Interview with Contessa Brown

Countess B. :

Cant Stop The Shine Of A Queen!

Me
Interviewed on September 17, 2017

I had the pleasure of interviewing this queen. I remember meeting her for the first time and she was bubbly and full of charisma. She is a gem. Contessa Brown is the Founder/CEO/Director of Cafe S.O.U.L. . A graduate of Roger Williams University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Masters in Leadership and seeking a Masters of Holistic Counseling at Salve Regina University. Newport, RI native, currently residing in Providence, RI. She also is a spoken word artist , motivational speaker and local influencer who goes by the name Countess B. Every Monday and Friday she posts inspirational videos on her Facebook and she always show support to local artists, business owners and more. This interview was the perfect surprise for the 1 year anniversary for PhenomenallyCHOSEN. I hope you all enjoy this read as much as I enjoyed interviewing her!


Lets get started!

Car: Hello Contessa how are you! I am so excited to be interviewing you! So I know your are a busy woman, you’re a graduate of Roger Williams University, you have a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Leadership, plus you are a currently enrolled in the Salve Regina University’s Holistic Counseling Master of Arts program and you are the Founder and CEO of Café S.O.U.L.. You’re also a poet and an author. Wow how do you do it all!?

Cou: Thank you very much, by the grace of God. One of my favorite scriptures is Luke 12:48, to whom much is given, much is required. I have to work that faith to yield the results I desire and the vision God has entrusted me with.
Car: So I know you wrote a book and I am so interested in hearing more about it; can you tell us about your book and where it can be purchased?

Cou: My book is still in the works. The manuscript will be completed by end of year 2017. The title I cannot release in public yet until I have discussed it with the publisher. Once my book is published I will be sure to let you know where it can be purchased. The book will be discussing church hurt and what we as Christians can do better in our everyday interactions with people of all walks of life.

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Car: Wow, the suspense is killing me. *giggles* I can not wait until the book is released, it sounds like it will be very impactful. I’m curious, what inspired you to write the book?

Cou: I was inspired to write the book after having a conversation with a few people who have been in similar situations as I. I personally have experienced church hurt and wanted an outlet to discuss this taboo subject. It is time as the Body of Christ to face the music and learn to heal and how to heal collectively. The only way we can do that is if we expose the pain and hurt. Now, this is in no way bashing churches and Christians. Rather, this highlights areas of improvement.

Car: How old were you when you started this book?

Cou: I started writing the book back in 2013, I was 30 then. I am still working on the book age 34. It took me some time because I had to collect interviews for the book and also, I did not want to rush the process. They say time heals wounds. So each time I come to my portion of the book, I have more insight and wisdom to provide.

Car: That is true, time heals wounds. Did you find yourself experiencing opposition or lack of support from family and/or friends while writing the book?

Cou: I had a lot of participants in the interview. Those who I have discussed the book with are ready for me to release and publish it. They are very supportive of my project and I am equally confident that they will be supportive once it gets published.

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Car: Well I wish you the best of luck and be sure to let us know when the book is published! I want to talk a little about your education. Though it seems like a separate topic it can very much be tied into many things that you do. What made you want to get a MA in Leadership?

Cou: It was very fortuitous, as it was a pilot program that just started. Café S.O.U.L. was
approaching our 1 year mark when I heard about the program. I took up MA in Leadership so I can learn how to fully run a business from overhead costs, budgeting, organizational dynamics to the effect of marketing.

Car: So, what made you want to enroll in the Counseling Master of Arts Program?

Cou: I plan on expanding the Café S.O.U.L. brand by having my own private practice in holistic counseling. I have a BA in Psychology, so this will help to tie everything together. I have always had a passion for people and their well-being.

Car: Do you think you can apply your degrees into Café S.O.U.L.? How so?

Cou: As mentioned before, Café S.O.U.L. was the driving force for obtaining the first MA degree in Leadership and for pursuing my second MA degree in Holistic Counseling. It a way to expand the brand.

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Car: Personally I have been keeping up with your brand and I love what you are doing, for those who may be new to your brans can you tell us about Café S.O.U.L. and what it entails?

Cou: Café S.O.U.L. serves as a multi-media platform within the community that embraces, supports and cultivates the arts, networking and entrepreneurship. Café S.O.U.L. also serves as a healing space. We currently host venues twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month.

Car: How did Café S.O.U.L. come about?

Cou: Back in September 2008 I was re-baptized as an adult and at that time gave up clubbing. I was a social butterfly and asked God what am I supposed to do for fun? I honestly didn’t like single ministries, because they were almost, if not always, mostly women and I didn’t like going bowling and doing juvenile things for entertainment. That is when God gave me the vision of Café S.O.U.L. I was so scared because I knew nothing about being a business owner or to start one. God provided the resources and also my vision doula, my best friend Aaron J. Hampton. Café S.O.U.L. was conceived November 2008 literally birthed 9 months later, August 2009. My mom has been monumental in the support and sustenance of Café S.O.U.L. over these past 8+ years.

Car: Is Café S.O.UL. just focusing on a “singles ministry” or has it grown since?

Cou: It first started as wanting something fun and clean for single Christians. It later evolved to something beyond my personal wants and needs. Café S.O.U.L. blossomed to be a curator of dreams and aspirations of others, a place where they can be themselves and express themselves, a place where they can divulge their inner thoughts and pain and become healed from one on one sessions, people network and create new connections for existing/new projects etc. I can go on and on, but I believe the testimonies portion of our website will for sure be a testament to what is listed above.

Car: That’s so interesting. You seem like a busy woman. How do you find time with all that you do, to spend time with family and friends and/or network with others?

