The Charleston Area Black Caucus

Speaker Press Release

Frank Tortorici


[email protected]

Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad, 

Noted Relationships Expert on Racism’s Impact on Black Intimacy, to be a Featured Speaker at TEDxCharleston 2024

[Charleston, SC – April 9] – Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad, international speaker and author, will illuminate the TEDxCharleston 2024 stage on April 17 at the Charleston Music Hall from 12:30 – 5PM. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature local voices, performers and TED Talks videos under the theme “Uncharted.”  Dr. Jeannelle will speak on how racism negatively impacts the emotional and mental health of Black couples.

Launched in 2009, TEDx is a program of locally organized events that bring the community together to share a TED-like experience. Some of the best talks from TEDx events have gone on to be featured on and garnered millions of views from audiences across the globe. 

The purpose of TEDxCharleston is to gather inspiring people from the local community with diverse ideas to share the many untold stories of Charleston’s thinkers, visionaries, and fascinating teachers. The event provides a setting where new connections, partnerships and opportunities can be forged, offering a platform for Ideas Worth Spreading for consideration and action.

“TEDxCharleston prides itself on curating a lineup of powerful, impactful and inspiring speakers who represent a broad drainage of viewpoints, experiences, and expertise. Our 2024 event features a host of high impact individuals from the Lowcountry who bring thought provoking views on critical issues facing various aspects of our community. We welcome Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad as a valuable contributor to the dialogues that will take place at our event,” said Mike Sottak, organizer for the 2024 event.

Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad has more than two decades of experience addressing systemic racism and its unfortunate ramifications. She holds a BA in organizational communications, a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. The author of, Into-Me-See (River Grove Books), her work navigates the complexities of the psychological effects of racism, offering insights and solutions for overcoming the challenges that contribute to high divorce rates among Black families. Into-Me-See explores the challenges that Black couples have maintaining intimacy.

As a South Carolina state licensed supervisor, an adjunct professor at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and a Practicum Supervisor at Liberty and Capella Universities, Dr. Jeannelle aims to help develop a new generation of culturally competent clinical counselors.  She specializes in the intersection of race and mental health, particularly related to the Black experience, the history of American slavery, and its influence on Black Intimacy. Dr. Jeannelle believes that “the greatest generational wealth that can be bestowed is mental and emotional wellness.”

TEDxCharleston sponsors include Google, The Post & Courier and Carolina One Real Estate.

For more information about TEDxCharleston and to buy tickets, please visit or contact the Charleston Music Hall box office at 


About TEDxCharleston= independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The TED2024 Conference takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia along with TEDNext held in Atlanta, Georgia.

TED’s media initiatives include, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; and TEDBooks, short e-books on powerful ideas. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at , or on Facebook at

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit

Women In Wellness: Dr Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

You do not have to have all the answers; you simply need to know where to find them.

Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad.

Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad is a highly respected psychotherapist, licensed family therapist, and accomplished author with over two decades of experience in relationship and life coaching. Her extensive background, including a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision, has uniquely positioned her as an expert in transforming relationships, mental health, enhancing communication skills, understanding intimacy, and improving conflict resolution.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Igrew up in the Black church. It was my safe haven. My parents were ministers and ran Marriage Excellence and the Finance ministries. They counseled couples and individuals often. Periodically someone would approach them and express their gratitude for helping save their marriage or teaching them to establish and grow wealth.

I grew up dissecting and analyzing emotions, observing people, learning to be strategic in my emotions, setting aside assumptions, and seeking reality and acceptance. I learned to formulate an action plan through the lens developing my social, moral, reputational, and financial capital.

As a young adult, I recall thinking, why didn’t more people express these sentiments and why did they return to counseling so often. What I realized then was the we cultural have an incredible grasp on spiritual connections. We will get grounded by putting our feet in the sand, hug a tree to connect with nature and even lay at the altar before God seeking guidance. These are all great spiritual practices. Yet the practical steps to communicating or demonstrating empathy or resolving conflict escape us. When I look back at this time in my life I realize that this is the space where my path was illuminated to gain greater understanding of the psychology behind relationships. I decided that it made sense to view relationships from the systemic lens of the life span. Thus, I did my Bachelors in Organizational Communication, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling and my Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. I narrowed my focus on the African American clients living with anxiety and depression and began to study racisms impact on black intimacy.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

As a Ph.D. candidate, I faced challenges when my dissertation on “Quantitative Study of Counselor Cultural Competence, Implicit Racial Bias, and Race” did not align with the views of my professors. It took three mentors before I found one who understood and supported my research. Her advice to shift my theoretical orientation from critical race theory to multicultural and social justice counseling competencies proved invaluable. Little did I know that a year later, the world would be embroiled in a debate around critical race theory. Despite the frustration, I learned two valuable lessons: no one can take my education away, and with the credentials I have earned, no one can dictate the kind of research I can do.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Community impact has always been a top priority for me. As an entrepreneur, I knew I needed to focus on self-care and avoid burnout to be effective in the community. However, I was convinced by a colleague that accepting insurance would increase my impact. I spent hours applying and getting accepted to insurance panels, and even hired someone to process insurance claims. But what was most disconcerting, was that my clients who paid my cash price were making more progress than those who had a $13 or $20 co-pay. The co-payers were just not doing the work nor seeing results. Yet, they will say, “I tried therapy.”

