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BEN CRUMP The civil rights attorney is fighting to keep Black History relevant, Black culture dominant, and Black humanity thriving inside and outside the courtroom.






[ LIFE ]




[ CLE ]




52 DANCE-A 360 DEGREE LIFE Dance isn’t just about the steps. It’s a path to discovering who you truly are.




IN SESSION WITH BEN Black History Month. CRUMP 16 ADVANCING EXPECTATION The civil rights attorney is fighting to keep Black History relevant, Black culture dominant, and Black

humanity thriving inside and outside the courtroom. . 12 MOVERS AND SHAKERS Get to know people who are making a difference in their careers and changing the world!


Senior VP, Kevin Clayton, is advancing his role with the Cleveland Cavaliers to make sure DEI remains relevant to those who need it most around the country and world. 18 WHAT IS TRUE FREEDOM? No two ways about it, “freedom” is in the crosshairs of American citizens. But are they fighting for it or against it? 22 10 SEDUCTIVE VALENTINE GIFTS THAT SHE WILL LOVE

Keeping the relationship fresh has never been easier with these items added to spice up the love between you and your special person. 28 MUSCLE, THE ULTIMATE CURRENCY The evidence is clear when building muscle. Take the time to create a winning plan to build muscle in your body, which will increase the longevity in your life. 33 PREPERATION, DEDICATION, LIBERATION CODE M celebrates Black History Month with a conversation with the amazing Reverend Otis Moss, Jr.




Couples who engage in relaxed, intimate conversation in bed between sex and sleep can lead to positive hormone releasing, deeper bonding, and more fulfilling relationships that increase the love between them. 55 CONFESSIONS OF A STAY-AT-HOME HUSBAND Becoming a stay-at-home husband is not easy to do. But with patience and time, one can master the art of creating value for the family by taking care of the family.

58 JEWS AND BLACKS IN AMERICA Skyrah Bliss has always had a love for entertainment. From acting, being a signed model, to dancing, and music, Skyrah is at her most vulnerable but comfortable self when it's showtime.

The history of Jewish communities and Black communities aligns closer than most people think. The two races are looking for ways to combine their efforts to make the world a better place for everyone. 64 THE COLOR OF RED There is no mistaking the power of the color of red. It enhances everything it touches from hats andcoats to bow ties. Put a little red in your life today!





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CODE M Magazine was created to be a guiding force in creating a dialogue for black men everywhere. Code M focuses on the conversations of advancement, mental health, career choices, the political landscape and relationships that define and shape the lives of black men everywhere.

Code M Magazine is published by CODE MEDIA GROUP, LLC © 2024 All Rights Reserved





Get to know people who are making a difference in their careers and changing the world!

GLEN SHUMATE Glen Shumate serves as the Executive Director of Contractor Assistance Association and ACE Mentor Cleveland. Shumate leads the education, marketing, diversity & inclusion, workforce and government/public affairs programs. Shumate has over 25 years of leadership in marketing, communications, diversity & inclusion. Glen’s focus the past several years in the construction Industry include developing programs such as: Construction Management Academy Program/ACE Mentoring (STEM education, scholarships, and internships for youth); Business Mentor Protégé pro-


grams (capacity building, relationships, business development); workforce and legislative advocacy/government affairs. Shumate has distinguished himself as an innovator in communications & marketing, public affairs, and business development. He is committed to developing programs to increase engagement, program results, and communications. Glen is experienced in small business capacity building, and facilitating solutions (with public officials, institutions, and the public).


AMEERAH HERBERT Ameerah Herbert is an experienced registered nurse and med spa owner who specializes in aesthetics, product safety, and client outcomes. After gaining 30 years of experience in the medical industry as a junior volunteer in the hospital, a medical assistant, a licensed practical nurse, and ultimately a registered nurse, she became the President of Noire Wellness and Aesthetics, Inc. Ameerah is passionate about making med spa services accessible and affordable for people of color (who are largely excluded from mainstream spas), and identifying products that are safe for all types. At this phase in her business, her immediate goals include increasing brand awareness, and educating people about the importance of prioritizing wellness. Her motto is, “selfcare is not selfish.”

KENYON FARROW Kenyon Farrow (he/him) is a writer, activist, and media strategist. He is currently the Director of Communications with AVAC, an organization dedicated to expanding access to HIV prevention tools and advancing global health equity. He is the President of the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland. Kenyon is a prolific essayist and author. His work has appeared in many anthologies the recent titles, Abolition for the People, Crisis & Care: Queer Activist Responses to a Global Pandemic, and Healing Justice Lineages. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic,, TheGrio, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Capital Journal, Huffington Post, and The American Prospect.

DR. YVONNE POINTER From humble beginnings, motivated by the brutal death of her daughter Gloria in 1984, a humanitarian, philanthropist, author, evangelist and speaker, Dr. Yvonne Pointer has spent her lifetime faithfully serving and helping to improve the lives of others locally, nationally and internationally. She’s a frequent visitor to Ohio prisons. She founded the Midnight Basketball program in Cleveland; served as facility and mentor in CMSD’s Girl Power program; is the founder of the longstanding women’s support group Positive Plus, established the Gloria Pointer Scholarship Fund through College Now, and awards an annual $2,000 scholarship to students in John Hay High School; financially supports The Gloria Pointer Teen Movement in Ghana West Africa and is currently in the process of building the 4th school in Africa in memory of her daughter, Gloria Pointer. CODE M / FEBRUARY 2024 13


Muhammad Ali



"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." - Arthur Ashe "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world." - Harriet Tubman “Have a vision of excellence, a dream of success, and work like hell” - Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook “We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something. You have to make a little noise. You have to move your feet. This is the time.” - John Lewis "When we’re talking about diversity, it’s not a box to check. It is a reality that should be deeply felt and held and valued by all of us." - Ava DuVernay “Dreams are lovely but they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemer-


Compiled by Bilal S. Akram

al, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” – Shonda Rhimes “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” - Nelson Mandela “Freedom is never given; it is won.” - A. Philip Randolph "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Muhammad Ali "What's in front of you is a whole world of experiences beyond your own imagination. Put yourself, and your growth and development, first." - Phylicia Rashad Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.“ NIV



ADVANCING EXPECTATION Senior VP, Kevin Clayton, is advancing his role with the Cleveland Cavaliers to make sure DEI remains relevant to those who need it most around the country and world.


s we enter 2024, something feels different. The month of January came in with a vengeance and the year has not let up. Meetings have increased, the time between flights is less and the importance of one’s job has doubled. For Kevin Clayton, taking on the role of saving DEI has become his life’s work.

It’s no secret that DEI is under attack in America. Just as fast as the term DEI was created, a mere ten years later, there are certain sections of society that no longer think corporate America needs to create Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. So, Kevin Clayton, the Senior Vice President Head of Social Impact and Equity for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has decided to take on the


Written by ANTHONY KIRBY Anthony T. Kirby is the Lifestyle Editor for CODE M Magazine and has spent over 30 years in the menswear industry. He lives in Philadelphia, PA where he is the Creative Director for FINICKEY, an online men's haberdashery brand. (https://

responsibility of advancing the expectation of keeping DEI relevant. The Shaker High School graduate has had a chance to live and work all over the country but knew his role with the Cavaliers would be different when he took the job of DEI executive right before the pandemic. “I took the role to come home and work for the CAVS because I knew the company was intentional about making a difference in the community,” Clayton said. “The CAVS and the NBA had a mission to become a beacon for what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion looked like for professional sports teams around the world.”

