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Volume 1 Number 1 August 2017

Inaugural Issue

The “King� Rules

Moss Point Mario King

Elected as Youngest Mayor in Moss Point Mississippi...4


MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR

Volume 1 Number 1

August 2017

PUBLISHER Rosalind J. Harris

GENERAL MANAGER Lawrence A. James MANAGING EDITOR Gordon Jackson

CONTRIBUTING COPY EDITOR Laurence C. Washington FILM CRITIC BlackFlix.Com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gordon Jackson ART DIRECTOR Bee Harris

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jody Gilbert Kolor Graphix

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Melovy Melvin

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Gordon Jackson

The Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum is a monthly online publication dedicated to spreading the news about people of color along the coastline states of the United States including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Contents of the Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum are copyright 2017 by Bizzy Bee Enterprise. No portion may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The Gulf Coast 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 Baltimore Urban Spectrum c/o 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.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com or www.denverurbanspectrum.com.

Our Diversity is Dynamic:

We Are Successful BECAUSE of it, NOT Despite It Welcome, welcome, welcome… To our inaugural edition of the Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum. Publisher Rosalind “Bee” Harris, long-time friend and colleague, and I are very excited to launch this “sister” publication of the long-standing Denver Urban Spectrum, where we will bring you a unique prism to life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I made our motto, “South Mississippi’s Dynamic Diversity” and you’ll soon see why. We will cover primarily the three Mississippi Coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson, but our coverage will also include the upper southern Mississippi counties and cities, the Jackson Metropolitan area and the northern part of the state, much of it known as the Delta. At times, we’ll also overlap and let you know what’s happening in New Orleans, only 90 miles to the west of Biloxi and Mobile, Alabama, only 50 miles to the east. We will especially be focusing on that “Dynamic Diversity,” the Coast’s people of color community, which consists mostly of a highly visible and progressive African American community, a diligent and industrious Asian community and a rapidlygrowing Hispanic community. Let’s be honest: Depending on where you live, mentioning the word “Mississippi” doesn’t bring a lot of positive thoughts to people. We’re all familiar with that part of the state’s history which motivates those feelings. We’ll try our best to show you all sides of the “Magnolia State,” the good,

the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, including the plentiful “salts of the earth” and golden heart and soul of the people in the southern part of our state who are determined to “Turn Mississippi Inside Out.” We will also inform our readers about our rich history and heritage, how we have always been important contributors toward moving our communities forward, along with the “battle scars” to prove it. I’m electrified to be working closely again with Rosalind “Bee” Harris. Among my many endeavors during my years in Denver, I was a feature writer for the Denver Urban Spectrum and I’m happy that we’ve stayed in touch over the years. DUS is celebrating 30 years of “Spreading the News About People of Color” in Colorado. Both she and the publication have earned tremendous respect and admiration. It’s that outstanding status that we look to bring to Southern Mississippi. Bee has also always dreamed of franchising her operations out to other markets. I’m happy to be one of the first in the Urban Spectrum family along with Tiffany Ginyard, who is launching the Baltimore Urban Spectrum this month also. We hope you enjoy our website, as well as our E-Publication. For those who like to touch and feel and read, be on the lookout for a print edition in the near future. Gordon M. Jackson Jr. Editor, Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum

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Honoring our Mayors: The Honorable Michael B. Hancock, Mario King and Catherine E. Pugh Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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The “King” Rules Moss Point By Gordan Jackson

Any perceptions of younger peo-

ple not running for political offices has been decimated in the Gulf Coast’s political arena, especially in the city of Moss Point, inside Jackson County. Moss Point voters have recently given their hopes and dreams of building a vibrant and productiive city to Mario King, a 30-year old Ph.D. student and health analytics manager. King was elected in the June 6 general municipal elections as the leading Democratic candidate in Moss Point’s mayor’s race. He collected 61 percent of the vote, easily defeating incumbent Billy Broomfield (running as an independent), John Mosley Jr. (Republican) and two other independents, Timothy Dubose and Wanda Williams. King previously had edged out veteran public servant Billy E. Knight by just 99 votes in the May Democratic runoff election. King will put mostly his academic achievements to full practice in running the city of 13,057. King told the Sun Herald, “This administration is going to be strong, passionate, fair, firm and consistent.”

King graduated from Moss Point High School, then attended the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) where he earned a BS in Human Resources Management. He went on to Delta State University, where he acquired his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree. He has returned to USM, where he is working on his Ph.D. in Human Capital Development.

