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MISSION The word ‘producer’ conjures up images of movers and shakers, visionaries and forward-thinkers working to make things happen and essentially keep the world turning on it’s axis. From awe-inspriing artists and authors to sensational singers and songwriters, the men on the following pages are the luminaries of our time. These are the men of our time

The designer of the Ford Taurus, also

who visualize the possibilities and seize

an African American man, is similarly

the opportunities to direct the course

endowed with the attributes prescribed to the

to quality living. They are the stars and

producers listed on these pages. His vision

the star makers, the forward thinkers

and capacity for identifying the attributes

who realize they are the masters of

of a quality vehicle and assembling the

their destinies. Athletes and artists,

components for a quality driving experience

businessmen and doctors, producers and

are indicative of the caliber of the company

songwriters, all share a common thread

he represents.

— they aspire. Here are the stories of

These producers of art, film, literature,

men who throughout the course of their

music, medical advancements and

careers, embrace challenge and overcome

technology share the attributes that lead

obstacles. They are the optimists and the

men to become champions and leaders in

pragmatists who recognize that what they

their communities and mark a blueprint

dream they can achieve.

for cultural progress.

Here we chronicle the

From captains of industry to

accomplishments of African American

community volunteers, the men of

men who without fail continue to pursue

color represented here are to be heralded

excellence across a spectrum of artistic

and emulated, at every turn, for their

endeavors and vocations. We applaud

dedication to raising standards, both

their talents and their relentless drive to

socially and professionally. They are as

remove barriers and claim their respective

reliable as the vehicles featured and are

prizes. The greatness that is housed in

sure to continue performing at pace that

the character of these men of stature

makes them worthy of individual and

is indicative in their can-do spirit and

collective accolades.

innate sense of value in achieving.


{No. 4}



Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.


Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.


Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.

TRANSFORMATION 50 Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.



Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.



{No. 6}





22 22


22 {No. 7} P R O D U C E R


Appeal 70 Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.

Blueprint 80 Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.

Tenacity 90 Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.

Vigor 100 Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init, con henim velisi.

{No. 8}

Adulation 120 Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat


Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis


Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis


Doluptatio odion ea conulput wis dui ea feugue molorerat wiscipi smodolore cortis

wiscipi smodolore cortis dignit augait vel eum veliquat, quat lore do con ulputpat, quisi. Unt init,



Musicians are often inclined to wander from cut to cut in an effort to progress from basic to complex melodies during production. Some of the more introspective ones make periodic retreats back to their musical roots -- sometimes for renewed inspiration, but oftentimes for a much needed reprieve. Conversely, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Raphael Saadiq clearly understood that his musical footprint was firmly embedded in the cement of the R&B tradition and he constructed his musical legacy on that foundation. “It all started with the music my parents listened to. By the

the next paragraph all I heard was music.

time I was in the third grade, I was all

Without knowing it, I’d be tapping my

into popular — but good — music no

leg to the beat. I even got suspended for

matter what the genre, like Sam Cooke,

it. I couldn’t stop hearing it and tapping,

Led Zeppelin, The Mamas & The Papas,

but I did learn to harness it some,” he

The Carpenters and Earth, Wind and

recalls laughingly.

Fire. I have to pay homage through my

Saadiq purchased his first bass guitar

music to the artists I listened to as a kid,”

from a local pawn shop and over a

explains the soulful singer and songwriter.

remarkably short span of time in the life

While still in high school and prior to

of an artist, his amateur talent show wins

his days with the new-jack-swing group

evolved into professional engagements

Tony! Toni! Toné!, Saadiq had already

and eventually more prominent

established an enormous following in

performances. “Grabbing bands and

around the Oakland, Calif., community

competing in a way that we could all have

where he grew up. By the time he was

fun while we played is what we did,” he

19, he was a certifiable tour de force and


widely recognized as a mounting talent in

His real life connection to music is

the music industry. “The thing that kept

inextricably tied to the R&B greats who

me lit up was music. It was the thing that

influenced him in his formative years.

I had. When I was in school, I would

The new-old-school master credits his

read a paragraph and by the time I got to

spiritual upbringing for producing his

{No. 10}

toe-tapping throwback sound that keeps generations on the hunt for anything Saadiq. “My family is from the south; we’re from Louisiana. I’m the only one that was born in the city and I saw a lot growing up in that environment. I grew up in the Baptist church, but up the street was a Catholic church that would let us practice and rehearse there when other churches wouldn’t. I was always surrounded by spirituality and my sound is steeped in it,” he explains unapologetically. “There is a lot of love in my heart and in my home. I spend a lot of time with my mother and a lot of time with my father. I am surrounded by love and loving people. There was an era when hiphop wasn’t talking about love. I’m a hip-hop junkie, but the songs that Smokey [Robinson] and Marvin [Gaye] did are stains in my brain and that’s what stuck with me. I can do that kind of music and make it so it’s not like a cookie cutter or a cliché love song.” While his peers were getting on the popular music gravy train, Saadiq, who reserves

judgement for his more commercial peers, successfully carved out a piece of the recording industry pie without compromising his musical and personal integrity. “I push the envelope in music because there is so much that I’ve heard that I want to do. I turn on satellite radio and a lot of what I hear I want to do. There is so much I want to explore. It’s really my time and rather than have to think about exactly where I am or where I should be, I can say ‘I’m already here.’... I’d rather spend my time thinking about Sam Cooke than politics,” he adds. On his highly acclaimed album, The Way I See It, he included the song “Big Easy,” referencing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and to emphasize social travesties. Around the time Saadiq began receiving

