With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. Curious to know how she does it? In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.
Dr. Jacqueline Dow has always had a passion for improving women's health through proper nutrition and fitness, so when she graduated in 2018 with her doctorate in Public Health, she knew that a traditional nine-to-five would limit her ability to serve the women in her community. As a result, she launched her athleisure apparel company J. Dow Fitness to promote holistic wellness, fitness and self-confidence among women of all shapes and sizes. She continues to address the disproportionate prevalence of chronic disease and health disparities among women of color through health education, health advocacy, and research science.
In this week's feature, meet Dr. Jacqueline Dow of J. Dow Fitness.
Courtesy of Dr. Jacqueline Dow
Brand: CEO of J. Dow Fitness
Location: Atlanta, GA
Year Founded: 2018
# of Employees: None
30-Second Pitch: J. Dow Fitness is a black female owned athleisure apparel company established to promote holistic wellness, fitness and self-confidence among women. J. Dow Fitness caters to women of every body type by offering sizes that range from small to 2XL.
What inspired you to start your brand?
As a research scientist, I have analyzed risk factors that lead to negative health complications among Black women, infants and children for several years. I know the key to combating chronic diseases that disproportionately impact women of color include physical activity and proper nutrition. Starting my own business gave me the opportunity to merge my scientist background with public health practices known to effectively improve women's health and pregnancy outcomes.
What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality?
In 2018, I graduated from Morgan State University with my Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree. As I prepared for graduation, I reached an interesting period in my career. As an employee (of a corporate organization), I did not have the freedom to focus on my passion and professional expertise, which is women's health among minorities in particular. Instead of remaining frustrated, I took my destiny into my own hands and created J. Dow Fitness, LLC.
Who is your ideal customer?
Every woman is the ideal customer for J. Dow Fitness! Whether she is a fitness instructor, a marathon runner, or just beginning her fitness journey, we have something special for every woman! Also, J. Dow Fitness athleisure apparel can easily be worn causally! It is the perfect outfit for the rigorous workout, lunch with friends and even a casual date.
What makes your business different?
J. Dow Fitness offers unique athleisure apparel different from any other company. Our leggings are high-waist and provide amazing tummy control. Our sports bras are longer when compared to traditional sports bras and provide great support. In addition, our athleisure apparel offers bright colors, fun patterns and quality fabric.
What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand? How were you able to overcome them?
Initially, one of my challenges was identifying the face of my brand. It was very important that the images utilized for marketing and advertising be inclusive of every woman. As a result, I have been very intentional on identifying models of all hues, shapes and body types. However, it is extremely important that my customers also know and understand who I am and why I decided to start my business.
What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
November 2018 was the defining moment for my entrepreneurial journey. Only four months after launching J. Dow Fitness, I found myself a new vendor at The Village Market Black Friday Experience in Atlanta. It was an invaluable opportunity that completely changed my perspective as a new business owner. I was literally blown away by the amount of encouragement and exceeding number of Black women excited about my product.
Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?
In 5-10 years, there will be major expansion for J. Dow Fitness. In addition to growing our brand, J. Dow Fitness athleisure apparel will be offered in gyms and fitness studios not just in Atlanta, but across the United States. The ultimate goal is for J. Dow Fitness athleisure apparel to be offered in major department stores such as Macy's.
Where have you seen the biggest return on investment?
So far, the biggest return on investment has been vending at several major events. This setting has provided unexpected networking opportunities and the ability to meet so many amazing women. In addition, it has allowed me as the business owner to personally introduce my brand and product to so many women.
Biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned in business?
- Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
- Once you identify where money is being wasted, adjust immediately.
- Stretch yourself to be the face of your brand.
- Always keep your customer in mind when identifying new products.
- Identify which marketing strategies are most effective for your business.
For more of J. Dow Fitness, follow them on social media @jdowfitness.
This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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Gender wars. We’ve all seen them, and I’m willing to bet my next writer’s paycheck that if there’s one topic you notice, basically every time you scroll on social media, it’s body counts. Lawd, I don’t care what platform I tiptoe on to see what folks are talking about; one way or another, body counts are going to enter into the chat — and, more times than not, at least half of the people in the discussion (which is usually more like a debate) are triggered. Triggered AF.
Do I find myself ending up in that emotional kind of space? Nah. I’m the kind of person who is in the lane of, “If you did it, why should you be uncomfortable talking about it?” In fact, I actually wrote an article for the site that reveals my personal “count”; it’s entitled “14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners.” Personally, I’m not ashamed of or uncomfortable with my past. I’m also not the most private person in the world either (clearly) — what’s done is done. But hey, that’s just me.
As far as what I think about the debate as a whole? Well, because I know that there are (eh hem, pun intended) different strokes for different folks, I thought it would be a good idea to broach this topic from a few different angles — just so we can hopefully get out of the cul-de-sac of the whole body count drama.
