Catherine Zeta-Jones announces the launch of her women’s Ready-to-wear collection for spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Casa Zeta-Jones clothing collection started with conversations between Catherine and Universal Alliance about the ethos of the brand, who they wanted to dress, the aesthetic and direction of the collection.

“It took the course of a year to develop the collection. We have created a collection that not only embodies my vision, but speaks to my customer, a multi-faceted, modern, and confident woman who’s living a dynamic life,” said Catherine.

“We wanted it to represent a real lifestyle, that dresses women  from morning to night, as we like to say from ‘everyday to extraordinary.”

“Before I met Catherine I knew she had exceptional personal style, but as we spoke more I began to realize Catherine really understands design, color, finishing, proportion, and fabric, ” said Fred Tutino, creative director of the Casa Zeta-Jones collection. “We would start talking about one idea and then as the conversation progressed we would come up with twenty more. It is a very fluid partnership.”

The Collection is made using luxurious natural fabrics such as silks, cotton, and cashmere. Whether it’s for easy day dresses, chic yet casual sweaters and knit lounge pants, or your new favorite go-to luxurious blouse and perfect form fitting pants for an evening out, everything has a premium look and feel. The collection is fashion-forward but designed to convey the effortless style. Catherine likes to describe it as “timeless classics with a feminine sensibility”.

The spring collection Future Natural by Casa Zeta-Jones collection takes its inspiration from the colors, shapes, and textures found in nature mixed with an edge of modern luxury.

 

Congratulations are in order for Ms. Rosalind Brewer she is slated to become the CEO of Walgreens

Congratulations are in order for Ms. Rosalind Brewer she is slated to become the CEO of Walgreens.

On March 15, 2021, at that time she will be the only black CEO  of a Fortune 500 company she is currently the coo of Starbucks and the former president and CEO of Sam’s Club In 2018 she was listed as the 34th in Forbes ranking of the most powerful women.

Issue 14 – Mothers Day

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This interview is about mothers. A mother is a sacred person to all ethnic groups. She holds a special place in all our hearts. A true mother is awesome and there is no one like a true mother. She is a nurturer, a peacemaker, a meal planner, and all round special.

Most people hold mothers up to a very high pedestal which no one can touch. You can talk about anybody but someone’s mother. The word mother is the closest thing we have to perfect on this earth. I Googled the word mother and I found several different definitions. Here are some of them.

To give birth to a child. To produce, supplied the egg. Raise a child. Maternal tenderness or affection.

Mother is a woman who has the responsibility of physical and emotional care for specific children. Mother is a woman in authority, a superior in a religious community of woman. What is your definition of the word mother? Mother is someone who loves unconditionally and places the needs of the children above her own. I was so surprised by some of the definitions but my favorite definition is what your definition of mother is to you.

When I thought about it for many days, my definition of mother is someone who takes care of her family.No matter what her family looks like. Also no matter if she has to give tough love, she is willing. If this helps her loved one to make better choices. She gives her love unconditionally. If a mother has to give up her life she will, if she needs to give advice or be a counselor then she is. A mother is not just a person who gives birth because we all know some women who have given birth and are not mothers.

A mother comes in many forms, she could have given birth to the child, she could have adopted a child, she could be the mother of the church, or she could be a female who loves children and does everything she can to be a mother to all children who will let her. I have run across so many women who naturally have the instincts of being a mother and some have to be taught how to be a mother. But what they all have in common is that they want to be a mother from their heart. I interviewed four mothers. They represent what we term as mothers.
Here is my first interview.

The first mother I interviewed is Carrie Rand. She is married and a young mother of one little girl. She is a Lead Educator at a cosmetology school. She works a full time job and a part time job in a salon near her home. Carrie spends as much time as she can with her daughter and she doesn’t go to work until 1:30 p.m. and leaves at 10:15 p.m. four days a week. She has a very busy schedule like most parents but every time you see Carrie she is sharing stories or pictures of her daughter.
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Joyce: Carrie when you found out you were expecting what were your feelings?
Carrie: I was in complete shock! I had always imagined what this day would feel like and I couldn’t believe someone choose me to be their mommy!
Joyce: Carrie, as a new mother can you tell us something that surprised you about being a mother?
Carrie: I was surprised, no matter how little bit of sleep I got; I always was awake when I was needed. I feel like when you’re a new mother your body knows you have to have energy to push through each day.
Joyce: Carrie now that your daughter is one what has it been like between you and your husband?
Carrie: We don’t take time for each other like we used to, but I would say that we are much stronger. We have become more of a team. We are very opposite, so we balance each other out.
Joyce: Carrie can you tell us what you like about being a mother?
Carrie: I love the simple day-to-day things. Picking her up from day-care and she squeals and runs to me or when she is tired and she only wants her mommy. I think my favorite thing is watching my husband with her. The love you feel as a mother watching your husband with his little girl takes my breath away.

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The second mother I interviewed is a divorced mother name Joyce Reeves with two children. She was married and divorced when her children were 4, 8 and 2 years old. She has been divorced since 2003. She also work part time as a receptionist and works every Saturday.

Her ex-husband lives in another state. She has to make sure her daughter who is in a lot of after school activities get to the activities and bring her home this type of responsibility she does on her own. Joyce has a bachelors degree in accounting. She wants to get a job in what she has a degree for. Times may have been hard for her without the support of a loving husband but Joyce did what so many other single mothers do,get an education to improve her situation. Here is some of her reality of being a single mother.

Joyce: How old are your children now?

Joyce Reeves: I have a nineteen year old son and a twelve year old daughter.

Joyce: What do you like about motherhood?

Joyce Reeves: One thing I find gratifying about motherhood is the bond that was created with my newborns. I also enjoyed the laughter that came when my children were in preschool. I believe the greatest adhesive to mother hood is love and inspiration. I watched my children develop and grow into their very own unique characteristics.

Joyce: What do you dislike about motherhood?

Joyce Reeves: The thing I dislike the most about motherhood was watching my son become a young man and move away to college. It’s a bittersweet crossover into the next realm of motherhood.

Joyce: Do you find yourself being like your mother?

Joyce Reeves: My mother grew up in an era “where children were meant to be seen and not heard”. She was a very strict mother. My brother, sisters and I were very disciplined. I am the baby in my family and I always believed that children should be reared, molded and shaped through love.

As I grew older I began to understand that my mother only raised us through the knowledge that was passed on to her by my grandparents. The only time I find myself being firm like my mother is when I feel my children are putting themselves in harm’s way.
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Our third interview is with a young lady name Carolyn Quinn-Allen who is a mother to any young person she meets. She also takes a personal interest in their lives. She is the director of the Youth Choir at Messiah Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She works in a lot of youth programs in her church. Carolyn is currently working on obtaining a masters degree.

Joyce: Carolyn do you have any biological children?

Carolyn: No, I have no biological children. I have godchildren and I have a lot of nieces and nephews.

Joyce: Since you do not have any biological children why do you believe you can be called a mother?

Carolyn: That’s a good question. I asked God that when I started feeling a maternal love for other people children. I guess my one concept of a mother’s love when my one sister had a daughter, her name is Patrice.

The first time I laid eyes on her I understood love in a unique way. I never felt that way about anybody in my whole life. How you can go out a do things for another person other than your mother or father. So that was real new for me understanding sacrifice or what you would do for yourself and others you love.

Joyce: Why do you believe you are the mother to so many youth in your church?

Carolyn: I am also a Sunday school teacher to the youth at my church. I believe God lead me to sit in this Sunday School class and there were only a few students there. All of a sudden the teacher left and went to another church, leaving them without a teacher. So I became the teacher for that age group and I believe that position called me. I fell in love with that age group.

So I just became the mother of the different age group. I believe the saying, “that it takes a village to raise child”. With the world the way it is we need every person who is willing to love and cherish our children to take a personal interest in them.

Especially with some of our children who do not have their biological parent raising them some may have their grandmother, another relative or someone else having responsibility for them. I try to help direct some young ladies with how to dress appropriately without making them feel embarrass.

Joyce: Why do you think the youth look at you as a mother to them?

Carolyn: Sometimes I don’t know why they think of me as a mother because they say I’m mean and a bully. But the core of it has to be rooted in love and you need to have passion for them. You got to love them like Jesus Christ love us and that’s with grace, kindness, and that is with mercy. I have worked with youth for 25 years.

Some of them are grown now with children of their own and some went on to college. They felt they had a safe place when they were with me. I never violated there trust in me. The young people’s parents respect me even if they did not like me because they knew I had boundaries.

Those boundaries protect me, the youth and their parents. Nobody judged anybody in my room. Whatever was said it had to be said in love and the young people knew this, so they felt the unconditional love here.

Joyce: Carolyn what advice could you share with mothers?

Carolyn: Remember nobody comes in this world with instructions on how to be a mother. There is no college that does a 101 f class for being a mother and if they did, I believe no one would graduate saying they were ready. Know that motherhood is a minister.

The Bible says in II Timothy 2: 15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

You ask what does that have to do with being a mother? When a child comes into your life it is your job to minister that child for the rest of their life. Once they turn 18 years old your ministry has not stop. Know that this will be the most important job you will ever do in this world.
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My fourth and final interview is with Marie Tolliver who is an adoptive mother of two children. I wanted readers to get something from all types of mothers. I believe I would have been remiss in this article if I had not interviewed an adopted mother. Marie is a college graduate and she had a master degree. She works part time and both of her children is grown and she is the mother of two grown children. Marie’s interview is interesting to me because I also am an adoptive mother.

Joyce: What was the best pieces of advice you ever received?

Marie: One of the best pieces of advice I heard was from my mother-in-law when she told me even thoughthey are children, they still having feelings like an adult. I admired my husband also because he had no problem apologizing to our children if he believes he was in the wrong. I know he learned that from his mother. That made me examine the way I thought that I had the right to treat children differently than adults by not taking their feelings into consideration when I had to punish or talk to a child.

Joyce: Marie when you were a young lady did you dream about being a mother?

Marie: Yes, I wanted to have 12 children because I was a only child and I wanted my children to have plenty of brothers and sisters. But that dream did not come true. I had to have a hysterectomy after a few months of marriage. At first I was devastated. When some of my friends and family members were having children, I wondered way I had to be the one that didn’t. Since then I know I was truly blessed like my friends and relatives but in a different way.

Joyce: What do you mean by that last statement Marie “but in a different way”?

Marie: I mean we all had children but just in different way. My husband and I adopted our children. Nobody could ever tell us that they are not our children.

Joyce: Do you feel like people treat you different then someone who had children naturally?

Marie: No, I would not let anyone treat me differently than any other mother. A true mother is just a woman who loves her family and tries to do the best for them.

Joyce: Marie how many children do you have?

Marie: I have two a sons and a daughter.

Joyce: What has given you the most joy being a mother?

Marie: I’m not sure Joyce because I just love every
aspect of being a mother. I even love having to discipline
my children. My children gave me so much joy when they relied on me for everything. But if I had to choose any particular time it would be when they were the ages of one year old to five years old.

Joyce: What advice to do you have for the next generation of mothers?

