phoenix INFERNO – a blazing fire!  Yes that is how I would describe her. Illuminating! Noteworthy! Fearless! Ebullient! Natural! Outstanding! A 37-year-old wife, vocalist, spoken word artist, host, producer, traveler and activist,  La Shaun phoenix Kotaran is INFERNO!

I had the pleasure of seeing her perform this past weekend and it was incredible to see her interact with the crowd as if each one of us were the only one in the room. It was a true gift to see the crowd pour into her their love, energy and excitement. She gave her all and in return, the crowd gave theirs. It was a rhythmic dance of triumph, growth and healing!

Through dialogue and song, phoenix shared parts of her life – what she has had to over come and how those struggles have helped her become the women she is today. “I am an ARTIST, honey.  I encompass the entire definition of that word, and it feels good.”

This confidence and surety didn’t happen over night and without bumps and bruises. There were some lessons to be learned and hurdles to overcome.

“More than anything, I’ve had to overcome passive-aggressiveness.  I’ve had this hidden fear that if I expressed anything contrary to a person or situation, that I would be left behind…abandoned.  Fear of abandonment often made me conceal my true feelings and, oftentimes, harbor resentment.  My work ethic, my expectations in relationships, even my need for more flexibility on my job were all met with an anxiety that if I spoke my truth, I would be dismissed.  I’ve taken some really huge steps to rectify that behavior.  Namely, being honest with myself and making myself a priority.  I want to be authentic in all of my relationships, so I’ve learned to speak up.  My life is much healthier now because of it.”

Feeling dishonest and unoriginal, as a result of the passive-aggressive season in her life, phoenix wasn’t living her most authentic version of herself but that tugging from deep within from the Spirit that resides in each of us, led her to understand the power of her divine self.

She now thoroughly understands and lives by one of the Universal Laws – the Law of Attraction -the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. I was attracting resentment, dishonesty and negative circumstances because I was afraid to be fully honest with myself and others.” 

Faith and spirituality are a major part of phoenix and completely rule her everyday life. “God wants us to activate the God inside of us…wants us to balance the human and the divine.  I don’t want to get so stuck in my humanness that I forget that there is divinity inside of me.  And, I don’t want to be so stuck in my divinity that I forget that I’m human.  I want to love people, trees, animals, and myself.  I want to find kindness in everything.  We – people – are so attracted to all of the crazy stuff that happens.  So engrossed in the negative.  I need my air clear of that.  All good things are mine – and I’ve come to expect only good.  Challenges happen, but they are for GOOD.

Where there is faith and spirituality, like most of us, phoenix is not immune to the crazy-life stuff that always tests our faith – the devil playing his part in our life, to add confusion, self-doubt and fear; to make us believe we can’t accomplish all that the Creator has placed in us to accomplish – that we can’t walk in our destiny.   “My faith is often tested when it comes to my own abilities.  I fear these talents.  The weight of them!  The responsibility of them!  In contrast, it is that very same faith that makes me hopeful and empowers me to move forward.”

And to move forward is what she is doing in an unforgettable way. To see phoenix perform is to see phoenix walking in her destiny!

She will be the first to tell you the importance of having people in your circle that not only believe in you but that support and encourage you in your journey. She knows oh to well, that sometimes you have to cut people from your circle or as she puts it, tell them to Swerve – her new hit single inspired by the need to remove people from her inner circle.

Those closest to you will walk your journey with you. They will help you in your healing and growth process or they will destroy and retard it. They will tell you the truth and protect you or they will lie and harm you. You get to choose who is in your inner circle. You get to choose who walks your journey with you. It was also my sister circle – who are some of the realest women I know – who helped me get through my biggest challenge.  I don’t surround myself with “Yes” people.  These women are swift to celebrate and swift to offer reproof when correction is needed.”

She has solidified her inner circle with people that inspire her the most. They walk her journey with her, they protect her and they inspire her. “Outside of my husband, Corisa Nalls, Scheherazade Parrish, Elizabeth Whittaker and Tannisha Clash most influence me as a woman.  They are the iron that sharpens me. 