So, please bear with me as I attempt to tackle this topic in a way that is aimed to reduce the triggers and, perhaps, bring about a bit more internal clarity (if you don’t already have it).
1. Perhaps If We Stop Referring to It As “Body Count”…Giphy
Another motto that I live by is “If you want to understand the ‘tree,’ you need to get a look at its ‘roots.’” That said, when it comes to body counts, I think just hearing the term subconsciously gets on people’s nerves, whether they realize it or not, because it sounds so…well, violent (kind of like how it feels whenever someone talks about “beating it up” in reference to sexual intercourse). And they would be right to think that way because…do you know where “body count” actually came from?
From the bit of research that I did, it was coined by the military in reference to the number of enemies who were killed during the Vietnam War. Eww. Now, if that’s the origin story and you “build on it” by referring to sex partners in the here and now, of course, it’s going to make you feel some type of way — right off of the rip. For me, what immediately comes to mind after taking this in is a quote by a late Black best-selling author by the name of Eric Jerome Dickey. I used to read his books, and in one of them, one of his characters said something that has always stayed with me: “Sex without love is violence.” Although I get that not everyone feels that way, it does kind of illuminate the entire body count thing if you string all of this together…doesn’t it?
So, for starters, maybe that’s why the body count discussion gets so many people heated — whether you care to share yours or not, referring to sex partners with the same words that were once used to describe enemies who were killed in a war is pretty horrifying. I mean, who wants to brag about committing an act of violence? Who wants to see all of their sex partners as enemies? Can’t we come up with something better than that? We probably — no, definitely — should.
2. According to Science, Numbers Actually DO MatterGiphy
Take it how you want to, but I personally think it is WILD that we’re living in a time when folks make fun of virgins and then will turn around and quote celebs who have cosmetic lines that reference STDs (I’ll just leave that right there). Are we in The Twilight Zone or what? And because we’re kind of contradictorily reckless right through here, it’s as if science and spirituality have taken a back seat (hell, are they even in the car anymore?) when it comes to sex.
Take body counts (again, I really do think that it should be called something else, yet for the sake of this article, let’s go with it), for example. In a world where so many people say that sex is no big deal and yet they implode at the thought of cheating (some of y’all will catch that later), it’s like most people ONLY see sex from a recreational view — and there is so much more to it than that.
The spiritual component of sex, we’ll have to get into it at another time. What I will say for now is that even Scripture says sex makes two people one (I Corinthians 6:16-20 — Message) — whether you “feel that way” or not. Okay, but since spirituality means different things to different people, let’s factor in science.
There are studies that reveal virgins have the lowest divorce rates, and the fewer sex partners you have before marriage, the more you increase your chances of having a more satisfying sex life during it. At the same time, another study revealed something that’s “interestingly odd”: women with two OR 10-plus partners had a greater chance of divorcing than anyone else (still pondering what that’s about). Then, if we look from a strictly health-related stance, reportedly, those with 10 or more partners increase their risk of being diagnosed with cancer, while another report shares that multiple sex partners increase the chance of having substance abuse issues later on in life (especially in women).
Also, multiple partners can cause greater feelings of low self-esteem (that’s according to the American Psychological Association). Not only that, but casual sex can also make pair bonding difficult; that’s because the various “oxytocin highs” can literally decrease how your brain connects with another person. Interestingly enough, another study said that having no or lots of sexual partners in “any given year” can also increase your chances of divorce too. Not to mention the fact that some studies reveal that men nor women are thrilled about their long-term partners having more than 2-3 sex partners prior to them.
Honestly, I could go on and on, yet I think you get the gist. While folks are on “former Twitter” talking about sex doesn’t have any real consequences, so you shouldn’t give your sexual choices much thought. But, those who actually study it for a living? They say otherwise. So, whenever you’re having a body count discussion, debate, or argument, as everyone is sharing their opinions, it’s probably a good idea to bring some bona fide facts into play, too.
3. Consider Your WhyGiphy
Okay, so what about when it comes to your own personal body count? Is it anyone’s business? The short answer is “no” — no, it’s not. The reason why I say that is because anything that is related to private information is a privilege and not a right. So no, no one should pressure or shame you into providing it. That said, though, I do think you should do some reflecting on why you don’t want to talk about it — I don’t mean on a social media thread (necessarily) but with anyone. Because again, no you don’t have to; however, if you pondered why you feel that way, it could reveal a few things — not to them but to yourself.
Is it simply that you are private, over and out? Or do you have some sort of shame or guilt surrounding some of your past (or current) sexual choices? Is there some part of you who is afraid of how you’ll be perceived if folks know how many people you’ve been with? Are there some things about your sexual past that, if you were to talk about your body count, would reveal some things that go way beyond the surface?
