Page 1

Volume 30

Number 1 April 2016

Best Man

Morris Chestnut Comes To Denver! Talks about Boyz, Marriage and Hollywood...2

Denver Urban Spectrum Celebrates 29 Years of Spreading the News About People of Color

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April 2016

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer Earl Ofari Hutchinson Theo E.J. Wilson FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Luciana Sydney M. Odion-Smith Annette Walker Brittany Winkfield ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Harvey McWhorter 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 2016 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

Moving On and Moving Forward...

In April 1987, I embarked on a journey that has challenged my integrity, educated my psyche, cleansed my spirit, but mostly fulfilled a vision. This month, Denver Urban Spectrum will be turning another page of serving the community as we prepare for Countdown to 30 in 2017. Over the last 29 years, we have been witness to change and growth in Denver and look forward to the opportunity of moving ahead as technology presents itself. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward – and we don’t – so join us! We invite you to get on the train as we travel even faster into the information age while keeping us at your fingertips. And this month, our cover story feature will help you get on that train. Heartthrob actor Morris Chestnut, who talks about Boyz n the Hood 25 years later, why his marriage works and life in Hollywood, will be in Denver on May 7 for Derby 16. And, one of our readers will have the chance to win two VIP tickets to the event and meet Morris Chestnut. Check out page 7 for more information. People move on in different ways and for different reasons. Good friend and colleague, Greg Moore resigned as editor of the Denver Post after 14 year of making a difference for journalists, especially African Americans. We featured him as a cover story shortly after he arrived in Denver and over the years, he has supported DUS whenever and however he could. Our Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation summer journalism camp participants always enjoyed visiting with him during their media tours learning invaluable life lessons. So, we wish him well in his future endeavors and know that what lies ahead for him will be nothing short of continued success and inspiration for others. We dedicate this anniversary issue to a true and genuine man of the media. Thanks Greg! Bee Harris


AAWMAD Honoree Thankful

And to top it off – it was held at AfrikMall, a venue that exposed us to the foods crafts, fashion, and art from the motherland. Loved it, loved it, loved it!!! You go Bee Harris! God’s continued blessings to you and your staff.

Editor: I just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful event last week and the honor of being recognized in the publication. It was great to see old friends and meet new people. Very proud of what you’ve accomplished over the last 30 years – and hope that your work continues to thrive for 30 more and beyond!

Pamela N. Fisher Denver, CO

Real Liars Please Stand Up!

Editor: The general consensus among pundits in media is that Hilary Clinton is a liar. I suppose there is evidence to support their assertion but if she is a liar, she is far from the only one. People like Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation are still lying about the cause of poverty in America. When interviewed on 630 KHOW by Ross Kaminsky, Rector cited the causes of poverty in America as the following: lack of education, single parent families and the lack of a work ethic, as if the wealthy class earned their wealth. Wealth made in American is made through the exploitation of labor. For the past few decades, poverty has been blamed on the poor. In reality, the poor do no manipulate economic trends or own the means of production. The true cause of poverty and the need for social programs is the ownership of the planets wealth by a few elite families. The earth’s wealth, unless God is the owner of slaves, was meant to benefit all creation, not just the few who have conspired against the majority. If you examine the Bible carefully you will see that even it supports the idea of a divine right of an elite class

Geri Howard Aurora, CO

AAWMAD Recipient Grateful

Editor: Much gratitude is extended to DUS publisher Rosalind J. Harris and the Denver Urban Spectrum staff for recognizing my brother Kenneth E. Roberts, retired Sr. Pastor of Anchor of Hope Church and his lifelong commitment for the cause for Christ. As one of the 2016 recipients of African Americans Who Make A Difference (AAWMAD), thank you for allowing me to be the delegate for my brother in his absence. The recognition event on February 26 was entertaining (singing by Jamal Mootoo and Linda Theus Lee); fun (Norma Paige and Quincy Shannon who kept us in stitches); relatable (Theo Wilson telling it like it is with raw thoughts about life); classy (Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee singing and Tamara Banks remarks) and respectful and discovery (with you Rosalind Harris exposing us to what other African Americans in our community are busy doing. I enjoyed hearing their accomplishments.)

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


to rule. The quote render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s is proof of this. I’m sorry, but nothing belongs to Caesar – it belongs to all of us equally! That’s right! Poverty is an invention – manmade, like scarcity – not real. The earth replenishes itself when managed properly. So when organizations like the Heritage Foundation use misdirection when assigning blame for poverty, it’s because they have no intention of eliminating it. They boast of their very generous welfare system but generosity is relative. It’s not rocket science. “It’s elementary my dear Watson!”

Antonius Aurora, CO

It’s Time To Help Legalize Short Term Rentals

Editor: I’m writing to express my support for short term rentals in the city of Denver. The city council is preparing a new ordinance that would regulate short term rentals. The city is due to vote on this ordinance this summer, which will propose the legalization and taxation of short term rentals. I am a hostess at heart, and none of our family lives in town. So, when we bought a home with a mother-in-law suite to use for our parents and family, it only made sense to share it with others when our family was not visiting. Over the last year our mother-in-law suite has turned into the neighborhood mother-in-law suite. Many of our neighbors don’t Continued on page 28

A Best Man Comes To Denver

both film and television; but today he’s being talked about because of his television work. The start of this year has been promising for Chestnut with the renewal of a second season of Rosewood. His character, which is witty, vulnerable, confident, and fun, appeared shirtless in many scenes. Chestnut explained why he requested less shirtless scenes in the next season. “I want the viewers to become invested in the characters and the show – not seeing me or my co-star Jaina Lee Ortiz naked.” The divorce rate in America has been estimated at 40 percent, but if surveys were to only concentrate on show business duos, it would almost be closer to 100. The central problem is that members of show business couples are competing in the same field, and their power balance keeps shifting as their careers wildly ebb and flow. But when celebrities date the normal folk, things sometimes end up better. Such is the case for Chestnut, who has been married since 1996 to Pam Byse-Chestnut with two children and says the major key to success is love and also stability. “It’s possible for any couple to achieve longevity. It all comes down to communication and understanding,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to grow together. You can either grow apart or grow together and we’ve been fortunate to grow together.” Chestnut also said, “I’m in Hollywood, but Hollywood is not my life,” explaining that separating work and home is key to a long-lasting marriage. In the wake of the recent very controversial 2016 Oscars, Morris says that he has faced challenges in Hollywood as a Black actor. But also, admitted to being uncomfortable by some of Chris Rock’s racial jokes when he hosted the Academy Awards. However, after more than 20 years in the business, and having his share of doors closed in his face, he feels

Morris Chestnut

Hosts Derby 16 In May


wenty five years ago was a pivotal time for Blacks in American cinema. There were more films written, produced and directed by people of African descent in 1991 than any year before. Among those films were New Jack City, directed by Mario Van Peebles; The Five Heartbeats, directed by Robert Townsend; Bill Duke’s A Rage in Harlem; Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and Jungle Fever, written, produced and directed by Spike Lee. Other movies produced that year include Straight Out of Brooklyn, Livin’ Large, Ricochet, House Party 2, Strictly Business, The Josephine Baker Story, and Talking Dirty After Dark. But the most celebrated of those films was Boyz n the Hood, which made $55 million dollars and earned John Singleton, a 24-year old USCtrained director, an Oscar nomination for best director. The film follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects. One of those actors was Morris Chestnut played Ricky Baker, one of those males. The role brought him fame and jumpstarted his acting career. Chestnut is also known for his roles in the films The Best Man and (the sequel) The Best Man Holiday, The

By Luciana

Perfect Holiday, Not Easily Broken, Think Like A Man, The Perfect Guy and many others. Born in Cerritos, California, Chestnut studied finance and drama at California State University, Northridge after graduating from high school. He currently stars in the Fox TV series, “Rosewood” where he plays the title role as a private highlevel pathologist named Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., who works in Miami, Florida. The series premiered on Fox on September 23, 2015, blending comedy and drama. Chestnut will be appearing in Denver on Saturday, May 7 as the special guest celebrity host for Derby 16 at Arapahoe Park in Aurora. It’s been 25 years since Boyz n the Hood was released and the dramatic scene where Ricky Baker gets gunned down is as heart wrenching today as it was when first viewed on the big screen. Chestnut, who played the promising high school football star, said “Not a day goes by when I’m walking down the street that someone doesn’t yell out ‘Ricky’!” remembering the moment before his character is fatally shot in the film. “People still feel for that movie; it still resonates today,” he said. Chestnut said the movie started a whirlwind that literally changed his life. Since that time, he’s worked in

positive and talked about supporting Jada Pinkett Smith for starting an important conversation. She was very outspoken about her husband Will Smith being snubbed for a Best Actor nomination and subsequently boycotted the Oscars by not attending – receiving negative opinions from the media and public. As a devoted husband, it’s no surprise that Chestnut said, “If she did speak out because of her husband, good for her. And to be honest, I would want my wife to do the same thing. The end result is this open dialogue,” he said. “The Academy has come out openly on this since she has spoken out to say they will enact some kind of change. So I think it’s good, and it’s a very strong dialogue right now.” Chestnut also feels a large part of the issue is with the studios. “The Oscars judge the finished products and the studios need to produce more content,” he said. Chestnut, who has often played characters that portray a spiritual and/or religious character, says faith plays a big role in his life. He attributes his all-around grounded personality to his parents and says “They’ve always taught me to work hard and be humble. My parents influenced me the most.” When asked what has been his most fulfilling film, Chestnut says the Best Man movies and he is looking forward to eventually filming the threequel, The Best Man Wedding. Acting is at the forefront of Chestnut’s future plans with a movie coming out in the fall but he also has some producing projects in the works. Editor’s note: Denver Urban Spectrum will sponsor Derby 16 on May 7 at the Arapahoe Park in Aurora. For a chance to win VIP tickets and an exclusive “meet and greet” with Morris Chestnut, view the “Countdown to 30!” ad on page 7. For tickets and more information to Derby 16, visit Morris Chestnut stars in Rosewood” where he plays the title role of Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr., a private high-level pathologist.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Stadium. Many old-time sports announcers also continued to refer to it as Mile High Stadium. I take no joy in Sports Authority’s current economic woes but I see it as an opportunity for the stadium district and team to give the fans and the city a gift. When the Broncos General Manager John Elway says Denver Broncos fans are the best in the world, reward that by giving us back our stadium name. An estimated 1 million fans showed up for the Super Bowl victory parade in February. We’ve stood by our team through thick and thin, through Super Bowl losses and wins.

