Out With the Old!!! (RIP Diamond in the Rough Category)


The Diamond in the Rough category has been permanently deactivated (there will be no new posts in that category.) That category was created for promotion and marketing for small businesses and entertainers.

Diamond In The Rough is and always will be a tribute to all aspiring artists, music talents, writers and business owners who are currently serving the community by staying true to their own authentic individuality. We thank you for rejecting the norm and for giving us a healthy dose of passion and dedication.

Old posts may still be found in the Archived Featured Talent category. Also, any inquiries about performing or being a vendor at any upcoming showcases may be directed to my email: Shutyamouthandcallmeugly@gmail.com

Thank you for your continued support!


Simply Delicious (Interview with Gene Starks/ Chef Bully)

Everyone who knows me, knows I love food and sleep.  That is probably a terrible combination. Nonetheless, food has a way of making people feel good!


I came across a young man, father of four, who makes the most delectable seafood I’ve ever tasted. Formerly, Gene Starks was a supervisor at a food distribution company and he decided he wanted to take his passion to the next level. He enrolled in Star Career Academy and graduated in 2012. Determined to grow his business and set a strong example for his children he took on every gig he could get and became affectionately known as Chef Bully.


Making his mark on the world one plate at a time, Gene provides professionalism and quality! It also helps that beyond that tough exterior he has a warm personality which will make him infectious with your guests for any event.


I seized the opportunity to grab a super quick interview with Gene. He gladly answered a few questions for me. Take a peek!

1. What is your favorite part of your career?
I love watching others genuinely enjoy my food. Knowing that I can make people happy by merely feeding them, is my reward.


2. What makes your services unique?
(He laughs heartily ) I would say it is my passion and my personality. Food is food right?! Wrong! Being a chef is an art form. Every artist thinks they’re unique! Nobody wants to be boxed in. So I won’t talk about it. Come taste what makes me unique. I’m not just your average chef.


3. What advice would you give to anyone of any age or background who wants to work in your field? 
Work hard, re-invent yourself, set yourself apart from others, try new things and always be prepared for the unexpected!


4. Dorothy Day once said: “Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” What would you say is a healthy habit you have that puts you in a positive state when negativity creeps in?
I don’t mean to sound corny but cooking IS my outlet it’s what I love to do. Good days and bad days all end with me in the kitchen being creative and connecting with people.



You can follow Gene on Instagram @gene4boys.  You can also visit him in person at:
Black Pearl Lounge
1299 Grand Avenue
Baldwin NY 11510
*Ask for Chef Bully

James Jones Jr. “Chains of Love” Continuing A Legacy (Diamond In the Rough)

James Jones Jr. is a musician in every sense of the title. He is an arranger, composer, vocalist, and musical director. He is the vice president of the Jenjillus Music Corporation. One of the artists he worked closely with was his late father and music mogul, Jimmy “Handyman” Jones.  Jimmy is best known for his 1960 hit “Handyman.”  “Handyman” was released in 1959 and gave Jones his first US and UK hit single. James Jones Jr directed Jimmy in the recording studio as well as all live performances. They did numerous shows and sold out tours including The United Kingdom and The Greek Amphitheater in Los Angeles California. James Jones Jr is hoping to give honor to his father’s legacy but also to leave his own unique signature on the music industry.  His new CD has been released on the JenJillus Label and it is entitled, “Chains Of Love”.  The album is a compilation of love songs with a plethora of background vocals and upbeat tempos.  It’s what I call “step music.”  Catchy lyrics and the musicality is just plain ol’ FUN! 

Check it out at: http://www.jango.com/music/James+Jones+Jr+?l=0

CD’s can be purchased at: http://www.jenjillusmusic.com/    

See James Jones Jr’s notorious father on You Tube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKpbNvDg6zY

James Jones Jr

When Did You Stop Playing? [Interview with Gem Face NY designer Michelle Carver]


When was the last time you took some time to play? If you think about your childhood do you have fond memories of birthday parties? Perhaps you have photos your elders saved for you.

I remember seeing photos from my 1st birthday kiddie party at my parents home.  There was ice cream smeared into my mothers rugs, funny hats and a scary awkward looking clown. 


