LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anna Maria Horsford, Mahira Kakkar, Issa Rae, & Tonya Lewis Lee among Honorees at BronzeLens Film Festival Women’s Superstar Luncheon
Comments OffPosted in Entertainment NewsOct 23, 2013
Atlanta, GA — The 2013 BronzeLens Film Festival’s “Women Superstars Luncheon” will roll out the red carpet for industry insiders, celebrities and aspiring filmmakers on hand to honor some of the most accomplished women of color working in the film and television industry. A coveted signature event during the five-day festival, the luncheon will take place Friday November 8, 2013, 12 noon – 2 PM at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel.
Hosted by former television news anchor, Monica Pearson, the 2013 BronzeLens superstars are: Anna Maria Horsford (“Friday”); actress and wife of Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson ( “The Fighting Temptations”); actress, Mahira Kakkar (“Hank and Asha”); retired Coca Cola executive Ingrid Saunders Jones; producer, Issa Rae (“Awkward Black Girl”); producer and wife of Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee (“The Watsons Go to Birmingham”); producer, Valerie Benning Barney (“All Star Comedy Jam,” “Eddie Griffin: Freedom of Speech”); and costumers Mabel and Shilla Benning.
“We are excited about our powerful honorees this year. These women superstars demonstrate the diverse areas where women excel in the entertainment business,” said Kathleen Bertrand, executive producer of the BronzeLens Film Festival. “Whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera, these women continue to play an integral role with films that impact our lives.”
Designed to empower, entertain and educate attendees from various film industry disciplines, students and the general public, the BronzeLens Film Festival offers an array of expert panels, workshops, domestic and international film screenings and signature events.
In addition to a Monologue Slam featuring renowned director John Singleton, festival highlights include an encore presentation of legendary casting director and producer Reuben Cannon’s, “The Producers Roundtable” a groundbreaking session that brings together high-level entertainment executives to share their strategies for producing successful film and television projects. Participating producers include Jeff Clanagan, David Talbert, Lyn Talbert and Paul Hall.
The BronzeLens Film Festival takes place November 6-10. Visit www.bronzelensfilmfestival.com for more information and registration information.
About the BronzeLens Film Festival
Founded in 2009, The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color, and to showcasing films and providing networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers. Since its inception the BronzeLens Film Festival has evolved as one of the most comprehensive film festivals for filmmakers of color in the United States.
Sponsors of the BronzeLens Film Festival are Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Coca-Cola Company Turner, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Delta Air Lines, HBO Documentary Films, BET Networks, Georgia Pacific, The Woodruff Arts Center, AT& T, Macys, Institut Française , The Sai Sai Group, Inc., Southern Company, MHR International, Movie Magic, White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Atlanta Technical College: The Cleveland Dennard Center.
The Jenesse Center Salutes Hair Stylist to the Stars, Dr. Boogie as a Hope Angel During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Hollywood – For years Dr. Boogie has styled the locks of Hollywood’s rich and famous, including most recently the likes of Vivica Fox, Debbie Allen and Kym Whitley. His Dr. Boogie’s Do-It-Yourself Clip-On Hairpieces and his chemical-free, organic, all natural skin and hair products are also all the rage in Tinsel Town and beyond. However, what most don’t know is that the “hair stylist to the stars” has a special clientele that he has been privately catering to for years now. They are the women seeking shelter and support from the Jenesse Center, the oldest domestic violence intervention program in South Los Angeles.
The Jenesse Center is honoring Dr. Boogie as a “Hope Angel” during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, for his volunteer service of providing self-esteem building makeovers and glamour shot portraits to their clients as gifts. It is indeed star treatment for women who need it most.
“Dr. Boogie has made such a huge difference in the lives of Jenesse women and families. Many of our clients experience unbelievable stress and trauma from horrendous cases of battering, domestic violence and abuse. Dr. Boogie has a special magic for making the women feel loved, appreciated and yes, beautiful! We are just thrilled that he shares his gift so freely with us,” expresses Jenesse’s public relations representative, Jeanine Taylor.
