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February 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris


MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Kenneth Green Tanya Ishikawa Allan ChristopherTellis Laurence Washington ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert - Kolor Graphix


CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER S Lens of Ansar Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

The Denver Urban Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color. Contents of the Denver Urban Spectrum are copyright 2016 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Denver Urban Spectrum circulates 25,000 copies throughout Colorado. The Denver Urban Spectrum welcomes all letters, but reserves the right to edit for space, libelous material, grammar, and length. All letters must include name, address, and phone number. We will withhold author’s name on request. Unsolicited articles are accepted without guarantee of publication or payment. Write to the Denver Urban Spectrum at P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041. For advertising, subscriptions, or other information, call 303-292-6446 or fax 303-292-6543 or visit the Web site at

Celebrating the Rich History of Blackness

Each day, history is being made. Last week the Women's March on Washington proved to be historic as women around the world protested the presidency of Donald Trump. Since he took office on January 20, 2017 as the 45th president of the United States, he too, is making history. From immigration to Obamacare, women's rights and “the wall,” at the forefront of his agenda, only time will tell the impact his administration will have on America and the world. But this month we celebrate Black History, a proud history, as we acknowledge those who have made, and are making, positive contributions reflecting African-American communities. Our cover story by contributor Tanya Ishikawa features Perry “PJ” Jones, a little man with a big heart and massive history, as a promoter in the music world. From Prince to Earth Wind and Fire, and many others entertainers in between, we are proud to share his story as he embarks on another journey at the young age of 71. This month, we also introduce our 2017 African-Americans Who Make a Difference. These 13 individuals were nominated from the community and were selected from 33 nominations; and after you read their history you will know why. Join us in April when we recognize them at the Denver Urban Spectrum’s 30th anniversary kick off reception. Many African-Americans are writing history as well. With the help of the Reverend Dr. Barbara Reynolds, “My Life, My Love, My Legacy” by Coretta Scott King will be released this year. Adrian Miller talks about African-Americans who have fed our First Families in his book “The President's Kitchen Cabinet.” And Dr. Pa tricia McQueen talks about the gap between the academic achievement of white students and Black students in “Black Lives Always Matter; The impact of Savery on the African-American Student. Read about these books and other Denverites who have put their pen to paper as well. So as we celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans and as you make your own history, remember, don't just make history, leave a legacy for the good of all people. Rosalind J. Harris Publisher


Reader Appreciates Time

individual in their human resources department. Thank you for your cooperation and accolades to Rosalind J. Harris for such a great publication.

Editor: I just wanted to applaud Tanya Ishikawa for writing such an interesting and inspiring article on the Benjamin Banneker Clock Company in your November issue. Mr. Banneker was definitely a pioneer in the engineering field. It is refreshing to see the many successful executives in this company with the desire to give back to our nation’s youth. I was blessed to work in corporate American for 37 years with a background in engineering. Most of those years were with Ford Motor Company. I received the most gratification by training and managing younger associates. It seems ironic that I have always had a love for watches. I have several different styles myself and look forward to owning a Banneker watch. I even sold watches through my own mail order business several years ago. I tried my skills at designing watches using knowledge from architecture classes in college. Your article mentioned the company’s future plans to build a manufacturing facility and community center in Denver. I believe this would be a tremendous opportunity for our local youth to learn the intricate skills of designing and making watches. Also, the idea of “streets teams” and “affiliate sales programs” is an outstanding way to market these wonderful products. I would appreciate an opportunity to become involved with the Banneker Clock Company. Please forward my letter to the appropriate

Leroy R. Warren Aurora, CO

America Needs To Pay Reparations

Editor: There were wonderful events that took place during the 31st annual City of Aurora Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration - a fitting tribute to a great Civil Rights leader. However, I feel it is time we as a people move beyond the quest to be absorbed by America. The focus in my view should be on economic justice not integration which was the primary objective of the Civil Rights. That movement, though well intentioned, has taken the descendants of slaves as far as it can take them. The chattel slave trade of Africans robbed them of things no one can put a price on. The suffering they endured on the march to the ships that transported them to the various destinations, what they endured on the ships and worst of all, what they endured at the slave auctions and on the one can put a price on these horrors. That is why we is the progeny of those who suffered must demand unceasingly, that those who are descendent from those who profited from the selling of Africans - both American and European interest, bestow upon the heirs of these Africans a percentage of the wealth earned and the wealth yet to be earned at the expense of slaves –

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


no matter where these heirs exist in the world, into perpetuity or as long as profit linked to the slave trade makes profit. These payments can be used to lift black communities out of the cycle of crime, violence and poverty; make the more self-sufficient and autonomous. The problem with civil rights is there an inability to confer the right to economically based self-determination upon a people. If a people choose to integrate after a long economic parity then that is all well and good - as long as they retain their identity. Civil rights without an economic base is folly! Integration is the wool pulled over your eyes. In a lot of ways Black people were better off under segregation. We were doing our own thing. In the era of civil rights and integration we are not doing much of anything but going in circles. America! Pay up!

Antonius Aurora, CO

Denver Urban Spectrum Department E-mail Addresses Denver Urban Spectrum

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Rockin’ And Rollin’ at the Birth of Rhythm & Blues THE PROMOTOR PERRY “PJ” JONES By Perry Jones - Edited by Tanya Ishikawa


Hi, I’m Perry Jones the Promoter. I would like to take you on a musical journey of my climb to the top of the charts with Earth, Wind & Fire and Prince, as well as many other nationally and internationally known musical artists. Ever since I was a youngster, my passion for music propelled me into the world of dance, radio and concerts. Then, as a working man in the record industry, I was recognized for my incredible drive, ear for talent and creative nature that pulled me into the orbit of the top Black artists of the time. With these musical icons, who each produced gold and platinum records, I had the great fortune of sharing an exciting period of Black music history. I’m actually working on my autobiography right now. That book will include stories about by Midwestern foundations, my introduction to being a drummer, my time as a featured dancer for radio station promotional gigs, producing my first show while serving in the Army in Vietnam, and other stories from my first two and a half decades of life. Plus, I’ll expand upon my life as a promoter, my wonderful time with Earth, Wind & Fire, and my short but monumental time with Prince. Until I get that published (hopefully later this year), here are a few episodes from my wild ride in the music business of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

The Genesis of PJ The Promoter Enjoy my military days with Army buddy.

With an honorable discharge from the military in 1967, I returned to America, uncertain of my next move

Benson. I had a lot of fun with all the acts I worked with. But, the first project that Warner Brothers gave me was to promote Earth, Wind & Fire, and they would remain my favorite group to work with ever. I was just mesmerized by Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. He truly had a unique perspective on life and spirituality. He really cared about how we as young Black men carried ourselves, and believed in how we were sent to California and the hub of the music industry to have the opportunity to represent the Black community and make a big change by our actions. I was responsible for helping set up and manage a national promotion tour for Earth, Wind & Fire. Maurice gave me list of record promoters and radio DJs he had met when he played with the famed jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis. My approach was a lot different than other record promoters of the time who were doing payola, basically paying radio stations to play their records. I was not going along with that. Normally, promoters would line up at radio stations to get their records played. Instead, I would book a hotel suite and bring along a new Sony double-deck tape recorder to play my artists’ tapes on, rather than vinyl. I put the DJs and radio station managers in an environment where I had their full attention. I also established credit with Warner Brothers for Black record store owners. Most record companies wouldn’t give credit to Black businesses so they weren’t able to buy direct and had to purchase with cash from a place called a one-stop shop. My 1972 promotional tour with Earth, Wind & Fire was an amazing experience, where we continued to bypass typical promotional methods. The group performed for the DJs at the nightclubs that they owned or were associated with. In Chicago, we arranged a performance at a local version of Soul Train, produced by Don Cornelius, and that was before he went on to produce and host the Soul Train national television show. Our last stop on the 10-city promotional tour was in Denver. With my roots here, this was the biggest show of the tour and I hired a local band as Continued on page 4

Forces Of Nature

but convinced I was still headed for the music business. My radio station mentor, Hal Moore who had hired me to dance at radio promotional events for years, once again set me on the right path. He sent me to Earl Wolf, the owner of Transcontinental Distributing, a new record distributorship for the Rocky Mountain Region. It was the age of LPs (long playing vinyl albums) and eight-track tapes, and the music industry was on fire. Earl was looking for an additional local promotion man in Denver, Colorado, and I was hired. My job was to meet and greet new artists who came to town, scheduling them for radio and television interviews in advance and placing their products and records for store promotions. Being a Midwest guy, now transplanted into Colorado, I was more of a rock ’n’ roll hippy even though I was promoting rhythm and blues records. I described myself as a Rocky Mountain hippy meets Super Fly. That was the true, authentic me: tie dyed pants, custom shirts, long maxi coat, and equestrian boots with gold spurs.

In 1970, Warner Brothers wanted to enter into the R&B market. Warner put out feelers across the country to hire their first Afro-American national promotion director for special markets. I got the job and moved out to Los Angeles. Perry Jones with Little Richard

At Warner Brothers, I represented Little Richard, Patti LaBelle, Herbie Hancock, Dionne Warwick, Jimi Hendrix, the Stovall Sisters, Allen Toussaint, and Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. I enjoyed working with Quincy Jones, and got a chance to work with George

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Gamer Gear Gives Identity To Gaming Community By Tanya Ishikawa

“The history of the games industry is, ironically, not about industry in a lot of ways – it is about community.

– Keith Stuart in “Gamer Communities: The Positive Side” article in The Guardian

created a universal logo and slogan to represent the gamer community,” explained Denver entrepreneur and company owner Al Bowen. While the target markets for the new logo-wear are both males and females between the ages of 18 and 50, the Gamer Gear Clothing website offers t-shirts and hoodies in adult sizes from small to double extra-large for women and up to triple extra-large for men. They come in original and controller logo styles and a variety of color combinations. The hats come in both flat brimmed and curved brims. One of the brand’s first customers, Jyael Gervin, said he likes the colors, bold designs and the slogan, “I

Mastered This Game.” The young gamer expects the brand to catch on with other gamers. While some see gaming as an isolated activity with one to three friends in one room, the more common way to play has become interactive games with people in many locations. Gaming tournaments and live-streaming videos of top gamers are also popular ways for the community to interact. Gamer Gear Clothing closes the gap in that distance between gamers and connects them. “We want the gamer community to embrace our brand, and we want to give back to the community as well. On our website at the HELPING THE

GAMING COMMUNITY menu tab, nonprofit organizations can apply to receive a percentage of product purchase revenues as a donation to help their causes,” Bowen said. Youth collections and an e-sports series are soon to come, and new products are planned for release on a regular basis. . Editotr’s note: For more information visit,

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

George Gervin, “The Ice Man” of NBA Hall of Fame and a member of the 50 greatest NBA Players, stands with grandson Jyael and daughter Tia, who are gamers and expressed excitement about the launch of the Gamer Gear by GameMasters clothing line.