“I guess I’ve had the cream and [experienced] the adulation before I got in the recording industry. I’ve also been in the

rave notices for his nostalgic sound

situation when it’s just me out there and

rooted in the African American heritage,

nobody applauds until they see you step

he was also getting nods for his fashion

in the water and find out that the water

sense, which is uniquely suited to his

is warm. Then they want to run into the

distinguished style of music. “The way I

ocean with you,” he adds reflectively.

put it all together is to start with the music

Saadiq’s music is his calling and he

first, and my style came with the music.

in turn implores us to examine our rich

I found the connection between fashion

musical heritage and listen — really listen

and music by watching the people I liked

to blues, jazz and R&B. They are after all

and appreciated. They were men in suits,

his legacy and inherently a part of who he

like Chuck Berry and B.B. King, playing

is. “When I look back at those men who

guitars. I knew what the song should

traveled on the back roads in the south to

sound like and what it should look like,” he

play on that circuit, I have no choice but

explains, with his signature bowtie perfectly

to respect and honor them with the music

tied at his neck.

I play.”

{No. 13} P R O D U C E R




Take one look at Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Smokie Norful, and you quickly understand that he works for a higher authority. While some get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry—which is understandable considering the way musicians are celebrated—Norful keeps his heart pure and his eyes focused on serving the God the best way that he knows how

seems to reach the heart of people. Music

… through song.

is the calling card that opens the door,”

“Music is a power … it’s a force,” he

he adds, “and then once you have people’s

says. “The Lord is the ultimate source of

attention you can impact them with what

that power and He has no limitations or

you have to say.”

boundaries. If you tap into that source,

What he says and what he sings are

people can’t help but take notice, whether

typically complementary...thanks to his

they realize it or not. I try to write and

equally impressive gift as a songwriter.

perform songs that come out of my

The combination of those gifts has caused

personal experiences, when I do that it

his ministry to blossom—a blessing

{No. 15}

that Norful is extremely appreciative of.

to the masses is indeed great, Norful has

“I’m truly grateful to have my ministry

remained steadfast in his commitment to

acknowledged in such an enormous way

keep his family first. In his mind, there’s

and to be honored with the opportunities

no other way. “I really try to be inclusive

I’ve experienced,” he humbly shares. “I

of my whole family in everything that

recognize that it’s only God’s favor that

I do,” he explains. “My whole family

has placed me here. The biggest benefit is

travels with me a lot, and that really helps

just having the opportunity to minister.

me to stay grounded. I may be Smokie

There are a lot of people who aspire for this

Norful, the recording artist, according

role, who have the gift and a greater gift

to the industry and among fans, but at

than mine, but God, for some reason, has

home, I’m ‘honey’ and I’m ‘daddy’ …

favored me and blessed me with the ability

that’s the bottom line. So, what keeps me

and trust for this platform to spread the

grounded is taking out the trash, doing

Gospel. The fact that God would trust me

stuff in the yard, doing laundry, and

with this platform is overwhelming, to say

folding clothes … those are the kinds of

the least.”

things that keep me grounded and keep

While the responsibility is to minister P R O D U C E R


{No. 16}

reality close.”




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It was ironic that Melvin Van Peebles’ most famous filmmaking production was 1971’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Van Peebles, 78, directed, scripted and edited the film as well as wrote the score and directed the marketing campaign. The movie struck a chord in black

history but our story. And that is really

America, grossed over $10 million and

cool. I was just happy to have an excuse

received acclamation from the Black

to sit with these brothers and hear the

Panther Party. A quarter century later,

truth. And as you can see in there, no one

his son, Mario Van Peebles, 53, would

is mincing any words. We’re pretty much

direct and co-write the movie Panther,

saying what we feel.”

a film about the meteoric rise and

And they feel, as Melvin Van Peebles,

spectacular fall of this revolutionary black

that the tide has not changed much


-- even the irritating act of denying any

We caught up with the black

vestige or pride by always killing off

filmmaking dynasty, who were in between

black co-stars in films. “Unless you did

a panel discussion paying homage to

something nice in the film,“ Melvin

black filmmakers. “I thought it was cool.

barked, “Unless someone picked you up,

I thought that the more things change

you died before the ending. In all of the

the more things stay the same,” said son

movies, you ended up dying.”

Mario Van Peebles. “It’s always interesting

But Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

to get a perspective on history because a

-- a story of artistic rebellion cloaked

lot of times it’s history and not our story

in the era’s call for Black Power -- not

and dealing with giants like Melvin Van

only continues to live in the hearts of

Peebles, Fred Williamson and Roger E.

those who saw it, but also from his son.