Give Back the Mile High Stadium Name to the City and Broncos Fans

By Wellington E. Webb


here were very few times during my 12 years as Denver’s mayor that I wished I would have done something differently. But when the Metropolitan Football Stadium District was forming to use tax dollars to build a new home for the Denver Broncos, I should have stipulated that the “Mile High Stadium” name had to remain on the new venue. Before the stadium opened in 2001, the stadium district members and the Broncos were not happy with me. I called a brew pub owner at the time, John Hickenlooper, who was helping to lead those opposed to selling the naming rights, to meet in my office. We jointly lobbied to keep the Mile High Stadium name when the district and team were recruiting businesses for the naming rights. This was a time when naming rights on public stadiums were garnering millions of dollars. But our argument then – and now – is the “Mile High Stadium” name is priceless for the city, region and even the team. That tagline is our identity and our pride, not unlike New York’s “Big Apple” and Chicago’s “Windy City.” Now, after 15 years of having a corporate name on the stadium, it’s time to get back to our civic roots. Remember that stadium was built with tax dollars. It is not a private stadium. Local taxpayers built that stadium and I believe we should have a say in what it is called. Like the Denver Post at the time, I refused to call the new stadium “Invesco Field at Mile High.” When Sports Authority purchased the naming rights after Invesco dropped the rights, I still called it Mile High

Reward those million fans and millions more around the country and the world. When the first game of the 2016 season begins this fall, let’s have all of the sports announcers proclaim: “Welcome to Mile High Stadium!” Editor’s note: Wellington Webb served as Denver’s mayor from 1991-2003.



2016 Land Rover

2016 Range Rover



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016



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change. Through the written and spoken word, she has found her passion and voice - using both to influence the Denver community. A graduate of the Denver School of Arts, The Nigerian-born poet has a knack for provoking thought and discovery. Particularly, she is passionate about sharing how she found her identity and how it allows her to make a difference. In a show written by Obiwole and five other celebrated slam poets, the Denver Center of Performing Arts will sponsored an off-center production, which will ran in March. “How I got over: Journeys in Verse,” delves into their personal stories as Black women and the complexities that exist. “We talk about love, sex, religion, body image and the reclamation of the Black female body,” Obiwole said. In her first chapbook, she has written about the challenges she faced at a young age. “I wrote about issues of being an immigrant child being so immersed in American culture, and how both cultures are constantly head-butting,” Obiwole said. After years of self-discovery, Toluwanimi wishes to help others find their identities. “I’ve made it my mission to help people understand that knowing

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yourself and finding your passions is necessary to the fight for social justice in order to be effective,” Obiwole says. Minor Disturbance, a Denver poetry group, recognized Toluwanimi as the first Denver Youth Poet Laureate. Since then, she has spent much of her time in Denver Public Schools classrooms. Through workshops, Obiwole promotes literacy and poetry among elementaryage students who are beginning to find their own voice. “What I love every time is that I go into a classroom and nobody thinks that they can write poetry,” Obiwole said. “It’s not alive for them. My students are always so awe-inspired once they figure out that they’re writing and nobody is judging them for it. They create these amazing and beautiful pieces about their identity.” Obiwole also dedicates time to enriching Denver’s community through performing and speaking at local events. Last year, she spoke at Mayor Hancock’s inauguration, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Summit, the MLK parade and at a CU-Denver workshop. Though still a junior in college, Toluwanimi wants to continue investing in Denver’s communities. “Why not completely do what is in your power to change what you can change?” said Obiwole. “I want to utilize resources all over the city in order to create spaces and to facilitate a Denver that is friendlier to the arts; a Denver that truly wants to represent its population.”

Honoring Our Delta Legacy Chartered on February 18, 1939, by Mae Adams, Elaine Brown Jenkins and Jessie Maxwell, The Beta Phi Chapter (now the Denver Alumnae Chapters) celebrated 77 years of service in 2016. One of the founding members, Bertha Pitts Campbell, was raised in Colorado. The Denver Alumnae Chapter is proud to continue the legacy of the founders and remain steadfast in upholding the ideals of our illustrious sisterhood by providing relevant and exemplary public service in the Denver Metro Area. 

76 Years in Metro Denver


n December 12, 2015, the Denver Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted a display case unveiling at the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. The research library showcases multiple display collections focusing on the history of African American in Denver and the American West. The theme of this occasion was “Honoring our Delta Legacy” and consisted of remarks from past chapter presidents, a legacy video presentation, a musical selection by the Denver DeltaRettes, remarks from the library staff and the unveiling of the Denver Delta display case. Numerous artifacts that represent the rich history of the Denver Alumnae Chapter and contributions to improving the Denver-Metro area were displayed the case. Also, highlighted in the case were notable Deltas of Denver including Rachael B. Noel, the Honorable Gloria Tanner, Oleta Crain, Jessie Whaley Maxwell and Pauline Robinson. More than 100 guests were in attendance including Delta honorary member Wilma Webb, who was also featured in the display case. As part of the event, the Chapter hosted a Christmas toy drive and presented more than 100 toys, books and a check in the amount of $250 to the Sertoma Club, a local civil organization.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


We had the privilege of witness-

ing the inaugural sailing of The

Gospel Music Cruise on Holland

America’s m/s Eurodam. The concept of the this particular cruise was an

First Gospel Music Cruise Sails the High Seas

Me, and hubby Marcus, with Fred Hammond

outgrowth of a gospel music component that has been a part of nearly

every cruise that Entertainment Cruise

Productions (ECP) has produced for the past 15 years.

By Brittany Winkfield Publisher, Back2Basics Magazine

Marvin Sapp

On several of the ECP cruises, Grammy award winner Kirk Whalum was the leader and curator who organized those shows. It was only natural to enlist Whalum as ECP expanded the gospel music concept into a full cruise. With his guidance and counsel, they secured top name entertainers in the gospel world including Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, Shirley Caesar, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett, Take 6, Donnie McClurkin and Regina Bell, who was the co-host. In addition to being surrounded by the wonderful inspirational music every night, the ports of call were an added bonus. Over the course of seven days, The Gospel Music Cruise made its way to Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. With any cruise, you may expect good entertainment, good food and beautiful islands. The unique aspect of The Gospel Music Cruise was the element of sincerity amongst the musi-

shared some exciting news about an upcoming film project he will be releasing later this year on iTunes and Netflix. “This is going to be real from things I’ve witnessed in my life,” he said describing the film as being different from War Room, but God does get the glory in the end. There is uplifting new music from Fred Hammond throughout the film. A testimony shared by Marvin Sapp AKA “Mr. Never Would’ve Made It” resonated with me. It’s been six years since he lost his wife from complications of colon cancer. He’s been a single father raising his son and emphasizing he also has two daughters. “Things started to show up at the house that I didn’t invite,” he said. “Things like times of the month, breasts, hips and thighs.” He said he will be an empty-nester with all of his children in college and after his wife’s death, Sapp said that singing and preaching was a therapeutic outlet. “It can be a testimony to others about how God can keep you in a difficult time,” he said. The lyrics of “My Testimony” are what his family lives by and their motto is to “keep it moving.” A praise and worship service with The Gospel Music Cruise choir made

cians; all who were approachable and shared honest and true testimonies. During a Q&A period with Kirk Franklin, he shared memories from his childhood when his biological mother gave him up at four years olds. His sister became addicted to cocaine and eventually found herself in prison. When she was released, Franklin took her in to help her get back on her feet. It wasn’t long before she began using again which prompted Franklin to call a family meeting. His mother attended the meeting with a new husband. Before his mother left, her husband said to Franklin “you ought to call your mother sometimes.” Emotions took over when Franklin responded having flashbacks to his mother always coming and going out of his life. He described it as being a constant revolving door throughout his life. Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond are true living legends. Hammond kicked off the music entertainment on the first night. He shared that after three decades in the industry, he’s ready to do things for himself. Details in his contract keep extending his time with his current label and testified, “I’ve done my time. Let me go.” He

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Me and Yolanda Adams

Me and Kirk Franklin

up of 100 cruise guests was a great moment to wind down the cruise. Sapp delivered the sermon calling the choir “Singers of the Sea.” It was a powerful moment to be surrounding by the ocean and hear voices lifted and singing high praises. Editor’s note: Details for the 2017 Gospel Music Cruise is coming soon and special discounted rates will be available through


Black Elk Speaks… a Different View of History By Charles Emmons

s Denver changes and

grows, its past is more hidden. New buildings dwarf the old, and as we move further into the 21st century,

without effort, Colorado’s history

becomes more a distant memory.

Who was here when it was carved out? What sacrifices were made?

Who benefitted? Who lost? What are

the residual outcomes today? The story of the American West has been romanticized in books and especially film. It’s how most have learned about this time in history. Hollywood for the most part has chosen to marginalize and paint indigenous people with one broad brush. Rarely has the story of the West been told from the perspective of Native Americans, with rich spiritual and cultural traditions, which populated the lands Christopher Columbus ‘discovered.’ Black Elk Speaks, a production of the Aurora Fox Arts Center, is a re-telling of the story that recounts the history of Native Americans from the arrival of Columbus through escalating incidents like the Sand Creek Massacre culminating in Wounded Knee. The story is told on stage through the voice of Black Elk, a Lakota Sioux, seer and medicine man. The play was first produced in 1995 at the Denver Center Theatre. At the time renowned director, donnie betts, was a member of the company, and he watched it from the wings. The play is based on the book, Black Elk Speaks by John G.Neihardt, and was adapted by Christopher Sergel. “They originated the piece from the book. The playwright actually passed away before the play was finished,” says betts. “So Donovan Marley who was the artistic director of the Denver Center and (I’m thinking) the widow completed the script. And then from there they did a production here in Denver with an allnative cast. Most of the actors were from Canada.” Black Elk Speaks has only been produced three times previously. The Aurora Fox chose betts to direct this

production. “The cast all being from the Denver area, is for me is what makes it very exciting, rather than having to go outside of Colorado to cast a show,” says betts. “And with the exception of one person they are all Native American.” As a young boy, Black Elk had visions of the decimation of his people, but being guided and protected by the spirits of his grandfathers, he survived numerous confrontations to tell the stories, even Wounded Knee. The play is a telling of the stories of various Native American chiefs and their people, including Red Cloud (Cheyenne), Manuelito (Navajo), Little Crow (Santee), and Crazy Horse (Lakota). Starting with the Tainos who met Columbus, it recounts the trust, mistrust, and betrayal that Native Americans across the continent experi-

enced as their land was taken and their people slaughtered. The mechanism for the narrative is an adaptation of these histories taken from the book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Although this was made into a movie, it tells the story of the demise of one chief and his people. In the play, Black Elk Speaks, his daughter, Lucy, encourages Black Elk to tell the story of Native Americans to a younger generation, in part because her son is misguided by the education of white boarding schools. This issue of not telling the whole story is still prevalent. Sarah Ortegon, an accomplished visual artist and former Miss Native American USA, plays Lucy. “I’ve been raised in Denver my whole life. I have gone back and forth to the reservation in the summers, and then I come back to the city,” says Ortegon.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


“And I never learned any Native American history throughout my whole entire schooling except for Thanksgiving. And I didn’t learn the whole truth about Thanksgiving.” The telling of these stories to current and future generations is crucial. Interestingly both Sarah and fellow cast member Cosme Duarte (Red Cloud) commented that the impact of genocide among Native Americans was not on their minds until viewing the groundbreaking film about the Holocaust, “Schindler’s List.” Historic trauma and blood memory crept in. As youth, not growing up on reservations or disconnected from parents, they found themselves outside of their traditions and cultures. This play gives them a chance to re-connect and re-energize. “For me this play has really just lit my heart on fire in a lot of ways, because not only do I get to do what I like to do…speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, but in such a powerful way, with this play,” says Duarte. “I get to speak for 100 million people in two-and-a-half hours with my actions and with my words and maybe we can’t get everybody’s story out there, maybe we can’t reach everybody but the energy we have in this play has given me… has really turned me into a 20-year-old guy again.” Native American chiefs were often young men, leading and protecting their people while in their 30s and 40s. Black Elk is older and has seen much in his life both through his visions and the trauma of death. Doug Good Feather, a Lakota, who has experienced his own trauma, having served two tours in Iraq in the Army, portrays him. For him becoming a warrior is a rite of passage, but the concept of the native warrior is different from western European definitions. “There are other rites of passage, a warrior society where back then you would learn how to defend the people, how to take care of them, how to keep order, how to be a teacher, how to be a hunter and provide not just for the family but for the people. And today we still have that, and believe

that,” says Good Feather. The Native American portrayed in the play were warriors peaceable, who protected their people first through treaties and negotiation, and when that was squandered, an aggressive defense became their only option, as their land was taken in the name of progress and personal wealth. The point of Black Elk Speaks is for audiences to learn the truth. At the same time of the Civil War, the West was opening up, and so many Native Americans lost their lives, killed by the blue coats, as they were called, and not just the brave warriors, but also the vul-

nerable, women, children and the elderly. There are 16 cast members in the ensemble; the youngest is nine. When the massacres are re-enacted, you cringe from the sounds of gunfire. It’s difficult to watch as the bodies fall into the dirt and when this young actress fall the emotions well up inside you. But as with many stories hope is offered in the end. After the scene of the Wounded Knee Massacre, at the conclusion of the play, this same young girl is offered a cup of water in a wooden bowl, a symbol of giving life, “to make live!” the entire cast chants moving forward on the stage.

