another person's gender identity, pronouns, or other aspect of their identity or sexuality, a safe, healthy environment where consent can be comfortably given is not possible. Respecting someone's gender identity, whatever it may be, is key to a healthy relationship.” – www.speakaboutit.com
I love having conversations that challenge my perspective, open my mind all the while educating and stretching the boundaries of my understanding, compassion, and empathy. One such conversation topic is that of identity. According to my latest Google search, identity is defined as the unique set of characteristics that can be used to identify a person as themself and no one else. The word identity can be used in different ways in different contexts. On a personal level, identity often refers to a person's sense of self, meaning how they view themself as compared to other people.
In this episode of The Death & Grief Talk Podcast, I participate in a beautiful exchange with my death care colleague Alexandra Joabout the nuances of identity while exploring the manners in which we can respect autonomy, properly use gender affirming language, and how remaining curious impacts the way we honor one another’s identity and humanity not only in life but also in death.
Alexandra (they/them) is the Director of Outreach and Education at Parting Stone and is a Certified Celebrant through InSight Institute. They are a first-generation deathcare professional who is passionately death-curious with over three years of experience researching and creating forward-thinking content for the funeral profession. They produce and host the Deathcare Decoded podcast and write regularly for Connecting Directors and other industry publications. Alexandra also gives continuing education lectures on innovation in the funeral profession at death care conferences around the country.
One of the biggest takeaways from my conversation with Alexandra and lessons that I have learned over the past few years through serving as a vessel for conversations about race and death is that it is okay to make mistakes when operating with the intention of learning and growing. It creates safety and allows for exchange free of judgement, criticism and most importantly fosters our instinctual need and desire for curiosity.
Connect with Alexandra Jo Online
Listen to the Death Care Decoded / Death Curious Podcast https://open.spotify.com/show/5EZljk9bSoPDfjhIbS2kU4?mc_cid=c422c02322&mc_eid=697d0c0a3e
Connect on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/deathcurious/?hl=en
Follow on TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@deathcurious?lang=en
Visit the Website https://partingstone.com/
How Hoodoo Helps Black and Indigenous Peoples Navigate Life, Death & Grief
According to Wikipedia, Hoodoo is a set of spiritual practices, traditions, and beliefs created and concealed from slaveholders by enslaved Africans in North America. Hoodoo evolved from various traditional African religions, practices, and in the American South incorporated with various elements. In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast Mrs. Lisa Jones, hoodoo practitioner and owner of Memphis Conjure defines her sacred practice passed down through maternal generations for over 100 years as simply “a pathway to peace” that has been demonized and misunderstood by white observers and lazy tongues.
I was introduced to Mrs. Jones through her TikTok videos in which she uses discusses spiritual works, healing and ritual practice to promote and educate about her practice and spiritual products and services. I felt an instant attraction to and connection with Mrs. Jones. She reminded me of my Mama Julie, aunts, grandmothers and other women in my life who knowingly or unknowingly have practiced within our Gullah/ Geechee culture and community to navigate the spiritual journey of life, death and grief while supporting and sustaining our black and indigenous community.
Through her business Memphis Conjure Mrs. Jones sells Delta Style Hoodoo Products made by hand. She also creates and distributes ritually charged oils, powders & all things hoodoo including but not limited to mojo/nation sacks & bags, oils, powders, honey jars that are properly prepared to offer remedies for various conditions and enhance spiritual practice. Her practice and products are crafted according to a hoodoo tradition & style, taught to her by her grandmom & mom. Her family has practiced conjure/spiritual work & root work for over 108 years. Her great-grandmom, grandmother and mother were root workers and her grandmother worked on Beale Street during the 40's as a root worker & spiritual advisor.
According to her website “Hoodoo in all its variants is predominately considered a southern phenomenon. Many regions in the south can attribute conjure and rootwork to elders and ancestors who were exposed to the craft. Many were slaves who brought many traditions from the continent of Africa and other regions, or possibly native Americans who were adept at planting and seasonal anomalies. Many consider the craft evil or spooky and may not quite understand the correlations between survival and coping with the trauma of enslavement. Many books introduce the curious to the mystery of hoodoo and other crafts. We suggest reading these books with an open mind and seek to understand the “Why’s of Hoodoo” before the “How’s of Hoodoo". It is a practice forged of necessity and trauma and the legacy of our African American ancestors. We are forever agonized at what they suffered and seek to move forward in honor of all the lives before us & those who managed to persevere".
