NJWeedman Launches his Jury Nullification Tour, May 8, in Washington State During Protest March to Support the “Bellingham Cannabis 3″
Bellingham, WA – When Martin Nickerson opened Northern Cross Collective Gardens (NCCG), a medical marijuana collective garden, he had the health and well-being of his patients in mind. Operating under the jurisdiction of State Law Rcw 69.51a, his Bellingham, WA location is supported by over 1300 patients, many of whom are disease suffering and seek the protection of the state’s newly implemented medical marijuana legalization laws to use cannabis as natural source of medicine.
When the local police raided his business a few months later however, not only was he surprised, hurt and angered, he along with two of his employees were also arrested and charged with felony crimes ranging from conspiracy, to possession of an “illegal” substance with intent to deliver. Collectively the three face over 25 years in prison if found guilty.
Nickerson and his staff, the “Bellingham Cannabis 3,” plan to fight those charges and win. On Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 8:00 a.m., the “Bellingham Cannabis 3″ will join forces with nationally recognized medical marijuana activist Ed Forchion aka NJWeedman during a “Jury Nullification Awareness Protest” to be held in front of the Whatcam County District Court at 311 Grand St. in Bellingham, WA. Northern Cross patients and supportive tax paying citizens will march and speak out against the unprecedented raids on three different collectives in the area while Forchion will provide a national perspective and discuss jury nullification.
The protest will also serve as the launch of NJWeedman’s national “Jury Nullification Tour.” In short, jury nullification is an age-old practice, though rarely implemented, whereby juries have the right to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant based on their moral interpretation of the law.
The “Bellingham Cannabis 3′ are caught in a legal battle that is being played out in courtrooms across the nation as numerous states come to terms with clarifications concerning their newly implemented cannabis legalization status.
An unlikely trio of sorts, Nickerson is a 36-year-old budding entrepreneur and father, who uses cannabis for afflictions he suffers from degenerative disc disease and acid reflex disease. Chris Ramsey is a 31-year-old patient and volunteer at Northern Cross. Born with Spina Bifida, a severe disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube, and severe nerve damage, the use of cannabis has seen him forfeit the use of a host of prescription drugs including muscle relaxers, pain killers, anti-nausea pills, and stool softeners. Saroj Sidhu is a young 22-year college student and she is a former volunteer at Northern Cross.
No one understands this struggle better than Forchion. Forchion solidified his moniker of “NJWeedman” in the medical marijuana community and far beyond when a jury of twelve unanimously acquitted him of possession with the intent to distribute a pound of marijuana during a recent trial in Burlington County, NJ. Forchion is one of the country’s staunchest supporters of jury nullification. He also suffers from bone cancer and uses cannabis to address the painful tumors he has. Prior to his court hearing, Forchion tirelessly and seemingly successfully petitioned the media and the public at large with his “The law is wrong, not I” jury nullification campaign in a concertedly determined effort to win his case.
“The case of the ‘Bellingham Cannabis 3′ broadly exemplifies how the law is unjust and wrong. It is our goal to inform everyone that as members of a jury they have the power to nullify any law that they don’t consider just. My jury did it in New Jersey and I believe we are going to see more and more jury participants across the country utilizing this American right and privilege. It’s what the Jury Nullification Tour is all about and I personally plan to tour the country to increase awareness of it. Let’s free the ‘Bellingham Cannabis 3′ and free ourselves in the process from outdated tyranny and oppression!” cites Forchion.
Adds Nickerson, “With this protest, we hope to better educate our peers and the public about the jury nullification process which can ultimately lead to the proof of our innocence. NCCG is fundamentally a small group of people helping a large group of suffering patients. No one should ever be made to feel like a criminal for that.”
“We pride ourselves in knowing that we provide a safe, comfortable and professional environment for patients to access medicine. Our community is appalled by the allegations that the city of Bellingham and the prosecutor put against us. All we have done is abide by State Law Rcw 69.51a and help sick and dying patients attain a natural plant,” adds Nickerson.
Los Angeles – One might easily contend that bassist Anthony Crawford has music flowing through his veins instead of blood. When you take into consideration that his dad is the noted funk and rock drummer Hubert “H bomb” Crawford, who has played with greats like James Brown, Cyndi Lauper and Mother’s Finest, and his uncle is the legendary jazz saxophonist Hank Crawford, the evidence becomes even more convincing. Now factor in the knowledge that he picked up his first instrument at age two, began visualizing his musical destiny at age 6, started teaching himself the bass at age 12, and was performing on stage with Bette Midler at 14, the evidence is enough to make you really wonder.
One listen to his latest release however, and one just might be totally convinced. With his new effort, Crawford amazingly mixes, meshes and mingles musical genres in a lusciously seductive terrain he calls “Urban Jazz / My Story.” “Urban Jazz / My Story,” on Hydro 6 Records, sweeps across the textures of jazz, funk, R&B, pop and hip hop and morphs into a musical collage of enchanting innovation and interpretation.