Dr. Boogie’s own experience with domestic violence goes back to his childhood. He recalls how he could make relatives around him feel better when they were suffering from instances of abuse. “Often times I would see those close to me sad, hurting and crying. I would do their hair and it always seemed to help raise their spirits. I came to understand that on a very deep level, when you look good it helps you to feel better. I understand on a personal level the trials the women who come to the Jenesse Center are experiencing. Bringing a little sunshine into their lives probably makes me happier than them! I love being able to share my gift, it is honestly the best part of what I do throughout my career.”
In addition to his work at the Jenesse Center, Boogie has been busy styling OWN-TV’S Kym Whitley as well as working with Vivica Fox on her syndicated show, “Mr. Box Office” and Lifetime’s “Prank My Mom.” He is also one of Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles & Care Guide’s celebrity hair consultant experts.
Renowned Radio Personality Michael Baisden Launches “One Dream One Team” Mentoring Initiative to Recruit Male Mentors for 12,000 African American Boys
Orlando, FL – When renowned radio personality Michael Baisden posted “A real man takes care of his kids no matter what the relationship is with the mother of the child,” on his Facebook page, he never anticipated the over nine million views or one million plus likes and comments he received as feedback! The overwhelming response prompted him into immediate action. A diehard advocate for mentoring since 2010 with his “One Million Mentors National Campaign to Save Our Kids” 72-city tour, Baisden has now launched a new initiative, the “One Dream One Team” Mentoring Initiative. His specific goal is to help recruit African American male mentors for the 12,000 African American boys on the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) waiting lists for a one-on-one mentor match.
A known social activist since his organizing of the 2007 Jena Six March and his work with the 2012 Trayvon Martin Rally, Baisden has always demonstrated a strong show of commitment via his actions. True to this trait, he has adopted a classroom of 28 boys at Evans High School in Orlando, Florida to spearhead the “One Dream One Team” momentum. Baisden takes time out of his busy work schedule for a mentoring session with the students weekly.
In addition, the New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker is hosting a special “One Dream One Team” Think Tank event in Orlando on October 26 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Venue sponsorship is provided by Mr. Harris Rosen of the Tangelo Park Project and attendees will include various African American fraternities, local and national organizations, community leaders and churches. The gathering is an orchestrated effort to strategize a plan for recruiting additional qualified male mentors. The boys on the national “waiting-to-be-matched” list average 14 years in age and the goal is to have mentors for all 12,000 within a year.
This is an urgent matter and an urgent call,” cites Baisden. “Too often we are quick to criticize the behavior of our young men but are slow to step up to correct them or show them a better example. You have to see a man to be a man, the question is, what are we showing them? These young men need us desperately. It only takes one hour of your time each week to positively impact and change some young man’s life. We can’t afford to say no and we cannot ignore this issue. Their lives and yes, their futures are depending on it!”
Outside of his career as a radio personality, Michael Baisden has always mobilized around the issue of mentoring. His foundation was founded in 2005 as a non-profit organization that was formed to promote mentoring with a dedication to education, literacy and advancement in local communities. The foundation has donated half of the nearly one million dollars raised to mentoring organizations in over 70 cities nationwide with a goal to inspire caring adults to become responsible mentors. With that success “One Dream One Team” takes his personal mission even further.
Big Brothers Big Sisters acknowledged Baisden as one of its celebrity ambassadors in 2012 and presented him with The Michael Baisden Inspiration Award. The Baisden Inspiration award is now an annual honor given to individuals demonstrating consistent generosity and dedication to support the nationwide mentoring organization’s African American mentoring programs.
As a bestselling author, Baisden has always been an advocate of books and reading. His foundation has already purchased the first two books for his adopted classroom of young boys to read, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter G. Woodson and “The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys” by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu.