Connect with Memphis Conjure online:
Why Are Black Mentors Important in Death Care?
“What you want in a mentor is someone who truly cares for you and who will look after your interests and not just their own. When you do come across the right person to mentor you, start by showing them that the time they spend with you is worthwhile.” – Vivek Wadhwa
It is impossible to overstate the importance of having professional black mentors in the end of life and death care industry. Individuals who selflessly give of themselves, teach, encourage, uplift, and provide opportunity without being competitive all the while allowing apprentices, students, and professionals to stand on their shoulders and to build careers while passing the baton forward. Historically those who’ve held positions of power and influence have been white male gatekeepers. For young black professionals like myself and those that are constantly emerging, seeking help, guidance, direction, and support from these gatekeepers has been intimidating, disappointing and unfruitful. Luckily this changing.
In 2019, I was blessed to meet my mentor Mrs. Anita Grant. Anita Pollard Grant, RN, MS, BSN, AAS, MLD-C is the Founder and CEO of GranEnterprise LLC, the parent copy of the NBE Review Coach. Anita graduated cum laude from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree. As an undergraduate, she was a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society for Nursing. After graduation, Anita became a licensed Registered Nurse and a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy Nurse Corps. During those active-duty years, she gained hands-on experience in Same Day Surgical Care and Behavioral Health Nursing and in supervising staff, facilitating interdisciplinary communication and coordinating patient care. Years later, Anita transitioned to the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps where she served as a Nurse Manager as well as a National Healthcare Recruiter with the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons, a Nurse Consultant/Surveyor with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and a Senior Program Manager for the National Institute of Corrections. In May 2021, Anita retired as an O6/Captain from the USPHS after almost thirty (30) years of honorable service.
Anita has been an answer to my prayers since the first time we met. Over the years she has poured into me in ways that would take too long to share in this 500-word blog. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Anita for The Death and Grief Talk Podcast. Though she and I have worked extensively together over the past 3 years developing course, trainings and much more and surprisingly, after all this time and sharing I had no idea what bought her to the death care industry.
During our time together, Anita and discuss the foundation of her career in the armed services, her transition into funeral services and her passion for combing her unique life experience, academic and professional skills to help students nationwide achieve licensure in both funeral directing and embalming. Anita also shared what legacy she hopes to leave behind.
Connect with Anita Online
Creating Space for Black Vendors in Death Care Through Personalized Memorial Keepsakes
When someone passes away having personalized memorial keepsakes such as keychains, cups, t-shirts, jewelry, programs, fans, headstones, grave markers, and other items that reflect the personality, image, and encompass the essence of those that we have lost brings a level of comfort and peace that can not be explained. Having tangible things to hold, see and lean into can never replace our dearly departed loved ones but they do offer endless benefits that soothe and help us process our grief. Traditionally in the death care industry companies and corporations that manufacture, distribute, and sell memorial keepsakes as well as other items and merchandise available for purchase to consumers by funeral homes and in online storefronts are historically white owned and operated. This leads me to ponder how much more meaningful, and impactful memorials keepsakes and other merchandise could be if they were not only created with intention but also distributed through vendors who share cultural values with and understand the communities that they serve. This shift could be tremendous for not only consumers but death care professionals, funeral homes, and cemeteries alike. This could also replace the historically appropriative and sales driven tactics used to products and items that target BIPOC consumers specifically.
In this episode of The Death & Grief Talk Podcast; I have the honor of speaking with Latifa Franks; a young black female death care merchandise and memorial keepsake vendor. Latifa is fonder of C. Jackson Memorial Company which is fondly after her mother. C. Jackson Memorial Company was birthed out of Latifa’s desire to not only serve her community of Baltimore, Maryland but black communities worldwide with affordable, professional, high quality memorial keepsakes while honoring the legacy of her mother Cassandra Jackson who passed away when Latifa was only 10 years old. On her website, Latifa sells several keepsakes including personalized memorial apparel, jewelry, portrait LED lights, urns and much more which can be personalized to reflect the image or likeness of loved ones and pets alike. Not only is Latifa using her company to serve, but she also uses her social media platforms to educate and give behind the scenes access into her daily life as a mortuary student and crematory operator.