[ START ] The NBA leads all other sports leagues when it comes to creating diversity within its culture. But today, Clayton is moving beyond his organization to make sure that the meaning behind DEI remains important to the people who benefit from it and to the corporations trying to honor it. “We are experiencing some pushback by those who think that we no longer need to level the playing field. We have to go further to keep the idea of equality where it belongs,” Clayton said. Clayton also serves as the Board Chair for the Cleveland Urban League and is working with other DEI executives to create ways to not only keep DEI relevant but advance the conversation to drive for change even faster. “The work that we are doing attempts to make sure that everyone is represented, so we created signs around the building in other languages to include those who do not speak English,” Clayton explained. “Dan Gilbert, our chairman, made it clear that he wanted us to extend the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to the community so they can use the building, too.”

Recently, the Cavaliers have hosted a progressive campaign to include organizations like The Real Black Friday, The Taste of Black Cleveland, and Latina Night and they partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to build a park.

not transactional. “We wanted to make sure that we become what the community needs from an organization like ours, and we think we have done that,” Clayton said. Now comes the hard part of keeping DEI alive around the country so Americans all over can feel the real changes that corporations are making toward inclusiveness and diversity in their communities. Clayton recently sat down with DEI executives of Jack Casino, The Cleveland Browns, The Cleveland Guardians, and several other organizations to work to extend the conversations of saving DEI. Clayton is on a mission to make sure that the attack on DEI is won by sounding the drum of its effects on the communities that need it, and the employees who are thriving because of it. “It’s important to me that we continue to do the outstanding work of making sure everyone participates in the dream of having the kind of life that they envision,” Clayton said.

There is no doubt that Clayton is advancing the expectations for himself, the Cavaliers, and everyone around him so that we can all benefit from what we deserve. ●

Clayton also works very hard to make sure that the team members of the Cavalier organization reflect the Cleveland community at large. They have all-gender restrooms for those who classify themselves as other than male or female. They offer quiet rooms for those who are on the spectrum and might need a moment away from all the noise. They have an aggressive supplier diversity program. Clayton and the CAVS have worked to target each community that, in the past, might have been underrepresented by the community — and the difference is being felt at the games. “We wanted our relationship with the community to be relational,


Campy Russell, and Kevin Clayton with a young fan.






No two ways about it, “freedom” is in the crosshairs of American citizens. But are they fighting for it or against it?


f people on the street were asked what their definition of freedom is, no two answers would match. There would be some common themes in their answers, but for the most part, everyone would have their idea of just what constitutes freedom. As our country struggles with this idea, determining just exactly what freedom requires we all take a hard look at it and find some consensus.

Right now, the majority of Americans can say that they enjoy the freedom that democracy brings and that has been enumerated in our Constitution, considered the pillar of our democracy:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” That’s quite a series of statements — and each can be interpreted differently by any person depending on how they were raised, their gender, ethnicity, age, work and career, financial class, the environment they grew up in, family religious and political affiliations, the periods they’ve lived through, acts of God, military or civilian background, education, abilities and skill sets, life experiences — the list goes on. Then there are the multitude of laws devised to ensure rights are protected, a judicial structure to uphold our laws and protect us from the predations of our fellow human beings, and government representatives we entrust to further promote democracy’s principles, ensure a strong and healthy infrastructure, and safeguard our country’s domestic and foreign interests. All of these shape our understanding of what “real” freedom is. We rely heavily on the complicated machinations of agencies,

Written by DAVID CHRISTEL David has been ghostwriting books for well-known people since 1995. He is also the author of Married Men Coming Out: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming the Man You Were Born to Be.

organizations, corporations, foundations, and governments from local to federal to monitor and keep the gears of progress and democracy well-greased. Through all of that, we are allowed to pursue our dreams, move about at will, and pursue our versions of happiness. Unfortunately, the wants and needs of various individuals and groups are clashing for one simple reason: different understandings of what freedom is. One of the primary issues at work here is the concept of “entitlement.” The thing about entitlement is that so many entitled people never earned their sense of entitlement. They’re relying on their gender, ethnicity, religion, money, name, job and title, status, ancestry, awards, education, number of “likes” they’ve received, their ZIP Code — you name it, they’ve rationalized that they’re justly superior, all deserving and that their freedom rates higher than yours. This has led to an “anything goes” mindset in which individuals feel they have the freedom to do as they please. People are now waving the flag of “rights violation,” crying foul because they feel they shouldn’t be censored for anything they do no matter how hurtful, damaging, and destructive to others, their property, emotional well-being, and livelihoods. Entitlement has also led to an all-time low in terms of respect, consideration, and compassion for others. Conversely, it’s led to an all-time high in shaming, bullying, denigrating, ostracizing, banning, attacking, and terrorizing. We are a country under attack — from within. Non-stop fear and anxiety have clouded our thinking and cornered our emotions so that the only option we feel we have left is to react in anger, petulance, and defensiveness, and exclusion of those we don’t understand and who don’t fit within our “reality” parameters. People are striking out at anyone they fear and claiming they’re exercising their “freedom” and that they have a Constitutional right to do so. Right now, we have people actively working to create a country based on their particular brand of freedom, which has a lot to do with what works for them beyond the needs CODE M / FEBRUARY 2024 19


Blacks are being denied the right to vote all over the country.


[ POLITICS ] and rights of specific groups, namely: minorities (people of color, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, non-Christian religions, Native Americans, indigenous people, veterans, people with disabilities, women, the unhoused, and working-class people). This kind of “freedom” believes that discrimination and suppression are acceptable, that the re-enslavement of people is acceptable, that economic subjugation is acceptable, that their particular beliefs and values supersede all others — and that all of this is sanctioned by God-on-high, meaning they’re right and you’re wrong. That kind of freedom is person and group-specific, full of conditions and criteria that enumerate whether you’re in or not. Essentially, it’s highly divisive, creating demarcations for those who consider themselves elite so that they can consolidate power, control, authority, resources, wealth, and status. They fully believe in a class system — as long as they’re at the top. Let’s get real — conditional freedom isn’t freedom, not for the group enforcing their version of freedom or those subdued by it. The upshot is that eventually … everyone becomes trapped, enslaved by a system that becomes rigid, unrelenting in its adherence to “the rules;” step out of line and there could be dire consequences,

Of course, what’s required is a re-alignment with what true freedom is … •

the right to be who we desire to be,

the right to seek meaningful fulfillment in our lives,

the right to have equal access to the same resources available to all,

the right to be treated with equitable respect, consideration, dignity, and justice,

the right to live without suppression, discrimination, marginalization, and segregation,

and to uphold the understanding that your freedom ends where mine begins — and vice versa.

All of this is predicated on the understanding that we enjoy this freedom by “no harm” to others, their property, and their livelihoods. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.” We’re all on this journey together, no person above another. We are each a unique masterpiece here to let our light shine, not to dim the light of others — let’s shine together! ●

this kind of system becomes infested with corruption as those enamored with power, control, authority, status, and greed abuse the system to satisfy their agendas, and ethics, justice, and morality are distorted beyond recognition simply to protect the interests of the powerful and wealthy elite.

