Trenton, NJ – Is orange the new green? Cannabis activist, cancer patient and self-proclaimed “Superhero of the Potheads” Ed Forchion aka NJ Weedman might well be pondering this dilemma as he sits out his “Hunger Strike for Bail” protest in New Jersey’s Mercer County Jail. The free speech activist was originally incarcerated on March 3, 2017 and is being held without bail on charges of witness tampering. Forchion has since filed a Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus in U.S. Federal District Court of Trenton New Jersey (Case No. 317CV02669PGS) claiming a tragic violation of his civil rights under New Jersey’s new bail reform laws. Forchion has gone without food for over 11 days.
The charges were filed after Forchion, per the approval of his former attorney, posted the name and photo of a police informant on his Facebook page, requesting the public to help him find information on the man. Forchion believed the individual was a paid informant, hired by the Trenton Police, to build a drug case against him. Under New Jersey’s new bail reform laws, which went into effect January 1, officials cite that certain conditions can warrant pre-trial detention, like danger to the community, flight risk or threat to a witness.
“I am a peaceful, proud and patriotic pothead,” cites Forchion. “Yet I have sat here for over 100 days in a cell while watching real criminals, like murderers and rapists, get released daily on bail. Nothing I did was illegal,” Forchion has stated from jail. “Nothing I did was wrong. In fact, I actually thought I was in accordance with the law per the advice of my attorney.” (Forchion’s attorney has since been removed from the case per his own request.)
Forchion’s long standing battle for marijuana law reform has been documented for over two decades. Considered by many as the “grandfather of marijuana reform in New Jersey,” Forchion is a bone cancer patient who states he needs marijuana for his symptoms. Forchion’s most recent travails with the Trenton Police Department have shined an international media spotlight on the state’s current cannabis policy. Forchion contends he is political prisoner due to the “politics of pot Jersey Style.”
Amongst his many trials and tribulations over the years, Forchion pleaded guilty in 2000 to charges of conspiracy to distribute and marijuana possession and was released on parole after serving 18 months on a reduced sentence. He was arrested again in Burlington County, N.J., in 2010 on marijuana possession and distribution charges. In 2012 a jury utilized “jury nullification” and found him “not guilty” of possession with intent to distribute. He was found guilty of simple possession. Forchion argued his health condition gave him a “medical necessity” defense to possess and appealed the decision all the way to the US Supreme Court, where they declined to hear it.
Forchion achieved Hollywood notoriety when he opened a marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles in 2008, saying it was a temple that used marijuana as part of its religious ceremonies. The California temple was shut down after a federal drug raid in 2011.
Currently Forchion, a Rastafarian, is the co-owner of New Jersey’s only cannabis-themed restaurant, NJWeedman’s Joint and spiritual sanctuary, Liberty Bell Temple III, located directly across from New Jersey’s Trenton City Hall. He opened the businesses, alongside his partner, medical marijuana mom activist and registered nurse, Debi Madaio. The restaurant and sanctuary receive not only a steady stream of customers but also worldwide media attention.
Follow Ed Forchion’s court case on Facebook at “Ed Forchion“. Concerned citizens can support the cause with contributions to his PayPal account at NJWeedmans_Joint@yahoo.com.
Witness the most recent court proceedings at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJexiSU0SFE check Debi Madaio’s interview about the matter on New York’s PIX11 at http://pix11.com/2017/06/19/nj-nurse-with-adopted-son-who-suffers-from-seizures-calls-for-less-strict-marijuana-laws/ .
A barbeque fundraiser and birthday celebration is scheduled for Ed Forchion on his birthday, July 23 at NJWeedman’s Joint at 322 E. State St. in Trenton, NJ. Follow NJWeedman’s Joint on Facebook at “NJWeedman’s Joint” for updates and details.
Recovered Crack Addict, Tonier Cain, Hopes Drug Treatment Success Stories Stop Senators From Making Drug Epidemic Worse
Annapolis, MD – During her 19-year crack addiction, Tonier Cain racked up 83 arrests and 66 convictions. She turned to prostitution to pay for drugs, lost custody of four children, and, when she wasn’t locked up, she slept under a bridge. Today, 12-years after completing treatment, Cain penned an open letter to the Senate Health Committee urging them to preserve the mandate for insurers to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment and continue federal funding for Medicaid expansion.
“I sent the letter to make sure the Senators working to overhaul health care who may be out of touch with the people they serve, get a first hand account of how treatment changes lives,” says Cain. “I urge anyone who has benefitted from treatment to speak out and let our leaders know we matter, our struggle matters, and our votes matter. Our triumphs over addiction demonstrate that treating this debilitating illness not only saves lives and communities, but also saves money. ”
“My untreated crack habit cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars,” writes Cain, who received treatment after asking a judge to give her a longer sentence so she would be eligible for a substance abuse program. “Limiting access to drug abuse and mental health services will fuel the addiction epidemic and increase costs to taxpayers.”
The letter continues, “Treatment paid off. Today, I am a mother, wife, and productive citizen. I’m no longer homeless or in public housing; I became a homeowner. I’m no longer a burden on other taxpayers; I work and pay taxes. I now train public health providers in the courts, prisons and child protection agencies who once served me.”
The current plan to replace the Affordable Care Act eliminates essential coverage for drug addiction and mental health services despite the fact that the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health shows that substance abuse treatment is cost-effective compared with no treatment. The report also determined that substance abuse costs more than $400 billion annually in crime, health, and lost productivity. If benefits for treatment are cut, it will exacerbate the nation’s current opioid crisis.
