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March 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington

PUBLISHER ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Earl Ofari Hutchinson Theo J. Wilson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Donna Garnett Khaleel Herbert Allan ChristopherTellis ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPH ERS Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2017 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

“On my own I will just create, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, I’ll create something else. I don’t have any limitations on what I think I could do or be.” –Oprah Winfrey

Several years ago, I had a couple of opportunities to see and meet Oprah Winfrey. And although her very popular talk show has been off the air for several years, her lessons taught and her strength as a woman still resonates in many of us. By the grace of God and her faith in God, she has propelled to even greater heights. As we celebrate this Women’s History month, we look at several women who have evolved into their own person; oftentimes making detours on the way. Our cover story features rising star SuCh who has a voice like an angel and “such” a spirit of determination. Read her journey by DUS contributor Khaleel Herbert as he tells her story of what she has done and her limitless possibilities. This month also, contributor Allan Tellis looks at two women who are in the healing business. Dr. Tracy Jones and Rhonda Coleman share their story on how their “meeting of the minds” developed and where they hope to take The Healing Garden. Local singer and educator Linda Theus-Lee takes us on a musical and historical journey as she shares the life of Lena Horne and Nina Simone through song and narration. Additionally, Mary Louise Lee, will surely give a moving performance as she salutes the late great Whitney Houston. These women are all creating history in their own right. And as a proud woman, we are making history here at DUS, and have been for almost 30 years. It has been a journey of creativity and a labor of love of spreading the news about people of color since 1987. Read our historical journey next month and make plans as we celebrate “Power 30 – More Today Than Yesterday” with the community, family and friends, and you. Rosalind J. Harris Publisher


Recognizing Conservative Black Female Role Models

Editor: It takes courage to stand up for what you believe, to speak truth, to communicate principles so persuasively that others will come to realize the importance of your mission. Today, we have many professional black women who have achieved a level of respect to be able to confidently serve as role models for young women – all young women. These are names you will recognize easily – Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State; Harris Faulkner, Fox News anchor; and Alveda King, Martin L uther King Jr’s niece, who encourages families to “live prosperously to their full potential.” Understanding and demonstrating leadership, speaking out beyond your sphere of influence, standing solidly on the principles of freedom and personal responsibility is a hallmark of other conservative Black women in history who chose to speak out, when it was even more difficult than it is today. Federal Judge Janice Rogers Brown was criticized for a speech at the University of Chicago in 2000 when she said, “where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates, and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies.” She knew she would be criticized, and she said it anyway. Judge Brown sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. She was appointed in 2005 – two years after her nomination. She stood strong under political scrutiny for two years before being confirmed. Famous black author Zora Neale Hurston was referred to, in the 1930s as “America’s favorite Black conservative.” She spoke up for personal responsibility and limited government, in a time when women, and particularly black women, were not inclined to do so. “If I say a

whole system must be upset for me to win, I am saying that I cannot sit in the game, and that safer rules must be made to give me a chance. I repudiate that. If others are in there, deal me a hand and let me see what I can make of it,” – Zora Neale Hurston. During Women’s History Month, I salute these Black women, yesterday and today, who had the courage to engage in public discussion and stand strong to their ideals.

Pat on the Back

Joni Inman Jefferson County

Editor: Police officers perform a difficult - sometimes thankless – job, so I want to say a very enthusiastic “THANK YOU” to the brave men and women dedicated to the safety of our neighborhoods, and I encourage folks throughout the Denver Metro area to do the same. Our local police officers and agencies are often subjected to unwarranted criticism based on high-profile incidents that have occu rred nationally, and that’s just unfortunate. I firmly believe that most people support police officers and the great work they do every day, but do not make their voices heard. Let’s change that. Let’s get involved as neighbors, advocates and community leaders, to partner with our police departments to make our communities as safe as possible. Get to know the officers on the street and to let them know we trul y appreciate what they do for us.

Pastor Del Phillips, House Worship Center Colorado Black Leadership Senator Rhonda Fields

America Has Woken Up

Editor: I just finished reading the Letter to the Editor written by Antonius, regarding Reparations (DUS February 2017). It’s a nice

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


gesture to have “America Pay Up” but not in this lifetime. There are way too many reasons why this won’t happen, Government for one. For being an African American, one must go back to the slave trade days. It wasn’t any of us living, nor being in shackles, it was the ancestors, NOT US. If the Government was told to pay today on reparations, there would be quite a few stipulations from them. For example, one must have DNA completed, and show that one must be 75 percent African, and from what tribe. Then there might be how long one must have been here in America. Well if you’re here, and you’re African American, then you are of mixed race. I hate to say it, but like many of who have had a DNA completed, less than 30 percent of my blood is from African descendent. The rest is from other parts of the world, just like many – people of color, better than African American. Oh, I am not saying I don’t have African Blood in me, but what about t he rest? So that would knock 99 percent of us out of the Reparation back-pay. People who actually come here from Africa, and become citizens are literally African American. Heck! Just stand side by side with one who came from that area, face features aren’t even alike or skin color. There is movement wanting to take this African American title from Black folks who aren’t truly African because it doesn’t make sense to many; especially to people who have completed their DNA. I am not going to erase any of my bloodline to choose just one. Just what makes people think they can receive reparations when we can’t even get a fair-equal pay? The Government couldn’t even agree to give out mules and an acre. So what makes you think they would give us reparations? I wouldn’t want it. “America has woken up.”

Stephanie Wilson Denver

A Slice of a Musician’s Life:

Listening to the Lyrics of SuCh’s Musical Journey S

ome people define suc-

cess as having a great job and making lots of money. Singer, songwriter and actress SuCh believes that success is doing what truly makes you happy

and what you truly love.

Church Roots

SuCh was born Su Charles in Boston, to Haitian parents. She grew up in a Seventh Day Adventist church because her father was a minister. “I think that’s where my love of music was birthed, because I started singing in church,” SuCh says. “Both of my older sisters sing, and I grew up listening to them sing before my Dad’s sermon. Some of my earliest memories are of singing in the children’s choir at church. I probably had my first solo at 4 or 5,” SuCh continues. “Once that happened, I joined every choir I could think of in elementary school. I was in the choir and I played the flute. Music was always my thing.” SuCh’s major musical influences were from many of the 90s R&B artists including Toni Braxton, Boyz II Men, Blackstreet, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey. She was also inspired from listening to Céline Dion, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

The Meaning of a Name

“When I decided that I wanted to be a singer, I knew that I wanted to come up with something that was close to my name, but not my name,” SuCh says. “When I wrote ‘SuCh,’ I just knew it. I think it’s always a good topic of conversation. People are like, ‘SuCh? What’s that?’” After a suggestion that she should have a better reason behind her name besides it being the first two letters of her first name, and the first two letters of her last name, she started her research. “I realized that the word, ‘such,’ can be used in two ways,” SuCh says. “One is to exemplify something like, such as; the other thing is to amplify something like, such good music – such beautiful people. I had to think

By Khaleel Herbert

Photo by Bernard Grant

about what are the things I want to be an example of and I wanted to amplify. I realized that I want my music to be good, beautiful and real.”


The First Taste of Music

One of the factors that drove SuCh to become a singer was the leadership of her high school band director at Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, Massachusetts. “When I was 15, my high school band director received notice for the Grammy High School Jazz Ensembles – the jazz choir, the jazz band and the jazz combo. I auditioned for the choir,” SuCh says. The Ensembles were taking auditions from all over the US and Canada. SuCh explains that the winner would get a 10-day all-expensespaid trip to Los Angeles. The winner would record an album, perform in various jazz clubs, perform at the preGrammy nominee party and attend the Grammys. “So I auditioned, and back then, entries were on VHS,” SuCh says. “I auditioned and I made it. I was completely intimidated. I had never had voice lessons. I was just a girl who could sing. But it was so cool. It was literally hectic and crazy. We had rehearsals, performances; it was like a slice of a musician’s life,” SuCh explains. “I remember saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I could do this!’ I loved it.”

Physical Therapy Exercise Science. “I liked physical therapy, because I liked the one-on-one care with patients and clients. I liked building relationships with people.” In 2006 SuCh came to Denver from Chicago after directing and participating in several church choirs and praise teams. She was a physical therapist aid for a few years until one of her bosses suggested going into nursing. She went to Regis University and became a nurse.

When Tragedy Strikes

Detour on the Musical Journey

When SuCh came home from the Ensembles to the small town of Lancaster, Massachusetts, she decided to be a singer. She wanted to go to a performing arts high school. She pitched the idea to her parents with a PowerPoint presentation. “I did the whole presentation for them and they were like, ‘Naw, baby,’” SuCh says. “It wasn’t out of malice or anything; we just didn’t know people who did this. They were like, ‘We support your singing, but you got to have a legit profession.’ Ever since then I just thought of it as, this will be hobby. I’m not going to stop doing it. I guess it’s just not a viable career path.” SuCh originally thought of being a midwife, but said that would require a lot of school. So she went to college in California and got her degree in Pre-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


In 2010, Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake. This was one of the key factors that made SuCh jump from nursing into singing. “I went down there right after the earthquake and was in the trenches taking care of people who were extremely sick, who were missing limbs. It was serious,” SuCh says. SuCh realized how short life can be. Music was on her backburner, but it started coming forward and soon became front and center. “When tragedy strikes, a lot of things that you considered to be super important are no longer important. And things that you had forgotten about suddenly come to the forefront and music was one of those things. “I came back from Haiti with such a sense of clarity about things that I had never experienced any other time in my life. It was just such a great refreshing time,” SuCh continues. “Whenever I go to Haiti, I sleep like a baby. The people are so happy. They’re not rich. They probably have a tenth of possessions that people here have, but yet they’re filled with so much joy, and I think that’s what I took away from it.” SuCh’s trip to Haiti was so lifechanging on the inside that she wanted it to also be life-changing on the outside. She went to a barber to cut off all her hair. “I loved having no hair. It was like a fade.”