It took me a year and a half to realize that success cannot be measured by someone else’s tools. My mother used to say, “do not let them round out your edges.” I learned to honor my purpose and plan, and that sometimes the path to impact is not what we expect. In the end, I rectified the financial damage to my business and regained my focus on making a positive impact in my community.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Being a licensed marriage and family therapist, I understand the intricacies a of deep intimate exchange between two people who love, adore, and desire one another but on most days can’t seem to muster the fluidity of affection to create and sustain intimate connection. In my book- Into-Me-See: Mastering Black Intimacy for the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted; games; subscriptions and in all my opportunities to speak to larger audiences, I teach couples to flourish in relationships. After having spent years helping couples resolve their intimacy mishaps and explore their intimacy needs, I am motivated to unveil the many untold truths regarding the myths and realities of intimacy between Black couples. Despite centuries of negative narratives about the intimacy of Black couples, I use these medium to reveal what sometimes limits a couple’s desire in order to actualize healthy intimacy.

Without harboring the desire to demonizing anyone, I expose unspoken truths about the challenges to healthy intimate relationships. These challenges have always been there, but because no one is willing to talk with unrelenting honesty and depths of emotion, attaining complete intimacy remains an illusion in many relationships. As James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced will be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Intimacy is a desire couples are mostly unprepared to discuss, yet one they are in desperate need to live. It is oxygen to a relationship. I hope In-To-Me-See accelerates the innate desire of Black couples toward intimacy.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

1 . I have been quoted as saying The greatest generational wealth we can bestow is mental and emotional wellness.” As entrepreneurs, investors, and property owners, we often focus on building financial wealth for our children. However, it’s equally important to build wealth in our relationships with them.

When our children are born, we have the opportunity to shape their lives and create a healthy environment for them to grow. This includes allowing them to have a voice and explore the world around them. It’s important to provide appropriate discipline and accountability while also allowing them to express emotions and discuss thoughts, even if they don’t align with our beliefs and values.

As a parent, my moral and social standards remain, but I always try to understand my children’s perspectives. By creating a safe space for my children to express themselves, I can help them develop mental and emotional wellness that will benefit them for years to come. Hopefully ensuring that they will not squander the financial privilege they gain.

2 . I created an acronym- AWAFSYST — Agree with a fool, save yourself some time. I choose to disengage from foolish arguments. It’s not about agreeing, it’s about conserving my energy for more productive conversations.

3 . What I want exists and I will not stop until it manifests! Tenacity, perseverance, endurance are key to manifestation.

4 . Before you judge me, walk 100 miles in my shoes. If you still desire to judge me, at least you are 100 miles away. Surround yourself with good people who will provide resolution without judgement, guilt or shame.

5 . I lack the fear gene. It is the only lack I will allow in my life. Fear is a choice. Moving towards what paralyzes us can be scary, but it can also lead to great opportunities. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should jump into dangerous situations like getting in a cage with a lion! Instead, it means facing our fears and taking calculated risks to achieve our goals. What’s something that has been holding you back? How can you take a step towards overcoming it today?

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Eradicate racism. African-Americans have experienced an immense amount of intergenerational trauma. Because it is ingrained in the systemic, structural, and institutional levels of America, this trauma continues to have a tremendous impact on the mental, emotional, and physical health of African Americans. It leaves us feeling frustrated, humiliated, distant, provoked, confused, eager, dismayed, shocked, sensitive, abandoned, powerless, embarrassed, betrayed, hurt, vulnerable, disappointed, appalled, horrified, unloved, hesitant and forgotten. Depression, Anxiety and suicidal ideations and completions are at an all-time high in our community. Racism greatly reduces our ability to be intimately connected through Into-Me-See. African-Americans have the highest rate of divorce at 30% Across America, the highest rate of divorce across the South- 23%, and the highest rate of divorce across the black cross religion- 19%. Eradicating racism will benefit everyone. A loss of our presence is a loss of our innovation, resilience, creativity, and leadership. We enrich the familial, cultural, social, economic, and political tapestries of the community and it is crucial to America not just for surviving, but thriving.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. You will lose relationships the more successful you become. I would not have stifled my growth to wait for those who truly could not take the journey with me.
  2. Your cup should remain full- you need to service others out of the overflow. My field is one of service to others. My life used to be similar. I believe when the Bible says my cup runneth over, God intended for us to give from the external overflow as we live on the self-care of the internal contents. I think many people think it too noble to take care of everyone but themselves. We somehow have come to deem it selfish.
  3. Work within your circle of control. The number of things I have control over is very small and the more I focus on those, the less anxiety I experience.
  4. It’s necessary to compartmentalize personal life and work life. When they are enmeshed, you lose the value of self.
  5. You do not have to have all the answers; you simply need to know where to find them.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health through intimacy. What I mean is Into-Me-See — — the ability to look beyond the physicality and stereotypical characteristics that are assessed for a person and delve deeper into the intimate world of their cognitive, emotional, and spiritual being. Every encounter we have with another is a relationship. Into-Me-See allows us to connect in safety and relinquish judgement.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