King was also a four-year letterman on the USM track and field team. King and his wife and two children returned to Moss Point from Sacramento, California, where he worked several jobs in the healthcare industry. He currently works as a Program Design and Analytics Manager for Baylor Scott & White Health Care System.

Mayor Mario King having a candid conversation with former Moss Point Mayor Ira S. Polk

Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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King’s first action items as Mayor will include: Balancing the city’s budget from an overall $3.4 million deficit; addressing the resolving alleged fraud and mismanagement of funds in the police and utility departments; improving the culture of city hall to become more transparent and accessible. King also looks to make significant improvements in the areas of economics, public safety and education. Moss Point is 70 percent African American, 28 percent Anglo, with the remainder divided among Native Americans, Hispanics and Asians. King represents a wave of young political leadership on the Gulf Coast. Jeramey Anderson, also a Moss Point High School graduate, was elected as Mississippi State Representative for District 110 in 2013 at the age of 21, making him the youngest African American ever elected to a legislature in the country. At the same time of King’s election, Shea Dobson was elected mayor of Ocean Springs in an upset over incumbent Connie Moran, at age 31. “It’s about blending the past with the present,” King said in an interview with WXXV-TV. Referring to a biblical passage, he said, “We always use the old for the wise and counsel and the young for energy. I worked hard on the campaign and went door to door. I think my vote was a mixture of both the young and old. The same way I did it then, I will do it inside my administration.”. .




  

Boys and Girls Club Names 2017 Youth of the Year By Gordon Jackson Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum

University this fall with plans on majoring in education. The five Gulf Coast Boys and Girls Club units collectively serve over 4,000 youths. According to CEO Keva Scott, the clubs focus on the priorities of Academic Success, Good Character and Citizenship and Healthy Lifestyles. McGowan scored the best on several categories reviewed by a panel of judges, with an essay being the most critical test. His motto was: “Today, I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.� The Steak and Stake Dinner is the GCBGC’s top fundraiser. Both a silent and open auction raised thousands of dollars and featured several exquisite items and exotic trips. .

The Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum

Khalil McGowan, the 2017 Gulf Coast Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year, displays his award with his proud family. Photo by Gordon Jackson



halil McGowan, 18, stood out as the “Best of the Best� and was named the 2017 Youth of the Year for the Gulf Coast Boys and Girls Club. The announcement was made at the annual Steak and Stake Dinner, held at the IP Casino and Resort Hotel in Biloxi. “It is an honor to be up here and I just want to recognize each and every other Youth of the Year,� McGowan said, referring to the representatives of the other four South Mississippi Boys and Girls Clubs. “I’m proud to be Youth of the Year and represent my boys and Girls Club of the Gulf Coast.�

is looking for

Community & Event News and Freelance Writers

McGowan, representing the Forest Heights Boys and Girls Club Center in Gulfport, won over candidates who represented the other four Boys and Girls Club units on the Gulf Coast: Michael Carson, 17, Qatar Center at Pass Christian; Ian Catchings, 16, East Biloxi Unit; Jasmine Hawkins, 16, Hancock County Unit; and Jaliyah Snaer, 14, IP Center at North Bay. McGowan recently graduated from Harrison Central High School. He has served as President and VicePresident for the Keystone Club and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society and the League of Distinguish Gentlemen Leadership/Mentor organization. He will attend Jackson State

Email your events and story ideas to

Gulf Coast Editor, Gordon Jackson GCeditor@urbanspectrum.net

Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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Mississippian Takes NAACP into New Era

State President Derrick Johnson Named Interim President/CEO By Gordon Jackson

The NAACP 108th national con-

vention, held this summer in

Baltimore, Maryland, took on more of

a distinct Mississippian flavor, following new and unexpected develop-

ments in the organization’s leadership. Derrick Johnson, the NAACP Mississippi State Conference president, was formally introduced to the convention delegates as their new president and CEO, to be served on an interim basis. He will serve at that capacity until a new permanent president is selected by the NAACP board of directors. Earlier, Johnson made the announcement at the first meeting of the Mississippi delegation at a local hotel.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be named the interim president and CEO of an organization that I’ve served for decades,” said Johnson. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we won’t waste any time getting to it. We are facing unprecedented threats to our democracy and we will not be sidelined while our rights are being eroded every day. We remain steadfast and immovable, and stand ready on the front lines of the fight for justice.” “I could not think of a better, more battle-tested or more qualified individual to guide the NAACP through this transition period,” said Leon Russell, board chairman of the NAACP. “Derrick’s longtime service with the Association will allow him to take

decisive action to deal with daily challenges. He will also serve as the primary spokesman for the NAACP. I have every confidence in Derrick and will support him in this new endeavor every step of the way.” Within hours, Johnson’s duties at the convention were immediately elevated from handling state and regional affairs to becoming the new national face and primary spokesperson of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. He now formally takes a leave of absence as the Mississippi State conference president. State Vice-President Charles Hampton becomes the interim State President. A longstanding member and leader of the NAACP, Johnson is expected to guide the Association through a peri-