“We want to entertain, enlighten and bond the community together. This show, probably more than any that we have produced in a long time is much more about confronting our history, confronting what happened, more than it is about entertainment value, said Charles Packard, executive producer, Aurora Fox. “There is beautiful singing; there is beautiful dancing; there is amazing story telling. But all of those things are there to give you a context of who the people were and are, rather than it is to entertain you the way a Broadway kick line does. And I hope that there is a bonding effect. When people sit in an audience and watch a play, they laugh and they cry and they applaud, and regardless of whether you know the people or not, you have that shared common experience, that momentary experience. I hope that they feel the bonding experience with the Native Americans that are certainly on the stage and hopefully in the audience, and that some commonality is found.” ditor’s note: Experience Black Elk Speaks on the weekends through April 10. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sundays. For tickets and more information, visit or call 303739-1970.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Najee Starts 30 Year Celebration


hether you are an R&B or jazz fan, his music is familiar to everyone. Multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Najee marks 30 years since Najee’s Theme debuted him as a solo artist and he celebrated with a multi-city tour that started at the Soiled Dove Underground on March 12. Although he doesn’t get to Denver often, after a brief hiatus, he says it’s a great place to warm up for his tour. “It’s good to get some of the cobwebs out in a venue like this,” Najee said. On March 19, he shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Kool and the Gang, and Usher in Miami with guest performers Regina Belle and Alex Bugnon. The tour is reflective of where he has been and where he is musically. Although he is credited with growing the smooth jazz genre, he says that 30 years ago when he fused jazz and R&B on this first solo project Najee’s Theme, that wasn’t his primary intent. Before Najee, there was George Benson, Grover Washington Jr. and David Sanborn in the smooth jazz vein, so he doesn’t take credit for creating the genre. “When my time came in the mid to late 80’s, there was a void. There was an audience for people who wanted instrumental music,” said Najee. “The industry had gone into a serious decline, and as an artist I naturally gravitated to jazz and R&B, growing up in New York City.” His music education and career has run the gamut of genres. A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, as a teenager Najee participated in Dr. Billy Taylor’s New York Jazzmobile project, where he was deeply schooled in the fundamentals of jazz by Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, and Frank Foster. But Najee and his brother Fareed grew up in the same neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens, as Marcus Miller and Omar Hakim, the drummer with Sting and Weather Report. Musical tastes were as diverse as the neighborhood, and as a kid Najee played R&B.

Tour in Denver...By Charles Emmons

“So when I did my first album in 1986, it was a conscious decision to create an R&B album with a saxophone. The world called it jazz. I didn’t feel that way about it because I am a jazz musician, and I know what its like to play with changes, and play standards. I played in big bands and so I understand the music well. But I made a conscious decision that I was making a commercial record because of the time and it was hugely successful.” His success can be attributed to his musical nature. At the age of 18, he and his brother toured with the USO, and his career went to another level when he joined Chaka Khan’s band in 1983. “I have been very fortunate to play with top R&B artists as well as top jazz artists.” Najee is one of the most sought out working musicians. The list includes Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham and Larry Carlton recording live at the Greek Theater in California. “That band was really one that did everything. There are recordings of things that were not released – you know really stretching out – going “Deeply

in the Trane.” So for me I have to do collaborations.” Najee also recorded and toured with Prince for three years, and appears on Prince’s albums Rainbow Children and One Night Alone. He considers Prince one of the greatest musicians and artists of our time, and one admired by numerous contemporaries. “George Benson gave him a guitar that he loved and played onstage every night,” said Najee. “When I got with him, we were in Paisley Park at 2 a.m. and he was just playing and going and ripping up things and there was no audience, and he was just doing his thing trying to find new stuff. And it was incredible. I was highly impressed.” These collaborations have been the signature of Najee’s career and he is keenly aware and conscious of that core audience that has purchased his records and brought him success. He says he fits well into the jazz genre, but his core audience that sticks with him is R&B, and that is why he is invited to numerous types of music festivals. Collaborations that are most dear to him were with the late George Duke. “I miss George. We toured all over the world together, and he was one of the greatest people that I enjoyed collaborating with. You always felt free with him. He came to wherever you were musically, and I loved that about him.” Musically Najee covered the entire spectrum at his tour launch performance at the Soiled Dove Underground. He inter-mixed his standards with songs from his new project TBD. Songs included a slow jam tribute to Earth Wind and Fire as well as “Sweet Love,” made famous by Anita Baker. The dynamic stage presence of RiShon Odell Northington and Chuck Johnson with lightning fast bass lines and lead guitar licks were reminiscent of the best funk bands. Najee’s instrument of

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


choice for the evening was his trademark soprano sax, as he blazed through familiar and new melodies like “Day-by-Day” and “No Way I Can Live Without You.” Ever mindful of his fans, he commented that he would get emails, if he didn’t play particular songs. But Najee was equally at home with the flute on which he makes intricate runs like a saxophone. He told the story of having his horns stolen on Christmas Eve, after a rehearsal when he was 15, which necessitated him to becoming a flute player. And, we are all grateful. Heads were bobbing, and fingers were snapping throughout the evening as Najee and the band performed their set. The rhythms of Daniel Powell on drums and Rod Bonner on keys, who Najee has known since 14, excited the audience, as they didn’t miss a beat. Everyone was up to the task, and after 30 years, Najee continues to choose effective collaborators. Chuck Johnson, on guitar and vocals, entertained as he did his best rendition of a classic R&B artist complete with falling down to his knees on the tune “All I Ever Ask,” which Najee had recorded on a video with Freddie Jackson. Thirty years after Najee’s Theme, Najee continues to excite and mesmerize audiences as he performed a solo nonstop for nearly two minutes on Noah’s Ark, as bassist Odell Northington wiped his brow with a handkerchief. Of lessons learned from 30 years as a solo artist, Najee says, “Not taking this stuff too serious that’s the number one thing. That is probably what it has taught me the most. And every time we were at the top of something we were at the bottom of another thing. It’s been a continual evolvement. I really have no complaints with how my career has gone. I have been able to survive the shifts in the business.” Thirty years in the music business is a milestone, and Najee will continue to make new fresh music for his fans. “That’s an inner need for me, an internal need if you will. There was a saying that I heard a few weeks back – musicians don’t retire; they just don’t hear any more music. Well I am still hearing things I don’t plan to retire anytime soon.” We’re happy Najee launched his 30th anniversary tour in Denver and treated us to an exceptional evening of music. The tour goes throughout November. Make a special getaway to see him. Editor’s note: For more information and the Najee 30th Anniversary Tour schedule, visit

Benefits of Eating an Apple a Day W

By Kim Farmer

e’ve all heard the phrase before – an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But is there any basis to this or was it just something our mom’s said to try to convince us to eat healthy as kids? Turns out, Moms do know best! Apples come in a variety of colors and types, but one thing they all have in common is their nutritional and health benefits. We can dissect the apple and determine what all the fuss is about. First, let’s look at the skin of the apple. In addition to housing insoluble fiber (also called roughage or dietary fiber), which is responsible for giving us the sensation of being full and also helps keep our bowels moving, the skin is where most of the nutrients are found. Quercetin, a strong antioxidant of the flavonoids group in found in the skin of apples. (Quercetin is also found in onions, wine, teas, raspberries, red grapes, oranges, lemons, cherries, and green vegetables.) There are a few ways that quercetin helps us. First, it protects us against free radicals that oxidize the cells in our body (which could possibly lead to neurological illnesses). It also blocks carcinogens in the environment. Studies also show that it slows the development, and possibly the spread, of cancer cells in our body by preventing DNA damage. It is one of the major anti-inflammatory substances in the body and helps by blocking the release of histamine triggered by allergens. In case that is not enough, there are respiratory benefits associated with quercetin as well, such as reducing asthma symptoms and lung cancer. Don’t think eating the skin alone is good enough! The inside of the apple also offers a myriad of health benefits worth mentioning. Insoluble fiber is found in the center of the apple and

helps aid in digestion. Apples do not contain any cholesterol, and in fact, help lower cholesterol by moving food through the digestive tract and minimizing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Pectin, one of the soluble fibers found in apples, is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. The high water content in apples is also beneficial as it increases our water intake, something many of us don’t get enough of. Apples are low in calories, making them a good snack choice, and are also low in sodium, which helps flush excess water weight from the body,

keeping the number on the scale where we want it to be. So what are you waiting for? Whether you are trying to lose weight, or just want to be as healthy as you can be, with their benefit in disease prevention, weight loss, gastrological and respiratory function, apples are a tough snack choice to beat. Besides, keeping the doctor away is motivation enough to grab an apple and take a bite! Editor’s note: For more information on Mile High Fitness and Wellness visit, g or email

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


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Relapse into Racial Violence! Comedian

