Page 1

Volume 31

Number 3

June 2017

Songwriter,Artist, Producer & Visionary Bobby Wells

Giving joy, spreading love, expressing gratitude...2 Photo by Kathy Wells


MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER

Roots, Music, Family…

Volume 31 Number 3

June 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Laurence C. Washington CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Tanya Ishikawa COLUMNISTS Kim Farmer FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

In addition to honoring fathers, celebrating Juneteenth and for some, becoming a bride, another significant occasion of recognition in June is African American Music Appreciation Month. Initiated as Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter, on June 7, 1979, he proclaimed June would be the month of Black music. This month to celebrate Black music and those making a mark in Denver and across the country, Charles Emmons looks into the life of music impresario Bobby Wells, from Back In The Day – to today. Wells, a longtime DUS friend, tells why he was excited to produce our 30th anniversary theme song, “More Today Than Yesterday.” Allan Tellis caught up with well-known Denver bassist Jeroan Adams who talked “music notes” and about the “real” roots of Black music. Summertime is also family time and coming together, in particular, through family reunions. Charles Emmons shares the roots of the Tyler family and their plans on hosting the Tyler Family Reunion in Denver. And, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, Allan Tellis talks about plans underway to host a festival to focus on the institution of family – and a day of genuine family fun. Khaleel Herbert talks about another anniversary fundraising event that will be full of laughs, with nationally-recognized comedian Louis Johnson and special guest comedians Sam Adams, Stephen Agyei and Janae Burris. So as you can see, we are in the thick of celebrating 30 years of spreading the news about people of color and there is more to come. Please join US! Roots, Music, Family…it’s all here. Happy reading! Rosalind J. Harris Publisher

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charles Emmons Khaleel Herbert Melovy Melvin Allan Tellis ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert, Kolor Graphix Al Saadiq Johnson, Stunttime Production PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Bernard Grant DISTRIBUTION Glen Barnes Lawrence A. James Ed Lynch

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

LETTER TO THE EDITOR the disease are prevalent in children under the age of one, but primarily among young people in high school and college, between the ages of 16 and 23. We all know that young people often gather in large group settings on high school and college campuses and those settings increase the risk of the spread of meningitis. This is a public health emergency in our state. For that reason, I sponsored a resolution in the state House of Representatives that puts us on record urging a stepped-up fight against meningitis in all its forms. Colorado has certainly not been idle in the face of this disease. Our state health department and the University of Colorado have worked with student leaders at CU to raise awareness throughout the Pac 12 conference about meningitis vaccination. And many high schools are ensuring that the facts about meningitis – including about the meningitis B strain that now has a vaccine to fight it — are being sent home with students to moms and dads. But we believe that more must be done. It is clear from the science, and from the testimony of medical professionals from across the country, that we can prevent more young people from suffering – and parents from unspeakable loss and grief. In our resolution legislators in both parties, from every corner of Colorado, have united to urge all high schools and colleges in the state – public and private – to provide parents and students with a comprehensive education about the dangers of meningitis. This should include the facts about the different strains of the disease, its stealthy symptoms, how

Rep PabonSpeaks Out for Education, Vaccination and Students Against Meningitis

Editor: Despite spring snows, it’s graduation season and summer sports will soon be in full swing. As our young people look toward the season ahead with anticipation, it’s also vital that parents and students focus on the looming danger of meningitis. To combat this stealthy killer of young Coloradans, legislators of both parties recently came together to urge increased education and vaccination because we know these steps can save lives. We in the Legislature have heard over the years from many parents – including parents here in Colorado – about the devastating, sudden loss of a previously healthy, vibrant son or daughter to the ravages of meningitis. Lisa and Jon Krizman of Loveland, whose daughter, Sierra, died of the disease while a college freshman, have written publicly that – like too many parents – they were “unaware of the fatal disease, or of the vaccine that could have prevent it, until it was too late.” The Krizmans and many other families across the nation – up to 1,500 victims in the nation every year with 15 percent of those cases resulting in death – have learned why meningitis is called a hidden killer. The disease can come on a young person with little warning, being masked by what is often mistaken for flu symptoms: a headache, sore throat, body aches. If identified early as meningitis, a patient can be cured. If not, they can have devastating long-term effects, including the loss of limbs, long-lasting neurological conditions – or death. The fact is that the several strains of

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the disease can be spread, and its treatment. A vital part of that education is also about vaccination: what to get, where to get it, and the studies about its effectiveness in preventing the disease. The fact is that we can tell athletes not to share water bottles, or tell young women not to share lipstick – or the many other ways to lower risk – but the best way to not get meningitis is to be vaccinated. Education is more important now because the most deadly strain hitting college campuses – meningitis B – isn’t covered by the current required vaccine. So parents and students need to learn about this additional vaccine. In a time when the political parties are divided on seemingly every issue, large and small, I’m proud that this lifeand-death issue facing young Coloradans has brought us together, and allowed us to speak out for education and vaccination against meningitis. Rep. Dan Pabon Denver, CO

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Publisher Publisher@urbanspectrum.net Editor Editor@urbanspectrum.net News & Information News@urbanspectrum.net Advertising & Marketing Advertising@urbanspectrum.net Graphics & Design Graphics@urbanspectrum.net


Back In The Day... By Charles Emmons Photos by Kathy Wells

M

and Today

including Kool and the Gang, Temptations and more. “Other family relatives I was inspired by are Michael Hill, Ronnie/Donnie Beck (Tower Of Power-drums), Carol Rogers (Sergio Mendez)…all great musicians. I was personally inspired by drummers and keyboardist like Keith Rogers, Tommy Thomas, Glen Franklin, Gus McNair and David Carter,” said Wells. In Omaha, Wells was exposed to the three genres of music that would begin to define him, Gospel, jazz Songwriter/Artis/Producer Bobby Wells and soul. He also began to love instrumental music that crossed all genres. “I heard Bobby’s early commercial music this music in our home and I always influences veered away somewhat like to say, “I heard jazz by my from what he heard around home, as Dad…as mom and us children headed he explored the Omaha music scene. out to church, then I heard church “I started listening to Cobham, Lenny music, the rest of the day. We had an White, Buddy Rich, Jeff Beck, Tower AM Radio station in my hometown of Power, New Birth because I wanted growing up called KOIL Radio. They to learn, but it was better for me by played everything on that one station. ear. I later learned that many in the I listened to a lot of music while under music field didn’t read music, like Phil oxygen tents in hospitals. So I became Collins, James Van Buren. However, accustomed to all kinds of music. schooling has its benefits in that you When I heard instrumentals of any can play with anyone at any time by kind, like Wes Montgomery, Brubeck, just reading charts. As for piano, it I’d get real excited for some reason; was sort of the same thing. I would maybe because I could hear the instrutap out melodies and make songs.” ments playing better. Now Herbie just Writing songs became his forte’. He amazed me!” Herbie Hancock is just spent most of his time writing songs, one of the artists that Wells found so sometimes one a week. “My practice appealing. “There was a time in my was writing, not playing or reading life when “Cry Baby” music lost its music,” said Wells. appeal. Everything was about winning The music business is tough, but or losing your girl…all night long Wells found inspiration in the vibrant kind of lyrics. Personally, I didn’t musical environment of Omaha that want that anymore, so I began listenhas also nurtured and produced other ing to instrumentals and freeing up luminaries such as Terry Lewis and my mind. While listening I could travBuddy Miles. His cousins in a group el where I wanted to, I was free. I was called the Steppen Stonz were frenot locked into some guy’s sad lyrics quently called upon to open for or hang-ups,” said Wells. He began to national acts coming through Omaha, be more interested in playing as he

any of us find our

calling in adversity. The

more challenges we face, we shift gears, we climb higher, and the greater impact we can have through sharing

our gifts. Our reward is not

always monetary. Often the joy of creation becomes our

incentive. Denver musician, producer, Bobby Wells brought together a group of musicians to create the Power30 theme song in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Denver Urban Spectrum. For Wells it was a labor of love for publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris. Wells has loved music since he was a child in Omaha, Nebraska. Like many young boys, he wanted to play sports, but he was sidelined. From the age of six months old he had asthma and even had to stay in a hospital home for more than a year. He gravitated towards artful things. Inspired by a home environment filled with music, Wells decided to pick up an instrument in elementary school. “I was always around music. I got a daily dose of soul, pop, jazz and Christian music. Whether from my dad, aunties, uncles, siblings, my uncle Sammie D, or just Mom singing around the house, it came to me strong and I wanted to play something. None of my siblings really aspired to play an instrument. My sister Pamela found her voice and continues to sing and my brother Keith gave percussion a try, but I thought I’d pick up the trombone. Whew, probably the worst instrument to play because you need a lot of wind to make it work. I gave that up after a few classes in elementary school.” Wells eventually found a home on the drums and the piano. “While

with Bobby Wells

piano was very hard, drums almost came naturally. In my teenage years my mother was given a drum set that was previously owned by a famous drummer named Luigi Waites,” said Wells. “I never met him but his drums were so cool. The kick drum was in a teardrop shape and a slightly purple color. That was the beginning. I began playing in church. I also began tapping out songs and melodies on piano with two fingers.” Wells’ talent is naturally innate. His music education is not extensive, but he does not recommend bypassing going to school. “I mainly played by ear - still do. I took a class in high school. At that point, I knew what I was hearing but I couldn’t quite get things to move smoothly with my hands and feet on this trap set. One day after class another student asked me, “What hand are you, are you right or left handed?” I said, “Left-handed.” After that he changed the drums around for me and immediately things began to fall into place. I could feel the grooves, I could move like an eagle in the sky. I could play almost anything.”

