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Black Men’s Xchange National (BMX) Announces Annual Leadership Summit & Retreat with “Making the Invisible Visible” Video Release


New York – Since 1989, Black Men’s Xchange National (BMX) has been a sanctuary for thousands of same-gender-loving men to express, heal and overcome past traumas while developing leadership skills and becoming clear thinking assets to their respective communities. As the nation’s first and largest national African American/Black organization affirming the worth and self esteem of same-gender-loving (SGL) and bisexual males, BMX National conducts activities that promote healthy self-concept, constructive decision-making, cultural affirmation and critical consciousness.

The organization has announced its Annual BMX National Leadership Summit & Retreat, themed “Healing, Strategic Intelligence, Self-Love & Discovery” for May 6-9, 2011 at the West Sonoma Inn and Spa in the beautiful California coastal community of Guerneville, CA. The BMX National Annual Leadership Summit & Retreat aims to strengthen, heal and nurture the legacy of same-gender-loving (SGL), bisexual, gay-identified and heterosexual Black men. The experience strives to ensure a healthy, powerful and vital future of leadership and social justice for men from diverse walks of life.

In conjunction with the planned retreat, the organization has produced and released a moving and telling film short entitled “Making the Invisible Visible” available for viewing on at The video poignantly and powerfully parallels the theme from Ralph Ellison’s classic novel, “The Invisible Man” as indicative of the plight of the same-gender-loving man in modern day society.

“We are here and we are not invisible, nor are we the stereotypical and derogatory images often displayed in the media,” offers BMX National Coordinator Malcolm Harris. “BMX’s Annual Leadership Summit & Retreat presents a wonderful opportunity for Black men from across the country and globe to further grow and evolve. We are in pivotal times, where it is increasingly important to affirm our role and integrity in the Black community and beyond.”

Black Men’s Xchange was recently funded by the Center for Disease Control’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) program. As part of CDC’s innovative campaign, CDC has launched a $10 million, five-year partnership with 16 of the nation’s leading African-American organizations. The Leadership Initiative seeks to harness the collective strength and reach of traditional, longstanding African-American institutions to increase HIV-related awareness, knowledge and action within black communities across the United States. The CDC’s selection positions BMX alongside other legacy community black organizations such as the NAACP, the Urban League, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and American Urban Radio Networks.

Same gender loving (SGL) and bisexual Black men, ages 18 and up, are invited to attend BMX gatherings in cities across America including New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Bay Area, Miami and the headquarters in Atlanta. BMX has membership in several states, including Houston, Texas; Washington DC; Detroit Michigan; Denver, Colorado; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

On a bi-quarterly basis BMX also conducts events that involve people of diverse cultures, racial groups, women, and heterosexuals to enlighten one another regarding cultural differences and shared perspectives.

Black Men’s Xchange can be reached at or by contacting or calling 888-472-2837. For information about the BMX National Annual Leadership Summit & Retreat, themed “Healing, Strategic Intelligence, Self-Love & Discovery” for May 6-9, 2011 at the West Sonoma Inn and Spa and scholarship applications go to Watch “Making the Invisible Visible” on at

French Songstress Maty Soul Pours her “Herbal Tea” in the States and Releases New Music Video,


France – When songstress Maty Soul released her debut single “Herbal Tea” in France, music lovers around the globe sipped on the single’s deliciousness. The French music darling was serving a delectable bit of hip hop musical consciousness, sung in English, wrapped around her French dialect and tinged with reggae, R&B and folk flavor. A refreshing diversion on international music scene, fans literally took note around the world. Her debut album, “The Price of Consciousness” which dropped last September, produced by That Natural High on No Waiting In Vain Records, is an eclectic collection of warm sincerity recorded in Paris and mixed in Philadelphia and Los Angeles with selections in English and French.

Maty Soul has since been steadily making her voice heard while traveling and recording internationally.
“In My Village” ( is her latest video release from her debut album.

Shot in Kingston, Jamaica and directed by Ras Kassa (director of Nas and Damian Marley’s “Land of Promise”), “In My Village” solidifies her stance as an artist with real roots. Light head-nodding reggae rhythms give way to lyrics that embrace universal one love. In the video, Maty Soul magically floats above the ground in the Jamaican countryside as she welcomes everyone ‘home’ to a place to stay ‘in her village.’

