iSmileForAngele non profit will be recognized at TONIGHT’S YANKEES game
May 15, 2019

May 15, 2019

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Sharice B: What is the definition of a Community Hero and why are they significant?

Chanel Speedy: A Community Hero is someone who displays the tenacity to continue for the betterment of their surroundings; even while facing adversity. Community Heroes are significant because they start small with implementations to assist parents and children alike.

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The iSmileForAngele non profit has hosted community feedings, toy, clothing and coat drives. The #KickBackAgainstBullying sneaker drive is an Annual event and the donated sneakers are distributed to local shelters with inspiring notes on them. I love Harlem because it has a piece of my heart. It is so historic and the culture was taught to me there. I was also watered and I grew there not only as a person but as a philanthropist, an artist and within the memories it provided shared with my family.

Samantha B: Why is May 10, 2014 significant to you?

Chanel Speedy: May 10th of 2014 was the day before Mother’s Day and one of the most difficult tasks I had to endure and explain in my life thus far. It is of significance because that was the day our grandmother transitioned in life [affectionately known as Gramz and as Angie to her community.]

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It inspired a motivational concept for me and formulated a plan towards spreading grandma’s legacy. As I helped others in need I for one felt fulfilled to continue her teachings and her outlet to the world just by observing her actions.

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Samantha B: I love going to St. Maarten it showed me the difference between the islands and served as a vacation spot to learn there is more to life than your surroundings. What did going to see grandma mean to you?

My life was measured by summers spent in St. Maarten so I always had a reference outside of Harlem of how a different part of the world worked. A plane was a destination away from me to say “I’m on my way to grandma’s house.” It also taught me not to take anything for granted there are a lot more opportunities in the States. You have to make everything happen for you here but there the sense of community is highlighted. The barter system is used a bit more. Grandma had a coconut tree, chickens, rabbits, cooked every meal 6 days a weeks, hung clothes on the line etc but if she needed a lemon I did not mind walking over a plank or in the road without any shoes to exchange bread for her.

The date of May 10th marked a changed in my life in which promoted and encouraged strength, required focus and a new horizon of unfamiliarity.

I have watched my grandmother give so much of herself to ensure that everyone around her was comfortable, feed and just by her dedicating her life to making others smile. The iSmileForAngele non-profit was the perfect opportunity to promote an incentive program in honor of her legacy.

In a few words she was one of a kind, her presence was always felt and I am grateful that I was able to have her within my life. My grandmother gave my life purpose; a greater purpose. #iSmileforAngele that is my inspiration.” – Chanel Speedy

Sharice B: Why is May 15, 2019 another significant date?

Chanel Speedy: Today, is 5 years and 5 days that my smile has been in a progressive state of assisting others to smile with a simple act of kindness. Whether it is a word of encouragement, sneakers to make scholars feel inclusion or teaming up with other local Harlem entrepreneurs such as Gracie Cedres the CEO/Founder of G.R.A.C.E (Granting Resources And Community Enrichment) non-profit for her Back To School Block Party. I appreciate Latoya Wyman the CEO/Founder of Divine Elegance for designing the flyers for my events and lending a helping hand whenever I needed her.

Samantha B: What and who do you want to thank for supporting you?

Chanel Speedy: To my family especially my Maker Of Miracles, my siblings (Sharice, Samantha, Darron), Desmond, Auntie, Avalyn, Gracie, Kimberly, Teenisha, my mentor [I UNDERSTAND], my team and every person who has ever encouraged me, NOMINATED ME, smiled with me and told me to stay splashy. I THANK you, YoU and YOU!*

*[you equates to the scholars who teach me lessons.

YoU equates to people that support me that I don’t know until we discover the art of conversation.

YOU equates to the originator my grandma and the people who know me.]*

Support comes in many different forms and giving back to others is how far we can stretch our hands to show respect to another person. Just as another has done for us. The torch was set down to be fulfilled and it tends to lifted up by the strongest with assistance. I started this solely just so WE could could utter, recite and yell out “I SMILE FOR ANGELE.” Now that’s history.

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Samantha B: Do you have any final words?

Chanel Speedy: Yes, I want to give a special THANK YOU to The New York Yankees organization, The Smile Direct Club and everyone who nominated me to be a Community Hero. Don’t forget to smile today! #iSmileForAngele FOREVER!

