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Alabama Democrat Running For Congress Appears To Be Violating Licensing Law



Adia McClellan Winfrey has been presenting herself as a clinical psychologist. But she has never been license. In Alabama, where she’s running for Congress, and that’s against the law.

On Twitter, in interviews, on her campaign website, on her LinkedIn page and in speeches in front of Democratic Party groups, she has spoken of her experience as a clinical psychologist (and often as a “pioneering psychologist”) and held it up as a key reason that voters in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District should vote for her in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

But Winfrey has never been licensed as a psychologist in any state that she’s lived in, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama. In each of those states, a person representing themselves to the public as a psychologist must be licensed by a state board. If they aren’t licensed, they are violating the law.

Winfrey received a doctorate in psychology in 2008 from Wright State University in Ohio. HuffPost confirmed her doctorate through a third-party service authorized by Wright State to verify the education of its graduates.

Winfrey, who refers to herself as Dr. Dia, created a curriculum that involves something she calls hip-hop therapy. Winfrey would visit troubled youth in group homes and essentially offered group therapy along with hip-hop music to help the youth open up.

In a phone conversation, Winfrey confirmed that she has never been licensed as a psychologist in any state that she’s lived and worked in since attaining her degree.

“I’ve never been a licensed psychologist. I did complete the hours required for licensure ― but right when I was going to be studying for licensure exam, that’s when my curriculum took off.”

Winfrey said colleagues told her that the opportunity to market her curriculum was  “once in a lifetime.”

After being told that by holding herself out as a psychologist violates state law in Georgia and Alabama, Winfrey said she was stunned to learn that that referring to herself as a psychologist and offering her hip-hop therapy without licensure was against the law. “I have been referring to myself as a clinical psychologist for nearly 10 years but have never told anyone that I am licensed and have never diagnosed anyone.”

In response to a question about what the difference was in her mind between what she was doing and licensed psychology, Winfrey said, “The biggest difference is how I’m paid. If I was licensed, I would be able to bill through Medicaid or through various insurance companies.”

Winfrey said she would bill organizations that wanted to offer her curriculum (including hip-hop therapy) for her standard fee and it would be up to those organizations to seek funds, whether it was through grants or some other means, to pay for her fee.

A campaign spokeswoman, when asked about the licensing said “She earned her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology degree in 2008 and has worked with youth and trained professionals in 26 states. Her curriculum she developed is currently being used in Australia, Canada, throughout London and Botswana.”

Two experts as well stated that Winfrey displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of why licensure of psychologists is important.

Heather Austin, a licensed psychologist practicing in Alabama who serves on the board of the Alabama Psychological Association (she did not speak to us on behalf of the association) said that licensure ensures that the board can monitor the activities of practicing psychologists.

“Someone who isn’t licensed doesn’t have a legal responsibility to take care of a patient in an ethical manner. If you’re not a licensed professional, you’re not operating under a board, which means that no one is ensuring that you are offering services that are appropriate. No one is ensuring that someone is offering evidence-based treatment in an ethical manner. Without licensure, the ability for the board to regulate that is minimized, it’s very difficult for the board to protect patients otherwise.”

The licensing process to become a board-certified psychologist, which includes a requirement for a criminal background check, can be cumbersome, but experts say it’s a critical vetting process to ensure that members of the public are receiving care from the best practitioners.

In Georgia, where Winfrey lived and offered her curriculum from 2009 to 2014, the code governing psychologists says: “A person who is not licensed under this chapter shall not practice psychology, shall not use the title “psychologist,” and shall not imply that he or she is a psychologist.”

The law in Alabama, where Winfrey is running for Congress and has lived and referred to herself as a clinical psychologist, says: “No person shall hold himself or herself out to the public as a licensed psychological technician or practice as a psychological technician unless licensed by the board. Failure to comply with this section shall constitute a Class B misdemeanor.”

If charged with a Class B misdemeanor in Alabama, the defendant could receive up to six months of jail time and be fined up to $3,000.