The singer recently wrapped production on the video for her next single, a remix of “Bad Time,” shooting in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Paris and Avignon. Joined by Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group’s rap artist, Stalley, “Bad Time” covers more urbane territory delivering a “Wake Up” call to listeners. Directed by Alexander Boure a.k.a. Walking Bass, Maty sings, with Stalley adding to the flow with a freestyle verse.

Maty Soul was born in Paris spending half of her childhood in the south of France. She grew up listening to Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill and later Nina Simone and Donny Hathaway and was also influenced by artists from the hip hop generation. Living in the south of France, she often caught the train to Paris to see her favorite hip hop and soul artists. In 2006, with the launch of her MySpace page, Maty Soul opened her musical doors to the world, and she was well received. In fact, director Ras Kassa discovered her there!

Offers Maty, “My music has been my sojourn. The world outside of France has opened up to me. On a bigger scale, my travels are indicative of the common chord that music holds for us all. The states are where this music originated and it is considered the Mecca for music in the western world. I felt it was important to shoot my next video in the U.S. for that reason. Also, it’s important for me as a European artist to solidify my fan base in the states. It has all been quite an adventure filled with love.”

To taste Maty Soul’s “Herbal Tea” and explore “The Price of Consciousness,” listen in at and visit with her at View “In My Village” at

In the midst of possible charter takeover and fiscal crisis Washington Preparatory High School Announces the Show Must Go On and Presents FAME, The Musical


Washington Preparatory High School Pushes Art Program Forward with Grant from Success Through the Arts Foundation

Los Angeles – In the midst of possible charter takeover, fiscal crisis and pending teacher layoffs, the students and staff at Washington Preparatory High School continue to prove resilient. With a determined resolved that ‘the show must go on’ the educational inner city haven has announced the production of the legendary play, “FAME, The Musical.” Bolstered with a two year $55,000 grant from Success Through The Arts Foundation (STTAF), a long time supporter of performing arts at Washington Prep High School, the school continues to defy the critics, with groundbreaking art productions and teaching programs.

“FAME, The Musical” will be presented May 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7:00 pm with a special matinee performance on Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 pm. Washington Preparatory High School is located at 10860 Denker Avenue in Los Angeles. Tickets are available for purchase at the school or by calling the school at 323-418-4042.

“Fame” is the spring production for the Washington High School Music Magnet Program. The modern day classic is based on a movie about New York’s’ famous High School of Performing Arts. It chronicles the lives of a group of talented students who are seeking fame by learning their various disciplines under the watchful eye of some of the best teachers in the country. Ironically, the story parallels Washington Preparatory High in a life imitates art fashion. The cast of over 40 students are being instructed by some of the best teachers in the state of California. The actual production is especially bittersweet for many of the teachers who are facing possible layoff as a result of the local district’s budget problems.

“In the spirit of Broadway,” asserts assistant principal and executive producer Jacquie Augustus, “we are determined that the show will go on and our kids will get at least one more chance to showcase their talent and shine! The “Fame” production is a great opportunity for the community to continue to support our arts program and hopefully, through the support of voters and the local community, we will continue to be able to change lives and impact the future of these promising youth via the arts.”

“Success Through The Arts Foundation is extremely pleased to be able to provide funds to Washington Prep to safeguard its performing arts programs,” adds board president, Andrew Garb. “We know from our own experience with Washington Preparatory High School that enriching the students’ educational experience by including performing arts will provide the self esteem they need to be successful high school students, go on to college, and become adults who are a credit to their community.”

The Success Through the Arts Foundation’s grant will benefit not only the school’s theater productions, but also their After School Conservatory of Music, Thelonious Monk, Filmmaking and Bee Bop to Hip Hop programs. The school will receive a new stage design program and a facelift grant to finish the auditorium renovation program. Overall improvements and upgrades include new stage lights and sound systems added to the theatre, along with new curtains, scrim, carpeting, new electrical and lighting for the house and the foyer.

In addition Washington Preparatory High School has just been approved to expand the New Music and Performing Arts Magnet Program from 150 students to 400 students enabling all the students in the Los Angeles Unified school district to now apply.

