Tuesday, December 27, 2011

'Pariah' in theatres Tomorrow...MUST SEE!!

The very highly anticipated, in-depth film, Pariah, will hit the theaters in select states tomorrow December 28, 2011. The buzz has been stirring around this award winning cinematic story. Pariah has an amazing cast, including Kim Wayans and new starlet Adepero Oduye, along with the heavy hitting crew such as Writer/ Director Dee Rees, Producer Nekisa Cooper, Cinematographer Bradford Young and Executive Producer Spike Lee .It is a riveting coming out story of freedom.  The Los Angeles Times released a review today stating "She makes all of her character's discomfort with life believable, from the pain of rejection to her fumbling, and sometimes funny, attempts at being "the guy." 

Support OUR films.
Check out the official trailer

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fearless Icon Open Doors to Create Stars in the Community

Fearless Icon Open Doors to Create Stars in the Community
Grammy Nominated Hip Hop Legend, Yo Yo Continues to Pay it Forward with School for South L.A. Youth

In the heart of one of L.A.'s cultural landmarks, Leimert Park, I walked into the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center (former home of Lucy Florence Cultural Center) and gazed upon so many bright young faces along with their parents who were equally optimistic with pride. I felt the overwhelming positive energy in the room. I was soon approached by a star with the most amazing smile and awesome windows to the soul. She approached me with her arms wide open as she graciously spoke "Hi, are you here to sign up?"

I could not believe that it was none other than West Coast Hip Hop Icon/ Business Woman Extraordinaire, Yolanda "Yo Yo" Whitaker . I observed as she smiled, greeted and embraced each parent and young person. You could feel her smile glow brighter as each new person stepped into the room. In a discussion with a parent, she stated that she wanted to give the young people in South L.A. an opportunity to share their talent with the world. 
MC Flower sporting her Yo Yo School of Hip Hop Shirt

Yo Yo is diligently letting her light shine while shining the light on the youth of the community with her Hip Hop School called Yo Yo School of Hip Hop. Starting the pilot of the program this past summer, Yo Yo and her staff are gearing up to begin the school's winter session on December 19th. Yo Yo's School of Hip Hop is a community program encompassed with hip hop dance, theatre, beat production, artist development and vocal training classes. Also included are life skills such as confidence, love of self, integrity, mentorship, sense of freedom and one of my favorite's ...fearlessness! These young stars will unleash their creative power throughout their winter break. Staff member, Cynthia K. also known as MC Flower, affirmed that everyone gets to pick his/her own "MC" name at the school and each participant gets a cool school t-shirt. She was sporting her distinctive Yo Yo School of Hip Hop shirt. 

Making her dream of having a school a reality, Yo Yo put her plan together, wrote it down, started acting on it and the doors began to open. "When you show up, God shows out," she stated, "You have to come full circle with the power of self." 

Ashley and Yo Yo all smiles

Throughout her years as a hip hop artist, actress, television host, radio personality, motivational speaker and more, Yo Yo has always gave back with empowerment and inspiration dating back to 1991 when she released her debut album " Make Way for the Motherlode" while igniting Intelligent Black Women's Coalition (IBWC). Later she along with another hip hop female legend, MC Lyte began the Let Your Light Shine Foundation.

" I had to get real with myself. I had to go through stages to get here. It is hard to be powerful with someone else when you don't understand your own power. By giving what I want, I am also empowering myself."

She gave attributes to the powerful women that she has encountered on her journey including the phenomenal Oprah Winfrey. She said, "When I met Oprah, I realized how that I did not have to be pretentious, I could simply be...me."

There is still more to come from this Black Pearl. Yo Yo has her plate full with several projects including collaborating with other artists on some new music, one woman show which has the same title of her debut album Make Way for the Motherlode: Yo Yo's One Woman Show and much more including running for congress. The Motherlode has arrived and is here to stay and she is bringing the next generation of stars with her.

For more information on Yo Yo's School of Hip Hop, go to www.yoyoschoolofhiphop.com.