Crawford’s intricate bass styling grounds and centers the listener through 14 tracks of mellow melodious adventure. With contributions from a variety of artists, including Eric Darius, Frank McComb and Dave Weckl; song, harmony and rhythm wondrously whirl together in artistic free flight. “Only You,” the single release from the project, features McComb on vocals and is a determined declaration that rocks with commitment. “Bass Guitar” another track from the project, singularly swirls and twirls the flavors of hip hop, pop and contemporary jazz into one delicious treat.
“Baby” is another ear pleaser. The R&B bass tinged ode soars with sentiment highlighted with vocals from Valencia Robinson. Crawford’s “Jazz vs. Hip Hop” takes it up a funk notch with an engaging interplay so wound up, that the notion of jazz vs. hip hop becomes an improbable feat with no winner. “For My Mother,” Crawford’s stirring solo effort, is pure bass that touches the heart strings with every timbre.
A true prodigy in his own right, Anthony Crawford has been honing his own musical legacy over the years, working with artists such as Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake and Jeff Lorber. The Memphis, TN native is one of four featured bassists on the upcoming release “Bass Sessions Vol. 2″ from GospelChops.com and he tours internationally to wide acclaim.
His dedication to his art is highlighted throughout “Urban Jazz / My Story” with his thoughts on perseverance. “I am a true believer in what the mind can see will be made real. My musical journey has always been about me seeing something first and then it manifesting later. I have been blessed to work with many of my music heroes, including bassist Stanley Clarke and legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth, in just this fashion. ‘Urban Jazz / My Story’ is about pushing beyond borders, not just with music but also in life. We have the power to make things happen and hopefully ‘Urban Jazz/ My Story’ inspires that modus operandi in others.”
Move beyond limits with Anthony Crawford at www.AnthonyCrawfordBand.com. Check him out on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/urban-jazz-my-story/id634947997 and see him in action at Anthony Crawford promo .
Dallas – Nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden announced a hiatus from his radio show today on his Facebook page this morning that will begin on April 1, 2013. Baisden, who commands a daily audience of over seven million listeners, states he is unable to discuss the particulars but concluded that a deal could not be made on mutually agreeable terms. Recognized as one of the most influential men in radio, his “Michael Baisden Show” is one of the top rated afternoon drive radio programs heard in the top urban markets. He is also a TV talk show host, film-maker and New York Times best-selling author with nearly two million books in print.
Now in his tenth year on the air, Baisden wants his radio family to know he did everything in his power to continue his “Michael Baisden Show” without interruption. “We’re already planning to return to the air as soon as possible in a way that will give the ‘Michael Baisden Show’ a more direct relationship with our affiliates, and most importantly, our listeners,” cites Pamela Exum, his business manager.
Baisden began his career as an author, self publishing several best selling books including “Never Satisfied,” “Men Cry In The Dark,” “The Maintenance Man I and II,” and “God’s Gift to Women.” Two of his books were adapted to stage plays, starring such renowned actors as Richard Roundtree and Billy Dee Williams.
His radio highlights include one of his proudest moments when on September 20, 2007, he passionately and skillfully spearheaded the famous Jena 6 March in Jena, Louisiana. This historic and momentous occasion garnered tens of thousands of citizens of all races to peacefully march in support of six young men who had been unfairly treated by the justice system.
Another historic year was 2008 when Michael Baisden endorsed Senator Barack Obama and went on to celebrate President Obama’s victory with over 4,000 fans at a watch party in Miami on election night. The Obama camp, along with millions of listeners, credited him with being one of the major forces behind this historic victory to elect the first African American to the Presidency of the United States and in his re-election in 2012.
In December 2009, Baisden called for a National Mentor Training Day and announced his plans for a 2010 nationwide campaign. He pledged up to $350,000 of his own money to be donated in over 72 markets he would visit on a bus tour. The outreach was named “One Million Mentors National Campaign To Save Our Kids.” His work with the Free Clinics, Trayvon Martin, Black & Missing Foundation, and national ongoing partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Mentoring Brothers In Action are all a big part of what made the “Michael Baisden Show” so successful.
Baisden still vows to continue his Michael Baisden Live Tour with his co-host, comedian George Willborn. It’s a One Night Only event with seminars, networking, a comedy show, and an ‘old school’ after party. “If the affiliates still want us to come to town, we’ll be there,” says Baisden. “There’s no reason for our relationships to stop, in fact, this is our chance to get on the ground close to the people where we belong!”
Baisden reflects, “”It’s not about the job, it’s about the journey. I have been grinding for over 10 years, fighting for the underdog, inspiring people daily on my Michael Baisden Live Page on Facebook and working my butt off to produce the best show on radio. I hope my fans miss me… because I’m definitely going to miss them,” Michael says. “But this is not the end, it’s the Next Chapter!”
First Lady Michelle Obama Kicks Off MomsRising.org’s “Food Power” Conference with Video Appeal to Fight Childhood Obesity
Video: First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses MomsRising.org's Food Power Conference
New York – MomsRising.org answered First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for parents to get involved in the fight against childhood obesity. The grassroots organization kicked off National Nutrition Month with a “Food Power” conference and film screening to promote healthy eating habits and urge participants to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently released guidelines on school meals.