Living the Debbie Allen maxim, “Fame costs and this is where you start to pay,” from the original film, “Fame,” Washington Preparatory High School continues to beat the odds. Defying stereotypes and limited thinking, the school itself is ultimately the show that must go on!

To show your support for Washington Preparatory High School and for more information about the school and events, log on at or call Jacquie Augustus, Assistant Principal at 323-418-4042.

Back on the Airwaves, Levi “Who Loves You” Booker Celebrates with “Radio Free Classic Saturday”


Los Angeles – When veteran air personality Levi Booker rocked the Los Angeles airwaves back in the day with his “Rhythms of the Night” show on KJLH Radio, the town listened. His mellow resonance, coupled with soothing song selections, pampered the ears and swayed the heart. Better known as “Levi Who Loves You,” his show ran ten consecutive years, from 1994 to 2004, with many loyal listeners.

Well, ‘the Original OG of Los Angeles Radio’ is back on the air, rocking the radio and internet waves with his distinctive rendition of “Radio Free Classic Saturday,” from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on KJLH Radio Free 102.3 FM and A heat infused mix of old school hits from the ’70’s, ’80’s and 90’s, the three-hour show is a visceral concoction of hot sounds, conjuring fond memories and fun!

As the current Director of New Media / Marketing and Promotions at Los Angeles’ legendary KJLH Radio, Levi Booker is an institution himself. With four decades of radio history under his belt, Booker launched his career at the station in 1973. At the time, KJLH, now owned by Stevie Wonder, was under the auspices of the original owner, John Lamar Hill. The veteran radio personality went on to broadcast at numerous stations throughout his career. He was also one of the first African American DJ’s at the Houston rock station, KLOL/K101, where he landed a historical impromptu in-studio interview with George Harrison of The Beatles.

Los Angeles has remained home base however and “Levi Who Loves You” is loved in return. While New Yorkers had radio icon Frankie Crocker, Angelenos revered Levi Booker. Before the hip hop generation knew about stuntin’, Booker swayed the masses with the power behind his microphone. The larger than life personality fondly recalls the time he shut down Crenshaw Blvd. between Rodeo Rd. and Florence Ave, a span of over 10 city blocks. With a request to his listeners to “stop your cars, turn your radio up and let’s party,” traffic literally came to a stand still on the famous boulevard!

“Radio has transitioned and it is important that we transition with it,” reflects Booker. “However you don’t usurp the roots as you grow and expand, or you die. Sometimes it seems our music today has just died. ‘Classic Saturday’ is about revival, regeneration and renewal. I am uplifting the community with the hits they grew up listening and dancing to. There is power in the party and in the celebration. “Classic Saturday” on KJLH is the inspiration I bring with my unique programming and sequencing of the hits. There is nothing like it on the radio or internet right now! I am playing the music of your life!”

Tune in to Levi Booker every Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on KJLH Radio at 102.3 FM in Los Angeles or Party with Levi and celebrate your life!

NOTE TO MEDIA: Levi Booker is available for interviews, contact

Music Man Jay King Launches The Jay King Radio Network, Radio Veteran Lynn Tolliver to Helm


HHollywood, CA – When industry veteran, music producer and on-air personality Jay King broadcast his first internet radio show on the network with “The Way I See It” at (, he had a clear vision. King, never one to run from controversy, had an intention to push the envelope with subject matters that would incite thought, conversation and progression. Two years later, he and co-host Robert Redwine have become a staple for thousands of listeners around the world with a broadcast that has expanded from Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 pm PST to now include “The Music Industry” version of “The Way I See It” on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 pm PST.

In acknowledgement of his growing fan base and listener support, Jay King has announced further expansion with The Jay King Network, a host of new radio programming on the circuit. The Jay King Network will helm radio veteran Lynn Tolliver, who will produce and also co-host as well.

The Jay King Network will see the introduction of two new shows; “SESSIONS with Lynn Tolliver” at 3:00 p.m. PST every Saturday, and a morning show, entitled “Kings in the Morning” hosted by Jay King, Anthony King, Robert Redwine and Lynn Tolliver every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST. The slate of new programming begins Tuesday, April 26, 2011.

“Sessions with Lynn Tolliver” will incorporate Tolliver’s distinctive blend of music, talk, theory and entertainment creating a positive expression to empower his listening audience. With a theme of “The Best You Can-Is In All Of Us,” Tolliver hopes to elicit thought provoking conversation that is motivational and inspiring.

