Dee Lewis and Kentonna Smith are founders of 50 Shades of Red, Every Woman Has A Story. Dee was inspired watching Preachers of L.A. as she witnessed Myesha Chaney sharing on her ministry through her organization, Hiding Behind the Lipstick. In that moment the title came to Dee, 50 Shades of Red, Every Woman Has A Story. The next morning Dee did a little research and found out there were indeed 50 shades of red. She shared this idea with her friend Kentonna and from their they took off.
Dee and Kentonna became friends through Dee’s sister. Dee and Kentonna grew close by working together in ministry. From their, the bond grew between the two of them. Their friendship and anointing for intercession is what helps them to keep going and reaching as many women as God allows them to reach.
They worked with group of twenty women as their core group who would participate in their events and programs centered around women stories. They were able to create their mission statement. They are a committed group of women joined together with one heart to encourage women to walk in dignity and respect, empower women to overcome life’s adversity and embrace women as they go through transformation, achieve restoration and obtain freedom. From this mission statement they have developed the nickname, the 3 EW. The nickname points to encouraging, empowering and embracing women.
Their first event was in September of 2015. They invited Myesha Chaney, from Hiding Behind the Lipstick and Preachers of L.A., as well as Tajuan McCarty, who has a program called The WellHouse in Alabama. Dee took a chance and sent an email to invitation to Myesha, not thinking much would come of it. The next day she received an email from Myesha’s assistant stating that Myesha was interested in learning more about the organization and event. Before they knew it the ladies had booked the very person who had inspired them to get 50 Shades of Red going.
For this event they collaborated with the Domestic Violence Prevention Center operating under the umbrella of Lighthouse Community Center, the Criminal Justice Department of Lynchburg College and the Coalition of HIV Awareness and Preparation. They received donations from so many, including Revlon donating tubes of red lipstick for them to giveaway. Their second event, An Evening of Personal Elegance, they had a red carpet for the women in the community. The red carpet has become their signature. The women expect to arrive and be able to take photos. They can dress in any attire that makes them feel beautiful, whether sneakers and jeans or formal gowns.
Not only do they host inspirational events, they also have developed a course to help women as well. The Journey to Forgiveness class is a free, six week session where they teach women how to walk out forgiveness. “We teach them how to overcome their hatred and bitterness. As women we tend to hide things in the compartments of our hearts. Through this Journey to Forgiveness class we walk through the scriptures,” Kentonna shared as she described the course. The course offers women an opportunity to work past the pain of different things that have occurred in their lives and obtain freedom. The space is non-judgmental and private. Nothing is allowed to be shared via social media or other outlets of sharing information with the public. Because the women trust the space and participate in the program they gain perspective on their own lives and learn more about who they are and what they need God to help them to heal from. “The Journey to Forgiveness has taken off like wildfire.
“We are revamping the current six week session to a three week session for first ladies called ‘First Ladies Lead: Journey to Forgiveness’,” mentioned Dee. The class has done so well with others that there are first ladies from various churches in their area who would like to come together and be challenged to allow God to search their heart as they discover those areas of unforgiveness. “They have mentioned that they don’t feel effective in ministry knowing that they have things that they need to deal with. This course can help them deal with or at least reveal the areas in their lives where unforgiveness may be,” said Kentonna. The hope is that the women who attend will take what they learn in the course and share it with the women in their churches.
Neither Dee or Kentonna are first ladies, they have been involved in ministry. They believe they are called to women and as soon as they accepted the calling on their lives God began to open doors for them to move forward with 50 Shades of Red. 50 Shades of Red has taken to the air waves by launching “The 50 Shades of Red Show” on the radio via Tony Camm Radio434. You can download the Radio434 app via Google Playstore. Their first recording was on May 17, 2018.
When asked what wisdom they would like to share with readers about launching out and doing what God has given them to do Kentonna stated, “Your passion has to align with your purpose. Don’t let the naysayers or finances be an obstacle.” They truly have witnessed things falling in place for them when it comes to 50 shades of Red. “When we did our first event we didn’t have a dime in the bank. Every need that we had, God opened the door and sent somebody to provide it,” shared Dee. They want other women to understand that when God puts a purpose and passion within you that you should act on faith and obedience and allow God to prove himself to you as he reveals the vision that he gave you coming to past.