A video welcome from the First Lady motivated moms, dads, bloggers, and community activists gathered in Brooklyn, NY. “I’m so thrilled to have MomsRising.org and all of your grassroots muscle and passion working right by our side because as we’ve seen again and again through ‘Let’s Move,’ people like you play a vitally important role in helping our kids eat healthier and get the physical activity they need,” Obama said. “If you all are not leading the way in your community then who will?”
African American children suffer disproportionately from obesity. A 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed that African American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women and African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls. This crisis prompted MomsRising.org, an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization with more than 1.1 million members, to team up with filmmaker Byron Hurt to screen his award winning documentary “Soul Food Junkies” at the “Food Power” gatherings.
“We’re very excited to be working on the same path that Mrs. Obama and Byron Hurt are to improve children’s health,” said MomsRising.org executive director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. and we all need to work together to reverse this dangerous and deadly trend.”
“Soul Food Junkies” (www.itvs.org/films/soul-food-junkies) offers a sometimes humorous exploration of the Black community’s affinity for foods like fried chicken, fat-flavored collard greens, and fried pork chops, despite the fact that these foods increase risks for diabetes, high blood pressure, stokes, heart disease and obesity. Inspired by the premature death of his father, Hurt traces the origins of soul food back to slavery and encourages healthier approaches to soul food preparation. The film features appearances from activist/comedian, Dick Gregory; poet, Sonia Sanchez; writer, Michaela Angela Davis; and commentator Marc Lamont Hill.
In addition to the film screening, several parents shared personal stories about their battle to get their families to eat healthier meals. A panel of experts discussed practical ways to defeat the epidemic of childhood obesity. As MomsRising.org is focused on taking action, the break-out sessions provided attendees with a choice of three campaigns to sign-on to: How to get junk food out of school, how to stop junk food marketing to children, and breastfeeding, health care and preventing childhood obesity.
“Each of our workshops focused on action and provided participants with the tools to get engaged,” said Monifa Bandele, campaign manager, MomsRising.org. “The attendees left the ‘Food Power’ conference with marching orders to heed First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for the community to act.”
Speakers at the Brooklyn launch event included Karen Showalter, MomsRising.org; Dr. Aletha Maybank, NYC Dept. of Public Health; dream hampton, MomsRising.org; Migdalia Rivera , LatinaOnAMission.com; Tanya Fields, Brown Girl Swagger; Lorraine Gonzalez, Children’s Defense Fund; Jessica Donze Black, Kids Safe and Healthful Foods; and Joy Spencer, Center for Digital Democracy, among others.
MomsRising.org is challenging childhood obesity through improving school meals. The issue of nutrition and the role of schools foods in contributing to childhood obesity are gaining currency. The USDA recently opened up a 60-day comment period on its updated national nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold through vending machines and a la carte lines.
The recent “Food Power” conference is just one of many planned events around the country as MomsRising.org gathers support and gains awareness for its cause. The next event – a film screening and panel discussion – will take place in Detroit, MI at the Fellowship Chapel on Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00.The free event is open to the public.
MomsRising.org is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end to the wage and hiring discrimination that penalizes so many others. MomsRising also advocates for health care for all, toxic-free environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s families. In 2012, Forbes.com named MomsRising’s web site as one of the Top 100 Websites For Women for the third year in a row. In 2013, Working Mother magazine included MomsRising on its “Best of the Net” list.
Sacramento, CA – It was revered jazz bassist Charlie Haden who once said, “When the bass stops, the bottom kind of drops out of everything.” Judging by the latest endeavor of GospelChops.com creator Gerald Forrest, he couldn’t agree with Haden more. Forrest, who has received international acclaim for his expanding performance/instruction “Sessionz” series, is back in the studio recording the rhythm again. This time around, it’s all about the bodacious bass! The producer/director has just completed filming “Bass Sessionz Vol. 2,” and the footage is indeed thumpin’!
Forrest selected four young brilliant bassists and put them on a sound stage in Burbank, CA for the filming of “Bass Sessionz Vol. 2″ (BSV2). “Bass Sessionz Vol. 2″ features the talents of Mark Peric from Brisbane, Australia (Planetshakers), Brandon Brown from Memphis, TN (Jessica Simpson, American Idol, The Jacksons Tour), Anthony Crawford from Memphis, TN (Allan Holdsworth, Anthony Crawford Band), and recent Berklee College of Music graduate, Joshua Young from Queens, NY.
BSV2 will showcase mind-blowing bass solos and duets, incredible improvisational jam sessions, concert footage, photo slide shows and a dazzling bass trio salute to Michael Jackson. In addition, the bass players are individually highlighted teaching one of their favorite bass chops during an instructional lesson.
“It makes my heart sing to know that musicians around the globe have really embraced the ‘Sessionz’ series,” reveals Forrest. “They are like interactive jams that go viral and keep gaining momentum. Our following has evolved into a fellowship of like-minded music lovers who appreciate what is being shared, from the musicianship, to the insider tips to the unbounded creativity.”
Forrest originally came up with the concept for the “Sessionz” series after developing the website Gospelchops.com as a vehicle to pay tribute to the numerous musical contributions of generations of gospel musicians. His original vision was to educate the world about this inspirational art form and its history. The site has offered free gospel music education, lessons and content since 2005 and has sold thousands of music DVD’s to every continent on the globe. In addition, the GospelChops.com YouTube channel has over 7 million views with nearly 18,000 subscribers.
