My name is Toi Powell and I’m a writer, a dreamer and a free spirited thinker. My love for creativity knows no boundaries. From music to art, food to decor – it’s hard to limit myself to just one egg in one basket. Instead of seeing a random white egg, I think of the many ways I can use it – from a delicious omelette to creating a home-made moisturizing hair conditioner. The basket is no different. How many other things can it hold?
It’s very easy to tell someone to find one thing you’re good at and stick to it. And this is true of you want to become the best at it. But, sometimes, trying multiple things helps you to narrow down what exactly makes your heart jump at the very thought of it. It helps to be open minded, creative, self- sufficient and well informed on these ideas do you're able to love your best life to the fullest.
I needed a controlled environment where i’m able and encouraged to think, to create, to explore, to love and to grow without being judged. I needed a place to feel comfortable, at peace, safe and secure – a place that felt like home. Home is where I come up with my best ideas and where I try them out. At home, I can sing to the top of my lungs, write until the wee hours of the morning, research recipes and create a masterpiece in my very own kitchen. In special areas of my home, I am free to experiment with my hair and makeup and try home-made remedies and beauty products. My whole existence -it seems – has the unbelievably strongest desire to create and explore.
My goal is to share it all with you and also encourage you to do the same. FIND JOY through creative outlets and if you're ready to take it to the next level, become an entrepreneur and love, laugh, love every step of the way. Come into my TOI House and be inspired to Take On Innovation.
~ Toi Powell
Surprise! We have music for Blood of a Queen! So freaking excited for this! I get to combine my love for music and writing into this very unique reading experience and I can’t wait to share it with you all! After spending hours of songwriting, recording, producing and mastering we finally have a finished product!
Why is it So Important to Have Music to Blood of a Queen ? Music, the magical combination of sounds, harmonic voices, instruments and emotions– is the invisible force that connects the listener to a specific experience, usually one that the writer wants to induce.
We’ve cried, laughed, been afraid and even sat on the edge of our seats in suspense while watching a movie unaware that it is the music that is drawing us in even more. Sometimes the music alone can affect you in ways the dialogue and scenery can’t.
That’s the magic of music. Without it, our experience becomes 1 dimensional. But not anymore. Experience my novel Blood of a Queen like you’ve never experienced a book in your life.
How Will Music Work For Our Book?
Just like how a movie soundtrack supports scenes in a movie by describing a current mood or emotion, our music will do the same by enhancing the mood of the book. Placing you in a similar emotional experience as our protagonist, Ruby.
As our characters experience love, heartbreak, betrayal or courage we want the music to add another layer to the readers experience. See the book like a movie, flow with the story and be taken deeper.
Launch Buddy, by clicking below, you will be among the 1st to experience the music behind the book!
Click the audio link below to preview our song, Blood of a Queen!
Written by LaToya (Toi) Powell, The TOI House
Co-written by James Aaron Foster.
Performed by LaToya (Toi) Powell
Produced and recorded by James “A-Natural” Foster for Natural City Music. Mixed and mastered by Stefon Moeselle for Secret Sounds Productions
Available at the following locations: on 8/7/16
iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play,
Amazon mp3, Tidal
Don’t forget to share the journey with your friends and family by clicking on the share buttons!
Ladies and Gents, we have ourselves a winning cover and music!!!!
You’ve rocked with me during this launch, spread the word on social media, watched my videos and when the time came, you voted on your favorite cover. Wow, you put in a lot of work with me– I could call you my co-authors at this point, but then I’d have to send you a 10 page task list of things still left to do!
Yeah, I didn’t think you’d have the time to take on that load, which is why being a launch buddy is right up your alley! You get to watch videos, laugh at with me, listen to music, read some fiction and vote on a book cover. Life is sweeeeet!
Let’s Make Our Book a Best Seller!
Before I reveal our winning book cover, there are a few extremely important things we need to do to ensure that our book becomes a best seller!