Since completing treatment in 2005, Cain has become a nationally recognized inspirational speaker and trauma care expert. In addition to encouraging inmates across the country, she has testified before Congress, lectured at Yale University and delivered a keynote speech at the United Nations. Former Gov. Charlie Crist recognized Cain for her contributions to transforming the way the entire Florida Department of Juvenile Justice serves youth.
Cain’s poignant memoir, “Healing Neen,” and feature-length documentary of the same name, exposes her traumatic childhood filled with abuse, rape and neglect, and is also a testament to her amazing resilience. Her compelling story was also featured in Ebony Magazine’s Power Issue (2014). Currently, there is a docu-series in development chronicling her work helping prisoners transition from behind bars into their community.
“When people meet me now it’s hard for them to believe there was a time when people wouldn’t look at me on the streets. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless, dirty and smelled awful. I’m living proof that treatment is an important weapon in the battle against addiction,” adds the founder and CEO of Healing Neen, Inc.
A copy of the open letter to Senate Health Committee can be found online at <a href=”http://www.dogonvillage.com/?p=7918″>www.dogonvillage.com/?p=7918</a>. For more information Tonier Cain visit <a href=”http://www.toniercain.com” target=”_blank”>www.toniercain.com</a>.
Buckwild Entertainment Joins Forces to Present “Strippers Have Talent” During BET Experience Weekend
Some of reality TV’s hottest names will gather together to host and judge what will be one of the biggest events during BET Experience Weekend on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Ken Francis’ Buckwild Entertainment has joined forces with Blaqtacular Entertainment and X-Polesitions to present “Strippers Have Talent, an Exotic Dancer Take Over” competition. Hosted by Cardi B (“Love and Hip Hop New York”) with comedian Faison Love as MC and celebrity judges Bre-Z (Fox’s “Empire”), Brittany (“Love and Hip Hop Houston”), Nikko London (“Love and Hip Hop Atlanta”) and Jackie Long (“Grand Theft Auto V”) alongside co-host DJ Tony Neal with music by DJ Drama, “Strippers Have Talent” is positioned as the must-attend party that weekend. The event will take place at the Globe Theater located at 740 S. Broadway in downtown Los Angeles from 9:00 pm to 3:30 am.
A former Playboy TV producer, Ken Francis has been steadily re-positioning Buckwild Entertainment as one of the top brands in urban entertainment. With the launch of his radio show, “Buckwild Radio” on AcceleratedRadio.net, Francis has expanded his popular YouTube platform, “The Buckwild Show.” With “Buckwild Radio” Francis exemplifies his theme of “Buckwild” with uncensored hip hop music, live broadcast from strip clubs, and in-studio interviews with exotic dancers and Instagram models.
“The Buckwild Show,” on YouTube is an archive of exclusive behind-the-scene footage Francis has secured filming, interviewing and documenting the biggest names in hip hop over the past two decades, including Snoop Dogg, Run DMC, Black Eyed Peas, Pharrell, Bobby Brown, and Outkast. Francis’ channel also features classic episodes of “The Buckwild Show” which originally aired across Playboy TV as well as his new show, “In The Lab,” which goes behind the scenes of music productions, featuring footage of studio sessions with various top recording artists.
Considered an urban legend, Francis is a 20-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. With Dimepiece, Francis furnished countless models for the music videos of superstar artists like Jay Z, Usher, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Nelly, Missy Elliot and many others. It was the operation of Dimepiece USA which saw his eventual demise however when he was convicted for the agency’s involvement in an international drug smuggling ring. Francis maintains his innocence to this day. Released only two and a half years ago, Francis has made tremendous inroads toward rebuilding his Buckwild brand.
“Buckwild Entertainment dates all the way back to the 90’s when “Girls Gone Wild” was popular. We were the first to introduce women of color in a similar realm. ‘Strippers Have Talent’ actually echoes our original ‘Miss Buckwild’ competition back in 2005,” cites Francis. “We are excited to join forces with Blaqtacular Entertainment and X-Polesitions to provide a showcase of some of the industry’s best exotic dance and pole artists. This event will be one of many.”
“With my YouTube channel, new radio show and now this collaboration, I am proud to say, Buckwild Entertainment is officially back!” expresses Ken.
For ticket information, dancer entry and event sponsorship go to http://www.strippersgottalent.com/ . Contact Francis at (323) 487- 0738 or at email@example.com.
Check out the latest episode of the Buckwild Radio Show at https://www.spreaker.com/user/knashradio/accelerated-radio-network_6066
Check out “The Buckwild Show” at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_XgcVn4D1HMisRjXG9euug?spfreload=10.
Los Angeles – Christina Villegas and Jeff Mercer, the creative forces behind MercVille Productions, have announced the release of the second season of their popular web based docu-series, “The Pole Dancing Chronicles.” Sponsored and co-produced by Mighty Grip Inc., a leading worldwide sporting goods manufacturer, “The Pole Dancing Chronicles” showcases people and events from within the pole and aerial community. With the growing recognition of pole dance and aerial art as respected fitness regimens, “The Pole Dancing Chronicles,” provides an insider’s peek into the sport and the people behind it, highlighting, in particular, men and women who are defying societal expectations and are excelling within the field.
The second season launched with an episode on 56-year-old pole artist Makeda Smith. A grandmother and entertainment publicist, Smith has garnered international media attention for her poling acumen at her advanced age. The second episode of season two covers “Chronicles” producer Villegas and details her love for the art as well as her intention and motivation to create and produce “The Pole Dancing Chronicles” with her partner Mercer. Episode three, the most recent feature, highlights acclaimed multi-championship pole performance artist, Nadia Sharif, a former engineer turned dancer and instructor.