Online gaming through popular

systems like Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation allow massive numbers of people from all over the world to participate in shared experiences. This collective nature of gamers is at the heart of the new online clothing outlet, Gamer Gear by GameMasters was launched in January to serve as the leading identity for the gaming community. Four out of five U.S. households own a gaming device, while an estimated 155 million Americans play video games. Gamer Gear’s mission is to provide a strong identity for members of the gamer community, who can proudly wear the Gamer Gear logo on a high quality line of apparel, starting with Tshirts, hoodies and hats. “GameMasters LLC was formed in 2011 with a trademarked logo and slogan as a brand for sports legends. Soon, the “I Mastered This Game” slogan was looked upon by others as a brand for gamers. We realized we had

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

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017 Lunch 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Campus Keynote Speech 12:30–1:45 p.m. Film Screening and Q&A 2–3:15 p.m. Location St. Cajetan’s, Auraria Campus 777 Lawrence St. Denver, CO 80204

Continued from page 2 an opening act, Friends & Love. Three members of that group ended up joining Earth, Wind & Fire before long. Shortly after returning from the tour, I got in a big dispute with a sales manager at Warner Brothers. He called me a nigger, and I got emotionally caught up in it and left Warner Brothers in 1973. Fortunately, Maurice was my safety net. He hired me to help him formulate a new band for Earth, Wind & Fire, which I did for about six months before returning to Denver. I re-introduced him to Philip Bailey from Friends & Love, and he ended up becoming a lead vocalist in Earth, Wind & Fire, alongside Maurice and his younger brother, Verdine White. Philip also pulled in his former Denver band’s keyboardist Larry Dunn and Andrew Woolfolk, who played flute, saxophone and percussion. Back in Colorado, my first project was helping create a record store on wheels for Universal Sound. Ford had just come out with a new box truck, and I turned it into a record store with an incredible sound system that made home deliveries. Still with connections in Transcontinental, my friends helped me get a radio show on an underground station, KFML. For a year, I was on the air integrating R&B with

rock music. It was the first time for Black audiences to be introduced to new rock, and I was the bridge to opening up this market. When the new Earth, Wind & Fire was on national tour and planning to

come to Denver, Maurice called me up to help produce that show. I ended up doing the first 10,000-seat concert for Earth, Wind & Fire in the Denver Coliseum. After that show, their managers, Bob Cavallo and Joseph Ruffalo, realized I should come back to the family, so I became their road manager for the Gratitude tour and that album went triple platinum. My job was to set up the entire Gratitude tour. It all started with the booking agency giving us dates and cities. I would have to call the airlines and figure out a travel schedule for the 16-member band. With no internet at the time, we used to have books called OAGs, operating airline guides, where we would look up flight arrival and departure times. I would call all the hotels and limo services. I was responsible of 11 tractor trailers of equipment and stage sets, and a Lear prop jet to carry our crew of 20 to 30. I would start at 5:30 in the morning, getting everyone up and down to the limos and all the luggage packed and downstairs, and off to the airport. Once at the airport, I would call the promoter in the next city and make sure all the limos were there to pick us up. As soon as the band and I got into town, I made sure all the equipment was set up. The equipment always left the night before, right after the show, so it could get there by 7 a.m. I would get into town between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and be at the sound check by 4. I did that in the U.S., Europe and Asia, wherever we were traveling. I was also emcee for the tour in the U.S.

On The Road

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


and Europe. At a certain point in the show, I would go to the box office to help count all the tickets, pay off all the expenses, and get paid by the promoter. Sometimes on weekends when banks were closed, I would have $200,000 to $300,000 that I was carrying personally. Once back at the hotel, it was time to do payroll. I used a 12-page columnar pad to do the spreadsheet of expenses and income, and paid everybody in the band and crew. Then, I would get on the phone and call the airline and make sure the next flight would be on time, and call the hotels to make sure all the reservations were made, and if we were arriving early let them know we needed the rooms cleaned early. It would be two or three in the morning before I would get to sleep, I had to be up at five again a few hours later, and I did it all without drugs. Maurice was adamant about his no drug-policy for band members and I followed it, too. You could find drugs with the road crew, but the band and I could not function if we did all that partying. I had way too much responsibility for that – I had to coordinate over 60 people and all these moving parts. No doubt that dedication to clean, high-functioning minds and bodies was what led to Earth, Wind & Fire’s popular and monetary success; that, and a unique philosophy about bringing together cultures and celebrating creativity. They produced 26 gold and platinum records, including singles and LPs, and they were nominated for 18 Grammy Awards, winning nine including a Lifetime Achievement Award and two Hall of Fame Awards for That’s the Way of the World and Shining Star.

Crowning The Prince Of Pop

Then, in 1979, out of the blue, Cavallo told me that Mo Austin, Warner Brother’s chairman of the board, wanted to speak to me. Cavallo said, ‘He’s got a project you might be able to help him with.’ Mo said, ‘Perry, I have a problem up in Minneapolis. I want you to go and see what you can do. I have a kid getting ready to sign with Chris Blackwell (the manager for Bob Marley). That kid was Prince Roger Nelson. Warner Brothers did not want him to be signing a management contract with Blackwell, who had a meeting schedule with Prince that coming Friday. So, I got up there on Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning, I had Prince on an airplane back to L.A. The reason Prince met with me is because Mo Austin’s office called him to notify him I was coming, and when

record promoter, concert promoter, and record production manager, but more than anything I’ve been an artist developer. I also came in under budget on the album’s production, pleasing Mo and earning me a $10,000 bonus. But, that was part of the beginning of the end for my time with Prince. He was very upset with my bonus, believing it took away from his royalties. Then, when we got word that the album was going gold and possibly platinum, he decided he didn’t need a Black manager, thinking he would do better with a white guy. Plus, he wanted CavalloRuffalo as managers because they could get him on the Rolling Stones upcoming U.S. tour, and he wanted to perform on it. Prince ended up getting to join a Rolling Stones show, but it was a disaster for him as he was booed off the stage. With Cavallo taking over, he asked me to give up some part in the record sales. I accepted that at first, but when they wanted to keep even more percentages, I blew up. I freaked out and asked to be bought out of my contract. After 18 months with Prince, I was so fed up that I exiled myself to Africa for two years.

Crowning The Prince Of Pop

Mo called, any artist paid attention. When I got there, my natural flair for promotion took over but I also could also relate to Prince on other levels. We were about the same height. We shared the same passion for creating music. I could turn on an air of sophistication when talking about the great opportunities out in California, but I was still street enough to relate to him on both levels. Prince was just a very quiet, introverted person with problems with his family structure: his mom and dad fought all the time. I was like a big brother. I got him to California in 24 hours, and he lived with me for the next three to four months. He was with me in the hospital when my son was born. I was there for him when he recorded his second Warner Brothers album, titled Prince, and did the photo shoot for the cover art. I built him a 16-track studio in the house I rented for him overlooking Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, where

we recorded Prince. Released in 1979, the album was more commercially successful than his first album. It went gold and then platinum, eventually selling three million copies and peaking at 22 on the U.S. billboard charts. The album’s lead single, “I want to be your lover,” reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart for two weeks. With the album cover, Prince wanted to strip all the way down to make sure no one could pigeon hole him into R&B music or into being heterosexual or gay. That’s why he is almost nude, except for his underwear (which I helped him cover with a skin tone color for full effect). It was part of the genius of his career that everyone remained uncertain of his sexuality, because he then attracted diverse groups to his music. Warner Brothers didn’t understand the album cover, and I myself was mystified at the time, but I always worked with my artists to deliver their visions and help their careers progress. I’m basically an artist developer. I’ve been a number of things –

Discovering The Ancestral Lands

My opportunity to go to Africa came about when I was asked to produce a show for Rita Marley and the Wailers in Sierra Leone in 1981. Reggae was really big in Africa along withe their traditional music. Once I got to Dakar, Senegal, I met with my business partner, an African gentleman who owned a large record store. Our relationship did not go well because the man, who introduced us, did not explain that I was to be paid first. So, the record store owner got angry and left me in a hotel without money or a passport. I had to go to the American Embassy to get another passport, and they gave me $200. That wasn’t enough for my air tickets and travel, so I basically hitched a ride on

Ghana Airlines. They let me fly for free in unreserved seats across two countries. In Sierra Leone, the concert equipment never arrived, I never got a chance to meet Rita and the band, and the show never happened. It was a big letdown. I ended up meeting the great granddaughter of Sierra Leone’s president in Freetown. She worked in customs at the fishing port, and was already importing baby food and shoes. We started a company together, because I could help her write a business plan, get a government grant, exchange American money, and get U.S. exporter contacts. While I was developing that import business, a local hospital was trying to get a power generator but having no luck. I returned to the U.S., acquired a generator and had it shipped to them. To thank me, the government gave me six gold and diamond pits. I returned to Colorado to purchase two mining dredges from Central City, and went to California to find investors. I met up with some young, rich guys in Huntington Beach, and after seeing gold shavings and ore samples that I brought with me, they jumped at the chance to mine gold and diamonds in Africa. Back in Sierra Leone, I began digging for gold and had some success, but local and national politics and corruption were always disturbing progress. Finally, when I unintentionally upset a local chief got upset, I knew my time in Africa was coming to an end. I really missed my family and loved my wife. I knew I really had to get myself together, and return to them drug-free and on an even keel. My parents hadn’t raised me for such nonsense. Trying to leave Sierra Leone, I once again got caught at the border. I prayed, ‘Lord, if you get me back to Denver, I’ll be the best dad and husband you’ve ever seen.’ Continued on page 6

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Continued from page 5

Perry Jones with wife, Helen.

I made it back in 1983, and my wife and I have been married 40 years now, mainly because I changed my mindset. Before, it was music first, then family, but as soon as I got back, I turned that around. Since then, it has always been family first, then music… but I had to have music.

Settling Back Into Colorado

For the rest of the ‘80s, I developed my skills as a personal manager, tour manager, demo record producer, production studio manager, artist developer, concert promoter, radio disc jockey, and marketer. All those skills allowed me to continue to work with many nationally known music acts and extended my career through the ‘90s. Throughout that decade, I gave my time to volunteering with the Mayor’s Office of Youth Initiatives, Toys for Tots, American Red Cross, AllAmerican Soap Box Derby, and many other nonprofit organizations. My internal goal was always to reach out and help people, wherever I can, whether they are music orientated or just music fans. I do it for the love of music. I’ve been so blessed and lucky through all of my life. Even though I got a raw deal with Prince and a few other situations, I hold no grudge or regret. I’m so lucky to have my name associated with icons like Earth, Wind & Fire and others. And I’ve been fortunate for the friendship and support of great people in my community, from Denver Urban Spectrum Publisher Bee Harris to Hiawatha Davis and Gloria Tanner, who stuck with me the whole way.



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#L #LoveThyNeighborhood oveThyNeighborhood Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Perry Jones and Maurice White

At 71 years old, as I reflect on my life, the legacy of the early record industry and Black history, I remember many great musical artists, especially Maurice White. When he passed away on Feb. 4 last year, I lost a man who had been my mentor, my spiritual anchor and my musical director. Though the world grieved Prince’s death last May more intensely, it is the loss of Maurice that I think is so profound to all of us who got his message of peace and brotherly love. He and I were of the same generation, who came after our parents’ generation, which had experienced World War II and is known as the greatest generation. We tried to elevate ourselves and take advantage of the great foundation that our parents set for us. We have strived to make and take our legacy and pass it on to the next generation. Unfortunately, during the time period of our young adulthood, the American culture changed so drastically that our positive message was often overshadowed by a spotlight on drugs and degrading women. Our songs were about love and peace. They still spoke to social issues, but always left us with hope and understanding. We could do better for ourselves, represent ourselves in our kids, and lay the foundation for our kids so that all folks could be proud, not just Black folks but all Americans.. Editor’s note: For more information on Perry PJ Jones, visit him on FaceBook.