Share Our Journey! – 92% of consumers find word of mouth to be the best form of advertising! That’s were YOU come in. All you have to do is TELL PEOPLE! Invite your family, friends & co-workers to sign up for the launch mailing list, and join our Secret Book Launch Community! Tell them about this amazing author to reader experience we’re all a part of! Tell them to watch the videos and laugh with the rest of us. And when the book is launched on 8/7/16, tell them to go get it and tell their friends about it.
Social Media – Invite your friends and followers to join us on all of your favorite social media networks! Let them know about what you’ve been working on, what you’ve been a part of over these past few weeks! @TheToiHouse #BloodofaQueen #ToiPowell on Twitter!
Review – Once the book launches on 8/7/16 , I can’t stress to you the importance of leaving an amazing Amazon review (Not that I’m trying to sway your opinion of the book lol). But, this is one of the top reasons why a book becomes a best seller in its category. Leave a review on the book and tell reviewers about our journey! Let Amazon and potential readers know that this book is amazing and available because of YOU!
Now, without further ado…
Our Winning Book Cover is…
DESIGNED BY YOURS TRULY (TOI POWELL)
Listen to the music for Blood of a Queen! Available on 8/7/16 on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon mp3, Tidal
Don’t forget to click on the images to pre-order the ebook!
The print copy and music will be available to order on 8/7/16.
**Count how many times I drank wine in my video, leave it in the comments to be entered into the sweepstakes to win a free signed copy of the book and an invite to the Book Launch Party in NYC July 2016!!**
Hey everyone! Welcome to episode 4 of our Social Book Launch Journey! In this episode, not only do I update you on our book launch progress, but I FINALLY give you a sneak peak to our Book’s plot. Read below and don’t forget to check out the links I mentioned in my video and make sure you SIGN UP FOR OUR MAILING LIST for freebies, new videos and a chance to win a signed copy of the book and invite to the Launch Party in July 2016!
Make sure to watch the video all the way to the end to see Bonus footage of some of my most funniest moments while filming episode 4!
Take On Innovation and Enjoy,
BOOK MAILING LIST: http://eepurl.com/by3VrP
UPWORKS.COM – Site to find Freelancers and for your projects.
SECRET BOOK LAUNCH FB GROUP:
Instagram: ToiHouse & ToiStori
GENRE: Literary Fiction / Contemporary Urban Fiction / African American Women’s Fiction
A young woman’s new found independence takes her into the heart of a dangerous city in New York; a place her parents forbade her to return to. Ruby, beautiful, yet, sheltered and naive, unearths a web of deception, betrayal, love triangles and stumbles upon a family secret so deadly, she makes it her mission to prove the serious accusations against her family untrue.
A forbidden love interest emerges on her quest for truth and Ruby struggles between following her young heart, or remaining loyal to a long lost childhood friend who is the very one who recruited her help to solve a crime; a crime that would put their friendship in jeopardy.
With the help of her favorite cousin Sheila, the duo uncover hidden secrets from not only her past, but Sheila’s as well and re-sets the wheels in motion to overthrow a troubled, yet, powerful Kingpin upon her arrival.
Skinny Fox Detox Review & Social Book Launch Journey: Ep 3, Toi
Hey everyone! Welcome to episode 3 of our Social Book Launch Journey! In this episode, not only do I update you on our book launch progress, but I share my Skinny Fox Detox results with you! How exciting!
Check out the links below and make sure you SIGN UP FOR OUR MAILING LIST! This new reader experience has never been done before and you don’t want to miss out!
Make sure to watch the video all the way to the end to see Bonus footage of some of my most funniest moments while filming episode 3!
Take On Innovation and Enjoy,
BOOK MAILING LIST: http://eepurl.com/by3VrP
SKINNY FOX DETOX: http://www.skinnyfoxdetox.com/
SECRET BOOK LAUNCH FB GROUP:
Hey everyone! If you haven’t heard by now, I am launching my 1st book! Scary and amazing all rolled into 1. PLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE BOOK MAILING LIST BELOW…
Anyway, I have been working on my book launch since last summer– slowly but surely and now it’s time to kick things into high gear. We are on schedule for a June 2016 Book release and there is still so much to do!