Former docu-reality producers for network television, Mercer and Villegas formed MercVille Productions in 2013 with a goal to create entertaining, inspiring, and informative stories about everyday people. A pole and burlesque instructor, Villegas also opened her dance studio, Flying Curves Dance Studio in 2013. After teaching pole dancing and empowerment through movement to women on and off for nine years while also working in reality TV, she decided to combine her love and passion for pole with her passion for video storytelling and production.
When Villegas began producing “Goddesses Empowered: The Show,” a live pole and burlesque show, she was inspired by the various tales, trials and tribulations of her students. She felt that the compelling stories of women who had evolved through pole dancing needed a global platform and the idea for “The Pole Dancing Chronicles” was born. Mighty Grip, a wholesale distributor and online sporting goods store, came on board in 2015 and in 2016 the season debuted with eight shows, which were released online monthly.
“We have met so many wonderful and talented people that have opened their arms and hearts to us,” expresses Villegas. “Pole and aerial is an emerging art and is often misunderstood,” adds Mercer. “Our series not only introduces a larger audience to the sport, dispelling myths and concerns, but also serves as a tool of empowerment and motivation within the pole and aerial community.”
Mighty Grip, Inc. is widely recognized for their popular grip aids for athletes. Stephanie Housel, President and COO of Mighty Grip, Inc., initiated launching the brand into the pole world, universalizing the use of the product among pole and aerial enthusiasts internationally. “We are honored to offer ‘The Pole Dancing Chronicles’ as an important vehicle for sharing personal stories about the world of pole and aerial dance,” cites Housel. “As one of the leading providers of grip aids, gloves, and protective gear for pole and aerial artists, ‘The Pole Dancing Chronicles’ allows us to stay in touch and in tune with our client base on a personal level. Our customers are real people with real stories, and we are excited to share them with the world.”
Season two of “The Pole Dancing Chronicles” consists of 10 episodes released monthly online through to 2018.
Catch episode two of “The Pole Dancing Chronicles” on Christina Villegas at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQIWoTDoA6s and watch the latest episode with Nadia Sharif at https://youtu.be/Pp5hmM-tRt8 .
Watch the entire series online at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNNOaW9ExN14GG4_gv9HWXQ.
Like “The Pole Dancing Chronicles” on Facebook and visit MercVille Productions and Mighty Grip there as well. Find them on Instagram at @mercvilleproductions and @mighty_grip. For more information about Mighty Grip Inc. go to http://mightygrip.com/ .
Atlanta – When Rayven Symone Ferrell was born, her mom had a strong vision for her. She knew her daughter was destined for great creativity and named her after Raven-Symoné, her favorite character on “The Cosby Show.” Twenty-one years later and mom’s intuition has proven true. The young aspiring actress has already landed a career defining role, playing Sekyiwa Shakur, the baby sister of rap icon Tupac Shakur, in the soon to be released blockbuster film, “All Eyez on Me.” Directed by Benny Boom, and starring another newcomer, Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur, the film is slated to hit theaters on June 16, the late rapper’s 46th birthday.
The role is the opportunity of a lifetime for the aspiring young actress who performed her first play in the sixth grade and booked her first on-camera gig at 17 years old. The film’s debut follows a string of successful appearances for the budding thespian, including the Oprah Winfrey executive produced series “Greenleaf” on OWN and working with Academy Award nominated director, Lee Daniels on the popular Fox series, “STAR,” starring Queen Latifah. To say that Rayven is on a roll is an understatement. Under the tutelage of Atlanta based talent agents, Christopher Young and Tay Smith at J Pervis Talent Agency, Rayven is quickly building up the kind of screen credits that actors dream of in Hollywood.
A Cincinnati, OH native, residing in Atlanta, Rayven is currently an undergraduate at Kennesaw State University majoring in Communications, Media Studies. She is humbled by her selection to play the famed actor’s sister. In fact, Rayven reveals that the role struck a special chord with her as she shared similar childhood experiences with her character.
“I have never connected to a character in an actual project as much as I connected with this one,” reveals Rayven. “Sekyiwa Shakur and I shared similarities in our childhood, so I found myself really relating to her. My mom was a single parent of six so we didn’t have much at all. Some days we would have to go without food, water, and electricity, so I understand that struggle and the pain she experienced in her early years.”
“Sekyiwa was the baby of the family so she depended on Tupac. As her big brother, he was the first man in her life and in a sense, the head of their family. They had a very close relationship early on. My mom had to work multiple jobs at times throughout our childhood so I know the importance of that sibling bond. It’s that feeling that your family is all you have so you must be there for each another. As Tupac’s baby sister, they shared a very distinct relationship and I am honored to bring that bond to life on the big screen.”
“All Eyez on Me” is one of the year’s most anticipated films, detailing the life, times and controversy of one of hip hop’s most prolific figures, Tupac Shakur. The movie is named after the artist’s last Death Row Records release.
With her appearance in the film, Rayven Ferrell is creating her own legend, just like her mother knew she would. Like her namesake, Raven-Symoné, she brings depth, authenticity and passion to her roles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @RayvenFerrell. Catch her in “All Eyez on Me” on June 16.
Long Island, NY – Author Mahogany Star brings the sizzle to summertime reading with a sexy sequence of new book releases. Star’s new titles, “Sex Degrees of Separation” and “Summer’s Heat” are sure fire temperature boosters for readers who aren’t afraid of the steam.