Cou: LOL! I literally had to laugh out loud. Anyone who knows me knows I am extremely busy. I have to pencil friends and family in. I know it sounds horrible, but it is the only way I can balance working a full time job, maintaining my business, going to school, as well as supporting other local artists and/or venues. It is not easy. Le sigh. It’s a process.

Car: Since Café S.O.U.L. launched in 2009, in what ways did you notice growth and change?

Cou: As mentioned before, I noticed the growth when Café S.O.U.L. became more than just an open mic venue. Café S.O.U.L. is now a brand with many projects that exist under it and more to come.

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Car: What obstacles did you have to face and overcome creating Café S.O.U.L. and planning events?

Cou: The launch was very smooth. It was after the birth, the growing pains started to come. The vision of Café S.O.U.L. is unconventional for religious churches. I say religious because there are some churches that have man made ideologies of who and what God is. Because of these man made rules and ideologies, it wasn’t a good fit for the church I was attending at that time. Yes, they allowed me to host my venues at their establishment, but they made it difficult to host several events.

Car: Did you ever feel like giving up or felt moments of doubt while hosting Café S.O.U.L. events or launching it in general?

Cou: I have had my moments where I wanted to throw in the towel. But then every time I do, there are amazing venues or people’s testimonies about how Café S.O.U.L. positively  affected their lives that lets me know that this vision is not about me. It is about the purpose it serves to the community. Café S.O.U.L. is a special and unique place.

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Car: It is and I encourage you to keep on keeping on. Now, as we all now PhenomenallyCHOSEN. is a ministry that is big on testimonies; you did express that you have a testimony, do you mind sharing?

Cou: I had a testimony I wanted to share about never giving up. 2013 was an eye opening year for me that deepened my relationship with God. February 2013, I had been terminated from my job I had for almost 6 1/2 years. It was then I realized that I had tied my identity to that job. I was very depressed and angry at the same time. But there was an unction that I had to keep pressing. I was about to graduate with my Masters in May and I could not afford to let all that hard work go down the drain. God gave me the energy to complete my Master’s program and walk across that stage. I graduated in May and still had no income since terminated from my job. I had to sell items out the trunk of my car to go to interviews and get simple things like toiletries. I became an insurance agent; but that was commissioned based. Not guaranteed money. As months progressed, God gave me peace and joy beyond understanding. I was taking the time to breathe and relax. Enjoy nature at my favorite park India Point Park. I enjoyed spending time with my friends and family. I truly had to rely solely on God as my provider. That corporate job that I tied my identity to, was only a temporary means of God supplying my monetary needs. Here we come in September and STILL no income, but I had my joy. A week after my birthday the blessings started coming through, un-employment called me to get my bank account number to pay me back-pay of un-employment, I sold my first policy as an insurance agent, someone I just met blessed me with money to pay back rent and then I was finally offered a temp job. I went 8 months with no income to pay my personal rent, business rent, car note, phone bill, electricity etc. By the GRACE of God and only by the grace of God was I able to not pay those important means of living. I say all of this to say that, when it seems like nothing is going to work out and you cannot see how you are going to make it or survive, know that God is the ULTIMATE provider monetarily and in grace/favor!

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Car: I know that testimony can and will impact someone. That is a powerful testimony, thank you for being willing to share. Jesus is truly amazing, opening doors when we need it! So I am a fan of music; I noticed that you really enjoy AfroBeats and you seem faithful attending the sessions and participating, what about it do you enjoy? It seems like a fun way to get and stay healthy. Do you have any tips for artists, writers or people in general as far as self-care and healthy living habits?

Cou: I love AfroBeat genre music because it gets me hyped and excited. AfroBeat Fit is an amazing class owned by an amazing woman of God, Kemi. She believes in me and works with me. That combination above is what makes it easy to want to stay committed. The results are amazing to. Our last check-in I lost an inch in each thigh, 2 inches on my waist and 1 ¼ in my hips. My reason for wanting to get fit and active again is because I knew 2017 was going to be a busy year for me. I needed to prepare to be physically healthy to keep up with the demands of all that I do. It is important to engage in exercise not only for your physical being but for your mental health as well. Self-care is needed because we cannot keep giving what we don’t have. We have to keep building ourselves and investing in our health so we may live longer (as the Lord wills) to keep giving to others.

Car: Do you have any words of encouragement for our readers?

Cou: If you have a dream/vision in your heart. Pursue it!! Do not worry about what resources you have. You start with what you have and the Lord will provide the rest. He will introduce you to the right people at the right time and the money to get what you need will come also. Habakkuk 2:2, write that vision down, make it plain. When you write down your goals, you are held accountable to make those visions come into fruition. So grab a journal and get to penning those dreams and visions. You will see that they will start to un-fold before your eyes.

Car: That beautiful. Do you have words of encouragement for the women out there who may have big goals, busy lives and are still trying to find out how to accomplish it all?

Cou: The above advise I would also encourage for future entrepreneur women. You can accomplish it all. To whom much is given much is required Luke 12:36. So yes it will take long hours sometimes, it will take sacrifice and sometimes isolation. But if it is something you truly desire and God granted you that dream, pursue it wholeheartedly and aggressively. Protect it like it is your child. Do not let anyone discourage you from your dreams and when you feel like giving  up, try to look at the bigger picture beyond yourself

Car: Thank you Countess B. for talking with me and being willing to share a piece of you to the readers. I wish you the very best and I wish you success. Keep shining queen! Thank you all for tuning into this interview. I hope and pray that someone was blessed.

Be sure to connect with her on social media!

Twitter: @CafeSOUL2009
IG: @CafeSOUL2009
FB: CafeSoul Page / Café SOUL
Website: http://www.cafe-soul.org