Hashondra Jernigan-Smith & KayLee Michelle Smith

Making Friends While Changing Lives

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July 2020 Issue
By Cynthia Robinson
Photography by Mike Force Photography

As the founder of MAD (Manifest A Deliverance), an motivational organization for women using discussions, events and music, and The Pink Group, a marketing and publishing company, Hashondra Jernigan-Smith, uses her past experiences to help women overcome obstacles that could be holding them back from living happy, independent lives.

It started from her book, Attached, that was published two years ago.

“It was basically me telling my story and what I learned over time as an adult from the emotional trauma of having sex too soon. I literally started writing at the age of 22 in the middle of the night,” she said. In between “life happening,” which included earning degrees in organizational management and medical coding, raising her first daughter, Cianie KaLeeah, getting married and having her daughter, KayLee, Hashondra continued to write, finally finishing the book at age 32. “So, you get to see what happened looking back through my eyes as a 32-year-old and what I’ve learned.”

That year, she also founded The Pink Group, putting her skills, especially as an event planner, to good use, along with business partner Angel Harmon. Still publishing and accepting clients through the pandemic, their clients include a make-up artist, vegan chef and authors, including her youngest daughter, KayLee.

“There was a writing contest at my school (Glyndale Elementary), so I decided since my mama wrote a book, I could, too. You could say she was my inspiration,” KayLee said, smiling broadly. The book, Let’s Be Friends, is a lighthearted, interactive adventure which was released last year and supported with a mother-daughter book tour. “My friends were proud of me for writing a book, and it’s helped me make even more friends.” According to Hashondra, some of KayLee’s friends accompanied them on the book tour, and “played characters in the book.”

Kaylee recently finished a second adventure book, to be titled either “A Day at the Playground,” or “A Day at the Park with Kaylee Michelle.” The book will be released on Kaylee’s birthday, July 5. Although they had planned a book tour much like last year, “We may do a virtual book tour and book signings,” Hashondra said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

One thing that isn’t on hold, is the video series to expound on each chapter of Attached. “We got great feedback on it and some people told me it changed their lives, but the one negative was that it was just too short!” Hashondra smiled. “So, I have a few videos ready for download and will start releasing them this month.”
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She also plans on writing a second book, addressing the topic of marital infidelity. “I’ve been divorced two years now, and there was infidelity in my marriage. The book will be all about responses, getting over it and how to deal moving forward. I didn’t want to talk about it, and I know others don’t, as well. No one likes getting cheated on, or admitting they got played. It does kind of expose me,” she said, with a laugh. “But it could save someone else.”

While the last several months have been trying for everyone, Hashondra emphasizes releasing yourself from the actions of others and concentrating on your own responses. “I would tell everyone to be aware of what is going on and to grab hold of your beliefs.”

Hashondra relies on her strong Christian faith and also finds regular meditation keeps her grounded. Her other ways of finding peace and tranquility are through music and styling hair. “I love to sing, and music has always been an important outlet for me,” said Hashondra, whose music videos can be found online. “And I’ve been doing other people’s hair since I was 14. It’s a great way for me to relax.”

While no one knows when “normal” will return, Hashondra said we can only focus on how we react to the world around us. “We need to be mindful of other people, but we have a right to our own positive energy. Know when to talk and not to talk. Keep your priorities in order and live life to the fullest.”

Up Close:

Origins:
Hashondra was born in Philadelphia, but this “Ms. Independence” grew up in small town of Patterson, Ga. KayLee was born in Jesup. They moved to Brunswick three years ago.

Homeschool Hit: While KayLee had to complete second grade being homeschooled because of Covid-19, she said her mother was “an amazing teacher!” Hashondra admitted two big advantages: “I’m a substitute teacher, and my mother, Yvette Frazier, is a retired teacher. Although the school year is finished, mom still tutors KayLee three days a week.”

Outreach: Hashondra is involved in the BeNice Instagram group: “They asked me to be part of their campaign.” She has also spoken on domestic violence to various groups.

Getting MAD:
“It’s a women’s bonding group and a safe space to express ourselves. We have yearly goals. Most of our members want to be entrepreneurs, but everyone has an individual plan. We want to help them grow.”

Passing On the Music:
Hashondra was in marching band in high school. KayLee is following in her footsteps. “And I really like to dance!” KayLee added.

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