Marie: Wow! What advice do I have for the next generation of mothers? Trust your instincts and have a few mothers who have raised some children share their experience with you. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge you need some help. If anyone tells you that they never needed any help, don’t listen to them. It does take a village to raise a child.

I really enjoyed interviewing these mothers and I hope you enjoy them too.

 

Issue 14 – Chocolate Blossoms

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Mission Statement: Here in our sweet world at Chocolate Blossoms, we are committed to bringing you style, elegance and great tasting creative cupcakes, cakes, cookies and more to any event, party, or occasion you plan. We love what we do here and want to make your event memorable above all others with custom flavors and creations tailored for you for your exquisite, historical day. When you want to stand out amongst the rest, call Chocolate Blossom and put us to the test!

My Story

It started with a simple, “Mommy can I help?” At the tender age of 4, I was under my mom’s feet, where she seemed to always be, in the kitchen. watched with a heart full of curiosity at how great my mom was at cooking and baking. For the longest all I could do watch, but eventually, she let me get my hands in the cookie batter and the rest was baking history. I come from a long line of woman who had secret super powers in the kitchen. My maternal grandmother was a domestic to a rabbi, a priest and a doctor.
The doctor’s wife was a socialite who lived having friends over. She was also an avid traveler and often called on Granny,Ms. Emily, to make things that she’d had in her travels.
After my granny let her know that there were some things she didn’t know how to make, she sent Ms. Emily to take lessons from hotel chefs and I got to tag along on many of those lessons, with some tips and techniques that I still use to this day. My paternal grandmother, Annie Mae, worked in the kitchens at Dayton Juvenile Detention Center and various kitchens around the city. But what Mama Grant, as she was affectionately called, was known for was her Scratch Batch Flip Rolls for which she had lines all day on every holiday for.

I was blessed to be glued to the hip of each of these women when they were in ‘bake mode.’ I learned and collected sacred recipes that are a part of the baking arsenal of Chocolate Blossoms. While I smile, now, Chocolate Blossoms was birth out of great adversity. I sold cookies and cakes in college, had always had good business around the holidays and people who would order cakes for loved ones for various occasions. For the longest time, I only did home-styled cakes-neat three layer cakes in a barrage of flavors. But in 2005, began a painful journey that would end in better days. After being on a career path that I once loved, I transferred into a position with an extremely manipulative and uncompromising boss. I had the pleasure of starting from the bottom and was promoted for 10 years straight until I landed in the last position. After an emergency surgery from stress and three years of the working with this supervisor, I walked off the job to save my sanity and health. One month later I was in the throes of a wicked divorce.

Once the dust settled, I went back to what I had done all of my life: baking. First it was a cakes for my girlfriend ZsaZsa Strozier with whom I catered with for 13 years. The it was cookies every now and then, and as the holidays came people start ordering cakes and pies. Zsa started bringing me pictures and saying, “Can you do this?” I was always up for a challenge and every time I was successful, it turned my creative buzz up on high. Then it was, “Do you do cupcakes? Do you do cake pops?” Sure I do! I figured if I do cakes, how could I not do cupcakes and cake pops? So I started with simple cupcakes and the rest is history as cupcakes became the rave for events. Cake pops had a slow start, but they are requested often as well. I am of the notion that, “We eat with our eyes. If the isn’t pleasing when you look at it, why would you want to eat anything off of it?” I learned that principal while catering with ZsaZsa and from the days spent with Granny at the various hotels were we learned start-to-finish application. The table should be a work of beauty, while their taste buds leap with satisfaction from all of the delectable treats. And because I had come from women who always made the table full and lovely to eat from, it wasn’t hard to apply the same notion to dessert buffets created by Chocolate Blossom. Each table is custom crafted after a very detailed consultation with the dessert client. Colors, decors, venue and purpose of the event all go into planning a perfect table that will be remembered for years to come. I could say this is all me and my feminine ‘life depositors’, but it would not be a true statement. I am ever so grateful to God for first giving me the desire that never died with time, age, or circumstances. I give Him praise for giving me great women to look to on the journey to Chocolate Blossoms Edible Creations. I thank my mom for my first Easy Bake Oven and then bringing me on into the kitchen with her when she realized my interest would not be contained to a toy. I will always love her for helping shape the gift she gave me.

 

However, I think the greatest moment came last year in September when my mom helped me with a wedding in Ohio. Since 2005, my mom had been screaming at me to get a job back in corporate America. I was too drained to go back and I had really started making good money baking. She always said it was not a real job and it used to eat at me, but I kept pressing on. When I went home to do the wedding, she watched me tear into the long list of things that were to go on this dessert bar and she started helping me. While my mom is great in the kitchen, she couldn’t see my vision for the buffet. I stood back, assessed my area, formulated the plan and went to work. She was more nervous than me! By the time we finished, she stood back and said to me, “This is a job!!! I could have never seen that from the perspective of just desserts. You really are good and I am really proud of you. Keep at it.” Every little girl wants the approval of her mom when she takes a learned hobby and elevates it to a business. When my mom gave me her stamp of love, Chocolate Blossoms Edible Creations went to a new level. I am now in search of the new stratosphere where I do things with desserts and buffets that are historical!!!! As God continues to grow me, keep your eyes on me as Chocolate Blossoms can’t do anything but get sweeter as the days go by.

Contact Info:
Chocolate Blossoms Edible Creations
404-839-7148

On Face Book:
https://www.facebook.com/ChocolateBlossomslovesbaking

Issue 12 – Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

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Issue12-mayorRita: Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Good morning, I am Rita Moore and I am representing JO Magazine. We thank you for granting us this much anticipated interview with the first female African American mayor of the city of Gary, Indiana. The first question is what is your motivation for even wanting to be the Mayor of the City of Gary?

Karen: Well, I had a number of motivations. One was you know it’s hard to see an issue and know that you might be in a position to make a difference and not do that.

I saw so many of the challenges that we had and I have been blessed to have a number of experiences that I could likely utilize here and so it motivated me to try to bring all those experiences together and run for Mayor.

Rita: Okay, I know you have run for Mayor a couple of times before, so it was obvious you had that stick-to-itiveness , and you went forth and did it again, and we’re better for it, the City of Gary is better off for it.

Karen: Well, I certainly appreciate that. To be frank, I was pretty much sure I was not going to run a third time; was pretty clear on that. Had an experience, I went to the Woman Thou Art Loosed Conference for the first time.

Rita: The Bishop T.D. Jakes conference?

Karen: Yes. Bishop T. D. Jakes and Cindy Trimm preached a message about Deborah, but her topic was: Why are you sitting by the tree waiting for something to happen?

And I took at that as a message that I should stop sitting by the tree and while I had pretty much determined that I was not going to run, that was something that I needed to do, I guess the truth of that message was that it had been easier this time, the third time than all the others time than in the past and that was clearly a message from God.

Rita: Who has been your mentor(s) in the past or do you have any at this time?

Karen: You know, I have been very fortunate to have a number of mentors. Of course, one my earlier mentors was my mother because she was always doing something in the community, whether it was the NAACP or through her job at Gary Neighborhood Services, or whether it was a variety of social clubs that had community missions, so that was an early influence on me. Then during my professional life I had an opportunity to encounter Pam Carter, she was a tremendous mentor to me. She was the first African American Attorney General in the state of Indiana. She also worked in the Bayh administration and she encouraged me to work in the Bayh administration. We have been friends for the entire time and I have always been able to run things by her.

Rita: Let me share this with you. When you were in Indianapolis serving as the Attorney General, my son was at Ball State in Muncie, IN and I was looking for some advice, which you freely gave me and you offered to meet him and talk to him personally. (You did not know me, we had never spoken before, and all you knew was that I was a Gary resident) I have never forgotten that.

Karen: I think it’s important to share because you know we all have challenges in life. I have a daughter in college now and I would hope someone would help her in a time of need.

Rita: If you had an opportunity to meet someone famous or not so famous to the rest of us, who would that be living or dead and why? I must tell you I would love to meet Nelson Mandela.

Karen: What an interesting question. Great question. It would be Barbara Jordan. She is one of my favorite persons in history. I think the way she was able to navigate the Texas political arena and then the national political arena is very admirable and I would just like to talk to her.
Rita: Okay, Mayor thank you for that answer. Inquiring minds want to know, especially fans of this feature of the magazine called, ‘Testify’ which can help JO Magazine readers in our walk of faith and that question is … How has your faith played a part in what you have done in the past and what you are doing right now? I know there are days when you have to say, ‘Help me Jesus.‘

Karen: ‘Absolutely, most days, everyday.’ My faith is sort of the basis of what causes me to make the decisions I make. ‘You can’t do it without faith.’ You can’t undertake a challenge like this one, because on a daily basis there are people telling you that you can’t do this, you can’t do that, you’re never going to be able to change anything, they’re not going to allow us to do that etc. and it requires faith to respond to doubters in a way that is not harsh, but is firm. It also requires faith to continue to persevere in the face of those who do not believe it can be done.

Rita: Is there any situation that you care to share where you really had to use your faith?

Karen: We are in the process of tearing down the Sheraton and there are a lot of people who understand it is a very costly undertaking, but they were convinced that we would not have the money and then it seemed as if out of nowhere once we announced that we were going to do it and I initially said we would ask people to donate their services, we realized that was not going to work, but after working with the federal government we were able to come up with the money, it seemed almost effortless so that ‘s really . . .you’re talking about over a million dollars.

-The Sheraton is a dilapidated hotel that has been an eye-sore standing in downtown Gary, unoccupied, unusable for over 20 years-

Rita: Wow! Do the people of Gary know that?

Karen: Well, you know we have shared it in some venues, but once we get ready to knock it down we are going to tell the whole story and people will understand that?

Rita: Now here’s the question, are there any aspirations for Washington?

Karen: Absolutely Not! In fact, I spent five years working in Washington and that is not a functional environment and so the thought of going back to that is not a good idea from my perspective. I enjoy seeing things happen, getting things done, seeing the results of your labor, getting a chance to talk to people to find out what their needs are. When someone comes to me and says the light is out in front of my house and I can make a phone call or write an email or talk to a representative inside or even outside the city and get something done, then you feel like you have accomplished something. Certainly, when you see the Affordable Care Act out of Washington, that’s something that is accomplished but it’s not the same sense of accomplishment from my perspective. While the Affordable Care Act is a major thing, the fact that someone has a light in front of their house also means something and I prefer the light verses the policy.

Rita: Well, I guess we can stop the rumor mill that our Mayor is going to be leaving for Washington.

Karen: Yes, I know it’s out there but I have no plans for Washington.

Rita: As an African American woman, especially involved in politics, what would you say about where we were and where we are now? How we are received?

Karen: There are times when I say we have come a long way; especially when you look at women like Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordon, and Maxine Waters, you know that we have more numbers; but the numbers are at certain levels so you have more African American women in Congress than you did previously, but when you look at Mayors you have fewer; so it is sort of an ebb and flow and what I
would like to see is the day where this is the norm and not the exception but the rule that is just as easy for an African American woman or man to get elected as it is for a person who is not of color. I think that we have a long way to go both as a country and certainly as a state.

That doesn’t mean we ought to stop trying and what I try to do is inspire younger women to get involved and I’m talking about teenagers and young women to get involved. It’s not just going and knocking on doors, but its money, you have to have the right literature, you have to have the right message and those are the things I try to instill in younger women so they can get involved.