Mosley who were there and it was not just

In 2004, Mario Van Peebles paid the

{No. 19}

ultimate tribute to his father by making BAADASSSSS!, which told the story behind the making of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song. Father Melvin doesn’t suffer fools lightly and he practically chewed out a questioner like one of his famous stogies when she asked why the black media coined the now infamous term “Blaxploitation.” Why did black media call it “Blaxploitation” films? Here’s my thing. One fool can throw a rock in the water that 12 wise men can’t fish out. I don’t waste my time on stupidity. Not your question, but the person who

land. Inquiring minds want to know when

spent the time doing that. It was an error

Mario will return to the directing limelight

and I think the error was leaped upon.”

he experienced when he directed/acted

Mario quickly diffused the situation:

and/or wrote classics New Jack City, Posse

“I think that my dad is saying in essence

and Panther in a five-year period between

is that he’s efficient with his energy. He

1991-95. “Actually, we have something out

doesn’t sweat what he ain’t doing. He ain’t

on TV One called “Mario’s Green House,“

in marketing, so he gets out there and does

where our family is building an ecologically

the best that he can. That’s where it ends

sustainable house in Baldwin Hills. [It’s]

for us. You always hope that it lands and

me, pop and my kids; it’s good to get into

gets resonance with people and finds an

Mother Nature,” says Mario. “Because often

audience. But that’s not that it’s all about.

you think that’s something for someone

You got to put the work out there, do good

else to worry about. Not so; look at the 9th

work. You think that if you give a thirsty

Ward. When climate change hits, people of

person dirty water, he will drink it. But if

color often get hit first and worst. We have

you give him clean water, he’ll know the

to be aware of what’s happening around

difference. That’s a good thing to think.”

us. And even in our own neighborhoods,

The father and son still work on projects

you see food Apartheid. You have the fried

together, but not with the frequency of the

foods, we talked about that, the Popeye’s

days of Posse, the story of black western

and French fries in our neighborhoods. So

cowboys who fought the oppressive

on our show, we go into how we live and

government and outlaws to keep their

how we eat.”

{No. 20} P R O D U C E R



Earl Lucas, Magic Johnson, winner Johnny Deas, Alonzo Mourning, (PLEASE IDENTIFY), Tom Joyner

The nation’s top community influencers in the fields of philanthropy, business, entertainment and sports were invited to enter for the chance to be named Ford’s 2010 Top Performer in America. The field of candidates was narrowed down to the top ten community leaders who were recognized in Dallas, Tex. during NBA All-Star weekend at Zo and Magic’s Celebrity 8 Ball Tournament. Johnny Deas, the Grand Prize winner of the Taurus Top Ten contest was overjoyed when the announcement was made: “To the people at Ford, I can’t thank you enough for recognizing the importance of financial literacy in the urban community and beyond. Your support helps us to continue to achieve our goal of empowering adults and young adults through education and entertainment.” Deas won a brand new 2010 Ford Taurus and $10,000 was donated to his organization, Great Ideas Edutainment, a financial literacy program that provides unbiased information and life skills training to people in underserved communities and to low-income people of faith. He continues, “Until this experience, I never knew that Ford was so active in the urban community. I have already begun to spread the word throughout my network. I appreciate Ford a great deal.” Ford also awarded the other nine finalists by donating $2,500 to their specific organizations.

Earl Lucas (TITLE)

Alonzo Mourning

Tom Joyner

Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning

Grand prize winner Johnny Deas shares a few words




{No. 24}

Steve Ewing has been kicking tires and getting customers approved for car loans for more than two decades now. As president and CEO of Atlanta-based car giant Wade Ford, the Montclair, N.J., native climbed the ladder of success with catlike dexterity

to take some business courses. I needed to

and remained relentless in his drive to

understand the numbers, and what debits

achieve his objectives. “The desire to

and credits meant versus who Shakespeare

achieve is something you can be taught,

and Chaucer were,” he explains matter-of-

or you can inherit a solid work ethic


from your parents ... I have always been

Five Ford franchises later, it’s more than

someone who was reaching and thought

evident that he made the right choice.

to do the best that I could. I wanted my

Ewing admits there were some obstacles,

things to be the best I could make them.

which might have been daunting for a

As I was coming along, I knew there was a

lesser man or presented an opportunity to

lifestyle that I wanted to have.”

exploit a situation and use it as a rationale

Although the ultra successful auto

to bail. “I don’t look for excuses. The

dealer earned a degree in journalism and

biggest obstacle is getting our people to

initially planned to cultivate a career in the

come and support our businesses. And

media, the enterprising Ewing made an

that’s something that happens across the

abrupt and possibly risky career decision

board. At the end of the day, I want to sell

and changed gears altogether.

cars to all people,” he says in the composed

“I was impatient. I had the confidence to know that whatever business got into I

and confident manner he’s best known for. Ewing’s mantra is a simple one: “The

was going to make it successful. I had been

proof of one’s ability is measured by

working in the car business and went from

results. When you have a job to do,

salesman to sales manager to general sales

do your job. and when you have an

manager. Ford had education courses that

opportunity do it to the best of your

you could take at the time to get you up

ability ... somebody will notice your

to speed on accounting, so I decided then

dedication,” he concludes.