“Kings in the Morning” hosted by Jay King, Anthony King, Robert Redwine and Lynn Tolliver on the other hand, is guaranteed to be an explosive morning wake up call as the four gentlemen purvey the social, political and cultural landscape with an observatory eye unique to each of them. A radio version take on the popular “View,” with a decidedly male stance, the hosts promise to provoke as well as entertain!

As a program director and on-air personality with a broad background in the operations and management of numerous high profile radio stations, Tolliver’s addition to The Jay King Network speaks volumes. Expresses King, “I am humbled and excited to have Tolliver join our team. Internet radio is a growing phenomenon. With Tolliver’s expertise, we will continue to foray unexplored territory, always evolving and keeping it cutting edge.”

Adds Tolliver, “I recognize Jay King for the visionary he is. Although widely recognized as a musician, he has all the winning qualities of a successful on-air personality. His natural gift to keep his audience engaged is what peaked my initial interest. The Jay King Network is just the beginning of bigger developments on the horizon.”

Log and listen to the Jay King Network on at

Hip Hop Moves into the Sacred as Herban Shamen’s “Keys to the Inner Sanctum” Celebrates Digital Release


Hollywood, CA – When Courtney Branch seemingly exited the music business over ten years ago it was a move engineered to save his life. A multi-platinum, Grammy nominated record producer and one of the original behind-the-scenes pioneers of the West Coast hip hop music scene, his career accomplishments sparkled while his personal health was quickly on the demise. Given just a short to time to live by his doctor, his health was failing miserably. A life of fast times, including drugs, round the clock studio hours and a diet of junk food, had proven to be a sad trade for a resume that boasted writing, producing and performing with artists the likes of LA Dream Team, Shanice Wilson, DJ Quik, AMG, Second II None, Boss and Living Colour. With a diagnosis that foretold ‘last days,’ Branch knew he had to change his life.

Doctah B. Sirius (far right) co-wrote “Dance for Me” and “You Had Me at Hello” on Ron Isley’s new CD “Mr. I.”

Pictured left to right: co-writer, Jon Nettlesbey, Ron Isley, co-writer, Greg Curtis and co-writer, Doctah B. Sirius.

Today, Branch is still forever the musical whiz. India Irie, George Clinton, Keb Mo, BB King, George Duke, El Debarge, Shalimar, Herb Alpert, Will Calhoun and most recently Ron Isley are just a sampling of the artists he works with. But after surviving his health challenge, he recreated himself and is now known and recognized as Doctah B Sirius.

As one the most sought after professionals in his field, Doctah B. Sirius combines ancient music tradition with a fresh approach and signature rhythms. After taking a much needed health hiatus, his production work on India Arie’s album Testimonies: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship was nominated for a Grammy and his career was jump-started and back on track, but this time, with a new attitude and from an innovative and wholistic perspective.

Doctah B is now a world renowned natural healer and teacher, having commandeered the multi-faceted realms of therapy under his wide scope of observation. A mind scientist, herbalist, motivational speaker, producer, composer and master percussionist, he is a modern day sage with tales of hope and inspiration for the coming new age. Having restored himself to health after studying herbal medicine, nutrition and metaphysics, he not only lives to tell about it, but to teach about it, through music, natural health, herbs, talk and the power of thought and the subconscious mind.

The recent digital release of “Keys to the Inner Sanctum” is an expressive testimony to the power of his sound therapy healing with a taste of soul. A production from him and sacred musician and master healer, Akahdahmah, a fifth generation Plant and Spirit Medicine Man, the duo teamed up to form Herban Shamen and create music that they deem “medicine music,” that which induces the listener to travel to spaces deep within.

“Keys to the Inner Sanctum” is a beauty filled, mystical journey that expands spiritual awareness into a space of feeling one with God. Sacred instrumentation utilizing the djun-djun, el-bey, djembe, congas, Udu pots, mbira, bamboo flutes, harmonic Diamantine crystals, shakers, cow bells, cosmic keyboards, mystical guitars and Tibetan singing bowls magically carry the listener to a soothing place of beyond, where modern merges with tribal.

