• LGBT R&B/Pop Artist Tony Enos Brings “The Heat” with New CD Offering

    Philadelphia – Like a hot knife through butter, international R&B/pop recording artist Tony Enos continues to melt us down as he brings “The Heat,” his latest CD offering from lil’ T Entertainment LLC. As one of the first openly gay recording artists to hit the scenes years before it was ‘trendy,’ Enos has always blazed his own fiery way with vocals, choreography, fashion and gender bending music videos that truly set it off ! “The Heat” his second CD release, finds him broadening his range with tracks that take hip hop to pop’s blistering edge!

    “Hot Knife Through Butter,” the debut single release from “The Heat,” scorches a trail for Enos’ “no holds barred” style. The accompanying video packs the punch that keeps club mongers yearning for more. Stimulating visuals, engaging rhythms and teasing lyrics continue to define the essence of Enos’ sensual appeal. “The Heat” keeps the temperature pumping with tracks like “Be My Boyfriend” which flows with the innocence and fun of physical attraction while ditties like “Maneater” are layered with more serious club rocking intentions!

    “With ‘The Heat,’ I was basically dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century by my amazing producer Phil “iNSANE P” Cason,” shares Enos. “Though this is a new sound for me, I’ve stayed true to my self in my writing, composition and co-production. We were able to deliver a really current pop record and cohesive body of work. Once I heard the first single, ‘Hot Knife Through Butter,’ I committed to the idea of keeping the sound current with a more pop edge. I’ve tried some new things on this album both musically and vocally but it is still classic Tony Enos at the heart.”

    Adds Phil “iSANE P” Cason, who is known for his work with India Arie, Justin Timberlake and Timberland, “”This album is really an awesome rebirth for Tony Enos. He really takes it to the edge! Every song on ‘The Heat” is my favorite!”

    Since his debut CD, “Did It Rite,” Enos, a choreographer turned performer, has added activist to his endeavors. As an anti-bully advocate, Enos is an official spokesperson for Philadelphia’s Education Justice Coalition, a non-profit organization that focuses on the educational and academic achievements of LGBTQ youth. Enos draws from his past school days experiences of bullying and hardships to show youth that dreams can become a reality. He is also a national advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and education. Utilizing his music, performances and videos as a platform for pride, self worth and self preservation, Enos is a beacon of boldness in the LGBT community and beyond.

    Tony Enos will celebrate an official album release party on August 6 at Philadelphia’s Woody’s Night Club and is also planning promotional tour dates for “The Heat.” Meltdown with him at http://www.TonyEnos.com and simmer like a “Hot Knife Through Butter” at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-heat/id548651259.

    To see Tony Enos heat it up, check the video at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdz8iW_5364 .

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  • Young Man Dedicates his Life to his Country Records “Vote 4 Justice” for Black Youth Vote Before Leaving for the Army

    ‘ll stand for what’s right
    I’ll use all my might
    I’ll make a difference in this world we live in
    I’ll vote for what’s right
    I’ll lay down my life
    – lyrics from “Vote 4 Justice”

    Washington, DC – When Andre Todd Hobson aka “Champ” originally penned the lyrics for The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Youth Vote (BYV!) iThink 2012 campaign, he didn’t know how soon his lyrics would literally become his life. The 19-year-old Richmond, VA native will report to basic training for the U.S. Army on July 31, just a week after hitting the studio to lay his tracks for the song. He can only hope that his recording of “Vote 4 Justice” will move his peers to make a difference in the upcoming presidential election. He will make a difference by serving in the Army to protect the country and our democratic process.

    Hobson’s rendition of “Vote 4 Justice” is a stirring rap-laced track that evokes the essence of the times we live in. A gripping call for action, the song is a battle cry to a younger generation, beckoning them to utilize and not squander their power to vote. William Kellibrew IV, deputy director and national victims advocate for the National Coalition, empowers the hook with his compelling vocal ability. The song was produced by Richmond-based producer, “Sowf.”

    “Andre did an excellent job of translating our message into hip-hop vernacular,” said Jessica Brown, national field coordinator, BYV!. “We are working hard to educate our young people on the connection between voting and laws like ‘Stand Your Ground.’ Everyone wants justice for Trayvon Martin and others like him, but young people have to realize that those laws were voted in. We have to vote those laws out and keep voting so they don’t pass anymore laws that are not in our interest.”

    Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition adds, “Many of the laws that disenfranchise voters disproportionately affect Black men so, with the help of funders like Open Society Foundations, we recruited and trained young black men to educate their peers about the new voter ID laws and to work at the polls. I commend Andre for his leadership in using his creative skills to get our message out. We are proud and appreciative of his decision to serve our country. We wish him well.”