Fans of urban erotica are in for a delicious literary treat. Simmering with fervor, pulsing with passion and boiling over with drama, Star’s novels provide a double dose of sensual desire with their back to back releases. The works also serve to cement Star’s position in the urban literary realm with four solid contributions. “Where Secrets Lie, What You Do In the Dark…” and “Where Secrets Lie, Pt. 2, Saying I Do” marked the author’s introduction and captured reader’s imaginations with female characters that were sassy, street smart and ambitious. Her uncanny ability to intermingle lives, relationships and sexual menageries not only engaged readers but also garnered her recognition with an “Urban Book Source Top Ten” nod.
With her third book, “Sex Degrees of Separation,” Star lends a wicked twist to the commonality of ‘six degrees of separation.’ An erotic anthology, each short story unfolds one by one and climaxes in an epilogue with all the characters connected to each other via coincidence at a grand gala. Star’s exploration of sexual appetites and urges and the measures individuals take to experience pleasure, provokes not only amusing imaginings but also serious introspection.
The concept of ‘degrees of separation’ takes on added dimensions as Star delves deep not only into the bedroom, but the hearts and minds of her crew. Nina is the happily married mom whose husband has her on a strict and stingy schedule for intimate encounters. Mia’s marriage discontent finds her in heavy rapport with another married man. Sara’s husband derides her to lose weight, and she does, working off the pounds intimately with her personal trainer. Rob is coaxed by a buddy to step out on his wife and to discreetly pay for what he wants. When he does, he finds he wants to continue to add the extra pleasure billing to his monthly list of debts.
Summer in “Summer’s Heat” is one of the beautiful and lustful creatures from “Sex Degrees.” “Summer’s Heat” is her spellbinding journey from the streets of Brooklyn to the condos of Manhattan. Utilizing her supermodel looks, intelligence and street sophistication, Summer finds herself living her dream life while working as a madam and call girl. When true romance sidetracks her however, life forces her to choose between her love for her man and her love for her money.
Mahogany Star was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY. She grew up in the notorious Sumner Housing Project. Living in the projects during the crack era she spent most of her free time indoors writing short stories. After years of sharing her creativity with her friends, she decided to expand on one of her tales and a full-fledged novel was born. Though working in healthcare administration for more than a decade and moving up the corporate ladder, Star always knew that writing was her gift and she pursued self-publishing. She currently resides in Long Island, New York with her husband and two children.
“Sex Degrees of Separation” and “Summer’s Heat” add new meaning to hot fun in the summertime! They are available on Amazon at
https://www.amazon.com/Sex-Degrees-Separation-Erotic-Novella-ebook/dp/B06X3VTKF8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493228475&sr=8-1&keywords=mahogany+star and https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Heat-Mahogany-Star-ebook/dp/B06XTXTLBX/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1493228475&sr=8-3&keywords=mahogany+star and wherever books are sold.
Palm Desert, CA – Visual artist Bernard Hoyes has accomplished yet another career defining feat. The master craftsman was recently commissioned by a private collector to recreate the divinely celebrated winged stallion Pegasus, one of the best-known creatures in Greek mythology. The five-foot “Roots of Pegasus” bronze sculpture is currently on display until the end of June as part of the “Below Sea Level” exhibition at the prestigious Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery, located at 73040 El Paseo in Palm Desert, CA. At the close of the showing, Pegasus will ‘fly’ home to his owner, an accomplished equestrian whose family has raised horses for over three generations!
Hoyes is world renowned for his inventive creations. His rarified sculptures transcend the norm and defy comparison. For instance, in 2007, Hoyes journeyed to the Fuzhou City in the Fujian Province of China to craft a six foot three-ton granite rock sculpture of a blue fin tuna! His most recent “Roots of Pegasus” is an original in wood and plaster, cast in 100% bronze, with white patina and wood rendered on the plaster portion.
Hoyes utilized symbolism as a tool to express the mythological details of Pegasus’ legend. The branches used for the mane of the horse recall Pegasus’ origin, as he was birthed from the goddess Medusa, known for her hair of living venomous snakes. The roots represent his metamorphosis and the trials and exploits he traversed on earth before fulfilling his destiny, rising into heaven as a winged steed and immortalized as a star constellation. The entire work weighs in at 1176 pounds!
Hoyes is primarily recognized as a contemporary painter whose work evolves from a highly intuitive space. He is heralded for his ability to capture spiritual realms on canvas in radiant and brilliant essence. Born into a family rooted in Jamaica’s revivalist church, Hoyes’ memories of religion and rituals have influenced his artistic productivity throughout his life. His celebration of traditional African religion, spirituality and myths continues to find universal appeal, exciting audiences worldwide. Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Cole, Steve Harvey, Keenan Ivory Wayans and the National Urban League are among his collectors. Selections of Hoyes’ work have been featured in several television shows including the Showtime cult classic series, “Dexter.” President Barack Obama has even been photographed in front of his work.
Hoyes’ exhibition history spans over 50 years with over 100 exhibitions, 30 of them solo exhibitions, in various countries including his native Jamaica, USA, UK, The Netherlands, and Germany. Some of Hoyes’ past exhibitions include “Places and Validation, Art & Progression, The Getty Initiative Pacific Standard Time” in 2010; the “Art in LA 1945-1980” at CAAM in 2011; a feature in “L.A. Rising: SoCal Artists before 1980,” published by the Getty Foundation and “Se7en Paintings, a Multidisciplinary Performance” which brought Hoyes’ art to life on the Ford Stage in Los Angeles in 2012. Most recent exhibits include the “Evolving Abstraction, 3 Contemporary Artists of the African Diaspora” at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Feb. 2015 and “The Spirit of the Land,” at the Desert Art Collection in Palm Desert, CA in 2015.