Enjoying the Ride

In 2012 SuCh released her first album, Stretch Marks. Continued on page 4

Denver Union Station Revenues Exceeding Projections Denver expects to pay loan off four years early

Revenues from Denver Union Station, the city’s multi-modal transit hub which reopened in 2014, have exceeded projections, allowing the City and County of Denver and RTD to refinance existing federal loans worth $300 million. The city’s loan structure will allow payoff several years ahead of schedule and save $10 million over the life of the loan. RTD’s new bonds will save them $6 million per year. Union Station development has been generating revenues in excess of projections and is currently at levels initially projected to be reached in 2022. In fact, all of the land around the Denver Union Station site is either under construction, completed or in planning stages. “With 100,000 commuters passing through it every day and the incredible economic and residential growth that has occurred around it, Denver Union Station has become one of our city’s greatest success stories,� Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “As the area continues to outperform growth projections, we are taking steps to ensure that we are saving taxpayer money by aggressively paying off our debt.� The city and RTD will split the $300 million remaining balance into a $197 million city loan with a 12-year term and 3.39% interest rate and RTD issued bonds generating proceeds of $94 million. The city expects to pay its loan off within eight years. At that time, it is projected that $31 million of annual tax revenue will proportionally return to the city, Denver Public Schools and the Denver Union Station Metro Districts. Dave Genova, RTD General Manager and CEO said, “As the title holder to Denver Union Station, RTD is grateful to be a member of such an innovative partnership. This refinancing proves yet again that our partnership has created an excellent caretaker of the public’s finances that are behind the amazing redevelopment of the facility and the surrounding area.� “On behalf of the Denver Union Station Project Authority Board of Directors (DUSPA), we are very proud

of this historic accomplishment,� said Elbra Wedgeworth, President of the DUSPA board. “DUSPA is comprised of civically minded volunteers who have dedicated themselves to working thousands of hours in collaboration to complete this multi-million-dollar project two years ago ahead of time, below budget, and now to provide the administratively efficient structure for these two loans to bring DUSPA’s work to its closure. For DUSPA, the Denver Union Station project is a national model for transportation, but more importantly, this is a legacy project for the people of Denver and Colorado.�

“The Denver Downtown Development Authority (DDA), in conjunction with the Denver Union Station Project Authority, was created to establish the financial structure for the area around Denver Union Station. They have been vital economic tools and created the opportunity for the tremendous growth that’s happened,� said Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hanlon. “As good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, we are capitalizing on the consistent and rapid growth around Denver Union Station to get a better interest rate and pay off our loans ahead of schedule.� .

Lost Your Joy?

Find it again at the

United Church of Montbello! Come as you are and get connected to your best self through great fellowship and the love of Jesus Christ! Sunday Worship: 8:00am (Traditional) and 10:30am (Gospel) 4VOEBZ4DIPPMBNr8FEOFTEBZ#JCMF4UVEZQN

Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., Pastor 4879 Crown Blvd., Denver, CO 80239 303-373-0070

Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship Featuring: Aishah Simmons March 26–27, 2017 For more information visit

SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2017 Community Keynote Speech 3–4:30 p.m. Location Shorter Community AME Church 3100 Richard Allen Court Denver, CO 80205

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2917


MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017 Campus Keynote Speech 12:30–1:45 p.m. Film Screening and Q&A 2–3:15 p.m. Location St. Cajetan’s, Auraria Campus 777 Lawrence St. Denver, CO 80204

SuCh’s Musical Journey

Can Why Wh W hy Settle Settttle for for Good, Good, When Whhen You W You Can B ecome D ynamic! Become Dynamic!

Continued from page 2 “I had no idea what I was doing – none whatsoever! My whole first album was recorded in my basement,” SuCh says. “And the thing is I’m so proud of it. It’s not up to par as far as the standards of recording, but I just knew that I needed to have something that people could critique – something so I could get better. SuCh explains that singers and artists want their work to be spotless and perfect. They hesitate on releasing anything because when the piece is created, it doesn’t come out as “perfect.” “So many times we, because we want everything to be perfect, don’t ever release anything because we want it to already be the perfect whatever,” continues SuCh. “But you have to understand, for you to get there you have to have material first.” SuCh explained why she called her first album, Stretch Marks. “It chronicled a period in my life where I felt like I was growing so much faster than I had time to catch up with. Stretch marks happen when there’s tons of growth over a small amount of time. I was just growing in ways I couldn’t have imagined.” In 2014, SuCh released her sophomore album, Trial and Error. Her hit, “Sugar Maple” soared to number one on the United Kingdom Soul Charts. Currently, SuCh is working on her third album with her band that will release this fall. SuCh was also bit by the acting bug when she played Celie in The Color Purple at the Aurora Fox Arts Center

Becoming Dynamic is for individuals ready to activate their potential and embrace the success that has always been there for the takkiing. The focus is on the ultimate, not the mundane—excellence without excuses, responsibility without compromise. “In coining the phrase ‘becoming dynamic,’ Elma has not only made success and leadership sound provocative, she has effectively created principles that all leaders, especially emerging ones, should follow.”

ISBN: 978-0-9972810-1-9 Softcover, 6”x9”, 138 pages Published by DII Press

—Dr. Ryan E. Ross, President and CEO, Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado

Elma Hairston is a national speaker known for her thought-provoking and highly interactive sessions, which have led to substantial change in the lives of youth, up-and-coming professionals and future executives. Her persona is fully chronicled in the About the Author section of the book.

On On Sale Sale Now Now

N www.dy

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


in 2013, which scored her the Henry Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and the Broadway World Awards for Best Actress and Best Acting Debut. She has also acted in Honda and Maven carsharing commercials.

Looking Forward

SuCh’s advice to aspiring singers is to enjoy the journey. “I think a lot of times people want to fastforward. Even I do it. But the reality is I think about people who, after they’ve won Grammys, after they’ve been featured in many movies, still do what they do because they love it. So it’s always been about the journey. “I think it’s really important to love what you do,” SuCh says, “and to understand that your story is your story, and be the best version of yourself that you can be. To not compare yourself or your story to other people’s because everybody’s journey is unique.”. Editor’s note: You can listen to SuCh’s music on her w e b s i t e ,, and buy her music on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify. She’s active on social media and will respond to messages. Facebook: @iAmSuch, Twitter: @SuCh, and Instagram: @IAmSuch

Denver Provides Welcome Mat for Immigrants and Refugees By Donna Garnett

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the Montbello Urban Spectrum Edition (MUSE) with permission from the publishers.

In the month since President

Donald Trump took the oath of office, he has issued a whirlwind of executive orders that, from the perspective of many, have thrown our country into a state of havoc. Let’s review three of those orders that have had a cruel and punishing impact on families around the country. But first, what is an executive order? An executive order issued by the President is a rule or order that has the force of law. Most often executive orders are issued as a means to fulfill campaign promises or as a way around Congress. Presidents since George Washington have used executive orders to act quickly to carry out their priorities. Donald Trump has certainly utilized the process to his advantage, but it should be noted that President Obama issued two more in his first three weeks in office than President Trump has. Congress is not required to approve an executive order but it also cannot overturn one. The only action Congress can take is to pass a law that stops funding for the implementation of the executive order. Of course, the President can veto that law. The judicial branch can declare an executive order unconstitutional. Three orders recently signed by the President are briefly described below. Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States Executive Order signed Jan. 25. This order outlines changes to a few immi-

gration policies, but most notably it strips federal grant money to so-called sanctuary cities. Additionally, the order authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to hire 10,000 more immigration officers, create a publicly available weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and review previous immigration policies. The order also calls on local and state law enforcement to detain or apprehend people who are in the U.S. illegally. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Executive Order signed Jan. 25. This order directs federal funding to be used in the construction of a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border. The order also calls for hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, building facilities to hold undocumented immigrants near the Mexican border and ending “catch-and-release” protocols, in which immigrants in the United States without documentation are not detained while they await court hearings. Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States Executive Order signed Jan. 27. This order suspends the entry of immigrants from seven Muslimmajority countries — Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia — for 90 days and stops all refugees from entering the country for 120 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely. On February 9, The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco upheld a temporary restraining order issued by a lower court that resulted in the travel ban being lifted. At this writing, that decision is still in effect but could change with additional executive orders or a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

So, what does all of this mean for Denver and the people who live here, many of whom have lived legally in this country for years? Mayor Michael Hancock, City Council members, and city and county agency heads continue to publicly espouse the same message; “immigrants and refugees are welcome here.” In a YouTube message to the community, Mayor Hancock said, “If being a sanctuary city means that we value taking care of one another, and welcoming refugees and immigrants, then I welcome the title.” The Mayor continued, “If being a sanctuary city means that our law enforcement officers are expected to do the work of federal immigration authorities, or violate the constitutional rights of any of our people, we reject that.” In a February community meeting at Place Bridge Academy, where hundreds of immigrants, refugees, and advocates filled the auditorium, Denver Police Chief White reiterated that DPD will not become immigration law enforcement in Denver. His statement was underscored by ACLU Legal Director, Mark Silverstein, who said that local law enforcement is not responsible for nor is it authorized to enforce immigration. Local government agencies and advocacy organizations are being inundated with hundreds of calls from people with questions about what the executive orders mean for them and their families. Marta Welch, Coordinator of Communications and Outreach at the Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, stated that “Refugees are extremely concerned and as a consequence, are basically keeping a low profile. Many of those who had been sharing their stories

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


publicly have been turning down new speaking opportunities. Several students from Spring Institute have reported that they have been emotionally impacted, are anxious about deportation and have many questions about legal status and documentation”. Since 1979, the Spring Institute has been serving people from all over the world, including the countries specifically named in the travel ban. Their adult education programs and advocacy efforts have helped thousands of families resettle in this country and in becoming productive, viable members of the community. What can immigrants and refugees do in light of this crisis? First and foremost, it is critical to know your rights and how to protect yourself. Every individual in this country has civil rights regardless of legal status. However, regardless of legal status, Joy Athanasiou of the American Immigration Lawyers Association urges immigrants to consult an immigration lawyer. Pro bono legal assistance is available to those who cannot afford to pay for legal services. Finally, it is imperative that those of us whose lives are not in jeopardy take a stand and reach out to our foreign neighbors. This is the time to get to know folks who are residents of the same communities in which we live. Get to know them, share a meal, volunteer in resettlement and post-resettlement agencies, attend rallies and community forums, speak up. . Editor’s note: For more information regarding resources to help immigrants and refugees in Denver, contact Denver Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs at 720913-8471 or visit

Just What the Congressional Black Caucus Should Say to Trump By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