{No. 26} P R O D U C E R



F O R D TAU RU S 2 0 1 0 , W H E R E T H E FA M I LY S E D A N MEETS LUXURY When you check out the newly designed Ford Taurus, the first thing that catches your eye is the makeover. As you make your way around the vehicle, more impressive features are revealed—like its athletic shape, the Taurus’ sharp new profile and its striking definition. To add to that, the powerdome hood, bold new projector beam halogen headlamps, recessed parking lamps and a sleeker three-bar grille, all mark significant improvements. Take a look inside, and you’ll notice that the roof is lower … to preserve headroom, the seats are lowered too. On the dash, the instrument panel showcases a plethora of blue lit gauges and small black buttons, all cleverly placed to display the seamless, classy design and the engineers’ craftsmanship. An impressive set of cutting-edge features come standard on the 2010 Taurus offering both convenience and safety. There’s the Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning, Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic

{No. 28}

Alert and Ford SYNC with voiceactivated navigation to control your cell phone or iPod. Once the feast of mechanical changes is digested, make room for dessert. New features for 2010 are the Easy Fuel capless refueling, the SecuriCode keypad for keyless entry (SEL, Limited and SHO trims), headlamps with autolamps, the MyKey parental

Front-wheel drive is available on the SE,

control program to restrict the car’s speed

SEL and Limited Edition trim levels, and

to 80 mph for the inexperienced driver, a

all-wheel drive (AWD) is offered on the latter

manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel; and

two. All of the models come equipped with

available add-ons include high intensity,

the Duratec 263-hp 3.5 liter V6 engine and

ambient lighting for dark roads, a 10-speaker

a 6-speed automatic transmission. With

premium audio sound system, heated/

the exception of the SE, all trim levels offer

cooled front seats, second row heated seats,

the sportier driving options, the SelectShift

and multi-contour seats (for both driver and

transmission offers manual shift control

passenger to reduce fatigue, while integrating

and downshifting rev-matching capability.

a six-way lumbar support and a rolling

The high-performance SHO (Super High

pattern massage).

Output) has the brand’s signature Eco-Boost

turbocharged 365-hp 3.5 liter engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission and AWD, which smoothly jolts like a dose of caffeine for the unsuspecting driver. Standard equipment, not mentioned previously, on the SE includes 17” alloy wheels, automatic headlights, all power accessories, a 60/40 split folding rear set, steering wheel audio controls and a six speaker stereo system and CD/MP3 player. The SEL adds 18” wheels, heated side mirrors, automatic climate control, satellite radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Other upgrades available on specific trim levels include 19” alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, a 12-speaker Sony branded premium audio system and Sirius Travel Link. The sporty SHO adds a glossy black dash trim, xenon headlamps, upgraded leather trim, a rear spoiler and dual chrome exhausts tips. An added bonus, the SHO can be equipped with 20” summer tires and a rearview camera. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2010 Taurus its highest accolade, a Top Safety Pick rating, based on results of front-, side- and rear-impact crash tests.

{No. 30}

{ Tenacity }

Men Among Us There are exceptional men among us. These men took their young years, most against great odds, to prepare themselves to be the best in their chosen fields. Most of these men understood early how racism, white supremacy, worked and therefore resisted its traps and temptations and fortified their bodies, minds and spirits to rise against its evils. These men are in the tradition of Martin Delaney, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, John Coltrane, Arthur Ashe, Romare Bearden, Thurgood Marshall, A.G. Gaston, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr. and others. Exceptional men known and unknown are many among us. Some of them are your fathers, grandfathers, uncles, teachers, ministers, coaches, friends and mentors.         Being a man of African ancestry, a Black man in America, for most of us has been like pushing a plow in a dry field without a horse or mule. Most often, we have had to navigate life through the worldview, ideas, culture, systems and prejudices of others that have forced many of us into mediocrity, a blinding hopelessness and destroyed a good percentage of us. Being born Black and male, one’s development into Black manhood is often, in America, a dangerously paralyzing journey. Because of the dangers and the many traps set to steer Black boys away from being responsible men, it is critical that we understand that being a man is not just a function of biology. Just as important are culture, community values, current knowledge base, spiritual connectedness, positive self-concept, familial relationships, friendships, brotherhood, work and a work ethic, health, loveships, a winning and creative attitude toward life, intelligence and a willingness to learn, grow and change when necessary.         Many Black men have missing moments in their lives and therefore must make a serious commitment to internal reflection and change. To that end, I suggest the following:   1.    Have regular conversations with someone you trust, preferably an older man—father, grandfather, uncle or close male friend.

2.    Participate in activities that build self-esteem, such as improving upon your education, part-time school in the evenings or on weekends, or a combination of both. If you have a high school education, consider community college; it’s probably the most democratic institution of higher education. 3.    Work in an area that gives you satisfaction and joy, bringing out the best in you. 4.    Nurture relationships that are understanding, living and special. 5.    Find a new environment—a new community that can aid and stimulate the growth potential in you. 6.    Maintain a frame of mind that insists that you are not a victim but an adult who is experiencing temporary problems that you can fix. 7.    Listen to your own life-affirming spirit and locate a spiritual and faith community that complements your needs. 8.    Exercise and eat properly. Keep your weight down and stay in shape. If you look good and feel good about yourself, you will radiate a positive aura. 9.     Study, study, study. The more you understand the intricacies of life—personal and public—the better you will be able to handle most things that come before you.  10.   Consider making the public library a regular stop during your week. An active library card is a must for people seeking to build their minds with current and up to date information and knowledge.         Most exceptional men understand and incorporate the lessons of history in their lives. We are here because strong men and women preceded us and created the paths we now tread upon. We are not without examples, contemporary and historical, that offer bright directions. Look closely at your immediate community. Don’t forget your own family. There are thousands of men who are all around us, waiting to be asked for help.      Haki R. Madhubuti, Ph.D. Poet, Founder and Publisher of Third World Press University Distinguished Professor, Professor of English, Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Chicago State