Thank goodness there are some entertainment options that are affordable and fun! If you’re looking for something intricate that your kids will love, try Gem Face NY. We had the pleasure of speaking with the new, engaging and exciting entrepreneur.

Frozen theme

SYMACMU: How long have you been in business?

MC: I have been in the face painting business for 6 months and counting!

Happy customers!

MC:Face Painting energizes me and I am very passionate about creating new faces with my paint.

Something is crawling on you !

SYMACMU: Shut Ya Mouth and Call Me Ugly is a community of individuals and a commitment to the discovery of identity.  What advice do you have for someone who is “finding themselves? ”

MC: I am willing to teach others and welcome new artists, young and old to explore the things that make them passionate.  Listen to your instincts and remember you can never fail if you keep your dreams alive and nourish your mind, body and soul.  Dare yourself to jump into a new endeavor!

Body Art

SYMACMU: What is your differentiator from the competition?

MC: My face paints are all FDA approved and washable with soap and water.  I also recently added “NEW” Glitter Tattoo Art.  Glitter tattoo is a pretty shimmery tattoo that can last 3-10 days.  They are perfect for party & excellent in summer since they stay on even in water.  I started balloon twisting which is a great addition to any childs party.

Michelle Carver

SYMACMU: Summarize you products, services and fees.

MC: Charges are based on the amount of hours and/or children.  Normally it is between $75 – $100 per hour.  Additional cost for glitter tattoo or balloon twisting.

To schedule your next event, Michelle can be reached via e-mail:

Also, follow us on Twitter@shutyamouthnow

By:Shaun Nickens

Black Mote Inc – Interview with Todd Hinds


I have a secret…

I love clothes! In fact, I love “stuff” period. If the item is marketed efficiently,  I’m all over it! Most people don’t know this about me because I don’t splurge on myself often and I only purchase what needs to be replaced.  Currently I’m looking for a “Mommy weekend sweatsuit”, a winter coat, and some boots. The thing is, I HATE to look like everyone else.  I go out of my way to be extremely unique or excessively simplistic.  So when I see a line that is classy and daring…I’m in!! Black Mote Inc is eye catching (not in that “What the _____does he have on?” kind of way.) Its clean and appropriate for just about whatever venue you are bold enough to wear it to. I had the privilege of interviewing the creator and picking the brain of a true “Diamond in the rough.”


SYMACMU: How would you like your clothing line to influence black culture?

I would like my clothing line to influence black culture by providing a product that is solely designed and manufactured by people of my culture. The designs are inspired and created to fit all walks of my culture. It dresses everyone from the hip-hop culture all the way to the trendy business man.


SYMACMU: Who is your target audience?

My target audience would be the trend setters. Whether it’s the fashion forward freshmen starting college or the fashionista blogger. I would say the age ranges from 18-40. In today’s world not everyone has the means to have multiple wardrobes. Their is a niche of customers who come from urban areas and can’t let go of certain looks. Casual has a standard in terms of colors, style, fit. By putting these two together you can now cater to more people not just solely one type of customer. It doesn’t limit anyone. Gives the buyer more of an option as well as trying new styles and feeling safe in their purchase.

SYMACMU: Was this a lifelong dream or a newfound passion?

This has been always a lifelong dream. I’ve been into fashion for a long time. Picking out my outfits from a young age to designing my own pieces. I always wanted to create fresh and unique ideas that people could wear and feel confident in.

SYMACMU: In terms of identity, individuality and clothing do you “judge a book by its cover?” Are you justified?

I would say that in my industry what you wear is like your walking resume. So yes, what you wear identifies you in ways that perhaps a librarian wouldn’t read into it but a stylist/fashionista would.

SYMACMU: In your opinion, what is a “Fashion Don‘t?”

A fashion don’t is putting on something that you don’t feel confident in. Once you put it on, “own” it! Another fashion don’t is putting down someone else’s sense of style because you don’t get it. Not everyone is going to be trendy and fashion forward, but the fact that they dared to be different and think outside of the box shouldn’t be looked down upon.