Rita: So what kind of response do you get?

Karen: Very positive. You know my daughter is one and her peers they are interested. She knows a lot more about public policy than I ever knew at her age, she’s 19 now and that’s the way that we can ultimately have an impact.

Rita: Let’s talk about family. I know that you are married and you have a daughter and maybe other family members that have poured into your life.

Karen: Yes, family is extremely important to me. I am married, my husband and I just celebrated 22 years of marriage and we have a 19 year old daughter. We are empty nesters for the first time. Our daughter is a freshman at Howard University. I’ve been so blessed because my mother had five brothers and sisters; three of them are living now but they have had a tremendous influence in my life, from everything as a kid growing up, in fact my father was dead by the time I married so my uncles walked me down the aisle, from that to just helping me with my mom who is bed-ridden in our home. 

When I am away from home during the day my aunts take care of my mom and it makes it that much more easy for me. We support each other. Every time I have an opportunity to support my aunts, uncles, cousins I do and they support me. We’ve always been a close knit family and that’s because of my grandparents who have always instilled in us the importance of family.

Rita: And your immediate family members are?

Karen: My mother is Delores Freeman, My father is Travis Freeman, my daughter, Jordan and my husband’s name is Carmen Wilson.

Rita: The last question I have for you. Give us an ‘ah ha’ moment . . . You know the light bulb came on, what would that be?
Karen: Goodness gracious! You know I‘ll tell you what my ‘ah ha’ moment was and it had to do with running for the election. I had run the two times before and I was almost baffled, I said clearly, ‘I am more qualified than the other candidates, I’ve had this wide range of experience, educated at the best institutions, what’s the problem?’ And then ‘I had this epiphany. I was spending so much time telling people how much I knew, they did not understand how much I cared.’ 

So people have to understand that not only did I have the knowledge and the expertise, but that I cared about what happened; and really this occurred when I went through the experience of caring for my mother, when I became a caregiver and had to negotiate the health care system and had to work with individuals; I think we refer to them as the working poor, but people who had challenges in terms of where they were going to live and what they would eat and the cost of those things.

After getting a birds-eye view of that and experiencing it firsthand it made me more compassionate even though I had always considered myself to be a pretty compassionate person. I served in the community but it is not until you go through something like that, that you really realize how blessed you are and how challenged some others are.

Rita: I know I said that was the last question, but this really is. Tell us something funny, something along the trail that made you laugh.

Karen: She says, “Goodness gracious” again (as she and her assistant laugh) There have been so many. There is not a day that passes that we don’t just fall out laughing about something. I’m trying to think (and Ms. Whittington chimes in with a pretty humorous reminder) ‘Oh yes!’

You know every year the Red Hat Society has an event, well they made me a hat and I’m not a real hat wearer, so this hat is like this box, a pill-box hat, a modified version of a pill-box hat, it’s a beautiful hat but it looks funny on my head (and Ms. Whittington agreed as evidenced by her continual laughing, still envisioning the look) That was last year.

Now they’re coming up on their time in April and the thought of having to wear that hat is just enough to make you laugh. I guess the other thing is somebody made me this jacket and it looks like a gang jacket, I mean it’s spray painted and it’s got like an almost RIP (rest in peace) logo and that was very thoughtful and I was very appreciative but that jacket was really something.

Rita: I did not get to see you when the Harlem Globe Trotters were at the Genesis Center downtown, but I guess you suited up with them. My husband and our son did and they said, “Yeah she really did.”

Karen: I did. I did. It was fun.

Rita: Thank you very much for taking the time to share with JO Magazine readers a little bit about Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, the Mayor of the great City of Gary, Indiana.

Karen: Well, thank you to JO Magazine for the opportunity. This was an enjoyable interview.

Rita: Praise God and I pray for you often.

Karen: Keep praying, it’s working. I tell people often I am probably one of the most prayed for Mayors and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

 

Issue 12 – Spotlight On: Kel Lind

Producer Kel Lind

Interview By L. Crawford Norman

Generation NOW

Meet Kel Lind, a 22 year old student at Wright State University. He is a junior in their prestigious B.F.A. Motion Pictures Program. Kel has just finished producing his first and largest effort with the short film, To The Rescue.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background in film.

Lind: For the last two years of high school I was in an interactive media program where I checked off all of the things I didn’t want to do and film was one of the things that I saw myself doing as a profession, so I went to Wright State. Just recently we finished our junior thesis film called, To The Rescue, which is a film about a woman going through relationship issues.

From your experience what is the definition of a Producer?

Lind: I found that when being a Producer you make stuff happen in pre-production and then follow that through for the actual production. The Producer watches to make sure everything happens when it needs to happen. I organized casting auditions all over the state, booked meeting rooms, handed out flyers and organized the budget. That’s something that carried over for the actual production.

Every day we’d consult our receipts and make a detailed spreadsheet explaining where each of those things were so we could keep track of them so we didn’t get to the end and ask “Where did that $5,000 go?” I was in a unique situation because I was also the Assistant Director. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a unique situation or not but they’re two really different jobs.

Tell us about your experience on your first big short, To The Rescue, as a Producer.

Lind: I think I could probably be a Producer again but Assistant Director, I probably couldn’t do again. You have to be the guy that’s in charge of making things happen on time, which requires you to be aggressive and if you’re working on a set with all of your friends it’s kind of hard to pressure them to move along. You have to play the bad guy.

I found I was actually okay with being the Producer and pre-production stuff and also keeping track of budgets. My whole life I’ve been able to just approach anyone and talk to them and start a conversation. That’s pretty useful when you’re walking into a pancake house (one of the locations for the film) and saying “Hey, want to let some film people shoot movies in your pancake house?” Being approachable and able to express your ideas and what you want to people, I could do that.

Was there a moment when you felt overwhelmed or that you almost gave up?

Lind: You have this idea of how much stuff will cost but when you’re finally looking at it, and you’re renting a $2,000 camera and you realize that one of your meals is going to cost $280, and that’s one meal. Also, when you’re setting the budget out and seeing $3,000 for food, all of the numbers are super intimidating. It was a dark day when we did our initial budget. It all worked out, we still have almost $1,000 left, and that’s a good place.

Did you ever feel insecure about the project? Was there a moment when you really came into your own and felt confident about it all?

Lind: The situation that we’re in is kind of unique, we’re not just making this film in a vacuum, we’re making it in a class with three total projects, and we’re one of them.

I know there was some doubt in other groups because of our subject nature being more of the human angle. A lot of these movies tell big sweeping stories, but this is a pretty personal, small story that fits the short film nature pretty well.

A lot of the other ideas that you see in the program, you can tell they’re these big feature film ideas compacted down. But I guess there is also insecurity because I realize I’ve never done this before.

When I realized I had to be the one to make this stuff happen or it wouldn’t happen. If there’s a day where I decide to be lazy that could screw us over for the perfect location. This worried me because I’m a procrastinator. Knowing I held the power to make it happen or not, that’s terrifying, that’s too much power. I think I could probably do it again, but it’s a lot.

After our final audition in Cincinnati we were driving back and we were all super tired since it was finals week. Our cinematographer, Yassir Sousiri was asleep in the backseat and our Director, Brandi Perrine was driving and we were just quiet for a good 10 to 20 miles. You could view it as this really depressing scene where we’re almost defeated by all of this but all I could think of was “I don’t have to schedule any more auditions, this is mostly done. We pretty much can just make the movie now.” This was a big relief.

Can you tell us a little bit about the producing process for the film specifically in a college setting?

Lind: It was easier to name drop Wright State. On past shoots when I’ve asked to shoot there they’re really concerned about the subject matter. When you hear student film it could be anything, it was definitely beneficial to say that.

What was your favorite moment on To The Rescue?

Lind: I know exactly what it was. The first day of shooting, it had been a long night of stressing out, doing the budget spreadsheet looking at all of our money and just not knowing how any of it could work and that night I was driving our grip truck (a U-haul™ with all of the equipment in it) we turned the corner where we were shooting the very first scene, the very first anything and I had this lingering worry in my mind that even though we told all the crew to be here what if no one shows up? I turned the corner and there’s 30 people standing outside of this establishment that we’re going to film in. It was just this big pile of people. Just pulling into that place and looking at all of those faces and saying to myself, “those people are all here to help us make this movie.” That is crazy; there are 30 people that are going to be spending the next six days to help us make this thing real. That was a cool moment I’m not going to forget anytime soon.

Where would you like to see yourself in the film industry? Still producing?

“I think at the end of the day I like to tell stories.”

Lind: The Producer angle is kind of removed from that. I don’t expect to initially go in and tell my stories right off the bat; you have to work your way up. The end goal is to be able to write my own stories and even if I’m not directing them, I think screenwriting is probably where I’m going to try. I picked this medium because it combines storytelling with visual and is a medium that people are really welcome to seeing and experiencing your stories.

 

Issue 12 – Meet: Nicole Richter

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DISCLAIMER: Dr. Nicole Richter can (and just about has) done everything. So if you read something that sounds somewhat far-fetched, well, that’s just a sign that you may not be on her level. This may be an interview on a movie producer, but we just wanted to be the brave explorers that chart the mysterious endeavors of a Minnesotan film professor. 

Issue12-nrBorn in Minnetonka, Minnesota and educated at Concordia College and the University of Miami. Dr. Richter has degrees in the fields of Psychology, Philosophy, Communications (film emphasis) and Film Studies.

Her time at Miami didn’t cost her a dime, one of the rewards of being on a competitive debate team.

Even though Dr. Richter was a semi-finalist for a job in the Wright State University Film program, Ohio didn’t look like much fun when she was about to sign the contract on a teaching job in Miami, but the smart and eager students (Dayton’s strong art community, and Yellow Springs’ unique and vibrant atmosphere) reeled her in.

Dr. Richter said, “I realized I didn’t know anything about Ohio, anything real about Ohio.”

Dr. Richter’s roots are in Film Theory writing, the first article she wrote covered the Feminist Poetics of Sofia Coppola; the piece was published in Feminism at the Movies. She has also written an article on Tila Tequila published in the Journal of Bisexuality.

Dr. Richter has a passion for writing about feminism and sexuality and its intersection with popular culture. Dr. Richter has founded multiple film journals, one entitled, In Short, from her time in Miami, devoted to short films music videos, and YouTube© videos. Up until now everything has been interesting, if not impressive.

Now brace yourself for something you might not have heard of before. Dr. Richter has published a variety of articles on different subjects in her field. Such as: An article about Lesbian vampire films for the Journal of Bisexuality, an article on transgender romance narratives for the book, ‘Queer love in film and television’ and an article about documentary in short film studies.

She has also done pieces for Women’s Multimedia Encyclopedia and has even more articles to come. Dr. Richter doesn’t just write brilliant philosophical pieces that redefine popular and little-known cinema, she also writes scripts and music videos. Now she is writing and directing a music video for her new band. The video is inspired by Nosferatu the iconic vampire from the German expressionist film of the same name. Instead of a male, they will use a female to play with the genre while referencing the classic horror film. Her main focus is the upcoming Film Dayton Festival, where she is on the board, and works with filmmakers.