The book has already been written…for 9 years to be exact but launching a book is a completely different monster in itself. I’ve researched the best ways to do this and I’m trying my hardest to accomplish these tasks as well as the unique tasks I’ve set up for myself.
I figured, there have to be other self- publishers out there, just like myself who are just as lost or maybe they’ve been there– done that. So, I wanted to document my journey in episodes, telling you what I’ve done, which tasks I’ve yet to tackle and how close we are to our book launch.
Doing this with you is me forcing myself to be held accountable by you…the viewer… the reader. And in doing so, I am pushing ahead to complete all of my tasks (which I will share with you) because I don’t want to make myself into a liar. I said I’m launching book, dangit….I’M LAUNCHING A BOOK!
If you want to be a part of this Book Launch Journey and email campaign I mention in the video, see the links below. And make sure you follow me, subscribe and comment too! I want to hear from you!
When you stop to think about how vast the universe is, how many planets, comets, asteroids and stars there are, remember your place within it.
You are but a grain of living energy sailing within a single galaxy, within a minute solar system drifting among millions, on a tiny infinitesimal planet, orbiting but 1 star, literally floating in the blackness of space.
You actually exist within a colossal body of glorious life which literally spins of its own accord with 8 sister planets in a harmonic dance that has lasted for millions of years.
And then, there’s you…you, who is only here but for a mere half of a blink, a flicker of existence. Living life, giving life and ultimately exploring it. Would you waste this miraculous moment, which is you, dispirited, tormented, dissatisfied and unmotivated to be anything but?
Your life is the most precious, most miraculous gift the star-dust of galaxies has ever formed, ever created. Live in your moment. Breathe your purpose. Explore your being and never waste it on anything less than the miracle that is you.
Overall, the endless vastness of space and all of the immaculate life it holds is somuch bigger than any type of adversity you shall ever face.
Be encouraged and be motivated to make your moment, your time, your existence in this universe worth it.
The Wiz is a Classic. If you don’t agree…Ease On Down The Road
I watched The Wiz Live last night and absolutely loved it! I joined the live twitter feed and of course like always, the Black Twitter family along with some honorary NON-Racist members of society, tuned in to watch together. When I say the amount of love, support, and connection that was felt through social media and throughout our culture was beyond overwhelming. It was! To laugh, applaud, shout in excitement and cry together with people you don’t know at all– but are connected as kin of the same struggle…it was epic, moving, chilling and glorious. Imagine 2 million people laughing, crying and making jokes at a family BBQ and you’re ALL related… yeah that’s Black Twitter. It was absolutely the best and proudest moment we could experience together and we LOVED @NBC for showing the magic of black actors in The Wiz to the world.
Shanice Williams, let’s just say, I was very impressed by her musical theater presence. Being so fresh to the scene she showed a certain comfort-ability that most seasoned actors take years to attain.
Mary J. Blige was spectacular, she was amazing, she sang DOOOOOOOWN and I was sooo proud of her. She has so many great moments in her performance and I was extremely impressed with her acting. Sure I can bypass some tiny moments of coming out of character a bit, because the amazing-ness coming from her and that amazing costume gave me all the life I needed for the night. I love her all over again!
Neyo, David Alan Grier and Elijah Kelly were amazing as well. I was impressed wtih Neyo’s stage presence and David amazed at his role playing that Lion. Loved them. Elijah Kelley stayed in character the entire time and THAT was impressive!
Common, was ok. I could honestly do without his character. Maybe if they gave him more of a role, but how could they. I think he did pretty well for the amount of speaking lines he was given.
