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The poor rich girl: Ceandrys E. Black shares her heartbreaking childhood in ‘From War to Raw’  

Photo Credit: R.A.W. InternationalEmpowering Everyday Women Magazine // Books // Features

Share Oprah Winfrey’s mega church melodrama “Greenleaf” may elicit eye rolls and criticism from a large sector of the faith community, but one woman knows what it’s like to live out a real-life drama.

The scandalous secrets and lies most often associated with fictitious scripts and actors was 100% true during the childhood of Ceandrys E. Black.

In her new book From War to Raw: Live a Life of Authenticity and Purpose, just released September 23rd, the first-time self-published author strips away all the pretense and gets down to the gritty truth. She was a poor rich girl: rich materially, bankrupt emotionally.

Growing up, however, she and her family appeared to have it all. They were a part of New Orleans’ elite class of rich, influential families, living in an upscale neighborhood, with a picture-perfect life ripped from the pages of a magazine. Her daddy was a big time Baptist preacher with a successful construction business, who shared the gospel on Sunday, while wading knee-deep in scandal the rest of the days of the week.

While Ceandrys, a God-taught musician, was called a “musical genius” and “God’s prodigy” at the age of seven by Tony Brown’s Journal, a popular nationally syndicated television series, she was totally miserable. The limousine rides, televised interviews, booked calendars, and droves of admirers didn’t mend her broken heart. No amount of success publicly could mitigate her misery privately.

Ceandrys heard Mommy and Daddy fighting constantly and wanted to hide from the yelling that bounced off the walls, and ceilings, tormenting her. Yet, there was no place of refuge, especially not when, on numerous occasions, Daddy’s mistresses called the house, cursed Ceandrys out and divulged sordid details of their scandalous affairs.

But the women weren’t the only objects of Daddy’s love affairs. The wayward pastor, who verbally abused Ceandrys’s mother, was in love with the bottle, too. Intoxicated by lust and alcohol, and overtaken by his personal demons, Ceandrys’s hero failed her. The ugly reality of her father’s true character—or lack thereof—fragmented their family and crushed her spirit.

‘From War to Raw’ by Ceandrys E. Black, with a foreword by “Preachers of Atlanta” star Real Talk Kim, is a painful and transparent true story, mixed with practical principles to help others find wholeness, and courage to embrace their authenticity (Photo Credit: R.A.W. International)

Fractured and fragmented, she grew into a broken woman, standing tall in the eyes of others, but shattered internally. 

In From War to Raw, the co-pastor of Living the Word Ministries in Honolulu, Hawaii—a ministry Ceandrys leads with her husband Raymond Black—puts it all out in the open to free herself and others who may be carrying dark secrets. Refusing to go on pretending and hiding behind a mask of perfection, Ceandrys exorcises her own demons through the pages of the book and hopes to free many others through her story.

From War to Raw is an emotional ride to be sure, but there are also substantive truths to be gained from the sad tale.

With such a sensitive subject, where did the founder of the non-profit organization, RAW (Releasing Authentic Warriors/Women) find the courage to be genuine?

“I stopped being self-centered,” she tells EEW Magazine. “I focused on others around me and how my own transparency and freedom could possibly inspire others to become free to walk in their authenticity.”


Before she found it, Ceandrys had to do something fundamental to get free of her shackles and that was, get real with herself first. “In the past, I wasn’t very good at dealing with scars,” she admits. “I remember when I began to talk to my husband, who is a counselor, I had to trust him. When I did, he helped me understand my past and how it was affecting my present, and potentially my future.”

Ceandrys admits that being authentic may draw criticism; yet, she believes it’s all worth it in the end (Photo Credit: R.A.W. International)Talking about the emotional and mental trauma Ceandrys faced during her upbringing, unveiled some hard truths. Though the process was grueling, dealing with her issues was therapeutic. So Ceandrys went on to earn her life-coaching degree from Liberty University, which better equipped her to help both herself and others.

I believe my training helped me see we all have negative experiences, but it’s all about perspective. We have to use unpleasant situations as fuel for our destiny, to help us be better and do greater, and more positive things,” she says.

For those struggling with a difficult past, who desire to get rid of baggage, be free, and live authentically like Ceandrys, aside from getting a copy of From War to Raw, she recommends being introspective.

“Begin to look inside yourself and be honest about who you really are. Come out of denial. That’s the first step. Initially, there will be walls of resistance you have built up,” she explains. “They will begin to weaken over time. Light will shine in some very dark places and you will find voids you may have not even recognized were there. You might even feel naked and exposed. But if you keep being honest and real through the uncomfortable phase, you will eventually experience freedom, joy and new life.”

 Some may feel skeptical about digging around in old wounds and venturing into their own closet full of skeletons. But “Preachers of Atlanta” star and Church of the Harvest pastor, Kimberly Pothier, best known as “Real Talk Kim” is co-signing Ceandrys’s message and method.

Today, the child prodigy turned adult women’s empowerment leader, smiles from the inside out (Photo Credit: R.A.W. International)“This book written by my friend, Ceandrys Black is so transparent and needed, right now, at this exact time,” says Real Talk Kim, the tell-it-like-it-is preacher whose social media posts are regularly read and shared all over the web. She wrote the foreword for From War to Raw.

“Society has made us believe that it is better to fake it until we make it, however, we are not making it. So many are walking around with a mask on,” Real Talk Kim continues. “We are so busy living bound by our past traumatic experiences while protecting people that didn’t even protect us. We have gotten in the habit of hiding our flaws, lying to the world about who we are, and lying to ourselves until we believe it.”

But the courageousness of Ceandrys is helping women across the nation reject the lies and boldly walk in their truth—something Tamara Bennett, senior pastor of This Is Pentecost Fellowship Ministries (TIP), applauds.

“I’m impressed with Ceandrys’s boldness and bravery in addressing uncomfortable situations,” she says. “Her transparency makes it easy for the reader to unmask themselves.”

Though the message is rapidly spreading, Ceandrys, who also owns her own R.A.W. perfume line and bath and body collection, warns folks seriously considering jumping on the transparency train: know what you’re getting into.

“When you open yourself up to honesty, you also open yourself up to some judgment, ridicule and misperceptions about you,” Ceandrys warns, adding, “That’s okay.”

According to her, “Honesty will free you and your bravery in opening up will free others. The positive far outweighs the negative.”

For Ceandrys, who works to assist women in abusive relationships and those who have been lured into sex trafficking, says her ministry is more important than her personal comfort. She is all about empowering women, helping them tap into their divine potential and living authentically, despite what critics may say.

 “I have finally learned to silence the thoughts that are destructive and the voices that are critical, and simply be led by the spirit of God. This is what leads to liberty and empowerment," she says.

Ceandrys isn’t a poor rich girl anymore. She is now living an abundant life in every way because she has chosen to move past her past, do the hard work of healing, and embrace her truth, come what may.

“I am no longer fighting a war inside,” she says. “I am at peace being raw—a real, authentic, woman and a warrior in the Kingdom of God.”

To order your copy of From War to Raw, visit her website.


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