The Museum of African American Art (MAAA) will present a thirty-year review of his stunning collection with the exhibit, “Evolving Art Practice, Rags to the Revival Series, which opens Sunday, July 2 and runs through Sunday, September 24. The presentation will juxtapose two of Hoyes’ defining methodologies. His “Rag Series” is a spontaneous technique, using a rag laden with ink, cast onto paper as a fisherman would cast his net in the sea. When lifted a print remains suggesting and delineating forms, mass and movement. Hoyes then adds details that further lift the imagery into compositions with vitality and power. In contrast, his popular “Revival Series” reflects the vibrancy of his Jamaica roots in living primary colors. ohH Hoyes conveys rhythmic movement, deliberate intensity and spiritual forwardness that splashes across the canvas. The Museum of African American Art is located on the third floor of Macy’s in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, at 4005 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA.
Whether sculpting mythological figures or evoking spirits with paints, Bernard Hoyes continues to present his art as a medium to inspire the viewer to transcend into new dimensions. View his work in person at the Melissa Morgan Art Gallery and the MAAA or visit his online gallery at www.BernardHoyes.com .
Columbus, OH – When performance artist Dr. E (née Elaine Richardson) released her debut album, “Elevated” in 2010 she had literally reached unimagined heights. The Ohio State University professor turned recording artist had risen far beyond the streets she once walked and worked as a teenaged victim of sex trafficking. Now with “Mutha Werk,” the new single from her upcoming autobiographical album, “Songs for the Struggle,” and a song on the soundtrack of Fox’s hottest new show, “STAR,” starring Queen Latifah, Dr. E continues to beat the odds. Like the aspiring young artists on “STAR,” music has underscored a life filled with drama while easing her pain. “Mutha Werk,” appropriately released during Women’s History Month, is Dr. E’s funk laden ode to the trials and tribulations of women everywhere.
An inspirational ‘soul queen,’ Dr. E’s mission is to uplift everyday women and acknowledge their unsung labor and daily trials. “Mutha Werk” is a soul steeped, groove infused track that resonates with the energy of the women it was written for. “Mutha Werk” joyously jump starts the buzz for her latest project “Songs for the Struggle.” Slated for a May 5th release, “Songs for the Struggle” bridges jazz, funk, and R&B with Dr. E’s bluesy drenched vocals as she takes the listener back along the tumultuous path of her life. Fiery determination and rockin’ rhythm lace each track with defiant feminine power.
Dr. E has intimate knowledge of struggle and how music can season and coax survival. Like the passion soaked track, “Boy, I’m Feelin’ You,” which she contributed to the Fox’s series, “STAR,” Dr. E has experienced the ins and outs of ‘crazy love.’ Singing since the age of five, Dr. E was competing and winning local talent shows with her group “The Shades of Love” by the time she was a teenager. However, a rape at the age of 13, sent her tumbling, and eventually led her into the world of sex trafficking. By the time Dr. E was in her mid-twenties, she was a serial victim of violence, sexual assault and drug abuse. By mid-20’s, spiraling out of control, she turned to Alcoholics Anonymous for counseling and help after her second child was born. It was a flier she came across for Project Second Chance, a Cleveland State University program for sexually-exploited women and girls, that eventually led her to college, a PH.D and her miraculous life transformation.
“Just like the young ladies on the show, “STAR,” as bad as things got, in my heart, I always knew I was supposed to keep singing,” recalls Dr. E. “When I started my recovery, I was desperate for inspiration. Performing—particularly the songs of iconic Black female artists—really filled that need.”
“My music is about me finally accepting who I am,” she adds, “and I want that message of accepting yourself to reach everyone—especially women who have been abused. No matter your struggles or what you’ve experienced, you are worth something. Only when you realize that, can you empower yourself and your community. ‘Mutha Werk’ acknowledges our worth. Our worth is supreme.”
Today, Dr. E is a professor of Literacy Studies, in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Cleveland State University, and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Dr. E taught for two years at the University of Minnesota, and for nine years at Penn State University. She has written or co-authored five academic books and detailed her life’s travails in her memoir, “PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My LiFe” on New City Community Press. She has also produced, performed and toured her one-woman play, which was adapted from her book by Dr. Mary Weems. Music and performance give Dr. E ultimate joy and it is through her music, that she is now hoping to reach women and girls who may feel hopeless like she once did. A “Mutha Werk” video is slated for release in the coming months.
Downloading “Mutha Werk” at https://inspirationalsoulqueen.bandcamp.com/track/mutha-werk will fuel her non-profit foundation, Education Foundation for Freedom to empower women and girls vulnerable to human trafficking.
Dr. E belongs to a network of Hip Hop educators and activists and is the founder of The Ohio State University’s Hiphop Literacies Conference, as well as founder of a gender-focused club for teenaged girls, focusing on literacy education, which she hopes to spread throughout Columbus, Ohio.
Her awards include the Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni Award for outstanding contributions to the profession, community and Cleveland State University, 2007; the Edward Fry Book Award from the National Reading Conference for African American Literacies in 2005; Fulbright Scholar Award Lecturing and Research, University of the West Indies, Mona, August-December, 2004; and Outstanding Book Award by National Communication Association for Understanding African American Rhetoric, co-editor with Dr. Ronald Jackson, 2004.
See her TedxOhioStateUniversity talk at http://phdtophd.com/phd-to-ph-d-tedxohiostateuniversity/ .