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od of self-examination, re-envisioning and reinvigoration. He succeeds past president Cornell William Brooks, whose contract was not renewed, expiring at the end of June after serving for three years. A Mississippi native, Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS before going to Houston, Texas to receive his Juris Doctorate’s degree from the South Texas College of Law. He followed that with serving in fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He now serves as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo and as an annu-


Derrick Johnson speaks to a luncheon crowd at the NAACP, in one of his first speaking engagements since being appointed NAACP's Interim President/CEO. Photo by Gordon Jackson al guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier’s course on social movements. As state president of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court to the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, and by then-Governor Haley Barbour as Chair of the Governor’s Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal, taking a critical role in the state helping the Gulf coast recover from Hurricane Katrina. Johnson founded One Voice Inc. to improve the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives. The NAACP’s leadership shake-up at the national level began in February. Roslyn Brock stepped down as chairman of the board after serving

seven years. Vice-Chair Leon Russell was then moved up to the chair position and Johnson became the new Vice-Chair through a vote by the board. In May, the board voted not to renew Brooks’ contract, leaving the President/CEO position officially open after June 30. In a special board meeting at the beginning of the National Convention, Johnson agreed to be selected as the Interim President. Johnson has been a frequent visitor to the Gulf Coast. He has been the keynote speaker at both the Biloxi and Stone County NAACP Freedom Fund Banquets over the past year and works closely with Biloxi president James Crowell and Moss PointJackson County head Curley Clark, both of whom serve as the Treasurer and 2nd Vice President respectively of the State NAACP Conference. Crowell is also a member of the NAACP’s 64-member national board of directors. Johnson insisted that he is not interested in becoming the permanent NAACP President/CEO and will take the lead in finding the organization’s new leader, hopefully by February 2018. . Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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Like everyone else, I grew up hear-

A Glimpse Into America’s First All Black Community

ing a fugitive slave policy for Florida. The newly freed slaves adopted Spanish names and customs, but with ing stories that before the Civil War, an African flair. the Underground Railroad helped By 1738, a community of 100 forslaves escape to freedom from the mer slaves was living in an area two South to the North. So I was more miles north of St. Augustine called than a little surprised to learn on a Garcia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, recent trip to St. Augustine, Florida or Fort Mose for short (pronounced that the very first underground railmoe-say). It was the first legally sancroad went the other direction – helptioned Black community in North ing slaves escape from South Carolina America, and was an earthen-walled and Georgia to the south to Florida, fort with Indian-style thatched huts. where the first free all Black communiThe fort was under the leadership of Captain Francisco Menendez, a ty in North America had been estabremarkable African-born Mandingo By Sid Wilson and Rich Grant lished at Fort Mose. and escaped slave, In 1738, more than a who had already quarter century before St. George Street, the main cobblestone, car-free street of St. Augustine,with colonial buildings, pubs with wood fought the British in the so-called signs, swaying palm trees, balconies and rustic old lanterns. Georgia. “Declaration of Of course, the Independence” was written in British were upset with Philadelphia, St. this Spanish policy, so Augustine, Florida, in 1740 they sent a had a fort and town naval force to attack inhabited by run-away and destroy Fort Mose former slaves who had and the Castillo in St. been granted their Augustine. For weeks, freedom by Spain. the English bombardToday, St. Augustine ed the Castillo, but the offers a glimpse of cannonballs bounced Black history that few off the soft stone made people know existed. out of compressed sea It’s also a great little vacation town. This shells. Then, in a darsmall settlement, origiing pre-dawn raid, nally located in the Menendez and the middle of nowhere on Black militia launched the edge of swamps a surprise attack on the filled with mosquitos, British camp that killed rattlesnakes and alliga68 redcoats. The tors, has grown into one English retreated to of the most lovely and Georgia and beautiful cities in the Menendez was a hero new world. to the Spanish. And, to It is a place of monument. becoming the British? Well, of course, they conincredible charm with cobblestone Captain Francisco Menendez You can walk Catholics and pedestrian streets lined with quiet sidered him a pirate. the ramparts by serving in plazas and outdoor cafes shaded by A year later, Menendez was sailing the military. palm trees. Of course, being in Florida, along the top of on a Spanish ship to Havana to be the towering, So it’s no it has beautiful beaches. But rare for rewarded for his bravery when the 28-foot-tall wonder that Florida, there are also dozens of 200ship was captured by the British. At walls, defend the slaves held year-old buildings that have been first, the British wanted to castrate the drawcaptive for repurposed into museums, antique him. He was tied to a gun to await bridge, climb eternity in the stores, pubs with jazz and live music, punishment, but many of the white out on the basnearby South and candlelit restaurants. And it also Spanish crew came to his defense. In tions for a view Carolina and tells one of the most fascinating chapthe end, the British gave him 200 lashof the harbor, Georgia would es and “pickled” him, running salt ters of Black history in the Americas. and watch canseek the freePirates, Privateers and Privations and vinegar on his back to increase the nons being dom to be Welcome to St. Augustine’s Crazy pain. He was brought to the Bahamas, fired by refound in History and sold as a slave. enactors in Spanish In the 1500s, Hernan Cortez conNo one knows exactly what hapSpanish uniFlorida. But quered and looted Mexico, filling pened to him for the next 11 years, but forms. escape was not huge treasure ships with gold and silat some point Menendez escaped and Among the easy. Runaway showed up again back in St. ver bound for Europe. But to get there, people who built the Castillo were slaves stole horses and boats, or the ships had to get past pirates. To Augustine in 1752, where he rebuilt many African Americans. Spain walked through swamps, in a desperfight these pirates, in 1672, Spain built Fort Mose. A second Black communiallowed slavery, but slavery in Spain ate attempt to reach freedom. The first ty was established and thrived until the Castillo de San Marcos in St. escaped slaves arrived in St. Augustine. It is still the oldest and best had nothing to do with race. Both 1763. Unfortunately, Spain had lost a Blacks and whites could be free or Augustine in 1687. When the British preserved stone fort in the continental war and Florida was given to the they could be slaves, and if slaves, demanded their return, the Spanish United States. Today, the huge diaBritish. This meant a return to slavery they could earn their freedom by Governor Quiroga refused, establishmond-shaped fortress is a national for the inhabitants of Fort Mose. Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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Fort Mose was under the leadership of Captain Francisco Menendez

