There are not too many people who haven’t heard of the timeless 1995 movie Waiting to Exhale—with the female cast members being Angela Bassett, the late great Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine. The movie tells a story of how these four close female friends navigate through a myriad of ups and downs and keep each other on point through it all. One of the stand out scenes is when Angela Bassett’s character (Bernadine Harris) is fed up with her cheating husband. She sets his beautiful Mercedes on fire with some of his cherished belongings inside. To add insult to injury, Bernadine walks away in a prancing cavalier fashion, allowing her body language to etch that noted scene in the minds of viewers forever.
The movie’s finale details the ladies at peace and having moved on to a better place within their individual and collective lives. The scene shows them all together de-stressed, laughing, smiling and having great new things to share with each other, while positively being bonded together even more, after their storms. It is simply priceless.
They had clearly ‘exhaled.’ In real life, Kentucky based founder/CEO Charla Young of ‘The Power to Exhale’ took a few cues of the greatness that comes from fighting through life’s ups and downs and has defined the uncut power and value associated with a sisterhood. Or as they say ‘Sistars’ because each woman is a sister and a star in her own right.
Power to Exhale is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky with chapters throughout the United States and internationally in Sydney, Australia, Montego Bay, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands. Chapter expansions in the U.S. and other countries are always in the works and strong as she is, Charla cannot do it alone. Teamwork, heart and dedication is necessary and each chapter has its own Power Diva (in place of presidents), local and national Facebook and other social media pages, to help the Sistars stay motivated and informed of community and social events within the Exhale structure. The Nashville Chapter Power Divas are Sonya Cotham and Jackie Stewart.
The current membership fee to join is $20 for an entire year and incentives are in place to help move the membership drives forward, worldwide. Goodies and perks of being confirmed members of ‘Power to Exhale’ include the monthly magazine which comes in every member’s mailbox (Nicole L. Wade is the managing editor); the sassy and beautiful gear, like t-shirts, hats, etc.; autographed copies of Charla Young’s new book Life’s Lemons Make Damn Good Lemonade; and much more.
“We are super excited about major plans for Power to Exhale in 2016. Beginning next year, we will become a full fledged nonprofit organization. In conjunction with this move, we will launch our new Power Up University. The university, available online and through physical classes, will help women in the areas of emotional intelligence, financial literacy, nutrition and exercise and life skills. We are also launching Power Girls and wrapping our efforts around young girls from the ages of six to 17. We will help these young ladies with life skills and nurturing their gifts,” said Young.
Relax, relate and release in local and international get away excursions; invite members and guests to ‘Exhale’; and just have fun together amid a positive environment and a no drama zone (yes, they exist). But the sweet icing on the proverbial cake is the altruism and charitable endeavors of this group, year round. Women from all walks of life, social, economic status and race are welcome to join and hopefully will contribute to one woman’s amazing vision that has expanded the globe, one chapter and one ‘Sistar’ at time.
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