Monday, December 12, 2011


News Release from the Grammy Foundation


U.S. High Schools in the
Running for Grants for Music Excellence
 Supported in part by Best Buy,
Campbell's Labels For Education Program,
the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Gibson Foundation
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2011)— The GRAMMY Foundation®(www.grammyfoundation.org) today announced that 125 schools nationwide have been selected as GRAMMY® Signature Schools semifinalists (www.grammyintheschools.com) for 2012. Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.GRAMMY Signature Schools are made possible in part through the generous support of Best Buy, Campbell's Labels For Education program, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Gibson Foundation. Applications for the 2013GRAMMY Signature Schools program are online at www.grammyintheschools.com and the deadline to apply is Oct. 22, 2012.
"The GRAMMY Signature Schools program sustains excellence in music education by granting awards to public high school music programs in communities across the country," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation. "Each of these semifinalist schools should be commended for their commitment to keeping the arts in their curriculum for the long term benefits of their students."
In mid-March 2012, the GRAMMY Foundation will announce the finalists for the GRAMMY Signature Schools program. These schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to benefit their music program.The top schools are designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients is named the National GRAMMY Signature School. The remaining schools are designated GRAMMY Signature Schools.
The List of 2012 GRAMMY Signature Schools Semifinalists: 
Academy of Music at Hamilton High School — Los Angeles
Adlai E. Stevenson High School — Lincolnshire, Ill.
Air Academy — USAF Academy, Colo.
Albany High School — Albany, Calif.
Allen High School — Allen, Texas
Arizona School for the Arts — Phoenix
Arsenal Technical High School — Indianapolis
Ballard High School — Seattle
Bay Shore High School — Bay Shore, N.Y.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School — Bethesda, Md.
Billings Senior High School — Billings, Mont.
Billings West High School — Billings, Mont.
Boston Arts Academy — Boston
Brownsburg High School — Brownsburg, Ind.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School — Burnt Hills, N.Y.
Carlsbad High School — Carlsbad, Calif.
Central Dauphin East High School — Harrisburg, Penn.
Central Dauphin High School — Harrisburg, Penn.
 Central High School — Philadelphia
Central York High School — York, Penn.
Champs Charter High School of the Arts — Van Nuys, Calif.
Chittenango High School — Chittenango, N.Y.
Clear Lake High School — Houston
Commack High School — Commack, N.Y.
Comsewogue High School — Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Crown Point High School — Crown Point, Ind.
Darien High School — Darien, Conn.
David Douglas High School — Portland, Ore.
Davis Senior High School — Davis, Calif.
Detroit School of Arts — Detroit
Diamond Bar High School — Diamond Bar, Calif.
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts — Jacksonville, Fla.
Dover Area High School — Dover, Penn.
Dover Eyota High School — Eyota, Minn.
Duxbury High School — Duxbury, Mass.
East Anchorage High School — Anchorage, Alaska
East Meadow High School — East Meadow, N.Y.
Edina High School — Edina, Minn.
Edward R. Murrow High School — Brooklyn, N.Y.
Elk Grove High School — Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Emerald Ridge High School — South Hill, Wash.
Esperanza High School — Anaheim, Calif.
Evanston Township High School — Evanston, Ill.
Fairview High School — Boulder, Colo.
Flower Mound High School — Flower Mound, Texas
Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center — Columbus, Ohio
Freeport High School — Freeport, Ill.
Garden City High School — Garden City, N.Y.
George W. Hewlett High School — Hewlett, N.Y.
Glenbard West High School — Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Governor Thomas Johnson High School — Frederick, Md.
Granada Hills Charter High School — Granada Hills, Calif.
Grand Haven High School — Grand Haven, Mich.
Green Valley High School — Henderson, Nev.
Groton High School — Groton, N.Y.
Guilderland High School — Guilderland Center, N.Y.
Harker Heights High School — Harker Heights, Texas
Hopewell Valley Central High School — Pennington, N.J.
Howard W. Blake School of the Arts — Tampa, Fla.
Irvine High School — Irvine, Calif.
Jasper High School — Plano, Texas
Jeffersonville High School — Jeffersonville, Ind.
Jenison High School — Jenison, Mich.
John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School — Great Neck, N.Y.
John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School — Augusta, Ga.
Johnson City High School — Johnson City, N.Y.
Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School — Philadelphia
Kettering Fairmont High School — Kettering, Ohio
Klein Collins High School — Spring, Texas
La Cueva High School — Albuquerque, N.M.
Lancaster High School — Lancaster, N.Y.
Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing & Visual Arts — Las Vegas
Linn-Mar High School — Marion, Iowa
Long Beach Polytechnic High School — Long Beach, Calif.
Marcus High School — Flower Mound, Texas
Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School — Novato, Calif.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — Parkland, Fla.
Metea Valley High School — Aurora, Ill.
Mira Costa High School — Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Monroe-Woodbury High School — Central Valley, N.Y.
Montgomery Blair High School — Silver Spring, Md.
Morton High School — Morton, Ill.
Mount Zion High School — Jonesboro, Ga.
Mountain View High School — Vancouver, Wash.
Nanuet Senior High School — Nanuet, N.Y.
Nauset Regional High School — North Eastham, Mass.
Nederland Middle/Senior High School — Nederland, Colo.
Neuqua Valley High School — Naperville, Ill.
North Allegheny Senior High School — Wexford, Penn.
Northwest School of the Arts — Charlotte, N.C.
Northwood High School — Irvine, Calif.
O’Fallon Township High School — O’Fallon, Ill.
Penn High School — Mishawaka, Ind.
Poteet High School — Mesquite, Texas
Prospect High School — Mt. Prospect, Ill.
Quaker Valley High School — Leetsdale, Penn.
Red River High School — Grand Forks, N.D.
Richland Center High School — Richland Center, Wisc.
River Hill High School — Clarksville, Md.
Rocky Mountain High School — Fort Collins, Colo.
Roosevelt High School — Seattle
Saline High School — Saline, Mich.
South Orange County School of the Arts-Dana Hills High School — Dana Point, Calif.
Spruce Creek High School — Port Orange, Fla.
Thomas Jefferson High School — San Antonio, Texas
Tri-Cities High School — East Point, Ga.
Tuscarora High School — Frederick, Md.
Union High School — Camas, Wash.
W.T. Clarke High School — Westbury, N.Y.
Walnut High School — Walnut, Calif.
Walt Whitman High School — Huntington Station, N.Y.
Walter Johnson High School — Bethesda, Md.
Warren Central High School — Indianapolis
Warwick Valley High School — Warwick, N.Y.
Waubonsie Valley High School — Aurora, Ill.
West Port High School — Ocala, Fla.
West Salem High School — Salem, Ore.
Western High School — Anaheim, Calif.
Westwood High School — Austin, Texas
White Station High School — Memphis, Tenn.
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School — Chicago
William A. Shine-Great Neck South High School — Great Neck, N.Y.
Williamsport Area High School — Williamsport, Penn.
Winston Churchill High School — Potomac, Md.
York Community High School — Elmhurst, Ill.
The selection process for GRAMMY Signature Schools begins each year in August when the GRAMMY Foundation mails notification to more than 20,000 public high schools from districts large and small, urban, suburban and rural, requesting information about each school's music program. Applications are completed and submitted online in October atwww.grammyintheschools.com. After the applications are scored, finalists are identified and asked to submit additional documentation, such as recordings of school concerts, sample concert programs and repertoire, which is then reviewed by an independent blue-ribbon committee of top music educators and professionals to determine the schools that merit GRAMMY Signature School status.
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. Campbell's Labels For Education program is proud to be the official education partner of the GRAMMY In The Schools®programs. For more information, please visit www.grammyintheschools.com.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Can God's Love Reach You in The Dark?...Absolutely!