Baisden shares a passionate testimony as to how books changed his life. “In ten short years, I went from driving trains in Chicago to becoming a four time best selling author, television talk show host and a nationally syndicated radio personality. Dreams do come true,” he reveals, “and that dream for me began when I opened a book. Books change lives and I’m living proof! I look forward to instilling these young men with dreams and I’m looking for 12,000 Black men to join me and do the same.”
About Michael Baisden
Michael Baisden is a best selling author, noted speaker and undeniably one of the most influential and engaging personalities in radio history. His meteoric rise to #1 redefined radio with a syndicated show heard in nearly 100 cities with millions of listeners. As a college dropout, former Air Force Sergeant, single parent and transit worker from the south side of Chicago, he wanted his life to mean something. That opportunity came when he stepped out on faith to live his dream of becoming a writer. That courageous step resulted in five best selling books with nearly two million in print and two stage plays. He is also a TV talk show host, film producer, social activist, philanthropist and founder of The Michael Baisden Foundation with a national mentoring partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The accomplished speaker makes it a point to promote mentoring at all of his engagements. Baisden’s newest book, “Raise Your Hand If You Have Issues,” will be released in October. Join the effort on Facebook, follow on Twitter, YouTube and online at www.BaisdenLive.com .
For information on “One Dream One Team” go to
Find or Follow Michael on Facebook or Twitter: BaisdenLive
Atlanta – From Oprah Winfrey declaring “Let’s Talk Hair” on the latest cover of O Magazine; to the Kardashians sporting weaves and extensions; to any number of the reality show “Housewives” unabashedly wearing wigs; hair, hair care and hair loss has become big business. Toni Love has studied the trends and is an authoritarian on all things hair. The celebrated author of “The World of Wigs, Weaves and Extensions” will once again provide leadership, information and guidance to hair professionals from around the world as she presents her Third Annual Toni Love Hair Loss and Business Conference, October 6 and 7 at the Atlanta Airport Westin in Atlanta, GA.
The conference will specifically address issues concerning hair loss and baldness, a matter that affects millions of people regardless of age, race and gender. Though hair loss disease is not life threatening, The American Hair Loss Association has recognized that hair loss is a serious life altering condition that can no longer be ignored by the medical community and society as a whole.
The Toni Love Hair Loss and Business Conference will offer sessions for hair professionals covering topics that include bridging the gap between dermatology and cosmetology; learning how to develop relationships with doctors; interlocking hair extensions and covering bald spots without braids and glue; starting a business, the steps for setting up a hair loss center and more.
“I am passionate about hair,” reveals Toni. “Whether you are a man or a woman, hair is our crowning glory. I am driven to infuse hair professionals with the proper tools, education and just as important, the mind set, to handle issues of hair loss with their clients. The Hair Loss and Business Conference is a two day intensive that is loaded with valuable information, insight and perspective.”
With over 20 years in the hair industry, Toni Love’s Hair Loss and Business Conference is just one of the many assets which continue to propel her legacy as a definitive hair expert. An internationally recognized hair loss expert, Love’s book, “The World of Wigs, Weaves and Extensions” (Milady-Cengage Learning) is the ultimate guide that uncovers the secrets to top-notch hair and wig care. Her popular manual, “Tips to Passing the Cosmetology State Board,” was a ‘must have’ for students of cosmetology, and her instructional DVD’s: “Keeping Cutting Simple,” “Interlocking Hair Extensions: No Braids! No Glue!” and “Hair Replacement: Covering Bald Areas,” are specifically designed for cosmetology students and professionals who want to be at the top of their game.
In addition, Love has designed a hair care program specifically for use with hair of all ethnicities. Toni Love’s Hair Cleansing System uniquely regenerates hair and stimulates growth starting at the root. The three-step product line consists of a residue remover, a hair and scalp cleanser, and a hair and scalp conditioner.