GospelChops Battles Drumstick Manufacturer Vic Firth Company in Landmark Trademark Infringement Case
Sacramento, CA – When internationally renowned drum video producer, Gerald Forrest introduced GospelChops to the music community back in 2004, it was an effort that was recognized as ground breaking. The web portal was a unique homage to the musical roots of the Black church as Forrest brought recognition to gospel musicians who were routinely overlooked by mainstream media outlets and music instrument manufacturers. A relentless visionary, Forrest expounded upon the concept over the years, expanding his brand with the performance/instruction “Sessionz” series, which included “Shed Sessionz” and “Bass Sessionz.” Forrest now finds himself in a David vs. Goliath type biblical battle as he fights to protect his brands and the integrity of his constituents. His lawyer, Cari A. Cohorn of Cohorn Law (www.cohornlaw.com) has filed a lawsuit on his behalf for willful trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, and unfair and deceptive trade practices against Vic Firth Company, an industry leader in the drumstick market, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (Case No 2:16−CV−02981−KJM−EFB). Forrest is seeking a jury trial, injunctive relief, treble damages and attorneys’ fees based on infringement of his federally registered Shed Sessionz, GospelChops, and GC GospelChops trademarks.
In the complaint, Forrest alleges that use of the title, “The Shed Sessions” by Vic Firth Company for its drum video advertisements, infringes the “Shed Sessionz” trademark, which Forrest has used exclusively in commerce as a source identifier for his drum video series since at least 2006. The complaint further alleges that Vic Firth Company is unjustly benefitting from the outstanding global reputation of Shed Sessionz and GC GospelChops as sources for drum videos and drumsticks, earned from more than a decade of sales of DVD’s and drumsticks prominently featuring the Shed Sessionz and GC GospelChops marks.
Forrest further alleges that Vic Firth Company uses his federally registered trademarks or confusingly similar marks as metatags on its web pages and videos hosted on the Vic Firth channel at YouTube.com to gain priority in search engine rankings and in violation of federal law.
The complaint cites a business relationship from 2008 to 2013 between Vic Firth Company and Forrest, in which Vic Firth manufactured drumsticks for Forrest printed with the GC GospelChops trademark accompanied by the ® symbol. Forrest cites this as evidence that Vic Firth Company’s acts were “knowing, willful, deliberate, in bad faith, and in utter disregard of Plaintiff’s rights.”
“The drumming industry has a long history of contempt and disrespect for Black, gospel drummers,” cites Forrest. “This was the original impetus behind GospelChops as I sought to create a vehicle for an untapped and under-appreciated market. It is impossible to understand the devastating impact of this infringement unless you acknowledge all the components. There are no Black-owned entities within this realm. It is clearly no accident that after I take the initiative to create a niche market for gospel musicians, my intellectual property is stolen by one of the largest companies in this industry. I am taking a stand for gospel musicians around the world. I may appear the underdog here, but history has shown that giants do not always prevail.”
“The allegations in this case paint a picture of ‘reverse confusion’ trademark infringement,” explains attorney Cari A. Cohorn. “This occurs when a large, well-established company infringes on a mark owned by a smaller company (typically a competitor). Instances of reverse confusion infringement can be devastating to the smaller company – and to competition itself – by creating improper obstacles to the smaller company’s growth. Among other things, because of the greater marketing reach of the larger company, the public is likely to assume that the smaller company is the one attempting to unfairly capitalize on the larger company’s goodwill and brand recognition.”
The Shed Sessionz video series is one of the most popular drumming ventures in history. The “Sessionz” series has featured performances by some of the industry’s most extraordinary players, including Tony Royster Jr., Thomas Pridgen, Ronald Bruner Jr., Matt Garstka, and Grammy Award-winning drummer Peter Erskine.
After years of community building efforts and charitable work, GospelChops received 501(c)3 status in 2010. Building on his legacy in the gospel music arena, Forrest released his first documentary project in 2014 entitled “Boswell & Figg,” which chronicles the church’s influence in the development of two phenomenal drummers.
Forrest boldly continues the GospelChops’ legacy with expansion into the music instrument market with the recent introduction of the 18-inch SHED Crash™ cymbal and the upcoming DVD, “Shed Sessionz VOL. 4,” slated for release later this year. The SHED cymbals have received global acclaim with international sales well above Forrest’s expectations. In addition, with “Shed Sessionz VOL. 4,” Forrest is promising to stretch the boundaries of his directorial creativity further than ever before.
Currently in his third year at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Forrest has concentrated his studies on intellectual property law, including copyrights, trademarks, and brand protection strategies and will graduate in 2017, earning a Juris Doctor degree.
For more information on GospelChops go to http://www.gospelchops.com/ . Review the full complaint at http://www.gospelchops.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/DE-1-Complaint.pdf .
Registered Nurse and Mom Debi Madaio Celebrates Women’s History Month with Planned Relaunch of New Jersey’s Popular Medical Marijuana Themed Eatery
Trenton, NJ – Debi Madaio never thought she would become a public advocate for medical marijuana. As the co-owner of NJWeedman’s Joint, a popular marijuana-themed eatery, located in Trenton, NJ, and the partner of Ed Forchion aka NJ Weedman, one of the cannabis industry’s most controversial figureheads, she has found herself pushed to the forefront of a movement where the voices of women are becoming increasingly vocal. A registered nurse, the mother of a special needs child, and a card carrying medical marijuana patient (even though she does not partake of the plant), Debi Madaio has come to terms with her position in the movement. In the midst of Women’s History Month, a time dedicated to women’s achievements, Madaio has announced her plans to reopen Trenton’s only cannabis-themed eatery under new management. NJWeedman’s Joint will reopen on April 20, “National Weed Day,” as Weedbukx, the Urban Chic Café.