Instead they fled to Cuba where they could still be free, one of the great ironies of history. Fort Mose was abandoned and slowly faded back into the swamp.

Sid Wilson at Castillo de San Marcos

In 1964, the marsh where Fort Mose stood was declared a national historic landmark, and today there is a wonderful museum telling the story of the fort and the free people who lived in it. Two miles away is the incredibly large Castillo with its 60 cannon that was built to fight pirates, and across the street is the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. This is the largest and most authentic collection of pirate artifacts ever displayed under one roof. Of course, there are not a lot of pirate artifacts since most of the pirates were hung or killed in battle (Blackbeard went down with five bullet holes and 20 sword cuts, and they sliced off his head for good measure). Pirates had no color barrier, and Blacks and whites served equally side

by side on pirate ships, sharing in the booty, and in the punishments. One of Blackbeard’s chief lieutenants was Black Caesar, a gigantic African chief who was enslaved and later became a pirate. He was captured during Blackbeard’s last battle and hung in Williamsburg, Virginia. St. George Street, the main cobblestone, car-free street of St. Augustine, looks like the setting of every pirate movie, with colonial buildings, pubs with wood signs, swaying palm trees, balconies and rustic old lanterns. It’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere of this historic town, especially at night when there are candles in every window, and history blowing through the palm trees above. . Editor’s note: Sid Wilson is the owner of A Private Guide and serves on the board of Visit Denver. For more information on St. Augustine and the Treasure Museum visit www.floridashistoriccoast.com and www.thepiratemuseum.com.

DUS 30th Anniversary Theme Song Available on CD Baby Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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Ground Rules

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

Editor’s note: Samantha Ofole-Prince is an award-winning writer and contributor to many national publications and is 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

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ic crew - each member more unhinged that the other. Bats, one of Doc’s crew members, (Jamie Foxx) dislike Baby instantly, so natural enemies are born. Actually, we really wouldn’t have a story if Bats liked Baby. By the way, Foxx’s character is aptly named. A righteous killer, in his own mind, Bats has a Gibraltar size chip on his shoulder and wants to waste everybody. And I mean EVERYBODY. At the risk of sounding cliché, Baby Driver is a constant thrill ride, as each