The “Sessionz” collection includes “Shed Sessionz Vol. 1, 2, and 3″ featuring top drummers and “Bass Sessionz Vol. 1.” “Bass Sessionz Vol. 1″ actually broke new barriers in the music industry by bringing together the legends of gospel and jazz, garnering appearances by Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer, Peter Erskine along with Grammy nominated jazz pianist, John Beasley and gospel bass legend, Andrew Gouche.
Proceeds from the various video series benefit the GospelChops Foundation, an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of at-risk children in under served communities through music education. The Young Musicians Program, under its umbrella, is an after-school music-learning program in California, which has gained sponsorship from Marines Toys for Tots and the Google Corporation.
This second edition in the Bass Sessionz series will be available at the end of April as a digital download for iPhone, iPad, Apple and PC computers, Android phones and tablets, as well as high definition Blu-ray discs. Pre-orders will be available April 1, 2013. To check out any of the “Sessionz” series go to http://www.GospelChops.com .
For a preview of “Bass Sessionz Vol. 2,” put your fingers on the strings at . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c_P5HoKifc.
Los Angeles – California’s medical marijuana community will gather in force at the 7th Annual Doesha Cup 2013 on Saturday, February 23. Celebrities, activists, supporters and participants will acknowledge the long heralded ritual of ‘puff puff pass’ during this annual gathering founded and produced by K.U.S.H. Inc. and presented by Dr. Ingleweed, the proprietor of the South Bay area based medical marijuana cooperative, All American Healing Group.
The Doesha Cup, a distinction awarded to top grade medical marijuana growers, will boast their own distinguished grade A line up of talent this year with comedic hosts Luenell and Red Grant; guest speakers Freeway Rick Ross, Dennis Peron and attorney Allison Margolin (daughter of attorney Bruce M. Margolin); musical headliner Tha Dogg Pound’s own Kurupt; guest DJs BattleCat and DJ Cat NYC; and a healthy sampling of independent and underground artists including Medusa, 1500 or Nothing, Stage 11, King T, The Low Keys, Alter’d Ego, Greg Scott, Votron ENT and more !
The Doesha Cup 2013 begins at 2:00 pm and ends at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 23. California’s finest medical cannabis growers will compete for the legendary Doesha Cup amid a unique festival-like gathering of live performances, vendor booths, food, beverages and music. The event is open to valid Proposition 215 patients and caregivers. The location will be disclosed one week before the event. More information is available at http://www.doeshacup.com/ or by calling 424-261-3420.
The Doesha Cup is an unprecedented celebration of the legalization of medical marijuana. As Los Angeles’ premiere medical marijuana tasting competition, it has grown in attendance to over 5000 patients and caregivers. Dr. Ingleweed, the man behind it all, has owned and operated All American Healing located at 126 1/2 S. Market Street in Inglewood, CA since 2005.
A pioneer organic green grower and one of the original founders of the “Food for the Hood” program at Crenshaw High School, Dr. Ingleweed began growing cannabis in 1994 while attending college at the University of California, Berkeley. His famed Doesha Cup was one of the first gatherings to pave the way for celebratory events in the medical marijuana community at the onset of the legalization movement in Los Angeles. With the legal progress made over the past several years, Dr. Ingleweed’s Doesha Cup has become a longtime cult favorite.
“The mainstreaming of medical marijuana is finally here,” asserts Dr. Ingleweed. “We are no longer perceived as drug users and abusers. Though we still have an uphill battle, more and more states are legalizing it. Our talent line up this year is as diverse as the world of smokers out there. The Doesha Cup 2013 is gonna take it higher and higher!”
The Doesha Cup’s mission is to cultivate and strengthen the medical marijuana movement by exposing patients to new products while cultivating businesses and budding enterprises who specialize in medical marijuana ethics, such as dispensaries and vendors. The actual competition features 12 to 15 different strains tested by 200 judges competing for the prime position as the reigning “Doesha Cup Champion.” Prizes and incentives range upwards to $1500 in cash, concessions and ultimate bragging rights.
Catch the vapors and get a whiff of the green at http://www.DoeshaCup.com.
Los Angeles – Quintessential event hosts Kevin Rouse and Deshawn (Young Gun ) Cabeza are bringing 2013 in big. Big Daddy Kane big ! Well recognized as the hosts with the most, Rouse and Cabeza, are bringing rap icon Big Daddy Kane to Los Angeles, Saturday, February 23 ! This very rare live appearance and performance by Kane will see him celebrating 25 successful years in the music industry.
The festivities will be held, Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Rooftop 3100, located at 3100 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. Doors open at 9:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at http://bigdaddykanelive.eventbrite.com/# .
Big Daddy Kane is one of hip-hop’s most charismatic MC’s and a legendary pioneer figure in the rap game. He will rock his hits “Smooth Operator,” “I Get The Job Done,” “Ain’t No Half Steppin,” “Warm it Up Kane,” and “Raw” during his Los Angeles appearance. Kane was recently featured on TV One’s critically acclaimed series, “Unsung.” This will be his first Los Angeles appearance / performance in several years!