Earth Wind & Fire

Goatfish: The Essence of World Music

There are artist who do more than By Allan Tellis

create art – they live and embody their artistic expressions in every facet of their being. These talented individuals have the ability to reconstruct their vision of the world into a palatable artistic commodity for all of us to enjoy. Vocalist and reggae artist Jah Goatfish is one of those artists. His medium? Music. Goatfish, however, does more than create music. He has the ability to make music express the way he interacts with the world. Originally from Panama, Goatfish sees almost all situations as musical interactions. “There is music in everything if you pay attention,” Goatfish says. “I’m able to express myself on a very soulful level by creating music that represents the full spectrum of emotions that we encounter everyday in our lives.” Music is a metaphysical language Goatfish says and one of the oldest and most powerful tools that people have the ability to tap into. “As the Parliament-Funkadelics once said, ‘Funk cannot only move, but remove.’” Goatfish believes in the power of music, and believes we often take for granted how music can be utilized in many beneficial ways, such as healing,

therapy and as a spiritual practice to raise our consciousness and awareness. “Much of our culture today has become mechanical and programmed – which removes us from our natural essence,” he says and hopes to help infuse art back into the culture, to allow us to get back to a place of a deeper understanding of the possibilities of what life could entail. “Our current culture climate affirms some of the worst parts of our nature and affirms these characteristics through programmed repetition. Things such as television programming and major entertainment outlets that emphasize self-destructive behavior,” Goatfish says. “I cannot understand why we glorify and consume violence and selfdestruction on a regular basis. Similarly to the food that we eat, the media we consume, does not simply disappear, but leaves a residue which affects the way we think. We currently live in a hyper-militaristic society that does not adequately leave room for the creation of art and expression or any type of feminine energy. We have allowed ourselves to devolve into a place where we love war and applaud over aggression.” Goatfish points out that newly elected President Donald Trump is the embodiment of many of these characteristics, and notes that we have created the perfect climate for someone like that to come to power. He fears that we will push so far in that direction that we will create an artless society that is incapable of empathy. “Much of the art we consume now is mechanical, pre-programmed and comes with an agenda – which should alarm all of us, as creating art is one of the core principles of any holistically successful culture or society,” Goatfish explains. “One of the reasons I believes Black people around the world have been able to create such powerful art, is because they have a unique ability to put spiritual flames into the soul of our music, which

allows it to resonate at a more palpable frequency with those that hear it.” The focus on what type of vibes one allows to resonate in their spirit is essential to Goatfish’s philosophy. “You have to start with yourself,” he says, “holistic good vibrations, and that is a principal you must put into practice on a daily basis.” Goatfish fundamentally believes to know thyself is a key principal of a holistically healthy lifestyle, and once we understand ourselves, we can refine and craft our own behavior. Goatfish has embraced music from every region of the earth, as well as an amazing array of different sounds within that sphere. Everything from merengue, to classical, to Afro-Beat and punk rock groups like Bad Brains have intrigued and influenced the music he creates. “Having such a wide variety of styles to choose from helps shape my music, and allows me not to be limited.” Goatfish has been playing music since his teenage years, and has remained just as passionate about the process of creation ‘till this day. He has played everything from pure James Brown style funk, to slow ballads. He treasures his ability to be able to bend genres and rub one genre right against another, which allows him to infuse any type of energy he sees fit into his performances.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Goatfish has quite the busy schedule lined up for the next couple of months, and is looking forward to producing quite a bit music in this next stage of his career. On Feb. 12, Goatfish will have an intimate performance with Denver keyboardist Dr. Michael Williams, where they will be performing the smooth music of Brazilian pop artist Djavan. There will be a short Q&A when attendees will be able to ask questions and get to know him (and Dr. Williams) “Up Close and Personal” at Jazz at Jacks in downtown Denver. On Sunday, March 19, Goatfish and Fiends will be performing for a special Pisces Birthday Party with DUS publisher Bee Harris’ birthday at the Kasbah Nightclub in Aurora. And kicking off the 30th anniversary celebrations for DUS, Goatfish will be performing with some of Denver’s most talented musicians on April 26 at the Clocktower Cabaret in downtown Denver. “I want to continue helping kids from our community be able to practice music as so many of them lack the opportunity for a musical outlet in any other capacity,” he says. Editor’s note: For more information on Jah Goatfish, call 720-849-4197, email or visit . To view Goatfish’s musical talent, visit


Former CU Buff Vance Joseph Replaces Kubiak as Broncos’ Head Coach By Laurence Washington


There have only been 17 African-American head coaches in the National Football League. Enter number 18, former Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator Joseph Vance.

ormer CU Buff quarterback Vance Joseph, 44, is coming home. Denver Broncos’ General Manager John Elway introduced Joseph to the Bronco Nation on Jan. 12, as the team’s 16th head coach replacing popular retiring head coach Gary Kubiak. Only 17 African-Americans have held the head coaching position in the NFL, and Joseph will be the Broncos’ first. Well…that’s not entirely true. Technically, the Broncos did have another African-American head coach 17 years ago. Interim head coach Eric Studesville was at the helm for a cup

of coffee (four games) at the end of the

Broncos’ disappointing 4 wins-14 loss 2010 season. Joseph received the nod over Atlanta’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Kansas City’s specialteams coach Dave Toub. Elway hopes, along with several million Bronco fans, that Joseph will lead the Broncos’ to the Promised Land (a.k.a. another Super Bowl appearance).

season final. A week later, Elway hired Joseph as Kubiak’s successor. Was it a short period of time? Not really, sources say Joseph was on the Broncos’ short list two years earlier, when Elway hired Kubiak. “He was actually on our radar when Gary came in,” Elway explains. “We wanted to talk to him as a head coach, but also as a defensive coordinator. He worked for Gary down in Houston, so that’s when he was on our radar.” Joseph says the Denver head coaching job is a dream come true –especially since he played his college ball in Boulder, and lived in Denver during the off season for a long time. “I have a lot of friends and family here,” Joseph says. “I’m excited. That’s important to have support with your first opportunity as a head coach.” Elway says, “After the shock of Gary stepping down and looking forward to trying to replace Gary. I’m going to be dead honest with you—I couldn’t be happier with the ability to fill Gary’s shoes with Vance Joseph.”

On The Short List

Kubiak made his shocking retirement announcement on Jan. 2, 2017 after Denver routed division leader Oakland Raiders 24-6 in the regular

In The Beginning

Joseph enjoyed two seasons in the NFL as a defensive back. One season with the New York Jets, and the other season with the Indianapolis Colts before beginning his coaching career under the tutelage of then CU head coach, Gary Barnett in 1999 to 2001. After CU, and a brief stint at Ohio’s Bowling Green University, Joseph entered the pro ranks as a special teams coach for several NFL teams including the Bengals, Dolphins, Texans and ‘49ers. However, it was Denver that had the insight to signed Joseph to a fouryear contract as head coach. “I’m proud and humbled to be the Broncos’ next head coach,” Joseph says. “This job won’t be a rebuild. It’s a re-boot.” Joseph’s philosophy? Simple. Come to work, and meet the Broncos’ championship winning standards.

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


“We can’t skip the work, and we can’t skip the season,” Joseph says. “No one is going to give you 10 wins, 12 wins and put you in the playoffs. It starts with work.” Every team meeting, every practice and every rep, Joseph’s goal is to make the team’s effort a winning performance. He says if the players and coaches buy into to his philosophy, it’s going to happen. “If we don’t, it won’t happen,” Joseph says. “That’s our first order of business, to come to work.”

Attacking Offense

Elway underlined the point that the Broncos are less than a year removed from a world championship. So it was very important to find somebody to fit the philosophy and the culture the Broncos have established. “Vance checks that box,” he says. Joseph says he want the Denver offense to be attacking, even though he’s basically a defense guy. “Being a defensive guy my entire career, only 14 seasons, when you play on offense that is attacking, it makes you be careful of your calls,” Joseph says. “Obviously defense wins championships, but you have to score points. I want an offense with swagger and I want an offense that’s up-tempo and has a chance to score a lot of points.” The quarterback position, especially in Denver, is the most high profile position on the roster. And Joseph hasn’t decided which quarterback (Trevor Simian or Paxton Lynch) he’s going to go with. Joseph says Simian, who is fast with the ball, has more experience and had a fine year. “He makes little error with the football and that’s important,” Joseph says. “Paxton is a big, strong guy with a big arm. Its two different guys, but they’re both young and they’re both capable. It’s going to be an open competition. That’s going to make both guys better. Whoever is the best for our team, [we’ll] make sure that’s who is going to play.”.

Getting to Our Roots

By Kenneth Green

As we celebrate

Black History Month, many are busy researching the accomplishments of our ancestors. But one of the biggest parts of our histories as a people has gone unnoticed in most families – our own family’s history. I became interested in genealogy, or the research of family histories, around 18 years ago because I wanted to know where I came from. And as I met many African-Americans, I find that many of them are lacking knowledge of their family’s history. So how do we get back in touch with our roots? The RootsTech convention exhibits the best in Genealogy and Technology. It’s hosted once a year in Salt Lake City, and is put on by the biggest genealogical organization in the world, FamilySearch. An emphasis on African genealogy has come to the forefront over the past few years. This year it culminates with African Heritage Day, where the African culture will be on display for the whole world. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear LeVar Burton who played Kunta Kinte in the television mini-series “Roots” (’77) based on Alex Haley’s novel. More than 19 classes will be offered throughout the day that specializes in African-American genealogy. There is something to be offered for anyone from the most inexperienced newbie, to the genealogical veteran. Some of the classes that are especially of interest to our readers will be African-American genealogy for newbies, where you can learn how to take

the first steps in creating your family tree and researching online through free databases and paid sources family information. Other classes will deal with African-American genealogy challenges. This class offers techniques in reading slave schedules, ship manifests and bill-of-sale for slaves. There are also classes to teach you on how to do your research with others, teaching you how to include all your family in your research endeavors. There are many classes available to teach you how to begin your family history at RootsTech. And if classes were not enough, there are going to be trained persons available for one-on-one assistance for no cost to help you start your family history. Each night there will be celebrations of culture put on by the convention being called the biggest genealogical party on Earth. In the day, you learn techniques; discover emerging technologies in the genealogical arena and much more. At night, you’re able to enjoy cultural celebrations that will exhibit African heritage. Drummers from Burundi will perform and the Central Baptist Church gospel choir of Salt Lake will perform. Get in the mood – wear your dashikis and feel the spirit.. Editor’s note: For more information on the genealogy convention, visit About Family Search: FamilySearch is the largest and oldest genealogical organization in the world; dating back to the late 1800s, when it was called the Genealogical Society of Utah. FamilySearch is a subsidiary organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. FamilySearch has partnered with the Library of Congress to digitize the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau, an organization that was created after the abolishment of slavery to help support new freed slaves and poor white Southerners. These records are free to the public and can be found at .