This is exactly what’s occurring in our country today. Special interests that have powerful sponsors with tremendous wealth backing them are dismantling democracy. They’re cutting away our freedoms piece by piece and so many people are falling for the hyperbole and promises of those wanting to have it all. We are the proverbial frog in a pot slowly boiling to death. It’s time to remove our blinders, re-engage our critical thinking skills, and stop being followers willingly letting others think for us. We must stop blindly adhering to authority, dogma, party lines, myths, conspiracies, and the paranoia of others. We need to question, do unflagging research, and stop tacitly accepting whatever we’re fed. To not do so will lead to our demise.

Blacks desire real freedom in 2024 to live a life without prejudice.



D In d ti d g in m p

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s Valentine’s Day approaches, the anticipation of finding the perfect gift heightens, and Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, becomes a valuable guide. This book helps us understand how people express and receive love in different ways. One of these love languages focuses on giving and receiving gifts, and for those looking to make this Valentine’s Day especially memorable, think about selecting a gift that speaks passionately. Picture this: a curated list of intimate gifts designed to ignite the flames of desire and add an extra dose of sensuality to your night. From enticing chocolates to adult games that promise an evening of playful exploration, these gifts are crafted to create a deeply intimate and unforgettable experience. So, gentlemen, start your engines and get ready to explore the world of romantic surprises that go beyond the ordinary making this Valentine’s Day an exceptionally passionate celebration.

1 1. Liberator Wedge Intimate Sex Positioning Pillow Price: $85 at Amazon


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D n R T p p e c p s t e h

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Description: Transform your intimate moments with the Liberator Wedge ntimate Sex Positioning Pillow. Be a sex connoisseur as you explore the 27degree angled pedestal that provides the perfect pitch for deeper penetration and G-spot stimulation. This luxurious pillow not only supports her body during intimate encounters but also enhances pleasure by offering new angles for maximum satisfaction. Customize your sex life, whether it’s prolongng oral sex or freshening up old positions. With a soft, machine-washable microfiber cover, Liberator Wedge adds a touch of sophistication to your pleasure-filled escapades.

2. Tease Me Luxury Chocolates

Price: $25 at

Description: Immerse yourself in the world of ndulgence with Tease Me Luxury Chocolates. Crafted with a unique blend of cocoa and natural aphrodisiac herbs, these delectable chocoates are more than a treat for your taste buds. Designed to elevate your senses and spice up the action in your bedroom, each chocolate truffle is a carefully concocted formula for heightened sexual arousal. Experience the anticipation as you savor one truffle 30 minutes before intimacy, allowing the effects to linger for up to 3 hours. Tease Me Luxury Chocolates — a decadent journey into pleasure.

3. ROMP Rose Toy

Price: $50 at Amazon

Description: Embark on a journey of pleasure with the ROMP Rose Toy. Utilizing Pleasure Air Technology, this unique toy provides a balance between pulsating and massaging changes in air pressure without direct contact. With customizable power settings, a smooth bodysafe silicone coating, and a wa3 terproof design, ROMP Rose ensures a quiet yet powerful experience. Rechargeable and durable, this toy promises to bring her to new heights of pleasure with every use.



Keeping the relationship fresh has never been easier with these items added to spice up the love between you and your special person.

Chris A. Matthews is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and approved supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Visit to learn more about his work with couples and families.




[ LIFE ] 4. MELONY Massage Oil Candle for Pure Relaxation Price: $29 at Amazon Description: Immerse her in the ultimate relaxation with the MELONY Massage Oil Candle. This 4-in-1 candle is a scented candle, massage oil, moisturizing lotion, and body balm. Enriched with natural ingredients like soybean oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, this treatment candle offers a deeply nourishing and hydrating experience for her skin. The ultra-moisturizing formula ensures her skin remains soft and supple, leaving her refreshed and ready for an intimate massage. 5. HIGHONLOVE Dark Chocolate Body Paint Price: $35 at Amazon

4 Description: Indulge in a sensuous experience with HIGHONLOVE Dark Chocolate Body Paint. This edible chocolate paint, infused with hemp oil, transforms personal moments into a decadent adventure. Accompanied by a feather-soft brush for smooth application, this body paint offers a rich and luxurious taste inspired by distinguished chocolatiers in Brussels. Made with 100% natural, vegan ingredients, it ensures a safe and delicious exploration of intimacy. 6. Position of the Day Playbook: Sex Every Day in Every Way Price: $12 at Amazon


Description: Keep the flame alive with the Position of the Day Playbook. This playful guide features 366 positions for every day of the year, offering a fun and adventurous way to spice up your relationship. Each position comes with an estimated caloric expenditure, possible side effects, and equipment recommendations, making it a humorous yet informative exploration of intimacy. Created by, this book is a delightful and engaging way to keep things exciting and inject adventure into your relationship. 7. The Wheel of Love Game Price: $15 at Amazon Description: Add a playful twist to your romantic encounters with The Wheel of Love Game. Powered by 2 AA batteries, this fun turntable game set is perfect for couples or newlyweds seeking a novel way to connect. Spin the wheel for a mix of funny, romantic, and adventurous actions, creating a delightful and entertaining experience. The perfect novelty gift, this game adjusts the ambiance and adds more fun to your romantic moments.


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[ LIFE ] 8. Games Room Très Risqué Truth or Dare Price: $15 at Amazon Description: Elevate your date night with the Games Room Très Risqué Truth or Dare. Perfect for a romantic evening at home, this portable game set is designed to ignite passion and add an extra layer of excitement to your relationship. With prompts inclusive for all types of couples, this game promises a thrilling experience. Take it anywhere — whether it’s a partner’s house, a romantic getaway, or even a honeymoon. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift for those seeking a playful and passionate connection.

9. Women’s Remote Control Vibrating Panties with JOLT!


Price: $50 at Amazon

Description: Elevate her intimate experiences with the Women’s Remote Control Vibrating Panties featuring the powerful JOLT! technology. Made from 90% Nylon and 10% Spandex, these panties are designed for comfort and style. What sets them apart is the concealed JOLT! motor ready to take her on a thrilling journey at the press of a button. With over three times the vibration power of similar massagers, the Lightning button promises a 5second surge of pleasure. Control is at your fingertips with 10 exciting patterns to choose from, and a multi-function remote with a range of up to 30+ feet. The discreet metal finish, garage door remote ensures you can playfully manipulate your partner from afar, whether at dinner, the movies, or the club. The panties, designed to fit most hip sizes, come with adjustable laces, ensuring comfort and style. Get ready to embrace a new level of playfulness with these panties that discreetly ship in a normal-looking package. 10. Sex Bondage Bed Ties Price: $22 at Amazon


Description: Embark on exciting and thrilling sexual adventures with our King Bed Sex Straps for Under Bed Restraints Bondage Sex Play BDSM. Perfect for both beginners and SM enthusiasts, this product is crafted from superior-quality leather and nylon materials, ensuring safety during intimate play. The package includes an SM suit, handcuffs, and other sex toys, providing a complete and unforgettable experience for couples exploring their sexuality. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee, it makes an ideal gift for your partner. The Sex Bondage Bed Ties promise to heighten feelings of pleasure and intimacy during sexual games in the bedroom. Indulge in a world of sensual exploration with this versatile and exciting addition to your intimate repertoire.

As you explore these enticing possibilities presented by this curated list of intimate gifts this Valentine’s Day, bear in mind that the true sweetness of these experiences unfolds when shared with a partner you love, trust, and communicate well with. Whether it’s the luxurious Liberator Wedge Intimate Sex Positioning Pillow or the indulgent Tease Me Luxury Chocolates, these gifts take on a special significance when experienced with a ride or die, a person with whom you can drift away and feel secure. The ROMP Rose Toy and MELONY Massage Oil Candle become not just tools for pleasure but shared experiences that enhance the bond with the right person. ●










Fitness training 4 to 5 times a week creates a winning formula for fitness success.