You can find more looks on Todd’s website: http://www.blackmoteinc.com

Like it? Love it? Indifferent? Leave a comment here or contact us on Twitter @shutyamouthnow

Ain’t No Instruction Manual For That

So many times I have said there are no instructions on how to be a good woman, wife, partner, mother, etc. In life there are just certain things you have to experience first-hand.  You “scrape your knees” and you create your own manual. 

My Twitter feed is compacted with people who promise you that they can change your life. People who promise they can sell you the “secret” to a fulfilling and prosperous existence.  Who’s legit????!


I have the pleasure of knowing a determined young man who I have seen heed his own advice. Saladin Davis has taken his own life to new heights. In short, he went from a teen father to a college graduate/business owner/motivational speaker/published author and sole guardian of his daughter.  I asked him a few questions about his book “Life 101 Lessons From A 13 Year Old Father.”

SYMACMU: What made you decide to write a memoir?

After moving to Charlotte I joined a Toastmaster’s International Club where I met people that already had published books and got paid to speak.  My eyes were opened to the speaking industry and I made the decision to pursue Public Speaking as a career.  One of my fellow Toastmasters Kevin Decker explained to me how beneficial writing a book would be to promoting myself as a Professional Speaker.  He went on to tell me my story sounded like a dramatic novel already so it fit right for the possibility.  After a couple of months of contemplating, I made the choice to put my story in manuscript form.

SYMACMU: Were you concerned about the way your daughters mother would respond to your depiction of her?

I was worried.  I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers so I decided to ensure that there were no negative references toward my Kera’s mother.  What got me over my worry was the greater good.  I knew how important it was to tell my story and how many lives would be impacted.  This made it easier to tell a story where you had no choice but to speak about other people who could potentially be offended by your work.  

SYMACMU: How do you feel about the term “baby daddy”?

I’ve always had a strong dislike for the term “baby daddy”.  I felt that term was reserved for those who don’t take care of their children.  I feel that term is for those men who aren’t present in their children’s lives.  So when I was referred to as such I would always correct the person letting them know that I am my daughter’s Father.  I’m nobody’s baby daddy.  This is a personal interpretation of course so this doesn’t mean that all people use the term in the way in which I perceive but I will never be fond of that term or it’s counterpart. 

SYMACMU: Do you think being a young single father was a dating deterrent?  Do you think women took you more seriously or do you feel you were judged prematurely?

I think that many women admired how I went about my relationship with my daughter and that attracted them to me more than not.  I was prejudged by women for many reasons but those who got to know me were drawn closer to me because of the fact that I was an involved Dad.

SYMACMU: Finally, Shutyamouthandcallmeugly is a home for individuals who aren’t afraid to “go against the grain”. What would you say to the individual who is completely paralyzed by fear?

To those who are stuck because of fear I would say…take a look at the person that is 25 years older than you that is doing the same thing you’re doing right now.  What is that person’s life like? What type of things have they experienced?  How do they carry themselves everyday?  Are they pleasant?  Do they seem excited about life?  If you can’t see yourself being that person in 25 year then THAT should be what you’re scared of!  Use fear.  Use the fear of the misery that would be caused by you being scared to be the best you!  Most people when they are about to die regret all of the things that they didn’t do as opposed to the things that they did.  Don’t be that person!

Lessons From A 13 Year Old Father is available at http://www.lifesparkweb.com/life-101-book/ and in kindle version at http://www.amazon.com. Follow Saladin Davis at: 

Website: http://www.lifesparkweb.com
Facebook: Saladin Davis Professional Motivator
YouTube: SaladinDavis
Twitter: Saladin_Speaks
LinkedIn: Saladin Davis
Instagram: SaladinDavis

New Release from “The Wealth Club” w/ commentary by Figgy


The opinions, recommendations, and comments expressed in the following post are solely those of the artists’ and subjects quoted.  They do not represent the position of ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.com.  This site does not endorse the expletives used in the song nor do we necessarily share the intended outlook of the artists.  However, it is our estimation that art (no matter what form) should be celebrated and never calibrated. As always we request the feedback of the ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.com family and we encourage you to engage with the artists’.