While NJWeedman’s Joint was a local eatery, Madaio envisions Weedbukx as a more trendy, upscale location that will attract clientele from other neighborhoods and even tourists. The restaurant’s ambiance will mirror an actual medical marijuana grow room with curtains, table clothes and chairs designed and fashioned after marijuana leaves. The menu will feature weekly ‘weed’ specials alongside Chef John Upshaw’s prized weed-inspired dishes like “Snoop’s Dream,” a fish and grits dish; the “Pothead Sandwich,” fried fish with a shrimp crab relish and sriracha sauce; and the “East Coast Cannabis Coalition,” a turkey meatball dinner with marinara sauce and spaghetti. No cannabis is used in any of the entrees!
While marijuana continues to blossom as one the nation’s fastest growing industries, Madaio emerges as a compelling female force in the expanding battle to legalize it. As the woman behind NJWeedman, she has remained relatively quiet until now. Forchion has garnered international headlines for his aggressive activism in the fight for legalization. His legal battles have become legendary, and as the co-owner of NJWeedman’s Joint, the former restaurant attracted national notoriety as well as discord for its ‘green-themed’ entrees.
Madaio, on the other hand, is a mother who is more concerned about the well-being of her 11-year old special needs child, Aiden. Ms. Madaio has an undergraduate degree in criminal justice as well as in nursing, and is currently enrolled in a Family Nurse Practitioner program. While currently working long hours, she envisions the eatery as an outlet which will provide work and income closer to home and nearer her child.
As a medical professional and dedicated parent, Madaio has begun the lengthy process of enrolling her son so he can become a medical marijuana patient within the state of New Jersey. She believes that cannabis oil, a product obtained by separating the resins from the plant, is the best antidote for her son’s long list of debilitating conditions.
Madaio met Forchion several years ago at Trenton’s “First Annual Cannabis Conference.” Jennie Stormes, a medical marijuana mom advocate had invited her. It was Stormes who first educated Madaio about the benefits of cannabis oil for children suffering from seizures. Stormes had been at the forefront of efforts to expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program to minors before eventually leaving New Jersey for Colorado to secure better care for her severely epileptic son.
“I thought Stormes was crazy until I started doing the research about cannabis oil. She had tried everything on her son, and nothing proved beneficial like the oil. It gravely concerns me that my own son has been prescribed all kinds of pharmaceuticals considered legal even to the point of addiction, while the side effects are sometimes worse than the actual illness. Yet the doctors laugh at me when I suggest a plant that has been proven to work wonders,” cites Madaio.
Madaio and Forchion established a friendship after the conference and eventually became a couple. When Forchion later decided to open a business, Madaio, feeling more educated about cannabis from her association with Storme, partnered with him. “I wanted to keep Jennie’s dream alive and let Governor Christie know that New Jersians want legalization.”
“It’s easy to demonize adults in this war against marijuana. But there are so many ailing minors who can benefit from this plant,” expresses Madaio. “My ultimate dream is to provide for my son and to secure him the proper cannabis care that he needs. With Weedbukx Café, we are hoping to provide an upscale environment where people can celebrate the wonders of marijuana in a fun environment without partaking in the actual use of it. With card carrying medical marijuana patients, we follow NJ CUMMA guidelines. If we can educate more people via Weedbukx Café about our overall mission, then that is all the better.”
Weedbukx Café will open on 4/20 at 322 E. State St. in Trenton, NJ. Debi Madaio can be reached at Flamingo2b@Gmail.com, @flamingo2b on Instagram and on Facebook at “Nurses Who Have Disabled Children.”
Watch Debi Madaio at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdKwBD2BqxY .
Image for Debi Madaio: http://imageshack.com/a/img921/7213/Ijpmz7.jpg
Image for Debi Madaio and NJWeedman: http://imageshack.com/a/img922/752/pPSHJF.jpg
FlyingOver50 Brings Exotic Movement to Yoga in Quartz Hill With Special Valentine’s Day Dance Workshop
Quartz Hill -Yoga In Quartz Hill, a cozy and welcoming Yoga Studio and Wellness Center, located in the heart of Quartz Hill, will offer residents a unique Valentine’s Day dance workshop on Saturday, February 11 at 1:00 p.m. The wellness center will host “FlyingOver50 Dance Flow – Exotic Movement w/ Makeda” an enriching presentation of exotic movement and dance flow, particularly catering to women over 40 and 50 years of age.
Makeda Smith is a 56 year old grandmother, Palmdale resident and Hollywood publicist who has received national attention for her dancing acumen. She is bringing exotic movement classes to the Antelope Valley with the intention of offering older women an outlet for self-expression and self-love through movement which is specifically designed to tap into the feminine center. She describes the class as a dance movement session that will nurture womanly essence while conditioning the core and toning muscles. The Special V-Day Dance Flow Workshop, on Saturday, February 11, will launch a series of weekly classes to be every Saturday at the studio. Yoga In Quartz Hill is located at 42116 50th St W, Ste A, in Quartz Hill, CA ( about 45 minutes outside of the San Fernando Valley.)
Makeda is currently featured in the February print edition of Prevention Magazine, the world’s most established healthy lifestyle brand. In the Prevention “Personal Journey” feature, written by Kera Bolanik, the magazine explores how Makeda uses pole dancing, movement and aerial art as a health and wellness regimen, and reveals the life altering events that propelled her to the dance studio. Makeda credits dancing for instilling her with a renewed sense of self-empowerment during a tumultuous period in her life after the market crashed in 2008. A former resident of Quartz Hill, Smith lost her home and real estate investments and filed for bankruptcy.