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By Allan Tellis


n January 21, more than 200,000 people participated in the well-organized Women’s March in Denver in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington, which mirrored hundreds of similar simultaneously-occurring protests around the nation and the world. The vast majority of protestors were women, as the demonstration was in response to newly elected president Donald Trump, whom many view as anti-women and overly conservative. Trump’s past is littered with at best questionable statements about women, and many of his policy initiatives have people concerned that the country will be headed in a backwards direction. The issues voiced through signs and chanting included everything from patriarchy, the future of the educational system, Trump seemingly endorsing racism, an attack on reproductive rights and the health care system. Many also voiced concern about what the ramifications of this election meant for their children’s futures and felt they had no choice but

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


to demonstrate when they felt so strongly opposed to the new president. Trump’s administration was aware of these massive protests throughout the country, but did very little in the way of addressing the unrest; instead continued to suggest that they look forward to working with both their proponents and the opposition. Speaker Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, highlighted the need for equal inclusion in a country like America. She voiced her disdain for discrimination in any form whether it is due to age, race, gender, or any of the other categories who felt the brunt of Trump’s derogatory rhetoric. “Stay strong during the next four years and be available for each other to form a sense of community during what is slated to be very turbulent times,” she urged the crowd of attendees. “Continue to work for change. This moment was just the beginning. We cannot lose the energy and will to resist what was so ardently displayed today.” She also offered advice in terms of responding to those who supported Trump by, “fostering the notion that there is no solution if we cannot all learn to work together to support progress.”. Editor’s note: To see pictures from Women’s Marches on every continent, visit mobile.html

City Park Golf Course Changes on the Horizon


By Charles Emmons

olorado’s fickle weather frequently plays with our emotions. We are glad when it’s sunny and gloomy when it’s cold and the snow falls. At this time of year, it’s no different, and it’s more than skiers who can enjoy the outdoors. How about a round of golf? In January, golfers can play the links of the City Park Golf Course (CPGC) in northeast Denver. As you hit down the fairways towards the west with vast pristine views of the snow-capped mountains and a growing city skyline, what could be a better way to spend a sunny 60-degree winter afternoon? The 136-acre golf course is part of Denver’s crown jewels of open space, and will soon undergo some modifications to enhance flood control as Denver keeps up with growing populations and traffic. Problematic flooding in the Mile High City in the last decade is of greater concern to residents in the northeast part of the city. Denver storm sewer system is strained, and in the past several years has not accommodated floodwaters from storms. The need is great to address flooding in the Montclair and Park Hill flood plains. I-70’s expansion and re-configuration will increase the runoff from the highway as it is routed north of Park Hill, Clayton and Globeville. The environmental impact statement for the project indicates that at I-70 and York, the run-off flow could reach almost 2500 cfs (cubic feet per second). Numerous sites and plans were considered to alleviate this possible flood-

ing but in the end, the City determined the CPGC best serves the purpose because it has the greatest amount of area for a detention configuration and the least number of acquired or demolished homes. According to diagrams from the city, the detention pond would be located on the northwestern edge of the course and take up approximately 50 acres. This would take over just 35 percent of the golf course for this other purpose. And Denver has assured residents that the course will remain one of the finest courses to play in the area and the great amenity of the views will not be altered. The Par 72 course will become a par 71 course. Shortened fairways and a re-located driving range are probable, and the clubhouse, which was only dedicated in 2002, could be demolished or moved. This has raised the concerns of many in the community, who saw many positive changes to the course property in the early 2000’s as Denver put together a plan to preserve and enhance the historic parks and open spaces throughout the city. The park and golf course are on the National Historic Register. Designed by Tom Bendelow, who designed more than 500 other courses including Lakewood Country Club, the golf course was excluded from much of the detailed master planning in the park. CPGC and the park have been perceived as separate entities as the park developed

and 23rd Avenue expanded into a well-traveled thoroughfare. Many Denverites throughout the city have played the course, which is known for being one of the most diverse. It was planned as a 9-hole course in 1913 and became an 18-hole course in 1914. The best players gravitated there, often playing popular skins games. This included African Americans, as the walls in the foyer leading into the pro shop in the current clubhouse feature several photos from the 1940’s of members of the East Denver Golf Club, an African American golf club based at City Park. It seemed the etiquette rules of golf took precedent over what was happening outside the golf course boundaries. Prior to the 1960’s and due to redlining, Blacks didn’t live south of 26th Avenue and west of York Street,

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


yet white, African American, Latino, and Asian American clubs coexisted; although tournament play was segregated until 1981 when the City Park Players Club was formed. Former City of Denver Director of Golf (1997-2006) Tom Woodard cut his teeth on the course and was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2013 after a successful career at CU Boulder, where he was the first African American to play on the varsity team, and was a walk-on. He still owns the lowest score (61) for the CPGC and has been the pro at numerous courses in Colorado. He is currently the director of golf for Foothills Park and Recreation District. This perfect storm of flood control and I-70 expansion will impact CPGC. It will be a process with many partners coming together with the aim of holding down and sharing costs. The final three design firms have been chosen for CPGC and public communication and input are important. Construction will begin in 2017, which will entail closing the course through 2019. The first planned open house at CPGC where the public could comment on plans was held on January 30. . Editor’s note: For more information on upcoming meetings visit

Don’t Dream By Antonius

King had a dream. I love with the nightmare of superficial change. King had a dream That one day there would be justice and equality for the disenfranchised. I wake from the nightmare Where the oppressions refuse to take responsibility For institutional racism and inequality King had a dream That his children would be judged By the content of their character Not by the color of their skin. I live through the nightmare Where cops are trained and encouraged To kill black young men And black people in general. King had a dream That one day there would be

One standard for all in the judicial system. But the nightmare of cops getting away With murder persists. King had a dream That one day the sons of former slaves And the sons of former slave owners Would sit down together in brotherhood. I had a nightmare where I saw the economic Gap between them rapidly increasing! King had a dream! I’ve stopped dream, I’ve stopped debating about who is to blame. It’s their economic system

They know already. They won’t tolerate on a level playing field I don’t frustrate myself praying things will change Change won’t be coming unless you make it! I can only raise my consciousness and encourage you to do the same. Drop the slave mentality! Change what you can. The universe will change the rest. Don’t dream. Wake up. Dreaming is for sleepers. Don’t dream – scream! Then build something.



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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


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Editor’s note: Each year during Black History Month, the Denver Urban Spectrum honors African Americans who are making a difference in the lives of others. In honor of our 30th year of publishing and based in part on recognition, number of times nominated and questionnaire response we have selected (from 33 nominations) 13 recipients as the 2016 African Americans Who Make a Difference. They told us about their achievements, what motivated them to become active in their community, suggestions to address the challenges facing the community, and how they would like to be remembered. Once you read their profiles you will understand why they were chosen.

Albert C. Cooper

President, ACC & Associates LLC

Albert C. Cooper is best known for his participation as a member, and now president of Delta Eta Boule Fraternity which focuses on providing scholarships to African-American male students in the Denver community. In 2016, Delta Eta Boule was recognized by Denver Mayor Hancock for leadership and contributions for the My Brother’s Keeper’s initiative. Cooper, who was co-chair for Delta Eta Boule’s Denim & Dazzle fundraiser, yielded the largest net revenue in the history of the fraternity. The most notable contribution was helping with the increase in the amount and number of scholarships awarded to African-American males in the Denver community. He is also responsible for the creation of the Delta Eta Boule Institute for Professional Development. Cooper, who was raised by a single parent and influenced by his grandparents, says “The African-American communities continue to struggle in the areas of economic development and education. We need to develop new educational and economic opportunities for African-American commu-

nities through collaboration and strategic planning with politicians and leaders of historic organizations like the NAACP, Urban League, and the Black Chamber of Commerce.” And in the future, he would like to play a role in rallying the leadership in the Black community to contribute to the improvement of educational institutions and increase opportunities for jobs, small businesses, and home-ownership. Cooper would like to be remembered as a leader who taught young African American individuals how to confront the challenges of achieving individual and professional success and teach them their obligation and responsibility to reciprocate back to their communities providing opportunities for others.

Arthur Jones Ph.D.,

Professor of Music, Culture and Psychology, Lamont School of Music, University of Denver

Arthur Jones is best known for his work as a senior faculty member at the University of Denver and as the founder and long-time chair of The Spirituals Project, a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 with the mission of preserving and revitalizing the sacred folk songs created and first sung by enslaved ancestors. This past year, Jones was successful in leading an initiative to transition The Spirituals Project into an official program of the University of Denver, ensuring long-term sustainability and a much wider and deeper cultural impact, locally and nationally. Jones organized and a national conference on spirituals in 2013, featuring poet Nikki Giovanni as keynote speaker, and other prominent musicians, scholars and teachers including the late Dr. Vincent Harding. When asked about what are the biggest challenges facing the AfricanAmerican community and how these challenges should be resolved, Jones answered “One of the reasons I have been so preoccupied with singing and teaching about the songs of our

enslaved ancestors is that these songs preserve the spirit of determination and persistence that occupied them.” In the future, Jones feels like his most important efforts are working to assist the university in an effective embrace of genuine principles of diversity and inclusion, and in realizing its responsibility to the larger community. Jones would like to be remembered as a person who maximized the effectiveness of his unique talents and gifts to make a difference in the world.

Brande’ Michae

Director of Constituent Services for Denver City Council President Albus Brooks

Brande’ Michae is best known as an advocate, educator and leader. This past year, she served as the vice chair of the Denver African-American Commission and helped create a more streamlined direction, which includes how to gain a greater visibility within the community. Michae was at the forefront of creating the commissions 2017 goals that centers around safety and police accountability and serves in various roles within the LGBT community to the faith community. She has taught classes on the local political process and how to run for elected office. Social wellness of her community has always been and will remain at the forefront of why she does the work that she do. When asked about challenges facing the African-American community and how to resolve them, Michae says, “Judicial activism! Though we are granted and ‘guaranteed,’ through our constitution, equal protections, we find ourselves living in the era of separate, but equal. Let’s take the moral high ground of democracy to advocate for systems created by us for us.” In the future, Michae would like to play a role in rallying the leadership in the Black community to contribute to the improvement of educational institutions and increase opportunities for jobs, small businesses, and home-ownership. She would like to be remembered as someone who was not afraid to step into her greatness. She says “If I’m able to leave the smallest thumb print in this world and make a difference in the lives of just a few than I feel as though I’ve done my job.”

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Brenda Lyle

Founder and CEO The Family Learning Center

Brenda Lyle is best known as an educator and a social justice advocate for diverse communities. She chooses to take an active role in her work because she firmly believes that, “Either we are part of the solution or part of the problem.” Most recently and over the last five years, empowering families and youth and helping them fulfill their highest potential by providing quality early childhood, family sustainability programs, as well as, health and wellness education programs for culturally diverse communities has been her most notable contributions. She chooses to take an active role in her work because she firmly believes that, “Either we are part of the solution or part of the problem.” Lyle believes we all have an obligation and an opportunity to be blessed to be in the service of others. Lyle lists some of the biggest challenges facing the African-American community as poverty and the lack of financial resources; family structure of the Black family; racism and leadership. In the future, she will continue to work to contribute in solving the problem that her skills allow me to make a difference in the lives of children and families, to continue to a vocal strong advocate for those she serves and to help build a national resistance to him and his government. She would like to be remembered as a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend that gave all she had to be of service to others.