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heard the orchestration of Barry White, Isaac Hayes, Steve Wonder, George Benson and Grover Washington as they came on the scene. Later on, he heard something that caught his attention. Hearing artist such as Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Art porter, Rob Mullins, Images and many others just lit him up – catchy, Earth Wind & Fire kind of hooks, and finally, music without words, “There’s music for everyone, you just need to find what makes you happy. Instrumentals are what I like the most. There are so many styles of music I like that cross the globe culturally. People will split hairs on you quickly. To me, if a song helps you in your situation, then we’ve done our work. My music is a crossover of many things I’ve listened to from radio to movie scores.” While Wells has a talent and ear for making music, he is hard to peg and doesn’t like boxes and is equally at home creating mood music, instrumentals and Christian music, which is also deeply rooted in his repertoire. Growing up in a Baptist home, Wells said “My mother Dorothy did the right thing by taking us children to church. I’ve had plenty valleys in my life but I was able to get through them by the help of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ kept me humble and grounded. He helped me understand that there is always someone who can play better that you. I wouldn’t say I shifted back and forth from Christian to Jazz music because I like both. I don’t go too far to the left or to the right on things. I love Christian music because it speaks of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I’m a born again Christian before I will call myself anything else.” Bobby Wells’ faith informs and drives his music creation and purpose. “When I write music I go to a place of rest first, or if I need a pick-me-up on the highway, I’ll write fast music. If every house on a block was painted white and you stuck a green house in the middle, something in a creative person’s mind would try other colors right away. I’m glad that my music touches so many different kinds of people. I can’t call myself a true jazz player either. I’m not a purist like some may be and that’s ok, there’s nothing wrong with that.” A variety of music continues to inspire Wells. What informs his creation and writing songs is anything that seems significant at the moment. “Many things inspire me - I could be looking at a photo, resting, joy, peace, thinking about my Lord, a panoramic view, colors, things around me, smiles, scenes unfolding when I’m out and about with my children or grandchildren, my sweetheart and wife Kathy

on road trips, gatherings, sea life, fellowships, events. Most of the time music comes from hearing a rhythm or a melody pop in my head.” With his music, Wells strives for a feeling of comfort and satisfaction, the same sort that his Mother got from cooking the family a meal and watching the children eating, laughing, neighbors and friends stopping by and giving her compliments. “My, I can’t even come close to those memories but I try with my music.” Well’s music, many times over the years has been coined as “feel good music” by reviewers. Whether its Christian music, smooth jazz, commercials, cor-

porate, etc. it’s still in the range of creativity,” said Wells. The greats across genres – James Brown, Wes Montgomery, Dave Brubeck, Aretha Franklin, The Doobie Brothers, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, George Benson, Barry White, James Cleveland, Andre Crouch, Roby Duke, and DJ Rogers – have inspired Wells. This foundational creativity has been tapped through collaborations with contemporary artists such as Michael O’Neill, Gerald Albright and Eric Marienthal. Wells met O’Neill at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Anaheim, CA.

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He was so impressed by O’Neill and Ronnie Fosters’ performance, as they “threw a million notes per bar at him,” that he thought it was time to retire from music. He and O’Neill talked at a later show and they hit it off and continue as friends today. “A man of his caliber having a conversation with me…wow! I always believed that we should be that way with younger musicians coming up. I’ve always thought we should treat everyone with respect, and acknowledge people when they are speaking to you. Some get a little bit of fame and you can’t talk with them anymore. My Continued on page 4


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Continued from page 3 advice is your character and how you treat others is more important than your accolades. How we treat others can have a chain reaction on someone positively or negatively – no matter how big or small your name. And don’t forget those who helped you, in some way, get where you are. I learned this in church.” His accolades and musical achievements are many and diverse. He was named “Band of the Year” by KHIH 95.7 radio station and People’s choice. The Colorado Rockies called on him to perform at a special 50th Anniversary celebration in recognition of Baseball Player Jackie Robinson. Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb proclaimed “August 10, 1998 to be Bobby Wells day.” Wells was also inducted into The Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame 2007 alongside the (late) Buddy Miles, LA Carnival, Crackin, Lois “Lady Mac” McMorris, Terry Lewis, Steppen Stonz, Lester Abrams, Calvin Keys, Arno Lucas and authors like Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rogers. Bobby and vocalist Yvonne Brown sung the National Anthem at Denver’s All-Star Game - Home Run Derby. He performed at the “Summit of Eight” which included President Clinton and six other World leaders. He has been interviewed numerous times on TV and was also featured on Channel 9 News in a segment called “Unsung Heroes.” Wells and his band have played for children with Asthma (National Jewish) and even the homeless. He has had that much impact in the community. “It’s not just about us, it’s about our community as well, outreach is so important.” Wells and Harris have known each other for years since he moved to Denver. The first band Bobby played with in Denver was a reggae band, “I love the island rhythms.” He formed his own band after blues singer James

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Van Buren told him to “get out of the house and let others hear your music.” So when Harris came to him with the idea for the 30th anniversary theme song and introduced Wells to Jah Goatfish, he got excited. “Bee Harris has been a friend for many, many years, going back to the KHIH Days. I’m so impressed with her tenacity, style, bringing people together and keeping them informed. Her paper has withstood the test of time and it’s always been classy. She presented me with a challenge to do a remake of the song “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday” by the Spiral Staircase. I liked the song and thought since Jah sings so many styles, and he dresses so colorful, I thought Reggae would be a good fit. So I created a Steel Pulse style rendition of the song titled, “More Today Than Yesterday,” and they both liked it. I was honored to work with Jah, an incredibly talented singer who can sing in many languages, and my very good friend Bee Harris.” For this 30th anniversary of DUS, Wells brought in Denver’s own guitarist Dr. Isidro Aybar Jr., who has worked with Wells on several occasions. Wells says, “Aybar is an incredible guitarist talent whom I’ve called on since my early days in smooth jazz; from my first CD to my most recent CD, Back In The Day where he performed on the song “End Of Summer.” Wells has also worked, and met in some fashion, several wellknown producers such as Ken Navarro, Steve Sykes, Rick Braun, John Barnes, Tony Dixon.” He met Gerald Albright at a NAMM show just before Albright moved to Denver. Wells and wife Kathy returned to Denver about 10 years ago and longtime friend Chuck Berry. While playing golf, Wells was introduced to Albright. “Chuck has been a great friend and fellow musician. Chuck made it possible for me to receive a Proclamation and I’m so glad to know


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How it all began for Bobby Wells

him. He’s always willing to help lend a hand and I appreciate and I’m grateful for his knowledge of music.” Albright played bass guitar on Wells’ first Christian CD, Here With You Lord, as well as, the latest Smooth Jazz CD released in 2016, Back in the Day, on which he played bass on two selections, “Tee it Up” and “Bella’s Pier.” Wells feels blessed to have such a talent available in Denver on his projects. “Out of love for the many musicians that have helped me in my music career I want to mention a few…Eric Marienthal, Yvonne Brown, Pamela Renee, Brandy Wells, Darren Rahn, Rick Braun, Bryan Savage, Dik Darnell, Mel Brown, Lawrence Simms, Randy Chavez, Gino Diquincio, Bob Rebholz, Andy Goldberg, Larry Thompson, Jesus Mendez, Isidro Aybar Jr., Nelson Rangell, Vernon Barbary, Michael Delnegro, Freddie Fox and my computer guys and gurus Myron Chandler and Terry Black. (Sorry if I missed anyone.) There are so many talented musicians in the Denver area, and if I can help in some way, I’ll give it a try.” Musicians across the country are reaching out to Wells to create music. Creating music is more than his vocation. It has become his solace.

Even his eloquent postings on his Facebook page in response to the dayto-day world are often lyrical. “It’s who I am. It’s funny…I’m human, sure there are things that frustrate me like watching the news, computer news… there are times that I’m confronted with assembling a cabinet, and I’m forced to use an Allen wrench; I just don’t like that tool for some reason, how about yellow spots in my backyard made by our little pooch named Solo. Most of the time music gets me up, happy, intrigued, excited, and spiritual. There’s something about taking a rhythm and making it come alive, taking a sound or vocal and using it in your latest melody – experimentation of it all. Now, an even growing number of artists are using my music on their records. I like to produce and help other artist or groups make their sound better. Every canvas is art waiting to be discovered, hung and enjoyed.”. Editor’s note: For more information about Bobby Wells visit bobbywellsmusic.com or email bobbywellsmusic@earthlink.net. To hear his latest music, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/all/bwsmooth or iTunes, Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Pandora and other Social Media. bobbywellsmusic@earthlink.net

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Tyler Family Reunion Comes to Denver By Charles Emmons

J

uly and August is the season

for family reunions. Across the country, grandmothers kiss new babies, new in-laws shake hands and

embrace, siblings trade stories about their year, and cousins greet each

other with a surprised look for the first time. For African-Americans,

these reunions have always had a spe-

cial significance. The institution of slavery ripped apart families, with the consequence of relatives never seeing each other again or at least not for several decades. So when families gather in the summer months, this legacy of separation is in their collective unconscious. Families are a source of pride, and elders are a treasure. Young people are a vessel waiting to be filled, and the intermediate generations make the transfer. The Tyler family has known this for more than a century, and will base their 102nd reunion at the Doubletree on Quebec and Martin Luther King Boulevard, July 7-9. The last time the reunion was in Denver was 2002. The roots of this family run deep, and reach all the way back to the south in Greene County North Carolina. Generations of Tylers have shaped this country, and fought and died for it since the Civil War. Like many African-American families rooted in the south, slavery is integral to the Tyler family story. But our family histories are also often complicated and more intricate. Primus Dem Edwards, Sr. was born into slavery in

Lylaus Keyes, 91 years old 1799 in North Carolina. His wife Elizabeth ‘Pink’ Tyler, a mulatto was born a free woman in 1802, and it was determined that she would never be enslaved and neither would her children. This was a prolific union. Primus and Elizabeth had the following children: Richard, Eliza, George, Nancy, Himbrick, Elizabeth, Primus Dem, Jr., Avery, Moses, Shepard, Samantha and Sarah Ann. Shepard died in battle in the Civil War serving in the Colored Infantry. Oral history within the family relates that Primus Dem, Sr. received his freedom through an arrangement with a Quaker after three of his sons traveled to Canada, and worked to get funds to earn their father’s freedom. Upon gaining his freedom, Primus, Sr. took his wife’s name. His wife died in 1850 enroute to Indiana. Descendants of Primus, Sr. are spread throughout the country, as the

subsequent prolific generations migrated to Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. They settled on farms, fought on battle lines, became pastors, built businesses and built communities. Today, Tylers are business owners and executives, educators, attorneys and government leaders. In the record, “Descendants of Primus Dem Tyler Sr.”prepared in 2008 by Otis Calvin Tyler, the eight generations of documented descendants from Primus, Sr. and Elizabeth number more than 1,300. The first reunion was in 1915 in St. John, Kansas, and most early reunions were in Kansas or Oklahoma. Denver resident Lylaus Keyes is 92, and her first memory of a reunion was on a farm in St. John, Kansas. She was about 10 years old. Since then she has attended just about every one, and has only missed 7or 8.