By Theo E. J. Wilson

Chris Rock famously remarked, “Black people didn’t make ‘progress,’ white people have gotten less crazy.” Segregation was insane behavior, as is racism in general. The eroding of the group psychosis known as White Supremacy is somehow the benchmark for progress in race relations, implying that our efforts to cure Caucasians of it is somehow worthy of ‘merit.’ Truthfully, it amounts to us sacrificing our lives to enlighten White people for centuries on end. Our bodies were often literally burnt offerings to the Constitution they said they believed in, and the God we both supposedly shared. While sick people can be dangerous, powerful sick people can be incurable; especially when the sickness is profitable. It’s hard to think of anybody in modern times who embodies the powerful insanity of White supremacy better than Donald Trump. One lunatic is hardly a problem for society, mass shooters excluded. However, a lunatic who arouses violent insanity in an already powerful and historically destructive majority can have major consequences to their dysfunction. The man would be nothing without his following. Consider that African people didn’t ask European people for racism. We never begged them to create a colorcoded class system with life and death consequences. The words ‘black’ and ‘white’ are not native to any indigenous African tongue. Author TaNehisi Coates remarked on the lunacy of “The belief in the preeminence of hair and hue; the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society.” Surely it must be clear how disgusting it is to assign death sentences for melanin dosage, yet this is the utterly insane reality we still live in. Most of our White brethren are oblivious to the danger and violence their people and government are capable of inflicting. The fact that Black

people have legitimate survival concerns around what White people can, and have always gotten away with passes beneath most of their radar. To point it out is to bring “division” and “reverse racism” to the conversation. Yet, those who are not aware of the history of White violence are potential sleeper-agents, Manchurian Candidates for a ghastly monster that has costed the lives of too many African and other peoples to begin with. This is what I suspect is the case with most Trump followers. Among them now are Pastor Joel Osteen, Hulk Hogan, Charlie Sheen, Tom Brady, Anne Coulter, Scott Baio, Alex Jones of Infowars, and Jesse Ventura to name a few. None of these are what we’d call “bad people.” No serial killers, rapists, or slave masters on this list. What strikes me is the passive enabling and the convenient blind eye turned to the socially irresponsible rabble rousing and demagoguery of this candidate, as evidenced with the violence at his rallies. Americans are good at historic amnesia: White Americans perfected it. Who wouldn’t want to forget the past that White America has? It’s hard to count money with blood on your hands. Blacks are the living reminders that the money has never been clean. Our presence must surely arouse shadowy fear of the righteous vengeance we could inflict back onto them if empowered to do so. The fact that we did not go on massive killing sprees against them after three centuries of bondage and another of Jim Crow must be wholeheartedly baffling. Instead, we pioneered peaceful revolutions, attempting to create brotherhood. Dr. King is our creation, as is Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Sojourner Truth. These luminaries strove to lift the boot of Eurocentric domination just high enough off of our throats to get some breathing room. Perhaps lift it high enough to sing a song of an all-encompassing love that harmonizes humanity into the brotherhood it was meant to be.

This lifting the boot off of our necks has been viewed as “losing the country” in the eyes of many Whites. Cries of injustice are rebranded as “whining,” calling out real racism is rebranded as “race baiting.” They tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, conveniently forgetting the fact that when we did, it was them who cut the strings. Donald Trump is the new voice of this forgetful White American. A White American that never had to remember Wounded Knee or Black Wallstreet. Never had to learn about Japanese internment camps or the Tuskegee Experiments. They only had to learn what to do with the pile of money left over from these psychotic lapses in humanity. The beast of White violence redrew the map of the world, and color-classified humanity into a system of easyto-read pseudo-anthropology. How soon we forget that there are those still alive whose eyes witnessed Hitler in the flesh. We forget that one human lifetime is no time at all. We forget that 500 years of Whites-only affirmative action will not be reversed in the 45 years between 1971 and 2016…or do we? Perhaps those in power are not as asleep as we think. In his book Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney Lopez unfolds how coded racial appeals have reinvented racism. The power elite have quietly preyed on White fear for their power since the days marking the end of the Civil Rights Movement. In his book, Lopez explains how the Republican Party wielded White fear with a wink and a nod. They did this quietly (though unsuccessfully) with Barry Goldwater, more practiced with Nixon, and perfected it with Ronald Reagan. By the time the 2012 re-election of Obama rolled around, the racial divide between Democrats and Republicans was painfully obvious to the world. On November 8, 2012, Newsweek spelled it out in a cover story that read, “GOP: You’re Old, You’re White, You’re History.” They remarked how re-electing Obama

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


spelled a turning point in American politics. The minority voice, collectively, could and did silence the “establishment candidates.” The backlash from Obama’s victory was inevitable. Now, these chickens have come home to roost in Trump. What was spoken quietly is out in the open, and it’s embarrassing. With the GOP scrambling to put the cat back in the bag, it’s clear that not even their elite can put the fires out with traditional extinguishers. For decades, the Republicans have cultivated an environment nurturing their secret addiction to White power: Trump is the track-marks exposed. I only hope that they can see that Trump looks to them how they look to us: racist, repugnant, and wreaking with money. At the moment of this writing in late March of 2016, a Donald Trump presidency looks alarmingly feasible. As a Black man, survival concerns must take precedence over political correctness. There are some hard questions that need to be asked. Firstly, if systemic racism was this destructive to our community when Whites were “accidentally” racist, how bad will it get once they’re intentional about it? Secondly, if Trump rallies are a microcosm of what the country will be once he’s elected, can Blacks afford to even stay in this country? Thirdly, even if Trump loses, observe the wrath of the “majority” and ask, “Am I truly safe around these people?” Most Whites who back Trump site his stance on border security. Ironically, statistics show the most dangerous people to Americans are on this side of the border. In fact, when it comes to mass shooters, they are Trump’s demographic: middle-aged White men. The power of the White majority and their possible addiction to violence is evidenced in this fact: If there were a place where Muslims could publically buy bombs, the protests would be around the clock. How many activists are forming picket lines to stop White men from going into gun shows?

Dr. Ryan Ross Named 2016 9NEWS Leader of the Year

Dr. Ryan Ross, dean of Student Development and Retention with the Community College of Denver

Ross recognized for outstanding community leadership and dedication to education equity

9NEWS and the Denver Metro

Chamber Leadership Foundation jointly announced Dr. Ryan Ross, dean of Student Development and Retention with the Community College of Denver, as the 2016 9NEWS Leader of the Year. The award was given in front of more than 600 guests at the annual Celebrating Civic Leadership Luncheon benefiting the Leadership Foundation’s emerging leader’s scholarship program. Hundreds of Leadership Foundation alumni cast their votes, selecting Ross from three impressive finalists. Ross has committed his career to advocating for education equity in

Colorado. As dean of Student Development and Retention at the Community College of Denver, Ross ensures students have the support services they need to be successful and complete their degrees and certificates. Ross’ passion continues to increase awareness of the barriers facing lowincome students in Colorado. “I am totally humbled being named 9NEWS Leader of the Year. This is an honor I hope to really live up to one day. I am thankful for the support of so many people, especially my wife and kiddos, and am truly inspired by the thought of what leaders in Denver

can accomplish working collectively,” Ross said. “We are thrilled to present Dr. Ryan Ross with this year’s 9NEWS Leader of the Year Award,” said Leadership Foundation Executive Director Dan Lewis. “Dr. Ross truly exemplifies what it means to be an inspiring, visionary leader — and we are grateful for all he has done for our community. He is a role model for each of us aspiring to make positive change in the world around us.” The 9NEWS Leader of the Year Award recognizes outstanding leaders who are inspiring the community and leading the way for change. This year’s selection process was different than years past; with Leadership Foundation program alumni selecting the winner from three finalists through an online voting process. This year’s finalists included Ross and: •Heather Lafferty, executive director and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver •Michael Mitchel, executive director and commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1 and managing partner of OC Consulting “The 9NEWS Leader of the Year Award is a true celebration of leadership. Every year, we are more and more impressed with the caliber of nominees and the positive impacts

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


their actions have had on the community. On behalf of 9NEWS, we congratulate Dr. Ryan Ross and the other finalists and thank them for their dedication to positive community change,” said 9NEWS President and General Manager Mark Cornetta. Each of the finalists will receive $1,000 from the Leadership Foundation to donate to a not-forprofit of their choice. For more information about the 9NEWS Leader of the Year Award and the Leadership Foundation, visit

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or centuries the descendants of African slaves throughout the Americas were deprived of connections to their past. In addition, new cultural and social practices developed by African people usually were disregarded and not made part of the historical record by white society. Nevertheless, African people have engaged continuously in efforts to preserve and document their realities. Ironically, the first repository of materials in the United States to focus upon African people has roots in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

Lupus Colorado and The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver

Proudly Present

Second Annual Health Awareness and Educational Symposium: Lupus and the African American Community SATURDAY, MAY 21 • 10 A.M. - NOON AURORA FOX ARTS CENTER 9900 E COLFAX AVE, AURORA, CO 80010


Invisible No More

COME BE PART OF THE DISCUSSION Join us for this live interactive presentation featuring doctors and health professionals with a focus on lupus and the effects it has on people living with the disease, specifically in the African American Community. The symposium is open to lupus patients, caregivers, family members and medical professionals. For more information, call 303-377-2790, ext. 5

LU P U S FAC T S : • 2 million Americans, including 30,000 Coloradans, have been diagnosed with lupus • 1 out of every 185 people - 90 percent of whom are women - are affected by lupus • Lupus is 2-3 times more prevalent in African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian-Americans • More than 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported annually across the country

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Free Event • Light Refreshments

In 1884, 10-year-old Arturo (Arthur) Schomburg, who lived in Puerto Rico, asked his primary school teacher about the history of Africans. She told him that Africans had no history, no heroes nor accomplishments. Skeptical, yet driven by curiosity, young Schomburg began a lifelong process of learning about African people wherever they lived. His curiosity resulted in the establishment of what became the first public archive of African people in the United States. At age 17, Schomburg moved to New York City, residing first on the Lower East Side, home to many Puerto Ricans and Cubans. Years later, he moved to Harlem which became the intellectual and artistic capital of people of African descent. Schomburg helped establish a variety of societies, associations and organizations, all of which engaged in scholarly efforts to capture the missing

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


narrative of African people in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. He also contributed articles and essays to many publications that emerged, especially during the Harlem Renaissance. Researchers, such as Elinor Des Vernay Sinnette who has written extensively about Schomburg, have concluded that he was self-educated, becoming a bibliophile who was respected by credentialed academics including the renowned W.E.B. DuBois. He received enough support to travel and engage in research in the Caribbean and Spain, always returning with an abundance of books, artwork and scholarly materials. The importance of his collection of materials came to the attention of the New York City Public Library system, which purchased it in 1925. He was also appointed curator of what was named the Schomburg Collection of Negro Literature and Art. It was eventually archived at the 135th St. Branch Library in Harlem and consisted of 5,000 books, 3,000 manuscripts, 2,000 etchings and paintings and several thousand pamphlets. In 1991, a new building was constructed next door and has been renamed the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It is this nation’s premier public library focused upon African people. For decades the Schomburg Library was the only municipal library in the United States with that focus. Today there are four additional libraries located in Los Angeles, CA (1978), Atlanta, GA (1994), Fort Lauderdale, FL (2002), and Denver, CO (BlairCaldwell African-American Research Library - 2003). Denver’s Dual Institutions Wellington Webb, Denver’s first African-American Mayor, and his wife, former state representative Wilma Webb, were concerned that the legacy of African-Americans in Colorado and the West was scattered and unwritten. “So much of it is in boxes, in basements, or in our heads,� Webb said. While still in office, he proposed the establishment of a research library to preserve, showcase and document that legacy. The result is the BlairCaldwell African-American Research Library which is part of the Denver Public Library system. Denver boasts an additional institution focused upon African-Americans: the Black America West Museum whose origins are similar to the Schomburg. The late Paul Stewart grew up in Iowa. “As a child I played cowboys and Indians, and I always wanted to be a cowboy,� he told the Urban