For film

At Wright State University, the professor started Kino Femme, a women’s filmmaking collective that writes and directs their own films. A documentary Billy Lin is about a sculptor and her work that lives in Miami. Dr. Richter is currently editing an artist profile.
Experimental video
In February, Dr. Richter made her way back to Walker, Minnesota to shoot a documentary covering the Eelpout Festival, which is held near a cabin she grew up in. The festival embodies the culture of the state, and her family. Dr. Richter’s uncle was also named, Mr. Eelpout, so she decided to really capture the culture of a small town that found a way to bring tourists during the coldest part of the year. Think of Eelpout as Mardi Gras on ice – 10,000 people with trucks and RVs, tents and camps, bars and theme camps, where people can party for days on end. She shot 20 hours a day for 4 days with her husband on sound and only her cousin for a second camera.

Dr. Richter is also married to a musician, Jacob, who has scored for films and composes for musicals, choirs, bands, and gives private lessons for bass, piano, voice, and guitar. In his free time he plays in a band with his wife called, Curse of Cassandra (that’s right Dr. Richter). They’ve played some gigs with more to come this summer and are working on their first album.

Where did this come from? Well, her husband Jacob has already been in a band, but wanting to write music with a more electric sound worked with his wife (who plays bass and keyboards), vocalist Jill, and drummer to form the band. They play all original music and have already played shows in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio.

Curse of Cassandra just wants to have fun, dance, and put on a good show.
While it’s mostly a dilapidated city trying to rebuild, Dayton’s arts community flourishes with help from groups like Film Dayton, which is devoted to making a film community in Dayton, through education and community outreach.

The mission is exemplified through their annual film festival, which is hosting an open submission for short films for the first time. The goal is to bring people to watch films they wouldn’t normally watch and bring them together to debate and talk about films made in Ohio. The festival showcases all local and national films on August 23rd through the 25th. Dr. Richter heads up the Rewards Committee for the entire festival in order to celebrate filmmakers working in the Dayton region. The filmmakers exemplify innovation in filmmaking, a career devotion to filmmaking, or a service to the filmmaking community (people involved in multiple projects).

This woman works hard. On top of this, Dr. Richter is working on an article about Wes Anderson’s short films, a book about independent film, a book on the French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, and a book on Tim Burton and Johnny Depp and their collaborative authorship.

Not to mention the editing on the continued projects as well as the music video.

Not only is Dr. Richter in the radio training program for local NPR station, WYSO she is also writing a feature for their community voices, where she’ll be producing content.

I was afraid to ask my next question because someone who’s doing so much
couldn’t possibly watch TV
or head to the movies, but like all producers this professor had her own favorite and disapproval of television shows and films.

While her continuing knowledge of film helps her to find something to appreciate in all pieces, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation‘s message is definitely hate-able. Her favorite movie of the moment is The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye, a black lesbian filmmaker. Dr. Richter said, “It’s a one of a kind film. It’s very well made and it speaks from her perspective and it’s a point of view we don’t often see represented in film.”

When her TV is on its tuned to True Blood, The Voice or anything with Gordon Ramsey. Dr. Richter also watches The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Breaking Amish, Arrested Development, Project Runway and cooking.

Issue 12 – Hey Mr. DJ

Hey Mr. DJ

By, Yvonne L. Lander

Times have certainly changed for the better, when we turn on our radios we here people speaking our language. The music has a beat to it and your body is rocking along going down the road.

Let us give Doug Banks a hearty “What’s Up!” our man on the airwaves in the afternoon. Mr. Banks began his career early in life starting in high school on their radio station. Banks was offered a national syndicated show after much success in the mornings. “The Doug Banks Morning Show” took off and millions of listeners made it a top-rated show.

Along came 2008, Banks revamped his show and made it an afternoon radio show, Doug Banks was taken off the airwaves in a lot of different cities. “The Ride with Doug and DeDe” hit the airwaves keeping listeners entertained as they head home in the evenings. Two years later landing with Urban Radio Networks; “The Doug Banks Show was back in Chicago on WVAZ.

No matter how much talent the radio host has having someone to bounce off commentary with is always a winner. Joining Doug Banks is independent woman DeDe McGuire giving women a powerful voice on the radio.

Rounding out the crew is “The Stress Reliever” George Willborn. He brought his own brand of laughter to the afternoon drive. Willborn appeared on stage in 1987, since then he has ridden the comedy ladder. He also is a comedy writer for comedian ‘Monique.’

“The Doug Banks Show,” brings us each afternoon a wonderful way to drive home; interviews with stars from all works of the entertainment industry, De De’s five things, Adult Conversation and Dear Doug.

This is the first ‘DJ’ JO Magazine will be highlighting in upcoming issues, keep an eye out for your favorite ‘DJ”.

 

Information for this article was taken from
The Doug Banks Radio Show website

Issue 12 – The Adams Project

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Issue12-adams2The Adams project was founded in 2008 by Jerome McCorry he did it as a consequence of his own experience. 15 years ago McCorry did a three year term for a crime that he did not commit. And that was an eye opening experience for him.

 

When I came back to Dayton a number of years ago I went with a major corporation as a CEO the thing that continued to play on his heart was given the roughness of my experience. He tells folk he took the long way around where God intended for him to be. McCorry says He holds know one responsible for his experiences except himself with God in his mercy allowed him to live through that process.

McCorry has been involved in ministry for over 40 years pastured some wonderful churches in the Dayton community and in Atlanta but he found himself displaced in terms of not living to the full potential of his calling because he wasn’t doing what he felt called to do. And that is what he is doing now. McCorry talked about his experience being in prison and he stated You are either going to come back from that experience bitter or better but he decided that he needed to be better giving the loftiness of his decision that he excepted as CEO he begin to think about other folks that have gone through that terrible experience who were coming home disfranchised couldn’t find work they would continually be identified by that number and instead of their name. McCorry felt that it was his responsibility and the missing element in his ministry was to help men and women to find their way back home again. But also found that it was important for him to have the Adam project be different and not just another re entry organization. Similar to the story of the protocol son Part of the mission to the Adam project had to be to deal with the protocol son that stayed home so that we will be able and ready to receive the people back home. And that became the main focus of the Adam project.

How does one get into the Adam Project?

1. Adam project has three different prone we do re entry but in a very untypical kind of way for us it does not mean to come home and find a job they deal with men and women some have never had a legitimate job in their life so mentoring is a huge piece of what they do in the program mentoring for life we are concerned about the state of the black family we are concerned about the displacement Adam project Adam was displaced in biblical times are men are displaced in prison are men are displaced selling drugs are men are displaced because we are often targeted and so with that we have taken the ministry to the entire family we think we have to help men understand his place in the lives of our women we have to teach them and its necessary for our women but also in the lives of their children .

2. Alternative sentencing or diversion we lobby the courts to allow us the opportunity to work with folks instead of sentencing them. Prison clearly is not a catch all, the United states houses more people in prison than any country in the world that includes Russia China Japan we have more people incarcerated in this nation and it’s not because we have more criminals we know that prison began in its popularity to keep black folk in check and as a consequence it has consistently and constantly have been misused and abused as a result of that we lobby with the courts and say that if prison was working recidivism wouldn’t be as high and we would not have more people incarcerated give us an opportunity to work with men to work with women who we believe are ready to change their lives we have been able to help people to find themselves to learn about themselves. Our first young man came to us from the federal system he was facing sixty four years of prison time as a king pen 44 years old he had already spent half of his life locked up and clearly that wasn’t working for him. That was the first person that the system decided that we are going to take a chance I think they did that because they thought we would fail but at least we would go away. That young man today five years later is a deacon is his church he owns two legitimate businesses in Montgomery county he started a t shirt business in his church. Our violence prevention and initiative Alternative sentencing program our first young man came to us from the federal system. This young man was facing sixty four years of prison time as a king pen at forty four years old he had already spent half of his life in lock up and clearly that was not working for him that was the first person the system decided that were going to take a chance and I think they did that because they were thinking that were going to fail but at least we would go away that young man today five years later he is a deacon at his church he owns two legitimate businesses in Montgomery county. And he just started a t shirt business in his church where he serves as a deacon for the youth department and he is teaching them entrepreneur skills. So we know alternative sentencing can work.

3. Our violence prevention initiative we teach our guys s responsibility teach them that they have a responsibility to go back in to work with the folks that you may have preyed upon weather that was selling drugs or committing of the crime when our young people see these same guys who they know from the streets coming back from the messenger of hope and peace and living together it makes those young people realize there is away and there are some alternatives of the at risk behaviors that many of them have engaged in that has kind of been our approach to this thing.

4. We have men and women we originally started out with me. The Adam project Adam who was placed in the garden he left his woman uncovered. Adam who God asked where are you. When we began to supply services to men the success rate was there, our beautiful sisters began to come to us and say listen. If you have contacts anywhere, if you are successful were not going to let you leave us out. That’s the beauty of a sister and so we said you’re absolutely right were not going to leave you out. Our services now are extended to men and women. We have a presence in two of Ohio ‘s prisons which is DCI here in Dayton and also Pickaway which is in orient OH, which is now being used for a pre release program. We have now developed curriculum, we are preparing people to come home even while they are still locked up and it’s because of our belief and concept about re-entry you can now began the program until six months before you are ready to come home thinking about what you are going to do when your prison sentence is over.

We have fatherhood classes and manhood training spiritual preparation we talk about entrepreneurial training we have met some of the most talented people in our lives that our locked up I’m talking about artist craftsmen, people who make mother’s day sweetest day valentine’s day cards the writing as well as art work could stand with the best of this type of business. We are working towards trying to have a farmers market type of situation the work from prisoners but we would sale it on the outside were people are able to purchase these great works money can go back on the ladies or men’s book s there not hustling on the yard the problem that a lot of them are having is engaging in solicited activities while locked up in prison can go away because they are making their own money we are teaching theme entrepreneurial skills imaging on a child’s face of an incarcerated parent that realized their mother or father supplied the money for that new bicycle of for whatever their needs were in school while they are still incarcerated we think that this is an idea that will work in OH prisons .

A little know fact that is not talked about the African American women’s is the fastest growing prison population in America today our women are being incarcerated know at a much higher rate than men we still have more African American men incarcerated however more of our women are being incarcerated than ever before and that is something that we have to stay on top of people look for our visits they look for us to be there it gives them someone to identify with but not only that I’ve been taught that Jesus himself said I was incarcerated and you visited me not I was hungry you didn’t feed me I was naked and you didn’t clothed me it is our reasonable service .

I can the experience that I went through was preparing me for this moment had I been a little more obedient when God calls us to ministry you have to know what he has called you to do I spent seven years working for Don King Production and was assign to Mike Tyson and it’s ironic that I would leave Mike Tyson’s employer Don King when Mike went to prison even then I understand that God was preparing me to do exactly what it is that I did today so after all of my music minority I am the happiest I ever been I am the poorest but I am the happiest I’ve ever been because I am 100 percent sure that I am doing what God has assigned to do so the three years away I tell people that it was a part of my graduate experience and God was preparing me is I decided to get better not bitter but I lived to serve his people who have suffered some tough stuff and for me that is what the Adam project is all about it is not a job it is a ministry and it is what keeps me going and I am dedicated to it 100 percent .