    BYV’s iThink 2012 campaign is in full gear training, educating, and making sure young adults register to vote, verify their status, obtain proper identification, and vote on Election Day. BYV! programs include the Black Male Initiative, a civic leadership development program; and Foot Soldiers for Democracy co-convened with Common Cause. BYV! Foot Soldiers are a cadre of young people trained to serve as poll workers and monitors in their local communities. BYV! is also partnered with the Cost of Freedom Project to distribute a voter ID App to quickly provide citizens with information on voter ID requirements for all 50 states and how to apply for a photo ID which they must show in order to vote.

    BYV! is a national grassroots organization committed to increasing political and civic engagement among black youth and training young leaders. Andre Todd Hobson is a prime example of one such leader. His song, “Vote 4 Justice” will become the legacy of a young man committed to change and willing to pay the “Cost of Freedom”.

    Download Vote4Justice at: www.ncbcp.org, follow on Twitter @blackyouthvote, Andre’s Twitter – @championmusicc. For BYV! updates text Vote4Justice to 69302.

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  • Fiction Author Madison Taylor Reloads with New Book Release WWW.com

    New York – She’s baaaack! Author Madison Taylor, the mastermind behind the skillfully laced trilogy “Scattered Lies I, II, and III” has returned! And she has not missed a beat with her pen. This time dishing a dose of danger so delectable, her readers are destined to drool in longing desperation as they weave their way toward the plot’s end. Her fourth book release in less than five years, Taylor’s latest fiction fantasy is “WWW.com.” No longer publishing under her own independent company, Influential Writers Publishing, Taylor is celebrating her growing success under the banner of 5 Star Publications with her latest novel!

    Taylor has firmly established herself in the world of urban lit fare with a keen knack for entwining people, plots, and unlikely ploys together. With her “Scattered Lies” trilogy, she deftly grew her fan base, book by book, entangling readers in an escalating whirlwind of passion, suspense, and drama.

    With “WWW.com” however, Madison turns up the intensity with a storyline that literally pushes the reader out of this world into the expansive space of virtual reality. In “WWW.com” Taylor unapologetically whisks the mind to the outer limits as she rampages the senses with scenarios that fuel and unleash the imagination.

    In the novel, Ramon Ramirez and Daniel Munger are the most feared men in America. Spearheading Shark Enterprise, better known as The Secret Society, they expertly engage the Internet as their playground for deception. The one rule of their secret community is that there are no rules! A “click” can get you whatever you want, from sex to money, and even murder.

    But in “WWW.com,” with the W’s standing for World Wide Web, you will be introduced to Chance, Seven, Justice and Patience; four unlikely heroines whose paths cross in a lethal synergy to bring these men down! These ladies prove that the entry into cyberspace can be even more dangerous when you don’t know who is behind the “click.”

    Bronx, NY native, Madison Taylor once again expertly converges her knowledge of the streets with her Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Her writing style deliciously seduces with precise attention to detail, inventive plots, unexpected twists, and toe curling dilemmas.

    “‘WWW.com’ is one of my most wicked works,” shares the author. “I believe my readers will have a special appreciation for these women as they courageously take matters into their own hands for the greater good. I find that aspect of the tale particularly liberating. In addition, by tackling the realm of cyber space, I’ve expanded my dimensions for suspense, terror, and even retribution. We know about the mean streets out here, but what about the deadly paths in the cyber world? ‘WWW.com’ takes you way out there. It is then up to the reader to find their way back home,” reveals Taylor.

    For more information about Madison Taylor’s “WWW.com,” and to secure copies, visit http://www.5starpublications.net or www.iammadisontaylor.com .

    For author appearances and wholesale information, contact LaQ’uita Adams via ladams@icon5star.com .

    Madison Taylor can also be reached at www.twitter.com/madisonme and at www.facebook.com/iammadisontaylor .

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  • Op-Ed Submission: Can People Let Frank Ocean Define His Own Sexuality?

    Can People Let Frank Ocean Define His Own Sexuality?

    By Cleo Manago, CEO and founder of the Black Men’s Xchange (BMX)

    African-American hip-hop artist Frank Ocean recently shared in a post on his Tumblr page that he had fallen in love with a man before. At the speed of sound, all available media space has been consumed with ill-informed presumptions about Mr. Ocean’s identity and conception of his sexuality.

    In less than 24 hours everyone, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identified individuals, had defined his sexuality for him even though he has said nothing at all publicly on this issue to date.

    What we’ve witnessed is a profound chauvinism on the part of gay-identified individuals who cannot conceive of any identity outside of the limiting gay/straight binary. And in the process, they continue to obscure the rarely acknowledged reality that many Black men who love men are not comfortable with the LGBT or gay identity.