Connect with C. Jackson Memorial Company online
How Black & Indigenous Communities Use Euphemisms, Parables and Proverbs as Tools for Preplanning
Have you ever heard the sayings “eat the fish and spit out the bones” or “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water? Am I the only one who feels like they sound like some sort of secret language? These coded messages are known as euphemisms. Euphemisms are defined by Webster as a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. For many, conversations about end of life, health care and planning for death and dying are considered private, personal, and not to be discussed in of doctors, nurses, home health aides, funeral directors and others considered to be “mixed company” or strangers. For far too long, this has led to the misconceptions that black, indigenous and other communities of color simply are not capable of or simply do not care to preplan for end of life, health and death care needs including but not limited to funeral and burial planning. This could NOT be further from the truth.
Let me explain, euphemisms derive from proverbs or parables which I like to think of as the short and sweet way of communicating vitally important messages while preserving the messages integrity and protecting privacy. Euphemisms, proverbs, and parables are often used by Black and Indigenous elders in collaboration with story telling and sharing to preserve language and culture and are as old as the Egyptian hieroglyphs. They are methods of communications preserved for sharing wisdom, information, secrets, insight, desires and serve as a form of establishing trust between the giver and receiver of their message.
In this episode of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast, I speak with Zeena Regis and Elisha Hall Ph.D. in hopes of giving insight into the methods, language and sacred euphemistic language used amongst members of Black and Indigenous communities as it relates to expressing, planning for and executing desires for the inevitable.
Elisa Hall Ph.D. is a Systems Thinker that fuses strategic planning, healing, and community organizing into all of his pursuits. His praxis explores how African and Indigenous values can be used as best-practice and the creation of better policies. He uses his passion of creative expression to tell the untold and share the unshared. Leveraging information and innovation across communities and continents is his life's work. He develops compassion within organizations and provide the path to deepen their diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Zeena Regis currently serves as the Faith Engagement Manager at Compassion & Choices, the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit working to improve care, expand options and empower everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. Zeena was selected as a 2021-2022 fellow in Collegeville Institute’s Emerging Writers Mentorship Program. Her training includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College and a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary. Zeena is also a playwright and her latest work, A Free Black Woman's Guide to Death & Dying, was selected for the Synchronicity Theatre's arts incubator project and premiered in May 2022.
Connect with Elisha on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/elishahall/
Connect with Zeena on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/zeenaregis/
Healing Our Inner Child Through Exploring Our Grief
Have you ever met someone or someone’s who you just immediately click with, where the conversation flows and your almost finishing one another’s sentences? This is exactly how I felt like speaking with the ladies of Grief After Dark connecting and sharing experiences about life being a self-fulfilling prophesy, learning to heal our inner child through our experiences with grief, sensuality, pleasure, taking full autonomy over our life and grief experiences through filtering who and what has access to us, the ability to channel messages, exploring the full spectrum of creativity and so much more.
In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast, my guest are D. Anaya and Mikki. D. and Micki describe themselves as two normal(ish) friends who have survived some dark waters both together and separately. In their Grief After Dark podcast, they look at the whole human emotional drama in the face, beginning with a deep dive into life, death, and the complexities of grieving. It is their hope that they can help other that are treading the dark waters of grief and loneliness and serve as a resource to the support systems of on the voyage to better understand and connect.
D. Anaya is a creative artist, artist, writer, visionary and advocate for helping others navigate their journeys with grief in ways that are not only true to themselves but to also tap into our innate creativity to and spiritual connection and use it as light during our darkest hours. Mikki has a passion for gemstones and through her company Moonstar Charms creates beautiful pieces with emotional, physical, and spiritual healing properties. She also is a detail girl and take as much time as she needs to create each piece of her art with loving care and an appropriate amount of perfectionism. She is particular about my "ingredients" because she cares very much about what she does and believe that each piece will, in time, go to the person it's exactly right for. Mikki brings this attention to detail and passion for seeing the beauty even in the roughest of situations to Grief After Dark as she and D explore the nuances of grief.