At his recent combative press

conference, Trump raised eyebrows and hackles with his answer to a Black reporter who demanded to know when he would meet with the Congressional Black Caucus. Trump abruptly tossed it back to her and cavalierly asked if she could arrange it. It was a galling presumption and a variation on the old racist crack, “Well they’re Black so they must all know each other.” It was even more galling to presume that a Capitol Hill beat reporter could simply pick up the phone and arrange a meeting with a group of congressional leaders. But that was Trump. And notwithstanding him being who he is, almost certainly he will eventually meet with the Caucus. His showy, worthless, photo-op meetings with a handful of handpicked Black entertainers, preachers, and washed up athletes have worn thin. So, if for no other reason than to keep up the façade that he wants to hear what blacks have to say about his administration and policy issues, he’ll meet with the Caucus. The question is what will he say to them and more importantly what will the Caucus say to him? A few days after the election, last November, Trump scribbled a few policy points on paper dealing with what purports to be a “black agenda.” It was mostly a warmed over, conservative mish mash of talk about combatting urban crime, boosting business, stopping illegal immigration, cutting taxes, and expanding charter schools and vouchers. Nearly every one of his policy

points are anathema to most CBC members. Their opposition is based on much more than just the deep racial polarization Trump has done more than any presidential candidate in living memory to fan. It’s also about party loyalty and two wildly divergent political world views. The Congressional Black Caucus’s loyalty to the Democratic Party has been unshakeable for four decades. It has backed and often taken the lead in the fight for every piece of substantive legislation on education, health, employment, and even foreign policy that has had major impact on the nation’s well-being. The Caucus has refused to be bullied, badgered, and steam-rolled by the GOP. It has prodded, cajoled, exhorted, and rallied black voters to keep the faith with the Democratic Party, despite the monumental sense of apathy, alienation and even hostility from many black voters that the Democrats have been weak, tepid, and at times non-existent when it comes to fighting for Black interests. In the Trump era, the CBC will be more than just ornamental window dressing. Democrats will need the CBC to play a key role in holding the line in Congress against Trump and the GOP’s assault on Obamacare, voting rights protections, and job and education program funding. Democrats will also need the Caucus to play an even more aggressive role in revving up the party’s AfricanAmerican base for the 2018 mid-term election and to gain or at least not lose any more Democratic congressional seats.

This means next to nothing to Trump. But what does mean something is what, if any, political advantage he can get out of trying to neutralize the Caucus and making at least some of its members less pugnacious in hammering him. The two points that even remotely offer any semblance of a negotiating chip between him and the Caucus would be on jobs and how to create more of them in inner city neighborhoods and his bold declaration that he believes in and wants to promote equal justice under the law. The Caucus will have to revamp an argument that it repeatedly used with former President Obama and that that’s to do more, spend more, and create more job and skills training programs that target the one group that has chronically suffered more than any other group from poverty and unemployment, and that’s young African-American males. The Caucus can tie that directly into poverty and pariah status of young Black males in America’s economy. This has fueled the very crime and violence that Trump rails against in Chicago and other inner city areas. They’ll have to tell him that his saber rattle threat to send the feds into Chicago to quash the murder violence

there won’t do anything to solve the problem as long as young black males are jobless, rootless, alienated, and embittered, and see gangs, guns, drugs, and murder as the only outlet for that anger and frustration. The Caucus could also demand that Trump do something that he absolutely refused to do during the campaign. And that’s to go to an impoverished big city Black neighborhood and listen to what the residents have to say about crime, police abuse, and joblessness. And do it in the company not of his handpicked Blacks, but members of the Caucus. Sound farfetched, of course, but it really shouldn’t for a President who did publicly say that he wants to be President of all the people. The Caucus can remind him of this and demand that he act like the President he claims he wants to be. He can start by meeting with the Caucus and listening to what it has to say. . Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of In Scalia’s Shadow: The Trump Supreme Court (Amazon Kindle). He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.

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A Healing Place For The

Mind, Body and Soul By Allan Tellis


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enerally in America, and Black America specifically, alternative and preventative healthcare have been neglected as a priority, and also as a necessity. The Healing Garden (THG is working to correct that type of problematic thinking and hopes to expand on their current work by continuing to fill that gaping void in the community’s consciousness. THG offers an educational space where the comRhonda munity will be provided with information about natural health remedies and therapies that can be implemented in both a healing and preventative capacity.

Coleman as she will be receiving her doctorate in Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine in June, also believes in the power and capability of natural healing. “Almost anything can be cured with herbs” she says as she described some of the internal medicine practices used to treat her patients. She also provides acupuncture Coleman, L.Ac. and Dr. Tracy Jones, D.C. services that come with a laundry lists of benefits includexcitement. This will serve all who ing, better circulation, stress reduction, want to participate, even if finances and anxiety relief. Coleman, also a cermay be a factor. An Indiegogo camtified massage therapist, also assists paign is underway to raise capital to patients with nutritional plans to help help attain their dream. them reach their highest physical Dr. Tracey Jones, D.C., one of the THG, a nonprofit charitable organipotential. She takes pride in working community partners and provider, is zation serving Far NE Denver includwith children; helping to form quality especially adept in restoring patients ing Aurora, Montbello, and Green habits to help create successful adults. involved in car accidents with her Valley Ranch, hopes to acquire a largThis area of child development is business, Jamaa Health and Healing er facility to provide services to aid often overlooked, but extremely beneChiropractic. She is a strong believer the community in both physical and ficial. in taking steps to help the body heal spiritual development. A larger faciliThese two African American itself in the most natural process posty will have the ability to provide women, looking to help strengthen access to quality services such as yoga sible. She says, “If your mind is in a their community by providing quality chaotic place, your body cannot propand meditation to communities who alternative healing practices met erly heal.” She helps her clients with are not accustomed to or have never insurance issues and other types of sit- through a mutual client. While Jones’s been exposed to these types of pracfacility had recently closed and she uations that can affect their mental tices. As a nonprofit and still in the was looking for a new space to continstate. In addition to providing spinal process of finalization, THG will offer ue her work, simultaneously Coleman adjustments and physical therapy, Dr. payments on a sliding scale of income was looking for more practitioners to Jones’ services helping clients with to increase affordability and assistance help fill space at her current location. nutritional plans, administering soft to the community. Thus a connection blossomed between tissue treatments, and providing cusDr. Tracey Jones and Rhonda two women who believed in the Coleman looks forward to community tom orthotics for those looking to be power of natural healing and also proactive in health maintenance and engagement to include all faculty believe that women have a special correct structural imbalances. donating resources and time to the ability to provide healing services in Co-founder of THG Rhonda center in order to foster an atmosthe community. Coleman, L.Ac., and soon to be Dr. phere of inclusion, acceptance and Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


Jones and Coleman both realize that creating a change in how a community takes care of themselves is paramount. One brief look at African American health statistics displays the gravity of the situation. “The responsibility is on us to repair our own health because it has become quite clear – no one else can or will take the initiative for us,” says Jones. “The issues reinforcing the negative health predicament range from racism to socio-economic conditions and can only be combatted by an intentional and sustained effort on our past to become a healthier community.” Both Jones and Coleman agree that the first place to begin with is education; and without the proper knowledge it is difficult to even begin the work of resolving current health crises. “The need for us to become more aware of how to implement healthy diets is important and just simply gaining knowledge of alternative practices can greatly improve our lifestyles. We so often have bad habits that put us into the hands of health care practitioners that are only trained to react and treat symptoms through harsh medications. We, however, should focus on preventative work and creating habits that will allow us to sustain exceptional mental and

physical health over the course of a lifetime,” says Coleman. In addition to the mental and physical benefits THG provides, it is equally important to look at the commitment to the economic health of communities. Supporting small and local business like THG keeps dollars in the communities they serve for the enrichment of the people and presents a great opportunity to practice self-care. Jones and Coleman encourage clients to look at themselves holistically and delve deeper into how their emotions can also affect their health. Coleman cited from a study that showed high blood pressure can be linked to perceived racism as an illustration of how environmental stresses can contribute to poor health. “Stressed mothers give birth to prematurely stressed babies which can create generational issues; which we must work to undue if we would like to progress towards healthier families. We are ill-served by only remedying the symptoms of our ailments instead of as they put it “take a holistic approach to clear up our root issues,” says Coleman. Jones and Coleman firmly believe in the power of human touch and that a more intimate and personal connection can aid all patients in the healing process. The ancestral roots of how

human touch can provide healing are undeniable and often overlooked in today’s medical practices. Practitioners at THG believe that healthier people are of great benefit to the larger community, case in point – you rarely see issues created by happy and healthy people. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both the individual and the community to go about the work of creating and sustaining happy and healthy community members. It is important to get educated and stop accepting poor health conditions as a normal state of affairs in the African American community. Dr. Tracey Jones and Rhonda Coleman says, “we must take our history back and get a better understanding of who we are and what we are capable of accomplishing. Our current state of ignorance is unacceptable and is currently limiting our potential.” As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we as a community should go out of our way and be grateful to be able to participate and support a project like The Healing Garden, so we can continue to heal our community.. Editor’s note: For more information on the Healing Garden, visit or call 720-900-4325. To help support the capital Indiegogo campaign, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


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he Denver Police Department has begun discussion based on a new “Tactical Use of Force” draft that was released in January. This is the latest step in many, as Police Chief Robert White, continues his mission of “changing the culture of the department. It is no secret that the department has been highly scrutinized over the years, and has had tumultuous relationship with the Denver community. The DPD has been marred by questions regarding excessive force. The city has been forced to pay well over $20 million since 2004, simply settling with citizens over policing mistakes not only in public, but in the penal system too. Chief White, who arrived at the department five years ago, says he’s instilling a change in the department that will redirect its course, as well as its community relationship. On Feb. 4, the department held a community meeting in order to gauge what people thought about the draft and whether amendments were needed. This was the third of three meetings relating to the draft. The public has been concerned with the lack of community involvement the police were allowing, especially in terms of crafting policy. The meeting took place at the Red Shield Center, 2915 High St, in a packed gymnasium at which both Chief White and a Denver deputy sheriff hosted. White and the deputy supplied community members with copies of the draft, and a condensed version highlighting the main points of each section. The three-hour meeting began with a presentation from Chief White explaining DPD force policy, and his

Denver’s “Top Cop” Outlines Proposed “Use of Force” Policy at Community Meeting By Alan Tellis

vision for changing a “progressive police department.” This was followed by questions from the audience and a break down into small groups where suggestions could be submitted to strengthen the policy. Chief White says takes responsibility for being in charge of the department and considers it his personal duty to continue to change the conditions and attitudes within the force. He wants to make sure all officers are accountable, and held to an extremely high standard that goes beyond their basic obligations. He would like to make sure that these