Christopher Herndon

City Council Representative, District 8. Former City Council President

Christopher Herndon is best known for serving on the Denver City Council and hosting the Northeast Denver Leadership Week, an annual

summer program that connects high school students, especially young people of color, with leadership, scholarship and career opportunities. Over the past five years, Herndon helps to ensure that all voices in our communities are heard and that those who are at risk of being left behind have access to economic opportunity and equitable city services. He chooses to take an active role, because service is what he has been called to do. He served in the United States Army, served through volunteering and community involvement when working in the private sector, and continues to serve through public office. So what are some of the challenges facing the African-American community? Herndon says, “People don’t believe their voice will be heard in the democratic process so they choose not to participate. We can resolve this by choosing to participate at all levels. Reach out to your local officials. Ask questions and share your thoughts. Go to community events. Get to know your neighbors. Vote in every election.” In the future, he would like to be able to look back at the end of his public service career and know that he have impacted people’s lives by helping them to know that they have a valuable voice and place in the community. Professionally, Herndon would like to be remembered as a public servant rather than a politician, personally, as a devoted and present husband, father and community leader.

Elycia Cook

Executive Director, Friends First

As the executive director of Friends First, Elycia Cook educates and mentors teens to make positive life choices and to develop healthy relationships. Friends First serves the Denver and Aurora communities and is known for their work with engaging boys of color through community workshops. Cook started the Cherry Creek and Denver STARS Peer Mentoring program for Friends First that consisted of more than 100 African-American teens ages 13 to 18; 15 of which she served as a mentor, leading them as they mentored younger teens. This past year, Friends First raised $12,500 to take students to

DC for the National Mentoring Conference and Day on the Hill. When asked about challenges in the African American community, Cook ays, “It will take our village to combat institutionalized and hidden racism that continues to prevail. Racism may not be as overt as in the 50’s and 60’s, but it is alive and well and perhaps more dangerous. It hides itself behind unfair legal practices, badges, boardrooms and now in Washington. Young people have to be more determined than ever to be educated, informed and make their voices heard.” In the future, Cook wants to raise a generation of young people who will be engaged in the political process locally and nationally. She hopes many future leaders will come from Denver and will have been a part of the Friends First Stars Peer Mentoring Program as a teen. She would like to be remembered as someone that helped so many young people to find their voice.

Gary M. Jackson

Denver County Court Judge

Gary Monroe Jackson is best known for being a trial attorney and Judge in Denver for 47 years. During those years, he co-founded the Sam Cary Bar Association in 1971, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar in 1976. His most notable or recognized contribution to the African-American community during the past year is leadership in the Sam Cary Bar Association in assisting in providing $16,000 per year of scholarship grants to Black law students at CU and DU Law Schools and assisting in providing $52,000 per year of scholarships to high school seniors in his role as Chair of the Delta Eta Boule Foundation. Jackson takes an active role because it was the result of scholarships and mentoring by others that he was able to obtain his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Colorado. When asked about challenges facing the African American community, Jackson answered “the fracturing of the Black family resulting from mass infusion of Black males in the criminal justice system and the slowdown of the advancement of Black males through the educational systems. This challenge can be

resolved in part by our AfricanAmerican social institutions continuing to emphasize the importance of education achievements and recognizing the inequities within our criminal justice system and eradicating those biases so that Black males are not infiltrating the criminal justice system. We need more Black males in school and not in jail.” Jackson would like to be remembered as a good father, husband, family member and a person who succeeded in making a difference in areas of life and people that he has touched.

Haroun K. Cowans

COO, Family Environmental Consulting; CEO-Executive Director, Impact Empowerment Group; Associate Pastor, Church in the City Beth Abraham

Haroun Cowans is known as being a branch manager at US Bank located in the Five Points who helped to provide monetary education and financial tools and assisted those with current businesses and startups. He was and is active in the community and served on several boards including the Colorado Enterprise Fund, YouthBiz, and others. Five years ago, he started a Saturday morning bible study at the Denver Rescue Mission, which broadened his purpose to help others attain and reach their goals and promote positive alternatives. During the past year, he worked in the Northeast Denver community to promote positive alternatives to gang violence through the work at Impact Empowerment Group, a non-profit organization that helped provide more than 35 people in the community with jobs and positions. The intent and purpose of the organization is to promote a positive substitution to gang violence and connecting people with messages of direction, encouragement, spirituality and inspiration. Cowans says complacency is a challenge and says “As a community we have overcome many obstacles, tragedies and adversities. At times we lose our focus in some instances, but we should never lose our faith. We have always been a spiritual people and a connected community.” In the future, he plans to continue to express the talents, gifts while creating a greater platform in the areas of Faith, Entrepreneurship and Community. He

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


would like to be remembered as a man of God, who loved his family and community and used every effort to promote others to become all that there are purposed to be.

Linda Theus Lee

Performing Artist/ Writer/ Program Coordinator, University of Colorado Denver

Linda Theus Lee is best known for offering her administrative skills, creative gifts and her resources to organizations such as: Lupus Colorado, WizKids, a nation-wide tutoring program a “section” based out of the New Hope Baptist Church, the PACE Youth Programs, Inc. (“PACE”), which helps to improve the lives of atrisk youth, restore family bonding, and prevent youth incarceration and mentoring Laredo Middle School students through CU Denver Admissions Office. In 2013, Theus Lee received the Thomas Jefferson award for her strong commitment to the advancement of higher education, a deeply seated sense of individual civic responsibility and a profound commitment to the welfare and rights of all individuals. Theus Lee is also known for her voluntarism efforts with the annual Daddy Bruce Fundraiser/ Thanksgiving Food Basket giveaway, Women of Color Adoption Youth event held at Children’s Hospital, working my program Toy’s and Coats for the Five and helping out family, friends and strangers who are in need. During the past year, her most notable and recognized contribution to the African-American community has been her Toys, Coats and Book Drive for the Five Points and surrounding area’s during the year and the holiday season. Future plans including getting her doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equity, with a concentration in Urban and Diverse Communities. Lee would like to be remembered as a person, who loved family, friends and community; as one who gave from her heart and who always believed that the mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Regina Jackson

Broker Owner of MB Action Jackson Realty

Regina Jackson is best known for her activism and participation in many different areas of the community. During the past year, Jackson has been working hard to get the Patriot Pairs Mentoring program off the ground and in a good position to help more young people see a different future for themselves in spite of the circumstances that they may have been born into. Over the past five years, as a realtor, Jackson worked to educate African-American families the importance of homeownership as part of family wealth creation and legacy. It is what gives families opportunities to send their children to college get loans and maybe leave a small inheritance for their children. Jackson chooses to take an active role because of her personal belief system that we are here to help each other as we evolve as human beings. When asked about some of the challenges facing the African– American community and how these issues can be resolved, Jackson says, “Helping our children to know their history and to understand the importance of history, personal choices and education. Our history proves that we are survivors. We are able to overcome tremendous obstacles and excel with just the will for a better life.” Jackson would like to be remembered as a catalyst and an activist for change and as someone who recognized that everyone has the capacity to do better by knowing better and for creating opportunities for people to learn so that they are capable of changing their lives and the lives of others.

Reginald Carl Holmes

Pastor, New Covenant Alpha and Omega Church

Reginal Carl Holmes is best known for being on the radio for more than 25 years, preaching social activism and supporting the voiceless and victims of injustice in Denver. Holmes has been a staunched, committed supporter of Clarence Moses El, who spent the past 28 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Holmes fought for Moses El and other persons who have been the victims of unjust policing and prosecution. Rev. Holmes has been chosen by the National Civil Rights Museum to be on the 50th Anniversary Committee commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the past five years, Holmes has been on the frontline for police and jail reform and always defended the rights of people in the community who need clergy support. Holmes said, “The biggest challenge for the African-American community will be taking an inward look at ourselves and providing an internal critique for improving and strengthening the quality of life for our people. Selfhelp around jobs, education, and the reduction of violence are all challenges we must confront. Some things are not going away with police reform. Politicians and government cannot do for us the things we must do for ourselves.” In the future, Rev. Holmes would like to continue to support people who need support, in whatever way, and use his life to help people and in doing so, show forth the love of God he has for all people. He would like to be remembered as a good father and person.

Ty McKay

Founder & Executive Director at Dream Culture Corp

Ty McKay is best known for his company, Dream Culture, which has been able to reach over 500 children in the Denver-Metro area, providing them with effective outlets to learn trepreneurship, community leadership and community responsibility. Dream Culture has done this through implementation of the Greenwood Drive Entrepreneurial camps, Teach a Man to Fish summer camp, which serves 75 young men free of cost over the summer, and the Golden Ladies Initiative, which serves 75 young ladies during the summer free of cost. McKay has a passion to see individuals in our community succeed and to provide a blueprint for future generations. As McKay found success in his career, the idea that there were young people being left out of the education of entrepreneurship bothered him. He left his corporate position, to bridge the gap for the people in his community. He says, “We have to hold ourselves accountable, and my ability to not only speaks the language of the youth, but my ability to teach in the language of the youth allowed me to fulfill my purpose.” In the future, McKay would like to see the fruits of their labor plant seeds help spark the development of entrepreneurship and ownership in our communities. McKay would like to be remembered as an individual that sparked the idea to galvanize the community in the serge of entrepreneurship in the black community by not only sparking the idea, but doing so with integrity, respect, and honor.

Congratulations to the

2017 Denver Urban Spectrum African Americans Who Make A Difference!

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the Denver Urban Spectrum’s 30th anniversary kickoff reception at the Clocktower Cabaret on April 26.

Join us as we recognize the 2017 AAWMAD Honorees!

303-292-6446 For more information, call

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Vanessa Power Anderson, Ph.D.

Dean-Legal, Communication, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Arapahoe Community College

Dr. Vanessa Power Anderson is best known for education, literacy, leadership and empowerment of youth and women through her community service, profession and programs. She was the first AfricanAmerican woman to serve as Miss Colorado International where the above initiatives were supported through speaking engagements and collaborative programming with other organizations in Denver, regionally and nationally. During the past year, her most notable contribution to the AfricanAmerican community was serving as Western Regional Director of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. This highly recognized opportunity has only been held by only a few Colorado women since the region’s inception. Anderson served as president of the American Association for Women in Community College Mile High Chapter, and on the planning committee for the Higher Education and Diversity Summit. Over the past five years, she served in a key regional leadership position, while volunteering numerous hours with the Women’s Bean Project Board, American Heart Association Luncheon and Colorado Sisterhood Crusade Board. When asked about the biggest challenges facing the African – American community and how these issues should be resolved, Anderson says, “Providing a strong educational foundation for students, understanding the elements to achieve financial freedom so that businesses can support building communities and how important our political involvement is on every level.” In the future, Anderson would like for her company, Power Enterprises to collaborate with other organizations to expand educational and civic opportunities through programming for women and youth. She would like to be remembered for her peaceful spirit whose actions made a mighty impact..