“Hip hop is a movement,” clarifies Doctah B., “and that said, it is time that we, as the pioneers of this movement, begin to move the music beyond the madness. It is a must if we want to live and elevate our lives. Fast living got me Grammy nominations and a pocket full of money, none of which was gonna serve me if I was no longer here. I was diagnosed with multiple systems failure and my physical life was shutting down. I had to come to the realization that it is only by connecting with a Higher Power that we become a higher power.”

“‘Keys to the Inner Sanctum’ is a formulation of harmonic remedies expressed through rhythm and word. These inspired rhythms are the movements of sacred sound currents given to us to transmit. In each recording session we were guided to arrange sound currents for aligning the body and mind with Divine Laws. The listener is transported to the inner sanctum where they experience the knowledge of our Oneness with the Source of life, revealing the path to health, wealth, joy and peace,” offers Akahdahmah.

“Keys to the Inner Sanctum” is an offering of eight celestial tracks that unlock the path to the All. “Breath,” “Convergence,” “Awakening,” and “Womb Portal,” are a sampling of the titles that serve as navigational guides into the mind, body and spirit connection.

“‘Keys to the Inner Sanctum’ is a divine gift of Universal Love,” adds Doctah B. “But,” he notes, “its still funky y’all!”

“Keys to the Inner Sanctum” can be heard and purchased at and is available on Itunes, and wherever digital music is sold. For more information on Doctah B. Sirius, tune in at and for Akahdahmah tune in at .

NOTE TO MEDIA: Doctah B. Sirius is available for interviews and mp3’s from “Keys to the Inner Sanctum” are also available. Contact

Scent Goddess Het-Heru Reveals The Secret to Self Balancing with 28 Day Sacred Chakra Program


Austin, TX – Het-Heru Maatkeru is the goddess of magical scents. As a master Khamitic Yoga teacher, spiritual intuitive and founder of Het-Heru’s Chamber, her scentilizing offerings have presented a gateway to our inner selves since 2004 when she conceived her first sacred oil blend. Guided by ‘voices,’ her product line has expanded to include lotions, soaps, and body butters as well.

Bridging the physical and spiritual realms using smell as the vehicle, Het-Heru is a sensory healer of sorts. As more and more people seek spiritual sustenance during these turbulent and unsettling times, her products have grown in popularity. Het-Heru brings forth the teachings, insight and traditions of the ancient Egyptians, serving as a medium for seeking souls. Her Het-Heru’s Chamber ( ) of delights are incredulous scents that vibrate with high frequency.

“The 28 Day Chakra Balancing Program”

Within this whirlwind of hectic times, Het-Heru has unveiled yet another dimension to her mastery, “The 28 Day Chakra Balancing Program.” “The 28 Day Chakra Balancing Program,” is a mesmerizing blend of exotic essentials oils created to coincide with the seven sacred power points within us all, known as chakras.

Identified as far back as Egypt and popularized in the traditions of India, the chakras are noted to hold the key to our daily levels of peace and happiness. When our chakras are not aligned, we experience conflict and unease within our operations. The first three chakras (base, navel and solar plexus) are usually known as the lower chakras and connect us to our earthly experiences, including our emotions. The upper chakras (heart, throat, third eye and crown) connect us to the higher consciousness.

‘The Chakras’
painting by Terry Cramolini

Het-Heru succinctly combined her knowledge of yoga, metaphysics and esoteric science to infuse “The 28 Day Chakra Balancing Program” with all the ingredients to accompany the novice and/or the informed with all the tools needed to suffice the balance and healing of the chakra centers. In addition to an aromatic oil blend for each chakra center, there are daily affirmations and an accompanying website at with instructions, historical references, background information and imagery.

“We are all spiritual beings and children of the universe,” offers Het-Heru. “We lose our inner sense of self in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The power generated though the use of oils dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians. With “The 28 Day Chakra Balancing Program” we can activate ancient power daily by connecting with our higher selves through our sense of smell and touch.”

Patchouli, musk, jasmine, bergamot, and myrrh are just a sampling of essential oils blended to create pathways to daily serenity. For instance, Khamit, a delicious blend of majmua and Egyptian musk serves the first chakra for spiritual grounding, while musk, myrrh, geranium and nag champa create the intoxicating fragrance of Sacred Love for the fourth Chakra, the heart chakra. Metu Neter mixes jasmine, patchouli, bergamot and citrus to enhance communication, the fifth chakra for the throat and Khepera instigates peace and tranquility with a blend of musk, lotus, vetivert, nag champa and patchouli for the third chakra over the solar plexus.