Toni Love has an extensive background in Business Management and obtained her master’s degree in Continuing Education. She holds instructor licenses in Cosmetology and Barbering and is a certified Hair Loss Specialist in addition to hair consultant and published author. Love is certified through the American Cancer Society, teaching “Look Good Feel Better” cancer patients how to cope with their hair loss as they go through chemotherapy.
A graduate of the Hair Design Academy, and a veteran, United States Army Reserves, Love has taught a variety of students in both private and public institutions. She is also the founder of Toni Love’s Training Center in Atlanta, GA, a thriving oasis for professional cosmetologists who are passionate about learning the latest techniques in hair maintenance and hairstyles. In addition, her advance knowledge of hair loss and her weave training courses position her as a go-to-source for the all-things-hair when the media seeks expert input.
Love continues to keep the hair community updated and informed blogging and hosting The Toni Love Show which airs on her YouTube channel. For updates on current hair tips and trends, as well as hair options for cancer patients and survivors she offers an online membership group at http://www.TheToniLoveGroup.com.
“Like” her on Facebook at “Toni Love Cosmetology” and to keep up with the latest trends in hair, hair loss and hair care read her blog at http://letstalkhairwithtonilove.blogspot.com/ .
For more information about Toni Love and the Hair Loss and Business Conference, visit her website at www.ToniLove.com or call 770-704-7653.
To view a quick demonstration of Toni Love’s hair replacement technique, view the video below: Toni Love Hair Loss Replacement demo.
Los Angeles – The beautiful athlete and television personality Laila Ali will inspire the hearts of many when she hosts the 20 year anniversary of the Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant (LMAA) on Sunday, August 4, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Pageant producer Lisa Ruffin has planned a luminous affair for her participants and attendees this year with a host of celebrity judges that include ABC-TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy” stars Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr., OWN TV star Kym Whitley from “Raising Whitley,” Nicklelodean’s Arjay Smith and “Girlfriends” Golden Brooks. The Wilshire Ebell is located at 743 S. Lucerne Blvd. in Los Angeles, south of Wilshire Blvd. Tickets are available at www.Littlemissafricanamericaninc.org and at the Wilshire Ebell box office.
The Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant has served as one of the nation’s most astute educational programs dedicated to empowering young African American women between the ages of 6 and 12 with the concepts of CAP – Confidence, Awareness and Pride. Lisa Ruffin, an actress and choreographer, has successfully utilized the pageant format to introduce girls from around the country to the arts, introduce them to public speaking and engage them in individual creativity.
The full curriculum encompasses a summer program of coaching, guest lectures and demonstrations on the heritage of the African America experience. The young ladies are tutored in voice projection, poise, body movement and memory technique by instructors from the worlds of art, entertainment and education.
The pageant has seen a host of celebrity participation over the years including LL Cool J, Jamie Foxxand Taraji P. Henson . Jay Leno even paid a holiday visit to Ruffin and the pageant participants last 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.” and
This year’s host, Laila Ali is especially fitting for the vision of LMAA. The mother of two, Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness and wellness expert, cooking enthusiast and the founder of the Laila Ali Lifestyle Brand. The daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali, Laila is also a four-time undefeated world boxing champion. In addition to her work as a cast member of NBC’s highly touted reality program “Stars Earn Stripes” where she competed to raise money for a charity that supports veterans and their children, Laila hosts ABC-TV’s “Everyday Health.”
Pageant creator/producer Lisa Ruffin
“I get ecstatic and teary eyed when I think about all the young lives we have been able to touch over a span of 20 years,” offers Ruffin. “There are grown women as well as young girls out there in the world who we have positively influenced and I am just extremely grateful.”
Tickets are available at www.Littlemissafricanamericaninc.org and at the Wilshire Ebell box office.
For a visual overview of the pageant and its impact on contestants, go to
Author and Black Mafia Widow Thelma Wright Chronicled on Biography Channel’s Hit Gangster Series “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil.”
