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“Natural Beauty” Photography Exhibit of Kenya in Harlem June 19 – 29


Yvonne Rubie“Natural Beauty”, a soothing pictorial exhibition created by photographer and healthcare advocate Yvonne Rubie, MPH, will take place from June 19 – 29 at Harlem Besame Restaurant, 2070 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (off 124th Street).

“Natural Beauty” showcases serene photographs like zebras grazing on a Kenyan plain taken by Rubie during her recent journeys. Rubie was born in Jamaica and had lived in West Africa as an importer. “Photographing landscapes, sunrise, and sunsets can be therapeutic and empowering,” she explained. “It has the ability to soothe our senses because it conjures up different emotions in us. Photographs of wildlife can also have the same effect when our focus is on the love, nurturing and family ties exhibited by many species.”

Rubie is known to a generation of children as the “Huggy Bean Doll Lady” for creating the popular award-Natural Beauty by Yvonne Rubiewinning mass produced Black character doll and book series. Still, Rubie continues her mission of positive imagery and family entrepreneurship by holding the “Natural Beauty” exhibit at Harlem Besame, a Latin and Soul Fusion restaurant co-owned by her son Osei Rubie and former husband Bernardo Rubie. After leaving the doll company, she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Management at York College and a Masters degree in Urban Public Health at Hunter College. Motivated by education and health care, Rubie began to balance her work as a Hunter College administrator with volunteering at Brooklyn’s House of the Lord Church’s outreach in public health advocacy.
“I take pride in being the Director of Health and Wellness at the House of the Lord Churches, where Reverend Herbert Daughtry is the National Presiding Minister,” she said. “I am also the coordinator of the Ministry of Health and Wellbeing for our local church in Brooklyn.”

In 2005, Rubie was diagnosed with breast cancer. It inspired her to use the experience as a teaching tool about the disease, patient advocacy and to reinforce the reward of seeking a spiritual direction in times of crisis and taking proactive steps.

Yvonne Rubie, second from right, meets President Obama at historic 2009 White House Forum on Health Reform

Yvonne Rubie, second from right, meets President Obama at historic 2009 White House Forum on Health Reform

Her healthcare advocacy has thrust Rubie into the national spotlight. In 2009, she made national news. She was selected to be one of seven community health advocates from across the U.S. invited to the White House to participate in President Obama’s first health summit “The White House Forum on Health Reform.” “It was a distinct honor to have been chosen to participate in that landmark event and to have met President Obama,” recalled Rubie.

The PBS series “America’s Walking” profiled Rubie for coordinating a group of friends to train for and race walk in both the Hawaii Marathon and the New York City Marathons. Rev. Herbert Daughtry also discussed nutrition’s impact on a healthy body in the segment.

Rubie finds taking photographs during her travels relaxing. She wants viewers to feel the tranquility of the photographs in “Natural Beauty.” “Health includes all aspects of our being. What we see can at times either assault or soothe our senses,” said Rubie, who is now Director of Academic Testing at CUNY’s Guttman Community College. “Positive imagery is a pathway to our overall health empowerment.”
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