Despicable Me 3

D

B

By Laurence Washington

aby Driver is a departure from director Edgar Wright’s usual fare, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End and Shaun of the Dead. Although some parts are as violent and surreal as those films, Baby Driver is tethered in reality. It’s almost homage to Tarantino’s vengeance and psychopath-driven storylines. Ansel Elgort is Baby, a virtuoso getaway driver. He drives a car like he’s coming home through rush hour. Once he inserts his ear buds (to drown out the constant ringing in his ears), and slides beneath the wheel, Baby becomes a prodigy who creates his masterpieces on the city’s asphalt. With its wall-to-wall classic rock and R&B soundtrack from Barry White to Queen, (Boomers might like the music better than the movie), Baby Driver is Transporter meets Fast and Furious. Which Fast and Furious? Does it matter? Pick a number…any number. I think they are up to eight now. Baby is recruited by Doc (Kevin Spacey), a mastermind who plans elaborate robberies with a psychopath-

By Khaleel Herbert

espicable Me 3, like Gru’s longlost brother, should have stayed longlost. Gru (Steve Carell) hits rock-bottom. He mistakenly let 80’s hipster Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) get away for the umpteenth time. The Anti Villain League has let him and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) go and all but two of his beloved minions threw in the towel because they can’t return to villainy. What’s the poor guy to do? The next day, Gru discovers that he has a long-lost twin brother named Dru (also Carell). Gru packs up the family and travels to Fredonia. When they arrive, they see Dru living the good life with a big house, cool cars and long luxurious hair. Of course, Gru is jealous. Dru shows Gru the family history and how they all come from a line of notorious villains. When Dru asks Gru to join him in villainy, Gru is torn. Despicable Me 3, although great for children, lacks the same depth and magic of the first two films. First, Bratt was a terrible villain. He’s an 80’s junkie who dance-fights to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and bombs people with a Rubix Cube. He was funny at first, but his catchphrase, “I’ve been a bad boy,” got stale quickly. Plus he tries to destroy everything with a giant robot. News flash: Villains from Power Rangers already used that bit. Vector and El Macho were better adversaries than Bratt by a landslide. Vector had squid launchers and rigged his house with all kinds of booby traps. El Macho persuaded Dr. Nefario to join his side and he stole most of Gru’s minions to turn them into purple monsters.

Baby Driver

Baby Driver ll1/2

Despicable Me 3 l

heist becomes more elaborate than the last, and the car chases are fueled with a higher mix of octane. To the film’s detriment, the story slows down to 55 mph, to establish a love story between Baby, and a waitress name Debora (Lily James) whom he meets in a diner. An obvious plot, as Baby promises to do a final heist, and drives off in the sunset with Debora. We’ll there is still 45 minutes left in the film, and the scriptwriters ain’t having that. Neither is the audience who are holding a $12 ticket stub. So, Bats and Doc blackmail Baby back into the business with the threat of harming Debora. Surprise! Bet you never saw that coming. With the film back on track, the final heist goes wrong and the crew falls apart. Not to give too much away, but Jon Hamm (Mad Men), who plays a creepy member of Doc’s crew, is like the Energizer Bunny - he takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin.’ Hamm’s character starts off shallow, but becomes deeper and darker as the story progresses. Baby Driver is a small film compared to the other summer blockbusters. But it does offer a stellar cast. Thank God it wasn’t in 3-D.

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Next, the movie’s plot took me higher and higher, and then dropped me when it hit the middle. The plot became predictable and the ending didn’t give closure. They shouldn’t add any more movies to the franchise unless it’s a spinoff like Minions. There were some good parts to the third installment. Pharrell Williams returns as composer for the film. He includes the famous tracks, “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Despicable Me” plus new songs. I also admire that the Despicable Me trilogy nods at movie buffs. Certain scenes parody classic movies. In Despicable Me, Gru freaks out when he finds a doll’s head in his bed. That comes from The Godfather. In Despicable Me 2, Gru is attacked by El Macho’s chicken and it pops out of his shirt. That comes from Alien. In Despicable Me 3, Gru says Dr. Nefario accidentally froze himself in carbonite. That’s Han Solo in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi. Despicable Me 3 is fun for the kids and can make adults chuckle. But as Gru says, sometimes you look for a unicorn and you get a goat. Despicable Me 3 is not a unicorn. It’s a smelly goat.