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standards are upheld internally and ring true through every rung of the police hierarchy. He says, “All officers need to be making sure their actions are legal, necessary, appropriate and reasonable.” Anytime an officer cannot clearly articulate why their actions do hold up against the merits of these standards, White says, they should be punished swiftly and justly. These standards become even more crucial if force is involved, especially in cases where it leads to significant bodily harm or fatal injuries. Chief White says he wants to raise the bar on officers, and sometimes he feels as if he is met with resistance in his efforts to create and maintain a progressive police department. In a liberal leaning city like Denver transparency is a must and focusing on fairness is paramount said an attendee. Others felt that in comparison to states with similar demographics such as Washington, Colorado has a much higher propensity to have police shootings especially involving minorities. These types of issues and other abuses of power have created a deep mistrust between the department and the people they protect and serve. This is a wound Chief White hopes to heal by having opportunities these series of meetings, which allows the community to both listen and be heard. White acknowledged that the department has made some mistakes over the years, but we must move forward in a more positive direction he says.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


The new “Use of Force” draft was developed through police officials hosting hundreds of meetings and speaking with thousands of people throughout Denver to get a sample of what people wanted and needed from the police regarding use of force. The policy, however, is still a draft with much potential for fine-tuning as it has been highly scrutinized by the media and members of the community. Many community members in attendance were concerned with who are the people contributing to the drafting of the policy? The felt as though influential members in the community should have been given more say in the initial crafting phases of the draft. There was strong push back on much of the language in document, many finding it too vague and concerned that this would always lean towards the authority of the officer. The draft contains words such as “justified” and “reasonable,” which left many feeling officers would too easily be able to articulate why they were righteous in their actions and the public would be left defenseless, because they would have the backing of the policy. Several lawyers in attendance were disappointed and unsatisfied with the language in the policy, and they would feel comfortable with it being finalized until that was changed. People also voiced concerns over the policy being a smoke and mirrors ploy that would not solve any of the deeper issues plaguing the relationship between the public and the police. Issues such as gentrification and poorly trained officers cannot be resolved by simply putting out a new use of force agreement. Several people attending the meeting said the police make them feel less safe and have they no regards for the rights as citizens. Chief White acknowledged their concerns, but was wary of the relationship between the community and the police becoming overly combative thus counter-productive. Almost everyone agreed that the monitor was a great institution and spoke of it glowing terms. One older Denver resident said, “He had the utmost faith and respect for the independent monitor.” It is, however, still up to us, the public, to hold officials accountable, and it is reassuring to know that Chief White is interested in listening and closing the gap between the people and the police. .

Traveling Back In Women’s History Musically Linda Theus-Lee Performs Lena Horne and Nina Simone

Lena Horne once said “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s how

you carry it.” Singers Lena Horne, Nina Simone and Linda Theus-Lee all have different methods to carrying their respective loads but each are able to do so in extraordinary fashion. They are women of vision, who are able to effect change in the world by producing art that allows their audience to experience the life in new and profound ways. They coveted freedom as the most admirable quality one can possess and have made that clear through both their music and their lifestyles. They love and revere the color of their skin but are also able to see through the exterior into the deeper components of the human soul. They have a keen awareness of the human condition which makes us all so similar, and allows us to connect on principals that ring true for every type of person and circumstance. Their gifts allow them to have a tremendous impact on people’s lives and they all have used their power to further empower those around them. Linda Theus-Lee believes one of her greatest responsibilities given with her gifts is to empower those around her to become the greatest version of themselves. This belief is demonstrated in her upcoming performance of Lena, Nina and Me at the Clocktower Cabaret this month. And although there are clear differences between Horne, Simone and Theus-Lee, it is their commonalities that make this show so conceptually fascinating. They all come from different generations as Horne was born in 1917, Simone was born in 1933 and TheusLee obviously is contemporary of the modern era, which gives them different context for their music and styles. Horne’s talents were multi-faceted as she was able to master dancing, acting and singing in her career as a showwoman. Simone however, was trained as a classical pianist and is known for her signature vocal sound. These-Lee is also a well learned artist and has extraordinary vocal abilities making her a great candidate to represent the music of both artists. Theus-Lee looks to channel the visions of both artist in order to give the public greater insight into how shockingly similar, but distinctly separated these women are. She will also contribute some of her original music to further illustrate the cohesion between their artistry. “The stirring story that I will tell

By Allan Tellis

Sick Transmission? We have your

they are able to get messages out so poignantly and effectively through music. One of the things that allow TheusLee to keep up the good fight of perfecting her craft and thus affecting the world is putting God first. “This is the foremost step in crafting yourself into what you’re capable of becoming. We always must work to improve ourselves and embrace our lives as a journey where we must continue to cultivate our strengths and not become overwhelmed by our weaknesses,” she says. She believes that we must learn to ‘value and love ourselves’ noting that we have so much potential once we begin to realize our own selfworth. “Without being able to identify our own worth, we place people with the impossible tasks of defining that for us,” she says. . Editor’s note: “Lena, Nina & Me” will be performed on March 12 at the Clocktower Cabaret (in downtown) on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, visit www.LindaTheus

through song and narration, will reflect the richness of these 2 women’s lives and their struggles with segregation and finding their voice through their artistry. It will be a glimpse of the music that they played, sung, lived and created. I feel so blessed to present their stories, as it has presented me with fresh ideas, a new paradigm of life, and musical transformation,” says Theus-Lee The road to success has never been easy and no group of people can testify to that more convincingly than Black women in America. Horne, Simone and Theus-Lee were placed in boxes and told they were incapable of living their truths. They however fought through this oppression and came out even stronger on the other side. Theus-Lee believes strongly in the power of this lesson “I encourage everyone to educate themselves – and education comes in many different forms,” she says who received her masters from the University of Colorado Denver and has used her education as a means to further develop her identity as an individual and a musician. “Education creates an empowerment that allows people to feel they have greater agency and competence, especially when fighting against oppression,” says Theus-Lee. These three women had the confidence and ability to stand up for their people and speak truth directly to power. Despite the best effort of those trying to silence her Nina Simone performed songs like “Young, Gifted and Black,” and spoke on the conditions African Americans faced in Mississippi and elsewhere in the country. Lena Hone was also a staunch advocate for civil rights in her day, and only became more prolific as she aged. Artists have always had a special place in the Black community as

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


McDonald Owner/Operator Has Ketchup In His Veins

Local Denver area McDonald’s owner/operator John Ritchey likes to say he has ‘ketchup in his veins.’ Ritchey’s father was a 25-year McDonald’s corporate employee who started as a restaurant manager in 1981 and in 1997 purchased his first two McDonald’s restaurants in Sacramento, CA. With a bit of a rebellious streak, 15-year-old Ritchey found himself in some trouble at the time and facing either juvenile hall or community service/probation with some hefty fines. Ritchey’s father offered him a position in one of his restaurants and for the next two years he worked hard, making enough money to pay off his fines. During this time, Ritchey fell in love with McDonald’s and continued working for his father throughout high school and college. Moving through the ranks, Ritchey became a general manager and started on his Masters degree in 2005. Two days a week he worked ‘normal hours’ and the other three days he worked the overnight shift and went to school in the evening. After receiving his Masters degree in 2006, Ritchey started his training in the McDonald’s owner/operator program, graduating in 2009 as an approved McDonald’s owner/operator. After Ritchey’s father passed away from a battle with cancer, the family sold their California restaurants and Ritchey purchased two McDonald’s restaurants in the Denver area in 2015. His vision for his future did not originally include a big move, but four distinct seasons – with a lot of sunshine – and genuinely nice people have convinced him how great it is to live in Denver. After all of the hard work and success Ritchey has experienced, he has a hard time when people describe working at McDonald’s as a merely a ‘McJob.’ “McDonald’s is a place of opportunity. I have seen people go from part time work to 35-year careers. I have employees who started not knowing any English to working their way through McDonald’s ranks to become general managers and supervisors with a great handle on the language,” said Ritchey. “McDonald’s is a place where any motivated person who is willing to work hard can make their dreams come true!”

McDonald’s owner/operator John Ritchey with crew Ritchey currently owns four local McDonald’s restaurants in Edgewater, at Federal and Jewell in Denver, at Arapahoe and I-25 in Greenwood Village and on Holly and County Line in Centennial. He employs 280 people and is part of McDonald’s Denver Coop which includes 200 restaurants in the region that support a variety of community-based organizations like Ronald McDonald House Charities, Colorado Parent Teacher Association, One Book 4 Colorado Preschool Literacy Program through the Colorado Governor & Lt. Governor’s offices, Jefferson County PTA, Jefferson County Public Library District, Young Ameritowne/Young Americans Center for Financial Education, Stories on Stage: Cuentame un Cuentito, La Raza Educational Program and the EspeciallyMe organization. Ritchey is currently sponsoring a reading program at Edgewater Elementary School, providing meals to students who reach reading goals every week. In addition, he sponsors and contributes to Edgewater High School spring sports, Cherry Creek High School football, Highlands Ranch High School football, Boy Scout troops, area churches, senior organizations and other community-based organizations. Ritchey is also actively seeking schools near his restaurants to participate in McTeacher’s Night fundraisers in which schools or organizations come into the restaurant for an allotted amount of time to work behind the counter and drive thru and

are awarded with a percentage of the sales. Ritchey is also dedicated to furthering the education and careers of his own crew in his restaurants through McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity education assistance and reimbursement program. For example, one of his managers is taking free online high school classes. As a young, single mom, she did not have the opportunity to finish high school. She’s now able to take these classes because of the flexibility and ease of use this program offers. Ritchey takes healthy eating and activity very seriously. He’s a diabetic and crossfit/fitness enthusiast who eats McDonald’s six days a week. For decades, McDonald’s has provided nutritional information for their menu items which can be found on the McDonalds Web site. As an owner/operator, he’s also proud of the improvements McDonald’s has made to many menu items. “McDonald’s has the highest quality ingredients in the industry and purchases many of the same real ingredients from the brands that customers recognize and find in their own grocery stores, just in a larger quantity,” said Ritchey. “We do a good job of listening to consumers and what they want for their families, like serving 100 percent white meat chicken breast and 100 percent USDA-inspected pure beef.” Other updates include the removal of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors from its iconic Chicken

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


McNuggets. Across its breakfast menu, the pork sausage patties and omelet-style eggs served on McGriddles, Bagel and Biscuit breakfast sandwiches, along with the scrambled eggs on its breakfast platters, also now have no artificial preservatives. McDonald’s buns no longer contain high fructose corn syrup, including the buns used on Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Filet-O-Fish and McChicken sandwiches. The Artisan roll introduced in 2015 never contained high fructose corn syrup. By 2020, McDonald’s says it’s committed to reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations. McDonald’s also made a major commitment last year to only serve chicken that is not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine and they are nearly a year ahead of schedule. They are also transitioning to cage-free eggs with more than 12 million cage-free eggs purchased each year in the U.S. With approximately 2 billion eggs sourced in the U.S. annually, McDonald’s will source ALL cage-free eggs for its restaurants in the U.S. and Canada by 2025. “I am so excited about the future of McDonald’s, my future with McDonald’s and working to better the communities where my restaurants are located,” said Ritchey. Editor’s note: For more information or to contact John Ritchey, email or visit one of his locations to speak to him.