Philadelphia – When former Black Mafia widow Thelma Wright released her book, “With Eyes From Both Sides – Living My Live In and Out of the Game,” co-penned with C. Alease, she divulged the tumultuous ups and downs of her life as a real life ‘mob wife.’ Now readers and television viewers alike will have the opportunity to see Wright tell her story on Tuesday night, June 25 at 10:00 p.m. EST, when the episode “Philly’s Gangster Queen: Thelma Wright” airs on the Biography Channel hit series, “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil.”
Thelma Wright was legendary as reputedly the most dangerously powerful Black woman in Philadelpha. As the wife of Jackie Wright, a top heroin dealer in the city, she was intricately connected with the Black Mafia, a gang that operated Philly’s drug trade throughout 1970 and into the 1980′s. Once widowed, and left as the young mother of a toddler son, she discreetly took over his business, running a bi-coastal drug empire, unbeknownst to family and friends around her.
Recognized by her distinguished, sparkling green eyes, Wright ruled the streets with incredible savvy and disarming charm. Yet, very few knew the real sadness and confusion in her heavy heart. While “With Eyes From Both Sides – Living My Life In and Out of the Game,” reveals Wright’s more intimate memories and angst as a women torn between two worlds, “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” is a documentary styled presentation connecting the details of her criminal enterprise. During the show, Wright, alongside family, friends and law enforcement experts lend credence to her rule over a criminal enterprise normally dominated by men.
Wright’s street reign was notorious. She grossed top dollars and lavishly lived the high life. Championship fights via private jets, European shopping sprees, customized Mercedes Benz cars, cruises to the Bahamas and even speed boating in Miami were mere footnotes in a lifestyle many envied. But everything that glitters is not gold and Wright is open and honest when revealing the dark side.
Wright’s background sets her apart from the typical tales of abuse and abandonment. In fact, she is quick to acknowledge that it was the strength of good parenting and strong family ties that laid her solid foundation and saw her through her darkest days. The product of a middle working class Black family, she attended Catholic school, was a star athlete as a child and was well provided for. It was romance and love that entangled her with one of the Black underworld’s most notorious gangs.
Today she is far removed from her former lifestyle and dedicated to keeping young women off the path she trekked. Her memoir is a source of motivation and encouragement and she spends her time touring and speaking before women’s groups, non-profit organizations and at book signings. Wright has presented as the keynote speaker at the Riverside Correctional Facility, a female prison in Philadelphia, lectured for criminal justice classes at various Penn State College campuses, encouraged audiences at The FFAWN Mary J. Blige Center in Yonkers, New York, as well as made motivational appearances at several schools and communities throughout her city.
“Most are not fortunate enough to survive the wicked lure of the streets, but fast money and fast living is not a comparable trade off for jail or being murdered. I am blessed beyond measure to have survived both and live to tell about it. My passion and fury now is to keep our young people, particularly women, away from the insanity, turmoil and desperation that awaits them when they take that route. Education not incarceration is the key. I can’t say it enough times, and it might sound like a cliché but crime does not pay, only living a righteous life does.”
For more information on “With Eyes From Both Sides – Living My Life In and Out of the Game,” go to http://www.ThelmaBWright.com.
To see a promo for the Biography Channel’s “Philly’s Gangster Queen: Thelma Wright” on “Gangsters: America’s Most Evil” go to http://www.biography.com/tv/gangsters-americas-most-evil/videos/phillys-gangster-queen-thelma-wright-preview-30970435510 .
Former Playboy TV Producer Turned Incarcerated Author Ken Francis Drops “My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg – Poppin’ Bottles with Models Touring Around the World”
Hollywood, CA – Before there was Snoop Lion there was Snoop Dogg aka the Doggfather, one of hip hop’s most iconic figures. And though the rap legend has rebranded and refocused his image, it is no secret that he made his original mark by getting “buckwild.” In fact, the rapper is quoted in a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine (May 23, 2013) reminiscing about his former ‘pimp’ days and an actual prostitution ring he ran during his Playboy tour in 2003. Former Playboy TV producer Ken Francis rolled exclusively with Snoop Dogg during that time and others, capturing and recording some of the artist’s most notorious moments in hip hop history via his trusty camera lens.