Connect with Grief After Dark Online
Adventures of Grief Girl https://www.instagram.com/adventuresofgriefgirl/
Modern Charms Jewelry https://www.etsy.com/shop/MoonstarCharms
Preserving Joy in Grief w/ Crystallee Crain PhD
“There is nothing more powerful than to clearly articulate our intention to the universe and trust boldly in its desire to not only deliver but to also unfold itself before us as our path to enlightenment. What is your intention?” - The Grave Woman
“My intention is to alleviate unnecessary suffering in the world. Suffering is a spectrum; it doesn’t mean that we are in crisis and that that there is something wrong with us or that we are in a clinical space. The ways in which we are experiencing the world right now and the sickness of the unhelpful darkness is something that because of its consistency and exacerbation of our societal collapse causes me to ask the question what remains? What do we have that is ours? For me, I choose to hold on to my joy.” - Dr. Crystallee Crain Ph.D.
In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast I had the honor of connecting on a soul level with Dr. Crystallee Crain. Crystallee Crain Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is an interdisciplinary public health scholar and human rights activist. She has academic roots in sociology, political science, and psychology. She specializes in exposing the layers of institutional inequality while supporting communities to shift ways of being and practice to improve life chances by bridging the worlds of academia, healing, and activism.
During our time together we discussed the difference sleep has on our perspectives and experience in the world, the importance of not allowing our realm which is full of adversity, struggling and suffering to steal our innate ability to experience and posses joy, the importance of personal agency as a method of self-preservation as well as mental health, and her personal journey with navigating grief caused by loosing a close friend during to an accidental drug overdose and how she intentionally holds space for joy in her grief and profession.
Crystallee’s body of work represents a collective need to strengthen our responses to violence through transformative means, the need for liberatory practices, and a focus on healing as a revolutionary strategy for change. Crystallee holds an academic appointment with California State University – East Bay (Department of Political Science). She’s also the elected board chair of the Seeding Justice Foundation (PDX).Crystallee is the Founder & Principal Consultant of Prevention at the Intersections an organization that works to prevent violence and other forms of harm through community-based research and people-centered projects. At Prevention at the Intersections, she publishes two open-access journals CATALYST and The Beauty of Black Creation. The 2nd Edition of her textbook - A People’s Primer: Dispatches on Politics & Social Change (2022) came out this year. https://amzn.to/3jOTv5C
Dr. Crain facilitates trainings with an emphasis on trauma, prevention science, and community capacity-building. She has worked with organizations across the country to support them in actualizing their values in the development and implementation of their mission and vision.
You can learn more about her at www.preventionagenda.org, www.bestlifecoach.co and at www.crystalleecrain.org.
Connect with Dr. Crain on Social Media
The Cosmic Order of Death & Grief w/ Aurianna Joy
How bold must we be to offer back to life in the form of accepting death what no longer serves or affirms our journey? What if our perception of the end, of death, of life are severely warped by the limitations of our Western society to embrace and return to the natural order of LIFE? These and so many other questionings float through the collective mind at times ready to be explored at times shunned away due to universal fears that we share. Why are we here? What is our purpose? How long do I have left and what am I supposed to do?
In this installment of the Death and Grief Talk Podcast; I have the honor of speaking with @Theholisticexplorer I discovered Aurianna through her YouTube channel and instantly felt a connection and curiosity about her journey with Ayahuasca. Her transparency and vulnerability in sharing her health and spiritual journey inspired me during one of the more challenging and unfulfilling chapters of my life while motivating me to connect with and believe the inner voice that kept telling me there was more. 8 years later we connected on social media and when she agreed to be interviewed for my podcast, I knew the universe manifested our connection. It is my hope that through hearing her story you too will be inspired to release what is no longer serving or affirming your life while opening your hands, arms, and heart to expand and reach for more.
Aurianna Joy is a Somatic Intimacy Coach and trauma trained Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner based in Bend, Oregon who supports women all over the globe in reclaiming their essential nature and embodying their natural rhythms through private mentorship, group coaching programs, workshops, ceremonies, and retreats. Aurianna has spent 13+ years deeply involved in the personal development industry and has 8 years of professional experience in the coaching industry. She draws upon multiple influences to create unique, highly customized experiences for her clients.
Her work is greatly inspired by:
• Amazonian & Andean Shamanism
• Yoga, Taoist, & Buddhist Philosophy
• Reiki & Energy Healing
• Dance & Movement Therapy
• Tantra & Sacred Sexuality
• Ancestral Womb Healing
• Karmic Astrology
• Human Growth & Developmental Psychology
• Jungian Archetypal Psychology & Shadow Work
• Trauma-Informed Neuroscience
Aurianna is deeply committed to the spiritual liberation of all beings on the planet and is fiercely devoted to the collective reclamation of the archetypal Wild Woman.