    Frank Ocean wrote that he fell in love with a man. It was a beautiful story about love lost, about the unique challenges of being a black man who loves another black man in a society that does not value the lives of black men. Mr. Ocean never articulates it in those terms, but as a man who has worked for more than three decades with black men who love men, I recognized the signs.

    And, importantly, he never used the words “gay” or “bisexual.” He did however use the word “love.” Five times, in fact.
    Cleo Manago, founder and CEO of the Black Men’s Xchange

    That’s the beautiful honesty obscured here, and obscured every time the predominantly White gay movement and other gay-identified individuals label Black homosexuals and bisexuals without their consent. As quiet as it is kept, our society has more complexity than the predominately White-controlled media allows space to understand. People, especially African Americans, need to understand that many African Americans do not consider LGBT or gay to be inclusive nor culturally affirming. And this is not always because they are in denial of their sexuality or that they wish they were heterosexual, contrary to what you might hear in the mainstream media.

    The reality is that there are many African American men that prefer being in spaces that affirm their Blackness, rather than associating with an often racist “LGBT” community. Africans Americans are not the architects of the LGBT movement. They are, if anything, just used in advertisements to create the impression of inclusion that is not always there.

    Recently, Queen Latifah headlined the 29th Annual Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival. Following her appearance, like with Mr. Ocean, an avalanche of LGBT-identity associations was made about Latifah. She soon corrected everyone explaining that she was not “coming out” as a “lesbian” but was just being supportive.

    Latifah and Ocean are the products of deeply African-American art forms and cultures. Latifah is a highly respected figure from hip-hop’s golden age and Frank Ocean is a member of the hip-hop collective, Odd Future. They are not highly assimilated individuals, culturally speaking. Both are still quite “Black” in how they “represent.” It is entirely possible that, as a result, they are unwilling to adopt the LGBT identity because it holds no cultural capital for them. And there is nothing wrong with their decision to do so. In fact, it’s a sign of radical self-determination that is all too rare in our so-called “post-racial” America.

    Often Black men identify as gay because it’s the only identity that they think is available to them. They believe they have no other choice; that there is only gay, bi, and “straight.” And that can seem better than being an abomination in the eyes of a so-called Christian God and demonized by people in a church.

    But there have been important same-gender-loving (SGL) Black men who have articulated an identity that is their own, that affirms their Blackness. Great, African American writer and freedom fighter James Baldwin, known as an openly homosexual, never aligned himself with the gay movement. Such a move is not meant to be adversarial, though it is often misconstrued as such because there has been much invested in the [basicallyWhite] “gay” movement.

    The point is, we still have too much to learn or acknowledge about African-American homosexual and bisexual people. Our stories have been ignored or told by other people in a way that erases our cultural heritage and specificity. Homosexuals and bisexual people are no more monolithic culturally than heterosexuals are. That richness needs to be acknowledged, respected and “held” so all people, African American people especially, can have unfettered opportunity to love and embrace themselves in culturally affirming ways.

    I hope Mr. Ocean too realizes that he can do this and not be seduced by the media avalanche that keeps telling us who and what he is based on someone else’s agenda.

    Cleo Manago is founder and CEO of the Black Men’s Xchange (BMX) (http://www.bmxnational.org/), the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to promoting healthy self-concept and behavior among same gender loving (SGL), gay-identifying and bisexual African-descended males.

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  • Visual Master Bernard Hoyes’ Art Comes Alive in a Theatrical Production at Los Angeles’ Ford Amphitheatre

    Visual Master Bernard Hoyes’
    Art Comes Alive
    In “Seven Paintings, A Story in Performance”
    An Interdisciplinary Artistic Production at the Ford Amphitheatre
    on Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Hoyes’ iconic “Revival Series” tells of a spiritual journey from the African diaspora via an innovative theatrical concept that literally takes the stage for “The Ford 2012 Dance Series”

    Los Angeles – For over four decades the paintings of visual art master Bernard Stanley Hoyes have stimulated the masses. With compositions that boast majestic color, bold creativity and magnetic passion, his artwork is known for stirring the heart, mind and soul. As an iconic craftsman channeling images from a deeply spiritual space, it has been said that Hoyes’ work ‘speaks’ in more ways than one, touching the core of African worship through Jamaican Revivalism. The fervor behind it all; the moans, hallelujahs and laments, the whispers and the shouts, as well as the wailing and chants that seep through his compositions, are now going to literally jump off the canvas and come to life in a interdisciplinary materialization entitled, “Seven Paintings, a Story in Performance.” The event take place Sunday, August 5, at 8.:00pm at Los Angeles’ Ford Amphitheatre as part of the venue’s ever-popular “FORD 2012 DANCE” series .