Celebrate with US! POWER•30

... more today, than yesterday... 1987 Denver Urban Spectrum 2017

In April, Denver Urban Spectrum will celebrate 30 years of spreading the news about people of color. As the premiere award-winning publication for Colorado’s communities of color, we want to thank our supporters and recognize those who have helped us along the way as we present “Power 30…more today than yesterday.” On Wednesday, April 26, a kick-off reception will be held at the Clocktower Cabaret in downtown Denver when we present a video on the Spectrum’s 30-year history, recognize our 2017 African Americans Who Make A Difference, and announce our 15 Power 30 couples. On Saturday, May 13, we will host a luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel and recognize our 15 Power 30 couples through videos where they reflect on their relationships with the Denver Urban Spectrum.

June through September will be filled with new media platforms, comedy, a family festival and a new place to relax. These upcoming events are designed to help sustain the work of the Denver Urban Spectrum for many more years to come, with plans to provide the community with “more today than yesterday, but more importantly, so much more for tomorrow.”

Sponsorship, volunteer and participation opportunities are available!

If you want to be part of one or all of these events, or want more information, we want to hear from you. Please call 303-292-6446 or email


Ground Rules

Must See............llll It’s Worth A Look.....lll See At Your Own Risk.ll Don’t Bother.....................l

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Khaleel Herbert is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Laurence Washington is the creator of Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter

ing speeches during turbulent times and chaotic incidents. Some of Obama’s speeches were carefully planned, while others were written under pressure in the back of the presidential limousine. Through it all, Obama the wordsmith, wrote or approved every paragraph, sentence and word in his speeches. “Someday there will be the collected speeches of Barack Obama,” says historian Douglas Brinkley, “and I think they’ll tell us more about our hopes, dreams, aspirations and dark realities than any other document to represent that era.”


The Obama Years: The Power of Words

Editor’s note: The Obama Years: The Power Of Words premiered on Smithsonian Channel on Monday, February 27, 2017


arrator, actor and producer Jesse Williams reminds us that Barack Obama is as good of a writer, as he was our 44th Commander in Chief in the Smithsonian Channel documentary The Obama Years: The Power of Words. The hour-long presentation punctuates the fact that as president, Barack Obama delivered more than 3,500 speeches that stirred and inspired a nation for eight years. Williams defines Obama as “writerin-chief,” and highlights many of the former president’s speeches including his speech after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, to his inspiring speech at the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge, to his farewell address in his hometown of Chicago. The program offers insight and behind-the-scenes look at Obama’s thought process when crafting a speech in longhand (Obama writes everything in longhand), to editing drafts written by his speechwriters Jon Favreau and Cody Keenan. There are also interviews and commentary by historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley, and Obama’s key advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod. Several highlights include young state senator Obama’s keynote address during the 2004 Democratic Convention that upstaged presidential candidate hopeful John Kerry, to writ-

Fifty Shades Darker lll By Khaleel Herbert

akota Johnson and Jamie Dornan continue to create sparks as Anastasia and Christian in Fifty Shades Darker. Fifty Shades Darker begins with Christian, a wealthy businessman, and Ana, an assistant to an editor at a publishing company, meeting at a restaurant. He wants to get back together with her, saying there are no rules or conditions. She hesitates, but she can’t resist him. After their romantic alone-time, Ana starts running into Christian’s exgirlfriends. One is Leila (Bella Heathcote). Christian dumped her after they dated awhile and she

The Comedian

moved away. She got married, but her husband died in a car accident. Leila appears outside Ana’s office, looking desperate for a tan and shower with her grotesquely pale skin and homeless appearance. The second woman on the list is Elena (Kim Basinger). Ana meets her at Christian’s masquerade ball. She says Christian will tire of Ana and move on to another woman. She advises her to end the relationship now. While Ana deals with Christian’s previous women, Christian confronts losing his mother to cocaine addiction as a young child and his other psychological issues. Christian is commanding and controls all the women he knows like they’re his pets. And the kicker is they obey him, without even thinking about it! He even goes as far as keepFifty Shades Darker

ing Ana from going to New York with her boss, Jack (Eric Johnson). Ana does obey him in certain instances, but most of the time she doesn’t, which bothers Christian (and is funny to watch). Fifty Shades Darker is an amped-up love story. With the explicitly intimate scenes, it still has a story. If you think about it, Fifty Shades is really a rendition of Beauty and the Beast. Christian hides his dark side in his wealth and pursuance of beautiful women. But when Ana steps in, she tames him and makes him a better person. He can’t live without her and she can’t live without him. There are suspense scenes that should have been expanded. The film could have been 20 minutes shorter, but was still good. Like the Marvel movies, stick around during the credits because there’s a big surprise.


For a chance to receive FREE movie passes and information on other community events, join WAG (Weekly Advertising Guide) by sending your email address to Put WAG in the subject line. Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


The Comedian No Stars

By Khaleel Herbert

obert De Niro trades in his serious face for a funnier one in The Comedian. Niro plays Jackie Burke, an oldtime comedian from a popular sitcom. When the sitcom ended, Burke transitioned to standup comedy and has performed in countless cities. He returns to New York City to give a show at a small comedy club. After getting in a fight with a member of the audience, Burke is sentenced to 30 days in prison and 100 hours of community service. While working at the local soup kitchen and cracking bad pilgrim jokes, he meets Harmony Schiltz (Leslie Mann), a fellow convict who is serving 250 hours for assaulting her ex-boyfriend. Burke feels bad when Schiltz says she is having a terrible day. He takes her out to a comedy club, where he shows off his on-the-cusp comedy. Then he asks her to attend his niece’s wedding as his “wingman,” after his


Criminal Minds, Key & Peele and Grace & Frankie. “With so many grievances and so much going on within certain communities, it was important for me that a show like this be so we can take a look at some of the stuff we are dealing with. This is a different way and a different approach to law enforcement. There are a lot of cop shows, but what I like about our show is that it’s procedural and what our show does is ask if we can try something different. What if we had the financial means and we could use that for the benefit of all people in the community. This show opens the door to have that discussion.”

Ernie Hudson

brother Jimmy (Danny DeVito) and his wife, Florence (Pattie LuPone) heckle him for never keeping in touch. The Comedian is supposed to be a comedy, but there are only a few scenes that are funny. Some of Burke’s jokes went too far that they became disturbingly unfunny. A few of these jokes included him picking on his niece for being a lesbian, saying his father molested Jimmy and found Jackie unattractive, and saying pilgrims would have sex with turkeys instead of eating them. Billy Crystal was funnier, appearing on screen for only a few minutes. My photojournalism professor is funnier than Jackie Burke. The few good jokes from Burke included picking on a man with a face like Donald Trump and calling Flo an 800-pound gorilla. The plot fell flat when Jackie and Harmony had a romantic fling and she ran away to Florida with her father, Mac (Harvey Keitel). Either Niro should stick to his serious roles or work with better comedic writers. The Comedian was far from funny and as Jackie described in a song he sang with senior citizens at a retirement home, this movie was a load of “poopie!”

Ernie Hudson: There’s Nothing Like It Out There

By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photos courtesy of Fox


t’s nearly impossible to scroll through your television channels without coming across a cop show. As evidence indicates, there’s a huge thirst for the genre. “It was all about cowboys when I was a kid and suddenly it became about a lot of police,” says 71-year-old

AAFCA Awards 2017: Eight Most Memorable Moments

Ernie Hudson, who plays a police captain in Fox’s “APB,” the latest cop drama to air on television. “I think we are all concerned with crime and what’s going in the communities.” A series inspired by the New York Times Magazine article “Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans” by David Amsden, “APB” follows an eccentric billionaire engineer (played by Justin Kirk) who after witnessing the murder of his best friend takes charge of the troubled Chicago Police Department with an aim to turn into the city’s most advanced district. The cast includes Natalie Martinez, Caitlin Stasey, Taylor Handley, Tamberla Perry and Nestor Serrano. “It’s a show about policing and about some new ideas and there isn’t anything like it out there now,” adds Hudson whose character Ned Conrad is a skeptical police captain. “He’s a guy who has been around a long time and has seen a breakdown of community policing. He is looking forward to retirement and this creative guy with all these ideas comes in,” Hudson explains. “Most of the department hates the thought of this. He is skeptical, but also sees the possibility that this could work as he knows we need change and sees this as an opportunity to make a direct difference himself.” With high-tech tools and crimetracking apps, it’s a series which shows how advanced technology can be applied to old-fashioned police work. For Hudson who is well known for his role in the 1984 feature film Ghostbusters, and this past year’s new version of Ghostbusters, that sets it apart from the norm of existing cop dramas. “Fox came to me and said ‘we like your work and we want to work with you.’ That meant a lot as that does not always happen in this business,” adds the actor who has a long list of television credits that includes Oz, Law & Order, Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy,

By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photos by Sheri Determan

AAFCA co-founder Shawn Edwards and Janelle Monae Courtesy of AAFCA

The 8th annual AAFCA awards – a.k.a. Hollywood’s Black Oscars – took place at the Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles last month. Bigger, better and bolder, it was everything we’d come to expect from this prolific organization, which celebrates achievements in film and television. There were a plenty of applauses, several non-surprises, standing ovations, some witty commentary and grandiose speeches.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


1. Last year was a historic year for black film with blacks excelling in all facets of film and television production. AAFCA’s Breakout Performance winner, Janelle Monáe, touched on the importance of her accolade with an impassioned speech, dedicating her award to the characters she portrayed in films Hidden Figures and Moonlight. 2. Vanguard Award recipient, director Lee Daniels, made no qualms about his quest to tell stories of the Black experience. “I just do what I do,” said the Empire and Star TV series Helmer. “Often times I get in trouble for it, but I don’t care. I care about one thing, which is telling stories that matter.” 3. Disney’s Zootopia co-director Byron Howard received the AAFCA award for Best Animated film of 2016 and shared insights on the making of the charming and delightful 3D animated film. 4. Several standing ovations for Moonlight movie director Barry Jenkins who received a Best Director nod. The film, a firm favorite with AAFCA members, earned multiple awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. 5. A moving segment celebrating the 50thAnniversary release of the Stanley Kramer’s groundbreaking 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and a deserving Inaugural Icon Award for its leading man Sidney Poitier. 6. Clips of the African American Film Critics Association’s top 10 films of 2016, which included Lion, The Birth of a Nation and Manchester by the Sea. 7. Actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., introducing the trailer to the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me to gasps and cheers from an appreciative audience on his uncanny resemblance to deceased rapper. The film releases in June. 8. A standing ovation for the engaging series Queen Sugar, which grabbed the top TV award of 2016. .