Spectrum in an interview years ago, “But the white kids would say there are no Black cowboys.” Since young Paul did not see any Black cowboys in the movies or books, he assumed that it was true. Like Schomburg, Stewart was skeptical, yet curious and eventually discovered that it was all wrong. Like Schomburg, he began collecting, but not just material about Black cowboys. He accepted anything about African-Americans, with an emphasis on the western regions of this country. After moving to Denver in 1962, he opened a barber shop where he stored his growing collection. Each decade, Stewart had to move his materials to a larger space, first to a saloon and then to Clayton College. He also began writing and occasionally lectured in and out-of-Denver. By 1987 with the help of a group of interested people, Stewart’s collection had transitioned into the Black America West Museum, located in Five Points. Today throughout the United States there are numerous institutions whose primary focus is the history and creativity of people of African descent. Creating New Materials Another monumental task is the creation of materials based on sources in boxes stored in basements, closets and attics. Denver’s Clementine Washington Pigford has risen to the challenge. A master researcher and curator of the history of Colorado’s oldest religious institution, Zion Baptist Church, Pigford’s prodigious output was initiated more than 20 years ago. A retired Denver Public Schools secondary school English teacher, Pigford has been a member of Zion since childhood. In the early 1990s, Zion was organizing some projects that required church history. Since Zion was established in 1865, that was going to be a colossal undertaking. Pigford became part of a committee formed to achieve that goal. “I found the church history was literally ‘all over the place,‘“ she said. “I

set out to make a collection of information that could be used as a quick reference,” she continued. Four years later she had assembled hundreds of photos, church documents, and articles from community publications. Nonetheless, oral history matched concrete materials as a source of information. “An easy 50 percent of all information came from Zion’s members and others in Denver’s African-American community,” she said. The collection consists of nine volumes totaling over 4,000 pages. It is entitled “They Came to Colorado with the Dust of Slavery on Their Backs.“ However, for Pigford, the work had just begun. Navigating a century and a half of history reveals multitudes of events and legions of people. This piqued her curiosity and motivated her to research their lives and tell their stories. The result is a growing number of publications about members of Zion’s congregation. Among the people about whom Pigford has collected biographical information, as well as photographs and other relevant material, is Reverend John Elijah Ford who she dubbed as “a preacher divine” and “a preacher’s preacher.“ He was senior pastor at Zion from 1899 to 1906. He was also the first husband of the renowned Dr. Justina Ford, Denver’s first female African-American physician. The Black America West Museum is located in her home. Another publication focuses upon Alexander Duncan, a consummate businessman and owner of Duncan’s Shoe Repair, Duncan’s Beauty Academy and Duncan’s Men’s Store. He lived a little past 100 years – a centurion. Pigford has completed several additional biographies, documentary publications about local community organizations and a video docudrama, The Arms of Zion. “The history continues and people continue,” she said. “The stories don’t stop.” Schomburg, Stewart and Pigford all acted on their desire to tell the stories of their communities and, ultimately, of people of African descent. All three initiated and carried out most of their work without monetary remunerations. All three reached their pinnacles without academic credentials as historians or social scientists, but have received praise from the scholarly world. Their work constitutes a “labor of love” that is grounded in a profound “love of community.” Editor’s note: Pigford’s work is archived in two Denver Public Library branches – the Western History Division at the Central Library and the Blair-Caldwell AfricanAmerican Research Library Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Trump’s Version Of An AfricanAmerican Voter Outreach Campaign


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

t was one for the books – the sight of an African-American viciously assaulting a Trump protester at his Tucson campaign rally. The sight drew gasps and lots of expressions of puzzlement and disbelief. The assault came a few weeks after Trump’s photo-op meeting with some black ministers. He has also gotten some endorsements from an odd assortment of black names such as Mike Tyson. Before that he bragged that he could get lots of black votes. It drew guffaws and snickers since it was just Trump being Trump. The overwhelming betting odds were that Trump could do something that’s mathematically impossible and that’s top the percentage of

black voter support that one poll gave 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during that year’s presidential election; namely 0 percent. Romney got his memorable 0 percent from black voters by doing what few GOP presidential tickets in modern times had done and that was to actively alienate black voters. He accomplished that feat with his plan to hack up Medicare, and Medicaid, downsize Social Security, gut the threadbare corporate and financial regulations, environmental protections, and their full throated assault on abortion rights that would’ve wreaked untold misery among AfricanAmericans. Even more than Romney, Trump’s violence drive, race-baiting crusade

that nakedly appeals to largely white lower income, less educated, rural and strongly male crowds drive the point home that blacks are not even an afterthought in his drive to snare the White House. But there’s more to the picture about Trump and black voters as the punches that the black assailant delivered to the Trump protester showed. The black vote in several ways is still very much a part of the GOP’s strategy and tactics to win the White House. GOP presidents and presidential contenders Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and especially W. Bush took great pains to give the appearance that they were not overt racists, and that blatant racism was not part of their appeal. This included highly orchestrated, stage managed, photo-ops with black celebrities and sports figures, a handful of key black pitch men and women on the campaign trail with them, and in the case of Bush loading up the Republican convention with a pack of show piece, African-Americans to provide entertainment and perfunctory speeches. With Trump it’s is no different. Besides the handful of comic endorsements he’s gotten from blacks, he’s front loaded his traveling campaign circus act from time to time with two black women—the “Stump for Trump Girls,” a black minister or two, and panned audience shots of black faces sprinkled through his rally crowds. The next tact is not Trump’s but the GOP’s. That’s to refine the ploy of voter suppression tactics that the GOP has traditionally employed, in times past, from felon bans to blatant intimidation of black and Hispanic voters at polling places. GOP governors and GOP controlled state legislators will continue to drum up a maze of rules and regulations from ending weekend voting to the rash of voter ID requirements. The aim is still the same to damp down the black vote total all under the guise of combating voter fraud. Then there’s Trump’s subtle racial pander, which like the GOP’s voter suppression arsenal of tricks, is hardly Trump’s creation. This is the GOP’s standard use of code words and attack points such as tax and spend

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Democrats, out of control, wasteful government, and welfare freeloaders. This embeds the notion that minorities, and especially blacks, unfairly scam the system with the active connivance of Democrats and at the expense of hard-working, overtaxed blue-collar and middle class whites. If Trump bags the GOP presidential nomination, the GOP establishment will be forced to throw in the towel on its low intensity civil war with him, and resort to yet another favored ploy. That is to bankroll and promote a handful of visible and vocal black conservatives to recite all the stock criticisms of Obama, civil rights leaders, and Democrats. It’s already got failed presidential candidate Ben Carson and the National Black Republican Association on board. This creates the deliberate and false impression that a substantial number of blacks don’t support the Democratic Party despite the polls. Trump and his black surrogates will pound on the tired theme that the Democratic Party has betrayed blacks and that it practices a modern version of plantationism; that is perennially taking the black vote for granted, while offering no tangible programs for the black poor. Trump will couple that line with his boast that he can put create more jobs for blacks and more affordable health care, and that private sector growth, school choice, and further shredding welfare, is the path to economic well-being and uplift for blacks. Trump’s aim is not to get any substantial support from blacks, since that’s an impossibility, but to sow seeds of doubt, confusion, and even a little hostility toward Clinton among just enough blacks to keep them from the polls in the must win battle ground states. Judging from the punches thrown by a black at the Trump protester, it may have worked in at least once case.  Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is From Sanders to Trump: A Guide to the 2016 Presidential Primary Battles (Amazon Kindle) He is a frequent MSNBC contributor. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is a weekly cohost of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Saturdays 9:00 AM on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network

Colorado Flyers Celebrate 50 Years

L to R: World Record Relay Team (1978) Radious Guess, Barbara Wells, Pam Greene, Brenda Finch.

By Sydney M. Odion-Smith

The Colorado Flyers Track Club

will celebrate 50 years of breaking barriers and breaking records. Founded in 1966, the organization was housed in the heart of the Five Points community. The focus of the organization was to give youth a chance to achieve athletic scholarships through competitive track and field. But, the history of the Colorado Flyers has provided much more producing such stars as Pam Greene who became the first Colorado Olympic Sprinter in 1972 and 1980, and Dior Hall former Colorado Flyer, (daughter of Yolanda Johnson Flyer alumni) who is the current national junior and world record holder in the 100 meter hurdles. She currently attends the University of Southern California (USC) and is coached by alumni, Carly Smith–Gilbert the current Director of Track and Field at USC. In May, the Colorado Flyers Track Club will have three events during the Flyers reunion weekend, May 26 to 29. The first event will be held on Thursday, May 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library with an exhibit. Club memorabilia from 1966 through 2016 will be on display. There will be entertainment by Ron Ivory, a cash bar and Hors d’oeuvres. On Saturday May 28, the Flyers 11th Annual Freddie Houston track meet will be held at the Evie Dennis Stadium and Campus in Green Valley Ranch, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This meet is expected to attract 600 talented young boys and girls from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The Flyer weekend will conclude with a Sunday morning brunch on May 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on the first level of the museum. The $25 brunch fee will also allow brunch participants to tour the Museum. Special guests include Alfred Durst’s Denver All-Stars, The Mile High Denver Track Club, Don Wilson’s Denver Wingfoots, and Marcus Walker’s All-Stars Track Club from the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The neighborhood competition of these clubs helped create the national reputation that the athletes of Five Points, North East Denver and Montbello are recognized for.  Editor’s note: For more information, call Robert P. Smith at 303-961-6240 or email Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


A Candidate with Proven Leadership Vs.Pie-in-the-Sky Promises for a Vote


By Wellington Webb

e all know someone in our neighborhood that talks a good talk but seldom delivers. It’s that guy who says he is the one to solve all your problems if you’ll just trust him. So, you enthusiastically welcome him into your home or your circle of friends and you wait for the miracles to happen. But it turns out the guy can’t even work with the African American leadership in his own home state of Vermont. And you end up stuck, waiting four more years looking for another miracle worker.

Then there’s the person whose work record shows she can get things done. For 40 years the issues that concern the African American community concern her, too. Some people like to label her as being part of the “elite” or “big party government” to make her seem less caring. But her resume shows a long list of accomplishments for children, women and families. She’s not going to promise you the world because she knows she can only deliver through hard work and making sure every community is part of her agenda. I endorse Hillary Clinton because I have worked with her for 30 years and looked her in the eye when she talks about her commitment to black Americans. I know she is the right candidate for the job. Yet, I also understand how years of political gridlock and growing racial discord has many flocking to Bernie Sanders, the miracle worker. While I applaud anyone involved in the political process, my 50 years in the political arena allows me to understand why it is critical Hillary Clinton win this nomination. If she is not the Democratic candidate in November, this country could have a new Republican president who will have no qualms about shutting out minority communities. If you think we’ve taken a step back racially in the last

decade, wait until you have someone like President Trump or President Rubio or President Cruz. After all the partisan debates are over and we have the two nominees the American people are going to want a leader who can lead everyone – not just the far left or the far right. Why do you think a growing number of voters register as Independents? Voters want a leader who can stand up for what she believes and bring people together. Hillary won’t ignore the problems in our classrooms, living rooms and on our street corners. Before I was elected as Denver’s first African American mayor in 1991, my opponents pointed to my previous elected experience as a negative: that I was part of the system so how can I be part of the solution? Well, guess what? My previous experience showed me how to work with the Republicans and build coalitions to get things done. My previous experience taught me to push for change without empty promises. The presidential election have three parts: winning the primary, the general election and demonstrating the ability to govern. As we work through this primary process let’s look at the differences between the two Democratic candidates. Forty seven of 48 members of the Congressional Black Caucus have endorsed Hillary; only one for Bernie Sanders. Other black mayors also support Hillary, including Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, Doug Palmer of Trenton, N.J., and Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C.