With the Big Daddy Kane venture, Rouse and Cabeza continue their legacy of producing unrivaled levels of entertainment for Los Angeles’ upscale and progressive professionals. Their brand boasts nightlife that blends the best of entertainment including fine dining, celebrity performances, live music and dancing. This year, the duo are adding to the palette, providing concierge provisions to clientele around the country interested in attending their events.
“My two plus decades in the hotel industry have provided me unique access to provisions not easily obtained by many. Cabeza and I are branching out in 2013, offering services like private jet travel and hotel bookings for parties interested in getting a real taste of L.A. nightlife,” reveals Rouse.
Rouse and Cabeza’s roster of events includes “The Annual Elegant New Years Eve by the Sea,” “Blazers & Stilettos,” actor “Brian White’s Star Studded Birthday Celebration,” and the seasonal “L.A. Nights.” The two often partner with some of Los Angeles’ premier promoters to make it all happen, including Pernell Clark and the Impresario Group, Marc Gaspard, Roland Wirt, Larry Moore, Chuckie Miller, Dantae Dupree and many others. Their venue locations grace the span of greater Los Angeles, including downtown, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks and this historic Crenshaw district.
For ticket information go to http://bigdaddykanelive.eventbrite.com/# . Reach out to Kevin Rouse directly at (213) 926-2809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for your concierge needs.
Also follow both Rouse and Cabeza on Facebook at http://facebook.com/kevin.rouse.315 and https://www.facebook.com/urbaneliteprofessionals?ref=ts&fref=ts .
Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant Announces Nationwide Registration For 20 Year Anniversary ! Jay Leno Gives a Nod to Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant on The Tonight Show
Los Angeles – It was 1993 when actress/ choreographer Lisa Ruffin caught the vision that she would positively impact the lives of aspiring little African American girls, instilling in them a strong sense of self-esteem and purpose. She produced her very first Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant and has never looked back. Today, twenty years later, she has not only influenced thousands of lives, but several of those little girls are now grown women who credit the pageant as a focal point in their lives.
The Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant will celebrate 20 years of success on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Ruffin has announced a Nationwide Registration and will select 50 young participants, between the ages of 6 and 12, for this landmark celebration.
The pageant has seen a host of celebrity participation over the years including Laila Ali, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, Tarji P. Henson and Chandra Wilson. Jay Leno even paid a holiday visit to Ruffin and the pageant participants this past Christmas, acknowledging the wonderful work Ruffin has done over the years with a surprise visit from China Ann McClain, the star of the Disney Channel’s “A.N.T. Farm” and Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.” The visit aired during a special holiday highlight segment on “The Tonight Show.”
“I am humbled that God has allowed me to continue to do this work for 20 years now,” reveals Ruffin. “I’m so proud of all my girls and am so looking forward to this pageant being a extra special celebration!”
Young hopefuls, age 6 – 12 can submit their application for participation at
For further information call 818-570-0631 or email Littlemissaa2013@gmail.com. Please include a picture of the contestant with her name, brief information and any available links.
For a visual overview of the pageant and its impact on contestants, go to
Filmmaker, Jordan Thierry Tackles Black Parenting Crisis with The Black Fatherhood Project Documentary Premiering During Black History Month
Washington, DC – Filmmaker Jordan Thierry will kick off Black History Month with an insightful perspective on the rising dilemma of fatherless Black families when he debuts his introspective documentary, “The Black Fatherhood Project” in February. Community leaders in the Bay Area will host the film’s premiere Thursday, Jan 31 at The Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA and a national premiere will held online the February 1, 2013 at BlackFatherhoodProject.com with free viewing.
The Black Fatherhood Project poignantly reveals a history much more complex and profound than what is often seen on the surface of events. Directed and produced by Thierry, The Black Fatherhood Project unravels the roots of Black absentee parenting through the telling of his own story, interviews with prominent historians, and dialogue among a diverse selection of dads. The discussions include personal experiences, inspirations, and insight on how communities can come together to ensure the power of a father’s love is not lost on America’s Black children.
“The film explores the issues that continue to plague the Black community,” says Thierry. “It digs deep into history to identify how Black families functioned before slavery, how it and subsequent discrimination affected black fathers’ involvement in their families, and its impact today.”
Nationwide, 67 percent of Black children live in single-parent families, predominantly with the mother. This factor alone increases the likelihood of living in poverty, low educational achievement, incarceration and abuse. This ratio has tripled since the 1960s, growing in correlation with drug crimes, prisons, and income inequality to create today’s challenges for the Black family.
The first-time filmmaker adds, “The film also reveals that while the statistics may be discouraging, there is a strong faction of black men that are breaking the cycle of fatherlessness in their families and inspiring others to do the same.”
The online premiere will begin at 9:00 AM Eastern Time on Friday, February 1st and can be viewed at the film’s website BlackFatherhoodProject.com. The website also provides informational resources on fatherhood as well as a list of reputable mentor and advocacy groups.
An activist-filmmaker, Thierry began producing the film in 2006 while attending graduate school for communications at Howard University. His approach to filmmaking is informed by his community involvement to advance social justice and empower young men of color to be successful.