“It had a lot to do with my life,” Keys said. “The family reunion was something that I looked forward to, and the kids did to. We looked forward to going to the family reunions and seeing each other and just having a great time with each other.” Keyes and her sister were the only Black children in the St. John schools, and from an early age Keyes made up her mind that she wanted to be a teacher. When she was looking to go to college, a cousin took her to the University of Kansas in Lawrence and drove her around. Keyes later decided to attend Washburn College in Topeka, where she stayed with her sister and had the support of the family. Keyes moved to Denver after marriage, and had a very long successful career as an elementary school teacher. Keyes gained enrichment from both sides of her family. Her father’s cousin was author/film director Oscar Micheaux. Keyes’ name may be familiar, as her husband Wilfred, a chiropractor, brought the school desegregation lawsuit Keyes v. School District No. 1. Lylaus Keyes’ generation aimed to make a difference for African-Americans, and the modernday Tylers have adopted this stance and continue this legacy. Keyes cousin, Wanda Jackson who also moved to Denver from Kansas in the 1950s, a nurse by profession, was an ardent community and civil rights activist. With five other founders, she opened Denver’s first Black bookstore in 1968, a non-profit, Sundiata, on 28th and Colorado Boulevard. Jackson operated the store until it closed in 1976. Her daughter Cherise Rahmaan is a point person for the 102nd

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reunion. At 60, she has missed no more than five reunions. “I don’t think it was explained to us,” Rahmaan says. “We were immersed from day one. It was common for us to attend every year. There were no choices. You attended and that was it. Our family history was so strong that there was no question about whether you were going or not. There weren’t any asking questions about whether you were going to attend. It was just… you attended. We were immersed in it. It wasn’t discussed. I think that is the way that we all grew up, even Lylaus from day one.” The Tylers, and in particular the descendants of Richard Tyler and their reunion, have endured because every Tyler family member is important. Each reunion they publish the “Tyler Tattler,” a book where family members are invited to submit news about family. These are not just memorials for those who have passed away, but also achievements and accomplishments that may include-university graduations and dean’s lists, grade school honor rolls, employee of the year, birthdays or article reprints about government officials like Kansas State Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau. The ‘Tattler’ is a mechanism for generating positivity within the family and the community, and illustrates what is possible for future generations. In one issue there was a game of Tyler Family Feud where members viewed a description of a family member and filled in the names of the most accomplished Tylers. “For us it is a matter of pride. We tend to stroke those that do well and put them in the Tyler Tattler. It could be anybody. It doesn’t matter what they did. We are all encouraged every year to send in our own stories, our own articles,” Rahmaan said. “Every year we send out a letter requesting information on achievements, accomplishments, awards, scholarships, anything that has to do with a family member and they put it into the Tyler Tattler. It’s not mandatory. The book would be huge. But it’s just whoever wants to forward that information in.” A modest $15 in dues is collected from each family unit, $5 for a general fund, $5 for a benevolent fund and $5 for Scholarships. This is a family that uplifts everyone, and it doesn’t matter who you are and how you became a Tyler. Jerry Bowen, 47, is an IT manager with XCEL Energy. “I think for me it has been a little different, because just knowing that you have a huge family that is out there and a lot of people around is kind of comforting and then too, for me I was adopted into the family and I was just accepted,” Bowen said. “I remember telling them once that I was

adopted and they were like you “be quiet,” because you are just part of the family. It’s just that loving feeling that you are part of something bigger.” As the family has continued to grow and other members emerge, so did the realization that they could have a bigger role. In 1981 they initiated the Tyler Family Association and drew up a constitution, its purpose “shall be to maintain and perpetuate the blood lineage of the Tyler family; to establish a unity among all family relatives by securing the survival, growth, and highest development of the Tyler family culturally, spiritually, and educationally.”

The Tyler Family Association is run like a corporation or non-profit with an executive board of officers and rules of engagement for the general sessions. There is often disagreement, but in the end sticking by one another is more important. These guidelines and rules have helped sustain the family, and it is critical that everyone takes part and has an understanding of the importance of family and gathering together. Each ‘Tattler’ is prefaced with an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s poem “Black Family Pledge.” The theme for the reunion in July is “Ain’t No Mountain High

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Enough,” and it is reflective of the family philosophy of always reaching higher. The Denver Tylers want the gathering to be memorable. Memory can have such an impact well into the future. Bowen remembers traveling by bus to Indiana in the 1970s and picking up family along the way in Kansas. He has only attended about five in 40 years, but it had an effect. Memory is significant to another Tyler family member. Dr. Carolyn Jones, 74, has attended several reunions; the first was when she was, 28, with her mother and her sister. Continued on page 8


Continued from page 7 Jones’ mother was adopted, and her father was a Tyler. “From the time we met the family they have been warm and accepting. It has just been a really nice way of reconnecting to my mother’s side of the family,” Jones said. But the one most memorable was when they rented two vans, and her sisters loaded up immediate family, children and grandchildren and drove to Houston. In 2002, the last time the reunion was in Denver, her charter school CCI (Challenges Choices Images) where she was principal was highlighted with an on location luncheon. Making these connections is important. We all need to see what is possible and it is helpful, satisfying and inspiring when family members are the focus of accomplishments. She makes sure her children and younger family members understand the significance of the family. “It’s very special being a Tyler,” Jones said. “One thing that is very troubling to me is as we grow in family and we are so spread out I am not sure that our young kids are going to know all of their cousins and aunts and uncles and things, and that is where family reunion is so important that you come together and meet peo-

Tyler Family Reunion

Wanda and Cherise

Excerpt from poem by Maya Angelou

Black Family Pledge Because we have forgotten our ancestors our children no longer give us honor. Because we have lot the path our ancestors cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our children cannot find their way. Because we have banished the God of our ancestors, our children cannot pray. Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering, our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand. Therefore we pledge to bind ourselves again to one another; to embrace our lowliest, to keep company with our loneliest, to educate our illiterate, to feed our starving, to clothe our ragged, to do all good things, knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.

We are our brothers and sisters. legacy of achievement and accomplishment spanning several generations. “It’s just the fact that you are connected to a larger body of people, African-American people, and just that whole sense of roots, because often as African-Americans we don’t have the opportunity to reach back deep into our ancestry,” Jones said. “And the thing that has been nice about being part of the family is so many people know relatives that go way way back.” The Tyler descendants in Denver plan three full days of activities for the

ple that you normally wouldn’t in your day to day life and to know that they are your cousins. So I think that is what I feel is so important – to keep that ancestral line going and knowing that you are a part of something that is bigger than just you.” Bowen commented he learned from reunions that he almost felt a duty to go out and do good and the right things, because you want to come back to the reunions and show you have accomplished something. He met family who were doctors, attorneys, and corporate executives, pointing to a

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nearly 200 family members that are expected to attend. A tour of Five Points and the Black America West Museum are just two destinations on the schedule, to showcase the city. “We’re excited about having it here in Denver again,” Jones said. “We’re introducing our family to some of the changes that have happened here recently and the excitement of meeting again and meeting new family members and I am sure, every time I go I meet new family, and that is what I am looking for.” Welcome Tyler Family Association to the Mile High City! .


Getting the Funny Bone Goin:’ Laughing with Louis Johnson in His Comical Pursuits By Khaleel Herbert - Photo by Khaleel Herbert

Louis Johnson’s job has one

requirement – make people laugh. For 30 plus years, Johnson has made people laugh through standup comedy, climbing his way up the comedic ladder from the Denver Comedy Works to earning gigs on cruise lines and performing at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia. Johnson grew up in Denver in Five Points and Park Hill. He got his start in comedy while participating in the Denver Summer Jobs Program, which taught kids how to find jobs, fill out applications and practice interviewing. “The third year I was in that, right before my senior year of high school, they had a program where they took about 14 of us and put us in a performing troupe,” Johnson says. “We did shows at old folk’s homes, daycare centers, wherever they would have us. We wrote half the sketches. The other half we stole from Saturday Night Live.” After graduating from George Washington High School, Johnson worked at McDonald’s and Taco Bell while going to college. He recalled the night he was fired from Taco Bell. “I had an attitude back then. I’m 18, three months shy of my 19th birthday, I graduated,” Johnson says. “I was that kind of guy when you come into the Taco Bell, I’d have my collar up and paper hat to the side. Women would walk in and I’d say, ‘Can I get your order and your phone number?’ And they’d be like, ‘Please, just get my tacos.’” One day Taco Bell had a different manager fill in, and he didn’t take too kindly to Johnson’s attitude. “He just told me, ‘You know, why don’t you just go home?’” Johnson says. “‘But I gotta close. I’m supposed to close tonight.’ ‘We don’t need you here tonight. Just go.’ Came back the next day to find out I was fired.” When Johnson left Taco Bell that night, he walked from Colfax to the Denver Comedy Works on Larimer Square. He ordered a drink and watched a guy performing on stage. He decided that he wanted to give comedy a try. He visited the Comedy

Get that Funny Bone Goin’

Works the next day and met Vince Curran, the then-talent coordinator. He went on stage for the first time two weeks later. Many comedians get up on stage for the first time crash and burn. Some never return to the stage, but Johnson had a different outcome. “The problem with my first time on stage was that I did well,” Johnson says. “Doing well the first time, there was nothing to discourage me from chasing that high again. It was like a heroin addict – you tie off, let it ride and you’re always chasing that feeling again.” Johnson hung out at the Comedy Works two to three nights a week for over a year either watching or performing standup. “A lot of guys today, to me, give out false advice. They say you got to do this every night possible – that’s how you’re gonna learn,” Johnson says. “I think you learn just as much from watching. If you got a good mix of the two, then you’ll be a great comic. Some guys never go in and just

A Fan of the Art

watch and see what it’s like to be a fan of the art.” Johnson said he would go in and just watch comedians when they came through Denver. These comedians included Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Margaret Smith and Bill Hicks. “If you go through some of the old Bill Hicks albums, the ones that he recorded in Denver,” Johnson says. “You can hear myself and a bunch of older Denver comics laughing in the back.” Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Paul Mooney, Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby and Red Foxx are only some of Johnson’s favorites for different reasons. “Nobody bared their soul like Richard. Joan was just a beast at writing,” Johnson says. “Cosby – no one has been a better storyteller than him. There’s not one topic you can find as a comic–classic or regular that Carlin has not covered. That’s how prolific he was.”