There will always be obstacles, roadblocks and problems that arise in your life. They are designed to push you, stretch you, and make you better, stronger and wiser. They are God’s way of preparing you for your greatness. To transform you in the person God intended you to be! Phoenix has tackled obstacles, overcome roadblocks and solved problems. To know her is to know of her transformation. “I am living the most authentic life right now.  I feel damn good that I’ve been transformed.”

No matter what you go through on your journey, always remember the lessons you learn from them, the knowledge you gain and the strength you build. These are the foundational tools needed for greatness. “Honestly, I’m paying attention and have an awareness that there is a lesson to be learned from every experience.  I expect to be transformed every day. Greatest lesson though, is the one that I’ve learned from my friend Tylonn.  He says, never be surprised by anything that humans do.  They evolve, they are finicky, their moods change – don’t be surprised by them.”

There are lessons being taught to us on a daily basis and sometimes from those that we least expect to learn lessons from. All are important in our growth process so being aware is not only critical, it can be life altering.

There was a lesson that was abundantly clear in watching the performance this past weekend as phoenix stepped back from the spotlight in order to give it to one of her backup singers.  She allowed her back up singer to perform and she graciously served as backup for this other female vocalist. In a society where competition is everything, this act showed an unselfish grace and was a true testament that you can embrace and empower others to walk in their greatness as you walk in yours. “Don’t be afraid to openly praise and admire sisters who are doing what YOU are or want to do.  You attract the door that you’ll walk through because you celebrate others.  Envy is wasteful and debilitating.  Celebration and genuine happiness for others can only ricochet back to you.” 

phoenix Wise words from La Shaun phoenix Kotaran:

How women can start to change their lives?

“Forgiving themselves for the delays and seemingly false starts of their lives.  It’s okay to begin again…to dust those old dreams off the shelf.  We need to stop limiting ourselves to our age, weight, race, et cetera.  It’s never too late to have the life that we want.”

What do you want men and women to know about women?

“That we’re not these weak beings that need to be saved.  I’m a Goddess.  I can make little people come out of my vagina – you can print that.  I don’t need to be saved.  I’m a Creator. I want men to stop trying to be our saviors and to work harder at being our co-laborers.  Stand beside us.  Don’t tower over us.  Recognize the talent and intelligence that we bring to the table.  Nurture and support our dreams the way that we support yours.  Let us be divine together.  Let us rule kingdoms together.  Don’t try to rule over us.”

Why should women come together and unite?

“Women are the life-givers.  We’ve been entrusted by the Creator to BIRTH things.  We are inherently nurturing.  When we are united, we have the power to change the state of things with our collective voices and talents.  We are the heart of the Creator.  In that, we are charged to be ambassadors for love.  I know it sounds super hippie and esoteric, but it’s real.  The power inside of us is so real and when we present a united front, we become limitless.”

Why is the P in phoenix NOT capitalized? 

“I was born La Shaun Monique Moore to my mom.  After entering the poetry scene and speaking candidly about surviving domestic violence, the poetry community in 1999 gave me the name “phoenix”.  However, I don’t ever want the phoenix to get so big that I forget where I came from.  I am Vanessa’s first born.  I am Audrey’s eldest grandchild.  Phoenix pales in comparison to the woman they helped to shape.  So, I keep the letter “p” small to remind me that the greatness is in La Shaun…phoenix just gets to tell all her business!!!  :-)”

La Shaun phoenix Kotaran is truly an Amazing Woman. She embodies the essence of women, the struggles we endure, the self-doubt, the fear, the transformation, the healing, the growth, the love and the awesomeness of being a woman! She works hard and leaves it all on the table. She knows her power, the power within! To know her is to absolutely love her!

She is Illuminating! Noteworthy! Fearless! Ebullient! Natural! Outstanding!

She is a Blazing Fire! She is INFERNO!

Last words from phoenix – lyrics from a song off the new record called, You’re All I Need:

“Ain’t nothing wrong with encouraging yourself.

If you don’t love you why would anyone else?

Be a little selfish and pour into YOU.

Then go ahead and shine.

Yeah, girl, go and blow their minds.

You’re all I need.

There’s no substitute for you.

Baby, go and live your truth.

Everything I want to be

Said it’s all inside of me.”

“Everything…absolutely EVERYTHING that we need to be GREAT AMAZING WOMEN is housed inside of us.”

This article was written by Crystal Gunn, for Amazing Woman Wednesday and first appeared on