Denver’s Own...



o the native Coloradan, Dotsero

can mean one of two things: the city

west of Denver just east of Glenwood Springs and home of the cinderblock

factory, or the high-energy, edgy, soul-

ful and dynamic Colorado-born jazz

band. Brothers Stephen and David Watts have been on the music scene for more than 32 years as the core members and founders of Dotsero. The five-piece band includes Stephen, a saxophonelead; David, electric guitar; Ronneka Cox, keyboards; Charles Peterson, drums; and Bryan Gordon, bass. To the Colorado music enthusiast, Dotsero translates to superb, homegrown talent. The national scene has accredited the band with two No. 1 records in the Contemporary Jazz category. Band leader and co-founder Stephen Watts began his music career at the tender age of 13, tirelessly practicing with his leased rent-to-own saxophone from Flesher-Hinton Music Co. by his supportive parents, Virginia and Orval Watts. Rent-to-own was a great concept back in the day when music and the arts was a priority in public school systems, allowing students to try

before they buy. It wasn’t long before the school system paid attention to Watts. His participation with the City Wide High School Jazz Band and the Career Education Center Jazz Combo earned him the Downbeat Student recording award and Best Jazz Soloist in 1980 for United States and Canada. He continued on to the University of Colorado graduating with a BS music degree in Music Composition where he began scoring and arranging. After graduation, Watts aspired to move to Los Angeles as a studio musician. Plans changed quickly as the new hot and exciting band Dotsero was gaining momentum. Brother David and high school friend Michael Friedman (bass) convinced him to stay, performing live and creating a scene in Denver. And that they did, performing tirelessly worldwide, crisscrossing the national and local scenes, releasing 14 CDs to date. Dotsero remains a constant in the game and loved by many who have embraced their original songs and unique style over the years. With 32 years in the music game, it is a constant for Watts who says, “The love for music has the power to move people emotionally. Our longevity . . . well it snuck up, but cannot be denied or taken away.”

The most difficult to endure is “the dog-eat-dog, disingenuous nature of the music industry,” he says. “What would I tell a 13-year-old young person with their rent-to-own saxophone?” Watts asks. “Decide if you’re in love with the music or simply seduced by the lifestyle. Choose your path from there. Don’t compromise your morals or character to achieve the latter. “My new goals are to witness to recovery groups, church groups, prison ministries, colleges, community support groups simultaneously broadcasting the good news of God’s Kingdom worldwide,” said the accomplished jazz musician who is currently working in the studio on a collaboration CD of contemporary Christian music. As a testament to his new goals, Watts proudly hosts a live streaming internet radio show focusing on recovery, substance abuse disorder, and living a Christian lifestyle which airs each Sunday at 10 p.m. MST at . Editor’s note: Dotsero can be seen live at Jazz @ Jacks in downtown Denver and various festivals throughout the 2017 season. For more information, visit or email Stephen Watts at

The Clocktower Cabaret proudly presents a little bit of history. The extraordinary vocals of Linda Theus-Lee performing the music of

Lena, Nina, & Me Sunday, March 12, 2017 Doors Open: 6 PM - Showtime: 7 PM

The Clocktower Cabaret, 1601 Arapahoe St., Downtown Denver Tickets: $15 Advance; $20 Door - Box Office: 303-293-0075 For more information:

Musicians: Dr. Walter Barr - Trumpet; Jeff Fournier - Bass; Ben Makinen - Drums; James Torres - Piano; Ron Wright - Saxophone & Flute

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


Turning the Page to PG 6IX


arell Martin was born with music in his blood. Raised in the church and from a family of singers and musicians, he found his love for the drums at a very early age. He sat down at his first drum set at age three, went out on his first tour at 11, and at age 13 he began recording. Now a producer and freelance performer for multiple big names in the industry, he resides in Denver and finds himself in a leadership role as founder and CEO of Tmar Entertainment and band leader and founder of what is now one of the hottest and most sought-after live bands in Colorado PG 6IX (pronounced Page Six). PG 6IX is a dynamic, high-energy, exciting band of eight to 10 singers

and musicians that has the stylings of the “old school” vibe and feel of good times, positive energy, soul, and genuine fun. With a unique blend of talent, a “people pleasing band” are the words some have used to describe this group. PG 6IX caters to the ear of its audience offering a vast range and variety of genre experiences including an eclectic melting pot of rhythm and

blues, smooth jazz, funk, pop, rock, hip-hop, and gospel. The instrumental sound and vocal performances of PG 6IX gives their audience an experience that is truly nostalgic and energizing. Martin has recently teamed up with Sandra Watts, owner of Jazz @ Jack’s live music venue in Denver. In addition to steering the Jack’s helm, Watts is a “boutique” talent booking agent and personal relations representative

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


for a handful of Colorado’s leading, talented, and eclectic bands. “This collaboration was inevitable,” Watts says of her work with Martin. “Tarell is an amazing musician with a business-oriented mind. PG 6IX is easy to work with, incredibly talented, and significantly in demand.” Watts added, “PG 6IX band can grow in a limitless direction to bigger venues and stages. I believe in their talent and ability and am excited about the partnership.”. Editor’s note: You can see the PG 6IX Band on Thursday nights at Jazz@Jack’s at 8:30 p.m.; Arapahoe Basin on May 6; MoJaBlu Concert Series June 22; and the July 4th LoneTree Celebration. For more information, email

How to Lose Belly Fat By Kim Farmer

illions of people would like to lose excess belly fat, and unfortunately, belly fat is often the most resistant to dietary changes and harder to lose than other areas for some. Excess fat around your mid-section affects your aesthetics when you want to look good in a bikini at the beach or fit into a form fitting outfit. In addition, belly fat also carries a risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Most men claim that next to a head full of hair, they would love to have a firm and toned waistline. The waistline is also the area that women would love to minimize the most, second only to hips and thighs. So can you get rid of belly fat? Yes! But you should understand that it won’t happen overnight. You will have to put in an extra effort to have your belly look trim, toned and sexy.


planks, side planks, pushups, reverse crunches, and ab-roller exercises. Another great exercise is to walkout from a push up position. This is a difficult exercise but really burns a lot of calories in a short time.

Cardiovascular Exercise Next to proper nutrition, cardiovascular exercise is the most important thing to incorporate into your daily life. Keep in mind that any exercise is better than no exercise. While there have been hundreds of exercises developed for people who want to lose belly fat, there is no one exercise that is better than the other. It all depends on your lifestyle, the time you have available and your health. If you don’t ‘exercise at all, the easiest thing to do is to start walking. Walk at least 1 hour a day 4 to 6 days a week, building up the intensity as your fitness level improves. Other options for cardiovascular exercise include jogging, biking, rowing, and swimming to name a few. If you do not feel like doing structured exercise, rake the leaves, shovel the snow, play soccer with your kids or perform some other household duty that gets your heart rate up. Remember that you do not necessarily have to join a gym to lose weight (and more specifically belly fat). Strength Training Strength training that target your midsection will help build the muscle underneath any excess fat. Start with exercises that target your abdomen including basic exercises like crunches and full sit ups. To add variety, try

junk foods and of course avoid eating fried foods. Focus instead on eating a large variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grain foods. Drink plenty water before, during and after exercise. Reduce your alcohol intake to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, and also get adequate sleep. Studies show that people who get less than six hours of sleep tend to overeat junk food to keep their body going. In order to lose belly fat, you need to be consistent in your physical activity. Just going for a walk once a week or doing one set of push-ups is not going to do it. More importantly once you have achieved some success, you will still need to continue exercising regularly and eat the right types (and amounts) of food. Finally, try and minimize and control your stress levels. One of the best ways to lower your stress is to exercise – it is much cheaper than counseling. If you remain dedicated to exercise and proper nutrition, then you could lose the belly fat within 3-6 months so be patient! . Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

Try doing 10 reps of three sets of 3 different types of exercises at a minimum. You can progress by adding other types of lightweight training by using a fit ball, exercise tubing and doing various exercises using a weight bench or step. Add variety and take a yoga or Pilates class (or DVD) on the weekends. Eating Right The other aspect of losing belly fat is to eat the right foods in the right portions. Try to minimize your sugar intake from cakes, cookies and other

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


City Of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival Filled with Grammy Award Winners and Nominees The National R&B Music Society to Honor Donny Hathaway with the Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Recording Legend Award


ichael Schivo Presents, celebrating 50 years as Nevada’s premier pop, rock and jazz concert promoter and recipient of Nevada Arts Advocacy highest annual award, presents the 24th Annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz & R&B Festival Saturday, April 29 and Sunday April 30 at the Government Amphitheater. Saturday’s day and night event is from 1 to 10 p.m. with Grammy nominated keyboard vocalist Brian Culbertson, Grammy winner vocalist Will Downing, saxophonist Gerald Albright, guitarist Nick Colionne and saxophonist Elan Trotman. The R&B Festival portion on Sunday, from 2 to 10 p.m., will include

Grammy winner vocalist Anthony Hamilton, Grammy winner vocalist Lalah Hathaway, R&B vocalists Ro James, and Anthony David with Algebra Blessett and Eric Roberson. The Jazz Festival has been booked with handpicked musicians. “Artists performing each night are the finest collection of legendary and contemporary acts we have ever had during the 25 year old festival history,

16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street Box Office 303-293-0075

A singer and an actress, Mary Louise Lee returns to The Clocktower Cabaret for 4 performances ONLY with her tribute to Whitney Houston. Mary Louise has performed all over the world garnering accolades wherever she's been. She calls Denver home and has been the lead singer of her own contemporary R&B, top 40, contemporary jazz and soul band for the past 10 years. Fans will tell you, she's got the soul and the voice to deliver a powerful and beautiful evening of music! Her show will feature special guest artist, Tony Exum, Jr. You'll enjoy the memorable songs made famous by one of the world's music superstars - Whitney Houston.