Thierry, who formerly served as national coordinator for The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Youth Vote and taught elementary school in Newark, NJ, founded the nonprofit Better Man Productions, to address the growing demand for movies about issues concerning men of color. Better Man Productions is focused on inspiring a culture of positive fatherhood and masculinity in communities of color through short, shareable online movies.
The premiere screening at the Grand Lake Theater is the kickoff of The Black Fatherhood Project’s grassroots campaign to bring communities together by inviting people to host their own screening events in 2013 and inspire people to action through personal transformation, youth mentorship, and civic engagement. The audience will have a chance to meet and ask questions of the film’s director, Jordan Thierry, after the film. The Black Fatherhood Project will hold a second showing at Oakland-based community organization Youth UpRising for the public on February 4th at 4pm. Other upcoming screening event locations this year include Newark, NJ; Tampa, FL; and Columbus, OH; where the filmmaker will partner with local institutions to spark dialogue and inspire action around fatherhood.
January 31st Event Hosts include: Cedric Brown, Ludovic Blain, Mario Lugay, Chandler Hoffman, Tiffany Price, Dennis Quirin, Asha Wilkerson, Lauren Veasey, Justin Davis, Marc Philpart, Kisasi Brooks, Demond Walker, and the Stanford Black Alumni Association of Northern, CA.
Jordan Thierry is available for interviews. Contact Edrea at email@example.com
Former High Ranking Member of the Gangster Disciples, Harold Noonie G Ward, Pledges 5000 Copies of his New Book and DVD to Youth Organizations for Holiday Giveaway
Harold “Noonie G” Ward
Releases New Book and Re – Releases DVD
“Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story”
Narrated by Kanye West and Common
Chicago – As street gang violence in Chicago rages out of control, law keepers and politicians continue to toil with solutions. A generational saga, not many can relate to the back-story causes that rest at the root of this very tragic dilemma. With history dating as far back to the influence of the original gangster Al Capone, a recent NPR story aptly noted that many of Chicagoland gangs are “older enterprises than Microsoft and Yahoo.”
Harold “Noonie G” Ward is one man who can intimately relate with the violence at both the cause and effects levels. “Noonie G,” as he is popularly known, is a former high-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples, a Chicago area gang reported to be one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States. Once considered a prominent force of terror on the city’s South Side, Ward has been on a mission to change the effects of causes he understands and relates to on a very personal level.
The devastating rise in violent gun deaths has prompted Ward to announce the re-release of his DVD alongside the new release of his book, both titled, “Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story.” Motivated by a strong sense of responsibility and desire to inspire positive change, Ward has pledged to donate 5000 copies of the books and DVD’s during the holiday season to organizations around the country committed to curbing street violence and uplifting inner city youth. “Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story” is narrated by Chicago natives Grammy Award winner Kanye West and celebrated hip hop artist and actor Common. Both artists provide the book’s foreword as well.
From convict to conqueror, pistol to pen, Ward serves as a legitimate role model and real life urban legend for today’s misguided youth. A self made entrepreneur, politician, community activist and leader, Ward is a native of Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens, one of the toughest housing projects in America. The DVD chronicles his street life, criminal enterprises and rise to a life of rightful endeavors with Atlgeld Gardens serving as the backdrop.
A vivid and heart wrenching testimony to the laws of survival and success, “Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story” was produced by Block 8 Productions and directed by Coodie and Chike who are best known for their music video work with hip hop artists Kanye West, Pit Bull, Lil’ Jon and Mos Def. Award-winning journalist Adam Matthews helped shape the film’s narrative and wrote Common’s script.
While the film captures and portrays the essence of gang life in Chicago, Ward’s life growing up, family ties, imprisonment, his rise in the Gangster Disciples and his transition out and beyond, the book is a more personal narrative from Ward offering straight from the streets life advice and motivation.
Ward’s personal story is an encouraging tale. The former gang leader has completely transformed his life and dedicated his path toward making a way for others to follow. Political prisoner and founder of the Gangster Disciples, Larry Hoover, hand picked Noonie Ward to implement a new direction of change and betterment for the community at large, with “Growth and Development” becoming the new battle cry.
“Street violence is not going to go away overnight,” Ward acknowledges. “It is difficult to understand what these young people are dealing with if you haven’t been there and lived that life. I’m not proud of my past, but it is what it is and because of it, I now have a unique platform to engage the possibility of change. It crushes my heart to know that it’s a war zone out here. Every time a child is killed, a part of me dies with them. I’m a soldier out here now trying to make a change. If my personal story can help someone then I know God is using me and I’m a better man more for it. I’m giving away my books and DVD’s to help get the word out on the streets that there is a better way and we have got to end the violence.”
Ward is serious about pulling others up with him. Utilizing the hip hop community as his vehicle, he has garnered a list of noteworthy accomplishments to his credit over the years. He actively engages the efforts and support of several hip hop luminaries. Cee-Lo, from NBC-TV “The Voice” made a personal appearance at Ward’s Chicago book signing recently and has committed to assisting with the holiday book giveaway. He partnered with recording artist Trey Songz to create the Songz for Peace Foundation, joined with rapper/actor T.I. to speak to youth in schools and hosted a toy drive for Chicago children with hip hop artist Wakka Flaka.