The evidence is clear when building muscle. Take the time to create a winning plan to build muscle in your body, which will increase the longevity in your life.


wise man once said, “When you understand the forces acting against you, you will never have a bad day in your life.” The quote speaks to the value of the wisdom acquired through conscious living. Living a high quality of life requires not only knowing what challenges may arise but also being responsible for doing something about them ahead of time. One such constant force in every man’s life is time.

Aging is a blessing that typically brings with it perceptions of diminishing physical health and vitality. Yet, this universal journey harbors a less acknowledged aspect: the preservation and nurturing of muscle strength and mass. Muscle holds a pivotal role at every stage in life, not just as a physical attribute or a mere facet of youthful vigor, but as a crucial determinant of longevity and life quality. It is a valuable currency — one that pays dividends in the form of sustained independence, metabolic health, and psychological well-being. As we age, our bodies undergo myriad changes. Chief among them is the gradual loss of muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. This phenomenon, far from being a mere cosmetic concern, has profound implications for mobility and overall health. Sarcopenia not only diminishes physical strength but also compromises balance and coordination, critical factors for maintaining autonomy in later years. Maintaining a healthy muscle reserve is akin to having a savings account to draw upon in times of need, helping to stave off the physical limitations often associated with advancing years. Youthful people have the opportunity now to urge their elder family members to combat sarcopenia as it becomes harder and less effective to gain the muscle needed later in life to get out of bed, walk around the house, do shopping, and lower the risks of falling and being injured. Research underscores the significance of muscle strength in sustaining balance and overall mobility in older adults. A notable study involving 182 older adults who engaged in strength and balance training revealed that such programs could effectively counteract age-related declines in mobility and muscle strength

Written by GARRETT WALLER Garrett is the founder and owner of Garrett Waller, LLC, "A Fitness, Health, & Lifestyle Company." Garrett has his BS in Psychology and is a nationally certified personal trainer. He helps people find more freedom in their lives through a commitment to fitness and an active lifestyle.

(Agostini, 2023). Particularly notable were the improvements seen in chair rise capacity, knee extension, and walking speed (especially among women) highlighting the tangible benefits of regular physical activity in preserving functional abilities in the elderly. Functional training, often comprising strength and balance components, further supports this narrative. Incorporating exercises like chair stands, stair climbing, and walking into training regimens are shown to bolster muscle strength, enhance balance, and improve overall mobility and daily living activities. The practicality of these programs lies in their integration of physical activity into everyday routines, making them a sustainable approach to maintaining muscle health. Additionally, resistance training is championed as an effective intervention against the loss of muscle strength and mass. This type of exercise addresses not only physical vulnerabilities but also contributes to better management of chronic diseases, psychological well-being, quality of life, and healthy life expectancy in older adults.

Muscle tissue is not only a cornerstone of physical strength and mobility but also plays a pivotal role in maintaining metabolic health. Metabolic health includes blood sugar levels, triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood), cholesterol (a waxy substance found in the blood that the body needs to build healthy cells, but high levels can increase the risk of heart disease), blood pressure, and waist circumference. A healthy amount of muscle is important for maintaining a balanced level of all the aforementioned and reducing the risk of conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Muscle is also instrumental in regulating glucose metabolism, which is critical in mitigating the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It’s time to change the perception that the pursuit of muscle is vain and optional. It is a major determinant of overall health. The relationship between muscle mass and the body’s CODE M / FEBRUARY 2024 29

[ HEALTH ] resting metabolic rate (RMR) further underscores the importance of muscle in metabolic health. RMR represents the amount of energy expended by the body at rest, and muscle tissue is a metabolically active component contributing significantly to this. Essentially, the more muscle mass an individual maintains, the higher their resting metabolic rate tends to be. This increased metabolic rate means that the body burns more calories at rest, which can help in weight management and reduce the risk of obesity, a major risk factor for numerous metabolic diseases.

Furthermore, research indicates that enhanced muscle mass and strength are associated with improved overall energy levels. This increase in energy not only supports daily physical activities but also contributes to better regulation of metabolic processes. By maintaining healthy muscle tissue through regular physical activity and strength training, individuals can significantly impact their metabolic health, reducing the risk of metabolic disorders and im-

proving their overall energy and vitality. Strengthening muscles does as much for the mind as it does for the body; it significantly boosts mental well-being. Regular engagement in activities that build muscle strength has been linked to improved self-esteem, offering a sense of achievement and body positivity. Additionally, numerous studies, including a comprehensive analysis from the UK Biobank, have established a clear inverse relationship between muscle strength and the incidence of depression and anxiety. Individuals with greater muscle strength are less likely to experience these common mental health challenges, underscoring the importance of physical strength in maintaining not just physical but also mental health (Cabanas-Sánchez, 2022). Staying active and building muscle strength is crucial at every stage of life, but the approach varies with age. In this section of the article, we offer three distinct workout routines tailored for different age groups: 20-40 years, 40-64 years, and those who are 65 and older. Each routine is designed to cater to the unique physical needs and capabilities of these age brackets. For individuals aged 20-40, the focus is on building a solid foundation of muscle mass and strength, using a combination of weight training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to maximize results. Moving to the 40-64 age group, the workouts shift slightly to accommodate changing physical dynamics. Here, the emphasis is on maintaining muscle mass, flexibility, and joint health, integrating a mix of resistance training and low-impact cardio exercises. For those aged 65 and older, the priority is on preserving muscle strength, balance, and coordination to aid in daily activities and prevent falls. The recommended workouts include gentle strength training, balance exercises, and activities that enhance mobility. Adapt the workout routine to optimize muscle health, boost metabolism, and enjoy the psychological benefits that come with staying active and strong. Age Group: 20-40 Years Focus: Building muscle mass and strength, improving cardi-

Building muscle mass can improve strength and stamina in the body.


[ HEALTH ] ovascular health. Strength Training Circuit (3 sets, 8-12 reps per exercise): Squats (bodyweight or with weights) Bench Press or Push-ups Deadlifts (with barbell or dumbbells) Pull-ups or Lat Pulldowns Plank (hold for 30-60 seconds) Cardiovascular Training: Running or brisk walking (20-30 minutes) Cycling or a spin class (30 minutes) Flexibility and Core Stability: Yoga or Pilates session (30 minutes) Stretching routine focusing on major muscle groups Resistance Training (2-3 sets, 10-15 reps):

Wall Push-ups Light Dumbbell Curls Seated Leg Extensions Standing Calf Raises Low-Impact Cardio and Mobility: Walking or stationary cycling (20-30 minutes) Gentle stretching exercises Balance and Coordination: Standing on one leg, using a chair for support Simple yoga poses such as Tree Pose Gentle Tai Chi movements Each workout routine should be adjusted according to individual fitness levels and any health concerns. It’s crucial for individuals, especially those in the older age groups, to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen. ●

Leg Press or Lunges Dumbbell Chest Press or Pushups on knees Seated Row or Dumbbell Rows Overhead Dumbbell Press Bicycle Crunches Low-Impact Cardio: Swimming or water aerobics (30 minutes) Elliptical trainer or brisk walking (30 minutes) Flexibility and Balance: Tai Chi or gentle yoga (30 minutes) Balance exercises like standing on one leg