 

Issue 12 – In Style: Blue’s Barber Shop

Handing off a business 1302
to the next generation

There’s more to the successful transition of a business that is vital in the community and surrounding areas than just turning over the keys to the new owner. It includes balancing of the past and future along with a commitment to barbers and customers according to Rahsaan Reid “Rock,” the new owner of BLUE’S.

 

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Rossi Blue “Blue” is the founder and previous owner of the long lasting Barber Shop that cuts classic and new generation styles and any style in between. Blue started the barbershop over fifty years ago. Rock is the new owner of BLUE’S Barber Shop.
Rock stated, “I had a chance to work along side of Blue for years and I enjoyed the time of being just a barber. When Blue mentioned that he was thinking about selling the shop, wheels started turning in my head about purchasing the Barber Shop and when he was ready to sell, I was ready to purchase and take on the commitment as owner.”

As the New Generation owner, Rock believes in putting out great service.

“I take pride in making sure that my customers leave the shop satisfied.”

unning a strong successful Barber Shop with rich history which is also well-known for the service that it has provided; Rock had some big shoes to fill. Rock has added additional services.

 

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BLUE’S is a full service shop where you can get facials, eyebrows and eyelashes, color, cuts and more. You will have five barbers to choose from and be prepared to receive top notch service.

 

Giving Back Once a year BLUE’S Barber Shop gives back by providing Back-to-School cuts for kids. Rock says this is well received by the community. You can meet Rock when you stop in at BLUE’S. The full service shop is located at 3500 Hoover Avenue in Dayton, Ohio.

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Jason Dunn

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JO: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
Dunn: You know without being flighty, I think my book is yet to be written. What I will say is the greatest contribution to Cincinnati ,is that I have had the pleasure of being a part of earning the NAACP National Conference in 2008. The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau brought the NAACP, Politicians, Media, Corporations , Grassroots Leaders, Professional Organizations, Faith Leaders and the Cincinnati Police Department together for best practices and implementation of collective goals.Based off of the responses, the team was successful and credited for hosting one of the best conferences in recent memory. In fact, we are gearing up to bid on the national conference in the near future. We have also leveraged the success of the NAACP to earn more conferences and currently use the collective template for other bidding opportunities..JO: How do you keep yourself motivated every day to go out and sell Cincinnati to out of town vendors or organizations to get them to bring their event to Ohio?
Dunn: I grew up in the church and have a very large family. So my DNA has always been to help other people and bring people together regardless of the situation.My motivation stems from our industry’s ability to change cities, people’s lively hood, strengthen organizations and create jobs.The core value of our industry, lies in the ability to provide fresh revenue to local economies, that help stimulate and create economic opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.To make it more personal; my career allows me to give back, contribute to the economy with integrity and support the two most precious people in my life, my wife and daughter.
JO: Now you’ve mentioned that you are married? 

Dunn: I am yes, very happily.

JO: And are you from the Cincinnati area originally?

Dunn: No, I was born and raised in Columbus Ohio and my wife is from Youngstown. We have a 9 year old daughter. We met at The University of Cincinnati , as resident advisors. I often times pinch myself when we are out, because they are so beautiful.

I guess my irresistible charm overwhelmed my wife, while listening too Frankie Beverly and enjoying my famous cooking in college.

JO: So that’s how you swooned Mrs. Dunn?

Dunn: Absolutely

JO: What do you contribute your success to?

Dunn: My network, favor, my wife and my ability to usher groups to their individual agendas or goals. I don’t take myself to seriously and really try to make decisions with my conscience and collective input. I believe in the power of socialization, meaning everything is about conversation.

If you can find a medium amongst people, a solution or agreeable terms are near. It’s really that practical. Surrounding yourself with good people, keeps you humble, because you can be up today and down tomorrow. I know better than anybody else, that you must stick to what you believe in and stay rooted in your base.

I also have an extremely engaged President, whom has taken me under his wing and poured over 20 years of industry experience into me. Coupled with mentors, just to name a few: Ako Kambon, (Former State of Ohio Rep) Larry Price , State Senator Eric Kearney, Rev. H.L Harvey, Howard Bond , Herb Brown, Judge Tyrone Yates , Dr. Chester Pryor, Charles Hales, Sydney Broadnax, Dr. Eric Abercrombie and my Uncle Bruce seem to keep me on the right track.

JO: Do you have any future goals that you don’t mind sharing with us?
Dunn: Interestingly, I didn’t plan to get here. All I know is, I hope God continues to bless me and bless the people that come in my life. I also hope, I’m doing what he has planned for me and he continues to bless my family. Stay Tuned

 

 

JO: Amen, do you attend church in Cincinnati?Dunn: Yes! I am a member of Allen Temple A.M.E, but have many surrogate fathers in the faith. I need all the help, I can get. Seriously, I attribute a lot of my success through that family of ministers or faith leaders who have adopted me like their own son.JO: Can you tell us about the best part of your work?Dunn: The best part of my career is knowing, I’m involved with something bigger than me. In 2001, the city was up in flames ,the communities morale and Cincinnati’s image was negative. In 2013, while we still have our challenges, we are much further than we were.For me, being a part of the change while bringing the city together and increasing morale is unbelievable. New restaurants, Development, Hiring of the first African American Police Chief and the creation of the first African American owned restaurant on The Banks speaks to measurable accomplishments.

JO: I was just reading not too long ago about the events that have been going on at the convention center and I remembered that I attended one of the events, a Baptist convention, a couple of years ago.
Dunn: Yes we just re-booked them, they are coming back again.

JO: I really enjoyed it; it’s great to have this type of events close by.

 

Dunn: It’s not all me, I would be remiss if I didn’t give the entire hospitality industry credit. I’m just a spoke on the wheel and simply try to do my part.

Eventually I want to go back to school to get my post graduate degree, and I want to grow my family. I’m excited about what’s next you know there’s always more conventions, there’s always more festivals. But I think personally I want to grow to become a better father and a better husband. To grow in my walk in life is my biggest project I guess.

JO: Right, I understand.

 

Dunn: The next project is myself how’s that?

JO: That’s good, I know for me I can use some work. Do you have a favorite quote?

Dunn: My Bishop at my home church in Columbus say’s “ Say it until you see it”. If you believe in speaking as though your tongue speaks life or death, this quote is extremely powerful. I would like to speak life, success and blessing to those around me.

So I’ll keep saying positive things, until the things I say come true and the people I meet are empowered.

JO: That is a great quote I love it.

Dunn: The quote is by Bishop Jerome H. Ross

JO: Before you go can you give some words of encouragement to help other young men succeed.

Dunn: My story is complicated. I couldn’t read on the appropriate level, when I arrived at West Virginia State. I lacked study skills and school wasn’t really that important to me. When I arrived on campus to play football; I was prepared to be an athlete not a student. Although, I had a strong base around me and many resources to succeed; my reading skills got lost in my contagious personality.

I learned to compensate for not being able to read ,by being the center of attention. However, there came a point where my personality wasn’t enough. After spending a summer at home, my mentors helped get me into The University of Cincinnati.

That’s where I met my wife, who not only graduated top of her class; but guided me to graduation. Just so we are clear, I wasn’t at the top my class! I say that to say, brothers find someone who can look past all of your fought and sincerely has your best interest in mind. Also stay close to the Elders ,pace yourself and always stay within the bounds of your conscience.

JO: That’s great advice is there anything else you would like to share?

Dunn: As an African American man I think we often get discouraged and may not feel that we fit in certain circles of life but I’ll say this and I’ll say it to all the brothers out there who are struggling with being a family man, being driven in their professionalism and trying to find peace within their own life. It lies in your ability first to be grounded with your family and if your home life is well your professional life will follow and then peace will be the ultimate goal.

JO keep moving, keep going, keep teaching the people, keep reaching the people and you control your success.

Dontay Savoy

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LaShai : You were born Matthew, so where did the name Dontay Savoy come from?

Dontay: I made it up. This is one of those things of me being over-the-top. Clearly it has nothing to do with the name I was born with, except my middle name is Don. I just really hated that because it sounded like a 90 year old man and it didn’t match my personality so I changed my name.

LaShai : Did your sex appeal play a role in the doors that were opened for you?

Dontay: I really don’t know, I would like to think my talent and drive, a opportunity, or a blessing, opened doors. I do think it’s easier for gay black male stylist to get along with female clients because their personalities are similar and woman usually agree.

I know a lot of male stylist but they are good so I don’t really look at it that way, but I have had clients say to me that they wouldn’t want another female hairdresser touching their hair so who knows. I think my work speaks for itself and being sexy is always a plus.

LaShai : Sounds like a win win situation and I think it is an advantage or sexy to have a male hairdresser. Men know what looks good on women and men are who women are trying to please. I just thought your looks and personality may have opened more doors because you have a fairy tale experience in a very competitive field.

Dontay: I think it takes the right person because I do know some women stylist who have advanced quickly as well, so again, it takes that right person to connect with another right person.

LaShai : Tell me about how you met Kim Kimble

Dontay: After I graduated I was approached by the owner of the institute who knew that Kim was looking for an assistant. She and I both went to the same school just at different times. Now that was back in 2003, so I didn’t know her and her resume included Beyonce, so of course I wanted THAT job. (we shared laughter and excitement)

So the owner set-up a meeting and I didn’t know what to expect, I was dressed in my Sunday best, girl, I wanted to really make a good first impression. We met at this restaurant and I brought what I considered to be a portfolio back then.

She saw my work but half of the meeting, she was on the phone setting up business meetings and confirmations and she managed to squeeze in some details about her salon and hired me on the spot.

LaShai : Wow, just like that, you did the Biggie Smalls and went from ashy to classy. Fresh out of hair school and right on to celebrity hair styling.

Dontay: At the same time, what ended up happening was after the meeting we set a date to meet at the salon and when I showed up, the receptionist tells me that she was out of the country, so my first impression was ummmm, this might not be right. During the whole time she was out of town I was going to different salons in the hood trying to figure out what I’m going to do with myself. I had worked in about seven salons before I really became a stylist.

So when Kim gets back in town the receptionist calls me, I go back to the salon, she was very apologetic, and explained the emergency situation. My attitude was, I really can’t complain nor did she have to explain so I was just happy t o have the opportunity.

The first day I started working, Kim would never tell me who was coming in the shop, which is something I could appreciate because it showed me that she believed in my work and abilities. She really didn’t want stylists that were all about the hype, then Stacey Dash walked through the door and I was like, “Oh shit” I had to go to the restroom and get my mind right real quick.

Then Gabrielle Union and Vanessa Williams walks in and ever since it has been a pleasure, I love my job. At first I think they got tired of me asking questions trying to make sure everything was perfect, because some clients are very demanding. But over time I think I found my personality when it came to dealing with celebrities because it’s not always easy but it is fun and rewarding.

LaShai : What has been your worst experience working with celebrities?

Dontay: Child, I really can’t say a worst because the reward outweighs the demands plus I have dealt with worst clients in the hood.

I remember doing a music video and the person, I’m not gone say no names, but she was being hurried back to the set and was wearing a lace-front but it was not glued down on her head, and I brushed it right off, talking bout embarrassed. Again that’s when my bubbly personality kicks in.