The oil blends are pure concentrates with no additional additives, so only a few drops are needed. By anointing the wrists, inner elbows and neck pulse points, one is blessed and scented for the entire day, while the daily affirmations provided serve to further sear one’s mental faculties with intention and positivity.

From the land of pharaohs and queens renowned for their spiritual teachings as well as their beauty practices, Het-Heru’s offerings are an ancient gift bought forth to the present. By applying the art and science of aromatherapy, which has its roots in ancient Egypt, Het-Heru’s Chamber connects us to the memory of our sacred selves with the most powerful of all senses, that of smell.

Engage your senses and enter Het Heru’s Chamber at and explore the magical realms of “The 28 Day Chakra Balancing Program” at Het-Heru also teaches meditation, chakra balancing and Sacred Love workshops and is available for intuitive readings by phone. Reach her at

NOTE TO MEDIA: Het-Heru is available for interviews. Samples available upon request for review queries, email

PAY ATTENTION: Redistricting StrategiesImpact Local and National Elections


By Kirk Clay and Madura Wijewardena – State houses, city councils and many other institutions across America are now engaged in an endeavor that has occurred every decade since the nation’s founding — they will decide how electoral boundaries will be drawn based on where people live. These decisions will have a major impact on who is elected to public office.

This practice originates from the radical but simple plan set out in the U.S. Constitution which states that America will count every person every decade and use the results of that count to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. At that time, using a population count to determine representation was an unusual proposition because, according to Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, population counts had been used before to levy taxes or property or to pressure people for military service and not to ensure that the government had the consent of the governed.

This radical but simple plan originally had profound injustice embedded in it by stipulating that slaves held in bondage be counted as three-fifths of a person. In 1868, Congress ratified the 14th amendment, allowing former slaves to be counted as full-individuals, one result of the costly, bloody struggle of the Civil War.

Immediately following the Civil War, during Reconstruction, over 600 African Americans occupied various elected offices across the nation. With the end of that era came an almost century-long period of despair, which began when African Americans were habitually disenfranchised through Jim Crow practices, lynching, segregation, institutionalized racism, and incarceration discrepancies, to name a few. By 1965, only 300 African Americans occupied elected offices.

The enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 offered some hope of government with the consent of all those who are governed and not just a few, requiring states to draw legislative boundaries that would maximize minority voter empowerment. Like the 14th amendment, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was not an end in itself but a mere foothold in the unending struggle for justice.

As we approach that moment when electoral boundaries are redrawn, opportunities for regression are immense; and this moment requires renewed and continued vigilance.

With President Barack Obama, an African American, holding the highest office in the nation and many African Americans in elected offices across the nation, one may ask: have the times not changed?

Yes. Times have changed six-fold. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1970 there were about 1,500 African American elected officials. In 2000 the number of African Americans in elected offices had reached about 9,000. Improvements must not be confused with underrepresentation. Based on the number of elected officials reported by the Census Bureau in 1992 – 513,200 – in 2000 African American elected officials were 2% of all elected officials. African Americans were 12.3 % of the population.

A civil rights redistricting strategy for 2011 must maximize African American voter empowerment by defending past improvements and by agitating to move the nation closer to the ideal of equal representation. attention

To achieve this, civil rights communities must focus on three things: 1) more local level action to set up long-term pathways; 2) the strategic use of census data to push for change; and 3) the strategic use of census data to reject aggressively the regression of the original mandates of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Civil rights communities must remember that redistricting is not just for apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives it also impacts local-level elected offices. Significant shifts in the U.S. population will have an impact on African Americans’ role in the next presidential race. Eighteen states have gained or lost seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Electoral College votes that a candidate for president gets when he/she wins one of those states also will be increased or reduced by the numbers of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives that are gained or lost.

In order to maximize minority voter empowerment civil rights communities must take action at this critical juncture to make sure the intent of the Voting rights Act of 1965 is preserved.


Kirk Clay is Senior Advisor at PowerPAC. Madura Wijewardena is Director of Research & Policy at the National Urban League Policy Institute.