Writing & Preparing His Funny Business

Johnson says his material comes from life experience. Jokes pop into his

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head every day, but he can’t always write them down. “One thing I’ve learned from the old guys is in the moment is fine, but your memory will fail. Doesn’t matter what age you are. You gotta put it down,” Johnson says. “You might not remember the nuance of it. You might not remember the verb, the speed of it, how it sounded at the time. Sometimes it’s not the words that are funny, it’s just the way you said it. “When I was writing everything down, I’d write the joke and then I turn the page,” Johnson adds. “It didn’t matter if the joke was one line, two lines, three lines I still got that whole page. What that does is it mentally forces you to wanna fill out that page.” Johnson says Jerry Seinfeld’s Don’t Break the Chain is the best writing technique. “Seinfeld has a thing where you have a calendar on the wall and you’re supposed to write every day,” Johnson explains. “Every day that you write, you put an X on that. What you’re trying to do is keep the chain going. You can’t break that chain.” To prepare for shows, Johnson records every performance he does and studies it. “A lot of guys don’t do this,” Johnson says. “But if you’re gonna record, you have to listen to that within 48 hours because if you don’t, it’s gonna be sitting there and it’s gonna pile up. You can get the nuance of how you said something. You can figure out what it was that made them laugh.” Johnson adds that when he watches his videos, he has to take himself out of it and be objective. “I have to actually sit back as if I’m an audience member and say, ‘What the hell are you saying? What kind of joke is that?’” Johnson says. “Or I’ll sit there like I’m an extra writer and go, ‘Ok that joke could use this line.’” When it comes to performing jokes, Johnson says he does clean and dirty shows on cruise ships. “I like both of them because you need to be able to work both muscles if you’re gonna be a working comic. A lot of us, we’re not superstars,” Johnson says. “But we’re working comics. You need to be able to handle just about any audience that comes at you.”


From Showtime to the Sea and In-Between

One of Johnson’s greatest accomplishments was earning the title of Showtime’s Funniest Person in America in 1986 at age 21. “They picked one person for each state and out of those 50 people, narrowed that down to 15 and out of those 15, narrowed it down to three,” Johnson says. “They put those three on the air. Each one of us had a 1-800 number so people could call and vote for the person they thought was the funniest. I won the year I was in it.” Johnson won with his jokes and his hustle. After performing at Comedy Works, he’d run out with flyers with his 1-800 number that said, “Vote for Louis” and put them on every car in the Comedy Works’ parking lot. He did that every night after his shows for two weeks. After winning, Johnson’s comedy tour schedule doubled. Through Comedy Works’ booking agent, Johnson got gigs in comedy clubs around the country. Before performing for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian cruises, Johnson had toured much of the country and done over 20 shows for troops overseas in

the United Service Organizations program. Cruises are gigs comedians get after they’re on top, but Johnson says it’s a different story. “Cruise ships are the new Vegas. Carnival took all their back-lounges and turned them into comedy clubs. Right now, Carnival is one of the biggest bookers of comedians in the world,” Johnson says. “I like cruise ships, because I can say no to crappy gigs. I just got off a ship, Leno was on it. I’m pretty sure I’ll start seeing other people.” Another incredible feat for Johnson was performing four shows at the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia, one of the biggest comedy festivals in the world. “The first time I went to Australia, I was working for two cruise ship companies and I was doing the clubs. So I would do a cruise ship one week and then I had a week off,” Johnson says. “So I could stay wherever I wanted. I stayed in Melbourne one week, stayed in Sydney for a week. It was inbetween ships.” Johnson’s manager worked out a deal for him to do guest spots in different Australian cities. Different clubs told Johnson to let them know when he was coming back. In 2014, through the power of Johnson tweeting that he

arrived in Melbourne, one of the comedy clubs asked him for a big favor. “One of the clubs sent me and my manager a note saying, ‘One of our headliners for the Melbourne Festival fell out. We were wondering if you’d like to have that spot?’ I’m like, ‘Hell yeah!’” Johnsons says. “The Melbourne Comedy Festival is one of the top five festivals in the world. You got over 200 performers. The space we had was a 400-seat theater. I did four shows there and the show was sold out every night because people just know they were gonna get a good show.” Johnson has performed for BET, Comedy Central and A&E. He will return to Australia in July. Johnson will do a special engagement performance to benefit the Denver Urban Spectrum’s 30th anniversary on Wednesday, June 28 at the South Comedy Works in Greenwood Village. For tickets, visit: https://www.comedyworks.com/co medians/urban-spectrum-comedyexplosion. . Editor’s note: You can see more of Louis Johnson on his website: www.comedianlouisjohnson.com and on social media; Twitter: @LouisJohnson; Instagram: LouisJohnsonComedy; Snapchat: MrJonzun; Facebook: Facebook.com/Louis JohnsonComedy

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The Denver (CO) Chapter of The Links Incorporated Celebrates 65 years of Community Impact, Investment, and Inspiration

We Welcome Western Area Conference Attendees June 14-17, 2017

DENVER URBAN SPECTRUM

Celebrating the Tradition of Connecting with our Families T

By Allan Tellis

here may be no more common experience in the African-American community than having participated in a family reunion. One could go so far as to say, there is not a single Black person who has ever attended and enjoyed their family’s reunion. If you look in your grandma’s dresser right now, you will be guaranteed to find at least three family reunion Tshirts. These reunions allow us to revitalize our sense of familial pride and connection to our families. With everyone having such overwhelmingly busy lives, and not always living in the closest of proximity, it becomes easy to accidentally neglect those whom we share the strongest bonds. To combat this, we travel across the county to reunite and once again embrace what is massive bedrock of our identity. Statistics show that up to 60 percent of non-business related travel amongst Black Americans is related to family reunions. That alone shows how dominating a force family reunion tends to be. That’s for good reason – there are not many other opportunities to see the intermingling of every generation within a family. It also forges a time for us to create and rekindle business and personal relationships that will in turn become extremely beneficial. The roots of family reunions run just as deep as the roots of the families that attend them today. One of the most devastating and lasting consequences of the Atlantic slave trade was the diaspora inflicted upon slave families. Most scholars have surmised that it was out of this dispersion of people, the need for a family reunion was born. Even before the Emancipation Proclamation, freed and former slaves attempted to reconnect with those they had been disjointed, in order to reunite separated families. They also invited many non-blood relatives whom they had grown an extreme fondness for, which may have given rise to the large family reunions

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we experience today. It is not at all uncommon for non-family related individuals to be included in a family reunion and be treated the exact same as kinfolk. Everybody has an uncle who is not really their uncle, or a cousin that has no ties to the bloodline of the family. Due to the centrally located nature of the Black population in the early stages of freedom, African-American family reunions have typically occurred in the south. That trip “home” is a theme that still has a heavy influence on how we go about family reunions to this day. This year, in conjunction with the Denver Urban Spectrum’s 30th anniversary, the inaugural Family Reunion Festival will take place on Saturday, August 5 at the Great Lawn Park at Lowry. This new platform will combine all of the traditional aspects of a family reunion with all the excitement of a festival. There will be live music, entertainment, a car show as well as various tents showcasing a diverse array of vendors and informational opportunities. There will be activities ranging from athletic games to a kids pavilion, providing engaging options for family and community members of all ages. Ronald McDonald will be on hand to play with and entertain the children. This new setup allows for more time enjoying and engaging with family members opposed to being bogged down planning and organizing events. Cabanas will be available to reserve for the festival, so families have a place to relax as they go about visiting the various activities and booths. There will also be an array of food options sure to satisfy every appetite in the family. It also gives families and opportunity to branch out from the traditional southern epicenter of family gatherings and see everything Denver has to offer. Other festival highlights include the reuniting of the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation Summer Journalism Camp participants from 2001- 2016. Denver Urban Spectrum will also recognized 10 families with three living generations, all who are active participants in their community, striving to make striving to make a difference. Names are being requested for nominations by calling 303-292-6446 or email publisher@urbanspectrum.net. . Editor’s note: For more information on Family Cabanas, booths, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, or other information about the festival, visit www.familyreunionfestival.com.


Reflecting on Colors of Life Op-ed by Mike Sawaya

I

t is a matter of great pride to me that my early life experiences on Thrill Place in Northeast Parkhill allowed me, a child of a Lebanese father and an English-Scots Irish mother, to understand that those from all walks of life have an equal place on the block and in the community. Wilfred and Lolita Seymour, their three daughters, Ida, Patricia and JoEllen and their son Winfred Jr. lived next door. Across the street was Mr. Doolan who was the first AfricanAmerican who built a home east of Colorado in 1950. He had to carry a shotgun to see the construction as there were white folks perturbed that a man of color would think to move there. Marion and Alfreda Qualls lived a short ways down on the other side of Thrill Place with their children Doug and Shyleen. They are all still my friends to this day. When my friend Clinton Williams, Jr. died in November 2013, I played a saxophone solo at his funeral service held at New Hope. He and I played sax together at Smiley in the early 1960s. We went to East High School together in the great class of 1967 along with our friend Pamela Grier. When Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 I wrote an article in the Denver Post for the Voice of Youth describing the pain of his death and the fear that African-Americans would not be able to gain their rightful place in America. Just as Dr. King said of his vision from the mountaintop, it is my hope that someday we can stop seeing others in hue of their skin and look only to into their beauty and their character. I believe we are still climbing to see the top of the mountain. The day of equality and parity has not yet arrived. We have made some progress while in others we are set way back. Communities around our country remain segregated or have become more segregated. The American Dream is not universally shared. I know that. I live my life in a way to embrace those of all colors. I run my law firm with that attitude and I expect it from all the 100 people who work there. For 42 years I have practiced law, always mindful that my AfricanAmerican brothers and sisters are of equal importance to all my other clients. Since I feel so much at home with Black culture, in many ways it is more like home. More than 20 years ago I began working with the Denver

Branch of the NAACP with Menola Upshaw and Gil Ford. Menola’s death and the departure of Gil Ford to the Regional NAACP was a loss from which the branch is still yet to recover. In 2005 I received the NAACP Regional Directors award for my service. I am still an active member.