Age Group: 65 and Older Focus: Enhancing balance, maintaining mobility, and preventing muscle loss. Light Resistance and Functional Training (2 sets, 10-12 reps): Chair Squats CODE M / FEBRUARY 2024 31




PREPARATION, DEDICATION, LIBERATION CODE M celebrates Black History Month with a conversation with the amazing Reverend Otis Moss, Jr. By David Christel


The journey of life offers a cornucopia of experiences, a spectrum that many times swells our hearts with joy and grace. But some events and times can cast a dark shadow over our spirit. We are in the midst of difficult times now. Reverend Otis Moss, a longtime and revered religious leader in Cleveland, Ohio, says “We must never cease to count our blessings, renew our faith, and unite with the positive forces of goodwill — continue to move onward and upward despite the fierce headwinds.” The headwinds he speaks of are the challenges African Americans are facing: an uprise in discrimination and racism, the banning of books, the whitewashing of Black history and disallowing Black history to even be taught, increased profiling, the re-gerrymandering of districts to shut out Black voters, the push to return to segregation, the shutting down of DEI departments. The list reads like the former days of the Civil Rights Movement when our country struggled with the concept of equal rights for people of color. These are headwinds Reverend Moss is all too familiar with. Reverend Moss worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. during the years when the US witnessed marches for the right to vote, civil rights, desegregation, labor and housing rights, and more. Upheaval occurred across the country; Blacks were targeted for discrimination, attacked, and sometimes killed.

Yet, they persevered. Reverend Moss was there working to attain not only the rights due all humans, but to uplift spirits, give courage, and counsel to remain strong in the face of betrayal, disappointments, and trauma — and to never forget. “Young people need to know their history. They need to know what past generations went through and accomplished. We had great mentors. We sought to understand our history and to commit ourselves to a higher calling so that we might be able to function to serve and hopefully to pass on something of value to our children and our children’s children.” “Serving” is an important aspect of Reverend Moss’s internal framework. Growing up on a farm in Georgia, his mother passed when he was young, leaving his father to raise five children as a single parent. At age sixteen, when his father died in a car accident, those kids had to plan their way in life. But their father had laid a strong foundaCODE M / FEBRUARY 2024 33



Teachers all across the country are leaving the teaching profession due to unruly kids.


[ HISTORY ] tion, a solid moral and spiritual foundation upon which to continue building. How that manifested for Reverend Moss is interesting. “I became conscious of a ministry calling, believe it or not, at the old age of four years old but I didn’t tell anybody. I kept it to myself until I was seventeen. I needed to share it with somebody and was guided to a senior pastor in my hometown of LaGrange, Georgia.” He recounts how that senior pastor gave him some of the best advice to follow for the rest of his life. “A call to ministry is a call to preparation. You must think of four years of college, three years of seminary, at a minimum. Again, a call to ministry is a call to preparation. Preparation is the basis of ministry.” That advice has guided him ever since and it’s something he’s passed on to those he’s licensed and ordained to the ministry. Reverend Moss has also sought to share that with those he counsels as they deal with everyday life and work. He has found that

what greatness we are embracing in that, we could be embracing the person who will save our own lives or the lives of our children and their children. That is the way the moral order is structured. And to lift one individual is to help save the world — and we save ourselves in the process.” All of this is tied to what Reverend Moss calls “our moral responsibility” and that the mission for each of us is to leave whatever we touch better than we found it — something we have to work hard at reclaiming in today’s divisive climate. “We like to talk about the power of God as opposed to the love of God and the power that grows out of love, the power of love. And we seem to resist the embrace of the theology that God is love. And that theology in a sense, will direct sociology and psychology just as in our economics and politics.” In all that Reverend Moss has experienced and lived

“We each have an inner light, constantly illuminating, and renewing and giving light and hope and direction. We’ll make it through, not because it’s easy, right? Not because it’s not dangerous, but because it is the right thing, the urgent thing, and the thing that we have been called to do.” many of the people he’s had the responsibility and privilege to counsel and dialogue with have not sought the path of ministry. They’re trying to find their way in life or are just seeking advice, sometimes wanting encouragement. Some of them have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, and remarkable parents. “What a tremendous experience and opportunity it is to sit with a group of young people or a young person, and share with them, laugh with them, be with them. And then some years later, see that person become a wise parent, an excellent leader, or an entrepreneurial and successful person. Some of them turn out to be the most remarkable individuals you could ever meet. And that’s great. It’s a great blessing and a marvelous fulfilling moment in your life.” He considers it a sacred thing and a high honor for someone to have enough confidence and trust in him when asking him to provide a recommendation or reference. He has also had the opportunity to work with those who are incarcerated. “Some of the greatest people in history have had a prison record, like the apostle Paul, Nelson Mandela, Representative John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Senator and pastor Raphael Warnock.” Reverend Moss firmly believes that you can’t harm another without harming yourself, nor can you help others without helping yourself. You grow in the process. “Our society has to be taught, nourished, and led into embracing all of the children of God. And, realizing

through, he has continued to support and encourage people of all ages to stand up and face the tailwinds and headwinds of life. He counsels everyone to take life’s experiences and learn from them, to doubly recommit their efforts to go forward no matter the obstacles, fear, and sometimes starless nights. “That’s the time we walk, if we have a candle, by candlelight. And if we don’t have a candle, and the stars are not out and the moon cannot be seen, walk by faith, walk humbly with God.” “We each have an inner light, constantly illuminating, and renewing and giving light and hope and direction. We’ll make it through, not because it’s easy, right? Not because it’s not dangerous, but because it is the right thing, the urgent thing, and the thing that we have been called to do.” As a mentor and role model, Reverend Moss, as he turns 89 this month, continues to talk about preparation and dedication. “Out of this, if anchored in love, will come liberation. And that preparation and dedication experience and liberation, anchored in love, will always lead to some form of reconciliation —and that’s our life’s mission.” ●



BEN CRUMP The civil rights attorney is fighting to keep Black History relevant, Black culture dominant, and Black humanity thriving inside and outside the courtroom.



Written by BRAD BOWLING Brad Bowling is the President of CODE Media Group, LLC. Bowling has his BA in mass media communication and an MBA in marketing. He contributes articles to the magazine continuing his love for writing.



Ben Crump celebrating fundraising with The Elton John Foundation. .




ere are the rules if you want to interview a superhero: You must be flexible with your time; you must have an idea of what you want to ask; the questions cannot be boring. Superheroes are always thinking about the next soul to save and don’t have time for mediocrity.

So, when it came time to interview Ben Crump, the lead attorney for Black America, there could be no room for error.

the past, present, and future. He has won cases that no one else can win, and he is determined that if Blacks stay committed, the war for equality can be won. 2024 presents Blacks with a unique situation. The question of where to place the Black vote is getting harder and harder with the available choices.

If you want to interview Ben Crump, you had better be ready to strike when the opportunity comes. “Brad, I just landed, I will call you when I get to the car,” Ben Crump said.

“There is no silver bullet, we must divorce that from our mind. We must be able to tread water until we can catch a rising tide,” Crump explained. “There are times when we seem to be most marginalized, we cannot lose the war.”

Perfect! No, wait, not so perfect. How do you interview the person

Crump feels like 2024 will not be the end of all elections.