“I’m ecstatic that Yoga in Quartz Hill studio owner, Violet Davis, shares my vision for empowering women, particularly older women. Exotic movement as an art form and exercise program has exploded in popularity over the last several years, but many women over 40, and especially over 50, don’t believe it is something we can do. I had no formal dance or gymnastic training when I started, but when you approach this art form at a beginner level, you gradually tone and build muscle. I am hoping women, young and old will come to check out not only my class but the studio’s full offering of classes as well.
For more information, go to http://www.yogainquartzhill.com/home.html for a full itinerary of classes or call (661) 339-0638. For additional details about Makeda and FlyingOver50, go to www.FlyingOver50.com or call or text 323-380-8819.
Intimacy Experts Jet Setting Jasmine and King Noire Offer Free “Fitness Meets Fetish” Valentine’s Day Video Gift At JetSettingJasmine.com
Palm Harbor, FL – Intimacy experts Jet Setting Jasmine and King Noire have been titillating their fan base with their special brand of ‘fitness and fetish’ since 2010. That’s when Jasmine initially launched Jet Setting Jasmine, LLC, a company that incorporates a uniquely sensual approach to “Sexual Wellness & Education” with the goal of offering women and couples a healthy yet sexually satisfying experience through exercise, imagery techniques and demonstrations. Upon meeting her mate, King Noire, shortly after, Jasmine expanded the agency’s concept and outreach and the two have emerged as one of the relationship industry’s hottest, cutting-edge sexpert couples. This Valentine’s Day, the dynamic sex duo showcase their special brand of “Fitness Meets Fetish” for full body wellbeing, with a free, calorie-scorching Valentine’s Day video gift at JetsettingJasmine.com. The passion-laced clip is from the couple’s award-winning film production, “Orally Yours,” which was voted “Best Fetish Feature Length Film of 2016” at The Fetish Con Awards.
Jet Setting Jasmine
“Valentine’s Day lends adults the perfect opportunity to reestablish intimacy and introduce new ways to unwind and unleash their sexiest inhibitions,” offers Jasmine. “What King and I present in our classes, workshops and presentations is no longer taboo, thanks to the popularity of recent films like ’50 Shades of Grey.’ It has always been my goal to offer couples, and particularly women, permission to relieve their ‘sex shame’, explore their fantasies, to watch and be instructed to embrace their kink.”
“With Valentine’s Day being all about love,” adds King, co-owner of Jet Setting Jasmine, LLC, “what better way to incite romance than with a free video snippet from one of our hottest productions. The art of sexual expression is experiencing a worldwide revolution. People are exploring more expanded realms to ignite their devotion. With our educational offerings and our varied product line, Jasmine and I have created several avenues for safe and sexy navigation.”
Wise beyond her thirty-something years, Jasmine has always felt that she was chafing against the societal norms and the structured definitions of a being a woman. Throughout the course of speaking with and counselling other women, she realized that she was not alone. As a Licensed Clinical Therapist with a Bachelors of Art in Sociology, Masters of Clinical Social Work and Masters in Gerontology, Jasmine has expertly honed her innate ability to support and enrich others.
King Noire, on the other hand, is reputed for his sense of delivering individualized relaxation to clients using his special brand of Erotic Touch massage. A veteran adult industry entertainer, he is skilled in fetish training, fantasy work and is a live show performer. King is also a certified sexpert, a blogger for California Exotics, an award-winning filmmaker and a hip hop artist. A social activist as well, he is using the proceeds from his album “Music Is My Weapon,” to help build a medical facility, fresh water well and school in Guinea Bissau, West Africa.
The couple travels the world hosting sex education and fetish workshops, highlighting the more erotic side of sensuality with their Fantasy Flight parties and products. As a team, they provide a candid perspective and approach for their clients while addressing intimate questions about sexual fears, fetishes and fantasies.
In addition to teaching sex techniques, the couple has successfully merged their appreciation for fitness with their passion for fetish. They own and operate Body Altitudes Health & Fitness Studio in Palm Harbor, Florida where they offer not only personal training but also their signature Steel and Stilettos Fitness™ classes. Their production company, Royal Fetish Films, finds them producing, directing and acting in erotic film scenes. Giving back is very important to Jet Setting Jasmine, LLC, and Jasmine and King also host workshops and fundraisers for helping organizations such as domestic violence shelters.
2017 finds the team traveling to London for Eroticon (http://eroticon.co/2016/07/22/tickets/) in Camden Town on March 4 and 5 where they will present on the topic “The Adult Industry for People of Color”. While in London, the duo will host an “Art of Seduction” workshop on March 11 at the Academy Mew and a Steel and Stilettos Fitness™ class on the same date. Jet Setting Jasmine LLC does Jamaica, September 30 through October 5, as a Host Couple at the famed Hedonism II Resort, serving up Steel and Stilettos Fitness™ classes, live fetish demonstrations and coaching (http://www.organicloven.com/#_l_33 ).
Jasmine and King are committed advocates for equal practices and pay in the Adult Industry and lecture per the involvement and inclusion of people of color in the field. They presented at the Woodhull Foundation Annual Conference and the Sex Down South Conference last year and will also speak at this year’s EcoSexuality Conference at the University of Puerto Rico.
Infuse Valentine’s Day with pleasure and feed your fetishes at https://jetsettingjasmine.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/jsjgift . A free video gift awaits you !