Queen Latifah, I love her love her love her… but something with the songs I wasn’t really getting everything I needed from them. She looked amazing and she was better playing herself than the Wiz honestly. Can we talk about the makeup and costumes?!! FLAWLESS! All I know is, she better work! She was still awesome to watch!
Honey!!! AMBER freaking RILEY!!! SANG for the GODS last night! She was everything you would want in a good witch of the North! I didn’t know what else to do but stare, mouth open and absorb everything she spit out! I mean, Brava to her! She was getting DOWN with those munchkins!
Enough about my brief review – (trimmed it due to this nonsense I’m about to get into.)
I was so excited, I went to bed singing “Home” until 2 am this morning. Sang myself to sleep and woke up with the songs still in my heart. I couldn’t wait to read some reviews online because I just knew it was spectacular. And then I came across this article from Yahoo! Critic-at-large, Ken Tucker
Yahoo! Don’t Bring Me #NoBadNews
I am appalled. I speak to Ken now and any other people who don’t understand the magic of The Wiz (and no, I’m not even giving a paragraph to the idiots who said The Wiz is racist and there should be an all white cast of the Wiz. Look up Judy Garland and go back to sleep).
Ken, to say that…
The Wiz “simply isn’t a classic piece of material”
…just makes me sick. Your critique of performances is understandable, although I may not agree, I agree to disagree. But where I draw the line is when you discount a musical, one of the ONLY musicals that represent the black culture, and one of the ONLY successful earlier black productions ever to grace Broadway. To say it “simply isn’t a classic” is ridiculous!
Just because it doesn’t speak to you and people like you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a classic!
You don’t understand the IMPACT this production, the movie and this newer modern version has had on our culture, on our creative talents and on our youth!
There are so many reason’s WHY the original “The Wiz” on Broadway may not have translated to “contemporary” audiences in prominent venues.
LIKE VIOLA DAVIS SAID: The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is OPPORTUNITY!
If there is no opportunity, how COULD it translate to “contemporary audiences”?
And who the hell is a contemporary audience anyway? If you were on Twitter last night, It was FULL of an audience who could relate, who loved it, who cried, who applauded, who had viewing parties. It was the top #1 trending topic all day AND night yesterday! So, AGAIN…. who are the members of the “contemporary” audience you speak of.
There was an overwhelming amount of support (crushing the naysayers and racists) for this production and it went on for hours! If you tuned in, you would see how our culture and others appreciated this momentous moment TOGETHER. You would see the hundreds and hundreds of tweets from people of multiple races express how they loved it as a kid, performed it in high school musicals and were actually watching it with their children…ECSTATIC to be able to share this CLASSIC with them!
To be so removed from our culture, our relations, our art, our appreciation, our CONNECTION to this CLASSIC production and movie, shows exactly WHY television needed this, why WE needed this, why this COUNTRY needed this.
Sure, Ken doesn’t need to sugar coat his critique of the performances. Ken, tell it like it is with all of your professional due diligence. BUT, do your homework, understand what’s going on here and WHY it’s important. Understand that YOU sir are just as bad as everyone else who discounts ANY and EVERYTHING we do or attempt to do, putting your “denied a classic” stamp on it because YOU are ignorant of its magic, its impact and its influence on our community!
This line here from you:
“Here’s a challenge: Name a song from The Wiz other than “Ease On Down the Road.” “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News,” maybe, but that’s about it.”
…. Goes to show your total and complete ignorance of this production and the “Contemporary Audience” your article is aimed at.
“HOME”… “Home” is the biggest song of the production and movie. Stephanie Mill’s career took off from this song and it’s been a talent show staple song since! The Ballad piece is the most spectacular and popular song from The Wiz and you don’t even name it!
And What about “You Can’t Win”? Michael Jackson Slaaaaayed that song in the movie! That’s MY favorite! C’mon man!
Me AND Michael are looking at you crazy!
As far as I’m concerned your critique means NOTHING because you KNOW nothing about the magic and the message of The WIZ.