Connect with Aurianna on social media
Ways to listen on the go:
Anchor FM https://anchor.fm/deathandgrieftalk
Anticipatory Grief, Fear and Social Media Life Balance with Hollis Funeral Home
I love having conversations with death care professionals and people in general who are not afraid to show up naked and be 1,000% authentically who they are. In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast with The Grave Woman; I have the honor of exploring this and so much more with Eileen Hollis of Hollis Funeral Home. Eileen known worldwide as @HollisFuneralHome is a licensed funeral director and embalmer who operates her family-owned funeral home with her father in Syracuse, NY. Eileen grew up in the funeral home the will someday own and has gained a tremendous social media following through sharing her day-to-day experiences, funny stories, struggles and professional experience.
During our time together Eileen and I share laughs, tears and discuss so much and realized that we have more than we could imagine in common. Vulnerability, fear, anticipatory grief, and paralyzing anxiety are not words that you expect to hear your local funeral director use to describe their day-to-day experience but believe it or not; many funeral and death care professionals struggle with these emotions and so much more. The problem is that we don’t feel safe talking about them because “this is what we’re supposed to be able to handle”. Society has convinced us that sacrificing our humanity is required to be enabled to serve but this could not be further from the truth.
We share paranormal experiences, talk about the pressure of living up to the tremendous and beautiful familial legacies that are actively being created for us, creating work life balance, address the pressures of maintain a social media presence and balancing online “fame” with integrity while not allowing the ego to become inflated, and connect deeply through the desire to embody and commit to the disciplines of consistency and compassion.
We also spend time exploring the importance of death care professionals understanding their natural limitation and the importance of seeking our additional resources to better serve our communities. Much of this involves the importance being culturally competent. Eileen discusses what she has gained from taking my course Cultural Competency: Black Hair, Skin and Cosmetic Care for Death Care Professionals.
It simultaneously fills and fuels me when I can share in candid moments like those I shared with Eileen. Moments drenched full of true expression and sharing with from the heart about shared challenges and successes. Speaking openly about fears creates freedom. Learning to lean into vulnerability dissolves the callus of isolation. Embracing grief allows for love to ebb and flow authentically. Addressing and honoring the existence of an anxiety allows intention to lead. Our intention in sharing our stories and experiences is to hopefully encourage and empower you to live authentically and make room for vulnerability, mental health support, intention, and community to hold space in yours. Thank you.
Asking, Listening, Inviting and Seeking Guidance from the Next Room (ALIGN) w/ Jane & Joe'l
SIGN UP HERE https://www.thegravewoman.com/store/p50/ALIGN.html
Read The Next Room Here https://www.amazon.com/Next-Room-Jane-Asher/dp/1737435608
It was obvious from the onset of our connection that Jane and I were connected and destined to do something impactful and meaningful in the death care space together. After 2 years of intentional listening, meditating, praying, planning, asking and waiting for the right time; the project we're sharing with you was conceived in the universe and now is being birthed into our reality. This powerful workshop on the Afterlife is dedicated to honoring and building our connection to those we love who have passed away. With the guidance of Jane and myself, You will experience clarity and gain understanding as we guide you through the steps of opening your arms, heart and mind to expand and embrace practical ideas, perspectives and rituals. We will explore and literally walk you through the steps of how to connect and communicate clearly with your loved ones, once they have transcended to The Next Room. We want this workshop to be as accessible as possible therefor it has been priced accordingly at $44.44. In addition to the workshop/course we will be offering private coaching for those who desire more guidance.
Patient Directed End-Of-Life Care w/ Compassion & Choices President and CEO Kim Callinan
Our relationships with death, dying and the end-of-life are very personal and unique to use all. We will all meet death differently and because of this it is vital that our collective perspectives allow for countless vantage points. For many who have received or been living with terminal diagnosis, the thought of taking autonomy over “our meeting death” is vitally important yet impossible because of limited legislation, misconceptions, and taboo around Medical Aid in Dying.
In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast with The Grave Woman, I had the honor of speaking with President and CEO of Compassion and Choices Kim Callinan. Compassion and Choices improves care, expands options and empowers everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. Compassion and Choices also provides resources that educate and empower those diagnosed with dementia, seeking or receiving palliative care support, and initiating end-of-life conversations with health care providers and much more.