Now he reveals the details and drama, along with the mad fun, insanity and angst of those long gone days in his new book, “My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg – Poppin’ Bottles with Models Touring Around the World” Edited by Maxim Magazine editor, Joel Randell, “My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg” is a tell all tale that encapsulates life on the road with one of hip hop’s most celebrated characters. The smoke, the women, the music and the celebrities all come together in this vivid recount of what used to make the newly named lion roar!
With “My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg,” Francis recalls those times and more, reliving first hand his experiences within the music industry and his life as Snoop Dogg’s personal biographer. With never before published anecdotes about Russell Crowe, Anna Nicole Smith, Ray J and Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCapricio, Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, a young Carmelo Anthony and Bishop Don Juan to name just a few, Francis takes the reader on the road, in the green room, down the red carpet, behind the rope to VIP and around the world with insights and revelations about life with Snoop.
More than just another celebrity spill all however, “My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg” uncovers the mind and spirit of Francis as a man on his own path of evolution and redemption. Beyond the hype, he discovers that a continual diet of sex, drugs and ego is not all that it appears.
“I tell myself I’m going to quit working with Snoop and sever the proverbial umbilical cord to him and this celebrity lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. The money, the fame, the women… well maybe not all the women, but seriously most of it needs to be left behind. Kicked to the curb. Stopped cold turkey like a bad habit. I can do it, and I will right after tonight…,” Francis begins in his opening chapter as he chronicles his journey down the hip hop rabbit hole.
Francis’ own personal hip hop adventure is also urban legend status. Written while behind the walls of a federal penitentiary in Fort Worth, TX, Francis once ruled Hollywood’s hip hop scene with his camera. An original underground video veteran, Francis’ early productions included the “Buckwild Beach Week,” “Buckwild in Brazil,” and “Buckwild 2001″ DVD productions that were the first to showcase the beauty of women of color back when the “Girl’s Gone Wild” series was ignoring them.
It was also Francis who introduced hip hop programming to Playboy TV with his original series “Buckwild.” The shows highlighted uncensored videos and interviews from the likes of OutKast, Snoop Dog, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Jo and the Eastside Boys, the Ying Yang Twins, Loon and Treach from Naughty by Nature. Real hip hop heads still own the Playboy TV DVD classic “Snoop Dogg’s Buckwild Bus Tour” which Snoop referenced in his Rolling Stone interview. Francis directed and produced the project.
A 15-year entertainment industry veteran who worked his way up from an ambitious intern at Polygram Records to owning and operating the hip-hop industry’s most sought-after video vixen modeling agency, Dimepiece USA, Francis furnished countless models for the music videos of superstar artists like Usher, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Nelly and many others.The operation of Dimepiece USA saw his eventual demise however when he was convicted for the agency’s involvement in an international drug smuggling ring.
“My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg – Touring the World, Poppin’ Bottles with Models” is a must read for anyone wanting to know not only what’s real in hop hop, but also yearning for truth. Ken Francis has seen it all and done it all. And now with nothing but time on his hands, he serves it up straight, no chaser.
“My Buckwild Adventures with Snoop Dogg – Poppin’ Bottles with Models Touring Around the World” is available as an eBook on Amazon.com and wherever eBooks are sold. The print edition will be available June 20, 2013 at http://www.LeNoirPublications.com.