Benefits of Mindfulness and Synchronized Breathing Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad

In the bustling pace of modern life, moments of true connection can feel fleeting. We text rather than talk, rush rather than relax, and often forget the fundamental joys of companionship. 

It’s important to consciously step back from the digital noise and omnipresent tasks to truly appreciate the person beside us. This narrative isn’t just romantic; it’s a critical piece of our well-being. Turning towards mindful practices, particularly with our partner, opens a portal not just to better health but to a profound emotional closeness that only deepens with time.

The Power of Simple Gestures

Physical touch, the language of comfort that transcends words, has a transformative power in our relationships. A simple hug, the act of holding hands—these are not just gestures of affection but are foundational to the human experience of connection. When we engage in these acts, we’re doing more than just touching—we’re communicating. Research has found that physical touch releases oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” which plays a significant role in bonding. It can lower cortisol levels, reduce blood pressure, and elevate our mood. In a relationship, these moments of touch are the building blocks of trust and safety. They are the silent affirmations of ‘I am here with you.’

The Effects of Synchronized Breathing

Synchronized breathing is more than a shared experience; it’s a dance of mutual rhythm that emerges when two people are deeply connected. Imagine sitting with your partner, eyes closed, hands clasped, and as you both inhale and exhale, there’s a harmonious rise and fall of chests, a silent symphony that plays to the beat of your shared existence.

This synchronization happens naturally to some extent, as individuals spending time together often subconsciously match their breathing patterns. However, when this synchronization is intentional, it can lead to a multitude of benefits. Research suggests that when partners consciously align their breathing, they may also synchronize their heart rates and brain waves, leading to heightened empathy and understanding. It creates a feedback loop of sorts – as one partner’s physiology aligns with the other’s, they both become more emotionally attuned and responsive.

From a psychological perspective, synchronized breathing can enhance feelings of unity and togetherness, providing a sense of security and mutual support. It’s a form of nonverbal communication that says, “We are in this together; your presence is acknowledged and mirrored by my own.” This can be particularly powerful in moments of distress or conflict, providing a tangible reminder of the partnership’s strength and resilience.

Incorporating synchronized breathing into your routine doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as taking a few moments each day to sit with your partner, hand in hand, and breathe together. With each inhale and exhale, you send a message of togetherness and solidarity. Over time, this practice can strengthen the emotional fabric of your relationship, fostering a deep and abiding connection that transcends the spoken word.

IG- @drjeannelle 

TikTok- @dr.jeannellelmft

The Charleston Area Black Caucus

Charleston, SC (November 15, 2023) – proudly announces that Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad has been honored by the Charleston Area Black Caucus with the esteemed 40 Professionals to Know Award. This recognition underscores Dr. Jeannelle’s exceptional healthcare contributions and significant impact on the Charleston community.

As an author, speaker, psychotherapist, and licensed family therapist supervisor with over 20 years of experience in relationship and life coaching, Dr. Jeannelle is celebrated for her dedication to revitalizing, rehabilitating, and repairing the commitment to authentic living, fostering healthy relationships for individuals, families, and couples globally. Dr. Jeannelle has assisted hundreds of clients in overcoming intimacy challenges through her group private practice, TMI Counseling and Coaching.

Dr. Jeannelle’s book, "Into-Me-See," delves into the cultural and personal factors influencing intimacy in Black couples, and her line of products tailored to the BIPOC community enhances sexual wellness. The 40 Professionals to Know Award recognizes her exemplary skills, innovation, and leadership, emphasizing her passion for overall well-being and emotional health.

Antigonie Jones, Director of Community Relations, stated, "It is with great honor that the Charleston Area Black Caucus recognizes Dr. Jeannelle Perkins-Muhammad as one of the 40 Professionals to Know. Each honoree, having a significant effect on the advancement of various industries, has displayed a positive community impact within the local black citizenry at large."

The Charleston Area Black Caucus will celebrate Dr. Jeannelle and other recipients at a special awards ceremony on December 10, 2023, at the Exchange Hall (Ladson Fairgrounds). This event promises to be a memorable occasion, bringing together influential professionals, community leaders, and supporters to acknowledge and applaud the exceptional contributions of the awardees.  Reserve your tickets here.