War for the Planet of the Apes llll

W

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

hile watching this third installment from the Plant of the Apes franchise, I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics of Marvin Gaye’s antiwar, song “What’s Going On?” Gaye’s message that war is not the answer is highly poignant in War For The Planet Of The Apes. At the core of this film is a decisive battle between rapidly rising apes and desperately declining humans with each fighting for the survival of ,


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Spider-Man: Homecoming “No Stars”

War for the Planet of the Apes

their species and it takes place two years after the last offering Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar (Andy Serkis), the superintelligent alpha-ape who was introduced to audiences in the first film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, only wants to live peacefully apart from humans especially after the power struggles seen in Dawn. But peace between the species has collapsed and when a renegade band of human soldiers, led by an imperious Colonel McCullough (Woody Harrelson), attacks the colony and Caesar is hit with an unimaginable personal loss. Despite criticizing his late former antagonist Koba for his inability to forgive humans, he finds he can’t forgive Colonel McCullough. Despondent and devastated, he comes to the grim conclusion that humans and apes will never be able to live together and it becomes a world filled with hate and rage as the apes and humans battle for world domination. A sweeping, action-packed spectacle peppered with political and social ideologies, it’s directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and is a heartfelt drama with cinematic references to war films Platoon and Francis Ford Coppola anti-war epic film Apocalypse Now (there’s a scene showing the sign Ape-ocalypse Now scrawled in a cave). Audiences will witness a winnertake-all high-tech CGI battle, mass explosions, spears, bullets and apes on horseback and swinging from trees and the pivotal war that determines the fate of human civilization. Accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s brilliant score, which really propels the action and emotion, they will be immersed in Caesar’s emotional quest to lead his young society to a new home. Driven by his personal vendetta against the Colonel, they will empathize with his rage to use any

Man, played believable by Tom Holland, had a cameo in Captain America: Civil War, so he’s a veteran character. The audience already knows that he can spin a web any size and catch thieves just like flies. Cons: Admittedly, Spider-Man hardliners will miss many of the usual suspects: Harry Osborne, the Green Goblin, J. Jonah Jamison, flashbacks of Uncle Ben dying, but they are not essential to this story arc. They will probably show up in sequels, but these characters would just be underfoot here. Final Word: If you’re going to see this movie with your mind already made up, save your money, and revisit the Sam Rami films. You’ll have a much better time. But if you’re ready to put on your “big boy pants” and join the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming is worth every dollar.

means necessary to vanquish the humans. Returning cast members include Maurice (Karin Konoval) and Rocket (Terry Notary). New additions include a young human girl (Amiah Miller) who plays an unexpected role in the apes’ survival and an elderly intelligent chimp and zoo escapee called Bad Ape. Portrayed with comic poignancy by Steve Zahn, he adds the smidge of comic relief to this delightfully dark drama. “This is a holy war,” Colonel McCullough tells Caesar in one terrifying scene. “All of human history has led to this moment.”

Spider-Man: Home Coming, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly By Laurence Washington and Khaleel Herbert

–Laurence Washington

While I was enthralled with the

Spider Man: Home Coming

new Spider-Man movie, Khaleel was less...well, let us say impressed. In fact, I’m sure Khaleel will agree that we saw two different movies with the same title. I say, go see the movie for yourself, and get back to us with your thoughts. That being said: Below are our quick takes on Spider-Man: Home Coming.

– Laurence Washington

Spider-Man: Home Coming llll

Best Tidbit: The after credit scenes will whet your appetite for the next installment. However, it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming’s final shot that will bring audiences out of their seats saying wow! Pros: Spider-Man: Homecoming’s is fresh and thankfully avoids another boring origin storyline. How many times do we have to retread that storyline? Marvel fans might recall Spider-

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Best Tidbit: The only good thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming was seeing Garcelle Beauvais as Liz’s mother. Everything else was garbage. Pros: Nothing Cons: This version didn’t live up to the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man comics. They didn’t show or flashback to when Peter Parker was bitten by the spider, Uncle Ben telling Parker with great power comes great responsibility or Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn. There was no sign of J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle or Parker taking photos of himself fighting crime as Spider-Man. These were all essential points in Parker’s world and how he took on a double life. In Homecoming, Spider-Man gets a decked-out spider-suit from Tony Stark and wants to join the Avengers. In the comics and animated TV shows (from the 60’s to mid-2000’s), SpiderMan was his own superhero and teamed up with different superheroes along the way. Parker designed his own suit and found out information about villains with his wits–not with a Siri voice inside his suit. Final Word: Homecoming is a disgrace to the Spider-Man universe and all who played the web-slinger through the decades from Paul Soles to Tobey Maguire.

–Khaleel Herbert.