Even if Winfrey had not offered her curriculum or the group therapy sessions to troubled youth and merely held herself out to the public as a psychologist during her campaign (which she did repeatedly), she would be in violation of Alabama law, according to an official at the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology.

Winfrey is facing Mallory Hagan, a former Miss America and news anchor, in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Whoever wins that contest will run against Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who has held the seat since 2003, in November.


This is a developing story. Check back with Prestige for updates.


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Alabama News & Entertainment

Alabama beats Georgia 26-23 in OT in the College National Football Championship



The Crimson Tide title drought didn’t last long, but it needed a dramatic comeback from a backup quarterback.

Freshman Tua Tagovailoa hit freshman DeVonta Smith with a 41-yard touchdown pass, and Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The win gives the Crimson Tide their fifth title since the 2009 season and first since the 2015 season.

This is the fifth national title for Nick Saban as head coach of the Crimson Tide and sixth overall. In Monday night’s win against Georgia head coach — and former Alabama assistant — Kirby Smart, Saban improves to 12-0 against his former staffers in his tenure as Alabama’s head coach.

But it was a nail biter for Crimson Tide fans.

In a first half that was dominated by defense, Georgia took a 13-0 lead. To create a spark, Alabama benched quarterback Jalen Hurts in favor of freshman backup Tagovailoa at the start of the third quarter.

Alabama Crimson Tide wins against Georgia Bulldogs. Final score AL 26- Georgia 23

A 6-yard Tagovailoa touchdown pass to Henry Riggs III made it 13-7 with 8:52 left in the period, but Georgia responded on the following drive with an 80-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Jake Fromm to Mecole Hardman to make it 20-7.

And later tempers flared, as Crimson Tide linebacker Mekhi Brown, who was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, was seen being restrained on the Alabama sideline.

But Alabama didn’t go away. With 3:49 remaining, Tagovailoa found Calvin Ridley in the end zone to make it 20-20.

Alabama had the chance to win in the final seconds of regulation, but the 36-yard kick from Andy Pappanastos was no good.

One guarantee heading into Monday night was that the champion was from the Southeastern Conference, which Alabama (SEC West) and Georgia (SEC East) are both members. This is the ninth time in the last 12 seasons that a team from the SEC has won the national championship.

With that, it seemed fitting that this season’s championship game was played in the heart of SEC country: The University of Georgia, which is located in Athens, is about 70 miles away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is a 200-mile drive.

Georgia was seeking its first national title since 1980, while Alabama was playing in its third straight national championship game. The Crimson Tide, who reached the playoff despite not making it to the SEC championship game, defeated No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal, avenging the Crimson Tide’s loss to the Tigers in last year’s national championship game.

Georgia, the SEC champion and in the playoff for the first time, defeated No. 2 Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime in the Rose Bowl semifinal. This is the first time two teams from the same conference reached the College Football Playoff, a four-team seeded postseason format that began for the 2014 season and replaced the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The SEC also had two teams featured in the 2011 season finale, when Alabama defeated Louisiana State in the BCS title game.

Counting the national championship, the SEC went 5-6 this bowl season.

College football dates back to the late 1800s and is older than the NFL. The sport, which is a pipeline to the professional level, is well known for its loyal and passionate fan base, including enthusiasts pulling for their alma mater or channeling their rooting interests for another university.

The College Football Playoff determines the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) national champion. The FBS is the highest level of football in the NCAA.

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Alabama News & Entertainment

Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo

 Singer Vivian Green (Center) performs with background singers at the Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo. Photo credit: Between Classes Magazine   March 18, 2016 (BIRMINGHAM, AL)– The Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo (NHHE) achieved record-breaking attendance, welcoming more than 5,000 natural hair, beauty and health enthusiasts to…



 Singer Vivian Green (Center) performs with background singers at the Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo. Photo credit: Between Classes Magazine


March 18, 2016 (BIRMINGHAM, AL)The Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo (NHHE) achieved record-breaking attendance, welcoming more than 5,000 natural hair, beauty and health enthusiasts to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center on March 12. The expo has evolved into Alabama’s largest natural hair show, and is among the must-attend “hair show list” to travelers from as near as Atlanta, Ga. to as far Detroit, Mi. The Simmons brothers, owners of Vision Beauty Distributors and creators of the annual Natural Hair and Health Expo, offered attendees a full day of hair, beauty and fashion; preventative health services; and inspiration to “Love Your Natural You,” the theme for the 2016 expo.