On December 3, 2011, in honor of World Aids Day, B.L.A.C. Male Productions presented a riveting play entitled "Can God's Love Reach You in the Dark." What better place to host such an experience but in the house of God at Grace United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, CA. If I could give it a grade it would definitely be an "E" for exceptional, engaging, exigent, enlightening and embracing.

Can God's Love Reach You in Dark touched on very sensitive yet extremely significant topics that still remains suppressed specifically within the African American community. Exploring the connections of religion, family, sexuality, hate, acceptance and ignorance, writers Rodger Washington and Robert Howell brought forth awareness and insight with this unforgettable story of a family that is guided by faith but stricken by fear. In the end, it was God's unconditional love that led them to triumph. 

The actors amazingly brought each and every character to life. Outstanding actress/singer, Theresa Ford, played the fierce matriarch, Mrs. Sophia Johnson, who held the family and community together through all the trials and tribulations. Gill Nelson played Mr. Thomas Johnson, the dedicated yet stubborn father and Jerrel De'Angelio O'Neal played the lead as Thomas Johnson, Sr. I will not go too much further into detail but he was absolutely heaven sent. ( You have to see the play)

Supporting roles were played by Mr. Leland White who played "Uncle Tony", Angelle Robertson (Shelly) who played the annoying little sister, Michael Cox (Darryl)  as the sexy basketball star, Richard John Reliford as Pastor Marvin, Saudia Mills (Trina) as the show stopping diva, Bryant Norman as her deceiving beau and Ron English as the deacon. The laughs were nonstop whenever actors Steven Norflete (Nosey Shawn), Byron Marc Newsome and actress Ophelia Harper( Sister Carla) hit the stage.

This empowering evening was hosted by illustrious actor Doug Spearman who emphasized just how essential the messages, awareness and discussions are within our village. 

Casting was delivered by one of the industry's best and finest Jeannine Fisher of Jeannine Fisher Casting

So influentially stated by Director/Producer Spencer Collins, " I believe that through stories, we can change , educate, inspire and HEAL our community. It is important to me that Robert's & Rodger's story be told, but it is also how much we hurt each other with preconceived notions, judgments and stigmas attached to the disease. It's time we BREAK the silence by having a conversation."