I went to the Colorado College, graduating in 1971 and from there went to Texas Tech University Law School, graduating in 1975. I started my law firm, The Sawaya Law Firm, in April of 1977. For the first 13 years, I had a general practice covering almost all aspects of the criminal and civil law. Truly, I enjoyed being the generalist. The exigencies of the general practice, however, drove me to specialize in a field which I excelled in, personal injury accidents of all kinds. Perhaps if I had known how popular it would become with my fellow lawyers, I would have sought a practice that would not be so hyper-competitive. I started my active media

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marketing of the law firm in the 1990s and it has resulted in a fair amount of notoriety. I can proudly say that I am very well known in Denver. I have tried to use this high profile to help many charitable and worthy causes. For instance, I served for five years as the president of Servicios de la Raza, helping my other brown brothers and sisters. It was very rewarding. I do love Denver and I believe it is one of the best places in the country for folks of all cultures, race and religions to live. I will continue my service and continue my hopes and prayers with the calling that all are included and that there should be a chair at the table for everyone. .


DUS “Powers Up” for its Power By Melovy Melvin •

Denver Urban Spectrum has been spreading and sharing the news about people of color for 30 years since 1987 and is inviting all friends, family, community members and the public to join US in celebrating. POWE On April 26, and starting the chain of events, DUS held its kickoff reception at the Clocktower Cabaret in downtown Denver. The reception paid homage to the 2017 DUS African-Americans Who Make A Difference, announced the 15 DUS Power 30 Couples, and debuted DUS’s new theme song and video, “More Today Than Yesterday.” The 2017 African Americans Who Make A Difference recognized were Albert C. Cooper, Arthur C. Jones, Brande’ Micheau, Brenda Lyle, Councilman Christopher Herndon, Elycia R. Cook, Gary M. Jackson, Haroun K. Cowans, Linda Theus-Lee, Regina L. Jackson, Rev. Reginald Carl Holmes, Ty McKay, and Vanessa Power Anderson. Vocalist Jah Goatfish and friends (Freddy Rodriguez on keys, Orlando Rafael on electric guitar, Desmond Washington on drums and Jeroan Adams on bass) provided the entrainment.Proceeds from the song (which is available on CD Baby www.cdbaby.com/cd/jahgoatfish) will benefit the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation’s scholarship to be presented during the Family Reunion Festival in August. On May 13, DUS hosted its Power 30 Luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel in Stapleton, where recognition was given to the 15 Powerful Couples who have been striving to profoundly and positively affect the community. The DUS 15 Power Couples included the Honorable Wellington E. and Wilma J. Webb, Dr. Johnny and June Johnson, Dr. Reginald and Faye Washington, Eula and Janet Adams, Geta and Janis Asfaw, Gregory and Nina Henderson Moore, Rev. Dr. Timothy and Dr. Nita Tyler, Scott Durrah and Wanda James, Damon and Heather Barry, Gerald and Glynis Albright, Dr. Ryan and Simone Ross, the Honorable Mayor Michael B. Hancock and First Lady Mary Louise Lee, Matthew and Priya Burkett, Chauncey and Piper Billups and Eric and Kathy Nesbitt. The luncheon ended with an amazing video presentation filled with many memories of the 30 year history and journey of Denver Urban Spectrum. Former Denver City Councilwoman and President Allegra “Happy” Haynes and former State Representative and Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll emceed the luncheon while a duet was performed by Jah Goatfish and Linda Theus-Lee and pianist Michael Williams. As DUS “powers up” on its BIG “30,” the fun continues. 1987 Denver Urba

SPECIAL THANKS: Councilman Albus Brooks, Rev. Quincy “Q” Shannon, Rev. James Fouther, Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Terran Al Saadiq Johnson, Allan Tellis, Bernard Grant, Caroline Price, Deborah Powell, Donald James, Duvonne Green, Ed Jenkins, Ja Norma Paige, Mable Sutton, Marlina Hullum, Melovy Melvin, Stephanie Hall, Tanya Ishikawa, Vinson Powell, Velois Rausch. Stapleton, Denver Water, Janus Capital, Visit Denver, Denver Health, Banneker Watches, Simmons Foundation, ARC Thrift St Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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30th Anniversary Celebrations

Photos by Bernard

On June 28 from 7 to 9 p.m., DUS Power 30 Laughs: Comedy Explosion will feature Louis Johnson and special guest comedians Sam Adams, Stephen Agyei and Janae Burris. This event will take place at Comedy Works at Landmark, 5345 ER•30 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Tickets can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/2nV3lSu or www.comedyworks.com. And on Saturday, August 5, the Family Reunion Festival will take place at the Great Lawn Park in Lowry. This festival will provide a new and exciting opportunity for the whole family to enjoy themselves in a family friendly atmosphere. There will be a stage full of live entertainment for every member of the family, as well, as delicious food provided by a host of vendors from throughout the Denver area. Activities will include an athletic field, a car show and several family areas to provide a variety of options to enjoy family time at the park. The community is encouraged to bring the whole family out and participate in the institution of family reunions. Family cabanas with all the trimmings will be available to create a comfortable way to spend a beautiful summer day with family, friends and community. A car show, showcasing some of the most awesome and creative car attractions in the state will be on display. Along with a children’s pavilion, there will be a host of opportunities for full-family engagement activities including a scavenger hunt, gaining valuable knowledge on Sankofa Hill or observing some masterpieces at the art exhibit. Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation participants from 2001 to present will be reunited, a scholarship will be presented to a student pursuing a degree in journalism and 10 three-generational families who are making an impact in the community will be recognized. For more information on the festival and to reserve your family Cabana, visit www.familyreunionfestival.com or call 888-995-5556 or 720-744-2300. DUS give thanks to our readers, community and supporters, and invites everyone to come out and celebrate with US as we celebrate 30 years of spreading the news about people of color. And remember, “We love you More Today Than Yesterday…But Not As Much As Tomorrow.”. Editor’s note: Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are also available. For more information on the Denver Urban Spectrum’s 30th anniversary events, email power30@urbanspectrum.net, call 303292-6446 or visit www.duspower30.com. n Spectrum 2017

nce Carroll, Michael Williams, Ken Sherod, Derrick Holmes, Ed Dwight, Charles Burrell Jr. and Sr. DUS Committee Members: ah Goatfish, Janis Lyles, Jody Gilbert, Joslyn Davis, Kenneth Johnson, Linda Theus-Lee, Lakeisha Jackson, Lawrence James, Sponsors: Land Rover, Jackson National Life Insurance, Sawaya Law Firm, Xcel Energy, Food Travel Experts, Forest City tore, Comedy Works, Clocktower Cabaret, Renaissance Hotel Denver Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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Jeroan Adams:

Returning to the Roots of Black Music

By Allan Tellis

n the heart of every type of black music reside two foundational elements, drums and bass. No matter what region or era observed, the heavy presence of those instruments is undeniably strong. Talented musician Jeroan Adams believes we can look all the way back to our ancestral roots in the motherland to better understand our natural inclination towards these rhythms. “It is apart of our culture to gravitate towards music that makes us move,” Adams explains. That natural inclination towards rhythmic sounds has given way to Black people dominating music culture for well over a century. Since there has been a music industry as we know it today, the sounds of Black artists have molded music into the ubiquitous drum laden and bass infused product commonly heard today.

I

“We listen for our music on the 2nd and 4th beat of a music measure,” Adams says. That creates the groove we have become so familiar with. We move and sway to it just as we breathe – effortlessly. Although Adams is masterfully skilled in a plethora of instruments – that include the guitar, keys, trombone, banjo, oboe and cello sax – the ability to control the foundation of the groove is what attracted him to the bass so fervently initially. “It was in my blood man,” he says. From an early age, Adams was involved in all types of bands and intrigued by a wide array of instruments and a multitude of sounds. He began by playing in his elementary school band, which allowed him to experiment with instruments ranging from the drums all the way to horns like the tuba and trombone. This combined with the music Adams was raised on due to the stylings of his parents and older sister, created a well-trained ear that could pick out

the standout qualities of multiple genres. Adams was heavily shaped by the musical era reigning during his youth, which was inundated with blues, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz like James Brown, Nathan East, Larry Graham, James Jameson, Chaka Khan, and Last Chapter – all of whom inspired Adams. Similar to most artists, Adams gone through several phases, preferring one style of music to the other, but currently he feels most at home playing smooth jazz. He elaborated. “If I had to pick one to get paid,” Adams says. “I would play smooth jazz or fusion Jazz. I also really love neosoul, which combines smooth jazz, fusion jazz and incorporates vocals over the top. I don’t listen to music with a bassist’s ear or from any other angle. I listen with an engineer’s ear.” On top of already being a talented musician, and one who has shared the stage with the likes of Chante Moore, Surface, Blue Magic, Gap Band, the O’Jays and many more, Adams craftsmanship has allowed him to become an equally talented music producer. Adams refined ear for music has been somewhat of a blessing and a curse, as it has left him often unimpressed with the current state of affairs in music. Adams struggles to see much of the craft in a significant amount of today’s music due to its repetitious nature. “It’s like nobody’s creating anymore,” he says, “they’re just recycling sounds and that’s just not…spiritually right.” Adams noted that there were exceptions like Bruno Mars. “He excelled at the art of song writing, somebody took time and sat down to write a well-crafted bridge, hook and verse.” However, the overwhelming percentage of contemporary musicians does not take the same pride in their art form as the great artists of the past. Adams would like to see a return to the acclaim and popularity of actual bands that play live music opposed to the highly computerized one-man shows we have become so accustomed to. “I remember when there used to be big bands on the stage,” Adams says, “now it’s just one man with a computer giving a whole show.” In the current social climate, Adams feels that music takes on even a higher since of importance.