“I reach out to the Birmingham natural hair community each year to see what they want to see at our annual shows,” says expo co-founder Victor Simmons. “This year we were seriously pleased with the turnout. It’s our fifth year and our hard work is paying off. We are connecting with stylists, bloggers and the healthy living community from all over the Southeast and some from the North. Each year we plan to do it bigger than the year before and with the grace of God, and the help of our amazing core team, we’re succeeding!”

Key Highlights from the NHHE included:

The “What Men REALLY Think…” all men’s panel presented by SHEEN Magazine and hosted by SHEEN’s editor in chief Sammi Haynes. This panel featured actor Christian Keyes, “insta-famous” Instagram models Joshua Benoit and Donnell Blaylock, Pastor Adrian Davis, and motivational speaker T.W. Dawson. The men shared their thoughts on relationships, natural hair, love and romance. A natural hair chat hosted by mega YouTube star Taren Guy focused on extension dependency and how to embrace your natural hair and length. During these discussions, attendees gathered to ask questions as well as shared their thoughts on and personal experiences with the related topics.


(L-R): Pastor Adrian Davis, Donnell Blaylock, Taren Guy, T.W. Dawson and Joshua Benoit at the Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo. Photo credit: iPUSH Magazine


R&B artist Vivian Green shared her magical vocals with the audience and old-school rapper Kwame from the late 1980s and early 1990’s made a small appearance on stage with the soulful diva.


(L-R): Jeffrey Simmons, co-founder Visions Beauty Distributors, R&B Singer Vivian Green and Victor Simmons,
co-founder Visions Beauty Distributors at the Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo.  Photo credit: iPUSH Magazine

Lastly, the main attraction and focus of the NHHE was the inaugural Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Pageant, presenting 9 contestants competing for the first crown. These 9 beautiful women, adorned with their beautiful natural hair, walked the stage and shared their thoughts on loving and embracing the healthy, natural you. The pageant not only focused on poise, looks and hair but also focused on intelligence, confidence and inner beauty. Although the judges Sharon Williams author of real beauty A to Z, YouTube sensation MahoganyCurls, Celebrity Stylist Christopher Ryan, Sammi Haynes and former Miss Black Alabama Laquitta ParShai Wilkins had an array of top contenders to choose from, they finally agreed upon Birmingham-native Jazmund Walker as the first Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Queen. 1st runner up went to Keisha Jones-Peeples and 2nd runner up went to Whitney Gay.


Miss Natural Hair and Health Pageant Winners from L-R: Whitney Gay, 2nd Runner Up; Jazmund Walker, Winner; and Keisha Jones-Peeples, 1st Runner Up. Photo credit: iPUSH Magazine

“I went into this competition to achieve one of my bucket list goals,” says pageant winner Jazmund Walker who works as a communications and outreach coordinator for the non-profit organization CAMP College, College Admissions Made Possible. “I had no idea that I would win the Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Pageant! I’m typically a behind the scenes person and my focus has always been on helping others achieve their dreams. I was told many times in my early twenties that I should model or try out for a pageant but I never felt confident enough to do so. However, when I saw the advertisement for the Miss Natural Hair and Health Beauty Pageant, I knew it was time to conquer my fear and give it my best shot! Now that I’ve won the crown, my goal is to inspire young women in my community. I am a girl from the projects the eldest child and the first in my family to go to college. My title platform will promote education and avenues to reach your full potential. I encourage every young woman to do something that lives outside her comfort zone. Be fearless so when you look back you can at least say you tried and gave it your best shot.”