It was widely considered a fore-

gone conclusion that Minneapolis police officer Mohammed Noor would be indicted, tried and likely convicted in the shooting death of Justine Damond. He was black, a Muslim, from Somalia and had prior complaints against him. She was a white, middle-class Australian national and a popular meditation and yoga instructor. She was shot in her pajamas, at her home, following her complaint of a possible assault in the alleyway behind her unit. A fellow Minneapolis police officer at the scene gave perplexed testimony as to the shooting. The mayor, the former police chief, and a legion of city and state officials condemned the shooting. There was even a brief international uproar over it. So all the ingredients for the rarity of rarities was in place: namely, the prosecution of a cop who seemingly wantonly killed an unarmed, innocent civilian. The most compelling ingredient, though, was race. He was black. The victim was a white woman. This seemed to seal the deal for a prosecution. The killing took place on July 16, yet weeks later, there has not been another peep from Minneapolis prosecutors or city officials about the killing. The Minneapolis Police Federation took some heat for its pro forma ringing defense of an officer accused of misconduct, including the seeming unjustified use of deadly force. The union official simply said he’d wait until the investigation was complete before saying anything. This brought the charge that the union was kicking Noor under the bus. It was anything but. Union officials didn’t have to say a word about it. Their silence spoke for itself in not condemning the shooting and playing for time with an investigation that might well conclude that there was no criminal malice in the shooting. This amounted to tacit support of Noor. The investigation could provide the get-out-of-prosecution card for Noor. He refused to talk to any investigators about the shooting. Eventually, he will have to talk to the department’s internal affairs investigators. By then he, and his attorney, will have had weeks to have prepared a very carefully tailored statement giving his version of the shooting. Even then his statement will not be available to outside investigators of the killing. Noor has yet another fail safe tactic to avoid prosecution. Under

Surprise! The Blue Line Is Even Drawn Around Black Cops Who Slay Whites

Noor’s defense and support for him would be no different than if he were a white officer and his victim were non-white. By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

were a white officer and his victim were non-white. The deafening silence from Minneapolis prosecutors, even though Noor is black and Damond white, is also really no surprise. The same rules apply as if he were an accused white officer. If prosecutors decide to take him to trial, they will have to overcome the inherent skepticism of jurors that cops break the law, and recklessly and criminally use deadly force. The presumption is that they are much more likely to believe the testimony of police and police defense witnesses than witnesses, defendants, or even the victims. Meanwhile, defense attorneys will file motion after motion on everything from the demand for a change of venue to a bench trial, without jurors. Even when the motions are denied, the clock is still running pending the decisions. That time lapse again serves to put yet more time and distance from the killing and the public’s awareness and concern about it.

Minnesota law, public employees being investigated for misconduct are not compelled to provide any information. The consequence of a refusal is that they face disciplinary action. The worse that could happen to Noor if he clammed up was that he’d likely be fired. But again, he might not be. In any case, the time clock is running on the time lapsed since the Damond slaying. Time enough for public passions to cool and memories dim. Noor, and his attorney, have helped make sure that happens by remaining stone silent with the media and the public about the killing. Meanwhile, Noor is on the standard administrative leave. He’s still a cop. He’s still being paid. He’s still a union member, and if there is any action against him, he would almost certainly be immediately freed if arrested. He will have his legal fees paid by the union and will be assured of having top gun attorneys who know the ins and outs of defending cops charged with misconduct. In short, Noor’s defense and support for him would be no different than if he

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The even more daunting problem is that there is no ironclad standard of what is or isn’t an acceptable use of force in police killings. It comes down to a judgment call by the officer. The time-tested standard that is virtually encoded in law is that “I feared for my life.” This will be stated, massaged and repeated in every conceivable way by defense attorneys during their presentation. Noor has said that he heard a noise and that would be construed as a gunshot and that justified the use of his gun. The message being that the use of deadly force was both necessary and justified. Noor, of course, may yet be prosecuted. But one thing is for sure: the blue line has been drawn tightly around him, too. . Editor’s note: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. His forthcoming book, The Trump Challenge to Black America (Middle Passage Press) will be released in August. He is a weekly cohost of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.


4 Reasons A Life Insurance Policy Could Be Your Retirement Salvation

Americans worry a lot about retirement. Will their savings hold out? Will Social Security still be around? Will healthcare costs gouge a great hole in their finances? What many of them may not be aware of, though, is that if handled correctly their life insurance policies could play a role in making retirement a little more secure. “One of the big tricks for having a successful retirement is to make sure you have enough cash flow to pay your bills and still be able to enjoy life,” says Brett Sause, CEO of the Atlantic Financial Group LLC (www.atlanticfinancialgroup.org). “Few people have pensions any more. Social Security only helps so much. But if structured the right way, a life insurance policy could be the perfect life preserver in retirement.” How does that work? Essentially like this, Sause says: Over the years, a person pays premiums into a permanent life insurance policy with the intent to provide a death benefit as well as cash-value accumulation for as long as the policy remains in force. “When you need money for retirement, you can withdraw funds without paying income taxes, generally up to the amount of the total premiums you paid into the policy,” Sause says. If you go over that amount and still need money, you can take loans against the cash-surrender value, although that means if you die any outstanding loan and interest amount would reduce the amount your policy beneficiary would receive. Using supplemental life insurance for retirement planning comes with a number of advantages. Sause says a few of those include:

insurance policy as part of your retirement planning.