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“Music, like all other art forms, serves as a necessary release,” he says. “Music gives people an escape, so they can express themselves outside of politics and bills and all the other things that bog us down.” Adams feels that it is of the utmost importance to encourage kids to take part in creating art and music is a great way to spark their creativity. “It’s super important for kids to be exposed to music as an outlet,” he says. “We have to continue to teach our kids music and make them aware of the great music that came before their time.” Although Denver currently has a great and expanding music scene, it is important that we continue to support our local musicians. “There’s a lot of talent in Denver, I mean a lot of talent,” Adams says noting that it was important that we come out to these venues to encourage more places to provide live music thus giving light to our bubbling music scene. And although he is not a drummer to accompany him on his bass, Adams plans to get back to creating some music with his very talented brother Dewayne Adams, who is a very skilled guitarist. . Editor’s note: For more information or to book Jeroan Adams and his band, Last Chapter, visit www.Jithent.com or email Jeroanadams.gmail.com.

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Richard Bernard Doby, 86, passed away April 16th in Aurora, Colorado. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Eiko (Candy) Doby of Aurora, CO, sister; Marlene Doby, and many nieces and nephews. Richard was born August 12, 1930 in Tampa, Florida, the son of Herman P. Doby and Madeline Montgomery Doby, both deceased. Richard graduated from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) Graduate School of Banking and Finance, and the University of Oklahoma (Norman) School of Commercial Lending. He graduated from Arapahoe Community college and the American Institute of Banking, and served as a visiting lecturer at the University of Denver, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Richard served in the United States Army Medical Services from 1948 to 1969 as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, where he earned the Army Combat Medical Badge and many other awards, during the Korean War while serving north of the 38th Parallel as NCOIC of the 196th Field Artillery Medical Battalion. He was stationed in Japan, Germany, Korea

Remembering

Richard Bernard “Dick” Doby August 12, 1930 - April 16, 2017

and many US States in senior management medical positions. He retired as Master Sergeant (E8) in October 1969 from the old Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, where he was serving as Plans, Operations and Training NCOIC. He declined promotion to the rank of Command Sergeant Major in order to retire. Before his retirement from the military, Richard joined the United Bank of Denver, where he advanced quickly to the position of Vice President and Manager of Personal Banking and Regional Credit Manager of Master Card activity. Richard was the first

African American to be named a Vice President in Colorado banking history. In 1981 Richard resigned from the bank and was appointed by Governor Richard Lamm to the position of Chairman of Colorado Banking Commission and Colorado Banking Commissioner, where he served until 1988. Richard was the first and only African American to hold such a position in Colorado, and one of the firs in the nation. Richard was proud of the fact that Bill Daniels came to him for assistance in establishing the Young Americans Bank. Richard, with the support of his wife

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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Candy, was extremely involved in civic activities where he served on the boards of directors of Mile High United Way, Denver Salvation Army, Denver Urban League, Tech National Bank, Colorado Republican Business Coalition, Denver Private Industry Council, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Washington D.C., and as Treasurer, Aurora Republican Forum. He founded the Mile High bankers Consortium, and the National Economic Real Estate Network, where he served as President. Richard served on the board of directors of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce as chairman, the first African American appointed to the position in the chamber’s 100 year history. In 1983, Richard led a delegation of Colorado bank owners and CEOs to Russia and China for the purpose of studying those countries monetary systems. Richard received Norwest Banks African American Living Legends Award in 1997. His viewing was held on Friday, April 28th at 2 p.m. at Quebec Place at Fairmount 430 South Quebec Street in Denver.


Weight Loss for Men

By Kim Farmer

There is no

longer any doubt that there is an obesity epidemic – walk on any street and you are more likely to see obese and overweight individuals outnumber thin people. And sadly a great majority of these people are men. Obesity is not a benign syndrome, and with time it can lead to arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and even reduced selfesteem. Let’s not forget that along with obesity and its risks come increased healthcare costs.

While losing weight is a goal for many people, many men have unrealistic expectations in terms of the time it may take to achieve the goal. It is important to appreciate that if it took you several years to put on the extra weight, it may take just as long to get rid of it. Additionally, while there are many diets out there that promise quick weight loss, the weight loss may come quick in the beginning but sustaining it will take time, effort, commitment and sometimes a high price tag. To achieve sustained weight loss that is durable, you need to change your lifestyle- permanently. This does not mean that you immediately sign up with a gym for the next 3 yearsbecause in many cases, your visits to

Be Realistic

the gym will be frequent in the beginning and then diminish as your enthusiasm decreases over time. Unless you are absolutely dedicated, avoid the long term commitment until you have proven your ability to be self-accountable and committed to your goal. The most important fact men should know is that no matter which eating plan you follow, consistent exercise is not optional if your goal is weight loss. While some people are able to lose weight simply by following a strict eating plan, most people have a hard time staying disciplined enough to count on nutrition alone. Any exercise is better than no exercise so remember that every step counts. There are thousands of exercise programs available online, TV,

Exercise – Keep it Simple

DVDs, and in gyms that promote weight loss but in reality, there is not one type of exercise that is better than the other for everyone. Since you have a different lifestyle, different interests, limitations and schedule than anyone else, it’s up to you to figure out what works best to help you stick with it. A fancy exercise program isn’t required since even walking is a great exercise that can make a difference if you do it regularly. Many men who are overweight or obese likely lead a sedentary lifestyle; so walking is perhaps the best exercise to start with. You do not need any fancy equipment, it is free, you get to enjoy nature, and it is very safe (as long as you aren’t texting while walking). If you walk briskly for 1 hour a day you can lose up to 300 calories which is approximately 2,000 calories a week, which is more than half a pound of weight loss. And while this may not sound a lot, but in 12 months, you can lose up to 28 pounds – without having spent a dime on gym fees. In addition to exercise, you need to limit your intake of junk food- this means avoiding fast and processed foods. Most of the calories you acquire from these sugary foods are junk and they only add to your waistline. Make a point of eating more fresh vegetables and fruits by making at least half of your plate come from plant based foods. Limit your intake of red meat which is high in saturated fats and instead of choosing soda, choose water (since it contains no calories) or unsweetened tea. Since men typically eat more than women, you may feel that you need to finish your plate at home or at the restaurant since other people assume you will eat more. Control your own intake of food and push the plate away when you feel full. This will help you to control your portion sizes even if you aren’t the chef. Instead of eating three large meals a day, eat many small snacks throughout the day to help control your hunger all day. Losing weight is a tough process and requires commitment and dedication. However, if you want to improve your quality of life and avoid dying a premature death from chronic illness, or having a low quality of life as you age, then start changing your lifestyle today. There is no magic bullet for losing weight- start moving more and making better choices at the table. Remain active and consider a new hobby that keeps you active – perhaps a new sports league or men’s hiking group for example. You can do it!. Editor’s note: Kim Farmer offers in-home personal training and corporate wellness solutions. For information, visit www.mile highfitness.com or email inquiries@milehighfitness.com.

Nutrition

To register by Saturday, June 10, visit www.simmonsfoundationfyc.org

10 th Annual Life Skills/Basketball Camp East High School - 1545 Detroit St. June 12-23, 2017 - From 10 AM to 3 PM

The Basketball Camp will be directed by Hall of Fame 2014 State Champion Coach Rudy Carey of East High School. Life Skills Workshop will be conducted by Civil Rights Activist Alvertis Simmons.

Free lunch served daily! $100 Free Throw Shooting Contest!

This is a FREE community event for youth (co-ed) ages 7 to 18. For more information, call:

303-521-7211 or 303-249-2196

Platinum Sponsors: Jackson National Life Insurance, GRID (Gang Reduction Initiative of Denver), Walmart Gold Sponsors: Webb Group International, Nike, Hensel Phelps Silver Sponsors: UFCW Local 7, Dave Logan Bronze: Colorado Convention Center, David Cole & Associates, King Soopers, Safeway, Coca Cola, Denver Urban Spectrum

Supporting Sponsors: Geta Asfaw/McDonalds, Black Denver Sheriffs, Black Police Officers, Fraternal Order of Police, Moses Brewer, Tish Maes, Maria Garcia Berry, Colorado Rockies, Kroenke Sports (Denver Nuggets), National Western Stockshow, East High School, North Aurora Chiropractic, Sam’s Club, VIP Productions, Maaco/East Colfax, Cheba Hut, All In 1 Hosting, Billy Scott, Prof. Richard Jackson (Metro State College), A Private Guide, Innercity Health Center, Coach Rudy Carey, Joy Walker/Sista Love Inc., Fundamental Fund, Inc., Shaka Franklin Foundation (Les and Marianne Franklin), and Simmons & Associates

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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Aurora Public School’s Digital Badge Program & McDonald’s Local Partnership: Making A Real Difference For Students

E

mployers have long indicated their desire for high school diplomas that better serve as predictors of an applicant’s likelihood of being an effective employee. Traditional metrics, such as GPA, while important, provide limited evidence that students possess the knowledge, skills and character to be successful employees. Aurora Public Schools (APS) is addressing this gap in skills documentation through Digital Badges, an innovative way to offer students micro-credentials in professional competencies that have been difficult to measure but which are essential to workplace success. As part of our effort to engage, prepare, and position students for successful participation in college and the workforce, APS has developed a series of college and career readiness Digital Badges. APS Badges are part of school curriculum and focus on 21st Century Skills that directly connect to skills that are valued in the workplace, which is why McDonald’s local owner/operators saw that supporting this initiative would make so much sense! Through showcasing job skills both in the classroom and right in McDonald’s restaurants, students are getting hands on learning regarding what’s needed to apply for and work at local McDonald’s restaurants. APS Digital Badges provide students with evidence-based credentials in the soft skills that are invaluable to success in McDonald’s various fields at the restaurant: customer service, human resources, real estate, finance, management, etc. The partnership allow McDonald’s to aid in developing students’ real-life work skills, find the strengths McDonald’s is seeking in employees, discover future local talent pipelines and allow McDonald’s to inspire and engage students through opportunities we provide to those earning APS Digital Badges in the skills we value most. In the APS Digital Badge Program, the support or “Journey Badges” that are earned in the classroom and the top level ‘Summit Badges’ track skill development along following five critical categories that allow students to understand the ‘real life’ skills they need to find a job in the 21st Century: Collaboration, Critical Thinking,

McDonald’s owner /operator Elias Asfaw attends a APS 5th Grade Career Exploration classroom.