Miss Natural Hair and Health Pageant Winner Jazmund Walker at the Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo.                               Photo credit: iPUSH Magazine

The Visions Beauty 5th Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo was made possible due to key sponsors, including: radio stations WAGG, KISS-FM and JAMZ, Design Essentials®, Amtrak, Brownstone Total Healthcare, Snatch My Waist, SHEEN Magazine, iPUSH Magazine, Breezes Resort and Spa Bahamas, Laura Vincents LLC, Sam’s Club Wholesale, Natural Girls Rock, Cooper Green Health Services, Angela’s Kiss of Shea and Chocolatetopz.

For more information on the NHHE/Pageant, go to

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Alabama News & Entertainment

SELMA Poised To Win Numerous Awards

Selma Poised to Win Numerous Awards With Its Remarkable Portrayal of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement Reporter: Founder/Editor-in-Chief JT Robinson Director Ava DuVernay, who was an African American Studies major at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), has struck directorial gold with Selma, her historical drama of the events surrounding Dr. Martin…



Selma Poised to Win Numerous Awards With Its Remarkable Portrayal of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement

Reporter: Founder/Editor-in-Chief JT Robinson

Director Ava DuVernay, who was an African American Studies major at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), has struck directorial gold with Selma, her historical drama of the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and the famed Alabama March from Selma to Montgomery.

On “Bloody” Sunday, March 7, 1965, police officers and other whites rapidly deputized for the occasion, confronted African American protest marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The results were sickening, to put it mildly. Those given the authority to do so proceeded to beat, whip, punch, kick, tear gas and cane the protesters from the bridge all the way back to their church. Television broadcasts of the attacks led to sympathy protests across the nation. Dr. King, witnessing the carnage, flew to Selma to join his Southern Christian Leader Conference (SCLC), the Student non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and other rights organizations on another planned march.

Selma is surprisingly the first major feature film about Dr. King. It debuts in selected theaters on Christmas Day 2014. There is already critical acclaim from those who have seen premiers. Selma has received four Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Director. If she wins this award, Ava DuVernay will herself become a part of history, as the first black woman to do so. Not to be outdone, the Woman’s Film Critics Circle named Selma the Best Film by a Woman. This level of notoriety makes the film a perennial Academy Award (Oscar) nominee as well.

It is clear this movie is big. The stars of this major production include David Oyelowo as Dr. King, Tim Roth as Alabama Governor George Wallace and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King. Oyelowo, a Brit of Nigerian descent, also had a role in last year’s The Butler. Ejogo, also from London, has been seen in various roles, though her part as Alean on HBO’s original series Lackawanna Blues, led the director to believe she would make a good representation of Dr. King’s strong wife.

The context of the period is worth noting. Dr. King had, by 1965, won the Nobel Peace Prize (1964) and led a large demonstration in the nation’s capital (1963). He had also provided clear evidence to the world of Southern racism by staging marches through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama (1963). These demonstrations provoked violence from Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor and his troops. The scenes of police unleashing attack dogs and firefighters spraying high-pressure water hoses on African American men, women and children sent shockwaves across the world. This is how America treats her own citizens of color?

Yet, by 1965, King also had troubles. In 1962, Police Chief Laurie Pritchett of Albany, Georgia, had defeated King. Pritchett read the civil rights leader’s book about the tactics used in the successful Montgomery bus boycott and hatched a plan. When King came to Albany, the police would remain largely non-violent and arrested blacks would be shipped to jails spread out in neighboring counties. In effect, there were no beatings to witness and no images of African Americans in cramped jail cells for the cameras. King left town bewildered. He knew that he had to plan better in the future to avoid losing the movement’s momentum. Blacks had waited too long for this period to let it all slip away.

DuVernay portrays this complex version of King in Selma. The King in the film is a relatively young man who feels the pressure of an entire race, nation and world on his shoulders. He knows all too well that any miscalculation on his part could lead to setbacks to all that had been gained.

This is a human King, one with emotions, feelings and weaknesses. Selma treats audiences to an education in Civil Rights Movement history that goes beyond the well-known “I Have a Dream” speech.

Selma stars David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.” And will be in theaters nationwide January 9, 2015.

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