No early-withdrawal penalty

The cash value is available for your needs without any penalty for early withdrawal. Most people probably know that if you withdraw money from your IRA or 401(k) before you reach age 59 ½ you are charged a penalty along with having to pay income tax on the withdrawal.

Leave an asset that’s tax free

When you die, the death benefit is generally received tax free by the beneficiary. That’s not the case if you leave your heirs a traditional IRA or a 401(k).

“People usually view the life-insurance premium they pay each month as just one more bill,” Sause says. “Instead of thinking of it as a bill, though, it should be viewed as a contribution to your retirement, just like the contribution you make to your IRA or your 401(k). . Editor’s note: Brett Sause, an 18-year veteran of the financial services profession, is CEO of the Atlantic Financial Group LLC (www.atlanticfinancialgroup.org). Brett is both a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the premier association of financial professionals. Brett is also a four time member of MDRT’s Court of the Table.

Avoid extra costs

The policy can provide retirement income without excessive administrative costs or government reporting. That means a greater portion of the money goes directly to help the retiree with day-to-day living, rather than in fees paid to someone for managing a retirement investment.

No contribution limits

Annual contribution, vesting and participation limits don’t apply. For example, with an IRA, you can’t contribute more than $5,500 annually if you are younger than 50 or $6,500 if you are younger than 60. That’s not the case if you have structured a life Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum — www.gulfcoasturbanspectrum.com – August 2017

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Understanding The 4 Basics Of Money Can Enrich Your Life

Many young people have the

misconception that as they grow older and advance in their careers they will have more disposable income, giving them the freedom to do what they like and buy what they want. But as life moves along bills add up, college loans need to be paid, mortgages need to be secured and insurance needs to be kept up to date. Throw in kids and many people find themselves living paycheck-to-paycheck much longer than they ever expected. That type of living doesn’t leave much room to plan for retirement. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Those who understand the basics of money can begin planning early in life and will be ready to retire in their 60s, says Ann Vanderslice (www.annvanderslice.com), president and CEO of Retirement Planning Strategies. “Part of working toward retirement is having a plan and a strategy ahead of time,” says Vanderslice. “That begins with understanding the four basics of money.” Those basics are:

Earning

The secret to making money – whether you are an entrepreneur or work for a large company – is finding a solution to people’s problems. Once you understand this, Vanderslice says, the keys to success include: showing up on time, doing what you say you are going to do, finishing what you started and doing it all with a courteous attitude.

Saving

Vanderslice says the old rule of thumb about saving 10 percent still applies. Even if your company offers matching retirement funds, she says that doesn’t give you a pass to save less. The first bill you pay each month should be one to yourself. After that 10 percent is set aside, manage your budget from what’s left.

Investing

Investing should be a long-term endeavor, Vanderslice says. For example, take today’s 25-year-olds. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, if they want to retire with a similar lifestyle as what they have now, they need to invest 6.4 percent of their paychecks. That’s based on the stock market staying on the average path it has held for the last century.

Distribution

Do you want to know how much you will be able to live on in retirement? A good rule of thumb is the 4 Percent Rule, which states that you should withdraw 4 percent of your retirement portfolio in the first year of retirement. Each subsequent year you should do the same while adjusting for a 3 percent inflation rate. “People who report having the easiest transition into retirement had a strategy,” says Vanderslice. “They don’t just wing it.. Editor’s note: Ann Vanderslice (www.annvanderslice.com), president and CEO of Retirement Planning Strategies, helps federal employees understand their benefits, maximize the value of their benefits and plan for retirement, as well as organize income planning and IRA distributions. Vanderslice holds the Registered Financial Consultant designation from the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants and the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation from the College for Financial Planning. She is author of Fedtelligence 2.0 – The Ultimate Guide to Mastering Your Federal Benefits.

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Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum  

In partnership with the Denver Urban Spectrum, the Gulf Coast Urban Spectrum inaugural issue features Mayor Mario King of Moss Point, Missis...