LaShai : How hard is it to stay professional being attractive and working with entertainers that are also beautiful?

Dontay: It always gets personal with me. I can’t do the professional thing, I tried in the beginning but once I feel a person’s personality I loosen up then they loosen up and now we more like friends. I think that for some people professional works for them but I have to feel comfortable when I’m being creative.

LaShai : Do you have the same clients every week because where I’m from we get our hair done weekly or at least twice a month, we have the same day scheduled and we need our hairdo to last close to the next appointment.

Dontay: Well that would be the biggest difference, because Hollywood hairstyles might be for that day or that shoot, or that video. They need perfection for hours not days or weeks. We don’t really retain the same clients but they will come back if or when they are in town.

Reason being, celebrities usually get their hair done for movie or video appearances and most don’t live in Hollywood. Celebrities have hair stylist all over the place.

LaShai : I have to admit to being a reality TV junkie. I wanna watch shows that expose what’s really going on, so how much of the show is real?

Dontay: I will say that the emotions is real. It depends on certain scenarios but yes its real. we are shooting season two right now and hopefully the viewers can tell the difference between how hairstylists really act. You have to read between the lines but when the camera turns on, it’s Showtime and that’s exactly what we do, put on a show.

LaShai : I have really enjoyed this interview, I felt like I was catching up with an old friend or classmate. Is there any advice you would like to offer?

Dontay: If you have a dream or ideal, continue to pursue it because eventually it will reach the right person. Just don’t let yourself get in the way, you can do ANYthing if you put your all into a project.

LaShai : Nicely put. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to JoMagazine, we wish you the best.
Again, you can watch Mr. Dontay Savoy on L.A. Hair on Wednesdays at 10p.m. on the WE TV Network.
He currently owns an upscale salon in West Hollywood and works as a stylist on the television show Access Hollywood.

Carl Satterwhite

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carl

JO: What has been the most challenging obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career so far? Satterwhite: I think the only obstacle that I would call most challenging is continuing to remind myself that I can, no matter what it is.Often times we can look at things professionally and particularly things in our personal lives that we have never seen anyone in our family over come or we see no one conquer, we see no one making things happen, so we sense that things are too challenging to overcome so I’m consistently reminding myself that I can, no matter what it is.

It makes me think about it strategically to find a way to resolve a certain situation to not get caught or buried into dismay.

JO: While I was reading about you, I saw that your early years were started at Kroger’s.

Satterwhite:

Yes I actually started parking cars.

JO: So how did that lead to you becoming an entrepreneur?

Satterwhite: When I first started at Kroger’s I was just out of high school. I parked cars and I was going to school at night for Stationary Engineering. The technology for Stationary Engineering went away so they turned our studies into a certificate program so we could still go off and possibly create careers. I decided to take the certificate and move forward. As I started moving along in my career I was able to advance from parking cars to getting into the mason department.

My fist entrepreneur job was painting street addresses on curbs in Rose lawn. I was doing that as I worked so I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to learn skills and trade. I ended up switching from University of Cincinnati after graduating with the certificate and moving into trade school for electric plumbing, TV refrigeration and chromatics.

So those are just things that I learned as I moved up from parking cars so I could have an ability to advance in my career at Kroger in the maintenance department.

It also gave me more trade and practice as an entrepreneur. Ultimately as I acquired more skills; I became the maintenance mechanic over all those trades, as well as furniture, which was my corporate career. I just kept moving along corporately.

Then getting more education in trade I went on to Proctor and Gamble where I learned even more trade skills. I continued with different entrepreneur jobs on a hire scale. I started building decks and remodeling homes as well as other things. I was always doing something entrepreneurial throughout my whole corporate career.

JO: I know that you mentioned it earlier but I was curious to know how you got into furniture.

Satterwhite: That’s a strange one, God has a sense of humor and literally when I was in stationary engineering there was no room in the engineering department at Kroger so they said hey I want you to be over this operation group and manage this stuff called furniture I was like “what does furniture have to do with stationary engineering.” they said absolutely nothing so I learned how to move, add, change, and reconfigure furniture while going to school to be an engineer. They would put me in charge and say we need somebody to be in the construction department who knows the trade and furniture, no matter where I went the furniture followed.

JO: So furniture has just been a part of your career for a long time.Satterwhite: Absolutely, I guess it was just Gods way. No matter what I try, that was going to be a part of my journey, and that was to create the ability for me to have success that was different and unique, it was corporate furnishings. I have never been across the table with someone that looks like me in my thirty years or more as an entrepreneur. I’m that unique especially at a higher level. I know there are a handful of African Americans in the business but on a smaller scale we just never crossed each other’s path. As a business community I haven’t seen anybody across North America.JO: When God chose you to work with furniture it seems like it has been a great blessing for you.

Satterwhite: I had no idea how unique I was in the industry until I became an entrepreneur. Corporately it wasn’t that odd to not see African Americans in that space, but it was very odd as an entrepreneur. I thought surely someone was on that scale but the industry really did not lead itself to African American ownership.

JO: There was something I saw online you mentioned “Give and it will be given to you, good measure pressed down, shaking together and running over”

Satterwhite: That scripture is something I have lived by. There’s a hot acronym called G2G2G which is Give to Get to Give, and the notion is if you give first and don’t wait until you get enough to be able to give, the giving will keep going and you will continue to be blessed. It’s really if you have a heart for giving and trust God for the getting. G2G2G is what I teach in business as well as what can you give a customer or client? That might be intellect, time, talent or resources but you should be prepared to give more than your competition because your competition often times is going to give the customer just what they asked for. Those who want to be successful in business will have to learn how to give more. If you do all of the measuring you will find that minority firms have to give more and if we sit back and say it’s unfair that’s just the case we have to Give to Get to Give .

JO: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?

Satterwhite: Receiving the African American men of honor award in Cincinnati. It was great to be honored as an African American man. I looked at the men before me and said that I don’t deserve to be here these are some very powerful men who have created some great success in this city. I was humbled that I won for community advocacy not for my business or corporate.

It was a huge honor to be recognized for my heart and my desire to give back to the community that has given me so much.

This was the third year for this award and this is the first awarding mechanism for African American men in Cincinnati. One of the criteria for the men to win the award was that they needed to be older, so we don’t miss the folks as they go on and do their things or pass away. I was nominated and I looked in the mirror and said “you’re old”

JO: Congratulations on receiving the award.

Carl Satterwhite host’s

a monthly group entitled

“Executive straight talk”

Where how to grow your business and other topics are discussed.

Dr. Bobby Cartwright

24

He is patient and professional. He is persistent and positive, which are all star qualities of making a great producer. Dr. Bobby Cartwright has every star quality plus more. He shared his greatest moments and his low times in life. He also discussed the hard work and dedication it takes to put on a mega show. Dr. Bobby Cartwright and the JO Magazine team met in his living room that was all white immaculate and cozy. As we prepared for the interview he shared with us the love he has for his home town of Dayton Ohio. Dayton is known for the place that produced good Funk Bands like Slave, The Ohio Players, Lake Side, Heat Wave, Sun, Faze O, Zapp and Roger Troutman.

Second Chances

Cartwright talked about his early days as a drug abuser while being on tour with some of the Ohio funk bands. While he enjoyed the life on the road this became one of the low times in his life. He dealt with crack cocaine and the severity became so great that he lost everything, including his family and his material things.

Years later Cartwright expressed the fact that God gave him a second chance. The people he would hang out with during his using times saw him changing from being a drug user to cleaning himself up and they were shocked with the progress he made becoming clean and sober. Through it all he began to get himself together and the rest is history.

He attended college in Kentucky and that is where he met his lovely wife. He turned his life over to God and it has been up hill ever since. Dr. Cartwrights’ wife works in the medical field and they have two children. Dr Cartwright started his journey with media years ago and it took a while before he became the executive producer of United TV. This is what he said about his start.

United Television” was originally started as a marketing company, we were going to take over a radio station, that was our initial ambition and we put in a bid for this gospel radio station but we did not get the bid.

I had two investors at the time and I said it looks like we are going to have to forget this dream because someone else got the radio station. The investors said were investing in you not the radio stations and we are not going to take the investment money back you will figure it out.

I then took a consultant position at channel 51 in Dayton Ohio which I had a lot of radio experience prior to the music experience. I was on the radio part of the time and the rest of the time I sold advertisements.

I became the general sales manager for the station. I did an event in 1998 called Gospel Winter Fest at the Memorial hall in Dayton as a two year anniversary for the TV station and when the turn of the century came it was like everything was about 2000.

It was well talked about and people were acting like something unusual was going to happen like the computers were going to stop working, and the Chinese were going to attack. It was like nineteen was the only thing that we knew so I decided to do the granddaddy of them all so I did Gospel fest 2000 in Louisville KY.

I was divinely appointed

I got everybody I could muster up to come and I became the executive producer of gospel Super fest because I thought it up (laugh). It was really a divine appointment no one really appointed me. God gave me the vision for the show and so I had to make it and wear as many hats as I could.

As you may know the executive promoters primary responsibility is to raise funding for whatever production, whether it’s a TV pilot,or a movie. We are paper pushers, we have to hire staff for the show, raise capital for the show and encounter corporate sponsorship.

Being the executive producer also means being the janitor, the gate keeper, the flunky, whatever it takes to put the show on. When you have a vision like this you have to build from the ground up you’ll find that you will have to wear a gazillion hats.

Flex Alexander and Vivica fox hosted Allstate Gospel Superfest Cincinnati.

During the show Flex was overcome with emotion and couldn’t speak he had the audience shouting while Vivica Fox consoled him.

Flex’s mother had been delivered from substance abuse and he thought about it while James Fortune was singing. That’s when he got caught up in the moment.

That was Flex third time as co host for Allstate Gospel Superfest.

The Challenges

The music business is the music business; the subject matter is the subject matter. I have 14 years doing gospel super fest and when you’re doing something for God and it’s really anointed by him there has to be challenges and oppositions.

I use to whine and complain like a little baby saying “Lord why is this happening to me, why isn’t everybody loving me for me, doing what I’m doing”. That’s not going to happen.

I had to grow up as a producer and grow up as a entertainment professional, I thought it was going to be a cake walk because I felt my motives were pure and I was doing what I thought the Lord told me to do.

When you get into the area of selling every player has a level of integrity that they’re dealing with. I am not saying that “I am the pope” or “Brother Teresa”, both those elements are in the industry. You have to deal with those elements and know that your motives are pure along with your purpose being pure and your focus being where it should be.

The Success

I’ve been very successful from the standpoint of getting corporate America such as Proctor and Gamble and General Motors on board and a lot of that work was done before I got into the business. A lot of producers that came before me did all of that along the way it was about me latching on and moving forward.

I didn’t break down the walls of television that was done by

“Stellar Awards” or

”Bobby Jones Gospel”

and the pioneers before me I’m a benefactor of their labor but it ain’t easy.

My greatest moment was honoring Mom and Pop Winans in New York City

I have had a lot of people on Gospel Superfest and we have been to a lot of places but I think honoring Mom and Pop Winans in New York City was my favorite moment of all time.