According to the Compassion and Choices website Medical Aid in Dying is a trusted and time-tested medical practice that allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live to request from their doctor a prescription for medication they can decide to self-ingest to die peacefully in their sleep. Medical aid in dying is sometimes incorrectly referred to as “assisted physician suicide,” “physician aid in dying,” “death with dignity,” and “euthanasia.” Medical aid in dying is not assisted suicide, suicide, or euthanasia. These terms are misleading and factually incorrect.
To be eligible for aid-in-dying medication, an individual must meet all four criteria:
An adult (aged 18 or older);
Terminally ill with a prognosis of six months or less to live;
Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions; and
Able to self-ingest the medication.
In addition to the strict eligibility criteria these laws establish the following core safeguards: The attending physician must inform the terminally ill adult requesting medical aid in dying about all other end-of-life care options. These other options include comfort care, hospice care, pain control and palliative care;
The attending physician must inform the terminally ill adult requesting medical aid in dying that they can change their mind at any time; This patient right to change their mind includes deciding not to self-ingest the medication once they have obtained it;
The attending physician must also offer the individual an opportunity to rescind their request.
These core safeguards ensure that individual patient preferences, needs and values are honored, and guide all clinical decisions, including the decision to use medical aid in dying. Society benefits when medical aid in dying laws are implemented -- benefits that help everybody -- regardless of whether one decides to access the law:
Improved conversations between doctors and patients;
Better use of hospice;
Better physician training in end-of-life care.
3 Reasons You Need an Estate Plan w/ Shannon Pawley J.D., LL.M
I had the honor of sitting down with my friend and colleague Shannon M. Pawley, J.D., LL.M CEO of The Estate & Asset Protection Law Firm @ElderLawGeorgia During our time together we discussed the importance of Estate Planning, ensuring end of life and asset protection documents are in order, strategizing for long term care, end of life care benefits for veterans and much more. While our entire conversation can be heard in the video here the 3 Reasons You Need an Estate Plan are to:
1. Avoid Dying in Intestate
Regardless of what you think you do or do not have; you have an estate. Without having a solid estate plan in place, you are leaving your family subject to the probate system which is something that you want to avoid.
2. Clearly Defining Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directive
Who is going to speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself concerning medical and financial decisions? Do you want this responsibility left in the hands of overwhelmed medical and legal professionals who know and care nothing about your desires and choices? Of course not! Identifying an agent to represent you and make decisions that YOU would be pleased with will make all the difference in the world. Using your autonomy to make decisions about your end-of-life care ahead of time ensures that you will or will not receive medical procedures and treatment that YOU CHOOSE!
Controlling What Access Those You Leave Behind
Put simply, who gets what and who doesn’t. What can be done with what you leave behind and what can’t. Who is responsible and who isn’t? These are all determining factors that must be taken into consideration when assigning beneficiaries for your hard-earned money, home, and belongings. You have no control over this unless you have a will.
Want to learn more? Contact Shannon today using the information below.
Interested in Spiritual Funeral Planning 101? Download the self study e-course right now buy using this link Spiritual Funeral Planning 101
What is an End of Life Guide with Emerald Awakenings
I had the honor of speaking with my death care colleague Nicole Comach known virtually as Emerald Awakening. Nicole is an End-of-Life Guide and Grief Companion. She assists people in navigating the death and dying process, while advocating or end-of-life wishes. As a death educator and empath, she guides others in finding a sense of ease and comfort in ties of immense sorrow and fear. During our time together we discussed answering the call of a career in death care, finding the balance in charging for death care services, the definition of holding space and much more.
Walking Besides Those Considering Suicide with Special Guest Cait
*** No information offered by Cait or myself should be a substitute or replacement for licensed medical or mental health care in any way. In addition, the information and techniques offered or suggested on this podcast do not constitute medical advice. Please seek medical advice from a qualified doctor in the case of serious illness***
If you are in crisis and need immediate support please dial 988 to be connected with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Cait’s personal experience with the death by suicide of her best friend, followed two months later by her grandfather’s death, is exactly what propelled her curiosity and focus into the unique and vast space of grief, death, and dying. Through that journey, years after, Cait began volunteering with her local hospice and served in her community. During that time she chose to take an end-of-life doula course and continue expanding her theory.