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Be sure to watch the second game of The New York Yankees double header at 6:35 pm as iSmileForAngele non profit will be recognized with screen time on the big screen to honor the continuous empowerment to the Harlem community.

“RELEASED” a hit new docu-series to be debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
September 30, 2017

Consulting Producer and Author Shaka Senghor

Yesterday, I had the privilege of being an honorary guest at the dynamic press lunch accompanied by a very deep and necessary roundtable discussion. The group dissussion surrounded multiple branches of incarceration within families and it featured the consulting producer of “Released” Mr. Shaka Senghor.

“Released” is a new docu-series that adds a journey filled with emotion, a glimpse into the interaction and readjustment back into society after being incarcerated. In episode one we are introduced to Kevin, Jermaine and Kay as their stories are documented post release and they enter the next phase of transitional adjustment back into society; some serving over a decade of time. When one family member goes to prison it takes on a whole new territory for the family through conversation, explanation, financial and emotional hardship. No person is wrong for having the feelings they experience as we are not in that persons shoes to identify the hardship.

Rapper Mysonne joined to weigh in his views on the discussion

If you have not been incarcerated personally you are unaware of the tactics it took to survive inside, post traumatic stress uncuffed and the mentally physche of overwhelming feelings. You may have experienced the same emotions within your life perspective but from the key element of FREEDOM. Not having an outlet or the option to choose what and when you eat, enjoying simple pleasures at your own leisure or even interaction with others if you are in the hole will make you appreciate life in general. The struggle or the restriction is not comparable in either instance even though it does not make one’s feeling less valid because of a void that was not filled.

Shaka Senghor shared his story and why it was important to show this vantage point of being released is imperative. With staggering statistics as: 44% of Black Women have a family member in prison or 10,000 men and women are released every week, 4 to 10 return within 6 months and how the U.S. incarcerates more people than anywhere else in the world is alarming. 1 in 9 African Americans parents are in prison and drugs are along the top tier for the reasoning.
RELEASED follows individuals who have completed longterm prison sentences during those first crucial 90 dayson the outside. We’ll meet them as they walk out the prison doors for the first time, and stay with them for every step and misstep as they attempt to reconnect withtheir loved ones, establish their independence and beginthe long, hard work of starting over.

As the docu-series continues to build around Kevin, Jermaine and Kay we will gain insight in how they transition from being restricted inside with no glimpse of society to entering a new world so to speak as it did not stop as they were away.

I think society stigmatizes being released and there has not been an outlet to break the cycle of incarceration which tears families apart. Prison isn’t always the solution and in Kevin’s scenario he already had two strikes and went onto serve 19 years for stealing $160 worth of baby clothes and getting into a scuffle with a security guard. That sentence is harsh in comparison to a sentence of a murderer or not being able to get a job due to his priors and environment in which many opportunities aren’t rendered. Returning to familiar habits becomes the resolution to the common issue of being an outcast when returning to society. There is hope after prison, adversity and anything you consider struggling it all has to deal with your mentality and utilizing what you have access to but some are not as fortunate as others.

Shaka Senghor joined by Chanel

Being placed back into society is similar to a baby learning how to walk after the crawling stages. How can you put something in the past that the world constantly remind you of with closed doors and limited opportunities? You literally walk out of one form of imprisonment to another form of restraint. Many are dehumanized in a way that allows people to say that’s unfair and unfortunate and make strides by utilizing our voice for change. The healing for children impacts their quality of life you can not rewind time and the importance of the new docu-series “Released” angles of family interaction, dealing with the outskirts of reality is depicted with raw emotion. The only emotion we are allowed to own is our anger from the notion of what is presented to us and what we see others have or just curiosity to how your life would have been in comparison to what is it.
Courtesy of 135th Street Agency

Watch: Kevin Getting Stopped at Airport Security

https://owncomm.box.com/s/w5psexj6q1fcijs8qg1hpth5o126bkcd

Watch: Kay Describes How it Felt to Be Released

https://owncomm.box.com/s/cxw2bzq2xxvw0zkfclddo2bg7tl9b6lq

Be sure to watch RELEASED as it debuts on Saturday, September 30 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ReleasedOWN

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