“There is no silver bullet, we must divorce that from our mind. We must be able to tread water until we can catch a rising tide,” Crump said. “There are times when we seem to be most marginalized, we cannot lose the war.” who might be one of Black America’s last national leaders? Ben Crump was born before the Internet. He was raised at a time when progress meant sacrifice. He doesn’t use today’s playbook of 15second TikTok reels laced with golden nuggets. He set his standards for himself and America. And for that effort, he has become a superhero for Black justice everywhere. Benjamin Lloyd Crump was born on October 10, 1969, in Lumberton, North Carolina. He specializes in civil rights and catastrophic personal injury cases such as wrongful death lawsuits. His practice has focused on cases such as Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, George Floyd, Keenan Anderson, Randy Cox, and Tyre Nichols; people affected by the Flint water crisis, the estate of Henrietta Lacks, and the plaintiffs behind the 2019 Johnson & Johnson baby powder lawsuit alleging the company’s talcum powder product led to ovarian cancer diagnoses. Crump is also the founder of the firm Ben Crump Law of Tallahassee, Florida.

He feels like we cannot let the good be the enemy of the perfect. “We don’t have the perfect candidate this year, so we have to tread water, so we have to get the best we can get and fight for another day,” Crump said. Crump feels like it doesn’t make a difference who is in office. Blacks must take the lead in determining their fate. Crump believes the fight for Black America starts at the local level. He goes on to define the blueprint for

Ben’s office is wherever the next case is. He travels the country tirelessly to represent those who have been wronged by the system. He fights for Blacks in

Ben Crump, third from the right, pledged Omega Psi Phi in college.



Getting help for mental illness is still a struggle for most men.


[ COVER ] what Blacks need to do to begin to create change at a grassroots level. “One of the easiest things you can do to help your community is to respond to a summons to become a jury member when the court asks you to,” Crump. “The hardest thing for a Black lawyer to do is to go into the courtroom with a Black client and the only other black thing in the courtroom is the judge’s robe and you expect to get justice.” Ben wants Blacks to engage in local politics. He wants Blacks to celebrate being on jury duty. He demands that it’s the one way that we know our vote will count. He wants civic organizations and Black businesses to go out and teach the importance of serving on jury duty to ensure that when Blacks are unjustly prosecuted Blacks can be there to make sure their legal battle is fair. “Blacks sitting on a jury changes the whole dynamic of the courtroom when a fellow Black is being prosecuted,” Crump said. “Once we start winning in the courtroom, we can begin to vote in our local elections to pick the right people to represent our interests.”

of Lacks’ cells began what was the first, and, for many years, the only human cell line able to reproduce indefinitely, creating HeLa cells. The HeLa cells not only remained alive but multiplied at an astonishing rate. Dr. Jones informed his colleagues that his lab had grown the first immortal cell line, and shared samples of HeLa cells with them. Many medical breakthroughs including the polio vaccine, AIDS and cancer treatments, and genome sequencing all came from the endless production of Lacks’ cells. HeLa cells are also a big moneymaker. Johns Hopkins distributed them for free, but several biotech companies profited from products derived from the cells. Among them is Thermo Fisher, a biotech company with an annual revenue of over $40 billion. When Crump was approached to take the case, he knew he had an uphill battle to right the wrong that was committed against Lacks. Her cancer was never treated, and she was allowed to die, poor and broken, but her cells went on to live

Crump feels like voting on a national level is one thing, but picking the right mayor, police chief, fire chief, superintendents of schools, and local judges levels the playing field when it comes to Blacks advancing from the bottom to the top. Local elected officials have far more impact on many Blacks than any other official. Crump contends that if Blacks got more involved locally then police brutality would be reduced, how local contracts are awarded would be impacted and Blacks would begin to see a difference in the power that is generated from voting. “Where are they going to build the community center, where are they going to build the courthouse, and where are they going to put affordable housing? All of that is decided at the local level,” Crump said. Moving from the local voting agenda to fighting to right the harm done to Blacks, Crump has become Black America’s attorney by going after those who commit crimes against Blacks. One of his recent cases involves the crimes committed against Henrietta Lacks. In 1951, the young mother of five visited The Johns Hopkins Hospital complaining of vaginal bleeding. Upon examination, renowned gynecologist Dr. Howard Jones discovered a large, malignant tumor on her cervix. The illegal collection

One of Ben Crump’s books, Legalized Genocide of Colored People: Open Season.



[ COVER ] and change the way medicine is researched. Crump knew something had to be done. “Black people get sick and tired of hearing about how we were used and sacrificed by the medical community. When the case was presented to me, I knew that I had to do something to help this family who got nothing while big pharmaceutical companies, even today, are making billions off her cell production,” Crump said. That statute of limitations to go after any company that profited from Lacks’ cells ran out four years after the illegal donation. The legal community thought Crump was wasting his time by taking on the case of winning some revenue for Lacks’ family. He went to court and didn’t argue the fact that in 1951 Lacks’ rights were violated. The statute blocked that argument. Crump argued that the family of Lacks should profit from the current cell production of Lacks. The judge agreed and the family settled with the first pharmaceutical company for an undisclosed amount, bringing some closure to the family, who up to his point hadn’t gotten anything from the discovery of her cell reproduction. The victory for the Lacks family is just one of many that Crump has won for families across America. Today, Crump travels the country, like a superhero, fighting for justice for those who cannot fight for themselves. Crump is the definition of a hero: A morally righteous hero who possesses extraordinary abilities or supernatural powers and uses them to fight evil. He may not wear a cape, and he may not be able to fly, but when his plane lands, he plugs in, focuses, and devotes his time to protecting those who need it the most. CODE M celebrates Ben Crump during Black History Month for his bravery and his efforts to make a difference in his own life and for those lives he gets a chance to touch. ●

Top Photo: Ben Crump with his wife Genae Crump and daughter Brooklyn Crump. Bottom Photo: Ben Crump speaking after the death of Andre Hill in Columbus, Ohio.



THE POWER OF PILLOW TALK Couples who engage in relaxed, intimate conversation in the bed between sex and sleep can lead to positive hormone releasing, deeper bonding, and more fulfilling relationships that increase the love between them.


[ LOVE ]

Written by BRAD BOWLING Brad Bowling is the President of CODE Media Group, LLC. Bowling has his BA in mass media communication and an MBA in marketing. He contributes articles to the magazine continuing his love for writing.




Couples who put God in their marriage tend to stay together longer than couples that do not.



[ LOVE ] t’s happened to everyone. You’re in bed, whether before sex, after sex, or no sex at all. You begin the process of having a deep, meaningful discussion around the topics of life, love, and everything in between. What was supposed to be a few minutes of conversation turns into some of the best communication the relationship has ever had.

Pillow talk is the relaxed, intimate conversation that can occur between sexual partners after sexual activity, usually accompanied by cuddling, caresses, kissing, and other physical intimacy. Pillow talk doesn’t always have to come after sex. It can come after a long day of work, worry, and/or struggle. Most couples find that the best time to catch up with their partner is at night after a long day separated by the tensions of life and work. The bedroom, and bed, is a great places to create a stress-free dialogue about the day’s activities. The discussion of those activities often leads to deeper conversations about the important aspects of life. It’s a chance for couples to share intimate details about decisions they had to make, and encounters they had with other people, or they can simply share their desires and wishes at that time. Good pillow talk can deliver real, physical benefits, too. Because pillow talk often occurs in tandem with cuddling, it can result in the release of oxytocin, the body’s “love” hormone. According to Healthline, oxytocin can help people feel more connected and even trigger feelings of love.