A passion for serving folks in the death space developed, deeply. By 2020, the pandemic forced the closure of her in-person business and her full attention turned to supporting folks in the virtual space, knowing that’s where many people go to access support + education. Cait’s journey has led her into different avenues of death work from sitting at the bedside of those actively dying, to cleaning out homes after a death, to haircuts for those on hospice, to educating hospice teams on what death doulas are, to guiding folks on advance directive creation, to building a digital presence for death workers; truly, the space is vast.
Currently, Cait offers digital resources that you can purchase and download on her resource site: deathbysuicideawarecare.com and free education via Instagram and Tik Tok. Join the list on the above website to be notified when the membership launches late summer 2022; the membership will equip folks of all ages with suicide awareness and prevention through a simple process so that they can support people in their circles of care.
Cait is proficient and a member with the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance, proficient with the National Home Funeral Alliance, and is passionate about participating in continuing education on a vast array of topics, as death is a vast space.
To learn more please visit https://www.deathbysuicideawarecare.com/
The Dark Side of Death Care, Mental Health and Finding Your Way in the Industry w Melissa Meadow
One of my favorite people in death care is Melissa also known as @The Modern Mortician . Melissa is a licensed funeral director, educator, dog Mommy to her grief therapy dog Kermit and advocate for eco-friendly burial and disposition methods. In this installment of The Death and Grief Talk Podcast, Melissa and I speak candidly about the dark side of working in death care, mental health, finding and creating space in deathcare and the newest installment of her brand The Knotty Coffin.
Connect with Melissa online:
Showing Up Authentically While Breaking Barriers - Death & Grief Talk Podcast Ep 2 w/ Dr. C Frazier
I recently had the honor of meeting and speaking with Dr. Chantrell Frazier about how she balanced showing up authentically in academia, navigating grief and loss while remaining motivated and inspired to complete her doctoral degree in biochemistry from Florida International University.
(The following was written by Michelle Chernicoff) Chantrell Frazier grew up a competitive athlete but, when it came to her education, the only person she was trying to beat was herself. After earning her bachelor’s degree at an HBCU–Savannah State University –Chantrell looked for a place to combine her passion for forensics and biochemistry. She applied for the PhD program at FIU and found a place in the Furton Research Lab. After her successful defense, she became the first Black woman at the university to earn her PhD in biochemistry.
The Florida Education McKnight Fellow and Florida AGEP Pathways Alliance (FL-AGEP) scholar’s groundbreaking research has received departmental funding and funding from the Dubai Police. Her work has sparked collaborative efforts within the FIU research community, as her optimized protocols have been applied to examine human odor profiles to understanding the odors that attract mosquitos.
Chantrell was encouraged by a mentor to take up space as a woman of color in the field. She hopes she is the first of many to successfully defend their degrees. Her volunteer work includes the FIU Student Access and Success Center (SASC), the City of Miami Gardens, and mentorship of students on the secondary and tertiary level to conduct research at FIU. Upon graduation, Chantrell will join the faculty at Framingham State University in Massachusetts as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in Chemistry and hopes to encourage more women of color to pursue STEM fields.
By Michelle Chernicoff
Communications Program Director Global Forensic and Justice Center
What Does it Mean to Almost Die? with Special Guest Emergency Medicine Physician Satheesh Gunaga, DO
How many times have you or someone you know used the phrase "I almost died"? What does this truly mean? What exactly is a terminal diagnosis? Why is it that some emergency room scenarios end in death when others don't? Who is responsible for making your end of life decisions? When does healing end and comfort care begin? How do those that bear the burden of delivering the news of death manage emotionally?
In this episode of the Death and Grief Talk Podcast, I speak with Satheesh Gunaga, DO to answer these very difficult but pressing questions. Satheesh is an Emergency Medicine Physician in Metropolitan Detroit. His primary roles are as the Medical Director of the ED at Henry Ford Health Center Brownstown which is a Free Standing ED. He is also the Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine and the ED Research Director at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. He is a board member of Compassion & Choices, husband and father of 3 young boys.
To learn more about the Compassion and Choices Palliative Care Initiative and the work being done to relieve suffering for those suffering from serious disease please use this link. Please also be sure to visit www.thegravewoman.com, sign up for our email list and browse our extensive death and grief care courses, workshops and books.