Ward’s early accomplishments include working with President Barack Obama as an activist in Altgeld Gardens, and organizing Chicago’s first National Gang Summit for Peace attended by Russell Simmons, NFL legend Jim Brown and Minister Louis Farrakhan.
As a true product of the street life, Ward possesses the unique ability to connect with youth on a genuine level. With contracts granted to him by Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, he regularly visits local high schools speaking to the students and conducting workshops about violence and various life issues. Determined to implement change, he has ran for the political offices of City Alderman, State Representative and Cook County Commissioner in Chicago.
Organizations requesting books or DVD copies of “Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story” for the holidays can send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harold “Noonie G” Ward can be reached via twitter at https://twitter.com/therealnoonieg (@TheRealNoonieG) or via his Facebook fan page, “The Real ‘Noonie G’” at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Real-Noonie-G/218589698275155?ref=hl . “Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G Story” both the DVD and book are available on Amazon.com.
Check out the film’s trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsHw51S2mRs .
Recording Artist A.M.X. Heralds the Holidays with “A.M.X. presents Andre Mieux: The Christmas Collection”
Hollywood, CA – There is something about the holiday season which brings out the best in everyone and with pop/ R&B recording artist A.M.X. that notion is no exception. With “A.M.X. presents Andre Mieux: The Christmas Collection,” the new artist serves up some of his best work yet showcasing a stellar selection of mesmerizing songs that capture the true sentiment of the season.
A.M.X. delivers three original holiday songs written and produced by him on “A.M.X. presents Andre Mieux: The Christmas Collection.” With celestial vocals, live instrumentation and the choir arrangements of Tony Wilkins, A.M.X.’s holiday collection is a tremendous gift and tribute with all the markings of a Christmas classic. The single “New Born King” harkens the revelry of traditional carols mixed with A.M.X.’s flavor filled praise call. “Around the Christmas Tree” simmers with heartfelt anticipation and emotion while “Christmas Day” rocks with peace filled celebratory passion.
A.M.X. continues to pave a unique path in the music business. The classically trained musician keeps revealing the various facets of his talent with diverse video and music releases. His single and steamy music video “She Likes,” wooed female demographics while his track “We Can Do Whatever,” produced by Brian “Chazz” Padilla, was a dance club hit. His mixtape, “Broken Halo,” was downloaded over 90,000 times on Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes and he has toured internationally and nationally in support of his career, opening for Boyz II Men, Joe, Ginuwine, SWV, Dru Hill and most recently R. Kelly.
His most recent drop, the DJ Break remix of his Snoop Dogg fused track, “You Made Me Change My Number,” originally produced by Da Internz, made the “Recommend” list on Spotify, the popular digital music service. A.M.X.’s latest video release is for his smash single, “We Can Do Whatever.”
Join A.M.X. at http://www.whoisamx.com/ and elevate the holidays with “A.M.X. presents Andre Mieux: The Christmas Collection,” on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/christmas-collection-a.m.x./id578831450 .
Susan Taylor, Vivica Fox, Melanie Campbell & Rev. Marcia Dyson rally support for Ambassador Susan Rice
Washington, DC – A diverse group of women leaders and organizations have joined forces with the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) to launch a campaign to express their unequivocal support of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and to encourage senate and congressional leaders to treat the esteemed public servant with respect. In addition to signing on to an open letter to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, nearly 100 women from across the country are promoting an online petition in support of Ambassador Rice via personal and organizational networks as well as online social media.
The letter sent to Senate intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and committee ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said Ambassador Rice has been a role model to all women. “She has excelled throughout her career both in the public and private sector. Her commitment to international peace and the equality of all people should be heralded, not summarily dismissed for political gain and expedience. Hence, we urge all U. S. Senators to afford Ambassador Rice the proper respect appropriate for any other Cabinet-level member of a sitting Administration.”
The letter continues, “We feel it necessary to remind the Senate of Ambassador Rice’s impeccable credentials because of the failure of some to respect her role as the United States Ambassador and leader in foreign policy. While some members of the Senate have pushed back on their rush to judgment in the press regarding Ambassador Rice’s prepared remarks on the attack in Benghazi, we feel that the public integrity and reputation of this brilliant woman, who serves our country with great dignity, has been unfairly and unnecessarily attacked.”
The Black Women’s Roundtable comprises an intergenerational membership of Black women civic leaders of international, national, regional and state-based organizations and institutions that works collectively to advance policies and strategic initiatives that help to improve the lives of underserved women and girls.
The range of Women who signed on to the letter include: Melanie L. Campbell, President & CEO and Convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, NCBCP; Rev. Marcia Dyson, Partner, M & M Dyson, LLC; Ingrid Saunders Jones, Chair, National Council of Negro Women; Susan L. Taylor, CEO and Founder, National CARES Mentoring Movement, Susan Scanlan, Chair, National Council of Women’s Organizations & President, Women’s Research & Education Institute; Vivica A. Fox, President, Foxy Brown Productions; and Dr. Natalia A. Francisco, Founder/Executive Director, Women of Worth & Worship, LLC. For a full list go to: www.ncbcp.org/news/releases/susan_rice_letter_copy/.