“The Nike Strike” ft History [Prod By. Dre Dollasz]

Nike Strike
Nike Strike







To listen to the new release click here ——> The Nike Strike

If you read the feature we did on The Wealth Club in July 2012, you may have noticed a drastic difference in content and delivery.   I asked Figgy for a brief commentary on the song so that we may clear up any misunderstandings or presumptions.

SYMACMU: We all know there’s been controversy revolved around the low wages and working conditions in overseas Nike shoe factories. Is that all that inspired this song and the accompanying cover art?

FIGGY: Well actually, The Nike Strike is a metaphor for a break from the norm. Our culture becomes so infatuated with what’s in and what’s trendy that we forget to set the trends. You take a ride on any form of public transportation and you’re bound to find teenagers rockin’ the latest Nikes or Jordan’s, or some other fashion that someone told them was fly. The fact that Nike takes part in the overseas underworld of menial labor only attests to the fact that we don’t even know what we’re doing. I made the song to let people know that the only person that benefits from the 300 dollars spent on these sneakers is Michael Jordan himself. I want to encourage people to think for themselves and not be subject to believing the things they are told.

SYMACMU: The closing of the song says, “Art over commerce.”  A synonym for commerce is trade.  Some may argue, commerce strengthens our international social relations.  As with many revolutions, we historically coin phrases that are catchy or attention grabbing.  Is it safe to assume that you are attacking the art of fashion and accusing major brands of being trendy rather than authentic?

FIGGY: Art over Commerce is the title of my series’ of mixtapes. The theme Art over Commerce focuses around the idea of art being more important than the monetary gain. Obviously the point of making a career out of being an artist would be to ultimately make money, but at what cost? Too often we see hiphop artists portray an on-screen facade to make themselves relevant or to “come up”. Hip hop is based around the premise of honest expression. How can we call ourselves hip hop artists or be part of the hip hop generation if we aren’t willing to stay true to its origins?

SYMACMU:  Do you consider yourselves “conscious rappers”?

FIGGY: We aren’t conscious rappers. We find inspiration in our everyday lives and what’s important to us and we speak on it. I don’t like to categorize us at all. The categorization places limits on the directions that we can go. Basically we do what feels right.

SYMACMU: The majority of my readers are females.  This particular track is laced with profanity including the word bitch.  Traditional and contemporary feminists have fought against the common use of this word almost as much as Black educators and neo-revolutionaries have fought against the word Nigger.  How do you defend the use of the words bitch and nigger in this song?

FIGGY: I have a deep respect for the power of language. I feel as if the context gives the word a situational meaning. For example, women call each other bitches all the time and it’s okay because within the context, the word bitch becomes a term of endearment. But if I were to call a woman a bitch it would be a blatant sign of disrespect. On the other side of the spectrum I also believe in calling a spade a spade. Although we’re blessed to have many respectable upstanding beautiful women making their way in life, we also have the bottom of the totem pole bitches and that’s fact. As for the word nigger, I think it affects you as much as you let it. I look at the transition of the word as a mark of our progression. We have taken a word that was used to demean and terrorize our people and alienated the people responsible from using it. I know many people would disagree and state that we should rid ourselves of the word all along which I don’t any problem in doing,  but while it’s being used I say we keep it to ourselves.

-Shaun Nickens

“Where Did You Get That?” Interview with Andre Greaves of Seeled Clothing {Diamond In The Rough}

  I love many things.  One of my favorite things is when you have on a great article of clothing and someone says to you, “Where did you get that?”  I usually just smile and say “It was a gift” or “I don’t remember.”  The cause for these “white lies” is evident.  I don’t want anybody to look like me.  It’s slightly egocentric but a necessary evil when you are attempting to have your own unique style signature.

Seeled Clothing is a t-shirt line for men.  The bold lines and artistic designs make for a great conversation piece.  The t-shirt and jeans is the epitome of the easy-going effortless “I just threw this on” look.  It is the nucleus of several layering options.  The colors are vibrant and eye-catching.