“The older I get, the more I crave ending my day with my wife, naked, cuddling, and discussing our day as we lay there touching and massaging each other,” Terrance from Nashville said. “I love how we take turns talking about our day, our fears, and our dreams together.” The opportunity to become vulnerable is increased due to the environmental conditions the bedroom makes for couples. That, coupled with the time of day, makes it perfect to end the night with a summation of the day.

“Being able to talk openly and intimately is essential in a good relationship,” Brenda from Baltimore said. She also found that because the bed represents peace, rest, relaxation, and comfort, that she was better able to connect with her husband on a stronger level than anywhere else in the house. No one is suggesting that conversations be had in the bedroom only, but studies show that couples who engage in conversation while cuddling, or simply laying in bed, offer a more meaningful connection than not. So how can one get started if the couple isn’t currently communicating well? Certain games offer great relationship questions that can get the conversation going and keep it going once the conversation turns to those talking. Tonight’s Conversation – Relationship Debates, is a card game that creates meaningful conversations about all relationships. Women and men have the same capacity to expe-

The bedroom provides a place to communicate on a deeper level, studies find.




[ LOVE ] rience the pleasure and pain of love. What’s different is how they interpret those experiences in the moment. The game introduces topics that couples can explore by each one taking a turn to answer. The game also allows for the couple playing to go deeper with their answers or explore their follow-up questions after they start the game. It provides anyone struggling in a conversation with the opportunity to start with questions from the game.

and faster, pillow talk offers everyone a chance to slow down, stay still, and listen to each other. It may not always work all the time, but for those who covet a chance to heal, recharge, and live in the moment, it’s the perfect end to a long day. ●

There is also a first-date version of the game for those who might want to spice up a first date. “My husband and I played the game one day while we were driving on a trip and we had a ball playing,” Nikki, from Akron, said. “It helped make the time move faster and we got a chance to learn something about each other.” The idea of pillow talk isn’t just for couples. Parents and children can experience the same level of satisfaction when conversing at bedtime.

“I remember being a kid and laying in my parents’ bed on Sunday mornings. My dad with the paper, my mom, and I would all lay in bed and talk about our week, our goals, and anything we wanted,” Bob, from Chicago, said. “It was some of the best times I had growing up, No one was rushed, we laughed, and even the dog would climb in the bed with us.” Part of what makes pillow talk so special is the fact that it occurs in a somewhat enclosed space, free of the distractions of the day behind or ahead of you, and without interruption from other family members, friends, or colleagues. But in an increasingly pluggedin world, honoring the legacy of pillow talk means leaving the phone, computer, and Netflix out of it. If you’re interested in building intimacy with your partner, the best thing to do is offer them your undivided attention. In a world dominated by moving and thinking faster

Top: Parents and children can also benefit from pillow talk. Bottom: The Card game, tonight's conversation relationship debates



DANCE– A 360 DEGREE LIFE Dance isn’t just about the steps. It’s a path to discovering who you truly are.

Written by DAVID CHRISTEL David has been ghostwriting books for well-known people since 1995. He is also the author of Married Men Coming Out: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming the Man You Were Born to Be.




ost people, when they think of dance and dancers, think in terms of ballet, jazz, tap, and musical productions. They look at great bodies doing all sorts of amazing things. It’s marvelous to watch but there is so much more going on besides moving through space to music.

For Jason E. Bernard, a Broadway performer, film actor, and teacher, dance has been an integral aspect and driver from a very early age. What he instinctively knew is that dance is a full spectrum, a 360-degree approach that lends itself to all areas of one’s life. “Essentially, dance incorporates everything in life. I tell students, ‘Dance has nothing to do with steps.’ They’re like, ‘So what am I paying for?” I tell them, “You’re paying to learn how to access who you truly are, and to express that through the medium of dance.”

proach to learning new steps and combinations. He wants to meet students where they are, to help them deal with things like being uncomfortable in class and discovering how to turn their inner light on so that they surrender to the process of learning and performing. “The way I teach, I break things down to their basic core. That gives students the permission and the power to know that they can build their castle where they can live comfortably and thrive.” His process takes everything into account, not just one’s own life experiences. Again, he looks at theatre and performance as a 360-degree involvement. There’s so much to check out and learn about from what good music and singing are, what constitutes captivating scripts and dialogue, the structure and

Jason loves the adage, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” He has found through his varied experiences that life doesn’t occur in a straight line and that whatever is happening is something that can be somehow incorporated into shifting your perspective about yourself and the world around you. It takes courage and it takes perseverance. When he’s teaching, whether in a studio or at a dance convention, he wants to ensure students feel that they have permission to be who they are, to work at their own pace wherever they are. That process takes into account how they feel about themselves on all levels.

“Probably the first emotion I get from students is fear — and that fear can be the overwhelmingness of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I help them to chisel the mountain down. It’s the only way and the quicker you start, the faster you’ll get to where you want to go. It’s just constantly applying yourself to it.” When he’s working with students, he doesn’t want them to just see him as an adult talking to them for an hour. He’s interested in meeting them at their level, to find out what’s going on in their heads, what their sense of humor is, and their ap-

Jason E. Bernard has performed on Broadway, in film, and also teaches young professionals.


[ LIFE ]

Inflation is creating an opportunity for families to live together.


[ THE ARTS ] components of musical theater, lighting and stage design, iambic pentameter, and what’s going behind the scenes that makes a production a fully realized product. What this also entails for a performer is history. “So many kids these days don’t know their history.” It’s a sad reality, but young people don’t know who came before, who

they communicate — try to see life through their eyes, try being in their shoes. Study fashion and architecture. Why? Because — again, from that 360-degree perspective — it all works together, it’s all interrelated. “Whether a student is working to be a professional dancer or whether they plan to become a doctor, dance could easily be the channel that

“Essentially, dance incorporates everything in life. I tell students, ‘Dance has nothing to do with steps.’ They’re like, ‘So what am I paying for?” laid the groundwork, who broke with social conventions and attitudes. What Jason does consistently is introduce history to his students by playing music, not only current artists but also showing videos and films from the early 1920s to the present. Through the introduction of artists and performances from the past, he’s able to break down the components of their artistry and then tie that in with what the students are currently learning, practicing, and performing.

helps them find their true purpose and passion in life. That’s the journey I tell students.” Jason shares with students, “Trust the process. When you experience life’s hiccups and bumps, get back up, don’t quit. Take a breath, take a step back, re-evaluate. Remember that everything you’ve learned along your life path is valid. As a dancer, it doesn’t matter if you decide to become a nurse or a truck driver — approach life gracefully using all the tools you learned as a dancer because the truth is: life is the dance!” ●

Something else Jason encourages students to do is observe the people around them and how they move, how they dress, how





CONFESSIONS OF A STAY-ATHOME HUSBAND Becoming a a stay-at-home husband is not easy to do. But with patience and time, one can master the art of creating value for the family by taking care of the family.