How Intelligence Can Change Lives In spring 2009, nearly a year before I departed ESPN as its premier NBA analyst – the greatest job I ever had -- I was watching television with my parents and two of my four sisters. We watched then-Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham-Clinton, Joe Biden and others during a presidential debate. I watched my family as they nodded their heads in agreement, mimicking informed citizens knowledgeable of the issues at hand, knowing full well that no one was remotely aware of how significantly politics affected our daily lives. Sadly, that included me as well. One can only wonder what that says about most of us living in today’s society. It was on that day I experienced a transformation. I made a personal and private pledge that ignorance was no longer an option and its eradication would take effect immediately in my life. For those who would have this to say, “Way to go, Stephen A.! That’s the way to handle your business,” I’d ask them to pause for a moment and refrain from giving credit. Their praise implies that I had a choice. To me, none existed. It was a necessity back then. It still is now. Ignorance is not bliss, after all. Not now. Too much damage has been done. There’s a reason Negro slaves literally sacrificed their lives for our right to learn to read and write. They knew intelligence could not only change lives, it could change a culture and a generation. To be real and honest, the mission of change

isn’t complete yet. In fact, especially because we’re now a nation with a Black president, one could argue that we’ve actually taken a step backward, not forward. Few of us could have anticipated the backlash of an Obama presidency and whether White America would say one of two things: “A Black man has been voted into office as the leader of the free world, so don’t come to us about racism anymore;” or “If young Black males could just be like Obama, carry themselves like Obama, educate themselves like Obama, they wouldn’t have to worry about racism at all.” Sure, it’s sad there are some people who feel that way. But its worse that Black America never saw the shift to racial absolution coming. Are the lives of Black Americans better today? Take into consideration statistics from October 2009 when unemployment was at 10.2% nationwide, 15.6% in the Black community and nearly 30% among young Black males. Now ask that question again. Perhaps, even better, it’s time for Black America to ask what role we’ve played in our own state of ignorance. There are libraries and bookstores everywhere. How many of us visit them? How many of us take the time to read? We’ve got a two-party political system where politicians who are filled with strife spew rhetoric from both sides of the aisle, yet stand in unison when it comes to chasing the almighty dollar. Somehow one party has gotten away with ostracizing the other from the Black community – while Blacks are oblivious to the

{No. 3232 } No.

detriment to our own community. This is not a call, by any stretch, to encourage anybody to abandon one party for another. Moreover, it’s a call for Black America to educate itself; to wake up and recognize that by being transparent in our support for one party and our disdain for another, we ultimately disenfranchise ourselves. After all, if one party has our vote in the bag while the other simply ignores us because they know we’re not going to vote for them anyway, who’s really out there working on behalf of a community that’s one-sided? Who’s really representing us when it comes to job creation? Healthcare? Education? Who’s genuinely fearful of the issues that arise when the needs of the Black community aren’t serviced? This is our opportunity to allow our pursuit of real education to begin. We must recognize that the people who are allowed to enact legislation should be forced to actually work for our vote. This will provide accountability to a community largely manipulated and ignored since the civil rights movement. Only then will real education begin. Suddenly, instead of scoffing at fiscally conservative Republicans who we’ve been led to believe are against us, we’ll aim our ire at moderate Democrats holding the nation’s healthcare bill hostage so they can procure funding for their individual states in pursuit of re-election. Instead of looking through rose-colored glasses at everything our Black president does, we’ll actually address real issues and disagree without being disagreeable. Maybe, just maybe, instead of picking up either Newsweek, Time magazine, The

Wall Street Journal, The New York Times or The Washington Post, we’ll read all of them. We’ll compare and dissect news and opinions to grasp some semblance of the truth. Any educated person knows that approach is better than depending on so-called leaders to do it for us. Particularly the ones already bought and paid for. From FDR to JFK, LBJ to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and beyond, it’s cool to recognize the games being played on Capitol Hill. That is, right up until the moment we realize all of the jokes are on us. Then the fun is over. Merely talking about basketball and other sports doesn’t scratch the itch. When all is said and done -- whether working part-time or full-time, renting or owning a home – no one is spared. We all pay taxes. We all answer to the overseer of the system we live in. We’re accountable to unknown authorities and schemes. Doubt it? Then you haven’t asked yourself how a bunch of folks on Wall Street cost you your job or why they’ll end up costing you more money when a tax increase comes down the pipe. Maybe most folks are happy not asking those questions. Ignorance does have its moments of bliss. But when has ignorance ever had its benefits? How much has it cost our community? If you haven’t asked yourself that question before, maybe it’s time you do. It’s never too late to get educated, unless you feel you already are. Then you’re a lost cause anyway. By Stephen A. Smith

No. 33


Fonzworth Bentley Participant 10 Essentials of a Man’s Wardrobe

{No. 34}

One basic rule to remember is never confuse fashion with style. Fashion reflects the clothes of a particular period of time, while style is a specific way we put clothes together to complement our personality. It’s better to have a few timeless pieces than a collection of trendy garments that will go out of style before the season ends. Clothes are an investment. Buying expensive clothes is not necessary to achieve the right look. A basic suit that is tailored to your size will look better than one worn straight off the rack. Take the time to get your suit measurements and buy your clothes accordingly. This will ensure your clothing fits properly. Your ultimate goal is to always be dressed appropriately for the occasion. With that being said, here are some ways to be on top of your game when you walk out the door.