I had the privilege of interviewing Andre Greaves, one of the creators of Seeled.  He explained his passion, his product and what we can look forward to in the future!

SYMACMU:  “Seeled” is an acronym for : See Everything Everywhere Lose Emotions Gain Dedication. Who came up with the name for the clothing line?  Why is it important to lose emotions?

AG: I did. Emotions are sometimes the downfall of success and me and my partner both being two strong-minded individuals/family we have to take the good with the bad and not worry about emotions slowing down the mark we want to make on the fashion world.

SYMACMU: What is the best part of working with your business partner, Myron “King Kage”? Who else contributes heavily to the Seeled creative process?

AG:The best part of working with Kage is he is a Go Getter! His experience and knowledge he gained being in the Music Industry has been vital to our success and a big part of the relationships we have built along the way. Anasa Greaves is our Creative Designer she brings our motto “Wearable Art” and the uniqueness to life in all our pieces.

SYMACMU: At Shutyamouthandcallmeugly.com we believe passion is the space between wanting something and needing something.  What are you passionate about? Do you think your passion is conveyed in the designs of Seeled Clothing?

AG: Positive change, one of our pieces called “Goes Around” is inspired by the prevention of gun violence it shows the effect guns have on the families of the victims and the families of the shooters. Definitely, all of our pieces show individuality, which stems from our passion to blur the lines between Vintage, Streetwear, and S.L.A.T.E.

SYMACMU: Do you consider yourself to be successful? Why or why not?

AG: I am blessed to see my dreams evolve from an idea to now coming to life. I have so much support from family, friends, and fans who believe in the Seeled movement, so yes I feel successful.

SYMACMU: Who is the target demographic for Seeled Clothing?  Is it the business man? The college student? The “thug”? The single father?

AG:All of the above, anyone who begs to be different and wants to express themselves through style and fashion is Seeled Clothing’s target.

SYMACMU: Where can one purchase your clothes?  Will the prices rise as the brand gains notoriety?

 AG :    www.seeledclothing.com, I would like to say, “no.”Honestly, I can’t answer that because of how quickly the fashion world changes and more importantly what it takes to stay competitive and unique.

SYMACMU: What about the women?  Are you thinking of starting a line for women?

AG: (He smiles) We talk a lot about a woman’s line because of all the support our males line has received from both men and woman so don’t be surprised! The most important thing at this point is mastering one project at a time.

By: Shaun M Nickens       

——->>>>>>>>You can see more designs and SHOP at : www.seeledclothing.com you can also follow Seeled on Twitter @SeeledClothing

Feel free to leave comments for Andre and you can email any questions you may have for him to: shutyamouthandcallmeugly@gmail.com!!!!

Filling the Void-Interview With Figgy of “The Wealth Club” {Diamond In The Rough}



Music has a way of dragging you out of the monotony of a dreary day.  Music creates paradise in the midst of poverty.  Music set scenes.  You ever hear a song and it remind you of an ex? Or hear a song that causes you to drive your car faster, lift more weight at the gym, or maybe even run further?  I’ve always loved all music but hip hop touches me in a special place.  I used to listen to my older cousins Big Daddy Kane album on my tape deck.  I would blast Queen Latifah “Black Reign” through the house until my father said I had to turn it down because it had too much profanity.  That being said, I am so pleased to feature an up and coming artist on the blog!  The following is an interview with Figgy of The Wealth Club. 

1) What inspired you to form the group?

When I was in high school, I wanted to “Restore Hip-Hop to its natural state” and all that other hipster, hype beast bull. But as we started to vibe with each other and make music together we realized that we were filling a void. We were making the music that we wanted to hear, not the music being forced on us thru radio, TV, and other mainstream media outlets. So I guess our inspiration came from being sick and tired of doing the Soulja Boy

2) Name the members of the group and one unique talent they contribute to the eclecticism you offer to the music industry as a whole.

