A Fashion Pause… Let’s talk about Africa

  Hi there – my name is April and I’m a video producer/director living in St. Louis, Missouri. I was raised by two wonderful parents who ingrained in me a strong sense of compassion, fairness, and concern for right and wrong. When I was in college, I heard about the genocide in Darfur and my world was shaken. To learn that a government, in our day and age, is able to exterminate hundreds of thousands of people over a number a years with barely any comment from the rest of civilization was utterly shocking to me.

Shortly after graduating from college, I moved to St. Louis and met a handful of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and became captivated by their warmth and authenticity. Then I heard their stories. Some saw their family and neighbors slaughtered with machetes right in front of them. Some were forced out of their homes by armed men and sent running through the African wilderness for days and weeks, totally on their own. Many didn’t know what became of their family members or if they were even alive. Yet somehow they had made it to the USA and met my acquaintance, changing my life forever.

It’s easy as Americans to ignore what’s going on in Africa, either because we think it’s irrelevant or because it can be uncomfortable and ugly and complicated. But my Congolese friends cannot ignore or forget.

Four women are raped every five minutes in the DRC. Sexual violence is used as a weapon, effectively tearing apart the entire family unit with a single act. But at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Eastern DRC, there are people attempting to help repair these wounds, physical and emotional. I now work with a foundation that helps to fund the hospital, started by a friend of mine, Dr. Lee Ann De Reus, known as Panzi Foundation USA. This summer, along with Lee Ann, I will be traveling to the Congo to shoot a documentary project highlighting the work of Panzi Hospital and the resilience of the women of Eastern DRC. We want to tell POSITIVE stories, because we think everyone is sick of reading about the horrors. I’m taking off of work to go and will be donating my time and using my equipment, but Panzi Foundation USA needs donations to pay for travel expenses. If you’d like to be a part of making this project a reality, please visit the indiegogo page, donate if you can, and share this campaign with your friends, family, and social networks.

 

 

Behind the Scenes of Our Elopement

Eloping was one of the best decisions that Kenny and I made and going with Weddings to Go was an even better one. Let me back up a bit and explain why we decided to go this route in the first place. Actually it was always a dream of mine to get married on the beach, but we were torn because we also wanted our family and friends to witness this joyous occasion. 

This is how we told our fam and friends
This is how we told our fam and friends!!


 As we began planning our majorly over the top wedding the financial and emotional stress became a bit overwhelming  not to mention the fact that we were getting away from the fact that the wedding was about us and our commitment to us. Not about the wedding party, the flowers, what kind of food we served and having the dopest  
D. J.  It was about us and our journey, overcoming major and minor obstacles in our lives, knowing the good, bad and the ugly about each other and yet still willing to say YES!  

Towards the end of November we decided that this was a moment that we wanted to share privately and finding Weddings to Go was a complete God Send. At first we were looking for exotic locations to get married but they all seemed extremely pricey and time didn’t permit all of the legal hoops that we had to jump through. While researching further, I happened to find this website call weddings to go key west. I took a look at it and there were beautiful pictures and hundreds of very positive reviews. Kenny and I gave them a call and within the week we were booked.  Our experience with Ray and Eileen from Weddings to Go was stress free, fun, and relaxing! I would do it again and again!!!!


If ever in Key largo go to Dj’s Diner and Shula burger!!! OMG the best burger I’ve ever had


In Key west Help Yourself is a natural clean eating grow their own herbs and spices type of restaurant

Salmon wrap from Help Yourself Restuarant in Key West

The Good People at Help Yourself gave us a free smoothie right 
before our wedding!!

Sneak Peek of Engagement Pic Photo Shoot

Yesterday Kenny and I took our engagement pics.  The photographer was Ed Rhone of Johan Images, Make-up was done by Jordan Fox.  Kenny styled himself and I wore one of my new designs along with Jewelry by Intriguing Designs, a.k.a. my mom’s jewelry Collection.  We shot on the Delmar loop in St. Louis at a really awesome location.  Pics should be available soon.  I just wanted to give you a sneak peek..This was our after photo shoot, photo shoot. we had just finished eating lunch…lol…..;) xo