Sanders fail to acknowledge he voted for the 1994 Crime Bill, which has helped incarcerate a disproportion of minorities. Hillary acknowledges the mistakes of that bill and she vows to restore balance and fairness. Before it was “Obamacare” it was Hillary who fought for universal health care. Sanders want to throw out what Obama accomplished. Hillary has consistently called for stricter gun control laws, while Sanders voted against the “Brady Bill,” that requires expanded background checks before gun sales. She didn’t always agree with President Obama but Hillary not only served him well as U.S. Secretary of State but she has shown him the earned respect during this campaign. Sanders have called Obama a disappointment. Hillary has shown a leader’s temperament and judgment on many national security issues, including backing the killing of Osama Bin Laden, while Sanders has lacked leadership on Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Hillary will protect the legacy of the country’s first black president while building her own as the country’s first female president. We need to leave the miracles to God and elect a proven leader. Editor’s note: Wellington Webb served as Denver’s first African American mayor from 1991-2003. He is the only mayor to be elected president to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

Mable Sutton, CRS, GRI Independent Real Estate Broker

Office 303-313-8929 Cell 303-995-7621 Fax 303-313-9800 Email

For all your real estate needs Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Rep. Diana DeGette Honored as National MS Society U.S. Representative of the Year


Meet the Whitney Family

The Stapleton community is among Denver’s most dynamic and vibrant—filled with passionate people who believe in strong community involvement and improving the world around them. Stapleton is home to an eclectic mix of growing families, young professionals, empty nesters and numerous stand-out community leaders who are making positive change throughout Denver, the region and the world. One such couple is Jolene and Terry Whitney. Jolene and Terry Whitney could be described as one of Stapleton’s founding families. They moved from Park Hill nearly 14 years ago and built one of the first homes in the community. The Whitneys began actively participating in various organizations that have shaped the community over the years. They have had the unique opportunity to participate in the evolution of Stapleton from the former site of an abandoned airport to the thriving community it is today. They purchased their home before there was even a model home to tour—largely because they believed in the vision of the Stapleton Development plan, known as “The Green Book.” “We moved here because we believed in the guiding principles of the community— from inclusivity to sustainability to creating a strong and diverse place to raise a family,” said Terry Whitney. “The crowning achievement of my work over the years has been to continue this commitment to the Green Book and ensure Stapleton offers something for everyone.” Like most residents, their favorite thing about living here is their network of friends. The Whitneys quickly befriended many of the parents of the kids in their daughter’s kindergarten class. In fact, their oldest daughter was a student in the first kindergarten class at the first elementary school in the neighborhood – Westerly Creek

Elementary. This spring, the same class is graduating from high school, making the Whitneys among the first residents who have raised their kids from infants to young adults in the community. “When we moved in there were only a handful of families and we all got to know each other well—and after 14 years these are the same people that remain our closest friends and neighbors today,” said Jolene Whitney. “I remember on the first Fourth of July we decided to take the few kids that were here marching around the perimeter of Founders Green to celebrate. Now there is a huge parade in Central Park with hundreds of kids each year.” The Whitney family became very involved in various causes and organizations in and around Stapleton over the years. Terry has been a member of the SDC Citizens Advisory Board and is presently a member of the Stapleton Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. He was appointed to the Board first by former Mayor Wellington Webb in 1993 and again by former Mayor Hickenlooper in 2000. He is passionate about ensuring that Northeast Denver remains an inclusive, affordable community for everyone and is a champion for K12 education.

Rep. Diana DeGette is the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society’s 2015 U.S. Representa-tive of the Year. In a bipartisan approach, Rep. DeGette championed the introduction and passage of the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) in the U. S. House of Representatives, aimed at modernizing the discovery, development and delivery of treatments, and accelerating the path to cures for diseases including MS. This landmark legislation would also increase resources for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the

“I believe strongly that we should continue to focus on our promise of providing affordable housing to Denver residents through a variety of rental and for sale options in this area, and this continues to be one of our biggest challenges,” said Terry Whitney. “This will enable the strong spirit of inclusivity and community that has been at the heart of Stapleton.” Both Terry and Jolene are Colorado natives and enjoy spending time outdoors, at church and seeing movies as a family at the Harkins in Northfield. An avid fitness buff, Jolene works out regularly at CorePower Yoga and Orangetheory Fitness. They watch the Broncos each week with friends at The Berkshire Restaurant. “We really believe in supporting local businesses so are very excited about the opening of so many new places in the next year,” said Jolene Whitney. “The new Eastbridge Town Center, Stanley Marketplace and commuter rail development are only going to add to the community.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Food and Drug Administration, and establish a data collection system that would help researchers better understand the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases in the U.S., including MS. Rep. DeGette has been a continuous supporter of increased investment in the NIH, the largest source of funding for MS research in the world. She also has co-sponsored the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act (H.R. 1516), which improves access to and quality standards of individually-configured wheelchairs, and seating and positioning systems, so that people with progressed MS can have their medical needs met and remain independent. “We are pleased to name Diana DeGette as the U.S. Representative of the Year,” National MS Society President and CEO Cyndi Zagieboylo said. “As one of the leading voices in the healthcare debate in this country, and a member of the Congressional MS Caucus, Diana’s leadership on 21st Century Cures in the U.S. House of Representatives is critical to helping us stop MS in its tracks,” Zagieboylo added. “By increasing funding for research and access to treatments, we can make a real impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans living with MS,” said Rep. DeGette. “I am honored to be recognized by the National MS Society for my work breaking down partisan borders and passing the 21st Century Cures Act. I look forward to continuing this partnership so that we can get this crucial bill to President Obama’s desk and signed into law as soon as possible.” The National MS Society honored Rep. DeGette with the U.S. Representative of the Year award during its 25th annual Public Policy Conference, held March 14 to 16, 2016. The event brings close to 350 MS activists from across the country to D.C. to educate elected officials about the needs of people affected by MS.

‘Beet’ High Blood Pressure

By Sydney M. Odion-Smith, MSUD Nutrition Major

The silent killer, more commonly

known as high blood pressure or hypertension is an extremely dangerous disease. According to a statistic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 3 American adults live with this condition. To add insult to injury, African

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Americans are at a disproportionately higher risk of getting high blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that more than 40 percent of non-Hispanic blacks have high blood pressure. This is the highest prevalence of hypertension in the world. Furthermore, the disease tends to be more severe in Blacks than in whites, and strikes Black people at an earlier age. Blood pressure is just the normal action of blood pushing against the artery walls throughout your body. As a result from the pumping of your heart, high blood pressure is when the

force of the blood pushing against your artery walls is greater than normal. When you go to the doctor, a blood pressure reading is below 120/80mm Hg is ideal. According to the AHA, “If you’re an adult with a blood pressure of 120 to 139/80 to 89 mm Hg, you have prehypertension. If your blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or higher, you have high blood pressure.” Unfortunately, the symptoms of high blood pressure are not very obvious; until it is too late. This is why the disease has been termed the silent killer. There are several reasons why one might get hypertension. For African


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Americans, those reasons can sometimes be linked towards higher rates of obesity and diabetes. Along with this, eating foods that are heavily salted can play a major part too. The American Heart Association explains that, research has linked a possible gene in Black people, which makes us more sensitive to salt. The AHA goes on to say that people with this gene have a larger chance of developing high blood pressure. And as little as half a teaspoon of salt added to a meal, could raise their blood pressure. But there is good news! If you already have high blood pressure or, prehypertension know that your blood pressure can be lowered and controlled. There are many different options available that can counteract this disease. One of the most recent possibilities is the powers of beetroot juice. The beetroot plant contains high levels of nitrates. Nitrates are also largely found in dark leafy greens, like spinach. As explained in an article on, “Nitrates...are converted naturally in the body to nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes and widens blood vessels and affects how efficiently cells use oxygen.” Nitrates also allow the blood to flow more fluidly throughout the veins. Dietary nitrates found in beets and other vegetables, are known to help lower blood pressure and in turn protect the heart. A daily cup of beetroot juice shows promise of helping with the control of hypertension. reported on a recent study where, “...within hours of drinking it [beetroot juice], beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) by an average of 4-5 points among a small group of healthy men...that drop may seem small, but on a public health level a reduction like that would equate to a 10 percent reduction in deaths due to heart disease.” reported on another study where men and women were given beetroot juice to drink, and then monitored. Apparently, the results for both men and women, showed a lower systolic blood pressure six hours after drinking the juice. Beetroot juice can be found at many natural grocery stores, or made at home. To get the full effect of the beet, it is better to juice the entire plant. Or methods like cooking, canning or pickling, the beetroot will plant of it’s key nutrients. Beetroot juice is high in sugar, so make sure you are not drinking a large amount of juice per day. If you are interested in trying beetroot juice to help lower your blood pressure, make sure you consult with your doctor first. And remember to not stop any medications you are taking for hypertension.


Ground Rules

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

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


 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

tionship between these two unlikely characters and how they learn to work together despite their differences and prejudices. As Judy Hopps, Goodwin is a delight to listen to. Completely enthralling, she creates an optimistic character that’s kind, passionate and extremely determined. Certainly one of the best movies of the year, the story is well paced, the characters are beautifully created and voiced, and the animation is breathtaking. With its amusing and endearing characters, this film does everything right. It is well thought out, well executed and has a great deal of charm and humor. These are all elements that make it an outright winner.