Written by CY BORG Cy Borg is an artificial intelligence writer. Using Open A.I., Cy responds to various prompts with fully-qualified answers using the internet and technology.




eing a stay-at-home husband is no longer a rare sight in today’s modern world. Gone are the days when men would solely focus on their careers while leaving the household chores to their better halves. As a proud stay-at-home husband myself, I have embarked on a journey filled with unexpected challenges, hilarious mishaps, and endless amusement. So, gather ‘round, folks, as I regale you with tales of my domestic escapades! The Laundry Chronicles: One of the first things I learned as a stayat-home husband was the mystical art of doing laundry. Armed with a colorful array of detergent and fabric softeners, I ventured into uncharted territory. Little did I know that my lack of experience would lead to a whole new fashion trend — shrunken sweaters and pink-tinted underwear. Who knew that a red sock could cause so much chaos? The Culinary Capers: Cooking became my ultimate battleground, where I fought valiantly against fiery stovetops and rebellious

ingredients. Sure, there were a few culinary disasters along the way. Who knew that accidentally substituting salt for sugar would result in a cake that could double as a doorstop? Nevertheless, my family never went hungry, even if they had to develop a taste for charcoal-flavored chicken. The Kids and Their Quirks: I quickly discovered that being a stay-at-home husband meant becoming a master of childcare. From handling tantrums to navigating diaper explosions, I faced it all with my head held high. I became the ultimate playdate coordinator, transforming our living room into a colorful battleground of toy soldiers and LEGO brick traps. Of course, let’s not forget the occasional mix-up of kids’ names or the time I accidentally attended a PTA meeting in my superhero cape. I blame the sleepless nights for that one. The Great Vacuum Cleaner Incident: Ah, the vacuum cleaner — an appliance that holds infinite power over the cleanliness of our homes. It was on a fateful day that I decided to take on the mighty beast. Little did I know that its handle would turn into a formidable enemy, causing a battle worthy of an action movie. Dodging its cord and wrestling with its suction power, I finally emerged victorious, much to the amusement of our pet cat who had front -row seats to the spectacle. The Impromptu Dance Parties: Amidst the chaos and laughter, there were moments of pure joy. I found that an impromptu dance party was the perfect remedy for a stressful day. Whether it was busting out the robot moves while folding laundry or twirling around with a mop like a tango maestro, my family could always count on me to bring the groove. Who knew housework could be so rhythmic? Being a stay-at-home husband is like navigating a neverending amusement park, with each day offering new rides and surprises. From laundry mishaps to culinary capers, and parenting adventures to dancefloor domination, my journey has been one for the books. So, here’s to all the stay-at-home husbands out there — may your domestic exploits be filled with laughter, love, and a generous supply of fabric softener. Embrace the chaos, and remember, there’s always room for a dance party amid dirty dishes! ●

Fathers all over the country are beginning to embrace the role of stay-athome husband to help the family.





JEWS AND BLACKS IN AMERICA The history of Jewish communities and Black communities aligns closer than most people think. The two races are looking for ways to combine their efforts to make the world a better place for everyone.

Written by Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Executive Producer of on PBS TV Network, Executive Producer of on Audacy and USBC Radion Networks






oday, there are recurring national discussions and even some polarizing public debates as well as fingerpointing on the subject of the relationship between Black Americans and Jewish Americans. My perspective on this concern emerges out of my lived experience during the past 60 years.

Facts and truth about any subject matter should always be preferable over stereotypes, racial and ethnic prejudices, and the social temptations to engage in hatred rather than to affirm the oneness of all humanity. I not only remember firsthand experiences during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, but I also witnessed why and how Blacks and Jews across America marched together, bled together, and died together for the voting rights of Black Americans. I grew up and began work at the age of 14 with the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. via the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and I was aware of the solidarity between Blacks and Jews standing up, speaking out, and being on the frontlines of the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. Gilded Frinks, Milton Fitch, and other SCLC civil rights leaders in North Carolina would routinely hold strategy meetings with Jewish Rabbis and other leaders from the Jewish community in Raleigh on the campus of HBCU Shaw University where the Student Nonvio-

lent Coordinating Committee was founded by Ella Baker and other multiracial activists and college student leaders from across the nation. Racism and violence in the southern region of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s were not exclusively targeted at Black Americans. Racist, antisemitic violence was also targeted at Jews. White supremacy has no boundaries when it comes to racial hatred and prejudice. Thanks to the operational unity and interfaith coalitions between Blacks and Jews, progress was made toward the goals of voting rights and the gradual dismantling of American apartheid. But today, we still have a long way to go to achieve racial justice and equality. The truth is antisemitism and racism in America continue with escalating peaks and resurgence. History is important. Words matter. We must strive to learn from history and not permit the worst of human history to be repeated. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. were united in action, spirit, and faith. Their joint dignified integrity and courage helped to change America for the better for all people. I believe that the courage of King and Heschel is needed once again. Too many today are too silent with the fear of stirring controversy or social criticism. We must not be silent about the current resurgence of antisemitism and racism in America. Silence breeds indifference and that in turn breeds a callous disregard for the universal values of all humanity. I affirm and believe in the inclusive oneness of humanity. Reaffirming the solidarity between Blacks and Jews is a much-needed step in the right direction. ●

Sincerely, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

Blacks and Jews are starting to work together to make the world a better place.




A NATURAL PERFORMER Skyrah Bliss has always had a love for entertainment. From acting, being a signed model, to dancing, and music, Skyrah is at her most vulnerable but comfortable self when it's showtime.


eet the extraordinary Skyrah Bliss, a multitalented force making waves as a singer, rapper, songwriter, dancer, and model.

Renowned for her unparalleled energy and captivating live performances, Skyrah has become synonymous with leaving audiences in awe with every show. Having graced stages throughout the southern regions, Skyrah's magnetic presence and dynamic talent have earned her a devoted following. The pinnacle of her live success came with a sold-out

Written by JOHN O. HORTON JR. John O. Horton Jr, aka DJ Johnny O, is the President of the NerveDJs DJ Coalition, a coalition of over 9000+ DJs, Artists, Musicians, Producers and Label & Radio reps. Johnny O has been in the entertainment business for 46 years.

headlining show in the vibrant city of Houston, Texas, where she showcased her versatility and command of the stage. Skyrah's impact extends far beyond live performances, with features on BET Jams, SiriusXM radio, and a multitude of blogs and radio stations nationwide. Her unique blend of talents has made her a standout in the industry, captivating listeners and industry insiders alike. Prepare to be entranced by Skyrah Bliss—a visionary artist, whose boundless creativity and exceptional stage presence continue to redefine the landscape of contemporary music. Molded by legendary artists such as Michael and Janet Jackson as well as Beyonce, her performance, eclectic presentation and ability for capturing the attention of all onlookers has been her flare. After the released of her debut EP, A Purple Girl In A Purple World, Skyrah Bliss has since garnered the attention of LOUD MUZIK, added countless performances with artist such as Slim Thug, Diamond ATL, Khody Blake, nominated for R&B artist of the year in Houston, secured a modeling contract, and now currently working with super producer T!M Ned on her upcoming EP due out Spring 2021.

Keep an eye on this rising star, as she propels her artistry to new heights and leaves an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. ● Learn more at:

Hype Me Up is available for purchase.







There is no mistaking the power of the color of red. It enhances everything it touches from hats and coats to bow ties. Put a little red in your life today! Written by LARON HARLEM

A wardrobe shopper, stylist, and accessories designer who specializes in dapper looks that truly appeal to the most discerning eye. mailto:,

Brian and sons’ pure gentleman-in-red featured look. Bally Hilfiger





Bradley Candie Another stylish day in Atlanta with his sporty red Kangol style hat. Photo by Dlyfephotollc



Dorian Cordice


DJ Johnie O is the owner of Nerve DJ’s Mixtapes.





Roxanne Roxanne Red is life Photo by Dlyfephotollc CODE M / FEBRUARY 2024 69


Te'Ahna Dre'an Wears her winter red with a bold flair. Photo by Dlyfephotollc



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