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The Brownstone Experience May 2023 Cover Star | Dr. Latoya Clark
Our day started fairly early on a cozy street in our hometown. We met at the makeup artist’s home and soon learned Dr. Latoya Clark’s friend lives across the street. Those are the benefits of living in a small southern city, everyone knows everyone. We’ve been classmates since the age of 11 and now bracing for the big age of 40, it is safe to say, we’ve arrived as fully evolved adults.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful details of the journey is that we’re both doing what we love. The valedictorian of my high school class, Latoya Clark, affectionately known as “Toya”, is a practicing OBGYN and a multi-faceted businesswoman.
Black Mamas Lives Matter
“Toya, I would like to know if you will accept my invitation to be the May 2023 Cover? The focus is motherhood and black maternal health. You are both a mom and a doctor, so I think you would be perfect!” “Sure, I would love to!” she replied.
I began the tedious work of preparing for her shoot. Some of the thoughts that crossed my mind were surrounding her unapologetic party girl personality. She is anything but buttoned up and conservative. I wanted to tap into that side of Toya. My goal is always to highlight the nuances and versatility of black women, and black mothers.
I knew I wanted her to look seductive, light and airy like the current season, yet classy. For looks two and three, I aimed to round out her personality showing vibrancy and simplicity.
Toya completely trusted my vision and was ready to slay on shoot day. The right energy to have!
When we were kids she confidently declared she would be a doctor one day. It warms my heart to share a piece of her grace, knowledge, and relentless focus with you this month.
I, on the other hand, did not always know what I would do professionally. I have always been known for my style and fashion choices. Toya wrote in my senior memory book, “if I could take one thing from you it would be your style”. I was smitten by those words because I didn’t recognize my gift of styling as being valuable at the time. Even then, she recognized it and has always supported my work.
I appreciate Toya for sharing her time, I appreciate her for believing in my vision, and most of all I am grateful to know such a brilliant and humble black woman.
A full circle moment indeed.
The Importance of Black Maternal Health
As a black physician, working to advance maternal mortality is important. Black women are 3 times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause compared to white women. These healthcare disparities affect our community deeply. Organizations like Black Mamas Matters Alliance work to address pregnancy and birth disparities in our health care system.
The work of physicians like Dr. LaToya Clark and community-based organizations is crucial in bringing attention to and finding solutions for these health disparities.
Our next stop was the studio where we would shoot and record her Brick by Brick podcast episodes. Just as I was finishing prep, she rolls up in her BMW i8 coupe with flawless makeup. As we began the shoot in true TBE fashion I asked my guest for the name of her favorite music artist to set the tone.
She replies, “Jeezy will always work!”
Our studio owner for the day is also the most popular DJ in the city, so the set vibes were curated and top tier for the day. We wrapped just after lunch. The level of dedication and hard work that goes into being so successful before 40 years old is admirable. However, she was fully present and available during our time together, which is notable.
Just as she was grabbing her things and walking out, she answers her phone “Hello, this is Dr. Clark”.
Check out our conversation here.