A film of considerable charm,

Disney’s latest animated feature, Zootopia, which features a strong heroine and a terrific message, is a delight from start to finish. We’ve been conditioned with Disney films to expect positive and inspiring messages and this one doesn’t disappoint with the motto that ‘you can do anything you set your mind to.’ The heartfelt story follows Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), an irresistibly cute small-town bunny with big aspirations, she dreams of becoming the city’s first rabbit cop. The odds are stacked against her, of course, because a bunny rabbit has never joined the Zootopia Police Department – or even dared to try. The cops in Zootopia are all large macho animals like rhinos, elephants and hippos. This doesn’t deter Judy who soars through training, graduating at the top of her class. Sent to Central Zootopia, the toughest precinct in town, she’s relegated to dishing out traffic tickets by her cape buffalo boss Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), who’s unimpressed by her academy record. Anxious to prove her self worth, she convinces the Chief to assign her the missing-otter case, which she tries to solve with the help of Nick Wilde, a con-artist fox voiced by Jason Bateman. The plot hinges on the rela-


 By Laurence Washington



entist who disfigured him. He dons a red costume (to hide blood stains when he’s shot or stabbed) and adopts the name Deadpool, borrowed from a gambling death game he used to play with his mercenary buddies. Oh, forgot to mention that Ajax’s experiment tuned Wilson into an invincible mutant who takes a licking, and keeps on ticking. Shoot him full of holes, cut off an arm or leg – no worries. Everything grows back. Deadpool breaks all the rules of conventional filmmaking, such as breaching the fourth wall to address the audience – which can be jarring to traditional filmgoers. But taken on its own terms, Deadpool is a fresh and

yan Reynolds has redeemed himself in the superhero universe after that gad-awful embarrassment Green Lantern (’11) several years ago. Enter Deadpool, a naughty parody that lampoons the current crop of Marvel superhero flicks. Loaded with insider jokes, bathroom humor and pop-culture references, Deadpool invite the audience to come along for a satirical ride through comic book geekdom. Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a former Special Forces operative, who utilizes his military skills as a leg breaker, until he’s diagnosed with cancer. A mysterious man, who suspiciously resembles Mr. Smith from the Matrix (’99), offers Wilson a “free” surefire cancer cure. Wilson undergoes the radical treatment that excites dormant mutant cells to attack the cancer. Unbeknownst to Wilson, he’s volunteered for an unsanctioned procedure that leaves him so scared and disfigured, that he hides away from society and his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Armed with guns, knifes and swords, Wilson accompanied by a couple of X-Men, seeks vengeance (between wisecracks and putdowns) against Ajax (Ed Skrein), the evil sci-

hilarious distraction from the current run-of-the-mill superhero fare.

10 Cloverfield Lane

 By Samantha Ofole-Prince


he film opens with a young woman waking up after a terrible accident to find that she’s locked in an underground cellar by a doomsday survivalist, who insists that he saved her after an apocalyptic catastrophe. It’s an opening that establishes virtually everything that’s great about the film as a whole. What makes it so Continued on page 22


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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Continued from page 21 10 Cloverfield Lane

incessantly memorable is the fact that it builds on those opening moments, intensifying them and drawing them out in continuously fascinating ways. The woman, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is initially skeptical of Howard’s (John Goodman) explanation that he’s rescued her from some kind of attack that’s wiped out mankind. “In a year or maybe two,” he says, “the air will become breathable once more and we will be able to leave.” The “we” includes his former handyman, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who unlike Michelle (Winstead), begged for an invitation into Howard’s self-contained bunker. There’s rationed food, board games, magazines, clean clothes, filtered water, plenty of VHS films and breathable air, he informs her and for a while, they pass the time bonding, playing games and chowing down tasteless pasta. But after a series of events occur, Michelle becomes uncertain what to believe and determines that she must escape at any cost. It’s a flick that keeps you on your toes, and with just three characters in a relatively confined space, there’s a claustrophobic quality, which brilliantly adds to the tension. Goodman, who often plays the good guy, gives an astounding performance. Eerie, menacing, creepy and exceedingly paranoid, he’s the perfect casting choice as Howard. Gallagher Jr. as Emmett is not the brightest, but feels authentic and likable, but it’s Winstead’s Triple 9


character who struggles against a captor who might or might not be saving her life who is the standout here. 10 Cloverfield Lane is an exceptionally good film with tautly directed hightension scenes that are brilliantly executed by Dan Trachtenberg. This marks his first feature film. Produced by J.J. Abrams and Lindsey Weber, it’s a superbly-crafted, somber and truly frightening flick. It will draw you in and hold you transfixed.



Triple 9

1/2 By Jon Rutledge

here is nothing about this film that’s wrong, but also nothing in that’s right. It’s a perfect example of how to make a movie—expertly shot and performed, but not very engaging. The story follows a preprogramed set of literary guidelines and doesn’t deviate from it. There is no depth to the story or interesting plot twists. If nothing else, it’s a great way for some of the performers try on new characters in a safe environment - safe because this movie will be easily forgotten. The production quality and setting are perfect for the gritty nature of the story. It maximizes the tense nature of some of the shots with some finely crafted composition of character and scene elements. They used the Steadicam for its intended purpose: to give running action scenes a life of their own. I deeply respect them not going overboard with its use. Outstanding performances come from Kate Winslet (Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) showing off her range, nothing surprising. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Children of Men) captured the spirit of the character, but there was a natural feel to him. His character was complex he was cold and also had a sympathetic aspect, but they canceled each other out. Although well performed, I think

on Paper the character didn’t have much depth. Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) has really solidified his image as a hero. It was hard to watch him as dirty cop. He really captures the regret at double-crossing a fellow officer. The Chris Allen character, played by Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, The Finest Hours) is the kiss of death for police. He has to call a 999 code (officer down) twice in two days. If I was partnered up with him, I would fear for my life. This is a perfect movie to demonstrate how a movie can be perfectly shot and well performed, but if the story doesn’t have depth, it will be hollow. “Triple 9” is police code that means an officer is down. This movie has now made Triple 9 the code for a movie is down.



 By Khaleel Herbert

he story of Jesse Owens, the first African-American track and field athlete to compete in the Olympics and win four gold medals, dashes to the silver screen in Race. Owens (Stephan James) heads to Ohio State University leaving behind his family, girlfriend and daughter in Alabama in the early 1930s. He is called into the office of Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), coach of the Ohio State Track Team, who was also a track and field athlete. Snyder hears that Owens is a natural at running. After he lectures Owens on how “being a natural” isn’t good enough and working hard is important, Owens commits to joining the track team and to show Snyder what he’s made of. The next morning, Snyder times Owens on his stopwatch to see how

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


fast he can run. Owens runs 100 meters in 9 minutes. Impressed, Snyder trains Owens, helping him with his strides and blocking outside distractions when getting into position at the starting line. Owens improves, soon competing against other universities in track meets. Not only does Owens break records in track (even one held by Snyder in his glory days), but also breaks records in the broad jump. James and Sudeikis’ on-screen relationship is likeable and funny. Owens and Snyder soon see each other as equals– two men that have wives, daughters and a love to run–instead of just a white coach and his black starathlete. Race is a great film, especially for those who like African-American biopics. Like Malcolm X and Red Tails, Race gives a good perspective on African-American history as well as Owens’ life. This includes the unequal treatment of AfricanAmericans like when Owens and his friend, Dave (Eli Goree) had to sit in the back of the bus in the “colored” section when going to Ohio State. Another example was when Owens and his wife, Ruth (Shanice Banton), had to go through the back door of a restaurant to eat. Although Owens faces racism to the point that Hitler wouldn’t even shake his hand when he won those gold medals, it doesn’t stop him from competing. Owens said when he’s on the track, “there’s no black or white. There’s only fast or slow.” Race is a great film not only for African-Americans, but for those who like to see someone go against all the odds to do what he loves. This film is for those who want to learn more about Jesse Owens as well as those who want to reacquaint themselves with him.


Mayor Hancock Teams Up with DPS and Community to Hire More Teachers of Color

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Public Schools, six Denver charter school networks and several of Denver’s most prominent foundations have partnered to support hiring more teachers of color to better reflect DPS’ diverse student population. This partnership is part of Make Your Mark Denver, a citywide initiative that focuses on diversifying the workforce in Denver by recruiting and retaining more educators of color. The program brought interested and qualified teachers to Denver on Friday, March 4, for a robust tour and informational session. The prospective teachers visited several schools around the Denver region as well as met with Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Acting Superintendent of Denver Public Schools Susana Cordova.

Denver Named Host of 2017 Solar Decathlon Competition

Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the Under Secretary for Science and Energy for the U.S Department of Energy, Dr. Franklin Orr announced today that Denver will serve as the site of the 2017 Solar Decathlon competitions. Energetics, an energy and environmental consulting firm, has been chosen as the program administrator for the competition. Sixteen collegiate teams from across the country and the world have been selected to participate in the competition which is held bi-annually. The competition challenges teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence


with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Denver’s Office of Sustainability, Denver International Airport (DIA), the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and VISIT Denver, Denver’s Visitor Bureau, Panasonic and Xcel Energy are among the supporters of the competition and played a role in helping to secure Denver as the host. The competition is planned to be staged near a new development close to Denver International Airport. The area around the 61st and Peña Commuter Rail Station is positioned to become a national model for sustainable, transit-oriented, Greenfield development that can enhance the region’s overall economic competitiveness. It will do so by linking employment opportunities with a wide range of housing choices through increased transportation options and building value in existing and new neighborhoods along the East Corridor. Construction on the site will begin in September of 2017. The event will be free and open to the public and is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of local and national visitors.

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Delta Scholarship Awards Reception Planned

“Supporting Future Leaders Reaching for Tomorrow” will be the theme for The Denver Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Inc.’s Scholarship Awards Reception. For more than 76 years, the Denver Alumnae Chapter has given scholarship assistance to deserving young women graduating from Denver area high schools. Members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority are passionate about being able to make an impact on future generations and supporting higher education. The award recipients are pursuing Bachelor’s degrees in numerous areas including medicine, education, law, and engineering. The Delta’s Scholarship Awards Reception will be held Sunday, May 15 at 1:30 p.m. at Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, in Denver. For more information, call 303-908-5751 or 303-424-6981.

Erica Rae’s Kids/ Box for School Erica Rae’s Kids is hosting Casino Night on May 21 at Jazz@Jacks to benefit the Box for School program at 5 p.m. The event will include cocktails, dinner, casino games and “big winner” prizes followed with jazz, pop, R&B and rock by Dotsero. Tickets are $75 and may be purchased online at or purchased at the door. For more information, call 813-712-9703 or email

Windsor Gardens Writers Group Tea Time Planned For April

The Windsor Gardens Writers Group presents its annual Tea Time Readings on Friday, April 29 at 2 p.m. This free event will be held at Windsor Gardens CenterPoint, 595 South Clinton St. in Denver. Refreshments will be served. For more information, email or call 303-3241373.

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Making transmissions Making transmissions well forsince 22 years . well 1983. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Celebrating Colorado Women Launches Four- Month Exhibit and Programs

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF) and the Denver Public Library are celebrating the lives and stories of Hall of Fame inductees at a four-month exhibit and event series through June 30, in the main library’s seventh floor Vida Ellison Gallery. The exhibit features biographies and photographs of all 152 women, both historical and contemporary, who have been inducted into the Hall since its founding in 1985. The History of Women in Politics will be offered in a public program on Sunday, April 3; from 2 to 4 p.m. Featured speaker will be the Honorable Wilma Webb. Other upcoming free and open to the public events include: April 30th, Women in Journalism panel discussion; May 1, “Strong Sisters, Elected Women in Colorado” video documentary and panel discussion; May 3, Women in the Law, program featuring women judges in Colorado; May 14, Women of Color Leading, interactive program and networking; and June 14, Advocacy and Influence, panel featuring how women are making social change. All events are on a limited seating. To RSVP and for more information, visit www.cwhfdpl2016.eventbrite. com/, email or call 303-271-3599. For more information, visit

Why Do We Need Emotional Emancipation?

Community Healing Network, Inc. (CHN) and The Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) believe that, in order to reverse the negative trends in the Black community, Black people must engage in the struggle for what

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “psychological freedom,” and what we call “emotional emancipation.” Emotional emancipation is about identity and “a firm sense of self-esteem” as Dr. King described it. Emotional emancipation includes: complete freedom from the lie of Black inferiority; freedom from any and all toxic ideas about the inferiority of Black culture, Black intellect, Black values, Black hair, Black skin and other Black physical features, and Black people, in general; freedom to see ourselves as the beautiful, lovable, intelligent, capable,

and worthy people we are; freedom to see ourselves beyond the negative stereotypes that have burdened and limited us for centuries; freedom to participate fully in all aspects of global society; freedom to see ourselves in a truthful, whole new light: as fully human and gifted, requiring no explanation or justification. To the extent it is believed, the lie of Black inferiority undermines Black people’s sense of self-worth, the wellbeing of Black families, and Black children’s sense of positive possibilities. It leads to tensions and divisions that often spill over into conflict and vio-

lence. It creates an environment that constrains the human spirit and suppresses hope. It contributes to the Black-White achievement gap, the epidemic of violence among Black youth, the criminalization, disproportionate incarceration and wanton killing of Black people and many of the other challenges facing the Black community across the country and around the world. It also makes it difficult for the community to take the steps necessary to address the urgent problems before it. In order to empower itself to overcome its many challenges, the Black community must focus sharply on the goals of emotional emancipation, healing, wellness, and empowerment. Emotional emancipation requires admitting that we are all, to one degree or another, victims of “the greatest propaganda campaign of all time,” recognizing that we can be victors by acknowledging the power of the truth, and working together to overcome the lie of Black inferiority and the emotional legacies of enslavement and racism that continue to keep us captive. Emotional Emancipation Circles (EECs) are spaces in which we as Black people can come together to: 1) share our stories; 2) deepen our understanding of the impact of our history on our emotions and relationships; and 3) learn and practice essential emotional wellness skills. Toward that end, the Denver-Rocky Mountain ABPsi is working together with several community partners in Colorado as part of a movement for healing in Black communities across the nation by sparking the creation of a global network of self-help groups focused on emotional emancipation, healing, wellness, and empowerment for Black people. Defy the law and embrace the truth. Editor’s note: Emotional Emancipation Circles will be held throughout 2016 at several locations and are free to attend. For more information and dates, visit or call (719) 3376409.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Denver Metro Chamber Announces 2016 Business Awards Finalists

Eighteen organizations have been named finalists for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Awards, presented by Colorado Business Bank. Winners will be named at the event on Friday, April 29, in the categories of small business, start-up, green business, small nonprofit, large nonprofit and minority or woman-owned business. Finalists include: •Colorado Barricade Company, Humphries Poli Architects, P.C. and Syncroness, Inc. for Small Business of the Year, sponsored by Transworld Business Advisors. •Brainspire Solutions, DispatchHealth and the PB Love Company for Start-Up Business of the Year, sponsored by the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center. •Ambient Energy, Bayaud Enterprises and RNL Design for Green Business of the Year, sponsored by WhiteWave. •Cocktails for a Cause, RAFT Colorado (Resource Area for Teaching) and Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute for Small


Nonprofit Organization of the Year. •9Health Fair, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado and Colorado Neurological Institute for Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year, sponsored by Fireside Production. •Act II Consignment, Aguilar Public Relations and Gateaux Bakery for Minority or Woman-owned Business of the Year, sponsored by Xcel Energy. The Chamber will also recognize a member who has provided exemplary assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses with the David E. Bailey Small Business Advocate Award, sponsored by Wells Fargo. For more information, go to

Denver Parks and Recreation Names New Director of Communications and Marketing Denver Parks and Recreation announced that Yolanda Quesada has been named Director of Communications and Marketing. Quesada has worked for the City and County of Denver in Parks and Recreation since 2014 as Director of Government Affairs, Outreach and Development. In her new position, Quesada will oversee all functions of

the Parks and Recreation communications division including media relations, marketing, social media, public interaction, relationships with neighborhood association, City Council, and other stakeholders. Specific projects underway include the new Carla Madison Recreation Center, Denver Parks and Recreation master plan and the Emerald Ash Borer public awareness campaign. The Communications and Marketing Division also manages the public relations and communications efforts around special events in the department.

Bernard F. Gipson Eastside Family Health Center Celebrates 50 Years Serving Denver

Denver Health’s Bernard F. Gipson Eastside Family Health Center celebrated its 50th year in the Denver community with a proclamation from Mayor Michael B. Hancock at a recent city council meeting. Named for Colorado’s first board-certified African American surgeon, Eastside opened its doors in March 1966 and became the first community health clinic west of the Mississippi. The Eastside Family Health Center has bridged the gap between acute hospital care and preventive medicine

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


over the years and laid a strong framework for what has grown into a network of eight family health centers and 17 school-based health centers all located within underserved neighborhoods of Denver. This tradition continues as Denver Health prepares to open a ninth location, the Southwest Family Health Center in April 2016.

From Shattered...To Redeemed! A true account of divine healing from bipolar disorder

From Shattered… to Redeemed, by Dr. Traci Bradford-Walker, depicts the true story of the efforts of a woman to help her sister who is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. As her sister struggles to accept the newly found diagnosis, she and her family try for many months to get her sister to seek medical attention to no avail. Through God’s hand, many prayers, and the miracle of divine healing, her sister is brought back from the edge of madness. The book (ISBN: Paperback 978-14984-6054-5) is available for $15.99 through Xulon Press, Amazon and

Remembering Alexander Duncan May 25, 1910 – March 18, 2016

Alexander Duncan was born in

Little Rock, Arkansas on May 25, 1910. He was the only boy of four children born into his family. Alexander had a businessman’s heart and learned as much as he could about everyday needs of home repair, building, plumbing, auto repair and shoe repair. He equipped himself to take advantage of all opportunities to make a living. Mr. Duncan moved to Denver in the early 1940’s, where he opened a shoe repair shop in the historical Five Points neighborhood at 26th Ave and Ogden Street. He was a Master Cobbler. He later expanded the services of the store to include men’s fashionable clothing thus becoming the Duncan Clothing and Shoe Store. He owned and operated the store for more than 30 years. In 2010, Mr. Duncan obtained a valid Colorado Drivers License at age 100. Until recently, he enjoyed fishing, yard work, and adding to his collection of tools and other items that he might be able to use someday. Mr. Duncan was the

longest living member of the Zion Baptist Church being a member for 75 years. He lived a remarkable life. Mr. Duncan was the father if three daughters, Alexis, Norma and Billie Jean, and is a grandfather and uncle to four generations of grandchildren, nieces and nephew and many friends. We salute Alexander Duncan, one of Denver’s longtime residents and pioneer businessman.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016



Vocalists Jah Goatfish and Linda Theus Lee

First Lady of Denver Mary Louise Lee

Cheryl Carter accepts award for Shelton Bouknight Norma Paige, Mary Louise Lee, Rosalind Harris and Linda Theus-Lee

Publisher Assistant Melovy Melvin, Media Personality Tamara Banks and Rosalind Harris

Emcees Quincy Shannon, Norma Paige

and Theo Wilson

Rosalind Harris and Anthony Brownlee

Spreading the Love

Spoken Word Artist “Theo”

Photos by Harvey McWhorter

Mary Louise Lee and DUS Publisher Rosalind Harris

with Black History Photos by Harvey McWhorter

Denver Urban Spectrum Black History Month

“Celebrating African Americans Who Make A Difference” February 25, 2016 Afrikmall - Aurora

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


Letters to the Editor

Available for all Holiday Events, Special Occasions and... 303.355.4979 P.O. Box 39163 H Denver CO 80239





Continued from page 1 have room for their guests to stay with them, and we don’t have a hotel in the neighborhood. So when family members come to visit, I have been able to hosts their guests and I have loved making it easier for the people around us to be near their loved ones. We’ve also been able to host some business travelers as well as people who want to explore the city. Home sharing has helped these visitors see a part of the city that otherwise would not be easily accessible for someone from out of town. Our visitors almost always ask for recommendations on places to go and their contributions help support the many small businesses in our community. I know those who may not have much experience with home sharing may be nervous about inviting strangers into the neighborhood, however I can say through my experience I have built relationships and broadened our community with home sharing. The people who stay with us want to get to know not only the restaurants and breweries in our city, but also the people. They fall in love with Denver the same way we all have and they want to stay in our neighborhoods and be a part of this amazing city we’ve helped create. Home sharing has enabled us to meet more of our neighbors and their families and help foster a love of Denver for those who come here to work or explore. I urge everyone to reach out to their city council person and ask them to support the legalization of short term rentals in Denver.

Maureen Wood Denver, CO

Short-Term Rentals Important For Our City

Monday-Friday, 6-9am

Editor: The proposed zoning ordinance to allow short-term rentals in Denver is immensely important for both owners of short-term rentals (STRs) in Denver and for their neighbors. STRs, or rentals of a home for less than 30 days, are not a new phenomenon but an area that has ballooned in popularity thanks to technology companies that have made it easier for owners to connect with guests from around the world. The popularity of STRs has helped to ease our strained hotel capacity for visitors, allowed longterm residents to weather job losses, increased business traffic for locally owned restaurants and shops, and helped to increase home values in the metro Denver area. The proposed zoning ordinance seeks to clarify the rules for short-term rentals in order to promote their positive effects.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2016


By renting our place out, my wife and I were able to log considerable travel within Colorado and around the world. We were renting our primary home, which is a small one bedroom in downtown, giving us the opportunity to live for a week in Boulder and another in a small cabin in Evergreen. It also allowed us to travel to London and South Africa – trips we could barely afford without this opportunity. Renting our place even allowed us to overcome three months of mandatory military training by giving us enough money to find a pet friendly hotel near my training base and supplemented the difference in income from my civilian job. AirBnB has a direct impact on enabling me to volunteer for more duty with the Air National Guard. My wife and I have been hosts on one popular STR platform (AirBnB) for almost two years now. While we were both skeptical and cautious at first, we have found the positive effects of short-term rentals to be numerous. The HOA board in my building re-worded our covenants to limit short term rentals for periods of less than 30 days. There was very little discussion or opportunity for opposition due to the lack of a clear model for home sharing. We have ceased renting our property and we remain committed to being responsible hosts somewhere else but we need this ordinance passed so we can have meaningful discussion on the topic with any future neighbors or HOA boards. Beyond the issue of making this legal is the importance of “doing our part� for the community. Currently STR hosts cannot pay the appropriate taxes for rentals even if they wanted to. Passing this ordinance would allow (and require) hosts to pay the 10.75 percent lodgers tax. During our active hosting months, we had doctors, CEOs, actors, house hunting transplants, and many others. Most of them came to Denver for important conferences at the nearby convention center and spent significant amounts during their stay at local places we recommended such as Falling Rock Tap House and Leela’s. We had the opportunity to build lasting relationships with many of our guests and continue to remain friends with them. Over time, we are more and more confident with the quality of guests supplied by AirBnB and the platform’s positive effect on our community. My wife and I see the passing of this ordinance as an important part to building our communities and making Denver an even better city than it is today. Robert Martin Denver, CO


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Denver Urban Spectrum April 2016  

Denver Urban Spectrum, the premier publication about communities of color, has been spreading the news about people of color since 1987.