• 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 .

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  • 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.


    Ken Francis and Snoop surrounded by models.
    Photo credit: Joel Payne

    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.


    Snoop and Ken Francis – back in da’ day. Photo Credit: Joel Payne

    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.

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  • Crime Expert and Author, Ron Chepesiuk, Uncovers Criminal Drug Legend Frank Matthews in New Book


    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!

    Follow the Frank Matthew’s trail at www.FrankMatthewsBook.com.

    For more exciting true crime book by Strategic Media Books, go to
    http://www.strategicmediabooks.com .

    Chepesiuk will be conducting a two-month blog tour this coming July and August via Partners in Crime Tours (http://www.partnersincrimetours.net/).

    Follow Ron Chepesiuk at www.ronchepesiuk.com.

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  • 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.

    For more information: http://www.northerncrossnw.com/ and http://njweedman.com/ and “Jury Nullification Tour“.

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  • Bassist Anthony Crawford Fuses Musical Genres with “Urban Jazz / My Story” Release

    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 .

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  • Nationally Syndicated Radio Host Michael Baisden Bids Farewell to Radio


    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!”

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  • 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.

    ###

    About MomsRising.org

    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.

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  • Gerald Forrest’s GospelChops.com Records the Rhythm with “Bass Sessionz Vol. 2″


    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.

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  • Kurupt, Freeway Rick Ross, Luenell and Dennis Peron Puff Puff Pass at 7th Annual Doesha Cup 2013


    Doesha Cup 2013 Unites Southern and Northern California’s Medical Marijuana Community with Live Entertainment, Guest Speakers, Medicating, Socializing and Vendor Displays

    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.

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  • Event Hosts Kevin Rouse and Deshawn Cabeza Bring the Legendary Big Daddy Kane to Los Angeles

    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 kevinarouse@msn.com 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 .

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  • 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
    http://vimeo.com/15018101.

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  • 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 edmedia@dogonvillage.com

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