I don’t think there’s going to be another Gospel Superfest moment that will top it. That was the first year we went to New York City, Timothy Wright suggested that I do New York but I didn’t have New York faith so we were doing interviews (Clifton Davis and I) in New York.

We were developing the show for TBN and we interviewed everybody that’s been on Back Stage in NY then we flew to Detroit and interviewed the Clark Sisters and when we finished the late great Timothy Wright said “Doc, you ought to bring that show right here” and I said “oh my God”.

So we stayed in New York for three years we rebranded ourselves Gospel Superfest NY and that’s the year mom and pop Winans came and we honored him for a life time achievement award.

The Mayor sent plaques, City Council Representatives came and everyone wanted a moment on stage to celebrate the Winans. It became this big moment and I sat there and watched it roll out.

It was incredible and you could see the spirit it was like the Holy Ghost was pleased the atmosphere changed it was like now it’s time to have church.

Another favorite part of that moment was when we took our new talent show case and had them create a medley of songs of the Winans hits. One of the artists was Dayton’s own Tonya Baker and Keith Leak.

Your greatest achievements

I haven’t received many awards but I realize that my reward is making it to heaven and being a born again Christian, that’s my ultimate goal.

So I’m not knocking accolades I just haven’t won one yet. I don’t let awards define me; I could show you letters of prisoners or viewers that say the show has inspired them.

I’ve gotten letters from death row inmates who have watched the show on TV saying the show encouraged them and keep up the good work. One inmate sent me $5.00 he said you are real blessing to me and I want to sew into your life, so I added it to the foundation.

Those are the kinds of things that let me know that I am doing the right thing. I am a singer and I play a few instruments but the All State stage is too large for my level of talent.

It grew bigger than me and now it’s a platform for national artists much bigger and more perfected in their craft. I’m behind the scenes, a button pusher putting it all together but it becomes a big international stage.

Meet : Robin Mobley

robinRobin Mobley

Interviewed by Joleen K. Norman

Robin Mobley’s endeavors have found her success; she is a mother of 4 adult children and 4 grandchildren, a radio television personality, and a motivational speaker. Robin is one of the top female promoters of the Dayton area as well as a manager for national Hip Hop artists.

 

 

 

JO: How did you get your start?Robin: I actually got my start in broadcasting through my late step father Leroy Price, he use to have a television show called “Word Up” and one day he was doing a cast call so I went down there to help him.Someone said “your daughter is willing to come down here and help, why isn’t she willing to audition?” so I tried out and from there the bug just hit me and I really loved it so I started hosting the show “Word Up” on DATV.From there WDAO’s Jim Johnson, really got me started in radio and I didn’t even have a degree in radio, I was just a mother who listened to his show every day and hoped they would need that special touch and so I called Johnson and asked if I could talk with him and by that Wednesday he wanted me to come in and do the show. From there he asked me to co-host a show called “Expression” which is a 2 way call in hotline talk show.

That’s what really got me started in broadcasting. I did Modeling when I was a kid and then after my divorce was final that’s when my career started with several fashion shows, and magazines.

JO: Do you have a good early story about your radio station that you can share with our readers?

Robin: Yeah, I really believe in facebook and twitter. I love all those things it’s a free media site that you can share your information on. Every day I would post something positive on my pages, and so one day there was an owner who had an internet radio station in Carolina and he said “ can I use one of your quotes, I follow you on facebook and I never say anything but I follow you and you said a nice quote…. Can I use it?” so I said “yes you can use it”

He wrote me back asking if I could come on his show and say my quote. So I went on his show and said my quote and then he asked me what did I think about doing my own show and I told him that I’ve thought about it but I’ve never done a show on the internet before. That’s when I created “ Real Talk Real Robin” and “Justice In The AM” it’s going on air this time in the PM from 7pm-9pm and it’s the same format.

I wanted to research it a little bit because nobody was doing reality radio everybody was doing reality television shows. They literally saw me throughout the day at least a couple hours and whatever I am doing with them either interviewing them or just playing music, everything is on my show, including sports news.

JO: What have been some of your greatest challenges? Robin: I would have to say one of the greatest challenges that I had started off early and that’s becoming a mother. I got married when I was 18 and had 4 children back to back so my whole challenge at that time was remembering that my children didn’t ask to be here so I had to raise them and put what I really wanted aside, so I would have to say that was one of my greatest challenges.I am 44 years old coming back in the game as a model, trying to do my radio show, trying to accomplish some of my dreams, so the challenge was accepting the fact that it’s not too late.At one point my health was on the decline because I almost died twice from being in a major car accident so those were the only basic challenges. Other than that I love challenges, I think I am the underdog, the one that overtakes everything, with the help of God of course.

JO: What is the best advice that you have ever received from someone?

Robin: Its simple… never give up. It was so simple and it wasn’t just implied to me by one person it was my father and my step-dad, my mother, my sister and even my grandmother.

They always said that to me, it’s something I tell myself and my children. One thing I believe is that you have to motivate yourself. So I talk to myself all the time to encourage myself.

JO: Do you have anything new coming up?

Robin: Yes, I do have a new reality show coming here on January 1st called “Real Talk Real Robin” but its justice in the PM and it airs on a new radio station called “The One Radio”. Also, another great thing that I just found out about a couple days ago is that I’m going to be on a reality show here in Atlanta and that’s called “Independent Ladies of Atlanta”, airing on Bravo so stay tuned to for show dates.

Look out for the artist that I manage, CHAOS aka CCSERVA, he has made it big so I am very proud of him.

Issue 11 – Spotlight On: Danai Gurira

 Danai Gurira

By Crawford Norman

Strong black women are dominating Television right now. 

Kerry Washington’s character on Scandal delegates like no other and even the President is wrapped around her fingers.

On a much darker side Danai Gurira had two zombie slaves wrapped around hers. Gurira’s character Michonne on the hit show The Walking Dead is arguably the strongest and most powerful character.

dg

 

The katana wielding warrior cuts the heads off of zombies without blinking and even contends with the Governor and walks away.

We had to put the Spotlight on Michonne because a character like this has never made it to the small screen, not to mention outliving her male counterparts during the zombie apocalypse.

She’s such a breath of fresh air because her character is well rounded Michonne is sexy, ruthless, loyal, strong and mysterious. Gurira’s talent is what makes this woman stand out among such a strong cast.

Howard Hewett

Submitted by Joleen Knowling-Norman

On Saturday, April 7t,h WildStyle Entertainment & Dayton’s Vault presented an evening for the grown & sexy, an intimate performance by the one and only R&B artist, Howard Hewett. JO Magazine was on the scene to support and enjoy the show and after all these years; his sweet melodies still brings us to tears. Songs Like “Second Time Around,” “For the Lover in You,” “Make That Move” and “I Say Amen” are only a few reasons that makes it easy to understand why the musical genius still reigns supreme in the hearts and souls of many.
After the show I was able to escape to VIP with Howard Hewett for an exclusive JO Magazine interview. I learned that at the tender age of nineteen he moved to Los Angeles because of family ties, and soon after, a mutual friend’s introduction to Soul Train’s Don Cornelius opened doors in the industry. That opportunity led to the meeting of Soul Train dancers, Jodi Whatley and Jeffery Daniels and together they became the hit pop group Shalamar. Different agendas, not the inability to make or sell hit records was the cause of the pop group’s demise but as solo artists, both Jody Watley and Howard Hewett had successful singing careers.

Which do you prefer, solo artist or group performer?

“I enjoy both but I like being a solo artist. There is only one of you to worry about which makes performances easier.”

Gospel or R&B?

“I will always be an R&B artist. I actually perform more R&B songs, it just every album has featured a gospel track.”

During our delightful interview Howard admitted his children were his inspiration and greatest accomplishment and his unsuccessful relationship/marriages would probably be his biggest failure yet. He seemed optimist about his love life and who wouldn’t if they still had the looks and the voice that could change any mood. When asked if he would do anything different, his response was simply, “No. I believe things happen the way they are suppose to and all and all I have no complaints. I’m very blessed.”

In closing, Mr. Howard Hewett offered this great advice, “to stay true to yourself and enjoy the moment.”

JO Magazine would like to especially thank Shenelle Mann for the invitation. (See below)

This poem was written and performed the night of the show by JO Magazine writer, LaShai, as a thank you for the opportunity and experience of a lifetime. The poem consists of 22 Howard Hewett classics.

 

 

“THIS IS 4 THE LOVER IN YOU”

HOW DO I KNOW LOVE

If I don’t STAY and show love

because I know SOMEWHERE THERE’S A LOVE

a LOVE OF YOUR OWN

a love that will MAKE ME SAY OOH

DON’T YOU WONDER TOO

JUST TO KEEP YOU SATISFIED

darling please SHOW ME how I can love you

TO PLEASE YOU there’s nothing I wouldn’t do

This JOURNEY is incomplete WITHOUT YOU

and I’ll MAKE THAT MOVEjust to be with you Boo

     It’s CRYSTAL CLEAR that HEAVEN SENT YOU

so I must confess FOR THE LOVER IN YOU

that baby I’M FOR REALI got my EYE ON YOU

My heart is not ready to SAY GOODBYE

I can’t IMAGINE being without you in this CIRCLE OF LIFE

I SAY AMEN if you would be the ANGEL by my side..

                                        

                                                                                                   

                                                                                         LaShai 2012

Marla Gibbs

‘Hattie’ in TYLER PERRY’S “MADEA’S WITNESS PROTECTION”

Interviewed by Joleen Knowling-Norman

You remember her from “The Jefferson’s” and “227.” Marla Gibbs is back on the big screen, sassy and funny as ever. Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Witness Protection” is where you will catch Ms. Gibbs. JO Magazine had a one-on-one with the star.

Joleen: Hi, Ms. Gibbs. Thank you for speaking to me today. Can you tell us about Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Witness Protection?”

Gibbs: Why sure. “Madea’s Witness Protection” is [about] a group that’s having a problem. And they’re a white family that needs protection. And they put them at Madea’s house. And who would ever think of looking for them at Madea’s house in that neighborhood? And that’s the great premise right there. Some of the great actors we have: Eugene Levi from “Bringing Down The House” with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah. We have Doris Roberts from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which is one of my favorite shows. Also, we have Denise Richards, who was married to Charlie Sheen. She is very sweet. [She] looks like a high school girl. It’s a wonderful cast and I am so happy to be a part of it.

Joleen: Yes. You play the neighbor?

Gibbs: I play the nosey neighbor who lived next door to Madea. I’m always looking to see what she has going on at her house, and she always has something going on.

Joleen: It kind of reminds me of the nosey neighbor in 227. I can’t remember her name, but she was in the window all the time.

Gibbs: Yes. That was Pearl.

Joleen: Have you ever worked with Tyler Perry before?

Gibbs: Sherman and I did the “House of Payne” with Tyler Perry.

Joleen: Was it a great experience?

Gibbs: It was great, and a wonderful experience. He is so creative, and so spiritual. He is a wonderful person, and his studio is off the hook! It is fabulous. You will think that you are at MGM or Paramount Studios. He’s got everything that you can think of.

Joleen: How was it working with the cast? Did you have a good time with them?