A full list of women supporting the letter, a copy of the letter to the Senate, a link to the petition, and a widget to post the petition to websites and social media are located at www.ncbcp.org/news/releases/susan_rice and Petition2Congress.com (http://tinyurl.com/c3oazfb). The twitter hashtag is #SUPPORTAMBASSADORRICE.
Signers to the letter include:
Melanie L. Campbell
President & CEO and Convener
Black Women’s Roundtable, NCBCP
Rev. Marcia Dyson
Partner, M & M Dyson, LLC
Ingrid Saunders Jones
National Council of Negro Women
Susan L. Taylor
CEO and Founder
National CARES Mentoring Movement
Editor-in-Chief Emerita, Essence Magazine
Chair, National Council of Women’s Organizations & President, Women’s Research & Education Institute
Faye M. Anderson
Angela M. Angel, Esq.
Black Women’s Roundtable
Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq.
Convener, Black Women for Justice
Chief of Staff to the Int’l President
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Works
Arlene Holt Baker
Executive Vice President
Cora Masters Barry
Former First Lady Washington DC
Lisa Fager Bediako
President & CEO Industry Ears
Dr. Lezli Baskerville
President & CEO
Dr. Michelle Battle
MIRA-National Youth Initiative
Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation
My Girlfriends Business
Vice Chair, Voter Registration and Participation, DNC
President & CEO
A. Philip Randolph Institute
National Black Youth Vote! Coordinator
Coalition for the People’s Agenda
Cynthia M. A. Butler McIntyre
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Yvonne V. Cook
Assistant to the Provost
And Vice President for Academic Affairs
Coppin State University
Chicago Coalition on Black Civic Participation
UNCF SP Building Green*
LaKimba B. DeSadier
National Black Caucus of State Legislators
Vivica A. Fox
Foxy Brown Productions
President & CEO
Dr. Natalia A. Francisco
Women of Worth & Worship, LLC
WIN (Women’s Information Network)
Founder & Chief Strategist
IC Linkages, Inc.
Coastal Women for Change
Dr. Cynthia Hale
Ray of Hope Christian Church
Senior Vice President for Policy
National Urban League
Black Women’s Roundtable
Bonita M. Herring
International Grand Basileus
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority
Dr. Patricia Hobson
Local Host Summit Committee The Black Women’s Roundtable
Tanya Clay House
Chair, Civil Rights Law
National Bar Association
Eleanor Hinton Hoytt
President & CEO
Black Women’s Health Imperative
DC Bureau Chief
National Action Network
Dorothy R. Jackson, Esq.
Board Member, NCBCP
Letetia Daniels Jackson
Dr. Sabrina Jackson
Sabrina Jackson Enterprises
Dr. Lorretta Johnson
American Federation of Teachers
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever
National Council of Negro Women
Stephanie Jones Strategies
National Political Director
Labor Project for Working Families
Julian B. Kiganda
African Diaspora for Change
Dr. Bernice A. King
The King Center
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
National Black Justice Coalition
Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery
President, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. Inc.
Leslie Watson Malachi
African American Ministers in Action
National Executive Director
National Action Network
Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Economist, Scholar & Author
President & CEO, Last Word Productions, Inc.
Professor of Anthropology & International Affairs and Director, Institute for Global & International Studies
The Elliott School of International Affairs George Washington University
Dr. Judith C. Moore
Sisters Saving Ourselves NOW
Pastor, First AME Church-Clairton, PA
Former Assistant to the President Bill Clinton and Director of Public Liaison
Mulhauser and Associates
Dr. Claire Nelson
President & CEO
Institute of Caribbean Studies
Sophia A. Nelson, Esq.
Author Black Woman Redefined
Consulting Democracy, Governance and Civil Society
National Organization for Women
Senior Advisor, Center for Partnership Studies, Director, Caring Economy Campaign
Founding President and CEO
Rebirth Alliance and Co-Convener, MSCBP
Barbara A. Perkins
International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute
Principle Mission Control and
President Democratic GAIN
Redwood Enterprise, LLC
Ohio Unity Coalition
SVP, Government Relations, Public Policy, Operation HOPE
CEO and Co-Founder
Convener, MS Black Women’s Roundtable
Delisa Saunders, Ph.D.
Former Board Member, NCBCP
Rita Jackson Samuels
Georgia Coalition of Black Women, Inc.
Board Member, NCBCP
Georgia Stand Up!
Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D.
Ronald Walters Leadership & Public Policy Center, Howard University**
Karen J. See
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Senior Vice President
Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich
President & CEO
Center for Community & Economic Justice
Carolyn House Stewart, Esq.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc
Ohio Unity Coalition
The Praxis Project
Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Black Women’s Roundtable
A. Shuanise Washington
Founder and Principal
Washington Solutions, LLC
Management & Political Consulting Firm
Civil Rights & Community Action
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner
Skinner Leadership Institute
Dr. E. Faye Williams
National Congress of Black Women
Thomasina Williams, Esq.
MIT Community Innovators Lab
National Conference of Black Mayors
Interim Executive Director
Women’s Action for New Directions
[UPDATED SIGN ON as of 184.108.40.206]
**organization referenced for identification purposes only.