This line you say here:
“The idea of seeking out some powerful wisdom that will grant intelligence, courage, and freedom, only to realize that these qualities reside inside, not outside, oneself—that’s a potent, enduring theme.”
Yes, it’s a potent and enduring theme, but do you understand WHY it’s important to “our audience” to “our culture”? Because when you have people like you who call the most epic piece of African American theater “Not a classic” you, Ken, enforce the idealism that minorities are not AS important and some of us therefore have to STRUGGLE through our OWN insecurities to find the INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE and FREEDOM inside of ourselves to become better versions of OURSELVES. To create art, to succeed at what our hearts desire. Your insensitive remarks enforce and reveal your ignorance of a culture you know nothing about.
When Uzo Adubo sang “Believe in yourself” she brought tears to not only the cast on stage but to thousands of people on twitter live. Most of whom did not know that UZO is a TRAINED OPERA SINGER! That song, that message speaks VOLUMES to those of us with shattered dreams, to those of us who have to overcome way more obstacles than your “contemporary audience”. As she hugged Dorothy it was as if she hugged US. That moment, that song was pivotal and encouraged HOPE & FAITH in us but in your words:
“Uzo Aduba was positively adorable as Glinda the Good Witch.”
And… that was it. What an UNDERSTATEMENT!
While I accept your critique and agree to disagree, I am going to ask you to “simply” Ease on down the road with that “Classic” BS.
The world loved it and if you don’t believe me, go #TheWiz or #TheWizLive on Twitter and see for yourself. Your article was mediocre at best. Have several Theater seats. Thank you!
If you haven’t heard, there is currently a major viral, tweeting, sweet potato pie frenzy happening across the country at sold out Walmart’s over Ms. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!
Last Friday, an incredibly hilarious and entertaining video review of Ms. Patti’s pie, by a very talented personality by the name of James Wright swept social media by storm. He indulged in this unknown sweet potato pie that you can only find at Walmart for $3.48 and claimed that you were going to sing like Patti LaBelle after eating it– and honey did he sing! Hilarious, yet entertaining, James belted line’s from Ms. Patti’s classics –Onnn my owwwwwn….why did it end this waaaaay….(Watch the video below and prepare for a good laugh)
The video that started it all!
The video was shared on his Facebook page over 7 Million times since last Friday and it literally sent people across the country to every Walmart they could find, only to find out:
1. It’s only sold at Super Walmart’s
2. Many of them were SOLD OUT!
Walmart needs 2 Million pounds of sweet potato’s to restock the shelves with this delicious pie! Heaven help the bakery’s night shift!
This just in – Walmart needs 2 Million pounds of sweet potato’s to restock the shelves with this delicious pie! Heaven help the bakery’s night shift!
It was a sweet potato pie frenzy! Thousands of people (myself included) drove to Walmart, called Walmart– GPSed the closest Super Walmart! I live by at least 5 so I was positive that I could find some… boy was I wrong!
I jumped on the bandwagon and documented my whole experience searching at least 6 WALMART’S before finally finding some in Secaucus, NJ 40 min away from my house! I actually called and asked for them to put 4 pies to the side for me– the girl in the bakery said they were going fast, someone just left with 20 boxes. Her name was Joyce. Praise be to Joyce! She had those 4 boxes waiting for me. The last 4 in the store.
Yes, I did my own video review of the Sweet Potato Pie because I needed to share every last experience with you all! I documented my entire journey and it…is… hilarious!
And yes, I did my own video review of the Sweet Potato Pie because I needed to share every last experience with you all!
I documented my entire journey and it…is… hilarious!
How exciting and ridiculous is this entire Patti Pie ordeal? Let’s just say in 2 days, my 1st video of me searching for the pie had over 12K views and my 3rd video reviewing the pie has over 10K…. the day I uploaded it!