    Presented by Bernard Hoyes’ Caribbean Fine Arts Publishing and the Jamaica Cultural Alliance, “Seven Paintings” features the art imagery of Hoyes, the choreography of Pat Taylor with her Jazzantiqua Dance Ensemble and drumming in the Yoruba/ Nyabengi tradition from the Kabasa Drum Ensemble. Seven separate works from Hoyes’ Revival Series will serialize a story of ambition and redemption. Each work will represent a scene as it is rear projected, stimulating the chapter’s interpretation by the dancers as Hoyes’ art is transformed into a magical staging of music, dance and pantomime. An engaging tambourine chorus chants the narrative of the next painting as they luminously transform from scene to scene.

    The interdisciplinary odyssey relates the spiritual journey of a young Jamaican medium who flees her position as the village healer to pursue her dreams of becoming a dancer. She experiences the wider world through relationships with a Rastafarian, a sailor and a policeman. Each encounter becomes a duet in the backdrop of a carnival masquerade. The carnival is a metaphor for the world at large. Finally, as the medium is lost in despair, a vision reveals her true path.

    Prices start at $35 for adults; full-time students with ID pay $15 and children 12 and under $12.Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or 323 461-3673 (for non-visual media 323 GO 1- FORD).

    “This is truly another incredible peak in my career,” expresses Hoyes, “as my work will actually come to life and be expressed through dance, performance and music. I paint visions that transmit pinnacles of movements and these are now being interpreted – I can’t even begin to convey my excitement. I am overwhelmed to have my work included in the ‘Ford 2012 Dance’ series. This is going to be beyond spectacular! The audience is going to witness true magic as life will now imitate art!”

    About Bernard Hoyes

    Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Hoyes demonstrated artistic abilities early on. When he was trotted off to live with a great aunt in rural Jamaica, his exposure to revival cults, ceremonies and rituals planted seeds deep within that would manifest as art in his later years.

    Hoyes’s formal art studies began at Junior Art Centre at the Institute of Jamaica. At age 15 he left Jamaica for New York City. His lessons continued at the Art Students League and Vermont Academy. A heady combination of his drive to excel and the influence of the civil rights movement placed Hoyes at the helm of propelling the academy to institute social and cultural programs. Upon graduation he was the first recipient of the Frederick Stanley Art Award and saw the launching of the school’s first formal arts department. When Hoyes attended an alumnus reception some years later, to receive the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award, he felt pride in seeing the new edifice housing a formal art department. He earned a Bachelor in Fine Arts in painting and graphic design from the California School of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

    His recognition and affirmation of traditional African religion and spirituality continues to find universal appeal, stunning audiences worldwide as evidenced by his “2009 Fall Tour – Europe.” Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Cole, Steve Harvey, Keenan Ivory Wayans and the National Urban League are among his collectors. Selections of Hoyes’ work have been featured in several television shows, including the Showtime hit series, “Dexter” and movies including Chris Rock’s “I Think I Love My Wife.” President Barack Obama has even been photographed in front of his work. His craft has been fêted internationally in galleries around the world.

    Most recently Hoyes’ work was on display as part of the “Places of Validation, Art & Progression” exhibit organized by the California African American Museum as part of the Getty initiative “Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980″ exhibitions; and he is featured in Lyn Kienholz’s coffee table New Art Encyclopedia pictorial, “L.A. Rising: SoCal Artist before 1980″ also supported by the Getty Foundation.

    “Seven Paintings” is sure to elevate, inspire and revolutionize the way we view art in the future. For additional information go to http://www.fordtheatres.com/en/events/details/id/367 . And to experience the work of Bernard Hoyes’ beyond seven paintings, go to http://www.BernardHoyes.com.

    About the Ford Amphitheatre

    The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood, CA, just off the 101 Hollywood Freeway across from the Hollywood Bowl and south of Universal Studios. The grounds open two hours before showtime for picnicking. There will be a VIP reception to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence in the Little Theatre that begins at 6:00 pm, performance begins at 8:00 pm. The Ford offers a number of dining options: a variety of food and beverages is available on site and box dinners for evening events may be ordered in advance. Patrons are welcome to bring their own food and drink.

    The Ford is disabled accessible. Portable wireless listening devices are available upon request. On-site, stacked parking costs $5 per vehicle for evening shows and $1 per vehicle for morning family shows. For evening shows only, FREE non-stacked parking serviced by a FREE shuttle to the Ford, for evening amphitheatre performances only, is available at the Universal City Metro Station lot at Lankershim Blvd. and Campo de Cahuenga. The shuttle, which cycles every 15-20 minutes, stops in the “kiss and ride” area.

    This event is part of the Ford Amphitheatre 2012 Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. For a complete season schedule, directions to the theater and parking information, log on to www.FordTheatres.org .

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