Asfaw provides information about McDonald’s Archway to Opportunity education programs.

Tiyana Russell (left) participates in a “job shadow” experience at McDonalds.

Information Literacy, Invention and Self-Direction. When students fulfill the requirements of the Journey Badges they earn the Self-Direction Summit Badge, one of the five 21st Century Skills highlighted through the program. As students earn a Summit Badge, the APS Digital Badging Program then partners with McDonald’s to provide the opportunity locally to educate students and parents about McDonald’s quality food, career opportunities, Archways to Opportunity free education program – which provides McDonald’s employees with free English classes, free High School classes to earn their diploma and college tuition assistance – and what it takes to own and run a McDonald’s restaurant through job shadowing at the

restaurant level for older students. In addition, through the program our local owner/operators are invited to visit classrooms of elementary students for lectures and interaction regarding how the business practices behind a McDonald’s restaurant requires the same skills of SelfDirection that students are learning about in the classroom. Recently, McDonald’s owner/operator Elias Asfaw did both a classroom visit and had a student do a ‘job shadow’ at one of his family’s local Denver McDonald’s. The Career Exploration classroom visit with 5th graders allowed the students to ask Asfaw about his rise from high school student, college student, McDonald’s crew, McDonald’s manager and finally a ‘second generation’ McDonald’s owner/operator. He talked to students about the hard work it’s taken and still takes to be a McDonald’s owner/operator and the training he went through to get to where he is today. It hasn’t been an easy road and he gave the students his tips for success: dressing professionally, acting professionally and working hard to

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achieve their dreams. The students also got a better understanding of the challenging aspects of his job, why someone would like his job, how a young professional would enter the field themselves, and why “McDonald’s fries taste so good”. Asfaw also hosted Aurora Public Schools 8th grader, Tiyana Russell, for a ‘job shadow’ experience. Tiyana is APS’ first Middle School student to earn all five Summit Badges. By earning those Summit Badges, she had the opportunity to take a field trip to visit some of the APS Badging Program business partners, or “Endorsers”, including Asfaw at his restaurant at 300 South Broadway in Denver. Tiyana’s job shadow at McDonald’s gave her the opportunity to meet McDonald’s crew and managers, understanding what it takes to run a restaurant on a daily basis. From the employee scheduling to payroll to coordinating supplier deliveries all week, Tiyana learned a lot while earning her Self Direction Badge that day! She enjoyed the job shadow so much and was so surprised at what went into running a small business, like a McDonald’s franchise, that she said she’s now interested at working at a McDonald’s some day! “Thank you guys for such an amazing experience. You gave me a different perspective from an outsider. You guys taught me to give something a try before declaring you don’t like it or want to do it,” said Tiyana. “When I get older I would like to be a part of your company, so please expect an application in two years!! Once again I want to thank everybody for welcoming me with open hands to your organization for the day.” Asfaw also provided information to Tiyana about McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity education programs, including tuition assistance for college, which really caught Tiyana’s eye! . Editor’s note: For more information about the Aurora Public Schools Digital Badging Initiative, visit www.badge.aurorak12.org. For more information about McDonald’s local education support opportunities, email Debbie Fitzgerald at debbie@fitzgeraldpetersen.com.


REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM 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 Blackflix.com’s Senior Critic-at-Large. Khaleel Herbert is a journalism student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Laurence Washington is the creator of BlackFlix.com. Like Blackflix.com on Facebook, follow Blackflix.com on Twitter

Bradley Cooper), baby Groot, burly Drax (Dave Bautista) and Quill’s love interest green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana), taking on the usual suspects: Yondo (Michael Rooker) the leader of the Ravagers, bald badass Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the addition of golden beings called the Sovereign. But there are new recruits as well, telepathic Mantis (Pom Klementieff), former Ravager Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Quill’s estranged father, Ego (Kurt Russell) who rescues Quill from the Sovereigns. The only hitch is Ego

Director Gunn Explores Evolution of Guardians Motley Crew in Vol. 2 By Samantha Ofole-Prince

certainly made sense, Gunn shares, to work on where that would take us in a storyline. “At the core of the film,” he continues,“ the Guardians are a group of

Guadians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Director, James Gunn

In 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy, the

L

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 lll

By Laurence Washington

et’s establish the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not as good as the first film – sequels seldom are. However, it’s still an entertaining follow up – especially the opening credits. Not to give too much away, but baby Groot (voice Vin Diesel) steals the scene. That being said, when Guardians Vol. 2 rocks, it rocks! It’s a loud, colorful and action-packed adrenaline thrill ride. There’s a razor sharp tooth blob with snapping tentacles, remote-controlled star-fighters, and a giant brain bent on ruling destroying galaxy. Oh, almost forgot, Stan Lee makes another of his signature cameos, which is a payoff to discerning Marvel fans, explaining his 22 appearances in all of the previous Marvel character films. Guardians Vol. 2 premise has StarLord, aka Peter Quill’s rag-tag ensemble: scheming Rocket Raccoon (voice

may, or may not be, what he seems. Guardians Vol. 2 is more ambitious and serious than its predecessor, despite the barrage of one-liners strategically delivered by Rocket and Drax for comic relief. If the movie has a fatal flaw, is most of the best scenes are shown in the trailer. Not a good marketing idea since Guardians has a presold audience. It’s like Star Wars; you don’t have to over sell it. Let the audience be surprised. In addition, if the next installment runs less than two hours, I don’t think anyone will complain. Guardians Vol. 2 runs a little long for the material. A suggestion to the filmmakers: In several places where the film stalls, spits and sputters, leave those scenes on the cutting room floor, add them on the DVD and call it the Special Edition or Director’s Cut. Just a thought. As with all Marvel films, remain in your seat until the house lights come on, or you’ll miss not one, not two, but five (count them) after credit scenes. And for gosh sake, see it in 2-D and save some money. 3-D is just a revenue maker for the studio and you’ll look ridiculous in those goofy glasses.

highest grossing film of that summer, introduced the world to an eccentric group of selfish, un-superhero like characters who are thrown together with the task of saving the galaxy. Picking up where that film left off, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the space adventures of the motley crew as they patrol and protect the universe. For writer/director James Gunn, who returns to helm the sequel, his mission was not just about delivering a story that continued their exploits, but also exploring their evolution as characters. “I knew what the general shape of the sequel was going to be,” shares Gunn. “But the one thing I had to figure out was if I was going to tell the story of Peter Quill and his father as Volume 2, which I thought was the big reveal or save it for a later time. Ultimately, I decided that it was the best story I have in hand right now and went with.” Vol. 2 welcomes back the eccentric band of misfits and mercenaries introduced in the first film. From the irritable genetically modified humanoid raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper), the deadly, green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the hulking, heavily tattooed Drax (Dave Bautista), the blue-skinned Yondu (Michael Rooker), to everyone’s favorite Guardian Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), everyone’s back for round two. There were some very obvious clues at the end of the first film where an inevitable storyline could go as Peter’s lineage was touched on so it

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outsiders who come together and find a way to make it work. I think that’s what speaks to such a wide array of people.” Everything fans loved about the first film – the characters, the humor, the action, and the music is in place in this galactic follow up and music plays an even bigger role with tracks from Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison to Sam Cooke tying into the story and character. Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, the story follows the team as they fight to keep their newfound family together while traversing the outer reaches of the universe to unravel the mysteries of Peter’s true parentage. It’s a well-cast ensemble of performers that includes new villains and characters such as the strange insectlike alien Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who Drax develops a friendship with and Kurt Russell who plays Ego, Peter Quill’s long-lost father. There’s also a genetically engineered race of aliens known as the Sovereign, who are all gold, perfect and think they are physically and mentally impeccable. With strong father/son and sisterhood themes played out in this story, Gunn once again jumps from planet to planet introducing species after species. In the course of the film, not only does Peter seek his father, he finds himself reexamining his relationship with Yondu and the evolving relationship between Peter and Gamora is also explored. The first movie had such a great response with its cool soundtrack, action and lots of laughter and there are a lot of high expectations for this sequel, which bristles with energy and entertainment and doesn’t disappoint.


REEL ACTION - WWW.BLACKFLIX.COM “We had Awesome Mix Volume 1 last time, and this time we have Awesome Mix Volume 2.” Gunn adds, “The songs are a little bit deeper in some ways; a little bit less pop in some ways. Some of the choices are a bit more eclectic; some of the choices are a bit more popular. But we have a real amazing group of songs that, like in the first movie, I wrote into the script. They are a part of the storytelling. Each song is very specific to the scene where it’s placed.”

R

Unforgettable lll

By Khaleel Herbert

osario Dawson is the prey of her fiancée’s ex in Unforgettable. Julia Banks (Dawson) bids adieu to her best friend (Whitney Cummings) and job at a popular publishing company in San Francisco to live with her fiancé, David (Geoff Stults), in a smaller Californian town near the mountains. This new living arrangement provides obstacles for Julia including getting to know Lily (Isabella Kai Rice), David’s young daughter, and Tessa (Katherine Heigl), David’s ex-wife who spends too much time with them. During a shindig to celebrate David’s brewing business, Tessa glances at text messages on Julia’s phone. She learns that Julia and David are engaged. Houston, we have a problem! Tessa snatches Julia’s phone when she’s not looking and uncovers dark secrets, including an old relationship with one Michael Vargas (Simon Kassianides), whom Julia filed a restraining order against several years ago. Julia questions Tessa’s motives after learning from David’s friend that Julia became possessive and treated David

as her precious like Gollum and his ring from Lord of the Rings. He ended things with her and she didn’t take it too well. Unforgettable is a thriller that pushes the envelope in the obsessive lovers department. Sure, the plot stems from Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me, Martin Lawrence’s A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Beyoncé’s Obsessed, but there’s a twist. Tessa reaches the height of her insanity and Julia shows her reflection in the mirror. Tessa sees how crazy she’s become. In the previous thrillers, the psychopaths don’t know how crazy they get. They stay crazy until they die. But Tessa briefly gains her humanity thinking, Am I a monster? Heigl is superb as a crazed ex-wife. Tessa is a real-life Barbie doll. She’s perfect and obsesses over having a perfect life. When David ends it with her, she can’t move on. She’ll do anything to get him and her old life back. Dawson is incredible as Julia who only wants to fit in with her new surroundings and live a happy life that neither of her parents had. Unforgettable is a grand thriller filled with love and obsession with a side of scratches and bruises that I could watch over and over again.