MAN ABOUT TOWN Navy Blue Blazer: This is a classic look that works well with jeans. It looks great with gray, cream, white or just about any color pants. You can dress it up or down. Cordouroy Jacket: This timeless jacket works with most pants. It’s different, yet it’s been around forever and it makes you look fashionable. Just make sure it’s the proper season.

{No. 37} P R O D U C E R


Cargo Pants: These are timeless, dressed up or down, and they look great. Many well known designers have several designs and styles to choose from. Jeans: Everyone has their favorite pair. They complement the Navy blue blazer. It can and should be one of your most comfortable pieces. Darker denim has more versatility and matches most pieces of clothing. Sweaters: A black or navy blue turtleneck works in casual, business and formal occasions. For the spring/summer season, a lightweight v-neck is always a great addition to your wardrobe. Cardigans are versatile and give you a polished, casual look. Hats: I think men in America stopped wearing hats when John F. Kennedy Jr. became the first President of the United States who didn’t wear one to his inauguration. Here is a simple rule of thumb for wearing a hat. Take it off when you are indoors or during the National Anthem.

pants should slant toward the heel. When you walk, your socks should not be seen. Shirts: White and blue dress shirts are a must. You should also have a checkered, striped and a colored shirt, in lavender or pink. A formal white shirt is worth the additional investment. Every man, no matter how young or old, should conceal his socks. I prefer over-the-calf socks to make sure you aren’t showing your ankles or legs when you sit. Ties: Seven-folds are the best. (Made from the square yard of silk with two or more pieces sewn together, i.e., seven sections of silk). It’s a good idea to get to know the salesman in a boutique or department store and tell them to contact you when the new shipment comes in, or when certain styles go on sale. It’s a win, win. You get deals on the latest styles and he gets the commission.

Business Dress and Suits: A suit is the international uniform for business. The Navy blue suit and gray suit are staples. A suit should be worn to job interviews, church, weddings, and just about anywhere you choose. If you see a threepiece suit, buy it, because each piece can be worn separately to accent other pieces.

Belts/Suspenders/Braces: Belts can be expensive, but price does not equal quality. Invest in ones that are the proper width with decent quality leather or ‘skin’. The brass buckle should be constructed of durable metal and there should be strong stitching on the leather. Remember, suspenders clamp onto your trousers and braces button into your trousers. DO NOT wear a belt and suspenders at the same time. You are not Super Mario.

Pants: Cream gabardine and grey flannel are the way to go. Invest in these two pairs of pants, and they will go with you anywhere for many years to come, or until you need to get back in the gym. FYI: The cuff of your pants should fall at the top of your shoe and the back of your

Pockets Squares: If you wear a suit or jacket with a front pocket, you are not completely dressed unless you’re wearing a pocket square. You can never have enough pocket squares. They usually come in cotton or silk, but if you spot a nice cashmere one, go for it.

{No. 38} P R O D U C E R




Ford Motor Company has placed one of the most important considerations of its business into the hands of Frederiek Toney. And if exuberance is an indicator of capability, they’ve absolutely made the right decision. As the corporate officer of Ford Motor Company and vice president of the Ford Customer Service Division, Toney spoke of his purview within Ford as if he were introducing his family: “We are responsible for customer service-- meaning that we interface with all of our customers, including dealer and consumer, so whenever there are issues that need to be resolved, it comes to this department’s attention.” He continued proudly, “We also are responsible for delivering parts to dealers all over the United States and making sure the dealers have what they need on the shelf to take care of their customers. “In addition to that, we have the service technicians through our service engineering organization, where we create the technical training materials as well as work with our product development community to ensure that we have easy maintenance and quick fix processes for any engines or new products that we put into the field. We also have a responsibility for our extended service business, and our field sales and service organization, who call on our dealers and take care of them.” It’s no doubt that Toney’s sincere commitment to the end customer–internal and external--along with his team’s, has positively influenced the company’s bottom line. In the midst of a recession, Ford finds itself on “the upswing.” “We are definitely trending in the positive direction,” he said. “Much has gone into that, including about four or five years ago with what we call a Way Forward plan, then crystallizing that plan when Alan Mulally [Ford’s president and CEO] came on board and we put in place the ONE Ford plan, which essentially speaks to the way we treat each other, the behaviors and the consistency with which we manage and interact on a personal basis and professional basis with each other, with our dealers, with our customers ... all to support some consistent objectives, including restructuring ourselves to be competitive.” Such leadership, of which Toney is firmly established as part the brain trust, has led to helping Ford to turn the corner to operating profitably, and most notably, gaining an additional 1% share of the automotive market. “We are a full two years ahead of where we thought we’d be,” he said. I think that our product is extraordinarily competitive ... it’s best in class. Every new vehicle that we put out is leading in its class, in fuel efficiency, quality, safety and value. Ford has decided, if we put our name on it, it’s gonna be best in class. Being good is a choice.” In that vein, Toney has chosen to be passionate about what he does, which can only lead to being the best--with class.

{No. 41}




THE ALL-NEW 2010 fORD TAURUS The latest idea from Ford comes with 10 class-exclusive,* industry-leading technologies you won’t find in five-passenger cars that can cost a lot more. And that’s just the first page of the PowerPoint.™ * Class is full-size, non-luxury cars.