The Next Room with Jane Asher
Jane Asher has always been a natural connector who has enjoyed a successful career in media and the music industry, most notably at major radio stations in San Diego and Santa Barbara, and Virgin Records based out of Chicago. Her book, The Next Room is a story transcending space and time about the relationship between mother and daughter that grew stronger through death. Written together, through interpretation with a psychic medium, The Next Room takes us on a daughter’s journey through learning eternal life lessons on forgiveness, grief, grace, gratitude, and the limitless love of all, God.
Bridging Beauty and Death Care w/ Briana Peoples
Briana Peoples aka Ms. Mortuary aka Drpdeadgorgeous is a mortuary cosmetologist who is using her training as a hairstylist and personal experience with loss and grief to enhance not only the appearance of the dead but create beautiful memories for their families.
Spiritual Aspects of Death Care Work w/ Cait Maddsan
There is a great deal of spirituality and ritual that goes into working in death care for many practitioners. In this month's episode, death doula and educator Cait Maddan and I discuss our personal experiences, rituals and share ideas on the sacred nature of this work.
Pet Death and Memorialization with Monica Torres
In many instances losing our beloved pets can be more impactful than losing a human counterpart. The bonds we share with our animals are unlike any human relationship we encounter. In this enthralling seminar, Torres and Imperi co-present and deliver a practical guideline on how to create a loving tribute at home for your beloved pet prior to burial or cremation. Torres offers practical technical training on how to disinfect, bathe, and prepare the dead body of a family pet or service animal for public or private viewing. Further exploration by Imperi focuses on the social aspects of how the death of a pet can be traumatizing and isolating. Imperi imparts personal experience and tips on how to move through this difficult process with the support of friends and family. Once our pet is “put down” or found expired, a separate journey begins. There are options that most are not aware of such as preparing the body of your beloved pet at home and hosting your own home funeral for your pet and your family. This course is suitable for professionals or those who wish to provide after-death care themselves.
Death at the Movies Episode 4: Healing & Honoring Our Womanhood
In this month's podcast, my special guest LaToya Britt and I discuss our journeys through womanhood. We share everything from getting our cycles for the first time to navigating our journies as women while honoring the parallels between menstrual cycles, fertility, and self-care.
To learn more about LaToya Britt and her business Skyn ATL:
Visit her website www.skynatl.com
Follow her on social media @skynatl
Subscribe to her YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMZNdbaoPsSay1fKKaMm8pw
Is the Death Care Industry Prepared for Transhumanism?
Death at the Movies Episode 2: SOUL
Happy New Year Everyone! I am so excited to have my first special guest, my sister De Anne Anthony. In this month's episode of Death at the movies we will be discussing the Disney movie SOUL. Television and movies truly have the power to touch us all. Here we explore how death, dying and grief portrayed on the big and small screen's impact and connect us all. Listen to the podcast on Anchor
The intention of this month's podcast is to encourage each and every one of you to start the year off with a positive mindset about yourself. YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON! YOU HAVE A PURPOSE! YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Join the book and movie club here: https://www.thegravewoman.com/store/p26/The_Grave_Woman%27s_Book_%26_Movie_Club.html
Death at the Movies Episode 1: Movies That Inspired My Career
The intention of this month’s podcast is to encourage and inspire all aspiring death care professionals to chase their dreams.
Media discussed in this month's episode.
Cast – Paula Patton, Andre 3000, Big Boi
Brief Synopsis: A reticent piano player, named Percival (André Benjamin), along with Rooster (Antwan A. Patton), his flamboyant lead performer and manager, struggle to keep their speakeasy, in the Prohibition-era South, out of the hands of gangsters who want to take it over.
Where Can You Watch: Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video
The Shack 2017
Cast- Octavia Spencer, Sam Worthington, Tim McGraw
Brief Synopsis: After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression that causes him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.
Where Can You Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube $3.99
Family Matters the Gun
Cast- Reginald Darrius McCray (Eddie Winslow), Kellie Shanygne Williams (Laura Winslow), Jaleel Williams (Steve Urkel & Stephon)
Brief Synopsis: A harrowing experience at school with a violent female gang has a shaken Laura wanting to buy a gun to defend herself and Urkel begging her to change her mind.
Where Can You Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime App