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Volume 32 Number 1 April 2018

TaRhonda Thomas

Keeping Denver News Accurate and Conversational............................................................4 Denver Urban Spectrum: Strutting at 32..................6 Saying Farewell To Two Friends.......................15 & 27


April 2018

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence Washington


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Luciana Melovy Melvin Laurence Washington ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

Is Justice Really Blind?

Scales of Justice: The scales represent the weighing of evidence and are balanced to portray that the evidence should stand on its own. Too much weight (evidence) on one side will cause the scales to tilt in favor of innocence or guilt. When, with the Lady of Justice, the blindfold represents objectivity and the sword she holds represents punishment. The scal es are held higher than the sword to show how evidence comes before punishment. As unrest and strife continually intensify in society and the U.S., justice is the foundation of many conversations especially when it comes to race relations and women’s rights. Our cover story profile 9News Anchor TaRhonda Thomas gives her views on these subjects and justice accountability as Laurence Washington shares her journalism journey that began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Emmy award winning filmmaker Dante J. James provides a different perspective on the movie Black Panther and how it relates to justice in the movie and film industry. And Richard B. Muhammad talks about the injustice occurring with Republican Jews and Black Democrats. Social media platforms, barber and beauty salons and even churches have b ecome sources for discussion, opinions and yes, gossip. In Denver, they have been incentives for controversy around sexual harassment allegations of Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Detective Leslie BranchWise. Social media has been inundated with live conversations and comments that are adding fuel to the fire. And, I was taught as a child that “shit don’t stink until you stir it up!” Included i n this issue is a letter from Denver City Council; also letters from three community leaders in support of the Mayor. I respect and agree with their sentiments. I agree because 1) Mayor Hancock has admitted to blurring the lines, took responsibility and apologized, 2) there is still a question of why the six-year lapse and/or motivation, 3) the person who delivered the letter has not been identifi ed, 4) no one really knows the real relationship of Hancock and Wise, and most importantly, 5) his good outweighs this bad. Don’t misunderstand me, I totally agree that sexual harassment should not be tolerated, accepted or ignored but justice should be measured and let’s not forget, we should start with #45. Also, there are still a lot of unanswered questions and many may have their own agendas as to why they want the Mayor to resign – or stay. But, if we are a people who believe in (the scales of) justice, let’s wait and see which way the scales tilt before picking up Lady Justice’s sword of punishment.

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PUBLISHER/PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Byron Russell Lens of Ansar DISTRIBUTION Dylan James Ed Lynch Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James - Manager

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 2018 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


Denver City Council Statement Regarding the Mayor

agreement includes clauses of non-disparagement, and non-dissemination, it is important that Council members (or any city employee), do not violate those contractual provisions. While Det. Branch-Wise’s agreement did not contain the same confidentiality clauses, the parties involved have not disputed the facts that recently surfaced, and we feel strongly that any attempt to further investigate this new matter without her request or consent would be contrary to best practice and risks re-victimizing her. While we strive to be transparent, City Council members cannot comment further on the legal aspects of these matters given the confidentiality requirements. We want the people of Denver to know that at no time prior to the recent media reports were we aware of the texts currently at issue; we learned of them when you did and have been seeking information ever since. Council stands against any kind of sexual harassment or otherwise to any person and we commend Det. BranchWise on her courage and conviction. Going forward, we are looking at putting processes in place to ensure that we are aware of all settlements that rise to a certain threshold. Regardless of the fund from which it was paid, we want to monitor claims in the city more closely. Again, transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance to us. We will continue to ensure that City employees feel safe to

Editor: The Denver City Council, like many Denver citizens, is concerned about the recent reports of sexual harassment against the Mayor toward a member of his security detail. We want our constituents to know that we take these matters seriously, and we have been working to obtain as much information as possible. Today (March 13, 2018), we learned details of the legal environment, past and present, following the reported behavior. The City settled a lawsuit with Mr. Wayne McDonald in August of 2016, after lengthy litigation. Because the legal matter at the time of settlement involved payment of wages, the settlement was paid out of departmental funds and did not require approval by the City Council. The City settled with Detective Leslie Branch-Wise in July of 2013. Because that settlement was paid out of the claims and liability fund, Council did review and approve the settlement by resolution. While there were no claims of sexual harassment against the Mayor at that time, the Branch-Wise settlement also included a standard release of any future claims against the City arising under the same circumstances. Therefore, there cannot be any further litigation regarding the Mayor’s actions at this time. Because Mr. McDonald’s settlement

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Rosalind J. Harris DUS Publisher report misbehavior and are free from retaliation. We are continuing to meet with City Attorneys to get answers to our questions. We will do our best to serve the constituents of our city.

Denver City Council

Forgiveness Is The First Step In Healing Harmful Actions

Editor: Michael B. Hancock should remain Mayor of our City. In response to the people who are asking the Mayor to step down, doing this would be more detrimental to our healing process than if we would forgive the Mayor. We are stronger as a people when we have the ability to forgive. What the Mayor did was inappropriate. It is a personal and professional dilemma for Continued on page 30 Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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9News anchor TaRhonda Thomas keeping Denver news factual and conversational It’s 11:15 a.m. and 9News anchor TaRhonda Thomas, a six-time National Association of Black Journalist awardwinning journalist, is vigorously typing her script for the noon broadcast she’ll be presenting in 45 minutes. Fast-forward: 11:45 a.m. Thomas polishes her copy, and has a quick word with her producer as she heads into the 9News studio. But there’s a hitch. Thomas’ hard work might never air. Word has come down from NBC News in New York, lead anchorman Lester Holt might break in at any moment, and local news will take a backseat. Cancelled in fact. Eleven minutes into the noon broadcast, the hammer drops – Holt has broken in. It is March 13, 2018. President Donald Trump had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter hours earlier. In response, Tillerson is holding a press conference that’s being covered by NBC and all of the other national networks…

Breaking news, last minute decisions, and a change in direction, it’s

just another day in the newsroom for TaRhonda Thomas, a familiar face to Denver television viewers. Thomas has been reporting news, participating in 9News events and galas for more than a decade. “I’ve been the weekend and morning anchor for a year, Thomas explains. “I’ve been doing the noon show for three years, and have been at 9News for 11 years. I can’t believe it when I say that. I’ve never stayed any-

By Laurence Washington

Cover photo by Enrique Meyer TaRhonda Thomas with 1) Rock the Nuggets mascot; 2) weekend coanchor Steve Staeger; and 3) Motown the Musical

Thomas is usually on the air by 5 a.m., so she has had a good hour and a half to read, write and put on makeup. Yes, 9News fans, TaRhonda Thomas applies her own makeup. She says she has friends in the industry who have makeup artists, but not at 9News. They do their own. “With women in news,” she says, “we get far more comments on our appearance than men. It’s unbalanced. It’s unfair. The majority of the comments we receive is about how we look.” Panel discussion as part of Courageous Conversation Being Black in Colorado

where that long – never. It flew by.” Thomas has won awards from the Colorado Broadcasters Association and from the Associated Press to name a few news media entities.

changed. Next, she checks for news stories that might have developed during the day or overnight. “When I arrived here,” Thomas says, “I hit the ground running.” Thomas immediately starts reading and writing copy – skills she honed in college while working as a news aid for Louisiana’s largest daily newspaper, The Advocate in Baton Rouge. “It was awesome being in the newsroom and learning from the reporters who were there,” Thomas says. “It was my first lesson in being really thorough. I definitely learned a lot while I was there, how to do things fast, go with the flow and not get mad if somebody changes what you wanted, or get the placement in the paper you want.”

Thomas’ workday begins promptly at 2:03 a.m. Well…maybe not exactly. “My alarm goes off at 2:03,” Thomas says with a smile. “I’m hitting the snooze button a lot.” However, Thomas arrives at the station by 3 a.m., sometimes 3:30 a.m. – depending on the news of the day and breaking stories. She has a pretty good idea of how her morning routine will flow. First thing, Thomas checks emails for pending stories discussed the previous day that might have



Urban Spectrum: As an accomplished journalist, how do you feel when you hear the term “fake news” and how do think that term can and should be abolished? Thomas: When I hear the term Fake News it’s disheartening because we are doing what we have always done which is to stand up for people. To hold those in power accountable and to call out wrong doings, and to have what we do to be politicized, it’s disheartening. The good side is it is causing us to really dig in and focus and be completely transparent to a level where maybe no one has ever been before to earn our readers and viewers trust all over again. Urban Spectrum: As an African American woman regarding the MeToo movement invading Denver, what are your thoughts on the effect on community leaders and where and if lines should be drawn? Where do you think this movement is going and what will it accomplish? Thomas: When this first started surfacing I was thinking, not as a journalist, but as a woman, “It’s about time.” I was proud of a lot of the women who stood up to talk about the things that have happened to them or to any of us that maybe never even realized were wronged, that thought we had to take as part of being a woman in a male dominated society. It made me think back to things that happened in my career, and even in college that made me feel this isn’t right – and why didn’t I tell anyone. When it comes to leaders, I think this is going to change everything of how women are treated in politics, law and government. Urban Spectrum: With the Trump Administration in full swing, how has it affected the presence of African American journalists and women in the field?


Thomas explains that she wants her on air scripts to reflect how she speaks off air. Above all, Thomas will say, she makes sure that everything is correct and sounds conversational. “It’s an exchange between us and the viewers,” Thomas explains. “I would never in conversation use the word Donnybrook. ‘A Donnybrook ensued,’ and I can’t stand, ‘the house was completely destroyed.’ People try to sound so official. All we need to be is factual and conversational.” Like newspapers, some stations have a story count or quotas that reporters have to meet daily or weekly. Not so at 9News. Thomas says you have to pick the stories you want on the air, and the kind of treatment each story deserves. “Not every story is a package when you have the track and the sound bites all put together wrapped up in a pretty little package,” she says. “Some are

Thomas: I think it has required a little bit more of us, because we have to reflect what we see and the response to what we see. With so many people saying and feeling that they are being wronged or not counted or not cared about, then it holds us accountable to tell their stories more so than we have before. And sometimes they hit closer to home to some than others w here we can relate and people are finally speaking about it. When we look at instances of racism and how out in the open they are against journalists, now it’s being coupled with a lot of fake news allegations as well. I think of a story I read about a reporter when she was just trying to get ready for a live shot when these guys, just passing by in a truck back and forth, called her the N word. Why i s this happening at this point and time? There are a lot of theories as to why people would be so comfortable to say things like that. The good news is we’re telling when things like this happen so people who are not people of color can look and say, “Wait, this is still happening? We have to do something about this.” Urban Spectrum: What would you tell young aspiring journalists on how to secure a fu ture in the new digital age and technology world of journalism? Thomas: Diversity – don’t get stuck on just one thing. I don’t just anchor, I don’t come and sit in a chair and read the teleprompter. Don’t limit yourself to one thing outside of this career. Work on things that feed your soul. Have your passion projects that you really, really love. If they need a photographer, I can go and shoot it mysel f. Don’t put yourself above things.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


just voiceovers with video, some need to have a sound bite with them. So we don’t go by a minimum story count, we try to give each story a treatment that it deserves in the time frame that we have.” Thomas says 9News will let stories go long and breathe if it’s a good story, as they recently aired an amazing story, as she puts it, an 8-minute feature on Five Points. She says the photographer did a lot with Five Point legend Charlie Burrell and kind of centering the piece on him. The story was shot over a course of 8 months. “During that period, one of the people the photographer was following passed away and he included that,” Thomas says. “And likened that to what if the legacy of Five Points passes away?” Thomas feels keeping Five Points legacy alive is important, especially with big construction coming in. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Thomas says her father had lived in Denver for a while, and when Thomas moved to Denver, her father said, “Just get to Five Points. Everything you need is right there.” Thomas says, “That’s the way he remembered it back in the ‘70s. When I got there, I was like well…that’s not much here anymore. There was an old hat shop, TV repair shop, good places to eat. But when he lived here, it was like everything was there. That was the only area of town that he was ever in.”

Becoming a university professor has always been an idea she’d loved and entertained. “So I thought, why not work on my masters right now, so if that day comes,” Thomas says, “and I’m feeling like I’m going to work toward that, I can teach and I can get my Ph. D.” Thomas says, all together she’s been in TV news for 17 years, she underlines the fact that people who have had that much experience, are not the ones who are teaching, because they have moved onto something else.

In 2013, Thomas received a masters degree in media, film and journalism studies from the University of Denver. During that period she managed schoolwork, working at 9News and raised three children at the same time. So why purposely put all those challenges on her plate? “I always thought about preparing for a next step,” Thomas explains. “I don’t believe in luck. I believe in preparation meets opportunity. So if the opportunity arose for something that is completely out of the box, would I be prepared for it?”


Thomas’ first journalism job was in Morgan City, a small town in Louisiana. She says the biggest thing the town had going for it was the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. “It is a thing,” Thomas says. “A weird thing, but yeah, from there I went to Colorado Springs. I was actually hired as a photographer, so I shot for other reporters, which was pretty cool.” Thomas says she enjoyed that job which enabled her to work her way up to do something different. Thomas eventually became a producer, a reporter and would fill in as news anchor. During her Springs’ tenure, Thomas met her husband and moved to Richmond, Virginia and then finally to the Mile-High City. “When I came here,” Thomas explains, “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep working. I just had my first baby, so I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. That was a decision I made in Richmond. I was down to only working two days a week anchoring a weekend show until they found my replacement. So when I got here, I said, ‘You know, I would be crazy not to try to work in Denver specifically at 9News. This is the only place I applied.”


Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


“So I think we can help a lot of people who are coming up through the ranks by sharing what we learned in our jobs. I leaned so much when I got my masters degree about how people perceive news. I’ve been on this side for so long, getting my masters forced me to take a good look at a lot of studies, and a lot of information on how people take in news, how they perceive it, and how they perceive us. It was really eye opening.” So after 17 years, what would Thomas’ finest hour be in journalism? “That’s a hard one. I’d like to think my finest hour is yet to come. I’m always expecting more of myself.”.

Electric Slide, Cupid Shuffle and Now the Spectrum Strut

Denver Urban Spectrum Turns 32 With A New Line Dance

This month Denver Urban

Phillip Villard, candidate for Colorado Secretary of State, is challenging the status quo. He is a Democrat running for a state position that Republicans have held for numerous administrations. Phillip is from a small farming town in Pennsylvania and has been in Colorado for the better part of 18 years. His education is in Accounting and Electrical Engineering. He authored a book on protecting employe e civil rights and was the former Chairman of the powerful Business Advisory Board of the City of Aurora. Phillip Villard grew up hunting and fishing, enjoys snowboarding and respects Colorado's natural landscape. Phillip Villard is passionate about helping the Elderly, Kids and Underprivileged. He believes that town residents in smaller counties should have equal access to state subsidy’s like larger counties. As the next Colorado Secretary of State, Phillip Villard will partner with all the Colorado County Clerks to protect our voter information and ensure the integrity of our elections. He will also work to set up Automatic Voter Registration for Colorado residents, expose the tactics used by hackers during our elections using dark money. He will offer Initiative Petition Signature classe s to political groups or civilians of any party to teach the dos and don’ts of the approval process and he will support an initiative to have Presidential Candidates release their tax returns prior to an election year.

By Melovy Melvin

Spectrum celebrates 31 year of spread-

ing the news about people of color.

Last year’s 30th anniversary momentous occasion included the debut

theme song “More Today,” a reggae

style remix of the 1969 classic “More

Today Than Yesterday” by the Spiral

Staircase. Performed by Denver vocalist Goatfish and produced by Bobby Wells, “More Today” is available on iTunes with proceeds benefiting the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation. With the surge of popular line dancing taking the country by storm, this year DUS has partnered with Mr. Charles and the Let’s Start Dancing Crew to create a new line dance. People are familiar with the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle and can see them performed in movies or can join in and dance them on any given night at Denver’s dance hot spots. But now, the Denver community can learn the Spectrum Strut, created by dancer Kim Drayton (aka Kimmy Kim) and Charles Doss who is recognized and known as the dancing man. Doss was recently recognized as a 2018 African American Who Makes A Difference honoree. He as has been teaching line dancing for more than 10 years and is committed to teaching anyone and everyone to get up and move. He cares about improving the quality of life through dance. “Health and wellness is a big challenge in our community. If we understand that our body is our temple then we can be at peace within ourselves. Dancing keeps your mind working and thinking about that next step,” he said and one of the reasons why he was honored.

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


“To contribute to the Denver Urban Spectrum by creating this dance means a lot to me. I have respected DUS for years as the community go-to publication, and to have this opportunity was unexpected but very much welcomed,” said Doss. “It’s all about the community.” Former New York police officer Kimmy Kim moved to Denver in 2006 and has been line dancing for eight years. She started with Charles Doss in 2010 and has been teaching line dance routines with Doss and the Let’s Start Dancing Crew for two years. “It means a lot to create a dance on this level. The song is great and I just felt the music and was inspired by the beat,” said Kim. “I’m somewhat shy about getting in front of a group of people but Charles has a way of pushing me.” She hopes this music/dance video will exceed the more than 100,000 views she received from her dance routine she created from the song “Good Loving” by Keith Sweat and looks forward to promoting it to her more than 8,000 followers. Over the last month, Doss, Kim and the Let’s Start Dancing Crew have been practicing the Spectrum Strut which will debut with a video viewing at the Kasbah on April 20 with Goatfish and Friends. The video will be an expansion of the current 30th anniversary video which was filmed in Denver that included a special appearance of Charles Burrell and other Denver scenes, including the Five Points community and City Park’s Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial by sculptor Ed Dwight. Stunttime HD (video and photography) owner Al Saadiq Johnson will film the dancers on April 4 at the Kasbah Nightclub in Aurora and redesign the video incorporating the dancers to be shown on April 20. DUS publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris says, “Like Charles says, it’s all about community – and connecting community. This is an opportunity and time to bring folks together and have fun. We have a great song, a great vocalist, a great video and videographer and great dancers. Now all we have to do is get up, move, join in and do the Spectrum Strut.”. Editor’s note: For more information on the line dancing class on April 4 or the Goatfish and Friends event on April 20, call 303-292-6446 or check out the ad in this issue.


ontinuing its tradition of presenting remarkable professional theater in the South Metro area, the Lone Tree Arts Center announces the creative team for August Wilson’s Fences, April 4 to 21. Director Wren T. Brown joins LTAC for the first time to direct the play, which stars TV, movie, and stage veterans Esau Pritchett as Troy Maxson and Julanne Chidi Hill as Rose. Wren T. Brown is the co-founder, with Israel Hicks, of Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles, the first AfricanAmerican professional theatre company. Under his leadership, ERT has produced Ovation Award and NAACP Theatre Award-winning productions of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, Regina Taylor’s Crowns, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In the Sun, and Clarke Peters’ Five Guys Named Moe. With this Denver only production, Wren’s goal for it is to stay true to August Wilson’s words and he also wants every single person in the audience to be able to identify with something they see in it. Casting has been a challenge for Wren who says, “Only because we’ve been working on this production since last summer, and things come up for actors all the time that make them unavailable on somewhat short notice. We have an incredible cast that has been amazing to work with. Wait ‘til you see the talent on stage!” Brown currently serves on the board of Antioch University, Los Angeles, and has formerly served on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild, the Friends of Washington Preparatory High School,

Lone Tree Arts Center Announces Creative Team for August Wilson’s Fences Stellar Cast Is Rich with Actors from Stage and Screen

Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and the Charles R. Drew University. As an actor, Brown has appeared in the films Waiting to Exhale, Heart and Souls, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, The Dinner, Hollywood Shuffle, Biker Boyz, The Importance of Being Earnest, Midnight Clear, and David Mamet’s Edmond. Esau Pritchett (Troy Maxson) has performed in many Shakespearean productions as well as contemporary plays and recently played the title role in August Wilson’s King Hedley II. He has been featured on the long-running crime dramas Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and Law and Order: SVU. He is also featured in HBO’s crime drama The Night Of, and has made appearances on the Netflix series’ Orange Is the New Black and Marvel’s Iron Fist. Pritchett, a Shakespearean trained actor, performed Twelfth Night in his very first play. “I credit that experience with pointing me in the direction of the Theatre Arts as a career,” he says. “Shakespeare is very technique driven. It is a stylized form of acting because of the brackets of rhythm inherent in his writing. He was most helpful in terms of vocal clarity and “posture.”

According to Pritchett, “As an actor, there is no real challenge per se (with stage vs. film). But I prefer the stage because that’s how I got my start and it’s closer to my heart.” Julanne Chidi Hill (Rose) is a film and television actress known for her roles on Weeds and My Name Is Earl. Most recently she has gueststarred in Black-ish, Ray Donovan, and Gilmore Girls. Film credits include Crank: High Voltage, The Take, Lackawanna Blues, and Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Theater credits include The Odyssey (Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Women of Brewster Place (Celebration Theatre), Bootycandy (Celebration Theatre), The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Revisited (Davidson/Valentini Theatre), and Die, Mommie, Die! (Celebration Theatre). Hill, who has three movies in postproduction, says she is officially done but occasionally there is a call to come do some looping or ADR (automated dialogue replacement). She says there are challenges in the theater on the stage vs. film. “Nine times out of ten you’re working with an ensemble, whereas on film you don’t always come into contact with

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everybody that’s involved with the movie magic.” When asked what attracted her to Fences, Hill says The Playwright! “Two other things that come to mind are the language and the social relevance of the play, the rhythm and motion of the words. The cultural specificity of these beautifully flawed characters,” she said. Other performers include Bradford Leo Barnes (Lyons) who received his Bachelors of Arts in both Acting and Dance from California State East Bay; Leonard Earl Howze (Bono) who made his feature film debut in the box office hit Barbershop; Darryl Alan Reed (Gabriel) who is best known for (500) Days of Summer, Sweet and Lowdown, Mercury Rising, and The American President; and film and television actor Jay Reeves (Cory). Denver actors Betty Hart and Gregory Tucker will understudy roles in the production. August Wilson, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes and a Tony Award, is widely regarded as one of the finest playwrights ever to write for the American stage. His American Century Cycle, which traces the African-American experience through 10 plays, each set in a different decade, stands as a staggering achievement. Fences, the sixth play in the Cycle revolves around the life of garbage collector Troy Maxson. When his rise through the Negro baseball leagues hit the ceiling of racial prejudice, Maxson turned away from a world of unfulfilled promises and denied opportunities. But in 1957, his son Cory, an emerging football star, sees the world through very different eyes, and his wife Rose yearns for an outlet for her love. Fences won the Tony Award for Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Featured Actress; the Pulitzer Prize; and a Drama Desk Award. The 2012 Broadway revival received a record 10 Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor, and Best Actress. . Editor’s note: For tickets and information, visit

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Peeling Back the Many Layers of Black Panther

Brilliant marketing and the releasing of Black Panther at a time when Black people throughout the diaspora are under siege by corporate greed, oppression and exploitation have had a positive impact on the box office. Additionally, attempts to devalue Black humanity as evidenced by America’s judicial, political and economic policies and practices have exacerbated the desire for Black affirmation. These issues are further complicated by numerous racist comments from the U.S. President, Donald Trump. His reference to African nations as “shithole” countries reinforces the need for Black youth in particular and Black people in general to ‘escape’ into an imaginary world inwhich Black people have, intelligence, humanity, dignity, and power. The image at the entrance to Wakanda and the name of the film, Black Panther, is both consciously and subconsciously associated with the Black Panther Party founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California. Consequently, Oakland connects the fictitious African nation Wakanda to contemporary Black America and the legacy of the Black Panther Party. However, it is interesting to note that one of the core objectives of the Black Panther Party was fighting the oppression and exploitation of multinational corporations like Disney, the parent company of Marvel Comics. It is also of note that Disney has profited for decades on films grounded in Black culture, often misrepresenting and denigrating the culture. Additionally, Disney is currently resisting raises for its labor force in spite of a 4.42 billion quarterly increase, up 78 percent as result of Trump’s tax cuts. In the title of his review of Black Panther, for The Guardian, Khanya Khondlo Mtshali states, “Black Panther is great. But let’s not treat it as an act of resistance.” He further writes, “Conflating the film with the resistive efforts of grassroots activists and organizers, we risk disrespecting our radical traditions which are increasingly being commodified by corporations whose interests have never been with the people.” Real-life representations of the humanity, dignity, and intelligence of Black people worldwide can be found in our history and our literature; a history that is grounded in many of the values our community is celebrated in Black Panther. Consequently, it did not require creating a fictitious world and characters to see those values on the big screen. Denzel Washington’s, The Great Debaters and Nate Parker’s, The Birth of a Nation, both told stories of real Black people in the real world respecting each other, honoring Black

Op-ed by Dante J. James

It’s the same old story. Nothing in this world happens unless white folks say it happens. And therein lies the problem of being a professional black storyteller writer, musician, filmmaker. - James McBride

With an estimated $108 million, Black Panther delivered the second largest

The above quote by author, James

McBride is my point of reference in an effort to expand the parameters of the

discourse around the Marvel Comics

film, Black Panther – an incredible box

office success. According to box office mojo, as of March 7, world-wide

receipts top $920 million worldwide.

second weekend of all time surpassing Jurassic World’s $106.5 million second

weekend of June, 2015. The film’s record breaking commercial success and rave reviews regarding the imagery of Africa and Black women are grounded in complex interpretations of African culture coupled with Black pride in an almost entirely Black cast. However, without exploring the craft and merits of the filmmaking I’d like to expand the parameters of the discourse about the film by using the James McBride quote as a framing device.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


legacies and fighting for the humanity, dignity, and freedom of Black people. Yet, unfortunately, many in our community failed to support these finely crafted films of very important and relevant stories that resonate with contemporary America. Some corporate media outlets, and regrettably some in the black community, chose to discuss Parker’s past instead of the artistic and editorial merits of the film. Our literature is rich with stories of self-definition and internal interpretations of Black experiences. Many of them are derivatives of the social, political, economic and judicial oppression of Black people but also connect to the images of Black women, Black humanity, respect, and connections to our ancestors; the values that our community is embracing in Black Panther. I urge corporate entities and our community to support efforts to tell these stories. This dichotomy is directly connected to the James McBride quote, “It’s the same old story. Nothing in this world happens unless white folks say it happens. And therein lies the problem of being a professional Black storyteller – writer, musician, filmmaker.” White corporations like Disney control the representations and interpretation of Black experiences, culture, and history. Their interest is pure capitalism, supplemented by the desire of Black people worldwide to see their humanity and dignity on the big screen. This exploitation of Black culture and the psychological needs of Black people are central to the successful production, promotion, and marketing of Black Panther. Corporate controlled white media, and some in the Black community, are comfortable with a film that creates a fictional world. A world according to Mtshali “provides dark skinned girls and women with heroes who share the same features which society ridicules them for.” Mtshali further states, “Let’s remember watching a film is not a brave act of resistance. There is plenty more work for us to do.” As a Black man, independent filmmaker, activist, and scholar I agree with Mtshali, there is much work for us to do. The challenge is how do we incorporate the pride, values, dignity, and resilience we embrace in the film Black Panther into our real-life fight for equality and justice within our families, communities, politics, business, religious organizations and our art.. Editor’s note: Dante J. James is an Emmy award-winning independent filmmaker. For more information on his work and company, Black Pearl Media Works, email or visit

Spring Into Fitness!

which could add up to a couple of thousand calories in one week. At the end of the month, you could lose 2 pounds and by the time spring is over, you could lose 8-10 pounds. The advantages of walking are that it is free, it allows you to enjoy nature, feel better, and the exercise is free of complications. Eat right: No matter what type of exercise you choose, you still need to make good food choices. There is no specific eating plan that works better than another, since we are all different – however, if you simply use a common sense approach, you can eat everything in moderation. A general rule of thumb is this: For males, the total calorie count should not be more than about 2500 a day and for females the calorie count should not be much more than 2000 calories and of course less if you would like to lose weight. Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, lean protein, and try to limit the intake of red meat and saturated foods, caffeine, soda and alcohol Of course, the best beverage is water- it can quench your thirst, does not stain your teeth and has no calories. Join the club! If you are the type of person who is not able to exercise alone at home, then join an exercise club or gym. There are many gyms all over the country and they offer a range of exercises, machines, weight

By Kim Farmer


pring is here and most people are ready to shed any weight they may have gained through the winter. To get your body beach-ready, it is important to start spring fitness with a realistic approach. The first thing to remember is to find a healthy balance between your physical activity level and your food choices that work with your lifestyle. Your physical activity must include doing something you love so that you will be consistent and continue to do it for the long term. And when it comes to your food intake, remember to eat everything in moderation and choose a sensible diet that has enough substance that you will feel satisfied. Diets that are very low in calories (less than 1200 calories per day) are very hard to sustain for more than a few days. Here are a few tips to spring into fitness: Don’t become obsessed with the scale: It can be discouraging to see the scale go up a little or not move at all after you feel like you have made a lot of sacrifices. However, your weight will likely fluctuate over short periods of time due to water weight, muscle gain, or salty foods. Instead, weigh yourself once every week or so – this way the scale will not control your emotions. Be realistic: Losing weight is not an overnight venture and hence you have to set realistic expectations. In most cases, the immediate weight loss

is only due to water- the real weight loss usually starts to occur after 14 days of consistent exercise and proper nutrition. Stay consistent: The road to successful spring fitness must include consistency. You will not lose weight if you just work out once a week and then take a break for a week. You will need to be consistent in your exercise regimen which means working out at least four to five days a week and at a minimum 20 minutes each day if possible. It is okay to miss a day or two once in a while and you should not feel guilty about it. If you need to break your daily exercise sessions up into shorter sessions in order to fit them in, go for it. Choose the right type and amount of exercise: You may think that you can only be successful you lift weights, include intense aerobic or use the latest exercise machines. There is no evidence that one type of exercise is better than another. If you are just starting out, walking is as good an exercise as any. But you should try to walk at least 30 minutes most days of the week. This can amount to a loss of a few hundred calories every day,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


lifting equipment, sauna, racquet ball games, and you will always find someone that shares your goals. Rest. Do not over train as this only leads to fatigue and a dislike for the exercise. Focus on the quality of exercise as well as the quantity. You should give the body enough time to rest and recover. Remember to always stretch for five to 10 minutes before and after starting any exercise. This will help prevent injuries. Find a friend: The majority of people who accomplish their goals do so when they undertake exercise with the company of others. Mutual friends can help motivate and support each other when you get bored with a certain exercise or become unmotivated. We can all improve on our level of fitness and spring is a great time to start something new. Start a new walking program, grab a friend or join a gym to help you stay motivated. And of course there is always an option to get help from a professional trainer if you just can’t seem to get started or keep going. Have a healthy week! Editor’s note: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For more information, visit or email

Digital Mentoring, Another App For Your Smartphone By Charles Emmons

Summer is on the horizon and

with it comes summer vacations with young people involved in numerous activities, from family reunions to summer employment. Or perhaps it will be spent on idle time, which most think can be bad, but alternatively it can be good. Summertime is a great time to reflect and recharge. Why not use idle time at home or riding in the car or train to learn something and begin making changes in your life? This is in part the idea behind the Youth With a Future App (YWAF), developed in conjunction with app developer Subsplash. Apps on our smartphones are of course not new. But isn’t it time we ask ourselves whether all the time spent on these apps is beneficial. Ironically a number of us seem to be disconnected. During my last trip to

the barbershop, all eight young men waiting in the chairs had eyes trained on their phones. Last weekend when my wife and I dropped in for breakfast at a Village Inn we observed an intimate table of four, a mix of men and women, all with their heads in their phones, seemingly not involved in any conversation. Youth with a Future Executive Director Dr. Robert Fomer sees an opportunity to leverage the pervasive nature of smartphone use, and has developed an app to teach leadership skills based on the successful summer program. Fomer is broadening the reach of Youth With a Future, which he has been facilitating for urban youth for several years. His eye is on the next generation and its development, and the app is available for free in the Apple Store and on Google Play. Initially, users are introduced to Youth With a Future and its spiritual foundations in the eight Core Values previously discussed in the Spectrum. But there are also sections challenging and encouraging further exploration like, 1) leadership and character development, 2) social issues and 3) remembering known and less well-known historical figures, like Carter G. Woodson, Maggie Lena Walker and Louis David Armstrong. This generation, following Millennials, born between 1995 and 2017 and designated as ‘Generation Z’, will be better prepared to handle the issues of the day in their lives if they know about those who have gone before them, in the distant past as well as today. Fomer’s aim is to pique their interest and encourage them to position themselves to face the issues of the day, namely 1) violence, 2) discrimination, 3) education, 4) bullying, 5) clean drinking water, 6) immigration, 7) healthcare, 8) trafficking, 9) incarceration, and 10) substance abuse. Fomer challenges the young users of the app to become transformational leaders. “Transformational leaders are those young men and women who see the issues of the day and seek to make a difference. Are you seeking to make a difference? Look at the issues facing our world today,” Fomer said. Now more than ever it is possible

to engage with the world, broaden the community on these issues, and do something to resolve them. Congressman John Lewis was barely an adult when he began his activism, and he only had a telephone and telegraphs. He had to craft his own playbook to make a difference. The YWAF app is a guide to making a difference, and the tools available for engagement are far beyond the telephone. There is a blog, discussions about finding purpose and a leadership workbook and videos. Research has shown African Americans are avid consumers of media. According to Nielsen, we watch more television than any other group, and our smartphone penetration is over 80 percent and we still listen to the radio and read print magazines. Each month they spend 56 hours a month using apps or mobile internet browsers on their smartphones. This media consumption is perhaps reflective of a thirst for entertainment or better yet knowledge. Nielsen and Pew Research provide these studies so that media and marketers can reach certain demographics. The Denver Urban Spectrum (DUS) launched an app three years ago. It makes the publication accessible from everywhere. If the next generation is to be reached, it is prudent to leverage African American media usage for a greater purpose. If we don’t know where we have been we don’t know where we are going. The odds of making a career in athletics or entertainment are probably in the single digits. Our capabilities are much more than that, yet we are a society obsessed with celebrity and its visible trappings, whether that is physical possessions or the latest meme. What matters is what we can contribute to make our lives, our families’ lives and the lives of those in our communities better. Leaders are needed not only in STEM or STEAM fields but also in law and other professions, and the path must start at a young age. But young

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


8 Core Values featured in the YWAF App

1. Choice of a Mentor 2. Passion for Purpose and People 3. Visionary Leadership 4. Culturally Relevant Communication 5. Multiplication of Leaders 6. Family as a Priority 7. Good Stewardship 8. Integrity

people must know that it is possible for them, and the YWAF app aims to do that by challenging them to explore their purpose and other alternatives. There is a marketplace of ideas out there, and the YWAF app facilitates and allows those better concepts of ourselves to come to fruition. Young people often need assistance in forging their own path. Questionable situations and bad decisions have consequences. Black people in general are searching for answers to their issues, and Pew’s research bears this out. In an analysis of a November 2016 study published in November 2017, 77 percent of Blacks believed an unlimited data plan for their cell phone would help them with important decisions, and 81 percent thought that more reliable home internet service would be helpful. The study further found that some sort of training is highly desirable. Seventy seven percent of African Americans wanted training on using online resources to find trustworthy information and 66 percent believed training to build confidence in using, computers, smartphones, and the internet would be helpful. African Americans are heavy users of social media, and more than 40 percent aged 18 to 39 are on Twitter. The impact of Black Twitter in addressing the death of Michael Brown is wellknown. This builds community, and social media is valuable for more than the latest rant or trolling someone you don’t agree with. Technology use and sharing insights can be constructive as well. The YWAF app aims to stay ahead of this as it is crafted for Generation Z and a new group of young leaders. Generation Z is the first totally digital generation, and it is Fomer’s opinion that for them, smartphones have become an extension of themselves. In a 2017 survey conducted by LivePerson, encompassing 18-34 year olds in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France and Japan, it was found that 65 percent of the 4013 consumers surveyed, interacted with each other more online than in the real world. They preferred texting to calling and conversation. In the US the

Apps for your Smartphone YWAF (Youth With a Future) DUS (Denver Urban Spectrum) B2B Mag (Back to Basics Magazine) Recent Black Achievements Black History Facts

percentages were even higher at 73 percent. “Technology is transforming the life of Generation Z but at the same time it is deteriorating the real life interactions. Smartphones were meant to be consumed by the younger generation but unfortunately, in a way, they are consuming the younger generation,” said Fomer. With the YWAF app he is looking to turn this around. “Our vision at TLF/Youth With A Future is driven by the belief that Generation Z can be nurtured and developed into future and potential leaders through goal oriented and customized use of the technology. Something YWAF has labeled as digital mentoring, which also provides opportunities for character and faith development utilizing blogs, social media, and leadership activities.” The Youth With a Future leadership programs have impacted small numbers, usually no more than 20 inner city youth in a summer. This app will reach so many more. A significant characteristic of Generation Z is that they are self-learners through technology like YouTube and Google. They multi-task digitally, but they also don’t let media overwhelm them, and will quickly leave it if it is not of interest. They gain their knowledge of the world and pertinent issues through social media like Facebook and Twitter. The strategy for the app focuses in these areas: •Blending information and entertainment •Incentivize youth •Empowering youth •Career oriented mentoring •Diversified discussion topics •Closing generation gaps Fomer believes that mentorship is a key component of leadership development, but he is aware that this is a generation that wants to find their answers rather than be dictated to. “We believe that a friendly environment can be produced by closing generation gaps. When Generation Z is mentored by Generation Y, Generation Z will feel more comfortable and will be more likely to join and participate actively in the leadership and character development apps. Unlike dictating terms, the opinion of Generation Z should be heard in a friendly environment where the mentor and mentee interact in a knowl-

edgeable productive and friendly environment,” said Fomer. Mentorship can occur through many mediums, particularly online and through technology. Messages are everywhere, and media and film is not just for entertainment. Lately there is excitement about the success of Black Panther, and Fomer has long seen the value in films such as the Queen of Katwe and Hidden Figures in facilitating discussions about leadership. The intent behind the YWAF app is to spark these discussions online to begin developing knowledge and empathy and other soft skills of leadership so that Generation Z can feel more comfortable in offline discussions with mentors in finding purpose and direction for their energies. This next generation has tremendous potential. It is the most ethnically diverse, and characteristically believes in gender and racial equality. New tools are needed to support gaining self-knowledge and preparation for the future. Info graphics and videos are the new language of this generation. These are carefully curated throughout the app. They will also have a chance to see themselves in the app through the publication of successes within their peer group. “Today’s youth does not want to be a part of any unyielding activity. They should be provided with the news about the success of individuals who have been schooled and nurtured through the leadership Apps. When youth comes to know about the success of individuals who actively participated in the leadership apps, they will follow their footsteps and will join and actively participate in Youth Leadership Apps,” said Fomer. Time is free, but of the essence. How will the young person near and dear to you spend their summer vacation? For a new look at what is possible, download the Youth With a Future App, available in the Apple Store and Google Play, and follow them on Facebook for future events involving youth and technology. .


In our March 2018 issue, Denver Urban Spectrum incorrectly published that Bertram Alfred Bruton was Colorado’s First African American architect. That honor is held by John R. Henderson who received his registration from the State of Colorado on October 7, 1959. We apologize for this error and any inconvenience and harm this may have caused. Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Family, friends, political leaders

and celebrities from throughout the

country gathered in Denver on Feb. 24

to celebrate longtime political activists

and community leaders Wilma and

Wellington Webb. Guests gathered to recognize the couple’s diamond jubilee birthday, “75 Years and Then Some,” at the Exdo Events Center. Hosted by emcees Shed G and Becky Taylor, the 500 guests partied to music by Jakarta and DJ Al “Your Pal” until 1 a.m., U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee lauded the couple for their dedication to public office and being role models for generations. Both served in the Colorado State Legislature before becoming Denver’s first African American Mayor and First Lady from 1991-2003. “Wellington Webb is a big man and his shoulders are broad, which is good because so many people have stood on his shoulders,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Wilma Webb is one of the wisest people I know.”

Mayor Hancock presented the Webbs a special limited gold coin, given by the city to U.S. Presidents, other dignitaries, and outstanding residents. Only 100 have been minted and they received numbers 74 and 75.

Crème de la Crème

Commemorate a Noteworthy Celebration By Luciana

Before the party, Sen. Bennet read a letter into the Congressional Record on the floor of the U. S. Senate chronicling all of the couple’s numerous accomplishments including, Wilma Webb sponsoring the law that created the Colorado Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and Mayor Webb’s leadership in local and national social justice issues. “When they were finished being elected, that didn’t stop them from being committed to their community and encouraging another generation of Americans to be involved,” Bennet said. Gov. John Hickenlooper also recognized the couple with a state proclamation. Many friends, including former mayors from other states, said attending the party was an important gesture to thank the couple for their support.

“Mayor Webb was a trailblazer for me,” said former Hempstead Village N.Y. Mayor James Garner; and the first Black mayor on Long Island. “He and Wilma have always supported me – and I’m a Republican!” Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said Mayor Webb gave her sage advice before she was elected the city’s first Black female mayor. “Even though we are close in age, Wellington is my mentor,” Franklin said. “He told me to think long term and what could impact people in 50 years, instead of how government is usually only addressing the most recent crisis.” Andrew Bonds, a retired Parsons engineer who worked on the redevelopment of Stapleton International Airport, said he was struck how Wellington and Wilma Webb made sure they kept connected with their community while in office. “He’d invite me to go with him to a high school basketball game without any entourage or fanfare,” Bonds, of Washington, D.C., said. “My wife and I consider them family. We would have walked here, if we had to.” Other notable guests included Colorado Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran; gubernatorial candidate Michael Johnston; former NBA All-Star and Denver native Chauncey Billups and his wife, Piper; Denver

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


developer Jim Sullivan; national political consultant Anita Ditto of Georgia; Emilio Pardo, Jackson National Life Insurance Vice President of Communications and Marketing; and Lou Vasta, President of Vasta & Associates, Inc., a special events company based in Chicago. Denver native Philip Bailey of the Grammy winning Earth, Wind and Fire, sent a videotape greeting of well wishes from his next concert stop. The couple’s children, Anthony Webb and Stephanie O’Malley, led a toast for themselves and 50 other family members from Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, and California. “Most of you know them as public servants, but for us we couldn’t have asked for better parents, grandparents, a brother, sister, aunt or uncle,” O’Malley said, surrounded by the couple’s grandchildren. “We love you,” added Anthony. The couple promised few speeches, thanked everyone and gave gifts to everyone in attendance. “This is not a political event,” Wilma said. “Let’s party, dance and enjoy family and friends we don’t get to see often enough. This is the first time we have joined our birthdays together.”.

Youth Programs Make Positive Impact on Males of Color


By Alfonzo Porter

t’s no secret that young males

of color in the U.S. face significant

challenges from such issues as incarceration, police brutality, negative

stereotypes, absent fathers and deleterious images promulgated by the

mainstream media; among others. The data continues to be disturbing. For example, according to a 2017 report by the Prison Policy Initiative, Black and Hispanic males are five times and three times, respectively, are likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts. Per 100,000 men, the rate for Black men was 2,207, for Hispanic men it stood at 966; while the rate for white men was 380. Other indicators paint an even bleaker picture. While there are a multitude of programs aimed at stemming the tide of the at-risk factors that continue to plague our young men growing up in America’s cities, the need for comprehensive programmatic answers far outweigh the capacity of many national programs to make a statistically significant difference. Therefore, the necessity for local, community-based efforts has become more important now than ever before. Initiatives like those offered by Denver native and nationally acclaimed motivational speaker, Dudley Thurmond, promises to make significant inroads with minority males. Thurmond, a product of the same streets that persistently claim the lives and destroy the futures of Black and Hispanic youth across the nation, is determined to change this harsh reality. “As a speaker and youth advocate who travels widely throughout the nation, I see a negative pattern that seems to replicate over and over again,” Thurmond says. “The same sense of nihilism that I felt as a young man continues. I see that same reality for urban

youth no matter what state or city I visit. From Detroit, Birmingham, DC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and right here at

hood,” he said. “They taught us how to ignore the little things that turn into big problems.”

home in Denver, the story remains the same. The hard truth is that our boys are silently crying for help. My youth programs are designed to touch them, look them in the eye and provide real, tangible guidance in a real world context.” A recent program, “Living in the Shadow of a Man,” was held on Saturday, Feb. 24 on the Evie Dennis Campus of Denver Public Schools. It is just one in a series of free workshops for young men presented by Thurmond to address issues such as developing an affirmative self-image, building positive personal relationships, controlling the male ego and creating a greater vision of their future opportunities. The program drew youth and parents from throughout the Denver region. The effort appears to be catching on and making a difference. Twelve yearold Taiwon Lee believes the program has helped. “It made me realize the need for better decision making,” Lee said. “Many kids don’t think about the consequences of their actions.” Other participants echo Lee’s sentiments. For Marcellus Jordan, 12, he has begun to consider how anger can lead to negative outcomes. “Today, I learned ways to address my anger issues. I think that I am better able to handle all the distractions both at school and in the neighbor-

And for Keciawn Thurmond, also 12, the program helped him develop a different outlook.

“Black boys turn into Black men and we must equip them with tools...”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


“I learned today that the ego is a large part of why people experience many of their problems. Thurmond says being able to control your ego can lead to a totally new perspective. I won’t let it determine my future.” Parents appeared impressed and say they fully support Thurmond’s project. According to LaDonna Poindexter, who brought her son, Jeremiah, the insight and guidance of positive males in boy’s lives cannot be discounted. “I think it will help him gain more confidence and overcome the negative influences that he will experience while developing a better attitude,” Poindexter said. “Programs like this are extremely valuable for our boys.” Sharikia Fulcher agreed saying that her son, TaRea, need males that he can relate to, and who can relate to him. “Black boys turn into Black men and we must equip them with tools that will help them navigate through a society that has too many negative, pre-conceived ideas about who our sons are,” Fulcher said. “He needs more opportunities to talk about things that, as a mother, I can’t address.”. Editor’s note: Dudley Thurmond offers his programs to school systems and youth organizations around the city, as well as nationwide. For more information or to contact him,

Republican Jews Run Black Democrats?

In one of the more bizarre cases of

By Richard B. Muhammad

American politics, a Jewish Republican group called on seven Black Democrats in Congress to step down in repudiation of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan over false charges of anti-Semitism. Several of the Black congressional leaders obeyed and denounced Min. Farrakhan. The Republican Jewish Coalition, which seeks “to foster and enhance ties between the American Jewish community and Republican decision makers,” made the demand. “We work to sensitize Republican leadership in govern-

ment and the Party to the concerns and issues of the Jewish community, while articulating and advocating Republican ideas and policies within the Jewish community,” the RJC added. Nowhere in the RJC mission is there a commitment to bi-partisanship, nor recognition of any interests except the interests of Jewish people and Israel.

Yet the group devoted to Jewish and Republican interests saw fit to order Black Caucus members to repudiate meeting with a man who has worked on behalf of Black people for over 62 years? Clearly the only thing that matters is the Jewish part of any so-called

Black-Jewish relationship. Blacks don’t have a right to forge their own agendas or to even meet among themselves-which are apparently rights reserved for Zionist Jews. And, apparently, Jewish concerns even outrank party loyalties and naked attempts to hurt Blacks inside the Democratic Party. So powerful are the Jewish Republicans that not only do they keep Republicans in line, they also have enough juice to force Blacks who are Democrats to toe the line too. You find no common interests between these groups as the RJC was virulently anti-Barack Obama, the first Black president, and literally spent millions trying to defeat him. If the RJC had its way, you would

have never had that Black man in the White House. But wait, there’s more. There’s the RJC’s sacred defend-Israel-at-all-costs commitment without a commitment to justice for all. And, when it comes to racist-in-chief Donald Trump, the RJC even refused to criticize the president for a 2017 statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that failed to mention Jews. Others took the Donald to task, but not the RJC. This is the same Donald Trump that called African nations and Haiti shithole countries, urged a crowd to beat a Black Lives Matter protester (a Black man who was actually assaulted and then arrested) at a pro-Trump campaign event, and who had to figure out White supremacists and the killing of a young White women at a protest in Charlottesville, Va., was wrong. Mr. Trump fed into the hysteria that led to five young Black and Latino men going to jail in the 1989 Central Park jogger case in New York, though they were innocent. Mr. Trump claimed the young men were still guilty after they were released. That the men were paid a $41 million settlement in 2014 meant nothing. In 2016, presidential candidate Trump declared the men were still guilty. At the height of trial hysteria, Mr. Trump took out a full-page ad saying New York should bring back the death penalty. Then there were those Trump lawsuits for housing discrimination and charges because he didn’t want to rent to Blacks in the 1970s. So clearly there is no affinity between these lawmakers and the

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


RJC’s love fest with Mr. Trump, who is essentially reviled by the Congressional Black Caucus. Maybe it’s the RJC protect-Israel-atall-costs mantra that fits with the politics of these Black congressmen? Not really. Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana, who was called out by the RJC, conducted a TV interview on FOX 59 in his home state. During the March 9 broadcast, Rep. Carson admitted to meeting with the Minister to discuss important issues. What about the RJC demand he step down? “That organization doesn’t have any credibility with me. I know they have a political agenda,” said Rep. Carson. “The Congressional Black Caucus is asking that organization to condemn (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu and the (Israeli) government for discriminating against Africans who are migrating, who are fleeing dictatorships, who are fleeing oppression. There’s a great deal of bigotry and racism happening right now they fail to condemn.” So African migrants in Israel are suffering, threatened with deportation and jail, the Black Caucus asked the RJC for help and heard crickets? What kind of fake Black-Jewish relationship is this? And, while Israel is kicking Black Africans out of Israel, she is blocking Ethiopian Jews from reuniting with family members living in the so-called Jewish state, which seems to welcome White Jews Only. Yet these Jewish Republicans had the gall to demand that congressional representatives Carson, Maxine Waters of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Danny Davis of Illinois, Al Green of Texas, Barbara Lee of California and Gregory Meeks of New York condemn Min. Farrakhan. Sadly lawmakers Ellison, Davis, Lee and Meeks had done just that by Final Call press time. It’s enough to be on the Democratic plantation, but when your masters come over from the Republican plantation that should be more than any self-respecting Black man and woman should stand. So the only bi-partisan thing for a Negro politician to do is join with Jewish Republicans to denounce Min. Farrakhan? Sad. Shameful. But proof once again that the Negro has no political interests or political power that the White Man, the Jewish Man, is bound to respect. Or do we have no political power at all? Editor’s note: Richard B. Muhammad is editor-in-chief of The Final Call newspaper. He can be reached through and at Find him on Facebook at Richard B. Muhammad and on Twitter: @RMfinalcall. His website is


City Launches Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund to Aid Immigrants in Removal Proceedings and DACA/DREAM Act Assistance Mayor Hancock challenges business community to financially support the fund, Denver receives $100,000 grant from Vera Institute SAFE Cities Network

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver City Council and members of the Denver community launched the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund to provide access to legal representation for qualified individuals threatened with or in removal proceedings and individuals seeking affirmative relief – including DACA or DREAM Actrelated relief. “Denver’s immigrant community plays a vital role in our city. This fund will further our ability to meet a core mission – to preserve and protect families and children living in Denver,” Mayor Hancock said. “We hold dear the values of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity, and this fund will promote due process and access to justice for vulnerable members of our community.” “I strongly support the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund,” said Federico Peña, former Denver Mayor, U.S. Secretary of Energy, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “Deportation proceedings are the the only legal proceedings in the United States where people are detained without access to legal representation. The constitutional guarantee of due process applies to people residing in the U.S., including immigrants. Before we separate parents and children, before we remove someone who is a hard-working and valued member of our community, we must respect their rights.” “The United States’ immigration system is broken and many undocumented immigrants are unaware of their rights or potential qualifications for legal status,” said Councilman Paul López, who has been central to the recent reforms. “Keeping families together and honoring the right to due process for all people are core values in our City. We stand proud in establishing the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund to defend those values.” “I’m proud and excited to support the Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund,” said Robin Kniech, Denver City Councilwoman. “Recent policy announcements on immigration have threatened and disrupted our community. Many immigrants have legal claims to be present in the United States, but don’t have access to a lawyer to understand their options or

plead their case. These services are critical to protecting the city’s interest in keeping families together and preventing unnecessary disruption to our local economy.” The Fund will launch with an initial $385,000: $200,000 from the City and County of Denver general fund; $50,000 from the City of Denver Support Fund; $5,000 from The Denver Foundation; $30,000 from the Rose Community Foundation; and a newly announced $100,000 catalyst grant from the Vera Institute Safety & Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Cities Network. Denver will also join the SAFE Cities Network, administered by the Vera Institute of Justice. The Denver Foundation will administer the fund and will distribute grants to non-profit organizations providing direct legal representation to Denver residents for (1) defense of removal proceedings and, (2) for assistance with affirmative immigration relief. In addition, direct legal representation includes DACA or DREAM Act-related relief, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), asylum, U visas and T visas, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and naturalization. Grants will also be awarded to build capacity to expand the network of pro bono and “low-bono” attorneys serving Denver’s immigration clients, including law school clinics. The Denver Foundation will work with an advisory committee to determine which nonprofits will receive grants to provide services. The advisory committee includes the following individuals: •Jamie Torres, Deputy Director of the Agency of Human Rights and Community Partnerships and Director of the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs (appointed by the Mayor) •Joy Athanasiou, Immigration Attorney (appointed by City Council) •Nancy Elkind, Immigration Attorney (appointed by the Colorado Lawyers Committee) •Miguel Oaxaca, Together Colorado Board Member and directly impacted community member (appointed by the Immigrant Resistance Table) •Tania Valenzuela, AFSC CO Advisory Committee member and directly impacted community member (appointed by the Immigrant Resistance Table) •Member appointed by The

Denver Foundation •Member appointed by the Fundraising Committee “The Denver Foundation is honored to manage the Immigrant Legal Services Fund and to support efforts to increase available legal representation to immigrants,” says Christine Márquez-Hudson, President and CEO of The Denver Foundation. “We believe that legal status—and access to legal representation and due process—is a basic right and essential to successful integration. This program is important not only for the individuals directly affected, but for their families.” The Vera Institute will also provide technical assistance and support, including assistance in identifying and training legal service providers, providing opportunities to share best practices with other jurisdictions, and providing data collection and research support, with an eye toward evaluation. “Ensuring everyone is afforded legal representation is a cornerstone of our country’s justice system,” said City Attorney Kristin Bronson. “Individuals dealing with removal proceedings deserve to have a fair hearing on their status. That means they need representation, and this fund will provide that.” The Fund will accept donations from private individuals, non-profit organizations and corporations. Donations to the fund are taxdeductible. To donate, visit the Denver Foundation website. The Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund was established by Mayor Hancock’s Executive Order 142, which affirms Denver’s commitment to stand with immigrants and refugees, and maintains Denver as a welcoming city where everyone can feel safe and thrive. City staff, community advocates, and immigration law experts developed recommendations regarding the governance structure and services to be provided by the Fund. Committee members included the following individuals:

Executive committee:

•Alan Salazar, Chief of Staff •Kristin Bronson, City Attorney •Paul López, City Councilman

Governance committee:

•Chair: Cristal Torres DeHerrera, Deputy City Attorney •Celesté Martinez, Immigration Resistance Table, which includes: American Friends Services Committee-Colorado, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado People’s Alliance, Mi Familia Vota, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, SEIU Local 105, and Together Colorado

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


•Christine Márquez Hudson, The Denver Foundation •Denise Maes, American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado •Janet Lopez, Rose Community Foundation •Julie Gonzales, The Meyer Law Office, P.C. •Mark Grueskin, Recht Korfeld, P.C. •Mekela Goehring, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network •Rodolfo Rodríguez, City Council Aide to Councilwoman Robin Kniech

Scope of Services Committee:

•Co-Chair: Jamie Torres, Deputy Director for the City of Denver Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships and Director of the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs •Co-Chair: Lauren Schmidt, Director of Civil Litigation, City Attorney’s Office •Victoria Aguilar, City of Denver Department of Human Services, Protection and Prevention Programs and Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission •Tina Diaz, Immigration Director, Justice and Mercy Legal Aid Clinic •Juan Gallegos, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition •César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, University of Denver Law School •Yessenia Guzman, Denver County Court •Aaron Hall, Joseph Law Firm •Brad Hendrick, Caplan and Earnest •Diana Higuera, Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission •Eric Johnson, Immigration Attorney, Johnson Knudson, LLC •Adriana Lara, City Council Aide to Councilman Paul Lopez •Camila Palmer, Elkind Alterman Hatson, P.C. •Jennifer Piper, American Friends Services Committee The fund is one of several steps the city has already taken to protect our immigrants and refugees. Denver created its first-ever hate crimes penalty to send a clear message that bias-driven violence will not be tolerated. The city also created a plea by mail system to encourage community members to comply with the law from the safety and security of their home. In addition, the city changed Denver’s sentencing laws to ensure that the penalty reflects the severity of the crime and to limit deportation consequences for low level offenses. Finally, Denver passed the Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act to protect the valuable contributions of Denver’s immigrants and refugees by promoting public safety through community trust. .

Ground Rules

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

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

Tomb Raider (2018) lll By Jon Rutledge

Tomb Rider

Laura Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a

young girl trying to live her life after her father goes missing on an expedition. She has refused to admit that her father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), who has been missing for seven years is most likely dead. She gets a puzzle box from her father as his last wish. Inside is a clue that she starts following up on. She sets out after the same mystery that took her father from her. This new reboot to the Tomb Raider franchise takes a lot of flavor from the successful video game reboot in 2013. It doesn’t follow the game directly but all the same elements are there. She hires a ship and lands an unforgiving island with hostile inhabitants trying to survive and unravel the mystery of the island. An action film with just the right touches of a story. Looking to possibly launch the franchise again they slyly blend in some story elements from the second game in a way that gives them a logical launch of a sequel. Fans of the game series will see all the nods for setting up Laura to be the hero she is destined to be. We see her firing a bow and pick up a climbing axe as well as pick up two pistols. She now has all the tools she will need to continue the adventure in the next film… if they have one. (I hope they do). This movie almost feels like the first X-men movie; it seemed like a test run for


something much bigger. I’m invested in seeing more if they do them. There is a rumor of them trying to do a shared universe vis-a-vis Marvel. I hope they don’t try and pare this up with some of the lesser impressive video games. I shudder at the thought of a Hitman/Tomb Raider cross over. You can’t look at this film and not compare it to the 2001 version of this same franchise. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. The 2001 film was only tangentially related to the game. They cast a mega star, Angelina Jolie, and run her through some archeological sets with shooting and a love interests. This one seems more realistic in that

they have a person who takes on the look of Laura Croft way better than Jolie’s incarnation. Alicia Vikander looks like she walked off the video game. She brings a more realistic physicality to the action scenes. Video game films in the hands of studios who don’t understand or respect the source material can be detrimental to the game title. Look at some of the horrible video game moves in the past years. The pitfall filmmakers stumble into is assuming that the fans will flock to the theater regardless of content. This one takes time in getting us invested in the character. It was an action film but it did an excellent job of making us feel for the characters. As a reviewer I get to screen the film for free. You can tell a movie is good when I am willing to spend my own money on seeing it again. I am, and I am going to bring friends.


Winner’s 1974 landmark action drama that spawned several sequels. To its credit, this millennial version does stick with the same storyline. It builds the backstory of portraying Dr. Paul Kersey (Willis) as a successful mild-mannered surgeon who has it all: a beautiful family and a lovely home, but things go horribly wrong one day after a home invasion in which his wife (Elisabeth Shue) is killed and his daughter (Camila Morrone) ends up in a coma. He initially leans on his brother Frank (Vincent D’Onofrio) for help, and Detectives Raines and Jackson (Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise who are underutilized in their roles). Once he realizes the perpetrators will never be found, his inner fury is suddenly blown into vengeance against crime in general and he turns into a vigilante. New York is swapped for Chicago, which makes sense given the city’s crime stats and social media and digital technology provide an added layer to this modern version. Beyond that, there’s little else to offer other than social commentary on ‘right versus wrong’ in this remake directed by Eli Roth (Hostel). Coined the Grim Reaper after a video of Kersey stalling a carjacking goes viral, Black radio hosts do their best to inject a little humor and social commentary by highlighting the racial aspect of a hooded white guy with a gun imposing his own brand of justice. “Is he right for taking the law into his own hands?” asks radio host Sway in one scene. “He’s become a folk hero,” remarks another commentator in the footage. Much like the original, Willis poses as a middle-aged citizen who seeks and murders criminals. We’ve seen the actor play a tough guy in the Die Hard franchise so this isn’t a stretch for Willis and the role would have

Death Wish

Over the last 20 years, countless studios have sought to cash in on our love for nostalgic classics by churning out remakes and Death Wish is a remake I wish the studios could have left well alone, but then again, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Gringo Provides Great Opportunity for David Oyelowo By Samantha Ofole-Prince

Photos by Gunther Campine Courtesy of Amazon Studios


rom a Botswanian Prince, a civil rights icon to a Tuskegee airman, David Oyelowo has tackled an incredible variety of serious roles. In his latest project, the classically trained Afro-British actor is tackling comedy and is sure to garner a few laughs in Gringo where he plays a Yoruba immigrant who finds himself stuck in Mexico after a disastrous work trip. Gringo

Death Wish l1/2

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

pointless reboot, which sees Bruce Willis reviving a role, made famous by Charles Bronson in the 1974 original, the film follows a citizen who turns vigilante after thugs kill his wife.Arguably, one of Bronson’s best films, the story was first told in Brian Garfield’s 1972 novel of the same name, and then in director Michael

been best served with a lesser-known and more enigmatic actor. Also missing is the raw music score by Jazz legend Herbie Hancock, which helped establish the mood and would have been a nod to the original.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


“I’ve played all these roles that are fairly quote-unquote important,” shares the Golden Globe nominated actor, “and before Gringo came along, I’d never really done a dark comedy before so for me this film was a great

opportunity to express that part of my personality.” Incredibly funny and heartfelt, Gringo offers moviegoers a fresh take on the action comedy genre as it follows Oyelowo’s character Harold Soyinka, a hard-working peon at a pharmaceutical company, whose high maintenance wife Bonnie (Thandie Newton) is not only bleeding their bank account dry, but is also cheating on him with his boss Richard (Joel Edgerton) who is plotting to fire him. Add to that, Richard is also screwing the vice president of his company Elaine (Charlize Theron) and both are selling drugs to a Mexican cartel. Cash-poor and concerned that’s he’s about to lose his job after hearing rumors of a corporate merger, Harold decides to stage his own kidnapping once in Mexico with plans to pocket the ransom money. Unfortunately for him, his unscrupulous boss has not only let the company’s kidnapping insurance lapse, but has also cut ties with the drug cartels, much to their chagrin, which rapidly sets off an escalating chain of violent events as Harold crosses the delicate line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal. A dark comedy drizzled with action and dramatic intrigue, the film which is directed by Nash Edgerton, is hilarious and socially poignant at the same time as it explores work ethics and riddles existing stereotypes.

Love, Simon Is An Important Story to Tell By Samantha Ofole-Prince Photo by Storm Santos(Facebook)

The gay coming-of-age story’s

been done, but Love, Simon has something fresh and funny to share about the tricky intricacies of love, and how they might keep someone in the closet. A heartfelt love story and the first film from a major studio with a gay lead at the center, it chronicles the life of Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a 17year-old closeted gay high school student struggling to reveal his sexuality to his family and classmates. For 26 year-old Australian/ Nigerian actor Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays Bram Greenfeld, one of Simon’s classmates, it was the perfect project. “I’ve dealt with sexuality struggles my whole life. This was a great script and had awesome people attached to it. The fact that it had a gay director at the helm made sense for me to join the cast as I knew the subject would be handled with care.” Directed by Greg Berlanti, who brilliantly confronts aspects of the gay struggle that are often overlooked on


screen, Love, Simon was adapted from Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs The Homo Sapien’s Agenda. A high school romantic comedy about a kid who is going through the process that every gay individual goes through of figuring out his or her identity, it’s a relatable drama for Lonsdale who just two years ago revealed his own sexuality on social media. Admitting to the world that he is bisexual. Love, Simon

an established musician and writes and records his own music. “I hope that people leave the film and feel that they can see themselves being heard.” An authentic film, which traverses familiar coming-of-age territory, Nick Robinson as Simon, brilliantly slips inside the skin of a sensitive young man who’s having trouble finding his place in the world. The film also stars Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel and Natasha Rothwell whose scenes as the no-nonsense drama teacher, Ms. Albright, are some of the funniest and most memorable.

Oscars So Diverse By Samantha Ofole-Prince


Photos courtesy of Royalty Image and A.M.P.A.S.

“It got to a point that I was concerned about everyone knowing my business, because I do have a presence on social media and I am in the public eye. That was the final step for me knowing that I wanted to put it out there so there is never a point where I am wondering if this person or that person knows,” explains the actor who was named GQ’s Breakthrough Actor Of The Year in 2016. It’s a tad more complicated in film for Simon Spier, a lovable, embraceable character, who, as he struggles whether to reveal his sexuality, starts a secret email flirtation with another closeted classmate, but ends up trying to appease a blackmailer when one of his emails falls into the wrong hands. “It’s an important story to tell and that was the first thing that drew me to it,” adds Lonsdale who starred on the international hit CW series The Flash, and can be seen in Divergent Series: Insurgent and The Finest Hours. “The fact that this is the first one of this nature from a major studio means that the representation is there for everyone who is afraid of coming out. The stronger this film performs, the better it is for the world. Everyone knows someone who is part of the LGBT community and hopefully everyone walks away with a little bit more love about this kind of acceptance,” continues Lonsdale who is also

n Asian, a Hispanic and two African-Americans all won Oscars at the 90th Academy Awards last month, which discarded old traditions for new ones. Gone was the Academy president’s customary speech with longer monologues padding out the biggest night in show business. Host Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time in addressing issues of the previous year when La La Land was initially announced as the best picture winner instead of Moonlight. “This year, when you hear your name called,” he told potential award winners, “don’t get up right away.” Kazuhiro Tsuji was the first winner of the evening nabbing an award for best makeup for Darkest Hour and making Tsuji, the first Japanese to receive the award for the film, which follows British wartime leader Winston Churchill. “I don’t want to think about the fact that I’m Asian. I’m just doing what I love to do,” Tsuji told reporters backstage. “So, I hope everyone feels that way because as soon as we start to think what race we are, it’s not good. It doesn’t work that well.” Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy romance The Shape of Water which had the most nominations picked up four honors — including the night’s big prize, best picture. Del Toro took home best director for his film, which also won for original score and production design. After ensuring he double-checked the envelope to ensure it wasn’t a gaffe, the Mexican director dedicated his award to every young filmmaker. “I was a kid enamored with movies, and growing up in Mexico I thought this could never happen. It

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


happens. This is a door, kick it open and come in.” Kobe Bryant won his first Oscar for the animated short Dear Basketball, based on a poem he wrote in 2015 announcing his impending retirement from basketball and Jordan Peele became the first African-American to take original screenplay for the horror film Get Out. Backstage, Peele addressed the question of whether there would be a sequel to the horror-comedy film that explores racism in America and has grossed a massive $252,434,250 worldwide. “I’ve often joked that if there is, it will take place at an awards show where, you know, it might look something like this.” There were extensive monologues from several presenters including Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph who made light of this year’s diversity and Lupita Nyong’o, Kumail Nanjiani who used the stage to show support for the Dreamers living in the United States. Frances McDormand received best actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Chile’s A Fantastic Woman was named best foreign-language film and the best supporting actor went to Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Gary Oldman won best actor for playing Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour, and Allison Janney earned her first Academy Award for supporting actress for playing Tonya Harding’s mother in the biopic I, Tonya. Jordan Peele

The Oscars are still predominately white, but much has changed after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of previous years and we are seeing more diversity on stage with minority actors, writers and directors being nominated and earning Oscars in multiple categories this year. .


Community Events & News April 12, 9:15 – 11:15 a.m., Family Leadership Institute Park Hill Golf Club, 4141 E. 35th Ave., Denver, CO 80207

Become stronger advocates at home, in school and in the community through this leadership training for families. Visit or call 720-423-3135 for details.

April 30, 5:30 –7:30 p.m., Spring ED Talk Bruce Randolph School, 3955 Steele St., Denver, CO

Join DPS educators and the Denver community for a discussion on the importance culturally responsive practices. RSVP at

May 3, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Superintendent Parent Forum PPA Event Center, 2105 Decatur St., Denver, CO 80211

Hear from Superintendent Tom Boasberg and the Board of Education at this month’s Superintendent Parent Forum. Visit or call 720-423-3135 for details.

UPDATE African-American Equity Task Force The African-American Equity Task Force continues to move forward with implementing and mapping out efforts to ensure the success of our African-American students, families, staff and teachers. Read the latest progress update by visiting April US Ad 1/4page.indd 1

3/19/18 10:08 AM

The Denver Housing Authority and the City of Denver Present Business Opportunities At Annual Contracting Open House

The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver (DHA) will host its annual Contracting Open House on Monday, April 30 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Denver, located at 3202 Quebec Street in Denver. “We recognize our ambitious vision for addressing Denver’s affordable housing needs and creating opportunities for our 26,000 low-income residents can only be realized by working with quality, dependable business partners,” states Ismael Guerrero, DHA’s Executive Director. “We are encouraging small, minority and women business owners to come to meet our team and explore how they can support our efforts and learn how to do business with DHA.”

2018 DHA Contracting Opportunities

Workshop presentations will detail the contracting needs for several major DHA projects including The Vida at Sloan’s Lake, The Platte Valley Homes redevelopment, Boulevard One at Lowry, DHA’s new Central Office in the Mariposa District and the early phases of the redevelopment of Sun Valley Homes. Numerous maintenance opportunities and seasonal contracts for meeting daily housing management needs will be covered. DHA staff will also be available to share a variety of professional service opportunities, from catering to credit reporting.

City of Denver-Denver Office of Economic Development

In addition to DHA business opportunities, the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) will conduct an informative workshop on how entrepreneurs can participate in the myriad of current City construction projects.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Quality Networking

Members of DHA’s senior leadership team and buying staff will be on hand throughout the morning for oneon-one conversations. General Contractors Milender White Construction, Pinkard Construction and Shaw Construction plan to share their subcontracting needs for DHA building projects.


Registration for the Contracting Open House is handled on a first come, first serve basis. You must preregister in order to attend. For online preregistration and additional information visit Questions regarding the Contracting Open House can be submitted at

About The DHA

DHA is one of Denver’s largest subsidized landlords, serving 26,000 extremely low, low and middleincome residents and managing over 12,000 units located throughout the city. Established in 1938 as a quasimunicipal corporation, the agency is the largest housing authority in the Rocky Mountain Region. DHA’s goal is that every individual or family shall have quality and affordable housing in communities offering empowerment, economic opportunity and a vibrant living environment.

About The Denver OED

OED is dedicated to advancing economic prosperity for the City of Denver, its businesses, neighborhoods and residents. Working with a wide variety of community partners, OED operates to create a local environment that stimulates balanced growth through job creation, business assistance, housing options, neighborhood redevelopment and the development of a skilled workforce.

Kem Closes Out the

By Melovy Melvin


ichael Schivo Presents, celebrating 52 years as Nevada’s premier pop, rock and jazz concert promoter, has again teamed up with old school 105.7 and power 88 in Las Vegas to co-sponsor the 26th annual Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz & R&B Festival. Held on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday April 29 and by popular demand, the festival will be remain at its new location at Government Amphitheater. According to festival producer Michael Schivo, Government amphitheater “has superior sightlines and a sound system that will deliver to the jazz attendees the great experience they deserve. In addition to free parking and easy access to the venue, two new restroom areas, increased space for the vendor village.” Government amphitheater is located close to downtown Las Vegas and closer to the Las Vegas strip – convenient for hotel guests. Lyfe Jennings

The new festival sight has a much more professional feeling with intimate synergy with many shady trees and a new air conditioned pavilion for VIP patrons. The two day jazz festival has Grammy Award winners and nominees written all over it.

As usual, the jazz festival has been booked with handpicked national and Grammy award recognized musicians to entertain throughout the day and night. Jazz and R&B artists performing on Saturday, April 28 will include the blockbuster jazz tour of 2018 West Coast Jam featuring award winning sax man Richard Elliot, guitarist Norman Brown and hot horn man and award winning Rick Braun, soulful R&B artists the Kindred Family Soul, Grammy award winner and vocalist Nneela Freelon, legendary sax man Ronnie Laws, the Sax Pack with Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Kim Waters and Greg Adams and East Bay Soul. Closing out the festival on Sunday, April 29 will be R&B award winning vocalist Kem, Eric Benet, Lyfe Jennings, vocalist Leela James and pop soul singer Goapele.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


“These artists performing each day are the finest collection of acts we have ever had at the 26th year old festival,” states award winning event producer Michael Schivo. Past jazz stalwarts that have graced the festival include: Anthony Hamilton, the Jazz Crusaders, Chaka Khan, Norman Brown, Lee Ritenour, Kem, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Hiroshima, Jonathon Butler, Nick Collione, Richard Elliot, Peter White, Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Joe Sample, Boney James, Will Downing, Gerald Albright, Fattburger, Larry Carlton, Poncho Sanchez, Flora Purim And Airto, Ronnie Laws, The Yellowjackets, Hugh Masakela, Chuck Mangione, George Duke, Stanley Clark, Wayman Tisdale, Down To The Bone, Ronnie Jordon, Paul Jackson Jr., Paul Taylor, Mike Phillips, Lenny Williams, Barkays, Dazz Band, Cameo, Ohio Players, Morris Day and the Time and many more. The jazz festival, established in 1994, has hosted capacity crowds in years past as people from all around the country attended. Last year 38 states were represented at the festival. “Last year’s festival was an extreme party filled with the fun and groove that it takes to be crowned ‘the biggest and liveliest jazz and R&B party festival in the west.’ Last year’s festival sold out so we strongly urge patrons to buy their selected ticket well in advance as tickets will be in high demand once again,” Schivo said. “The Las Vegas City of Lights Jazz and R&B Festival continues to spiral itself into a very special light, and as our festival continues to gain momentum, it now ranks with the likes of all first-rate European and big-city-USA spring and summer music festivals, perhaps more so because Las Vegas is truly a one-of-a-kind city.”. Editor’s note: For more information on festival ground rules or tickets, visit, go to tix logo and select VIP or General Admission and 2 Day Discount Tickets. Leela James


Left to Right: Dr. Douglas Mpondi (Chair, Africana Studies Department) Delores Manns-Martin (UL Guild member), Betty Borom (UL Guild member), Rami Jordan (scholarship recipient), Terry Manns, (UL Guild President), and Katelyn Brooks (scholarship recipient).

Urban League Guild Presents Annual Scholarships

On February 21, 2018 the Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver presented book scholarships, the Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver/Dr. Lawrence H. Borom Scholarship, to Rami Jordan and Katelyn Brooks. The students, majoring in Africana Studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), were presented the awards at MSUD Africana Studies

Department’s 35th Annual Black World Conference. The Urban League Guild presents annual awards to students selected by the faculty of the respective MSUD department. This is the sixth year of awarding scholarships to students at MSUD. The Urban League Guild of Metropolitan Denver, an auxiliary to the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, raises the funds to make these scholarships available through community service events and fund-raisers.


Volunteers Needed for Five Points Jazz Festival

Denver will celebrate the annual Five Points Jazz Fesitval on May 19 with food, music, art and culture in the historic Five Points “Harlem of the West.” This year the festival needs energetic and enthusiastic volunteers. Opportunities include assisitng with morning set-up, greeting and providing information to fesitval attendees, being a stagehand at one of the many stages and the festival clean up. If you would like to volunteer, call Alisha Elliott at 303-359-5304 or email

Emancipation Theater Company Presents Honorable Disorder

Emancipation Theater Company announced the production of Honorable Disorder will be April 6 through April 29 on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Studio, 119 Park Ave. West in Denver. Honorable Disorder addresses the issues of a typical American family in the dynamic landscape that is presentday Denver as seen through the eyes of a young Black man, DeShawn Foster, a native of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and a veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom, and his perceived value by those that care most for him. Featuring talents include Theo Wilson as DeShawn Foster Erica Brown as Nancy Foster,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Chet Sisk as Sergeant Gerald, Sheffield Corey Rhoads as Justin MacDonald, Jeff Campbell as Bernard Foster and Devon James as Samantha Stewart. Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, visit

Love Our Children Luncheon

The 28th annual Love Our Children Luncheon will be held on Friday, April 20 at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. The keynote speaker will be sports journalist and University of Colorado graduate, Kate Fagan an acclaimed columnist and feature writer for ESPN. Her recent book, “What Made Maddy Run,” chronicles the heart breaking and vital story of college athlete Madison Halleran. Madison’s death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus. Her book reveals the haunting details and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness face today. A silent auction will be at 10 a.m. followed with the luncheon and program at 11:30. For more information call 303- 3372515 or visit


For more information call 303-292-6446 or email

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

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

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Tune in to Denver 89.3FM, Breckenridge 89.7FM, Vail 88.5FM or download our app today and listen anytime, anywhere.


Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Having trouble finding the

Denver Urban Spectrum?

Maybe this will help. Below is a list of some of our many distribution points. And to all business owners – if you would like your business to be included as a drop-off location, call us at 303-292-6446 or send an email to .

Aurora African/Caribbean Market Beauty Supply Warehouse Casino Shuttle Colfax and Chambers Liquor Store Kasbah Night Club Kirks Soul kitchen Montview Plaza Liquor Store Original Aurora Liquors Payless liquors Retired Enlisted Rising Star Church Soul Center Mall Village Green Liquor

DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby

Five Points/East Denver African American Research Library Beauty Chateau Salon Ben’s Supermarket 28th Street Library Bogeys on the Park Caldwell-Kirk Mortuary California Park Apartments Campbell Chapel AME Central Baptist Church Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Clyburn Village Retirement Coffee @ the Point Curtis Park Creamery Donald Rice Dentist Downing St. Liquor Store Glendale/Lowry Lowry Christian Center Marion’s Tower Red Shield Recreation Center Safeway Plaza Liquor Store Schlessman Library The Tavern Grill Welton St. Café York Street Drug Liquor Store Zion Church

Montbello/Green Valley Ranch Blackjack Pizza Chambers Plaza News Box China Chef City Wide Bank Gateway Liquors Mailbox Express Montbello Manor Montbello Recreation Center Sable Ridge Apartments Tower Liquors Trina’s Place True Light Baptist Church United Church of Montbello Colorado Springs Elks Lodge #473 Old School tavern East Library Penrose Library South Liquor Mart Trends of Africa

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


Dr. Stephen Abayomi Obadele Meeks August 31, 1958 – February 13, 2018

On Tuesday, February 13, Dr. Stephen Abayomi Obadele Meeks, a king within our midst, returned to his spiritual home. Born to this realm in August 1958, his life mission was to serve, elevate, and heal. A highly skilled and accomplished community leader, martial artist, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, musician, and Yoruba Priest, he was a vanguard with the ability to inspire others to be their best authentic selves. Dr. Meeks believed that “as a servant for god, love inspires the willpower which then directs us with the wisdom to help others!” Recognized nationwide for Martial Arts skills in both African and Asian traditions, Dr. Meeks instilled his students with a respect for tradition while encouraging innovation. He taught that the way of the warrior is to establish harmony by nurturing the seeds of love, compassion, courage, and integrity. He is lovingly referred to as Bawo by his students, recognizing his rank as an 8 degree black belt and the highest ranking Master Teacher in the South African martial arts tradition of Isinaphakade Samathongo in the United States. In 1990, Dr. Meeks founded the Moyo Nguvu Cultural Arts Center, the first Pan-African cultural and healing arts center in the state of Colorado that promoted diversity and inclusiveness. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he brought his nationally recognized Children’s Rites of Passage (CROP) program to Colorado; a program which has graduated more than 2,000 children of all ethnic backgrounds. In addition, the Center’s Kwanzaa Karimu was the first and largest public celebration in Colorado for more than 22 years. Dr. Meeks was the first licensed African American acupuncturist in the state of Colorado and, over the course of 27 years was responsible for helping hundreds of thousands in Colorado restore health and balance to their lives. As a healer and activist, he was committed to providing health services to underserved communities successfully partnering with social service organizations and foundations to reduce health disparities, especially in the Black and Latino communities. He approached problems with tenacity and sincerity resulting in the formation of meaningful relationships, innovative solutions; and, for his patients, physical and spiritual healing. His courage, spiritual integrity, unconditional love, and generosity made a positive and lasting impact on all who had the honor and privilege to know him. He was peerless. He was larger than life, our super-hero…he will be, well and truly missed. Dr. Meeks is survived by his Mother Pearl Meeks; his sons Oji, Kumasi and Adeyemi Meeks; his brothers Keith and Dwayne Meeks; several aunts, uncles, cousins, and his numerous students. Memorial Service Information: In accordance with Dr. Meeks’ wishes, there will not be a funeral service. Instead the public is invited to join his family and the Moyo Nguvu Cultural Arts Center for a “Celebration of Life” on Saturday, April 14 at the Summit Event Center in Aurora from 1 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call Moyo at 303-377-2511 or email A memorial website where tributes can be made online has also been established at

1 to 5:30 PM

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018






The 47th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame’s Music Festival Awards Photos by Lens of Ansar

Photos by Lens of Ansar

Savior’s Day Chicago, IL

The Honorable Wilma and Wellington Webb

75th Platinum Birthday Celebration

Photos by Gadison Photography

Letters to the Editor

Continued from page 3 him to deal with the shame and embarrassment of this behavior. We feel a collective hurt when we see our leaders make mistakes and we must decide our next steps together to heal from this injury. Forgiveness should be the first step to healing as a City because it will begin to remove the toxicity from our governmental body. Forgiving a person’s harmful actions can show more strength than lashing out in revenge. Trying to prove one’s power and authority in this way often only proves fear and self-doubt. The people of Denver have the power and authority and we are stronger when we can forgive.

Tracy J. Winchester Denver

CBRT Supports Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock

Mention you saw this ad in Denver Urban Spectrum

Editor: Mayor Michael B. Hancock has made a mistake. As human beings, we all do and have. We should all choose to live by a certain code, but sometimes we falter. It’s part of the human condition and our frailty as people. Our Mayor’s leadership is not questioned. His judgement in this one situation is. When weighing his contributions and service to our many neighborhoods and the City, professionally and politically, I can forgive him for his lapse in judgement, personally, I still love him as a friend and I will share my thoughts with him going forward. The Mayor made a bad judgement and has apologized for this error. In the midst of this six year old issue, resurfacing, we can’t help but wonder what the political motives are behind this effort calling for his resignation. The critics who are asking for the Mayor’s resignation are the same critics who have had a problem with his leadership or administration from the outset and before this incident came to light. One of the most vocal critics of the Mayor seems to be mad because their City contract wasn’t renewed and others have their own agenda as well. I understand politics and I assist candidates seeking office to become elected officials. When an elected official shows bad judgement and makes a bad decision, yet steps forward to take ownership for said mistake – that is still leadership. We do not agree with or endorse what the Mayor did or said, but we can appreciate the fact that he didn’t run, hide or lie. And more so to the point, if Mary Louise can forgive him, so can we. Should he apologize? Yes. Should he resign? No!

Denver Urban Spectrum — – April 2018


John Bailey Denver, CO

A Black Woman’s Support

Editor: As a Black woman and chair of the African American Initiative of the Colorado Democrats, I am torn between what some African American women have called “blatant disrespect” to us as women and a lapse in judgement, to on the other hand, a clear recognition that Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock is a Black elected official who has said publicly that he made a mistake. He has been very transparent about his actions, apologized to his family and the people of the City and County of Denver. I know Mayor Hancock is still worthy of my respect and support. There are people in the community calling for his resignation, as well as supporters saying that his apology and statement of contrition is sincere and we should show forgiveness. Yes, I am truly disappointed not only as a Black woman, but as someone who believed and still believes that we should support our African American elected officials because they are under attack every day. Our elected officials are our first line of defense in our ongoing struggle for progress, fairness and equity in our community. Yes, we need to know we can trust and believe in them to work in our best interest every day. Mayor Hancock’s commitment and service to the City of Denver and African American individuals, families and businesses has been proven time and time again through: •2014, Executive Order 101 issued and two city ordinances signed by him to help level the playing field and improve opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Business when they pursue City contracts •Awarding millions of dollars in community development block grants, small business loans and other funding to African American serving non-profits, community and local companies •Supporting major investments in health, housing, transportation, education, recreation services, and projects in predominantly African American neighborhoods •Creating the My Denver Card for youth and My Denver Prime for seniors and much more... I don’t condone Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s behavior. However, I do accept his apology as a Black woman and community advocate. I support him staying as Denver Mayor to finish his vision of making Denver a great city.

Maya Wheeler Denver



Denver Urban Spectrum April 2018  

Denver Urban Spectrum has been proudly spreading the news about people of color for 32 years.

Denver Urban Spectrum April 2018  

Denver Urban Spectrum has been proudly spreading the news about people of color for 32 years.