©2010 Ford Motor Company



Despite looking resplendent in a tailored suit, reclining with a GQ lean, intensity rises off Bernard Hopkins like smoke off a block of ice. When he is talking to you about his rise from the streets of Philly, his black eyes emit hair-raising potency. Hopkins seems to be looking directly into you and through you and back to the turbulent circumstances that provided the motivation to propel him Hall of Fame-caliber boxer. You just hope he doesn’t mistake you for Roy Jones. There is something still brewing just beneath the surface of his lanky yet sculpted frame, something that seems ready to erupt, something that keeps him going after what he seems to already have. It’s enough to for the 45-year-old to fight again after a tenyear terror where he reigned as middleweight world champion and defended his title a record 20 times. It’s enough for him to go on after becoming the first fighter in history to retain all four major boxing governing body belts. It’s enough to continue to knuckle up despite already holding the record as the oldest man ever to hold the middleweight title bet. Though he is equally adept at pontificating about business dealing these days, you know Hopkins will try to punch Jones’ nose through the back of his skull. “When I fight, I have to go back to when I was ignorant. Because I got to be that way to fight and whoop his ass and I have to be that way to stay in that mentality,” a now-standing Hopkins says, his eyes dancing in their sockets. “See, I come from out there. Game recognize game. I know about the three car mile. I know about the tops. I know about the pick pocket. I know about the wolf pecking in the 80s. I know about these things -- not braggingly -- that I participated in one way or form. Mine was strong-armed robbery. We had people in school getting all A’s and preyed on them. There are dudes from the streets who I had to watch out for, but I took them under. They said, ‘You gotta watch out he might have a gun.’ I say ‘Whatever, I just got be ready.’ “That was that sick mentality,” he adds, “but you can also get something out of that mentality.” Yeah, like pure intimidation of an opponent, who knows you could bust him open

and watch his innards spill onto the

bid that got reduced to five years when

canvas and not even blink. So, before we

he was just 17. But he wants the world to

administer the last rites to Roy Jones, we’d

understand his upbringing and how he

like to recount what Hopkins is made

channeled his turbo-level aggression into a

of. He was mugging people at age 13,

multimillion, record-breaking, legendary

robbing drug dealers at age 15 -- without

boxing career.

a gun. He witnessed rapes in prison and

“That’s what my book and movie are

the murder of an inmate over a pack of

going to be about. Most movies and books

cigarettes. So, he’s already touched the

portray some good that you want to hear.

bottom rung of humanity and, even as he

I had to be the one with the venom cause

sits high up this pricey penthouse condo

they had the venom and I got off first.

overlooking Philadelphia, he knows how

So that’s a realistic disciplined movie, not

to go back down there.

just some movie for blacks, but a movie

From a philosophical standpoint,

that blacks, whites, Chinese [and] Puerto

Hopkins says there are a lot of similarities

Ricans can see. Anybody can deal with it

between the business environment and

because underdogs don’t have no racial

the concrete jungle that raised him. “In

lines. Everybody can understand the

corporate America it’s the same thing,

underdog. And when you do that, then

except you can go sort of as you please.

you add the boxing part, man, because

In the hood, you have to deal with this

it’s a part of my life. But it’s not a boxing

seven days a week. In corporate America,

movie. This movie is about a convicted

you have those moments where you can

felon. So what? Ninety percent of black

bow out. At the end of the day, even

men go to jail and come out. But how

those who start off strong, who’s coming

many when they come out [and never get

out of the blocks blazing. As that water

a] a violation, not even a parking ticket,

that continues drop on that cement from

got a roof [over their heads], a penthouse

the roof that never gets fixed, that water

overlooking the city that he came from?

eventually wears that spot out. That spot

Now, you tell me that. That’s luck?”

becomes fragile now. It becomes broken,

Naw, Bernard, you didn’t wait for luck.

cracked, damage. Some will survive as

You snatched fate with those two mallets

time [passes] and some won’t. And that’s

you call hands and did so with extreme

what separates the strong from the weak.”

prejudice -- just like you did when you

As he said himself, Hopkins preyed on the weak, which earned him an 18-year

ruled the ring. Just like you once did on the streets of Philly.

{No. 47} P R O D U C E R




Dwyane Wade stands as the most unlikely superstar in the NBA. He never received national media attention during his high school career like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. And he didn’t lead his college team to a NCAA championship like Carmelo Anthony. While basketball pundits anointed Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo as future legends of the sport before they ever stepped onto an NBA court, Wade snatched respect and forced the world to pay attention. Who could forget the 2006 NBA Finals when he outshined his teammate and future NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal to lead the Miami Heat to a championship? His one man, takeover performance in six games assured the NBA and basketball fans that there was indeed life after Michael Jordan. More recently in the 2010 NBA All-Star game, Wade proved his Hall of Fame worth in front of a crowd of over 100,000 people at Cowboys Stadium by outplaying LeBron, Carmelo and Dwight Howard to capture the game’s coveted MVP award. These achievements belong to a guy who didn’t make his high school’s varsity basketball team until his junior year and had to sit out his first year in college. “There was a time when I wasn’t one of the top names mentioned in basketball,” Wade recalls. “When I was in high school, I thought that I was ready to start on varsity [as a sophomore]. But our coach told me that I wasn’t ready. It took me two years to make the varsity team. When my opportunity came, I burst on the scene and never looked back.” An NBA championship ring, All-Star MVP Award and a lucrative contract are strong components that could induce amnesia. However, Wade continues to train as if he’s that teenager from Chicago who nobody knows. “The same hard work that I put in [when I was younger] is the same work that I must put in now,” Wade emotes. “You feel more fulfilled when you work for something than when it’s just given to you. To get over the hump, you have to think the game and do things others won’t think about doing. That takes you from being an average player and helps you to reach another level on the court. You have to be smart with decisions and think things through. Patience is important. In life, everything happens for a reason.”