Director Denis Di Novi Sees Unforgettable as a Cautionary Tale By Samantha Ofole-Prince

D

enise Di Novi had two goals when she set out to direct the dramatic thriller Unforgettable. A veteran film producer with over 40 film credits that include Crazy, Stupid, Love, and Focus, she had initial-

Unforgettable

ly planned to produce the project when the opportunity arose to make her directing debut.

includes Whitney Cummings (The Wedding Ringer), Robert Wisdom (TV’s Chicago PD) and Cheryl Ladd who

Unforgettable Director, Denis Di Novi, Photo Credit:Reuters

“It was a story I had really connected with,” Di Novi says. “It just felt like the right thing to do at the right time and as terrifying as it was, it really was a thrilling opportunity to direct.” The latest obsessive-relationship thriller to hit the big screen, the film stars Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up) as a jealous ex-wife who sets out to make life hell for her ex-husband’s new wife (played by Rosario Dawson of the Sin City films). An engaging thriller with topical overtones, it explores the complex relationship between first and second wives and how it can all spiral out of control and explores domestic abuse, internet privacy, child abuse and the cycle of toxic parenting. “The story intrigued me because it’s about two very different women thrown into a complicated blended family relationship. They each feel tremendous pressure – one to create the perfect life, the other to hold on to it. That pressure drives one to madness, while the other is forced to find the strength to fight for her life. I thought that would make for a very intense thriller,” Di Novi says. With several moments of nail-biting tension, and a brilliant melodic score by Toby Chu, Heigl stars as Tessa Connover, a woman barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David (Geoff Stults) finds another suitor. Despite being divorced for years, Tessa secretly believes they would someday reconcile, but that hope is dashed with the arrival of her ex’s new fiancée, Julia (Dawson), who assumes joint custody of their daughter. This enrages Tessa and she becomes determined to turn Julia’s dream union into nightmare. An intense thriller, which is performance driven, the supporting cast

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plays Tessa’s domineering mother. With facets of Fatal Attraction, sprinkled with Single White Female and a little dose of Misery, this movie is effective in its portrayal of dysfunctional relationships. “I am a fan of those movies and I am a fan of this genre,” Di Novi admits. “What I wanted to do was in a way honor some of the archetypes and the metaphors and symbols of these movies, but kind of feminizes them and reinvents them and makes them my own,” adds the director, who is now firmly entrenched in the director’s chair. Although she will continue to produce films, she is slated to direct the upcoming female action movie, Highway One, which releases in the fall. “I want Unforgettable to work on two levels,” she continues. “I want it to be a fun audience pleasing ride and I also want this to be a cautionary tale for women of what happens when you lose your identity and you feel like your identity is based on your desirability to a man.”.

WANT FREE MOVIE PASSES?

For a chance to receive FREE movie passes and information on other community events, join WAG (Weekly Advertising Guide) by sending your email address to dusonline@urbanspectrum.net (put WAG in the subject line) or subscribe to our mailing list on our Web site at www.denverurbanspectrum.com at the bottom of the homepage or visit www.blackflix.com.


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HATS OFF TO... Over 750 hours went into developing the safety guidelines, which continue to be updated as the industry grows and changes. The safe practices guidelines have been adopted by the State of Colorado and are being considered by other public entities within the state and country. The Public Risk Management Association or PRIMA, is a non-profit, member-led association dedicated to defining and implementing the best practices of risk management. They will present the award to members of the Risk Management Division in

Langley Foundation Presents Five Scholarships

The Drs. Joseph and Alice Langley Scholarship Foundation hosted an award reception at New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday, May 6. Fayeth Pritchard, Jaiden Emerson, Lydia Agyemang, Husam Mackawi, and Maurice Wyatt each received a $1,000 scholarship to be used at the university of their choice. Tanaka Shipp, concurrent enrollment and partnership counselor, Colorado High School Charter and Tracey Peters, director of multicultural excellence, University of Denver were speakers. Dr. Claudette Sweet sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Denver Wins Risk Management Award For Marijuana Safety Program The City and County of Denver’s Risk Management Division won the Public Risk Management Association’s 2017 Outstanding Achievement for a Public Risk Management Program award for its marijuana safety program. Colorado was the first state in the country to allow recreational marijuana sales, and Denver was the first major city in the world to develop a regulatory program. After the new marijuana industry and regulatory responsibilities required of the City and County of Denver were established, potential health risks to city employees were quickly identified by the city’s Risk Management Division. The result was a new safety awareness program and marijuana-specific safety guidelines to protect city employees while performing their official functions within this industry. From situational awareness to personal protective equipment, the Marijuana Safety Awareness Program addresses the unique safety needs of law enforcement, compliance inspectors, and tax collection agents.

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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303-819-7784


Nigerian American Artist Launches One Of The First Ever African Art Galleries In Los Angeles

Afr-i-can Contemporary Art Opens Loft Gallery Space in Los Angeles’ Iconic American Cement Building

Founder Olufemi Ibitayo in front of Olusegun Adejumo, 2016. Earth’s Reception (40 x 40 in)

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) – Afr-i-can Contemporary Art gallery, an informal and unconventional viewing experience, has its grand opening in the iconic American Cement Building on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 and the viewing will remain open until June 30, 2017.The inaugural show, Presentation 001, will highlight the works of nine contemporary Nigerian artists including Sam Ebohon, whose richly colored brushstrokes create kaleidoscope-like works; Obinna Makata, who was trained as a sculptor and integrates traditional fabrics with ink and acrylic to explore daily life, social issues, and cultural

Early Bird Registration is Now Open! C Calling alling All Teams! Teams!

• Churches • Fraternities •1RQ3URÀWV 1RQ3URÀWV • Sororities • Businesses • Families

A Family an d Community Affair

Saturday July 22, 2017

Denver City Park at The Pavilion 7:00 a.m. to Noon

Participate together in UNITY and have fun!

NEW Kids Dash • Children’s Activities • Health Expo • Entertainment This is a non-competitive community event to promote healthy living. *All events are untimed.

Event Sponsors

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Catch the Early Bird Rates!

REGISTER TODAY!

Visit our website www.caahealth.org or call 303.355.3423

Destination Health is a fundr fundraiser aiser for The Center for African American Health, a community-based community-based organization organization dedicated to improving improving the health and well-being of African Americans living in the Metro Metro Area. Area. Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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identity in Nigeria; Joshua Nmesirionye, whose textured paintings depict the current state of Northern Nigeria fifteen years after the rise of Boko Haram; and Art X Lagos award-winning photographer David Dosunmi. The exhibit also includes work by Diseye Tantua whose dynamic and figurative style has been de-fined as Afro-Pop Art; Kehinde Sanwo who is known for his documentation of old Lagos architecture, uses oil, watercolor, charcoal, pastel, or abstract photography to render his environment; oil painter Emeka Nwagbara whose work is composed of quotidian life that captures the movement and expression of the human experience; watercolorist Olufemi Oyewole who captures quiet in-between moments of life with meticulous attention to the play of light on his subjects; and Olusegun Adejumo who is an acclaimed and prominent Nigerian artist. The exhibition is curated by social entrepreneur and founder of Afr-i-can Contemporary Art, (ACA) Olufemi Ibitayo. After first moving to Los Angeles, Ibitayo recounts, “I found myself in beautiful houses, perfectly decorated – except for the lack of art. Art that actually reflected the owners identities, he explains. It just wasn’t there. I realized it was an issue both of lack of accessibility and lack of exposure.” Each presentation will be on view within Ibitayo’s loft at the iconic midcentury American Cement Building. The loft was designed in partnership with Modloft, an international furniture and design company. “I’ve always enjoyed viewing art in the context of a living space rather than in a gallery or museum,” said Ibitayo. “There’s so much more intimacy seeing art in a home, and it is where artwork really comes alive. It is in those moments, for example, while having a cup of tea, that you have the chance to really live with a piece, to let it unfold over time and experience its facets. This is the kind of contact with art that I want to share with people, especially considering how rare it is to encounter contemporary African art.” By presenting art in the context of an actual living space, ACA seeks to challenge the status quo of how art is traditionally exhibited, with the particular intention to help new and established collectors visualize how they might live with Contemporary African Art. ACA will officially be located at 2404 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles California by appointment and invitation only. . Editor’s note: For more information, visit: www.afr-i-cancontemporaryart.com/overview or www.afr-i-cancontemporaryart.com or call 310- 8679261.


Fit Body & Soul Healthy Lifestyle Program The Center for African American Health is offering a

Fit Bod Body y & Soul lifestyle program!

A Personal T Trainer rainer will coach you to increase your strength, mobility and endurance.

A Nutritionist

A Life Coach

will help you make informed decisions for healthy eating.

will empower you to make long-lasting lifestyle changes to prevent Type Type 2 Diabetes.

If you are ready and committed to do the work, The Center for African American Health has a scholarship just for you! Enroll now, spaces are limited!

Classes ar are e available in June and July 2017 For scholarship information and to register please call 303-355-3423.

www.caahealth.org

FAMILIES FORWARD FA MILIES FORW ARD RESOURCE CENTER Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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AROUND TOWN - WWW.DENVERURBANSPECTRUM.COM - PHOTO GALLERY - AROUND TOWN - WWW.DENVERURBANSPECTRUM.COM

Celebrity Host Lamman Rucker Special Guest Entertainer

Cherrelle

Cedric Pride Entertainment presents

Derby 17

Photos by Ron Washington Photos by Rita: I Rise Photography

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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*With Coupon. Restrictions apply. See store for details.


Goatfish Tams

Fashionable and fun for men, women and children! •Day Time •Night Time •Cold Time •Rainy Time •Sleepy Time

Only $8 or 2 for $15 Various Colors and Sizes To order, call:

720-849-4197

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – June 2017

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Denver Urban Spectrum June 2017  

Denver Urban Spectrum - proudly spreading and sharing the news about people of color for 30 years.