ensuring the quality of the festival will continue,” says producer Michael Schivo. And according to Schivo, “The Government Amphitheater has superior sightlines and a new sound system that will deliver to the jazz and R&B fans the experience they deserve. Parking is free and improved and is easily accessible to the venue. To accommodate the thousands of festival attendees, there are two new restroom areas and increased space for the Vendor Village. “Last year’s Festival was an extreme party filled with the fun and groove that it takes to be crowned ‘The biggest and liveliest Jazz and R&B party festival in the West.’ Last year’s Festival sold out and so we will return once again to wow our loyal patrons who come from all parts of the US. Last year we had jazz and R&B fans from 38 states at the festival. We strongly urge patrons to buy their selected ticket well in advance as tickets will be in high demand once again.” Schivo adds, “The Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival continues to spiral itself into a very special light worldwide, and as our Festival continues to gain momentum, it now ranks with the likes of all firstrate European and big-city-USA spring and summer music festivals – perhaps more so because Las Vegas is truly a one-of-a-kind city.” Past jazz and R&B stalwarts that have graced the festival include: Chaka Kahn, Stanley Clarke, Jazz Crusaders, Angie Stone, Gil-Scott Heron, Johnny Gill, Roy Ayers, Norman Brown, Lee Ritenour, KEM, Ledisi, Hiroshima, Jonathon Butler, Nick Colionne, Richard Elliot, Peter White, Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Joe Sample, Boney James, Will Downing, Gerald Albright, Fattburger, Larry Carlton, Poncho Sanchez, Flora

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


Purim and Airto, Ronnie Laws, Eric, Benet, Melanie Fiona, Ledisi, The Yellowjackets, Hugh Masakela, Chuck Mangione, George Duke, Wayman Tisdale, Down to the Bone, Ronnie Jordon, Kenny Lattimore, Paul Taylor, Stephanie Mills, Joe, Raheem DeVaughn Lenny Williams, Barkays, Dazz Band, Cameo, Ohio Players, Morris Day and the Time and many more. The Jazz Festival, established in 1993, has hosted capacity crowds in years past as people from all around the country attended. Patrons of the Festival are permitted to bring into the park picnic baskets (limited to 26 inches long) filled with their favorite food and beverages. Glass containers are not allowed. Wagons or carts are allowed. No high back chairs allowed into the festival. A high back chair is any chair over 31 inches. Food vendors, retail and crafts concessions will be at the festival’s Jazz Village. This year’s Jazz Festival will again offer free admission to each event for children 12 years of age and under and a reduced ticket price to each event for children 13-17 years of age for $25, which will be available at the on-site festival box office on the day of the event only. The Jazz Festival VIP/Early Bird tickets receive first entry from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday for center of the venue seating with its own cash bar and upgraded executive restroom facilities. Tickets are $160 in advance plus any ticket outlet service charges and live entertainment tax. General Admission adult tickets in advance are $100 plus any ticket outlet service charges and live entertainment tax. . Editor’s note: For more information and ticket purchases, visit

$75K Granted At Art Tank Colorado

They came. They pitched. And when it was over, four organizations walked away from Art Tank Colorado with significant financial support for creative work in Metro Denver. On Tuesday, February 7, six of Metro Denver’s most innovative artists and organizations presented their best ideas for creative projects and programs to a live, voting audience at the University of Denver— Shark Tank-style – and competed for $75,000 in funding. In its third year, Art Tank Colorado was produced by The Denver Foundation’s Arts Affinity Group (AAG) and partners Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and Denver Arts & Venues. Selected from more than 50 applicants by the AAG, the six finalists were Arts Street&YEA, bARTer Collective, Colorado Black Arts Movement, RedLine Contemporary Art Center, Spark City Children’s Museum, and Warm Cookies of the Revolution. “This year’s Art Tank Colorado was an inspiring and thought-provoking event that illustrated the tremendous imagination, resourcefulness, and community-minded nature of Colorado’s artists,” said Denver Foundation President and CEO Christine Márquez-Hudson. “We saw a range of styles and mediums and experience. But in their own ways all of the finalists reflected the AAG’s commitment to creatively addressing challenges and opportunities in Metro Denver, and The Denver Foundation’s mission of building a better future for everyone.” Arts Street@YEA claimed first place, a $30,000 grant, and the $2,000 Audience Choice award for “We Still Live,” a community-based collaboration with the Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver that uses photography, spoken word, and other forms to explore self-identify and reduce gang recruitment and affiliation. Inspired by the work of Denver artist Thomas Evans, “We Still Live” will take youth participants through the process of DNA testing to discover, and creatively respond to, their ancestral heritage. “We Still Live” will culminate with a public exhibition in late 2017. “Arts Street staff and youth are incredibly grateful to the Arts Affinity Group and The Denver Foundation for their support of the arts, youth, and our community,” says Amy Banker, interim executive director of Arts Street. “We believe that arts can have a real impact on discovering who you are, building self-esteem and

skills, and creating positive actions in the community. This award will make our vision for ‘We Still Live’ into reality. We can’t wait to see the impact of this program.” In second place, RedLine Contemporary Art Center received $20,000 for “Moveable Feast,” which will use food and art to build connections between long-term and new residents of Denver’s Five Points. From May until September, RedLine and a network of community and neighborhood partners will host five community feasts that celebrate the unique culture and heritage of one of Denver’s most storied neighborhoods. The

feasts will feature tables designed by local artists and food representative of the cultural diversity of the area. In a tie for third place, Colorado Black Arts Movement and Warm Cookies of the Revolution each received $10,000 for innovative projects that share a theme of community building through resident engagement: Colorado Black Arts Movement’s “My Dinner in Montbello,” which brings people together to envision and boost Montbello, Denver’s most diverse neighborhood, as a cultural hub; Warm Cookies of the Revolution’s

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


“This Machine has a Soul!” will weave kinetic human sculpture and community outreach into a participatory budgeting process for the ElyriaSwansea neighborhood, partly in response to the controversial 1-70 expansion project. The remaining finalists each received $1,000 to encourage development of their projects: “Bart the Art Bus,” a mobile museum for children in Jefferson County, from Spark City Children’s Museum; and The Mending Machine from bARTer Collective, which invites the public to trade services for stories. .

White Conservatives Deserve Trump

By Theo E. J. Wilson

They wanted him, they got him.

Now, let it burn. Let every public embarrassment, off-color gaffe, every failed appointee twist the dagger into their psyche; the same dagger they left in our backs on November 8, 2016. The village idiot is in charge. A killer clown is king. The daily mockery of the president’s office is as plain as the spraytan on Donald Trump’s face, and there’s only one group to blame. That group is so-called conservative White America. The conman from Queens, a guy most thinking Americans wouldn’t buy a used car from, just sold White America on the idea that he should control the nuclear football. What a frickin’ sell! The deeper issue here is their eagerness to buy. What they were willing to look past in a candidate is what bought them the opposite

of Obama in more ways than one. Not only did they get a so-called conservative White male, they got a narcissistic sociopath with skin thinner than tissue paper. Contrast Trump’s erratic reactionism to Obama’s cool intellectualism. As a whole, had conservative America been judging by the content of the character, not the color of the skin, America would have a different president. Sometimes wins are just losses in disguise. Had Trump been defeated on election night, his constituency wouldn’t have got the lesson, and most of them still have not. Be patient, it’s going to get ugly. The right wing has all branches of government under their thumb including the executive branch. Hypothetically, Trump’s will should be done with ease. There’s no excuse to fail. Yet, here we are, with the failure of this administration appearing all but imminent. The Michael Flynn scandal led to a virtual purge of the intelligence community. Ties to Russia this deep are unconscionable to the seasoned intelligence vets who spent the early part of their careers in a global chess match against

the KGB. The appointment of Rex Tillerson was shortly followed by a wave of resignations from the State Department. The Environmental Protection Agency is making noise about following the appointment of Scott Pruitt. The man’s environmental record is more tainted than Flint’s water due to his ties to oil and gas companies during his tenure in Oklahoma. He was court ordered by a federal judge to turn over documents that detail his ties to oil and gas. This fact did not stop him from being confirmed by a vote of 52–46. The fallout from this will be immense to say the least. What is painfully apparent here is that part of a president’s duties in his administration is to…administer. This implies organization, collaboration, and clear thinking. The Donald appears to have none of these traits, and it’s all coming to the light. In an early press conference, Press Secretary Sean Spicer admonished White House staffers for leaking some very unsightly things about the behavior of Donald Trump. These behaviors include Trump walking the halls in a robe far past a decent hour, incessant viewing of cable television, and having an attention span so small that they now shorten his daily briefings into bullet points. How exciting. The man with the launch codes barely has the intellectual rigor to understand the world that he could destroy with the push of a button. Get your affairs in order, folks. Even more insidious is that it may not be Donald pulling the strings. Thought he would never admit it, he’s surrounded himself with people smarter than he is. With Trump’s speeches delivered at a fourth-grade reading level, smarter people than him ain’t hard to find. The question is not their intelligence, but their intentions. Steve Bannon, literally played by the Grim Reaper on Saturday Night Live, was appointed to a seat on the National Security Council. Those on this council have access to what is known as the “Kill List.” It was first put together during the Obama administration to target key leaders in Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban. However, American citizens can also end up on that list. Some have already been executed, including American born “extremist” Anwar al-Awlaki. With Bannon’s track record with minorities, including a sketchy set of comments made about Jews, not to mention being editor in chief at Breitbart, who knows who that power

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


will be abused. Let’s say a worst-case domestic scenario plays out in the near future. Let’s say Mexicans do get deported by the millions, Muslim Americans lose travel rights for good, Obamacare is gutted and we end up at war with China. The chaos of so many families being torn apart will be historic. The international backlash in from the United Nations will blight our reputation for decades to come. The lives lost will be counted among the unnecessary tragedies of the early 21st century, and for what? Because White America was sick of identity politics? Because they didn’t like Kaepernick kneeling at the anthem? Because they genuinely believed Obama was a Kenyan Muslim and that Transpeople needed to go to the “correct” bathroom? On what moral grounds will the political right make any claim at being interested in ‘liberty and justice for all?’ How will they attest that they are morally any different than their slaveholding forbearers? The sad answer is that future generations of White people will be distancing themselves from the behavior of the political actors in this moment. They will successfully undermine the credibility of the ideology of Conservative politics, perhaps permanently. As an African-American in this time, it is abundantly clear that Conservative politics are designed to ‘conserve’ the wealth and power of White America for the ones who have always had it. This means that while many White Americans are not racist in the slightest, too many still are to bet on Black safety for any extended time here. When the pendulum swings, we get hit either way. Is not Donald Trump the perfect manifestation of the fruits of White privilege? Isn’t he proof that the character traits of unchecked arrogance, narcissism, and impulsive entitlement are a recipe for success in a White body in America? He is them. He was inevitable as mathematics itself. Even more than George W. Bush, Trump’s presidency spits in the face of the ideal of the “meritocracy.” We cannot teach your kids that hard work and dedication are the only way to be successful. Apparently, it’s still the case that falling out of the right colored birth canal can get you all the achievement you can dream of. Good job conservative White America. You once again…ruined America. I would laugh, but it can’t make it past the lump in my throat as I weep for future generations. .