Obama Cool Black Party

at the Kasbah

Photos by Lens of Ansar and Ron Washington

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations 2017 Photos by Lens of Ansar

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Nine Ways to Fix Your Credit Before Buying a Home In 2017


By Walter E. Huff

re you getting ready to buy your own home? Great! Homeownership is one of the most important ways to build wealth over the long term. However, if your credit score is well below 700, you will have to pay a much higher interest rate. This will cost you tens of thousands of dollars in higher interest charges over the life of your loan. In most cases, it is essential to learn how to fix bad credit before applying for a home loan, at least if you want to qualify for a low interest rate and not be required to come up with a substantial down payment. So, at least six months to a year before you apply for a mortgage, you should try these nine tips below to raise your credit score as much as you can.

#1 Get Current on Your Payments Nothing wrecks your credit score more than having delinquent payments of 30, 60 and 90 days. It is very important to have all of your late payment problems in the past by at least a year by the time you apply for your mortgage. Those late payments will still appear on your mortgage, but they will carry less negative weight with the lender. It’s no secret that one of the quickest ways to fix credit scores is to make your payments on time each and every month. Buying a home with bad credit can be challenging so it makes sense to fix your credit scores prior to starting the loan process.

#2 Pay Much More than Minimums on Credit Cards Even if you are making your minimum payments faithfully on your credit cards, this does not look good in the lender’s eyes. If you can only make minimum payments on your debts, what happens if someone loses their job? How will you make your mortgage payment? Pay as much as you can on your credit cards to knock down those balances. #3 Increase Your Available Credit The credit scoring process by credit bureaus looks at the ratio of your debt to your total amount of credit. Add up all of your debts and compare it to

your total credit lines. What is the ratio? If you are using well over 50 percent of your credit lines, you have problems. In an ideal world, you should be using less than 10 percent of your available credit lines if you want to maximize your credit scores. At least a year before applying for a mortgage, start working at getting your credit card balances as low as you can. You want that ratio of used credit to your total credit lines to be as low as possible. The reality is that mortgage loans for bad credit carry a higher interest rate and sometimes higher closing costs as well, so if you can avoid nonprime mortgages, you should. #4 Leave Cards Open One of the worst mistakes a lot of people make is to pay off a credit card and close it. You never want to do that! By closing a card, you just reduced your available credit by X thousands of dollars. This mistake could actually drop your credit score significantly. Imagine if you just paid off a $10,000 credit limit card and you close it. You just reduced your available credit by $10,000.

#5 Get a Copy of Your Credit Report and Correct Errors Many credit reports contain errors, and some of those errors can hurt your FICO score. For example, there are cases of where a negative mark on a credit report can show up several times instead of once. Each time this negative mark shows up, it hurts your credit score. If you find any mistakes on your credit report, you should write to the three credit bureaus and contest the error and request that it be removed.

are applying for a mortgage. If you do need to have a new trade-line to qualify for a mortgage, you should open it months in advance before you apply for a mortgage. Then, use it regularly to pay for all of your regular expenses but pay it off in full each month.

#9 Become an Authorized User on a Credit Card If you have a relative who has a very high credit limit and good record paying on a credit card, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user on that account. This will raise your credit score, as long as the person continues to pay the bill regularly. Getting a mortgage is quite easy these days even with average credit, as long as you have the documented income to support the mortgage payment. But if you want to maximize your chances of getting a loan and getting a low interest rate, you should try most of the above tips to raise your credit score. Having a higher credit score can save you big time in interest over the life of your loan. Now, happy house hunting! . Editor’s note: For more information, comments or questions call Walter E. Huff, II at 720-298-9095, email or visit Sources: Credit Improving Tips from HGTV & Preparing Your Credit Prior to House Buying

#6 Don’t Move Debt Around from One Card to Another Some consumers try to reduce their balances by moving their debt from one card to another. You can sometimes save on interest by doing this, but credit card companies caught onto this. They will charge you big fees for moving balances around regularly.

#7 Pay Off Your Car Loan If you still have a car loan on your credit report, you can really increase the score by paying down on the loan as much as you can. When you pay off the balance on your car loan there is a very significant chance it will improve your credit quickly. #8 Open Trade-line Six Months in Advance If you only have one credit card trade-line, you may need one or two more to qualify for some mortgages. However, you do not want to open up a bunch of new cards right when you

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Color Me Proud!

Mary Jackson Janelle Monae





Katherine Johnson Taraji P. Henson

Dorothy Vaughn Octavia Spencer







Instructions: Color this drawing and receive a prize! Any child, 12 and under, who colors and returns this drawing to the Denver Urban Spectrum will receive prizes from the participating sponsors. All entries must be mailed to DUS, P.O. Box 31001, Aurora, CO 80041 by February 28. Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Celebrating Cannabis is Honoring Black History

Yeah, I thought that would By Wanda James

get your attention. In Maryland, legislators sued the licensing board to ensure minority participation. In Oakland, the city officials fought to create the first ever verbiage that gave preference to those that have been most harmed by the drug war. In Boston, city officials have removed drug felonies from the barrier of ownership. In Los Angeles, city council is insisting on minority licensing. All over America Black elected officials are fighting for Black Americans to have the right to participate in the cannabis industry. In Denver, some of our city elected officials are looking to discourage our participation, our success and sadly our freedom. Denver voters have rejected the hysteria of city hall that cannabis is responsible for homelessness, violence and exploding high rents. Most recently, Denver voted, overwhelmingly, to allow the Social Use of cannabis in permitted areas such as clubs. Once again proving, this cannabis “experiment” is a statistical success, on every measure. We are a city that understands the medical value of cannabis and we understand the safer choice for recreation is clearly cannabis. We are also a community that has reduced cannabis related arrests by over 80 percent. Which is why ending prohibition should be job one for anyone of color in a position to influence policy. Imagine the shock at seeing our current and former Black elected officials, traveling to other states and warning their citizens of the impending doom of cannabis legalization? Why would Black people go to other states and give white people reasons to keep locking up Black people? And why would a Black elected official do that when they clearly know that their city, their state has shown great success in changing the social justice and Jim Crow laws that have dogged Denver for decades? It is time for our community to encourage our young people to work for dispensaries, grow facilities, cannabis marketing and law firms or opening their own cannabis business.

It is time for us to come to the understanding that this industry is a great one to be a part of. It touches all of our hot buttons like, job and business creation, social justice, healthcare, hemp production, agriculture and farming, sustainability and environmental concerns, childhood cancer, autism and epilepsy, politics, and states’ rights. Starting pay in our industry is higher

than most and the demand for all levels is great. It has been a wonderful and challenging journey of being Colorado’s first Black licensed cannabis business owners. Since the beginning of this journey, when Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 issued the Ogden Memo, we have been engaged with an ongoing battle of facts, backed up by doctors, numbers, police reports and cameras, vs “Alternative Facts” made up by city hall, the tobacco and alcohol lobby and the billion-dollar onslaught of Big Pharma. And still we rise..

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


Few roads have seen as much

history as the Santa Fe Trail, the famous dirt road that snaked for 900 miles across open prairie from Missouri to Old Mexico. The trail lasted only 60 years, but from 1821 to 1880, it was America’s first international highway. And one of the first roads to freedom for thousands of enslaved African Americans. In one of the great ironies of history, today there is much talk about building a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep people out. But in 1829, the U.S. needed a wall to keep people in, because Mexico had something the U.S. did not. Freedom. Mexico abolished slavery in 1829. The story of the Santa Fe Trail begins a decade before Plymouth Rock back in 1610, when Spanish explorer and colonist Pedro de Peralta laid out the Villa de Santa Fe – the City of Holy Faith – in what was then Northern Mexico. It was an ambitious plan with a grand Governor’s Palace on the plaza. But at first, of course, there were bloody battles with Native Americans, who resented the intrusion and in 1680 revolted, throwing the Spanish out of the territory and occupying the Palace for 12 years. But slowly over time, Santa Fe became a peaceful and prosperous city. And one of the most isolated in the world. The Spanish government forbid any trade with the North Americanos of the United States and anyone who tried was arrested. Then in 1821, William Becknell changed that. He was a bankrupt Missouri trader, one step ahead of the U.S. law, who decided to take a big risk. He smuggled the first three wagons of goods to ever cross the Great Plains, somehow dragging them over rivers and up mountains and finally into the plaza of Santa Fe. Where instead of being arrested, he was treated as a hero. There had been a revolu-

Along the Santa Fe Trail America’s First International Highway and Road to Freedom By Sid Wilson and Rich Grant

View from the ramparts inside Bents Fort overlooking the Central Plaza

Tipis along the old Santa Fe Trail leading into Taos, New Mexico

tion, the Spanish were thrown out and the new Mexican government welcomed trade. Overnight, the word was out and great caravans of wagons began assembling for the tremendous profit to be made trading with Mexico. The typical wagon train didn’t follow one wagon after another, as shown in films. No one liked eating the dust of the wagon ahead, and there was plenty of land, so the wagons spread out in columns. Caravans of 10 to 100 wagons traveled together for protection. Trade mushroomed from $65,000 in 1825 to $1 million 20 years later. The Santa Fe Trail became one of the most important commerce roads in the world, bringing goods from Europe — wool, silk, iron tools and cotton cloth — to Mexico and returning with furs, silver, mules and horses. Traveling on the trail were a wild

assortment of characters — fur trappers and mountain men dressed in buckskins, famous guides like Kit Carson, big-hatted vaqueros and cowboys, soldiers from three different armies, gold seekers, journalists and adventurers. And runaway slaves. In 1829, Mexico abolished slavery. In the uncivilized parts of the West, where a man was judged by his abilities, not the color of his skin, slavery was not an issue. But in the towns and cities and throughout Texas, slavery was still very much the law. One of the issues that led to war between Texas settlers and Mexico was over

Henry Crawford, in a reenactment photo of a "free trader," mountain man like a Jim Beckwouth, or perhaps an escaped slave.

A conestoga wagon used to carry trade goods an pioneers along the Santa Fe Trail

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


slavery. In many ways, the Alamo was one of the first battles of the eventual Civil War, fought to decide the issue of slavery once and for all. But at the time, any runaway slave from the south who could get to Mexico, which was then the Arkansas River, would be free. But getting there was no easy task. Thousands of huge 6,000-pound Conestoga wagons creaked across the dirt tracks, pulled by teams of 20 oxen. These wagon trains with their white canvas covers billowing in the wind like sails, slowly moved across a sea of grass at a rate of 15 miles a day, passing through the traditional hunting grounds of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Comanche and Apaches. Besides the Indians, there were raging rivers to cross, massive herds of buffalo to be negotiated, mountains to be conquered, drought, cold, snow and thunderstorms. Thousands of African-Americans worked as teamsters and drovers on these caravans, especially after the Civil War when they were free to look for new opportunities in the West. And then, just like that, the Santa Fe Trail was gone. In 1878, there were 500 dusty wagons rolling into Santa Fe from the trail every day. But two years later, the railroad from Missouri was completed. Where once it had taken three months to travel to Santa Fe by foot, by rail it took just three days.The famous trail quickly faded into obscurity, wind and rain washing away all but a few traces. Today, modern highways follow some of the original route and most people zoom by at 75 mph. But slow down, and it’s possible to still see some of the old trail. There are natural landmarks and even some ruts in the prairie, carved there by wagons nearly 200 years ago. .