Comments from my viewers noted that the pies are sold out in, Cincinnati, New Jersey, Maryland, Los Angeles, New York, Tennessee and many more! According to Yahoo Food, a representative from Walmart said, “For 72 hours, we were selling one per second.” (For a bit of context, Walmart might sell two pumpkin pies every second in the month of November. But still, $1 million in sweet potato pie sales is a lot of pie.)….
In my Opinion: No But’s!!!…You sold 1 pie every second in a weekend–not a month– keep it real. The only reason why you didn’t sell anymore is because you ran out!
(continue yahoo)…Walmart was caught off-guard by the frenzy, Ales said.
“Friday morning, the team was working with the [sweet potato pie] supplier to see how we can keep up with the demand,” Ales said. “The supplier… was having a hard time finding [enough] sweet potatoes. So we walked down the hall to the produce department [and said,] ‘We need about 2 million pounds of California sweet potatoes!’ So that’s what we’ve been working through.”
Ales added that Walmart is working hard to replenish stocks at sold-out locations. “We’re really sorry about that,” he said. “We’re looking at where stores are out and how we can quickly move pies to that area.”
(My “Power of Patti” videos explains how companies market Pumpkin pie around the holiday’s to a general demographic instead of tapping into the African American market who were born and raised on Sweet Potato Pie. The only boxed pie that sells Sweet Potato pie in most supermarkets is Mrs. Smiths… and that’s if you can find it.)
Take a look at the videos below and enjoy! Don’t forget to share!
My Patti Pie Journey!
FINDING Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie – Walmart Pt1
Mission Impossible: Watch how we search high and low on this hilarious journey for Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie!
REVIEW Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pie -Walmart Pt 3
Mission COMPLETED: We finally got our hands on Ms. Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie! have some concerns people! Watch to see if it was worth the trouble! HINT: YOU HAVE TO HEAT IT UP for a better experience!
Why is Everyone Going out to Get Patti Pies?
If you want to know why everyone is flocking to get these pies, I break it down for you in the video’s below where I talk about the power of demand vs. supply, the power of word of mouth marketing, the power of the black dollar and most importantly the Power of Patti. When the holiday’s come, companies market towards a general demographic who they assume LOVE pumpkin pie. But, in the African American community, you couldn’t be any more off base. We love SWEET POTATO PIE honey! Here’s why…
Patti Pie’s – The Power of Patti (Is it that serious?) Pt 1 Many of you have watched my #PattiPie videos (Thank you, You guys rock!) and left me a bunch of question’s. I felt a video could answer some of them with the most important question being answered…Why are all of these people running out to get a Patti Pie?
Grab a whole chicken from the market. Clean it thoroughly, remove the bag of gizzards inside, place in crock pot.
Grab your favorite seasonings. Se above for my choice of flavors. Cinnamon was a secret season and it added just the right touch of spic, minus the sweet.
Slather the entire chicken in Olive oil, front and back.
Season each side of the bird generously.
Throw in your favorite veggies. DO NOT ADD WATER See above for my favs! Yum.
Set the Crockpot on high for 6-8 hours depending on the size of your chicken. Then forget it!
Do your laundry, write your book, make body scrubs, go for a run or simply relax with a glass of wine. The hardest part is done.
GRAVY: If you want gravy (and who doesn’t right?), about halfway through once your chicken starts to make a broth, remove half of the piping hot fluid and place in a microwaveable container.
Sprinkle some flour in the broth, constantly stirring until it begins to thicken. Don’t put too much flour. Just enough to get it thicker than the original broth.
Place in the microwave to for 2 min and allow it to thicken some more. This is you thickening the gravy more with heat without putting it on the stove.
Remove and place to the side. That’s it! If you want it a bit thicker, just repeat with a bit more flour, but not too much. You don’t want dumplings for this recipe.
When you can smell the the delicousness coming in from your kitchen annnnnnnd you see the little thermometer popped up out of the chicken, you are DONE!
Cut what you need, Place on your plate, add your sides, drizzle your gravy and enjoy!