It's one thing to keep things from other people; however, it’s another thing entirely to suppress thoughts and feelings to yourself, and trust me, I have coached enough people to know that some people don’t want to talk about their body counts because they don’t want to deal with all that comes with it. Bottom line, if you’re not forthcoming with anyone else, make sure that YOU are with YOU.
4. Consider Their Why TooGiphy
Some folks are nosy. Some people like to use information against others. Some people are just messy as hell. We all know it. And so, if you’re keeping your body count to yourself because you want to shield yourself from what you discern will be nothing but toxic rhetoric, I totally get it. At the same time, I do think that there are some individuals who may want to know for other reasons.
Take a woman I know who was pretty sexually active in high school. When she met her now ex-husband in college, she lied and said that she was a virgin — well, a (so-called) born-again virgin (major eye roll). Listen, something that I’m big on is personal accountability, and when it comes to virginity, YOU ARE A VIRGIN ONE TIME. You can be a (as the church folks say it) “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) all you want, but that doesn’t change hardcore facts, and to tell someone that you’ve never had sex before when you have is dishonest — and I don’t see anything that is “God-fearing” about that.
Anyway, he was a licensed therapist who had done a lot of research on how sexual history affects one’s ability to bond with their partner. He was also a virgin, and so, for him, he felt that her past would have a direct influence on their future. I mean, I’ve already provided intel to show that he’s not totally off-base there, yet the main point is, although she could’ve taken the route of, “You can trust who I am now and accept me, or we can break up”, she lied. He found out later (years later, an ex came back into her life; LONG STORY) and divorced her — not because of her past but because she wasn’t real about it. And I totally get why he felt that way. As a wise person once said, “One lie can dispel a thousand truths.”
Listen, some of y’all aren’t gonna agree with the “checkmate” here, but if you want to know all about your man’s relational history and yet you draw the line at your sexual past — why? What’s the difference? If his details reveal a potential pattern, that same logic could apply to you. At the same time, if his past made him who he is and you love that, also, the same logic on your end. Yeah, one of the main things that goes overlooked on this entire body count thing is it isn’t so much about the sex; it’s about the mindset and choices and how they influence who we all are in the present.
And there are some people, based on the kind of relationship they have with you, who are curious about that. That doesn’t make them the devil; you’ve just got to decide if their way of thinking works for you — or not.
5. Be Honest: Does HIS Body Count Matter to You?Giphy
Speaking of gender wars, Imma tell y’all what — very few things are more irritating than blatant hypocrisy. For instance, someone once posted their own unofficial case study where he first tweeted out that women deserve more than a man with kids; it received over 12,000 likes. When he then turned around and said that men deserved more than a single mom, it only got around 2,000 likes. Please don’t tell me that you don’t see the blatant hypocrisy there. *le sigh*
Same thing goes for the whole body count thing. If you really are standing ten toes down that your sexual history is your business, it really needs to go on record that so is his. Yeah, I know that some of y’all are like, “Cool. No problem” yet let me reiterate what I just touched on a second ago: while (some) guys may want to know your literal and actual number, many women tend to be more cryptic than that. Wanting to know details about his past relationships when it comes to intimacy that’s no better.
If your perspective is your body count should hold no relevance, so should his — again, it goes both ways. So, either be willing to “care and share” or both of you come to the conclusion that so long as your past stays in the past and your STI/STD test comes out negative (because you do take annual STI/STD tests, right?), that’s all that matters.
One final point.
6. In Conclusion, Numbers Are (Somewhat) Subjective. Make Your Own Peace.Giphy
Years ago, back when my own body count was sitting at 10, I spoke at a local college here (one that isn’t getting the funding that it deserves; just needed to throw that in because it’s ridiculous). The topic was sex and relationships, so I was prepared for just about anything. When one of the students asked about my body count, and I shared, the class was almost at a 50/50 split. Meaning, half was like, “That’s it?” while the other was like, “Wow!” — one even verbally expressed how much they thought it was a lot. It didn’t phase me in the least, either side, because that’s how humans are, chile: things can be a lot or a little based on how people see the world.
And when it comes to a topic like body counts — upbringing, religious views, influence…they all play a part in whether more than one body is doing the most or having over 100 is. That’s why, in many ways, you have to come to your own conclusions about how you feel — about your count, about the subject matter in general, and about how your partner (or future partner) rolls.
What I will say as I draw this to a close, though, is if you’re proud of the things that you’ve done or at least have learned from them, that should knock out a lot of the triggering right there because whether you choose to share or only you and your Creator know what’s up, if you’ve truly made peace with your own life, body count debates shouldn’t get to you.
Just read ‘n scroll…read ‘n scroll as you watch others who need to figure out their “whys”.
You know yours — and it’s all good. And you mean that.
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Featured image by Giphy