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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

world filled with racial prejudice. A former baseball player who was too old when the major leagues began admitting Black players, he’s still bitter about a lost opportunity and is resentful of his role as a trash collector where he feels he’s been passed over for promotion. This is one of those movies that withstands to repeated viewing. You will feel loathing for Troy as he steadfastly refuses to let his son Cory (Jovan Adepo) follow his own dream of a football career, and sympathy as

Underworld: Blood Wars



Fences lll

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

nrelenting in its vision, this film adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play is an artistic tour de force. Produced and directed by Denzel Washington, who also stars as the main character, Fences is the story of a Pittsburgh family dealing with social and financial struggles in the late ‘50s. Dialogue driven, expressive and superbly acted, Washington as Troy Maxson brilliantly reprises a role originated by James Earl Jones in the 1983 stage play and portrays an embittered patriarch trying to make a living in a Fences

he expresses disappointment about his own past mistakes that resulted in a 15-year stint in prison, then anger as he reveals his extramarital affair to his loyal wife of 18 years. Starring Viola Davis as his devoted wife, Mykelti Williamson as his handicapped war-vet brother and Stephen McKinley Henderson as his buddy Jim Bono, actor Russell Hornsby rounds off the main cast as his prodigal son who only seems to pop by on his father’s payday. As one of the most scathingly honest films released this yer, Washington should be applauded for bringing this Broadway gem to the big screen. Fences is a story about shattered dreams, regret and familiar strife. It’s

a portrait of a bitter patriarch, sprinkled in with basic familial conflict and struggles. Staged like a theater production, the movie’s prominent scenes are mostly set in Troy’s home although it’s not all completely in the backyard like it was in the stage play. It’s heavy on dialogue as Troy doesn’t stop talking from the start of the movie for 45 minutes. Washington does a remarkable job of shifting emotional balances among the characters, and one of the most poignant scenes is Davis’ Oscar-worthy performance when she is informed of Troy’s infidelity. ”When people ask me what I expect people to take away, I always say that it depends on what they bring to it. I know they’ll be entertained and enlightened. I know that they’ll see great performances, some great actors on screen,” says Washington who by directing this screen version posthumously honors August Wilson’s longstanding desire that an African American direct the screen version.

Underworld: Blood Wars llll


By Khaleel Herbert

ampires and werewolves rip, gnaw and stab each other in Underworld: Blood Wars. Selene (Kate Beckinsale), the vampire femme fatale, is on the run from Lycans (the werewolves), who want her blood. She claims she’s finished with the war. David (Theo James), a friend Selene brought back to life, joins in her escapade. Thomas (Charles Dance), David’s dad, enters a gothic castle held by the vampire council and is greeted by the mysteriously sinister Semira (Lara Pulver). She asks for Thomas’ aid in getting the Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


council’s approval to bring Selene to the castle and train vampires for the war. The council is reluctant, but doesn’t have a choice. Meanwhile Marius (Tobias Menzies), the leader of the Lycans, gets his pack prepared to hunt down Selene to reveal the whereabouts of her daughter. Underworld is full of action, blood and gore, the key ingredients of an Rrated action flick. Selene is the Lara Croft of vampires and shows no mercy as she shoots and beats werewolves to death. Her encounters with Marius have you on the edge of your seat wanting more. One great scene is David and a werewolf fighting when they fall in a pool of icy water. They resurface and David slices the werewolf in two. The fast-paced story was good and bad. It was good because it advanced the story along, preventing boredom during the film. The bad was some scenes were too quick and needed more elaboration, like when Kate goes away and returns toward the last 10 minutes of the movie. Underworld was a constant joyride of action and blood-spilling. Being a rated-R movie and all, there could have been a few more swear words and maybe a little more sensuality, but it works.


Passengers ll

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

here have been a lot of films released in the last decade about space travel and the only thing that sets Passengers apart is its romantic element. This space saga about a couple of passengers who travel to a new colony has great visuals and a claustrophobic feel, but sadly, that’s all it has.


Passengers The film opens with an ad for travel to a new space colony called Homestead II, which promises a marvelous life away from earth. It then throws in some promotional material from Homestead Industries, the company that owns and runs the spaceship Avalon. And then we meet Jim (Chris Pratt), one of the 5,000 passengers making the journey via the Avalon. His hibernation pod, as he soon discovers, has malfunctioned and he’s awake and on his lonesome (except for an empathetic android) and is horrified to learn there’s still 90 years left of the 120-year journey to the new colony. It isn’t long before he’s joined by Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence), another passenger who is roused from her slumber. Together, they enjoy the perks and pleasures of the luxurious Avalon until they discover the ship is on the verge of destruction and their mission becomes to save the rest of the sleeping passengers. Directed by Morten Tyldum, Pratt and Lawrence look great on screen for the 116-minute running time playing fractured characters who could be stuck on a spaceship for life. But with a paper thin plot, this slow-burning tale of a space expedition gone wrong simply isn’t that engaging. As a mechanical engineer who trades in life on earth for one in space where he can be a pioneer, Jim’s pretty resourceful, but certainly not skilled enough to repair a malfunctioned pod. Aurora’s reason for bidding farewell to friends, family and a perfectly lush life in New York, just doesn’t seem strong enough to leave her earth life behind for a 240 year round trip to space. Joining them, ever so briefly, is Laurence Fishburne’s character Gus Mancuso, a crew chief who wakes up to offer advice and then quickly disappears. The idea of 4,997 passengers staying soundly asleep as a ship titters on the

brink of collapse is one of the many head-scratching questions this film raises. The plot of Passengers is so predictable that you can see its twists coming a mile off, but where this film shines is in creating a truly remarkable spaceship. There’s an observation deck, a movie theater and every amenity imaginable, including an android bartender called Arthur (Michael Sheen) who responds to passengers’ worries and mixes a marvelous martini. What it lacks in plot makes up in visuals and wonder. Nope, there are no flying saucers or evil aliens lurking around here, just the idea of a disaster in orbit and incredible action set-pieces. It’s heavy on spectacle with some mindblowing effects and a spaceship that contains robots, holograms, exercise facilities, a basketball court, a dance machine, swimming pool, a communication center and a universe of restaurants including Japanese, Mexican, French eateries. If you’re looking for a glimpse to what an ideal future flight to space could look like Passengers is worth a peek. NU

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Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


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Lost Your Joy?


Eight African-American Legislators Sworn in the 71st General Assembly

The 71st Colorado General Assembly kicked off the New Year on Jan. 11 with eight African-American legislators taking oath of office. Newly elected Senators Rhonda Fields and Angela Williams will make up the ranks of Colorado’s 35 senators. James Coleman (Aurora Dist. 7) and Dominique Jackson (Aurora Dist. 42) who replaced vacated seats Rhonda Fields and Angela Williams respectively will join the ranks of 65 House Representatives which include Tony Exum (Colo. Springs Dist. 17), Janet Bucker (Aurora Dist. 40), Leslie Herod (Denver Dist. 8) and Jovan Melton (Aurora Dist. 41).

Angelle C. Fouther Joins LiveWell Colorado as Director of Communications

As director of communications, Angelle Fouther leads communications strategies to engage LiveWell Colorado’s audiences and partners and advance its mission. Prior to joining LiveWell, Angelle served as director of communications for the Denver Foundation. She was the marketing manager for Denver Botanic Gardens prior to that. Angelle is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She holds a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Masters of Arts and Culture Certificate, with a

e Urban Spectrum — April 2006


720-272-5844 Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


concentration in creative writing, from the University of Denver. She has served in leadership roles on the board of directors for Girls, Inc. and the Mayor’s African American Commission, and with Jack and Jill of America Metro Denver and the Blueprint Denver Task Force, as a mayoral appointee. She was the founding board chair (and current board member and Retail and Economic Development Task Team Leader) of Montbello Organizing Committee. Angelle is married to Rev. Dr. James E. Fouther, Jr., and mom to daughters Danielle and Daryn.

Twenty-three Beaus Recognized at Annual Jack and Jill Gala

The Denver Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated celebrated its 33rd Annual Beautillion on Sunday, December 18. The formal gala, held at the Denver Marriott City Center, captured the essence of the theme, “Persevering to Make a Global Impact� and honored 23 African American high school seniors from the Denver metro area. These outstanding young men have excelled in leadership, academics, athletics, and community service, and follow in the footsteps of over 800 Beautillion alumni, employed in an array of professions, who live both locally and throughout the country.

February 15 - 19

Enter Today...for a chance to win Two Tickets to MOTOWN Check it out at

Congratulations to DUS January winner of two tickets to The MLK Jr. Rodeo of Champion - Graylon Cole February winner will be selected on February 18 and announced in the“March” March Denver Urban Spectrum

Black Lives Have Always Mattered: The Impact of Slavery on the African American Student by Dr. Patricia McQueen, Paperback, 108 pages, ISBN-10: 1532328869, ISBN-13: 978-1532328862.

According to Dr. Patricia McQueen, an educator and author from Southern California, there is a continuing and alarming gap between the academic achievement of white students and Black students. She says, “The institution of slavery promoted racism, and left a stigma that Blacks have had to endure unto this day. It is that stigma, that negative social identity that is the premise for understanding how slavery has impacted the academic achievement of Black students.” Dr. McQueen’s new book, Black Lives Have Always Mattered: The Impact of Slavery on the African American Student brings light to the fact that slavery affected the cultural, economic, political, and social/psychological lives of Black people, thereby inhibiting the academic achievements of Black students. “By revealing the truth about how racism really started, we will discover that we have all been victims of its ugly effects. Blacks and whites had to be taught the meaning of ‘blackness’ and ‘whiteness’ in such a way as to create the division, and this division was preserved by force and violence, and sanctioned by laws,” she says. “African American students have been cheated out of a quality education. America must redeem the time when they should have been getting a quality education,” she adds. The President’s Kitchen Cabinet by Adrian Miller, The University of North Carolina Press, 296 pages, ISBN13:9781469632537. The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families from the Washingtons to the Obamas James Beard award–winning


author Adrian Miller vividly tells the stories of the African Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. Miller brings together the names and words of more than 150 Black men and women who played remarkable roles in unforgettable events in the nation’s history. Daisy McAfee Bonner, for example, FDR’s cook at his Warm Springs retreat, described the president’s final day on earth in 1945. “He was struck down just as his lunchtime cheese soufflé emerged from the oven.” Sorrowfully, but with a cook’s pride, she recalled, “He never ate that soufflé, but it never fell until the minute he died.”