Shirley Sherrod, Jasmine Guy and Fonzworth Bentley Among 2011 Drum Major for Justice Honorees


Atlanta, GA – Evelyn Gibson Lowery, founder and chair of SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. announced today that former Georgia State Director of USDA Rural Development, Shirley Sherrod; award-winning actor, dancer, singer, and director, Jasmine Guy; and a leader in the field of diabetic limb salvage and founder of The Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program, Dr. Bill Releford; will be honored during the thirty-second annual Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner on Monday April 4. Held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the anniversary of his assassination, the dinner will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta. For ticket information call (404) 584-0303.

Other prestigious honorees include, Derrick Watkins (aka Fonzworth Bentley), musician, author, and host of MTV’s From G’s to Gents; Real Men Cook for Charity, a national Father’s Day event held to positively change the way the world views black men; and the first black all-female flight crew: Captain Rachelle Jones, First Officer Stephanie Grant, Flight Attendant Diana Galloway, and Flight Attendant Robin Rogers. Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Civil Rights will also be awarded including, civil rights icon, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery; former Atlanta mayor and U.S. Ambassador, Andrew Young; and Congressman John Lewis.

“Dr. King wanted to be called a Drum Major for Justice,” Lowery said. “He once said the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. Well, our prestigious honorees exemplify the moral excellence and generosity Dr. King spoke of and are truly modern-day Drum Majors for Justice.”

Entertainment will include a performance by 10-year-old Kirlisa Broxton, winner of a talent contest held during the recent Evelyn Gibson Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour.

The Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner pays tribute to present day “Drum Majors” – individuals who have made major contributions advancing the social justice cause in their respective fields. Founded in 1979, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N., Inc., is an independent 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization providing a diverse array of services to improve and empower at-risk and low-income families. Programs include: youth mentoring, domestic violence education, HIV/AIDS education, and computer training. Their Heritage Pride program hosts the annual Evelyn Gibson Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour through the cradle of the civil rights movement and has erected 13 monuments honoring civil rights icons. For more information or to purchase tickets call (404) 584-0303.

Life Redesign Queen Nekisha-Michelle Bakre Redefines “Happy Hour” With Free Weekly Empowerment Gathering


Los Angeles – Author, life coach and speaker, Nekisha-Michelle Bakre, the Life Redesign Queen, is known for her varied techniques for supersizing happiness as a means to personal development. Her effective life strategies, detailed in her second book release, “Breaking Invisible Chains, Gaining the Confidence to Redesign Your Life” have propelled readers to new joys. Now the Life Redesign Queen will be offering her special brand of self-actualization up close and in person during a unique, weekly empowerment event entitled, “The Happy Hour Live.”

“The Happy Hour Live” will kick-off on Friday, May 6, 2011 from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM, PST at 6201 S. La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles. The event will complement the life coach’s radio show on entitled “The Happy Hour with Nekisha-Michelle & Friends” as she targets a global audience addressing the same topics as the live events. The radio show debuts Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm PST on .

“The Happy Hour Live” is a free weekly gathering offering attendees the spiritual tools, skills and power principles of happiness by elevating their confidence in self, love and money. The attendees will experience coaching both interactive and lecture style, forums and celebrity guest interviews, all influenced by Nekisha-Michelle and other top guru’s of success and happiness.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not,” shares Nekisha-Michelle who understands that boredom, anger, stagnation and depression are most Americans normal emotional state of being. “My goal is to help attendees and listeners get unstuck from their own personal disasters, excuses and spiritual blocks. Once unstuck, they can take authority, be resilient and make happiness their habitual emotional state. Happiness is your birthright,” Nekisha-Michelle declares. “My passion is to show you to be confident in owning it, using it and sustaining it.”

Nekisha-Michelle Bakre, MSW, is the president of Vivacious Living International. Consistently demonstrating resilience, in 2003 she took her last $98.00 and created a life coaching practice where she created techniques to super-size the confidence and happiness of others. Her media appearances include the top-rated KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles, the Actors Entertainment Chat Show and Black Enterprise Magazine.

To redesign your life, join Nekisha-Michelle Bakre, MSW at

NOTE TO MEDIA: Nekisha-Michelle Bakre, MSW is available for interviews at