New Hope Baptist Church to Host Women’s Day Weekend

New Hope Baptist Church will host its 65th Annual Women’s Day weekend, “Living in Your Truth,” beginning on Saturday, March 11 at 9 a.m. with the women of New Hope’s Prayer Breakfast. Guest speaker will be Rev. Dr. Stephany Rose, pastor of Ebenezer Church from Colorado Springs. The Sunday worship on March 12 at 10:45 a.m. will feature Reverend Tamieka Gerow, executive minister of Bethlehem Baptist Church from Spring House, PA. Registration deadline for the Prayer Breakfast is March 5. For more information, call 303-322-5200 or visit

16251 E. Colfax Ave., #210 (303) 333-5551

(Between Laredo & Airport Blvd. - Gold Dome)

Langley Family Charitable Trust Accepting Applications

The Drs. Joseph & Alice Langley Family Charitable Trust (LFCT) is accepting applications to award scholarships to Colorado high school seniors. The nonprofit LFCT is a scholarship program designed to help increase the number of African

Board of Education Resolves to Protect Students at DPS

After hearing from dozens of community members, Board of Education members unanimously approved “The Safe and Welcoming School District Resolution (English and Spanish),” which commits to providing “safe and welcoming spaces where all students are able to focus on their education, secure in the knowledge that the district will support their safety and emotional well-being regardless of immigration status.” The resolution states that any immigration law enforcement activities that take place at schools, on transportation routes, on Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) property or during school activities significantly interfere with students’ Constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Constitutional right to access a free public K-12 education. “In light of recent local and national events surrounding immigration and refugees, DPS sought to address the ‘fear and uncertainty’ many of our students and families are experiencing,” said Board Member Lisa Flores. “There is great strength and solidarity in standing together as a community to protect the rights of our students, and I am proud to present this resolution tonight.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


Americans students enroll in community colleges and universities. Student must be a high school senior, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, be involved with the community, and have a career goal to make a difference in the quality of life for self and others in the community. Deadline to receive applications is April 14. For more information or to get an application, call 303-694-3126.

Su Teatro Presents MÁSMexican-American Studies

Su Teatro will present MÁS, a true story about the Tucson Unified School District’s decision to end its Mexican American Studies program and the community’s battle to hold onto their history, identity and humanity. Written by Milta Ortiz and directed by Anthony J. Garcia, the play will run Thursdays through Saturdays from March 9 to 26. Performances will start at 7:30 p.m., with a special matinee performance on Sunday March 26. For tickets and more information, call 303-296-0219 or visit

The document states that DPS commits to “do everything in its lawful power to protect our students’ confidential information and ensure that our students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions.” It calls out several specific actions, including addressing that DPS does not and will not collect information on students’ immigration status, and will not provide access to students without a valid search warrant. “This has a lot of personal meaning for me because I am an immigrant myself,” said Board Member Rachele Espiritu. “My husband is a political refugee from Vietnam. I share that because I understand the silent suffering and anxiety that is happening for so many of our students and families, and so I hope that this resolution helps them feel safe in our schools and at our activities.” “I want to thank the board for your leadership and forceful courage in this,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “Being in schools talking with families and teachers, I hear a lot of fear and confusion. Our job is to replace that fear with confidence and to give students hope for their futures.”. Editor’s note: Additional information, including an Immigration Rights FAQ in multiple languages, visit https://www.

Enter today for a chance to win

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Sunday, March 19 6 to 9 PM

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Congratulations to DUS February winner of two tickets to Motown, The Musical - Vanessa Davis March winner will be selected on March 12 and announced in the April Denver Urban Spectrum issue


Dozen’s Honored at Stapleton Foundation Healthy Living Awards Ceremony

For more than a decade, the Stapleton Foundation’s be well Health and Wellness Initiative has been at the forefront of efforts to support healthy lifestyle changes in our community. Programs generated by be well have resulted in residents being more informed about how to lead healthy lives and advocate for increased access

to healthy living resources. Now in its 7th year, be well again recognized the special individuals in our community who have gone above and beyond in efforts to expand the healthy living message at this year’s be well Awards and Community Celebration. As with previous years, civic and business leaders were on hand to lend their support. Colorado Health Foundation President and CEO Karen McNeil-Miller served as the keynote,

while Councilman Christopher Herndon, State Senator Angela Williams, Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore and Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Space for the City of Aurora Tom Barrett all offered healthy living comments and congratulatory remarks focused on the honorees. In all, more than 400 people attended the annual ceremony with former Denver Bronco running back Reggie Rivers again serving as the master of ceremonies. This year, along with dozens of youth and adults receiving Block Captain Program completion certificates, new communities from the Asian Pacific Development Center and Steamboat Springs were celebrated for starting Block Captain programs. be well Block Captains are residents and community stakeholders who are “onthe-ground” to provide a trusted hand in helping their family, friends and neighbors lead healthy lives. Additional individual health advocates who were nominated and honored with recognition in specific leadership categories included: Ann E. White - Legacy Award Jennifer Seward - Nutrition Leadership Award Su Baw - Community Advocate of the Year Award Kevin McKenzie - Physical Activity Leadership Award Kendra Collings - Preventative Care Leadership Award Jennifer Taylor - Community Service Award The be well Health and Wellness Initiative is currently accepting registrations for new Block Captains and is offering its latest set of free health and wellness classes at be well Centers within the Hiawatha Davis, Central Park and Martin Luther King recreation centers. Information can be found at or by calling 303-468-3224.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017


Urban League Guild Presents Scholarship To Awardees

The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver (ULGMD) presented book scholarships to students of Africana Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD) on Feb. 15. The scholarships were presented at MSUD’s 34th Annual Black World Conference at St. Cajetan’s on the Auraria Campus. This is the fifth year ULGMD has awarded these scholarships. However, this year and moving forward, the scholarship award for Africana Studies students is now the Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver/Dr. Lawrence H. Borom Scholarship to honor the late Dr. Borom’s legacy as an Urban League of Metropolitan Denver Board member, Africana Studies Department Professor, and renowned community leader. Dr. Borom’s widow, Betty Borom, an ULG member, was present for the scholarship presentations. Scholarship awardees were Angela Lombard and Mattye Crowley and the scholarships were presented by Terry Manns, ULG President; Delores Manns-Martin, ULG member; and Dr. Douglas Mpondi, Interim Chair, Africana Studies Department. Several ULG members were also in attendance. ULGMD raises the funds to make these scholarships available through community events and fund-raisers. ULGMD presents the annual awards to students selected by the faculty of the MSUD Africana Studies Department for their commitment to Africana studies, academic achievement, and participation in the department. ULGMD is an auxiliary of the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and supports the Urban League’s programs through volunteer activities and community relations.


New Leaders and New Partnership for the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado

African Bar and Grill Serving: Jollof Rice, African Beer and, Specialty Dishes from Africa

Organization prepares minority leaders for the C-suite

The Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado’s accepted 34 of Colorado’s best and brightest professionals into its Chamber Connect Leadership program Feb. 8. The ULFC Chamber Connect Program, led by Chairman of the Board Former Mayor the honorable Wellington Webb and President & CEO Dr. Ryan Ross, is a program designed to inspire and prepare well rounded African-American and minority leaders for C –Suite responsibility. In addition, it uses its curriculum to ensure fellows are developed into competent, well rounded, and influential leaders in the areas of business, politics, leadership, philanthropy and civic service. “The feeling in the room was surreal! It was similar but different. I’ve been in a room full of suits, actually daily as Chief of Staff for Representative James Coleman of House District 7, but never before like this‌ A room full of AfricanAmerican leaders with eyes of determination, fully present, committed to learn, and excited to embark on the ULF 10 month leadership journey,â€? said Wael Khalifa, 2017 Fellow and Chief of Staff for Representative James Coleman. “As I surveyed the room I realized every fellow accepted into the program was poised and ready to learn from the greatest leaders Colorado. I am so happy to be here!â€? The group of entrepreneurs, tech experts, educators, medical professionals, nonprofit and government employees, gang reduction specialists and private sector professionals include: Verlean Adams, Elizabeth Battle, Moe Cantrell, Dawnisha Bullock, Dominique Thompson, Wael Khalifa, Miguel Mendoza-Hall, Shawn Cooper, Jasmine Brewer, Leslie Brown, Stephanie Cox, Alexandria Harris,




18601 Green Valley Ranch Blvd. Denver, CO 80249

Gabrielle Bryant, Jason Delancy, Candice Disher, Brandon Ziegler, Nailah Ellis Timberlake, Manushka Sandvil, Quachelle Copeland, Candice Hamilton, Kinyata Fulton, Lesley Pace, Lisa Young, Nicole Monroe, Eboni Shead, Shayla Perkins, John Stokes, Quincy Shannon, Vernon Tabor, Andrea Webb, Lisa SaladinoGarife, Nicky Reid, Stefanie Trujillo and Shaneika Williams. The Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado is excited to share its latest partnership with the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business and Dean Brent Chrite. The partnership gives the organization a formal presence on campus, access to world class faculty, and a shared purpose in creating its’ next training program: The ULF Executive Leadership Institute. The advanced training program will target current ULFC Alumni, executive leaders from the public and private sector, and serve as the premiere leadership experience for individuals who want to successfully lead companies and organizations, create inclusive culture, and develop and retain the best and brightest leaders for Colorado. ULFC’s commitment to developing well rounded leaders is intentional. Comprehensive understanding of different subjects is of paramount importance and allows ULFC Alumni to become change agents, make meaningful contributions to their community, as well as, diversify boards, commissions, and most importantly the executive suite. . Editor’s note: For more information about the organization, to apply for the program, or to network with Colorado’s next generation of exceptional professionals, visit


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – March 2017



46th Annual Dr. Syl Morgan-Smith Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame Awards Photos by Lens of Ansar - Courtesy of Denver Weekly News

29th Annual Juanita Gray Community Service Awards and Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame

Up Close and Personal

Goatfish Sings Djavan with Dr. Michael Williams


Photos by Lens of Ansar and Ron Washington



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Denver Urban Spectrum March 2017  
Denver Urban Spectrum March 2017  

As we celebrate this Women’s History month, we look at several women who have evolved into their own person; oftentimes making detours on th...