We’re made up of a myriad of talents. From producers, to promoters, all the way down to haters. But Hook, GP! & I (Figgy F) are the faces of the Wealth Club. Hook brings the raw, unadulterated lyricism (That Brooklyn Sh*t), plus he’s the hook master (Hence the name, hook lol). GP! Is our wildcard, he’s a singer turned rapper, turned singer, turned potent artist. It’s almost indescribable. He’s bringing something absolutely fresh to the industry. I always find it very difficult to talk about what I bring to the table. Along with Hook & GP! I feel like I have the ability to give the listener direct insight into my life. You don’t see that anymore in hip-hop. People are often living vicariously through their predecessors while we’re just trying to let you know what we’re doing right now.

3) At Shutyamouthandcallmeugly.com we believe that passion is the space between wanting something and needing something.   What are you passionate about and do you think it comes forth in your music?

Enlightenment, I’d like to think that we live in an age where you’re judged by your intellect and the content of your character rather than your class or skin color. Here at the Wealth Club we strive to be the voice of the thinkers, the voice of the intellectuals, the voice of the people who want to see this world become not only a better place, but a place that embraces individuality.

4) Who is your favorite music artist? Why?

We don’t have one. We can’t have one. We draw influence from everywhere. Shout out to Kanye West though lol.


5) Which one of your songs is your personal favorite?

“Snapshot Music” It’s about 10 mins long but it seems like 3 and it features almost everyone who was involved with our movement at the time. It was like the summary of our first summer together.

6) Wealth Club will be featured in the “Diamond In The Rough” section of the blog. That section is being developed as stomping grounds for entrepreneurs, aspiring artists, and community fixtures that I believe shouldn’t be overlooked and need exposure.   What is your plan B if you don’t reach your desired level of success as a musician? What “rough” circumstances have you had to overcome to get noticed?

You don’t need a Plan B when Plan A is paying off lol. We never imagined ourselves as top-notch main stream major label artists. When it’s all said and done, I still want to be able to go to Mc Donald’s. We still want to be regular people; we want to influence the people with our music rather than our celebrity. As far as overcoming rough circumstances, I mean that’s what we do every day. We’re on the grind until we change the world.


If you have any questions for The Wealth Club please comment and/or inbox me at ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly@gmail.com!!!

My Interview With Cinderella of When We Were Queens Skin Care and Cosmetics-DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

When you come into When We Were Queens you will most likely be greeted with a huge smile and a warm embrace and a kiss on both cheeks!  Most people don’t even get that kind of treatment from their own family members!  In the store is drapery and colorful displays for the customers.  There will more than likely be a video playing from The Honorable Minister  Louis Farrakhan in the background.  There are books available for purchase, both urban fiction and self-help/instructional.  There are display cases with foundations, bronzers, eyeshadows, lipcolors, cleansers (for men and women), toners, moisturizers, and a whole heap of other products to enhance the aesthetic beauty you have.  The friendships, love, and community atmosphere in When We Were Queens will nourish the innate inner beauty you have!  Listen to this short interview with skin care specialist and award-winning makeup artist, Cinderella    

Listen to the story about how tragedy can sometimes motivate one for change…

001_A_005_What Inspired Cinderella_2012_05_23

You want flawless and radiant skin? Its easier than you think!

001_A_006_3 Tips for Beautiful Skin_2012_05_23

“Without God and you, we truly cannot survive”

001_A_007_The key to running a successful business_2012_05_23

Dressed in my classic “get up and go” outfit, I interviewed Cinderella in black spandex tights, a t-shirt, my hair in a big poof and I was adorned in my favorite silver earrings that are almost the size of my head!  Boyyyyyyyyyy did Cindy have words for me :-o!  Stressing inner beauty as well as outer, Cinderella has challenged us as young women to “cover up that beautiful body”  and leave some things to the imagination!

001_A_010_To The Young Black Woman_2012_05_23

She has advice for running a successful business, finding a decent man, self-respect, and of course skin care!

Cinderella is available for Weddings, Makeovers, and Classes.  She is located at : 186-15 Merrick Blvd Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

Some services include:

Designer Eyebrows 15

Bridal Consultation 45

Prom 40

Facial 45+

Makeovers 50+

Stop in for any product and/or service and mention : ShutYaMouthAndCallMeUgly.com or Diamond in the Rough and get a % off of your purchase!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Shaun Melissa Nickens