Gibbs: I have worked with most of the cast before. I worked with some on Don B. Welch’s , “Let The Church Roll On;” a
Gospel stage play.

Joleen: What do you think people will enjoy about the movie and leave with?

Gibbs: Well it’s a comedy, as always. It’s a good comedy and good script. It’s fun. So people are always looking forward to having fun. Madea is crazy anyway. So you’ll love to see Madea.

Joleen: I know people probably ask you this a lot, but what made you decide to get into the entertainment industry?

Gibbs: I always wanted to get into the entertainment industry. I always wanted to sing. When I was a kid I was always in[to] the movies. But, I didn’t think about doing movies too much, because I didn’t see it around me in Chicago. But the moment I got to Los Angeles, I got into workshops and start[ed] doing theatre. I just fell in love with it. The next thing you know I was on television.

Joleen: I read that you used to work at the airport while you were still acting.

Gibbs: Yes. I worked at United Airlines, in the reservations office.

Joleen: You were holding down two jobs?

Gibbs: Oh yes. I worked for two years on “The Jeffersons” and the United Airlines at the same time.

Joleen: I bet that was a lot of work; a big accomplishment to do both at the same time. I know you must have been tired.

Gibbs: No. I wasn’t tired. When you work on television they take a break like every hour or so. And talking about, “You guys must be tired. Let’s take a five.” I would say “Wow this is really something.” And then, of course, you only work like five months out of the year on television. At United I worked all year around. So when I was on vacation, I would say, I had several months that I could be working [on the “Jeffersons”]. I kept on working until they (the show) asked me to quit. The show asked me to quit. They said “You still have that job?” And I said “Yeah.” They said “We thought you had quit.” And I said “You haven’t told me anything to make me quit. You have something to tell me?” And they said “Would you take a leave?” And I said “Are you going to pay me?” And they paid me to take leave. And I took a leave for three months. I decided I could only go as far as I can stretch one leg. I decided to take both legs with me. So I gave it a shot, and, of course, I was never sorry.

Joleen: What do you account for your longevity in the entertainment business?

Gibbs: Well, God for one thing, and the biggest thing. And, of course, the audience, the popularity of the shows, the writers,… and the wonderful casts I’ve been blessed with.

Joleen: Can you share with our readers a memorable moment from any of your television shows?

Gibbs: There are many memorable moments. Not just one. There were so many shows on the “Jeffersons.” We had the one with Billy D [Williams]. We had one where I put on the Aunt Jemima outfit. There are so many to choose.

Joleen: I like the one with Billy D.

Gibbs: Everyone likes the one with Billy D. I like the one with Billy D too. What did Eddie Murphy say? “Billy D, Billy D, Billy D. (laughing).”

Joleen: Ms Gibbs, did any of your children get into the entertainment business?

Gibbs: My daughter did. She started before I did, actually. We started studying together, workshops together, and plays together. She was on the Redd Fox Show and “Sandford & Son” show. She was also in “Cleopatra Jones.” And then she decided to go to college and finish her education. When she came back, nobody remembered her. In the meantime, I got a break. My daughter was in “Drum Line,” and “Think Like A Man.” You will see her at the end.

Joleen: That was a great movie.

Gibbs: Yes, it was. She plays one of the characters mothers?

Joleen: That’s your daughter?

Gibbs: Not Jennifer Lewis. At the end you will see her at the picnic table. At the end of the movie she said ‘That’s ok.’ She was there. She is also currently in a Miracle Grow commercial.

Joleen: You are very sharp and fit and you keep yourself together. How do you do it? Some people in their 30’s and 40’s can’t even do it. How do you do it?

Gibbs: You know, I’m thirty. I’ve been thirty for several years. Everybody knows that I’m thirty. They keep trying to say that I’m older, but I keep telling them I am thirty.

Joleen: I’m with you on that one.

Gibbs: And don’t add no numbers to it. I thought you said I was thirty-nine. NO! I’m thirty, and don’t put a number behind it. If you think you’re thirty, you can do all the things you’re supposed to do.

Joleen: Right. That’s a good concept. I will have to tell my mom about it. Can you tell us something catchy about the movie, so we can tell our readers?

Gibbs: They know Madea is funny, and the idea of Madea’s house as being a witness protection house is already hysterical in  itself. You have all of these white folks coming down living at Madea’s house, because they are hiding from folks and that’s almost like hiding in plain sight.

Joleen: I can’t wait to see it! Thank you so much for talking with me today.

Gibbs: I’m just glad to be a part of it. He wrote a little part in for me. I have a cameo in it [as] the nosey next door neighbor.

Joleen: Can you give our readers some encouraging words to help them follow their dreams.

Gibbs: Just understand that you and God are one, and that what Jesus came to tell you, the things he did, you can do also. Because you and the father are one. So when you love yourself, you can love someone else. When you treat yourself well, you can treat someone else well. You can attract whatever it is you want from the universe. Your responsibility is to have faith, and take a step up in that faith. When you take a step, God makes two. So believe in yourself, and do the work. Because, faith without work is dead .

Joleen: Thank you for the interview. We at JO Magazine love you.

Gibbs: Thank you and I love you. Have a blessed day and a blessed life.

John Amos

Interviewed by Joleen Knowling-Norman

He’s a driven, insightful, intelligent, and strong man that we all know and love. Some know him from his stage plays and others from film and television. You will have the opportunity to be dazzled with his delightful aura. John Amos, who is starring in Tyler Perry’s latest production, Madea’s Witness Protection.
Joleen: How has the industry changed from when you started until now?

Amos: I guess the biggest change would have to be a lot of our products and programming that’s offered to the television industry movies have changed it seems that there’s no regards to anything that doesn’t make a 100 million dollars. It’s almost a failure, so the bottom line is that the industries change has become digital its following and being dictated to some degree the internet it’s the best were the young people get information about movies it’s a radical change because I came up in an age when movies and television programs came out of good writing and I think what we see on television programs the abundance of television shows killed creativity so that’s one of the biggest changes there so many you can go on and on.

Joleen: What has been your biggest challenge faced so far in your career?

Amos: I would say the biggest challenge has not come through television or film but through stage projects I had the pleasure and it was a challenge at the time doing two plays written by the late August Wilson. These were masterpieces. He was a masterful writer. In fact, one theatre critic compared his writing and said he was a virtual contemporary Shakespeare; the way he captured the essence of life in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh areas, that he knew so well and the chronology that he dealt in spanned 40 or 50 years. He was just an incredible writer. So those are the biggest challenges, to do justice to his work and to follow the direction that’s given by a very capable director, Rue Sandieago; to uphold the standard that August Wilson had said and to work it out with Phylicia Rashad, who created her role on Broadway. It was a challenge to do a stage play with Denzel Washington, I did some years ago. The title was Split Second. Denzel is a remarkable actor on film, but he’s absolutely magical on stage. There’s no net and he’s just an incredible, giving actor to work with. So I’d say those were my
challenges. The two that come to mind right away.

Joleen: What has been your best role?

Amos: It’s hard to say what has been my best role to me. I would leave that evaluation up to people who look at my work and I’m too busy trying to get the work done. To say this was my best work I’ve ever done, I would like to think my best work is consistently done on stage. That is the
medium that I feel close to the audience that I’m performing for. That’s the medium that I get immediate feedback from the audience and they let you know if you’re doing a good job or not. So it’s never up to the actor to say ‘This is the best work I ever done’ or ‘Boy, I’m really good (laughing)’ that would be a little too much.

Joleen: Can you tell us about Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection?

Amos: It’s a moral message wrapped in a comedy… [Perry is] skilled at being able to deliver a meaningful message and [make] movies that people will pay to see, and that makes him a bankable director. That means he knows his audience. It means he knows how to reach that audience. He knows how to cultivate that audience and, at the same time, how to elevate that audience. So if you see and follow his trail of work, the quality of the projects becomes more and more contemporary, socially. It crosses more color lines. He’s got stories about human beings, as he did in his movie, Good Deeds. He’s quite a capable artist in terms of being able to put that product out there. When I came along, of course, there was no Tyler Perry, there was Sidney Poitier and that was it. To be able to see a Spike Lee, a Johns Singleton. My own son, Carey. He’s got his Master’s [degree] in Live Action Film and has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Direction of a Country Music Video. To be able to look across the playing field now and see all of these young men of color, not just waiting for opportunities, but creating opportunities. That’s the beauty in this generation. This younger generation, they got the internet and through the internet they can make their own movies. They can find audiences for anything. It’s [an] incredible educational and a marketing tool.

Joleen: Do you mind telling me about the role you played in Madea’s Witness Protection?

Amos: No, I don’t mind. On the contrary, I played the pastor of the church. I like the role. When I read it, I said ‘Ok fine I can do this.’ I already enjoyed playing a man of the cloth. It’s not the first time I’ve done it on television or film. Bottom line is I enjoyed it. It was well written. I have a son in the film, who was entrusted with all of the churches money for investment purposes. What happens to the money is based on my relationship with my son. It’s a very interesting subplot. That’s not what all of the movie is about. On the contrary, there’s a lot more going on. It is something to hold the audience’s interest and for me it was a good thing to work with some of the younger actors that I have not met before, because it keeps me in touch with the generation. It lets me know what’s coming down the pike. It went very well. It wasn’t a feature role. It was a cameo, and I enjoyed it immensly, and I would work with Tyler at the drop of a hat. He runs a very professional set. He’s a very well prepared director. It’s obvious that he has done his homework. He doesn’t waste a lot of time. He’s a very economical director, in terms of getting the job done. It doesn’t require 50 or 60 or 70 takes. All of that madness, you know, it’s just a waste of time and money. I can see why he’s so popular with the producers. He gives them a lot of bang for their bucks. Getting to know you better

Joleen: Mr. Amos, who’s your favorite author or playwrite?

Amos: My favorite author just passed, Ray Bradbury. He was a science fiction author. He was the greatest author that I have had a chance to meet. I mourn his passing. Most young people don’t know Ray Bradbury. He had a tremendous
impact on American Literature. In terms of Play Writers, it would be August Wilson. He’s right at the top of the list. August loved us, meaning his people, and he wrote for us and about us. He did it in a loving way. He was respected by his entire cast. No one deviated from his script. It was like a Bible. The words were all there, so you didn’t have to try and embellish [it]. Just follow the blue print and you couldn’t fail. That’s how wonderful of a writer he was. My favorite medium is writing. That’s when you can create a world of characters, a world of situations, and you can put some symbols on paper to have for years later.

Joleen: The last movie you went to see at the theatre?

Amos: (Laughing) I fell a sleep when I woke up the movie theatre was empty but it was a science fiction movie. I knew it would put me to sleep. It was one of those world coming to an end movies. After the first and second explosion I dozed off.

Joleen: What was the last play you saw?

Amos: Mountain Top, with Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson. There are only two people in the play. Angela Bassitt is absolutely incredible. She was absolutely marvelous, and Samuel L. Jackson did a wonderful job as well. You can’t take your eyes off of Angela when she’s on stage.

Joleen: Do you have a favorite quote?

Amos: My father always told me, “Enjoy your life son, because nobody gets out alive and nobody gets out with a dime.”

JO Magazine would like to thank you Mr. Amos, for your kind and insightful interview.