A treasury of information about cooking techniques and equipment, the book includes 20 recipes for which Black chefs were celebrated. From Samuel Fraunces’s “onions done in the Brazilian way” for George Washington to Zephyr Wright’s popovers, beloved by LBJ’s family, Miller highlights African Americans’ contributions to our shared American food ways. Surveying the labor of enslaved people during the antebellum period and the gradual opening of employment after Emancipation, Miller highlights how food-related work slowly became professionalized and the important part African Americans played in that process. His chronicle of the daily table in the White House proclaims a fascinating new American story. Adrian Miller, author of soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time, which won a James Beard Foundation book award, worked as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge and former Southern Foodways Alliance board member. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King (Author) Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds, Henry Holt and Co, Hardcover, 368 pages, ISBN-10: 1627795987, ISBN-13: 978-1627795982. “My Life, My Love, My Legacy presents the reader with a different way of looking at the world―one of extraordinary calm and the purist resolve . . . generous, in a manner that is unfashionable in our culture.”―New York Times Book Review The life story of Coretta Scott King―wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist―as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds. Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. While enrolled as one of the first Black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, she became politically and socially active and committed to the peace movement. As a graduate student at the New England Conservatory of Music, determined to pursue her own career as a concert singer, she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs, as well as shared racial and economic justice goals, she married Dr. King, and

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, and so much more. As a widow and single mother of four, she worked tirelessly to found and develop The King Center as a citadel for world peace, lobbied for 15 years for the US national holiday in honor of her husband, championed for women’s, workers’ and gay rights and was a powerful international voice for nonviolence, freedom and human dignity. Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary Black woman in 20th Century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life. Ella’s Golden Eggs: How to Conquer Real Estate and Never Be Broke Again by Ella M. Coney, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Paperback, 114 Pages, ISBN-10: 1532719701, ISBN-13: 978-1532719707. No matter where you start, prosperity is within your grasp, according to author Ella M. Coney—and she should know. From her early years as a teenage mom on public assistance, Coney strategized, learned, and worked her way to millionaire status. And she did it all with a singular guiding principle: set a concrete financial goal, and put one foot in front of the other to get there.


Coney shares the story of her extraordinary transformation, from timid first-time home buyer to savvy real estate investor. With grit and an unshakable faith in God, she set out to find a better life for herself and her children, making well-thought-out decisions, working hard, and embracing the lessons of her mistakes. With this book, her lessons become your lessons. You’ll learn how you too can find prosperity. You’ll learn that getting rich quickly is a fallacy, but getting rich slowly is completely within your grasp. Both inspiring and pragmatic, Ella’s Golden Eggs illustrates how one woman took control of her life and how you can do the same. There are no shortcuts, but with this guide, you can set your goals and find a clear path to financial success. Ella M. Coney worked as a real estate investor and property manager in Denver, Colorado, for more than 30 years. A former teen mother and air force veteran, Coney purchased her first home in her twenties. She saw its value double in two years and was bitten by the real estate bug. Eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in finance with a real estate emphasis, she made a fortune buying, selling, and managing residential properties. Her first book, When You Fall Down—Get Up! A Millionaire’s Memoir, recounts her personal struggles on the road to financial freedom. Coney is now retired and looking for her next adventure. Blackmail, Black Queen: ‘Til Death Do Us Park by Jeffery Alexander, Lighted Bridge Publishing, 179 pages, ISBN-10: 0692659080, ISBN-13: 978-0692659083. This is a story of love and loss, trickery and tragedy, murder and mayhem, suspicion and suspense; and classic triumph of good over evil. This

gripping novel will have you enthralled from beginning to end! As an added bonus, if you are from the Denver area, you will recognize some of the scenery as the story unfolds. You MUST get this book to find out what drama is unfolding in your city. Author Jeffery Alexander is known to most people as Abdullah (servant of God). Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he is the second son of a Baptist Minister. He spent most of his childhood and teen years in Denver, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois, respectively. Unfortunately, he fell prey to the plight that befalls many young Black men and began engaging in criminal activity at an early age. After receiving a harsh sentence for armed robbery, what was meant to break him had the opposite effect. It strengthened his resolve to redeem himself and to be the man he was destined to be from birth. While incarcerated, he educated himself and earned Certificate in Small Business Administration, an Associates of Science Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree. He served as the Imam (minister) for the Muslims in every prison in which he was confined. Having undergone transformation himself, his primary objective is to transform dark hearts and minds and to inspire people — especially black people — to love themselves and their own kind. He wrote this street fiction novel, Blackmail, Black Queen:‘til death do us part, in hopes that the characters, exhibiting heart, feelings and soul, will allow people to identify with them and experience - vicariously - their trials and triumphs, victories and defeats. He plans to continue to let his voice be heard in a manner that will keep other young, Black men from travelling the same path that he followed. He is married to his childhood friend and confidant, Greta (Malika).

The Law of Action: Master Key to the Universe We Actually Live In By Theo E.J. Wilson

Let’s be realistic! If staying mentally focused on only what you want were enough to attract it, you’d have it by now. Although the laws of the mind are powerful tools, there is another side of the equation. It’s the action factor. It is the spiritual growth that comes from the doing, even if the doing is hard. There’s an elbowgrease component that is missing from modern metaphysics. Too often, the teachings of today lack the backbone necessary to be universally applicable. The fire has gone out of the philosophies, leaving us with a pile of watered down, westernized halftruths. Quietly, the seekers have begun to rebel, misled by feel-good gurus who promise success for the masses, and deliver only for the few. Is there a spiritual law that works anywhere in the world, regardless of class or material access? How do we make sense of the darkness in our world (and in ourselves,) to the gain the understanding to transmute it? The answer is The Law of Action. In this book, Theo E.J. Wilson uses his own life to lay out a hands-on, practical, common sense guide to making the most of the potential latent within us all.

Available on or at

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017



Trumpeter Ron Miles Joins JSO for Special Concert Celebrating Black History Month

The Jefferson Symphony Orchestra (JSO) will celebrate Black History Month on Feb. 19 with a special concert featuring Denver’s most prominent jazz musician Ron Miles, trumpeter. Miles, who is equally adept at performing classical works as he is at jazz, will perform Grace Mary Williams’ beautiful Trumpet Concerto. This lively program will also include the blues-inspired Afro-American Symphony by William Grant Still and the jazz-infused Suite from The River by Duke Ellington. Miles who is a trumpeter, cornet player, arranger and composer has become an international icon in the world of jazz. His playing style features a unique singing quality and his exceptional talent is accompanied by a

Center, 924 16th St. in Golden, CO. Tickets for the concert can be purchased by visiting, calling the JSO office at (303) 278-4237 or at the door on the day of the performance. Individual ticket prices are: Adult $25, Senior (62+) $20, Student (11-21yrs old) $10, Child (10yrs old and under) $5. For more information visit, email or call 303278-4237.

humble and generous spirit. He will perform the Trumpet Concerto by Grace Mary Williams who is recognized as one of the greatest female composers of the 20th century. The concert will be held at the Colorado School of Mines Green

Colorado Gospel Music Academy & Hall of Fame presents the

Annual Awards & Gospel Music Festival featuring

    CGMAHF will host three events: Saturday, Feb. 11 | 10am – 12pm | Childrens Workshop led by Pastor Michael Williams, the Academy's Music Director and Sis. Karen Moham, Kids Workshop Coordinator

Saturday, Feb. 11 | 4pm – 5:30pm | Adult Music Workshop led by Ms. Anita Wilson Grammy nominated gospel music composer and singer known for her hit single," Jesus Will"

Sunday, Feb.12 | 3pm – 6pm

46th Annual Awards & Gospel Music Festival with special guest Ms. Anita Wilson The Adult Workshop attendees will sing with Ms. Wilson, and the Childrens Workshop Choir will sing alone. All workshops open to the public. Registration required. Please call Pastor Williams at 720-621-6774

Contact Dr. Syl Morgan-Smith, CGMAHF Founder & President at 303-233-3321 for more information

3701 Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO 80205 Presenting Sponsor

It’s Time to Get in Your Zone! with FREE be well Fitness Classes

The Stapleton Foundation’s be well Health and Wellness Initiative will offer a new series of fitness and wellness programming at the be well Centers located at the Martin Luther King, Hiawatha Davis and Central Park recreation centers. be well Center programs and classes are designed with the community’s needs in mind, which means be well offers diverse fitness classes that cater to ages 15 and up and to all fitness levels. Fitness class sessions such as Yoga, Zumba, Cardio Hip Hop, Cardio Kickboxing, and more offer both beginners and veterans an excellent workout in a fun and comfortable environment. In addition, the be well Health and Wellness Initiative routinely delivers various other healthy living opportunities such as heart health screening programs and general wellness workshop classes in an effort to help shift our community’s health for the better. Almost all be well programs are offered free of charge or at a drastically reduced cost - with no recreation membership required. For more information or to sign up, visit or call 303-468-3224. Space is limited.

Entrepreneur Ramon Bargas Encourages Denver Businesses to Sponsor Summer Interns

Denver native and entrepreneur Ramon Bargas will be the keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Work is Success Internship Program (WISIP) Corporate Sponsorship Breakfast Thursday, March 2 at the Mile High United Way, 711 Park Avenue West, Denver. Bargas is the owner of Planet Laboratories, an Aveda concept hair salon in Cherry Creek, and principal of the RazrGroup. While private busi-

Denver Urban Spectrum — – February 2017


nesses often work toward big profits first, Ramon Bargas proves that caring about people and profits are not mutually exclusive. Every year the Colorado “I Have A Dream” Foundation (CIHAD) provides opportunities for high school students to explore their career interests at a local Denver business. The WISIP initiative prepares and places high school youth in 6-10 week summer internships with some of Denver’s top small businesses, corporations, law and medical offices, higher education institutions, and government agencies. The March 2 breakfast, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. is free. For more information about the Work is Success Internship Program (, or to RSVP for the breakfast, contact Stephanie Costner at 303-861-5005 x103/, or Dusty Teng at For more information about CIHAD, visit

Boys2Men Host Aviation Career Workshop

Boys2Men will host a two-day workshop on careers in aviation on Friday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Careers include Air Traffic Controller, Aerospace Engineer, Flight Test Engineer, Aircraft Test Pilot & Project Engineer-Aviation/Aerospace and others. Parents or guardians are required to accompany their son to ground school (9195 E. Mineral Ave, Centennial 80112) to sign waivers, authorizing them to fly. They will be taken up in a plane. On Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 participants will depart on a charter bus from The Crowley Foundation, 2065 Uinta St. in Denver at 7 a.m. to Front Range Airport located at 5200 Front Range Pkwy in Watkins, CO. Young men ages 14-18 are encouraged to participate. For more information or to register, call 720-935-6465.


For more information call 303-292-6446 or email






BLACK HISTORY MONTH Simply Pure had its beginning after the election of President Barack Obama in 2009.

We are thankful that flame of social justice has passed proudly from a woman that kept her seat in DEFIANCE. To a man that dared to DREAM about equality. To a man that lived the DREAM. Simply Pure is thankful for the great strides we have made as patients, as connoisseurs, and as Americans

Please join our celebration of DIVERSITY for the entire month of February with 25% OFF selected edibles, concentrates and flower! (while supplies last)

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2017  

This month we celebrate Black History, a proud history, as we acknowledge those who have made and are making, positive contributions reflect...

Denver Urban Spectrum February 2017  

This month we celebrate Black History, a proud history, as we acknowledge those who have made and are making, positive contributions reflect...