{No. 49}


O M A R WA S OW P H . D . C A N D I D AT E , H A RVA R D U N I V E R S I T Y Putting the proverbial “best foot forward” is what Harvard scholar Omar Wasow has learned to do best. Now in his fifth year of actively pursuing of his dream of earning a Ph.D. from the prestigious university, the co-founder of blackplanet. com is harnessing his intellectual energy to cultivate his own fields personally and professionally. The noted Internet technology specialist’s formula for excelling as an African American male in the world of academia is a potent mixture of intellectual disciplines and cultural discourse. “You know, intelligence is one of these things where you can feel like you’re chosen at one point in your life and then you are choking at another point. ... I come from a family of educators and basically everyone in my family was some sort of teacher or professor,” Wasow begins. admitting that he initially resisted joining the world of high achievers, opting instead to avoid the pressures associated with ambition and expectation. “Intelligence can sort of be this doubleedged sword. What’s really allowed me to thrive was the revelation that intelligence is not just about what you’re born with, it’s about what you do and the hard work you put in. It’s about developing mastery over time, by practicing again and again at the tasks and the skills you need to succeed. I think in sum, the transition has

allowed me to go from kind of a kid to a middle aged, but successful student [who] realizes that it’s not just about being born with a gift, its really about intelligence coming from effort,” he continues. The Kenyan born Wasow, who helped establish the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School, is devoted to nurturing the minds and intellects of younger African Americans. He is deeply involved with recruiting African Americans from all social and economic backgrounds to participate in doctoral programs in a broad range of disciplines. “I think one of the things about being black in this era is that’s there’s so much variety within the black community. There’s a writer, Trey Ellis, who talked about the new black aesthetic in the 90s and how once upon a time, pretty much everybody in the community came from a pretty narrow set of experiences. You know, we are the post civil rights generation; there’s been this sort of like marvelous flourishing of experiences,” says Wasow who left his lucrative underpinning to return to school. “I knew in my heart of hearts what I was doing and I really needed some new challenges, so it was kind of following that passion and that dream to walk away from that good life to one that’s been better for me... And there are other transformations that still await,” he concludes ominously.

{No. 50}



BILL RELEFORD THE HAND OF HEALING Few physicians’ have their finger’s on the pulse of a community or a culture in quite the same way that Dr. Bill Releford does. He established the Diabetic Foot Institute, a facility dedicated exclusively to the reduction of diabetes-related amputations in highrisk populations. Releford radiates with compassion and uncommon caring — virtues that he doesn’t reserve for his patients only. “I am committed to increasing knowledge and awareness for my people regarding the issues that effect us most. Obviously, I love my people and when they hurt I hurt too, regardless of where they may be, whether it’s Ghana, Nigeria or Haiti. When they’re in pain, I’m in pain as well,” he says emotionally. Releford determined that in approximately 70-85% of cases, lower extremity amputations were either recommended prematurely or should not have been recommended at all. His entire practice became and remains dedicated exclusively to diabetic limb salvage.

{No. 53}

Releford treats his practice more like

attributing the quote to his senior mentors.

a ministry than just a treatment facility,

Releford has for the most part been

the objective being to cast a larger net

given to embracing causes larger than his

than applying Band-Aids and writing

personal interests and has wisely enlisted

prescriptions, his is a mission devoted to

the help of another profession to elevate

eradicating diabetes and it’s related ills

the health care dialogue, especially as

in the African American community. “I

it relates to diabetes — he’s formed a

have made helping my people part of

collaboration with barbers. The Black

my personal or professional ministry. As

Barbershop Health Outreach program uses

a ministry, you need to propulgate your

the African American tradition of barber

message and … inspire people to do better

shop debate to inform and educate patrons

by seeing the greatness in them that they

about the prevention and treatment of

may appreciate in themselves. Looking

diabetes and high blood pressure. “We use

at [health] in the form of a ministry let’s

an existing infrastructure that is already in

people know how serious you are about

the community. Barbers can be a partner

what you’re doing,” he explained.

in delivering that message. ... There’s

Releford attributes his wisdom beyond

nothing more frustrating than to have

his year’s to learning the life lessons so many

knowledge and not have an outlet for that

elders along his path shared with him. As

knowledge, so I have chosen elements to

a child, he says he understood thanks to

develop a national program where we go

the strong work ethic of his parents and

to barbershops throughout the country to

grandparents, that fulfilling a destiny was

discuss healthcare,” explained Releford.

the most powerful thing that a person

Releford counsels that there is

can endeavor to do. He had the presence

predefined hierarchy that dictates valuing

of mind and the sanctity of spirit to,

people first. “I’ve been knocked down

without reservation, listen and absorb that

and gotten back up a whole lot of times.

mother wit from some of his older patients

The best measure of a person’s ability is

whom he credits with encouraging him to

not their IQ, it’s AQ or the Adversity

fervently pursue his passion for healing.

Quotient. It’s critical that you get back up

“The two most important days in your

and take care. Sometimes we get knocked

life are the day you were born and the day

down so much we forget,” concluded

you discover why you were born,” he said,


{No. 55}





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