New York City – On July 2, 1973, Frank Matthews, history’s first African American drug kingpin, jumped bail in New York City with $15 to $20 million – the equivalent of $80 million to $90 million in today’s money. It is believed he took his beautiful mistress, Cheryl Brown with him. Though Matthews is undisputedly the longest missing fugitive in DEA history, another figure from the ’70′s, Assata Shakur, was just recently placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. A 66-year old Black woman, Shakur’s reward is set for two million dollars. The reward for 69-year old Frank Matthews, the target of one of the largest manhunts in U.S. law enforcement history, is a mere $20,000. He remains at large and his disappearance is a complete mystery. He has never made any “Most Wanted” list.
Many believe Shakur was erroneously convicted for the murder of a state trooper. But there is no mistaking the fact that the narcotics Matthews helped funnel into Black communities across America continues to leave a trail of devastation, betrayal, death and despair. In each case it has been forty years. And so goes the continued urban legend of Frank Matthews, perhaps the most authentic American Gangster of them all.
Award-winning crime author Ron Chepesiuk goes into depth to investigate the unsolved disappearance of Matthews with his new book, “Black Caesar: The Rise and Disappearance of Frank Matthews, Kingpin” from Strategic Media Books. With an undercover reporting style that leaves no stone unturned, Chepesiuk’s determined crack at unraveling one of the crime world’s biggest unsolved mysteries makes for a fascinating and intriguing read.
Matthews’ literally dominated the heroin market in the ’70′s. A country boy from North Carolina, Matthew operated out of New York with a drug empire that spanned 21 states with overseas contacts for heroin and cocaine. A boss of bosses, the DEA ranks him as one of the Top Ten drug traffickers in United States history. A young man in his twenties at the time, Matthews was one of the first major independents who challenged the La Cosa Nostra for supremacy in the criminal underworld. The streets deemed him, “Black Caesar” as he was the first black man bold, astute and confident enough to control an interstate organization of its size, independent of the Mob that ruled all.
Chepesiuk follows the trail left cold, retracing Matthew’s criminal path with the nose of a bloodhound. His interviews with DEA agents, Federal Marshals, aging ex-drug kingpins, friends, families and associates are perhaps the most in-depth gathering of details about this nefariously historic figure ever compiled. The book explores a host of nagging questions. How was Matthews able to operate for several years without being detected? What was his relationship with La Cosa Nostra? Why did the CIA get involved in the Matthews investigation? What happened to Cheryl Brown? Why has the mystery of his disappearance been so difficult to solve? And while the questions are explored and answered, “Black Caesar: The Rise and Disappearance of Frank Matthews, Kingpin” colorfully captures the vivid imagery, drama and intrigue of the era, entangling the reader in a real life thriller.
“Ron Chepesiuk is to true crime books what Nas is to the hip-hop world,” offers Seth Ferranti author of “Gorilla Convict: The Prison Writings of Seth Ferranti,” who provides the gripping foreword for the book. “He writes like a lyrical poet examining issues in popular culture in both a historical and scholastic context.”
A two-time Fulbright Scholar, film producer and author of several true crime books, including “Drug Lords,” “Sergeant Smack” and “Queenpins,” Ron Chepesiuk (www.ronchepesiuk.com) is also a consultant to the History Channel’s “Gangland” documentary series and the executive producer and co-host of popular radio show “Crime Beat” (http://www.artistfirst.com/crimebeat.htm). An authoritative crime historian, Chepesiuk is a native of Thunder Bay, Canada currently based in South Carolina. He brings a wealth of insight and observation to the account of the missing Frank Matthews. He has also written a screenplay based on the Frank Matthews story.
Dead or alive, we may never know the ultimate truth about Matthews, but thanks to Chepesiuk, every speculation in between is resolved in “Black Caesar: The Rise and Disappearance of Frank Matthews, Kingpin.” The FBI may be targeting Assata Shakur, but Frank Matthews is the true gangster Most Wanted!
For more exciting true crime book by Strategic Media Books, go to
Chepesiuk will be conducting a two-month blog tour this coming July and August via Partners in Crime Tours (http://www.partnersincrimetours.net/).
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.